Remembering Martin Anderson

Nixon Presidential Library and Museum

Lou Cannon has a nice remembrance in RealClearPolitics of Martin Anderson, the economist and adviser to Ronald Reagan who died last week at 78. He touches on all of Anderson’s accomplishments, from his successful advocacy in the Nixon White House to abolish the military draft to his unearthing, with his wife Annelise Anderson and Kiron Skinner, the handwritten drafts of Ronald Reagan’s radio speeches, which show the impressive breadth of Reagan’s reading and depth of his thinking.

Let me add one more item to the list: Anderson’s 1964 book “The Federal Bulldozer: A Critical Analysis of Urban Renewal 1942-1962.” When I first met Anderson at the Hoover Institution, his professional base after he left the Reagan administration, he was pleased when I mentioned the book and the influence it had on me. I had imagined that urban renewal was a good idea; Anderson demonstrated that it was a terrible one. The theory, promoted by New Dealers but endorsed by the conservative Republican Sen. Robert Taft, was that poor housing conditions blighted people’s lives and that the free market would never produce adequate housing. This had some plausibility since very little housing was built in the United States between 1930 and 1945, because of depression and war; and since many New York tenements built around 1900 were notoriously dismal places.

But as Anderson pointed out, urban renewal administrators were much better at tearing down often functional neighborhoods and very bad at building housing to replace it. Benefits went to politically connected insiders; costs were borne by ordinary people — often ordinary black people — with no clout. In my home city of Detroit, the old black neighborhood on Hastings Street (don’t look for it on the map; it has been replaced by the Chrysler Freeway) was torn down circa 1948, but the handsome Mies van der Rohe high-rises and townhouses in what was called Lafayette Park were not opened for occupation until 1961. I remember that because I lived in one of the high-rises from 1969 to 1972.

As I read “The Federal Bulldozer,” I found myself arguing with Anderson — and losing one argument after another. In retrospect, the uncanny ability of Franklin Roosevelt to appoint administrators such as Harry Hopkins and to work with New York Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia, who were geniuses at getting things done, gave Americans confidence in the efficacy of big government. Martin Anderson, in his research for “The Federal Bulldozer,” showed that their successors lacked this unusual ability. It was a pioneering book which came under blistering attack by boosters of urban renewal but which remains relevant now a half-century after its publication — the first of Martin Anderson’s many contributions to good public policy.

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This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Informing And Equipping Americans Who Love Freedom

WATCH The Navy’s Revolutionary New Game-Changing Weapon That Has Just Been Okayed For Duty

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It’s not exactly the “Star Wars” weapon system that President Ronald Reagan proposed in 1983 — to much ridicule from his political adversaries — but it is built around a laser and it does reportedly deliver “near-instantaneous lethality.”

CNN reports that the U.S. Navy says its new laser weapon system — dubbed LaWS — has performed flawlessly during tests in the Arabian Gulf from September to November. And based on those outstanding test results, the commander of the ship that carries LaWS is authorized to use it if necessary.

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According to a statement from the Office of Naval Research, the laser could be used to stop threats ranging from drones and helicopters to small attack boats.

Via theblaze.com:

“Laser weapons are powerful, affordable and will play a vital role in the future of naval combat operations,” said Rear Adm. Matthew L. Klunder, chief of naval research.

“We ran this particular weapon, a prototype, through some extremely tough paces, and it locked on and destroyed the targets we designated with near-instantaneous lethality.”

An article on time.com says the Navy spent about $40 million developing LaWS, but boasts that it is extremely economical to operate.

Such weapons are safer than traditional shells and missiles, which are crammed with explosives and propellant.

They’re considerably cheaper, too: the energy required to fire the Ponce’s laser costs 59 cents a shot, compared to a shell or missile, which can cost $1 million or more.

By clicking on the video above, you can watch a short film from the Navy showing its new laser weapon system in action.

 

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Informing And Equipping Americans Who Love Freedom

Pipeline Politics–Why The Democrats Will Lose

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Talk about being in the middle of Middle America.

This week, I’m in bitterly cold Nebraska — Omaha, to be exact — visiting with my wife Colleen’s family.

On Tuesday night, I watched the Die-hard Democrats in the Senate stop a bill to force approval of the Keystone XL Pipeline that would carry oil from Canada and Montana and North Dakota to the refineries of New Orleans.

The proposed $8 billion shortcut across Nebraska and other Red States is a big deal.

It makes economic and environmental sense for their citizens and for all Americans. But of course, that hasn’t stopped the pipeline from becoming a political cause celebre for liberal Democrats and their narrow interest groups.

President Obama, Senator Reid, and their whacko pals in the environmental lobby have managed to delay the Keystone XL’s approval for six years.

But they better celebrate Tuesday night’s buzzer beater while they can. Their one-vote “victory” in the Senate is the last time they’ll be able to get away with their screw-you attitude toward voters.

The Keystone XL will get the green light as soon as the Republicans who were elected in the midterm elections start running things in Congress next year.

Watching the Die-hard Democrats in the Senate vote against the pipeline was creepy. It reminded me of the spiteful thing President Carter did in 1980 when he was blown out of office by my father.

As the 1980 election returns were coming in from Back East, my father was taking a shower and getting ready to go to dinner in L.A.

Polls were still open in the rest of the country, but Jimmy Carter already could see the landslide coming. At 6:01 Pacific time, he called my father to concede.

Giving up so soon — and thereby discouraging many Democrat voters in the western time zones from going to the polls — made the Reagan avalanche even worse.

Republicans took control of the Senate, 53-46, picking up 12 seats.

Carter knew what he was doing. He was an outsider who never worked well with his party’s Washington insiders.

Insisting on conceding so early, despite advice from his advisers and the pleas of party leaders like Tip O’Neill, was Carter’s way of punishing the Democrats who ran Washington.

I think Senate Democrats were acting like Jimmy Carter on Tuesday when they defeated the pipeline vote.

It’s inevitable that the Keystone XL pipeline will be built. Harry Reid and his gang of obstructionists know that.

But they voted against the pipeline anyway, even ignoring the small chance that a pro-Keystone vote might have saved Mary Landrieu’s Senate seat in Louisiana.

Democrats flat didn’t care. The pipeline vote was their final act of spite. It was a last-minute kick in the teeth of Red State voters for electing so many Republicans to Congress in the midterms.

I believe it was President Obama who famously said to Eric Cantor after re-winning the White House in 2012 that “elections have consequences.”

Obviously, you were right, Mr. President.

But seeing Democrat Senators stick it to the American electorate on the pipeline, and watching you desecrate the Constitution to push your immigration agenda, has made me realize something.

When you and the Democrats win an election, America suffers. And when you guys don’t win an election, America suffers just as much.

For the last six years, voters have been playing in a lose-lose game. But for the next two years, things will be different. Because, thank God, elections do matter.

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The views expressed in this opinion article are solely those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by WesternJournalism.com.

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Informing And Equipping Americans Who Love Freedom

Obama Is America’s First Hollywood President

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In movies, handsome men and beautiful women speak eloquent words written by others and perform profound or heroic actions that they were never required to do in real life.

Like a Hollywood fantasy, Obama’s is a make-believe presidency. No one expects leadership from a celebrity, and no one expects him to mean what he says.

Obama is at his best on a stage set with human props in the background, reading from a teleprompter script to an audience of adoring fans.

Like the son of a Hollywood mogul, Obama breezed through life with an Affirmative Action wind at his back. He was made President of the Harvard Law Review having never written a legal article, was an unremarkable Illinois state senator, and made no impact on national events in his brief tenure as a US senator. He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize based on rhetoric rather than accomplishment.

Much like the intellectual vacuity of Hollywood, Obama’s incompetence is camouflaged by the ignorant approval of naïve or ideological groupies and a fawning and uncritical media.

Unlike Obama, Ronald Reagan earned his success and demonstrated leadership throughout his career. He was elected both high school and college student body president. Reagan studied at Eureka College, a small Christian school near Peoria, on a half-tuition scholarship. He majored in economics and sociology and took part in dramatics, football, track, and swimming. After graduation, he worked as a sportscaster and signed a movie contract as a result of a screen test for a radio announcer role, while in California for the Chicago Cubs spring training. Reagan became president of the Screen Actors Guild in 1947 and was elected to five more terms. He was twice elected Governor of California as a Republican in the consummate Democratic state.

Unlike Obama, Reagan demonstrated an uncommon ability to give voice to the innate patriotism of the American people; and more than any other politician of his time, he had an affectionate, long-lasting relationship with his countrymen. On his 70th day as president, March 30, 1981, after an address to labor leaders at the Washington Hilton Hotel, shots were fired, and an assassin’s bullet lodged one inch from his heart. The grace, courage, and, yes, the humor with which he handled that event cemented his affectionate relationship with the American people.

Unlike Obama, narcissism, arrogance, and pretentiousness were not the Reagan style. He was the American’s American, a president we could take pride in when he traveled to other countries, even if there was the occasional gaffe. Reagan deflected much ridicule by leading the laughter himself. He had good speechwriters, but Reagan’s delivery always glorified the material rather than glorifying himself.

Would anyone ever expect Obama to describe America as “that shining city on a hill?”

In a recent interview, former CIA Director and Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta said that Obama “has the guts to do the right thing” on ISIS, for example; but the real question is whether he will make the decision to act.

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This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Informing And Equipping Americans Who Love Freedom

See Why This Wall Street Veteran Just Said “All Hell Is Going To Break Loose”

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David Stockman, former head of the Office of Management and Budget under Ronald Reagan and a Wall Street veteran, recently told King World News in an interview that “all hell is going to break loose.”

Stockman divided the problems America faces into two kinds: foreign policy and economic.

Stockman said “our foreign policy is collapsing everywhere, and yet the war party in Washington keeps wanting to do more of the same.”

On Russia, he stated that the “confrontation with Putin is utterly out of hand and unnecessary” and that the trade war will “ricochet throughout an already fragile European economy.” On Iraq, he takes a non-interventionist stance, questioning “What is he thinking?” as Obama considers a new Iraq war.

Economic issues are Stockman’s area of expertise and where he spends most of his time. He doesn’t believe “this central bank ‘act’ can be kept up.” He sees a stock market that has risen for the last 64 months and wonders when a bear market will rear its ugly head. Not only that, but the whole US economic system is “booby trapped with both visible and hidden leverage.”

Train wreck is a pretty good term to describe what is coming,” says Stockman. He thinks that with the rapid expansion of the Fed’s balance sheet from $900 billion to $4.5 trillion in less than 70 months, a train wreck is inevitable. He closes with the prediction that eventually, “all hell is going to break loose.”

What do you think? Do current foreign policy and economic facts back up Stockman’s contention that “all hell is going to break loose?”

Photo credit: New America Foundation (Flickr)

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Informing And Equipping Americans Who Love Freedom