Tuesday’s Forum

Has it really only been a week?

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.


  1. OzarkHillbilly says:

    What was it you said yesterday, James? Oh yeah:

    @drj: @PJ: @charon: @Michael Reynolds: I may just be too optimistic but, aside from Graham’s lunacy and that of Cotton and a handful of others, I’m mostly seeing an attempt to tamp down Trump’s lunancy and get on with the transition.

    The US attorney general, William Barr, has authorized federal prosecutors to begin investigating “substantial allegations” of voter irregularities across the country in a stark break with longstanding practice and despite a lack of evidence of any major fraud having been committed.

    The intervention of Barr, who has frequently been accused of politicizing the DoJ, comes as Donald Trump refuses to concede defeat and promotes a number of legally meritless lawsuits aimed at casting doubt on the legitimacy of the election. Joe Biden was confirmed as president-elect on Saturday after he won the critical battleground state of Pennsylvania.

    Barr wrote on Monday to US attorneys, giving them the green light to pursue “substantial allegations of voting and vote tabulation irregularities” before the results of the presidential election in their jurisdictions are certified. As Barr himself admits in his letter, such a move by federal prosecutors to intervene in the thick of an election has traditionally been frowned upon, with the view being that investigations into possible fraud should only be carried out after the race is completed.

    But Barr, who was appointed by Trump in February 2019, pours scorn on such an approach, denouncing it as a “passive and delayed enforcement approach”.

    The highly contentious action, which was first reported by Associated Press, was greeted with delight by Trump supporters but with skepticism from lawyers and election experts. Within hours of the news, the New York Times reported that the justice department official overseeing voter fraud investigations, Richard Pilger, had resigned from his position.

    “Having familiarized myself with the new policy and its ramifications,” Pilger reportedly told colleagues in an email, “I must regretfully resign from my role as director of the Election Crimes Branch.”

    Doubts about Barr’s intentions were heightened after it was reported that a few hours before the letter to prosecutors was disclosed, he met with Mitch McConnell, the Republican Senate majority leader.

    McConnell has so far remained in lockstep with Trump. Earlier on Monday he expressed support for the defeated president on the floor of the chamber. He said: “President Trump is 100% within his rights to look into allegations of irregularities and weigh his legal options.”

    I think “naive” was the word I used.

    From Barr tells prosecutors to investigate ‘vote irregularities’ despite lack of evidence

  2. MarkedMan says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: In James, hope for the Republican Party of the past springs eternal.

  3. Scott says:

    Four years ago today

    Biden meets with Pence for ‘smooth transition of power’

    Joe Biden met with the man who will be replacing him as vice president in the White House Thursday, as part of the Obama administration’s efforts to “ensure a smooth and seamless transition of power.”

    Biden met with Vice President-elect Mike Pence in his West Wing Office where the two men “spoke about their time working together in Congress and their friendship dating back many years,” according to a statement from the White House. They also discussed the duties of the office and some of Biden’s policy interests, such as NATO, Eastern Europe and the middle class.

  4. MarkedMan says:

    You out there, Bill?

  5. drj says:

    Trump is attempting a coup (badly) and the GOP is egging him on – thus creating the very conditions that could see even a badly executed coup succeed.

    That is what is happening right now.

    That Trump’s attempt is incompetent does NOT change the intention.

  6. sam says:

    Jimmy Kimmel: Lindsey Graham is the closest Trump has come to owning a dog.

  7. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @MarkedMan: FTR, kilgore trout feels this is just a whole lot of sound and fury signifying nothing. I don’t know, but what I see is a concerted effort to denigrate the integrity of this election, a thing that will bear poisoned fruit in future elections.

  8. Joe says:

    The Check is in the Mail Presidency

    Although he has been predicting wide spread fraud for most of a year, President Trump still can’t articulate what it is or where it is. (Using the resources of the federal government to head it off was always out of the question, other than undermining the USPS.) This is another check-is-in-the-mail excuse from the man (and the political party) who has yet to bring you the promised health-care plan better than Obamacare, his tax returns or evidence of Obama’s worst scandal ever, let alone how Mexico is going to pay for the wall.

    It is stunning to me how Trumpistas are willing to accept one iteration over another of these check-is-in-the-mail promises. Wake up guys; there’s no check in the mail. Ever.

  9. The Q says:

    Movie watching and links to today’s headlines. I took in 3 movies this weekend I highly recommend. First, I am Legend, based on the book by Richard Matheson. Will Smith plays a Dr. whose rushed vaccine cured the world of a deadly pandemic, but 6 months later the side effects became known and everyone vaccinated turns into ZOMBIES. How prescient could this prove to be if our first mass produced mRNA vaccine has some weird side effects a year from now and we are eating each other’s flesh?? Oh, sorry, Republicans are all ready doing that (see Georgia Senators and GOP Secretary of State).

    Binged two Bill Holden movie classics: PBS screened Bridge on the River Kwai and I streamed Stalag 17. In both movies, the sadistic camp commandants were warned by POW officers that they would be held responsible for their behavior “after the war”. Biden/Dem Congress should make it clear that “after the war”, Republicans, line Barr, WILL BE HELD RESPONSIBLE for their “war crimes”.

    As an aside, after watching Holden, it became clear to me that a Reagan was an ersatz Holden. Reagan was just not as good an actor but he tried to play that same laconic, wise cracking anti hero that Holden perfected. That whole “I hope you guys are Republicans” quip after being shot is a total homage to that style.

  10. CSK says:

    I believe Bill has been banned.

  11. drj says:


    President Trump still can’t articulate what [the fraud] is or where it is.

    It is clear what the fraud is: any vote not for Trump is fraudulent.

    It is stunning to me how Trumpistas are willing to accept one iteration over another of these check-is-in-the-mail promises.

    There is no “check-in-the-mail promise” here. The promise is that only those with the right convictions will get to decide who rules the country. This is exactly what his supporters want.

    Only “Real Americans” count. They have been saying that for years.

    “A Republic, not a Democracy” is a different way of expressing that same sentiment.

  12. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Non political news.

    Every Monday we get our youngest granddaughter for the day. For better than 3 months I have been picking her up, and every time, and I do mean every time, when first she’d see me, she would burst into tears and not stop crying thru out the goodbyes, the strapping in, the getting of toys for her to occupy herself on the long drive, right up until I started the car. At that she would finally quiet down.

    When we’d get to the house she’d be OK with me, happy to let me carry her into the house, stopping to look at flowers, the fountain, and the birds. And then as soon as we walked in and she saw MawMaw, that was it. barely tolerated my presence and definitely keeping me away.

    It started when she had a really bad day of constipation. I spent about 6 hours on the floor with her just rubbing her back and talking to her. The next week MawMaw started 6 weeks of training and baby girl had me and only me for those days. Combined with separation anxiety, it seemed the die was cast. I had to laugh about it. What else can you do? “I have this wonderful effect on Baby Girl…”

    Yesterday when I picked her up? She smiled.

    I am a happy PawPaw.

    Now, off to the Doc.

  13. CSK says:

    According to The Daily Beast, the Trumpkins have booked the Trump International Hotel solid for January 20, 2021 in anticipation of his second inauguration.

    This reminds me of 2011, when the Sarah Palin Fan Club decided she was going to run, and started making travel and hotel arrangements for her gala inauguration in 2013.

  14. Kylopod says:

    @The Q:

    First, I am Legend, based on the book by Richard Matheson. Will Smith plays a Dr. whose rushed vaccine cured the world of a deadly pandemic, but 6 months later the side effects became known and everyone vaccinated turns into ZOMBIES.

    A few clarifications (and you may know this already). The above is a description of the 2008 movie, not the original novel or any of the previous adaptations (there were three in all, starting with Last Man On Earth with Vincent Price). First of all, in the novel the creatures are vampires, not zombies (though the book is often cited as essentially the first zombie-apocalypse story, and it heavily influenced Night of the Living Dead which launched the genre). Second, in the book the pandemic arises on its own; it isn’t caused by a vaccine.

    (Also, I’ve only seen the 2008 movie once, and my memory is that Will Smith’s character isn’t the one who created the vaccine; he’s just a survivor whom the movie focuses on, and he happens to be a scientist. In the novel he isn’t a scientist.)

  15. charon says:


    I did read the NYT piece Dr. Joyner linked to, which on reading was mostly about Biden. I saw nothing in it incompatible with what I said. Which is, the GOP is mostly firm in continuing with Trumpism, the only split is about distancing from identifying with Trump himself. IOW, the only split is over *image, not substance.

    *I.e., the split is over how to misled the marks over who and what they are.

    As for McConnell and many others, their top priority for the next few weeks is whatever they hope will stoke the GOP base in Georgia for the coming senate runoff elections, being their senate majority rides on that election.

  16. Sleeping Dog says:

    Trump plans to set up a PAC to siphon money off retain influence in the R party.

  17. MarkedMan says:

    @CSK: Bill was banned? What happened? (I was in media lockdown from election day to Saturday, so I probably missed it)

  18. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @MarkedMan: @OzarkHillbilly: Over the recent 4 years of our national adventure into lunacy, my brother has often remarked that Trump is “the canary in the coal mine” of our nation. And in response to these repeated admonitions, I’ve replied that if that is so, the canary is obviously screaming that the mine has collapsed and everybody is trapped. Barr’s statement is simply exhibit 7,000 or so–I’ve lost count. Dr. Joyner is merely still hoping that statistics will eventually bear him out on which hand fills up first when you wish in one and shpit in the other. (It’s always possible, you know.)

  19. MarkedMan says:

    @Kylopod: There are actually three movie adaptations of that book, all very different. Charleton Heston was in “The Omega Man”, an Vincent Price starred in “Last Man on Earth”.

  20. Kathy says:


    Don’t forget Dan Castellaneta in “The Homega Man.”

  21. Kathy says:

    A prediction for the 2022 midterms ins’t just hard, it’s downright foolish.

    Depending on the Senate map, and I suppose I should look it up before proceeding (but won’t), the Democrats have a good chance to make gains. How? First, it’s almost certain the Trump pandemic will end under Biden’s presidency. Not only will he promote a better strategy for prevention, but he’ll likely have a vaccine or four available, as well as monoclonal antibody treatments. This should help the economy recover, which is always good for the party in power.

    The difficult part is to get the message across, and Democrats are, let us be charitable, far from excelling at this task.

  22. Kylopod says:


    There are actually three movie adaptations of that book, all very different.

    Yes–I mentioned that already, didn’t I?

    For the record, I’ve seen the Vincent Price version and the Will Smith version. I haven’t seen The Omega Man.

    The Price version, Last Man on Earth (1964), came somewhat close to my memory of the novel and I believe it’s the most faithful of the three to the source material. Still, it feels somewhat cheap and dated today, and Matheson reportedly hated it.

    I didn’t much care for the Smith version either. Smith gives a solid performance, but it’s got really bad CGI, and the (studio-imposed) ending is just silly. Maybe by biggest problem with the film is that it just doesn’t stand out that much. Matheson’s novel was original at the time it was written back in the ’50s; now it’s just another zombie flick.

    Yet I still remain a fan of the original Night of the Living Dead, which is basically a ripoff of Matheson’s novel (I think Romero even admitted this). I think it still holds up today as one of the greatest horror movies.

  23. The Q says:

    Yes, corrections: Smith was immune to a VIRUS created to cure cancer and so he was using his immune blood to develop a vaccine. Very well done with spectacular shots of a deserted NYC.

  24. CSK says:

    See the Open Forum for Friday, Nov. 6, particularly toward the end.

  25. Kathy says:

    Random thought of the day:

    On an online public forum, the best way to obtain information is not to ask a question, but to post a wrong answer.

  26. Mike in Arlington says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: I’m leaning toward Kilgore Trout’s explanation. It seems like no one wants to give trump the bad news, so they’re letting him figure it out on his own. The litigation strategy is really ineffective, every time they claim some illegal activity, they end up admitting in court that none really occurred. Bill Barr’s memo might be something, but again, unless there’s some actually credible allegations that I haven’t seen already, I’m not terribly concerned that they’ll be successful.

  27. Sleeping Dog says:


    Actually the 2022 Senate map isn’t filled with opportunities for Dems


    Of the two R retirements, PA should be a pick up but NC is a toss up. IA should also be considered as a retirement but that is likely to stay R. The best thing for Dems in IA is for Grassley to run for reelection. Maggie Hassen is going to face a big challenge in NH, Sherrod Brown and up hill fight in OH and will AZ Rs return to the fold w/o trump in office and retire Sinema.

  28. Mike in Arlington says:

    @Sleeping Dog: I’d argue that Johnson is vulnerable in Wisconsin. Maybe not vulnerable enough to lose, but it’s a possibility.

  29. Sleeping Dog says:

    @Mike in Arlington:

    He maybe, likely saved by the reduced turnout of a midterm election. I hope Dems find someone other than Feingold to run against him.

  30. Jen says:
  31. inhumans99 says:


    Interesting, I believe I commented on that thread but I did not see the comments towards the end.

    I basically said that Steven does not “owe” Bill anything and I guess Bill was like a bulldog with a bone in its mouth and would not let it go so he has been given a time out. I actually hope we let him back on maybe later this week and get the word out that he can post again. I think it was bad timing what with people still on edge as to whether or not the networks would call it for Biden and it just contributed to some folks being a bit more snappish on-line than usual.

    Anyway, it was cathartic for me to rant a bit about the GOP attempting a Coup and I am much more chill today. Anyway, this thread has reminded me that the GOP is doing a bad job of trying to overturn the election and even Barr’s proclamation that it is okay to investigate allegations of election fraud has, as Politico notes this morning, a lot of caveats.

    Anyway folks, I hope everyone has a chill Tuesday and I continue to love this blog.

  32. inhumans99 says:

    Yeesh, I kept saying “Anyway” in the comment above…sorry about that folks, still waking up and did not notice I was overusing the word.

  33. Joe says:

    How are they ever going to get to a recount in GA if they never finish the count?

    For that matter, The NYT hasn’t even called AZ.

  34. Teve says:


    Unless we find a way to confront the right-wing media ecosystem bolstered by the Murdochs, expect this chaos to reign. They have radicalized a third of this population and promote disinformation and conspiracy theories. Hard for a democracy to flourish in such circumstances.

  35. Teve says:


    CSK says:
    Tuesday, November 10, 2020 at 08:27
    I believe Bill has been banned.

    That’s weird to me. Bill is one of the commenters who is just undifferentiated to me. Never stood out one way or the other. No distinct personality I can recall. Generic. Wonder what happened.

  36. Michael Reynolds says:

    Well, I miss Bill.

    If you make a list of objectionable commenters there’s a lot of people here who’d score higher, me very much included. Who’s going to keep us up to date on Florida Man?

  37. Teve says:


    If your party’s chief legal team bungled the logistics of a press conference so badly they ended up in a landscaping company’s parking lot between a crematorium and a dildo store- idk about the odds of a multi-state coordinated coup.

  38. CSK says:

    @Teve: @Michael Reynolds:
    Bill kept pushing Dean Taylor to admit that Taylor had plagiarized a thought from him, and Taylor finally got tired of being badgered. I shouldn’t speak for Dean Taylor, but that was my reading of what transpired.

  39. Teve says:

    @CSK: I just went back and read that Friday forum. Yikes. I guess I just checked out of that whole discussion.

    In any wide ranging discussion on several topics between several dozen commenters, there are going to be discussions that are unproductive for others to pay attention to. Ruth Bader Ginsberg said, sometimes it pays to be a little deaf. Now I will go back to being deaf about that particular interaction.

  40. Teve says:

    Not as Bad as We Feared

    Is the headline above

    The Erosion of Democracy Continues


  41. Gustopher says:

    @inhumans99: I also missed that he had been banned. And, unlike Teve, I actually remember Bill — author of LGBT dung beetle detective stories, lives in Florida, his wife is very active in her church and works for it, has had a whole lot of health problems (although we have a couple of folks here who seem to have survived way longer than statistically expected). And generally well mannered except for two clear mental breaks — one involving being called Sweetie, the other a few days ago.

    It’s not my blog, and it’s not my rules, and holy shit was he out of line, but… it’s a really shitty time and I know all sorts of people who were struggling to get through and barely holding on last week.

    I mean, you can’t have someone who is targeting someone else with such vitriol and holding onto it over several days so it’s way worse than just getting into a heated argument, and it wasn’t his first time, so he clearly deserved the ban hammer, but… if anything is going to trigger a mental break, last week would have been a good candidate.

    I hope Bill is ok, or gets back to ok. And I hope he reaches out to our friend Dr. Taylor and apologizes and is then welcomed back. Bill is usually a good guy.

  42. Teve says:


    Democratic Sen. Chris Coons says his Republican colleagues are privately asking him to congratulate President-elect Joe Biden on winning the election because they can’t do so publicly


  43. Teve says:

    @Gustopher: I found out recently that if your name is generic and you don’t have an avatar my brain just doesn’t keep you in memory. It just puts you in the Generic Commenter category.

  44. Teve says:


    For everyone downplaying the strangeness of Barr’s actions:

    Career prosecutors suddenly resigning is a pretty clear signal that this is not normal.

  45. Mu Yixiao says:


    I found out recently that if your name is generic and you don’t have an avatar my brain just doesn’t keep you in memory. It just puts you in the Generic Commenter category.

    About a year and a half ago, I spent a couple weeks working with a company that was trying to get a memory-game app off the ground (at this point it has 1,ooo downloads–a good portion of those from their staff). I did some binge studying on memory. I can’t remember the stats, but adding an image to information drastically increases the ability to remember it.

  46. Teve says:

    @Mu Yixiao: well that’s interesting, that’s definitely what I found to be true for my own brain.

  47. Gustopher says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    If you make a list of objectionable commenters there’s a lot of people here who’d score higher

    Attacking other people with anger for multiple days is way more objectionable than anything I’ve seen here, even including people who have been banned and keep coming back. And if he were doing it to one of our female commenters, rather than our host, I think it would set off every alarm bell in your head — even though it would very likely not progress from someone being an asshole on the internet.

    Sure, we all tell Guanoberries that he is an idiot, but we’re laughing at him as we do so. Much better.

  48. Gustopher says:

    @Teve: Oh, totally. People without avatars aren’t people.

    I was working for a company split across several states in the late 00’s, and got to witness the effects of putting cameras and screens in every conference room, rather than just telephones. Utterly transformative. All the folks on other teams suddenly became people rather than just obstacles, and it was possible to tell them apart.

  49. EddieInCA says:


    It’s not my blog, and it’s not my rules, and holy shit was he out of line, but… it’s a really shitty time and I know all sorts of people who were struggling to get through and barely holding on last week.

    I was one of those. After 10 years of not going to therapy, I started back with it soon as I got back from Utah/Montana about 8 weeks ago. I found myself full of rage almost 24/7 for no discernible reason. I’m talking white hot rage as in wanting to kill someone for saying “Good Morning”. I really struggled trying to figure it out. I realized it was all of it: Stress from the pandemic and trying to keep a workforce of 300 people safe while many of them didn’t take the pandemic seriously. Realizing that almost 1/2 of my country’s citizens are okay with brown kids in cages being orphaned. Learning that most of the GOP leadership had gone all in with dysfunction and had no plan for actual governing. All of it became too much in my brain. And it filled me with rage.

    I’m cutting people alot more slack than I would normally, except Trump supporters. That’s going to take a lot longer. A whole lot longer. A whole, whole, whole, whole lot longer.

  50. Teve says:

    I’m somewhere between Taylor and Joyner on how serious I think this all is. Rachel Bitecofer has an interesting perspective.

    1. I’m not sure if people understand what is going on within the Trump camp & the bowels of the GOP. The point of the “count the legal but not the illegal ballots” talking point is to normalize to their electorate that some segment of counted votes are fraudulent. Their hope is
    2. to convince state legislators in PA, MI, and WI where the GOP holds majorities to refuse to send Biden electors. Yes, this violates state laws. Yes, the courts will invalidate their claims. But their hope is that over a month they’ll have accomplished what they’ve
    3. accomplished w @Comey, Bob Mueller, Ukraine, Hunter Biden, Benghazi, & so many other things- simply by using control of the airwaves (Fox News, talk radio, internet- it is an impressive propaganda network) they can convince their half of the electorate that the ends justify
    4. the means. Will these state reps TAKE that step? We’re not talking a couple thousand ballots, we’re talking about massive Biden advantages that have to be “disqualified” by fake claims of fraud. The only close states were all run by the GOP! IDK. But I do suspect they will try

    Keep in mind, Trump is stupid, Barr and @GOPChairwoman are not. @MarkMeadows is an ideologue, but not stupid. These firings & resignations- they’re a sign, guys. And our biggest weakness, BY FAR, is our inability to accept the depths of corruption the GOP is willing to sink to.
    5. Take a sec to stop, look retrospectively back at where we are from where we came in 2015/2016, look what the GOP has not only tolerated but embraced under Trumpism (you’ve got @LindseyGrahamSC cheerleading stuff CIA has briefed him originates from the Kremlin for God’s sake!”
    6. As I’ve said before, by 2018, after 2 or 3 very serious red lines that I had believed impossible for the GOP to swallow were not only passed but BLOWN THREW WITHOUT SO MUCH A GLANCE y supposedly serious people like @marcorubio- at that point I began to adjust my thinking.
    7. ESP when comes to Atty. Gen Barr, who, if predisposed to ladies & gentlemen, holds immense power in our system. The only checks on his are the senate and the president. Starting to see the problem, are you? We have an atty gen who is not just an extremist- he is radical. He
    8. is outspoken about his radicalism, like JKustice Thomas he makes no bones about the “Brave New World” he envisions. Now both men find themselves positioned (working together and separately) to bring their theoretics to fruition. They probably never really though they’d be
    9. afforded this opportunity- so you can be damn sure they’re not likely to let it pass them by with an “awww shucks, darn, that woulda been nice!” In Trump they have the ultimate useful idiot. And both Thomas & Barr are well positioned to fill Trump’s empty head to their own

    10. benefits. If it requires a temporary suspension of democracy to allow them to hold onto power? People in positions like this are quite adept at finding psychological tricks that justify their actions- hence the effort to convince 70 million people that when they illegally
    11. refuse to certify Biden’s victory what they are actually doing is SAVING democracy, just like they’ve convinced these same people that the most corrupt president in the history of the Republic (and we’ve had some corrupt ones, trust me!) is there to Drain The Swamp! It can be
    12. done. It WILL be done unless the not-MAGA segment of the country is equally aggressive at pushing out the truth about those ballots. That they are ALL legal. This will take coordinated marketing effort and media to do things it is not comfortable doing- such as not playing
    13. a normal game of “norm of objectivity.” Instead, the media will need to start to cover the story of Trump’s campaign effort to steal the election by falsely convincing Republican voters that there are “illegal” ballots when there are not. This actually should be easy to do.
    14. It should be easy to focus on the Trump campaign’s months-long effort to set this up because, well, it is a months-long conspiracy that involves Barr, the RNC, FOX News & other conservative media personalities, the GOP state parties, these law firms filing the lawsuits,
    15. and many GOP state-level elected. There are MANY threads that someone like @maggieNYT or @brianstelter could be pulling- threads that just might save democracy if they get pulled now, while there’s still time. But the GOP literally built inaction & non-responsiveness of Biden

    16. and the non-MAGA media into their plan. They understand exactly how regular media functions & thus, built their own plan around the media response. So far, everything is going exactly as they anticipated. Which means, of course, that they are right on track. Again, Trump is
    17. a stupid man surrounded by shred actors with much to gain by keeping him in office & potential criminal charges if he’s removed. That’s one hell of an incentive for the Hail Mary Pass if you ask me.

  51. Teve says:

    Laura Ingraham last night:


  52. MarkedMan says:

    @Mu Yixiao: Trivia (that maybe everyone already knows): The reason we say “In the first place” and “In the second place” traces back to the Greeks who would memorize long lists of things by mentally “placing” them at specific locations in the forum, and the mentally walking from one to the other. Even if they were concepts this was said to work surprisingly well.

  53. Teve says:


    Establishment Dems want to salvage the Congressional clubhouse and the norms-based system they know and love, hoping Republicans will compromise with them again.

    They can’t. It’s gone. It’s not coming back. The GOP is an openly anti-democracy party now.


    It’s not just establishment Democrats. Democratic voters don’t want to go to war outside of the very blue districts. The majority making districts want to get along. The members are just following the majority making districts.“

    So is the problem that Republican voters have been radicalized and Democratic voters haven’t? Or is there someway to deradicalize the Republicans?

  54. Teve says:
  55. Teve says:

    Pompeo attacks integrity of election, calls for second trump administration


  56. Mu Yixiao says:


    We learn in 3 ways: Visual, Auditory, Kinesthetic. Everyone* learns using all three methods, but does so in a hierarchy. I’m a visual learner, followed by kinesthetic. I remember very little of what I hear. I can remember the face of someone I met 20 years ago, but can’t remember a name I was just told. For me, writing things works well–because I’m using vision and movement.

    When I was acting in college, the prof made certain that we had our blocking down very early–because associating two of the three learning vectors reinforces them. So the words would tell you when to move, and where you moved would trigger the words.

    When I was trying to learn Chinese, I would remember the tones by actually moving finger in the direction of the tone. The locals must have been baffled by the white guy walking down the street waving his finger around and repeating random words. 😀

    * Excluding e.g., blind, deaf persons.

  57. Gustopher says:


    I’m cutting people alot more slack than I would normally, except Trump supporters. That’s going to take a lot longer. A whole lot longer. A whole, whole, whole, whole lot longer.

    I’ll even cut some of the Trump supporters slack. A lot of them are reasonable-ish people who have been lied to for years, and it’s hard. The one’s who believe the commentary hosts on Fox are harder to give some slack to, and the ones that moved on from Fox because Fox doesn’t cover real news anymore… those ones I cannot.

    I think my line is whether they are passively victims of con-artists, or whether they seek out con-artists.

    So I taunt my brothers. And forward them Q stuff. And ask why Trump let Clinton walk free when she clearly orchestrated this. And tell them that the FEMA Re-Education Camps will be fine.

  58. Michael Reynolds says:

    @CSK: @Gustopher:
    I missed the whole thing, and honestly, @Steven Taylor is a tolerant guy.

    One thing to perhaps bear in mind is that @Bill is having some pretty serious health issues and that can make you cranky. Meds may even distort thinking. @EddieInCA: is a pretty level-headed guy, healthy, gainfully employed in a job he enjoys. I’m healthy and gainfully employed in a job I enjoy. My biggest problem at the moment is that my pool has a leak. (No, no need for tears, I’ll struggle on.). The point being that despite many advantages we’re both on a hair trigger, and if I were sick or scared or broke I wouldn’t bet on my behavior being civil.

  59. Jim Brown 32 says:

    Can we please stop with the pearl clutching? Trump doesn’t give a damn about any form of government. He cares about getting paid. Let him run his final grift on his loser base and be done with it.
    Bidens team has already signaled they’ll start suing after the vote is certfied by the States. In the meantime, Trumpists feed off liberal foot stomping. Trump and his loyalists will never concede or participate in a transition. So what? Fuck him and them.

    Liberal and Mainstream media need to be covering Biden and what hes doing. ‘Trump shits in Bed’ should no longer be news. If a few Trumpers are feeling bold enough to get themselves fucked up…so be it. They dont want to be unified or good citizens. The only messaging that will be effective on them is that 2nd Amendment solutions work both ways.

  60. CSK says:

    @Michael Reynolds:
    All that is true. But Bill made a point of keeping us informed about his ongoing health problems. We don’t know what other grave crises people here might have faced, and chose to keep those crises to themselves.

  61. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    Tommy Heinsohn has passed. He was 86 years old.
    8x NBA Champ as a player, twice as a coach. All with the Celtics.
    My brush with greatness. In the late 70’s I attended a small state school in my home state of VT for undergrad. Heinsohn was a friend of the President, and came to the school to give a speech. Afterwards a number of us, close to the President, were invited to a local bar for a drink with Tommy. A drink soon turned into a serious party. And soon the President disappeared. She was soon found passed out behind the locked door of the women’s room. An event I doubt I will ever forget.
    May one of the true old school NBA legends rest in peace.

  62. Monala says:

    @Gustopher: I find that I can tell many — although not all — of the commenters apart by their writing style. For instance, I can instantly tell a comment was written by Kylopod, KM, Mike Reynolds, or dstill.

  63. Kathy says:

    Four years ago, when trump was elected, I said he’d have to reach to the other side, seeing as he won with a majority of the popular vote against him, much like Bill Clinton and Bush the younger.

    Yes, Clinton got the most votes, but under 50% of the total, meaning there were more votes against him, or at any rate not for him.

    I think I was right. Of course that’s not what trump did, but it’s what he should have done. Instead he went on to keep on attacking the other side. Not just the politicians, which one does expect, but the people who voted for them. Absent this animus, I’m sure he’d have been reelected (the trump pandemic doesn’t seem to have been that much of a factor in the end, remarkably enough).

    I have the same advice for Biden.

    Yes, he won a majority of the popular vote, but only just (though in these divisive days, maybe 0.7% is like a landslide margin). There are a lot of people on the other side, not politicians, who supported Trump.

    I want to believe they don’t favor Trump per se, but rather the failure of a growing economy to deliver benefits to them. No doubt many do favor him, but I don’t think as many as voted for him. And I am convinced wage stagnation, increased debt, lack of services and so on are the big issue among the bulk of the population, on both sides of the partisan divide.

    The crucial thing is Biden should reach out to the voters on the GOP side, but not necessarily to the politicians. We’ve seen the GOP does not show an interest in governing or making things better. If they did, trump would have found a well-developed alternative to Obamacare on day one.

    How to do this is a tougher matter. I would advise to hold town hall meetings, in person (with adequate social distancing), and just listen to them and talk with them. Harris should do the same.

  64. charon says:


    Trolling us or realistic possibility?

    ¿Porqué no los dos?

  65. Teve says:


    The Republican Party Needs To Be Razed and the Earth Salted Behind It

    Why do I think the Republican Party is beyond redemption? I view their policy positions as mostly appalling, but that’s not the reason. I’m going to disagree with pretty much any conservative party, after all. It’s more about the underlying nature of the party leadership and what it believes it has to do in order to win. Over just the past decade or so, the Republican Party:

    Chose Donald Trump as its presidential nominee.
    Has openly strategized about suppressing the Black vote because Black voters heavily favor Democrats.
    Played footsie with insane conspiracy theories like QAnon.
    Spent the entire Obama presidency ginning up fake scandals.
    Lied relentlessly about its dedication to reducing the deficit.
    Lied equally relentlessly about its dedication to passing a health care bill.
    Lied (and lied and lied) about the impact of its tax bills on the rich.
    Has killed untold thousands of people by making mask-wearing into a partisan football during a pandemic.
    Has openly appealed to racial bigotry as a way of increasing its share of the white vote.
    Denied the obvious reality of destructive climate change solely for partisan benefit.
    Is currently doing its best to convince its base that the entire 2020 election was fraudulent.
    This is, needless to say, not an exhaustive list, and none of it has anything to do with conservative policy. It speaks solely to the moral judgments of the party’s leaders, and these moral judgements are now so ingrained that I see no hope they’ll ever be abandoned. Perhaps in a different media universe they would have already paid a price for this, but in a conservative media universe dominated by Fox News, talk radio, and the Wall Street Journal editorial page they can get away with almost anything. Most Republican voters probably don’t even know their party has sunk to this level.

    The key question is whether it’s possible to convince moderate conservatives to care about this kind of stuff. Or, like so many of us, are they willing to give it a pass as long as Republicans do the things they want them to do? It’s a discouraging thought.

  66. Gustopher says:

    @Michael Reynolds: Except a person has some responsibility for knowing when they cannot deal with things, and stepping back. And, yes, sometimes that’s really hard with stress, health problems and medications, and maybe they can’t do it other than to reflect on it later and either pretend that it didn’t happen and hope it blows over or apologize.

    The hanging onto the anger until the next day and immediately starting it up again is where that’s not happening. And it’s not the first time it happened.

    I’m not going to fault Dr. Taylor for banning Bill. Perfectly defensible. Much like congress and the country, it only works while people respect one another and aren’t motivated by anger and spite.

    I think a temporary ban might have been more appropriate — just a “dude, get your shit together a little bit.” It’s hard times, Bill is going through a pile of shit on top of that, he’s generally been good and has been here for ages. Our host is also likely dealing with shit, and may have been quick on the ban hammer. I hope that if Bill drops our fine host an email, that it will be taken into consideration.

    But, at a certain point, you can only give people slack when they ask for it. Not sure that this should have been that point, but it’s borderline. This is one of the better comment sections on the internet, so our hosts have good instincts in general.

  67. Jim Brown 32 says:

    @Kathy: Absolutely. Now is an inflection point in our political history where the first Party to make a serious shift from Turnout to Persuasion will dominate the next handful of cycles.

    To put this in terms of Military History: After World War 1, European powers were still invested in Trench Style warfare with heavy defensive earthen positions…except for Germany. They invested in technologically advanced armored machines that moved with speed to shorten time needed to overtake static positions.

    Turnout is now Trench warfare, Persuasion is Blitzkrieg. Biden seems to understand this. The Biden Administraton will need messaging Executive Orders to persuade rural votes that Democrats arent evil (as well as a healthy infrastructure package to put rural Americans back to work updating their crumbling infrastructure.

    This is not an understatement. I just returned to Florida from rural South Carolina. It’s depressing to see Americans living like paupers. The State is crumbling outside of the tourist towns.
    I spent 2 hours in standstill traffic on I-95 because of a major accident and its only 2 lanes. 2 friggin lanes! Its even more depressing to read all the propaganda billboards on the roads about socialism and abortion.

    Biden has opportunities here but it comes down to the money. Years ago my relatives migrated to Florida from Alabama because of FDRs public works programs. Its time for the 21st century version of this. I challenge people to drive through the country. Look at all the trailers, beat up vehicles, and struggling family stores.

    Everyone can’t and shouldn’t move to the city. I happen to think population density is a public health issue. Too dense or too sparse creates problems. Yes, rural America deserves punishment for how they’ve bent the Republican party to mania. It would feel really good to give it to those yokels good and hard. But the name of the game is to win not feel good about being so woke. Peeling away even 10% of GOP support would marginalize them for a decade at least. I just got my Covid Check that had Trumps name on it. That doesnt mean shit to me. But to those people in trailers in places like South Carolina its a signal that he’s for them. Biden needs to send a similar, but appropriate, signal.

  68. Kathy says:

    @Jim Brown 32:

    The big problem is how to effect persuasion.

    I think listening and talking to people helps, because few people are dismissive assholes in person. Therefore my advice. but that’s only the beginning. Biden will have to deliver something in return.

    Everyone can’t and shouldn’t move to the city.

    I don’t disagree, but I regard the city as humanity’s natural habitat 😉

  69. CSK says:

    She knows Trump lost. She’s just very cynically feeding her fan club.

  70. Sleeping Dog says:

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl:

    I know that I’m getting long in the tooth when my childhood hero’s are dying of old age.

    RIP Tommy.

  71. Gustopher says:

    What has the Four Seasons Total Landscaping story been missing? VR? Furries?

    Check and Check.


  72. Kylopod says:

    I see that Decision Desk HQ has called NC for Trump. Not surprising. That leaves three states yet to be called (AZ, NV, AK) but where the outcome is almost certain. Just as we suspected, we’re headed toward this map.

  73. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Gustopher: I have a pretty sharp tongue, (working on keeping it sheathed, not always so successfully) but there are times when someone or something on the internet set’s me off and I am in the mud with the pig, ripping off heads and shitting down holes. BUT, I have a hard time with people who can not wake up the next morning and say, “It’s a new day!” I have never let an internet argument percolate overnight. Life is too short to carry that burden of anger around all the time. Been there, done that back in my 20s. It’s a waste of life and we only get one.

    When it hit day 3 with Bill “getting in Dr Taylor’s face” right off the bat, I recognized the syndrome.

  74. Kathy says:


    But this gives Biden the greatest electoral victory EVAH!

    Seriously, I wouldn’t crow. I’d worry. A lot.

    The margins in Wisconsin and Pennsylvania were thin. It’s good to see those states back in blue, but they are deep purple in fact.

    The margins in Arizona, if it holds, and Georgia, are thinner. But those are major gains as they were deep red and now are also turning purple (purple is a very relative color, yes?)

    We also need to fix the polls. Five Thirty eight needs to re-think its models. Yes, they call probabilities, I get that. But they were way off. Perhaps it’s bad data, perhaps it’s bad sampling. Whatever it is, they need to get it together or look for some other line of business.

    there will be less anger and disillusionment about the polls, because they got the winner right. but I wonder whether poll-based predictions are any different from flipping a coin.

  75. Jay L Gischer says:

    @Jim Brown 32:

    Can we please stop with the pearl clutching? Trump doesn’t give a damn about any form of government. He cares about getting paid. Let him run his final grift on his loser base and be done with it.
    Bidens team has already signaled they’ll start suing after the vote is certfied by the States.

    Start suing whom? Over what? And what signal? I’ve missed all of this. I’d like to have your assurance. I mean, yeah. That’s my read of Trump. He has the mouth of an authoritarian, but probably not much else. And we’ve seen four years of “the cruelty is the point”. So he’s likely to be trying to make us all suffer as much as he can.

    However, one of the basic rules of engagement are that you need to prepare for what the enemy could do, not just what you think they will do.

  76. de stijl says:

    Too good of an anecdote to waste on the bottom of an open thread. I will tout it again tomorrow.

    I was taking my walk down a new street to me. Fancy-pants houses in a well-to-do neighborhood.

    One house was odd because it New England style and made of mortared stone. Uncommon here. Expensiviest (love that word… and the show) house on the block.

    They had a Wu-Tang Is Forever sign hanging off the second story balcony. That is astounding.

    I flashed the house the two handed W sign, and ritually invoked “Wu-Tang is for the children”. Shoulda taken a pic.

    Made my day.

  77. Kurtz says:


    I don’t wanna be generic commenter. Did my avatar change yet?

    If so, this one is for you.

  78. Jax says:

    @Kurtz: I like it!!!

  79. Kathy says:

    On a lighter topic, it’s getting close to good tangerine season. That means tangerine chicken.

    We get tangerines year-round. But the big, unblemished, juicy ones come in late November through January.

    The stir fry with it has bell pepper, onions, celery, carrots, jicama, soybean sprouts, and snow peas. On the side I do coconut rice. That’s plain white rice, boiled in coconut milk rather than water.

  80. JohnSF says:

    Well, that’s the indisputable (you’d hope) finishing line passed.
    5 minutes ago from *mark* Joe Biden’s vote margin in Pennsylvania on the election scraper went above the total remainder: 45,659 and 44,838 respectively.

  81. Kylopod says:

    @Kathy: I’ve been saying for months that the pandemic could throw the polls off–the lack of normal door-to-door canvassing (especially by the Biden campaign), the massive increase in vote-by-mail, the discrepancy between D’s and R’s in how seriously they take the pandemic and how this affects the previous factors, the challenge of coming up with reliable turnout models based on all these factors, and the active Republican sabotage of the VBM system.

    As for the polls being no better than a coin flip, are you serious? In the presidential race, all but two states (FL and NC) voted for the candidate 538 gave a greater than 50% chance to. If that’s no better than a coin flip, I’d like that coin.

    And this is just one election cycle, with all the unprecedented factors mentioned above. What about the many, many, many elections in the modern era where the polls have been more or less accurate?

    It’s absolutely normal for polls to be off by a few points in one direction or another. It’s just that elections often come down to just a few points. On those rare occasions when they’re off by more, the proper response is to try and find out why, not throw your hands in the air and declare all polls useless. It’s like people are expecting pollsters to act as fortune tellers, and then dismissing them as worthless when they don’t live up to that standard.

    People don’t talk this way about any other kind of science-based forecasting. One time there was a hurricane reportedly headed straight toward Baltimore. We got all stocked up and prepared–and then it never came. It totally missed us. There wasn’t even any rain. The weather remained calm and mild for the rest of the night. Does this mean the weather people are all charlatans?

  82. Jim Brown 32 says:

    @Jay L Gischer: They’ll first have to sue the GSA if they persist in denying the Biden team transition office space and appropriated funds after the States certify the winners of their elections. Im not sure if they would have to sue each individual Department to start building their transition briefs and holding transition meetings with the top civil service leaders of each agency or can they simply sue Trump. Either way, the result will be the same. Sure, they’ll lose about 3 weeks but frankly its not that much of a delay to recover from.

    The Civil Servants in all the Departments handle the day to day. The President and Political Apointees provide the strategic course for the Departments.

    So basically, Trumps Executive was going south and Biden is going to come in and say go North. The professional leadership inside the Departments are going to come back to Biden and show him a few routes that lead North and the pros/cons of each route and Biden will select a route. The worker bees inside the Departments are then going to drive the route Biden picked.

    This is why I often say the things we evaluate Presidential candidates on has almost nothing to do with the actual job of administering the Executive. The President isn’t and frankly doesn’t have the time to be a technocrat. People laugh at Bush Jr….but he was right…the Presidents job is mostly as the decider of courses of action they’ve asked their Cabinet and Staff to find a way forward on.

    What differentiates great Presidents from good or mediocre Presidents…is the ability to evaluate the options they are presented understand where those options are lacking. Great Presidents can pick the best of all good options and the best of bad options.

    Those arent qualities that come through on the campaign stump.

  83. Teve says:

    @Kurtz: it’s not 100%. It’s a general thing. But like for example GVOR08, KM, CSK. I know I like their comments, but I can’t place that name or have a face, so they’re just in the Generic Commenter bin. I don’t really have any idea who they are or what they say. They’re indistinct. If you had the same comments, but changed the username, I’d have no idea it happened. Whereas if you changed Michael Reynolds’s comments and Kathy’s, I’d immediately be thrown off. They’re distinct personas.

  84. Teve says:

    Man it was funny, on Twitter today, when some loser middle-age white guy replied to a comment with “I’m a gay black man. Obama never did anything for me. The Democrats don’t make me feel respected.” And he’d forgotten to change user names and his middle-age white guy handle was attached. There have been a suspicious “I’m a gay black man who hates dems” set of Twitter accounts for a While.

  85. Kathy says:


    I made screenshots of the 538 forecast, but maybe not for each state. I’ll check later.

    Let’s assume you’re right, and it’s due to the trump pandemic and the vote by mail thing, etc. Then there are two issues:

    1) Can we prove this to be the case?
    2) If 1) is so, then how can we account for other such disruptive factors in future polls?

    We can’t just write it off for an unusual year and let it go at that.

  86. CSK says:

    I am a very distinct persona. I prefer, for the moment, to remain veiled in mystery.

  87. Teve says:

    Seth Myers: you look like a million dollars!
    Dolly Parton: well that’s about how much it cost.

  88. Teve says:

    @CSK: i like you, and KM, and GVORwhatever, I just can’t distinguish you guys. And justcracker, and old man, there’s lots of vague personas.

  89. Teve says:


    Pentagon finally confirms near total decapitation of civilian leadership in the last 24 hours. Secretary of Defense Esper fired Monday, the top Pentagon Policy official, top Defense Department intelligence official, and chief of staff to the Defense Secretary all out today

  90. Kurtz says:


    I think I could figure some of them without names. Others, not so much. GVOR is easy because of the amount of shit he reads. I’m not entirely sure that I could do it on style alone. Content, definitely. That holds true for Kathy and MR.

    De Stihl is one I could figure on style. But that’s not fair because his writing is singular.

  91. Jax says:

    @Kurtz: GVOR8 is singularly unique persona, I THINK he’s a guy, but I’m not real sure. I’d love to see some background!

    Shout out to all the smart girls in this group, we are also singularly unique in that!

    De Stijl is his own man. He better show up at the OTB meetup, I can’t run this jukebox all by my damn self. 😉

  92. Jax says:

    Turns out the Houston Ballet also likes my favorite band. 😉

  93. Teve says:

    1:40 to 1:50, i Will never be as great in my life as anything like that.



  94. Teve says:

    @Teve: she’s moving four limbs in different rhythms. You could teach me for a million years, I couldn’t do that.

  95. de stijl says:


    I like your new fancy chimp pic.

    Cool, but quite disturbing.

  96. de stijl says:


    Nandi Bushell is perhaps the coolest person on the planet. She is filled with unadulterated joy.

    There is new video of she and Grohl live chatting.

    I wept / laughed like a child.

    Nandi is is singular in the best way.

  97. de stijl says:


    Girl, I do know how to run a party. I can run a board. I can do basic mix thanks to Nate Dogg (not the famous one, just I guy I knew named the same).

    Ebb and flow. But you always have to build. Random mix works for tiny house parties or low-budget wedding receptions, but random busts the flow.

    You have to build to and earn the crescendo. Random cool tracks does not cut it at all.

    You need a vibe and synergy backing your shit up.

    You always need to end on a freak-out rave-up. Catharsis earned.

    Then there is the after party cool down.

  98. de stijl says:


    How does one insert an avatar?

    I don’t know. Maybe I shouldn’t, cuz then I would to pick one which would be troublesome. I’d figure it out. One of the Mondrian diagonals perhaps.

    Maybe. Pointers, anyone? Is it Gravatar?

  99. de stijl says:


    Stress is a bitch.

    You think you have it under control.

    It slithers in.

    Even when you are a total pro and ticking off boxes like a bad-ass. It slithers in. Stress is insidious.

  100. de stijl says:

    @Mu Yixiao:

    I feel you.

    I do the finger thing with tonality. It helps my brain remember. Ideograms are off my plate. You gotta walk before you run. And I am barely learning how to crawl let alone stumble.

    It’s weird, because I am also trying to buff up my Swedish simultaneously. Totally different: cognates make life so much easier.

    A colleague and friend close enough to give me true shit told me I spoke Swedish like a drunk 5 year old. Super direct and present tense and crap on verbs. I also screw up the vowel sounds in new words until I practice it a thousand times.

    I was way better at this when I was younger.

  101. de stijl says:

    I missed the incidences that got Bill shit-canned.

    Did anyone try to talk him down from his escalation?

    He was too pushy by far but never struck me as a bad actor. He was an unusual guy but not disruptive.

    What got him riled? The ban hammer is infrequently applied here.

    He was usually first on the mark with Florida Man wild-ass news clips for Open Threads.

  102. Kylopod says:

    @de stijl:

    Did anyone try to talk him down from his escalation?

    Yeah, I’m not going back to the thread to reread it, but to my recollection at least one commenter besides Steven tried to say, hey chill man, but he ignored it. I thought of speaking up myself but decided against it. I didn’t even understand what he was ticked off about.

    It felt out of character for him. He usually seems calm and collected, from what I’ve seen of him. If anything he’s taken more shit from other commenters (including me) than he’s dished out. I really suspect there was some personal issue going on, and I hope he can resolve it and be invited back.

  103. de stijl says:


    Patton Oswald is not usually a dramatic actor, but he went there in Big Fan. I see a lot of Bill in there.

    Kevin Corrigan should be a superstar. That man is flat-out talented.