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. Bill says:

    It is pouring rain for the 2nd consecutive morning. There goes my morning walk again and today I don’t even have laundry to do. So my big walk will be from my office to the kitchen.

    I’ll ride the exercise bike in place of my walk.

  2. Kathy says:

    Racism is so American, that when you protest against it people think you are protesting against America.

  3. Scott says:

    In my work email first thing this morning:

    To all Airmen and Space Professionals,

    Serving around the globe, 693,000 Air and Space Professionals hail from every corner of the country and form a rich mosaic of cultures and backgrounds. Our diversity strengthens us just as much as our common mission unifies us. The Department of the Air Force strives to foster a culture of inclusion and respect where every Airman and Space Professional is valued for the talents he or she brings to the Department regardless of race, color or creed.

    The senseless, tragic death of George Floyd has, understandably, evoked indignation and anger. Racial prejudice and discrimination must end.

    In Chief Wright’s compelling op-ed this week, he observed, “While we can’t change the world, we can change the communities we live in and more importantly, those where our Airmen strive to be seen, heard, and treated as human beings.” We all underscore the urgency of addressing inequality.

    We are listening, and we are taking action. We are committed to enabling all Airmen and Space Professionals to reach their highest potential in an environment free from personal, social, and institutional barriers. We have directed the Air Force Inspector General to conduct an independent review to assess racial disparity in our military discipline processes as well as our military leader development system.

    Know that your voice matters.

    Know that your actions matter.

    Let’s lead by example and pursue equality for all.

    Barbara Barrett

    John. W. Raymond
    General, U.S. Space Force
    Chief of Space Operations

    David L. Goldfein
    General, U.S. Air Force
    Chief of Staff

    Roger A. Towberman
    Senior Enlisted Advisor of the Space Force

    Kaleth O. Wright
    Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force

    I think all the services have written something similar. I have seen similar letters in my 40 years of DoD service but the timing of them all is remarkable.

  4. Michael Cain says:

    A Fox News poll in Arizona conducted May 30 to June 2 put Kelly (D) up +13 percentage points over the appointed incumbent McSally for the US Senate race (and Biden up +4 over Trump). McSally appears to be getting hammered in the Phoenix suburbs: last month, a poll had Kelly +18 in Maricopa County.

  5. Kari Q says:

    Today is the anniversary of the crackdown in Tiananmen Square. Trump is celebrating by deploying the military to the streets of DC.

    the timing this year was awkward as President Donald Trump has threatened military force against nationwide protests over racial injustice.

    Awkward is a gentle way of putting it.

  6. Bill says:
  7. Scott says:

    Military Times made the effort to solicit opinions from the troops on deploying to the cities.

    Dozens of troops sounded off on the use of the military to help quell civil unrest. This is what they said.

    But the optics of the situation have quickly turned sour for many current service members, who shared their perspectives with Military Times. Of 33 responses from active-duty and reserve component troops reviewed before publication, 30 were opposed to the use of troops to response to protests.

    “Using the military to put down protests and supplement the botched efforts of the police to control these protests, particularly through unlawful uses of force, will only further inflame the protests,” a National Guard noncommissioned officer said in an email to Military Times. “This is escalation, not de-escalation. Embroiling the military due to the inaction and failings of the police only serves to conflate the two, and would put both military members and civilians at greater risk. Cracking down with authoritarianism does nothing but further politicize the military and erode the trust the public has in us. There is no winning in this scenario.”

    Others were supportive of the plan, viewing it as a community service and part of their oath.

    “My answer has always been, ‘There is an unmistakable difference between a peaceful protester and a looter; one gathers with the hope of voicing an opinion as protected by the First Amendment while the other is a single-minded entity bent on creating as much chaos as possible and has no connection to the original cause,” a Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Arizona, technical sergeant wrote. “I feel that any community the military has an installation in or near, we should automatically loan our services to, in times of civil unrest, considering we are a part of the community, whether we’d like to think otherwise or not.”

    Aside from the message deploying active-duty troops might send, others questioned whether they are necessary.

    “I don’t think active-duty military deployments are necessary, especially in DC,” an active-duty Army captain wrote. “I believe the president is deploying the military for political reasons and our reputation will be irreparably damaged by the association.”

    “I oppose these missions, but if they are to happen, I want to be there to make sure they are done the right way, including providing medical care to those who need it and refusing to carry out unlawful or unethical orders,” he said.

    “It’s one thing to remain silent. It’s a completely different situation when our Pentagon leadership takes part in the politicization of the military,” an active-duty Navy judge advocate lieutenant wrote. “The teargassing of peaceful protesters on live TV and then the photo op by Trump [Monday] was a disgrace. The use of helicopters in Washington, D.C., to intimidate protesters is shameful. Milley’s galavanting around DC is sad. Leaders need to be leaders. Take a stand. Resign. Don’t let the military fall to Trump’s demagoguery.”

  8. Tyrell says:

    Here is an idea that could help communities. I heard something like this years ago with “economic development zones”.
    Empower the communities to take charge of their areas. They set up their police department. They have their courthouse. They have their judges. They have their laws. This would not be much different from the codes and covenants that many neighborhoods have. They would maintain their streets. They would manage their local schools, not some federal or state bureaucrats who never step in a classroom except for thirty minutes on a Dr. Seuss’ birthday readathon.
    Give these communities charge over their area. That way if things go wrong, it’s on them, but they have the means and power to fix it and don’t have to rely on the Federal bureaucrats or soapbox politicians. If people there don’t like how things are run there, then they can move or elect different people.

  9. drj says:

    Apart from Cotton, it seems like pretty much all GOPers are doing their best to stay silent right now.

    I even went to Politico to see if they had anything, but it’s just… crickets.

    (Except for this, of course: “Rand Paul demands changes to House’s anti-lynching bill”)

  10. Kari Q says:

    I’m currently reading Underground by Haruki Murakami. It’s a series of interviews with survivors of the sarin has attack on the Tokyo subway. What strikes me is that in virtually all of the interviews, the people were sure they were just coming down with something. They would sit on a train car full of people coughing, everyone coughing, and they would just think “I guess everyone is sick” and continue to work. Many of them could barely see, but they went to work any way.

    I wouldn’t expect them to think it was a terrorist attack, but it’s surprising that no one even seemed to think that there was a mechanical problem that was putting out toxic fumes, even though they all said something smelled funny.

    I can’t help but compare that to the time I was on a subway train in San Francisco and the air conditioner went out. People immediately called the conductor and demanded it be repaired or the car taken out of service. At the time I kind of thought it was a Karen thing to do, but I feel a little more kindly towards it after reading about all the people that day who just went about their day instead of saying “Stop! Something is wrong!”

  11. Tim says:

    @Kari Q:

    Awkward is a gentle way of putting it.

    Awkward is right. Here’s a good observation from Jame’s Hohmann’s Daily 202 Tuesday from the Washington Post:

    Thursday is the 31st anniversary of the Chinese government deploying its military to viciously repress pro-democracy protesters in Tiananmen Square. At the time, Trump praised the communist regime for being merciless. “When the students poured into Tiananmen Square, the Chinese government almost blew it,” he told Playboy magazine in 1990. “Then they were vicious, they were horrible, but they put it down with strength. That shows you the power of strength.”

  12. Tim says:

    What I saw yesterday from the Military Service Chiefs and their Senior Enlisted leaders was nothing short of amazing. They presented a united front in drawing a clear line against any improper use of the U.S. military against American citizens by reminding their troops of the values they uphold and reminding them all of their oath to serve the Constitution. Without mentioning the administration they sent a clear message, in my opinion, that the administration should NOT push them to get further involved in this situation.

    I’ve never seen anything like this in the 44 years since I first entered the U.S. military and in my 40 years of military and civil service.

  13. Teve says:

    Jame’s Hohmann’s

    Bless your heart.

  14. Bill says:

    The almost completely forgotten headline of the day-

    3 men charged in Ahmaud Arbery killing to face a judge this morning

  15. DrDaveT says:


    Racism is so American, that when you protest against it people think you are protesting against America.

    Trying to be objective, racism is not the only failing of America that is subject to the “America — love it or leave it” / “My country, right or wrong” way of thinking. Vietnam War protesters found that out pretty quickly. This inability to distinguish between hating what America is doing and hating America is bizarre, given how easily people continue to love their children even while hating their children’s choices…

  16. Bill says:
  17. Scott says:

    An old CNN article I ran across. Seems relevant today.

    States require more training time to become a barber than a police officer

    For example:

    In North Carolina:

    Barbers require 1520 of training
    Police require 620 hours

    Manicurist: 500 hours
    Police: 360 hours

    etc, etc.

  18. Liberal Capitalist says:

    On Monday, I had said that Trump had gone full Stalin. The week showed that his intent was to use the military to “dominate” the American public.

    Now, where he could, and did… it supposedly never happened.

    The ‘Tear Gas Hoax’ Hoax

    By now, everyone reading this is aware that on Monday night President Trump committed a grotesque and unconstitutional abuse of power: To show that he was “reclaiming the territory” around the White House, our channel-surfing faux-strongman had law enforcement officers use gas, rubber pellets, batons, and smoke grenades to violently disrupt a peaceful protest just north of Lafayette Square—before curfew—under orders of Attorney General William Barr.

    After the inevitable blowback from this action on “the shows,” the Trump administration and its propagandists—both in the public and private sectors—began test-driving some alternative facts about the events of Monday evening. Maybe the U.S. Park Police acted on its own out of self-defense, they suggested. Maybe its officers didn’t use tear gas, they suggested. Maybe this was all one big coincidence.

    In short, they think you are fu#king stupid.

    But because this is how we live now, we have to take apart this hoax that tries to convince Americans that a real thing, that they saw with their own eyes, was actually something else.

    (more details at link)

  19. Mikey says:

    @Liberal Capitalist:

    But because this is how we live now, we have to take apart this hoax that tries to convince Americans that a real thing, that they saw with their own eyes, was actually something else.

    “The party told you to reject the evidence of your eyes and ears. It was their final, most essential command.”

  20. MarkedMan says:


    Except for this, of course: “Rand Paul demands changes to House’s anti-lynching bill”

    Any person that follows the news should know exactly what type of person Rand Paul is: a deeply vile racist and white dominionist. This guy is the scum of the earth. Think about it: the newsletter he and his piece of trash father published for decades back in the pre-online days had article after article referring to all blacks (not just AAs) as mud people and discussing how they were genetically inferior to whites. Bizarrely, the people who defend him do so with the claim that he doesn’t feel that way personally but was just publishing the newsletter to make money and didn’t really pay attention to what was published in it.

  21. MarkedMan says:

    @Teve: Ble’ss yours

  22. MarkedMan says:

    @Bill: I wonder how much of this is due to the fact that sane people no longer believe the numbers and recommendations coming out of the state government.

  23. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Scott: Q: What’s wrong with this picture [above]?
    A: Nothing. It merely shows how much more intelligent and efficiently studious the people chosen to be police officers are compared to the population at large. We’re really lucky to have the sorts of wise and insightful people that we do holding office in our governments and their agencies.

  24. Mister Bluster says:


    Makanda Township is my local government.
    Unity Point is my local school district.
    The Jackson County IL Sheriff is my local police department.

    I am a voter in all these local jurisdictions.
    Citizens here currently manage our local schools. Residents of Jackson County IL have charge over our area everytime they vote for the Sheriff and County Board members.

    Local government isn’t always what it’s cracked up to be.

    It was later determined the jail was being built on an old landfill.
    HA! I worked for the City of Murphysboro in the ’70s before the new jail was built. That landfill was what we called the City Dump.
    It was just a few blocks from the center of town.
    Everyone knew it was there. They built the Jail on that site and way.

  25. Bill says:


    I wonder how much of this is due to the fact that sane people no longer believe the numbers and recommendations coming out of the state government.

    Sane people? That eliminates me.

  26. gVOR08 says:

    @Bill: Florida’s system is reportedly so screwed up, deliberately by then Gov Rick Scott, AKA Skeltor, AKA Lex Luthor, that there is probably a backlog of people laid off weeks ago still trying to register.

  27. Sleeping Dog says:

    Eliot Trudeau’s response to a question, asking his reaction to Tiny’s using force to disperse demonstrators for a photo op is priceless.

  28. Michael Cain says:

    @Scott: For sworn officers my city requires ~600 hours of specialized state training and a four-year degree in a relevant field. A barber’s license has more specialized state training, but there’s no other education requirements.

    There are no exceptions made for the degree requirement. An acquaintance on the force told me once that the four-year degree filter doesn’t keep out all of the assholes, but it does exclude a lot of them.

  29. Mister Bluster says:

    @Mister Bluster: @Mister Bluster:..proofread!…poofread!…proofreed!…UGH! (can ugh be misspelt?)

    End of prior post should read “They built the Jail on that site anyway.

  30. Kathy says:

    Odd aviation tidbit of the week.

    Qatar Airways CEO, Akbar Al Baker, threatened to stop doing business with bowing and airbus, if they continue to resist Qatar on deferrals of previously ordered aircraft.

    I can see doing this with a catering company, an engine manufacturer even, or with an airport or a country.

    But what choices are there other than Boeing and Airbus for a modern, first rate airline? Just regional jets from Embraer, Sukhoi, and Mitsubishi(*), and turboprops from ATR. Maybe they want to try COMAC’s DC-9 overweight knockoff, or the upcoming C-919? Hey, what traveler doesn’t want multiple stops on a long haul trip? Why spend a measly 10 hours on a plane, when you can do over 16? More plane for your buck.

  31. CSK says:

    Question: Given that Trump doesn’t/can’t read, what unfortunate sap on his staff has the unpleasant duty of notifying him of, or summarizing for him, the written vitriol by James Mattis and Tom Nichols, among many others? And how do they present it? Isn’t Trump famous for not wanting to hear bad news, and firing people who bring it to him?

  32. grumpy realist says:

    @Tyrell: 1) I suggest you read Shirley Jackson’s “The Lottery”. And what happens if one of the laws of your happy little Utopia is “You can’t leave and we’re going to keep you tied up in the cellar to make sure you stay here” ?

    2) Explain to me how such a place isn’t ripe for abuses. You don’t have a rule of law here; you have Warlordism.

  33. Jen says:

    @grumpy realist:

    I suggest you read Shirley Jackson’s “The Lottery”.

    I remember reading that story, I think in 6th or 7th grade. That and Poe’s “The Tell-tale Heart” were creepy as heck and scarred/stuck with me. {shudder}

  34. DrDaveT says:

    @Michael Cain:

    An acquaintance on the force told me once that the four-year degree filter doesn’t keep out all of the assholes, but it does exclude a lot of them.

    It’s a double-edged sword, though. It is also a filter to limit membership on the force that would be representative of the most-oppressed subsets of the citizenry.

  35. Mikey says:

    Retired Marine Corps General John Allen also penned a piece on Trump. It hits just as hard as Mattis’–perhaps even harder.

    A Moment of National Shame and Peril—and Hope

    The slide of the United States into illiberalism may well have begun on June 1, 2020. Remember the date. It may well signal the beginning of the end of the American experiment.

  36. CSK says:

    What is Cult45 going to do? They’ve already decided that the DOJ, the FBI, and the CIA are enemy organizations dedicated to bringing down Trump and instituting Communism. Now the military has gone to the dark side.

    Since the advent of Trump, everything these people used to revere is now anathema to them.

  37. Mikey says:

    In the least surprising news of the day, it turns out the men who lynched Ahmaud Arbery are, in fact, racist pieces of shit.

    Man Who Shot and Killed Ahmaud Arbery Allegedly Called Him a ‘F***ing N****r’

    An investigator for the Georgia Bureau of Investigation revealed an ugly allegation about the man who shot and killed Ahmaud Arbery, 25. Travis McMichael, 34, called the alleged victim a “fucking n****r” after the shooting and before the police arrived, according to testimony from Special Agent Richard Dial. This detail came second-hand from co-defendant William “Roddie” Bryan, 50, the man who recorded video of the fatal shooting, the investigator said.

    During cross-examination, Dial said that Travis McMichael had also used the n-word multiple times on social media and phone conversations.

  38. Mikey says:


    Since the advent of Trump, everything these people used to revere is now anathema to them.

    Cultism is a helluva drug, indeed.

  39. CSK says:

    The Florida cop who knocked over the peaceful protester has racked up 79 use of force reviews by Internal Affairs. H/T Yamiche Alcindor.

    Seventy-nine reviews. My God. As I’ve said, the police union is very, very powerful. It will protect this guy even if he kills someone.

  40. CSK says:

    Sean Spicer asked Trump if he had grown in his faith, if he prays, and what religion means to him. Trump’s response: “I’ve done so much for religion.”

  41. Sleeping Dog says:


    They get away with brutality once, so they try it again and nothing happens. Then the brutality becomes the normal and is used in most situations.

  42. Michael Reynolds says:


    Since the advent of Trump, everything these people used to revere is now anathema to them.

    Don’t tell @Steven, but that is what marks Trumpies as a cult of personality rather than a mere political affiliation.

  43. CSK says:

    @Michael Reynolds:
    You’d think every cultie would have long since had an extreme case of whiplash.

  44. Gustopher says:

    @Michael Reynolds: I don’t think you understood a single thing Steve said.

    Also, most of those people did not revere what they previously claimed to revere. They only said they did so out of party loyalty.

  45. MarkedMan says:

    @Kathy: I would assume the translation is “whichever of you gives us the deferrals first gets all our future business”

  46. Kylopod says:

    In the past week, Biden has finally become a favorite in the betting markets. I’m not sure what took them so long.

  47. Pete S says:

    @CSK: 79 cases in 3 and a half years if I read correctly. I wouldn’t think that would be possible if you left your house every day looking for a fight. Boxers don’t fight that much…

  48. Kathy says:


    It could be. And if both companies coordinate a response, even a general response, they incur antitrust violations.

    It’s not unheard of for an airline to prefer one manufacturer over the other, but usually the bigger airlines have mixed fleets because neither manufacturer alone can serve all their needs. Sticking with one manufacturer is more a small airline and low cost airline strategy, like Southwest.

    It remains to be seen who’d be most harmed by Qatar going to one manufacturer only: the one left out, or Qatar itself.

    Oh, undoubtedly some of the orders outstanding were done through lessors, and that only complicates matters.

  49. CSK says:

    @Pete S:
    His name is Steven Pohorence, and apparently he draws his gun at least once a month. Some cops go decades without doing that.

  50. CSK says:

    I regret to report that the Robert Gould Shaw and the 54th Massachusetts Regiment memorial in the Boston Public Garden has been damaged and defaced by graffiti. Nice work, jackasses: Ruin a monument that is, as the mayor said, “sacred to black Boston.” Sacred to the entire state, I would add.

  51. al Ameda says:


    Governor Jim Justice says Barack Obama not welcome in West Virginia

    Why that’s mighty White of the Governor.

  52. Kurtz says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    Oh ffs.

    How about you actually cite some data for your claim? You would also need to show this phenomenon is unique to Trump.

    Your claims… ahem, gish gallop… in that thread contained zero data and zero citations. That is set against the repeated finding that partisanship is a consistently accurate indicator as to for whom an individual will cast a vote. Moreover, studies also indicate this is true of the vast majority of self-ID independents.

    However, as acknowledged many times, it isn’t always correct. But it is far more accurate than most other indicators.

    A simple test: if Trump truly flipped longstanding Republican preferences, then Democrats opposed to him would also have to flip to maintain that opposition.

    It is more complicated than that, no?

  53. Kurtz says:


    My guess? Electoral college advantage and the economy.

    The latter requires a little nuance. Many people were convinced that even if re-opening the economy took time to show in the numbers, it would rebound sooner rather than later. Several weeks later, evidence shows this assumption was clearly wrong.

  54. Kylopod says:

    @Kurtz: Also, it isn’t simple to say that they considered Trump a favorite over the past few months. Trump was a clear favorite at the start of the year, but after the pandemic hit his numbers took a nosedive. He was still given a higher chance than Biden, but he was generally below 50%. That was because a small percentage of bettors were saying that someone other than Trump or Biden would win, such as Mike Pence or Michelle Obama. And when you examined the details, you found that the Democrats were given a higher chance than the Republicans. Part of what’s happened in the last few weeks is that Biden in particular has risen. That may have to do with a sense that he’s in a stronger position to remain the nominee than they had previously supposed, as the Tara Reade allegations fell by the wayside, Biden became more active during the campaign, and there was an increased consolidation of national Democrats behind him.

  55. Michael Cain says:


    The latter requires a little nuance. Many people were convinced that even if re-opening the economy took time to show in the numbers, it would rebound sooner rather than later.

    There are parts of the country where some variation on the message, “It’s all the urban Dems’ fault; it’s one thing for them to crush the urban economy, but they crushed your economy unnecessarily,” has traction.

  56. Moosebreath says:


    “Also, most of those people did not revere what they previously claimed to revere. They only said they did so out of party loyalty.”

    Or alternatively, they did revere what the Republican Party stood for in the past, and don’t revere what the Trump-influenced Republican Party stands for now, but say they do out of party loyalty.

    Or even more alternatively, the membership of the Republican Party has changed slightly, with some people who find Trump unacceptable leaving and some people who find Trump very acceptable joining.

  57. wr says:

    @Tyrell: Yes, that is exactly the system that Don Vito Corleone set up in Brooklyn in the 1920s, and no one seemed to have a problem with that. What could go wrong?

  58. Michael Reynolds says:

    Dude, I don’t want to start the whole thing up again. Believe what you want to believe. But a year after Trump is gone I want you to pay attention to how many ex-Trumpies come out with sad tales of how they were ‘caught up,’ how they were ‘taken in,’ how they hadn’t realized’ etc… etc…

    Trump attacks US intel, the FBI and the US military, and people who four years ago worshipped US intel, the FBI and the US military all swallow it whole. Is it because of policy changes? No, it’s because those have been designated as enemies by their cult leader. One minute Mattis is a great military hero, the next he’s a traitor. It mirrors perfectly the way cult members turn on family, reject earlier faiths and engage in practices they once condemned.

    That is not even a little similar to the Democrats who battle each other regularly over issues. You can’t find a Democratic equivalent, not even the sainted Mr. Obama, because we actually are about issues, which is what political parties are about. While cults are all about Dear Leader. Dear Leader says Mattis is a hero, and they all cheer. Dear Leader says Mattis is a phony, and they all cheer. That’s not party, that’s cult.

    If you want to insist on keeping everything within the neat framework of poli sci, cool. It just doesn’t explain anything about humans or about their motivations. No one woke up this morning and said, “I used to admire Mattis, now I despise him, because of my loyalty to the GOP.” That is not how humans work.

  59. Monala says:

    @wr: Furthermore, those little small jurisdictions need funding. That’s why you get small communities like Ferguson, MO over-policing so they can fine people for everything, thereby making their budget.

  60. Monala says:

    @Michael Reynolds: I’m frustrated by the refusal to distinguish between voting behavior and beliefs. I totally get Stephen’s point: people usually vote based on partisan ID. Also the point that a lot of people don’t pay attention to politics, so that partisan ID is often the only thing informing their voting choices.

    But I don’t think partisan ID fully explains why Trump’s approval has remained so steady no matter what he does (in contrast to Bush or Obama, whose approval ratings went up and down), nor why, as you say, they are disavowing beliefs they long held dear. And these are more identitarian beliefs, not just policy beliefs; I get it that many Republicans weren’t really free trade, just went along with it because that was part of the Republican platform. But how many of them didn’t see themselves as American patriots who loved the military and the various law enforcement groups, and were just going along with it because it was part of the Republican package?

  61. CSK says:

    I’ve been saying this for I don’t know how long: Cult45 members hate most Republicans as much, if not more, than they do Democrats.

    They’re only Republicans by default. What they are in reality are nationalist populists (I’m being polite) for whom Trump represents the best hope of making it 1953 again, pre-Brown vs. Board of Education, pre-feminism, pre-Civil Rights Act, pre-Roe v. Wade, pre-Stonewall, a 90% white and Christian country where Father Knows Best and experts know nothing. It doesn’t matter what Trump does. He’s all they have. He’s their savior. They tried Sarah Palin and she failed them; she’s a late middle-aged divorcee sitting around Wasilla in a dirty bathrobe watching daytime t.v. and gobbling Taco Bell Crunch Wrap Supremes.

  62. Monala says:

    @CSK: It’s funny because the pre-1953 era wasn’t all they think it was (although definitely white Christian men were on top). I’ve heard this statement regarding the high tax rates of the 1950s, but there are other aspects as well.

    I recently saw a video produced in 1948 or 1949 about polio. The person who shared it did so to show that lockdowns and social distancing are nothing new (although because polio spreads through body fluids and waste, no one was wearing masks). But I also think about how the video narrator repeatedly said things like, “America’s best scientists are working hard to find a cure! American science leads the world, and we will put all our resources into this challenge!” Back in the pre-1953 world, scientific experts were respected.

  63. CSK says:

    Well, 1948 and 1949 were in the immediate aftermath of WWII, and Americans were riding high then. We were the best, the greatest–and so were our scientists. I wasn’t alive then, but that feeling that we were unconquerable–the masters of the universe, so to speak–lingered for quite a while. Probably till the assassination of JFK.

    As numerous people have pointed out, there’s always been a strain of anti-intellectualism in American life and popular culture and, by extension, a simmering resentment toward the educated, the cultivated, and anyone possessing some degree of personal refinement. This has gotten a lot more acute in the past 25-30 years. Distrust of experts, who are, after all, educated, would go along with that.

  64. Kathy says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    I think what’s going on is, to paraphrase Bill Clinton, “It’s the white supremacy, stupid!” (not calling any of you stupid.)

  65. mattbernius says:


    I think what’s going on is, to paraphrase Bill Clinton, “It’s the white supremacy, stupid!” (not calling any of you stupid.)

    Careful Kathy, posts like that will lead people to think I’ve been sock-puppeting your account (or that you’re actually me). 😉

    Nah, that won’t happen as you are way more polite than me (especially under present conditions). And I couldn’t tell anyone the first thing about airplanes (though that’s probably exactly what you’d type if you were trying to throw people off the scent).

  66. senyordave says:

    The Friday after the 2016 election I was watching Bill Maher’s show and among his guests was Thomas Friedman. He made what I thought was an excellent point. He was talking about Trump’s appeal, and he said as an example, if you were a white male in Minnesota in the late 1940’5/ early 1950’s you had to try to fail. The entire system was gamed so that you could succeed. If you wanted to start a business you had easy access to loans, unlike women or what few people of color there were in Minnesota at that time. If you were a veteran the GI Bill had easy money for an education on loans to buy a house, much of which was not available to blacks. A lot of Trump’s base yearn for the good old days, and it doesn’t matter that much of the good old days wasn’t very good, because if you were white you had a big leg up, and if you were a white male (Trump’s biggest base), you were top of mountain. As Kathy said, “It’s the white supremacy, stupid!”.

  67. Kurtz says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    Look dude, if you didn’t want to open it up again, then you shouldn’t have posted.

    Steven is not making the claim you are trying to pin to him.

    And yes, it is more complicated than that. But that is exactly my point–you subject the claims of others to much higher scrutiny than you hold your own. To be fair, this is probably true of just about everyone at some point.

    As far as your prediction, yes, there will be some people who claim that, but I can guarantee that it will be far fewer than the 80+ million who voted for him in 2016.

    Two more things here:

    -many of Trump’s most hardcore supporters may not vote for a conventional Republican. So if the GOP makes an effort to abandon Trumpism, many of them will ultimately be disenfranchised.

    -the biggest group that fit your cult claim, White Evangelicals, are already in a cult. If they can’t tell that their pastor is a grifting charlatan, what makes you think that they would be able to assess Trump accurately?

    My friend, you and I agree about far more than we disagree about. But your claim that Democrats are any more led by issues than Republicans is patently absurd. Do I think GOP professionals are cynical, economically elite, and disingenuous? Absolutely.

    But if Republican voters were not driven by issues–guns, religion, and abortion–then the party wouldn’t be able to leverage those issues into votes. I should point out that all three of those are viewed by GOP core constituencies as a priori, which how those things can be used to justify a person voting against their economic self-interest.

    It’s a minor disagreement. But again, I have to point to your laundry list of alleged flips in the other thread. You cited nothing, and the two issues I chose (based on ease of finding data quickly) show that your claim was oversimplified at best, and at worst, you are subconsciously protecting a long-held view of Republican voters.

    Don’t take this as a challenge to your intelligence or knowledge or anything else personal. I’ve already explained many times plenty of things about your posts that I find excellent. But I am not going to avoid calling out your less rigorous, flawed positions.

    Quick, snap your fingers. At the moment you heard that sound, you were wrong about something.

  68. Kathy says:


    The first thing to understand about airplanes, and flight in general, is that engines provide thrust and wings provide lift.

    The second is that there are exceptions to this.

  69. NBH says:


    Now anyone clutching pearls that “maybe it wasn’t racist” in the Ahmaud Arbery murder can put the pearls down and join the rest of us with seeing the bloody obvious. Supposedly the older McMichael also told the cops at the scene no burglary had been witnessed but it was a “gut” hunch. The other disturbing detail to come out was the guy who recorded the video hit Arbery with his truck before the start of the video which was released online. So yet more details showing their “self-defense” claimed was blatant BS being covered up by friendly DAs.

  70. Matt says:

    @Liberal Capitalist: I know people who are eating that up. They are posting links on facebook saying things like “I KNEW THE LYING LIBERAL MEDIA GOT IT WRONG!!!”. Generally the talking point is that the protestors were attacking the police and had to be removed and no tear gas was used and even if pepper spray balls were being used the protesters still deserved it because they were attacking the police!!!!!1…

    There is a significant number of people in this country who one minute will say that what happened to George was terrible and then the next minute attack the protestors for daring to voice that opinion in a public space.

  71. Gustopher says:

    @Kathy: I think that a lot of the Republican base comes for the low-level white supremacy and then sticks around for the tax cuts and small government and deficit concerns when there are Democrats in the White House, and the full-throated white supremacy of Trump.

    (I think even the support for the Ben Carsons and Herman Cains are part of the white supremacy — it’s asking the question “Why can’t all of you people be millionaires? Don’t talk to me about racism when these two have succeeded…”)

    And then there are a few like James Joyner who came to the party for the small government and the tax cuts, and just assumed the white supremacy was an unfortunate fringe. Poor James.

    (I was a Republican in the late 80s. I was fully believing in “Equality of opportunity but not a guarantee of results” and failed to notice the low-level white supremacy. I eventually decided that the Republicans weren’t doing anything about equality of opportunity… and didn’t notice the low-level white supremacy for another decade or so)

  72. gVOR08 says:

    @Michael Reynolds: @Kurtz: I hate to keep bringing up Ezra Klein’s Why We’re Polarized, but it is a very good book on exactly this subject. He duplicates a lot of what Dr. Taylor writes, but at book length rather than blog post length.

    In their book Asymmetric Politics: Ideological Republicans and Group Interest Democrats, Matt Grossmann and David Hopkins offer the most careful study yet of the differences between the Republican and Democratic coalitions. What they find is that the Democratic Party is a diverse collection of interest groups held together by policy goals, while the Republican Party is built atop a more united base that finds commonality in more abstract, ideological commitments.

    Klein goes on to disagree. He notes, as Reynolds does, that Rs have flipped on “executive power, limited government, and congressional primacy”, but says this is because they not really an ideological movement but are an “identitarian” movement. It’s been a commonplace for years to say people vote not on policy, but on a perceived tribal identity. Well, they’re the white evangelical tribe.

    Klein goes on to describe an experiment by Michael Barber and Jeremy Pope. They took advantage of the “erm, flexibility of Trump’s rhetoric” to use quotes in which Trump has taken both sides of an issue. (As had McCain and Romney.) Trump supporters were quizzed about their policy views, then given an opposing Trump quote, then later quizzed again. They tended to shift their opinions to follow Trump, either way. Ds were similarly tested but showed much less tendency to shift in opposition to Trump. But it’s not that they’re a cult, it’s that

    This is what Trump understood about conservatives that so many of his critics missed: they were an identity group under threat, and so long as you promised them protection and victories, they would follow you to hell and back.

    They are members of a tribe and their identity as part of this tribe is what drives them. And they will follow anyone who establishes himself as the tribal leader. And Ted Cruz and Tom Cotton are taking notes.

  73. CSK says:

    And let’s not forget Trump’s appeal as a sadistic, malignant buffoon. The man is a crude, stupid, bullying oaf, i.e., a real manly American man.

  74. Kathy says:


    Well, then, here’s good news for El PITO’s supporters: a court will have a chance to make a ruling on this, when it deals with a lawsuit filed against Trump and his lackey Barr.

  75. MarkedMan says:

    @senyordave: Blacks were clearly immorally and grossly disadvantaged as compared to whites. But this idea that life was easy and ripe for the picking for all whites in the fifties is just nonsense. My uncle grew up in Northern Ireland during the Troubles and, since he wasn’t the oldest son, couldn’t inherit the farm and since he was Catholic had zero job prospects. He immigrated to the US and before he was even eligible for citizenship was drafted into the Korean War. A short boot camp and then he was sent over to Korea where he was captured in his first month and held in horrific conditions. A strong, sturdy man of 5’ 10” when he went in, he was less than 90 pounds when he was taken out of the grate covered hole in the ground where he had spent three years eating rats and burying his friends. When he came back to the US he was not a citizen and so not eligible for much of the benefits and his young wife worked and nursed him back to health. When he finally could look for work he was just another uneducated mick off the farm.

    What is the purpose in getting on your stump and proclaiming that his life was a bed of roses because he was white? Does it advance any cause to make him dismiss every word that comes out of your mouth?

  76. CSK says:

    Your uncle was Irish. In parts of the country, in the 1950s and, in New England, through the 1960s and even beyond that, he would not have been considered white. For a long time blue collar Caucasian ethnics (Italians, Poles, Irish) were despised.

  77. senyordave says:

    @MarkedMan: When people discuss conditions in this or any other country for different groups it is human nature to use general conditions for the group as a whole. In the late 1940’s/ early 1950’s it is a fact that on average life was significantly more difficult for a black man than a white man. You had Jim Crow in the south, no legal protections against employment or housing discrimination, redlining by every major insurer in the country, and countless other policies, either official or unofficial, that led to discrimination against blacks at every level of American society.
    And exactly what is this stump that I supposedly was I on? I had a recollection of something that was said that I agreed with, and then I made some comments that I thought supported it. I’m unclear as to whether your uncle is still alive, but if he is going to dismiss every word out of my mouth based on my earlier posting I can live with that. I don’t see that it personally denigrated him, and just because it didn’t specifically apply to his situation does not make it untrue in the general.

  78. MarkedMan says:

    @senyordave: All of that is true. But when you say a white man has no right to feel wronged you are speaking to many white men who feel wronged or who are proud of overcoming the obstacles in their life. Why do you feel the need to tell those feelings are delusions and they have no right to hold them? What cause does that advance? People can understand that black Americans have been grievously wronged and their own experiences can serve as bridges of empathy, even in cases were they over estimate their own suffering. I ask again, what is the purpose in starting out every explanation of the suffering of others with the preface, “of course, everything in YOUR life was handed to you.”

  79. MarkedMan says:

    I should add that my uncle passed several years ago and he was a kind and generous man of good humor as long as I knew him, and was always willing to lend a helping hand. I never heard a bigoted word out of his mouth. But I strongly suspect that if someone came up to him and started lecturing him about how he has no idea what difficulties people had to overcome, however polite he was, inwardly he’d think you were just flapping your gums.

  80. Teve says:

    Man, you just don’t get discussions like this on a lot of other sites.

  81. CSK says:

    No, you don’t.

  82. Monala says:

    @MarkedMan: you’re putting words into his mouth. He never said that white men have no right to feel wronged, nor that their feelings are delusional. Where did that come from?

  83. MarkedMan says:


    he said as an example, if you were a white male in Minnesota in the late 1940’5/ early 1950’s you had to try to fail. The entire system was gamed so that you could succeed. If you wanted to start a business you had easy access to loans, unlike women or what few people of color there were in Minnesota at that time. If you were a veteran the GI Bill had easy money for an education on loans to buy a house, much of which was not available to blacks. A lot of Trump’s base yearn for the good old days, and it doesn’t matter that much of the good old days wasn’t very good, because if you were white you had a big leg up, and if you were a white male (Trump’s biggest base), you were top of mountain. As Kathy said, “It’s the white supremacy, stupid!”.

  84. An Interested Party says:

    What’s this? Perhaps the Democrats will be able to expand their numbers in the Senate without even having an election…

  85. Monala says:

    @MarkedMan: I read that. It doesn’t say what you are claiming it says.

  86. Kurtz says:


    Ds were similarly tested but showed much less tendency to shift in opposition to Trump.

    It’s not comparable, right? A Dem’s trust in Trump is low enough to ignore anything he says that seems like it would align with their goals.

    I would think the test would have to be a Democratic politician to truly get an idea how malleable a Dem can be.

    that Rs have flipped on “executive power, limited government, and congressional primacy”,

    Have they really? In Deep: The FBI, The CIA, and the Truth About America’s “Deep State”, details how the Reagan Administration sought to roll back reforms that curtailed executive authority. Barr, Giuliani, and Ted Olson (co-founder of FedSoc) all played prominent roles in this effort. Oh, and Scalia also played a major role.*

    Congressional primacy tends to be dependent upon the occupant of the WH, and that doesn’t seem to be an innovation of the Trump era.

    Limited Government is split mostly by the target of intervention.

    The GOP tends to support laissez faire capitalism, but is more than willing to intervene in areas viewed as social policy. But Republicans also reflexively defend local law enforcement, even if it means narrowing the scope of the 4A.

    Dems are skeptical of the notion of a natural market that regulates itself, and thus are willing to intervene in the economy.

    Much like the GOP has no problem suppressing dissent during wartime (and often consider police to be at war with criminal elements,) the Dems see hate speech as more than mere words and are willing to regulate its use.

    There is a reason the ACLU has taken positions that defend both sides of the aisle.

    *Though Joyner is probably not going to see this, I have to point out that when I expressed distaste for Originalism, he interpreted it as me decrying non-Progressive judicial opinions. Really, I just find it to be convenient cover for Conservative activism from the bench. To me, willingness to place the President beyond the reach of the other two branches just more arrows in my quiver, but whatever.