Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Ridiculous is as Ridiculous does

The US government and media obsess over a lotta ridiculous stuff ... unfortunately to the preclusion of solving some of our major issues. Whether or not this is intentional (as I supposed recently) doesn't matter. The consequence is the same: the nation gets distracted and divided with trivialities and victim-less issues while the major issues continue to grow ... and to quietly bleed us all dry.

Happily (?) we're in good company. The news recently has carried a bevy of similar symptoms from across the globe. Here are some ridiculous things that ridiculous people are wasting our time on:

Turkey has banned the AK party which is currently running the government. This makes it illegal for their current PM (Gul) to be PM. Great idea, dumbasses! What better way to show that a Muslim country can be stable and progressive and modern than to disregard the will of the majority in a military quasi-coup on the fear-mongering premise that Gul is imposing Sharia law. Evidence? He wants women to have the freedom (not the requirement, mind you) to wear headscarfs at university. I'm sure the EU is ecstatic that they let you in now. I guarantee this has single-handedly cost the entire country several percentage points of GDP over the next few years.
Meanwhile, the Kurd question looms, ignored, as a true threat to Turkish sovereignty.

South Koreans have spent half their summer protesting and rioting over the government's decision to allow imports of US beef. The sharpest of these tacks has suggested the PM should be fired and the government recalled in a no-confidence vote. That would be a great way to spend taxpayer dollars. Dude - if you're bored, there are better hobbies than getting water-cannoned or arrested. All of this because they're afraid of the sliver-thin chance of importing mad cow ... and the rhetoric that Korean ranchers (oh, yes - they even wear cowboy hats!) would lose money.
Meanwhile, North Korea shows it's just a misfit teenager who needs a little love and attention to keep it from going Columbine on the World's ass. Oh, and the billionaire patriarch of Samsung Lee Kun Hee is finally convicted for his 60 years of tax evasion and market manipulation ... but nobody's rioting over the destruction of the rule of law ... the fact that the Korean judicial branch dragged their feet for decades until he was old enough for them to justify handing down a suspended sentence ... Nobody wants to say anything about the 60 years of too-cozy relations between the government and chaebols (national champion conglomerates) which allows this kind of bad behavior.

Italy has contributed to the decline of the rule of law by passing a law which gives the senior-most politicians (particularly PM Berlusconi) immunity from prosecution. Great. This guy's been raping (financially and um ... otherwise) the country for 25 years with no concern for the law. Even the famously "make love not war" Italians took a break from cigs, espressos, and whistling at girls to mount massive protests.
Meanwhile the Italian economy is toppling into recession. If it makes you feel any better, guys, the rest of Europe is right behind you ... although you're the country Nouriel Roubini singled out at Davos "unfortunately, the lack of serious economic reforms in Italy implies that there is a growing risk that Italy may end up like Argentina" and fall out of the EMU. Ouch. Oh, and maybe you guys should get off the Vespas and into bed ... the Italian fertility rate is half what it was in your grandparents' day.

And the whopper: Russia and China showed they were willing to go bat for moral rectitude by refusing to allow even the weakest of penalties against Mugabe and his pack of animals in the UN security council.
Meanwhile ... the international organization which is supposed to save us all from ourselves proves once again how useless it is. The world seems satisfied to do nothing in the face of the most heinous treatment of the world's most down-trodden.

Don't think this behavior is confined to these countries. It's in everyone's backyard.

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