Friday, October 28, 2011

If We Build It, He Will Come

One of Barack Obama's first acts as president was to tour the world telling anyone who would listen (and could provide a stage with Greek columns) that America
sucks because of all the things it had done in the past.

But now, an older and more experienced Barack Obama has changed his tune and says that America sucks because we're
incapable of doing things we did in the past.

Specifically, after recently criticizing Americans for being "soft," the president upped the ante while speaking to a group of liberal 1-percenters (at $5000 a seat) in San Francisco - where he declared that "We've lost our ambition, our imagination, and our willingness to do the things that built the Golden Gate Bridge and Hoover Dam and unleashed all the potential in this country."

And he makes a great point. Who can forget all of the ambitious, imaginative, and willing construction workers who finished those big projects then channeled their newly unleashed potential into freelancing and leaving flyers on doors offering to build
other Golden Gate Bridges and Hoover Dams? And sadly, today's goldbricking history-deprived Americans barely remember that only a few generations ago, Hoover Dams were as common as Starbucks.

But is it really a failure of the American people and American spirit that we can no longer build anything great...or does the failure rest elsewhere?

Hope n' Change would like to suggest that the answer is, as the president likes to say, simply a matter of math.

The cost of the Golden Gate Bridge was $35 million and it's still standing. The cost of the Hoover Dam was $49 million and
it's still standing. But the cost to taxpayers for government support of Solyndra was $535 million...and after little more than a year, it's gone forever.

Perhaps if Mr. Obama wasn't quite so keen on building The Great National Debt, the
rest of us could finally start thinking about building The Great Anything Else.

Dream big, America.


Proof said...

Add some twenty foot high road apples under that statue and you have the real tribute to Obama's greatness!

Average Joe said...

Fun with numbers: what if the US budget measured in Golden Gate Bridges (GGBs) remained constant (adjusted for the population growth)?

The US budget in 1933 was about $4,600 M - equivalent to about 131.4 GGBs.

The US population in 1933 was about 125 M and in 2003, it was about 294 M. Under the assumptions from the first sentence, the budget could be expected to grow to about 309 GGBs.

The adjusted for inflation cost of building another Golden Gate Bridge in 2003 was estimated to be about $1.2B (

Converting the 2003 budget from GGBs to $ results in a $371 B budget.

It actually was $2,160 B -- almost 6x as much.

Dave said...

Building large, great structures such as the Golden Gate Bridge or The Hoover Dam is wonderful, however Mr Dumb-Ass-In-Chief fails to realize that today his left libral support would not allow another Hoover Dam to be built or for that matter they would fight tooth and nail against another GGB...Why? Because it might disrupt the habitat of something. The EPA a few month ago blocked the building of a dam in California I believe it was because there is a sub-sub species of bird that only lives in that area....And since here lately the EPA will place sub-species on the endangered list because they get petitioned to by the left what chance does America have of building another large structure like we did in the past?

Angry Hoosier Dad said...

As long as the EPA wields it's current power the chances are slim to none...and slim left town.
What is starting to scare the crap out of me is the numbers of people who are accepting this degradation as the new normal. If we don't snap out of this soon we will become lethargic and unresponsive like the inhabitants of Zardoz.

Pete(Detroit) said...

Hell, 40 years ago we built a rocket that went to the moon and back. Today, we have to rent rides from the Russians to get to ISS... It's not lack of imagination you jackass, it's the wast of resources being sucked up by all your leftist entitlements. Not to mention the dumbed down education.

Jim Hlavac said...

That's funny, because America did just build a bridge as big as the Golden Gate -- it's called the James Audubon Bridge, in St. Francisville La. It spans the mighty Mississippi and is at least as tall and big and long as the Golden Gate -- it just opened up about 5 months ago. I crossed it twice already, quite a thing to behold. It also is this hemisphere's largest cable stayed bridge, and quite a feat of American engineering, to sink two 700 foot tall towers in the mud of Big Muddy. Maybe Obama should come down and see it -- if only he could get anyone in this state to give him $5,000 a head for rubber chicken -- alas for him, my state is so solidly Republican that one or two Democrats a month are changing party affiliation. So perhaps he wouldn't come here.

More to the point, there are few places left in America that need anything like a Golden Gate bridge -- for all the bridges needed are already built, with perhaps the Audubon the last one necessary. Oh well, too bad Obama.

Emmentaler Limburger said...

I was brought up to "hate the act, not the actor". The jackass in chief, Pelosi, Reid, Schumer, Frank, Dodd, and many other current actors are really bringing challenge to that upbringing. Especially that first one - Oh! And his wookiee.

I often ask how it could possibly have come to this? How could we have elected someone to the highest office in the land who so clearly hates this country, its history, and its inhabitants? Frankly, it does not bode well for the US as a whole that the likes of Ă˜bama was ever elected, even if he has awakened a conservative resurgence in the country, he got elected.

John the Econ said...

Once again, President Obama chooses to place America's current failings upon Americans instead of on his failed leadership. If America has indeed failed, it's only in allowing Progressives such as himself to gain power over our economy and freedom.

Perhaps if it seems that we are incapable of our past greatness, it might be because there is a greater number of those working for the government in this age that are in jobs dedicated to nothing more than the prevention of building great things than there was in the "golden" era. And should somehow someone slip up and allow a great thing to be built, there are whole legions of bureaucrats and lawyers dedicated to seeing that those responsible are punished for doing so.

The ambition and will never left, Mr. Obama. It's just that Progressives such as yourself have chased it into hiding. In the immortal words of John Galt, "Get the hell out of my way!" Then you'll see how great America can be again.

Of course, we both know the problem with that; That America had little use for divisive "community organizers" such as yourself.

Stilton Jarlsberg said...

@Proof- Actually, a Taj Mahal-sized manure monument might be the perfect place to eventually house the Obama Library.

@Average Joe- Interesting stats! Clearly the government's problem isn't that it spends too little's that it wastes too much, and is also hamstringing the private economy at the same time.

@Dave- Excellent point! All of the ambition, imagination, and willingness in the world can't overcome a snail darter protected by government lawyers and regulations.

@Angry Hoosier Dad- Another excellent point; the public doesn't just accept American mediocracy as the "new normal," but we're being spoonfed the concept of inevitable American decline by the president, the left, and the media. Combine that with job-killing, idea-killing big government regulations and you get a self-fulfilling prophecy.

@Pete(Detroit)- It's a bitter irony that we're being lectured on lack of ambition and imagination by a president who repurposed NASA to focus on "Muslim outreach" instead of going into space. Instead of building the future, we're building bridges to the 7th century.

@Jim Hlavac- Just because all the bridges have already been built is no reason to curb our ambition, imagination, and willingness. It's time to start building new rivers!

@Emmentaler- I try to stick to that "hate the act, not the actor" rule too. And like you, I find it increasingly difficult - in part because the actor keeps acting.

And the fact that Obama was even elected in the first place is (to torture a metaphor) the big dead canary in our national coal mine. He wasn't elected because people liked his actual anti-American views... he was elected because people knew absolutely nothing about his real views and were too stupid to know or care.

Sadly, I think that far too many people in this country are (to put it mildly) too damn dumb to vote - and they're exactly the ones who get enthusiastic limo service to the polls every election day.

@John the Econ- Great summary of the situation. We're pouring unprecedented amounts of money into making sure that nothing great can be accomplished in this country. Instead, the money goes to reward the bureaucrats and to pay the bills of the growing cattle class. And the hypocrisy of the president blaming all of this on the American spirit is appalling.

Anonymous said...

Remember when American greatness was represented by the US sending people to the Moon and space probes to every planet in our Solar system? Why isn't Obama talking about how he canceled all manned space vehicles or his leaked budget that intends to terminate NASA’s planetary exploration program. (

Whenever I hear Obama give excuses I'm reminded of a few things. In 1812 James Madison had to deal with an invasion of the United States by one of the most powerful militaries in the world, when the US had no regular army at the time. Abraham Lincoln had to deal with full scale civil war in an evenly divided country, which Union forces lost during the entire first half. Woodrow Wilson had to deal with the first global war in human history. Franklin Roosevelt had to deal with the most devastating, longest lasting economic crisis in American history with unemployment twice as high and lasting twice as long as it has so far today. After that he had to deal with the bloodiest war in human history. These policies of these men lead to victory over every one of these problems. Obama has had to deal with the war that has had only slightly more casualties than the smallest war the US ever fought and unemployment about the same as Ronald Regan had to deal with. But he still hasn't solved any of it.

It's not that the problem is too big, it's that the man is too small.

Stilton Jarlsberg said...

@Anonymous- You did a great job of giving perspective on the challenges faced by previous presidents. Some months ago, there was a brief fad in the news media in which they asked if in today's world the presidency is just too big a job for one man. But as you point out, the real problem is simply that this man is too small for the job.

Pete(Detroit) said...

Anon - arguably, it was in large part FDR's policies that extended the "great depression" until the advent of WWII (well, the US entry into it, at any rate) and there are those who would argue that the Japanese attack was warned of in advance, and no one did anything, just so we'd have the excuse to go on a 'war footing' and 'stimulate' the economy - Not to imply that the '41 truthers have any more credibility than the 911 truthers - but they're out there...

"Man is too small"
That is the BIG 'no shit' - it is such a pity, given what he COULD have been - but failed.
Then again, NOT failing would have required him to be an intellectually honest person, not the libtard ass-hat he's shown himself to be since, oh, say 1980 or so...

As for the folks who voted for him - I think there's *3* kinds -
1) those who didn't know his past, and couldn't be bothered to check - (i.e. 'bought the hype')
2) Those who knew, and didn't care ("it's a historic oppertunity!) (i.e. racists)
3) Those who knew, and approved (i.e. commies)

I distinctly remember an attempt to 'talk' to my brother about him, and commented that based on his upbringing, he's not even 'black'...
"That's the most racist thing I've ever heard" was his response...
"Wait a minute - I think the color of his skin is the LEAST important thing about him, and *I* am the racist??? How does THAT work, exactly?"

He no longer speaks to me...

Stilton Jarlsberg said...

@Pete(Detroit)- I like your summary of Obama voters. Seems on the nose to me.

I'm sorry that you and your brother aren't speaking, and sorrier still that the left has (quite deliberately) made the term "black" so radioactive that it can't be uttered aloud by conservatives. And of course, Barry is genetically black (and just as genetically white) but sociologically isn't black at all. He was raised by a white family in Hawaii, so he's not so much "street" as "beach." Specifically, a son of a beach.

In any event, maybe you can reopen communication with your brother by asking if he has any problems whatsoever with Herman Cain...

JustaJeepGuy said...

Oh, c'mon, Stilt. You KNOW that the only reason Cain has done well in polls is because the Republicans are R-A-A-A-A-C-I-S-S-S-S-T! Of course, I still haven't figured out the "logic" behind that assertion. I have a feeling I never will, either.

John the Econ said...

If you're looking for a last minute Halloween costume idea for a party this weekend, how about this:

Don't bathe or shave; wear any t-shirt representing the communist icon of your choice, and bring a tent. Then "occupy" the party. Complain about the lack of organic vegetables, spaghetti bolognese, and roasted beet and sheep’s-milk-cheese salad.

pryorguy said...

I believe the main point here today is how out of control some govt agencies are, and the EPA has got to top that list! And, isn't it just like this postmodern world of thought we live in today, that our 'leaders', and I use the term loosely, would place ANY animal, fungus or otherwise lowly creature ahead of a human being's good!

Angry Hoosier Dad said...

Herman Cain isn't "authentically black" because he isn't "down with the struggle" and doesn't identify with those who would rather tear down than build up. As a child of the 50's & 60's I remember the struggle and watched quite a bit of it on TV. I remember who struggled and how and why they died to achieve the kind of equality of opportunity that Herman Cain used to achieve so much. The only "struggle" I see going on now is the struggle to squeeze more entitlements and freebies out of the producers in this country, including successful producers like Herman Cain. I remember a time when one of the racist attitudes towards blacks was that they were lazy and shiftless. Most of those takers who are "down with the struggle" these days seem bound and determined to prove that attitude was correct. Shame on them and good for you, Herman, for going through those crappy times and coming out clean, with your dignity and patriotism intact.

Stilton Jarlsberg said...

@JustAJeepGuy- The logic is simple: if you like a black candidate, it proves you're not racist. But the only people who need to prove they're not racists are racists. Therefore, a conservative who supports a black candidate is racist. As is one who supports a white candidate.

@John the Econ- I'll bet that there are a lot of partygoers this weekend who go as OWS types. Because going as "bums" is no longer politically correct.

@Pryorguy- In absolute fairness, there are many animals, fungi, and lowly creatures that are worth protecting just in case we end up needing to draft one to run against Obama in November. And I would, in fact, vote for any of them.

@Angry Hoosier Dad- Herman Cain isn't seen as "down with the struggle" because his personal success doesn't fit with the narrative that "the struggle" is still against a monolithic white society instead of slavery by entitlement.

And Drudge is currently showing a headline proclaiming that Karen Finney, a white political analyst for MSNBC, is saying that what conservatives like about Herman Cain is "he knows his place." As far as I'm concerned, that makes her roughly as racist as a Grand Dragon in the KKK.

Stilton Jarlsberg said...

@Readers- a quick followup. I erroneously called proud African-American Karen Finny "white" in the post above, based on a photo in which she has very light skin (about 5 tones lighter than John Boehner) and long silky hair which has apparently been chemically straightened so she can fit in with the "look" of MSNBC.

She's still a racist, though.

Anonymous said...

We wouldn't be able to build the Hoover dam San Fran bridge ect.
1) cost too much money
2) libs would claim some enviromental reason

Pete(Detroit) said...

Stilt - Son of a Beach - love it!

I expect my brother would have all kinds of issues w/ The Hermanator, the fact that he uses meat on his pizzas being toward the top of the list. Sad fact is, he's a science teacher in a high school in Minneapolis, who's heart breaks when he sees the destitute conditions some of his students live in. All well and good. Then he tries to pick MY pocket to re-dress the 'social injustice' in ways that have been proven NOT to work. Scrub that duck...

In fairness, the reason he quit talking to me was that I pointed out that his 5 yr old daughter looked like 8# of stuff in a 5# sack, and asked was it his intention that she achieve sphericality. He lost it at that point.
She's now into Irish Dancing, and in much better shape - I consider it a reasonable exchange.

Stilton Jarlsberg said...

@Pete(Detroit)- I sympathize with your brother's desire to see things improve for those who really need it...but of course I agree with you about the best means of accomplishing that goal. But it's a good reminder that a lot of liberals really do mean well, however misguided they may be. And I give him points for being a teacher - whatever his politics, that takes real commitment.

Regarding your brotherly squabble, I know that matters relating to kids and parenthood can be particularly sensitive (and that underlying medical conditions can sometimes make a weight situtation more complicated than it appears on the surface). In any event, I'm glad the Irish Dancing is helping your niece. Perhaps a St. Patrick's Day "green beer summit" can get everyone talking again someday.

John the Econ said...

Consider this news snippet from the President at a San Francisco fundraiser earlier this week:

"At a million-dollar San Francisco fundraiser today, President Obama warned his recession-battered supporters that if he loses the 2012 election it could herald a new, painful era of self-reliance in America."

So we've lost our ambition, but if we don't elect you for another go-around, we'll be faced with being "self reliant" again?

Sounds to me like that's EXACTLY what America needs.

Stilton Jarlsberg said...

@John the Econ- I'd heard that quote, and there's still blood on my Charmin. A "painful era of self-reliance"?!

It's time for the Eloi to figure out that they don't need the Morlocks in Washington.

Christopher Darryl Ross said...

Firstly: I would like to appologize if this seems a bit rambly or disjointed in any way. I've been up for almost 2 days now... The hope is that I still make some sense.

@John the Econ & Stilt - That is quite the masteful quote there. Honestly, half the work is done now - all that's left is to remind everyone that the only reason anyone has ever achieved anything in this world is because of going through a "painful era of self-reliance." or at the very least being on the brink of it. (I am aware that this may be a bit of a overgeneralization, and someone may be able to cite a few examples where this may not be completely accurate - but there is certainly a trend from anyone I've ever met who's achieved great things having had to go through a period of suffering of mind or body.)

They seem to use the word "painful" as though it were necessarily a bad thing. Pain is a thing of the mind to tell us that something needs to be done (or not done). It is a wakeup call. If you stick your hand in the fire, you'll start to feel pain that tells you to do something about it. There's just no sense feeding yourself good painkillers so that you don't feel it while your hand continues to burn up.
(Fun - or not so Fun - Fact: Leprosy is a disease that attacks the nerve endings in the body and destroys a person's ability to feel pain. The reason when people think of Leprosy images of people literally falling apart in most people's mind is not because the disease causes this, but because the person is unable to notice and therefore prevent and treat wounds and burns so they are often left to fester and turn gangerous. Another example of how pain, while sometimes unpleasant it is surely a hell of a lot more pleasant than the alternative, and is a necessary component to our survival.)
One parallel I can draw to this in my own experiences is in my training in Hypnotherapy. Although one of the techniques taught in just about every textbook is an anasthetic effect to dull or eliminate pain. Also in every textbook right next to this is the caveat - although it can be done, doesn't necessarily mean it should always be done. The pain is a symptom - NOT the problem. Masking the pain, but leaving the underlying causes can make the problems worse.
That to me sums up a number of the liberals I know personally. Often enough they are well meaning, but misguided. They are looking so intently at the problems on the surface (the pain) that they sometimes blind themselves to the roots (the source) that causes it.
Just giving money to the poor is not going to solve their problems - because while on the surface the problems of the poor appears to be a lack of money, the root cause is a complete lack of financial education. I'm sure most people have at least a distant relative or an old acquantice like this: They get $100, they'll spend $100. If they get $1000, they'll spend $1000. If they won a $20 Million jackpot, they'd be broke and deeper in debt within a couple years. The TRUE problems of the poor is that if anyone ever did teach them financial management, it was by people who had no idea what the hell they were doing themselves in the first place.

Ann-Britt Axelsdotter said...

Its interesting to me - living on the other side of the pool to read all comments since none in this thread as well as in very few
other places mentions much about the agenda behind the scene.

This article is covering the passed centuries in a good way and includes how the European market raised and followed
the migration to your continent;

Another fact that puzzels me is that very few americans actually knows who owns the Federal Reserve i e
controls the american economy.

The reason why very little is done as described is its not included in the budget i m o.

Maybe time for all americans to look toward which direction the money is spent?!

Reaganite Republican said...

Linked: Reaganite's Sunday Funnies

Stilton Jarlsberg said...

@Christopher Darryl Ross- Great post (and no evidence of sleep deprivation, either). You make a tremendous point that by relieving only the symptoms of societal pain, we remove the impetus to cure the true underlying ills. And that in some instances, pain can and should be embraced as necessary.

@Ann-Britt Axelsdotter- The article in New Dawn Magazine is interesting. I don't agree with everything in it by any means, but many of the points are sharp and worth thinking about. A quote that particularly struck me was "In the post-capitalist world, the capitalist virtues will be demonised. This will be very important, in getting people to accept poverty and regimentation." While the author's words are intended to be predictive, they also neatly summarize Barack Obama's current speeches and policy initiatives.

Regarding your second link, most Americans have no idea what the Federal Reserve is, who runs it, or where money comes from. A truly frightening number of people are unaware that our government has no money and produces no money. Every "government" dollar that is spent is either taken from a taxpayer, borrowed, or created out of thin air (reducing the value of every "real" dollar that existed previously - essentially invisibly taxing anyone fortunate/unfortunate enough to have savings). In America, too many voters believe that the government has magic "Obama Money" which can be distributed by presidential fiat with no repercussions.

Which means, per your post, that Americans should be looking into the insane spending habits of our alleged leaders... but unfortunately, the citizens who truly care (and are capable of understanding) are the demonized taxpayers, and not the fiscally-ignorant (by design) recipients who make up a huge, left-leaning voting bloc.

@Reaganite Republican- Thanks for the inclusion in your weekly cartoon roundup. Readers, it's always worth the click on Reaganite Republican's "sunday funnies" link (immediately above) to see a good collection of political cartoons!

John the Econ said...

Anthropologists argue that since becoming domesticated, the size of dogs brains have shrunk by 50%. Such as it is with liberals. By eliminating the need for "self sufficiency", we need less brain. What else could possibly explain Progressive intellectual dysfunction and insanity?

Very people people really understand what "money" really is. It's merely an medium of exchange, little more. I don't even think that many people in "economics" really get it.

Perhaps the best explanation outside of academia could be found in Ayn Rand's "Atlas Shrugged":

Larry Sheldon said...

I'd have thought they would pick him riding Mooch's bicycle.

Stilton Jarlsberg said...

@John the Econ- Awesome dialogue from Ayn Rand (although the "dollar wallpaper" on that web page is a bit hard on the eyes). I wish more people were familiar with this obvious truth.

@Larry Sheldon- If you look at the statue, that is Obama as he appeared when riding her bike - complete with his nifty little safety helmet.

Emmentaler Limburger said...

I'm sorry to be "weighing in" so late, but it was a busy w/e, and I didn't have time to backtrack until now.

I could not continue reading the Ann's first posted link as it has revealed itself fairly early as leftist drivel with this gem: "Hence historians have a hard time ‘explaining’ World War 1 in terms of national motivations and objectives." Please! The article is but a thinly veiled attempt to vilify capitalism (imagine!). The motivations for WWI, WWII, Korea, Vietnam are abundantly clear, nationalistic and/or ideological at their root and, though a couple of them may have stirred the economies of one or more of the involved nations, absolutely not started or motivated by capitalism. Abundantly clear if the writer is (or readers are) not too lazy to actually review the histories around those conflicts, rather than promulgate popular leftist pulp. I can bring myself to waste no further time on it.

'Nuff said by me way too late in the conversation.