Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Two Steps Ahead

It seems that a lot of people did not like President Donald Trump's comments during his press conference yesterday with Vladimir Putin in Helsinki.

They are unhappy that he seemed to play accusations, that Russia had interfered in the 2016 election, down the middle. He did not fully accept the US intelligence agency conclusions of Russian interference nor fully blame Russian President Putin for what went on.

For Democrats, Trump's words were "treasonous", "shameful" and were equivalent to a "modern day Pearl Harbor". Statements like this make it hard to believe anything the Democrats say any more. Everything that Trump does is "the worst thing that has ever happened in the history or mankind."

A month ago it was his meeting with Kim Jung Un. Two weeks ago it was the separation of the children of illegal immigrants from their parents at the border. It is now Putin and Russia.

However, many Republicans have also expressed concern about the President refusing to call out Putin while he was standing right next to him in Helsinki.

For example, Newt Gingrich, a Trump supporter from early on, called it Trump's "worst mistake of his Presidency." The conservative Wall Street Journal called it "a personal and national embarrassment" for the President.

What do I make of all of it?

First, I think it is interesting that Trump is always criticized for his lack of diplomacy but when he exhibits diplomacy on stage he is castigated for it. We saw it with his meeting with Kim Jung Un and we saw it again with the presser with Putin.

When you are trying to get some things accomplished with competitors or enemies what good does it do to stick it to them in public?  Who thinks that is the diplomatic way to accomplish something?

Trump is thinking two steps ahead in his relationship with Putin and Russia. What good does it do to poke Putin in the eye in front of the world's press? Who knows what may have been discussed in private? Trump is playing a long game--- with Russia and North Korea. You can add China, the EU and the trade deals to the list as well.

Second, Trump also knows that the media would like nothing better than to get him on the record stating that Russia meddled in the election. If they can do that they then can run with that forever and use it to try to continue to delegitimize his election.

Meddling in an election is nothing new for the Russians. It is clear they have been trying to do this for years. Collusion is something different. It suggests something more sinister.  However, as I have written before, there is technically nothing illegal about it. Collusion is not a crime under any federal statutes. If it was, the Clinton campaign would already be under indictment for funding the Russian dossier on Trump which they did through a former foreign British intelligence officer (Christopher Steele).

Of course, the average American voter does not understand the finer points between meddling, collusion and all the rest. And the mainstream American media is not doing anything to try to clarify anything. It is all wrapped together with Russia. Russia is bad. It meddled in our election. If they had not meddled, Trump would not be President.

Trump understands this and he is simply not going to let the media try to walk him into a trap.

Trump knew that if he agreed that Russia meddled in the election that the Fake News media would immediately use it to delegitimize Trump. That is why when Trump walked back and clarified his remarks today that he agreed with the conclusion that Russia had meddled he also added that it "could be other people also --there's a lot of people out there".

Let's assume that Trump had accused Russia of meddling in the election with Putin at his side in Helsinki.  Does anyone doubt that we would have seen this headline in The New York Times?

Trump Admits Russia Meddled In 2012 Election
Casts doubt on the future of Trump Presidency

Trump is thinking two steps ahead here as well.

It is not easy being Donald Trump. Just think about the long list of people who wake up every day dreaming of how they can undermine or smear him. A lot of those people also control most of the established media and communication channels in the country (if not the world).

The only way Trump survives and wins in the long term is to stay...two steps ahead.

Keep this in mind as you survey the daily headlines and cable new alerts.

Did he misstep in Helsinki while trying to stay two steps ahead?

My guess is that this episode will soon pass over to be replaced by another "worst thing that has ever happened in the history of mankind" moment that Trump is responsible for.

Be prepared for more. Desperate Democrats and desperate deep staters are sure to do more desperate things.

All Trump can do is try to stay two steps ahead.

Sunday, July 15, 2018

The End of Democrats...or the USA?

I have been watching what is happening with the Democrat party and I can't figure out where all of it is heading.

We are starting to get so-called mainstream Democrats calling for the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency (ICE) to be abolished. In fact, Democrats in Congress have actually introduced a bill to abolish ICE.

How can this be serious?

Do Democrats really believe that we can abolish a law enforcement agency with 20,000 employees which is charged with enforcing immigration law and border security as well as customs enforcement?

Do we just allow every person in the world who wants to come to the United States the unfettered ability to do so?

Do we just allow every foreign producer of goods the unfettered ability to flood the United States with imported goods that we know absolutely nothing about and have no one to track the sources and uses of those goods?

We have high profile Democrats like Maxine Waters openly encouraging the harassment of members of the President's cabinet and other Republicans.

We have House Democrat Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi saying that Trump's jobs agenda is "reckless"in the wake of the report that a better than expected 213,000 jobs were added in June and 3.7 million since Trump was elected.

We have Senate Democrats acting as if the nomination of a respected federal judge to the Supreme Court is the end of the world as we know it.

For example, Hillary Clinton stated that she worried that the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh could return the United States to what it was in the 1850's.

"You know, I used to worry that they wanted to turn the clock back to the 1950s," she added. "Now I worry they want to turn it back to the 1850s. These will be urgent fights. The stakes could not be higher."

Kavanaugh is going to take us back to the days of Pre-Slavery? Really?

It is interesting to note that liberal Ruth Bader Ginsburg never hired an African American law clerk in her 13 years on the District of Columbia Circuit Court of Appeals and has only hired one African American clerk since she became a Supreme Court justice in 1993. Therefore, in 38 years on the bench she has hired just one African American.

Kavanaugh hired 5 African American clerks in his 15 years on the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals in addition to 25 women, 6 Asian Americans and 2 Hispanic Americans out of 48 hires.

Diane Feinstein, who was rated the 15th most liberal Senator based on her voting record in 2017 by govtrack.us, is apparently not liberal enough for the California Democrat party. Yesterday it endorsed Kevin DeLeon over Feinstein for the November general election. Feinstein received only 7% of the vote of party leaders in California.

We also have the Democratic Socialist Party of America (the party of 28-year old Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez who had a stunning Democrat primary defeat over establishment Democrat Rep. Joe Crowley in a New York City congressional district three weeks ago) claiming that it is the future of the Democrat party.

Does all of this really represent the future of the Democrat party?

If it is, I only see two options for where this leads.

1) The Democrat Party will cease to exist in their current form. It will become a fringe party appealing only to pockets of voters on the coasts and in big urban areas.


2) The United States of America will cease to exist in its current form.

It is hard to see any other alternatives.

I hope I am wrong.

However, the Democrats seem to be embarking on a most dangerous path.

Are they on a road to destruction of their making?

Or does all of this lead to the destruction of the United States of America as we know it?

Thursday, July 12, 2018

A Rising Tide Raises All Boats

Income inequality is a favorite topic of liberals and socialists.

They claim that capitalism is unfair.

They argue that government must step in to redistribute income. Or guarantee a job. Or provide a basic income for all.

The New York City Democratic Socialists take it so far that they believe that profits should be abolished. They want to abolish prisons and borders while we are at.

The face of the New York Democratic Socialists is 28-year old Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez who had a stunning Democrat primary defeat over establishment Democrat Rep. Joe Crowley in a New York City congressional district two weeks ago.

Therefore, Ocasio-Cortez is now the darling of the mainstream media and has been elevated to oracle status in her supposed knowledge of how the world is supposed to work.

Of course, her view is that socialism is the answer for everything.

Ocasio-Cortez was on Twitter last week highlighting her Economics degree and referencing the "Gini Coefficient" in an attempt to showcase her academic qualifications.

Two observations about her tweet.

  • She only asked how many other Democrats had Economics degrees. Why did she not ask the question of Republicans as well?
  • It is pretty scary that 42,000 people "liked" this tweet.

Perhaps they should read this blog post for further context.

Keep in mind that this 28-year graduate of Boston University was working as a bartender a year ago. Based on her prior employment history, it does not appear that employers put much value in what she learned with that economics degree.

For those that are not familiar with the "Gini Coefficient, it is an index developed by economists to measure the distribution of income in a country. A score of "0" means there is complete equality whereas a score of "100" means there is total inequality.

Socialists like to point at the Gini Index to show how "unfair' capitalism is.

For example, here is the "chart of the week" from the American Economic Association that seems to suggest that the rising income equality that has occurred in China and Russia since they introduced "market-oriented" economies has been bad.

The chart seems to suggest that the rich got richer and the poor got poorer when these countries turned toward capitalism.

However, let's look at the facts in context. After all, context is everything when assessing anything.

Here is a chart showing the average monthly wage in Russia.

Monthly wages have increased dramatically for the average Russian since those socialist theories were replaced with proven market-based capitalist models.

The increases in average wages have been even more dramatic in China.

Is income inequality greater today in China and Russia than it was under strict socialist economic principles? Yes. There is no doubt about it.

Under the prior system the only ones who prospered were the political party leaders. Everyone else was equally poor.

Do you think that average people in China and Russia want to return to the prior economic system because a few people at the top have made outsized incomes and profits?

President John F. Kennedy once said that "a rising tide raises all boats".

There has been no better example of that in human history than the United States of America.

Many became enormously wealthy due to capitalism and freedom in the United States. John D. Rockefeller. Andrew Carnegie. Cornelius Vanderbilt. Henry Ford. Sam Walton. Steve Jobs. Bill Gates. Larry Page. Sergey Brin. Jeff Bezos.

However, they also raised the incomes and standard of living for everyone else. Their personal reward in profits and income was a mere fraction of the value they provided in return.

There is no question that income inequality has increased in the United States over the last 30 years. However, this has been largely due to the loss of manufacturing jobs and the transition to an information economy that has placed a higher value on education. I have written about this previously here and here.

Illegal immigration has also had a major impact by depressing wages at the lower end of the income scale. The other factor has been the low interest rate environment over the last 15 years that has disproportionately favored those who hold assets---those are those who were wealthy to begin with.

The one person who seems to understand these two factors better than anyone is President Donald J. Trump. Why do you think so much of his focus is on illegal immigration, removing foreign trade barriers and focusing on reinvigorating the American manufacturing base?

My advice to Ms. Ocasio-Cortez, and others who think socialism is the answer, is to open their eyes and broaden their vision. Really think about what Trump is doing. In addition, measure the United States on a global scale of how "unfair" it is. After all, "fairness" is a subjective term. It is also relative to what you are measuring against.

Measured on a global scale, 56% of Americans are considered "high income" and 32% are considered "upper middle income" according to Pew Research. That is 88% of all Americans. Only 7% are considered "middle income", 3% "low income" and 2% "poor" when measured across the entire world.

On a global scale, of all the people in the world, 56% are considered low income and 15% are considered poor. Only 7% meet the high income definition.

In other words, 56% of Americans are considered high income as measured against a global standard in which only 7% are. On the other hand, 71% of the people in the world are considered "low income" or "poor" while only 5% of Americans are in that group.

I also wrote about this subject in 2011 comparing the concentration of wealth of the top 10% in the United States compared to other countries. At that time the United States ranked well down the list (77th out of 139 countries on concentration of wealth. The numbers may have changed some but if things changed for the worse on this measure since 2011 it occurred while Barack Obama was President.

Were those facts left out of the economics curriculum at Boston University?

By the way, it is interesting to note that China actually has a Gini Index that is worse than the United States based on the latest data from the World Bank. Yes, that Communist China.  Will that be part of the economics lessons that the new Congresswoman from New York City will teach her fellow Democrats?

Here's one more suggestion for Ms. Ocasio- Cortez and her fellow socialists.

Perhaps they missed reading this in 1st or 2nd grade.

It is a very simple lesson. Don't kill the goose that laid the golden egg.

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Kavanaugh on the Court

Some random observations on President Trump's nomination of Brett Kavanaugh for the United States Supreme Court.

Credit: Mandel Ngan, Getty Images

  • You can't have a much better resume for the Supreme Court than Kavanaugh. Yale Law School. Law Clerk to Justice Kennedy. 12 years as a Judge on the United States Circuit Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. 53 years of age.

  • Kavanaugh also worked in the Solicitor General's office, as a member of Ken Starr's Independent Counsel's team in the investigation of President Clinton and served as both Associate Counsel and Staff Secretary to President Bush. In fact, Kavanaugh's wife was the former Personal Secretary to George W. Bush having worked for him both as Governor of Texas and as President. There is no doubt that Kavanaugh is deeply connected within the Washington establishment. 

  • If Trump wants to drain the swamp and poke the Washington establishment in the eye, Kavanaugh was not the pick to do it with. However, I think this shows the practical side of Trump's management side. Democrats like to portray Trump as an unhinged individual  who refuses to listen to counsel from anyone. He is anything but when it comes to making decisions. He consults with a lot of people and he considers every angle. I believe he chose Kavanaugh because it is hard to argue with his credentials and he should be the most confirmable from Trump's list of 25 candidates.

  • That being said, you can expect the Democrats to come at Kavanaugh with everything they have. I felt sorry for Kavanaugh's wife and daughters standing beside him last night. Everything Kavanaugh has said or done in his life is going to be scrutinized. They will look at every book he ever borrowed from the library and every movie that he watched on Netflix. They will try to talk to every girl he ever dated and every guy he ever had a beer with after playing basketball. They are going to look at every email he wrote in The White House and examine every comma in his 300 judicial opinions. It will be brazen and brutal. It is what Democrats do with Supreme Court nominees. It did not matter who Trump nominated. They would be the devil incarnate as soon as they were nominated. Brett Kavanaugh is that person right now.

  • It is not something that Republicans have historically done. The GOP has generally focused on qualifications and not rejected Supreme Court nominees based on ideology. Take Ruth Bader Ginsburg. She was a far left ideologue when she was nominated for the Court in 1993. She had been the ACLU's General Counsel. However, like Kavanaugh, you could not fault her judicial qualifications. She was confirmed 96-3. The same was also true of Justices Kagan and Sotamayor who were Obama selections. Kagan was confirmed by a vote of 63-37 and Sotamayor by a vote of 68-31. Compare those to the confirmation of Neil Gorsuch even though Gorsuch had a superior legal resume to both---Gorsuch was confirmed 54-45. Only three Democrats voted for Gorsuch.

For Democrats, it is all about ideology. Nothing else matters when it comes to the Supreme Court. The Democrats  know that without the Supreme Court "making law" they have little hope in realizing their progressive ideals. They have generally failed in establishing any of their big ideals through Constitutional means. Most everything they care about did not come from legislation or constitutional amendment but by the opinions of five Supreme Court justices. Look no further than abortion and gay marriage as prime examples. Or the affirmation of the constitutionality of Obamacare.

The Gorsuch appointment did not really do anything to affect the balance of the Supreme Court. He was replacing the most reliable conservative justice on the Court. However, that did not stop the Democrats from going after Gorsuch.

The stakes are much higher with Kennedy's replacement. That is why you can expect the attacks to be much stronger on Kavanaugh.

Of course, all of this will be mere child's play should a vacancy open up on the Supreme Court for one of the "liberal" seats. I shudder to think of how that will play out.

I guess the lesson for the Democrats is...

"You live by the Court, you die by the Court."

This was never how it was designed by our Founding Fathers.

Consider what Alexander Hamilton wrote in Federalist Papers #78 on the judiciary where he made it very clear that the courts under the Constitution were "weakest of the three departments of power", would have the "least in capacity to annoy or injure" and "have neither force nor will".

Do you think that Alexander Hamilton would be shocked by what he would see today? (that includes the play about him as well)

Whoever attentively considers the different departments of power must perceive, that, in a government in which they are separated from each other, the judiciary, from the nature of its functions, will always be the least dangerous to the political rights of the Constitution; because it will be least in a capacity to annoy or injure them. The Executive not only dispenses the honors, but holds the sword of the community.
The legislature not only commands the purse, but prescribes the rules by which the duties and rights of every citizen are to be regulated. The judiciary, on the contrary, has no influence over either the sword or the purse; no direction either of the strength or of the wealth of the society; and can take no active resolution whatever. It may truly be said to have neither FORCE nor WILL, but merely judgment; and must ultimately depend upon the aid of the executive arm even for the efficacy of its judgments.

What really scares Democrats about the Trump appointments to the Supreme Court and his other judicial appointments?

I think they are realizing that they may need to start relying on the "democratic" process to advance their agenda rather than a few judges.

The genius in our constitutional republic is that all power ultimately comes from the people. If the American people want a federal government with expansive power they can have it. They can allow gay marriage. Or ban it in all 50 states. The same with abortion. They can ban the use of alcohol or repeal the ban and allow it again. They can require everyone to buy health insurance or anything else.

It is simply not within the power of a handful of judges to suddenly discover fundamental rights that have somehow been hidden in the Constitution for over 200 years and start applying them to 325 million citizens by fiat.

If Democrats want to change America they need to win the heart and minds of voters. Not just in the Queens, San Francisco or inner city Detroit. They need to win elections across the 50 states to advance their socialist and progressive agenda The problem is that this agenda has been pretty soundly rejected over the last eight years by the voters.

It is time for Democrats to be democrats. That is not easy. It is a lot easier to demagogue, demean and denigrate a Supreme Court nominee.

Let's hope that this will change. However, it will not change soon enough to spare what Brett Kavanaugh will have to endure over the next couple of months.

Sunday, July 8, 2018

Pooped Out In San Francisco

San Francisco is one of the most beautiful cities in the world.

It is blessed with awe-inspiring vistas, a wonderful climate and impressive architecture.

Credit: SFTravel.com

If you plan to visit San Francisco in the future this is a map that you might want to keep in mind

Is it a weather map? No.

This is a heat map showing the human waste laying on the sidewalks of San Francisco. If you drilled down on the site ((Human) Wasteland, you could actually see where every pile of poop was in the city.

The "Poop Map" came about from a web developer taking data from calls and reports to San Francisco's 311 help line, where citizens report the need for public services, and creating the map for Zillow's SF office Fall 2014 Hack Week contest.

Web developer Jennifer Wong (a.k.a. mochimachine) updated the map on a monthly basis through 2015 but has since disbanded the updates. Wong discovered the map was being used by those who were trying to highlight the lunacy of the city's response to the homeless and its sanctuary city status.

This apparently upset Wong's liberal leanings because she said the map was created solely to point the city to where they should be building more public restrooms-- not to point any fingers at the homeless problem.

You have to wonder if the poop problem was this bad 3-4 years ago what the "Poop Map" would look like today?

The poop problem has become so bad that San Francisco recently logged over 16,000 feces complaints in one seven day period on its 311 help line.

16,000! That averages nearly 2,300 complaints per day. 96 per hour. Almost 2 per minute.

A website and related app that allows local residents to request maintenance or non-emergency services from the city has received 16,015 complaints with the keyword ‘feces’ in the last week at the time of this writing, and many pertain to human waste in public places.
Additionally, words and phrases synonymous with ‘feces’ are found in thousands more grievances.
Many of the complaints also connect the fecal matter to vagrants and homeless encampments - a sight all too common now across California.
Users can geotag the location in question, and also provide photos to support their claim.

Here are a few examples of citizen reports to the 311 line.

“Homeless encampment is blocking sidewalk and creates a health hazard w trash and feces,” writes one user. “Please move them, and send a cleaning crew. Sidewalk is impassable, forcing pedestrians into the street.”
“Homeless individuals sleeping along Funston between Clement and Geary,” writes another user. 
“Observed homeless people shooting up at 5pm on Monday, July 2nd. Lots of feces and garbage in the area. Please clean up area and see if homeless individuals need services.”
"Strong smell of feces on post on block between cedar and post," wrote one denizen. "There must be a ton of it somewhere nearby."

Let's put those 16,000 reports on that 311 help line in context.

San Francisco averaged less than 14,000 calls per week on its 911 line during 2017.

How is it that a city in the United States of America is getting more calls reporting human waste on its sidewalks than 911 calls?

Bear in mind that this is also a city with a population of 884,000 according to recent estimates.

That means that, on average, with 16,000 feces reports per week, that nearly every one of the city's residents is reporting a poop sighting once during the year.

All of this might explain why a large medical convention that annually meets in San Francisco with 15,000 attendees and pumps $40 million into the city has cancelled plans to meet in the city in the future due to its "dirty streets" and "homeless".

You have to wonder when cities like San Francisco, that are governed by far-left Democrats, are going to start running their cities for the benefit of law-abiding, hardworking taxpayers instead of vagrants, drug addicts and illegal immigrants?

When is public safety and public health going to take precedence over "progressive" politics?

San Francisco liberals like to claim that they are "progressives". What is progressive about what is going on in San Francisco and other sanctuary cities? It looks to me that this world class city is regressing into a third world cesspool.

How do you explain it?

Perhaps syndicated radio talk show host Michael Savage, who is a long-time San Francisco resident, has it right. He says there is only one explanation.

"Liberalism is a mental disorder."

It used to be that a visitor to San Francisco got pooped out by walking hills like this one.

Credit: Wikipedia

No more.

San Francisco has progressed so far that it has regressed back to the 17th Century.

Thursday, July 5, 2018

Born in the USA

I came across a story this week about a hospital in Fort Worth, Texas that had a literal baby boom.

48 babies were born at Baylor Scott & White All Saints Medical Center in just 41 hours. That's an average of more than one baby born per hour in just under two days.

It makes you wonder what was going on in Fort Worth nine months ago?

It also made me wonder about the underlying story concerning those births?

How many of the babies were born to unwed mothers?

If the numbers reflect the national average, 40% of the babies born were out of wedlock. If the babies were Black that number is 77%. If Hispanic, 49%.

How many of the babies that were delivered were paid for by Medicaid?  In other words, how many of those babies were paid for by YOU, the taxpayer?

The national average is 43%. For blacks it is 66%. For Hispanics it is 60%. In Texas, 54% of all births are paid for by Medicaid!

How many of the babies were born to illegal immigrants?

Just as we don't seem to have good number on how many illegal immigrants are in the country I could not find any reliable numbers on how many babies are being born to illegals in the United States each year. The best estimate I could find is that approximately 8% of all babies born are to illegals.

However, there are actual statistics on the number of births to foreign born mothers (legal and illegal). In the most recent year, 23% of all births in the United States were to foreign born mothers. However, only 14% of the entire population is foreign born.

You can expect that in Texas a high proportion of the babies born in that Fort Worth hospital were to foreign-born mothers and a significant number were illegal aliens.

For example, in 2006 Parkland Memorial Hospital in Dallas (the hospital JFK was taken to after he was shot) reported that 70% of its 16,000 births that year were to illegal immigrants.

If that was the number in 2006 I wonder what the number is in 2018?  It is clear that Parkland Hospital and others have decided that it is not politically correct to report these numbers any longer. You can only guess what they might reveal.

All births are a cause for celebration.

All of the mothers who underwent labor in Fort Worth and anywher else should also be celebrated.

However, being born in the USA means something a lot different today than it did 66 years ago..

Shown below is a hospital bill for the birth of a baby and a four-day stay in the hospital for mother and baby on this exact day 66 years ago.

The total bill----$82.56!

Notice the cost per day in the hospital? $11 per day.

Hospital costs for a vaginal birth today are estimated to be approximately $10,000 and that would generally only involve a day or two in the hospital.

A lot has happened involving born in the USA since 1952.

In 1952, only 3.9% of births were out of wedlock. Today they are 40%. Black births out of wedlock were not separately tracked until the late 1960's. However, non-white illegitimate births were tracked. It was 19% in 1952. Today it is 77% for Blacks and 49% for Hispanics.

In 1952, 0% of births were paid by Medicaid. The program wasn't enacted until 1965. Today 43% of all births are paid by the taxpayers. It makes you wonder how those births got paid in 1952?

In 1952, the United States did not even bother to track the births in the United States to foreign-born mothers. It was insignificant. It appears that this data was first collected in 1990 when births to foreign-born mothers was 16%. Today it is 23%.

Suffice it to say, being born in the USA is a lot of different today than it was 66 years ago.

A lot has happened, indeed.

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

No Profit, No Prisons, No Borders

It is now cool to be a Democratic Socialist.

Is this the future of the Democrat party?

There is lot of talk about this in the wake of 28 year old Democratic Socialist Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's stunning primary defeat of establishment Democrat Rep. Joe Crowley in a New York City congressional district last week.

DNC Chairman Tom Perez recently said that the socialist Ocasio-Cortez was the "future of our party."


For a little perspective on where the Democratic Socialists of America stand on the issues, consider this tweet from the New York Democratic Socialists listing some of their major policy priorities.

Let's take a look at these in a little more detail.

Abolish profit. I am interested in knowing who would be willing to open a business and hire people if there is no reward in doing so? Why would anyone risk their money and capital to start or run a business if there was no expectation of a profit? Who is going to hire someone and guarantee a wage to someone when there is no expectation to make a profit?

Abolish prisons. Do I even need to discuss the lunacy of this position?

Abolish cash bail. Why do you need to abolish cash bail if you are going to abolish prisons?

Abolish borders. I am sure this would work really well. Alternatively, the DSA wants to abolish ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement). Why don't they just abolish all the law enforcement in the country while they are at it if they also want to abolish prisons?

You have to ask yourself who would want to live in a country that abolishes profit, prisons, cash bail and borders?

It is certainly not a country that I would want to live in.

Democratic Socialists also want Medicare for all, free college tuition and child care.

Left unsaid is how all of this would be paid for.

Those on Medicare have been paying payroll taxes for 40 years before they are eligible for Medicare. The program is still heading for insolvency. Making it available for everyone is going to make it better for the seniors who have paid into the system their entire lives as well another 250 million more?

There is already $1.5 trillion in outstanding student debt. Who pays the this tab as well as providing free college in the future?

What good is provided child care if there are no jobs?

How do you generate tax revenues if there is no profit to tax?

That leads to what liberals have always derided as inherently unfair regressive taxation. Higher sales taxes. Payroll taxes. Gross receipt taxes. Value-added taxes.

There is no free lunch. In socialist countries, much more of the tax burden is borne by the middle and lower income groups than is the case in the United States.

For example, as this graph indicates, the average worker in France, Austria, Italy and Germany are paying about 50% of their income in taxes. In the United States, it is about 30%. And this was before 
the Trump tax lowered taxes for the middle class.

I have written before that most liberal and socialist ideas are hard to disagree with at first blush. They appeal to our human sense of fairness and justice.

In a theoretical laboratory these ideas make a lot of sense.  I think that is why so many academics are liberal. The ideas make such great sense in the classroom or a textbook. Unfortunately, in the real world these ideas must face reality.  A reality where human beings make decisions based on incentives or disincentives relative to their own self-interest.  A reality where unintended consequences often have much greater effects than the intended consequences.

There is a reason that the people in Venezuela, Cuba and North Korea are struggling every day.

For example, in Cuba there are 4.5 million people who have jobs. However, 3 million are employed by the government. Despite this, private workers produce 90% of the food in Cuba. However, 57% of the food that is produced is squandered by the communist system before it gets to the consumer.

There is a reason that the people of Russia and China have enjoyed more economic prosperity as their economic freedom has increased.

There is a reason that the people of South Korea have prospered and those in North Korea struggle to survive. These are the same people separated only by economic and political philosophy. In fact, North Korea has much more abundant natural resources than the South.

There is a reason that the average American worker's tax burden is nearly 20% less than their European counterparts.

There is a reason that the United States has created more wealth and prosperity than any country in history. There is also a reason that our poorest would be considered rich in most of the rest of the world.

Of course, all of this seems to be lost on a number of those in the Millennial generation.

A poll last year showed that 51% of Millennials would rather live in a socialist (44%) or communist country (7%) compared to a capitalist country like the United States.

By comparison, only about 1/4 of Baby Boomers share this view.

Therefore, the Millennials are not generally getting these views from their parents. It undoubtedly is coming as a result of their education.

What kind of economics and history education are they getting in the liberal academic echo chamber?

What kind of country does the Millennial generation want to live in?

Do they really believe that a country with no profit, no prisons and no borders is going to provide them a better life than what they have had in the United States?

If so, God help them.

I think Ben Shapiro has it right with this observation about this recent trend about how cool it is to be a socialist.

"Socialism is growing in America because everyone in America is rich because of capitalism."


On this Independence Day, send this on to a Millennial you love. Do they really understand that socialism and freedom are incompatible?

Sunday, July 1, 2018

A Lot Of Cheese

Can you visualize $1,400,000,000? That's a lot of bacon.

It is probably even harder to visualize 1,390,000 000 pounds of cheese. That's a lot of cheese.

That's enough cheese to provide about 4.6 pounds of cheese for every man, woman and child in the United States.

Credit: WisconsinCheeseTalk.com

Consider for a moment that the United States currently has that amount of surplus cheese sitting on commercial warehouse shelves around the country.  It is the largest surplus since the Department of Agriculture first began keeping track of this data in 1917.

Why so much cheese?

Dairy farmers are producing a lot of milk. The supply greatly exceeds demand. Milk is not easily stored compared to cheese so a lot of the excess supply is made into cheese. Last year American farmers dumped almost 100 million gallons of surplus milk as there was no market for it.

Combine all of that with the fact that cows produce more in the Spring, school cafeterias are closed and restaurants don't make as many cheese-laden dishes as they do in the winter, and you have the elements for this summer's surplus.

Underlying all of this is the remarkable increase in productivity in dairy farming by the American farmer over the years. Look at this graph that shows the increase in milk produced per cow in the United States over the last 100 years.

Annual Milk Production Per Cow (in lbs)
Credit: USDA via The Washington Post

All of this cheese surplus is good news for the American consumer. Expect cheese prices to decrease in the coming weeks. However, it is not helpful to those dairy farmers who have one of the toughest jobs in the world. After all, those cows never take a day off. Neither can those dairy farmers.

Those farmers need to be able to export more of their product. This is one of the reasons that President Trump has so vigorously gone after Canada's 270% tariff on dairy products. Interestingly, milk prices that Canadian farmers received last year were over 60% higher than their U.S. counterparts.

Considering the productivity of the American farmer and the increasing surplus of milk, you would think that the United States would be a larger exporter of dairy products than it is. The United States ranks well down the list of top exporters of milk. Belgium exports more milk than the United States?

Top Milk Exporting Countries

The same is true for cheese.

Top Cheese Exporting Countries

The theory of comparative advantage argues that a country boosts it economic growth by focusing on industries where it has substantial comparative advantages which it can export to others and imports those things from other countries where it does not have such advantages. Thus, it makes a lot of sense that New Zealand would excel in milk production.

This is the economic rationale for free trade among nations. However, it only works if all countries are committed to the principle and combine the free trade concept with fair trade.

Donald Trump understands that too many countries have not played fairly when it comes to free and fair trade. Rather than following the theory of comparative advantage they have been taking advantage of the United States in trade practices and trade deals for years and years.

I thought it interesting that during the recent G-7 summit, when so many of the other countries were criticizing Trump's proposed tariffs on steel and aluminum, that he countered that he was willing to sign a deal that would eliminate all tariffs and trade barriers.

The shocked silence by all at the G-7 tells you all you need to know about who is really interested in free and fair trade.

If you need a reminder, here are the trade imbalances with our major trading partners around the world. Are we supposed to believe that all of these countries have this large of a comparative advantage on the United States when looked at across a range of products?

By the way, the trade deficit with those G-7 countries (UK, Germany, France, Italy, Canada, Japan) that are so concerned about the tariffs on steel and aluminum---$194 billion!

Keep all of this in mind to better understand what President Trump is doing. And despite what you hear from the talking heads on tv, I believe he knows exactly what he is doing.

In the meantime, what should you be doing to help our dairy farmers?

My advice on this 4th of July week is to enjoy a large ice cream cone. We all have to do our part. No job too small. No sacrifice too great.

Thursday, June 28, 2018

The Supreme Court Is Not Everything

Democrats and Liberals are in full meltdown mode upon the announcement of Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy's retirement.

Why is that?

The tweet below gives the real reason why the Liberals are melting down.

The Supreme Court is everything.


I thought the Constitution was everything in The United States of America.

Why is the Supreme Court everything to Liberals?

The Democrats know that without the Supreme Court "making law" they have little hope in realizing their progressive ideals. They have generally failed in establishing any of their agenda through Constitutional means. Most everything they care about in the last 30 years did not come from legislation or constitutional amendment but by the opinions of five Supreme Court justices. Look no further than abortion and gay marriage as prime examples. Or the affirmation of the constitutionality of Obamacare.

There was a time when the Constitution meant something. It was respected for what it was. So were the limitations that were carefully crafted into the document by the Framers. Even when there was pretty compelling language in the Constitution to bend it to the "current times" it was ruled out of bounds. Has something been lost?

Consider a few examples in our history.

President Lincoln had effectively abolished slavery through his Emancipation Proclamation in 1863 but he still believed in the necessity of following Constitutional standards and proposing the 13th Amendment abolishing slavery.

Lincoln's effort in this regard is the subject of the 2012 movie "Lincoln". Why did he see the need to go though all of that effort when it could have been done by the Courts or by letting his Emancipation Proclamation do the job? He did it because he wanted the legitimacy of the process. He wanted something lasting and permanent.

Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution provides that Congress has the power to lay and collect taxes. Nevertheless, the income tax law of 1892 was ruled unconstitutional because it was considered outside the power of Congress. The 16th Amendment was ratified in 1913 to allow it.

There is also nothing in the Constitution signed by the Framers that precluded women from voting. All references in the document were to people, not men.  However, the culture and custom was generally for only males to vote. Nevertheless, it took the 19th Amendment in 1920 before it became the law of the land. Interestingly, 15 states (beginning with Wyoming in 1870) granted women the right to vote before adoption of the 19th Amendment.  Since voter eligibility was an issue left to the states (in that it was not specifically enumerated in the Constitution by the Framers) women in these states voted in both state and federal elections before 1920.

Was the Constitution designed to change with time? Of course. That is what the amendment process is for (Article V).  The Framers in their wisdom also considered this carefully.  They did not want it amended for some passing fancy.  Nor did they want a small majority to change the key foundations of the governing document to the detriment of a significant minority.  Therefore, 2/3 of both the House and Senate can come together and propose any amendment.  They do not even need the President to concur.  Alternatively, 2/3 of the states can come together and call a convention to propose their own amendments and bypass Congress completely. You don't even need the President or Congress in this method.

 If the amendment is ratified by 3/4 of the states it is adopted as part of the Constitution.

Credit: TheNation.com

If the American people want a federal government with expansive power they can have it. They can allow gay marriage. Or ban it in all 50 states. The same with abortion. They can ban the use of alcohol or repeal the ban and allow it again. They can provide a constitutional right to marijuana or other drugs. They can require everyone to buy health insurance or anything else.

However, it is simply not within the power of a handful of judges to suddenly discover fundamental rights that have somehow been hidden in the Constitution for over 200 years and start applying them to 325 million citizens by fiat.

That is why there is an amendment process to the Constitution.  It is hard and it was meant to be hard.
However, what the Democrats have not been able to gain at the voting booth they have chosen to win at the Supreme Court.

That is why the Supreme Court is everything to Liberals. Every new appointment to the Supreme Court that President Trump makes puts their agenda at risk. They know that they do not have the support of the necessary majorities of American voters to support and extend their progressive agenda. They do not want to follow the Constitution to get there. Our Founders wanted a clear consensus before we made radical changes to the rules that governed us. The Democrats simply don't want to wait and do the heavy lifting necessary to get what they want.

They may find out that was a bad strategy. What the Supreme Court gives it can also take away. The only sure way to change America is to change the Constitution. The Founders provided a way to do that. The Democrats thought they had found an easier way. However, the Supreme Court is not everything. The Constitution is everything.

If you want to know a major reason why the country is so divided right now look no further than what the Supreme Court has done to undermine our constitutional principles. It has moved the country before it was ready to move to support that progressive agenda.

For the Democrats, the stakes are even higher with Justice Kennedy's replacement than they were with the Gorsuch appointment. Gorsuch replaced Scalia which many saw as an even trade from a judicial balance perspective. Kennedy has been a swing vote on many issues meaning that his replacement with a more conservative jurist raises the stakes considerably. You can expect a contentious confirmation process no matter who Trump nominates.

Of course, none of this will compare to what we should expect when Ruth Bader Ginsburg (age 85) or another of the four liberal justices needs to be replaced. If the Democrats were crying when Kennedy submitted his resignation I hate to think what their state of mind will be if Trump would need to replace Ginsburg or one of the other liberals.

To give you a sense of how the stakes involving the confirmation of Supreme Court justices has changed over the last 30 years, look at this graphic on the "Votes for Supreme Court Justices". As you can see, there is not much bipartisanship left when it comes to confirming our justices.

Adam White, who is a Research Fellow at the Hoover Institute, puts it all in perspective.

I would say it differently.

The Supreme Court is not everything.

The Constitution is everything.

It is time that everyone recognized that.

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

The Silent Majority

The term "The Silent Majority" was first used in the late 1960's to describe the mass of Americans who supported Richard Nixon's first Presidential bid but who were not politically outspoken, vocal or active.

However, they did vote. Their votes allowed Nixon to defeat Hubert Humphrey in the 1968 Presidential election. That year saw a lot of protests and anger about a number of issues-civil rights and the Vietnam War chief among them-but Nixon prevailed against the much more vocal activists on the left.

It seems to me that a similar dynamic is going on right now in America. The last several years have seen a lot of noise from fringe groups that are given outsized attention by the Mainstream Media. Black Lives Matter. Occupy Wall Street. Antifa. Hollywood celebrities. NFL players who don't stand for the National Anthem.

However, every day and in every way, the work of America goes on. Farmers tend their fields. Truckers drive their routes. Grocers stack their shelves. Nurses care for their patients. The people who keep America going do not generally have time to protest, pontificate or be prickly about political issues. They generally are too busy trying to support their families, pay their taxes and be good citizens of their community.

The Silent Majority may not be visible and vocal but it is a mistake to think that they don't care or are not willing to stand up when they see that their country is heading in the wrong direction.

It became very clear to me that The Silent Majority was still in place in this country back in 2012 when leftists tried to boycott Chick-fil-A because its CEO expressed support for traditional marriage. What did The Silent Majority do? They responded by supporting a Buy-cott of Chick-fil-A on August 1, 2012.

The boycott failed miserably as throngs of The Silent Majority flooded Chick-fil-A on that day. Many waited hours in line to get a chicken sandwich. I was one of them

The Silent Majority lined up to eat at Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day, August 1, 2012
Port Charlotte, FL

That day gave me renewed confidence that all was not lost during the Obama years. The vote in November, 2012 tested my beliefs but the election of Donald Trump in 2016 reaffirmed to me that there still existed a Silent Majority who wanted to "Make America Great Again". They were not ready to turn the country over to socialists and leftists who found faults in everything in America and wanted to remake it in their idealized image.

2016 showed that The Silent Majority was still interested in defending the Constitution, the rule of law, the American economy, our border and the men and women who serve in uniform.

You would think that defending each of these would be easy for any American. However, the Democrats seemed to have lost their way on each of these core issues. What have they become when they are openly rooting for a recession? What have they become when they seem to care more about the "rights" of illegal immigrants than the rights of American citizens? What have they become when they want peace talks with North Korea to fail? What have they become when they are encouraging people to "harass" officials in the President's administration?

Political scientist Thomas Schaller recently opined that he thinks we are at "the beginning of a soft civil war" in the United States.  To see the recent actions of the Left it is easy to make that case.

Of course, the Left argues that Trump started it all. However, they seem to forget that 62 million votes from The Silent Majority and 306 electoral votes from 31 states put Trump in office. When they attack Trump they are effectively attacking those 62 million members of The Silent Majority.

Trump has famously stated that he could do almost anything and he would retain his support of that Silent Majority. My advice to Trump is that he should not get carried away with himself. Nixon showed that the support of The Silent Majority can be short-lived if there is misconduct and you continue on a path that the majority determines is ill-advised (Vietnam War). However, if Trump continues to do what he says he was going to do when he ran for election (and stays out of new -found troubles) I think he will continue to retain that support.

If you doubt the strength of that support take a look at this graphic that shows the job approval of all Presidents since Truman at the 500 day mark from their own party. Only Bush 43 (in the aftermath of 9/11) had stronger support than Trump. This is also despite incessant 24/7 negative Mainstream Media coverage. When have you seen this information in any coverage?

The New York Times and other members of the Mainstream Media apparently cannot understand why Trump's core support remains so strong. It is because Trump is merely doing what he said he would do. Why is that so hard for liberals to understand? I believe it is because that is not the way they understand the political game is supposed to be played. That is especially true for liberal Democrats.

Look no further than Barack Obama as candidate compared to President Barack Obama. I wrote a blog about all of this called "President Opposite". Candidate Obama was against gay marriage (wink-wink). He was going to bring everyone together (wink-wink). He was going to set a new bipartisan tone in Washington (wink-wink). He was going to lift millions of people out of poverty (wink-wink). He was going to reduce everyone's healthcare costs by $2,500 per year (wink-wink).

Cynics would say that this is the only way that liberal Democrats (are there any other kind of Democrat right now?) can get elected today. If they truly ran on what they believed they would never be able to garner the votes required to be elected in anything other than liberal enclaves.

I have often referred to the book "The Fourth Turning" in my blog posts over the years. In May, 2016 I even asked the question of whether The Fourth Turning had brought us Donald Trump? If you have not read this blog post read it and see what you think. If you read it previously, read it again now that you have some additional perspective on the subject. After all, despite the continuing disbelief of the Left and the Mainstream Media, Trump did WIN.

William Strauss and Neil Howe make the point in that book that the last 60 years have been an era where things generally never got settled. There were not true winners or losers. There was no winner in the Korean War or the Vietnam War. Issues like abortion and gay marriage have never been settled the way the Founders designed them to be settled---with a Constitutional Amendment. The result has been a lot of division and diversity of opinion. All of that has left us divided when we need to be united.

When Strauss and Howe wrote The Fourth Turning over 20 years ago they predicted that we would enter an era beginning in 2005 that they referred to as the fourth turning where the populace and culture would begin to insist on finality. Consensus would form on many of the big issues we faced. It is the only way that society can move forward. There are times that society will surely fail if it remains divided. Fourth Turnings (that occur about every 80 years) require a unity of thought and purpose for a society to survive. Think of the Revolutionary War period. The Civil War. The Depression and World War II. These were all separated by roughly 80 years.

In 1860 it became clear that the issue of slavery in the United States had to be decided once and for all. It was not enough to merely prevent its further spread. It had to be torn up by its roots. There could be no compromise. One side would win. One would lose. That is the only way a true war ends. There is finality. The fight is completely taken out of the losing side forever.

I don't know how this "civil war"  will end. However, I know that it will only end when one side is thoroughly defeated and demoralized. That is the lesson we learn from history.

I also know that The Silent Majority will determine who wins. Fringe players may make a lot of noise but it is the will (and votes) of The Silent Majority that will determine the outcome in this "civil war".

That is why I see the 2018 mid-term elections as so important to determining where we are headed.

Will the Democrats see the resurgence which is normal in a mid-term election of the opposing party to the President?

What does it portend for the Democrats if a blue wave does not materialize and the GOP builds on its gains of the last eight years?

Don't pay attention to the noise.

Pay attention to what The Silent Majority thinks and does.

That is where the power of America has always been. And that is where it remains.

Sunday, June 24, 2018

Deeply Disturbing and Dangerous

A month ago I wrote about the mounting successes that Donald Trump has had and the declining number of NeverTrumpers there were in the Republican party. I specifically profiled the conversion of Glenn Beck in that blog post.

Since that time, Trump had his successful meeting with Kim Jong Un in Singapore and the Justice Department's Inspector General has released his report showing the disparate treatment of the DOJ and FBI in their investigations of Trump and Hillary Clinton. More and more Americans see the Mueller investigation to be what Trump calls it---a witch hunt.

Yes, Trump has taken a PR beating on the issue of the child separation issue on the border. However, as I explained here, the Trump administration's treatment of the children is essentially no different than Obama's. Few understand that the entire problem has largely resulted from Obama's liberal use of the asylum rules that created a massive influx of people and children from Central America to our border. The only real difference is that Obama was releasing hundreds of thousands of illegals into our country without regard to existing law.

In addition, do you think it is coincidental that the entire child separation issue suddenly materialized at exactly the same time the IG Report was being released and right after the Singapore summit?

As a wise friend of mine used to say.

"There is such a thing as coincidence. However, it is very, very rare."

In my earlier post I pointed out that the mounting successes of Trump would mean the Democrats, the Deep State and the leftists would get increasingly desperate.

The Democrats and Deep State seem to get more desperate by the day. Their entire world is being turned upside down. They told everyone that Trump would be a disaster.  Every day that passes with another Trump success destroys that narrative. Instead of more "Never Trumpers" we are seeing more voters who are seeing what is happening with their own eyes. There are more Glenn Beck's out there and that has to really scare the Democrats and the Deep State.

Since Trump first gained the GOP nomination they have been determined to find something or do something to drive Trump from office. There is not much they have not thrown at him over the last two years. I am still amazed that Trump is not only standing but succeeding. It would not surprise me to see the attacks get even more ferocious in the coming weeks.

Desperate people do desperate things.

Keep all of this in mind as we look for what might be next.

We live in interesting... and dangerous... times.

Let's just look at a few things that have transpired since I wrote that passage last month to show you how desperate and dangerous those on the left are becoming.

We had Robert DeNiro make a spectacle of himself on live TV at the Tony Awards.

“I’m going to say one thing: f**k Trump,” said De Niro, prompting many in the crowd to rise to their feet. As they applauded and cheered, he continued, “It’s no longer ‘down with Trump.’ It’s ‘f**k Trump.’”

Even worse than DeNiro's actions, the audience gave him a rousing standing ovation?

A Democrat state legislator posted this on Facebook to welcome Vice President Pence to Philadelphia.  How ironic that this guy represents people in the City of Brotherly Love.

A Congressional intern shouted F**k you to the President of the United States as Donald Trump walked through the Capitol Rotunda.

Former NBA Hall of Fame great Kevin McHale is being threatened and liberals are attempting to have him fired from his tv analyst job because he was seen at President Trump's rally in Duluth, MN. Yes, he was merely seen. He was not heard. He did not speak and had no official role. He did nothing but attend the event and he supposedly can be found in the picture below. I never could find him. You would think a 6'10' man would stand out a little more. Where's Waldo? No, where's McHale?

The Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen was harassed and harangued while having dinner at a Washington, DC restaurant by a number of liberal activists. Does it comes as a surprise that one of the Democrat Socialists of America who crashed the restaurant with chants and outbursts actually works for the Department of Justice.?

The DOJ employee defended herself by stating she was exercising her constitutional right of free speech. I guess Secretary Nielsen does not have any rights.

Finally, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders was refused service at a restaurant in Lexington, Virginia because she works for the President of the United States.

When you see all of this you begin to think that Republican and Trump supporters should be added as a "protected class" to prevent discrimination being used against them.

I cautioned several weeks ago that desperate people do desperate things.

This is indeed desperate but is also deeply disturbing and dangerous.

I think it is time that those on the left take a deep breath and fully consider what they are doing.

Can you imagine if any of this had occurred during the Obama Presidency what the reaction would have been?

It is unthinkable.

What I do not understand is that there were millions and millions of people who were just as unhappy with the policies of Barack Obama for eight long years. Count me among them.

These people did shout profanities at him.

They did not threaten his supporters and try to take their livelihoods away from them.

They did not go into restaurants and shout at his cabinet officers while they ate dinner.

They did not refuse to serve them.

They did not threaten to boycott those that they did not agree with.

They did it the American way.

They went out and voted and sent a message that they were not pleased with the direction the country was headed under the direction of Obama and the Democrats.

The result was the largest turnover from Democrats to Republicans officeholders in history in such a short span of time.

Looked at across the political landscape, the Democrats lost over 1,000 political offices to Republicans between 2008 and 2016 including the House, the Senate and the Presidency.

The Washington Post shows the bigger picture in this graphic.

Credit: The Washington Post

You would think the Democrats might learn something from the experience?

They apparently haven't.

There is another way. There is another path. It worked for the Republicans.

Those of us who were not happy with Obama's policies got out and voted and turned his policies around. Apparently, Democrats think the answer is to just get vicious and vile.

Is it that the Democrats just don't have anything positive to sell to the American people?

Is that why they are on this deeply disturbing and dangerous path?

Let's hope this will soon pass.

If it doesn't, I truly fear where this path leads.