Misery Loves Company, North Korea-Style

December 3, 2009


It’s not enough that there is no freedom, no commerce, no electricity, and that millions in North Korea are slowly starving to death. No, to add to all that, Kim Jong Il and the gang of thugs who run the North Korean “government” have just frozen all cash transactions as its currency is de-valued at a ratio of 1 to 100.

The Times Online reports:

Shops and markets in North Korea have been closed and all cash transactions frozen after the Government’s shock announcement of a devaluation of its currency in an effort to crack down on the country’s burgeoning free-market economy…

There were reports of public outrage and confusion after the announcement of the measure, which requires North Koreans to swap existing won notes for new ones at an exchange rate of one to 100 — effectively knocking two zeroes off their value. Because of a cap of 100,000 won per family (£475 at the official exchange rate), anyone with significant holdings of cash will have their savings wiped out.

“Loud sounds of weeping in every house have not ceased since the news was released,” a South Korean website quoted an inhabitant of Sinuiju, a city on the border with China, as saying.

I’m sure that weeping was the very least of it.

The announcement was made on Monday via a closed-cable broadcasting system that is piped into all North Korean homes.

Eric Blair was nearly spot on in his presecient depiction, but was wrong in one small detail; it’s not Big Brother in North Korea, it’s “Dear Leader.” Dear God, what a travesty! Dear Leader is allowing his subjects to die in misery, squalor, hunger, and darkness.

“One of the worries our North Korean staff have is whether they will have enough food to get through to next week,” the manager of a foreign organisation in Pyongyang said. “Our employees have access to foreign currency but most people don’t and they could be in trouble.”

Perhaps President Obama could peddle some of his trademarked “Hope” and “Change” to the citizens of North Korea. If anyone could use it, they certainly can.



Oh, To Be A Fly On Hillary Clinton’s Wall!

August 5, 2009


As Michelle Malkin reports, journalists Laura Ling and Euna Lee have arrived back in the US after spending six months in a North Korean jail.

First, we must offer our congratulations to former POTUS Bill “Git ‘er done” Clinton for doing what Hillary should have been able to do, but couldn’t: he negotiated with N. Korea’s Kim Jong Il for the release of journalists Ling and Lee, who had been jailed in that country since March. Both had been sentenced to 12 years in a labor camp after being accused of sneaking into North Korea and engaging in “hostile acts.” 

President Obama lavished Clinton with praise and then praised Al Gore who co-founded the company that employs Ling and Lee. No mention was made of the Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton.

hillary-clinton puffed upThis could not be more awkward  for Hillary.  As Secretary of State, the only thing she has been able to get North Korea to do is laugh at her and make jokes about her “looking like a pensioner shopping.” 

However, the families of both freed women included Mrs. Clinton in their thanks, and New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, the former U.N. ambassador (who had been considered for this mission, and had acted as special envoy for similar situations in the past) credited Hillary for being involved from  a distance.

Another point Richardson brought up: North Korea does not want to talk to members of the current administration. That suggests Hillary’s visit there went signficantly worse than previously reported.

In any event, the reporters are home safely, thanks, at least publicly, to Bill Clinton. And you just know that had to make for some interesting dinner talk for “Bill & Hill.” I can hear it now…

Bill: “So how was your day, sugar?”
Hillary: “Oh, you know… the same old crap.Obama this and Obama that! I’m getting so sick of it!”   
Bill: “Yeah, I hear ya. Say, before I forget, I took care of that little problem you were having over there in N. Korea. You know, those two reporter chicks?”
Hillary:Damn it, Bill! When I said, ‘I could use a little more help around here’, I meant with cleaning and doing laundry and stuff like THAT. So… how did you get Kim to release them?”
Bill: “Oh, it was nothin’ really. I don’t want to bore you with the details…”
Hillary: Bore me already! I need to know so I don’t wind up looking like an idiot next time!”
Bill: “Sugarplum, I really don’t think…” (Sound of a lamp bursting into thousands of pieces).
Hillary: William Jefferson Clinton… you had better start talking right now, or the next lamp will be on your head!
Bill: “Well… alright. Just remember you asked for it. Kim just said, “Tell you what. You keep your pensioner wife away from here and you can have both reporters.” So, you see, hon it wasn’t all that… hey, where ya going?”

Gerry Ashley

A Simple Solution for North Korea

July 3, 2009

Ah yes… Good ol’ North Korea – the country we’ve basically been at war with for the last 50+ years. That crazy, zany place where indoctrination and starvation of its citizens are almost at super-saturation, and its leader might best be described as a Charlie Manson on ‘Ludes. And as we approach this national holiday, N. Korea fires off its perfunctory missiles as a bluster and “warning”.

So here’s the problem(s) that we have with N. Korea…

  • Its leadership is both loonier and dumber than an outhouse rat in August.
  • In theory, it has the technology to fire missiles that could hit Hawaii, not to mention Japan.
  • Seemingly, there ain’t much we can do about North Korea since our opening a can of whoop tush on them would flood China with refugees, and China would be none too happy with that. And given that China is holding a ton of our debt, it looks like we’re just going to have to shut up and eat our July Fourth hot dogs and hope that the Iranian ambassadors don’t try to crash the party. Except…

Except that we owe China ridiculous mountains of money. They don’t want to see us start printing dollars like fiends (welcome to the world of hyper-inflation), and at the same time they don’t want to see us go completely down the tubes. (As the bookies say, “Better a living deadbeat than a dead debtor.”) So we have some leverage there, in its own pathetic guise.

So how about we pivot on two simple facts. First, the Chinese and the Japanese really aren’t very fond of each other.  Their historical mistrust and animosity toward each other are, well, deep. Secondly, we have boomer (nuke) subs.

Suppose we were to perform a sort of coordinated “lend-lease” of a couple of those subs with the Japanese, with the understanding that while we technically own the subs, their operation and firepower would be a joint issue handled by both America and Japan. And should missiles find their way toward us or our allies… Ummm… That would make the Chinese sit up and take notice, and they’re the only ones who can really rearrange North Korea.

Everyone has talked about this situation, and I dare say that most believe that China and Japan are the power players… But we still have leverage. Let’s hope we have the guts to finally end this disaster and start a regime change. All it will take is a boomer or two putatively in the hands of the Japanese in the East China Sea.

Alan Speakman

Accidents and Consequences

May 29, 2009


Speaking as an engineer, I’ll tell you right up front that I don’t worry so much about a temper tantrum from North Korea, Pakistan, Iran (et al)… as I do a ballistic accident. Consider the high-tech disasters from the past…

OK, you get the idea… At some point some nation is probably going to screw up with something like a high-tech ballistic missile or worse. Then what? You tell me… Here are my guesses, (probably as good as anything coming out of the White House or the Pentagon…)

  • Iran: If they accidentally pop something sizable into Israel, no doubt that the Israelis would answer back with something that resembles a mushroom cloud (especially under Netanyahu’s watch.)
  • India/Pakistan: Boom! Say no more.
  • N. Korea: Well, they could foul up and blast China in which case North Korea would no longer be an issue for consideration. (China is none too keen on refugees and they’re just a little bit more fussy about their border than we are.) Then again, Jim Jong Il could really screw the pooch and accidentally nail South Korea or even Japan… Needless to say that we’d stomp ugly on either of those scenarios.

And so it goes… Make your own Armageddon global, humanitarian, and financial disasters… It’s just a slight mistake away.

Like I said at the beginning of this post, I’m an engineer… I used to work in the dreaded “Military Industrial Complex”. I understand the pressures working under even the best of conditions, and the folks mentioned in the nations above certainly aren’t working in the best of conditions.

Wouldn’t it be a hell of a note… So this is how it ends – with both a bang and a whimpering “oops.”

Alan Speakman