Storm clouds on the horizon
If you read past the main stream media's search for conflicts and scandals in the deaths of celebrities, you get past the sound and fury of the surly village churls, there are some serious political undercurrents swirling in America.
One is the apprehension of Obama supporters that he has gone back on the promises that they elected him to carry out.
Another is the growing resentment and condemnation of the agricultural lobby.
Joseph Galloway, the military columnist for McClatchy and former senior military correspondent for Knight Ridder, has unleashed a scalding criticism on what he sees as Obama's failures to carry out the mandate that got him elected. He says there was a golden moment when Obama could have accomplished the changes he promised, but that moment has slipped away.
- Obama has called off investigations into past government incidents and into the people and companies that brought down our economy.
- In working on the economy, he has reached out and accommodated the very people who created the mess.
- He promised we would never use torture as a national policy, but he has accommodated and relieved of responsibility the very people who created and used torture.
- He promised transparency in government, but he has adopted the very Bush practices that he promised to eliminate.
And bit by bit the possibility of change disappeared; bit by bit the hope of a renewed and reinvigorated American democracy and way of government faded away. Those who had held a dream in their hand closed their hand and crushed the dream.
The other complaint that is brewing is against the agriculture lobby and what is seen as the gross entitlements it expects and receives.
Washington Post business columnist Steven Pearlstein notes the stance of the agriculture lobby on the climate change bill:
But, for farmers, it wasn't enough to get a free pass on carbon emissions. They are unhappy that the effect of the caps and pollution permits will be to raise the price of their fuel, fertilizer and electricity. No matter that other Americans will suffer similar effects. In the mind of the entitled American farmer, any increase in costs or reduction in revenue -- whether from natural causes, market forces or government regulation -- must be compensated for by the government. .
In regard to assuming any responsibility for the environment, Pearlstein says,
And they demanded to be paid not just if they do these things in the future, but also if they did them last year or the year before. They demanded the payments even if they are already getting a check from the government to do the same things as part of some other conservation program. And perhaps most notably, they demanded that the job of supervising this offset program be shifted from the Environmental Protection Agency, whose focus would actually be ensuring that the reductions are real, to the Department of Agriculture, which sees its mission as preserving, protecting and defending American farm subsidies.
In regard to the vote on the bill, Pearlstein notes:
Bob Stallman, president of the American Farm Bureau Federation and the self-proclaimed "voice of agriculture," yesterday urged all House members to vote against the climate-change bill, claiming it would "result in a net economic cost to farmers with little or no environmental benefit."
The next time the world's most selfish lobby comes to Washington demanding drought relief, rvvvsomeone ought to have the good sense to tell them to go pound sand.
Pearlstein's attitude is one that is growing throughout the country. South Dakota is the focal point for some of the resentments and disapproval of government programs that subsidize agriculutre. A growing perception of the entire West River economy is of a parasite that subsists toally on government programs and is incapable of surviving on its own.
If people want the government to get out of the auto industry as fast as possible, many people think it should also get out of private agriculure just as quickly. Up to now, agriculuture has been regarded as apart from the corporate economy. It is increasingly identified as part of the corporate structure that rules America and its special privileges and exemptions can not be justified.
For Barack Obama, some serious opposition is building among his most fervent supporters.
And for South Dakota's congressional delegation, there is growing disparity between what their constituents want and what the rest of the country thinks they should have.