Where in the World is Kim Jong Un? You Tell Us.

By Piper Bayard & Jay Holmes

Someone’s missing, and it isn’t Waldo. Kim Jong Un hasn’t been seen in North Korea since September 3. Some are speculating about illnesses, diseases, and political coups.

Kim Jong Un and wife Ri Sol-ju image by NK government

Kim Jong Un and wife Ri Sol-ju
image by NK government

With the regular measure of concern that we demonstrate for Little Un, we tasked our special Bayard & Holmes operatives (us) with uncovering news of the AWOL despot. We are sad to be the bearers of bad tidings, particularly to the already-beleaguered North Korean people, but it seems there have been numerous confirmed sightings of their Dear Leader around the globe.

A police report places Little Un in Tulsa, Oklahoma, after he was caught at a local Hobby Lobby muttering about delivery systems and sneaking Estes rockets into his black tunic pants.

Image from EstesRockets.com.

Image from EstesRockets.com.

Prostitutes in Amsterdam complained to local police that he had stolen their clothing to use for cross-dressing anime cosplay at the upcoming London Film and Comic Con.

Several resorts in Macao, China, reported evicting a Korean man with a toothbrush haircut after patrons complained that every time he lost at the craps tables, he threatened to feed them to a pack of dogs.

Numerous Scottish children and tourists at the Edinburgh Zoo told of a man fitting Little Un’s description who accosted them to ask about the unicorn exhibit. He became agitated at the absence of such exhibit and attempted to swipe a stuffed unicorn from a toddler in a stroller.

The Unicorn in Captivity Tapestry currently at The Cloisters Image public domain, wikimedia commons

The Unicorn in Captivity
Tapestry currently at The Cloisters
Image public domain, wikimedia commons

A street artist in Los Angeles spotted Little Un preening in the window of a hair salon, slathering his locks with Bacon Lube and asking passersby where to find Dennis Rodman’s house.

With all of these sightings, we’re guessing some of you readers have seen Little Un, too. Please notify us of your findings in the comments below. Let’s keep an eye on Little Un and prevent his return to North Korea for as long as possible, both for us and for the North Koreans.

Where have you seen Kim Jong Un, and what was he doing?

Kim Jong Un and the Uncle Who Didn’t Clap

By Intelligence Operative Jay Holmes

On December 8, 2013, Jang Sung-taek, the uncle of North Korean Dictator Kim Jong Un (a.k.a. Kim 3.0), was arrested at a meeting of the North Korean politburo, removed from all of his official posts, and expelled from the ruling Workers’ Party. He was accused of mismanaging the state financial system, abusing drugs, and womanizing. His closest associates had already been executed in November for supposedly plotting to dethrone Kim Jong Un. On Friday, December 13, the North Korean News Agency (“NKNA”) announced that Jang was executed on the 12th after a special military tribunal found him guilty of treason.

Kim Jong Un and his wife, Ri Sol-ju image by N.K. government

Kim Jong Un and his wife, Ri Sol-ju
image by N.K. government

According to the NKNA, “The accused Jang brought together undesirable forces and formed a faction as the boss of a modern day factional group for a long time and thus committed such hideous crimes as attempting to overthrow the state.” They cited one of Jang’s most outrageous crimes as clapping with less than full enthusiasm when his nephew took the podium to deliver one of his frequent speeches to military officials.

So who was this uncle that Kim 3.0 had executed? Jang Sung-taek was born in Kangwon, North Korea, on February 2, 1946. He was an avid young communist, and after graduating from Kim Il Sung High School, he studied in Moscow from 1968 – 1972. When he returned to North Korea, he married Kim Kyong Hui, the younger sister of Kim Jong Il (a.k.a. Kim 2.0). In 1977, Kyong Hui gave birth to a daughter, Jang Keum Song. Keum Song was living in Paris in 2006 when she received an order to return to North Korea. Rather than return, she committed suicide.

In early 2010, Kim 2.0 appointed his brother-in-law Jang to serve as a mentor to his son and heir apparent, Kim Jong Un. Kim Un’s political tutelage under his aunt and uncle lasted less than two years. After Kim 2.0’s sudden death in December, 2011, it was not clear if the then 28-year-old Kim Un would be able to hold on to his inherited power.

Not everyone in North Korea was looking forward to another half a century of cold winters and near-starvation diet under yet another ineffective Kim dictator. Some of the top NK military leaders likely smelled an opportunity for capturing the throne of North Korea for themselves. It was only with the very visible support of Kim Un’s aunt and uncle that Kim 3.0 was able to claim his deceased father’s position as Dictator of North Korea.

So why did Kim 3.0 kill off Uncle Jang after he and Aunty Kyong played a critical role in helping him to power? The answer depends on which analyst you listen to.

The most popular theories revolve around the likelihood that the spoiled and insecure Kim Un was anxious to get rid of the man who had exercised authority over him as his regent while his father was still alive, and as his guarantor while he was trying to consolidate his authority. History is replete with examples of royal regents having sudden fatal accidents when their charge has his or her head placed securely under the crown of state. This theory is the most popular one and makes sense based on what we know about North Korea.

But therein is our problem. The hermit kingdom of North Korea remains so opaque from Western view and so filled with propaganda and misinformation that events in North Korea can be difficult to understand. In any police state, uncertainty in the minds of its citizens and its neighbors is a useful thing. It helps avoid being overthrown. The first step in planning a smooth coup is to accurately assess the status quo. If you can’t get a clear picture of what is occurring, it remains difficult to plan a takeover.

Canstock - Maze of confusion

Constant confusion can hinder social progress and economic development, but it also helps protect the dictator from his people. Since the dictator and his closest supporters live in an insulated, gilded kingdom, safe from the hunger and discomfort of the bad economy that constant confusion generates, it is tolerable to the dictator and his pals. That same constant confused state of affairs in North Korea leaves room for other possible factors in Jang’s execution.

Jang’s world view extended beyond North Korea. He was well received in China, and had become China’s preferred contact in North Korea. Jang was also a fan of Chinese economic reform. Reform in China has not brought prosperity to everyone, but it has all but eliminated starvation in that country and has allowed improved Chinese technological and scientific foundations. Maoist dogma could not feed China and was not going to get a Chinese rocket to the moon. It took capitalist methods to improve the sciences and the standard of living there. Jang was partial to this “Chinese” model.

But not everyone in North Korea wanted those reforms. The hard liners in the military live with the assumption that, given the opportunity, no North Korean would tolerate the continued abuse that the privileged few are able to heap upon them. In their minds, Chinese style reforms would open the floodgates of change, and they would be the first to drown in the resultant deluge of social upheaval.

Jang’s demise may have been prompted by unforgiveable sin in particular. Jang and his pals got the Economics Ministry to announce that foreign trade was the responsibility of the Economics Ministry, and not the responsibility of North Korean generals.  This meant that the top generals could no longer conduct private foreign trade deals with N.K. assets for their own profit.

A recent decline in relations between China and North Korea further exacerbated Jang’s attempts to reform foreign trade in North Korea. China has nuclear weapons. The idea that Kim—any Kim—would dream of threatening N.K.’s neighbors in the region and in the Western World by acquiring an effective arsenal of nuclear warheads and missiles is in itself understandable to Chinese political theorists. What communist ideologue worth his salt doesn’t threaten to annihilate the capitalist dogs?

The problem for China came when North Korea moved from the usual fun Armageddon propaganda to actual fission detonations. After all, pretending to like and trust their beloved fraternal comrades in the North Korean leadership is a lot easier for China when China has the only nukes on the block. Further, North Korea’s quest for its share of Armageddon resulted in something worse than the potential incineration of millions of innocents—it negatively impacted Chinese export business. The entire new China is built on the strong trade balance that is in its favor. Nobody in the Chinese leadership wants to see what the carnival that is modern China might look like if the cash flow stops.

Kim 2.0 had become increasingly more inconvenient for China, and Kim 3.0 is even worse. North Korea’s last missile test was a huge propaganda success in North Korea. National celebration was encouraged. There was no cheering in Beijing.  While continuing to publicly claim that North Korea was their most beloved ally, the missile test infuriated Beijing, and China decided to cut off cash infusions to the feeble N.K. treasury and stop high-level meetings with the North Koreans. However, they were still willing to receive Uncle Jang–something that did not go over well with the N.K. generals.

Kim Jong Un Meme

Kim Jong Un Meme

To Westerners, it might seem strange that North Korea would shoot itself in the foot by aggravating their one almost-friend, the Chinese. From Kim’s point of view, it looks a little different. Before Kim can enjoy a friendship with Beijing or anyone else, he needs to stay alive in North Korea. In large measure, Kim’s decision to execute Jang may have come down to placating his own hard-liners and trusting that China would be too busy promoting its new We Own the Entire Ocean and All That’s In It and Under It agenda. Kim may be betting that Beijing will not turn on its one almost-ally and will back down from its newer economic sanctions.

Many observers believe that Kim 3.0 has not effectively consolidated his power and was not strong enough to ditch his annoying old reformist uncle on his own. But maybe he was. It could be that he simply decided it was easier to kill his Uncle Jang than to back down the N.K. military leaders.

So what does this all mean to those of us who are fortunate enough to not live in North Korea? To the Chinese and the rest of North Korea’s neighbors, it means that they are dreading that Kim 3.0 may now use the standard North Korean propaganda tool of executing another round of brinksmanship. From the Chinese point of view, if anyone is going to play brinksmanship in Asia, it’s going to be China, and North Korea needs to stay out of the way while China struggles to extend its kingdom over the Pacific seabed.

For the West, Jang’s execution is more evidence of what we already knew. North Korea remains unstable and troublesome. Western leadership might feel an urgent need to return focus to North Korea and get it back to a non-proliferation bargaining table.  Kim and his handlers are waiting for the call, and they undoubtedly have a Christmas wish list handy for when it comes.

Breaking News: US Government WMD Scandal!

By Piper Bayard & Jay Holmes

Sadly, as the world focused on WMD threats from North Korea, Bayard & Holmes uncovered information about a shocking WMD program right here in the US. On April 1, 2013, unnamed sources tipped us off to a brewing scandal in Washington D.C. that will make Watergate seem like a playground squabble. With hints at the program airing in the media, we feel it is now ethically acceptable to share the story with you.

image public domain

image public domain

In 2009, when North Korea successfully detonated a nuclear weapon in violation of aid agreements with the US and the international community, US President Barack Obama summoned the DOE, DOD, and CIA to the White House for a secret meeting to discuss strategies to remove North Korean Dictator Kim Jong Il from power. Within weeks, those agencies agreed to a new WMD program to be funded and developed under DOE management and deployed against North Korea.

You may have noticed a seemingly unrelated, but surprisingly critical, news story developing in New Jersey this past week. Yes, New Jersey. That state so famous for organized crime and illegal toxic waste activities. As the Rutgers University basketball coach disgrace unfolds, the general public is expressing the opinion that something smells rotten in Newark. For those of you who have not followed the story, Rutgers University fired Basketball Coach Mike Rice last week after video footage of him repeatedly abusing Rutgers student athletes went viral.

Some of the drama at Rutgers can’t be explained by the information that has thus far come out of university administrators. For one thing, Rice was hired in . . . you guessed it . . . 2010, just as the DOE and DOD were ramping up development of the newly authorized WMD system.

On the surface, we could dismiss this as meaningless coincidence. But the biggest problem with university administrators’ statements is the fact that we now have confirmation that they knew about Rice’s anger issues for two years. No renowned institution of learning could possibly accept and cover up a continuing series of felonies committed against their students for two years, right? If only the tragedy were that limited in scope.

Unfortunately, a deeper, more terrifying explanation is surfacing. In 2009, President Obama requested from the CIA a detailed personality analysis of then North Korean Dictator Kim Jong Il. Within an hour, that agency delivered a report explaining that Kim Jong Il had too few functioning brain cells to warrant a personality profile.

That bit of information struck a chord with President Obama. When he thought back to his carefree high school days in Hawaii, he remembered his basketball games. He recalled how his athletically challenged pal, Wally Waltzenzanger, seemed to lose more and more brain cells each time he suffered another “basketball to the head” injury on the court. By the end of the summer, in spite of Wally’s passion for basketball, Obama and his friends refused to allow Wally in any more of their games for fear that he would lose his life with one more blow to the head. As conciliation, they insisted that Wally play the role of “journalist” and write up the games for the high school newspaper. Wally’s pieces lacked any realism or accuracy, so they never made it to the high school press. Eventually, Wally pursued a brilliant career with the Washington Post, but that’s a catastrophic story for another day.

Thanks to the president’s creative thinking, Wally’s pain and humiliation were not wasted. Obama reasoned that, given Kim Jong Il’s scarcity of functioning brain cells and his obvious state of delusion, one good, old-fashioned American “basketball to the head” attack might finish him off, opening the way to a younger, less delusional North Korean leader. Given the president’s reasonable intentions, we can understand why he authorized the development of the Weapon of Mass Delusion program.

When the DOE brought its $13 million cost estimate to the president it seemed like a dream come true. Obama did the mental math and calculated that even with the routine 300% cost over-runs, the DOE could deliver a highly lethal Weapon of Mass Delusion for the staggeringly low cost of $39 million dollars. What other WMD could the US produce in two years at that price?

When Kim Jong Il died in December of 2011, everyone involved in the new WMD project agreed that it should go forward. By then, a promising agent was training to deliver expert, close range head shots with a basketball. And here is where the story gets dirtier still. To ensure a high enough level of rage and recklessness, project directors increased the dosages in the cocaine and meth injections they were secretly administering a particular agent-in-training.

When former NBA bad boy Dennis Rodman popped up in North Korea, sage intelligence analysts and journalists wondered what could possibly be afoot. How could anyone reasonably explain such strange birds flocking together in the middle of a brewing international nuclear crisis?

Dennis Rodman, WMD Projectimage by Tuomas Venhola, wikimedia commons

Dennis Rodman, WMD Project
image by Tuomas Venhola, wikimedia commons

Random lunacy? No, indeed. Our sources tell us Dennis was on a scouting mission, laying the ground work for the CIA to get a certain volatile college basketball coach close enough to Kim Jong Un for one last good shot to Un’s massive, low-functioning head.

So far, the White House, the CIA, the DOD and the DEA have all refused to respond to our questions about this developing scandal. The DHS, with its typical over-reaching style, even claimed that we are the mad ones, and that we should seek psychiatric help. In our experience, we can safely interpret such outright denials from multiple government agencies as confirmation that the rumors in question are true. Remember the old Soviet “mental hospital” trick for silencing voices of dissent? Be aware, America!

Now that the project is coming to light, it is doubtful that any branch of the US military will obtain funding from Congress for this horrific weapon. Some on Capitol Hill are rightfully worried that the DHS will hoard large numbers of this WMD if development continues. As to that, DHS Director Janet Napolitano thus far has not commented. Will Congress muster the sense and courage to call her in to committee to testify? We hope so. We can’t imagine any other way to force her to show a modicum of respect for our democratic process.

The dreadful moral and ethical implications of such a lethal WMD program are obvious. We will do our best to remain at large and keep you informed about this crisis.

The North Korean Sky is Falling

By Intelligence Operative Jay Holmes

On April 15, North Korea will celebrate its 68th anniversary of independence. While the Western world will barely notice the celebration, it will undoubtedly be a big occasion in North Korea. Unlike the 4th of July in the US, there will be no hot dogs or hamburgers on the grill. Maybe there will be one half of a hot dog per person at maximum, and no ketchup. Generally, celebrations in North Korea take the form of televised military and party cadre parades with a strong dose of religious worship for whichever unimaginative Kim happens to be in charge at the moment. Other than that, it will be just another miserable day in North Korea.

USGS info poster showing intensity of Feb. 12, 2013 North Korean nuclear test.

USGS info poster showing intensity of Feb. 12, 2013 North Korean nuclear test.

On February 12, 2013, North Korea conducted its third nuclear test, detonating a weapon with a seven kiloton yield. Fortunately, yields from nuclear detonations are easily measured by other nations, and we know that the explosion was one-third the size of the yield of the atomic bomb that the US dropped on Nagasaki in 1945.

It was hardly the massive Armageddon weapon that North Korean dictator Kim Un’s propaganda machinery described. However, it represents a technical leap forward from previous North Korean nuclear detonations, and it is sufficient yield to cause thousands of deaths in any South Korean city or US base.

This missile test was yet another predictable violation of the latest nuclear weapons agreement between North Korea and the rest of the world. Why anyone in the US government would ever believe that North Korea would hold to an agreement remains one of the more curious mysteries of US foreign policy. My suspicion is that diplomats are instructed to pretend to believe that they have some quiet agreement in place with the Kim dynasty for political value at home in the US.

Even Madeleine Albright had to know she was talking nonsense when she pretended to be giddy with the “successes” of her miserable diplomatic efforts with Kim Un’s father, Kim Jong Il, during the Clinton era. The upshot of Madeleine’s diplomatic “victory” was to exchange US aid for the assurance that North Korea would not pursue nuclear weapons. Only the staunchest of Clinton administration supporters were able to convince themselves that Madeleine’s diplomatic performance was anything more than self-delusion. Madeleine’s “work” with North Korea did, however, fulfill one critical purpose. It allowed President Clinton to pass the buck to the next administration.

No US president since Eisenhower has wanted to deal with North Korea. Bill Clinton was no exception. Every US president arrives to his first day of work with his heart and mind filled with optimistic projections of how he will build his particular version of the “great society.” These optimistic visions generally start with something like a beautiful No Child Left Behind butterfly. Those visions then end up devolving into some ugly No Corporate Donor Left Behind parasite, but that’s a topic for yet another day.

And therein lies the second motive for the North Korean Kim Machine. If the first urgent goal of the North Korean government is to convince North Koreans to remain obedient, then the second goal is to be noticed by the US White House.

North Korea desperately needs the West for two important reasons. It needs us and the rest of the world to feed them. Like any undeveloped infant, North Korea is not grown up enough to feed itself. It’s too busy playing with military toys to learn that basic survival technique. Also, the Kim Dynasty’s entire 68-year-old Kim Marketing Plan relies on the perceived great and urgent threat to North Korea from the outside world.

Any time the North Koreans can broadcast a genuine video clip of a US president uttering the words “North Korea” without having to rely on their unskilled photo-shoppers, it’s a propaganda victory. In North Korea, a day without “international tension” is like, . . . well, we can only imagine what that would be like. Who knows? It hasn’t happened yet.

North Korea has also been developing a missile that has the ability to reach Alaska. Kim claims that missile can hit Los Angeles and Austin. It can’t. In fact, it is highly unlikely that North Korean missiles could reach the US mainland as of yet. It’s also unlikely that North Korea could equip a long range missile with a light enough nuclear weapon in a reentry device that would enable delivery to US soil and detonation.

In spite of the lack of a real threat, the US Defense Department has reinforced missile defense systems on the US West Coast. That reinforcement was intended for psychological rather than tactical benefit. Precisely what, if anything, occurred as a result of the announced reinforcement is a matter that I will leave to the Defense Department to (not) talk about. That “(not) talk” session would likely consist of a terse statement that the precise details of military deployments are classified.

For folks living in South Korea and Japan, including the 63,000 US forces stationed in those two countries, the view is less comical. For one thing, North Korea has about sixty-five percent of its military at or near the border with South Korea. Thousands of artillery pieces with hundreds of thousands of shells are within range of the South Korean capital of Seoul. While some media pundits like to point out that the US and South Korea could easily wipe out that North Korean artillery, they are assuming a massive first strike by US and South Korean forces before North Korea could launch a barrage of missiles and artillery shells against Seoul and other targets. And a preemptive strike by South Korea and the US is highly unlikely.

To people living in South Korea and Japan, the clownish threats by Kim are not just rhetoric. North Korea does represent a real threat to its neighbors, and it has a long history of attacking South Korea. Remember that in March 2010, a North Korean submarine sank a South Korean Navy Corvette in South Korean waters, killing 46 South Korean sailors. The following November, North Korea shelled a South Korean island, killing three South Koreans. The South Korean island garrison responded with their artillery and killed about ten North Korean soldiers.

On March 26, 2013, after listening to a month long series of nuclear threats by North Korea, South Korean President Park Geun-Hye stated that North Korea’s only path to survival was through abandonment of its nuclear weapons program. North Korea responded by cutting its “hot-line” communications system with South Korea. Given that nobody in South Korea was ever going to believe anything that was spoken by a North Korean on that hot-line system, it hardly matters.

On March 29, Pyongyang announced, “The time has come to settle accounts with the US imperialists.” It then ordered North Korean missile teams to be prepared to fire on US bases in the South Pacific. We in the US could afford to laugh, but there was less laughter in South Korea and Japan.

On March 30, North Korea stopped pretending to be on the verge of all-out war with South Korea and the US and, instead, announced that it is in an actual state of war. Fortunately, Kim has remembered that he is only pretending to be at war, and no unusual troop movements or communications have been detected in North Korea. The US responded by moving high tech F-22 Raptor fighters from Japan to South Korea. Any changes in deployment of US ballistic missile submarines in the waters of East Asia would be classified, but we may reasonably assume that, in the event of a nuclear attack by North Korea, the US would respond with strikes by US submarine launched missiles.

This morning, North Korea did something interesting. It announced the appointment of Pak Pong-Ju as the new premier. The premier would not be in the top five of the power structure in North Korea, but he would formulate and present economic policies to Kim Un. Pak was fired from his post as prime minister in 2007 after proposing some very minor U.S.-style economic policies.

This appointment is seen by Western leaders as a rare, positive bit of news from North Korea. The appointment of a North Korean who has dared to utter a few non-hateful words about the US is interpreted by some as a signal from Kim Un that he would like us to remember that he knows that he cannot hope to survive any war with South Korea and the US. It is also good news because North Korea’s most serious threat to South Korea and to its ally China is the threat of the complete economic collapse of North Korea.

While an economic collapse in North Korea might seem like a welcome possibility to distant observers, it is far less appealing to South Korea, to China, and to half of the 25,000,000 North Korean people who suffer from chronic malnourishment. China and South Korea quietly agree about two things concerning North Korea. One is that Kim Jong Un is an annoying twerp. The other is that if North Korea collapses, both South Korea and China will be flooded with millions of hungry North Koreans. Neither country wants to deal with such a large humanitarian crisis or the chaos that it would introduce inside their borders.

So what does this mean to those of us fortunate enough to not live in North Korea? It means that the US and South Korea have no choice but to remain prepared for war with North Korea. To the White House, that means annoying distractions from urgent domestic economic issues. Even the most loyal Obama lovers do not believe the White House’s recent optimistic self-assessments concerning the US economy. While Los Angeles will not be destroyed by a nuclear device from North Korea any time soon, it and the rest of the nation remain under attack by a home grown economic weapon of mass destruction. With so many foreign policy challenges to deal with in the Middle East, and so many millions of Americans slipping into poverty, Obama and the rest of the nation would prefer to not have to spend time and money dealing with North Korea.

However, Iran would love a war between the US and North Korea or between the US and any nation not named “Iran.”  To the north, Russia seems confused about what it wants in Korea. It can’t tell if a war in Korea would represent a net gain or loss to the Russian economy or to Russian foreign policy goals. The rest of the world is either unaware of the situation in Korea or simply hopes that war does not erupt there.

The greatest danger in North Korea is the possibility that, based on North Korea’s complete lack of understanding of the world outside of its borders, Kim Jong Un and his hard line pals in the North Korean military might miscalculate and trigger an all-out war. This morning’s announcement of their selection of a new “pro-Western” premier may indicate that, in lieu of a reasonable diet, Kim urgently needs to keep feeding his own subjects a heavy diet of war propaganda, but that he hopes that the US continues to not take him too seriously.

Yet in his confusion about the world outside of North Korea, Kim apparently feels that the only way to be taken seriously is to remain a military threat. He wants to be taken seriously enough to rate bribes from the rest of the world in the form of desperately needed food and oil shipments. My estimate is that North Korea wishes to remain one inch from that threatened war, but wants the US and South Korea to remain able to accurately measure that ever important last inch. In an ironic twist of any intelligence service’s basic goal, North Korea desperately wants everyone outside of North Korea to know more about their intentions than their own people know at home.

So far, North Korea’s war rhetoric has not been matched by military moves. Let’s hope it remains that way.

*   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *

To receive our infrequent newsletters and notices of our book releases, click here on Bayard & Holmes Newsletter. We will not, under any circumstances, share your email with any foreign operatives, phone solicitors, or grasping DHS agents.

*   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *

“Jay Holmes” is a man with experience in intelligence and covert operations who spent decades intimately involved in fighting the Soviets, the East Germans, and the various terrorist organizations they sponsored. Now, he is a Senior Mouseketeer in the intelligence community, and he writes spy thrillers with author Piper Bayard. Piper is the public face of their partnership. Their first spy thriller, APEX PREDATOR: THE LEOPARD OF CAIRO, is due out this fall through Stonehouse Ink Publishing.

For more about Jay Holmes, see No Room for Fragile Egos–A Spook’s World.

Snowquester – Magic Bullet for World Peace

By Piper Bayard and Jay Holmes

Last week, Washington, D.C. shut down due to a threat. No, not a terrorist threat. The threat of snow.

Frosty disappointedimage by Square87, wikimedia commons

Frosty disappointed
image by Square87, wikimedia commons

A snow storm predicted to drop 5” – 10” of Frosty’s essence was moving into the area. In the end, Frosty was disappointed with an inconvenient slush. However, Bayard & Holmes, ever on the alert for original ways to make our world a better place, noticed that for a day, things were looking up for our country. For a whole day, the same government that brings us fat-cat banker relief acts, TSA gropes, warrantless searches of American citizens on our highways, and increasingly more hostile political, racial, and religious division actually did no harm to the nation.

In light of that remarkable event, Bayard & Holmes has founded the First Do No Harm Foundation for World Peace. We are currently accepting donations for the purpose of purchasing snow making machines and stationing them at strategic locations around Washington, D.C. Every time the children aren’t playing well together, we will turn on the snow makers to shut them down and give them a cooling off period. Sort of a Congressional Time Out.

But why stop there? We have already contacted the Defense Department about re-fitting retired B-52 and B-1 bombers with snow making equipment that would allow them to carry this peaceful mission to other parts of the world.

What’s that, Kim Jong Un? You say you’re going to send nukes south of the border? One Snowmageddon coming right up. Old Kimy Boy will be enjoying a week of relaxation while he roasts marshmallows in one of his deep underground bunkers. From what we see of Kim ther’s no shortage of snack food in North Korean bunkers.

What’s that, Iran? You want to become the sole Islamic Caliphate and bury the West? Looks like you’re the one buried now. Just to help the Iranian regime enjoy the snow from heaven we’ll sell them some curly toed snow-shoes. And Hugo Chavez? No worries about him. He’s finding out Hell didn’t really freeze over when he was elected president of Venezuela.  Should his replacement thug become too annoying and start financing Colombian terrorists again Caracas residents would be treated to their first snow storm since the last ice age.

This is win/win all the way around. Aging snow bunny pacifists will have delightful new adventure tourism destinations for winter fun all year round, and the military can give the tantruming toddlers of the world the discipline they need. And the best part? Americans will have a training tool to use on our nation’s leaders. Who knows? Maybe we’ll luck out, and Congress will throw a Donner Party. There’s more than one way to trim the fat in DC.

New Strategy for Domestic Bliss

By Piper Bayard and Jay Holmes

Last year, an immigration officer in the UK found a cheap, creative way to get rid of his wife. He used his position to put her on a terrorist watch list while she was away on vacation in Pakistan. She was stuck there three years. Then, the immigration officer applied for a promotion, and, while vetting him for the new position, his superiors discovered what he had done.

While we find his behavior reprehensible, this does suggest a solution to the high crime rates in America while boosting the American economy. We call it our Club Penitentiary Program.

Recidivist criminals are a problem for all countries, and the US is no exception. You’ve heard of the “three strikes and you’re out” policy that some states have for their felons? We think the “out” part should be more literal. Let’s reward the tenacity of these outlaws by offering them all-expense-paid vacations to the Axis of Evil country of their choosing.

Our research indicates that, for the paltry sum of $1500/tourist, we can charter our own flight and transport these vacation-starved inmates in bulk. Here’s how it works.

As each of these fun-loving American tourists boards the bus at the penitentiary for the trip to the airport, his or her name will be added to the Dept. of Homeland Security terrorist database. This will prevent them from ever returning to the United States.

As they board the plane, our friendly Attica guards professional flight crews will dose them with strong sedatives. We know that sounds expensive, but no worries! We will recycle unused medications from nursing home patients who pass away leaving behind their unused pills.

We have not included a doctor or pharmacologist in the budget. However, we have hired a convicted crack dealer who was saved by religion just before his parole board meeting, and we believe he’ll get each traveler the right medication and dosage most of the time. In any event, we’ll make sure the passengers get what they need to be on their best behavior for the duration of the flight.

Here’s what a Club Pen jaunt to Korea would look like. Upon their arrival in Seoul, our South Korean allies will transfer the unconscious inmates excited tourists to North Korean bound buses. Each reveler will receive a hot, flat South Korean beer and the necessary South Korean documentation to become citizens of North Korea.

For enticement to accept the offer, we will give each traveler $500 cash to spend as he or she sees fit at his vacation destination. Also, in exchange for South Korea’s quiet assistance, we will reimburse that country $200/inmate.

If the South Koreans should refuse to cooperate, with one or two phone calls, we can get the Chinese to do it for half that.  Although, with the Chinese option, we can’t guarantee the safe arrival of the travelers in North Korea.

We know what you’re thinking. Every responsible American’s first question is, “Where do we get the money for this outstanding program?”

Consider that the average annual cost for incarcerating a violent offender in the US is about $27k per year. Spending two or three grand to say Adios! to these rather interesting and adventurous folks would generate a savings of $25k per inmate the first year, alone. And just think what the taxpayers will save over the course of a life sentence!

This is win/win for everyone. Psychopaths get what they want, which is out of prison. Communities win by not having these violent offenders in their neighborhoods. The taxpayers win by realizing tremendous savings. South Korea wins by picking up sorely needed cash and finally enjoying the opportunity to do something for us for a change after years of suffering the humiliation of existing only at the grace of the American defense budget. And even the North Koreans win. Compared to the oligarchy that controls North Korea now, these new visitors will bring an infusion of cash and ideas, and a higher level of morality than their current leadership has ever demonstrated.

What politicians or other dangerous criminals would you nominate for a Club Pen gift certificate?

All the best to all of you for a week of staying off the watch list.

 

The Gangster and the Poet – Kim Jong Il and Vaclav Havel

By HOLMES

This week, we have been treated to odd bits of news from the North Korean state media machine. According them, Kim Jong Il died of a heart attack on Saturday, December 17, 2011. The “news” that has been broadcast from North Korea has been rather interesting.

One of my young coworkers took the time to read and analyze some of the very odd claims that were made for North Korean consumption and for those imaginary North Korean admirers that the NK government likes to pretend exist in large numbers across the world. Here are a few of the recent outlandish claims from a nation that is so crippled it can produce little more than outlandish claims.

Kim Jong Il lived for five thousand years. Kim Jong Il did not urinate or defecate because he was a higher being that didn’t need to do those lowly human functions. It’s not often that Westerners or anyone living outside of North Korea agrees with the NK media, but based on that particular claim, Westerners were apparently being fair and accurate when saying that Kim was “full of shit.”

We are now being told that a mountain peak in North Korea that was named after Kim Jong Il glowed for an hour after he died. As absurd as it seems, that claim might be accurate. It could be that the insects hiding beneath the frozen surface were so overjoyed at the death of the despised dictator that they glowed like glow worms and fire flies in celebration of his departure from their ecosystem.

The nonsensical and amateurish propaganda that flows from North Korea would all be nothing more than cheap comedy if not for the fact that it tells us something about the current state of their tortured society. Even in authoritarian police states like China, Cuba, Syria, and Iran, there are limits to how outlandish the propaganda can be. Neither North Koreans nor Cubans would believe that their respective crime syndicate leaders were five thousand years old, but the difference is that the Cubans would loudly refuse such asinine statements. It’s a sad comment about the lives of the victims of the North Korean crime state that they feel compelled to pretend to believe such absurdity.

Kim Jong Il had announced that his third son, Kim Jong Un, would inherit the family crime syndicate, but not all is going as planned. Today, North Korea announced that Kim Jong Un’s aunt and her husband would share power with him, and that the military would have more power than they did under Km Jong Il.

My impression is that the North Korean military hates Kim’s sister and her husband and will wrestle for control of the country. At least in the short term, it seems unlikely that the people of North Korea can expect much improvement in their lives. Chronic malnutrition and a complete lack of freedom will continue. Kim Jong Un has a long way to go to gain complete control of North Korea, but the undeserving victims of the ongoing Kim family crime spree have even further to go to reach freedom and human rights.

Kim Jong Un – To show their loyalty, all North Koreans are required to get bad haircuts before Friday. (That’s actually a joke. So far.)

While the news is filled with the farcical proceedings in North Korea, another important world leader left us on December 18, 2011. A brilliant poet who I admired.

On October 5, 1936, a boy, Vaclav Havel, was born in Prague, Czechoslovakia. That boy would one day prove instrumental in leading the nation of Czechoslovakia out of the dark ages of forty-nine years of brutal Nazi and Soviet occupation.

image by Ondrej Slama

image by Ondrej Slama

Vaclav Havel was the son of a theater owner father and a wealthy mother. During the Soviet occupation, he was not allowed to attend secondary education because of his “bourgeois” parents, and he was shunted to industrial training. He worked full time and attended night school. Then, he dropped out of economics school and found work as a laborer in theater productions. From that humble beginning, he went on to become one of Europe’s most respected writers, admired poets, and esteemed world leaders.

While living under constant police surveillance and suffering through multiple prison internments, including a five-year stint, Havel managed to write popular plays and was able to see them produced in spite of sabotage by the Czech secret police. What did he have to say after years of abuse? “Truth and love will prevail over lies and hate.”

In 1989, as the Soviet lead Warsaw Pact began to unravel, Havel became the de facto leader of the Velvet Revolution. The Czech secret police and the Soviet KGB had long seen Havel as a dissenter. It is my belief that the Czech police state and the Kremlin decided Havel was just a poet and playwright and would never be able to successfully lead a revolution. They denied permission to their field operatives to assassinate him. They likely feared that killing Havel would have left less known and less visible leaders in charge of the resistance.

Vaclav Havel became president of Czechoslovakia on December 29, 1989 and served in that office until July, 1992. He later served as Prime Minister of the Czech Republic from 1993 until 2003.

The Soviets underestimated the poet and the people of Prague. Now, that poet is gone, but his memory and the freedom that he helped create lives on. The world was a better place with Vaclav Havel in it. It remains a better place for his having passed here.

To his family and to the courageous people of the Czech Republic who defeated brutal tyranny with little more than reason and moral conviction, I offer my sincere condolences and my deep admiration. May reason and moral conviction reign forever in the Czech Republic. May truth and love always prevail over lies and hate.

Tonight, in North Korea, the notions of freedom and human rights appear to be beyond all hope. Only 25 years ago, we would have said the same about Czechoslovakia.