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Location: LaGrange, Kentucky, United States

The opinions and interests of a husband, analyst and Iraq war veteran.


Sunday, December 18, 2005

"Crying like a woman watching Beaches"

Stephen Spuriell takes in the sights, the smells, the tear gas of Hong Kong during the WTO conference, which just wrapped up last night.

It was one of the most appalling things I've ever witnessed.

[...]The demonstration was largely composed of agricultural and labor unions from South Korea — a fully modernized, growing and dynamic economy. Yet here were its protected special interests, doing violence to the beautiful city of Hong Kong — a city which grew from nothing but the unfettered power of the free market — in order to keep the high tariffs that raise the price Korean consumers pay for rice to seven times above the world average and prevent rice farmers in poor countries from exporting to Korea. A privileged class in a rich country has come to Hong Kong to attack its police officers and protest a WTO that the influence of protectionists has rendered so pathetically weak, its members can't even make the smallest concessions here in Hong Kong to break the deadlock and move forward on a trade-liberalizing agenda that would lift millions out of poverty.

[...]Having been in these talks and witnessed the lack of progress, I wanted to ask them, "What are you worried about?"

Wow. Stephen has promised a write up with pictures and maybe video later this week. I'll link as soon as he has it up.

Meanwhile Bono has been named as one of Time Magazine's persons of the year. An honor earned "for being shrewd about doing good, for rewiring politics and re-engineering justice, for making mercy smarter and hope strategic and then daring the rest of us to follow..."

Which, apparently means putting on a kick ass concert. But hey! At least there was no tear gas involved.

I'm all for private charitable giving. But this?

2005 is the year they turned the corner, when Bono charmed and bullied and morally blackmailed the leaders of the world's richest countries into forgiving $40 billion in debt owed by the poorest; now those countries can spend the money on health and schools rather than interest payments—and have no more excuses for not doing so.

No more excuses, Africa! This time Bono means it! And his method of holding Africa accountable? I don't know, but his moral blackmailing skills are superb so I'm sure he has a plan.

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