Wednesday’s 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. Just nutha says:

    It’s almost 4 am Pacific time. Do you know where your children are?

    3
  2. OzarkHillbilly says:

    He played with Dylan, Clapton and Lennon: the unsung genius of guitarist Jesse Ed Davis

    Three-quarters of the way through John Lennon’s stirring take on Stand By Me, a guitar sneaks into the mix with a solo so supple and sweet, it feels like a kiss. In Bob Dylan’s Watching the River Flow, it’s a wily slide guitar that seizes center stage with a sound both witty and free, while halfway through Jackson Browne’s Doctor My Eyes, a guitar solo winds up changing the entire trajectory of the song, making it soar from a chugging ballad to a flat-out rocker.

    In each case, the guitarist responsible for adding those shapes and colors to the music is Jesse Ed Davis. Though little remembered today, Davis was the go-to session guitarist for music’s greatest stars of the late 60s through the 70s. His tasteful licks and surgical leads turned up on solo albums by three out of the four Beatles (all but Paul), and alighted on recordings by Rod Stewart (including the No 1 hit Tonight’s the Night), Eric Clapton, Leon Russell, Bryan Ferry, Willie Nelson, Harry Nilsson, Gram Parsons and scores more.

    Onscreen, Davis can be seen playing lead in Taj Mahal’s seminal band when they performed on the Rolling Stones’ 1968 all-star special Rock and Roll Circus. Three years later, he was part of the core band at the epic Concert for Bangladesh event organized by George Harrison. Then, in 1975, he was asked to play second guitar on Rod Stewart and the Faces’ final tour. In between, Davis somehow found time to record three albums of his own, on which stars like Clapton, Russell and Dr John backed him. Yet, despite all that exposure and respect, there’s a tragic side to Davis’s story. His career and talent were ravaged by a drug habit that led to his death from a heroin overdose in 1988 at the age of 43.

    Now, 35 years later, there’s a movement afoot both to remind classic rock fans of Davis’s work and to introduce it to a new generation. This week, the legacy label Real Gone Music will rerelease Davis’s self-titled debut solo album from 1970. An acclaimed documentary, titled Rumble, that features the guitarist can also be seen on Netflix. Rumble chronicles the impact Native Americans like Davis have had on popular music. (The guitarist had Comanche, Seminole, Muskogee and Cheyenne heritage on his father’s side, and Kiowa on his mother’s.) Davis will also be celebrated by a forthcoming book written about him by Douglas K Miller, a scholar of Native American culture who wrote Indians on the Move: Native American Mobility and Urbanization in the Twentieth Century.

    More at the link.

    7
  3. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Just nutha: Knowing my sons, at home and in bed.

  4. Scott says:

    @Just nutha: Actually I do. We share a phone plan (they pay their share). All I have to do is click “Find a Phone”.

  5. MarkedMan says:

    So the documents at Mar a Lago contains other countries nuclear capabilities. Can we just stop this crap of “Reasonable people understand that there is no evidence that Trump had ill intent when taking these documents. Respected and cautious people have to assume he was just sloppy and childish.” Geez. Unless we can absolutely prove ill intent we are obligated to assume good intentions? At this point that is just deliberate naivete.

    11
  6. Scott says:

    Supposedly, Trump owes a lot of other money related to his real estate holdings. Is it too cynical to believe that he will be bailed out by billionaires who want leverage over him. Is it too cynical to believe that this all depends on Trump retaining political power? Is this the elite corruption that MAGA people rail about?

    Why, yes, it is.

    Trump’s SPAC deal thrown into limbo with extension deadline looming

    Wall Street is quickly souring on the likelihood of former President Donald Trump’s new social media company going public.

    Nearly a year ago, Trump Media & Technology Group, the company behind the conservative social media app Truth Social, agreed to sell its stock to the public through a deal with Digital World Acquisition Corp., a little-known SPAC, or special purpose acquisition company. At the time, Digital World had 11 months to complete the deal, but closing the transaction has proved to be trickier than anticipated.

    Digital World Acquisition executives had been expected to announce after a shareholder meeting on Tuesday whether enough investors had voted to extend the timeline to complete the deal by a year. But the executives decided instead to adjourn the meeting until Thursday to give the SPAC’s investors more time to cast their votes on whether to grant the extension.

    If an extension can’t be reached by then, the SPAC may be forced to liquidate and return the nearly $300 million it raised in 2021 back to investors.

    3
  7. wr says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: I may have mentioned this before, but if stories like Jesse Ed Davis’ interest you, you should check out the podcast A History of Rock Music in 500 Songs. It’s a breathtaking piece of scholarship and hugely entertaining, starting in the day of Benny Goodman and working its way up — currently at episode 152 with “For What It’s Worth.”

    5
  8. CSK says:

    @MarkedMan:
    You can certainly make a case for “sloppy and childish,” as well as delusional, given that he refused to pack up his stuff on the grounds that he wasn’t leaving the White House and everything had to be thrown into boxes at the last minute.

    But I think there’s more. Why did he keep those documents with his personal papers? Blackmail? Extortion? Revenge?

    1
  9. CSK says:

    @MarkedMan:
    You’ll enjoy this, from the Pennsylvania Capital-Star via Raw Story:

    http://www.rawstory.com/with-trumps-mar-a-lago-stash-every-picture-tells-a-story-this-one-writes-itself/

    2
  10. Kathy says:

    I came across a note yesterday about a new COVID antibody that is effective against all variants. It’s a pre-print paper, so I’m taking the details with a large ton of salt. Allegedly this antibody doesn’t neutralize the spike protein, but attaches in such a way that when the trump virus latches onto an ACE2 receptor in a cell, it’s prevented from fusing its membrane with the cell membrane. That is, the virus cannot enter the cell, and thus can’t reproduce.

    Well and good, but this raises tons of questions. Do people infected with SARS-CoV-2 not produce these antibodies? If not, why not? If they do, how does this affect the odds of reinfection, and of disease severity on subsequent rounds? If this antibody is that good, can we make a vaccine to generate it?

    You may have noticed the term “neutralizing antibodies” when reading about vaccines or immunity. This refers to antibodies that attach to the spike protein, in the case of the trump virus, in such a way that it cannot bind to ACE2 receptors. Since that’s the point of vaccination, the term seems redundant, right?

    Well, no. Other antibodies might be produced. In essence, B cells produce antibodies they have antigen receptors for. We know what neutralizing ones do. What others do is not well understood. It’s not even understood whether they do anything or not.

    This is a common theme in biology when a function is not immediately apparent. Like what the appendix is good for, or DNA with no apparent purpose labeled as “junk” (spoiler alert: it’s not junk).

    We’ll see.

    1
  11. JohnSF says:

    @CSK:

    “Blackmail? Extortion? Revenge?”

    “Paging Mr. Blofeld! Ernst Stavro Blofeld of SPECTRE, pick up the white courtesy phone.”

    5
  12. MarkedMan says:

    @CSK: Trump is a moron, and so does moronic things. But at this point, giving him the benefit of the doubt despite the fact that he took and kept at least one document so sensitive only a handful of people are even authorized to keep it is just willful blindness. (CSK, I know you are not saying this – I’m speaking more generally.) Add to this that he has a long history of shady dealings with the Russians and the Saudis and more recently, the Chinese, and that he owes them money and favors and you have to conclude the “Reasonable People” dodge is just nonsense.

    Think about it. Suppose these weren’t nuclear secrets but some other documents that he was not legally entitled to, and suppose this was 2012 instead of 2022, i.e. he was never president. He is found to have taken these documents during, say, a party at some tycoons house, and when the FBI demands he turn then over deliberately concealed. And supporse these documents are extremely, astoundingly valuable to the Russians, the Chinese and the Saudi’s, all of whom he has had extraordinarily sketchy business dealings with over a long period of time, and to whom he owes boatloads of money. Would you give him the benefit of the doubt then? Would you say, “Well, we have no absolute proof that he was going to sell them to his debt holders, and given his past spotlessly ethical behavior, it is more likely than not this was all a misunderstanding due to his sloppiness”?

    3
  13. CSK says:

    @JohnSF:
    Blofeld’s a lot smarter than Trump.

    2
  14. MarkedMan says:

    @Kathy: This would be great news if it pans out. But just remember that for every ‘medical miracle’ that eventually lives up to expectations, there are a 1000 that fail along the way.

    2
  15. gVOR08 says:

    @MarkedMan:

    Geez. Unless we can absolutely prove ill intent we are obligated to assume good intentions?

    By default Trump has always been granted the criminal standard of presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. Is that really the appropriate standard when the president is suspected of being unduly influenced by a hostile foreign power?

    1
  16. CSK says:

    @MarkedMan:
    I’d never give him the benefit of the doubt. (With Trump, it’s always wisest to assume the worst.) And I don’t believe that a lot of the people feebly trying to defend him now think he’s innocent, either.

    2
  17. Mimai says:

    A few questions for those who frequently rub shoulders with young(ish) children. How do you navigate the current social divisions with them? Eg, Do you talk about Trump and, if so, how? Do you talk about particular out-groups (eg, Republicans, Christians, CEOs)? Do you approach these topics differently depending on the age of the kids?

    I’m not interested in answers to those questions per se (though feel free to answer them), but rather in how you think about this issue. If you think about it at all. Thank you in advance.

    2
  18. gVOR08 says:

    From an AP story via Political Wire,

    “The Anti-Defamation League Center on Extremism pored over more than 38,000 names on leaked Oath Keepers membership lists and identified more than 370 people it believes currently work in law enforcement agencies — including as police chiefs and sheriffs — and more than 100 people who are currently members of the military.”

    “It also identified more than 80 people who were running for or served in public office as of early August.”

    1% are law enforcement? I’m surprised it’s that low. Even allowing for an undercount.

    The AP article isn’t quite explicit, but apparently this 38,000 is the entire membership list. If so, they sure get a lot of press for a small organization. And the listed members they interviewed are all, “Who me? I might have signed up once a long time ago.” Maybe we should stop worrying about Civil War 2.0 and get on with indicting TFG.

    3
  19. Kathy says:

    @MarkedMan:

    Ergo the large ton of salt I mentioned.

    Pre-print studies haven’t been peer reviewed nor replicated. The piece I read did not say whether it’s been tested on humans. It said the antibody was made using mice, but not whether it was tested even on mice.

    So, we await further developments.

  20. Jen says:

    @Mimai: Depends on the child, really. My BIL and ex-SIL are both Trump supporters and the SIL in particular is very, very vocal about her support, so their child (age ~5, I think?) has picked up on this and every so often will make a comment. If I think he’s just trying to generate a reaction, I ignore it and ask about dinosaurs or some such thing. If he’s truly parroting some ridiculous line like Biden isn’t President, I say “I don’t know where you heard that, but it’s wrong.” (I do know where he heard it, but good grief.)

    For the most part, I steer clear of any political discussions in front of kids. They aren’t mine (I don’t have any) and I don’t want to set anyone off unintentionally.

    4
  21. Kathy says:

    @MarkedMan:

    IMO; the point isn’t that the papers Benito stole are classified, but that he took them at all. They’re not his, he has no right to them. End of story. That’s theft of government records, regardless of their importance.

    What he intended to do with them also doesn’t matter.

    Think of it this way: how many time have you read about someone who winds up with a lengthy prison term because they accidentally forgot to pay for something at a store, or because they found drugs and took them to the police?

    Benito did not take government records by accident, nor did he refuse to return them by accident.

    The importance of the documents in relation to national security aggravates the offense, but does not define it.

    8
  22. CSK says:

    William Cohen, a former Republcian congressman and senator from Maine, and Bill Clinton’s secretary of defense, says that Trump is “a clear and present danger to democracy” and that he should be criminally prosecuted.

    9
  23. becca says:

    As far as why trump wanted the docs… maybe someone in his orbit wanted docs. Miller, Bannon, even Hannity? Anything is possible in the bizarro world of trump’s gop.
    One thing I am sure about is that trump wasn’t just careless and sloppy. His intent was criminal. Anyone who believes otherwise is a fool or a liar.

    4
  24. Tony W says:

    @Mimai: With my grandkids, we discuss Trump as an egregious example of politicians who lack basic morality, and we emphasize that our duty is to our fellow citizens. We have worked hard to be successful, but we reach down with a helping hand to those coming up behind us – we don’t pull up the ladder.

    This partially contradicts what their parents are teaching them about working hard, winning, and a focus on hustling/getting good things for themselves, but I think kids are smart and their brains can handle the complexity that is inherent in morality.

    4
  25. CSK says:

    Steve Bannon apparently intends to shoot it out with the cops rather than turn himself in to NY authorities:

    “They are coming after all of us, not only President Trump and myself. I am never going to stop fighting. In fact, I have not yet begun to fight. They will have to kill me first.”

    1
  26. Kathy says:

    @CSK:

    “Death is every man’s privilege.”

    4
  27. MarkedMan says:

    @Kathy: I bow to no one in my contempt of Trump, but despite that I think the classification level and importance of the documents are important. Remember, it is up to Presidents themselves to decide which of their documents are official and which are personal. Is a nicely printed copy of a the guest list at a State Dinner, something publicly and electronically available via press handout, personal or official? Almost certainly official but if a President decided to keep it, big whoop. Of course, no classified document could be considered personal, but even there it is not as clear as it sounds. Remember that of the 113 “classified” documents and emails in the Clinton scandal, only 3 actually had classification markings on them, all at a low level.* The other “classified” emails included things like an aide asking her if she had seen the front page NY Times article on (… I can’t remember the exact details. Soviet military? Chinese trade negotiations?). Because it was an article about a subject that was considered highly classified, Comey decided that meant any email that even mentioned the subject was therefore classified. If that was the type of thing that the FBI had found, even I would be calling them out as overzealous.

    *Always worth pointing out that these types of classified documents or emails shouldn’t have been on even her State Department email account. It wasn’t the fact that they were on a private server that caused them to be problematic, it was that they weren’t viewed in a (… I forget the name for where they were okay to be viewed. I don’t think it required a SCIF, but definitely more than her email system on her State Department laptop.) I would be willing to bet that if you combed through the emails of any State Department or other government official, high ranking or low, you would find hundreds of things at equal classification levels. There was no evidence, none, that she viewed any significant document outside of the appropriate venue.

    2
  28. Skookum says:

    @wr: Just subscribed to the podcast. Thank you!

  29. Beth says:

    @Mimai:

    I find it interesting that the “out” groups you chose are among some of the most powerful people in the country. Serious, Christians as an out group? That’s more than half the country. Christians don’t have to worry about me, I have to be terrified of them.

    Moreover, I’m the only non-Christian in a house full of Catholics. I had my son (9 now, 7 then) tell me I’m going to hell because I’m not baptised. I’ll admit, I exploded. As a side note, their Catholic school very carefully sides steps the issue of me; they don’t want to lose the revenue.

    How about actual out groups with little or no actual power, the homeless, immigrants, the LGBTQ community. You realize that the LGBTQ community has very little actual power, right? Christians are working overtime to make sure that they can discriminate against us and lock us out of society? Or straight up genocide us?

    As for politicians, I generally don’t discuss them with my kids, except if Regan comes up. Then I tell them the truth, he’s a fucking asshole who should be burning in hell. Seriously, fuck that guy.

    4
  30. Jay L Gischer says:

    It’s far from the only reason, but one reason that I stick to a more minimalist explanation of Trump’s actions is because I think that will end up having more impact on fence-sitters, and even some Trump supporters, via the phenomenon of Anchoring.

    When you make maximalist claims, those claims get compared with other possible explanations which seem “not so bad” by comparison. With the more minimalist claims, it’s harder to find something that’s not-so-bad by comparison, and when material comes out that ups the minimalist ante, it is experienced adversely – one must revise one’s hypothesis.

    So I think its more effective this way. Not that I think a lot of Trump supporters are up for grabs, but some are. Focus on the ones you can influence.

    3
  31. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Scott: Can the SPAC stiff everybody and go banko instead? If so, that’s my bet.

    1
  32. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @MarkedMan: Unless we can absolutely prove ill intent we are obligated to assume good intentions? At this point that is just deliberate naivete.

    Oh horseshit, on both points. I get it. You want to believe the absolute worst of trump, that he had every intention of selling this intel. OK, I really do get it. But nobody and I do mean nobody but a diehard trump Republican thinks he had *good* intentions. To say I am naive because I still hold to trump’s razor as the most likely explanation for 95% of what he does is just holding to his track record of shallow, narcissistic, ego boosting, behavior. Did he flash these documents at people to show them what an important person he still is? It would surprise me if he hadn’t. Did he let some of them read them? Probably. Did he do so with nefarious intent? Maybe. If it fed his ego or his bank account.

    But it’s a far jump from allowing for the 5% possibility of it to saying he did it without any evidence to support that conclusion.

    ** as to what would constitute good intentions for them I have no idea. They still think January 6 was done with good intentions. They still think trying to blackmail a foreign leader was done with good intentions. They still think meeting with Putin one on one and then tearing up the translators notes was done with good intentions.

    1
  33. Beth says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    I don’t really know much about SPACs but that strikes me as being the kind of fraud that BK Courts despise.

    1
  34. Kathy says:

    Some random COVID thoughts.

    Near the beginning of the pandemic, I recall reading that the immune systems of bats are unusually aggressive. Meaning, I suppose, they produce either many antibodies, or do so faster than other animals. Since the trump virus is theorized to have come from bats, perhaps via an intermediary species, it was explained it had evolved a fast and prolific reproduction strategy (it makes more copies of itself in more types of cells than other viruses, even other coronaviruses).

    I’ve heard nothing about it since then.

    COVID vaccines have not stopped the spread, given the high probability of breakthrough infections by variants like Delta and Omicron (though apparently they worked well against the Alpha variant). But they have proved to provide very good protection against severe disease, hospitalization, and death, even against variants like Delta and Omicron.

    In that sense, it will be like the flu, albeit more contagious and more dangerous. More people will probably die of it than flu, but one should be reasonably safe from more than a very nasty time for a week or so if one keeps up with annual boosters.

    This tells me I can take a more relaxed attitude (as soon as I get the Omicron booster), but still take precautions. So no “back to normal.” I mean things like maybe I can go to a movie, even eat at an outdoor restaurant* or one with good ventilation and few people, and maybe go to the supermarket a bit later in the morning**. So long as I still wear a mask all the time.

    I think I’ll even risk a tour of nearby archaeological sites for my next vacation.

    And so long as no other variant gives us a really nasty surprise the way Delta did.

    *Pre-pandemic I went out to eat seldom, so this isn’t a big deal. But it will be if I do go on vacation.

    **It’s not as bad as all that. Even when my brain doesn’t feel like waking up earlier to maximize that good free weekend time, I tend to got to bed and wake up as per my regular weekday schedule. So getting to the store at 7 am is not that different from getting to work at 7:30

    1
  35. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Kathy: “s. Do people infected with SARS-CoV-2 not produce these antibodies? If not, why not?”

    Just a guess, but probably for the same reasons that we don’t with common cold. Beyond that, I don’t think the getting sick issue is involved with not producing antibodies as much as with not producing them in a timely enough fashion to avoid becoming sick. If we never produced antibodies for what ails us, we’d die pretty young.

  36. Argon says:

    Looks like Maura Healey (D) will be Massachusetts’ next governor. It’s crystal clear why Baker opted not to run again — The state’s GOP is still MAGAtized.

    2
  37. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @becca: One thing I am sure about is that trump wasn’t just careless and sloppy. His intent was criminal. Anyone who believes otherwise is a fool or a liar.

    C’mon, stop it. Taking them was a criminal act. Hiding them was another criminal act. Showing them to an individual w/o the proper clearances (something I fully expect he has done) for whatever reason is another criminal act. The only people who think otherwise are MAGA heads. He also happens to be extremely careless and sloppy.

  38. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @CSK: “They will have to kill me first.”

    Your proposal is acceptable.”

    1
  39. Kathy says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    I’ve been giving that a lot of thought, too.

    We know it takes time for the adaptive immune system to react to a pathogen. Apparently it also takes time for memory B cells to churn out antibodies for pathogens the body has experienced before.

    For some diseases this may be fast enough for an infection to be defeated before symptoms show up, for some it may not. Therefore you get milder symptoms and recover.

    Perhaps, then, it might be a better course for dangerous diseases, like more infectious and more virulent variants like Delta, to administer this antibody (if it does work as claimed), be the patient vaccinated or not.

  40. Sleeping Dog says:

    Got the Omicron booster this AM, so my cel and internet service very good.

    7
  41. CSK says:

    @Argon:
    Geoff Diehl is a perennial loser.

    @OzarkHillbilly:
    😀

  42. CSK says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:
    Back in 2017, Trump revealed Israeli intelligence to Russian officials. He’s made a practice of doing this.

    1
  43. Mimai says:

    @Beth:
    We appear to have different working definitions of out-group. I chose those groups in the parenthetical because out-group is individual and context dependent. It is not about power per se, but rather about the social group(s) an individual identifies with.

    If I had posed these questions to a blog where most of the commenters are Evangelical Christians or Bitcoin maximalists or Philadelphia Eagles fans, I would have chosen different out-group examples.

    ps, I’m sorry to hear about your family stress.

    pps, Yes, I am well aware of the power dynamics involving the LGBTQ community, as well as the other marginalized communities you mention.

    1
  44. Scott says:
  45. MarkedMan says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    Oh horseshit, on both points.

    He colluded with the Russians, as well documented in the Mueller report. He took at least one document that Russia would literally kill for. And it is only a 5% chance that he was looking to benefit from it?

    His whole frickin’ life is evidence of the opposite. He was involved for decades with the whole National Enquirer trove of blackmail material. Virtually every business deal we know about (because of court cases) was an out and out grift. He colluded with the Russians during his first election and attempted to in the second. Yet it’s only a 5% chance that he was planning to benefit from these documents? It’s like you find some guy with a history of lying, cheating, stealing in your house late one night, going through your papers with the lights off, and you conclude it was 95% likely he was just counting coup and had no intention of real harm.

    We obviously see this very differently. You seem to see a moron of a President and conclude that, what, he was too stupid to try to benefit from this? I see a life long grifter and conman, someone who has never showed interest in anyone’s benefit other than his own, so of course he would try to use these documents to benefit himself criminally and, being an idiot, would do so in a disaster ou sly shambolic manner.

    3
  46. wr says:

    @Skookum: “Just subscribed to the podcast”

    If you’re the kind of extremely methodical person who will start with episode one and work up, then go with God. But if you want to check out a really strong sample, I’d recommend the “Eight Miles High” episode. Such an amazing breadth of knowledge — it starts with the birth of be-bop, moves into (I think) Lester Young’s bringing the sitar into jazz, sidesteps into Indian music theory and the two most important sitar players of the 20th century and takes another couple of dazzling turns before finally getting to Roger McGuinn and the birth of the Byrds. And still has time to throw in an anecdote or two about what a dick David Crosby way.

  47. Skookum says:

    @Kathy:

    Near the beginning of the pandemic, I recall reading that the immune systems of bats are unusually aggressive.

    Heartily recommend Bat Superpowers, a Nova documentary. It discusses why bats survive higher temperatures caused by disease, among many other fascinating things (e. g., why they age relatively slower than another creatures in the same size category).

    1
  48. Mimai says:

    @wr:
    Forgive me for intruding, but you mentioned the sitar twice (!!)…and, as such, I feel compelled to give a plug for Kikagaku Moyo. As you were.

    2
  49. Skookum says:

    As this group is a sounding board, here’s my take on Trump:

    His family was never assimilated by the part of America that believes in democracy. Rather, they were assimilated by the part of America that believes in graft and making profits at the expense of those who play fair. This, in my view, shapes his motive for any matter, including his fascination with despots.

    He’s cunning, very cunning, but wired in a way that makes him unusual in how he processes information and organizes physical stuff.

    His bizarre upbringing has damaged him, i. e., he has little empathy for others.

    Once he decided to run for office, he linked up with Roger Stone, a protoge of Roy Cohn, Trump’s mentor. Stone influenced his political strategies–e. g., dirty tricks–along with other influencers. It is important, I believe, to remember that Trump was a Democrat until he ran for office under the influence Roger Stone and Paul Manafort.

    Trump has never been held accountable for breaking the law. Thus, he is not unreasonable in believing that he is above the law or can always find a legal means to avoid being held accountable.

    Given that, for most Americans, taking classified material is a crime that would result in jail time, the big question remains: What is his motive? What was his motive for speaking with Putin alone without a note taker? What was his motive for having classified in his desk drawer with his personal passport, let alone the storage room?

    His motive, I believe, will only be revealed if someone in his inner circle talks.

    And until we have a motive, I doubt he will be prosecuted.

    My two cents. 🙂

    2
  50. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    Unless we can absolutely prove ill intent we are obligated to assume good intentions?

    Well no, WE don’t. Courts of law, on the other hand…

    3
  51. Skookum says:

    @Mimai: We have different views in my family, so the youngsters are exposed to a variety of perspectives.

    Likewise, our community is bruised by the Amon Bundy occupation of the Malheur Wildlife Refuge, so to get along, people tend to not discuss politics in public and, especially, not in school.

    My approach is try very hard to practice and demonstrate civility: Listen, respectfully discuss, and everyone go to their corners when things get heated.

    In general, I am impressed by youth’s belief in being fair to all sides and their bold questions that get to the meat of the matter.

    I know they are exposed to political talk at schools by their peers (e. g., FJB), so my assumption is that they probably have a better feel for how to get along than I do. I’m not aware of political bullying being a thing, but maybe I’m naive.

    2
  52. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Mimai: The topics you mention don’t come up much. Partially because in my role as guest teacher, few care what I think, partially because if one is a member of an “out” group, one tries to disguise the fact to some degree unless there are sufficient outs to form another clique. Beyond that, the only reason I got into teaching in the first place was to corrupt young minds. The most corrupting thing that you can do to a young mind, at least in my opinion, is teach that young mind to think critically and evaluate with wisdom and concern for others. So usually, when some young person brings up something they see as outrageous, I acknowledge that it is (mostly not a high bar to jump), my generation (I turned 70 this summer) had the chance to alter the situation and failed to do so or made it worse, and that the “people your age” are going to inherit the problem and need to figure out how to make conditions what you want them to be. I also apologize for leaving them such a mess.

    2
  53. steve says:

    Mimai- My experience would be with teens so not sure if that is what you want. Wife and I have been involved in speech and debate at local school for many years. When Trump was first elected we saw major problems. Some kids thought it was suddenly ok to run around and tell N word jokes or similar with Hispanics. The school did a decent effort ton cracking down on this. In speech and debate competitions I often judged “Congress” which is kind of what it sounds like. Also extemporaneous. At this point I know the people running the tournaments, mostly, and I have a pretty broad background of knowledge. I found that the kids were mostly able to debate and speak without getting especially angry. It did make judging difficult.

    I would hear kids make claims that were clearly untrue. This was mostly from the right I think but did happen with both sides. What I did was try to figure out if there argument was consistent with what I would expect from someone reading reasonable right wing sources and emphasize presentation over argument. There were no tournaments the last 2 years and we have decided to not help with judging anymore. Its going to be too hard to figure out how I should rate kids when they argue Trump won the election. Its an argument without evidence or merit bit its well within the norms for right wing thought.

    Steve

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  54. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Beth: You may want to rethink your negative feelings about Christianity (yeah, I know and share your disgust, but hear me out); if the theology I grew up with is accurate in its interpretations, the probability that Reagan is burning in hell is very high. 😉

    1
  55. Gustopher says:

    @MarkedMan:

    Respected and cautious people have to assume he was just sloppy and childish.” Geez. Unless we can absolutely prove ill intent we are obligated to assume good intentions? At this point that is just deliberate naivete.

    Were you somehow unaware of his behavior as President? A frothy mixture of malevolence, incompetence, venality and greed permeated his every movement.

    It’s nearly impossible to figure out which one(s) were in play at any moment unless he spoke about them, which he did regularly. It is naive to ascribe a motive to the man’s misdeeds and crimes.

    He’s a shambling wreck of a human being. Morally, intellectually and physically. He’s like a force of nature, or a minor Greek God representing all the failings of man (that feels more Roman than Greek, actually…)

    And like the contents of Pandora’s box, the ideal solution would be to just somehow shove him into a new box and throw away the key. And drop the box into a deep sea trench.

    1
  56. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Scott: “The Southtown pop-up comes after stickers of a nearly naked, yet harness-clad Cruz were placed throughout downtown last spring.”

    Glad I didn’t see coverage of THAT! That would be right up there in “can’t unsee” territory.

    2
  57. Beth says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    I mean, you’re right about that.

    @Gustopher:

    “Hey, back in the box Despair.”

  58. CSK says:

    Trump, in addition to everything else that’s wrong with him, is purely a creature of appetite.

  59. Gustopher says:

    @CSK:

    Steve Bannon apparently intends to shoot it out with the cops rather than turn himself in to NY authorities

    I support the police in this instance, despite the ACAB issue. Go Blue!

  60. Michael Reynolds says:

    There remains no answer to the basic question, why? Why did Trump steal top secret material and then lie about it? Why?

    I’ve maintained for six years now that Trump is a literal traitor. That he is under Putin’s thumb. That he is likewise under MBS’s thumb. At the time most people dismissed this as hyperbole. The wisest of chin-strokers thought it was nonsense. Now I see people beginning to take it seriously, even in the official punditocracy.

    I also maintained that MAGA was and is a cult of personality. I think the evidence of that is overwhelming.

    What I now suspect – not believe, but suspect – is that DoJ has evidence of Trump passing documents to foreign agents and being paid in return. See: Jared’s Saudi billions. See also: reports of suspiciously high kill or capture rates for American intel assets. See also: reports of suspicious foreigners wandering around Mar-a-Lago. Remember: the need for a back channel to the Russians that avoided US intel. Remember: Trump in Moscow and reports of a piss tape. Note: the constant Russian troll farm support for Trump. Note: MBS refusing to increase oil flow in light of Russia’s invasion. Note: Trump’s praise for and evident subservience to, both Putin and the Saudi royals.

    Proof? Nope. Highly suggestive? Yep. If Trump were anyone but an ex-POTUS he’d long since have been arrested. I believe he is a literal traitor. I believe he’s guilty of what used to be a capital offense.

    8
  61. Kathy says:

    The assumption is that Benito stole boxes of government documents, classified and not, as he left the White House.

    What if some have been there longer? I can see him take documents on his many trips to Florida during his one term, and then leaving them there.

    7
  62. CSK says:

    @Kathy:
    I think that’s entirely possible.

  63. CSK says:

    @Gustopher:
    Well, Bannon is between a rock and a hard place. He vowed to his podcast listeners that he’d die first. But then, he also vowed that he had not yet begun to fight. (Thank you, Capt. John Paul Jones.) So does that mean he’ll waddle to the authorities and fight bravely after his surrender? Or maybe just flee on the yacht of a Chinese billionaire?

  64. DK says:

    @MarkedMan:

    Can we just stop this crap of “Reasonable people understand that there is no evidence that Trump had ill intent when taking these documents. Respected and cautious people have to assume he was just sloppy and childish.”

    A. Ill-will
    B. Sloppy
    C. Childish
    D. All of the above

    The correct answer is D. It typically is with Drama Queen Donnie.

  65. DK says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    If Trump were anyone but an ex-POTUS he’d long since have been arrested. I believe he is a literal traitor. I believe he’s guilty of what used to be a capital offense.

    “Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing.”

    But when you commit treason brazenly, openly, and repeatedly, the Very Serious Media People have to insist insist you’re just joking or have no idea what you’re doing.

    As for the rest of us, we been knew about the traitorous collusion Manafort is now finally confessing.

    There’s no reason to give the Trump crime family benefit of the doubt about their theft and mishandling of nuclear secrets and intel sources — both of which are statutorily protected from presidential declassification power.

    Looking forward to the next round of asinine, reflexive-contration Trump apologetics from Matt Taibbi, Andrew Sullivan, Glenn Greenfraud, and Michael Tracey aimed, as always, at gullible, unethical, insecure incels.

  66. Stormy Dragon says:

    @steve:

    My experience would be with teens so not sure if that is what you want. Wife and I have been involved in speech and debate at local school for many years.

    One of my weird opinions is that competitive debate is actually bad for a student’s intellectual development: it teaches that viewpoints are merely fashion (e.g. you shouldn’t care whether the death penalty is moral or not and should be able to argue either side just as easily); that all that matters in an argument is the form of your words, not the meaning or consequences; and that the goal of discussion is not to arrive at a consensus, but to refuse to concede anything because what rally matters is scoring points.

    It’s not an accident that so many of the worst Republicans come from a competetive debate background.

    3
  67. Jay L Gischer says:

    Nancy Pelosi recently said, “With [Trump], all roads lead to Putin”.

    So Michael, I think you’re in pretty good company there.

    I kind of think it would be too much for Trump to hand over America’s secrets. Even mob bosses have a patriotic streak. But handing over another countries secrets? For some sort of quid pro quo? That’s a bit more likely. But I don’t like getting ahead of the evidence.

    3
  68. dazedandconfused says:
  69. Kathy says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    There remains no answer to the basic question, why?

    I won’t attempt to answer. But I’ll point to something in Fiona Hill’s book. She claims what’s topmost in Benito’s mind is how he thinks he looks to other people, which he seems to gauge by what others say about him. About the first thing I think he said of COVID, is that it was a Democratic hoax to make him look bad (can someone confirm this? Thanks!) Therefore, he must think absconding with government documents makes him somehow look good.

    If this doesn’t make sense, consider the makeup, comb-over, and ridiculously long ties he affects are supposed to make him look good.

    The other thing is that his intent is not very relevant to the case at hand. He stole government documents he had no right to. That’s a crime, regardless of why he did it. His reasons might serve as extenuating or, more likely, aggravating circumstances when it comes to sentencing (if we’re lucky), but have no legal bearing on guilt.

    2
  70. Skookum says:

    @Kathy: Whoever was in charge of checking out and certifying return of classified materials in the White House was extremely negligent IMHO. Can’t believe this person isn’t in hot water, too.

    2
  71. JohnSF says:

    @Michael Reynolds:
    Off topic: not long picked up on your news in the forum yesterday about your daughter getting Covid.
    Hoping for the best for you and your family.

    1
  72. JohnSF says:

    One last thought before bedtime:
    Was some talk on the forum last yesterday about North Korea providing munitions to Russia.
    And news items recently about Iran selling them drones.

    It occurred to me that there is a “dog that didn’t bark in the night” here.
    That N. Korea and Iran are providing rockets, shells and drones indicate one thing pretty clearly: China is NOT providing these things (at least at scale).

    China is willing to do all sorts of things for Russia: short of actual concrete help, that is.

    2
  73. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @CSK: I know it. Did you ask yourself why? Because I did and I’m pretty damned sure of why he did it. It was a bragging point. It fed his ego. “See the stuff I get shown???” If you know he was getting paid for it, show me the receipts. If you can’t…

    1
  74. CSK says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:
    I agree with you.

  75. Gustopher says:

    @DK: The correct answer is a rotating set of motivations for each action. Was it malevolence that gave way to sloppiness? Venality leading to greed? Sloppiness to greed to venality with a brief respite in spite?

    I think you would get a different answer to each question:

    – why did he have them?
    – why did he keep them at the WH?
    – why did he move them to MAL?
    – why did he not return them when asked?
    – why did he have them in a desk drawer?
    – why did he not return them when asked again?
    – why did he return only some?
    – why did he continue to not return them?
    – why did he announce the raid?

    This is not a consistent man. At some point it shifted to obstinance and victimhood. Before that? Every explanation at some point.

    People assume there is more to him because he was President, but he acts like a minor vengeful incompetent who was voted out of a position in the HOA because a few Blacks moved in and he said they were lowering property values.

    Was he going to sell documents? I don’t know, but I think it’s clear that when they were sitting in his desk drawer he smiled knowing he could. He could burn it all down and that would show them, and Hillary had a flower of an unapproved color and why do people focus on his pool that is so filthy it caught fire?

    4
  76. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @MarkedMan: We obviously see this very differently.

    Boy, you couldn’t be more wrong.

    You seem to see a moron of a President and conclude that, what, he was too stupid to try to benefit from this?

    I conclude nothing, I only accept the evidence before me, nothing more.

    I see a life long grifter and conman, someone who has never showed interest in anyone’s benefit other than his own, so of course he would try to use these documents to benefit himself criminally and, being an idiot, would do so in a disastrously shambolic manner.

    I see a life long grifter who has never seen beyond his finger tips and being an idiot, has never done anything but in a disastrously shambolic manner.

    So… Show me the receipts. That’s all. No suppositions, no conjectures, proof.

  77. Michael Reynolds says:

    @JohnSF:
    Thanks.

    She just asked me for $600, to cover some previous travel expenses – including an order for curry. She seems to be managing.

  78. Beth says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    Do you happen to have any links to support any of the stuff about intel assets killed/captured? Not that I don’t believe you, I just haven’t seen anything.

    Also, can I have $600 too?

    1
  79. Michael Reynolds says:

    @Beth:
    https://www.nytimes.com/2021/10/05/us/politics/cia-informants-killed-captured.html

    Sorry about the messy link but I am on my phone not my laptop.

  80. Just nutha says:

    @Gustopher: Still, who else are you going to go to to kill a b###$$$d?

  81. Jen says:

    @Beth: FWIW, I think that @Michael Reynolds is correct. The NYT link has a key sentence about the timing that people seem to miss:

    The message, in an unusual top secret cable, said that the C.I.A.’s counterintelligence mission center had looked at dozens of cases in the last several years involving foreign informants who had been killed, arrested or most likely compromised.

    So, we’re not just talking about MAL.

    It’s instructive to remember how Trump has long characterized spying–he’s made it clear that he doesn’t like it. Comments like “we’re just as bad” and “the US does the same thing” are really very weird statements for a president to make. VERY WEIRD.

    It feels like an amount of justification, to me.

  82. al Ameda says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:
    Jesse Ed Davis. Great great guitar player.
    Duane Allman was inspired by Jesse’s slide guitar playing on Taj Majal’s album to take up playing slide himself. The rest, as they say, is history.

    1