American Elephants


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.



Here’s What the World Health Organization Has to Say: by The Elephant's Child

I am trying to keep up with worldwide reports, especially after learning of the dreadful case of Italy who lost so many elderly people, so I checked in with the World Health Organization (WHO), and thought that probably many of you had not, and were depending on the American media, who have become (as Hillary called anyone who dared to support President Trump) — the”Deplorables.” And you can’t trust the media any more. They are trying to blame the entire coronavirus on Donald Trump. Nevermind that he seems to be doing exactly the right things, effectively, and a pretty good job of protecting American citizens.

So here is the website for the WHO and what they are reporting for each country. Again, this is what has been reported to them. Africa is experiencing it only very lightly, as is the Russian Federation. Is that really few cases or lax reporting? Only 304 cases in Canada, and not too much is South America. They have a list for each country, besides a dandy map that gives a visual idea. We are told that the death toll from the flu is high, but I haven’t seen reports of how many Americans died from the flu, nor how it affected other countries. The flu was devastating following World War I, and killed thousands. Have heard constantly from pharmacies to be sure to get your flu shots, so apparently many people don’t or they wouldn’t nag.

China has 81,077 cases, Italy 24,747 cases.  I don’t know. Do you hunger for more statistics so you feel more prepared, calmer? Or are you sick of the whole subject? I always line up with “studying up” — the more you know, the less the chance that you can be a victim.



A Bit of History That You Probably Never Knew by The Elephant's Child

The photo is from Venezuela, a line of hungry people trying to get groceries, and scarce toilet paper. Here in the Seattle area we are having runs on toilet paper, people are desperately trying to stock up. Some stores are limiting how many packages of rolls one may buy. We have a delivery of groceries coming on Monday, and won’t know until then how much, if any, toilet paper will be included with the order. Thanks to Covid-19.

That leads those of us who read a lot to check into the history of toilet paper, and a lot of people are doing so. You may know that the “slang term” for the toilet is “the crapper.” This is not a bad word for the facility, but the name of the gentleman, Thomas Crapper, who patented his valve and siphon design in 1891. Philadelphia was the first city that switched entirely to cast iron pipes for their new system of water delivery.

Chicago was the first city in the country in 1885, to have a comprehensive sewer system. The Tremont Hotel in Boston was the first hotel of its kind to feature indoor plumbing for guests in 1829. Eight water closets were built by Isaiah Rogers. Until that time indoor water closets were commonly found in the homes of the rich and in luxury hotels.  Soon soap was introduced during bathing,(!) and it was adapted widely for hygiene purposes. Think about that one, with what you know of history in general. Before there were comprehensive sewer systems, there was often a town pump where you went with your bucket. We live in such an age of invention that it’s hard to think about previous generations as not having them. My mother bought her first television so she could see the first moon landing. But there was a time when someone in the family bought their first toilet, and someone first bought toilet paper. Before that the pages of the Sears and Roebuck catalog usually were used.

The first water pipes were discovered by archeologists in the Indus River in India, dating back to 4000-3000 B.C. Egyptian ruler Menes supported a thriving civilization by constructing canals, irrigation ditches, and basins.

This comes from a History of Plumbing Timeline: The Invention of Indoor Plumbing posted by John C. Flood of Virginia, apparently a plumbing company. Do take the time to visit it and learn a bit about our history that you probably never knew. Always good for starting a new conversation at a boring party.



The Case for Trump, a Year Ago by The Elephant's Child

This interview from the Hoover Institution was recorded on April  1, 2019. when Victor Davis Hanson’s book The Case for Trump came out. It holds up remarkably well. I’m a great admirer of Dr. Hanson. How did blue collar voters connect with a millionaire builder from Queens? Possibly because, contrary to Democrat shrieks, Donald Trump is authentic, exactly who he says he is. The people like that.

The February Jobs Report: Payrolls soared by 273,000. Might have something to do with current approval.

Maggie’s Farm blog called my attention to this post.

Matt Margolis at pjmedia points out that “We Can Thank Trump for the United States Having Such a Low Per Capita Infection Rate of Coronavirus.”



A Perpetual Motion Machine called Innovation by The Elephant's Child

British columnist Matt Ridley is always worth reading, but yesterday’s column was special.  He wrote:

When you think about it, what has happened to human society in the last 300 years is pretty weird. After trundling along with horses and sailboats, slaves and swords, for millennia, we suddenly got steam engines and search engines, and planes and cars and electricity and computers and social media and DNA sequences. We gave ourselves a perpetual motion machine called innovation. The more we innovated, the more innovation became possible.

It’s by far the biggest story of the last three centuries—the main cause of the decline of extreme poverty to unprecedented levels—yet we know curiously little about why it happened, let alone when and where and how it can be made to continue. It certainly did not start as a result of deliberate policy. Even today, beyond throwing money at scientists in the hope they might start businesses, and subsidies at businesses in the hope they might deliver products, we don’t have much of an idea how to encourage innovation at the political level.

What’s more, free-market economists have been in a special muddle about innovation for a long time. The economics profession spent a couple of centuries assuming that markets tend towards equilibria, through the invisible hand. Hence John Stuart Mill and John Maynard Keynes and pretty well everybody else in between assumed that we would see diminishing returns come to dominate human endeavour. But instead we experienced increasing returns, accelerating invention. As the author David Warsh put it in his book Knowledge and the Wealth of Nations (2006) some years ago, economists obsessed about Adam Smith’s invisible hand but forgot about his pin factory, where specialisation led to innovation.

One of my favorite histories is by John Steele Gordon, who deals with just that: the “Epic History of American Economic Power” in An Empire of Wealth. It’s a great read, and I recommend it enthusiastically. We are seeing all sorts of articles about the horrors of Socialism in the wake of Bernie Sanders, but this one deals with the other part: why Capitalism works and that a state that advances and encourages innovation is a result of a free people and an open society.

How some people can fail to understand those simple facts is apparently due to the failure of our schools and our colleges and universities. Many of our states do not require basic civics and history for graduation, a situation that drastically needs attention. Our colleges and universities are staffed to a significant extent with those who went for graduate degrees as a way to escape the draft for the Vietnamese War. You can hear that echo in banned or protested speakers on campus, and campus demonstrations.



Monday, March 2nd News, For What It’s Worth. by The Elephant's Child
image: artist unknown. via powerline

We have had a second death from Covid-19 Coronavirus, also from the same facility in Kirkland, Washington. Here is the Washington State Department of Health website but use it only if you need it, it’s apt to be busy. Here’s information for the public from Representative Adam Smith:

The public can take everyday actions to protect themselves and help prevent the spread of the virus:

Practice excellent personal hygiene habits, including hand washing, coughing into tissue or elbow, avoid touching eyes, nose, or mouth.

Stay home when sick.

Do not go to the emergency room unless essential. Emergency rooms need to be able to serve those with the most critical needs. If you have symptoms like cough, fever, or other respiratory problems, contact your regular doctor first. Stay informed from reliable sources. Information is changing frequently. Check Public Health Seattle & King County, Washington State Department of Health, and the CDC for updated information.

On the political front, Amy Klobuchar has quit the presidential race, and endorsed Joe Biden. I don’t think Elizabeth Warren has formally withdrawn, but I keep hoping. She was lined up with Bernie Sanders, but went after him strongly at the last debate. Pete Buttigieg has also endorsed Joe Biden.

Tomorrow is what is called Super Tuesday, when a whole bunch of states have their primaries on the same day. 14 states have signed up: Alabama, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont and Virginia. California is, they say, representative of the primary electorate of the Democrat party, Texas is similar, as the second most populous state, with a large Latinx ) a new and somewhat offensive designation) population.
Chris Matthews has apparently left CNN*.  And welcome to the month of March.

Greta Thunberg had an occasion in Bristol in the United Kingdom last week, urging British schoolchildren to skip school on Friday to protest global warming. About 15,000 people are believed to have attended Bristol Youth Strike 4 Climate rally. It was raining briskly, and the heavy rain turned the grass into mud, making a colossal mess of the rally. The BBC reported that “Ms. Thunberg has been presented as a sort of expert on the environment by alleged adults in the international Press” which covers it nicely.

* Chris Matthews has retired.

ADDENDUM: The Coronavirus death toll here in Washington State has reached 6, all connected to the Senior Care facility in Kirkland. There has been one death in New York.



All the News That’s Fit, and Quite a Bit that Isn’t by The Elephant's Child

Newsy day! We have had one death from Coronavirus here in Washington State, apparently with some Korean connection. Joe Biden has won the South Carolina caucus. Corona beer has NO Connection to the virus with “corona” in the name. I know it’s hard, but try to pay attention and not get panicky.

Democrats are trying their hardest to make President Trump responsible for the Coronavirus, but they are, as usual, making no sense, and lying through their teeth. You need to understand that the Democrats believe themselves to be morally superior and thus entitled to be in charge of, well, everything! They are morally superior because they care.

For example, they care about anyone in Mexico who wants to cross the border, and assume that we should allow them in because they might have coronavirus, and we need to help them. Most sane Americans would admit that Mexico has a number of cases of coronavirus, a number of deaths, and that Mexico has an obligation to take care of their own people, which they are trying to do.  We do not have any obligation to open up our borders to anyone from another country.  Elizabeth Warren has proposed a “Bill to Take All Money From Trump’s ‘Racist Wall,’ Give to HHS to Fight Coronavirus.” Some polls suggest that Elizabeth Warren might not win her own state of Massachusetts. “Racist Wall” ??? A President of the United States’ first responsibility is to the people of his own country, not to the citizens of Mexico, nor of all the other countries’ citizens trying to illegally cross the border. If Warren does not understand that basic fact, she has no business considering herself qualified to run for anything. There is a legal way to come to America and become a citizen. You apply, and wait your turn.

AOC, who never fails to demonstrate her ignorance, was outraged (isn’t she always?) that Vice President Pence, appointed to lead the Coronavirus program, said he would pray as he took on the effort. He is a religious man, and of course would pray for help in doing an important job. AOC promptly announced “Mike Pence literally does not believe in science. It is utterly irresponsible to put him in charge of US coronavirus response as the world sits on the cusp of a pandemic.” Well we all make silly mistakes, Hank Johnson worried about Guam tipping over. Just refrain from suggesting that the folks serving in government are our “betters.”

We elect people to serve us in government so we don’t have to do it. They want to serve because it’s a good paying job with all sorts of benefits, among which are lots of attention from the media, and if you get to be some sort of celebrity, there are even more benefits that involve recognition, name familiarity, and maybe a book deal somewhere down the road, aside from being able to steer business to your family. We have to keep an eye on them, and, if they get too far out of line, elect someone else.

Joe Biden has won the caucus in South Carolina as I said, in spite of getting a little confused about whether he was running for the Senate or the Presidency. It helps to maintain a good sense of humor regarding politics, but it’s hard when one candidate announces that he is a socialist. Socialist/Communist, there’s not much difference. If you don’t know what the term “socialist” means, it’s time to seriously educate yourself. The public schools and our colleges and universities will not do it for you. The universities are staffed with those who got deferments for being in school as they protested the Vietnam War, and a college education doesn’t mean what it once did. Head to your public library, look for The Black Book of Communism, The Gulag Archipelago, The Passing of an Illusion, Property and Freedom, Mao, or any of dozens of books explaining what “socialism” really is. Socialism does not mean free health care, or anything else free for that matter. It costs more than can be endured.

*I don’t know the source of this image, but it expresses the reality clearly




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