American Elephants


There are problems with the agenda. by The Elephant's Child

Immediately after the election, the Office of the President-elect posted their agenda at Change.gov. Then it quickly disappeared and the website displayed only the following:

The Agenda

President-elect Obama and Vice President-elect Biden have developed innovative approaches to challenge the status quo in Washington and to bring about the kind of change America needs.

The Obama Administration has a comprehensive and detailed agenda to carry out its policies.  The principal priorities of the Obama Administration include: a plan to revive the economy, to fix our health care, education, and social security systems, to define a clear path to energy independence, to end the war in Iraq responsibly and finish our mission in Afghanistan, and to work with our allies to prevent Iran from  developing a nuclear weapon, among many other domestic and foreign policy objectives.

Well, today it’s all back, so you can read the whole thing should you so desire.  I find this little paragraph sufficiently troubling. It is still ‘I will stop the rising of the seas’ stuff.  These eight priorities would occupy, and have occupied,  the presidencies of at least eight different administrations, and even more.

Presidents have been trying to improve the education of our children, for example, ever since the Eisenhower administration at least, and no one has ever been willing to tackle the root of the problems. President Bush, with No Child Left Behind, has made an effort to let parents and schools know how their kids are doing compared to the rest of the nation, and had some distinct success in improvement as a result.

Obama is going to fix everything, specifically by paying for everything.  Community College?  Free.  Afterschool programs, sure.  Preschool programs, of course.  Get the kids early— “The Zero to Five” program. Support good schools and close low-performing charter schools.  Make Math and Science education a priority — that’s the one every administration has done, to little effect, but hope springs eternal.

I want to give Obama every chance, yet the economic crisis suggests that raising taxes and major government spending are clearly not the best approach.  Obama apparently wants to model his program after FDR’s disastrous approach to the Great Depression, by raising taxes, canceling free trade agreements, instituting all sorts of government make-work programs, and building ‘infrastructure’.  It is just that sort of thing that extended the depression into the 1950s in many parts of the country.

Obama is a climate hysteric.  That is, he firmly believes that global warming is a problem rather than a natural part of the earth’s constant warming and cooling.  He believes that we can actually do something to stop the earth from warming if we just shut down all the nasty fossil fuels and switch to wind and solar energy.  Of course since global warming has stopped in the last ten years, perhaps he can just take credit for that and not mess with the rest.

He believes firmly, as do the environmental organizations to which he owes so much, that we can create millions of “green jobs”.  But if you destroy an existing job in the oil industry in order to create one in a so-called ‘green’ industry — you have done nothing for the economy at all. There is simply no evidence that the so-called “renewable energy” producers can replace our dependence on fossil fuels in the foreseeable future.

There is an absence of understanding of what the free market is, why it works, and why you ignore it at your peril. They’re blaming it on “deregulation”, in the false notion that the government just wasn’t regulating enough.

There is a lot of “hope” here, but the agenda is more than a little short on the specifics that might promote some confidence. There is a lack of understanding of history, our history, and a lack of understanding of the programs and policies of past presidents and what they accomplished and where they failed.  I find it troubling.



In the “Office of the President-elect”, Oddities Abound. by The Elephant's Child

The Office of the President-elect  has announced that his first efforts when he takes office will be to undo many of George W. Bush’s executive orders and replace them with his own.  This seems to me to be an unusually classless announcement, for someone who claimed that he would bring unity to Washington.

Most important, it seems, is to block any drilling on lands in Utah where new oil leases were approved by the Department of Interior.  Following close behind is allowing federal funding of embryonic stem-cell research.

There are some strange things going on here that seem puzzling. Apparently, Obama believes all the rude things he said about the Bush administration during the campaign.  Bush Derangement Syndrome lives.  My guess is that Liberals believe that — the evil Bush, because of his fundamentalist religion, and his antipathy to science, has prevented all the wonderful cures that might come from exploiting the promise of embryonic stem cell treatments — or something like that. They seem not to have noticed that adult stem cells are delivering on all that promise.

Embryonic stem cells, as I understand it, have monumental problems with rejection and with turning rapidly into cancer cells, problems that may not be able to be overcome.  Venture capital funds are not readily available because there are so many problems and so little proof of potential.  Adult stem cells are taken from the patient’s own body, so there is no problem with rejection.  They can be teased into becoming pluripotent, that is adapting to any cell in the body.  Scientists have been working with adult stem cells for decades and have had many, many successes.  Embryonic stem cells have not yet been used for even one therapy.

The astonishing advances that have helped to restore bladder and muscle control to patients with paralysis, heart patients that have been helped, hope for people with Parkinson’s, remission for patients with multiple sclerosis are not of interest to liberals.  They believe that only religious extremism stands in the way of vast advances with stem cell treatment.  And they are sure that as soon as embryonic stem-cell treatment is funded by the taxpayers there will be help for patients with paralysis, help for heart patients , hope for people with Parkinson’s and remission for patients with multiple sclerosis.  Oh, do I repeat myself? They do not care that we are well under way for finding cures for these conditions, or they don’t know, or it’s just the “wrong” cure.

Isn’t this odd? Never mind the bird in the hand, go for the one in the bush — quick, quick, before he gets away.




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