I’m in Kansas City this week on a vacation that’s a side effect of my wife’s serious operation back in Feb. As she couldn’t go on the trip with her sister as planned and had to use up our voucher miles before Sept or lose them she suggested finding somewhere that the RedSox were playing and go see them there. This is the first time since I started writing that I’ve been somewhere without the express purpose to cover some political event or conference. The only work I’ll be doing are this week’s posts and perhaps the odd interview if one drops into my lap. It is so weird to wake up somewhere else without having to be somewhere or to have 30 or 50 interviews to upload. Of course given that the Room AC is not working properly and I spent two hours on twitter and on the phone between priceline and the sheraton four points people and their parent company trying to resolve it due to my wife’s breathing issues it’s even weirder. It seems the final plan was to keep her awake all night trying to get things fixed till she was too tired to not fall asleep even with no AC in the summer heat and the noise of the rather loud fan they provided. I presume that plan worked because while I stopped tweeting on it at 1:30 AM and fell asleep soon after, as of this writing (9:30 am central) she and my son are still out like lights so I don’t know when they finally gave up and crashed. Even odder the room isn’t oppressively hot as it was when I dropped off so I guess at least for a brief time during the night the AC kicked in and combined with the rather loud fan managed to drop the temp to an OK level, but then again I grew up without AC and never had breathing issues and can sleep on a wooden pallet with a piece of cardboard on it so the real test will be how DaWife feels when she wakes up. The last gave of the series is a 1:05 start so I’d like to get her up early so we can get a spot of breakfast but as I don’t know when she got to sleep I think I’ll let her sleep as late as we safely can.

Now I know why my parents never went on vacations.

Kaufman Stadium is a lovely place to watch a baseball game but as in Denver it’s still very odd to go to a ball park and: Not see it full, See promotion after promotion during the game, see the necessity for the scoreboard to be used to get the crowd to make noise. But that’s the difference between practically selling out an entire season and having to draw people. Our three tickets for the first game at Kaufman stadium in the upper deck of left field cost what it would have set us back for Standing room in Fenway park…for one of us.

This is my first trip to the midwest and there is a real sense of Deja vu in coming to a place like this. I’m reminded of the days of my youth when Massachusetts was populated by normal people with normal values and not run by frenzied leftists. If I was younger I’d leave for a place like this in a second as the liberal New England in general and Massachusetts in particular is no place to raise a family if you don’t want to have to fight every day to raise your children as Faithful Catholics or Christians of any stripe. You can’t imagine how much I miss those days, it’s also the reason why there are so many Red Sox Fans everywhere else. People might leave the craziness of New England but one’s love of the Red Sox comes with you.

The Death of Otto Warmbier is to some degree a surprise. One might think that to North Korea an American foolish enough to put themselves willingly in their hands is an asset to exploit so normally one might think that any torture would be designed to be painful but not fatal however it’s a vivid reminder that with the Norks you are dealing with one of the worst regimes in the history of history and unless your a Christian Missionary ready to become a Christian Martyr giving your life in the hopes of saving souls, it’s not a place to willingly put yourself.

The left’s pious insults concerning Mr. Warmbier’s death and their previous statements concerning “white privilege” come as no surprise as sadly I’ve come to expect no better from them, the real question is what kind of retaliation will we see from this president. What price will the Norks be made to pay and how will he pull it off without setting and can he afford to be patient in making them pay that price.

Yet another special election (actually two as there was one in SC as well that the Democrats decided to concede rather than sink a fortune in) is now over and Karen Handel despite being an unexciting candidate managed a five point win despite millions of dollars from the bluest states there pouring into the state to defeat her. I think this from Hotair is telling:

 

11:10 pm: Finally, here is Karen Handel’s victory speech. At 2:30 Handel thanks President Trump and the crowd responds “Trump! Trump! Trump!” At 3:15 she thanks Steve Scalise and spends a moment talking about the need to find “a more civil way” to disagree. “In these United States of America, no one should ever feel their life threatened over political beliefs and positions,”

 

I think that while the DC shooter managed to only wound Steve scalise, he managed to kill Democrat chances to win in GA06 as voters in that district who might have stayed home decided they didn’t want to reward attempted murder. Of course this doesn’t change the fact that the GOP needs to get moving on their agenda as Chris Muir seems to have pegged.

The attack by Mr. Osborne in London was, in my opinion one of the most predictable crimes in the history of history in terms of simple mathematical statistics. Given that we’ve had over 31,000 Islamic Terror attacks worldwide since 9/11 (40 attacks in 15 countries from June 10th though the 16th alone) sooner or later probability stated that you would actually get a westiner targeting Muslims. I have no problem calling what he did terror, but I insist that leftists who do so do the same concerning every other attack done by Muslims in the name of Islam. The real question is will the same people willing to throw collective guilt on Englishmen over this attack respond in a similar way to what happened in Brussels yesterday?

It also plays into one of the things I’ve predicted, the longer both the authorities in power and moderate muslims decide to deny and ignore the danger of radical islam, the more likely you’ll see people like Osborne decide to, in his mind, strike back. I expect to see many more like him if the state of denial continues. This of course does not justify his acts of murder which not only need to be vigorously prosecuted but punished to the fullest extent of the law.

A little Doctor Who, I see that Big Finish has decided to give a series to Derick Jacobi playing the “War Master”. Jacobi’s time as the Master on screen lasted less that 15 minutes before he regenerated into John Simm but during that time he ruled the screen. I’ve often wondered what he would have done with the role if he had been given more time. Now we’ll find out.

Finally we are going to be seeing the first Multi-master story in Doctor who outside of Big Finish My bet is that Michelle Gomez Master is killed by John Simm’s master with her at the moment of death remembering doing so. Even if I’m wrong the word is she will not be returning to the role. While I wasn’t a fan of the whole gender bender business Gomez made the part her own and has simply owned every scene she has been in in a way we haven’t seen since Alex Kingston. Doctor Who fans will miss her.

Update:  Dropped a “r” from Otto Warmbier’s name, corrected

All I could do is shake my head when I saw this:

A US citizen working as a university lecturer has been detained by authorities in North Korea – becoming the third American to be held in the country.

Korean-American Kim Sang-duk, also known as Tony Kim, taught at Pyongyang University of Science Technology (PUST) for a month before being arrested on Saturday (22 April) while trying to leave the country.

The reason for his detention is not known but comes as tensions ratchet up over North Korea’s nuclear weapons and missile testing.

Seriously, this guy is an educated college professor, and a person of Korean ancestry no less and he seriously thought it was a good idea to head over to North Korea to teach?

That’s pretty dumb but this is even dumber:

Last year, Otto Warmbier, then a 21-year-old University of Virginia student from Cincinnati, was sentenced to 15 years of hard labour after confessing to trying to steal a propaganda banner.

He had been on a guided tour with a travel company but was detained on 2 January 2016 at Pyongyang airport while trying to leave the country. In announcing his arrest, the state news media said Warmbier had visited North Korea with the intent of “bringing down the foundation of its single-minded unity”.

A guided tour of North Korea? What’s the name of the company: Gulags are us?

Now as a human being I of course have pity in the sense that no person should be subject to the horrors of the North Korean state, but unlike the unfortunates born there these idiots willingly decided it was a good idea to visit one of the most repressive countries on the planet.

I’m sorry but if you are stupid enough to go there you deserve a Darwin Award straight up.

And don’t even THINK for one moment that the US should make a deal to get you out. It’s iffy enough to make a deal that compromises us as a nation to get out an innocent victim out of trouble, to do so to get an idiot like these guys, not a chance.

I think both our media and the North Koreans are making themselves out as a bigger danger than they actually are

But beyond that I think that the over the top threats that the norks make are simply that, made for public consumption at home and to intimidate the fearful abroad.

You see in the end North Korea’s personality cult is not the same as Islam.

While radical Islamists are willing to die to advance their cause the leadership of North Korea is under no delusion as to the state of their state nor the cause of their ability to live high off the hog in  land that doesn’t have all that many hogs in the first place.

So like any bully they will take advantage of weaknesses or lapses of judgement (the Pueblo Incident being a great example of this btw) to push the weak around.  But they are not going to take any step that could end their gravy train.

And a nuclear strike would do so.  It would invite retaliation that would devastate the county and decapitate their leadership.

It’s one thing to oppress the folks of a slave state to get ahead, it’s quite another to risk retaliation that can get you killed particularly when dealing with a president that they consider more unpredictable then they are

And this isn’t 1968 when the North Koreans could count on the military support of an isolated China, but now China is ecnomically tied to the west in general and the United States in particular.

As long as the west’s leadership was easily intimidated then China was all on board because their erratic behavior caused the west to worry about what they might do and brought concessions.

But now that their erratic behavior causes China to worry about what we might do, well that’s a different game entirely.

So when you hear people all worried about World War 3 breaking out on the Korean Peninsula, don’t.


EC-121, similar to the one shot down by North Korea. Image courtesy of stationhypo.com

So how about that North Korean aggression?  No, I’m not talking about nuclear tests or sinking South Korean vessels.  Let’s talk about the long history North Korea has of aggression.

On this day in 1969, North Korea sent two fighters into international waters and shot down an unarmed reconnaissance aircraft. You can make all the arguments you want about whether we should have been there or not, but the reality is that we subscribe to international law and allow unrestricted operations in international waters.  This means that when occasionally other people do things we don’t like, such as Russia sending spy ships off our coast, our first reaction isn’t to lob a missile at them.

Later, in 1976, North Korea would murder two Army officers with axes who were trying to chop down a tree in the Joint Security Area.  Before either of these two incidents, North Korea took (and still has) the USNS Pueblo and its crew hostage.

On top of this, North Korea engaged in brutal persecution of Catholics in the area.  This is not the lame American version of persecution that we hear echoed in university halls.  It’s straight up martyrdom for being Catholic, at the end of the barrel of a gun.

As we celebrate Easter tomorrow, let’s pause to remember that the war didn’t stop in 1953.  Remember that 31 Americans gave their lives while monitoring a country so that we could avoid war.  Pray for the people of North Korea, that perhaps one day they’ll know true freedom and be saved from a savagely oppressive government.


This post represents the views of the author and does not represent official views of the Department of Defense, Department of the Navy, or any other government agency.

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by baldilocks

Was Bush right? It depends, of course, on what the topic is.

Zero Hedge points to Statista and YouGov polls containing the following information:

Americans have consistently identified ISIS as the biggest threat to their nation across multiple polls. Traditional foes, such as the countries making up George W. Bush’s infamous “Axis Of Evil”, have been pushed into the background by the rise of non-state actors like Al-Qaeda and ISIS. In recent years however, Statista’s Niall McCarthy notes that the threat presented by some of America’s traditional enemies has started to manifest itself once again. Russia’s annexation of Crimea came as a reality check to the Obama administration while as recently as last Saturday, North Korea conducted a ballistic missile test.

YouGov conducted a poll to find out which countries Americans perceive as their nation’s biggest enemies. North Korea has continued to make headlines even after that missile launch with news emerging earlier this week that Kim-Jong-un’s half brother was allegedly poisoned in an airport in Malaysia. Both incidents have illustrated the unpredictability of the nuclear-armed regime in Pyongyang and it comes as little surprise that 57 percent of Americans consider North Korea their enemy.

Recall that George W. Bush named Iraq, North Korea and Iran as the Axis of Evil. In spite of the big headlines that feature Russia as the biggest Bad Guy, the Russians come in sixth on chart–which, of course, does not mean that they aren’t a bigger threat than is perceived by the polled. (Aside: while reading all the reportage about Russia today, I briefly felt 25 years-old again, but my hair color is telling a different story.)

Iran came in second. Syria and Iraq came in third and fourth, respectively–ISIS; and Afghanistan is fifth.

Does the American public have a better handle on who America’s enemies are than their leaders do, both of the recent past and the present? Time will tell. But I think that these polls may show one thing: that Mainstream Media propaganda isn’t as effective as it may seem to those of us who lament its existence. That’s cause for hope.

Juliette Akinyi Ochieng blogs at baldilocks. (Her older blog is located here.) Her first novel, Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game, was published in 2012. Her second novel tentatively titled Arlen’s Harem, will be done on February 2017! Follow her on Twitter.

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baldilocks

By John Ruberry

This year could end up being the most tumultuous year since 1968. During that year there was of course a heated presidential election, the Democrats nominated Vice President Hubert Humphrey, who represented the status quo, one that was not especially popular. The Republicans chose a former vice president, Richard Nixon, whose critics decried as someone who presented a dark vision of America. Sound familiar?Chicago Police SUV

Missing of course in 2016 is a third-party presidential candidate who can win electoral votes; in 1968 avowed segregationist and renegade Democrat George Wallace fed on racial discord–and there is plenty of that this year, most of it brought on by leftist groups such as Black Lives Matter, which seems very keen on protesting the rare shootings of African-American criminal suspects but is largely on silent on the daily carnage in cities such as Chicago, where so far this weekend over thirty people, most of them black, have been shot. In most of these shootings it’s very likely that other blacks pulled the trigger.

What is largely forgotten about the 1968 election is that it was the first presidential contest since Reconstruction in which a southern blacks voted in large numbers.

We’ve progressed far.

The penultimate year of the turbulent 1960s also brought us the Tet Offensive of the Vietnam War, North Korea’s seizure of the USS Pueblo, the Warsaw Pact invasion of Czechoslovakia, the assassination of Robert F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King–the anger from the latter caused dozens of deadly riots in American cities–the May Insurrection in France, and the turmoil of the Democratic National Convention in Chicago.

John ruberry
John “Lee” Ruberry of the Magnificent Seven

I’m sure I overlooked something.

This year has seen several deadly Islamist terrorist attacks, including last month’s Orlando night club shooting and the Nice, France truck killings, two assassination tragedies–one in Dallas and the other in Louisiana–where multiple police officers were killed, “Brexit,” Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, the attempted coup in Turkey, and of course the frenzied US presidential campaign.

Remember: We still have five more months in 2016.

On the positive end, the Apollo 8 mission brought the moon within reach at the end of 1968.

Let’s hope 2016 ends with good news.

Oh, it was also in late 1968 when Star Trek’s “Plato’s Stepchildren” episode aired. Captain Kirk and Lieutenant Uhura delivered American television’s first kiss between a black and a white, and this embrace was not an innocent peck on the cheek.

As Mitch Albom wrote in Tuesdays With Morrie, “Love wins. Always.”

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit. And yes, he was alive in 1968.

Michael Corleone: Senator? You can have my answer now, if you like. My final offer is this: nothing. Not even the fee for the gaming license, which I would appreciate if you would put up personally.

The Godfather Part II 1974

The North Koreans are once again making threats, holding wargames and firing missiles into the sea.

The purpose of these moves is to remind us of their power and cause us to quake in fear.

Given these facts here is my suggested public response to these provocative moves by North Korea

Nothing.

No statements by the press, no interviews on the news warning of the danger, no diplomats entreating China to make sure North Korea behaves.

To be sure our military should pay attention, the actual Generals and soldiers whose job it is to make sure the North Koreans don’t actually invade the South or to make sure no North Korean Missile hits Japan or anywhere else.

But the reality is the North Korean crime family is only sustained by their patron China and will not attack without their permission or by their command.  We need to keep an eye on their attempts to sell their bombs but we should pay them no more attention than the FBI should a neighborhood crime boss, small time crooks trying to make themselves look big.

They just signed a two trade and scientific-technical development protocols.

No, the Cuban communists and the North Korean are not in the States Sponsors of Terrorism list.

Yes, they have been caught playing footsie with 240 metric tons‘ worth of Soviet-era weapons and fighter jets hidden under sacks of sugar at least once (maybe attempting a second try), while negotiating the U.S. easing the so-called “embargo”.

Yes, a stolen Hellfire missile was shipped to Europe via commercial carrier in early 2014 (again, while the Obama administration was finalizing its easement of relations with the Communist dictatorship), and months later, in June, “Lockheed Martin officials realized the missile was missing” but is likely in Cuba.

Yes, Cuba and North Korea officials have been visiting each other recently,

In June 2015 Raúl Castro hosted Kang Sok Su, the secretary of international relations for the North Korean Workers’ Party. In September Mr. Kim received Cuban Vice President Miguel Díaz-Canel in Pyongyang. Cuba’s state-owned newspaper Granma reported that Mr. Kim sent “an affectionate greeting” to the Castro boys during the visit. It also said that Messrs. Díaz-Canel and Kim discussed the two countries’ close relations and mutual cooperation.

And now they have put it on paper, for “the transaction of goods through the barter mode of exchange.” Makes you wonder,

Maybe this new “scientific-technical development” protocol involves the stolen U.S. Hellfire missile that Castro refuses to return, despite Obama’s endless diplomatic overtures and economic concessions.

Also in the news today,

Meanwhile, Japan has placed its military on high alert today over the possibility of a North Korean ballistic missile launch.

What could possibly go wrong?

Fausta Rodriguez Wertz writes on U.S, and Latin American politics, news, and culture at Fausta’s Blog.

[Spoilers ahead. Proceed accordingly.]

It was Christmas Day, the gifts were opened, brunch was done, and I have watched The Princess Bride and A Christmas Story enough times I can lip-synch them, but I felt like watching something.

Of course, I had to watch The Interview.

Mind you, for as long as I can remember, I have made it a point to watch/read banned films/books. The Interview is available on YouTube, my TV can play YouTubes, so I plunked down $6.

It was worth it. It’s a very funny serious movie.

Claudia Rosett found The Interview

crude, vulgar, silly, tedious at times and crammed with what we might politely call locker-room gags, presumably meant to appeal to the lowest common denominator of modern pop culture.

I’m cool with that.

But,

as a graphic jab at North Korea’s totalitarian system, including its third-generation current tyrant, Kim Jong Un, The Interview — despite its lavish dose of rubbish — is a standout achievement. It is a burlesque laced with moments of truth that anyone can understand.

Rich Klein finds that “The Interview” really does subvert North Korea’s regime.

Much has been said about The Interview’s scene where Kim Jong Un gets blown up to smithereens. The real-life Kim probably threw a hissy fit over that, but what should keep him awake at night is the interview itself, which celebrity talk show host Dave Skylark (played by James Franco) starts with pre-scripted questions and hits gold by asking

why the country can spend billions of dollars on a nuclear weapons program but needs $100 million in UN aid each year to feed its people.

Kim (played by the very funny Randall Park), a master manipulator of the media, had wooed Skylark with everything from orgies to Soviet tanks in preparation to the interview. It reminded me of Fidel Castro taking Barbara Walters for a ride back in the day, by land,

and by sea,

in preparation for Barbara Walters’s interviews of Fidel Castro (you can watch the 20/20 here).

In real life, however, Barbara refers to Fidel as “charismatic, magnetic,” so she didn’t do an interview like The Interview.

Rich Klein, again,

Think of the movie as Chernobyl for the digital age. Just as the nuclear catastrophe in the Soviet Union and the dangerously clumsy efforts to hide it exposed the Kremlin’s leadership as inept and morally bankrupt, overseeing a superpower rusting from the inside, so does The Interview risk eroding the myths, fabrications and bluster that keep the Kim dynasty in power.

Those who know how ought to dub and make the Interview available in North Korea, and in every country where tyrants thrive on personality cults. Venezuela. Cuba. And the stops in the Jennifer Lopez dictator tour.

(The Interview has plenty of foul language, sexual situations, gore and violence, so you do not want your children around when it’s playing.)

Fausta Rodriguez Wertz writes on U.S. and Latin American politics, news and culture at Fausta’s Blog.

Don Corleone: . And if by some chance an honest man like yourself made enemies they would become my enemies. And then, they would fear you.

The Godfather 1072

Do you need a last-minute Christmas gift for someone who is hard to buy for? The North Korean Government has the perfect gift for you!

The Government of North Korea would like to thank the people at Sony & Paramount for making this new source of foreign capital possible.

Incidentally Sony, when murderous bastards try to intimidate you, this is how you respond.

Olimometer 2.52

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