Sunday’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. Bill says:
  2. Bill says:
  3. de stijl says:


    I have a bone to pick with you. You turned me on to reaction videos.

    Now I am watching two black guys from Glasgow talking about the Johnny Cash version of Hurt. Thick Glaswegian accents.

    I am now an addict.

    Why am I fronting that this is a bad thing? I freaking love it.

  4. CSK says:

    Boy, that’s really disgusting.

  5. Sleeping Dog says:


    Florida man in training…

  6. de stijl says:


    Circle of life.

    What comes around goes around. And through.

  7. grumpy realist says:

    Brazil has now passed 100,000 deaths from COVID-19 and doesn’t look like it will stop.

    I wonder if we’ll ever have war crime judgments for complete stupidity with a high body count attached? Either that, or create a new “crime against humanity” for such.

  8. CSK says:

    @de stijl:
    So true. So very true.

  9. OzarkHillbilly says:

    What we are learning about Covid-19 and kids

    Back in April, the French epidemiologist Arnaud Fontanet found himself leading an investigation in the town of Crépy-en-Valois, a small community of 15,000 inhabitants just to the north-east of Paris. In February, the town’s middle and high schools had become the centre of a new outbreak of Covid-19.

    Fontanet and colleagues from the Pasteur Institute in Paris were tasked with conducting antibody testing across Crépy-en-Valois to understand the extent to which the virus had been circulating. As they surveyed the town, they noted an interesting pattern. While the virus had spread rampantly through the high school, with 38% of students being infected, along with 43% of teachers and 59% of non-teaching staff, the same was not true for the town’s six primary schools. While three primary-age pupils had caught Covid-19 in early February, none of these infections had led to a secondary case. Overall, just 9% of primary age pupils, 7% of teachers and 4% of non-teaching staff had been infected with the virus.

    “These results showed us that teenagers are just as contagious as adults,” said Fontanet. “But in the younger age groups, it’s a different story. They do not seem to transmit it to the same extent.”

  10. Sleeping Dog says:

    Perhaps this is only fantasizing by RINO rightists who are searching for a political home. But is also should be a warning to the Dem far left, that the center left has options.

  11. CSK says:

    @Sleeping Dog:
    It was interesting to read that in conjunction with the offerings over at, where 95% of the commenters are convinced that Trump is not only the greatest president ever, but that he’ll win in a landslide come November.

    I’m not persuaded that Cult45 was ever made up of either true Republicans or true conservatives. I think they allied themselves–not very happily–with the Republicans because the Democrats, since the late 1960s, were beyond the pale. They were waiting for someone like Trump (Palin, looking back, was a stop-gap measure), a populist nationalist demagogue, to appear.

  12. CSK says:

    Yesterday Trump cut short a press conference and lumbered out of it when a reporter challenged him on his Veterans Choice lie.

  13. Kathy says:


    Combined with the two recent televised interviews with Wallace and Swan, it’s clear Trump of the Small Mind can’t handle being fact-checked live, nor follow-up questions.

    If he were asked about blatant lies or follow-up questions, he’d stop answering questions altogether.

  14. Teve says:

    @Sleeping Dog: is Tracinski still a Randroid? Some of the things he said were correct, some I disagreed with. The Bulwark is writing some of the very rare intelligent conservative pieces today

  15. Teve says:

    @CSK: @Kathy: I’m reluctant to praise the journalists who are standing up to trump now, 80-some days before the election, I think they’re figuring they’re not gonna need access in the future and are free to briefly do journalism.

  16. Kylopod says:

    There can be no doubt about it any longer. Trump is in the process of dismantling the American democracy and executing a soft coup.

    Take your blinders off. This isn’t some crazed conspiracy theory, it’s happening in plain sight.

  17. CSK says:

    You’d think that, even if no one had attempted to correct his wild exaggerations and outright lies before he arrived in the White House, that the past three and a half years of being fact-checked would have taught him something about sticking to the truth. But no. He just can’t do it.

    Here’s what I wonder: Do Kellyanne and Kayleigh know what a fat old idiot they work for, or do they really believe he’s swell?

  18. Michael Cain says:

    @Sleeping Dog: I think it’s their standard fantasy: what a wonderful world it would be if everyone else would just admit that we’re correct about everything. Note that in trying to sell that fantasy, they never offer to compromise on anything.

  19. Teve says:

    No empire long endures, even if few anticipate their demise. Every kingdom is born to die. The 15th century belonged to the Portuguese, the 16th to Spain, 17th to the Dutch. France dominated the 18th and Britain the 19th. Bled white and left bankrupt by the Great War, the British maintained a pretense of domination as late as 1935, when the empire reached its greatest geographical extent. By then, of course, the torch had long passed into the hands of America.

    COVID-19 and the end of the American era

  20. CSK says:

    I think I mentioned this, but the jolly folks over at were high-fiving each other on how damned brilliant Trump was to have figured out how to screw up the post office so that mail-in ballots wouldn’t be delivered on time.

    Cult45, which considers itself to consist of the only true American patriots, is actively encouraging and applauding this dismantling.

  21. Teve says:


    Here’s what I wonder: Do Kellyanne and Kayleigh know what a fat old idiot they work for, or do they really believe he’s swell?

    They’re in the PR business, and they’re advertising to future clients their ability to lie.

  22. Teve says:

    @CSK: “ How come them heart meds I got from Canada ain’t come yet? Why’s my left arm hurt?”

  23. CSK says:

    It was more of a rhetorical question that anything, but you’re right, of course. I could ask “who will want to hire them,” but someone will, I suppose.

  24. CSK says:

    Yeah, I know. And don’t they have bills to pay?
    What a pity these people don’t realize how much and how deeply Trump despises them.

  25. MarkedMan says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Really interesting stuff, but all it tells you is that this specific cohort of teens and children reacted difficulty to the virus. Were the older kids exposed to something years ago that the younger ones were not? Or vice Versa? Are the schools located in different parts of town? Was the high school open plan vs traditional middle schools?

  26. Sleeping Dog says:

    @Michael Cain:

    I agree that the Bulwark is providing thought provoking analysis from a conservative prospective and they reflect the thinking of a pretty narrow branch of conservatism that knows that the Reaganite R party is not returning and are looking for a political home. Whether such an alliance is possible on a national level, I have my doubts, but I can see it working on a state level. In New England the center left-center right coalition has been operating for 20 years. It is not always in the majority and it disintegrates on some issues, but it reforms.

    The biggest reason that I have my doubts about the operability of such a coalition on the national level is that there are no longer any moderate conservative R’s in congress. The far right has effectively driven that critter out of the party and what is left is the illiberal right and a bunch of grifters..

    What I can see happening is the center-rightist becoming independents, but voting most often in the general election for moderate Dems resulting in a House where R’s represent 40-45% of the districts and the Speaker and leadership have a nightmare caucus to lead. In the short term, given the make up of the R’s I don’t see much opportunity for cross aisle compromise. In the longer term ~20 years, a re-alignment could take place, as there is little evidence that the emerging minority majority is willing to follow the white lefties on their march socialism.

    Which has led me to the thought that nothing could harm the far left more than reducing racism to the point where it can be drowned in a bathtub, to borrow a phrase.

  27. Mister Bluster says:

    Let there Be Lights!
    On this date in 1988 the Chicago Cubs played their first official night game at Wrigley Field.
    They started under the lights the night before but the game was rained out before it was official.
    I always thought 100% day games were why Cubs never made it to World Series.
    Silly me.

  28. CSK says:

    @Sleeping Dog:
    Pursuing my thought that there were people more or less discontentedly ensconced in the Republican Party and just waiting for a savior like Trump is my knowledge that some in Mississippi, who were in their forties and fifties in 2016, had never voted till that year. That’s right. No one had stirred their interest enough for them to bother marking a ballot till Trump descended that golden escalator. I wish I could recall where I read this, but it was four years ago.

    Jonathan Last divides the two groups of Republicans into those who voted for Trump in spite of his tweets and those who voted for him because of his tweets. These latter have no ideology or policy positions other than owning the libs.

  29. CSK says:

    According to, Trump wants his face on Mount Rushmore.

  30. senyordave says:

    @Teve: It certainly helps if you have absolutely no values or morals whatsoever. I don’t doubt for a minute that either of these women would have been comfortable in Nazi Germany. They would be right at home working for Himmler, spitting out propaganda on a daily basis.

  31. MarkedMan says:

    @Sleeping Dog: While the article was interesting in a party mechanics kind of way, he avoided the central difficulty of any coalition: what specifically would the coalition be for? To take a leaf from Asimov’s Foundation, if you examine what he actually said on this matter it comes back semantically null.

    The Republican Party abandoned being “for” things decades ago, and they pretty much have the “against” market sewed up. So he begged the question of what his neo-classical liberals would actually be for.

  32. gVOR08 says:

    @Sleeping Dog: Thanks for the link. There seems to be a rash of these stories speculating on what happens to the GOP party after Trumpsky goes down in flames. Lordy I pray their initial assumption is correct, but there seems little agreement on what will happen.

    TAC has been running an entertaining series on What is American Conservatism. I’ve only read a few of the entries, but the lack of consensus is striking. One guy argued that the common element in conservatism is a sense of humor. Even the commenters at TAC couldn’t buy that one. However the last entry, by Andrew Bacevich is worth reading. He thinks conservatism is a collection of losers and that if they really meant what they say, they’d be doing entirely different things, like fighting AGW and rethinking our foreign policy.

    The articles by Republicans about the future of the Party for the most part ignore money and race. Until they do, it’s just a game of pseudo-philosophical piffle.

  33. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Question: Do primary school teachers kneel down to interact with their students face-to-face like teachers do in the US, or do they do it from standing position like teachers do in, for example, Korea? It may be there are factors that are not being considered.

    (Don’t know the answer and know you don’t either, just wondering out loud.)

  34. Michael Cain says:

    @Sleeping Dog:

    What I can see happening is the center-rightist becoming independents, but voting most often in the general election for moderate Dems resulting in a House where R’s represent 40-45% of the districts and the Speaker and leadership have a nightmare caucus to lead.

    Here in Colorado, voter registration is 40% unaffiliated, 29% Dem, 28% R, and 3% other. State government is a Dem trifecta after 2018. The only state-wide R officeholder is Sen. Cory Gardner, whom I believe will be toast in November, replaced by moderate Dem Hickenlooper. I’ve lost my contacts in the statehouse these days, but the state House majority doesn’t seem like it’s being a nightmare for the leadership. OTOH, hard-left in Colorado is not the same as hard-left in Brooklyn or San Francisco.

    The CO-3 Congressional race will be interesting this year. In the Republican primary, voters there tossed the incumbent Tea Party guy in favor of a QAnon-leaning woman who owns a restaurant where the waitstaff carry loaded handguns.

  35. Moosebreath says:


    “Jonathan Last divides the two groups of Republicans into those who voted for Trump in spite of his tweets and those who voted for him because of his tweets. These latter have no ideology or policy positions other than owning the libs.”

    From meeting some people in PA aged 50+ and who never voted prior to 2016, I think they do have political positions — they are in favor of politicians who say the quiet parts of the Republican message out loud, especially on racial issues.

  36. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @MarkedMan: Yeah, there are variables they didn’t control for. Imagine not being able to set up a proper study just a few months into a pandemic that is swamping everything and instead working with the data that is available, however imperfect.

    I mean, really?

    Or are you just telling me the obvious shortcomings because I didn’t confuse the issues by commenting and instead just passed on the full story for people to read and see for themselves what is actually what?

  37. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Sleeping Dog: Considering that “Robert Tracinski is editor of The Tracinski Letter and author of So Who Is John Galt, Anyway? A Reader’s Guide to Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged, I will remain a tetch charry about who his audience is and what message he wants them to get. (And the book itself has a whole heap of heavy lifting to do, too. Foucault might well stand in awe at it.)

    @Teve: “is Tracinski still a Randroid?”
    That would be my take, yes.

  38. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @CSK: Do Kellyanne and Kayleigh even care about who they work for as long as the checks clear? I ask because I seldom did, but I have always been simply selling my skills to whatever bidders were out in the marketplace.

  39. Sleeping Dog says:


    After Romney’s defeat in 2012, R political leadership embarked on 2 paths, doubling down on nativism which resulted in Trump, but also Cruz, Huckabee, Carson and Paul and a reformist wing that sought to broaden the party’s base and move past the anti-government rhetoric of the Reagan era. Bush and Kasich represented that part of the party with Rubio trying to be all things to all R’s.

    In support of the big tent R’s were a group of conservative intellectuals who operated under the term, ‘reform conservatism’ these writers took things like systemic racism, income/wealth inequality and healthcare access seriously and believed that conservatism and R’s needed to truly address these issues. Today most of those writers are at places like AEI or the Niskanen Center. The writings that I’ve reviewed are interesting and I can see them becoming part of the basis of a conservative-liberal compromise going forward. After all the roots of Obamacare are found in proposal by the Heritage Foundation in response to Clinton’s healthcare proposals. I suspect our gracious hosts, Dr Taylor and Dr Joyner would feel quite comfortable in that intellectual milieu.

    We’re not at the point where a great negotiation would take place, the only thing that liberals and reform conservatives have in common is defeating Trump, the rest of it can wait. Frankly, I don’t expect a great negotiation, but small decisions by voters to support one candidate or another and the choice as to whether or not to participate in one party’s primary or the other.

    It is generally acknowledged that while a large numbers of voters claim to be independents, very few are truly swing voters. my suspicion is that over the next few elections the number of true swing voters will increase.

  40. CSK says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:
    I don’t know if they care. Under ordinary circumstances, I don’t care to whom I sell my skills, either, so I can understand why you don’t. You shouldn’t. But–and it’s a big but–Trump has such a rancid reputation with most people that working for him can hardly be considered a resume enhancer. It’s not something Kellyanne or Kayleigh can hide, and Kayleigh, at least, is young enough to have a long career ahead of her once Lardass is out of the picture. Maybe they can get jobs with OANN, or at least Kayleigh can. Otherwise, the only people who would want to hire them will be people who can’t afford P.R.

    It’s sort of like the human equivalent of the Trump hotels. People who think they’re “classy” can’t pay for them, and people who can pay for them wouldn’t be caught dead in them, except possibly for Russian oligarchs and Arab sheiks.

  41. Mikey says:

    Another data point in the long list of how utterly fucked we are.

    National Security Advisor Robert O’Brien on @FaceTheNation
    right now, in response to whether Trump has told Putin to stop meddling in US elections: “Unlike my predecessors, I don’t get involved in conversations the President has with foreign leaders.”

    No kidding.

    Former CIA and NSA director Gen Michael Hayden’s response: “Holy shit.”

    My response, too, since getting involved in conversations the President has with foreign leaders is LITERALLY O’BRIEN’S FUCKING JOB.

  42. Teve says:


    I could ask “who will want to hire them,” but someone will, I suppose.

    Union Carbide. Klaus von Bulow. Exxon. OJ. Don Blankenship. The Discovery Institute. Deutsche Bank. North Korea…

  43. CSK says:

    Maybe–though Claus von Bulow died last year. If you can flack for Trump, you could probably flack for Charles Manson and Ted Bundy.

  44. MarkedMan says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Actually, I was just reacting to the person in the story who basically said “This proves teenagers transmit and younger children don’t.”

  45. SC_Birdflyte says:

    @Bill: For no good reason, this story strikes me as a curiously apt analogy for this year in America.

  46. grumpy realist says:

    And if all the above isn’t enough, now we have to worry about zombie cicadas.

    (Anything that shuts the little buggers up is fine with me. But then they love hanging off my screens and yelling into the adjacent alley because of the echo. Noisy little varmints.)

  47. CSK says:

    @grumpy realist:
    Sweet Jeebus, that was revolting. Sorry I read it.

  48. gVOR08 says:


    who will want to hire them (Kellyanne and Kayleigh)

    That’s what Wingnut Welfare is for, to assure the troops that if they remain loyal they’ll be taken care of. There are hundreds of Billionaire Boys Club financed “think” tanks, foundations, advocacy groups, PR firms, lobbyists, etc. that would be happy to suck up to their masters by hiring them.

  49. grumpy realist says:
  50. CSK says:

    I suppose so, but who’s going to feel any loyalty toward Trump’s castoffs once he’s out of office and can’t do anything for anyone? And will Trump himself care if Kellyanne and Kayleigh are taken care of? Of course he won’t. Like everyone else to hum, they’re disposable commodities.

  51. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @CSK: Looking up Kayleigh, her main “occupations” on Wikipedia are listed as “political commentator,” “lawyer,” and “author,” so I’ll guess that PR is not really the direction her future would progress anyway. Kellyanne may well be at the age where working in wing nut media is the future anyway as she seems to have been a fixture in right wing politics from the get go. Politicians will always want a person who can look at the polls and spin them to sound good, so I expect that having been able to do that for Trump might even be a selling point in the future. Either way, Ted Cruz is going to be looking for help with his next campaign and she’s got history with him. I don’t see why she needs to be concerned. Whoring is what it is and always has a market.

  52. wr says:

    @CSK: “Maybe–though Claus von Bulow died last year.”

    And Deutsche Bank is envying him…

  53. CSK says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:
    So Kayleigh goes to Fox (OANN doesn’t have the money or the audience) or maybe MSNBC and Kellyanne goes to Cruz.

    DB didn’t seem to have wasted much time turning over Trump’s financial records to the prosecutors. Maybe they’ll work something out with the authorities.

  54. MarkedMan says:

    @CSK: Yeah. Kayleigh is a Fox natural. Young, attractive, a huge head of blonde hair, willing to say anything. Kellyanne, on the other hand, is way past the Fox sell by date. And she has legitimate campaign credits.

  55. senyordave says:

    This has to be a campaign ad for Biden (I got this from Digby):
    This is a Trump quote:
    “If I’m victorious on November 3rd, I plan to forgive these taxes and make permanent cuts to the payroll tax. I’m going to make them all permanent … In other words, I’ll extend beyond the end of the year and terminate the tax.”
    This means he’s terminating the funding stream for Social Security and Medicare.

  56. Kathy says:


    You’d think someone would clue him in they’re not having elections for absolute monarch on November 3rd….

    On other things, I made the rice with poblano rajas and onions and corn I didn’t get time to make last week. That will go to the side of my take on the burrito: red salsa with a whole sliced and cooked onion, over refried beans and shredded chicken, with a little cheese, all wrapped in a wheat tortilla.

  57. Jax says:

    @Kathy: I tried my hand at homemade gyros (I miss civilization) the other night, even the pita bread (can’t get it in the entire county, I checked). I bought a lamb for processing with part of my “trump check”, so I used the burger to make a loaf I could slice thin, as per the instructions. The lamb was delicious, but my pita bread was HORRRRRIBLE. Gonna need to practice that!

  58. Kathy says:


    I haven’t had a gyro in ages. They’re just not popular around here.

    I quit trying to make bread after several disasters trying to make biscuits. I just can’t get the hang of working with dough.

    Have you tried ordering pita bread online? Down here it’s often sold frozen.

  59. Kurtz says:

    @de stijl:

    Look, dude it’s not my fault you have no self control. My friends can handle their high. Fiends gon fiend.

  60. DrDaveT says:


    The lamb was delicious, but my pita bread was HORRRRRIBLE. Gonna need to practice that!

    Yeah, I was really bummed to discover that flatbreads seem to be much harder to make than sandwich bread.

  61. Teve says:

    (Teve just daydreaming about how Republicans used to call Obama a narcissist for using the words I and me when talking.)

    *Twitter Alert*: White House inquiring about putting Trump’s face on Mount Rushmore.

    Teve: Ha! I bet that’s the Onion. Those guys!

  62. Teve says:


    The only word
    that can make
    followers of Jesus
    vote against everything
    Jesus ever talked about
    because of one issue
    that Jesus never talked about.

  63. CSK says:

    Trump told Kristi Noem he really, really wants to be on Mt. Rushmore.