Friday, September 19, 2008

In The News, 2008-09-19

1) North Korea has yet again shown how duplicitous it is, and how reckless US foreign policy has been under the current administration, by thumbing its metaphorical nose at the prospect of being removed from the US terrorism blacklist and promising to restart its non-metaphorical uranium enrichment program.

Of course, the smart money says that this is just bluster to distract the political world from Kim Jung-Il's incapacity following a reputed stroke. Further evidence in favor of this theory is provided by a North Korean Foreign Affairs minister, Hyun Hak-Bong, who called the reports "nonsense." (North Korean officials are about as trustworthy as Fox News.)

2) Also in peninsular military news, the South has announced plans to withdraw all its remaining troops from Iraq by year's end, reducing the so-called Coalition of the Willing to the Coalition of the US, the United States and the Contiguous Forty-Eight plus Alaska and Hawaii ("That's five, count 'em, five whole countries," beamed President Bush, without an iota of irony).

3) While American markets continue to lose value at the most astonishing rate in the history of human civilization, the government of Seoul announced plans to build half a million new homes each year for the next ten years, in an aggressive strategy to stabilize prices in one of the most expensive real estate markets on the planet.

The fact that there is virtually no land available for these homes is what one may term "a fly in the ointment":
"I doubt the government will be able to secure enough land to construct 5 million houses in 10 years," said one expert. Governments in the past came up with housing supply plans for the underprivileged, but none successfully achieved original goals because they had problems acquiring land for construction, he said.

Still, President Lee Myung-Bak, elected on a pro-US and pro-infrastructure platform, has little left to offer at this point to rebuild his cachet. "The government will strive to help newlywed couples and all ordinary households buy their own homes by expanding new housing supply drastically," Lee said.

4) Indeed, FTSE (a joint index of Financial Times and London Stock Exchange) has announced that South Korea has joined the US and Germany in the top rank of investor-friendly financial markets. Its conservative banking system and chaebol-dominated business structure are thought to help insulate the country from much of the fluctuation and uncertainty coursing through today's financial markets. Chaebol are the family-run conglomerates that epitomize ROK business success, like Samsung, LG, Doosan, Hyundai, etc.

5) Speaking of US markets, here's a great Toles cartoon that shows exactly why you should never vote for a Republican ever again:
Tom Toles, Washington Post, 9-18-2008
6) In a further black mark for Republicans, today's covers Barton Gellman's reporting in "Angler" that Republican former House majority leader Dick Armey says Vice President Dick Cheney lied to him to get his support for the Iraq War.
"Did Dick Cheney ... purposely tell me things he knew to be untrue? I seriously feel that may be the case," Armey said. "Had I known or believed then what I believe now, I would have publicly opposed the resolution right to the bitter end, and I believe I might have stopped it from happening."

That's the horse's mouth, right there, folks.

1 comment:

Foreigner Joy said...

Thanks for the supportive comment on my blog~ I am suprised too that I am in this predicament but I guess the job market here, especially at hogwans is a risky business.

I will still be pursuing to teach here so Korea can't get rid of me yet!! haha~