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The Unmaking Of A Presidency

“My attitude is that if the economy’s good for folks from the bottom up, it’s gonna be good for everybody. … I think when you spread the wealth around, it’s good for everybody.”  Barack Obama – 2008

“So these investments — in things like education and research and health care — they haven’t been made as some grand scheme to redistribute wealth from one group to another. . . .” Barack Obama – 2012

Thus does the Obama Presidency start with intellectual farce and devolve all the way down to self parody.  Spreading the wealth around is, “…good for everybody,” up until the point when it isn’t, when hammering job creators creates fewer jobs and you end up with 38 consecutive months of unemployment over 8 percent and over 46 million people living in poverty; more than at any other time in over 50 years of keeping such estimates.    

What to do?  Well, if you fashion yourself a “progressive,” which is to say your understanding of the social contract peaked with the strong-armed collectivist theories of the early 20th century which held that entire populations can be carved up by class and led by the nose at the behest of societal puppet masters, your playbook is necessarily limited.   Plus you’re running out of countries to screw up, what with West European collectivist model states running out of money and East European states running away from the collectivist model.  Still, there are only so many variations of the “I’m from the government and I’m here to manage your life” theme, so if you’re Barack Obama, you keep trying the same thing and change the marketing.  “I’m not spreading the wealth around,…I’m just, uh, raising taxes to invest in education, research, infrastructure, free false teeth, and manzanita plants because when you invest in things like that, it’s good for everybody.”  Or something like that.  

You’ve heard of the manzanita plant, haven’t you?  Specifically, the Franciscan manzanita?  You just bought one.   They are found in the San Francisco area.  Determined little suckers they are too. According to the Manzanita Nursery, these plants, “…cope not only with drought; they are also challenged by wind, sand, clay, steep slopes, fog, sea spray, deep shade, fire, deer, and unrelenting  sun.”  Yet they keep enduring, like a grey-haired hippie with tenure.  You can purchase your very own Franciscan manzanita for about 15 bucks at any number of local nurseries.  That is, unless you’re the government, in which case it’ll cost you about a quarter of a million dollars.  How’s that, you ask?  Seems a large Franciscan manzanita was residing in a highway median.  According to the Federal Register, “The plant’s location was directly in the footprint of a roadway improvement project designed to upgrade the seismic and structural integrity of the south access to the Golden Gate Bridge.”

Clearly it wouldn’t do to just rip the thing up and toss it, because it’s considered “wild,” and wild Franciscan manzanitas (defined as those that are found in places other than people’s yards and botanical gardens), were thought to be extinct.  So new life was breathed into the President’s program of creating or saving as many bureaucrats as possible when a “Memorandum of Agreement Regarding Planning, Development, and Implementation of the Conservation Plan for Franciscan Manzanita,” was written.  The MOARPDICPFM called for the expenditure of $79,470 for:

…the establishment, nurturing, and monitoring of the Mother Plant in its new location for a period not to exceed ten (10) years following relocation and two (2) years for salvaged rooted layers and cuttings according to the activities outlined in the Conservation Plan.

Additionally, the plan called for the transfer of, “…$25,605.00 to the Trust to fund the costs of reporting requirements [emphasis mine] of the initial 10-year period as outlined in the Conservation Plan.”   Oh yes, and the cost of actually digging the thing up, trucking it elsewhere and replanting it?  A cool $100,000.  

And as they say on the commercial, But Wait!  There’s More!  The MOARPDICPFM also requires $7,025 for initial genetic and chromosomal testing of the Mother Plant; a contract for guidance from a qualified Manzanita expert; funding of up to $5,000 for 3 botanical gardens, “to nurture salvaged rooted layers;” and $1,500 for long-term seed storage.   In 2009, the US median household income  [pdf file] was $49,777, which is about one quarter of the total cost of “translocating” a single $15 plant from a highway median in San Francisco.  Perhaps in this instance, it really was “bush’s fault.”   

The appropriately named “Mother Plant” is now in the witness protection program, or as the Federal Register puts it: 

As noted …, the Presidio Trust and NPS have made continuous efforts not to reveal the location of Arctostaphylos franciscana. They are concerned that public knowledge of the A. franciscana location would attract large numbers of plant enthusiasts who may damage the A. franciscana and compact the soil.

I think I should like to visit the infernal thing.  Not to compact the soil, mind you, but to admire it and take a simple photograph of a plant that is worth over four times the average income of the people who purchased it.  

Now, if only we could convince the President that it is the American taxpayer who is nearing extinction, that when you have the top 1 percent paying almost 40 percent of the bill, and the top 10 percent paying almost 70 percent of the bill, you have in fact redistributed the wealth.  And to what end, I might ask?  To spend over $200,000 to relocate a shrub?    If members of the productive class stood, “directly in the footprint of a roadway improvement project,” perhaps they could get in on the fun.  The problem of course is that America’s job producers already have the footprints of government all over their collective anatomy.  Far from changing the marketing, the President who so readily bows to foreign despots should take yet another bow to American taxpayers who, in turn, should leave their collective footprint on the royal hindquarters and boot him back to Chicago in November.  And he can take the damned plant with him. 

  1. Aaron Miller

    He’s like a Californian Robin Hood, stealing from the rich to give to the plants.

  2. Matthew Gilley
    Dave Carter

     ”…cope not only with drought; they are also challenged by wind, sand, clay, steep slopes, fog, sea spray, deep shade, fire, deer, and unrelenting  sun.”  

    Wasn’t this language used in the voice-over during the original trailer for Deliverance?

  3. Essgee

    I think the taxpayers are intitiled to a small cutting from the plant…

  4. Dave Carter
    C
    Matthew Gilley

    Dave Carter

     ”…cope not only with drought; they are also challenged by wind, sand, clay, steep slopes, fog, sea spray, deep shade, fire, deer, and unrelenting  sun.”  

    Wasn’t this language used in the voice-over during the original trailer for Deliverance? · 2 minutes ago

    Beats me.  I couldn’t tell over the banjo music.  

  5. Yeah...ok.

    That mother plant never worked a day in her life.

  6. Last Outpost on the Right

    The immorality is staggering.

    The environmental fanatics have sentenced entire African nations to poverty & disease in the name of protecting animals that would prefer to eat humans than be protected by them.

    And in this example, we forcibly remove earned income from productive citizens in order to protect a shrub that grows in the wild … a.k.a. a weed.

  7. Matthew Gilley
    Dave Carter

    Matthew Gilley

    Dave Carter

     ”…cope not only with drought; they are also challenged by wind, sand, clay, steep slopes, fog, sea spray, deep shade, fire, deer, and unrelenting  sun.”  

    Wasn’t this language used in the voice-over during the original trailer for Deliverance? · 2 minutes ago

    Beats me.  I couldn’t tell over the banjo music.   · 19 minutes ago

    One other thing, Dave, that you may be able to explain from your research:  how is this weed, er… plant, er … national treasure  challenged both by deep shade and unrelenting sun?

  8. danys

    Night and day?

    Matthew Gilley

    Dave Carter

    Matthew Gilley

    Dave Carter

     ”…cope not only with drought; they are also challenged by wind, sand, clay, steep slopes, fog, sea spray, deep shade, fire, deer, and unrelenting  sun.”  

    Wasn’t this language used in the voice-over during the original trailer for Deliverance? · 2 minutes ago

    Beats me.  I couldn’t tell over the banjo music.   · 19 minutes ago

    One other thing, Dave, that you may be able to explain from your research:  how is this weed, er… plant, er … national treasure  challenged both by deep shade and unrelenting sun? · 6 minutes ago

  9. Jimmy Carter

    As noted …, the Presidio Trust and NPS have made continuous efforts not to reveal the location of Arctostaphylos franciscana.

    Right, because they don’t want Us to know how quickly it died after they uprooted it.

  10. Western Chauvinist
    Dave Carter

    Maggie Somavilla: Dave, you are somethin’ else. · 4 minutes ago

    An alien species, from the depths of the bayou.  Sssshhhhhhhh.  Don’t tell.   · 3 hours ago

    If we get you designated as “wild” maybe we can raid the Treasury for $200,000 to get you relocated.  Where would you like to go?

  11. Dave Carter
    C
    Western Chauvinist

    Dave Carter

    Maggie Somavilla: Dave, you are somethin’ else. · 4 minutes ago

    An alien species, from the depths of the bayou.  Sssshhhhhhhh.  Don’t tell.   · 3 hours ago

    If we get you designated as “wild” maybe we can raid the Treasury for $200,000 to get you relocated.  Where would you like to go? · 3 minutes ago

    Back to the bayou, please.  

  12. Dave Carter
    C
    Matthew Gilley

    Dave Carter

    Matthew Gilley

    Dave Carter

     ”…cope not only with drought; they are also challenged by wind, sand, clay, steep slopes, fog, sea spray, deep shade, fire, deer, and unrelenting  sun.”  

    Wasn’t this language used in the voice-over during the original trailer for Deliverance? · 2 minutes ago

    Beats me.  I couldn’t tell over the banjo music.   · 19 minutes ago

    One other thing, Dave, that you may be able to explain from your research:  how is this weed, er… plant, er … national treasure  challenged both by deep shade and unrelenting sun? · 1 hour ago

    The same way the Obama administration is challenged by its own deception and the unrelenting light from those of us who call them on it, I suppose.   

  13. Robert E. Lee

    We blame the president, as we should, because, after all, that’s what he’s there for, yet he hasn’t signed a budget since when?   The financial folly is, like all others, the responsibility of those members in congress assembled who voted for and government bureaucrats who implement these things.

    I’ve an idea.  Lets invite an elected congress person to visit Ricochet each month and take questions, explain why they voted on the issues the way they did, why our money was allowed to be spent in this way.  Any guesses on how many years it will take to find, at the rate of one a month, a congress person who will give a direct, honest answer to a direct question?

    Meanwhile, is fungus growing between your toes considered “wild” and can you get a grant to take care of it?

  14. wilber forge

    Where is the Green outrage over Kudzu ? If anyone recalls that invasive species. Turn em that way and maybe we will have Kudzu powered cars.

  15. Robert E. Lee
    wilber forge: Where is the Green outrage over Kudzu ? If anyone recalls that invasive species. Turn em that way and maybe we will have Kudzu powered cars. · 38 minutes ago

    Genetically engineer the kudzu to taste like beer and pizza and we could solve hunger.

  16. wilber forge
    Robert E. Lee

    wilber forge: Where is the Green outrage over Kudzu ? If anyone recalls that invasive species. Turn em that way and maybe we will have Kudzu powered cars. · 38 minutes ago

    Genetically engineer the kudzu to taste like beer and pizza and we could solve hunger. · 2 minutes ago

    The plant must truly nasty if nobody has found use for it yet. Not even Monsanto has touched the stuff.

  17. wilber forge

    The peanuts are a nice touch. Did Carter have a bowl on the big desk ?

  18. Palaeologus
    Robert E. Lee: We blame the president, as we should, because, after all, that’s what he’s there for, yet he hasn’t signed a budget since when?   The financial folly is, like all others, the responsibility of those members in congress assembled who voted for and government bureaucrats who implement these things.

    I generally agree Robert. Though I’d say that the folly extends well beyond Congress and bureaucrats: ultimately it is the responsibility of all Americans. Also, it isn’t just that the President is there for the blaming, he sets the tone.

    So what has Obama been doing?

    Shoving through impenetrable, unconstitutional legislation while granting exemptions to the favored and handing off its implementation. Handing sweetheart deals to incompetents with bad business plans (but which are politically useful) while running against Wall Street.  Pitching budget proposals that would make a gambling junkie blush and grotesquely mischaracterizing their consequences. Baldly lying (he taught Con Law, he knew better) about the historical role of the Supreme Court. Attacking local law enforcement as a jumping off point for the news cycle in a given outrage/tragedy.

    He is making it worse, and needs to be fired.

  19. Nanda Panjandrum

    Classic bureaucratic incompetence, recounted and refuted in your oft-imitated, but never duplicated style…Thanks, Dave! 

  20. Gretchen

    Dave, you are somethin’ else.

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