Friday’s 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. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. OzarkHillbilly says:
  2. OzarkHillbilly says:
  3. CSK says:
  4. Jon says:

    @CSK: This twitter thread, at least, provides some small potential comfort.

  5. Scott says:


    Prepare for mandatory COVID vaccines in September, Army tells commands

    The Army has directed commands to prepare to administer mandatory COVID-19 vaccines as early as Sept. 1, pending full Food and Drug Administration licensure, Army Times has learned.

  6. OzarkHillbilly says:

    ‘It feels good’: Kashmir folk singer’s rise from dusty street to music star

    Noor Mohammad Shah had always happily lived a life of obscurity. Born in a small village in the conflict-ridden state of Kashmir in India, Shah had been introduced to the mystical world of Sufi music as a child and for decades since had made a meagre but fulfilling living singing traditional songs and performing on his rabab, a lute-like music instrument, at weddings and village festivals.

    Yet it was a chance encounter between Shah and a group of young men, who happened to pass by as the god-fearing musician was playing his instrument on a dusty street corner, that would propel him into becoming one of Kashmir’s most famous modern rabab musicians.

    That day, the men asked Shah to perform for them, and as he leaned against a car wheel and began to sing, in his raw and soft voice, a traditional Sufi song of lost love and cups of wine, one of the group filmed it on their phone and uploaded it to YouTube.
    Shah’s rise to fame across India was extraordinary not only because of his background but because of the music he was performing.

    The tradition of Sufi singers in Kashmir who perform in mehfils, the gatherings of dervishes, dates back many centuries. However, the music and songs had gradually been fading into oblivion, as a violent separatist insurgency enveloped the region from the 1990s onwards and a stricter form of Islam took hold, putting an end to much of the nightlife and gatherings where the songs were traditionally performed.

    Most of Shah’s generation of Kashmiri folk artists and musicians had retired and the government-run television channels and radio stations had stopped playing the songs, which were considered archaic and outdated by the next generation.

    Yet Shah’s rise to fame has been credited for giving this traditional music a new lease of life by pushing it back into the mainstream and attracting a new, younger audience. His most recent song, Janaan, was released on Zee Music, one of India’s biggest entertainment companies, and the video, featuring him playing his rabab, has had more than 2m views on YouTube.

    He has several videos up on youtube. Well worth listening to.

  7. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @CSK: I’ll settle for him being a penniless failure.

  8. Scott says:

    Not good.

    Laurie Garrett
    Evidence mounting, from multiple countries & researchers, that even mild #COVID19 infections can lead to permanent changes in the brain that affect everything from signaling to muscles & organs to cognition, memory & organization of thoughts & ideas.

  9. James Joyner says:

    @Scott: I would expect DoD, if not all federal agencies, to make vaccination mandatory for all employees and contractors once the FDA approves on a normal (non-emergency) basis.

  10. mattbernius says:

    I posted this on the current indictment thread. I’m repeating it here because both are really good analyses:

    For those interested, both All the President’s Lawyers and The Lawfare Podcast have episodes out that dive into the indictment. The ATPL’s episode is short (22 minutes — closer to 20 if you skip the intro and outro). Lawfare’s is longer — nearly 45 minutes.

    1. From a tax law perspective this is significant. From a penalties perspective, maybe not as much. The charges are also very narrow in terms of focus.
    2. This is designed to be a “win” either way — They either will get Weisselberg and probably the Trump org OR Weisselberg flips. The feeling is that a flip is necessary to go after higher targets.
    3. Even if Weisselberg flips, making the case against Trump and his family could be hard (because this law apparently requires Trump to have known that he was doing something wrong). Pinning this on the CFO (Weisselberg) could be a strong defense for an individual who has never been known to sweat the details.
    4. While Weisselberg is facing jail time if convicted, the amount of jail time will be much shorter than the maximum sentences that are being reported.

    Links here:

  11. CSK says:

    I saw it, thanks. It may be the best for which we can hope.

    That would be acceptable.

  12. Scott says:

    A little history and a view from a longer time horizon.


    War, or at least interstate war, is on the rocks. Developed countries have managed to avoid major conflicts with one another now for 75 years — perhaps the longest such hiatus in history. And in recent decades, less developed countries have followed suit. Indeed, over the last 30 years, there have been only four interstate wars, conventionally defined as conflicts with at least 1,000 battle-related deaths per year. One was waged by Ethiopia and Eritrea in the last years of the 20th century. One was waged last year by Azerbaijan and Armenia. And the others were the brief regime-toppling invasions by the United States of Afghanistan and Iraq that then devolved into extended counterinsurgency — or counter-occupation — conflicts.

    If this condition continues to hold, it would be one of the most important developments in human history. All the more remarkable, the shift away from interstate war appears to be the result not of changing geopolitical circumstances but of changing attitudes toward war itself. It took two world wars, but aversion to interstate war eventually conquered Europe and now is on track to envelop the world. Civil wars may continue, and states may still grapple with each other at less lethal levels. But the time may have come for us to accept the fact that interstate war is merely an idea, an institution that is scarcely required by international society.

  13. Mu Yixiao says:

    Former Trump aid launches “gettr”.

    Yet another attempt at a “non-bias” [sic] social media app for conservatives.

  14. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @CSK: Not that I expect to see that, but a man can dream.

  15. CSK says:

    True. But Trump’s history of wriggling out of everything relatively unscathed does not elevate my spirits.

  16. Kathy says:


    Counterpoint, it’s been 68 years since the end of the Korean War, which many consider the last great power war, as it pitted directly American and Chinese troops. Whether China was a great power at the time is debatable.

    On a related matter, legal scholars Oona Hathaway and Scott Shapiro contend in their book “The Internationalists,” that war was outlawed by the Pact of Paris in 1928. That’s a very contentious claim. They do make a good case on the pact’s effects on developments in the 1930s as regards Germany and Japan.

  17. charon says:

    Another take:

    Jeff McConney — Trump Org Controller, or “Unindicted Co-conspirator #1 — has already testified to the Grand Jury.

    He’s been in the org for 35 years and knows just as much as Weisselberg, yet he wasn’t indicted. Weird. Almost like he’s cooperating.

  18. charon says:

    Meanwhile, COVID:

    Overwhelmed hospitals are back—a hospital in Springfield (Missouri) now on “#COVID19 diversion”, sending hospitalized patients to other cities and nearby state, as #DeltaVariant gains momentum where large swaths of residents aren’t vaccinated.

  19. charon says:

    6) Many low vaccination states in the US are soaring already in #COVID19 cases. Here are some of the fastest surging ones— Nevada Missouri Utah Arizona Arkansas and Oklahoma

  20. charon says:


    Also Kansas, Mississippi. There is a hotspot in NE TX near Texarkana.

  21. CSK says:

    @charon: @charon: @charon:
    A little bit of good news: Like the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, the J&J (which I had) seems to afford protection against the Delta variant.

  22. CSK says:

    Given the serious concerns about its structural integrity, what is still standing of the Champlain Towers South condo in Surfside, FL will be demolished, though it will take weeks for a timeline to be developed for this. Apparently movement’s been detected in that part of the building as well.

  23. CSK says:

    @Mu Yixiao:
    I saw that yesterday. Apparently a special slot is being reserved for Trump, should he deign to use it.

    Clearly the Gettr designers are trying to do their best possible Twitter imitation, perhaps in the belief that this will induce Trump to join.

  24. Kathy says:


    Yes, but mostly this has been tested by exposing blood from vaccinated patients to the virus, and other laboratory tests. They do show good results, and there’s a reason why these test exist. But in the long run, the efficacy needs to be measured against cases of infection and severity of disease in vaccinated patients.

    Also keep in mind the more infectious variants tend to dominate the others. That is, there isn’t justa bit of Delta out there among the original virus and other variants. There’s mostly Delta circulating in several regions, and it’s gaining dominance in others.

    We’re still looking at many more months of pandemic precautions and effects. And who knows what other variants will crop up in the meantime.

    Keep your masks on and keep your distance from other people (remember, people are the source of infection). And when variant-specific booster vaccines become available, don’t delay in getting one.

  25. CSK says:

    @Mu Yixiao:
    Over on Twitter, they’re calling it “Shittr.”

  26. Kylopod says:

    My mother’s been under the weather for the past week and assumed she must have picked up some bug after having gone out a lot after having been vaccinated. I asked her over the phone to describe her symptoms, and none of them sounded to me like Covid. But the other day she was told to go to the hospital because they thought she had pneumonia. In the middle of the day I got a call from her informing me that the doctors believed she had Covid, and that I needed to immediately get tested and quarantine until the results come back. A few moments later, it turned out she’d accidentally called me; she’d been trying to call my brother who lives in the same city as her, whereas I’m 200 miles away and haven’t seen her in several weeks. After the confusion was cleared up, she explained that I didn’t need to test or quarantine.

    For the next several hours, I was in a state of near panic because this was something that was simply not supposed to happen. It was always possible that she just might happen to be one of those rare cases of someone receiving two doses of Pfizer and then being hospitalized for Covid. But I somehow doubted that. I thought I was seeing the cusp of my worst fear–that finally a variant of Covid has emerged that defeats the vaccines. For the rest of the afternoon, I was planning in my head how I was going to have to change everything I’ve been doing recently and once again go back to avoiding going out to places, start wearing masks everywhere when I do go out, and so on.

    Later that day, after she was tested thoroughly, the doctors determined she did not have Covid and her sickness was due to unrelated health problems (primarily asthma). Obviously I’m concerned for her health, but frankly I was relieved it wasn’t Covid largely because of the ramifications of that. If she hadn’t mistakenly called me and informed me of the doctors’ initial (but incorrect) assumption that she had Covid, I wouldn’t have panicked like I did.

  27. CSK says:

    As always, I respect what you say, but there’s this:

    My best to your mother for a complete and quick recovery.

  28. gVOR08 says:

    @Kathy: David Halberstam wrote an excellent history of the Korean War, The Coldest Winter. IIRC he tells of someone visiting MacArthur’s headquarters and glancing at a large situation map. There were four symbols at the top of the map. He expressed alarm that there were four Chinese divisions on the border, but someone calmly corrected him, those aren’t divisions (around 10,000 troops), they’re army groups (around half a million). Close enough to major power status. And MacArthur’s people seemed completely unperturbed.

  29. Kathy says:


    The problem with new pathogens and new vaccines, is that you get research results in real time. That is, it takes months to know how long vaccine immunity lasts, because you have to monitor it for months. It also takes weeks to know how the virus variants affects, or do not affect, vaccinated people, and how much they can transmit disease to those not vaccinated.

    In the meantime, sweeping pronouncements based on lab experiments and theory are inappropriate. Such statements should be couched in terms of likelihood and probability, rather than in aboslute terms.

    You’re definitely safer after a full vaccination course. You’re not necessarily safe.

    It makes more sense, therefore, to see the vaccine as an additional layer of protection, rather than an absolute armor through which no variant can pass.

    A 15% risk of catching Delta variant after full vaccination, is just a bit lower than the risk of dying playing Russian Roulette with a 6-round revolver.

    Delta might not kill you if you’re vaccinated, but there is a risk that it can.

  30. Liberal Capitalist says:


    A couple of things that I ran across that are worth the time to review:

    The NY Times did a great job reconstructing the event and presenting the actual events of Jan 6th. If you have not seen this, the video is riveting, and clearly shows how our country was nearly overthrown.

    Next: Did you think that it is a read / blue country? Well, no. This makes the case it is actually 4 large groups that define who we are now. And it does make sense on how these groups formed.

  31. Michael Cain says:


    That is, there isn’t justa bit of Delta out there among the original virus and other variants. There’s mostly Delta circulating in several regions, and it’s gaining dominance in others.

    75% of sequenced samples in Colorado are now delta. The CDHE’s model turns that into an estimate of a bit over 50% among all cases. The federal CDC has been in Mesa County in western Colorado where’s there’s been a large outbreak of the delta variant to try and put a better number on how contagious it is. For unexplained reasons my Colorado county has seen a modest bump in vaccinations delivered in the last few days. Probably will be another bump in the second half of August, assuming a fully-approved vaccine, when it becomes mandatory for military personnel and the students/faculty/staff at the big state university here.

  32. CSK says:

    @Michael Cain:
    I think fear of Delta might be encouraging some people to get vaccinated.

  33. Scott says:

    I really love this.

    Wally Funk of the ‘Mercury 13’ will join Jeff Bezos on landmark Blue Origin space flight

    After 60 years, Wally Funk is going into space.

    Funk, 82, was a member of a group called the FLATs — for First Lady Astronaut Trainees — formed in the early 1960s. She volunteered for the privately funded program in February 1961 and was one of 13 women — also called the Mercury 13 — who underwent the same physical and mental tests as the seven male astronauts selected by NASA for Project Mercury, America’s first human spaceflight program.

    The Mercury 13 women never went into space. But on July 20, Funk will ride with Jeff Bezos on his company’s first crewed flight into space after the billionaire invited her to join the crew as an “honored guest,” as he said on Instagram.

    More on Wally Funk.

  34. Sleeping Dog says:


    Folk music finds a way to move to succeeding generations.

  35. Sleeping Dog says:

    @Mu Yixiao:

    Apparently funded by a fugitive Chinese billionaire.

  36. CSK says:

    @Sleeping Dog:
    And loaded with fake accounts purporting to be from–among others–Mike Pence, Hitler, and J.K. Rowling.

    Bonus: It’s infested with hentai (anime and manga porn). Sounds like a top-o’-the-line site to me.

  37. Just Another Ex-Republican says:


    And MacArthur’s people seemed completely unperturbed.

    Yeah, and THAT worked out so well in hindsight, didn’t it?

  38. Just nutha says:
  39. dazedandconfused says:


    For the vaccinated, exposure might actually be a good thing though. No way to know for sure, but the makers of the vaccines pretty much all say they expect there will be a time limit to their efficacy without booster shots. Well, every time the immune system detects and re-mobilizes for the virus, even on a tiny scale that produces absolutely no noticeable symptoms, it’s a booster shot.

  40. DrDaveT says:


    Bonus: It’s infested with hentai (anime and manga porn).

    Trump and tentacle porn do seem like something of a natural pairing…

  41. Kathy says:


    The hygiene hypothesis claims a rise in allergies and autoimmune disorders come from a lack of exposure to pathogens, which lead to an immune system that’s not trained in dealing with them.

    If there’s something to this, though, the immune system is just as “happy” to train on the decoys used by vaccines than on the real bacteria, parasites, and viruses out in the world. OS I’d just as soon get my Delta exposure with a variant-specific booster.

    At that, it would make little sense to simply get a third dose of Pfizer, Moderna, AZ, etc., which were made for the original strain. I hope all these companies, and others, are already working on variants.

    Which brings up another point, and a difficult problem: which will be the dominant variant by the time vaccine immunity wears off (if it does)? We may face the same problem as with flu vaccines.

    I think with mRNA shots, the task of making a polyvalent vaccine is easier, so long as genetic sequencing is done on all variants.

  42. Mu Yixiao says:


    The hygiene hypothesis claims a rise in allergies and autoimmune disorders come from a lack of exposure to pathogens, which lead to an immune system that’s not trained in dealing with them.

    One important factor in hygiene hypothesis is that this all happens in the first year or two, if I recall. It’s certainly a childhood thing, not an adult one.

  43. EddieInCA says:

    You can’t make this stuff up….

    Ohio police chief resigns after he’s caught placing KKK sign — along with mock hood and robe — on Black officer’s desk

  44. CSK says:

    @Just nutha:
    Like OzarkHillbilly, I can dream, can’t I?
    I suppose it does.

  45. Sleeping Dog says:

    The joys of federalism and state constitutions.

    New Hampshire Supreme Court strikes down 2017 voter registration law Senate Bill 3 as unconstitutional

    A unanimous opinion with 1 abstention, a former state AG who was in that position when the law passed.

  46. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Kylopod: Fingers crossed for Mom.

  47. Kathy says:

    @Mu Yixiao:

    That was my initial understanding. Lately, I’ve heard advocates say you should eat food that falls on the floor, not keep the house spotlessly clean, not shower every day, eat dirt if you feel like it, pick your nose, get every vaccine available, etc.

    But for the last, no thanks.

    Granted you can skip a shower now and then. and showering or bathing, say, four times per week only should be all right, too.

    They are right in one big thing. Our picture of the immune system is dead wrong. It doesn’t lie dormant, placidly resting, and then spring into action when a pathogen gets in. This is as real as the notion that we only use ten percent of our brains.

    In fact, the immune system is active all the time, constantly sampling everything it comes across, including the body’s own cells. Frequently it may even find interlopers or malfunctioning cells (say like cancerous cells), and go into low-key increased action you don’t even notice. When something really dangerous gets in, like the trump virus, then it goes into overdrive.

  48. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Sleeping Dog: It always has. I hope it always will.

  49. Stormy Dragon says:

    SCOTUS just released a list of Breyer’s clerks for the next term, so enjoy your 7-2 court, everyone:

    The Public Information Office at the Supreme Court just released a list of the justices’ clerks for the coming term. There are four clerks listed for each of the nine justices.— Steven Mazie (@stevenmazie) July 2, 2021

  50. Teve says:

    I’m still about 99% sure Nicholas Cage’s Pig movie is a scam/trolling.

  51. Teve says:

    @Stormy Dragon: according to Gallup, about 20% of Americans says ‘Bortins should always be illegal. 80% say it should be legal in some or all circumstances. Are we about to see governance of the 20%?

  52. de stijl says:


    Sufi is pretty obscure and not practiced widely.

    I am by no means anywhere near an expert. My understanding is secondary, but Sufism to my eyes, looks like Islamic hippies with a more formalized spirituality and theological structure. Ritualized dance and motion with a strong dash of transcendentalism.

    I am likely very wrong. A more knowledgeable person should correct.

  53. de stijl says:


    MacArthur was demonstrably and repeatedly cavalier and irresponsible. Dismissed best available intelligence at a whim. Went on his gut.

    Brilliant and irresponsible is still wildly irresponsible for his role.

    Within historical context, the Michael Flynn of his era.

  54. de stijl says:


    Hope your mom is solid.

    You are a bystander. I empathize. A hard road.

    Best wishes to her and you.