Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Obama wins the US elocution

I'm sure I am not the only one outside the US who has become fixated on US President-elect Barrack Hussain Obama. I was one of the lucky few who survived the long, long US election media flood by simply ignoring it all. But tuning into the thrilling finish has wet my appetite for more about Obama. The confluence of an historic presidential choice by the US electorate, a global financial crisis of historic proportions, and unprecedented climate change, is a compelling backdrop for a man who comfortably shoulders an aura of history-in-the-making.

And, apart from enjoying his obvious magnetism, it's refreshing to hear a US President-elect speak in complete sentences, let alone grammatically correct ones. It's a big addition to their international relations skill-set. Having your subjects and verbs in agreement is a must-have in a multilateral world.

But, it is Obama's vision to tackle the economic crisis by investing in projects for decarbonising their economy that is disarming the cynic in me. If there is any up-side to the world economic down-side currently being experienced, it is that this crisis represents our best opportunity to make the transition to a carbon-neutral world. It is serendipitous that those from the biggest economy are finally making noises about taking up a leadership role the rest of the world has been crying out for. Given the immensity of the task ahead, and the fact that we have to make the transition at some point, there is no better financial climate than now.

Reassuringly, Obama confirmed that he gets it by using his second Internet address as President-elect to outline his vision of rescuing the economy by rebuilding it.

Jan 20. Bring it on!

In a piece for posterity, just recorded for the library of the Congress and a Bush Presidency museum, lies the mangled wreckage of President Bush's construction, poignantly mirroring his record: "I'd like to be a president, as somebody who liberated 50 million people and helped achieve peace,".

Two unfinished wars, one financial crisis, one world's largest government-subsidised housing-project, eight years of US paralysis on global warming agreement, and a hanging clause later we have this plaintiff outro.

Readers will think I hate the guy. I don't. I'm sure I would respond warmly in his presence, he seems like that kind of guy.

But presidential material? In the old days the head nodding refrain would have been 'only in America', but these are newer, hopeful days.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

EPA ruling gives Obama clean slate to build the clean economy

Breaking news at Desmogblog. Kevin Grandia is as surprised as I:

Wow. A decision by the Environmental Protection Agency today has ruled that all new and proposed coal-fired power plants must have their carbon dioxide emissions regulated.

The implications are very opportune, according to John Spalding, attorney of the Sierra Club, who successfully prosecuted the case:

Today’s decision opens the way for meaningful action to fight global warming and is a major step in bringing about a clean energy economy. This is one more sign that we must begin repowering, refueling and rebuilding America. The EAB rejected every Bush Administration excuse for failing to regulate the largest source of greenhouse gases in the United States. This decision gives the Obama Administration a clean slate to begin building our clean energy economy for the 21st century.

How very opportune. What a gift for the Obama Administration. The times, they are a changing.


Friday, November 07, 2008

The Foole is Dead. Long live the King!

Barrack Hussein Obama delivered a fine acceptance speech on becoming President Elect. So said my goosebumps. Very powerful stuff.

It was the first time I had seen and heard more than a soundbite of Obama's famed oratory — two avoidance years plus eighteen listening minutes, and I then knew why he has this reputation. Compelling cadence, great words, good looks, and authoritative body language make him a gifted messenger with a welcomed message.

His message was simple: CHANGE. Delivered with pathos, and ethos, in clear English, President Elect Obama's fine words made for a heady brew after all the dissembling, and disemvoweling of the drawled-out, last, eight, years. At last a man of stature, not swagger, to represent the US to the outside world.

Yet the flip side of getting carried away with Obama is just as good... George Bush and his neocon, crony-capitalist climate-wrecking, with-us-or-against-us, terror-obsessed, bellicose, pugilistic agenda... are all gone come Jan 20. As the Dog's Bollocks kindly puts it, "Bye Bye Bushites!"

Praise the Lord and pass the whiskey! The election of Barrack Obama to President of the United States marks the end of the toxic neocon dream - we don’t react to reality – we create reality. The Bush Administration has been the most grotesque in US history. The foxes had finally taken over the hen-house. It was bound to end in tears, and so it has. To use some Bushite vernacular – it has been the mother of all clusterfucks.

I cannot recall a single redeeming feature of the Bush Administration, let alone three. The littany of policy disasters is mind boggling both in extent and all-encompassing range. Begun by stealing the 2000 election, to the cronyism of putting Monsanto in charge of the EPA and Halliburton in charge of the administration. Deficit creating tax cuts for the uber-wealthy – the golden boys and girls of the ponzi financial schemes and scams. Two ill-advised and botched invasions which have done nothing but breed support for Al Q’aida and run up trillion dollar budget deficits. Hurricane Katrina. The failure to plan for energy efficiency, preferring instead to wage war on oil rich dictatorships under the guise of spreading democracy and liberation, all the while enriching the coffers of Halliburton and Bush’s oil cronies. The cultivation of Christian Fundamentalists within the Administration and lobby industry while undermining the fundamental principles of the US constitution in the name of an apocalyptic Never-Ending War on Terror.

All finished off with the mother of all financial distasters when the ponzi schemes collapsed – products of the great freemarket experiment allowing the proliferation of unregulated financial systems that no-one really understood. The undoing of which almost resulted in a global meltdown, narrowly averted only by massive injections of liquidity from the public purse.

To be fair, GWB's focus on Africa is a bit redeeming, and Iraq might limp home to proper democracy in 20 years. But Jesus, what a way to do it. Worst of all is his war on climate science, and his fossil fuel agenda. You fuck with reality, and it will come back and bite you hard on the arse.

Nah, there's nothing much redeeming about Bush, unless you do comedy for a living.

Two unfinished wars, two bubbles, and two recessions. Bye bye Bushites. History will, like the world did, just shake it's head at how a hegemon handed over it's moral authority for the next contender to step-up. For the last eight years we've been head-shaking. Is US democracy that malign?

Now here's Obama, American dream incarnate, stepping up to reclaim that moral authority by hitting all the right notes about embracing the global challenges that befall us, including climate change.

Even his name, Barrack, Blessed; What a fabulous story so far. We have yet to see how he goes, but right now I am hooked. I have hope. It's Mandela all over again, this time it's not my old country, but the world that needs to be brought back from the precipice.