Dream of the Dragon

Tag: crackdown

Maximum Accountability

by Justin

The post title is misleading – what I’m talking about is misdirected cruelty masquerading as extreme accountability.

In the thick of the financial crisis many people demanded the sacking of Goldman Sachs executives that oversaw the exploitation of its investors. Again, throughout the Gulf spill disaster concerned citizens called for the firings of BP and Transocean leaders as a show that things would change. In giant corporations this may very well have amounted to just that: a show. But sometimes that’s all anyone wants – a little drama in place of substantial reform. Well, North Korea went to the extreme of misguided theatrics, hoping that an execution would overshadow the endemic flaws in its system.

This ran in the Guardian yesterday, a brief account of the execution by firing squad of former North Korean cabinet official Kwon Ho Ung. Read the rest of this entry »

When does poverty push back?

by Justin

Our government is far from perfect. In the past years we’ve seen flagrant obstructionism and the disproportionate weight of the wealthy elite tipping the scales of representation. We’ve also seen the fanaticism of willful ignorance on the far right create a hostile political environment and place the truth in the center of tea soaked crosshairs. To huge extent we’ve seen the great engines of bipartisanship and compromise that once existed buckle and break. People from all demographics, all economic echelons, all sorts of ideological backgrounds rail against the government for ignoring their needs and favoring the opposition. I get that. I participate in that same outrage. For all the frustration, I enjoy marveling at the koan-like nonsense of Sarah Palin and wondering how corporate greed can dedicate absolutely no thought to the plight of future generations. It’s luxurious, really.

Imagining, then, a government that in a single day can cut one’s life savings from $1560 to $30 with a radical currency revaluation throws things into a different perspective. The New York Times offered up an incredible piece drawing the disastrous policies of the North Korean government into focus. I’d been seduced by the sinking of a South Korean warship and what seemed to be a more and more likely military conflict. What struck me about that situation was that it seemed entirely plausible that the North would declare an end to the armistice and attack South Korea – totally plausible and totally insane. Read the rest of this entry »

On Unrealistic Idealism

by Justin

It’s become more and more apparent to me that the extreme polarization of politics in this country isn’t only among the politicians, figureheads, lobbyists, talk-show hosts, whatever – it’s grassroots, too. Sure, the liberal extreme will never match the fevered fanaticism of the Tea Party. That sort of militant (as in gun toting) ignorance lends itself better to insane slogans and rallies than the so-called informed opinions of their liberal opponents. But both camps seem incapable of listening to one another. More importantly, neither side understands the way this country works.

Extremism has its place in politics. It’s useful to demand impossible degrees of excellence, because otherwise the eventual compromise would be laughably insufficient. Read the rest of this entry »