The Dearth of Expertise: My Concerns with the Recent Actions by the North Korean Government

The Kim government’s recent activities – increasing missile testing, increasing the developmental process for assembling, fielding, and potentially deploying a nuclear weapon has most people concerned. As has the recent, official US statements in regard to these actions. At Foxtrot Alpha, Terrell Jermaine Starr makes an excellent argument for why there is no good military option for dealing with the Kim government’s recent actions. Starr specifically references an excellent post at Lawfare by Jacob Stokes and Alexander Sullivan. Stokes and Sullivan make very well thought out points- about how the US should engage with China in regard to this problem set.

And here’s where we get to the real problem and my real concern: we have precious few actual subject matter experts regarding North Korea. There is a perfectly reasonable explanation for this: the Kim family has kept North Korea essentially closed to everyone and everything outside of North Korea while at the same time heavily indoctrinating their own population. A population that is, by the measures we’re aware of, is incredibly impoverished. There are a few Americans that have gotten permission to spend extended periods in North Korea. Two of them have written books/parts of books about this, which are, of course, partially opposed to the other’s theses (h/t: The XX Committee). And there are also defectors to South Korea and other East Asian states. And, of course, the South Koreans have a significant portion of their Intelligence Community focused on their northern neighbor.

But, the real problem here is that we don’t have the ability to know about North Korea the way we do other places. Even when Iran and Cuba were under full US sanctions, we still had some Americans, as well as citizens of other countries traveling to them. Despite the sanctions both countries tried to be engaged with the rest of the world, albeit on their own terms As a result people did advanced academic/scholarly study of both countries, their politics, culture, religion, economics, etc. And because the leadership of each country had not tried to establish complete isolation from the outside world, subject matter expertise, from many different disciplines and approaches, and from many different people in different places developed.

This dearth of expertise – the lack of a significant number of professionals with deep subject matter expertise into the politics, culture, religion/spirituality, economics, kinship dynamics, etc – in regard to North Korea is a significant shortfall that the US, its allies, and partners will have to overcome in regard to adapting existing and developing new policies and strategies, and the contingency planning in regard to the Kim government’s actions. Moreover, this dearth of expertise is, right now, compounded by the new Administration’s falling behind in staffing the critical political appointments at our National Security departments, agencies, and offices. And the folks that are in place holding stopgap positions, and some who are in more permanent ones, do not exactly inspire confidence that they actually have the credentials, knowledge, skills, abilities, and expertise to help overcome this low information gap.

Trying to work through the North Korean problem set of the Kim family government is, itself, a wicked problem. This dearth of expertise comes at a particularly bad time for the US as we’ve moved into what Tom Nichols*, Professor of National Security Affairs at US Naval War College, calls the death of expertise. The Death of Expertise, is, in fact, the title of Nichol’s recent book. And we can see, in the North Korean problem set, the combination of both dearth and depth. For instance, should the US, its allies, and its partners, most likely working in conjunction with the People’s Republic of China, have to respond with military power to either a military provocation ordered by the Kim government or using all elements of National power (diplomatic, information, military, and economic/DIME) to a humanitarian crisis the lack of significant subject matter expertise in regard to North Korea combined with what seems to be key, senior officials’ within the new Administration antagonism towards expertise will make an effective response very difficult to almost impossible.

Lets just take one, technical military concern. And it would be a concern for both a military intervention and a whole of government approach, utilizing all elements of National power response, to a humanitarian crisis: setting the theater. Setting the theater is an Army doctrinal term defined in ADRP 4-0 as:

… all activities directed at establishing favorable conditions for conducting military operations in the theater, generally driven by the support requirements of specific operation plans and other requirements established in the geographic combatant commander’s (GCC) theater campaign plan. Setting the theater includes whole-of-government initiatives such as bilateral or multilateral diplomatic agreements to allow U.S. forces to have access to ports, terminals, airfields, and bases within the area of responsibility (AOR) to support future military contingency operations. Setting the joint operations area (JOA) includes activities such as theater opening, establishing port and terminal operations, conducting reception, staging, onward movement, and integration, force modernization and theater-specific training, and providing Army support to other Services and common-user logistics to Army, joint, and multinational forces operating in the JOA (FM 3-93).

After over a decade of war in Iraq and Afghanistan we now know, though current doctrine does not reflect it, that there are some other important things to consider when setting the theater. Specifically the broadly defined socio-cultural* context of the host country population among whom we will be operating – regardless of type of operation. Given the dearth of expertise about North Korean society, culture, religion, politics – other than what little we know of the Kim family, their retainers, and their understanding of government and governance, economics, etc we have significant gaps in the contextual knowledge we need to properly set the theater. For instance, if Myers is correct that the Kim family and their retainers have heavily propagandized the North Korean population for going on four or five generations, then simply being concerned with where to put phase lines and base troops and establish MSRs and logistics routes and/or emplace artillery is going to be insufficient as we will be operating among a population that has been acculturated and socialized to despise and distrust everyone but their own government and people. No matter how good our planners and logisticians are, without subject matter experts with deep expertise into North Korea’s different socio-cultural components, any operation – military or humanitarian – to provide inputs on how North Koreans are going to respond as people, is going to be fraught with more danger than normally accompanies such operations. To use Clausewitzian terms: responding to provocation by the Kim government or to the humanitarian needs of the North Koreans themselves, will be a response plagued by significantly more fog and friction than we have ever encountered before. And that means developing effective strategies to respond to the Kim government’s actions is going to be very, very, very difficult.

* I have never met Professor Nichols. I did correspond with him once by email, to send him a report I had done in 2011 on a topic he’d just written a column on and managed to send him a corrupted file – as in the file name was right, the title on the first page was right, but something not germane (and largely not coherent) had been saved as the document. And I didn’t bother to open the file and check it before emailing it across as an attachment to an email introducing myself. 10/10, big win, would do it again!

**  The only official doctrine/concept definition that we have of culture comes to us from CJCSI 1800.01E, the Officers Professional Military Education Policy (OPMEP). The definition is also mirrored in the Enlisted Professional Military Education Policy (EPMEP). No two doctrinal publications within the Army have the same definition for culture, hence the need to defer to this default joint definition. This definition is:

An interconnected set of ideas; all the information passed on between generations through language, writing, mathematics, and behavior. The distinctive and deeply rooted beliefs, values, ideology, historic traditions, social forms, perceptual predispositions, and behavioral patterns of a group, organization, or society that is learned, evolves and adapts over time, and is transmitted to succeeding generations.






160 replies
  1. 1
    Adam L Silverman says:

    Hey, whaddya know? I got my North Korea post done!

  2. 2
    Baud says:

    There are a few Americans that have gotten permission to spend extended periods in North Korea.

    We need Dennis Rodman now more than ever.

  3. 3
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Baud: Do not even joke about that.

  4. 4
    Baud says:

    @Adam L Silverman: Are you afraid Trump reads this blog and will get ideas?

  5. 5
    JPL says:

    @Adam L Silverman: Sorry Adam but Trump is tweeting. Maybe he knew you were going to post this…

    …money to Bill, the Hillary Russian “reset,” praise of Russia by Hillary, or Podesta Russian Company. Trump Russia story is a hoax.

    He seems concerned.

  6. 6
    Baud says:

    @JPL:

    Trump Russia story is a hoax.

    Jesus. That means it’s not a hoax.

  7. 7
    PsiFighter37 says:

    We do anything militarily, and there will be hundreds of thousands of DPRK storming through the DMZ before we know it, and bombs raining down on Seoul.

    What I don’t really understand is what China gets out of propping up the Kim regime. The whole concept of having a buffer/satellite state seems awfully anachronistic, especially with the U.S. retreating from Obama’s pivot towards the region…no one is really actively looking to be antagonistic towards the Chinese (except for nationalist Japanese politicians), as far as I can tell.

  8. 8
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @JPL: Oy vey.

  9. 9
    JMG says:

    Dear Adam: Thank you very much for this most informative post, but I really wish I had read it first thing tomorrow morning rather than last thing tonight.

  10. 10
    JPL says:

    @Baud: There’s more

    Why isn’t the House Intelligence Committee looking into the Bill & Hillary deal that allowed big Uranium to go to Russia, Russian speech….

    Finally Adam posts his NK blog, which is important the Orange Cheeto big foots him

  11. 11
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @PsiFighter37: And the four or five “Release Chiang!” guys left.

  12. 12

    In addition to the problems you’ve pointed out, there’s also the fact that central Seoul is only about 30 miles from the border with North Korea. About a quarter of the population of South Korea lives in Seoul.

  13. 13
    Hoodie says:

    @PsiFighter37:

    What I don’t really understand is what China gets out of propping up the Kim regime.

    They avoid millions of impoverished NK refugees streaming into China.

  14. 14
    hovercraft says:

    @Adam L Silverman:
    And it’s a good but somewhat scary one, considering who has to deal with it.

    @Baud:
    Isn’t Denis a friend of Twitler’s?
    The only other people who’ve dealt with the Kim’s successfully are Gore and Bill Richardson, and you know Twitler will resist turning to democrats.

    But hey not to worry, as recently demonstrated he’s a great negotiator!

  15. 15

    @PsiFighter37: They avoid a flood of hungry North Koreans streaming into northeastern China.

  16. 16
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @JMG: Sorry. I just didn’t have it in me to do another maskirovka post today.

  17. 17
    Baud says:

    @JPL: At least he didn’t ask for an investigation of pizzagate.

  18. 18

    @hovercraft: Bill Clinton has dealt with them too, good thing those emails derailed the Hillary warmonger.

  19. 19
    hovercraft says:

    @JPL:
    Projection.
    Does he really think that’ll work? The campaigns over and neither she nor Bill will ever run for anything again, so no one cares. The media will not let this go. Perhaps if we didn’t find another thread to pull at every single day. Oh well.

  20. 20
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @🐾BillinGlendaleCA: Yep, but that isn’t something that would be resolved if we had subject matter experts regarding North Korea or an Administration that was making efforts to properly staff itself and to work with the career civil servants.

  21. 21
    Jeffro says:

    For instance, if Myers is correct that the Kim family and their retainers have heavily propagandized the North Korean population for going on four or five generations, then simply being concerned with where to put phase lines and base troops and establish MSRs and logistics routes and/or emplace artillery is going to be insufficient as we will be operating among a population that has been acculturated and socialized to despise and distrust everyone but their own government and people. No matter how good our planners and logisticians are, without subject matter experts with deep expertise into North Korea’s different socio-cultural components, any operation – military or humanitarian – to provide inputs on how North Koreans are going to respond as people, is going to be fraught with more danger than normally accompanies such operations.

    I cannot picture the US or a coalition of countries trying to conduct ‘normal’ military operations on the land in North Korea. It would be like punching your fist into a fire ant mound and then leaving your fist there. With fire ant leaders who are not afraid to drop nukes on their own positions, as well.

    When you have an almost completely isolated country that’s been propagandized and impoverished for 4-5 generations…I’m not seeing how we win “hearts and minds” either on the ground or from afar, either.

    I’m not really happy with where some of this thinking seems to lead me, so I’ll hope that others will weigh in with some possible solutions. ‘Cause right now “kiss China’s ass and hope that the Chinese can keep the North Koreans’ nukes from being placed atop North Korean ICBMs” is about all I got. Once they cross that particular red line, we are in deep, deep trouble.

  22. 22
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Baud: Bite your tongue!

  23. 23
    Another Scott says:

    Thanks for posting this. It is indeed dangerous for the US not to have competent people in place thinking about and arguing for sensible foreign policy positions. But, with any luck, there are lots of discussions going on with our friends who still have those folks in place and who are advising us.

    The BBC seems to cover NK as well as anyone (better than most in the USA).

    RW-H had a fascinating piece on his visit to NK in 2016. It may be on YouTube if the BBCPlayer doesn’t work.

    Here’s a decent recent piece on their web site:

    […]

    So what’s the best option?

    There needs to be a mixture of pressure and dialogue, says Dr Nilsson-Wright. Pressure, he suggests, could involve some combination of enhanced sanctions, the relisting of North Korea as a State Sponsor of Terrorism (it was removed from the list in 2008), and close work with China to inflict real pain. Possible incentives could include formal diplomatic recognition by the US or a peace treaty (the two Koreas remain technically at war).

    Key to this approach would be coordination between the US, China, South Korea and Japan. But there is a new administration in the US and political paralysis in South Korea. Ties between Japan, South Korea and China remain fractious over historical issues. Beijing is also fiercely opposed to the deployment by the US of a Thaad missile defence system in South Korea. So there are divisions to exploit.

    “That is why North Korea is pushing it now – it knows it has a window on which to capitalise,” Dr Nilsson-Wright argues.

    I’m no expert, but I think that’s right – it needs to be a mixture of carrots and sticks, by all of the important players. And that isn’t going to happen with SK in turmoil, China upset about THAAD, us upset about the construction in the South China Sea shipping lanes, etc., etc.

    I’d heard for years that NK wanted a peace treaty with the US above all else. I don’t know enough about the details, but it seems that we’re being held captive by the lack of a treaty as well. It was a big mistake not to work harder to find a way to officially end the war decades ago.

    I hope it doesn’t come to a war for everyone to start pulling as one to figure out a pathway to a solution for NK.

    My $0.02.

    Cheers,
    Scott.

  24. 24

    @Adam L Silverman: The proximity of Seoul to the the border does limit our options, the South Koreans aren’t too keen on having a quarter of their population wiped out.

    Most of my wife’s family lives in Seoul.

  25. 25
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Jeffro: You are correct. As far as I know I’m the only person who’s written on the socio-cultural component to setting the theater. It’s a short paper, closer to a draft, based on actual inputs I’ve made to Corps and Army Service Component Command Commanders. And that’s the problem here. You need to have SMEs like me – who understand those thematic/conceptual issues and SMEs with deep expertise into North Korea contributing. We don’t have either right now.

  26. 26
    PsiFighter37 says:

    @Hoodie: @🐾BillinGlendaleCA: I don’t see why they couldn’t coordinate with the Reunification Ministry in South Korea to manage the situation. It’s a humanitarian crisis waiting to happen for sure, but there has to be some way to manage it in some way, a la Germany (although North Korea is in way, way worse shape than East Germany ever was).

  27. 27
    JPL says:

    Adam, I assume there are other countries that can gather intelligence from No. Korea. China doesn’t want an influx of North Koreans in their country, and I assume they have intel. Trump made some type of promises, which they rewarded him with trademarks. Maybe they’ll share..
    okay that was a stretch.

    @Baud: Not yet…

  28. 28
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @🐾BillinGlendaleCA: I’m not arguing that. Nor am I arguing it doesn’t have to be accounted for, but it is something within the scope of the extant planning and logistics expertise that we have outside of deep subject matter expertise into North Korea. Simply, we’re going to account for that either way because it is the type of thing we would account for regardless of where we might have to operate.

  29. 29
    hovercraft says:

    @🐾BillinGlendaleCA:
    I know, but if you were Bill would you go?
    I mean he could probably be persuaded to put aside his bitterness over the election for the good of the nation, but how the hell do you negotiate some sort of resolution between two megalomaniacs who are also insane and one of whom is clueless about everything? Neither can be trusted and Twitler would blame anything that went wrong on Bill, he’d accuse him of deliberately sabotaging him. CDS is still widespread enough that many people would believe it.

  30. 30
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @JPL: Yes. We collect intel. The PRC collects intel. The South Koreans collect intel. The Japanese collect intel. Here’s the problem: we don’t have deep contextual knowledge, because we don’t have the subject matter experts. This makes the intelligence important and useful, but it may not always make a lot of sense.

  31. 31
    Thru the Looking Glass... says:

    the Kim family has kept North Korea essentially closed to everyone and everything outside of North Korea while at the same time heavily indoctrinating their own population.

    Strangely enough, this is a pretty good desecription of the Fox news demographic too, except for the North Korea part… doesn’t the name ‘al Qaeda’ mean ‘the base’?

    Yup… that’s what the FBI says…

    Al-Qaeda” (“The Base”) was developed by Usama Bin Laden and others in the early 1980’s to support the war effort in Afghanistan against the Soviets.

    And Republicans love to talk about their base…

    Sorry… I know the thread is about N Korea but it’s hard not to see the parallels and the underlining similarities…

  32. 32
  33. 33

    @hovercraft:

    I know, but if you were Bill would you go?

    Heh, I am Bill.

  34. 34
    amk says:

    Isn’t one mad dog expertise enough?

  35. 35
    JPL says:

    So someone with access didn’t like the way Trump’s tweets were going so added this.

    The Republican House Freedom Caucus was able to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. After so many bad years they were ready for a win!

    not the real trump.. sad

  36. 36
    dm says:

    @PsiFighter37: China has been losing patience with North Korea lately, too — they’ve completely halted coal imports from them after having reduced them last year. This is one of North Korea’s major exports, and will further squeeze the country. I almost think they’ve been propping the country up out of habit — well, habit, and fear of what would happen if the country completely collapsed and sent refugees flooding over their border.

    In the aftermath of the death of Kim’s relative (half-brother?) in Malaysia (using a binary nerve toxin!), and the resulting freeze in relations between those two countries, I’ve been surprised to hear that Malaysians could travel to North Korea with few restrictions.

    I was surprised to read that the two Koreas had similar per-capita GDPs in 1970 (if I’m reading this right, North Korea’s per-capita GDP has not changed much since then, South Korea’s has increased by a factor of 100, I assume the measures are in constant dollars, but I am not sure).

  37. 37
    Thru the Looking Glass... says:

    @Jeffro:

    Once they cross that particular red line, we are in deep, deep trouble.

    And I, for one, have zero faith that Trump can even come close to managing this situation…

  38. 38
    amk says:

    @JPL: Next up, taxcuts for sooper rich. da art of da deal.

  39. 39

    The situation with regard to experts on North Korea isn’t entirely bleak, although it is difficult to study such a closed country. A few you didn’t mention, Adam:
    Siegfried Hecker, who made a number of trips to North Korea at the invitation of the North Korean government and was shown quite a bit of their nuclear program.
    Jeffrey Lewis, who heads up a group at the Middlebury Institute at Monterey doing analysis of North Korean photos. Also at Middlebury, Andrea Berger
    Lewis also contributes to 38 North, along with a number of other experts.
    Robert Kelly, of the famous BBC interview his children interrupted.
    Andrei Lankov, Kookmin University
    And several others I follow on Twitter, names escape me just now.

  40. 40

    @dm:

    I was surprised to read that the two Koreas had similar per-capita GDPs in 1970 (if I’m reading this right, North Korea’s per-capita GDP has not changed much since then, South Korea’s has increased by a factor of 100, I assume the measures are in constant dollars, but I am not sure).

    The wife tells her daughter that she(the wife) grew up in a third world country. We’ve not been back in about 20 years, but even then, much of the city she had grown up in was almost unrecognizable. What South Korea did in the 70’s was create a really good infrastructure, concentrated on exports and education(though that’s kind of a cultural thing).

  41. 41
    hovercraft says:

    @🐾BillinGlendaleCA:
    Big Dog is that you? Nice misdirection with that CA.

  42. 42
    Jeffro says:

    @Another Scott:

    I’m no expert, but I think that’s right – it needs to be a mixture of carrots and sticks, by all of the important players. And that isn’t going to happen with SK in turmoil, China upset about THAAD, us upset about the construction in the South China Sea shipping lanes, etc., etc.

    Quite the mixture of carrots and sticks, you’re right. We (the U.S., South Korea, and China) need to make an effort to help solve each others’ problems, so that we can then turn to North Korea and speak (even somewhat) as one.

  43. 43

    @hovercraft: Heh, I’m Bill, but not THAT Bill*.

    *I’m younger, better looking, and poorer.

  44. 44
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Cheryl Rofer: You’re correct it isn’t entirely bleak, but it isn’t exactly robust. And with North Korea being a closed state and society it is hard to keep one’s expertise current.

  45. 45
    Peale says:

    @PsiFighter37: china doesn’t do humanitarian anything.

  46. 46

    @Jeffro: True, best leave the Japanese out if it. Both Korea’s and China hate Japan(for pretty good reasons). It’s probably one of the few things the Korea’s agree on.

  47. 47
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    Thanks Adam for another enlightening post. You’re right about the military situation; we have no idea what we’ll run into as far as the locals are concerned once we get far north of the DMZ. Will the population greet us as liberators? Not likely…as you note, they’ve been propagandized for generations about the evil Americans. The first time I saw NK propaganda leaflets when I was in college, it knocked me back off my feet. Do the NK masses buy into this? We don’t know for precisely the reasons you state…we have no humint on the ground to just get a feel for how things are going for the average North Korean.

    Donald and his dipshits are totally out of their element (yet again, this is getting repetitive) when it comes to dealing with all this.

  48. 48
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @🐾BillinGlendaleCA: I have long felt that the NKs, if they start lobbing nukes, out of pure spite will lob one or two at Honshu, without any regard to what the Japanese do or do not do. Japan needs to keep as low a profile as they can pull off. Just too much bad blood (going back centuries, as you pointed out in a thread last week) in the mix here.

  49. 49
    Jeffro says:

    @Thru the Looking Glass…: I think we’re in agreement there! This is not my ideal bedtime story, that’s for sure.

    Just like the article Another Scott noted, we should be working towards really really really good relations with China (and also Japan and South Korea) on this, just at a minimum. Umm…yeah. Let’s put Mr. “I Have The Best Words…I Have a Very Good Brain” right on that…

  50. 50
    Vhh says:

    Cultural differences aside, it suddenly strikes me that Kim’s behavior is very like that of Donald Trump. They both treat their countries as family property. They both seek attention and respond viciously to even the faintest slight. They both reject conventional behavior norms, and speak lightly of nuclear war. In short, they both show signs of being sociopathic narcissists. So if you want to anticipate what Kim would do, imagine Trump in the same situation. And vice versa.

  51. 51
    JPL says:

    @Jeffro: It’s exactly comments like yours that cause me restless nights.

    Let’s put Mr. “I Have The Best Words…I Have a Very Good Brain” right on that…

  52. 52

    @Vhh: Kim Jong Un did it the old fashioned way, he inherited it from his father and grandfather.

  53. 53
    Alternative Fax, a hip hop artist from Idaho says:

    @Adam L Silverman: I hope this can be construed as an assurance that we will have one tomorrow. Especially given how Jared’s stepping up to the plate and Nunes is cracking.

    @Vhh: That’s quite accurate, IMO. Not comforting, but accurate.

  54. 54
    cokane says:

    one of the best books ive read is about life in North Korea a decade or so ago, obviously doesnt deal with the inner working of the govt as what you’ve posted, but i highly, highly recommend this book to anyone:

    https://www.amazon.com/Nothing-Envy-Ordinary-Lives-North/dp/0385523912

  55. 55
    Doug R says:

    @Adam L Silverman: Seth Rogan and James Franco will save us all.

  56. 56
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Doug R: Odds are that they are more competent than whoever Trump puts in charge.

  57. 57
    efgoldman says:

    @Alternative Fax, a hip hop artist from Idaho:

    Especially given how Jared’s stepping up to the plate

    In a world where “stepping up to the plate” = (“trying to save my ass without perjuring myself”) + (“putting somebody else under the bus”) x (“keeping Donnie deadbeat out of it”)

  58. 58
    Alternative Fax, a hip hop artist from Idaho says:

    @🐾BillinGlendaleCA: No wonder the Orange Menace is so pissy – Kim Jong Un got a much better inheritance. That’s gotta burn bad.

    @efgoldman: Oh, I meant more by turning out to be demonstrably in the corrupt Russian/$$ over his hairline! That kind of stepping up to the plate. Which not only doesn’t preclude your version, but makes for a potentially entertaining combo.

  59. 59

    @Alternative Fax, a hip hop artist from Idaho:

    Kim Jong Un got a much better inheritance.

    I’m not sure about that.

  60. 60
    mainmata says:

    @Adam L Silverman: Excellent. Well done analysis. Cyberwarfare seems to be the best option. North Korean “Govt.” is clearly a deathcult.

  61. 61
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Alternative Fax, a hip hop artist from Idaho: Depends how tomorrow goes on my end. I think what you just have to keep as your mantra on this stuff is: penetration at all levels.

  62. 62

    I’ve got these little bugs flying around in front of my screen, annoying as shit.

  63. 63
    Alternative Fax, a hip hop artist from Idaho says:

    @🐾BillinGlendaleCA: Oh, I agree. But think how Trump must see it:

    Dude got a whole fucking country and all I got was a measly $15M. NOT FAIR!

  64. 64
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Adam L Silverman: Kinky.

  65. 65
    efgoldman says:

    @🐾BillinGlendaleCA:

    I’m not sure about that.

    He got a whole country; Tangerine the Terrible only got money, some Manhattan real estate, and a really, really bad attitude

  66. 66
  67. 67
    efgoldman says:

    @🐾BillinGlendaleCA:

    I’ve got these little bugs flying around in front of my screen

    You need better glasses or fewer drugs

    ETA: Or maybe both

  68. 68
    efgoldman says:

    @🐾BillinGlendaleCA:

    Yes, but Kim Jong Un got North Korea.

    True, but he doesn’t have to deal with that interfering “congress” or those messy “voters.”

  69. 69

    @efgoldman: I’ve got new glasses and I’ve not started the drugs* yet.

    *Cold meds. I fell asleep last night during snuggle time with the girls and the window was open right by my head and I’ve got the beginnings of a cold. I’ve started the tea and honey already.

  70. 70
    Ladyraxterinok says:

    @Adam L Silverman: Quemoy and Matsu – a debate topic in 1960 election.

  71. 71
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Ladyraxterinok: John Bolton’s name keeps getting batted about, so…

  72. 72
    Alternative Fax, a hip hop artist from Idaho says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: Everybody’s a comedian.

    @Adam: Now Louise Mensch thinks they’re all going to jail (by which she means prison, but she’s a Brit so I’ll allow it) sooner rather than later. I’ll believe it when The Jester/Malcolm Nance/John Schindler (that asshole) say the same. Nance was the first to say RICO for the Flynn rendition stuff, and that he’d flipped. Louise Mensch says it’s the FISA stuff – Jared and the FSB dude SIGINT from the SVB Bank/Alfa Bank intercepts.

    Who the hell knows? I do not have any obsession problems; such talk is FAKE NEWS!

  73. 73
    dm says:

    @mainmata: Not a lot of cyber to wage war on in North Korea, and it’s not clear to what extent it is networked or essential enough to be missed much if it were disabled. I suppose there’s always communications infrastructure.

    If you’re thinking a Stuxnet-like attack on their nuclear fuel production, I suspect we lack the necessary information about their facilities.

  74. 74
  75. 75

    @Adam L Silverman:

    John Bolton’s name keeps getting batted about

    Goo goo goo joob.

  76. 76
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Alternative Fax, a hip hop artist from Idaho: Someone had to do it.

    ETA: I have always been an Atlanticist in focus. I have much less to say about Asian, African, and Asian policy.

  77. 77
    Alternative Fax, a hip hop artist from Idaho says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: True, and I frankly expected it would likely as not be you.

  78. 78

    @dm: You might deprive Kim Jong Un of his porn.

  79. 79
    Thru the Looking Glass... says:

    @JPL: @JPL:

    It’s exactly comments like yours that cause me restless nights.

    Just restless nights? Don’t I wish… they scare me silly…

  80. 80
    lgerard says:

    @cokane:

    that is an excellent book

    The story where the North Korean doctor discovers that dogs are fed better in China the doctors in North Korea was chilling

  81. 81
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @🐾BillinGlendaleCA: More gabba gabba hey!

  82. 82
    efgoldman says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    John Bolton’s name keeps getting batted about

    If only it was his head….

  83. 83
    Thru the Looking Glass... says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    John Bolton’s name keeps getting batted about

    Any chance we could get John Bolton himself batted around?

    At least for a bit?

    A couple of times?

  84. 84
  85. 85
  86. 86
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @MattF: Based on somebody’s recommendation here a few years ago, I’ve now read and enjoyed the first three of them.

  87. 87
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @🐾BillinGlendaleCA: Asia is more important.

  88. 88
  89. 89

    @Gin & Tonic: It sure is with me.

    ETA: I was going for the “Blazing Saddles” reference.

  90. 90
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @🐾BillinGlendaleCA: Should have gone with Latin American. Easy mistake and shit. My bad.

  91. 91
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Alternative Fax, a hip hop artist from Idaho: Since she’s English it should be gaol.

    As I’ve repeatedly written, on front page and in comments, we have a large amount of circumstantial evidence because all we’re seeing is in open source – reporting and documentation. What we don’t know, because we’re not seeing it and likely never going to see it, is what the counterintelligence investigators on the counterintelligence task force are looking at. And everyday the folks at the center of this seem to generate more and more of this circumstantial evidence. Such as the news that was reported late yesterday and today about Jared’s meeting with Gorkov. And now the Administration claiming it was about one thing (routine transition business) and the folks at Gorkov’s bank/the Russians claiming it was something else (about private business financial matters). Even if nothing untoward in itself is going on, why in the name of anyone’s Deity is Jared Kushner doing business with a bank that is considered a monetary front for Russian Intelligence and who’s president is a known Russian Intelligence officer.

    The question in regard to Congressman Nunes, that the Counterintelligence investigators should be asking, is slightly different. It is why is Nunes the chair of the HPSCI? Nothing in his professional background, nothing in regard to the congressional district he represents, nothing in his educational background provide any basis for him to be chairing the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. And unless he was planning a presidential run in 2016 that he just decided not to pursue, it made no sense for him to try to get on the HPSCI to begin with. Given his wine distributor being involved in Russian organized crime and connected to Putin, the question is whether he’s an asset that was placed in case he might be needed.

  92. 92
    mainmata says:

    I have actually been to the DMZ and the weird Panmunjom village (which is not a village just a hut) in 1997 during the Asian financial crisis. Long story. But the North Korean guards do watch closely everybody; you’re liteally right next to them while they’re taking your picture with old fashioned cameras (at least back then). The hut is completely empty. The DMZ is a very weird place with loud, large propaganda towers blasting away. It is truly unique. South Korea, on the other hand itself is a really nice place.

  93. 93
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @MattF: I have not.

  94. 94
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Thru the Looking Glass…: Would you settle for battened down?

  95. 95
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Gin & Tonic: Feeling any better?

  96. 96

    @Omnes Omnibus: Just not South America, they stole our name*.

    *Randy Newman, ‘Political Science’ reference.

  97. 97
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @Adam L Silverman: Not much. Had an uncomfortable night which led to a lousy day. I have to get my mind around the fact that this is going to be a long road.

  98. 98
    efgoldman says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    why is Nunes the chair of the HPSCI?

    It looked like fun at the time.

  99. 99
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @🐾BillinGlendaleCA: I know. I considered playing along, but I decided to be briefly serious. I am now over it.

  100. 100

    @mainmata: I was up there the year after you were there. We didn’t get to go down to the “huts”, but just the observation post up on the hill. It’s a scary and weird place.

  101. 101
    Thru the Looking Glass... says:

    @Adam L Silverman: I dunno… does Bolton have a hatch? I suppose it’s negotiable… don’t want to seem unreasonable here…

  102. 102
    sukabi says:

    @Baud: but you knew that already…

  103. 103

    @Omnes Omnibus: Don’t let that happen again.

  104. 104
    efgoldman says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    I decided to be briefly serious. I am now over it.

    Just make sure you don’t let it happen again.

    ETA: Damn that West Coast typing that gets to WVa first!

  105. 105
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @efgoldman: See, if you hadn’t stopped to blockquote, you’d have tied with Billin.

  106. 106
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @mainmata: I was there a decade earlier than you, but it was the same very strange and fascinating place it was when you visited.

  107. 107
  108. 108
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Thru the Looking Glass…: I’m sure he can order one from Amazon.

  109. 109

    @Villago Delenda Est: South Koreans finally let the North Koreans win the flag contest.

  110. 110
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Gin & Tonic: We’re keeping good thoughts.

  111. 111
    mainmata says:

    Trevor Noah has realized his voice now that Obama is no longer Prez and the obnoxious Cheeto Prez has been installed. Think his performance is now much better.

  112. 112
    efgoldman says:

    @Villago Delenda Est:

    I was there a decade earlier than you

    My dad did a 13-month tour in 1958-59. South Korea was still a very primitive place then; Seoul was not yet a world class city.
    Somewhere we have 35mm slides he took of Panmunjon.

  113. 113
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @🐾BillinGlendaleCA: @efgoldman: :: side-eye::

  114. 114
    Thru the Looking Glass... says:

    @Adam L Silverman: Of that I have no doubt…

    You can score almost ANYTHING thru Amazon…

  115. 115

    @efgoldman: It was pretty primitive well into the 80’s.

  116. 116
    Thru the Looking Glass... says:

    @mainmata: Fighting the people in power always seems to pick up a comic’s game… it’s hard to be funny when your punching down… it’s done the same for Colbert, IMHO…

  117. 117
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @efgoldman: My grandfather was there even earlier, in the mid 50s working for the UN. Unfortunately, he passed two years before my tour began; I never had a chance to compare notes on things. It would have been fascinating.

  118. 118

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    :: side-eye::

    Might want to have a doc check that out for ya.

  119. 119
    randy khan says:

    And we have a Secretary of State who not only is not particularly empowered, but essentially knows nothing about North Korea, with a White House that knows even less. Swell.

  120. 120
    wjs says:

    I have always believed that we are not in South Korea to keep the North from invading; we are there to keep the ROK army from invading the north in order to topple the regime (it wouldn’t work and we’d be left doing the logistics). I’m not basing this on what I saw when I was there for a year in the early 2000s. It’s a hunch because, once you’ve seen the geography of the place, you can’t imagine anyone thinking they could invade either North or South Korea and accomplish anything. Each side has enough military capability to shut down the north-south movement corridors. Bridges and tunnels can by taken out. We might have air superiority, but they would have the ability to dig in and hold whatever ground they could capture before arriving at the Han River.

    The South Koreans, on the other hand, are tired of the bullshit. They have a thriving country and they just want to assert themselves as the equals of everyone else. The country cousins up north are never going to “integrate” into their society because they’ve been brainwashed for going on four generations. There is no realistic chance to unify a country that has such a fractured and split psyche.

  121. 121
    piratedan says:

    one of my fears is if we finally get to the heart of the matter and uncover honest to goodness treason (in the context of coordinating with other nation states in order to win an election/harm the opposition) and lets say that they actually go after all of the alleged political players… do we also have the mandate/guts/wherewithal to take down the other side of the collusion factor, the media, those folks complicit within Faux, Breitbart, the mouthpieces like Conway, Hannity et al? If we don’t then it will be just like the post Nixon years where somebody somewhere is going to be pissed because these patriots have been “wronged” somehow and thee post revisionist history will be just as bad as the fucking slavery apologists are now.

  122. 122
    Arclite says:

    @PsiFighter37:

    What I don’t really understand is what China gets out of propping up the Kim regime.

    A distraction from/leverage on their activities in the South China Seas

  123. 123
    Yarrow says:

    @Alternative Fax, a hip hop artist from Idaho:

    I do not have any obsession problems; such talk is FAKE NEWS!

    Me either. I do not read way too much on all this Trump Russia stuff. Talk like that is yet more FAKE NEWS!

  124. 124
    Arclite says:

    There are lots of stories about how the North Koreans smuggle in South Korean and Western TV shows. They’re not completely mindless indoctrinated zombies. The majority of the population would like nothing less than to be reunited with the south.

  125. 125
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @piratedan: It has been reported that the CI investigation includes investigating the connection/nexus between the Russian Intel, Russian propaganda and faked news, the Russian bots, the Russian paid for and/or aligned trolls, and right wing media in the US that then mainstreamed all of that stuff.

  126. 126
    Gex says:

    @wjs:

    There is no realistic chance to unify a country that has such a fractured and split psyche.

    This is an interesting statement to contemplate.

  127. 127

    @wjs: There’s some truth to that, but the ROK government does understand that the process of re-unification would make the German case look like a cakewalk.

  128. 128
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @wjs: That was the joke when I was there in the late 80’s…that US Forces (the 2nd ID) were there to prevent the Koreans from going after each other. What you say about the north/south corridors is very true; on the ROK side they’re prepared to blow a lot of overpasses with big concrete blocks down on the highways, and as it’s already been mentioned, Seoul is within easy shelling distance of the DMZ.

    BTW, if you’ve seen M*A*S*H the TV series, that’s pretty much what the area north of Uijeongbu looks like. Barren hills (the Japanese logged the living heck out of Korea during the colonial period) that look a lot like Southern California, where M*A*S*H was filmed.

  129. 129
    piratedan says:

    @Adam L Silverman: I guess the question is, can they also be brought up on charges for essentially aiding and abetting?

  130. 130
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Gex: It is an issue when facing the question of societal reconstruction. It is also one of the socio-cultural concerns for setting the theater. Another, and related one, is what happens if you have to set a theater among a population that has been subjected to decades/generations of despotic and tyrannical government. Or ongoing low intensity warfare such as insurgency or civil war or revolution? Especially if, on one side, the combatants were actual government forces in uniform? Then having a liberating force or even a humanitarian mission show up with appropriate numbers of personnel in uniform may actually cause a negative reaction among the population we’re trying to help. As, essentially, they are suffering a societal equivalent of Post Traumatic Stress.

  131. 131
    TenguPhule says:

    @PsiFighter37:

    no one is really actively looking to be antagonistic towards the Chinese

    That’s because CHINA is starting to eye its neighbors as new conquests.

    You miss the whole South China Sea problem or the Chinese navy and airforce testing Japanese air and naval defenses?

  132. 132
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @piratedan: I have no idea. If, as Malcolm Nance suggests, most of the potential criminal issues here would be handled under RICO, maybe? But the question will be what, if any, 1st Amendment protections do they have if it is determined that they were actively assisting.

  133. 133
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @🐾BillinGlendaleCA: And German reunification was no walk in the park. The disparity in economic development between the North and South is much more severe than that between the BRD and the DDR.

  134. 134
    efgoldman says:

    @piratedan:

    can they also be brought up on charges for essentially aiding and abetting?

    Not for “reporting” anything, no matter how false or scurrilous. If they were party to actual felonies, I dunno’. It’s a huge first amendment issue, no matter what side you’re on/

  135. 135
    Thru the Looking Glass... says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    If, as Malcolm Nance suggests, most of the potential criminal issues here would be handled under RICO, maybe?

    Yes… this… RICO!

    I heard/read someplace earlier to day that members of the Admin had started wiping their personal communication devices, getting rid of anything that might be incriminating… has anyone heard any more about this?

  136. 136
    Lizzy L says:

    I’m don’t disagree with any of what you say, Adam, about the dearth of expertise. There is some material available about NK. I’ve read several books about NK; Barbara Demick’s book, and most recently two memoirs, “Without You There Is No Us,” by Suki Kim, and “The Girl With Seven Names: A North Korean Defector’s Story.” There are others. There’s also Andrei Lankov’s 2013 book, “The Real North Korea,” (scholarly not memoir), which I have not read but keep intending to. I assume the SK government has more info, perhaps actual intelligence; China, too, but given the contempt the current administration appears to have for diplomacy, I don’t have much hope that their material will be made accessible to us. Might it be to some of our allies?

  137. 137
    Thru the Looking Glass... says:

    Excellent interview w/ Malcolm Nance from early March…

    Really worth the time to read…

    “Trump Is Reading Literally Fake News and Acting on It as President of the United States”*

    *link goes to Smashing Interviews Magazine

  138. 138
    Sandia Blanca says:

    Adam, are you familiar with WhoWhatWhy? Just read this comprehensive review of the Feds’ investigations of Trump and cronies through the years. The reporting seems very solid.

  139. 139
    Andre Gouley says:

    Oh my god, it cant be said enough- let the Koreans deal with Korea. It’s a split country and has been for 64 years. The ONLY think America should be doingis attempting to help facilitate reunification

  140. 140
    Vhh says:

    As I noted above, Kim is approx = Trump. The NK Workers party is so far functionally equiv to the present RWNJ GOP. Ergo, getting rid of Kim requires similar measuees to getting rid of Trump. The only ways forward at present in either case are a.Palace revolution or b. War.
    The US has amendment 25 or impeachment if the GOP can bring themselves to use them, ehich right now requires some drama like espionage for the Russians. So our NK strategy should be to search for any lever possible to cause a divide in NK party politics.This could be a combo of diplomatic carrot and stick plus discrete sabotage.Trump is incapable of either, and there ain’t much left of the State Dept. So I think it is up to the intel agencies.

  141. 141
    dm says:

    @TenguPhule: I came across a report recently of a new generation of ocean-floor mining equipment, and suddenly China’s reasons to establish a claim to those islands made a lot of sense.

    This isn’t the article in question, but it will do.

    Oh, I guess it’s old news. Cool: a manned undersea station at a depth of 9800 feet. Show offs.

  142. 142
    NotMax says:

    Haven’t read all the comments yet, but N. Korea is no slouch when it comes to computer programmers. Besides Unit 121 (cyber warfare and espionage) we do know that programming receives full state support and that many of those so skilled in tech and IT are allowed travel across the world.

    A population that is, by the measures we’re aware of, is incredibly impoverished.

    In 2014, 1 in 12 people there had smartphones (ref), albeit with access outside the border ranging from constrained to nearly non-existent.

    One of Dubya’s greatest non-Middle East disasters was trashing the Clinton administration’s agreement with Pyongyang.

  143. 143
    Vhh says:

    How to do undermine NK Juche: flood them with useful consumer goods via China and SK. Smugglers. Container loads on beaches, in rivers, saturation. Watches, tampons, condoms, clothing, packaged food, you name it, all in waterproof packaging. Massive scale. Way way cheaper than war. And I saw it work in Russia even on much smaller scale, back in the Brezhnev era, with Pepsi, jeans, lemons, later electronics and computers. SK and China get stimulus as well as US.

  144. 144
    Thru the Looking Glass... says:

    @Sandia Blanca: It certainly meshes w/ an awful lot of what I’ve read over the last few weeks…

    Felix Sater’s name has been popping up all over the place in conjunction w/ Trump…

    I’m not an expert and I’ve become kinda obsessed w/ this story… I’ve been spending 15 to 20 hrs a week reading about it…

  145. 145

    @Villago Delenda Est:

    BTW, if you’ve seen M*A*S*H the TV series, that’s pretty much what the area north of Uijeongbu looks like. Barren hills (the Japanese logged the living heck out of Korea during the colonial period) that look a lot like Southern California, where M*A*S*H was filmed.

    I have pictures(one, and two) of the outdoor set, These were taken (gulp) 40 years ago when the series was still in production.

  146. 146
    Sandia Blanca says:

    @Thru the Looking Glass…: I’m with you on that obsession! So many people are working this front, all with interesting different angles. I rely on Adam as the authority on who is most credible.

  147. 147
    Thru the Looking Glass... says:

    @Sandia Blanca: I would take that route too… it’s one reason I’ve starting hanging out at Balloon Juice so much of late… Adam keeps using the phrase ‘open source’ to describe the kind of information you or I can easily come across online… if it’s out there and openly available (non-classified), it’s open source… I am AMAZED how much there is out there… it’s gone from being a trickle to a gusher to a flood to a tidal wave in just weeks…

    This is what happens when so many different people suddenly have a strong, strong need to understand something NOW… and if we can find this much information so easily, can you imagine what the true intel professionals must be holding?

    Adam keeps saying two things over and over again…

    1) we (the US) are under attack by a foreign nation (Russia)…

    2) we’re in the midst of an overwhelming Constitutional crisis…

    I agree w/ him completely at this point…

    I’m rather freaked out by everything I’ve learned the last few weeks…

  148. 148
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @🐾BillinGlendaleCA: Note the small scrub trees along the edges…the hills are laced with those north of Seoul.

    And thank you for sharing!

  149. 149
    piratedan says:

    @Thru the Looking Glass…: and its all happening in slow motion,…

    you take a sip of coffee… aahh the President had some financial ties to Russia..
    have a nosh at lunch… ooohhh, it turns out that they’ve bailed his financial boat for over a decade
    time for an afternoon break… and it looks like Wikileaks really is an extension of the Russian propaganda machine
    and over a dinner repast… okay, and the timing of these data dumps and these statements from the campaign mouthpieces… something looks really coordinated…

    etc etc etc… its like the IC is allowing the media to build its case substantially more soundly than “but her e-mails”… maybe so it can be swallowed in enough small doses to where the entire country won’t freak out (but in a way, we’re very much into the hair on fire zone here if you ask me).

  150. 150
    Redshift says:

    I guess my friend who’s a NK specialist at the Pentagon has good job security, at least.

  151. 151
    J R in WV says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    Does anyone seriously imagine that if Ford and the other German-American Bund supporters had tried to publish material supporting Hitler and the German war effort here in America after war was declared that the First Amendment would have been allowed to keep the government from stopping their work for Germany? Or supporting Japan after the attack on Pearl Harbor?

    If media outlets in America were supporting Russian attacks on our Democratic process, how is that not warfare against our nation? I would like to see us attempt to have Rupert Murdock extradited to America where we would prosecute him for working for the defeat of America by Russia, and to see the Trump apparatus in the dock with Rupert. Along with many members of the Republican apparatus.

    Somewhere in there the Supreme Court could name an interim president, like a famous scholar or diplomat. Or, after all the conspirators were eliminated from the executive and legislative bodies of the nation, the reconstituted House of Representatives could elect a Speaker of the House, a non-politician, who would then become President until 2020.

  152. 152
    Thru the Looking Glass... says:

    @piratedan:

    (but in a way, we’re very much into the hair on fire zone here if you ask me).

    Oh hell yes… I’m not sure I’ve ever been this upset about politics in my lifetime as at this moment…

    It’s moving in slow motion but it’s also moving faster as each week passes… or so it seems to me… and now I am AMAZED at how much information is coming forward about Trump & his ties to Russian gangsters…

    I understand now why he was attacking the MSM and judicial system… he had to… he and the people behind him knew all of this would eventually come out so they decided to get the first shot in and discredit both the MSM and judges first, if they could… it’s working but not working but working, kind of…

    I do not believe Trump figured out all of this on his own… someone, Bannon or the Russians or both, has been coaching him on how to do this… he’s not smart enough to figure it out on his own…

    It’s my gut feeling that this will come to a head soon… it’s speeding up and there’s too much coming out in the open… every last person of any significance in Trump’s admin has a Russian in his hip pocket, or the Russians have them in theirs… probably the latter… the gangsters are in charge…

    I’m waiting for either someone to turn up dead and/or someone to cut a deal in return for immunity… and the dead person will definitely trigger the immunity deal…

    Hair on fire time, indeed…

  153. 153
    EBT says:

    @🐾BillinGlendaleCA: That makes deadbeat donnie the Eggman right? He is the right shape at least.

  154. 154
    taras says:

    The 2018 Winter Olympics are in Pyeongchang, S Korea and the 2020 Summer Olympics are in Tokyo, so there is some motivation for SK and Japan to work together to get Kim under some sort of control.

  155. 155
    J R in WV says:

    That interview with Malcolm Nance along with the investigative piece by the former Village Voice reporters really paint an ugly picture. It is actually worse than I could have believed.

    And Steve Bannon… actually trying to end our way of government, while working in the White House, for the President*; trying to turn America into what South Africa was for so many years, an apartheid state. Evil personified.

    My insomnia seems to be giving way to the big glass of milk I had, so g’night.

  156. 156
    MomSense says:

    @Thru the Looking Glass…:

    I’m trying not to freak out. I’ve decided to focus on my small part of a much larger resistance. It helps even though I still have nights when I’m awake at 3 am reading about NK. BTW not helpful for going back to sleep.

  157. 157
    MomSense says:

    @piratedan:

    Did you watch that Chuck Towd interview with Clapper? Everyone focused on the questions about wiretapping but the comment he made that chilled me was when Todd asked him about the IC under Obama spreading out or sharing intelligence on 45 and Clapper said that it was the opposite they were trying to hide it (presumably from the incoming admin). I was shaken by what that means.

  158. 158
    piratedan says:

    @MomSense: i never watch Chuck because of my propensity to punch things when he speaks. Todd is seemingly one of those guys who seems to me that he’s on the payroll to be willfully obtuse. Always makes the wrong conclusion, stays focused on the minutiae on how did this plant survive when the story is the raging wildfire that took out everything else.

  159. 159
    MomSense says:

    @piratedan:

    Perfect description of Todd. I have a convalescing 79 year old in the house so even if I were as far away from the tv as I could be and still in the house, I would have to hear him anyway. That bit of the Clapper interview was chilling and of course sailed completely past Todd.

  160. 160
    fuckwit says:

    @Mike J: But is she Super Bad?

Comments are closed.