Love letters from Anonymous

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Post by Original Quill on Sat Nov 16, 2019 3:39 pm

For those who don't know, Anonymous is an insider of the Trump White House, who earlier in the year wrote an Op-Ed, the thesis of which was that certain high-placed staff within the Trump administration continue to work work to prevent and frustrate Trump's orders, and see that he doesn't to too much harm.  A minor debate has sprung up over whether such counter-agents are violating the norms of democracy, or saving the union from certain destruction.

Now, Anonymous has written a book, A Worning (2019).  It reads like a road-map for disaster, and perhaps the downfall of most powerful nation ever to exist on earth.  Ms. Susan Page, of USA Today, has digested the major points:


USA Today wrote:From 'Anonymous,' key excerpts from inside Trump White House on Putin, Hillary

Susan Page, USA TODAY
Fri, Nov 15 11:10 AM PST

USA TODAY has obtained a copy of "A Warning," a book written by a self-described senior official in the Trump administration. The author paints a scathing portrait of a president and administration in chaos. The White House has denounced the book as a work of fiction, with press secretary Stephanie Grisham saying, "the coward who wrote this book didn't put their name on it because it is nothing but lies."

Some key excerpts:

On the transition to the White House

"Advisors brandished their knives, back-stabbing each other to get the jobs they wanted.

At the same time, a parade of job-seekers made the pilgrimage to Trump Tower in New York to pay homage to the incoming commander in chief, seeking a place on his short list. Most had conveniently changed their minds about the president-elect. Factions formed. Conspiracies to undermine potential candidates – while boosting others – were hatched and dissolved, sometimes in the same day. There was the Kushner camp, the Bannon camp, the Conway camp, and others such as Penceland or the so-called Flynn-stones, acolytes of the anointed national security advisor. They were united at times and divided at others. This was a real-life version of 'The Apprentice.' "

'Anonymous' author:: Trump 'will not exit quietly,' even if defeated or impeached.

On the courts

"The president has proposed doing away with judges on more than one occasion. Too many of his policies are getting stuck in legal limbo, he says. “Can we just get rid of the judges? Let’s get rid of the f---ing judges,” Trump fumed one morning. “There shouldn’t be any at all, really.” He went a step further and asked his legal team to draft up a bill and send it to Congress to reduce the number of federal judges. Staff ignored the outburst and the wacky request."

On shooting migrants

"In fact, it was Trump himself the previous year who suggested shooting immigrants found crossing the border. Yes, shooting them, real human beings, with bullets from guns held by members of our armed forces. 'They are throwing rocks viciously and violently,' he said, discussing an incoming caravan of people, most of whom were fleeing poverty. They’d been on the march for weeks and had gotten past Mexican authorities. 'We are not going to put up with that. If they want to throw rocks at our military, our military fights back. I told them to consider it a rifle. When they throw rocks like they did at the Mexico military and police, I say consider it a rifle.'

On Russian President Vladimir Putin

"The president’s obvious admiration for Vladimir Putin ('great guy,' 'terrific person') still continues to puzzle us, including those on the team who shrug off his outlandish behavior. Where did the Putin hero worship come from? It’s almost as if Trump is the scrawny kid trying to suck up to the bully on the playground. Commentators have speculated, without any evidence, that Moscow must 'have something' on the president. I wish I could say. All I know is that whatever drives his love for Putin, it’s terrible for the United States because Vladimir is not on our side and no US president should be building him up."

On Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner

"Jared is a likable person, a youthful and energetic advisor and an empathetic listener. However, when the secretary of defense is cut out of Jared’s meetings regarding a crucial part of the world, or the national security advisor isn’t back-briefed on an important conversation Kushner has with a foreign ambassador, it can cause problems, sometimes big problems. It isn’t clear the president is satisfied that so many issues run through his son-in-law’s office, but the arrangement persists because Jared is careful to always demonstrate loyalty to his wife’s father, even at the expense of his standing among other top officials. Thus, the unclear and unhealthy lanes of authority persist."

On Hillary Clinton

"Trump remains fixated on his previous presidential rival years into his tenure, continuously disparaging and demeaning her. It might be a different situation if he expected to face off again with Hillary Clinton, yet she appears to be finished with public office. Don’t get me wrong. No one in the Trump White House is a fan of Hillary Clinton, but we started to find the president’s chronic animosity toward her to be a little weird. He has tweeted about Clinton hundreds of times since taking office. He has even flirted with using the powers of his office to investigate and prosecute her. ... Electoral defeat is not enough; Donald Trump wants total defeat of his opponents."

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: "Anonymous book: Excerpts of Trump on Putin, Hillary, migrants".

The most ominous prediction is that Trump may never leave the presidency.  Like Caesar, he may try to change the constitutional nature of the US.  Certainly, if he leaves in adversity, it is iffy where the controversy will end.

If impeached, he may say it is contrary to his right to be duly elected.  Well...he wasn't popularly elected, he lost by 3-million votes.  He will argue that the electoral college is a constitutional appointment, and he will be right...America is not, in the end, a democracy.  But, so is the impeachment power in the Constitution, and there Trump will attempt to fight.

If voted out of office, Trump will claim that the election is rigged.  Trump is half-way there, when it comes to destroying America's confidence in elections.  The Russians haven't helped either: they hacked into state voting machines of several states, and quite probably altered actual votes.  People know that something was rigged in 2016, and Trump needs only to fall back on the idea of the structural unsoundness of the election apparatus in the US.

I'll bet anyone that Trump doesn't leave office peacefully, and will try to create a military confrontation if not reelected.  If he is reelected, we will spend his second term trying to restructure the presidency to make himself a permanent fixture.

_________________
“Little thieves are hanged, but great thieves are praised.” — Old Russian proverb, offered by Vladimir Putin to Donald J. Trump, Helsinki, July, 2018.

"I don't stand by anything."  ― Donald Trump, interview with John Dickerson, 5.1.17...

Normal is broken.

“That's libertarians for you — anarchists who want police protection from their slaves.” ― Kim Stanley Robinson, Green Mars
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Post by eddie on Sat Nov 16, 2019 3:55 pm

Okay, I need to ask a question.

How do we trust “anonymous” if we don’t know who it is?


_________________
”The true genius shudders at incompleteness - and usually prefers silence to saying something which is not everything it should be.“
~ Edgar Allan Poe
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Post by Original Quill on Sat Nov 16, 2019 4:48 pm

Gd. question.  By now, s/he has at least two works: 1) the Op-Ed in the New York Times and 2) his/her new book, A Warning.  Does s/he appear to know what what s/he is talking about?

I assume someone who has been in the administration might call him/her out if s/he makes some sort of gross error.  At best, that is sketchy.

It's kinda like Deep Throat in the Watergate saga.  There, Woodward and Bernstein knew and could vouch for, if not name Deep Throat.  So, I presume the New York Times will vouch for him/her in the same way.

Slate wrote the following:

Slate wrote:The Obvious Suspect

The quest to unmask the New York Times op-ed writer has been filled with speculation. But the article’s prose points to one person in particular.

By WILLIAM SALETAN

Who wrote the anonymous op-ed against President Trump in Wednesday’s New York Times? All we know for certain is what the Times disclosed: that it’s a “senior official in the Trump administration.” But the most likely author, based on the op-ed’s content and style, is the U.S. ambassador to Russia, Jon Huntsman.

Huntsman is an obvious suspect for several reasons. The article’s themes are classic Huntsman: effusive about conservative policies, blunt about low character. In 2016, he made the same points for and against Trump. The topic that gets the most space and detail in the piece is Huntsman’s current area, Russia. (As Slate’s Fred Kaplan points out, Trump has been circumventing and undermining Huntsman.) The prose, as in Huntsman’s speeches and interviews, is flamboyantly erudite. The tone, like Huntsman’s, is pious. And the article’s stated motive—“Americans should know that there are adults in the room”—matches a letter that Huntsman wrote to the Salt Lake Tribune in July. In the letter, Huntsman, responding to a columnist who thought the ambassador should resign rather than keep working for Trump, explained that public servants such as himself were dutifully attending to the nation’s business.

Like other suspects, Huntsman has issued a statement to deflect accusations that he wrote the Times op-ed. But the statement—actually just a tweet—doesn’t come from Huntsman. It comes from the spokesperson at the U.S. Embassy in Moscow. The full text reads, “Amb Huntsman: Come to find, when you’re serving as the U.S. envoy in Moscow, you’re an easy target on all sides. Anything sent out by me would have carried my name. An early political lesson I learned: never send an anonymous op-ed.”

That’s a non-denial denial. The Times has already said that the author’s “identity is known to us.” So the piece can’t have been sent anonymously. It must have carried the author’s name. Which means the statement from Huntsman’s spokesperson is technically accurate, even if he wrote the piece. And no matter what he says, he’s still the most likely suspect—at least until somebody else steps forward to claim responsibility—because the piece is full of telltale words and phrases. Here are some of them.

Country first. The op-ed glorifies the late Sen. John McCain. It calls him a “lodestar,” the word used by Henry Kissinger at McCain’s Sept. 1 memorial service to describe the senator. It concludes with this line: “There is a quiet resistance within the administration of people choosing to put country first.” “Country first” was McCain’s presidential campaign slogan in 2008. Huntsman, who idolized McCain, adopted the same slogan for his 2012 presidential campaign. A week ago, after McCain died, Huntsman lauded McCain as his mentor and recalled his motto, “Country first.” Huntsman also flew back from Moscow to attend the memorial service.

Malign. The op-ed aims its most specific criticism at Trump’s coddling of Vladimir Putin:

On Russia, for instance, the president was reluctant to expel so many of Mr. Putin’s spies as punishment for the poisoning of a former Russian spy in Britain. He complained for weeks about senior staff members letting him get boxed into further confrontation with Russia, and he expressed frustration that the United States continued to impose sanctions on the country for its malign behavior.

That’s a lot of detail about what Trump said and did. It’s exactly the subject on which Huntsman would be most likely to get good inside information. In addition, malign—which is fancier and more correct in this context than the more popular term malignant—is one of Huntsman’s favorite words, especially when talking about Russia. Last year, at his confirmation hearing, Huntsman repeatedly denounced Russia’s “malign activity.” This summer, in briefings and interviews leading up to the July 16 summit between Trump and Putin, Huntsman criticized Russia’s “malign activity,” “malign activities,” and “malign events.” He used the word so profusely that Chris Wallace, while interviewing Huntsman on Fox News, felt obliged to quote the dictionary definition.

Moorings. The op-ed criticizes Trump’s “amorality” and says he’s “not moored to any discernible first principles.” Amoral is a very unusual word in politics—the preferred term is immoral—but it was a favorite locution of Huntsman’s father, who used it to describe the Nixon White House. Huntsman seems to prefer the term moorings. In 2009, he worried that the GOP had “strayed from some of our moorings.” Three years later, the Salt Lake Tribune reported that Huntsman, in a statement to the paper, “said he wanted his party to return to its moorings.”

Impetuous. The op-ed also uses this term to describe the president. It’s a rare word among politicians because it isn’t widely understood, and it sounds pretentious. But Huntsman loves it. In 2006, he said of tax reform, “We can’t be too impetuous.” In 2011, he cautioned against hitting China with trade penalties “in an impetuous, unilateral way.” In 2012, he chastised Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney twice for an “impetuous” response to the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya.

Inclination. The op-ed says officials in Trump’s administration are bravely working to thwart his “worst inclinations.” It would have been simpler to write “worst instincts” or “worst tendencies,” but Huntsman likes inclination. He has used it when speaking about health care, bipartisanship, and troops in Afghanistan. In his July 21 letter to the Tribune, he proudly wrote: “Representatives of our foreign service, civil service, military and intelligence services have neither the time nor inclination to obsess over politics.”

Other phrases in the piece also fit Huntsman. He co-chaired the bipartisan group No Labels; the op-ed calls for “reaching across the aisle and resolving to shed the labels.” Huntsman often said his campaign philosophy was to “work diligently”; the op-ed says officials in the Trump administration “are working diligently.” Huntsman extolled “this great nation”; so does the op-ed. Huntsman’s letter to the Tribune warned of “the fragile nature of this moment” and said wise public servants were working to “stabilize the most dangerous relationship in the world”; the Times op-ed frets about Trump’s “instability” and says wise public servants are faithfully carrying on “the work of the steady state.”

Maybe these resemblances are just coincidental, and somebody else will confess to writing the op-ed. Given the sheer number of people who could have written it—those who work with Trump soon learn to despise him—even the best guess is likely to be wrong. But the central mystery of the piece—why anyone would speak so loudly about serving in a “quiet resistance”—is a big clue. This is a carefully prepared diary of principle and courage that the author can use in a post-Trump world to gloss his legacy. Exactly the sort of thing Jon Huntsman would write.

Read more from Slate:
A Bunch of Trump’s Senior Administration Officials Rush to Say, “It Wasn’t Me”
Trevor Noah Is Neither Impressed Nor Comforted by That Anonymous “Resistance” Op-Ed
Senior Administration Official Says in Anonymous Op-Ed That He and Others Are Thwarting Trump “From Within”

_________________
“Little thieves are hanged, but great thieves are praised.” — Old Russian proverb, offered by Vladimir Putin to Donald J. Trump, Helsinki, July, 2018.

"I don't stand by anything."  ― Donald Trump, interview with John Dickerson, 5.1.17...

Normal is broken.

“That's libertarians for you — anarchists who want police protection from their slaves.” ― Kim Stanley Robinson, Green Mars
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Post by eddie on Sat Nov 16, 2019 5:25 pm

But still...if we don’t know who it is, can we trust this source?

_________________
”The true genius shudders at incompleteness - and usually prefers silence to saying something which is not everything it should be.“
~ Edgar Allan Poe
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Post by Original Quill on Sat Nov 16, 2019 6:24 pm

eddie wrote:But still...if we don’t know who it is, can we trust this source?

The law has no problem with confidential sources.  So, I would reckon the media would be even more willing to indulge anonymity.

And The New York Times is one hell of a good character reference.

_________________
“Little thieves are hanged, but great thieves are praised.” — Old Russian proverb, offered by Vladimir Putin to Donald J. Trump, Helsinki, July, 2018.

"I don't stand by anything."  ― Donald Trump, interview with John Dickerson, 5.1.17...

Normal is broken.

“That's libertarians for you — anarchists who want police protection from their slaves.” ― Kim Stanley Robinson, Green Mars
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