A dark cloud settles over America

As America heads into perhaps its most pivotal Presidential election in modern times candidates for the highest office in the land face an angry, disillusioned, depressed electorate that fear hard times now and see harder times ahead.

Many Americans face the coming year with sullenness and despair. Many have lost their homes as foreclosures mount. Many lost their jobs and face uncertain employment prospects for the future.

Here at Capitol Hill Blue we see that anger and darkness daily in our interaction with readers. It spills out in comments to stories, dominates discussion and touches most of the stories we print.

Many readers ask "what's the use?" In an election where "change" dominates the debate, most voters don't expect change. They see little hope from any of the candidates on either side of the political aisle.

The mood of the nation is dark, the outlook is bleak and hope has all but vanished.

Reports The New York Times:

Whatever their ideological differences this election year, Americans seem able to agree on one thing: the political landscape being crisscrossed by the 2008 candidates is barely recognizable as the one traveled by George W. Bush and Al Gore a mere eight years ago.

Obviously, Sept. 11 and its aftermath have changed the country in countless and irretrievable ways. But even beyond the emergence of war and national security as pre-eminent concerns, there has been a profound reordering of domestic priorities, a darkening of the country’s mood and, in the eyes of many, a fraying of America’s very sense of itself.

While not universal, that tone pervaded dozens of interviews conducted over the last week with Americans of all political stripes in 8 of the 24 states that hold primaries or caucuses on Feb. 5, as well as with historians, elected officials, political strategists and poll takers. As the candidates fan out to New York and California and here to the heartland, they are confronting an electorate that is deeply unsettled about the United States’ place in the world and its ability to control its own destiny.

Since World War II, the assumption of American hegemony has never been much in doubt. That it now is, at least for some people, has given this campaign a sense of urgency that was not always felt in 2000, despite the dramatic outcome of that race.

Several writers and historians remarked on the psychological impact of such a jarring end to the Pax Americana, just as it seemed that victory in the cold war might usher in prolonged prosperity and relative peace (save the occasional mop-up operation). Its confluence with an era of unparalleled technological innovation had only heightened the nation’s sense of post-millennial possibility.

Now, Americans feel a loss of autonomy, in their own lives and in the nation. Their politics are driven by the powerlessness they feel to control their financial well-being, their safety, their environment, their health and the country’s borders. They question whether each generation will continue to ascend the economic ladder. That the political system seems so impotent only deepens their frustration and their insistence on results.


  1. AustinRanter

    Sandra…According to James Madison

    I think in the Federalist Papers that he pretty much predicted that our government, as we know it today was inevitable (UNLESS) We the People stood close guard over them. We the People have NOT stood close guard. And that’s an understatement.

  2. Carl Nemo

    Hi jay_spaan…

    Firstly, our Congress who’s in the hip pocket of the predacious banking industry is not going to cap ARM’s. Heaven forbid this would interfere with their free market principles; all of them toadies for the “pirate capitalists” who could care less about the suffering of the unwashed masses.

    ARM’s adjustable rate mortages were a bad idea from the getgo at least for borrowers. To me it was a bait then switch tactic. The purpose was to lure home purchasers with low rates knowing that the odds were stacked in their favor over time; ie., of bleeding the borrower white.

    Rates are now on an artifically conspired downward path, but when foreign sources of capital dry up to finance our profligate federal government’s spending ways we will be forced to pay stiff vigorish to entice lenders to the table causing a tsunami effect in interest rates. You don’t want to be caught with an ARM when that wave hits the beach. In fact he Fed funds rate is entirely decoupled from the 30 year U.S. Treasury and LIBOR.

    ARMS have been around for some time now, but basically you are living your life as a function of the interest rate market; evidently reflected in the quality of your life.

    If you want to sleep easy then the best advice I could offer you and others is to find a fixed rate mortgage lender with solid credentials and convert to a fixed rate 20-30 year mortgage or even less time if you can afford the payment.

    It’s simply no way to live knowing you have “the sword of Damocles” over your neck concerning house payments. Many times a deal is not a deal and an ARM is one of them.

    Shop for a fixed rate lender of substance and one that doesn’t charge ruinous refinancing fees.

    Best of luck…
    Carl Nemo **==

  3. Sandra Price

    Our problems come directly from our federal government that has allowed the major corporations to fall into a corruption that should have been stopped by the CEOs and the Board of Directors. It comes from the abuse of the lobbyists who pay off the Congress in return for allowing the corporations to become the center of our corruption.

    “The Smartest Guys in the Room” is the story of Ken Lay and Enron and the support from the Bush family to make millions on this corrupt group of men. The Security Exchange should have been flagged regarding the corruption but nobody turned a head even when the whole thing collapsed and people lost their retirements and investments. We allowed it and Bush sailed through without losing a dime.

    We assume that our White House can be trusted and we are to blame when it cannot. Six months before Enron collapsed, I was in D.C. attending a Shakespeare play and on our way out there was a crowd in the lobby all surrounding Mr. and Mrs. Lay. I was introduced and had to admit I never heard of them or Enron. These people were like rock stars surrounded by adoring fans.

    I listen to the speeches of the Republican candidates and can see more Ken Lays forming under these people. They all want to rule the world as American dictators and the voters will elect the one with the best hair.

    I listen to the speeches of the Democrats and they too are drooling in anticipation of world power. I do not trust the Congress to correct the corruption by simply controlling the government. They have shown little moral judgment in the last couple of years.

    Throw the bastards out!

  4. jay_spaan_sr

    CHB readers, I think, are smarter than the average bear. Could someone please comment on my idea that lowering ARMs to a reasonable profit to stop repos would be a great first step? 2 million people are losing their homes because mortgage companies are ripping people off on ARMs, raising payments beyond their income-to debt.

    They have raised my ARM, and I have quit eating out as much. Don’t go to hockey games any more. Don’t play golf or go to my favorite tavern once a month. Mortgage company gets theirs, but others pay the price.

    Any comments please? Too simple a solution?

  5. scottharmon

    I must agree with a few posters here–politics is not the prime, or only, answer to our problems. It is becoming increasingly evident that politics, especially national-level politics, is the source of many of our problems. As more problems mount–crumbling infrastructure, housing problems, economic suffering, infringements on rights and liberties, losses of jobs, and so forth, the culprits vary, but one central actor looms larger than most: a leviathin federal government. One only has to think of the enormous amount of problems being driven by an ever-encroaching federal government: more direct taxation, inflationary taxation, incessant warfare, outsourcing of jobs (created by bad policy), industrialization of the medical system, and many other programs that are encouraged by ideology and interventionism of the government and the multinational corporations that encourage the government to “enforce” and legislate over pet programs. If Americans were left to their own devices, creativity, and free will, a good number of these problems would probably work themselves out, or at least not grow to the extent they have. However, government is something that we cannot escape, in the current scheme: the war, taxation, faltering programs, bureaucracy, and big-business schemes are forced upon us in ways that would not occur if the government were not so invasive and protectionist.

    Now, instead of using these elections to “solve” our problems (which won’t happen), we should use the political process to minimize the government’s influence. First, we need to work around the “system” as best as possible (for example, getting out of debt and not accruing anymore of it). Then, we have to work to disable the leviathin. That means unelecting big government politicians, voting against warmongers, boycotting bad policies and corporations and government mandates, and using civil disobedience (like rights of refusal) to enforce individual will and rights. I have often wondered why so many people tolerate the madness of airline travel. I, for one, won’t submit to the TSA nonsense–so, I won’t fly. If thousands of people resisted, there would be an impact. I know, people will tell me they must fly, that they must do this or that because the system requires it. Fine. But where does it stop? If the answer to everything is, “we have to do this or that,” then the problem emanates there, in that thinking. There are many creative ways to get around the system, and we as creative Americans should be using our thinking skills to work around the system. There are many, many things that can be done. Only our own willingness to believe that the leviathin will solve our problems, and our own belief in the feeling of helplessness, will permit the system (and its handlers) to accrue more power over us and further erode the American way of life (as we used to know it). Start thinking, start acting, and start taking control.

  6. acf

    As America heads into perhaps its most pivotal Presidential election in modern times candidates for the highest office in the land face an angry, disillusioned, depressed electorate that fear hard times now and see harder times ahead.

    Really? What did they think the 2006 elections were saying, keep up the good work?

  7. Carl Nemo

    Hi SEAL…

    The forces at work are sponsored by 13th octave internationalists. Although the U.S. is a mighty nation militarily speaking and has a viable middle-class this means little to this Cecil Rhodes sponsored New World Order crowd.

    They are trying to destroy the concept of the nation-state on a world wide basis where there will no longer be national boundries, but simply great enterprise zones; ie., Europe, the Middle East and Africa and Russia, the Euro as their currency…the Americas from North to the tip of South America; ie., the Amero as the currency, and an Asian enterprise zone consisting of China, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, and Southeast Asia with possibly the Chinese currency the Yuan becoming the defacto asian zone currency due to China’s massive trade influence over the entire region.

    Eventually a geographical location will be named as the capitol for this world government, possibly “World Capitol Beijing” with faceless world beaurocrats calling the shots for the entire world controlling their lives, laws, taxation etc. What this amounts to is the destruction of lesser nation-states in order to create a world super-state. The super-wealthy, shadowy oligarchs, the world’s future “trillionaires” will be pulling the puppet strings of their beaurocratic running dogs that will be adminstering these world enterprise zones. The system of government will be a mix of corporatist/fascism and socialism/communism. There’s no room for true freedom or democratic principles, that too being snuffed by their destructive agenda.

    Regardless of what they name it, the people’s of the world will simply be numbered entities with imbedded RFID chips and even their future currency as we know it will be passe with the imbedding of the so-called life chip that will not only have all your stats stored, but will store everything you do and transact financially as you move through life. Total womb-to-tomb commoditization of a human being.

    Youngsters growing up in such a paradigm having nothing with which to compare will think this NWO “Matrix” is what normal everyday existence is all about. It will be like something from some of the futuristic movies we’ve seen in our times such as Logan’s Run, A Brave New World, 1984 etc. It will be a blend of both the best and worst of past failed ism’s and movie demonstrated paradigms.

    The U.N. would love to levy taxes on the nations of the world at this point in time and are set up to do so, except the extant U.N. is in massive disarray and needs a major overhaul, being overrun with massive corruption, as the future World government shall be too. The reason these schemes fail is that it ends up with a top heavy, byzantine beaurocracy of shuffle-butt, corrupt parasites exploiting the masses. Eventually the corruption eats away their system causing terminal rot and decay. This is an old, old, world and the best laid plans of both mice and men often go awry; ie., doomed to failure. Humankind seems to enjoy repeating mistakes of the past rarely learning from history. I guess we as a race of beings are slow learners… 😉


    Carl Nemo **==

  8. AustinRanter

    Seal…they do it because they can, it’s in their nature.

    There are many types of parasites that live a symbiotic life with a host…that will ultimately kill it’s host. Why?

    I don’t have a clue, I’m not that smart. It’s just the nature of being, I guess.

  9. SEAL

    Somebody explain to me why they want to destroy this nation. Don’t they need the power we possess. How do they plan on maintaining the military? Where will the money come from?

    They have already bankrupted us. The reason this nation was so strong was because we had such a strong middle class paying taxes. They have destroyed the middle class and the wealthy and the corporations do not pay taxes. They have created an enormous debt we do not have the ability to pay unless we make radical changes in our lives and force those wealthy ones to give up much of their wealth. But they aren’t going to do that.

    They want to destroy this nation. But won’t they lose their power if they do that? It makes no sense to me.

  10. Carl Nemo

    Thanks Mark Ruby for your Canadian based views concerning our national predicament. Truly a well-worded spot-on warning concerning our impending national crisis…!

    Carl Nemo **==

  11. mark ruby

    Firstly, I am not an American. I watch your news very closely because it affects me and my country (Canada) very much. Unfortunately, your politics are very pertinent, mainly because your country at the present point in time has ben hijacked, and your political parties hijacked, by what appears to be an undemocratic cabal with strong leanings towards Fascism. (Big Business/Big Government collusion)

    Any country that allows their political process to be controlled by such a group ( no-paper voting machines that have been proven to be open to manipulation, intimidation, dishonesty, and the like) should be prepared for what hits them. In this situation, it is no longer a democracy, it exists at the whim of your dictators. From our viewpoint, your international prestige is a shambles, no-one believes you anymore, no-one respects you anymore, and on and on. From my experience in life, anyone who destroys their relationships in such a way with their FRIENDS is a fool.

    Their are many good well-meaning people in your country, but how on earth are they going to prevail in their struggle when the political process is broken?? ( just look at the collection of potential “leaders” in this group of presidential candidates. For goodness sake, most of them appear to be even worse than the lot you have now)
    No surprise, since I suspect that the vast majority of them are being controlled by the same forces which control the present government. Wasn’t it your tremendous President Eisenhower that warned about this group, that he called the ” industrial/military complex” ? You all have a lot of work to do, good luck.

  12. mikee59

    Thanks dbumRob for the well-written assessment. If I have anything to add, it’s this. From where we stand, it appears that we’re in decline, but that judgment can be made only after the fact. And even if we look at things from today, I would have to ask, Decline with respect to what? Some point to the 1950s as a Golden Age, but that’s nostalgia. If you were black, or gay, or even suspected of having communist leanings, the 1950s sucked. Then some would say, well, the period after the Revolutionary War. What about the Alien and Sedition Act (which was overturned)? Or Lincoln suspending Habeas Corpus (which was corrected)? Or the red-scare and anti-immigration legislation of the 1920s?

    We are in a period of rapid and dramatic change. I think that we’re in a period not unlike the Industrial Revolution, only this change is far more wrenching and unsettling. When change happens, people often look back to some Golden Age when life was quieter and more calm (see above). The candidates talk about change, but the reality is no one really wants it. People want platitudes and someone to tell them what they (think) they want to hear. That, too, is as old as our Republic.

    History gives me hope, believe it or not. Having said that, history also suggests that it will get ugly in this country in a way we cannot imagine.

  13. Carl Nemo

    Hi JoyfulC…

    Yes indeed a casino, but a crooked casino and “We the People” have foolishly continued to play by their rules…!

    Carl Nemo **==