June’s 1st Forum

FILED UNDER: Open Forum
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Peter Navarro subpoena suggests DoJ may be investigating Trump

    The confounding aspect of this grand jury subpoena, according to three former assistant US attorneys who spoke on the condition of anonymity, is that targets of investigations are rarely subpoenaed. And “process” charges such as contempt do not require subpoenas for documents.

    But the fact that Trump is specifically named in the subpoena – a reference that the justice department would not have made lightly – and the specific requests for Navarro’s communications with Trump could indicate that this is a criminal investigation examining Trump.

    The internal US attorney’s office number and the ID number of the grand jury subpoena to Navarro suggests that the investigation is a new line of inquiry for the justice department. Variants of #GJ2022052590979 or USAO #2022R00631 have not surfaced on other subpoenas.
    ………………………
    Navarro was not told when he was served with the grand jury subpoena whether he was a target or a subject of the investigation. If he was a target, that might indicate the subpoena was related to a contempt case. If he was a subject, it could make him part of a wider inquiry.

    The distinction also raises a third possibility, according to the former assistant US attorneys: he may be a target for a contempt case, and also a subject in a different case – and prosecutors might use the contempt case as leverage to gain cooperation for the other.

    A spokesman for the justice department and the US attorney’s office did not respond to requests for comment.

    Informed speculation but nothing more.

  2. Scott says:

    Chris Tomlinson usually writes a business column but he writes on many other subjects also.

    This is behind a paywall so the link won’t do much but…

    Fear over safety fuels this gun purchase

    I bought one of the 18.5 million guns sold in the United States last year.

    Stores didn’t have many options in easily concealable 9mm because, in 2020, they’d sold the most guns on record, about 21 million. I bought mine for the same reason as most people: I fear my fellow Americans.

    I’m no stranger to guns or danger. After spending seven years on active duty in the U.S. Army, I reported from the front lines of nine wars over 14 years. I routinely ran toward gunfire with nothing but a protective vest, a ballistic helmet, a camera and a notepad.

    I’ve come under fire hundreds of times but never carried a weapon and hadn’t owned a gun in almost 30 years.

    U.S. gun violence and political extremism convinced me to rearm. Threatening messages for my columns and the release of my book “Forget the Alamo” last year made me wonder. How would I feel if someone knocked down my front door or followed me after a public appearance and I was unarmed?

    I’d spent time with the militiamen who occasionally post outside the Alamo in full combat gear, promising to defend their version of Texas history with assault rifles. When my coauthors and I spoke in San Antonio, police assigned three plainclothes officers to protect us after several threats.

    These days, armed people in battle dress show up for almost every protest. I see people in tactical gear on the running trail every day. The Jan. 6 attack proved some Americans will use violence to accomplish political goals.

    When I told people I was going to the range to regain my handgun proficiency, folks I thought would never own a gun asked if they could bring their pistols and practice, too.

    Progressives are buying guns because so many right-wingers are brandishing guns. Many are also terrified that anyone 18 years or older without a record can buy an assault rifle and hundreds of rounds of ammunition and carry them in public.

    Marxist, socialist and even Black Panther-inspired gun clubs are growing across the country.

    4
  3. Jen says:

    I’ve watched the two released episodes of Disney+ “Obi Wan Kenobi.” It’s fun to watch, but for me, the two shining stars are Moses Ingram as Reva and Vivien Blair as young Leia. Flea is fun to watch, and Kumail Nanjiani is too.

    Perhaps totally predictably, the racist, misogynistic “fans” are at it again, tearing up Ingram and Blair, who are wonderful actors (one of whom is a CHILD). It’s disgusting.

    1
  4. OzarkHillbilly says:

    About 4,500 years ago, a single seed – spawned from two different seagrass species – found itself nestled in a favourable spot somewhere in what is now known as Shark Bay, just off Australia’s west coast.

    Left to its own devices and relatively undisturbed by human hands, scientists have discovered that seed has grown to what is now believed to be the biggest plant anywhere on Earth, covering about 200 sq km (77 sq miles, or about 20,000 rugby fields, or just over three times the size of Manhattan island).

    The species – a Posidonia australis, also known as fibre-ball weed or ribbon weed – is commonly found along the southern coastlines of Australia.

    But when scientists started looking for genetic differences in ribbon weed across the bay, they came across a puzzle. Samples taken from sites that were 180km apart suggested there were not multiple specimens of Posidonia australis, but one single plant.

    “We thought ‘what the hell is going on here?’” said Dr Martin Breed, an ecologist at Flinders University. “We were completely stumped.”

    I was watching Planet Earth’s Shallow Seas episode last night. Shark Bay and it’s sea grass are prominently featured in it.

    1
  5. CSK says:

    The Rolling Stones will open their 60th anniversary tour in Madrid today.

    I recall reading that Jagger said he didn’t want to be still leaping around on a stage when he was forty years old. He’s seventy-eight.

    1
  6. MarkedMan says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: FWIW, the Apple TV+ series on dinosaurs is really something. I hadn’t realized how much the science on dinosaurs had changed. I knew we were past the “hey, some dinosaurs had feathers!” era, but didn’t realize how much evidence there was for things like aquatic dinosaur spawning grounds or swimming T-Rex. As I was researching the latter, I found out that emus and ostriches can swim!

    1
  7. OzarkHillbilly says:
  8. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @MarkedMan: A couple weeks ago my wife started getting us free stuff with her Amazon Prime which, surprisingly enough streams fairly well (we have only satellite) thru her Ipad. I’ll have to ask her about the Apple TV+. My go to is PBS, for Frontline and Nova.

    I hate to admit it but I’ve kind of gotten hooked on House. His character is a complete dick who if I met him in real life I’d have a hard time resisting the urge to slap him, but the show is funny.

    2
  9. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @CSK: 78??? He doesn’t look a day over 76.

  10. CSK says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:
    Amazing, isn’t it?

  11. Kathy says:

    @Jen:

    Leia is precocious at a sixth grade level 🙂

    As to Reva, I’m wondering right now why she won’t wind up deposing Palpatine and taking over the empire.

  12. Scott says:

    @Jen: I agree about the show. It was fun. 3rd episode is tonight, I believe. Vivien Blair was so good, I couldn’t believe her character was just ten. Then I looked up the young actress and she just turns ten in a couple of days. Really talented. I really enjoyed Ewan McGregor making Obi-wan defeated and depressed. I haven’t read anything about where the plot will go so it will be interesting to watch.

    I think I enjoy these short series (like Moon Knight, Wandavision, etc.) better than single movies. A lot more room for creativity.

    2
  13. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @CSK: I’ll be lucky to look that good in my coffin.

  14. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @CSK: Silents and Boomers. We refuse to let go.

    2
  15. Kathy says:

    @Scott:

    You know what I absolutely loved about Moon Knight? The costume. It’s completely on theme as well as aesthetically pleasing and ominous. The crescent moon cape just blew me away.

    2
  16. KM says:

    Unverified but I don’t doubt it for a second: Musk memo to Tesla staff: return to office or leave company

    “Anyone who wishes to do remote work must be in the office for a minimum (and I mean minimum) of 40 hours per week or depart Tesla”

    He’s been tweeting about this recently so yeah, this rings true. He’s been whining about “unproductive” WFH but the real eye-catcher was what I bolded. He expects a 40+ work week out of everyone as standard fare. Not only is he refusing to understand the nature of work is fundamentally changing (some futurist!) but he’s showing what he thinks the serfs owe their God-King as the minimum tribute since OT isn’t likely a thing for Tesla staff. Always been a pretentious wannabe overlord but now’s he really getting his tech douche-bro on. This is gonna cost them some primo talent when they can’t afford to lose it…..

    4
  17. Beth says:

    grumpy realist says:
    Tuesday, 31 May 2022 at 23:51
    @Beth: How’s the recovery from surgery going? It took me about a month to get my strength back as well as not having problems with the holes they had poked in me

    Thanks. I’m doing a lot better. It took me about a week and a half for my body to feel better and about 2-3 weeks for my stomach to start to adjust. The internals all feel a lot better, just off. The surgeon did an amazing job with the holes. They healed up right away and the scarring won’t be too bad.

    @Kathy:

    I’m a huge Star Wars girl. LOVE IT. It was important to my childhood and transition. Rogue One is my favorite movie and objectively the best movie ever made.

    The best part of watching Kenobi with my partner was hearing her roll her eyes and sigh. She made a point similar to yours about Reva and in my best Darth Vader voice I said “Don’t choke on your aspirations Director Krennic.”

    She gave me the dirtiest look. I love her so much.

    That’s why I think Reva is doomed. She wants to be the hardest and worst, but she’s no where near as hard as Vader or as evil as Palpatine.

  18. Scott says:

    @KM: Oh, he’ll be complaining next on how people in the office are stealing time from him by going to get coffee and having lunch.

  19. Kathy says:

    @Beth:

    I try to avoid spoilers, so I won’t bring up the Darth Vader matter. But in a related series, Rebels, Jedis Kanan and Ezra face off against inquisitors a few times, then have a brief encounter with Vader.

    After the latter, Kanan makes a point to tell Ezra Vader is a Sith Lord, not a mere inquisitor. IMO, he doesn’t think Sith lords are an enemy he can defeat. If he’s right, the Reva can exist under Palpatine at best, or die under him at worst.

    One minor thing. Kenobi was present at Leia’s birth, remember? He knows how old she is.

  20. Jen says:

    @Kathy:

    One minor thing. Kenobi was present at Leia’s birth, remember? He knows how old she is.

    I caught that too, but then remembered that my own father sometimes can’t remember how old *I* am so…maybe just Kenobi doing a standard guy thing?

    1
  21. Matt Bernius says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:
    And the only reason we know about the investigation is because Navarro tried to fight the subpoena. It’s a good reminder that the Justice Department rarely conducts its investigations in public.

  22. Matt Bernius says:

    “Follymath” is my new favorite neologism, H/T to Radley Balko for it.

    Example:
    Bret Weinstein is a true follymath. He constantly speaks authoritatively to topics he knows nothing about.

    See also: Joe Rogan and James Lindsay among others.

    4
  23. grumpy realist says:

    @Beth: I’m tempted to go get some Frankenstein stitch tattoos over my scars, just for funsies.

    1
  24. Kathy says:

    @Jen:

    He was also present at Luke’s birth, and has been watching him since.

    Besides, if he had just told Leia she’s too mature for a ten year old, she’d have wondered how this stranger knows how old she is. But maybe Kenobi’s connection to Jimmy Smits is not important to the plot.

    A far bigger gripe I have is the reluctant protagonist trope. You don’t get a series, no matter how limited, titled after you if you’re going to bow out of the plot. I’m seriously getting tired of this device. It just wastes time and makes secondary characters act stupidly.

    Case in point, Senator Organa. It makes sense he’d call on Kenobi to go after Leia. It makes less sense he’d refuse to take no for an answer and not send someone else, or his troops, or go himself, to rescue his daughter, but instead take a side trip to Tatooine to convince the reluctant protagonist to protagonize his own story.

    Oh, and then he doesn’t give Obi Wan a ship, leaving him to take commercial transport and who knows how he’ll manage to get the girl back once he rescuer her.

  25. CSK says:

    Trump is threatening to sue the Pulitzer Prize Board if they don’t revoke the awards given the WaPo and the NYT for reporting on the Trump campaign’s collusion with Russia in the 2016 election.

    Defamation, you know.

    1
  26. Mikey says:

    On top of the utter failure of the Durham probe, we also have this:


    Michael Flynn’s Identity Was Not Improperly Revealed By Obama Officials, A Secret DOJ Report Has Found

    “My review has uncovered no evidence that senior Executive Branch officials sought the disclosure of” the identities of US individuals “in disseminated intelligence reports for political purposes or other inappropriate reasons during the 2016 presidential-election period or the ensuing presidential-transition period,” Bash’s report says.

    A central focus of the probe was the leak showing that Flynn had been in communication with then–Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak prior to Trump’s inauguration, and whether Flynn’s involvement was revealed through an unmasking request from a government official.

    But Bash’s review of unmasked intelligence reports about the calls found that the FBI did not in fact disseminate any that contained Flynn’s information, and that a single unmasked report that did contain Flynn’s information did not describe the calls between him and Kislyak. “For that reason, the public disclosure of the communications could not have resulted from an unmasking request,” Bash’s report concludes.

    And yet another Trumpie conspiracy theory goes poof.

    6
  27. Jax says:

    I got some new coffee and reusable pods for my Keurig. The new coffee is called Death Wish. It’s….cough cough….pretty strong. Zing!!! Look at me go, doing alllllll the things! I’m moving faster than these crazy ass kittens! 😛

    3
  28. Kathy says:

    @Mikey:

    And yet another Trumpie conspiracy theory goes poof.

    I don’t see that at all. Clearly these things prove there is a conspiracy to bind the GQP within the law, rather than placing it above the law as God commands.

    5
  29. Kathy says:

    @KM:

    I wonder if some employees could pull off a literal interpretation like so: 1) Arrive at the office at 10 pm on weekdays. 2) Sleep 8 hours. 3) Go home. 4) Work from home.

    1
  30. MarkedMan says:

    Just watched the first two episodes of Stranger Things Season 4. Mild spoilers follow.

    I’m intrigued with what they did to El. She was literally the most powerful person on earth in the previous season, but now she has the least power of all the characters in the show. And it’s not just that she lost the supernatural ability that she had before, but that loss actually reveals her for what she is – a young teenager with no formal education and virtually no “normal” socialization. It will be interesting to see if they rebuild her back up through character development or by giving her back her powers.

    1
  31. Pete S says:

    @Kathy:

    I think it might be fun if one of the Trumpist conspiracy theories got proven true, since being proven false is irrefutable evidence that the theory is true for his fans

    2
  32. Kylopod says:

    @MarkedMan: Isn’t this a common superhero trope, though, where they temporarily lose their powers and become total babes in the woods, unable to take care of themselves? (And the series is very meta about its superhero influence.) Peter Parker and Clark Kent both get moments like this.

  33. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Matt Bernius: I was going to say something like, “So much for the Merrick Garland is sitting on his thumbs doing nothing” meme but as of right now nobody outside the DOJ knows what’s really going on.

  34. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @CSK: Empty threats. Discovery, don’cha know.

  35. CSK says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:
    Does he think he can cow them into meekly doing his bidding?

  36. OzarkHillbilly says:

    For folks on the right, loud mouthed bluster is what passes for “tough” these days.

    1
  37. CSK says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:
    And that’s why Trump is their god.

  38. Jen says:

    @MarkedMan:

    It will be interesting to see if they rebuild her back up through character development or by giving her back her powers.

    Hopefully both.

    I have only watched the first episode of season 4 so far, but oof, it’s wretched to watch a teen get bullied, even a fictional one.

    In other news, there’s a verdict in the Depp v. Heard trial. I like Joshua Malina’s take.

  39. CSK says:

    @Jen:
    Malina’s take is similar to what was said about the Iran/Iraq war: If only they could both lose.

  40. Jen says:

    @CSK: From the headline I just read, this is precisely what has happened. They’ve both been found liable for defamation.

  41. CSK says:

    @Jen:
    Heard pays Depp $15 million, Depp pays Heard $2 million.

    I really didn’t follow this; I just tuned in for the verdict.

    1
  42. Jen says:

    @CSK: Same here. I am deeply ambivalent, the headline is all I read. It struck me as amusing.

  43. Kathy says:

    @CSK:

    At the current rate of inflation, by the time all appeals are done Depp will get a pittance.

    On other things, I had an idea: French toast grilled cheese.

    For the first attempt I’m thinking a filling of browned onions and turkey with provolone and Oaxaca. All savory, without sugar, cinnamon, or maple syrup.

  44. MarkedMan says:

    @Kylopod:

    Isn’t this a common superhero trope

    I guess it is, but not usually to this extent. El isn’t just a normal kid now, she’s a wreck. When Clark Kent and Peter Parker stopped being superheroes, they were pretty normal people. Because of El’s background, she is not a normal kid. She’s not smart, she’s not funny, she doesn’t crack wise, she doesn’t have any friends aside from the very few she had when she was the most dangerous kid on the planet. She lies to cover up her isolation and frustration. She fixes on the worst kids as the ones she desperately wants to be friends with. That’s taking things a lot farther than the typical “lost powers” trope.

    (A little more spoilery section follows). At one point other kids are mocking her and she becomes so angry she loses it. The music wells up, the camera draws back to a wide shot, and she stomps her foot forward and slashes her hands out to bring death and destruction down. “Oh,” I thought, “this is where she gets her powers back”. And… nothing. The kids stare at her for a moment and then break out laughing. “What was that?!” They ask, practically falling down with laughter.

  45. CSK says:

    @Jen:
    I have one or two friends who were riveted by the proceedings, but I couldn’t work up any interest. I had only vaguely heard of Amber (no pun intended) before this, and I had no particular feeling one way or the other about Depp.

  46. Kylopod says:

    @MarkedMan:

    El isn’t just a normal kid now, she’s a wreck. When Clark Kent and Peter Parker stopped being superheroes, they were pretty normal people.

    I’m not sure I agree. I was never a reader of any of the comics, but from my memory of the Superman films with Christopher Reeve, he becomes pretty damn helpless when he loses his superpowers, barely able to function in the world.

    Also, while I too want to avoid spoilers, especially because I’ve seen the entire season up to the point it’s been released, I don’t think I am giving away too much when I say it contains a pretty direct shout-out to Carrie (as well as to several other iconic horror movies).

    1
  47. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @CSK: He got a Masters in Loud Mouthed Bluster at Wharton.

  48. CSK says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:
    Which is why Professor William Kelley called him “the dumbest student I ever had.”

  49. Jax says:

    @Kathy: Monte Cristo sandwiches are quite good, I’ve seen them made with all kinds of cheeses, either ham or turkey, and usually a spot of raspberry jam. Onions were pretty rare, but hell, to each their own! They might be delicious!

  50. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @CSK: Yep. He sure as shit didn’t learn anything about business there.

  51. Jen says:

    @Jax: Mmmm. One of my favorite Monte-Cristo-ish sandwich combos is French toast bread with ham, brie, and homemade peach jam. Yum.

    1
  52. Kathy says:

    @Jax:

    I make few things, if any, without onions.

    Ok. I don’t put them in deserts, of which I make few and far between.

    1
  53. CSK says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:
    He probably believed Wharton couldn’t teach him anything, though he certainly is proud of being a graduate of one of the Ivies.

  54. JohnSF says:

    And now that sod Orban is just bloody well trolling everyone.

    After demanding, and getting, a Hungarian opt-out from the EU ban on Russian oil imports, Hungary is now “…insisting on the removal of the head of the Russian Orthodox Church Patriarch Kirill from the list of sanctioned individuals…”

    I wonder if it ever occurs to the empty braincases of Budapest that they are building up a red ledger which will get repaid, in due course?
    Fundamental rule of diplomacy #1: “One bad turn deserves another.”

    4
  55. CSK says:

    Today’s the eleventh anniversary of the second-longest tornado in Mass. history. Lasted 70 minutes, over 39 miles. Killed 4 people. Injured hundreds. Two hundred million in damages.

  56. Kathy says:

    @CSK:

    He probably believed Wharton couldn’t teach him anything

    He’s entirely right about that. He’s incapable of learning, ergo no one can teach him.

    1
  57. Mister Bluster says:

    From yesterday’s coffee klatch:

    SC_Birdflyte says:
    Wednesday, 1 June 2022 at 11:06
    @OzarkHillbilly: I used to say that I could solve the national smoking problem if I could invent a cigarette which tasted as bad first thing in the morning as that last one I smoked at night.

    I remember an advertising jingle that went something like this:

    From the first cigarette in the morning
    To the last cigarette at night
    What you need is L+M
    To make your day go right.

    I did find this which is suitably repulsive.

  58. Just nutha says:

    @Jax: French Toast, cheese, sausage, fried eggs. Just under a zillion calories but very tasty.

  59. Just nutha says:

    @Just nutha: Oops! Sauteed onions, too!

    1
  60. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Mister Bluster: It’s storming off to the north just now. The sound of distant thunder rolls thru every minute or 2 and the flash of lightning, while subdued promises a grand light show. And I still want to sit on my front porch with a cigarette and watch the show.

    12 years since my last smoke and I’m still an addict. I always will be. If ever I am diagnosed with untreatable stage 4 cancer, the first thing I’m gonna do is buy a pack.

    eta: the sunrise cigarette… I fell in love with it when working a high steel job. I’d show up a half hour before anybody else, climb the stairs 6, 7 stories up, sit on my lunch cooler at the edge and pour a cup of coffee to savor all by myself, light a cig and watch the sunrise. It was the most perfect moment of my day and it made getting up at 3:30 and the hour and a half commute all worthwhile.

    2
  61. Gustopher says:

    @Scott: I don’t think McGregor is doing a great job in those first two episodes. I’m not buying broken man living in desert with perfectly trimmed beard, his perfect hair, and flawless skin. I don’t care than in ten years he’s supposed to look like Alec Guinness, I just want him raggedy enough to not pull me out of the story. He’s not a good enough actor to make me believe without any of that.

    Reva is amazing. Moses Ingram is stealing every scene she is in. If she were green and scaled, the racist fans would love her. If they shaved her head, painted her white, and called her Asajj Ventress those fans would applaud. (What is the sound of one hand clapping?)

    Vivien Blair as Little Leia is really good in the dialog parts… and a 9 year old in action scenes that are clearly designed to work with a 9 year old actor.

    I do think her abduction scene should have been much shorter — catch her by surprise, bag over head, done — but I don’t think it hurts the show much to have a bad chase scene. The second episode is night time, so it covers some of the 9 year old wobble and how much they have to protect a 9 year old in filming. Also might have been easier to have a small stunt double.

    But what really bothers me about the show is the meat handling. No refrigeration, open air, no hand washing stations, no hair nets, leaving meat sitting out when the shift is over… this is how you get rotting meat.

    Feeding bits of meat to the space camel is not great, as space camels are vegetarian, according to Wookieepedia.

    4
  62. Mister Bluster says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:..I always will be. If ever I am diagnosed with untreatable stage 4 cancer, the first thing I’m gonna do is buy a pack.

    I can not explain why, after choking on the butts for at least 35 years and finally quitting cold turkey 25 years ago when I was up to 3 packs a day, that I have not craved a smoke since then.
    I can only hope that you are never cursed with cancer. I visited my best friend Joe in the hospital when he was diagnosed stage 4 in February 2008. I sat with him as we watched Ren and Stimpy cartoons together. He was dead in 4 weeks. I carried him to his grave in Pana, Illinois. Several years later I couldn’t find his headstone after searching for hours.
    I still think of him every day.

    3
  63. Gustopher says:

    Christian Walker, the son of Republican Georgia Senate Candidate Hershel Walker, would like everyone to know that he is not gay.

    Pride month is starting so I’d like to announce to everyone that I’m NOT gay. I’m attracted to men but I refuse to identify with the rainbow cult. I don’t believe in indoctrinating children. My whole identity isn’t my sexuality. And I don’t go to gay bars. Don’t call me gay.

    I expect this will clear up any questions one might have, although it may raise other questions, like “what the fuck?” and “are repeated traumatic head injuries inheritable, or is this some kind of genetic thing in his family?”

    2