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Trump vs. the “Deep State”

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1 Trump vs. the “Deep State” on 5/26/2018, 10:08 am


How the Administration’s loyalists are quietly reshaping American governance.

By Evan Osnos

"Two months after Donald Trump’s Inauguration, the White House took a sudden interest in a civil servant named Sahar Nowrouzzadeh. At thirty-four, she was largely unknown outside a small community of national-security specialists. Nowrouzzadeh, born in Trumbull, Connecticut, grew up with no connection to Washington. Her parents had emigrated from Iran, so that her father could finish his training in obstetrics, and they hoped that she would become a doctor or, failing that, an engineer or a lawyer. But on September 11, 2001, Nowrouzzadeh was a freshman at George Washington University, which is close enough to the Pentagon that students could see plumes of smoke climb into the sky. She became interested in global affairs and did internships at the State Department and the National Iranian American Council, a Washington nonprofit. George W. Bush’s Administration appealed for help from Americans familiar with the culture of the Middle East, and, after graduation, Nowrouzzadeh became an analyst in the Department of Defense, using her command of Arabic, Persian, and Dari. (Her brother, a Navy doctor, served in Iraq.) For nearly a decade, Nowrouzzadeh worked mostly on secret programs, winning awards from the Departments of Defense and State, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, and the F.B.I.

In 2014, she was detailed to the National Security Council, as an Iran specialist, and helped to broker the nuclear deal. One of the most intensely debated questions among American negotiators was how far they could push Iran for concessions, and Nowrouzzadeh proved unusually able to identify, and exploit, subtle divides in Tehran. “She was aggressive,” Norman Roule, the C.I.A.’s highest-ranking Iran specialist at the time, told me. “She worked very hard to follow policymakers’ goals. She could speak Persian. She could understand culture. She is one of the most patriotic people I know.” In 2016, Nowrouzzadeh joined the policy-planning staff of the State Department, a team of experts who advised Secretary of State John Kerry. At times, she advocated a harsher approach to Iran than Kerry was pursuing, but he cherished Nowrouzzadeh’s “unvarnished judgment,” he told me. “I liked someone who relied on facts and could tell me when she disagreed with my interpretation. Give me that any day over a bunch of yes-men.”

On March 14, 2017, Conservative Review, a Web site that opposed the Iran deal, published an article portraying Nowrouzzadeh as a traitorous stooge. The story, titled “Iran Deal Architect Is Running Tehran Policy at the State Dept.,” derided her as a “trusted Obama aide,” whose work “resulted in an agreement that has done enormous damage to the security interests of the United States.” David Wurmser, who had been an adviser to Vice-President Dick Cheney, e-mailed the article to Newt Gingrich, the former Speaker of the House. “I think a cleaning is in order here,” Wurmser wrote. Gingrich forwarded the message to an aide to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, with the subject line “i thought you should be aware of this.”

As the article circulated inside the Administration, Sean Doocey, a White House aide overseeing personnel, e-mailed colleagues to ask for details of Nowrouzzadeh’s “appointment authority”—the rules by which a federal worker can be hired, moved, or fired. He received a reply from Julia Haller, a former Trump campaign worker, newly appointed to the State Department. Haller wrote that it would be “easy” to remove Nowrouzzadeh from the policy-planning staff. She had “worked on the Iran Deal,” Haller noted, “was born in Iran, and upon my understanding cried when the President won.” Nowrouzzadeh was unaware of these discussions. All she knew was that her experience at work started to change.

Every new President disturbs the disposition of power in Washington. Stars fade. Political appointees arrive, assuming control of a bureaucracy that encompasses 2.8 million civilian employees, across two hundred and fifty agencies—from Forest Service smoke jumpers in Alaska to C.I.A. code-breakers in Virginia. “It’s like taking over two hundred and fifty private corporations at one time,” David Lewis, the chair of the political-science department at Vanderbilt University, told me.

Typically, an incoming President seeks to charm, co-opt, and, when necessary, coerce the federal workforce into executing his vision. But Trump got to Washington by promising to unmake the political ecosystem, eradicating the existing species and populating it anew. This project has gone by various names: Stephen Bannon, the campaign chief, called it the “deconstruction of the administrative state”—the undoing of regulations, pacts, and taxes that he believed constrain American power. In Presidential tweets and on Fox News, the mission is described as a war on the “deep state,” the permanent power élite. Nancy McEldowney, who retired last July after thirty years in the Foreign Service, told me, “In the anatomy of a hostile takeover and occupation, there are textbook elements—you decapitate the leadership, you compartmentalize the power centers, you engender fear and suspicion. They did all those things.”

This idea, more than any other, has defined the Administration, which has greeted the federal government not as a machine that could implement its vision but as a vanquished foe. To control it, Trump would need the right help. “I’m going to surround myself only with the best and most serious people,” he said, during the campaign. “We want top-of-the-line professionals.”..."

https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2018/05/21/trump-vs-the-deep-state

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Very long article that dismantles the idea that the federal worker bees just keep doing their jobs in an authoritarian administration.

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2 Re: Trump vs. the “Deep State” on 5/26/2018, 10:26 am

USA Today:

Thirteen Russian nationals and three Russian companies were charged with conspiracy and identity theft involving a Russian propaganda campaign. Paul Manafort and Rick Gates were charged with financial crimes occurring years before Donald Trump even announced his presidential candidacy. Gen. Michael Flynn and George Papadopoulos were charged with making false statements to the FBI about matters that were not criminal if they had admitted to them. Not one document implicates a single person from the Trump campaign linked with the Russian government to effect the 2016 election.

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3 Re: Trump vs. the “Deep State” on 5/26/2018, 12:04 pm

There is no "deep state" ... there's only corporations buying government favor and helping themselves to the public coffers.

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4 Re: Trump vs. the “Deep State” on 5/26/2018, 3:19 pm

No deep state? HA! There’s dozens, scores of them. Every department and agency in the government has internal fiefdoms and fiefdoms-within-fiefdoms, all angling for control and power. The infighting between the FBI and the CIA is a good example. The same is true for all large corporations.

Pournelle’s Iron Law of Bureaucracy describes it pretty well:

In any bureaucratic organization there will be two kinds of people: those who work to further the actual goals of the organization, and those who work for the organization itself. Examples in education would be teachers who work and sacrifice to teach children, vs. union representatives who work to protect any teacher including the most incompetent. The Iron Law states that in all cases, the second type of person will always gain control of the organization, and will always write the rules under which the organization functions.  
https://www.jerrypournelle.com/archives2/archives2mail/mail408.html#Iron

Just think of all the Departments and Agencies in the U. S. Government. Every one of them has an entrenched hierarchy that wants to hang onto its position within the organization and vis-a-vis other agencies or departments. Anyone who has ever worked in an executive position in large corporation or governmental department knows this to be true.

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5 Re: Trump vs. the “Deep State” on 5/26/2018, 3:24 pm

Here's a reasonably good definition:

The Deep State is believed to be a clandestine network entrenched inside the government, bureaucracy, intelligence agencies, and other governmental entities. The Deep State supposedly controls state policy behind the scenes, while the democratically-elected process and elected officials are merely figureheads.

http://www.dictionary.com/e/politics/deep-state/

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6 Re: Trump vs. the “Deep State” on 5/26/2018, 6:24 pm

Deus X wrote:

No deep state? HA! There’s dozens, scores of them. ....



Your cat tell ya that?  Laughing

You've got it all wrong about the Federal bureaucracy, 'Deuce.'

See, this is how it works.  Think of an old-time sailing ship.  The President is something like the Captain of the ship ... the "Ship of State" if you will.  (elected of course like they did on pirate ships.)   The Captain sets a course, tells the sailors which way he wants the ship should go, and stands at the helm turning the rudder this way in that shouting out commands and attending to various ceremonial duties.   

Then you've got the Congress setting the sails in accordance with how they perceive the wind & waves.   Perhaps you could think of the Speaker; Senate Majority leader and others in the Congressional leadership as the Sailmaster, Navigator, etc

However, if the seas of world events get stormy and the Captain and Sailmaster set the sails & rudder badly ... and especially if they have set them opposite to each other, the ship could founder except for one thing.   That thing is called the "ballast" and what it consists of is a bunch of rocks in the bottom of the ship to keep it upright regardless of what's happening topside.  There's your Federal bureaucracy !   A pile of rocks acting as a counterweight  in the bottom of the Ship of State making sure nothing happens too quickly.   Cool

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7 Re: Trump vs. the “Deep State” on 5/26/2018, 8:28 pm

There is no agency corp, business, down to the individual that doesn't try to improve its position and power.

They may get relegated or retired or hit a ceiling... but it's standard human nature... collective or separate.

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8 Re: Trump vs. the “Deep State” on 5/27/2018, 7:43 am

EmeraldGhost wrote:

See, this is how it works.  Think of an old-time sailing ship.  The President is something like the Captain of the ship ... the "Ship of State" if you will.  (elected of course like they did on pirate ships.)   The Captain sets a course, tells the sailors which way he wants the ship should go, and stands at the helm turning the rudder this way in that shouting out commands and attending to various ceremonial duties.   

Then you've got the Congress setting the sails in accordance with how they perceive the wind & waves.   Perhaps you could think of the Speaker; Senate Majority leader and others in the Congressional leadership as the Sailmaster, Navigator, etc

However, if the seas of world events get stormy and the Captain and Sailmaster set the sails & rudder badly ... and especially if they have set them opposite to each other, the ship could founder except for one thing.   That thing is called the "ballast" and what it consists of is a bunch of rocks in the bottom of the ship to keep it upright regardless of what's happening topside.  There's your Federal bureaucracy !   A pile of rocks acting as a counterweight  in the bottom of the Ship of State making sure nothing happens too quickly.  

Isn't that clever, you're such a big boy!

Punch it up a bit and maybe you could sell it to Little Golden Books, get something like this:

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9 Re: Trump vs. the “Deep State” on 5/27/2018, 9:11 am

Deus X wrote:

Isn't that clever, you're such a big boy!

Punch it up a bit and maybe you could sell it to Little Golden Books, get something like this:


"Insults are the arguments employed by those who are in the wrong."  - Rousseau

Cool

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10 Re: Trump vs. the “Deep State” on 5/27/2018, 10:50 am


I worked for many companies/corporations, big and small. In my experience, the CYA types are usually the least competent at their jobs.

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11 Re: Trump vs. the “Deep State” on 5/27/2018, 11:05 am



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12 Re: Trump vs. the “Deep State” on 5/27/2018, 11:09 am

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13 Re: Trump vs. the “Deep State” on 5/27/2018, 11:26 am

Floridatexan wrote:
I worked for many companies/corporations, big and small.  In my experience, the CYA types are usually the least competent at their jobs.  

In a government bureaucracy CYA has nothing to do with one's competence or incompetence .... it has to do with career survival.   There's a lot of former government employees who didn't CYA & lost their careers. CYA in government is usually a matter of documenting adherence to law/policy/regulation was properly followed ... whether one agrees with the particular law/policy/regulation or not.



Last edited by EmeraldGhost on 5/27/2018, 11:29 am; edited 1 time in total

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14 Re: Trump vs. the “Deep State” on 5/27/2018, 11:27 am

EmeraldGhost wrote:
Deus X wrote:
Isn't that clever, you're such a big boy!

Punch it up a bit and maybe you could sell it to Little Golden Books, get something like this:

"Insults are the arguments employed by those who are in the wrong."  - Rousseau

That wasn't an insult, it was advice. You're just not clever enough to recognize it.

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15 Re: Trump vs. the “Deep State” on 5/27/2018, 11:36 am

Deus X wrote:


That wasn't an insult, it was advice. You're just not clever enough to recognize it.

Ah, there you go again, 'Deuce.'   Just can't help yourself ... one can only suppose it's because that's all you got?    Get a clue ...  insults don't really make you look smart, nor lend credibility to any other thing you might have to say.   And they don't mean you "win"

But if you insist on persisting with such childishness .... you should at least try & follow the example of professionals:




Laughing Laughing

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16 Re: Trump vs. the “Deep State” on 5/27/2018, 12:53 pm

EmeraldGhost wrote:
Ah, there you go again, 'Deuce.'   Just can't help yourself ... one can only suppose it's because that's all you got?    Get a clue ...  insults don't really make you look smart, nor lend credibility to any other thing you might have to say.   And they don't mean you "win"

Oh, boo-hoo-hoo. Grow up, you crybaby.

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17 Re: Trump vs. the “Deep State” on 5/27/2018, 2:24 pm

EmeraldGhost wrote:
Floridatexan wrote:
I worked for many companies/corporations, big and small.  In my experience, the CYA types are usually the least competent at their jobs.  

In a government bureaucracy CYA has nothing to do with one's competence or incompetence .... it has to do with career survival.   There's a lot of former government employees who didn't CYA & lost their careers.   CYA in government is usually a matter of documenting adherence to law/policy/regulation was properly followed ... whether one agrees with the particular law/policy/regulation or not.  

Except for my employment in a county hospital, all my work was in the private sector. The people who gave me the most trouble were, for the most part, not very good at their jobs...willing to lie...backstab...steal.

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18 Re: Trump vs. the “Deep State” on 5/27/2018, 4:01 pm

Floridatexan wrote:  
Except for my employment in a county hospital, all my work was in the private sector.  The people who gave me the most trouble were, for the most part, not very good at their jobs...willing to lie...backstab...steal.

Has little to do with government CYA in my (Federal law enf) experience ... which usually involves a rigid adherence to law/regulation/policy.   Sometimes that acts as a detriment to getting things done.  On the other hand it's necessary to prevent corruption and inhibit cowboy behavior.  

I learned early on in my career that many government mangers will be reluctant to stick their neck out when asked to do so .... sticking one's neck out can have the unpleasant consequence of having it chopped off.   It's easier (and safer for one's career) to just find a reason to say no or pass the decision upwards or laterally.  

We used to circumvent CYA-ish managers that got in the way of getting things done with the saying "It's sometimes better to beg forgiveness than ask permission."    Some of them would really rather you just did it without permission rather than involve them, even though it's their job.   (of course, you're taking all the neck-chopping risk upon yourself when you do that ... and any accolades or bonuses that might come from whatever it is you did, expect those same CYA managers, the ones you knew wouldn't stick their neck so you did an end-run around them,  to then be the first to step up and accept the rewards, credit, bonuses, etc nevertheless)

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19 Re: Trump vs. the “Deep State” on 5/28/2018, 1:57 am

EmeraldGhost wrote: ...my (Federal law enf) experience ...

HA! That explains a lot!

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20 Re: Trump vs. the “Deep State” on 5/28/2018, 10:32 pm

When you know your guilty, scream DEEP STATE!

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21 Re: Trump vs. the “Deep State” on 5/29/2018, 10:33 am





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