Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Hi, it's Stupid

Drawing by wes and tony of amazingsuperpowers.
Hi, it's Stupid to say we understand with complete clarity why James Comey was fired as FBI director. So hold my beer, as the saying goes.


That's not narcissism. I mean, obviously it's narcissism, in the same way as obviously it's English—I mean it's in the only language Trump speaks—but it has a specific argumentative purpose, which is to tell a lie.

A lie, semiotically speaking, is different from bullshit in exactly that way: it's a falsehood with a practical agenda, and the agenda determines its shape. That is, a lie must be crafted so as to mask a truth—"I never even looked at her" for "I went home with her after you left the bar" or "I am not a crook" for "I have committed a bunch of crimes". That's why "the dog ate my homework" is always a failure, because it doesn't fit tightly.

The truth underlying this Trump lie is that Comey has—very properly—refused to tell Trump whether he's under investigation or not. Maybe really denied it thrice. Presumably in some kind of bureaucratic language that helped Trump mishear it on purpose, the way when Rep. Cummings encouragingly told him "you could be a great president if only you would be the opposite of the way you are" he purposely heard "you are a great president".

But it's evident that he must be under FBI investigation, just as we just learned this morning he is entirely a subject of the Senate Intelligence Committee investigation, if there was any doubt:
Senate Russia investigators have sent a request to the Treasury Department's criminal investigation division for any information related to President Donald Trump, his top officials and his campaign aides, the top Democrat on the Senate intelligence committee told CNN Tuesday.
"We've made a request, to FinCEN in the Treasury Department, to make sure, not just for example vis-a-vis the President, but just overall our effort to try to follow the intel no matter where it leads," [Intelligence Committee ranking member] Sen. Mark Warner told CNN.
He has to be under investigation because he's obviously part of the story. His agenda in that letter was to say, basically, "I'm not firing you in the hope of stopping any investigation, but just because nobody likes you any more," as is proven if you accept that no investigation exists (Vox notes this point but I don't think they've recognized how key it is). If there's no investigation, I couldn't possibly be trying to stop it.

He won't make the argument directly himself, because even formulating it ("I'm not trying to stop an investigation") would help people think of it, but he's supplying the pieces to his lieutenants and allies so that they can, answering questions from the "fake media"—
FAKE TAPPER: Has President Trump really fired the FBI director to stop the investigation against him?
HONEST REINCE: For goodness sake, Fake, of course not. There isn't even any investigation! 
But he's plainly trying to stop, or inhibit, the investigation. The form of the lie demonstrates it.

There's more I want to say, but I want to post this now.

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