Archive for the ‘Vice-presidential debate’ Category

I know what you’re thinking – Obama hasn’t even taken office yet – how is it possible to judge whether voters chose the right president already. Well let’s take a quick look at events from the last few days:

– President-Elect Obama has gathered some of the top economic minds in the country to come up with ideas as to how to stimulate the country out of recession. He has received messages from Chavez, Ahmedinejad and the leader of Hamas, indicating that they are willing to talk.

– The Republicans have continued name-calling, only now they’re insulting each other, with McCain aides calling Palin a “diva” and Palin responding by calling them “jerks”

So I may be proven wrong yet but it certainly looks like yes, America made the right choice


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Welcome back, USA, to your rightful position as inspiration to the rest of the world. You have restored our faith in you and your ideals, quite simply by moving back towards them. Because when most people in the rest of the world question the USA, it’s not because we are questioning the ideals, but rather whether America’s actions are consistent with these ideals. And on Tuesday, you took a giant leap towards these ideals.

I didn’t post yesterday because I had to stay up until 4am UK time to watch the moment in history and thus got only five hours sleep. I have been lucky in my shortish stay on this earth to witness a few great moments in history – the fall of the Berlin Wall, the release of Nelson Mandela and the end of apartheid, the end of Northern Ireland’s Troubles – and that moment was right up there with them. It brought tears to the eyes of both my wife Meri and me. And it wasn’t just us – the entire presenting team of ITV News choked up at some point (except for poor Bill Neely, stuck in the McCain party and looking freaked out by their refusal to relay Obama victories to the crowd). John Irvine at Grant Park could hardly contain himself – He looked like he had been drinking with some college students and was ready to surf across the crowd.

And of course everybody over there was emotional with good reason. It was amazing to watch Jesse Jackson (who had been so critical of Obama previously) overcome by the enormity of what was happening. On Tuesday the American People made a massive choice. You chose hope over fear, unity over division, excellence over mediocrity, positivity over negativity. This truly was the people’s election and restored the faith of people around the world in American Democracy, giving us all hope that things will work out in the future and for that I thank you.

1. Obama has excelled at everything he’s done – from modest beginnings to Harvard to the brink of the US Presidency.

2. He’s already shown himself to be calm in the face of a crisis already.

3. From the three million donors, to the tens of thousands of volunteers, this has truly been a people’s campaign.

4. With a couple of minor exceptions, Obama has been unflappable throughout the campaign in the face of numerous smears and has not responded in kind (even though some of us really wanted to see him do so at times). He has shown that it is possible to run a classy campaign and still be in a position to win.

5. As regards his lack of experience, this is only because he has learned faster than anybody could imagine and has moved up really quickly – he is ready for the White House

6. Obama is a true winner, starting out his campaign as an underdog with little money and backing and taking on two formidable political machines by inspiring people and running an amazing campaign.

7. In Joe Biden, Obama has an able deputy who will help him govern successfully, as he showed in the Vice-Presidential debate, when he skilfully defeated Sarah Palin, removing the possibility of a significant “Palin Did Better Than Expected” bounce.

8. The American people have, to a great extent, moved ahead of their politicians in their views of the issues of the 21st century – global warming, defeating terrorism, race, economic stability. In Barack Obama, they have a politician who has caught up with them.

9. His economic plan shows that he understands that the middle class is the engine of the economy and is the best chance we have of avoiding a deep and sustained recession.

10. And of course, his presidency would be historic on so many levels…a big step towards the ideals of the founding fathers who held it “to be self-evident, that all men are created equal”

PS Given the sad news of today regarding the loss of Obama’s grandmother, I would like to add my voice to the chorus of condolences being expressed all over the net – my thoughts are with him at this tragic and difficult time

Three quick reasons why Obama supporters in North Dakota should go all out for victory in their state tomorrow:

1. In a McCain comeback scenario, your three electoral college votes might allow Obama to hold on for victory.

2. In an Obama landslide scenario, North Dakota may have the honour of being the state that pushes him over the line.

3. Most importantly, you’re my predicted surprise for the night and I want to be proven right! Back in early October, I noticed on http://www.pollster.com that there had been no post-convention, post-Palin polls from your state (as well as Montana and South Dakota) and commented that the state of play in the area may be closer than shown (all three states were “safe McCain” at the time). Sure enough a few days later a poll came out for North Dakota showing a statistical tie and has been followed by several similar polls. Montana and South Dakota also showed tightening races but not quite ties. North Dakota is up for grabs.

So come on, ND Obamaniacs, let’s Get Out The Vote!

If you’re still undecided, firstly make up your freakin’ mind!!! There’s less than forty-eight hours left!!! After 20 months, countless debates, numerous interviews and millions of ads, what more needs to be said?? Anyway, hopefully this list, compiled with my wife Meri (http://merihayden.wordpress.com) will swing it for you – if it doesn’t nothing will.  

1. Obama’s awesome jumpshot

2. Joe Biden has the whitest teeth on the planet

3. Neither one is Sarah Palin

4. Obama would never mix up a French-Canadian radio host with Nicolas Sarkozy

5. Obama looks like a GQ model (settle down Meri! – Sam)

6. Wardrobe budget will be considerably less

7. Between Obama’s booming voice and Biden’s intense eyes, they’ll scare the crap out of Bin Laden

8. Frees up Palin and McCain to pursue their own successful careers in TV and radio sketch shows

9. Keynesian plans to grow the economy from the bottom up (lighten up Sam!-Meri)

10. It’ll be a complete lurvefest

So the Fed, in its eternal wisdom, is dutifully following Monetarist orthodoxy by cutting interest rates by half a percentage point. So what is the rate at now? 1%!!!!! Has nobody in the government realised that this is not working???!!!! Do they seriously believe that they are not, as Keynes put it, pushing on a piece of string???!!! Confidence is in the toilet, there’s nowhere else to go with interest rate cuts, it’s becoming an exercise in futile grandstanding for the business media. Nobody is spending. And John McCain wants to freeze government spending, the only way the government can guarantee that money gets spent to stimulate the economy!!!

Now the stock market went up yesterday in anticipation of this cut, but then the stock market went up in anticipation of the bailout that was demanded from the banks and when it was confirmed, the market proceeded to plummet. So how long will this bounce last, before stocks drop again? Seriously, I’m beginning to wonder whether all the decisions on Wall Street, the City of London and other financial centres are being fuelled by traders’ well-documented consumption of cocaine! Because there seems to be absolutely no reason at all involved. Should we start testing all market traders for drugs on a weekly basis and banning those who fail it?

In the light of all this, it is economically irresponsible for John McCain, Sarah Palin and the rest of the Republican Party to equate the modest taxation and spending plans of Barack Obama with socialism in an effort to scare people into giving them four more years of cronyism. In fact, it’s so irresponsible it’s practically Anti-American.

Again, I know I’m a little late into the discussion. I was just wondering what Joe the (unlicensed) Plumber would prefer: to pay 39% tax on his marginal income over $250,000 (note:NOT his total income) instead of 36% (assuming he does actually in the end earn that much profit after wages and other expenses), or to pay a pittance in tax under John McCain because he makes no profit as the economy is in the tank?

Look folks, all Western countries (even the US) made the collective decision throughout the twentieth century that there were certain services that were too vital to be left at the mercy of the vagaries of the marketplace. For both Europe and the US these included Fire, Police, Education, Infrastructure. Europe and Canada added Universal Healthcare to that while the US has thus far shied away from it. The US has decided to have a larger and more expensive military than European countries. Decisions were made to provide varying levels of welfare to those who weren’t gainfully employed for whatever reason. Thus taxes had to be collected to pay for these services to be available for the good of all citizens, rich and poor.

Decisions then had to be made as to how to share the cost burden of these services and again all Western countries made the decision that those with more money to spare should pay proportionally more than those earning less, mainly because they could afford it but also because to do otherwise would compromise the ability of those in lower paid jobs to earn a living wage for a fair day’s work.

Over the years, different countries have tweaked these variables to various extents and with varying levels of success. However the general principles of a progressive taxation system to pay for essential services has remained in place for decades, that is until it came under attack from neocons seeking a redistribution of wealth to the haves with the promise that it would trickle down. And with the election of George W Bush, they got to implement these policies leading to the economic crisis of today. So a modest rollback of the taxcuts received by the richest 5% to pay for tax cuts to the middle-class is not a Marxist wealth redistribution programme. (especially as the wealthy didn’t get this extra income through extra work, but rather through political manoeuvring) – it is a sensible return to the principles of a mixed market economy that served the Western World so well in creating and distributing prosperity reasonably well through the 20th century.

So please do not get scared by tags like “socialism” into making decisions that are not in your financial interest and that are to the detriment of the global economy.