Sunday, December 30, 2018

Are You Kidding Me?

It's hard to overstate the debt of gratitude that conservatives owe to sundance at Conservative Tree House for the quantity and quality of information he has brought to bear on the Russia Hoax. Just yesterday he had an excellent reprise, tying various threads together: Why Flynn? – A Confluence of Highly Charged Political Events … Therefore to read the very same day such a ... I want to choose the right word ... deeply unserious blog by the same author is beyond disappointing. Way beyond. And yet that's truly about the kindest thing I can say about Solutions?

The problem for which sundance claims to have a solution is the institutional corruption of our federal justice system, specifically the politicization of the DoJ and FBI:

The institutions of the DOJ and FBI are corrupted; not just a few people within it, but rather the entire apparatus has been weaponized, over time, by participating political members who have politicized every function within the institution.

Let's grant the premise for the sake of the argument. What is sundance's solution?

Any solution has to come from a position external to the organization or the cycle will simply continue.
Putting a former U.S. DOJ official in charge of the DOJ, regardless of former term or professional/honorable intent, only maintains the status quo. The career mechanisms inside the organization will expel any action adverse to their interests, and the rules are set to aide their retention.

He's speaking here of Bill Barr, Trump's nominee to replace Jeff Sessions as AG. And so there's no chance that you'll mistake who he has in mind, he has a picture:

In other words, not one single person who has previously worked for DoJ need apply. They're all simply part of the problem and, anyway, would be doomed, all of them without exception and without regard for experience, talent or intentions, to failure--which will come as a major letdown for all the Joe DiGenova fans out there in the conservative blogosphere. sundance knows this would be the inevitable outcome because, well, just because.

So, sundance rules out everyone with past experience, everyone who might understand the workings of the institutions, anyone who could anticipate sources of trouble, anyone who might know where likely pressure points might be to change those institutions most effectively, anyone who might have personal knowledge of qualified individuals to bring in to help carry out reforms. Here's his solution:

When an institution is failing top-to-bottom successful change is only viable when it is forced from a position external to the current corrupt enterprise.  ...
[Reminder: Barr hasn't been 'internal' to the 'current corrupt enterprise' since ... 1993! sundance seems to favor a lifetime ban on conservative ex-officials. And if you don't believe Barr is conservative, then do yourself a favor and read his Wikipedia page.] 
The need to look externally for officials to change the inherent nature and disposition of the organization is why CTH previously suggested the Judicial Branch (federal judges) should be considered as a likely candidate pool to correct the U.S Department of Justice.
One possible solution would be to fire every U.S. Attorney and every Asst. U.S. Attorney, in every office across the entire country, and simultaneously replace them with former or current federal judges.

This is like being in the middle of a pennant race with a lead and trading all your veterans for future draft picks, then calling up your AAA players--and seriously expecting to win. Is he kidding? Field a team of rookies? Apparently he's not kidding.

Just from a personal standpoint, let me say that during my working days I worked under the leadership of two former federal judges (Webster and Freeh), and it's not a solution I would recommend. Perhaps my experience prejudices me. Still ...

Consider what sundance says:

The career mechanisms inside the organization will expel any action adverse to their interests, and the rules are set to aide their retention.

Of course this is true--but is it really an effective strategy, to bring in people who have no experience in the management of large, politicized institutions that will resist reform tooth and nail and expect them to succeed? The fact is, much of the difficulty in gaining or regaining control of these institutions lies in the legal, regulatory, and sometimes even constitutional restraints that even an Attorney General must operate under. It's not as if these "outsiders" will be able to just wave a magic wand and change everything overnight. As history has shown, no matter how bad things seem, getting worse is always a very real possibility. And of all categories of people to set up as a likely candidate pool to magically transform politicized institutions--the federal judiciary?

For starters, I thought the whole point of being a federal judge--from a strictly day to day workplace experience--was job security like no other job in the world. With the added attraction of having the whole world kissing your ass all day long, if that's your thing. Your honor this, your honor that, if it pleases the court ('court'--that would be you, as a judge). Does he seriously expect people who gravitate to that sort of job to chuck it all and take on the endless headaches of managing the legal prima donnas at DoJ? That's the institutional equivalent of attempting to herd cats! Good luck drawing on that candidate pool--most of them aren't that foolhardy.

But even more basically, what makes sundance think that federal judges are somehow non-politicized? How does he think federal judges became federal judges in the first place? By resolutely shunning the politicians who would nominate them? Please!

Further, is sundance really unaware of how much to blame the federal judiciary is for the mess that this country currently finds itself in? Of course they're not the only problem--we have the whole spectrum of politicians and a feckless citizenry to draw on when it comes to assigning blame, but for sheer irreversible willfulness it's hard to top the federal judiciary. And if sundance says he only means conservative federal judges, well: Sandra Day O'Connor; Anthony Kennedy, David Souter--for starters.

No. Just no. This "solution" is no solution at all.


  1. I have learned a lot from reading Sundance. Like any of us, he is not perfect. My approach is to read a lot of sources such as Sundance, Meaning in History, Jeff Carlson, Chuck Ross, Techno Fog, The Federalist, Byron York, Paul Sperry, Power Line, Town Hall, Sara Carter and Dan Bongino. There are others, too, and I am hesitant to even compose this list because I know that I'll forget others who deserve mention. Some of my sources snipe at each other, such as Sundance and Jeff. I know that they diverge on the subject of Rod Rosenstein and Robert Mueller. Regardless, to me, we are on the same team.

    Sometimes I despair of hope that we'll ever see the perpetrators face justice. Other days I think that Donald Trump hopes the winning hand. I believe that this is a titanic clash.

    Like you, I am a conservative Catholic. As an imperfect man, I constantly strive to remember that I am to trust in the LORD, not men.

    Happy New Year and I'm so glad that I discovered you through reading the American Thinker. I really like the way that you engage in dialogue with your readers. It says a lot about you. You could ignore me but you are always gracious to respond to my posts, as well as other posts.

  2. Joe, if someone is going to take the trouble to not only read what I've written but comment intelligently I feel an obligation to respond.

    I rely on the same people that you do, largely. Re sundance, I was very frustrated when I read that blog. It's as if he thinks that we can somehow abolish politics--which is to say, the human condition. Human beings are imperfect and we have to start from and live with that fact--federal judges, of all people, are no exception.

    Tx, and happy New Year to you as well.

  3. Thanks, Mark, for your wise article.

    Many citizens are giving up hope, however, that anybody with true integrity will fix this appalling situation in DOJ/FBI. Citizens are disappointed, frustrated and angry.

    Fixing the situation is rather simple.

    * DOJ/FBI should publish a frank report telling how this investigation was concocted and developed within DOJ/FBI.

    * The culprits should be identified publicly and disciplined.

    * Procedures should be improved so that it does not happen again.

    Why can't that be done? Because it would interfere in the Special Counsel's investigation? Really? How would it interfere?


    We should expect to be disappointed also by the Horowitz and Huber investigations.

    That's why people like Sundance think that the problem will be fixed, if ever, only by outsiders. DOJ/FBI is determined to stonewall and to cover up its misdeeds forever, shamelessly.


    Even after Mueller finishes his report, the stonewalling and covering-up will continue. DOJ/FBI will concoct other excuses to refuse to provide information, because some ohter investigation supposedly might be compromised.


    DOJ/FBI is ruining its reputation and credibly for many years -- especially among Republicans, who have been those agencies' most loyal supporters and defenders during the past decades.

    DOJ/FBI apparently is counting on the political patronage of the Democrats in the future. We'll see how that will turn out.

  4. Mike, I've seen a lot of the sentiments you describe in the comments to pieces I've published at American Thinker: disappointment, frustration, and anger. And above all the desire for some "outsider" to come riding in out of the West (choose your direction) to save the country. As I remarked to Joe, it won't happen that way. Or not again. You might say it's already happened once--with Trump's victory exposing for anyone who cares to look the true nature of our Establishment. But that's more or less the big picture. Victory in detail will require people with in depth knowledge of that Establishment. That's why I'm hopeful for Barr. His published remarks are far more forthright than I've seen from anyone with real insider status, and he appears to be a man of principle. Hopefully he won't disappoint. Politics won't be abolished, but perhaps it can be set on a new direction. The problem in that regard--and here I end the year on a down note--is that will take the active involvement of an informed citizenry. I just don't know whether that's possible.

  5. Crossing your fingers and hoping that Barr will somehow rise to the challenge and right the ship is weak broth for what ails us. Sundance actually understates the severity and expansiveness of corruption within the core institutions of the Executive Branch (it's not just DOJ/FBI, but also State, CIA, IRS, EPA and many others). No meaningful remedy can or will come out of DC, and praying for the arrival of a white knight is naive and distracts from the hard truth of what must be done. It will once again fall upon the citizens of Mainstreet USA to rebel against a corrupt and dysfunctional government and restore a commitment to Constitutional Principles and the Rule of Law. The easy solutions are no longer on the menu. The next step is 1776 all over again.

  6. Unknown, I acknowledge the strength of your view, but for the time being I prefer to hope that the body public can send the necessary message. Trump's challenge to the Empire at least gives us hope. The other reservation I would voice is whether Mainstreet USA is up to the job you suggest. Or are they too decimated by opioids? Are their children so far indoctrinated as to be, for a generation at least, impervious to the demands of reality?

    Further, the problem is not merely the corruption but the underlying philosophy or, better, ideology, behind the system and its corruption. That's what I originally started this blog to do--to analyze what ails the West, starting from its origins.

  7. Actually, you are more insightful than you realize. Religious teachings and practice are fundamental to a healthy society, and our modern culture is destroying that cornerstone bit-by-bit. The opoid epidemic is a symptom of our moral decay, and it's getting worse at a faster pace because too many of our leaders (political and otherwise) no longer embrace the wisdom of religious ethos. But there is still a strong current of moral men and women in rural Heartland USA, and they are no trivial force for goodness. You just need to look to the yellow vest protest in France to see that the tide can turn quickly. As for the means and methods to beat back an evolving tyranny in DC, the next rebellion won't look like Concord Green. That plays into the strengths of a tyrannical police state with overwhelming resources, privacy invasion, and ruthlessness. Our corrupt government has many vital weaknesses, and that is where the battle will be fought.

  8. "the tide can turn quickly."


    "As for the means and methods to beat back an evolving tyranny in DC, the next rebellion won't look like Concord Green. ... Our corrupt government has many vital weaknesses, and that is where the battle will be fought."

    But don't forget that the American Revolution was led by the colonial elite, most of whom had been part of the British regime in America in one way or another.

    "there is still a strong current of moral men and women in rural Heartland USA"

    As well as moral men like Barr and others who are past or even current members of government (including the judiciary that I lampoon). Their leadership, management, communication, and organizational skills should not be lightly dismissed. Your rural America will need those skills.

  9. In relation to the RussiaGate hoax, a new name to keep in mind is Christopher Nigel Donnelly.

    [quote; emphasis added]

    Christopher Nigel Donnelly (CND) is the co-director of The Institute for Statecraft and founder of its offshoot Integrity Initiative. The Initiative claims to "Defend Democracy Against Disinformation".

    The Integrity Initiative does this by planting disinformation about alleged Russian influence through journalists 'clusters' throughout Europe and the United States.

    Both, the Institute as well as the Initiative, claim to be independent Non-Government Organizations. Both are financed by the British government, NATO and other state donors.

    Among the documents lifted by some anonymous person from the servers of the Institute we find several papers about Donnelly as well as some memos written by him. They show a russophobe mind with a lack of realistic strategic thought. ....

    From his curriculum vitae, we learn that Donnelly is a long-time soldier in the British Army Intelligence Corps where he established and led the Soviet Studies Research Centre at RMA Sandhurst. He later was involved in creating the US Army’s Foreign Military Studies Office (FMSO) at Ft. Leavenworth. He worked at the British Ministry of Defence and as an advisor to several Secretaries General of NATO. He is a director of the Institute for Statecraft since 2010. Donnelly also advises the Foreign Minister of Lithuania. He is a "Security and Justice Senior Mentor" of the UK’s Stabilisation Unit which is tasked with destabilizing various countries. He serves as a Honorary Colonel of the Specialist Group Military Intelligence (SGMI).

    During his time as military intelligence analyst in the 1980s Donnelly wrote several books and papers about the Soviet Union and its military.

    Donnelly seems to be obsessed with the 'Russian threat' and is determined to fight it by all means. ...

    The whole collusion claim is a creation by 'former' British intelligence operatives who likely acted on request of U.S. intelligence leaders Clapper and Brennan. How deep was the Russia specialist Chris Donnelly and his Institute for Statecraft involved in this endeavor?

    After reading through all the released Initiative papers and lists one gets the impression of a secret military intelligence operation, disguised as a public NGO. Financed by millions of government money the Institute for Statecraft and the Integrity Initiative work under a charity label to create and disseminate disinformation to the global public and back into the government and military itself.

    The paranoia about Russia, which objectively does way less harm than the 'western' "rules based system" constantly creates, is illogical and not based on factual analysis. It creates Russia as an "enemy" when it is none. It hypes a "threat" out of hot air. The only people who profit from this are the propagandists themselves and the companies and people who back them.

    The Initiatives motto "Defend Democracy Against Disinformation" is a truly Orwellian construct. By disseminating propaganda and using it to influence the public, parliament, the military and governments, the Institute actively undermines the democratic process that depends on the free availability of truthful information. ...

    [end quote]

  10. Tx Mike. Obviously it will take me a while to work through all that. However, as you know, I have long regarded this British angle to be perhaps the very center of the entire Russia Hoax. Back in September I set out what I then understood of this aspect, without claiming to have the entire picture. First in The Central Scandal of the Russia Hoax and then in a summary form in What Are Our 'Allies' Afraid Of? where I added references to two relevant blogs from February, 2018. It's worth requoting a summary paragraph--or two:


    This conspiracy that I've referred to was a conspiracy that involved the core institutions of the Executive Branch of government: the Department of Justice--including the FBI--the "Intelligence Community" generally, including the CIA and DNI, and the Department of State. But if all this weren't appalling enough, this conspiracy against the integrity of our fundamental institutions and our courts--even our electoral processes--extended to enlisting the cooperation of the intelligence agencies of a foreign power--Great Britain (GCHQ and MI6), not Russia!--against our own government.


    This may be speculative, but there is a possibility that those FD-302s [the Bruce Ohr 302s] may contain references to Steele's relations with British intelligence agencies--MI6 and GCHQ in particular. If so, they could be explosive in providing further light on collusion of American intelligence with the intelligence services of a foreign power against the US government.

    [end quote]

    Mike, I'll have to spend some time with that material. However, I'll add this re the impact on US politics. Trump, when delaying declass, characterized what he has seen as "devastating" to the Dems--and ipso facto to the IC and Deep State generally. Note, in particular, that the declass order included communications that we've seen absolutely nothing of: Comey and McCabe emails and texts and the Ohr 302s re his contacts with Steele. The simple existence of this almost certainly explosive evidence suggests to me that Trump WILL eventually use it. The notion that he would "go quietly into that night" with such a weapon at his disposal seems unpersuasive to me.

  11. Lee Smith is out with an article in The Federalist. In it, he points out something that caught my eye some time ago, but I hadn't made the connection to the FISA application because of the redactions. Smith points out that on October 18, 2016, Steele reworked an earlier report from the dossier to include the crime of bribery in the alleged meeting between Page and Selchin. The earlier report from July 19, 2016 only had Page and Selchin discussing the lifting of sanctions, something that isn't illegal. The later rewrite then includes paying Page off a brokerage fee for the sale of a portion of Rosneft. Three days after this new report is "sent" to the FBI, the Page FISA application is delivered to the court for its approval. I will bet the farm that one of the redacted sections includes this bribery scheme delivered just 3 days earlier.

    Also in the Smith essay, he outlines how most of the dossier was probably constructed by borrowing details from publicly available information, but then dosed with gobs of fiction. Smith points out of these little details- the alleged meeting between Putin and Yanukovich in Volgograd. However, it turns out that the two men were in the city 3 days apart, not at the same time- all of which was in the public domain, but either got misread, or the writers didn't think anyone would look closely enough.

  12. Yes, Yancey, I discussed a number of issues with him, including the bribery statute, although in this article he quotes me only re the need for a criminal violation for FISA on an USPER. I've written about the possible applicability of the bribery statute several times. IMO, the early reference in the dossier of a sanctions relief for dirt on Hillary quid pro quo was enough to qualify as bribery scheme in a general sense--the statute requires simply an exchange of a "thing of value", and it can be in kind as well as in cash. That allegation was good enough for a general smear, but to use the bribery statute to help get the FISA the trick was to tie the bribery scheme to the specific person they wanted to get the FISA on. That's what the further embellishment of Page's supposed 19% deal accomplishes, so then bribery can be used as the criminal predicate in the Page FISA application--I totally agree with you. That last part is Smith's development, and a nice insight. When it's laid out like that you get a nice picture of what the FBI and DoJ were doing on an almost day to day basis.

    Like you I liked very much the way Smith "outlines how most of the dossier was probably constructed by borrowing details from publicly available information, but then dosed with gobs of fiction." Again, we get a vivid picture of how they worked, better than just a theory.

    Another aspect that Smith gets at, but without too much development, is the relationship of Steele and the FBI. Who thinks the FBI didn't know Steele was working for the Clinton campaign as part of Simpson's oppo research shop at Fusion GPS? Of course they knew, just as DoJ knew, in the person of Bruce Ohr. So, the FBI's story is that they had no idea that Fusion (Simpson/Steele) was also leaking to the media? Please--that was Simpson's whole business model: leaking to the media is exactly what an oppo research shop does! So if the FBI knew that Steele was working for Fusion, how can they reasonably "admonish" or "fire" him for doing his job with Fusion? All they should care about is getting the same info from him that he's coming up with in his job for Fusion. So, I think the stuff about admonishing and firing was just the FBI's CYA job to allow them to claim some distance from Steele if his role became public. They came up with the admonishing/firing CYA scam around the time it looked like it was going public in a major way.

  13. The solution to our partisan DOJ is to fight fire with fire.
    Mueller has persecuted only Republicans (coincidentally).
    Trump's AG could appoint a new Special Council to investigate/persecute only Democrats (coincidentally).
    Only by punishing Democrats will Democrats stop using the DOJ to attack Republicans.

  14. dfp21, as I commented earlier, I'm pretty sure that Barr is not interested in appointing a Special Counsel--on constitutional grounds. Just because Dems do it doesn't mean it's a good thing. I agree with that.

    That said, however, there is plenty that an AG can do about investigating wrongdoing by Dems that has been ignored. In fact, a year or so ago Barr actually told the NYT that there was more reason to investigate Hillary than Trump, that he considered that DoJ had shirked its responsibility. So, there's hope. The past two years have seen outrageous wrongdoing brought out into the open--perhaps Trump's greatest achievement, the unmasking of the Deep Swamp.

  15. I'm not the only one who says we must eventually "fight fire with fire".

    "The American republic’s essence had been self-restraint toward fellow citizens deemed equals. The Constitution of 1787 had been its paradigm. Under its words and by its laws, Americans had enjoyed safety and predictability for themselves and their way of life. But Progressives’ subordination of the Constitution, laws, and institutions to their own purposes and for their own primacy ended all that. The rest of America’s increasing realization that only fire can fight fire has followed naturally.

    This is our revolution: Because a majority of Americans now no longer share basic sympathies and trust, because they no longer regard each other as worthy of equal consideration, the public and private practices that once had made our Republic are now beyond reasonable hope of restoration. Strife can only mount until some new equilibrium among us arises."

  16. I'm sure you're not, dfp21, and I understand your position. All I'm saying is that an AG--any AG--is not the guy to lead a revolution.

    As it happens, I read a book review at Amazon today that eloquently expresses your sentiments and those of the author you quote: "Progressives’ subordination of the Constitution, laws, and institutions to their own purposes and for their own primacy ..."

    The review is far too long to quote here. The book that's reviewed is by a well known blogger: The Judiciary's Class War. Here's a link directly to the comment, which is very much worth reading--22 people found it worthwhile: “Front-Row Kids/Back-Row Kids”: Adroit Analysis, With Inadequate Solutions.