Thursday, February 21, 2008

Donuts and Dictators

I find it interesting that PARADE "Magazine" (yes, that insert in the Sunday paper. That's why "magazine" is in quotes.), where I can normally find a recipe for a pineapple upside-down cake, 59 ways to walk myself to a healthy heart, the best places to picnic in the Heartland, and funny pet pictures, decides that once a year it is going to publish "Parade Magazine's Annual List of the World's Worst Dictators". I mean, I'm glad they're branching out and all, but it just seems odd. "Try this pie, you'll love it. But what you won't love is Idi Amin, that bastard dictator of Uganda!" I just don't get it. It'd be like Britney Spears marrying....oh, never mind. That's not odd; that's just Tuesday.

In fact, here's the contents of an email I received to remind me that the dictator list is out (Finally! Quick! Somebody check the pool! Who had Kim Jung Il? Oh, crap! Dan in Accounting...again?!). It consisted of the dictator list, "Win a Trip to NYC", "Your Oscar Survey Results"; "Was Dolly Parton Forced to Postpone Her Tour?"; "Enter Now To Win Tickets to Broadway's A Little Mermaid"; "Food on Parade!" and "Snapshot of the Day" featuring a picture of a very green frog! I just don't get it.

Since we can't run 'em over, let's run through a few of these bastards, shall we? You know, just for kicks.

Isayas AfewerkiRounding out the list at Number 10 is Isayas Afewerki, the dictator of Eritrea (I've never heard of it. They could have made it up. I'm just sayin'.) Apparently, the U.S. has given aid and food the Eritrean. What did we get in return? Well, we got kicked out in 2005. But that didn't stop the US. Oh, no. We still export a lot of our sorghum there. That's right. Our sorghum. We have sorghum coming out of our ears and it's gotta go somewhere. So it goes to Eritrea. Probably by Fed Ex.


Number Eight goes to Pervez Musharraf of Pakistan. Solely based on this picture, I'm fairly convinced he is somehow related to Steve Jobs.

Popping in at Number Six is Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe. Also known (to me) as Robert MugabeDictator Bob. Last year, Zimbabwe had an inflation rate of 8000%. Yes. Eight THOUSAND percent. And the unemployment rate was 80%. Yes. EIGHTY percent. And even with that track record, the guy is still seeking a 6th term. There isn't any opposition yet, but that might be due to the fact that the police arrested and beat 50 opposition leaders last March. Despite all of this, the US imports ferrochromium and nickel (both used to make stainless steel), from Zimbabwe because, despite the beatings, we like things shiny.

Omar Al Bashir Number Two is filled by Omar Al Bashir of Sudan. Sudan is where Darfur is. Darfur is where the killing is. Now, Bashir did have a guy investigate the "human-rights situation" in Darfur (aka, the killing). Turns out though that the guy has been suspected of war crimes. Nice. And while the US doesn't condone the killing and Clinton did issue trade sanctions in 1997, we still import more than 4,000 tons of gum arabic for soft drinks, candy, shoe polish and stamps. Huh. Diverse.

Kim Jong Il

And at Number One, we have Kim Jung the Second Il of North Korea. He's been in power since 1994. His hair was in power long before that. The North Korean citizens have no access to information other than government propaganda, which means they are sadly without this blog and they have no idea Gary Coleman has not boned his wife. (Hmm. Apparently even an oppressive dictatorship has a bright side.) Also, in North Korea, up to three generations of one family can be punished for one family members crime. WHAT?!!? So if Jethro steals something, he, Jed AND Granny are all going up the river?! There's no need for that, is there? Kim?

But did ya catch the trend? Despite the bass-ackwards ways these guys rule their countries and oppress and/or kill those who live in them, the US continues to do business with them for our shiny countertops and our bubbly soft drinks. Is it any wonder that there's a Top Ten list every year? No there isn't. The only wonder is that it's in PARADE "magazine".

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