North Korea

Kim Jong-un Misses Key Event; Authorities Maintain He's in Control

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petersnoopy foter

Today marks the 69th anniversary of the founding of North Korea's ruling party, an event that would normally mean squat to Americans or most other folks outside The Hermit Kingdom. However, it's a date of national significance and Dear Leader Kim Jong-un did not show up. It's the first time he's missed the celebration.

Furthermore, Kim has not been in the public eye for 37 days. That's the longest he's ever been out of the spotlight, and it's generating a lot of questions and speculation about the state of Kim's health and the state of North Korea's politics.

Officially, North Korean media acknowledges that Kim is experiencing some unspecified "discomfort." He was last seen limping and looking overweight in early September. Yesterday, "a source with access to the secretive North's leadership" assured Reuters that "Kim Jong-un is in total control" and that he simply pulled a tendon while conducting military exercises.

The Associated Press suggests that if Kim were suffering from something more serious, the national media would make no mention of health issues whatsoever. And, "South Korean officials are playing down the speculation" that power is slipping out of Kim's hands.

Likewise, The Washington Times yesterday quoted a U.S. intelligence official who says, "The fact that Kim Jong-un is out of sight is not necessarily an indication that he's not in control of the country. Despite the rumors, there are many indications that the country is functioning as it normally does."

Still, people have reason to wonder. Earlier in the week he was nowhere to be seen at an event honoring his father, and last month he was missing from an important parliamentary meeting.

One rumor is that the leader's sister, Kim Yo Jong, is acting as chief behind the scenes.

Late last week Vice quoted Jang Jin-sung, "formerly a key member of Kim Jong-il's propaganda machine" who was at a conference of exiled elites, said that Kim is no longer in control, and the powerful Organization and Guidance Department has essentially taken power. Then, over the weekend, two senior officials made an abrupt and surprisingly friendly visit to South Korea.  

Gordon Chang of The Daily Beast suggests that General Hwang Pyong So, one of those two senior officials, is worth watching, because whoever makes "significant announcements" and becomes "prominent in the public eye" will likely be the real leader.

In related news, in spite of the kind gesture over weekend, North and South Korea are exchanging fire across the border.

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  1. Sum Ting Wong

    1. He Too Lo?

      1. No, He too fat.

      2. He No Long Hung, too.

  2. It’s amazing how much time people spend analyzing the internal politics of a culturally and economically unimportant little country on the other side of the world.

    1. Extreme anomalies rightly interest scientists. Why should social (political) science be any different?

      …Or is your objection merely the superficial media interest?

      1. Is it an extreme anomaly? Country is run by despotic thugs, extremely repressive politics, people are essentially slaves to a ruling class…I’ve just described half the countries in Africa.

        But yeah, the media seems to cover North Korea similarly to how they cover the British Royal Family.

        1. North Korea exists in a state of self-imposed isolation that definitely sets it apart from any other nation, and hews to an ideology that is totalitarian in the extreme. Most African countries do not even begin to approach that, although their living standards are generally abysmal.

    2. They have nuclear weapons and almost have the means to hit us with them.

      They may be economically unimportant, but there are other ways to be important, too.

      It also serves as an excellent counter point. I think America was a better country, in some ways, when we had the Soviet Union to define ourselves against.

      There may be things Obama doesn’t do specifically because it would make him look like the leader of North Korea.

      Obama’s followers would do coordinated half-time dances for him if he asked them to, I’m sure of it!

      1. and almost have the means to hit us with them.

        If by “us,” you mean the Marianas, then sure, they can almost get to them. They’re like halfway there.

        1. Yeah, I’m not worrying.

          1. Their *first* nuclear test fizzled. NO-ONE ELSE in the history of nuclear powers has ever had their first test fizzle. In *our* first bomb design (Little Boy) the principles and engineering were so well understood that we didn’t even test it first.

          2. They have a missile that can juuuuust reach Hawaii – with a 500km CEP.

          1. I didn’t say they had the capability to hit us in the past.

            I didn’t say they already had the capability to hit us.

            They are developing that capability, and there is no reason to believe they won’t be successful.

            http://www.forbes.com/sites/la…..id-attack/

            Certainly, just because North Korea isn’t economically important doesn’t mean they aren’t a security threat to the United States.

            They’re certainly a bigger threat to U.S. security than ISIS.

            1. Move them goalposts a bit more. What does “almost” mean again?

              1. Almost means their main hurdle is reliability and accuracy–not distance–and their capability is only limited by the time they need to perfect their systems–and not by anything else.

                What difference does it make if they have that capability in another five years or ten years…or next year?

                Do you think not being able to reliably hit the U.S.–right now–means they’re “unimportant”?

                I haven’t moved any goalposts anywhere. I said they’re important because of the security risk they pose, and that the risk they pose will be by way of nuclear missiles.

                All true. All day long.

                1. As the Soviets found out – the major hurdle is *accuracy*. Reach is easy.

                  And why is it that this board, nominally filled with libertarians, seems to be filled with people who consider every other country in the world a security threat to the US?

                  The *US*, you know, the country whose military is larger than the next 6 countries *combined*.

                  I’m not worried that NK, sometime in the next 25 years, *might* be able to lob a nuke somewhere in the vicinity of a really large Hawaiian city.

                  1. I don’t think not liking the consequences of recognizing something is reason enough to pretend it isn’t a threat, and I think that’s what some of us are doing.

                    I’m not really sure how accurate a nuclear missile has to be for North Korea’s purposes, anyway. Accurate enough to hit the west coast of the U.S. is probably accurate enough.

                    I think the main problem is going to be reliability, and I think that’s something they’re probably going to be able to address. Anyway, it isn’t like they don’t have the infrastructure necessary or the technical know-how.

                    They’re certainly far enough along to be taken seriously as a security threat and “important”.

                    1. “Accurate enough to hit the west coast of the U.S. is probably accurate enough.”

                      Comrade 1: “Oh, damn it, Kim–we were aiming for LA, but we hit Orange County instead!”

                      Kim Jong-un: “Good enough for government work.”

                  2. *And why is it that this board, nominally filled with libertarians, seems to be filled with people who consider every other country in the world a security threat to the US?*

                    Hmmm, I dunno, the small fact that we are still technically in a state of war with the Norks and we have thousands of milfors as a tripwire/meat at the end of a stick on their border? The fact they can level Seoul–with conventional weapons–in a matter of minutes which would have huge economic implications for the entire Western world? The fact that they could trigger a Pacific or World War by lobbing a nuke at Toyko?

            2. They’re certainly a bigger threat to U.S. security than ISIS.

              Debatable. Long run, maybe. Short run, no.

              1. ISIS is a security threat to journalists running around in the desert.

                What makes you think that ISIS represent a security threat to the U.S.?

                Is it because Obama said so?

                Al Qaeda has presumably been trying to hit the continental United States for 13 years now–unsuccessfully. Do you imagine ISIS is a bigger threat to U.S. security than Al Qaeda?

                Mexican drug cartels probably represent a bigger security threat to the United States than ISIS.

          2. In *our* first bomb design (Little Boy) the principles and engineering were so well understood that we didn’t even test it first.

            What was Trinity, then?

            (Yes, it was based on Fat Man, but that sort of garbles your point even further)

            1. Uhm, no.

              Our first bomb design was Little Boy – a ‘gun’ type design.

              Trinity was testing for ‘implosion’ type designs – Which Fat Man was.

              We didn’t test (and as far as I’m aware have never tested) ‘gun’ designs. Well, I guess we did test when we detonated Little Boy over Hiroshima.

        2. Technically if they get the Taepodong-2 missile working they could hit Alaska. But yeah, they don’t ‘almost’ have the ability to hit the continental United States, and they’d be more likely to strike American bases in Japan anyway.

          1. Yeah, and the parts of Alaska and Hawaii they can hit are sparsely populated islands thousands of miles from anything that could be called a town.

          2. The missiles they’re developing could hit Seattle or Los Angeles. Their biggest limitation will be reliability–but there is no reason to think they won’t be able to hit us in the near future.

            http://www.cnn.com/2012/12/23/…..ea-rocket/

            They’ve already used multistage rockets to launch satellites.

            1. “The missiles they’re developing could hit Seattle or Los Angeles”

              So, no more Micheal Bay or Courtney Love?

              1. I’m not seeing a downside to losing the left coast to Nork Nukes.

                1. Not everyone in Los Angeles is a Hollywood style progressive shit-stain.

                  Some of them are surfer, commercial real estate, libertarian types, who ride motorcycles.

                  …and there are a lot of hot chicks, too.

              2. N.B. to Fort Meade:

                Satire (countable and uncountable, plural satires)

                (uncountable) A literary device of writing or art which principally ridicules its subject often as an intended means of provoking or preventing change. Humour, irony and exaggeration are often used to aid this.

                A stinging satire of American politics.

                (countable) A satirical work.

            2. You mean their massive unsuccessful multistage rockets that fail more times then they succeed? Also ‘The missiles they’re developing’=They’ve never had a successful test of a missile that could hit beyond Japan. So fifty to sixty years down the road they might have a missile, and they might launch it at the West Coast, and in response they would be wiped off the face of the earth. Yes, terrifying.

              1. “They’ve never had a successful test of a missile that could hit beyond Japan. So fifty to sixty years down the road they might have a missile”

                One of those statements doesn’t follow from the other.

                For instance, if I say that someone hasn’t been able to hit us in the past, that doesn’t necessarily mean that it will take fifty or sixty years before they can.

                I’m not saying you’re Tulpa, but I think that statement is Tulpa worthy.

                “They might launch it at the West Coast, and in response they would be wiped off the face of the earth. Yes, terrifying.”

                I read that “Yes, terrifying” remark in sarcasm font, but there are a couple of things wrong with that.

                For one, if there’s someone in control of North Korea with an iron grip like the fat kid’s father used to be, I’m not convinced that assured annihilation is necessarily a deterrent. Sometimes cult leaders like to take the Jim Jones route.

                Secondly, mutual assured destruction gave the Soviet Union and China to the cover they needed to support all sorts of evil around the world, from Vietnam to Angola and from Central America to Afghanistan–why would we want to go through that with North Korea?

                You understand that just because they can’t launch doesn’t mean they can’t do things against us and our allies using conventional weapons, don’t you? Do you understand that if they could hit us, that means we probably couldn’t engage directly with them, too, and that they would use that to their advantage?

      2. Well Gwyneth Paltrow certainly would!

      3. Obama’s followers would do coordinated half-time dances for him if he asked them to, I’m sure of it!

        Well, some of them are working on it:

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Ty7WU872Lk

        1. That’s so disturbing!

      4. And yet it was conservatives that took us to Iraq, based on a lie, spending 3 trillion borrowed dollars and 4500 US lives

        Compared to that I’d do a dance any time

    3. North and South Korea are side-by-side laboratories for different political economies in a way that cannot be explained away by referring to different traditional cultures. In a sane world, this would get more press, not less.

      1. Among other reasons, this is why I defend general interest in that nation and its regime.

      2. Sure. But at this point…point proven.

        1. “Never Forget!”

          I’m only half kidding when I say that… If there is any single ideology or political movement we should historically and pedagogically flog like a dead horse, it is (the evil of) communism.

      3. Unfortunately, it can be explained away by the Kims being crazy. Right people in charge, etc.

  3. “Kim has not been in the public eye for 37 days.”

    He’s prolly cellmates with Shelly Miscavige.

  4. I thought he got fat and broke his ankles. Can’t he just show up in a Rascal?

  5. He has a cold.

    1. Do they have fruit bats in North Korea?

      1. No fruit, and a lot of people who’d eat the bats.

  6. He’s pining for the fjords.

  7. “No, seriously, he’s right in there behind the curtain, pulling the levers and throwing the switches like always, but you can’t see him right now. He’s very busy. Come back later.”

    1. Who’s Toto in this analogy?

  8. If he had a pulled tendon, I’m sure there are some sedentary portions of the festivities that KJU could attend without being seen limping. Unless he just has a phobia about appearing weak and refused to let anyone see him in this state at all — tbh that wouldn’t surprise any of us, would it?

    1. If they had his three-month old corpse to show they’d still describe him as “energetic”.

    2. *I’m sure there are some sedentary portions of the festivities that KJU could attend without being seen limping.*

      No kidding. Hell, they were able to hide FDR’s disability for 20 years back in the day. They couldn’t prop up Fat Boy Un for 30 minutes? Hell, have peasants carry him around in a rickshaw for all I care.

  9. Two words: Konstantin Chernenko.

    1. The Soviet Union’s most distinguished leader 1984-85

      1. LOL. He was only in power long enough to get cariactured in a Frankie Goes To Hollywood video.

        His entire reign lasted as long as their 15 minutes. Hilarious.

  10. Probably smoking a bowl at Dennis Rodman’s house.

  11. One rumor is that the leader’s sister, Kim Yo Jong, is acting as chief behind the scenes.

    A Woman running a country! That can’t go well.

    1. I thought it was his mother, Kim Yo Momma

  12. I hope this ends up like a national Weekend at Bernie’s. Just get a taxidermist, two not-starved North Korean soldiers and throw some sunglasses on him. Instant Immortal God King.

  13. Re: The “reality based” Obama and Gwyneth Paltrow fundraiser:
    http://www.tmz.com/2014/10/10/…..lebrities/

    When you’ve lost TMZ, ruh roh

    1. She then showed utter ignorance about, and contempt for, the Constitution and separation of powers — the basic tenant of our government

      John got a job writing for TMZ?

    2. I’m curious about what Obama is raising money for. Is he donating a lot of it to Democrat candidates?

      1. They’re all DNC fundraisers.

        1. Oh, OK, thanks.

      2. Mark my words, it’s all going to wind up in his bank accounts. He’s going to be the first billionaire ex-president

    3. One of the good things about Hollywood and TV profit margins tanking is that idiots like that won’t get rich anymore. The vapid 1990s starlets are the last of their ilk.

    4. She then showed utter ignorance about, and contempt for, the Constitution and separation of powers — the basic tenets of our government — by saying, “It would be wonderful if we were able to give this man all of the power that he needs to pass the things that he needs to pass.”

      I guess the steaming pile of shit called Obamacare isn’t enough for her. What else does the magic negro have in his bowels?

      1. Magic negro

        And the right says they’re not racist

        1. Stick that PC crap right up your ass. It maybe easy for small brained leftists like yourself to scream “RACIST” because you think you can win a argument or shame somebody. Screw you. That “Magic Negro” comment made me laugh, now please go back to your PC Nazi brown shirt function. Sure your waiting to suck them all off.

  14. Here’s hoping that the Baby God Dictator of the Norks is suffering excruciating pain, and will do so until he expires in the not-too-distant future.

    Of course, in a just world his demise would come from being strangled in a botched hanging, but as long as the little prick dies, it’s all good.

    -jcr

    1. The higher-ups in the govt who would take control in that situation are going to be just as Stalinist as the Kims. There would be some benefit to getting rid of the hereditary succession of loonies that get worse every generation, but we’d still have a little USSR on our hands.

      1. It’ll be just as bad for the people inside. But the risk to those outside the country would be greatly diminished if the leadership wasn’t raised with delusions of godhood.

  15. This bit OT and a bit racist. Don’t stop me now.

    http://www.washingtoncitypaper…..om-clancy/

    But it’s in the general catagory of how east asian dictators get injured.

    1. ? Mao chose handsome young men as personal attendants, who among other duties were expected to massage his groin nightly to help him fall asleep. “For a while I took such behavior as evidence of a homosexual strain,” Li says, “but later I concluded that it was simply an insatiable appetite for any form of sex.”

      There are some jobs women just aren’t good at. Handies apparently fall into this category.

  16. Speaking of communist shitholes

    “Even if half the people who leave from Cuba do not survive, that means half of them did,” Mr. La O said, speaking from his grandmother’s house in Miami, where he arrived last week. “I would tell anyone in Cuba to come. It’s better to die on your feet than live on your knees.”

    The island paradise isn’t quite so paradisical if you’re not a Party member, apparently. All the progressives who want to see Fidel’s magnificent social petri dish before capitalism and freedom contaminate it had better hustle. The lab mice are jumping overboard at an increasing rate.

  17. “Officially, North Korean media acknowledges that Kim is experiencing some unspecified “discomfort.” ”

    Yeah, getting mauled to death by a pack of starving dogs tends to cause that.

    1. Don’t be silly – there are no dogs in North Korea.

      1. …anymore.

  18. I’m curious about what Obama is raising money for.

    I suspect he will be named “non-executive chairman” of Organizing for America, and be paid handsomely to carry on rattling his tin cup for the elite thought leaders of American parlor society, once he has been pried out of the Oval Office.

    1. Aren’t we fortunate that conservatives have fought so hard to give us a govt where Don Corleone’s view of buying politicians is now legal.

  19. Golly I hope he’s OK…

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