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October 09, 2006


It worries me a bit, sure... But mostly it makes me weary and sad that our failed leader continues to have such a tangibly negative effect on the world.

You nailed it for me. I'm not hitting the roof, not thinking this automatically spells genuine apocalypse or electoral doom. But it is one more piece of ugliness and danger to deal with in the world, one more thing to lay at Bush's feet even as he refuses to deal with it and others are forced to do so. And there are already far too many of those to even keep track of most days.


you suppose that the most powerful man in the world (currently President Bush) can cure all the problems the world has had "forever."
And then since he hasn't it must be all his fault?

That is a far reach.

heck of a job, george

is there anything that bush hasn't fucked up, got wrong, or just made mildly worse ???

Oh geez. I'm not saying Bush is responsible for, say, your behavior. I'm saying the predictable outcome to bullying happened. And he should be held responsible. He and Dick and Bolton have been saying forever that their bullying tactics would cow N Korea. And they were WRONG. So who will step up and take responsibility? And why SHOULD you want to give him a pass? He fucked this one up, royally.

hey jodi, I'd settle for solving ONE PROBLEM, just once, for one single fucking day

what have you got ???

Name one single issue that george bush has solved, figured out, or one single policy issue where george actually strung together a coherent sentence that seemed like a workable solution ???

I bet you can't name a single thing that george bush hasn't fucked up

got any money, troll

cuz money talks, and bullshit walks

Josh Marshall quotes Fareed Zakaria's characterization of the Bush stance on North Korea as "a policy of cheap rhetoric and cheap shots." Indeed, their stance of not negotiating with anyone with whom it might be difficult to negotiate is the peacetime counterpart to the wartime "Bush doctrine." Both only make sense if one has (a) absolute power, (b) perfect intelligence, and (c) no children or grandchildren you care about who will have to reap the whirlwind of violent resentment and permanent military overcommitment that it inevitably will entail.


no, not a free pass.

But what you are assuming is that if Bush had talked to the NK all would have been well. You assume that there wasn't a reason for doing what they did.
Truthfully, I don't know exactly what they knew at the time, or why they thought they had to do what they did, but I don't think that it was simply that they were schoolyard bullies.

I just think you (in the throes of the political times) are oversimplifying things.

And you insult me by saying I want to give him a Free Pass.

He has f**ked up royally on Iraq. His ideas for converting Social Security to a 401 plan were trash. The ideas he and his promoted it with would have removed the social safety net that many people, widows, and orphans, and disabled people need, and on, and on...

Anymore he is selling snake oil.

couldn't think of one, huh jodi ???

and yet you defent this putz that just got his ass kicked by a third rate Korean potzer ???

is there a third rate dictator who hasn't made bush look like a fool ???

so what's the attraction ???

i can't see how Bush could have done worse by talking to NK. he's taking the same stance in iran and strengthening the hand of the Mullahs with Josh Bolton-style diplomacy.

it isn't simply partisan gunslinging. Bush has screwed up yet again and you don't need to be a partisan to see it. His world view, simplistic and inept, doesn't allow him to deal effectively with others. it doesn't work. Miserable failure.

You pick what you want to call it.

eh, john Bolton. Josh Bolton domestic and political policy doesn't work either.

DemFromCT (started to write NK rather than CT, :) )
and for that matter emptywheel,

I agree that Bush should have talked to NK.

All I am saying is that it probably would have done no good.

NK has been to many, many meetings, and had many sessions, and something on the NK side always happens. Always.

I don't believe much would be different, and sometimes (and here I am just assuming) you have to stop playing along and get serious.

Call it "tough love."

You can't just give, and give, and give, ..., and get respect and a even handed exchange.

We just need to give NK some tough love. Now I am not presuming how to do that.


See the Financial Times article quoted by DemFromCT above -- talking with them effectively froze vital aspects of their program for a decade.

What makes you think North Korea are children that we need to discipline? They're acting like anyone might who observes who the US attacks (non-nuclear nations) and who they don't (nuclear nations). It is the Bush doctrine that is pushing Iran and North Korea. It is Bush that has accelerated proliferation around the world.

The Bush bullying and paranoia has strengthened every anti-American force on the planet: we backed Fatah, and Hamas scored a clear voting majority; Israel, with our support, has given Hezbollah a huge boost in recruiting and popularity; Iraq is now in the midst of a civil war so insoluble to American forces that W has now agreed to bring in James Baker, perennial Fixer, to come up with a way to declare "victory" and leave -- or at least come up with a new plan that enables us to slink off into the night.

Much as I've been angry with Woodward in recent years, I thought he nailed it yesterday, when he described how Cheney shouted "bullshit" and slammed the phone when Woodward tried to explain that Cheney's disclosure that Henry the K is a frequent WH visitor was on the record. Woodward called it a metaphor for this administration: when confronted with a differing opinion or an argument, get mad and refuse to continue communications.

This administration has been interested in one thing only: power. And like authoritarians everywhere, their "my way or the highway" approach is building a hell of a lot of new highways -- going places we don't want to go.

re: Jodi's embrace of Realpolitik:
I don't believe much would be different, and sometimes (and here I am just assuming) you have to stop playing along and get serious.

Call it "tough love."

You can't just give, and give, and give, ..., and get respect and a even handed exchange.

applied to the Bush Administration, I couldn't agree more. That's why we need to give the WH some tough love. Bush has violated the laws of this land and the international community. Each time his excuse is that he IS the law. Wrong answer. Impeachment, fair elections, international war crime tribunals... any and all would be fine with me.

The world may be a scary place right now. All the more reason to replace this administration with grownups and people who's integrity is not in tatters.


Ditto what MarkC said. In this case, we have verifiable proof you are dead wrong--because talking to NK (and dealing with them honestly, which BushCo also halted) worked.

Really, there are fundamentally clear policy differences between Clinton and Bush. ANd in just about every case (economy, foreign policy, etc) we can prove Clinton's policies worked and Bush's failed. Miserably.

You may want to excuse that kind of results--the kind of disastrous outcomes that are the sure result of ignorance over intelligence. But I don't. Frankly, I care too much for this world to be that cavalier about it. Accountability, and results, matter.

N Korea so purely demonstrates that world leaders are a complicated mix that simply can't be led by the nose or bullied into the corner by a foreign policy led by a guy you'd like to have a beer with. Lesson relearned here is that the pres of the US must have foreign policy depth, (for starters it should have been a clue to any dummy when Bush couldn't recall the leader of Pakistan's name)because this is a reality that IS like rocket science. Bush thought if Condi read him the cliff notes for a few months he'd be able to get by. Well, N Korea just demonstrated that disengagement does not a foreign policy make. BTW, been in that airport, slept on that floor. We were right across from a Scottish rock and roll band that had been drinking heavily (for quite some time) and the snoring, etc was quite memorable. I was intrigued that the Japanese don't have the same mindset about waiting in lines as Americans do. Who's to say they're not right?


We camped with one of the top fireworks producers in New England. Not a rock band. But after a really long flight and a beer or two, equally appropriate.

I think some of the "NK is a bad apple, it'll never work (whatever it is)" analysis confuses control with cure. Clinton with NK and iraq went for control. Messy work, but effective (but needs to be kept up). Bush went for cure. Totally ineffective and made things worse.

Re the "talking with NK" argument above.

The point is not just talking with North Korea, but rather crafting solutions, which can't be done without negotiations (which may be referred to denigratingly as "just talk.").

The issue that seldom is addressed in discussions like this, or throughout the news media, is North Korea's right to exist. President Bush and his neocons have made a number of statements (most recently Christopher Hill's about testing a weapon or having a future) that seem to indicate that they want to, and are planning to, remove the regime in North Korea.

That is the issue that must be addressed.

The Bush position is consistent: there is no point in negotiating with a regime that you have already decided must be destroyed.

But regime change could mean a change in direction by the same people. And that isn't going to happen as long as you're telling them you want them out no matter what and will take military measures if you deem it necessary.

Bush's problems are not just his ignorance and poor judgemnt. He actively and reflexively rejects what (1) his father did or would have done and (2) what Clinton did as per se wrong, and wants to "prove" that his way is better; therefore he is just as good if not better, than them.

So Bush ditched the Agreed Framework and eschewed talk and diplomacy becauae that was his father's and Clinton's style. He would show he was a tough guy and that tough policies work. Cheney fed right into this childish mindset.

The North Koreans want food and trade and some kind of end to their isolation. They want assurances that we will not invade them as we invaded Iraq, or bomb them as we are talking about with Iran. This is not irrational if one looks at the world from their perspective, something Bush/Cheney can't do, because they think they are always right. They think it is a waste of time trying to understand anyone else's perspective, (1) because it is obviously wrong and (2) they know everything useful already. They have no conception of understanding someone else's reality because it is part of shared reality and will enable them to cope with that reality better.

Consequently we see mistake after disaster after catastrophe. These people are seriously missing part of the equipment of a healthy psyche, not to put too fine a point on it. Because of this, they cannot formulate effective policies and cannot admit it when they are wrong. They are leading us into disaster.

I just hope the Dems don't try to out-hawk Bush/Cheney, as that will ensure we have even more messes on our hands than we have now.

Mimikatz, excellent points. Provides a very plausible reason for Bush's behavior. Cheney is unhinged. He found a ready ear for his megalomanical ideas in a petulant George W. Bush.

one thing that this imperial presidency has proved is that one man, one failed presidency, is powerful enough to change the world...in a negative way. Remember when the Cheney types were bemoaning how weak the presidency had become, how emasculated it was by Congress, etc.?

yeah, they went out of their way to empower the president. Now, if we survive these destructive idiots with any democracy intact, we have reason enough to shift power away from the executive branch again. That's George W's legacy: one man can make a difference, not in a good way, though.

Tristero at Digby's has a provocative post asking if the NoKo nuke test was Rove's "October Surprise" and if so, did it backfire in the wake of Foley and other examples of GOP incompetence?

Tristero asks whether it is possible to imagine a worse outcome for the affected parties than the results of Bush's misguided policies--worse for the US than chasing a ballistic missle shield instead of "al Qaeda determined to strike in US, worse for disaster victims than neglecting obvious threats like Katrina, worse for patients than crippling stem cell research, etc, etc, etc. To which I'd add worse for the country with the Boomers retiring than doubling the national debt by refusing to hold the line on spending and enacting huge, unpaid-for tax cuts, and worse than refusing to curb pollution, fuel inefficiency and dependence on foreign oil, perhaps our biggest time bombs.

Thise who don;t undestand just how badly Bush has screwed the country and the world shouldm give it a read. It is devastating.

Everyone connng their German history books is looking at the wrong guy, in the wrong decade.

This is the second coming of Wilhemine Germany, with our own overcompensating, Philistine, bull-in-the-diplomatic china store Kaiser.

they want to, and are planning to, remove the regime in North Korea.

Yeah, and I want to score with Jessica Alba.

We've got equal chances of succeeding, because we've got comparable tools to do it with.

I also wondered if this was a backfired October Surprise. On a different note, I heard last night on the radio program "The World" that man-on-the-street South Koreans have expressed a sense of pride in Korean achievement, because they see South and North coming closer together in spite (or because) of this. It is the United States that's been isolated by this event.

The only thing this "test" by NK serves is to inflame the rhetoric coming from our own "Great Leader" in time to scare people before the election. Although, I'm not certain what the electorate is expected to be scared into voting for, or against.
Neither party in Congress has made any memorable statement (to me) in the past about NK's nuclear future which would lead one to vote for or against it for that reason.

Whatever capability the NK's have to turn this event into something of immediate danger to the rest of the world is far in the future without finncial and scientific-technological help from the outside. "We have nothing to fear but fear itself."

it does appear that the explosion was either, A. not a nuclear one, or B. a dud. It seems to have registered less than a kiloton, and the atomic community says it is unlikely the yield would be so low without an error. Perhaps they blew up the primary, but not the main?
why would anyone react to this as though it were a nuclear explosion if their analysts were aware by the richter scale readings that it was, well, NOT? Who would gain with all of this outcry if they just screwed up and everyone knows it? Japan certainly has sensors that would have told them what it was?

and don't look at me, I am just paraphrasing what is on the wire about this issue at this moment, 4:30 Eastern appx

Two more years....of this Bushit.

I remember when MTWheel shared with me on the road to Iowa her reasons for opposing Bush was the thought of 4 more years of his police state. While I agreed whole heartedly, I never thought it could get so bad, or continue so long.

Keep pushing and keep hacking away. Who knows in a few weeks we can end this nightmare with the first gavel sound of hearings lead by the Democratic leadership.

Ok. Let me see if I understand all this.

The world has gone to hell in the last 6 years, and everything before was just peachy.

bin Laden was born during the Bush Administration.
NK went maverick with its "son of hell" leader during the Bush Administration
the economy went to hell in the last 6 years
bird flu has become a problem during the last 6 years
mad cow has become a problem during the last 6 years
the Atlanta Braves and the NY Yankees have tanked during the last 6 years
the Democrats couldn't get off the starting mark during the last 6 years
rampant criminal sexuality has arisen in Congress and Government during the last 6 years
we have all grown older in the last 6 years

And it is all Bush's fault with of course the help of 50 percent of the most stupid vile people in American Society.

Gee, oh Golly Gee. It must really be a boon to most here on this forum to have a pat paranoia (they did it) answer for all your worries, and to forget that all these events in the last 6 years are only continuations of sequences that started long before.
Some during the Clinton era, some well before.

The problem with being unrealistic is that most can't keep it compartmentalized to say just one item in their life (like say a lover) but it spreads to their bank account, to their family relationships, to their politics, to their job, to their view of eternity.
Lack of realism is a disease that is very virulent, and contagious. It has been around a long time.
"Hey, we will always have plenty to eat. Just one hairy mamoth will do."


Get real folks!
Get real.

Oh yeah.

Womens' Soccer tanked in the last 6 years too.


Just as it would be wrong to blame Bush for events outside of his control, it would be wrong to give him a free pass on the consequences of the policy choices he made. Ignoring Bin Laden was a choice he made (before and after 9/11). Invading Iraq was a policy choice he made. Gutting the Geneva Conventions and habeas corpus was a policy choice he made. Endorsing torture as a national policy was a policy choice he made. His approach to the North Korean nuclear program is a failure by his own standards. Where is the realism in pretending that all of this is outside of our control?

(I am posting a lot today. I have finished my big presentation and recommendations for Wednesday.)


William Ockham,

of your list, I agree with you on Iraq.

Ignoring bin Laden would seem a poor choice of words. bin Laden was out there from the early 90s at least doing bad things.
Bush wasn't ignoring him, though he was re-evaluating that situation.

The Geneva Covention/habeas corpus issue is a straw man.
The question is what does the language mean.
The courts and congress have agreed in main. Now of course congress can change its mind and maybe even the courts, and surely the next president. That is our form of government. Of thepeople and by the people for the people or some such.
Torture? What does that mean?
But finally to say our actions endanger our troops is really without sense. Our troops that are now captured are lucky if they are just killed quickly. Usually they are hung, or beheaded, or dragged throught the streets, and dismembered, and burned.
It is like having the ??? (I don't have time to look up spelling) Marquis de Queenbury set of pugilistic boxing rules for us when we are fighting mad dogs.

North Korea is very very complicated. Sure you (and I) can say the US should talk. That seems very simple. Then the administration says when we do talk, nothing happens, or they change their position, or just lie. And if you assume that if we had been talking this test wouldn't have occured, I am afraid I would have to "snort" at that as being a fanciful wish. The NK (crazy little guy with bad hair) has its (his) own agenda. Another mad dog!


I'm not at all clear what you are talking about. Let's start with some definitions. A "straw man" argument is a false and easily demolished assertion that one imputes to one's opponent. I imputed no assertions to you or anyone else, so I think the "straw man" part of your post is irrelevant to the discussion at hand. On the other hand, I've never made the charge that endorsing torture would endanger our troops, so I could easily make the claim that your are engaging in a "straw man" argument. My opposition to torture is much more fundamental than that tactical claim (which may or may not be true, many military leaders endorse it). Torture is morally wrong. It is a greater danger to the torturer than the victim.

I think there is ample evidence that Bush ignored Bin Laden and the threat he embodied before 9/11. Richard Clarke marshalls that evidence most effectively in my opinion. I highly recommend his book, if you haven't yet read it. Since 9/11, Bush has frankly admitted that he is ignoring Bin Laden and one only needs to look at how we've spent our resources since then to conclude that this is not disinformation.

There is absolutely no question about the meaning of the Geneva Conventions. Despite the efforts of Bush and others in his administration to confuse the issue, there is, in fact, a widely understood body of work defining specific practices that are considered torture. Even if there wasn't, anybody with an ounce of common sense knows that waterboarding is torture. We actually prosecuted Japanese WWII military commanders for war crimes for conducting waterboarding. Also, the Geneva Conventions are a treaty that we have signed. We can pull out from that treaty, but we are not free to re-interpret it to our own liking. That is a basic concept of government that you should acquaint yourself with.

The part of your post that disturbs me most is your willingness to dehumanize our opponents. They are most definitely not "mad dogs". They are human beings. They love, they laugh, they bleed. Try to remember that as your government incites you to fear and hate.

On the North Korean issue, I would ask you to take a look at Bush's public statements about North Korea. He has made a number of assertions about what the outcome of his policies would be. He has failed to live up to his own standards. That's all I'm arguing, at the moment.


An uncle of mine was tortured by the Japanese. Would you explain to me, just as you would explain to him, why the Geneva Conventions, habeas corpus and torture are "strawmen"?

Bush wasn't ignoring him, though he was re-evaluating that situation.

I call that BULLSHIT

BULLSHIT of the first order

jodi is an out right liar

george bush wasn't reevaluating a fucking thing

The Condiliar was scheduled to give a major speech on September 11, 2001, and the word TERRORISM wasn't mentioned once in the draft of the speech

the Condiliar was preparing to sell MISSILE DEFENSE as the most pressing foreign policy problem

Richard Clarke and George Tenet both tried to tell the condiliar that terrorism, and more specifically OSAMA BIN LADEN was the most important foreign policy threat

All of the experts agreed that the lights were blinkig red on terrorism

and dick cheney's terrorism focus group had NEVER FUCKING MET


and this fucking troll still ain't been able to think of a single thing bush has done right

please do not feed the trolls

William, and Quicksilver.

I am sorry for your grief, and understand your concerns. I understand all too well. In Afghanistan and Iraq, I have had 3 immediate family members serve. One is safe now unless this things goes on for a few more years, and then he may be called up as a reserve officier. Two are on active duty now. One is in Germany and is probably currently about as safe as you can be outside this country. The third is due to report again for [[another]] tour. Of course with that many serving, I know quite a few more.
But I have never had a family member on my mom's side or my dad's side or any actual friend be a POW. Regretfully though, death hasn't been such a stranger.

I do not refer to your personal thoughts when I say "strawman." I refer to the many times I have heard about "putting our troops in danger" with our policies. I don't believe it. The troops there don't believe it. They know what happens to an American Serviceman that is captured over there.
That does not mean I condone "anything goes."

And I have covered in other posts more what I think as regards torture. I don't want to visit that again today.

Again I wish to offer my condolances for your relative.

I have thought about the shift at TNH these past two weeks, and welcome deceased theologian WO's spectral visitation as we approach the harvest festival October 31, and pass thru the autumnal fast and feast events. I think the stridency of NeoControversy brought to these threads recently now pre-election serves as a litmus of the importance of the insights developed and shared here in recent years. It is curious that on matters of weapons control the adversariality is extraordinarily pronounced in the current thread, as this was a central theme in several investigations which we have shared since, approximately, the first nomination hearing for JBolton, and subsequently the Judy escapades dabbling in the fringes of arms vendor intrigues. ew has had good vision in disarmament matters through these times.

Again today I re-read the famous loose cannon speech Bolton gave on the eve of negotiations in Korea a few years ago; it is archived ubiquitously as a sort of exemplar of parallel government, the kind of politics for which he is notorious, George Voinovich's recant notwithstanding.

On the legalistic repartee, among a few contributors, above, I understand why a subsequent post has the tagline not for current comment, or somesuch. The constitutional law websites mainstream to leftstream and even some Quite Conservative sites, have raised a raucous clamor about the specious jingoist jargon the current administration has applied to the body of human law in its effort at self defense. It is a heated argument which little tolerates dispassionate discourse; witness some interchanges in this thread. It takes strength to meter insight and knowledge the way ew has here in the past few years, as in ew's work at dKos and a sprinkling of other websites. I encourage that to continue. The very well paid trolls will mutter their monologues irrespective of the trail of the conversation, even disrespective of it. It is important to live in the present, yet something about the recent soapbox allusions our own paid troll has left reminds me of someone I once met who claimed to be a debutante groupie or some such, decked out in extraordinary garb, young, wise, even airily brilliant; and probably from the CIA, seeking to ferret information about an acquaintance. There was a relevant feeling to talking with her and saying it was merely someone I had met not really knew; but something seemed amiss in even accepting her appeals as pertinent to our family life, and her unannounced visit as genteel. I forget why she left, likely because it was too far from where she wanted to be and where she needed to get to to unearth some facts and data important to her. She would have fit easily at a coming out event for well heeled gentry, and looked funny somehow, standing on a shuffleboard deck in our remote ranch, a nymph momentarily coalesced from the soul of the forest on our land. Then returned to the spiritual realm nevermore seen.

Rejoining today, to me the NK issue is thorny particularly because conventional cannonade in NK at the green zone feasibly could flatten the capitol city of SK; nuke is a quantum beyond.

Recently I was in touch with a Mark Warner frontperson who maintains a website with deniability of connectivity to MW, as there is as yet no official draftMW movement, only a very methodical nationwide testing of the waters with regularly scheduled events. This demi-DraftMW person was extraordinarily vague when I questioned about where MW would stand on nuclear energy for Electricity; this is far from Weaponry applications. I simply wanted to know MW's evolution of thinking on the subject since ew raised it in their tete-a-tete after the SpaceNeedle reception, or whatever the great party event was called. I think the energy industry, which has two moguls in our nation's highest offices, is working the ranks of prospective candidates to seek to assure the next president and congress continue to divert the flow of money into that sector, and the most reactionary branch of energy generation is the nuclear segment. There is a somewhat dated Harvard Law Review interview with exGov Mark Warner which states clearly he favors a broad expansion of nuclear power plants in the US, intending to use it as a key plank to attract voters, reactionary voters, that is.

The China questions unresolved when MacArthur got a pinkslip from Truman in Korea, and echoed in speeches at West Point by both Truman and Bush-II, remain important. Even in 1952 resolution involved the UN. When Condoleezza Rice discussed her nomination she was reassuring on how firm she would be to keep the UN representative of the US within bounds. Maybe I will visit Voinovich's website, to see if he now shares the recognition of the importance of what is happening with NK diplomacy this week. He must realize he was a key person guiding our involvement there. He could forget Melody Townsel's testimony at the Bolton hearing. I wonder if he thinks we are nearer to peace than when he cast his first vote, against Bolton's nomination; now that he has reversed course.

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