The american administration has decided to authorize the central bank to print an extra 600billion dollars. Enough for everyone you might think – or, just about it enough to further ruin the american economy. 600billion dollars extra is effectively a devaluation of the dollar in a situation where its already in a position of historic weakness.
The chinese have already complained that the american administration is keeping the dollar artificially and deliberately weak. The reason of course being an attempt to stimulate american exports, as a weak dollar makes american products relatively cheaper to purchase abroad. Now, the dollar was already weak – and it hadnt stimulated any sort of boom in exports, or indeed meant a positive import/export relation.
what this devaluation of the dollar does mean is that ordinary people gets further down into the mud – out on american streets. Letting the money press run wild like this means inflation is inevitable and whats worse, nothing indicates it will boost the economy locally which means it inspires a situation of stagflation – inflation combined with stagnation, the deadliest cocktail of all as you cant get the wheels going by stimulating the economy due to the inflation. So, whilst more money flowing in the streets (or pumped into a wobbly bond market as it may be) may sound good, for ordinary people the likely consequence is that their paycheque buys them less whilst prices shoot up.
Basically, the printing press is good for ultra short-term gains…but its a bit like peeing your pants to keep warm. The benefits are eaten in no time by inflation. And whats worse, it further weakens the trust in american economy and the dollar, thus potentially forcing the interest rates up – which could prove disastrous in a market already shaken by the latest blow to the property market.
Who on earth came up with this as a good idea?Read more
Political campaigns in the United States are not merely a civic ritual and occasion for political debate, but a multi-billion dollar industry, dominated by professional political consultants using sophisticated campaign management tools, to an extent far greater than elsewhere in the world. Though the quadrennial presidential election attracts the most attention, the United States has a huge number of elected offices and there is wide variation between different states, counties, and municipalities on which offices are elected and under what procedures. Moreover, unlike democratic politics in much of the rest of the world, the US has relatively weak parties. While parties play a significant role in fundraising and occasionally in drafting people to run, campaigns are ultimately controlled by the individual candidates themselves.Read more
French president Sarkozy, mainly known across the world for his love of women and redwine, stepped down and disbanded his government – only to reinstate an almost exact copy of the very same and fairly unpopular government immediately. A toast to the french for pointless maneuvres!Read more
We have just passed the midway elections and the next campaign for president is about to get into gear. So, where are we at this point? Obama stormed into office on a campaign driven by euphoria and hope under the slogan “Yes We Can!”. So, could he?
Well, the results from the midterm elections certainly speak the language of disillusion and lost hopes. The democrats suffered one of their worst defeats since World War II and long gone were the millions of enthusiastic grassroots, the complete control of the media headlines and the glorification of mysterious democrat spindoctors and geniuses pulling home floodwaves of votes to the party.
So, what happened to the euphoria? Well, the answer seems to be hidden largely in the lack of action, rather than in wrongdoings or scandals. Obama came into office as a visionaire and reformer, but has largely acted as an administator. Lets take a few examples:
Guantanamo. Obama promised it would be closed down more or less as soon as he took office, but he has failed to do so. Its still there, the legal status of the camp and its prisoners of war is still a messy blur to say the least. Might be a minor issue to some, but it has important symbolic value.
Healthcare. He tried but largely failed to make a fundamental reform of the healthcare system. The intentions were there but in the end the results looked more like status quo than revolution when words were to be transformed into working political majorities and actual change.
The economy. Obama said he had a plan to create jobs, get the wheels moving, strengthen the dollar and limit the deficits. Now, the deficits are spinning out of control, the plans to create jobs seem to have withered in the wind as fancy slogans with little positive effect for people on the street. The dollar, well its not exactly at its prime and never will be until the deficits are sorted. Basically, the standard of living for ordinary people havent improved and the macro economical developments still look closer to disastrous than to worrying. So, where is the change, this is in fact a repeat of the terrible economical mess left behind by George W. Bush – Obama promising to change it for the better, but little or nothing has happened.
Foreign policy. Obama wanted a new agenda abroad, and God knows he is a more respected world leader worldwide than George W. Bush, not that the opposite would be possible. But, the bottomline still is that Obama a managing 2 wars started by the former president, he hasnt managed to bring them to any form of peaceful end, he hasnt clamped down on the lies justifying the wars, he hasnt defeated terrorism by diplomacy or reconciled america with friendly forces in the middle east, he hasnt taken anyone to justice for the warcrimes committed and the list is endless. Why would he you might ask? Well, for now – he has nothing but friendly speeches and cheering crowds in Europe to show, no results and no actual change in the state of international matters.
And so, the list of things that hasnt happened could continue but its barely necessary. The fact of the matter is that “Yes we can” seems to have meant “Yes, we can largely avoid making more of a mess than George W. Bush” or “Yes, we can administer status quo from here”. The words still flow freely and elegantly – but the real change is hard to find. Thats what demotivates the grassroots and opens the gates of opportunity for movements such as The Tea Party – and Obama has largely created The Tea Party himself or at least the foundation for their reach and strength by failing to deliver on key policy issues that could have carried his wave of euphoria onwards.Read more
Helle Thorning Schmidt – nicknamed Gucci Helle due to her taste for expensive handbags – has unseated danish primeminister Lars Løkke Rasmussen in a tightly contested election on september 15th 2011. Helle Thornings victory is historic in the sense that she will become the first ever female to become primeminister in Denmark.
Ironically, Helle Thorning actually suffered a hefty and bitter defeat in the elections losing more than 16.000 votes personally and a single seat for her party the Socialdemocrats. Further, her expected coalition partners from the socialist peoples party lost a staggering 7 seats. Luckily for the centre-left coalition bidding for the primeministers position for Helle Thorning her 2 other supporting parties – the radical left and the communist parties both made significant gains. In fact, the danish communist party lead by Johanne Smidt Nielsen managed to triple their public support to grab 8 extra seats for a total of 12. This is strongest support the communists have had in Denmark since just after the Second World War and speculations are already murmoring that the new female pm will have a rough ride ruling her coalition of liberals, socialdemocrats, oldfashioned socialists and communists.Read more
Major campaigns in the United States are often much longer than those in other democracies.
Campaigns start anywhere from several months to several years before election day. The first part of any campaign for a candidate is deciding to run. Prospective candidates will often speak with family, friends, professional associates, elected officials, community leaders, and the leaders of political parties before deciding to run. Candidates are often recruited by political parties and lobby groups interested in electing like-minded politicians. During this period, people considering running for office will consider their ability to put together the money, organization, and public image needed to get elected. Many campaigns for major office do not progress past this point as people often do not feel confident in their ability to win. However, some candidates lacking the resources needed for a competitive campaign proceed with an inexpensive paper campaign or informational campaign designed to raise public awareness and support for their positions.
Once a person decides to run, they will make a public announcement. This announcement could consist of anything from a simple press release to concerned media outlets to a major media event followed by a speaking tour. It is often well-known to many people that a candidate will run prior to an announcement being made. Campaigns will often be announced and then only officially “kicked off” months after active campaigning has begun. Being coy about whether a candidacy is planned is often a deliberate strategy by a prospective candidate, either to “test the waters” or to keep the media’s attention.
One of the most important aspects of the major American political campaign is the ability to raise large sums of money, especially early on in the race. Political insiders and donors often judge candidates based on their ability to raise money. Not raising enough money early on can lead to problems later as donors are not willing to give funds to candidates they perceive to be losing, a perception based on their poor fundraising performance.
Also during this period, candidates travel around the area they are running in and meet with voters; speaking to them in large crowds, small groups, or even one-on-one. This allows voters to get a better picture of who a candidate is than that which they read about in the paper or see on television. Campaigns sometimes launch expensive media campaigns during this time to introduce the candidate to voters, although most wait until closer to election day.
Campaigns often dispatch volunteers into local communities to meet with voters and persuade people to support the candidate. The volunteers are also responsible for identifying supporters, recruiting them as volunteers or registering them to vote if they are not already registered. The identification of supporters will be useful later as campaigns remind voters to cast their votes.
Late in the campaign, campaigns will launch expensive television, radio, and direct mail campaigns aimed at persuading voters to support the candidate. Campaigns will also intensify their grassroots campaigns, coordinating their volunteers in a full court effort to win votes.
Voting in the United States often starts weeks before election day as mail-in ballots are a commonly used voting method. Campaigns will often run two persuasion programs, one aimed at mail-in voters and one aimed at the more traditional poll voters.
Campaigns for minor office may be relatively simple and inexpensive – talking to local newspapers, giving out campaign signs, and greeting people in the local square.Read more
The midterm elections proved a massive defeat for Barack Obama and the democrats, losing the majority in the house, several senate seats and governor posts. However, the most interesting aspect of the election isnt really Barack Obamas problems or the GOP pickups in general, but the emerging wave named The Tea Party.
The Tea Party isnt actually a party as such, but a movement primarily within the republican party. They have been called rightwing nutters and extremists, however that didnt deter the american electorate from sending several GOP candidates with a Tea Party backing into newly gained seats. A look behind the curtain of the tea party however reveals a much for diverse and interesting movement than a simple spur of the moment display of extreme rightwing politics.
First of all, the politics of the tea party are in fact not particularly rightwing as such – indeed in some ways quite to the contrary. The tea party argues less government, more freedom and a return to the constitution as it was written? Now, that is in fact quite liberal and certainly wouldnt go a miss for any decent libertarian candidate. Yes, the tea party has some fairly obscure speakers who from time to time dwell in outragious weirdness, but the basic foundation of the movement is that of personal freedom, in the classic liberal way, from the state and to the people.
Could the tea party movement carry a candidate to the whitehouse? It isnt actually unlikely given how much grassroot support the movement has gotten, however they desperately need to put a more charming face on their efforts than that of oldschool republicans without a hope in hell of capturing the middle ground american. Is that possible? Very much so, the messages are clear and appealing – and could sell way across the independent and democrat fence … but, and it is a big but, for now the most prominent figure is Sarah Pahlin. All her qualities untold, she is probably not the ideal candidate to deliver that message of freedom and constitutionalism in a way that appeals beyond the republican base – and the republican base simply isnt big enough to carry anyone inside the walls of the white house. Interesting times ahead.Read more
Former comedian and present sub mayor of Copenhagen Klaus Bondam of “Det Radikale Venstre” has decided to resign come first of january. Klaus Bondam is primarily known for his role in various danish comedies and a past as ceo of various Copenhagen theatres. In recent years however he has pursued a career in local politics for the centre/left danish party Det Radikale Venstre and obtained a role as sub mayor of the city.
Klaus Bondam has been under heavy criticism since the last election for making a deal on election night with the rightwing party Dansk Folkeparti (The Danish Peoples Party) to retain his seat as mayor. The comedy mayor resigns to take up a job in Bruxelles.Read more
An informational campaign is a political campaign designed to raise public awareness and support for the positions of a candidate (or his party). It is more intense than a paper campaign, which consists of little more than filing the necessary papers to get on the ballot, but is less intense than a competitive campaign, which aims to actually win election to the office. An informational campaign typically focuses on low-cost outreach such as news releases, getting interviewed in the paper, making a brochure for door to door distribution, organizing poll workers, etcRead more