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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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Culture and Religion

Snatching Defeat from the jaws of Victory: ‘Writing out’ Most Guns with the Bump-Stock ban.

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Bump Stock

The latest Liberty grabber wave has crested, but Trump is about to give them a tremendous victory over the 2nd amendment.

Now that the Sturm und Drang of the March for gun confiscation has ‘died down’ it has become evident that, much like previous movements of the past, it came to nought aside from some localised suppressions of Liberty. The problem is there a vestige of this assault of freedom that is still rearing it’s ugly head, that of the infamous ban on so-called “Bump-Stocks”.

Those who are rightly concerned about this assault on Liberty can still inscribe their opposition with the Moonshine, Cigarettes and Fire-sticks bureaucracy [Better known as the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms – BATF]  pushing through a new ‘law’ that all by himself, Trump has taken to “Writing Out”.  The deadline is June 27, 2018 11:59 PM ET for everyone to post their opposition to this ‘Law’.

First they came for the Bump-Stocks.

For those who may not care about someone else’s concerns over freedom, just be mindful of a reprise of Martin Niemöller Poem starting with the line: “First they came for the Bump-Stocks, and I didn’t object – For I didn’t care about Bump-Stocks…. Soon enough, they get around to coming after the firearms everyone else cares about, and eventually that will be hunting rifles or shotguns. If you chose to remain silent those guns will be “written out” as well.

But don’t just take our word for it, listen to what the Liberty grabbers have stated in bragging about the subject:

Delaney Tarr [March for Our Lives]

When they give us that inch, that bump stock ban, we will take a mile.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.):

Upon being asked if the bill was a slippery slope toward further gun restrictions, she said, “So what? … I certainly hope so.”

Apparently we’re not supposed to notice when the Liberty grabber Left broadcasts their intentions to the world. We’re supposed to let them get a foot in the door of a pretext for further bans before objecting.

Giving up the question.

David Deming over on the American thinker, Made the very important point that sacrificing one more time to the Liberty grabbers of what seems to be nothing is in essence:

If we agree to ban bump stocks because they facilitate rapid firing, we have given up the question. We have agreed in principle that any dangerous gun can be banned and confiscated by an arbitrary executive order. All guns are capable of rapid fire, and all guns are inherently dangerous. Pump-action shotguns can be rapidly fired and reloaded. Jerry Miculek can fire five shots from a double-action revolver in 0.57 seconds. High-capacity magazines most certainly facilitate rapid fire, so they also will have to go. A writer who wants to ban all “private individual ownership of firearms” recently argued that “even bolt-action rifles can still fire surprisingly fast in skilled hands.” He’s right. All magazine-fed guns will be outlawed.

Automatic redefinition.

In point of fact, the ATF previously ruled that Bump-Stocks [and presumably other ways of ‘bump-firing a gun – Fast fingers, Rubber bands and Belt-loops] don’t actually convert ordinary semi-automatic firearms to a “Machine gun” because the trigger has to be pulled for every shot. Now with the President’s authorising this linguistic legerdemain, this definition codified in the law has been blurred to the point that any gun that can be ‘Bump-fired’ could also be banned. However, they can’t very well ban fingers, belt-loops or rubber bands, so they will just ban each and every gun that can fire too fast.

Just ‘Write-out’ this legal requirement and Voila! Any gun that can be fired too fast for the sensibilities of the Liberty grabbers can be thought of as a “Machine Gun” and banned instantly – converting most of the 120 Million gun owners into instant felons. With a bit of training,  most guns can be fired faster, so in essence, letting them change this legal definition could have them ban just about every gun in existence.

The Takeaway.

One might not care about the fate of thousands of inert pieces of plastic or what happens to those who have them. One might not care if someone won’t be able to bump-fire a weapon in this particular way. But we on the Pro-Liberty Right will rue the day that we let this go through in exchange for nothing.

If we let the powers that be arbitrarily proclaim that some guns with these pieces of inert plastic are “Machine Guns’, the day will soon dawn when ALL guns are dishonestly ‘written out’ as the same. It will then just be a slippery slope to everyone having to undergo a background check, registration and of course – TAXES – on guns that we already own. Followed by the inevitable confiscation of those guns.

Those who remain silent now will only have themselves to blame when this happens – so now is the time to stop this dead in it’s tracks. The comment window is only open for a few more days [Jun 27, 2018 11:59 PM ET], make the best of it.

 

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Foreign Affairs

Trump’s trade war faces resistance from GOP, but it probably won’t matter

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While the government-contrived immigration “crisis” at the border involving forced family separations has captured the headlines—effectively giving Trump and the GOP the cover they need to save DACA and create a pathway to citizenship for millions of illegal aliens—Trump’s trade war was the topic of the day during hearings with the Senate Finance Committee yesterday.

Following recent announcements of retaliatory tariffs being leveled against the US by Canada, China, Mexico, and the EU, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross appeared before the committee to defend what the committee referred to as Trump’s “knee-jerk impulses” with his trade policies.

Senators from both parties blasted Ross over Trump’s steel and aluminum tariffs—which Ross once defended as “no big deal” because any impact they might have on consumer prices would be “trivial”—following recent economic data indicating that tariffs were indeed having a negative impact on the US economy.

After pointing out that tariffs were responsible for raising prices by 20 percent or more for certain US manufacturers, Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch questioned the administration’s claim that Trump’s trade war was a matter of national security.

“These tariffs do not support US national security; instead, they harm American manufacturers, damage our economy, hurt American consumers, and disrupt our relationship with our long-term allies, while giving China a free pass.”

As regular readers of the Strident Conservative already know, Trump has been particularly soft on China after receiving favorable treatment for his and Ivanka’s business interests in China from the Chinese government.

Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA), who attempted to get a law passed that would return the power to levy tariffs back to Congress as the Constitution requires—it was shot down by Mitch McConnell—also pointed out that Trump’s trade war has nothing to do with national security.

“I wish we would stop invoking national security because that’s not what this is about. This is about economic nationalism.”

“We’re picking winners and losers.”

Hmm… picking winners and losers. Isn’t that something Obama did?

Despite Trump’s misguided optimism, it’s important to remember that there are always casualties in war—even in a trade war—and he is personally responsible for them because he will have caused them.

While news that there are Republicans willing to take a stand against Trump’s disastrous trade policies should be something to cheer, the GOP has become the party of Trump where loyalty and undying devotion to the NY liberal has replaced conservative values. It was just yesterday that I wrote about Sen. Dean Heller’s conversion to Trump conservatism and how as a Trump loyalist, he would be giving Trump “a wide berth” concerning tariffs.

With the GOP adopting a Trump loyalty test when it comes to enacting policy and running elections, it’s likely that we’ll see more Republicans giving Trump a wide berth on tariffs and pretty much everything else Trump wants.

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 Colorado Primary

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There isn’t too much action in the Colorado Primary, but the race to watch seems to be out of District 5. Colorado is a state that can embrace the grassroots. Doug Lamborn seems to have lost touch with the grassroots due to his struggle at getting on the ballot. As a result of temporarily not being on the ballot, he finds himself in a contested field and is a more vulnerable incumbent. If Lamborn’s reputation can’t recover, Darryl Glenn is poised to capitalize.

Best Pick: Darryl Glenn
Worst Pick: Doug Lamborn
Best Race: District 4
Worst Race: District 3, District 6

District 1

Casper Stockham is the only Republican in this race.

District 2

Peter Yu is the only Republican in this race.

District 3

Scott Tipton is an incumbent RINO. He is unchallenged.

District 4

Ken Buck is Colorado’s most Conservative Congressman. He is unchallenged.

District 5

The first impression from this race is that incumbent Doug Lamborn badmouthed Trump. But rather, Lamborn is in a fight because he had some ballot issues because he was using nonresident signatures or something like that. He survived that court battle but that is only the first battle for in this swamp creature’s quest to stay on top. Looking at his record, he was more Conservative under Obama.

His most serious challenger is Darryl Glenn. Glenn is a candidate with a strong grasp on federalism and separation of powers. He is also running as a fiscal hawk who seems as though he would align with the Freedom Caucus on spending issues. It’ll be interesting to see if Glenn’s Youtube campaign is matched by his ground game. If so, he just might have this.

Conservative Pick: Darryl Glenn

District 6

Mike Coffman is an unchallenged RINO.

District 7

Mark Barrington is the only Republican in this race.

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