William Thien

Archive for the ‘North vs. South Korea’ Category

A lot of pundits and Washington types have said Trump is playing the North Korea situation all wrong.

I disagree. Trump has made an overture to meet with North Korea’s leadership personally. What he is saying is that he is willing to do anything and everything he can to avert a nuclear exchange. What more could the country ask for on this matter? You really can’t ask for more than that.

Copyright © William Thien 2017

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Recently two westerners were convicted of crimes against the state in North Korea, a communist country that I’ve written about in the past, and both westerners were subject to harsh sentences to be served in North Korean prison camps, which is often a death sentence.

The sentence for one of the indicted, a student named Otto Warmbier, will be fifteen years of hard labor in a North Korean prison camp for attempting to take a propaganda poster home with him upon his return from a college trip.

Another, a Korean born American convicted of stealing secrets and “unpardonable espionage” received only a ten year sentence.

Aside from the disparity in sentences for the two seemingly different levels of crime, one rather petty and the other considered serious by all governments, the thought occurred to me that the reason for the harsh sentences, which are somewhat out of character for westerners, is that North Korea is reacting to the idiotic film that recently came out of Hollywood and Sony Pictures titled “The Interview,” where the leader of North Korea is spoofed rather thoroughly and his head is exploded while the country of North Korea is mocked rather severely.

Otto Warmbier, a college student on a visit, merely attempted to take a propaganda poster as a sort of triumphal souvenir that we all might be tempted to snatch at that age and his sentence was substantially longer than that of Kim Dong Chul, who was convicted of espionage.

This may seem like a stretch, but the major differences in punishment and the methods North Korea used to announce the punishments indicate to me that North Korea is administering revenge for the ridiculous film “The Interview” produced by Sony Pictures. What else explains the differences in punishment for two substantially different levels of crime? We have little to go on but North Korea is a reclusive, communist country. What else is there? In fact, the mere absence of anything to go on indicates to me that it is exactly that, a response to the movie which explains the harsh sentences.

In my previous writings on the subject of the arrangement of North and South Korea and the DMZ I intimated that The US has received the short end of the stick in the matter.

Now it appears The US is getting wrapped over the hands with that same stick and is not only losing out economically from the unusual arrangement South Korea profits so thoroughly from, The US is being substantially marginalized by what appears to me to be perhaps some unspoken agreement between North and South Korea to perpetuate the arrangement that will certainly not end well for The US.

Copyright © William Thien 2016

 

Anyone who reads my blog regularly knows I find communism an abhorrent form of government.

I am also not the biggest fan of the benefits South Korea obtains from our presence there along the demilitarized zone between North and South Korea, either. I think South Korea floods our markets with electronics and cars, something they would not be capable of were it not for our military presence, and it is disingenuous of the South Koreans to benefit in our marketplace so thoroughly while we use our resources to defend them and simultaneously enable their competitiveness. This is of course an indication of their superior foreign diplomatic prowess and our lack thereof. But that’s another subject altogether. Getting back on topic though, I must take issue with the recent developing calamity between Sony Pictures and North Korea. If you don’t read the news, Sony Pictures and The United States are claiming that North Korea has hacked Sony Picture’s computer systems and has also threatened to attack theaters showing a Sony Pictures film titled “The Interview,” a comedy which mocks Kim Jong Un, the leader of North Korea and apparently the film also has scenes showing the assassination of Kim Jong.

Sony Pictures has decided not to air the film in theaters now due to threats that the theaters will be the targets of physical attacks. It has been determined, or decided, I’m not sure which one and I’m not sure anyone really is truly sure where the threats are coming from, that North Korea is sponsoring terror as a result of the threats. I am confident the FBI is on to something, but internet security experts are not so sure, and all of the nefarious political activity only muddles the circumstances. Talk has arisen about putting North Korea back on the Nations that Sponsor Terrorism list, a list from which they were removed by President Bush in 2008 I believe.

All manner of actors and actresses, politicians and whomever have come out in support of Sony with talk against North Korea for creating a “chilling effect” against creativity in the film industry. The actors refer to the film as “art,” and “drama,” in their statements and they make all types of comments about North Korea’s leader.

Not to support North Korea or its leader, but from what I know of the film, which of course hasn’t been released as of yet, but we know a substantial amount of the story line by now hearing about it, from what I know of the film it crosses the line rather thoroughly from “art” into what could very easily be called “propaganda.” I’ve blogged in the past asking the very question, “Is Hollywood Entertainment or Propaganda?” Often, I believe it is more propaganda than art, though cleverly so.

Clearly the nature of this film has propagandistic qualities. The leader of North Korea is thoroughly lampooned and his image is physically desecrated. Certain elements of US government agencies are depicted in the film and there are discussions about assassinating the leader of North Korea.

Ladies and gentlemen, a serious line is crossed in the film and it amazes me that Hollywood should expect to be insulated from the consequences of their behavior in that regard. North Korea is believed to be a nuclear power, now. We are made aware by our often propagandistic media of the tenuous nature of the leader of North Korea. Not too long ago The US was on missile watch.

Why should Sony Pictures feel they should be immune from any repercussions to such behavior as they develop such a device as a propagandistic campaign to denigrate the leader of a foreign county, however unstable that nation is? “What imbecile at Sony Pictures made that decision?” That should be the question the world is asking!

How many times have we heard in the last ten years about Muslim fundamentalists beheading Americans and foreigners because of a small, square cartoon in some obscure foreign newspaper which depicts Islam negatively? We live in the electronic age. It’s only moments before someone will see something half way around the world.

I have heard not fewer than ten actors make some sort of outlandish comment about North Korea since the beginning of this episode as if they were somehow historical scholars about North Korea and we are supposed to consider what they have to say as gospel because they come from tinsel town.

Whether it is in fact North Korea that is sponsoring the threats we have been hearing about or not, that really isn’t the real issue at hand. The issue at hand is that Sony Pictures is crying wolf after throwing stones and waking up a sleeping dog. Really, Sony Pictures?

And who knows, this could all be some sort of publicity stunt gone terribly wrong? In fact, I’d be willing to wager that is exactly what has happened if I had the time and resources to investigate it myself. Because I certainly don’t trust what is happening with the circumstances. Hollywood is renowned for such efforts. In Hollywood, as the saying goes “any publicity is better than no publicity.”

I wonder what Hollywood would say if God forbid a nuclear bomb went off in Los Angeles about now? One thing is for sure, if “The Interview” is indeed a work of art and a comedy and not political propaganda, we would know who had the last laugh.

F’ing idiots! What did you expect? And to schedule the release during the holidays!

Copyright © William Thien 2014

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Just five months ago you would have thought with all of the war mongering going on in the media that we’d be at war with North Korea. It was as if some secret machine located in an undisclosed location was firing up and driving the country to the brink of war with the recalcitrant North Korean Kim Jong Un. Now famous sports personalities are defending the character of North Korean Leadership after visiting Pyong Yang and we are now at the brink of another war, that of Syria.

My take on the matter is that if one of our primary motivations in attacking North Korea was that it was a communist nation, why bother? We have our own communism right here in The United States and we can’t control it. Then it occurred to me that South Korea has benefited handily from the precarious relationship between itself and North Korea while The United States mans The DMZ (Demilitarized Zone) at huge expense to The US taxpayer. South Korea has been able to install its products into the US market with certainty. Had South Korea had to man its own border between the north and south, it would have never been able to revitalize its industry, create new industry, and totally revitalize its infrastructure. Military activity is expensive and South Korea has only been able to establish itself in The US and world markets because The United States has picked up the cost of defending South Korea.

Here is my original post on the matter from five months ago, since most have forgotten that something was driving the country to the brink of war over what now would appear to be nothing, unjustified, and over what is really a rather obvious reflection of political behavior right here in our own country.

Last night just after midnight I was woken up by sirens, which is unusual for where I live and I have to admit for some reason one of the first thoughts that occurred to me was, “Damn, the North Koreans have launched the nukes.” It’s been in the news so much lately, it is one of the first things that came to mind. I immediately checked the news on my smart phone. Nothing. Whew, that was lucky.

Then, as I lay in bed trying to return to sleep the subject of North Korea rattled around in my head. I began to ask why Korea was such a strategic place for US Military forces to be? We have a large military contingent on what is called The Demilitarized Zone between North and South Korea. We have been told for decades that The United States Military is on what is called The Demilitarized Zone between North and South Korea to prevent the spread of communism, that North Korea is an aggressor and would attack South Korea, the remnants of a failed attempt sixty years ago. As recently as two or three years ago we were told North Korea shelled with artillery an island belonging to South Korea in fact. There were reports of it on the news.

So, we were told then as we have always been told that North Korea is a brutal communist dictatorship and that we must do everything in our power, at huge expense to the American public mind you, to prevent the North Korean military from spilling over into South Korea, not only to protect South Korea, but in particular to prevent the spread of communism.

Then, while still trying to fall asleep, the thought occurred to me that South Korean manufacturers have flooded our markets with massive amounts of electronics and automobiles, so much so that it has displaced huge numbers of our own American made products. When first introduced, South Korean autos touted 100,000 mile warranties. That of course attracted huge attention amongst the auto buying public who were sick of the planned obsolescence coming out of Detroit. Two or three decades ago American auto manufacturers started selling cars branded with American brands that were manufactured in South Korea.
Now, you might ask, what does the manufacturing prowess of South Korea have to do with preventing the spread of the brutal communist dictatorship of North Korea? Please, continue.


But not only has South Korea been able to displace huge amounts of American productivity and industry with its own, South Korea has also seen a massive modernization of its cities and countryside. The whole of South Korea offers free WiFi. You don’t have to pay to access the internet in South Korea. They’ve wired the entire country. They have new roads, modern cities with modern (I mean the last twenty years all new) infrastructure, new schools with low teacher-student ratios, you name it. South Korea is booming, I mean booming.

Then the questions occurred to me, Why are we working so hard and at huge tax payer expense to prevent the spread of communism from North Korea to South Korea when right here in America we have massive socialist/communist programs of our own which we can’t afford, and also why are we spending so much money trying to save the South Koreans from the spread of communism from North Korea when South Korea has been able to entirely revitalize its national infrastructure while we can’t even afford to revitalize our own?

South Korea could never have positioned itself in our economy with such force had it had to address the problem of North Korea on its own. It could not have afforded it.

Right here in America we are having trouble trying to find out where to come up with money to resurface our roads and staff our schools. Where are our priorities, people? It is one thing to help your neighbor. It’s another entirely to pay for his dinner every night when you hardly ever sit at the same table.

South Korean manufacturers are directly competing with our manufacturers but could never afford to do so if they had to cover the entire cost of the containment of communism from The North Koreans. South Korea would have to tax South Korean manufacturers at a dramatically higher level as well as the citizenry in order to contain communism from the north.
Do you see what I’m getting at? Not only are we spending massive amounts of money to prevent the spread of communism from North Korea to South Korea, we are enabling South Korean industry to entirely undermine our own, and we are using our own money to do that. It’s almost insane if it is not. Yet, I know men right here in America who can’t locate decent employment with good benefits to support their families anymore.

On top of all that, we have massive communism right here in America. Single women in America earn $46,000 per year in benefits for having children out-of-wedlock! That’s just for their first child! No wonder forty-one percent of the babies born in 2011 were born to single mothers. It’s one of the best paying jobs out there! It’s sex for money! Don’t be fooled. That’s exactly what it is. Illegal immigrants receive an average tax refund of $1,826, substantially more than my own! Where I reside if you have children, you get free health care if you want it, not just for the children, but for yourself as well. That’s the number one way many get themselves free health care! They screw themselves right into receiving the benefits! Because I’m single I myself have no health care benefits. None. I just pay for everyone else’s. I have devised a term for such government, I call it “Selective Communism” and it is worse than plain old communism because it is exclusive, discriminatory, and dishonest. Have you had a problem with addictive substances? Chances are you are eligible for Social Security Benefits. Don’t like to work? Maybe you can get Social Security Benefits for that as well.

We have communism right here in the United States that we can’t contain and can’t afford, ladies and gentlemen. It’s everywhere. Why are we trying to contain it in Korea and at the same time enabling their industry to undermine our own industry? The South Korean leadership has used these circumstances much to the benefit of their own country and very little to our own. They must know this arrangement is to their benefit. And sadly, by the same token it is not unlikely that our leadership has yet to figure it out.

Whether it is to contain North Korean communism or not, sooner or later you have to ask yourselves if the arrangement is healthy for your own country, its industry (No, it’s not healthy for our industry), or its people, anymore? I think we know the answer to those questions already.

Copyright © William Thien 2013

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Last night just after midnight I was woken up by sirens, which is unusual for where I live and I have to admit for some reason one of the first thoughts that occurred to me was, “Damn, the North Koreans have launched the nukes.” It’s been in the news so much lately, it is one of the first things that came to mind. I immediately checked the news on my smart phone. Nothing. Whew, that was lucky.

Then, as I lay in bed trying to return to sleep the subject of North Korea rattled around in my head. I began to ask why Korea was such a strategic place for US Military forces to be? We have a large military contingent on what is called The Demilitarized Zone between North and South Korea. We have been told for decades that The United States Military is on what is called The Demilitarized Zone between North and South Korea to prevent the spread of communism, that North Korea is an aggressor and would attack South Korea, the remnants of a failed attempt sixty years ago. As recently as two or three years ago we were told North Korea shelled with artillery an island belonging to South Korea in fact. There were reports of it on the news.

So, we were told then as we have always been told that North Korea is a brutal communist dictatorship and that we must do everything in our power, at huge expense to the American public mind you, to prevent the North Korean military from spilling over into South Korea, not only to protect South Korea, but in particular to prevent the spread of communism.

Then, while still trying to fall asleep, the thought occurred to me that South Korean manufacturers have flooded our markets with massive amounts of electronics and automobiles, so much so that it has displaced huge numbers of our own American made products. When first introduced, South Korean autos touted 100,000 mile warranties. That of course attracted huge attention amongst the auto buying public who were sick of the planned obsolescence coming out of Detroit. Two or three decades ago American auto manufacturers started selling cars branded with American brands that were manufactured in South Korea.

Now, you might ask, what does the manufacturing prowess of South Korea have to do with preventing the spread of the brutal communist dictatorship of North Korea? Please, continue.

But not only has South Korea been able to displace huge amounts of American productivity and industry with its own, South Korea has also seen a massive modernization of its cities and countryside. The whole of South Korea offers free WiFi. You don’t have to pay to access the internet in South Korea. They’ve wired the entire country. They have new roads, modern cities with modern (I mean the last twenty years all new) infrastructure, new schools with low teacher-student ratios, you name it. South Korea is booming, I mean booming.

Then the questions occurred to me, Why are we working so hard and at huge tax payer expense to prevent the spread of communism from North Korea to South Korea when right here in America we have massive socialist/communist programs of our own which we can’t afford, and also why are we spending so much money trying to save the South Koreans from the spread of communism from North Korea when South Korea has been able to entirely revitalize its national infrastructure while we can’t even afford to revitalize our own?

South Korea could never have positioned itself in our economy with such force had it had to address the problem of North Korea on its own. It could not have afforded it.

Right here in America we are having trouble trying to find out where to come up with money to resurface our roads and staff our schools. Where are our priorities, people? It is one thing to help your neighbor. It’s another entirely to pay for his dinner every night when you hardly ever sit at the same table.

South Korean manufacturers are directly competing with our manufacturers but could never afford to do so if they had to cover the entire cost of the containment of communism from The North Koreans. South Korea would have to tax South Korean manufacturers at a dramatically higher level as well as the citizenry in order to contain communism from the north.

Do you see what I’m getting at? Not only are we spending massive amounts of money to prevent the spread of communism from North Korea to South Korea, we are enabling South Korean industry to entirely undermine our own, and we are using our own money to do that. It’s almost insane if it is not. Yet, I know men right here in America who can’t locate decent employment with good benefits to support their families anymore.

On top of all that, we have massive communism right here in America. Single women in America earn $46,000 per year in benefits for having children out-of-wedlock! That’s just for their first child! No wonder forty-one percent of the babies born in 2011 were born to single mothers. It’s one of the best paying jobs out there! It’s sex for money! Don’t be fooled. That’s exactly what it is. Illegal immigrants receive an average tax refund of $1,826, substantially more than my own! Where I reside if you have children, you get free health care if you want it, not just for the children, but for yourself as well. That’s the number one way many get themselves free health care! They screw themselves right into receiving the benefits! Because I’m single I myself have no health care benefits. None. I just pay for everyone else’s. I have devised a term for such government, I call it “Selective Communism” and it is worse than plain old communism because it is exclusive, discriminatory, and dishonest. Have you had a problem with addictive substances? Chances are you are eligible for Social Security Benefits. Don’t like to work? Maybe you can get Social Security Benefits for that as well.

We have communism right here in the United States that we can’t contain and can’t afford, ladies and gentlemen. It’s everywhere. Why are we trying to contain it in Korea and at the same time enabling their industry to undermine our own industry? The South Korean leadership has used these circumstances much to the benefit of their own country and very little to our own. They must know this arrangement is to their benefit. And sadly, by the same token it is not unlikely that our leadership has yet to figure it out.

Whether it is to contain North Korean communism or not, sooner or later you have to ask yourselves if the arrangement is healthy for your own country, its industry (No, it’s not healthy for our industry), or its people, anymore? I think we know the answer to those questions already.

Copyright © William Thien 2013

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