American Elephants

February 22 is George Washington’s Real Birthday, Not Some Ginned Up “President’s Day” by The Elephant's Child

Imagine, you just turned 43 years old, and suddenly you find yourself Commander in Chief of a ragtag American army, such as it was. The battles of Lexington, Concord and Bunker Hill had already been fought when Washington arrived in Massachusetts, and had established that the British could not break out of Boston. Once Washington placed the captured British cannon on Dorchester Heights, the British evacuated by sea.


Washington had been named Commander in Chief by the Second Continental Congress, meeting in Philadelphia in June 1775. He was forty-three years old. There was not yet any American army for him to command, only the militias ringing Boston, but the delegates of the increasingly rebellious colonies were seized by fury for action and for war. “Oh that I was a soldier,” wrote John Adams, a radical lawyer from Massachusetts. “I will be. I am reading military books. Everybody must and will, and shall be a soldier.”

Adams never became a soldier, but Washington had already been one. He had served in the Virginia militia during the French and Indian War twenty years earlier, rising to the rank of colonel. In his old age, Adams would describe Washington’s selection as a political compromise—a southern commander, to lead what would at first be a mostly New England force—engineered by congressional wise-men, including Adams. But Congress did not have many other officers to choose from, Israel Putnam, of the Connecticut militia, was, at 57, too old. Artemas Ward, the commander of the Massachusetts militia, was incompetent and suffering from the stone.
The state begins in violence. However lofty the ideals of a new country or a new regime, it encounters opposition, as most new regimes and countries do, it must fight. If it loses, its ideals join the long catalogue of unfulfilled aspirations.

At six o’clock on the evening of July 9, 1776, the soldiers of the main American army, stationed in New York, were paraded and read the Declaration of Independence. General George Washington, Commander in Chief, hoped this “important event” would inspire them, though when some soldiers joined a mob in pulling down a statue of George III, he deplored their “want of order.” Over the next two months the American army and its commander, orderly or not, were unable to offer much in defense of the Declaration’s sentiments. …

During the summer, the British assembled, on Staten Island and in the harbor, the largest expeditionary force of the eighteenth century: ten ships of the line, twenty frigates, and 32,000 regular troops. On August 22, most of those troops began moving to Gravesend Bay on Long Island, in what is now southwest Brooklyn. Anticipating a possible landing there, Washington had posted more than a third of his own force of 19,000 men on Brooklyn Heights, and on a line of hills to the south. But he expected the British to attack him on the harbor side of his position, where they could bring the guns of their ships into play. On the morning of the 27th, the British slipped a force through the hills five miles away in the opposite direction and hit the American front line from before and behind.
These are excerpts from Richard Brookheiser’s Founding Father: Rediscovering George Washington, which he calls a moral biography, which has two purposes: to explain its subject, and to shape the minds and hearts of those who read it—by showing how a great man navigated politics and a life as a public figure. Brookheiser says “If Washington’s contemporaries were too willing to be awed, we are not willing enough. …We have lost the conviction that ideas require men to bring them to earth, and that great statesmen must be great men. Great statesmen are rare enough in their world. We believe they are mythical, like unicorns.” They are not.

According to recent studies, our kids don’t know anything about George Washington, nor do most adults. There is some speculation that the problem is big fat books. People are more apt to read thin books that don’t scare them about the time involved. Answering that need is a new biography by the great British historian Paul Johnson. The paperback is only $8.71, and a hardback is available.

ADDENDUM: The picture above is a forensic reconstruction of Washington as a General, and Commander in Chief. Getting a likeness is hard. You get one thing just a little off, and you have lost the resemblance. Washington’s skin was pale, we are told, and he burned in the sun. I don’t think the tricorn hat gives even as much protection as a baseball cap, so I’m sure he appeared much more weathered, with squint lines (no sunglasses). His real hair was reddish. But nasty Stuart Gilbert did him real dirt down through the ages by overemphasizing the distortions of false teeth, and getting a poor likeness. Remember that, every time you look at a one dollar bill. It was deliberate.


Why Globalism Fails: Jordan Peterson by The Elephant's Child

I really enjoy Dr. Jordan Peterson. He is deeply interested in getting to the very essence of things. How things really work underneath it all. What makes people tick and why. And why they don’t. I like listening to him, and I like watching him. He talks with his hands. I don’t think I do that at all, and I don’t know why some people do and some people don’t—besides being Italian. Enjoy.

The Trouble With ObamaCare by The Elephant's Child

The trouble with ObamaCare was, in particular, the regulations. Lots of other problems,of course, but Leftists always think that they know better how anything should be run, and for just that reason, it mostly doesn’t work. The Wall Street Journal today pointed out one of the big reasons which is that ObamaCare mostly meant that small businesses quit providing healthcare for their employees.

Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta is proposing to allow small businesses to band together to provide insurance on an equal footing with corporations and unions. Excellent!

The share of workers at small businesses with employer-sponsored health benefits has dropped by a quarter since 2010 as insurance costs have ballooned, in part due to government mandates. About 11 million workers employed by small businesses are uninsured. Some businesses have dropped their workers onto state insurance exchanges where premiums are subsidized by taxpayers.

Enter President Trump, who last fall directed Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta to consider “expanding the conditions that satisfy the commonality-of-interest requirements” for association health plans under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act, or Erisa.

Large-group plans that are self-insured—i.e., funded by unions or employers—are covered by Erisa. These plans are exempt from ObamaCare’s essential benefits requirements, though they must comply with rules on annual and lifetime limits and pre-existing conditions as well as state solvency regulations.

Mom-and-pop businesses and sole proprietors aren’t so lucky. Most purchase coverage from insurers in the small group or individual marketplaces, which are subject to ObamaCare’s coverage mandates and controls on premium prices. The Obama Administration precluded small employers from forming association plans that are exempt from Erisa by narrowly interpreting the “commonality of interest” membership requirements.

Secretary Acosta on Thursday, proposed a new rule that would define “commonality of interest” among employers to include geographical area, such as a metropolitan area or even a state, as well as an industry, trade or profession. Chambers of commerce or national industry groups could sponsor plans. Sole proprietors could be defined as both employers and employees, which would allow independent contractors to form or join association plans. The Left is, of course, howling about Trump trying to destroy ObamaCare, but millions of small business people and sole proprietors aren’t insured at all because they can’t afford coverage on the exchanges. Sole proprietors who earn too much to qualify for subsidies are squeezed out by soaring premiums.

If they are freed from ObamaCare’s mandates, they can devise plans more suited to their workers, and costs would be reduced by spreading the administrative burden. This is not going to solve the burdens of ObamaCare, but ObamaCare was never a plan to give health care to everyone. It was a plan for government control of health care so that the giver of health care would always be voted back in because of the fear of losing health care. They saw that kind of ‘insurance’ in Britain’s National Health Service (NHS).

Britain’s NHS figures show that 16,893 patients waited more than 30 minutes at Accident and Emergency (A&E) departments in the week at the end of the year. This was a 42% rise over the previous week when only 11,900 waited in the ambulances hoping they wouldn’t die while they waited. Hospital bed occupancy was 91.7 percent—an 85% level is considered safe.

It was announced a day earlier that all non-emergency operations will be cancelled until at least February as the worst NHS winter crisis in 30 years hits. Around 55,000 procedures that were planned will not happen. A senior doctor claimed that patients are being treated in “third world” conditions in some hospitals. In the meantime cases of flu are rising and there are severe respiratory problems. The people generally believe that their health care is free, but forget that they pay for every last bit of it in their taxes and lower standard of living.

The population of Great Britain is 66,387,483, ours is 323.98 million as of 2016. When healthcare is free, people are inclined to run to the doctor at every small symptom. ObamaCare assumed that when all the healthy young people were forced to pay their share, it would cover the sick people. The skyrocketing premiums show how well that all worked. And young people have consistently dropped out. Doctors tell their kids to choose another profession. Those who use up the most medical care are of course, the old folks. The Eskimos solved that by leaving granny out to freeze on an iceberg which is a relatively painless way to go. Some in India leave their grannies in a tiger preserve, I have read. I’m sure we will gradually come up with solutions. Just try to keep the politicians out of it.

In the Bleak Midwinter, for the Winter Solstice by The Elephant's Child
December 21, 2017, 9:36 pm
Filed under: England, Freedom, Heartwarming, Music, Politics | Tags: , ,

For the winter solstice, the first day of Winter, and for my father’s birthday.  I miss him.

Unleashing the Power of American Freedom and Innovation by The Elephant's Child

It wasn’t that long ago that Democrats and the mainstream media (but I repeat myself) were moaning about how businesses were hoarding cash and buying back stock instead of investing. The talking points were all about “Corporate Greed.” Bernie Sanders was all about “trickle-down economics,” a dumb slur that goes back to 1981 and the Reagan Revolution that lowered taxes for everyone, but particularly for corporations that, like today’s, were the highest in the world, and real brakes on the economy. Reagan lowered corporate taxes dramatically and set off a 20 year boom.

Democrats are sure that corporations are evil entities that prey on the people by trying to make a profit. If they weren’t so greedy, then everything would be more affordable, and the people would be happier. If you can’t make a Democrat understand that if corporations do not make a profit, they cease to exist—you’re not going to make much headway with the Trump Revolution.

Once again, American corporate taxes are the highest in the world, and it really harms their ability to compete. Add to that the over-regulation of the Obama administration, and you have the explanation for why the Trump tax cuts and reversal of unneeded regulation has corporations poised to expand and invest with a vengeance. AT&T will increase its U.S, investments next year by $1 billion, pay a $1,000 bonus to some 200,000 employees. Comcast, explicitly citing tax reform and the FCC decision to end net-neutrality, pledged a $1,000 bonus to about 100,000 employees and vowed to invest “well in excess” of $50 billion over five years.

Boeing said the new law “boosts Boeing’s competitiveness” and will move up an additional $300 million of investments, dedicating $100 million to corporate giving; $100 million for worker development; and $100 million to enhance the company’s facilities.

Why are corporations giving bonuses or raising pay levels? Because we are already reaching very low levels of unemployment as business expands, and they will need to compete for good employees by offering incentives. Democrats assume that an incentive is when the wise people in government tell corporations what extra they must do for their customers, like Obama’s requirement that Pizza parlors list all of their ingredients on a visible sign with the calorie count for each. (um, people who are counting calories don’t buy pizza).

Wells Fargo and Fifth Third Bancorp said they would increase their minimum wage to $15 an hour, and Fifth Third is throwing in a $1,000 bonus for hourly workers. Nexus Services is giving a 5% pay raise to its employees and hiring 200 more.

Democrats remain sure that it’s all about tax cuts for the rich, and have been shrieking that for months, and the negative media spin has indeed resulted in poor opinion poll numbers. People have been told over and over that they tax cuts only go to rich people and everybody else will suffer. Yet well over 80% of the people will receive a cut in their taxes.

Europe is worried. The tax reform passed in Washington this week is a challenge to Europe’s big taxers. This opens a new competitive war with Europe’s high-taxing governments. The bill cuts the top federal corporate rate to 21% from 35% which brings down the average effective rate including state and local taxes down to about 23% from around 29%. This also creates incentives for European companies to invest in America. German executives will wonder why they should build their next factory in Germany with a 31% effective corporate rate + more troublesome labor regulations and an aging population. This is a big shock to the European system.

Republicans don’t do a good job of explaining what tax cuts mean and why they work, but assume that other Republicans will understand and celebrate. I believe that most people could not tell you how much they paid in taxes last year— without looking it up. They have their taxes withheld, and pay no attention to the pay slip, and just turn the whole thing over to their tax guy and put it away in a file. Who wants to think about taxes? When the government takes less, America is set free to innovate, create and grow.

Playing With The Notion of What it Means to Be Human by The Elephant's Child

If you are not familiar with Melanie Phillips, you might enjoy her columns. She is a long time British journalist, and a sharp observer of the world.

If you want a break from the spectacle of Britain tearing itself apart over leaving the European Union, you can upset yourself instead watching the spectacle of the western world tearing apart the very notion of what it is to be a human being.

The knee-jerk bullying, victim-group sectarianism and repudiation of reason itself over transgenderism defy belief. The Times (£) reports that a lesbian Labour party women’s officer was allegedly subjected to months of harassment as a “Terf” — a derogatory term for “trans exclusionary radical feminist” – because she took issue with aspects of transgenderism.

Intimidation by transgender activists, in the laughable cause of promoting greater tolerance and inclusivity, has suddenly become the new norm. Examples – such as the Christian maths teacher who was suspended for addressing as a girl a female pupil who identifies as a boy – are coming thick and fast.

Little kids usually go through a period when they fantasize about being someone other than who they are — like in reality a princess in disguise, waiting to be truly recognized. There have been lots of children’s books based on just that fantasy. One of the earliest was Mark Twain’s The Prince and the Pauper. But where this current idea sweeping society here and in Europe that you can be whoever you feel like being comes from is a serious question. Melanie Phillips addresses it head on.

Bodily dysphoria appears in many forms. There are people who come to believe that they are really cats, or that one of their limbs is bad or  diseased and must be removed, sometimes going as far as removing the limb themselves. But now we are having young mothers decide that when their daughter prefers to climb trees or play with toy trucks, it’s an indication that she is transgender, and encourages the confusion. This is child abuse. Transgenderism is a disorder of the brain, not the body. It requires psychiatric help. Included in Melanie Phillips article is a link to the American College of Pediatricians and a paper on Gender Dysphoria in Children.

I posted a video of a young British mother who was doing just that, in the belief that she is doing the right thing for her child.  There are a lot of problems in our country and in the world that deserve our attention. Why are we wrapped up in a world of who sexually abused whom and how much and how many years ago, and when do we move on to the next frenzy? Is this all just a journalistic creation to keep our attention glued to their desired themes? Can we get back to reality or are we stuck in this weird world?

The Passing Span of the Years –Some of Them by The Elephant's Child
November 6, 2017, 6:19 am
Filed under: England, Environment, Europe, France, History, Immigration, Law, Politics, The United States | Tags:

1066: The Norman Invasion, William the Conqueror, The Battle of Hastings.
1215;  Magna Charta
1348-1350: The Black Death, 1/3 of Europe Died
1350-1600: The Renaissance, Best Weather Known to Man
1227-1453: The Hundred Years War (France, Crecy, Potiers, Jean d’Arc)
1450-1850:The Little Ice Age
1455-1485: Wars of the Roses: Lancaster v. York
1502: The First Watch – telling time
1517: Martin Luther,  1532: Calvin, 1541: John Knox.
The Reformation
1519-1535: Spanish Conquest
1533: Henry VIII leaves Catholic Church Marries Anne Boleyn
1542: First Western Entry to Japan
1588: The Armada
1603: Queen Elizabeth dies
1642-1660: Roundheads v. Cavaliers. Cromwell
1620: Pilgrims land at Plymouth Rock
1630: Winthrop Fleet Arrives in Massachusetts Bay
1675-1678: King Philip’s War or Metacomet’s Rebellion
1773: Boston Tea Party 1775: Paul Revere, Bunker Hill
1760-1791: The American Revolution
1776, July 4: The Declaration of Independence
1787: The Constitution, 1791: The Bill of Rights
1799: Napoleon Bonaparte proclaimed Emperor
1804-1815: The Napoleonic Wars 1815: Waterloo
1846: The Irish Potato Famine
The Crimean War
1859: Charles Darwin: The Origin of Species
1867: Canada Becomes a Dominion
1899-1902: The Boer War
1903: The Russian Revolution 1918: Nicholas Abdicates

Leaving a lot out, of course. A quick ten centuries,

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