• North Korea,  Trump

    Trump and North Korea: then and now

    As President Trump prepares to deliver his 2019 State of the Union address to Congress tonight, I want to recall a moving moment from his 2018 speech. Now Ji Seong-ho is among those who have noticed a sharp change of tone by Trump when it comes to the North Korean regime. Since Ji’s starring role in last year’s State of the Union, Trump has said almost nothing about the plight of the North Korean people, more than 100,000 of whom are estimated to be held in hard-labor prison camps. Instead, the president has abruptly shifted from a “fire and fury” condemnation of the North to an unprecedented strategy of engagement…

  • North Korea,  Trump

    DJT ♥ KJU

    I’m old enough to remember when one of the worst insults in American politics was “commie lover”– usually aimed by rightwing Republicans at liberal Democrats deemed insufficiently alarmed about the worldwide Communist menace. And just as Joe McCarthy and countless other Republicans exaggerated the Communist threat within the US and unfairly labeled liberals, there were some liberals who downplayed the horrors of Communist rule in Russia, Eastern Europe, China, Cuba and elsewhere. So it makes my head spin a little when our Republican president unabashedly proclaims that he “fell in love” with the world’s most brutal and dangerous Communist leader. And when the reaction from his fellow Republicans is undetectable.

  • North Korea,  Trump

    “I want my people to do the same”

    I realize that Donald Trump’s unique diplomatic style involves heaping flattery on murderous dictatorial adversaries while dumping insults on long-time democratic allies. And I’m not going to make a big deal about Trump returning the salute of a North Korean general. Like Obama’s bow to the Saudi king, it was both cringe-worthy and relatively insignificant. But Geez– I can’t wait to see how Trump’s acolytes explain this: BREAKING: President Trump on North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un: “He speaks and his people sit up in attention. I want my people to do the same.” (My guess: “He was joking.”) I wonder how long before Trump insists that his lackeys follow…

  • North Korea,  Trump

    Post-Singapore mental exercise

    Imagine if President Bill Clinton had spoken about the absolute ruler of the world’s most repressive and criminal regime– a regime which outlaws all dissent, starves people as a means of control, incarcerates tens of thousands of people in brutal slave labor camps, earns hard currency through counterfeiting and illegal drug manufacturing and smuggling— in the most effusively flattering terms. It was an “honor” to meet Kim, Trump said. What surprised the American most about his counterpart? “Great personality and very smart—good combination,” he said. “I learned that he’s a very talented man. I also learned that he loves his country very much.” He added that Kim was “a worthy…

  • Human Rights,  North Korea

    Escape from North Korea

    Watch the amazing account by Ji Seong-ho at the Oslo Freedom Forum of his triumph over repression, hunger, brutality and disability on his escape from the Democratic Peoples’ Republic of Korea– a country whose leaders assure its population that they have “nothing to envy in this world.” Do I need to reiterate what I think of people like this and this?

  • China,  North Korea

    “Made in China” by North Koreans

    If you need another reason to feel badly for buying “made in China” products (and how many do you need?), consider that some of them may be produced just across the border from North Korea, in factories owned by North Koreans, employing North Korean women working 13 hours a day and earning $300 a month, two-thirds of which goes to the government in Pyongyang. In one factory: The women work on the third floor, wearing their coats inside to guard against the cold, and live on the second floor in shared, dormitory-style rooms decorated with a banner declaring, “Let’s realize the revolutionary ideas of Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong…

  • Movies,  North Korea

    “The Interview” is back

    After pressure from President Obama, among others, the good news is that Sony Entertainment has reversed itself and agreed to a limited release on December 25 of the movie “The Interview”– a comedy about a CIA-sponsored assassination of North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un. The less-good news is that “The Interview” is, by most reports, a not-so-terrific movie. I just hope New Regency will revive plans to make “Pyongyang,” which looks like it would be a much more interesting film.

  • Freedom of Expression,  Movies,  North Korea

    No joke

    When I posted last June about an upcoming movie comedy depicting a CIA plot to assassinate North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un, I titled the post: Not coming soon to the Pyongyang multiplex. Now, it appears, it won’t be coming to any theaters in the US either. Sony Pictures Entertainment has dropped its plans for a Dec. 25 release of “The Interview,” a crude comedy that prompted a threat of terror against theaters. The cancellation Wednesday afternoon came as the largest United States and Canadian film exhibitors said they would not show the movie. In a statement, Sony said: “We respect and understand our partners’ decision and, of course, completely…

  • North Korea,  Racism

    North Korea denounces “crossbreed” Obama

    George Galloway, Andrew Murray and Dennis Rodman notwithstanding, the Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea is, as I observed some years ago, the most Nazi-like, openly racist state on the face of the earth. More evidence of the North Korean obsession with racial purity emerged in a recent screed from the regime’s Korean Central News Agency. In terms that might draw assent from Ted Nugent, the KCNA described President Obama as a “crossbreed with unclear blood.” (Texas attorney general Greg Abbott, the Republican candidate for governor, was willing to overlook Nugent’s description of Obama as a “subhuman mongrel” when the rocker/rightwing loony joined him on the campaign trail– which puts him…