Cliff Slater's Second Opinion

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Zebras, Kenya.

Quote: “It is ideas, not vested interests, which are dangerous for good or evil."  John Maynard Keynes from Cliff's Quotes.


A minimum wage law is compulsory unemployment

A new medical discipline

We can improve health care

The mail-in ballot danger

Rail destroys Hawaii's wealth

Advertiser columns, 1997-2006

Other transportation writing

Minimum wage has pernicious effect.


Show at the Pegge Hopper Gallery, April/May 2015

Arizona's "The Wave"

Bald eagles, Alaska

Bears of Katmai, Alaska

Recent Landscapes

Fall 2006 Kenya


Hawaii Flowers

Yellowstone, Summer


The Taos Church

Big Island lava flows

Galapagos wild life


The Hawaiian Renaissance

Cliff's quotes collection




  July 17, 2020

Pacific Business News' Kam Napier knocks it out of the park:

PBN editor Kam Napier writes a weekly column called Pupu Platter, which is always worth reading but this week's is an incredibly smart look at how the media has frightened the public into submission over COVID-19. It is a spoof on the the dangers of riding bicycles. READ IT

  July 6, 2020

Grassroot Institute --"The danger of the mail-in ballot"

I wrote this piece in 2009 for the Grassroot Institute and it is still a good read, unless you believe in the mail in vote..

"As Equal Justice Foundation puts it, “Mail ballots are the method of choice for election fraud. For years now the [we have] pointed out that you can have an honest election, or you can have a mail/absentee ballot election, but you can't have both at the same time.”

"Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich) said in an ABC News interview, “Unscrupulous candidates in Detroit and other Michigan cities have routinely abused absentee ballots."  DOWNLOAD ARTICLE

Gerard Baker deplores the mindlessness now prevailing in our institutions:

Another English immigrant sounds off on the direction that our institutions have taken. He writes in today's Wall Street Journal:

"We can hope that the present mania is in part one of the baleful consequences of the lockdown lunacy. If you’ve been stuck at home mainlining the distortions of the media for four months, your tolerance threshold for fiction has doubtless been raised.

"But the roots of the current insanity are more profound than the inch-deep scholarship of the sophomores now in control of America’s newsrooms. 

"With hindsight, it’s clear that America in 2020 was ripe for the kind of mindless Maoism that demands fealty to its gospel of ideological cleansing. The nation has reached a combustive moment. The rot in America’s cultural institutions was spread for more than half a century by a self-loathing cultural establishment. Now it has matured amid a public malaise induced by 20 years of elite-driven political and economic failure that has undermined faith in the system that made America great."   His column in today's Wall Street Journal is essential reading.

  July 4, 2020

Never mind the COVID-19 virus cases; mind the deaths:

The spike in new cases is mostly young folks who are hardly affected, if at all. The deaths are mostly those with underlying conditions, especially if they are elderly. These folks have wisely hunkered down whereas they had not in the early stages of the disease. At that time, New York State was even mandating that rest and retirement homes had to admit active COVID-19 cases; they have learned better since then.

In the early stages of the disease, new cases would portend vast amounts of new deaths. That is no longer the case, so get over your panic over spikes in new cases and instead watch out for the new deaths.



  June 2, 2020

Civil Beat: Let's put COVID-19 in context:

I wrote this op/ed because everyone seems to be viewing COVID-19 as though it were the only risk around. Here's the first paragraph:

"It is time to give some context to the 17 Hawai’i COVID-19 deaths of the mostly elderly, the last one of which occurred three weeks ago. For a start, we can compare it to the influenza/pneumonia deaths in recent years. In 2017 there were 637 deaths and in 2019 542. It is far more likely to kill the elderly as does COVID-19." READ MORE

  May 27, 2020

Coronavirus could push suicide, drug deaths as high as 150k, study says:

"We see very troubling signs across the nation," said Dr. Elinore McCance-Katz, assistant secretary at Department of Health and Human Services and head of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration. "There's more substance abuse, more overdoses, more domestic violence and neglect and abuse of children."

This article in USA Today decribes the Lancet (British Medical Journal) study and Secretary McCance-Katz's views of the effects of the COVID-19 virus on the American public. DOWNLOAD PDF

  May 16, 2020

The ultimate question, “How do you deem one’s life essential over another?”:

The question was posed by Sarah Huff, the owner of the Ardor+Grit Hair Salon in Holland, Michigan, who was issued a cease and desist order by Michigan’s Governor. She said she had to reopen or else she would “lose everything,” and added that if she did not reopen her employees would “also not have a job to go back to.” “They also have bills to pay,” Huff said. “They have a family to also support and feed. They also have their own mortgages and I have mine.”

"How do you deem ones life essential over another? Please tell me that… I will lose my house, I will lose my business, I will lose my freaking livelihood if I do not go back to work.” SEE VIDEO

The question relates, as we said in Plan B, "to weigh the the cost of human suffering in foreclosed homes, closed businesses, suicides, depression, anxiety, and problematic drug use, and foreclosed dreams, against the losses and suffering of letting the virus run its course and then make a choice."


COVID-19 & related deaths by age:

The data in this table was taken from the CDC website at the URL shown below. Both the COVID deaths and the COVID-related deaths show virtually the same percentages. Over 80 percent of deaths are those over 65 and almost nothing among children. Both the under-65 and over-65 deaths are associated with underlying conditions.

COVID-19 is a new disease and there is limited information regarding risk factors for severe disease. Based on currently available information and clinical expertise, older adults and people of any age who have serious underlying medical conditions might be at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19. Based upon available information to date, those at high-risk for severe illness from COVID-19 include:

People of all ages with underlying medical conditions, particularly if not well controlled, including

  • People with chronic lung disease or moderate to severe asthma
  • People who have serious heart conditions
  • People who are immunocompromised
    • Many conditions can cause a person to be immunocompromised, including  cancer treatment, smoking, bone marrow or organ transplantation, immune deficiencies, poorly controlled HIV or AIDS, and prolonged use of corticosteroids and other immune weakening medications.
  • People with severe obesity (body mass index [BMI] of 40 or higher)
  • People with diabetes
  • People with chronic kidney disease undergoing dialysis
  • People with liver disease


  May 14, 2020

Bobbie Slater: "We must find more ways to open up our community":

Civil Beat, 5/14/20  "As we consider how to start opening, we need to look at the personal consequences of our situation beyond Covid-19. Suicide rates go up in times of economic crisis. Couple that with the social isolation and we could have even more suicides. The young people who are quarantined in their homes may be drinking more, eating more, and getting no exercise. The social fabric often found in the workplace is lost. It is a recipe for anxiety and depression which are leading causes of suicide." READ MORE


  May 14, 2020

WSJ Opinion — Germany eases up from lock down:

"...German voters are reconsidering how they weigh coronavirus risk against the physical, emotional, social and economic costs of a lockdown ... Leaders from U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson to New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo continue to promise reproduction rates below 1 as they reopen their economies. Perhaps the public realizes this is unrealistic and won’t punish politicians who take some virus risks for the sake of restoring voters’ livelihoods."  DOWNLOAD_PDF


  May 12, 2020

Go see your doctor; avoiding medical help is causing problems:

In an op/ed in today's Wall Street Journal, a doctor warns of a different problem. He writes, "With most of the nation still on lockdown, many people are missing regular screenings and checkups with their doctors. Some may be experiencing early symptoms of illness, yet aren’t seeking treatment… The number of people who die as a result of these delays could end up rivaling or exceeding deaths due to Covid-19." DOWNLOAD PDF


  May 11, 2020

Here's another take on opening up the economy:

Joseph C. Sternberg is Wall Street Journal editorial page editor for the European Edition. He writes that. "It’s time to confront an awful possibility about the lockdowns in which many of the world’s economies now find themselves: The experts might have been right the first time.

“The first time” was not so long ago—February to mid-March—when official opinion on how best to grapple with the new coronavirus pandemic was very different. The distinguishing characteristic was modesty.

"The stated goal was not to vanquish the virus but merely to try to control its spread so as not to overwhelm health-care systems. Officials also understood public patience with draconian measures would wear thin quickly and demanded politicians exercise caution when asking the public to take on burdens." DOWNLOAD PDF

  May 11, 2020

Major General Hara warns of social harm from COVID-19:

Hara, Hawai'i's "incident commander" of the COVID-19 response team warned the House Select Committee on the possibility of rioting if “we let the economy go the way it’s going,” according to the Star Advertiser report.


  May 11, 2020

Plan B: An approach for opening our economy

My column in today's Star Advertiser offers a different way of approaching the COVID-19 problem of opening our economy. The footnotes are longer than the column so for that reason you should DOWNLOAD PDF

  May 3, 2020

The science is becoming clear: lockdowns are no longer the right medicine

By John Ioannidis and Rohan Silva, The London Sunday Times, Sunday, May 03, 2020.

Stanford's Dr. Ioannidis is one of the top researchers in the field with an MD and a PhD in economics.  

Quote: "Another consequence is that a lockdown is no longer a proportionate response, particularly given its profound negative impact: massive unemployment and increases in domestic violence, mental health problems and child abuse, as well as deaths caused by delayed or cancelled medical treatment.


  May 2, 2020

Civil Beat: Reopening the Economy Requires Understanding the Data

I wrote this op/ed in the hopes of our political establishment taking a broader look beyond the VIRUS. The numbers are pointing a way out of this current mess. DOWNLOAD PDF

  April 25, 2020

COVID-19: Possibly the most important article you will read about it:

This article is about the views of Dr. John Ioannidis, a professor at Stanford’s School of Medicine, who Google Scholar ranks among the world’s 100 most-cited scientists, casts a totally different picture of the COVID-19 virus and its effects from any that we have heard so far. DOWNLOAD PDF

  September 14, 2017

Contemporary Photography in Hawaiʻi 2017 Ninth Annual Exhibition:

This view of the Church of San Francisco de Asis Church in Taos, NM, won the Pegge Hopper Award.

  June 28, 2017

This is a document for aspiring climate skeptics:

While looking for something else, I ran across this 2015 document showing U.S. record high temperatures, by state.  The following is a list where the number of states with record high temperatures is shown against the decades when they occurred.

In the 1910s there were 6 states, 1920s 2, 1930s 23, 1940s Ø, 1950s 5, 1960s 1, 1970s 2, 1980s 4, 1990s 6, 2000s 1. South Carolina is not listed since its hottest temperature was in 2012, in a decade not yet complete.

This, of course, proves nothing but it is rather strange that so many of the hottest days were so long ago.

  June 3, 2017

Protect your child from progressives with "The Road to Serfdom":

If you never have, we urge you to read, “The Road to Serfdom.” Your children going to what passes for a college education these days will thank you for helping to protect them from the assault on the values you have given them.

Henry Hazlitt, the then economics editor for the New York Times, assessed Friedrich Hayek’s “Road to Serfdom” on the cover of The New York Times Book Review in September 1944, proclaiming it “one of the most important books of our generation,” a call to “all those who are sincere democrats and liberals at heart to stop, look and listen.” His review, and the best seller sales, prompted Reader’s Digest to launch a condensed version of “The Road to Serfdom.”

In ominously titled chapters like “The Totalitarians in Our Midst” and “Why the Worst Get on Top,” Hayek laid out his case against “socialists of all parties” who he believed were leading the Western democracies into tyranny that mirrored the centrally planned societies of Germany and the Soviet Union.

In the Foreword, Hayek wrote, “The mistaken but widely accepted notion that the unpredictability of the free market had caused the depression, coupled with four years of war-driven, centrally directed production, and the fact that Russia had been a wartime ally of the United States and England, increased the mainstream acceptance of peace-time government planning of the economy.” This together with his view of the “totalitarian-minded” nature of intellectuals (George Orwell agreed with this) led to his decision to write the book as a warning to the western democracies of the dangers of adopting policies that could lead to the slippery slope of socialism.  

It became a best seller in many translations and particularly in Britain and the U.S. In 1974 Hayek would win the Nobel Prize for Economics.  

Read it here: Condensed Version of Road to Serfdom.

  June 2, 2017

The church of San Francisco de Assis in Taos, NM:

I had overlooked this photo when I posted my photos of "The Taos Church" last year.

  March 18, 2017

Thomas Sowell -- The education of an American Sage:

In today's Wall Street Journal Thomas Sowell discusses his own rise from poverty and the country’s ‘degeneration’ into ‘grievance culture.’

On of the more interesting passages is, "“There’s a belief that something’s wrong if you don’t have what other people have—that it’s because you’re ‘disadvantaged.’ A teenage dropout mother is told she has a disadvantage. But if you’re going to call the negative consequences of chosen behavior ‘disadvantage,’ the word is corrupt beyond repair and useful only for propaganda purposes.” READ IT

  February 25, 2017

Photos of the lava flows into the ocean off  the Big Island:

Nine photos taken from the SeeLava boat. The trip, which is presently running daily at different times is one of life's great experiences. The skipper, Sean, is an incredibly great boat handler and he makes sure you get close to watching our world being created in front of our eyes. PHOTOS


  December 21, 2016

Star-Advertiser: Minimum Wage has pernicious effect:

Our article is in today's paper. This version has explanatory notes.

  October 31, 2016

Photography at the church of San Francisco de Assis in Taos:

One of the more enjoyable photography outings I have enjoyed was  a day and a half spent at the famous Taos church painted by Georgia O'Keefe and others and photographed by Ansel Adams and many others.

See a small collection in the photography section under the tab, The Taos Church,

  May 30, 2015

Successful show at the Pegge Hopper Gallery  

We were pleasantly surprised at the reception our photographs received at the show, April 23 - May 15. The Gallery sold far more  than anticipated including two to renowned photography collectors, Jim and Cherye Pierce. Click here for the show. What is missing is the video of an 8' x 4' photo on silk of an adult-rated sand dune in Death Valley. It was quite striking in the Gallery as it wafted gently with every movement of the air.


  October 3, 2013

Sunrise Makapu'u 2013

So few people see the Waimanalo shore at dawn that they do not know what they are missing.

  September  21, 2013

An introduction to longshoreman Eric Hoffer

Anything I can do to introduce Eric Hoffer to those unfamiliar with his thinking is worthwhile. What follows is a short excerpt from his The Temper of our Times. Try also the links below to a mid-1960s series of five interviews of him by CBS’ newsman Eric Sevareid.

    “The attitude of the intellectual community toward America is shaped not by the creative few but by the many who for one reason or another cannot transmute their dissatisfaction into a creative impulse, and cannot acquire a sense of uniqueness and of growth by developing and expressing their capacities and talents. There is nothing in contemporary America that can cure or alleviate their chronic frustration. They want power, lordship, and opportunities for imposing action. Even if we should banish poverty from the land, lift up the Negro to true equality, withdraw from Vietnam, and give half of the national income as foreign aid, they will still see America as an air-conditioned nightmare unfit for them to live in.

    "When you try to find out what it is in this country that stifles the American intellectual, you make a surprising discovery. It is not the landscape, though he is poignantly aware of its historical meagerness, and it is not the social system, particularly when it is headed by aristocrats like Roosevelt and Kennedy. What he cannot stomach is the mass of the American people—a mindless monstrosity devoid of spiritual, moral, and intellectual capacities. Like the aging Henry Adams, the contemporary American intellectual scans the daily newspapers for evidence of the depravity and perversity of American life, and arms himself with a battery of clippings to fortify his loathing and revulsion. When you listen to him or read what he writes about America you begin to suspect that what the American intellectuals know about the American people is actually what they know about each other: that they project upon America the infighting, mistrust, envy, malice, conformity, meagerness, and staleness of their cliques and sects. Imagine an American writing about America and not mentioning kindness, not mentioning the boundless capacity for working together, not mentioning the unprecedented diffusion of social, political, as well as technological skills, not mentioning the American’s ability to do the world’s work with a minimum of supervision and leadership, not mentioning the breathtaking potentialities which lurk in the commonest American.”  Hoffer, Eric. The Temper of Our Times. Harper. 1967.

Interviews with Eric Sevareid:

  September 13, 2013

A minimum wage law is compulsory unemployment.

The minimum wage law is being readied for an upgrade shortly. As I spell out in a new op/ed in the Hawaii Reporter, it will only increase unemployment. Here are the opening paragraphs:

"The minimum wage hurts the people most in need of help. For the most part, we are talking about low-performing teenagers — those least skilled, educated, and/or motivated.

"Here’s why it harms them.

"Most adult workers today earn anywhere from the $7.25 an hour minimum wage up to, say, $40 an hour. Whatever workers earn in private competitive companies, from the lowest paid to the highest, it is because they are worth it. Their employers can provide the goods or services to their customers that these folks produce at prices that cover their labor costs and add to the company’s earnings.

"If a teenager’s labor is worth less than $7.25 an hour then private non-charitable employers will not be able to cover their costs and so will not be able to hire them."

The op/ed with notes as to sources of information is here. 

 August 22nd, 2013

A new medical discipline may be taking hold 

The following is the first few paragraphs of an article I wrote that appeared in the Hawaii Reporter on August 22, 2013. The full article with all sources of information is available here.

“There is an emerging medical discipline, termed Functional Medicine that may one day change the practice of medicine in the U.S.. It is already being used in the Cleveland Clinic and the Cancer Treatment Centers of America and by many physicians across the country.

Here’s the story: Have you noticed that while few people had even heard of autism before 1970, it now affects one in 150 children, an astonishing increase even allowing for our improved ability to recognize this disease? Or that obesity rates for adults have tripled in the last 50 years? Or, that there has been a 400 percent increase in diabetes in the last 20 years? We are facing an epidemic of diseases.

The Institute for Functional Medicine points to a growing body of evidence that the surge in food additives, and other changes in our food intake over the last 50 years, as being one of the primary causes of this epidemic.”

 July 7th, 2013

We can improve health care ourselves

I wrote an op/ed for the Star Advertiser under the above title on July 3. It is about some opportunities to cut costs in Hawaii’s health care. This is the link to it together with the endnotes, which were not published in the original.

 July 1, 2013

A word from Donald Rumsfeld:

“There are known unknowns—that is to say, there are things that we now know we don’t know. But there are also unknown unknowns—there are things we do not know we don’t know.”

 July 1, 2013 

Kenneth Minogue, National Review, 11/18/91:

“An ideological movement is a collection of people many of whom could hardly bake a cake, fix a car, sustain a friendship or a marriage, or even do a quadratic equation, yet they believe they know how to rule the world. The university, in which it is possible to combine theoretical pretension with comprehensive ineptitude, has become the natural habitat of the ideological enthusiast. A kind of adventure playground, carefully insulated from reality in order to prevent absent-minded professors from bumping into things as they explore transcendental realms, has become the institutional base for civilizational self-hatred.”