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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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Guns and Crime

Will school shootings be the next step toward a nationalized police force?

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The recent shooting at Santa Fe High School outside Houston, TX, that resulted in ten dead and thirteen wounded is fueling another round of demands by liberals in Congress to pass more anti-gun laws “to protect our kids” with some blaming the NRA for preventing such laws from being passed.

While conservatives and those who claim to be conservative willingly point fingers at the Democrat side of the aisle, the sad fact is that many Republicans agree with Democrats on the issue of gun control.

For example, after blaming local police for the Parkland, FL. high school shooting in February, Trump held a bipartisan meeting with members of congress where he openly supported the idea of seizing guns from Americans who committed no crime, even if it violated their Fifth and Fourteenth Amendment right to due process.

Weeks later, Secretary of Education, Betsy DeVos wrote an opinion piece praising Trump for signing the disastrous Omnibus bill because it contained over $700 million to fund the STOP School Violence Act to pay for so-called mental health services designed to prevent school shootings. DeVos’ rhetoric aside, Rep. Thomas Massey (R-KY) stated in an interview with Conservative Review at the time that the STOP SVA essentially nationalized public-school safety.

I think that nationalizing public-school safety is the ultimate goal of big-government progressives. It’s been building for quite some time now, and I think the hype over recent school shootings will be the thing that puts it over the top.

The desire to create a nationalized police force began gaining traction under the Obama administration. Consider the actions of the Congressional Black Caucus following the fatal shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, MO. In a letter to then-president Obama, the CBC demanded the appointment of a Police Czar to give the feds control over the local police. Not long afterward, Al Sharpton called for a march on Washington to demand the DOJ to take control of the police nationwide.

Though neither of these efforts came to fruition, Obama succeeded in laying the groundwork for a nationalized police force by leveraging a series of tragedies into policies giving the DOJ control over local police forces in several communities across America.

Trump has bought into the idea of federal control of local police since becoming president, threatening to “send in the feds” in January, 2017 to clean up Chicago after a FOX News report about gun violence in the Windy City.

Shortly after the Santa Fe tragedy, Trump demanded action “at every level of government” which is exactly what he said following the FL shooting. This led to the creation of a host of anti-Second Amendment proposals by Republicans and Democrats designed to disarm Americans and place armed security in every public school.

Obviously, there’s nothing wrong with working to make schools safer, but with Washington working 24/7 to limit our Constitutional rights, should we give the federal government and the Department of Homeland Security that power?

Before you answer, do you remember how George Bush and a fully compliant Congress federalized airport security and created The Transportation Security Administration in the name of “safety” following 9/11? Besides creating tens of thousands of lifetime unionized government jobs, and the likely violation of our Fourth Amendment rights, these “transportation security officers” have been an abysmal failure.

Federal control of school security essentially creates a type of nationalized police force. Doing it “for the children” doesn’t change that.

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.

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Opinions

Conservative Picks for the Kentucky Primary

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Kentucky is the state that gave us Rand Paul. He is the biggest highlight, however he is not alone like Ben Sasse in Nebraska. Thomas Massie is also a strong Conservative. This primary has a chance to unseat a major swamp creature. Aside from this one race, there wasn’t much action to be had. Mitch McConnell shows that Kentucky does not have a rich history in holding bad politicians accountable. So if there are any Conservative victories in Kentucky, they should be celebrated vocally.

Best Pick: Geraldo Serrano
Worst Picks: Harold Rogers, Chuck Eddy, Andy Barr
Best Race: District 5
Worst Race: District 6

District 1

James Comer is more fiscally responsible than most RINOs, but he still voted for Omnibus. He is unopposed.

District 2

Bill Gutherie is an unopposed RINO.

District 3

Three Republicans look to win Louisville. The first is Vicky Glisson. She is running a limited issues campaign focused on drugs, healthcare, and a hint of fiscal responsibility. Next is Rhonda Palazzo, the most upfront Conservative in the race. She is a real estate agent and devout Christian. Her stance is overly simplistic, to a fault. Lastly is Mike Craven. His platform is also too simplistic. This race is a three way crapshoot in terms of determining the best candidate.

Conservative Pick: Rhonda Palazzo

District 4

Since 2012, Thomas Massie has been a solid Conservative. He is unopposed.

District 5

Harold Rogers is a decades experienced swamp creature, 33 years in the making. Gerardo Serrano is his challenger. Serrano has Rand Paul potential in both foreign and domestic policy, such as FISA. His website features a unique story of him and a county sheriff, where he held a sheriff accountable when the 2nd amendment was in danger. (The sheriff wasn’t a villain in the story).

I especially like his twitter handle. Geraldo Serrano is a strong candidate, and we desperately as a nation need to unseat swamp monsters such as Harold Rogers.

Conservative Pick: Geraldo Serrano

District 6

Andy Barr is another RINO with a horrendous spending record. He is being challenged by Chuck Eddy. This was a huge disappointment.

I don’t believe he realizes how much a massive walking contradiction he is.

Conservative Pick: None, Barr will undoubtedly win

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Opinions

Conservative Picks for the Georgia Primary

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Georgia is another state in the deep South that does very little to advance Conservatism in the country. Conservative Picks has thus far shown that the South is not as Conservative as stereotyped. Arkansas sends a bunch of RINOs and so too does Georgia. However, what is remarkable about Georgia is that none of the Republicans except for the awful Senator Iksakson are career politicians. He’s the only one exceeding 12 years other than Democrats, of which, he might as well be. Still, that is something to say about Georgia. The state has a lot of newer faces and most are sycophantic to Trump’s reckless spending agenda. Georgia has some strong Conservatives running to unseat incumbents. The Governor’s race was an additional focus of the Georgia addition because of previous coverage of the candidates involved.

Best Picks: Jody Hice, Shane Hazel, Philip Singelton, Hunter Hill
Worst Picks: Drew Ferguson, Rob Woodall, Rick Allen
Best Race: District 10
Worst Race: District 12

Governor

In the past NOQ Report has interviewed Hunter Hill. He is a strong candidate, with a goal to eliminate the income tax of the state, after fixing the budget. While Casey Cagle, the Lt. Governor is a favorite, forcing a runoff election is best for Conservatism in the state.

Conservative Pick: Hunter Hill

District 1

Earl “Buddy” Carter has been in the seat for three years and has proven to be a RINO with a Liberty Score of 48. He is unopposed.

District 2

This is a blue district. Herman West Jr. is unopposed in this primary.

District 3

After one year in office, Drew Ferguson has proven to be sycophantic to Trump’s reckless spending. The incumbent RINO has shown itself. However, he is being challenged by Philip Singleton. Singleton is campaigning on the exact shortcomings of Ferguson previously described. Fiscal responsibility is a pillar of his campaign as is not funding Planned Parenthood, something the incumbent has failed miserably at. The decorated veteran is also strong on immigration and for free trade.

Conservative Pick: Philip Singleton

District 4

This is another blue district and Joe Profit is unopposed.

District 5

There is no GOP contender.

District 6

Karen Handel is cut from the same cloth as Ferguson. She is unopposed.

District 7

Rob Woodall is yet another RINO. Challenging him is Shane HazelNOQ Report has actually been covering this primary for a while now. You can read his interview with editor Benjamin Wilhelm. Hazel is a strong Conservative and picked up a key endorsement from the Republican Liberty Caucus.

Conservative Pick: Shane Hazel

District 8

Adam Scott is another sycophantic RINO. He is unopposed.

District 9

Doug Collins has been in the game for seven years and is mediocre at best. He’s a spender. He is unopposed.

District 10

Jody Hice is a Freedom Caucus member and has only held the seat since 2014. His Liberty Score of 91 is the highest in Georgia. He has two opponents looking to force him into the runoff election. Bradley Griffin is the first opponent. He has one of the worst websites I’ve seen, functionally speaking. His platform is strong. In fact, it doesn’t seem as though he opposes Hice on any issue. The second opponent is Joe Hunt. The probably RINO warning is sounded at his campaign motto “Traditional Values and Sensible Politics.” It’s far too easy to find a social conservative but a real Conservative is more difficult. All signs point to Hunt running from the left such as his support for Net Neutrality.

Hice and Griffin are strong Conservatives, but Griffin lacks a record of action, of which Jody Hice is exceptionally strong. Because of that, voting for him is too great a risk. It would have been ideal for Griffin to have been in another District.

Conservative Pick: Jody Hice

District 11

Barry Loudermilk is like milk. He will only get worse over time. (This pun was unplanned.) He is unopposed.

District 12

Omnibus was one of a few times where Rick Allen remained fiscally Conservative. Eugene Yu looks to unseat him for the third time. Unsurprisingly, as a legal immigrant, his stance is strong. He also running as a fiscal hawk. We’ve seen this plenty of times before, but he doesn’t have any contradicting campaign talk on these matters. Rick Allen may have voted against Omnibus, but his record isn’t strong enough.

Conservative Pick: Eugene Yu

District 13

There is a race to turn the district red between Femi Akinkugbe and David Callahan. This was relatively easy to decide. Akinkugbe is for raising gun rights from 18 to 21. Callahan is a much stronger pick, having been involved with CPAC and a stronger stance on other issues. Interestingly enough, neither voted for Trump in the primaries. Akinkugbe voted for Rubio and Callahan for Fiorina. Either way, Akinkugbe isn’t a Conservative.

 Conservative Pick: David Callahan

District 14

Tom Graves is an incumbent RINO. He is unopposed.

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