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Archive for the ‘Election 2012’ Category

16th August 2011

Frequent followers of American political developments may have noted the results of the recent Iowa straw poll, a non-binding poll taken to gauge the sentiments of the sovereign State of Iowa‘s electorate. The substance of this posting is not an analysis of that poll, but an analysis of the response of the so-called “mainstream media” in the aftermath of the poll. In order to provide further elucidation it is necessary to quote directly from an Associated Press article featured on Yahoo News at Yahoo.com:

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Ron Paul, once seen as a fringe candidate and a nuisance to the establishment, is shaping the 2012 Republican primary by giving voice to the party’s libertarian wing and reflecting frustration with the United States’ international entanglements. The Texas congressman placed second in a key early test vote Saturday in Ames, coming within 152 votes of winning the first significant balloting of the Republican nominating contest. Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota won the nonbinding Iowa straw poll, but Paul’s organizational strength and a retooled focus on social issues set him up to be a serious player in the campaign. “I believe in a very limited role for government. But the prime reason that government exists in a free society is to protect liberty, but also to protect life. And I mean all life,” he told a raucous crowd on Saturday… Later Saturday, Paul won 4,671 votes, or roughly 28 percent of the votes from party activists who flocked to a college campus for the daylong political carnival Paul’s narrow second-place finish pushed former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty down to third, leading Pawlenty on Sunday to abandon his effort to challenge President Barack Obama next November… [sic]

This blogger asks readers to click upon the relevant hyperlinks above to read this enlightening story in detail.

Of interest to this blogger is the fact that only recently the campaign of Ron Paul was viewed as “outside the mainstream” by some commentators, but that view appears to be fading away. Meanwhile, Representative Ron Paul is not the only candidate to have apparently gained ground in the aftermath of the Ames Straw Poll as Representative Michele Bachmann, the winner of the poll, has seen something of a “boost in momentum” as of late. Although the campaign is far from over and an ultimate Republican nominee remains to be seen, the 2012 campaign is shaping up to be quite interesting and arguably unique from an historical perspective. This stated, there is little doubt that President Barack Obama will be a formidable adversary in the upcoming general election (as evidenced by his strong campaign in 2008). Therefore, those, like this blogger, who follow politics the way others may follow sports or favorite TV programs may find the 2012 campaign to be exciting indeed.

In the world of American politics it has often been said that “Politics Makes Strange Bedfellows”. This maxim is quite correct, but perhaps a variation on this theme is appropriate under the circumstances: “Budget Deficits Elicit Strange Solutions”. It recently came to this blogger’s attention that many American States and the District of Columbia are contemplating implementation of various forms of online gaming. To provide further details on these developments this blogger is compelled to quote directly from a recent article posted on the CNBC website, CNBC.com:

The District of Columbia is not thrilled that its residents are traveling to Maryland, Pennsylvania and West Virginia to gamble in casinos. Starved for cash, like states across the country, the district wants some of the millions in revenue that gambling generates each year.So district officials want residents to gamble closer to home — inside their homes, actually. Or in cafes, restaurants and bars. By year’s end the district hopes to introduce an Internet gambling hub that would allow Washington residents to play blackjack, poker and other casino-style games…It’s an idea gaining currency around the country: virtual gambling as part of the antidote to local budget woes. The District of Columbia is the first to legalize it, while Iowa is studying it, and bills are pending in places like California and Massachusetts. But the states may run into trouble with the Justice Department, which has been cracking down on all forms of Internet gambling…The states say they will put safeguards in place to deal with the potential social ills. And they say they need the money from online play, which will supplement the taxes they already receive from gambling at horse tracks, poker houses and brick-and-mortar casinos…

The administration of this web log asks readers to click upon the hyperlinks noted above to read this interesting article in its entirety.

Frequent readers of this web log may recall that the current federal restrictions imposed upon certain facets of online gaming are the result of the rather dubious legislative machinations surrounding the passage of the SAFE Port Act (sometimes referred to as the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act of 2006 or UIGEA). As a result of this legislation, some online gaming operators have been subjected to fines and/or sanctions (including the threat of incarceration) for allegedly illegal activity. Therefore, the possibility that States and federal jurisdictions may be contemplating online gaming as a possible source of revenue may come as a relief to some within this interesting and often misunderstood industry. In any event, hopefully arrangements can be made to provide a reasonably beneficial framework from both an operational and revenue generation perspective.

It should be noted that under most circumstances gambling is illegal in the Kingdom of Thailand.

For related information please see: Online Gaming Lawyers.

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17th May 2011

It recently came to this blogger’s attention that Republican Presidential Candidate Representative Ron Paul was recently reported to have noted his support for the idea of the United States Federal Reserve selling its gold reserves. To quote directly from the official website of the New York Sun, NYSun.com:

NEW YORK — The next big question on the federal debt limit could be whether to start selling the government’s holdings of gold at Fort Knox — and at least one presidential contender, Ron Paul, has told The New York Sun he thinks it would be a good move. The question has been ricocheting around the policy circles today. An analyst at the Heritage Foundation, Ron Utt, told the Washington Post that the gold holdings of the government are “just sort of sitting there.” He added: “Given the high price it is now, and the tremendous debt problem we now have, by all means, sell at the peak.”

The administration of this blog asks that readers click on the hyperlinks above to read this story in full as it is very cogently written by David Pietrusza. It should be noted that this issue may have an international complexion as some nations have taken measures of their own regarding gold. To quote further from Mr. Pietrusza’s aforementioned article in the New York Sun:

Mexico has acquired 93.3 tons of gold this year, while Thailand added 9.3 tons to its national reserves this March. Russia added 22.5 tons in January and February.

This information would seem to concur with information that this blogger has come across on the World Wide Web. In fact, to quote directly from the website CommodityOnline.com:

International Monetary Fund (IMF) announced huge gold purchase by Russia, Mexico and Thailand valued nearly $6 billion. The three nations situated on different regions of the globe added to their reserves in February and March as the price of bullion advanced to a record. Mexico has bought nearly 100 metric tons of gold since January while Russia increased its reserves of the metal by 18,8 tons to 811,1 tons in March and Thailand expanded assets by 9,3 tons to 108,9 tons in the same month.

The administration of this web log strongly encourages readers to click upon the hyperlinks noted above to read this article in full and to conduct further research in order to gain insight into this important state of affairs. It should be noted that recently the Head of the International Monetary Fund was arrested in New York City.

Issues surrounding sound money and legal tender reform can be complex and controversial on both the federal and State level. The reader is asked to conduct thorough research on these issues before coming to a conclusion as to one’s own opinion.

For related information please see: Legal.

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4th May 2011

It recently came to this blogger’s attention that the recently announced Presidential candidate Representative Ron Paul noted his reaction to hearing the news of the demise of terrorist Osama bin Laden. To quote directly from an interesting article posted on the official website of The State Column, thestatecolumn.com:

Texas Rep. Ron Paul said Tuesday that he was delighted to hear of the death of Osama bin Laden.

The Texas Republican, and potential Republican presidential candidate, discussed the killing of bin Laden on The Diane Rehm Show, saying he is “still looking for more information” concerning the details of the killing.

Mr. Paul said he supported the killing of bin Laden, adding that he voted for the authority to go after those responsible for 9/11.

The administration of this blog recommends readers click upon the hyperlinks above to learn more from this insightful story.

On a somewhat related matter (related as both stories pertain to U.S. politics), but certainly of likely interest to readers of this blog, it would appear as though the Immigration Equality Action Fund has taken steps to build a coalition of businesses in favor of enactment of the Uniting American Families Act (UAFA). To quote directly from the official website of the Immigration Equality Action Fund, ImmigrationEqualityActionFund.org:

Immigration Equality Action Fund created the Business Coalition for the Uniting American Families Act to engage global companies who are fed up with the loss of talented LGBT employees due to immigration restrictions. The Coalition is a group of global businesses calling on Congress to pass the Uniting American Families Act, S. 424/H.R. 1024.

The administration of this web log strongly encourages readers to click upon the hyperlinks noted above to read about this information in detail. Furthermore, readers are encouraged to take note of those companies which have shown their support for the rights of the American LGBT community.

For those unfamiliar with this issue, the Uniting American Families Act (UAFA), recently reintroduced in the U.S. House of Representatives by Representative Jerrold Nadler, would provide immigration benefits for the “permanent partners” of United States Citizens and/or Lawful Permanent Residents thereby circumventing the current (questionably Constitutional) legal restrictions barring the granting of federal benefits to those who are in a same sex marriage or intending to enter into a same sex marriage upon lawful admission to the United States of America. Such discrimination currently exists pursuant to the provisions of the so-called “Defense of Marriage Act” (DOMA). The reader is encouraged to note that these current restrictions exist notwithstanding the fact that a number of sovereign American States have voiced their support for same sex marital unions. Most notable for those interested in the legal ramifications of this issue: the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and the State of California have seen cases pertaining to these issues, but as of yet, the issue remains in a sort of stasis as the wheels of justice slowly turn.

As the 2012 election approaches it is noteworthy how varied the issues are likely to be even as they comprise the spectrum of presidential debate topics.

For related information please see: Respect for Marriage Act or Full Faith and Credit Clause.

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26th April 2011

It would appear as though Representative Ron Paul will soon be joining the list of Presidential hopefuls which would currently appear to include names such as Donald Trump, Michele Bachmann, Newt Gingrich, and Gary Johnson (not to mention the incumbent President Barack H. Obama). To shed more light upon these developments it may be best to quote directly from the National Journal‘s official website NationalJournal.com:

Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, whose outspoken libertarian views and folksy style made him a cult hero during two previous presidential campaigns, will announce on Tuesday that he’s going to try a third time.

Sources close to Paul, who is in his 12th term in the House, said he will unveil an exploratory presidential committee, a key step in gearing up for a White House race. He will also unveil the campaign’s leadership team in Iowa, where the first votes of the presidential election will be cast in caucuses next year.

Clearly, Rep. Paul appears poised to make another run for the White House following a recent win of the CPAC straw poll which saw Mainstream Media outlet Fox News take criticism for their coverage of the event. The author of the aforementioned article seemed optimistic about Representative Paul’s chances in the upcoming election:

This would seem to be an ideal year for Paul: Since the last election, the Republican Party has moved much closer to his view on deficit reduction, which made him an early tea party favorite. All of the party’s top-tier presidential hopefuls are focusing on lowering debt, government spending, and tax rates, issues Paul has long advocated.

Readers of this web log are strongly encouraged to click upon the hyperlinks above to read about these developments in detail.

It is interesting to this blogger that of all of the coverage of the 2008 elections the speeches and comments delivered by Representative Paul along with those made by Representative Dennis Kucinich seem to have been both prescient as well as the only comments which were at all noteworthy in that campaign. However, during that campaign both Representative Paul and Representative Kucinich were considered far from “mainstream” candidates. Clearly, the shift in paradigm regarding Representative Paul as a candidate is attributable to changed conditions both in the United States and abroad.

As noted in previous postings on this blog, the Presidential elections can have a tremendous impact upon the international community. This is especially true in an Asian context as China and the economies comprising the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) become increasingly important in a global economic context. It is likely that a Ron Paul administration would have policies which could be construed as substantially different from those of his predecessors. How events will play out in the lead-up to the election remains to be seen, but with issues such as the economy becoming of increasing concern to Americans this election could prove to be one of the most important in United States history.

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2nd April 2011

This blogger has been an avid follower of American politics since childhood and as a birthday present to himself this blogger will be following the 2012 election in an effort to contribute some worthwhile commentary on the unfolding campaign and the possible ramifications for Thailand, ASEAN, and Greater Asia. To quote directly from a recent posting on the New York Times official website nytimes.com:

The 2012 presidential campaign is finally getting underway, in fits and starts.

But the election season really arrives on May 2, when the Republican candidates gather in Simi Valley, Calif., for a televised debate at the library of their collective hero, Ronald Reagan.

Or, maybe they won’t.

The article cited above went on to note the fact that very few prospective Republican challengers have come forward at this point to “throw their hat in the ring” regarding a run for the United States presidency. Apparently, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich has taken appropriate legal measures to fully explore the option of campaigning for the presidency, to quote further from the aforementioned article on the New York Times website:

[T]he April 15 fund-raising reports this year are likely to show almost no official campaign fund-raising, with the exception of Newt Gingrich, who announced the formation of an I.R.S. committee that allows him to start collecting money for a potential campaign.

Readers of this blog may recall that Mr. Gingrich recently made some news when questioning President Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder regarding the administration’s position on the issue of enforcement of the so-called Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). However, it would appear that unlike this blogger, Mr. Gingrich takes exception with Mr. Obama’s position on DOMA not because he is in favor of Americans being able to solemnize a same sex marriage, but because he feels that the Administration’s position on this issue is not in compliance with the United States Constitution as the US President is required to enforce American law.

The most interesting thing that this blogger found noticeable in the above cited article (and this blogger highly encourages readers to click on the links above to read this article in its entirety to gain some perspective on what is shaping up to be an important presidential campaign) was the fact that it made no mention of Representative Ron Paul. Although Dr. Paul has yet to announce his candidacy for the Presidency, and he may not do so, he did win the CPAC straw poll two years running. This accomplishment should not be overlooked as it was a similar victory which saw Mr. Reagan get catapulted to the front of the race for the US Presidency some 30 years ago.

On the American left President Obama is, naturally, the likely choice for the Democratic nomination, but even that should not be viewed as a foregone conclusion especially in light of the fact that some within the Democratic Party have called for a primary challenge against Mr. Obama. To quote directly from a posting on February 2, 2011 from the website Politifi.com:

WASHINGTON – Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) said Thursday that President Barack Obama “absolutely” ought to face a Democratic primary challenge from the left in 2012, predicting it would make him “stronger.” “I think primaries can have the opportunity of raising the issues and make the Democratic Candidate a stronger Candidate,” Kucinich told CSPAN’s Washington Journal.

Some commentators took Mr. Kucinich to mean that he was interested in running for the Presidency as a Democrat, but it would appear, at least for now, that this is not the case. However, the mere fact that the notion has been put forth introduces the possibility that Mr. Obama could face a primary challenge from within his own Party. How he would fare in such circumstances remains to be seen, but this blogger would not rule out the notion of a Democratic challenger while bearing in mind that Mr. Obama is a strong campaigner who would be a formidable opponent, especially in a Democratic primary.

For related information please see: Patriot Act Extension.

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17th February 2011

As an American Resident Abroad, this blogger finds a certain sense of comfort in watching the lead up to the 2012 Presidential Election. For those who have been reading this blog with any kind of regularity it may have been noticed that the posting have become more centered upon issues arising in an American political context. To be clear, this blogger truly feels that the events transpiring in the United States can have a significant impact upon Asia as a whole and Southeast Asia in particular. This blogger has personally witnessed the way in which United States policy can impact the Kingdom of Thailand, for good and for ill. Clearly, what happens in Washington D.C. and on the campaign trail leading up to the 2012 election can have a tremendous effect upon the economies and polities that make up the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the broader Asia-Pacific region. Bearing that in mind, the reader should note that the administration of this blog is tracking the lead up to the 2012 election out of mere curiousity and will try to remain unbiased regarding the candidates themselves.

In politics, as in many other areas of life, “perception is reality”. This colloquialism is often interpreted to mean that a candidate’s portrayal in the media has a direct impact upon his or her chances of attaining national office. In many respects, this has been true in the past. The Michael Dukakis tank/helmet incident is a prime example of the way in which a public figure’s image can be portrayed in the media in such a way that it damages that candidate’s chances at the polls.

It would appear that the “Mainstream Media” outlet Fox News has been taking criticism for their portrayal of the recent victory of Representative Ron Paul at the CPAC straw poll. To quote directly from AAyles on the website twirlit.com:

A new video released today via YouTube shows footage from 2010 where Ron Paul was booed after winning the CPAC. So what’s the big deal, right? Well, the footage from 2010 was presented in a manner that made it seem as though it was from 2011.

Firstly, this blogger greatly encourages readers to click on the links above to watch the full video as it would appear that Fox News did indeed use footage from the previous CPAC straw poll which did show a less enthusiastic reception to the Ron Paul victory (to be clear, Ron Paul won both the CPAC straw poll in 2010 and the straw poll in 2011, but by a much wider margin in 2011). To quote further from AAyles on twirlit.com:

The video pretty much explains everything very clearly but the message we want to get across is that, despite what Fox News reported, Ron Paul was not booed when he was announced as the 2011 CPAC winner. Not at all, actually. As you can see in the video, there was nothing but loud cheers when Ron was announced as the 2011 winner.

It is interesting to note this apparent manipulation of the reporting of the Ron Paul CPAC victory as it shows how influential the “Mainstream Media” can be in the realm of political perception, but the incident also shows something else: the “Mainstream Media” may be in danger of losing their hold over key sectors of their audience. This is not to say that Fox News will discontinue their operation anytime soon. On the contrary, it would appear as though National News organizations will continue to thrive, but machinations once used to influence the audience are being exposed so quickly through the “Alternative Media” (namely, websites, blogs, the blogosphere, social media, youtube, etc) that there is a sort of grassroots “blowback” (to borrow a phrase from the intelligence community) that occurs following incidents such as the one described above. It stands to reason that anytime a media outlet is discredited it will have an adverse impact upon the way in which said outlet is viewed by the public-at-large in the future. The issue for mainstream media is one of survival, in order to maintain relevance in an increasingly “Alternative Media” saturated society “Mainstream Media” outlets must guard against being portrayed as “taking a side” in an issue lest their viewers choose to seek their news and information via other channels. The fact that Fox News was so quickly vilified for their portrayal of the CPAC straw poll outcome goes to show how tremendously effective the “alternative media” can be when it comes to disseminating information, especially information about “Mainstream Media” mistakes or misinformation.

In many ways, the upcoming Presidential Election will be interesting, not because of the outcome; but because it will showcase what appears to be a “Mainstream Media” heading into decline.

For related information please see: Patriot Act Extension.

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