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FIFA and the Olympics

oh, and the arrests!!!

This is Dark Cloud on Wednesday, May 27, 2015.

The term Euro-Trash has a short yet deep history. It initially referenced former royalty or lesser nobility from Russia and nations that had cast out these often worthless people. These expats whined about their loss of divine rights and prestige while not paying bills. Initially epitomized by the Romanov remnants, they were surpassed by Edward VIII of England when he abdicated to marry his love, an American twice divorced. Subsequently, he besmirched the title of uninformed twit while his wife gave gold digging and social climbing bad names, flirting with Hitler and crew and becoming less than a joke but more than a feces stain as they lived on. In his memoirs, his life's high point was the invention of the Windsor knot to fatten fine silk ties at the throat. Again: the high point.

They were eventually joined by former children of industrial giants who had too much money, too little education, and not enough brains to know what to do with either. While not nobility, they gave themselves titles and set up foundations and spent their lives which, in contrast, make Paris Hilton and the Khardasians resemble the Cecils in England and the Bush, Adams, or Kennedy family here in America. But they had famous names and cash and a burning desire to be important. A lot of them ended up running the Olympics and the ruling international soccer league, known as FIFA in the acronym.

Now, the United States has institutionally legalized, in its two major professional sports leagues, a lot of bad, bad stuff. Major League Baseball, to protect the investment of owners back after the 1919 Black Sox scandal, was granted by Congress a new status of National Pastime, not quite a business, not quite a charity. As such, to this day baseball has a sorta sacred, sorta silly status that no Congress or politician wants to take on, since the public even as it loses interest in the 19th century game, associates it with the Flag, Mother, and All that Is Good, Pete Rose and the recent history of steroids notwithstanding.

The NFL is a Not for Profit corporation (like cancer research or a church) that pays its CEO forty million a year, is an incredible cash cow that pleads poverty whenever it wants to move to get a new, bigger, more ostentatious stadium at taxpayer expense. Still, the NFL demands charity work of its very well paid athletes and fears its fragile popularity, which is at least as variable as the punishments it hands out for the bullying intimidation technique of the New England Patriots compared to the bullying intimidation techniques of various players who beat the crap out of their women and or children, gamble away fortunes, and behave like the drunken louts they often are off field. The NFL does try to hold all competing forces together, and as long as the solutions make the forces more or cost them less, peace reigns.

But the Olympics and FIFA, which holds the competition resulting in the World Cup, are much worse. They're such extortionate thugs. They together or individually bankrupted Greece in 2004 and are in the process of tearing Brazil apart as I speak. The World Cup was held in Brazil last year and has left it pockmarked with huge - sometimes beautiful, sometimes hideous - large stadiums from inner Amazonian county seats to cities with the biggest slums in the world that, while colorful, are deadly violent. Now, they prep for the Olympics despite sewage all over their famous beaches, and a communications system and electric grid that makes villages in the Hindu Kush seem as sophisticated as New York.Why do the Olympics and FIFA head for nations that cannot afford them? Bribery and national leaders trying for status. FIFA recently granted Qatar the rights to the World Cup despite having insufficient facilities to allow soccer games in 120 degree heat to be played. That isn't hyperbole. But Qatar has cash aplenty, and it's now rumbling in the pockets of FIFA's disgusting executives.

But this week Switzerland and our Justice Department have accumulated enough evidence to arrest members of this near Mafia around the planet, and are now doing so. A great step. John Oliver nailed it on a recent program, I'll leave the url on the transcript.

It will be a much better day when the Olympic hierarchy is held accountable, but nothing will replace individual nations shaping up and tending their citizens, not just their own corrupt continental trash.