Obama Casts Light on Liberalism's Bigotry

Political liberalism is a means of making bigotry seem forward thinking. On Friday President Obama illustrated this point in a speech made at a plant that makes lithium ion batteries with the following quote- “Bob’s not going to build the roads to get to Celgard. No company is going to make investments for a public good.”

No company makes investments in a public good? Are you kidding?

No. The president is not kidding. His ideological bigotry makes him blind to the obvious. First of all, his statement is on the face of it patently and stupidly false. Thousands of subdivisions throughout the nation are built entirely by private companies, roads, sewers, utilites, and all. In many instances, these companies set up the private governance that will stand in for civic government for extended periods of time after such a subdivision is built. For example, The Woodlands, Texas was, until recently governed by an organization set up originally by the developing corporation and enforced through the mandates of deed restrictions.

Secondly, his ideological bigotry causes him to be dismissive of any good that is accomplished for a profit. Compare the relative effectiveness of the food distribution system of the United States and that of the Soviet Union at any time when both nations existed together. President Obama would see the Soviet system as a "public good" because the system that was starving tens of millions to death was run by the government even as he would deny the same recognition to the privately owned system that only let crops rot in the field when the government paid it to do so.

By the same dimly blinkered point of view he seeks to dismantle the private ownership of capital by which the productivity of workers is greatly magnified and the retirement incomes of the aged are secured, little comprehending the "public good" accomplished by capital. Thousands of workers used to labor over the 400 ZiL luxury automobiles produced each year in the 1980s in the Soviet Union, while with the assistance of the use of privately owned capital improvements similar numbers of American workers would put out hundreds of thousand of similarly luxurious (and technically far superior) automobiles. This general distribution of the lifestyle of the priviledged is not, in Obama's eyes, a "public good".

That we are well fed is not a "public good". That we are well housed is not a "public good". That we are readily, comfortably, safely, and at our leisure transported is not a "public good". That we need not stand in lines for hours to have toilet paper is not a "public good". That we can sell our services to others, trading our increasing skills against their desire to profit by our abilities so that our lot and that of our families may be improved, is not a "public good".

This is a clear indication of what the Obamanation is all about. Only if your labor meets Obama's needs is it a "public good".

Posted by Lee Emmerich Jamison at April 3, 2010 12:48 PM
Comments
Comment #298425

Lee,
The food distribution system in the US is very dependent upon investments made by local, state, and federal governments for the public good, from the interstate highway system to port improvements to agricultural subsidies to the FDA. What are you trying to say?

Are you suggesting a relatively small company such as Celgard would make large scale investments in infrastructure for the public good? Would Celgard invest in building sewers for a local subdivision? This is very confusing.

A corporation which builds a subdivision does not provide an example of building for the public good. The subdivision is built for profit. Zoning standards for the public good are imposed by government. Can you think of a more appropriate example?

I guess I just don’t see the logic in this article.

Posted by: phx8 at April 3, 2010 2:22 PM
Comment #298427

The Woodlands also turned over the public streets and sewers to public entities which maintain them, as do all developers.

The Woodlands was built as part of the exurban escape from Houston. Upwardly mobile whites fleeing the city.

Doing good and making a profit are not exclusionary things, but if the idea fails to make a profit, the “generosity” ceases. George Mitchell did a lot of good things. He also made a profit.

Overly simplistic understanding of these ideas, and then calling it bigotry speaks poorly to either the insight of one making those kinds of statements or to their sincerity, in my opinion.

Obama is not an idiot. And, no, Bob won’t build the roads to get to Celgard. No company is going to make investments for a (solely) public good. George Mitchell didn’t build I-45.


Posted by: gergle at April 3, 2010 2:56 PM
Comment #298429

This is a great article. Are the liberals just stupid, or is there method to their madness?

http://bigjournalism.com/abreitbart/2010/04/02/barack-obamas-helter-skelter-insane-clown-posse-alinsky-planes-to-deconstruct-america/

Posted by: Beretta9 at April 3, 2010 3:05 PM
Comment #298431


I would think that the coal company towns and company stores would be a better example of company public good.

Oil/auto/tire= the deliberate and illegal destruction of electric mass transit, for the public good of course.

Eight hundred known cancer causing agents in the Ohio River from chemical plants, Love Canal, the Cuyahoga River on fire; all in the name of public good.

Posted by: jlw at April 3, 2010 3:32 PM
Comment #298432

Beretta,
Do you know anything about this Breitbart? You’d do your credibility a big favor by steering clear. Breitbart made his bones propelling the conspiracy theory about how Vince Foster was not a suicide, but was actually murdered by the Clintons. It gets worse. Breitbart also backs the birther conspiracy theory. It gets even worse…
Anyway, in general, his MO is to propose an outlandish conspiracy, then claims he is just asking questions, and when even the GOP rejects it, he claims it is all a cover up.

Seriously. This Breitbart dude is damaged. Stay away.

Posted by: phx8 at April 3, 2010 3:38 PM
Comment #298435

Yes, and Breitbart was also responsible for exposing ACORN, but you don’t believe that either. So what’s your point?

Posted by: Beretta9 at April 3, 2010 3:54 PM
Comment #298439

Beretta,
Do you really want to go there? The ACORN exposure was a fraud. In two separate investigations, the New York District Attorney and the California Attorney General reviewed the unedited tapes and found no criminal wrongdoing whatsoever. It turns out the ACORN investigator, a fellow named O’Keefe, did not dress as a pimp, as the edited tapes would suggest. He dressed in a suit and a tie and claimed he was running for Congress. Did you know that? His girlfriend claimed she was trying to escape a life of forced prostitution, and was trying to help some young children escape with her. The tapes were “heavily edited” according to the NY DA. The California Attorney General described them as “severely edited,” and said:

“The evidence illustrates that things are not always as partisan zealots portray them through highly selective editing of reality. Sometimes a fuller truth is found on the cutting room floor.”

Meanwhile, investigator will not release the original tapes to the public. That same investigator was prosecuted for criminal wrongdoing over an attempt to break into a US Senator’s office.

However, the original tapes ARE available on the CA AG’s website:
http://ag.ca.gov/newsalerts/multimedia/index.php

I’m so sorry, Beretta, but you just got owned.

Like I said, do yourself a favor and stay away from Breitbart.

Posted by: phx8 at April 3, 2010 4:25 PM
Comment #298444

The most typical of the way Republicans do political business in the modern era…take a weakness of their party and attribute it to the other party, then insist, and lie, and cheat and steal until they convince first themselves, then a fringe few of others, then some weak main streamers, then…then…then…the party has NOTHING to offer, so they attack, attack, attack…what a crock.

>Obama Casts Light on Liberalism’s Bigotry

Bigotry, the mainstay of the right, now must become, through some sort of convoluted, piecemeal jargon, a problem of the left…WOW!

Posted by: Marysdude at April 3, 2010 9:45 PM
Comment #298445

Defining a “public good” as inherently not-for-profit would, if accounting standard were really honest, exclude the United States Government. Our government has posted a pretended loss (based on it’s public debt) every year since the beginning of W.W.II. Any private company doing such a thing would have expired many decades ago. Amazingly, however, no organization on Earth has grown as much as the U.S. Government in that time! It manages to be worth more than it was worth before all the time. That is a truly remarkable form of “loss”.

In any other business being worth more than you were worth before is called a profit. So, really, is the government producing a “public good”?

Yeah, yeah, that’s twisting logic. So, though, is the idea that a business providing services to the public does not serve the public simply because the resources used to provide the good are formally accounted as “profit”. It is a distinction in the definition of service without a difference. A service is a service.

One thing I left out of this article is my usual disclaimer about the definition of the word “bigotry”. It is- “That prejudice we can’t perceive in ourselves even when it is pointed out to us.” In this case the bigotry is in the left’s disqualification of service for profit as a public good (or, frankly, as beneficial at all).

For example, take phx8’s statement-

The food distribution system in the US is very dependent upon investments made by local, state, and federal governments for the public good, from the interstate highway system to port improvements to agricultural subsidies to the FDA. What are you trying to say?
The Soviets built no roads? Did they build no ports? Did they have no food safety bureaucracy? They had all of these AND they extended their good-doing to the publicly owned building of trucks and farm equipment, publicly owned fuel distribution, publicly owned farms, publicly owned food distribution bureaucracies, and even publicly owned stores selling the goods, well, at least those goods that made it from the fields to the stores.

All that accumulation of public goods was so bad at delivering the goods that you can see in the article I linked above that even in the late 1980s the modern, hyper-intelligent good-deed-doers operating the system could not provide even for the bare needs of the Soviet people! They needed us, sending our excess from a system that could not possibly be producing public “goods” because it was morally stained by profitability, so their people would not starve! Oh, my non-god, what an embarrassment!

By the way, the Soviets also launched into bizarrely stupid adventures in the remaking of the environment. Even as they pumped the Aral Sea full of industrial effluent they cut off its water sources creating a desert so polluted that people could not live in the areas downwind, which is just as well because they had also devastated a once-thriving fishing industry. Of course OUR central planning would be so much wiser than theirs was. Well, or the Chinese in the same period, or, gee, name the country.

But WE would be better.

Why? Are Americans inherently smarter or wiser than Russians or Chinese? You can toss the English in there, too, while you’re at it, given how well public ownership of major industries did there…

We are not better, or inherently wiser, people than the Soviets were. We do not have superior resources to either of those countries and, though our economy dwarfs even the Chinese economy by nearly an order of magnitude, their environmental problems are quite literally, on a regular basis, life-threatening.

From this vantage point we could hardly do a better “public good” than to drive a stake into the heart of the left’s definition of a “public good”.

By the way, phx8, I’ll take Breitbart’s videos over Democrats’ unsupported accusations (in an environment literally swimming in video cameras) any day, all day, every day.

Yeah, I’ll go “there”.

Posted by: lee Jamison at April 3, 2010 9:48 PM
Comment #298447

Marysdude,

Bigotry is simply a part of the human condition. Those who pretend to themselves they are not affected by it are the worst of all. I try very hard to recognize my prejudices, but still find areas where culture, language, and even the cognitive structures imposed by the human mind have limited my ability to see error in my own thinking.

As bigotry goes, though, not being able to see the good done by private enterprise, leveraging even the picayune and the greedy into serving their fellow human beings, begs a word even more grotesque. Sadly, there is none.

“Bigotry” will have to do.

Posted by: Lee Jamison at April 3, 2010 10:02 PM
Comment #298449

The “liberalism” referred to above is modern political liberalism, which is a euphemism developed for politcal purposes, distinct from classical liberalism.

Posted by: Lee Jamison at April 3, 2010 10:06 PM
Comment #298452

Lee,
You cannot have it both ways with the centrally planned economy of the USSR; you cannot blame it for the decline of its last decade, yet ignore its accomplishments during the decades after WWII. The US escaped WWII relatively unscathed, while the USSR suffered terribly, with much of the fighting taking place on its territory. There was no Marshall Plan, no outside source of investment to resurrect the Soviet economy and infrastructure. Nevertheless, the centrally planned economy of the USSR successfully created the only other superpower the world has ever known.

I think there are multiple reasons for the failure of the USSR. One of the chief reasons was its militarism, which, combined with the inflexibility of the political system and the lack of a self-correcting mechanism in the form of a free press & democratic elections, led the USSR to divert too many resources to its military, and not enough to providing goods and services. More importantly, it led the USSR into a financially disastrous war in Afghanistan from which it never really recovered. The loss in Afghanistan dealt a blow to Soviet confidence and its militarism. In addition, the 19th century communist philosophy of Marx became hopelessly outdated, exacerbating the loss of confidence.

There’s more, but the point is, central planning by government has a history of failure, but it also has a history of success.

Posted by: phx8 at April 4, 2010 12:50 AM
Comment #298456

phx8,

Success? Show me the successes in a country where people are both diverse and fully respected by their government. For example, in recent court cases in China the value of city dwellers has been set at seven or more times the value of a rural peasant.

If you choose the Nordic countries I’d point you to C&J’s larticle preceding this one. They fail the diversity test badly.

All that’s beside the point. Socialism puts great power in the hands of politicians, but does not provide checks and balances to those powers as the for-profit market does. The Soviet Union proves a socialist system, once gone bad won’t die until it’s ready to collapse in every smallest part. Many, many are the examples of American companies gone bad that DID die- til now, when government starts to plan centrally and thwart the controls of the market.

Posted by: Lee Jamison at April 4, 2010 8:37 AM
Comment #298458

Lee,
The USSR does NOT prove a socialist system, once gone bad, won’t die until it completely collapses. That is simply wrong. Communist China has successfully moved from a centrally planned economy to a more blended socialist/capitalist economy without any such collapse, and it’s economic performance has been very good. Cuba is following a similar arc.

It could be argued that the countries of the EU practice a socialist system, democratic socialism. Elections and rights of the individual are respected, and they pass the diversity test (well, as much as anyone does…) Despite ‘socialized’ health care, they enjoy every bit as much freedom as Americans.


Posted by: phx8 at April 4, 2010 11:25 AM
Comment #298464

phx8,

You can’t be serious about Cuba, where the peasants are still treated like property. If you can’t leave you’re not free. China is actually freer, though it took enormous courage on the part of Deng to arrive at a point between freedom and abject slavery. Even so the ruling class still kills its own children (Tiannamen, etc.) to keep them in check.

Posted by: Lee Jamison at April 4, 2010 2:24 PM
Comment #298466

America began to flourish in the 1600’s, and it has, with a few bumps, been flourishing ever since. We should be able to call that a success.

If we compare China through the same period of time, I wonder which of the two nations took advantage of a higher percentage of its people…killed, imprisoned or enslaved a higher percentage of its citizens…imported more diseases, exported more heartbreak…spewed more noxious fumes, used more natural resources…well, you get the picture…

Then we might, perhaps, take a look at Cuba over the same time eclipse…I wonder were we’d stack up. Freedom’s just another word, unless it is used for the betterment of all citizens, as much of the time as possible.

Posted by: Marysdude at April 4, 2010 3:23 PM
Comment #298471

Marysdude,

No one who has made a serious effort to keep count believes China has killed, intentionally killed, fewer than 50 million of it’s people over the last 70 years. Most estimates, even by such liberals as Richard Rhodes, count that number as more like 100 million. I’m very very comfortable comparing the whole history of the United States, even including the centuries back to our founding as colonies, to that sort of grinding carnage.

Cuba’s history is much more complicated, but since it has been a wholly owned plantation of the Castro family its human rights record is wholly appalling.

Freedom is in no way a word only. It is the condition by which people’s competing interests can be weighed against each other in an environment in which each person feels the weight of their own, and each other’s, personal significance. The basic assumption of such systems as China’s, Cuba’s, and the Soviet system is that people are powerless and pointless unless they are protected by the governmental equivalent of a gang. In fact the opposite is true. Being part of and dependant on the gang is the very essence of powerlessness.

Posted by: Lee Jamison at April 4, 2010 6:02 PM
Comment #298478

Lee, why is it controversial that private companies won’t build and maintain roads for the most part? I can understand the Woodlands maintaining the Woodlands Parkway, but would they maintain Kuykendahl, a road that stretches well beyond their territory, or Gosling, which does the same?

I live in the area. There are plenty of subdivisions, rich and poor. There are good roads in front of poor neighborhoods, and terrible roads in front of high-class neighborhoods.

I’ve lived most of my life within three or four miles of Interstate Highway 45, which is the same road that runs like an aorta alongside the heart of the Woodlands and its surrounding communities. I’ve seen them add lanes, add off-ramps, even a huge one that overpasses the freeway so shoppers to the mall coming from South of the Woodlands can crossover to the west side of the freeway without going up a mile or two on the feeder and turning on the Woodlands. Parkway.

I live in unincorporated Harris County, but for all three decades I’ve resided there, Houston’s name has been on our drains and sewer system manholes, and that was long before they annexed anything close to us.

A nearby road, F.M. 2920, used to run mainly through cow pastures, when I went to high school. Now many of the pastures are gone, and shopping centers have replaced them. Now if 2920, or Kuykendahl were merely just two lane country roads, the growth might have been modest. Instead, 2920 was built up into a virtual four-lane freeway. Same thing with the much closer F.M. 1960, which has been widened, and recently had underpasses constructed allowing traffic to move unimpeded through a number of intersections.

You talk of Soviet-style communism. That’s laughable, you don’t know what you’re talking about. You talk of Neighborhoods being able to construct their own infrastructure. What you have to realize is that there are limits to what these private interests and companies are willing to or able to pay for, even if it finally benefits them. These are companies with bottom lines, not charities that can built altruistically for the community’s benefit against their own financial interests.

As for you links to Obama? Stick to talking about actual policy, because while you can fantasize that Obama is for the kind of hatefully stupid stuff you talk about, I don’t think you will find him advocating any such policy. You just want to claim that this is the ultimate, absurd conclusion of his thoughts.

But it’s not. And his conclusion isn’t that absurd. Private companies serve their own interests, and in many ways, they’re supposed to. That’s what makes them, often enough, good at what they do. Sometimes, when they get real selfish, we got to rein them in, but that’s another story.

Democrats don’t want to reinvent the wheel on economics. Even at the height of liberal power, there was no talk of nationalizing everything, and business interests still had a strong voice in policy. Folks just didn’t concede to them every point, and let their lobbyist write the legislation.

If you want to rewrite history, both political and international, so you can write one more screed against the President, be my guest. In the meantime, I will remind people of what the real world is like, even as you try to entice them to enter the Matrix, and fight against the Democratic Machines. I will show them what you don’t want them to see: a world where not every jot and tittle of text is written to suit the convenience of Republicans trying to stampede people into agreement with their politics.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at April 5, 2010 12:04 AM
Comment #298479

Stephen, what history is being invented here?

Did you know, for example, that the original investors in the Woodlands made no money on their stock in the company? Probably not. Did you know that the driving interest in George Mitchell’s development of the area was an idealistinc vision of what the development of a new kind of city would be? Probably not. You probably don’t personally know people intimately involved in that process, as I have and do. There was, for example, one evening in the 1970s when the corporation had less than a day’s worth of cash flow between them and being seized by creditors when one oil well owned by a Mitchell company was completed, establishing sufficient viability to keep the project going. There are idealistic people at work all over private enterprise, a fact you can thank for such actual pieces of history as the invention of the airplane by the financially strapped but studiously scientific Wright Brothers instead of well financed and arrogant government project headed by Samuel Langley.

It is private idealism that drives many of our greatest charities, charities not driven or hobbled by the group-identity-driven prerogatives of politics, but by people’s honest desire to do better in the best way they can envision. Government driven dogmas of the “public good” threaten all such endeavors.

Do public highways do well for us? Absolutely they do! The economy that produces sufficient excess resources to make them readily possible, however, is a product of people desiring to do a thing, or create a thing, who venture to seek out others to voluntarily cooperate to make those things happen and voluntarily purchase their products so that much is done and much is made.

The government that can make the switch from limiting itself to telling me what I must not do to telling me what I must do has put a brutal twist on the idea of “public good”. When it is run by people who do not even recognize the tremendous good being done by people who MAY make a profit if what they do is very well run, and are dismissive of risks taken to accomplish speculative goods, government drifts into becoming an unadulterated evil, no matter how laudable it’s naive intentions may be.

Posted by: Lee Jamison at April 5, 2010 2:38 AM
Comment #298482

Lee,

What you say might have some merit…if you hadn’t missed the single most important word in my entry.

>If we compare China through the same period of time, I wonder which of the two nations took advantage of a higher percentage of its people…killed, imprisoned or enslaved a higher percentage of its citizens

Americans have felt free to assume the body count in places they don’t approve of…hmmm…I wonder what China’s history might say about our American body count. But, laying that aside, why not assume China’s body count is twice what your experts say…what is the percentage of carnage to population? What would you consider a fair appraisal of our own historical carnage as a percentage of our population?

All of this is moot, of course, because there is no empirical data from which to draw for a valid conclusion. But, if we are going to compare systems for successes, we cannot just ignore the costs of those successes or the numbers of failures in their achievement.

Posted by: Marysdude at April 5, 2010 5:35 AM
Comment #298485

Marysdude,

This is a real reach, given the fact that the figures given on Chinese carnage is only those millions they eliminated from their own population on purpose for politcal purposes. You post not even a speculation as to how many people you would claim for America’s corresponding losses.

Posted by: Lee Jamison at April 5, 2010 7:42 AM
Comment #298490

Lee Jamison-
I only happen to live in the place, have seen its development over time. Check your history: The Woodlands is set to become more than just a private interest, to incorporate as an actual city of its own. It had to negotiate with both Conroe and Houston to get them to lay aside their plans for Annexation. As a matter of fact, The Woodlands was originally planned to be eventually annexed by the City of Houston.

The question is, why? Well, the answer is in one of your own statements, where you refer to that point where Mitchell’s corporation almost went under. Corporations cannot compel communities they create to contribute to the common good the same way a government can. Communities can also not hold a corporation that runs their neighborhood accountable the same way they can hold elected leaders accountable.

It’s a matter of the kind of relationship. Trouble is, you’re looking at it in mutually exclusive oppositional terms, where one has to be superior to the others. I see it merely as different, with advantages and disadvantages on both sides.

Your logic again suffers when you talk about the tyranny of being told what you must do, instead of just what you can’t do. Truth is, laws can and do have dual personalities, positive and negative.

For example, the freedom of speech is a negative restriction. “Congress shall make no law,” it says. It more or less bars government from legislating restrictions to speech, to religion, to the press, to the rights of petition or peaceful assembly. It also bars government from picking one religion and establishing it as THE religion of the US.

But when people say they’ve got freedom of speech, and everything else, they talk about it as a personal right, a positive existing freedom, rather than the inability of Congress to legislate to take it away.

But they’re not wrong, in a real sense. What’s the difference if a law mandates that you must stay below 50 on a highway, or says you cannot go faster than fifty. Logically, they are equivalent.

Or if a law says that 50 Billion tax dollars must be spent towards a project, or can’t be spent for other projects than that- whether you exclude what’s outside a certain space of possibilities, or include what’s within the same, the effect is no different.

But on a deeper level, I think your fear is unfounded. I hardly think that your extended nightmare of private enterprise being utterly cut out of the public good is really reflected in what Obama actually said. Obama talks about people having the platform to succeed, rather than government taking over everything.

The truth is, your leaders have been pitching dark fears towards your people for so long, that you don’t see that there is an element of self-preservation involved. They don’t want you to see Democrats as responsible, they want you to see them as usurpers of power. So they accuse them of being practically Soviets, when most are middle of the road, hardly socialist, much less commited communists.

Trust me, a dyed in the wool socialist, as Rahm Emmanuel once spoke, would not have missed the opportunity to take advantage of the crisis to nationalize, rather than rehabilitate those banks. He would have flat out nationalized GM and Chrysler and run them as state enterprises, rather them setting them on a path to eventual independence.

Obama’s approach has been much more the soft leftism of Clinton than the hard socialism of Europe. But your leaders and your pundits don’t make the distinction, because that distinction is not useful to them in getting people scared, to vote for candidates who otherwise lack merits as leaders and problem solvers.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at April 5, 2010 11:18 AM
Comment #298497


Lee, It appears to me that you believe that the Cold War was only military in nature and not economic.

I guess that you think that a 60 year embargo on Cuba had no effect whatsoever on their economy.

How about, you can trade with us or the Soviet Union but, not both.

IMO, the Soviet Union failed because of a lack of leadership, a lack of democracy and economic warfare.

IMO, the Chinese would probably be in the same boat as the Soviets if they did not have something our corporations wanted and they were not willing to make a deal.

Posted by: jlw at April 5, 2010 8:14 PM
Comment #298498

Lee here is the definition of “public good” perhaps Obama is not as foolish as you try to make him seem for his rather innocuous statement.

“In economics, a public good is a good that is non-rivalrous and non-excludable. Non-rivalry means that consumption of the good by one individual does not reduce availability of the good for consumption by others; and non-excludability that no one can be effectively excluded from using the good.”

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Public_good

Posted by: j2t2 at April 5, 2010 8:50 PM
Comment #298499

Stephen,
“My” leaders don’t do my thinking for me. Hence, in this article, I address an issue based on Obama’s words that others are poorly comprehending. Obama sees the “good” in society descending from above, the gift of the wise and powerful.

Never mind that the lines they wrap around our necks for raising us up are suspended from scaffolds erected on our shoulders.

The annexation issues you mention have almost nothing to do with the causes you mention. Instead they arose from the difficulties the state’s largest cities (or, rather commercial developers politcally connected to the halls of power Dallas and Houston and in Austin) had in dealing with small cities like the Villages and Bellaire in Houston. At one point, I believe in 1948, a Bellaire city councilman politely told a friend who was on the Houston city council that Bellaire intended to annex an area that would make the city into a geographical square the next day. In a hurredly called emergency meeting that night the City of Houston annexed all of the unincorporated area around Bellaire and the Villages. The issue was zoning, which Bellaire had and Houston did not.

Later, in the 1960s, developers influenced the powers that were to move the path of Loop 610 from Chimney Rock Road, an area at the time little developed, and instead plow it right through the middle of well established neighborhoods in Bellaire in an attempt to destroy the city. The effort did reduce property values significantly in the late ’60s and early’70s, but Bellaire has bounced back. Concurrent with this effort at devastating grass-roots cities was the development of laws creating “extra-territorial jurisdictions”, whereby the largest cities in the state could extend their influence to communities they might someday wish to annex, and refuse to them the right to annex on their own, even though they might overwhelmingly wish to do so. This was then, and remains today, one of the most unseemly corruptions of politics in the Lone Star State, a Fautsian bargain meant strictly to enrich the politcally connected.

In that sense it speaks very well to what I fear and less well to what you seem to cherish.

Much of the rest of your post is poorly considered hogwash. That a given sum is allocated for a given project does not demand that said sum will be spent, or even that the amount will be spent on precisely what it is allocated for. The vast majority of TARP funds, for example, have not been spent, largely because of bureaucratic bugaboos, in spite of their allocation. Then, too, a law that tells the government what it must do (as the Constitution does in describing how a law must be passed, for instance) is not the same thing as a law that demands specific positive behaviors from the general population, as one of “MY” leaders by the name of James Madison warned in a Feb. 13th, 1829 admonition about the dangers of treating the “Commerce Clause” as a positive grant of power to Congress instead of as a negative restraint on the powers of the states.

Too bad you could not have been in Philadelphia in 1787 to lecture the founders on the flaws of their logic.

Posted by: Lee Jamison at April 5, 2010 8:59 PM
Comment #298506

On the Soviet Union
The leadership of the USSR was a criminal enterprise.

With that said, our government and big business sold enough to the USSR to keep it more than afloat.

There is a trilogy by Antony Sutton of the Hoover Institute that documents very well how Soviet technology was western technology.

The title of the Trilogy is:
V.1 Western Technology & Soviet Development 1917-1930
V.2 Western Technology & Soviet Development 1930-1945
V3. Western Technology & Soviet Development 1945-1965

You can’t read this trilogy on several weekends, it takes a whole lot more time, but it is worth reading.

Posted by: tom humes at April 5, 2010 11:27 PM
Comment #298535

Lee Jamison-
You seem quite willing to offer me my opinion before I offer it on my own.

You’ll have to tell me where I said that annexation was an inherent positive. I said that it was once part of the plan for the Woodlands. Now it no longer is.

I don’t mind that. There’s a reason that I said unincorporated Harris County was my home! It can be a politically fraught thing. There’s a road near where I live that takes a curve where it easily could have gone straight, thanks to a deal an official made to benefit his friend.

You mention all sorts of Soviet junk. I read the speech. Not a hair of that. I don’t even see where he praised the practices you speak of. In fact, if you really read it, you’d find he pretty much talked about government assisting capitalist economics, which as far as I can tell, your people did too, only with less oversight and regulation.

As for James Madison? He’s not your leader, he’s dead. He left behind a constitution that gave later generations the capability to revise government to fit their needs. Well, the needs of a people in 2010 are considerably different in many ways from those of 1829. Morse’s Telegraph was still years in the future. The modern corporation, with its status as a legal person, did not yet exist. The B+O railroad, first to diversify into a network of lines, was yet to open, much less the transcontinental line. Babbage had just started work on his Difference Machine seven years before, and his collaborate, Ada Lovelace, who would one day be considered the first programmer, was only a teenager.

Skyscrapers were a distant possbility, and the Brooklyn Bridge was not to even begin construction for another 41 years. The Census for the following year appraised the population of just 24 states, with a population of 12,866,020. Half the states, 1/25th of the population. In Madison’s time, just about 20 percent of the population lived in urban settings. Now the number’s more like 81%

Madison helped shape a good constitution, but a major component of the design ethic of the constitution rests in the power of self-determination it gives to future generations. Madison had to deal with a far different American landscape than we do now. Fortunately, he helped shape a system that would allow future generations to adapt their government to their times, rather than be stuck in quagmires of imposed tradition without escape.

Again, you speak for me on my opinion, where I am quite able to speak for myself.

I might tell them that the slavery thing might not work out, but who knows what might come of that! I think the framers did a wonderful job. I just don’t feel that I can or should base every politican notion I have on their opinions about what was right at the time. They had plenty of good ideas, no doubt, but Madison lived -past-tense- lived in a time far different from our own, so even some of the good ideas of his time might be terrible ideas today.

We have our own problems to deal with, problems these people never anticipated, much less wrote up solutions for. Democracy is not a spectator sport. We have to deal with our own time, and in appropriate ways. We cannot expect the world to function as it once did.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at April 6, 2010 3:54 PM
Comment #298648

>IMO, the Soviet Union failed because of a lack of leadership, a lack of democracy and economic warfare.
Posted by: jlw at April 5, 2010 08:14 PM


jlw,

Hmmm…kinda like the ‘war’ being waged by benLadin against us? He may be even better at breaking a country economically than we have been.

Posted by: Marysdude at April 9, 2010 6:37 AM
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