While Obama and Congress do the dance of death over a stimulus package that has a snowball's chance in a snow storm of actually accomplishing anything…
…we watch our 401ks shrink to 301ks, 201ks, 1 1/2 01ks…
…we fear for our jobs, our health, our futures, our children's futures…
…we empathize with those who are losing their jobs, their homes, their hope…then
what can we do about the fact that carnage around the world, the likes of which we can no more comprehend than we can world peace, makes our problems seem trivial by comparison.
- Today, MSNBC reported that 10 million people in Kenya face starvation because prolonged drought (global climate change, anyone?) has again devastated their harvests. It's a little hard for the country to handle this because "of the cost of sheltering and reintegrating 600,000 people displaced by violence following December 2007 elections. More than 1,000 people were killed, and many farmers were too frightened to return home and plant crops."
- Zimbabwe, take I: Beloved and saintly President Robert "I Am The Walrus" Mugabe is correct, cholera is not raging, it's rampaging through this tract of land that no longer exists as a viable nation. Millions are on the verge of starvation, clean water supplies are only available for high government officials, and the capital's two largest hospitals shut down weeks ago because doctors and nurses hadn't been paid. And when they were, the money was worthless. The rate of inflation, as estimated by John Robertson, an independent economist in Zimbabwe, is now eight quintillion percent — that is an eight followed by 18 zeros.
- Zimbabwe, take II: Troops in Zimbabwe with no pay, no food, and no support, have taken to eating elephants. (Not to worry, the country has more elephants than they can care for.) According to the BBC, "The economy is collapsing and soldiers have recently gone on the rampage in the capital, Harare, after being unable to withdraw their salaries in cash from banks." Odd, it's the army that's keeping Mugabe in power. One can only hope they lose their taste for elephant and consider dictators…nah, that's gross. Sorry.
- As if it weren't bad enough that Mexico has become a battleground between the drug cartels, the government, and whoever else has a grievance, the government itself is so mired in red tape that virtually nothing works. Consider something as admittedly complex as getting medicine. Cecilia Velázquez's son has a immune deficiency and an infection could kill him, so he needs daily meds. No problem. "First, two government doctors have to sign off on the prescription. Next, four bureaucrats must stamp it. Last, she has to present it (in quadruplicate) to a hospital dispensary. The process takes at least four days and sometimes as many as 15." Her son often has to go for days without his medicine. And that's one of the better government systems.
- Slaughter in the Congo continues despite the well-armed and trained UN forces positioned there. Just last month, rebels murdered over 150 young men in under 24 hours…just miles from a UN post. This vindication of man's inhumanity to man was led by a commander wanted for war crimes by the International Criminal Court. "In the past year alone, hundreds of thousands of people have been forced to flee their homes as the rebels, led by a renegade army general, have waged a fierce insurgency against the government and its allied militias."
- Oh yeah, the Middle East. Israel & Hamas reject the UN's anemic cease fire proposal. Israel rightly noted that there was nothing that would prevent Hamas from continuing it's missile bombardment and tunnel transportation system. Hamas has a more reasonable objection: They were "angry that it was not consulted during exhaustive diplomatic efforts at the world body."
Not to worry, though. Big Brain Thinkers have the solution, if one discounts Jimmy Carter's idiotic and naive claim that if people would just listen to him, he'd have solved this issue in 1835. Jackson Diehl of The Washington Post today opined that the Israelis should have followed a political rather than a military approach. His well-reasoned and carefully-constructed argument was contradicted by another op-ed, same paper, same day, where Charles Krauthammer argued with equal brilliance that Israel's military approach was working, if they have the guts to stick to it.