Open Forum

Where you can't be off-topic because there IS no topic.

The floor is yours.

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


  1. OzarkHillbilly says:

    The ‘Show Me State’ is now the ‘Show Me Your Uteri State’.

  2. grumpy realist says:

    Looks like China has decided the easiest way to deal with Trump and his tariff wars is to simply stonewall him.

    Funny how this looks very much like what’s known as “No Contact”, a classic way of dealing with a narcissist.

  3. Teve says:

    @grumpy realist:

    China is sending signals that it’s in no hurry to resume trade negotiations with the U.S.

    China is an authoritarian government run by smart people who take a long view. If they think they can wait out Donald Trump’s erratic toddler behavior,…they’re right.

  4. Teve says:
  5. Jax says:

    @Teve: Well, that’s gonna piss the hippies off. 😉 It’s a shame “genetically modified” has become one of those catchphrases with negative connotations. If you get technical, humans have been modifying our food sources for thousands of years, even if they don’t call it that now.

    I still haven’t gotten to try the fake meat. Next time I go to civilization I’ll try to find some and run a taste test compared to homegrown beef.

  6. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Teve: From the article comments:

    Industrial legume ag is an act of violence upon the earth. What happened to the ecosystem where the soy was planted? What about the mice and worms and things that are run over with tractors and killed with pesticides?

    Because, you know, that’s what pesticides do: they kill animals. [emphasis added]

    Imagine my surprise to discover that tractors and pesticides only started killing earthworms and mice at the onset of GMO horticulture and large scale farming.

  7. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Jax: I tried Beyond at Carl’s Jr. a few days ago. I liked it okay in that it was better texture than Gardenburger. I didn’t think that it tasted like beef in any meaningful way and probably will not be willing to spend ~$2 more per burger to feel good about myself ever again. At Safeway, Beyond sells in the fresh case for roughly half again more than what they sell preformed ground beef patties for–and those aren’t cheap at Safeway in my area.

    My next field trip is to Red Robin to try Impossible.

  8. Teve says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker: they shoulda used magical vegan tractors which levitate above rodents 😀

    @Jax: I haven’t yet either, but I’ve been on a kick about them since I read that freaking Burger King was going to start carrying it. It’s finally hitting the big time. When I mentioned it on Facebook, a friend of mine in Kansas and another friend of mine in Michigan mentioned that they had tried them and they were great. Another friend in Georgia said she’d tried the sausage product and liked it better than real sausage.

    Looks like it’s finally happening. I like steak and hamburger as much as the next guy but it’s an environmental nightmare.

  9. Gustopher says:

    @Teve: If they’re willing to use genetically modified soy, maybe they can modify it to be beefier.


  10. CSK says:

    Well, it’s another day ending in “y,” so Trump is yet again grossly embarrassing himself and this country. He’s scheduled to visit Ireland for two days before his trip to the U.K. to commemorate D-Day, and he’s insisting that the Irish prime minister come to him at his Irish golf course rather than him going to meet the p.m. at the normal venue for visiting heads of state. If the p.m. doesn’t do what Trump wants, Trump will go to one of his golf courses in Scotland.

  11. Teve says:

    @Gustopher: they actually did use genetic engineering to make it beefier, in a totally awesome process.

    Impossible Foods’ scientists discovered that heme is a key factor in how meat behaves.[15] Heme is the molecule that gives blood its red color and helps carry oxygen in living organisms.[16] Heme is abundant in animal muscle tissue and is also found naturally in all living organisms.[17] Plants, particularly nitrogen-fixing plants and legumes, also contain heme.[18] The plant-based heme molecule is identical to the heme molecule found in meat.[19][20]

    To produce heme protein from non-animal sources, Impossible Foods selected the leghemoglobin molecule found naturally in the roots of soy plants.[21] To make it in large quantities, the company’s scientists genetically engineered a yeast and used a fermentation process very similar to the brewing process used to make some types of beer.[22]

    In 2014, Impossible Foods obtained a Generally Recognized As Safe designation for the leghemoglobin in the company’s flagship product.[23] In addition, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued a “no questions” letter in July 2018, accepting the unanimous conclusion of a panel of food-safety experts that the protein that carries heme is safe to eat.[24]

  12. SenyorDave says:

    I was on vacation and tried the Impossible Burger at a kosher restaurant in Boca Raton. IMO it was just there. Would never mistake it for a good burger, pretty much at the MacDonalds level. Some interesting facts – more than half the calories come from fat, pretty high in sodium. If I am going to eat a food that is high in fat and slat, it sure as hell is not going to be a fake burger that tastes like a fast food burger. I also found this nugget on the internet:

    The issue this time around with the Impossible Burger is the amount of glyphosate that it contains.

    According to Moms Across America, who had the product tested at Health Research Institute Laboratories, the levels of glyphosate were 11x that of the Beyond Meat burger and the total result (glyphosate and its metabolite AMPA) came in at 11.3 parts per billion.

    Why should consumers care about glyphosate?

    Because glyphosate is known to the State of California to cause cancer and the World Health Organization says it is “probably carcinogenic to humans.” — which means that it “probably causes cancer to humans.” Glyphosate also happens to be the primary ingredient in Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide, and approximately 250 million pounds of this weed killer are sprayed each year in the U.S.

  13. SC_Birdflyte says:

    @CSK: Having just returned from a visit to the invasion beaches, I would make a heartfelt plea to the Irish PM: “Please go see him at his hotel. While you’re there, have Gardai surround the place for a week so neither of you can get out. Those of us who don’t want the foul odor of Trump in the American military cemetery will pass the hat for a thank-you contribution.”

  14. CSK says:

    @SC_Birdflyte: The most current reports now say that the visit is scheduled for after the service, so unfortunately Trump will be befouling the air at the cemetery. But it wouldn’t surprise me, given that the Irish prime minister has openly welcomed protests against Trump, if Trump uses this as an excuse not to visit Ireland and to go instead to Scotland.

    I don’t think they like him much better in Scotland, either. And in England, he’s going to be greeted with a giant animatronic of himself sitting on a toilet whilst defecating and passing gas.

  15. Teve says:

    According to Moms Across America, who had the product tested at Health Research Institute Laboratories, the levels of glyphosate were 11x that of the Beyond Meat burger and the total result (glyphosate and its metabolite AMPA) came in at 11.3 parts per billion

    “Moms Across America” is an internet group that claims that GMOs and Roundup cause autism and only organic food is safe to eat.

  16. Matt says:

    The slow march towards war with Iran continues. I’m not sure why people aren’t resisting this more after the previous debacles. If Iran uses some of the tactics employed by red fleet in the Millennium challenge (2002) then we’re looking at losing a carrier or at least several task force ships in the opening hours. We’re not going to be able to hold the ground without a massive cost of lives on both sides.. All for what? What is the goal of Bolton and his ilk? Is this punishment for overthrowing the brutal dictator we installed?

    It’s madness and it reminds me of the run up to the second Iraq war all over again.

  17. Teve says:

    Harry Turtledove

    Trump, Oprah, Obama and a girl are in a plane. Both engines die. Only 3 chutes.

    Trump: “I’m POTUS!” Grabs one, goes.

    Oprah: “I help people!” Grabs one, goes.

    Obama: “You’re the future. Here!” Offers chute to girl.

    Girl: ” It’s OK. We still have 2. Trump took my book bag!”

  18. I need to write more about it, perhaps something this weekend that I’ll post Monday or Tuesday, but I tend to think that all this talk about a “march toward war” with Iran is all talk and no action. If reports are to be believed, Trump isn’t necessarily listening to Bolton and Pompeo and is listening to the military advisers, who are telling him exactly how badly a conflict with Iran could spin out of control and impact American forces in the Persian Gulf as well as the situation in Syria and even the cold war between Israel and Hamas over Gaza.

    Maybe I’m wrong but I don’t think I am.

  19. @Matt:

    The Iranians aren’t stupid. They know that attacking the US to the point that it has a serious impact on an American surface ship would lead to serious and painful retaliation that they can’t afford. For all the bluster, it’s worth noting that the American withdrawal from the JCPOA has had a real and severe impact on the Iranian economy due to the reimposed sanctions. While this may reinforce the position of the hardliners in Tehran it also makes it harder for Iran to rattle sabres too aggressively.

  20. An Interested Party says:

    True Christians really should be opposed to high interest rates…after all, it says so in the Bible…

  21. Mister Bluster says:

    The Hill and other outlets are reporting that REPUBLICAN Representative Justin Amash of Michigan has stated:
    “Here are my principal conclusions: 1. Attorney General Barr has deliberately misrepresented Mueller’s report. 2. President Trump has engaged in impeachable conduct. 3. Partisanship has eroded our system of checks and balances. 4. Few members of Congress have read the report,”

  22. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Teve: On the other side, HRI Labs appears to be a legitimate research organization–housed at Legacy Hospital in Portland and Virginia Mason in Seattle among other places–and acknowledges in its website page on glyphosate that the level of exposure that is harmful is still unknown.

    I don’t put a lot of stock in the value of “known to cause cancer by California” statements, but something having 11 times the quantity of something that MAY cause cancer than a similar product would lean me toward the other product. The fact that the Moms group may be radical organics only types does not make them wrong 100% of the time.

    Fortunately, I’m not likely to make either product a staple in my diet at roughly $16/pound retail, so I’m still going to make the field trip to Red Robin eventually. (The closest RR is about an hour away for me; that’s why its a field trip.)

  23. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Teve: While I’m here and feeling a little snarky, I decided to note that I have little experience with inorganic foods, but I would have to assume that they would be difficult and expensive to manufacture and have a slightly metallic taste that would interfere with broad level acceptance. 😉

  24. Stormy Dragon says:

    Did Butch Bracknell’s articles about the potential Golsteyn pardon all disappear from the site suddenly?

  25. Gustopher says:

    I haven’t used fake meat in a while, but I used to be very fond of Quorn as a ground beef substitute in pasta sauce.

    It’s a slime mold!

  26. The abyss that is the soul of cracker says:

    I’m not sure why people aren’t resisting this more after the previous debacles.

    Actual conversation from Friday with a student whose class had just been watching Letters From Vietnam.
    Student: Did you go to Vietnam, Mr. P?
    Me: No, my older brother went, though. He did 3 tours so that he would be done with the military when his hitch was over.
    Student: I think that the war we’re fighting now in Afghanistan must be completely different from Vietnam. Wouldn’t you say so?
    Me: No. They’re all quagmires, and that’s what matters.

    Until we start seeing war as a category rather than an event, we’ll continue to make the same mistakes. Over. And. Over. And. Over.

  27. Stormy Dragon says:


    Have you tried any of the impossible meat? It uses what amounts to hemoglobin produced by genetically modified yeast to add meat flavor to the product and it works surprisingly well.

    I have a big interest in the “cultured meat” concept, and I hope impossible and similar companies continue to be successful.

  28. Stormy Dragon says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    (and just to be clear, the leghemoglobin molecule also occurs in plants, and the specific genes used to make the yeast produce it were derived from soy plants, so there was no animal biological material involved directly or indirectly, but the molecule is chemical identical to the one in animal blood)

  29. grumpy realist says:

    How people reacted to Halley’s Comet in the early 1900s.

    I especially liked the comet pills. Has the U.S. ever NOT had sleazy tradesmen using fear to grab a buck from your pocket?

  30. Mike says:

    @Jax: it’s not just Gm soy it’s hemoglobin made in Gm yeast

  31. Matt says:

    @Doug Mataconis: What are you even talking about? I didn’t say a single thing to imply that the Iranians are stupid.

    Are you seriously making the statement that Iran defending themselves from an American invasion/attack is stupid and the Iranians should just welcome us as liberators or some such nonsense??

    I wouldn’t call the USA withdrawing from the JCPOA as having severe effects on Iran’s economy. Other countries are still doing business with Iran. Iran’s economic problems lately are mostly self inflicted. The price of oil has also been hurting most countries that rely on that commodity for economic activity.

  32. Teve says:

    Donald J. Trump

    If Iran wants to fight, that will be the official end of Iran. Never threaten the United States again!
    4:25 PM · May 19, 2019 · Twitter for iPhone