American Elephants


The Marxist Lie of White Privilege: Dr. Jordan B. Peterson by The Elephant's Child

Puzzling over the events of the day, some of my visitors found an old post of a video by Dr.Jordan Peterson, who thinks very clearly. It was posted last year, in August. I am a great Jordan Peterson admirer. The title is“The Marxist Lie of White Privilege” which seems somewhat applicable to today. It’s a long video, worth your time if you have the patience. Take notes!

 



As The World Turns and Other Stories of the Moment by The Elephant's Child

          RECENT EARTH CLIMATE HISTORY

600 – 200 B.C.: An Unnamed Cold Period
200 BC to about AD 600: The Roman Warming
600 to 900: The Dark Ages Cold Period
900 to 1300: Medieval Warming
1300 to 1850: The Little Ice Age (two stages)

MODERN CLIMATE HISTORY

1850 – 1940: Especially between 1920-1940: Warming
1940 to 1975: Cooling Trend
1976-1978: Sudden Warming Spurt
1979 to 1998: +1º
1998 to 2011: +1º

The Medieval Warming period led to the Renaissance  which began approximately in 1300 and ended approximately in 1700. A bountiful time, wine grapes grew in England, food was plentiful and there was a flowering of learning and art. Think Michelangelo, Raphael, and Copernicus among others. What I’m getting at here, is the idea that if we are facing climate doom, the world is going to die in 10 or 12 years if we don’t save it by stopping “fracking,” using oil and gasoline, and eliminating plastic bags. That’s what you get for listening to “celebrities” instead of studying up on the science.

I was an English Major, which meant that I learned how to read hard stuff, and read a lot. That does not mean that I’m always right, but I do like to think so. Christiana Figueres was quite sure that the object of “climate change” was as a tool to get rid of Capitalism. Leftists do not like capitalism, which seems a bit strange, but economics is not their strong point. Capitalists are business CEOs and owners, and the “Rich:”. The Left is simply entitled to be in charge because they are morally superior.

Conservatives have long sneered at the Left because they were the Southern slave owners in the Civil War, but the Left has ended that accusation by electing the first black president, who served for two terms, which puts them back in the morally superior category. Global Warming, plastic bags, ending fracking, and giving taxpayer money to illegal aliens adds to their superiority.

America is a nation of immigrants, as you know, which leads them to believe that immigrants are special, and just because they can’t be bothered to enter the country the legal way, shouldn’t keep them from sharing in the bounty of America. So Leftists care about illegal immigrants, which means hating I.C.E. (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) and making sure that illegal immigrants get stimulus money. It is that mindset that makes them believe that if little immigrant children were kept in cages, it was obviously done by conservatives, contrary to the actual actions of the Obama administration. Once you get the “entitled to be in charge because they are morally superior” theme firmly in mind, it makes understanding all the other stuff simple. Or at least it helps.

Then there’s this: From Climate Realism and Climate Depot:

Among the top articles in a May 19 Google News search for “climate change” were a slew of articles claiming climate change causes cancer. CNBC and several other major news outlets published the claims, citing American Cancer Society (ACS) activists making the assertion. The line of reasoning is preposterous. And even if the ACS line of reasoning were sound, the line of reasoning would indicate that climate change is reducing cancer incidence and mortality.

The CNBC article is titled “Climate change is fueling extreme weather that lowers cancer survival rate and threatens prevention.” The article points out ACS line of reasoning as “[1] Climate change has triggered more frequent weather disasters like hurricanes and wildfires that [2] release deadly carcinogens into communities and [3] delay access to cancer treatment.” Each of the three prongs of the argument is ridiculous, and the three in combination give new meaning to the term “far-fetched.”

That’s a pretty good indication into how the news gets so weird, and wrong ideas seem to prevail. The fact that it is an election year means that politics rears its ugly head, and before you know it, all is confusion.  Fight back.



An American Timeline by The Elephant's Child

1765: The British Parliament passed the Stamp Act, a tax on American colonists.

1767: Parliament wanted more money from the pesky colonists, and passed the Townshend Acts, This one included everything from china to tea, and you know where that led.

1770: The Boston Massacre. Crispus Atticus, a stevedore of African and Native American lineage, was killed, the first victim of the American Revolution.

1773: The Boston Tea Party: Taxing tea was not a good idea. Coffee wasn’t discovered yet.

1774: The 1st Continental Congress, and the Intolerable Acts.

1775: Rhode Island abolished slavery. Paul Revere Rode on the 18th of April to Lexington and Concord. Bunker Hill.

1776: The Declaration of Independence, The Battle of Long Island, (August) Dec, 16: Washington Crosses the Delaware (You are familiar with the painting) December 25: The Battle of Trenton.

1777: Battle of Princeton, January 3. Burgoyne captures Fort Ticonderoga, Saratoga: September 19 to October 7.

1779: John Paul Jones on the Bonhomme Richard defeats Serapis.

1780: Charleston Falls. Kings Mountain 7 Oct.  Camden Aug. 16, Cowpens: Jan. 17.

1781: Cornwallis surrenders at Yorktown, October 19

1789: George Washington chosen as president.

1799: George Washington dies of strep throat.

There’s a quickie. You can fill in the blanks. You’ll find it rewarding. There’s a new history out by Wilfred McClay: Land of Hope: An Invitation to the Great American Story, which has received outstanding reviews.  I believe that Hillsdale College is offering a free course.



Being Prepared for Disaster, But What and How? by The Elephant's Child

The lockdown has become a story of its own. This kind of decision has to be done, I understand, by governors, who are doing so with too little information. Northern California has reported an increase in suicide. There are apparently large numbers of people who don’t have a financial cushion should they suddenly be out of work. The need for food banks is way up.

I don’t, offhand, recall seeing much in the way of what one might call good housekeeping, by which I mean being prepared for  unemployment, disaster, power outage, earthquake and such. I’ve been through flood, lightning strike, being snowed in, and (in California, of course) earthquake, several times. My first earthquake occurred when I was just putting dishes away, and they came flying out of the cupboards as fast as I tried to put them in. Scary! Some quakes were fairly large, like the Northridge quake in Southern California. You can tell they are bigger when they get a name. (Like viruses)

I just looked up dam collapses, and they have occurred all over the world, usually from improper monitoring. 230,000 died in a the collapse of the Bangiao Dam in China in 1976 that the Chinese kept secret for years. We just had a bad dam collapse in Michigan, apparently improper maintenance or regulation of maintenance.

As you get older, you are more aware of these disasters, and at least begin to recognize that bad stuff can happen, and you have to be somewhat prepared. Parents usually don’t recognize what their children do not know, and the next generation grows up unprepared. Young people don’t know what questions to ask.

This year’s college graduates face a troubled climate. Municipal and State lockdowns, high unemployment, particularly among the low-paying, high turnover jobs usually available for those starting out.

What do you tell your kids? Save like crazy until you have $1,000. tucked away in an emergency fund? Is that enough? Don’t live directly below a dam? Or do you just instruct them to pay attention to the news and know what is going on around you? I still have a little lamp on a dresser that was once a lovely long-necked vase, neck removed in an earthquake shortly after my parents were married, as a reminder.

I notice that in the article about the collapse of the Eden dam in Michigan’s Midland county, the article says “the dam collapsed, in a failure experts are attributing to shoddy maintenance and climate change. 

Sorry, it has nothing to do with climate change. The climate has been changing constantly for millions of years, and will go on peacefully doing so, probably for several more millions. You can believe the Swedish kid and AOC if you choose, but they do not know what they are talking about.

(The picture is of a hailstorm somewhere south of the border, several years ago. I do not remember how far south, but I was astounded that it was hail, and at the quantity, but neglected to keep a note of where and when.)

Question? Do other countries or other cultures do a better job of preparing for disasters? Obviously China does not, but that is the Communist way. They do not want any publicity that does not reflect well on Communism. That is common to all communist countries.



No, You Cannot Have “Climate Change” As An Official Cause of Death. by The Elephant's Child

Those who are sure the Earth will die within just a few years from the horrors of climate change, obviously, having gotten nowhere with trying to portray the world’s illegal immigrants as refugees from climate change, now are demanding that “climate change” be listed as the cause of death on death certificates. Tom Lifson of American Thinker suggests that:

The widely observed practice of listing Coronavirus as the cause of death for anyone who died with it, not necessarily of it, has worked wonders in scaring people into accepting previously unheard-of abrogation of constitutionally guaranteed rights.

The seed for this propaganda offensive was just planted in a spinoff publication of The Lancet, the formerly prestigious British medical journal that has fallen to the forces of political correctness.

Of course they have been trying for several years to portray many of the illegal aliens crossing, unwanted, over the borders of countries not their own, as “Climate refugees”, but most people seems to regard that as obvious nonsense.

I’m sticking with the former secretary of the IPCC, one of the people behind the infamous Paris Accords  which we have formally rejected, to cries of anguish from the Democrats.

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 the degradation of a climate disaster, but to eliminate capitalism. They truly hate the economic system that has made us free and wealthy among nations, and successful in every way.  Rather than try to learn from our freedom and success, and have some freedom and success of their own, they would rather get rid of the system entirely so we can be as miserable as they are.  Odd thinking, but there you are. And seen in that light, the climate alarmists prove over and over Ms. Figueres revelation.

There is no “climate crisis”. The Earth has been warming and cooling for millions of years, and will probably go right on doing so for another million. The people who die from climate change usually refused to evacuate in the wake of a hurricane, or to believe in the threat of a flood. We do have hurricanes, floods, tornadoes and earthquakes, tsunamis, and dams breaking, as just happened in Minnesota. Forest fires are a greater problem in Australia than in this country, tsunamis  more common in the Far East. Listing “climate change” on the death certificate is simply designed to give the climatistas some more useful statistics for their propaganda. Remember that one of their aims is to end the use of fossil fuels so they can power the country with wind and solar, which unfortunately cannot provide the energy needed for a modern society.



Everything You Wanted to Know About Covid-19 by The Elephant's Child

As the lockdown fades away into masks or no masks, open society, or partly open, or don’t even think about it, or growing revolt, it becomes ever more confusing. At this late date, Kamala Harris has introduced a resolution that says calling Covid-19 the “China Virus” is “hate speech.” So helpful.

It is important, however, to recognize that Democrats are incapable of “hate speech” because they are nice people. And nevermind that viruses are usually called by their place of origin, to distinguish them from other viruses arising elsewhere. West-Nile virus, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, for example. The latter you got from ticks if you wandered around in the sagebrush, which I did a lot as a kid. Got lots of ticks, but no spotted fever.

The authorities, whoever they may be, cannot seem to make up their minds about masks. Some say useless and others say mandatory. We are told that you get the virus by being in range when someone with the disease sneezes or coughs, and the virus may linger in the air, or you will get the virus from touching something that someone with the disease has touched, to the mandatory washing your hands thoroughly as you have been taught.

Other than that, all is perfectly clear. The authorities are changing their minds from taking their information from models to adding up actual statistics, but then you have to consider what actions each country took and how they are different and who did what right.

If you want clear information, visit the think-tanks. Hoover.org, AEI.org, Cato.org, Reason.org, Heritage.org. A vast improvement over today’s media, who keep decorating their posts with terms like “blockbuster”,”bombshell”, and other words especially chosen to rouse interest rather than inform.

It appears from the quantity of masks advertised online that everyone has jumped into a new business of selling masks with funny mouths or monster mouths, or well designed to go with your clothing, or just appealing patterns. They are now, I am told, selling tri-kinis. That’s a bikini with a matching mask.  If, as they are now saying, masks are useless, we have another bunch of businesses going broke.

So there you are, wandering in a mysterious changing world where we mostly don’t have a clue.  But then nobody else seems to have a clue either. We are learning that models don’t work. But, for the most part, Americans are fortunately blessed with a great sense of humor. If you can still laugh, we’ll be alright.



Innovation and Inspiration: Matt Ridley and “How Innovation Works” by The Elephant's Child

I wrote that screed below because I was annoyed, and went to the Hoover Institution website to see what they had had to say. Where I promptly ran into an interview with British Journalist Matt Ridley on Peter Robinson’s Uncommon Knowledge.

Matt Ridley has a new book out: How Innovation Works and the wide-ranging interview starts there and gets more and more fascinating. It is long, so you need to allow plenty of time, but do make the time if you can. There is so much there! I’m going to have to order the book.  Matt Ridley’s How Innovation Works.  Don’t miss it, and set aside time to enjoy the video.



How Do We Decide What is Real and Who to Believe? by The Elephant's Child

Have you ever stopped to think that almost all of which we consider as “the news” is just what someone has said. If they have the qualifications of belonging to a “news” organization, then it is news. But then whatever a “celebrity” says is also apparently considered to be news, although a “celebrity” is merely someone whose name we recognize.

Hollywood people used to hire press agents to make people think that what they said was of note, so that they could eventually become a “celebrity”. Being a “celebrity” meant that they were more apt to get jobs, because more people were apt to be attracted by the recognized name. They don’t need press agents anymore because they have the press itself, who if they can get a quote from someone whose name is recognized, are apt to get that piece published.

Today’s real “news” is that a dam in Michigan broke and flooded everything below, and people had to be evacuated. The rest of it is what somebody said. I find it helpful to understand the difference, because a lot of what somebody said is inaccurate and biased. Twitter now has a new 20 member fact-checking group to weed out any conservatives. The tech people seem a little lacking on the freedom of speech part, and don’t know how to manage it.

So how do we decide where we are going to learn about what is going on in the world around us, who to trust, and what are the guidelines to use?

Fredrich Hayek, the Austrian-American economist and Nobel Laureate, devoted much of his brilliant career to describing how rationalism could never work. How can anything good happen, Hayek asked, if individuals cannot think and act for themselves? Rules preclude initiative. Regimentation precludes evolution. Letting accidents happen, mistakes be made, results in new ideas. Trial and error is the key to all progress. The Soviet system of rules and central planning is doomed to failure. Hayek stated fifty years ago because it kills the human faculty that makes things work.
Philip Howard: The Death of Common Sense

In a liberal society knowledge –not belief– is the rolling critical consensus of a decentralized community of checkers, and nothing else.
Jonathan Rauch, Kindly Inquisitors



Joe Biden Has Chosen AOC As His Climate Adviser by The Elephant's Child

People have wondered, but the current economic slowdown will have almost no effect on the climate. To the contrary, a new paper finds that the slight increase in CO2 in the atmosphere means that the Earth is going to gain nearly three times as much green matter as was predicted by the IPCC’s AR5. From Patrick J. Michaels: That means we will meet the Paris Accords demand, and plentiful crops will help to feed a hungry world.  All good.  Most of the modern global warming that appears in the sensitive models is clearly too strong.  Climate is a key to the world’s food supply. In the 1970s Global Cooling led to widespread droughts — there had been 30 years of cooling, and as a consequence dwindling grain reserves, and most of the world relies on grain. Grains are the world’s basic food, and when food supplies fail, millions die.

Models are not the real world. Scientists put in what they know for sure, which isn’t really all that much, add things that they are pretty sure of, and at some point they add a lot of guesses about the way things are that may or may not be true. The models are derived from computer models that are meant to predict what the stock market will do. Since we are all fabulously wealthy, and nobody has gotten the dread COVID-19 disease, you surely understand that models are a very imperfect method of projecting what will be in the future. Sometimes we get it partly right, and sometimes not, even when we adequately put in the past, but it lets us make an attempt to understand what may happen in the future, and our guesses are clearly better for next week than for 20 years ahead. But think how boring life would be if we already knew what the future would be. If the future looks bad, we can try to prepare.

If you want to understand more about the climate, see the links in the sidebar, or go to Dr. Roy Spencer’s website. He has a brief introduction to Global Warming 101 and climate that is very useful. Dr. Spencer runs the satellites that measure the temperatures of the world for NASA with Dr. John Christy, and he writes a blog about all things climate.

The Democrats presumed candidate for the election this fall is Obama’s Vice President Joe Biden. Vice President Biden has chosen Alexandria Ocasio Cortez to be his Climate authority, which is an even scarier possibility than Mr. Biden himself, with his ‘senior moments’.

Rep. AOC tweeted back in early February:

Fracking is destroying our land and our water. It is wreaking havoc on our communities’ health. We must do our job to protect our future from the harms caused by the fracking industry. That is why I am proud to introduce the Fracking Ban Act with Rep Darren Soto today. (with a big Ban Fracking Nationwide sign)

She is a big “Green New Deal” fan, (the “New Deal” thrown in for the Rooseveltian touch.) “Fracking” is the way that our geologists have found to release natural gas from where it is trapped underground, and has made cheaper energy plentiful and widely available, which has been a huge boon to the economy. The Earth has been warming and cooling for millions of years, and the current slight warming does not portend destruction of the earth in eleven years hence, and we can expect it to continue to warm and cool for another millennia. Neither AOC nor Mr. Biden have bothered to study up on the climate situation, but prefer to go along with what they have heard from the Swedish kid, or those who assume that we can run a modern economy on windmills and solar panels. We can’t.  Even Michael Moore has given up on wind and sun, and I believe has a movie out so stating.

There are a lot of very poor countries in the world. We have already had a “Green Revolution”, the late Norman Borlaug, father of the Green Revolution  in a set of technology transfer initiatives  between 1950 and the late 1960s increased agricultural production worldwide, particularly in the developing world. Technologies like high-yielding varieties of cereals, chemical fertilizers, and irrigation, new methods of cultivation including mechanization were adopted as a whole. He received the Noble Peace Prize in 1970 and is credited with saving over a billion people from starvation. But of course there are those who assume that we have too many people in the world already. If you want heroes to extol, remember Norman Borlaug. Banning fracking is just plain silly. Sun and wind energy simply cannot and do not produce the energy needed by a modern society and modern lives.



Keeping Up With COVID-19 and the Lockdown by The Elephant's Child

Scott W. Atlas, MD, is a Senior Fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution, and the former Chief of Neuroradiology at Stanford University Medical Center.  Here he writes on “How to Re-Open Society Using Evidence, Medical Science, and Logic.”

I like the title: and the qualifications for his advice, especially ‘logic’. Do read the whole thing. We need to be a little more informed in the wake of the media efforts to stir up something, anything, to keep Trump from winning re-election. It’s getting heated-up out there as accusations are flying and clarity is in short supply. Here is a link to Dr. Atlas’ biography.

Also from the Hoover Institution: Peter Robinson interviews Dr. Jay Bhattacharya on his new MLB COVID-19 study and the problems of the Lockdown for Major League Baseball.



In a Disordered Society, A Little Food for Thought by The Elephant's Child

Constitution

In the current situation, I have dragged out some old, but favorite books: Angelo M. Codevilla’s The Ruling Class, and Milton Friedman’s Capitalism and Freedom. I suspect a great many of us are sick of being confined, bossed around, and lied to. I think of government as a management group chosen to take care of the details that we cannot individually cope with. I vaguely hope that those we have chosen are up to the job, but don’t expect all that much. and I usually turn out to be more or less correct. In his Foreword. Professor Codevilla says:

It is about the fact that America now divides ever more sharply into two classes, the smaller of which holds the commanding heights of government, from which it disposes in ever greater detail of America’s economic energies, from which it ordains new ways of living as if it had the right to do so, and from which it asserts that that right is based on the majority class’s stupidity, racism, and violent tendencies.

A little later, in another chapter, he adds:

Our Ruling Class’ agenda is power for itself. It seeks and exercises that power through unremarkable patronage and promises thereof, as well as by courting supporters and denigrating opponents. These ordinary means, however, are having remarkable effects on America’s body politic, because their practice is wrapped up in our Ruling Class’ peculiar intellectual and moral pretenses. Chief among these is an ideological belief that it has an exclusive, Gnostic grip on modern science’s secrets. Nevertheless, as we look at how our Ruling Class is making our economic livelihood ever more dependent on itself, at how it is running a system of representation and a legal system quite opposite to those bequeathed to us by our founders, as well as at how it is disaggregating our families and dispiriting our souls, let us keep in mind that this agenda is driven primarily by mundane personal interest. This agenda proceeds from claims that our Ruling Class knows formulae for spreading economic wealth, for engineering social happiness, and for legal and constitutional fairness. It claims as well to be more resistant than the rest of us to the temptation to profit personally from power. In short, it  proceeds from the premise of human inequality and leads to even greater inequality. But, pretenses notwithstanding, our Ruling Class was no more present at the creation of our nation than the rest of us, nor are they any less self interested. Its members too put on their pants one leg at a time.

Does that sound a bit familiar, as if it is touching on the world of today? We Americans like to think that we are the freest people on earth, that the rest of the world envies us as they cope with their difficult governments. We find AOC fascinating because of her absolute ignorance of American history and American beliefs. Today she was back with the idea that we kept illegal immigrant children in cages, to boost her support for Biden, completely unaware that it was the Obama administration which did that.

Charles Schumer spoke up to say that the Democrats would present us with a “Rooseveltian” world, as if that was something to yearn for. They still believe in FDR’s Administration, unaware that his efforts with the Great Depression made it last seven years longer than it should have. Two economists from UCLA, Lee Ohanian and Harold Cole proved that conclusively. Don’t need to do that again. We should have learned what a failure FDR was, but it’s hard to give up your heroes.  Michael Moore has a new movie out admitting that wind farms and solar arrays do not work. How this will sit with the Democrats remains to be seen. They are very open to the “Green New Deal,” unfortunately.

Milton Friedman’s book is an essential for every library. He asks on the second page:

How can we benefit from the promise of government while avoiding the threat to freedom? Two broad principles embodied in our Constitution give an answer that has preserved our freedom so far, though they have been violated repeatedly in practice while proclaimed as precept.

First. the scope of government must be limited. Its major function must be to protect our freedom both from the enemies outside our gates and from our fellow citizens: to preserve law and order, to enforce private contracts, to foster competitive markets. Beyond this major function, government may enable us at times to accomplish jointly what we would find it more difficult or expensive to accomplish severally. However, any such use of government is fraught with danger. We should not and cannot avoid using government in this way. But there should be a clear and large balance of advantages before we do.  By relying privately on voluntary co-operation and private enterprise, in both economic and other activities, we can insure that the private sector is a check on the powers of the governmental sector and an effective protection of freedom of speech, of religion, and of thought.

The second broad principle is that government power must be dispersed. If government is to exercise power, better in the country than in the state, better in the state than in Washington. If I do not like what my local community does, be it in sewage disposal, or zoning, or schools, I can move to another local community, and though few may take this step, the mere possibility acts as a check. If I do not like what my state does, I can move to another. If I do not like what Washington imposes, I have few alternatives in this world of jealous nations.

You see, we are not alone in our discontent. It has been recognized by some of our most celebrated minds. If that gives you some comfort in your locked-down situation. They tell us that meat should be more plentiful in the grocery stores very shortly, but that is dependent on getting everybody in the meat-packing plants in masks and protective gear, I think. The government recognizes the problem and is working on it. Nobody has explained why I could not get any eggs!

The books are available from Amazon, and used copies are really cheap.

 

 



A Mother’s Work Is Never Done! by American Elephant
May 10, 2020, 5:41 pm
Filed under: Heartwarming | Tags: , , ,

funny-pictures-mothers-day-classic-gif-sisyphus-mama1

A mother’s work is never done, and mothers never get all the thanks they truly, richly deserve. This image bears a striking resemblance to the job my mother had to do, and she did it magnificently, courageously, and lovingly.

Thank you to the greatest Mom in the world — mine! Happy Mother’s Day! I love you!




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