North Korea Tests Another Missile

A devoted corps of North Korea watchers analyzes information coming out of North Korea on its missile and nuclear tests. I sometimes chime in, but missiles are not my thing. Much of the conversation takes place on Twitter, so you can see people figuring things out in real time.

First, a summary of this latest test. It seems to have been a successful test of an intermediate-range ballistic missile that North Korea is calling the Hwasong-12. This article summarizes the early information and analysis and links to many of the people who participate in those discussions.

The test appears to have been a success. Kim Jong Un looks overjoyed in all his photos. The missile can reach further than previous North Korean missiles. It is one of the new missiles and missile containers displayed in North Korea’s annual weapons parade last month. The test seems to have been from a platform rather than a mobile launcher, which may indicate that they don’t have a lot of mobile launchers available. It’s a liquid-fueled missile, which means that it must be fueled just before launch, and the propellants are difficult to handle.

The main evidence comes from North Korea in photos and bombastic statements. They fake stuff, including photographs, so the analysts also test the photos for enhancement. But there is much we can learn even from faked photos. These three show clearly that it is liquid-fueled. The orange clouds are distinctively dinitrogen tetraoxide, the oxidant for liquid-fueled missiles.

Here’s another photo that shows how things are figured out.  Additionally, the outdoor photos show landmarks that help to nail down the location of the tests. Sometimes North Korea lies about that too. This article works out the range from North Korean statements and explains “lofted” missile tests, in which the missile is aimed very high to avoid, as much as possible, disturbing the neighbors.

A statement I found puzzling was that the missile could carry “a large-size heavy nuclear warhead.” Does this mean heavy in its megatonnage yield or physically heavy? The first implies significant progress in nuclear weapons design, the second not so much. BTW, Anna Fifield is a good reporter to follow – she has connections to some of the best analysts and listens to them.

The White House issued a bizarre statement, seemingly trying to goad Russia.

Here are the EU and NATO statements, which are more customary. Vladimir Putin issued a clear statement that the North Korean test but warning the United States about “intimidating” North Korea, probably referring to provocative statements and movement (or not) of military equipment. He also calls for talks, which are the only way we can slow down North Korea’s progress.

Update: Here are a couple more good articles.

If Americans Can Find North Korea on a Map, They’re More Likely to Prefer Diplomacy

Melissa Hanham is one of my go-to people for North Korean missiles. Here’s what she has to say.

 

Cross-posted at Nuclear Diner.

 






132 replies
  1. 1
    MattF says:

    The NK statement about what the missile could carry struck me as pure bluster. Yeah, a missile can carry a warhead. So, what else is new?

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  2. 2
    clay says:

    So… that second paragraph from the WH statement… What the hell? What does that even mean? Has Russia been pro-NK-nuclear-testing in the past? Is this Trump trying to pass the buck on the responsibility of fixing this by placing the onus on Russia?

    It literally makes no sense, which makes me think it was put there at the insistence of Trump.

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  3. 3

    I have been wondering lately whether or why North Korea really matters enough to justify a nuclear war, regardless of whether the US signed some treaty way back?
    It strikes me that elements in the US are talking about South Korea the same way they used to talk about South Vietnam, domino theory and all.
    NK is just a small and geopolitically meaningless country. If NK actually attacks either South Korea or Japan – rather than just blustering or threatening — then and only then there would be some justification for the world, led by China and not the US, to hit back in some way — and that should be well short of any kind of nuclear response. But unless NK actually bombs another country, I think the US should just continue with sanctions.
    Of course, nobody in Washington is listening to me, more’s the pity….

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  4. 4

    […] Cross-posted at Balloon Juice. […]

  5. 5
    Betty Cracker says:

    This North Korea business worries me more than any of the hot wars we’re currently entangled in because now we have to worry about not one but TWO pampered, narcissistic, impulsive princelings with daddy issues, terrible hair and massive inferiority complexes deciding to take their dick-swinging contest nuclear. Dog help us.

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  6. 6
    Cheryl Rofer says:

    @MattF: Yes, by the time one gets through the bluster and possible translation problems, there’s not much in the statements. But they’re all we’ve got, so worth looking at carefully.

    @clay: Trump has been trying to pass the buck to China. China is staying with their usual responses to North Korea, so maybe he can pass the buck to Russia. Putin said, in effect, no way. Both have concerns about North Korea, but it’s going to have to be a multilateral effort.

    @Cathie from Canada: The US actually is formally at war with North Korea. An armistice was signed, but there is no peace treaty after more than sixty years. Given their threats and the devastation they could cause to South Korea or Japan, the rest of the world has to respond. But yes, using nuclear weapons against them is the wrong response.

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  7. 7
    Davebo says:

    Thanks Cheryl. You’re a great addition to this fun house! Always so chipper and positive! ;0)

    ReplyReply
  8. 8
    MattF says:

    @Betty Cracker: The new model for world politics is a bar with two loudmouths vying for attention. Now, just hold my beer, and watch this!

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  9. 9

    @Betty Cracker: Bullyboy is full of bluster. All hat and no cattle. He may however pick on NK because they are minuscule and he does like to kick down. However, if China raises an eyebrow he will back off. Just like he did with his tariff nonsense.

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  10. 10
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Betty Cracker: Dog don’t care. Dog is sleeping under the porch.

    ReplyReply
  11. 11
    Betty Cracker says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: At least dog exists! ;-)

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  12. 12
    hueyplong says:

    @Cheryl Rofer: Or you could say the US is still engaged in a police action with North Korea. I do not think we ever declared war, just as we never signed a peace treaty.

    ReplyReply
  13. 13
    coozledad says:

    @MattF: That photograph should be paired with the one of Trump surrounded by white guys after the AHCA passed the House. Same shit, really.

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  14. 14
    amk says:

    I thought rethugs don’t believe in sanctions. They were whining about them for the past 8 years.

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  15. 15
    Cheryl Rofer says:

    @hueyplong: I think that is correct.

    ReplyReply
  16. 16
    nightranger says:

    @MattF: Of course it was all bluster but the person in the WH is a moron who would totally fall for it.

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  17. 17
    Jeffro says:

    Man, Charles Blow is pulling no punches today: Trump’s Madness Invites Mutiny

    Choice bits:

    Legal and ethical questions abound about the impropriety and even legality of attempting to strong-arm, and then dismissing and threatening, the law enforcement official leading an investigation into your circle of associates.

    Many of those questions rise not from clandestine sources, but rather from Trump himself. He is talking and tweeting himself into legal jeopardy. He can’t seem to help himself. Something in the man is broken.

    He is insecure, paranoid and brittle, jostling between egomania and narcissism, intoxicated with a power beyond his meager comprehension and indulging in it beyond the point of abuse.

    Some people are ebulliently optimistic that the abomination is coming undone and may soon be at an end.

    But I would caution that this is a moment pregnant with calamity.

    The man we see unraveling before our eyes still retains the power of the presidency until such time as he doesn’t, and that time of termination is by no means assured.

    Trump is now a wounded animal, desperate and dangerous. Survival is an overwhelming, instinctual impulse, and one should put nothing beyond a being who is bent on ensuring it.

    Banking on an easy impeachment or resignation or a shiny set of handcuffs is incredibly tempting for those drained and depressed by Trump’s unabated absurdities, perversions of truth and facts and assaults on custom, normalcy and civility.

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  18. 18
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Betty Cracker: He likes his belly scratchings, I can tell you that. Butt scratchings are even better.

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  19. 19
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @hueyplong: @Cheryl Rofer: The last declared war we’ve had was WW II.

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  20. 20
    Immanentize says:

    Cheryl. First, I love your posts. Thank you!

    Second, I know these NK tech advances are worrisome, BUT IMHO Pakistan remains the greatest unstable nuclear threat in the world can we have a Pakistan and maybe India post some day?
    <3 and bombs

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  21. 21
    Immanentize says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: not counting the war on poverty, war on drugs, and war on women….

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  22. 22
    MattF says:

    OT. New York Times reports that the leading candidate for US ambassador to the Vatican is Callista Gingrich. No, I am not making this up.

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  23. 23

    @Immanentize:

    BUT IMHO Pakistan remains the greatest unstable nuclear threat in the world can we have a Pakistan and maybe India post some day?

    Based on what evidence do you draw this conclusion, pray tell?
    BTW how is Mrs I.

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  24. 24
    Cheryl Rofer says:

    @Immanentize: I will try to post on India and Pakistan one of these days. That is an incredibly complicated situation, though, and one I haven’t been following closely.

    I’m also hoping Mrs. I is doing well.

    @schrodingers_cat: India and Pakistan both have nuclear weapons aimed at each other. Warning times are short, leading to a preference to nuke the other guy first and ask questions later. In northeast Asia, South Korea and Japan don’t have nuclear weapons to escalate with North Korea. The question is what Donald Trump will do, which increases the danger over what it was with Obama.

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  25. 25
    randy khan says:

    NY Times reports that the Supreme Court won’t hear the North Carolina redistricting case, with a statement from Roberts saying that there is a dispute about who represents the state and that nothing should be read into the decision not to hear it. (I take the last part as a bit of a signal to conservative appeals court judges that they don’t need to pay much attention to the 4th Circuit decision.)

    Good news, overall. And the timing means that maybe there’s still a chance for elections with new districts in the fall, although that may not be the case.

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  26. 26
    Immanentize says:

    @schrodingers_cat: Pakistan is a known and tested nuclear power. AQ Kahn, the Pakistani Scientist who helped develop their bombs also aggressively prosteletized proliferation. Some of the NK designs are Kahn’s.

    The Pakistani government hangs by a thread. A huge part of the country is no longer in government control (although this is much more land than people). Meanwhile, the Pakistani military, which has been the guarantor of nuclear stability has been increasingly radicalized by Islamists. It is not clear if the military would support the current (more) secular government if push came to shove.

    Meanwhile, the conflicts between Pakistan and the US have escalated including the open gun battle between CIA and Pakistani security forces a few years ago. Although things have calmed some, those tensions are just below the surface.

    Also too, Pakistan dislikes India as much as ever and the Kasmir dispute is once again front and center after pro-Indian troops tied Kasmiri citizens to the front of their Jeeps and drove through towns decrying insurgents (many who are Islamic)
    There is no real space between Pakistan and India or Afganistan if any mistake is made….

    There’s more, but that’s a good start.

    (She’s hanging in, waiting for further testing next week. Thank you for asking)

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  27. 27
    Cermet says:

    Don’t forget (or do read) that the US strongly supported/encouraged South Korea to stage small scale invasions of North Korea before the war; these rather large invasion units destroyed factories, bridges and other infrastructures. In response, the North finally launched a full scale invasion of the South. So, it was South Korea heavily supported by US pushing that really started that massive and destructive war. Not that North Korea isn’t a failed state lead by a terrible dictatorship (then and now) but the Korean war was really ignited by US pressure/determination to destroy the then existing so-called communist (really a elite group not unlike Nazi Germany) dictatorship.

    With that all said, during the Clinton admin the North really did have its nuclear program (uranium) under tight UN control (all processing and fate of any U235 from enrichment.)

    Then after bushie the dumb ass and his controlling sock puppet master bloody hands cheney, North Korea showed that the then existing treaty that they had followed strictly;however, that treaty didn’t cover plutonium production/use.

    So, the North then requested a new treaty on controlling this “other” weapon grade material as long as they got bigger bribes (food, access to money), heavy fuel oil and a non-proliferation nuclear reactor (missiles development was not offered nor really on our radar screen yet.)

    That insane amerikan dumb ass’s instead, cut them loose from all treaty controls and we now have a North Korea armed with nukes (very low yield but nukes none-the-less.) Now that that monster is on the loose, really little we can do to arrest that program where we would believe it. Kinda screwed. Maybe they will agree to stop real ICBM development but the price will be steep thanks to those insane neo-con’s. Really doubt we would agree to what they would require but seriously, if we get a treaty on that, those monsters will very likely hold to it – hard to hid development of ICBM as a long as the treaty stops all missile research (all satellite development, for instance.)

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  28. 28
    sigaba says:

    @MattF: Not only a Gingrich with no diplomatic experience, but a third wife.

    Are they Catholic? How does that work exactly?

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  29. 29
  30. 30
    clay says:

    @MattF: According to Wikipedia, she’s already the nominee.

    Callista testified in 1999 as part of Gingrich’s divorce proceedings that the couple began a six-year affair in 1993 while Newt was married to his second wife, Marianne.[22][23]

    Yeah, that seems like someone the Vatican would love to have around.

    Newt divorced Marianne in December 1999, and on August 18, 2000, Callista and Newt were married in a private ceremony in Alexandria, Virginia.[3] In 2002, Newt Gingrich asked the Catholic Archdiocese of Atlanta to annul his 19-year marriage to Marianne on the basis that she had been previously married.

    That’s pretty effin’ ballsy of Newt. HE had been previously married too. “Hey, uh, bishop, can you annul my second marriage, which started when I cheated on my first wife, and ended when I cheated with my current wife… because she had been married before, ya know.”

    He decided to officially become a Catholic when he saw Pope Benedict XVI, during the Pope’s visit to the United States in 2008

    Trust Newt to be drawn to the worst Pope we’ve had in my lifetime.

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  31. 31

    Re :heavy
    Limit for a H-bomb is 6Mt yield per Ton weight

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  33. 33

    @Immanentize: Its Khan not Kahn. The situation between India and Pakistan over Kashmir has been on low boil since independence. Though Kashmir remains a flash point, I don’t think either country will risk a nuclear conflagration over it. The people in charge are not insane, even if they may be vile, unlike NK and the United States. That’s my read. YMMV.

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  34. 34
  35. 35
    Cheryl Rofer says:

    I’m not going to relitigate the causes of the Korean War, but I will respond to a couple other of Cermet‘s comments.

    The publicly known North Korean fissile material program in the mid-1990s was its plutonium reactor and reprocessing. The 1994 Agreed Framework was in response to that. The uranium enrichment program probably started production after that and was the cause of the Bush administration’s abandonment of the Agreed Framework. The North Koreans kept the uranium enrichment program secret until they showed it to Siegfried Hecker in 2010.

    It was the Bush decision that freed North Korea to spin up its nuclear weapons development. Whether North Korea would have negotiated in the 2000s is anyone’s guess. They make noises in that direction. Sometimes they mean it and sometimes they don’t.

    Now that they have nuclear weapons, they are unlikely to give them up. The best we can hope for is that they will freeze the program and allow some inspections. But that will require some concessions on our part too.

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  36. 36

    @Cheryl Rofer: The probability is low in my opinion although it is definitely non zero.

    ReplyReply
  37. 37
    clay says:

    @Cheryl Rofer: “Concessions” = “A large sum of money”, right?

    If so, then it’s unlikely that this will happen. If there’s one thing that Trump believes with regard to foreign policy, it’s that the US should not pay anything to other countries. Because that’s, somehow, “a bad deal”.

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  38. 38
    Mike in DC says:

    I think that speculation was that NK has been trying to reduce the size of their nukes in order to make them missile-deliverable. It’s quite possible that their earliest nukes weighed several tons (ours did too), and to deliver one via medium sized missile you need to get it down to a ton or less. They’d still have to have a guidance system that could put it within a half mile or so of the intended target, though, to constitute a viable deterrent.

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  39. 39
    Immanentize says:

    @schrodingers_cat: sorry on the misspelling. I was thinking hot dogs for lunch.

    I do not have as much faith in the current leaders of Pakistan or India as you do. I think the 538 article Cheryl linked above gets it pretty much right — except those experts do not figure in an Islamist take over of Pakistan. Which I think is possible — in part as a reaction to the provocations of India’s hard line Hindu nationalist PM, Modi.

    That all seems much more fraught than the ongoing brinksmanship with NK, especially considering the South just elected a “Sunshine” President.

    But as say, YMMV. Let us hope neither place turns ugly.

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  40. 40
    bystander says:

    @Betty Cracker:

    …impulsive princelings with daddy issues, terrible hair and massive inferiority complexes deciding to take their dick-swinging contest nuclear. Dog help us.

    I was glad to see your resolution (“princeling”) of the classic argument between those throwing girlfrin’ shade (“princess”) and those insisting on the inherent sexism of such gender reversals. But then you had to advance that sexist penis contest, the worst part of which is the assumption either or both of them has anything swingable. Plus the imagery.

    Thanks, Cracker.

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  41. 41
    Cheryl Rofer says:

    @clay: There are a number of possible concessions. The Agreed Framework included delivery of two civilian nuclear reactors and copious quantities of fuel oil. I think grain shipments were part of it too, but I would have to check.

    Concessions now could include some of that, plus removing sanctions. Getting to negotiations for a peace treaty would be huge, but not among the first twenty things to be considered.

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  42. 42
    Seth Owen says:

    @Cermet: Do you have any citation for this accusation? I’ve never heard of this.

    Sounds highly unlikely that the South Korean army of 1950, or even the US Army of 1950, could have pulled off anything like that.

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  43. 43

    @Immanentize: My assessment does not depend on the good intentions of Modi or Sharif. Given how close their population centers are to each other it would be suicidal. What provocations are you talking about? What has changed in the recent past for the Indo-Pak situation to escalate into a nuclear war?
    I do follow the Twitter feeds of a couple of Indian journalists and I haven’t seen anything there. FWIW Pakistan is far more obsessed with India than vice versa. Compare any two major newspapers in both countries and you will see what I say.

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  44. 44
    D58826 says:

    @Jeffro: and neither is Howrd Fineman

    Yes, Trump Thinks He Can Defeat The Russia Probe
    He’s betting that his foes are too weak to stop him. Trump thinks he can power through this and shut down the series of investigations that are driving him into a state of fury. Despite the durability of the institutions opposing him, it is not completely clear that he is wrong. American democracy is not in good health, and it was that very rot that got Trump elected

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/.....mg00000009

    And I still think Sally Yates to head the FBI or at least the special counsel.

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  45. 45
    amk says:

    @schrodingers_cat: Yup. There is zero nuclear war talk around here, regardless of concern trolling from 538 or other such sources from afar.

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  46. 46
    D58826 says:

    @sigaba: Newt converted after he married her. Not sure if he is her first husband or not but with enough $$$$ the Church will make an inconvenient prior marriage go away, i.e. and annulment

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  47. 47
    father pussbucket says:

    It’s often pointed out that missiles provide a handy return address. I’m more worried about selling nukes to terrorists.

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  48. 48

    @amk: The coverage of anything related to India is abysmal, they don’t know much but love to pontificate. BBC does a better job FWIW.

    ETA: That 538 article is unreadable.

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  49. 49
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    @sigaba: She is (always has been) Catholic. Newt converted when they married. Because his 2 previous marriages were outside of the Church, they are not recognized by the Church so no annulment is necessary.

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  50. 50
    father pussbucket says:

    @sigaba:
    Newt converted to Catholicism after his two divorces, so it’s all good. Third trophy wife is the charm, I guess.

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  51. 51
    Roger Moore says:

    @Immanentize:
    Those of us participating in the War on Christmas are very disappointed to be left out.

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  52. 52
    Peale says:

    @sigaba: They are catholic. Newt converted. But they are wealthy and powerful, so the divorce really doesn’t matter too much to the church hierarchy. The dispensation has been purchased from a bishop long ago.

    (Lutheran here, enjoying that the Church still hasn’t learned in 500 years why we left them).

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  53. 53
    rikyrah says:

    @MattF:

    OT. New York Times reports that the leading candidate for US ambassador to the Vatican is Callista Gingrich. No, I am not making this up

    Sending a Side Piece to the Holy See.

    Uh uh uh

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  54. 54
    rikyrah says:

    Pence conspired in ‘near secrecy’ with Trump to oust Comey: NY Times
    Noor Al-Sibai NOOR AL-SIBAI
    13 MAY 2017 AT 09:01 ET

    A bombshell New York Times report about the tumultuous inner workings of the Trump team claims that Vice President Mike Pence was integral to President Donald Trump’s planned firing of former FBI Director James Comey that rocked American politics in the past week.

    The article alleges that Pence was among “the small group of advisers who planned Mr. Comey’s ouster in near secrecy”.

    Pence’s work to forward the initial White House story claiming that Trump fired Comey under recommendation from Attorney General Jeff Sessions was “vaporized” once Trump appeared on Lester Holt‘s show Thursday, when the president claimed that he was “going to to fire regardless of the recommendation” of Sessions and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.

    Along with allegations that Pence helped Trump concoct a story to fire Comey, the article also makes the serious claim, based on interviews with “a half-dozen West Wing officials” who remain anonymous, that Trump is “considering the most far-reaching shake-up of his already tumultuous team”. The article insinuates that the shake-up will come in the form of firing Press Secretary Sean Spicer, but remains unclear as to exactly how “far-reaching” such changes could go.

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  55. 55
    Betty Cracker says:

    @schrodingers_cat: I don’t know anything about the odds of a nuclear war between India and Pakistan, and like you said, it would be suicidal given the proximity. But the fears that Pakistan’s government hangs by a thread and that its military is full of fundamentalist fanatics seems legit.

    If an outfit like al Qaeda gained effective control of that government and nuclear arsenal, as once happened in Afghanistan (sans nukes), that would be a nightmare for the whole world, obviously. A few years back, I read an article somewhere (can’t remember the source, but it may have been Rolling Stone) about the U.S. contingency plans for just such an occurrence.

    Obama was president then. Frightening to think of what a lunatic like Trump would do if that happened.

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  56. 56
    rikyrah says:

    Trump no longer wants to talk about secret White House recordings
    05/15/17 10:40 AM
    By Steve Benen

    It may prove to be the most consequential of all of Donald Trump’s tweets. On Friday morning, as part of a not-so-veiled threat towards former FBI Director James Comey, the president said Comey “better hope that there are no ‘tapes’ of our conversations before he starts leaking to the press!”

    Hours later, the White House would neither confirm nor deny the existence of the president’s secret recordings.

    Trump sat down with Fox News’ Jeanine Pirro late Friday, and when the issue came up, the president was quick to swat it down.

    PIRRO: What about the idea that in a tweet you said there might be tape recordings–

    TRUMP: Well, I can’t talk about. I won’t talk about that.

    That’s very likely the line the White House’s counsel’s office told Trump to take, but it was far too late. The president’s tweet already opened the door that won’t be easily closed.

    The significance of this, of course, is that these recordings – if they exist – can be subpoenaed. This is especially true in regards to recordings related to James Comey’s firing, since the president may have obstructed justice during their chat.

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  57. 57
    Mike J says:

    @sigaba:

    Not only a Gingrich with no diplomatic experience, but a third wife.

    Are they Catholic? How does that work exactly?

    Remember how pissed off Republicans were when Obama appointed a gay man ambassador to the Vatican? Were they correct in saying that we should let bronze age fairy tales determine who can represent the United States?

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  58. 58
    MattF says:

    @rikyrah: I’m pretty sure that the response to a subpoena would be ‘Sorry, all recordings were destroyed before the subpoena was issued’.

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  59. 59
    trollhattan says:

    @clay:
    When Callista travels does she have to buy a second seat for the hair?

    ReplyReply
  60. 60
    rikyrah says:

    Trump puts ‘another victory on the scoreboard’ for Russia
    05/15/17 11:20 AM
    By Steve Benen

    On ABC’s “This Week,” George Stephanopoulos asked James Clapper, the former Director of National Intelligence, if Russia has “succeeded in their basic goal of undermining public faith in the U.S. democratic process?” Clapper said Russians “have to be celebrating with a minimal expenditure of resources and what they have accomplished.”

    But the guest specifically pointed to Donald Trump firing FBI Director James Comey as a key development, not just in the scandal and its effect on U.S. institutions, but also because Comey was overseeing the investigation into the Trump campaign’s ties to its allies in Moscow. “The Russians have to consider this as another victory on the scoreboard for them,” Clapper added.
    It’s part of an under-appreciated dynamic. Indeed, the Washington Post had a good piece today on Vladimir Putin’s government reaping unexpected rewards from the new Republican administration.

    Russia has yet to collect much of what it hoped for from the Trump administration, including the lifting of U.S. sanctions and recognition of its annexation of Crimea.

    But the Kremlin has collected a different return on its effort to help elect Trump in last year’s election: chaos in Washington.

    Consider recent developments from Moscow’s perspective. Russia wants strained relations between the United States and its Western allies, and Trump is making that happen. Russia wants to see a marginalized U.S. State Department, and Trump is happy to oblige. Russia wants to see political chaos grip the U.S. capital, and Trump is delivering in a big way.

    Russia didn’t like the counter-espionage investigation Jim Comey was overseeing (and escalating), and soon after Trump fired Comey. Putin asked Trump to welcome Russian officials into the White House last week – including a photographer for a state-run Russian outlet – and Trump did exactly that.

    Russia wants U.S. leaders to raise doubts about the country’s role in attacking the American presidential election last year, and Trump, even now, continues to suggest there’s ambiguity about which country was responsible for the 2016 intervention.

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  61. 61
    rikyrah says:

    Powerful NJ Republican congressman wrote to a local bank to tell them an activist bothering him works there: https://t.co/REl4VjuF6T

    — Daniel Dale (@ddale8) May 15, 2017

    this is only way @USRepRodney can stay in office: personally try to suppress the vote https://t.co/Y6J6zpR4Kt

    — Eric Boehlert (@EricBoehlert) May 15, 2017

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  62. 62
    amk says:

    @Betty Cracker: Pakistan’s military is still a professionally run outfit. It’s their CIA equivalent ISI that pals around with extremists and even they are not talking about nuke wars. There is only one country that sabre rattles about using nukes all the time.

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  63. 63
    Mike J says:

    @MattF: That would be a violation of the presidential records act.

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  64. 64
    gvg says:

    @Mike J: No. I don’t recall Obama’s choice for the Vatican making the news at all. Do you have a link.

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  65. 65
    Enhanced Voting Techniques says:

    @Jeffro: Actually my bet is Trump will end up committing suicide. It looks like Trump’s in a near state of constant panic now and his CNN and Fox news habit only going to fuel it.

    Of course, Trump, being hailed as a presidential martyr like Kennedy, FDR and Lincoln by the MSM will be sickening to watch,

    ReplyReply
  66. 66
    rikyrah says:

    Paul Ryan carries a fig leaf for the emperor with no clothes
    05/15/17 10:00 AM
    By Steve Benen

    In the latest episode of “Saturday Night Live,” there was a great sketch in which “Donald Trump” sat down for an interview with NBC News’ “Lester Holt” – actors, of course, portrayed the real people – only to be interrupted by an overeager young man who wanted to give the president some ice cream.

    The young man was an actor playing House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.).

    It was a brutal reminder that the Republican leader’s willingness to play the role of a pathetic lackey to the White House has reached a point at which Ryan’s reputation has literally become a cultural punch line.

    And while the problem isn’t entirely new, last week brought the issue to the fore in new ways. After Trump fired FBI Director James Comey, for example, and leading lawmakers were sharing their perspective, Ryan remained silent for nearly a full day – before eventually endorsing the president’s abuse. By Friday, the House Speaker seemed eager to walk a fine line in which he was supportive of Trump though not responsible for Trump.

    “I’m focusing on what’s in my control, and that is what is Congress doing to solve people’s problems,” Ryan said at an event in Delavan, Wisconsin, according to CNN. […]

    “I’m working on making sure that we make good on our promises and fix people’s problems,” Ryan said, according to CNN. “That’s what’s in my control, and that’s what I’m focused on.”

    Putting aside the fact that Ryan isn’t fixing anyone’s problems – unless you consider it a “problem” when Americans have access to affordable health care – his line is unsatisfying because it’s wrong.

    ……………………………

    The New Republic’s Brian Beutler had a great piece along these lines:

    Should Ryan rediscover that the House he leads can investigate and appropriate in ways that force the executive branch to surface important information, there would be nothing extraordinary about it. The House has been doing that for centuries. What Ryan has done is surrender his own fundamental powers to Trump, knowing that people he likes and respects are telling reporters that Trump’s presence in the White House terrifies them.

    Republicans know that, one way or another, this could end horrifically. They know they will be complicit if it does. And they’re abetting Trump anyway.

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  67. 67
    sharl says:

    @Cermet:

    Don’t forget (or do read) that the US strongly supported/encouraged South Korea to stage small scale invasions of North Korea before the war; these rather large invasion units destroyed factories, bridges and other infrastructures. In response, the North finally launched a full scale invasion of the South…

    I am also interested in further reading/link(s) to this background. I have read statements elsewhere that the origins of what became the Korean War go back to a “proto” civil strife that started in the 1930’s – maybe not of sufficient scale to be called a full-blown civil war – that ended up becoming a proxy war for the new superpowers in the (also new) Cold War. But I never saw links accompanying those statements on twitter. Most citations are for the war itself, not the events leading up to it.

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  68. 68
    Patricia Kayden says:

    @rikyrah: And according to the article I read, the activist had to explain her actions and then resign. I find that chilling. How this Congressman could get away with political intimidation like that is beyond me.

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  69. 69
    Roger Moore says:

    @MattF:

    I’m pretty sure that the response to a subpoena would be ‘Sorry, all recordings were destroyed before the subpoena was issued’.

    You’d better be damn sure that statement is true before making it. If they still exist and somebody leaks them to a committee member, you’re up shit creek.

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  70. 70
    rikyrah says:

    Three months in, chaos grips Donald Trump’s White House
    05/15/17 08:00 AM
    By Steve Benen

    In Friday’s White House press briefing, a reporter told Press Secretary Sean Spicer he’d spoken to a former FBI official who was alarmed by Donald Trump threatening former FBI Director James Comey via Twitter. The reporter’s source said the president, in his words, “is simply ‘out of control.’”

    Spicer replied, “That’s, frankly, offensive.” He did not elaborate.

    The response was about as good as any – it wasn’t as if the president’s chief spokesperson could acknowledge from the podium that Trump really is “out of control” – but the reporter’s FBI contact is hardly the only person thinking along these lines. The morning after the president fired the person overseeing the investigation into his campaign, a White House staffer told Politico the White House’s team had slipped into “total and complete chaos – even by our standards.”

    Over the weekend, the Washington Post published a piece that characterized the White House as a dysfunctional mess, led by a president whose stability is in doubt.

    In deciding to abruptly fire FBI Director James B. Comey, President Trump characteristically let himself be guided by his own instincts – fueled by his creeping anger and sense of victimhood about a probe into Russian meddling in the 2016 election that he considers a “witch hunt.”

    The aftermath is a presidency rocked by its most serious self-inflicted crisis yet, exposing dysfunction and distrust within his West Wing and imperiling his agenda. The momentum for the health-care bill that passed the House is gone, and a week scheduled to be devoted to Trump’s preparations for a high-stakes foreign trip was overtaken by distractions and fury.

    Across Washington, Trump’s allies have been buzzing about the staff’s competence as well as the president’s state of mind. One GOP figure close to the White House mused privately about whether Trump was “in the grip of some kind of paranoid delusion.”

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  71. 71
    piratedan says:

    @rikyrah: strikes me as an ethics violation… taking personal correspondence from a constituent and then using that against their employer… I’d have his ass up in the Congressional ethics board and personally sue him.

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  72. 72

    @sigaba:

    Gingrich converted to Catholicism when he married hi current wife.

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  73. 73
    randy khan says:

    @Patricia Kayden:

    If I understand the story right, she wasn’t forced to resign, but obviously it made working there . . . awkward and she decided to leave soon thereafter. So not quite a straight line from the letter, but pretty close.

    Either way, this is utterly beyond the pale. There is no explanation that would justify it.

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  74. 74
    Roger Moore says:

    @Enhanced Voting Techniques:

    Actually my bet is Trump will end up committing suicide.

    I think he’s a lot more likely to run away to exile in Russia; I don’t think he has the guts to kill himself. If he “commits suicide”, though, it’s going to spawn more conspiracy theories than the Kennedy assassination.

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  75. 75
    Brachiator says:

    I keep hearing Trump supporters claim that their hero’s “shoot from the hip” style and refusal to make definitive statements about foreign policy keeps our adversaries off guard. In the real world, North Korea’s tests seem to continue according to their own schedules with or without Trump bluster.

    Meanwhile:

    Vladimir Putin issued a clear statement that the North Korean test but warning the United States about “intimidating” North Korea, probably referring to provocative statements and movement (or not) of military equipment. He also calls for talks, which are the only way we can slow down North Korea’s progress.

    Russia’s position still seems to resemble that of the former Soviet Union, with support for North Korea. Again, not much concern about Trump.

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  76. 76
    Le Comte de Monte Cristo, fka Edmund Dantes says:

    @Roger Moore:

    I don’t think he has the guts to kill himself.

    That’s not a comment I ever thought I’d hear about a president. Accurate, though.

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  77. 77
    Brachiator says:

    @Cathie from Canada:

    I have been wondering lately whether or why North Korea really matters enough to justify a nuclear war

    North Korea, Pakistan and a few other countries are worrisome as countries that develop nuclear weapons technology and possibly make this expertise available to others. North Korea is also making slow, but clear advances in missile technology.

    You might find this BBC News background story useful, “How Did North Korea Get the Bomb.”

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  78. 78
    GregB says:

    The madness of the King is quickening.

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  79. 79

    @Betty Cracker:

    But the fears that Pakistan’s government hangs by a thread and that its military is full of fundamentalist fanatics seems legit.

    Again, I ask what has changed in the recent past that you think makes a nuclear exchange more imminent? I have heard nothing from either Indian or Pakistani news outlets.

    If an outfit like al Qaeda gained effective control of that government and nuclear arsenal, as once happened in Afghanistan (sans nukes), that would be a nightmare for the whole world, obviously. A few years back, I read an article somewhere (can’t remember the source, but it may have been Rolling Stone) about the U.S. contingency plans for just such an occurrence.

    Obama was president then. Frightening to think of what a lunatic like Trump would do if that happened.

    I am pretty sure that India has gamed this possibility and is not depending on the tender mercies of United States government to save it.I have seen the tendency of news outlets here, I am looking at you Vichy Times, to infantalize India and Indians, like they are stupid children waiting to be rescued.

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  80. 80
    sharl says:

    @sharl, @Cermet: After posting my original comment I went to Wikipedia; don’t know why I didn’t think to do so in the first place. It looks like there is some pretty good background and discussion (in the Talk sections) there, in both the page for the Korean War and the one for the Division of Korea. That will give me plenty to chew over for now.

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  81. 81
    Mike J says:

    @gvg: I don’t know where I got that from. Weird brain fart. His ambassador to the Dominican Republic was criticized for being gay, but googling doesn’t show me any controversy about ambassadors to the Vatican.

    The Vatican has refused divorced Catholic ambassadors in the past, but Newt got an annulment.

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  82. 82
    rikyrah says:

    * In the new national NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll, Donald Trump’s approval rating is down to just 39% — a point Barack Obama never reached in his two terms as president.

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  83. 83
    amk says:

    The Chief of Staff wants the Deputy National Security Advisor to stop feeding the President internet hoaxes https://t.co/XuEJzx3WX1 pic.twitter.com/JH20MpqMKn— Matthew Yglesias (@mattyglesias) May 15, 2017

    once a puppet ….

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  84. 84
    Immanentize says:

    @amk: OK, this made me chuckle:

    : Pakistan’s military is still a professionally run outfit. It’s their CIA equivalent ISI that pals around with extremists

    The two organizations are not from separate galaxies. One need only consider bin Laden, the Taliban, and actions in Warziristan to know that the military for their own reasons — whether the same as the ISI’s — do indeed pal around with extremists.

    Also, too, the US CIA and our military are in all of our military engagements hand in glove. I think they both believe the same is true in Pakistan.

    I do hope you are right in your confidences. My original statement was that Pakistan is the most worrisome nuclear state in the world. Certainly, few leaders are suicidal. And from long history, the NK leadership has acted very strategically. Never suicidally. But which State is truly more stable — internally? Pakistan, or NK? What is scary in a nuke sense is I don’t know but many experts think the NK society has few internal divisions.

    If a nuclear conflict starts in or near NK, it will likely be our doing, not theirs.

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  85. 85
    Brachiator says:

    @Betty Cracker:

    A few years back, I read an article somewhere (can’t remember the source, but it may have been Rolling Stone) about the U.S. contingency plans for just such an occurrence.

    Duck and cover?

    One of the few clearly positive mutual efforts between the US and Russia was the reduction of nuclear stockpiles following the dismantling of the former Soviet Union. It’s just insane that Emperor Little Hands is hot to build up America’s nuclear arsenal again.

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  86. 86

    @rikyrah: 39% is too high.

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  87. 87
    JanieM says:

    Talk of suicide seems off-base to me from a number of angles, but I will only mention one. I don’t think there’s the remotest possibility that Trump would consider it; to me it seems completely at odds with his entire m.o. He will keep externalising the chaos inside himself at whatever cost to anyone near him, or the whole world for that matter, and it will always be because other people are bad, stupid, or wrong, never him. He can’t stop, he can only be stopped. (And at this point I wouldn’t even bet on that….)

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  88. 88
    Boatboy_srq says:

    @clay: He’s checking in with his owner boss to see if this is really bad.

    ReplyReply
  89. 89
    D58826 says:

    @Mike J: And if I remember, the Vatican refused to accept his credentials. Will be interesting to see how they deal with an adulteress. (oh yea those w/o sin and all of that…..)

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  90. 90

    @Immanentize:

    My original statement was that Pakistan is the most worrisome nuclear state in the world.

    That would be the United States. It has the biggest nuclear arsenal in the world, with a crazy person, who listens to no one in charge of the said arsenal. Pakistan’s arsenal is like a rounding error compared to that of the US.

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  91. 91

    @JanieM: But but, Pakistan has crazy mullahs.

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  92. 92
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Mike J:

    Right, but AFAIK, Newt only got an annulment for his second marriage, not his first. Callista is his third wife.

    I’m wondering if the divorce issue is why she’s being appointed as the ambassador, not him.

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  93. 93
    Patricia Kayden says:

    @rikyrah: Because President Obama was an actual President while Trump is a clown. This is such a nightmare.

    ReplyReply
  94. 94

    @Mnemosyne: Not that I won’t enjoy Hair Helmet get her comeuppance. Why does Vatican care, who the ambassador has slept with?

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  95. 95
    Brachiator says:

    @Immanentize:

    The Pakistani government hangs by a thread. A huge part of the country is no longer in government control (although this is much more land than people). Meanwhile, the Pakistani military, which has been the guarantor of nuclear stability has been increasingly radicalized by Islamists.

    The government of Pakistan is often hanging by a thread. The first military coup happened in 1951 and since then there have been numerous attempts by the military to either seize power or to be the dominant player. The intelligence service is a separate major player.

    It is still a guess as to the extent that the military in Pakistan manipulates, inspires or is infiltrated by ultra radical Islamists.

    Despite this, some degree of rational behavior typically takes place between India and Pakistan. And it may be that economic investment by China is encouraging even friendlier relations between all three countries (India and China fought over borders in 1962).

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  96. 96
    rikyrah says:

    THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW 5/12/17
    Financial crimes unit to help Trump-Russia investigation
    Rachel Maddow reports that with the Trump-Russia investigation expanding into Donald Trump’s businesses, the Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network has agreed to share important information with investigators.

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  97. 97
    rikyrah says:

    Red flags: Dems up 16 points in generic House ballot, per @quinnipiac, and: https://t.co/ZokPzUeEX6 pic.twitter.com/8xI6S8UyB4

    — Joy Reid (@JoyAnnReid) May 15, 2017

    .@Quinnipiac Redder flags from the NBC/WSJ poll: Trump pulling the GOP under w/ not just whites, but seniors & suburbanites-AKA reliable midterm voters: pic.twitter.com/mbxB8bpB9k

    — Joy Reid (@JoyAnnReid) May 15, 2017

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  98. 98
    Peale says:

    @rikyrah: Yeah. I know I’m trying not to be downer about 2018, but it seems like I’ve heard about these generic ballots and Republican bloodbaths in mid-terms only to find out that the public forgets why its angry at Republicans every single time. I’m not going to be optimistic until voters prove me wrong.

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  99. 99
    Kay says:

    Kobach is already using the Democrats who indicated an interest in this commission to promote his own career and promote Donald Trump:

    The Trump administration’s new “election integrity” commission “is not set up to prove or to disprove” President Donald Trump’s unsubstantiated claims of widespread voter fraud, according to the vice chair of the commission.
    Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, who was tapped to help Vice President Mike Pence lead the panel, defended the commission in an interview on CNN’s “New Day” Monday.

    Donald Trump and his team are really, really unpopular. Why Democratic state politicians would tie their reputation to these hacks is beyond me. Kobach won’t just discredit himself- he’ll take them down with him.

    It baffles me why decent people who have good careers in government would subject themselves to these people.

    NO ONE comes out better after aligning with Team Trump. They smear shit on anyone who comes near them.

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  100. 100

    @Brachiator: So China is promoting Indo-Pak peace? Things I learn of, on Balloon Juice everyday. So If India and Pakistan behave rationally, I love how the credit goes to some one else.

    ReplyReply
  101. 101
    Peale says:

    @Kay: Yep. Was kind of hoping that Trump will somehow take down Kobach, who is a truly evil, hateful, specimen.

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  102. 102
    Mnemosyne says:

    @schrodingers_cat:

    Well, Vatican City is a theocracy. It’s like American women diplomats having to wear headscarves when they work in countries that are Islamic theocracies.

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  103. 103
    Cermet says:

    @Cheryl Rofer: Correct on that – got it backwards …still, we should have gotten a treaty.

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  104. 104

    @Mnemosyne: Vatican: Priests covering up decades of child abuse get a promotion, while divorce is a strict no no. The hypocrisy of god botherers, never fails to amaze.

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  105. 105
    Kay says:

    If you VOLUNTEER for a Trump voter suppression commission you should have to turn in your “Democrat” card. You’re either a bad person or an absolute moron.

    This commission will work AGAINST Democratic voters- ordinary people. How can any Democrat possibly justify joining them?

    One of them said Kobach is a nice person. So because they’re flattered that this “nice person” offered them a slot on his commission they’re willing to go along with efforts to suppress the votes of the Democratic base?

    That’s selfish to the point of insanity.

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  106. 106
    Kay says:

    @Peale:

    Trump is really unpopular and so are Kansas Republicans in their own state!

    So New England state Democrats decide to join up with them? WTF is wrong with these people? It’s career suicide.

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  107. 107
    Cermet says:

    @sharl: Watched it on a documentary of the Korean war some years ago (like 25 years ago!) Even had footage. Long enough ago that fake news was generally not known …have seen scrapes here and there but not a big interest in US history. Not really interested in digging since I have far more pressing concerns but considering what General Macarthur did after his brilliant surprise northward invasion that provoked the Chinese to enter the war, not too surprising that we did that stupid action before the war.

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  108. 108
    Enhanced Voting Techniques says:

    @Roger Moore:

    I think he’s a lot more likely to run away to exile in Russia; I don’t think he has the guts to kill himself.

    Interesting thought, but hard to believe his kids wouldn’t stop him and no hamburgers in over priced five star restaurants in Russia.

    My reasoning is Trump is running on pure animalistic panic and because he won’t turn of the TV and death will be his only escape from CNN. That or a pillow fort in the middle of the Oval Office.

    he “commits suicide”, though, it’s going to spawn more conspiracy theories than the Kennedy assassination

    .
    Yes, if that happens, it will be dreadful. A Late Donald Trump will be the instant wingnut saint, eclipsing even St Ronald the Maxiumus.

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  109. 109
    Mnemosyne says:

    @schrodingers_cat:

    Yeah, much as I like Pope Frankie, I ain’t going back to Mother Church anytime soon. But I do enjoy the vision of Newt and Callista squirming as the Pope gives them the stink eye or, even better, decides to do some kindly counseling about how they need to be repentant for their sins.

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  110. 110
    Cheryl Rofer says:

    @schrodingers_cat: I think it goes too far to say that China is promoting Indo-Pak peace. China is on Pakistan’s side and is selling them reactors to produce plutonium for weapons. But China probably doesn’t want a nuclear war in its back yard either.

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  111. 111
    Kay says:

    @Peale:

    Let’s sit down with this racist lunatic and negotiate voting rights. Maybe he’ll compromise and let the people who put us in office vote!

    Conservatives are finally starting to lose on voter suppression laws in courts so Democrats figure they’ll pitch in and give them cover in the next lawsuit that hinges on “intent”? Democrats to the rescue! Good God.

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  112. 112
    Immanentize says:

    @schrodingers_cat: That is true and I think the US and Russia have both proven they are capable of making nuclear weapons mistakes. But between the US and Russia, I think Russia is less control oriented right now. Even with Trump as President. But like I said, let’s hope none of our fears are realized.

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  113. 113

    @Cheryl Rofer: China has always been a Pak ally and a thorn in India’s side. Iran and Afghanistan on the other hand have been allies of India. I was being sarcastic about them being the peacemaker in case I was not clear. United States too has been a Pak ally since the Bangladesh war, supplied Pak with weaponry.

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  114. 114
    Kay says:

    @Peale:

    We’ll see this “commission” again. Republicans will use it to deny discriminatory intent in the next lawsuit against one of their laws- “see? we included a couple of dopey Democrats! No discriminatory intent here!”

    I don’t get the eagerness to be used. It baffles me.

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  115. 115
    Peale says:

    @Kay: Its not like state election commissioner is somehow a springboard to higher office. Kobach doesn’t need facts. He just needs bi-partisan cover. I won’t be surprised if they call this commission the Kobach-(insert democratic flunky name here) Report.

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  116. 116
    Brachiator says:

    @schrodingers_cat:

    So China is promoting Indo-Pak peace? Things I learn of, on Balloon Juice everyday. So If India and Pakistan behave rationally, I love how the credit goes to some one else.

    Wow, Not what I said at all. India and Pakistan, pursuing their own national interests, are using the opportunities provided by China’s overtures, to reduce tensions. China is seeking to extend its influence, and is not acting altruistically.

    This has nothing to do with giving “credit” to China, and everything to do with geo-politics. A story in the Hindustan Times noted:

    In many aspects, the plan to invest in Pakistan “also has to do with helping industry at home (in China)”, comments the Dawn report. The project shows great interest in the textiles industry, with the focus largely on yarn and coarse cloth. The reason, the plan says, is that the textile industry in Xinjiang has already attained higher levels of productivity. Therefore, “China can make the most of the Pakistani market in cheap raw materials to develop the textiles and garments industry and help soak up surplus labour forces in Kashgar”.

    I also clearly said that India and Pakistan behave rationally because it is in their own interests. I was recently reading about a 1999 military excursion that Pakistan made over the Line of Control into military outposts held by India in Kashmir (the Kargil War). Despite some intense fighting to repel the Invaders, this military incident did not erupt into full scale war. Pakistan did not even admit that the soldiers killed were members of the Pakistan Army. This plausible deniability seems ridiculous on one level, but it keeps hostilities from getting out of control.

    But if China wants to invest at least $46 billion in projects in Pakistan, doesn’t this create an incentive for Pakistan to promote peace with its neighbors?

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  117. 117

    @Brachiator: This is not new. China and Pakistan have been buddy buddy before I was born and I was not born yesterday.
    I disagree with Immanetize’s premise of Pakistan being the most unstable nuclear state. I am even wondering why we are having this stupid debate at all. I say this as someone who views both governments in New Delhi and Islamabad with a healthy dose of suspicion. They may be scoundrels but they are not insane.

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  118. 118

    @Brachiator: Pakistan has always relied on these so called irregulars right from the first skirmish between the two newly independent nations. It has little to do with China. It just gives Pak plausible deniability.

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  119. 119
    TenguPhule says:

    @schrodingers_cat:

    I have seen the tendency of news outlets here, I am looking at you Vichy Times, to infantalize India and Indians, like they are stupid children waiting to be rescued.

    In all fairness, some of the stupid and evil shit committed by Indian government and India’s ruling party rank and file do come across to us here in the States as something we’d expect more from someone like Trump then civilized human beings.

    1. Rapefests with lots of rapists and poor legal and cultural response to it (And keep in mind, coming from the USA, that’s pretty bad). Double bonus points for raping female tourists and blaming them for the crime because of how they dress and behave.

    2. The Beef with Beef. Lynching Muslims on mere suspicion of eating a cow, with the quiet blessings of the nationalist party.

    3. That AIDS problem and the Indian male culture that’s making it worse.

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  120. 120
    TenguPhule says:

    @Kay:

    I don’t get the eagerness to be used. It baffles me.

    Some Democrats didn’t get the memo that there are no honorable Republicans left.

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  121. 121
    TenguPhule says:

    @Enhanced Voting Techniques:

    A Late Donald Trump will be the instant wingnut saint, eclipsing even St Ronald the Maxiumus.

    I’m sure his own minions have already figured this out and planned accordingly.

    Look for the “Heir to Trump” to be the guilty party.

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  122. 122
    TenguPhule says:

    @schrodingers_cat:

    Why does Vatican care, who the ambassador has slept with?

    Having sex with adult women is a crime in Catholic theology.

    Children? Well, there’s nothing in the Bible that specifically prohibits them…..

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  123. 123
    Uncle Cosmo says:

    @Kay: What baffles me is why intelligent people are going apeshit over this.

    A Democrat is appointed to the “Commission.” S/he keeps exhaustive records of what is said in meetings & circulated in memos & e-mails, votes against anything with even a whiff of voter suppression, & resigns in very loud protest when (not if) suppressive measures are passed over his/her objection, dumping all the dirty laundry out in publi & daring the mofos to file charges. Why is that not massively preferable to letting the Thugs pack the panel with their own people & scheme in secret with no oversight at all??

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  124. 124
    🌷 Martin says:

    People are going to have to come to terms with North Korea’s missile progress. The US is able to spin off multiple billionaires with vanity orbital projects. That suggests that the knowhow and technology to be successful here is being rapidly commoditized. North Korea has already launched a small orbital satellite, so a ballistic missile with large payload is not far from their reach.

    Hell, I expect that within 3 years I have a student team doing a sub-orbital launch and 10 years an orbital one. Japan is pretty close to getting into orbit with a 10m tall, 2.5t solid-fuel 2-stage rocket.

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  125. 125
    Marshall says:

    It’s a liquid-fueled missile, which means that it must be fueled just before launch, and the propellants are difficult to handle.

    This looks to me (from the launch photos) that it is probably using Nitric Acid and Hydrazine (or some variant) for oxidizer and fuel. These sorts of liquid fuels are stable for years (which is why we and the USSR used them for some ICBMs), and so the missile does not have to be fueled just before launch.

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  126. 126
    Brachiator says:

    @schrodingers_cat:

    This is not new. China and Pakistan have been buddy buddy before I was born and I was not born yesterday.

    The level of investment is greater than before. When China was more overtly communist, financial partnerships with other nations were more related to China’s ideological concerns.

    I disagree with Immanetize’s premise of Pakistan being the most unstable nuclear state. I am even wondering why we are having this stupid debate at all. I say this as someone who views both governments in New Delhi and Islamabad with a healthy dose of suspicion. They may be scoundrels but they are not insane.

    We are on the same page here. Nothing I have written in this thread or elsewhere has said anything about Pakistan being the most unstable nuclear state. Nothing. I even tried to correct Immanetize on this point.

    We could get into Pakistan’s role in helping North Korea develop their nuclear weapons, and Pakistan’s possible involvement in Iran’s nuclear program, but that is a separate issue. We could also get into the inability of any nation to prevent a developed country from getting nukes, and the wisdom of either India or Pakistan pursuing nuclear weapons for any reason other than ego gratification, but that is also another issue. And note here, again that I do not question these nations’ rights to pursue their national interests. Here, we could get into the problems the US contributed to by falsely assuming that Pakistan was little more than a passive client state, or the often foolish underestimation of India as a regional power.

    Pakistan has always relied on these so called irregulars right from the first skirmish between the two newly independent nations. It has little to do with China. It just gives Pak plausible deniability.

    I never said that the 1999 battle of Kargil had anything to do with China. Also, the Pakistani forces were not irregulars. The operations, the tactics, the uniforms, the weapons and support were all Pakistan regular army. There were photographs of the dead and captured soldiers that clearly indicated the units they were from. The denial was just the foreign policy dance that nations do.

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  127. 127

    @Brachiator:

    Also, the Pakistani forces were not irregulars.

    If even if they were regular army, Pakistan has a long standing tradition calling them “irregulars”, “tribesmen” etc to maintain plausible deniability.

    China and Pakistan have been strategic allies even when China was communist and Pakistan hadn’t become Mullah Central that it became under Zia’s leadership with United States blessings.

    BTW have you seen the miniseries, Tamas, about the Partition? It is based on a novel by the same name, which means Darkness.

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  128. 128
    Brachiator says:

    @schrodingers_cat:

    China and Pakistan have been strategic allies even when China was communist and Pakistan hadn’t become Mullah Central that it became under Zia’s leadership with United States blessings.

    I think that Pakistan was the first Muslim country to recognize the People’s Republic of China.

    I have not seen Tamas. My knowledge of Indian cinema is very spotty. I also used to live closer to a neighborhood with an Indian theater Some of the specialty video stores I visit have a ton of Chinese and Japanese movies, but little or nothing in the way of Indian movies. Even with recent movies, the more easily accessible theaters will have “specialty” films (Armenian, Indian, etc) at the most convenient showtimes only the first two weeks of their release.

    A quick comparison. The new King Arthur movie was such a dud that the multiplexes near me eliminated afternoon weekend showtimes, and one evening showing.

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  129. 129

    @Brachiator: Its not a movie at all but a miniseries made for DoorDarshan by Govind Nihalani based on a book by Bhisham Sahani who actually lived through the experience.
    Newer Hindi movies are available for streaming these days a few months after the initial release.

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  130. 130
    Brachiator says:

    @schrodingers_cat:

    Newer Hindi movies are available for streaming these days a few months after the initial release.

    On Netflix, or through another service?

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  131. 131

    @Brachiator: Google Play and Itunes, Netflix has a rotating roster of older releases.

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  132. 132
    Morzer says:

    @amk:

    Anatol Lieven wrote a very good book about Pakistan (Pakistan: A Hard Country (2012)) – and one of his key points was that the army is one of the few stable, relatively professional outfits in the country. ISI has been a big part of the problem, partly because of its consistent desire to “win” what they see as the inevitable war with India by any means possible. They thought they could use the Islamists as a force multiplier, but basically never had anything like enough control over them for that to work out. The ISI is now an unholy mess which often seems not to know what it is doing or wants to do on any given day of the week.

    https://qatar.sfs.georgetown.edu/profile/anatol-lieven

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