American Elephants


Another Earth Day, And The Planet Prospers by The Elephant's Child

globalwarming-ed01

Another Earth Day comes quietly this year. All the excitement about “saving the planet” to the extent that there was any, went back to Sweden with Greta Thunberg, who is back to working on special Fridays for skipping school to protest the lack of action on a changing climate.. San Francisco painted her picture on the side of a building, which I assume is still there. Our concern is with staying “locked down.”

Climate activists see the COVID-19 lockdowns as a dress rehearsal for “Climate Emergency.”

We have an “incredible responsibility” to “actually converge the solutions — at least the financial solutions — to coronavirus to the financial solutions for climate. Because what we cannot afford to do is to jump out of the frying pan of COVID and into the raging fire of climate change.”

Well, what more could you ask? Businesses shut down, vast unemployment as restaurants, deprived of customers cannot stay open. People forced to stay home — means no shoppers, no groups of people, means no parties, no events. Air traffic is shut down, just think of all the nasty carbon removed from the atmosphere! But the environment is in more jeopardy than ever, right? Well, no. America at the end of World War II was much dirtier than America is today in 2020.  Air pollution has declined dramatically. Drinking water is clean and safe. Since pre-industrial times there has been approximately 1.1 degrees Celsius of warming, and almost 50% more CO2 in the atmosphere, which, since carbon dioxide is a natural fertilizer for plants, means the earth is getting greener. Plants and trees are growing, more hungry people are being fed. There are no more toxic waste sites that threaten the planet’s health.

So who is all excited about the COVID-19 lockdown and what it portends for America? Well, Tom Steyer, who is a loon. John Kerry, ditto, and of course Christiana Figueres. Who? Christiana Figueres was at one time the general secretary of the UN’s IPCC, and one of the  people behind the infamous Paris Agreement, which President Trump firmly got us out of in 2017, which was a very good thing.

In early February of 2015, Christiana Figueres revealed at a news conference, that the object of the climate crisis was in reality not to save the Earth from degradation from a climate disaster, but to eliminate Capitalism. They truly hate the economic system that has made us free and wealthy and successful in every way. Certainly there is a lot of envy for the booming American economy, the rich, the wealth of goods produced, and undoubtedly the way we go around the world trying to help out, disapproving of other governments who don’t consider freedom as a worthy value, when what they want is more control. You would think they might consider trying a little capitalism just to see if it would work, but rage and envy are all they have. Even our very own Democrats don’t get it.

So Happy Earth Day, 2020. Mark Perry at AEI called up the video from stand-up comedian George Carlin who shared his thoughts in 2007 on the whole saving the planet bit. Great fun, even if you’ve seen it before.



‘An Unexpected Crisis Shows the True Measure of a Man by The Elephant's Child

I am so sick and tired of the press. President Trump announced a halt to immigration in order to protect the jobs of so many who have lost their jobs in the current Corona virus lockdown. Many small businesses have laid off workers in reaction to the sudden drop in business because people have been ordered to stay home. The businesses hurting the most have often been small restaurants or small shops that do not have the finances to keep running anyway nor to refocus to take out, or delivery. Not highly skilled jobs. And just the kind of jobs that many new immigrants would look for, and undercut the salaries that their predecessors were receiving. President Trump clearly cares about the American people.

For the press, it was clear that President Trump just doesn’t like immigrants and has an unreasoned prejudice against them. Look how he’s always talking about his wall. I believe that the benefits of citizenship should be bestowed on those who are citizens, and those who have applied legally to become citizens. There is a legal way to do this, and we welcome legal immigrants. Democrats want more immigrants, and try to get them to the states that will increase the Democrat numbers for the census, so they can control more seats in the House of Representatives. Any pretense that they care more about immigrants is just that, a pretense.

COVID-19 has done quite a job of exposing the governors and other office holders who are having to deal with a crisis, an ongoing crisis that is doing a job on killing people. We have body counts every day, and reports on how many people have been tested and how many have caught the virus, how many have died and how many have survived. It adds a special clarity to officials words and actions, in some cases not very favorably.

Grim new rules for New York City Paramedics — do not resuscitate cardiac arrests nor bring them to Emergency Rooms. Apparently an effort to keep from  overcrowding hospitals. Same day, Gov Cuomo tells the President that they don’t need the USS Comfort (the Military Hospital Ship) any more, and he can have it back. They have filled up the Javits Center with hospital beds, which is apparently still empty. (I’m on the West Coast, so if I get this wrong, let me know) I only know what I read in the press. But in next-door New Jersey, the military is putting up field hospitals.

Michigan Governor Whitmer has already had mass protests descending on the State Capitol, and Michigan residents are not happy. Going to be an interesting election this Fall.



The People Are Getting Restless! by The Elephant's Child

Americans don’t like being bossed around. The corona virus shutdown has gone on too long and people want to get back to normal. They want to go back to work, a good percentage of those who were working from home would just as soon head back to the office. Life has been so disrupted that they just want it to stop. The advisories about the disease have been challenged so much that they don’t know what’s really necessary anymore. Is it really important to stay six feet away from everyone? Different medical experts don’t agree with each other, and nobody knows who is right or wrong.

Protests are breaking out, people are trying to organize bigger protests, Facebook and Twitter are not going to allow their free speech, because they want to control what people may or may not say on their venues, without understanding that their efforts at control are also offensive. President Trump clearly recognizes the need of the public to get back to work, yet COVID-19 is far more infectious than was originally assumed, and he doesn’t want more Americans to die. How much is needed protection of the American people and how much can be ignored because it is too much control?

Democrats are desperately anxious to prevent Donald Trump from winning a second term. Are they still enraged that Hillary won the popular vote, but not, as the Constitution allows, the Electoral College? They intend to get rid of the Electoral College as quickly as possible, so that will not happen again. Does anyone stop to think about where we would be if Hillary had been elected? We would still have the corona virus emergency. When Hillary was Secretary of State in the Obama Administration, one of her Ambassadors in a country under threat from terrorists, had been begging for weeks for more security. Hillary ignored the pleas, and in consequence killed not only her Ambassador, but his aide and two valiant former Navy Seals who were all lost in an attack on the Embassy.  And she would have protected a nation from a poorly understood virus?

On the other hand, Communism and Socialism appeal to some because they offer more control of the people. America exists because earliest settlers objected to British efforts to control and tax her American citizens. The impulse to control the actions and thoughts of other people is buried deep in human nature. People who are quite sure they are right simply want everybody else to do it their way. You see Communism at work in China, with everyone monitored all the time. Correct and obedient behavior will earn you privileges like being able to take a trip on a train or bus.

So here we are. Feisty Americans are sick of the shutdown, and they want it ended now. How will this one play out? The people of other countries react a little differently. Is it just Americans too used to freedom, and having won wars to defend their freedom  to whom it really matters?



The Covid-19 Crisis and The Climate Crisis, Entwined! by The Elephant's Child

Confined at home, I have been wandering in the world of  opinion which is varied, ranging from vast ignorance to possible but not probable information.

Consider that the first printing press in America arrived in Cambridge Massachusetts in 1638. This was an age when there were still town criers, and news was carried from one town to another on horseback. 1844: the first telegraph message was sent from Washington DC to Baltimore.  The Pony Express carried messages from the East to the West Coast from April 3, 1860  to October 24, 1861. Exciting dodging Indians, but a failed enterprise meant to challenge messages having to be carried around the horn by sailing ship.

The first transcontinental telegraph was completed on October 24, 1861 (So much for the Pony Express). By 1866, a telegraph line had been laid across the Atlantic Ocean to Europe. Then there was the transcontinental railroad, roads, highways and freeways, now blissfully manageable with everyone confined at home. And think of the increases in the flow of information: telegraph, telephone, radio, television, computers, cell phones, mobil phones and when will we get our implants?

There was a time when mere opinion was considered to be unreliable and not worth much, or even a little embarrassing. What started all this is the conflation of Covid-19 with the Climate Crisis. Huh? Al Gore came up with that one, I don’t know that he was the first, but the general idea seems to be that the Covid-19 Crisis is interfering with our more proper concern with the Climate Crisis, or something like that. The general approach can be summed up in this article from the Santa Barbara Independent. Do read it, it’s short, and remember that Santa Barbara was going to paint a line across the city streets to show how much of the city was going to be underwater from the rise of the oceans.

So possibly there is a connection. If the freeways everywhere are seeing less traffic…oh never mind.  If you start prowling around in this area, you run into Greta’s demand for more climate concern, and how the Swedes are dealing with the corona virus.

Then there is the territory of models. Do computer models tell us anything real about climate change? Or the spread of the corona virus for that matter? When big government grants became available for those professors in science departments who thought they could write a good grant proposal for studying the science of possible climate change, and get some new equipment and maybe even an assistant — they borrowed the programs investment houses were using to predict what the stock market would do, and put in what they knew about the climate and the ocean, and temperatures, and what they thought might be true and a bunch of guesses for the stuff they didn’t know and then came up with things like the infamous “hockey stick”.

I recommend a used copy of Democracy and Irs Discontents by Daniel J. Boorstin, the former Librarian of Congress. A new paperback will cost you around $60. Worth every penny, but good used copies at Amazon  can be had for closer to $3.00 or borrow it from your friendly public library. He has a lovely and lively discussion of Opinion and its discontents which you would enjoy. Anything by Dr. Boorstin is very worth reading.

In the meantime, Democrats are hunting for something in the Covid-19 crisis for which they can impeach President Trump, perhaps because it is making him ignore the climate crisis which they expected to be more useful in their political maccinations. So there you go. I think I have been cooped up in the house a little too long.



How Will This All Play Out? by The Elephant's Child

I keep wondering just how this home confinement is all going to play out. People online are talking about their daytime pajamas and their nighttime pajamas. Everybody seems to be working from home, mostly not too successfully, at least to those who are trying to contact their business.

When the economy “opens back up” will people want to go back to their place of business or will they prefer to work from home, and how will that work out. I notice the clothes that are being advertised online are very loose and unfitted, and the men working from home, if visible online, seem to have a shirt and tie on with their pajama pants.

Will grocery stores have to regroup as more people want their groceries delivered? Some stores are allowing only a few people in at a time, others have made their aisles one way, to avoid people having to pass each other. I have no idea, but I suspect that there will be big changes gradually. Just idle speculation in this very strange period. I’m not thinking in terms of politics, nor coming elections, just from the home confinement and working from home part. Of course it’s quite different for city apartment dwellers, some in very small apartments, from those with big suburban lawns. What do you think? Do we just return to the world as we knew it, unchanged? Or has something shifted permanently?



An Idea Worth Pursuing, With Changes. by The Elephant's Child

I have seen suggestions online for a CoronaVirus Museum. Presumably, what is meant is a formally designated and funded repository for everything we have learned so far about this virus, how it should be treated and what has worked in practice and what has not, rather than a formal memorial to those who lost their lives to the virus.

I think most people who are inclined to “study up”, (my designation for those who try to find more information as opposed to those who don’t like to read and get their information from headlines and what is said by other people), would recognize the need for an ongoing centralized repository for pandemic information.

The underlying suggestion, however is important. For example, I thought from what I read that the Corona Virus belonged in the flu family, and we were told to treat it like the flu, the models seemed to be based on the flu, but according to Dr. Birx, that is not so, it is based on the common cold virus. We still do not know the origin beyond the fact that it came from Wuhan, China. We don’t know if it came from the “wet food” market where they eat cats, dogs and bats and such, or if it came from the Communist Chinese laboratories there, or the University there. And the Communist Chinese government has not been forthcoming with information. Communists don’t like anything that reflects poorly on Communists. We have learned that we should not be purchasing any of our medications from other countries, but making our own. China has undercut our market prices for anything they want to sell to the world, and we Capitalists always go for saving money.

The Federal Government has turned over the management of virus response to the States, and we are beginning to learn what has worked and what has not. Some governors actions made things worse. After all the howling for more hospital space, some of the military hospital installations have never seen a single patient. After all the outcry about the need for ventilators, we have way more than was needed. We need to know what we need to have in storage awaiting another pandemic. And we need to have all the information we have gathered in one or two designated locations, probably something like the University of Washington’s virus model on which everyone is depending, or the University of Pittsburgh’s Medical School which seems to be authoritarian. But we need our best knowledge funded and saved and sorted and available on short notice.

A lot of countries will be rethinking their supply chains. Italy, for example, was heavily dependent on China for everything from food to fashion, and paid a heavy price. An Israeli doctor working in Italy said that they had just decided to deny hospitalization to anyone over 70, and Italy had the oldest population in Europe.

My congressman has sent weekly e-mails on how to react to the virus. I will be writing to suggest legislation establishing formal repositories for what we have learned from this pandemic and funding the gathering and availability of that knowledge. Please consider contacting your own congressman for the same purpose. At present Nancy Pelosi and her Democrats are intent on funding the winning of the next election, rather than anything helpful.



The Mood is Changing by The Elephant's Child

I had read that the Democrats were planning to attack Trump for being late with his recognition of the dangers of the Corona virus. Now he is being criticized for his briefings. I suspect that he believes that it is his duty to report on progress to the American people. The media are usually baiting and hostile, and the president is seldom of a mind to let them get away with it. Lots of criticism for Dr. Blix and Dr. Fauci for not giving the answers the press wanted.

”The Wall Street Journal reported that according to a “premier Biology Journal”  the Wuhan virus can’t be tied to China.  Odd, since the presence of the virus in America came from an American returning home to a relative in a nursing home in Kirkland, a mile or so north of us, directly from Wuhan, China, and passing the virus on to all of the residents, most of whom died. Also infected some of the staff, and nearby Evergreen Hospital where the patients were treated.

We seem to have passed on from the phase when people wanted to find out about the disease, how to treat it and what to expect, to a new phase where they want answers right now. When will this be over? Some doctors are saying that it’s no worse than the flu, If you had  it and recovered, can you get it again? When will we have a vaccine? and will it be mass produced? Doubt about the “models”. It’s getting belligerent out there. Possibly it has sunk in that the kids are going to be out of school until next fall, and have to be home schooled, entertained, and cared for. Saw a cartoon recently that showed two small children, a boy and a girl, taped to the hardwood floor at home, apparently while the beleaguered parents take a break.

I think this is the way we usually set in to an unpleasant period. First you’re eager for more information, then you get a bit angry at not receiving the answers desired, and then you gradually settle in to just endure.



How to Survive the Current Covid-19 Crisis and the Economic Crisis As Well. by The Elephant's Child

The situation here with grocery stores pretty much sums up the situation nationally. Our grocery stores manage to serve our city population of 122,363 efficiently and without shortages or any particular problems. We have a wide variety of grocery chains, some smaller local stores, significant numbers of ethnic specialty stores ranging from the huge Uwajimaya to some catering to Russians, a variety of Eastern Europeans and a number of Mexican Taco trucks. The larger chains have added ethnic foods to their regular stock to appeal to the latest groups added to the workforce at Microsoft, Amazon, or the smaller businesses that depend on the giant employers. No empty shelves, and if something is missing you hardly notice.

Now, everyone is ordering their groceries to be delivered. You start with a delivery time which will probably be 5 to 6 days hence, and try to figure out what you will need by then as well as what you are out of now. I am currently OUT of coffee, and getting testy.`One chain tells you as you go along what they are out of now, the other doesn’t tell you what they are out of until you submit your order, and then you have to start over. And was it a matter of brand or language, or are they out of the whole category? The whole experience suggests that people are really “stocking-up” (hoarding) in case they have trouble finding that product next time. The more you find that they are out of something makes you want to stock-up as well — and so it goes.

The same thing is going on nationally, and not just about groceries. People and pundits are attacking the president and all of his advisors. The experts he consults are criticized, because the critic would have consulted someone else instead, and doesn’t like what the expert had to say. Governors issue lots of orders, many of them misguided, whine about supplies they are not receiving, do not  appreciate what some of those still working are going through on their behalf. The truckers who are trying to deliver the needed goods cannot find food or restrooms along the highway. Which is a valid symptom of what everyone is faced with in one way or another.

Take a deep breath. Most of these people are trying to avoid any and all unnecessary deaths, and to protect the living from contagion — as their first and most compelling task. That is going to mean a lot of discomfort for others who are worried about lesser problems. Read that book you set aside a while back. Go the Hillsdale College website and take an online free course in history or government or economics for that matter. Start researching and writing down your family history.  Write your own assessment of the current world situation for your children or grandchildren or the local newspaper. Learn to knit or draw. Plan a summer vegetable garden in pots or planter boxes. Type in “All About Birds” in the search bar of your computer, which will lead you to Cornell University’s website which offers just that, and plan a bird feeder or hummingbird feeder for your yard or window. Learn how to play Cribbage. Look into the history of sailing ships or early aircraft. Or just write down a list of 20 things you would like to learn about or learn how to do, and — start.

Or perhaps, write a critique of today’s mass media, and the current job of reportage. Do you think they still have journalism schools? And what are they neglecting to teach their students? Are you utterly fascinated with what the latest celebrity has to say? And why not? That should keep you busy for a while.



Staying At Home And Looking for Some Sunshine by The Elephant's Child

Our “stay at home” order here in Washington State has been extended to May 4.  We have increased the number of tests (2,656) since yesterday by +175. There have been 11 more deaths since yesterday.

The Boston Globe Editorial Board Claims that Trump Has “Blood on His Hands.” They relied on a combination of Left-wing talking points and Chinese propaganda in the Boston Globe, as Matt Margolis reported  at PJ Media. The Globe claimed that the number of confirmed cases surpassed that of any other nation, without mentioning that the United States is a larger country with a larger population.

The number of known deaths from the virus, so far the only reliable data, says that a fatality rate of 7 – 8 is one of the lowest in the world among larger nations.

It’s pretty clear that China is not accurately reporting the number of cases, nor the number of deaths, according to the U.S. intelligence community. The number of urns being delivered to Chinese funeral homes is far, far larger than the number of deaths reported. Communist governments are disinclined to report statistics that do not reflect favorably on the government, so we just don’t know how many deaths they have had, nor the extent of their testing, nor much of anything else.

Democrats are disinclined to report anything favorable to the Trump administration, but really! On CNN on Sunday, Pelosi charged that President Trump’s management of the coronavirus pandemic is costing American lives, and talking up an eventual congressional probe.

You surely will not be surprised to learn that Adam Shiff is eager to turn his Intelligence Committee to investigating President Trump’s response to the coronavirus. Of course he will.

And Nancy Pelosi compared Trump to Nero, the corrupt first century emperor who allowed Rome to burn – if he didn’t actually instigate the fire – then blamed Christians: “As the president fiddles, people are dying,” she charged.

So, shortly after orchestrating a failed, entirely partisan attempt to remove this president from office, Washington’s highest-ranking Democrat is once again speaking the language of impeachment. Except for dyed-in-the-wool grassroots party loyalists and, to their left, full-on Trump haters, this is sure to be received as the crassest brand of political opportunism.

Nice going, Nancy. While you are playing partisan politics, a lot of Americans are dying, or huddled down at home, fearful of running out of food. People are noticing. The New York Post plaintively asked in a headline “Does Nancy Pelosi know about the coronavirus outbreak?” and added “someone ought to tell House Speaker Nancy Pelosi…because her laser focus on pushing her political agenda suggests she’s unaware of it. The latest evidence: She wants to “retroactively” roll back Congress’ 2017 cap on tax deductions for state and local taxes (SALT), the New York Times reports. ”

She claims lifting the cap would address the economic fallout of COVID-19. She wants her “fix” to be part of Congress’ next rescue plan.

But her idea has nothing to do with boosting the economy and everything to do with helping Dems in blue states, like California, New York, New Jersey and Illinois. More than half the benefits of a repeal would go to folks making more than $1 million. Don’t Dems oppose tax breaks for the rich?

No, here’s Pelosi’s real problem: Heavily liberal states, with Democratic leaders, generally impose the highest local levies. The SALT deduction let high-income taxpayers recoup part of those high costs by paying less federal tax.

President Trump is doing a remarkable job in the face of all the unknowns and unknowables. A cruise ship stuck off the coast of Florida for 12 days with a number of critically ill Coronavirus patients with no ports willing to let it dock, has pulled into Fort Lauderdale to the cheers of port workers. Four people had died onboard as the ship had been turned away from 11 countries. President Trump indicated in his press conference that the Canadian and British people on board would be evacuated to their home countries immediately, and that we really had to help the people on board. A little intervention got things moving.

Doctors at University of Pittsburgh Medical Center say they have developed a vaccine against developing COVID-19 and they want federal permission for human trials. They based the vaccine on work previously done at UPMC that  sought to create vaccines against SARS and MERS, which they said are similar to the new coronavirus. They also say the vaccine is easily deliverable in large quantities.

Some bright rays of sunshine in a long dreary spell of rain.




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