Christmas Forum

James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. EddieInCA says:

    To the entire OTB eco-system: Happy Festivus, Merry Christmas. Happy Hanukah, Happy Kwanzaa, Happy Holidays, Feliz Navidad.

  2. CSK says:

    And from me as well.

  3. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Bah humbug.

  4. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Rex Chapman

    Every kid deserves to grow up with a good dog.

    Merry Christmas & Happy Holidays 2020…

  5. OzarkHillbilly says:

    No fucks left to give.

    Rex Chapman@RexChapman
    A 2020 Christmas Eve message from Rep. Debbie Dingell.

    She didn’t stutter.
    2-minutes of pure passion…

  6. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Molly Jong-Fast

    This is so well deserved

    Happy Bday Doctor Fauci.

  7. sam says:

    Feliz Navidad from New Mexico.

  8. Liberal Capitalist says:

    I wish you all a merry beginning of days getting longer. We have successfully chased away the daemons making the days shorter by lighting our lights, sacrificing trees, and making merry.

    Our celebrations of chasing demons away continues through Jan 20th, when the storied orange troll is chased from the village, despite its howling.

    Still, the demons have done their damage attempting to make all manners of horror commonplace.

    I urge you to read this, to ensure that we do not support the demons again, when they come with their false promises in the fall:

    The shining city on the hill, eh? Not so much.

  9. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Nature Photographer of the Year 2020 – the winners

    Hard to pick a favorite tho if I had to I suppose this would be it: Enchanted Forest by Kevin De Vree (Belgium)
    Lamington national park, in south-east Queensland, Australia

    Hands down the most other worldly pic: Il bosco incantato by Stanislao Basileo (Italy)
    Frost along the river Po, Italy

  10. CSK says:

    “I saved at least 8 Republican Senators, including Mitch, from losing in the last Rigged (for President) election. Now they (almost) all sit back and watch me fight against a crooked and vicious foe, the Radical Left Democrats. I will NEVER FORGET!”

    — Donald J. Trump, Twitter, Christmas Eve

  11. Michael Reynolds says:

    It appears a vehicle bomb went off in downtown Nashville. It blew up some restaurant storefronts, but directly across the street is a large, tall, blank-faced, unidentified building that – wild speculation here – reminds me of the sort of building outed by the Intercept as NSA digital communications surveillance hubs.

    No one sets a car bomb to blow up a Melting Pot and a Spaghetti Factory on Christmas morning. And you’re also not trying to kill large numbers of people that way. If it’s a terror attack – more speculation – it looks like a somewhat lame attempt at property damage.

    Anyone know Nashville?

  12. Michael Reynolds says:

    @Michael Reynolds:
    Also Google maps masks part of the front of that building.

  13. Sleeping Dog says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    That’s the general area of Historic Music Row

    Video from a local TV station

  14. Mikey says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    Also Google maps masks part of the front of that building.

    It doesn’t for me, the entire building is visible when I do Street View.

    Looks like a pretty standard telco central office. AT&T logo prominently displayed over the entrance.

  15. Sleeping Dog says:

    @Sleeping Dog:

    Based on the video feed, it seems most of the damage was across the street from a parking garage and that windowless building the that @Michael Reynolds mentioned. Also much of the damage appears to be from a fire and none of the buildings were destroyed.

  16. CSK says:

    @Michael Reynolds: @Mikey: @Sleeping Dog:
    Happily, no one was killed nor seriously injured.

  17. Barru says:

    @Michael Reynolds:
    ‘No one sets a car bomb to blow up a Melting Pot and a Spaghetti Factory on Christmas morning. ”

    Do you remember PizzaGate?

  18. Jim Brown 32 says:

    Happy Holidays!

  19. Michael Reynolds says:

    1) Someone called the cops and said ‘shots fired.’
    2) Which is guaranteed to bring response.
    3) The police seem to have immediately decided the RV was a bomb.
    4) They cordoned the area off.
    5) Boom.

    That’s how it looks early hours.

    So, probably not on a time, probably set off by cell phone or from within the vehicle. Someone wanted to avoid mass casualties. They were not targeting police or first responders. And no one is talking about that AT&T telcom center that certainly seems a more likely target than the spaghetti restaurant.

    First guesses:
    1) A Leftie nut with a hard-on over surveillance.
    2) A Rightie nut perhaps attempting to bloodlessly make a point.
    3) A false flag op by someone attempting to cast blame on 1 or 2 above, with an unusual care for human life.

    The smell of deception of some sort is strong here.

  20. Michael Reynolds says:

    A Twitter follower of unknown reliability says the AT&T building is mostly emptied out with ops moved to a suburban location.

  21. Kylopod says:


    “I saved at least 8 Republican Senators, including Mitch, from losing in the last Rigged (for President) election. Now they (almost) all sit back and watch me fight against a crooked and vicious foe, the Radical Left Democrats. I will NEVER FORGET!”

    Yes, Orange Combover Christ died for their sins, and now he will smite them.

  22. Sleeping Dog says:

    The report I heard said that the vehicle was an RV, which brings into play the idea of a propane tank explosion. A van, never mind a 40′ motorhome, filled with explosive would take down the block. Think Oak City.

  23. CSK says:

    I love the way he presents himself as the lone warrior heroically fighting the forces of evil. So modest and self-effacing.

  24. ImProPer says:


    “I saved at least 8 Republican Senators, including Mitch, from losing in the last Rigged (for President) election. Now they (almost) all sit back and watch me fight against a crooked and vicious foe, the Radical Left Democrats. I will NEVER FORGET!”

    — Donald J. Trump, Twitter, Christmas Eve

    This shows that Trump is not becoming unhinged. While definitely not a genius, he is very stable.

  25. Jim Brown 32 says:

    @CSK: Its part of the imagery that provides the backdrop that sets up his techniques for deeper penetration so he has to play this personna. “I alone…” Its also why he purposely undermines his Lieutenants–He alone can be the only reliable source of information for the faithful.

    He also plays the lone victim persona for the same reason but to target a different type of personality profile.

    Because most people aren’t aware of their own cognitive dissonance its a good percentage play to cast the widest net possible. Slightly less that the majority of people are aware enough to say, “wait.. you can’t be both powerful and victimized at every turn”.

    Trump is really easy to understand once you understand that he is a hedonist and sociopath (redundant?) who’s been trained in the persuasion arts and uses them to achieve purely serve serving objectives. Trump cares–but only about Trump and maybe his children. Everyone one else is either useful or useless. Between now and 20 Jan–he will continue to chose the most disruptive & chaotic option because that too (provides the right environment for his to basically sell snowballs to eskimos. Not many people are built to operate within a crisis so Trump creates the computer hacking equivalent of a buffer overflow in people’s minds so he can run his own malware. Distributed Denial of Service is also another good hacking analogy–most people simply take their systems offline–which is the attackers objective anyway.

  26. sam says:

    Watched “It’s a Wonderful Life Not for Hans Gruber et al.” last night. My fav Christmas movie.

  27. CSK says:

    Great analogy.

    By the way, Sidney Powell’s secret witness has been outed by the WaPo as–and I didn’t make this up–one Terpsichore Maras-Lindeman, a right-wing podcaster who’s been charged with fraud in North Dakota. She also claims never to have spoken to Powell.

    Way to go, Sid.

  28. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    Happy Holidays to one and all from my secret socially distanced and adequately masked and quarantined lair in the heart (or at least the spleen) of Red State ‘Murka.

  29. Michael Reynolds says:

    @Sleeping Dog:
    The RV was broadcasting a recorded warning in a woman’s voice. Cops were lured to the scene with a phony shots fired, which might lead to suspicion that cops were targeted, except that they obviously heard the recording and immediately began evacuation of the area.

    So this is 100% a deliberate, act – but an act demonstrating an unusual concern for avoiding casualties. Not Al Qaeda or Isis obviously. It could actually be as simple as a restaurant owner blowing up his business for the insurance. Or it could be an attack on that telecom building. But it was planned, and carefully it seems.

  30. CSK says:

    @Jim Brown 32:
    The comment “great analogy” was directed at you. I don’t know why the link to your post didn’t appear.

  31. CSK says:

    @Michael Reynolds:
    My guess would be insurance fraud, at this point. Terrorist car bombers generally want to take out as many people as possible.

    I suppose it could be a vengeance trip against the restaurant owner by a competing place. Or motivated by personal animus.

  32. Michael Reynolds says:

    Maybe someone got some really bad fondue?

  33. CSK says:
  34. Mikey says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    A Twitter follower of unknown reliability says the AT&T building is mostly emptied out with ops moved to a suburban location.

    Yeah, those central offices are generally manned with a skeleton crew, if anyone’s there at all. The equipment is fully automated and the techs can access remotely from anywhere unless they need to actually swap out some hardware.

  35. CSK says:

    As usual I screwed up the URL. It should be:

  36. ImProPer says:

    @Jim Brown 32:

    “wait.. you can’t be both powerful and victimized at every turn”.

    Perhaps Trump’s greatest gift to his supporters is that they can be either or both at any given time. Amorphousness is his superpower to keep intellectual, ethical, or moral dilemmas from disturbing his transcendent self worship.
    His condescension into a humble shepard was to share this with the faithful.

  37. Monala says:

    About a month before the election a tape of Melania saying, “Who gives a f*ck about Christmas” was released. This week the WSJ published an editorial proclaiming Scrooge the good guy and his nephew Fred the villain of A Christmas Carol, because capitalism (Scrooge’s greed lifts people out of poverty, while Fred’s charity makes people dependent). Not to be outdone, the National Review published an article about how It’s a Wonderful Life is communist propaganda.

    Meanwhile, Joe Biden went to church today while Trump went golfing.

    If there’s a war on Christmas and all it stands for, it ain’t the left that’s waging it.

  38. CSK says:

    The Trumpkins seem to be split on the matter of Trump’s religiosity. Some of them think that he’s not at all devout, but he does good things, so who cares. Still others regard him as a “baby Christian,” one who’s come to Jesus but recently (since 2015). A third group–the one that deems Trump the ideal husband and father as well as The Greatest President We’ve Ever Had–sees him as a lifelong exemplar of piety.

  39. Michael Reynolds says:

    I’m more of a Christian than Trump is and I’m an atheist. But I have read the Bible cover to cover, and was confirmed in the Lutheran church. It requires a special level of stupidity to imagine that Trump gives a single fuck about Jesus.

  40. CSK says:

    @Michael Reynolds:
    Interesting. I wasn’t raised in any religion (though I was baptized a Lutheran), but I, too, read the Bible from beginning to end, mostly because as a kid I’d read anything, even the back of a cereal box. (I have to say that the Old Testament rivals any disaster movie I’ve ever seen.) But I have no hesitation in saying that I’m a better Christian than Trump, if being a Christian means being ethical. Of course by that definition I’m also a good Jew, plus a good adherent of a number of other religions. I suppose what that all boils down to is that I’m a better person than D. J. Trump. But very few aren’t.

  41. Bob@Youngstown says:

    @Michael Reynolds:
    Very interesting first person witness report (resident across the street) who provides clear information as to the progression of this incident.
    (BTW, the front door of AT&T is fuzzed out on Google Earth Pro. However if you go down the street one more step, the At&T logo is visible)

    Brother in a nearby town reports that AT&T tele & Internet is disrupted AT&T customers across Middle Tennessee and Kentucky, including some EMS lines in the area.

  42. Bob@Youngstown says:
  43. Teve says:


  44. Teve says:
  45. Dutchgirl says:

    Happy celebrations days from this long time reader/lurker, occasional poster. I’ve been here at OTB since the beginning, so although you don’t know it, you are part of my community.

  46. CSK says:

    It’s always nice to hear from you.

  47. Gustopher says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    No one sets a car bomb to blow up a Melting Pot and a Spaghetti Factory on Christmas morning.

    The World Trade Center was struck at 8:45am, when waiting an hour would have gotten a lot more people. Sometimes terrible people are idiots.

    Alternately, they really hate bad marinara.

  48. CSK says:

    According to ABC News, human remains were found at the site of the explosion. It’s not clear if they are identifiable.

  49. grumpy realist says:

    Merry Christmas to everyone. Today I roasted a fowl with stuffing and made a standard assortment of veggies. Texting Xmas wishes to all my friends. Have been working on a quilt—very peaceful.

    Oh, and supposedly some sort of agreement was decided between the U.K. and the E.U. Given that Boris decided to backtrack on the WA 9 months after it was signed this may not mean much, but at least we’re probably not going to see an immediate collapse of the U.K. economy Jan 2nd.

  50. JDM says:

    @CSK: If there is a red MAGA hat associated with the remains, they are not human.

  51. Teve says:
  52. Paine says:

    With clockwork precision, Lindsey Graham is ready to start a dialog on how to address our debt:

    “If we keep the Senate which I think we will and I become Budget chairman. I’d like to create a dialogue about how can we finally begin to address the debt.”

    Nope. We’re not falling for it again. Spend away, Joe.

  53. Teve says:
  54. Jax says:

    My dad and I just had the best Christmas ever. We’re 3 bottles of wine in and spent many hours entertaining my kids with stories of the great Grand’s they never got to meet. After the summer we had, where he could have easily died, it was what we all needed.

    Merry Christmas to my fellow OTB’ers, many thanks to the front page guys for all they do to keep us here, and best wishes to Doug, wherever he may be.

    May 2021 be better than 2020!!!

    Also, fuck Trump and alllllllll his minions.

  55. Teve says:

    @Paine: in 11 days the election in Georgia will tell us if Biden’s presidency will make progress or be 4 years of treading water.

  56. Teve says:
  57. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Teve: So, Garrison is complaining that Trump is failing in his service to America because he’s not killing anyone, and the nation isn’t at war with itself. Have I really go that right?


  58. Teve says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker: his last text paragraph:

    We can’t allow our Republic to go gently into that goodnight of socialism and corruption. We can’t stand by while our jobs, our liberties, and our elections are brazenly stolen from us. It’s time for action, not just grumbling, sloganeering, and ’trusting the plan.’ It is now time to use the Insurrection Act and arrest the traitors. Yes, that will inevitably lead to bloodshed, but the Tree of Liberty is thirsty.


  59. Teve says:

    It’s time for action, not just grumbling, sloganeering, and ’trusting the plan.’

    That’s a frustrated, pissed-off QAnoner who doesn’t understand why The Storm still hasn’t happened.

  60. Gustopher says:

    @Teve: He seems like a calm, level-headed person who is understandably frustrated because he believes in absolutely batshit insane conspiracy theories and is discovering that there is a vast canyon between what he believes and what actually is, and whose only recourse is to try to believe harder, and call for that vast canyon to be filled with the blood of the nonbelievers.

    So, basically well-adjusted and rational, except for the obvious shortcomings in that area.

    One thing that strikes me though, is his use of the phrase “our jobs” — I’m not going to say that this is his largest or most dangerous delusion, but aren’t jobs really owned by the company? He’s not just using it as a shorthand for “the jobs where we collect our paychecks”, as he references “stealing our jobs” as if he owns his.

    We would be better off if fewer people identified so strongly with the job they get a paycheck from. I mean, sure, you spend a lot of time there, but in the end, you have no control over whether you keep it, and it often doesn’t make you happy. Do you refer to the raccoon that is scattering your garbage around your front yard as “your raccoon”? Of course not. The raccoon might vanish one day of its own free will after getting rabies and biting some children. And the job might vanish one day when the company is sued out of existence for poisoning the groundwater, or just fails when the owner’s idiot son takes over.

    If he had that level of separation between himself and the job he gets a paycheck from, he frothy ravings would be somewhat less frothy.

    Also, I really want to find an undocumented Mexican immigrant who can make crazy right-wing cartoons for less, and try to take away this man’s job.