In October of 2002, North Korea admitted to having a clandestine nuclear weapons program. About 2 years later, in 2004, former Secretary of State Madeline Albright caught on and admitted that North Korea had cheated on the “Agreed Framework” negotiated during the Clinton years. In October of 2006 North Korea successfully performed its first nuclear test, after having successfully tested some short-range missiles. In so doing North Korea became a nuclear state, or at the very least, a nuclear threshold state. By September of 2016 the Obama Administration was busy insisting that the U.S. would “never accept” North Korea as a nuclear state, even though it already was one, and had been for quite some time.
Fast forward a year later to the present. North Korea has successfully tested both a hydrogen bomb and an ICBM capable of hitting anywhere in the United States. You would think that this would cause policy experts to reconsider their assumptions, but you would be wrong. The U.S. still gamely claims that it will not tolerate a nuclear North Korea. Moreover, the bipartisan group of North Korea policy makers who presided over this fiasco, one of the most spectacular U.S. foreign policy failures of the last 50 years, is now urging that we find ways to accommodate North Korea as a nuclear state.
And let’s not forget that foreign policy with respect to Iran is largely built on the assumptions of the North Korean model.
One of the favorite progressive hobby horses is to wail about voter turnout, or the lack thereof. And so periodically we are treated to assertions that Republicans systematically suppress the vote, especially of minorities, as an electoral strategy. Needless to say, there is zero evidence that this is actually the case. But it helps to whip up the base.
Given the professed concern over voter turnout you would think that there would be progressive angst over the results of New York’s recent mayoralty race in which progressive hero Bill de Blasio cruised to re-election. In that race, slightly under 22% of registered voters actually showed up to cast their ballots. But somehow or other that turnout didn’t seem to bother progressives, perhaps because turnout is not the real concern. The real concern is progressive turnout.
And then there is the case of Judge Roy Moore, social warrior, Steve Bannon acolyte and Republican Senate nominee for a special election that will be held December 12, 2017. To refer to Moore as “Judge” is a bit of a stretch since he was twice removed from the court for refusing to follow the orders of superior courts. As if that isn’t enough, it seems that when he was in his 30s one of his favorite pastimes was (allegedly) cruising the malls to pick up teenage girls, some as young as 14. The National Republican Party, with the notable exception of faux Republican Donald Trump, has essentially disavowed his candidacy. Both Mitch McConnell and John Thune have publicly called for Moore to step aside so that the party can get behind a write-in candidate. Not surprisingly, Roy Moore has shown no inclination to do so.
In the meantime, Senator Al Franken, past and current comedian, has been credibly accused of the “unwanted groping” of at least 5 women, as if there were a such thing as wanted groping. In the event, the oh so progressive defender of women’s rights has been on an apology tour, but has indicated that, like Moore, he has no intention of stepping down. To be sure, Franken’s behavior is not as grotesque as Moore’s, inasmuch as Franken apparently restricted his assaults to women over 21.
When the story about Franken first broke, the conventional wisdom was that he might survive the scandal if no other stories of assault turned up. After the second story turned up, the third would be deemed dispositive. After the third, it would be the forth. We are now at 5 and counting.
Now it turns out that fresh from settling sexual harassment complaints against him in 2014 with taxpayers paying the bill, Representative John Conyers is at it again, defending himself against a complaint filed in 2015. He, like Moore and Franken, indicated that he has no intention of stepping down. On “Meet the Press” Nancy Pelosi ducked and weaved as she attempted to defend the indefensible in the Conyers case, calling him an Icon. A clip from the show is below.