An incredible story

New Image
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.

Silly socialism

AS ART LINKLETTER used to say: People are funny.

ArtIn the 132 years since Karl Marx died, plenty of folks still swoon for Marx’s notion of fairness and equality. Let’s look at how Marx’s ideas have played out in real life.

There are varying degrees of Marx’s nutty notions. You’ve got Communism. A little further down the scale you’ll find, with somewhat less impracticality and brutality, socialism and, of course, “social democracy.”

1. Communism. The Soviet Union collapsed after murdering millions of its citizens. Red China, also with rivers of blood on its hands, saw the writing on the wall and is shifting to capitalism while officially saying it’s still communist. Cuba, of course, is a Caribbean basket case.

2. Socialism and Social Democracy. I’ll lump these together because there’s really little difference. In this category, you’ve got much of Europe and its poster boy of Greece where able-bodied youths are running wild in the streets demanding their welfare while the economy collapses.

Another bright ray shining from the Socialist Sun is the U.S. territory of Puerto Rico where just over half of the population is on the dole and another third of the folks hold unionized government jobs.

That big, beautiful island is on the verge of sinking into the Red Sea it has excavated for itself. Blame government unions to a great degree.

Indeed public-sector unions, a terroristic arm of the socialist philosophy, are sending governments into bankruptcy all over the West. A government union job is a great gig if you can score one. Retire at 50 with 99 percent of your salary, full health benefits, etc., all underwritten by taxpayers.

Taxes are highest where social democracy is embraced, but they still fall short of the delicious benefits paid.

Today’s Democratic Party in America, more than ever under President Barry, embraces social democracy as the nation sinks into its own Red Sea. And cities run by Democrats are even worse off financially as their municipal populations also collapse into social pathologies. Related?

And the self-proclaimed socialist Bernie Sanders is looking real sweet these days to Democrats as a presidential contender. Stunning.

You have no problem finding millions of people who vote for this egregious nonsense and who call themselves socialist and “Democrats.” Yes, people are funny. Art Linkletter sure did know us.

Moral: Limited, conservative, proudly capitalist governments do not deliver this grief. They deliver prosperity and opportunities.

“A government that robs Peter to pay Paul can always depend on the support of Paul.” — George Bernard Shaw

* * * *

(Shameless self-promotion: Sick of the occasional political polemic? Head over to the new and improved Satellite Moon where you’ll find sweeter seas, photos of your Hacienda hosts, tales of gentle birdies, sometimes lovely music, nothing to offend your socialist sensibilities.

On name-calling

THE UNSEEN MOON prides itself on decorum, a characteristic that slides further into disuse on a daily basis, not here, of course, but in the society at large.

The Moon soldiers on, however, in the old-fashioned way.

A commenter on the previous post cited name-calling and finger-pointing. It was a little vague, unclear as to whether I was the name-caller and finger-pointer or if the other commenters were the culprits.

Perhaps a bit of both.

callI confess to finger-pointing, which is to say: Lookee there! He (or she) is causing the problem. This is being judgmental, an admirable trait, especially when the judgments are the same as mine.

But I never name-call. Again, one man’s meat, as they say, is another man’s poison, so the nomenclature seen regularly here might possibly by considered name-calling by some folks.

Let’s look at three examples, my favorites:

1. Barry.  This is President Barack Hussein Obama, the lame-duck president. Barry was, perhaps still is, a nickname he used. I use it for only one purpose: to trivialize him. So sue me. I’m not a fan.

BarryOthers who dislike Barry refer to him as Hussein, or use his full name, including Hussein, because they want to give the impression that’s he’s a Mohammedan (more on Mohammedans down the line). I don’t think Barry is a Mohammedan, and I am pretty sure he was born in Hawaii.

He’s a lousy president.

2. Collectivists.  These are left-wingers, fans of Barry. Collectivism has its place, mostly when lots of people with ponytails join together to purchase organic foods at cheaper prices. Applying collectivism to government is a colossally bad idea. See Soviet Union, Red China and Cuba.

Those three communist despotisms are collectivism writ large, and you don’t want to even start down that road. Government should be small, not big. A side issue are labor unions which have, at times, a valuable place in this world. But only unions in the private sector. Government unions should be verboten, always.

3. Mohammedans. These are the followers of Mohammed, of course. Call it what you will. Islam. Muslim. I prefer Mohammedans for the same reason I favor Barry. There is a disparagement implied. I am not a fan of Mohammedanism, and you should not be either.

IslamWe are currently engaged in a 21st century religious war, and only one side fully understands — the Mohammedans. If you think otherwise, you are proving my point that only one side fully understands. Barry does not understand. Or collectivists in general. They live in a rainbow fog.

All Mohammedans are not terrorists, you say. That is true, but the vast majority either support the terrorists or are cowed into silence and submission. The “Arab street” exploded in jubilation on 9/11.

* * * *

Those terms are the usual extent of my name-calling. If you want something far nastier, go to Huffpost and leave a conservative comment on a story (any story, pick one), and you will get severe blowback. Collectivists have name-calling down to an everyday art. They simply curse a lot. I long for a kinder world.

Have a nice day.