American Elephants

Why Socialized Medicine Goes Bust…Every Time! by The Elephant's Child

Socialized Healthcare

Both Democrat candidates are extolling their plans for “universal health care”, otherwise known as socialized medicine. Apparently many young voters have no idea what the term ‘socialized medicine’ means. Certainly the idea of freedom from worry over how to pay for health insurance is enticing.

The basic idea of all insurance is that a large group of insured will pay a modest amount to be protected from risk. If the pool of insured people is large enough, when disaster falls upon one person, the amount to be paid out takes only a small amount from each of the others. Disasters seldom fall upon many at the same time (you immediately thought of Katrina and 9/11, didn’t you?) if there is wide geographic dispersion among the insured.

The case of health insurance is somewhat different. Catastrophic insurance is much the same — auto accidents, strokes and cancer are all examples of the need for catastrophic coverage. Examples that involve long hospital stays and very large bills.

The problems arise with coverage for ordinary doctor’s visits. Medicine has become much more complicated than it used to be. I don’t suppose that my parents saw a doctor more than a couple of dozen times in their lives, and my mother was a doctor’s daughter. Now with patent medicines touted for everything from sore feet to weight loss on radio commercials daily, and ads for prescription and over-the-counter medicines in every magazine, we are far more conscious of every discomfort. The media covers every advance in medicine, and every lawsuit. Dramatic stories of dire medical situations are a popular genre for movies and paperback thrillers. It is hardly surprising that we are a nation of, at least modestly, hypochondriacs.

When treatment, or at least comforting attention, from a physician is available, free, the natural tendency is to seek that attention more often. Young mothers rush their children off to the doctor at the slightest sign of fever or cold, when if they had to pay for it they might wait to see if the kid was really sick, and even then might recognize that colds usually last about seven days or if it’s bad — a week.

Legislators who pass laws about what will be included in medical coverage, are easily seduced by lobbyists and friends who want their particular need covered. So basic health care gradually expands to cover acupuncturists, birth-control pills, homeopathic medicine, massage therapy, for example, and worst of all, mental health care. I say worst of all, because it is extremely difficult to separate the merely unhappy from the mentally ill. So you have a constantly expanding definition of medical care, and a constantly expanding population of people needing (or at least demanding) that care.

This is a recipe for disaster, and disaster is what has been the inevitable result. Of course it is all right for a while, but all too soon costs exceed the original plan. Please remember that “free” is a misnomer. It is not free — you will pay for every bit of care with your taxes. The government does not have any money of its own — it can only give you things by taking your money to pay for it. So the squee-eezing begins. Taxes go up, doctors’ reimbursement goes down, hospitals and nurses are paid less. Doctors are urged to squeeze more patients in, prescribe only generic medicines, cut down on expensive tests, and so on and so on. It is inevitable.

To understand what happens, visit any of the British newspapers : The Telegraph, The Guardian, The Times, The Independent, The Scotsman. They all have a search function. Enter National Health Service or NHS and read about the terrible problems the British face — dirty hospitals, superbugs that have killed hundreds, patients traveling to hospitals in other countries to avoid the NHS, and patients who die waiting to be treated.

Investors Business Daily reports that Quebec’s former health minister is admitting that “the system he helped create is not sustainable. It has, as Claude Castonguay has succinctly noted, reached a crisis point.” Castonguay is known as the father of the public health system that was copied by the rest of Canada. He recognizes that the element of freedom of choice which Canadians exercise in the rest of their lives is missing in the most important area of all — their health.

There are plenty of examples in the real world. Perhaps you remember the 15,000 elderly who died in French hospitals a few years ago. Or did you read about the problems Sweden is facing? I know, I know, this time it will be different.

The demagogues promise free health care, freedom from fear and freedom from financial worries. They lie.

Is Are College Kidz lerning Enything? by The Elephant's Child
February 28, 2008, 8:56 pm
Filed under: Domestic Policy, Education, Foreign Policy, History

College Students

American college seniors are deeply ignorant about America’s history, political thought, free market economy and foreign relations. Approximately 7,000 college seniors who took the American civic literacy exam received an “F”. The average score was 54.2%, consistent with last years average score of 53.2%. The average senior failed all four subjects, scoring under 60% in each one.

Harvard seniors scored highest, but their average of 69.6% was only a “D+”. At 18 colleges, the average senior scored less than 50%. Depressing.

Now here’s the scary part—you can take the test and see how well you can do:

Take the Test

Never fear. The results come back instantaneously and privately. No one will ever know.

Rest in Peace, Mr. Buckley by American Elephant
February 27, 2008, 2:00 pm
Filed under: History, News, Politics | Tags: , , ,

William F. Buckley Jr.

William F. Buckley Jr. 1925-2008

William F. Buckley Jr., author, columnist, founder of National Review, towering intellect, the primary architect of modern conservatism, and a national treasure has died, at his desk, at the age of 83.

Our thoughts go to his family, friends and many loved ones.

Fellow admirers would do well to read the many excellent tributes that are rapidly accumulating at National Review, and on their blog, The Corner. Fellow conservatives would do well to pay tribute to Mr. Buckley by redoubling their efforts to advancing our shared ideals.

I think he would expect no less.

President Bush Reverses Global Warming! by American Elephant

President Bush Environmentalist

I kid you not. Global Warming is gone. Kaput! No More!

New figures from four of the most authoritative sources show the average global temperature has dropped enough to erase almost all the warming people were concerned about in the first place:

All four major global temperature tracking outlets (Hadley, NASA’s GISS, UAH, RSS) have released updated data. All show that over the past year, global temperatures have dropped precipitously.

Meteorologist Anthony Watts compiled the results of all the sources. The total amount of cooling ranges from 0.65C up to 0.75C — a value large enough to erase nearly all the global warming recorded over the past 100 years. [read more]

If President Bush gets blamed because the mayor of New Orleans and Governor of Louisiana refused to evacuate their own people, refused to follow their own disaster plans, and refused President Bush when he offered to help, then he sure as hell gets credit for reversing global warming!

Obama: Spam, Spam, Hope and Spam! by American Elephant

Obama mania

Barack Obama sure talks a pretty talk.

To me, however, and almost anyone I’ve encountered who no longer has the suffix “teen” included in their age, it has been almost universally decried as empty, vapid and disturbingly ignorant. Even my staunchly liberal friends tell me they are frightened by his utter lack of qualification and the cult-like following he has developed in spite of it.

Obama loves to talk about hope. Hope and change, and change and hope. Hope, hope, change and hope. He uses the word “hope” like  the Monty Python players use the word “Spam“.

And his followers eat it up.

He likes to talk about uniting America. “We are not red-states and blue-states,” he says to deafening cheers, “but the United States!” And yet, as the non-partisan National Journal has verified, Barack Obama has the singular most liberal voting record of anyone in the senate. Which by implication also means he has among the most, if not the most partisan voting record of anyone in the senate. Indeed, despite all his flowery rhetoric, Obama hasn’t co-sponsored one single bill with a Republican.

He has flatly refused to reach across the isle, he has zero experience uniting anyone but the far-left wing of the Democrat party, and has proven he is as partisan as they come. Yet his followers believe he will change Washington and unite America.

Which finally made me understand Obama’s appeal. (Aside from the fact that he’s the first viable candidate Democrats have had in 12 years with any semblance of a personality.)

Obama is the candidate who won’t make you feel bad that you don’t know anything about anything — because he doesn’t talk about anything. He doesn’t talk policy, he talks about feelings.

He is Oprahbama.

When Obama recently held a rally for 20,000 people in my area (Seattle), reporters asked a supporter what she thought the average age of attendees was. She guessed 16-22. Judging from the footage, and other reports, I would say she was right.

A recent survey shows that two-thirds of people in this age group can’t even find Iraq on a map after three years (at that point) of war. Yet Obama’s supporters are universally certain we should not be there — wherever there is. Twenty-nine percent couldn’t locate the Pacific Ocean, yet are convinced man is causing global warming.

No wonder they love Obama! He doesn’t require them to know anything about the issues, he only asks them to “hope” and “believe“. There won’t be any knowledge of math or history required and no one will ask them to find anything on a map!

Everyone will prosper if only we raise taxes enough! The reason healthcare is so expensive is because government doesn’t regulate it enough! Everything would be better if only we would abandon our fledgeling democratic ally in Iraq and allow terrorists to take it over!

These are the fantasies people believe when they “hope” instead of think.

And yet, if his naive followers get their way, with his $900 billion in new spending proposals (thus far), mammoth tax hikes, his Carter-era advisers, and dangerously naive foreign policy prescriptions, if Obama were to get elected, it will be the rest of America, and the world, that will be in very serious need of hope.

New Data Puts “Global Warming” On Ice by American Elephant

Penguins Take Over the World

The Earth warmed a tiny bit, in the recent past — for a while. This much we know (assuming measurements are accurate), but pretty much everything else “global warming” proponents claim is a mixture of theory and completely debunked horsehockey.

We do know that the Earth has warmed. Indeed, it has a long history of warming and cooling — but we do not know that the Earth will continue to warm. Environmentalists thought we knew. Al Gore tells us it is “scientific consensus” and therefore beyond debate. Unfortunately for Al, as with flat-Earth and geocentric theories, facts often have a pesky tendency to prove scientific consensus not only wrong, but meaningless.

Last December, a new study was published in the Royal Meteorological Society’s International Journal of Climatology to deafening media silence, that proves the computer models, upon which scientists are basing all their predictions of warming, do not work. When they entered in historic climate data — measurements from the past that we know to be accurate — the computer models completely failed to predict today’s current climate conditions. If they can’t predict the present, they most certainly can’t predict the future.

So now we are back to square one. We don’t know if the Earth will continue to warm, or if it will stay the same, or if it will get cooler.

But there are some new facts that you should bear in mind.

First, the globe hasn’t warmed since 2000. Contrary to environmentalists’ claims, global temperature has remained pretty much the same since 2001.

Secondly, the polar ice-caps are not disappearing as Al Gore told us. Not only has the Arctic ice-cap returned to its previous size, and is actually thicker than before, the antarctic ice cap is nearly one-third bigger than normal! So you can quit losing sleep worrying about penguins and polar bears.

Also, new data from the U.S. National Climatic Data Center (NCDC) confirms that, like much of the rest of the hemisphere, this winter has been colder than normal:

Snow cover over North America and much of Siberia, Mongolia and China is greater than at any time since 1966.

The U.S. National Climatic Data Center (NCDC) reported that many American cities and towns suffered record cold temperatures in January and early February. According to the NCDC, the average temperature in January “was -0.3 F cooler than the 1901-2000 (20th century) average.”

China is surviving its most brutal winter in a century. Temperatures in the normally balmy south were so low for so long that some middle-sized cities went days and even weeks without electricity because once power lines had toppled it was too cold or too icy to repair them.

There have been so many snow and ice storms in Ontario and Quebec in the past two months that the real estate market has felt the pinch as home buyers have stayed home rather than venturing out looking for new houses.

In just the first two weeks of February, Toronto received 70 cm of snow, smashing the record of 66.6 cm for the entire month set back in the pre-SUV, pre-Kyoto, pre-carbon footprint days of 1950. [read more]

Now, as the article states, one winter does not a trend make. But it is important to note that this years’ unusually cold winter, and the lack of any significant warming over the past seven years, fly in the face of everything Al Gore and the envirowhackos have been telling us.

And an increasingly large number of scientists are standing up and questioning the global warming mantra,

Last month, Oleg Sorokhtin, a fellow of the Russian Academy of Natural Sciences, shrugged off manmade climate change as “a drop in the bucket.” Showing that solar activity has entered an inactive phase, Prof. Sorokhtin advised people to “stock up on fur coats.”

He is not alone. Kenneth Tapping of our own [Canadian] National Research Council, who oversees a giant radio telescope focused on the sun, is convinced we are in for a long period of severely cold weather if sunspot activity does not pick up soon.

Don’t believe the hype. As we said last week, “It’s the Sun, Stupid!” The Earth is warming for the same reasons Mars and other planets have been shown to be simultaneously warming: the Sun does not always put out a constant amount of energy. It goes through phases of increased and decreased activity.

The idea that the Earth is going to continue to warm is not only an unproven theory, but much of what it is based on has been proven to be untrue. Not only has Earth not warmed in over 7 years, this winter has been the coldest in a long while. And as many scientists have postulated, we may be in for, or already in, a period of global cooling.

I wonder if environmentalists will insist we drive more SUVs? Somehow I doubt it.

Cool Sites for the Weekend by American Elephant
February 23, 2008, 3:13 am
Filed under: Blogging, Humor, Pop Culture | Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Old Time Radio

Everything old is new again.

Looking for something new to do this weekend with friends or family? Turn off the TV, break out a board game, maybe light a fire, and turn up the radio! Especially good when its stormy outside or the power has gone out.

And not all radio shows are old. There is a whole new generation of radio productions. The following shows play in my town on Saturday and Sunday nights, but are available all over the country, and on the web. Click the buttons to listen on the web or to find a radio station broadcasting them in your area:

Listen to Imagination Theater Imagination Theater is produced in Seattle by Jim French Productions and include episodes of “Sherlock Holmes”, “The Adventures of Harry Nile”, “Kincaid the Strangeseeker”, “Movies for Your Mind” and “the Hillary Caine Mysteries”, among others. The show is broadcast all over the nation, in New Zealand, and on XM radio. Click the button to find where you can find it in your area.

Listen to The Twilight Zone These Twilight Zone episodes are all new audio productions, voiced by celebrities you might well recognize, like Jason Alexander, Jim Caviezel, Jane Seymour, Fred Willard, Kate Jackson and many more of the original scripts by Rod Serling. Again, click the button to find times and stations in your area.

Listen to When Radio Was When Radio Was is just what it sounds like — classic old-time radio shows. From “The Shadow” to “Our Miss Brooks” and everything in between. They play drama, comedy, mystery, suspense, family, westerns, variety and more. perfect with a bowl of popcorn, a boardgame and a group of friends.

So turn off American Idol, pull yourself away from the computer and enjoy a nice low-tech evening with friends or family, or just a cozy night at home by yourself. They really are “movies for your mind!”

The Surge is a Success — Democrats Are The Failure! by American Elephant

Nancy Pelosi Failure

Let’s take a short, but very important walk down memory lane:

In the run-up to the 2006 election, Democrats claimed it was time for a new strategy in Iraq. They refused to tell the American people what their new strategy would be, and then when they won, claimed the war was lost and that they had a mandate to pull the troops out of Iraq.

This despite the fact that President Bush had already announced a new strategy, which became known as the surge, and that Democrats had just unanimously confirmed General Petraeus who made his support for the surge central to his confirmation hearing.

Then, before the Surge troops had even all arrived in Iraq, Democrats declared it was a failure.

When General Petraeus was set to report to congress on the considerable success he had been having, first Nancy Pelosi refused to meet with him, then Democrats accused him of being a liar who was nothing but a mouthpiece for President Bush. one of Democrats most powerful special interest groups accused Petraeus of being a traitor to the country for daring to report the truth of the Surge’s success.

Remember that this November! The base of the Democratic party called General Petraeus a traitor to America because he refused to deliver them the defeat they so desperately lusted for for their own political gain!

When Democrats could no longer feasibly deny that the Surge was working, and working dramatically well, determined to secure defeat for their political gain, they again changed their defeatist propaganda. Now, they said, the troops have done a great job, but the Surge is still a failure because there has been no political progress.

One month ago Harry Reid claimed precisely that at almost exactly the same time the Iraqi Parliament passed one of the most contentious benchmarks, a de Ba’athification law allowing former members of Saddam’s ruling party to seek employment in the government.

Just eleven Days ago, Nancy Pelosi repeated her party’s talking point — again calling Iraq a failure. The problem is, she did so just one day after the announcement that one of al Qaeda’s top leaders has himself said that al Qaeda in Iraq has been devastated by the surge.

Now, just a few short days after San Fran Nan’s latest ejaculation of, “FAILURE!” the Iraqi Parliament has once again proved itself more able to compromise than the US Democrat party:

Within the last week the Iraqi parliament passed key laws having to do with provincial elections (the law devolves power to the local level in a decentralization system that is groundbreaking for the region), the distribution of resources, and amnesty. And those laws follow ones passed in recent months having to do with pensions, investment, and de-Ba’athification. [read more]

That is more progress and more compromise in one week than Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid and the bitterly partisan Democrats have shown since the war in Iraq began.

Saddam Hussein is dead and gone. Iraq is turning from an avowed enemy of the United States into a democracy and an ally of the United States. And while Democrats voted for the war, they have done everything in their power since to ensure it fails.

If President Bush had not stood up to them, Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid, Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and the rest of the power-hungry Democrats would have had us out of Iraq by now, almost ensuring the nation would once again become a tyranny, a danger to the region and the world, a stronghold of al Qaeda and an enemy of the United States.

But despite their best efforts to ensure just such a defeat for their political gain, the Surge is a Success! Democrats are the Failure!

Good News for Republicans by American Elephant
February 22, 2008, 2:20 am
Filed under: News, Politics | Tags: , , ,

Representative John Shadegg

Representative John Shadegg (R-AZ) has heard the pleas of conservatives. After announcing ten days ago that he would not seek re-election, Representative Shadegg was besieged with a campaign of letters, phone calls, emails, petitions and pleas, from colleagues, conservative leaders and constituents asking him to stay.

Powerline reports that Shadegg has now reconsidered and will run for re-election in the fall.

Shadegg is a solid conservative, a fighter, and a good man. His statement can be read here.

The Audacity of Hype! by American Elephant

Even staunch liberals like Chris Matthews are beginning to realize that Barack Obama is all hype and zero substance. I imagine the Hillary camp probably pressured Matthews into this exchange with an Obama representative, but nonetheless I give Matthews credit for pointing out that Obama has accomplished absolutely nothing despite having been in elected office for years. (hat tip: James Taranto)

It’s the Sun, Stupid! by Emerald City Elephant

Polar Bears

File this one under more news you won’t hear from the mainstream media:

NEW evidence has cast doubt on claims that the world’s ice-caps are melting, it emerged last night.

Satellite data shows that concerns over the levels of sea ice may have been premature.

It was feared that the polar caps were vanishing because of the effects of global warming.

But figures from the respected US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration show that almost all the “lost” ice has come back.

Ice levels which had shrunk from 13million sq km in January 2007 to just four million in October, are almost back to their original levels.[read more]

Another envirowhacko scare tactic falls apart. The ice caps are not disappearing. In fact, while the arctic ice cap returns to normal, the antarctic ice cap is increasing in size:

Figures show that there is nearly a third more ice in Antarctica than is usual for the time of year.

This just weeks after another scientific study determined that the “models” environmentalists have been basing all their predictions on, can’t even accurately predict the current climate… which  means they can’t predict anything.

But you probably didn’t hear that one from the mainstream media either. And you won’t.

Democrats — Still Crazy After All These Years by American Elephant

Almost eight years later, Democrats in Washington State are still grousing about President Bush preventing Algore from stealing the 2000 election. (They later used precisely the same tactics ruled unconstitutional by a 7-2 vote of the US Supreme Court to successfully steal the gubernatorial election from the winner, Dino Rossi.) The state senate has just voted to potentially disenfranchise the majority of Washington voters:

OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) – State senators have approved a bill that would deliver the state’s electoral votes to the U.S. presidential candidate who wins the national popular vote.

The bill, which passed 30-18 Monday, now heads to the House.

The bill would change Washington’s current system of typically giving all of the state’s electoral votes to the candidate who wins the statewide election to awarding all of the state’s delegates to the national popular vote winner. [read more]

So bitter are they still over the 2000 election results, that they are incapable of envisioning a situation where Washington State might vote for someone who does not win the popular vote, even though that is precisely what happened in 2004.

Had this ridiculous plan been enacted then, Washington State’s electoral votes would have gone to George W. Bush, even though the majority of voters in our state voted for Kerry.

In fact, as liberals are fond of pointing out, if Kerry had won just a few hundred thousand votes here, and a few hundred thousand votes there, he might have won the presidency even though Bush won the popular vote.

In other words, they would be handing the election to the opponent of the candidate the majority of their constituents voted for, disenfranchising the millions of people it is their job to represent.

Bush Derangement Syndrome.

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