Posts Tagged ‘US politics’

What freedom of speech gets you

“There are right-wing billionaires with near-limitless appetite for political spending and virtually no rules left to constrain them.”

That is David Roberts commenting on opposition within the US to cap-and-trade based solutions to global climate change. His and Theda Skocpol’s depressing analysis on what went wrong with the cap-and-trade initiate in the US (not just on this single point) sounds highly plausible, although I am too far from the site of battle to have much of an insight myself.

But I do have a hypothesis on the billionaires. I’d wager that, to a man, they believe they acquired their wealth as a consequence of their own brilliance, while very few, if any, give more than a moment’s consideration that, maybe, they also might have gotten just a teeny bit lucky, being in the right place at the right time etc. So, consumed with their own arrogance, they feel it is their (god-given?) duty to shove their extreme views down the rest of our throats. All for our own good, of course.

Hat tip: Alex Evans of Global Dashboard

Bottom Up Thinking would vote for …

I’m not American, and I certainly don’t think anyone’s vote would be swayed by an ‘endorsement’ from this blog. But just suppose one or both cases were otherwise, I would vote for … both Obama and Romney!

Yes you read that right: both. This isn’t fence sitting: I want both as president. I want Barrack Obama to be the president he clearly wants to be, not the president he’s ended up having to be. I also want Mitt Romney to be president, even though I disagree with him on just about everything, and particularly that bit about not worrying about the seas rising.

I don’t want them sequentially, however. That would be pretty disastrous, I imagine. No, if I had a vote, I would vote for schism.

International politics, and climate change negotiations in particular, are currently held hostage by an America that seems incapable of deciding what it wants. All sorts of treaties negotiated by American presidents in good faith languish unendorsed by the most powerful country in the world because Congress is deadlocked.

So I vote for USA to split: Obama can be president of the northern/coastal ‘Union’ and Romney of the southern and central ‘Confederacy’. (Romney gets my ‘vote’ as the least bad option for the south.) Is this nuts? America seems so utterly divided I have little faith much will change whoever wins this election. The BBC is predicting that Republicans will hold the House of Representatives and Democrats the Senate (but a long, long way from a filibuster-proof majority).

I have no stats to support this, but I reckon that the Scots and the English agree on rather more than the two American camps do, and yet the Scots are seriously contemplating independence. So why not the Yanks? Even better consider the most recent example: the creation of South Sudan. Are Americans not also the victims of a colonial misadventure which drew arbitrary lines on a map regardless of  tribal and religious affiliation?

Dividing America could help knock on the head some of that divine mission to lead hubristic nonsense that emanates from time to time, and might also force head-in-the-sand Republicans to face up properly to what the rest of the world thinks. At the very least we would be able to negotiate with both sides of America, rather than the present situation in which, frankly speaking, I sometimes wonder whether we’d be better off if they didn’t show up at all, such is the inability of negotiators to actually represent their country.

Any way, I can say all this secure in the knowledge that absolutely no-one in the American political establishment is paying any attention whatsoever. To all my American readers (whom I assume are quite non-hubristic) I simply wish you a nice election day. I feel I really ought to care who wins, but am struggling to do so, even though I’ll be gutted for you all if Romney wins. Please let us know when your country has decided on who it is.

Development blogging and the US election

I don’t think there are many American politicians I would care to meet. I loved Obama’s idealism, but, just like Tony Blair, he ain’t even come close to walking the walk on environmental issues. So I’m left feeling all Fox-Mulder-ish: I want to believe but final proof is always just out of sight, and you end up reluctantly concluding it always will be. >90% of congressional representatives and 100% of Republicans would seem to belong firmly in the do-not-invite-to-dinner category. It’s deeply unsettling to find Republicans would even consider electing some of those loonies to the White House.

But you didn’t come here to read my thoughts on US politics, so why the rant? The answer is not that I suddenly found politics, but that US politics, and in particular the race for the Republican nomination for US President, has found this blog. I hadn’t realised I touched on issues of much concern to all those Americans who lack even a passport, but not so!

‘Chet’, who shall hereafter be known as ‘the bigot’, thought that my previous piece on Homosexuality and development aid, has special relevance to the election campaign by Massachusetts’s former governor, and his “homosexual agenda”. The bigot attempted to post a comment under said musings of mine, linking to a piss-poor hatchet job on the afore-mentioned governor’s campaign*, with a series of probably libellous articles all under the enlightening heading: “MR for President? Read this First!” Hmm … don’t think I need to actually read any of that to work out what you’re trying to do.

Fortunately (unfortunately for ‘Chet’) he fell foul of my comments moderation policy, which vetoes all boorish bigots. If the comment was an attempt to create a Google bomb then it failed, because a quick Google search on his key phrase did not turn up the bigot’s hatchet job web-site. So maybe my comments moderation policy is far from unique. I’ve marked it as spam just to help anyone else who may get some similar nonsense.

On the other hand, I gather that the smart money is on Obama to beat anyone other than that governor, so, if I want Obama to win (do I care?), maybe I should have accepted the comment? All in all this is why so much of American politics suck. Everywhere else in the world, most politics is about the battle for the middle ground, but in the US it too often seems to be about who’s the biggest nutter in the asylum. I’m surprised they haven’t nominated Jack Nicholson …

Here endeth the rant.

* I shall deliberately refrain from mentioning his name or linking to the hatchet job website, for fear of doing the bigot’s own search engine manipulation work for him.

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