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N Korea said to be gearing up to fire missile

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"In Tokyo, officials at the Japanese defense and foreign ministries could not be reached for comment."

Of course they couldn't; they're too busy trying to think of a way they can still renege on their promises of energy rations and food for NK while avoiding becoming a nuclear target again.

In other words, all the people who come on here and say, "We've got NK by the short and curlies and they should not be given anything more, etc. etc." have been proven wrong AGAIN!

You see, this missile preparation is exactly what I said; the kind of result typical bombast spews out. But the "screw dialogue with and aid for NK" crowd will keep up the harsh language and denial until a missile is fired, and then they'll finally realize being told "I told you so" just doesn't quite cover the repercussions or being so utterly wrong.

I'm sorry kiddies, but as much as I hate NK it's time to drop the harsh language and go back to the tables with the promise of some aid if they stop prepping for war, etc. We have seen dramatic proof against the effectiveness of taking a hardline, whereas the less hard-line politics of past presidents (pre-Lee in SKorea and pre-GWB in the US, as well as with past Japanese PMs.) we saw only progress with NK.

Stooping to NKs level just isn't going to cut it, and these guys don't look like they'll go down without taking quite a few with them.

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Okay they are test firing a missile. It could hit the western coast of the US. North Korea isn't firing going to fire weapon that can only touch the west coast. < :-)

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smith: How many times have they been spoken to? If we have to give them something so they won't do anything, isn't that kind of blackmail? Do you really think they can speak on rational terms?

I thought they were on a path to giving all this stuff up? What did the funny looking white guy do over there all that time?

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the sunshine policy was working until bush came in and derailed it. Now that SK has a bush light President things are spiraling out of control. The US needs to bypass all other countries expect China and get this worked out. Japan and SK are totally hopeless when it comes to this matter. Both sets of leaders are living in the 1970s.

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skip: You're choosing to ignore the facts that it is countries like Japan under their current leaders, and the US under bush, etc. that took a hardline that has caused half of the reaction that we're seeing now. I don't mean just showing up and pretending to listen to what NK has to say while You're wondering about the street stalls in Itaewon, and then demanding the same thing day in and day out while retracting your offers for aid and blocking the attempts of others, I mean honest dialogue with the potential to move forward.

I have stated over and over that NKorea is not rational, but they were far more rational under the promising conditions set up with Koizumi and before bush took his 'axis of evil' hard line, when things started to fall to pieces. It's not really blackmail so much as it is bribery, and in this case if it wards off missile launches, I'd say it's not that bad of a pay-off. What's more, while again NKorea is not going to give up the reigns if we go back to dialogue, at least there can be minute steps made towards progress. As it is all promise of reconciliation of the two Koreas has gone out the window since Lee (hell, they don't even agree behind the backs of the US and Japan anymore!), Japan has been told it is irrelevant and should not be present at the talks any more, etc. The only thing remotely promising is their explicit desire to talk to Obama, and the hope that he can take less of a hard-line than bush, which would improve the situation.

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zurcronium: Bingo!!

I forgot to mention it in my posts, but as I mentioned in other posts on the subject (saying it would escalate, which it has), the US needs to put more pressure on China, and possibly Russia (now that bush is out of the picture the Russ. Pres. may actually listen), to in turn apply pressure on NKorea to take steps first towards disarmament. They are certainly not going to capitulate to the pressures of the US alone (as said, SK is now a joke, and Japan always has been), but listening to China at the very least would be slightly face-saving.

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Another 30 second mistake like the last launch?

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The only thing remotely promising is their explicit desire to talk to Obama, and the hope that he can take less of a hard-line than bush, which would improve the situation." Didn't they keep the same guy as before? That Elmer Fudd looking guy.. Anyway, I think NK would look for any type of excuse as long as Kim is alive.

And, I don't know about you, but them having missiles that can reach Tokyo is quite scary.

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Think like a spoiled child, and you will understand North Korea a little more. There's too much going on elsewhere in the world, and there's a new US President. So now it's all bets are off with South Korea, and we're going launch another missile. Like a child throwing a tantrum in a store because mommy won't buy him a new toy (except they have nukes and a huge leader-worshiping army).

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smiht, can you give us some specific details about the things you speak of? For example, some of the tangible benefits to the Sunshine Policy and specifically what positive changes it created in North Korea? And on a similar note, can you speak about some of the agreements and interaction between Bush and North Korea over the past 8 years?

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Bowing to NKs blackmail in the past has brought about a dependent & demanding NK. Sorry Mr. Smith, but it is blackmail not bribery. NK makes the demands & somebody needs to meet those demands, or else. That’s blackmail.

We might all also keep in mind that so far all we have been told is that a long, cylinder-shaped object is being moved. I think we need to do a Sabiwabi here ask for more detail before we start backing down & paying the blackmailer his price. And even if there really is a (functional) missile being prepared, it might be an idea to pay just enough to keep this spoilt child hungry. Over paying has not helped in the past & has created the monster we have today & a hungry child just might be more willing to do a deal. Maybe not with SK or Japan, but like so many people today they do seem to see Obama’s presidency as something akin to the second coming, so there is a hope in that direction & the US might be well to take advantage of it. Sorry again Mr. Smith, but I really don’t see the Russians as anything but a bunch of insane game players who are more likely to stir up trouble than ease it. They like the concept of “let’s you & him fight” it appeals to some sick darker aspect of their character & means they should never be allowed to play honest broker, they don’t know how. The US working through China is the only real way to go. The difficulty now is that the US is looking towards protectionism & China is starting to hurt economically & needs the US to stay open. Will the US pay this price for a situation that most Americans don’t see as having anything to do with them?

Never before have I ever felt sorry for a US president, I do now, so many people are expecting so much from this poor man & he is only a man. Too much is expected & he can’t fail to fail.

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SuperLib: Do you really need me to point out the differences between relations before bush's 'Axis of Evil' and how things are now? Can you seriously see NO differences? I seem to recall, for example, a certain leader telling Koizumi, "There will be no more 'satellite' launches" after shaking hands with him and agreeing to send back 5 abductees. How about posting the picture of that handshake next to the article of the Japanese government panicking in 2006 after NK testing a nuclear weapon underground as a threat to Japan and the Western world? I won't even get into how things have changed since Lee took office and promised to be all hard-core.

I mean it man, if you can't see how night and day things are in terms of 'progress', or rather regression, you seriously need to ask yourself if you are capable of being objective. If bush had made ANY progress on this issue, I can assure you I would be congratulating him on it, but as it is it's the opposite, and the same on Lee and Aso/Fukuda/Abe. The middle of the three took the most moderate line, as well as against the Chinese, and for a minute he was actually looking like he might make a WEE little more progress (and hence was hated by abductee relatives for not making THAT the priority, etc).

grafton: Get semantic all you want, but blackmail is almost always regarded as extortion of money/rewards in exchange for not publicly exposing something or prosecuting a person/party. Blackmail as a noun is the money/reward received for not exposing said information or what have you. Bribery, on the other hand, is money or rewards given to influence the actions or behaviour, particularly amongst people with power and/or influence themselves. The latter fits the bill slightly better, particularly since 'blackmail' can technically be a form of bribery. People pay NK in the form of money, fuel, and/or foods in order to get them to do things (they often don't, but that's nothing new) and/or influence their behaviour... or do the opposite of the purpose of blackmail -- to get them to REVEAL their secrets (ie. nuclear plans).

Anyway, you have a pretty good head on your shoulders, it seems, and I don't want to make this about differences in actual definitions of words.

"I think we need to do a Sabiwabi here ask for more detail before we start backing down & paying the blackmailer his price. And even if there really is a (functional) missile being prepared, it might be an idea to pay just enough to keep this spoilt child hungry."

I agree and disagree. Even if it's not a missile, NK is making the prep. for war. As to the AMOUNT of money/fuel/food given to NK, I never suggested 'more than enough to feed the spoilt child', in fact in several posts I have said give them just a little bit as a show of good faith before going back to the bargaining table, getting China to press them, etc.

"...but like so many people today they do seem to see Obama’s presidency as something akin to the second coming, so there is a hope in that direction & the US might be well to take advantage of it. Sorry again Mr. Smith, but I really don’t see the Russians as anything but a bunch of insane game players who are more likely to stir up trouble than ease it."

Agreed. Even if they only PERCEIVE Obama as someone who could help them, that's a step up (whether he is willing to take a less hard approach or not, we shall see). As for Russia, I agree with you in part, and that part is that that's most certainly the way they have behaved while bush was in office in particular. Maybe things won't change with them, but can't hurt to give it a little push with a new person doing the pressing.

"Never before have I ever felt sorry for a US president, I do now, so many people are expecting so much from this poor man & he is only a man. Too much is expected & he can’t fail to fail."

Slightly different topic, but I agree 100%. I genuinely feel sorry for this guy. I respect him like hell, but he has WAY too much to deal with, and it is not possible that he can achieve everything, particularly with all the crap going on right now and everyone vying to be first on his 'attention' list. NK pulling this crap, Gaza and Israel, the economy, Iraq/Afghanistan, etc. This is not needed right now.

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smithinjapan: Do you really need me to point out the differences between relations before bush's 'Axis of Evil' and how things are now?

I'd like you to, yes. And please be specific.

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What do we want? Regime Change!

When do want it? Now!

Really, Kim Jong Ill, the Elvis of Pyongyang needs to be shown the door, the quicker the better. If North Korea is dumb enough to try this trick on (yet again), then it should be told that all bets are off and the US/South Korea/UN should move to expel North Korea from the international community once and for all. Furthermore, they should crank up their military posture on the Korean Peninsular and scare the bejesus out of Pyongyang.

Beijing should also be asked to choose, between sticking with Elvis or allying itself with the rest of the world. Screw it, if North Korea goes ahead with this test, cut off all aid and seriously consider the Curtis LeMay strategy when dealing with enemy states.....

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The sunshine policy worked until North Korea had a poor harvest and needed more aid. North Korea is acting the way it is now because even they have been affected by the economic downturn and need more aid to sustain their country. Hungry people do desperate things to insure that they don't go hungry.

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SuperLib: Sigh... you really aren't as well informed as I thought you were; or perhaps you're just choosing to ignore things more stubbornly that is good for you.

First of all, it should be noted that the phrase 'Axis of Evil' was coined by then speech-writer David Frum, who looked back on FDR's "day of infamy" speech after Pearl Harbour in an attempt to garner more support for invading Iraq not too long after 9/11. (it was originally 'Axis of Hate', but 'Evil' fit more with bush's theology and ideas, and bush lapped it up). The problem, Frum notes, is that there was only one country, and therefore it could not be an Axis as there was in WWII. Hence, they threw in NK and Iran. (the latter part of this I got from the following article).

The LA Times notes, in an older article, that "In retrospect, the "axis of evil" phrase appears to have caused the most damage to relations with North Korea. Montville said it is ironic, because putting North Korea into the "axis" seems to have been something of an afterthought."

Also according to the article, Joseph Montville states that, "(North Korea) was [added] to (the Axis) avoid intensifying the suspicion of Muslim countries that the war on terrorism was a war on Islam."

Now, keep in mind also that after denying vehemently that the phrase had caused harm with relations abroad, the Republicans removed it from their list of phrases, as they did 'Mission Accomplished', 'bring em' on', and other phrases which didn't incorporate much thought on behalf of the president who used them (and became known as 'cowboy politics', I think), except for an immediate supportive grunt from the public who believed in him. The term also created huge problems for the admin. because they were often asked (rightfully so) how the could justify going to war with an 'evil dictator pursuing WMDs' in Iraq but not in the other places in the Axis. Well, to be fair bush DID hit on the axis of evil comment again in his final address, saying that NK and Iran were 'still dangerous'. All of this is pretty common knowledge.

That being said, where bush did the most damage with NK, until recently, was in his first term. There were a few points in his second where he seemed POISED on possibly making some successes, most notably removing them from the black list (which of course made Japan look like the fools they are on the issue, since their similar rhetoric and bull-headedness became all the more hollow), but then those fell through when bush refused to unfreeze the banking sanctions, or money that was going to be sent, or whatever it was.

Now, it should of course also be noted again that it's common knowledge that NKorea had a nuclear program in place BEFORE bush took office -- that's a given. However over the past little while the reactors have been started up again, weapons tested where they weren't before, and it is pretty well a given that bush's rhetoric (again, the 'Axis of Evil' and calling Kim a 'pygmy', etc.) helped unravel things pretty quickly.

According to another article I found: "The Six-Party talks were originally convened by China, in part, to preempt U.S. moves to use the U.N. Security Council to pressure North Korea after the outbreak of the second nuclear crisis on the Korean peninsula, which arose in 2002 when Washington accused Pyongyang of harboring a clandestine uranium enrichment program in violation of the Agreed Framework. North Korea answered this accusation by restarting its nuclear reactor at Yongbyon and withdrawing from the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty." The economic sanctions also have served to stall the six-nation talks.

A wee bit of the before and after for you.

As for SK in all this, I believe the Sunshine Policy was a policy put in place to engage NK first and foremost through dialogue, economic aid, and peaceful engagement through the aforementioned. Roh Moo-hyun refused to put pressure on NK because he too thought that things would gradually bear fruition with the aforementioned. China was largely depended on as a go-between (still is, if not moreso since the others cannot approach NK at the moment), and SKorea often took on China's side of things more than the US or Japan (hence, as I said before, they often agreed with each other when the US did not agree with NK). When Lee came into power he took no time in declaring a much harder stance against NK, which was welcomed by the bush admin. This helped quickly improve ties (not that they were bad) with SKorea, but of course aggravated things with the North all the more since the US and bush approved. (I got part of this from a site called PINR, though really it was all over the web).

As for Japan, aside from Koizumi's visit to Pyong-Yang to normalize ties more than they had been to the present, things were probably at their best with NK-Japan when PM Murayama apologized for the suffering caused to the two Koreas by Japan, and said apology was signed three years later into a joint declaration. Japan blew both of these out of the water when they announced Takeshima Day, or whatever it was, a few years ago and started all sorts of rioting (to which Roh again helped relations between the two Koreas by chiding Japan and citing the Murayama Declaration).

Back to the Koizumi visit though, things had taken a dramatic turn for the better, if you recall. As I said before Kim said there would be 'no more satellite launches', and apologized for and acknowledged that Japan had indeed shot and sunk a NK spy ship that had gone into its waters. NK's apology for the abductions, which he blamed on abnormal relations, was unprecedented. This was also their unravelling, to an extend. Instead of Japan taking the wicked initiative for both to turn over a new leaf in the relationship, the media was flooded with Kim's admission of guilt over the abductions. Japan suddenly ignored the apologies by Koizumi for Japan's colonization, and instead chose to further victimize themselves and demand, due in no small part to public reaction to said media, that NKorea do more or face.... da da da.... SANCTIONS! They took on even more of a hard line and followed the advice of more hardline politicians (Abe among them, at least on the surface -- inside his intenstines had begun boiling from stress) with a harder approach by the US.

And before you say anything, my friend, aside from checking the proper spelling of Roh's name and the exact date of Koizumi going over there, this is all common knowledge and I did NOT check Wickipedia :)

So, can you now see how this hardline especially taken of late hasn't been detrimental to things instead of positive? Even the slightest amount of gain through things like taking them off the terrorism list the backlash all the worse when the US and others didn't follow through with the promised aid, and even more when they just recently helped block UN aid.

Fortunately from what I've read Obama and Clinton both have signaled more of a willingness (and certainly more than McCain would have, as he stated flat out against NK and Iran) for direct talks and a less hardline against NK, though Obama said there would be 'consequences' if NK failed to go through with promises made in return for favours.

In a Reuters article Clinton talked about NK, among other things: "Regarding the issue of North Korea's nuclear weapons programs, Clinton indicated she would continue with the six-party talks framework, which she described as 'a vehicle for us to exert pressure on North Korea in a way that is more likely to alter their behavior.' She hinted at the possibility of intending to expand those talks from a negotiation process to have North Korea abandon its nuclear program to a common foothold for constructing a wider-ranging peace and negotiating with Pyongyang."

http://www.asahi.com/english/Herald-asahi/TKY200901300051.html

Anyway, I have to hit the sack, my friend. I'm sure there'll be more to talk about on this issue later. I just hope it's not "I told you so" after things get worse.

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smith, all the rants about things getting better with NK are going to fall on deaf ears. Whatever nice things NK has done have been tossed over as quickly as the dictator decided they had to be. NK has a long history of making some sort of fuss when they think things aren't going their way. Now that they are being called on to honor the agreements they've made they are going to cause a fuss. Hasn't changed since Bill Clinton was in. Way before the "axis of evil" foolishness. So much for reasoned behaviour.

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I think Kim Junk Ill is already dead! RIP!

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Let's hope this one plunges into the ocean.

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My guess is that North Korea will do something provocative. They do such things in order to create bargaining chips. Rather than make any concrete concessions they create a hostile situation and then offer to stop only when they've received something in return. With that practice they've created an endless amount of bargaining chips.

The Sunshine policy has been a failure. South Korea has transferred hundreds of millions of dollars of wealth to North Korea and has not received any kind of concessions in return. The end result was a few family exchanges, some high level meetings, and that's about it. Now that the new South Korean leader is saying that future aid should be tied to concessions, North Korea has created the position that South Korea is being hostile. The lesson there is that even if you give something to North Korea with no strings attached they won't budge on their position and will in fact consider it a hostile act if you refuse to continue paying them freely.

The abductions are another are where you can see the North Korean game being played. NK kidnaps Japanese citizens then returns them later on, but with the condition that they be returned to North Korea. When Japan refuses to comply the move is seen as hostile and the relationship sours. North Korea considers the fact that they returned the abductees as a concession for which they need to be rewarded. Again, create a hostile act and then demand concessions to stop it.

Other times they appear to make concessions but in the end never follow through. They had numerous agreements with the US under Clinton but those turned out to be useless when the world discovered that the North Koreans had a secret nuclear program. Bush stepped in and by and large did a good job by creating the six-party talks and getting North Korea to begin dismantling their facilities, but in the end North Korea held out on the last point...verification....and that's the stalemate we're at today. Whether they use a handshake a and a smile or threaten nuclear retaliation, they never actually give anything up.

In the end North Korea has received billions of dollars of aid and concessions from the West and Asia while still continuing their weapons programs. Sometimes it was secretly done, sometimes openly, but the end result was always the same: no change at all. Both Clinton and Bush failed to make any real progress. The same can be said for any South Korean leader, any Japanese leader, and any Chinese leader. Hardline, moderate, and appeasement policies have equally failed as well.

I can't say that I really have an answer for Obama. I do know that the Koreans will demand concessions from him and will promise to make their own. But history has shown that they have never given anything up. My guess is that they will play nice and offer concessions that they'll secretly sabotage, or demand more and then claim the other side is being hostile for not caving in, at which point they'll say that the hostility is the reason for their next provocative act. It's a never ending cycle with them. Now they're basically a nuclear armed country that has been propped up with food, oil, and cash from the same people they are threatening to destroy with their even more powerful weapons.

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Sorry smith but your post is pretty light on facts. My guess is that you did some research to support the position that Bush's hardline stance (which was never really hardline) made things worse. But I was expecting you to do some research to find out more about this history between the US, North Korea, and South Korea.

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calic0cat: "Hasn't changed since Bill Clinton was in. Way before the "axis of evil" foolishness."

Ummm, no, it's changed a lot, in fact.

SuperLib: I didn't actually have to do much research. I did some, to look into names, dates, and to read a little more about Obama's policy, but that's about it. You don't NEED to do a whole lot of research to know that things have gotten worse under bush. HOW much worse is clearly a question of how bad you think the situation is compared to before bush took office and whimsically added NK to the Axis of Evil list to make his case for war in Iraq.

I know HEAPS of history between the three, as a matter of fact, if you want that two, but since the question was about what has changed since the Sunshine Policy and bush admin., well, I kept it all a little more recent. I can spell it out since WWII, but no point in history lessons -- the posts are long enough.

Anyway, it's pretty clear there's not a lot of space on this topic for debate -- rather it's the same people on both sides rehashing the same arguments (more or less). I just hope things don't get worse than they were before. They'll probably get at least a LITTLE worse, but hopefully even that can be avoided.

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Wonder what would happen if by design of malfunction if this missile test would land within the United States? A malfunction could make this a very possible event.

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smithinjapan: You don't NEED to do a whole lot of research to know that things have gotten worse under bush.

You don't need to do research? That's a bit of an odd position, isn't it? Are you sure you aren't just making assumptions because of your personal feelings about Bush? Because when you admit that you've done little to no research you open yourself up to others questioning your results no matter how strongly you state them.

since the question was about what has changed since the Sunshine Policy and bush admin.

Nope, this is what I asked: For example, some of the tangible benefits to the Sunshine Policy and specifically what positive changes it created in North Korea? And on a similar note, can you speak about some of the agreements and interaction between Bush and North Korea over the past 8 years?

I can't say you've really talked about any of that.

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If only Michael Jordan were still playing. Madeline Albright could again travel to Pyongyang, present Kim Jong il with an autographed NBA ball from the former Chicago star and both Dear Leader and smithinjapan could get over their feewings of hurt and anger at Bush's harsh words.

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You don't need to do research? That's a bit of an odd position, isn't it? Are you sure you aren't just making assumptions because of your personal feelings about Bush?

A misrepresentation of what smithinjapan said. Smith specfically said "a whole lot" of research, and not no research.

For example, some of the tangible benefits to the Sunshine Policy and specifically what positive changes it created in North Korea?

What sort of research would provide the data needed to satisfy you, and how possible is that given the state of information flow from North Korea?

Would a link suffice?

Lastly, what evidence do you have, based on your research, that things between the US and North Korea improved when Bush put them in the "Axis of Evil" barely a year into his first term? How can you demonstrate that any potential ensuing improvement wasn't coming after starting off in a deep hole?

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You see, this missile preparation is exactly what I said; the kind of result typical bombast spews out. But the "screw dialogue with and aid for NK" crowd will keep up the harsh language and denial until a missile is fired, and then they'll finally realize being told "I told you so" just doesn't quite cover the repercussions or being so utterly wrong.

Huh Smitty?

I believe the "screw NK" crowd pretty much predicted that this is going to happen for this ain't the first time these nutjobs do their perrenial missile launch every time things don't go their way or that they're not getting "attention" (Wah!!! Look at me Wah!!!)

In this case, it's probably their effort to gain attention from Obama.

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