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Despair is not the answer for North Korea

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Journalist Suki Kim spent nearly a year undercover in North Korea teaching English at the country’s only foreign-run school. South Korean-born Kim moved to the U.S. as a young teen and has visited North Korea several times.

She hid her notes in USB sticks and her camera’s SIM card during her teaching stint at Pyongyang University of Science and Technology (PUST), a school run by Christian missionaries and only tolerated by the Kim regime because of its excellent reputation.

Her verdict on North Korea’s prospects to join the civilized world: despair and catastrophe.

In a revealing interview with The Intercept‘s Jon Schwarz, himself no stranger to the Hermit Kingdom, Suki Kim painted a very depressing picture.

Unsurprisingly, then, Kim’s students were shockingly ignorant of the outside world. They didn’t recognize pictures of the Taj Mahal or Egyptian pyramids. One had heard that everyone on earth spoke Korean because it was recognized as the world’s most superior language. Another believed that the Korean dish naengmyeon was seen as the best food on earth. And all Kim’s pupils were soaked in a culture of lying, telling her preposterous falsehoods so often that she writes, “I could not help but think that they – my beloved students – were insane.” Nonetheless, they were still recognizably human and charmingly innocent, and for their part came to adore their teachers.

Kim saw a North Korea several generations departed from any ties to the South, which has prospered as a modern, technologically advanced industrial powerhouse. Everything about North Korea is an insulated, Godless, controlling and brutal cult.

It was paradoxical. They could be very smart, yet could be completely deluded about everything. I don’t see why that would be different in the people who run the country. The ones that foreigners get to meet, like diplomats, are sophisticated and can talk to you on your level. But at the same time they also have this other side where they have really been raised to think differently, their reality is skewed. North Korea is the center of the universe, the rest of the world kind of doesn’t exist. They’ve been living this way for 70 years, in a complete cult.

Parents have no agency or control of children, who belong solely to the State. No phone calls, no travel, no visits allowed at PUST, even for the most elite families. No exceptions. In 70 years of Kim family rule–the Juche cult venerates them as gods–even the language has become coarse and uncivilized. Schwarz described it as “like finding the words f*** and s*** in a presidential speech or on the front page of the New York Times.”

Kim agreed.

Yes, I think the language does reflect the society. Of course, the whole system is built around the risk of an impending war. So that violence has changed the Korean language. Plus these guys are thugs, Kim Jong-un and all the rest of them, that’s their taste and it’s become the taste of the country.

Kim blamed history, and that the United States, along with the allies who won World War II, set an arbitrary line dividing North and South Korea, each side installing its puppet dictator in a Soviet versus West iron curtain played out on the peninsula. She bitterly spoke of U.S. conduct before and during the Korean War, calling the air war against North Korea “barbaric.”

All of that may very well be true, and it may have given the underpinnings of the Kim family’s hatred of America merit. But the Kims have built that hatred into a doctrine of its own, and without access to the outside world, the only world North Koreans know is what they’re told.

Based on those facts, and her observations of young North Korean adults, for whom lying, surveillance, brutality and control are the only way of life they’ve ever experienced, Kim believes that the North is not a reliable partner in any negotiations, and will never give up nuclear weapons.

The only way North Korea can be dealt with is if this regime is not the way it is. No agreements are ever honored because North Korea just doesn’t do that. It’s a land of lies. So why keep making agreements with someone who’s never going to honor those agreements?

But regime change is not an easy option when the leader is seen by his people as a god. You can’t just take control. Kim murdered the most ready replacements in his bloodline, but there are others.

All roads, for Suki Kim, lead to catastrophe. But one thing she said offers an amazing hope.

Every path is a catastrophe. This is why even defectors, when they flee, usually turn into devout fundamentalist Christians. I’d love to offer up solutions but everything leads to a dead end.

I’m not sure here if Kim meant that fundamentalist Christianity is a negative in her mind–a perverted result of years under a cult. But to me, it represents freedom.

Many have written about Juche, and how it was originally designed to be a counterfeit Christianity. Missionaries are familiar with how North Koreans are inculcated, and even recognize Biblical truth because what they’re taught is so similar, albeit with different deities.

The son of Christian parents and the grandson of a Christian pastor, Kim Il-sung was intimately familiar with Christianity and witnessed Christians choose martyrdom over worshipping the Japanese Emperor during Japan’s 1910-1945 colonization of Korea.

Recognizing the power of Christianity, Kim wanted it to be directed at himself. So he took Christianity, removed God the Father, Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit, set up himself, his wife and son as the new trinity, and called it Juche. At its core, Juche is a counterfeit Christianity that is deathly afraid of the True Gospel, and rightfully so.

There is no truth the North Korean regime is more afraid of than Biblical truth. Even possession of a Bible is grounds for banishment to a work camp or execution. Yet Christian missionary organizations infiltrate thousands of Bibles into the North every year. They use balloons, electronic devices and other methods to smuggle the Bible from South Korea and China.

Pastors have been targeted for assassination (and have in fact been assassinated), who run house churches, hospitality homes, and shelters for defecting North Koreans along the long border with China. Defectors don’t flee, then become fundamentalist Christians–they meet Christ, then they flee. But some stay and share the Gospel, on pain of death.

This is the power of Christianity to transform nations. South Korea is openly Christian, given to prayer and Bible study. South Koreans have been praying nonstop for their brothers and sisters in the North for decades.

Ultimately, all the military weapons in the world will accomplish nothing but kill more North Koreans, most of whom are more than willing to die for their country and their gods. The answer to this unsolvable problem must come from outside human understanding. The war is spiritual in nature and can only be won in a spiritual context.

Don’t think that God cannot reach North Korea. He is reaching China, Cuba, and the Middle East, sending dreams and visions where missionaries cannot go. God can and will reach North Korea.

Whatever happens in our global security and military context, we have to believe and have faith that God is sovereign and it is His will to save North Koreans. We must not compromise, but we must have compassion. The only real solution in North Korea is to increase efforts, by a thousand-fold, to pump the Gospel into that land of despair.

We should not despair, but trust in Him who can save.

Serial entrepreneur. Faith, family, federal republic. One nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.

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Opinions

Conservative Picks for the Minnesota Primary

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Conservative Picks for the Minnesota Primary

Minnesota has a lot of action and potential relative to other states. Minnesota has three blue districts Donald Trump won in 2016. This means the right candidate can come along and upset the “blue wave” or at least mitigate potential losses. Minnesota is hopeful because in almost every race, there’s at least one candidate that doesn’t suck. It would be nice to see a little more enthusiasm in the Senate races(courtesy of Al Franken.) The GOP can look to make progress in what has been a staunchly blue state for decades. Minnesota has become redder with each of the last three presidential elections, so the Democrats reign is in trouble.

Best Picks: Jim Newberger, Tom Emmer, Jen Zielinski
Worst Picks: Carla Nelson
Best Race: District 7
Worst Race: Senate Special Election

US Senate Special Election

Karin Housely is the GOP favorite in this race. However she comes off as a RINO who would expand the debt. Her stint in the State Senate shows she really isn’t all that Conservative despite having a more Conservative 2017 session, which every other Republican did as well, so it seems. She doesn’t impress up front. Her main opponent is Bob Anderson. Anderson fancies himself as an outsider. He comes off as a populist rather than a Conservative, but that is preferable to the shining RINO that Housely would likely be. Anderson is anti-establishment so he is more likely to shake things up.

Conservative Pick: Bob Anderson

US Senate

The most serious candidate here seems to be Jim Newberger. As a rep in the Minnesota House, Newberger has an outstanding record. For that reason, it’s a good thing for Conservatism that he may walk into a easy victory here in an underwhelming race. Merrill Anderson is a populist and perhaps a conspiracy nut. He doesn’t reasonably stand a chance. Roque De La Fuente is literally running for Senator in every state that has loose enough residency requirements. He isn’t Conservative. He is not the pick here, but he understands taking chances.

Conservative Pick: Jim Newberger

District 1

Jim Hagedorn looks to reclaim he seat he barely lost in 2016. This is district went red for Trump, yet he lost by less than 1%. His main opponent is Carla Nelson, a state rep. She is ACU’s lowest ranking Republican in 2016 and was tied for a repeat in 2017. She is no Conservative.

Conservative Pick: Jim Hagedorn

District 2

Jason Lewis is the highest rated Congressman in the state. He’s not a perfect Conservative, but deserves another term. He is unopposed.

District 3

Erik Paulsen is an unchallenged RINO.

District 4

Greg Ryan is an unchallenged RINO.

District 5

Jen Zielinski seems to be the GOP favorite in this race. She seems to have the potential to shrink the government. She also wants to make the Republican Party the “Party of Choice.” This is good branding for incorporating issues such as school choice. The other candidates don’t appear to be as serious.

Conservative Pick: Jen Zielinski

District 6

Tom Emmer hasn’t done a terrible job in Congress. His Liberty score of 69 shows a more fiscally responsible Republican than a typical RINO. He faces the same two challenges as he did last time around. Neither of these candidates are particularly inspiring enough to warrant a course change.

Conservative Pick: Tom Emmer

District 7

David Hughes looks for a rematch after losing by 5% in 2016. Hughes is a solid Conservative by looks. His platform is right of Trump on immigration and healthcare. His opponent Matt Protch is campaigning as an outsider. Rather than a populist, he actually seems Conservative. This race is winnable for the GOP so Hughes is perhaps the best bet here. But he lost a race where Trump won. This indicates weak campaigning. So perhaps its time to invest in someone new? However Collin Peterson has been in since 1990, too long. He’s also way more vulnerable in an increasingly red district. Perhaps Hughes can win with a second chance, now that he potentially has more name recognition. Or perhaps Protch is the choice.

Conservative Pick: David Hughes?

District 8

The most serious candidate here is Pete Strauber who seems like a regular Republican, and that comes with a bad connotation. This is another flippable seat in Minnesota.

Conservative Pick: Pete Strauber

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Culture and Religion

Pro-life Trumpservatives praise Trump for protecting unborn babies he isn’t protecting

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Pro-life Trumpservatives praise Trump for protecting unborn babies he isnt protecting

Lately, it seems that not a day goes by where we aren’t provided with another example of how conservative values have been consumed by the fires of compromise on the altar of Trumpservatism. While sacrificing principles for power is commonplace for the GOP priests serving in the Temple of Trump, the sad reality is that real priests, pastors, and other religious leaders have provided the kindling and the oil that fuels the flames.

One of the tragic consequences coming from the rise of the group I refer to as the Fellowship of the Pharisees concerns abortion. In the Age of Trump, these false teachers have abandoned their defense of the unborn under the delusion that Trump is keeping his promises.

On her blog (civilrightsfortheunborn.org), Dr. Alveda King, the niece of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., wrote a piece responding to recent accusations made by Omarosa Manigault Newman that Donald Trump often uses racial slurs. *

* NOTE: While her claims may or may not be true, Trump is taking advantage of this “squirrel” moment to let America know that Omarosa is a “low life” even though he frequently brags about how he hires only the “best people.”

After making her case in defense of Trump, King concluded with these words:

“He is keeping his campaign promises. The job market is better for everyone. Unemployment is at an all-time low. Babies and children are safer inside and outside the womb. Prayer is returning to the public square.” (emphasis mine)

King’s claim is not only untrue, but the lives of the unborn continue to grow more perilous … and profitable.

Besides the fact that Trump and the GOP have continued to fund Baby Butchers, Inc. (Planned Parenthood), the byproduct of their murderous practices (body parts) has become another revenue stream, courtesy of the taxpayer—an income stream that has increased under Republican control of Washington.

A few days ago, we learned about a contract between the US Food and Drug Administration and Advanced Biometric Resources (ABR) to acquire human fetal tissue for experiments on mice. In a 2016 Senate Judiciary Committee report, we learned that ABR’s primary source of baby parts was Planned Parenthood.

Trump and the GOP allegedly created the “most pro-life platform ever” in 2016, and they promised to defund Planned Parenthood and bring an end to dismemberment abortions. Despite candidate Trump’s pro-Planned Parenthood sentiments at the time, so-called pro-life activists believed he would fulfill the GOP’s promise. But as we learned earlier this year, they have no intention of doing so.

Unfortunately, those who used to defend the unborn baby in the womb have chosen to defend the unethical baby in the White House. Meanwhile, there will be hundreds of thousands more slaughtered babies, thanks to cowards like Trump, the GOP, and so-called religious leaders.

Originally posted on The Strident Conservative.

 


David Leach is the owner of The Strident Conservative. His daily radio commentary is distributed by the Salem Radio Network and is heard on stations across America.

Follow the Strident Conservative on Twitter and Facebook. Subscribe to receive podcasts of radio commentaries: iTunes | Stitcher | Tune In | RSS

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Opinions

Liberal Republicans and House Freedom Caucus on same Trumpservative team

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Liberal Republicans and House Freedom Caucus on same Trumpservative team

After vowing to “fight the meritless charges” brought against him following an indictment for insider trading, Rep. Chris Collins (R-NY) experienced a political come-to-Jesus moment about the reality of his situation.

In a statement released over the weekend, Collins officially “suspended” his re-election campaign, which is just the Washington Doublespeak way of saying he’s ending his re-election bid because he’s still free to raise campaign money for his selfish political purposes.

While Rep. Collins is innocent until proven guilty, the repercussions following his indictment were swift, especially with the uphill climb the GOP faces in November. Democrats were ecstatic over the sudden opportunity to take a seat Republicans were expected to win. And right on cue, the GOP faithful lined up to support Collins, proving once again that conservatism has died within the GOP and has been replaced by the Trumpservatives.

In a statement of support for Collins who was an early support of Trump who served on his transition team, state chairman of the NY Conservative Party Mike Long said that Collins is “an excellent legislator and the most conservative member of Congress in NY.” An absurd claim considering Collins’ Liberty Score of 39% (F).

For the record, every NY Republican in Congress carries a failing Liberty Score with the most “conservative” being Rep. Lee Zeldin at 54% (F).

Sacrificing conservative values in the name of party loyalty comes as no surprise when NY Republicans are involved. After all, New York is the home of the liberal currently occupying the White House, and the longest-serving Republican in Congress from the Empire State is 25-year veteran Peter King, who carries a Liberty Score of 30% (F).

But the sad reality is that even so-called conservatives such as House Freedom Caucus members Jim Jordan (R-OH) and Mark Meadows (R-NC) have made Trump and his agenda the new measuring stick of what constitutes a conservative.

In a Facebook post last Friday, I shared an excerpt from an email I received from the House Freedom Fund—the Political Action Committee of the House Freedom Caucus—asking for a donation in support of Jordan and Meadows, not because of their successes conservative track records, but because they have become identified as “Trump’s pit-bulls on Capitol Hill” working to push his agenda.

In the Age of Trump, it’s sad but not much of a surprise to hear that people like NY liberal Chris Collins and others who have worked for Trump are unethical Trumpservatives. However, when so-called conservative groups like the House Freedom Caucus begin acting the same way, it’s clear that conservatives no longer have a home within the GOP.

 

 


David Leach is the owner of The Strident Conservative. His daily radio commentary is distributed by the Salem Radio Network and is heard on stations across America.

Follow the Strident Conservative on Twitter and Facebook.

Subscribe to receive podcasts of radio commentaries: iTunes | Stitcher | Tune In | RSS

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