Thursday, September 21, 2017

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Why We're Doomed

Evan Osnos' long-form piece in The New Yorker is a comprehensive and indispensable account of what's going on with North Korea and Trump, the decades of history leading up to this moment, and why military threats to Kim Jong-un and his regime are pointless.  While there's a lot to take in, there are some definite highlights:
"It is a measure of how impoverished America’s contact with North Korea has become that one of the best-known conduits is Dennis Rodman, a.k.a. the Worm, the bad boy of the nineties-era Chicago Bulls. Rodman’s agent, Chris Volo, a hulking former mixed-martial-arts fighter, told me recently, 'I’ve been there four times in four years. I’m in the Korean Sea, and I’m saying to myself, "No one would believe that I’m alone right now, riding Sea-Doos with Kim Jong Un."' Rodman’s strange bond with Kim began in 2013, when Vice Media, aware of Kim’s love of the Bulls, offered to fly American basketball players to North Korea. Vice tried to contact Michael Jordan but got nowhere. Rodman, who was working the night-club autograph circuit, was happy to go. He joined three members of the Harlem Globetrotters for a game in Pyongyang. Kim made a surprise appearance, invited Rodman to dinner, and asked him to return to North Korea for a week at his private beach resort in Wonsan, which Rodman later described as 'Hawaii or Ibiza, but he’s the only one that lives there.' On his most recent trip, in June, Rodman gave Kim English and Korean editions of Trump’s 1987 best-seller,  The Art of the Deal."
I think the only rational response to this information is Jesus Fucking Christ.

I'd add that only an American person could possibly imagine a world where nuclear conflict could ever be "contained" to Korea and / or Asia.

Kim Jong-un understands this calculus perfectly, as does China.

My fellow Americans?  Perhaps dimly.

Trump?  Literally not at all.

Well, Maybe Some Version of "But Her E-mails!" As Well

Pretty much the only tweet you need to understand 2017.

"Shitler Youth"

Laurie Penny cuts to the chase regarding the insufferable "both sides do it" of American political discourse:
"In the United States, radicalized extremists on the far right are also due for a rebrand, having been embarrassed on the international stage in Charlottesville by fellow travelers who took the street-fighting-Nazi live-action roleplay too far, marched around screaming about being replaced by Jews, and murdered someone. The Shitler Youth are now going through desperate conniptions trying to claim that anti-fascists are morally equivalent to fascists, that “all sides” are aggressive and forthright, which is a little like claiming that, as both take a toll on the body, cancer and chemotherapy are basically the same.
Shit got real, eh? One minute you’re a nice normal boy with hobbies and internet friends, and the next, your picture’s all over the place holding a torch and doing the Nuremberg uglyface and your parents won’t talk to you because everyone thinks you’re a militant racist, and they’re right. If I may talk directly to these self-deluding subterraneans: I’m sorry to be the one to point this out, but you have been radicalized. There’s a reason people call you Vanilla ISIS. ISIS think they’re rebels, too. Have a good hard look at these Defend Europe twits with their rickety armada. These are your people. They’re your compadres. You are paddling beside them in the shallow end of political discourse, screaming when anything living nibbles your toes."
Even when confronted with literal Nazis and Klan members in Charlottesville, the American media can't help but reach up its own ass to find some sort of inane comparison.

I mean, at least FOX knows what it's doing.  Less right-wing news outlets?  Not so much.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

"rational foundations"

There are plenty of good-to-great pieces on why Trump's UN temper tantrum will do the opposite of what he thinks it will, but it doesn't get much more precise than this:
"For North Korea, Trump's words merely provide further justification for its nuclear weapons programme. Though the regime is typically depicted as crazed (and in some respects it is), its nuclear project rests on rational foundations. For Kim, the lesson from the fall of Saddam Hussein and Muammar Gaddafi was that tyrants pay a price for relinquishing their arms. The persistent threats from the US strengthen the regime's domestic position and reinforce a siege mentality. Though North Korea must be deterred from a pre-emptive strike, it must also be offered incentives to pursue a different path."
But remember, Hillary was the real threat to world peace.

"political and biological enemies"

What a lovely country:
"A federal appeals court has denied white supremacist Dylann Roof’s request to replace his Jewish and Indian lawyers who are appealing his death sentence for a racist massacre in South Carolina a day after he filed it.
The 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals issued a one-page, 11-word denial Tuesday.
Roof’s handwritten appeal was filed Monday. He wrote: 'It will be impossible for me to trust two attorneys that are my political and biological enemies.'
Roof was sentenced to death in January after being convicted of hate crimes in the killings of nine black worshippers at Charleston’s Emanuel AME Church in June 2015."
Trumpistan.  Honestly surprised the Trump White House hasn't hired young master Dylann to be in charge of racial outreach or some such.

I Love You Daegu But You're Bringing Me Down

I realize regional airports will always be more expensive than national ones, but I was shocked to find out that getting from Daegu to Tokyo costs twice as much as it does going from Seoul to Tokyo.

Not a huge deal, as I'm quite familiar with the comfy and cheap express bus that takes me straight to Incheon (Seoul) Airport, but one of these days I'd love to actually use the "International" airport located in my fair city.

Anyhow, the tickets are purchased for five days in Tokyo for MEGA CHUSEOK in two weeks.  I haven't had sake in years.

I'm going to change that.