Wednesday’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. just nutha says:

    Morning all. Being up still at 4am PDT is what one gets for buying coffee at 7/11 to wash down their 9pm Levodopa dose even tho 7/11 doesn’t sell decaf and they’ve been in bed most of the time since Friday with bronchitis.
    Hope your early morning is going better.

  2. DK says:

    – Hillary, probably

  3. OzarkHillbilly says:


    “Presidents are not kings, and plaintiff is not president.”

    -Tanya Sue Chutkan

    This may have been posted by somebody else already, I have been pretty much away from the internets the past 2 days.

  4. OzarkHillbilly says:

    From Judge blocks Idaho from prosecuting doctors who refer patients out of state for abortions comes this closing paragraph:

    Idaho banned abortion shortly after the US supreme court last year overturned the guaranteed right to abortion nationwide, mandating a prison sentence of two to five years for a convicted provider. The law allows a provider charged with performing an illegal abortion to overcome the charge by proving it was needed to save the mother’s life, or resulted from rape reported to law enforcement.

    Funny, and here I have always been told that in this country a person is innocent until proven guilty. Maybe in Idaho it’s the other way around.

    Seriously, how this law has not been found to be DOA is beyond me.

  5. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Burning through campaign funds thanks to mounting legal fees, Donald Trump has been forced to recall $60m from a Super Pac, money originally intended for TV advertising in the Republican presidential primary.

    In filings with the Federal Election Commission FEC) on Monday, Trump’s political action committee, Save America, said that at the end of June it had less than $4m cash on hand, having paid tens of millions of dollars in legal fees for the former president and associates.

    Trump faces 40 criminal charges over his retention of classified documents after leaving office; 34 criminal charges over hush-money payments to a porn star in 2016; the imminent prospect of federal and state charges over his election subversion; ongoing proceedings involving the writer E Jean Carroll, to whom he was ordered to pay $5m after being found liable for sexual abuse and defamation; and assorted investigations of his business affairs.

    Denying all wrongdoing and claiming political persecution, Trump leads his nearest challenger, the stalling Ron DeSantis, by more than 30 points in Republican polling.

    Given that cushion, the New York Times reported, Trump has recalled $60m from a separate pro-Trump super political action committee, or Super Pac, a refund “believed to be larger than any other refund on record in the history of federal campaigns”.

    Awwwwww, pobrecito…. And they just keep mining the chumps:

    Allies of Trump have created the Patriot Legal Defense Fund, which according to an Internal Revenue Service filing is intended to raise money to defray costs for those “defending against legal actions arising from an individual or group’s participation in the political process”. The group is run by two senior Trump advisers, Susie Wiles and Michael Glassner.

    I wonder where they are going to find the money for the ad campaigns?

  6. OzarkHillbilly says:

    The stabbing death of a professional dancer at a New York City gas station has drawn the attention of police investigators specializing in hate crimes.

    O’Shae Sibley, who was gay, was attacked outside a gas station in the Midwood section of Brooklyn on Saturday night. The 28-year-old and his friends were filling up their car while clad in swimsuits, playing music and dancing when they were confronted by a group of men, Gothamist reported.

    Gothamist’s report cited an eyewitness account from Summy Ullah, an employee of the gasoline station’s adjoining Bolla Market. As Ullah told it, Sibley and his friends were accused of being offensively flamboyant by the group who approached.

    Ullah claimed the group mentioned defending their religious beliefs during the confrontation, according to Gothamist.

    After a verbal exchange, captured by a surveillance camera at the gasoline station, Sibley was stabbed. He was pronounced dead at a local hospital.

    Gee, I wonder what religion they practice?

  7. charontwo says:

    Our boy has some legal distractions, also too:

    New York Attorney General Letitia James’ office says it is ready to proceed with a trial stemming from its $250 million lawsuit claiming former President Donald Trump, two of his children and his company engaged in widespread fraud.


    The September 2022 lawsuit accused members of the Trump family and Trump Organization executives of orchestrating an extensive fraudulent scheme related to valuations of property and Trump’s personal financial statements. Allegations against Ivanka Trump have since been dismissed by a New York appeals court.

    The lawsuit is seeking $250 million and sanctions that would effectively cease the company’s operations in New York. The Trumps and the company have vehemently denied wrongdoing.

    Trump, his sons Eric and Donald Trump Jr., and Ivanka Trump have all sat for depositions in the case. During Trump’s first deposition, in August 2022, before the lawsuit was filed, he invoked his Fifth Amendment right against self incrimination more than 400 times.

    The case is scheduled to go to trial on Oct. 2, a date the the judge in the case, Arthur Engoron, previously described as “set in stone.” Engoron has rejected repeated attempts by Trump attorneys to push that date back.

    The trial comes amid a legal maelstrom surrounding Trump, who is again running for president. In April, he was indicted by a Manhattan grand jury, which charged him with 34 felonies in connection with reimbursements for an alleged “hush money” payment made to an adult film star before the 2016 election. He has entered a not guilty plea in that case, which is scheduled for trial in March 2024.

  8. CSK says:


    Are you asking seriously?

  9. OzarkHillbilly says:

    via Anne Laurie come these jewels:

    Benjamin Ryan

    After the Covid vaccine came out, the adjusted excess death rate in Ohio and Florida was 43% higher among Republican voters compared with Democratic voters, this study found. There was no such gap based on political party before the vaccine.

    Being a Democrat is a healthy choice?

    Bad Vaccine Takes

    Members of an antivax group wonder why they keep getting sick with a cough and fever.
    Is it from vaccines shedding onto them, chemtrails in the skies, or not drinking enough urine?

    Who knew? The stupid really does hurt.

    eta: just got to add that the BadVaccineTakes twitter feed is well and truly painful.

  10. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @CSK: Maybe they’re Buddhists.

  11. Scott says:

    Hot Republican on Republican action:

    This is what happens when one party rules all.

    Our adulterous, indicted felon, under impeachment trial Attorney General Ken Paxton reveals the entire Texas Republican swamp. There are 20 impeachment articles passed 121-23 by the Texas House. Won’t go into the details, basically a lot of petty corruption.

    Some fun facts:

    Paxton previously indicted for securities fraud in 2015 but is still awaiting trial.

    Paxton’s wife Angela is a member of the Texas Senate trying the case. One of corruption charges involves renovating their home. She will not recuse herself.

    Texas Republican Party condemns the impeachment by the Texas House which is mostly Republican. Texas House is 85 Republicans, 65 Democrats.

    Pro-Paxton PAC Defend Texas Liberty recently gave $3M campaign contribution to Lt Gov/Senate Lead Dan Patrick who is not up for reelection until 2026 and is presiding over the trial.

    Paxton want 19 of the 20 articles tossed out because they occurred prior to his new term that started in Jan 2023.

    The Paxtons rely a lot on their Christianity for their defense. And rail against weaponization of whatever.

    Of course, they will all be reelected. Texas seems to be the corruption model for the country.

  12. Scott says:


    Members of an antivax group wonder why they keep getting sick with a cough and fever. Is it from vaccines shedding onto them, chemtrails in the skies, or not drinking enough urine?

    Forgive me but my mind when immediately to this Onion piece.

  13. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Scott: For some reason or other, I knew that’s what you were thinking of. 🙂

  14. Scott says:
  15. Kathy says:

    I thank Kevin and his wingnut masters for the latest downgrade of the US’s rating.

    Or I will once he takes the credit he deserves for it.

  16. Kathy says:

    Somewhat related to the above, I went to the airport on Sunday to buy US dollars.

    As I’ve explained previously, there are lots of exchange places at the airport, so one can easily and efficiently shop around. The first I found had the sell price (what they take for a dollar) at 17 pesos. All others were higher, the closest being 17.09, with some as high as 17.30

    Given what i had on hand, I got 150 USD. This got added to some surplus dollars I had from years ago, to the munnificient sum of around $182.

    No one is recommending buying USD as an investment. This can mean 1) it’s not a good idea to do so, or maybe 2) I’m ahead of the trend and will buy before demand drives up the price. But it’s not like I’m sinking all my money into it. I did not cash my savings to buy USD, nor did I stop monthly deposits to retirement longer term investments (bonds of 5, 7, and 10 years among other things). But I will add to the pile a bit over time.

    I figure I can sell when the buy price (what the exchange place will pay for a dollar) hits 20. Though that depends on how much I pay for subsequent dollar purchases (it’s gone up a bit this week), and how I see the price rising. 20 would mena a 17% yield, which is not bad at all.

    What this does show me is that small time investors, meaning the vast majority, can at best realize modest gains, as compared to big time investors. This is why driving up share prices does not benefit the average employee as much as higher wages would, even if they invest all their money in rising share price stocks.

  17. just nutha says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: You do get that if you’d only call off the witch hunt, he wouldn’t need to embezzle campaign funds for legal fees to begin with, right?
    This is all yours and Biden’s fault, ya know!

    (Y’all need to get used to hearing that. Gonna become really common for a while.)

  18. CSK says:

    @just nutha:

    Kari Lake has a solution for that. All the other R candidate–DeSantis, Pence, Haley, Ramaswamy et al–should immediately drop out of the race and throw their support behind Trump. Then he’ll have even more money to pay his legal fees.

  19. charontwo says:

    That didn’t take long. Looks as if the DC grand jury is now rolling out separate indictments of Trump’s co-conspirators. Really underscores Smith’s resolve to charge, and try, Trump alone. The case is built for speed. It should in fact go to verdict well before Nov 2024.

  20. charontwo says:

    DOJ goes right at Woodward over the fact Taveras didn’t come clean and implicate Nauta (also Woodward’s client) until Taveras dropped Woodward as his lawyer.

    Bottom line: It is risky to Trump employees or former employees to be represented by lawyers paid by Trump, and Jack Smith can and will intercede to forestall that.

  21. CSK says:


    It turns out to have been their Muslim faith that was offended by a young gay Black man voguing, according to .

  22. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @just nutha: But why would we call off the witch hunt when we keep finding witches underneath every GOP rock we turn over?

  23. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @CSK: That does not surprise me. Homophobia is cloaked by many religions.

  24. CSK says:


    Oh, indeed it is.

  25. charontwo says:

    If Zelenskyy had surrendered to Trump’s extortion in 2019, who knows where we’d be today. Hero of two democracies.

  26. Kathy says:

    I decided to try out the handheld milk frother. I’ve made the two worst cappuccinos I’ve ever had.

    There are two problems. One is the frother does produce foam in the milk, but it doesn’t last long. maybe because it can’t get as deep, maybe because it’s too small. The other problem is the cinnamon we have at the office smells great, but tastes nothing like cinnamon at all. The second issue should get solved easily. The first, I may try a different frother. good thing this one was like $12 (I think I got less than what I paid for at that).

  27. just nutha says:

    @CSK: so Kari lake is channeling the underpants gnomes. Not surprised.

  28. Mikey says:

    I took next week off work, and my wife is on summer break for another couple weeks. It occurred to us that in the nearly 20 years we have lived here, we’ve never been to Ocean City, MD, which is just three hours away (traffic dependent, of course, as all things are in the DC area). So we redeemed some of my couple hundred thousand hotel points and we’re going this Sunday for a couple days.

    Anyone have any suggestions? Yes, it’s tourist hell, but we’ll be tourists, too! What are some well-known (and maybe if you know some off-the-beaten-path) things to do there? Besides the boardwalk, of course we’re doing that. It’ll be us and our son (age 19).

  29. CSK says:

    @just nutha:

    I think she’s hoping to be Trump’s v.p. pick, which is not going to happen, because he will fear she’ll take the spotlight off him.

    When Trump is anointed the R. candidate, he’ll pick Tim Scott as his v.p.

  30. Michael Reynolds says:

    Did we cover this at all?

    Alabama politicians are seething over the Biden administration’s reversal of former President Donald Trump’s decision to move the U.S. Space Command headquarters from Colorado to Alabama.

    On Monday, the Pentagon announced:

    Today, following a thorough and deliberate evaluation process, and after consultation with [Defense] Secretary [Lloyd] Austin and weighing the input of senior military leaders, President Biden notified the Department of Defense that he has selected Colorado Springs as the permanent location of the U.S. Space Command Headquarters.

    The Pentagon said keeping the headquarters in Colorado will ensure “peak readiness” and allow the agency to most effectively carry out its mission.

    Suck on that, Tuberville.

  31. MarkedMan says:

    @Kathy: I would try different brands of milk first. Nothing I’ve ever bought at Trader Joe’s has ever properly frothed, and nothing from Wegmans in a plastic jug. But some other brands work fine.

  32. Kathy says:



    The other option is to try the old frother, not hand held and does heat the milk. If it froths, then it’s not the milk. I’ll do that tomorrow.

  33. Kathy says:

    This is the kind of optimism that I think gets uncomfortably close to hubris.

    TL;DR it’s Robert Reich’s paean to Bidenomics, and how its success will lead to electoral gains.

    It might, or there may be a recession soon. No way to know for sure, though I suppose there is a way to forecast the possibilities.

    Bidenomics may indeed be working. I tend to lean that way if real wages have been growing, as that would break the trends prevalent over the last 40+ years. Or it may be regression to the mean. But even if Reich is right, what happens if the Chinese economy collapses? China still manufactures an outsize fraction of global goods, including those that form part of other goods (ie part of the supply chain).

  34. CSK says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    Dear Coach:
    What goes around, comes around.

  35. dazedandconfused says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    So this is what the blocking of promotions was all about. Tuberville cooked up a trick play, cover up the swampy grab for DOD$$ by hiding the ball under the shirt of abortions.

    Alas, t’was a Fail-o-rooski.

  36. charontwo says:

    Donald Trump’s most ardent supporters in Russia appear to be shaken to their core over his latest felony indictment for attempting to overturn the results of the 2020 U.S. election.

    During his morning show Full Contact, decorated state TV propagandist Vladimir Solovyov was aghast about the charges. “I’ve never seen or heard of anything like it in my entire life! In America, they are currently attempting to destroy Trump—and to do it unbelievably fast!,” he said. “This sort of a thing never happened in American history!”

    Solovyov’s guest, Russian pundit Dmitry Evstafiev, wholeheartedly agreed, concluding that the prospect of future negotiations between Moscow and the U.S. government have now been crushed—and even going so far as to suggest that the indictment could lead to all-out war with the U.S.


    “All of our liberal pro-Western groups have livened up! They say that something should be done, there should be a coup and then they offer us something,” he said. “Who will offer it, these people, who are trying to forcefully put their own former president in prison, with violation of all norms and procedures? Do you really think that people who don’t abide by their own written and unwritten rules will honor them towards you? Have you totally lost your minds?”

    Solovyov chimed in to criticize Trump for not finishing off the Democrats when he had the chance: “He didn’t throw [Hillary] Clinton in prison, he did not deal with the rest of them and now this clan is eating him alive!”

    In Evstafiev’s view, Trump is being prosecuted solely because he had a real chance of winning in the upcoming presidential elections.

    “They were certain that no one would follow Trump. They thought that Trump would be a disco dancer and he would dance disco in front of the rednecks,” he fumed. “Meanwhile, they [the Democrats] would win. Now they no longer have this certainty. This means that serious powers with big money have committed to Trump! To them, Trump is a lesser evil than all the rest. I understand these big money people! To have a moron as their president is better than nuclear war.”

    Evstafiev bemoaned the fact that only middle-aged voters fear nuclear threats, apparently lamenting efforts by Russia’s leading propagandists to terrorize Western populations into submission through nuclear blackmail.

    The duo concluded Trump’s only potential solution for this problem would be to incite a civil war in the United States. “He is practically [planning a civil war] already, at least he’s getting close,” Evstafiev said.

    Guests on the state TV show 60 Minutes reached similar conclusions. Host Olga Skabeeva claimed not to understand the nature of charges against Trump, describing them as “strange.” Alexander Gusev, a contributor to the Russian Foreign Affairs Ministry magazine, predicted that election-related conflicts, including the growing collection of indictments against Trump, will trigger a civil war in the United States.

  37. Kathy says:


    What you excerpted reads like a dispatch from Bizarro World.

  38. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Good point. Still your fault, though. 😉

  39. Jax says:

    Soooo…..I’m trying to figure out how to excerpt Tom Nichols’s piece in the Atlantic to put on my Facebook, without making it super obvious I’m anti-Trump ( I mean, I live in Wyoming. I could get death threats) There are many good snippets I could quote.

    Any ideas? There ARE people here who actually believe in the rule of law, but…..Trump syndrome is a problem (see: Harriet Hageman. Once a good lawyer, now a Trump banshee, and possible future Karen-Kraken)