“I asked our government minders if they’d be willing to show us what life is really like for regular people in North Korea.”
Pyongyang (CNN) — Will Ripley: It is exceedingly rare for Western journalists to be allowed inside the Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea (DPRK) — commonly known as North Korea. It is even less common for an American reporter to visit this reclusive nation, home to nearly 25 million people who are essentially isolated from the rest of the world.
“They said they’d ask their superiors and get back to us.”
Yet here I am, an American member of a CNN crew, reporting from Pyongyang about the latest high profile sporting event to sweep this city since a bizarre basketball tournament earlier this year.
Even though decades of isolation and crippling sanctions have left North Korea struggling economically and lagging far behind much of the developed world in terms of technology and infrastructure — the nation is nearly unrivaled in its ability to mobilize tens of thousands of citizens to put on a spectacular show.
You probably remember when American NBA star Dennis Rodman organized a basketball tournament in Pyongyang.
- He’s Back! Dennis Rodman Returns Humble and Refreshed After Visit to North Korea (punditfromanotherplanet.com)
- [VIDEO] A Special Bond: Rodman: Kim Jong Un ‘My F***ing Friend, I Love Him’
- Don’t miss this Pundit Planet Exclusive: Dennis Rodman and Marylin Monroe sing Happy Birthday to Kim Jong-Un]
Rodman was widely criticized in the United States for befriending the DPRK’s Supreme Leader Kim Jong Un, whose authoritarian regime has been accused by a United Nations panel of widespread human rights abuses, charges that North Korea strongly denies.
Outside press were not invited to cover Rodman’s trip. This time, CNN is among a handful of news organizations granted rare access to Pyongyang to cover the International Pro Wrestling Festival.
Don’t miss this Pundit Planet Exclusive: Mashup: Dennis Rodman and Marylin Monroe sing Happy Birthday to Kim Jong-Un]
Retired Japanese wrestling star turned politician Kanji “Antonio” Inoki is organizing the event. In his professional heyday, Inoki fought in a memorable and bizarre 1976 match in Tokyo with boxing great Muhammad Ali. Today, as an aging member of the Japanese parliament, he is once again in the headlines for his latest attempt at what he calls “sports diplomacy” between Japan and North Korea. Read the rest of this entry »
It’s getting harder every day to be a liberal.
Robert Knight writes: Having to defend Obamacare is enough to exhaust the hardiest soul. Trying to explain President Obama’s foreign policy would give anybody – even a creative globalist like John F. Kerry – a pounding headache.
Explaining why facts really aren’t facts takes practice
There don’t appear to be any happy outcomes: Libya. Syria. Iran. Iraq. Afghanistan. Punched-in-the-gut Israel. Dennis Rodman’s homicidal North Korea. Creeping communism in Venezuela. The Ukrainians sullying the Olympics for Mr. Obama’s friend, Vladimir Putin.
Even the weather, with much of the Great Lakes freezing over and snowdrifts in Georgia, seems to have it in for liberals, especially the Chicken Littles who gasp in horror when you, your dog or some cows exhale. “Run for your lives – it’s carbon dioxide!”
As though it’s not enough to defend Mr. Obama and the collapsing case for global warming, liberals still carry the baggage of Bill Clinton’s sex scandals, even as Miss Hillary prepares for her own presidential run. Damage control to grease Mrs. Clinton’s skids is well underway.
BEIJING (CNN) — Dennis Rodman is apologizing. Again.
Last week, he said he was sorry about his bizarre, drunken outburst on CNN about an American citizen held prisoner in North Korea.
Now, Rodman says he’s sorry about what’s going on inside North Korea, a nation renowned for its human rights abuses.
But the eccentric former NBA star known as “The Worm” isn’t contrite about his latest puzzling visit to the secretive state.
[VIDEO] MASHUP: Dennis Rodman and Marylin Monroe Sing Happy Birthday to North Korean Ruler Kim Jong-UnPosted: January 8, 2014
Andrew Johnson writes: Dennis Rodman continued to emphasize his bizarre affection for North Korea’s Kim Jong Un, even when pressed about the dictator’s atrocities. While in Beijing with seven other former NBA players en route to Pyongyang to take part in an exhibition game for Kim’s birthday, Sky News confronted the Worm about why his “friend for life” has locked up 200,000 people in North Korean prison camps.
Rodman asserted that it wasn’t his “job” to address those concerns with Kim, but hoped that his involvement arranging the game could “open the doors” to negotiations for those in a better position to handle it. He said bringing the subject of prison camps up would infringe on the nature of their friendship.
America reached new depths of depravity this year — but just wait for 2014 to outdo it.
All things considered, it was a year without shame.
Rich Lowry writes: It was the year that Miley Cyrus French-kissed a sledgehammer in the music video for her song “Wrecking Ball,” and cavorted naked on said wrecking ball. The former Disney star popularized the act of twerking in a performance at the MTV Video Music Awards that was so luridly infantile, it wasn’t outrageous so much as pathetic. Yet it worked. It gained her at least another 15 minutes of fame and probably more, to have people pay attention to other insipid things she might do, usually half-clothed. Cyrus made us yearn for the good taste and restraint of the era of Lady Gaga, not to mention the golden age of classic Britney Spears.
It was the year the president of the United States posed in a selfie with other foreign leaders at a memorial service for Nelson Mandela. He evidently had a grand time, but made us nostalgic for the period before our presidents posed in selfies with other heads of state, i.e., the long stretch of American history ending on December 9, 2013.
It was the year Anthony Weiner admitted in the midst of his New York City mayoral campaign that he had continued to sext after resigning from Congress for sexting. Under the delightfully absurd alias “Carlos Danger,” he had sent pictures of his private parts to a 22-year-old woman, whose notoriety instantly launched her career in adult film and as a spokesmodel for an adultery-facilitating website. Weiner made us fondly recall the self-effacing modesty of past New York City politicians like Ed Koch and Rudy Giuliani.
Daniel J. Flynn writes: Shin Dong-Hyuk is the only person born in a North Korean political prison camp to escape to the West. His memoir, Escape from Camp 14: One Man’s Remarkable Odyssey from North Korea to Freedom in the West, ostensibly reads as the story of liberation from oppression. It’s really a book about food. The starving Shin tells of dining on barbequed rat, tree bark, and the undigested corn kernels in cow mess. For Shin, freedom is a hamburger.
So hearing that Dennis Rodman, a man he had never heard of until his trip to Shin’s native land in February, enjoyed fine food and fine wine with the leader of his country naturally made the former political prisoner cringe.
Jessica Roy reports: Alongside heart-themed jewelry and animal print flats, what trends have the sartorially skilled staff of Elle excited for fall? If this ABCs of Fall Fashion Trends list is to be believed, it’s a country well-known for its human rights abuses.
Yes, when it came to the letter “N” in the alphabetical list, Elle creative director Joe Zee appears to have been so thoroughly stumped that he just gave up and named “North Korea Chic” a trend.
Zee notes that North Korea Chic is a lot like military-inspired apparel, but is “edgier, even dangerous, with sharp buckles and clasps and take-no-prisoners tailoring.” (Never mind the fact that North Korea is actually quite fond of taking prisoners.)
Can someone please help the North Korean government out? The propaganda ministers stink at Photoshop. Please get them to sign up for a class at their local community college. Or maybe Dennis Rodman can help.
As frightening as North Korea can seem, honestly, the country\’s inability to master the art of Photoshop should leave doubts about their ability to do a lot of things, such as making proper spreadsheets and resize GIFs—not to mention feed its people.
But did you look at the shadows and the lighting? The figures appear to be superimposed—something that internet commenters in China were quick to notice. Below, you can see closer details of fuzziness around the legs and floaty feet as well as odd shadows around the hands. Kim Jong-un’s hand shadow in particular looks too clean and defined.