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    • The Rule of Alienation and Stability
      One of my favourite sights is to see people complaining that marginalized people don’t understand that their support for Bad Politician-X results in fucking themselves. “Sure,” runs the line, “their lives suck now. But they’ll suck even worse if this guy gets into power.” This is often (but not always) true. It is also irrelevant. […]
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Human sacrifices.

The memo fiasco isn’t over yet. It’s a stupid memo, the holes are obvious. Just because it makes Nunes look like a useful idiot, Paul Ryan like Saruman and Trump like a vengeful asshole, doesn’t mean he isn’t going to displace Rod Rosenstein from overseeing Robert Mueller’s investigation. Dahlia Lithwick at Slate says that the president can do whatever he likes with Rosenstein including replacing him with Anthony Scaramuche who would have the option to restrict Mueller’s investigation to finding out what is the best flavor of ice cream at Baskin-Robbins.

That doesn’t mean it would be the smart, prudent or ethical thing to do. It would not. And it shows what the criminal defense lawyers and US AGs are calling a “consciousness of guilt”. You didn’t see Hillary refusing to cooperate with the FBI or simply signing an affidavit that says “I didn’t do nothing” instead of meeting with the special counsel over her email server, which looks ludicrously overblown in retrospect.

But that’s not even the point of this post, although Lithwick says we should keep an eye out for fault lines in the GOP. That will tell us whether Trump can get away with his latest escapade. (I really think the public is going to have to demonstrate how displeased it is before Republicans buy a clue)

No, this post is about the crazy thing that Matthew Pottinger was supposed to have said the other day about bombing North Korea as a way to win the midterms. From the Nordic Business Insider:

Foreign-policy experts and lawmakers were aghast following a South Korean news report that attributed to a staffer on President Donald Trump’s National Security Council the suggestion that a limited strike against North Korea “might help in the midterm elections.”

The alleged comment, which was sourced from a scathing opinion column published Friday local time in the South Korean newspaper Hankyoreh, intimated that Trump would consider a limited strike against the North Korean regime “as a way out of his domestic political crisis” in midterm elections.

“Indeed, White House National Security Council senior director for Asian affairs Matthew Pottinger was reported as saying in a recent closed-door meeting with US experts on Korean Peninsula issues that a limited strike on the North ‘might help in the midterm elections,'” the English-translated version of the op-ed read.

The comment has been retracted but it’s hilarious how the journal keeps saying “he really said it even though we’re reporting that he’s issued a retraction/correction/whatever {{rolling eyes}}”

South Korea’s news site Hankyoreh backs up the idea that Trump is looking for a way to flex his muscle in a “bloody nose” strategy involving a limited nuclear strike somewhere in North Korea by reporting on the resignation of newly appointed diplomat Victor Cha:

The so-called “bloody nose” strategy, referring to a limited preventive strike against North Korea, has gone public following the withdrawal of Victor Cha’s nomination as US Ambassador to South Korea. The bloody nose is one of the Donald Trump administration’s military options: a small-scale, limited surgical strike against North Korean nuclear sites or other nuclear facilities that ostensibly would not provoke a response from North Korea.

There’s no way to know how seriously this strategy has been discussed at the White House. It’s also unclear whether Cha’s nomination was withdrawn because of his opposition to the strategy or for personal reasons. But a Jan. 30 contribution from Cha to the Washington Post suggests the truth probably has something to do with a debate over the “bloody nose” approach that unfolded between hardliners and moderates during the nomination process. That’s what makes the present situation seem so serious and troubling.

To begin with the idea that North Korea “wouldn’t dare” strike back against the US is both sad and dangerous. It’s based on a US-centered mindset that equates a North Korean counter-strike with the end of the Pyongyang regime. But with Trump administration hardliners describing Kim Jong-un as “irrational and unpredictable,” it’s not clear how they are predicting he would reach the same military conclusion as them. It’s a gamble where the stakes are millions of lives.

The people advocating the bloody nose approach are either hardliners with military backgrounds or laypeople in terms of military and security issues. In most cases, their understanding of the Korean Peninsula or North Korea is close to zero. These people seem to possess authority that far outstrips their abilities. They’re also arrogant and rash.

According to Cha’s Washington Post piece, some ultra-hardliners have argued that the risk of endangering the lives of the 230,000 Americans living in South Korea if the bloody nose strategy escalates is worth taking in terms of “long-term interests” and the “safety of Americans living in the continental US.” The fates of 50 million South Koreans don’t even warrant a mention.

The reason hardline voices have gotten so much louder in the White House lately has much to do with the discussions occurring between South and North Korea for the Pyeongchang Olympics. It appears to be an attempt to stop a climate of reconciliation from forming on the peninsula. Given their lack of faith in denuclearization, they seem to believe the North Korean nuclear program will become irreversible if reconciliation occurs at a time of intensifying sanctions.

Meanwhile, the Russia scandal is raising the possibility that Trump not only faces a difficult road to re-election but could end up impeached. Depending on how the mid-term elections in November turn out, he could find himself a lame duck. This raises the troubling question of whether he might consider a strike against North Korea as a way out of his domestic political crisis.

It’s notable that 60% of South Koreans approve of better relations with North Korea through the upcoming Olympics but instead of letting this blossom into the Korean version of the toppling of the Berlin Wall, Donald wants to use a nuke to boost his political standing. To hell with 50 million people. They’re from one of those countries where we can’t understand what they’re saying. If they don’t make an effort to learn English why should we care what happens to them?

But wait, there’s more!

Just the other day, Trump said this:

Hours before his first State of the Union, President Donald Trump said Tuesday that he wants to unite the country amid “tremendous divisiveness” and hopes he can do so without a traumatic event affecting Americans.

Trump spoke about creating a more united country during a lunch with a number of television news anchors. Trump said the United States has long been divided, including during the impeachment of former president Bill Clinton. Trump also said that Americans usually come together during times of suffering.

“I would love to be able to bring back our country into a great form of unity,” Trump said. “Without a major event where people pull together, that’s hard to do. But I would like to do it without that major event because usually that major event is not a good thing.”

That sounds like a threat to me.

What the hell is he thinking here? He wants to bring the people together but doesn’t want to have to do WHAT, exactly? Make up some stupid excuse to nuke someone?

Apparently.

And now this from Charles Pierce at Esquire, Trump wants to take a nuke out of the garage for a test drive somewhere in the Nevada desert:

God, these people are weird. Do they think any of those people already don’t know we have enough megatons to vaporize the planet? Do they think turning a little more of Nevada into a glass parking lot is going to convince those people to turn into good democrats? Can they do anything except flex, clumsily and unconvincingly, on the international stage?

The Trump Administration, by contrast, is convinced that the best way to limit the spreading nuclear danger is to expand and advertise its ability to annihilate its enemies. In addition to putting the Nevada testing ground on notice, he has signed off on a $1.2 trillion plan to overhaul the entire nuclear-weapons complex. Trump has authorized a new nuclear warhead, the first in 34 years. He is funding research and development on a mobile medium-range missile. The new weapon, if tested or deployed, would be prohibited by a 30-year-old Cold War nuclear-forces agreement with Russia (which has already violated the agreement). And for the first time, the U.S. is expanding the scenarios under which the President would consider going nuclear to “significant non-nuclear strategic attacks,” including major cyberattacks.

Annnd, CNN just sent a notification to my iPhone of another Korea related story they’re following.

So, how will this play out? Are we hoping for or engineering some kind of terrorist attack at the upcoming Winter Olympics that we are planning to pin on Kim Jung-un? Then we take one of those sleek warheads out of storage and find a target in North Korea to obliterate?

Because I’m guessing that taking out our figure skating team is going to be a great way to unite the country.

{{facepalm}}

The madman we have to deal with is Donald Trump. Kim Jung-un might be a dictatorial asshole but he seems to be choosing the enemy of his enemy as his friend right now and who knows what might happen there?

If we don’t stop Trump ourselves, the rest of the world will step in to put a halt to this craziness on our behalf. My guess is that if Donald doesn’t calm the fuck down, the US athletes will be disinvited to the winter games by the international Olympic committee. It has an obligation to protect the athletes from all countries and Donald Trump could get them all killed.

Maybe that would unite us after all.

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