Tuesday’s Forum

FILED UNDER: Open 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 and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. Scott says:

    What America Will Lose if the Voice of America Sounds Like Trump

    The recent purge at U.S.-funded broadcasters suggests a key foreign-policy tool is about to lose its value.

    Of all the myriad Washington bureaucrats, diplomats, congressional staffers, and politicians who spend their time thinking about U.S.-China policy, probably no one has actually triggered the Chinese more than Libby Liu. For 14 years, Liu was the president of Radio Free Asia, an independent but congressionally funded broadcaster that transmits news and information in Mandarin, Cantonese, Uighur, Tibetan, and nearly a dozen other languages. RFA broke the first stories of the Chinese concentration camps built to hold millions of Uighurs, members of China’s repressed Muslim minority; RFA has also reported the stories of dissidents, trafficked women, unrest in Tibet, and many other topics that Beijing would prefer to ignore.

    In 2011, Liu and her colleagues created the Open Technology Fund, a low-key but extraordinarily effective program that invents, distributes, and constantly updates technology that allows millions of people to read and listen to information that their governments seek to block, not just in China but around the world. Two-thirds of mobile devices around the world use some piece of OTF-supported technology; billions of people can share ideas in spaces safe from government surveillance.

    Liu, who has been working on these issues for nearly two decades, knows more about Chinese disinformation and malicious cybercampaigns than almost anyone. She’s a great resource for any U.S. administration; this should have been her moment in the sun. Instead, on Wednesday of last week, she was fired.

    The Trump political commissars and apparatchiks are determined to bring this country down.

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  2. sam says:
  3. Scott says:

    US soldier plotted with Satanic neo-Nazis to ambush his own unit overseas, feds say

    There is a lot of evidence of far right radicalism in our Armed Forces for a long time. Seems to me that political correctness prevents it from being rooted out.

    A U.S. soldier assigned to an installation in Europe has been charged with trying to plan a deadly ambush on members of his own unit during an upcoming deployment with the help of an “occult-based neo-Nazi” group known as the “Order of the Nine Angles,” according to an indictment unsealed Monday

    Melzer was charged on Monday for conspiring and attempting to kill U.S. nationals; conspiring and attempting to kill U.S. service members; attempting to provide and providing material support to terrorists; and conspiring to murder and maim in a foreign country. The charges carry a maximum sentence of life in prison.

    The Order of the Nine Angles is described by the Justice Department as a racially motivated violent extremist group. Members have “espoused violent, neo-Nazi, anti-Semitic, and Satanic beliefs, and have expressed admiration for both Nazis, such as Adolf Hitler, and Islamic jihadists, such as Usama Bin Laden, the now-deceased former leader of Al Qaeda,” the indictment reads.

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  4. CSK says:

    Bill seems to have vanished.

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  5. CSK says:

    Good piece in today’s Vanity Fair by Gabriel Sherman entitled ‘”Brad Really S–t the Bed Saturday Night.”‘

    Trump has a rally in Phoenix today. If that’s a flop, as I devoutly hope it is, he’ll have to be restrained.

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  6. Jen says:

    @sam: Man, I love dogs. They are too good for us. What a good pup.

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  7. sam says:

    @CSK:

    Chait said today, “Parscale probably shouldn’t bring any green bananas to the office kitchen.”

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  8. sam says:

    @CSK:

    Hope Bill’s OK.

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  9. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @CSK: I hope he’s OK.

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  10. CSK says:

    @sam:
    No, Parscale probably shouldn’t bring green bananas to the office kitchen.
    @sam: @Jen:
    It says something about Trump (nothing good) that his worst insult is “like a dog.”
    @OzarkHillbilly:
    I do too.

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  11. Teve says:

    @sam:

    Chait said today, “Parscale probably shouldn’t bring any green bananas to the office kitchen.”

    😀

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  13. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Revealed: millions of Americans can’t afford water as bills rise 80% in a decade

    Millions of ordinary Americans are facing rising and unaffordable bills for running water, and risk being disconnected or losing their homes if they cannot pay, a landmark Guardian investigation has found.

    Exclusive analysis of 12 US cities shows the combined price of water and sewage increased by an average of 80% between 2010 and 2018, with more than two-fifths of residents in some cities living in neighbourhoods with unaffordable bills.

    In the first nationwide research of its kind, our findings reveal the painful impact of America’s expanding water poverty crisis as aging infrastructure, environmental clean-ups, changing demographics and the climate emergency fuel exponential price hikes in almost every corner of the country.
    ……………………….
    Our research found that between 2010 and 2018 water bills rose by at least 27%, while the highest increase was a staggering 154% in Austin, Texas, where the average annual bill rose from $566 in 2010 to $1,435 in 2018 – despite drought mitigation efforts leading to reduced water usage.

    Meanwhile, federal aid to public water utilities, which serve around 87% of people, has plummeted while maintenance, environmental and health threats, climate shocks and other expenditures have skyrocketed.

    “A water emergency threatens every corner of our country. The scale of this crisis demands nothing short of a fundamental transformation of our water systems. Water should never be treated as commodity or a luxury for the benefit of the wealthy,” said water justice advocate Mary Grant from Food and Water Watch, reacting to the Guardian’s research.

    In Washington, 90 lawmakers from across the country – all Democrats – are pushing for comprehensive funding reforms to guarantee access to clean, affordable running water for every American.

    A lot of details in the story with a link to the study.

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  14. Kurtz says:

    @CSK:

    I’m worried about Bill, given his health status. Hoping he’s okay.

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  15. grumpy realist says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Also places like Chicago end up hiking the rates they charge the suburbs (Because They Can) in an attempt to fill in their deficits. It’s very annoying.

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  16. Teve says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: that’s 6% annual inflation.

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  17. Mr. Prosser says:

    The Biden campaign has agreed to three debates in Indiana (Notre Dame), Miami, Florida and Salt Lake City. The Trump campaign is waffling at present on three or six debates. What are the chances the current president will decline to debate at all?

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  18. Scott says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: @grumpy realist:

    In the 25 years I’ve been in San Antonio, water and sewage have increased enormously while per capita consumption has dropped. Many reasons: San Antonio used to mine its water out of the Edwards and other aquifers. Too much demand was sucking it dry. To ensure a more diverse source of water, we have bought up lots of land over the aquifer recharge zones in the Hill Country, increased availability of recycled water for golf courses, etc., built massive reverse osmosis operations to take advantage of brackish aquifers south of town, and lately built a 100 mile pipeline to tap into water sources in East Texas. What we haven’t done is properly charge for the marginal cost in building housing developments. Older residents are bearing those costs. Finally San Antonio has aging sewage infrastructure that it has to replace.

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  19. Gustopher says:

    @CSK: He’s a good guy. I hope he and his wife are just sunning themselves on the coast for a bit, and he’s been told to “put down that phone” or something.

    For the past few days I’ve been wondering if anyone has enough information to check on him though. And if there’s anything we can do to help if he’s not ok. Haven’t wanted to vocalize it and make it real though.

    I’m going to stick to him and his wife taking a break at some secluded part of the coast, and enjoying the sun.

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  20. Kathy says:

    @Mr. Prosser:

    One likely scenario is El PITO gets trounced in the first debate, claims total victory, then declines to participate in further debates because he doesn’t want to destroy Biden.

    BTW, just got through a pretty strong, rather long quake. Early reports say 7.5 with the epicenter in Oaxaca. Early reports for some reason tend to overstate the magnitude. 7.5 is really high.

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  21. sam says:

    Warning signs for today’s loserpalooza.

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  22. MarkedMan says:

    @grumpy realist: Sorry, one of my pet peeves is how parasitic suburbs are on cities for their infrastructure and services. Not to mention things like suburban police hounding every homeless and mentally ill person out of their nice community and forcing them into the city and then lecturing that same city on how awful they are for their homeless problem.

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  23. MarkedMan says:

    @Mr. Prosser: My guess is that there will be at most one debate. I wouldn’t be surprised if there are zero

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  24. Mister Bluster says:

    Richard Spencer Loses Attorney in Charlottesville Case Because He’s Too Broke to Pay Legal Fees
    White nationalist Richard Spencer’s financial woes have resulted in yet another legal professional dumping him as a client. That’s according to an order signed by a U.S. Magistrate Judge in the Western District of Virginia.
    The order, by Magistrate Judge Joel C. Hoppe, allows attorney John DiNucci to withdraw from representing Spencer in a case which surrounds the 2017 Charlottesville, Va. “Unite the Right” rally.

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  25. Teve says:

    @Mister Bluster: He would have more money if he was more superior probably.

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  26. Teve says:

    Well this is interesting, a friend of a friend on FB who I know to be a liberal made a joke about cultural appropriation, and I was like huh, and he said his wife was an anthropologist and she just mocks the idea of cultural appropriation. I asked him for more information, and he said

    Cultural diffusion is all methods which spread cultures to new groups. There is no value judgement. The end effect is all cultures are other cultures’ supermarkets, whether the ideas were taken by force or purchased in a bazaar.

    So the anthropologist community, he says, thinks that everybody is stealing shit from everybody else all the time and there’s no reason to single out some instances of it for criticism.

    It reminds me of how when we see tomato sauce we think Italy, but Italy has only had tomatoes for like 500 years, those things originated in like Central America. The Italians appropriated the shit out of tomatoes. 😀

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  27. Jen says:

    @Teve:

    So the anthropologist community, he says, thinks that everybody is stealing shit from everybody else all the time and there’s no reason to single out some instances of it for criticism.

    I know I’ve mentioned it here before, but my issue is with food being categorized as appropriation. How do you tease out adoption by trade, vs. colonialism, vs. appropriation? Tomatoes are a New World plant–as are potatoes and chocolate. So tomatoes on pizza, potatoes in Irish food, and Swiss chocolate–appropriation? Result of colonialism, no doubt–but who is going to tell the Italians that their pizza is cultural appropriation?

    I’ve also seen arguments that braiding hair and hoop earrings are cultural appropriation. People have been getting their hair out of their eyes in varying ways for centuries, same with dolling themselves up with gold. It’s stuff like this that just seems to get too far out there and that’s when people stop listening.

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  28. Monala says:

    @Jen: I think part of the question is, who profits from it? And, who gets the credit? When the originators are cut out from both of the above, it’s a problem. So when a fashion and style magazine has a white celeb in cornrows on their cover with the title “so and so’s newest hair care trend!” and promotes the braid care product she “invented,” while never acknowledging the fact that cornrows are an African invention and black women have been creating and selling hair care products for braids for a very long time without the recognition and profits that come from your front page cover – that’s an problem.

    OTOH, simply doing/using/enjoying something that comes from another culture shouldn’t be an issue, and it gets silly when people make it that – usually. (It’s a different issue when whatever someone is using or doing comes from another culture’s sacred traditions).

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  29. An Interested Party says:

    Of course much of this is already known, but this paints a devastating picture of Trump and his horrible handling of the pandemic…that he even has a chance to win in November despite his epic incompetence is unbelievable…

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  30. Gustopher says:

    @Teve: When a culture’s sacred things are taken as fashion elsewhere… that’s when appropriation is bad. Otherwise, I don’t see the harm.

    So, faux Native American dreamcatcher wind chimes are bad. And the far-right’s embrace of Christian iconography.

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  31. Jen says:

    @Monala: Yes–I agree with the profit/credit aspect of the equation.

    Some of these things should be obvious. Cornrows to me fall into the obvious appropriation category, while just general braiding of hair does not. Some of it can be really, really complicated (for example, Indian Fry Bread–the only reason it exists is when Native Americans were being driven off their land, they were provided with lard, flour, and sugar as rations. Fry bread was a result.)

    I’ll also admit that I’m probably overly sensitive to this because I’ve lived abroad and when you live overseas you do adopt parts of the surrounding culture just as part of existing in a foreign country. If I’m using Thai or Indonesian ingredients in my food, it’s because I like the taste, and I’m going to get irritated if someone comes down on me and tells me I’m appropriating.

    There’s also the question of time and diffusion, as Teve brings up. We still don’t really know definitively where pasta originated, but noodles and dumplings are part of cuisines from China all the way to Italy–which was also the path of the Silk Road.

    Fortune cookies are technically originally a Japanese treat (the Fortune Cookie Chronicles was an interesting book).

    Parts of culture aren’t always so easy to draw bright lines around.

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  32. CSK says:

    You recall how Trump’s been accusing Obama of having committed some heinous but unnamed crime? He finally named it today: treason.

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  33. CSK says:

    @Kathy:
    I read about the quake. Apparently there were 2.3 foot tsunami waves hitting the coast.

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  34. CSK says:

    @Jen:
    I’m old enough to remember when white people purchased and wore dashikis and ate soul food to show sympathy and support for African and African American traditions.

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  35. Teve says:

    I’ll also admit that I’m probably overly sensitive to this because I’ve lived abroad and when you live overseas you do adopt parts of the surrounding culture just as part of existing in a foreign country. If I’m using Thai or Indonesian ingredients in my food, it’s because I like the taste, and I’m going to get irritated if someone comes down on me and tells me I’m appropriating.

    Yeah, the conversation began when he mentioned the term with regard to food, as a joke, and I said you know the entire history of cuisine is a history of fabulous cultural appropriation.

    @Monala: good points.

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  36. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @CSK: So trump admits to committing treason eh? (projection projection projection… always with trump it’s projection)

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  37. CSK says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:
    Apparently the “treason” Obama committed was spying on Trump’s campaign.

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  38. KM says:

    @Monala:
    Assimilation seeks usefulness while understanding context and ultimately creates something new that reflects the culture assimilating it. Tomatoes are indeed a New World plant but the reason we associate tomatoes with Italy is the creations they made from them ie ragu and pizza. Assimilation takes Thing 1.0, evaluates it and reworks it into Thing 2.0 because it saw inherent value. Credit may not always be given because most are familiar with 2.0 instead of 1.0 – there tends to be a lingering association in public consciousness of where 1.0 originated but it doesn’t seem to matter because they own 2.0. The moral issues get ambiguous – is Rickey Rouse an original creation or a ripoff? If you say ripoff, please note the original is himself a ripoff of Oswald the Lucky Rabbit; Disney never owned the rights to him and created a similar looking character. Can find the exact quote but it was something like “long ears and it’s a rabbit. round ears and it’s a mouse”. At what point does originality truly start?

    Appropriation on the other hand doesn’t bother to create anything new. It literally takes Thing 1.0 and parades it around like a new invention for profit. It’s considered cultural theft because no effort is made to re-contextualize or reinvent the object in question. It’s like Trump claiming that nobody knew about this thing until he happened to learn about it and shared it with the world. Him bragging about making Juneteenth famous is a perfect example.

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  39. Teve says:
  40. DrDaveT says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    So trump admits to committing treason eh? (projection projection projection… always with trump it’s projection)

    The only thing about this that surprises me is that Trump realizes that what Trump did was treason.

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  41. inhumans99 says:

    @Kathy:

    That you were able to post after the quake answers my question as to whether or not you are okay, but I do hope your family, friends and colleagues are also okay. If the number hold it was a 7.4 which is a doozy. Stay safe and be well!

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  42. al Ameda says:

    @Kurtz:
    @CSK:

    I’m worried about Bill, given his health status. Hoping he’s okay.

    As am I. I hope for the best.

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  43. Mister Bluster says:

    Let’s take a trip back in time to 1973…

    “I think we ought to move tanks, the whole goddamned thing. Put a division in there, if necessary, It’s time for action on it. If some Indians get shot, that’s too goddamned bad. If some Americans get shot, that’s too bad, too.” —President Richard Nixon on the standoff at Wounded Knee with Native American militants
    source

    Encore: “It must not appear that you’re trying to affect the network’s news content. That’s what you must do, but you must not appear to be doing that. That would be stupid.” —President Richard Nixon, ordering staff members to get Bill Moyers’s new show on PBS off the air

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  44. MarkedMan says:

    @Monala:

    It’s a different issue when whatever someone is using or doing comes from another culture’s sacred traditions

    Even this is not so simple. How about Yoga? Or at least yoga practiced in the West. 100% created by a rich westerner trying to copy the bits of Indian mysticism she thought interesting.

    Everything is appropriation. There is nothing invented by a human that isn’t a result of all the cultures that person has been exposed to. There is respectful appropriation and disrespectful appropriation and unaware appropriation but there is nothing that isn’t appropriation.

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  45. MarkedMan says:

    @CSK:

    when white people purchased and wore dashikis and ate soul food to show sympathy and support for African and African American traditions.

    And now many people try to humiliate them because they chose, in 1970, a way to show empathy that the self described “woke” have deemed off limits 50 years later.

    Can anyone tell me anything good that comes of this exercise?

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  46. CSK says:

    I regret to report that Trump got his capacity crowd of 3000 at the Dream City megachurch in Phoenix. No social distancing; very few masks.

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  47. Kathy says:

    @inhumans99:

    Family and friends are ok. I don’t know about my colleagues, because I’m on vacation/lockdown. But I’d have heard if something bad happened.

    We’re all in a part of town that’s solid bedrock, and therefore safer. Even if it doesn’t feel like it when the apartment building sways during the quake.

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  48. DrDaveT says:

    On the Steven Colbert show tonight, John Bolton has repeatedly affirmed that only Democrats have agency. Republicans didn’t vote to impeach because Democrats didn’t woo them correctly. It’s all the Democrats’ fault. The facts in the case are irrelevant. Guilt is irrelevant.

    As much contempt as I have for Trump, it’s hard to see how Bolton isn’t actually worse. The Boltons of the world created Trump.

    [Copied from “Bolton Moral Cowardice” thread, which seems to be moribund.]

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