Open Forum

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

The floor is yours.

Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. Jen says:

    So…Trump has canceled/delayed his visit to Denmark, citing the Danish PM’s unwillingness to discuss the sale of Greenland.

    What on earth is going on here? Is his dementia getting so bad that his staff is leaking info to lead to strategic fights so he doesn’t have to make state visits? Or is this because Obama’s supposed to be there in September and Trump didn’t want to suffer the comparison (especially crowd size)?

    This is just so odd and strange. It just doesn’t seem possible to me that he, or anyone else in the administration, genuinely thought that they could just up & purchase another country and its people. What is going on here?

  2. Kit says:


    What on earth is going on here?

    Trump is walking away from the negotiating table. Brilliant move by the master deal maker! Just you watch as the Danes come crawling back.

  3. Guarneri says:

    Today’s politics. Heh.

    “So remember, the next time a legislator, mayor, or governor rails about plastic straws or the Paris Climate Accord, be assured that his state’s roads are clogged and crumbling, his public schools failing, or his public employee pension fund is insolvent, and he is either clueless or indifferent about it.”

  4. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Jen: @Kit:

    Well, if the Danes won’t take our money for Greenland, maybe they’ll take chump off our hands if we offer them enough. What’s another trillion or 2 added to the deficit? We can just give the rich another tax cut to make up for it.

  5. grumpy realist says:

    @Guarneri: Actually, the “clogged or crumbling” roads are more likely to be found in red states, full of people who refuse to pay taxes to maintain them. And then they complain about the state of their roads.

    (I guess they believe that the Infrastructure Fairy comes around and fixes them.)

  6. Kit says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Something’s rotten in the State of Denmark, and Trump is taking out the trash, baby!

  7. Guarneri says:

    @grumpy realist:

    Go to Illinois.

  8. KM says:

    Ok, Northern states have this thing called winter, right? It comes on a regular basis for several months and tends to do serious damage. All that freezing and expanding upheaving the ground, snow piling up and the water run off if it starts to melt, and the abrasives used to melt the ice – it tends to leave potholes and cracks even in freshly paved roads. I’ve seen a brand-new road look like it’s been through the wars after just one brutal winter…

    So when Northerners point out their roads are crap, it’s because of Mother Nature taking a hammer to them in addition to regularly wear and tear. When Southerners point out their roads are crap, it’s usually because they don’t want to pay the taxes necessary to keep them up. The blue parts of Southern states tend to have better roads because they pay to upkeep them. Rural bumf^ck in Texas with a nice, dry climate? Really doesn’t have an excuse.

  9. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Guarneri: I’ll see your Illinois and raise you one Missouri, the state that is trying to manage 2019 roads with 2019 traffic loads with 2019 gas efficiency on 1996 17 cents per gallon tax.

  10. Kathy says:


    Winter is a Chinese hoax.

  11. Teve says:

    Wajahat Ali
    #DisloyalToTrump is an exquisite hashtag. Well done, Jewish cousins from other mothers.

    Sincerely, The Muslims who are also tired of his hateful nonsense.

  12. Tyrell says:

    News from Earth:
    The past few weeks had two hurricanes, two volcano eruptions, three large typhoons, two major quakes, two huge gas explosions, and two fireballs over Florida (Sun-Sentinel) Taiwan: 6.2 earthquake.
    Magma is rising under western states
    (Outer Places) .
    Six new volcanoes off the coast of Italy. Volcano in Mexico is in full eruption. The tectonic plates are in motion. The Cascadia fault line is increasingly unsteady.
    (Earth and Space News) “People who live in California should move east of the Sierras”
    Sinkholes are increasing as instability of the earth’s crust grows (Accuweather).
    There is a huge storm on the sun. This will affect the temperatures on the earth and the magnetic field. Reports are of brighter, hotter sun rays (Space Weather).
    People report stinging skin as powerful electron particles from space are hitting the earth. A new source of radiation.
    The magnetic field is in turmoil. (Forbes)
    Mars is getting warmer: what’s causing that? Cars? Cows? (NASA)

  13. grumpy realist says:

    @Guarneri: If you had paid any attention to my previous comments, you would realise that I LIVE here in Illinois and yes, they’ve been fixing the roads here. Some of the counties aren’t as good as others at doing it (mainly the counties that have very little population) but on the whole, we’ve got pretty good roads and maintain them. (We also have that thing called winter which does a number on them, a.k.a. see “chunks of asphalt ripped out of roads due to snowplows and melting/freezing cycles.”)

  14. Mister Bluster says:

    It should be noted that the Illinois tax on gasoline doubled on July 1, 2019. It is now 38cents/gal. The first hike since 1990.
    Gas prices here in Sleepytown shot up to $2.999/gal. Several cents more than the 19cent tax increase.
    Today the price at the pump here has gone back down to pre tax hike levels, $2.629.
    Some places were as low as $2.499 for a few days last week.

    Go figure.

  15. Guarneri says:

    “One of the huge stories this week was that fact that Benjamin Netanyahu decided to bar the entry of two Democratic members of Congress Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib from entering Israel based on Trump’s bullying him into that position. He reversed course. Now, that’s a huge story, one I wrote a column about, but another huge story, one that isn’t being covered by any mainstream paper or network is the fact that their trip to Israel, or as they called it ‘Palestine,’ was being sponsored by a group that literally published neo-Nazi blood libels and said that it supported female suicide bombers, hailing them as heroes. That’s a scandal,” Weiss said.”

    No doubt, OTB will conveniently fail to point that out as well.

  16. Bill says:

    Epstein was having sex while on work release according to his accusers

    It wouldn’t surprise me if its true. Palm Beach County Sheriff Ric Bradshaw is a disgrace, not just because of this, and hopefully this outlandishness will get him removed from office by Florida’s governor.

  17. Guarneri says:

    @grumpy realist:

    And I lived there most of my life. The roads are for shixt. But the public employee union pensions sure do get increased………but not funded. Enjoy you increased taxes and lousy public services. Sane people are leaving in droves.

  18. Kathy says:

    It seems that nuking Mars is not a great idea. But it may sell T-shirts.

    I wonder if it’s worth the economic cost to terraform Mars, assuming it’s even possible to begin with. No doubt a full-blown civilization on mars would be worth, in time, much more than the initial investment. But that doesn’t mean the investors would see a return.

    Think about it. The various European kings and companies who invested in colonies in the Americas did receive a return. But the net worth of the Western Hemisphere today is several times that return, never mind the initial investment.

    So the reason we don’t see the very large scale, mega-engineering works popular in science fiction, like Dyson Spheres, might be there’s no profit in them.

  19. Gustopher says:

    @Guarneri: Typically, when one is quoting something, one puts a link. Otherwise, one might assume you are quoting from the NAMBLA News opinion page. Or Russia Times. Or Zero Hedge.

  20. Liberal Capitalist says:

    So, recently there has been a kerfuffle about Antifa.

    The president has called them “domestic terrorists”.

    As a person who lost his family’s land to the acts of fascists, I think that I would put myself in the anti-fascist category. So, I guess I am an Antifa supporter, by default.

    Which makes me a domestic terrorist?

    But I am in good company, I suppose, as I would stand with the other Antifa members of the last century: The US Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines — that fought fascists and won ,on behalf of democracy.

    How is it that Racists and Fascists are now some sort of protected snowflakes (“nice people”) here in the USA, while anti-fascists have become domestic terrorists?

    And today… we find that American Jews are “disloyal” Americans ???

    Does the GOP see how far far far far far right they have gone in the last two years?


  21. Tyrell says:

    @Mister Bluster: Gas here is $2.31. Back in June in SC it was $2.06.

  22. Teve says:

    I haven’t tried it yet but people on social media are going berserk for the new Popeyes chicken sandwich. One Atlantic writer said wait until next week to go because the stores are running out every day.

  23. 95 South says:

    @Liberal Capitalist: Masked gangs waging political violence in the streets are fascist. If you’re anti-fascist, you’re anti-Antifa.

  24. Bruce Henry says:

    @Teve: Went to Popeye’s last night to try the sandwich. My daughter had been hearing about it on Twitter all day. It was great but the location was overwhelmed and service was terrible despite the best efforts of the skeleton staff. I felt so sorry for the manager, and so glad that I no longer work in that industry. You know they had no idea when they showed up for work that this sh*tstorm was gonna happen.

    Popeye’s chicken is the best fast food chicken I’ve tried.

  25. wr says:

    @Bruce Henry: “Masked gangs waging political violence in the streets are fascist”

    So what’s your definition of fascist. “People I don’t like?” “Violent people I can smear liberals with?”

    Because it’s pretty clear you have no fucking idea what the word actually means. Why don’t you pick up a book someday and learn something?

  26. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Liberal Capitalist: My father was antifa, flew B-29s over Tokyo.
    My Aunt Bernie was antifa, spent the war canning C-rats. So did my Aunt Dorothy.
    My Uncle Frank was antifa, was a Marine on (iirc) Saipan and another island campaign (Tarawa??)
    My Uncle Gus was antifa, spent the war building bases here in the US.
    My Uncle Walt was antifa, came ashore D-Day +3 and went all the way to Germany.
    My Uncle Tony was antifa, spent the war making munitions in the Joliet ammo plant. Was there when it blew up. Same with his wife, Betty.
    My Uncle Alex was antifa, he was a frogman in the Pacific, got wrote up in a teenage book, “Frogmen of WWII”.
    My Uncle Joe was antifa. He didn’t come back.

    You are in good company.

  27. Mister Bluster says:

    So now President Puke wants to suspend the 14th Amendment of the United States Constitution.
    Trump Claims He Is ‘Seriously’ Considering Ending Birthright Citizenship for Children of Illegal Immigrants

    Next he will strip Americans of the Jewish faith who vote for Democrats of their citizenship.
    Count on it.

  28. Gustopher says:

    @95 South: ok, moron…

    Fascism requires organization. Antifa is pretty disorganized.

    This makes me question whether you are willfully ignorant, or just plain ignorant.

  29. DrDaveT says:


    Gas here is $2.31. Back in June in SC it was $2.06.

    In Iceland, it’s $10. What you pay for gas is a bizarre combo of federal subsidies and state taxes that has less than you might think to do with the cost of oil on the global market.

  30. Bruce Henry says:

    Excuse me, wr, but that wasn’t me!

  31. Guarneri says:
  32. Guarneri says:


    And if you had a managerial instinct in your body you would know that sensible people align their budgetary and maintenance activities to reflect the realities of their environment, including weather.

    But this is government.

  33. SC_Birdflyte says:

    @Tyrell: Another tax increase on gasoline kicked in on July 1, here in SC. That explains part of the difference. Also greater demand.

  34. 95 South says:

    @Gustopher: It’s the internet age. No one knows how well organized Antifa is. They can shut down a city though.

  35. Teve says:

    Awesome news!

    Mitch McConnell just wrote a NYT article insisting that everybody keep the filibuster cuz it’s so crucial for apple pie and democracy

    Which means internal polling is telling him that next November is going to change the Senate GOP’s status significantly. 😛 😀

  36. wr says:

    @Bruce Henry: Oops, hit the wrong reply button! Sorry — I should have realized that kind of stupidity had to come from someone like 95South…

  37. An Interested Party says:

    @Teve: Reading that was nauseating…the way that Moscow Mitch justifies all that he has done is so disingenuous…smarmy schmuck…

  38. Teve says:

    @An Interested Party:
    Oh I had to skip all the McConnell quotes. Just dumb lies for his dumb audience.

    But this is good news. It suggests he’s got info that tells him he’s likely to be in the minority in 2021. If we got an awesome new president such as Warren, and had a GOP senate, they’d trash the country as much as possible to wreck her, and with low-info voters it’d work. Then we’d get no progress on health care, climate, inequality, etc., and then in 2024 we’d get some smiling psycho GOP president who’s learned from Trump that GOP base voters will defend anything, no matter how abhorrent, destructive, dishonest, and dumb, and that could be the final collapse to third-world status.

    With a Dem House, Senate, and White House, and the end of the filibuster, there’s a chance we’d get to do, for a few months, the normal kinda problem solving that countries who aren’t ruled by a minority of dipshit Cletuses get to do.

  39. Teve says:

    Just a few months ago Mitch was bragging that if there was a new Dem president in 2021 he was going to be the “Grim Reaper” and kill all the new legislation to reform democracy, guns, health care, environmental stuff, etc. Now he’s scared the Senate will turn Dem and the filibuster’ll go away and Dems will get to pass legislation voters elected them to pass. He’s telling Democrats if you keep the filibuster I’ll win and you’ll lose.

    And that part where he tries to blame Harry Reid will work on the suckers, but not many others.

  40. Kit says:


    With a Dem House, Senate, and White House, and the end of the filibuster, there’s a chance we’d get to do, for a few months, the normal kinda problem solving that countries who aren’t ruled by a minority of dipshit Cletuses get to do.

    Normal problem solving? That doesn’t work any more, at least not for us. Even in a dream scenario, D’s will need to come in with a plan, and play a disciplined, dirty game from Day 1. There’s a damn lot to accomplish, and likely little time before any majority slips away. But at least Trump has shown that executive orders are the way to advance the ball.

  41. Kit says:

    I just receive six, almost-random OTB email notifications, after a few weeks without anything. Any IT work going on behind the scenes, @James?

  42. 95 South says:

    @wr: If OzarkHillbilly can call Imperial Japan fascist, then I can call Antifa fascist. But more accurately, they’re both violent authoritarian. Don’t believe Antifa’s name.

    Their presence at a protest is intended to intimidate and dissuade racists, but the use of violent measures by some antifa against their adversaries can create a vicious, self-defeating cycle of attacks, counter-attacks and blame. This is why most established civil rights organizations criticize antifa tactics as dangerous and counterproductive.

    The current political climate increases the chances of violent confrontations at protests and rallies. Antifa have expanded their definition of fascist/fascism to include not just white supremacists and other extremists, but also many conservatives and supporters of President Trump.

  43. Kathy says:


    We cannot discount the possibility Moscow Mitch may be wrong.

    As to the filibuster, I think it’s a great tool to have, provided there’s no ongoing hyperpartisan political warfare. When there is, it just serves for one party to thwart the other. there’s a vast difference between a filibuster of, say, a judicial nominee for a solid reason, and a filibuster of all judicial nominees.

    So, yes, the Democrats ought to do away with the legislative filibuster if/when they win the White House and Senate. maybe then they can pass a real tax reform, unrestricted by reconciliation rules.

  44. Teve says:

    @Kathy: course not. it’s still good news though. he didn’t order his assistant to write that piece after receiving a report entitled “Republicans certain to hold Senate next year”.

  45. An Interested Party says:

    @95 South: If you’re going to quote something, quote all of it

    That said, it is important to reject attempts to claim equivalence between the antifa and the white supremacist groups they oppose. Antifa reject racism but use unacceptable tactics. White supremacists use even more extreme violence to spread their ideologies of hate, to intimidate ethnic minorities, and undermine democratic norms. Right-wing extremists have been one of the largest and most consistent sources of domestic terror incidents in the United States for many years; they have murdered hundreds of people in this country over the last ten years alone. To date, there have not been any known antifa-related murders.

    Hmm…”extreme violence to spread their ideologies of hate”…”intimidate ethnic minorities”…”undermine democratic norms”…all attributes of fascists–the people who antifa are opposing…

  46. 95 South says:

    @An Interested Party: Right. Do you also buy Lucky Scratcher tickets because they have the word “lucky” right in their name?