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. Mikey says:

    I guess with Ozark on the road there’s nobody to post anything early?

    Anyway, some light reading.

    A Quick Look at the Lying Trumpist Liars Behind that Database on Corporate Giving to “BLM”

    According to stories bursting across the right-wing mediasphere today, a key reason for the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank (SVB) was its focus on spreading “woke culture” rather than efficiently managing risk and profits. Ground zero for this is the allegation that SVB had donated over $73 million to the “BLM Movement & Related Causes.” That struck me as quite a lot of money for a single company, even a large and profitable one, to give to any cause or even all causes. So I tried to find out where this factoid came from and rapidly found my way to a Trumpist think tank. Perhaps not surprisingly, it’s a complete lie. I want to show you the receipts, but first some key details.

    The claims come from a database posted earlier this week by the Center for the American Way of Life, a project of the Claremont Institute. As Claremont put it in a Newsweek article introducing the database, “Americans deserve to know who funded the BLM riots.”

    Claremont has been around for many years — I actually spent a summer many years ago as a research assistant at another think tank very loosely associated with it — and it’s always been on the right. But it’s undergone a sort of hyper-right-wing rebranding in the Trump era and now presents itself as the group trying to provide an intellectual, let’s say PhD-based, underpinning to Trumpism, sometimes termed “national conservatism.”

    Now back to the database. Even if it had nothing to do with SVB’s collapse, is it really possible that the bank contributed almost $74 million to the “BLM Movement & Related Causes?”

    Well, no.

    A right-wing organization lied about something? Shocking, I know.

  2. Jen says:

    @Mikey: So, any initiative that supports low-income housing is considered BLM?

    Do the idiots who pulled together that database realize that banks are required, BY LAW, to engage in CRA efforts?

    Every time I think right-wing movements/advocates can’t get any dumber, they prove me wrong.

  3. CSK says:

    Remember Natalee Holloway, the young woman from Alabama who vanished in Aruba in 2005? Her abductor and killer has always been thought to be Joran van der Sloot, an Aruban who’s currently serving a 29-year sentence in Peru for the 2010 murder of Stephany Flores.

    Joe Tacopina was his lawyer for some time, vociferously defending Joran against all who would speak ill of him.

    And now Tacopina is defending Donald Trump.

  4. Stormy Dragon says:
  5. gVOR08 says:

    @Jen: They’re not idiots. They did exactly what they set out to do. They provided headlines and bullet points for RW media and GOP pols. And the audience for that media and those pols will eat it up with a spoon and denounce any fact checking as fake news. They’re not trying to convince the median voter, they’re trying to motivate base turnout. And by so doing justify themselves to their wealthy donors, who may actually be idiots. The Claremont people are not idiots, they’re lying asshats.

  6. Michael Reynolds says:

    An ant crawls across my screen. Spring must be near. The Man-Ant war will resume for another fighting season.

    They haven’t yet found the pantry. If they find the pantry all is lost.

  7. Mikey says:

    @Michael Reynolds: Terro Liquid Ant Baits are a game-changer. Ants will be gone in a couple days.

  8. CSK says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    An ant crawls across my screen. Spring must be near

    Jesus, Michael, when did you start writing scripts for Jonas Mekas?

  9. Kathy says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    One time at work, at a fourth floor office, there was a line of ants coming in through the window. It stretched on the floor, hugging the contour of the wall, all the way to a small pantry. Inside it went up three shelves to an open jar of strawberry marmalade, which contained a lot of dead ants.

    The jar was thrown in the trash. I’d favored leaving it near the ant nest, but was overruled. as far as I know, the ants might still be there, holed up somewhere inside the building, but they never returned to our pantry.

  10. Kathy says:

    With so many officials assuring everyone that the banking system is sound, I fear the worst.

    Not another great recession, though that’s part of it. But rather that such a development would virtually guarantee a GQP win in the 2024 election, and El Cheeto might well be it again.

    In any case, I should ask for a very overdue raise this week.

  11. Mister Bluster says:
  12. Mikey says:


    as far as I know, the ants might still be there, holed up somewhere inside the building, but they never returned to our pantry.

    They’ve developed an entire religion based on the experience and are simply waiting for the Second Coming of Marmalade and being reunited with their dead ancestors.

  13. Kylopod says:

    A rare moment where I find myself in total agreement with Rich Lowry:

    At this juncture, no one else in the country is as likely to be president of the United States come January 2025 as Joe Biden.

    Republicans telling themselves otherwise are engaged in self-delusion….

    Biden is not a dead man walking; he’s an old man getting around stiffly. Biden is vulnerable, but certainly electable; diminished, but still capable of delivering a message; uninspiring, but unthreatening.

    From a Republican perspective, Lowry has good reason to take this position. He realizes that depicting Biden as weak plays right into Biden’s hands, as it has in the past. Biden’s big strength–his superpower, as it were–is being underestimated. It happened in the 2020 cycle both in the primaries against his Democratic rivals, and in the general election against Trump. And it’s been true to some extent throughout his entire career. It isn’t just a function of his age. He’s never been a glitzy or exciting politician. It’s hard to imagine him having won the Democratic presidential nomination without having been vp first. But he’s been in politics long enough to have become a pro at tamping down expectations. (He should know, as his political career began with a big upset when as a 29-year-old local councilman he unexpectedly knocked out an incumbent Republican Senator during Nixon’s 1972 landslide, in a state Nixon carried by over 20 points.) Biden’s 2020 victory wasn’t due simply to luck, and the more his opponents think it does, the worse off they’ll be.

  14. Jay L Gischer says:

    @Mikey: You know, even if it isn’t a baldfaced lie, it still doesn’t matter. On the scale of SIVB, $73 million is nothing at all. The bank run that stuffed them was $26 billion in assets. How does $73 million matter? It’s a lie, asserting something that didn’t matter.


  15. MarkedMan says:

    Free tip to anyone who doesn’t already know: I just learned that if you are browsing on a computer and come across one of those annoying “12 things in this list” web posts that present as a slide show and forces you to click through them one by one, you can often force it to treat you like a vertical phone and display everything on one long scrollable page by slowly narrowing your browser window until the advance-through-the-slideshow arrows disappear.

  16. Modulo Myself says:

    I saw this NYTimes article on twitter from 70s with writers being asked about changes in usage. It has Isaac Asimov sounding extremely homophobic over the gays using the word ”gay’.

    But I found this interesting:

    Powerbroker, or evert power broker?

    Peter De Vries: “An adroit coinage, but will probably turn out to be one of those tendentious words that proliferate the reality they presume to denote, so that soon we shall have powerbrokers under every bed just as now we have the establishment lurking in every corner.”

    Eugene J. McCarthy, former Senator: “It doesn’t describe—either political reality or the function of a broker.”

    “Prioritize,” as in “a first attempt to prioritize the tasks facing the new administration”?

    Eugene J. McCarthy: “’Neither first Priorities nor (a la J. Carter) last Priority.”

    Lewis Mumford: “Imitation academic gobbledygook.”

    J. K. Galbraith: “Terrible. Also cannot be spoken.”

    Peter De Vries: “The language is already cacophonized enough.”

    Paul Horgan, author: “Anyone who would accept this must surely have a ‘tin ear.’ “

    Heywood Hale Broun: “I’m afraid this one headacheizes me too much for sensible comment.”

    Red Smith: “Let’s negatize this one, wordwise.”

    Jessica Mitford, author: “No, no, no, PLEASE”

    Is “target” as a verb meaning “to make a target of,” as in “Republican convention speakers targeted the Democratic nominee” acceptable in current usage?

    Isaac Asimov: “Hate it. Bureaucratese.”

    John Ciardi: “Federalese.”

    Russell Baker: “… Pentagonese. Are we all going to start writing like a building?”

    De Vries is correct about how powerbroker-like words proliferate until there’s an establishment under every bed. There’s something about the language of politics and power entering normal discourse and standardizing it, and long before the woke politicized language. Anyway, fairly interesting.

  17. Mu Yixiao says:

    @Modulo Myself:

    What, exactly, is wrong with “Prioritize”?

    “Terrible. Also cannot be spoken.”

    Umm…. what??

  18. Jen says:

    For anyone who questions New Hampshire’s placement on the primary calendar, it’s up to us to apparently out with nonsense like this…

    Retail politics may serve an important role this year if it manages to clip DeSantis’ wings.

  19. Kathy says:

    @Mu Yixiao:

    There can be some small difficulty when coming up with a prioritization hierarchy to understand what gets prioritized ahead of what else.

    But it’s a perfectly cromulent word.

  20. CSK says:

    The only individual I’ve ever seen eat chocolate pudding with his fingers is an 18-month-old.

  21. Kathy says:

    So, yesterday evening this request for proposals for a very large welfare program got published. It’s one we’ve been pursuing for years, and we’re not likely to ever get. Just the same, today the manager interrupts the three other things I was doing, to order me to send out the order for samples to operations.

    It was a bit more difficult than usual, as they wanted loose samples of cereals, milk, grains, etc., but also grocery packages assembled in boxes. To top it off, the very numerous samples had to be at the office by Tuesday. that’s nowhere near enough lead time, especially considering Monday’s a holiday.

    Literally 10 minutes after I untangled the requirements and restated them over three files as clearly as I could, the manager tells me, “cancel the whole thing.”

    the company has grown a great deal in the time I’ve been here. Good. But the greed from upper management for rowing still larger gets ridiculous some times. It’s also rather unseemly.

  22. Jen says:

    @CSK: Reading that article, DeSantis sounds like an extremely shy introvert. Politics is a weird AF profession to pursue.

  23. Stormy Dragon says:

    @Mu Yixiao:

    “Prioritize” was, at the time, a new coinage made by verbing an existing noun, and was considered by some to be jargon. In their minds you should “set priorities” instead of “prioritizing”.

  24. Mister Bluster says:

    Missouri Tigers will face Princeton Tigers in 2nd round of NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament!

  25. CSK says:


    You’d think he would have picked up some basic table manners at Harvard and Yale.

  26. Kathy says:

    About the drone kerfuffle over the Black Sea, there’s video out showing what happened.

    The Soviet jet is harassing the drone, dumping fuel in its path (why?). On a second pass it seems to make contact with the drone, and next we see the damaged propeller.

  27. Beth says:


    I was wondering about the fuel thing. It seems like a moronic attempt to get the drone to catch fire or an idiotic attempt at figuratively peeing on it. I’m sure whatever the reason was it sounded good in his head.

  28. dazedandconfused says:


    Dunno, but our F111 had a similar configuration, fuel dumps in the rear of the fuselage, right next to the engines, and had a neat trick when they had to dump near the ground: Light the afterburners and ignite the fuel so it didn’t drench the shrubbery or whatever. They also used to do it for air shows, sometimes just for S&Gs, I guess.

    I strongly suspect that if it had failed they would’ve used guns to bring it down though. They were trying to be sneaky about it but nobody tolerates spying when their guys are getting killed…unless they have to. See USS Liberty.

  29. Kathy says:


    I’m not sure jet fuel can ignite by whatever heat a drone produces. It seems more like silly harassment.

    I didn’t know the F111 could do that. I wondered about venting fuel that close to the engine (which is hot enough to ignite it. Still, merely blasting the drone with afterburners ought to be enough. the trick is going on burner at the right time.

    Intercepting and even harassing foreign military aircraft at sea goes back a long way. A few months before September 11, I recall a Chinese fighter did something similar to a US spy plane. One monitoring electronic signals, with a rather large crew onboard. They wound up doing an emergency landing in China.

    Usually no one gets too close and they don’t try to get in the way of other airplanes. It’s really dangerous. But then the Russians are the people who shot down 2 Korean Airlines jets that violated their airspace. Not to mention the Malaysian 777 their surrogates shot down

  30. dazedandconfused says:


    One of those incidents is instructive. Unbeknownst to us, the Russians were as jervous and nerky as a cat in a dog pound. They really thought Reagan was about to nuke them. They thought Able Archer was a cover for the real thing, and when an airliner crossed Kamchatka they downed it.

    KAL 007.

    Able Archer 83.

    It’s almost difficult to underestimate Russia’s inherent paranoia. They’ve been invaded far too many times and with horrific results in every one of them. The Germans twice in the last century, although we tend to only remember WW2 only, they ran amok across Russia in WW1 too. The Poles after WW1 tried it, hell we even put troops in there, trying to influence their civil war about then.

  31. Kathy says:


    They’ve been invaded far too many times and with horrific results in every one of them. The Germans twice in the last century,

    One can say pretty much the same thing about France, too. Joan d’Arc wasn’t fighting the English in Spain, after all. The Franco-Prussian War was quite disastrous. And in WWII France briefly became one with the third reich.

    Don’t forget for WWII, the Russians did a lot to enable the nazis, including a joint invasion of Poland.

    What I get from Russian paranoia is that, like all bullies, they love to dish it out and get frightened and offended if the victim fights back.

    Besides, these days, short of nuclear war, there’s no way to seriously invade Russia.

  32. Gustopher says:

    @Mister Bluster: I’m betting on the Tigers!

  33. dazedandconfused says:


    Yet they have tried so very hard to invade Russia.