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Carroll County Times
Carroll County Times Opinion

Minnich: Collusion vs. corruption

In “Travels with Charley,” Pulitzer Prize- and Nobel Prize-winning writer John Steinbeck asserted that he loved nations but hated governments.

I get that.

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He put it down on paper about 1961, an entry recounting his journey with his dog across America in an early version of the camper built into the bed of a heavy-duty pickup truck.

An illustration of his rationale would resonate today with anyone who encounters officialdom in the form of the Transportation Safety Administration, Border Patrol, or the resolutely obstructive clerk standing on the rules to avoid having to consider reason.

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If you doubt that bureaucracy trumps all rational attempts to achieve expectations based on rational dialog, go back and read the fine print on any of the agreements you signed to gain the right to access, pay for and use any service or product.

Specific language is the tool of college professors, dictionary editors, pirates and cons.

Lawyers, who sometimes represent the rights of the innocent but make their living off the behavior of crooks, will tell you that if you are accused of collusion to commit a crime, and you know that what you did was not collusion, but manipulation of others with corrupt intent, you stick to your denials of guilt.

If others get caught up in serving the desires of the boss, and cross a line and then lie about it, that’s on them. The boss has not colluded with others to commit a crime. He simply likes the result.

No collusion. No crime.

Others serving the boss may be indicted, pay fines, go to jail, survey the ruins of their marriages and families and generally have their reputations trashed, but one man’s misdeed is to another simply an act of loyalty.

Not because of collusion, but because of corruption. The foundation of the charges against all the people who have paid dearly for their loyalty to Donald Trump is not the suspected collusion that brought about the investigation, but the twisted and turning actions that reflect the corruption and the inability to deal in truth at the core of the administration.

The official result of two years of investigation into purported collusion on the part of those in the Trump camp with Russian hackers or government functionaries to sway the last national election is in.

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But it isn’t over, because the real issue at hand never was collusion. That was one of many portals that continue to be explored into the essential unsuitability, incompetence and dishonesty of a man who was elected president of the United States.

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Trump’s first reaction reflects his essential flaw. The report by Robert Mueller and the synopsis handed out by Attorney General Robert Barr say there will be no indictments for collusion, but neither is the president exonerated.

Trump’s assertion for the cameras and the message that his loyal base will hear is that the report is total exoneration. False assertion, but characteristic.

His next assertions are that he will seek revenge. Consistent.

The news media will be reviled by the Right, but it must continue to shine the light on corruption and abuse of power.

It’s tiresome, but it isn’t over. Stay tuned, if you can stand it.

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Trump’s supporters will rally to his escalation of defending the fort. Those who want to see him impeached will press on, but the real work at hand is to simply pay attention and let Congress know you are watching and wait for the next general election.

If you turn your back, you may wake up some morning over the next two years and find that the United States of America for the first time is controlled by a dictator with absolute powers of defining truth on his own terms.


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