(Update): A spokesperson from Isaac Herzog’s office reached out to Al-Masdar News on Monday to confirm that this quote was fabricated.
Meanwhile, the big story of the day is Kurt Eichenwald's Newsweek cover story, How the Trump Organization's Foreign Business Ties Could Upend U.S. National Security.
I'm far too cynical to be surprised by any of this information, but I appreciate the thoroughness, and hope that it will have a positive impact.
you may have seen news about a presidential corruption scandal in Korea. At first glance, that's nothing new. However, it turns out that the latest scandal is actually unprecedented in how straight up batshit looney-tunes it is.
At first, there was a tiny bit of perverse relief, as all the bizarre actions of Park Geun-hye administration suddenly began to make sense. Why did the president only hold just three press conferences in the first four years of her administration? Why does the president always speak in convoluted sentences that make no sense? Why did the president fly off the handle and sue the Japanese journalist who claimed that she was with Choi Soon-sil's husband while the ferry Sewol was sinking in 2014, drowning 300 school children? Why did the ruling party randomly host a shamanistic ritual in the halls of the National Assembly? Ohhhh, the relief went. Now it all makes sense.
But this brief relief soon gave way to the terrifying realization: actually, it does not make sense. None of this makes any sense.
In an ordinary case of political corruption, the politician is in it for himself. At most, the politician is doing it for his family, or other rich people who may end up helping him later. Obviously, corruption is bad. But this type of self-interested corruption at least gives some measure of predictability. We all know what self-interest looks like. Even though we would prefer that our politicians are not corrupt, at least we know how corrupt politicians behave.
But not with Park Geun-hye. Her corruption was not self-interested at all. If anything, her corruption was self-sacrificing in favor of Choi Soon-sil. Among the numerous revelations, I personally found this the most pathetic: Park Geun-hye gave Choi a sizable budget to purchase the presidential wardrobe, and Choi embezzled most of it. Instead of purchasing the clothes that befitted a head of state, Choi outfitted Park Geun-hye with crappy clothes that she had her cronies made with subpar material. There is a video of Choi's staff smoking and drinking while eating fried chicken, right next to the suit meant for Park Geun-hye. At one point, one of the staff members handled the suit without even wiping chicken grease from his hands, while breathing smoke onto the clothes. Park Geun-hye would wear this suit on her presidential visit with Xi Jinping. For accessories, Choi gave Park the cheap leather purses and clutches that her gigolo designed. This could not have possibly escaped Park's notice. Even assuming the unlikely possibility Park Geun-hye might not have had the discernment to know firsthand (unlikely because she grew up in the lap of luxury,) the obvious cheapness of Park's clothes and bags even made the news. Yet nothing came of it. Choi Soon-sil dressed Park Geun-hye liked an unwanted doll, and Park, the president of the country, did not care.