Tuesday, 28 October 2008

One week until Obama hopefully wins...

Around a week from now, results from the election of America's next commander-in-chief will be coming in, election day being 4 November. At the moment, Obama has a decent lead over McCain (roughly a 7 percentage point spread) in the polls, but the election should be close. Take a look at a nationwide electoral projection map here.

Wednesday, 22 October 2008

How a 'plumber' named 'Joe' shook up the election

His first name isn't actually Joe. He isn't a valid plumber. And he still has back-taxes to pay.

And yet, he has become the recent hero of the McCain campaign (frighteningly backwards economic plan and all) since his name came up in last weeks debate. Not only that, he has helped bolster his ratings in major swing states like Ohio. The media is all over him, even though he's effectively a non-story.
Joe the plumber: one of the most appalling political ploys of this election season (up there with the Obama-Ayers connection).

If there's one thing Americans can't stand, it's taxes. Americans have some of the lowest income taxes in the developed world, and yet, even when we've got a burgeoning deficit and a war to pay for, the thought of raising taxes if only for a few is painful, and, for some, unpatriotic. Because it's unpatriotic to give a slice of your — to be fair — well-earned income to your government.

Heaven forbid the developed country with the greatest income inequality — that's America, folks — tries to bridge the gap with a more fair, graduated tax system that doesn't benefit the wealthy, using the bogus 'trickle-down' claim as an excuse for unfair taxes.

So let's all feel sympathy for a man in the top 4% income bracket ($250,000 per year) who will feel a slight pinch in taxes, in fact, since were fighting one of the most expensive wars in modern history and facing a massive recession, lets give him a tax BREAK. That makes economic sense. Not like he hasn't already gotten a massive one under the Bush administration.

The news media deserves some blame too. Although there has been some skepticism, the outrageous amount of coverage is unwarranted and largely spreads the propaganda the McCain campaign itself is sending out into the mainstream.

Oh, and, for the record Obama was correct in his statement about small business taxes that started this mess. As 'Joe' plans to campaign across America with McCain, warning the masses about the 'socialist' radicalism a fairer tax system would bring more and more ACTUAL "average Joes" are feeling the pinch of the current economic crisis. If only people like Samuel Joseph Wurzelbacher and Sarah Palin could be less greedy and actually give a damn about their own country's economic health instead of accusing their fellow Americans of being unpatriotic.

If American politics has been reduced to feeling sympathy for a man — an invention of the McCain campaign — who has already received more tax breaks than is healthy for this country's economy, then this really isn't the America I want to live in.

Sunday, 5 October 2008

Going door-to-door for Obama

I canvassed for the first time today. Though it was just a few hours of my day, canvassing gave me a sense of fulfillment. When I got back home and looked at the polls, there was good news. Obama's pushing on as strong as ever now that the nation can fully see Palin for who she is. Hopefully Obama can maintain this lead when election day comes, and we can finally have a competent person in the Oval Office. And, for what it's worth, I plan on canvassing more next weekend and making calls during the week.

If you're looking to volunteer for the Obama/Biden campaign, get involved in more ways than one by checking out the campaign website.

Meanwhile, I must get back to these college applications.

A look back on China and the Olympics

August was China's great coming-out party
As summer ended, China was put in the global limelight. It had been chosen to host the 2008 Summer Olympics years ago, but this was it's time to shine. Expectations were built up; some dashed (political), some realized (Olympic).

Here are three political thoughts on the PRC that I jotted down as I enjoyed the splendor of the Olympic games:
The future
Perhaps even in 30 years China may drift away from one-party rule. China's economic change is moving at a rapid rate, prompting political change (moving much more slowly). China has been opening up over the past few decades, and one imagines this process will accelerate. On the flip side I cannot see the full transition to a multiparty state happening in less than 25 years.

Since when were the opinions of people protesting for basic freedom irrelevant? The Tiananmen Square massacre gave us a chance to observe the total wrath of the Communist Party in China. Since when were the rights of any person outside of the central party in China respected? In a nation where tens of thousands are employed to control what information one can access on the Internet, freedom is obviously something in short supply.

Actions abroad
The Chinese government brought the criticism it has received lately for its foreign policy upon itself. In subverting the rights of its people, causing cultural genocide in Tibet and other areas, degrading the environment to a remarkable extent, and supporting genocidal regimes such as the one in Sudan, and propping up the Burmese junta, the PRC presents itself as one of the most negative actors in the world.

"Palin is the world’s worst sestina"

I'd like to refer readers to some poetic fun from The New York Times' book blog.

So what verse form suits the various candidates best? David Orr, author of the Book Review’s “On Poetry” column, offered this analysis: “Barack Obama is pretty clearly a haiku — quiet, unassuming, easy to underestimate. McCain is probably some species of ballad, especially considering his military background and fondness for ‘Invictus.’ Biden just keeps talking and talking, so he’s a rhopalic poem (each line is one syllable longer than the preceding line). Palin is the world’s worst sestina.”

Orr gamely attempted an anti-Biden haiku (“Barack Obama/ Such an articulate guy./ Clean, too, am I right?”), but his heart just wasn’t in it. “I think Palin is just inherently funnier than Biden,” he said, before letting it rip with this rather artful three-liner:

So jobs, they … you know,
Health care’s really …. it’s — Katie,
That bridge? I said no.

Thursday, 2 October 2008

How much longer can the US remain a superpower?

Article worth taking a lot at. Takes into account the opinion of many international relations heavyweights.

American international prestige and internal prosperity has been severely damaged by these past roughly eight years of George Bush as president. This upcoming election is huge. There'll be posts covering the presidential and vice-presidential debates as well as the current financial situation soon.