Archive for February, 2010

Federal Popularity Plunges Again

The federal government isn’t a very popular institution these days, and despite a boost under the Obama brand, the public attitude toward D.C. is once again slipping toward some combination of disgust and apathy.  Disgust because of the things they do and the ways they waste our money, and apathy for the fact that we know we’re essentially powerless to stop them.

While Obama support is still running neck-and-neck with opposition, Congress and the healthcare plan have not fared so well.

Currently, about 20% or 1 in 5 Americans is confident in the job being done by Congress – 75% or 3 in 4 Americans think Congress is doing a poor job.  Obviously, this can’t be explained away by partisanship.  Its clear instead that Democrats as well as Republicans are becoming frustrated with the priorities and “solutions” being offered by federal legislation.

On healthcare, Americans have been turning against the proposal since the public option was gutted.  For every further compromise that has been made, they’ve lost even more supporters – and now just less than 40% of Americans still want the plan to go through.  It was over 50% in June, but they were discussing a much different bill at that time.  (Coincidentally, the more popular version would have been less generous to the established insurance cartel, so Congress had to fix that!)

And finally, for the direction of the country and where we are headed:  About 1 in 3 Americans are happy with the path they see, but 2 in 3 are worried about the future because of the choices we’re making today.

Will the politicians realize that they don’t have the legitimate support of popular opinion behind their acts?  Well, they probably do realize already – but they also know that doesn’t stop them from spending insane amounts of money to build up strategic alliances and personal wealth..

US Army could Kill American Citizens Abroad

Word is leaking out that the military assassination of U.S. citizens could be an official policy of the Pentagon in its never-ending “War on Terror.”

This grisly turn of events was first authorized by former president Bush, but there is no evidence that Obama has taken a contrary stance or moved to change the army’s stance.

Of course war is hell, but American citizens usually believe that they’re protected by trial, or Congressional debate, or at least a chance to write a letter to their editor protesting their innocence.

No, in the New World Order, American citizens may be designated as due for execution without any due process or chance for appeal.  The executioner will not show up with a legal summons, but with a bullet or a bomb.

Healthcare debate on TV

Since TV is what Americans actually spend time on, Obama has decided to bring the debate to the people.

On February 25th, you might get a chance to watch the circus in high-def.  But we wouldn’t call this definite just yet, because Republican leaders are claiming that they haven’t heard anything “official” yet.  While Obama is speaking of the event as a certainty, there’s no sign that anyone else is quite as sure about whether or not it will actually happen.
There are quite a few reasons, in fact, why neither Republicans nor Democrats would want to be seen publicly defending their ridiculous positions.  For the Republicans, there basically is no argument other than to stop Democrats and therefor preserve the status quo.  While this rallies those who particularly fear or hate the Democrat’s plan, it doesn’t win over that vast majority that is unhappy with the current healthcare situation.

For Democrats, they’re going to be forced to answer why their solutions all involve caving in to the various lobbying interests that have conspired to advance their own self interest at the cost of the broader public.

Then again, who will really call the other out on their sins and who has the credibility to make such an accusation stick in the minds of voters?

If there’s a debate, we’ll be lucky to hear anything truly substantial beyond a few career public speakers trying to score points with witty remarks and snappy comebacks.

Palin wants to run, ensure Obama re-election

Little could do more to ensure the re-election of President Obama than Sarah Palin taking a serious attempt at the office in 2012.  While she does have the support of a dedicated following, her appeal is too limited to offer a real chance at a national victory.  Even if she wins some large southern states, none of them really has the population to overcome the absolute losses in California, New England, and the Pacific Northwest.  Even in the South and Midwest, many moderates would be unlikely to throw their support behind this divisive character.

Frankly, a lot of us think she’s an idiot.  And that doesn’t speak well for her supporters.

Tea Party Crashes, Fizzles

While I’m sympathetic to those who believe our government is acting beyond its intended functions and wasting the wealth of the American people, it is hard to not laugh a bit at how the Tea Party movement has been jerked and led around by the Republican party establishment that is most guilty of unconstitutional expansions and unnecessary military spending.

Not long after Ron Paul’s supporters came up with the idea for a Tea Party donation event, conservative PR specialists have been trying to find a way to co-opt the growing anger on the right side of things.

Within a few months of the donation Tea Party, a new “Tea Party protest” was being planned for tax day.  Suddenly though, anyone who had participated in the first grass-roots movement would have sensed that something was wrong.  Whereas the first Tea Party event had been organized exclusively by individuals without political connections, the second one was funded by all of the Republican operatives and front groups you might have come to expect.

When it was announced then that Sarah Palin and Tom Tancredo would be headlining the Tea Party convention and that tickets would cost almost $600 a piece, it should have been clear to even the slowest political analysts that this was little more than the old nativist neo-cons trying to regroup following the epic disgrace known as 8 years of Bush.

I don’t know what they talked about there, but I can take a guess.  Tancredo is one of those who seems to think that all evil in America came here from across the Mexican border, and Palin is so out there that we’re not sure she’s thinking about anything at all.  So frankly, I also don’t care what they were talking about at the Tea Party conference, because as far as I’m concerned this is just the new euphemism for neo-con.

But there’s still a downside here … is it possible for a legitimate opposition to form against the government that’s otherwise out of control?  If voter anger can so easily be corralled into a new establishment font group, what hope is there of reform coming from voter movements?

Huge Budget Feeds War Machine

The President has unveiled his proposal for next year’s federal budget, and the results point to a further escalation in military actions and spending.  Despite campaign promises to reign in the military machine, the numbers presented will be a significant boost over last year’s already inflated numbers.

Now, Obama didn’t exactly run as a dove, but he was branding himself as the “least hawkish” of the hawks we could have otherwise chosen from.

Will America reward Obama for expanding our military actions and spending a billion on airport scanner machines that don’t actually detect the bombs they’re supposed to be protecting us from?

Bin Laden’s stated goal was to bankrupt the United States in an unwinnable war on Islamic soil.  So far, we seem to be playing right in to his plans.