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. MarkedMan says:

    With all the responsible gun owners (RGO) shooting random kids and Republican politicians bragging about arming two year olds and taking family Christmas pictures with Mom, Dad and the kids armed for Armageddon, I just want to take a moment to thank all those RGOs who leave their pistol in the glove compartment, thereby ensuring a ready and cheap supply of off the books handguns to our young people.

    On average, at least one gun is stolen from a vehicle every 15 minutes, according to the numbers. Ten years ago, less than 25% of gun thefts were from vehicles; in 2020, that percentage had climbed above 50%. The period between 2019 and 2020 saw a huge spike in guns stolen from vehicles that correlated with spikes in gun sales. At the same time, 180 cities saw a rise in gun thefts from vehicles, making them the largest source of stolen guns going by FBI crime data from 2011 to 2020, covering about “271 small-to-large cities across 38 states.”

    (Amazingly, that is by way of a gun-nut site! I didn’t think they were allowed to say anything negative about gun ownership…)

  2. Neil Hudelson says:


    There are some benefits to the gun nut culture. My Father-in-Law won’t leave his house overnight, for fear someone will break in to steal his guns; guns he owns in order to deter break-ins.

    Fine with me, that’s one less airplane and disney world ticket I have to buy, and one less week of having to force awkward conversation with a geriatric man-child.

  3. Mu Yixiao says:

    Air National Guard seems to have some issues lately.

    Rent-a-Hitman site nabbed Air National Guardsman who was “excited” to kill

    US authorities say a 21-year-old Air National Guardsman applied for hitman work on the satirical RentAHitman.com website and later agreed to kill a fictional person in exchange for $5,000. Tennessee man Josiah Ernesto Garcia was arrested and charged with use of interstate commerce facilities in the commission of murder-for-hire, US Attorney Henry Leventis announced Friday.

  4. OzarkHillbilly says:

    This kid is a born caver:

    A 13-year-old boy had to be freed from a claw machine after he climbed inside hoping to score a prize, according to an official at a North Carolina amusement park.

    Carowinds officials were alerted just before 2pm on Sunday that the boy was inside the Cosmic XL Bonus Game, which contained plush prizes, according to Courtney C McGarry Weber, a spokesperson for the park south of Charlotte. A medical response team unlocked the machine and the boy was able to get out, she said. He was treated and released from first aid to his guardian.

    The boy has been banned from the park for one year for attempted theft, Weber said.

    At least they didn’t execute him.

  5. MarkedMan says:

    @Neil Hudelson: Good comment, but if felt wrong to give it a thumbs up…

  6. daryl and his brother darryl says:

    @Neil Hudelson:
    A line I saw somewhere recently;

    “A well-regulated militia doesn’t kill children.”

    Or, I would add, young women mistakenly pulling into their driveway.
    Speaking of which, tonight is the anniversary of Paul Revere’s ride. Which makes tomorrow the recurrence of Lexington and Concord. For an excellent summary of that day check out “Bunker Hill” by Nathaniel Philbrick. It was a brutal affair.

  7. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Donald Trump’s rape trial will begin next week as scheduled after a federal judge rejected a request for a one-month delay, saying the former president cannot make public statements to promote pre-trial publicity and then claim it is prejudicial to him and reason to delay.

    Lewis A Kaplan, a federal judge in Manhattan, said the civil trial on claims against Trump by the columnist E Jean Carroll will begin as scheduled on 25 April. Trump denies the rape or knowing Carroll.

    Kaplan rejected arguments by Trump’s attorney Joe Tacopina that the former president’s recent indictment in New York state court on criminal falsification of business records charges created such negative publicity that a one-month cooling-off period was needed before the rape trial could begin.

    Kaplan said: “There was, of course, a great deal of media coverage – some of it invited and, indeed, provoked by Mr Trump – first of the apparently impending indictment, then the indictment itself, and finally the arraignment.

    “But the connection that Mr Trump seeks to draw between that coverage and either the need for or the effectiveness of a ‘cooling off’ period is unsupported by any evidence.”

    Kaplan said a portion of coverage of Trump’s indictment was “of his own doing” as the ex-president made public statements on his social media platform, in press conferences and in interviews.


  8. Kingdaddy says:

    The Washington Post asks a question that no one needs to answer: Does US support for Ukraine amount to a proxy war against Russia?

    Whether Ukraine has become a “proxy” war between great powers has itself become an intellectual and political battlefield. The word has a dictionary definition — a person or entity authorized to act for another. More popularly, it has come to mean sending someone else to do your own dirty work.

    This reminds me of the students who used to start political science essays with, “Webster’s Dictionary defines politics as…” as if the dictionary had the best definition, or defining politics was really at all necessary to, oh, say, explain the difference between parliamentary systems and presidential ones. We all know that politics is going on, just as we know that there’s a war going on in Ukraine, and the US and NATO are involved.

    Maybe there’s some unintended value to throwing the term off the back of the boat, a kind of intellectual chum, and seeing who bites.

    In a tweet last month, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) called the war “ridiculous” and said Russia poses no danger to the United States or its NATO allies. “We are paying for … a proxy war with Russia, when I’ve never seen Putin actually show in any detail his plans to invade Europe,” she added. “I don’t believe the lies that I’m being told about this.”

    And maybe the word is an occasion for slightly smarter people than MTGQ to pause for reflection about the things that really matter, or their preconceptions about particular actors during a time when international order is under attack from many sides:

    But Hal Brands, a professor at the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies, has said that is precisely what the United States and its allies are doing in Ukraine. “Russia is the target of one of the most ruthlessly effective proxy wars in modern history,” he wrote in an opinion column for Bloomberg shortly after the war began.
“The key to the strategy is to find a committed local partner — a proxy willing to do the killing and dying — and then load it up with the arms, money and intelligence needed to inflict shattering blows on a vulnerable rival,” Brands wrote. “That’s just what Washington and its allies are doing to Russia today.”
More recently, as the brutality of the war has increased, and after Ukraine scored some victories, Brands seems to have been won over, at least to the concept that a world in which Russia emerges victorious is a danger to all. “If nothing else,” he wrote for Bloomberg early this year, “this war has illustrated what a world without American power would look like, and what it looks like when America uses that unmatched power well.”

  9. Sleeping Dog says:


    I saw that report in a different article and the reporter noted that a significant number of the guns are stolen from pick-ups and had a snarky quote from an observer saying that it would make sense that thieves would target an F250 with an NRA bumper sticker rather than a Prius with a unicorn sticker. Made me laugh.

  10. CSK says:

    Trump derided “Liddle” Mick Mulvaney as a “born loser” and “possibly the dumbest person, along with John Bolton, working at the White House.”

    You picked them, you asshole.

  11. OzarkHillbilly says:
  12. Joe says:

    @Kingdaddy: The fascinating element of this “proxy war,” however, is that Russia provoked it and its unwarranted provocation of a war on its border is the best evidence of Russia’s danger to actual NATO members, demanding their “proxy” response.

    I can in some ways understand Russia’s concern with Ukraine toying with NATO. If Mexico decided to join a military alliance with China, I am not sure we would stand idly by. But even accepting that concern, triggering this war was an epic blunder on Putin’s part, creating his own existential crisis while inflicting the death, pain and privation of war on millions. Talk about misreading a room!

  13. daryl and his brother darryl says:


    The Washington Post asks a MAGA talking point: Does US support for Ukraine amount to a proxy war against Russia?


  14. daryl and his brother darryl says:
  15. Slugger says:

    Putin put his nation in a position where the US could destroy much of his country’s military strength through a relatively low risk, low cost proxy war. We’re not supposed to take advantage of his stupidity? Vlady Vladovich, you played yourself. Now before you buddy up to Xi too much, think about the long term consequences. There is a real risk of turning Russia into a Chinese vassal state. Getting beaten by the US is not so bad; look at how Japan and Germany are doing. The Chinese will not be as permissive.

  16. Slugger says:

    On a lighter subject, I see some typical “very concerned” articles about Jalen Hurts’ new contract. No question that $51 million per year is a lot of money, but in 2022 Aaron Rodgers got $42 million for a 8 and 9 season in 2022. The Broncos paid Russell Wilson similar money for 5 and 12. Hurts appears to be a bargain.

  17. Kathy says:

    @Neil Hudelson:

    So, he needs his guns to protect his guns.

    One can see how the covidiots decided they need to get COVID in order to be safe from COVID.

  18. daryl and his brother darryl says:

    Agree 100%

  19. DK says:


    If Mexico decided to join a military alliance with China, I am not sure we would stand idly by.

    The key difference being that the US maintains good relations with its neighbors; absorbing Mexican, Canadian, Cuban, and South American nationals and their descendants into its citizenry while dismissing far right calls to bomb Mexico over fentanyl and migrants.

    Meanwhile, Russia — and to a lesser extent China — continually fails to maintain good relations with its neighbors. Russia’s foreign policy is controlled by far right extremists and nationalists who don’t think Russia’s neighbors are real countries, who don’t think those nations have a right to exist, and who thus encourage Putin to bomb, kill, and wage war on Russia’s neighbors. A project Russia has been engaged in for hundreds of years long before NATO existed.

    Russia’s neighbors dislike Russia and are attracted to the West because of Russia’s failures. Same goes for a not insignificant chunk of the ~1 million Russians who have fled Putin’s Russia in the past year, recognizing that the biggest threat to Russia is not NATO — per the rightwing propaganda — but Putinism itself.

  20. Joe says:

    @DK: I give you – Cuba.

  21. DK says:

    @Joe: So what. Has the US bombed or invaded Cuba, or expelled Cuban-Americans or jailed US citizens sympathetic to Cuban communism? The US is not at war with Cuba. Cubans are still migrating to the US,

    I didn’t say the US has “100% perfect relationships with it’s neighbors.” Russia and Ukraine having the same relationship the US has with Cuba would be a very good thing. We should hope for that.

  22. MarkedMan says:

    @Kingdaddy: From my point of view I would say that this war is a textbook example of “Not a Proxy War”. Before the invasion of Ukraine did any of the Allies want to get into a war with Russia? No! This war is about the invasion of Ukraine and nothing else.

  23. MarkedMan says:


    In a tweet last month, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) called the war “ridiculous” and said … I’ve never seen Putin actually show in any detail his plans to invade Europe

    Memories are short, and MTG is a moron, so it’s probably worth pointing out that a year ago Putin did exactly that, on the record.

  24. CSK says:

    I’m pleased to report that Ralph Yarl was released from the hospital yesterday and is at home, being cared for by his family.

  25. Kingdaddy says:


    The great Russell Wilson disappointment (how could such an expensive quarterback fizzle so badly?) may have inspired these free-floating QB salary anxieties.

  26. Just nutha ignint cracker says:


    The key difference being that the US maintains good relations with its neighbors; absorbing Mexican, Canadian, Cuban, and South American nationals and their descendants into its citizenry while dismissing far right calls to bomb Mexico over fentanyl and migrants.

    Well, more or less, anyway.

    ETA: And be on the lookout for “Click to Edit” appearing spontaneously for your comments.

  27. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @MarkedMan: The fact that the war is about Russia invading Ukraine does not mean that various other players will not call it a proxy war. It’s called “disinformation” for a reason, and even then, Michael Reynolds’ comments regarding ROI for supporting Ukraine demonstrate that our own citizens have some level of buy-in for the proxy war idea.

    ETA: Two for two on “Click to Edit.” Woo hoo!

    AETA: Should I be buying a Stupidity Tax ticket today, or does that superstition only work for the day the numbers are drawn?

  28. Mister Bluster says:

    @Joe:..If Mexico decided to join a military alliance with China, I am not sure we would stand idly by.

    Seems like I remember this sentiment expressed during the Vietnam War when PRC provided aid to the North Vietnamese.

    As I recall the United States did not stand idly by when the Soviet Union attempted to place nuclear missles in Cuba.

  29. CSK says:

    Trump had a major meltdown on Truth Social today after Elon Musk told Tucker Carlson last night that he voted for Biden in 2020.

    The interesting thing is that Trump is desperately trying to rationalize Musk’s “betrayal” (Musk needs to the permits Biden will grant him) rather than attacking Musk with the usual childish insults.

    Is it Musk’s billions that keep Trump in Musk’s thrall?

  30. MarkedMan says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    Two for two on “Click to Edit.” Woo hoo!

    It’s been an edit kind of day. Like the good old days.

  31. Kathy says:


    He has no trouble attacking Bezos, Amazon, and the Washington Post.

    So maybe St. Elon Emperor God of Mars and Phobos has dangled some money in Benito’s direction?

    On other news, my plans to take a vacation in May are off. New projects coming in make it a 30% chance I could take time off successfully.

    Prices for June look good, but that’s the rain/hurricane season. I can sit indoors at home for less money.

    My latest hope is late September, but then work makes things chancy again. Same goes for October.

    I may have to be satisfied with a tour of the local museums in July.

  32. daryl and his brother darryl says:

    The most interesting thing about Musk and Twitter these days is that Musk is labeling NPR, PBS, and the CBC as state-sponsored…thereby throwing their credibility into question. All the while refusing to say who his Twitter investors are. In other words…is Twitter state-sponsored, only by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia?

  33. Michael Reynolds says:

    It did not start out to be a proxy war, but it is one, now. We are doing for Ukraine what Russia and China did for North Vietnam. We supply weapons, training, financing, diplomatic cover and intelligence.

    I don’t see the problem in admitting the obvious – here in comments, at least. It’s not as if the Russians will be shocked. Might not want to go there for diplomatic/propaganda reasons, but this is clearly a proxy war. We were handed a golden opportunity to kneecap an enemy and do it with no US loss of life. This is one of the greatest foreign policy gifts imaginable, we’d be fools not to play out the hand.

  34. anjin-san says:


    I give you – Cuba.

    How to best describe US policy towards Cuba – “idiotic but not evil”, perhaps?

    At least some progress has been made under Obama & Biden.

  35. anjin-san says:


    St. Elon Emperor God of Mars and Phobos

    Very nice!

  36. CSK says:


    Maybe Trump was taking it for granted that Musk would contribute millions and millions to his campaign, and possibly now he doesn’t want to close the door on that possibility by calling Musk stupid names. Hence the effort to justify/rationalize Musk’s “betrayal.”

    @daryl and his brother darryl:
    Well, Jared Kushner is sponsored by the Saudis. Why shouldn’t Musk be?

  37. dazedandconfused says:


    Has anyone else noticed that nearly everything with “Truth” in the title on the interwebs is not the truth? As in nearly every crackpot conspiracy theory title starts with “The Truth About….”. I suppose this is related to the old joke about the difference between nursery rhymes and fisherman’s stories. Nursery rhymes start with “Once upon a time” and fisherman’s stories start with “And this is no bullshit.”

  38. daryl and his brother darryl says:

    The Judge in the Dominion v. Fox case has appointed a Special Master to look into Fox’s discovery shenanigans. This Judge is not playing.

  39. daryl and his brother darryl says:


    I’m pleased to report that Ralph Yarl was released from the hospital yesterday and is at home, being cared for by his family.

    His entire High School walked out today in support of him, and demanding justice for him.

  40. DK says:

    @Mister Bluster:

    As I recall the United States did not stand idly by when the Soviet Union attempted to place nuclear missles in Cuba.

    If the United States had attempted to place nuclear missles in Kyiv, many of us much more sympathetic towards Mr. Putin’s paranoid megalomania at least, if not his imperialistic warmongering.

    What actually happened was the US and NATO forced Ukraine to give up its nuclear weapons to Russia. So. Again, the real threat to Russia’s success and prosperity is Putin and his ilk, not the US. Although fearmongering about the US/NATO has been fairly effective at tricking easily-propagandized marks into enabling Putin.

    Not unlike the right being pretty good at fearmongering about fake threats (CRT, trans pedophiles, drag queens, books, gay groomers, Bud Light, M&Ms, masks and vaccines, wokeness, poor and powerless migrants, LatinX, Disney, pronouns, etc) so their distracted marks won’t recognize the real threat to their freedom, prosperity, and well-being — and typically the real pedophiles and groomers — are rightwingers themselves.

    It’s no coincidence you can find the American far right and Putin-apologists at the meeting point of the same horseshoe.

  41. JohnSF says:

    @Mister Bluster:
    But Cuba in fact remained an ally of the Soviet Union till 1991.
    And this included periodic visits by missile submarines to Cuban ports, and staging of nuclear-capable reconnaissance bombers.
    And the US just put up with it.
    Arguably because the Missile Crisis was a product of the tail end of the period before SLBMs became a primary force component.

  42. CSK says:


    Yup. And when Trump says “Believe me,” you know he’s lying.

    @daryl and his brother darryl:

    Good for them. A warrant has been issued for the arrest of the shooter.

  43. Sleeping Dog says:

    I doubt he committed suicide, DeSantis had him offed.

  44. Mister Bluster says:

    Fox News, Dominion Voting Systems reach lawsuit settlement in high-stakes defamation case
    CBS News

    Washington — Dominion Voting Systems and Fox News have reached a deal to resolve the $1.6 billion defamation case the electronic voting company brought against the cable news giant over unfounded accusations broadcast on its air that Dominion helped rig the 2020 presidential election against former President Donald Trump.

    Delaware Superior Court Judge Eric Davis announced that the “case has been resolved” after bringing the jury and 12 alternates back into the courtroom following a lengthy break in proceedings.

    The details of the settlement are unclear, and the case’s resolution came on the first day of the trial in Delaware Superior Court. A 12-member jury and the alternates were seated in the morning and sworn in, after which lawyers for the two sides were set to deliver opening statements Tuesday afternoon. The settlement brings an end to what was expected to be a six-week trial.

  45. daryl and his brother darryl says:

    @Mister Bluster:
    Fox pays some money and goes merrily on it’s way, free to keep lying to the rubes.

  46. daryl and his brother darryl says:

    I think I read that he is now in custody.

  47. Kathy says:

    @Mister Bluster:

    I was really looking forward to a full accounting of Fox’s malfeasance.

    And punitive damages.

  48. MarkedMan says:

    @Mister Bluster: Three things that immediately came to mind: 1) Will Dominion take the money and close their doors, since their brand name is ruined? 2) If not, who at Fox will have to correct the record on-air, and how often? 3) As a public company, can they keep the settlement amount secret? Won’t they have a line item somewhere that is way, way too big to bury this inside?

  49. CSK says:

    @daryl and his brother darryl:

    He turned himself in and was booked on a $200,000 bond. He bonded out a while later.

  50. Mister Bluster says:

    @daryl and his brother darryl:..Fox pays some money and goes merrily on it’s way, free to keep lying to the rubes.

    I think I just heard on the NPR news that Dominion settled for half of what they sued for. (1/2 of $1.6 billion). If that’s what I heard.
    I haven’t heard any other conditions of the settlement like public confessions of the lies told.
    Maybe Rupert agreed to have Hannity and Carlson stretched out on the rack until their heads popped off.

  51. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Mister Bluster: @Kathy: @daryl and his brother darryl: And NBC News adds:

    Fox News and Dominion Voting Systems reached a $787.5 million settlement agreement Tuesday afternoon, the parties announced, narrowly heading off a trial shortly after the jury was seated.

    So, yeah. Paid less than half and probably walks away without having to admit anything. If you’ve got the right lawyer, we have the best justice system in the world.

    ETA: @MarkedMan: Time will tell on the closing of doors and ruined name part, but ~49% seems to be what they concluded was the best they’d get. Malice is a tough hill to climb. Faux News must have been convinced that it was a possible climb to have settled, though. At least that’s my read.

  52. CSK says:

    @Mister Bluster: @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    The settlement doesn’t end the special master probe. That could end in obstruction charges.

  53. Kathy says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    Someone in the legal team is an aviation enthusiast.

  54. CSK says:

    According to CNN, Fox is paying Dominion $787.5 million.

  55. Mister Bluster says:

    @Kathy:..aviation enthusiast

    So put a sign on my back that says “kick me”.
    It took me this long to get your joke. …787…

  56. becca says:

    I read a statement from Fox that included an admission of guilt. It was hardly full-throated, but they did confess to lying. Hopefully, there will be some on-air mea culpas. Tukkker needs a good public spanking.

  57. Mister Bluster says:

    NPR just updated the photo on the settlement story. The earlier pic showed the attorneys leaving the courthouse for lunch or something. The new one shows them doing a commercial for teeth whitening.

  58. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    Yahoo News offers this from the Faux News trial:

    “The truth matters,” Dominion lawyer Justin Nelson said in a news conference outside the courthouse after the announcement. “Lies have consequences.”

    Indeed! Apparently 49.2% of the damages [EDIT:]requested’s worth of consequences.

  59. Gustopher says:

    @dazedandconfused: I knew someone who hired Reliable Moving over Budget Moving, since Reliable Moving gave her a better price.

    Joke was on her when Reliable Moving didn’t show up. Luckily Budget Moving was willing to send people to do the job late in the day for time and a half.

  60. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @CSK: I wouldn’t advise holding your breath waiting for obstruction charges. Then again, I was wrong about the NY DA nailing Trump on misdemeanor charges that might become felony charges depending on what a jury can be sold about an arcane legal definition. There’s no telling what could happen.

  61. Gustopher says:


    What actually happened was the US and NATO forced Ukraine to give up its nuclear weapons to Russia.

    Ukraine never actually had control over the nuclear weapons, so they gave up nothing for a security agreement from Russia that was also nothing.

  62. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Mister Bluster: You were faster than I was. I only got it after reading your post. 🙁

  63. Gustopher says:

    @CSK: Seems like they were torn between $775M and $800M, and just split the difference.

    I would like $12.5M that someone doesn’t feel is worth fighting for.

  64. Gustopher says:


    Tukkker needs a good public spanking.

    Unfortunately, he’s into that.

  65. gVOR08 says:

    @MarkedMan: I was thinking Dominion would just take the money and shut down. But I imagine they have some level of international business that can continue, even if they have to kiss off red states and maybe the whole domestic market.

    There was some talk of suits against FOX, and it’s officers, by shareholders and it will be interesting to see where the Smartmatic suit goes now. On foxnews.com right now the settlement is their fifth story. No mention of 0.78 billion, just “amicably” settled. They say, “We acknowledge the Court’s rulings finding certain claims about Dominion to be false. This settlement reflects FOX’s continued commitment to the highest journalistic standards.” Indeed @becca:, less than full throated. And, “Then-President Trump and his allies fiercely challenged Joe Biden’s victory in the weeks following the election. Some of them, including members of his legal team, made false and unsubstantiated claims against Dominion Voting Systems and are the subject of separate defamation lawsuits.”

  66. Kathy says:

    @Mister Bluster:
    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    If you show a blackjack player a king, a six, and a five, they will see 21.

  67. CSK says:
  68. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @daryl and his brother darryl: I’m not so sure it’s snark. 😉

  69. dazedandconfused says:


    I suspect Kathy got that wrong. I believe the protocol for multiple titles is greatest first, typically before the name itself. As in “King Alphonso the III (careful how you pronounce that “third”, now), Earl of Middlesex (or whatever).

    So, even though Kathy’s reads better, make it “God Elon the Musk, Emperor of Mars And Phobos” lest your Tesla locks you out. For eternity.

  70. Kathy says:


    I suspect Kathy got that wrong

    Almost certainly.

    It was not an error in looking up the right usage, as much as indifference and contempt for the use of nobiliary and royal titles.

  71. MarkedMan says:

    @gVOR08: I just looked it up and a private equity firm purchased (rounding) 76% of Dominion for $38M in 2018, putting the actual valuation of the company at just about $50M. At that rate Fox paid at nearly a 16 multiplier. Even if we assume good growth in the intervening years it’s still north of 10x. Dominion can close its doors tomorrow and it’s investors have done extraordinarily well.

  72. Gustopher says:

    @MarkedMan: Given that their name is ruined, and that any time a county or state contracts with them there will be a bunch of freaks who believe the lies threatening everyone… Dominion probably should just close up shop, pay out $750M in dividends and say that it is over. Maybe start a new thing.

    People never do that though.