sitting on the edge of the sandbox, biting my tongue

May 19, 2016

Clearly We Need A Dictator

Filed under: politics — Tags: , , , , — edge of the sandbox @ 6:20 pm

Robert Kagan frets about fascism coming to America:

The Republican Party’s attempt to treat Donald Trump as a normal political candidate would be laughable were it not so perilous to the republic. If only he would mouth the party’s “conservative” principles, all would be well.

But of course the entire Trump phenomenon has nothing to do with policy or ideology. It has nothing to do with the Republican Party, either, except in its historic role as incubator of this singular threat to our democracy. Trump has transcended the party that produced him. His growing army of supporters no longer cares about the party. Because it did not immediately and fully embrace Trump, because a dwindling number of its political and intellectual leaders still resist him, the party is regarded with suspicion and even hostility by his followers. Their allegiance is to him and him alone.

I don’t know about the “historic role” bit, but the cult of personality is definitely there.  As is always the case with the strongman types, what the fans find charismatic is highly subjective.  Was Hitler not a bloviating idiot with a funny mustache?  Is Putin’s bare chest something to laugh about?  Is our short-fingered vulgarian too bloated and pasty?

Graceful!

Are Americans too bloated?  Yes.  Good news, there is always time to slim down.  Take the example of North Korea, the world’s number one thinnest nation:

Don’t mention it to the exalted leader Kim Jong-un, but his people are literally starving. They’re poor (earning an average of only $2-30 per month), their every move is monitored and controlled, and the government constantly mismanages the economy by buying weapons for a hypothetical war it is obsessed with, but would never win. North Korean food, to its credit, is relatively healthy (and includes dishes like rice, noodles, corn porridge, kimchi, soybean sausage, and bulgogi), so that deserves part of the credit for the population’s shockingly-low 4.4 percent overweight/obesity rate. Yet an even bigger factor is the ongoing famine, which caused the deaths of as many as 3.5 million citizens in the last 20 years.

I suspect the bulk of the 4.4% overweight/obesity population of the Hermit Kingdom hails from the nomenklatura class:

While malnutrition is widespread in North Korea, the restaurant scene in Pyongyang is thriving. It is never a problem to find a really good meal if you can afford it – and you know where to look. The newer, semi-private eateries tend to keep a low-profile, and often have their windows covered with heavy curtains. The signboards are also small, if not absent, so outsiders would have few clues of the luxury inside.[…]

All these pleasures might appear cheap for a visiting foreigner, but for the average North Korean restaurants are prohibitively expensive. A dinner in a regular upmarket restaurant would cost about $7-10 (excluding alcohol), but the most expensive places charge around $30-40. To appreciate how out of reach this is, remember that the average monthly salary of a university professor in North Korea is about 80 cents. In most cases, the consumers pay in foreign currency, usually Chinese yuan, which has long been a currency of choice in the up-market North Korean shops.

While Mr. Dpumpf lacks the trim physique, so does Baby Kim, and Putin’s been getting bloated lately.  Yet They are not us, and as a country we can stand to lose some weight.  It’s good for us.  Michelle Obama said so.

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