Mike Huckabee: North Korea Has More Freedom Than U.S.
One day after questioning President Barack Obama’s “Christian convictions” on Fox News, former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee has delivered another quote that this time appears to riling up both the left and the right. During his speech at Saturday’s New Hampshire Freedom Summit, Huckabee reportedly said, “I’m beginning to think theres more freedom in North Korea sometimes than there is in the United States.”
Let’s get this guy together with Dennis Rodman; they’d make a dynamite team for the GOP in 2016. They don’t know a whole lot about the rampant human rights abuses taking place in North Korea, but that doesn’t stop them from talking favorably about the place.
Maybe their campaign slogan could be something like “Together We Can Make America A Little More Like North Korea … But Maybe Without The Gulag And Starvation … Or Whatever.”
When I was 10 years old and a smiling Dennis Rodman gave me his autograph after the players’ shoot-around before a Pistons game, I certainly never could have imagined he’d end up here, an irate (and possibly ill) man blathering incoherently from Pyongyang in response to questions about an American citizen who has been detained without charge in North Korea:
Defending the behavior of a genocidal regime is the strangest and lowest point in what has been a troubled, troubled life.
Israel is among the world’s least popular nations, according to an annual BBC World Service poll. Germany was found to be the most popular country, while the only nations less popular than Israel were found to be North Korea, Pakistan, and Iran. Read more.
There’s a lot to unpack in that short paragraph. And any way you unpack it, you’re going to make plenty of people angry.
So, here we go:
- Israel’s lack of popularity has a lot to do with its treatment of Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza, as well as its treatment of (mostly African) migrants;
- Israel’s lack of popularity has a lot to do with people not liking Jews;
- It would be a serious mistake to make any comparisons between the governments of Israel, North Korea, Pakistan, and Iran … even based on #1, above, unless you happen to be one of the people mentioned in #2, above.
- It’s absolutely fascinating that Germany is the most popular country in the same poll in which respondents find Israel only slightly less repellant than North Korea.
- Where’s Syria on this list? Must not have been included as an option because it would be tough to imagine that Syria, at this moment, is more popular than Israel. If Syria is somehow more popular, wowza.
I assume the first question for Rodman is about how he felt when he saw all of the concentration camps during his visit to North Korea.
And then the rest of the interview is terrible silence.
(via Twitter / ThisWeekABC: First on #ThisWeek: …)
I’ve been enjoying the various Malcolm Gladwell Book Generator posts a great deal … but only decided to make one myself after a number of upper-level undergraduate political science majors in my class said, in class on Tuesday, that they’d never heard of him. I couldn’t decide if this was good news or bad news for society as a whole.
Also, I really liked this particular book and think it ought to be written … perhaps by Tyler Cowen, since I think his take on North Korean economic policy and its non-relation to sandcastles would be an entertaining read.
WHO and Amnesty at Loggerheads?
Amnesty International’s latest report on North Korea describes the country’s health care system as “dire” and “in shambles.”
But the director of the World Health Organization recently described it “as the envy of the developing world.”
Who’s right about health care in North Korea?
This question — and the entire kerfuffle about health care in North Korea — gets right to the heart of a major problem for international non-governmental organizations: how to conduct human rights research in a totalitarian state.
The WHO has access to North Korea while Amnesty does not, and the people who spoke to Amnesty’s researchers likely have information that is older than the most recent research conducted by the WHO. One would think, then, that Amnesty’s report is less likely to be reliable.
Except, of course, that the WHO might be seeing and hearing only what Pyongyang chooses for them to see and hear. And, of course, the WHO has to take care not to injure the feelings of the North Korean dictator, who “is highly sensitive to outside criticism.”
Asked Friday what countries were envious of North Korea’s health, Chaib said she couldn’t name any. But she highlighted the importance of maintaining the health body’s presence in the country, where officials do their best to save lives despite “persisting challenges.”
While this seems to suggest that the Amnesty report might not be as flawed as the WHO would have us believe, it’s clearly not as simple as that:
The U.N. body claims that maternal mortality has declined by over 20 percent since 2005, and diarrhea cases and deaths in operations have also dropped. It says more than 6,000 doctors and nurses have been trained in emergency obstetric care, newborn care and child illnesses, while clinics have received better material for operations, blood transplants and other medical interventions.
Amnesty’s reports are often incredibly powerful because they use personal stories to highlight the human rights concerns in a particular country. But this is anecdotal evidence and shouldn’t be confused with hard data.
How to independently collect such data remains the difficult question for organizations like Amnesty International, one whose answer is likely to remain elusive as long as totalitarian governments restrict access to human rights monitors (which they have every interest in doing).
Full article here.
Amnesty’s report here.