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. CSK says:

    Per NBC: QAnon now believes that Trump is helping Putin bomb Ukraine in order to wipe out a bioweapons lab created by Anthony Fauci.

  2. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @CSK: You forgot to include the info on the use of body parts from Russian children traded on the black market.

  3. CSK says:

    No, no, no. It’s the adrenochrome from the blood of children who’ve been tortured. And the purpose of the bioweapons labs is to create the next pandemic.

  4. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @CSK: Ah… My bad, I must have gotten that from a fake news source.

  5. CSK says:

    I should say so.

  6. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Sherri Papini seemed to be just another small-town northern California mom, when, a little over five years ago, she disappeared in the woods. By her own account, she was abducted, chained to a pole for three weeks, half-starved, beaten, branded and burned and then – for no apparent reason – released again by the side of a busy highway.

    Now, after an exhaustive search for her captors, the US government has concluded that Papini made up the whole story.

    According to the FBI, whose long investigation culminated in Papini’s arrest on Thursday, she spent the 22 days of her supposed captivity at an ex-boyfriend’s house in southern California and either inflicted the injuries on herself or got the ex-boyfriend to do it for her.

    A statement from Papini’s family expressed dismay that she was arrested in front of her two children but did not directly challenge the FBI’s findings, saying: “We are confused by several aspects of the charges and hope to get clarification in the coming days.”

    Shades of my ex.

  7. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @CSK: It’s soooo hard to know these days.

  8. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Ukraine war a ‘catastrophe’ for global economy as stock markets plunge

    The London stock market has suffered its biggest weekly losses since the start of the global pandemic in March 2020, as investors took fright at the escalation of the conflict in Ukraine.

    Shares plunged in the City following news of a fire and Russian capture of Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia nuclear power station, with the one-day drop of more than 250 points in the FTSE 100 index taking the weekly loss to 6.7%.

    European bourses also recorded big falls amid concerns that the impact of the fighting in Ukraine would spread westwards across the continent. David Malpass, president of the World Bank, told the BBC the war was a “catastrophe” for the global economy.

    Currency and commodity markets also ended the week amid fresh signs of turbulence, with a flight to the safe haven of the US dollar and the highest crude oil prices in a decade.
    The FTSE 100 index in London finished 251 points lower on Friday at 6,998, a 3.5% drop. The German and French stock markets fell more than 4%, taking the Dax in Frankfurt to its lowest levels since late 2020, while the Italian index tumbled 6.2% to its lowest level in more than a year. Europe’s Euro Stoxx 600 index closed at its lowest level in almost a year.

    Nervous investors were taking few chances ahead of what they expect to be another tough week when markets reopen on Monday.

    Another tough week indeed.

  9. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Roger Stone didn’t just take notes of a criminal conspiracy, he had it filmed:

    Close Donald Trump ally Roger Stone raged at the former US president in the aftermath of the failed attempt to overturn the 2020 election, according to a report from the Washington Post, telling a friend that Trump was a “disgrace” who would go to prison and adding: “He betrayed everybody.”

    The Post said it had viewed 20 hours of footage of the political operative that had been shot for a forthcoming documentary. The footage, it said, showed Stone:

    *Meeting and corresponding with members of a far-right militia since indicted for seditious conspiracy over the Capitol riot on January 6.

    *Discussing a plan in which Trump would issue a blanket pardon to co-conspirators in the attempt to overturn the election, Senator Ted Cruz and congressman Jim Jordan among them.

    *Saying Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law and close adviser, should be “punished” in a way that would leave him “braindead”.

    *Suggesting violence against protesters for racial justice would be possible with the election out of the way.

    “Once there’s no more election,” Stone reportedly said, “there’s no reason why we can’t mix it up. These people are going to get what they’ve been asking for.”

  10. Sleeping Dog says:


    Given that most stock markets were wildly over valued, any shock that put in question the ability of companies to reach the market’s lofty expectations was going to cause a massive correction. (While Sleeping Dog, adopts a Sgt. Schultz demeanor and refuses to witness the wash of red across his own portfolio.)

  11. OzarkHillbilly says:

    The One. Turns out it wasn’t even worth 1/2.

    Niles Niami, the mansion developer who built The One, and described his aesthetic, simply, as “badass”, had floated increasingly desperate plans to avoid auctioning it off, the Los Angeles Times reported, including turning it into an events space for boxing matches and holographic appearances of dead celebrities such as Michael Jackson and Whitney Houston, and making a cryptocurrency called “The One Coin” backed by the value of the property. Niami did not immediately respond to attempts to contact him after the auction’s close.

    However divisive, the sale of The One is consistent with a pandemic-driven shift in the tastes of the super-rich, said Chad Roffers, the president of Concierge Auctions, which conducted the online sale. While the world’s wealthy have recently tended to favor smaller, well-placed apartments in major cities (the previous most expensive US home was a $238m for a New York City penthouse), the experience of “being in a lockdown” has seen demand for “really big” properties surge – a trend that harks back to the mega mansions of the early aughts.

    While in many promotional photographs The One resembles a giant, frigid airport terminal, real estate agents involved with the sale have said that, in person, the house is full of thoughtful touches and very livable.

    While the participants in the auction were anonymous to the public, Roffers, the president of the online auction house, said their clients typically fit a certain profile: “Their world is private jets that they own, or at least share,” he said. “Some people are into art, some people are into wine, some people are into cars, some people are into everything. We really identify a niche of people who are property collectors. They’re always on the lookout for a unique property.”

    For an obscenity, it’s not bad looking, I just can’t imagine why anyone would want the upkeep on the place.

  12. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Sleeping Dog: Yeah, paper losses.

  13. CSK says:

    Can you swim in the moat, or are there dragons in it?

  14. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @CSK: It has alligators with Jewish space lasers mounted on their heads.

  15. Sleeping Dog says:

    Donald Trump looks increasingly like a stray orange hair to be flicked off the nation’s sleeve.

    Only notable line in an otherwise pedestrian George F. Will column.

  16. CSK says:

    Now why didn’t that occur to me?
    @Sleeping Dog:
    Great line.

  17. HarvardLaw92 says:


    True, but to keep it relative, the Moscow Exchange has been shuttered for a week now, which is the only thing preventing it from being wiped out entirely tbh.

    Indicative of what’s to come for the MOEX, before LSE got around to halting trading, Russian equities had been obliterated. Sberbank, which had been trading around $15 mid February, lost 99.6% and last price was 5 cents. Gazprom similar, dropping 93.2% to a last price of 58 cents. That will only get worse as the index funds with now index delisted Russian equities dump them when trading reopens. Russia could conceivably see trillions in value just erased from its economy.

    To which I say: Good.

  18. Jay L Gischer says:

    What could have possibly have been Stone’s thinking to say such things in front of a camera? I mean, yeah, he said, “If you use that I’ll murder you”. I can’t see that stopping a subpoena, though.

  19. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @HarvardLaw92: Couldn’t happen to a nicer bunch of oligarchs.

  20. HarvardLaw92 says:


    Indeed. We will have to see how long their loyalty to Putin survives their loyalty to their (rapidly evaporating) net worth.

  21. CSK says:

    @Jay L Gischer:
    I too was wondering that. It’s a documentary. What’s he going to do–pretend it’s a “deep fake”?

  22. CSK says:

    Apparently TruthSocial is the utter dud we assumed it would be. From Politico, via Raw Story:

    What I don’t understand is the need for a waiting list when (relatively) few people have bothered to sign up. You join Facebook, you’re in. Ditto Twitter. But with TruthSocial, you wait weeks.

  23. Michael Reynolds says:

    We’re buying a house in Marin County for our daughter. Guess how much over the asking price it went for? 10? No. 20% No. Thirty fucking percent over list.

  24. CSK says:

    @Michael Reynolds:
    Must have been a bidding war.

  25. Michael Reynolds says:

    Nope. You have to put your bids in on a specific date. So everyone jacks it up to absurd levels preemptively. My house, which we bought three years ago, according to Zillow, has appreciated about 35%.

    California! We keep hearing that everyone is leaving, so I wonder who the hell is jacking up the prices?

  26. Jen says:

    I’ve mentioned that I lived in West Germany as a kid, and many of my high school friends speak German. One posted a picture today of a man in Germany holding a sign that reads “scheiss auf gas, schnaps warmt auch.” Roughly translated: “f*%$ gas, schnaps warms you up too.”

    It appears as though some Germans are not having any of Vlad’s nonsense either.

  27. Mikey says:

    @Michael Reynolds: We’re seeing the same kind of stuff here in Northern Virginia. People offering 20% over listed price, waiving all contingencies, etc. IBuyers like Opendoor buying places for $500K, slapping on a coat of cheap paint (maybe), two weeks later it’s back on the market for $700K and selling for $800K.

    But it’s not a bubble, everyone assures me.

  28. Michael Reynolds says:

    My wife’s mother died yesterday after a long decline caused by vascular dementia. Katherine and her two sisters were there, looking at old photos, and quite peacefully it was all over. Funny thing about dementia, the MIL actually ceased to exist months ago, so it was less a sense of sadness, more a sense of relief.

    Here’s my morbid take: my wife now has experience with people dying (father went about a year ago, much harder, COPD) so now she has experience for dealing with me when I croak. Just call me Mr. Happy.

  29. Michael Reynolds says:

    Contingencies are the first thing they rule out here. You simply do not make a contingent bid. Ancient Indian burial ground? Tough luck, the poltergeists are your problem now.

  30. CSK says:

    @Michael Reynolds:
    My condolences. My mother had some degree of dementia when she died, although she still recognized us, and could participate reasonably intelligently in conversations. My father was as sharp as a tack till about two weeks before he died, well past 94. Hid death was harder on us; it seemed an actual living person had been taken way from us.

  31. MarkedMan says:

    @Michael Reynolds: No matter how much you are prepared it leaves a hole behind. My wife still visits her fathers grave and has a cry every year, ten years on. This past year her mother was beside him. My mother just passed and my father 9 years ago. We are 61 but it still hit us shen we became the oldest generation.

  32. Mister Bluster says:

    @Michael Reynolds:..more a sense of relief.

    My sincere condolences.
    My mother died in 2008 at the age of 88.
    After living with her schizophrenia for the last 50+ years of her tortured life, relief was a very appropriate healing emotion for our family.

  33. charon says:

    If you were wondering about whether the Russians really influence our social media, compare the list of top Facebook posts from a few weeks ago to this week, when Russia couldn’t access its foreign cash reserves. Rather telling

  34. Sleeping Dog says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    My condolences to Katherine and your family. There is much to be said about going peaceably.

  35. Jay L Gischer says:

    For no good reason, I watched Darkest Hour last night on Netflix.

    There’s a scene where Churchill, of all things, gets on the Underground and has a chat with the people there. They are, well, just as defiant as he is. “We’ll fight them with broomsticks if we have to!” calls out one young woman. Should they negotiate with Hitler for a peace settlement.
    “Never!” says the black man from Picadilly. “Never!” says the housewife with the same last name as Winston’s mother. “Never!” says the 10-year-old (or so) girl. “Never!” is the cry from the House of Lords when he meets with them, too.

    This, well, kind of reminds me of a certain people of the moment.

  36. Jay L Gischer says:

    One argument for “this is not a bubble” is that housing inventory – the number of houses for sale – is actually low. Few people are thinking to sell in the midst of a pandemic. This, of course, works in the favor of those selling. Also, I think there’s been some profit-taking from stock returns that’s being put into real estate.

    I think that may change come spring/summer. My guess, and it’s a guess, not financial advice, is that prices will flatten out then.

  37. Flat Earth Luddite says:

    For those of us preparing our Ukrainian tax returns, good news!

    “There is no need to declare the captured Russian tanks and other equipment, because the cost of this … does not exceed 100 living wages,” or 248,100 Ukrainian hryvnia, the agency said, according to Interfax-Ukraine.

    I stand relieved!

  38. CSK says:

    I confess I can’t quite understand the import of the comparison.

    Incidentally, Russia blocked Facebook (and Twitter) today. Fewer than one in ten Russians use Facebook, according to the WaPo.

  39. Mikey says:

    @Michael Reynolds: I am sorry for your loss, my condolences to your family.

    Funny thing about dementia, the MIL actually ceased to exist months ago, so it was less a sense of sadness, more a sense of relief.

    I know what you mean. Dementia took my dad, too. He was gone long before his body died.

  40. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @MarkedMan: Becoming an orphan is never easy, no matter what age you are.

  41. Jax says:

    @CSK: The Russian bots/trolls can’t manipulate the “trending” narratives if they can’t get on Facebook or Twitter.

  42. CSK says:

    Ah, thanks.

  43. Sleeping Dog says:

    @Jay L Gischer:

    House prices in our area are also through the roof. The statewide average sale price is now $400K, it was $300K in 2019, and our area the average sale price is around $600K. We considered selling but anywhere we are interested in going has the same or more expensive market conditions. Why go through the hassle?

  44. Gustopher says:

    @Michael Reynolds: condolences for your family. Slow deaths cause all sorts of complicated feelings, so relief can turn to sorrow, anger and guilt at the drop of a hat.

  45. Sleeping Dog says:

    Is the Russian Air Force Actually Incapable of Complex Air Operations?

    The Only Currently Viable Explanation

    While the early VKS failure to establish air superiority could be explained by lack of early warning, coordination capacity and sufficient planning time, the continued pattern of activity suggests a more significant conclusion: that the VKS lacks the institutional capacity to plan, brief and fly complex air operations at scale. There is significant circumstantial evidence to support this, admittedly tentative, explanation.

  46. Gustopher says:

    @Jay L Gischer: Not sure what would happen in spring or summer to change things — traditionally those are considered good times to sell. If anything, with more companies wanting people back in the office, there should be more demand for centrally located housing.

    We need to build more housing where people want to live. Or make the rest of America more desirable, but that might mean solving the MAGA problem. Or a bigger pandemic. Building housing seems like the easier of the three.

  47. CSK says:

    @Sleeping Dog:
    I read the linked piece. Interesting. And plausible.

  48. charon says:

    Israeli Prime Minister secretly visits Russia, talks to Putin.

    PM Naftali Bennett has arrived in Moscow for unannounced negotiations with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

    This was later confirmed by Putin’s spokesperson Dmitry Peskov.

  49. Michael Cain says:


    We need to build more housing where people want to live.

    I live in one of those places, a city of ~180K. We are building at a ridiculous rate, and everything you can imagine — apartments, condos, townhouses, single-family houses. And jobs and people are still moving in faster than we can build.

  50. Kathy says:

    @Jay L Gischer:

    Solid history-based movie.

    You can see why Gary Oldman won the Oscar for that role.

  51. JohnSF says:

    @Jay L Gischer:
    Very very good drama; and somehow get’s the character of Churchill, best as I’ve been able to judge it (though missing out some of his less, umm, contemporary attitudes).
    But as history?
    The “Tube ride” never happened.
    And Churchill would have been unlikely to ask, rather than trust the common subject/citizen.
    The whole Dunkirk operation aspect twists thing about.

    And compresses history (as is often the case): even after Dunkirk, France was still fighting, and in fact UK sent forces there. It was after only the end of the battles of June 1940 that France was truly defeated.

    Still a great film.

  52. JohnSF says:

    @Michael Reynolds:
    My condolences.

  53. Kathy says:


    I know. I said history-based.

    Movies is not the medium to learn history. I’m satisfied if they 1) get the gist right, and 2) recreate the era well enough to give one a feel for it.

  54. JohnSF says:

    Got to love the British Dockers Unions: F.U. Russian oilships.
    Non Russian registered ships carrying Russian oil and gas; dockers refuse to offload.
    Heard similar re. Russian bulk carriers at Rotterdam and Amsterdam.

    Also: when even football fans are making political,points, something has shifted.
    (Excepth for the f’ckin’ Chelski Headhunters, of course.)

  55. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Michael Reynolds: You don’t have any mirrors in your house?

  56. Jay L Gischer says:

    @JohnSF: I wondered about the historicity of the “tube ride”. However, as drama, it was a great way to put the feelings of the ordinary classes of British people on the screen, and to show that the bulldog tenacity was not exclusive to Churchill, which it wasn’t.

  57. JohnSF says:

    @Jay L Gischer:
    Based on conversations with people around at the time, unfortunately all gone now. it seems to have built over time.
    Chamberlain is often disparaged (and rightly) but he did declare war; before Germany had attacked Britain; and showed no inclination to seek terms after Germany conquered Poland: that IMO was the decisive point when UK (and France) might have accommodated to Nazi Germany.

    And a second step-change was the impact of German attacks on Britain, and the hard choices of war.
    See e.g. Mers el Kebir.
    As I say, a great dramatic portrayal.
    But it compresses and simplifies the history.