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-   -   I Am Part of the Resistance Inside the Trump Administration (http://message.snopes.com/showthread.php?t=96943)

Steve 05 September 2018 10:57 PM

I Am Part of the Resistance Inside the Trump Administration
 
President Trump is facing a test to his presidency unlike any faced by a modern American leader.

The dilemma — which he does not fully grasp — is that many of the senior officials in his own administration are working diligently from within to frustrate parts of his agenda and his worst inclinations.

I would know. I am one of them.

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/09/05/o...esistance.html

Cervus 05 September 2018 10:58 PM

Whoever you are, you're doing a terrible job.

ASL 05 September 2018 11:06 PM

Hey, they hid the football when he wanted to nuke North Korea and look at us now, fastest friends!

crocoduck_hunter 05 September 2018 11:06 PM

Quote:

The root of the problem is the president’s amorality. Anyone who works with him knows he is not moored to any discernible first principles that guide his decision making.
One, the word is immorality. Trump is nowhere close to being merely amoral.

Two, that was freaking obvious when he first ran for office in 2011. Quit acting like it's somehow a shock that, as Mouse put it, the leopard that ran on a platform of eating peoples' faces is trying to eat your face.

E. Q. Taft 06 September 2018 12:27 AM

Also, not buying the "But we don't want to kick him out because he's doing so many good things" claim. Granted, this person and I probably disagree on the definition of "good" in many ways. But, what's he doing that they like that Pence wouldn't do as well or better? And wouldn't he be probably be more amendable to the stuff they do like that Trump is not doing?

In any case, the sheer damage being done to the institution of the Presidency -- and to our democratic norms in general -- needs to be stopped. If they can't invoke the 25th amendment, they can go to the GOP leadership in congress with the truth. (Possibly they're planning to do this after the mid-terms, when the political damage from Trump's fanatical base would be less immediate.)

Darth Credence 06 September 2018 02:03 AM

The person who wrote the op-ed is a coward who knows he is going down on the wrong side of history and is trying to have an out. If the writer and his like minded friends truly believe this, they should say it straight out and either submit to Congress that he is unfit, or openly go before Congress and plead for impeachment (both would ultimately require 2/3rds of the Senate to agree, because Trump would dispute the finding).

I actually think much less of Trump's cabinet than before, and that is hard to do.

Sue 06 September 2018 04:02 PM

Anything that keeps Trump jumpy and scared isn't a bad thing. Sooner or later he's going to make the one mistake that will get enough people galvanized to actually do something about getting him out of the WH. In the meantime I take some pleasure in feeling that he's not having the grand old time he thought he was going to have.

GenYus234 06 September 2018 04:24 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Sue (Post 1986675)
Anything that keeps Trump jumpy and scared isn't a bad thing.

I don't agree. Scared and jumpy Trump will probably lash out even more than usual. Who knows what kind of crap he will start because of this.

Quote:

Sooner or later he's going to make the one mistake that will get enough people galvanized to actually do something about getting him out of the WH.
If everything he's done up to this point has not caused the Republicans to oust him, there is little that will. If nothing else, this article will be used to prove that any Trump "failures" are because one of his own people is undermining him. ETA: Notice how much more mainstream the "deep state" bullcrap got because it was required to explain why Trump and the GOP led Congress couldn't get most of their campaign promises accomplished. This "treason" will simply provide proof of what they've been saying all along.

thorny locust 06 September 2018 04:32 PM

It's really not at all clear to me what this was supposed to accomplish.

Is it supposed to reassure people -- 'there's an adult in the room'? It's not going to do that; it's only going to further the impression that the administration's out of control.

Is it supposed to further the work the writer claims to be doing? It's going to do the exact opposite. How on earth would telling Trump straight out that his officials are trying to subvert him make it easier to do so? (Is the author assuming Trump doesn't read the NYTimes? even if that's true, of course somebody would tell him about it.)

I find myself wondering whether the author intends to actually support the worst of those trying to undermine any trust in the government, by giving credence to the 'deep state' claims. If so, the NYTimes apparently walked straight into that one, eyes closed.

GenYus234 06 September 2018 04:35 PM

My guess is that this is a power play, one of Trump's staff is using this to get rid of someone else and/or make them ineffective.

Sue 06 September 2018 05:19 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by GenYus234 (Post 1986676)
I don't agree. Scared and jumpy Trump will probably lash out even more than usual. Who knows what kind of crap he will start because of this.


I see your point here and I think I chose my words poorly. I guess what I'm getting at is that anything that gives Trump a headache is fine by me. I may never get to see him led out of the WH in handcuffs but I'll settle for him being miserable.

erwins 06 September 2018 05:39 PM

I think the person really does think they, and their fellow theaters, are "unsung heroes" as they would have it. And they did the op-ed to try to keep voters who support Republican policies on board for the midterms, instead of being driven away by the crazy.

I also think, besides the family separation atrocity, this piece is the single worst piece of news to come out of the Trump administration. It references not using the 25th Amendment so as not to cause a "constitutional crisis." But that is what the 25th is for. It may be a crisis, but that's because it's a crisis to have someone so unfit for office as President that his own cabinet has to ask for his removal. What is a constitutional crisis of unprecedented* proportions is to have a secret conspiracy within an administration that is deciding which presidential directives to carry out, and which ones to ignore, or "thwart."

I know the Times won't reveal the source, which is good, but I actually agree with Trump's rant that it is a national security matter.

If the writer wants to be a hero, they need to invoke the 25th. The course they've described instead is a craven attempt to not have to pay the political price for having elected someone who is literally extremely unfit for the office.

* I'm not sure how unprecedented. I don't know the extent of what happened in Reagan's later years, but I suspect that it was a bit more along the lines of controlling access to him, and deciding when and if he would be approached. And that was also a time when the 25th perhaps should have been invoked.

E. Q. Taft 06 September 2018 05:51 PM

Meanwhile:

I Am Part of the Resistance Inside Nyarlathotep's Death Cult

GenYus234 06 September 2018 06:02 PM

I would say that the "stewardship" of Edith Wilson would be a stronger precedent for someone other than the President managing the President outside the normal channels of succession. Of course, the 25th Amendment didn't exist at the time so there was no formal way to declare that the President's Inability to discharge the Powers and Duties of the said Office.

Also, I think not provoking a Constitutional crisis is code for "don't want to lessen the GOP's power by saying that their President is unfit", I doubt anyone in Trump's staff cares much about the Constitution.

Brad from Georgia 06 September 2018 07:41 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Darth Credence (Post 1986646)
The person who wrote the op-ed is a coward who knows he is going down on the wrong side of history and is trying to have an out. If the writer and his like minded friends truly believe this, they should say it straight out and either submit to Congress that he is unfit, or openly go before Congress and plead for impeachment (both would ultimately require 2/3rds of the Senate to agree, because Trump would dispute the finding).

I actually think much less of Trump's cabinet than before, and that is hard to do.

The author is Pence.

E. Q. Taft 06 September 2018 07:53 PM

The "lodestar" theory?

Steve 06 September 2018 07:58 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Brad from Georgia (Post 1986689)
The author is Pence.

Are you going with the lodestar theory? It could be right, but it could be that the author tried to make people suspect Pence with that word.

I think a lot of times when linguists figure out who wrote an anonymous text it's based on smaller words. From what I remember the authorship of some of the disputed Federalist Papers was resolved based on questions like which author wrote "while" and which author wrote "whilst".

Errata 06 September 2018 08:08 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Steve (Post 1986696)
It could be right, but it could be that the author tried to make people suspect Pence with that word.

Which is a tactic that Trump administration leakers are known to intentionally do to cover their tracks. They pay attention to other people's idioms and then use them in something they want to leak to both divert attention away from themselves and toward someone they may not like.

erwins 06 September 2018 08:32 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Brad from Georgia (Post 1986689)
The author is Pence.

He has denied it. Any evidence you want to point to?

If it's the lodestar theory, I am not convinced it's that unusual of a word, and it was used in a conventional way. It just doesn't seem that convincing to me. I mean, it could be him, but that wouldn't be enough to convince that it is him.

E. Q. Taft 06 September 2018 09:15 PM

Here are the officials who deny writing the anonymous New York Times op-ed, including Mike Pence

How meaningful are the denials? Hard to say.

It's quite possible that it's someone we've never or barely heard of. NPR had a guest this morning whose job labelled him as a "Senior Assistant" to the President (and who flatly contradicted the op-ed), who said that his role in the administration was nowhere near as important as the title might suggest, and that there might be hundreds of people at a similar level. It isn't necessarily someone in the cabinet, or anything of the sort. (Though it could be, too.)

RichardM 06 September 2018 09:15 PM

The BBC thinks it could be Pence.

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-45435813

But I think if Brad says it's Pence, well that proves it.

thorny locust 06 September 2018 09:19 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by erwins (Post 1986681)
It references not using the 25th Amendment so as not to cause a "constitutional crisis."

How is it not a "constitutional crisis" to have the functions of the Presidency be taken over, covertly, by persons who are not the President?

(If it's proven to be true, of course.)

It may well have happened before -- I think Wilson was the case I was thinking of. But that was during a time when it was quietly agreed by a lot of people not to make such things public. This is about as public as it's possible to get.

As others have said, that's what the 25th is for. If they haven't guts enough to use it, that's a problem. But 'whenever the President's staff disagrees with him badly enough they should do what they want instead of what he wants' [ETA: that's not meant to be a quote, of course] is a terrible precedent, however tempting it is to agree with in this case.

ChasFink 06 September 2018 09:28 PM

Points in favor of the Pence theory:
  • He's the one most justified (if only slightly) to act in this improper manner.
  • As for why he remains anonymous: He certainly would be the one with the most to lose if he came forward. And if he were revealed to be the author, he might be pressured out, leaving the big orange one free to select a new VP - and God knows who that would be. Then when the current President is forced out, he'd be replaced by someone much worse than Pence.

E. Q. Taft 06 September 2018 09:34 PM

He also obviously has the most to gain from Trump's removal (by whatever method). And he can't be just plain fired; he'd have to be impeached.

Conceivably, he has sounded out other cabinet members on the 25th Amendment idea, and found not enough support -- or, since Trump would unquestionably contest it, he figures he'd never get 2/3rds of both houses of Congress to approve (probably true, without a gross medical reason). So maybe he's trying to steer things towards impeachment.

Just making the case; don't necessarily believe it.

Steve 06 September 2018 09:45 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by RichardM (Post 1986704)
The BBC thinks it could be Pence.

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-45435813

But I think if Brad says it's Pence, well that proves it.

I don't know of any software that can reliably point to who wrote what. And they way the BBC writes about this makes me assume whatever software they chose isn't very reliable. Yeah, it could be Pence, but a lot of the evidence their mentioning sounds even worse than "lodestar". Just to take one example, the passive voice.
Quote:

Government statements very rarely use the passive voice, and tend to prefer using the active voice instead - there are only a handful examples of the former being used over the past few weeks.
I'm not sure how many a "handful" is supposed to be, but...huh? Yeah, I know, there's that stupid writing advice "avoid the passive" but even people who pretend to follow it fail pretty badly because the passive is useful. The usual figure is that 13% of clauses in English writing are passive,. Even if government writing cuts that figure in half, then 6.5% of all government statements in the past week are passive, and that's surely more than a handful of examples. (By the way, George Orwell used it about 20% of the time in Politics and the English Language, where he cautions you to avoid using it when the active will do. That essay regularly gets taught in schools.)

Quote:

However, the author of the column does use the passive voice, a few times:

"Although he was elected as a Republican" instead of "Although the American people elected him as a Republican"
The passive is just obviously more natural there. The focus is on Trump, not on the American people.
Quote:

"We have sunk low with him and allowed our discourse to be stripped of civility"
If you want to use "we" as the subject of both clauses, the passive it is.
Quote:

"occasionally reckless decisions that have to be walked back"
Again, a perfectly reasonable way (grammatically and otherwise) to describe Trump's decisions. People phrase things like this all the time, and without any evidence that government officials studiously avoid the passive, I'd say lodestar is still the closest thing to evidence there is that it's Pence. And lodestar is kinda flimsy.

GenYus234 06 September 2018 09:47 PM

Trump wouldn't have to fire or get Pence impeached, he'd simply exclude him from meetings and refuse to have any dealings with him. There are fixed duties of the Vice President (created in the Constitution or by law) but those are limited and most of them have little to do with daily dealings with the President. And even if Trump tries to block Pence's Constitutional or legal power, the only thing that would stop him would be the threat (minimal if at all) of impeachment for violating the Constitution or the law.

Errata 06 September 2018 10:03 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by RichardM (Post 1986704)
But I think if Brad says it's Pence, well that proves it.

The thing that would conclusively prove it is if Trump tweets that it's not true.

ASL 06 September 2018 10:08 PM

I heard Trump wrote it himself.

E. Q. Taft 06 September 2018 10:11 PM

‘The Onion’ Has Chosen To Publish An Anonymous Op-Ed From Two Sources Close To Trump Who Think Their Dad Is The Best President Ever

GenYus234 06 September 2018 10:21 PM

The spelling and penmanship are too good to be Eric's...

RichardM 06 September 2018 11:52 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ASL (Post 1986713)
I heard Trump wrote it himself.

He doesn't have the vocabulary.

Mouse 07 September 2018 01:55 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Darth Credence (Post 1986646)
The person who wrote the op-ed is a coward who knows he is going down on the wrong side of history and is trying to have an out. If the writer and his like minded friends truly believe this, they should say it straight out and either submit to Congress that he is unfit, or openly go before Congress and plead for impeachment (both would ultimately require 2/3rds of the Senate to agree, because Trump would dispute the finding).

I actually think much less of Trump's cabinet than before, and that is hard to do.

That's my general view. If you had any spine at all, OpEd writer, you would have put your name to it, the consequences be damned. You're not worthy of cleaning the skidmarks off Daniel Ellsberg's underwear.

Though I remain all :rolleyes: towards all these people who are shocked, shocked that Trump is doing the stuff he spent the Neverending Election Cycle from Hell saying he'd do. I've come to wonder if Donald Trump is some kind of shitty Rorschach blot with his followers seeing whatever they wanted to see. And by shitty, I do mean both in the figurative (as in Trump is terrible, therefore the blot is terrible), but also in the literal sense in that the blot is actually made of shit.

crocoduck_hunter 07 September 2018 02:15 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by RichardM (Post 1986726)
He doesn't have the vocabulary.

He's also not clever enough to come up with something like this.

Errata 07 September 2018 04:44 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mouse (Post 1986735)
I've come to wonder if Donald Trump is some kind of shitty Rorschach blot with his followers seeing whatever they wanted to see.

His word salad style of speech is exactly that. If you read a transcript it's mostly fragmentary thoughts, slogans, random griping, bragging, and insults. Very little information. Plus he's a compulsive liar, so whatever information he does manage to convey he can contradict the next day with impunity. His followers will pick whichever mutually contradictory position they'd prefer, and explain away why the time he said the opposite wasn't what he really meant. It's like nails on chalkboard to most educated people who actually listen to him, but his followers read between the lines and take away messages that he doesn't quite say. And they all take a slightly different message away according to their personal inclinations, because in that situation the message is as much about the listener as the speaker.

Given his base, the more direct comparison is not to a Rorschach blot, but the Bible. It contradicts itself and says a lot of stuff that its followers totally ignore, but that just gives them more material to pick over and choose the parts that kind of say something that suits their prejudices. It doesn't have to really make sense, they just need an authority figure to guide them through whatever their social circle deems the proper interpretation.

Richard W 07 September 2018 09:42 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Steve (Post 1986710)
I don't know of any software that can reliably point to who wrote what. And they way the BBC writes about this makes me assume whatever software they chose isn't very reliable. Yeah, it could be Pence, but a lot of the evidence their mentioning sounds even worse than "lodestar". Just to take one example, the passive voice.

The sentence lengths are more convincing to me than that part about the passive voice. That's something you'd have to be trying consciously to match, and it would be harder than just dropping in an unusual word that he's known to use. Not to say that it's proof, or that somebody still couldn't have been consciously trying to imitate Pence's style. But if they were trying to imitate it, they've gone beyond the obvious.

(eta) And I'm not sure how serious Brad was, or how serious people are being in agreement, but I think Brad is probably going to be pretty good at spotting the styles of different writers, so if he thinks it's Pence then I do take that as a point in favour of the idea...! It's harder to match somebody's style subtly and convincingly than it is to write an obvious parody of it. Trump's own tweets don't even have a consistent style these days.

Don Enrico 07 September 2018 12:16 PM

Working in the administration, I know quite a lot of people who regularily write speeches, letters and other papers for politicians. Most of the texts that are published under a politician's name or said by them in a public speech haven't been written by themselves (at least alone). Especially when you work for the same politician again and again, you learn to write in a stile he or she likes and uses him/herself.

If the writer of the NYT piece is somebody working for the administration in the second or third row, tasked with preparing texts for certain first level politicians, he or she might be able to imitate the stile of one of them quite well, or might even fall into the stile involuntarily when writing.

Beachlife! 07 September 2018 12:30 PM

I just read an article on CNN where they speculated that it is almost certainly not a second or third row person because people at the Times know who it is and they would not have accepted such a piece, anonymously from anyone, but his top advisers.

thorny locust 07 September 2018 01:43 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Errata (Post 1986740)
Plus he's a compulsive liar, so whatever information he does manage to convey he can contradict the next day with impunity.

Never mind the next day, sometimes in the same paragraph.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Don Enrico (Post 1986745)
might even fall into the stile

That gave me an entirely different image than I expect you intended. [link in quote is my addition]

:fish: myself for nitpicking

RichardM 07 September 2018 02:06 PM

IIRC, analysis of writing style is how the unibomber was caught.

thorny locust 07 September 2018 02:51 PM

I think actually the Unabomber was turned in by family members. I think they did recognize particular phrases in the writing, but it wasn't what's usually meant by writing style analysis.

https://abcnews.go.com/US/unabomber-...ry?id=36845028

Quote:

Patrik recognized familiar sounding ideas in the manuscript from letters her husband David Kaczynski had received from his older brother Ted, including a 23-page essay in which he raged against the modern world. In the essay, Ted wrote phrases such as, "Technology has already made it impossible for us to live as physically independent beings." [ . . . ]
"I thought I was going to read the first page of this, turn to Linda and say, 'See, I told you so.' But on an emotional level, it just sounded like my brother's voice. You know, it sounded like the way he argued, the way he talked, the way he expressed an idea," said David Kaczynski.


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