Wednesday’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. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    It’s 2:26 PST. Do you know where your children are?

  2. MarkedMan says:

    Via TPM, Lisa Rubin has an interesting Tweet up on the differences between the way the Feds are handling the three documents cases. Of particular interest was that when Pence’s lawyer contacted the National Archives (NARA), they explained the normal procedure to follow when this happens. There didn’t seem to be a great deal of urgency, and they said they wouldn’t send anyone out to retrieve them so the lawyer offered to bring them in himself. All well and good. But then suddenly the FBI showed up unannounced, which is not part of the normal procedure. So the DOJ and NARA seem to be on two different pages on this.

    Of note: Biden offered to let the FBI search the rest of the premises, which they did. Pence did not.

    It’s interesting to me that NARA had a standard set of procedures for when this happens and it seems to have been more of a bureaucratic procedure than a national security one. (Although I’m sure if any of the documents were as highly classified as Trump’s rumored list of intelligence sources, that would escalate things very quickly.) From that I would infer that this is not an unusual occurrence.

    And finally, it occurs to me that there is another way that Presidential and Senior White House Official documents are different from those of a mid-level grunt handling documents in their office in the Pentagon: once things like briefing books are created, they must be retained by law. Someone yesterday mentioned that it would be wiser to just to shred things that are no longer used, but that is a crime. From what I understand, if a President or aide were to keep so much as a handwritten copy of the seating arrangement from a State dinner as a memento, despite the fact that printed copies were distributed to the press, that would technically be a crime, at least according to one analysis I read.

  3. daryl and his brother darryl says:

    The Trumpiest Trump story.

    Trump announced on his social media platform on Tuesday that he won the Senior Club Championship at Trump International Golf Club in unincorporated West Palm Beach last weekend, despite not playing the first round of the tournament.

    Trump told tournament organizers he played a strong round on the course Thursday, two days before the tournament started, and decided that would count as his Saturday score for the club championship. That score was five points better than any competitor posted during Saturday’s first round.

  4. Kurtz says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    I’m a little surprised those commercials have not been implicated as some sort of coded message to groomers. Then or now.

  5. CSK says:

    @daryl and his brother darryl:

    I can’t decide if this is more pathetic than funny, or vice versa.

  6. Bob@Youngstown says:

    Is anyone else irked about the incessant advertising (particularly on TV) for Medicare Advantage insurance. Sure the drum beat advertising is irritating, but what bothers me more is the (to me at least) deceptive nature.
    Viewers are being lead to believe that Medicare C plans are actually a government insurance, when they are actually commercial (private) insurance plans. The “extra” benefits they offer are actually required by law because the plans (generally) do not meet the basic 85% payout to premium threshold.

    BTW, I would not argue that for some patients an advantage plan is not a good option, but it largely depends on the patient’s willingness to see only that plan’s contractor-doctors.

  7. MarkedMan says:

    @Bob@Youngstown: I can vouch for the fact that they are little more than a scam. During my mother’s end-of-life care it became apparent that things would have gone a lot smoother if she had just had normal medicare rather than one of these scam policies. Thank you “Small Government Conservatives” and your incessant “privatization” mantra!

  8. Kylopod says:

    In my email inbox, I regularly receive messages encouraging me to sign up to any of three programs: Obamacare, Trumpcare, and Bidencare.

    Let’s unpack this. If an email asks you to sign up to “Obamacare,” you instantly know it’s a scam. The term was invented by Republicans as a pejorative to attack the Affordable Care Act. And while Dems have since reclaimed the term, it’s never been used for the ACA in any official capacity. The main program is simply called the health-care marketplace or exchange.

    But at least “Obamacare” refers to something that actually exists. It’s only the name that’s the giveaway, for these emails. I can’t say the same for the other two. Ever since Trump became president in 2017, I’ve since been assailed by emails for Trumpcare, even though no such thing exists—he never passed a health-care bill during his term. Then, after Biden took over in 2021, I’ve been getting emails for Bidencare, even though he hasn’t passed a health-care bill, either.

    Is this what it’s going to be like for the foreseeable future? Every time there’s a new president, suddenly a new -care program emerges? Will I later be getting emails for Harriscare or Desantiscare or Trumpbackagaincare?

  9. Ha Nguyen says:


    Except, apparently, there’s now Bidencare since the last spending bill in December. I’ve read that there’s a lot of healthcare stuff in that bill, fixes that the Democrats had been wanting to pass for awhile, but couldn’t get through for some reason or other.

  10. gVOR08 says:


    once things like briefing books are created, they must be retained by law. Someone yesterday mentioned that it would be wiser to just to shred things that are no longer used, but that is a crime.

    How the hell much storage space does the National Archives have? I keep picturing the warehouse at the end of Raiders of the Lost Ark. Next thing you know, GOPs will be pushing to defund NARA along with the IRS.

    There’s been some discussion of why a lot of this stuff isn’t electronic and whether such a system would be adequately secure. I see over at Lawfare that Milley is catching some flack for collecting documents and creating timelines of the Pentagon’s response to Jan 6 and then classifying them and putting them on the JWICS, the Joint Worldwide Intelligence Communication System. So such a system exists, Milley over-classified some stuff and put it there (as Trumpsky’s people did with the transcript of the “perfect” call with Zelensky), and by so doing inevitably raised questions that he’s hiding something.

  11. gVOR08 says:

    @daryl and his brother darryl: I think I first saw that story about TFG’s golf “championship” around 2017, along with his fake Time cover, fake ‘river ran red with blood’ battlefield, etc. I am bemused that things like why his hair looks like that and why he had trouble walking down a ramp are treated as mysteries, although credible explanations came out years ago.

  12. Kylopod says:

    @Ha Nguyen: I don’t think Biden making changes to health-care policy proves there’s something called Bidencare. For that matter, you could say there’s Trumpcare because he got rid of the individual mandate. I think at minimum there needs to be some kind of a new program to justify naming it after the president.

    And even then, that’s hardly sufficient. I suppose you could call Medicare Johnsoncare. Or CHIP could be called Clintoncare. Or Medicare D Bushcare. We just don’t do that–for better or worse.

  13. inhumans99 says:


    I will have to ask my Dad what additional insurance he had been purchasing for years prior to his unfortunately, finally needing to take advantage of his Medicare/Insurance coverage big-time due to cancer.

    He informed me fairly recently that even with his planning for his retirement many years back, that were it not for insurance and Medicare it would have been about $1 million out of pocket for his treatment (so he avoided becoming yet another statistic under the heading of folks who have to declare bankruptcy due to medical bills).

    He received care at Cedars Sinai, but I suspect his bills would have still added up to about a million if he received care at a hospital in Kansas.

    Putting aside that health care really is way too crazy expensive in America compared to other countries (such as Mexico, where he had an endoscopic procedure that cost maybe a fifth, if that, of what it would in the U.S., also….long story on why he went to Mexico for this procedure, but it gave him a chance to get to know his great neighbor more as she drove him down to Mexico), there do seem to be legit insurance packages that supplement Medicare and are not total scams that offer crap coverage.

    My Dad is the guy who just shakes his head at those Colonial Penn type adds, and just tells me to never bother with those life insurance/medical coverage providers when I hit retirement age because what they offer is total junk, especially their only $9.95 a month type plans.

    It shocked me at the amounts my Dad quoted me when he informs me how much he was charged for certain procedures (I asked). That a good chunk of Red State America does not cross the aisle on the issue of healthcare costs needing to be brought down in the United States and join the chorus of Liberals griping about healthcare costs, well…it tells me so much about how many people are brain washed by news providers like Fox News. A problem we still do not have a good solution for.

  14. gVOR08 says:

    Meanwhile, in gun news, Dog steps on trigger of rifle, shoots man dead, Kansas sheriff says. Guns don’t kill people, dogs around guns kill people. Sometimes babies around guns kill people. The story goes on with other cases of dogs causing gun accidents, including deaths. It mentions we have 500 gun accident deaths a year.

    I mentioned in the context of Alec Baldwin that the first rule is that you always check a gun you picked up or were handed. Soon after that comes you never store, or in this case put in the back of your pickup, a gun with a round chambered. Part of our gun culture seems to include being awfully casual about the things.

  15. Stormy Dragon says:


    There’s been some discussion of why a lot of this stuff isn’t electronic

    Because our government is run by 70-year olds who can’t handle computers

  16. MarkedMan says:

    @gVOR08: I don’t remember the exact source, but a government official about ten years ago was describing what it is like to access documents of any classification via a government computer. At that time the only portable option was a huge, slow booting government issued laptop with a very short screensaver time and even that needed to connect with a physical ethernet cable, i.e. no wireless connection. If I remember right it was more than just entering a password to get it going. Imagine you are the President, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs or some other senior official, going from room to room and used to reading this or that briefing document on the way there. I suppose it could be better now, but I’ve never hear that. It seems like the President at least should be able to get some kind of secure tablet or something.

  17. MarkedMan says:

    @gVOR08: An astounding number of people are careless dimwits and it is the goal of Republicans that every single one of them is maximally armed at all times.

    It seems to me that fewer people mow their own lawn nowadays but if I remember correctly from my childhood one of the leading causes of severe household injuries was from people trying to unstick something from a running lawn mower and putting their fingers in the blade. But somehow these clowns are to be presumed “responsible gun owners” when they buy their lethal toys…

    (I’m not claiming that I’ve never done anything careless or stupid in my life, but I don’t regularly do those things.)

  18. Erik says:

    @gVOR08: there are no accidents with guns, only negligence (cue arrival of the gun mafia to tell us we are not worthy to discuss the topic)

  19. Jen says:

    @gVOR08: I am not surprised to hear that large dogs jumping in backseats that contain loaded guns occasionally cause accidents.

    But their owners…I mean, this, from the article:

    A hunting trip ended in bloodshed in New Mexico in 2018 when a 120-pound Rottweiler mix named Charlie caught a paw in the trigger of a gun while sitting in the back of his owner’s vehicle. Tex Harold Gilligan told ABC News that he was driving at the time he was shot and initially thought he had been hit by a sniper in the desert.


  20. Kathy says:


    Elect the shortstop president, and you’ll get Idontcairecare 🙂

    That’s about as good as Whocare, Whatcare or Daycare.

  21. MarkedMan says:

    @Jen: So let me get this straight. This moron keeps a loaded gun in the back seat and in his man-boy fantasy-macho world his first thought is that there are snipers shooting at him?

  22. MarkedMan says:

    Just speculation, but is all the rending of garments over giving the Ukrainians tanks and how long it will be for them to get there, and for soldiers to have enough training to use them, just for show? Will they actually be in place for a spring offensive with troops ready to roll, while still pretending that it is actually months away?

  23. daryl and his brother darryl says:
  24. gVOR08 says:


    It seems to me that fewer people mow their own lawn nowadays but if I remember correctly from my childhood one of the leading causes of severe household injuries was from people trying to unstick something from a running lawn mower and putting their fingers in the blade.

    You see such stories rarely because in the late 70s the feds required deadman controls on lawn mowers. They stop if there isn’t at least one hand on the handle. Another one of those nanny state things, although I don’t recall any conservative outrage at the time. Must have been before FOX.

  25. Kathy says:

    @daryl and his brother darryl:

    He should follow it up by winning an election without running in it.

  26. CSK says:

    @daryl and his brother darryl:

    Did he think no one would notice????*

    *oot means “out of town,” right?

  27. de stijl says:

    I’m fairly certain the internet is kinda broken today. Load times are really inconsistent. Video drops to 144 randomly. I get the loading endless circle thing going on repeatedly. Infinity loop.

    Is this after effects of the Microsoft cloud outage from earlier today? Is it still happening?

  28. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Bob@Youngstown: I don’t notice them anymore because I’ve been on an advantage plan for 6 years now. I looked at the other plans that more completely supplement Medicare, but I simply couldn’t get my head around the annual premium for “all you can eat Medicare” being more than 200%, annually, of my actual costs under advantage plans. And I have a-fib, asthma, COPD, cirrhosis of the liver, and now have added some type of Parkinson’s-like tremor to the mix. And I still have never made my maximum deductible any single year. Ever.

    But your explanation of all the stuff about 85% payout has helped me to not feel guilty about the fact that I don’t pay any premiums for my plan and only pay copayments for out of network and specialist visits. Thank you for that! 😀

  29. CSK says:


    I’d rather see him run 24/7 and then lose in the biggest landslide ever.

  30. Kathy says:

    I got a scam call a little while ago.

    They claimed to be calling from “City Marketing.” The pitch was that for buying Mexican products with my card recently, I could pick between two prizes.

    That’s when I said “Thank you. I’m not interested. please never call gain.”

    There is a fancy supermarket called City Market (not Marketing) where I shop often (best produce and fruit nearby). While they have lots of imported items, most of what they sell is domestic, as you’d expect just about anywhere. they’ll be handing out prizes to all their customers.

  31. Kathy says:


    We saw that in 2020.

    By his own reckoning, Benito won the biggest landslide ever in 2016. Biden outdid him by two EC votes (no faithless electors), ergo he lost by the biggest landslide ever and he knows it.

  32. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @inhumans99: United Healthcare–a company that I would refrain from doing business with if I didn’t live in a relatively small population area with limited Medicare supplement options–has sent me explanation statements of my coverage where the only fees the provider collected were from my copayments and deductibles. That medical treatment is way crazy expensive in America is not lost on me. Then again, my cousin the cardiologist/ER specialist would not have been able to retire from his Seattle practice at 45 or 5o to spend several years working on his son’s curve ball while working part-time in Montana, if it wasn’t crazy expensive. At least the money goes to good causes like that one. 😐

  33. dazedandconfused says:

    @daryl and his brother darryl:

    Considering what would be in store for anyone who beat him I imagine this was a big relief to the members. With Trump safely in front they could safely aim for the greens instead of the traps.

  34. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @CSK: Does he CARE that anyone notices? My guess is that people who might notice such details probably don’t hang out with Trump to begin with. (The people who do hangout with him probably just shake their heads most of the time.)

  35. MarkedMan says:

    @gVOR08: Oh, I remember people complaining. “Can’t stop to adjust my hat without the lawn mower dying”. My last lawn mower was electric so restart didn’t matter and before that they were riding mowers, which turned off when you got out of the seat.

  36. CSK says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    Trump is doomed never to be esteemed by those whose esteem he most craves. It’s the story of his life. He’s the reject standing outside with his nose pressed to the window, watching the haut monde cavort.

  37. wr says:

    @MarkedMan: “This moron keeps a loaded gun in the back seat and in his man-boy fantasy-macho world his first thought is that there are snipers shooting at him?”

    To be fair, would your first thought be “Oy, my dog just shot me!”?

  38. Kathy says:


    Of course not.

    Everyone knows it’s always the cat.

  39. Kathy says:


    It might be worse than that.

    Keep in mind he has been a “celebrity” for decades. His TV show was quite popular, too, and not only with what became his base. So he’s been allowed in, but only because he was funny as self-parody.

  40. Kathy says:

    I’m working late. Really late. We were in the middle of assembling three proposals Monday. Two of which were due on Friday. Then Tuesday another pops up, also due on Friday, plus with 150 samples for Friday as well.

    Seriously, when you know your contract ends on January 31st, maybe you should issue requests for proposals in December, second week of January at the latest. Not a week before it expires. And if you do the latter, maybe not make it as onerous on the participants.

    At that, the worst offender for samples was one that requested specific brands and net contents. It not only required sample, but also a spec sheet for every product. You’d think requesting a specific product means they want that one and no other, and don’t need samples or specs to judge quality.

    Unfortunately, you can’t ask the customer, “so, when you request Herdez brand yellow-fin tuna in chunks packed in water in a 125 gram pouch, you’ve no idea what that is and need a sample to find out?”