Tag Archives: NY Times

Parlor game continues: Who wrote that op-ed?

Conservative commentator/gadfly/rabble rouser Ann Coulter believes she knows the author of that infamous op-ed published the other day in The New York Times.

She says it’s Jared Kushner, son-in-law of Donald John Trump. Why did Ivanka’s husband write it? She believes Jared and Ivanka think Daddy Trump will be kicked out of office and want to high-tail it to the Hamptons.

Fine. Whatever.

MSNBC commentator Lawrence O’Donnell, a liberal/progressive/gadfly/rabble rouser, posited a notion that Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats did it. He said Coats has nothing to lose; he’s holding his final public office and is miffed that the president keeps undermining him at every turn regarding the Russian attack on our 2016 election.

There you go.

Op-ed mystery deepens

Others have suggested someone on Vice President Mike Pence’s staff wrote it, inserting the “lodestar” term that the VP is fond of using.

Hey, this is all nonsense. I am becoming less concerned with who wrote it than I am with the content of the essay. It’s a devastating critique of the way the president governs. It speaks to the “resistance” within the West Wing that seeks to protect the nation from Trump’s more dangerous impulses.

We’ll know eventually who wrote it. If the president’s team is allowed to ferret out the ID of the author, the name will come forward. Whoever wrote it will be canned, or he or she will resign.

Meanwhile, the parlor game continues. It does create grist for gossip. That’s all.

‘Lodestar’ emerges as an entrapment tool

Vice President Mike Pence likes to use the word “lodestar,” an archaic word not usually associated with 21st-century normal word usage.

So, when the word “lodestar” showed up in that New York Times op-ed essay written by some mystery man or woman, many observers stated their belief that the VP had to be the author of the piece.

Pence denies writing it. And that begs the question: Was the vice president set up by someone else?

Pence told Fox News’s Chris Wallace he didn’t know if that’s the case. Well, I’ll offer a wild guess: Yes, someone tried to implicate Pence with the use of the term “lodestar,” which defines how you navigate a ship.

The NYT essay is full of assertions that have sent Donald Trump into a fit of apoplexy and outright rage. It says a “resistance” team is working to prevent Trump from acting on his more frightening instincts.

Would the team include Pence? I suppose it could, given the VP’s own history as a member of Congress and a governor of Indiana. He has legitimate government experience, something that Trump lacked the moment he declared his presidential candidacy.

But … the vice president is trying to clear himself of any responsibility regarding this anonymous essay. Good luck with that, Mr. VPOTUS.

If he doesn’t know who set him up with the “lodestar” reference, I kind of believe Vice President Pence needs to get busy looking for whoever is responsible.

What happened to the GOP?

Barack H. Obama has asked a question that has been on the minds of political observers/junkies ever since the election of Donald J. Trump as president of the United States.

“What happened to the Republican Party?” Obama has inquired.

What, indeed, has become of the Party of Lincoln, the Party of Ike, the Party of Reagan? Is has become the Party of Trump. Why is this a critical question? Because the current president brought no ideological mooring to the office to which he was elected.

The former president didn’t say it in so many words during his re-entry into the political debate this week, so I’ll say it here. The GOP has fallen victim to the cult of personality that Trump embodies.

Indeed, we have gotten a peek into that cult through the soon to be published book “Fear” written by veteran journalist Bob Woodward and by that anonymous essay published the other day by the New York Times.

Woodward and the mystery essayist both contend that Trump doesn’t adhere to any form of “conventional” Republican orthodoxy.

Moreover, as Obama said in Illinois, Republicans ought to be aghast that the president is making nice with the former head of the KGB, given that Republicans’ signature foreign policy issue for decades — during the Dwight Eisenhower years — was to oppose communism, led by the former Soviet Union.

Republicans during the Ronald Reagan era would rail against the annual budget deficit. On Trump’s watch, we’re watching the deficit escalate, yet GOP members of Congress give the president a pass.

The Party of Lincoln never would give moral equivalence to Nazis and Klansmen to the people who opposed them at the Charlottesville, Va., riot in 2017.

Yes, the question posed by the 44th president of the United States is a valid one.

What has happened to the Republican Party?

‘Treason’ gets misused yet again

Donald J. Trump has this fetish involving the word “treason.”

He tosses it out there, accusing others of committing such acts without understanding how the U.S. Constitution actually defines the term. It’s quite specific and has not a damn thing to do with newspapers publishing anonymous op-ed essays submitted by someone at the inner circle of the Trump administration.

Article III Section 3 says this about treason: Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying war against them, or in adhering to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort. No person shall be convicted of treason unless on the testimony of two witnesses to the same overt act, or on confession in open court.

“Levying war … or adhering to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort.”

How is the president misusing the term? He tweeted a message “TREASON” immediately after word came that The New York Times had published the anonymous op-ed essay. Trump is wrong. I would say “deliberately” wrong, except that he likely hasn’t ever read the constitutional definition of “treason.” The essay speaks to a “resistance” movement within the White House that seeks to protect the nation from the president’s more troublesome instincts.

As for the “aid and comfort” clause in Article III, perhaps the president ought to be a whole lot more circumspect if he is going to toss the t-word out at his foes. The closest thing I’ve seen to providing aid and comfort to hostile powers has been Trump’s shameful refusal to condemn specifically the Russian attack on our 2016 presidential election.

A president who knows better is likely to avoid playing fast and loose with a term that defines the worst crime one can commit against the United States.

What’s more, the punishment for such a crime is, um, death. Is that what Donald Trump is suggesting should happen to whoever is responsible for an anonymously written essay?

I mean, seriously?

Memo to POTUS: Leave the NY Times alone

Donald Trump continues to demonstrate his breathtaking ignorance of what the U.S. Constitution guarantees in the treatment of media in this country, which is that government mustn’t interfere with the practice of a “free press.”

However, he’s at it again, saying that U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions “should” investigate the New York Times over its decision to publish an anonymous op-ed essay from someone inside the Trump administration. The mystery writer has alleged that the president is out of control and that a “resistance movement” within the administration is pushing back against the president, seeking to curb his more, um, impulsive instincts.

Trump is enraged over the anonymity aspect. He is trying to find out who did it. Hmm, does the term “witch hunt” apply?

Moreover, he wants the Department of Justice to pursue the New York Times over what he calls a “national security” concern.

It’s a reach, Mr. President.

The First Amendment specifically and explicitly protects a “free press” from government interference, intimidation, bullying or coercion. It’s in there. Honest. I’ve read it. So have you.

Trump also has said he is considering some sort of punitive action against the Times. “I’m looking at that right now. It only happened yesterday,” he said.

C’mon, Mr. President! You can’t expect to succeed in bullying a major American newspaper into doing your bidding. I get that he’s angry that someone possibly within his inner circle has spilled the beans on the goings-on in the White House. I expect him to learn the identity of the whistleblower.

However, the notion of punishing the New York Times for giving someone — even someone close to the levers of power — a forum to express their grievance against the federal government goes way beyond what’s acceptable.

Read the Constitution, Mr. President. Start with the First Amendment. You’ll see what it says.

Op-ed writer has committed ‘treason’? Good grief!

Let me see if I have this right.

Someone within the Donald J. Trump administration writes a commentary, submits it to the New York Times, which the newspaper publishes anonymously. It speaks to chaos and panic within the White House and to an administration “resistance” movement to shield the nation from the president’s more impulsive instincts.

The president gets so angry he demands that the NYT release the writer’s name so that he or she can be turned over “to the government.”

For what? To be prosecuted for, um, an unspecified “crime”? The president is off his rocker. He’s gone ’round the bend. He’s off the rails.

The writer — whoever he or she is — has every right to speak his or her mind. The U.S. Constitution guarantees it. They committed not a single act of “treason,” which the president alluded to in a Twitter message.

Many of Trump’s senior advisers are running away from the op-ed, saying they didn’t write it. Not all of them have offered the denial.

What is so remarkable and, frankly, disgraceful is that Trump is categorizing this act as “treasonous.” One can question the ethics of publishing an anonymous essay; one also can question the courage of the author who refused to put a name on the submission. Those are legitimate debating points.

However, treason is way off the mark. It is beyond the pale. For the president to imply a threat that the op-ed author should be arrested and detained speaking his or her mind reveals — yet again — total ignorance of what is contained in the U.S. Constitution.

Identity of op-ed author will be known … then what?

I am trying to put myself in the shoes of the president of the United States.

Someone in his inner circle of executive authority has blown the whistle. Someone has written an anonymously published op-ed column that contends that Donald John Trump — the president himself — is a danger to the nation he was elected to govern.

Trump is outraged. He is looking high and low for the identity of who wrote it. I have this feeling in my gut that he well might know as I write this brief blog post.

The op-ed speaks to “whispers” about invoking the 25th Amendment to relieve the president — temporarily, of course — of his duties as commander in chief. It talks about how White House aides are alarmed at Trump’s impulsive behavior, his lack of knowledge or his desire to learn about the complex issues of the day.

Trump will find out who it is.

Does he fire the individual? Does he then release that individual to tell the world everything he or she knows? What kind of damage can be done at that point if Trump lets his rage command how he responds to this matter?

The New York Times took a highly unusual step in allowing this essay into print without the author’s name attached to it. The Times’s editors did so knowing who the individual is and what he or she does for the Trump administration.

Yes, there’s been some push back on the granting of anonymity. Some critics say the author should have the courage to stand by his words. Others have criticized the NYT for granting anonymity in the first place.

I stand with the publication as it was delivered to the nation.

I also believe we’re going to know in due course — probably quite soon — who this “senior White House official” really is.

Yes, all hell will break loose — and it well might validate precisely the points that the essayist made in writing it.

Read the essay here. It’s worth your time. Honest.

Language might give away author’s ID

MSNBC commentator Lawrence O’Donnell has posited an “educated guess” on who he thinks wrote the anonymously published op-ed column that talks about White House efforts to protect the nation against the president of the United States, Donald Trump.

O’Donnell thinks it’s Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats, who’s in his 70s and is occupying the final public service job in his career.

The more I think about it the more plausible O’Donnell’s guess appears to be.

Then I went back to the essay and found this passage: … United States continued to impose sanctions on the country for its malign behavior.

I zeroed in on a pair of terms: malign behavior.

I have heard that phrase used exactly once in my life. It was stated recently to discuss the Russian involvement in attacking our electoral system.

It came from, yep, DNI Dan Coats.

Coincidence that it appeared in this NY Times commentary? I think not. Read the essay here.

Get ready for a serious ‘witch hunt’

Donald John Trump has been calling a detailed investigation into possible collusion with Russian operatives seeking to influence the 2016 presidential election a “rigged witch hunt.”

Of course … special counsel Robert Mueller’s exhaustive and meticulous investigation is no such thing.

However, we might be getting ready to watch the real thing unfold. A serious witch hunt emanating from within the White House as an enraged president seeks to find the identity of the “senior White House official” who wrote an op-ed column published today in The New York Times.

Of course, I have no way of knowing this, but I strongly suspect that Trump has released the proverbial hounds to find the source of the essay. He or White House chief of staff John Kelly will confront everyone they can imagine who might have written such a thing; my money is on Kelly doing the heavy lift, given the president’s inability/unwillingness to confront someone directly.

However, I am quite sure we’re going to witness a serious “witch hunt” that seeks to reveal who has spoken a truth about the Trump administration that many of us have suspected all along.

The author is no mid-level WH chump … bet on it!

I feel like sharing this tweet from a leading Washington, D.C., journalist.

So, here is what Karen Tumulty writes: My 2 cents: It is hard to imagine the NYT would have given anonymity on something like this to someone who was not at least as high as a cabinet secretary or assistant to the president.

Whoever wrote the essay that appeared today in The New York Times is no mid-level staffer. He or she very likely is someone with direct daily access to Donald John Trump.

I don’t yet know where all this is going. Much of it will depend on whether the president learns who it is. And what he’ll do about it. Does he fire the individual on the spot and thus, expose that person’s identity to the world?

Read the essay here.

I’ve read this op-ed column twice. I suspect it’s going to be an even better read the more I read it.

As for Tumulty’s belief about the NY Times’s decision to run this piece without attribution, a newspaper of such stature and standing doesn’t dare hand out this space without ironclad knowledge that the author knows of which he or she is writing.