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 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:

    To get his photo op at the church.

  2. MarkedMan says:

    Any of our lawyers have an opinion on the C19 waiver Trump is asking rally attendees to sign? I was under the impression that a waiver couldn’t trump negligence.

  3. Sleeping Dog says:

    The Lincoln Project is at it again.

    The Justice Department finally found terrorists involved with the BLM protests. To no ones surprise they’re right wing cop killers. Add to that the RW’ers shooting protesters in New Mexico and other gun carrying RW’ers assaulting BLM protesters in Ohio. I’m sure they are very fine people.

  4. SC_Birdflyte says:

    @MarkedMan: IANAL, but I believe a waiver only binds the one who signs it. If an attendee signs the waiver, contracts Covid-19, and dies, the attendee’s estate couldn’t sue, but other members of the family might be able to sue.

  5. Scott says:

    Air Force sergeant charged in killing of federal officer at California courthouse

    In announcing murder and attempted murder charges in the shooting of the security personnel, authorities alleged Staff Sgt. Steven Carrillo, 32, had ties to the far-right, anti-government “boogaloo” movement and that the plot to target them was hatched a day earlier during an online chat with an accomplice and a third person.

    This was an active duty enlisted serving in the Air Force security forces.

    It brought to mind this incident and report from early in the Obama administration:

    Rightwing Extremism: Current Economic and Political Climate Fueling Resurgence in Radicalization and Recruitment

    Rightwing extremists have capitalized on the election of the first African American president, and are focusing their efforts to recruit new members, mobilize existing supporters, and broaden their scope and appeal through propaganda, but they have not yet turned to attack planning.

    It was denounced by the right wing conservatives and, out of political correctness, the Obama administration withdrew it. But ten years later, the concerns are still there:

    Inside the U.S. military’s battle with white supremacy and far-right extremism

    Far-right nationalism in the U.S. military and veteran community has a destructive effect on civil-military relations and how the American people view the armed forces. It is corrosive to morale and security among military personnel. Even non-violent activism from soldiers, sailors, airmen, or Marines with extremist views has a negative effect on good order and discipline as well as readiness and cohesion.

    Of even more concern, of course, is the deadly consequences we know can result from the combination of far-right ideology, access to weapons, training, and the internet. This now seems more worrisome due to the rise of the so-called “lone wolf” domestic terrorist.

  6. MarkedMan says:

    @SC_Birdflyte: I’ve been told a number of times by corporate lawyers that a signed waiver doesn’t apply in cases of actual negligence. So, for instance, if you sign a five page waiver about how you absolve the paintball arena of all liability, it’s for naught if they fail to maintain the equipment, allow too many people in, or other things that result in injury.

  7. KM says:

    Also IANAL but that sounds correct. Without having seen the text, I believe the legal concept they’re trying to invoke is force majeure aka Act of God. The waiver like says something like in an event that is beyond the control of the parties involved you can’t hold them responsible and included verbiage to place COVID under that banner. Lawsuits will then hinge on whether preventing a super-spreader event or more specifically a specific individual getting infected at one was “beyond Trump’s control”. The lawyers will argue it wasn’t negligence that caused a mass outbreak (when they’re not denying the outbreak happened at all or is centered on the rally). They will challenge people to prove they got infected at the rally since while Trump might be negligent, you have to prove it caused the damage you’re suing about. Should you be able to somehow do that to their satisfaction, they will simply argue it’s a pandemic – you took your chance at getting sick by going out in public. They’ll go after not wearing masks, not observing proper distancing, failure to properly sanitize and otherwise blame the sick person. Since it’s a MAGA rally, that’s pretty much a slam dunk the attendees will definitely fail to comply with any token attempts to combat COVID.

    All in all, legal? Nope. Theoretically effective? Nope. Practical effects due to lawyers being lawyers, MAGAts being MAGAts and the fact that juries will undoubtedly have hoax-believing FOXbots in them? He’ll get away with it. Anyone who signs is literally signing a death warrant for *somebody* and granting him a free pass.

  8. Sleeping Dog says:


    The fact that the waiver exists for Covid-19 should be enough of a warning in itself to tell the MAGAts to stay far away, but you can’t fix stupid. For me, a far more interesting question is the standing of workers serving at the rally and in the businesses that surround the rally site. They, of course, would be suing their employers.

  9. Michael Reynolds says:

    Hey, where’s @Bill?

  10. Jax says:

    @Michael Reynolds: I was wondering that, too, he’s usually first up on News of the Weird!

  11. Kingdaddy says:

    If officials can’t develop a better response to armed “counter-protesters” than what they’re doing now, we may be seeing a lot more of the intimidation and violence of the sort we’ve seen in Michigan, New Mexico, and now Ohio:

  12. inhumans99 says:

    Michael, Jax, I also hope Bill returns to this blog. I know that there were some threads over the past week or so where things got a bit more heated than usual and some folks let their emotions seep into their comments (I am also a bit guilty of this). I may have even contributed to Bill stepping back from this blog for a breather by accidentally calling him a troll (if you are lurking and reading this Bill, I would like to apologize again for that mistake on my part) and then there was the back and forth with Steven regarding polling accuracy, and my adding in my 2 cents and being told to stop posting the sky is possibly falling posts, so yeah…I am glad I stepped back myself for a breather and plan to mostly observe and enjoy the comments the posts generate but will count to 10 before posting.

    Happy Wednesay everyone.

  13. Teve says:

    seen on the internet

    Over 1 million people have asked for tickets to the Trump Tulsa rally. If they all appear, there could be 100-200 teeth there.

  14. Teve says:

    Everybody shake hands and walk it off. 😀

  15. SKI says:

    @MarkedMan: Recovering lawyer here.

    It is probably pointless in the sense that absent truly insane intentional malfeasance (aka deliberately allowing someone they know has covid to attend without a mask), there shouldn’t be a cause of action against them for holding an event that the local officials allow to happen.

    Further, to the extent it is buried in the fine print, it may be ineffectual as a waiver due to public policy in some jurisdictions against adhesion contracts. Though, now that it has gotten media coverage, it could go to an “assumption of the risk” defense to any claims.

    Ultimately, it is likely intended to try to limit the filing of frivolous lawsuits and, to that extent, it may be useful. So… legally pointless but smart from a business perspective.

  16. Teve says:

    A white police officer breaking down into aggrieved tears because a McDonald’s employee was slow in getting her a McMuffin and posting the tantrum online, resulting in a harassment campaign of fast food workers by MAGA Twitter, is Trump’s America in a nutshell.

    -Dan Murphy

  17. sam says:

    Gone, gone, gone. I’m quoting from memory. The comedian was Nipsey Russell:

    I used to be in politics. I was in the president’s cabinet — right there between Aunt Jemima and Uncle Ben.

  18. Mister Bluster says:
  19. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @KM: Of course, there is the option of not going to a super spreader event in the first place. Color me passionately ambivalent about waivers on this one. “An ounce of prevention” and all that…

  20. CSK says:

    @Mister Bluster:
    This is where Lardass insists on holding the Republican convention this summer, is it not?

  21. Kathy says:

    @Mister Bluster:

    The problem will be solved when Lardass orders his minion governor to stop carrying out tests.

    As to the topic of intelligence: Tests are only needed when an outbreak is spreading. We’re not testing. therefore there is no spreading outbreak.

  22. Mister Bluster says:

    @CSK:..Republican convention…

    Supreme Leader and Chairman of the Republican Sex Workers Party Kim Jong-Trump wanted to rent the inter-Korean liaison office building in Kaesong but his estranged boyfriend said NO!

  23. grumpy realist says:

    @MarkedMan: Waivers allow only a certain amount of risk to be accepted (and yeah, adhesion contracts yada yada.) Basically would probably boil down to the jury having to decide whether the waiver itself was reasonable, did the person know what they were doing when they assumed the risk, in spite of the waiver did the people running the shindig in fact act in a reasonable manner without negligence in other areas?

    Because of how easy it is to abuse waivers, courts are usually quite suspicious of them. If Trump’s entourage has everyone wear masks, they wipe down all the chairs before each session, they check everyone’s temperature upon entry, they try to get a large enough place so that some form of social distancing can be implemented–etc.etc. etc. then a waiver against catching COVID-19 would probably be applicable. If, on the other hand, they just ignore everything and cram everyone into one tiny building–well, they’re asking for legal trouble.

  24. Jen says:

    The NYT article about the Bolton book is not surprising but still interesting.

    Mr. Bolton also adds a striking new allegation by saying that Mr. Trump overtly linked trade negotiations to his own political fortunes by asking President Xi Jinping of China to buy a lot of American agricultural products to help him win farm states in this year’s election.


    Mr. Trump did not seem to know, for example, that Britain is a nuclear power and asked if Finland is part of Russia, Mr. Bolton writes. He came closer to withdrawing the United States from NATO than previously known.


    Mr. Trump said so many things that were wrong or false that Mr. Bolton in the book regularly includes phrases like “(the opposite of the truth)” following some quote from the president.

    Rex Tillerson was right, Trump is an effin’ moron.

    Oh, and about Tillerson:

    Mr. Trump likes pitting staff members against one another, at one point telling Mr. Bolton that former Secretary of State Rex W. Tillerson had once referred to Nikki R. Haley, then the ambassador to the United Nations, by a sexist obscenity — an assertion Mr. Bolton seemed to doubt but found telling that the president would make it.

    Good grief.

    I think he needs to be impeached again, on this new stuff. Make the Senate stand behind the President following these revelations.

  25. CSK says:

    Just when you think Trump can’t get anymore disgusting, he does. There is no bottom to this man’s vulgarity, stupidity, oafishness, and ignorance.

    No wonder Trump wants this book suppressed. Well, he brought it on himself, didn’t he?

  26. CSK says:
  27. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    The Bolton book describes Trump pleading with Xi to buy wheat and soybeans in order to aid his re-election.
    Trump told Xi that building concentration camps for Muslims “was exactly the right thing to do.”
    Trump wanted to help Xi with ZTE.
    And of course, in January and February Trump was heaping praise on Xi for his handling of the COVID-19 outbreak.
    Xi played Trump, and Americans died.

  28. drj says:


    This makes me hate Bolton even more.

    He could have actually done something by testifying during Trump’s impeachment. Instead, he chose to prioritize his book sales. This fake-ass patriot sold out his country.

  29. CSK says:

    There was an interesting article in the WaPo by George Conway entitled “John Bolton Made a Tragic Mistake: It’s Not the One You Think,” that argues that Bolton wanted to testify, but wanted to be ordered by a court to do so he wouldn’t look like a disgruntled ex-employee getting revenge on his former boss. He figured he would look like that if he volunteered.

    It’s an interesting idea. It may or may not be so. But look at it this way: the revelations in this book, and his niece’s, may destroy Trump.

  30. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:


    I think he needs to be impeached again


  31. gVOR08 says:

    I won’t be buying Bolton’s book, or reading it. I expect he will embellish a good deal and I wouldn’t be able to tell where he’s lying, and the really juicy bits are already finding their way into the news. But I find it encouraging that he seems to be in a rush to publish, as does Mary. Seems to reflect an estimate that the market for kiss-and-tell books about Trump will only last another few months. As will fears about Trump’s revenge.

  32. Teve says:

    Ezra Klein on Bolton:

    Every insider account of Trump says basically the same thing. There are always a few new details, but the takeaway is always, always, that he is exactly who he appears to be in public. There are no hidden depths or strategies, no secret store of self-awareness or compassion.

    He also trashed Bolton for saving all the stuff for the book instead of telling the public.

  33. Teve says:

    Information that Trump is terrible will surely destroy his political chances. (Touching earpiece) wait…

  34. CSK says:

    It won’t destroy Cult45’s adoration of Trump. What’s in his niece’s book may destroy Trump himself. I admit to wishful thinking in this case.

  35. senyordave says:

    @CSK: I guess if we had the Trump pee tape there is a chance it would actually hurt him with his base, but a couple of books saying he is an ignorant, racist amoral pig? His base thinks he’s a genius and the amoral pig part is one of the reasons they love him. I can’t see trump being hurt by anything said about him.

  36. CSK says:

    A few years ago, a reporter interviewed some Trump fans who were waiting to attend one of his rallies. The reporter asked the women if there was anything Trump could say or do that would alienate them. They replied: “No.”

    He’s their champion and savior. He was right when he said he could shoot someone on 5th Avenue on not lose support. Half of Cult45 would find an excuse for what he did and the other half would say it was Fake News.

  37. Teve says:

    In the last two days I have had two different customers sporting three percenter gear. Is that becoming a thing now?

  38. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Teve: You ARE in Florida still, right?

  39. CSK says:

    Apparently. They’re a far-right militia group and Second Amendment fanatics.

  40. CSK says:

    Headline at TPM:
    “Trump Wants Bunker Visit Leaker Prosecuted”

    Wasn’t that Bill Barr?

  41. An Interested Party says:

    Poor Matt Gaetz…dare I say he’s acting like a…snowflake…

  42. Kathy says:

    Physics joke of the day:

    Stolen from The Big bang Theory:

    Feynman, Einstein and Schrodinger walk into a bar.

    Feynman says, “It appears we’re inside a joke.”

    Einstein replies, “But only to an observer who saw us walk in simultaneously.”

    To which Schrödinger says, “If someone’s looking in the window, I’m leaving.

  43. Kathy says:


    And with that, Mr. Bolton becomes a full Chickenhawk.