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Undercover Among the Sons of North Korea’s Elite

Suki Kim is a Korean-American writer from New York City. She went undercover as an English teacher in a college-level all-boys-institution in North Korea where the sons of the North Korean elite were educated. She tells the story of how she got into her position and how dangerous it was for her to be there.

Through her narrative we get an amazing glimpse into the society of North Korea and its people, its culture and its political system that we can’t get looking in from the outside simply from what the media tell us, or what the occasional tourist reports after visiting.

Being in North Korea was profoundly depressing. There was no other way of putting it. The sealed border was not just at the 38th parallel, but everywhere, in each person’s heart, blocking the past and choking off the future. As much as I loved those boys, or because of it, I was becoming convinced that the wall between us was impossible to break down, and not only that, it was permanent. This so saddened me that some frozen dawns, when I woke up to the sound of the boys doing their group exercises, I had to fight not to shut my eyes and go back to sleep.

— Kim, Suki. Without You, There Is No Us: Undercover Among the Sons of North Korea’s Elite (p. 257). Crown/Archetype. Kindle Edition.

Today North Korea is a vilified nation, a nuclear proliferator, and a world-aggressor. All we know about North Korea, for the most part, is the iconic image of the boy-dictator Kim Jong-un, and the lackeys in uniform who surround him. We think about parades of tanks, masses of soldiers in goose step, and missiles hauled on trucks through wide boulevards lined with trees. We think about nuclear missile tests. We don’t know much about this country that gets so much bad press around the world.

Reading Suki Kim’s book Without You, There is No Us opens up a wide window into this elusive and closed society. North Korea is an example of an entire nation of 25 million people completely and totally brainwashed for generations. The country’s elite does not get Internet access or modern computers. They cannot research because most topics are taboo. They have been told, for 75 years, that they are one of the most powerful and prosperous nations on earth. And they have no idea that they are actually one of the most isolated nations, resembling a concentration camp of 25 million occupants, who live under 19th century conditions, with shoddy power, terrible infrastructure, malnutrition even for the elite, complete suppression of the media, no access to modern music, art, literature or cinema.

Even family members are kept apart. The boys in the college are not allowed to communicate, even by letter, with their families or friends. When they are in the military, for years at a time, they don’t get to come home – in a country the size of Pennsylvania!

North Korea is a threat to world peace, particularly now, where the president of the United States is widely viewed as the most serious threat to world stability.

Every American should read Suki Kim’s book to better understand the tragic and failed experiment that is called North Korea. One man, with the aid of his father and grandfather, has managed to subjugate 25 million people, by keeping them underfed, uneducated and in constant fear – just so he can aggrandize himself – and eat well.

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In the United States we have less than 5% of the world’s population, but almost a third of all mass shootings.

Do my gun-supporting readers and friends have any idea why that is?

I am honestly curious about their insight.

 

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There were several audiences for Nazi propaganda. Germans were reminded of the struggle against foreign enemies and Jewish subversion. During periods preceding legislation or executive measures against Jews, propaganda campaigns created an atmosphere tolerant of violence against Jews, particularly in 1935 (before the Nuremberg Race Laws of September) and in 1938 (prior to the barrage of antisemitic economic legislation following Kristallnacht). Propaganda also encouraged passivity and acceptance of the impending measures against Jews, as these appeared to depict the Nazi government as stepping in and “restoring order.”

— Holocaust Encyclopedia – Nazi Propaganda

Does the “struggle against foreign enemies” make you think of anything?

Are we seeing propaganda campaigns that are creating an atmosphere tolerant of violence against minorities?

Let’s make sure we don’t get passive just by getting used to the constant barrage of violence. After a few years of it, the German people didn’t mind when anti-Semitic economic legislation followed. By then, it had always been like that, preached from the very top of the government.

That didn’t end well.

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We’re rapidly making America great again.

Here is an American Yazidi woman being strangle-held by an Erdogan bodyguard in D.C.

It’s not enough that we support overseas strongmen like Erdogan. We invite them into the Oval Office, and on their way there we allow their bodyguards to attack and beat up protestors. Not just did they strangle this woman, they beat up others and kicked them, repeatedly, and sometimes into their faces, while they were on the ground.

D.C. police tried to interfere.

And all this while their boss and dictator, Erdogan, was palling in the Oval Office with our President Trump.

Erdogan should not be in the White House. The White House should oppose Erdogan and his illegitimate presidency.

I, for one, do not like the looks of our new American greatness.

I am embarrassed for our country.

 

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This morning, during my daily reading, within a few minutes from each other, I came across two completely different posts about child molestation.

The first had the December 2014 headline about newly minted pastor Steven Anderson of Tempe, Arizona:

Texas Pastor: ‘Relentless Dirty Faggots’ Are ‘Always Trying To Rape’ And ‘Snatch Your Children’

— www.thenewcivilrightsmovement.com

Anderson ordained pastor Donny Romero, who is quoted saying this about homosexuals:

They are all pedophiles, they’re always trying to rape and hurt other people. They’re relentless. They are relentless. They are predators and given an opportunity to snatch one of your children, they would do it in a heartbeat.

Anderson has called for genocide of all homosexuals to rid the country of HIV. But speaking of HIV, here is the other post was about the Catholic church:

Catholic priest Jose Garcia Ataulfohas been acquitted by the church after admitted to raping almost 30 young girls aged between 5 and 10-years-old. Ataulfohas was infected with HIV and knew it, when he raped the children.

We are used to hearing about sexual abuse of children by Catholic clergy, but this priest was cleared of any wrong-doing and won’t face any criminal charges.

How can we tolerate such crass behavior and allow it to continue? How can we accept preaching of genocide from the pulpit? Both of these cases involve organizations that are tax-exempt in the United States. Both organizations now benefit from Trump’s executive order to repeal the Johnson amendment.

We are all fomenting a rebellion, stirred up by our president, against radical Islamists. Yes, there are radical Islamists. We need to be concerned. But I am much, much, much less concerned about our country, our people, and our children being harmed by radical Islamists than I am about radical Christians right here in our country.

The last radical Islamists who hurt Americans in the “homeland” were, if I remember right, Syed Rizwan Farook and Tashfeen Malik, the San Bernardino killers, who attached a Regional Center on December 2, 2015.

The last time a child was molested by a Catholic priest was probably today. It does not even make headlines anymore. Who is fomenting action about these children?

Oh, we are a Christian nation!

 

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What were they thinking?

Why would a presidential campaign, just because two southerners were running, use a symbol of oppression, hate and treason as one of the campaign icons? Or were we less sensitive then?

Here is more of what I think about the confederate flag.

 

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United Airlines overbooked a flight from Chicago to Louisville by four seats. When nobody volunteered to vacate the seats, they announced they needed them for four airline employees for a flight in the morning and they would randomly select four passengers to leave the flight.

Three left. One remaining, a doctor, needed to be in Louisville and refused. They beat him up and dragged him off the plane. Eventually, they let him back on. The flight ended up two hours late.

I might remind you, this is not a criminal or a terrorist. This is a passenger like you and I who paid for a ticket on an airline and just didn’t have the flexibility to arrive at his destination any later than booked.

This is a person like I am every time I fly. It’s not my problem that the airline can’t figure out how to get its employees to their destination. I paid for a ticket. It’s also not my problem that the airline overbooks its flights. I don’t mind paying enough for my ticket to cover the airline’s costs. I never bought into its games. I just bought my tickets.

Watch this video and you’ll see what United Airlines thinks of you as a passenger. I hardly ever fly on United, and now I am reminded why that is.

You have a choice in air travel.

Choose wisely!

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First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out– Because I was not a Socialist.

Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out– Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out– Because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me–and there was no one left to speak for me.

— Martin Niemöller, a Nazi dissident

Now they are coming for the immigrants, but I am speaking out, because I am an immigrant.

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I thought, I really thought, we all agreed that it makes no sense for mentally ill people to have easy access to guns.

Today, the Senate voted 57-43 to kill an Obama regulation that restricted access to guns for the mentally ill. The gun restriction rule was a policy to support federal efforts to improve detection of risky people who should not have legal access to guns.

Republicans claim that while the policy had good intentions, it actually took away the gun rights of a large category of individuals without any evidence that they pose a risk of harm to self or others, and without legal due process protections commensurate with abridging a constitutional right.

I do not understand that 57 out of a hundred intelligent successful millionaires in the United States Senate can think this is a good idea.

And of all the problems our country has, and all the hunger, and misery, and hurt, and division, and death, this is what Congress and our government decides is really important right now so they take action!

This, to me, is insane.

All this is done in the name of “rights” and the Constitution. We’re obsessed about our Second Amendment rights, when our entire government, our Congress and our executive Branch, lead by our intrepid Führer, Donald Trump, has done nothing but trample on our First Amendment rights in a massive onslaught from all direction against a hundred million dissenting Americans.

Forget our First Amendment, it’s for the “security” of the people.

But give them guns, and keep them stupid.

Bought by the NRA, they all are!

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“I’m a Leninist,” Bannon proudly proclaimed.

Shocked, I asked him what he meant. “Lenin,” he answered, “wanted to destroy the state, and that’s my goal too. I want to bring everything crashing down, and destroy all of today’s establishment.” Bannon was employing Lenin’s strategy for Tea Party populist goals. He included in that group the Republican and Democratic Parties, as well as the traditional conservative press.

— source: The Daily Beast

 

Another time, on video, he said this:

We must bind together in this bloody war and form a Christian Militia.

– Steve Bannon

 

Did you catch this:

I want to bring everything crashing down, and destroy all of today’s establishment.

Steve Bannon is a man who believes that everything should come crashing down, burn into oblivion, to make room for a new world order. Never mind that the lives of millions of Americans would be ruined, sometimes for generations. His crackpot ideology allows for this.

And we voted for the man who put this nutcake into one of the most powerful positions in our country.

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Nazi Tactics in 1933

When the Nazis first came to power, they quickly needed to solidify their position. They had come to power due to populist uprisings, and their leader’s unconventional approach. Once in office, they moved quickly to find scapegoats for the plight of the people. Hitler had spent decades convincing himself that Germany’s problem were the Jews. In 1933, there were 522,000 Jews in Germany.

The government began publicly vilifying the Jews. At first, those who stood up for them were labeled “anti-German” and unpatriotic. After all, Hitler’s entire motive was to “make Germany great again” and if you spoke out against the legality of what he was doing, you were obviously working against the welfare of the German people.

While initially this went on simply as public bullying, it quickly became illegal, not by law, but by decree. Hitler simply ordered the police and other law enforcement authorities to start arresting those that spoke out for the Jews, or acted to help them.

The people went along with this, because after hearing often enough, loudly enough, publicly enough, and long enough, that the Jews were the problem, they believed it.

Pretty soon the people turned against those that spoke out, labeling them initially as unpatriotic, later as criminals, and finally as traitors.

This was all propagated by feeding targeted propaganda to the people. News media were criticized if they reported the facts and the truth. Eventually they were censored to fit the message of the state, and dissenting news was eventually banned. The government turned the people against the media.

And so it all started. We know how it ended. 50 million people dead worldwide.

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According to Piers Morgan, last year, more Americans were killed by toddlers with guns than by Islamic terrorists.

Since Donald Trump became president, more than 750 people have been killed by guns in America, through murder, accident and suicide.

Yet, Trump has us believe that we’re in this terrible danger by terrorists.

Let me predict what will happen next: there will be some terrorist attack in the U.S. sooner or later. When it happens, Trump will blame it on the lack of the people to commit to his insane tactics, and he will blame the protestors and critics of his tactics. Then he will lash out with more severe restrictions of ordinary citizens.

It’s right out of the Nazi playbook of 1933.

 

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red-notice

Bill Browder started his career on Wall Street and was drawn first to Eastern Europe and then to Russia shortly after the Soviet Union broke apart. He started an investment fund and eventually became the largest foreign investor in Russia. In the process of privatizing, Russia ended up with twenty-two oligarchs owning 39 percent of the economy, while everyone else lives in poverty. In that environment, by investing in Russian businesses, Browder made a fortune for himself and his clients.

Then he noticed some anomalies within the companies he had invested in. Big chunks of the companies were stolen, leaving the investors diluted. As he drilled down into the complex schemes underway, he discovered massive fraud involving investors, regulatory agencies, law enforcement, the judicial system, and government in general, up to the highest level. He found that Russia was basically a criminal enterprise designed to suck the resources out of the country into the pockets of a few dozen people, legitimized by the status of Russia as a powerful nation.

As Browder keep digging into the corruption, he met with more and more resistance, and soon people started getting killed. The book tells the story of Sergei Magnitsky, one of Browder’s lawyers, who was tortured and eventually killed by the Russian authorities. When Browder starting fighting back, Putin himself came after Browder and his life was never the same again.

Browder lives in London, and at one time in 2012 he came to San Diego for a vacation:

Things quieted down during the recess, and I enjoyed a properly relaxing vacation with my kids for the first time in years. I couldn’t remember the last time I’d been able to just let go and unwind. In the middle of our trip, my kids begged me to take them camping. We borrowed a tent and some sleeping bags, and I drove the family to Palomar Mountain State Park, an hour and half drive north of San Diego, where we got a campsite for the night. We brought wood from the ranger station and made a campfire and explored the forest. David cooked and we ate a dinner of spaghetti, tomato sauce, and hot dogs off plastic plates. As night fell, owls hooted and other birds cooed in the treetops, and the smell of burning wood filled the air. It was one of the best evenings I’d had in a long time. When I returned to London, I was recharged and ready for the final push.

— Browder, Bill. Red Notice: A True Story of High Finance, Murder, and One Man’s Fight for Justice (p. 344). Simon & Schuster. Kindle Edition.

I have been to that campground many times, and it brought the story into my emotional neighborhood.

Today, when Russia and Putin is so prevalent in the news, and when the Trump administration seems to be cozy with Putin and Russia, this book is an absolute must read for everyone in the world. Russia is not what it seems. Whatever it may be, it’s also an organized crime machine. Putin is arguably one of the richest men in the world. How does that happen on a government salary?

If you have ever thought of doing business of any type in Russia, just read Red Notice, and you will never, ever have that inkling again. Even travel to Russia becomes as risky and unpleasant proposition. If you have wanted to travel to Russia, just read Red Notice and get it out of your system.

Enter Rex Tillerson, the former CEO of Exxon and buddy of Putin. After reading Red Notice, I cannot imagine how Tillerson and Exxon got into their position with Putin without having participated in some massive, illegal scheme. Of course, I don’t know what that is. I am sure we’ll find out about it in the years and decades to come. But I would not trust Rex Tillerson paying for a round of beers with my credit card if he were a bartender. Having him become Secretary of State after having read Red Notice is an absolutely frightening thought.

Having our government with Trump and Tillerson in the lead be cozy with Russia is the most dangerous and ominous prospect imaginable. Is our own government now starting to drift toward Russian-type corruption? It certainly looks that way, and Trumps actions with regard to anything Russian sure make me very suspicious.

I love the Russian culture, its history, its people and its art. I have read Turgenev, Dostoevsky and Tolstoy. Their novels are some of my favorite in the world. The Russian people are smart, educated, and hard-working. But their government is miserable. And the country is hopelessly corrupt. 75 years of communism have destroyed their ability to show initiative and create honest businesses and governing structures. 25 years of post-communism have raided the country of its resources and put all the wealth into the hands of – well – twenty-two oligarchs. Read about them on the Forbes list. After reading Red Notice, it’s obvious that you have to be a thug to be that rich in Russia.

In the world of Trump and Putin – every American, and every world citizen, must read Red Notice. It will open your eyes unlike any book you have read in a long time.

Rating - Four Stars

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The United States condemns in the strongest terms what appears to have been a terrorist attack on a Christmas Market in Berlin, Germany, which has killed and wounded dozens.  We send our thoughts and prayers to the families and loved ones of those killed, just as we wish a speedy recovery to all of those wounded.  We also extend our heartfelt condolences to the people and Government of Germany.  We have been in touch with German officials, and we stand ready to provide assistance as they recover from and investigate this horrific incident.  Germany is one of our closest partners and strongest allies, and we stand together with Berlin in the fight against all those who target our way of life and threaten our societies.

— Ned Price, NSC Spokesperson

The United States condemns in the strongest terms – We need to stop sounding like bureaucrats. Leave out “in the strongest terms” and say what you really mean – whatever that might be.

…appears to have been a terrorist attack – ya think??? You don’t have to be Donald Trump or Henry Kissinger to see this was a terrorist attack. Driving a truck into a Christmas market is a terrorist attack.

We send our thoughts and prayers – our thoughts are noble and our prayers don’t do anyone any good. Just say: We feel terrible for you! I am tired of people making excuses for doing nothing by sending prayers. Good luck with those!

We have been in touch with German officials – German officials, American officials! I want to know who called whom. Did Obama call Merkel? If some American bureaucrat called some German bureaucrat, what good does that do? We know they have been on the phone. It’s not helping this statement. 

…in the fight against all those who target our way of life and threaten our societies – How about “in the fight against Islamic terrorism.”

With watered down drivel, double-speak and euphemisms clouding the statements of our government, no wonder Trump has risen. In contrast, he said:

Islamic terrorists continuously slaughter Christians…as part of their global jihad.

— Donald Trump

When you compare Trump’s blunt statement, which we all understand, to Ned Price’s statement (who even knows who Ned Price is?), I have to ask you: Who of the two is likely to deal with the problem?

Whenever you ask Trump voters why they voted for the man, with all the despicable clutter the drags around with himself, they always say:

“He says it like it is!”

I am not supporting Trump, but I can tell you that if Obama had spent more time saying it like it is, and acting accordingly in the threat of international Islamic terror, the outcome of the election would have been different. I am not even sure WHAT Obama actually did to fight terrorism other than endless drone attacks for eight years. The fact that I don’t know what he did is evidence that none of us really knew. So it looks like we did not much, some say nothing, and it was certainly not very effective.

That’s how you lose a nation to a demagogue!

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In a statement, the American Association for the Advancement of Science said, “The scientific evidence is clear: Global climate change caused by human activities is occurring now, and it is a growing threat to society.”

Yahoo! News

Trump the Illustrious and his Band of Dilettantes may try to squelch the news media and protestors in an attempt to refill the coffers of the fossil fuel industry, which they all will benefit from to the tune of billions, but they can’t change the facts and the record.

The earth is warming, and we’re causing it. Everything else is bullshit. Trump and his administration will eventually go down in history as the force that set the planet back by decades through misguided kleptocratic policies. They and their children and grandchildren will all live in their 100 million dollar penthouses for the rest of their days, while the working class that voted them in will lose their homes near the water. By then the Trumpashians won’t care less about all those “losers.”

 

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