Archive for Unintended Humor

In latest N. Korean turmoil, Chaz Bono promoted to Supreme Leader

Forget what I said this week — North Korea is still funny. Look what a reader spotted on this apparently official North Korean propaganda video, posted on YouTube at a channel that has always posted authentic North Korean material in the past.

Screen Shot 2014-02-27 at 6.38.01 AM

 

If this is a fake, well, they fooled me. Note the logo on the upper lift-hand corner, which appears in some other apparently legit videos posted at the same channel.

The video was a compilation of stills and video from around the world intended to show how much we all love/fear/respect Kim Jong Un. Whatever the impact domestically, I’m afraid the impact internationally will be very much the opposite.

If anyone knows how to preserve or download a YouTube video, please do, before “StimmeKoreas” (it means “Voice of Korea” in German) catches on and pulls this down.

~   ~   ~

Update: This post was corrected after publication.

So … does this mean KCNA believes in unicorns?

America’s finest news source, The Onion, is presented as parody but can be mistaken for reality. North Korea’s finest news source, KCNA, is presented as reality but can be mistaken for parody. But if you compare the best work of each news source, KCNA is clearly funnier:

Pyongyang, November 29 (KCNA) — Archaeologists of the History Institute of the DPRK Academy of Social Sciences have recently reconfirmed a lair of the unicorn rode by King Tongmyong, founder of the Koguryo Kingdom (B.C. 277-A.D. 668).

The lair is located 200 meters from the Yongmyong Temple in Moran Hill in Pyongyang City. A rectangular rock carved with words “Unicorn Lair” stands in front of the lair. The carved words are believed to date back to the period of Koryo Kingdom (918-1392).

Jo Hui Sung, director of the Institute, told KCNA:

“Korea’s history books deal with the unicorn, considered to be ridden by King Tongmyong, and its lair.

The Sogyong (Pyongyang) chapter of the old book ‘Koryo History’ (geographical book), said: Ulmil Pavilion is on the top of Mt. Kumsu, with Yongmyong Temple, one of Pyongyang’s eight scenic spots, beneath it. The temple served as a relief palace for King Tongmyong, in which there is the lair of his unicorn.

The old book ‘Sinjungdonggukyojisungnam’ (Revised Handbook of Korean Geography) complied in the 16th century wrote that there is a lair west of Pubyok Pavilion in Mt. Kumsu.

The discovery of the unicorn lair, associated with legend about King Tongmyong, proves that Pyongyang was a capital city of Ancient Korea as well as Koguryo Kingdom.”  [KCNA, Nov. 29, 2012]

Unlike the Editor of The Peoples’ Daily, I’ve paused to ask myself, “Can they really be serious?” A S.T.A.L.I.N. search of KCNA’s archives reveals previous references to unicorns, but in those cases, KCNA characterized them as “mythical,” and this report does use the word “legend.”

Perhaps North Korea is throwing a lifeline to its embarrassed Chinese sponsors by planting this cunning and cryptic parody in the U.S. press, although if there’s any place you’d expect to see parody in North Korea, this isn’t it. (The North Koreans are deadly serious about establishing Pyongyang as the historical capital of a unified Korea.) Or perhaps KCNA is offering us scientific evidence that King Tongmyong deceived his people with myths and legends about himself … to bolster the credibility of its own historical claims. Or perhaps they’re telling people to believe in freaking unicorns!

I know I’ve been a little hard on KCNA for its faked photographs, its calls to slit the throat of the President of South Korea, and its attribution of supernatural powers to Kim Jong Il and Kim Jong Un, but not even I can deny that KCNA reports like this one provide us unique and exclusive access to a world no one else is showing us.  As Jean H. Lee recently put it:

Even though the images and words that the AP produces from Pyongyang are clearly shaped and influenced by the regime, Lee defended her bureau’s presence against accusations from media critics that it is serving the interests of a brutal regime rather than investigating the truth about starvation and a vast gulag system. “Some critics don’t want us there,” she said. “But isn’t it better that we are there? We try to get on the ground to see what’s happening. We have to flesh out the narrative.”

Who, me? I want the crack AP-KCNA Truth Squad right where it can tell us what a keun of unicorn flesh sells for in Chongjin today! Far better that we know just the officially-shaped part of the story of North Korea’s unique biodiversity than none at all! Surely there’s a fragile ecosystem here that requires protection through a generous U.N. grant.  So far, however, the AP hasn’t put this exclusive KCNA report on the wires.  I hope they dare to believe in their sweet dreams, because nothing cloaks a news agency in an air of global respectability like shouting “Look! Unicorn!” to the whole world.

Speaking of which, who else has noticed how quiet the AP’s Pyongyang Journal has been recently?  The last report hosted there is this (seriously, no-kidding) excellent October 7th report from Tim Sullivan.  Sullivan has published at least one other report since then, about the supposed popularity of “Gone With The Wind” in Pyongyang.

Hat tip to (no, not The Onion) Chico Harlan’s Twitter feed.

ChiComs Behaving Stoopidly: Peoples’ Daily Falls for The Onion’s Award to Kim Jong Un of “Sexiest Man Alive”

As funny as I thought the original parody was at the time, it’s infinitely funnier when humorless authoritarian propagandists don’t realize it’s a parody and put it on Page One.  And while the Onion guys aren’t exactly ruthless in the we-send-children-to-the-gulags-on-Mondays-and-Thursdays sense, they didn’t show the Peoples’ Daily much mercy with this hat tip:

UPDATE: For more coverage on The Onion’s Sexiest Man Alive 2012, Kim Jong-Un, please visit our friends at the People’s Daily in China, a proud Communist subsidiary of The Onion, Inc. Exemplary reportage, comrades.

For demonstrative reference, here’s the Sexy Man himself hitting the gym with a cancer stick clutched in one claw and the pitiful Ri Sol Ju in the other, looking like the victim of the tentacle monster in that Japanese anime flick you won’t admit watching:

I’d sell my body behind a bus station for video of that self-criticism session.  See also Isaac Stone Fish in Foreign Policy and our good friends at the Associated Press.

And in other news that no doubt has the Fifty Cent Party working overtime, a sex tape of a Chinese official bedding an 18 year-old woman has gone viral.  The tape was made five years ago, most likely by the would-be government contractors who hired the woman to “entertain” the official, to ensure that once bought, he’d stay bought.  It’s telling that such precautions are necessary.  Really, if you can’t trust a corrupt, adulterous pervert overlord of an unaccountable oligarchy, who can you trust?

Frankly, I’m beginning to question all that Thomas Friedman-style “realist” masochism about the superiority of Chinese statecraft, its harmonious public order, and its sophisticated use of non-interventionist Soft Power.  Could it be that they’re really just a bunch of bumbling, mirthless goons with nuclear weapons?

Most Unfortunate North Korean Photo Op Ever: The Kim Jong Un Workout Video!

Holy mother of Zeus. No matter how many times I watch this, I can’t believe they actually filmed it. On purpose.

It’s wrong to laugh, but sometimes I can’t help myself.

Hat tip: Chico Harlan.

North Korea Awards Highest Civilian Honor to Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen

You know how hard I’ve worked for the coveted Human Scum Award for the last seven years, and I’ve yet to receive so much as a nomination:

Ros-Lehtinen, member of the U.S. House of Representatives, called for taking “strong counteraction” and relisting the DPRK as a “sponsor of terrorism,” while terming it a “rogue regime”. This is intolerable as it is malignant vituperation against the dignified DPRK and its system. Ros, man representing the U.S. conservative hard-liners, is human scum as he earned ill-fame as an anti-communist fanatic. He is a political illiterate ignorant of the background against which the nuclear issue cropped up on the Korean Peninsula and the processes to settle it. It is natural to hear such rubbish from him. What should not go unnoticed, however, is that he let loose vituperation against the DPRK soon after he became chairman of the House International Relations Committee. It is quite clear that he would escalate the anti-DPRK campaign in Congress and political arena. [KCNA]

More here, from the Wall Street Journal’s Jay Solomon.

My sincere congratulations to the brigandish gentle lady from Florida. After you have a giggle at the fact that North Korea’s official news service doesn’t even know (or can’t correctly translate) the gender of one of Congress’s soon-to-be most powerful members, consider the depth of North Korea’s willful ignorance about Earth, and what this suggests about its risk-assessment skills. Occam’s Razor tells us that there’s no need to resort to complex explanations when simple ones will do. Yes, there may be some merit to the speculation about the cognitive effects of Kim Jong Il’s stroke, but consider the possibility that the North Koreans have been behaving like ignorant, bloody-minded assholes because that’s just what they are.

This isn’t to say that they’re crazy or irrational. I don’t believe they’re either of those things. I actually think the Kim family is a collection of malignant narcissists-slash-sociopaths. But reason isn’t just about the presence of viruses, it’s also a function of the input data and the processor speed. One can be subjectively rational and objectively irrational. And if you believe, as I do, that extortion was one of the reasons for North Korea’s recent attacks on the South, it has misjudged. The same KCNA piece reports that “Senator John McCain said that he would make new Congress commencing its work next year immediately relist the DPRK as a ‘state sponsor of terrorism’ and apply financial and other sanctions against it.” I wouldn’t normally afford KCNA a strong presumption of accuracy, but I have it on good first-hand authority that Ros-Lehtinen will place the same objectives high on her list of priorities. And if Lee Myung Bak does what I think he’ll soon have to do and closes Kaesong, the effect will have been exactly the opposite of North Korea’s likely objectives.

Also from Rep. Ros-Lehtinen, we learn who the new Republican subcommittee chairs will be:

(WASHINGTON) ““ U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), the incoming Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, today announced the Vice Chairman and the Subcommittee Chairmen for the Committee in the 112th Congress. Statement by Ros-Lehtinen:

[....]

“The oversight and investigations component of this Committee will be robust, and I will be establishing mechanisms for Americans to blow the whistle on waste, fraud, and abuse in State Department and Foreign Aid operations by welcoming anonymous tips. I will also be establishing a mechanism for the American people to be directly involved in Committee hearings.

“Congressman Rohrabacher, who has experience with this Committee’s past investigation of corruption in the United Nations Oil for Food program, will be leading our Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations. He also participated in investigations into foreign-owned banks under U.S. contact which violated U.S. sanctions on Iran, Cuba, and Libya.

“I am proud to lead this team which will protect and advance America’s interests and values, and not apologize for doing so.

The Vice Chairman and Subcommittee Chairmen of the House Foreign Affairs Committee in the 112th Congress are as follows (Subcommittee Chairmen listed alphabetically by Subcommittee name):

U.S. Rep. Elton Gallegly (CA), Vice Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee
U.S. Rep. Christopher H. Smith (NJ), Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, and Human Rights
U.S. Rep. Donald A. Manzullo (IL), Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific
U.S. Rep. Dan Burton (IN), Subcommittee on Europe and Eurasia
U.S. Rep. Steve Chabot (OH), Subcommittee on the Middle East and South Asia
U.S. Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (CA), Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations
U.S. Rep. Edward R. Royce (CA), Subcommittee on Terrorism, Nonproliferation, and Trade
U.S. Rep. Connie Mack (FL), Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere

A few random observations here. First, I think Royce would have made a great subcommittee chair for Asia and the Pacific. He’s extremely knowledgeable about and engaged on North Korea issues, including human rights issues, proliferation, and money laundering (his highly capable staffer, Young Kim, undoubtedly deserves much credit for this). That said, he’ll be great for the position for which he’s been chosen.

Manzullo, by contrast, hasn’t been vocal about Korea, in or out of the committee room. In the hearings I attended, he had relatively little to say. Maybe this is a matter of his style. We’ll have to see how he does. In Congress, there are members who are dedicated to the issues, while others are mostly concerned about bringing investment into their districts. I’ll just have to watch and see what hearings and witnesses we get on Manzullo’s watch. Before the Democratic takeover in 2006, the Republican subcommittee chair was Jim Leach of Iowa, a decent and fair-minded man with a deep and sincere interest in human rights in the North, but not a conservative on issues of policy or diplomacy.

Dana Rohrabacher, on the other hand, is far from a quiet presence in any hearing. I left one hearing wondering if he shaves with a blowtorch. Going after U.N. profligacy and stupidity will be a good role for him. By stupidity, I refer to the likes of Margaret Chan, whose next gaffe of that sort won’t go unchallenged by Dana Rohrabacher. You could say that Dana Rohrabacher is more conservative than I am on these issues. For example, I recall him being opposed to food aid to North Korea. I’m supportive in principle, but only if the aid is monitored and subject to nutritional surveys of recipients, and since the current North Korean regime will never agree to that, the issue is probably moot for the foreseeable future.

It’s going to be an interesting hearing season next year. It’s too bad that I so seldom have time to attend them anymore.

Take a Drink!

Hillary, U.S. secretary of State, was recently reported to have blustered during her junket of Middle and South American countries that the DPRK poses a threat to the world peace and it is necessary to “convince” the world public of this fact. Such sophism is intended to win the support for the U.S. hostile policy toward the DPRK from other countries.

Her remarks about the DPRK’s “threat” to the global peace are brigandish sophism reminiscent of a thief crying “Stop the thief!” Rodong Sinmun Tuesday says in a signed commentary. [KCNA]

At times like this, I think back fondly on the Bush Administration, when we weren’t afraid to talk to our enemies endlessly, because I just can’t stand the thought that there are people out there who hate us. My careful parsing of KCNA’s tone worries me that the inflammatory rhetoric of Hillary and her fellow neocon hard-liners could even jeopardize the prospects for Selig Harrison’s next trip to Pyongyang.

Best KCNA Headline of This Millenium: “Story of hoes Kim Jong Il”

Under grueling interrogation by the Bowibu, the writer denied attempting to publish an unauthorized biography of Kim Jong Eun.

It’s time for another installment of the KCNA drinking game!

I do not think that word means what you think it means.

Citing facts to prove that from a historical point of view the imperialists look down upon those countries with weak military power, force them to meet their unilateral and brigandish demands and consider them as targets of their armed intervention and aggression, the article goes on: [KCNA, Nov. 9. 2009]

kim-jong-il-drinks-kirin.jpgTake a drink!

If a country, though small, increases defence capability, attaching importance to military affairs, the imperialists dare not attack it. This is clearly evidenced by the reality of the DPRK. The war deterrent of the DPRK serves as a powerful treasured sword for protecting the Korean nation from outside forces’ aggression and the peace and security of the Korean Peninsula.

Some cynics might suggest that “war deterrent” is code talk for nuclear weapons, but all educated people know that this is a diplomatic impossibility. Thanks to the diplomatic genius of Christopher Hill and Wendy Sherman, we have two — count ‘em, two! — agreed frameworks that absolutely, positively guarantee that it isn’t so. Just imagine how safe you’ll feel when the brightest minds in our State Department bring home yet another.

Related: Thank you, Ambassador Obvious!

“Kim Jong Il Appreciates Drama”

The understatement of the week, brought to you by KCNA.

Lanny Davis Impersonates KCNA, Beclowns Self

So intricately forked is Lanny’s tongue that he’s apparently capable of performing analingus on three subjects at the same time:

The release of the two journalists by the North Koreans on Tuesday night D.C. time was the result of a tour-de-force, trifecta combination of the three most talented and truly great political leaders of our times — Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton; her husband, former President Bill Clinton; and President Barack Obama.  [Lanny Davis, The Hill]

He forgot to mention Obama’s ten holes-in-one the first time he played golf, Hillary’s power to paralyze her quarry with her icy stare, or Bill’s supernatural ability to deposit the DNA of political enemies on the clothing of otherwise inconsequential women.

What a tool.

Take a Drink!

Curtis reminds me:

Recalling that the Korean war of aggression ignited by the U.S. imperialists 59 years ago was the most brutal and brigandish war in the history of world wars, the statement continued [....]

Should the U.S. imperialists ignite another war, oblivious of the lesson drawn from their past defeat, the heroic Korean People’s Army will fully display its invincible might of the powerful revolutionary army of Mt. Paektu which has grown under the care of the great Songun commander and bury the aggressors in this land to the last man, the statement warned. [KCNA]

Let us resolve to drink together when we hear this word that our spell checkers do not know.

The Fury of the Smoking Manure

USA Today has a long, interesting, and amusing read on North Korean propaganda, including some extensive quotes by B.R. Myers.  Read the whole thing on your own, but I can’t resist quoting this:

In a wild rhetorical flourish during a 2003 confrontation with the United States, state radio charged that the Earth itself was furious at the Americans and that even “piles of manure in the fields are fuming out smoke of hatred.”  [USA Today, Paul Wiseman]

I, for one, would be legitimately afraid if I ever saw that, especially if I had my office clothes on.  Wondering if this could be true, I tried and failed to confirm that it had been published on KCNA.  On the other hand, I wouldn’t be so sure Randi Rhodes didn’t say it first.

Related:   “It’s time to pass the torch to a new generation of madmen.”

Smart, Tough Diplomacy: Hillary Clinton Asks Bloggers to Free U.S. Journalists from North Korea

Because if there’s one thing Kim Jong Il simply cannot withstand, it’s that lethal instrument of soft power known as “snark:”

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Monday urged women students to use the Internet to campaign for the release of two American women journalists held in North Korea.

Clinton urged graduates of Barnard College, a women’s university in New York City, to show their opposition to Pyongyang’s detention of the two journalists who are due to go on trial on June 4.

“We have two young women journalists right now imprisoned in North Korea and you can get busy on the Internet and let the North Koreans know that we find that absolutely unacceptable,” Clinton told the graduation ceremony.  [AFP]

Let me see if I understand this:  the Secretary of State who represents a government that has the power to restore North Korea to the list of state sponsors of terrorism, freeze the assets of its overseas accounts and entities, invoke Executive Orders 13224 or 13382, collapse its financial system with a few carefully chosen comments from the Treasury Secretary, or sanction its state financial organs for essentially being one big money laundering operation actually believes we can strike fear into the hearts of a clique of bloody-minded, purge-hardened commisars — most of whom have never so much as used the internet — with … twitter?

Either something about the direction of Mrs. Clinton’s appeal is absurdly out of sequence, or Mrs. Clinton really is on to something.  Maybe we could even hire people on a full-time, professional basis to defend the interests of the United States and protect the safety of its citizens. We could even establish special offices for them in the countries where we want to “campaign.”  We could call those offices “embassies,” and we could staff them with people who are specially trained in campaigning in thoughtful and diplomatic ways to protect our citizens, our interests, and our values.  To emphasize that point, we could call these people “diplomats.”

And the best part is, they’d all have twitter and Face Book accounts!

Just imagine how much better a world this would be if some people like that actually worked for Mrs. Clinton.  Or better yet, if they worked for us.

UPDATE:  Or would that distract from the “bigger issues?”  The State Department won’t send an envoy to Pyongyang until Laura Ling and Euna Lee are freed, or so say the South Koreans.  Personally, I don’t see much point in sending diplomats to Pyongyang now.  The Treasury Department has had much better luck in getting a clear message through to Pyongyang in any event.

Korean Word of the Day: 막무가내

This word, pronounced mak-mu-ga-nae, roughly translates to that most untranslatable of Yiddish words:  chutzpah.

On Tuesday, North Korea had the chutzpah to demand (막무가내로 우기다) that the U.N. Security Council apologize for the flaccid non-binding presidential statement it offered in lieu of any meaningful enforcement of the two Security Council resolutions North Korea’s recent missile test violated:

The UNSC should promptly make an apology for having infringed the sovereignty of the DPRK and withdraw all its unreasonable and discriminative “resolutions” and decisions adopted against the DPRK.

North Korea’s very ridiculousness can be (if this is the right word) disarming.  It’s hard to take a man, even a democidal tyrant, seriously when he resembles an unkempt fishwife or when his state media has a fondness for peculiar words like “brigandish.”  This dismissive consequence of ridicule has a way of obscuring the depth and scale of Kim Jong Il’s brutality, a case of mass political cleansing that has had no equal in this world since Pol Pot’s overthrow.

But at least we’ll be spared the sight of Kim Jong Il’s face on coffee mugs and tote bags.  A million deaths is a statistic, but a bad haircut will not stand among the right-thinking.

KCNA Stands Up for Press Freedom!

North Korea, which was ranked 172nd out of 173 countries on last year’s survey of world press freedom and which is currently holding two journalists hostage, has lent its moral authority to the oppressed purveyors of the fraudulent P.D. Diary in South Korea, which inspired last year’s violent mad cow demonstrations.

The Citizens Federation for Democratic Media of south Korea issued a statement on March 27 denouncing the present “government” and the ruling party for their undisguised moves to put broadcasting services and other media under their control.

The statement accused the Lee “government” of letting a large number of his confidants hold responsible posts at Yonhap TV News and other media organizations and their related institutions. It deplored that the media persons of conscience are fired for chiding the “government” policies and even thrown behind bars. [KCNA]

Yes, North Korea is criticizing the South Korean “government” (those scare quotes are a nice touch) for putting government-owned media under government control. I hope this helps you understand why blogging about Korea can be so compulsive for anyone with a well developed sense of irony.

This is one of those moments when I could mount my soapbox and demand of some fictitious Korean presidential advisor — whom I imagine in my more delusional moments to be reading this — whether this is the freedom I fought for from the harshness of a rather badly furnished, mold-scented legal office in Pyongytaek. Or, I could be truthful.

Truthfully, I have no sympathy for these defendants, who, while working on the government’s dime, recklessly (at best) provoked weeks of violent mass hysteria, hysteria that included the ransacking of media that didn’t echo the bleating herd. The report in question stood at the intersection of tabloid journalism and political disinformation, both of which would be legal but scorned in a more mature society. If there were evidence that a foreign power put PD Diary’s producers up to it, I’d see the basis for a prosecution. Because I see no such evidence, I think the South Korean government is taking a pernicious path. (Another pernicious idea: government subsidized news media in general.) And with my duty to disapprove of this duly discharged, this is one of those Many Bad Things in the world that I just can’t get terribly stirred up about.

Life (in North Korea) Imitates ‘The Onion’

What motivates me to go on, day after day, you ask?

NORTH Korea has declared it is actively pursuing a space program, amid reports from US and South Korean officials that Pyongyang is preparing to test fire a long-range missile.

Rodong Sinmun, the official daily of the ruling communist party, said the North had every right to develop a space program, as a member of the international community.

“The DPRK’s (North Korea) policy of advancing to space for peaceful purposes is a justifiable aim that fits the global trend of the times. There is no power in the world that can stop it,” the newspaper said in an editorial.

“As long as developing and using space are aimed at peaceful purposes and such efforts contribute to enhancing human beings’ happiness, no one in the world can find fault with them. [The Australian]

(HT: GI Korea)

All of which follows closely after this exclusive from America’s finest news source: “Kim Jong Il Announces Plan To Bring Moon To North Korea.”

The Moon has much to teach us. Listen closely as she whispers to you. [Kim Jong Il, via The Onion]

Related: Also from The Onion: North Korea Releases New Paintings Of Healthy Kim Jong Il:

“As anyone can see from these new murals, our Dear Leader is the very picture of health,” Foreign Ministry spokesperson Lee Myong Choi said of the 30-foot-high paintings, the artful brushstrokes of which showed the North Korean ruler confidently reading the current day’s newspaper. “Note his radiant, youthful complexion, the sheen of his jet-black hair, the glorious starburst which appears to radiate from the very center of his being. Our supreme commander will undoubtedly be with us for many centuries to come.” Lee later added that Kim was in such robust health that he was able to complete all of the new self-portraits in under an hour.

Not Necessarily Related:Asian Teen Has Sweaty Middle-Aged-Man Fetish:”

Nakajima confessed to frequently searching the Internet to satisfy her insatiable appetite for round, greasy American men years past their sexual prime. A survey of her recent browsing history revealed such Google searches as “pale man lying on couch eating” and “retiree + jowls + hardcore.” The teen has also bookmarked several sites with lurid pictures of aging American males, including BuffaloBillsFanZone.com and the History Channel chat room.

‘Chosun Gripped With Boundless Emotion and Joy’

You have to wonder what goes through the minds of the people who write this stuff today. It’s so over the top as to suggest a subversive intent. KCNA’s words, my links:

Pyongyang, February 4 (KCNA) — Upon hearing the news that General Secretary Kim Jong Il was nominated as a candidate for deputy to the 12th Supreme People’s Assembly at Constituency No. 333, the entire army and people are full of great happiness and pride of having the peerlessly great man as the leader of the nation.

Anti-Japanese revolutionary fighter Hwang Sun Hui said that the anti-Japanese revolutionary fighters were very happy to hear the news. She went on:

A few days ago the officers and men of the People’s Army nominated Kim Jong Il as a candidate for deputy to the SPA with boundless reverence. This is the unanimous will and ardent desire of the entire people.

On receiving this happy news with the February 16, the greatest holiday of the nation, ahead, I can hardly repress the swelling emotion.

We anti-Japanese revolutionary fighters will uphold the leader’s plan of building a great, prosperous and powerful nation in the van of the people.

Vice-premier of the DPRK Cabinet Thae Jong Su, noting that having nominated Kim Jong Il as a candidate for deputy to the SPA this time again is the unanimous will of the entire army and people and a great auspicious event of the nation, said:

Kim Jong Il has been leading the Party and the revolution along one road of victory for scores of years, thus performing great feats which will remain immortal in the history of the country.

He is the peerlessly great man who has defended firmly and developed in depth President Kim Il Sung’s Juche-oriented idea and line on state building and demonstrated the dignity and might of the DPRK all over the world with his original Songun politics.

All the officers and men of the People’s Army and the people came to have as a firm faith through life that he is the destiny and future of our country and nation and the symbol of all the victories.

That’s how they do political campaigns in Pyongyang, kids, although admittedly, this has all seemed a little less other-worldly after reading a couple years’ worth of Barack Obama campaign coverage. But if this is your sort of thing, you can read more here and here.

Related: We can always hope that cirrhosis will do what the collective genius of the U.S. State Department can’t.

That Rabbi was such a nice man. Maybe I should send him another ham.

fish.jpgSouth Korean President Lee Myung Bak, who as mayor of Seoul awkwardly offered the city to Almighty God, was recently rescued from the brink of a social and sectarian fiasco when a staffer prevented him from sending Chuseok gift sets of dried anchovies to a group of Buddhist monks (link is in Korean).

Fact 1: Buddhist monks are required to abstain from eating living things.

Fact 2: 22.8% of President Lee’s constituents are Buddhists.

So many mouths. How can one man put a foot in all of them?