global politics comparisons


The new tyrant in North Korea is consolidating power.

An uncle of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has been executed for trying to overthrow the government, the Korean Central News Agency reported early Friday.
“Traitor Jang Song Thaek Executed” blared the headline posted by the state-run news agency about the man who, until recently, had been regarded as the nation’s second-most powerful figure.
The story said that a special military tribunal had been held Thursday against the “traitor for all ages,” who was accused of trying to overthrow the state “by all sorts of intrigues and despicable methods.”
It added, “All the crimes committed by the accused were proved in the course of hearing and were admitted by him.”
Once his guilt was established, Jang was immediately executed, it said.
The KCNA report described Jang as “despicable human scum” and “worse than a dog,” and said he had betrayed his party and leader.
“This is a stunning development,” Marcus Noland, a senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics, told CNN on Thursday. “I’ve been following North Korea for 20 years and I do not remember them ever publicly announcing the execution of a senior leader. You hear rumors about it, but this theatrical arrest earlier in the week and now this execution are unprecedented.”

This is kind of interesting, given this uncle figure was said to be guiding the nephew forward.  But when you have the potential for multiple poles of power, I guess you collapse the opposition.

Meanwhile, in New Jersey…

Apparently — by which I mean, definitely — a political hack shut lanes entering the George Washington Bridge for five days in September and ruined traffic.
The motive remains a matter of speculation, as no credible explanation and only several false ones have been put forward by the agency operating the bridge, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.
In the interests of informed speculation, please note the following circumstances. First, the mayor of Fort Lee, N.J., the borough adjacent to the bridge and the one that suffered most from the sudden shutdown of two of its three access lanes, had just failed to come through with an expected endorsement of Gov. Chris Christie for re-election.
And second, the hack who closed the lanes got his job at the Port Authority through the patronage of Governor Christie, a high school classmate. Governor Christie’s man was on a corner in Fort Lee at 7 a.m. on the first day of the lane closings, watching the traffic monstrosity build, according to recent testimony at hearings in New Jersey.
So apparently — by which I mean, maybe — this was an act of retribution against the Democratic mayor of Fort Lee for his failure to join others of his party in making the case that Mr. Christie was irresistibly bipartisan.

Some of the same principals are involved, if not on the same scale of… horror.

Then again

With Mr. Mandela lying in state here for a second day as thousands waited in line to pay their final respects, the government found itself unable to explain Mr. Jantjie’s selection for the job, admitted it had paid a bargain rate for his services and asserted that the company that supplied him had “vanished into thin air.”

Might apply to the Obama Administration on how it handled implementation of the Health Care website.

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