Monday’s 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. OzarkHillbilly says:

    And another.

    A man opened fire during a lunch reception at a southern California church, killing one person and wounding five senior citizens before a pastor hit the gunman on the head with a chair and parishioners tied him up with electrical cords.

    Motive unknown but racism would not seem to play a part as the congregation is primarily Asian, and the shooter too.

  2. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Russia likely to have lost third of its Ukraine invasion force, says UK

    “Russia has now likely suffered losses of one-third of the ground combat force it committed in February,” it said. “Russian forces are increasingly constrained by degraded enabling capabilities, continued low morale and reduced combat effectiveness. Many of these capabilities cannot be quickly replaced or reconstituted and are likely to continue to hinder Russian operations in Ukraine. Under the current conditions, Russia is unlikely to dramatically accelerate its rate of advance over the next 30 days.”

    Finland and Sweden confirm intention to join Nato

    The leaders of Finland and Sweden have confirmed they intend to join Nato, signifying a historic Nordic policy shift triggered by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine that will redraw the security map of Europe.

    Abandoning decades of military non-alignment, the two countries’ governments will present their proposals to their respective parliaments on Monday and are expected to formally submit a joint membership application to the 30-member alliance as soon as the decisions are ratified.

    Well done Vlad, well done.

  3. MarkedMan says:

    What kind of parents did the Buffalo shooter have? Well, they gave him an assault rifle for his 16th birthday.

  4. Jen says:

    John Fetterman, currently leading in the PA Dem. US Senate primary, had a stroke late last week. He’s in hospital and recovering.

  5. Jen says:

    Good grief. Sen. Chris Van Hollen has also had a stroke. He is also in hospital and recovering.

  6. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @MarkedMan: So they were shits. Now we know.

  7. OzarkHillbilly says:

    ‘Failure of an American ideology’: why Covid has an outsized impact on the US

    According to public health experts, the virus’s outsized impact on the US can be attributed in part to underinvestment in long-term care, in primary care and in public health departments. As a result, some people were more vulnerable to Covid and had little connection to – or trust in – the healthcare providers who urged them to socially distance, to wear masks and to get vaccinated. It was a disconnect, they say, that was only exacerbated by misinformation – particularly by Republican leaders’ undermining of scientists’ recommendations.

    “This is more than just a failure of a health system,” said Rosner. “It’s a failure of an American ideology.”

  8. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Reds starter Hunter Greene and reliever Art Warren combined to allow zero hits in a complete game, but it didn’t count as a no-hitter – or even a win – because the Pittsburgh Pirates eked out a run in the bottom of the eighth inning for a 1-0 victory Sunday.

    Ke’Bryan Hayes’ RBI grounder helped the Pirates become the sixth team in big league history since 1901 to win despite not getting any hits. It last happened in 2008 when Jered Weaver and Jose Arredondo of the Angels lost while holding the Dodgers hitless.

    By Major League Baseball record-keeping rules, Cincinnati’s accomplishment isn’t an official no-hitter because its pitchers didn’t go at least nine innings. And in a season in which nearly everything has gone wrong for the Reds, this surely had to be the topper.

  9. charon says:


    There is a saying that “if it can’t go on like this, it won’t.” Russia’s rate of loss is not sustainable, the military in Ukraine can’t endure a war of attrition. My guess is the Russian presence in Ukraine is perhaps two or three months away from an implosion.

  10. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @charon: Agreed, this will not end well for Putin. Wish I could say what that will mean.

  11. Scott says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: @charon: Rules of war include dealing with the war dead. This is gruesome and macabre but was reading an article (about a month old) about how Ukraine is fulfilling it’s responsibilities but also exercising psychological warfare.

    Ukraine is scanning faces of dead Russians, then contacting the mothers

    Ukrainian officials have run more than 8,600 facial recognition searches on dead or captured Russian soldiers in the 50 days since Moscow’s invasion began, using the scans to identify bodies and contact hundreds of their families in what may be one of the most gruesome applications of the technology to date.

    The country’s IT Army, a volunteer force of hackers and activists that takes its direction from the Ukrainian government, says it has used those identifications to inform the families of the deaths of 582 Russians, including by sending them photos of the abandoned corpses.

  12. Mr. Prosser says:

    I don’t know if it’s rude to talk of other sites but does anyone know what’s going on with Balloon Juice? Have not been able to log on since Friday. There is a 522 that shows up saying there is a problem with the host. I follow Adam Silverman about the war in Ukraine on BJ, I think his coverage is very well done.

  13. Scott says:

    Listen to this podcast this morning. Politically/policy-wise I’m more progressive but temperamentally I’m right with them. Discussing Roe v. Wade and the response to the SC leak. Worth a listen.

  14. Scott says:

    @Mr. Prosser: Same here. I go for the war summary also. Yes, it has been down.

  15. Paine says:

    There was some imbedded tweets over at Lawyers, GUns, and Money blog indicating it’s some sort of issue with their blog hosting service. It’s being worked on but must be pretty catastrophic if it is taking this long.

  16. charon says:

    @Mr. Prosser:

    Only that other people are seeing the same problem.

  17. Mr. Prosser says:

    @Scott: @Paine: Thanks for the info.

  18. Scott says:

    WRT to Finland and Sweden joining NATO, here is some perspective:

    Stop Making a Big Deal of NATO’s Next Members

    Sweden and Finland’s prospective NATO accession is politically big news – but militarily less so. After years of cohabitation with the alliance, these two Nordic countries are, one might say, finally putting a ring on the relationship. Labeling it a monumental change aids Moscow’s narrative that it’s under threat from the alliance.

    Back in 2016, the Finnish government report concluded that “Finland, like Sweden, stands as close to the Atlantic treaty association as is possible for a country that is not a member and is thus reaching a plateau. On a military and diplomatic level, this convergence has in turn led to a considerable degree of interoperability between Finland and NATO. The practical problems that would still need to be solved if Finland becomes a member of NATO are rather limited.”

    Seven years later, there’s practically nothing left to integrate short of becoming a full-fledged members. “Finland has been integrating with NATO for basically 30 years,” Finland’s ambassador, Mikko Hautala, told Fox News this week.

    Swedish and Finnish officials and officers regularly participate in NATO meetings and receive intelligence (on an as-needed basis), and their armed forces join NATO exercises such as Cold Response 2022, which took place in Norway earlier this year. The two countries also have extraordinarily close cooperation with individual NATO member states. Earlier this month, for example, the UK-Joint Expeditionary Force, to which they both belong, conducted an exercise in Finland.

  19. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Mr. Prosser: I’ve been having the same problem, glad to know I’m not alone

  20. Jax says:

    Did you guys watch the lunar eclipse? It was pretty cool looking here, we had clear skies. The coyotes started howling all over the place during the totality.

  21. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Jax: Cloudy skies here.

  22. CSK says:

    Marjorie Taylor Greene is very mad at the press for portraying her as “unintelligent,” which is, of course, totally not true.

  23. Flat Earth Luddite says:

    WRT loonies running for office*, just wanted you to know that not all the wackos are GQP’rs. Apologies for the length , but it’s, well, I dunno.

    Gary Lyndon Dye
    Occupation: Engineer
    Occupational Background: Whistleblower
    Educational Background: OSU, BSChE; Pepperdine, MBA; UC lrvine, BSMath/Physics
    Prior Governmental Experience: David Douglas Budget Committee

    Let’s call it “Portlandia”.

    Metro is an abomination. Its very existence means that Multnomah, Clackamas, and Washington counties can’t work together, or the State is not doing its job coordinating and assisting these counties. There is a redundancy here, causing inefficiency and waste. We are employing many more government bureaucrats than necessary for the work needed. We must eliminate this redundancy by either:

    1. Abolishing Metro,
    2. Abolishing the three counties within Metro and creating one big county, or
    3. Making Metro the 51 st state, seceding from Oregon.

    But maybe we shouldn’t stop there. What’s the difference between Fairview and Gresham and Troutdale, or between Beaverton and Hillsboro and Tigard, or between any of them and Portland? Or between Multnomah and Clackamas and Washington counties? Not much. So, let’s also get rid of all of the cities and counties within Metro. Do we need multiple police departments, road departments, parks departments, personnel departments, etc., existing within their respective artificial boundaries? I believe we can lay off 1/3 of the government employees working for all these governments, and provide the same services that we get now. And that means reducing our bloated property taxes by 1/3! Heck, we can even become the first government to cross state lines by incorporating Vancouver, Washougal, Battleground, and Clark County! Why not rescue them, too?

    Won’t you join me in my quest of not only reducing a government that is suffocating us, but in eliminating entire levels of government? Now is the time to humanely lay off these unproductive, redundant employees of government so that they can become useful citizens in the private sector. We owe it to them to regain their dignity, and we owe it to us to regain ours, too.

    Hail, Portlandia!

    *This was taken from the official Voter’s Pamphlet, and was provided by the candidate.

    I’m waiting for Tues tally on how many votes he gets.

    Our state motto could be Oregon, things sure are different here.

  24. sam says:
  25. Jay L Gischer says:

    @Flat Earth Luddite: That’s good, but not remotely the nuttiest thing I’ve seen in a voter’s pamphlet.

    In this season’s, for instance, we have a candidate for governor whose entire message is:

    F all politicians

  26. Flat Earth Luddite says:

    @Jay L Gischer:
    Sadly, the message resonates with many.

    I come from a time and place where our politicians were venal and corrupt, but at least they stayed bought.

  27. gVOR08 says:

    @Mr. Prosser: Me too. I’ve stayed up late to catch Silverman’s Ukraine coverage. And no insight on the problem, or recovery time.

    Silverman’s main conclusion for weeks, largely backed by British Ministry of Defense reports, has been that there’s little or no change in the military situation. The Brits have gone public with their estimate the Russians have lost a third of their strength. Boris Johnson has been taking a lead role in supporting Ukraine, which tells me, given he’s a major trimmer, he thinks Ukraine has already won. I suspect we didn’t rush those M777 mortars to them because they were available, but because U. S. intelligence identified a Russian vulnerability. I’d love to see an assessment of U. S., now Ukrainian, counter-battery capability v Russian.

    I’m looking forward to getting Silverman’s reports back.

  28. JohnSF says:


    Russia’s rate of loss is not sustainable, the military in Ukraine can’t endure a war of attrition. My guess is the Russian presence in Ukraine is perhaps two or three months away from an implosion.

    I concur.
    Indeed, if Russia keeps feeding scraped together and/or reconstituted units in as they become available, and if the Ukrainians keep hitting the supply lines in sequence, the collapse might come even sooner.

    An indication of Ukrainian operational intelligence; they appear to be specifically targeting Russian trucks and other supply/support assets.

    And around Kharkiv it looks like they may be trying to cut the Russian supply route from Belgorod to Izyum, which the Russians set up on route parallel to the front.

    Another indicator of Russian lack of focus:
    This map of Russian roaming SIM connections to the Ukrainian cellphone nets (!)
    Its not an exact map, apparently: the SIM data geolocation algorithm seems to be a bit glitchy, and the connection apparently can get handed on to neighbouring stations if traffic is high.

    But one thing stands out like a sore thumb: the massive concentration west of the Dnipr around Kherson.
    In short: Russia failed to shut down Kherson operations and focus everything on Donbas.
    Just like in the “take Kyiv” operation, they spread out their efforts onto secondary targets.
    Win in Donbas, Kherson is probably holdable or recoverable.
    Lose in Donbas, lose Kherson also.
    As Napoleon said: “If you aim to take Vienna; then TAKE VIENNA.”

    And also notable: Russia is still not putting in an all out effort to achieve air supremacy over Donbas front.
    Multiple instances of Ukrainian air strike in the area; and of Russians failing to press an all-out attack on Ukrainian army in Donbas from the air.

    I’d bet that failing to shut down Kherson front is a political thing: reports of setting up an “autonomous government” there that will “request annexation”.
    As if that matters one bit.

  29. grumpy realist says:

    @gVOR08: Dr. R. North over at TurbulentTimes has focused his analytics on what’s been going on in the Ukraine. Quite fascinating, particularly when the dissection is continued by the commentators. Ignore the three or four Russian trolls–they’re pretty obvious (and with stupid arguments).

  30. sam says:


    And also notable: Russia is still not putting in an all out effort to achieve air supremacy over Donbas front.

    Russian pilots in Ukraine using insecure, non-military navigation equipment: UK defence secretary:

    Russia’s military campaign in Ukraine is failing and its forces are inadequately equipped.

    That is the assessment of UK defence secretary Ben Wallace, who addressed the ongoing war during remarks at the National Army Museum in London on 9 May. Wallace, the Conservative MP for Wyre and Preston North, is a graduate of the Royal Military Academy at Sandhurst.

    As evidence for his characterisation, Wallace cites the wreckage of Russian air force jets that have been found with insecure, non-military navigation equipment.

    “GPS receivers have been found taped to the dashboards of downed Russian [Sukhoi] Su-34s”, Wallace says. “So the pilots knew where they were, due to the poor quality of their own systems.”

    Russia uses an alternative to the US-controlled Global Positioning System called GLONASS.

    A July 2021 Facebook post by Viktor Alksnis, who claims to be a 25-year veteran of the Soviet air force, contains a photo purporting to show the cockpit of a Su-34 Fullback fighter bomber operating over Syria with what Alksnis claims is a Garmin commercial GPS unit.

    “This photo once again confirms the unfavourable state of our army and makes us wonder if everything there is really as good as Supreme Commander V. Putin and Defense Minister S. Shoigu say about it?” Alksnis wrote in the post.

    He claims to have received the photo in a Telegram channel for military informants and says it was dated 2016.

    Russia’s air force has significantly underperformed in Ukraine, with western observers citing everything from inadequate pilot training to a shortage of precision munitions as the cause. That is despite a massive numerical advantage in combat aircraft.

    Russia has launched more than 2,000 guided missile strikes into Ukraine according to defence officials in the USA, but sorties by manned aircraft are typically limited to brief incursions into Ukrainian air space to launch ordnance, before retreating to Russia.

    Wallace concurs with that assessment, saying the Russians’ “limited stockpiles of air-delivered precision weapons, demonstrated by a steep drop off in use after the second week, has meant that the air force has also fallen back on dropping imprecise dumb munitions on urban areas”.

    Ukraine’s air force continues to contest the air space over the conflict, recently launching strikes on the Black Sea’s Snake Island with manned and unmanned platforms.

    Wallace argues that poor preparation and planning, combined with inadequate equipment and corruption, are to blame for Russia’s failure to take the capital Kyiv and the now-stalled advance in the Donbas region in eastern Ukraine.

    “The truth is that Russia’s General Staff are failing and they know it,” he says.

    I guess you go to war with the army (and air force) you don’t have.

  31. charon says:


    they appear to be specifically targeting Russian trucks and other supply/support assets.

    My emphasis.

    I have seen data what they are really concentrating on is the supplies – ammunition storage, oil tanks, etc. – the “logistics.”

    And, of course, railroads – much less wear and tear on the vehicles to move them by rail, less fuel usage also. (Attacking landing boats too).

  32. Sleeping Dog says:


    There was a Ukraine news site sourced article in the last few days that attributed to a source only ID’d as an Ukraine general, that the war will be effectively over by August as both sides will be exhausted. I suspect that Ukraine can hold out longer, due to support from NATO and righteousness of their cause.

  33. JohnSF says:

    @Sleeping Dog:
    Difficult to tell what the exact nature of Ukraines supply situation is.
    They can call on the West for massive amounts of money and materiel, but the military economy system has to be under a lot of stress.

    They have the advantage of numbers, unless Russia fully mobilises (and perhaps even then, if Russian mobilisation is as cocked up as everything else Moscow touches) but training may be a problem.

    My ill-informed guess is, the Russian army will break before Ukraine runs out of trained soldiers.

  34. Sleeping Dog says:


    My ill-informed guess is, the Russian army will break before Ukraine runs out of trained soldiers.

    That seems to be the quiet part that no one wants to say outloud. The NYT article yesterday quoting from bloggers embedded with the Russian troops, beginning to speak somewhat truthfully about how the war is going isn’t a good sign for Putin.

  35. wr says:

    @Scott: With all due respect, who has been saying that this is huge in any way other than political? It’s not a huge slap in Putin’s face because now he’ll have to face the might and majesty of the Swedish army — although they did kick Russia’s ass a few hundred years ago — but because this is exactly the opposite of the outcome Putin wanted, a more unified, rather than more fragmented, Europe.

  36. dazedandconfused says:

    I wouldn’t put as much meaning into the carrying of GPS by Russian pilots. It’s what I would do if in conflict with the west due to the possibility of us screwing around with their version of GPS (GLONASS, IIRC). Equipping oneself with a cross-check could easily be nothing more than common sense.

    If one is looking for an example of Russian incompetence, check out the failed attempt at fording the Siverskyi Donets river last week. It is all but unthinkable they failed to supply artillery and air support for a battalion placed in the highly vulnerable position of being first across the bridge. All but unthinkable they aren’t scouting for enemy artillery before attempting it. There is something very very wrong in the Russian army. They should’ve learned that by now and fixes should be in place.

  37. JohnSF says:


    …the might and majesty of the Swedish army…

    If they were back at Cold War levels, it would be quite an issue for Russia.
    From the 1950s to 1980’s the standing army was about 500,000 and the mobilizable reserve around half a million.
    IIRC there was a territorial defence force as well.

    They aren’t gong to back to those level quickly; but they have reintroduced conscription (of both men and women, incidentally).
    Sweden may have been neutral: it was never pacifist.

    I suspect one significant difference will be that both Sweden and Finland will now be plugged into the NATO integrated electronic intelligence gathering/distribution nets.
    Radar and integrated sonar nets from the Aaland Is and Gotland, makes the Baltic in effect a NATO lake. And places NATO assets almost within strolling distance of Murmansk.

  38. charon says:

    A thread:

    Battle of the Donbas update, some thoughts on what happened the past week and where things might be heading. Looks like we are seeing drastically reduced Russian goals, though even then might be unobtainable. And Russian Army heading for major trouble over the summer.

    Downthread a ways:

    Basically indicating that the Ukrainians believe the full Russian collapse will happen by later summer (August). Makes sense. Ukrainians expect the Russians to continue to drip feed in units, will try and destroy those as they appear…

  39. David S. says:

    Some time ago, someone asked what “Christian” meant in the popular parlance of contemporary politicians who swear by it. The answer they want might have a good start here:

    Kristin Du Mez: How Evangelicals Corrupted a Faith | Amanpour and Company (YouTube, 18:25) The impetus for the interview seems to be a book she’s publishing titled “Jesus and John Wayne: How Evangelicals Corrupted a Faith”, and the interview suggests that a lot of the roots are actually specifically tied to anti-communist, pro-patriarchy positioning by evangelical pastors in the 60s and 70s.

  40. CSK says:

    The NYPost has a report that Russian commanders are shooting and killing wounded Russian s0ldiers rather than getting them medical attention.

  41. Scott says:

    @JohnSF: When I was a kid (60s) browsing through the World Book Encyclopedia, there was a graphic on the world air forces. I clearly remember that Sweden had something like the 5th largest Air Force. Even today, they have a pretty large indigenous defense industry (because they were neutral for decades), producing their own fighters and other weapons. I’m pretty sure not much goes on above and below the Baltic Sea that they don’t know about.

  42. Kathy says:


    It would fit that someone Benito lauds as “smart” would go to the expense in human lives and treasure to wage a war with status quo antebellum as his objective.

  43. JohnSF says:

    It’s a tendency of some in the Western Alliance countries to misunderstand the European neutrals.
    During the Cold War arguably the most militarized countries in Europe were Finland, Sweden and Switzerland.
    The theoretical size of the fully mobilised Swiss Army in the 1970’s was around 1.5 million, and the gun holding per capita was higher than the US.
    In the words of one Swiss at the time:
    “Other countries have an army. We are an army.”
    Both have declined since 1990 for the Swiss.
    But arguably still applicable to the Finns.

  44. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @David S.:

    a lot of the roots are actually specifically tied to anti-communist, pro-patriarchy positioning by evangelical pastors in the 60s and 70s.

    Ayup! Fighting the “godless Communitsts” was job one all right.

  45. gVOR08 says:

    @Mr. Prosser: There’s now a statement up at saying there was a data center problem. Says BJ is OK but may be a few days before they’re back up.