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"Deep State" conspiracy theory

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1 "Deep State" conspiracy theory on 3/14/2017, 6:15 pm

Have been hearing about this but trying to ignore the craziness.  Made the mistake of reading the following AP story linked from my ISP's  home page.  Don't have the direct AP link but can get it if anyone needs it.  Anyway, here's the whole story, and I'm now officially and deeply depressed, probably for the duration of this insane presidency.  I may even need to vomit.  You will note the usual culprits' names all through the story - Trump, Bannon, Gingrich, et al.   UGH.

Forgive me if anyone's already got a thread going on this:


Trump White House sees "deep state" behind leaks, opposition

March 14, 2017 3:21 PM EST

NEW YORK (AP) — The White House and its allies are stepping up their attacks on a foe typically associated with fragile democracies, military coups and spy thrillers.

The "deep state," an alleged shadowy network of powerful entrenched federal and military interests, has increasingly become the focus of Republicans who accuse such forces of trying to undermine the new president.

Though senior White House staff members don't use the exact label, the notion behind it has taken hold. President Donald Trump claims his predecessor tapped his phone and America's intelligence agencies have conspired to leak harmful information to embarrass him. His chief strategist has vowed to dismantle the permanent Washington "administrative state." White House spokesman Sean Spicer says "people that burrowed into government" are trying to sabotage the president.

To Trump's critics, these assertions come off as paranoid fear of a non-existent shadow government and an effort to create a scapegoat for the White House's struggles. But to Trump's supporters, this represents an overdue challenge to an elite ruling class concerned only with maintaining its own grasp on power.

"Of course, the deep state exists. There's a permanent state of massive bureaucracies that do whatever they want and set up deliberate leaks to attack the president," said Newt Gingrich, a Trump confidant. "This is what the deep state does: They create a lie, spread a lie, fail to check the lie and then deny that they were behind the lie."

Historians believe the concept of the "deep state" comes from Turkey, where the term "derin devlet" meant a clandestine network, including intelligence and military officers, which protected the ruling class in the 1920s. Similar ideas have taken hold in Egypt, where the military has allied itself with powerful business interests, and Pakistan, with its robust intelligence service.

In its current use, the concept has been twisted and broadened, encompassing a resistant bureaucracy and a regulatory regime rather than foreshadowing some sort of military intervention. Chief Trump strategist Steve Bannon has offered the loudest warnings about the opposition the president is facing from the deep state.

In his only public speech since the election, Bannon told a conservative group that the White House's goal was the "deconstruction of the administrative state," a reflection of his belief that the massive federal government, with its burdensome regulations, does more to hinder than uplift citizens. It also echoes Bannon's oft-stated worldview, frequently on display at his former news site Breitbart, that a global power structure — including government institutions — has rigged the economy.

Gingrich, who says he has discussed the deep state with Bannon, likens its dangers to the plotline of the new season of "Homeland," in which a conspiracy that includes career intelligence officers tries to subvert a president-elect.

"They are fighting to keep hold of their power," said the former House speaker, who asked a reporter not to spoil the two Homeland episodes of the season he has yet to see.

The sprawling federal government, including its intelligence agencies, has thousands of employees who predate Trump, a mix of career staffers and those appointed by President Barack Obama whose replacements have yet to be named. Some have offered leaks, including sensitive documents, to reporters that provide a critical take on the president.

Trump has insinuated that those holdovers are working against him — even suggesting that leaks from intelligences agencies were reminiscent of smear tactics utilized by Nazi Germany.

Asked if the White House believes there is "a deep state that's actively working to undermine the president," Spicer said recently, "I don't think it should come as any surprise that there are people that burrowed into government during eight years of the last administration and, you know, may have believed in that agenda and want to continue to seek it."

Sean Hannity, a Fox News host who has close to ties to Trump, opened a show last week by claiming there are "deep state Obama holdover government bureaucrats who are hell-bent on destroying this president."

"It's time for the Trump administration to begin to purge these saboteurs before it's too late," Hannity said.

Trump allies note that is customary for presidents to install loyalists and point to Abraham Lincoln's move to push out Southerners from the federal bureaucracy on the eve of the Civil War. The government has also gone through previous spasms of internal suspicion, most notably in the 1950s when Sen. Joseph McCarthy led a witch hunt to root out what he claimed were communist sympathizers supposedly trying to undermine Washington from within.

Experts warn that Trump's attacks could lead to faster erosion of faith in government institutions.

"The more he talks about a deep state cabal against him, the less trust people will have in government," said Matthew Hale, a political science professor at Seton Hall University. "It's deleterious to democracy."

Some of Trump's allies have, without evidence, seized upon Obama's decision to remain in Washington after leaving office as evidence that he is leading the resistance. The former president has said he is staying in the nation's capital until his youngest daughter finishes school.

"He's only there for one purpose and one purpose only and that is to run a shadow government that is totally going to upset the new agenda," said Rep. Mark Kelly, a Pennsylvania Republican, at an event in his home district last week. His office later walked back the remarks.

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2 Re: "Deep State" conspiracy theory on 3/14/2017, 6:47 pm

http://bigstory.ap.org/article/0b27c4d4b23b436d805328694e58c605/obamas-final-year-us-spent-36-million-records-lawsuits

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Obama administration in its final year in office spent a record $36.2 million on legal costs defending its refusal to turn over federal records under the Freedom of Information Act, according to an Associated Press analysis of new U.S. data that also showed poor performance in other categories measuring transparency in government.

For a second consecutive year, the Obama administration set a record for times federal employees told citizens, journalists and others that despite searching they couldn't find a single page of files that were requested.

And it set records for outright denial of access to files, refusing to quickly consider requests described as especially newsworthy, and forcing people to pay for records who had asked the government to waive search and copy fees.

The government acknowledged when challenged that it had been wrong to initially refuse to turn over all or parts of records in more than one-third of such cases, the highest rate in at least six years.

In courtrooms, the number of lawsuits filed by news organizations under the Freedom of Information Act surged during the past four years, led by the New York Times, Center for Public Integrity and The Associated Press, according to a litigation study by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse at Syracuse University. The AP on Monday settled its 2015 lawsuit against the State Department for files about Hillary Clinton's time as secretary of state, at AP's request, and received $150,546 from the department to cover part of its legal fees.

The AP has pending lawsuits against the FBI for records about its decision to impersonate an AP journalist during a criminal investigation and about who helped the FBI hack into a mass shooting suspect's iPhone and how much the government paid to do it.

Of the $36.2 million in legal costs fighting such lawsuits last year, the Justice Department accounted for $12 million, the Homeland Security Department for $6.3 million and the Pentagon for $4.8 million. The three departments accounted for more than half the government's total records requests last year.

The figures reflect the final struggles of the Obama administration during the 2016 election to meet President Barack Obama's pledge that it was "the most transparent administration in history," despite wide recognition of serious problems coping with requests under the information law. It received a record 788,769 requests for files last year and spent a record $478 million answering them and employed 4,263 full-time FOIA employees across more than 100 federal departments and agencies. That was higher by 142 such employees the previous year.

A spokesman for former President Obama did not immediately respond to an email request for comment late Monday. The White House under Obama routinely defended its efforts under the information law in recent years and said federal employees worked diligently on such requests for records.

It remains unclear how President Donald Trump's administration will perform under the Freedom of Information Act or other measures of government transparency. Trump has not spoken extensively about transparency. In his private business and his presidential campaign, Trump required employees and advisers to sign non-disclosure agreements that barred them from discussing their work. His administration has barred some mainstream news organizations from campaign rallies and one White House press briefing. And Trump broke with tradition by refusing to disclose his tax returns.

Trump's secretary of state, Rex Tillerson, is traveling to Asia this week on a small plane without a contingent of journalists or a designated pool reporter who would send reports to the broader diplomatic press corps, departing from 50 years of practice.

Overall, in the final year of Obama's administration, people who asked for records last year under the law received censored files or nothing in 77 percent of requests, about the same as the previous year. In the first full year after Obama's election, that figure was only 65 percent of cases. The government released the new figures in the days ahead of Sunshine Week, which ends Sunday, when news organizations promote open government and freedom of information.

Under the records law, citizens and foreigners can compel the U.S. government to turn over copies of federal records for zero or little cost. Anyone who seeks information through the law is generally supposed to get it unless disclosure would hurt national security, violate personal privacy or expose business secrets or confidential decision-making in certain areas.

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3 Re: "Deep State" conspiracy theory on 3/14/2017, 8:52 pm

RealLindaL wrote:Have been hearing about this but trying to ignore the craziness.  Made the mistake of reading the following AP story linked from my ISP's  home page.  Don't have the direct AP link but can get it if anyone needs it.  Anyway, here's the whole story, and I'm now officially and deeply depressed, probably for the duration of this insane presidency.  I may even need to vomit.  You will note the usual culprits' names all through the story - Trump, Bannon, Gingrich, et al.   UGH.

Forgive me if anyone's already got a thread going on this:


Trump White House sees "deep state" behind leaks, opposition

March 14, 2017 3:21 PM EST

NEW YORK (AP) — The White House and its allies are stepping up their attacks on a foe typically associated with fragile democracies, military coups and spy thrillers.

The "deep state," an alleged shadowy network of powerful entrenched federal and military interests, has increasingly become the focus of Republicans who accuse such forces of trying to undermine the new president.

Though senior White House staff members don't use the exact label, the notion behind it has taken hold. President Donald Trump claims his predecessor tapped his phone and America's intelligence agencies have conspired to leak harmful information to embarrass him. His chief strategist has vowed to dismantle the permanent Washington "administrative state." White House spokesman Sean Spicer says "people that burrowed into government" are trying to sabotage the president.

To Trump's critics, these assertions come off as paranoid fear of a non-existent shadow government and an effort to create a scapegoat for the White House's struggles. But to Trump's supporters, this represents an overdue challenge to an elite ruling class concerned only with maintaining its own grasp on power.

"Of course, the deep state exists. There's a permanent state of massive bureaucracies that do whatever they want and set up deliberate leaks to attack the president," said Newt Gingrich, a Trump confidant. "This is what the deep state does: They create a lie, spread a lie, fail to check the lie and then deny that they were behind the lie."

Historians believe the concept of the "deep state" comes from Turkey, where the term "derin devlet" meant a clandestine network, including intelligence and military officers, which protected the ruling class in the 1920s. Similar ideas have taken hold in Egypt, where the military has allied itself with powerful business interests, and Pakistan, with its robust intelligence service.

In its current use, the concept has been twisted and broadened, encompassing a resistant bureaucracy and a regulatory regime rather than foreshadowing some sort of military intervention. Chief Trump strategist Steve Bannon has offered the loudest warnings about the opposition the president is facing from the deep state.

In his only public speech since the election, Bannon told a conservative group that the White House's goal was the "deconstruction of the administrative state," a reflection of his belief that the massive federal government, with its burdensome regulations, does more to hinder than uplift citizens. It also echoes Bannon's oft-stated worldview, frequently on display at his former news site Breitbart, that a global power structure — including government institutions — has rigged the economy.

Gingrich, who says he has discussed the deep state with Bannon, likens its dangers to the plotline of the new season of "Homeland," in which a conspiracy that includes career intelligence officers tries to subvert a president-elect.

"They are fighting to keep hold of their power," said the former House speaker, who asked a reporter not to spoil the two Homeland episodes of the season he has yet to see.

The sprawling federal government, including its intelligence agencies, has thousands of employees who predate Trump, a mix of career staffers and those appointed by President Barack Obama whose replacements have yet to be named. Some have offered leaks, including sensitive documents, to reporters that provide a critical take on the president.

Trump has insinuated that those holdovers are working against him — even suggesting that leaks from intelligences agencies were reminiscent of smear tactics utilized by Nazi Germany.

Asked if the White House believes there is "a deep state that's actively working to undermine the president," Spicer said recently, "I don't think it should come as any surprise that there are people that burrowed into government during eight years of the last administration and, you know, may have believed in that agenda and want to continue to seek it."

Sean Hannity, a Fox News host who has close to ties to Trump, opened a show last week by claiming there are "deep state Obama holdover government bureaucrats who are hell-bent on destroying this president."

"It's time for the Trump administration to begin to purge these saboteurs before it's too late," Hannity said.

Trump allies note that is customary for presidents to install loyalists and point to Abraham Lincoln's move to push out Southerners from the federal bureaucracy on the eve of the Civil War. The government has also gone through previous spasms of internal suspicion, most notably in the 1950s when Sen. Joseph McCarthy led a witch hunt to root out what he claimed were communist sympathizers supposedly trying to undermine Washington from within.

Experts warn that Trump's attacks could lead to faster erosion of faith in government institutions.

"The more he talks about a deep state cabal against him, the less trust people will have in government," said Matthew Hale, a political science professor at Seton Hall University. "It's deleterious to democracy."

Some of Trump's allies have, without evidence, seized upon Obama's decision to remain in Washington after leaving office as evidence that he is leading the resistance. The former president has said he is staying in the nation's capital until his youngest daughter finishes school.

"He's only there for one purpose and one purpose only and that is to run a shadow government that is totally going to upset the new agenda," said Rep. Mark Kelly, a Pennsylvania Republican, at an event in his home district last week. His office later walked back the remarks.

What a flying bunch of paranoia! Talk about grasping for straws. The new administration is still wet behind the ears and seems to think it should have transformed the whole country by now. They are still in the transition phase and should not expect so much of themselves. Don't get me wrong, I'm not suddenly sticking up for 45 but really, what do you expect for a total neophyte to any level of government work whatsoever much less the top job?

The career bureaucrats are a big part of what gives our institutions continuity and stability. Most have been in their positions through many administrations and are experts in their fields. These are the people the new administration can call on for expert advice and information. Of course they give the impression that they know it all already so why do they need to ask anyone for advice? (see first and probably second travel ban).

Bannon DOES want to deconstruct the whole administrative state and has said so many times. I see this ploy of "the government employees are trying to take down the president" as really being an excuse to accelerate the plan of deconstruction of the administrative state. Why would someone want to do this? Ask Putin. He's a real believer in this too since it destabilizes governments, weakening them, confusing the populace and making them easier to rule or take over. I think our own American oligarchs want more power and money and a defenseless and confused nation is more to their liking.

What we need to do is to defend our institutions to ensure stability. Change is good if you're going in the correct direction, in the direction of making it a more perfect union.

All this belly aching about the deep state undermining an administration that is set up like the Keystone Cops is just an excuse. Remember, they love to accuse the opposition of the exact thing they are guilty of. They are accusing Trump's detractors of trying to undermine HIM, when in fact They are Trying to Undermine the country.

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4 Re: "Deep State" conspiracy theory on 3/14/2017, 9:19 pm

http://www.watertowndailytimes.com/opinion04/deep-state-undermining-trump-it-was-once-a-foreign-concept-20170312

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump’s allegations that former President Barack Obama tapped his phone and his assertions that the bureaucracy is leaking secrets to discredit him are the latest signs of a White House preoccupation with a “deep state” working to thwart the Trump presidency.
The concept of a “deep state” — a shadowy network of agency or military officials who secretly conspire to influence government policy — is more often used to describe countries like Egypt, Turkey and Pakistan, where authoritarian elements band together to undercut democratically elected leaders. But inside the West Wing, Trump and his inner circle, particularly his chief strategist, Stephen K. Bannon, see the influence of such forces at work within the United States, essentially arguing that their own government is being undermined from within.

It is an extraordinary contention for a sitting president to make. Trump, who last year angrily dismissed the conclusion of intelligence officials that the Russians interfered in the presidential election to boost his candidacy, has now asked both his staff and a congressional committee investigating Moscow’s influence on the election to turn up evidence that Obama led an effort to spy on him.

How the White House and its allies see the deep state threat

“What President Trump is discovering is that he has a huge, huge problem underneath him, and I think he’s shocked that the system is as hostile as it is,” said Newt Gingrich, a top adviser to Trump’s campaign who said he has spoken with Bannon many times about his suspicion of the deep state and what he sees as its pernicious influence.

“We’re up against a permanent bureaucratic structure defending itself and quite willing to break the law to do so,” Gingrich said.
Neither Trump nor Bannon has used the term “deep state” publicly. But each has argued that there is an orchestrated effort underway, fueled by leaks and enabled by the news media, to cut down the new president and interfere with his agenda.

“Reports concerning potentially politically motivated investigations immediately ahead of the 2016 election are very troubling,” Sean Spicer, the White House press secretary, said last Sunday.
Breitbart News, the conservative site Bannon used to run, uses the term “deep state” frequently in its coverage, including in a story last Sunday headlined “DeepStateGate: Trump Ends the Wiretapping Innuendo Game by Dealing Himself In.” The term has gained currency on other right-leaning websites, conservative talk radio and on social media, where Trump’s supporters are inflamed by the notion that a powerful secret cabal is plotting his downfall.

Projecting a new role for Obama

Veterans of prior administrations have been alarmed by the charge, arguing that it suggests an undemocratic nation where legal and moral norms are ignored.
“‘Deep state’ I would never use,” Michael V. Hayden, the former CIA director under Obama and former President George W. Bush, said on MSNBC on Monday. “That’s a phrase we’ve used for Turkey and other countries like that, but not the American republic.”
Loren DeJonge Schulman, a former top official in Obama’s National Security Council who is a senior fellow at the Center for a New American Security, said presidents and top White House officials often bristle at what they consider to be a sluggish bureaucracy. But it is jarring for an administration in power to claim that civil servants are actively working to subvert the government.

“A deep state, when you’re talking about Turkey or Egypt or other countries, that’s part of government or people outside of government that are literally controlling the direction of the country no matter who’s actually in charge, and probably engaging in murder and other corrupt practices,” Schulman said. “It’s shocking to hear that kind of thinking from a president or the people closest to him.”
Yet to Trump’s allies and supporters, the president is giving voice to a favorite theory.

“We are talking about the emergence of a deep state led by Barack Obama, and that is something that we should prevent,” said Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa. “The person who understands this best is Steve Bannon, and I would think that he’s advocating to make some moves to fix it.”
n Pakistan, home to military coups
The deep state is a phrase often heard in countries where there is a history of military coups and where generals often hold power independent of elected leaders.

Pakistan is Exhibit A: The deep state is often invoked in serious discussions about the role of the Pakistani military and its intelligence service, the Directorate of Inter-Services Intelligence.
Wide swaths of the population see the unseen hand of the security services behind major political events and all kinds of everyday happenings, such as random traffic stops.

The views are not without basis — there have been repeated military coups in Pakistan, and the military and the spy service often operate largely independent of the country’s politicians.
“The deep state concept emerges in places where the army and the security apparatus creates boundaries within which the civilian political people are allowed to operate,” said Peter Feaver, a specialist in civil-military issues at Duke University. “If they transgress those boundaries, then the deep state interferes to reorder things, often using military force.”
n Leaks vs. serious opposition
“There are milder forms of it in healthier democracies,” Feaver said, arguing that American presidents have often chafed against the constraints of the federal bureaucracy.

“Nixon shared a similar kind of distrust of the government and felt the government was out to get him at points,” Feaver added. “President Trump’s view seems to be more on the Nixon part of the spectrum, which is far from the Pakistan part.”

In the United States, it is hardly unusual for dissent among warring factions inside the government to burst into public view. Under President Ronald Reagan, the secretary of state, George P. Shultz, and the secretary of defense, Caspar W. Weinberger, would feud through dueling news reports.
“Just because you see things like leaks and interference and obstruction doesn’t necessarily mean there’s a deep state — that’s something we’ve seen before, historically, and it’s nothing new,” said James Jay Carafano, a fellow at the Heritage Foundation who advised Trump’s transition. “What would be different is if there were folks from the previous administration that were consciously orchestrating, in a serious way, inside opposition to the president.”
In the absence of evidence one way or the other, Carafano added, “It’s hard to know: Is this Trump using some strong political rhetoric, or an actual theory?”

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5 Re: "Deep State" conspiracy theory on 3/15/2017, 2:09 pm

It never ends; a conspiracy is perfect for hair on fire folks - regardless of Party....

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6 Re: "Deep State" conspiracy theory on 3/15/2017, 5:00 pm

gatorfan wrote:It never ends; a conspiracy is perfect for hair on fire folks - regardless of Party....

I'm not one who ever expressed great admiration for Hillary; in fact, I clearly stated more than once that IMHO she was the lesser of two evils at best. But the depth of ignorance, paranoia, and ineptitude being displayed daily by the current POTUS only points up how true the "lesser" part really was.

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