The 5 Dumbest Things on Wall Street This Week: Jan. 11
4. Bill and Eric's Excellent Adventure
Hey, Eric Schmidt, your company just won the Super Bowl of antitrust investigations. What are you going to do next?
What? You're going to North Korea?
What the heck's wrong with Disney World? Or any other place on earth where the government doesn't starve its citizens in gulags?A week following Google's (GOOG) victory over the FTC, and only a few weeks after a provocative North Korean rocket launch, the search giant's chairman ignored the State Department's admonitions and joined former New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson this week on a four-day private trip to Pyongyang. Richardson, speaking prior to the pair's flight from Beijing on Monday, assured the press that it was a humanitarian visit as opposed to "a Google trip," and that Schmidt was interested in "the social media aspect" of the country's economy. Social media, our ass. Those people need food, not Farmville! They aren't allowed out of the country, let alone onto the World Wide Web. "We'll meet with North Korean political leaders. We'll meet with North Korean economic leaders, military. We'll visit some universities. We don't control the visit," said former presidential candidate Richardson before their trip. No bull, Bill. You and Eric certainly didn't need Google to find the best restaurants in Pyongyang during your stay, did you? We're sure Kim Jong-un selected them for you. For that matter, we're confident he gave extra special treatment to your entire party of political pawns simply to stick it to the disapproving folks at Foggy Bottom. "We don't think the timing of the visit is helpful, and they are well aware of our views," State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland told reporters last week. Look, Eric, we understand you want to wire the world and promote freedom through Internet connections. We know that, deep down, you and your Google cohorts wish to "Do No Evil." Or at least that's what you tell folks when you aren't snooping on them. Unfortunately, North Korea's ruler is an autocratic nutcase who has a different point of view. There is no doubt Kim loved all the attention you foisted upon him right after his saber-rattling missile launch. And the fact that you showed up the State Department by showing up in a country where Google isn't even allowed to do business must have only made the so-called Great Leader even giddier.
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