As if the work of disgraced Sen. Chris Dodd (D-CT) on the housing and banking sectors, and subsequently therefore the larger economy weren’t enough already, I see this heads-up from the American Policy Center passed along to me. Apparently we suffer from too little government, not enough planning, and a few “Sustainability” offices are needed to more gently minister to how you and your families lead your lives and can better do so to meet the state’s desires.
This is not unexpected. As I wrote about this creeping “livability” agenda in Power Grab: How Obama’s Green Policies Will Steal Your Freedom and Bankrupt America:
Team Obama’s efforts to “fundamentally transform” the United States of America” were immediate, widespread, and sweeping. The National Journal featured a debate about “livability” after someone there noticed that “the Obama administration and leading congressional Democrats appear to be making the creation of ‘livable communities’…a central transportation policy goal.” However, the “livability” and “happiness” indexes fetishized by the Left are code for coerced inconvenience, discomfort, or merely sameness, trading off individuals’ liberties to remove distinctions brought about by unfair quirks such as differences in ingenuity or hard work. But our superiors know that these differences are really only the product of a world in which the successful have won life’s lottery, so the spoils need to be spread around a bit.
Livability and the like serve as the rationale for all manner of intrusions. Innovation Newsbriefs in October 2009 noted that it was “the Administration’s intent to increase the federal role in shaping local development patterns and influencing travel behavior. ‘Smart growth’ planning and shifting more automobile travel to public transportation have been long-standing goals of progressive planners and assorted anti-sprawl activists, but these goals may now become a matter of federal policy under the Administration’s ‘livability’ initiative.”
Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood did Obama no favors by candidly defending against inquiries about this, stressing that it’s no big deal. In fact, he pointed out, “about everything we do around here is government intrusion in peoples’ lives.” (House Majority Whip James Clyburn helpfully added soon thereafter, “There’s nothing in the Constitution that says that the federal government has anything to do with most of the stuff we do.” (What a team.) (citations omitted)
Dodd’s bill isn’t going anywhere, one would assume. Except that it has been reported out for full Senate consideration by the Banking Committee he still somehow chairs. It is one lame-duck tantrum away from being reality (two, if you count the House where the numbers make most things possible until January).
The party passing APC’s “action alert” along to me asserts that this is just a latest move to enforce the UN’s “Agenda 21″ in the U.S. Maybe. On a rather related note I do know, after meeting this summer with (and receiving some internal memos from) a negotiator for a fairly important nation, that there is a new “sustainability” treaty in the works (among the cobblers they’re actually calling it a “green economy” treaty, thinking you’ll be fooled by their line that more central planning is just the cure the economy needs). This Spring saw its first round of negotiations. The third round will conclude three weeks before the Johannesburg “Rio-Plus 20” conference, or World Environment Summit III.
The “sustainability” or “green economy” treaty will be presented for agreement in Jo-burg, where the global greens hope to recreate the magic of the Rio Summit, which saw a posturing young bootlick from Tennessee fly down to preen before his soon-to-be-followers and ended with U.S. politicians misplaying each note and committing us to all sorts of mischief. Including the parent treaty of the Kyoto Protocol, work on which began immediately after our federal officials had dignified the enterprise.
As I’ve also noted in my history of these machinations:
The vaunted Kyoto pact is actually an amendment to an earlier agreement, the “Rio” treaty, or United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), agreed during the heat of the U.S.’s 1992 general election campaign. Then, an ambitious senator from Tennessee traveled to the World Environment Summit in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, demanding to know “Where’s George?!” It seems that the U.S. president, inarguably not as attentive to symbolism as others presidents would prove to be, was busy dealing with actual problems and elected to stay home to work.
The idea is that this confab will pressure the U.S. political class to fall over itself like it did with that first global warming treaty which our senators hurried to ratify and thereby prove their green bona fides (only Mauritius and the Seychelles beat us to it; so much for all that “greatest deliberative body” fluff). A “green economy” treaty is viewed as the next best chance to impose the global Left’s values on America in the face of Kyoto falling apart with no successor pact likely when it expires at the end of…2012.
It is fair to say that political circumstances today are somewhat different here and are expected to remain so in 2012, despite our friends’ hopes and aspirations. Still, politicians in election years can be funny — read: expensive and reckless — creatures. Stay tuned.