American Elephants


Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and the Meaning of “Click-bait” by The Elephant's Child

Perhaps we should increase the age when one is eligible to run for Congress. AOC was apparently an excellent student. She graduated cum laude with a double major in international affairs and (snort) economics. But she was the youngest woman to be elected to Congress. She announced Friday that an explosion at a Philadelphia oil refinery was due to climate change, arguing that the incident underscores the urgency of her Green New Deal.  (A vat of butane ignited and eventually exploded at the Philadelphia Energy Solutions Refining Complex, followed by a series of smaller explosions through the pipes moving fuel around the complex. It injured five workers and took 120 firefighters to bring under control.)

You have noticed, I ‘m sure that AOC has become what is called “click bait”– that is, articles about her will be clicked on and partly read, which means that the advertisers’ ads will be seen, which pays the newsmen’s salaries for their stories. (Heck of a way to run an economy). Democrats pay attention because she is one of theirs who gets attention, those suffering from “climate panic” because of her “green new deal”, and Republicans, because everything she says is so remarkably stupid. She also had some remark about Trump not allowing toothpaste to the children in the concentration camps at the southern border. She has never been to the southern border, and has turned down innumerable offers to be enlightened a little about concentration camps.

ADDENDUM: I saw an article which showed AOC at the border, so I was mistaken about her never having been. I cannot find it again, but as I recall, she was staring at a chain link fence, which she apparently confused with a concentration camp. I apologize for misleading anyone.



Another Day, Another Dumb Bunch of Mistakes by The Elephant's Child

While I wasn’t paying attention, it seems that the world in general has gone certifiably nuts, or perhaps it has just caught the “snowflake” germ that has been floating around the universities. Everyone has become super-sensitive, and every and any little thing has become racist, or offensive in some way.

The University of California at Santa Cruz will remove a major historical artifact from their campus. The “Spanish Mission” bells were used between 1769 and 1833 to highlight the trail of the California Missions for the Catholic priests who built the Missions to evangelize the Native Americans. Valentin Lopez ,who is chairman of the Amah Mutsun Tribal Band. encouraged the university to remove the bells, which he claimed “are deeply painful symbols that celebrate the destruction, domination and erasure of our people. They are constant reminders of the disrespect our tribe faces to this day.” Uh huh.

Sarah Latham, UC Santa Cruz’s vice chancellor for Business and Administrative Services, said that the students were the catalyst behind the decision to remove the bells. “Val brought forth concerns to us about the symbolism of the bell. He spoke of the historical injustices and oppression that the bell represents to the Amah Mutsun and indigenous populations. It was such a compelling statement of impact and I am pleased we have been able to work in partnership with them on the removal. Our students have also given voice to the need to remove the bell,” Latham said.

(Vice chancellors learn to talk like that.) The bells will be removed from campus on Friday after a short ceremony that will address their history. History is not as important as feelings.

I have a vague memory of some other school removing statues of the ’49rs who poured into California in 1869 when gold was discovered. There is a George Washington High School in San Francisco which is planning to remove an”offensive” mural of General George Washington, which supposedly has a slave and an a native American pictured in the mural. California is very sensitive, sanctuary-wise. The folks on the southern border want better protection from the illegal aliens pouring over the border, the rest of the state wants more to do the scut work like mowing lawns and sweeping streets.

Pete Buttigieg, one of the 24 Democrat candidates for the presidency, who wants to be the first gay president, announced today that asking anyone if they are a citizen is “racist.” Most Hollywood celebrities have found that if they become “political activists” they can get the media attention they crave. Silicon Valley, is still too young in business to recognize that playing politics with their business instead of being steadfastly neutral, is apt to get you heavily regulated. Americans, in general, are very attached to the First Amendment, even if they have a hard time understanding its meaning.

Our elections are always contentious, but this year is far worse than usual because we are still deeply involved with the last election, and Hillary’s efforts to become the “first woman president.” Those designations: the first Black President, the first Woman President, the first Gay President are deeply important to Democrats, who think that way, when they should be thinking: what real qualifications does the candidate have, what has he done of note, what has he accomplished, what does he know a lot about, what skills does he have? Instead, they want someone who is — one of them. Not an outsider.

Perhaps that is the problem. They simply do not know what Trump will do, because they do not understand who he is or what to expect, and they find that frightening and they imagine the worst, and do not know how to respond. He calls them names right back.



Catching Up With Today’s Most Important Pieces by The Elephant's Child

The burning question of the day, seems to be about “social Justice”, which I think is pure bunk. There is no such thing. But here is an authority: Frederich Hayek the great economist to settle the question.

 

This is an old video, so I guess he didn’t settle the question at all, but there are still people out there demanding Social Justice, so there you are.

From amgreatness:Another Media-fueled Collusion Narrative Falls Apart

Here’s Andy McCartney on The Lessons of the Mueller Probe Andy has been an invaluable guide to the entire Mueller thing.

David Harsanyi called out presidential candidate Joe Biden on his absurd statement “For eight years, there wasn’t one single hint of a scandal or a lie”, so he reminded Biden of a few of them. (Quite a few.)

I have long suggested that what we really need are courses in basic human nature. So much of the frustration and anger out there would be relieved if people just understood that Life is hard, bad stuff happens, your feelings will be hurt, people you love will die, things will not be fair, and nobody cares that they are not fair. You will be insulted. You may be fired from a job. Perhaps unjustly. Life is not  fair. It’s up to how you deal with things. Celebrate the stuff that goes well, the special moments of deep happiness, But don’t go expecting justice, social or any other kind. Life is hard, and courage is the answer.



True, False, or Virtue Signalling? by The Elephant's Child

The results of an interesting study appeared in the Wall Street Journal last week. In the aftermath of the 2016 election, many Democrats professed significant increases in stress, depression and anxiety. Was that real or just showing off — virtue signalling?

Using a unique data set of searches by more than 1 million Bing users before and after the election, we examine the changes in mental-health-related searches. . . . We find that while Democrats may report greater increases in post-election mental distress, their mental health search behavior did not change after the election.

On the other hand, Spanish-speaking Latinos had clear, significant, and sustained increases in searches for “depression,” “anxiety,” “therapy,” and antidepressant medications. This suggests that for many Democrats, expressing mental distress after the election was a form of partisan cheerleading. . . . Democrats, as partisans, are reporting Trump-related mental distress as a form of reverse cheerleading, while Latinos are reporting genuine mental distress. . . . Where partisans are engaging in reverse cheerleading, they will be vocal about their mental distress about the presidency in a public forum but will not engage in behaviors associated with that distress in private. . . . Individuals who are not engaging in reverse cheerleading may or may not share their mental distress publicly but will engage in private behaviors associated with mental health issues.

Why am not surprised?

The study was published by  SAGE Open, on March 27. SAGE Open access is an independent publisher of academic research committed to the goal of global dissemination of research.



It Is a Constitutional Crisis! Isn’t It? by The Elephant's Child

Speaker Nancy Pelosi said today that we are in a “Constitutional Crisis”. Jerry Nadler said that we are now in a “Constitutional Crisis”. Even Adam Schiff said we’re in a “Constitutional Crisis”. This seems to the the Left’s talking point of the day. There was also some muttering about Trump not being a king or an emperor. But they are clearly correct.

This is something of a Constitutional crisis. We have one political party unwilling to accept the rules of the Constitution on how elections are decided. They are furious because they lost, and want the Constitution changed so that it never happens again. And they are determined to get rid of the hated Trump by any means necessary. Outraged by the Mueller failure to provide immediate succor, they are groping for another solution. I’m not sure that you can impeach someone simply because you do not like him. But just who and what makes it a crisis is up for debate.

The Electoral College and the structure of the Senate were carefully designed to make sure that the people of the less populous states had equal representation. Every state has two senators, and the House of Representatives numbers reflect the population numbers. It was a pretty impressive bit of planning when at the time a sprawling union of 50 states was unimaginable, and Hawaii and Alaska were unknown, as was much of anything west of the Adirondacks.

I’m beginning to suspect that the Left has noticed that the economy is booming, that there are more job openings than unemployed people to fill them, and their celebrated former president could never get growth above 2% no matter how much he “invested” in the economy, and declared that the world had changed and an upside was no longer possible. Pelosi is still describing the Trump tax cuts as the worst thing ever done to our economy. (They simply cannot grasp supply-side economics.) The idea that you make the world a better place by giving people free stuff, like free college and Medicare for all, and making them happy to vote for you is clearly the better policy goal, isn’t it?



The Greatest Threat to the World Today by The Elephant's Child

The Greatest Threat to the World as we know it, is not Russian influence, nor climate change, devastating diseases like Ebola sweeping out of Africa, it’s not even the machinations of Donald Trump. It’s an idea. An insidious idea that is sweeping out of our citadels of learning into the greater society. And the damage it has done and can do is incalculable.

The idea is a simple one. You shouldn’t have to listen to ideas with which you disagree, or that make you uncomfortable. That is so clearly idiotic that it seems impossible that one could not only accept the idea, but act upon it. Yet students in what we have long respected as centers of learning are protesting and rioting to prevent themselves from hearing ideas with which they are unfamiliar and which might disturb them by challenging their comfortable ways of thinking.

What the hell, one might ask, did they think education is? How do we learn, grow, improve? How are we to cope with a challenging world if we are not open to engaging with ideas that are new to us. How are we to recognize our own errors and misunderstandings?

The lists of speakers, experts, and fine minds who have been “disinvited” is long and growing. Many have not been disinvited, but protested or rioted against. There’s Charles Murray, Betsy DeVos, Heather McDonald, Clarence Thomas, Ben Shapiro, Henry Kissinger, Jason Riley, Doris Kearns Godwin, Laura Bush, Michael Bloomberg, and Camille Paglia — in no particular order or inclusiveness, and there are lots more.

We have a remarkable dereliction of duty from college administrators here. I have read of no cases of misbehaving students being sent home. This may date me, but when I was in school, many students were sent home for a semester, and able to return when they got their heads on straight, and it wasn’t for anything as dramatic as ordinary riots and protests.

There’s also what I call “cultural contagion,”and others refer to as “copy cat” stuff. Think of the way that Vietnam War protests swept through the nation’s campuses. Of course then there were a lot of young men of military age in the universities. But today they are protesting speakers in the U.K. as well. We have “Big Brother”in Silicon Valley who is bragging, or at least admitting, that they changed the outcome of the mid-term election. If you do not have long experience with encountering other ideas, will you have the knowledge and experience to resist the influence of manipulated search results? How will you recognize when and how the media distort the news? How will you know what you yourself believe and whether or not you have the knowledge to defend your ideas? Speak out, stand up to be counted, and if you have college age kids, make sure they understand what education is and how one acquires it.



Confusion and Misconception are Rampant Everywhere by The Elephant's Child

Friedrich Hayek once wrote: “Buying and selling were a procedure for discovering facts, which if the procedure did not exist, would remain unknown or at least would not be used.” The full name of Adam Smith’s classic work was “An Inquiry Into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations,“as the Coyote Blog noted today:

The fact that AOC and other modern admirers of socialism can fret about poverty is, as they imagine, attributable to capitalism, but not in the way they think. Capitalism did not cause the poverty, it created the situation in which poverty is an issue with but a minority of the population (rather than essentially everyone). Before capitalism, fretting about poverty would just have been fretting about .. the way things are for everyone.

One of the earliest things that someone learns about politics, at least in Democrat families, is that Republican tax cuts only go to the rich. They simply do not understand the workings of the economy. Because “the Rich” pay way more in taxes than the rest of us, they get proportionally bigger tax cuts. What we are seeing out there is the result of everyone’s tax cuts. Someone remarked on the radio this week, in the wake of the  3½% remarkable growth spurt in the economy, that “people have decided to go shopping.”

Well, yes they have. I learned some time back that apparently large numbers of people have chosen to have their income taxes withheld from their wages, and really don’t know how much they paid in taxes — but only how big their refund was. This year, their refunds were somewhat bigger, and they have the money to do some extra shopping. I guess they worry that if they don’t have taxes withheld, they may not have the funds to pay on April 15. The rich don’t have to wait for refunds, so when they receive a tax cut, they have the extra funds to expand, grow their businesses, hire, invent—and make the economy grow. How do we tell? By reading the facts of the buying and selling that is going on.

This explanation does not fit into the world view of Democrats. They don’t buy it. I remember a few years back, a writer at the Wall Street Journal wrote in astonishment that “Elizabeth Warren has only a childlike understanding of economics.” That is why you have so many Democrats who want to get rid of capitalism. Much of the climate activists’ purpose is to use climate as a way to rid the world of capitalism. Mentioning Venezuela as a notable example of the abject failure of Socialism gets you nowhere. They do not, and cannot, accept the starving people of Venezuela as the inevitable result of Socialism. It just does not compute. It is based, of course, on a failure to understand human nature and an ignorance of history.

There has been lots of conversation about the vast crowd of Democrats running for the presidency. All are positive that Trump is so despised, so awful, that only the few gap-toothed deplorables in flyover country would vote for a second term. Joe Biden makes the twenty-first Democrat candidate to announce a run. Some reporters have remarked that name-familiarity should help him, but according to polls, large numbers of Americans have no idea who he is, and do not recognize a picture.

Those of us who have always assumed that we can depend on the wisdom of the American people may want to give some consideration to running for your local School Board. Or at the very least picking up one of Hayek’s books at the Library: The Fatal Conceit: The Errors of Socialism, The Road to Serfdom, or The Constitution of Liberty.




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