Why Did The Former Guy Pilfer Highly Classified Documents When He Left Office?

Fred Kaplan wonders in Slate. After some informative context setting, Kaplan cuts to the chase:

“And so we are left to ponder the final, most puzzling question: Why did Trump hang on to these documents? What could he gain from doing so? Some on Twitter speculate that he might want to sell the documents to foreign governments. I wouldn’t put much past Trump, but even I consider this theory extremely unlikely. (That said, storing these materials at a public place like Mar-a-Lago is stunningly irresponsible. It is proper that the FBI also sought surveillance video showing who was wandering into the storage area.)

My guess about Trump’s motives (and, at this point, it can only be a guess): pure, testosterone-driven ego.

The Washington Post reported back in February, when the National Archives retrieved 15 boxes of materials from Mar-a-Lago, that Trump retained much of his correspondence, including the ‘love letters’—as he once described them—with North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un. The Post attributed this information to ‘two people familiar with the’ documents. This suggests that Trump showed the letters to people. Who were these people? We don’t know. Was he showing the letters in order to show off? It seems likely.”

Put me firmly in the “might want to sell the documents to foreign governments” camp. That’s what I concluded when the story started to take shape. There’s a lot I don’t understand about The Former Guy, but there is one thing I believe to be irrefutable. Having more money has always been his primary motivation. Follow the obsessive drive for more money.

And if your righty friends try to ruin your weekend with talk of Hillary’s emails, lay this little bit of Kaplan on ’em:

“While we’re on the subject, what about Hillary’s email? Of the 30,000 emails that the FBI examined, eight were found to contain Top Secret information. Seven of them were about CIA drone strikes, which had been reported in the newspapers (but were still technically classified). The other one was an account of a telephone conversation with the president of Malawi. (All conversations with foreign leaders are, by definition, Top Secret.) In other words, she revealed nothing remotely about nuclear weapons, signals intelligence, or anything that might have enlightened a foreign spy.”

When it comes to cattle futures, Vince Foster, and Benghazi, you’re on your own.

To Get Out Of Your Head, Get Out Of Your House

Advises Arthur Brooks in the Atlantic.

“In one study from 2015, researchers assigned people to walk in either nature or an urban setting for 50 minutes. The nature walkers had lower anxiety, better mood, and better working memory. They were also much less likely to agree with statements such as ‘I often reflect on episodes of my life that I should no longer concern myself with.'”

This morning I went on a short run. I listened to Apple’s Barefoot Acoustic playlist and admired the light fog and dug the slightly cooler morning temp while realizing fall is coming. Still, by the end of the run, I worked up enough of a sweat to head down to the water, (mostly) disrobe, and slip into the Salish Sea. I sat perfectly still in the perfectly still water, up to my chin, admiring a couple birds. A few sculls materialized nearby. They no doubt were intimately familiar with the power of nature.

I felt lucky to be alive.

Half And Half

It’s come to my attention that half of humanity would benefit from being much more introspective. From pressing pause, stepping off the treadmill, turning off the screens, and carefully examining their life. Truly getting in touch with their feelings by breathing, journaling, talking to someone who is empathetic.

The other half, the “overthinkers” get more anxious the more they think about past problems and current challenges. Their thinking spirals. One anxious thought begetting another. They might benefit from doing more and thinking less. Such as being an empathetic listener for others, walking a dog, tending a garden, cycling*.

To flourish interpersonally and positively contribute to the common good one must routinely “work on” themself, but there’s a point of diminishing returns. Except for me, No one strikes the perfect balance, so extend grace to people in both buckets.

*extreme exercise can be a serious detriment to being introspective

Maybe All Isn’t Lost After All

RAGBRAI, Register’s Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa, is more than just a bike ride, it is an epic eight-day rolling festival of bicycles, music, food, camaraderie, and community. It is the oldest, largest, and longest multi-day bicycle touring event in the world.

Here’s a great intro. Ryan and his newish girlfriend’s first day. If you don’t know Ryan, you should.

And here’s a wonderful “photo story” of RAGBRAI compliments of National Public Radio. The second picture is worth at least 1,000 words don’t yah think?

Hypocrisy On A Staggering Level

A reader writes, “Hey Ron, who should I read and follow to better understand the housing crisis?”

Jerusalem Demsas.

But why did Marc Andreessen, billionaire venture capitalist and vocal affordable housing advocate, just block Demsas on Twitter?

Because of her brilliant reporting and scathing takedown of Andreessen in this Atlantic essay, “The Billionaire’s Dilemma”. In thirteen paragraphs Demsas teaches a master class on contemporary American life and the wealth gap more specifically.

The money paragraph. . . pun intended:

“Unfortunately, when local officials charged with overseeing development are confronted with balancing exercises, they almost always default to blocking or delaying projects. This happens in part because the future beneficiaries of new development cannot advocate for themselves. No one knows who will eventually live in new housing, what kids will be born there and go to school in the neighborhood and grow up to make the community better. But the present-day neighbors who are worried about construction, who believe that their home values might “MASSIVELY decrease” if teachers live near them, who are prejudiced against renters and people who live in multifamily housing—those people can and do speak up. And often, local officials bow to the pressure or are elected because they themselves oppose new housing development.”

I listened to an in-depth interview of Andreessen recently and was blown away by his intelligence. Demsas’s piece is a powerful reminder that the heart trumps the mind.

Reality Catches Up

A reader writes, “Hey Ron, August is finally here and I’m going on vacation. I wanna get my financial life in order. What’s one book you’d recommend with that in mind?”

The Psychology of Money by Morgan Housel.

I read Housel’s blog too. Today’s post is titled “Reality Catches Up”. It’s about the precarity of fleeting success. This paragraph will resonate with anyone with much work experience.

“It happens at work, too. A manager who can’t earn employees’ respect by leading often tries to force it through fear. That can feel great: Your employees say “Yes sir, right away sir!” But it’s unearned respect. Employees who fear you will hide the truth from you to avoid repercussions. So the manager flies blind, oblivious to problems large and small that won’t be apparent until it’s too late. Every bit of respect over what you deserve is a liability, a hidden form of debt.”

The Best Ever

Vin Scully (1927-2022).

From John Gruber’s heartfelt remembrance.

“Most fittingly, it was Vin Scully at the mic for Kirk Gibson’s pinch-hit home run in game 1 of the 1988 World Series, the Dodgers against the A’s. I was 15, watching it live with my friends. Who else to call such a moment in Dodger history? The whole at-bat epitomizes Scully’s gift. He let the drama build. Gibson was unable to start the game because he had not one, but two injured legs. The man could barely walk, let alone run. A mere hit could tie the game. Dennis Eckersley, the best relief pitcher in all of baseball, on the mound. Two outs. The count full. Then: ‘High fly ball into right field, she is … gone!’ And then, for 70 seconds, as Gibson hobbled triumphantly around the bases, as his teammates celebrated at home plate, as the full house at Dodger Stadium erupted in ecstatic pandemonium, Scully said not a word. 70 seconds. The moment belonged to Gibson, the Dodgers, and their fans. And then, this: ‘In a year that has been so improbable, the impossible has happened.'”

The GalPal and I were walking on the Hermosa Beach bike path when diners at a beach-front  restaurant erupted. We pressed in to marvel at the replay.

Use the link above to watch and listen to the magical at bat. The fateful pitch was outside. Gibson reaches for it, and because of his injured legs, doesn’t really turn on it. How the hell did that ball clear that fence?