American Elephants


Victor Davis Hanson and the Search for Meaning by The Elephant's Child

This one is long,  49 minutes, but I cannot imagine, at the moment, any way it could be better spent. It is brilliant. Please do not miss this.

This has been a national nightmare, with everyone going a bit off the rails, and a lot of catastrophic crashes, and we’re a long way from recovery. Victor Davis Hanson does a very good job of clarifying and walking us through the whole thing. Expectations shattered, overreaction, searching for understanding or meaning, shedding certainty, shedding conviction. Strange and difficult times, and as I said — Dr. Hanson is brilliant.



Bill Whittle On the Notre Dame Fire: Straight Talk by The Elephant's Child



Guilty, Guilty, Guilty! by The Elephant's Child

No, not President Trump. For two years he has been trying to do the best that he can for the country with remarkable success – a booming economy, a nation leading the world in oil and gas production, full employment, clean energy – while daily assaulted with bogus claims and sleazy slurs, suggestions that his election was fraudulent, his appointees and associates investigated, two years and $35 million of taxpayers’ money wasted on an investigation that produced nothing, no collusion, no obstruction.

The guilty were the poisonously partisan media who ran with rumors, ignored obvious facts, and labored diligently to find just the right words to insinuate that which they could not prove. I was an English major with a deep interest in word choice, and they have not been behaving honorably.

This may be behind a subscription barrier, but Holman Jenkins had a fine column in the Wall Street Journal asking “Can the Media Survive Mueller?”

He points out that the Justice Department special-prosecutor rules require the existence of a crime, and there wasn’t one.

Let’s go back to the beginning. Journalists were not wrong in being open to Christopher Steele (a paid advocate) and his handlers (also paid advocates), but they were wrong not to notice that the one incontestable fact Mr. Steele had put before them had nothing to do with Mr. Trump and Russia.

The one incontestable fact was that a paid advocate who was trading on his previous profession as a British intelligence agent, in the middle of a presidential election, was being shepherded around Washington by a notorious PR schemer and promoting allegations whose truth he was unwilling to vouch for and whose source he was unwilling to reveal. …

To a reporter, one documented fact is more valuable than any number of unsupported claims. Indeed, a bunch of unsupported and unsourced allegations smacks of an attempt to gull him into the “Where there’s smoke, there must be fire” fallacy. Or, insultingly, bespeaks a belief that he’s the type who will circulate unsupported claims without challenging the motives of those promoting them.



I Took A Couple Days Off! Here’s Why. by The Elephant's Child

Sorry about the light blogging. Taxes due, and on general principal, I always wait to the last minute to sign and write the check. I’m quite willing to pay what is required, after going through the “required” bit to whittle it down as much as is currently possible. Because I work hard at the whittle part, I expect the federal government to whittle in turn, when they start spending that which I have so valiantly struggled over. Only fair, but so few back there seem to understand that they were chosen because we thought they’d do a better job of it than the other choice, not because we were enamored with their wonderfulness. We give them a chance at a big salary, media attention, and the opportunity to distinguish themselves by doing good for the country, but the chance is limited, as is our patience. We know the media attention part is intoxicating, but that is not why they are there, something the new young democrats – Ocasio-Cortez, Omar, and Tlaib have yet to learn.

Also a long day at the hospital to have some tests, mostly spent in waiting rooms, to certify that I am, as I claim to be, just fine.  Which turns out to be certified. So I read a lot of magazines.  Did you know that The Ladies Home Journal still exists? I had no idea. The National Geographic featured on the cover the young man who climbed El Capitan in Yosemite National Park. I’ve seen that spectacular cliff, and cannot imagine why one would find it a personal challenge to climb, (I find it a challenge to climb out of bed), even with ropes and spikes, but to climb without anything but strong fingers, arms and climbing skill – and survive! An enormous feat, a first, but it will probably lead others to try – who may not survive. One false move!  I guess it is the ultimate freedom — to set yourself a goal, work hard to meet the challenge, and surpass it — leaves you with proof that you can face any challenge life presents. Please don’t go rushing off to Yosemite.



Strange Times and Getting Stranger and Stranger by The Elephant's Child

It is getting remarkably weird out there. Have you noticed? College students are deciding what speakers will be allowed on campus, what professors are allowed to say in the classroom. When I was in college, students were often sent on home to get their heads around the fact that they were there to study and learn, not to run the school, but perhaps I date myself.

It seems that the workers at Amazon have told management that Amazon should boycott the Big Oil companies, I guess to save the environment, but the environment is not disturbed by the oil companies, and the products that Amazon sells, arrive on transportation powered by the oil companies, and a significant number of the products they sell are made from petroleum products. Besides, the globe has warmed all of about 2.2° F. in the last 40 years. But somehow “climate change” has become the world’s most serious problem. Must poll well.

I suspect this is a matter of what polls well for the Democrats. Victor Davis Hanson’s column today pointed out that the sudden appearance of the “reparations” for slavery theme seems to be related to a fear by Democrats of a movement of blacks towards Trump in response to the decrease in black unemployment and the FIRST STEP act to cut back on the numbers of blacks in prison. Obviously the better approach would be to give black citizens free money because their great grandparents (or great-great) were slaves? Do people really think that way? Well, free money is always popular.

It seems that Alexa and her compatriots are always listening and recording what you say. No privacy any more. Siri is Apple, and I don’t know who all the sisters are. Seems like the Chinese control of their citizens may presage our future.



So Democrats Are Now the Socialist Party? by The Elephant's Child

Bill Maher is sometimes a gift to the national conversation:

The right, he said, has a hard time understanding the concept that we don’t want “long lines for bread” socialism. We want “you don’t have to win the Lotto to afford brain surgery” socialism. Happiness isn’t only about what you have, it’s also what you don’t have to worry about. Turns out freedom from the fear of ending up in a tent under the overpass is a really great freedom. It’s called peace of mind – let’s call it Capitalism Plus.

That’s very clever, but that’s not how it works. We start telling people early on, that you have to study in school in order to know the stuff that helps you to get a good paying job. And you have to save your money so you can buy insurance that will save you from those big worries. We tell people to stay off drugs, and if you must drink, do so moderately so you won’t end up in a tent under an overpass. We have lots of good advice designed to help you live a good life, but not everybody pays attention. And even some people who do pay attention don’t do what’s recommended. It’s called human nature.

Socialism promises freedom from want and freedom from fear, but those things cost money. If you think you want socialism, you either have to want someone else to pay for your needs, and pay for keeping you from being afraid or – you have to be willing to pay for your own freedom from want, and also for someone else’s freedom, perhaps not just one someone, but perhaps many people’s freedom. When Mr. Maher mentions brain surgery, it’s a reminder that health care is one of the biggest worries for everyone.

Because so many people don’t save enough to pay for their own healthcare needs, employers have been offering to help you by paying for your care, and paying you somewhat less than they otherwise might have. They call it a benefit, but you lose it if you quit or get fired, so you are back to ground zero. There are also limits. If a business does not make a profit, they go out of business.  A strange concept for Lefties who think profit is a bad thing.

Socialism is about getting other people to pay for what you want or need. There are not a lot of people around who want to pay for everybody else, so the government has to force them to do so. People get sick, there are epidemics, lots of measels brought over the border with the caravans of illegals. Everybody gets old, and the greatest cost of health care is for the old in their final years.

In England the NHS sometimes keeps their patients in ambulances longer so they don’t have to process them. Euthanisia is becoming more common in Europe. Active voluntary euthanisia is legal in Belgium, Luxembourg and the Netherlands. Passive voluntary euthanisia is legal throughout the U.S.

The Democrats have refused to pay for keeping babies born alive after an attempted abortion – alive. There’s all the furor about a woman’s right to choose, which doesn’t have all that much to do with the surviving baby.

At some point, they will stop resuscitating old folks, offering less care, less food and water. Old folks are expensive, and there are or will be limits. They are at that point in Britain where the care drops off with the socialized medicine of the National Health Service, and old people get dehydrated, and the bed sheets don’t get changed. In the case of Venezuela, the ultimate bad example of socialism, there is no medicine, the lights may or may not work, and the Cuban doctors probably have gone on home.

You may want “Capitalism Plus Socialism,” but what you get is “long lines for bread Socialism.” Guaranteed. Never fails.

ADDENDUM:
In today’s news, from the Strait’s Times in Singapore’s London Bureau:

– Thousands of elderly people in Britain are left to go blind because of rationing of eye surgery in the National Health Service (NHS), a report revealed on Saturday (April 6).

The Times newspaper said a survey by the Royal College of Ophthalmologists (RCO) found tens of thousands of elderly people are left struggling to see because of an NHS cost-cutting drive that relies on them dying before they can qualify for cataract surgery.

The survey has found that the NHS has ignored instructions to end cataract treatment rationing in defiance of official guidance two years ago.

The RCO said its survey has found 62 per cent of eye units retain policies that require people’s vision to have deteriorated below a certain point before surgery is funded.

This has been an ongoing situation with Britain’s National Health Service for some time. Elderly people with cataracts have been placed on waiting lists, and policies require that their vision has deteriorated  drastically before they can even be considered for surgery.  The problem is a NHS cost-cutting drive that relies on many dying before they get surgery. NICE (the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence) said there was no justification for policies that required people’s vision to reach the point where they can hardly see before surgery is funded.

Welcome to government-run socialized medicine. If you assume that Washington bureaucrats are better suited to make decisions about what care you can have than your own doctor and hospital, this is the inevitable result of government care. Or did you think that all the veterans complaining about the VA were just a bunch of whiners?

ADDENDUM II: (from instapundit)
EVERYONE IS CONSERVATIVE ABOUT WHAT HE KNOWS BEST, EVEN MICK JAGGER. “We keep hearing about long delays and antiquated care in the National Health Service, and here Jagger is able to get cutting-edge surgery in a matter of days! Oops, never mind. Jagger flew to New York for the operation, a fact that his press representatives don’t seem eager to emphasize.”



Different Strokes for Different Folks by The Elephant's Child

Construction_Workers

Wednesday was Equal Pay Day. Somehow I missed that. It has been the law since 1963 that men and women must be paid the same for doing the same job. Yet the whining goes on about the “pay gap.” Mother Jones claimed the pay gap costs women $840 billion a year. CNBC reported it represents  $1 million shortfall for women. But this is not comparing the same pay for the same job, but comparing the average female wage with the average male wage which is something different entirely. It is not the result of discrimination, but of different choices.

Women just make different career choices, and different work-life balance choices. When given the same choices as men, women are apt to choose different fields of study, value flexibility over salary, work fewer hours, and don’t go for physically dangerous employment. Not many female crane operators or linemen for power companies. Women earn more degrees than their male counterparts. but four out of five top-paying college majors have large majorities of male students, and the reverse is true of the five lowest-paid majors, where women have large majorities in all but one.

Women take twice as many unpaid hours off, and men work 83% more overtime. Most mothers with young children still report that their ideal situation is part-time rather than full-time work. When it comes to family, men seem to be thinking about supporting a family, while women seem to be thinking about caring for a family. There’s a difference.

The Federalist included some facts from the Independent Women’s Forum:

  • Wage discrimination is illegal and has been in the U.S. since 1963, when the Equal Pay act was signed into law.
  • The 1964 Civil Rights Act also protects women from baseless gender discrimination in the workplace.
  • “Equal Pay Day” is based on a misleading interpretation of wage data.
  • The wage gap doesn’t take into account variables like profession, education, experience, benefits, work conditions, or hours worked.
  • And it doesn’t compare men and women with the same jobs, experience, training, or hours.
  • The wage gap is not a measure of “equal pay for equal work.” Instead, it’s largely a reflection of individual choices about work among women and men.

When controlling for relevant factors, the pay gap shrinks to $0.98.

Progressives are betting on their “victimhood ploy”, that is, declaring that you are a victim, and if you vote for them, they will rescue you. It works for them a good part of the time. Try to remember just how often you have heard someone on the Left talking about women being underpaid, marginalized, poorly treated because they are — women.  And how many men do you know who have chosen careers as primary school teachers or children’s librarians? Or women who work on oil rigs?




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