Trust Not In Pundits with Too Much Bonkers Confidence

I put all my blogging energy into an LGM comment about the problems with Seth Abramson, Twitter legal conspiracist, albeit against Trump these days:

Seth has done an outstanding job on this.

Really?

First, some context:

https://www.huffingtonpost.com/seth-abramson/5-things-weve-learned-abo_b_9772408.html

https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/in-sanders-wins-californi_b_10252990.html

https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/how-to-explain-the-sanders_b_10206250.html

He wrote a lot of bonkers stuff during the election. Not in the league of HA Goodman or even Greenwald, but a lot of silly stuff all with the same breathless, relentless, overconfident air.

This should give us a bit of pause. It doesn’t mean he didn’t change for the better, but it means we should take care.

Second, that thread:

Trump didn’t “as good as” out himself as a Russian agent—he *literally* did, and his statement about DNI Coats literally proves it.

“Literally” eh?

Trump’s hand-picked Republican Director of National Intelligence, Dan Coats, has the *same* intel on Russia’s attack on America Trump has—by definition. It’s undisputed.

Say what? I mean, the only sense in which this is true is that Trump has *formal* access to everything Coats has. We also know that Trump reads almost nothing, cannot sit through most briefings, retains little, ignores everything, and makes up a ton more.

So, it’s not undisputed that Trump is working rationally and knowingly off the same information. In fact, that’s certainly not true!

This is the key for some wacko inferences:

Or *would* be, if we didn’t know that there is *one* difference between the two men’s intelligence sources.

Trump doesn’t read, listen, or care about them?

The *one* difference between the intel Coats has and the intel Trump has is that *Trump has met privately with Russians on multiple occasions*. He did so—without the necessary meeting attendees, including advisers and witnesses—in the Oval Office, at a prior summit, and today.

See, this is very silly. This is obviously a difference, but it’s one of a multitude. It’s significant, but not necessarily dominant.

So the only explanation for Trump saying that he “disagrees” with intel his own DNI is 100% on is if he’s relying on the sources *he* has that DNI Coats doesn’t

I mean, what? The right explanation for Trump saying that he disagrees is that the US intelligence communities information is really bad for Trump. In all sorts of ways. That’s totally sufficient for Trump to say it’s wrong. He said that the content of an interview with him from a conservative UK paper was false mere hours afterwards. He didn’t have “intel” the paper didn’t. He just didn’t like the fallout.

So what did Trump do with the additional intelligence he received from the Russians in his three (at a minimum) protocol-busting meetings with hostile foreign actors? He used that intelligence—and the disagreement with Coats it bred in him—to *attack the United States* on TV.

We think that he got “intelligence” from the Russians? I mean, this stretches the meaning of the term out of shape. The Russians aren’t sharing intelligence with Trump! They may be lying to him, blackmailing him, or colluding with him, but not by sharing intelligence that he acts upon. I mean come the fuck on.

And now:

In doing so, Trump *literally* was acting as an agent of Russia, relying on Russian intelligence as his marching orders in spreading dangerous propaganda on international television. *That’s* why Brennan called his actions treasonous—because they *literally* (by law) are.

“Intelligence as marching orders” is incoherent and redundant. Whatever this is, it isn’t a proof that Trump “literally” confessed or that Coats’s statement “literally” proves it. It just isn’t. It’s a bizarre inference which isn’t necessary to reach a reasonably analogous conclusion.

And it’s really doubtful that his actions now are “literally” by law treasonous. The president has enormous power and wide latitude esp in foreign affairs. It’s not determined that he’s given “aid and comfort” to an “enemy” because he has a great deal of influence of who counts as an enemy! So, like with impeachment, whether what he’s doing is treason will be primarily a political determination.

If Seth’s hackery bore useful political fruit, I’d wince and be ok. It’s not at all clear that it does. I’ll leave you with these sage words:

I’ve been a metamodernist creative writer for many years now, but had not seen an opportunity to bring this earnest, optimistic, and loving art practice into my professional writing activities until Bernie Sanders came along. Not only do I fully support and endorse Senator Sanders’ agenda, I see in his political methodology evidence of the metamodern, just as I know for certain when I hear Clinton’s cynical incrementalism that I am in the presence of a postmodern political ethos. The reason we think of Bernie Sanders as impractical or even naive is that he is; what most fail to see, however, is that his is the “informed naivete” of metamodernism. He sees that our economic and cultural markets are in a terminal state of deconstruction, and yes, this makes him angry and “negative” in a certain respect, but he sees too that the opportunity this deconstruction affords us all is a moment in which we can reconstruct everything we’ve known in a way that better reflects our values.

So when I wrote that “Bernie Sanders Is Currently Winning the Democratic Primary Race, and I’ll Prove It to You,” I was offering a “minority report” of the Real:

Nonsense presented as analysis is a problem cf Glenn Greenwald. It often is concealed under a torrent of “evidence”. This irks me as I’m a torrent of evidende sort of guys and I resent people using the form poorly for bad ends.