King of North Korea executes rebellious baron… via mortar round.

The official charge was for insolence shown towards the Dynasty, but it was clearly a measure designed to put the King’s vassals back under control of the central authority.  The method of execution was diagnostic (also somewhat… Byzantine):

Kim Chol, vice minister of the army, was taken into custody earlier this year on the orders of Kim Jong-un, who assumed the leadership after the death of his father in December.

On the orders of Kim Jong-un to leave “no trace of him behind, down to his hair,” according to South Korean media, Kim Chol was forced to stand on a spot that had been zeroed in for a mortar round and “obliterated.”

Note that I had to translate the titles: North Korea until quite recently was under a form of government known as Communism, which was quite popular in the last century despite the fact that it apparently makes its adherents abjectly stupid – and murderous, when possible.  Its ongoing evolution to hereditary monarchy is, of course, an improvement, but you have to expect a certain amount of barbarism in the process (it is uncertain whether this judicial murder was ordered by the King himself, or his uncle the Grand Vizier).  I would suggest that the remaining members of the North Korean baronages would find it well-advised to create some sort of united front to establish their rights and prerogatives; after all, as it currently stands King Jong-un can simply kill them off one by one.  If the barons need some ideas, this might prove to be a useful primer: I’m sure that somebody can translate it into Korean for them. Continue reading King of North Korea executes rebellious baron… via mortar round.

#rsrh North Korea flirts with the smallest possible market reforms EVER.

Disgustingly, that still makes this a pretty big deal:

It what could be the most drastic change to North Korea society since the nation’s founding, the government has announced new rules that would give farmers some small bit of ownership over the crops they grow. Under the new directives — which have not been publicly announced, but have been reported by some farm workers — farmers would be able to keep surplus crops, sell them at local markets, and keep the profits. Under the current central planning rules, farmers must turn over everything they harvest to the state, except for what they are allowed to keep for family use.

It’s a hell of a thing when the above represents a Great Leap Forward, as it were.  Then again, Marxism is intellectualism for stupid people, so I suppose that you have to grade the North Koreans on a curve. Or possibly the entire circle*. Continue reading #rsrh North Korea flirts with the smallest possible market reforms EVER.

#rsrh A fair approximation of Hell.

Trying to sample the nightlife scene in Pyongyang.  Executive summary: it doesn’t exist and you’re not allowed to leave the hotels at night anyway.  Or during the day, sans keeper.  Or ever, really.  This entire revelation is beggared by the fact that North Korea apparently has a tourism industry.  Why in God’s name would anybody go there, if they didn’t have to?  Sheer sadism?

…Don’t answer that: I suspect that the answer would be even more depressing.

Moe Lane

#rsrh Red Dawn Bad Guys now… North Korea?

You have got to be [expletive deleted] me… no.  No, no: they’re really going to turn the ChiComs into North Koreans for Red Dawn.  You see, the Chinese might get upset, and they’re a revenue source: but nobody in Hollywood cares if the North Koreans take offense.  After all, as Greg Gutfield notes, “…with that country, there’s nothing to be gained, financially. It’s as lucrative as a Kathy Griffin porn site.”

Yes, I know.  The goggles do nothing.

Anyway, it’s a shame: Libertas reviewed the film-that-was (SPOILERS), and it sounded fun.  Guess MGM just likes being collaborators.

Moe Lane


#rsrh Justin Bieber’s Online Contest.

What could possibly go wrong?

Justin Bieber is apparently the subject of a new Internet prank, which now has the singer facing a tour of North Korea.

Bieber held a contest on his website encouraging fans to vote for where the next stop on his “My World” tour should be, with no restrictions on which countries could be voted for.

Oh, dear.

The contest ended up with more than half a million votes to send the 16-year-old teen icon to the communist nation.


…and I don’t think that we need to go any further than that, do we? With that name you know how it ends, after all.  Anyway, somebody at Hot Air Headlines really, really wants this to happen; I’m just mildly impressed that the second place finisher was apparently Israel.  Which he should totally… sing, is it?  I’m apparently not in his target demographic*… for.

Moe Lane Continue reading #rsrh Justin Bieber’s Online Contest.

#rsrh QotD, Angry Capitalist Spectre edition. (NSFW)

Hot Air’s Allahpundit, on why the North Koreans suddenly decided to relax restrictions on their markets before everybody quite died of starvation:

The key to this[…] is last year’s currency exchange, in which the NorKs tried to counter inflation by announcing that 100 units of the extant currency would henceforth only be worth one unit. No problem there — except for one small detail. They set a limit on how much currency each citizen could exchange, so if you had the equivalent of $100,000 stashed away in “old” money and the exchange cap was set at $100 of “new” money, guess what: You just lost the equivalent of $90,000. With people’s savings up in smoke, a new round of starvation duly began and now they’re trying to head it off by all but declaring defeat at the hands of the vengeful ghost of Adam Smith.

Continue reading #rsrh QotD, Angry Capitalist Spectre edition. (NSFW)

#rsrh QotD, the Atlantic was once readable edition.

B.R. Myers:

The question of where Europe ends and Asia begins has troubled many people over the years, but here’s a rule of thumb: if someone can pose as an expert on the country in question without knowledge of the relevant language, it’s part of Asia.

– Quoted by The New Ledger’s Christopher Badeux, as part of his elegantly savage takedown of crypto-Durantyites* Ezra Klein and Matthew Yglesias.  Mind you, I don’t agree with everything Myers writes in that article… but it’s nice to read an Atlantic article where the author has no subconscious need to proactively wince over the magazine’s unseemly fascination with Sarah Palin’s uterus.

Moe Lane

*This was almost ‘neo-Durantyites,’ but I thought that I’d save that sneer for the first really hardcore apologists for Tienanmen Square.

Christian activist detained in North Korea?

Very possibly.

North Korean authorities have said they have arrested a US man who crossed into their territory.

The North’s official KCNA news agency said the man had entered the country from China on 24 December. There is no official word on the man’s identity.

However there have been reports that Robert Park, a US Christian activist, recently crossed into North Korea.

See also VoA News, whose reporter Kurt Achin makes no real attempt to hide the fact that he considers deliberately walking into North Korea in order to spread the Gospel to be the act of a madman.  Which it may or may not be; but it’s certainly not the act of a coward.  Particularly when he’s also telling the North Korean regime to shut down the concentration camps that you, I, and Kurt Achin all know exist there – even if Achin’s hiding behind a convenient ‘they say.’

Moe Lane

Crossposted to RedState.

Kim Jong-il may be dying of pancreatic cancer.

Not a nice way to go, if true.

SEOUL, South Korea — The North Korean leader Kim Jong-il, who suffered a stroke last August, was also found to have “life-threatening” pancreatic cancer around the same time, a South Korean cable television network reported on Monday.

The network, YTN, a cable news station, quoted unidentified Chinese and South Korean intelligence sources for the report, which was made by YTN’s correspondent in Beijing. The station did not explain how the sources obtained the sensitive medical information from North Korea, an isolated, nuclear-armed state that has kept details of its leader’s health a closely guarded secret.

So, what should I have for lunch? I was thinking maybe Mexican, but that would involve driving, and the place doesn’t have a drive-through. I could just grab something at the supermarket when I go – it’s within walking distance and the kid loves stroller rides – but it’s usually not really cost-efficient. Maybe I’ll just have a peanut butter sandwich.

Moe Lane

PS: You know what a common side-effect of pancreatic cancer is? Malnutrition. Which just goes to show: karma has a long memory.

Crossposted to RedState.

Time visits objective reality on North Korean nuclear test.

If you’re wondering why this Time article (“North Korean Nuke Test: What Good Is Diplomacy?“) sounds, well, sensible, take a look at the byline:

Bill Powell/Tokyo

It’s amazing how being somewhere that the lunatics in North Korea can easily hit with a nuclear weapon can clarify the mind. Although I am forced to point this out to Mr. Powell: his “usually very well-informed intelligence source in east Asia” may not have seen this coming, but John Bolton predicted it last week. Legal Insurrection is waiting to see whether anybody who criticized Mr. Bolton for that op-ed is going to retract, apologize, or correct their statements now.

Legal Insurrection will probably have a long wait.

Moe Lane

Crossposted to RedState.