I (still) believe North Korea!

I (Still) Believe North Korea!
The Korea Times (May 26, 2010)
by Casey Lartigue, Jr.

I believe North Korea when it says the South started the Korean War in 1950. I didn't believe former Russian leader Boris Yeltsin in 1994 when he released declassified documents revealing that North Korea started the War.

I believe North Korea didn't send 31 commandos into Seoul in 1968 to kill Park Chung-hee. I believe North Korea didn't send armed guerrillas onto the East Coast area of Uljin and Samcheok in 1968, or Heuksan in 1969, or Heukchon in 1970.

I believe the assassin who killed the South Korean first lady in 1974 wasn't a North Korean agent. I believe several North Korean agents did not cross the border in October 1979. I believe the Earth moved and they only appeared to be in South Korea. I believe that three North Korean agents shot near the Han River in March 1980 were just out for a swim. I believe that North Korean agents shot to death in November 1980 in Hwanggando got lost while hiking. I believe that three North Korean agents shot to death in Namhae a few months later were part of a search party looking for those lost hikers.

I believe that three agents who infiltrated into Geumhwa in March 1981 were sleepwalking. I believe it is routine for North Korean agents to go to sleep in North Korea and magically wake up in South Korea the next morning, fully armed with grenades, machine guns and dreams of reunification.

I believe North Korea didn't dig tunnels underground in the 1970s. I didn't believe South Korean leaders when they showed the pictures of the tunnels to the world. I believe the mob of North Koreans who chopped up two U.S. army officers in 1976 did it in self-defense. I believe nine North Korean agents shot to death after their boat sank off the coast of Seosan in 1981 were lost fishermen. I believe that North Korean agents shot to death near the Imjin River in July 1981 and June 1983 were wayward scuba divers. I believe North Korea agents spotted along South Korea's east coast in 1982 were tourists.

I believe that reports of North Korean soldiers entering the DMZ is South Korean and American propaganda to justify increased military spending. I believe the ``imperialists and puppets" from the U.S., Japan and South Korea who are feeding starving North Koreans want war.

I believe North Koreans didn't set off the bomb killing South Korean government officials in Rangoon in 1983. I believe the North Korean agent who killed three South Korean civilians in September 1984 was a South Korean agent. I believe that Kim Hyun-hee, who helped blow up a South Korean plane in 1987 (killing all 115 on board), is a forgetful woman who left her bomb on the plane.

I believe North Korean agents shot to death in May 1992 (three along the West Coast) and October 1995 (two in Buyeo) were bringing reunification messages. I believe that the North Korean government official who threatened to turn Seoul into a ``sea of flames" meant to say a ``country of happiness." I believe defectors from North Korea are, as a spokesman said, ``rats," ``criminals," and ``cowards." I believe that only rats, criminals and cowards would leave if North Korea opened its border. I believe North Korea is protecting South Korea from rats, criminals and cowards.

I believed North Korea when it said that its submarines ``drifted" to the South because of ``engine trouble" in 1996 and 1997. I believe North Korea cannot prevent such incidents because North Korean subs naturally drift to the South when they have engine trouble. I believe the South uses a large magnet to attract drifting North Korean subs.

I believe the dead man discovered washed up on a beach wearing North Korean clothing and armed with North Korean weapons was an actor. I believe the South Korean tourist shot to death in 2008 on Mt. Kumgang in North Korea shot herself. I believe the Hyundai Asan employee held hostage in North Korea last year for criticizing North Korea was lost for four months. I believe North Korea acted in self defense in 2000 when it threatened to ``blow up" the Chosun Ilbo newspaper for ``slandering our Republic" for claiming the North started the War. I believe it is ridiculous to suspect North Korea had a role in the sinking of the Cheonan warship on March 26.

I believe all of this because I don't believe that North Korea actually exists. I believe Boris Yeltsin had the secret documents to prove it.

The writer, a former policy analyst with the Cato Institute and formerly host of the Casey Lartigue Show on XM 169 in Lanham, Md., is now a freelance education consultant based in South Korea. He can be reached at www.caseylartigue.blogspot.com.


Original Korea Times link.

Note: The day before I published this article in the Korea Times, North Korea had threatened to blow up speakers in the DMZ.

Shooting loudspeakers


Some days I really enjoy the things I eat here. This is one of my favorites, I ate it last night.

Koreans constantly tell me that it is a summer dish and that restaurants don't serve it now. Yet, for the past few months, I have constantly found places that serve it year-around. I guess I am one of those people who likes what he likes when he likes it, I don't wait for a particular season or time to eat something. That is not just about Korean food. I don't particularly like turkey and would never choose it at a restaurant. I don't like it more on Thanksgiving Day than I do on other dates.

But...I'm not even sure what those things below were. I didn't bother asking. I just made sure those things were cooked thoroughly when they got to my table a few minutes later.

* * *


I happened to be in South Korea in 1994 when North Korea's founder, Kim Il-sung, finally kicked the bucket. North Korea closed the border for a month and cut off communication with the world. I remember that friends and relatives were alarmed that I might get caught up in a civil war.

Today's Korea Times tells us: "North Korea said Tuesday that it will cut all relations with South Korea and will have no contact with the Southern authorities during the remaining tenure of President Lee Myung-bak."

Such promises.

Assuming he serves out his term, Myung-bak will be in power until 2013.

So North Korea will go without handouts from the South for at least three years? Or do they plan on being good communists and just TAKING what they want?

* * *

I have been asking my Korean friends about the North. Their main two responses:

* MB is crazy and eager to start a war.

These seem to be the same people who thought the ship that sank may have been an inside job.

* The two previous liberal South Korean presidents were too soft and have encouraged North Korea to feel like an entitled bully.

I haven't yet told them what I think about it, I really wanted to hear what they thought.

* * *

A wonderful thing is happening. My comments about the Civil Rights Act violating private property rights were posted on a black issues blog. So far, none of the people commenting have called me a sell-out or questioned my sanity as a black man.

Of course, that can always change, especially after pointing it out. I think it helps that I'm not in America now. I'm clearly not angling to get a job with Republicans or selling out in some other way (that seems to be a major concern of blacks who lean to the left). I'm really saying what I think and I guess they are accepting it.

In response to questions, I recently told a black friend in Korea that one wonderful thing about being here is that no one can accuse me of doing well here because of affirmative action.

Things I get here are despite my race.

* * *


NBA player suffered a broken nose during a game the other night. He kept playing in the game.

Let's just say that if I suffered a broken nose that I wouldn't play basketball for a while. Or probably do many other things.

Incredibly, he adjusted his broken nose himself during the game!

* * *

According to the Korea Times:
North Korea threatened to fire at South Korean loudspeakers along the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) and destroy them, Monday, if Seoul resumes propaganda broadcasting suspended since 2004.

"If South Korea installs new speakers for psychological warfare, we will directly aim at them and open fire to destroy them," an unnamed North Korean military commander said in a statement, carried by Pyongyang's official Korean Central News Agency.

"If the South Korean traitors challenge our rightful response, we will counter with mightier physical strikes to eliminate the root cause of their provocation," the statement said.
I know North Korean leadership hates freedom of speech but this is ridiculous even for them. If the Korean War resumes then I hope it won't be because of some idiots shooting at loudspeakers.



Random political stuff

I agree with Rand Paul's point that private businesses should be exempt from the Civil Rights Act. That should be a restriction on government, not on private business.
I can say that because I'm not interested in being a politician and my job doesn't depend on me keeping myself from saying what I think.

Nevertheless, if I had been alive in 1964 and somehow found myself in Congress then I would have voted to pass the Civil Rights Act even though it was not been perfect. There's a difference between political decisions and what's correct.

* * *

WEW hosting RUSH

Walter E. Williams will be hosting the Rush Limbaugh Show 5/25/10 from noon EST.

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I briefly met former Detroit mayor Kwame Kilpatrick at an education conference a few years ago. He was bigger than life, had a Marion Barry larger-than-life type of personality, and he greeted everyone, including me, like they were long-lost friends.
He was booted out of office a few years ago when it was revealed in sexual text messages that he had lied under oath. He has been struggling since then and now faces jail time again.

Amazing. Just a few years ago he was heralded as part of a new generation of black leaders. According to the article, "Kilpatrick pleaded guilty to obstruction of justice in 2008 after sexually explicit text messages became public, showing he had lied under oath about an affair with a staff member in a whistle-blowers' lawsuit. He resigned, served 99 days in jail, agreed to give up his law license, repay the city $1 million, and stay out of politics for five years."

* * *


A writer in the Korea Times opines: "Several decades ago, with fewer gadgets, life was happier and suicide less common."

I really hate it when people try to explain why people commit suicide. We really don't know. Of course, everyone ties the increasing number of suicides to whatever they believe is a problem in society. It may be that more people are committing suicide because with more gadgets and better technology they can live longer, but some get tired of it. I'm not saying that is true, just to point out that explanations are like statistics--as the saying goes, 42.7% of statistics are made up on the spot.

The writer adds: "
Without any hindrance in face to face conversations (i.e. the constant ringing or vibration of a cell phone), people could put more effort into hearty discussions. Conversations then were neither disrupted nor disturbed; they were more meaningful in effect."

People who know me know that I ignore my cell phone when I choose to do so. I may be the last man on the planet without Facebook. I've never done MySpace. I don't remember my Skype account number. If people want to do something their own way then they can!

* * *


'Living wage' kills projects, Mayor Bloomberg says, according to the New York Daily News. Should not be surprising that artificially setting wages at an arbitrary level will result in bad economic results.

How long will it be until Bloomberg says that the minimum wage prices a lot of people out of the job market. 

An option to have a job at a low wage is better than a theoretical job at a higher wage.

* * *


This kind of story pops up from time to time:: Piles of undelivered mail found in Mich. shed.

How long could a FedEx or UPS driver get away with not delivering packages? The guy says he was overwhelmed. He may have disrupted lives by not delivering mail, some of which could have been payments, letters to loved ones, etc.

* * *


One of the absolutely dumbest statistics that people keep track of is trade deficits. Today the Korea Times informs us that North Korea has 'suffered' a trade deficit for two decades.

1) Does anyone expect that countries will always have "balanced" trade? It is a stupid premise to begin with.

2) According to the article: "North Korea exported a total of $790 million worth of merchandise to China in 2009 while importing $1.9 billion made-in-China products. Pyongyang mainly bought crude oil, machinery and electronic goods."

What should the balance be?

3) So...the North Koreans who suffered from the "deficit" didn't get anything in exchange? Think about your everyday life, you have "deficits" with most of the business people you meet--grocers, pharmacists, department stores.

When is the last time Bill Gates or Steve Jobs bought something from you?

4) According to the article: "Transactions with South Korea were excluded from the survey because the two are of the same ethnicity. Inter-Korean trade in 2009 was $1.7 billion, down 7.8 percent from 2008. "

So if a Korean person in China buys something from a North Korean in North Korea then it is part of a "trade deficit." But a Korean person in South Korea buying something from a someone in North Korea then that "deficit" isn't included.

5) Okay, I'm not the first to make this point. Adam Smith (1776) wrote:
"Nothing, however, can be more absurd than this whole doctrine of the balance of trade, upon which, not only these restraints, but almost all the other regulations of commerce are founded. When two places trade with one another, this doctrine supposes that, if the balance be even, neither of them either loses or gains; but if it leans in any degree to one side, that one of them loses and the other gains in proportion to its declension from the exact equilibrium. Both suppositions are false."

6) As I wrote in the Korea Times nine years ago: As [James] Ingram explained it, an unknown entrepreneur discovers a way to turn wheat and lumber into cars. His factory, which had been built on the edge of town near the sea, was off-limits to protect his secret process. As wheat and lumber were turned into products consumers wanted the businessman was hailed as a hero across the country.
Then, a journalist investigates. He finds a former employee who reveals that the large factory is empty. There was a large hole in the back of the factory, where ships imported cars and exported grain. Because of the news story, the businessman was vilified for driving up the nation's trade deficit, eliminating U.S. jobs, and destroying the nation's automobile market.



Random photos from today

I went walking around today. Whereas some people like to go walking in the mountains, I enjoy walking around in the city. Well, not D.C. or other cities with many homeless, crazy and/or armed people walking around...

* * *

Here's where I had lunch today. About $1.90 for a hamburger hamberger.

* * *

Ha-ha! Bet you never would have guessed that Batman is a drinking place in Korea!

* * *

Man Clinic? The Koreans walking by seemed to be very curious about why I was taking a photo of a "Man Clinic." They may know something I don't know...Actually, I wasn't curious enough to go in and find out what it was...

* * *

Right down the street from the Man Clinic...there's a Love Shop! I love the euphemism. "Love Shop" sounds much better than Sex Shop. I'm guessing that if you don't go to the "Love Shop" to buy condoms that you may need to visit the Man Clinic a short time later?

* * *

Nobody in South Korea has guns. Apparently that's because they are all at this gun shop I passed by today.

Updated: Gun statistics in Korea, April 22, 2013, Korea Herald

* Around 187,000 firearms, including handguns, rifles, and shotguns were legally held by civilians.
* In 2011, 416 crimes involving guns occurred in Korea.
* 141 illegal firearms were seized in 2012.

4 shooting incidents in Korea in the last month--an average afternoon in Chicago.

* A 42 year old man shot a 38 year old man who had been having an affair with his wife. He had held the weapon for years to fend off wild animals--turned out that the wild animal was on 2, not 4, legs.

Three of the incidents involved unauthorized guns.

According to the article: "In Korea, gun possession is prohibited except for soldiers, police officers, hunters and other specially licensed people. However, civilians can hold air guns with a caliber of 0.20 (50 mm) or smaller."



Busy week for fakers

What about "No" would they not understand?

The Korea Times identifies a new problem: freeloading Koreans visiting relatives in America. The cause: it is now easier for Koreans to travel to America because of a visa waiver.

1) I am amazed at some of the people that reporters can find and about the things people will say to reporters. Complaining because you can't say no to family? Even if I did want to complain about such a thing I would not do so to a reporter.

2) Perhaps Koreans need a return to the good old days, back to 1987 when martial law prevented most Koreans from traveling abroad without a good reason (education, religion or business). A great thing about freedom is that we can complain about trivial things, and even be taking seriously by reporters. When Koreans were living under dictators they wished for the chance to travel abroad.

3) The most obvious solution, besides saying no the first time relatives and friends ask: Say no the second and third times they ask. Is it better to be known as the unfriendly relatives who won't let others stay at her place for a month or to live with visiting relatives for a month when you don't want to do so? That's a choice everyone must make. The people complaining apparently made the choice to say yes to relatives.

4) Send the link CouchSurfing to all of your Korean relatives--people apparently enter a network that allows them to crash at the homes of other people, as long as they allow others to crash with them. But only send the link if you are sure you won't need to crash at a relative's home for a month. I do wonder how many of the Koreans in America griping about freeloading relatives crash with them when they come to South Korea?

5) How many people do say no to relatives or find an excuse? It would be nice to hear that in such an article although people may not want to admit it. It may be that just a handful of people don't know how to say know.

6) Sometimes it may seem that I hate reporters. Not completely true.

* * *

Conspiracy Theories

I had been thinking about writing a book about education in Korea. But the longer I am here, the more I think about writing a book about conspiracy theories. The latest one is that the Korean government sank the Cheonan, killing 46 South Korean sailors. By government, I mean the South Korean government.

More than a few South Koreans have said this to me, apparently they were being serious. The conspiracies started based on the government's slow response. Then, suddenly, the government's quick response helped explain why it was a conspiracy--they had been caught and had to cover up what they had been doing by appearing to be busy. Upcoming elections--a handy explanation for any conspiracy theories--were cited as proof of a conspiracy.

The conspiracy theorists are also quite sure that former South Korean president Roh Moo-hyun, who reportedly committed suicide, was killed.

Of course, I don't know the truth in either case. They don't either, by the way.

* * *


I may eventually buy a camera because I have learned that I enjoy taking photos. I wasn't always this way, I guess it is a sign of old age.

So I can appreciate the picture-taking culture here. As I've previously blogged, I often see Koreans taking photos of themselves.

I was in a sandwich shop earlier today...

There must have been an announcement in Korean, "Please take photos of yourselves." The two middle school girls at the table across from me were taking photos of each other and themselves. The couple sitting on my left were taking photos of themselves and each other (the woman started it by taking photos of herself. A minute later, two women sitting together started taking photos of themselves.

I really, really wanted to take photos of them all...

* * *

Busy Week for Fakers

Item 1:
"A Texas man with no military experience managed to trick the Army into letting him enter a reserve unit as a noncommissioned officer earlier this year, putting an untrained soldier in a leadership position in a time of war, an Associated Press investigation has found."

Item 2:
"A former Harvard University senior is facing 20 criminal charges for allegedly creating a fraudulent life history that led to his admission to Harvard, and for using forged academic materials from Harvard when he applied for the prestigious Rhodes and Fulbright scholarships."

Item 3:
"When does Idaho Congressman Walt Minnick plan to quit lying about his military service? It's been a week since it was first pointed out that Walt had been misrepresenting his service on his campaign Facebook page and, as shown below, still no change. Today that lie was repeated nationally by KIDO radio's Austin Hill."

What's next? As some have pointed out, Obama faked his way into the White House, so that could be the next big story.



Drunk people don't whisper


Was talking to a friend a few days ago, she mentioned that she saw a cook from a Korean restaurant she has eaten at digging into his nose with his finger as he walked down the street. I'm sure the cook may say he was off-duty, but I think she should tell the people at the restaurant and that the guy should get fired. Of course, he may do such a thing when he is in the kitchen at the restaurant, but he should never let his customers see him do anything strange...

* * *


I am not a baseball fan. I do love playing softball. But I haven't watched a baseball game in years. I just read about a baseball announcer falling asleep during a baseball game. He's paid to talk about baseball so I guess it should be a problem that he was sleeping on the job.

I haven't been to a baseball game since I was 12 years old. But I may go to a baseball game here in Korea.

1) Korean fans are GREAT at games. Not even dead people can sleep while they are cheering. I've only seen this at basketball games, but apparently the same thing happens at baseball games.

2) There are cheerleaders at baseball games in Korea. So that is a second reason I may go.

(Actually, the cheerleaders are the main reason I'd go to a Korean baseball game.)

* * *


I stayed out all night last weekend, on a retreat. We drank a lot during the night. I finally went to sleep at 5:40 a.m. Actually, I wasn't sleepy, but I thought I should sleep. Several guys STILL didn't want to sleep, and they were talking so loudly.

This seems to be an international phenomenon. Drunk people don't whisper. Mind you, we were in a remote area, not a nightclub. I wonder...is it that drunk people lose their inhibitions, so they speak loudly? Or is it that the beer drowns their ears, so they speak louder so they can hear themselves?

* * *


One of Yahoo's recently featured stories was: "10 Places You're Guaranteed to Meet Men."

The one that should be on the list, but isn't: A good place to meet men is wherever they happen to be standing or sitting.


A few years ago a friend of mine asked me where is a good place to meet women.

Here was the conversation:

Friend: I went to a wine-tasting last night but I didn't meet any women.

CJL: Since when did you start drinking wine?

Friend: I'm not a wine-drinker. But I heard that's a good place to meet women.

CJL: So why would you go to a place to meet women doing something you don't enjoy doing?

Friend: Because that's where women go. Women were there.

CJL: With that logic, you may want to open a nail business. Women go there to get their nails done. You do realize that if you meet a woman at a wine-tasting event that she may want to go there again in the future?

Friend: So where do you think I should go to meet women?

CJL: Why don't you meet the women at the places you enjoy going? Open your eyes to the women already around you. That way, you will have something in common with the women you meet.

I don't disagree with the title of the article, the author is correct that women can "meet" men at the places she listed. It doesn't mean the women who take her advice will be meeting men they have anything in common with. If the women don't enjoy going to Home Depot then it is a bad idea to meet a guy who enjoys going.

* * *


Over the years I have noticed that people can agree on analysis and disagree with their conclusions. An example is socialists and capitalists agreeing on problems--then coming to completely different conclusions about what should be done.

I've also noticed the opposite--people completely disagreeing in their analysis but still coming to the same conclusion. That happens on the issue of immigration.

I agree with a lot of what Walter E. Williams writes, but I typically disagree with him on one main issue: Immigration. Here's his latest column on immigration. He argued a few years ago in a TV interview that immigrants should be shot on sight.

He concludes his latest column: "Start strict enforcement of immigration law, as Arizona has begun. Strictly enforce border security. Most importantly, modernize and streamline our cumbersome immigration laws so that people can more easily migrate to our country."

I disagree with his analysis leading up to the conclusion, but strict enforcement of immigration (or any law)? Sure! Either the law should be on the books or it should be taken off the books. Otherwise, the law can be enforced at any time rather than enforced when violated. I also favor strict border security. And I agree with that the immigration laws should make it easier to migrate to America.



useless hoops history

There's a breaking story about Joan Sloan, a backup player on an NCAA Division II team who has applied to play in the NBA.

I recall that Dick Whitmore, then a player at Brown University, did the same thing in 1989 as a junior at Brown. He also had a few minutes of fame.



Random Notes: Fastest Man in Korea

Life after death...another thing I don't worry about

Saw a news article saying that there is new proof of life after death. I don't doubt it. It would be a pleasant surprise. I must admit that I'm more interested in life before death. This is the only ticket on the Life Train that I'm sure of, so I'll ride this one out until I hit the end of the line.

* * *

Except Resigning

Obama says consider everything in tackling debt

* * *


When I was applying for my current job in Korea, one of the job application questions asked if I had any tattoos. Of course, I wrote "no." But I will admit that from time to time I do think about getting a tattoo, or perhaps a series of tattoos. That's because of "presumed consent."

Some jackass A New York assemblyman has introduced a bill aimed at making the state the first to presume people want to donate their organs unless they specifically say otherwise. People aren't willing to give up their organs for free so the lawmaker wants to just take them. There might even be some cash, $1,000, as compensation for them just taking your stuff. That is the equivalent of raping you in your bed, then leaving a small tip on the nightstand.

So I'm debating which of the tattoos I should get:

"Do not remove parts upon death."
"Presumed consent DENIED."
"Not to be Donated or Dismembered Without Payment in Advance."
"Keep Intact, especially after death in New York."
"Deliver Directly to Undertaker!"

I mean it, I will never go to New York again if they pass that law.

* * *

Does he need more time?

One of the triggermen in the assassination of Malcolm X just got out of the joint.

From the article:

Hagan declined to comment after his release.

"I really haven't had any time to gather my thoughts on anything," he told The Associated Press by telephone.

He hasn't had time in 45 years to gather his thoughts? Guess I was wrong when I said that criminals needed time to figure out the "root causes" of their crimes, then they could explain them after 20 to 30 years. If they can't even explain themselves, I won't try to figure them out, either.

* * *

Fastest Man in Korea...until Usain Bolt arrives

Koreans often seem to be in a hurry. The morning and afternoon commutes, however, don't begin to compare to the midnight rush to catch connecting trains. As lively as Seoul is, the subway system shuts down around midnight. Meaning, if you don't catch your connecting train by then that you a) take a taxi home b) wait for the buses or subway to start in the morning c) go to a bus stop and hope it is one that runs later.

Saturday night, I had that dilemma, and chose to catch my connecting train, then decide if I would stay out all night to meet a friend whose birthday party was still in progress. One day, I was Casey Cool. I walked while others ran. So I missed my connecting train, but I guess I looked cool doing it. Thankfully, there was a bus nearby so I didn't need to find out how much it would cost to get home. Saturday night, I ran. I outran everybody, even though I was carrying a laptop in a bag.

Usain Bolt will be running in Daegu, South Korea, later this year, so I guess I'm still the fastest man in Seoul.
(Usain Bolt, the fastest man in the world, unless I'm rushing to catch the train at midnight)

* * *

So this is not a political story?

I've seen a few headlines in the Korea Times about "foot-and-mouth" disease. I had assumed that it was about another politician sticking his foot in his mouth by saying something stupid.