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


  1. Kathy says:

    I had a really odd dream involving a different ending to 1984.

    Try as I might to recall it, though, I find myself interpreting it rather than remembering it. But I do recall one part intact. O’Brien tells Winston, “History can’t stand still. Nothing lasts forever. The cycle is turning again and the Party is terrified.”

    That sounds more like me than O’Brien.

  2. grumpy realist says:

    North Korea has gone back to its old tricks, just as everyone knowledgeable predicted.

    Trump == chump

  3. Teve says:

    It’s the racism. But it’s not just the racism. It’s sex crimes. But it’s not just the sex crimes. It’s the concentration camps. But it’s not just the concentration camps. It’s the corruption. But it’s not just the corruption.
    It’s being a traitor. But it’s not just being a traitor. It’s the obstruction of justice but its not just the obstruction of justice. It’s the attacks on rule of law. But it’s not just the attacks on the rule of law. It’s the assault on freedom of the press.
    But it’s not just the assault on freedom of the press. It’s the pathological lying. But it’s not just the pathological lying. It’s the unfitness for office. But it’s not just the unfitness for office. It’s the incompetence. But it’s not just the incompetence.
    It’s the attacks on our most important allies and alliances. But it’s not just the attacks on most important allies and alliances. It’s the systematic destruction of our environment. But it’s not just the systematic destruction of our environment.
    It’s the violation of international treaties and agreements. But it is not just the violation of international treaties and agreements. It’s the embrace of our enemies. But it is not just the embrace of our enemies.
    It’s the defense of murdering dictators but it is not just the defense of murdering dictators. It is the serial undermining of our national security. But it is not just the serial undermining of our national security. It is the nepotism. But it’s not just the nepotism.
    It’s the attacks on our federal law enforcement and intelligence communities. But it is not just the attacks on our federal law enforcement and intelligence communities. It’s the fiscal recklessness. But it’s not just the fiscal recklessness.
    It’s the degradation of the office and of public discourse in America. But it’s not just the degradation of the office and of public discourse in America. It’s the support of Nazis and white supremacists. But it’s not just the support of Nazis and white supremacists.
    It’s the dead in Puerto Rico and the at the border. But it’s not just the dead in Puerto Rico and at the border. It’s turning the US government into a criminal conspiracy to empower and enrich the president and his supporters.

    But it’s not just the turning the US government into a criminal conspiracy to empower and enrich the president and his supporters. It’s weaponization of politics in America to attack the weak. But it’s not just the weaponization of American politics to attack the weak.
    It’s all these things together and the threat of worse to come. It is the damage that can not be undone. It is pathology that has overtaken our politics and our society, the revelation that 40 percent of the population and an entire political party are profoundly immoral.
    It is a disease that has infected our system and is killing it. At the moment, we still have the wherewithal to fight back. But even those who recognize the dangers of this litany of crimes are proving too complacent, too inert in the face of this threat.
    It is one of those moments in the history of a country when there is a choice to be made, a choice between having a future and not, between growth and decay, between democracy and oligarchy, between what we dreamt of being and what even our founders feared we might become.
    The litany of crises and crimes is so long that we are becoming numb. You have heard of the fog of war. This is the fog of Trump. The volume of wrongs becomes its own defense. Is the president accused of being a rapist? Well, then remind them he is a racist and they’ll forget.
    This is a moment for leaders to step up. To challenge each of these abuses via every legal means available. To organize and draw attention to them. To blow the whistle if you are in government and you are being asked to violate your oath. To resist and refuse to be complicit.
    If you can’t do those things that make your voice heard and join a movement, support a political candidate, donate money, register voters, fight voter suppression. But whatever you do, resist becoming numb. Resist the temptation to let the recitation of old crimes and new…
    …become a deadening drone. Every one matters in times like these. Every one must stand up for what is right. In their homes. In their schools. In the workplace. In their churches and synagogues and mosques.
    We are approaching a great national decision about whether the American experiment will succeed or fail, whether this moment does what two world wars, a civil war and countless past misjudgments and missteps could not.
    We will make it together, resist, offer a better alternative, embrace that alternative and the best leaders we can find…or succumb, let the inertia of some among us mark the end of what for two and half centuries was an idea so compelling it inspired the world.

    -David Rothkopf

  4. DrDaveT says:

    Mike Trout is quietly on his way to being the greatest baseball player since Babe Ruth. I say ‘quietly’ because he doesn’t typically lead the league in home runs or batting average or other traditional fan stats, he doesn’t play for a popular team, and he isn’t flamboyant. But according to the best metrics we have, only Ty Cobb has ever had a better start to his career.

    Last year, the big free agents on the market were Bryce Harper and Manny Machado, who are both about the same age as Trout. The writers at FanGraphs pointed out that Trout has been as valuable as both of them combined over his career.

    Trout is only 28 years old, but he is now almost daily passing some existing Hall of Fame player in career value. Sam Miller at ESPN has started a monthly column, listing the players Trout has passed, and reminding us why they are in the Hall of Fame.

    If you’re any kind of baseball fan at all, and you haven’t been paying attention, take some time to watch Mike Trout quietly dominate the sport like nobody else has in the last century.

  5. DrDaveT says:

    @DrDaveT: Correction; Trout is 27 years old.

  6. An Interested Party says:

    @DrDaveT: A pity that he plays for a mediocre team…

  7. DrDaveT says:

    @An Interested Party:

    A pity that he plays for a mediocre team…

    …and always will. He’s signed through 2030, at way below his actual market value. (A reasonable case could be made that his actual market value is somewhere around twice what he signed for — the greatest player in baseball is also the greatest bargain.)

  8. grumpy realist says:

    NY Post trying to link Harris to Epstein.

    This sort of news manipulation really annoys me. First of all, Kirkland and Ellis is the biggest law firm in the US, with 2500 lawyers and I suspect up to over 7500 employees in general. Add in to that the fact that the firm started back in 1902 and you’ve got tons and tons of people who have worked there–this is like having a hissy fit because Evil Person X lived in Omaha and Person You Want To Hate also lived in Omaha.

    Second, if you’re going to say that this is bad-naughty-bad because of K&E’s link with Epstein, then throw Brett Kavanaugh off the Supreme Court–he was an actual LAWYER there. And drop Starr off the bridge while you’re at it (another lawyer.)


  9. grumpy realist says:

    Ursula von der Leyen voted in as EC president.

    Expect conniption fits from all the Brexiters.

  10. Ol Nat says:

    I’m following up on the Old Glory Flag/Kaepernick article from a while ago. I just started reading The Half Has Never Been Told, and it’s pretty clear why an African American might want to not be reminded of the 18th century US in a decontextualized way. I know the discussion has been around explicit racism, but what represents the birth of the Republic and new freedoms for some represents our worst selves at the same time.

  11. DrDaveT says:

    Question: when was “peak white” in the US, in terms of the percent of the population of the land area now occupied by the United States? We know the percent white started near zero when the Europeans first arrived, and that it has been declining for some time. When was the peak, and how high did it get?

  12. James Joyner says:

    @DrDaveT: According to US Census data, only 80.7% self-identified as “white” at the time of the first Census in 1790. That number went up gradually with every decennial until 1940, when it peaked at 89.8%. It’s declined steadily since:

    1950 89.5
    1960 88.6
    1970 87.5
    1980 83.1
    1990 80.3
    2000 75.1
    2010 72.4

    It gets more complicated still when you isolate non-Hispanic whites. At least in raw numbers, that only peaked in 2014.

    The number of non-Hispanic white people in the United States decreased for the first time in the nation’s history between 2015 and 2016, according to new figures released Thursday by the U.S. Census Bureau.

    The data show the nation’s white population is aging rapidly, as Americans delay their decision to have a family and as the flow of foreign immigrants from European countries ebbs. At the same time, minority populations are growing much faster, hastening a demographic shift that has been decades in the making.

    The average non-Hispanic white American is 43.5 years old, according to the new data. The average Hispanic American, by contrast, is 29.3 years old.

    Demographers say the decline in the white population has been coming for decades, as Americans decide to have children at later ages and as the baby-boom generation moves toward retirement. Today, there are fewer white women in prime childbearing years as a share of the overall population than ever before, and more minorities in childbearing years than ever before.

    “White fertility has gone down. There’s a little bit less white immigration in the last year,” said William Frey, a demographer and sociologist at the Brookings Institution in Washington. “As the white population becomes older, that means that even if fertility gets up a little bit, it’s not going to be what it was a long time ago.”

    The decrease in the overall white population is a downward revision of the 2015-2016 data released last year. Between 2016 and 2017, the non-Hispanic white population declined about 0.02 percent, to 197.8 million people.

    The Census Bureau said the Hispanic population continued to grow, reaching 58.9 million in the middle of 2017, up 2.1 percent from the year before. The number of African Americans rose 1.2 percent to 47.4 million, and there are 22.2 million people of Asian heritage, up 3.1 percent over last year.

  13. CSK says:

    So the Trumpkins have decided that the arrest of Jeffrey Epstein was a plot to…get Trump, a plot that has backfired on the Democrats .

  14. Teve says:

    @CSK: but the Qanon Trumpers have decided that this was the first shot in a 20-year battle Trump has fought against the elite satanic pedophiles.

    Liz Crokin: Trump Appointed Alex Acosta to Force the Media to Cover Jeffrey Epstein’s Arrest

    Chris McDonald: Floods, Earthquakes and Epstein Arrest Were Caused By Trump’s July 4 Speech

  15. CSK says:

    @Teve: No words.

  16. MarkedMan says:

    On another thread the topic of Creationists came up and it made me thing of something I’ve been wondering about: When and where did the idea of the inerrant bible come about? It is a completely ridiculous idea if one knows history, as there have been thousands upon thousands of different books and writings and so forth in dozens of different languages that were assembled into thousands of different versions of the Bible, many of which are significantly different from each other, so the idea that the particular English edition they have in their glove compartment is the one and true word is absurd. But even if you don’t know history, the very first book of the Bible gives two differing accounts of creation itself. And the handwaving the inerrant faction does to wave this away, well, they just embarrass themselves.

  17. Kathy says:


    Well, I can easily believe Poseidon and Tlaloc are Republicans.

  18. DrDaveT says:

    @James Joyner:

    It gets more complicated still when you isolate non-Hispanic whites.

    That was my intent; I mean ‘white’ as understood by Trump and his ilk. I believe that would include all European-Americans (even of Spanish descent), but not people whose ancestors passed through Latin America.

  19. DrDaveT says:

    @MarkedMan:There’s actually a pretty good summary of the history of the theory of biblical inerrancy on Wikipedia.

    (The ‘talk’ page for that article is both hilarious and sad, I fear.)

    Note that some people distinguish between ‘inerrancy’ (no false statements or fictional stories) and ‘infallibility’ (which is limited to questions of faith and salvation).

  20. Mister Bluster says:

    Rep. Will Hurd (TX-23)
    Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (PA-01)
    Rep. Fred Upton (MI-06)
    Rep. Susan Brooks (IN-05)

    “Who does vote for these dishonest shitheads?”
    Hunter S. Thompson?

  21. MarkedMan says:

    @DrDaveT: wow, thanks for the link. And it reinforces my resolution to never discuss this with an actual believer in inerrancy. It would be like telling a five year old that their best friend, the magic unicorn, wasn’t real.

  22. Kathy says:

    Interesting, this piece makes the case that Dennison’s “tough” anti-immigration policies are the cause of increased immigration to the US.

    It’s lacking in data, but the increase in undocumented immigrants and asylum seekers is rather plain.

  23. Teve says:

    · 1h
    Hearing first unconfirmed rumors that Justice Stevens has passed away.

    Liz Mair
    If this has happened, 1) RIP and 2) legitimately welcome to hell. Confirmations hearings for this one will make Kavanaugh stuff look like a quaint tea with the ladies from church.

    Liz is on the Ball!

  24. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Teve: How would there be confirmation hearings? Stevens retired in 2012 or so.

  25. Teve says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker: Liz has now deleted the tweet. 🙂

  26. DrDaveT says:


    Liz has now deleted the tweet.

    LOL. I first read her tweet as somehow implying that Stevens was now in hell, undergoing “confirmation hearings”…

  27. Teve says:

    Mark Sanford Gonna Run Against Trump Because He’s Got A Humiliation Kink — funny piece from wonkette. I’d like to put up an excerpt, but I’d have to excerpt the whole thing.

  28. MarkedMan says:

    And Rand Paul is grandstanding again the only Senator to vote against the 9/11 first responders act, forcing it to a floor debate and wasting everyone’s time. What a self important ass. What an attention seeking bag of sh*t. If Libertarians had any sense they would renounce him en mass but instead they hold him up as their poster child.

  29. DrDaveT says:


    If Libertarians had any sense […]

    Hee hee. Stop it, man, you’re killing me.

  30. Kit says:

    James, the next time you get your IT expert to make changes, could you think about changing the template used for email notifications? Instead of, for example:

    [Outside the Beltway] New Comment On: Ronald Reagan v. Donald Trump On Immigration

    Much for useful, at least on my phone, would be:

    OTB: Ronald Reagan v. Donald Trump On Immigration

  31. James Joyner says:

    @Kit: Hmm. A plug-in sends out the notifications. I’ve changed the From: from “Outside the Beltway/OTB:” to simply “OTB.” There’s no place to delete the “New Comment On” field.

  32. Kit says:

    @James Joyner: Thanks, James!

  33. Tyrell says:

    News from our four footed friends:
    “IKEA” is taking in dogs that need a place to sleep”

    “Missing dog is found 1100 miles away in Florida after leaving home following master’s death”

    “Dog journeys to hospital to find owner”: An older story, but nice to watch. (CNN)

    “War buddies at peace”: Marine reunited with military service dog.
    (Dog Times)

    “Dogs detecting lung cancer with 97% accuracy may spell the end of expensive screening methods”
    (Good News Network}

    “Why dogs now play a big part in cancer research”

    “Dog drives bear away from backyard in New Jersey”
    (NY Daily News)