Thursday’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. Lost in Quebec says:

    The carnival is over….

    Don’t know if this was mentioned here before, but Judith Durham probably most famous for singing ‘Georgy Girl’ has passed away at age 79

  2. steve says:

    Watch those old Seekers YouTube. Durham had a wonderful voice.


  3. OzarkHillbilly says:

    A pro-Donald Trump brand was fined by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) for using fake “Made in USA” labels on items that were imported from other countries.

    The Utah-based apparel company Lions Not Sheep was first cited by the FTC in May for replacing “Made in China” tags on their clothing with bogus “Made in USA” labels.

    The company and its owner, Sean Whalen, were ordered to pay $212,335 in fines and stop producing apparel with the fake tags, according to a statement from the FTC.

    “Stop making bogus Made in USA claims, and come clean about foreign production,” read the FTC’s 28 July statement.

    Lions Not Sheep is widely known for producing clothing with conservative messaging, including apparel with slogans like “Let’s Go Brandon” and “Shall Not Be Infringed”, referring to the right to bear arms.

    A free copy of the US constitution is also shipped with every order, according to the brand’s website.

    First off, “Lions Not Sheep”??? BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA… 10,000 unemployed comedians and here they are giving it away for free.

    2nd, is anybody even the least bit surprised that a pro-trump brand would do this?

    3rd, rather than giving away copies of the Constitution, maybe they should try reading the damn thing.

  4. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Shannon Watts

    to a Greg Abbott supporter who laughed when the gubernatorial candidate mentioned the mass school shooting in Uvalde, Texas: “It may be funny to you motherfcker, but it’s not funny to me.” #txlege

  5. Neil Hudelson says:


    When I read the headline this morning I expected to see a cringe moment, of a politician berating a potential constituent (no matter how much an asshole). But no, it came off as pitch perfect. The language may have been crude, but that cultural more* came tumbling down about 7 years ago. I haven’t seen polls that shows he has a chance yet of winning, but this video reminded me why Beto is going to be in the mix for the foreseeable future.

    *Is “more” the singular of “mores” or is it one of those words where the plural and singular are the same? Maybe I should just use “norm.”

  6. charon says:

    Billboard image found at LGM×9/full/1015/center/80/b53d07cf-2284-48d0-84af-917f6d8db84e-large16x9_E_LyFzJXsAUwRiz.jpg

    Think of that image in light of the claims evidence was planted at Mar-a-Lago. These people are trying to spin with implausible claims that few would believe, but many will pretend to believe as a vehicle for continued support of Trump. They know evidence is coming out, crimes will be charged.

    Arrest and execution did not kill the Jesus Movement, it just continued on strong as ever. This is why so many GOP polls are standing by Trump, they know Trumpism will survive its founder, no matter what.

    Billboards like that are not all that unusual, especially in the Bible Belt.

  7. Jax says:

    Cats crack me up. We have a rule around here that no box or paper bag gets thrown out until the cats have had time to play with it. 😛

  8. Scott says:

    @charon: This picture has been around for a while.

    And Satan laughs with delight.

  9. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Neil Hudelson: The reaction of the crowd really says it all.

    As to the mores of swearing, as I told somebody else this AM, if I had to forgo swearing, I’d be mute.

  10. Scott says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: The Mothers Against Greg Abbott signs are starting to go up. My next door neighbor has one and my wife has given me directions to get one also.

  11. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @charon: @Scott: These people may be a lot of things but Christian is not one of them.

    @Jax: That cracked me up.

  12. Stormy Dragon says:

    ‘Defund the FBI’—the MAGA Right’s Hypocritical New Slogan

    So if MR’s theories are true, all the MAGA Republicans should lose soundly this November.

    Somehow I doubt that’s what’s going to happen.

  13. charon says:


    My reaction is that is a parody mocking the Christian Nationalists. Maybe a Poe but it seems pretty over-the-top.

  14. Scott says:

    @charon: I believe it was shown to be a mockery. But you know others are out there that are serious. Especially after all those paintings by Jon McNaughton…

  15. Beth says:


    That comes off with such beautiful timing. You can hear the laughing, watch O’Rourke calmly turn around and identify the heckler and then calmly shut his ass down without missing a beat before moving on. It seems like the heckler was shocked that he’d actually be nuked instead of politely argued with.

  16. Michael Reynolds says:

    @Stormy Dragon:
    Sigh. Sometimes your superficiality is wearying.

  17. CSK says:

    If you’re a devout Christian, wouldn’t that be considered blasphemous?

  18. Kathy says:


    These days you can’t even laugh at the victims of a massacre without being cancelled on the spot.

  19. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Jax: It really clear that the whole reason for getting in the clear container is “I wonder if I can do a summersault inside a box.”

  20. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Scott: I can imagine Jon McNaughton seeing that painting and saying “DAMN! I wish I’d thought of that.”

  21. Flat Earth Luddite says:


    And you think I’ve had too much Kool aid?

    At least I cut mine with ethanol thinly disguised as fruit juice.

    H/t to the Bulwark

  22. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Michael Reynolds: Sure, but isn’t that true of all of us (present company excepted, of course)?

  23. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @CSK: It would seem to me to be safer to consider it blasphemous, but, like treason, blasphemy seems to have a specific definition–attributing to God qualities or behaviors that He doesn’t show or possess–so it may only be remarkably crude.

  24. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Kathy: What’s this country coming to?

  25. Just nutha ignint cracker says:
  26. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker: Speaking only for myself, superficiality is my favorite mode of dressing. It sets off my blue eyes spectacularly.

  27. Neil Hudelson says:

    I disagreed with @Scott yesterday that the Saki Air Force base was due to a special forces attack. This thread makes a good counter-argument that it was indeed Ukrainian SOF.

  28. CSK says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:
    I always understood blasphemy to be contempt for God, but I suppose the creators of the billboard have a different definition.

  29. Stormy Dragon says:

    At approximately 9 AM this morning an armed subject attempted to breach the Visitor Screening Facility at #FBI Cincinnati. After an alarm and a response by FBI special agents, the subject fled north onto Interstate 71.— FBI Cincinnati (@FBICincinnati) August 11, 2022

  30. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @CSK: My understanding is that it is a specific variety of contempt. Lots of people on this forum show contempt for God every day, but none of them are blasphemous.

  31. Sleeping Dog says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    It’s not fair that the FBI and other LEO’s would respond to an armed intruder, with you know, guns.

  32. gVOR08 says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    ‘Defund the FBI’—the MAGA Right’s Hypocritical New Slogan

    I find this ironic. Back in the anti-war/civil rights era the FBI had a reputation as racist, right-wing goons. Evidence that various reform efforts since have been successful is thin. And more recently, one of the reasons/excuses offered for Director Comey’s less than discreet handling of HEREMAILZZZZ! was that he was trying to preempt leaks by anti Hillary buddies of Rudy the Clown at the NY FBI office.

  33. gVOR08 says:

    @Flat Earth Luddite: WTF is “Real America’s Voice”? And the host reminds me of what was supposedly the National Enquirer’s motto, “Never question a good story to death.” And what is it with the obsession about pedophilia? Given that everything on the right is projection, should we be keeping kids away from these people?

  34. Beth says:


    I prefer to dress with as little as possible and let other people deal with it.

  35. Jen says:

    A “Florida man” headline that you wouldn’t expect:

    Florida man taunts Trump by flying ‘Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha’ banner over Mar-a-Lago

    […] The banner was commissioned by Thomas Kennedy, a self-professed Trump critic and Democratic activist from Miami, and his friends.

    Kennedy said they paid $1,800 to fly the banner near the mansion for three hours.

    “It brought me a lot of joy to do so,” Kennedy said. “I would do it again.”

  36. Flat Earth Luddite says:

    I don’t know, but from my brief interwebs search:

    Real America’s Voice is a media solutions firm that enables Content Providers, Agencies and Advertisers to leverage our 130 years of combined media expertise to deliver the country’s first audience-driven news platform!

    Delivering news programs and live-event coverage that capture the authentic voice and passion of real people all…

    No, I refuse to click on the links. I may be a Luddite (and an ex-con), but hey, I’ve got my standards! Besides, my stomach barely made it past the original Twitter link.

    @OzarkHillbilly: @Beth:

    Maybe it’s just me, but given my macho-Dawg-given bod, I prefer mine on the side as a dipping sauce for my jo-jos. YMMV

  37. Flat Earth Luddite says:

    Drifting back to yesterday’s reporting on the deposition in NYC, a senior paralegal I know had the following comment to a baby lawyer who was standing up for Drump in a conversation:

    FYI, as a matter of law, “taking the fifth” refers to one’s right under the constitution that an individual cannot be compelled by the government to provide information that might be incriminating against themselves. When an individual invokes the fifth, they are, Ipso facto, admitting that the answer to the question incriminates them. To invoke the fifth in a civil matter necessarily implies that the answer involves involves criminal conduct. Thank you for attending my CLE.

    three sidebars: (1) yes, the Baby Lawyer shut up and left the room; (2) this just tripped out of her mouth without pause (except to take a deep breath) before roasting him; (3) she frequently talks like this when she’s tired of the BS.

    I love her and fear her. Senior lawyers in the firm dread her retirement next week. Junior lawyers and staff cheer.

  38. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker: What am I doing wrong?

  39. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Beth: Different strokes…

  40. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Flat Earth Luddite: And speaking of which…

  41. MarkedMan says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    So if MR’s theories are true, all the MAGA Republicans should lose soundly this November.

    I know this was just sarcasm, but I’ll respond as if it was meant seriously.

    The Repubs in a number of states have been driving moderates from the party by taking ever more extreme positions and, here’s the key, hounding anyone who doesn’t adhere to them out of the party. This has made them more popular in some areas, but has actually driven them from power in CA, VA and a few other places. Yes, you are right that many MAGAs will delight in the attacks on the FBI, but for moderates it will be just one more fer-crying-out-loud thing. Moderates leave, the percentage of extremists go up, forcing more moderates out, lather rinse repeat.

    This cycle of the true-believers driving out moderates by attacking and berating them can happen in any group; political, religious, social.

  42. MarkedMan says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker: Hey! I never become tiresome! (I start out that way…)

  43. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: About what? If your question is about “people showing contempt for God,” (and that’s only a guess) what makes you think I’m thinking about you and why would you, as an atheist, care about the question? Or my opinion of what you say? What I said should probably be discounted as the ravings of a member in good standing of “the Jesus, guns, and White Supremacy cult,” and I assume that how most people here took it. But CSK asked a question about blasphemy, and I expanded on what I’d previously said–that probably not as many thing are blasphemous as people on either side of the question imagine. I then used this forum as an example, but if I stepped on your toes somehow, you certainly have my apology. That was not the intention of my example.

    ETA: It occurred to me after my rant, and again my apologies, that your question might have been looking for guidance rather than expressing outrage at what I’d said. That being the case, I would suggest that you take a page out of the book of the Westboro Baptist Church. “Angels in Heaven rejoice every time a faggot is thrown into the fires of hell” is probably a blasphemous thing to say. I’ll leave it up to you to decide why and let you go from there.

  44. Neil Hudelson says:

    @Flat Earth Luddite:

    I regret to inform you your senior paralegal friend’s take is incorrect across the board–practically, legally, everything.

    as a matter of law

    It’s a matter of the constitution, which while “the supreme law of the land” it’s not the matter of any criminal law passed by any legislature. Nor is taking the fifth interpreted by any court of law/legal system to be a de facto admission of guilt.

    , “taking the fifth” refers to one’s right under the constitution that an individual cannot be compelled by the government to provide information that might be incriminating against themselves

    Which also means to open oneself up to an accusation of breaking the law.

    Here’s an example of a very real-world, real-life situation in which the fifth can be invoked by someone who has not broken any law.

    Say the FBI deposes you in a case related to your friend who, I don’t know, burglarized Fort Knox. They think you might have some information that could be helpful, even if they tell you they don’t think you personally had anything to do with it. They start asking you questions, and are not happy with your answers. Suddenly they are asking you questions about unrelated things, questions about events that are hazy in your memory. If you answer them incorrectly, even because you simply don’t remember, but they have evidence that you “know” the correct answer, you’ve opened yourself up to criminal charges of lying to the FBI.

    You would be smart to invoke the fifth and not answer the entirely unrelated questions. In this scenario you have done nothing wrong, but you do not want to open yourself up to specious charges.

    And law enforcement across the board–FBI to sheriff–fucking love specious charges.

    When an individual invokes the fifth, they are, Ipso facto, admitting that the answer to the question incriminates them.

    No, they are saying they don’t know the ramifications of answering said question and so they aren’t going to.

    To invoke the fifth in a civil matter necessarily implies that the answer involves involves criminal conduct.

    When one invokes the fifth, even in civil trials, juries are specifically instructed to draw no adverse conclusions from the invocation.

    Thank you for attending my CLE.

    I would ask for my money back.

  45. MarkedMan says:

    @Neil Hudelson: Since IANAL, I have no opinion of my own on this, but your reply prompted me to remember this passage from the NYT’s a few days ago:

    Given various criminal investigations, including one by Alvin L. Bragg, the Manhattan district attorney, which he has said remains pending, Mr. Trump’s move was probably justified and perhaps wise.

    But it was not without risks. Prosecutors are forbidden from telling juries in criminal trials that a defendant’s decision not to testify is evidence of guilt. The rules are generally different in civil cases.

    “The Fifth Amendment does not forbid adverse inferences against parties to civil actions when they refuse to testify” in response to evidence of wrongdoing, Justice Bryon R. White wrote for the court in 1976.

    That means Mr. Trump may pay a price for his decision to invoke the Fifth Amendment in a civil case. He may also have limited his ability to offer related testimony, as courts do not allow selective or opportunistic waivers of the privilege.

  46. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker: It was a joke, one at my own expense. The implication being that I try to blaspheme at every opportunity but fail every time.

    I really don’t care, but I don’t feel any need to insult people who have beliefs I don’t share. If they want to live their lives by the principles set forth in a 4,000 year old book with some iffy and contradictory additions, it’s fine by me. Now if they try to make me live by those principles, we’re gonna have a problem.

  47. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Neil Hudelson: Sure, but that example just goes back to the basic rule of that YouTube video someone posted here a while back: Don’t talk to law enforcement without your lawyer present. (And good advice to follow in our modern era, I would add.)

  48. Neil Hudelson says:


    IANAL either, I just work with a bunch of civil rights lawyers.

    From a law firm:

    In the criminal context, no adverse inference is permitted from a witness’s refusal to testify based on the Fifth Amendment. In federal civil litigation, however, an adverse inference may be “drawn when independent evidence exists of the fact to which the party refuses to answer” — meaning that “an adverse inference can be drawn when silence is countered by independent evidence of the fact being questioned, but that same inference cannot be drawn when, for example, silence is the answer to an allegation contained in a complaint.

    I’m positive Trump will fit this bill. I’m happy to bet my house that Trump is guilty (as judged by a jury of my peers, ie the OTB Commentariot). But the idea that invoking the 5th is a de facto admission of guilt is just wrong wrong wrong.

  49. Neil Hudelson says:
  50. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @MarkedMan: Beat me to it and said it better than I was going to.

  51. MarkedMan says:

    Something happened the other day that I was going to comment on here, but every time I started to write my cussedness got the better of me and I scrapped the resultant over-the-top comment. Let’s see if I have better luck today threading the needle between justified contempt and out and out rant.

    So I was with my wife and some friends at the Orioles came the other night. We got there after the top of the first so everyone had mostly gone in already. As we were heading around the corner to the Eutaw street gate, three guys appeared walking the other way. One of them was a moronic man-boy, fully armed in tactical gear with various pockets holding all his little toys and a big ol’ automatic pistol strapped to his side. His friends were dressed more normally and if they were carrying it was concealed. My first reaction was to look around me to see what I could hit the pretend-soldier with if he reached for the gun. In retrospect, he was probably just an immature moron, but at the time, and given all the recent mass shootings my mind went instantly to “crazy armed guy looking to shoot up a crowd”. Almost as quickly I relaxed a bit, perhaps foolishly, because my mind immediately filled in a back story: Three “friends”, white guys in their early forties, two athletically fit and one a Pillsbury dough boy, belly overflowing his belt, pasty white were just loser trumper types who were just so excited that Governor Larry Hogan had recently relaxed the gun laws in MD. The fit guys goaded their “friend” the doughboy into dressing up in his fantasy gear to go out and patrol the streets. If they got into trouble with the law, it would be doughboy going to jail and he was too stupid to realize his place in their three way hierarchy. Of course, rather than go any place dangerous, they showed up at a frickin’ ballpark where they could strut around until they panicked and started firing into a crowd because, I don’t know, they saw a young black man wearing a hoody.

    Now, all of the above was just speculation. I also have to admit that I wanted to point them to a few actually dangerous places in Baltimore and encourage them to go their. Not because I thought they would do any good , but because I know that just showing up wearing all that expensive gear on the outside and carrying a very expensive gun, they would all have bullets in brains within in minutes and their corpses stripped of everything of value. Three less man-boys in the world. Small loss.

  52. gVOR08 says:

    @MarkedMan: You remind me of a line I saw years ago. Somebody was talking about preppers, stocking up on weapons and gear and canned rations against whatever apocalypse they were hoping for. The author predicted that if push ever really came to shove, it wouldn’t be long before these wanna be tough guys ran into some real tough guy who would turn their lily white asses into preppy jerky.

  53. Flat Earth Luddite says:

    @Neil Hudelson:

    Yeah, Neil, I know, I know. It was a giggle on my end because she’s spent the last 6 months of her 30+ years with this firm trying to teach baby lawyers how to actually do billable work, and be an asset to the firm, when what they really want to be is Tom Cruise grilling Jack Nicholson and are convinced that they already know everything. Frankly, the internecine politics and in-fighting are reasons why I never fit in with Big Law.

    @Neil Hudelson: Thanks for including the reference. But no, I’m not going to show it to her. Like I said, she scares me sometimes.

  54. MarkedMan says:

    @gVOR08: I have a friend who is a prepper. I don’t know what happened to him at some point in his life, but he has this need to stock up on food, water, guns and ammo, and I’m sure he’s got some kind of bunker or safe room. I don’t talk to him about this stuff, ever, but a mutual friend told me that he got into it with an old Pennsylvania tough guy who started calling him “7-11”. He said he didn’t need to stock up on anything himself, now that he knew there was a convenience store he could help himself to if the shit ever did hit the fan.

    FWIW, I wouldn’t call my friend a “man-boy”. He’s got issues, but lack of maturity isn’t one of them. Very responsible, not looking to get into arguments (what about the old PA tough guy? Trust me, these guys are masters at getting your goat), holds down a well paying job that requires lots of personal responsibility and accountability. And heck, the fact that I’ve known him for years and spent many, many hours in his company and never so much as discussed any of this, even once, puts him into a different category.

  55. charon says:

    @Neil Hudelson:

    Guilt is not an issue in civil trials, there is never a determination of guilt – the issues are facts, accountability, liability etc., no guilt per se involved. So yeah, inferences can be drawn.

    but that same inference cannot be drawn when, for example, silence is the answer to an allegation contained in a complaint.

    That’s a pretty limited/unlikely limitation, no?

  56. MarkedMan says:

    Just went over to TAC. Interestingly, the top articles no longer contain bylines. And although Dreher seems to be still contributing, he is no longer listed in the “Our Writers” section.

  57. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Flat Earth Luddite: Frankly, the internecine politics and in-fighting

    Oh gawd… it’s insane and so f’n shallow. It took only a year and a half for me to become a pelt on the managing partner’s secretary’s wall, and I was a nobody doing a nothing job. But somehow, someway, I ran afoul of her. That’s when I said, “Screw it, I’ll go swing a hammer full time. At least in construction they stab you in the face.”

  58. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Neil Hudelson: Sadly, the likelihood that a jury hearing such a criminal complaint would consist exclusively of members of the OTB commentariat is small indeed. 🙁

  59. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @MarkedMan: Fortunately, you’re a better person than I am and as a consequence, several hundred dollars of expensive shooting gear DIDN’T end up in the hands of people who know what to do with guns and 3 lives (albeit marginal ones) were not offered up on the altar of Shiva.

  60. Mister Bluster says:

    An armed suspect who tried to enter the FBI’s Cincinnati office is dead after standoff with authorities, officials say
    A law enforcement standoff with a man who attempted to breach the FBI’s field office in Cincinnati on Thursday has ended with the suspect dead, according to the Ohio State Highway Patrol.
    Lt. Nathan Dennis said that after negotiations failed, law enforcement officers tried to take suspect into custody, but the suspect raised a gun at authorities and was fatally shot.
    The man was identified as Ricky Shiffer, according to three federal law enforcement sources.

  61. Jax says:

    @Mister Bluster: One more soul sacrificed in service of Trump’s Big Lie. There have been several 1/6 defendants take their own lives. Not sure how many dead Americans it’ll take…but we do know his bottom number is in the millions.