Posts Tagged ‘United States’

A lot has been written about the outcome of the US elections in the last 24 hours. Some good, some bad and some utter rubbish (by both sides). The most insightful one is a Facebook post by Bart Hall.

I’m connected to Bart via Facebook and have always enjoyed reading his postings. However this one was of such quality that I had to ask him if I could use it on my blog as a sort of guest-blog by proxy. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I did.

So … the election was close, but the Electoral College worked exactly as intended by the Founders and produced a clear winner. Herewith, a series of observations, of various sorts, some slightly partisa:

a) Obama received fewer votes than McCain did in ’08. I expected this. What I did *NOT* expect was that Republican turn-out would be even lower this time around than last. The low Republican and Independent turn-out rendered useless the party-affiliation polling and certainly messed up my projection (-:

b) Elections don’t produce change, they measure it. In this case it’s become quite clear that an emerging majority of Americans prefer free stuff to freedom. Or framed somewhat differently (since I have a toddler at home) is that they prefer the freedom of a dependent child (“no worries”) to that of a mature and generally self-reliant adult (freedom of agency). Apart from the fact that it is fiscally unsustainable it is discouraging socially: deTocqueville in the late 1830s expressed his concern that the fatal flaw of American democracy was the risk that someday people would vote themselves lots of free stuff. That someday has evidently arrived in the last generation or so.

c) America is now on a trajectory to fiscal ruin. There is not enough wealth around to fix the blatant spending problem. I believe Romney and Ryan would at least have begun to address it. How bad is it? If Obama’s deficits continue at the levels *he* has projected we will have arrived at a point where each of the two previous Presidents *DOUBLED* existing debt in 8 years. The word for that, folks, is exponential explosion of debt, and it **always** ends in abundant grief and tears.

d) The good news is that Obama inherits the mess Obama left. He now owns it, absolutely. Burgeoning energy development on PRIVATE lands (which he can’t stop) will help the economy, some. EPA, OSHA, and ObamaCare … will not. But he owns it. We’re already seeing America’s energy boom bring back manufacturers to this nation. That will continue.

e) The people of Michigan, even as they voted Obama, voted for sanity and resoundingly defeated two ballot propositions that would have entrenched union power through mandated dues for all workers, and would have required 25% of all electricity to come from “renewables”. These the special interests attempted to enshrine in the state constitution.

f) Republicans picked up three more governorships (now 32), gained the state senate in Wisconsin, and took both houses of the Arkansas legislature for the first time since Reconstruction.

g) Republicans not only held the US House of Representatives, they didn’t lose more than a seat or two, and might actually have picked up one. Recounts make it impossible to be precise, but the big picture is clear. The Tea Party gains of 2010 held. Some results are remarkable. Our KS-3 seat was won by a Democrat in 2008 by 18 points (his fifth term). A Tea Party Republican took the same seat in 2010 by 23 points, and in 2012 the Democrats never even put up a candidate. In eight or nine House elections nationwide the Libertarian came second to a Republican.

h) The Republicans have now thrown away *five* Senate seats in the last two elections by nominating idiot candidates, often with Democrat help. Three-way primaries will give the most extreme candidate a plurality, whilst the vote is split between two others with a better chance to win or hold the seat. Republicans would have the Senate today and the budgetary gridlock which has characterized the Senate for almost four years would no longer be a factor.

i) A big part of the reason idiot candidates on the Republican side are such a problem is that when they inevitably make their stupid statements it will be picked up and promulgated (repeatedly and loudly) nationwide by the old-line media, which are now clearly nothing more than Democrat political operatives with bylines. When the Donks nominate an idiot candidate … crickets. Pushing those old-line media even farther along their path of failure and irrelevancy should be a primary task of conservatives and libertarians.

Finally, we are in a period of great political instability. There is only one long-term sustainable political position in America, and it used to be shared by both parties —

1) Solid on defence and security issues.

2) Fiscally conservative and generally in favour of limited government.

3) Broadly libertarian on social issues.

Unfortunately it is for the most part currently shared by neither party and I suspect we shall all have to endure a great deal of trouble and grief before we get back to that point. As this election has made obvious, we won’t do it voluntarily. Consequently we’ll need to be forced by circumstances, and as Churchill said “Americans always seem to do the right thing, but only at the last possible moment.” I hope so.

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I was at a gig this evening when an interesting tweet showed up in my timeline. It said “Major internet outages across America” and linked to a website displaying stats on global internet traffic. The stats for North America showed something odd. Several nodes were not responding, response times were up significantly, packet loss was up and consequently traffic was dipping big time. I thought at first that it might be due to hurricane Sandy but when I looked at the locations they were all over the USA. Weird…


I tweeted a few people in the US to see if they had any idea but nothing concrete came back. Some suggestions were made that the traffic drop might be due to lunchtime but that didn’t make sense to me. Especially as lunchtimes across the US are obviously spread out and also because lunchtimes would not cause excessive packet loss. So I decided to have a look at the stats for Europe. To my surprise the same thing was going on there:


Next were the global stats which showed the same story:


So there has been a substantial increase in response time and packet loss resulting in a big dip in internet traffic, across the globe AT THE SAME TIME…

That was a serious Whiskey Tango Foxtrot situation. So I had a look at the global stats for the last 30 days. These stats indeed confirmed what I described above but it also showed a few other interesting facts;

  • An even bigger blip had occurred around October 8-9.
  • There has been a steady increase in response times & packet loss since October 8th.


Now there might be perfectly harmless explanation for this but we are looking at a homogenous network across the global with components managed and owned by a mix of private and public sector organisations. To see a global trend in performance across the whole network for a prolonged time is something that raises questions. So I decided to run a quick search for other reports on this and stumbled across an article by ABC news. The article basically reported in a bit more detail what I outlined above. It reported that Youtube, Amazon, Google’s App Engine, Tumblr and other sites had been affected. However most interesting was that there was no explanation offered for what might have caused this degradation.

I will keep digging..

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