Saturday’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. MarkedMan says:

    In my limited opportunities to find out why people are not getting vaxed, I’ve only come across only one that might fall into the Trumper stereotype. Most just seem worried about the vaccine, often because of their specific health issues. A couple just were not very connected to news media of any kind and struggled with where to get it and whether they would be charged because they didn’t have health insurance. Two are completely down the rabbit hole of ultra-veganism, nothing from big pharma, holistic crap (they won’t even vaccinate their dog for rabies or feed it meat). In other words, things are complicated. Here’s a NYTimes piece that backs that up.

    [Edit] I just remembered a family I know with several members that are unvaxxed and fall into the Trumper category. So my ratio is higher than I thought. Still, significantly more non-Trumpers.

  2. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @MarkedMan: My experience has been the polar opposite of yours.

  3. CSK says:

    It may well depend on where you live.

  4. MarkedMan says:

    @CSK: And how you come in contact with those people. I have family members, co-workers and a network of friends. Most of the unvaccinated I know didn’t bring it up to make a point, but instead it came up in passing. In fact, the one Trumper I knew who did seem to want to talk about hoaxes and so forth, got vaccinated early on when his wife laid down the law.

  5. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @CSK: It certainly does.

  6. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @MarkedMan: My only point is that anecdotes are not data. Your experience is just that, your experience.

  7. JohnMcC says:

    I understand of course that being un-vaxxed is not the exact same as being willing to try ivermectin… But this might have some bearing on this perennial discussion:

    Among those whose primary news source was: Newsmax, OAN, Gateway Pundit… 75% would take ivermectin.

    Fox News, Mark Levin, Breitbart… 70%
    Facebook, Instagram, Twitter… 46%
    Non-cable news, traditional print… 35%
    from Annenberg Public Policy Center

  8. MarkedMan says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Oh, I agree. I was just offering a counterpoint to the idea that some express here, that all non-vaxxed are Trumpers and so there is no reaching them.

  9. CSK says:

    Well, here’s Donald Trump’s perspective, offered to Sean Hannity on Oct. 8, 2021:

    “During my administration, everybody wanted the vaccine. There was nobody saying, oh, gee, I don’t want to take that. Now they say that. And that’s because they don’t trust the Biden administration. But they say, we don’t want it, we aren’t going to take it. When I was there, everybody wanted it and we were doing great. Well, the military did a fantastic job.”

  10. Monala says:

    Ursula Perano of Politico complained on Twitter about a Bernie Sanders critique of the media, saying that

    New Sanders statement pins blame on the media for Americans’ lack of awareness of what’s in the BBB plan, says press has done an “exceptionally poor job” covering the bill and that there has been “very limited coverage as to what the provisions of the bill are”

    She added,

    If you are a reporter pls feel free to reply to this with your very good policy reporting, of which there is much

    Well, guess what? Not a single reporter replied with any links to their “good policy reporting” about the Build Back Better bill.

    Oh! But Maggie Haberman of the NYT did respond with a defensive comment:

    It’s always the press’s fault and never the fault of the people communicating something. That’s just 101

    Both Perano and Haberman are getting dragged on Twitter, by folks reminding them that it is literally their job to inform the public about things like legislation, yet they’re too busy reporting the “horse race” of polls and conflicts.

  11. CSK says:

    Not too much action here today.

  12. Monala says:

    @Monala: to write my comment as a script:

    Media: Manchin and Sinema are blocking the $3.5 trillion Build Back Better bill. How will this affect Joe Biden’s approval ratings?

    Media: The public has no idea what policies are part of the BBB!

    Bernie Sanders: That’s because the media has done a poor job of explaining it.

    Perano of Politico: That’s not true! Show ‘em, reporters!

    Reporters: crickets

    Haberman of the NYT: Sure, blame the media when the public is uninformed! It’s not our fault!

    Twitter: Then whose fault is it?

  13. Dude Kembro says:

    With the inordinate focus on Dave Chappelle’s bizarre decision to make his brand all gay all the time (but he’s straight hmmm), many missed Adam Sewer’s brutal response to Sam Alito’s undignified, whiny, Trumpesque anti-media screeds:

    Reading aloud from a piece I wrote in the aftermath of the Court’s recent ruling on an abortion law, Alito insisted that it was “false and inflammatory” to say that the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision had been nullified in Texas.

    Alito’s speech perfectly encapsulated the new imperious attitude of the Court’s right-wing majority, which wants to act politically without being seen as political…

    He wanted to act like a GOP-primary candidate and wag his finger at the press, and he did so with a level of dishonesty and obfuscation you might expect from a politician…

    The rank dishonesty and arrogance of Alito’s speech at Notre Dame are symptoms of the conservative majority’s unchecked power on the Court, and the entitlement that flows from having no one around you who can tell you what you sound like. It is not simply enough for the right-wing justices to have this power; Alito insists that the peasantry be silent about how they use it, and acquiesce not only to their delusions of impartiality but to their mischaracterization of verifiable facts…

    During his speech, Alito quipped that “journalists may think we can dash off an opinion the way they dash off articles.”

    On the contrary. Journalists have to do their own work. I don’t have a hand-picked team of law clerks to do the heavy lifting for me, and I am not shielded from my own errors of fact and judgment by a lifetime appointment. If Alito wants the public to see the Court as apolitical, he should try meeting that standard, instead of lecturing others for not blinding themselves to the obvious.

  14. Jen says:

    that all non-vaxxed are Trumpers and so there is no reaching them.

    There are two separate items here: how many of the non-vaxxed are Trumpers, and how many of the non-vaxxed are unreachable.

    I think by and large that the percentage of the non-vaxxed who are Trumpers, are unreachable. But yes, there’s a cohort, potentially significant, that falls into the “I want to wait and see” category, such as some of the ones profiled in the NYT piece. (Adding, of course, that some of that might be revisionist history by family members…we just don’t know.)

    The point made in the NYT article about the lack of accessibility to medical information, particularly in rural areas, was interesting. However, that doesn’t explain why so many *nurses* in rural areas are refusing to be vaccinated.

    The “it was developed too fast” is one of my family member’s excuse. However, he’s a Trump voter so I suspect that the reason proffered is not 100% the truth–it’s likely 60% of the “don’t tell ME what to do” strain of Republicanism that is out there, and 40% not understanding how vaccines work (“what about the long-term side effects” etc.).

  15. CSK says:


    Well, The Conservative Tree House is today promoting the notion that the World Economic Forum knows about a top secret secret blood test that can detect the marker that’s been implanted in you via the Covid vaccine.

    Yes, people believe this shit.

  16. Gustopher says:


    However, that doesn’t explain why so many *nurses* in rural areas are refusing to be vaccinated.

    A lot of the better nurses got the hell out of there long ago? Only partially joking.

    There aren’t a lot of rural nursing schools, so these are people who left, and then came back (or decided to go rural after growing up in suburbs or the city). That’s going to be a very non-random group.

    Nurses as a whole are likely to be a lot less vaccine hesitant or resistant than the population at large, but this subset of nurses is self-chosen by criteria that strongly correlate to vaccine hesitation.

    Hypothetically, if you (generic you, not you specifically) like the idea of nursing — helping and caring for people through difficult times, etc. — but you aren’t big on science (maybe you think the world was created 4,000 years ago, or that people mostly heal themselves from illness, or you’re just dumb), you might be able to make a slightly uneasy balance, but generally be fine. Until someone is reinforcing your dumbest beliefs.

    None of us are immune from propaganda. I’m guessing that rural nurses are more susceptible to this particular propaganda. I’m also guessing that rural nurses are less vaccine hesitant than rural people in general.

  17. Mu Yixiao says:

    For anyone who’s been in China, you know that WeChat (Weixin in Chinese) is the app to have. It combines the features of twitter, facebook, uber, apple pay, and a ton of features that no one in the US really has. I grabbed my copy while in China, and still use it as a way to keep in touch with friends.

    This morning, WeChat updated. Or, to be more precise, it changed from Weixin to WeChat.

    There was a message that essentially said “You don’t have a Chinese phone number, so you can’t use the Chinese version. You have to use the version for foreigners.”

    This may seem like a small thing, but it’s actually rather significant. First, it’s take the single biggest communication tool in China and separating it into “Chinese” and “Other”. Second, it’s cutting off Chinese expats (e.g., students in CA, US, EU, UK, OZ) from features that they may rely on.

  18. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Jen: It’s telling how they “worry” about the long-term side effects of the vaccine when their unmasked wanderings about town say they are not at all worried about the long-term side effects of covid.

  19. CSK says:

    @Jen: @Gustopher:

    According to surveys by the American Nurses Association and the American Medical Association, as of this past September 88% of nurses and 96% of doctors are vaccinated or plan to get vaccinated.

  20. CSK says:

    Ah, but Covid is nothing more than a cold. Harmless. No lasting effects. There’s a belief that the number of Covid deaths has been hugely exaggerated by the reporting medical facilities so they can collect more federal money.

  21. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @CSK: I said it was telling, I didn’t say telling of what. 😉

  22. CSK says:

    No, you didn’t. 🙂

  23. CSK says:

    Marjorie Taylor Greene told Steve Bannon on his podcast that Bernie Sanders and other “top Democrats” took an oath in college to abide by the tenets of the Communist agenda.

  24. Matt says:


    The “it was developed too fast” is one of my family member’s excuse.

    One of the dumbest as mRNA vaccines have been in development for decades going back to the late 80s. I try to keep it simple in response to people who mention the “too fast” talking point. Something along the lines of “Remember the SARs when Bush jr was President in 2002? Yeah that’s when research and development of a mRNA based vaccine for coronavirus started in earnest. 18 years of development is “too fast” for you?”. They always switch to a different talking point or just try to change the subject altogether.

  25. JohnMcC says:

    @Mu Yixiao: I hear about the CCP sponsoring nationalism. Could you connect the two?

  26. Gustopher says:

    @Matt: it is an amazing coincidence that the mRNA tech was finally ready to be rolled out right when we had a global pandemic of another coronavirus though, and that it is so effective.

    It really is! It’s pretty much movie perfect, it’s suspiciously perfect timing.

    Sometimes shit works out. But, I do wish we had a lot more big media profiles of the folks who made it happen — put a human story behind it, and people will believe it more.

    (Alas, I think one of the main developers of the Moderna vaccine is a black woman, and we know how that would go over. Or did I just dream that? I don’t know… reality and facts are pretty much a “choose your own adventure” thing these days anyway, so I’m not sure it matters, but I’m pretty sure I heard an interview with her and she sounded black… “it’s just your basic-bitch mRNA sequence that gets your cells to create the spike protein, you know what I’m saying, homie?” but a little less basic-bitch and homie.)

  27. CSK says:

    That would be Dr. Kizzmekia Corbett.

  28. Mu Yixiao says:


    I hear about the CCP sponsoring nationalism. Could you connect the two?

    The CCP has pushed nationalism since before they took power. Those of us in the west can’t understand–much less grok–the hyper-nationalism of east Asian cultures. Asian nationalism is subtle but pervasive. “Of course we’re better than those white, black, and brown people. That’s just a fact. Everyone knows it.”

    Separating China from the rest of the world on the internet–while actively expanding throughout the world through trade–is the two-prong approach that Xi Jinping (and make no mistake–this is a dictator advancing his personal agenda; damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead!) is pushing to take advantage of “them” while tightening his grip on “his citizens”.

    “Nationalism” is what Boris Johnson and Trump push. What Xi is doing in China is closer to Stalin and Hitler. He is isolating Chinese citizens so the only voice they hear in that of the CCP. He is aggressively taking over the areas that don’t fall in line. And he is using small changes to make it seem harmless.

    WeChat and Weixin are different? That makes sense: One is for stuff in China, the other isn’t. WeChat can’t access all the stuff that Weixin can? That makes sense: if you’re not in China, why do you need that stuff? Weixin users can’t see some of the stuff that WeChat users can? That makes sense: we need to keep out the evil influences of western thought…

  29. Gustopher says:

    @Mu Yixiao:

    Nationalism” is what Boris Johnson and Trump push. What Xi is doing in China is closer to Stalin and Hitler. He is isolating Chinese citizens so the only voice they hear in that of the CCP.

    I don’t think Trumpers hear a lot of unapproved voices. They may not be legally forbidden from hearing them, but they don’t hear them.

    I think it’s a distinction of degrees (in terms of news access) not kind. Less genocide under Trump though.

  30. de stijl says:

    It has become settled knowledge that the Johnny Cash version of Hurt is better than the original NiN song.

    Two years ago I’d have agreed. My opinion is shifting.

    Nowadays the NiN / Trent Reznor version perks my interest more. The slow gradual build towards catharsis. The whispered lyrics mid song.

    Check both. Come to your own understanding. A worthy journey no matter your take at the end.

  31. Franklin says:

    @de stijl: I just visited Nashville for the first time and the Johnny Cash Museum. They’re playing his version on loop at the end of the tour. And in that moment, after you’ve reviewed his life’s work, that music video is stunningly powerful.

    I’m just sayin’

  32. de stijl says:


    A year ago I’d have agreed. Would have been right there with you.

    The Trezner version has a lot of merit. I’m feeling it. It builds to a conclusion.

    I did the Elvis tour of Graceland down in Memphis. Please don’t. It evokes pity and – in a way – scorn.

    His home and how he chose to decorate insulted my sense of appropriate decor – and I am a single man accustomed to no-thought practicality where nothing matches or contrasts – it just clashes. Does it do it’s function? If yes, then ignore until it breaks.

    Graceland is way uglier than anything my dream could imagine.

    Good songs. Bad decorator.

    Memphis is pretty fucking cool though. Beale St. got touristy, but a block away you can find good shit.

  33. de stijl says:

    I like out of the box thinking, but high pile shag carpet on the walls is too far for me.

    And this from a guy who once did a diamond plate install on a wall he owned. (Really bad for acoustics too, btw.)

  34. becca says:

    @de stijl: My husband played himself (recording engineer) in a movie that Mr Cash appeared. The other big name was Julian Sands. We still have an old VCR tape of Tennessee Waltz, but never watched the whole thing.

    I met Mr Cash several times at Quadrafonic Studio in Nashville. People who knew him called him John. I was in awe. He was quiet, kind, and a bit forlorn. June was kinda scary, but they were obviously devoted to each other.

    Quad Studio was owned by two former Elvis sidemen, Norbert Putnam (bass) and David Briggs (keyboards) who regularly regaled us with wild Vegas stories.

  35. wr says:

    @Mu Yixiao: ” Asian nationalism is subtle but pervasive. “Of course we’re better than those white, black, and brown people. That’s just a fact. Everyone knows it.””

    Not to mention “those other Asian people from different countries.” And sometimes “those other Asian people who live in our country but aren’t exactly like us.”

  36. wr says:

    @Gustopher: “Less genocide under Trump though.”

    Wait until his second term…

  37. wr says:

    @de stijl: “Nowadays the NiN / Trent Reznor version perks my interest more.”

    Speaking of which, have you heard Halsey’s new album yet? It’s a collaboration with Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross (typed Finch there first, man that’s hard to shake off…) and it’s really brilliant.