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Zorro's Journal
Zorro's Journal
August 31, 2016

North Korea executes vice premier for 'disrespect': Seoul

Source: AFP

North Korea has executed a vice premier for showing disrespect during a meeting presided over by leader Kim Jong-Un, South Korea said Wednesday, after reports that he fell asleep.

The regime also banished two other senior officials, Seoul said, the latest in a slew of punishments Kim is believed to have ordered in what analysts say is an attempt to tighten his grip on power.

"Vice premier for education Kim Yong-Jin was executed," Seoul's Unification Ministry spokesman Jeong Joon-Hee said at a regular briefing.

Kim was killed by a firing squad in July as "an anti-party, anti-revolutionary agitator," added an official at the ministry, who declined to be named.

Read more: https://www.yahoo.com/news/north-koreas-top-education-official-executed-seoul-022737788.html

Well, at least this time it was by firing squad and not by anti-aircraft cannon, dynamite sticks, or a pack of ravenous dogs.
August 31, 2016


WASHINGTON (The Borowitz Report)—President Barack Obama defended his decision on Wednesday to issue a payment of five billion dollars to Mexico to compel that nation to retain custody of Donald J. Trump.

The payment, which will be delivered to the Mexican government in hard American currency by Wednesday afternoon, will insure that Trump will remain in Mexico for the rest of his natural life.

“I have been assured by the government of Mexico that Mr. Trump will be well taken care of and, if he proves to be a productive member of their society, will be provided a pathway to Mexican citizenship,” Obama said.

While the transfer of funds to Mexico sparked howls of protest from some Trump supporters, it was hailed by congressional Democrats, as well as by over a hundred Republicans currently running for reëlection, including Arizona Senator John McCain.


August 31, 2016

If Tesla Model 3 Delivers, “Gas Vehicles Are History”: Gas & Auto Services Dealers Of America Exec

No doubt about it, many of us EV enthusiasts have been blown away by the Tesla Model 3 and believe it’s the car that is really going to break the gasoline auto industry’s back. But we’re just EV enthusiasts, right? Treehuggers, tech heads, climate alarmists, and people obsessed with breathing clean air — that’s who we are, right?

Okay, we can throw in gearheads now too, since electric cars absolutely crush gasmobiles in acceleration and many a gearhead is now in love with them. And I guess we can throw in anybody who loves scaring the crap out of their passengers as they skillfully effortlessly step on the pedal without notice and with full force.

But, again, this is still just a niche portion of society. Maybe we’re all just crazy enthusiasts and don’t have a clue what the mass market wants.

In a new Wall Street Journal article, however, a striking quotation jumped out at CleanTechnica reader Karl Graves, who highlighted it and passed it on to me. Maybe it didn’t come from Grandma Gretchen, but it did come from the executive director of Gasoline & Automotive Services Dealers of America, Mike Fox. Here’s the beauty (which is a mix of paraphrasing from author Chris Mims and the straight words of Mike Fox): “If Tesla can deliver on its current promises with the Model 3, says Mr. Fox, ‘gas vehicles are history—it’s horse and buggy days.’


August 31, 2016

Venezuela arrests opposition activists ahead of anti-government rally

Venezuela has arrested several opposition activists accused of plotting violence during an anti-government rally scheduled for Thursday, President Nicolas Maduro said on Tuesday, and opposition leaders slammed the arrests as intimidation.

The opposition is calling on sympathizers from across the country to march in the capital of Caracas to push for a recall referendum against Maduro, who calls the rally a plot to stir up violence and set the stage for a coup.

The upcoming march follows months of tensions between Maduro and the opposition-controlled legislature, exacerbated by triple-digit inflation, Soviet-style product shortages and a severe economic recession.

"We must win the battle against the coup - before, during, and after the dates announced by these fascists," Maduro said in a televised broadcast. "We've captured a group of people carrying important equipment, C4 explosives. We're trying to capture a number of them in real time."


August 31, 2016

Venezuela to expel Al Jazeera journalists

Venezuela on Tuesday was set to expel a crew of Al Jazeera journalists who were intending to cover an opposition march against President Nicolas Maduro, the country's union of journalists said.

With Venezuela in the throes of severe economic and political crises, the opposition has called for a march on Caracas on Thursday to press its constitutionally sanctioned demand for a referendum to remove Maduro.

The authorities detained three employees of the Qatar-based channel when they arrived Monday at Maiquetia international airport outside Caracas, the National Union of Press Workers (SNTP) said on Twitter.

"Teresa Bo, correspondent, Lagmi Chavez, producer, and a cameraman (from) @AlJazeera were detained in Maiquetia," the SNTP tweeted, saying their equipment was confiscated.


The revolution will not be televised. Isn't that what some people say?

August 31, 2016

Venezuela accuses US, opposition of planning coup

Venezuela is accusing the United States and the country's political opposition of planning a coup for Thursday, the day that government opponents have called for a march to demand a recall vote against President Nicolas Maduro.

The Foreign Ministry's North America agency issued a statement Monday protesting U.S. State Department spokesman John Kirby's call for the release of the jailed former mayor of San Cristobal, Daniel Ceballos, who was taken from his home early Saturday by state intelligence agents and moved back to prison in central Guarico state. He had been under house arrest.

The socialist government said Ceballos was planning to flee before the Thursday protest in Caracas and carry out violent acts to destabilize the country. But the move alarmed the opposition, Washington and human rights groups who consider him a political prisoner.

"The brand and authorship of the coup being planned for September 1, 2016, in Venezuela, in collusion with the anti-democratic opposition and international right, has become clear...," said a North America office statement published on the Foreign Ministry's website. It said President Barack Obama's government "is seeking to destabilize Venezuela and the region in its final days to legitimize its imperial plans against peace and the development of the people."


Looks like it's coup Thursday this week. Probably coup Monday next week.

August 29, 2016

FARC sets permanent cease-fire under Colombia peace deal

Source: AP

The commander of Colombia's biggest rebel movement said Sunday its fighters will permanently cease hostilities with the government beginning with the first minute of Monday, as a result of their peace accord ending one of the world's longest-running conflicts.

Rodrigo Londono, leader of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, made the announcement in Havana, where the two sides negotiated for four years before announcing the peace deal Wednesday.

"Never again will parents be burying their sons and daughters killed in the war," said Londono, who also known as Timoshenko. "All rivalries and grudges will remain in the past."

Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos announced on Friday that his military would cease attacks on the FARC beginning Monday.

Read more: https://www.yahoo.com/news/farc-sets-permanent-cease-fire-under-colombia-peace-211411339.html

It appears that Plan Colombia may have contributed to this success after all.
August 28, 2016

A literary guide to hating Barack Obama

Secret Muslim. Socialist. Amateur. Anti-American. Criminal.

Throughout the presidency of Barack Obama, and even before it, a chorus of writers has stood stage right, reinterpreting the era but mainly eviscerating the man. Obama, initially little known, became a literary subgenre and publishing obsession, with countless volumes attacking the president, promising to unmask who he really is, what he really thinks and why he does the things he does. And for a while, at least, the books sold well.

Selecting a representative set among dozens and dozens of titles in the Obama hatred literature is not easy. Do you go with “Impeachable Offenses” or “The Manchurian President”? “Divider-in-Chief” or “The Obama Nation”? “Culture of Corruption” or “The Roots of Obama’s Rage”? A sample of such books, spanning 2008 to 2016, shows that, while the anti-Obama canon can be predictable, it is by no means static. The aversion to the president is always growing, and the nature of that aversion is always evolving toward harsher conclusions.

In the beginning, there was ignorance, and the void of our Obama knowledge was filled with speculation, bits of autobiography and family lore. The senator from Illinois was deemed dangerous for all that he might be: distant, unfamiliar, foreign in so many ways. Once he sat in the Oval Office, however, the attacks shifted, and the president became that most recognizable of political creatures: unprincipled, corrupt, Chicago. As conservative disdain intensified throughout his first term, Obama came to be seen as a bungler, in over his head (think the Libya intervention or Operation Fast and Furious). Yet soon he was redefined once more, this time as a brilliant subversive: It’s not that Obama doesn’t know what he’s doing but that he knows all too well. That leads, inevitably, to the final and most damning judgment — that this president is a criminal.


August 28, 2016

Colombian peace deal could mark rare victory for U.S. diplomacy

In an era of frustrating, if not failed, U.S. policy interventions abroad, the Colombian peace deal announced last week offers the possibility of a rare victory for American diplomacy.

It would be a validation of Plan Colombia, the U.S. counternarcotics and security-aid package that has sent roughly $10 billion to Bogota since 2000, tipping the government’s fight against the Marxist FARC insurgents. The accord finalized Wednesday would convert the rebels from one of the world’s most powerful drug-trafficking groups to a legal political party with a sworn commitment to ending both the 52-year war and its narcotics trade.

More broadly, the deal would be a bookend to the long, bloody history of armed insurgency in Latin America, affirming democracy as the only viable political system in the region. The agreement was forged in Cuba, of all places, the site of Fidel Castro’s leftist revolution, which was imitated by so many others.

“This is a transformational moment for our hemisphere,” Bernard Aronson, the U.S. envoy to the peace talks, said in an interview. “It is a final repudiation of political violence as a means of changing governments.”


August 28, 2016

Inside debate prep: Clinton’s careful case vs. Trump’s ‘WrestleMania’

Hillary Clinton is methodically preparing for the presidential debates as a veteran lawyer would approach her biggest trial. She pores over briefing books thick with policy arcana and opposition research. She internalizes tips from the most seasoned debate coaches in her party. And she rehearses, over and over again, to perfect the pacing and substance of her presentation.

Donald Trump is taking a different approach. He summons his informal band of counselors — including former New York mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani, talk-radio host Laura Ingraham and ousted Fox News Channel chairman Roger Ailes — to his New Jersey golf course for Sunday chats. Over bacon cheeseburgers, hot dogs and glasses of Coca-Cola, they test out zingers and chew over ways to refine the Republican nominee’s pitch.

Trump’s aides have put together briefing books, not that the candidate is devoting much time to reading them. Trump is not holding any mock debates, proudly boasting that a performer with his talents does not need that sort of prepping. Should Trump submit to traditional rehearsals, some associates are talking about casting Ingraham, an adversarial chronicler of Clinton scandals, to play the Democratic nominee.

“Donald Trump is the unpredictable X-factor and Hillary Clinton is the scripted statist,” said Kellyanne Conway, Trump’s new campaign manager, in an interview. “I fully understand why Team Clinton feels the need to drown her in briefing books and Hollywood consulting.”


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