Let’s plot the Trump coup to­gether

Tehran Times - - INTERNATIONAL - By Wes­ley Pru­den

Im­peach­ment is too slow. As­sas­si­na­tion is too messy. A coup d’etat sounds just about right, and it sounds French be­sides. Come, let us plot to­gether.

The New York Times, mar­keted un­der the con­ceit that it sup­plies “All the news that’s fit to print,” clearly wants to help with the coup and rid the na­tion of the man the plot­ters re­gard as a blowhard pres­i­dent out to rain on the es­tab­lished or­der.

The pub­li­ca­tion in The New York Times of an op-ed es­say about how plot­ters at the White House are de­ter­mined to block the pres­i­dent’s aims and wishes at ev­ery turn, landed in Wash­ing­ton with a great noise. The news­pa­per won’t say who wrote the ac­count of how the mis­er­able wise men at the White House have even dis­cussed us­ing the 25th Amend­ment, which sets out how to re­move from of­fice a pres­i­dent un­able to per­form the du­ties of a pres­i­dent, to rid Wash­ing­ton of this pres­i­dent.

Pub­lish­ing such dark spec­u­la­tion with­out say­ing who the spec­u­la­tor is, is a re­mark­able de­par­ture from the high and holy which news­pa­pers have hon­ored al­most since Jo­hannes Guten­berg, the Ger­man black­smith who in­vented mov­able type 500 years ago to make news­pa­pers pos­si­ble.

The cap­i­tal is cur­rently in a mad rush in three or four di­rec­tions at once to dis­cover the iden­tity of Anony­mous. They’re sure he’s a mister be­cause an ed­i­tor at the news­pa­per used, per­haps in­ad­ver­tently, the pro­noun “he” to de­scribe the au­thor. Some peo­ple ea­ger to rush to judg­ment con­cluded that one of the ed­i­tors sat down and wrote the op-ed him­self, but the op-ed was writ­ten in the brisk and straight­for­ward English well be­yond the Dick-and-Jane prose style of the ed­i­to­rial page of the Old Gray Lady.

But such spec­u­la­tion is plau­si­ble be­cause it wouldn’t be the first time The New York Times has been guilty of play­ing tricks on the reader. Sev­eral years ago, cit­ing “se­nior in­dus­try ex­perts and in­sid­ers,” the news­pa­per set out to “ex­pose” the frack­ing in­dus­try, claim­ing that en­ergy ex­perts and in­sid­ers con­sid­ered frack­ing “lit­tle more than a Ponzi scheme.”

The “en­ergy an­a­lyst” and a “fed­eral an­a­lyst” quoted by The New York Times turned out to be an in­tern at the U.S. En­ergy In­for­ma­tion Agency. Vague terms like an­a­lyst, in­sider,

The New York Times won’t say who wrote the ac­count of how the mis­er­able wise men at the White House have even dis­cussed us­ing the 25th Amend­ment, which sets out how to re­move from of­fice a pres­i­dent un­able to per­form the du­ties of a pres­i­dent, to rid Wash­ing­ton of this pres­i­dent.

ex­pert and of­fi­cial are words of art much ad­mired by polemi­cists dis­guis­ing them­selves as re­porters and pun­dits.

Luck­ily for the plot­ters (if luck was ac­tu­ally what it was), the op-ed was pub­lished just as Bob Wood­ward is out with his lat­est book, “Fear,” which fur­ther de­scribes the car­ni­val that Trump Cab­i­net meet­ings are said to be, with the pres­i­dent mak­ing free with vul­gar street talk and wild de­mands to rid the world of vil­lains.

In a dis­cus­sion of what to do about Bashar As­sad, Trump is said to have told James Mat­tis, the sec­re­tary of de­fense, with an as­sort­ment of verbs and ad­verbs you might hear on a con­struc­tion site, “Let’s kill him! Let’s go in and kill him! Let’s kill the lot of them!”

Wood­ward in­sists he has ev­ery­thing on tape, and maybe he does. One pun­dit who shares Wood­ward’s opin­ion of him­self de­scribes him as “known for his im­pec­ca­ble re­search and hon­esty.” But he has used his lively imag­i­na­tion to fill in the blanks, and not all of it sounds very pack­able.

He once claimed to have in­ter­viewed the late Wil­liam Casey, the di­rec­tor of the CIA, on his deathbed at the end of a long ill­ness. He said he slipped past an iron ring of CIA op­er­a­tives, nurses and hos­pi­tal se­cu­rity and fi­nally Mrs. Casey, all de­ter­mined to let no one dis­turb him as he lay in a coma. But the in­trepid Wood­ward lets noth­ing stop the mas­ter in­ter­roga­tor on his ap­pointed rounds, and he worked out a code, some­thing like wink your right eye to say yes and flutter your left eye­lid for no. He got his scoop.

The book­ies in Costa Rica have es­tab­lished bet­ting odds that Vice Pres­i­dent Mike Pence is the likely source of The New York Times op-ed, with Sec­re­tary of State Mike Pom­peo and Chief of Staff John Kelly at 4 to 1. There’s a sucker born ev­ery minute, and the smart money is stay­ing home on this one to watch the coup. I put the odds on that at 2 to 1.

The Costa Ri­can book­ies say they con­sulted the veep’s speeches in es­tab­lish­ing their open­ing odds, and found that he is fond of the words “lodestar.” When he searched the speeches of oth­ers of the ad­min­is­tra­tion, “lodestar” came up only in Pence’s speeches. The en­trails of goats are said to work well, too.

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