Morning Ethics Update: 8/10/17

Good Morning!

1. Less than two weeks after social justice bullies on social media chastised actor Mandy Patinkin for agreeing to take the place of a black actor in Broadway’s “Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812,”  causing the politically impeccable Mandy to withdraw with humble mea culpas, and the “woke” creator of the  the Tony winning musical to humbly kowtow to the new show business principle that it is better for a show to close entirely, putting everyone out of work, than for a white actor to take over a role from a black actor who took over the role from a white actor in the first place, “The Great Comet’s” producers announced that the show will close in September.

Good job, everybody!


2. First Amendment incursions are creeping in from all sides and all angles so fast it’s hard to slap them down. Cowboy Joe West, the major leagues’ longest-serving umpire,was just suspended for three days for comments he made a in an interview with USA Today published on June 20, to mark   the umpire’s 5,000th regular-season game. Asked which player beefed most frequently about his calls, West said “it’s got to be Adrian Beltre.” Beltre, who recently punched his own ticket into the Hall of Fame by getting his 3000th hit, is apparently something of a human Bermuda Triangle for ethics controversies.

“Every pitch you call that’s a strike, he says, ‘Whoa! Whoa! Whoa!,'” West was quoted as saying.  “I had a game with him recently and the pitch was right down the middle. He tells me, ”That ball is outside.’ I told him, ‘You may be a great ballplayer, but you’re the worst umpire in the league. You stink.'”

MLB suspended West for three days, telling the umpires union in a letter that the discipline was in response to an “appearance of lack of impartiality.” Beltre has said that he never assumed West was being anything but facetious. The umpires union is livid, and West is likely to file a grievance.

There are two theories about this strange episode in the Marshall household. I think it’s more evidence of slippage on the societal slope to speech suppression. My wife thinks baseball is laying the groundwork for replacing umpires on balls and strikes with robo-calls. After all, robots aren’t biased.

I hope she’s right, but I doubt it.

3. Why don’t Democrats want to clean up eligible voter rolls?the Justice Department filed a Supreme Court amicus brief  supporting the state of Ohio as it fights to defend its law that purges names from voter rolls if  those names aren’t attached to votes for a significant period. This reverses the Obama Administration’s position, which backed a lower court decision  that it ran afoul of the 1993 National Voter Registration Act.

Why does Ohio want to de-register voters who don’t vote for two years, then are sent notices asking that they confirm their voter registration, don’t respond to the notices ,and continue to not vote for another four years? I assume it is because the state doesn’t want dead people on the voter rolls. Why do Democrats want the names of dead people listed as eligible voters?

I’ll leave that to your imagination…

4. Oh, good. I’m not the only one to fall for an unethical hoax news site’s story. I didn’t fall for this one, but Instapundit Glenn Reynolds did: Protests Break Out Over Proposed Blazing Saddles Showing. The site is something called “Nevada County Scooper,” and makes my list of unethical satire sites by 1) not announcing its fake news status on its home page 2) not being sufficiently clever or amusing to tip off Reynolds, who is pretty funny himself, that it is all lies, and 3) requiring a reader to make at least three clicks and read a spectacularly unfunny hoax history of  “the Scooper” before actually encountering the words, “satirical website.”

A protest over a showing of “Blazing Saddles” is completely plausible after the damage done to the nation’s culture, freedom of expression and, sadly, sense of humor  over the past eight years.

5. Yesterday, North Korea (Is the new descriptor “the Norks” racist? It sure echoes “gooks” to my ear…) followed its earlier warning that the regime was planning to strike Guam (a US territory) with details that the launch plan will be ready for Kim’s approval by mid-month. It will, North Korea’s Central News Agency said, involve four Hwasong-12 rockets crossing “the sky above Shimane, Hiroshima and Koichi Prefectures of Japan. They will fly 3,356.7 km (2,085.8 miles) for 1,065 seconds and hit the waters 30 to 40 km away from Guam.” The intermediate-range missiles would “interdict the enemy forces on major military bases on Guam” and “signal a crucial warning to the U.S.”

The question being debated here yesterday was whether the U.S. would or should engage in a preemptive strike on the rogue nation. That is both an ethical and a practical question, but if a first strike is sufficiently practical, it is also sufficiently ethical.

Would the described attack on Guam be provocation for a retaliatory strike by the U.S. on North Korea?


Would such a strike have to be nuclear?

No. My guess is that it wouldn’t be.

Would it matter ethically if the attack on Guam were successful of not?

No! That’s moral luck. The fact that North Korea tried to attack Guam would justify a military response whether the missiles were shot down,  were duds, or killed thousands.

The tougher question is whether an ethical country is required to wait for an attack that has been threatened and described in detail in an official communication before it takes deadly action to defend itself. I don’t think it’s that tough. If a country with the capability to do says “we are going to attack you on or about this date,” the U.S. is within all ethical and legal bounds to say, “Oh no you won’t!” and do what it feels is necessary to protect itself before such an attack with all the force at its command.

76 thoughts on “Morning Ethics Update: 8/10/17

  1. Fatty put forward the theory that Kim Jong Un was playing a game of “Don`t mess with me, I`m crazy and I have guns” and to be fair to him, the theory isn’t completely without merit on it’s own, but then he went and said that various sources have said that North Korea may have as many as 20 nukes already.

    That loses me. If the point of being insane and having guns is to discourage foreign interference by providing the dual impressions of power, and willingness to use it… Then what’s the point of hiding that you already have nukes? In fact… “I have nukes” has historically been enough to dissuade conflict altogether.

    And now… “I’m going to attack you here, at this time, in this way”… It’s stupid in a whole lot of ways. If Un is actually going to attack, telling his enemy where, when and how is going to be… ineffective. And if Un isn’t going to attack, it makes him look weak, and it opens him up to the possibility of a preemptive strike.

            • Something only the US, UK, France, Russia, China, India (one such vessel) and possibly Israel have. That is REALLY dangerous to play around with. Once at sea, even the clunkiest SSBNs are very hard to find. More likely, the NKs could follow the Soviet example and create “bastions” by closing off a restricted area of the sea with other subs, surface forces, and air forces. While such a bastion might not ultimately stop the much more powerful US and allied sea and air forces, it might slow them down just enough to allow the bad guys to fire their missiles.

              • If they are planning on crossing the air space of one of our chief allies with the “four Hwasong-12 rockets,” what’s to stop them from being intercepted at that point, for the protection of Japan as well as Guam? Serious question. I did think we had the capability to do so.

                • Japan has stated that it has the legal right to intercept missiles aimed at US territory or its own territory. They have Aegis destroyer based antimissile defense systems and I believe also Patriot antimissile defense systems. I don’t know how effective those would be compared to the THAAD system which they do not have.

  2. And as for clearing dead people off the voter lists…. Why are you so Necrophobic? Imagine, stripping away people’s rights to vote merely because they happen to be dead! THIS is why people think the Republican party doesn’t want anyone other than rich, white, straight men to vote.


  3. The two years to purge voter rolls is significant. Far more Democrats than Republicans vote mostly during the presidential elections (every 4 years), and so this is a rather thinly veiled way of purging more Democrats off the rolls. Why not compromise and make it every 4 years instead? Dead people voting has not been shown to be a significant problem, especially compared to the problem of people thinking they are eligible to vote, showing up to the polls, and finding out that they aren’t. If Ohio really cared about dead people voting, simply correlate the deceased’s SSN with their voter registration and get them off the rolls that way. The chances of an otherwise eligible voter being kicked off is almost nil with that method.

        • Fortunately, at least if you had lived in Virginia, you could get Andrew J. Spieles to register you after you passed. Of course, you could only register as a Democrat.

      • Come on, Jack. You expect people to know where to put mail to have it picked up by the USPS? You’re a bigot. And showing your privilege.

      • I read it. But two years as the first “sign” is still far too short. Make it four years, with another four years, and you are far less likely to get false positives. As dead people voting in droves has not really even been shown to be a problem, it’s a solution in search of a problem. And not even a particularly good solution.

        People are swamped by junk mail. It is entirely too easy, unless the government feels like paying for registered mail to kick people off (which is the least they can do), for pieces of mail to slip away. And even registered mail has its own set of problems.

        If you really cared about dead people voting, why not, as I suggested earlier, just correlate death certificates with voter rolls? Unless of course, the entire object was to kick otherwise eligible voters off the rolls, this seems to solve that “issue” quite neatly.

        • Also note the lovely race baiting. Injecting race where there was none. Huh. This place gets uglier and uglier. Have a nice day.

          • He says, pretending that we haven`t had hundreds of conversations where it`s generally accepted, nay, forwarded by Democrats that Democratic opposition to voter restrictions usually hinge around the disparate impact those restrictions have on minority voters.

            • More comments like this are called for in the myriad discussions generated by EA when any particular commenter makes a comment as though it hasn’t been discussed in detail before.

              Especially egregious are those proven thoroughly wrong but hey, every day is a brand new day!

          • I dont follow. I AM black. It’s OK for me to say whatever I want about other blacks, isn’t it? Or do those rules only apply if I’m out on a street corner, or talking among other blacks?

            Help me out here, cause I can never seem to keep up with when liberals defend blacks from saying whatever we damn well please, and when we can’t.

            • Your blackness is cancelled out by your political reasoning ability and your failure to join the narrative correctly. I believe one of the words used is “hack.”

              • Which is exactly what I often suspect. The right to speak irrationally, illogically, or in racist terms is protected/defended/ignored for those who are on the right side of the line, and who’s reasoning ability is questionable. But prove that you can reason, all of a sudden you’re held to a very different standard.

          • I didn’t pick up on it at the time, but this was apparently deery’s exit. I’ve read the thread numerous times, and it makes no sense to me at all. What “race-baiting” did he detect? How does a knee-jerk progressive like Deery manage the brass to cry “Race-baiting!” is a discussion regarding voting regulations, which are routinely opposed by progressives as “racist.” ? Was he really accusing Chris Bentley of race baiting?

            • Let me interject a little bit here because I’ve got some experience along these lines; I live in a bastion of Progressives surrounded by reality and I’ve heard this kind of attitude from Progressives on a regular basis.

              I could be wrong bit I think Deery is indicating that he’s sick and tired of being offended by the level of the Conservative sarcasm that’s directly related to the left’s constant race baiting. What I find interesting is how a Progressive can be so damned offended by race biting sarcasm but the constant in-your-face televised anti-Conservative sarcastic “humor” is perfectly fine to them and they smear anyone who finds offense in it as lacking the intelligence to have a good sense of humor.

              To be clear, this kind of sarcasm from either side is very specifically designed to offend the targets of the sarcasm, it really is intentionally mocking their opposition. This kind of humor is common in political memes that go viral in social media. This kind of sarcastic mocking is something the political left has been doing for years and years and when the same kind of sarcasm is slung back at them for something like race baiting they’re offended and run for the hills to find a safe place where they aren’t challenged or offended; this is what I think Deery is doing.

              It’s been my experience, based on the vast majority of Progressives that I’ve come in contact with, that the left justifies their use of race baiting any place any time they can squeeze it in but any mocking of their race baiting by the political right is viewed as the “uglier” side of civil discourse.

            • I think there were several discussions around this time frame that were partially on the topic of race, in which several commenters were not falling in line with the Left’s dogma that white people are bad (regardless of the severity) and a large number of commenters were sick of playing nice with the suppressed premise and so were more assertive in their objections.

              I don’t think deery could handle it, and so accused the blog commentariat of being racist as justification for no longer trying to engage in discussion.

              I think Zoltar is accurate.

        • “As dead people voting in droves has not really even been shown to be a problem”

          The problem isn’t dead people voting; it is live people using dead people’s registration to vote. This is well known to happen.

        • It would make no sense for Republicans to kick off voters who would likely vote for them. So, why do you believe that the people being kicked off are more likely to vote democratic?

          Unless, your argument is that people would be kicked off indiscriminately, but it’d be harder for potential democratic voters to re-enroll than it would be potential republican voters?

        • “As dead people voting in droves has not really even been a problem…”

          So, how many citizens having their voice in this democracy canceled out by fraud constitutes a “problem?”

          It has to be “droves” now apparently.

  4. On #5, I aver to the Catholic Just War Doctrine. First, is the evil committed by the aggressor (in this case North Korea) lasting, grave, and certain? Second, have all means other than war proven to be insufficient or ineffective? Third, is there serious prospect of success? Fourth, will waging war produce greater evils than not fighting the aggressor?

    I would say that, given the state of North Korea since the end of the Korean War, the constant sabre-rattling from North Korean leadership, and the fact they have doggedly pursued nuclear and missile capabilities despite sanctions and international pressure, I think the threat is lasting and grave. Certain is the part I am unsure about. Would North Korea ever dare to launch missiles at Guam knowing that would be see by practically ever country, including China, as justification for the United States to remove North Korea from the map? My view, uninformed as it is, is that North Korea is seeking to be taken seriously on the international stage, and its nuclear development has been largely to prove it is a big boy to all the adults around it. But, is this desire to be taken seriously strong enough to go through with the threat of a nuclear launch? If North Korea doesn’t go through with it, then it won’t be taken seriously, but if it does, it risks utter annihilation, precluding any aid from China. The leads to a gigantic game of chicken, with the question of who will blink first. North Korea is counting on the United States to do so, but what will happen if the U.S. doesn’t blink?

    On the second, I think we’ve demonstrated that diplomacy and sanctions have not proved capable of resolving the situation. With China’s aid, North Korea has continually thumbed its nose at the international community and has been willing to starve its people to achieve its armament objectives.

    On the third item, I think there is a strong chance of success, provided that we approach war properly. It does greater harm to fight a war half-heartedly than to not fight the war at all. If we are to go into North Korea, it needs to be all-in, with overwhelming force. It can’t be a war we run in our spare time and with the change we scrounge out from between the sofa cushions. I personally feel that has been the problem with Iraq and Afghanistan. These wars have lingered for so long because we haven’t truly dedicated ourselves to what is required to win the wars. If we’re not willing to make the sacrifices to win the war, we shouldn’t be fighting it.

    There is also the issue of China. If the United States finds North Korean threats sufficiently credible, will China stand by North Korea, or will it decide that North Korea has been such a rogue nation for so long that whatever falls upon it is entirely its own fault? Will Russia stand by Serbia if Austria-Hungary invades, or will it shrug and say the Serbs brought their misfortune on themselves? If there is a certainty, though, that China will back North Korea on both economic and military fronts, then that skews the chance of success. I think we could still win, but this then leads to the next item.

    Will the war lead to greater evils than if the war did not occur? A war solely between North Korea and the United States, assuming we did not leave a power vacuum and assuming we didn’t abandon the Koreans to starvation, disease, and other privations that occur because of war, would likely tilt the scales toward justifying war. However, if the war embroils China, and any Chinese allies, and requires the United States to call upon its allied forces, escalating the conflict into a world-wide affair, this potentially creates greater harm than not fighting the war. I only say potentially because if North Korea does indeed strike with a nuclear weapon, war will become a reality regardless. The question at that point is how the sides will be formed. It may be that China will continue to back North Korea, and we will find a similar escalation to a world-wide conflict, or China might abandon North Korea and the conflict will remain a local one.

    I personally think that it is far more likely North Korea will find itself without allies if it actually follows through with its threatened attack on Guam. To that extent, I do think the United States should give North Korea enough rope to hang itself. However, I think at the same time the United States should mobilize a sizeable force to be ready the moment North Korea does push the suicide button. Make our fire and fury response sufficiently credible, and either North Korea will back down, or we will find ourselves less likely to find ourselves fighting China at the same time. But again, it should be clear, if we do anything at all, it should be with the full intent of fighting whatever war comes with every resource we have, to ensure a swift and overwhelming victory. Any less commitment than that, and we should walk away with our heads bowed in shame.

    • You didn’t account for Seoul which is being held hostage by DPRK artillery. If North Korea is attacked, Seoul gets bombarded. If Seoul is evacuated (attempted), war will be seen as inevitable and immediate leading to that first strike we all want to avoid.

      • If there were ever an initiation of hostilities, a whole slew of actions would have to occur nearly simultaneously to minimize what would be an inevitably horrible toll paid by civilians in Seoul.

        1) Evacuation of the more southern neighborhoods and neighborhoods closest to the edge of Seoul, anymore and the jam to get out of town would leave too many exposed to the strike that would soon follow.

        2) I assume Seoul has fortified shelters to some degree, the rest of the population that is close enough to these to occupy them before the initial strike falls, would have to be shuttled to them.

        3) The remainder of Seoul that can neither occupy a fortified shelter nor exit town before the strike begins landing will either have to shelter in place or take their chances.

        4) Our forces would have to begin the immediate task of eliminating their artillery positions as soon as they are identified (which I assume we know where a vast majority of them are already).
        4a) This would occupy the vast majority, if not ALL, of our ground attack aircraft and our own artillery / missile batteries.
        4b) This would also be accomplished by the necessary ground push into North Korea.

        5) Our air intercept forces would have to be on point escorting our ground attack aircraft, as their attention will be focused on 4a… Anti Air Defenses in North Korea may enjoy relatively free action initially. An obvious balance would have to be struck between focusing on eliminating NK Air Defenses and eliminating NK elements bombarding Seoul.

        6) Whatever else I haven’t thought of that would have to occur almost simultaneously.

        Either way, our real options are this:

        A) Wait a generation or so until NK collapses on itself (as all leftist economies do) and hope they don’t act out in a last existential grasp at survival (which would probably be a nuclear attack of some sort)

        B) Attack now.

        We’re stuck wondering if option A will be exponentially worse LATER than option B would definitely be now. Or if option A might, by some miracle, not be as bad LATER as option B would definitely be now.

        • Option A is really The Obama Way: kick the problem down the road so though the problem will be infinitely worse when we have to deal with it, some other poor sap will be on the line. You know, like Iran. And Muslim terrorists in the US.

        • I don’t necessarily disagree.

          My one and only point was that Ryan Harkins’ analysis left out the millions of people under the gun right now.

          We might know how many nukes NK has, we might know if they’re small enough to fit on missiles, we might know if the missiles work. We do know about the artillery aimed at Seoul. They can’t be left out of the equation.

          A rational actor might or might not decide to strike first anyway, it’s a judgement call. The kind of judgement we trust the President of the United States to have when the times comes.

          • Regardless of your opinions of the federalist, the Federalist Radio Hour (can be found via podcast also) has a great discussion today on the topic of the North Korean situation.

        • There is no doubt the people and property of Seoul would suffer terribly in the event of a North Korean attack but there are some factors that I think would keep the loss of life from being as horrendous as we might initially expect. This discussion assumes only conventional weapons, no gas or nuclear, are used. For one thing, there are a lot of shelters in Seoul. There is an extensive, deep subway system and most of the major buildings have deep basements. I’m thinking that most of the people who live in Seoul are now familiarizing themselves with where the nearest shelters are.

          In the bombing raids on Germany, it was found that it took a lot more bombs to kill a significant number of the population than one would think. A thousand bomber raid on Cologne dropped about 1,500 metric tons of bombs and killed 454 people and wounded 5,000. The relatively low loss was attributed to shelters and basements.

          Looking at artillery attacks shows a similar pattern. We tend to think that every shell is going to cause multiple deaths but that isn’t necessarily so. There were massive barrages to soften up the enemy for attacks in WW I. Troops went over the top expecting to meet little resistance and were almost always surprised by the number of defenders who survived what appeared to be an unsurvivable barrage. It’s difficult to kill someone with an artillery round if they are properly dug in.

          North Korean artillery will have to come out of its hardened shelters in order to fire. After the first volley, counter battery fire of all types is going to be intense. I suspect that we do know the locations of many if not most of the artillery pieces and rocket launchers. Cruise missiles and other precision stand off weapons as well as artillery will be used against them. Each subsequent NK volley is going to be able to deliver fewer shells on target and each subsequent shell on target will cause less loss of life due to people sheltering.

          I had the pleasure of being stationed in Korea many years ago and admire the Korean people and their civilization. I hope at some point the country can be peacefully reunited and return to being the “Land of the Morning Calm.”

    • Pretty close to a COTD nominee, I’d say. It hits all the bases, and St. Augustine was certainly no warmonger. I’d add that we Americans are partially responsible for the position in which we find ourselves at this point. Reagan was a bit busy with the Cold War, Bush the elder wasn’t really all that interested in anything after Gulf War I was over, Clinton got the useless Jimmy carter to strike a deal where we paid a ransom to kick the can down the road so it wouldn’t mess up his focus on income redistribution and chasing ass. Bush the younger was too busy with the war on terror, and Obama did frankly nothing at all.

      All the while the Kim dynasty kept right on making steady progress toward a nuclear ballistic missile capability. Of course they denied it, and of course they made excuses, and of course they kept talking at us from their bizarre view of the world. Frankly I wonder why anyone who lived through any of the Cold War would even buy into any of this. The USSR did this all and did it better. They pledged no first strike, but there was no way to test if they would honor it, we would make no such pledge because we knew damn well we couldn’t keep it under any and all circumstances that might arise. We would neither confirm nor deny what we were carrying, they would outright lie. They loaded up eastern Europe with short-range nukes, then acted like Reagan was the warmonger when he deployed his own throughout NATO (maybe this was partially because they had to face the fact that they’d been checkmated). We also saw the US Catholic Bishops, a fair amount of the media, and a lot of true believing idealists and cynical political haymakers alike swallow their lies hook line and sinker, try to build “space bridges” and sister cities, and act like 12-year-old Samantha Smith’s chatter that the President and the Soviet premier should exchange granddaughters every year to make a nuclear exchange less likely was worthy of serious consideration. We’ve seen this movie before.

      Or have we? The Soviet leaders were aggressive and predatory, but they were also nothing if not practical. They knew their capacities for both matching the United States once it decided to oppose them seriously and keeping their own people happy were not infinite. They also knew when they were facing someone (Reagan) who wasn’t going to buy into their glib lies or be content to make peace at the 50-yard line. So Gorbachev tried to make the best deal he could to ratchet down the tension and keep the superstate together. Unfortunately the other peoples who had long chafed under this neocolonialism knew the USSR had lost the Cold War. The red king vanished from the chessboard, and all the pieces went their own ways. That this didn’t result in too many messy conflicts (though not none at all, remember the extremely violent Romanian revolution?) was pure moral luck, but too many bought into the idea that war was now obsolete and it was time to collect a peace dividend.

      The Kim dynasty are not necessarily practical. There isn’t really much need to be when an entire nation of one race is under your absolute rule and you have the power of life and death over your subjects. They are not the Kremlin rulers or Marshal Tito trying to keep several races, languages, and heritages together under one banner. They are not even Erich Honecker, trying to hold the line against a West Germany so near yet so different, or Gustav Husak, just barely keeping the lid on Czechoslovakia’s simmering pot of reform after it already boiled over once. Maybe they aren’t even comparable to the tight dictatorship of Enver Hoxha, who rewrote official books every year to eliminate those he had purged, for he was a small power and knew it.

      The closest modern equivalent of the Kim dynasty is probably Ceausescu’s dynastic rule in Romania, where he and his family held ultimate power and wielded it in a heavy-handed manner, spending money on grandiose projects that went nowhere, plundering public and private funds with immunity, executing whoever displeased them. They were also detached from reality, ordering families to have children they couldn’t afford and forbidding testing of the nation’s blood supply in the face of the AIDS crisis. But even that horrific regime only compares so closely to the Kims’ approach, particularly since Ceausescu’ allegiance lay ultimately with Moscow and ultimately he did no damage beyond his own borders.

      For a comparison to the Kims you need to go a lot farther back and farther south, to the mostly forgotten nation of Paraguay in the southern cone. For its first century of existence it knew nothing but tyranny, first under the ultimate isolationist Dr. Jose Francia, who wouldn’t even allow mail to come into or go out of the country, then under the somewhat less tyrannical, but still militaristic Carlos Lopez. In a foolish act of dynastic politics, Lopez amended the constitution to allow his son Francisco to follow him as president, a degenerate, evil tyrant with no scruples or values beyond the will to power, an ego big enough to be divided into three parts like Gaul, minimal intelligence, complete detachment from reality, and a terrible temper.

      Essentially the most powerful army in South America fell into this unworthy man’s lap by accident of birth in 1862. Inside of a year he had neither friends nor enemies remaining, for he had shot them all. He then turned outwards, seeking to become the dominant force on the continent. Inside of another year, he plunged into war with Brazil, Argentina, and Uruguay (then known as the Banda Oriental) all at the same time, seeking to destroy them all. None of his own ministers or generals dared advise him otherwise, since they wanted to go on breathing. The other nations of course joined forces to end this threat.

      I won’t give a blow by blow account of the war, which lasted for seven years, since this post is already long enough. Suffice it to say that by the time Lopez was surrounded by a detachment of Brazilian lancers and killed, Paraguay was a wreck, with a population reduced from 1,400,000 to 229,000, of whom only 29,000 were adult males, and its capital, including the unfinished foundations of a cathedral to be bigger than Notre Dame and an opera house to rival Paris or Milan, lay in ruins. The war could have ended much earlier, but none of his field commanders dared tell him the war could not be won, since to do so was to court immediate death and he would not have listened To this day the place has never fully recovered. The opposition too paid a terrible price, as they lost 1,000,000 men, never a small number but in that time a disastrous one, and saw their own governments roiled.

      Now we face the equivalent of a Lopez, with as big an ego, with minimal intelligence, with complete detachment from reality, with not just a huge number of infantrymen and artillery on his side, but the capability to destroy entire cities and devastate large areas of land. Yes, the U.S. possesses that same power and has even used it – once, when the alternative was a very bloody conventional conflict that would have taken many more lives – but it was never something we used lightly, nor as a means of bullying other nations or amassing personal power for a completely unworthy individual.

      This villain needs to go, and if it means we have to call him out on a credible threat he’s made and detailed by plastering his nation with cruise missiles, then so be it. The alternative is simply unacceptable and unjust. There can be no Chamberlain-esque “peace for our time” when the peace that is proffered is the peace of the ashes.

  5. The ~ $1 billion in sanctions is roughly 8 % of their GDP (2011), a tad more than walking around money.

    It would be hard to believe that the industries that are getting gashed, to say nothing of other minor luminaries and the starving millions, aren’t tiring of that little prick’s maniacal schtick and mulling a “July Plot” type of solution.

    • The starving millions have been convinced that resistance is futile, but I keep hoping there is a little underground resistance that is waiting for an opportunity.

  6. For a little comic relief on the North Korea front. A facebook post from yesterday by a high school classmate with a solidly Lefty take (with a toss in on the war on drugs and mass incarceration!) on the problems TRUMP! is causing on the previously idyllic and tranquil Korean peninsula:

    “Sometimes when I get a feeling about something, right or wrong, I need to pay attention. Given the current situation with the President threatening North Korea with an attack of some sort, and North Korea threatening right back, it is my belief that martial law will follow any attack very quickly. Most authoritarian rulers follow that pattern. The opioid “epidemic” is a thinly veiled attempt to restart the war on drugs and the ensuing mass incarcerations. For these reasons I believe that it is in my best interests, and those of the people that depend on me to delete my facebook account. I will be getting a new account at a later date if all of this nonsense blows over and I was wrong.”

  7. #5 North Korea.

    I think we learned our lesson with the Iraq invasion; I don’t believe that anyone in the United States will allow a first strike on North Korea without a clear and definable present danger that North Korea is actively in the process of launching a military attack, including missiles, of some kind.

    Nothing has worked with North Korea. If the same failed policies are pressed forward expecting different results then there are “stupid” people leading the international community. I think it’s time for the international community to put up or shut up in regards to North Korea’s nuclear weapons and ICBM programs. This needs to be a massive coalition of countries.

    As a consequence of North Korea’s direct international threats; I think all international borders with North Korea should be immediately closed and a shipping blockade set in place by the international community. This should remain in place until North Korea’s nuclear weapons and ICBM programs have been completely dismantled and verified by a multinational force of inspectors; if North Korea begins dismantling their programs and allows inspectors to do their jobs, the borders could be opened for food and medical supplies.

    There should also be a UN Resolution that states that any missile launch of any kind that has a trajectory that falls anywhere outside North Korea’s international borders will be immediately considered an armed missile and act of war and immediate military action to prevent further aggression from North Korea is approved.

    Yup, that’s a reposting of my comment from the other thread without that portion of the first sentence that caused a little confusion as to its intent.

    Additionally: If North Korea follows through with their plans to launch four missiles at Guam and there is obvious preparations underway in North Korea preparing for that launch, I think a conventional first strike on those specific missile launchers is warranted and will be acceptable by the international community. Notify the UN of the action ahead of time and give North Korea enough notice to remove personnel from the missile launchers area and destroy the equipment; use as many cruise missiles as necessary to completely destroy the missile launchers and any adjacent structures so they are completely unusable.

    • But that wasn’t the “lesson” of Iraq, as I keep pointing out, apparently to no avail. Had WMDs been found in Iraq, few would have claimed it was an unwarranted attack. 1. Iraq had violated the cease fire, and was still technically at war. 2. Sn actions were harming Iraq’s people without doing much to punish Saddam. 3 Saddam was making ever effort to claim that he had WMDs. 4. That they were not there, or elsewhere, was moral luck.

      Lessons of Iraq? 1) Don’t invade unless you know the region well enough to protect against worst case scenarios, like ISIS 2) Be competent once you do invade, and send in enough troops. 3) Don’t expect the natives to be friendly. 4) The UN is corrupt and useless. 5) Don’t pull out when a good result is within your grasp. 6). It’s never a bad thing to get rid of the bad guys and his two evil sons.

      Kim isn’t bluffing about having WMDs. End of parallel.

      • Dang it; this part of the sentence was not supposed to be there “I think we learned our lesson with the Iraq invasion; “ I remember completely deleted it, RATS, there wasn’t any need to discuss it any further. My bad.

        • I even posted “Yup, that’s a reposting of my comment from the other thread without that portion of the first sentence that caused a little confusion as to its intent.” to say why I eliminated that part of the sentence. I gotta proof read better. Arrgh!

  8. #3 The lack of Democrats to clean up the voter rolls has added plenty of fuel to the fire that there is voter fraud happening. This really isn’t a hard thing to clean up; are they intentionally trying to add fuel to the fire so they can continue their “it’s nothing but conspiracy theories” smears and attacks?

    • It seems like everyone is adding fuel to every fire. It gets very wearing to try to figure out what the original thought was.

  9. Remember that she said, “Local law enforcement must be able to use their discretion to determine who can carry a concealed weapon”

    So I wonder if any reporter from the network broadcast and print media would ask her any of the following questions:

    – If the reason that “[l]ocal law enforcement must be able to use their discretion to determine who can carry a concealed weapon” is because they are just Klansmen with badges, why shouldn’t the Stormfront White Nationalist Community also get to decide who can carry a concealed weapon?

    – If the reason that “[l]ocal law enforcement must be able to use their discretion to determine who can carry a concealed weapon” is because they habitually gun down unarmed black men, why shouldn’t the Crips also get to decide who can carry a concealed weapon?

    – Is more black men dead or in prison a worthy price to pay to make lawful gun ownership more difficult?

    – Is making lawful gun ownership more difficult a worthy price to pay to put more black men in prison?

    – Does some magical guardian fairy turn these Klansmen with badges into freedom riders whenever they exercise their “discretion to determine who can carry a concealed weapon”?

    • Blazing Saddles. The only comedy with “50 Best Bits” that is twice as funny when stitched together with the rest of it.

  10. [B]aseball is laying the groundwork for replacing umpires on balls and strikes with robo-calls. After all, robots aren’t biased.

    Isn’t that what they said about computers? That and “they won’t make mistakes like we do?” GIGO, guys. G. I. G. O.

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