The Damaging Impact of the FBI’s Behavior: Insights from John Durham’s Report

The recent release of John Durham’s report has shed light on the behavior of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and its potential impact on the foundations of our republic. The report highlights concerning actions taken by individuals within the FBI during the investigation into alleged Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. These revelations rightfully raise questions about the integrity and impartiality of the nation’s top law enforcement agency, and their implications are far-reaching.

One of the fundamental pillars of our system is the requirement that our institutions adhere to the rule of law. The FBI’s actions, as outlined in Durham’s report, has eroded our ability to trust that our institutions adhere to that requirement. When law enforcement agencies act with bias, pursuing political agendas, or abusing their power, it undermines the faith citizens have in their government. A loss of public trust weakens the very fabric of our republic and can sow divisions that are difficult to mend.

The report exposes that members of the FBI were motivated by extreme partisan biases during the investigation. Regardless of political affiliations, it is crucial that law enforcement agencies remain neutral and independent, free from any favoritism or political motivations. Political bias undermines the core principles of justice and equality that our republic is built upon. It is imperative that the FBI addresses these concerns and takes steps to ensure its agents adhere to the highest standards of professionalism and impartiality.

The findings in the report also demonstrates egregious abuses of power within the FBI. The misuse of surveillance tools, misleading information, and the withholding of exculpatory evidence undermine the principles of due process and fairness. Such actions not only harm the individuals directly affected but also erode the trust citizens place in the justice system as a whole. Upholding the rule of law is crucial for the functioning of our democracy, and any abuse of power within law enforcement agencies must be thoroughly investigated and shutdown.

It is essential that the FBI takes swift and decisive action to address the issues raised in Durham’s report. Holding individuals accountable for their wrongdoing is necessary to restore public confidence in the agency. Transparent internal investigations, robust oversight mechanisms, and a commitment to upholding the principles of justice and impartiality are crucial for the FBI to regain its credibility. The findings presented in John Durham’s report have unveiled a toxic culture at the FBI that manifested itself in troubling behavior during the investigation into the false claim of “Russian interference” in the 2016 election. These revelations not only highlight individual misconduct but also point to a deeper issue—this toxic culture that has permeated the agency. The implications of such a culture are far-reaching, as it undermines the foundations of our republic, erodes public trust, and compromises the principles of justice and equality.

Addressing this negative culture within the FBI is of paramount importance. It requires a comprehensive evaluation of internal processes, a commitment to transparency, and a dedication to fostering an environment of integrity, professionalism, and impartiality. Such cultural transformation can only be achieved through strong leadership, rigorous training, and a steadfast commitment to upholding the highest ethical standards.

The FBI must prioritize the cultivation of a culture that values truth, fairness, and the unbiased pursuit of justice. By addressing the underlying noxious elements, the agency can begin the process of rebuilding public trust and restoring its reputation as a cornerstone of law enforcement. Only by rooting out this toxic culture can the FBI regain its credibility and ensure that its actions align with the principles that our republic is founded upon.

In conclusion, it is clear that the problems within the FBI extend beyond individual misconduct. They stem from a corrupted culture that has seeped into the very fabric of the agency. Recognizing and rectifying this issue is no small task but it is essential for restoring the integrity of the FBI and maintaining public confidence in our law enforcement institutions. It is a critical endeavor that demands unwavering commitment, transparency, and a dedication to upholding the principles that define our nation’s founding ideals.

Applying "Getting to Yes" Principles in Debt Ceiling Negotiations


I am a fan of the groundbreaking book “Getting to Yes: Negotiating Agreement Without Giving In,” by Roger Fisher, William Ury, and Bruce Patton. The principles in that book are not all inclusive of every method of negotiation, but they are the best.

Speaking of negations, the debt ceiling negotiations in the United States often lead to contentious debates and political standoffs. To overcome these challenges and reach mutually beneficial agreements, it is essential for lawmakers to adopt effective negotiation strategies. In this article I will explore how the principles outlined in “Getting to Yes” can be applied to debt ceiling negotiations, fostering collaboration and achieving successful outcomes.

1. Separate People from the Problem:

Debt ceiling negotiations are often charged with strong emotions and political ideologies. To create an environment conducive to productive discussions, it is crucial to separate the individuals involved from the problem at hand. Focus on the financial challenges, economic implications, and long-term consequences of not reaching an agreement, rather than engaging in personal attacks or blame games.

2. Focus on Interests, Not Positions:

Rather than getting fixated on rigid positions, negotiators should identify and understand the underlying interests driving each party. By uncovering the motivations and concerns of all stakeholders, common ground can be discovered. For example, Republicans may prioritize fiscal responsibility, while Democrats may prioritize social programs. Identifying shared goals and interests allows for creative solutions that address the concerns of all parties involved.

3. Generate Options for Mutual Gain:

Debt ceiling negotiations often become polarized due to a limited set of perceived solutions. However, by actively engaging in brainstorming and generating multiple options, negotiators can expand the possibilities for mutual gain. Encourage open dialogue and consider alternative approaches that address the concerns of each party. This may involve exploring revenue increases, spending cuts, or structural reforms that promote fiscal sustainability while protecting vital programs.

4. Use Objective Criteria:

In “Getting to Yes,” the authors emphasize the importance of using objective criteria to guide decision-making. In debt ceiling negotiations, it is beneficial to rely on economic indicators, expert analysis, and historical precedents to inform the discussions. Utilize data-driven arguments and trusted sources to support proposals and ensure fairness in decision-making. This approach helps depersonalize the negotiation process and provides a basis for reaching consensus.

5. Insist on Fair Process:

A fair and transparent negotiation process is vital for building trust and maintaining the legitimacy of the agreement. Ensure that all parties have an opportunity to express their concerns, share information, and participate in the decision-making process. Create mechanisms for open dialogue, such as regular meetings, briefings, and expert testimonies, to foster understanding and collaboration.

6. Maintain Open Communication:

Effective communication is key to successful negotiations. Encourage all parties to express their interests, concerns, and ideas openly and honestly. Actively listen to each other, seeking to understand rather than simply waiting to respond. Maintain ongoing communication channels throughout the negotiation process to address emerging issues and build rapport.

In Conclusion:

Debt ceiling negotiations can be highly contentious, but by applying the principles outlined in “Getting to Yes,” lawmakers could foster a collaborative environment and reach mutually beneficial agreements if that were their desire. By separating people from the problem, focusing on interests, generating options, using objective criteria, insisting on a fair process, and maintaining open communication, negotiators can transcend partisan divides and find innovative solutions. Embracing this principled approach to negotiation would enable policymakers to navigate the complex challenges of the debt ceiling while promoting the long-term financial stability and well-being of the nation.

The United States faces periodic debates and challenges over raising the debt ceiling, which refers to the statutory limit on the amount of debt the government can incur. These debates often raise questions about the relationship between the debt ceiling and the 14th Amendment of the United States Constitution. While some argue that the 14th Amendment requires Congress to increase the debt ceiling to avoid default, a careful examination of the amendment suggests otherwise. This article aims to clarify the misconceptions surrounding the 14th Amendment and explain why it does not mandate an automatic increase in the debt ceiling.

The 14th Amendment was ratified in 1868 and primarily addresses issues related to citizenship, equal protection, due process, and the rights of formerly enslaved individuals. Section 4 of the amendment states, "The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law, including debts incurred for payment of pensions and bounties for services in suppressing insurrection or rebellion, shall not be questioned."

While Section 4 of the 14th Amendment explicitly protects the validity of the public debt, it does not provide an independent mechanism for raising the debt ceiling. The purpose of this clause is to ensure the stability and credibility of the government's financial obligations. It affirms that the debts already incurred by Congress through legal means are valid and should be honored.

The 14th Amendment does not grant the President or any branch of government unilateral authority to bypass the legislative process and increase the debt ceiling. The power to raise or lower the debt ceiling lies firmly within the purview of Congress as specified in Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution, which grants Congress the authority to "borrow money on the credit of the United States."

The U.S. Constitution establishes a system of separation of powers, dividing authority among the three branches of government to prevent any single branch from becoming too powerful. Congress, as the legislative branch, holds the authority to make decisions on fiscal matters, including the debt ceiling.

The 14th Amendment, as a constitutional provision, does not supersede or override the explicit power of Congress to determine the debt ceiling. To interpret Section 4 as granting unilateral authority to increase the debt ceiling would undermine the fundamental principles of constitutional governance and upset the balance of powers.

The responsibility to address the debt ceiling lies with Congress. It is through the legislative process that Congress must deliberate, negotiate, and make informed decisions about raising or adjusting the debt ceiling. This process allows for a careful examination of fiscal priorities, weighing the potential consequences of increased debt against the need to meet existing financial obligations.

While Section 4 of the 14th Amendment emphasizes the importance of honoring the public debt, it does not confer a constitutional obligation on Congress to increase the debt ceiling and mortgage our children's future. The power to determine the debt ceiling resides within the legislative branch, as outlined in the Constitution's separation of powers. The debates surrounding the debt ceiling should be seen as an opportunity for Congress to engage in responsible fiscal deliberation and prioritize the nation's financial stability. By upholding the principles of the Constitution, maintaining the separation of powers, and engaging in prudent fiscal decision-making, the United States can effectively manage its debt while ensuring the credibility of its financial commitments. 

Ballinger of Ozark joins NACL

 Ballinger of Ozark joins NACL

Former State Sen. Bob Ballinger, R-Ozark, has become the Director of Law and Policy for the National Association of Christian Lawmakers, the group announced Monday.

The National Association of Christian Lawmakers is a nonprofit association founded by former state Sen. Jason Rapert, R-Conway, to support city, county, state and federal lawmakers across the nation, the association said in a news release.

Ballinger, an attorney, said working as the association's director of law and policy will be his primary job. He currently serves as the Arkansas state chair for the association and is a founding member of the association.

"I am humbled and blessed to have the opportunity to stay engaged in the battle alongside NACL," he said in the news release. "More than ever, our families and values are under attack. What has made our country great is actually under attack. It is a privilege to work with NACL to provide support to Christian lawmakers across the nation who are willing to stand in the gap."

-- Michael R. Wickline