An incredible story

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The author peeks up from behind her mother’s back around 1980.

I READ A LOT because I’m smart, or maybe it’s the other way around.

Aside from my frequent mentions here that I often read a spell during the late afternoons down on the plaza, accompanied by a café Americano negro, I don’t do book reviews nor do I plug them, usually. But I’m gonna make an exception.

The Girl With the Seven Names.

girlIt’s written, along with a Welsh ghost writer named David John, by Hyeonseo Lee. I believe all Koreans are named either Lee or Park. That’s not the name she was given at birth but one of the seven she picked up along the escape route.

She fled North Korea. It’s not the first book I’ve read by North Korean defectors. It’s the second or third. But it’s by far the best, the most gripping, the most incredible.

This book was on the New York Times Best Seller List in 2015, so you may know of it. I pay no mind to best-seller lists anywhere, so it was new to me.

Kindle recommended it.

Something I did not know was that although North Korea’s southern border, the one with South Korea, is heavily guarded and difficult to pass through, the northern border with China is a walk in the park to cross. The problem with escaping that way is that the Chinese will send you right back if you’re caught.

Lee was just 19 years old when she crossed into China. The years-long, often harrowing tale of her trek to South Korea and then the added, equally gripping, story of how she managed to get her mother and brother to South Korea too is something you don’t want to miss. It’s a story of terror, love, deceit, cunning and sheer luck.

It takes you through China, Laotian prisons, Vietnam and tense bus journeys.

North Korea is usually referred to as communist, but it’s about as communist as I am. It’s an old-school Oriental despotism that’s totally misplaced in today’s world. A bit more communist, but not all that much, was Stalin’s Soviet Union and Mao’s Red China.

These facts support the common leftist claim the communism has never really been implemented, and that is quite correct. When the pie-in-the-sky notion of communism is tried, human nature swiftly comes into play, and despotism follows.

This is a wonderful book. It ends happily, and Lee is beautiful. How has this not been made into a movie? She’s in her late 30s now and lives in South Korea.

Nomenclature

THERE’S LOTS of name-calling happening in the political sphere these days north of the Rio Bravo.

It’s something I avoid. Name-calling, that is. I avoid it because I am a Southern Boy, and my mama taught me to be nice.

leftYet a friend who votes Democratic — twice for Weepy Barry* —  says I call names. He believes this because I refer to him as collectivist and left-wing.

I intend no disrespect, just clarity of speech.

This is not name-calling. There exists a political divide as everyone knows. On the right side are conservatives, libertarians and the occasional Fascist. On the left are “liberals,” “progressives”** and the occasional Communist.

When I say someone is left-wing, leftist, etc., it is stating that the person in question is to the left of the political divide. I also favor the term collectivist when speaking of leftists.

Collectivist refers to the left’s embrace of collective action to solve problems. One of the primary differences between leftists and rightists is the left’s liking of collective solutions.

Rightists generally dislike collective solutions. We prefer freedom of choice.*** If you want to help someone individually, you do so. If you want to join a collective to solve problems, you are free to do so, but you are not coerced.

Leftists embrace coercive methods to promote collective solutions. Rightists abhor coercion. Obamacare is a classic case of coerced collective action to solve a problem.

rightRightists don’t get riled when called right-wingers or rightists. We embrace it as a badge of honor and clear thinking. We are, with some few exceptions, people who prefer freedom.

I will admit that the far edge of Rightism, like the far edge of Leftism, often embraces tyranny. Tyranny is dreadful, no matter if it’s brought to you by a Hitler or a Stalin.

Leftists don’t like being called leftists, and they often deny the label in spite of crystal-clear evidence that they are.

A few years ago, I accurately referred here to a friend as a left-winger. She quickly emailed to call me an a-hole, but she spelled it out. A-hole is a lovely example of name-calling.

Alas, she is now on comment-moderation status.

A-hole is name-calling. So is jackass, sumbitch, pendejo (Spanish name-calling), well, I could go on. You know true name-calling when you see it.

Leftist and rightist do not fall into the category of name-calling. They are accurate adjectives. Collectivism is the preferred political system of leftists. It is not name-calling either.

Check your Funk & Wagnalls.

And anyone who voted for Weepy Barry, the most leftist president in U.S. history, not once but twice, is clearly a leftist, which is not name-calling. It’s a political preference.

One should embrace one’s preferences, not deny them. In that spirit, I will be categorizing posts here in a new fashion. When they deal with politics, it will clearly state Right-Wing View above the headline. See above.

When it’s dealing with my Mexican world, you will see Mexican Life. If I ever post fiction again — which seems unlikely — you will see Fiction. Anything that does not fall into one of these three categories will be labeled The Odd Pot.

These categories appear just above the post headline.

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* Since Barack Hussein Obama recently shed tears during a speech about gun control, I will henceforth refer to him as Weepy Barry. He continues to embarrass his nation.

** I put these in quote marks because I do not believe they are accurate adjectives for today’s Democrat Party.

*** Yeah, I know. Not where abortion is involved. Rightists are imperfect people, as are all people.

(Note: Some voters claim to be “Independents.” I don’t buy it. In the severely separated political world of today, you cannot be a fence-sitter. Bill O’Reilly says he’s Independent, which is laughably ridiculous.)

Guest lecturer

BEFORE WE introduce today’s guest lecturer, the Unseen Moon’s first, let me preface with a few words.

I oppose the phenomenon of political correctness — a somewhat cute term for a cultural cancer — and everything connected to it. Its source is the political left, and its party in the United States is the Democratic. Barry’s people.

And Hillary’s and Bernie’s people too.

I don’t write about it much anymore because I view its opposition as an exercise in futility. Its damage is done. America and Europe are spiraling down. The crash into the mountainside is imminent. Brace yourself.

But I happened upon the following column that focuses on one element of the cancer, that of renaming things, which smells of Stalin’s having opponents airbrushed from photographs.

After he’s murdered them.

And I liked the column. I want to share.

Changing history is a longtime tool of tyrants. What’s going on now is not changing history so much as it’s altering how we should view it, nearly as bad. It is elevating ignorance.

With no further ado, let’s give a big Moon welcome to Bill O’Reilly who needs no introduction.

Know that armed guards wait in the lobby to show the exit door to any of you who try to shout him down.

This is not Yale or Mizzou.

* * * *

bill“As you may know, some students at Princeton University are requesting – demanding! – that Woodrow Wilson’s name be obliterated from campus buildings.

Not only did Wilson graduate from Princeton, he was president of the school, governor of New Jersey and an impeccably ‘progressive’ president of the United States. So what’s the beef?

Well, our 28th president was a dyed-in-the-wool racist who re-segregated the federal bureaucracy.

His retrograde racial views have long been known to anyone who has taken the time to read about Wilson, and this latest campus dustup raises a question:

Why stop with Woodrow Wilson?

The town of Princeton and the university itself are named after William III, Prince of Orange, whose family was deeply involved in the slave trade. Princeton has streets and buildings honoring native son Paul Robeson, the singer, athlete, actor, and unapologetic Stalinist.

Robeson, undeniably a remarkable and talented man, clung to his affection for communism and the USSR even after being told that the Soviets were persecuting Jews. Perhaps his name should be vanished, Soviet-style, from the town square.

To the north in Connecticut, Wesleyan University got its name from John Wesley, founder of the Methodist Church.

A couple of centuries before San Bernardino, Paris, ISIS, and all the other Islamic-related mayhem, Wesley described Muslims as ‘destroyers of human kind.’ So shouldn’t the trustees consider re-naming their ultra-liberal university?

Not to be outdone, Winston Churchill, whose name adorns numerous American schools, wrote that ‘no stronger retrograde force exists in the world’ than Islam.

And let’s not overlook President John Quincy Adams, who warned that the Koran advises ‘perpetual war’ against infidels. Yes, JQA was an Islamophobe, but don’t mention it to the good folks of Quincy, Massachusetts.

Franklin Delano Roosevelt, a saint in the church of liberalism, had some serious issues with homosexuality. As secretary of the navy, FDR went on a crusade to find and weed out ‘sexual perversion’ in the Navy.

The Great Emancipator Abraham Lincoln opined that the white race must always retain ‘the superior position.’

Think of all those ‘Lincoln Elementary Schools’ and “Roosevelt High Schools’ across the USA and the big payday in store for stone masons.

In West Virginia, pretty much everything not nailed down is named after long-serving Democratic Senator Robert Byrd, whose career included a stint as Exalted Cyclops in the local Ku Klux Klan chapter. If there are calls to have his name sandblasted from all those edifices, we have not heard them.

Most towns, probably yours included, have streets named after slaveholders Washington, Jefferson, and Madison. Yes, a stroll on Madison Avenue in New York City may require a ‘trigger warning’ for some of today’s more delicate college students.

The point of all this is not to say that everything should be renamed, but rather that nothing should be renamed. Unless, that is, some horrible new disclosure comes to light.

Anyone with a pulse and curiosity could have known that Woodrow Wilson was a stone-cold racist, that Honest Abe honestly felt blacks were lesser beings, and that Churchill loathed Islam.

These were men of their times expressing views that were common then, but which we now consider repugnant. They should be judged by the standards of the eras in which they lived, not by our notions of what is acceptable.

Demonizing FDR for his views of homosexuality makes as much sense as criticizing his fondness for cigarettes.

However, if we suddenly discover that Wilson was, say, a pedophile, or that Lincoln was a serial killer in his spare time, a re-examination will be in order.

Short of that, how about we just leave things the way they are? Sorry to all you bricklayers out there.

As an aside, back in 1964 Shirley Ellis had a runaway hit with ‘The Name Game.’ If you’re of a certain age, you can still recite her unique lyrics — ‘Lincoln, Lincoln, bo Bincoln, Bonanana fanna fo Fincoln.’ It was a light song infused with fun and joy.

But today’s Name Game is one of bitterness, usually played by left-wingers who revel in feeling ‘oppressed.’ And if they really want to start down the slippery slope of erasing past leaders from public streets and buildings, why not go all the way?

Out with Washington and Lincoln and Roosevelt, down with Churchill and Wilson and Madison. Let the re-naming begin!”

No good guys

school

RETURNING TUESDAY from a couple of nights in a jacuzzi-equipped suite overlooking the bay of Zihuatanejo, Guerrero, we approached one of the toll booths that line the autopista from the Pacific coast to our mountaintop town.

The toll booth had been commandeered by a band of brats called Normalistas. This is fairly common. Some wore bandannas over their faces like old-school Mexican banditos. They ask for money. I gave them five pesos, which is about 35 cents, and I was waved on through.

These young people are students of a system called Rural Normal Schools, which began in the early 1920s as the Mexican Revolution was grinding to a bloody close. The schools officially are to train teachers, and they do that. But the sort of teachers you get is obvious from the photo above, which is one of the Rural Normal schools in the State of Guerrero.

In practice, these are communist training camps, trapped in a time warp.

The “student teachers” in these training camps often take to the highways for fund-raising. Commandeering toll booths is common, or they’ll simply set up a roadblock on any highway and ask for money. They are almost never threatening, but they are a nuisance. One of these communist training camps, er, I mean, schools, sits between the Hacienda and the state capital.

About 25 minutes away. If memory serves, it’s the only one in the entire state. Lucky me.

I must have passed through these roadblocks a hundred or more times. Unlike at the toll booths, the highway situations are not blocked. You just have to slow down to get past the mob. I have never donated a single peso, and never will. Other motorists do, which appalls me.

Whenever Normalistas want to go somewhere en masse, they simply stop a public bus, hustle the passengers off, and drive to their revolutionary event. To their credit, these actions are invariably nonviolent, and buses are later returned, but you still have to exit your bus.

Why don’t the cops do something, you might ask. Back in 1968, there was the Tlatelolco massacre in Mexico City. The blowback, both internationally and within Mexico, against the government was so severe that ever since, 47 years later, Mexican governments take a hands-off approach to “students.” Students can get away with pretty much anything now.

Not surprisingly, they take full advantage of that. As we passed through the toll booth, a federal highway patrolman nearby was leaning against his patrol car, playing with his cell phone.

A much-publicized event took place last year in the State of Guerrero in which a bunch of these kids, accustomed to getting away with whatever, decided to butt heads with some people with whom one should never butt heads: corrupt officials, cops and narcos in the badass State of Guerrero. As a result, 43 of the “education students” vanished from the face of the Earth.

Later, 28 or so torched bodies were found buried, most likely some of the Normalistas.

As Stalin once said: One death is a tragedy. A million deaths is a statistic.  Or in the case of Guerrero, 43 deaths is a statistic. It’s hard to feel sympathy.

On one side, you have corrupt cops, officials and crooks. On the other side, you have young, spoiled, communists-in-training who will take up the “teaching” profession.

There are no good guys in this.

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(Note: Here’s an interesting news story from last year that gives a clearer picture of these “teaching schools” and their mindsets.