Monday’s 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.


  1. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Julian Assange cannot be extradited to the US to face charges of espionage and of hacking government computers, a British judge has decided.

    The ruling was delivered at the central criminal court by the district judge, Vanessa Baraitser.

    She said the WikiLeaks founder was likely to be held in conditions of isolation in a so-called supermax prison in the US and procedures described by US authorities would not prevent him from potentially finding a way to take his own life.

    “I find that the mental condition of Mr Assange is such that it would be oppressive to extradite him to the United States of America,” said the judge. Lawyers for US authorities have been given 15 days to appeal.

    Her decision, focusing on Assange’s health, came after she knocked down one argument after another made last year by Assange’s lawyers. Sending him to the US would not breach a bar on extradition for “political offences” she said, and she had no reason to doubt that “the usual constitutional and procedural protections” would be applied to a trial he might face in the US.

    But she accepted the evidence of prominent medical experts, including details of how Assange had suffered from depression while in prison in London. “The overall impression is of a depressed and sometimes despairing man who is genuinely depressed about his future,” said Baraitser.

    Is there a prison any where in the world that does not have a plethora of inmates who are “despairing and genuinely depressed about their future?

  2. Teve says:

    Congratulations to CNN for not pussyfooting around on this

    Trump’s bid to steal Georgia exposes GOP election ruse

    Washington (CNN)Astonishing new evidence of a desperate President Donald Trump caught on tape trying to steal the election exposes the depth of his corruption and makes his Republican Capitol Hill allies complicit in his bid to thwart the will of voters.

    In a fresh abuse of power, Trump tried to bully a top Georgia GOP official into finding votes to overturn President-elect Joe Biden’s win in the state. The staggering telephone call, audio of which was obtained by CNN and first reported by The Washington Post, amounted to the most serious threat yet posed by his authoritarian instincts to American democracy.
    Even before the latest outrage, this week already marked a watershed moment for Biden’s coming presidency, a ruptured Republican Party and the integrity of the US political system.

    A GOP attempt, for example, to block Congress’ certification of Biden’s win based on lies and false conspiracy theories about fraud on Wednesday has no chance of succeeding but will further convince millions of Trump voters that the election was rigged. Scores of GOP lawmakers plan to choose the vanquished President and his voters over the cherished principles of free elections in a fracturing that will have lasting consequences for the GOP and the nation.

  3. Teve says:

    @LLinWood has gone completely QAnon bananas on Twitter. Lizard Squad, raping and murdering kids for blackmail, Pence is a foreign agent, Obama’s kids were adopted, CIA, MOSSAD, MI6,…

  4. An Interested Party says:

    I notice that the arguments being used by so-called “conservatives” to support Trump’s treachery include ideas like “we’re only doing what Democrats did in the past” when nothing that Barbara Boxer or anyone else did is comparable to this and it is especially rich to see the argument that Republicans shouldn’t do this because it will only allow Democrats to do something worse in the future…it is bad enough that the GOP has become the party of Trump, but to see Republicans act as childish as Trump and take no responsibility for their actions is just as bad…obviously whatever Democrats have done in the past or will do in the future has nothing to do with justifying this mess…

  5. KM says:

    Now that it is public – with audio even! – that Trump tried to commit election fraud by demanding votes be “found”, I wonder how many of the morons who signed on to publicly support his coup are feeling. The Dems should read out the list before the vote and remind them that they can be arrested on the floor by the Sergeant at Arms if they wish to continue committing conspiracy to election fraud on Congressional grounds. Enter the call into the record as official evidence and make them go “yes, we support this criminal undemocratic BS”

  6. PJ says:


    Is there a prison any where in the world that does not have a plethora of inmates who are “despairing and genuinely depressed about their future?


    Breaking the Cycle – Full Crime Documentary – 2017 (YouTube)

  7. Teve says:
  8. Teve says:

    I’ve been reading for a while about Facebook’s shitty behavior but damn if they didn’t surprise me.

    If you tell the Facebook app not to track your location, it doesn’t directly get your GPS data.

    So it cheats by snooping on the GPS info in the EXIF metadata when you take a photo.

  9. CSK says:
  10. Sleeping Dog says:


    The Times, Kara Swisher, in writing about Tik Tok, said that she loved the app but didn’t trust the developer, so she has a burner phone simply for viewing Tik Tok, those who feel that they need FaceBook on a mobile device should consider doing the same. Check Facebook, shut the device off till you want to check it again.

    OMG, the edit function! It is working as intended on 2 posts. Amazing.

  11. Teve says:

    @Sleeping Dog: her podcasts are very good.

  12. Jay L Gischer says:

    It occurs to me, only this morning, that Raffensperger might well have a very good case for a defamation lawsuit v. Trump. Since he’s a public figure, you have to prove he knowingly spread falsehoods. But he has an hour-long tape where he walks Trump through all the facts, and Trump still tweets garbage about him. How would a jury look at that?

  13. Kathy says:

    On lighter topics, I did watch All The President’s Men, finally.

    It strikes me that if you haven’t read the book, or know that period well, or lived through that time, you probably wouldn’t get much besides “Nixon did something illegal.”

    It’s also much more about how Woodward and Bernstein investigated the Watergate break-in, than about what their investigation uncovered. I guess people watching the movie in 1976 knew the latter and would be more interested in the former.

    And it strikes me as odd what struck me as odd while watching it:

    Lots of scenes of busy offices and not one computer in sight. Lots of scenes of people literally dialing phones, instead of pushing buttons on a keypad. Not a single cell phone in sight. And probably the most frequent phrase in the movie was “…from the Washington Post.”

    ON other lighter topics, Disney+ is very much lacking on TV series, and most of those they do have are animated. I like animation, but not that much.

    Still, I found a one-season animated series called “Tron: Uprising.” The second most interesting part id Bruce Boxleitner plays the voice of Tron. The most interesting part is that, unlike the sequel movie Tron Legacy, tron actually appears in this one for more than a few seconds.

    I loved the first movie. I even have the 25th anniversary edition DVD, and I have consumed all the extras. I’ll be the first to admit the story is far less interesting than the setting, the characterization is shallow, and the world-building is very intriguing and much lacking.

    What sets that movie part is the visual style. it’s unique, and has never been duplicated. The series and the sequel both try for an updated, very digital, more realistic look. It’s not at all bad, but it’s not the 1982 movie.

    For the scenes in the cyber world, the original movie was shot in black and white, with the colors and other effects added manually in post production. It was a huge task, which explains why the look has never been duplicated. they also used wire graphics for the vehicles within the computer world, also colored and animated manually.

    I like to say it’s a film meant to be seen rather than watched.

  14. Kathy says:

    @Sleeping Dog:

    Check Facebook, shut the device off till you want to check it again.

    What I did was uninstall the facebook app from my phones. I do browse it on the web, phone or desktop, without further precautions.

  15. Teve says:

    @Kathy: using FB through a browser should inhibit a lot of tracking.

  16. DrDaveT says:


    @LLinWood has gone completely QAnon bananas on Twitter.

    His loved ones, if he has any, should get him a cranial MRI as soon as possible.

  17. DrDaveT says:


    Now that it is public – with audio even! – that Trump tried to commit election fraud by demanding votes be “found”, I wonder […]

    JKB will be along any minute to claim that Trump of course was referring to finding legal votes cast legally before the election that were illegally never counted…

  18. Kathy says:


    That’s what I heard before doing so.

    And the reason I believe it’s true, is that for months entering the website by phone, it pressed me to install the app. It still does from time to time.

    I do the same with Twitter, and any other social media site I visit for some reason. I do have the Youtube app still installed, but I visit that very seldom. less than once per month

  19. Teve says:

    @Kathy: i just subscribed to WaPo, and access it through Safari, and it keeps telling me to get the app, which I happily ignore, because my Safari blocks ads and their stupid app definitely won’t.

  20. Flat Earth Luddite says:

    If I were paranoid about this, I’d use a camera instead of a cell phone for pictures. Oh wait, I do!

    OTOH, I figure that I’ll just bury them in extraneous data points. Lost in the background noise of everyone else.

  21. Sleeping Dog says:


    Or not be on facebook at all, which is my solution.

    Generally aps are the greatest privacy violators on the internet. Among the worst are the ones from the Weather Channel and affiliates, they want access to not only your location (which can be justified), but the phones ID, call records, etc. Many of the popular weather services are now owned by IBM who mines the hell out of that data and sells it.

  22. Teve says:

    @Sleeping Dog: the Weather Channel has been notorious about that. I definitely use a browser for that.

  23. Mike in Arlington says:

    They keep getting caught putting spyware into their apps. There are other apps (or just using the browser) that can avoid at least some of the problems associated with their software. (I use friendly on the iphone, which I think is just a modified browser.)

  24. Kathy says:

    @Sleeping Dog:

    Or not be on facebook at all, which is my solution.

    It’s nowhere near as useful to me as it was even a couple of years ago. Many sites I followed went paywall, so what’s the use in knowing what they’ve published?

    But I still follow a few interesting people, and a couple of friends I’d otherwise never hear from.

  25. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: You’re shocked that there’s a different standard of justice for Julian Assange than for some guy convicted in 1971 for selling a doobie? How so?

  26. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Jay L Gischer: IANAL (and don’t portray one on TV), but you may need to check how absence of malice works.

  27. Teve says:


    Meghan McCain had a baby and now realizes that the US needs paid maternity leave, she explains on The View. She says personal experience helped open her eyes.

    Once again, Republicans can only conceive of the need for compassion when something directly affects them.

  28. EddieInCA says:

    I’m one of those troglodytes who doesn’t have Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, etc. I do have a twitter account, yet I rarely tweet.

    My life is busy enough. Last thing I need is to know when my friends are in going shopping, or seeing their photos from their last brunch. Kill me instead.

  29. Sleeping Dog says:


    Yeah, I’ve long simply had an icon on the desktop that is a search for the local weather. The search results give me most of the information that I need.

    Any ap I install, I go back after installation and turn-off any unnecessary permissions. If that breaks the ap, then I delete it and find a similar. For my wife’s phone, I found a couple of weather aps that simply access the NOAA weather forecast service and display it. The only thing those aps asked for was location data and my wife leaves location turned on anyway (to my chagrin), it is no big deal.

    I have an andriod phone and except for the typical google aps, I only have 4 apps installed, everything else if via the browser and that’s duckduckgo. I like ddg as a mobile browser because it offers an icon in the browsers homepage that will wipe out all cookies and history from the browser.

  30. MarkedMan says:

    I’m curious about who actually uses facebook now. I log in once every few months because of a specific invite-only user’s group for a travel camper my wife and I plan to buy. I go straight there and don’t look at anything else. Other than that, sometimes a restaurant or something doesn’t have a web page other than their facebook page, but I don’t log in when I visit that. I find it a poor platform for things like hours and location and how to order takeout, which is all I’m interested in.

    My wife, who used to use it all the time, no longer bothers. My kids (23 and 21) never used it much and don’t use it all anymore. Whenever it comes up with friends, they almost universally say they don’t visit much any more. Is this confirmation bias or is truly headed to MySpace territory?

  31. Teve says:

    The Republican Identity Crisis After Trump

    This Presidency poses stark questions about the ideological future of both parties.
    By Nicholas Lemann
    October 23, 2020

  32. Teve says:

    @Sleeping Dog: i use DuckDuckGo. It’s good. I switched to Protonmail, based in Switzerland, which doesn’t spy. I’d have an iPhone for further tracking prevention except that Apple voice recognition/ transcription is utterly defective garbage.

  33. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker: A friend of mine was a PD in the FED Southern District IL (hope I remember that right) She had a client back in the mid 80s or so who got out of prison, made the acquaintance of a lady friend of the night, shared an after toke or 3 with her. Then the DEA (?) busted down the door and arrested him for “distributing a controlled substance.” His 3rd strike and my friend couldn’t do a damn thing for him. I think that was when she realized the law was not the place for her.

  34. CSK says:

    According to Axios, Dominion is planning to sue Sidney Powell and is exploring a suit against Trump.

  35. Sleeping Dog says:


    If Dominion starts a go fund me page to finance the lawsuit, count me in. 🙂

  36. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @CSK: I heard an interview with the CEO of Dominion on NPR this morn. Sidney Powell, yes. A little more circumspect as regards others (mostly media). I don’t recall trump being in the crosshairs but I was driving with my granddaughter and she was being… fractious, so I did miss some.

  37. Mister Bluster says:

    @Kathy:..Lots of scenes of people literally dialing phones, instead of pushing buttons on a keypad.
    After the landline telephone industry was deregulated in 1983 in the United States customers had a choice of leasing a telephone from the local exchange carrier or buying one at Radio Shack or Walmart or the corner grocery store.
    As recent as 2001 I would still run an occasional trouble ticket that would turn up a leased, rotary dial desk instrument. In the “good old days” we would carry parts to repair the phones but after they became obsolete they were replaced with key pad models if they went down. When I told told one customer I had to replace her dial set with a pushbutton phone she picked up the old rotary dial model and literally cluched it to her bosom and cried “I can’t give up this old phone!”
    Fortunately her adult son was there and he pried the phone away from her and saved me the trouble.
    I installed the new one and had her call a neighbor as a test. She was suprised as the called party started to ring as soon as she pressed the last digit of the number instead of waiting for the finger wheel to retract. “That was fast!” she said as she smiled.
    I doubt she gave her old phone another thought as she was punching in another number as I left.
    Another satisfied customer.

  38. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Mister Bluster: I feel a bit nostalgic thinking about rotary phones.

  39. Teve says:

    Some comedian on Netflix:

    I don’t like this Ted Bundy documentary. They act like he’s so smart, oh he’s so smart. They act like he was a genius. Why was he so smart? Oh he represented himself in court. He got the death penalty! He could not have done any worse. He could have literally hired an orangutan to represent him and the orangutan could have shit in it’s hand and thrown it at the jury and the outcome would have been the same!

  40. JohnSF says:

    UK news: we’re back to “hard lockdown” as of tomorrow.

    Hardly a surprise.

    Cases are screaming into the vertical like a rocket launch.
    As ever, hospitalisations lag that, and deaths lag those.
    Though thankfully treatment improvements mean recovery rates are better than in spring, hospitals are begiining to come dangerously close to levels of demand where they can’t treat all cases adequately; if that happens, death rates will step-change back up again.

    The legacy of the foolish “we’re passed the worst” attitude of the summer relaxation, the new variant mutations, the spreading in schools without adequate testing or mitigation, the general failure to be strightforward with the public about requirements and try to run it as a PR project for popular approval, the malign effect of the lockdown sceptics at high levels of the media/political/lobby networks.


  41. Teve says:

    Rebecca Shatsky, MD

    Today’s oncology rant is about dietary supplements and liver damage. Simultaneously one of my favorite and least favorite topics. Many (dare I say most?) patients come to me believing “natural” means safe and healthy. My breast cancer patients tend to be healthy #bcsm

    Some are athletes, yoga instructors, vegan, what have you. Many are been enmeshed in some way with the wellness industry before their diagnosis. Many understand supplements won’t cure their cancer, but they certainly can’t hurt right? #MedTwitter #bcsm

    Then we do their baseline labs and their liver function tests are sky high. So I ask what they are taking – I cannot tell you how often this happens (? Weekly?). Oh nothing, except turmeric, 10 different multi-vitamins, 6 different forms of CBD and some Chinese herbs.

    So I tell them to stop everything. And I mean everything they are taking and they look at me in horror an disbelief. Their precious natural products surely could not be hurting their liver. I mean some were branded as a liver “detox,” it said it on the bottle!

    We then have a long discussion about how most supplements are mostly not what they advertise because there are no legal consequences for maintaining purity standards and many of these products are corrupt with useless or harmful ingredients and they don’t do what they advertise

    As the hepatology community well knows, dietary supplements are becoming one of the fastest growing causes of complete liver failure and need for liver transplant in the US. That’s something the “wellness” industry tries not to advertise.

    In addition there is evidence that certain antioxidant supplements can decrease the effectiveness of chemotherapy, leading to increased risk for relapse and death from breast cancer.

    I will end this with some light reading material.

    Liver Damage and Dietary Supplements by
    Read about dietary supplements (herbs, OTC products) and how they may cause liver damage.

  42. Kathy says:

    @Mister Bluster:

    We got touch dialing until the late 80s.

    You could buy a phone anywhere and plug it in, but then the monopoly state phone company, Telmex, was not responsible for fixing it for any reason.

    Anyway, lots of people bought touch dialing phones, but these had to be set to pulse dialing in order to be able to dial. There was no wait for the dial wheels to return, but the pulses took about as long. The one advantage was you could dial the number at once, then wait for the phone to pulse all the numbers in order, with a pause between them. And they worked with a speed dial machine (yes, the machines sold separately at first).

  43. Teve says:
  44. Kathy says:


    By the Trump Standard we talked about in another thread, this man is completely innocent. He believed he was trying to help.

    Also, I thought pharmacists had some knowledge of human physiology. To wit:

    1) There is no such thing as a person’s DNA. There is a cell’s DNA. Yes, the DNA of a muscle cell is identical, to begin with, to that of a liver cell, even if gene expression and such differ. But over time through transcription errors in cell mitosis (division), and epigenetic changes due to environmental and other factors, plus the stray mutation here and there, DNA differs somewhat between cells even of the same tissue.

    2) The mRNA vaccines don’t get anywhere close to the cellular nucleus, where the DNA resides. The encapsulated messenger RNA does infiltrate cells, but then gets taken up by a ribosome. This is a cell organelle that uses the instructions found in any messenger RNA segment to make proteins. In this case the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein. So the vaccine literally cannot alter DNA.

    Seriously, this is high school biology from going on three decades ago.

  45. CSK says:

    Thanks. I knew he had to have a reason, even if it was a demented one.

  46. Teve says:

    @Kathy: yep. And, mRNA breaks down within hours.

  47. CSK says:

    Sorry to hear this. I hope the lockdown works.

  48. Jen says:


    but I was driving with my granddaughter and she was being… fractious

    This is adorable. Thank you for the smile on a Monday in which my nerves are all but shot.

  49. Kathy says:

    Well, thus far 2021 looks an awful lot like the worst parts of 2020. COVID cases are up all over the world. If you change “vaccines” for “tests,” it’s even worse.

    I’ll cut the new year some slack, though, and count it’s beginning from January 21st rather than January 1st. By then it should begin to be able to shake off the orange Trump taint.

  50. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @EddieInCA: My life isn’t even particularly busy, and those things are STILL the last thing I need to know.

  51. MarkedMan says:

    Looks like at least one law enforcement agency isn’t intimated by the gun nut thugs.

    The leader of the right-wing street gang the Proud Boys, Enrique Tarrio, was arrested Monday in Washington, D.C.

    Tarrio was arrested on a destruction of property charge related to an Dec. 12 offense, Washington, D.C. Metropolitan Police Department spokesperson Sean Hickman told TPM.

    The New York Times reported that the specific destruction of property charge stemmed from the burning of a historically Black church’s Black Lives Matter banner during a pro-Trump protest in D.C., for which Tarrio subsequently claimed credit online.

    “So let me make this simple,” he wrote online last month. “I did it.”

    At the time Tarrio’s arrest, he also allegedly possessed two high capacity firearm magazines, Hickman told TPM.

    “He was additionally charged with Possession of High Capacity Feeding Device,” Hickman said.

  52. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Mister Bluster: @OzarkHillbilly: While I was living in Korea, sometimes friends and family would try to call and vice versa. It was a challenging thing under the best circumstances if for no other reason than the 16 hour (IIRC) time difference, but my mom complained that she could never get through no matter what time she called or anything else. One time when I was home on my vacation, I needed to use her phone and suddenly discovered what the problem was. For some reason–not even she new, but she was unwilling to change the setting–she had her phone set to do pulse dialing still.

    I didn’t even know that it was possible to still do pulse dialing, but the crux of the story is that by the time that she programmed in the calling card contact number, my 14 digit international phone number, and a 10-14 digit processing code for a prepaid international calling card, the connection had timed out and the system had hung up on her.

  53. Teve says:

    @MarkedMan: i just looked up the D.C. penalties for possession of high capacity feeding device and it’s a maximum $2,500 fine and 1 year in the hoosegow.

  54. Gustopher says:


    Once again, Republicans can only conceive of the need for compassion when something directly affects them.

    The provides terrible incentives for the rest of us. Want better health care? Send a Republican to the hospital… Particularly a wealthy, powerful Republican, or their kid.

    I’m pretty sure same sex marriage was only legalized because we were corrupting the children of Republican lawmakers. It wasn’t even fun, those entitled brats were terrible in bed!

  55. Teve says:
  56. Teve says:

    @MarkedMan: oh shit. Tarrio is a convicted felon. Can’t imagine that’s going to help the weapons charge.

  57. An Interested Party says:

    @Teve: That is a fascinating article…if nothing else, Trump’s tenure may lead to a political realignment…I just can’t see how ethnic minorities can coexist in a party full of white supremacists, even if they do have the same economic concerns…and I can’t see the Chamber of Commerce types finding a home in the Democratic Party…we really do need more than just two major political parties…meanwhile, evangelicals and libertarians, either apart or together, should definitely not be making any government policies…

  58. Teve says:

    Oh my:

    “If we have a Democratically-controlled Senate, we’re now basically at full-scale hot conflict in this country, whereas right now we’re in a cold civil war”

    —Texas congressman Chip Roy, on Tucker Carlson

  59. Teve says:

    @An Interested Party: I actually had to read it twice, to retain the important points. A very dense and insightful piece.

  60. An Interested Party says:

    @Teve: Wow, that’s the same guy who did this

    On Sunday, however, Rep. Chip Roy—Cruz’s no-less-conservative former chief of staff—forced House Republicans who would dispute the election results to put the insincerity of their claims on the record. As the new Congress gathered for its first day, Roy objected to the seating of 67 House members, representing Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. Those are the states carried by Joe Biden whose electors Trump-y members of the House would try to block.

    Roy’s explanation was ruthlessly logical: Trump’s defenders plan to object to the electors “due to their deeply held belief that those states conducted elections plagued by statewide, systemic fraud and abuse that leaves them absolutely no way for this chamber or our constituents to trust the validity of their elections.” But the 67 members of the House from the states would claim their own seats based on the results of those very same elections.

    “Such allegations,” he wrote, “if true, raise significant doubts about the elections of at least some of the members of the United States House of Representatives that, if not formally addressed, could cast a dark cloud of suspicion over the validity of this body for the duration of the 117th Congress.” Nevertheless, in the first roll-call vote of the 117th Congress following the election of the speaker, the House—including the would-be Trump dead-enders—voted almost unanimously to endorse the election results and swear those members in.

  61. Jax says:

    For the readers among us who may not know, and don’t have health insurance. Your COVID treatment is covered under the CARES Act. Do not be afraid to go to the hospital because of hospital bills.

  62. Jax says:

    How long til we get a feel for the votes in Georgia tomorrow, does anybody know? 3 million already voted….how long for the count?

    2021 will be showing some promise if we can fire Mitch McConnell as Senate Majority Leader tomorrow.

  63. MarkedMan says:

    @An Interested Party:FWIW, I think we would be better off in the post-war mode, where factions from each party joined to promote specific issues (Agriculture, Defense, Environment) rather than this juvenile team based approach.

  64. An Interested Party says:

    @MarkedMan: I agree…