The British Prime Minister's last day in office was originally written a few years ago, but many of the events had come and gone so I updated it, with probably 50% of it being new. Moira Davidson was borrowed from On the Beach. Alice Munro was borrowed from The Last of the Mohicans. Urushiol is the oil found in poison ivy. Yasukuni Kishi refers to the Yasukuni Shrine where Class-A war criminals are enshrined and one of the more famous of them, Nobusuke Kishi, who was the grandfather of the current Japanese prime minister and possibly the most corrupt Japanese leader of the twentieth century. Chatepelose is old French for "hairy cat." It's a convoluted joke, but I drew inspiration from Germaine Greer's comment that trans-women are not women because they do not know what it is like "to have a big, hairy, smelly vagina."
We've known for years that the Ogallala Aquifer is being drained by farming. Sooner than we'd like, it will be empty. When that happens, many of the people living there will be forced to move away, not to mention that a large portion of our wheat, corn, and other crops is grown there. One proposal I read years ago regarded making the entire region a hunting preserve.
Jimmy John's requires its employees to sign non-compete contracts which prevent them for working for another fast-food joint for a period of two years after leaving employment. Jimmy John's is the poster boy for what's wrong with the U.S. Non-compete contracts make sense for highly-paid executives and/or people who will learn trade secrets in the course of their employment, but for low-paid employees, they only serve to allow the owner to keep wages low. And it's been going on for years. Worse yet, most of these employees are part-time ones, so many companies are unavailable to them to earn enough money to survive. Not surprisingly, Jimmy John's is also the target of a class action suit by employees who are forced to work off the clock.
A now-deleted post -- Whatever happened to Emma Jane? -- channeled the 1962 movie with Bette Davis and Joan Crawford, What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? It referred to Emma Jane Kirby, one of the so-called BBC talent, who opined on NPR one day in 2009 that the government of Nicolas Sarkozy was ignorant because it wanted to ban all burkas, even thought there were only a handful of them in France. The condescension oozed from her like slime from a frog. She completely missed the point, because France wanted to ban all Islamic costumes which covered a person from head to toe, leaving only the eyes uncovered. I just happened to visit Paris later that year and saw many, many women -- I assume they were women -- dressed in shoulder-to-ground black robes, a black hijab, and a black face veil. I saw them on the Avenue des Champs-Elysees and in the shops thereof. I even saw one in the Louvre along with her ever-growing family, though I have no idea what she was doing there given the many paintings and statues of undressed women. I saw one Muslim woman dressed in a colorful hijab walk into a Subway sandwich shop, walk into an side office, and emerge wearing a Subway t-shirt and hat, as she was one of the employees, proving that they will doff their garb if need be.
The BBC forced employees to sign gag orders in order to prevent them from revealing the truth regarding bullying and sexual harassment, as well as to silence potential whistle blowers. The BBC also paid executives more than they were contractually owed.
Neanderthals were once thought to be brutish, stupid apes who properly became extinct as we humans rose to our proper place in the world. Now we know that Neanderthals were more intelligent than Africans who traveled north to Europe. We also know that instead of dying out, Neanderthals interbred with Africans, with all non-Africans today possessing 1-4% Neanderthal DNA. Denisovans are another group of humans which died out, but only after interbreeding with Neanderthals and Africans. The European-American mix of African, Neanderthal, and Denisovan DNA explains quite a bit regarding genetic diseases, intelligence, and why classical music originated in Europe. The cave in Bruniquel, France, proves that Neanderthals had mastered fire so well that they regularly used it to design and build complex structures, the purpose of which still eludes us. This story will play out for many years to come for the simple reason that glaciers destroyed most of the evidence, with caves serving as DNA sanctuaries.
Sophie Scholl was a founding member of the White Rose, a small group in Germany formed during Hitler's reign of terror, mainly protesting the murder of Jews which was well known within Germany. She was executed at age 21 in 1943 for distributing leaflets exhorting her fellow student to resist the murderous Nazi Party. The second White Rose leaflet stated: "Since the conquest of Poland 300,000 Jews have been murdered, a crime against human dignity ... Germans encourage fascist criminals if no chord within them cries out at the sight of such deeds. An end in terror is preferable to terror without end."
The trial of the White Rose members was a classic show trial, with the judge, Roland Freisler, screaming at and berating the defendants. Sophie, her brother Hans, and Christoph Probst were all executed by guillotine, but not until they were brutally interrogated (Sophie showed up at trial with a broken leg). The movie Sophie Scholl: The Final Days is a fairly accurate depiction of the last days of Sophie, who unlike e-children currently in school, fought for free speech instead of politically-correct speech and microaggression free zones.
The introduction for the nominee for vice president at the 2016 Republican National Convention was something that had been dancing in my head for some time, a daydream on what a speech at the Republican National Convention could be. Trump has made some truly ridiculous assertions, with his pledge to make Mexico pay for a border fence and his naive comment that "NATO is obsolete" being some of the most outlandish ones, but Hillary Clinton is worse. SNL nailed one problem with her, that we have no idea what kind of president she would be because her positions change with the wind. Her abuse of national security vis-à-vis her illegal email server proves that she believes she is above the law and therefore another Nixon in the making, though maybe Harding is a better example. If Republicans do not nominate a woman for vice president, e.g. Sheila Bair or Olympia Snowe, they are fools. But regardless of who wins in November, we will continue down the road of progressively more incompetent presidents starting with LBJ, though Ford was better than some of them.
The raid at the slave bazaar started with a article regarding a Jewish Montreal-based businessman dedicated to rescuing Christian and Yazidi girls, though he only buys their freedom. He is not the only person working to free the hundreds of Yazidi and Christian girls forced into sexual slavery by IS (a/k/a Islamic State, ISIS, and ISIL), with the majority of them being Yazidi. Some girls are freed after their families pay Syrian Sunni smugglers. The part about slave bazaars is very real, even including toddlers of both sexes, with IS circulating a price list. Some families have rescued their daughters by dressing appropriately and driving through IS territory to where their girls are being held.
Most of the character names have no meaning and were chosen from lists of famous Kurds and Jordanians, picking a first name from one person and a last name from another. Violeur al-Bigdaddy is my name for Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of IS, with violeur being the French word for rapist, because he raped Kayla Mueller. Muath is the first name of the Jordanian pilot who was burned alive by IS (media organizations reported his first name as Moaz and his last name as Kasaesbeh, Al-Kaseasbeh, or al-Kasasbeh). Clément Maudet was one of the officers at the French Foreign Legion's legendary last-stand at Camarón. John Sousa referred to John Philip Sousa, the U.S. composer of stirring martial music. "Modern Mormon" referred to the fact that the Mormon Church banned beards in 1971. Rehana was (is) a female Kurdish fighter who may or may not have been beheaded by IS. Anna Shavenkova is a Russian woman who ran down two women walking on a sidewalk with her car, but instead of calling for an ambulance and tending to their needs, she called a friend and checked the damage to her car. Cat Stevens, born Steven Demetre Georgiou, is infamous for writing "Peace Train" and other liberal anthems, turning Islamist, changing his name to Yusuf Islam, and calling for the death of Salman Rushdie because he wrote a book regarding Islam, The Satanic Verses, which did not praise it to the heavens. The story about a Russian guy pushing cutlery in Volgograd actually happened to me.
I used the acronym of Daesh to refer to Islamic State, as that is what unsympathetic locals call it -- it sounds similar to the Arabic word for "sowers of discord" -- even though its leadership wants everyone to call it Islamic State to indicate that it is the reincarnation of the caliphate.
This story is not a sequel to Operation Forget-me-not, as that was a one-off regarding a speech used to launch a potential U.S. effort, which given the general cluelessness of the Obama administration, would never happen. Only the Obama administration is oblivious to the fact that Turkey is solely interested in preventing Kurdish autonomy, with its fight against IS being a charade. Turkey will take any opportunity to launch attacks against the Kurds, which will eventually result in U.S. casualties. Supposedly Turkey has taken part in air strikes against IS, but we'll have to wait to see how real that is. BBC News reported that "the precise targets of the new Turkish strikes have not been revealed." A PKK spokesman said: "Only 1 per cent of Turkish air strikes have been against [Islamic State]. Ninety-nine per cent have been against the PKK." In September, Turkish jets attacked a Kurdish base in Iraq, killing at least 55 PKK fighters, with Erdogan trying to improve his election odds for November 1.
International relations expert Soli Ozel of Istanbul’s Kadir Has University said with respect to Turkey's non-existent battle against IS: "We are yet to see anything, except the first plane attacks, that can be considered seriously. We do not know even how many guys have been arrested. The IS guys were taken into custody, without handcuffs. The other guys were handcuffed behind their back. So it is like, 'Oh, so gently would you please come with us?' -- this is not the way the police treat terrorism suspects in this country. And sooner or later this will be seen by the allies."
Turkey allows IS suicide bombers to travel freely in the country, with at least 86 dead in the latest attack outside the capital city's main train station which should be one of the safest places in the entire country.
There are good reasons to doubt that Turkey has joined the fight against IS. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan urged Egypt to free the Muslim Brotherhood leader Mohamed Morsi, offered sanctuary for Muslim Brotherhood leaders asked to leave Qatar, declared that Israel's raid on a Gaza-bound aid flotilla was "cause for war," and is a stalwart believer in their Islamist cause.
Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi is a direct descendant of the prophet Muhammad and possesses both a master's degree and a PhD in Islamic studies from the University of Islamic Sciences in the Baghdad suburb of Adhamiya. Everything he does is in accordance with Islam, yet most politicians continue to deny that the actions of IS are in direct accordance with Islam and sharia. IS is not misunderstanding Islam, it is following it literally.
It does not receive as much press, but Iran oppresses its Kurds almost as much as Turkey. Iran has been shelling Kurdish villages in Iraq, similar to how Turkey hits Kurds with air strikes. A Kurdish chambermaid either fell or was thrown from a fourth-story building trying to escape being raped by an Iranian security official. Iranian Kurds have been tortured and hanged since Iran's 1979 revolution when Ayatollah Khomeini declared a fatwa against Kurdistan and sent 110,000 troops armed with heavy artillery, fighter jets and armed helicopters. Iranian Kurds do not want sanctions to end because Iran "will get more resources to make more turbulence in the Middle East." I wanted to add Iran to my story, but it complicated things too much.
All of the referenced weapons and systems thereof exist and I hope I faithfully described them and the tactics necessary to employ them, including the M27 Infantry Automatic Rifle, though my writing regarding flying is admittedly wooden and sketchy. Most flights against IS really do return to base without having dropped their ordnance. The 9K333 Pussy Willow surface-to-air missile is now in service with the Russian military. Russia is shooting itself in the foot by banning all foreign medical supplies and equipment. Iraq has been the beneficiary of many weapons and weapon systems, but not the RPG-29. Iraq has said that it cannot handle Syrian refugees. The majority of Syrian refugees are women and children. IS has destroyed satellite dishes and television receivers in civilian homes to prevent people from watching "dangerous" foreign channels that air anti-IS reports. The part about Islamists separating non-Muslims into levels of infidels is completely true, with Leela Jacinto's blog detailing the IS magazine Dabiq and its article "The Revival of Slavery Before the Hour."
Some IS wives really are worried about whether their husbands will choose them over the promised 72 virgins. The part about the IS fighter offering a toothpick is based on reality, with them doing so in order to push sharia. IS is selling statues, scrolls, clay tablets, ancient coins, and other priceless art objects in order to finance its jihad. Yadizis are being prevented from traveling through Turkey to Europe while the EU looks the other way as it allows in more refugees than it can handle. Kosovo does have the most IS recruits on a per capita basis of all Western countries. German Chancellor Angela Merkel was booed at a refugee center, saying, "It's repulsive how far-right extremists and neo-Nazis are spreading their hollow message, but it's equally shameful how citizens - even families with children - support this by marching along." Perhaps Merkel should take note that ordinary Germans are fed-up with refugees who, soon after they arrive, try to change their new country into something similar to the one they just left.
Jürgen Todenhöfer, a German journalist and former German MP, warned that IS is far more 'dangerous and organised' than people in the West realise, with an attack having been attempted in Europe every other week since July 2014. It is planning a genocide which would far surpass the combined total of Mao, Stalin, and Hitler. "[IS wants] to kill ... all non-believers and apostates and enslave their women and children. All Shiites, Yazidi, Hindus, atheists and polytheists should be killed ... [in a] nuclear tsunami ... Hundreds of millions of people are to be eliminated in the course of this religious cleansing ... This is the largest religious cleansing strategy that has ever been planned in human history," he stated.
The F-35 should never have been produced the way it was, starting production before the bugs were worked out, with Pentagon procurement chief Frank Kendall saying that it was "acquisition malpractice." The much vaunted helmet which is supposed to allow pilots to look down and see beneath the aircraft has had computer and reliability problems. Supposedly those problems are fixed, but some people believe that China's copy of the F-35, the J-31, will defeat the F-35 in air combat because it was not designed to be the best of all worlds The Obama administration needed more money for its toy, so it proposed the slashing of the commissary subsidy. Only Americans who served in the military or were dependents will understand, but commissaries are base grocery stores with substantially reduced prices to offset low military pay, with this system having existed since 1867. The entire subsidy is $1.4 billion and the Obama administration has proposed to eliminate $1 billion of it, replacing it with coupons to be used at civilians stores. Former military officers have pointed out that those who live off-base might end up patronizing civilian stores just to save gas. Perhaps the Obama administration hopes that the commissaries will go out of business entirely, but so far, Congress has refused to go along with it.
General John Allen, Special Envoy for the Global Coalition to Counter ISIS, told ABC News that the U.S. has made "remarkable progress" in the last year. By "progress" he must mean that Armenians, whose ancestors left the Ottoman Empire after the Armenian Genocide, are returning to Armenia because Syria, their homeland since the end of WWII, is the scene of yet another genocide of Christians, with 10% of them planning to stay there. Allen must also be referring to IS "making and using chemical weapons in Iraq and Syria." He would never admit it, but that "remarkable progress" has been the result of another round of cooking the intelligence books, with 50 U.S. spies saying that intelligence has been manipulated the Obama administration to "fit a public narrative." Similar to how the Bush administration cooked the intelligence books regardless of "what the intelligence community had to say," the Obama administration "downplay[ed] the strength of terror groups" to "present a more positive picture of the U.S. strategy's effectiveness," leading us to the present situation. The various Syrian groups often fight each other in a power struggle which does not bode well for the future. And New Syrian Front / Division 30, one of the mythical moderate Muslim groups in Syria, gave some of its weapons to al-Nusra, the Syrian affiliate of al-Qaeda.
Russia has sent combat troops, advanced air defenses, fighter aircraft, helicopters, and other weapons to assist the Syrian government with its fight against Islamists dedicated to establishing a caliphate. Assad asked for Russia's assistance because IS has moved into the outskirts of Damascus, the capital, having already invaded the Yarmouk Palestinian refugee camp earlier this year. The enemy is at the gate. In a surprisingly clueless article, Bloomberg News conjectured that Russia will dump its long-standing ally Syria. In truth, Syria's port at Tartus is Russia's only naval base in the Mediterranean, with the arrangement having been initiated via a 1971 agreement. The terminally clueless Obama administration is complaining that Russian fighter jets attacked Homs, a city with Free Syrian Army, al-Nusra, the local al-Qaeda franchise, and Ahrar al-Sham, a Salafist group. The first often mixes with al-Nusra and the other two are just as bad as IS.
There should be no illusions as to what would happen if IS were to occupy Damascus. There would be a bloodbath of biblical proportions, with the metro area population of 2.6 million caught between the many varieties of Islamists. This would truly be Armageddon between Sunni Islamists on one side, possibly including Hamas and even Saudi Arabia and Turkey, and Alawites, Iranian militias, the Syrian military, and Hezbollah on the other. Depending upon how fast events occur, e.g. given a collapse of the Syrian military, we could see a slaughter greater than the Rwandan Genocide. The world would look back afterward and blame all of the players, but Russia, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and the U.S. will share most of the blame. Russia would be to blame because it did not advise Syria to Jordanize its tactics, i.e. eschew torture and barrel bombs. Turkey and Saudi Arabia would be to blame because they actively assisted the Islamists because of their centuries-old hatred of Shia. The U.S. would be to blame due to its airheaded policy of arming some of the Islamist groups, expecting them to magically turn into peacemakers. After the butchery began in Damascus, the residents would realize that they have one last chance, to run for Lebanon, Israel, or Jordan, with the first being much closer. Jordan has already absorbed 1.4 million Syrian refugees (the UN's website's number is lower, but it only refers to the people registered with it) and closed its border, but it would be inundated with hundreds of thousands more. One wild card would be Israel's response with respect to the Golan Heights, given that it is actually Syrian territory currently being occupied by Israel, but Israel's building of a border fence gives us a good idea of its intentions. Damascus would quickly be transformed from a place where women feel free to walk around without headscarves to a place where 'M' himself would feel at home.
Europe's crime and migrant problems are bad now -- only 10% of allegedly Syrian refugees in Europe are actually Syrian, with a Lebanese government minister stating that as many as 2% of the people entering Europe from the Middle East and Africa could be doing so in order to carry out terror attacks -- but the aftermath of Assad's fall would make the current crisis look like a flash mob by comparison.
Contrary to the mindless blather posted on the Twitter thread #StopIslam, Islamists have killed orders of magnitude more people than white supremacists. The Investigative Project on Terrorism found that 3,284 people died in Islamist terror attacks five years ago, but now that figure is just under 30,000 for the year, with deaths skyrocketing 774% since the 2007-11 average. Professor Ruud Koopmans noted in "Fundamentalism and out-group hostility": "Almost 60% agree that Muslims should return to the roots of Islam, 75% think there is only one interpretation of the Quran possible to which every Muslim should stick, and 65% say that religious rules are more important to them than the laws of the country in which they live." And IS may be losing territory in Syria and Iraq, but its lone-wolf bombers are just getting started.
The demise and resurrection of North Korea is my hopeful vision of an implosion of North Korea. It started with a BBC News story on South Korean women becoming military officers after the sinking of the Cheonan and other provocations by North Korea. The concept of historical fiction came from B.R. Myers' book, The Cleanest Race, which noted that North Korea publishes sycophantic historical fiction regarding the life of Kim Il-sung, though I took it in a decidedly different direction. I continued my research in Could an implosion of North Korea result in WWIII? which speculated on the events which would follow a collapse of the DPRK (consider that my "Things to do in North Korea when Kim Jong-un is dead"). This story just might be the longest blog post on the Internet.
The first version of the story was titled The war of immiscible ideas, but the Korean portion was only half of the story. The story began with an American losing his wife and twins to a Somali bomber, with the twins in the Korean portion being a yin-yang rebirth. The other half regarded Islamic terrorism, but much of the writing was half-baked and I just could not bring it to the level of the rest, so I eliminated it. The section where Talvela said "Showtime!" was the end of the original content. Everything after that was written after the change to a sole Korean story. The two Islamic stories I wrote after that have nothing in common with TWOII.
Originally, Bling Ka-ching was meant to be a rip-off of Jang Song-thaek, Kim Jong-un's uncle, but I made him a minor character, the mayor of Pyongyang, after he was executed. Jang's real-life wife is Kim Kyong-hui who became Kim Tip-ple in the story. She is reputed to be an alcoholic and in poor health. The mayor and Aunt Kim are not related, though her snickering at dog food refers to the apocryphal story of him being eaten by dogs. Yoo Tok-ki (whose name was created using the Korean word for rabbit) was the woman seen in a surreptitiously filmed North Korean video, with her frail body just about to give out. The use of Anna Göldi is a sick joke considering she was actually the last person executed for allegedly being a witch in Europe. The scenes involving orphans originated from stories in Radio Free Asia, the Telegraph, and PBS Frontline. The torture house originated from descriptions from North Korean defectors. "Deep into the darkness peering, long I stood there, wondering, fearing" is a line from Edgar Allan Poe's poem The Raven. I obtained a point of view of China from a dissident, Bao Tong, via his Under House Arrest column.
Christian Talvela is my Jack Ryan, albeit with little explanation of his background. I made a mistake with respect to him. I wanted to make him someone who studied Korean, but never got too far, i.e. he could read it with a dictionary and pronounce Korean words fairly well, but he still needed a translator in conversation. The only place this mattered was with his speech after Colonel Kim's speech, which was of course had to be in Korean.
The take-down of the labor camps was intentionally sparse because, for me, the immediate aftermath is the most interesting portion. Also, I do not believe I could do justice to the dynamics of a raid along the lines of the one at Son Tay. That said, it is fairly well accepted that prisoners in the labor camps would be executed during an implosion. A UN report stated that guards "received orders to kill all prisoners in case of an armed conflict or revolution so as to destroy the primary evidence of the camps' existence." The report "also explained that specific plans exist on how to implement the order and that drills were held on how to kill large numbers of prisoners in a short period of time." Kim Il-sung was the creator of that strategy, as well as for Songbun, the DPRK's caste system, and the scheme where one's relatives suffer the same punishment as the accused.
North Korea is very different than the DDR of 1989 for many reasons. It makes much more sense to compare the DPRK to the Soviet Union when Stalin was alive. There's a famous story regarding how Stalin retreated to his dacha when the Nazi Germany invaded the Soviet Union on June 22, 1941, saying "Lenin founded our state and we’ve fucked it up." He expected his underlings to arrest him and have him shot, but they were meekly asking him to return to command. The point is that he had been so pitilessly cruel during the purges of the 1930s that everyone was deathly afraid of him. Only after Stalin's death did his underlings dare to think independently. The same is true of North Korea. It has a leader who is quite willing to employ machine guns against his people as compared to how Gorbachev was. This is a very important point for the right which ignorantly believes that Reagan won the Cold War all by himself, when in fact it was Gorbachev who allowed the USSR to collapse peacefully.
There is only one way the DPRK will cease to exist: after the death or incapacitation of Kim Jong-un or his successor. Even in the case of a natural catastrophe, e.g. drought or typhoon, China will give it enough aid to get back on its feet. China plays a very different game than the West has ever seen. As Michael Pillsbury wrote in The Hundred-Year Marathon: China's Secret Strategy to Replace America as the Global Superpower, China is playing the long game all the while pretending to share the West's concerns about North Korea. This attitude is currently seen in China's quest to consolidate the South China Sea as an internal lake. One of the best articles regarding China and North Korea is Anders Corr's Sanction China For Its Support Of North Korea...And So Much More because it addresses the only way North Korea can be coerced into changing its ways, by pressuring its sugar daddy, China, which allows plenty of luxury goods for the elite to cross the border. And those who believe that sanctions will bring the DPRK to its knees should heed the words of Andrei Lankov: "No revolution is likely to occur unless a few hundred thousand North Koreans starve to death. That's a prospect even cynical diplomats should think twice before embracing."
Because of this, we should be communicating with North Koreans, especially the leadership. Bruce W. Bennett commented in N. Korea Could Fall Faster Than We Think that "South Korea should make it clear to North Koreans that it is creating stockpiles of food that will be available in the event of a collapse." This should be extended much further, with President Park Geun-hye announcing that North Koreans will be welcomed back into the fold as a prodigal son, perhaps even using some South Korean soap opera stars to communicate the message.
The bizarre opinion of many conservative South Koreans that a wall will be built to keep North Koreans in their hellhole needs to have a stake driven into it. Rainer Eppelmann, the last defense minister of the DDR, said after meeting with the South Korean government: "I've realized that the South Koreans are trying to figure out a way for the North Koreans to remain in the North after unification," says Eppelmann. "The South Koreans were talking about border controls. I'll be damned! They seriously intend to close the border after the wall has fallen!"
The only way to avoid massive loss of life is for North Korean insiders to strike a deal with South Korea immediately after Kim Jong-un is eliminated.
The former commander of U.S. forces in South Korea, General Curtis Scaparrrotti, testified before Congress that another war with North Korea would be similar to the Korean War or even WWII. Much of this is due to the presence of artillery just north of the DMZ which could devastate Seoul in an hour. Reagan-groupies should take note that this development goes back to at least the middle 1980s, with the artillery being situated in fortified bunkers. The U.S. military calls them Hardened Artillery Sites (HARTS). We should have eliminated these bunkers as soon as we noticed them because it drastically destabilized the situation, allowing the DPRK to blackmail us. These artillery pieces are capable of firing chemical munitions which would convert Seoul into a field of death.
But there's good news and bad news in this arena. The Kim du jour would never initiate an attack because it would result in him, his family, and everything he worked for being vaporized. The DPRK uses the threat of attack to coerce us into giving aid, with the Sunshine Policy being the best example of this, where South Korea gave large amount of aid for nothing in return, with the DPRK all the while building up its military. The DPRK uses fools such as Otto Warmbier who tried to steal a propaganda poster and was imprisoned for 15 years. The U.S. should ban travel to North Korea for Americans because of the money it gives the government.
Invading North Korea with Kim du jour still in charge is only a Donald Rumsfeld fantasy, as it would launch everything it had at Seoul, killing hundreds of thousands of people. If its missile guidance systems are as accurate as it proclaims, missiles would be sent to Japan's major cities. North Korea's special forces would be sent to destroy the airport at Inchon and might bring chemical weapons or even dirty bombs to attack the major cities. We have a Mexican standoff because we allowed the DPRK to install artillery within range of the ROK and create nuclear weapons and many different types of missiles.
Soldiers from the 43rd Infantry Brigade fired on a vehicle carrying soldiers from the Guard Command, Kim Jong-un's personal bodyguards, killing one of them. As RFA noted, Kim "came unglued" and replaced the entire leadership of the Brigade. It is likely that the Guards are pampered and therefore loyal to Kim, in contrast to the Brigade which is a special forces unit. To eliminate Kim, one would need to penetrate the Guards. Given the problems with the Brigade -- "Gunfights within the army show how lack of discipline has become a serious problem," said a source -- perhaps there is great resentment within the regular army for the special treatment of the Guard. Or perhaps this was merely an incident of soldiers choosing to shoot rather than risk subsequent dereliction of duty charges if the vehicle had contained a lesser class of North Korean, similar to what happened in 2008 to when a South Korean female tourist walked over a forbidden line at the Mount Kumgang tourist resort.
Sixty years after the armistice that ended the fighting in the Korean War, there could be as many as 500 South Korean soldiers still being held captive by the DPRK. Defectors from North Korea continue to inform us of the true nature of the DPRK, while apologists such Dennis Rodman and Alejandro Cao de Benós de Les y Pérez continue to deny the horrors there. And the DPRK is expanding the part of the camps reserved for women, with them being imprisoned for the "crime" of leaving North Korea to seek a better life.
It has been reported that the government is telling its citizens to prepare for another "arduous march," with the first one occurring in the 1990s when millions of Koreans starved to death because the recently collapsed Soviet Union ceased giving food aid. World-class incompetence on the part of Kim Il-sung and Kim Jong-il doubled-down on the famine, with them spending most of the country's funds on the military. A government editorial declared: "We may have to go on an arduous march, during which we will have to chew the roots of plants once again ... Even if we give up our lives, we should continue to show our loyalty to our leader, Kim Jong-un, until the end of our lives." The Ryugyong Hotel, a/k/a the Hotel of Doom, was left unfinished during the 1990s and wasn't finished until just recently due to funding problems. As before, the elites will not suffer and will still have plenty of lobster, French wine, and other luxuries to make life enjoyable.
China would not readily relinquish control of North Korea. China uses North Korea as a buffer zone against the West. North Korea's rare earths deposits are essential to keeping China's industry humming. China has done whatever it took to maintain the status quo in the DPRK, including deporting North Korean refugees back to almost certain death, as my post In memory of nine North Korean orphans noted. And both China and Russia covet North Korea's ice-free port of Rajin. A likely scenario, in a Chinese remake of Sherman's March to the Sea, is that Chinese armored forces blaze a trail east, with the people trapped north of Chinese forces possibly doomed to die of starvation while the armies danced. U.S. and ROK forces intervening to prevent mass starvation could easily trigger a five-way war, including Russia trying to safeguard its railway to Rajin, given that China would not negotiate any line of demarcation and would demand that interlopers leave immediately. North Korea's WMDs would grow legs in the confusion.
The UN Refugee Convention was originally drafted in 1951, with a 1967 Protocol. China signed both in 1982. China signed the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment in 1987. These treaties expressly forbid the deportation of refugees back to a country where they will be tortured, imprisoned, and executed, which is exactly what happens to North Koreans when they are returned to the DPRK. Both treaties were signed well after China replaced the ROC in the UN in 1971, so China cannot claim that it inherited conditions of which it was unaware.
China is a very different country than the U.S., with 'Everyone is Responsible For This Evil' pointing out the evils of Mao's Red Guards who were instrumental in the millions murdered in the Cultural Revolution. The photo in this article is worth a thousand words, as it depicts a Chinese bride and groom dressed as Red Guards, suggesting that Red Guards are to China what Elvis is to the U.S.
Back in 2010, China held its "Red Games," with nostalgic Communists looking to rekindle the spirit of a bygone age when millions of ordinary Chinese fought for and won China's Communist revolution. Some 38 teams from 17 provinces across China competed in the inaugural Games, modeled on the Olympics, complete with torch relay from the old revolutionary base at Yanan, cuddly toy mascot and an opening ceremony song-and-dance spectacular -- but with revolutionary Red songs, of course. "Without the Party, there can be no new China," declared the master of ceremonies. "I think it's the government that really pays attention to promoting Red values," said 19-year-old Shi Yunfei, an aspiring decathlete. Communists in China sure know how to have a good time.
Also in 2010, an 'Oriental yeti' was found in central China. The photo of it shows a hairless animal in a cage, clearly frightened to death. "Local animal experts now plan to [ship] the mystery beast to scientists in Beijing who will perform DNA tests on the beast," a Telegraph article noted. In other words, it was shipped to Beijing to be killed and eaten. China is eating and/or carving up many animals into extinction, including rhinos and pangolins, though Vietnam also plays a major role. The number of rhinos slaughtered for their horns has increased for the sixth straight year even though the horns are no more useful than fingernails or toenails. A chart of rhino slaughter has a curve approaching vertical.
Operation Forget-me-not was originally published in October 2014, but I substantially rewrote it and republished it. The notes below contain a plethora of recent links concerning the subject. In that post, I mentioned al-Nusra, the al-Qaeda franchise in Syria, which likes to pretend it is "al-Nusra, the moderates." In truth, al-Nusra is just one of many brutal Islamist groups with nearly half of Syrian rebel fighters being jihadists or hardline Islamists. The fact that Israel has been treating wounded al-Qaeda fighters is all the proof we need to put a permanent halt to aid for Israel.
The story describes what we should do for the Yazidi girls and women who have been kidnapped by IS. Life is hell for everyone living under the medieval boot of IS, but especially for Yazidis. We should have rescued them as soon as they were taken, especially since they are now being sold in Islamic slave markets. There are many online articles regarding the kidnapped Yazidi females, but readers can peruse some of the best ones here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here.
"The international community isn't investigating. They don't believe such a large number of women have been kidnapped by IS," said minority expert Khidher Domle, with that number being around 3000. He has been able to talk to several captive Yazidi females via mobile phones. He verified that girls as young as nine have been sold as sexual slaves.
France24's Leela Jacinto blogged that rape-tourism is a prime reason why IS has specifically enslaved Yazidi girls, with most IS savages joining because it is their only chance to rape many girls, especially virgins. She noted that the IS publication "The Revival of Slavery Before the Hour" ends with the authors pining for the good old days of slavery and includes the following justification: "The desertion of slavery has led to an increase in fahishah (adultery, fornication, etc.), because ... a man who cannot afford marriage to a free woman finds himself surrounded by temptation and sin ... many Muslim families who have hired maids to work at their homes [face this problem] whereas if [the maid] was his concubine, this relationship would be legal."
This was not the first time that Islamists targeted Yazidis. In August 2007, al-Qaeda detonated four simultaneous car bombs, killing 796 and injuring 1562. It was the second-worst terrorist act in history, with only the 9/11 attacks surpassing it. The Yazidis did not release casualty breakdowns, but this was probably the largest death toll of children in the history of terrorism, exceeding even that of Beslan. Yazidis are specifically targeted because they are not "Peoples of the Book," i.e. Jews and Christians.
The Iraqi army is giving its military equipment to IS at a staggering rate. The Iraqi army's 30,000 soldiers in Mosul fled in the face of about 1,000 IS fighters. Ramadi was the same, where 10,000 Iraqi soldiers fled in the face of 400 IS fighters. And yet we continue to give Iraq Humvees, Mine Resistant Armored Personnel carriers, M1A1 Abrams tanks, howitzers, and trucks, not to mention mountains of ammunition.
Obama announced support for Free Syrian Army and Syrian Revolutionary Front, with the former being the group with which John McCain posed for photos, but they are not rebels from a Western point of view. The latter allied itself with al-Nusra in the past because both have the goal of removing Syrian President Bashar al-Assad from power, but al-Nusra is a franchise of al-Qaeda. Both groups applauded U.S. bombing of IS, yet they decried bombing of al-Nusra. Air strikes against IS were denounced by al-Nusra as "a war against Islam." Many people are opposed to arming any Syrian groups because it is likely that their arms will end up in the hands of IS just like it was able to acquire stockpiles of weapons from the Iraqi army after its soldiers ran away like little girls fleeing from a frog.
There is a growing movement to kick Turkey out of NATO for its explicit support of IS (view France 24 video of IS recruits crossing the Turkey-Syria border). Erdogan and his predecessors have fought with Kurdish groups for many years even though Kurds and Turkey are both Sunni. Erdogan dislikes Syria's Assad because Erdogan is an Islamist Sunni and Assad is Alawite, a version of Shia Islam, with Assad having the audacity to crack-down on Sunni "rebels" who threaten his hold on power. Erdogan supports IS even though it has buried alive some of its victims, including women and children, as well as sexually enslaving hundreds of women and girls. He has refused to allow the U.S. to use Incirlik air base to fight IS, even though it is by far the closest base. Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said that the vehicle used in the latest car bombing came from Turkish territory.
Erdogan has not forgotten to pamper himself, having just unveiled his new presidential palace with 1,000 rooms, costing in excess of $615 million and built in a national forest, similar to how Russian President Vladimir Putin built a personal palace on the Black Sea. Erdogan gave us a window into his soul when he ludicrously proclaimed that "Muslims discovered America in 1178, not Christopher Columbus." He pines for the return of the Ottoman Empire, just as Putin pines for the return of the Soviet Union, with Assad stating that "he [Erdogan] personally thinks that he is the new sultan of the Ottomans and he can control the region as it was during the Ottoman Empire under a new umbrella. In his heart he thinks he is a caliph." There's a lot of that going around today.
Erdogan's war against Kurds is typical of his hypocrisy. He declared in front of a Turkish audience in 2008 in Cologne, Germany: "I understand very well that you are against assimilation. One cannot expect you to assimilate. Assimilation is a crime against humanity." Yet Turkish leaders have insisted for years that Kurds are not actually a separate people, called them instead "mountain Turks," prevented them from speaking Kurdish, and forced them to assimilate into Turkish society.
Erdogan and Obama are two peas in a pod. In his first presidential campaign, the latter promised to recognize the Armenian Genocide in which almost two million Armenians, Assyrians, Greeks, and other non-Muslims were annihilated by the Ottoman Empire starting in 1894 with the Hamidian and Adana Massacres, but then he failed to make good on his promise. He had another chance with the Armenian Orphan Rug, woven by 400 Armenian orphan girls living in exile in Lebanon. It was originally given to Calvin Coolidge in 1925, with his family donating it to the U.S. government in 1982. Since then it has mostly been in storage. It was scheduled to be displayed at the Smithsonian in 2013, but the Obama administration cancelled it for reasons of their own, but certainly having to do with the fact that Turkey denies that its ancestor, the Ottoman Empire, committed genocide. The rug is now on display in the White House Visitor's Center, but it is mixed together with other foreign gifts to the White House in a display called "Thank You to the United States: Three Gifts to Presidents in Gratitude for American Generosity Abroad."
The Russian President's last day in office is a sardonic, sometimes bawdy take on Putin's misadventures in Ukraine. Byez Rubashka translates to "without shirt," paying homage to Putin's practice of posing for photos without wearing a shirt. The president's floozie is modeled after Putin's rhythmic gymnastics girlfriend, Alina Kabayeva, with Gimnastka translating to "gymnast." Putin really does have a $1+ billion palace on the Black Sea. Boobs-R-Us refers to Femen, the feminist organization famous for displaying breasts as a political protest, with "boobs" having two different meanings. The juxtaposition of Rubashka and Boobs-R-Us removing their shirts is intentional. Femen is originally from Ukraine, but is now based in Paris. Ubistvo Lyubovnik translates to "murder lover." Ciao Kakao is Russian, rhyming slang comparable to a 1950's song, "See you later, alligator," and cannot be taken literally. Kakao is the Russian word for "cocoa," referring to the chocolate factory Ukraine President Petro Poroshenko owns. Labia Likov's last name is pronounced "lick-off." Onher Chappedbutt was the best I could do with the name of Anna Chapman, the Russian spy and outstanding sex partner who was deported in 2010. Sneg translates to "snow" (then add "den"). All other names can be researched via an English dictionary.
Germany and Russia had been negotiating for an end to their part of WWI in December 1917, but the naïve Leon Trotsky declared "no war, no peace," thinking he was so clever and would end the war without granting Germany any concessions. Germany just began invading again, forcing Russia to accept much worse terms, resulting in Estonia, Finland, Latvia, Lithuania and a few other areas becoming independent after the end of the war. Ukraine realized what was going on and declared independence just a handful of weeks (January 1918) before the signing of the Brest-Litovsk Treaty in March 1918.
Putin believes that the total territory ever occupied by Russia and the Soviet Union are his to control, so he has set the wheels in motion to retrieve that land. His former economics advisor, Andrej Illarionov, said, "Parts of Georgia, Ukraine, Belarus, the Baltic States, and Finland are states where Putin claims to have ownership." Putin has already invaded the first two countries and the third is a charter member of his Eurasian Economic Union along with Kazakhstan. He is now working on Estonia, Finland, Latvia, and Lithuania. Russia's prosecutor-general is reviewing the legality of the 1991 decision granting the three Baltic countries independence, triggering an angry response from Lithuania's President Dalia Grybauskaite: "No one has the right to threaten [us] ... Our independence was gained through the blood and sacrifice of the Lithuanian people."
Currently there are more than 800,000 Russians from Ukraine who have moved to cities in Russia because their house or neighborhood was bombed. It is unknown if they will return, especially given the animosity which has developed between Ukrainians and Russian separatists. And the separatists who have stayed are ridiculing, beating, kidnapping, and imprisoning people with different points of view, as was true in the Soviet Union they idolize. Whether volunteer mercenaries or Russian regulars, troops with modern weaponry arrive via Russia on a regular basis. Some separatists fear that that the Ukrainian army will impress them into service, just as Bolsheviks did during the Russian Revolution, but as usual, the separatists have it backwards. Russian soldiers are being sent to Ukraine to fight, and if they are captured, Russia disavows all knowledge of their orders and declares them to be traitors, similar to what happened after the end of WWII when recently released Russian POWs were sent to the gulag after arrival back home for allegedly consorting with the enemy.
The Atlantic Council's report, Hiding In Plain Sight: Putin's War in Ukraine, is the last nail in the coffin of lies regarding Putin's invasion of Ukraine. Russian troops use camps just east of the border to launch attacks on Ukraine often using Grad rockets. Commanders have ordered soldiers to remove all Russian insignia. And Russian weapons which Ukraine never had have appeared in the possession of separatists.
The Obama administration has not sent weapons to Ukraine, but we were given the impression that the U.S. had sent non-lethal supplies, especially medical supplies. We were mislead. "We can operate, but it's like Vietnam War standards in here, or even 1943. People talk about America giving us weapons, but we don't just need weapons from America, we need health care. Sometimes the lights just go out, we need things as basic as lamps," stated 29-year-old Ukrainian surgeon Volodymyr Mykut.
The murder of 333 children, parents, and teachers at Beslan was Russia's 9/11, just like the downing of MH17 via a Buk missile was the Netherlands' 9/11, with separatists not concerned that their side was responsible for the murder of 298 children, women, and men. And just like George W. Bush who attempted to derail the 9/11 Commission because he knew it would accentuate his incompetence, Putin never supported an honest investigation of Beslan. The mistakes made in Beslan ten years ago are many: ignoring warnings, allowing the savages to bribe their way through checkpoints, possibly allowing the pre-positioning of weapons in the school building, never securing the scene to prevent amateurs from triggering a bloodbath (there are photos on the Internet), and the lack of a coherent plan. To this day it is unclear exactly what happened. Another national screw-up was the Moscow Nord-Ost siege where many hostages died because Moscow planners failed to account for the highly toxic gas used to incapacitate the savages, with many hostages drowning in their vomit because no one was told to simply turn them onto their stomachs to allow them to vomit the poison out. For further insights into the people of the Caucasus, search for "kavkaz" (or "Кавказ") on YouTube to find lots of videos of dancing at weddings, but also some videos (here's one) of wolves, pretty local women, and minarets interspersed with drawings of assault rifles and other military weapons. Not surprisingly, the Islamic State has now declared the Islamic countries of the Caucasus, Chechnya, Ingushetia, and Dagestan, to be the location of their next Islamic war.
But we should never confuse the true villains of Beslan: brutal Islamic terrorists. Nadezhda Guriyeva lost two of her three children during the siege. The Islamists made things as bad as possible for the hostages. "The militants broke the sinks and smashed the pipes so that we couldn't drink water. The [children] tried to soak it up in their shirts where it dripped in order to bring it back. Some children brought their moms water in their mouths," Guriyeva recalled. At the end, the Islamists murdered as many of the hostages as they could. "From the second-floor attic, the militants began firing at the backs of the children running away," Guriyeva recalled. One little girl who managed to escape ran straight to a drinking fountain, Guriyeva recalled. "She couldn't stay away from the fountain -- to the water. A sniper killed her on the spot." On every anniversary of the event, relatives and others bring bottles of water to School Number 1 in their memory.
Finland is persuaded to join NATO is my daydream of what a competent politician could do vis-à-vis Putin's hints at annexing the portions of Eastern European countries with large Russian populations, with Obama appearing to be a deer frozen in the international headlights. The story starts with a mention of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact of 1939 which divided Eastern Europe between two ruthless dictators, Hitler and Stalin, and installed Trojan Horses in Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania in the form of large numbers of ethnic Russians. Russian soldiers keep getting lost in Ukraine, so it's likely Putin has ideas about Finland too. Herbert Hoover deserves credit for his many humanitarian missions around the world, starting during WWI and continuing past WWII.
Press conference regarding the Malvinas reconquest by Argentina is a possible outcome of an obvious gap in the UK's defense strategy. For a number of years, Britain will not have any carriers capable of carrying fixed-wing aircraft and will only have one helicopter carrier starting at the end of 2014. The window of opportunity will only last until the first of the new carriers is ready in 2017-18. Argentina would never get another chance like this. The time frame of the press conference is February 2015. I got the idea for this story from the online comments of Brits who believe their country is the British Empire of old.