Hi Linc: Your second link is one of the ones I followed. It's essentially the steps above, I believe. (In that link, I think that steps 11 and 12 are wrong, as they ell you to turn off all bookmarks, but this was already done in steps 3 and 4).
The problem is that in that reference's step 16, instead of the empty bookmarks on my mac's Safari leading to an erasure of the iCloud bookmarks, all the old bookmarks on iCloud come back down and repopulate Safari. I need a way to completely erase all bookmarks from iCloud. For whatever reason, the steps in the second link (and others like it) don't seem to work.
Hi Linc: I eventually figured that out—if you delete all bookmarks, one by one, as you're connected to iCloud they will delete on iCloud and everywhere else.
I think I got confused from the second link's seeming emphasis on dragging out Bookmarks.plist (Step 14). My thought was that this was being done to easily clear out the bookmarks so that they didn't all have to be erased one at a time. But now I don't see any reason to do it at all.
So it really boils down to this:
1. Turn off iCloud on every device, deleting on iDevices.
2. Fix up bookmarks the way you like on your mac. Safari Prairiefire can help, or you can do it by hand.
3. Export these bookmarks to save them.
4. Turn on iCloud on the mac. iCloud will repopulate your bookmarks with the bad ones.
5. Manually delete all bookmarks (cmd-delete). As you do this, the corresponding bookmark is deleted on iCloud.
6. Import your bookmarks from your saved bookmarks file.
7. You may need to clean up a bit by dragging the imported bookmarks out of the import folder to where you really want them.
Linc, because the instructions in the second link above are confusing it might be better to find a better link to refer people to, as I see you've referred others to this link before. As I see it, steps 11 and 12 are superfluous and confusing, all the steps about the plist are uncessary, and the key step 15 is confusing because it doesn't make it at all clear that iCloud will repopulate your bookmarks, and that this is expected, and that you should then delete them all one by one.