So, the government shut-down is over.

Those few American’s who cared, can sigh, and return their attention their sport fascination. The World Series in baseball will being on Wednesday and the NFL season is still in its first quarter. 

But back to that shut-down. The Democrat’s may gloat. The president is. Republican’s are licking the wounds they received in recent public opinion (at least moderates are) while the Tea Party remains defiant and convinced that principle is more important than governance. 

A few brief thoughts.

First, I believe that I am a principled man. I agree with principle and applaud those who apply principle to their daily life. It may too old a concept for this post-modern society, but I think it still has a place. However, when a principle endangers the economic security while acting as cover for presidential character assassination I can not agree. 

Second, the so-called “deal” that allows the government to operate again and pay its bills is in fact no deal. This whole negotiation will be repeated early next year (2014)! So in reality, three weeks of brinkmanship only to “kick the can down the road” as my grandfather would have said. That is NOT responsible government. 

Living in Europe and teaching politics, government, and international relations: yes, three separate classes I have been mentally and emotionally exhausted trying to explain in a non-biased manner the disfunction that is Washington politics and the general state of political affairs in the United States. 

Brinkmanship without tangible result(s) is not a positive game.

More on this point in another post. 


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Perverse Politics

The United States is in shutdown mode. It has been like this for over a week. Friends abroad were amused now they are worried.

It is the responsibility of every U.S. member of Congress to seek a deal. Partisan politics are over. Why?

The world can not afford (literally) for the U.S. to default. The economy of the U.S. is slowly growing. The economy in the U.K. is slowly growing and while the news of Greece’s demise may now be considered overestimated, the euro-zone is not out of the “woods” quite yet though promising signs have given hope to Croatia and Latvia.

Since the U.S. holds the world’s reserve currency. Defaulting on its debt would not be good for investors and certainly not for the reputation of the U.S. economy.

Debate on the domestic issues are important, necessary in a democracy, but effective hostage taking by the minority (opposition) to a policy or a law or a particular person as Chief Executive is NOT democratic.

End the perverse pleasure in the partisan arena of American politics. There will be no winner only losers.

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Perverse politics

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The air has added a chill. Cooler in the mornings with the sunset earlier in the evening.
I think fondly of apple pie and pumpkins and the beautiful changing leaves on the trees.1379377_10151634520132455_1148394621_n


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Israel and Palestine: Real chance? Again…

Most of the news in the American media is focused on the continued government shutdown and the potential for a default if the national debt ceiling can’t be raised.

In Europe, the E.U. congratulates itself on avoiding have to use NATO troops in Syria though accepting the Russian-U.S. plan Assad has agreed to give up his chemical weapons, though now some reports say that inspectors are being hampered in their efforts.

(Sarcastic) And I thought all was okay with the world now that the watchdog group won the Nobel Peace prize.

What has been overlooked is the re-start of some dialogue. Well, the promise of dialogue between the Israelis and Palestinians. Israel releases “prisoners”, men who committed acts of violence against innocents, in exchange for signs of Palestinian willingness to negotiate.

This is a chance for a fresh start? No, sadly, it follows a pattern where the rhetoric once splashed across the newspapers and twitter universe look good but will not be fruitful.

Only when both sides are tired, and I mean that the politicians are so tired that talking and making compromises will finally work that there will be finally peace. After more than fifty years of bloodshed. Not, yet.

I am not cynical. I am being realistic. Dialogue is important. Dialogue is necessary. But it should be used effectively, rather than a publicity stunt.

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Nobel controversy

While those inspectors deserve respect for the tough job they do, I don’t think as a “group” they should have gotten the award. It was political.

I felt similar to when President Obama won.

Malala deserved to be considered and in present company would have been a better choice than the watchdog group OPCW. However the point of the win has been lost.

What or who has advanced peace?

Sadly in the politically charged world that is not the question anymore.

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Debt talks

Why must the White House offer ideas? The president has been public in his wishes. The opinion polls offer evidence that the American people don’t like the strategy the Republicans have. 

Who would like “hostage taking”?

So really, the ball is in the GOP’s court, because it never left. Will reason prevail or insanity continue?

I hope for the former. I am tired of explaining it all to Europeans.

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