Mueller Inspires Moby Dick Musings

As Mark Twain once opined in The Territorial Enterprise of Virginia City, “If you don’t read the newspaper you are uninformed, if you do read the newspaper you are misinformed.” The dichotomy Twain presents leaves out a third and fourth option: confusion and more confusion. 

I don’t pretend to read with comprehension. I read Moby Dick twice and still can’t tell you what color the whale was. Having read The Brothers Karamazov four times, I understand the boys were Ruskies but I can’t tell you how many Karamazov brothers there were or whether they got involved in election collusion or election interference.

With the notable exception of the Alameda Sun, when I read newspapers, my confusion is compounded, just like banking interest. Take for example the Mueller Report, or as some cynical people derisively call it: the “Muddled Report.”

Was it commissioned to investigate Russian collusion or Russian interference, sizzling dalliances or hush money? Was Mueller’s mandate to investigate the obstruction of justice in assembling the report? That seems like a circular argument. Mueller cast such a wide net it was difficult to determine if he was fishing for albacore or anchovies. 

Mueller’s seine did catch several nefarious Washington gamesters but not one left fingerprints on the Christopher Steele Dossier or its subsequent chain of events. Except that it led to quasi-legal

domestic spying, is the Christopher Steele Dossier any more relevant than say, Watergate? 
We know so little; yet my questions remain both simple and superficial. Personally, I would like to know who wrote the Christopher Steele Dossier? Furthermore, was the dossier historical fiction, political fiction or pulp fiction? Were George Smiley and John le Carre remotely involved? Did anyone pay for this dubious dossier? Is it available in paperback or hardcover?

Was it paid for by Fusion GPS, the Russian company Prevezon, the Democratic National Committee, the Clinton Family Slush Fund, Glenn Simpson or Stormy Daniels? If I am going to put the Christopher Steele Dossier out on my coffee table, I need some background for the sake of informed chit chat.

Conspiracy theorists claim that the dossier was used to justify a FISA warrant to conduct electronic surveillance of the Trump Campaign. To the uninformed or misinformed or uninitiated, electronic surveillance could be confused with domestic spying, on a political party at that.

A half century ago, when I was young and lucid, I followed the Watergate saga: a case of Richard Nixon spying on the Democratic Party. Certainly, there are nuanced differences between domestic spying as conducted by the louche Nixon cadres and the morally elevated “electronic surveillance” necessitated by revelations in the meticulously vetted, ironclad Christopher Steele Dossier novella.

Perhaps what confuses the casual, misinformed reader are all the ancillary jailings and ceremonial heads that rolled while compiling the Mueller Report; certainly Robespierre would have approved. 

For example: hush money was dropped into the news feed. Did Stormy Daniels ever receive an Oscar nomination? Did the IRS confirm payment or is presidential hush money non-taxable? 

One of the ancillary casualties was best-selling author James Comey. Comey magnanimously granted de facto amnesty to a presidential candidate for deleting emails from a private server: really, such small potatoes. Even though I am a math teacher, I am not good with numbers or where to locate the decimal point. Was it 33 emails, 330 emails, 3,300 emails or 33,000 emails that were deleted so as not to clutter-up a congressional investigation with evidence? Did this stonewalled investigation hearken back to some guy named Ben? Perhaps Ben Gazzara, Ben Turpin, Ben Kingsley or Ben Ghazi?

Trust me; given the inundation of factoids, this blissful state is labored ignorance. Just when the smoke of Mueller has dissipated, the somnambulists are reawakened. Now, Attorney General William Barr wants to pick at the scabs and identify government officials who misused their positions to spy on Donald Trump’s campaign.

According to the Wall Street Journal, “new revelations could lead to lawsuits, formal disciplinary action, lost jobs, even criminal prosecutions.” With even more scaffolds in the offing, important questions surface like Atlantis.

Will there be enough lumber? Will we end up deforesting Appalachia? Will there be enough Washington lawyers to board this gravy train? Can Congress divert its attention from the more urgent internecine warfare it is currently engaged in? Where is Vince Foster when you need him?

One has to wonder: Isn’t the Washington rug big enough to sweep all this inuendo and evidence under it?


Jeffrey R Smith teaches mathematics at Encinal High School.