The Bailout

The bailout option may be the only option to save the US economy from resession

The bailout option may be the only option to save the US economy from resession

For weeks now there has been a crisis in the US financial market. Now look, I am no economist by any means but from what I remember in high school history class, the last major financial crisis in the US lead to the Great Depression. I’ve been reading various online publications about the bailout and they all seem to be saying the same thing.

A great number of large companies in the US are failing and in an attempt to salvage these companies’ pockets, the Treasury Department has been trying to overhaul the financial system. More and more companies need capital in order to save themselves from bankruptcy but it has been predicted that 750 to 1 000 banks will fail over the next few months.

The problem is that investors have no confidence in the US financial market so they are placing their stocks and bonds in more stable markets. What I am more interested in is the implications that this has for US president George Bush. His tenure as president is coming to an end, leaving McCain and Obama to duke it out for the coveted presidency.

If the financial market remains in tatters, this will be the legacy that Bush will leave behind along with the invasion of Iraq. No president wants to be remembered for leading the market to a recession. Perhaps this is one of the reasons that Bush is opting for the bailout even though the House had rejected the $ 700 billion that had been negotiated by Senate leaders of both parties.

The crisis does not only affect the US but I will destabilise the world market. So bailout or no bailout, we’ll have to see if the decision to bailout will make any significant difference in the US financial market.

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Like dominoes, they all come tumbling down

After former president Thabo Mbeki’s resignation, the ANC was confident that there would be no more resignations from cabinet members, but boy oh boy were they wrong. The top brass, the cream of the crop from the ANC came crashing down like dominos one-by-one as they resigned.

The nation waited with bated breath wondering if any other cabinet members would follow in Mbeki’s foot steps. Even with all the resignations the new kids on the block, Jacob Zuma and newly appointed President of South Africa Kgalema Motlanthe say that things will return to normal.

The most bewildering resignation for me personally is Trevor Manuel’s. He has been Minister of Finance since Nelson Mandela’s presidency, making him the longest standing minister since democracy in 1994. If he does not seem to be confident in the new leadership, then God help us all.

I was reading comments readers of the Mail and Guardian Online had made about the resignation of the 11 ministers. Some made some profound statements and some were disheartened and said they are moving to another country. As for me I’ve decided that I am going to register to vote in the 2009 elections so I can keep my options open.

The end of an era

On Sunday night I watched in amazement as former President Thabo Mbeki addressed the nation for the last time as the president of South Africa live on SABC 3. To regard him as the former president is a hard and bitter pill to swallow. Regardless of his mistakes during his presidency (and there were many) Mbeki was a good president.

Reports in the Mail and Guardia have said that “the move threatens to shatter the foundations of the country’s post-apartheid political landscape, which has been dominated by the ANC since the end of white minority rule in 1994.”

Reports  also say that Mbeki supporters may split form the ANC and “contest elections as a breakaway party in 2009, the Sunday Times said.”

I am an ANC supporter first and a Mbeki supporter second and I find myself not knowing whether to vote in the upcoming elections or to abstain all together. As a responsible South African citizen I know I have to vote regardless of which party I vote for in order to make this democracy work.

The question I ask myself is do I really want Jacob Zuma as my president. One of the great things that Mbeki has done during his presidency is put South African on the international stage as a credible player. I find myself not having the confidence that Zuma will be able to do the same and supersede what Mbeki has already done.

Mbeki’s resignation from the highest office in the land shows the maturity of our young democracy. African leaders have been known to overstay their welcome as state presidents, Robert Mugabe being one such example. I’m crossing my fingers and toes that this will be a smooth transition.

OBAMAWOOD

The 2008 U.S presidential race has been revolutionised by the number of celebrity endorsements that

Obama with Opra, one of his biggest celebrity endorsers

Obama with Opra, one of his biggest celebrity endorsers

democratic candidate Barack Obama has received during his presidential campaign.

Obama has taken the glitzy and glamorous world that is Hollywood and has transformed it into a political platform where he can extend his presidential campaign. By interacting with popular culture music icons such as will.i.am from the group ‘The Black Eye Peas’ and sultry screen goddesses such as Scarlett Johansson and Halle Berry, Obama has reached younger and more impressionable voters.
Many celebrities have openly endorsed the current U.S Senator as their favorite presidential candidate. The top ten celebrity endorsers are:

1.) Oprah: Obama is the first candidate she has endorsed in her 25 year career. She’s campaigned for him, with him and threw a celebrity fund-raiser at her California home that collected an estimated $3 million.
2.) will.i.am: The Black Eye Peas’ singer wrote the songs “Yes We Can” and “We are the Ones” based on Sen. Obama’s speeches.
3.) The Kennedy Women: Caroline Kennedy Schlossberg caused a frenzy penning “A President Like My Father” for the New York Times. Cousin Maria Shriver stumps for Obama despite her McCain-endorsing husband.
4.) Ben Affleck.
5.) George Clooney
6.) Scarlett Johansson
7.) Samuel L. Jackson
8.) Chris Rock
9.) Robert de Niro
10.)Jennifer Aniston

Conversations at the dinner table

I was invited to a dinner party not so long ago by a very good friend of mine. The evening began with guests engaging in small talk like any typical gathering does. I was unfamiliar with a few of the other guests and as the night progressed a conversational rhythm began to develop as we became more settled.

Italian born Lorenzo told tales of his travels around the world. He spoke of the cuisine of the countries he visited, the people and the culture. Ghanaian born Daniel also added to Lorenzo’s travel stories and spoke about his travels around Africa, Europe and the States. We latched on to their every word as they described in detail what they experienced outside of their cultures.

The conversations around the table gradually lead to issues relating to political situations in our respective countries. The countries that were represented at the table were South Africa, Zimbabwe, Lesotho, Nigeria, Ghana and Italy. One of the Zimbabwean guests was taking the mickey out of the economic situation in her country as she explained what the value of a billion dollar note is when weighed up against the South Africa Rand.

I guess this is what lead to me writing about politics in my blog. Wow…my blog, I must mention that this is a first for me. We live in some interesting times politically and there are so many interesting events around the world and I have a thing or two to say about them.