Daily archives for December 19th, 2011

Kim Jong Il? More like Kim Jong Dead

Written by Frances Lee, The Smart Show staff writer

Longtime North Korean dictator, Kim Jong Il, was announced dead Monday (two days after his actual death) from a fatal heart attack which sets his equally scary looking son as his successor.

I have been fascinated by Kim Jong Il’s regime since I was a child. Being Korean exposed me to the brutal and tragic history of the division of both countries and got firsthand stories from my fathers parents and their decision to move to Seoul, South Korea.

When the demarcation line was announced, my grandparents packed their things, rounded out their four children and took the first available train to South Korea. They left their cousins and relatives behind as they thought staying was the right thing to do.

And then North Korea turned into their own world. If anyone watched a documentary on North Korean culture, you would be shocked at the Twilight World nature they live in. Ignorant of any other life beside anxiety, fear and poverty the citizens are brainwashed that Kim Jong Il, The Great Leader, is their savior on Earth and he is nothing less of a Zeus-figure to their lowly existence. Some refugees spoke about starving conditions and mistreatment from soldiers.

“We are allowed one television set in the house but the only channels that play are biographies on The Great Leader and biased news programs,” a female refugee explained. “The soldiers would randomly turn off the power so if someone was watching a VHS film it would get stuck in the player, anyone with that sort of contraband would be taken away to a concentration camp.”

I had the privilege to travel to the famous demarcation line with my family on a trip to Korea near five years ago. Months prior to our arrival, my father signed up our entire family through the United Nations to visit the line dividing North and South Korea. After switching buses almost five times and being checked by officers, we are ushered to different parts of the sight. A white cement two-foot high line goes straight through a small conference room on the sight and throughout the area, North and South Korean guards face each other nose-to-nose, guns drawn, to fight at any moment.

Yet the physical difference between the two soldiers were like night and day. The North Korean soldiers looked withered and old, clearly from malnutrition and lack of exercise compared to the young and muscular South Korean soldiers.

It was a really somber and cold place even though the area was surrounded by lush and beautiful landscape. I remember watching a willowy white bird flying above a bright green field of greens. What a waste of beauty, land and lives.

Kim Jong Il killed my country and pillaged it from its full economic and political potential. He separated my family and gives me no opportunity to communicate with them so I have no idea if they are dead or alive.

And he was a infamous glutton, flying famous chef’s from around the world to cook for him while his country starves to death. I grew to hate him and became curious to what would happen after his death.

But now his son, an equally stocky and creepy looking boy, will be taking his place. Probably with the same twisted mentality as his father.
Makes me really curious to what the future will bring.

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BREAKING: Anti-LGBT Amendment Stripped from Defense Bill

Russell Amendment removed from NDAA after lawmakers received more than 342,000 petition signatures from AMPA and other national organizations

WASHINGTON — Today, the American Military Partner Association (AMPA), the nation’s largest organization of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) military families, praised reports that an amendment was removed from the annual defense bill that could have funded anti-LGBT discrimination.

“Taxpayer-funded discrimination against LGBT people is wrong -- plain and simple,” said AMPA President Ashley Broadway-Mack. “The fact that the defense spending bill was being used in an attempt to fund discrimination against minorities is disturbing. Thousands of LGBT service members put their lives on the line for our nation, and they and their families should never face discrimination here at home simply because of who they are or whom they love. We are pleased that in the end, lawmakers removed the discriminatory measure and fairness and equality seem to have prevailed.”

Known as the Russell Amendment, the measure in the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) could have allowed taxpayer-funded discrimination against women, single mothers, LGBT people, and religious minorities in religiously-affiliated organizations, including hospitals and universities.

As reported by the Washington Blade, “During a background briefing with reporters on Tuesday, an aide said the final version of the fiscal year 2017 defense authorization bill hammered out by House and Senate lawmakers in conference committee lacks the language Rep. Steve Russell (R-Okla.) inserted in the House version of the bill.”

On November 15, AMPA joined more than a dozen national organizations in delivering more than 342,000 petition signatures to Congress in opposition to the amendment. The petitions were delivered to the Washington offices of Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Jack Reed (D-R.I.) and Reps. Mac Thornberry (R-Texas) and Adam Smith (D-Wash.).

The petitions were part of a coordinated advocacy effort from the American Military Partner Association, American Civil Liberties Union, Americans United for Separation of Church and State, the Center for American Progress Action Fund, the Human Rights Campaign, and other national organizations.

The Russell Amendment could have allowed for an individual:
To be fired for marrying a same-sex partner — or denied benefits afforded to other married couples
To be fired for being transgender
To be fired for being a woman taking birth control
To be fired for being a single mother or
To be refused a job interview if they don’t practice the “right” religion
The Russell Amendment was previously adopted in the dead of night — over bipartisan opposition — without a hearing and with almost no debate. The House Rules Committee then prevented the full chamber from being able to vote on a bipartisan amendment to remove the discriminatory provision from the defense bill.

The American Military Partner Association is the nation’s largest organization of LGBT military spouses, families, and allies. With more than 50,000 members and supporters throughout the country and around the world, AMPA is committed to education, advocacy, and support for our “modern military families.”
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