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Kim Jong-Un Is Bad, But...

By       Message William P. Homans     Permalink

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Although the embedded mainstream media has become far too embedded in the corporate system to be much of a positive examplar, there are uber-embedded folks out there dabbling in journalism that more plainly should stay out of information distribution than others.

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I ran across some of their work while surfing through my Facebook page. The piece was clothed as an expose on the lavish lifestyle of North Korean dictator Kim Jong-Un.

Kim Jong-Un
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Some of the data presented in the slide show that followed is probably accurate, and other facts MAY be accurate, but they completely lack the context of scale.

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And certain things even appear to show that North Korea is not (strictly economically speaking) such an outlier. One assertion is that North Korea's exports totaled $4.7 billion for the term specified, and their imports for the same year were $4.1 billion.

Heck, if that's so, they've got a positive trade balance. I don't think the US does any more.

And what percentage of the US budget is for "defense"? And we don't just heave threats (or at least that's not all we do), we just as often go out and stomp on people.

I'm not defending Kim Jong-Un, who is clearly a bad, bad man. But the US exceeds the 16% defense budget the slide show claims for North Korea.
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From Wikipedia:

"Fiscal Year 2012 U.S. Federal Spending -- Cash or Budget Basis.

The U.S. Department of Defense budget accounted in fiscal year 2010 for about 19% of the United States federal budgeted expenditures and 28% of estimated tax revenues. Including non-DOD expenditures, military spending was approximately 28--38% of budgeted expenditures and 42--57% of estimated tax revenues. According to the Congressional Budget Office, defense spending grew 9% annually on average from fiscal year 2000--2009."

By this standard, Kim Jong-Un is no more a military hawk than the leaders of the Democratic and Republican Parties.

And again, scale rears its head. North Korea has a defense budget of $7 billion. How many days of occupation of Afghanistan and Iraq does $7 billion pay for?

The screed that precedes the slide show is poorly edited. Whatever writer put this together had no one looking over his or her shoulder (there is no byline).

The most salient indication that this was written by an amateur is that Kim Jong-Un is referred to as "Great Leader." Any journalist above the high school level would certainly know that the first dictator of North Korea, Kim Jong-Un's grandfather Kim Il-Sung, was the "Great Leader."

Kim Jong-Il, the kid's dad, was the "Dear Leader." Kim Jong-Un hasn't got his dynastic "Leader" name yet.

There was, in short, no editing process at mybanktracker-dot-com news. Bankers by profession, journalists upon whim. The screed and slide show were just slapped up there online, and caveat lector.

Everybody is entitled to voice their opinions by the First Amendment to the US Constitution. But that right granted. we the reading public must be aware that thinly-veiled nationalist screeds like this are designed to stroke the most xenophobic parts of us.

Watermelon Slim Addressing President Obama from Lafayette Park 3/19/2011
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My name is William Perkins Homans the third, but probably more people know me as the bluesman (and artist) Watermelon Slim.

I've been in the fight against war, fascism, injustice and inhumanity for 40 years. I was at MayDay, and at the moratorium March the week before. I was one of the leaders of the Great New Jersey Turnpike Stall on my birthday, April 25, 1971.

I bear the scar on my left shin from a neoNazi jackboot, when I was one of the Vietnam Veterans Against the War who bounced the NSWPP from Flamingo Park at the Republican National Convention of 1972. My father fought the Nazis in the North Atlantic and Anzio, and I met their spawn in Miami.

My formal education has been first-rate. I wouldn't trade my degrees for Harvard ones. I was raised in the finest private Catholic and Episcopal high schools.

Elementary School: Gibbons Hall, Asheville, North Carolina

High Schools: Asheville School for Boys, Asheville Country Day, Lenox School for Boys. Graduated with honors 1968.

College: Middlebury College, 1968-DNG

1984-86: University of Oregon, B.A., Journalism and History, Departmental Honors in History, 1986.

I was also captain of the U of O bowling team, 1984-1986. High game 299.

1997-2000: Oklahoma State University. M.A., History, 2000, plus the school-teaching curriculum. Mentor: Dr. Ronald Petrin.

This was my second great self-reinvention attempt. In both, I got the degrees, but neither worked. After both, I went back to truckdriving and the blues. and now the latter makes my living. I just am not a button-down enough fellow ever to be a schoolteacher or general-purpose news reporter. But I think and analyze, and so I write...

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