Friday Talking Points -- Trump's "Secret Telepathic Unilateral Preemptive Irreversible Declassification" Defense

[ Posted Friday, September 23rd, 2022 – 17:26 UTC ]

We do try to avoid it in general, but this week it is impossible not to lead our news wrap-up with the ongoing Donald Trump Follies. Spoiler alert: it wasn't a very good week in Trumpland.

Here's how one Washington Post writer summed things up:

The legal dangers facing former president Donald Trump rose this week, after the New York attorney general filed a fraud lawsuit that could effectively shutter the Trump Organization and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit allowed federal investigators to continue their probe into classified documents found at Mar-a-Lago.

. . .

Federal prosecutors have subpoenaed dozens of his former advisers, and many others, as part of a sprawling investigation into efforts to obstruct the transfer of power after the 2020 election. Separately, a Georgia grand jury has been looking at allegations that he tried to obstruct that state's electoral count by pressuring Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger (R) to "find" enough votes to overturn the election.

An aspiring corporate partner for his new social media company has received subpoenas from the Securities and Exchange Commission. District attorneys in Westchester, N.Y., and Manhattan have ongoing investigations of his companies. One of his sexual assault accusers filed court papers last month disclosing her intent to sue him under a recently passed New York law that offers exceptions to the standard statute of limitations for sex crimes.

In the first two of these listed, Team Trump suffered some major setbacks this week. This must have been somewhat of a surprise to them, since one of the setbacks came from a three-judge appellate panel that had two judges on it who had been appointed by Trump himself, and the other setback came from the "special master" assigned to the document-handling case that was Team Trump's personal choice (they submitted his name and the Justice Department didn't have a problem with him, so he got appointed). So much for what Trump calls "loyalty," eh?

What happened this week was Trump's fantasy world (where all legal disputes are decided exclusively in the court of public opinion) met the brick wall of actual jurists who follow the law. As with most smashing-into-a-brick-wall collisions, the result was not pretty.

Trump hit a trifecta of bad legal news this week. At least it must have seemed that way to anyone who subscribes to the "bad things always come in threes" philosophy (full disclosure: we are agnostic on this one -- maybe, maybe not...).

The first blow came from Trump's hand-picked special master, who in a very no-nonsense fashion let Trump's lawyers know that he was going to do an expedient job, he was not going to countenance vague insinuations (without any actual sworn statements), and if the government said documents were classified that was good enough for him:

A federal judge expressed skepticism on Tuesday about the efforts by former President Donald J. Trump's legal team to avoid offering any proof of his claims that he had declassified sensitive government documents that were seized from his Florida estate last month.

The statements by the judge, Raymond J. Dearie, who is acting as a special master reviewing the seized materials, were an early indication that he may not be entirely sympathetic to the former president's attempts to bog down the judge's evaluation with time-consuming questions over the classification status of some of the documents.

"My view is, you can't have your cake and eat it too," Judge Dearie said at a hearing called to determine the process he would use to do a sweeping review of materials seized from Mr. Trump.

. . .

At his first hearing as special master, Judge Dearie seemed to cut through this confusing web, telling Mr. Trump's lawyers in direct terms that he was likely to deem the documents classified -- unless they offered evidence to the contrary.

. . .

"We are going to proceed," he said, "with what I call responsible dispatch."

He shot down Trump's lawyers' attempt to just sort of insinuate that documents were in some Schrodinger's Cat zone of being both "classified and unclassified" until Trump decided it was time to open that box and let the world know. Judge Dearie essentially told Team Trump to put up or shut up. If the government said documents are classified and Trump doesn't explicitly claim they are not, then: "As far as I am concerned, that's the end of it," and he would assume they are classified. Period.

He also said he probably wouldn't even bother to look at the classified documents, since Trump still hasn't made the claim that any of the seized documents are his personal property, and being classified by definition means such documents are government property, telling Trump's lawyers: "If I can make recommendations... right or wrong, without exposing myself or you to that material, I'm going to do it."

In other words, Judge Dearie is going to act in a professional manner, do the job he has been assigned, respect national security, all the while ignoring distracting nonsense from Trump. Which must have been a blow to Trump, one assumes.

The second part of the trifecta happened the next morning, when New York Attorney General Letitia James held a press conference to announce she was filing a civil suit against Trump and three of his children (Don Jr., Ivanka, and Eric) for committing massive bank fraud. She laid out specific criminal charges which could be brought against the Trumps (which she does not have the power to do), which included: "Falsifying Business Records... Issuing a False Financial Statement and... Insurance Fraud."

Here's the whole story:

New York Attorney General Letitia James announced Wednesday that she filed a civil lawsuit against former President Donald Trump and his three eldest children over his long-running alleged tax-dodging scheme.

James hopes to convince a court to take steps to bar Trump, Donald Trump Jr., Ivanka Trump and Eric Trump from conducting business in the state of New York, along with making them pay some $250 million in restitution and limiting their access to loans.

"Donald Trump falsely inflated his net worth by billions of dollars to unjustly enrich himself and to cheat the system, thereby cheating all of us," James said at a press conference outlining Trump's alleged misconduct.

We'll have more on this part of the trifecta a little later in the program.

This move hits Trump at the heart of his corporate empire. If James wins her case, she could effectively run the Trumps out of New York state, at least business-wise. Of course, he's already moved to Florida, but this final rejection of Trump by New York has got to sting at least a little bit.

The third shoe to drop (and we do realize that doesn't make much sense metaphorically, but we're going with it anyway...) was the three-judge panel of the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals pretty much laughing Trump's pet federal judge out of the courtroom. Trump challenged the seizure of documents from his Florida golf club not in the court which had issued the search warrant but instead by court-shopping to select a judge that Trump appointed mere days before he left office. This judge thanked Trump by not questioning his lawyers' bizarre and unsupported claims and by giving Trump exactly what he asked for: a special master to review all the seized documents for both attorney-client privilege and -- without providing a shred of legal reasoning -- for any claims Trump might make in the future of executive privilege. This could have been precedent-setting, since no other court has ever found executive privilege applies solely within the executive branch. She also barred the F.B.I. from continuing their investigation into the classified documents without requiring Trump's lawyers to actually claim that any of the documents had actually been declassified in some way.

The appellate judges tore her legal reasoning to shreds (which we wrote about yesterday in detail, or you can read the entire 29-page ruling from the 11th Circuit if you have the time). The federal government had only challenged the ruling barring the F.B.I. from seeing the classified documents, but the three judges took the time to leave everything else about Trump's pet judge's ruling in absolute tatters.

Trump has been trying to lead everyone down a rabbit hole this entire time. His "defense" (you can't even really call it that, because it isn't) all along is that somehow all the classified documents were magically unclassified and therefore Trump wins and he gets all the papers back. Um... no. That's not the way it works at all.

The three judges specifically addressed this, in what could be the definitive answer to the whole distraction of a question [emphasis added]:

The district court concluded that Plaintiff had an interest in some of the seized material because it included "medical documents, correspondence related to taxes, and accounting information." But none of those concerns apply to the roughly one-hundred classified documents at issue here. And the district court made no mention in its analysis of this factor as to why or how Plaintiff might have an individual interest in or need for the classified documents.

For our part, we cannot discern why Plaintiff would have an individual interest in or need for any of the one-hundred documents with classification markings.

They are "owned by, produced by or for, or . . . under the control of the United States Government."

They went on to patiently explain: Trump "has not even attempted to show that he has a need to know the information contained in the classified documents.... And even if he had, that, in and of itself, would not explain why Plaintiff has an individual interest in the classified documents."

They then made it crystal-clear why classification isn't even relevant:

Plaintiff suggests that he may have declassified these documents when he was President. But the record contains no evidence that any of these records were declassified. And before the special master, Plaintiff resisted providing any evidence that he had declassified any of these documents. In any event, at least for these purposes, the declassification argument is a red herring because declassifying an official document would not change its content or render it personal. So even if we assumed that Plaintiff did declassify some or all of the documents, that would not explain why he has a personal interest in them.

Or, to put it plainly: it does not matter whether Trump declassified anything or not. It is nothing more than a red herring.

One would hope the political media gets the message, because so far Trump has been doing a dandy job of distracting everyone with the "classified or not?" shiny object.

Trump has never -- not even in friendly Fox News interviews -- said why he thinks any of these papers are his personal property. And that is the entire case -- he stole government documents and refused to hand them back. Classified or not, those documents do not belong to him. And so far, he has provided no answer to the question of why he had those documents in the first place.

Thankfully, even two Trump-appointed judges can clearly see what the law actually says and tune out all the irrelevancies emanating from Trump's mouth (and legal mouthpieces).

One... two... three. The legal haymakers just kept coming. And Trump's answer to it all was to double down on the distractions. He claimed on Fox News (in an interview that was taped before the 11th Circuit ruling was made public) that he can telekinetically or telepathically (take your choice) declassify documents:

There doesn't have to be a [declassification] process as I understand it. If you're the president of the United States, you can declassify just by saying, "It's declassified," even by thinking about it because you're sending it to Mar-a-Lago or wherever you're sending it. And there doesn't have to be a process. There can be a process but there doesn't have to be. You're the president. You make that decision. So when you send it, it's declassified. I declassified everything.

By doing so, Trump dug his own legal hole a little deeper, since he flat-out admits that he stole the documents: "...because you're sending it to Mar-a-Lago or wherever you're sending it." This is why normal lawyers will prevent their clients from speaking about impending cases in public, but Trump doesn't take legal direction very well (obviously).

One former F.B.I. agent had the perfect rejoinder:

"Omg he's actually invoking the Secret Telepathic Unilateral Preemptive Irreversible Declassification (S.T.U.P.I.D.) defense," quipped Asha Rangappa, a former FBI agent and attorney.

Seems like either "STUPID defense" or "stupid defense" summed up the legal week for Trump, now that we think about it.

However, Trump's mental gymnastics were a wee bit too far to go, for some Senate Republicans:

Senate GOP Whip John Thune, R-S.D., told CNN on Thursday that there is, in fact, a process for declassifying documents, and that "it ought to be adhered to and followed."

"I think that should apply to anybody who has access to or deals with classified information," he said. "I think the concern is about those being taken from the White House absent some way of declassifying them or the fact that there were classified documents removed -- without sort of the appropriate safeguards. I think that is what the Justice Department is getting at."

Even top Trump allies took issue with the former president's statement that he could declassify documents with his mind, including Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., who simply acknowledged that "the process is probably more complicated than that."

Sen. Thom Tillis, R-N.C., told the network there is a formal process that everyone must go through when declassifying sensitive material. "As I understand the Executive Branch requirements, there is a process that one must go through," he said.

Sen. Mike Rounds, R-S.D., who sits on the Armed Services Committee, told CNN that the handling of classified documents is a "very serious" issue.

"I think anyone who takes the time to appropriately protect that information and who has taken the time to see what's in the information would have serious concerns about how items could be accessed if they're not stored properly," he said. "And so once again, up here, we take it very seriously. People can get hurt, people can get killed if it's not stored correctly, and if that information gets out."

Which is why all of this is so important -- something Trump would dearly like everyone to forget about. This is national security classified information, and Trump had it stored in his golf resort with only the minimal security imaginable. Anyone could have broken into that storage room and made off with top secret information. That's why this is all so serious, as Senator Rounds helpfully pointed out.

Of course, a few other things were happening this week as well. Trump held a rally in Ohio that took place while an Ohio State football game was being played (a major faux pas in the Buckeye State), and during it went full-on QAnon. Over the past few weeks he's been more and more welcoming to the whole QAnon conspiracy theory, and that all culminated in him playing their anthem and them saluting him with one finger, providing an image that many found reminiscent of the "Heil Hitler" Nazi salute. Trump didn't seem to care.

Two minor stories to close on, in an effort (probably futile) to finish on a lighter note... speaking of anthems, the Space Force rolled out their official anthem. It's pretty bad. Maybe they should have hired William Shatner to write some lyrics and John Williams to provide some better music? Just a thought....

And finally, a shocking post by the surgeon general had many outraged. It seems Vivek Murthy likes to eat ice cream cones without any ice cream in them. Many expressed outrage and concern for his mental state online, after he proudly posted this gastronomic quirk. We remain neutral, having long ago adopted the attitude: "Whatever floats your boat." Whether that means an ice cream float or just a dry cone, we say: "To each his own!"


Most Impressive Democrat Of The Week

Several good bills passed the House this week, from a reform of the Electoral Count Act to a package of four policing bills. Everyone who worked hard to get these sent over to the Senate deserves credit, of course. The E.C.A. reform bill will likely have to be reconciled with a different version which may pass the Senate, so it probably won't make it to President Joe Biden's desk before the lame-duck period, but it is a critical thing to fix so that what Donald Trump attempted after he lost a presidential election can never happen again.

The policing bills may sadly only serve as "messaging" bills, since there probably isn't enough Republican support -- for bills helping police forces out! -- in the Senate. But at least it'll help Democrats defend against Republicans who continue to wrongfully accuse the entire party of wanting to "defund the police," so that's something.

President Biden did attend the United Nations General Assembly this week, after flying back from Queen Elizabeth II's funeral, and he delivered some strong words to Russia. So Biden at least is worthy of an Honorable Mention for showing the world that America can indeed elect adults to be our leaders once again.

But the real Most Impressive Democrat Of The Week this week was Letitia James, New York's attorney general. Here is some more of what is included in the civil suit she brought this week against Donald Trump and three of his adult children:

Prosecutors in New York have been looking into [Donald] Trump's real estate business practices for several years following reports that he routinely undervalued and overvalued assets to avoid paying his fair share of taxes. [New York Attorney General Letitia] James said that "a comprehensive three-year investigation" involved a review of millions of documents and interviews with 65 witnesses. Along with members of the Trump family, the suit names Allen Weisselberg, the Trump Organization's former longtime chief financial officer, alongside his right-hand-man Jeffrey McConney.

James' office is also making criminal referrals to federal prosecutors and the IRS, believing the Trumps to have violated federal law.

. . .

She gave several examples: One asset in New York City had been listed as being worth over 60 times what an appraiser had valued it. Mar-a-Lago, Trump's South Florida golf resort, was estimated to be worth $75 million, but James said it had been "valued as high as $739 million" on documents her office reviewed.

"All told, we uncovered more than 200 examples of false and misleading asset valuations that were used on his statements," James said, calling the pattern an "astounding" one.

She added: "It was a scheme that by its very nature became more profitable over time."

The hefty lawsuit is around 280 pages long and contains details on 23 assets that were misvalued at various times.

It bears mentioning that this is just one of the legal headaches Trump either faces or will face in the very near future. But James was first out of the gate -- the first one to file an actual court case against Trump. This wasn't done hastily -- it was the result of an investigation begun after Michael Cohen spilled the beans during Trump's presidency, after all.

James even had a soundbite ready to go: "This wasn't the 'art of the deal'... it was the art of the steal."

Just for being the first to (perhaps) hold Trump accountable for all his wrongdoing, New York Attorney General Letitia James is our Most Impressive Democrat Of The Week.

[Congratulate Senator New York Attorney General Letitia James on her official contact page, to let her know you appreciate her efforts.]


Most Disappointing Democrat Of The Week

Once again, we are happy to report that we have no candidates for the Most Disappointing Democrat Of The Week award this week.

As always, feel free to make nominations down in the comments.


Friday Talking Points

Volume 678 (9/23/22)

A mixed bunch, this week.

Oh, a program note for those of you who don't already know: the House Select Committee on January 6th is planning their fall season opener for next Wednesday, September 28th. Be sure to stock up on popcorn! Season One was pretty captivating television, so we have high hopes for Season Two....

But let's move on to this week's talking points, for now.


   Fund The Police

The House made an attempt to defuse an issue Republicans have used as a political bludgeon this week.

"Four bills to fund police and encourage reforms in how policing is done passed the House this week. Taken together, this is a major effort to both support police officers and help them do their jobs, including (among other things) providing mental health professionals to aid cops when dealing with a situation involving someone with behavioral issues. The main bill in this legislative package funds small local police departments who don't have big-city budgets. It will provide to them equipment, including body cameras, and will allow small police departments money for recruitment and training -- including de-escalation training. But, sadly, while some of these commonsense bills passed with a large bipartisan majority, dozens of Republicans voted against funding the police. And you can bet we will be reminding their voters of this, out on the campaign trail."


   GOP issues vague and gauzy promises

This is just a joke. So point it out.

"House Republicans today released yet another attempt to re-bottle the 'Contract With America' lightning, a document that supposedly tells the voters what they would do if they took control of the House of Representatives. This is notable, since in 2020 the Republican Party didn't even bother putting out a platform document at all. But it's pretty weak beer, when you try to figure out what they're actually standing for. There are no details, there are no specific promises, there is just an oatmeal-like mush of 'elect us, and everything will be wonderful... somehow' happy-talk. While Democrats are busy getting things done in the House, Republicans would be hard-pressed to agree on anything if they took charge -- that's the real takeaway from their so-called 'Commitment To America'."


   Trolling Ted

Too, too funny.

"Senator Ted Cruz (R - Cancun) got caught doing something lots of Republicans try to get away with -- claiming political credit for something he didn't vote for. In this case, it was highway funding for the state of Texas. Cruz puffed his chest out and bragged about all the wonderful federal money coming to his state, but the White House had some shade to throw. In fact, it only took them five words: 'Senator Cruz voted against this.' Nice try, Rafael. Next time, maybe try not lying to your constituents, for a change."


   Speaking of despicable lies...

Every so often a politician gets caught doing this, and they usually go down in flames immediately afterwards -- and rightly so.

"J.R. Majewski is running for a House seat in Ohio. He's been endorsed by Donald Trump. He supports QAnon. He attended the January 6th insurrection. None of that stopped the GOP from backing his candidacy to the hilt, but finally we have found something that is so reprehensible that the party itself walks away. In his campaign, Majewski has bragged about his service in the Air Force, saying things like: '[my] squadron was one of the first on the ground in Afghanistan after 9/11.' Except that, you know, it wasn't. Majewski actually spent six months of the war safe on a base in Qatar, where he helped load planes. The majority of his service was spent in Japan. He lied about participating in a war, which is an insult to every servicemember who did serve in the war zone. And when he got caught in this lie, the Republicans decided they had heard enough and yanked almost a million dollars in ad money from Majewski's race. So finally we know that there actually are depths to which Republicans still won't stoop."


   I'm with STUPID

Hoo boy. Funniest quip of the week, by far!

"A former F.B.I. agent had the best response to Donald Trump claiming he could just mentally declassify documents on the fly -- he called it the 'Secret Telepathic Unilateral Preemptive Irreversible Declassification defense.' Because, as Forrest Gump taught us all, 'STUPID is as STUPID does.' Maybe Trump's next act will be bending spoons with the awesome power of his mind? At this point, it wouldn't surprise me to see him try."


   The reddest of herrings

Hammer this one home, until the media starts to get it.

"Three appellate judges -- two of them appointed by Trump -- rightfully pointed out in a decision this week that all of Trump's talk about classification and declassification does not matter. Not one whit. Not one iota. It is, as they put it, nothing more than a red herring. Repeat after me: Trump took the documents. They weren't his. He refused to give them back, and lied about it. He still hasn't said why he even thinks they are his. But they did not and do not belong to him. And taking things which do not belong to you is a crime. You'll notice that not once in there was there any mention of anything being classified or not because it is a red herring that just does not matter."


   So which is it, Ron?

He caught himself, but that doesn't erase the fact that he said it.

"Senator Ron Johnson made a curious slip of the tongue the other day, saying (and I quote): 'My ranking member would always be bringing up white supremacy, which, you know, I condone... I mean... I... I... condemn.' Your Freudian slip seems to be showing, Senator. Johnson, of course, has made racist statements in the past, such as saying he wasn't worried about the January 6th rioters but that he would have -- if they had been Black Lives Matter instead. He actively plotted to overturn the 2020 election, and colluded with the fake electors scam. Wisconsin voters will have the chance to send Mr. 'I Condone... I Mean I Condemn' packing this November. Wisconsin deserves better than Ron Johnson in the Senate. This is just another reason why."

-- Chris Weigant


Follow Chris on Twitter: @ChrisWeigant

Cross-posted at: Democratic Underground


58 Comments on “Friday Talking Points -- Trump's "Secret Telepathic Unilateral Preemptive Irreversible Declassification" Defense”

  1. [1] 
    MtnCaddy wrote:

    I think that,

    If you're the president of the United States, you can declassify just by saying, "It's declassified," even by thinking about it because you're sending it to Mar-a-Lago or wherever you're sending it.

  2. [2] 
    MtnCaddy wrote:

    ... ought to get a lot more attention, especially in light of the bunch of empty classified folders recovered in the raid, no?

  3. [3] 
    MtnCaddy wrote:

    We're familiar (and tired) of years of Trump ain't right in the head mutterings.

    While I am not among the few humans that have the frame of reference to get inside his mind, ...maybe they were looking for Hillary's emails can't be a good sign.

  4. [4] 
    MtnCaddy wrote:

    My "one foot putt" of a guess is that he certainly doesn't know where the bullshit ends and reality starts.

  5. [5] 
    MtnCaddy wrote:

    TP 4

    And when he got caught in this lie, the Republicans decided they had heard enough and yanked almost a million dollars in ad money from Majewski's race. So finally we know that there actually are depths to which Republicans still won't stoop.

    I trust your not implying that there is now a "floor" beneath which no Repug will go. This was a one-off abandonment of what would have been a waste of Repug resources.

    With these clowns ...and keybumps of cocaine! will someday seem like the good old days. You laugh, but when #CorruptDonnie was in office I found myself missing Dubya's considered statesmanship...

  6. [6] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Trump, Trump, Trump ...

    My God, don't you guys ever get enough of him!!!

  7. [7] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:


    I won't get into any trouble, will I, if I send the package to you?

  8. [8] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:


    With these clowns ...and keybumps of cocaine! will someday seem like the good old days. You laugh, but when #CorruptDonnie was in office I found myself missing Dubya's considered statesmanship...

    Good God. Well, geopolitically speaking, my guy - that would be Biden - ain't much better. :(

  9. [9] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    I just lost a facebook frient over Ukraine. Imagine that.

  10. [10] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:


  11. [11] 
    John M wrote:

    [6] Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    "Trump, Trump, Trump ...

    My God, don't you guys ever get enough of him!!!"

    YES, that's why we voted him out of office! HEH!

    But seriously though:

    1.) We can't let go of Trump until he is HELD ACCOUNTABLE and safely locked away in jail. This is important for the FUTURE as a DETERRENT and a CHECK on any others following in his footsteps, I.E. DESANTIS. It seems like 50 years later, the lessons of Watergate and Nixon have to be either relearned by Republicans all over again or imposed on them.

    2.) AND prevented from doing any more continuing DAMAGE by him and his allies in the Republican Party. He and his MINIONS constitute an ONGOING threat to DEMOCRACY itself in USA. The struggle won't be over until they are defeated at the ballot box, perhaps more than once.

    3.) With Trump embracing QANON and threatening violence by his supporters if he is even merely indicted for a crime, there is still a very real danger that an event even more WORSE Jan. 6th could take place yet AGAIN. This will KEEP TRUMP in the NEWS through 2023, and maybe 2024, until TRUMP'S STATUS IS RESOLVED regarding ANOTHER ELECTION RUN for President.

    4.) FINALLY, the question of exactly WHAT TRUMP SHARED WITH WHOM on the classified documents needs to be ANSWERED. Remember, these documents INCLUDED the IDENTITY of HUMAN AGENTS in other countries AND the NUCLEAR CAPABILITY of at lest one nation, possibly Israel. Was any of this shared with PUTIN and RUSSIA, with SAUDI ARABIA, did CHINA get anything from the spy sent into MAR-A-LAGO?

  12. [12] 
    John M wrote:

    [2] MtnCaddy wrote:

    "... ought to get a lot more attention, especially in light of the bunch of empty classified folders recovered in the raid, no?"

    EXACTLY!! Which is why this is so RELEVANT to the NUMBER 4 question I posed ABOVE.

  13. [13] 
    John M wrote:

    [9] Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    "I just lost a facebook frient over Ukraine. Imagine that."

    That's terrible. I am very sorry about that.

    But Ukraine is IMPORTANT for both Western and European security. It MUST NOT be allowed to lose under any circumstances short of nuclear war itself.

    1.) Ukraine is THE EXAMPLE of WESTEN support for DEMOCRACY and FREEDOM and UNITED NATIONS support for INTERNATIONAL ORDER, the RULE OF LAW, and and TERRITORAL INTEGRITY, INDEPENDENCE and SELF DETERMINATION of nations. Let one country run over another weaker, smaller neighbor... I.E. Iraq vs Kuwait, Russia vs Ukraine, China vs Taiwan (in the latter two examples, dictatorships vs democracies) and all hell breaks loose or collapses.

    2.) Russia without Ukraine is just another middle ranked nation. Russia with control of all of Ukraine has the potential to become a superpower again with all that implies.

  14. [14] 
    John M wrote:

    The implications of the EXAMPLE a democratic, independent Ukraine, prosperous and free of corruption, inside either NATO, or the EUROPEAN UNION or both are ENORMOUS, especially to ordinary Russians. This is what has PUTIN so AFRAID.

  15. [15] 
    MtnCaddy wrote:


    2.) Russia without Ukraine is just another middle ranked nation. Russia with control of all of Ukraine has the potential to become a superpower again with all that implies.


    Neither Russia nor Ukraine will ever be a superpower, as you ignore demographics and the inevitable shift away from fossil fields.


    Most of the developed world's birthrates are below replacement levels and it's especially bad in the former East Block. Russia and Ukraine have been losing population for decades.

    This is critical to nation's wellbeing because young workers consume (buy homes and have kids) while mature workers consume less and create more savings (capital.) Retirees are neither generating much consumption and certainly no more capital and are a drag on the first two groups. This is why China will likely collapse within a decade. (8:08)


    Russia is presently a gas station with nuclear missiles. 40% of its GDP is (was) fossil fuels. Even though retaining what it has now in Ukraine (yeah, right) would give it theoretical control of substantial oil and gas reserves recently discovered in Eastern Ukraine and in the Sea of Azov.

    ...without Western technology they cannot extract it, period. And right now they are starting to have to cap wells because they have no way to sell it (too much capacity to Europe and not enough to India and China.) It turns out that capping effectively destroys the well. Without the war Russia likely reached peak production in 2019, along with our planet as a whole.

    Climate change is the death knell of fossil fuels and Vlad's Folly accelerated this movement. So fossil fuels will become less and less important, leaving agriculture as Russia's future strong point.

  16. [16] 
    MtnCaddy wrote:


    Sorry to hear that but knowing/having Ukrainian sentiment I'm not surprised, as I was pissed at you myself for a moment. I'm still working on my response to your Mearsheimer School of Thought. (2:07:15) Yup, I watch the long videos.

    You made me dive into the weeds because I care about Ukraine and I care about you,
    too. I've been fashioning my response for months now but it's still too wordy and things are changing on the ground. But it's coming...

    And no, food seal the Cannabis if convenient, pad nicely and mail! No legal issues...and the second round of red wine/sidewalk cafe/Vancouver will also be on me. Or I can send you some of California's Finest in return, as I have no idea what you poor devils smoke out there.

  17. [17] 
    MtnCaddy wrote:

    ...or I can give you some of California's Finest over the second round...

  18. [18] 
    John M wrote:

    [15] MtnCaddy wrote

    2.) Russia without Ukraine is just another middle ranked nation. Russia with control of all of Ukraine has the potential to become a superpower again with all that implies.


    Neither Russia nor Ukraine will ever be a superpower, as you ignore demographics and the inevitable shift away from fossil fields."

    I understand your reasoning, but I have to say I just disagree with it. I didn't ignore either demographics or the amount of oil a country has. The population of a country can also be either a help or a burden. A lot of other factors must also be taken into account, including most importantly both geography and a favorable location, as well as technology, infrastructure, scientific development, etc.

    The United States is a superpower because of its size, but also because of its location between two oceans, abundance of deep water ports along the entire eastern seaboard and Gulf of Mexico, large internal navigable rivers, and abundance of fertile farmland, coal and iron ore deposits near each other and the Great Lakes, etc.

    Saudi Arabia has lots of oil but no arable land. Japan at one time could have been a superpower, but just missed when it went into economic stagnation, and became saddled with its "peace" constitution regarding military power. Indonesia has a large population, but is scattered among too many islands. Nigeria has a huge population, but is more of a burden rather than a help. Brazil and Argentina could be a superpower if they were combined into one nation, but they are located too far away from where the action is, being equally distant from both North American and Europe.

    Therefore the only other single nation states capable of being superpowers besides the United States are India, China, and some new version of the old Soviet Union. But even they all have big negative factors that hinder that. China for instance, is easily hemmed in along its coastline by hostile rival powers. India too has to contend with a nuclear armed Pakistan as a hostile neighbor right next door. Though it could still launce a very big navy given its access to the Indian Ocean.

    Control of Ukraine would bring 40 million people back into the empire, secure the southern border, project power back into the Mediterranean thru the Black Sea, and add something like 40 percent to Russia's farmland.

  19. [19] 
    MtnCaddy wrote:


    Okay it seems I should clarify my understanding of the word SUPERPOWER -- hint: there's only one nowadays and it's initials are USA.

    Basically a country has to have nukes AND has to have the ability to project power across the globe. The US is the ONLY country with a navy and air force that can accomplish that and is the only one likely to exist for at least decades to come.

    "Control of Ukraine would..."

    Shirley you no longer think Russia has a prayer of conquering Ukraine, right?

  20. [20] 
    Mezzomamma wrote:

    A thought about the Trump-appointed judges: He's a lazy sod, and just rubber-stamped people from the Federalist Society lists, probably after someone else drew up the shortlists. While this isn't good in terms of rulings on abortion, gun control, and other issues, it doesn't necessarily follow that they all believe in rolling over and playing dead for a president or ex-president.

  21. [21] 
    Mezzomamma wrote:

    [18] & [19]

    There are ways of controlling a country without military invasion, such as influencing or rigging elections, giving or withdrawing financial support, control of supply lines, the threat of invasion....

    Are any of these likely to work again in Ukraine in the foreseeable future?

  22. [22] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:


    But Ukraine is IMPORTANT for both Western and European security. It MUST NOT be allowed to lose under any circumstances short of nuclear war itself.

    I don't know what the future holds for Ukraine. But, I think the longer this war drags on and the longer the world is distracted by it and from the more existential global crises, the worse off Ukraine and the rest of us will be.

    How do you see this war ending?

  23. [23] 
    nypoet22 wrote:


    Facebook can be fickle, or so I've heard. That said, your view on the Ukraine conflict is in a pretty small minority among citizens of free nations. That doesn't necessarily mean you ought to give it up, but it's a fact worth acknowledging. Maybe you'll turn out to have been right, but if so it'll be a very, very, very long time before anyone who disagrees with you would be willing to admit it.

  24. [24] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:


    Okay, then ... I'll get that package posted off to you next week!

    As for our Vancouver date, I am seriously considering a trip there next September 25th. There will be a big gathering in celebration of what would have been Ron Tabak's 70th birthday, the late, great and original lead vocalist of PRiSM!

  25. [25] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:


    That said, your view on the Ukraine conflict is in a pretty small minority among citizens of free nations.

    My view on the Ukraine conflict is that it could have and should have been avoided. I shudder to think of what Ukraine's future will be if this conflict goes on much longer.

  26. [26] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    Yes, that view.

  27. [27] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:


    We can't let go of Trump until he is HELD ACCOUNTABLE and safely locked away in jail. This is important for the FUTURE as a DETERRENT and a CHECK on any others following in his footsteps, I.E. DESANTIS. It seems like 50 years later, the lessons of Watergate and Nixon have to be either relearned by Republicans all over again or imposed on them.

    As a long-time observer of US politics and even as a great fan of the idea and promise of America, I have a real hard time imagining that any of that will actually happen.

  28. [28] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:


    How do you see this conflict ending? There doesnt' seem to be one in sight ...

  29. [29] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    Putin cuts his losses, consolidates his gains, and declares victory.

  30. [30] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Yeah, that is my guess also.

  31. [31] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    But, what about Ukraine's future?

  32. [32] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    Uncertain at the moment. If i had to guess, I'd say when the dust settles Ukraine will rebuild and stay somewhat West leaning.

  33. [33] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Again, my guess, too ... except that I think Ukraine would have been much better off if it hadn't followed such bad direction and advice from its US partner.

    Of course, that view of mine requires that there not be such a monumental failure of imagination, from all corners.

  34. [34] 
    MtnCaddy wrote:


    Oh, really?

    I'm jazzed! 25 September 2023? That gives me time to finish dealing with my medical issues and plan a road trip up the Left Coast. We gotta talk some more about this! I just poked around Google without success -- do you have link for the event handy?

  35. [35] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    I don't think there is a link. I believe it is still just in the planning stages by one of the admins of my favourite facebook page, Fans of PRiSM: the Ron Tabak Era.

    In fact, it may not be happening at all as the admin who was planning it has taken a leave of absence these last few months to deal with some personal issues. But I will keep you posted on any details I learn.

    We'll talk more about it, in any event! :)

  36. [36] 
    MtnCaddy wrote:

    K, works for me, Liz. I'm curious to meet you and if 'twere in conjunction with any kind of Prism/RT event, so much the better! Really haven't heard anything bad about Vancouver and it's where I'm tentatively planning to move if the Facists take over Murica.

    Which I highly doubt. I'm becoming more optimistic about holding the House, with a pickup of 2 or 3 seats in the Senate probable...Fuck off, Manchinema!

  37. [37] 
    MtnCaddy wrote:

    Yo Weigantia!

    Isn't this a better Weigantia without the trolls?

    Sure, it was occasionallyinteresting to see just how whack JSOW -- I mean Michale was in the morning and I especially enjoyed Kick completely trashing him.

    But that crap dominated Weigantia, leaving insufficient oxygen to address other topics. You know, like CW's column. I'm convinced that without trollery we'll attract new participants down here and that will enrich the conversations (and at least my experience.)

  38. [38] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    Name calling is lousy no matter who's doing the calling and who's being called.

  39. [39] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Correct - name calling has no place here regardless of who is engaging in the despicable activity.

  40. [40] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    So, time to leave politics aside for a few hours and enjoy some good music.

    Welcome everyone to a special edition of the CW Sunday Night Music Festival and Dance Party!

    Last night was a special night of recognition north of the 49th parallel as two of our extraordinary songwriters were recognized and officially inducted into the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame. Jim Vallance has been writing songs since he was a teen and member of a Vancouver band called Sunshyne before joining a project as drummer and songwriter that would become PRiSM. Touring in a band wasn't Jim's idea of fun so he stuck primarily to songwriting, teaming up with Bryan Adams, among others, to write some of our favourite songs of all time.

    So, huge congratulations to Jim and Bryan on being added, at long last, to the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame. Tonight I'd like to play a few of their songs and I hope some of them may be your own personal favourites!

    Here is the first big hit for Jim and Bryan ...
    Cuts Like a Knife

  41. [41] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:
  42. [42] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Run To You from Bryan's Reckless album

    Jim and Bryan were asked to write a song for Blue Oyster Cult and this was it. It was declined. Humph. Declined by others as well. Bryan didn't even think it was really a song for him. As Jim put it, 'Run to You' was now officially an orphan. But, not for long!

  43. [43] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Here's my favourite Jim and Bryan composition as performed by my favourite cover band, Parallel 49: United We Rock! with band members now living on both sides of the best border in the world.

    Up until just recently, P49 has been just a phenomenal recording project but, this past summer, they played their first live shows to rave reviews up in Northern Ontario around Thunder Bay with many more to come! They are one very tight band, as you will hear ...

    Lonely Nights - Parallel 49 (Bryan Adams cover)

  44. [44] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Bryan's and Jim's first chart topping single in the US ...


  45. [45] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Another P49 cover - their latest - with a nice shot of their first live performance ever. Soon, hopefully, there will be video!

    Fits Ya Good - Parallel 49 (Bryan Adams cover)

  46. [46] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Jim Vallance has written with other artists, too.

    Here are two tunes written by Jim Valance and Steven Tyler for Aerosmith!

    Deuces Are Wild

    Rag Doll

  47. [47] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Jim was the principal songwriter on PRiSM's phenomenal debut album, the first debut album by a Canadian artist to achieve platinum status in less than a year from the date of its release!

    They all feature the brilliant vocals of Ron Tabak, RIP, who would have celebrated his 69th birthday today and this one is a personal favourite ...

    Open Soul Surgery - PRiSM (1977)

  48. [48] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Here's one that Jim and Bryan wrote for Bryan's latest album, So Happy It Hurts, released last year.

    Bryan's So Happy It Hurts tour is making a stop in Kitchener next month - I'll file a full report! :)

    I Ain't Worth Shit Without You - Bryan Adams (2021)

    Jim's comments on this tune, from his website:

    Contrary to conventional wisdom, women are by far the stronger sex. Men, for the most part, are helpless, hopeless, and pathetically ill-equipped to navigate the complex ups-and-downs of relationships. We might think we're in charge, we might think we have the situation under control, but we don't. Women rule the world (and that's a good thing).

    Well said! :)

  49. [49] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Jim and Bryan wrote the songs for Pretty Woman - the Musical but this is one that didn't make it to the production. It did make it onto the So Happy It Hurts album, though ...

    I've Been Looking For You

  50. [50] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    I am hoping that Bryan's show next month in Kitchener will open with this one because I think it would be great fun!

    It's a tune written by Bryan Adams and Mutt Lange from the So Happy It Hurts album ...

    Kick Ass

  51. [51] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    So, when Jim Vallance joined the PRiSM project, he wrote songs under a pseudonym, Rodney Higgs, because, you know, the songs might not be good and he'd be ruined for life. Well, there was really no need to worry about such things as the songs Jim, er, Rodney wrote for PRiSM will be forever remembered with great love, here on planet earth and beyond the stars...

    Spaceship Superstar - PRiSM (1977)

  52. [52] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Finally, here is one for Ron ... happy heavenly birthday!

    Written by PRiSM co-founder, guitarist Lindsay Mitchell. In fact, Lindsay was intended to be PRiSM's lead vocalist but he decided he wasn't right for the job. He found Ron Tabak singing in a club in Vancouver and the rest is rock and roll magic and history!

    Armageddon - PRiSM (1979)

  53. [53] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Oops ... wrong video above so let's try that again!

    Armageddon - PRiSM (1979)

  54. [54] 
    MtnCaddy wrote:


    Beg pardon, but trollery is name calling? Really? How is trollery not calling a spade a spade?

  55. [55] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:


    Sure, it was occasionallyinteresting to see just how whack JSOW -- I mean Michale was in the morning and I especially enjoyed Kick completely trashing him.

    What Joshua and I were saying is that we don't appreciate the name calling from ANYONE. We certainly didn't enjoy any part of it. It takes two to tango and all that.

  56. [56] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    And, there was always somebody ready to tango. :(

  57. [57] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Not enjoyable!

  58. [58] 
    Elizabeth Miller wrote:

    Well, not THAT kind of 'tango', anyways. :)

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