I just saw Miley Cyrus’s thing at the VMA.
The horror. The horror.
Sorry, I just don’t care
Sen. John McCain said something or other about North Korea in Seoul yesterday. I don’t care enough about Sen. McCain to translate his comments, but if you read Korean and feel the mouse click would be worth the burnt calories, here they are in the Chosun Ilbo.
Oh yes, you did
President Park is claiming she got no help from the NIS:
President Park Geun-hye said Monday that she did not receive any support from the nation’s spy agency to attain her victory in last year’s presidential election.
She flatly snubbed claims made by the opposition parties, which question the legitimacy of her power by pursuing the issue of the spy agency meddling in the election when candidates were campaigning for office.
The main opposition Democratic Party has likened the scandal involving the National Intelligence Service (NIS) to election fraud in 1960, which eventually caused then-President Syngman Rhee to be ousted.
For what it’s worth, I don’t believe—at least not yet—that Park knew what the NIS was doing, nor do I think the NIS’s online trolling played an important role in Park’s electoral victory. That said, the NIS’s online shenanigans—and just as importantly, the way said games were handled by police—as well as the NIS’s suspected leak of politically sensitive parts of the 2007 summit transcript just prior to the 2012 election suggest that state institutions are stacking the deck against the opposition. And that’s never a good thing for democracy, my own personal opinions about the opposition (not a huge fan) and the content of said leak (confirmed everything I’d suspected about Roh) aside.
In case you needed any further evidence of the extent of the problem, check out the things prosecutors allege former NIS chief Won Sei-hoon said prior to regional and national elections. We’re talking about seriously McCarthy-esque stuff here, at one point accusing even the judiciary of being pro-North Korean. My personal favorite one was “오염된 국민의 생각을 국정원 사이버로 정화해야 한다.” Chilling stuff.
BAI chief’s resignation
Former Board of Audit and Inspection (BAI) chief Yang Kun, who resigned suddenly last week, says he stepped down due to outside pressure:
“I ended up losing sight of the meaning of my works as a head of state auditor. The resignation was my own decision though,” he said.
Yang abruptly offered to resign Friday midway through his term. A four-year term for each BAI chief is guaranteed under the Constitution, and Yang still had eighteen months of his term left.
Yang, appointed by former President Lee Myung-bak, showed a degree of dissatisfaction with the current political situation during his farewell speech.
Yang’s dissatisfaction mostly comes from what he claims are attempts to infringe on the BAI’s political neutrality and independence. Of course, this has a lot of folk wondering who did the pressuring. The Hankyoreh seems to think it could have been the pro-LMB faction of the ruling party, who accuse Yang of kissing President Park’s ass by issuing reports critical of her predecessor’s projects, especially the Four Rivers Project; or President Park herself, who wanted a change at the BAI so that she could get a tighter grip on the government. Yang apparently faced opposition from within the BAI, too.
So what’s President Park done right in her first six months?
Well, according to an Aug 24 poll by the Chosun Ilbo and Media Research, Park got the highest mark for her handling of North Korea, followed by foreign policy and welfare policy. Interestingly, her North Korean policy found particular support among older Koreans.
As for what she isn’t doing right, the most commonly cited things were “selecting personnel” (duh!) and tax issues, although with taxes, this tended to me more of a concern for younger Koreans. Older Koreans were more likely to cite welfare or the real estate market.
Speaking of submarines, I do find it interesting that Korea’s latest submarine is named after the country’s most famous anarchist and the father of its most famous gangster. It’s also interesting to note that despite the patriarch being an anarchist, his son (the gangster) and his granddaughter were conservative politicians. Go figure.
World’s fastest Internet
So, if this from all the national bandwidth saved by blocking all the porn sites?
Korea has the fastest average Internet connection in the world, a survey says. U.S. market researcher Statista on Friday said Korea has an average Internet connection speed of 14.2 Mbps.
That means it takes about 2 minutes 26 seconds to download a two-hour 2GB movie file.
Overall, Asia led the world with Japan ranking second (11.7 Mbps) and Hong Kong third (10.9 Mbps). Next came European countries like Switzerland, the Netherlands and Latvia.
A tweet by the Seoul Podcast comes to mind:
Again, we have the most advanced highways. Too bad the content is more like Tin Lizzies http://t.co/WeL6idKXLH
— KingSejong (@KingSejong) August 24, 2013