Tuesday’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. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Construction workers who toiled on one of Tesla’s sprawling so-called Gigafactories will file a complaint and a case referral with the federal Department of Labor on Tuesday detailing exploitative work conditions they say they experienced while building the plant.

    Whistleblowers came forward to allege serious labor and employment violations during construction of the electric car manufacturer’s massive new facility in Austin, Texas, that left them vulnerable to injuries and wage theft.

    Amid accusations of constant hazards and onsite accidents, one worker said his bosses at an unnamed subcontractor falsified credentials instead of actually providing him and others with required job training involving education about health, safety, and workers’ rights – including the right to refuse dangerous work.

    Other whistleblowers are reporting what they describe as wage theft and say they weren’t paid at all or didn’t receive proper overtime compensation for their work on the hi-tech facility.

    Say what? Dangerous job site conditions?? Wage theft??? No worker’s rights???? In Texas?????? Say it ain’t so!

    Tesla’s 2,500-acre Austin Gigafactory was one of the hottest construction jobs in the US after workers broke ground on it in 2020, as multi-billionaire entrepreneur and owner of Tesla, SpaceX and now Twitter, Elon Musk, erected a central US outpost for his auto manufacturer. From outside the project, the new plant sounded like an ideal place for any builder to work….

    But construction workers have painted a far less rosy portrait of the new factory, suggesting what was supposed to be a dream job turned into a nightmare.

    When I was still working, nobody I knew would willingly work in Texas, except if they were in truly dire straits. It is a state where half the construction workers are either illegal immigrants or temporary migrant workers, and those people don’t dare complain about the abuses inflicted upon them if they want to stay here. Those same abuses bleed over into the rest of the work force. So no, not if one has a choice.

    Also, they don’t make it clear that “builders” are not construction workers. We in the biz call them contractors for a reason.

  2. CSK says:

    Roberta Flack has been diagnosed with ALS.

  3. JohnSF says:

    Related to G20 summit, China showing increasing signs of impatience with Putin’s pooch poking.

    (Chinese officials told FT that) Xi was caught off-guard by an invasion that Putin did not warn him of in advance — thus jeopardising the safety of thousands of Chinese nationals then living in Ukraine.
    “Putin didn’t tell Xi the truth,” a Chinese official told the Financial Times.
    “If he had told us, we wouldn’t have been in such an awkward position,”

    And also speaking on the eve of the G20 gathering, Chinese premier Li Keqiang underlined the “irresponsibility” of nuclear threats as he appeared during another summit in Cambodia.

    It’s fairly certain Putin did actually inform Xi what the plan was.
    The significance is Xi now trying to distance himself from a promised fortnight fait accompli that turned into a nine month catalogue of incompetence.
    Probably both for internal and external reasons.

    Statement by President Macron:

    President Xi Jinping and I call for respect for Ukraine’s territorial integrity and sovereignty.
    France and China are determined to put a stop to escalation and address the consequences of the war in Ukraine, to support the most vulnerable countries…

    Again, likely relation to concerns of “south” re food and energy supplies and prices, and another signal to Moscow that Beijing dislikes escalation talk.

  4. MarkedMan says:


    It’s fairly certain Putin did actually inform Xi what the plan was.
    The significance is Xi now trying to distance himself from a promised fortnight fait accompli that turned into a nine month catalogue of incompetence.
    Probably both for internal and external reasons.

    Nothing to add, just thought this was worth highlighting.

    As for the joint statement with France I think it highlights that France hasn’t changed its policy vis a vis China. Essentially, they want to insert themselves as China’s apologist in return for China respecting France’s Pacific interests.

  5. HarvardLaw92 says:


    That’s sad. If she’d only ever recorded that one song (we all know which one …) and then walked away, she’d still be remembered as a masterful and gifted artist. I’m glad that she did not.

  6. CSK says:


    A documentary about her life, American Masters: Roberta Flack, will premiere on PBS this coming January.

  7. HarvardLaw92 says:


    I will definitely do my best to catch that. Thank you for the heads up 🙂

  8. JohnSF says:

    In European affairs its been France pressing for a rethink on economic links with China, Germany pressing for business as usual with Beijing.
    I still argue that French policy is not what you are assuming.

    Incidentally, the are some Australians now circling back to a a possible French interim submarine purchase due to timeline of getting anything from the US (and apparent impossibility re. UK) LOL
    It might happen once Murdoch pops his clogs: apparently a US/Aus nuke subs deal is a bit of a hobby horse of his.

  9. CSK says:

    January 24, 2023. It sounds wonderful.

  10. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Texas man faces charges for allegedly slipping abortion drug in wife’s drink

    Herring’s wife alleges that he began lecturing her in March on the importance of hydration during pregnancy and offered her glasses of water. After drinking from one of the glasses, she noticed the water was cloudy. Herring told her the cloudiness could be from dirty pipes.

    She started cramping half an hour later and eventually experienced severe bleeding, leading to an emergency room visit. After experiencing these symptoms, she started to believe that her drink had been tampered with an abortion-inducing medication.

    Herring’s wife learned that she was pregnant and told her husband during a couples’ counseling session on 8 March. She told officials that her husband’s reaction to the news was negative.

    After Herring’s wife returned home from the emergency room, he allegedly gave her four more drinks over the next week. She noticed three had “an unknown substance” in them, and the fourth was a bottle of orange juice with the seal broken.

    Herring was scheduled to visit his wife on 20 April. His wife invited two people over to potentially witness any of his suspicious behavior. During that scheduled visit, Herring tried to give her drink, which his wife and the two people noticed had “an unknown substance” inside.

    The next week, Herring’s wife saw him slip the contents of a small plastic bag into a drink that he later gave to her. She also inspected trash that he had taken out and saw open packs of Cyrux, which contains misoprostol, an ingredient known to induce abortions. She showed law enforcement videos of both instances, according to the affidavit.

  11. Kathy says:

    This is not a prediction, at least I hope not, but rather a political fiction scenario.

    Let’s assume for the 2023-24 primary season, the GQP battlefield has three credible candidates: Benito, DeSantis, and an actual rational Republiqan, say Sununu (it could be anyone else).

    The first two are in a dead heat. The third plods along, winning just enough small states he can’t be discounted. You know, “still has a mathematical possibility.” But we all know he won’t be getting the nomination.

    Meantime Cheeto partisans begin to disrupt Ron’s rallies, and viceversa. Things escalate, aided by heated and not at all subtle rhetoric from Benito. deSantis deplores such things, but in such a way that he encourages his partisans to follow suit. Sununu stays on the sidelines, hoping they’ll overlook him entirely.

    Eventually, some Cheetohead shoots and kills the Florida Man. Benito first gloats and says he’s very happy, then walks it back, then walks back the walk back, then demands to be given Ron’s delegates, then walks back the walk back he had walked back (I’ve no idea what this means). Finally he stages an assassination attempt on himself to prove his innocence (he has the best innocents!)

    This gets exposed because 1) the attempt employed blanks, 2) the shooters confess, 3) some in Benito’s security show evidence of the plot being planned and implemented. Of course El Cheeto claims this is a deep-state DeSanctimonius lie, and he really won all the primaries they were stolen from him, etc.

    The GQP establishment would look to give Ron’s delegates to Sununu, as he seems by now the only sane choice. This would really drive Benito crazy.

    Well, if anyone wants to run with it, feel free.

  12. CSK says:


    Well, that’s an entertaining scenario. At this point, I can see it happening.

    This, from The Bulwark, is quite good.


  13. MarkedMan says:

    So I finally saw an actual person wearing Yeezy Foam Runners in the wild. Yep, they look just as ridiculous in real life as I imagined, especially when somewhat dirty. “Melted Crocs”, as someone said.

  14. Beth says:
  15. JohnSF says:

    Well everyone, are we bored with the Musk Twitter saga yet?
    I hope not, because here come the next hilarious plotline.

    Twitters main European office has been in Dublin, benefiting from Irish corporate tax level, etc.
    In taking a flamethrower to Twitter staffing, Musk has disposed of much of the Irish office staff, in ways contrary to Irish employment law.
    Other staff have quit in disgust.

    Comes the chorus of techbros: “Why should such petty laws be of concern the Lord of the Sandworms? Be off, foolish peasants.”
    Except that, if the Irish office is no longer staffed with the appropriate compliance officers, Twitter may lose “one stop” European Union General Data Protection Regulation cover.
    And that *whishhh* noise you just heard, was the sound of the ears of several hundred data regulation lawyers pricking up in every single country in Europe.
    “Mmmm! Smells like LUNCHTIME!”
    And that’s “lunch” to the value of 4% of Twitter turnover.
    In each country.

    Possibly very big oops indeed.

    Can we send up the Harvard Law bat signal?

  16. daryl and his brother darryl says:

    Don Bacon (R-Neb.) already signaling that he will work with Dems to elect a moderate Republican Speaker if (when?) that process turns into a Republican shit-show.

  17. Monala says:


    After the ‘red wave’ flop, we need new male political experts who are always wrong. I’m in.

    As the dust settles, it’s clear the key takeaway from the midterm elections is this: America’s cable news networks need to clear out their stable of male pundits who are consistently wrong about everything and bring in some fresh male voices who will also be consistently wrong about everything.

    As someone who checks both boxes – male and regularly wrong – I humbly submit my application to fill this important role.

  18. daryl and his brother darryl says:

    Putin sent a couple (I’m guessing – errant) missiles into Poland.
    I didn’t have WW3 on my bingo card this week.

  19. Mister Bluster says:

    US official: Russian missiles crossed into Poland, killing 2
    KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — A senior U.S. intelligence official says Russian missiles crossed into NATO member Poland, killing two people.
    Polish government spokesman Piotr Mueller did not immediately confirm the information, but said top leaders were holding an emergency meeting due to a “crisis situation.”
    Polish media reported that two people died Tuesday afternoon after a projectile struck an area where grain was drying in Przewodów, a Polish village near the border with Ukraine.
    WGN 9

    This means war?

  20. CSK says:

    @Mister Bluster:

    Oh, shit. It sure as hell isn’t good news.

  21. Sleeping Dog says:

    @daryl and his brother darryl:
    @Mister Bluster:

    Actually in makes a perfectly good excuse for NATO to move air defense batteries into Ukraine to guard the western cities and countries bordering Ukraine.

  22. daryl and his brother darryl says:

    @Mister Bluster:
    We are not going to escalate over what is very likely a mistake.
    On the other hand…
    There has to be a response of some sort. What it is will be fascinating.

  23. JohnSF says:

    @Mister Bluster:
    It doesn’t mean anything even vaguely good.
    If it was deliberate, Poland will respond.

  24. charon says:

    It invokes article 4 – increased support for Ukraine, but not war.


    The Russian missile screw-up that ended up killing two Poles will result in NATO invoking article 4 not article 5 (see below). The consultation will probably result in more support for Ukraine, particularly air and anti-air power. Will give Poland some real influence.

  25. Beth says:


    There are few things that bring me as much joy in life as watching a billionaire tech butthole getting blown up by the kind of things he thinks doesn’t apply to him.

    Like, the whole Irish system is set up to give cover to non-Irish rich ass foreigners. They just got to play by some basic, minimal, speed-bumpy rules and the win. Except they all like to get high on the smell of their own farts and inevitably the are forced to reckon with the fact that they aren’t invincible.

    LOVE. IT.

  26. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Mister Bluster: This means war?

    I doubt it, but Putin is gonna have to kiss some Polish ass and as @Sleeping Dog: points out new arms shipments to Poland with possibly/probably(?) a NATO deployment.

  27. JohnSF says:

    Looks likely to be NATO Article 4, not Article 5:

    The Parties will consult together whenever, in the opinion of any of them, the territorial integrity, political independence or security of any of the Parties is threatened.

  28. Andy says:

    @Mister Bluster:

    This means war?

    Only if we are stupid.

    It would negligent if the US and NATO hadn’t planned for this possibility – weapons frequently go astray. I’m sure Russian, US, and NATO defense officials are communicating about this.

    So while this certainly increases the pucker factor, I seriously doubt anyone is dumb enough to start WWIII over this.

  29. Scott says:

    Poland should demand that Russia remove all troops and equipment from Belarus. As a minimum.

  30. Jim Brown 32 says:

    @HarvardLaw92: Everyone loves Killing me Softly but deeper in her discography is my personal favorite “Feel like Makin’ Love…”

    The harmonization–the inflections and flourishes– a masterpiece.

  31. CSK says:

    @Jim Brown 32:

    I think HL92 meant “The First Time.” I think I have every album she ever made.

  32. daryl and his brother darryl says:

    Now the reporting is suggesting the missiles may have been air defense missiles fired by Ukraine.

  33. JohnSF says:

    Latest indicates it was a stray, not an aimed strike.
    Possibly result of Ukrainian S-300 hitting but not destroying missile inbound for Lviv.
    May include S-300 debris as well.

  34. Mister Bluster says:

    Maybe we should all take a step back and see what’s going on in the War Room.

  35. CSK says:

    Provided the Republicans do take the House, Kevin McCarthy has been nominated as the next Speaker.

  36. daryl and his brother darryl says:

    Rick Scott, who defrauded Medicare AND failed to win the Senate in the most favorable electoral conditions in a generation*, has formally announced his challenge to McConnell.
    (*Scott headed up the National Republican Senatorial Committee)

  37. Beth says:

    @daryl and his brother darryl:

    Great on both counts. McCarthy is an idiot with delusions of grandeur, who thinks he can control the sizable block of maniacs that has proven ungovernable by smarter men. I hope somewhere Boehner is having his 5th cocktail of the day cackling at the news.

    Scott is a moron who think McConnell is weak enough to beat, he’s not, but if Scott thinks he’s weak enough then he’s not in good shape.

    As Darth Vader once said, “Don’t choke on your aspirations.”

  38. Scott says:

    @daryl and his brother darryl: Rick Scott is the epitome of someone who fails upward.

  39. Scott says:


    I hope somewhere Boehner is having his 5th cocktail of the day cackling at the news.

    Hasn’t Boehner moved onto weed?

  40. CSK says:


    The reaction of the MAGAs to McCarthy is hilarious: “He’s a Deep State Communist globalist!”

  41. JohnSF says:


    “He’s a Deep State Communist globalist.”

    Well, I don’t know about Boehner, but it surely sounds like the MAGAi are on weed and considering crack.

  42. CSK says:


    The MAGA attitude is, “If you’re not Trump, you’re trash.”

    By the way, not even Matt Gaetz is going to Trump’s Big Announcement tonight.

  43. Scott says:

    @CSK: Chip Roy is my Congressman and I follow his bilge on Facebook. Yesterday, he posted an entirely banal posting about waiting for the election to be over before voting on the Leadership position. The comments section was hilarious with demands that McCarthy and McConnell be ousted for their RINO behavior and DC insidership, etc. Chip pretends he’s an outsider rebel and a tough guy but he spends his time one the DC TV circuit appearing on Fox, OAN, Newsmax and even more obscure rightwing shows. He is so desperate to be a playa it is almost funny. A tough guy he is not.

  44. daryl and his brother darryl says:

    I’m amused that McConnell stole two SCOTUS seats which led to the Dobbs decision which led to Republicans missing their shot at the Senate which will lead to McConnel losing his Leadership role.

    MAGAt’s are idiots to get rid of McConnell, who got them their holy grail…control over women’s bodies.

  45. JohnSF says:

    I know it must be trial for all of you reasonable sorts, to have to share a public square, as it were, with the MAGAts, but I really think you should take a few moments to sympathize with the plight of the remaining non-MAGA Republican base who have to put up with their lunacies in local party meetings etc.
    The urge to scream “Won’t you just, for once, for the love of mike, stop spouting gibbering insanity and SHUT UP!” must get overwhelming.

    Okay, few moments over.

  46. Joe says:

    @daryl and his brother darryl: And who was it who suggested here that a moderate Republican might find a way to get the Democrats to peel off a few other moderate Republicans to make the moderate the Speaker. [Checks notes] Me. And you’re welcome.

    Unfortunately, that approach might be more ungovernable that what McCarthy is facing.

  47. Kathy says:

    @Mister Bluster:

    This means war?

    I’m reminded of the Bugs Bunny Principle, you know 😉

    I expect Poland will demand an apology, reparations, and a promise never to let something like this happen ever again or else. This will be hard, because Mad Vlad won’t ever admit to hitting anything other than the intended target, even if an errant Russian missile strikes a Russian base.

  48. CSK says:


    I sympathize with anyone who’s anti-MAGA. You can do business with them. You cannot do business with a MAGA.

  49. grumpy realist says:

    @Beth: Although I didn’t agree with Boehner’s views, I did appreciate his horse sense.

    I saw a picture of the man enjoying a Scotch and a cigarette right after he retired. He looked like a tw0-ton weight had dropped off him.

  50. Kathy says:


    I would say St. Elon’s backers plan was like:

    Step 1: Loan St. Elon money to buy Twitter
    Step 2: ??????????

    I wonder what Elon’s plan was.

  51. daryl and his brother darryl says:

    If anyone can rat-fuq the process Pelosi can.

  52. JohnSF says:

    “Mars needs guitars!”

  53. HarvardLaw92 says:


    LOL, GDPR gives me a headache on the best of days. Those who specialize in it, however, are I suspect about to have a very good day.

    This is also a vivid lesson about the perils of allowing an idiotic genius to run things.

  54. HarvardLaw92 says:

    @Jim Brown 32:

    I can legitimately say that I have never heard a song of hers, any of them, that didn’t just blow me away. She’s a rare talent indeed.


    Indeed, that’s the one I had in mind, but as above, they’re all masterpieces IMO.

  55. CSK says:


    Flack had the best version of “Bridge Over Troubled Water” ever.

  56. HarvardLaw92 says:



  57. charon says:


    NEW: The NRSC sent a fundraising email today signed by Herschel Walker in which it is actually keeping 99% of what’s raised, per fine print.

    Walker gets a dime for every ten dollar donation.

    Smart man, that Walker fellow.

  58. al Ameda says:

    I love Roberta Flack & Donny Hathaway’s duet – Where is the Love?

  59. CSK says:

    Does anyone know when Trump will be making his announcement tonight? I don’t think I’ve seen a time given anywhere.

  60. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @CSK: That was the song I thought HL was referring to, also. Never was a huge fan, but she sang a good song and had a style.

  61. dazedandconfused says:

    @Mister Bluster:

    This means war?

    Only if Putin proudly announces a successful strike on Poland, I reckon. I really doubt Poland was just sitting around waiting for an excuse to enter the war. I expect a retaliatory gesture of some sort will be made though.

  62. Just nutha ignint cracker says:


    To be sure, Boehner says he has never tried marijuana. “I’ve never used the product. I really have no plans to use the product,” he told host Michel Martin in an interview for NPR’s All Things Considered. “But if other people use the product,” Boehner said, “who am I to say they shouldn’t?”

    It would appear that he hasn’t.

  63. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @JohnSF: “…you should take a few moments to sympathize with the plight of the remaining non-MAGA Republican base”

    Who cares what fewer than a dozen people think? I’m not kidding. In my Congressional district, the heavily Republican counties voted for MAGAt/America Firster Joe Kent with majorities of 56% (my county), 64%, 52%, 62%, and 55%. The Democrat, Perez, only won because half of the population of the district lives in Vancouver, Washington and Clark County. Even at that, she’s only ahead by a fraction of a percent (50.29 to 49.19) and the result will be subject to recount.

  64. Gustopher says:


    Provided the Republicans do take the House, Kevin McCarthy has been nominated as the next Speaker.

    He’s got to get 218 votes when the new House is in session, so I wouldn’t count his eggs until they hatch.

    There’s no form of no-confidence vote for the speaker, right? So he won’t have to hold 218 indefinitely.

  65. CSK says:


    Republicans just took the house.

  66. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Gustopher: I don’t remember, but I faintly recall some parliamentary games that caused Boehner to say f**k it, pick somebody else for this sh*tshow.

  67. Kathy says:


    The reference sailed well over my head, but it reminded me of Blondie’s “Rapture.”

    The lyrics ends with:

    ‘Cause the man from Mars stopped eatin’ cars and eatin’ bars
    And now he only eats guitars, get up.

    So, yes, Mars needs guitars. Also bars and cars.

    But not TVs.

  68. Beth says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    I was reading that the House Freedom Loons are demanding those particular games come back as part of their support for McCarthy. They are going to keep him on a short leash. I think those idiots smell blood.

  69. CSK says:

    Well, Trump is running in 2024. Surprise, surprise.

  70. Gustopher says:


    Republicans just took the house.

    A far cry from 218 votes for McCarthy. The Q Caucus and the MAGA Caucus have to agree with the remainder. And while we group them together, I assure you they see major differences. Are the space lasers Jewish? Is McCarthy a RINO? Are there litter boxes in the bathrooms?

    Chaos. It will be chaos.

    @CSK: I’m already bored of him.