2 polls for your next cocktail hour

Here are two off-the-wall political polls that will provide great entertainment fodder at your next cocktail social.

First, there was a poll taken in January by Abacus Data that revealed how Canadians felt about doing common, everyday things with our federal political leaders. Participants were asked which of the three federal politicians best fit a random sample of eight descriptors from a possible 16 and here is what was found:

  • Harper scored highest with Canadians in five of the descriptors, with respondents picking him best suited to be the CEO of a large company (47%), give investment advice (46%), give career advice (41%), give advice to your children about their future (37%) and negotiate a contract on your behalf (38%).
  • Canadians believed Thomas Mulcair is the most compassionate and competent – he would also be most likely to loan you $100 (38%). Mulcair was a close second to PM Harper in negotiating a contract (35%), giving career advice (36%) and advising your children (33%). Even with this generous, compassionate side, the NDP Leader was not thought of as financially or management savvy as the PM.
  • Justin Trudeau was chosen as the best fit for 10 of 16 possible descriptors, including trust to choose a good movie to watch (53%), prefer to have babysit your kids (44%), most able to survive in the wilderness (42%), and trust to look after your pet (40%).

To review the news media report of this poll, click here.

Then there is a poll conducted last month by Reuters-Ipsos that gauged the popularity of the President of the United States and, then, compared how Americans’ felt about various fictional U.S. Presidents found in modern-era T.V. and Hollywood.

54% of Americans held an unfavourable opinion of Obama, known for his cool and cautious presidential style, while 46% were favourable. Americans proved sharply divided along partisan lines.

Now how does this stack up against “the other” pulp Presidents?

  • President David Palmer (played by actor: Dennis Haysbert) of “24”, the Fox counter-terrorism drama, has a very favourable rating of 89%.
  • President Jed Bartlet (Martin Sheen) of NBC’s award-winning “The West Wing” was rated favourably by 82%.
  • President Laura Roslin (Mary McDonnell) of “Battlestar Galactica” on SyFy, drew a 78% favourable rating.
  • Philandering, scotch-swilling President Fitzgerald “Fitz” Grant (Tony Goldwyn) of ABC’s drama “Scandal” has a 60% favourable rating – still above President Obama’s.
  • President Frank Underwood (Kevin Spacey) of Netflix’s political thriller “House of Cards” – a murderer and scheming character – has 57% of Americans holding a favourable opinion of him. Believe that! President Underwood out-polled President Obama.

Reuters-Ipsos did point out in their poll release that the findings provide some solace to Barack Obama… “He is more popular with Americans than Russian President Vladimir Putin. Seventy-six percent of Americans had an unfavourable view of Putin, according to the poll, while 24 percent were favourable.”

So, from considering Justin the babysitter to hailing President Underwood, there is plenty to talk about here…. pass the hors d’oeuvres, will you please?

President Obama and ISIS

In a very provocative opinion piece, American political pundit Rachel Alexander (co-editor of Intellectual Conservative) identifies American President Obama as the primary reason: Why Americans don’t care about ISIS

Alexander observes:

     We see the horrifying images of prisoners in orange jumpsuits about to be beheaded everywhere now in the news, but not much seems to happen in response. These images have worsened into chilling photos of Christians burned alive, yet nothing changes. Ancient relics are being destroyed by these barbarians, erasing centuries-old treasured records of Biblical days. Thousands are slaughtered every month by the 30,000 to 50,000 jihadists now fighting with ISIS, and young boys are recruited into the army and girls kidnapped and sold into sex slavery.

     Meanwhile, Americans continue to go about their daily lives as if there is no war going on, centered on their smartphones and Starbucks coffee, mostly oblivious to the increase in the most depraved mass murders taking place during most of our lifetimes.

Alexander provides the following analogy to summarize the current American sentiment.

     Americans’ apathy is akin to a frog in a pot of water that is slowly heating up, not realizing what is happening until it is too late. ISIS’s jihadist violence is increasing, but the more it increases, the more Americans seem to tune it out.

This is a troubling read and one that helps to put into perspective President Obama’s tact on Middle East and ISIS crises and the American public’s response to the worsening situation. Read the full article on the website Enter Stage Right, right here: Why Americans don’t care about ISIS

Here are a few news links that provide a glimpse into the President’s current thinking on ISIS…

RCPV: OReilly: is Obama Losing the War on Terror?

CDN: ISIS, the Crusades, and Obama’s Islamic worldview

UK Independent: President Obama claims rise of ISIS is unintended consequence of George W. Bushs invasion of Iraq

Fox News: As ISIS terror grows Obamas top regret is not closing Guantanamo

NY Post: Obama is as clueless about 9/11 as he is about ISIS 

It is all troubling.

 

 

President Obama in Tucson – in one word: poignant

    

Last evening, U.S. President Barack Obama addressed a mourning Tucson audience and an anxious nation watching in on the State’s memorial service. The President’s words and message gave all a reason to pause. His was a very moving commentary in the face of an inexplicable shooting. Here’s but one poignant passage:

 

     You see, when a tragedy like this strikes, it is part of our nature to demand explanations – to try to impose some order on the chaos, and make sense out of that which seems senseless. Already we’ve seen a national conversation commence, not only about the motivations behind these killings, but about everything from the merits of gun safety laws to the adequacy of our mental health systems. Much of this process, of debating what might be done to prevent such tragedies in the future, is an essential ingredient in our exercise of self-government.

     But at a time when our discourse has become so sharply polarized – at a time when we are far too eager to lay the blame for all that ails the world at the feet of those who think differently than we do – it’s important for us to pause for a moment and make sure that we are talking with each other in a way that heals, not a way that wounds.

Scripture tells us that there is evil in the world, and that terrible things happen for reasons that defy human understanding. In the words of Job, “when I looked for light, then came darkness.” Bad things happen, and we must guard against simple explanations in the aftermath.

     For the truth is that none of us can know exactly what triggered this vicious attack. None of us can know with any certainty what might have stopped those shots from being fired, or what thoughts lurked in the inner recesses of a violent man’s mind.

So yes, we must examine all the facts behind this tragedy. We cannot and will not be passive in the face of such violence. We should be willing to challenge old assumptions in order to lessen the prospects of violence in the future.

     But what we can’t do is use this tragedy as one more occasion to turn on one another. As we discuss these issues, let each of us do so with a good dose of humility. Rather than pointing fingers or assigning blame, let us use this occasion to expand our moral imaginations, to listen to each other more carefully, to sharpen our instincts for empathy, and remind ourselves of all the ways our hopes and dreams are bound together.

 

To read the full text of the speech, click here:

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/13/us/politics/13obama-text.html?pagewanted=1&_r=2&ref=us

 

To see the video of President Obama’s address, click here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ztbJmXQDIGA

 

Hedges’ take: “The road ahead is grim”

 

Chris Hedges’ Empire of Illusion is a must-read for those who want to go into the impeding crises our country face with their eyes wide-open.  In the last of the book’s chapters on today’s political leadership, Hedges holds out little hope for the actions of President Barack Obama. Here’s a rather pessimistic take on the state of the Union (pg 178): 

 

     The road ahead is grim. The United Nations’ International Labour Organization estimates that some 50 million workers will lose their jobs worldwide in 2009. The collapse had already seen close to 4 million lost jobs in the United States by mid-2009. The International Monetary Fund’s prediction for global economic growth in 2009 is 0.5 percent – the worst since the Second World War. There were 2.3 million properties in the United States that received a default notice or were repossessed in 2008.  And this number is set to rise, especially as vacant commercial real estate begins to be foreclosed. About 20,000 major global banks collapsed, were sold, or were nationalized in 2008. An estimated 62,000 U.S. companies are expected to shut down in 2009.

 

     We have few tools left to dig our way out. The manufacturing sector in the United States has been dismantled by globalization. Consumers, thanks to credit card companies and easy lines of credit, are $14 trillion in debt. The government has spent, lent, or guaranteed $ 12.8 trillion towards the crisis, most of it borrowed or printed in the form of new money. It is borrowing to fund our wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. And no one states the obvious: We will never be able to pay these loans back. We are suppose to spend our way out of the crisis and maintain our part of the grand imperial project on credit. We are supposed to bring back the illusion of wealth created by the bubble economy. There is no coherent and realistic plan, one built around our severe limitations, to stanch the bleeding or ameliorate the mounting deprivations we will suffer as citizens. Contrast this with the national security state’s preparations to crush potential civil unrest, and you get a glimpse of the future.

 

This excerpt was from Chris Hedges’ masterful Empire of Illusion. To read how Hedges views the Obama presidency, read “Buying Brand Obama” and other columns on the state of today’s political scene south of the border:

http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/20090503_buying_brand_obama/