George Rebane: Mueller mining the Russia collusion confusion
It may well be that the ongoing “Russia collusion” investigation will turn out to be a bigger affair than was Watergate, even if it doesn’t connect Donald Trump to any culpable act.
Special prosecutors must needs eventually find something to prosecute, and find it they will as Robert Mueller has already demonstrated with the trio he currently has in his crosshairs. And it may soon become a quintet if he adds the Podesta brothers.
But what continues to amaze me is the absence of journalistic professionalism on both sides of the common political spectrum. As a conservetarian ideologue, I have no trouble identifying the errors, omissions, and bigotry apparent at the lamestream media outlets. But in recent months the performance of the right-of-center outlets, some claiming to be “fair and balanced,” has further piqued my concern. Daily they commit errors of semantics and logic that leave us shaking our heads as we consume our daily diets of political intrigue, inanities and investigations.
A case in point that now pops up regularly is the entire idea of people (on both sides) being accused of or ascribed as “colluding” with the Russians for divers purposes, with not all of these supposedly nefarious deals having the goal of favoring one or the other candidate in the 2016 election. These collusions are supposed to be bad because they tried to, could have, or actually did throw the election. Ferreting out such bad collusions was the original commission of the special prosecutor.
Now “to collude” has a very definite meaning which seems to escape the worthies of our Fourth Estate. Specifically, collude is a verb that means “to act together through a secret understanding, especially with evil or harmful intent.” The careful reader will note that this is a two-part definition that requires the inclusion of the second part, characterizing “intent,” as the conditional which makes a collusion nefarious. Of course, everyone knows that people, businesses and other social units constantly collude to achieve ends that are simply prudent and in no way “evil or harmful”.
However, in today’s reporting all these nuances are either too complex for the media reporters and editors, or they are using “collusion” with the unspoken objective to meld both parts of the definition in the minds of their lightly-read minions — in short, they’re promoting an agenda.
But to reasonably allege criminal intent as part of any collusion calls for establishing the so-called MOM — motive, opportunity, means — requirements. The alleged motive part for either side is easy enough to understand; they wanted to win the election. However, neither the opportunity nor the means parts are addressed in today’s breathless media reporting. Making the case for “evil or harmful intent” to collude must involve some description of the means for the parties “acting together” to execute a “secret understanding,” neither of which have been described within any plausible scenario that would have had any reasonable basis for a measurable effect on the election.
So all we hear today is reporters and talking heads blithely telling us about X or Y colluding with Russia to accomplish what? Nothing in these reports and subsequent blather make the case beyond use of the word “collusion” — no description of means and/or opportunity scenarios are included. All these reports and “analyses” simply leave the rest of the considerable blanks to be filled in by the carefully fashioned imaginations of the great unwashed.
The Republicans have an easier job of demonstrating the two-part definition of Democrats colluding, because the MOM requirements for the uranium deal, Clinton Foundation corrupt contributions, Hillary’s email transgressions, the manufactured Steele dossier, and the DNC screwing one of its candidates are all a matter of record with, no doubt, much more to come.
But to date, the nation’s left is doing its best to delude Americans about Team Trump having criminally colluded with the Russians — no evidence for such collusions has yet to be presented, and that definitely includes the indictments and confession of the first trio that got tangled in Mueller’s widely-cast net.
No doubt more are to come, but in the interval the astute reader should (1) discriminate between empty allegations and substance when “collusion” is part of the report, and should there be substance, then (2) determine if the discovered substance is actually a criminal collusion tied to Team Trump.
George Rebane lives in Nevada City.
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