Sunday’s Forum

Have at it.

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. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Florida Headline of the day: Florida man stalks beach as Grim Reaper to protest reopening amid pandemic

    Been a while since there was a good story about Florida man, eh Bill?

  2. Teve says:

    Seth meyers on Jared Kushner: “You’re only in the White House because Ivanka lost Tom Brady‘s number at the bottom of one of her sweatshop handbags. You shouldn’t be anywhere near the White House. You should be confessing to Christopher Meloni at the end of an episode of Law and Order.”

  3. Teve says:


    How are we using our brain power, and to what purpose? Think back to the middle of the twentieth century. When it came to computing power, we were impoverished. Computers were big primitive tabulators, with transistors gradually replacing vacuum tubes. There was no artificial intelligence, and search took place at a snail’s pace, in libraries, through something called a card catalogue.

    Despite those handicaps, we tackled huge projects for humanity. First, there was the race to save the world, and split the atom. Hitler had a head start, and if the Nazis got there first, it would have been game over. In 1939, the U.S. government launched the Manhattan Project. Within six years, some 130,000 people were mobilized. That’s about a third of Amazon’s workforce.

    Within six years, we had won the race to the bomb. You may not look at that as a worthy goal. But it was a strategic priority to win that technology race, and we mobilized to do it. We did the same thing to reach the Moon, an endeavor that, at its peak, involved 400,000 workers from the United States, Canada, and Britain.

    Each of the horsemen [Amazon Apple Facebook Google] dwarfs both the Manhattan and Apollo projects in intelligence and technological capacity. Their computing power is near limitless, and ridiculously cheap. They inherit three generations of research on statistical analysis, optimization, and artificial intelligence. Each horseman swims in data we hemorrhage 24/7, analyzed by some of the most intelligent, creative, and determined people who have ever lived.

    What is the endgame for this, the greatest concentration of human and financial capital ever assembled? What is their mission? Cure cancer? Eliminate poverty? Explore the universe? No, their goal: to sell another fucking Nissan.

    Scott Galloway

    I highly recommend his book The Four. Chapter 11 is a list of half a dozen minor and the one major reason that capitalists should want the four biggest tech companies, Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google broken up.

    It reminded me of the story of how Amazon “acquired” Quidsi, owner of popular baby retailer

    Amazon: hey Quidsi, we want to buy you.
    Quidsi: Business is going great and we don’t want to sell.
    Amazon: Fantastic. We’ll pay $545 million.
    Quidsi: Thanks, but we don’t want to sell.
    Amazon: Okay then. Hey have you heard about our totally unrelated new plan? We’re going to sell diapers for zero dollars. See you in six months.
    Quidsi: okay draw up the papers.

  4. James Joyner says:

    @Teve: Not exactly but pretty close. They started Amazon Mom and used their tracking algorithms to slightly underprice and automatically do so when followed suit. When there was a bidding war between Amazon and Walmart, Bezos then threatened to drop the price to zero to close the deal.

    The parent company founder eventually built an Amazon competitor, sold it to Walmart for $3 billion, and now runs

    So, everyone but consumers won in the end.

  5. Teve says:

    Yeah was an interesting idea, and in the last month Walmart’s online sales logistics have worked better for me than Amazon.

  6. Teve says:

    Red State, Fox News, HotAir, Townhall, PJ Media, and the Washington Examiner are pushing a story right now that Biden said something gross to a 14-year-old about her boobs in 2008. The organizer of the event where this supposedly happened says the only problem with that story is that Biden wasn’t there.

  7. Bill says:


    Been a while since there was a good story about Florida man, eh Bill?

    There have been a couple of Florida headlines worth mentioning.

    This is business- Publix sees $1 billion sales increase during coronavirus pandemic

    And then we have this headline about a….I wouldn’t call them either a man or good.-

    Florida girl, 2, near death after beating, sexual abuse

  8. Bill says:


    The organizer of the event where this supposedly happened says the only problem with that story is that Biden wasn’t there.

    About 10 years ago, golfer Ben Crane got accused of making some comments about Tiger Woods. A few golf bloggers/writers heavily criticized Crane but I from the beginning pointed out something was fishy aka what was Ben Crane doing at Q School when he had Tour playing privileges. Guess what? The alleged comments by Crane were bogus.

  9. Kit says:


    Despite those handicaps, we tackled huge projects for humanity. First, there was the race to save the world, and split the atom…

    What is the endgame for this, the greatest concentration of human and financial capital ever assembled? What is their mission? Cure cancer? Eliminate poverty? Explore the universe? No, their goal: to sell another fucking Nissan.

    If the government did all that stuff in the 40’s, 50’s and 60’s, why should we be looking to private companies to do it now?

    As for the horsemen, with Amazon there’s nothing much wrong that we couldn’t have fixed 100 years ago. Google and Facebook book are much more modern beasts, and society has yet to figure out how to deal with them. I’m not hopeful. As for Apple, I’m not even sure what that issue is.

    While I agree that large companies contribute to our disfunction, I see them more as second-order effects.

  10. sam says:

    Monty Bennett, Trump donor and largest recipient of PPP funds, will return money

    The largest recipient of COVID-19 bailout loans, Trump campaign donor Monty Bennett, announced Saturday he would return all money received through the Paycheck Protection Program.
    Bennett’s conglomerate of 128 hotels received, collectively, more than $58 million through the PPP.

    Bennett pleaded his case through March as the COVID-19 outbreak racked his hotel conglomerate, which includes high-end properties like Ritz-Carltons, and more modest fare like Courtyard Suites, spread across the nation. He took to the airwaves to say he may not be able to make the coming debt payments on $4 billion of outstanding loans and had been forced to lay off 90% of the staff in his hotels.

    But it wasn’t until after he hired two prominent fundraisers for the Trump campaign, Jeff Miller and Roy Bailey, to lobby the Treasury Department, that loans started coming through for him.

    Bennett noted in a statement Saturday night that he was invited to the White House with other hotel owners on March 17 — one week after he hired Miller and Bailey to lobby for him.

    Crony Socialism

  11. Teve says:


    If the government did all that stuff in the 40’s, 50’s and 60’s, why should we be looking to private companies to do it now?

    He’s not saying private companies should do that stuff, it’s part of a whole chapter where he is discussing that we had serious taxes on rich people and corporations which funded big government projects that did big things, now the top companies are hoarding wealth and talent and also not doing the public works their taxes used to fund. We have shifted from General Motors lifting 5 million people into the middle class and subsidizing moon landings with their tax dollars, to a dozen thousand Facebook millionaires hiding bank offshore and paying 100 psychology PhD‘s to figure out how to get you to stare at your phone screen for 10 more minutes a day. We moved from an economy that created the middle class, to one which sucks up all the money and gives it to a select few.

  12. Sleeping Dog says:

    Wandered over to Digby this morning, got depressed and thought I’d share this with you folks.

    “Considering we just reached that new peak, it is not a foolproof assumption that deaths won’t grow again. And even if we do assume it, there are many reasons to think the decline from that peak will be slower than the ascent—meaning considerably more than 60,000 more deaths.”

    But we understand this. (at least most of us do)

    “This is fine, so far as it goes, because it is useful to know the trajectory of infection under conditions of quarantine if you are under conditions of quarantine. But it only goes so far — as far as the quarantine goes.”

    “And that reopening is already starting, which means the conditions which have produced those elegant (and encouraging) curves are ending. Georgia’s reopening has already produced a thousand new cases in a span of 24 hours and is expected to double deaths by August.” Other places could see an even more dramatic spike with only a partial, or “midway,” return to nonessential business.

    Cow Hampshire will begin a soft re-opening tomorrow, primarily retail stores and some services, barbers etc. Fortunately the state will not be cutting off unemployment benefits to workers who choose to stay home for health and safety reasons. We’ll see how this goes as Massachusetts the virus is still raging.

    File under So Much Winning.

    I was watching the BBC a couple of days ago and they interviewed people in different countries about what they are seeing from the US. More than one said we looked like a third world country with long lines for food and bodies piled in freezer trucks. And we do.

  13. CSK says:
  14. Teve says:

    The case for breaking up Apple from the App Store is a weak one. There’s a much bigger case for splitting Amazon and AWS, Google from YouTube, Facebook from Instagram and WhatsApp.

    We have sectors in the tech industry where nobody will fund your start up if you’re trying to compete with one of the bigs, only if you have a plan for getting acquired by one of them. That’s not healthy.

  15. Teve says:


    Trump’s madcap, year-end tweeting last December included sharing a photo montage calling him “the best president of all time” as well as a claim that “no president will ever be as great as President Trump is today.” Trump’s campaign manager, Brad Parscale, appeared in an advertisement asserting that Trump had “achieved more during his time in office than any president in history.” This feat, which entailed outpacing not only every prior president but also every future one, did not even require a full term.


  16. Teve says:

    Jeff Bezos has supported a universal basic income for years. And the reason he does so is simple, and is the same reason his fulfillment centers have more robots than people. He doesn’t see businesses having enough jobs for people in the future.

  17. CSK says:

    Tolja it was good.

    ETA: The Atlantic has a piece by Anne Applebaum on how Trump has become a global laughingstock. It’s something we knew, of course.

  18. OzarkHillbilly says:


    have probably gotten more done in the first 3 1/2 years than any President in history.

    I have worked on buildings large and small, some that took years to build. Every single one of them could be reduced to dust in a matter of seconds with a few well placed sticks of dynamite.

    That is what trump is accomplishing: The demolition of things it took far better men than he, decades to build.

  19. CSK says:


    And…Stillwater, OK. had to rescind its please-wear-masks-in-public ordinance because some irate non-mask wearers were threatening shop clerks who tried to enforce the request with violence.

  20. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @CSK: Let me guess, white irate non-mask wearing shoppers. Because they are just so special.

  21. Not the IT Dept. says:

    One of the advantages to being married to a foreigner is that I’m constantly yanked into an awareness that there is another country just north of us which is facing the same issues we are – virus + overwhelmed medical sector + providing subsidies to workers and businesses + various levels of government co-ordinating healthcare and working together. And somehow they are managing to make it happen without too many bumbles and stumbles, and with the vast majority of Canadians trusting their governments to get it right, or if not right, as least not with malevolent intent towards its citizens. As my wife keeps telling me, “What the *bleeping bleeping bleepity bleep* is wrong with you people?!?!?!” It’s a question I struggle to answer.

  22. CSK says:

    That’s my guess. Apparently one of the non-mask-wearers was so affronted by the request that he threatened a shopkeeper with his gun.

    The mayor rescinded the order after only three hours.

  23. Teve says:

    @CSK: you just know that the people who shout Unconstitutional! about anything they don’t like, couldn’t tell you what article 1 was about if you held a gun to their head.

  24. OzarkHillbilly says:

    David Frum@davidfrum
    Just zoomed w two Canadian friends who own a hard-hit small business. They applied online for the Cdn emergency small business loan program. Application process took under 10 minutes; approval less than 2 minutes. Money arrived in their account two days later.

    If they repay by end of 2022, 25% of the loan will be forgiven

    Program passed Parliament nearly unanimously

    This is how things work in a First World country.

    ETA: Ooopps, this @OzarkHillbilly: was for you @Not the IT Dept.:

    No edit function on that post. Who wants to bet that as soon as I post this, it shows up?

    And here it is!

  25. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Ooopps, this @OzarkHillbilly: was for you @Not the IT Dept.:

    No edit function on that post. Who wants to bet that as soon as I post this, it shows up?

  26. Teve says:


    President Trump moved to replace Christi Grimm, a top official at the Department of Health and Human Services. Grimm angered him with a report last month that highlighted supply shortages and testing delays at hospitals during the coronavirus pandemic.

    When you get bad news, the smart thing is to fire the person who conveyed the news. That’s just chapter 1 of How to Business Good.

  27. Not the IT Dept. says:

    OH: Yeah, that’s the way they roll up there. Years ago there was a government tourism campaign to get people to vacation in Canada and it had the slogan: “The World Needs More Canada”. There was a lot of criticism because of the vagueness of the line but I think that slogan has finally come into its own.

  28. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Not the IT Dept.: I spent a season working at my Aunt and Uncle’s fishing camp (Lake of the Woods) back in ’76. It was a much different place than the US back then. I can only imagine the differences are even starker now.

  29. MarkedMan says:

    @Not the IT Dept.: My son attends school in Montreal and has stayed there in his apartment throughout, despite his classes and exams moving online. It was his call but for his mother and I, it is actually pretty reassuring. They have a competent government and while there he has 100% healthcare coverage. No fees, no deductibles. Canadians pay nothing outside their normal taxes, but as a foreign student he pays $1200 a year.

  30. CSK says:

    Apparently the non-maskers in Stillwater were screeching that the mask order was, you guessed it, a violation of their constitutional rights.

  31. Jim Brown 32 says:

    @Teve: Judging by his boo thang– Brady has better taste in women.

  32. Kingdaddy says:

    Here’s my hierarchy of needs, viz Trump-focused reporting and analysis:

    1) Action. How do we get rid of this monster? In the meantime, how do we stop him from further maiming our world?

    2) Updates. What’s the latest he’s done? You just can’t shut it off.

    3) Analysis. What’s wrong with him, and the people who support him? How does he stay in power? Why does anyone listen to him?

    4) Outrage. Oh my god, what a nightmare!

    I’m writing this because the news outlets, blogs, YouTube videos, and other sources of information heavily emphasize #3 and #4. I don’t need Rachel Maddow, or Jennifer Rubin, or anyone else to tell me that he’s a monster. Continuing to hit the outrage button is just sterile excitation, and I’m pretty worn out with it.

    While I’m sure that there’s more to learn about the Trump crime family (for instance, I still listen to the Trump Inc. podcast once in a while), the Congressional and Senate Republicans, Fox News, and other pillars of this regime, I’ve learned quite a lot already. I’m open to any new insights, but a lot of the discussion of this topic is repetition.

    Part of my morning routine is watching news clips and the late night comedians on YouTube. The never-ending meme that runs through a lot of them, “Can you believe this malign idiot?” has run its course with me. I’ll skip past it. We’re in the biggest national crisis since the Depression and WWII. Tell me what I could be doing, or what people in positions of authority should be doing, or what they are doing that’s having some effect.

  33. Stormy Dragon says:
  34. Kit says:


    1) Action. How do we get rid of this monster? In the meantime, how do we stop him from further maiming our world?

    Do you really think that getting rid of Trump is going to end the nightmare? Were I on Team Red, I’d be feeling pretty good about the underlying strength of my squad right about now.

  35. Jim Brown 32 says:

    @Not the IT Dept.: Its quite simple actually. There are monied interests both foreign and domestic that have co-opted governments at the federal and state levels creating a giant cluster which inhibits action. For all intents and purposes the government has become nothing more than an enabler of corporate action–not a body that can act affirmatively to achieve its own goals. The remedy? I couldn’t tell you–but people should be prepared for the possibility that we might not be able to vote our way out of this. More than a few of these shadow puppeteers will have to fear for their safety to understand that they’ve voided the social contract. These are people that play to win–everything–at their competitors expense. It takes a certain type of psyche to even desire to create a billion-dollar multi-national corporation. They don’t make the same value judgments 99.99% of people make. What they do understand is if they are risking their company or their ability to enjoy the status owning that company brings to them. Otherwise, they will eventually plow up the ground and salt everything they deem as an obstacle to their goals both economically and socially. Politics is merely a means to and end.

  36. Jim Brown 32 says:

    @Kingdaddy: Number 4 is how you generate and maintain enough eyeballs to make money. Its a perverse incentive from Google & Facebook that has ruined news. If you don’t play the game by their rules–you’ll never be able to push through the content noise.

  37. Kit says:

    If your Sunday is looking a bit too cheerful, here’s a long, LONG read over at The New Yorker:

    As Americans have reckoned with the origins of our political moment—the Trump years, the fury on all sides, the fraying of a common purpose—we have tended to focus on the effects of despair among members of the working class who felt besieged by technology, globalization, immigration, and trade. But that ignores the effects of seclusion among members of the governing class, who helped disfigure our political character by demonizing moderation and enfeebling the basic functions of the state. We—or they, depending on where you stand—receded behind gracious walls.

    On the ground where I grew up, some of America’s powerful people have championed a version of capitalism that liberates wealth from responsibility. They embraced a fable of self-reliance (except when the fable is untenable), a philosophy of business that leaches more wealth from the real economy than it creates, and a vision of politics that forgives cruelty as the price of profit. In the long battle between the self and service, we have, for the moment, settled firmly on the self. To borrow a phrase from a neighbor in disgrace, we stopped worrying about “the moral issue here.”

    Here’s a nice quotation that shows how the finest education helps one to justify pretty much anything:

    With the economy in crisis, Mason suspects that Trump will succeed in turning any rebound into a political asset. “There are people in the town right now—I guarantee you—who are saying, ‘Wow, this happened to me in ’08. My 401(k) went from X down to Y,’ ” he said. “What is Donald Trump telling you? ‘We’re going to do everything we need to so it does not take ten years to get you back where it was.’ I haven’t heard Joe Biden say that.”

    Only Trump can clean up his mess. Heads I win, tails you lose.

  38. CSK says:

    While it’s true that Trump is a narcissist, it seems to me that his defining personality trait is sadism. This is someone who derives intense pleasure from hurting other people, particularly people he perceives as less powerful than he–or people he feels threatened by, in some way.

  39. Jim Brown 32 says:

    So I have a white privilege story: I was playing golf yesterday with guy from work (also Black). The courses in my part of Florida have been packed literally every day since almost everyone is working from home. This is my second time playing since the Stay-at-Home order, I must say that I think golf is relatively low risk for virus transmission. Everybody gets their own cart, no touching the flags, stay at least 6 feet away, no handshakes on the 18th green and the clubhouses are closed. Both times I’ve played I’ve never come within 10 feet of another person.

    But back to the story–like I said, the courses are packed so my co-worker and I were moving along pretty slow. There was also a 2-some ahead of us who were also waiting. They suggested we combine into a 4-some so we wouldn’t have to wait so much–we agreed. That was on hole 7. We complete 9 and drive up to the 10th tee and there was this guy–a single– waiting on the tee for the group that HAD been in front of us to hit their approach shots so he could tee off in front of us.

    My co-worker and eye give each other the “shhhhhh f$&kin crakas” look and let it ride. Not Matt and Brad. After a couple of minutes grumbling–they walked down to the senior Tee where this old fart was about to cut in front of us:

    M&B: “Hey!!!! Did the Marshall tell you to start on 10?!?!?
    Fart: “Well no–but there were so many people starting on 1 that I decided to jump on 10”
    Me (Inside voice) “We’ll no fucking shit Sherlock! This muthaphucka is PACKED”

    Co-worker (expression) “Man–let me go slap the sheat out of this dude. We already played 9.
    We can lay this bitch out and be out of the parking lot before they know
    who did it.”

    M&B: “Hey man–we been waiting on every hole all day–there’s just a lot of people out here and we had a tee time”
    FART: [Looking Sarcastic] “Alright, Alright–I don’t want to start any trouble. You gentleman have a nice day”

    Why is that white privilege? Because a situation like that can easily escalate beyond your control if instigated by black golfers. Police can be called. People carry guns on the course. Black golfers like me and my co-worker have to make a value judgements if the offense is worth the potential escalation that could happen just to protest a foul in etiquette. Most of the time–it isn’t so its better to just let it go. However, I have been alone and in 4somes with other black golfers and when it wasn’t o.k. In those instances, you understand the risks and let the offending parties know that this is unacceptable and can be remedied the proper way–or on whatever terms they want to deal with it. If Im at risk–you’re at risk.

    Matt and Brad on the other hand–had no such calculus because there is no risk of escalation to them. A guy cut them and they weren’t going to stand for it. Period–end of story. Now if I could get this white privilege to work for me outside of golf…

  40. senyordave says:

    I used to think there was a tipping point with some of Trump’s base. The point where a small percentage might say to themselves something like “yes, he pisses of liberals, and I love him for that. But my life is worse now than it was four years ago, and he does make a lot of shit up, and now he shit the bed on this virus thing. I might need to rethink this whole thing.” I was wrong. When Trump said he could shoot someone on 5th avenue in broad daylight and get away with it, he was way too restrained. He could pull out a semi-automatic weapon, shoot a couple dozen people, rape a few corpses, leave, and then return a few hours later to go through the wallets and purses for any spare change. And his popularity among Republicans would probably tick up. Historians will look back on this time in the US and I don’t see how they will explain it other than 45% of the population lost their minds. I’ve always though that having a competent black president caused a type of cognitive dissonance in many people.

  41. grumpy realist says:

    The Orange Mango thinks he’s done more for black people than Lincoln.

    Yah, I know that Trump is a psychopathic idiot. The problem is all the ass-kissers who follow him.

  42. CSK says:

    They can’t renounce Trump. They’ve merged their identities with his. He’s them; they’re him.

  43. CSK says:

    @grumpy realist:
    Hey, give Mangolini some credit. He did concede that “Honest Abe wasn’t bad.” How generous of him.

  44. EddieInCA says:

    @Jim Brown 32:

    What part of Florida? I lived in Hollywood for four years, and played from Palm Beach to Doral, back in 2009-1013 and I still have a home in Bradenton on the west coast of FL. I freaking love the golf in Florida, even in the panhandle.

    I played yesterday at Sterling Hills in Camarillo, CA. It was glorious. Very safe. From the time I arrived to the time I left, I wasn’t within 8 feet of anyone. Walked with my pull cart. Can’t touch the flagstick. Ball Washers and drinking faucets were removed from the course. Clubhouse and proshop are completely closed. Payment is all done online, and checkin is done outside at a table with the pro at another table 10 feet away with a credit card machine wirelessly, with Lysol wipes there to wipe off the machine before and after you use it. Very safe.

    Oh, and I shot a….. (Doesn’t matter. I had fun.) I’m a 9.4 and I had a good day.

  45. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Jim Brown 32: As it ever was.

  46. Gustopher says:

    @CSK: If it was from any other president, you would assume it was a gentle acknowledgement that Lincoln did more, while still accepting praise. I see no reason to read more into it than that. Trump does so many terrible things there’s no reason to create outrages where there aren’t any.

    Granted, I don’t think Trump has done shit for black folks, and the praise is undeserved…

  47. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @senyordave: When Trump said he could shoot someone on 5th avenue in broad daylight and get away with it, he was way too restrained. He could pull out a semi-automatic weapon, shoot a couple dozen people, rape a few corpses, leave, and then return a few hours later to go through the wallets and purses for any spare change. And the Republican corpses would rise up from the dead just so they could vote for him again.


  48. OzarkHillbilly says:


    I see no reason to read more into it than that.

    It’s trump, that’s all the reason I need to see him giving himself the best blowjobs ever.

  49. Jen says:

    George Bush released a nice, “we’re all in this together”-type video yesterday. I don’t think it’s going to do much in the way of changing minds, but it was fine.

    Trump attacked Bush today.

    Our president is just a bad person. Thoroughly awful.

  50. CSK says:

    You may be more generous in your assessment than I’m capable of being when it comes to Trump. I can’t escape the feeling that DJT really means what he said: Lincoln was okay, but Trump is superlative. We have more than ample evidence that Trump desperately needs to promote the notion that he’s nonpareil in all regards. He’s just been frantically Tweeting that he’s accomplished more than any president EVAH.

  51. CSK says:

    I believe Trump attacked Bush for not coming to Trump’s defense during impeachment. My guess is that Bush thought Trump was guilty.

  52. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @CSK: you misspelled “knew”.

  53. de stijl says:

    I was a data person for decades.

    With cloud storage and seemingly endless amounts of processors and memory capable of being pointed at any issue, we chose to monetize it and use it as a way to optimize on-line advertizing.

    Yeah, I get capitalism, but this is a stunning lack of awareness.

    When I was a pup, I could see where it could and would go.

    This is truly an inflection point in the history of humankind.

    We could have looked at long term systemic problems affecting us, but the first use was to optimize personalized on-line ads.

    We chose the most banal use of an extraordinary advance in how we can better understand the world.

    Think on what we could do vs. what we are currently doing.

  54. CSK says:

    I did, didn’t I?

  55. Jim Brown 32 says:

    @CSK: Even more importantly–that wasn’t an accident. There is tradecraft for how to do this with large groups of people. It does take a certain amount of innate abilities to work the craft successfully so its not paint by the numbers. That is the brilliance of Trump.

  56. CSK says:

    @Jim Brown 32:
    Yeah. I sometimes wonder if he watched Sarah Palin and saw how perfectly the word salad and general ignorance worked for her, and decided it would work for him. He may also have been influenced by the rapturous reception she got and decided he wanted that for himself.

    It’s no secret that the former Palinistas are now the Trumpkins. God, what saps these people are. They actually believe Trump is one of them, and that he cares about them.

  57. Jim Brown 32 says:

    @EddieInCA: I’m in Central Florida. I can be on I-4 in minutes. I have business and family relationships throughout Florida so I’ve played golf or spent time in pretty much every relevant town in this state. I was down to a 5 hcp at one point. Then I remarried–so with little practice and 1 round a month (pre CV19) Im a 10-12 hcp. I work a lot during the week so the weekend is family time.

  58. Jim Brown 32 says:

    @EddieInCA: Actually had it going pretty good until old fart incensed me. 39 on the front– 48 on the back 🙁

  59. Teve says:

    @CSK: I understand empathy, because I have it, and I understand psychopathy because I have a friend who was very very damaged when he was a kid and has no mirror neurons or whatever it is that causes you to feel empathy for another human, he is just missing the brain module that feels that, but I can’t understand sadism. It’s just alien to my being.

  60. Teve says:


    I’ve always though that having a competent black president caused a type of cognitive dissonance racism explosion in many people.

    You’re welcome.

  61. de stijl says:


    Above or below 85?

  62. CSK says:

    Sadism is alien to me, as well, but Trump clearly revels in it. It makes me wonder how much time he spent as a little boy pulling wings off butterflies and tormenting the neighborhood cats and dogs. In a way, I’m surprised he didn’t grow up to be a serial killer. He has all of the traits of one: Lack of empathy, manipulativeness, cruelty, impulsivity, shallow emotions, lack of responsibility, lack of remorse, early behavior problems, behavior problems as a child…it’s all there.

  63. Jim Brown 32 says:

    @CSK: I did some light research after I got interested in Scott Adam’s hypothesis that Trump was a “wizard” of a hypnotist. Scott supposedly graduated from a hypnotism program in college and is a credentialed hypnotist.

    It turns out that the persuasion arts are kind of like the Force to politics and politician. There are teachers that teach the “light side” and insist on a code of ethics for how their technics and research will be used–then there are teachers who demand no such thing. If you pay, they give you the goods on the research and what techniques they’ve developed to actualize the research–no questions asked.

    It turns out the same stable of advisors are working with Republican party personalities which lends to the similarities of their messaging styles. Trump however, has had an association with Tony Robbins and Dr Peale (author of power of positive thinking) which brings extra tradecraft that your standard Republican politician doesn’t have access to. They have access to them now through imitation of Trump– but I doubt they know the psychological mechanism of why certain things Trump does work.

    This is not just a Republican thing–Democrats utilize these techniques as well and have their consultants that keep up to date with the research and develop techniques and messaging that actualize the research. Obama had a guy– HRC had a guy–Im sure Joe has a guy/gal. But as I stated before–knowing the tradecraft and having the instincts and personna to actualize it are two different things. Obama and HRC actually had the same guy– and we know that Obama would have destroyed Trump. Its possible though that HRC should have consulted someone who could have tailored techniques more in line with her personality. There is still a measure of trial and error to this. You can see Trump going through the trial and error phase for his approach to how to fend off responsibility for CV-19 deaths.

  64. Sleeping Dog says:

    @grumpy realist:

    This claim of being the most help to AA can be used against him with his base, tell them that that assistance came at the expense of a whites.

  65. DrDaveT says:


    In a way, I’m surprised he didn’t grow up to be a serial killer.

    Assumes facts not in evidence.

    (That said, it would surprise me — he’s too plain stupid to get away with it for long…)

  66. CSK says:

    @Jim Brown 32:
    Also I wonder how much a desire for revenge on Manhattan’s upper crust motivates Trump. He desperately wanted to be one of the elite, which of course would have none of him since he was always such an appalling slob too stupid to figure out that if he’d just behaved reasonably and made donations to the right causes, he could have wormed his way into the lower echelons of the exalted, as his eldest daughter has done.

  67. Mister Bluster says:

    Mister Bluster says:
    Friday, April 3, 2020 at 19:33
    @Jim Brown 32:..This guy let hundreds of young horny sailors go traipsing though the strip clubs, brothels, and markets in Vietnam.

    So this is why 58,193 Americans died in the Vietnam war.
    Not to mention four dead in Ohio.
    Fifty years ago tomorrow.
    I think I’m going to puke.

    I made this post in April on this thread.
    I finally figured out that the single downvote must have been because it was a month early.

    I have said it before and I’ll say it again. Never think that the government can not hurt you.

    Jeffrey Glenn Miller; age 20; 265 ft (81 m) shot through the mouth; killed instantly
    Allison B. Krause; age 19; 343 ft (105 m) fatal left chest wound; died later that day
    William Knox Schroeder; age 19; 382 ft (116 m) fatal chest wound; died almost an hour later in a local hospital while undergoing surgery
    Sandra Lee Scheuer; age 20; 390 ft (120 m) fatal neck wound; died a few minutes later from loss of blood

    May they Rest in Peace

  68. CSK says:

    Please. He’d be bragging about being the best serial killer: “Many people are saying that I racked up a better kill rate than Ted Bundy.”

  69. gVOR08 says:

    @Kit: Thanks for the link. To me the most telling bit was,

    Not long after Mitt Romney lost to Obama, in 2012, Hanley commissioned a pollster named Patrick Caddell to investigate why conventional Republican candidates were underperforming. Caddell had made his name advising Jimmy Carter, but he had broken with Democrats and begun appearing frequently on Fox News. As he and (Lee) Hanley (heir to a “brick-and-oil business”) discussed the project, both suspected that the electoral returns suggested a deep frustration with the status quo. “I said, ‘I think something’s happening in the country,’ ” Caddell recalled. “Lee said, ‘You know, I think something may be, too. I want you to go out and just find out.’ ” Caddell’s polls quickly suggested that the “level of discontent in this country was beyond anything measurable.”

    In 2013, Hanley asked Caddell to show his findings to Bannon, and to another patron, the hedge-fund billionaire Robert Mercer. They huddled over the data during a conservative conference in Palm Beach. The numbers, Caddell told them, indicated a public appetite for a populist challenger who could run as an outsider, exposing corruption and rapacity. He called it the Candidate Smith project—the search for a political savior along the lines of “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington.”

    This faux populism isn’t something Trump stumbled onto, it’s comes from Billionaire Boys Club funded research. Always looking for a way to con the base into voting for the plutocratic party that is the cause of their discontent.

  70. Mikey says:

    One of my best friends lost his brother to COVID-19 today. And I can’t even go over to offer any comfort. That’s one of the worst things about this, the utter lonely helplessness.

  71. Stormy Dragon says:

    @grumpy realist:

    Yah, I know that Trump is a psychopathic idiot.

    I’m actually starting to feel sorry for psychopaths. Yes, they may have no empathy, but they generally aren’t stupid.

  72. CSK says:

    I’m very sorry to hear this. You have my profound sympathy. Yes, it is awful to be this helpless.

  73. de stijl says:

    @Jim Brown 32:

    De-escalation is almost always the good call.

    No one on their death bed ever goes “I really regret not clocking the crap outta dude.”

    Life is too short to let idiots impinge on your thing.

    Of course, I say this a UMC white guy, so we do walk very different paths.

  74. Teve says:


    This faux populism isn’t something Trump stumbled onto, it’s comes from Billionaire Boys Club funded research. Always looking for a way to con the base into voting for the plutocratic party that is the cause of their discontent.

    I happened into a really good (union, miraculously, for Florida) sales job that is paying me a living wage, unlike basically every other retail job in the area. But I have Kentucky relatives who got their first job in the early 70s, in union dishwasher or air conditioner plants in Cincinnati or Lexington, making absolutely middle class wages shortly after graduating high school, who have been Republican since Reagan, and now chew out their kids and grandkids for having shitty low-paying jobs at Walmart and Lowe’s, because why don’t they just take some initiative and go get a good job? All you have to do is go find a good job and go up to the manager and look him in the eye and shake his hand and tell him you’re a good worker, why you all keep having these shitty jobs? Or if they know that those jobs don’t exist anymore, they blame immigrants, and Democrats and unions.

  75. Stormy Dragon says:


    Trump only “respects” people he fears, so he figures if he just gets his enemies hard enough, they’ll finally see what a genius he is. So he can’t for the life of him figure out how even when he wins, everyone is still openly contemptuous of him.

  76. Teve says:

    @de stijl: i want to get a bracelet that says WWFRD. What would Fred Rogers do. Sure, he was a Presbyterian, and I’m an atheist, but them’s just details. He was fundamentally a good person and I need a reminder every now and then not to be an asshole.

  77. CSK says:

    @Stormy Dragon:
    And boy, does he resent that. I wonder what it’s like to know that all the people you secretly envy think you’re a bad joke?

  78. de stijl says:


    Dudes can be a Karen or a Becky.

    An easily triggered snowflake minority should not dominate rational policy making.

    Does the Karen ask to speak to the manager and the Becky call the police or vice versa? I always forget.

  79. de stijl says:


    Won’t you be my neighbor?

    Mr. Rogers was a bad-ass about being a good person.

    He was punk AF on decency and empathy.

    Devil horns for Rogers.

    It was always calming when he took off his jacket and put on the sweater. Took off his black leather shoes and put on the sneaks.

    The part of my childhood my ‘rents didn’t screw up.

  80. EddieInCA says:

    @Jim Brown 32: @destijl:

    I shot a score that started with a 7. 🙂

    Jim – While I was working/living in S. Florida, our series had a character who was a golfer (Thanks wr). But the actor (an Aussie) couldn’t golf at all. In fact, he had never played the game. So we hired a couple of PGA Tour Teaching Pros to help teach him a passable swing for the cameras. Well…. those of us who golfed took full advantage. These guys were connected. Season one, I played Doral, Bay Hill, TPC Sawgrass, Broken Sound, PGA National, Boca West. Season two, it was Lake Nona, Islesworth, Weston Hills, Bay Hill (again), Doral (again), TPC Sawgrass (again), North Palm Beach CC, Broken Sound (10 times). Needless to say, I got spoiled. They would hook us up and not let us pay. The guys who helped us out at the clubs would tipped like crazy, because that was, literally, our only expenses. Guy that took my clubs from the car, $10. Guy that cleaned the clubs at the end of the round, $20. Cart girl, $10 each time. I still came out way the hell ahead, given that most of those places are exclusive and would NEVER allow a guy like me on the course.

    I used to joke “If I showed up here on my own, they’d point me to the groundskeeper’s shack so I could start my shift.”

    Like I said. I love, love Florida golf – even in August and September.

  81. Jen says:

    @de stijl: You got it right. Karen asks for the manager.

    There was a post on Medium on Friday–sadly deleted–in which a literal “Karen” (Caren White, yes really) dressed down people for purchasing *flour* because it resulted in “food insecurity” for her because her favored brand of organic flour was sold out.

    It was the most sanctimonious and tone-deaf piece of writing I’ve seen in a while. The fact that her name was Caren was ripe for providing commentary.

  82. CSK says:

    Caren’s lack of self-awareness is breathtaking.

  83. de stijl says:

    This seriously undercuts my cred.

    I was a high school golfer. I was on the first team. 7-9 handicap. Straight and true down the middle (unless I pushed it right) with a bad short game.

    I started as free safety in football, and third string forward in hockey.

    Was in the damn drama club, the debate team. Other norm core geeky stuff.

    I was basically a Little Lebowski Urban Achiever and if you tell anyone I will goddamn cut you.

    Life after 17 got very different, but back then I was a normie.

    I played golf decently well with clubs I personally owned. Don’t tell a soul.

  84. de stijl says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    Many sociopaths do really well at professional white collar jobs.

    Which is spooky.

  85. de stijl says:


    So, a 79 then.

    Actually a 79 is a really good round.

    One time in hs I was in a regional tournament and it was snowing (that can happen in May in Minnesota).

    I was really off that day anyway and I lost so many balls in the snow, but I pushed so many right because when I clench, I am late so I push right.

    I think I shot a 96 that day. That was brutally painful. After an 8 on the first hole (par 4), it continued on that really unfun path all day. Brutally embarrassing.

  86. de stijl says:


    I cannot tell you how to run your life, but think hard before you play Doral again.

    That is good money in a bad man’s pocket.

  87. mattbernius says:

    Ya’ll, I live yours, but can we back off on the golf chat?

    I literally would rather have someone try thier damnedest to punch me in the face or break one of my arms than play a game of golf.*

    (* – I fully admit that combat sports make no more sense than golf.)

  88. EddieInCA says:

    @de stijl:

    de stijl says:
    Sunday, May 3, 2020 at 20:46

    I cannot tell you how to run your life, but think hard before you play Doral again.

    That is good money in a bad man’s pocket.

    I have not played Doral since two years before Trump bought it. I’ve also never set foot on a Trump property; even before he was President. I don’t like what he does to courses. I HATE what he did to Doral. The PGA disliked the changes so much that they took the annual PGA tournament away from him and moved it to… seriously… Mexico! If that wasn’t the best F-You to Trump, I don’t know what would be.

  89. de stijl says:


    Trump is always going to be a pushy schmuck from Queens.

  90. EddieInCA says:


    mattbernius says:
    Sunday, May 3, 2020 at 20:58
    Ya’ll, I live yours, but can we back off on the golf chat?

    No. 😛

  91. de stijl says:

    @de stijl:

    Nothing against Queens.

    Good folks and best restaurants in town.

  92. de stijl says:


    I assumed that was recent.

    Sorry for the implied insult which was unwarranted about Doral.

    Again, not telling you how to conduct yourself, but consider the
    simple dartboard.

    Darts are stupid cool.

    Mindful mindlessness when you reach decent proficiency.

    And it is pretty affordable. 50 for the board, 10 to 20 for a decent set of darts, fletchings are like 5 bucks for a twelver.

    Do not get the sports bar style plastic machine that automatically counts up your score, get the pub style thick cork board and do your own math. Get a whiteboard or a slate.

    Cheap as chips.

    That is one round at a decent course.

    Darts is good. Easy to pick up and a lifetime to master. Very Zen if you are into that approach to life.

    In a few days you will hit somewhere within 5 inches of where you intend.

    Your first 180 will feel like you spanked Lucifer.

  93. de stijl says:


    She was upset because others had bought flour before her?

    During a pandemic?

    People like Caren (Karen) need a reality jolt now and again. I bet she gave the store manager a proper self-righteous sanctimonious talking to.

    How dare she or he allow the national supply chain to collapse! The utter gall! Unacceptable!

    Why is it always “Unacceptible!”? They literally had no more flour to sell. There was none in the magical “back room”. The manager could not magic it up to satisfy you.

    When life gives you lemons, Karen demands to speak with your manager, and Becky films it on her iPhone and calls the cops.

  94. de stijl says:

    Some channel shows British darts tournaments on Saturday mornings.

    The announcers are freaking bonkers. And the live audience is so drunk.

  95. EddieInCA says:

    @de stijl:

    When I lived in London (1996-1998), I was shocked to see Darts on the BBC every Friday and Saturday night and Sheepherding every Saturday and Sunday morning. Listening to Darts announcers shout “One Hundred…annnnd Eighty” or “One hundred….and Forty!!!” was hard to get used to as an American.

    As for the televised sheepherding, it’s a freaking boring as it sounds. But it was on weekly from some county in Wales, Ireland or Scottland.

  96. de stijl says:


    How is sheepherding judged? Is it objective? Or on style?

    I watch a shit ton of reality tv. An embarrassing amount. I like competition shows even though mostly I know jack and shit about what they do passionately and professionally.

    The outstanding mentionables are Forged In Fire, Top Chef, Great British Bake Off, thay fashion sewing joint with Tim Gunn.

    Make it work!

    I highly recommend darts as a pastime and skill.

    Curling and bocce are also great ways to waste time and drink beer, but the entry point is way higher.

    I used to live close to the St. Paul Curling Club on Selby Ave. You could go and watch for free, but you had to pony up to join properly.

    They were intense, very competitive. Folks I would watch were Olympians and were jockeying to get on the US team.

    This a few blocks down from where I lived. I was a punk kid, looked like a punk kid, but they were super cool with me.

    It is not an easy thing to do. It is a finesse game. Curling is very strategic. The rocks are really heavy.

  97. de stijl says:

    Bocce and curling are essentially the same game on a different surface.

    Get the scoring bits closest and prevent the opponent from getting their scoring bits closer than yours.

  98. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @de stijl: My grandfather from Belfast played darts with me when he came to visit us. He taught me how to improve my overall game a great deal. Sometimes, he would call how many points his throws would score. The last call was almost always “and a bull.” He hit more often than he missed. Good times. Thanks for the memory. 🙂

    ETA: I used to watch 3-cushion billiards on the sports networks while I was in Korea. (Almost no pocket pool there at all.) Very interesting. Much more of a spectator sport than one might imagine.

  99. de stijl says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    If you live in a town 40k or higher it is very likely there is a darts league somewhere close already. If not, start one.

    If you are newish to the game, the regulars will kick your butt up and down the street and then back up again. It’s totally cool. The best way to get better is to throw against someone better than you.

    I guarantee you will meet good folks. And some jerks too. Jerks help to hone social skills. But mostly good folks.