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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.

Managing Editor of NOQ Report. Serial entrepreneur. Faith, family, federal republic. One nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.

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Guns and Crime

EXCLUSIVE: Interview with Yehuda Remer, Author and Second Amendment Advocate

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Yesterday, I spoke with Second Amendment advocate and author, as well as my good friend, Yehuda Remer. We discussed his conservatism, how he developed a love of guns and how he turned that into a career, and how he got into writing.

Below is a transcript of our exchange:
JF: Let’s begin. Tell us about your background. Growing up in blue LA, how did you become conservative?

YR: So I grew up in an apolitical home where politics were not mentioned. As an Orthodox Jew, I always figured I was a Democrat because hell, aren’t all Jews? In 2007 while Obama was campaigning for his first term as President, I was driving to work one morning and listening to the local FM DJs. They were talking about some highly inappropriate things and as I sat there listening, I swear I felt the brain cells exploding one by one in my head. I truly felt myself getting stupider by the Second. I decided to turn on AM radio and over the next year, I found myself nodding in agreement with the many common sense things they had to say. Before long I realized not only was I not a Democrat, but I wasn’t even a Republican. I was a full on Conservative, almost Tea Party like. Following that epiphany, I started blowing up Ben Shapiro’s phone because we grew up together and he was my go-to guy. He explained all my questions not in preaching way but in a way that allowed me to make up my own mind based on what he said. I guess you can call me a Ben Shapiro “disciple.”

JF: That’s awesome. What made the Second Amendment and guns your passion?

YR: During my road into politics, I started learning about the Constitution. Because I grew up in an apolitical home, I didn’t care about the country and took it for granted. But after learning about the Constitution, the one that stuck out was the Second Amendment. It made sense to me. Up until that point, I thought the only people allowed to have guns were law enforcement, military, and bad guys. I never realized that a citizen of the United States could own and carry a firearm. My mind was blown. A buddy of mine called me and invited me to the gun range. Let’s just say, the rest is history.

JF: How did you learn everything you need to know?

YR: Most of it I was born with. I’m just a natural. The rest, well, that was with hard work. Like I mentioned before, I would ask Ben to explain tons of things to me. As for my firearms knowledge, the Internet is a wondrous place and so are many people in the Second Amendment world. Any questions I would ask or have, people didn’t hesitate in explaining things to me. Many times I would explain to people that I am a novice. I want to understand. When you approach someone looking to learn, you would be surprised how forthcoming people can be. I constantly am reading about different approaches in the world to get a more full circle understanding. Another thing, especially in the firearms industry, there is no such thing as a stupid question, unlike in other places.

JF: Why do you think the Second Amendment is important? Obviously, as a conservative, we know the answers to this, but would love to hear from your perspective.

YR: I mean, the Second Amendment is the one that protects them all. Without it, we would not be able to keep and protect the freedoms we all hold dear. We would end up like another England, and we all know how well that worked out for them 250 years ago.

JF: How did you turn this passion from a hobby to a career in writing and media?

YR: Well, Ben Shapiro gave me my first real break when I began writing for his old site, Truth Revolt. I started helping him with the back end but that turned to a full-time writing gig. From there, I transitioned into children’s books. I needed a way to educate my children on gun safety and was shocked to find out that there were no books geared towards kids about firearms safety. You have some organizations out there and they do a fine job. But I wanted something where I can climb into my kids’ beds with them and read them a book before they went to bed. After tons of research and finding nothing, I decided to write my first book, Safety On, as a tool to teach my kids about gun safety.

JF: How did you break out into public media, appearing on NRATV many times, getting media credentials to the SHOT show and being interviewed on major gun radio shows?

YR: Wow! Great question. A few months after my first book came out, I applied for a media badge as an author to the NRA Convention in Atlanta. I was shocked that I actually got it. But it paid off. I went there, not knowing anyone and planned on walking around in circles, just handing my book out. Two huge things happened. The first was I literally bumped in Cam Edwards of NRATV and the host of Cam & Co. As a huge fan, I found myself tongue-tied and feeling like a 14-year-old girl at a Justin Bieber concert. Luckily, I quickly snapped out of my daze and offered Cam a signed copy of my book. He took one look at it and told me to wait right there, he is putting me on TV. That was my first appearance on NRATV. Since then, Cam has had me on many more times and even helped me get on some other shows. He has been a blessing. But at one point while I was there, I went to the media room to take a break. Someone walked up to me and asked me if I was the guy who wrote the kids book on gun safety. To this day, Rob Morse of the Polite Society Podcast and I are still friends. Being on that show opened up so many doors for me into the Second Amendment radio world. It truly was a blessing.

As for SHOT Show, one of the connections I made was to the Firearms Chat Podcast and they invited me to be a co-host of their show at SHOT. So getting in was super easy.

JF: When you moved to Texas, did that help you bring this passion out more, considering that Texas is much more gun friendly?

YR: Of course it did. Within six weeks of moving to Texas, I had my license to carry. Life became instantly safer and better.

JF: Your work on this is an inspiration and the Second Amendment and gun rights are something we all need to hold dear. Thanks for being a voice for that.

Where can everyone find your work and appearances, and if they want to follow you?

YR: So all four of my books are available on Amazon. If you want to find out more about me and my appearances I have made, you can visit my website, www.yehudaremer.com.


Yehuda Remer is the author of Safety On: An introduction to the world of firearms for kids, Safety On: The Coloring Book, 10 Little Liberals: A Tale of Hope, and The ABCs of Guns. He lives in Texas with his wife and kids and can be found shooting, writing, and trolling.

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Guns and Crime

Gun control: Washington doublespeak used to void the Second Amendment

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When it comes to measuring the political dishonesty of our elected officials in Washington, I often recall the old joke “How do you know if a politician is lying? His lips are moving.”

While some of the untruths told by these lying liars aren’t obvious until after they get caught—such as the GOP promise to repeal Obamacare root and branch—others are obvious before the fact if we keep our ears tuned-in to the use of Washington doublespeak.

Once the proprietary property of the liberal-left, Washington doublespeak has found its way into the lexicon of the so-called conservative-right as well.

  • Immigration reform? Doublespeak for amnesty and citizenship for millions of illegal aliens.
  • Budget reform? Doublespeak for abandoning fiscal responsibility in order to build bigger government.
  • Tax cuts? Doublespeak for tax increases to pay for bigger government.
  • NSA data collection? Doublespeak for unconstitutional, warrantless electronic spying on Americans.

In the aftermath of the 17 murders at a Florida High School, we are once again hearing the words “gun control,” which is doublespeak for creating ways to void the Second Amendment.

As he did as a candidate following the Orlando Night Club shooting in 2016, Trump is backing an effort to “improve” gun laws as a way to keep firearms out of the hands of “mentally disturbed” individuals—an idea strongly supported by many Republicans. Besides the fact that “erratic behavior” pretty much describes Donald Trump and the GOP, who gets to decide who fits the definition of mentally disturbed?

Is it people like Joy Behar, who believes Christians who hear God’s voice suffer from a mental illness? Or would it be psychiatrists who believe that conservatism is a sign of mental instability?

Not content with anything coming out of Washington, the Brady Center is using the Florida tragedy to renew its push for Extreme Risk Protection Orders. These laws empower those who are close to an individual “in crisis” to ask a judge to seize that individual’s guns. Once again, who decides what “in crisis” looks like?

As an individual who holds a Biblical worldview, I know that violence will never end unless the heart of man is healed. However, passing arbitrary gun control laws won’t bring an end to gun violence either. In fact, it’s likely to increase the violence. But that won’t stop politicians in Washington from using doublespeak to pass gun control laws anyway.

Originally posted on The Strident Conservative.

 

David Leach is the owner of The Strident Conservative. His daily radio commentary is nationally syndicated with Salem Radio Network and can be 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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News

Trump’s top pastor, Mark Burns, running for Congress

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Trey Gowdy is retiring after his term creating a rather large vacancy for Republicans in Congress. Looking to fill the void is Pastor Mark Burns.

Pastor Mark Burns has been lauded as Trump’s top pastor and was rather influential in the 2016 election. His influence landed him or was made clear in the 2016 Republican National Convention where he gave a passionate “All Lives Matter” speech. Mark Burns is the founder and CEO of NOW Television Network. After serving six years in the South Carolina Army National Guard, Pastor Burns along with his wife Tomarra Burns founded the multicultural, non-denominational contemporary church The Harvest Praise & Worship Center of Easley.

Though somewhat new to the political scene, Mark Burns is not without scandal. During the Trump campaign, he was busted for and admitted to padding up his resume with false accomplishments. These remain credibility concerns moving into the race for the South Carolina 4th district. Burns made his announcement via Twitter, highlighting his unifying personality.

 

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My Take

Considering this race, “Burns”. That being said, he could have a Roy Moore sized scandal level his campaign. But without such, it seems as though this race is over before it began. I remain optimistic about Mark Burns joining the ranks of Congress. Previously, Burns announced he was praying about challenging Lindsey Graham, a notorious warmongering RINO. But it appears either prayer or opportunism has landed him in a different race. Due to his political amateurism, not many of his positions are clear. Oddly enough, he has suggested Federal takeover of public school security. Though his heart seems in the right place, his position shows a lack of localism which small government believes in. It’s safe to speculate that Mark Burns isn’t all that fiscal conservative which isn’t unfamiliar.

On social issues, however, Pastor Mark Burns could be a strong tool for conservatives, so long as he can graduate from being a Trump surrogate. Burns has a more unifying persona than a lot of Republicans adding the possibility of broadening the base. On the issues of race and abortion, Pastor Mark Burns is a powerful voice. Though a strong personality does not make one the best candidate, Burn has tremendous potential to make a difference in DC.

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