Friday the 13th Forum

Steven L. Taylor
About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is a Professor of Political Science and a College of Arts and Sciences Dean. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog). Follow Steven on Twitter


  1. Gustopher says:

    Jason X is my favorite Friday The 13th movie. What the franchise really needed by that point was a fun, inventive, terrible movie, rather than just the usual run-of-the-mill terrible movie.

  2. OzarkHillbilly says:

    The press needs to address its DeSantis debacle

    As Covid rages on in Florida, turning the Sunshine State not only into a virus epicenter of the United States but of the entire world, news organizations aren’t being honest about the public health crisis under Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis. They’re not being transparent about how months ago they embraced GOP spin and portrayed the derelict governor as a pandemic star, regurgitating conservative rhetoric about how liberal critics had been proven wrong about DeSantis’ wrong-headed policy decisions, which have since propelled Florida into a grave health crisis.

    The state recently broke its one-day record for new Covid cases, topping out at 21,000 which is as many new cases as the entire country of France tabulates each day. Florida now has more than 12,000 (unvaccinated) people occupying hospital beds battling Covid, another grim benchmark under DeSantis. It’s unthinkable that the state has been plunged into public health chaos when a safe vaccine is readily available to all Floridians over the age of 12.
    For an industry that demands transparency and accountability from public officials, the political press is terrible at conceding its mistakes, especially when those blunders are documented by liberals. Programmed to fear charges of liberal media bias, the Beltway press often scrambles to correct supposed failures highlighted by conservatives. Hyper-sensitive to bad-faith, right-wing critiques and eager to make nice with those accusers, journalists uniformly look away when confronted by the left with irrefutable evidence of failure. And boy, did they screw up the DeSantis story.

    More at the link.

  3. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Florida county asks residents to use 911 sparingly as COVID hospitalizations surge

    Officials in one Florida county are calling on residents to use emergency hotlines in moderation as a surge in COVID-19 cases overflow local hospitals and inundate ambulance services. Mark Schollmeyer, the Brevard County fire chief, explained how the surge is creating issues for first responders.

    “There is a capacity issue at our local hospitals dealing with this new surge in COVID-19,” Schollmeyer told CBS News. “Crowding in the ERs has caused us to hold the wall and wait for our patients to offload before we run the next call.”

    Schollmeyer said residents should use 911 sparingly for non-emergency issues and consider other options such as contacting a primary care physician or utilizing telemedicine before calling ambulance services. “Leave emergency room and ambulance trips for those with life-threatening or serious emergencies,” he said.

    Job well done DuhSantis, well done indeed. I hear tar and feathering is coming back into style.

  4. OzarkHillbilly says:

    US’s white population declines for first time ever, 2020 census finds

    America’s white population declined for the first time while US metro areas were responsible for almost all of the country’s population growth, according to groundbreaking new data released on Thursday by the US census bureau.

    Overall, the white-alone population fell by 8.6% since 2010, the bureau said on Thursday. Non-hispanic whites now account for around 58% of America’s population, a drop from 2010 when they made up 63.7% of the population. It was the first time that the non-Hispanic white population has fallen below 60% since the census began.

    Meanwhile, there was significant growth among minority groups over the last decade. The Hispanic or Latino population grew by 23%, while the Asian alone population surged by over 35%. The Black population also increased by more than 5.6%.

    “The US population is much more multiracial and much more racially and ethnically diverse than we have measured in the past,” said Nicholas Jones, a Census Bureau official.

    F*cker Carlson’s head is going to explode when he hears the news.

  5. OzarkHillbilly says:
  6. OzarkHillbilly says:
  7. Kathy says:


    I wonder how much of that can be attributed to the Sacklers and Purdue Pharma.

    Direct opioid deaths don’t account for it, but how many of those deaths involved young people who’d otherwise have had families?

  8. Teve says:


    If you refuse to get vaxed, get COVID, & need a lung transplant and i die tragically around the same time and you get my old lungs, I am going to follow my lungs for the rest of your life and haunt the absolute shit out of your stupid ass

  9. Kathy says:

    Late reply to @Teve. I was blown away with how apt the parallel was to the handling of the COVID pandemic in Avenue 5.

    Those who don’t mind spoilers, or who don’t plan to watch that show, can see the clip in question here. Warning: it’s gruesome and you’ll see people die.

    It’s hard to believe it was written and shot before the pandemic began.

  10. Scott says:

    More local COVID news:

    San Antonio without EMS transports for 26 minutes Thursday amid surge in COVID-19 calls, city manager says

    San Antonio City Manager Erik Walsh said there were 39 available EMS units on Thursday, and all were in use for 26 minutes amid a surge of 911 calls for COVID-19 and other emergencies.

    “We can’t transport any emergency medical calls, whether it’s COVID or not, whether it’s someone who’s vaccinated or not. That means we’re not transporting heart attacks, traffic accidents or any other sort of medical call.

    Trend in COVID hospitalizations of Texas kids resembles a hockey stick

    Texas children were hospitalized with COVID-19 at the highest rate in at least a year during the first full week of August, as the delta variant tore through the state.

    Good Times.

  11. Teve says:

    @Kathy: Dumbassery is eternal.

  12. Teve says:

    Trumpers are suuuuuper pissed at Amy Coney Barrett.

    Justice Amy Coney Barrett denies request to block Indiana University’s vaccine mandate

    (CNN)Justice Amy Coney Barrett declined a request to block Indiana University’s vaccine mandate, signaling that similar policies going into effect amid a Covid-19 surge could pass legal muster.

    Barrett, who has jurisdiction over the appeals court involved in the case, acted alone without referring the matter to the full court.
    Barrett’s action marks the first time the justices have been asked to weigh in on the legality of a mandate that private and public entities increasingly believe will combat the spread of Covid-19.

    The Pentagon moved recently to mandate the vaccine for active-duty military members, and California Gov. Gavin Newsom announced on Wednesday that teachers and other school employees must either be vaccinated against Covid-19 or submit to regular testing.
    Indiana University requires students to be vaccinated by the start of the fall session on August 23. If students can’t get both doses done by then, they will be tested weekly until they can get the vaccine. If they qualify for an exemption, they are also tested weekly.

    “IU is coercing students to give up their rights to bodily integrity, autonomy, and of medical treatment choice in exchange for the discretionary benefit of matriculating at IU,” James Bopp, a lawyer for students who objected to the school’s requirement, told the Supreme Court in an emergency petition asking the justices to act by the end of this week.
    Bopp said the students’ refusal is “based on legitimate concerns” including underlying medical conditions, having natural antibodies, and the risks associated with the vaccine.
    Lower courts have ruled against the students, citing a Supreme Court decision from 1905, which said that a state may require vaccines against smallpox.

    A panel of judges on the 7th US Circuit Court of Appeals — all Republican appointees — said that vaccination requirements “have been common in this nation” and stressed that the school’s policies allow exemptions for those who have medical issues related to the vaccine or religious objections.

    “These plaintiffs just need to wear a mask and be tested, requirements that are not constitutionally problematic,” the court held, and added that otherwise, vaccination is a condition for attending the university. Those who do not want to be vaccinated may “go elsewhere.”
    “A university will have trouble operating when each student fears that everyone else may be spreading diseases,” the court held. “Few people want to return to remote education — and we do not think that the Constitution forces the distance-learning approach on a university that believes vaccination (or masks and frequent testing of the unvaccinated) will make in-person operations safe enough.”
    Indiana University spokesperson Chuck Carney said that 85% of students, faculty and staff already “are approaching full vaccination.”
    “With a third ruling, now from the nation’s highest court, affirming Indiana University’s COVID-19 vaccination plan, we look forward to beginning fall semester with our health and safety policies in place,” Carney said.
    Bopp said the students are “disappointed that Justice Barrett refused to intervene” but they will continue to fight the vaccine mandate at lower courts.

  13. sam says:
  14. Kathy says:


    There’s a Mexican actress called Paty Navidad, who’s been very vocal about COVID denialism. Really strident, and naturally unvaccinated. Earlier in the week, she was hospitalized with the same disease she says doesn’t exist.

    It’s not that COVID has an affinity for stupidity, but that acting stupidly greatly increases one’s chances of contracting it. As I’ve said before, with large numbers of people looking to get infected, is it any wonder they get infected?

  15. Kylopod says:

    You shoulda called this “Trump Reinstatement Day Forum.” Oh well.

  16. CSK says:

    So…the IU students got Bopped by Barrett.

  17. CSK says:

    Lindell is now saying that August 13 was “only an estimate.”

  18. Teve says:

    @CSK: I thought Bopp sounded familiar. From Wikipedia

    Bopp served as Indiana’s Republican National Committeeman on the Republican National Committee, and was the RNC’s Vice Chairman from 2008 to 2012.[5][6]

    1 Early life
    2 Career as lawyer and Republican Party activist
    2.1 Activities in Republican organizations
    2.2 Activism against same-sex marriage and LGBT rights
    2.3 Attempts to overturn 2020 presidential election results
    2.4 Representation of Republicans in unsuccessful lawsuits claiming voter fraud
    2.5 Anti-vaccination lawsuit

  19. CSK says:

    He was an English Trump supporter. He liked to think of himself as The Terminator.

  20. CSK says:

    The only Bopp I’d heard of prior to this was the comet discoverer.

  21. KM says:

    Again, Trumpers make the mistake of thinking that because they’ve embraced MAGA to get voters that the GQP is actually MAGA. It’s not – it’s all about capitalism baby and capitalism cannot survive in an unchecked plague.

    The economy took a massive hit last time the supply chains still haven’t recovered from; it’s hard to keep a business open when customer won’t show up for fear of infection or you know, being dead. The personal liberty to say screw society I choose to be a plague rat matters far less than the money involved…. and the big money players are starting to get angry. Big business doesn’t want to pay higher insurance premiums, deal with continuous work disruptions and frankly has done the math on anti-vaxxer stupidity to see how extremely cost-effective it ain’t. They can’t let stupid internet theories dictate how they live life and it demanding vaccines makes things happen, guess what’s happening. Remember, they can go somewhere else as the rationale to the cake controversy? Well, y’all can go somewhere else if you refuse to take basic safety precautions since that’s the logic you let the Court establish. Welcome to capitalism – there’s another choice down the road somewhere, go find it if you don’t like it here!

  22. Teve says:


    The Tampa Bay Times just obtained 1,250 pages of emails between Fox and Desantis showing a clear pattern of conspiring to boost his profile and image for a 2024 run. Between the 2020 election and Feb 21, Fox requested Desantis appear a stunning 113 times.

  23. Kathy says:

    One would think by now Republicans would be putting up statues of Typhoid Mary.

    If it were capable, SARS-CoV-2 would erect statues of Donald, Jair, Manuel Andres, and Narendra, as no one has done more for this virus what these morons have.

  24. KM says:

    Trump is actively refusing to to a vaccine campaign promotion, having stated he refuse to do Biden “any favors”. He won’t even help keep his own admirers alive just to try and spite the guy that beat him – pure Trump BS.

    If COVID were sentient, it would likely praise him as the Almighty just to get Trump to keep helping spread this disease around.

  25. Teve says:

    Free Guy is out today. I very much want this movie to be good.

  26. CSK says:

    Statement issued by Trump yesterday:

    “Tragic mess in Afghanistan, a completely open and broken Border, Crime at record levels, oil prices through the roof, inflation rising, and taken advantage of by the entire world–DO YOU MISS ME YET?”

    Hell, no.

  27. Sleeping Dog says:


    Lots of hand wringing this morning by the neo-cons and liberal interventionists, all blaming Biden for ‘losing’ Afghanistan. Of course none of them can explain how and at what cost Afghanistan could be won.

  28. Teve says:
  29. Teve says:


    Brutal line about Kevin McCarthy by @MJGerson: “His aspiration to the speakership is sad and small — who actually auditions to be in a hostage video?”

    Gerson: why traditional conservatives should root for Biden’s success

  30. wr says:

    @Sleeping Dog: The speed at which the Taliban is taking over is really breathtaking. The Afghan government had twenty years of US protection to build up defenses, develop a strong military, and diminish the power and effectiveness of their enemy — and apparently they accomplished absolutely zero.

    But maybe if we stayed another year, things would change.

  31. CSK says:

    In addition to not wanting to help Biden, Trump also doesn’t want to alienate any of his anti-vax fan club.

  32. Mikey says:

    @Sleeping Dog:

    Of course none of them can explain how and at what cost Afghanistan could be won.

    Well obviously all we needed was another 20 years, another 2400 dead and another 21000 wounded. And it’s all Biden’s fault we didn’t get them!

    And don’t bother defining what “won” would mean, either. That’s just defeatism.

    (I hope my sarcasm is evident.)

  33. Sleeping Dog says:


    When Biden announced the US withdrawal, I had an exchange with a retired UK military officer who served 2 tours in Afghanistan in a period that would have been mostly in the Obama era and who has kept in touch with UK officers who continue to serve there. Her contention is that it isn’t a surprise that the typical army unit collapsed and deserted so quickly. Most aren’t being paid regularly and a not insignificant amount of the munitions that the US has supplied ended being stolen and sold on the black market. Ironically ending up in the hands of the Taliban and used against the under supplied, unpaid Afghan army.

    Yeah if only we stayed a few more years… Perhaps if we admitted them as the 51st state…

    Good article at the Atlantic this AM on US failure;

  34. Scott says:

    @Sleeping Dog: @wr: @Mikey: I’ll repeat what I said a couple of days ago: The rapid collapse of Afghanistan is proof this was the right decision. No amount of blood, treasure and time was going to work.

    It also shows that this was what the Taliban were planning all along. This was not spontaneous.

    If the Chinese think they are going to gain from this, then they need to talk to the Russians. And the Iranians are probably moving forces to their eastern border as this is happening.

  35. MarkedMan says:

    @Teve: I want it to be good, and I love the theater experience, but I won’t be going even though I am vaxed and MD is doing significantly better than average. Just too many diseased incubators circulating right now…

  36. Flat Earth Luddite says:

    I am soooo tired of this. The rule is, shoot yourself first, not a bunch of people then yourself. C’mon now, it’s not that tough!

  37. MarkedMan says:

    @Teve: Another good line from that piece:

    The master, Donald Trump, did not carefully organize his troops for battle. He lit them on fire and hoped they would run into enemy lines.

  38. Teve says:


    “You have the freedom to wear no mask. But if you exercise that freedom, you’re a schmuck—because you’re supposed to protect your fellow Americans,” @Schwarzenegger writes:

  39. Stormy Dragon says:

    I do hope that once we no longer need to play nice with Pakistan to protect our supply lines, we sanction the ever loving crap out of them

  40. CSK says:

    @Flat Earth Luddite:
    Yes indeed. He should have terminated himself and left the others to go about their lives unharmed. He was licensed to own a firearm in the U.K., where the restrictions are a lot tougher than here.

  41. Sleeping Dog says:


    Earlier, I was considering the Chinese position, while China and Afghanistan don’t actually share a border, both Tajikistan and the dividing portion of Pakistan are porous. and neighbor on Xinjiang province. Home of the Uyghur ethinic and religious minority that China is persecuting.

    There is every reason to believe that Moslem Uyghurs will have a sympathetic and supportive ear in the Taliban. China will attempt to avoid this through promises of economic assistance, but…

  42. Michael Cain says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: I was pleased that the Guardian shows absolute numbers rather than the NYTimes and WaPo’s tendency to do percentages.

  43. Mikey says:


    The master, Donald Trump, did not carefully organize his troops for battle. He lit them on fire and hoped they would run into enemy lines.

    And they did!

  44. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Teve: Ryan Reynolds is always good. We’ll see about the rest.

  45. Neil J Hudelson says:


    He was also one of the main forces behind Citizens United.

  46. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Kathy: Got to be honest with you. Been on a plane that needed to be diverted. The passengers are not funny at all. 🙁

  47. inhumans99 says:

    Happy Friday the 13th folks!

    Also, Steven I love the image you used for this thread. Is that a screen capture from a show like Robot Chicken?

  48. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @CSK: I don’t think he understands what “estimate” means. It doesn’t mean “a number I pulled out of my ass,” for example.

  49. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Sleeping Dog: Or what you get even if you “win” Afghanistan. What was the point again? Oh yeah, I remember. It was to show that you can’t shove the US and get away with it. Team America. F#CK YEAH!

  50. @inhumans99: I think it is. I found it looking for a good Friday the 13th Forum pic a while back.

  51. Teve says:
  52. Kylopod says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker: One thing that impresses me about Lindell is how eagerly he does something scam artists generally avoid, which is make highly specific and falsifiable claims.

    It relates to something I’ve discussed before, about when Mike Gravel in 2008 flatly declared that if he’s elected president, he would solve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and create lasting peace in the Middle East. At the time my thought was that he felt comfortable making such grandiose promises because he knew he’d never become president, and thus would never be held to them. Later, Trump blew that theory out of the water, showing a chronic habit of making ridiculous promises that had no chance of happening (he’d win California, he’d win 95% of the African American vote, he’d create a health care bill where everyone was covered, etc., etc.).

    My sense is that Trump and Lindell both have endless confidence in their ability to bullshit their way out of any situation, and so are completely unafraid of ever eating crow. That’s why they’re so apparently reckless in their predictions. They also seem supremely lacking in a certain kind of social intelligence needed to account for people’s ability to evaluate the plausibility of claims. They seem to have no understanding that simply declaring something to be true isn’t the most effective way of getting people to believe it; they don’t seem to have a clue about any of the normal mechanisms for making even an absurd statement sound more convincing. But it’s like they don’t need those skills, because there are a large number of people receptive to believing whatever comes out of these men’s mouths, no matter how often it gets contradicted in real time.

  53. JohnSF says:

    @Sleeping Dog:
    Actually China and Afghanistan do share a border.
    Not a long, but it’s there, pointy end of the “Kirgiz Panhandle”, the Wakhan.

    There is every reason to believe that Moslem Uyghurs will have a sympathetic and supportive ear in the Taliban

    In fact there s no reason at all to think this.
    A Taliban delegation, led by one of the most senior men, Mullah Baradar was in talks in Beijing in July. And promised that they would not assist Uighurs in any way.

    Considering Beijing and Pakistan have been allies for decades, and Islamabad sponsors the Taliban, it’s no surprise.
    Thinking of the Taliban as just some sort of “Afghan national Islamic movement” is a mistake.

  54. charon says:

    The Tampa Bay Times has emails showing that from early Nov (when Trump LOST) through Feb, Fox News asked Ron DeSantis to appear 113 times. This says two things: Fox knows Trump is toast, and they are building DeSantis up as the right wing candidate for 2024.

    Over that time DeSantis actually did appear on Hannity, Carlson, and Ingraham 21 times. He never appeared on Bret Baier or Chris Wallace. Emails show that Fox loves the dependability of DeSantis who sticks to agreed-upon talking points, unlike more behaviorally challenged guests.

  55. charon says:

    The Tampa Bay Times obtained emails showing that from early November (when president Donald Trump was defeated) through February, Fox News asked DeSantis to appear on the network a whopping 113 times, or nearly once a day.

    “There are few surprises when DeSantis goes live with Fox,” the Times reported based on the emails, adding that the events are “carefully crafted with guidance from DeSantis’ team.”

    “Topics, talking points and even graphics are shared in advance,” the Times reported. “Once, a Fox producer offered to let DeSantis pick the subject matter if he agreed to come on.”

  56. CSK says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:
    I think all those years of crack addiction permanently incapacitated him.

  57. CSK says:

    I agree with you, but I think you have to take into account that Trump never expected to win in 2016, so he could spout whatever outrageous, malevolent nonsense he chose.

  58. JohnSF says:

    Maybe what you’d win is avoiding of a slaughter of thousands upon thousands of Afghans. Minimum; the final bloodbath if the Taliban take Kabul could run in to millions.

    Maybe a win would be not having the Taliban commanding:
    “All imams and mullahs in captured areas should provide the Taliban with a list of girls above 15 and widows under 45 to be married to Taliban fighters,”
    Prospects of “marriage” that are leading to a mass movement of refugees trying desperately to escape the Taliban.

    Maybe it would be not breaking the pledges the US made to it’s Afghan allies that they’d never abandon them to the Taliban.


  59. Kylopod says:


    I agree with you, but I think you have to take into account that Trump never expected to win in 2016, so he could spout whatever outrageous, malevolent nonsense he chose.

    That could be part of it, though he continued to display this tendency even after he won. Look at his many statements throughout 2020 about the fate of the pandemic, for example.

  60. CSK says:

    Oh, of course. But his surprise win in 2016 may have encouraged his pre-existing tendency to spout bullshit. “These people will believe anything I tell them.”

  61. Kylopod says:

    @CSK: Let’s just say I doubt he had an “Oh shit I actually won, now my grandiose promises will be exposed as fake” moment.

    Also, keep in mind that even if he had lost, some of the things he said would have been clearly disproved, such as winning California or 95% of the black vote. He just didn’t care.

  62. JohnSF says:

    The collapse of Afghan Army resistance in the provincial centres is not that shocking.
    Their deployments and tactics were predicated on US logistic, firepower and surveillance support.

    Not only has that been pulled, but the contractors and supplies needed for maintaining the Afghan Air Force have also vanished virtually overnight.
    Absent those lots of their positions are untenable or marginal, and the local forces have little enthusiasm for dying in defence of doomed positions.
    The Afghan government is at fault for not adjusting it’s positions; but likely the never expected the US shutdown to be so sudden and absolute.
    Plus the hammer blow to morale of the US pull out, and the speed and ferocity of the Taliban offensive.

    The one thing that is surprising is how fast the Taliban is making gains in the non-Pushtun north. It looks like the tribal militias were caught as flat footed as the Army.

  63. dazedandconfused says:

    It’s patently obvious Nero did not fiddle while Rome burned. As if the Rome FD just sat on their hands awaiting orders from a guy vacationing 20 miles away, and fiddles hadn’t been invented yet. That story is a whole-cloth fabrication by the infamous pundit Pimplus Gluteus Rushus.

  64. CSK says:

    Well, he may have had an “Oh, shit, I won” moment, but, as you say, certainly not one of recognition that now he’d have to keep his promises.

    I’ve said this before, and I think you and others have as well, but Trump exists purely in the moment. He says whatever he thinks he has to say, or whatever pops into his head, and then moves on blithely ignoring it. Expecting him to keep his promises, or even be consistent, is asking the impossible.

  65. Michael Reynolds says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    I do hope that once we no longer need to play nice with Pakistan

    This is the strategic up-side. The Pakistani’s have had their hands around our supply lines from the start, forcing us to tolerate their bullshit, starting with the lie that they didn’t know where Bin Laden was. In 2011 when we finally took Bin Laden out he’d been in the country for five years, since 2006. It’s absurd to imagine that the ISI didn’t know his location. They could at any time have given us Bin Laden and chose not to.

    Our interests in the region clearly call for closer relations with India. We want and need India as a counter-weight to China and with the demotion of Pakistan to WGAF status, Biden has bought us some real strategic flexibility.

  66. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @JohnSF: From early on, I thought of the Taliban sort of as what the Mafia would be if crime were not the primary business.

  67. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker: [sigh] No edit button for me. I want to add that crime could be the primary business of the Taliban, I just don’t realize it, too.

  68. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @CSK: Not completely. He apparently figured out filling a pillow with chopped foam

  69. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @JohnSF: “Maybe it would be not breaking the pledges the US made to it’s Afghan allies that they’d never abandon them to the Taliban.”

    Good point, but this is more in the argument of why we shouldn’t have started in the first place under the “Don’t let your mouth write checks your @$$ can’t cover” rule.

  70. CSK says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:
    By his own account, he had a divine revelation one night and scampered around his house writing “MyPillow” on pieces of paper and leaving them in strategic locations.

  71. JohnSF says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:
    The Us could still cover them.

    The US is choosing not to.

    A unitary Afghan nation-state, or some sort of Switzerland in the Hindu Kush was always a delusion and mistake.
    The Ghilzai at least are irreconcilable to non-Ghilzai rule.

    Partly a mistake directly of the US itself, partly, perhaps understandably, of failing to curb the fantasies of the Afghan governments.

    But holding the Kabul zone and the the non-Pushtun regions was practical, and still is.

    Provided you delivered an ultimatum to Islamabad:
    Pakistan and the Talibs get the Ghilzai Pusthun provinces.
    Mess outside that and US moves for a full-bore military partnership with India.
    Make them the offer they can’t refuse…

  72. Teve says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    Just nutha ignint cracker says:
    Friday, 13 August 2021 at 14:09
    @CSK: Not completely. He apparently figured out filling a pillow with chopped foam

    The best part about My Pillow was his claim that it reduced insomnia, snoring, migraines, and fibromyalgia. Claims that the company no longer makes.

  73. Teve says:
  74. dazedandconfused says:

    The Northern Alliance learned the hard way a few decades ago that resistance was futile…without US airpower and like-such support. There’s a reason the Taliban won the place back then, and those reasons are still in effect, if anything more than ever now.

    The key to the Talib’s power was they put an end to tribal squabbles. However much the people may loath the Talib’s puritanical ways they acted as a true government, sending their judges around to issue final and irrefutable mediation in local squabbles, in a process which strongly resembles that of our own early horse-riding circuit judges in pre-industrial northeastern America.

    Islam has been called “the religion of law”, it has served in that role pretty much since the get-go, the filling of this need is a key to its broad success. The ending of chaos is what everybody who has it seeks, sooner or later, and if the more of chaos they’ve had the less picky they get.

  75. Mikey says:

    @JohnSF: How much longer would we need to stay to achieve these things?

    Because if 20 years wasn’t enough, I am not inclined to believe 20 more would be.

  76. JohnSF says:

    Indefinitely. No time limit.

    Though if not attempting to turn Afghanistan into a unitary democratic nation state, and not pursuing stupid anti-poppy plans, and if prepared to seriously face down the ISI faction in Islamabad, it might be stabilisable in a decade.

    I place no time limit on the value of preventing: “All imams and mullahs in captured areas should provide the Taliban with a list of girls above 15 and widows under 45 to be married to Taliban fighters,”.
    No limit at all.

  77. JohnSF says:


    The Taliban never acted as some sort of impartial ruler over the tribes.
    They represented the wholly partial dominance of a coalition of Pushtun clans and lords, and one section of the Pushtun at that, intent on their particular supremacy, and the Talib proper who mixed up Deobandi theology, neo-Islamist politics, and the traditions of pashtunwali.

    They never accepted by the Northern Alliance, who were still fighting, though losing, in 2001.
    Or by the Hazara, who the Taliban were merrily slaughtering in 2001.
    Or by the population of Kabul, who loathed them and were despised by them.

    The general population of Afghanistan are Muslims: and a lot of them regard the Taliban as both heretics and tyrants. See the crowds chanting “allahu akbar” as an act of defiance against the Taliban.

    The Taliban are not offering an end to chaos, except insofar as once they have ascended to power they will have no cause to create chaos.
    Rather they, and their sponsors, offer the same choice as countless tyrants before them: submission or death.
    And quite possibly both.

    The common modern Western delusion is that if a group succeeds in establishing it’s dominion, this must, really, somehow, indicate it has popular support.

    It indicates nothing of the sort.

  78. JohnSF says:


    There’s a reason the Taliban won the place back then, and those reasons are still in effect, if anything more than ever now.

    This is true enough.
    But it is not some sort of judicial choice offered.

    The key to the Talib’s power was they put an end to tribal squabbles.

    The key is the logistic support of factions within the Pakistani security apparat pursuing their oh-so-clever but actually stupid, objectives, largely related to their obsession with the threat of India.
    Delusional ploys of “strategic depth” and “deniable militancy.”

  79. dazedandconfused says:


    I didn’t say they were micromanaging affairs in the mountain villages, they only sent circuit judges around to mediate disputes. This is why they were tolerated.

    Foreign support is never enough, people must be willing to tolerate ya or they will fight. Nowhere on earth is this more true than the mountains of Afghanistan.

    The Northern Alliance had been chased into their all but impregnable mountain retreat in 2001. Perhaps they will do so again but I wouldn’t bet on it. The talibs are much stronger than they were then, and they’ve lost their best men.

    I am aware of Pakistan’s motives.

  80. Jen says:


    The best part about My Pillow was his claim that it reduced insomnia, snoring, migraines, and fibromyalgia. Claims that the company no longer makes.

    A $1 million fine for false advertising claims tends to put a damper on this type of idiocy.

  81. Just nutha ignint cracker says:


    The US is choosing not to.

    When has the US ever stood by an indigenous allied group upon leaving the field of battle during my lifetime (1952-…)? Can’t/Won’t/potayto/potahto.

  82. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Teve: I never paid any attention to the claims. I bought my knock off pillow because it was less expensive than either a good quality polyester or his woo-woo claims version and because I hoped it would last longer. As it worked out, my hopes have been fulfilled. Color me a satisfied customer (but not an endorser–I can’t tell you what you need in a pillow; that’s a job for sales representatives).


    Claims that the company no longer makes.

    I’m not sure that it’s as much that they don’t want make them as it’s that they can’t get away with making them because the public has caught on to the whole “National Sleep Foundation (a wholly-owned subsidiary of part of the scam.

  83. JohnSF says:


    people must be willing to tolerate ya or they will fight

    Toleration can work.
    So can sheer terror.

    History is full to the brim of countless examples of dominion through terror.

    If a group are willing to slaughter their enemies wholesale, then very often those on the receiving end submit
    And the more primitive the socio-economy the more merely passive acceptance is required.

    Afghanistan is no exception.
    It is often made out to be the “graveyard of empires” because of the experience of the Russiaon, and a couple of British expeditions.
    This is a judgement that lacks longer perspective: I can think offhand of a dozen or more “states” that subdued Afghanistan readily enough.

    Sometimes the fighting can be hard and prolonged; but choice is frequently not a factor.

    I still think the rather exceptional course of American history inclines Americans to consider that it is, when, generally, it ain’t.

    Foreign support is never enough,

    Sometimes it is. In the Taliban’s case they have a lot more than foreign support: they have their own “ideological” cadres and shock troops, and a faily solid 20% ethnic base.
    Which is sufficient for their purposes.

    The foreign support though is crucial to logistics: consider the Taliban current levels of consumption of ammunition, small arms, and infantry heavy weapon; fuel; vehicle support; radios nets; repair and maintenance; food; medical etc.
    They are operating at a level of intensity that simply could not be sustained absent supply routes from rear depots in Pakistan, transport running across the border, and careful planning, preparation and co-ordination.

    Without Pakistani connivance, it would be impossible for the Taliban to sustain an offensive on the scale of the past few weeks..

  84. Teve says:

    BTW, how’s Iraq doing these days?

  85. JohnSF says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:
    Longer than that perhaps.
    IIRC 166 regiments of African_Americans in the Union Army by 1865.
    Come 1877: Sorry guys, bored now. Best of luck with the klan.

  86. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Jen: Not paying enough attention, it seems. I had no knowledge of the false advertising fine. OOPSIE!

  87. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    I don’t want none o’ you liburls saying Governor From the Saints is not doing enough to combat Covid-19 no more.

    Covid’s not going to go away,” DeSantis said. “So the question is how are we going to approach it. You can approach it on the front end by protecting yourself, but of course, if you end up in a situation where you are infected and at high risk, getting in here early, this is the best shot we’ve got right now to keep people out of the hospital and keep them safe.”

    The antibody treatment, a cocktail of the monoclonal antibodies casirivimab and imdevimab that is made by Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, is designed to prevent infected people from developing severe illness. DeSantis’s promotion of Regeneron, which imitates the body’s natural defenses, is the governor’s latest response to a pandemic in which he has rejected mask mandates and restrictions.

    While doctors have noted the treatment’s promise and effectiveness in clinical trials, others have stressed that taking the vaccine remains the most crucial defense to fight the spread of the virus. One physician noted that there is only a small supply, making the Regeneron antibodies “an extremely effective treatment for a limited number of people.”

    DeSantis told reporters that the mobile units, which are already operating in parts of the state hit hard by the delta variant, will be expanded throughout Florida. The Trump administration last year initially bought 300,000 doses of Regeneron’s monoclonal antibody treatment, which costs about $1,500 per dose. DeSantis did not specify how many Floridians would have access to the shots. [emphasis added]

    As a wild guess, I’ll put my money on the “People with $1500” square on the pool board.

  88. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    From the same article:

    That debate is expected to intensify after four educators in Broward County died of the virus within 24 hours, CBS Miami reported.

    That’s worse than I’d seen in the earlier report of three. Maybe because the 3- were all from one school I didn’t get the whole story, though.

  89. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @JohnSF: If wishes were horses, beggars would ride. NONE of that was ever going to happen. Or were you blinded by rose colored glasses the past 20 years?

  90. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Michael Reynolds: It’s absurd to imagine that the ISI didn’t know his location.

    Why? Do you think the ISI is so much superior to the CIA, the NSA and all our other intelligence agencies? The ISI has long turned a blind eye to the full activities of groups they kind of support, sort of after a fashion. Hell’s bells, they fight with themselves almost as much as they do India. They are far more concerned with maintaining their own grip on power than they are on people who are no threat to them at all.

    Do I think they had no idea what so ever of Bin Laden’s whereabouts? No. But if all they knew was, “Yeah, he got into Pakistan.” it would not surprise me in the least, and if they had no idea at all? That would not surprise me either.

  91. JohnSF says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:
    And the f’in insane thing is that the people yattering on about mRNA vaccine untested ommigawd 5g batcave will be just fine with a cocktail of the monoclonal antibodies casirivimab and imdevimab
    Not saying said cocktail is NOT effective; likely is (IAMNAD) and even the vaccinated CAN get it, and get it pretty bad, if unlucky
    But just the sheer astounding inconsistency of these people! what? WTF? WTFF?

  92. JohnSF says:

    None of WHAT was ever going to happen?
    The things I specified:
    – thousands (to possible millions) dead
    – the rendition into sexual slavery of tens of thousands
    – the abandonment of pledged allies

    What of those possible/likely/actual events can be covered by:

    NONE of that was ever going to happen.

    They are going to happen because of the choices of the United States, if the administration does not change course.

    But they are not some inevitable thing, some natural event.

    They can yet be averted,; or they can be accepted.
    The choice is real.
    The consequences of that choice are real.

  93. Flat Earth Luddite says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    As a wild guess, I’ll put my money on the “People with $1500” square on the pool board.

    People with $1,500,000
    Fixed that for you

  94. Flat Earth Luddite says:


    John, I remain unsurprised by the West’s casual and calous abandonment of it’s indigenous allies. Saddened, yes. Disgusted, yes, surprised, no. Following the long history of our forefathers, American and European.

  95. JohnSF says:

    @Flat Earth Luddite:
    Oh, it’s not just us.
    (Euramericans, that is)
    Most every dominion or people has abandoned or back-stabbbed allies at some point.
    “If you did not sin, God would replace you with people who would sin”.

    Still worth avoiding if possible.
    We can, yet, in this instance.

  96. Kathy says:


    It’s a lot worse. Antibody treatments for COVID essentially do part of what the vaccine does, only later and only once.

    Vaccines generate both antibodies and T cell response, plus memory B and T cells. The monoclonals only do one thing, antibodies, and only until they are used up or metabolized by the body.

    In addition, the vaccine provides protection from the start of infection, when the virus enters the body. Monoclonals only after they are administered, however the virus has progressed and replicated inside the body already.

    From the NIH recommendations:

    When using monoclonal antibodies, treatment should be started as soon as possible after the patient receives a positive result on a SARS-CoV-2 antigen or nucleic acid amplification test (NAAT) and within 10 days of symptom onset.

    So monoclonal antibodies are used after the virus has gained a foot hold in the body, rather than before.

    Before the vaccine trial results, there was some hope of using monoclonal antibodies as a prophylactic. But at that price, and seeing as they require to be infused through an IV, this was never going to happen on a widespread basis as vaccines, but they might have served, in lieu of vaccines for medical personnel, and others at very high risk.

    Think of vaccines as a sprinkler system that puts a small fire out quickly, and monoclonals as the fire department that may put out a bigger fire later. It’s insane to rely on the latter as a first line of defense.

  97. DrDaveT says:


    They can yet be averted

    We can agree that they can be delayed. Some more. Which is what has been happening for the past decade, at extraordinary cost.

    What I don’t see is an end state that is achievable in our lifetimes that averts this outcome once we leave. That would require winning, i.e. imposing a new stable situation in Afghanistan that would persist after cessation of the extraordinary efforts and spending. Which, if it is possible today, was possible ten years ago but the US screwed it up. Is that what you’re saying?

  98. JohnSF says:


    at extraordinary cost.

    2018 annual expenditure was around $45bn
    Less than the revenue of the US Postal Service.

    Stability might be achievable in Afghanistan.
    There are no certainties on this; but
    – abandoning the unitary state chimera,
    – dropping the “war on drugs” BS,
    – at least in private, bracing the Pakistan govt. an making it plain that it time to stop the “who, lil’ ol’ us?” act
    Might enable a stabilised outcome.

    Yes, the US has been operating in a fools paradise re. Afghanistan (and Pakistan), not for the past ten years but for the past twenty.

    Is that what you’re saying?

    What I say is that all too many people are awfully eager to purge the failings of the past and not consider what choices now may lead to.

    And Fatima from Malistan; Shukria, from Kandahar; Ziagul from Bamiyan; Rahima in Kabul:

    Just remember to blame Bush and the neo-cons.
    “…our hands did not shed this blood and our eyes did not see.”

  99. JohnSF says:

    Sara Wahedi:

    Today, everything has changed. My family is having discussions on what to pack, what to sell, what to leave behind, and what routes to take out of Kabul.

    I’ve felt ill all day, to the point that sleeping pills aren’t working. I’m terrified for all of us.

    India border closed – no visas

    But, well, at least some people can say pwned to the “liberal interventionists”.

  100. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Flat Earth Luddite: Well they’re certainly more likely to have an extra $1,500 for a dose of Regeneron. That’s a good point. Do you take more than one dose? (I prolly shoulda chekt that before I bought my square. 🙁 )

  101. Stormy Dragon says:


    There’s a genocide going on in Xinjiang province that’s creating stories just as heartbreaking. Should we invade China too?

  102. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @JohnSF: All I can figure is that THEY REALLY DO believe that immunity acquired from having caught the virus is superior to other forms of protection. If that isn’t the case, I’m left with gobsmacking idiocy (which may be the explanation even with that belief). It’s like the students that I had who could write a paper with an error of some sort on every line for 2-3000 words. Even though it’s frustrating, it’s also amazing. Who can do that without it being deliberate?

  103. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @JohnSF: While I understand that we can still do it, my problem is which of our citizens are we going to put in harm’s way to accomplish the goal for the next 20 or 30 years? With no sons and daughters to send, it’s easy for me to follow the pattern of the sunshine patriots, watering THE TREE OF LIBERTY [tm] with the blood of other people’s children. When we talk about doing things because they are “right,” how “moral” are the guys who are so easy and eager to send the children of others into the meat grinder?

    That question is why I reject the notion of nations having “morality.” I would prefer leaders who would make these decisions on the basis of what is practical, wise, possible to do, and serving of the interests of the nation. Against that standard, how does “we could do it” measure up? I know we can. Britain can too. Willing to commit the youth of your country to a potentially eternal war? Should you be? No good choices here; what’s the least bad one?

  104. JohnSF says:

    @Stormy Dragon:
    The West cannot solve every sorry issue in the world.
    Tigray, Burma, Sudan, New Guinea, Somalia….

    What we can do is, once we have pledged our word, to people who will suffer appallingly if we break our compact, is do as we promised.

  105. JohnSF says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:
    Civilian control of the military.
    That means you order others to go and die.

    Unless you want to arrange a system where the families of military get exclusive control of military operations, and foreign policy decisions?
    Some new chamber of congress, perhaps?
    Or where the control of foreign policy is handed over to the military?
    A bit awkward, once you start to follow all the ramifications to their logical conclusions.

    Any system you care to name involves others ordering others into harms way.
    There’s no escaping it, unpleasant as it may be.

    It’s a good reason for not engaging in military operations on a frivolous basis.
    Real lives are at risk.
    To imperil them without cause is wrong.

    There is cause, in this case. We have a pledged responsibility.
    Again , I say think upon Fatima from Malistan; Shukria, from Kandahar; Ziagul from Bamiyan; Rahima in Kabul:
    Or Pashtana Durrani
    They are real human beings.

    They can be saved from a horrible fate.

    As to whether it is

    practical, wise, possible to do, and serv(es) of the interests of the nation.

    Maybe. There are various extensions of this. re. who will trust whom.
    (I know a Kurd who’d like a word)

    On the whole, if these people can be saved, save them.
    The Bushies and neo-cons can be bashed another day.

  106. JohnSF says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    what’s the least bad one?

    I recall a discussion from many years ago; re the Cambodian Killing Fields.
    How could the world have sat back and let it happened.
    Was that the least bad choice?

  107. JohnSF says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    When we talk about doing things because they are “right,” how “moral” are the guys who are so easy and eager to send the children of others into the meat grinder?

    Perhaps quite moral.
    Had the Western leaders of say 1938 been more willing to order the children of others into the meat grinder, perhaps millions of lives might have been spared.
    Or perhaps not.

  108. DrDaveT says:


    2018 annual expenditure was around $45bn.

    Oh, please. Anywhere outside the Department of Defense $45B is not just not “trivial”, it’s impossible. It’s essentially the entire budget of Homeland Security or the State Department. It’s considerably more than the entire Department of Energy budget, including the defense parts. It’s 2/3 of food stamps, the largest single public welfare program the US operates. It’s a titanic amount, a sucking chest wound in the budget.

    I’m not disagreeing with you about the ethics or morality of this situation; I’m disagreeing with your apparent certainty that there was a clearly superior alternative that would either fix the problem or permit the status quo to continue indefinitely. You think we were only spending “trivial” amounts to fight the long defeat. I disagree. You think that another 10 years of pumping money and blood into the region could have stabilized things at a much better equilibrium. I see no evidence of that.

  109. Mikey says:

    @JohnSF: I daresay you will find little appetite among the American people for sending indefinite numbers of our young men and women into Afghanistan to die because the men of Afghanistan don’t care enough for girls over 15 and widows under 45 to protect them themselves. They’ve obviously made the calculation that life under a Talib’s boot is preferable to dying to protect girls and women, and 20 years of Americans and Brits and the rest of the coalition dying in their place hasn’t moved the needle a micrometer.

    20 years. 2400 dead. 21000 wounded. Reliable estimates put America’s total expenditure over the 20 years at $1 trillion.

    Why should this go on indefinitely? So we can lose another 20 years, 2400 dead, 21000 wounded, and $1 trillion because the grandsons of today’s Afghans refuse to defend the granddaughters?