American Elephants


Best Monthly Jobs Numbers in History! by The Elephant's Child

Fabulous jobs numbers for June — 4.8 million jobs added for the best monthly employment numbers in history.

That is so encouraging when so many small businesses had to shut down in the Covid epidemic, as small businesses couldn’t cope with the shutdowns. But the country is slowly opening up.  People are getting accustomed to wearing masks when necessary. We are learning how to deal with a pandemic, working from home, avoiding large groups, and the numbers of deaths are declining, with a bump up from the protests.

President Trump is working hard at getting rid of unnecessary regulation, which can be a real boon for business. It is always tempting for those in charge to want to control things, but it is a very bad idea. Control what is essential, not everything. And whether you are in government or among the employers, large and small, remember always that the government has no money of its own. None. Every cent comes out of the pocketbooks of the taxpayers. When those in control get too controlling, everything shuts down. The more control, the less innovation. The less innovation —and that’s how it goes. Free markets, free people.



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.



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.



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.

 

 



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?



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.



COVID-19: What We Know and What We Don’t Know by The Elephant's Child

Thursday March 26th: King County, Washington State, which includes Seattle, and an assortment of suburban communities. The population is 2.23 million. It is of particular interest because we got the first round of coronavirus or COVID-19. 31,712 people were tested, 92% negative, 2,530 or 7% were positive.

Washington state is the 13th largest state with a population of 7,797,095 (last Census). The total number of cases is 2,580 with 122 deaths.  Here is the Public Health Report for Seattle and King County for March 26, Thursday.   Lots of interesting data there, and a map that shows how it is spread. The blue in the middle of the orange map is Lake Washington, the surrounding light blue is Puget Sound. While we started it out in the country with the Kirkland nursing home, and way too many deaths, New York, bigger and denser is rapidly catching up.

The United States currently has the most cases of any country in the world. New York is rapidly surpassing Seattle in active cases, which is understandable as the city is so dense. There is so much that we just don’t know yet. Can you get the disease more than once, or do you develop an immunity? Are young people immune? Apparently not, but that information comes from only a very few cases. We will learn all these things in time, but we want it now.

What is even more interesting and positive is the way Americans are stepping up to contribute. Dyson, a company that makes vacuum cleaners and that sort of stuff, has designed new ventilators and will produce 15,000. Apple is turning out 10 million masks.  Bodman Industries does 3D computer printing. Their 60 printers will be printing 3,000 masks a day, and they are working with their suppliers to get others involved.

China announced this month of nearly a week of no new infections in Wuhan, the city where the pandemic originated, but nobody knows whether it can be believed or not. Chinese scientists have been transparent about what they have discovered so far, shared information on the genetics and sequences of the virus and details of autopsies, clinical care and outcomes and even shared fatality rates among different age groups. On the other hand, Chinese propaganda insists that the virus originated with the American military, which is absurd, but is filled with the Communist Party’s long history of propaganda and the necessity to bury the cover-up in a happy story of triumph over the virus. Communist governments do not like news that reflects badly on the Communist government. They included a photo of empty beds in a Wuhan hospital. A Taiwan network reported that one hospital as under pressure from the central government not to admit patients so it could report no new cases. So there you go.



Nancy Pelosi’s Big Ideas Turned Out to Be a Big Flop! by The Elephant's Child

pelosi-angry-glare-impeachment-vote-getty-420x315

The Democrats had a big idea. Big coronavirus crisis, Nation in a state of crisis, good time to get some of our ideas that we haven’t been able to get done passed. Republicans can’t turn us down because they need the coronavirus money. So they just stuffed all their ideas right into a modest 1,400 page bill. Headlines were not complimentary: “Politicians Standing in the Way of Emergency Relief”,”Cynical Power Play on Coronavirus Bill Shows Dems’ Far-Left Stripes,” “Tom Cotton Slams Democrats”, “Nancy Pelosi Coronavirus Bill Creates MultiBillion Slush Fund for Elite Liberal Causes.” “Pelosi Coronavirus Bill Creates Multibillion Slush Fund for Elite Liberal Causes,” Pelosi’s Bill  Contains Return of Obama Phones”, “Pelosi’s Bill Imposes Nationwide Ballot Harvesting,”

The list goes on and on, Diversity forced on Corporate Boards, or just read Tom Cotton’ s MUST READ  thread on what she has included in the bill. Wasn’t such a good idea, the outrage was prompt in arriving. Now and then the Democrats reveal just how far left they are, and the American people aren’t. The American people are justifiably frightened by this virus, we don’t know how deadly it will be. The reports from other countries like Iran and Italy are devastating, We don’t know how many Chinese have died from the Wuhan virus, nor do we know if what the Chinese claim can be trusted. Communist governments are not usually forthcoming with anything that reflects badly on them.

Even President Trump’s advisors don’t know how long the virus will last, how many people it is likely to infect, whether it will die off as warm weather comes on, it’s all guesswork. We have had corona viruses before, but each has its own schedule and invasive qualities. Many states have been only very lightly affected. People compare it to the national deaths from the flu, from traffic accidents, but that doesn’t mean much of anything. I’ll bet when the pharmacies start telling us next year to get our flu shots, more of us will pay attention.

President Trump said in his press conference today that he hopes they can relax the control of groups and meetings by Easter so people can go to church on Easter Sunday, but we don’t know. The media, of course, wanted to excoriate him for even suggesting that it would be over by Easter, but if he hadn’t they would be excoriating him for not, or for something else. The Democrat Media has exhibited an irresponsibility that is rather startling in its extent. They don’t like President Trump, and make that clear at every opportunity. No wonder he calls them Fake News.

Since we in the Seattle Area were the first ones hit in this country, perhaps our results will be the first to show when and if it is tapering off. We’ll see. In the meantime, try being a good neighbor. Help out if you can. Give blood. Try not to “stock up” to such a extent that you are leaving your neighbors without. And take care of yourselves.



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.



What’s the Real Difference between Democrats and Republicans? by The Elephant's Child

You see it again in the current political campaign. Democrats want to buy your votes, with, say, “Medicare for All”, or “The Green New Deal.” The basic problem with this is not just that such programs would be absurdly costly. The problem is that the federal government has no money of it’s own, and can only “give” you these wonderful benefits by raising your taxes. Of course they say — not yours, just the taxes on the very wealthy, Big Business, rich people. Part of the problem is that Big Business and those who run those big businesses are those who create and fill good jobs.

Republicans want to cut taxes, not just on the rich as Democrats pretend, but on everybody, because that allows businesses to grow and expand, offer new products, and gives those who want to start businesses a little extra to do it with. And that is a very good thing. It allows people, the unemployed, to rise. The February Jobs report showed the economy’s payrolls soaring by 273,000 new jobs. And many more want to hire. Congress is talking about adding more visas for temporary workers. If the unemployed want jobs, they can probably get one. Average hourly earnings increased by 0.3%. Looks like a good climate for graduating seniors.

I think that because Democrats see themselves as morally superior, and the Republicans as lesser beings, giving stuff is seen as the way to garner votes. I think that people would rather have a good job than be given stuff, they want to provide for their families themselves, and they want to work hard and advance. And the gifts Democrats want to give people end up costing far more than was planned and everybody has to pay.



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.




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