Polls; Panoply of America’s Age of Unreason

American Failure in Education, Reason- Moyers, Susan Jacoby

copyright © 2009 Betsy L. Angert.  BeThink.org

He is up.  He is down!  Thankfully, the opposition says, “Soon he will be out of favor and ultimately out of office!” If voters do not remove the renegade from his prestigious position, term limits certainly will do him in.  Liberal loyalists assert; President Obama is not the problem.  Congress is the cruel joke. It seems no matter the political persuasion, citizens of this country find someone to fault.  Surely, societal ills are thrust upon the public by an outside force.  Regardless, of whether the electorate places the onus on an individual, an industry, the nation’s Chief Executive, or other government officials, the oft-heard battle cry in the Age of America’s Unreason is someone else is to blame.  The American people do not imagine themselves responsible for inertia.

This stark reality is perhaps most apparent in daily Presidential polls.  The Commander-In-Chief has a single four-year term to prove himself competent.  In truth, in the United States, the “first hundred days” determines how many minefields a President has managed to avoid.  The second turn of the calendar indicator follows closely behind.  If the Chief Executive has not proven himself golden in six months, his fate might be sealed.  Witness the woeful popularity numbers the Press reports most fervently.

In the Information Era, within a matter of weeks, an amplified and somewhat shallow assessment of American speciousness was available for all to see.  Periodicals and pundits alike announced, statistically speaking Mister Obama’s personal magnetism is no longer viable.  His favorable numbers have fallen drastically. The American people are not swayed by speeches.   Nor do the plans the President submits speak to the general public.

The count was first publicized in early July.  Ohio citizens were given an opportunity to express their disdain aloud in an early public opinion Quinnipiac University poll.  

In Michigan, a locality which, for years, has been mired in a “one State recession” skepticism has never waned.  While a bit more hopeful after the 2008 election, constituents from this Great Lakes region remained cautious.  By mid-July it became apparent, Mister Obama’s every promise would be scrutinized.  How could a population so severely depressed do much else.

By early August the raw data showed citizens countrywide were doubtful that Barack Obama was the correct choice. The public rated his job performance poor.  National Public Radio reported the results of a nationwide survey. By then, it was obvious; that the honeymoon lasted less than six months.  Indeed, it seemed, the registered voters, interviewed by a bipartisan panel, did not support the Administration’s plans.  His policies were deemed a failure.  A whopping forty-two percent of American’s stated they did not approve of Obama performance in office.  Perchance, many anxious Americans in the Age of Unreason were ready for a divorce.

For some, the “Recovery” plan did not revive the economy as promised. Others fear the Health Care coverage options the President has put forth will be catastrophic to them and their families.

The stimulus package did not serve to satisfy the people in the areas of the country hardest hit by the economic downturn. Information that conflicts with raw rants does nothing to confirm slow yet substantive successes.  For the more vocal masses, the Recovery plan offered no relief for the Middle Class.  As the summer wanes, so too does support for the President. In the American Era of emotional Evaluations it appears, there is consensus.  The Obama White House has not helped improve the economy.  Countrywide, citizens clamor.  Change has not come.  

Chants, cheers and jeers are palpable  “Candidate Obama’s commitments were only political ploys.”  The latest polls illustrate, Independents and Republicans who once felt they could trust the Illinois Statesman, now believe he is no better than all the other politicians.  Driven by emotional elucidations, Americans rationalize Presidents have an omnipotent power.  The conventional wisdom is the people need only vote for a person with the Audacity to Hope. That person will inspire a nation to move mountains.  He [or perhaps she] will make my life better.  “Damn the torpedoes. Full speed ahead” is the rally cry during a political campaign.

However, sadly, during the post election season reality set in .  Faith faded swiftly.

This angst is expressed as distress.  Anyone in a position of power is thought to be a disappointment to persons whose pocketbooks are empty and by the affluent who now may earn a bit less than they would like to.  The President of the United States, this time Barack Obama is thought to be responsible for all that is wrong with America.

Reactions, what we the people do as a result of what occurs, may reveal an irrationality all American’s possess. In this civilized country, personal attacks are the preferred means for engagement.  Through film, theatre, and television, residents in urban and rural environs have been trained to seek quick answers.  In these mediums, a story can be introduced, involve an audience, and offer a resolution, all within twenty-two [22] minutes.

Advertisers, more prevelant post World War II, understand that the medium is the message.  A product can be sold within four [4] seconds.  Anger can be generated just as quickly

The cost for immediate gratification and irritation is dear.  Since the 1950s, credit has help to satiated urgent desires.  Americans have been inured to habitually react.  The population proclaims, “Do it now or do not do it at all.”  “If you cannot turn down the heat, get out of our kitchen.”

As is characteristic in the Age of Unreason, if there is a perceived problem, the President, Congress, City Hall, or whoever might be deemed liable for the public’s pain, will receive the brunt of an American’s wrath.

One might hear the calls wherever he or she may live.  Many amongst the electorate anxiously await the day voters will be able to once again “Kick the bums out.”  Republicans may rage.  Independents become more impatient.

Progressive persons propose that the lack of follow through is not the fault of Barack Obama.  Individuals who still wish to believe that they are Organizing For America place the onus on Congress.  Their rant, “Representatives in each political Party are the problem.”  Independents, Republicans, and those who lean Left have reached in accord; “Invoke term limits,” they shout.

Accepted American adages in these less than reflective times are a constant.  Turn on the television and hear, “If you cannot get with the program, then, get the Hades out.”  Stand on a street corner and listen; “You are either with us or against us.” Stroll down the avenue and someone will screech, “Move on” or be mowed over.  In the States, there is no patience for a slow progression.  Ignorance, lack of full knowledge, and unawareness can lead to actions born  in haste.  People in the United States have no time to waste.  Attention spans are very short in the Age of Unreason.  In this nation, the blame game is popular, more so than the President, elected Representatives, proposed plans and public policy.

Thus we see the repeated tallies. As the two-hundred day term ends, the number of dissatisfied Americans rise.  The President’s standing falls.  Fault is easily found; that is everyone is to blame for what ails this country, except the unreasonable citizens who wait for someone else to fix what the people choose to let stand.

Again and again, the American people do not think they are responsible for the nation’s inertia.  Only others are onerous. Thus, he is up.  He is down, and the people are one more time out of luck.

Please ponder the video presentation; American Failure in Education, Reason – Moyers, Susan Jacoby, or peruse the transcripts, The Age of American Unreason.  Please reflect on responsibility.  If you would, contemplate the reality; the President, prominent persons in Congress, paid Lobbyists, and persuasive corporations do not have the power that the people possess. If only the public truly chose to be the change they wish to see.

References for Unreason . . .

Infamous Anniversary of Attack

Global Greens 2008 – Bruce Gagnon (Maine, USA)

copyright © 2009 Betsy L. Angert.  BeThink.org

March 19, 2009, is a day that lives in infamy.  There were others in the past.  However, on this date six years ago, the United States launched what has come to be accepted as unwarranted attacks on Iraq.  Although, from the first, there were protests even in high places such as the Senate floor, unilaterally, Americans bombed an innocent people.  This time, for near two years prior, pretense was presented as truth.

The American people were told by their President how dangerous the Iraqi Al Qaida terrorists were.  George W. Bush assured anxious Americans, he would protect us.  Congress was warned of what would occur if the United States did not react to the Middle Eastern threat.  Commander Bush sent a letter on March 18, 2003.  Even as his eight-year term ended, he worked to establish in the minds of historians and the electorate who had experienced all that occurred, Mister Bush kept us safe.  

As recently as December 2008, the now former President proclaimed, a newly acquired nuance to the saga he has long recounted on the war in Iraq.  “It is true, as I have said many times, that Saddam Hussein was not connected to the 9/11 attacks.  But the decision to remove Saddam from power cannot be viewed in isolation from 9/11.”  Yet, he retained and repeated his ever-strident commitment to the combat.  “It was clear to me, to members of both political parties, and to many leaders around the world that after 9/11, this was a risk we could not afford to take.”

Americans, many of whom are content the Bush era has passed, refer to the 9/11 Commission Report to invalidate the claims of a President who no longer resides in the White House.  Currently, countless citizens take comfort; Barack Obama presides over the Oval Office.  The just elected Commander-In-Chief has already begun to take steps to remove beleaguered troops from the embattled frontlines.  

Since Mister Obama took office, citizens are less concerned with the war in Iraq.  Many have faith the President will do what is best for military men and women.  Some are encouraged by reports that the Commander-In-Chief will send combat soldiers stationed in Iraq home safely, or perhaps, individuals are focused on more personal realities.  Anxiety over a potential, probable, or actual job loss consumes countless Americans, more so than combat abroad does.  A pension-plan gone bust, a lack of health care coverage, and a possible home foreclosure take precedence for millions more than war.  Few of the common folk feel as troubled by occurrences in the Middle East.  Most merely hope Mister Obama will do what is best.  

Occasional outspoken exception can be heard.  On March 12, 2009, former Bush White House spokesman Ari Fleisher stated, “[A]fter September 11th, having been hit once, how could we take a chance that Saddam Hussein might not strike again?  We got a report saying al Qaeda is determined to attack the United States.”  Nonetheless, even Conservatives such as John McCain endorse President Obama’s plan for withdrawal.

Overall, opinions on Iraq, the war and the withdrawal are mixed, even among foreign policy experts.

Then there are the few who fear further folly in the Persian Gulf.  Progressives, be they political figures or peace activists amongst the public, think the Obama agenda to end the conflict in Iraq is too little and too late.  Official dissent is often stated diplomatically.  Personal pleas may be more moving.  

A week before the sixth anniversary of America’s Second Gulf War, regardless of the President’s intended withdrawal everyday people stood out in the streets, just as they had done throughout the war.  ‘Iraq is a symptom of a foreign policy and priorities” that the peaceful felt and feel they cannot sanction.

At local vigils nationwide attendees talked of their observation, verified in the news.  Americans support the President’s proposed Afghan buildup.   ”Enough!  Bring the Troops Home Now!” was the oft-heard cry from those who crave global harmony.  Most asked as they had during the fateful Bush years.  “What Do We Do Now?”

Bruce K. Gagnon, Coordinator of Global Network Against Weapons offers his perspective.  In an article published on June 14, 2007, the recipient of the Doctor Benjamin Spock’s Peacemaker Award presents his ten-point plan.

I often hear from people asking me, “What should we do about all this?  How can we stop Bush?”

I would first say that we must move beyond blaming Bush.  The fact of U.S. empire is bigger than Bush.  Hopefully by now, all of us are more clear how the Democrats have been, and are now, involved in enabling the whole U.S. military empire-building plan.  It is about corporate domination.  Bush is just the front man for the big money.

So to me that is step #1 .

Step #2  is to openly acknowledge that as a nation, and we as citizens, benefit from this U.S. military and economic empire.  By keeping our collective military boot on the necks of the people of the world we get control of a higher percentage of the world’s resources.  We, 5% of the global population in the U.S., use 25% of the global resource base.  This reality creates serious moral questions that cannot be ignored.

Step #3  is to recognize that we are addicted to war and to violence.  The very weaving together of our nation was predicated on violence when we began the extermination of the Native populations and introduced the institution of slavery.  A veteran of George Washington’s Army, in 1779, said, “I really felt guilty as I applied the torch to huts that were homes of content until we ravagers came spreading desolation everywhere..  Our mission here is ostensibly to destroy but may it not transpire, that we pillagers are carelessly sowing the seed of Empire.”  The soldier wrote this as Washington’s Army set out to remove the Iroquois civilization from New York state so that the U.S. government could expand its borders westward toward the Mississippi River.  The creation of the American empire was underway.

Our history since then has been endless war.  Two-Time Congressional Medal of Honor Recipient Major General Smedley D. Butler, U.S. Marine Corps, told the story in his book War is a Racket.  Butler recalls in his book, “I spent 33 years and 4 months in active military service….And during that period I spent most of my time as a high-class muscle man for Big Business, for Wall Street and the bankers.  In short, I was a racketeer, a gangster for capitalism….Thus I helped make Mexico and especially

Tampico safe for American oil interests in 1914.  I helped make Haiti and Cuba a decent place for the National City Bank boys to collect revenues in.  I helped in the raping of half a dozen Central American republics for the benefit of Wall Street….I helped purify Nicaragua for the international banking house of Brown Brothers in 1902-1912.  I brought light to the Dominican Republic for American sugar interests in 1916.  I helped make Honduras right for American fruit companies in 1903.  In China in 1927, I helped see to it that Standard Oil went on its way unmolested.”

Step # 4  We have to begin to change how we think about our country.  We have to learn to understand what oligarchy means.  I’ll save you the trouble of having to look up the definition – A government in which power is in the hands of a few.  When you have lost your democracy then what do the citizens do?  They must fight (non-violently) to take it back.  This of course means direct action and sometimes civil disobedience.  Virtually everything good in our nation (abolition of slavery movement, women’s suffrage, civil rights movement, anti-war movements, etc) have come from people stepping up when they were needed.  Calling for impeachment by the Congress becomes imperative today.  Are you in or out?

Step #5  Forget the “every man for himself” mythology.  We are all brainwashed in this country to believe in the rugged individualism story.  But movement for change can only happen in community – working with others.  So forget the egocentric notion that “one great man” is going to come save us.  It’s going to take a village – in fact all the villages.  Just like an addict goes to a group to seek help for addiction, knowing they can’t do it themselves, so we must form community to work for the needed change if we are to protect our children’s future.

Step # 6  What about my job?  Another smothering myth in America is success.  Keep your nose clean and don’t rock the boat.  Don’t get involved in politics, especially calling for a revolution of values (like Martin Luther King Jr. did) or you will get labeled and then you can forget about owning that castle on the hill you’ve always dreamed of.  In a way we become controlled by our own subservience to the success mythology.  We keep ourselves in line because success and upward mobility become more important than protecting free speech, clean water, clean air, and ending an out of control government bent on world domination.  Free our minds, free our bodies and we free the nation.

Step #7  Learn to work well with others.  Sure we all want to be stars.  But in the end we have to learn to set aside our egos if we want to be able to work with others to bring about the needed changes.  Cindy Sheehan should not be hammered just for telling the truth about the Democrats playing footsie with Bush on the war.

Step # 8  It’s the money.  How can I do this peace work when I have to work full-time just to pay the mortgage?  I’d like to help but I’ve got bills to pay!  Maybe we can begin to look at the consumerist life we lead and see that our addiction to the rat race keeps us from being fully engaged in the most important issue of our time – which is protecting the future generations.  How can we begin to explore cooperative living arrangements, by building community, that free us up economically to be able to get more involved?

Step # 9  Learn to read again.  Many of us don’t read enough.  We spend our time in front of the TV, which is a primary tool that the power structure uses to brainwash us.  We’ve got to become independent thinkers again and teach our kids to think for themselves.  Reading and talking to others is a key.  Read more history.  All the answers and lessons can be found there.

Step #10 Learn to trust again and have fun.  Some of the nicest people in the world are doing political work.  Meet them and become friends with them and your life will change for the better.

Mister Gagnon professes wars will be forever perpetual if we the people continue to consider our brethren an enemy.  If dominion is our preference, diplomacy will never be more than a mere word.  The public cannot blame George W. Bush or Barack Obama for its addiction to might and material goods.  Nor can we, the people expect an oligarchy to have the best interests of common folks at heart.  If consumption and competition are the principles that guide our population, battles will endure.  If peace is to ever come, as citizens, as a country, on every continent, the people must act in accordance with the principles most claim they hold dear.  Consistency, in thought and deed, can eliminate combat.

“Love thy neighbor” cannot be said only on Sundays, on the Sabbath, or in houses of worship.  Indeed, Bruce Gagnon might avow, as other peaceful persons do, March 19, 2009 is not the sixth anniversary of a war.  It is another date that lives in infamy, as has been every day in centuries of battles fought.

References for the reality of war . . .  

Bush/Obama Administration?


copyright © 2009 Forgiven.  The Disputed Truth

The average American looks up, they distrust politicians in general and they don’t think they’ve been told the truth, and I think they got good reason. They’ve watched a Bush/Obama spending cycle that began with a stimulus package last year which failed at $180 billion, a housing package in August which fail–or July which failed at $345 billion, a Wall Street bailout at $700 billion, a Federal Reserve guarantee of $4 trillion; a stimulus package of $787 billion, which we’re now being told weeks later isn’t big enough, but which had to be passed so quickly no one could read it, because we had to get it out there immediately.

~ Newt Gingrich

I saw the new, old face of the Republican Party this weekend on a Sunday talk show and I was shocked at the new tact of the Republicans. According to Newt Gingrich the last eight years has been the Bush/Obama administration. Who knew? In an effort to once again fasten President Obama to the current economic meltdown the new strategy appears to be to unite him to the failed policies of the Bush administration. The once revered George W. has now been turned into a tax and spend liberal by the very same people who heralded his accent to power. These people have no shame. They are willing to throw Bush under the bus for the sake of some political advantage that doesn’t exist. Do they think that the public is so incompetent that they don’t know the difference between Bush and Obama for the last eight years? Here’s a hint Obama is the tall, dark one.

So are we to assume that the last eight years were not Republican run as we were led to believe by their policies and their utter failure? So Republicans were not the ones who put the economy and our nation on the road to a “China Syndrome”. You have to hand it to them though that is innovative. You attach the incoming administration not only from another Party but another galaxy to the previous failed administration which happened to have been from your Party. My guess is that the goal of this strategy is to try and reduce the amount of patience the American people will have with the new President since he has been in office for the past eight years and hasn’t done anything.

Now for those following at home here is the latest. Not only did President Obama not inherit this economy he actually caused the economy to crash as a member of the Bush administration. Theoretically he has not been in office for only two months after all so his policies don’t deserve anytime to work. After all they are the same big spending, big government policies of that other liberal stalwart George W. Bush. How Mr. Gingrich can expect any national political aspirations to be taken seriously following comments like these are beyond me. But considering no one on the panel gave them a second look maybe he knows something I don’t. The problem with Mr. Gingrich and all of his new and old GOP faces is not that they are new or old; it is that their ideas are old. The GOP continues to repackage their “new” faces with the same failed ideas. I mean to try and pretend that the Republicans outside of George Bush had nothing to do with what is happening in the country today is ludicrous.

Mr. Gingrich would rather join his other political cohorts and fiddle while the empire burns and continue to be apologists for the wealthy than pitch in and help. For anyone to say it is unfair for the taxes of the wealthy to be raised after decades of tax-breaks and inequitable distribution of wealth is completely out of step with the mood of the country. For anyone to argue against giving 95% of working Americans a tax-break they are out of step with the mood of the country and the polls attest to this fact. While Mr. Gingrich and the other ignore the polls munchkins continue to try and deny his popularity the President’s numbers continue to rise. Now the new line is that the President has popularity but doesn’t have credibility with the people. Let’s be clear it is not the President that doesn’t have credibility it is the bankers, politicians, and talking heads that have no credibility. The public is tired of hearing about bankers and wall-streeters who continue to take bail-out money and hoard it or continue to live in a culture of a by-gone era. The public is tired of politicians who refuse to understand that they are hurting and “Just say no” is not an option. The public is tired of media-types who live in a bubble telling them who is at fault and who to trust.

Mr. Gingrich there was no Bush/Obama White House and until the Republicans can acknowledge their role in this economic melt-down and begin to articulate a new strategy that addresses these problems they have no credibility with the public. The public is not willing to ignore the last eight years or pretend they never happened. Until the Republicans can acknowledge their failures they are doomed to repeat them, but not at the expense of this nation. You can’t start a fire and then charge the firefighters with arson. The best thing the Republicans can do to avoid another 50 years in the wilderness is to begin to help craft real legislation that will turn this economy around at least then the Democrats won’t be able to take full credit for the salvation of our country.

“If the facts don’t fit the theory, change the facts.”

~ Albert Einstein