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December 10, 2009



This is very good news. Too bad everyone is ignoring it.

I suspect our president will announce his never ending support of Kim Jong Il from Norway.


Truly astonishing news. God Bless Claudia Rosett, she never tires of exposing tyranny. What got the crowds riled? Not mass starvation, mass rape, censorship, but devaluation of the currency. Take careful note, Mr. Obama.

The Unbeliever

Our Commander-in-Chief just got a fancy prize for promoting peace. How much will that influence his reaction to a belligerent, repressive North Korean regime?


It's a toss up whether millions of North Koreans will freeze to death or simply starve this winter.

It doesn't matter that they take to the streets now. No one is coming to their assistance ; the Chinese will not let them pour over the borders; and no matter how much they resist even they need heat and food to survive and there isn't any.

Even if one could imagine a military coup, the successor to Jong wouldn't last long because he couldn't provide the essentials either and I don't see any volunteers coming to meet the peoples' essential needs.


$40 bucks a head .. whoa


the successor to Jong wouldn't last long because he couldn't provide the essentials either

But we could, and we would... because we are who we are.


Maybe we should announce that publicly.

"If you take out this regime, the U.S. will send food and help rebuild your country."

That would approach Peace Prize worthiness.


North Korean authorities imposed a surprise plan to revalue the country's currency, the won. The plan has entailed issuing new banknotes, lopping off two zeroes, so 1,000 won becomes 10.

That's weird. So they have something called "the won", and the actions of their crappy government are making people realize "the won" is worth a lot less than they had thought, and they're starting to criticize the government.

Joseph Brown

Unbeliever, about as much as it has Iran. Noooot very much.

JM Hanes


"Not mass starvation, mass rape, censorship, but devaluation of the currency. Take careful note, Mr. Obama."

Telling observation.


"If you take out this regime, the U.S. will send food and help rebuild your country."

GHWBush pretty much destroyed our credibility on that score, when the Shia gave it a shot in Iraq after the first gulf war.

Obama might throw the people of NK a rhetorical bone, but I'm not holding my breath. Obama's just not that into liberation, let alone nation building. He wants to go down in history as the One who de-nuclearized the world, which makes Kim Jong Il useful to him on the aspirational front, in a perverted sort of way.

Ironically, that may be where he is most doomed to failure, because he lost interest in the wider world when he left Columbia. He seems to have no real clue that the balance of powers and the international currents have utterly changed since then. Non-proliferation treaties are not what they used to be. Neither are nation states, as he may, finally, be discovering in Af/Pak. He's not only stuck in the Carterized version of realism, where it's easier to deal with dictators "who speak for all their people," he mistakes toothless politesse for diplomacy and confidence building measures for negotiations. I'm not sure he even understands the concept of bargaining chips, let alone how to use them.


has Obama bowed to Kim Jong Il yet, or did Bill Clinton act as a surrogate?

I just hope they don't shoot me down as I fly over tomorrow night. Off for another week of censorship tomorrow morning.....


the country's currency, the won.

Yes, our One has been devalued, too.


Have fun and be careful, Matt.

Manuel Transmission


If you are going to China, please let us know whether you can load JOM on your browser. I only had my iPhone and it would not. (Obviously, if you can't, we will have to wait till your return.)

Safe travels.


Take care, Matt.


Hey Man tran - are you guys going to the April 15th tea party?



Would you tentatively put me down as a yes for 15 April. Just a cushion on any floor anywhere in the area regardless.


Hope it was a good trip. I would welcome any impressions of your hosts, co-workers, waitresses, bartenders etc, during the massive Beijing snowstorm etc. just about anything that really struck you. As for JOM, I find it's accessible in Shanghai and Hong Kong, but forbidden in Guangzhou and ShenZhen. Don't know why, but that's just my experience.

hurr durr

Hey, Tom, I might know you.

Are you from Florida?

Somewhere in the UF region?

Hit me up at the email addy on my comment.


GHWBush pretty much destroyed our credibility on that score

How would North Koreans know about that, though?

Manuel Transmission

Hey Man tran - are you guys going to the April 15th tea party?

It's possible. I may be in Japan the week before, but our little peashooter can get us across country in one day with luck. I will check with Nancy to see if she can put us up.


Had lots of interesting observations/experiences. Have not yet had the chance to write them down, but this weekend may slow down enough to get at it. (gawd, this here semi-retirement ain't what it was cracked up to be.)

JM Hanes


Once you've suspended disbelief about them hearing the offer, the credibility gap is not such a leap, no?


Yes, yes it is. All it would take for them to hear the offer is a simple chain of events:

-Obama decides to invite women to a basketball game for a change;

-during which Sibelius lays him out with a pick;

-and in the 3rd hour of his Acting Presidency, Joe Biden (up late with a tummyache after too much soup) watches the DVD of the episode of the West Wing where the North Korean pianist tries to defect,
-stirring Biden to call for a massive propaganda push into North Korea with radio signals, tv broadcasts, some of those planes like you see at the beach with the car dealership ad banners behind them, maybe some of those - whaddya call 'em, not zeppelins - blimps, all telling the Norks to rise up and we got their back, so let's do this thing, ok, fellas?

-which order is given to a new military attache, who hasn't yet been instructed that orders from the Vice President are to be met with a snappy "Yes, Sir!" after which you can go right back to Facebook or whatever.

Really, if the basketball game ever goes co-ed, the rest is almost inevitable.


Heh. Sounds like a plan.


"but forbidden in Guangzhou"

It's been forbidden at the motel we stay at in Cedar Rapids Iowa, ever since I found JOM, at least 3 years now.

JM Hanes


I lived in Cedar Rapids as a child!


JH Hanes, I grew up on a farm near Vinton, have brother and sister living in Cedar Rapids now. Plus a brother still farming in the area.

JM Hanes


The world keeps getting smaller, doesn't it? When we moved back to Massachusetts from Iowa, we used to tell people that we kept our chickens in the house and then roll on the floor laughing when they actually believed us. By the time MA had turned us back into Yankees, the folks in South Carolina would have had the last laugh, if they had known what we expected when we moved to the south.


JM Hanes, almost 30 yrs in South Carolina, too, but no MA.

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