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 and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Sean Spicer claims press treats Jen Psaki better: ‘I walked into the lion’s den’

    “I walked into the lion’s den every day – she walks into a bunch of kittens,” Spicer told the New York Times, referring to Jen Psaki, the subject of a lengthy and admiring profile.

    Awwwww… Pobrecito. Maybe you should have tried acting with professionalism?

    As Trump’s first press secretary, Spicer had a combative relationship with the press from the moment he angrily insisted Trump’s inauguration crowd was far larger than evidence showed.

    Yeah, coming out of the gate with an obvious lie, pretty well set the stage for the rest of your term as press secretary. Your constant desire to obfuscate and deny what the trump admin was really doing might have had something to do with it. Your inability to comport yourself in a reasonable and professional manner might’ve had something to do with it. Your complete lack of self respect might’ve had something to do with it. The absolute narcissist you worked for might’ve had something to do with it.

    Spicer also bemoaned a recent barb from the White House podium.

    Earlier this month, Psaki was asked if Spicer and former White House adviser Kellyanne Conway had been qualified for roles on service academy advisory boards from which Biden fired them.
    Psaki said: “I will let others evaluate whether they think Kellyanne Conway and Sean Spicer and others were qualified or not political [appointments] to serve on these boards.”

    Spicer told the Times: “Jen chose to stand and question my qualifications and services to this country. Once she did that, the gloves were off.”

    English motherf*cker. Do you speak it? Because that is the one thing she did not do.

    Psaki did not comment. The Times, however, noted that in April 2017, when Spicer was under fire for remarks including referring to concentration camps as “Holocaust centres”, she told CNN: “It’s a really tough job. Everybody screws up.”

    Class Sean. Maybe you should try acting with it sometime.

  2. Kylopod says:


    when Spicer was under fire for remarks including referring to concentration camps as “Holocaust centres”

    That is actually something that was widely misreported in the media, and which created a myth that continues to this day. Spicer did not refer to the camps as “Holocaust centers.” What he said was that people were brought to “the Holocaust center.” Singular, not plural. Listen to the press conference again. (I just checked again on YouTube.) The media immediately added a phantom s to the word “center,” downplaying just how unbelievably dumb his comment was, and that’s how it’s been quoted ever since.

  3. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Kylopod: I missed the whole kerfuffle. This was the first I heard of it.

  4. Kylopod says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: It began with a comment of his where he tried to gin up outrage against Bashar al-Assad by saying even Hitler never used chemical weapons against his own people. In a later press conference he was asked to explain himself, and that’s when he made the “Holocaust center” remarks.

  5. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Kylopod: It began with a comment of his where he tried to gin up outrage against Bashar al-Assad by saying even Hitler never used chemical weapons against his own people.

    Heh, I remember this, but missed the whole follow up.

  6. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Last February, Dr Bryce Meck, 30, would lock herself in the bathroom to cry for five minutes when her patients, whom she had watched over for weeks in the medical intensive care unit, were dying from Covid-19. They begged her to tell people in their community to get vaccinated. Of the 20 patients with Covid-19 in her care, only three survived.

    Each week, Meck’s frustration grew when she saw patients in a Columbia, Missouri, primary care clinic. They expressed vaccine hesitancy, shared misinformation or told her that their friends were pressuring them to remain unvaccinated. “If only the patients in the clinic could just meet the people who are suffering in the hospital,” said Meck, who continues to experience long-term effects of the virus herself.

    Now more than ever before, medical professionals are drained from the relentless grief and trauma of the pandemic. But it’s more than the volume of patients that’s the problem: they’re dealing with the dissonance of unvaccinated patients, and constraints of the health system, leaving them without the tools to do their jobs the way they were trained to do. The stakes are high for a workforce facing this psychological and emotional toll – doctors are given little support or leeway for mistakes and suffer professional consequences when they disclose mental health problems.

    Some of what they’re experiencing can be encapsulated in two terms, experts say: moral injury and compassion fatigue.

    “Compassion fatigue is the feeling, ‘It’s hard to care when you’re overloaded but still dedicated to the task,’” Dr Kernan Manion, executive director of the Center for Physician Rights, said. “Moral injury occurs when the nurse or doctor feels that, ‘The patients I’ve dedicated my life to treating are now here because of their own negligence and now they’re imposing upon me and my team to treat them, while also exposing us to continued danger from this virus.’”

    These days, Meck knows that first-hand. She is seeing more children with Covid-19 at her Missouri hospital than ever before. At 46%, Missouri has one of the lowest rates of full vaccination in the country. “I don’t even get the chance to try to show you all the split-second decisions and critical thinking and compassion I’m capable of,” Meck said. “Practising mindfulness is not going to fix moral injury.”

  7. MarkedMan says:

    Scanning the news today, the US press is still consumed with the high school prom date aspects of the submarine deal. Meanwhile, there was a much more in depth exploration on this blog, with a lot of back and forth and interesting perspectives. It’s why I keep reading. Thanks to the good doctors for for keeping OTB going.

  8. charon says:


    Oh this is AMAZING

    Quote tweeted a link to:

    According to this
    Op-Ed, liberals are pushing the vaccine aggressively because if liberals are for it, #MAGA will be against it, and #MAGA will die, therefore handing liberals more elections.

    Bottom line, they no longer have control of their zombies and this won’t convince a single wingnut to get a shot.

    Nolte knows that. He isn’t inventing this alt-reality to try to convince them. He’s inventing it to blame this Red Death on liberals.

  9. charon says:


    The relevant linky:


    ” … Do you want to know why I think Howard Stern is going full-monster with his mockery of three fellow human beings who died of the coronavirus? Because leftists like Stern and CNNLOL and Joe Biden and Nancy Pelosi and Anthony Fauci are deliberately looking to manipulate Trump supporters into not getting vaccinated. … ”

    (no blockquote button).

  10. Kylopod says:

    @charon: Howard Stern as a leftist. That’s a new one.

  11. Sleeping Dog says:

    We spent the last couple of weeks wandering the northern reaches of the northeast. Saw fewer trump/pence signs that I expected and the flags were pretty faded and battered, though the lawn signs have held up pretty well. But what has me thinking that much of the stop the steal outrage and TFG won cries are phony, is that I saw not one person wearing a red MAGAt cap. All the whining and complaining is performative and an excuse for R legislatures to make it difficult to vote.

  12. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @charon: Cleek’s Law is real.

  13. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @charon: If I refresh the page, the blockquote button returns. So does my previous comment that I then have to delete.

  14. CSK says:

    To these people, Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan are leftists.

  15. charon says:


    If I have begun my post – by posting the link for example – I lose that if I refresh.

  16. CSK says:

    @Sleeping Dog:
    I wondered where you were. Sounds like a good time.

  17. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @charon: I copy/paste in that situation. A bit of a pita but one of the quirks of OTB’s comments section.

  18. senyordave says:

    @Kylopod: Howard Stern as a leftist. That’s a new one.
    I heard he personally trained under Saul Alinsky. If you listen to Stern’s show you can hear all types of marxist references. I mean look at some of his recurring bits – lesbian dial-a-date, spot the Jew – he couldn’t make his far left sympathies any more obvious.

  19. Sleeping Dog says:


    It was a good trip, mostly spent within the domain of America’s gestapo border patrol. Did love the one build the wall sign we saw about 7 miles from the Canadian border. Two weeks of spotty cell service and less internet. Only found out on our return that we’ve managed to upset our oldest ally.

    We had breakfast Thursday AM in Stewartstown town NH, of the six tables occupied, the conversations being at two of them were conducted in French and the others in Yankee.

  20. CSK says:

    @Sleeping Dog:
    Was the Build the Wall sign in reference to our northern border? 😀

  21. Kathy says:


    They’re taking the notion that only liberals have agency literally to the death.

  22. Joe says:

    This the very model of the maxim: show up differently if you want the people around you to show up differently.

  23. Michael Cain says:


    I copy/paste in that situation. A bit of a pita but one of the quirks of OTB’s comments section.

    I do that everywhere if I’m going to refresh. Worst case is I wasted typing ctrl-a, ctrl-c before clicking on refresh. Totally worth it for the times when ctrl-v gets everything back for me.

  24. MarkedMan says:

    From the annals of unintentionally demonstrating your stupidity, here’s a comment from a TV Weatherman who just got fired for vaccine refusal:

    “I have decided against the vaccine option, first and foremost, because the manufacturers of these injections have absolutely no liability if injury or death occurs after the shot,” Bohnak said in last Wednesday’s post. “I asked myself, would I buy brakes for my vehicle if the brake company had no liability if the brakes failed? No!

    So. He would rather drive a car no brakes rather than buy them from a company he doesn’t trust. Got it.

  25. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Michael Cain: I should as well but I only remember to in certain situations.

  26. Beth says:


    It’s even dumber than that! If you get hurt the U.S. government has a special court to to make it liable for the damage:

    An individual files a petition with the U.S. Court of Federal Claims.
    The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services medical staff reviews the petition, determines if it meets the medical criteria for compensation and makes a preliminary recommendation.
    The U.S. Department of Justice develops a report that includes the medical recommendation and legal analysis and submits it to the Court.
    The report is presented to a court-appointed special master, who decides whether the petitioner should be compensated, often after holding a hearing in which both parties can present evidence. If compensation is awarded, the special master determines the amount and type of compensation.
    The Court orders the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to award compensation. Even if the petition is dismissed, if certain requirements are met, the Court may order the Department to pay attorneys’ fees and costs.

  27. Mister Bluster says:

    From yesterday’s thread early this morning:

    flat earth luddite says:
    Sunday, 19 September 2021 at 00:04

    Yeah. Stuff like that almost made the draft board look like a viable option. Almost.

    I know one guy who went to court on some charge. (He told me what it was I can’t remember.)
    He was faced with doing time.
    This was late ’60s early ’70s the height of the Vietnam War. The judge gave him the choice of the Army or the hoosegow. He enlisted.
    He ended up stationed in Korea and traveling and singing with the choir.

  28. Jax says:

    @Mister Bluster: Ha! I was fondly remembering my days as a hostess at a cool little jazz bar in downtown Tempe, Arizona while I was getting rained on yesterday.

    The wind is blowing 50 mph right now and it looks like it wants to snow. I stayed home cuz now my youngest is sick with the Rona now. I’m still fine, but I didn’t want to leave her home alone. The teenager wanted and feels good enough to cowboy, so she drove her own vehicle up behind the cowboys so they weren’t all trapped together in an enclosed area.

  29. steve says:

    Don t remember them being listed here but in case they were not the 2020 Shkreli Awards at link. Dont agree with all of them but I really dont understand anyone buying cures from Jim Baker. At least in the Covid treatment pack you got HCQ and Viagra so you were getting one drug that mighty help.


  30. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Jax: my youngest is sick with the Rona now

    Fingers crossed for a short, mild case.

  31. Jax says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Thanks. It’s not too bad, so far, stuffy nose and headache, tiredness. The oldest never even got a cough.

    The whole freakin town has it, thanks to a number of Trumpie families last week that refused to quarantine and sent all their kids to school with obvious symptoms. It’ll be interesting to see if the schools stay in-person or go virtual for a couple weeks.

  32. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @charon: Brings “damned if you do, damned if you don’t” to a new level, all right.

  33. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: I just write in “[left arrow]blockquote[right arrow]” and again with a / before “blockquote” at the end. Works fine. (Or if I’m feeling lazy, I just use “-” and don’t bother explaining why.)-

  34. Gustopher says:

    You’re gonna outlive Mitch McConnell

    It’s catchy.

  35. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker: Yeah but I can never get it right. 🙁

  36. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Gustopher: Indeed. And you can dance to it, too! “I’ll give it a 95, Dick.”

  37. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Jax: I’d have to consider suing, at least talk to a lawyer.

  38. JohnSF says:

    Continuing here a conversation from a topic yesterday.
    Because the responses to my comment rather puzzle me.
    I was suggesting that the French, from their point of view, have reasons beyond pure pique for their response to the US/Australia submarines deal.
    And that it might be worth trying to understand those reason, and to ameliorate their concerns.

    Also, that I have encountered quite a few Australians who have doubts about the deal.
    And comments that the US might be an unreliable ally from both Australians and French on Twitter.

    Not sure why the Brits want to have a forever war in Afghanistan, but they are welcome to do it without us.
    Seriously though, why the hell do Brits want to be in Afghanistan?

    Actually I didn’t mention Afghanistan, and was actually thinking more about the French response to Suez. And what the Australians had in mind, I don’t really know.

    As far as I am aware the only reason the UK was in Afghanistan was because on 4 October 2001 the United States invoked NATO Article 5.
    In service of the casus foederis the UK lost 454 dead, some 7000 wounded, and £25 billion spent.
    Less than the USA in totals, but in terms of per capita, comparable.
    I can’t speak for other the rest of the British, but my desire to continue to be in Afghanistan for it’s own sake is approximately zero or less.
    What did, and does, trouble me, was the abandonment of allies in Afghanistan. It may have been necessary, but it was not pleasant.
    And no matter how many times partisans of President Biden say “It went fine!”: No, it did not.

    As for the UK sustaining an independent presence in Afghanistan: impractical.
    We don’t have the strategic airlift logistics to do it; or the contractor system that could support the Afghan Air Force.
    (Which is why the French continue to press for European strategic independance…)
    We could still have thought about it, I suppose,if we could have assembled a European coalition capable of supporting the mission.
    But it was plain that politically impossible, for various reasons.

    I have to say though that a doctrine of

    20 years is long enough for any commitment

    the US would be placing itself in a trap.
    In future conflicts, an opponent may argue “All we need to do to prevail is just persist. Keep bleeding the Americans at a low level for long enough, and they will eventually surrender and retreat”.


    Really? An Aussie complaining that the US shafted the French in this deal??? A FVCKING AUSSIE???????? And you, a Brit, who have quite the beam in their own eyes, quoted him.
    Jesus Christ. Hypocrisy is certainly not the sole province of the US.

    Yes, I quoted him.
    Doesn’t mean I AGREE with him.
    I was trying to point out that this deal does not have universal support in Australia.
    And as a Briton, I’d have tried to stay out of it if possible, due to repercussions re. France.
    May not have been possible, depending on what US and Australia were saying to UK. It may have been necessary to go along on this despite the French response.
    (And I tend to think what appears President Biden’s larger strategic approach re. Asia/Pacific makes sense. But State seems to be tripping up a lot lately.)

    But honestly I can’t see how trying to indicate these French and Australian points of view (NB: they are not necessarily MY point of view) makes me hypocritical.

  39. Sleeping Dog says:


    Who knows. I suspect the sign maker has no idea what the border is, nor what the wall is for.

  40. Stormy Dragon says:


    In future conflicts, an opponent may argue “All we need to do to prevail is just persist. Keep bleeding the Americans at a low level for long enough, and they will eventually surrender and retreat”.

    But this is perfectly true. The real trap would be the US pursuing some sort of strategic doctrine that tries to pretend it’s not.

  41. charon says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    I found that at LGM via this link:

    The comments to the post are great, including this:

    John F • 10 hours ago
    When you’re this close to getting it
    No, they are actually not close at all… this is like the slot machine that’s programmed to “almost” win – just to keep you hooked- but you are never actually close to winning.

    The folks like the Blight Fart writer have an ulterior motive (owning the libs) for EVERYTHING they write and say- it would never occur to them that a liberal is doing anything other than trying to screw with and eff over conservatives-

    So, liberals are pushing vaccines to screw over MAGATs- period.
    Vaccines work? They are pushing vaccines because they know if they push them MAGATs won’t take them.

    Vaccines are harmful? They are pushing vaccines in the hopes of getting MAGAts to take them and harm themselves.

    Vaccines are useless but not harmful? They are pushing vaccines in the hopes of distracting MAGATs to engage in a meaningless battle.

    etc ad nauseum…. running through the hypotheticals like that the Blight Farter will run adjacent to the truth every now and then- but he’ll never stay there- cuz he’s chasing the bigger truth in his mind- that liberals are just as venal and dishonest and prone to argue in bad faith just as much as he is.

  42. Jax says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Yeah. One of the instigating mom’s, her son is apparently sick enough that he may need hospitalized. The worst part is, she works for our only oxygen supply company, so who knows how many older people she’s infected with her “hoax” stance. I suspect there will be repercussions. Just kinda waiting to see how it all plays out and hoping nobody else in my family gets it. The rest of these fuckers are on their own as far as my empathy levels.

  43. Sleeping Dog says:


    In future conflicts, an opponent may argue “All we need to do to prevail is just persist. Keep bleeding the Americans at a low level for long enough, and they will eventually surrender and retreat”.

    That’s the lesson of history that the insurgents learned long before the US adopted the role of world cop. The retreat of the European empires is replete with examples where the cost of maintaining the empire far out weighed the benefit of maintaining it. The US isn’t any different and in fact, the existence of the US is an early example of bleeding the colonial master till the colony isn’t worth it any longer.

  44. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @JohnSF: My point is that there are 3 parties to the deal: The US, Australia and the UK. But time and again people keep pointing the fickle finger of blame at the US as tho AUS and UK were just innocent bystanders.

    Which is absolute horseshit. I certainly don’t know who was most responsible for the deal being kept secret till it was signed, but all 3 parties kept their mouths shut which means that all 3 thought it a good idea and all 3 are responsible for it.

    As for some Aussies not liking the deal, so the f what? I’m sure we can find quite a few GOPs to object to the deal too, just because Biden did it, and plenty of Brits object just because… I’m sure you know of better reasons than I. Regardless, all 3 of our govts did this deal.

    May not have been possible, depending on what US and Australia were saying to UK.

    Stop it. The UK was not held hostage. They were part of this deal because they wanted to be. From what I have seen of Brexit, the Tories don’t give a rat’s ass what the French think and are hot and heavy to show their independence from the EU by making deals with… Who else? The US.

  45. MarkedMan says:

    @JohnSF: I’ve been wondering about something today. You, and many, many others, say that the sub thing could have been handled better. My assumption is that the reason to keep the French in the dark was the expectation that they would leak the deal to the Chinese in an effort to scuttle it. In that case, I don’t see how it could have been handled better. It was either defer to the French or piss them off.

    So here’s what I’m wondering: when you say it could have been handled better, are you doing so because you think my analysis is wrong and there was no concern about the French leaking it and there were other, poorer, reasons the French were excluded? Or that the US/Aussies thought as I outlined but were wrong to do so because the French wouldn’t have leaked? Or do you think there was some way to exclude the French, secure the deal, but then do something diplomatically that would have lessened the impact? If that last one, what was the magic bit of diplomacy that would have saved the situation?

  46. JohnSF says:

    Not saying we were held hostage.
    And, you are right, the British government probably did not weigh this up much beyond “stick it to the Froggies, chaps, what ho!”
    But then, most of the ministers concerned are, fools, blackguards or nincompoops.
    I was trying to think of how an old fashioned diplomatist might weigh the issues.

    Incidentally, I still think that strategically, President Biden is generally being sensible.
    And the EU needs a bit of a push re. China (which is far more down to Berlin than Paris)
    But I’m starting to wonder how much of a grip Blinken has at State; and whether Defence and State are actually talking to each other.

    I’m sure that the French could and should have been handled better.
    e.g. as the current subs deal won’t deliver till the mid 2030’s and the RAN Collins class subs will be getting very long in the tooth by then, why not a deal with France for some interim diesel electrics to be built in France, and leased to Aus. then sold on to say Indonesia or etc when the SSN’s come onlene?

  47. JohnSF says:

    I honestly don’t know.
    There are too many things we don’t know about the deal itself, the details of the contacts, and the related diplomatic tangles.

    I can’t see, though, how having the French leak a deal switch in the offing to China would, or even could, have changed things. The Chinese leverage is changed not a whit by the date.
    Unless perhaps in terms of Australian domestic politics?
    Doubt it, but as I’ve mentioned some Australian left comment is critical; but that’s largely just “bash the right” reflex on their part.
    Dunno. Don’t think so. Could be wrong.

    I honestly don’t think the French view themselves as being conterary to US interests in the region.
    Their annoyance IMO is based more on their being disregarded as a regional Power (which they are) and having a strategic industry contract *um* torpedoed.

    On reflection, I suspect the French did themselves no favours by trying to play a subtle game of presenting themselves as strategic partners in the Indo/Pacific, while at the same time pandering to the usual German mix of mercantilism, self-righteousness and fear that characterises the response of Berlin to any challenges to the post-1990 international order.
    I think they didn’t mean to come over as neutralist re. China, but some people in Washington perceived them that way, and the Whitehouse steamroller just squished everything in it’s path.

    I still think something is amiss in Washington.
    State? State-Defence liason? NSC?
    Blinken, or Austin, or Sullivan, something’s not working as it should IMUHO.

  48. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @JohnSF: e.g. as the current subs deal won’t deliver till the mid 2030’s and the RAN Collins class subs will be getting very long in the tooth by then, why not a deal with France for some interim diesel electrics to be built in France, and leased to Aus. then sold on to say Indonesia or etc when the SSN’s come onlene?

    I’m just gonna be honest and say that I am not knowledgeable enough about defense procurement procedures or submarine technology to venture an opinion on this.

  49. MarkedMan says:


    The Chinese leverage is changed not a whit by the date.

    That may the key difference in our viewpoints right there. I think the effort needed to torpedo a deal goes up dramatically once it has been announced to the world. And, FWIW, I think the French think so to, as they way they have reacted has now made it impossible Aussies to change their mind without a huge loss of face.

    Which brings up another whole issue: regardless of whether the US/UK/A handling was genius or rankest stupidity, what the heck do the French perceive they are getting out of the way they are handling it? Or is it just for domestic consumption?

  50. JohnSF says:

    @Sleeping Dog:

    …bleeding the colonial master till the colony isn’t worth it…

    This is the assumption that you are facing some sort of a “national liberation movement” that is prevailing as an embodiment of the “will of the people”.

    But what it, instead, they are a minority, possibly supported by an outside sponsor, possibly not, but at rate determined to impose their rule upon the country concerned.

    It seems to a persistent delusion that minorities, or external conquerors, cannot impose their rule by force or fear.
    They can and have, persistently, throughout history, and do so today.

    European empires in some cases simply stopped trying to rule, because they had never been based on integrating absorption, but on co-opting a relatively passsive society, usually in co-operation with local partners.
    Once the cost went up over a relatively low level, it was simply not worth bothering.
    (Big exception to this being France, in different versions: first in Indo-China, and then Algeria)

    Some recent examples of internal or external rule that were/are quite stable, and imposed by force and fear:
    Fascists rule in Spain 1939-1975.
    Communist rule in Eastern Europe 1945-1989
    Apartheid South Africa.

  51. JohnSF says:

    @MarkedMan: it just for domestic consumption?

    Two audiences:
    1 – Domestic (especially Brittany, where the submarine industry is, and where Macron may face a serious vote challenge by the NF or Socialists next year)
    2 – Berlin

  52. JohnSF says:


  53. Just nutha ignint cracker says:


    . Just kinda waiting to see how it all plays out and hoping nobody else in my family gets it. The rest of these fuckers are on their own as far as my empathy levels.

    Yeah. I get that. I wish you family well. Keep on keeping on.

  54. Jax says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker: If I don’t get sick, the youngest will be done with official quarantine in time for our trip to Tennessee. If I get sick after tomorrow, we’re hosed. There’s no way I would even consider getting on a plane during quarantine. It would haunt me forever, wondering if I killed anybody, even if I wear ALLLLL the masks.

    There better be some COVID clauses on all the reservations I’ve made, if we can’t go.