Archive for the 'politics' Category

Obamas keep WH chef

January 11, 2009

Despite the pleas of locavore foodies, the Obamas decided to keep the Bushes’ executive White House chef, Cristeta Comerford, who is also a prominent Filipino-American. Who said that Ms. Comerford was a prominent Filipino-American? Why, George W. Bush. While answering questions in the Oval Office with President Gloria Arroyo of the Philippines, Bush said

Madam President, it is a pleasure to welcome you back to the Oval Office. We have just had a very constructive dialogue. First, I want to tell you how proud I am to be the President of a nation that — in which there’s a lot of Philippine-Americans. They love America and they love their heritage. And I reminded the President that I am reminded of the great talent of the — of our Philippine-Americans when I eat dinner at the White House.


Who are the Southern GOP senators really working for?

December 19, 2008

There’s been a lot of speculation about the Southern senators who told the Rustbelt to go fuck themselves
(or, let the bastards freeze in the dark a la the 1970s) as regards to the auto bailout. It’s assumed that they are on the take from Japanese, Korean and German auto companies so they can blow away their US competition and rein supreme in America, with jobs for Southerners and a busted UAW for the Republican ideologues. Maybe it’s more complicated and conspiratorial than that.

Going by news reports of the past week,  Toyota and other foreign automakers would face disaster themselves if one or more of the Big Three were to fail. Has to do with their parts suppliers failing as well, not to mention the economy of  their biggest market (i.e. the USA) going into the tank. The Japanese did not lobby for the end of the UAW and the Big Three. So who did? Who is GOP really working for?

According to this, maybe the GOP is working for the Indians and the Chinese. Tata Motors and say the Chinese firm Geely would be in position to buy American “distressed assets” (that is, GM, Ford and Chrysler plants and dealerships). This could give them the advantage in taking out the Japanese, Germans, and Koreans. And their jobs of course would mostly be in the Rustbelt. (maybe something to do with the Jindal dude in Louisiana being the future of the party??)

Or, as is more likely the case in the absence of any concete evidence, the Southern senators just don’t know what they are trying to set into motion.

Bellum omnium contra omnes

December 19, 2008

Latin phrase of the day, which means roughly in English, “the war of all against all.” Hobbes imagined a premodern state of mankind, before we agreed to live in states and such and respect authority. Yep, Leviathan. Life is “short, nasty, poor and brutish.” Or is it “nasty, short and brutish.” It has been posited that perhaps that authority can lead to this condition.

Obama wins the Presidency

December 16, 2008

Yesterday, the Electoral College met in the various US state capitals and elected Barack Obama the 44th President of the United States.

US Presidential election actually being held today

December 15, 2008

The Electoral College today is voting for POTUS.  Today is the actual election. The past November 4‘s activities decided who the representatives, or electors, of the Electoral College were to be. Electors, by individual state laws, are generally obligated to vote for whomever their states voted for in the popular vote.

New multi-million Zimbabwean dollar bills

December 12, 2008

The art has changed on the bills. Some rock formation (Great Zimbabwe ruins?) is now on the 100 million dollar bill. Today, another 500 million dollar bill was introduced, as well as a 200 million dollar bill. According to the linked article, that 50o million dollars is worth about $2.50 US. Inflation was last pegged at 231 million percent, but now it’s off the scale.

Meanwhile hundreds die from cholera. Mugabe says one day that there’s no cholera in his country, then says that it was planted by the nasty British to try to soften up Zimbabwe for a joint US-British attack (not Israel too, why not??) First things first, we have to pull out of Iraq, win in Afghanistan, then Iran, then Venezuela, then after all that, then Zimbabwe.

Now if Mugabe needs to prepare for war with the UK and the US, he’ll have maybe 10 years to prepare given the priorities I outlines. Till then, he has to mobilize his army. He’ll need weapons, small arms to start with. He can go to Somalia and pick up all the Kalashinkovs he’ll need for around $150 US apiece. That would be, at the going rate of 50 cents US per $100 million Zimbabwean, $30,000,000,000 Zimbabwean per rifle. If there are any survivors left after HIV and cholera in 10 years, that is.

USA National parks are dangerous

December 5, 2008

The US government will allow individuals licensed to carry concealed weapons, if local regulations allow, to carry concealed handguns into national parks and wildlife refuges. According to the Bush Administration and the National Rifle Association, families need to be able to protect themselves while on vacation. From what? Eric Rudolph types  I suppose could be hiding out near the picnic areas. There have been a few bear attacks over the years in the Great Smokies and other places. Hikers on the Appalachian Trail, especially single females, can probably pack heat now at least in the Southern states. Now, if hunters could stick a rifle or shotgun in their shorts…

Canadians confused as to the nature of their government

December 4, 2008

No doubt this comes from being too close to the USA. Canada has a parliamentary democracy, not the mishmash that exists in the US between the branches of government, the judiciary, executive, legislative, and the putative fourth branch of Dick Cheney. However Canadians apparently believe that their Prime Minister is like a US President:

Q. A lot of Canadians just don’t get this. They think whoever wins an election gets to govern, period, until there’s another election.

A. That’s the core of the problem. Formally speaking, we elect a Parliament not a prime minister. That’s what Stéphane Dion is trying to impress upon people: we elect a Parliament and we need to let Parliament find its stable governance. But people commonly don’t think that way. We have debates among the party leaders just like the Americans have debates between the candidates for president. People don’t think they are electing a parliament; they think they are electing a prime minister to lead the government.

Q. So our parliamentary traditions clash with public perceptions.

A. Our formal parliamentary system has bumped up against what goes on in popular discourse. People think we elected Harper, but we elected a whole bunch of MPs.

Oh! Canada is fucked up too

December 3, 2008

Like 99.99% of my fellow Americans United Statesians, I pay little attention to political happenings in Canada (that’s the nation state to the immediate north of the USA). I noted a few months ago that Canada was electing the Conservative party by a plurality, its leader Stephen Harper a strong supporter of Bush’s War in Iraq while the USA, who is actually fighting Bush’s War, was electing a President who was a strong(?) opponent of said war. LIke a famous Canadian singer said in the 90s, isn’t it ironic, don’t you think?? 

Well, Harper and his minority government is in deep shit. Harper, only months after one election, faces being booted out of power due to a certain upcoming no confidence vote in Parliament. It would seem impossible, but all of the opposition parties have gotten together (three, three of them count ’em) ranging from Quebec separatists to I don’t know, new agers?, to potentially create a majority coalition government. What did Harper do in some 60 days to cause this? Trying to shut down the opposition by cutting off their state funding was a start. 

Who would head this unwieldy coalition? Looks like it would be a guy who speaks English with a very heavy accent who happens to share a name with another famous Canadian singer

So Harper does whadda desperate conservative pol’s gotta do. He’s appealing to Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain to bail his ass out. Actually, the Queen’s representative in Canada the Governor-General. See, Canada is not a republic. It’s a constitution monarchy that still actually recognizes the head of state, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom (also holds the title of Queen of Canada) as its own head of state. Yep, Canada is still part of the British Empire.

The Governor-General’s job is to act fully as the Crown’s representative in Canada, including the duty to open and close Canada’s parliament. Here’s more. The Governor-General is also Commander-in-Chief of Canada’s armed forces. The right to close Parliament is the operative right. Harper has asked the Governor-General to suspend (one of his operatives calls it a “time-out”) Parliament so can’t boot him out of office. Usually, Her Majesty and representatives stay out of political affairs as much as possible and stay above the fray. Good move, look at what happened to Nepal’s monarch when he overstepped himself. One must say that this request by Harper is really, really odd.

There is no precedent whatsoever in Canada and probably in the Commonwealth,” Constitutional scholar and Queen’s University political scientist Ned Franks said. “We are in uncharted territory.”

Oh!, and the Conservatives are running ads saying that the opposition doesn’t have a right to take over the government just because it would be the majority in Parliament. 

Will the Governor-General exercise her power and do as Harper wants? Does this make her a pawn of the Conservatives? Would no doubt in my mind spur an effort for Canadian independence from the UK. Does she have to consult with Queen Elizabeth? It this call really up to Buckingham Palace? Stay tuned.

Update: The deed is done.

Hard to imagine in Iceland

November 10, 2008

Having visited Iceland, this is hard to imagine, but there it is. Protesters are surrounding the parliament building in Reykjavik, normally a very tranquil place as I recall. People throwing things? I guess when things have pretty much completely collapsed and all your savings are gone, people do desperate things.