Bush Inaugural Approval Appalling

The link to Air America probably won't be active for much longer. This is referring to their "Top Stories" section, which doesn't seem to have any sort of permalink. Anyway, I'll link as much stuff as I can, as it's all very pertinent.

Here we stand, at the dawn of a new Bush Era. The country is in shambles, our economy is getting fucked over by the Shrub and hundreds of thousands(perhaps millions?) have died in Iraq, though we've not found a single WMD. So, what do the American people, a not-quite-majority of who re-elected this nut, think of where we're going? Well, perhaps this CBS/NYTimes poll has the answer:

Fifty-eight percent of Americans say their outlook on a second Bush term is generally optimistic – a low number when compared to Mr. Bush's approval rating before his first term or Bill Clinton's before his second. At the same time, 56 percent say the country is on the wrong track, versus 39 percent who say it is on the right track.

Looking four years down the line, most Americans see very little changing, despite the ambitious agenda Mr. Bush is laying out for his second term.

Most expect they will be as safe from terror at the end of a second Bush term as they are today, but not safer. They think the economy and education system will be the same, but not better.

Despite Mr. Bush's focus on tax cuts, 41 percent of Americans say their taxes will be higher in four years, while just 9 percent say their taxes will be lower; 47 percent expect their taxes to be the same.

While Mr. Bush has a stated goal of cutting the national deficit in half, two-thirds of Americans expect the deficit to be higher after four years.

A slight plurality of Americans, 38 percent, say there will be fewer U.S. troops in Iraq by the end of a second Bush term. But 30 percent say there will be more, and 28 percent say the number will be the same.

As for the most ambitious and controversial item on Mr. Bush's agenda – overhauling Social Security - Americans expect to see big changes by 2008. But 50 percent say Mr. Bush's call for private retirement savings accounts is a bad idea, versus 45 percent who say it's a good idea.

Perhaps best is the last part, where a pure majority of American's feel that Mr. Bush's biggest issue, Social Security reform, is a terrible idea. Of course, don't expect him to take notice of that fact. He'll never have any idea of what the "average American" thinks, from inside that little bubble of his. Moving on...

Apparently foreigners continue to hate America, as shown by this poll:

A poll of 21 countries published yesterday - reflecting opinion in Africa, Latin America, North America, Asia and Europe - showed that a clear majority have grave fears about the next four years.

Fifty-eight per cent of the 22,000 who took part in the poll, commissioned by the BBC World Service, said they expected Mr Bush to have a negative impact on peace and security, compared with only 26% who considered him a positive force.

The survey also indicated for the first time that dislike of Mr Bush is translating into a dislike of Americans in general.

The numbers get worse by the day. As the election date passes, and things get worse in Iraq(we all know they will), perception will darken and eventually it won't be safe to travel abroad. Good thing I got my European vacation out of the way long ago.

Of course, we all know Condi Rice is moving up in the world. Thank God, because she certainly doesn't need to be looking out for our security anymore. I mean, could the memo have been any more plainly-worded? Anyway, big ups to Barbera Boxer for showing she's got some sense(as well as Mr. Kerry) and here's David Corn's excellent take on the situation, even if it's basically "old news."

This just in from the "ironic offings" department, check out what happened in Iraq, according to the LA Times:

An American contractor gunned down last month in Iraq had accused Iraqi Defense Ministry officials of corruption days before his death, according to a report in Thursday's Los Angeles Times. "Dale Stoffel, 43, was shot to death Dec. 8 shortly after leaving an Iraqi military base north of Baghdad, an attack attributed at the time to Iraqi insurgents. Also killed was a business associate, Joseph Wemple, 49," the LA Times reports. The killings came after Stoffel alerted senior U.S. officials in Washington "that he believed Iraqi Defense Ministry officials were part of a kickback scheme involving a multimillion-dollar contract awarded to his company."

Of course, a little more blood on the hands of Bush(or whoever ordered this execution) shouldn't matter. I mean, their hands are already so fucking red they'll never even notice.

An Iraqi girl screams after her parents were killed when U.S. Soldiers fired on their car during a dusk patrol January 18, 2005 in Tal Afar, Iraq. The car held an Iraqi family of seven of which the mother and father were killed.

Photographer Chris Hondros

Agency: Getty Images

Photo Date: JANUARY 18

Lastly, you can read Rick Perlstein's new article, Eve of Destruction, in the Village Voice, but only if you're in for a bit of a downer:

It shows up in the tautological narcissism of Bush's National Security Strategy document, which actually uses the phrase "the best defense is a good offense," and artfully constructs a vision in which whatever the United States does to preserve its interest is always already "peaceful," even when it requires war, is always already "democratic," even when it requires installing governments by fiat, is always already selfless, even as it establishes only two categories of states, those who cooperate and those who do not, in a situation of crisis defined unilaterally and whose time horizon stretches to infinity.

...The next four years? Anticipate another possible terrorist attack, certainly. Tommy Thompson, leaving his post as secretary of Health and Human Services, used his newfound freedom to wonder aloud why his bosses hadn't done anything to prevent an attack on "our food supply, because it's so easy to do." The EPA said an attack on any of 123 chemical plants would threaten over a million people—then the Department of Homeland Security took over the job, changed the measurements, and found that only two would do that. The chemical industry gives a hell of a lot of money to the Republicans.

Horray. God Bless our troops in harms way and God HELP this country.
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