Saturday, June 01, 2013

Saturday Night Special

Let's start off with some light bossa nova.

Well, how do you like that?

A Canadian shipment of relief goods bound for storm-ravaged Oklahoma has been stopped at the Canada-U.S. border in Windsor, Ont.

American officials will not allow the 20,000 kilograms of food, blankets and diapers into the country until every item on board is itemized in alphabetical order and has the country of origin of every product noted.

I'll bet the IRS could get things up and running.

Or could they?

Because he's Mark Steyn:

Let us also overlook the excellent treatment received from the IRS by members of the president’s family. Although acting commissioner Steven Miller apologized for the “horrible customer service” conservative taxpayers had gotten, a gentleman by the name of Malik Obama received impeccable, express service when he took the precaution of mailing in his non-profit application from N’giya, Kenya, rather than notoriously slower mail processing centers such as Phoenix and Dallas. Malik, the brother of President Obama, runs the Barack H. Obama Foundation, named for the president’s father. On May 30, 2011, they applied for tax-exempt status, and had their approval signed less than a month later by Lois Lerner herself, and conveniently backdated by Lois to cover the two-and-a-half years the enterprising Malik had already been raking in “tax-deductible” donations from Americans. The Washington address of the Barack H. Obama Foundation appears to be bogus, and it’s not clear whether the funds are being used back in Kenya for anything other than supporting the famously lavish lifestyle of Malik and his twelve wives. Given that the IRS is not shy about asking American conservatives for Facebook posts and lists of who attends their meetings, Ms. Lerner surely would have been within her rights to ask Malik Obama about the “exclusive” photographs currently displayed on the Barack H. Obama Foundation website of a recent meeting in Sudan, one of only four countries the U.S. government designates as a “terrorist state,” and the Foundation’s apparently extensive association with the Sudanese president and blood-soaked genocidal war criminal Omar al-Bashir. Given that the IRS likes to ask conservative taxpayers whether their friends and relatives are planning on running for office, Ms. Lerner might like to ask Malik Obama when his friend President Bashir is planning on leaving office. After another quarter million corpses?
When it is said that Obama is or behaves like an African dictator, one is really not speaking in hyperbole.

If there is anyone concerned with the US' military and economic stability and presence in the Pacific, they might wish to do something about China's cyber-attacks. I'd suggest stop trading with China and arm South Korea, Taiwan and Japan. To start.

I think there is blame enough to go around here:

Human rights groups assisting North Korean defectors say a Korean missionary couple who guided the defectors complained that South Korean embassy officials in Laos simply told them to wait and did nothing else. Frustrated, the couple asked for the phone numbers of the U.S. embassy in Laos.

The Foreign Ministry here claims it contacted Lao authorities every day urging them not to deport the defectors, but that is hard to believe. If they did, the mystery is why Laos suddenly decided to hand the refugees over to North Korea despite its usual practice of quietly handing them over to South Korea.

Inaction by the embassy seems a more plausible explanation, since this would not the first time that North Korean defectors were surprised by cold and inconsiderate treatment from South Korean diplomats.

If the nine young North Koreans are sent back to the North, they could be being publicly executed to set an example. Since Kim Jong-un came to power in North Korea in 2012, he ordered troops to root out defections even by shooting refugees. He has rewarded border guards who catch defectors trying to cross the border into China and sent out agents to search for defectors in China.

The number of North Korean defectors who arrived in South Korea fell from some 2,700 in 2011 to around 1,500 last year and only 320 so far this year. They face even greater threats to their lives now if they are caught, so the government must do everything it can to alert the international community to their plight and prevent them being executed.

The government must find out why Laos suddenly abandoned usual practice and decided to deport the defectors. An investigation must establish why the South Korean embassy failed to prevent their deportation and what steps it took to secure their release.

Oh, you think?

North Korea has promised China to seek dialogue on its nuclear program, including through a revival of six-party talks that had ended in 2009. Senior apparatchik Choe Ryong-hae met Chinese President Xi Jinping on Friday and was quoted by Xinhua news agency as saying North Korea expressed "willingness to open dialogue" with "concerned parties" to "ensure stability on the Korean Peninsula."

But that is no guarantee that North Korea will suddenly stop its belligerent antics that have continued for almost six months now and sit down at the negotiating table. Pyongyang is probably more interested in winning back China's support with these pledges. Choe pointedly said the purpose of his visit to Beijing was to bolster ties between the two countries. He would not have said it if there were no problems in relations.

And now, just in time for summer, s'more pie pops. Enjoy.

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