Posts Tagged ‘Mueller’

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Reporting on the Report on the Report

March 25, 2019

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Well, the first whiff of the Mueller report was delivered to Congress on Sunday by Attorney General Barr as a four page report on the report.  The big disappointment was that Barr said simply that Mueller “did not establish” collusion between Trump and the “Russian government.”  To be certain these words were carefully chosen and have specific meaning and nuance.  Unfortunately the news media in its attempt at simplification boiled this statement down to “Mueller did not find any collusion between Trump and Russia” and then further simplified that to become “Mueller reports no collusion between Trump and Russia.” That’s all anybody will hear at this point, but it is not what was said.  The language used was specific and affirms  only that Mueller was unable to reach any conclusion not that he determined  there was no collusion.

To illustrate, let’s take two statements that appear to be the same but are actually worlds apart in meaning.

The first is this, “Mueller did not find any collusion between Trump and Russia.  Now compare that with this version, “Mueller found that there was no collusion between Trump and Russia.”  This first is true while the second would be a total misrepresentation of Mueller’s report.

Being “unable to establish” collusion does not mean that there was no collusion. This phrase of Barr’s is a reflection on Mueller’s investigative process, not on Trump’s culpability.  Furthermore his use of the term “Russian government” leaves the door wide open for the possibility of collusion with other, non-governmental Russian entities, hackers and the like, indirect and downstream from Putin.  This aspect of the report on the report as it regards collusion is inconclusive and the media’s coverage has created a distortion, a punctuation mark emphasizing a conclusion that does not exist in fact.  It’s like the old party game where people sit in a circle and one person whispers to another who repeats the whisper to another and so on until the original statement has been repeated fully around the circle.  When finished, the original statement is compared with that of the last person to repeat it and they are invariably, to everyone’s amusement, wildly different. So much for interpretation in reporting. As four pundits and a moderator sit around loudly passing the whisper, the exact meaning devolves into an untruth, a falsehood worthy of Trump who as they do further uses the report to claim exoneration. Lawyers can be very clever at parsing words, Rudi Giuliani excepted.  Cannot journalists rise to such a standard?

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Gone Fishing

September 23, 2018

99_inch_Striped_Marlin-p-131Whether it’s sitting on a grassy bank at the end on a cane pole in the shade of a tall tree watching the plastic red & white bobber on a still lake, or riding the back of a 45-foot cabin cruiser deep sea fishing for marlin, fishing is an endeavor requiring, skill, knowledge, experience and no short amount of patience. First bait must be acquired and then the successful fisherman must travel to where fish are suspected to be, but it’s not just a guessing game. Experience is more than intuition and a good guess.  No, real fishermen know where the fish are and they know how to catch them and in today’s world, they are aided by all manner of technical devices to locate them.

Deep sea fishing for that really big one is a thrill, but even with a guide, is usually rewarded only after many boring hours of patience.  Once hooked, that big one will put up a fight until exhausted and dragged into the boat.  But no matter the size, all fish will wiggle, flop and squirm even when facing the inevitable.

Be patient, we have a good guide and the big one is hooked.  Sure, he’s putting up a fight but the line is strong and he will be reeled into the boat.  Expect him to struggle and flop around even when the end is inevitable, but take comfort, he’ll look great hanging on the wall a few years from now.

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The Opioid​ Phoenix Riseth.

March 26, 2018

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It’s common knowledge that Kellyanne Conway is a successful pollster.  Her success in predicting Trump’s voter response during the campaign ensured her a place at the table in Trump’s Whitehouse. Largely used as a media surrogate, Kellyanne Conway was one of the loudest cheerleaders for the many of Trump’s questionable thoughts, actions and misdeeds, until she fell out of favor with the media and disappeared from the scene temporarily, only to emerge recently in a new form, as the Opioid Czar.

When I saw her the other day on the news, she seemed for the first time quite reasonable and on point. Focused and succinctly to the point, she made a compelling case for what needed to be done and offered several solutions that she would implement to combat the opioid crisis. No one has ever doubted her success, or her intelligence, or her loyalty to Trump, but the application of her talents to maintain a morally void and corrupt administration, through the use of spin and schoolyard tactics, has established a deplorable record for her since Trump took office.  Her repetitive deflections, predictable as they were, became old news and had the tired pall of that old schoolyard taunt, “I know you are but what am I?” C’mon Kellyanne, is that the best you can do?   The indefatigable energy and enthusiasm you brought to the daily combat seemed to indicate that you relished the process, so one has to question, just what is the source of this burning drive?  Can it be as simple as just misplaced values, or is there some other payday?

To look at the significance of her role, one must look at the Trump campaign holistically.  It was a many-pronged assault and unfortunately, the media has approached its analysis of the events as a modular problem to be deconstructed not a holistic one to be pieced together.  As Jared Kushner orchestrated communications between Cambridge Analytica, social media and his Russian connections, someone was needed to provide the necessary feedback to determine the effectiveness of his strategy–enter polling and Kellyanne Conway.

So, one has to ask, “Did Kellyanne Conway know about this intertwined relationship and therefore was she involved in Russian collusion or at the very least conspiracy to tamper with the election process?” Kellyanne had to have known about Cambridge, as the effectiveness of that campaign strategy could only be verified through her polling, which required targeting to determine.  Was her polling of Michigan and other swing states coordinated to complete the process?  To what extent was she involved?  It’s hard to believe that one so ardent was left in the dark and was acting altruistically, especially in the face of such blatant manifestations of malfeasance and suspicious activities.

Mueller should look at the focus of her polling and the timing to determine whether her role was as a willing participant in stealing an election.