Can We Get Back Our Sense of Scale Please?


Can we please get a clue?  My futility meter is beyond pegged out–in fact it may never work again.

The U.S. announced useless sanctions against North Korea, as punishment for its alleged Sony Pictures cyber attack.  I say “alleged” because there are plenty who doubt they could.  A quote from an anonymous U.S. government official to the Washington Post:

“You should see this as part of a broader effort to raise the baseline level of cybersecurity across the country and tackle these threats head-on.”

These sanctions have about as much possibility of actually harming North Korea as the IRS has of collecting Al Sharpton’s unpaid taxes.

None of the individuals sanctioned — operating out of Russia, Iran, Syria, China and Namibia — is believed to have been directly involved in the hack into Sony, officials said. They earned their place on the new list as employees of the Pyongyang government or representatives of the ruling Workers’ Party of Korea.

North Korea is already one of the most heavily sanctioned countries in the world, and the agencies and entities targeted Friday have all been sanctioned previously. Still, analysts said the measures could inflict some new financial pain on North Korea’s already isolated military establishment.

It’s about like adding another parking ticket to the Egyptian Ambassador’s New York limousine.  What’s another $100 when you already owe $2 million?

And this is the major malfunction in America’s governance in 2015:  a total lack of awareness of scale.

Al Sharpton owes somewhere between $1.7 and $4.5 million in outstanding tax debts, depending on who you believe.  Sharpton calls them “old taxes”.

“We’re talking about old taxes,” he said, adding: “We’re not talking about anything new. So all of this, as if I’m not paying taxes while I’m doing whatever I’m doing, it reads all right, but it just is not true.”

Sharpton couldn’t find the truth with both hands, Google Maps and a wet compass.  The man deals in lies like Monty Hall picks costumed contestants from the studio audience:  fast and loose and with a handful of hundred-dollar bills.  Yet, according to the New York Times,

With the tax liability outstanding, Mr. Sharpton traveled first class and collected a sizable salary, the kind of practice by nonprofit groups that the United States Treasury’s inspector general for tax administration recently characterized as “abusive,” or “potentially criminal” if the failure to turn over or collect taxes is willful.

This is a man who visits the White House regularly, and now consults with Sony about emails that were released resulting from the hack for which North Korea is being “punished”.

In the end, nothing at all has changed.  Sony released The Interview online, and reaped $15 million, way more than it would have made in theaters.  North Korea will continue to do as it pleases, likely paying Chinese hackers to do its bidding (with the full support of the Chicoms—you don’t think North Korea does anything on the Internet without China’s explicit approval, do you?).  Al Sharpton will continue to fly first class, make millions inflaming race relations (which President Obama says are actually better than when he first took office), without being hauled off to jail or suffering any of the “terrible things” that happen to most tax scoffers.

My resolution for 2015 is the maintain a healthy sense of scale, unlike the White House and its apologists.

(crossposted on sgberman.com)