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 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:

    The funniest thing about MTGreene’s insistence that a mask mandate is equivalent to the Holocaust is the fact that Israel had mask mandates and far stricter measures than anything implemented here:

    Beginning on 11 March, Israel began enforcing social distancing and other rules to limit the spread of infection. Gatherings were first restricted to no more than 100 people,[5] and on 15 March this figure was lowered to 10 people, with attendees advised to keep a distance of 2 m (6 ft 7 in) between one another.[6] On 19 March, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared a national state of emergency, saying that existing restrictions would henceforth be legally enforceable, and violators would be fined. Israelis were not allowed to leave their homes unless absolutely necessary. Essential services—including food stores, pharmacies, and banks—would remain open. Restrictions on movement were further tightened on 25 March and 1 April, with everyone instructed to cover their noses and mouths outdoors. As coronavirus diagnoses spiked in the city of Bnei Brak, reaching nearly 1,000 infected people at the beginning of April,[7] the cabinet voted to declare the city a “restricted zone”, limiting entry and exit for a period of one week. Coinciding with the Passover Seder on the night of 8 April, lawmakers ordered a 3-day travel ban and mandated that Israelis stay within 100 m (330 ft) of their home on the night of the Seder. On 12 April, Haredi neighborhoods in Jerusalem were placed under closure.

    And so so much more:

    1 First wave

    1.1 First cases
    1.2 Government response
    1.2.1 Travel and entry restrictions
    1.2.2 14-day self-isolation
    1.2.3 Voting booths for quarantined citizens
    1.2.4 Court freeze
    1.2.5 Mobile phone tracking of infected individuals
    1.2.6 Medical response
    1.2.7 Repatriation of overseas citizens
    2 Second wave

    2.1 Government response
    2.1.1 Closure of areas based on ‘traffic light’ plan
    2.1.2 High holidays lockdown
    2.1.3 Economic response
    2.1.4 Exit strategy
    2.1.5 Local lockdowns
    2.3 Protests

    3 Third wave

    3.1 Government response
    3.1.1 Travel ban
    3.1.2 Third nationwide lockdown
    3.1.3 Tightening of lockdown
    3.1.4 Closure of Ben-Gurion airport
    3.1.5 Purim night curfew

    The horror, the horror.

  2. CSK says:

    Massachusetts is the healthiest state in the country. Mississippi is the least.

  3. Teve says:

    @CSK: Health is for elitist libtards. Now pass me them Sno-Balls while I go get my insulin.

  4. Teve says:

    Why Facebook and Apple are fighting over your privacy

    As a general rule, anything that pisses off Mark Zuckerberg is good for humanity.

    I’m transitioning away from my Gmail account to the privacy-protecting ProtonMail. I just 2 days ago started using ProtonVPN on my phone and iPad. (Mail+VPN=$6.50/mo.) My next steps will be:

    1 Get iPhone 13 in September.
    2 use iOS to block all tracking.
    3 use FB and Twitter through a browser, not app.
    4 Switch to Neeva or DuckDuckGo.

    Eventually Congress is going to need to pass a law giving you ownership of your identity. But until then there are ways that you can minimize how much you are tracked and profiled.

  5. CSK says:

    How ’bout some Hostess Ho Hos?

  6. CSK says:

    Mike Lindell tried to crash the Republicans Governors Association meeting in Nashville and was barred from the events.

  7. Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance has convened a Grand Jury in his investigation of Donald Trump and The Trump Organization:

  8. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Don’t ever change Bentonville:

    A school principal in Arkansas has apologized for “political inaccuracies” in a yearbook falsely stating that Donald Trump was not impeached and that last year’s racial protests in the US were “Black Lives Matter riots”.

    Josh Thompson, principal of Bentonville’s Lincoln junior high school, admitted that some of the contents of the yearbook, which also included a photograph of the deadly 6 January insurrection in Washington DC captioned: “Trump supporters protest at the Capitol,” were “both biased and political”.

    In a letter sent to students and parents, Thompson said the yearbook “does not represent our values nor meet LJHS and Bentonville Schools’ standards for quality and excellence.”

    The letter did not address how the false statements and political opinions came to be published, but promised the school would “evaluate its vetting process for all yearbook content to ensure future publications are of the highest quality”.

    It’s a mystery how these things happen.

  9. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Doug Mataconis: I’m not holding my breath but I do have smile on my face.

  10. CSK says:

    He’s raving about this gross injustice over at

    Nobody, but nobody, ever accomplished as much for the American people as DJT. No sir.

  11. Teve says:

    @CSK: trump:

    New York City and State are suffering the highest crime rates in their history,

    that’s laughably untrue. For instance, last year in New York City there were around 450 homicides. In the year 1990 there were 2,605.

  12. SC_Birdflyte says:

    “Jail to the Chief, Hey you’re going off to prison . . .”

  13. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Teve: Say what??? He told a lie??? Why I never would have guessed that of him!

  14. OzarkHillbilly says:

    This is pretty cool stuff: How a ranger stumbled upon one of the largest fossil finds in California history

    The discovery began last summer, when Greg Francek, a water district ranger, spotted a funny-looking rock with markings vaguely resembling bark, while on a routine patrol of 28,000 acres of EBMUD land on the eastern rim of California’s Central Valley.

    It turned out to be a petrified tree. Francek poked around further and found a whole grove of petrified trees and then realized the area was scattered with thousands of bone fragments.

    “It started with me being at the right place at the right time and having an eye for something that was a bit out of place,” said Francek, who has been a ranger and naturalist with the water district for 10 years. “I didn’t realize what I was looking at was actually the remains of great beasts that had walked this area millions of years before.”

    Soon scientists were unearthing fossils from a whole zoo of prehistoric animals that existed in the time period known as the Miocene Epoch. It was more than 50m years after dinosaurs roamed the continent and it would be millions of years more before humans appeared. It was an age when the mastodons wandered North America. Volcanic activity and shifting geologic plates had not yet formed the Sierra Nevada and most of southern California was still under water.

    Russell Shapiro, a geology professor at California State University, Chico, said when Francek first took him to the area, spread over several miles on land that is closed to the public, he was amazed at how many different animals’ fossils appeared in one place.

    “Greg was showing me these spots and we were like “Oh my God, that’s a horse; that’s a camel; that’s a rhinoceros; that’s a tortoise,” he said. “It was all right there.”

    The EBMUD has even set up a website for the find: Mastodons Among Us

  15. Kathy says:


    I’m not smiling until the Orange Ass performs the best perp walk ever.

  16. Christine says:

    @CSK: Clicking that link gives TFG the idea we are still interested in his ramblings. I.can’t.even.

  17. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Where did all this dust come from?

    Lea Rose Fiega bought the $30 Diamond Millions scratch-off ticket in March at the Lucky Stop convenience store in Southwick, near where she works.

    “I was in a hurry, on lunch break, and just scratched it real quick, and looked at it, and it didn’t look like a winner, so I handed it over to them to throw away,” she said.

    The ticket lay discarded behind the counter for 10 days until Abhi Shah, the son of the store’s owners, was going through the trash and found the ticket that had a number not scratched off. He scratched it off to reveal a $1m ticket.

    “We had mixed emotions,” Shah told the Washington Post. “We didn’t sleep for two nights, but I don’t know what happened. My inner soul told me: ‘That’s not right. You know who that person is. You should give that ticket back to them.’ And that’s exactly what I did.”

    Shah went to see Fiega at work.

    “He came to my office and said ‘my mom and dad would like to see you,”’ Fiega said. “I said ‘I’m working,’ and he said ‘no you have to come over.’ So I went over there and that’s when they told me. I was in total disbelief. I cried, I hugged them.”

    Fiega said overcoming a near fatal bout of Covid in January was like “winning the lottery” – so she feels doubly fortunate.

    “I mean, who does that? They’re great people. I am beyond blessed,” she said.

    The store gets a $10,000 bonus from the state lottery commission for selling the winning ticket. Fiega said she gave the family an additional reward. She’s saving the rest for retirement.

  18. Teve says:

    Trump is starting to put together his own Contract with America. And he’s teaming up with Newt.

    The 45th president has sat down with the former speaker, as well as Mark Meadows and Lindsey Graham in recent weeks to begin crafting a policy document.

  19. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Kathy: I am smiling at the discomfort he is feeling. Or at least I hope that is why he’s wearing that pained expression on his face. Could be it’s just constipation.

  20. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Teve: Let me guess: Tax cuts for rich people.

  21. CSK says:

    Well, the entertainment value–at least from my standpoint–is pretty high. But look at it this way: Even if he’s tried and imprisoned, he’s going to be in the forefront of the news for quite a while to come. Maybe not the top of the news, but close. We may as well get used to it.

    And it’s an opportunity to make fun of him. He hates that. Deep down, he knows that the only people who love him are the peasants he despises.

  22. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Ron DeSantis thinks Republican voters are stupid. He’s not far off the mark.

  23. Kingdaddy says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: When I was a kid, I went to a site in Southern California where a fossilized reef was about to be bulldozed for a housing project. Whale bones were scattered around the reef, where you could just pick them up. Amazing.

  24. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Survivors and bereaved seek answers after 21 deaths in China ultramarathon

    Loved ones and fellow competitors of 21 runners who died in extreme weather during an ultramarathon in north-west China are seeking answers and accountability, as further accounts emerge of survivors’ harrowing experiences.

    Twenty-one runners died on Saturday when below-freezing temperatures, hail and high winds hit the race track: a 100km stretch of mountainous trail about 3,000 metres above sea level, in the Yellow River Stone Forest tourist site near Baiyin city. A further eight people were injured.

    Among the dead were elite runners, including the 31-year-old record-holder, Liang Jing, and the Paralympian Huang Ganjun. Six runners were rescued by a local shepherd who sheltered them in a nearby cave, including at least one unconscious man, Zhang Xiaotao, whom he carried in from the track.

    The shepherd, Zhu Keming, has been hailed as a national hero for saving their lives.

    The high-level central commission for discipline inspection is investigating the circumstances surrounding the tragedy, in which survivors sheltered in caves, waiting hours to be rescued after they were stranded mostly between the second and third checkpoints.
    Some observers have questioned the lack of mandatory cold-weather gear other than an emergency blanket in the race’s equipment list, particularly for such a remote, high-altitude event. China News Weekly also quoted local rescue personnel saying they had struggled to locate people in the inaccessible terrain, before finding four competitors in a cave later that night, three of whom had died.
    On social media, Luo Jing, a well-known Chinese athlete and mountaineer, warned others to take their own safety seriously, suggesting the high death count was at least partly attributed to inadequate preparation for the surprise extreme weather.

    “Because I have experienced many dangers in mountaineering before, I understand that my safety must be in my own hands,” Luo said. “Trail running is the same as mountain climbing. You have to make plans for the worst case every time, and don’t pin your hopes on others!”

    She said her life was saved by having warm clothing with her, and having enough time to descend.
    “There is nowhere to rest and you can’t stop on the exposed mountains … But on this day, the problems were magnified.”

    Luo said she grew cold and tried to take shelter, but her emergency blanket was torn to shreds by the wind. She began to show signs of hypothermia so she decided to retire, sheltering with others in a cave.

    “It is easy to go up the mountain and difficult to go down, especially this kind of very steep terrain.”

    The runner said she was “lucky to make a timely decision at the last moment”, and the sheltering group were told they had to make their own way down or wait longer for rescue. She later heard stories of runners passing by others who had collapsed on the track, and they were unable to help.

  25. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Kingdaddy: I really geek out when it comes to fossils. Few things are as enjoyable to me as sitting on a gravel bar and mindlessly picking thru the gravel looking for fossils. I’ve never found anything truly extraordinary (my best “find” is a crinoid stem about 1’1/2 inches in diameter and 8 inches long) but a friend of mine had a rockhound shop in Jasper Arkansas and gave me some nice Nautilus fossils.

    Maybe someday I’ll find a nice fish fossil. A sardine would make my day.

  26. KM says:

    There’s also a curious exception for “theme park or entertainment complex”. Hmmmm, now who do we know in FL that owns digital platforms and runs a park? Repubs even pointed this out at the time, noting that Zuckerburgland would be a quick easy fix for Facebook to skirt the law.

    In fact, I’d go one further and tell some enterprising small or struggling park owner to pitch partial ownership (since it doesn’t say singular ownership in the law) to Twitter, Reddit, etc. Pay for 1% ownership rights and be legal in FL while the owner gets an influx of cash, corporate sponsors and likely a ton of new customers sent there by the platforms to make quotas. Do it now before the law get challenged though since this “deal” has got a limited shelf life!

  27. Jax says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: When you come out this way again, make sure you check out Fossil Butte National Monument in Kemmerer. And all the little rock shops in Kemmerer! A friend of mine has a quarry that he does paid trips to, you can go peck around in all the sandstone chunks and find a fish. I’ve found some monster-sized chunks of petrified wood down there, and the Blue Forest isn’t far away. That one’s pretty picked over, though.

  28. JohnMcC says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: A niece used to do ultra-marathons. 50 or 100 mile competitions across truly wild terrain. I’m a hiker/backpacker and we had couple of conversations about daypacks and what one should carry when off the beaten track. I’ve had to spend the night in big woods unexpectedly and a fleece sweater and a big lawn/trash bag has made that tolerable. I always carry water and snacks above what one would expect to need. I can start a fire.
    Ultramarathoners do none of that. They depend entirely on the organizers (and I suppose, other racers) if the worst happens.

    Totally insane.

  29. DeD says:
  30. CSK says:

    They know what it’s like to be colonized.

  31. DeD says:


  32. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Wait a second… Arkansas has a school named after Abraham Lincoln?

  33. Kathy says:

    I came across a piece the other day to the effect that quantum systems are fundamental, but space-time may not be. that is, space-time would be an emergent property of quantum mechanics. Since gravity is a function of the curvature of space-time, that makes it also an emergent property of quantum interactions.

    I’m not sure whether this simplifies things or makes them even more complicated. It would remove Einstein’s complain of “spooky action at a distance,” since distance is an effect of quantum interactions.

    In any case, this isn’t even a hypothesis, but merely a notion. Maybe nothing will come off it.

  34. CSK says:

    In 1847, having just suffered through the Trail of Tears, the Choctaws sent $170 to Ireland to aid in famine relief. The Irish returned the favor during the pandemic, sending funds to help the Choctaw, and have recently established a scholarship fund for Choctaw youth. There’s also a physical memorial in Ireland to them.

    “We have become kindred spirits with the Irish,” said Gary Batton, Chief of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma.

  35. Christine says:

    @CSK: Rather, I don’t want to give him the page views – just stupid fodder to feed to his masses in the attempt to stay relevant. Yeah, I know he is still relevant in the broad sense because the feckless GQP cannot shake their addiction. But if somebody wants to copy and paste his ramblings, I will not object to reading that.

  36. Jen says:

    There is no mention in this article if the guy even has a partner, if so, I’d like to meet her/him/them.

    That is a lot of effort to go through for an engagement ring. I mean, talk about resetting the bar.

  37. gVOR08 says:


    I’m not smiling until the Orange Ass performs the best perp walk ever.

    And Jr. and Jared and Ivanka. And why isn’t DOJ bringing federal charges for soliciting a bribe from Ukraine? As I’ve observed before, we have so much bad behavior in high places because we never punish bad behavior in high places.

  38. CSK says:

    Another article mentioned Liden’s bride-to-be, but gave no name, nor even whether she’s real or hypothetical. Perhaps this guy just likes to plan ahead.

  39. CSK says:

    John Warner has died. He was 94.

  40. Sleeping Dog says:


    Drip, drip. Ireland won’t be the last country to go this route.

    This AM’s NYT had an opinion piece by a Palestinian living in Israel, the content is what you would assume, but this image;, shows why the concept of a 2-state solution is a Weekend at Bernie’s idea.

    Whether you back the Israelis or support the Palestinians, the question going forward is not does Israel have a partner for peace or what is an equitable division of the lands west of the Jordan river, but how is Israel going to integrate its Palestinian citizens.

  41. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Sleeping Dog: That’s only an issue to the extent that Israel intends to integrate Palestinians (I’ll defer on calling them citizens for now). I don’t think integration is a goal.

  42. JohnSF says:

    In the UK, the testimony to the Commons Science Select Committee by the former government senior advisor (and de facto chief of staff Dominic Cummings is … something

    Some choice quotes from testimony:

    “Tens of thousands of people died, who didn’t need to die,”
    Reports Cabinet Sec saying of Sec State for Health Hancock: ‘PM the British system is not set up to deal with a secretary of state who repeatedly lies in meetings’​
    Also Cab sec on a Hancock assurance: “It’s completely untrue, I have lost confidence in the secretary of state’s honesty in these meetings.”
    Cummings on Hancock screwing up test-and-trace. “Completely because Hancock wanted to be able to go on TV and say ‘look at me and my 100K target’. It was criminal disgraceful behaviour which caused serious harm.”
    Cummings on Cummings and Johnson:
    “In any sensible rational govt, it is completely crazy that I should have been in such a senior position.”
    “I’m not smart, I’ve not built great things in the world. It’s completely crackers that someone like me should have been in there just the same as it’s crackers that Boris Johnson was in there.”
    Johnson was ‘unfit for the job’

    Also, likely first time phrase “disingenuous little fucker” has gone on the record of a parliamentary committee hearing.

  43. Mike Lindell tried to crash a meeting of the Republican Governor’s Association.

    It did not end well

  44. Kathy says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    Maybe they’re weaning off gradually. First give up Trump’s gaggle of nuts, then the Orange Madman Himself.

  45. Kathy says:

    Blimps for short intercity trips?

    You may just be able to drive faster than that. The notion that taking into account time at the airport makes for a trip of similar length is arguable. Why? No way security won’t be a factor in blimp travel. While not as dangerous as airliners, hijacking one would still be a possibility. Plus a blimp can stay aloft, drifting in the winds, for days.

    A blimp port would be large, too. No need for runways several kilometers long, but plenty of parking room would be required.

    And what about helium? It’s not like we have millions of tons of excess helium lying around. start using cheap, plentiful hydrogen, and you’ll get another Hindenburg sooner or later. Well, a similar disaster. Apparently the Hindenburg’s metallic paint was even more flammable than the hydrogen.

  46. Michael Reynolds says:

    Ireland is irrelevant. The Israelis have Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Egypt, Jordan, and Turkey in their corner now, all united around the fact that Israel is a) rich, b) makes cool stuff and c) is a nuclear power opposed to Iran. Want to block Iranian hegemony? You want Israel on-side.

    The enemy of my enemy is my friend. Middle East rules. Ireland? Lovely country, not a player.

    The Palestinians blew every shot they had until the Israeli public finally shrugged and said, ‘whatever,’ and continued its slow-motion ethnic cleansing. Gaza is an Indian reservation. The West Bank is on that same path. And barring some exceedingly unlikely development, it’ll stay that way. Bottom line: the Palestinians are lousy players, and the Israelis are not.

    The US supplies 1% of Israel’s GDP and that money requires 75% of it to be spent on US weapons systems. Aid to Israel is aid to US defense industries.

    Incidentally, if the US did as progressives demand and turned against Israel, you know what happens next? Israeli tanks move on Gaza and the population takes a long hike into the Sinai. Israel still gives a small fuck what the US has to say, so they limit their retaliations. Absent US pressure, guess what? They’re still rich, advanced, dangerous and nuked up.

  47. Teve says:
  48. Sleeping Dog says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    Not integrating them is a form of integration. Now Israel could choose to expel the Palestinian population, but that raises a whole number of issues and any Israeli leader who advocates that, needs to ask, how will Israel’s security be guaranteed with a vengeful people who will control and independent state, likely Jordan, on its borders.

  49. Michael Reynolds says:

    Aww, Q Anon is dying.

    Specific language about the QAnon conspiracy theory has all but disappeared from mainstream public social media platforms, new research concludes.

    What they’re saying: “Moderation actions after the Capitol attack were particularly effective in stomping down what remained of QAnon chatter online,” said Jared Holt, resident fellow at the Atlantic Council. “The data shows the companies didn’t act… until it was exploding off the charts.”

    “The research is very significant,” said Paul Barrett, deputy director of the NYU Stern Center for Business and Human Rights. “Concerted content moderation works… When they put their minds to it, the mainstream platforms can have a very big effect on marginalizing or eliminating toxic content.”

    The bottom line: Aggressive content moderation aimed at limiting extremist content can work, but “decisions to enforce rules and address threats of extremism are often prompted by tragedy instead of proactive thinking,” said Holt.

  50. Michael Reynolds says:

    The thing Americans and Europeans simply don’t grasp about Israel is that Israel does not live in North America or Europe. It lives in the middle east. The Arabs in the neighborhood (aside from the Palestinians) and the Turks are now effectively Israeli allies in a larger struggle against Iran. Nothing Americans or Europeans can threaten will change that reality one iota. And since the US will never impose meaningful sanctions on Israel, no sanctions regime will matter.

    The one potential wild card is China, but has anyone see China take any sort of moral stand on anything? Exactly. China won’t join a sanctions regime, either. But yes, Israel may well suffer the temporary and partial loss of excellent Irish butter.

  51. CSK says:

    @Michael Reynolds:
    Well, what is QAnon going to do? What can it do? These whole thing was premised on Donald Trump waging a heroic battle to bust up a global rings of cannibalistic pedophiles and consign them all to Guantanamo. And he never lifted a finger. Hillary Clinton, the chief villainess, is still free as a bird.

  52. JohnSF says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    US supplies 1% of Israel’s GDP

    EU goods trade is 35% of Israeli imports and 22% of exports.
    Expulsion of the Palestinians would see that end overnight.
    Plus Egypt may be Israel’s ally now; dumping the Gazans in their lap would end that pretty damn swiftly.

    As regards other regional allies, Turkey is ambivalent, and under Erdogan, mercurial.
    The Arabians are solidly onside for Israel for now, as their backstop vs Iran in case the US proves unreliable.

    However, this is a good short term tactic, but as longer term strategy, perhaps not so much.
    Its continuity depends on Iran remaining a theocratic threat, the dynasts ruling in Arabia, and to some extent the continued oil incomes that make the Arabians players.
    I would like to wager too much on all three persisting for decades.

    And decades is how Jerusalem should be thinking.
    Netanyahu has always been a superbly slippery and amoral tactician; but a sensible strategist?

  53. JohnSF says:

    @Michael Reynolds:
    There’ll be no trade sanctions from Ireland.
    Trade is an EU competency.
    Investment bans etc possible; or “informal” boycotts.
    But breaching EU trade jurisdiction? Say hello to the European Court.

    Mr Coveney has insisted that the Bill is “illegal” because trade is an EU competence, meaning that trade policy is made at EU level, not national level. One country cannot ban goods that may be legally imported elsewhere in the single market, he told the talks, adding that this was the advice of the Attorney General.

  54. JohnSF says:

    @Michael Reynolds:
    The keystone is Germany.

  55. Michael Reynolds says:

    The harsh reality is that no one really gives a fuck about the Palestinians outside of college campuses.

    Israel has been ethnically cleansing Palestinians since the 60’s and in that time has Israel grown stronger or weaker? Stronger. Does Israel have more allies today, or fewer? More. Has Israel become more independent, or less? More. There’s been a boycott of Israeli goods the entire time, so does Israel have more or less international trade? More.

    Look at the visual supplied by @Sleeping Dog: That’s the reality.

    Every trend line favors Israel. I despise Netanyahu, but the fact is he won the game. For how long? Probably for a long time.

  56. @Kathy:

    One can only hope

  57. Former Virginia Senator John Warner dies at 94.

    Warner was Senator from 1979 to 2009.

    On his way out the door he er endorsed Senator Mark Warner in the 2010 election

  58. Michael Reynolds says:

    Meanwhile, another government we support financially, is massacring people and pushing them into famine:

    The UK government has warned of the risk of famine within months in Tigray, northern Ethiopia, calling the situation “catastrophic”.

    Nick Dyer, its special envoy on famine prevention, made the assessment during a visit to the region, which is being devastated by conflict.

    Mr Dyer said atrocities [by Ethiopian troops] were continuing, citing harrowing reports of killings and rapes.

    He described the destruction of farm tools, seeds, and indeed of whole villages. And warned that huge numbers of people in the region were simply unreachable – cut off behind roadblocks, and by fighting.

    Of particular concern is the destruction of all but a few health centres in northern Ethiopia. Mr Dyer warned that ill health was as much a threat to people as starvation.

    No one cares, there are no protests, no demands sanctions or an aid cut off. Why? A serious lack of Jews. Now, am I equating criticism of Israel with anti-semitism? Not at all. But anti-semites form a substantial portion of the movement. If what we really cared about were victims we’d be obsessing about China and the Uighurs, Turkey and the Kurds, Myanmar and the Rohingya, the eternal shit storm in Sudan/South Sudan, Saudi massacres in Yemen. . . But no, it seems the only ethnic cleansing we ever really care about is Israel’s. Probably just a coincidence the Jew thing.

  59. dazedandconfused says:


    I wouldn’t call the KSA a solid ally of Israel. For the moment they view Israel as useful in their imagined war against Iran but now the KSA is proffering tentative olive branches to Iran.

    Bibi sending Israeli police into the Dome of the Rock on Ramadan is on a par with someone sending police into Notre Dame on Christmas Eve. It’s if anything even worse. This puts the House of Saud in a terribly awkward position vis a vis Islam.

    Releasing his crazy ultra religious RW nut-jobs to grab houses in Jerusalem and barge into the Dome may have been a tactical necessity for Bibi to (at last!) form a government, but it’s strategically as dumb as a box of Marj Greene’s hair for Israel.

  60. JohnMcC says:

    @Michael Reynolds: As wonderful as it obviously is that Q is slip-sliding-away there are pretty obvious concerns that the plutocrats of the digital world can do that pretty much outside of social/legal consensus. I realize you know this, of course. You’ve told us of your relations with that world. Thought it ought to be said.

    @Michael Reynolds: Also have a caveat regarding ‘Israel has to live in the mideast not north america’ comment; you know very well that central europe was a plenty dangerous place after Versailles (and of course before but moderated by the Hapsburgs). The ‘need to unite the german people’ had just as much moral grip back then as the ‘safeguard the jewish people’ does today.

    Speaking for myself only, expecting a Jewish Homeland founded post-ww2 to behave in higher ethical planes than most of the world’s nation-states seemed natural and obvious. “How could they NOT do better?” Unfortunately, we become what our enemies make us sometimes.

  61. Michael Reynolds says:


    Speaking for myself only, expecting a Jewish Homeland founded post-ww2 to behave in higher ethical planes than most of the world’s nation-states seemed natural and obvious. “How could they NOT do better?” Unfortunately, we become what our enemies make us sometimes.

    Yes, this. It’s been a disappointment to American and European Jews, and one of the reasons many western Jews have given up on Israel, as I have. Our values are western values. But it seems neither vice nor virtue are functions of race or religion. Humans are humans, damn them.

    I do find it amusing that Americans fall back on apartheid as the example, when the more accurate example is this obscure country called the United States, which currently exists on land taken from the people who held it previously. If I were an Israeli I’d make this offer: we’ll give back the West Bank when the Americans give back Manhattan.

  62. JohnSF says:

    @Michael Reynolds:
    In the US, perhaps.
    In Europe the issue has considerable traction with Arab and Muslim populations.
    Though it is not consistent; it is not a primary concern in polls I recall, loses salience when out of headlines.
    But still, enough to influence the generally left-of-centre parties that tend to pick up urban Muslim votes, and public discourse generally.
    I repeat: mass expulsions would radically shift the politics.
    And Germany is the main factor: it has always tended to brake EU moves seen as hostile to Israel. And has also been a major arms source: the Israelis nuclear-capable SLCM subs are German built.

    Lose German public opinion and Israel has a major problem

    Also, the current power dynamics in the Middle East are not stable longer term.
    Syria and Iraq are currently out of the equation. That will not continue forever.
    Egypt is anti_Iran; but a major factor in that is the interest of the current government in financial backing from Arabia/Gulf rather than direct present conflict between Cairo and Tehran.

    Israel is betting on the ascendancy of the Arab/Gulf dynasts.
    Well, OK, tactically but it’s iffy in the long run IMHO.

    Funny thing is, the whole situation leave one person really keen on the continued rule of the mullah-ocracy in Tehran being Bibi Netanyahu. LOL
    That could change

  63. JohnMcC says:

    Almost forgot what brought me here this time! ESPN has an article up on their news site that says that back in 2007, while the NE Patriots were dealing with the ‘spygate’ scandal, Mr Trump offered a bribe to Sen Arlen Specter (who was threatening to hold hearing). This is apparently from the Senator’s son who was a witness.

  64. @Michael Reynolds:

    Going underground makes them more dangerous

  65. CSK says:

    This is interesting. Ben Rhodes has a conversation with the woman who cooks his breakfast, a Trump supporter.

    She’s not bothered by Trump’s lies, because that’s how he does business.

  66. JohnSF says:

    Little not-so secret: the House of Saud doen’t give a flying F for the Dome of the Rock.
    The Wahabbi ulema may be different matter, (and an under-appreciated half of the Saudi/Wahabbi dyarchy) but they defer to the House on external affairs.
    The Saudi clan are concerned about their sweet, sweet wealth, their precious hides, and what secures both: rule in Riyadh.

  67. Kathy says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    Did anyone take the mantle from Dr. Kevorkian?

  68. JohnSF says:

    @Michael Reynolds:
    Under appreciated aspect of Israeli politics: the now-dominant “ethnic” bloc are not the Ashkenazi and “western”Sephardi of the early period, but the descendants of Jews expelled from the Arab countries in the 1940’s. Roughly a million Jews IIRC; about four times the number of Arabs who fled Israeli territory in 1948.
    And whose descendants are bitter about the whole business.
    They generally don’t give a stuff about “western” perception of their actions.
    Probably neither do another significant group: the post-1980’s “Russian” Jews.

  69. Kathy says:


    It’s like this:

    I fully believe trump capable of offering bribes. I also fully believe him incapable of paying them.

  70. JohnSF says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    But no, it seems the only ethnic cleansing we ever really care about is Israel’s.

    It sometimes seems that way.
    Nobody spares much of a thought for expulsion of the Germans from East Prussia or Bohemia; or the Greeks from Ionia in Asia Minor, about half of the old Greek lands; or the Finns from Karelia. etc.

    I suspect it’s a matter of Israel being considered part of the “West” (an arguable point given its populations antecedents) and the contingency of contemporary history: the Israel/Palestine issues have just kept on keepin’ on more or less since WW2, involving several of the larger post-1945 wars, a short period of worrying Superpower snarling, and major issues like oil supplies, Suez, and the containment of Russia.
    Plus the historic lag of traditional focus of the Powers.

    By contrast, when you get down to it, relatively few know or care much about whatever happens or doesn’t in Tigray, or Nagorno-Karabakh, or the Sinkiang deserts, or the hills of Assam etc.
    Key interest (in both senses) not in play.

  71. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker: No, his Confederate cousin, Jim Bob Lincoln.

  72. EddieInCA says:

    Fox News guest says “Mass shooters were probably vaccinated”. Seriously. He said that.

  73. Kathy says:

    Israel would do well to realize they are no longer the startup country facing a continual existential threat from bigger neighbors. That situation earned the country a lot of sympathy and support. That is no longer the case.

  74. JohnSF says:

    Thing is, Netanyahu, much of Likud, and a crucial number of their support, simply don’t care about “sympathy and support”, or (slightly different emphasis) aren’t interested, and won’t be until it reaches a tipping point.
    At which point it may be too late.
    Or believe that factors of the balance of power outweigh any sentimental aspects; likely true short term; long term, more dubious.

    A sensible government in Israel would be using the current power alignment advantage to leverage a settlement on advantageous but sustainable terms, aware that the current power configuration is highly unlikely to persist.

    OTOH the problem is that Hamas is an almost impossible interlocutor, Tehran will likely attempt to disrupt any negotiations that showed sign of progress, and the Palestinians persist in viewing vague external expressions of sympathy as being of real value.
    They are entrenched in a “politics of performative defiance”, not without precedent in Arab politics (to put it mildly).
    And as long as they are, Israeli politics also trend to a policy of repression and retaliation, whether as deterrent or incentive. (Not to mention Bibi’s pressing desire to stay out of jail; and the Israel settler “ultras” sheer bloody-mindedness)

    And no outsiders are currently motivated enough to engage enough to chance the political calculus. Even if they could, which is doubtful.

  75. Kathy says:


    I think the ruling indicted criminal, his party, and much of the opposition, are gambling on steadfast support from the slightly less nativist, nationalist GOP, in particular if they regain the White House in 2024.

  76. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: I was wondering if it might have been Elmo Lincoln (first? ever portrayal of Tarzan in a silent movie), too.

  77. JohnSF says:

    But as long as the Israelis grind slowly the end result could be the same, and the Dems are unlikely develop a consensus for hard pressure on Israel.
    Similarly, in Europe, if the Israeli’s are prudent, Germany won’t jump.

    It’s whether Netanyahu’s self-interest, and the hardest line elements of Likud and the settler movement, lure Israel to extreme measures.
    Then all bets are off.

    OTOH, the hardliners might await a Republican revival, then move to a full on annex/expel/disenfranchise policy (either GOP presidency, or perhaps if Reps. win the House and Senate in 2022?).
    That could be a massive mistake (again, because: Germany).

  78. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Jax: I took my sons to the 4 corners 30 years or so ago. While there we stopped at Petrified Forest NP (and several others in the area). Picking up petrified wood is of course illegal inside the park, but stop just about anywhere outside of the park and one was sure to find the ground littered with petrified wood. Same was true for pottery shards inside parks, but ruins seemed to be everywhere and once one learned what to look for, easy to find. Again, all one need do was bend over and pick the shards up off the ground. I remember stopping to pee on some gravel road to nowhere and realizing the road was paved with shards.

    Be careful tho, the shards have the additional protection of an ancient Navajo curse that will haunt one’s dreams until the shard is returned to it’s last resting place. 🙁

  79. JohnMcC says:

    @JohnSF: thank you

  80. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Jax: DOH! Meant to say thanx for the Fossil Butte tip before I got to talking about AZ and NM.

  81. Michael Reynolds says:


    That situation earned the country a lot of sympathy and support.

    They have something better now: power.

  82. JohnSF says:

    @Michael Reynolds:
    Talleyrand to Napoleon:

    “… My Lord, you can do anything you like with bayonets, except sit on them… “

  83. Kathy says:

    There’s a piece on CNN on vaccine tourism.

    The piece doesn’t address what European, African, or Asian people are doing, or other vaccine destinations (there’s a brief mention of Cuba, but there’s no vaccine there yet).

    I expect as the US vaccinates most people who want to be vaccinated, the vaccine makers will shift more of their production to countries who still lack sufficient doses.

  84. George says:


    So do indigenous Americans. Its interesting how many United State citizens are more concerned about the colonization of Palestine than of the Americas.

  85. JohnSF says:

    And how few Irish are concerned about the conquest of Pictish Hibernia by the “Irish” Scoti. 🙂

  86. CSK says:

    Oh, quite so. That may well account for the sympathy between Native Americans and the Irish. See my later comment about the Choctaws.

  87. George says:


    Didn’t get that far until now — thank-you, I’d never heard that before.

  88. Sleeping Dog says:


    Since the end of the Six Day War the solution to the Palestinian question has been Israel’s to decide. They were the dominant power then and have only enhanced that dominance during the intervening years. In retrospect, with Arafat’s rejection of Israel’s last offer at Taba, Israel should have imposed that solution and went forward implementing it. Yes, Fatah would have screamed and there would have been violence, but after a bit, the realization by the people that they had a country and needed a government to meet their needs would have led to a grudging peace.

    It’s too late now as the images from above show.

  89. Jax says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: You bet! And if you swing by here for a beer, my daughter and I can show you where we found the fossilized turtle graveyard in the back 40. Haven’t found a whole one yet, just hundreds and hundreds of pieces, all different sizes and thicknesses. She dug a chunk out of the side of the bluff that we sent off to an expert, he concluded that area has prehistoric crocodilian remains, not turtles.

  90. JohnSF says:

    @Sleeping Dog:

    It’s too late now…

    But the Israeli problem if they reject a Palestinian state, or at least an autonomous entity, is that they have three basic choices.

    – Annex all formally (or maybe all but Gaza); then how do they handle the Palestinian population? Explicit permanent inherited disenfranchisement for all time?

    – Annex informally, reduce the Palestinians to marginalised, impoverished life on scraps of land, and hope they can keep the lid on that pressure cooker for ever, and if it erupts they can manage it. This is the current policy, in effect. Works for now; but depends on a particular power balance and politics in the region that is unreliable long-term. And sees gradual erosion of their wider diplomatic position due to an over-valuation of short term dominance.

    – Annex and expel. Very, very, very high risk.

  91. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @JohnSF: Hold my beer. Watch this!

  92. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Jax: he concluded that area has prehistoric crocodilian remains, not turtles.

    Too cool, it’s a date. As long as my wife is welcome. (looks over shoulder) 😉

    Truth is, my wife would geek out on it even more than I. She loves geology. She was blowing fuses the whole time we were at the Badlands.

  93. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @JohnSF: The current situation is not sustainable. The alternatives are worse.

  94. Jax says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Of course your wife is welcome! That would be….weird, and creepy, if she wasn’t. 😉

    The earthworks contractor for the reservoir dam and I are trying to figure out how we can get his equipment up there to scrape out the top 8 feet above that layer without damaging the fossils underneath. We figure if we can find a whole one, we could pay for the dam repairs!

    Big dreams, I got big dreams. 😛

  95. Jax says:

    An estimated 700 Texans sacrificed to the Gods of De-Regulation and failed Republican policy. 😐

  96. CSK says:

    Speak you of Dal Riata?

  97. Sleeping Dog says:


    A Palestinian state based on the 67 borders with adjustments was (barely) possible, today it would be impossible. The expansion of the settlements, the change in Israeli politics would make that impossible. Even some sort of semi autonomous existence for Palestinians is possible due to how the population has been divided.

    I agree with your options, interestingly, I have a recollection of an analysts of Sharon’s thinking when he returned to power in the early oughts. That writer believed that Sharon came to the conclusion that without some sort of 2 state solution that Israel could not exist in the long term as a Jewish, democratic state. Of course he didn’t live long enough to resolve the problem. Then we got Bibi.

  98. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Jax: Good luck. Big dreams cost nothing but can pay big dividends. 😀

  99. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Sleeping Dog: Yeah, but who wants to live in a democratic state when you can lay the smack on those who are inferior to you? (See: Jim Crow South)

  100. Jax says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker: My dream is a big-ass whole turtle or crocodile for a collection, but my heart hopes I find one of the little turquoise or red ones for myself! I hear from the expert that’s just oxidation, but we have whole ziploc bags based on size (thickness of the shell) and color. If we can peel back the top 8 ft and dig by hand down to the layer where the Idaho volcanoes were exploding and this shallow sea dried up…..

  101. DrDaveT says:


    I really geek out when it comes to fossils.

    One of my colleagues took a year off work to ride his motorcycle from the East Coast up through western Canada to Barrow, Alaska, back down through the Pacific Northwest, here and there around the lower 48, and eventually back home. He claimed the highlight of the trip, by far, was stopping to do some fossil-hunting at the Burgess Shale.

  102. DrDaveT says:


    I’m not smiling until the Orange Ass performs the best perp walk ever.

    Preferably down a moderately steep ramp.

  103. JohnSF says:

    Yes, that was the earlier stage of the “conquest”(?); how violent or gradual is rather unclear, last I read (years back).
    Some seem to believe that it was mainly peaceful expansion (which may be wishful thinking IMO) and that the Picts and a pre-Pictish population thinly populated the NW while the Pictish heartlands were on the eastern and SE side of the mountains.

    Also, noticed a mistake: said “Pictish Hibernia”; should have used Pictish Alba, as Hibernia is often used to refer to the Q-Celtic aka Gaelic region as a whole.

    Anyway, main point is there’s relatively few areas of Europe, and likely much of the rest of the globe, that have not been occupied by a succession of peoples, very often at the expense of previous inhabitants.