Politics & Society — December 2, 2011 at 12:04 pm

Elections Abound [Weekly Binge]

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Newt Gingrich may accidentally be the next president of the United States. His numbers are astronomical and still on the rise. Like Cain, Perry, and Bachmann, he is the current flavor of the month, but his turn comes at 30 some days before the Iowa Caucuses; his fifteen minutes in the sun may equate to primary votes. This could transform Newt Gingrich’s expensive-book-tour-and-money-raising-extravaganza into the Republican last, best hope for the White House. Maybe Herman Cain will finally have an excuse to quit before any more mistresses try to ruin his marriage. Whatever the case, I am getting ready to stare our collective future in its lifeless eyes.

The President Dances like Hitch

Crazy numbers show that Italy and Greece are unemployment professionals. The real surprise is that 50 PERCENT of Italians and Greeks under the age of 25 are unemployed. If I and half of my generation couldn’t find work, I would probably riot too. These Depression-era numbers come at a time when people like me are still trying to figure out what it means when you have a banking crisis and a sovereign debt crisis at the same time. Thanks to Europe for proving that America can stay number one so long as everyone else gets worse faster.

In full mockery of the European omni-crisis, America has taken a small step back from its own moneypocalypse. Unemployment fell to 8.6% in November, marking the second month of job growth. Naysayers would be wise to point out that the extra 120,000 jobs may well be part of the holiday-season push for retailers. So what does it mean? Hard to say since macroeconomics is basically a high stakes game of craps. Still, it might just give the president a reason to dance.

The U.N. says Syria is (or might be) having a civil war. The report, a testimony to president Bashar al-Assad’s capacity for super-villainy, outlines thousands of detentions, killings, and child tortures. This information accompanies an increase in attacks by Syrian army defectors against the country’s own security forces. It’s as if Bashar al-Assad completely missed what happened in Tunisia, Egypt, or Libya in the last nine months. Whatever the case, the European Union added its own series of sanctions to those already in place from the Arab League and U.S. It’s a good thing Russia is supplying Assad with weapons and military hardware because I’ve been missing that Cold War vibe.

Egypt’s elections may prove that democracy is, in fact, compatible with all of our nightmares. While actual results are being postponed until today or tomorrow, early estimates show that the Muslim Brotherhood will pull down approximately 40% of the vote while another 25% could go to the more extreme Salafist al-Nour party. What this means is hard to say, but it may be a strong indicator that the liberal activists of February’s protests are a minority in Egypt’s political landscape. It may also be an early fluke given that elections will continue for the next four months.

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