Feb 12, 2007

A Dumb and Dumber Leader Quiz: Kim Jong Il vs George W. Bush:

North Korea agreed Tuesday to shut down its main nuclear reactor and dismantle its atomic weapons program, in exchange for over a million tons of fuel and other goodies. The country also has agreed to work toward normalizing relations with Japan and its neighbors. Great news for a change in a world sorely lacking in such. Below is a repost of a quiz I wrote to compare the leader at left to the leader at right. Just how well do you know these two? Tell me how you did.

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Ready to take a quiz comparing the notorious Chairman of the National Defense Commission of North Korea, Kim Jong Il, and the Commander in Chief, POTUS George W. Bush? Just how different are these two admittedly bizarre leaders? The answers appear under the wavy line at the end of the quiz.

Please note: the answers that follow are based on my research as well as my opinions. This quiz is meant to be thought-provoking and to open up discussion.

The Kim Jong Il vs. George W. Bush Quiz

1. Which leader's father is/was taller in stature than his son, and was also a leader of his respective country?

A. Kim Jong Il
B. George W. Bush
C. Both of the above

2. Which leader grew up as the privileged child of an extremely wealthy and well-connected family?

A. Kim Jong Il
B. George W. Bush
C. Both of the above

3. Which leader has reported that he is on a mission from God?

A. Kim Jong Il
B. George W. Bush
C. Both of the above

4. Which leader's favorite whiskey is Johnnie Walker Swing, favorite cognac is Hennessey’s XO, and is also a noted oenophile?

A. Kim Jong Il
B. George W. Bush
C. Both of the above

5. Which leader has called the other a "pygmy" and declares "I hate this man," while referring to the other's country as part of the "axis of evil" and an "outpost of tyranny"?

A. Kim Jong Il
B. George W. Bush

6. Which leader has said of the other that he is "not versed in international relations and not too much interested in them either"?

A. Kim Jong Il
B. George W. Bush

7. Which leader insists that his followers refer to him by his preferred title, and if not, they risk losing their heads?

A. Kim Jong Il
B. George W. Bush
C. Both of the above

8. Which leader appears to be downright sociopathic or at least megalomaniacal?

A. Kim Jong Il
B. George W. Bush
C. Both of the above

9. Which leader surrounds himself with sycophants who are unwilling to disagree with their leader publicly?

A. Kim Jong Il
B. George W. Bush
C. Both of the above

10. Which leader has a propaganda-laden media network in place that regularly reports synthetic news?

A. Kim Jong Il
B. George W. Bush
C. Both of the above

11. Which one has said that his country is developing nuclear weapons out of fear of an attack by the other and has requested a direct audience with the other but been repeatedly ignored?

A. Kim Jong Il
B. George W. Bush
C. Both of the above

12. Which one is the leader of a nation that possesses enough nuclear warheads and bombs to do significant damage to life on planet Earth?

A. Kim Jong Il
B. George W. Bush
C. Both of the above

13. Which one is responsible—either directly or indirectly—for the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people?

A. Kim Jong Il
B. George W. Bush
C. Both of the above


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Answers

1. C. Kim Jong Il, who is 5'3", had a father who was a whopping 6'0". Named Kim Il-sung, he was the General Secretary of the Korean Workers Party, affectionately known as "Eternal President of the Republic," who ruled until he croaked. George W. Bush is 5'11 3/4", while his father, George H. W. Bush is 6'2" tall. Before George H. W. Bush, was his daddy, Prescott Bush, who was a Connecticut senator and has been linked financially to the Hitler regime (this connection is disputed).

2. C. No dispute, both kids are moneyed brats of governmental dynasties.

3. B. Bush made this claim directly to Palestinian ministers, and it was widely reported that, "
God had told him to invade Afghanistan and Iraq - and create a Palestinian State."

4. A. Jong Il's personal sushi chef reported this in The Korea Times. In fact, Jong Il has a liking for much of foreign culture, including James Bond movies. Bush confirmed that he abused alcohol during his younger years, and he does have a DUI on his record; however, he claims to have gone cold turkey on his 40th birthday and does not admit to ever actually being an alcoholic. He has been accused of exhibiting "dry drunk" syndrome (an AA term), as well as (disputably) drinking again after periods of great stress, such as during the Hurricane Katrina disaster.

5. B. That was a gimme. I found the "axis of evil" comment shocking, and it certainly hasn’t helped the cause.

6. A. Another gimme, based on the question before it. Note how relatively restrained Jong Il's comment was compared to Bush's.

7. A.
Jong Il's ex-bodyguard reported that he demands his followers refer to him as "Great General" or "General." If not, they would be beheaded. Now that's one hell of a chip on Dear Leader's shoulder.

8. C. I'm sure to catch a lot of grief for this one, but here's a
definition of the sociopathic personality that sounds scarily true of both men . . . Personality traits—Sense of entitlement; Unremorseful; Apathetic to others; Unconscionable behavior; Blameful of others; Manipulative and conning; Affectively cold; Disparate understanding; Socially irresponsible; Disregardful of obligations; Nonconforming to norms; Irresponsible. Clinical symptomsManipulativeness; Impulsivity, Failure to plan ahead; Irritability, aggressiveness; Reckless disregard for the safety of self or others; Consistent irresponsibility; Lack of remorse after having hurt, mistreated, or stolen from another person.

As far as megalomania goes, Wisegeek.com defines it this way, “an unrealistic belief in one's superiority, grandiose abilities, and even omnipotence. It is characterized by a need for total power and control over others, and is marked by a lack of empathy for anything that is perceived as not feeding the self.” Seems to be some crossover with sociopathy too.

9. C. Although any dictatorship is characterized by the demolition of dissent and the proliferation of sycophancy, Jong Il would win this comparison by severity. However, no one in Bush's administration—to my knowledge—disagrees with him on policy publicly. Colin Powell had some challenges with the way Rumsfeld did business, but Powell since resigned. Ambassador Jim Wilson came out about the lack of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and his wife was outed as a CIA agent in retaliation. Bob Woodward, in his new book, State of Denial, points out how the "aura of the presidency" shuts out the bad news for Bush, who often doesn't get to hear what is really going wrong.

While a dictatorship is far worse than what we have in the U.S. (or I would not be able to write this), a number of laws that define our basic freedoms (wiretapping, habeas corpus, torture, etc.) have been scaled back during the Bush administration , with the executive branch powers being scaled forward. We seem more and more like an oligarchy every day, or even a police state, defined as, " when federal and state political and police mechanisms shut down media coverage after they steal an election; serve the central government instead of serving the citizens; enforce the policies of the central government instead of responding primarily to criminal misdeeds; and spy on and intimidate citizens."

10. C. Find this hard to believe? The New York Times reported "at least 20 federal agencies, including the Defense Department and the Census Bureau, have made and distributed hundreds of television news segments in the past four years, records and interviews show. Many were subsequently broadcast on local stations across the country without any acknowledgement of the government's role in their production." Why has there not been more public outcry over this Bush administration synthetic news machine?

11. A. The U.S. has repeatedly ignored North Korea's request for direct talks, effectively dissing them as unworthy of the attention. Many believe the ugly rhetoric coming from our leader, along with this dissing, has been a big factor in North Korea’s nuclear proliferation. Although the GOP tried to blame this on the Clinton administration (which has been happening a lot lately), Senator
John Kerry recently retorted, "North Korea's nuclear program was frozen under Bill Clinton. When George W. Bush turned his back on diplomacy, Kim Jong Il turned back to making bombs, and the world is less safe because a madman has the Bush bomb."

12. C. The U.S. has anywhere from 5,000 to 10,000 nuclear bombs and warheads, while North Korea has what is believed to be enough material for six or seven. The number of nukes for NK is much disputed, but officials believe it "
has produced, or has the capability to produce, up to six or seven such devices." Here are the members of the Nuclear Club and how many nukes each is thought to possess:

  • Russia—5,000 to 16,000 nuclear bombs and warheads
  • U.S.A.—5,000 to 10,000
  • France—350
  • U.K. —as many as 200
  • China—130
  • India—75 to 115
  • Pakistan—65 to 90

13. C. Sadly, the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people are on both leader's hands. For Kim Jong Il, it is well known that up to 2 million North Koreans have starved while he has held power--as a result of sanctions against his country, famine, and other hardships. In addition, “North Korean exiles have testified to the existence of detention camps with an estimated 150,000 to 200,000 inmates, and have reported torture, starvation, rape, murder and forced labour.” As for the U.S., recent estimates of civilian casualties in Iraq since the American occupation have reached as high as 665,000. Civilians, that is. Add to that another approximately 3,000 U.S. soldiers, and the unknown number if Iraqi military deaths. Other massive deaths that may or may not be attributable to the Bush administration, but certainly occurred during his watch are the thousands of deaths from Hurricane Katrina and the attacks of September 11, 2001.


Author's Note

Bush's cavalier attitude toward the threat from above the 38th parallel makes me wonder: has he been double-dog daring North Korea to move forward with their nuclear proliferation in order to further the U.S. war machine? Otherwise, Bush's blithe dismissal of threats from Pyongyang is so brutally dumb, it defies imagination. We're not playing cowboys and Indians with cork guns, we're playing it with technology that is a "
menace to the survival of life on this planet."

And this is the world I dared to bring a child into three years ago? This morning I showed my girl a photo of Kim Jong Il and told her that he is a "very bad man who has some terrible bombs." She affixed me with her blue-green eyes and said, "Mama, is that man a bomb?" I guess he is, honey. Yes, I guess he is. Along with the leader of our own country, they make up a duo of dumb and dumber—only these two have the most dangerous toys of all.

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