So that’s it?
The Russians spent some money buying Americans to demonstrate? Or just found kindred spirits online to do it free? Or, horror of horrors, Russians lied on their visa applications? Or, Americans cheated on their tax returns? Or, Americans made “false statements” to FBI investigators when, as in the Flynn debacle, the bureau had already said there were no lies?
That’s the output thus far from Team Mueller with regard to their mission to investigate whether there was Russian meddling in our presidential election in 2016, and whether Americans “colluded” with the Russians in such endeavors. So far, we haven’t seen anyone indicted for such matters, but we do see truly shocking and genuinely dangerous corruption among the investigators and the enforcers.
The corruption is widespread throughout our society; it runs from the top of the FBI in Washington to the Broward County police in south Florida. Sometimes it seems tied to payoffs and other times it’s rooted in the political corruption that we can easily see. It doesn’t require special prosecutors to show it, and it’s unquestionably the greatest threat we face. Often it takes the form of our “leaders” ignoring real crimes, and alleging “process crimes.”
That is seemingly the Mueller story. Instead of charging collusion, the Mueller team is cracking down on tax evasion. It’s the Al Capone model: when Eliot Ness couldn’t convict Capone and his mob for their terrible crimes, they got him on taxes. The Mueller charges may turn out to be legitimate, but do not fit the official mission statement nor address the serious question of Russian espionage and disinformation.
What’s going on? Reading their private correspondence, it seems that the FBI officials from James Comey and Andrew McCabe on down were primarily interested in the defeat of Trump, both before and after the election, rather than in thwarting Russians. Why? I think primarily because that was the best way to advance, although in time we may find that money was involved. There certainly is money involed in another case where the Justice Department and the FBI failed to act as they clearly should have: the Awan family, which worked for Debbie Wasserman Schultz, gained access to seemingly endless Congressional files and was paid handsomely by Wasserman Schultz and the Democratic Party. One member of the group was astonishingly permitted to leave the country with illegal amounts of cash.
Coincidentally, the Florida school massacre occurred in the congressional district of Wasserman Schultz, and the local police, under criticism for their failure to prevent the bloodletting, are facing dozens of investigations for criminal misconduct.
Lots of corruption. Hard to track it all.
The school massacre fits the pattern of inaction. There was abundant evidence the killer was going to do some terrible thing, but no preventive action was taken. Then the attack took place, and the protectors did nothing. They stayed outside. Are you surprised? Not I. It seems like only yesterday, following the bloodshed in places like Baltimore and Ferguson, that there was a mini-mass movement aimed at the cops who tried to maintain order. Cops and armed guards “learned a lesson.” Don’t intervene, and above all, don’t shoot. Anyone. You may well be punished, at a minimum you’ll likely to be prosecuted, and depending on your good or bad luck, you may be unemployed. Can you say “unpaid leave?”
So when the Florida cops stayed away, I wasn’t surprised. I’m surprised when someone does the tough, good thing.
In some cases, they’ve been ordered to stay away. Nearly thirty years ago, Rael Jean Isaac and Virginia Hurt wrote a very important book, Madness in the Streets, documenting the movement that made it all but impossible to place deranged people in mental institutions. But that isn’t what happened in the Broward case. The cops were called to save schoolchildren and they didn’t.
This is corruption. The cops know they are supposed to act (for a while, they were supposed to wait for the SWAT team to arrive, but that is pretty much ancient history). They don’t act, primarily because they dread the consequences of their actions. What if they make a mistake? What if they hit the wrong target and wound or kill a student, say?
Over and over again, we see the same pattern: our leaders have abundant information, but they do not act. Often they act a la the Al Capone model: don’t go after the prime targets for the damage they are doing to us, but for some violation that can be safely prosecuted.
Now go to the top: the highest levels of the FBI, the best of our best. As in Florida, our law-enforcement authorities ignored abundant evidence. We know, from public accounts, that Hillary used a private server for classified government communications. We know that President Obama was in the loop, using a pseudonym. But Obama was the president, and Hillary was in line to succeed him. So if you move against Hillary and she wins, you can kiss goodbye to that bonus, or promotion.
You know you’re supposed to find out what that private server was being used for. It’s a virtual certainty that secrets were sent and received. You’re supposed to say that to the Justice Department, which is supposed to prosecute such violations of national security. Yet, as the cops in Florida, the FBI top brass did nothing of the sort.
Why? In part, surely, because of politics (wherever you look, you find Hillary supporters). But also because the whole system is corrupt. In many ways.
Do you want a job in the next administration? Then you should shut up about such matters. Which they (mostly) did. You don’t have to be a Democratic loyalist to behave this way. You have only to be ambitious. And once ambition, personal ambition, becomes a central driving force, all sorts of corruption is enabled.
Richard Pollock has found a strikingly high level of sexual malfeasance in Comey’s FBI, suggesting that the Hollywood pattern extends from entertainment into law enforcement. Remember that the Lisa Page-Peter Strock text messages, which have provided an unexpected window into the FBI’s anti-Trump schemes, were part of an adulterous affair. I’ll bet we’ll find plenty of sexual corruption in Broward County before it’s over. There are 66 pending cases of misconduct against Sheriff Israel’s minions. Some of them are heavy favorites to be part of the broader corruption.
Bottom line: As Machiavelli wrote, you can replace a corrupt leader or even a corrupt ruling class. But what do we do if the whole society goes rotten?
That’s our problem.