Archive for the ‘Irrelevant political musings’ Category

President-elect Barack Obama

7 November, 2008

I get teary eyed every time I watch it.

People here have been asking me all kinds of questions leading up to this moment. What I thought about the candidates, how the American political system works, etc. It’s hard enough to explain our asinine primary system in English! People have given me their input and their predictions. Living abroad throughout the whole election season has really shown me how much the world looks to America. Granted, we’ve lost a large amount of our moral authority over the last eight years. But people still held their breath, hoping we’d make the right choice. And we proved that we’re not complete idiots. Fucking up soooo badly, giving the opportunity for black man, whose  middle name is Hussein, whose father was Muslin, and admitted to using cocaine, to run and become president. THAT will be Bush’s greatest legacy.

Personal political ramblings after the jump with some Bulgarian insights.



Deep Thought

8 October, 2008

I can see the end of Sarah Palin’s political career from my apartment!

What I’m reading

14 August, 2008

The Belgravia Dispatch: McCain: Let’s Compound the Blunder!

I stumbled across this analysis of the Georgian Crisis. It’s some of the best stuff I’ve seen written on the current situation and our presidential candidates’ response to it. Most notably, McCain’s sorely misguided and ham-fisted response. I highly recommend you read it.

[…]if the horrors inflicted on varied Abkhazians, Ossetians and Georgians this past week (by both sides) must be seen from these provincial, grossly self-interested shores merely through the lens of the U.S. Presidential election, let me chime in very briefly within these contours. Regarding the 3 AM sweepstakes, Obama has taken it by a mile (if his Pavlovian movements to ‘sound tougher’ after his initial statement were a bit underwhelming, and sadly predictable). Witness this incredibly poor reasoning by McCain, jaw-dropping even by the standards of the mammoth policy ineptitude we’ve become accustomed to during the reign of Bush 43 and his motley crew of national security miscreants.


[Senator McCain is ] An honorable man who served his country well, it is clear his time has past and his grasp on the most basic foreign policy calls we’ll need to make in the coming years is very tentative indeed. He’ll be surrounded by second-tier ‘yes-man’ realists and residual neo-con swill, few with any ideas worth pursuing if we mean to take the national interest seriously with sobriety and freshness of perspective. So let us help him exit off-stage gracefully, as he served his country with dignity when called upon, but let us not sacrifice our children’s future to ignorants with deludely romantic notions of empire. Been there, done that. Indeed, we have a President who has announced a pre-emptive doctrine which allows us to, willy-nilly, instigate regime change when and where we deem appropriate. Who are we to lecture Putin now? What standing do we have to do so? And what parochial and self-satisfied myopia has us indignantly thinking we are some unimpeachable arbitrer of right and wrong in the international system after the disastrous missteps of the past eight sordid years?

What I’m reading

24 July, 2008

Eschaton: Unconditional Withdrawal:

The local Fox outlet just showed me clips of McCain saying (roughly) “Obama won’t acknowledge that we’ve succeeded [in Iraq]” and “He’s in favor of unconditional withdrawal.”

If we’ve succeeded why can’t we leave? Just who are we at war with and what conditions should we demand before we withdraw? Does any of this make any fucking sense at all?

Stripped and Social Commentary

24 July, 2008

Bulgaria has been stripped of it’s EU funding and PHARE has been suspended. None of this is good news for the people that need the money (the average Bulgarian).

From Trud, via the Daily Press Brief:

The daily leads with a report on the issuance of the EC reports on Bulgaria’s progress on the mechanisms of cooperation and verification and the absorption of the EU funds by emphasizing on what it considered to be the highlights in the reports:

  • EUR 500 m has been frozen, but Bulgaria is not required to return the funds that have already been absorbed;
  • The billions of euro under the cohesion funds are not at risk;
  • Brussels is still waiting to see conviction against corruption and mafia but DANS seems to be working.

Selected reaction from the executive branch (via the DPB):

Deputy PM Miglena Plugchieve is quoted as saying that the EC report conclusion don’t come as a surprise to her but she feels disappointed that the EC has failed to report on what Bulgaria has done in the last few months.

Selected reaction from an opposition party (via the DPB):

DSB’s Ivan Kostov: The expectations that the EC will tone down its criticism were not met. The situation is worse than expected an the only way out of it is the resignation of the whole cabinet.

Selected reactions from EU representatives (via the DPB):

Geoffry van Orden: This is a tremendous disappointment. We treated Bulgaria like a friend and supported is accession although we were well aware that a lot of work still had to be done. That’s why this lack progress is so deeply disappointing to us.

Joseph Daul, Chairman of the EPP-ED Group: Bulgaria has failed to honor its commitments toward Europe to successfully eradicate corruption and organized crime. It is high time now to untangle the web of conflicts of interests and prove to the rest of Europe, that national policy-makers are not synonymous with corrupt criminals.

Ouch. Those are some stinging criticisms. Though I have to say some of them are justified. In the end, as is the case with all corruption, the people in need of the money will be the one’s most impacted by the freeze.



16 July, 2008

From the Bulgarian newspaper Sega, via the Embassy Daily Press Brief:

According to a poll, conducted by Eurobarometer, Bulgarians have never been more concerned about crime.  41% of the 1,000 Bulgarians interviewed said that “fighting organized crime must be EC’s top priority.”  “Because Bulgarians have lost confidence in their government, they hope Brussels will help them deal with widespread crime.”  25% of Bulgarians said they trust Bulgarian police, while 65% said they don’t.  Distrust toward Bulgarian political institutions is said to have reached its highest points since Bulgaria’s EU accession.  83% said they do not trust the political parties, 79% do not trust Parliament, 73% do not trust the government, while 51% trust the EU.  The poll then says that it’s only logical that 59% of Bulgarians are unhappy with their life, the largest number compared to all Europeans.

What I’m Reading

5 June, 2008

Think Progress >> ThinkFast: June 5, 2008

Sen. Robert Byrd (D-WV) was hospitalized Monday, “shortly after he released a strongly-worded statement condemning Vice President Dick Cheney for making an incest joke” at the expense of his state. Yesterday, Byrd was reportedly feeling “much better,” and “had just one burning question for his staff during a conference call with aides this morning: Did the vice president apologize yet to the people of West Virginia?” (He had.)

He may be 90 years old, but he can still give hell!

Deep Thought

22 May, 2008

Why in the world did the DNC give more delegates to the territory of Puerto Rico than 27 states?

Puerto Rico:    63
Alabama:        60
Connecticut:    60
Kentucky:       60
Iowa:           57
South Carolina: 54
Oklahoma:       48
Arkansas:       47
Kansas:         41
Mississippi:    41
DC 39
West Virginia:  39
New Mexico:     38
Nevada:         34
Rhode Island:   33
Maine:          32
Nebraska:       31
New Hampshire:  30
Hawaii:         29
Utah:           29
Montana:        25
Delaware:       23
Idaho:          23
South Dakota:   23
Vermont:        23
North Dakota:   21
Alaska:         18
Wyoming:        18

The last time I checked, Puerto Rice can’t vote in the Presidential Election nor do they have Democratic and Republican parties on the island running for and holding political offices. The primary system needs fixing. (Note: I’m not against giving territories delegates in political conventions. Just less than states).

Also, Hillary needs to drop out already.

What I’m Reading

10 May, 2008

Tibet: A New Review of US and Chinese Policies

If you live in China, you now have to get a permit to be reincarnated.

On August 3, 2007, the State Administration for Religious Affairs (SARA) issued a set of regulations, effective September 1, 2007, that require all Tibetan lamas wishing to reincarnate to obtain prior government approval through the submission of a “reincarnation application.” In a statement accompanying the regulations, SARA called the step “an important move to institutionalize management on reincarnation of living Buddhas.”

Slower Day

20 February, 2008

Not much happened today. Work has slowed down since my flurry of activity yesterday. I’m just waiting to get the surveys back from the doctors, more information about where the money for the football tournament will go and to be introduced to the English high school teachers about the English club. I killed some time before I went to the school to teach class. When I got there, the table in the teacher’s lounge was covered in food! It was a teacher’s birthday. As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, on your birthday, you treat your friends to food and drink. There was plenty to eat and drink. And by drink, I mean everything ranging from soda to home-made rakiya. Yep, there was alcohol. Some of them tried to get me to drink some whiskey. “I can’t! I have to teach in 10 minutes!” “Well, how about after class?” “Ok.” “Great! We’ll call the mayor and tell him that you can’t go back to work because you’re drinking with us!”. I couldn’t help but chuckle. Such are the differences between cultures. In the US, teachers would get crucified for drinking at school on the job, even more so in an elementary school!

After work, I headed over to Andrea’s apartment where I met her and her boyfriend. The three of us went to the football stadium and kicked the ball around before dance. I changed out of my long sleeve t-shirt and gym short before going to the cultural center. I’m sure everyone would have had a heart attack if they saw me in shorts! I didn’t want to repeat a previous episode. But thankfully the water is back on that I can take a shower for tomorrow (The entire city lost water again today).

I’ve got to go to Pazardjik tomorrow morning to have lunch with the Peace Corps Director (world wide) as well as give my perspective as a new PCV. That, by the way, I find a little insulting. I mean, here I am, 23 years old, where I am the first American several people have met. I am their outlet for all kinds of questions about America and American life; I’m given a lot of latitude. But to have lunch with the director of the organization I work for, I have to run a gauntlet of what I can and can’t say. Everything double checked, to make it’s appropriate. I suppose some of it makes sense, the PC BG staff doesn’t want to be embarrassed in front of PC DC. But come on! I think it goes without saying that if someone was confirmed by Congress, s/he deserves respect!