North Korea's "Buy Nothing Day" Gets a Boost

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The Bush administration wants to ban the sale of "luxury items" to, um, Pyongyang:

The U.S. government's first-ever effort to use trade sanctions to personally aggravate a foreign president expressly targets items believed to be favored by Kim Jong Il…

The list of proposed luxury sanctions, obtained by The Associated Press, aims to make Kim's swanky life harder: No more cognac, Rolex watches, cigarettes, artwork, expensive cars, Harley Davidson motorcycles or even personal watercraft, such as Jet Skis.

It's unclear what policy effect taking away Kim Jong Il's iPod would have; and we'll never know, because there is no way these sanctions will have any effect on his ability to stockpile untraceable goods. But you'll be glad to know the watercraft industry is onboard:

The Washington-based Personal Watercraft Industry Association said it also supports the U.S. sanctions — although it bristled at the notion a Jet Ski was a luxury.

"The thousands of Americans and Canadians who build, ship and sell personal watercraft are patriots first," said Maureen Healey, head of the trade group. She said it endorsed the ban "because of the narrow nature of this ban and the genuine dangers that responsible world governments are trying to stave off."

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  1. The watercraft industry is onboard precisely because they know it will not affect them at all. I expect similar statements from Harley Davidson and anyone else who has a large target market in Patriotic America.

    But why sanction cigarettes? Shouldn’t we be helping him get cigarettes? We should convince him that smoking two at a time is teh new hotness.

  2. I’m so Ronery / So ronery / So ronery and sadry arone / There’s no one / Just me onry / Sitting on my rittle throne / I work very hard to be number one guy / but, stiwr there’s no one to right up my rife / Seems rike no one takes me serirousry / And so, I’m ronery / A rittle ronery / Poor rittle me / There’s no one I can rerate to / Feewr rike a biwd in a cage / It’s kinda siwry / but, not reawry / because, it’s fiwring my body with rage / I’m the smartest, most crever, most physicawry fit / but, none of the women seem to give a shit / Maybe someday, they’wr awr notice me / And untiwr then, I’wr be ronery / Yeah, a rittle ronery / Poor rittle me…

  3. Actually, the watercraft industry is on board because of the hit they took when Stockwell Day appeared riding one.

    Once bitten, twice shy.

  4. I’m with Chuck. In fact, I’d say we should get a container load of Cuban Churchills and send ’em as a birthday present. Crates of Dunhills, barrels of Jack Daniels, and all the crack cocaine we can find. My grandfather always said “you catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.” (The origin of this proverb was the practice of soaking rags in arsenic-laced syrup to kill flies in dairy barns, and, metaphorically to the Southern custom of being oleaginously nice to one’s enemies.)

  5. It’s amazing how well sanctions work. After all, I’ve never smoked a cuban cigar in my life. Because, you know, it’s illegal.

    And since the US is famous for it’s cognac, getting it from another country just won’t do.

    Is that enough sarcasm for one post?

  6. Actually, Karen, as Jacob Sullum has pointed out, the latest claims concerning second-hand smoke indicate that it would be far more dangerous for Kim Jong Il if somebody simply smoked in his presence.

    Let’s get a chain-smoking CIA agent in there. They can hire an actor, somebody who will be able to blend in perfectly with his magnificent acting.

  7. I hereby promise to not sell any personal watercraft to North Korea.

  8. These are the tough measures I’ve been waiting for.

    I give it a week before the regime falls.

  9. D’oh!

  10. Apparently, bribery with luxury goods is the only way to get things done in N. Korea.

  11. This has been a big deal here in Japan too, as most of the luxury goods seem to be purchased here.

    This means that not only is the Ronery Rittle Man a “nouveau riche little fleeb” (see: Back to School) he’s also worse at economics than we thought as most of the stuff he buys costs at least 50% more in Japan than in other countries.

  12. I understand that the photo of him windsurfing hurt Kim Jong Il’s standing in the Politburo tremendously…

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