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.



We’re Living In a Golden Age Of Clean Energy by The Elephant's Child

The Green New Deal is not only a silly unserious proposal that has nothing to do with the environment but that to which they supposedly aspire, has already been accomplished by free market capitalism. Not in the wind farms where turbines may or may not be turning, but this is Seattle – and the solar cells aren’t doing anything either, it’s raining, and will be for the rest of the week. Where it has been accomplished is in the Permian Basin, the Bakken Formation, and the Marcellus Shale. The Fracking revolution and plentiful natural gas has meant we are living in a golden age of clean energy. As Jim DeMint has written today:

The natural gas revolution, made possible by both the discoveries of new reserves and the development of technologies to extract it from previously inaccessible deposits, has helped the United States cut pollutant emissions by 70 percent over the last three decades. Despite adding almost 100 million people to our population since 1990, an increase of 30 percent, even total carbon emissions have increased by only 2 percent. Greenhouse gas emissions are not just rising slowly. They are actually falling in recent years.

The left has long said we need to treat climate change and environmental protection as the moral equivalent of war. If that is true, where are the celebrations now that it is a battle we are finally winning? Why? Because when the facts do not fit with the liberal political narrative, they often print the narrative as fake news. Progressives said we need to find new, clean sources of energy to get us away from coal and oil. Well, we have. Natural gas is clean.

According to the climate group Carbon Brief, natural gas use has cut 50 percent more emissions than wind and solar power combined. Gas also has negligible local pollutants, 50 percent less carbon emissions than coal and 30 percent less than oil. What is not clean is the record on the left of opposing the development of natural gas-rich regions and the infrastructure such as pipelines that needed to further lower the costs of energy to consumers and the environment.

Somehow the Left operates on emotions and feelings – not so much on facts. What facts they need or find are meant to develop the feelings. I don’t quite understand how they think, but it doesn’t seem quite useful. but probably that’s just me. Very strange. Natural gas is a fossil fuel, by the way, but fossils are not involved.



Ocasio-Cortez Has Made a Delusional Little “Green New Deal” Film by The Elephant's Child

Oh my word. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has made a little movie. It’s seven minutes long, and animated with quick watercolor sketches. The Federalist has posted it and I’ll introduce it with David Marcus’ comment:

In a new, seven minute animated video from The Intercept, narrated by and starring Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) we are transported, via an NYC to DC bullet train, into the future. It is 2028, and what a world it is. On the downside, Hurricane Sheldon at some point left significant portions of Miami underwater, but on the bright side, former oil workers are planting mangroves under the direction of Native American elders. No, I’m not making this up.

Well, how nice of this young woman to save us all from a free and prosperous future, if we just reject all that in favor of a new form of Communism called the “Green New Deal.” Named supposedly in honor of the Old New Deal that was such a dreadful time for America. FDR won the election in 1932, but when he was inaugurated in 1933, he had no clue what to do about it, and embarked on an extensive era of experimentation that extended the misery of the Great Depression for at least seven years longer than it needed to be,  according to UCLA economists Lee Ohanian and Harold Cole. But then, as I keep reminding, Democrats just don’t understand free market economics.

The little video is mostly a celebration of the supposed brilliance and forethought of the very new congresswoman herself. You can forgive careless errors, but attempting to impose such extensive stupidity on the rest of the country is a bit much. But then the twenty or so Democrat candidates so far (with another ten or so waiting in the wings) are doing a marvelous job of opening their mouths and disqualifying themselves from consideration.

Do watch the whole thing, it’s only 7 minutes long, and necessary to understand what the whole bunch of Democrats are willing to sign up for.  What totally unbelievable ignorance. There is a long, long history of panics and delusions, many of the early ones caused by diseases that were not understood as catching an infection from another person , but as the act of some demon, or often as the work of a witch, some poor innocent woman who was burned at the stake in an effort to make the illness go away.



Four Climate Scientists Take On Climate Alarmism by The Elephant's Child

Seems like all the Democrat candidates so far, and there are a raft of them, are signing on to Ocasio-Cortez’s “Green New Deal”, a preposterous proposal that demonstrates nothing so much as evidence of never studying a subject at all before shooting off your mouth about something you know nothing about. Climate alarmism demonstrates the extent to which candidates will grab onto anything that seems like it might be a popular theme without actually giving it real thought.

They might have sought out information from some actual climate scientists, but wouldn’t have had the slightest idea how to go about finding one. So here you go.



One More For the Long, Long List of Lefty Candidates by The Elephant's Child


Few things testify so strongly to the quality of the ever-growing numbers of declared candidates for the presidency as the numbers of Democrats who look at the field, think that they’re better than that bunch, and decide to run. So we have Eric Swalwell (D-CA) announcing his decision to run today. He is a 4th term representative for the East Bay in the San Francisco area. He represents Alameda County and part of Contra Costa County.

His big issues, he says, are student loans (he says he’s still paying off his) and gun control. Last night he appeared on Stephen Colbert’s Late Night Show. He estimates that there are 15 million “assault weapons” in private hands in America and wants the government to take away all of them. In my own extensive archive, I found a note of the following:

Sept 13, 2014: The New York Times reported that the term “assault weapons was created by Democrats in order to build momentum to ban a “politically defined category of guns.

AWR Hawkins, who is an award-winning Second Amendment columnist for Breitbart, noted that less than 2% of gun deaths can be blamed on AR-15s. He wrote today: This is the third time Swalwell has pushed for a ban and buyback plan, which is confiscatory in nature, insomuch as it is a forced buyback. On May 21, 2018–the date that he publicly introduced the idea–Swalwell told Fox News’s Tucker Carlson of his plan for a government-sponsored “assault weapons” buyback and made clear there would be criminal prosecution of Americans who do not comply.

On April 3, 2019, he reiterated the ban and buyback scheme via Twitter, where he said, “We recently passed background check bills in the House. We must ban and buyback assault weapons next.”

This is the third time Swalwell has pushed for a ban and buyback plan, which is confiscatory in nature, insomuch as it is a forced buyback. On May 21, 2018–the date that he publicly introduced the idea–Swalwell told Fox News’s Tucker Carlson of his plan for a government-sponsored “assault weapons” buyback and made clear there would be criminal prosecution of Americans who do not comply.

I’ve pretty much lost track of how many Democrats are running, but I think it’s getting close to 20.



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.”



News Flash ! It’s All Trump’s Fault! by The Elephant's Child

Politico Magazine had an “interesting article” today, under the heading Law and Order: “Yes There’s a Crisis on the Border. And It’s Trump’s Fault.” I don’t usually read Politico, but I was interested because I thought the president was doing a pretty good job against long odds.

The authors had held office in border and customs work in the Obama administration, so perhaps there are some um, partisan feelings, or resentment  of criticism of their terms in office.

Donald Trump has made border security and immigration enforcement a rallying cry of his campaign and the centerpiece of his presidency. But now, as the effects of his immigration policies have become measurable, it is clear to us—three people who have worked on the issue in previous administrations—that Trump is the worst president for border security in the last 30 years.

The border is currently overwhelmed with increasing numbers of migrants, in particular Central American asylum seekers. U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has reported that 66,450 persons were apprehended between the ports of entry in February, the highest monthly total in a decade. Projections for March are even worse—exceeding 100,000—with experts concerned that monthly totals could exceed 150,000 in the coming months. CBP is reassigning officers from the ports of entry, which are critically understaffed, to help Border Patrol with the crush. CBP Commissioner Kevin McAleenan has said the immigration system on the border is at “the breaking point.” In response, the president threatened to close the border altogether to legal crossings, a threat he walked back on Thursday and replaced with a “one-year warning” to Mexico.

Despite the administration’s attempts to shift blame for the chaos, make no mistake: It is Donald Trump himself who is responsible. Through misguided policies, political stunts and a failure of leadership, the president has created the conditions that allowed the asylum problem at the border to explode into a crisis. The solution to our current border troubles lies in reforming the U.S. asylum system and immigration courts and helping Central America address its challenges—not in a “big beautiful” wall or shutting down the border. Yet effective action on these issues has been missing. And the president has now so poisoned the political well with his approach that there is little hope of meaningful congressional action until after the next election. Unless the administration changes course, the immigration crisis will only continue to worsen.

These three gentlemen seem to be unaware that people in Honduras and Guatemala are being instructed in their home countries that they can get into the United States if they can get across the border and turn themselves in to the Border Patrol immediately and ask for asylum. They’re told just what to say. These are not people in need of any kind of asylum. It’s a phony request.

There are groups in Honduras, Guatemala and Ecuador who are financing buses, in some cases, and sponsoring the caravans as well. There are smugglers who, for a fee, will get them to a spot where it’s easy to cross. According to our laws, we have to accept their request and give them a date for their court hearing, when they’re obliged to show up, if there is no room to detain them at the border, which has usually been the case recently. Usually they then vanish into the country, never to be seen again. Nancy Pelosi and Charles Schumer have made it quite clear that they have no intention to rewrite the asylum laws, nor to help President Trump in any way to stem the flow of illegals, who they expect to be voting in the 2020 election – for Democrats,

So it’s Trump’s fault for not changing the laws that only Congress can change? Is there anyone among the new migrants that actually has a valid asylum plea? Very unlikely. An effective border wall will not stop every incursion or border crosser, but it will help the Border Patrol immeasurably to do their job.

Is the Politico article embarrassingly phony? Of course. Fake news intended to damage the president’s efforts, by a partisan media. It’s pretty remarkable to see the amount this president has managed to accomplish with the Mueller investigation hanging over his every effort, and Democrats far from ready to give up or give in to any request. They hate him, they hate his economy, his tax cuts for the rich, Here’s Nancy Pelosi on GOP Tax cuts a while back. Democrats do not understand capitalism at all, nor how it works.

“This GOP tax scam is simply theft, monumental, brazen theft from the American middle class and from every person who aspires to reach it. the GOP tax scam is not a vote for an investment in growth or jobs. It is a vote to install a permanent plutocracy in our nation. They’ll be cheering that later. It does violence to the vision of our Founders. It disrespects the sacrifice of our men and women in uniform, who are a large part of our middle class and to whom we owe a future worthy of their sacrifice. And it betrays the future and betrays the aspirations of our children. It demands, it morally demands a no vote from every member of this house of the people.”

And there’s the problem, clearly stated. We do not understand each other and have no desire to do so. We are not speaking the same language.




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