Tag Archives: US politics

Ostensibly, a president

So, it looks like Obama indeed won the presidency, much to the world’s delight or fright, depending on your political views.

As posted earlier, I only slightly followed the elections. At ‘Election Night’, I turned off the TV the moment I saw that Obama was ahead in battleground state Ohio. It generally looks like that at the end, Nate Silver’s prediction (“Obama wins without any doubt”) was right on the money. If you believe the press, the election result came as a surprise for a many Republicans and even the Romneys. I think the problem was that Republicans were not looking at the numbers and the facts, which is highlighted in that now famous Rove/Fox News video where Fox News called the presidency for Obama and Rove (apparently) was in self-denial.

Did the best candidate win? It all depends on your definition of ‘best’. I’m certain that in the coming years, Obama will become a target for everything between right and left. In the mean time, it’s going to be an interesting 4 years: To win the next presidency, the Republicans have to move to the center. If they can’t appeal beyond their current election base, they’ll be toast for years to come. On the other side of the spectrum: At the end of the Obama’s presidency, the Democrats will have to figure out if Obama has become ‘persona non-grata’ or if they’d need his help.

Sandy

Earlier, I was under the impression that this year’s hurricane season would end up fairly, unremarkable. Luckily, I’m far from being a meteorologist: Just last week, Oct 29th, hurricane Sandy made landfall in NJ, USA, causing major outages and damage in New Jersey, New York and other areas on the Eastern US coast. Portions of Canada (mostly Ontario and Quebec) were on heavy rain and wind alerts: Over in SJ, the only thing we saw was high winds and plenty of rain.

As it stands right now, there are still millions of Americans without power, which is what 3 days or so before the US presidential elections? That’s right: the ultimate elections in the world is about to come to its climax. Will it be Romney or will Obama cling to his job?

If you believe the media, this seems to be a tight race: if you believe Nate Silver (of FiveThirtyEight fame), Obama has nothing to fear. As it stands Silver predicts that Obama will have 305 electoral votes and Romney 232.

I have no high opinion of “the politician” Romney: New York mayor Bloomberg (an independent) said it perfectly last week when he endorsed Obama:

In the past he (ed. Mitt Romney) has also taken sensible positions on immigration, illegal guns, abortion rights and health care. But he has reversed course on all of them, and is even running against the health-care model he signed into law in Massachusetts.

This is also what Mitt Romney’s opponents pointed out in the Republican primaries and generally the impression is that Romney will say anything for votes. Worst yet, I think I’ve pointed out at one stage that when Romney does speeches, it always appears he rants about anything unsubstantial.

If Romney will be elected, it’s going to be fun times for the writers of Jon Stewart’s The Daily Show.

Triple A

You have probably read about the downgrading of the US credit rating by S&P late (last) Friday night (news). The SF Gate duly notes that:

Standard & Poor’s historic downgrade of the U.S. credit rating caused the capital to erupt Saturday in the exact partisan clashes that S&P had said led to its decision in the first place.

China, yesterday, lashed out at the US’s ‘addiction to debt’ (via The Telegraph):

The US government has to come to terms with the painful fact that the good old days when it could just borrow its way out of messes of its own making are finally gone

Surprisingly, as the world’s largest producer of goods, China’s own credit rating is ‘A+’ (per 2008), which is lower than the US’s (a quick view PDF).

While some of the media predict that the markets are going down crashing this Monday, Internet experts and commentators are mixed about the actual meaning of this downgrade. At Metafilter (discussion) the general consensus is that this is a plain and simple politics game by the S&P with the goal of shirking responsibility for the mortgage crisis 3 years or so ago. Interesting point of view: however, there’s no doubt that Republicans are trying to tie this rating to the Obama presidency (via Reddit), which brings this posting a bit full circle as the Republicans deserve as much blame on the US’s debt issues. The Bush tax cuts for the rich (2 trillion). Two wars financed on what exactly (1 trillion). The mortgage crash and the super bailouts that happened before Obama’s presidency started.

In politics, the golden rule is to stick the negative news to the incumbents: in that light, 2012 is going to be an interesting election year for the US.

Updates: Reddit discussion about the mainstream media (supposedly) ignoring that S&P is blaming the Republicans for the downgrade.

Boardwalk

Over a week ago, Norway was rocked by twin terror attacks that killed 77 people, most of them youngster attending a Labour Youth Summer camp on an island called Utoya. The BBC has an excellent recap of the events that happened (timeline, photos of victims, in Norsk) that day. A day after the events, the world found out that the suspect was a Christian Norwegian who got his inspiration from the typical right-wing commentators that occupy this very Internet. Obviously, regardless of you religious conviction, an act of terror is still called terrorism.

Yesterday, Obama announced that a debt-deal was made between the two parties (Democrats and Republican): the deal will now be sent back to both Congresses (link to BBC). The deal was a result of (an apparent) 2 weeks hard negotiating between the two parties and president: generally, it looks like the Democrats lost again (Krugman NYT). Obama seems to be the center of the blame, but not jumping into this crisis last year. However, I believe all this cajoling started when the Democrats lost the House of Representatives last year. Obama ultimately deserves blame for not actively engaging himself in the midterm elections of 2010. I don’t think Obama’s presidency is the worst presidency in the world (as others have claimed): however, this appears to be a White House that is running after the facts.

Remember that there’s a civil war ongoing in Libya and that NATO is helping the rebels by bombing, uh, targets? That was how long ago? Seven or so months ago? Well, it looks like the war’s not going well for the rebels (UK’s Independent reports) as it looks like they have been conceding more ground than expected and that Khadafi is not going to be away for a long long time. This smells like an ugly quagmire.

Aug 6th, 2011: WSJ’s 2010 article sounds preposterous, claiming that the Democrat’s loss of Congress may have been an intentional move of Obama (link)

The reds, whites and blues

I slightly follow US politics now: even after a historic change of presidency, my general impression is that it’s just politics as usual and that is not really of interest. The other day, I noticed that Fox News is spearheading ‘the warnings on the wall’ shows, where the usual pundits warn of an impending US collapse (or apocalypse) because of the the ‘socialist’ tendencies of the Obama administration. Too much static. Too much noise. I predict that in a couple of years the differences between a Bush and Obama administration will be hardly noticable.

We were hit by a snowstorm last (was that Thursday) which added another 10 or 15 cms snow to the pile in the yard. There’s another storm forecasted for Sunday night, Monday morning and I bet, it will probably arrive on schedule with more of that white stuff. Where am I supposed to keep this snow now?

On the good side, there are signs that Spring is slowly turning the corner: the weather has been moderately cold at night (between -11 and -15) and is slowly becoming bearable during the day, almost sub-tropic when temperatures hit the magical 0 degrees mark.

Update 1: The official warning says 25-35 cms.

Update 2: A CBC report about the snowstorm, today (02/23/09)