For the second week in a row, Ivan is on vacation. So this time Ed joins Sam for the show. As is traditional, when there is a guest cohost, the guest picks the topics. For this week, Ed chose the writer/actor strikes, RFK Jr., the latest Trump charges, and some changes to the Uniform Code of Military Justice. All good choices! Woo!
(0:01:15-0:29:38) Writer/Actor Strikes
(0:31:22-1:07:12) RFK Jr.
(1:08:15-1:31:12) New Trump Charges
(1:33:13-1:58:07) UCMJ Changes
Can you hear me?
Yes, I can hear you, Ed.
Oh my God. I can hear you too.
I've gone and stole my wife's computer and I'm using it for now.
Okay. I thought, I thought it was going to be a fail today, but you pulled it out.
You know, I had just given up and I was sending you a note saying I give up, I can't do it, and then I'll try my wife's computer tomorrow and I said, what the hell, I'll give it a try tonight. And it worked now.
The only thing is we're almost an hour later than we were supposed to start. Is it too late for you?
Uh, no, that's all right. I don't have anything going tomorrow.
I was thinking it was 11 o'clock anyway.
Okay. Then, uh, let's get her started. And here we go.
To Curmudgeon's Corner for Saturday, July 29th, 2023.
It's just before 3UTC as we are starting to record, which means it's just before 8PM for me, Sam, on the West Coast.
And this week, we have Ed with us, who is on the East Coast, and it means it's just before 11PM for him.
Uh, Yvonne is once again out, uh, I gather he's actually back from the tropical island now, but he anticipated being out for two weeks because, uh, uh, he was on vacation and I, I guess he's back.
Cause he's talking about he, on our, on our commercials corner slack, he's talking about how his computer died and stuff.
So that's gonna, you know, whatever, like, uh, he's taken a few more days to catch up, I guess. So we have Ed with us. Hello, Ed. Ed. Hello.
And as usual, when we have a guest, the guest determines most of the agenda.
We're going to have a pseudo, but first, and we'll get it back into that in a second.
But then our three major sections, we're going to talk about RFK Jr.
We're going to talk about the new superseding indictments, whatever it's superseding. Is that the right word?
Anyway, the new Trump indictments, which were not the new Trump indictments that we thought might happen this week. it was something different and.
Finally, a change in the UCMJ. What does it stand for again, Ed?
Uniform Code of Military Justice.
Uniform Code of Military Justice. There we go. Those are going to be our topics for today.
First off in this, we'll get right into the initial thingy-bop, and that's we would normally do a movie.
Ed was like, I have a movie to talk about. He went and saw Oppenheimer.
And I'm like, you know, I've actually been thinking about whether or not I would pause the movie reviews until the writers and actors strike is over.
Now the writers' strike has been going on for a while, but there wasn't as much debate about it.
Once the actors went on strike, I've seen all kinds of media with details about what would or would not consider crossing the lines for the strike.
They did say reviews are okay if you're a journalist doing a review and blah, blah, blah. We're not really a journalist.
Their influencer guidelines are you shouldn't do anything about movies from the struck companies.
This isn't really an influencer kind of thing anyway. And they were like both paid and unpaid, like you finished any contracts you have, but don't do organic stuff either.
And so I figure like, you know, we have a really small audience.
We don't really matter. But at the same time, I'm like, you know, I support the strikers.
I, and so I don't really want to do, you know, reviews for the big struck companies and like, even my old stuff, like my, my, the, the one that I would would do next is Bonnie and Clyde from 1967.
But if I remember correctly, that's Warner brothers and Warner brothers is one of the, uh, strike struck companies.
Um, and so I'm like, you know, maybe I'll skip that one. I have a couple of books in the queue too, but Oppenheimer definitely is, you know, one of the struck companies and it's a new one and blah, blah, blah.
And I know some of you out there are going to think I'm silly for even thinking about this. But I figured, you know, I can pause the movie stuff until the strike is over. It's fine with me.
Of course, that means I'll be catching up forever, but whatever.
But Ed said, well, why don't we just talk about the strike itself instead?
So let's do that, Ed.
Now, the one thing, first of all, just.
What is the issue in general for both the writers and the actors?
One aspect is obviously just salary, residuals, etc.
The big part of that for both of them, really, is that the streaming platforms pay much, much less than previous modes of distribution.
So, like, when people were buying, like, DVDs of the old movies, or certainly theater experiences, et cetera, et cetera, but, like, the long-term residuals for music and TV, et cetera, are much less on the streaming platform than they were when things got played in reruns on actual television or cable, much less than a DVD or Blu-ray sales, et cetera.
And basically, you know, actors are just not able to make the kinds of living they were before. And one of the and writers, too.
And one of the things that is was brought up is like, especially with the actors, like you immediately think, oh, my God.
We're talking about a bunch of rich, famous people, and that is not the case at all.
There are a few of those, and they're sort of headlining, you see them a lot when they're doing interviews or on the picket line about the strike, but actually most of the people represented by these unions are people who make much, much, much less.
We're talking everything from the person who's a background character who shows up on a few episodes of a popular series, but isn't one of the big stars or a headliner even on a less popular series.
They don't make that much. And then you get down to the extras and people like that.
And apparently a huge portion of the people represented by the actors union don't even meet the it's, it's like $28,000 a year or something.
That's the minimum for them to get health benefits and things like that.
Uh, and so it's not just the rich, famous actors. It's, it's all these other folks too. Um, and so one issue of course, is the residuals, the payment, the money, all that kind of stuff.
But then both the writers and the actors also have concerns about AI.
And specifically, they're...
The movie industry, the TV industry, all of them are very excited about, uh, the developing AI technologies on the writing side.
They're like, Hey, can we just have like chat GPT or whatever chat GPT evolves into over the next five to 10 years, right?
Our scripts for us, you know, like they're getting kind of, okay.
They're still not great, but in some cases, okay.
Maybe good enough. and they're getting better fast. So if we can do this and we can just ask some AI program, write me an episode of a sitcom and it does it, then we don't need all these writers.
And with actors, they're saying, hey, we can scan the image of a person and then just tell the AI, Hey, make a scene where this guy there right now they're talking about background characters.
They're talking about like a, you, you scan an extra and then you can make crowd scenes and people in the background walking around using that person's likeness.
But honestly, there's more to worry about that than that. Like, we've already seen use of smart AI techniques to do deep fakes to have dead actors show up in new movies.
Because you basically take their face and you paste it onto another actor who's doing it.
But frankly, it won't be long before you don't need the other actor that you're pasting their face onto, even, and you know, they de-aged, uh, uh, Indiana Jones for the most part.
They, I guess they de-aged Harrison Ford for the, for major portions of the new Indiana Jones movie.
They've used, uh, you know, like I said, completely dead actors and movies. and, Right now they sort of still paste their face onto somebody else kind of, but they won't need to do that.
You know, it, give it a few years, they'll just be able to say, you know, plop hand solo into the scene and have them walk around and done, you know?
Um, and so one of the things that, uh, both the writers and actor unions are very worried about are what exactly are the rules around AI?
The other use of my, I heard about today is to say you have a real popular commercial, like, you know, like the, the, the comment they gave was flow on the one insurance thing. Yep.
Who's doing real well. And some other insurance company captures from, from back when she was an extra getting a hundred bucks a day and she sold her image for a hundred bucks.
They take that image of her, start their own ads because it's not her.
So it's not under a contract and, uh, not only, uh, hurt her company sales, but also kind of destroy her career because she's saying things that she doesn't wouldn't maybe say otherwise.
Then it's, it's destructive. It's real.
And most of the concern I've heard so far has been about that kind of use.
Like, like if, if you scan somebody when they're early in their career and they're an extra and then later on they become famous.
Boom, you use them in all kinds of stuff. They've, they've signed, you potentially, you potentially have had them sign away their rights to their image, blah, blah, blah.
And the unions are fighting against that saying like, no, no, you can't, you can't just have, you know, random extra sign away their likeness for a small amount of money and then be able to use it forever with no additional compensation. That's just not fair.
But frankly, they should also be concerned about completely made up people.
I was just looking at an article from earlier today. I actually only looked at the headline. I didn't click through it, but there's some completely AI-based influencer.
And these influencers are people who make stupid little TikTok videos, promote products, things like that.
But you don't have to scan someone's face. You can make a face out of whole cloth. So.
You can have completely AI actors. Now, the technology right now is still, it looks like a video game to some degree, to some degree.
It's gotten better, but it's still a little bit uncanny valley.
You look at it and you know something's not quite right about it, but it's getting better and better and better quickly.
So you can, you can certainly see like a situation where a few years down the line, you can have entire TV shows or movies with no actors at all.
You, you have, you take the script and you basically do it like an animated movie.
You know, you, you move the characters around the the stage, it's just that the cartoons are now hyper-realistic and look like real people and go through the motions and you have the AI do most of the work for you.
So you don't even necessarily have to have like super highly skilled animators.
Uh, you can just say character goes from this spot to this spot and the AI handles making it look like they walk properly and stuff like that.
And, uh, the voices are AI, the faces are AI, the performances, AI, you know, now, again, the technology is not quite there right now to do that, but it's getting really close and you can easily sort of see.
Getting there in a while, how long is a while, is arguable.
Also arguable is how good does it have to be to be okay and to be profitable?
Like, you know, right now, uh, movie studios, you know, sometimes put out animated movies that are trying to be realistic, but are in that uncanny valley and look sort of off and not quite right, but people still go to them.
People still enjoy them, people still pay money for them, and so there is that.
There was a perpetual Seinfeld that somebody put together using one of these things like six months or a year ago.
I don't even know if it's still alive, but it basically fed into this thing, the script from the entirety of Seinfeld and just said, produce more Seinfeld.
And it, it just had sort of cartoonish versions of the characters talking to each other and having a conversation, but it was endless.
Like it, you know, it just continuously made more as if, and you could sit there and drop in anytime you wanted watch for a few minutes, drop back out, go back in, you know, and it was just the characters chatting with each other based on the scripts.
And I imagine that, I think I checked it out once, but I didn't pay any, you know, I didn't watch it for any length of time.
And I think that's probably what people did because it probably, you know, based on where the technology was at that time, it would sound interesting and okay for...
A couple minutes, but then it would get old really fast, and then you'd realize, oh, it's kind of repetitive, blah, blah, blah.
But again, the technology is improving, and it still kind of sucks today.
But I think what both the actors and writers are after is some sort of assurance that they won't get screwed by this.
And they're concentrating on the more immediate needs, not the like, what will it look like 10 or 15 years down the line? Cause I'm sure they'll have more contract negotiations over that time.
But even the stuff that's out there right now, like what we just talked about, about scanning a background extra and using them in the background of more stuff forever, potentially without paying them that that could happen today.
You know, that that's out there because the background characters you're not paying as much attention to as the foreground characters.
They've had artificial background characters for crowd scenes and stuff for decades.
Oh, that was one of the very first movies.
Remember in the very earliest ones, they had crowd scenes and like the Coliseums where the people were just painted on the background. I mean, they're obviously full, but that's the beginning of movies had the beginning of the fake crowds.
Yeah, so, and I don't know, like, where, where we'll, where we'll see this go.
Um, you know, the, the, the writers have been at this, uh, over a month, the actors, I think only a week or two at this point.
Um, and you know, people from the studios have been quoted as saying things like.
We can afford to let this go on a long time. These people will be out on the street, starving and losing their homes before we're ready to give up, you know, which, okay, that's lovely.
Um, and, and, you know, except, you know, the, the, they're putting out there to take its place is, uh, is not all that good.
If I don't know if you watch any of the game shows, but, uh, we, we usually watch jeopardy and the quality of the questions being written by whoever's writing those questions now is, is not up to what it was a few months ago.
Uh, some of the questions are virtually impossible.
Others are so easy that it's, it's silly.
I, you know, I'm, I'm, I'm surprised a production like that didn't just pause.
Like they're pausing all kinds of movies and stuff like that.
It's weird that jeopardy didn't.
Um, and I know at least they've said in some cases, they'll reuse some old stuff, blah, blah, blah. There's one contestant that was invited to go back to the tournament of champions or whatever, but has said they won't come.
Uh, they won't break the strike lines to come.
Um, yeah, I don't know.
Um, the, the other thing there is I, I know I'm not typical, but there's a hundred years of content out there.
Like, you know, it's not like you're going to...
If you want something to watch this tons of old stuff, you don't like you don't need new stuff all the time.
And I know like there's a excitement about the new stuff and it's like hip and whatever.
But, you know, we've got a hundred years, more than a hundred years of movie.
More than a hundred years of movies, you know, like getting up there on television.
It wasn't that far behind the movies.
There's tons to watch, you know, and OK, I know a lot of people aren't going to be like, oh, let's let's pick up some movies and TV from the fifties and watch it. But, you know, yeah, there's lots.
There's so much that's been created. You know, you know, you could go there's all kinds of good stuff.
If you don't want to go back to like the last century, there's plenty from the last 20 years, you know, and no human being has watched all of it.
There's just not enough time in the world.
So there's all kinds of other stuff to watch that doesn't require Hollywood to be pumping out new stuff all the time.
And and this only, you know, and this also only covers the essentially the big studios.
There are a lot of independent places who are out there and still producing stuff, although that's always a little bit more esoteric.
There's also foreign stuff that's still being produced because it's not covered by this. It's not all that foreign, it's still pretty good, actually.
Yeah, some of it is. Some of it kind of sucks, but you know, that's the same with everything, right?
But I don't know, like, the...
I think the studios are right. They can kind of afford, they probably have deeper pockets to wait this out than the actors do.
But on the other hand, I think public sympathy is with the actors and writers more than it is with the studios.
And at some point you may see that affecting things and people do want new stuff.
I mean, I mean, I look at it and say, there's huge amounts of content that I haven't seen.
I don't need the new stuff all that much, but lots of people really do want the new stuff.
And so maybe it will start hitting the bottom line of, cause obviously the, the big production companies make more off new stuff than they do off old stuff.
Yeah. So, well, they also have these, uh, people called, uh, shareholders who want to return on their investments, right?
There's no return on investment when it's running just old stuff and nothing new. Yeah.
I mean, well, there's some income stream, but it's clearly a lot smaller.
The, the, the big money-making things are the new things like the back catalog is there and producing sort of a steady stream, but it's not, it's not where the growth comes from.
It's not where the bulk of what they do comes from, I imagine, for most, if not all, of these big companies.
So I don't know, are you, are you, are you sympathetic with these folks?
Um, and, and by the way, they have not said, don't go see stuff.
They haven't said, don't go watch new, new TV shows or anything.
Cause they're like, once this is over, they want their money from you, watching their content, both the writers and the actors.
So like, uh, they're not acting, they're not asking anybody to stop watching the material from these companies. What they're asking people to do is stop promoting it actively.
So, I don't know. What do you think? Where do your sympathies lie, Ed?
Probably mostly with the actors, and the writers, probably especially the writers, because as these things go into syndication, the writers don't get much, But it's what they depend on for their income down the line. Uh, that's true.
Both of the, both of the writers and the actors I've seen, I've seen a number of them, mostly on Tik TOK as I'm scrolling through, and I was getting a lot of strike content for a while.
And. A number of actors and writers have put out things where they, they show what they're making.
Like they, they go and like, they pull out the envelopes for the residuals they're making from things that they did 10 years ago or whatever.
And it's not much they'll, they'll show you like, yeah, here's my check from that really big popular show that I was in 15 years ago, my check for the month.
$15, you know, or whatever, uh, usually pretty small.
And these are, you know, people who were head writers on the show or people who were one of the main characters in the show and they're like, Yeah, this is this is peanuts at this point, you know.
So, I mean, it's still they get something, right?
Like, one of the things that is interesting about the creative arts is that the expectation is that people get continuing income from it.
Like, for my job, I get paid because I go in every week and I do stuff, and presumably they like the stuff I do.
But if I produce something that my company is still using five years from now, and I've, in the meantime, quit and left and gone somewhere else, I don't get anything.
Most jobs, you're paid for what are you producing right now for us.
Sometimes hourly, sometimes salary, but it's current stuff. But the expectation in the industry, all the creative industries, basically, um, writers, um, some kinds of artists, but not like, like if you're a painter, yeah, you just sell that painting once, right?
But if you're in movies, if you're in TV, if you're a recording artist and you do songs and music and stuff like that, the expectation is that yes, you get something paid up front, but then you get something based on the continued sales or popularity of what you did, potentially, for the rest of your life.
And the thing is, all of the...
The ways that that's paid out is built on that assumption.
If that wasn't true, then a publishing company putting out a book would potentially need to pay more up front if it was a write-for-hire kind of thing.
It's just not set up like most publications aren't write-for-hire, at least not books and things. you're writing for a magazine, you may be on a salary to produce an article every week or whatever.
Uh, but if you write a book, if you participate in a movie, if you're participating in whatever, it's sort of assumed that you are like in the book case, it's like you are selling your art to the publisher and you get a portion of all the results of that.
And the whole industry is kind of screwed up in terms of the way that they, uh, it's not necessarily what you think it would be in terms of how much people get and the whole way advances work is kind of screwed up in the books and, and all that's a little bit different than the movies and TV we're talking about here.
But in any case, it's, it is a, it is a different kind of thing.
And I think for the most part, I'm okay with that.
Like, it would be a very different entertainment industry if everyone was just paid, you know, here's your hourly rate for coming in and being an actor.
And once you step off the set, you're done forever.
But that's not how it's been set up.
And I'm all for like that.
I hope the actors get a better deal out of this because you look at it and you just sort of assume like if people are in something that's big, that they'll get some decent money off it.
And it turns out like, yes, the A-tier people at the very top are making some big money, but that's a tiny group of people.
And most working actors and writers are, are, you know, making, making much, much less, you know, like, I was going to say sort of, sort of regular middle-class people, but even that's like sort of topped here, most of them aren't even there.
Most of them are like, yeah, they, they do this because they want to do this and they're trying to break into it, but they have other jobs.
They have day jobs because the acting and writing can't pay the bills.
People, the very minor walk on, they get maybe a hundred bucks a day for an eight hour day or longer.
Yeah. It's minimum wage for the, and maybe one day, every three or four weeks you get called in and do a job and then off you go again.
So, yeah, the number of faces that earn big dollars is very few. Yeah.
The vast majority aren't even making a living wage off this.
It has to be supplemented by other things.
So, okay. You ready to move on, Ed? Let's move on.
Okay. So we are going to take a quick break. we're going to talk RFKjr.
Back after this!
Okay. We are back. Are you back to add?
I am, but I don't have a mute button to touch that you have to have some fun.
We don't do that anymore. You're all good.
All right. I was counting on that so much.
Uh, yeah, I, I just deal with that like later when I edit it, if I need to.
Um, okay. So So, RFK Jr., and I sort of walked all over the first topic, Ed, so you brought up RFK Jr., why don't you start us out?
Well, this guy's kind of unusual, isn't he? He's joined into the campaign just fairly recently and decided that he's a viable candidate, even though I think he's polling in the single digits against only- No, he's averaging about he's averaging about 15% in the national Democratic primary.
Okay, he's, and I wonder, Democrats, curiosity, just by comparison, though, I mean, Biden's at 65%.
So 65 minus 15. He's behind by 50%.
Yeah, you know, that's, that's like a huge, huge margin.
He's nowhere near actually competitive anywhere.
Yeah, the thing that's bothersome is the things that he raises as issues, the first one of course being the issue of vaccine because he's a long-standing anti-vaxxer.
I understand he brags- Now he'll deny that, he denies that, but then you can play all kinds of cards.
He brags about seeing women carrying their babies, you know, out in the street and walking up to them and saying, be sure you don't get that baby vaccinated. That's dangerous stuff.
Yeah, this is the one quote that's been brought up repeatedly.
He apparently said that once on some podcast or something a few years back.
But if you go looking, there are plenty of statements from him that are discouraging of vaccine use.
And we're not just talking COVID. We're talking plenty of things before COVID.
There was an issue somewhere in the South Pacific. I forget which South Pacific country it was.
But where he went and gave a whole bunch of anti-vaccine information, which I am forgetting which disease it was.
But of course, he succeeded in dropping the vaccination rate from something fairly high to something fairly low, and there was a big outbreak.
Duh, you know.
No, as you would expect, I mean, it just.
You know, the diseases that we vaccinate for these days are diseases that when I was a child and even up until I entered med school, were killing people.
A close friend of ours, when I was in private practice, a child came in and we diagnosed her as having acute leukemia, got her into chemotherapy, and after about two years, she had a couple remissions.
She almost looked like she was almost clear, and then she got sick again.
Finally, she looked like she was in complete remission, had one last dose of chemotherapy just as chickenpox hit our little town in southern New Mexico.
This was before the chickenpox vaccine. That little girl died of chickenpox.
And, you know, that's a disease that doesn't need to exist anymore.
And these people are out there raising hell.
There are pictures showing the polio wards where they would have 40 or 50 iron lungs in this great big huge warehouse or room and nurses going from iron lung to iron lung to keep kids alive.
And at least there's people, it's not just him, it's a whole bunch of people out there raising cane and saying you need to watch out, this is dangerous stuff.
Back in the, I'm trying to think when it would have been, it would have been somewhere around 1991 or 92, there was a fairly well-known black author who decided that polio vaccine had been developed in order to give black children HIV.
And he was going around through Africa and other sorts of places.
This is a guy who's a brilliant man, wrote beautifully poems and stuff, but talking people that, you know, this is dangerous stuff.
So kids, a lot of people stopped getting their kids polio, as a result of which, instead of having no cases of polio, there were a number of cases of polio again in those areas where he was listened to and revived, you know, liked.
So that's the one issue with Kennedy. The other thing is today I see that he has announced that he asked for Secret Service protection.
It's a little early. It's a little early for that.
Well, it may not be too early. His father was killed in the campaign not too much later than right about now, was he?
No, it was halfway through the primary season. So it's...
Okay, so it was later than this. But in any event, the issue is he went public today and said the Secret Service denied it, which shows that, kind of like Trump, he doesn't understand how these things work.
It's not the Secret Service who decides who they protect.
The DHS assigns that. There's a committee that I've discovered today is made up of the majority leader of the Senate, the Speaker of the House, I think the second highest person in the House, and then one or two other people that that committee names. Well, you know what?
If those people, several of those are people that are either Democrats or Republicans, fairly prominent, have nothing to do with Secret Service, but they tell the Secret Service what to do.
They don't get to decide who gets protection and who doesn't.
Well, and there's certain conventions around political candidates in terms of when they get protection. And there are a number of factors that go into that.
One is of course, how they are doing in the political race.
And usually like candidates who aren't already in office don't get secret service protection until very late in the process. Like either they are already the presumptive nominee.
And like, you know, this can be like before the conventions and stuff, but like once they're the presumptive nominee and most of the competition is gone, or if there are active threats against someone and they are still competitive, then they might be considered for it.
You know, like if, if, if, if RFK Jr is still polling at 15% and he's actually getting delegates and he's actually like, yeah, even if it's clear, he's not going to win the democratic nomination, uh, if he is, he, he might get protection.
In the first, like at some point, if he was still consistently polling relatively high, he was actually getting delegates in the race, and there were active threats.
You know, and maybe he's got active threats, right? Because of his name, because people hate him, you know, whatever.
Maybe he's got active threats, but it's still really early, like in the process.
We haven't even actually started the real race yet, you know?
But I'm just looking through like, uh, I I'm on the Wikipedia page for his presidential campaign.
So I looked first at the, uh, at his personal page and that has some stuff, but, uh, uh, flipping through. And then there's another one that's, you know, specifically, anyway, anyway, there are multiple places you can find out stuff.
Um, and I'm not looking at his, his actual website because, you know, he'll spin it in a certain way. Um, but here, here are a few highlights. So, economy.
When launching his campaign, Kennedy said that his priority would be, quote, to end the corrupt merger of state and corporate power that is threatening now to impose a new kind of corporate feudalism in our country.
What does that mean?
Uh, well, uh, going further in that section, it says he's strongly critical of the contemporary political economy.
He described it as cushy socialism for the rich and this kind of brutal merciless capitalism for the poor that bails out banks and keeps the nation in a state of permanent war while slashing programs like food stamps and Medicaid.
Now describe that way. I'm not necessarily, you know, disagreeing too much.
Cause I, I think that the government gives all kinds of benefits to big companies that probably shouldn't be given.
And I don't think the safety net is expansive enough, but the way he even frames it as already like, okay, you're just sort of out there in crazy land.
Like, even if like on more specific things, maybe I would agree.
Moving on foreign policy.
He wants to end the proxy wars, bombing campaigns, covert operations, coups, paramilitaries, and everything else that has become so normal.
Most people don't know what's happening. He says that the democratic party became the party of war, and he attributes that directly to president Biden.
He says he believes U.S. foreign relations should involve significantly reducing the military presence in other nations.
Specifically said the country must start unraveling the empire through closing U.S. bases in different locations worldwide.
I generally feel that there are a lot of places where the U.S.
Is overreached, but again, it's like, once you get absolutist about it, then I start distrusting you.
Like, yeah, you start sounding isolationist and you start sounding like, if it's outside of our borders, it's none of our business. And I'm not quite there. I don't know.
Well, clearly, we are involved in lots and lots of places in the world, and many that we don't even know about.
But we are really the only superpower as such in the world right now.
China is approaching that, and Russia is quite frankly closer to being a third world nation and a first world nation in all honesty.
Their military can't beat the military of a relatively small nation that doesn't have a hell of a lot of budget and yet they're being held at bay and maybe losing to that, the Ukraine.
What they have is they have the threat of nuclear so people are afraid to go to war with them for fear they'll use those nuclears.
But that's, in a straightforward conventional war, they wouldn't last 10 minutes against NATO. It would be over within a week, about like the first Gulf War went.
So, you know, it's just, we shouldn't be in a lot of the places.
We clearly are, I have thought for a long time that our Department of Defense budget is incredibly overpriced.
Almost a trillion dollars now. It's overnight.
You see those charts occasionally that like the defense budget of the United States is more than like the next 10 countries added up combined combined.
Yes. Um, we, we, we're worried about trying to getting, I think it's something like their third or fourth aircraft carrier.
And we have two to four aircraft carriers in every goddamn ocean and we're worried about them getting one or two. You know, it's...
Do we really need eight or nine multi-billion dollar aircraft carriers?
You know, we're clearly building them and we're going to keep building them.
So I think, I agree that we could clearly relook at what we're doing in defense.
It would be nice if we, instead of spending all that huge amount on weaponry, went down into Central and Southern America and then started investing in those nations, putting their selves together in a manner such that the crooks can't steal it all, as has happened in the past, and build some solid, wealthy countries, if you will, and I don't think it would be that hard. I really don't.
So, continuing on, I just want to go through a bunch of his positions on things and we can talk about them or whatever.
China. Kennedy claimed, without citing evidence, that the United States and China are engaged in an armed race to develop what he described as ethnic bioweapons designed to attack and harm people of a specific race.
He also claimed, without evidence, that despite the U.S. being a signatory to the Biological Weapons Convention, the CIA has continued to undertake banned bioweapon research in secret.
I'm not sure what he bases that on. I wouldn't be...
I mean, this is one of those things where, if true, that's alarming.
But he can't like say, he can't provide any evidence. He can't do that.
You know, and yeah, I'm sure.
I'm sure there are lots of things that our government is doing that we don't know about that maybe should be exposed and shouldn't be happening.
But unless you can provide something that backs up claims like that, if you just say it out of the blue and then start saying you want to act on it, you're just sound crazy.
Yeah. Well, one of the one of the things he has set up, I believe is the state that he thinks that the COVID, well, the SARS-CoV-2 was developed specifically aimed at protecting Jews and Ashkenazi Jews, not just any Jew, and Chinese, and that it was supposed to harm blacks and Europeans more, I think that's how it worked.
Yeah, and this is one of those things too, where when he was at that hearing in Congress a few weeks back, he denied that, and then they played the tape of him saying it. It's like.
You can't deny something you said.
And you know, even ignoring the fact that that seems highly unlikely, that doesn't explain why it is that more Chinese died of COVID than most other nations.
Well, we don't know, is that according to the officially released numbers, the percentage of people who died in China is still extremely tiny.
But every all the third party estimates have it much higher than what China says. So we don't really know what's going on in China.
But nevertheless, like this is something where.
It's a crazy claim and it's the kind of thing where if you've got like an extraordinary claim you need extraordinary evidence and he's got no evidence.
It's not even that he's got weak evidence. He has no evidence of anything like this.
And so- It's like the old business on the conspiracies always.
You start out with a conspiracy being something pretty broad and then as you disprove that part of the conspiracy, then it becomes broader and it keeps broadening, whereas when a conspiracy is a true thing that really is occurring, it gets narrower and narrower and narrower until it's down to just a very few people who indeed were conspiring to do something bad.
And his theories are expanding rapidly.
They're like they're going viral.
Next up, Ukraine and Russia. Kennedy argues that there were agreements between the U.S.
And Russia or Soviet leaders who emphasized that NATO would not expand eastward and the illegal invasion occurred because Russian security concerns were ignored by the United States.
He's described Russia's conduct with regards to the Minsk Agreement as acting in good faith.
His son, Connor, is fighting in the conflict on the Ukrainian side.
Kennedy has blamed the war on U.S. engineering of the 2014 Revolution of Dignity.
He's overestimated how much the U.S. has spent on it.
He's blamed Zelensky for provoking Russia, claimed Ukraine had allowed the U.S.
To place nuclear-capable missile launchers along Ukraine's border with Russia, and pushed the Ukraine bioweapons conspiracy theory.
He believes the administration of President Joe Biden in large part caused the invasion due to reckless and militant action.
He specifically cited the issue of NATO expansion into Eastern Europe.
At the same time, he clarified that he refuses to connect this criticism with anything considered support of the government of Russia under Putin, particularly given his ethical opposition to the regime's belief and politics.
He has remarked that Putin is a monster and labelled him a thug and a gangster.
So, basically, Putin is a bad guy, but him invading Ukraine is still all the U.S.'s fault, and specifically Joe Biden's fault.
And he never would have done it.
He never would have done it. Whereas this is one of those things, and I've heard other people arguing the same case from both left and right, but fundamentally, Ukraine had been asking to join NATO for like a decade and kept being told no.
So, like, the idea that they were worried about...
Ukraine joining NATO and that particular NATO expansion and that being part of it is a little nuts because actually the administration had made it very clear to NATO, and not to NATO, to Ukraine, that they weren't going to get to be in NATO so long as Russia was being paranoid about it, basically.
Now, is it true that the Ukrainians started making a move to want to be associated with the West more than to Russia?
Yeah. But you got to give the Ukrainians some agency in their own actions. Now, of course, the U.S.
Was encouraging that in various ways, and Russia was encouraging the opposite.
But fundamentally, the Ukrainians themselves have to have agency over their own choices, and they were moving towards, leaning towards the West over time.
Well, they want to detrain the European economic community.
That too, yep, all kinds of stuff. Okay, healthcare coverage.
In contrast to medic, you know, and I don't know that we have to give all this the time, but okay, a couple more.
Healthcare. In contrast to a Medicare for all system as proposed by Bernie Sanders, Kennedy has stated, my highest ambition would be to have a single-payer program where people who want to have private programs can go ahead and to do that, but to have a single program that is available to everybody.
He then said that such a system would be politically unrealistic.
He opposes the nationalizing the pharmaceutical industry or providing a public options for pharmaceuticals, and instead emphasizes the need to prevent regulatory capture.
He wants to make existing services available to all, including alternative and holistic therapies that have been marginalized in a pharma dominated system.
Uh, so, you know, I kind of like single payer as an option too, with, uh, with the private option for folks who want it.
Um, so I don't necessarily disagree with that longterm goal.
Uh, some of the other stuff like alternative and holistic therapies, I am very wary of, there are occasionally ones that work, but a lot of them are just snake oil being peddled by, you know, people trying to make a buck.
And I think you have to be really careful, like to be evidence-based in that kind of stuff and know like, there shouldn't be like government subsidized support of things that are bullshit, you know, but you know, quacks, you have to feed their family too.
Yeah. True. True, I guess, but...
I don't know if there's a future in our health care in this nation.
We still have 10 states that have not taken advantage of the federal funding for Medicaid through the Affordable Care Act.
And those 10 states have significantly different health outcomes than the states right next door to them for the most part.
Yeah, I wonder why?
Well, partially because, well, in Kansas, there's one guy who said we should not be providing health care to those people. It's unethical and immoral to take care of people who can't afford to see a doctor.
Basically, I'm paraphrasing him. But that's basically what he's saying. That's scary as shit.
Yep. Okay, gun rights and school shootings.
Stated, I'm not going to take people's guns away, and he believes in gun control himself. He's explained his position by saying, I'm a constitutional abolition, absolutist.
We can argue about whether the second amendment was intended to protect guns.
The argument has now been settled by the Supreme court.
Uh, he strongly suggested, uh, God, uh, Kennedy has strongly suggested that antidepressants and other psychiatric drugs are to blame for school shootings.
According to him, there's this tremendous circumstantial evidence that SSRIs and benzos and other drugs are what is doing this.
At the same time, he admitted there is no data to support this claim.
But prior to the introduction of Prozac, we had almost none of these events.
Experts say there's no evidence for a connection between psychiatric drugs and school shootings, point out that only a minority of school shooters were prescribed drugs.
That's all right. That's still that's that's still a reason.
See, this is this is the kind of thing like and and I saw a summary elsewhere that just said he has lots of conspiratorial things. Yeah. And even if there's a position here or there that I'm like, oh, that's reasonable.
All it takes is one of these things where he's completely off his fucking rocker and everybody should be getting as far away from him as possible.
It is disturbing that he has 15% support among Democrats.
Even the ones that he sort of makes sense.
If you delve into him, it very quickly becomes jibberdy, you know, both baloney.
What can I say? I, I'm going to start swearing if I'm not careful, but you know, the guy is crazy. Yeah.
A lot of people have pointed out that in his personal history, he's had lots of trauma.
I mean, you can start with his father being killed, right?
But apparently, throughout his entire life, he's had all kinds of trauma.
He's had all kinds of other issues.
He's got more in common with Hunter Biden than he does with Joe Biden in terms of basically just having a completely fucked up personal life with all kinds issues and problems and stuff that he says he's over with now, but a lot of his behavior just matches somebody who's just.
Been so traumatized by so much that they've kind of lost connection with the real world, even if they had some of it at some point.
The remaining things on this particular list are LGBT issues, and he's got sort of a mixed record there.
We talked about the anti-vax stuff, but there's more on that.
And then he's made various anti-Semitic and racist remarks over time.
And it's just, really? Really? And he's got the 15% support among Democrats right now.
And at the flip side, though, he's also very popular among Republicans as well.
He's not running in the Republican primary, but lots of Republicans give him.
As their favorite Democrat.
A number of his issues are basically Republican-centered issues.
Some of it certainly is, and some of it's just like, there's this whole group that has bought into all this conspiracy bullshit.
And a lot of that's on the Republican side right now, but the left has never been immune from this. There's a portion of the left that is attracted to this stuff too.
The whole anti-vax movement prior to COVID was concentrated on the left.
There were a whole bunch of whack-nut leftists who were all health nuts in the not really paying attention to what is actually healthy, but the whole, we only want natural stuff and blah, blah, blah. Well, you know.
The natural state of humans is to die a lot from preventable diseases.
Every once in a while you see people saying, you know, we didn't have all of this fancy, modern medicine stuff, but people lived without it for hundreds of years.
What did they do then? The answer to that question is they died a lot from all kinds of things. that now we know how to prevent and it's like, no, you don't.
Anyway, back, back, back to RFK Junior. It's like when I mentioned on the Commodigence Course Slack, but I don't think I mentioned on the on the podcast here on the July 4th weekend or whatever.
I think it was actually on July 4th.
Myself and my wife and we were with the county Democrats in like in a Fourth of July parade. My wife, because she's a office holder, me, because like, I go to these things to support her.
And when we were staging for the parade, right behind us was a group for RFK jr.
They had a big ass banner. They had like 15 people.
They had all kinds of stuff. Like there were more of them than they were of us for the regular County Democrats and they clearly had some money backing them because they had this big ass sign and all this kind of stuff.
And it's like, where do you people come from? Why are there crazies?
But they're always crazies.
And, you know, I, I'm, I am happy.
Like at 15%, he will be lucky if he gets delegates in Iowa, New Hampshire, if nothing changes, like all bets are off, if like Biden has a heart attack or dies or anything like that.
But I think Iowa Democrats are smarter than to vote, go for him.
I see that if he were running as a Republican, Iowa, I think he would probably walk away with a nomination.
No, not against Trump. Trump would still win, but, uh, I don't know.
But, uh, no, but I, you know, most, most of the states in the democratic primary process have thresholds that you have to break in order to get any delegates of delegates at all.
Um, and he might get a few delegates if he holds out at 15%. But...
He's got nowhere near what he needs to touch Biden in any meaningful way.
No. So my guess is that most of the time when we have dynamics like this, support fades as we get further along in the process and people are thinking about real life instead of just, oh, like a lot of that 15% is not people who actually support RFK Jr.
It's people who are just saying, can we have somebody besides Biden?
Yeah, that's probably true.
And when it gets to the point where you're coming close to an election and you start to find out about the actual person and people look into it, that support drops off because it becomes a real thing as opposed to just just a protest vote against Biden, you know?
Before we drop this and go on to the other, you made a comment about what did people do in the past? They died.
A number of years ago, I was in a chat room where I made an offhand comment about the hunter-gatherer people, frequently starving to death and being small and underfed and on and on.
And maybe challenged me to read a book which showed me that I was absolutely wrong.
It's the name of the book is Sex at Dawn and it's about the dawn of civilization.
And it makes a awfully strong point that the hundred gatherer people lived a pretty.
Kosher, cushy life. It took, when you had no more humans than we had running around then, it took an average of probably an hour to two hours and a half for a person to feed their family with stuff that they could go out and gather and hunt.
And the actual, the average height of the cave dwellers who lived to be an adult was very close to what it is now.
As we began farming and moving into cities and creating an environment in which people were underfed and undernourished, we got smaller and smaller and smaller.
And it's only been since the Industrial Revolution that we began coming back to what appears to be the normal size of Homo sapiens, which is about what we are now, average height of around 5'7 for for women and what, 510 for men or whatever.
That the old hunter-gatherers had it pretty good. They just, they had not much to do other than what the bonobos do, which is to sit around and eat and have sex.
Yeah, I mean, there's definitely sort of that dynamic that in, but the particular thing thing that we were discussing there is sort of...
As long as everything goes well, sure. But as soon as something goes wrong, you know, you break a limb, you catch a disease, you get an infection, whatever.
Yeah. All those sorts of things shorten life.
And that's, of course, most of the deaths were in children.
Who didn't survive them. By the way, I think it was, what the hell's her name, one of the early anthropologists who did a lot of study of ancient civilisation, they said, what was the first sign of civilization?
And you know, was it fire, was it the wheel, whatever, and her point was...
It was a healed broken arm.
A healed broken femur, actually.
That could only occur in a civilization that said, we'll take care of you until you're walking again.
Um, so yeah, that's, uh, uh, it was interesting time that we, we underestimate just how well those folks did.
Yeah. And yeah, we're getting a little off topic here, but like there's most.
Of the time humans existed is before what we call history before we had written records.
And, but biologically they were still modern humans.
They were just as smart as we are today, you know, and they were able to do lots of things and we don't give all the credit for it.
I mean, it took a while for technology to develop for reading and writing and agriculture and all these things.
But like the humans of a hundred thousand years ago, we're still humans.
Basically, you know, so anyway, and we know very little about them, so.
Some of the ones who claim to be human, not now, I have some questions about.
Okay, well with that, let's take a break and we've got to speed up a little bit for the next two topics, Ed.
Okay, well we could always skip them.
Yeah, no, no, no. We promised people now. We gotta, we gotta do it. We just gotta do it fast.
Um, okay. We got the additional Trump indictments and then we've got the UCMJ.
We will be back with Trump stuff after this.
Okay, we are back. It is time for Trump stuff.
Before we go to Trump, I just saw something that I didn't see earlier today.
Apparently, the democratically elected president of Niger has been overthrown by the presidential guard and they are now a military dictatorship.
Yes, I saw that too. I haven't dug into the details, but yes, a coup in Niger.
Okay, on to Trump.
On to Trump. Yes. Um, so all week long we've been on indictment watch because Trump got his notice that he was likely going to get, uh, indictments based on the, the January 6th stuff and all of the, I shouldn't say just January 6th.
It's all the stuff surrounding that as well.
Like the fake electors scheme and all that kind of stuff.
And sort of every day, it was like, are we getting it today?
Are we getting it today? Are we getting it today?
And no, that did not happen.
The grand jury did not meet on Tuesday.
They usually do Tuesday and Thursday. They did not meet at all on Tuesday.
On Thursday, they were there all day, but did not release anything new.
There was speculation on what's happening. Are they, are they hearing from another witness?
Are they getting a final presentation before they get to vote on it?
What's going on? But nobody really knows the people who, the people who do know aren't talking. So it's really all just speculation.
Um, there are some people who continue to say like any day now, like it's likely going to be a Tuesday or Thursday, but next, if it wasn't this week, it's going to be next week. There are a few other people who are saying, well, hold on one second.
Even though last time this happened with the case in Florida, after they got that notice and that letter and stuff, it was very quick.
It was measured in days, not weeks. I think it might've been a week and a half, two weeks.
I forget exactly how long, but it was short. It wasn't that long in between those.
But people are saying, hold on, hold on. The grand jury has witnesses scheduled to appear all through.
August. Like there are various people who they've already, it's already become public that they've agreed to testify and they're scheduled to come in, in the next few weeks.
And if they're still interviewing people like that, won't they wait for all of those people before they do anything?
So if that's the case, we may be waiting another month before we get anything.
And so I don't know. It could be anything from, and some people were saying even, you know, they might have actually already filed the indictment under seal. They're just not ready to release it publicly.
So we could be anywhere from Trump's already been indicted for that stuff to it's going to be another month.
And the reality is because we just have no idea.
Nobody outside the grand jury and the prosecutors have any idea what the schedule is actually going to look like So we're gonna be on indictment watch until it happens Because we do pretty much know there will be an indictment at this point But Timing is all over the place.
I suppose there's a chance the grand jury could vote no on an indictment But that's very very rare Anyway, so we got that all going on with that.
And so on Thursday, everybody was, you know, reading, trying to read the tea leaves of what was coming out of the grand jury to figure out if they were voting or not.
And are we going to get this? And are we going to get this? And all of a sudden, we actually get more indictments?
On the documents case out of Florida. Not the stuff everybody was expecting and teed off on.
It was just all of a sudden, no one really expected it to be happening and it was just out of the blue.
Okay, here's an additional defendant that's being indicted as well, besides the two, Trump and Nauta.
And I forget the new guy. Oh, De Oliveira is the new guy, has been indicted.
He's a, he's another helper type person at Mar-a-Lago who runs errands for Trump and stuff. Um, so we added a person and we added several new charges.
One of the new charges was just adding another document.
Uh, the original document indictment, uh, had, I forget how many, like 30 some, uh, documents that were specifically called out that Trump had, uh, without permission.
They added the one that was the Iranian war plans that they have him on tape talking to people about and showing in Bedminster, New Jersey.
So at the time there was speculation, why wasn't that included?
And apparently they had it all along. But, you know, just they, in the meantime, by not adding it for like a month or however long it's been, in the meantime, Trump went on TV, talked about how it was a lie.
The document didn't exist. He was holding up newspapers, you know, there was, you know, it wasn't what it sounded like, blah, blah, blah.
So now they're here's the document, you know, and we're going to add this one to we've we've had it all along.
But then almost more interesting than that is they added a bunch of additional obstruction charges, obstruction of justice.
Specifically, what they've got nailed down now is apparently a lot of discussions that were a lot more explicit about the obstruction with the big new example being explicit conversations about Trump directing the people who work for him to delete the security footage, security camera footage, that showed the boxes moving back and forth and all this.
It is not explicitly clear in the indictment whether they succeeded in deleting everything, but they've got transcripts of conversations, essentially, some of which are text messages.
And I think some of them were in-person conversations with a witness giving them the text. But basically, with.
You know, the guy saying, hey, the boss wants us to delete the tapes.
Can we do that? And the other guy saying, I don't I don't have the permissions to do that. I need to go talk to this other guy, et cetera.
But very explicitly talking about wanting to get rid of that.
They've got details of how, you know, when some of these conversations were happening, they either did a walk and talk kind of scenario, which is typically, you know, people do it for all kinds of reasons.
But one reason is you want to avoid being overheard or surveilled or being on these, uh, surveillance cameras while you're talking.
Uh, there are other places where, uh, now to was texting back and forth with people about changing his travel plans in order to go back and take care of this.
And. It's fairly clear from the text that he was making up a cover story about going to deal with a family issue.
Because he said in the text, it's like, I have to go back for a family issue with a little shushing emoji and stuff like that.
And all of this stuff is like, so, so clumsy and stupid on one side, but also like so absolutely clear and contradictory to some of the things that Trump was claiming as defenses before in terms of like, Like if you thought you did nothing wrong, why are you deleting the security tapes again?
You know, and I suppose you could make an argument that you wanted to delete them, not because you did anything wrong, but because people would misinterpret it.
But come on, you've got people moving the boxes around and you've got the conversations about doing this stuff, uh, right after various subpoenas went through and things like that. It's like.
Like, he was already in deep shit with this one, before this last batch of charges.
And these just make it so much worse. And they also, like, directly attack some of the defenses that he's been making, which were pretty weak anyway.
But, like, they're even weaker now.
And, yeah, and one thing that was mentioned in a lot of the coverage is the fact that you're adding this superseding indictment, uh, and a new defendant will almost certainly actually result in further delay of the trial, uh, probably only by a few weeks because it was the original one was only a few weeks ago, but still that moves us from like May to June of next year.
Year, uh, maybe July even of next year.
And, you know, it seems like everybody involved is very critically aware of November, 2024 and the timing of all this.
So if the feds wanted to add this, they felt like they really needed to, if there were minor things to add, they would just decide not to at this point.
Yeah, I'm in a group of discussants who include a couple of far-right wingers who I'm sure get all their news from Fox, and the only reason I bring that up is let me read something that one of the guys wrote today talking about these classified documents, and I'll just read it.
Are the president, classified documents are yours.
You cannot steal what is yours. This has been adjudicated by the Clinton sock case.
As loathsome as Trump is, he would be less guilty of misusing classified documents than Poppy Bush, who kept classified documents in an abandoned warehouse, W.
Bush, Obama, who kept them in a closed down Chinese restaurant, and kept them in a sock drawer, Mar-a-Lago was far more secure than it had been White House stuff.
And then I tell him, I said, I don't know where you're getting your law from, but those documents do not belong to the president, they belong to the United States.
And he says, no, it has literally been the law since the Presidential Records Act. No. Which gives the president part watch to decide what records to take and what ones to leave behind.
I say this to point out that these people are going to vote for Trump if he has been sentenced to be executed for shooting someone on Fifth Avenue.
None of what that person said is even remotely true. They're like little bits and pieces of seeds of something that happened. Like for instance...
But he's being from a major news source.
Yeah, no, but look, the Salk case, specifically the thing that was an issue there, was not classified documents, was not even government records.
It was a diary that he kept for the purpose of notes for writing memoirs later that was never classified, did not cover classified stuff.
And that actually went to court and was adjudicated in Clinton's favor.
But it wasn't the kind of stuff we're talking about here.
William Raisch You mean it wasn't planned to invade Iran? Dr.
Joshua Nelson No. And then the Chinese restaurant thing, the Chinese restaurant had gone out of business, was no longer there.
The records agency was looking for a place to make into a SCIF for the storage of records.
I'm not sure it was even classified stuff. It was just a storage of records, but it might have been classified stuff. But the point was...
David Erickson It weren't stored by him, it was stored by the agency.
Paul Jay Yeah, the point was, the National Archives, when determining the right way to store whatever records were in case here, whether they were classified or not, rented the space and then did a massive conversion of the place to add security, bring it up to whatever standards were necessary, et cetera, et cetera.
The fact that it used to be a Chinese restaurant was irrelevant by the end of that.
And the stuff was under the control of the archives the whole time, et cetera, et cetera.
Like it's, you can go through and debunk these things point by point, but the problem is the people who say these things don't care and don't believe you and they do believe the people who are putting that stuff out there and they're not going to listen to the lawyers who actually know the details of the Presidential Records Act and the various acts covering classified material and some of this stuff like some of what he's being charged with by the way it's doesn't even rely on it being classified It's just that it's national security related, and it would be illegal even if it wasn't national security record, because it's still not his.
Presidential records that belong to we, the citizens of the United States.
Not to the president.
And the times where ex-presidents have used things for, say, their presidential libraries or other use, they have done so via the archives, working out an arrangement, having the stuff loaned, putting it on display or in their archive or wherever they're doing it, but it's all still managed through the archive.
It's not just, I'm taking this shit and I'm going to stick it in a box in my bathroom.
And, you know, and even everything else aside, even if you assume Trump was right from the very beginning, and he was, he was, he had declassified everything in his mind, and he had, and he had every right to have it, and whatever, whatever, whatever, assume all that, though it's not true, still, once there was an investigation of it, him hiding the stuff and asking for security cam footage to be deleted, that would be illegal anyway, even if the other, even if he was perfectly in the right on all the other stuff, because once there's an investigation, you are obligated by law to cooperate with the investigation.
His records of obstruction crimes were documented by Mueller.
Why that's never been charged, I don't know, but part two of the Mueller report makes it very clear that— Yeah, and I argued with Bruce about part one of the Mueller report last week and saying that it actually did show all kinds of nefarious behavior.
It wasn't just a nothing burger. But on part two, specifically, yes, there was.
Detailed documentation of all of his obstruction. And it was, it was a conscious choice by the DOJ after Biden was president, uh, to not do that. At this point, the statute of limitations have expired on almost all of that.
So it's too late now. Yeah.
But I think that there was very much.
What is the statute of limitations on that stuff?
It was, it was something like four years.
Then it hasn't expired because it doesn't kick in until you can charge, which would, would not have been until six or 20 January, uh, 2000.
Okay. I'm not sure then there, there were, there were definitely, it might be, it might've been shorter than, I don't know the, I would have to look into it.
I have heard repeatedly that most of the stuff, if not all of the stuff documented in the Mueller report has, It's now been too long.
I could be wrong about that, but in any case, it seemed like the DOJ by more important stuff, but yes, it seems like the DOJ's approach was very much look forward, not back. We don't want to like make it look political.
And this is, um, uh, what, what's his name? The, the, the attorney general.
I always blank on his name.
Oh, the president attorney is, uh, uh, crap.
Yeah, see, see, he was nominated for a spring court, but yes, yes, yes.
What's his name? What's his name? I'm looking it up. Stupid. Damn it.
I always blank on his name. I don't know why my computer's being slow.
Uh, I have a mental block on names in any event, but that's.
Starts with an F doesn't it?
That was close to enough. Merrick Garland, uh, anyway, is it, it seems pretty clear that before Merrick Garland, they had like interim people and they didn't want to do anything.
Cause their interim, once they had Merrick Garland, uh, and he started in early March 2021, um, it's pretty clear that his.
Take on things was, I want to heal the DOJ by not being political, and it would be political to go after the former president of the country.
Whereas in fact, by not going after him, you were making a very political decision when there were so many things out there.
There was stuff from the Mueller report, there was conflict of interest, there were so many things.
I've said before, it was a a target-rich environment, even before you got to all the 2020 election stuff.
But on January 6th, in the 2020 election, it seems very clear at this point, and there was a big Washington Post article on it like a month or so ago, a month or two ago, that they really, really, really didn't want to go there.
They were going after all the individual January 6th protesters and saying they'll work their way up the chain or whatever, but they were basically ignoring leads that were right in front of them for looking at the political leaders, including Trump and his staff and people in Congress, who were part of these schemes, until the January 6th committee laid it all out there and put it in front of them and basically shamed them into starting a real investigation.
And then they went into overdrive. Now, I've seen some people argue that if they'd started earlier, they would have actually had a harder time making progress, and so the delay served some sort of purpose.
But the overall consensus is they really just didn't even start until the January 6th committee made it impossible for them not to start with dealing with the political leadership behind all this stuff.
And then even then, they were still going slow.
Until the special counsel was appointed. And there was and I and for the documents as well as January 6th, they were they were giving so much deference.
And the FBI was arguing really strongly against getting a search warrant for Mar-a-Lago.
Despite all the back and forth, there was clearly he wasn't returning what he was supposed to.
They were like, we don't want to do this. We can't do this. We don't want to get involved.
And eventually they did, but it was clear everyone was highly reluctant, which is one of those things when you hear some of Trump's rhetoric on this about two forms of justice, and they're going after me in ways they would never go after other people.
When you actually look at it, it's clearly the opposite. They so, they gave him every fucking chance on all of this stuff.
They delayed and they delayed and they delayed and they gave him chance after chance after chance to return the documents.
And on the January 6th stuff, they dragged their feet on really getting into the investigation.
He's been treated with kid gloves this entire time.
Like with the document stuff, You know, any normal federal employee caught with that shit would be sitting in a jail waiting for trial right now.
They would not be at home at Mar-a-Lago, you know?
Anyway, he's got a bunch more charges. We're waiting on the others.
Anything else to say, Ed? No.
We will take a break and then we will come back for one last topic on the universal whatever it is, right?
Uniform Code of Military Justice.
There you go. We will be back after this.
And look, the Trump stuff, there will be plenty more Trump stuff in the coming weeks. So like we're kind of shorter with Trump than we sometimes are, but that's okay. We are going to be overwhelmed with it for the next year and a half. So we're fine.
I'm upgrade your right. Yo. Yeah. Back after this.
Okay, we are back. So Ed, I saw some headlines on this, but I didn't read any of the articles, and you're ex-military, so you know a lot more than I do.
So tell me what's going on here.
Well, I'm ex-military, yes, but I was fortunately didn't have a whole lot of experience with the UCMJ, the Uniform Code of Militaries.
Basically it's a set of laws that apply to crimes committed by military folks.
As a commander in the past, generally the commander has a great deal of authority over law-breaking.
This goes all the way from misdemeanors, the best example I can think of is one of my soldiers once came up positive on a marijuana urine test, which at that time was illegal in the military.
Now I'm not sure, but in any event, uh, so I had to decide whether I would either punish him, uh, or refer him for a court-martial, uh, which would be a trial.
Uh, as a commander, I had the authority to give him a certain amount of punishment.
There, there, there, there were very clear limits on what I could do and what I couldn't do, uh, and the soldier, if he wanted, could demand a trial by court Marshall instead of my punishment.
Uh, but you know, that's all in any event, this is applied to pretty much any crime a soldier might commit. Uh, that the, the first line of punished or discipline would be the commander.
So let me, let me, let me ask a basic, what might be a basic, obvious question, but I don't know.
How do you determine, like, is it automatic? Like that, if they're military, this is what applies period.
Or does it depend on where they are? Like if they're on base versus they're like just in some random civilian place, like when does civilian law apply versus this?
Yeah, you can get punished twice, right? That as an example, one of my nurses, when I was at Fort Huachuca, uh, had gotten a, uh, a DUI, uh, uh, ticket when she was in Germany, she was not drunk, but she had had one beer, but the German laws are much stricter than ours.
And she blew high enough that she got a ticket. No big deal.
She paid, I think it was like a hundred dollar fine.
But then her commander called her in and said, this is terrible.
My nurses should not be driving drunk and hit her with another fine and a letter of reprimand, which meant that the next time she came up for promotion, She not only was not promoted, but she was fired because she was obviously not someone we wanted in the military. So you can be punished.
So is it basically that you're almost always potentially liable for both?
Like, you know, you, you, you, so you go out and kill somebody, the civilians get a shot at you and the military does too.
If you kill somebody in the private sector, the, the, the private sector will get to punish you if, if they somehow clear you and you're coming and the command thing thinks that, gee, they shouldn't have done that.
They might try you again. I think now that gets into double jeopardy.
The UCMJ is part of the federal law system, and double jeopardy says you can be tried in a state and then in a federal for the same crime, but not twice in the federal.
So if it was a federal that charged her and cleared her, cleared the guy, you couldn't try him again.
Okay. And believe me, I'm not explaining this right, because I'm not an attorney, and it didn't make a lot of sense to me a lot of the times.
In any case, I guess the summary is that some of the time, if you were in the military, this code applies potentially in addition to whatever civil authority is also in play.
And presumably there are some things that are illegal in this UCMJ that wouldn't necessarily even be a problem for a civilian.
There are a number of things that are crimes in the military that are not crimes in the And there may be some that are crimes in the civilian sector that are not in the military.
But anyway, one of the crimes that has been a real sore spot in a lot of people's things has to do with rape, sexual assault, and sexual demeaning, the whole gamut of sexual type crimes.
And commanders have handled them, and some commanders have been very rigid and very strict. And some commanders have said, No, women are here to pleasure us men and you're, you're all right.
Uh, and this is not a good thing.
I think in general, the, the argument and what people have been reporting and complaining about for a long, long time here is that because it was sort of the commander's decision on what to do, that lots of times that when women would complain about these kinds of crimes, more often than not, their commanders, who were usually men, would just ignore it essentially and say, this isn't a serious thing, we're not going to deal with it, you know, make up with them.
Or it's not an issue. We're not going to deal with it. We're not going to go after him. Why would you want to ruin that young man's career based on this?
And sometimes even retaliate against the women involved rather than to punish the man at all.
And so this was the rap that the military was getting over and over.
And over the last decade or so, there have been various attempts to, fix this, but it was still a problem. So what's now happened?
Well, what happened is in, uh, in, uh, 2021, which is fairly soon after Biden was president, Congress passed a law saying that certain crimes should be taken out of the hands of the commander.
Uh, those kinds would include murder, uh, and sexual assault or rape.
Now, in all honesty, murder was usually not in the hands of the commander anyway, because murder would fall into the seriousness of a crime where a general would have to convene a court-martial.
Most of the commanders were captains, majors, lieutenant colonels, and colonels, but a general would have a convening authority to call a court-martial for murder.
So it was really, we're talking about rape and sexual misadventures.
Rape, sexual assault, sexual harassment, all of those.
And that sort of thing. Anyway, in any event, what's happened is Congress said, well, that's no longer going to be the case and they passed that law and they said the president has until December of 2023 to enact this law, which is means that basically, when Congress passes a law, that doesn't become effective yet.
It has to have enabling regulations written.
And that's what, in this case, would take a presidential executive order to the military saying that from now on, here's how these crimes will be managed.
They gave him two years to do that, and he did it in a year and a half because he published that executive regulation, the executive order this past week.
And apparently from now on.
It's not just an allegation. A woman can't say I was raped and it automatically immediately goes to this rape authority.
It'll have to go through some sort of an investigation. But basically instead of the commander saying, well, I think yes, we should send you to court martial or I'm gonna reduce you in rank or whatever else, it goes to a special board that is being established that will take care of sexual crime in the military.
Probably a good idea, although I'm sure there's gonna be some real.
Startup problems, it weakens the command authority to some extent.
And as an example, soon after I took my first, well, my second command, well, my first command too, but when I took my command, I called my senior NCOs and my administrative staff who were in charge of things.
And I said, there's a few things that you folks need to take care of because if it comes to me, there will be punishment.
And that is, nobody harasses any of my troops for any reason, whether they're homosexuals, blacks, white, pink, whatever, nobody harasses my soldiers and you guys are to stop it.
And if you can't, if you try to stop it and people ignore you, you bring it to me and I will take care of it because it'll be punished.
So for example, we had a soldier in my command who had been charged with murder and a couple other crimes, but he was pending trial.
And I think actually he was pending court-martial, but in any event, he was not being confined because we hadn't shown that he was a danger or a threat to run away.
So he was confined to the quarters, which was the barracks.
And then one day, someone came in to see him to look for something in his room.
And it turned out that he was in his room, he had told the guy in charge that he was actually visiting his lawyer, but he wasn't visiting his lawyer, he was in the room with the 15 year old daughter the town mayor.
Based on that, we were able to put him in jail until such time as his trial occurred.
We didn't have a jail on that post, so he went to the community jail, and he spent there until he went to trial for court-martial.
As far as I know, he's probably still in jail because he indeed, along with several other people, had committed a couple murders and other crimes.
But all of this, the commander doesn't have a whole lot of control over that, and my point was is that maybe it probably isn't as best that each commander has their own way. Some commanders didn't care if you harassed their soldiers.
Others like me felt that that was my job was to keep my soldiers from being harassed by anybody for whatever reason they might want.
That worked out pretty well as far as I was concerned. The new rule is that there is a special prosecution team to look into specifically sexual related crimes and murders are going to be included in that too, which sort of removes, it's sort of like saying the town mayor can't investigate things, someone else, a district attorney, someone else is going to be doing it.
Yeah. I mean, here's the thing, like even in completely civilian things, and it's, it's actually one of the things that like pisses me off on a lot of TV shows that are like crime procedurals and stuff.
I watched some of those and like.
In a variety of situations, they end up investigating the murder of their friend, or one of the suspects is somebody they know.
In most cases in the real world, if you've got a personal involvement in a case, you should not be involved in that case.
Absolutely. This seems like if it's a small command, you're kind of in that scenario where you have a relationship and you know the person who's accused, you probably know the victim as well, and it seems only appropriate that it gets handed off to somebody who doesn't have that personal connection so that they can be more objective.
Just as a general principle, not even on these specific crimes, but just as a more general principle, the people investigating and the people serving judgment should be disinterested, not like people who are close to the people involved.
I mean, I know in like some scenarios, like if you're talking really minor things and blah, blah, blah, maybe it makes sense to sort of have a self policing community that can sort of deal with minor issues on their own.
But for anything major, it seems like you've got a problem.
You know, if the police know the suspect or the victim, you know, or the prosecutors or the judge or anybody else, and they just shouldn't, they should automatically be disqualified from being involved, you know?
Yeah. I mean, frankly, I'm thinking that like, you know, we were talking about Trump in the last segment, Like, you shouldn't have a judge that...
You nominated, you know, or even if you're a congressperson, if you voted on their nomination, it's probably not a good match.
You know, you want somebody you, yeah, you just, but in any case, in this particular case.
Yeah, it needs to be reconsidered, yeah, and this all gets back into command and control and the authority of the command and the responsibilities of command because there's nothing really quite like command in the civilian sector.
Um, I have to say that my years in command, I had about five years total time in which, which I was a commander.
Uh, they were probably the highlight of my life because, uh, you, you, it's hard to describe just what it is, but it's, it's a very rewarding experience.
And if you do it right, which I think I did, uh, people really respect you for what you do.
You're able to make a change in what happens. I made some, I think, major changes in what was going on in our little healthcare system.
But on the other hand, not all human beings are decent people and some commanders are not either. And there were some commanders who clearly were dangerous, bad people.
My time, I was on the Inspector General team for a while And there were two people I recommended needed to be relieved of command because when we looked at what they were doing, I said, these people are destructive and dangerous and they shouldn't have this authority and this power over other human beings.
And so it's a unique thing. There's nothing quite like it in civilian life.
And it's partially because when you're in combat, the rules are different.
And the commanders are, you know, have a certain amount of authority that can't be questioned.
But anyway, I think in the long run, this is going to be a good thing.
The military fought it for years. It's interesting to see that it was with the new administration that suddenly the senior military leaders suddenly changed their mind.
And I don't know why they changed their mind, but I know that as of 2021, there was a 180-degree change in most of of the senior military who said, Oh yeah, this is the right way to do it.
And it's gone through fairly quickly after that.
Yeah. It's, it seems like overall, this seems like it should be an improvement.
Uh, of course it, it all depends who's on that board that gets to look at these things, I guess, and we'll, we'll see if the overall problem diminishes.
I mean, there's, there's some fundamental culture things that have to shift to, But I think they've been shifting.
Like, you know, as there have been more women in the military and they've increased in rank over time and more diversity in general, over time, some of the culture is going to change.
Now, of course, there are a bunch of people complaining that that culture is changing, but I think they're losing out in the end.
And I think that's good. But clearly, there's a long way to go.
I mean, my wife was in the Navy way back when and she's told a variety of stories of how as a woman in the Navy in that time, she was mistreated in a whole bunch of different ways.
And not given the consideration that one would expect and given judgments that were unfair and clearly gender biased.
And one would hope things have improved and will continue to improve.
Well, I'll tell you, our lives are affected by gender a lot.
I frequently had people in my office that would come in on a one-on-one sort of thing.
It was pretty rare when I had all the doors closed if there was a female in there with me, one-on-one, and if there was a female in there with me, one-on-one, I stayed behind my desk.
I did not go around to be in the same side of the desk as they were, simply because for their safety, my safety, and everybody's sense of security.
Generally, I wanted a door open, even if there wasn't anyone else around, simply because if the door's open, she doesn't need to feel like maybe I'm gonna come after her, and I don't need to feel like she's gonna accuse me of having come after her.
But it's kind of a shame to have to live like that, But you do, you have to keep that in mind all the time, I'm afraid.
Okay. Well, I think we are at the end of the show, Ed.
So let me, uh, start doing my end of the show spiel. Uh, please go to curmudgeons hyphen corner.com.
There you can see our archives for all these years. And for the most recent episodes, also a transcript.
They are very exciting transcripts. You should check them out.
Um, and also of course, all the ways to contact me and Yvonne, uh, we've got mastodon, we've got Facebook, we've got email.
You can get in touch with us, all of those ways.
Ed is not on social media or any other thing.
So if you want to get in touch with Ed, contact me and I will pass the message along.
Also on the site, you can go to our Patreon where you can give us money.
And at various levels, we will mention you on the show. We will ring a bell.
We will send you a postcard. We will send you a mug.
And very importantly, at $2 a a month or more, or if you ask nicely through any of those other ways, we will invite you to the curmudgeon's corner Slack where Ed does participate regularly.
Um, and, uh, yeah, uh, usually at this point, uh, Yvonne gives a story from the curmudgeon's corner Slack that we haven't talked about. Do you have one in mind, Ed, or should I do one?
I was just looking through to see, and I'm not finding anything real quick off in.
Um, well, I will do one then I'm prepared. Uh, Twitter is no more.
Uh, Twitter has rebranded and renamed themselves. It is now X.
The company had officially renamed it.
They can use that.
Well, well, here's the thing. They're doing it anyway. The question is whether anybody sues them over it.
There are apparently multiple companies that have X trademarked in conjunction with various things, including Meta, which is Facebook, for social media stuff.
So, but they can choose, like, you know, do they go after them and sue them, or do they let them just continue self-destructing on their own?
But yes, the social media platform does exist. it just no longer exists as Twitter.
It has been renamed X.
They are in the process of changing everything over to X.
The website happened first, then I believe the mobile apps have updated at this point and are calling themselves X2.
They're getting rid of the bird everywhere it appears. The word Twitter still appears in certain places, but they're working on it.
So bottom line is, yeah, those of you who are still sticking with Twitter, well, too bad Twitter's gone. Now you're sticking with X.
So enjoy X There Yeah, so I Tried Twitter a few times.
I just found boring and just not worth the effort I am on Facebook, but I have a fairly limited number of people with whom I commune if somebody Indicates they want to become acquainted with me or a friend if they just send a friend request I ignore it because I don't know who they are.
If they send a friend request along with some sort of a little brief letter explaining who they are, I frequently will accept that.
But mostly it's, I keep in contact with some old friends and relatives and people like that.
But I think I maybe have 40 or 50 people that I follow and that follow me.
Yeah. Uh, yeah, I see your posts about, uh, you know, the, the birthdays of people in your family and, uh, uh, some of your latest running exploits and things like that every once in a while.
So, um, anyway, yeah, I am beginning to run again. I have my foot gave out on me in June and it's, it's finally feeling enough better that I'm starting to run a couple, three miles a week and hoping to start going to increasing that soon.
Well, that's awesome. I'm glad you are healing and getting better and acceptance.
I should probably do more exercise myself.
Well, you can come out and join us in the clothing optional race next month.
Oh, yeah, well, I would if I was on the same coast as you, I might do that, actually.
But, you know, given that I'm not, yeah, I'm not going anywhere.
But there are a few things that are as much fun as running three and a half to four miles through the forest and trails with no clothing on except your shoes and a hat.
You know, I, I could walk that in that way that you're talking about.
I don't think I actually will be walking most of it.
I don't run much.
Yeah. Like I am so out of shape. Like I, I can walk a decent amount, but if I try to run or, or even jog, I'm like, I'm wiped out very quickly.
I could, I could not do miles. I probably should work on that, but you know, Oh, well, anyway, that's it. for curmudgeon's corner.
Thank you, Ed, for joining us and filling in this week.
I believe we will have Yvonne back next week. But as I think I mentioned at the beginning of the show, he's having some computer problems.
He's ordered a new computer. I don't know if it'll be there in time or what alternatives he has if it's not.
But we'll figure it all out. Any case. Hey, everyone.
Well, first of all, Ed, once again, thank you for joining us.
It's always fun when you're here.
It's fun, I enjoy it.
And with that, we are out of here. Stay safe, everyone, have a great week, and please join us again next week. Goodbye. Bye-bye.