North Korea: the nightmare of living under a god

April 11, 2014

North Korea Yeonmi Park

There’s an interesting and frightening interview posted to Business Insider today with Yeonmi Park, a woman who escaped from North Korea with her family as a teenager, but needed years to get over the brainwashing she endured there. An indoctrination so intense, she believed the late Kim Jong Il could read her mind:

Yeonmi Park grew up in North Korea, under the watchful eye of then-leader Kim Jong-il.

Though she escaped with her family when she was 15, it took her years to get over the intense brainwashing she experienced. In a recent interview with Australian public broadcasting channel SBS, Park went into unbelievable detail about growing up in the totalitarian state.

Growing up in North Korea, according to Park, was like “living in hell.” She describes constant power outages, no transportation, and watching classmates and friends disappear without a trace. While that may be unsurprising, the most interesting part of Park’s experience is her admission that she believed Kim Jong-il to be “a god” who could literally read her mind.

“I had to be careful of my thoughts because I believed Kim Jong-il could read my mind. Every couple of days someone would disappear,” Park said.

Ms. Park’s story is part of a larger program on mind-control shown by SBS, the Australian public broadcaster.  The whole show is worth watching.

In an article at SBS, she tells more of her own story:

I lived in North Korea for the first 15 years of my life, believing Kim Jong-il was a God. I never doubted it because I didn’t know anything else. I could not even imagine life outside of the regime.

It was like living in hell. There were constant power outages, so everything was dark. There was no transportation – everyone had to walk everywhere. It was very dirty and no one could eat anything.

It was not the right conditions for human life, but you couldn’t think about it, let alone complain about it. Even though you were suffering, you had to worship the regime every day.

I had to be careful of my thoughts because I believed Kim Jong-il could read my mind. Every couple of days someone would disappear. A classmate’s mother was punished in a public execution that I was made to attend. I had no choice – there were spies in the neighbourhood.

George Orwell’s 1984 depicts the UK after an atomic war and a Socialist revolution. Big Brother is a de facto god to the people: his every word the undeniable truth, no matter how it contradicted what he might have said just the day before. Your innermost thoughts known to him, and he held the power to make you willing to accept your own death and the deaths of those close to you as just. His Animal Farm is a parable of a just revolution hijacked by an anti-democratic cadre, who maintain power by turning the other animals against each other and all into slaves. Both are taught as works of fiction, but Yeonmi Park’s story reminds us that they were more like docu-dramas and that the story hasn’t come to an end.

It reminds me of a saying of John Adams:

“It is weakness rather than wickedness which renders men unfit to be trusted with unlimited power”

Our second president was right, but left something out: it’s not just that Mankind is too morally weak for any one person to hold absolute power, but there is also the weakness that makes us willing to surrender our responsibilities as citizens and entrust a small group of people or a single person with unlimited power. It is dangerous because, eventually and inevitably, that power will fall into the hands of evil men.

And then what is to stop them from proclaiming themselves gods?

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


North Korea: Kim III orders execution by flamethrower

April 10, 2014
"I've got some bad news, boss..."

“Really? Let’s hold a BBQ…”

Sometimes I wonder if Kim Jong Un, a reputed heavy drinker, doesn’t sit around late at night nursing a bottle of scotch and fantasizing about the various outré ways he can whack people who have ticked him off:

A senior North Korean official has been executed with a flamethrower after Kim Jong-un branded him an ‘enemy of the state’, it has been claimed.

O Sang-hon is said to have been brutally killed for his close ties to the communist leader’s uncle Jang Song-taek, who was himself publicly tried and executed in December after being found guilty of corruption and ‘counter revolutionary’ activities.

Mr O is thought to be the latest of 11 senior Workers Party figures to have been executed this year over their links to Mr Jang, with South Korean media reporting that Kim Jong-un has plans to execute or imprison hundreds more of his supporters and extended family members.

Mr O had been Mr Jang’s deputy at North Korea’s ministry of public security, and his execution by flamethrower took place after being found guilty of helping his boss turn the state department into a personal security division and hide corruption, South Korea’s Chosun Ilbo newspaper reported.

The ministry of public security has since been closed, with all 11 of the most senior officials said to have been either executed or sent to one of Kim Jong-un’s concentration camps in a second wave of vengeance following conviction of Mr Jang.

I’m not so sure a life sentence in in the North Korean gulag is much better than death, in fact I’m certain it’s in many ways worse, but execution by flamethrower? Mind you, that’s after we’ve had reports of execution by mortar and by being thrown to the dogs.

Use of a flamethrower brings a whole new meaning to “firing squad.”

Take this news with the usual caveats about “if it’s true,” but, regardless of its verity and in spite of its egregiousness, Kim’s savage, quixotic tyranny is a “teachable moment” for advocates for advocates of limited government, because it shows quite clearly the dangers posed when government is not restrained and its powers are not carefully limited. And when the Rule of Man replaces the Rule of Law, no one’s life, rights, or property is safe.

No need for flamethrowers to prove it: just ask the Sacketts of Idaho.

PS: I fully expect Kim to up his game — the next execution just has to be by tac-nuke.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Russia on the march: 10 reasons Putin is likely to invade eastern Ukraine

March 30, 2014
"I won"

“Can’t touch this.”

There’s a good article by Michael Weiss giving a list of reasons why Russia’s Vladimir Putin is probably going to make a move soon to take over Ukraine’s largely ethnic-Russian eastern regions. It’s well-worth reading; Weiss covers the realities of power, political considerations, and Russian military movements (1). He also brings up a motive that’s psychological, but I think it fits. Let’s see what you think:

2. Putin enjoys embarrassing the United States, and especially its current commander-in-chief.

On Feb. 28, Obama warned that “there will be costs for any military intervention in Ukraine” — before high-tailing it to a Democratic National Committee cocktail party at the Washington Hilton. The next day, the world awoke to a Russian invasion of Crimea. “Rarely has a threat from a U.S. president been dismissed as quickly — and comprehensively — as Obama’s warning on Friday night,” the Washington Post’s Scott Wilson reported. And let’s look at the laundry list of American desires and warnings the Kremlin has brushed aside: Russia has dramatically increased its arms transfers to Syria since the chemical disarmament deal was struck last fall. It continues to host fugitive NSA spy Edward Snowden. And during the midst of the Maidan protests, Russia’s own spies intercepted a phone call between a top U.S. State Department official and the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, then leaked the contents of it to Kremlin-controlled media. Moreover, neither Putin nor his inner circle seem terribly aggravated by the current suite of U.S. or EU sanctions or the blockbuster admission by the Treasury Department that Putin — now a staunch patriotic proponent of the “de-offshoreization” of the Russian economy – personally controls assets in Swiss oil commodities giant Gunvor.

While I would never argue that psychological motives are paramount –Putin’s too much of a power realist to fool himself with petty self-gratifications– I’m sure they’re there. Vladimir Putin is an ex-KGB officer, trained to be brutal when necessary. His goals are those of every Russian ruler since the Mongols were driven out: seeking the security of Russia by dominating the states around her and keeping powerful foes at a distance. In America, he sees a nation in short-term decline, creating an opportunity for him to advance those goals. In Obama, he sees a weak, out of his depth, would-be academic beta-male whom he, Vladimir Putin, almost a caricature of the alpha-male, can intimidate to seize that opportunity.

In short, Putin sees Obama as his [you fill in the word] and loves showing that to the world.

You can bet he plans to enjoy that feeling again, soon.

Footnote:
(1) They’re deploying field hospitals. That’s a significant sign it itself.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


North Korea: all men must now wear Kim Jong Un’s hairstyle?

March 26, 2014
x

Bah! You call that a “haircut?”

When you’re the boy god-king of the world’s largest prison camp masquerading as a nation, you can get away with weird, petty stuff like this:

If you are a man in North Korea, we sincerely hope you have a round face. It’s the shape that will work with your new haircut.

That new haircut is reportedly called the “Dear Leader Kim Jong Un,” modeled after—you guessed it—North Korean leader Kim Jong-un’s impenetrable block of black hair atop his chubby cheeks. The style reportedly became a state-mandated guideline about two weeks ago, though experts familiar with the country have said there’s no evidence a new hairstyle rule has gone into effect.

According to the article, this isn’t something new for North Korea: Kim’s father, the late, demented Kim Jong Il, launched a state campaign against long hair on the grounds that it sucked the nutrients from one’s brain.

Really.

Anyway, a TV campaign was launched and “journalists” would go to people’s homes to confront them about their overly lengthy locks. This being North Korea, I suppose they were lucky not to be shot or fed to the dogs.

Back to Kim III, and regardless of whether this is true, it’s another illustration of why limited, constitutional government is best; when there are no limits to the powers of the rulers, there are also no limits to what they will do the the ruled. North Korea is just the extreme example that clarifies the point.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


North Korea: Kim Jong Un executes uncle’s entire family, including children

January 27, 2014
"I've got some bad news, boss..."

“Wait. We missed a few?”

Sounds like Kim III got drunk again. Having executed his uncle, perhaps by feeding him alive to the dogs, it now appears he’s had almost the entire family wiped out:

North Korea ruler Kim Jong-un has reportedly ordered that all blood relatives of his executed uncle be put to death, continuing an apparent purge of all he sees as threats to his reign.

South Korea’s Yonhap News Agency, citing multiple sources, reported Sunday that “extensive executions” of relatives of Jang Song-thaek had been carried out.

“All relatives of Jang have been put to death, including even children,” one source told Yonhap. Among those reported dead were Jang’s sister Jang Kye-sun, her husband and Pyongyang’s ambassador to Cuba, Jon Yong-jin, and the North Korean ambassador to Malaysia, Jang Yong-chol, a nephew of Jang, as well as his two sons.

In addition, Yonhap reported that the sons, daughters, and grandchildren of Jang’s two brothers were executed as well.

Some were shot in the street if they tried to resist arrest. But, merciful little sociopath that he is, Kim let relatives by marriage go into internal exile in North Korean villages. Given this is the world’s largest prison camp masquerading as a nation, I’m not sure that’s much of a mercy.

I stand by my prediction that Kim’s actions are pretty soon going to convince (1) some senior army officer that Kim should have a fatal “accident” (2), before he turns a drunken eye to said soldier.

Meanwhile, don’t you feel all warm and fuzzy that Kim has nuclear weapons at his disposal?

Please, whoever you are, hurry up with that coup.

Footnotes:
(1) If it hasn’t already. In a totalitarian police state, these things have to be done slowly and carefully.
(2) Such as “Sudden Cranial Lead Poisoning” syndrome.


Public Service Reminder: Vladimir Putin is not a nice man

January 16, 2014
"I won"

“Meet the new Tsar”

“Not nice,” as in “probably blew up 300 of his own people to pave his way to the presidency.”

Via Michael Barone, David Satter is an American journalist for The Wall Street Journal who specializes in modern Russia. He also has the honor of being the first US reporter expelled from Russia since it was called the USSR. In the course of writing about his expulsion and why he plans to continue reporting on Russia, he relates this tale, which should send a shiver down anyone’s spine:

Other questions that hang over the Putin regime are the fates of his murdered political opponents, Alexander Litvinenko, Anna Politkovskaya and Natalya Estemirova. But most important of all is the question of who was responsible for the 1999 apartment bombings in Russia that served as the pretext for Moscow’s second war against the former Soviet republic of Chechnya. The bombings terrorized all of Russia, created a wave of patriotic fervor and swept the previously unknown Mr. Putin into the presidency. The Russian authorities blamed the bombings on Chechens, but when an unexploded bomb was discovered in the basement of one building, the terrorists were caught and proved to be agents of the Federal Security Service or FSB, a successor to the old KGB.

Vladimir Putin was a long-time KGB officer and head of the FSB under President Yeltsin.

I remember speculation about a false-flag operation at the time the bombings occurred: Russia needed an excuse to crush the Chechens, who had essentially beaten her in the first war, and showing himself to be a tough leader (he had been appointed prime minister and anointed Yeltsin’s heir before the apartment bombings) would boost his chances in the coming election. But at the time, I thought that was just Russian paranoia talking. But now, putting that in context with everything else that’s happened under “Vlad the Terrible,” I have to wonder.

Read the whole thing, but don’t worry; we have Barack Obama, John Kerry, and the whole Smart Power team looking out for us.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Kim Jong Un may have out-psycho’d his father and grandfather

January 3, 2014
"I've got some bad news, boss..."

“We’re out of dog food? No problem…”

I mean, we’ve heard he was hammered when he ordered the trial and execution of his uncle, Jang Song Thaek, but to carry out the sentence by feeding him alive to the dogs? Dude!

According to the report, unlike previous executions of political prisoners which were carried out by firing squads with machine guns, Jang was stripped naked and thrown into a cage, along with his five closest aides. Then 120 hounds, starved for three days, were allowed to prey on them until they were completely eaten up. This is called “quan jue”, or execution by dogs.

The report said the entire process lasted for an hour, with Mr Kim Jong Un, the supreme leader in North Korea, supervising it along with 300 senior officials.

Keep in mind all the usual caveats: “if this is true,” the difficulty of getting factual information from a paranoid Stalinist dictatorship (almost as hard as getting it from Jay Carney), the possibility that Kim might just be playing us for various reasons only a North Korean dictator could fathom….

Still, this has the air of plausibility about it; it fits a historical pattern in autocracies or near-autocracies when a dynasty decays and an immature or deranged (or both) leader who’s never known any limits comes to the throne. One example that comes to mind is the the Roman Empire: does Augustus to Tiberius to Caligula parallel Kim Il Sung to Kim Jong Il to Kim Jong Un?

Regardless, if these stories are even half true (1), expect Kim III to have a short reign before one of his generals blasts him to save himself.

via Sonny Bunch

Footnote:
(1) I mean, we do know he had one unfortunate executed by mortar fire.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


I’ve heard of drunk dialing, but drunk executing? Updated.

December 24, 2013
"I've got some bad news, boss..."

“I did what last night?”

North Korea’s Kim Jong Un, aka “Tiny Psycho Dictator III,” is not what one would call a happy drunk:

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un was drunk when he ordered the execution of two aides close to his uncle Jang Song-thaek, the Japanese newspaper Yomiuri Shimbun reported on Saturday.

The Yomiuri cited a source that claimed Ri Ryong-ha, the first deputy director of the administrative department of North Korea’s ruling Workers’ Party, and Jang Su-gil, a deputy director of the department, were executed because they did not immediately follow an order by Kim to hand over their control of a profitable business to the military. 

The newspaper said when Kim made the order, Ri and Jang responded that they first had to report to director Jang – the man in charge of the administrative department – which made the young leader “upset.”

When Kim ordered the execution of the two aides, he was “very drunk,” the source told the Yomiuri. 

It seems Jang may have been skimming from the money Kim gave him to buy presents bribes with which to buy the loyalty of others in the North Korean hierarchy. If he had known about that before the incident with the two aides, we can imagine why he was in a bad mood and why it was a bad time to tell him “no.”

By the way, under the “justice system” in the world’s largest prison camp masquerading as a nation, collective punishment is the order of the day: Kim also ordered a purge of the director’s aides and, according to reports, had his family and relatives arrested. No word on if they have been executed.

via Bridget Johnson

UPDATE: Thanks to reader Crosspatch in the comments, this article from The Independent seems to confirm that “administrator Jang” is the same “Uncle Jang” who was executed by his nephew. Apparently people close to the aides who were shot called friends and family overseas and forgot the lines were tapped:

The paper said that it was intelligence from the first two deaths that made the South Korean government aware Jang’s own execution was “inevitable”. “Those who were close [to the two aides] were surprised by their execution, and made phone calls to their friends living abroad, and the South Korean government [spy agency] wiretapped their phone conversations,2 the newspaper said.

In all, at least eight people from Jang’s circle were executed in the purge – alongside the director himself.

Kim had better be careful: he keeps whacking random people when drunk, some general might decide it’s safer to launch a coup, and Kim won’t wake up from his last drunken stupor. Then again, given that we’re talking about North Korea, perhaps the best thing for the world and their own people would be for this nightmare regime to turn on itself.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


North Korea: Dictator executes ex-girlfriend for doing porn, owning Bible

August 29, 2013
"I've got some bad news, boss..."

“She did what??”

I’ve figured it out: North Korea is the only nation founded on a bad acid trip:

Kim Jong-un’s ex-girlfriend was among a dozen well-known North Korean performers who were executed by firing squad on Aug. 20, reports said Wednesday.

Sources in China said singer Hyon Song-wol as well as Mun Kyong-jin, head of the Unhasu Orchestra, were arrested on Aug. 17 for violating North Korean laws against pornography and were executed in public three days later.

The victims of the atrocity were members of the Unhasu Orchestra as well as singers, musicians and dancers with the Wangjaesan Light Music Band.

They were accused of videotaping themselves having sex and selling the videos. The tapes have apparently gone on sale in China as well.

A source said some allegedly had Bibles in their possession, and all were treated as political dissidents.

According to reports (and we don’t know how reliable they are), Mun and her colleagues were mowed down by a machine-gun firing squad, which I suppose is merciful compared to dropping a mortar round on top of the condemned. And, really, who among us hasn’t at some time, however briefly, fantasized about doing the same to a pain-in-the-neck ex?

The families of the victims were all sent to North Korea’s hellish gulag, par for the course for the world’s largest prison camp masquerading as a nation.

It is good to be King psycho-dictator.

At first glance, the “porn and Bible” angle made me think this was some sort of fake, but it does make a weird sort of sense. Think about it: you live in a police state that takes most of your income and rations how much food you get. You get more than most, but you want more. Well, porn sells.

Plus, and here’s where the Bible comes in, these are acts of rebellion and defiance. Could it be that the sex-videos and Bibles were some weird equivalent to a teen “acting out” against a parent, giving them a sense, however fleeting, of a bit of freedom and individuality? We’ll never know. But, in an atheistic, puritanical, Confucianist-Stalinst state, both uncontrolled sex and religion threaten the totalitarian rule of the individual by the government — they become thought-criminals, a la 1984, and have to be destroyed.

In this case, instead of being grounded, they were shot and their families swept into non-existence.

Final thought: North Korea has to be one of the most thorough internal-surveillance states on the planet. I find it very hard to believe that no one knew this was going on and that it didn’t get back to Dear Leader III before now. As a friend asked, did Kim know, but tolerated it until the new wife found out and demanded “something be done?”

Again, we’ll never know, but anything twisted is possible in North Korea. Especially if it’s twisted.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


The Arbitrary Diktats of Generalissimo Obama

August 16, 2013

Phineas Fahrquar:

Dan may think this isn’t a joke, but, from another perspective, it is: a big honking joke on us.

Originally posted on International Liberty:

There’s an old joke that the definition of quandary is when your mother-in-law drives off a cliff in your new car.

But since I’m not married, I can’t use that joke.

Besides, I’m a policy wonk, so the type of quandary that catches my attention is when the Obama Administration delays big parts of Obamacare (hooray!), but does so by cavalierly deciding to disregard the law (boo!).

Unfortunately, this isn’t a joke.

I wrote about this topic last month and asserted that one of “the defining characteristics of a civilized government is adherence to the rule of law.”

Why is this important? Here’s some of George Will’s analysis of how Obama is subverting the law.

President Obama’s increasingly grandiose claims for presidential power are inversely proportional to his shriveling presidency. …at last week’s news conference he offered inconvenience as a justification for illegality. …Serving as props in the scripted charade…

View original 996 more words


Sun King Obama to peasant reporter: “Do not bother me with lawyers!”

July 30, 2013
"My will is enough!"

“My will is enough!”

We’ve already noted President Le Roi Soleil Obama’s speech at Galesburg, Illinois, last week, in which he (again) revealed himself to be something of a schmuck. But, in addition to the neo-Marxist, class-warfare theme of the speech itself, something else came from that trip. In an interview with audience granted to Jackie Calmes and Michael Shear of The New York Times, Juan Peron Obama had this to say when asked about his unilateral, illegal, and unconstitutional decision to grant a delay in enforcement of the Obamacare employer mandate:

NYT: People questioned your legal and constitutional authority to do that unilaterally — to delay the employer mandate. Did you consult with your lawyer?

MR. OBAMA: Jackie, if you heard me on stage today, what I said was that I will seize any opportunity I can find to work with Congress to strengthen the middle class, improve their prospects, improve their security –

NYT: No, but specifically –

MR. OBAMA: — but where Congress is unwilling to act, I will take whatever administrative steps that I can in order to do right by the American people.

And if Congress thinks that what I’ve done is inappropriate or wrong in some fashion, they’re free to make that case. But there’s not an action that I take that you don’t have some folks in Congress who say that I’m usurping my authority. Some of those folks think I usurp my authority by having the gall to win the presidency. And I don’t think that’s a secret. But ultimately, I’m not concerned about their opinions — very few of them, by the way, are lawyers, much less constitutional lawyers.

I am concerned about the folks who I spoke to today who are working really hard, are trying to figure out how they can send their kids to college, are trying to make sure that they can save for their retirement. And if I can take steps on their behalf, then I’m going to do so. And I would hope that more and more of Congress will say, you know what, since that’s our primary focus, we’re willing to work with you to advance those ideals. But I’m not just going to sit back if the only message from some of these folks is no on everything, and sit around and twiddle my thumbs for the next 1,200 days.

Keep that in mind: he first dodges the question of whether he consulted with White House legal staff (or the staff of any relevant cabinet department) and then asserts that his critics are mere gadflies because they, unlike he, are not constitutional lawyers.

Translation: “Silence, you ignorant bitter-clinger!”

Let set the record straight: Obama taught con-law (a course on the 4th amendment, as I recall) and was regarded as faculty, but he was no great scholar. Really. Search the literature, and you’ll find next to nothing.  For him to dismiss the many well-read, educated people who have criticized his actions because they don’t have “esq.” after their names is the height of ivory-tower arrogance. And typical for the academic elitists from whose ranks he comes.

But look at that second paragraph: If Congress refuses to do what Obama wants, Obama will do it anyway, regardless of any grant of authority by the legislature, the only body constitutionally allowed to make laws. This isn’t the first time he’s dismissed Congress as a bother. From “I won” to issue after issue, he’s used the vast (too vast) administrative power of the Executive to make or rewrite law, and then stretched the limits of Executive power even further than anyone since FDR or Nixon. Think I’m exaggerating? Consider how many times Obama and his minions have been smacked down nine-to-nothing (9-0!) by the Supreme Court. That includes liberal Justices Ginsberg, Kagan, and Sotomayor, and the latter two were Obama appointees! If even those three think Obama’s White House has lost any constitutional moorings…

What we have here is a man who sees himself as a supercharged Mayor of Chicago, ruling as he wishes and only paying attention to the “city council” when he absolutely has to, not as the head of one branch of government dealing with a constitutionally equal branch, respecting the powers, boundaries, and traditions of both. “Consensus” means to Obama “do it my way.” And, when stymied, he feels no need to consult with anyone else, no need to wait for the people’s elected representatives to grant him authority, nor even any need to obey the law as written. His will be done. Even after five years, his arrogance is breathtaking.

And there’s a word for people who think they can rule on their own.

via Byron York

LINK: More from PJM’s Rick Moran.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Chutzpah. That’s the only word for it

July 3, 2013

When the Boy-Butcher of Damascus calls on the dictator of Egypt to “heed the will of the people” and step down:

The Syrian regime, which is seeking to crush a more than two-year revolt against its own rule, is urging Egypt’s president to step down in line with his people’s wishes.

Syrian Information Minister Omran al-Zoubi says the only way Egypt can overcome its crisis is if President Mohammed Morsi realizes that the overwhelming majority of the Egyptian people reject his presence and want him out.

Al-Zoubi told reporters in Damascus Wednesday that Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood is a “terrorist” organization and a “U.S. tool.”

This, of course, comes as a sweet bit of revenge for Morsi’s call for Assad to resign. “Two can play that hypocritical game,” and all that.

Still, with over 100,000 casualties so far in Syria’s civil war, millions of refugees, and strong evidence of the use of poison gas by the Assad regime, it takes an extra spoonful of shamelessness to be able to advise another government about how to save its country.


Tyrant Governor of New York will not tolerate dissent from his underling sheriffs

May 25, 2013

Who does this guy think he is, Mike Bloomberg? Angered by county sheriffs opposed to the draconian gun law the Governor recently rammed through the legislature, Andrew Cuomo has evidently threatened to use a rarely invoked power to remove dissident sheriffs from office:

Opposition to the new law has simmered in upstate areas since Cuomo signed the law in January. Many county sheriffs oppose it, particularly its expanded definition of banned assault weapons, and have spoken out around the state. In January, the New York State Sheriffs’ Association wrote Cuomo with an analysis, and later suggested tweaks.

Cuomo invited its leaders to the Capitol last month, people briefed on the meeting said. The group included Sheriffs’ Association Executive Director Peter Kehoe and Chemung County Sheriff Christopher Moss.
“We didn’t get a response (to the analysis) from him, but we could tell after the budget was passed that none of those recommendations were taken into consideration,” Moss said. “When we got there, we never got to the contents of the letter.”

Instead, Cuomo pushed the sheriffs to stop publicly speaking out against the act, Moss said.

“The governor was of the opinion that the sheriffs around the state should not be interjecting their personal opinions in reference to the law,” Moss said, adding that Cuomo said sheriffs can’t do that and enforce the law.

One person briefed on the meeting said Cuomo threatened to remove sheriffs from office, a little-used power afforded the state’s chief executive under the state constitution. Moss would not confirm this. He did say the meeting was heated at times, but overall he described it as “cordial.”

It’s one thing to use this power to remove a corrupt sheriff, or one unable to continue in his job because of health. But, to use it to bludgeon into silence men sworn to uphold the law and the state and federal constitutions, and who themselves have the right of free speech? I think that’s called “tyranny.” Somewhere, Hugo Chavez nods in approval.

Via Bryan Preston, who’s right: this has a lot in common with the scandals coming out of the Obama administration, for both represent abuses of power and the authoritarian heart of progressivism.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


This just in: If you oppose gun control, you might just be an Antisemite

March 25, 2013

According to MSNBC, that is.

Background: loathsome nanny-state Mayor (1) Mike Bloomberg has been on a crusade since the Aurora and Newtown mass killings to take New York City’s extremely restrictive (and, in my opinion, unconstitutional) gun laws nationwide, spending millions of his own money to pressure (2) Congress and various state legislatures. In reaction, defenders of the right to bear arms have been very critical of Bloomberg, both on policy grounds and his overall infatuation with statism. (3)

On America’s “lean forward” network, however, it couldn’t be that you oppose Bloomberg because you believe in the right to bear arms or that, in general, government should stay out of people’s private lives. Nope. If you oppose Bloomberg, it must be because you hate Jews:

According to MSNBC contributors Mike Barnicle and Al Sharpton, opposition to New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg’s gun-control push is partly the result of anti-Semitism. “Let’s get down to it, Mike Bloomberg, mayor of New York City, there’s a level of anti-Semitism in this thing directed towards Bloomberg,” Barnicle argued on Morning Joe, “It’s out there.” “No doubt about that,” Sharpton responded.

“If he was not a big-city Jewish man and was from another ethnic group, in some parts, I think it would be different,” Sharpton continued. 

If you can’t win on the facts, fight with slander.

At PJM, Bryan Preston reminds us that both Barnicle and Sharpton are a bit lacking in the ethics department:

Mike Barnicle, who a few years back was caught plagiarizing, and Al Sharpton, who a few years before that built his career by accusing an innocent man of rape, have resorted to smearing those of us who think New York Mike Bloomberg should at least confine his overbearing nannyist instincts to the city that actually elected him.

So I guess we shouldn’t be surprised at this latest bit of poo-flinging.

It’s all they have left.

Footnotes:
(1) That Allahpundit has such a way with words.
(2) Or buy, judging by the results of the recent primary election in IL-2.
(3) And that’s putting it nicely. Michael Walsh comes right out and calls Bloomie a liberal fascist.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


European Union or EUSSR? Brussels demands power to regulate press, fire journalists

January 25, 2013
"Under state control"

“Enemy of the State”

If anyone had any notion that the European Union was anything but a bureaucratic dictatorship, this should open their eyes:

A European Union report has urged tight press regulation and demanded that Brussels officials are given control of national media supervisors with new powers to enforce fines or the sacking of journalists.

The “high level” recommendations that will be used to draft future EU legislation also attack David Cameron for failing to automatically implement proposals by the Lord Justice Leveson inquiry for a state regulation of British press.

A “high level” EU panel, that includes Latvia’s former president and a former German justice minister, was ordered by Neelie Kroes, European Commission vice-president, last year to report on “media freedom and pluralism”. It has concluded that it is time to introduce new rules to rein in the press.

“All EU countries should have independent media councils,” the report concluded.

“Media councils should have real enforcement powers, such as the imposition of fines, orders for printed or broadcast apologies, or removal of journalistic status.”

As well as setting up state regulators with draconian powers, the panel also recommended that the European Commission be placed in overall control in order to ensure that the new watchdogs do not breach EU laws.

(Emphases added)

I’m sure these new powers, if granted, will be used only for the common good, to ensure fair, sensitive journalism — as determined by a bunch of Eurocrats.

The danger of this is obvious: the power to fine or fire is the power to dictate, and the only reporters to retain their jobs will be those who say things pleasing to the mandarins in Brussels. It would be the death knell of free speech in Europe, for free speech is meaningless if it doesn’t include the right to say things that make the powerful uncomfortable, or even simply to offend. A free, unfettered press is essential to a democratic society, and if the press is fettered, so is the citizen, who becomes a subject. The society is no longer free.

The article points out that these proposed regulations are aimed largely at the British press, which has a large Euro-skeptic element and regularly ticks off the European Union elite.  Quite unsurprisingly, then, the Brussels initiative has set up howls of outrage in Britain, from whom we inherited our traditions of free speech and press freedom. With Prime Minister Cameron promising a referendum on a new arrangement, one can only hope the majority of Britons will see the danger of staying a part of this “brave new Euro-world” and vote to get the hell out.

Indeed, they may already ready be headed for the door.

PS: This article reminds me yet again how rare, fragile, and precious our traditions of free speech –the ability to speak one’s mind to the powerful without fear of reprisal– really are. In Europe, where on the Continent the governing tradition is top-down, the natural reaction of the government is to suppress annoying speech. (And in America, we see twitches of that from the Left.) Even in Australia, the people of which are our close political cousins, there is no recognized natural right of free speech. It is a right that we must not only assert and defend, but actively exercise, especially when it itself is under threat.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


North Korea: Because a bullet to the head is so plebian

November 4, 2012

Daddy’s little psychopath

Hey, when you’re Beloved Leader God-King of the world’s largest prison camp masquerading as a nation and you want someone dead, you don’t do it the way just anyone would. That would be too… common. Beneath you. Nope, when you decide to whack a minister as a lesson to others, you do it in a way everyone will notice:

Kim Chol, vice minister of the army, was taken into custody earlier this year on the orders of Kim Jong-un, who assumed the leadership after the death of his father in December.

On the orders of Kim Jong-un to leave “no trace of him behind, down to his hair,” according to South Korean media, Kim Chol was forced to stand on a spot that had been zeroed in for a mortar round and “obliterated.”

The execution of Kim Chol is just one example of a purge of members of the North Korean military or party who threatened the fledgling regime of Kim Jong-un.

Other examples here and here.

via Moe Lane

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Anti-military purge underway in North Korea?

July 22, 2012

Hope and Change?

The other day I noted reports of an armed clash between soldiers loyal to North Korea dictator Kim Jong-Un and those of Marshal Ri Yong-Ho, which may have resulted in the army chief’s sudden retirement death. At the time I speculated on a few possible explanations, all of which were equally likely given the difficulty of knowing just what is going on there.

Now news comes of further changes, indicating that the move against Marshal Ri is part of a larger drive to take control of the economy from the military and, perhaps, institute needed reforms:

Impoverished North Korea is gearing up to experiment with agricultural and economic reforms after young leader Kim Jong-un and his powerful uncle purged the country’s top general for opposing change, a source with ties to both Pyongyang and Beijing said.

The source added that the cabinet had created a special bureau to take control of the decaying economy from the military, one of the world’s largest, which under Kim’s father was given pride of place in running the country.

The downfall of Vice Marshal Ri Yong-ho and his allies gives the untested new leader and his uncle Jang Song-thaek, who married into the Kim family dynasty and is widely seen as the real power behind the throne, the mandate to try to save the battered economy and prevent the secretive regime’s collapse.

The current Kim’s father had, like Emperor Septimius Severus, decided to “enrich the soldiers, and scorn all others.” While it preserved his rule, it was an utter disaster for the North — repeated famine and economic ruin. If his son (and the son’s eminence grise uncle) are going to institute reforms along Chinese lines, liberalizing the economy while retaining absolute political control, we can only hope for their success. Not only would the people’s lives be improved, but North Korea would move further away from a state collapse that could have catastrophic effects on the region.

Or, maybe not. It may be that the North is too far along the road to failure to stave off the inevitable for more than a few years. And it’s sometimes been noted that revolutions happen when circumstances start improving and the people demand their rising expectations be fulfilled, because a starving, brutalized population hasn’t the time for revolt. In that case, Kim III’s reforms might be the cracks that cause the dam to break.

Who knows? Whatever the truth may be, one hopes that Kim Jong-Un is aiming for real reform and that it succeeds, if only to bring some relief to the long-suffering people of the world’s largest prison camp masquerading as a nation.

Via Walter Russell Mead, who notes that the regime is blustering again about nuclear tests. Sounds to me like a bone tossed to the military, to make the economic changes more palatable.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


North Korean marshal may not have been quite ready to retire

July 20, 2012

Gee. And here I thought I was only joking when I said on Twitter that Marshal Ri Yong-ho’s retirement for “health reasons” meant a case of “sudden lead poisoning.”

Looks like it may not have been a joke:

A gunbattle broke out when the North Korean regime removed army chief Ri Yong-ho from office, leaving 20 to 30 soldiers dead, according to unconfirmed intelligence reports. Some intelligence analysts believe Ri, who has not been seen since his abrupt sacking earlier this week, was injured or killed in the confrontation.

According to government officials here, the gunbattle erupted when Vice Marshal Choe Ryong-hae, the director of the People’s Army General Political Bureau, tried to detain Ri in the process of carrying out leader Kim Jong-un’s order to sack him. Guards protecting Ri, who is a vice marshal, apparently opened fire. “We cannot rule out the possibility that Ri was injured or even killed in the firefight,” said one source.

Guess that rules out the traditional gold watch…

Seriously, North Korea is such a tightly closed, controlled state prison camp that’s it’s almost impossible to decide what this means — if it really happened at all. It could be a sign of Kim III consolidating his grip on power by getting rid of rivals and of the resistance being nothing more that a goon squad showing loyalty to their boss, or a small crack hinting at larger fissures in the military. (It’s hard to imagine everyone was hunky-dory with an untried twenty-something taking over as Supreme Leader and Living God) Or it could just be random, murderous wackiness that means nothing in the long run, except to remind outsiders to be grateful they don’t live in North Korea.

Regardless, North Korea will bear watching, even if through a glass, darkly. It’s murderous wackiness could all too easily and all too suddenly turn deadly for the rest of us, too.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Obama gets crucial endorsement — from Hugo Chavez

July 14, 2012

Call it “simpatico:”

“Obama is campaigning. He’s a candidate. I hope the real revolutionaries understand well. I think that Barack Obama – aside from ‘the president’ – is a good guy,” he said.

He must see a kindred spirit:

Yeah, if it weren’t for that whole “president thing,” couldn’t you just see them sitting down for a couple of cervezas, kicking back, and chewing the coca paste (1) together?

We should see this endorsement all over the TV waves — in Mitt Romney commercials.

PS: Romney 2012.

PPS: Obama doesn’t think Chavez is a threat to the US. Fausta counts the ways he is.

Footnote:
(1) Oh, don’t look at me like that. President Choom admitted in his memoir that he used coke and grass.  I’m sure he could handle it like a pro.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Shocker! North Korea throws tantrum, breaks agreement

April 18, 2012

"Dear Leader, Jr."

Only a fool or the Clinton State Department (but I repeat myself) couldn’t see this one coming:

North Korea said on Tuesday that it was abandoning an agreement it made in February with the United States, in which it promised to suspend uranium enrichment, nuclear tests and long-range missile tests.

The North Korean Foreign Ministry said that it “resolutely and totally” rejected the United Nations Security Council’s condemnation of its failed rocket launching last week, and that it would continue to launch rockets to try to place satellites into orbit.

The ministry’s statement hinted, but did not make clear, that the North may now conduct a long-range missile or nuclear test.

No longer bound by the deal, “we have thus become able to take necessary retaliatory measures,” the ministry said in the statement, which was carried by the state-run Korean Central News Agency. “The U.S. will be held wholly accountable for all the ensuing consequences.”

The United States had already suspended its side of the deal because of the rocket launching, including 240,000 tons of food aid the United States had promised to the North.

The collapse of the deal cost the United States and the International Atomic Energy Agency a chance to send inspectors into the isolated country for the first time in three years. And analysts said it made further North Korean provocations more likely.

Let’s be honest: North Korea had no intention of keeping the agreement, just as they never had any intention of truly honoring any agreement they’ve made since at least the horribly naive Agreed Framework deal signed under Bill Clinton. North Korea, even under the latest “Dear Leader,” was going to take as much as they could get from the suckers the West while cheating on any deal. Then, when discovered and chastised, they would (again) throw a fit, threaten war, and bargain for more free stuff in return for a promise (soon to be broken) to be good. This time for real. They promise.

North Korea is, after all, a “mountain bandit state;” why should we be surprised when they act like bandits?

So, why’d they break the agreement so soon after signing, instead of cheating in secret? Well, I’m willing to bet the “Sun of the 21st Century” and his coterie of toadies babysitters junior tyrants loyal comrades in Socialism and juche were a bit embarrassed when their latest symbol of Freudian compensation missile exploded and fell into the sea soon after launch. Kind of humiliating for anyone, let alone the world’s largest prison camp masquerading as a nation.

Thus, the proper response was, again, to act like a mountain bandit and bluster and threaten and act scary-crazy, until the other side again gives you what you want. No doubt there will be, as they say, “further provocations.” At least until we agree to appease them one more time.

Lather, rinse, and repeat.

via The PJ Tatler

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


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