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Tag: James Fallows

Five Things I Found Interesting for 12/27/22

Here are five things I found interesting while on the internet today:

1. James Fallows analyses Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s speech to a Joint Session of Congress earlier this month. In The Skill Involved in Zelensky’s Congressional Address, Fallows provides an overview of what the Ukrainian president was trying to do, including a line-by-line analysis of the presentation. As Fallows explains, “In both parts I’ll be saying that the speech was carefully thought out as a piece of writing, and powerfully presented as a moment in living history. Zelensky could hardly have done more, or done anything more effective, to get his country’s message across.” In a follow-up post, Fallows talks to an aide to Zelenskyy about how the speech was put together and how they worked to ensure it worked in a language that isn’t his native tongue.

2. Over on her Men Yell at Me substack, Lyz Lenz gets the help of some notable writers to determine the 2022 Dingus of the Year. As Lenz explains, “We have to find humor in the fight. We have to point out the oddities, the eccentricities. We have to say out loud that emperors are naked, it’s not okay to “both sides” trans rights, and that, actually, NFTs are a scam, and Amazon is evil. We have to call a dingus a dingus when we see it.” As the post makes clear, it was quite a year for dingus activity.

3. All the major planets in the solar system will be visible in the sky at the same time just after sunset this week. Phil Plait at Bad Astronomy explains what’s happening and how you can best see this relatively rare astronomical event.

4. Jessica Valenti at Abortion Every Day recaps the news from across the country regarding reproductive freedom and sexual and reproductive health care. Among the awful news is a story about how Texas is looking to expand its abortion bounty law to prevent pregnant people from leaving the state.


Trump Under the Espionage Act

James Fallows turns over his Breaking the News Substack to longtime defense and intelligence official Jan Lodal to examine how best to investigate former President Donald Trump under the Espionage Act.

Lodal argues that many sections of the act include soft elements that may be impossible to get an unanimous jury verdict against the former President. No jury is going to convict Trump of treason or being a spy, Lodal argues. But there is another subsection of the Espionage Act that doesn’t require interpretation.

But there is one remaining subparagraph of the Espionage Act that isunambiguously applicable to what Trump has done — subparagraph (d).  This paragraph makes a straightforward action a crime: namely, failing to return classified documents if properly directed to give them back.  No proof of the level of classification, or the intentions of the document holder, or the content of the documents, is required.  Just a simple question, did he or she give them back or not. 

Lodal encourages us, and prosecutors, to look more closely at subparagraph (d) when looking to prosecutive Trump for stealing classified documents. I’m glad Fallows shared this perspective, because I also hadn’t heard this kind of analysis before.