American Elephants


The Obama Agenda? The More You Learn, the Scarier it Gets! by The Elephant's Child

dense-city

Those of us on the right who have spent time puzzling over the supposed agenda of the Left and the Greens and where they intersect, have run into their idea that cities should become much more dense, with corridors connecting the large cities (think high-speed rail) with lots of environment in between. No suburbs. Where the small towns and the farms go, I’m not sure — they will, I assume still need to eat if all food is not grown in a laboratory.

Whether we sardines still get to go out into the environment for pleasure is questionable. Just what the environment contains is not clear. National Parks without people? Abundant wildlife — unmolested? Certainly no drilling for fossil fuels, that’s already off the agenda.  I always considered it the fantasies of the loony left and the green dreamers, but there is evidence that it is not entirely deranged fantasy.

The libertarian Pacific Legal Foundation last week filed a lawsuit against the Obama-supported bureaucrats who have created “Plan Bay Area,” an ambitions blueprint to block the creation of new suburbs and force the next 30 years of development in the nine-county San Francisco metropolitan region into a few hyper-dense Manhattan-style enclaves.

Stanley Kurtz describes the agenda: The bureaucratic name for “this kind of social engineering is TOD, Transit Oriented Development,” short for letting suburban highways deteriorate while squeezing as many apartments and businesses as possible into tiny neighborhoods around subway stations, so people stop using their cars.”

With help from the Obama administration, ambitious plans to impose TOD  are about to drop on the Minneapolis–St Paul metropolitan area. The Department of Housing and Urban Development’s new “fair housing’ rule is laying the groundwork for the nationalization of TOD.

The Pacific Legal Foundation’s lawsuit slams TOD as a bunch of “draconian development prescriptions” designed to “micro-manage people’s lifestyle choices.” There is a way forward, Pacific Legal  says “without curtailing people’s freedom to live in detached homes in suburban and rural areas with lawns and gardens.

Shall we say that — not everyone’s idea of trying to do the correct thing for the common good — is the same? No, that is far too mild. Do read the whole article . Stanley Kurtz is a serious scholar who has laid out the history, philosophy, and strategy behind Obama’s second-term assault on America’s suburbs in his latest book Spreading the Wealth. An earlier post explains how the plan is advancing in San Francisco. In the Twin Cities, Katherine Kersten, a conservative journalist, writes about the situation in Minneapolis–St. Paul. I guess you file this under “That Sinking Feeling” or”I Can’t Handle One More Thing to Worry About.”

Obama does not like suburbs. He’s a city person. (Nevermind the multimillion dollar residences he chooses for vacations and where he is presently installed). This is the area where the Left goes all haywire. They feel tremendous empathy for the poor and the underclass. They want them to be equal to everyone else, so no one will discriminate, because discrimination is bad. Making them equal involves taking the undeserved wealth of the very rich and big corporations and using it to fix the poor and the underclass. They keep trying different things, and assume that if they can just give them the accoutrements of the middle class, and enough stuff, then their pathology will disappear.

They have had “the War on Poverty,” Welfare, AFDC, Head Start, SNAP, Free Phones, Job Training, raised the minimum wage, Busing, Affirmative Action, taxed the rich, tried a Luxury Tax, given more and more money to the public schools, subsidized student loans, added program after program. Today they are forcing everyone on ObamaCare which will force the people to demand single-payer government health care so we can match Britain’s worst in the world health care. Program on top of program — and there are still poor people and still an underclass. It has been said recently that if you just junked all the poverty programs, you could give each poor family $69.000 a year to get by on, and save money. I can’t vouch for the numbers.

The Welfare to Work program from the Bush administration worked. Women who had never worked held jobs, got paid, moved up, and felt pride and accomplishment in getting off welfare. Welfare may help needy people get by,  but it is also demeaning. Temporary help for those in need is one thing; becoming a dependent of the government is quite another. A healthy growing economy offers opportunity for all. Most of the social pathology exhibited by the underclass has its origin in ideas that have filtered down from the intelligentsia. Long-term poverty is caused by a dysfunctional set of values that is continually reinforced by an elite culture searching for victims.

The Obama Agenda does not offer opportunity, nor hope, nor change. Oh, he speaks with focus-group tested words, but Obama’s agenda is a self–agenda, He has lots of programs — the usual ‘infrastructure’ (that aren’t shovel ready) the green jobs, but the high-paying jobs on the Keystone pipeline will have to wait. They have passed out lots of free phones, but the jobs-training programs don’t lead to jobs, and the green jobs don’t exist, And opportunity? There’s not much of that around for anybody.



Doing the Correct Thing for the Common Good by The Elephant's Child

William P. Clark who passed away on Saturday, August 10, after a long battle with Parkinson’s disease, was the only member of President Ronald Reagan’s inner circle who never wrote a memoir of his time with Reagan. He was known as “the Judge” from his tenure on the California Supreme Court to which Reagan appointed him when Reagan was governor.

William P. Clark was President Reagan’s most important and influential presidential confidante. He served Ronald Reagan as deputy secretary of state (to keep an eye on Al Haig), national security adviser, and secretary of the Interior. Steven Hayward did a nice memorial at Powerline, and a postscript this morning when the Oral History Project of the Miller Center at the University of Virginia released an oral interview that had not been available to researchers until  after Clark’s passing. Steven Hayward recommends a biography: The Judge, William P. Clark: Ronald Reagan’s Top Hand by Paul Kengor and Patricia Clark Doerner (Clark’s niece). Both the Powerline pieces are really worth your time.

At the end on the postscript piece was a comment about Derek Leebart’s idiosyncratic book on the Cold War, The Fifty Year Wound, a book that I greatly admire. From Hayward’s piece:

Clark: I mentioned Leebaert and his Fifty-Year Wound. In fact he didn’t know [Reagan], had no particular political philosophy, a Georgetown professor. I forget his exact words but effectively the two great Presidents of the 20th century were Dwight Eisenhower and Ronald Reagan. The primary reason for that is that they had no self-agenda, they were not on a power kick. The power to them was at times anathema, but they were trying always to do the correct thing for the common good.

The last three sentences struck me, for they are such a comment on the current administration. That is the central problem of our time: the president has a major self-agenda.



They Held a Big Rally for Climate Change and Nobody Came! by The Elephant's Child

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The polls have been quite clear. People are concerned about jobs, unemployment, the economy, and a long list of things, Right at the bottom is always climate. In the midst of nationwide concern about administration scandals, the IRS, the NSA surveillance, Obama was out asking the people to care about the climate and saving mother earth.

While the Obamas were enjoying a holiday at Martha’s Vineyard, Organizing for Action, the former Obama campaign group morphed into a nonprofit advocacy group planned a “Climate Change Day of Action Rally“in Washington DC, but  it rained in Georgetown and nobody came. Wit an embarrassing zero turnout, the event page disappeared.

There is something particularly amusing when people whose deepest concern is supposedly the climate of the earth, refuse to turn out in a little rain. Perhaps they can fix the climate so all days are equal and we don’t have to worry about going out in the rain, except on government preferred days.




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