While you were sleeping our already-roiling world took another hit to its tenuous stability:
North Korean leader Kim Jong-il has died at the age of 69, state-run television has announced.
Mr Kim, who has led the communist nation since the death of his father in 1994, died on a train while visiting an area outside the capital, the announcement said.
He suffered a stroke in 2008 and was absent from public view for months.
Pyongyang described his son Kim Jong-un as the “great successor” and urged North Koreans to unite behind him.
Kim Jong-il’s death leaves a hole in the communist state that is difficult for outsiders to understand. As only the country’s second leader and the son of its founder, Kim Jong-il was more than just a national figurehead.
State propaganda elevated him to a demi-god, credited with superhuman powers of wisdom, leadership and military prowess. Now that focus has moved to his younger son, Kim Jong-un. He has been publicly positioned as his father’s successor for just over a year. But this is perhaps the toughest test of North Korea’s stability.
Kim Jong-un, who is thought to be in his late 20s, was named as his father’s successor just over a year ago.
Read more here
Funnily enough, my son Buster and I were just talking about Kim Jong Il last night — he was reminding me of a documentary he’d seen speaking precisely to the North Korean perception of the tyrannical “dear leader” as a demi-god. Now the tyrant is gone, and a new one will step in.
It reminds me of a line I remember imperfectly from Harry S. Truman — post presidency he was asked about a current crisis and said (I paraphrase) “old tyrants die; new ones take their place. It’s all very tiring and distressing…”
Indeed, it is. And speaking of new tyrannies — which Mark Shea and I really think we must, because so few seem inclined to — Glenn Greenwald debunks three myths about the detention bill that just passed through congress and is headed for Obama’s signature.
Mark sums it up:
Myth # 1: This bill does not codify indefinite detention
Myth #2: The bill does not expand the scope of the War on Terror as defined by the 2001 AUMF
Myth #3: U.S. citizens are exempted from this new bill
But you really need to read Greenwald’s whole piece.
Haven’t heard about that, as you’ve been Christmas shopping and watching football and thinking about Kim Kardashian? Distracted by the media illusions of “Occupy Wall Street” and the sudden prominent valuation of “The (media-approved) Protester”? Listen up!
We have to ask ourselves why this bill? Why this congress and president? Why now?
We are told that Washington is broken — that the two parties are so polarized they can agree on nothing, get nothing done — and yet they’ve managed to come together to on this.
And the president, that beacon of civil rights who was going to repair the constitution left “shredded” by his predecessor? Well, yeah — he was originally going to veto the thing, until it got rewritten, with more powers extended to the president. Now, hey…he’s on board.
Never, ever forget that this is one of Obama’s campaign promises: a “fundamental transformation of America”
Why now? Perhaps they’re hustling this through at this time because they know we’re fed up, that public trust in our institutions is at an all time low, and that once our “holiday” distractions are over, we might start paying attention and wondering, “hey . . . is this still America?” We might object and protest — and we’d be the wrong sort of protesters, not “media-approved.”
“If once (the people) become inattentive to the public affairs,
you and I, and Congress and Assemblies, Judges and Governors,
shall all become wolves. It seems to be the law of our general
nature, in spite of individual exceptions.”
— Thomas Jefferson
They do this because the dynamic in our country is no longer left/right/conservative/liberal. It is our Ruling Class vs. the Populace. The law spells the end of the US as a free country. From now on, we are permitted “rights” only on the sufferance of our Ruling Class, who can strip us of both liberty and life on the unilateral fiat of the Executive without arrest, evidence, trial, judge, jury or verdict.
Yes, it sounds very dramatic. That’s because it is very dramatic. A few years ago I wrote a piece — now lost to all of my moves — suggesting that we were not far from the day when the ruling elites would be driving by in their limos, applauding the rest of us for “keeping it real” while the rest of us kept our heads down and waited on line for our hand-outs.
I suspect we’re almost there.
Gingrich is very good at tossing a stinkbomb over the transom, and letting the ensuing reaction demonstrate that there’s something rotten about the status quo. It’s not so clear that this talent is desirable in a President, however. And, even if it is, it’s even less clear that it’s conducive to being elected President. What’s more, I’d say that Gingrich, if elected President, will share one of Barack Obama’s flaws: The tendency to say things that might be interesting if said by a professor, but that have a lot more impact than is desirable when said by a President.
Unlike Mark Shea, I do not believe Ron Paul is the answer. I do not know if this Republic can survive with any of the current players still holding power. The whole boiling of them need to be ousted, but that will not happen. Absent that, it’s just illusion upon illusion.
So, yeah. Kim Jong Il is dead. North Korea has lots of nukes. Tyrants abounding.