Archive for the ‘Washington Post’ category

An Epidemic of Lawlessness

June 24, 2017

An Epidemic of Lawlessness, Power LineScott Johnson, June 24, 2017

Taking the story at face value, we can conclude that the Post and its sources have done great damage to the national security of the United States. The Post attributes the leaks on which the story is based to “three dozen current and former U.S. officials in senior positions in government, including at the White House, the State, Defense and Homeland Security departments, and U.S. intelligence services. Most agreed to speak only on the condition of anonymity…”

Again, taken at face value, the story buries this bombshell. Three dozen current and former U.S. officials in senior government positions have undertaken a campaign of gross lawlessness for their own purposes undermining the national security of the United States beyond anything Vladimir Putin can do.

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Yesterday’s Washington Post carried the Russia story of the day. Post reporters Greg Miller, Ellen Nakashima and Adam Entous purport to deliver the goods on “Obama’s secret struggle to punish Russia for Putin’s election assault.” It’s a long, long story that is of interest from a variety of perspectives.

The Post purports to give us the inside story on the collection of intelligence on Russian interference in the presidential election and serve up the apologetics explaining the Obama administration’s passive response. Based on highly classified intelligence related to the Post, the CIA discovered Russian interference in the election while it was in process within months of the election in the last year of the Obama administration. According to the CIA intelligence, the interference came on the order of Vladimir Putin and furthered Putin’s desire to aid the election of Donald Trump as president.

The Post dates the critical intelligence “bombshell” obtained by the CIA to August 2016. The Post reports that CIA Director John Brennan deemed it so confidential that he withheld it from the President’s Daily Brief and conveyed it directly in writing to Obama by hand delivery.

The intelligence provided Obama administration officials plenty of time to do foil Putin’s plans. Indeed, administration officials concocted plans to punish and deter Russia from interference. The Post reports that “Obama administration secretly debated dozens of options for deterring or punishing Russia, including cyberattacks on Russian infrastructure, the release of CIA-gathered material that might embarrass Putin and sanctions that officials said could ‘crater’ the Russian economy. But in the end, in late December, Obama approved a modest package” (emphasis added). In other words, President Obama declined to take any action while it might still have done some good.

One might infer from story that President Obama “colluded” with Putin to defeat Hillary Clinton and elect Donald Trump. One might support the inference with Obama’s own comment open mic comment to Dmitri Medvedev that during Obama’s second term he would have more “flexibility” to cooperate with Putin.

To be fair, we might consider the explanation that Obama was just a pusillanimous pussy disinclined to protect the interests of the United States from our enemies. Perhaps Obama’s passivity was overdetermined and several of the possible explanations apply. Certainly some explanation beyond any offered by the Post’s sources is called for. The possibilities are endless.

By contrast, however, the Post’s reportage offers no evidence of Trump’s “collusion” with the Russian interference intended to assist Trump’s election. Zero. Nada. Not even by inference.

Perhaps evidence of Trump “collusion” is beyond the scope of the Post’s story. If the Post had obtained such evidence from its numerous sources, however, it would be in the story.

So far as I can tell, sophisticated commenters on the story take it at face value and consider it on the terms presented by the Post. See, for example, David French’s NRO column and Tom Rogan’s Examiner column.

The story comes complete with this revelation: “Obama also approved a previously undisclosed covert measure that authorized planting cyber weapons in Russia’s infrastructure, the digital equivalent of bombs that could be detonated if the United States found itself in an escalating exchange with Moscow. The project, which Obama approved in a covert-action finding, was still in its planning stages when Obama left office. It would be up to President Trump to decide whether to use the capability.”

I’m sure Putin is grateful for the heads-up from the Post. You don’t have to be a CIA officer of analyst to figure that out.

Now like much of the Post story, this is a piece of highly classified intelligence whose disclosure violates the oaths of those who gave it to the Post. The violation of a solemn oath by a witness is commonly taken to detract from the credibility of the witness’s testimony. Consider, moreover, that the Post did not place its sources were not under oath when they confided in Greg Miller, Ellen Nakashima and Adam Entous. The intelligent reader would be well within his rights not to believe a word they say.

If we believe it, however, this pertinent fact should be added. The disclosure of highly classified intelligence by government officials seriously violates the espionage laws of the United States. It is in all likelihood felonious several times over in the case of each of the Post’s numerous anonymous sources.

The Post and its reporters are accomplices to the crimes committed by their sources. They have disseminated highly classified intelligence to the enemies of the United States — as the left has lately discovered Putin and Russia to be.

Taking the story at face value, we can conclude that the Post and its sources have done great damage to the national security of the United States. The Post attributes the leaks on which the story is based to “three dozen current and former U.S. officials in senior positions in government, including at the White House, the State, Defense and Homeland Security departments, and U.S. intelligence services. Most agreed to speak only on the condition of anonymity…” As for the requirement of anonymity imposed by the Post’s sources, see the paragraph above.

Again, taken at face value, the story buries this bombshell. Three dozen current and former U.S. officials in senior government positions have undertaken a campaign of gross lawlessness for their own purposes undermining the national security of the United States beyond anything Vladimir Putin can do.

Obstruct This (2)

June 16, 2017

Obstruct This (2), Power Line, Scott Johnson, June 16, 2017

(I am reminded of the little optimist whose bedroom his parents had filled with horse manure on Christmas Eve while he was sleeping. Early in the morning, he was found joyfully digging through it, sure that there must be a pony somewhere in the pile. — DM)

The investigators have no evidence of Trump campaign coordination with Russia and, if it is possible, they have even less cause to believe there was a bribe (for the coordination that did not happen), and less still to believe the bribe (that there’s no reason to believe happened) was conveyed in a deceptive manner that amounted to a felony money-laundering violation.

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Today’s word from anonymous, unnumbered “official sources” — that is some deep cover they’ve got going there — to Washington Post reporters Sari Horwitz, Matt Zapotosky and Adam Entous (count ’em) goes like this:

Special counsel Robert S. Mueller III is investigating the finances and business dealings of Jared Kushner, President Trump’s son-in-law and adviser, as part of the investigation into Russia’s interference in the 2016 presidential election, according to U.S. officials familiar with the matter.

FBI agents and federal prosecutors have also been examining the financial dealings of other Trump associates, including former national security adviser Michael Flynn, former campaign chairman Paul Manafort and Carter Page, who was listed as a foreign-policy adviser for the campaign.

The Washington Post previously reported that investigators were scrutinizing meetings that Kushner held with Russians in December — first with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak, and then with Sergey Gorkov, the head of a state-owned Russian development bank. At the time of that report, it was not clear that the FBI was investigating Kushner’s business dealings.

The officials who described the financial focus of the investigation spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly.

Let’s pause here for a brief moment with Professor Glenn Reynolds. Glenn translates the journalese for the untutored reader. “Not authorized to speak” means “unprofessional” and/or “illegal.”

Round about paragraph seven the Post reporters concede this much:

Mueller’s investigation is in a relatively early phase, and it is unclear whether criminal charges will be brought when it is complete.

Now this is rich. We have no evidence of wrongdoing by the president or his campaign. By contrast, however, the air of criminality injected by “official sources” and their media conduits itself constitutes a gross form of wrongdoing.

Again, however, translation is required. Here we can draw on the expertise of former Assistant United States Attorney Andrew McCarthy, whose translation also addresses the parallel New York Times version of the leak (“A former senior official said Mr. Mueller’s investigation was looking at money laundering by Trump associates. The suspicion is that any cooperation with Russian officials would most likely have been in exchange for some kind of financial payoff, and that there would have been an effort to hide the payments, probably by routing them through offshore banking centers”):

Allow me to translate. The investigators have no evidence of Trump campaign coordination with Russia and, if it is possible, they have even less cause to believe there was a bribe (for the coordination that did not happen), and less still to believe the bribe (that there’s no reason to believe happened) was conveyed in a deceptive manner that amounted to a felony money-laundering violation.

Get it? In the absence of an evidentiary predicate for a criminal investigation, a bunch of smart lawyers are theorizing that if there had been some kind of collusion, there might have been a money trail. On that pretext, they have moved on to a new crime they speculate, but have no evidence, may have occurred. This enables them to start poking around people’s banking records, business ledgers, tax returns and the like.

Inevitably, it will be forgotten that there was no evidence of the collusion, of the bribery for the collusion, or of the money laundering for the bribery for the collusion – i.e., no evidence supporting the rationale for the fishing expedition. Instead, Mueller’s team will be on to theorizing financial irregularities that have utterly no connection to Russia, the election, collusion, or anything that the investigation was supposed to be about in the first place.

We have entered a zone of what Hunter Thompson would call deep weirdness. Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein — the man responsible for Mueller’s appointment and supervision of the investigation — issued this statement Thursday night:

Americans should exercise caution before accepting as true any stories attributed to anonymous “officials,” particularly when they do not identify the country — let alone the branch of agency of government — with which the alleged sources supposedly are affiliated. Americans should be skeptical about anonymous allegations. The Department of Justice has a long established policy to neither confirm nor deny such allegations.

Well, thanks. We’re cynical out here in flyover country without the advice. The last thing we need from Rosenstein is this particular encouragement. We need him to raise holy hell to find out who’s doing what under his nose.

Washington Post Peddles Palestinian Propaganda, Part Two

June 7, 2017

Washington Post Peddles Palestinian Propaganda, Part Two, Power LinePaul Mirengoff, June 7, 2017

He then moans that “some [centrists] even admire the settlers — for their can-do spirit and their ability to withstand attacks by Palestinian militants.” Admiring pioneers who withstand attacks by Israel’s sworn enemies? We can’t have that. What kind of Jews are we dealing with here, anyway?

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Last week, the Washington Post dedicated an entire section of the paper to airing Palestinian grievances and talking points. The section was called “Occupied: Year 50.”

This week, the Post was back with more, turning the first five pages of its Sunday “Outlook” over to Dan Ephron so he could whine about Israeli settlements. I don’t recall anyone ever getting five pages in “Outlook” to write, or in this case rant, about anything.

Ephron’s piece is akin to last week’s rant by William Booth and Sufian Taha. Those two went on and on about the difficulties Palestinians face when traveling from the West Bank to Jerusalem, but never mentioned the reason why checkpoints exist — to protect Israel from the chronic acts of terrorism committed by Palestinians.

This week, Ephron goes on and on about how West Bank settlements have been “normalized” in the thinking of Israelis during the past 50 years, with scarcely a mention of the main reason why. In his telling, the expansion and “normalization” of settlements stems from the ability of settlers to influence public opinion and “bend[] the will of Israeli institutions.” But they could never have done so if the Palestinians had displayed a serious desire to trade land for peace. (Ephron doesn’t mention Palestinian intransigence until the last page and the 51st paragraph of his tome, and then does so only in passing).

Abba Eban, the Israeli diplomat who hoped — as many of us did — to see a trade of land for peace, perfectly captured the reason why the trade never occurred. After years of trying to make this deal, he said that the Palestinians “never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity.”

Ephron professes surprise that, after 50 years, the opportunity may well irrevocably have been missed. As he traveled around the West Bank, Ephron was shocked that life in the settlements seems normal. Why, the town of Ariel has a thriving university, a soccer team that competes with clubs from “inside Israel,” a shopping mall, and (soon) a state-of-the-art hospital. And in Kiryat Arba, Israel’s national theater company staged a play.

It’s as if Ephron expected Israelis to demand that their settlers to leave no footprint — to live in tents and herd sheep for 50 years — while waiting for the Palestinians to give up their designs on conquering Israel.

In real life, time waits for no one — and certainly not for a people bent on destroying their neighbors.

Ephron also expresses amazement that most Israelis have no reverence for, or even clear concept of, the Green Line — the border Israelis abided by until the Arabs tried to conquer them in 1967. But why should they? The border was ridiculous — at its narrowest point from the Mediterranean coast to the demarcation line, Israel is only about nine miles wide — and it has not corresponded to reality on the ground for 50 years.

Here’s what would genuinely be shocking: for anyone to regard conditions that prevailed 50 years ago to be normal today.

Think of the territorial transformation of the United States between, say, 1800 and 1850. Expecting Israelis to remain confined within the Green Line is like expecting early Americans to remain in the 13 states, but with these differences: (1) none of the 13 original states was nine miles wide and (2) by the time of the American Founding, American Indians, to my knowledge, weren’t bent on driving the former colonists into the sea.

Many passages in Ephron’s article suggest that he is either clueless or, more likely, the captive of anti-Israel ideology. He complains that the settlements “with their swimming pools and other amenities are off limits” to Palestinians.

What is it about the self-preservation instinct that Ephron does not understand? And why, if he expects the settlements to be integrated, does he write at length about the need to forcibly relocate settlers — a minimum of 150,000 of them, he says — under any “peace” plan. In his view, large portions of the West Bank must be judenrein (free of Jews), but until then, Jews should swim with people who insist that they be relocated, and who might want to kill them.

Ephron seems concerned that many Israeli “centrists” have bought into the settlers’ “talking point” that the settlements bolster Israel’s security. However, he offers no evidence or argument that this view is incorrect.

He then moans that “some [centrists] even admire the settlers — for their can-do spirit and their ability to withstand attacks by Palestinian militants.” Admiring pioneers who withstand attacks by Israel’s sworn enemies? We can’t have that. What kind of Jews are we dealing with here, anyway?

I’ll conclude my rant on a personal note. I know a young Israeli woman who is not a centrist, but rather a leftist. She fell in love with a young man from a settler family. His family farms outside of the Green Line.

The young woman is among the Israelis who take the Green Line seriously. She has always been anti-settler. Her potential husband’s desire to live and work on the farm was a serious problem for her.

In the end, though, love prevailed. She currently resides on the West Bank. She is what Ephron would call a settler.

What was this woman supposed to do? Was she supposed to reject the love of her life and his family on the theory that they are obstacles to peace? Was she supposed to put off marriage and wait for the Palestinians to give up their aggressive designs and enter into a peace agreement that has been a chimera for 50 years?

The Palestinians have never missed an opportunity to miss an opportunity. Fortunately, the young woman, like so many other Israelis, did not miss hers.

Washington Post telegraphs the coming targets of the Left

June 4, 2017

Washington Post telegraphs the coming targets of the Left, American ThinkerThomas Lifson, June 4, 2017

It is clear that the WaPo hopes to put the David Horowitz Center’s tax exemption up for dispute. But that would require a double standard, since there are far more tax exempt non-profits on the left, that avoid explicit partisan activity, while engaging in political activity.  Which means that the IRS will feel plenty of heat and may put Horowitz’s charity through hell.

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Jared Kushner is the latest member of the Trump team to experience a full-blown demonization campaign, but there are already signs that others are in line for the same sort of treatment.  Part of the strategy in destroying the Trump insurgency is to let his allies know that they are in for trouble if they persist.  The left wants to impugn and, if possible, destroy anyone seen as an enabler of the Trump insurgency.

The Washington Post invested a lot of resources in publishing a nearly 4000 word-long “investigation,” that generates a conspiracy theory around one of my heroes, David Horowitz, like me, a former leftist who saw and grasped the underlying corruption inherent in leftist ideologies that deny human nature and promise utopia. It thus serves two purposes: adding a new target for other leftists to investigate and attack – putting him on the agenda, as it were – and offering up a fresh conspiracy theory – necessary in the continuing absence of any evidence at all of Russian “collaboration” with the Trump campaign, a non-crime in itself.

The title of the piece contains a tell on its bias: “How a ‘shadow’ universe of charities joined with political warriors to fuel Trump’s rise”

There is nothing “shadowy” about David Horowitz. In fact, in the course of the article he is “ dismissed…as a bombastic self-promoter” by Bill Kristol.

The lengthy piece begins with a breathless account of an event that it portrays as momentous.

The crowd rose to its feet and roared its approval as Sen. Jeff Sessions bounded onto the stage at the Breakers, an exclusive resort in Palm Beach, Fla. Stephen Miller, an aide to the Alabama Republican, handed him a glass trophy honoring his bravery as a lawmaker.

“Heyyyy!” Sessions yelled out to the crowd.

The ceremony that day, in November 2014, turned out to be a harbinger: It brought together an array of hard-right activists and a little-known charity whose ideas would soon move from the fringes of the conservative movement into the heart of the nation’s government.

The man behind the event was David Horowitz, a former ’60s radical who became an intellectual godfather to the far right through his writings and his work at a charity, the David Horowitz Freedom Center. Since its formation in 1988, the Freedom Center has helped cultivate a generation of political warriors seeking to upend the Washington establishment. These warriors include some of the most powerful and influential figures in the Trump administration: Attorney General Sessions, senior policy adviser Miller and White House chief strategist Stephen K. Bannon.

In the tale that unfolds, David Horowitz is portrayed as the man who brought together Bannon, Sessions, and — hold your breath – the Mercers, the hedge fund billionaires that Hillary spun a vague, semi-incoherent conspiracy allegation around in her infamous blame-everyone-else speech at Recode:

 And I think again, we better understand that the Mercers did not invest all that money just for their own amusement. We know they played in Brexit, and we know that they came to Jared Kushner and basically said, “We will marry our operation,” which was more as it’s been described, psychographic, sentiment, a lot of harvesting of Facebook information, “We will marry that with the RNC on two conditions: You pick Steve Bannon, and you pick Kellyanne Conway. And then we’re in.” Trump says, “Fine, who cares,” right? So Bannon, who’d been running the Breitbart operation, supplying a lot of the … untrue, false stories …

The Wapo conspiracy features the Mercers and provides a little more information on who they are. (I suspect most readers already know.) The specific key incident concerns Pat Caddell, the Democrat pollster, who is credited with the blinding insight that inspired the members of the conspiracy to get together and get Donald Trump elected. See, in case it wasn’t the Russians, it had to be somebody else:

[Bannon] received an unexpected gift.

It came from Patrick Caddell, a veteran Democratic pollster who had once worked for President Jimmy Carter. He was speaking about his recent study of Americans’ sentiments toward Washington, the economy and the nation’s future. He said Americans were feeling glum: Two-thirds blamed self-serving elites in both parties for their troubles. They craved an outsider to shake things up.

His findings thrilled the crowd, Caddell told The Post in a lengthy interview. He earlier gave a similar account to the New Yorker.

Caddell said Bannon arranged for a private briefing the next day, to include Robert and Rebekah Mercer, a hedge fund billionaire and his daughter.

For two years, Bannon had worked with the Mercers, who invested millions in Breitbart News. The family also helped Bannon launch a Florida-based charity called the Government Accountability Institute, which describes itself as a nonpartisan investigative organization.

Bannon and the Mercers huddled with Caddell in a second-floor lounge at the Breakers. The Mercers were entranced by what they were hearing, Caddell told The Post, and Bannon “was ecstatic.”

“Being a basic rabble-rouser, it fit his views,” Caddell said.

Robert Mercer asked Caddell to confirm the poll’s findings, offering to pay the costs. Caddell told The Post the follow-up poll did just that. The charities and their media allies began to coalesce around the discontent that Caddell documented.

Full disclosure to readers: time for a confession. I was there. Before the subpoenas arrive, I want to make it clear that I was not at the briefings with the Mercers, though I did speak one-on-one with Pat Caddell, Jeff Sessions, and David Horowitz. I was a panelist on one of the programs at the meeting, as was AT co-founder Richard Baehr. I hope we won’t need to hire lawyers. There were hundreds of people there.

It is clear that the WaPo hopes to put the David Horowitz Center’s tax exemption up for dispute. But that would require a double standard, since there are far more tax exempt non-profits on the left, that avoid explicit partisan activity, while engaging in political activity.  Which means that the IRS will feel plenty of heat and may put Horowitz’s charity through hell.

 

Post “Fact-Checkers” Swing and Miss at Trump’s Paris Accord Speech

June 2, 2017

Post “Fact-Checkers” Swing and Miss at Trump’s Paris Accord Speech, Power LinePaul Mirengoff, June 2, 2017

By now, most people understand that “fact-checkers” for organs like the Washington Post are just liberals trying to package their talking points under a byline they hope will bolster their waning credibility. That’s certainly the case with this Washington Post “fact check” (by Glenn Kessler and Michelle Ye Hee Lee) of President Trump’s explanation for withdrawing from the Paris climate agreement.

This howler appears in the second paragraph:

Trump also suggested that the United States was treated unfairly under the agreement. But each of the nations signing the agreement agreed to help lower emissions, based on plans they submitted. So the U.S. target was set by the Obama administration.

Q.E.D. But for which side of the debate?

In the online version I’m working from, the “fact-checkers” don’t bother to link to the text of Trump’s speech. Apparently, they would prefer not to be fact-checked.

If one bothers to read the text, one finds that Trump didn’t say the process that produced the agreement — e.g., the way the targets were set — is unfair. He said: “the Paris Accord is very unfair, at the highest level, to the United States.” In other words, the outcome — in particular, the targets — is unfair.

Thus, the fact-checkers have assumed that targets set by Obama are, by definition, fair to the United States. That’s what they used to call “begging the question.”

It would be hard for the “fact-checkers” to go downhill from there, but they make a good run at it. Trump cited a study finding that full implementation and compliance with the agreement would produce only a “tiny, tiny” 0.2 degree reduction in global temperature by 2100. The fact-checkers deny that a 0.2 degree reduction is “tiny, tiny” and say that the author of the study disagrees with Trump’s characterization.

Do we really need fact-checkers to tell us what is, and is not, “tiny, tiny”?

The Post’s “fact-checkers” take a rather different approach when it comes to assessing the magnitude of lost economic growth. Citing a study, Trump said the agreement would cost the economy nearly $3 trillion in lost gross domestic product by 2040. The fact-checkers say “that number must be viewed in context over more than two decades, so ‘$3 trillion’ amounts to a reduction of 6 percent.”

A 6 percent loss of GDP isn’t “tiny, tiny.” It seems significant to me. Others may view things differently, but that’s a matter of opinion, not fact. Trump hasn’t said anything here that constitutes factual error.

Much of the criticism leveled by the Post’s “fact-checkers” is based on the fact that the nations aren’t bound by the key elements of the Paris agreement. Thus, they note that Trump could change Obama’s commitments because it is “technically allowed under the accord.” (Emphasis added).

But in evaluating whether to stay in the deal, Trump has the right to take it seriously. What’s the point of being a party to an agreement that any party can blow off?

The point, from the climate activist perspective, may be to provide a vehicle for challenging decisions like Trump’s roll back of the Clean Power Plan. Trump alluded to this prospect, which has been raised by the White House Counsel, in his speech.

According to the Post’s fact-checkers, State Department lawyers strongly deny that the Paris accords could be used this way. I suspect they are either disingenuous, insufficiently creative, or oblivious. Anyway, Trump is entitled to rely on the view of his White House Counsel.

In the end, I come away from the Post’s “fact-check” believing that, (1) if fully implemented and complied with, the Paris agreement will have only a negligible impact on the earth’s temperature and (2) even if the U.S. remained in the deal, it would not be fully implemented and complied with.

I also coming away believing that, with the possible exception of taking the Paris accord too seriously, Trump’s speech contains no error of fact.

Satire | ‘Washington Post’ Reporter Frustrated Every Space In Parking Garage Taken Up By Anonymous Source

May 31, 2017

‘Washington Post’ Reporter Frustrated Every Space In Parking Garage Taken Up By Anonymous Source, The Onion, May 30, 2017

WASHINGTON—Circling every level multiple times with no luck whatsoever, Washington Post reporter Philip Rucker was frustrated Tuesday that every space in the parking garage was taken up by an anonymous source. “I’ve gone around and around, but I can’t find a single spot that isn’t already filled by an unidentified White House leaker,” said an exasperated Rucker, who recalled how easy it was to nab a prime parking place to clandestinely receive privileged information only a few short years ago. “It’s such a nightmare driving all the way to the very top of the whole fucking structure to hold a secret meeting with an informant and then have to squeeze into a spot reserved for compact cars that another journalist who’s meeting with a whistle-blower is halfway parked in anyway. Seriously, I have to start scheduling these rendezvous earlier, because as soon as dusk settles in, you can forget it.” At press time, Rucker was idling his car near the space occupied by a New York Times reporter who had just received a thumb drive and appeared to be wrapping things up.

Destroying Donald Trump is all that matters in the newsrooms of the mainstream media

May 19, 2017

Destroying Donald Trump is all that matters in the newsrooms of the mainstream media, Washington Times,

(America can survive, and probably prosper, under President Trump. The “mainstream media?” Maybe not. — DM)

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

Now anything goes. All restraints are loosened, all self-discipline trashed. There’s no cure or even treatment for Trump Derangement Syndrome, a disease as wild and as swiftly lethal as anything imported from the Ebola River valley of the dark continent. The rules and taboos that once guided even the sleaziest excuse for a newspaper no longer apply.

Destroying Donald Trump is all that matters in the newsrooms of the mainstream media, so called, and by any means necessary. Rarely have so many hysterics contributed so much of the national conversation.

A columnist in The New York Times, ground zero in the epidemic of Trump Derangement Syndrome, suggests that a mutiny at the White House is the “more appropriate” way to rid the nation of the legitimate 46th duly elected president of the United States. Why waste time on impeachment? Mike Pence, Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell could organize the ambush. The columnist likens them to “stewards for a syphilitic emperor.”

Ross Douthat is regarded as a “conservative” at The New York Times, and he thinks impeachment would take too long, be too messy, and recommends invoking the Twenty-fifth Amendment, which permits the president’s Cabinet to remove the president if a majority of the secretaries tells Congress that the president can no longer perform his duties.

Ultimately, he writes in the newspaper once known as “the old gray lady” and which has become “the old crazy lady,” he does not believe “our president sufficiently understands the nature of the office he holds, the nature of the legal constraints that are supposed to bind him, perhaps even the nature of normal human interactions, to be guilty of obstruction of justice in the Nixonian or even Clintonian sense of the phrase.”

A half-century ago a certain magazine thought a long-distance psychiatric examination of a presidential candidate was in order, and asked 12,000 psychiatrists (who knew there were so many headshrinkers on the fruited plain?) whether they thought Barry Goldwater was crazy, and 1,189 responded with a diagnosis: Mr. Goldwater, the Republican nominee for president in 1964, was nothing less than nuts. The American Psychiatric Association, sensitive to the public outrage that followed, told their members never to do it again.

But since the psychiatrists wouldn’t do it, Ross Douthat was fitted out with degrees in medicine and psychiatry (honorary degrees, we must hope), and told to get to work. (He is expected to retire his shingle once President Trump has been dispatched to the nut house, but who knows? On the Upper East Side there’s never enough psychiatrists.) Dr. Douthat writes that the president has no aides, friends and confidantes who have any remaining regard for him. “They have no respect for him, indeed they seem to palpate with contempt for him, and to regard their mission as equivalent to being stewards for a syphilitic emperor.”

Since impeachment would take so long, Dr. Douthat would “respectfully ask Mike Pence and Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell to reconsider their support for a man who never should have had his party’s nomination, never should have been elevated to this office, never should have been endorsed and propped up and defended by people who understood his unfitness all along.”

It’s hard to imagine anything more calculated to invoke a Second Amendment answer to such a Twenty-fifth Amendment coup, and it would be nothing less than a coup by the Republican elites and the press that so many Americans believe have “rigged” the elections meant to express the nation’s will. You don’t have to be a Trump friend, supporter or voter to see where this would inevitably lead. The United States has never been a banana republic or a third world dump where elections are ultimately determined in the streets, but this would be the ultimate national indignity, wrought by just those who would go to civil war to depose an indignity.

The two stories that have dominated the news this week were the work of the very two newspapers, The Washington Post and The New York Times, that have become the not-so-loyal opposition, drivers of the coup with tales told in every edition. The Post accuses the president of dispensing national secrets to the Russians, based on the word of an anonymous source who concedes he wasn’t in the meeting, and denied by those who were. The New York Times says it heard a passage read from a memo written by James Comey, telling how the president asked him go easy on Mike Flynn, and denied by the White House.

All this to support tales of Trump campaign collusion with the Russians, which Democrats and Republicans agree that no one has yet found any evidence of. There’s no fire and only a few wisps of something that might be smoke, or more likely, the passing of partisan gas.