Friday, September 28, 2018

Left Unsaid

I watched almost all of the nine hours of the Senate Judiciary session yesterday to hear testimony about the allegations concerning Brett Kavanaugh made by Dr. Christine Blakey Ford.

I have witnessed many of the highest profile Congressional hearings over the last 50 years—Watergate, Bork, Clarence Thomas, Clinton impeachment. I don’t know that any matched the drama and high stakes on display yesterday.

“He said, she said” cases are always difficult to assess. In this case both parties seemed sincere and credible. It was no different with Clarence Thomas and Anita Hill.
How do you assess truthfulness? A big factor favoring Thomas over 25 years ago was that there was no other credible allegation involving sexual harassment by Thomas that surfaced. There was no pattern of behavior. It did not mean that Hill was lying, it just seemed totally out of character for Thomas. Almost 30 years later this still seems true. If that was not the case we surely would have heard about it considering the Left’s animus towards the conservative record of Thomas.

The same also appears true for Kavanaugh. Are we to believe that he was preying on girls at 17 and 18 but then became a choir boy? Again, it is possible but this does not fit the typical behavior patterns of human beings.

Let’s put all the “He said, She said” aside and focus on what I thought was left unsaid at the hearing. I don’t know the answers but I would sure like to have heard something said about these points at the hearing.

1. The Democrats kept asking for an FBI investigation of the allegations. They also stated that President Bush had asked the FBI to investigate the Anita Hill allegations in the Thomas nomination. However, that charge involved sexual harassment in the federal government workplace. It was a potential federal crime. This is not the case with the Ford allegation. This would be a local crime. By all measures, the Judiciary Committee could bring more to bear in investigative muscle in this case than the Montgomery County,MD police.

2. Kavanaugh was supported by his wife and parents right behind him. I have read that Ford’s husband was not in the hearing room. Here she is in probably the most stressful moment in her life and her husband is absent? Why? Also, were her parents in attendance? They live in the area. If they were not there why were they absent?

3. Ford has maintained that 4 boys and 2 girls were at the party. She has given the names of 5 of the 6 she says were there. She is the only one of the five named attendees who remembers such a party. More significantly, she says the party took place near Columbia Country Club. However, all five of the named attendees (including Ford) lived over 6 miles from the club. Therefore, the party could not have been the house of any of those five. That means the house had to belong to the sixth person. Whose house was it? What effort has been made to identify the house since she testified she has a detailed recollection of the layout of the house?

4. Ford stated that music was playing in an upstairs bedroom when she went upstairs. She stated this music was turned up when she was “assaulted” to cover up her cries for help. She further stated that she heard Kavanaugh and his friend Mark Judge talking to the other kids downstairs before she fled. This would seem to indicate that no music was playing downstairs. No music at a party downstairs? However, music playing in an empty bedroom upstairs before she was “pushed in” the room from behind”. This does not make sense.

5. Ford states she was “assaulted” when she went to the bathroom on the second floor. Was there no first floor guest bath? Most people avoid using facilities at someone else’s home in their bedroom living quarters if they can. I have played golf at Columbia Country Club in Chevy Chase, MD a number of times. The houses are generally older in the vicinity of the club and some may not have a first floor guest bath. However, this is also an affluent area and I would expect that it also would not be uncommon.

6. I only saw one answer from Kavanaugh that made we wonder what was left unsaid with his testimony. He was asked how he had known Mark Judge. He stated he met him in ninth grade. That would have seemed to me to answer the question. However, he then continued and stated Judge was smart, a great writer, etc. He then went on to recount addiction and other problems that Judge had dealt with during his life. It made no sense to me why Kavanaugh added these comments. They did not seem helpful to Kavanaugh’s cause considering Judge is his most important corroborating witness. Was Kavanaugh hedging his bets with Judge if his story changes? I thought it interesting that the Democrats never questioned Kavanaugh about this.

It is unfortunate there is still anything left unsaid at this late date. It goes without saying that Brett Kavanaugh has gone through more scrutiny than any Supreme Court nominee in history.

It is time for the Senate to “advise and consent” (or not) on Kavanaugh.

We know the Democrats don’t want him. The fact is they don't want any Trump nominee. However, as Barack Obama famously stated, “elections have consequences”.

The Democrats seem to have forgotten that. I guess you can say that is left unsaid in all of this madness.

Sent from my iPad

Thursday, September 27, 2018

Blue Wave or Red Wall?

Will we see a blue wave in the midterm elections with scores of Democrats being swept into office based on voter dissatisfaction with Donald Trump?

Or will we see a red wall of Republicans and Independents turn out to defend the Trump agenda in November?

The media and most political pundits seem to think that the Democrats have the numbers and energy to put Trump on the defensive.

Let's take a BeeLine look at the political landscape heading towards the midterms.

Midterm elections are traditionally challenging for the incumbent President's party.

In the last 20 midterm elections (dating back to 1938) there have only been two times that the incumbent party gained House seats (1998 and 2002). The average loss of House seats in a midterm election is 33.

There have only been four times in the last 80 years that the President's party has picked up seats in the Senate. The average loss of seats in the Senate over the other 16 midterm election cycles has been 5.5.

History suggests that it will be difficult for Republicans to avoid losses in the midterm elections. If these historical averages are to hold in 2018, the GOP would find themselves in the minority in both the House and Senate. Donald Trump would also find himself even more under siege in Washington, D.C.

Why do midterms present such a problem to the incumbent President's party?

I believe it is a result of several factors.

National Presidential elections have higher voter turn out and bring out more casual voters and independents.

Midterm elections are more partisan. You tend to get more voters by party affiliation. They are more hard core in their politics.

Voters are also more partisan when their person is not in The White House. Those in the party that is out of power are more motivated to send a message to the guy in The White House. Those with their guy in power are more complacent. You also typically see some disillusionment by voters two years into a President's term. The results have not matched the promises. This disenchantment causes loss of support and votes for the President's agenda among his own party faithful.

One of the interesting facts about the Presidency of Barack Obama was that he won two elections comfortably but he suffered devastating losses in both of his midterm elections.

Democrats lost 63 House seats and 6 Senate seats in 2010.

Democrats lost another 16 House seats and 9 additional Senate seats in 2014.

Barack Obama assumed the Presidency with overwhelming majorities in the House and Senate in 2009. GOP majorities were in place in both Houses when he left.

Obama was not able to translate his electoral success to success for his party in the midterms.

A big reason for this was that a lot of Obama's voters came from casual voters of which large numbers are young voters. They voted for Obama. A lot of them did not bother to vote at all in the midterms. This chart shows how the percentage of voters age 18-29 surged in 2008 and 2012 but fell off dramatically in the midterms in 2010 and 2014.

On the other hand, those age 60+ typically vote in every election. This group is also more likely to vote Republican. You can see what this translates into in pure numbers in this chart that shows actual votes cast by those 18-29 compared to those age 60+ during the Obama years.

Similar patterns existed with African American voters. In 2008 and 2012 Obama got 16 million African American votes. In 2010 and 2014 only about 9 million African Americans bothered to vote at all in the midterms.

All of this is why I have written consistently in these pages over the years that turnout is everything in an election. If you can get your people to vote, you will win. If they stay home, you will lose.

Looking at three of the high profile special elections we have had over the last year suggests that the GOP has an enormous turnout problem this year.

In the Alabama special election for the Senate, Democrat Doug Jones got 92% of the vote total that Hillary Clinton did. The GOP candidate, Roy Moore, only 50% received of the votes that Trump got.

In the 18th Pennsylvania House special election, Democrat Conor Lamb got 80% of Hillary's vote total. The GOP candidate, Rick Saccone, got only 53% of Trump's total.

In the 12th Ohio House special election, Democrat Danny Connor garnered 90% of Clinton's vote in the 2016 election. Troy Balderson, the Republican who won by a small margin, only tallied 72% of Trump's margins.

Do you see a pattern?

The Democrats appear motivated to vote. The Republicans are sitting at home.

Turnout is everything.

It seems pretty clear that there will be a blue wave of sorts in November if we look at the voter turnout in these special elections.

However, the Republicans can defend their majorities if they can get their red wall high enough to protect against that expected voter surge.

A big question remains as to whether those Trump voters are necessarily GOP voters. Like Obama, Trump seems to have a unique appeal to certain voters. A lot of his votes did not come from traditional Republican voters. He appealed to a lot of Independents and he got many blue collar Democrat votes as well. Will these voters turn out to defend the Trump agenda?

Whether a red wall materializes in November may depend on the answer.

However, those voters should understand that the Democrats and the deep state have no interest in doing anything to further the Trump agenda. They have only one goal---to remove Donald J. Trump from Washington, D.C. to never be heard from again.

Any success by Trump simply represents too much risk for the Democrats as a party.

Trump voters in 2016 should understand that if they want that vote for Trump to truly count for something, they must also be counted on to vote again in 2018 to defend the Trump agenda.

If not, we are all in for a very long and loud two years.

Monday, September 24, 2018

The Changing Electorate

We often hear that Donald Trump did not win the popular vote so he is somehow an illegitimate leader.

The irony is that this statement often comes from Democrat supporters of Hillary Clinton.

It seems lost on them that the same could be said of Bill Clinton. In fact, both times he was elected President he did not have a majority of voters supporting him.

Clinton won the Presidency in 1992. He won only 43% of the popular vote. 57% of the people who voted wanted someone other than Clinton. In that year George H.W. Bush won 37% and Ross Perot 19% of the popular vote.

In 1996, Clinton garnered 49% of the popular vote to 41% for Bob Dole and 8.5% for Perot.

Shortly before the 2016 election the Pew Research Center released an interesting report that tracked how the electorate had evolved since 1992 in the United States by looking at how partisan preferences have changed among various demographic groups.

In all of these charts red identifies Republicans, blue represents Democrats and gray Independents.

The first chart shows that White voters have become increasingly Republican since 1992.

Notice that this trend really started after  Barack Obama became President. Whites favored Democrats as much as Republicans in 2008. Whites elected Obama President. They did not see race in their votes. However, the policies of Obama and Democrats after he was elected drove many whites toward the GOP.

Whites favored the GOP by 15 points in 2016. It was evenly split in 2008.

The Black vote has continued to be solidly Democrat since 1992. The change is negligible.

Men have left the Democrat party in droves since 1992. Democrats had a 4 point advantage among men in 1992. Democrats were down by 10 points among men by 2016.

There has not been much change in women's party identification since 1992. It has been remarkably steady.

Most of the change has been with white men. White men favor the GOP by almost 30 points!
White women, who leaned Democrat by 4 points in 1992  started leaning to the GOP by 2016.

The Democrats used to be thought of as the party of the working man and women, particularly those that did not have a college degree and worked in blue collar positions.

That was the core constituency of the Democrat party for decades. That is no longer the case.

This is particularly the case with white voters.

Democrats used to have a 9 point advantage with white voters with a high school education. Democrats are now down 26 points with this group. Similar trends can be seen with those with some college.

On the other hand, white college graduates have moved toward the Democrats. Democrats now have a one-point edge among college graduates. Of course, part of this is explained by the fact that almost 60% of college graduates are now women.

It may also be explained by the steady diet of liberal indoctrination that is fed to college students.

If you doubt this, consider this recent study that measures the extent of left-wing bias at top U.S. universities. Even disciplines such as Chemistry and Economics have five Democrats for every Republican faculty member.

In subjects such as Anthropology and Communications, the study could not find any Republican faculty members!

The final chart concerns generational differences.

Generally, younger and non-white voters are more likely to be Democrats.

Older and white voters are more likely to be Republicans.

Looking at all of these trends should give you a better understanding of the positions the two political parties take. It is particularly easy to see for the Democrats who have largely become a party that is a reliant on the young, minorities and single women for votes.

That is a long, long way from when the Democrats used to be known as the "working man's party".

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Balancing Today and Tomorrow

Do you understand the underlying substance of debt and savings?

They both involve balancing today and tomorrow.

When you borrow you are allowing yourself to live better today at the expense of tomorrow. You are increasing gratification today that will need to be paid for tomorrow.

When you save you are delaying some gratification today to live better tomorrow. You will live better tomorrow at the expense of having a lower standard of living today.

Everyone has a choice. How do you want to live today? How do you want to live tomorrow?

There is no free lunch. There is a price to be paid... today or tomorrow.

It is hard to not want to live better today. After all, you can feel and enjoy the gratification here and now. The pain of payment seems like a long way off.

Most human beings are also optimistic. Even if they fully comprehend the trade off between today and tomorrow they figure they will be in a better position in the future to pay off their debts.

That works with a growing income that surpasses the cost of carrying the debt. However, if your income is only growing at 3% and the interest on your debt is 6% you will never get out from under it.

That is why living for today with credit card debt is so ruinous for so many. Even if your income is growing at 6%, credit card interest rates of 15% will bury you.

The same rules about debt apply to businesses and government. If you can't outgrow your debt obligations you are headed to a lower standard in the future. It is basic economics.

It is worthwhile considering the balance between today and tomorrow when we consider the the debt load in the United States.

There is now almost $4 trillion in consumer debt outstanding in the United States. This excludes mortgage debt.

$1.5 trillion of this amount is in the form of student loans!

$1.1 million in auto loans and leases.

$1.0 million in credit card debt.

This is all at a time when unemployment is at historic lows, wages have been increasing and the stock market has been strong.

What happens when incomes are not as good but that debt is still growing?

The same can be said for United States government debt. It is now over $21 trillion.

Who is this money owed to?

A lot is made in the media that we are dependent on China for much of this debt. This could not be further from the truth.

China only holds about 5% of U.S. debt. Japan holds another 5%. In all, about $6 trillion is held by foreign interests. That is less than 30% of the total.

The reality is that most of the debt is held by Americans. A great share of it is also held in retirement savings vehicles.

The Social Security Trust Fund ($2.8 trillion),  federal government employee pensions ($884 billion), military pensions ($742 billion), other federal government pensions ($415 billion), state and local pensions ($934 billion), private pension plans ($385 billion), US savings bonds ($160 billion).

If you are counting, that is $6.3 trillion. That does not count $1.8 trillion in mutual funds and $344 billion held by insurance companies of which a significant portion is probably held for retirement savings.

An additional $2.5 trillion is held by the Federal Reserve that relates to the debt monetization (money printing) that was done in the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis.

In total, almost 70% of U.S. government debt is held by Americans. Only 30% is held by foreign interests.

I think the irony here is that $6.3 trillion has been put away in retirement savings accounts where individuals have accepted a lower standard of living today in order to have a richer life tomorrow. These funds are invested in U.S. Treasury bills, notes and bonds. However, those same funds have been used by the federal government to provide someone else a richer life today that will require higher costs tomorrow. It might be in the form of higher taxes, higher inflation or a lower standard of living on those same people. People who did the right thing (saved today) for a richer life tomorrow. It may not work out.

I have written before of how interconnected we all are financially. One person's wealth supports someone else's job. One person's savings supports another's ability to borrow. One person's default on a loan becomes someone else's loss on a note.

Our financial system operates largely on faith and confidence. As long a we have both, things are fine. However, when faith and confidence in the system (and in each other to meet our obligations) is lost, things can turn ugly very quickly.

That is why balancing everything, particularly today and tomorrow, is so important in our financial lives.

It is an important lesson to always keep in mind.

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Free To Choose What She Wants To Do

Google and other technology companies have stated they are committed to more diversity in their engineering ranks. Most have major initiatives in place to hire more women in particular.

General Electric is another company that has made this a high profile issue. It has stated that its goal is to have 20,000 women in STEM roles and have 50:50 representation for all technical entry level jobs by 2020. This will require that 5,000 females be hired with STEM backgrounds in a just over a year.

Google has been publishing an annual diversity report since 2014 on their workforce composition in furtherance of its goal of hiring more females, blacks and latinos.

Here are the most recent numbers for tech hires in 2017 at Google.

Google does not separately break out its diversity percentages for the entire tech workforce. They only do this for new hires. Therefore, you can be sure that the overall numbers are much worse.

There was a lot of media attention last year when a Google employee claimed that the company was using a quota system in new hiring to increase its diversity numbers. The employee was fired after he wrote a memo stating that Google's liberal political bias led the company to believe that bias and oppression was the reason that minorities were underrepresented in the workforce. It therefore followed that quotas were necessary to correct the inequity.

The employee, James Damore, sealed his fate when he also questioned whether the distribution of preferences and abilities of men and women were partially due to biological causes and that these differences may partially explain why we don’t see equal representation of women in tech jobs and at Google.

That was a total career-ender.

I wrote a blog post at the time that addressed the neuroscience research that supported what Damore suggested could be a cause.

I also pointed out that it is hard to ignore the underlying numbers in all of this. Why is it that more American students do not major in the STEM disciplines? Why is it that women in particular do not select this course of study?

Why are 47% of Google tech hires Asian and only 24.5% female? Asians are in the STEM majors and women are not.

Why were only 2% of Google's tech hires Black and 3% Hispanic? The pool of qualified candidates is small. For further evidence look at this additional chart from the Google Diversity Report on attrition.

Why do many more Blacks and Hispanics leave Google than other races/ethnicities? Google says they are working hard to better understand it. Could it be a question of supply and demand? All of the tech companies want to increase their diversity numbers. There is a limited supply of qualified employees to recruit from. The offers to leave Google are simply more attractive to Blacks and Hispanics than for others.

Let's look at some broader numbers on this subject.

Only 1 in 6 American students are majoring in the STEM subjects. On the other hand, 1 in 3 foreign students in American universities are majoring in STEM.

Women only comprise 14% of engineering majors and 17% of computer science majors in our universities. What are they more likely to major in? Anthropology, Archaeology, Art History, Communications, Philosophy and Gender Studies.

Why is this? Is it a cultural bias? Is it because of gender inequality?

General Electric attributes the low numbers in part to a “vicious cycle of expectations and lack of role models.”

I am sure there is truth to that but is that the real reason?

I came across an interesting study that seems to show that it has nothing to do with gender equality.
In fact, the research indicates that in countries with the greatest gender equity you actually have the lowest percentage of female STEM graduates.

It seems that the greater the gender equity, and the higher the economic security for women, the more freedom females seem to believe they have the freedom to major in what they really want to do.

Don't expect to find many female STEM graduates in Finland, Norway, Netherlands or Belgium.

On the other hand, Algeria, Turkey, Tunisia and the United Arab Emirates you will find lots of them. All of these are Muslim countries.

If GE and Google are to reach their goals they may have to focus their recruiting in those countries. Of course, what then happens to the young men with those STEM degrees in the United States of America who do not get hired as a result?

Another chart I came across recently suggests that college students are no longer as interested in studying the Humanities as they were a decade ago. The combination of the high cost of student debt and the Great Recession must have caused many student to reassess their career interests.

Perhaps these students (which have historically had a higher percentage of female majors) have heard that Google and General Electric are good places to work and they they are not looking for Philosophy majors.

Anything that encourages more students (men or women) to consider STEM careers is a positive. I wrote about this need in the early days of my blog back in 2011.  However, we should not be sacrificing quality for quotas and we should not surrender to the nonsense that here are no innate differences between men and women to begin with.


Right after I finished this blog post I came across this article from The Times in London by Science Editor Tom Whipple who cites research that indicates there are greater differences in the sexes in societies that have more gender equality. In other words, the more gender equality, the greater the difference in the way men and women think.

This confirms the research in the study cited above on females in STEM degree programs by country.

For example, one study found that in China, which ranks low in gender parity, the personality overlap between men and women is 84%. In the Netherlands, which is considered at the top of gender equality, the overlap was only 61%.

"It seems that as gender equality increases, as countries become more progressive, men and women gravitate to towards traditional gender norms."
"There is too much evidence of this to be a fluke. It's not just personality. The same counter-intuitive pattern has been found in many other areas, including attachment styles, choice of academic specialty, choice of occupation, crying frequency, depression, happiness and interest in casual sex." 
"An explanation could be that those living in wealthier and more gender-equal societies had greater freedom to pursue their own interests and behave more individually, so magnifying natural differences."  

So much for feminist theory that argues that all differences between the sexes are due to cultural training and social roles. In fact, this research suggests that the differences become greater the more we treat them the same and they become more the same when we treat them differently.

Note to Google and GE. Perhaps the reason you have trouble in filling STEM positions with females is that a lot of them just are not that interested in the work...due to their own freedom of choice.

Sunday, September 16, 2018

Diversity Is Not Always A Strength

Diversity is a strength.

This a statement that we often hear.

We hear it cited by corporate human resources departments. University admissions officers. We even hear it from the U.S. Army.

This is a statement from Secretary of the Army Eric Fanning in 2016.

Over thirty years of scientific and organizational research clearly demonstrates that cognitively diverse teams are better at solving complex problems when compared to more homogenous teams, even when the homogenous teams are composed of top performing, highly capable individuals. We know some of this instinctively: different approaches often reveal overlooked solutions. Solving a problem often requires learning from others how to see it differently. 
Researchers at Cal-Tech and the University of Michigan found that teams that include members of different ethnic or cultural backgrounds bring a mix of distinct cognitive approaches, which deliver better outcomes. Business schools teach similar lessons based on their own research on gender. Their findings demonstrate that stronger more effective firms include greater numbers of women at top levels of management. Other studies have documented how teams of individuals drawn from diverse economic backgrounds, academic disciplines, and political affiliations are better problem solvers and drivers of innovation. 

There is no doubt that this true regarding diversity. However, it assumes that the organization shares common values, beliefs, goals and objectives. The Army insures that these elements are aligned through intensive training. There should be no confusion in the overall mission or the chain of command in the Army. The Army knows that if these are not present chaos ensues. 

If these foundational principles are not shared uniformly, diversity is a weakness, not a strength. In point of fact, diversity is a fatal weakness if the foundational principles are not aligned.

Consider marriage. Men and women separately have unique talents, perspectives and cognitive approaches. When combined, these add tremendous value to a marriage. However, if the man and woman do not share the same core values, beliefs and goals the other elements of diversity will wreak havoc to the union.

Over the last decade many countries in Europe have made arguments for diversity as they allowed hundreds of thousands of refugees to enter their countries. 

However, they have increasingly come to realize that the diversity they have introduced has put their society at increased risk. Most of the refugees are not aligned with the values and beliefs shared by the rest of the nation.

The prime example is in Denmark which has recently enacted so-called "Ghetto Laws" in order to integrate non-Western immigrants into Danish society.

Denmark refers to "ghettos" as areas with social problems where more than 50% of the residents are non-Western immigrants.

Prime Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen had previously announced in his New Year speech that the government intended to take measures to “end the existence of ghettos” completely. That was followed by an announcement in March that the government would pursue a new set of laws to will “deal with parallel societies.”
While it’s not the first time the government has tried to abolish “ghettos,” the latest raft of laws mean the government will specifically target these areas—proactively enforcing rules aimed at integrating non-Western, predominantly Muslim immigrants into Danish society.
Many of the country’s 500,000 non-Western immigrants—largely from Turkey, Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, Pakistan and Somalia—live in these so-called ghettos. There, politicians say, “Danishness” is threatened by the prevalence of other languages and cultural traditions.

What are some of the new rules?

Children in ghetto areas must enroll in day care from the age of 1 in order to learn Danish values and the Danish language. Those classes must run at least 30 hours per week.

Parents who do not comply could have social service payments stopped.

An entire family can lose its home and housing allowance if anyone in the household commits a crime.

Crime such as theft and vandalism will be punished twice as harshly in "ghetto" areas as is the case generally.

Funds are available under the new law to actually fully demolish some ghetto areas. “For certain ghetto areas,” the plans say, “the challenges of parallel society, crime and insecurity are so massive that it is both practical and economical to [demolish] the ghetto area and start over again.” 

This should be useful perspective for those who keep shouting that diversity is a strength without understanding what it really means.

Denmark, and other European countries, have come to find out that you better have the foundational elements aligned before making that statement. It is also difficult to achieve integration and assimilation and the alignment in values and beliefs when there is mass immigration. 

I find it interesting that President Trump is called every evil name in the book for merely wanting our immigration laws enforced and that immigrants from terrorist nations be vetted more strongly.

At the same time, Denmark is enacting laws that would probably upset the sensibilities of the most ardent supporters of Trump's immigration policies.

The reality is that Denmark shows the reaction and results of what occurs when you believe you are reaching the tipping point as a country.

You have lost your country when you no longer have a border and you do not share a common language, culture and values. It ceases to exist.

The Danes have realized all of this late in the game. Do they want Denmark to continue to be Denmark? If so, they need to do something quickly or it will be lost. The same goes for most of the rest of Europe.

Those that cringe at Donald Trump and others who believe in the enforcement of our immigration laws should think longer term. These laws were put in place to insure that immigrants could be assimilated into our society and culture in a way that would not undermine our shared values and beliefs.

If you don't think this is an issue consider that there are more immigrants living in the United States today as a percent of the total population (13.7%) than at any point since 1910. Bear in mind this is just the percent who are actually foreign born. It does not include their children.

That is why the focus must not only be on illegal immigration but common sense reform of our current immigration laws as well.

If you don't think that the United States is taking in enough immigrants, you should consider this chart. It shows the total number of international migrants (foreign born) in each country in the world according to the United Nations.

Numbers of International Migrants-Top 20 Countries by Numbers
Credit: United Nations International Migration Report-2017

You do not have a country when you do not have core values and beliefs. Losing control now will necessarily result in much harsher measures down the road if you care about retaining those core principles. Look no further than Denmark. By the way, the number of immigrants in Denmark as a percent of its population is actually less than it is in the United States.

Denmark's problem, like most of Europe, is that they have allowed large numbers to immigrate from different cultures in a short period of time without considering the time needed to assimilate to their society.

Diversity is a strength. However, it invites chaos and catastrophe if you do not have a broad consensus about foundational principles. Diversity of opinion in values and beliefs ends in disaster for a country. It is a lesson to remember as we discuss our immigration policy.

Left unsaid is whether all of this has already played a major role in the political division in our country. Is it a mere coincidence that our political divide has gotten wider as the percent of immigrants has increased and the Democrat party has increasingly come to rely on immigrants for votes?

It was not that many years ago that almost every Democrat supported the building of some type of wall on the Southern border. Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and Chuck Schumer all voted for the Secure Fence Act of 2006 which authorized 700 miles of fencing along the Mexican border. You can't be a Democrat today with that position. In fact, a great many Democrats now want to disband ICE.

It is wise to remember that diversity is not always a strength.

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Things That Make Me Go Hmmm

I assess a great amount of information each week. I read and survey a number of general, economic and political news sites in addition to opinion and commentary materials.

Interesting items that I come across often turns into a blog post that I will share with you. That usually requires additional research on the subject to provide the necessary factual context of the issue at hand.

The items that catch my attention are the outlier facts that often go against the standard reporting or narrative of the day. What I am most interested in are the facts that point away from what you might have been told, or what you may think. to be true.

My biggest goal in writing BeeLine is putting things in context. As I often write in these pages, context is everything when assessing anything. In the news bite era we live in today, context is often no where to be found. I try to provide it when I write about a subject.

Coming into contact with so much material I often find I don't have the time to go deeper with a factoid I have discovered. Sometimes not much else needs to be said. The factoid itself says enough.

Here are a few such items that I have came across recently from Twitter sources I follow.

All I can say is that these are "Things That Make Me Go Hmmm".

  • Amazon just bought 20,000 delivery vans. That is 20% of the total number of trucks that UPS has. Wow! What does that means for revenues for UPS and the United States Postal Service going forward?

  • Has anyone ever done more damage to their brand in a few days than Nike did with its Colin Kaepernick ad campaign? 

  • San Francisco and Seattle (a city near you will undoubtedly be next) are banning plastic straws and bags and everything else plastic because of a plastic island in the South Pacific. Perhaps the focus is misplaced?

  • Percentage of out of wedlock births in England and Wales (1845-2017). You would think with the availability of contraceptives and abortion the opposite would have occurred. What happened? 

  • You might conclude from this graph that Americans have more money in their pockets. How did that happen? 

  • The last several years have seen rents and home prices increasing at rapid rates in many major cities. Rents across the United States have suddenly stabilized. Trouble ahead for the real estate market?

If you don't think student debt is a problem, think again. Student debt is now at over $1.5 trillion. More than credit cards or auto loans.

Anything above that makes you go Hmmmm?

Sunday, September 9, 2018

Mass Shootings: A Unique American Problem?

There was a mass shooting in my hometown of Cincinnati last week. Four were killed (including the shooter) and two more were seriously wounded.

Every time there is a mass shooting somewhere in the United States it is almost immediately followed by a politician or pundit on cable news stating that this does not happen in other countries. They claim the "gun culture" in America is responsible for these shootings that do not happen anywhere else in the world.

It was no different in the aftermath of the Cincinnati shooting. Mayor John Cranley of Cincinnati ( a Democrat) said this,

President of the United States Barack Obama said the same thing after several of the shootings during his tenure in office.

"At some point, we as a country will have to reckon with the fact that this type of mass violence does not happen in other advanced countries. It doesn’t happen in other places with this kind of frequency. And it is in our power to do something about it.” –Obama, statement on the shooting in Charleston, S.C., June 18, 2015

“We are the only advanced country on Earth that sees these kinds of mass shootings every few months.” Obama, statement on shootings at Umpqua Community College, Roseburg, Ore., Oct. 1, 2015

“But we are the only advanced country on Earth that sees this kind of mass violence erupt with this kind of frequency. It doesn’t happen in other advanced countries. It’s not even close. And as I’ve said before, somehow we’ve become numb to it and we start thinking that this is normal.” –President Obama, announcing his new executive orders on guns, January 7, 2016

What are the facts? Is it really true that this doesn't happen in other countries?

The Crime Prevention Research Center tracks the frequency and deaths from mass shootings worldwide.

The news we see in the United States rarely captures everything that is going on in the rest of the world. The CPRC tracks these mass shootings for the entire world using the FBI definition that at least four people were killed in the shooting (the Cincinnati shooting would meet this definition).

The reality is that there are actually fewer mass shootings in the United States than most other places in the world.

For example, look at France.

France suffered more casualties (murders and injuries) from mass public shootings in 2015 alone than the US has suffered during Obama’s entire presidency (532 in France vs. 527 in France).

Note that these numbers don’t adjust for the fact that the US has 5 times the population of France. The per capita rate of casualties in France is thus 8.19 per million and for the US it is 1.65 — France’s per capita rate of casualties is thus 4.97 times higher than the rate in the US.

The 2015 numbers for France are clearly skewed due to the coordinated ISIS November, 2015 terrorist attack at the Bataclan Theatre and the Charlie Hedbo attack in January of that year.

However, even if you look at the frequency of mass shootings per million of population, countries such as France, Switzerland, Austria, Norway and Belgium suffer more mass shootings than the USA does. This is despite all of these countries having stricter gun laws than the United States.

This is the data from the years 2009-2015 that Mayor Cranley and President Obama should have consulted before the statements they made about the United States of America.

Source: Crime Prevention Research Center

Source: Crime Prevention Research Center

In fact, CPRC research recently reported that since 1970 all but two of the 25 worst mass shootings in the world, and 60 of the top 68, occurred outside of the United States.

CPRC also found that just 1.43% of the global mass shootings, and 2.11% of the murders, from 1966 to 2012 were in the United States (1966-2012). The United States has 4.6% of the world's population.

Make no mistake. There is nothing that is more repugnant than mass murder. It doesn't matter how it is perpetrated. The very nature of the act demonstrates a wanton disregard for human life.

Mayor Cranley is correct in one regard. It is not normal.

Unfortunately, it is not just an American problem. I results from an abnormal human condition. Humans that have serious mental problems. If you look at the facts, it is not defined by national borders and does not disappear despite the best efforts to legislate it away.

We need to stop politicizing and start looking at dealing with the human problem that underlies these monstrous acts.

Thursday, September 6, 2018

Should They Be Kneeling?

Another NFL season is upon us and it seems that some players seem determined to kneel during the National Anthem. The NFL tried to craft a solution to the controversy that would have fined the team of any players who kneeled on the field (the team could then pass fine on to the player). Players who did not want to stand for the anthem could stay in the locker room. The NFL backed down when the player's union (NFLPA) complained. As a result, no official policy is in place as the season begin.

ESPN has stated it will simply not televise the National Anthem. It is unclear what the other networks will do.

Miami Dolphins in 2017
Credit: AP/Steven Brashear

The reason given by the players for kneeling during the National Anthem is that they are protesting racial inequality and police brutality in the United States.

Let's look at some facts behind this issue.

Last season 70% of the players in the NFL were African American.

However, African Americans only make up about 13% of the U.S. population.

Racial inequality?

African Americans make up 53% of the arrests for murder and non-negligent homicide in the United States.

African Americans make up 29% of the arrests for rape.

African Americans make up 55% of the arrests for robbery.

(All of these statistics from FBI Report: Crime in the U.S.-2016)

Racial inequality?

Consider further that those aged 15-34 make up the vast number of homicides regardless of race.

This graph shows the distribution of homicide offenders based on age across three historical periods.


This indicates that over 80% of all homicide arrests currently are for those between the ages of 15-34. Note the disturbing trend of more homicides being committed by teenagers. In 1940, only 7% of homicides were committed by those between the ages of 15-19. Today it is close to 25%.

This also points to the fact that over 40% of all the homicides committed today are being committed by black males between the ages of 15-35. That group makes up just 2% of the total population of the United States.

In other words, young black males are committing upwards of 20 times the number of murders that would be expected relative to their representation in the population.

Racial Inequality?

It should also be kept in mind that most violent crimes (including murder) are committed against a member of the same race.

52% of all murder victims are African American. This is four times the number of murders that would be expected based on population.

58% of all male murder victims are African American.

32% all all female murder victims are African American.

33% of all murder victims are African American males between the ages of 17-34 who make up less than 2% of the total population.

(All of these statistics from FBI Expanded Homicide File Data Table 2-2015.)

Racial Inequality?

What about police brutality?

Yes, there are cases of police brutality. We have seen instances of it on videotape. However, these cases have to be put into the context of the thousands upon thousands of police interactions that occur in a typical day.

We hear about cases of white police officers killing an unarmed black man such as was the case in Ferguson, Missouri several years ago.

Yes, it does occur but it is about as common as being struck by lightning according to the statistics.

The National Review studied this issue last September in an article titled "Police Violence against Black Men Is Rare".

Last year, according to the Washington Post’s tally, just 16 unarmed black men, out of a population of more than 20 million, were killed by the police. The year before, the number was 36. These figures are likely close to the number of black men struck by lightning in a given year, considering that happens to about 300 Americans annually and black men are 7 percent of the population. And they include cases where the shooting was justified, even if the person killed was unarmed.

We also hear that African Americans are disproportionately stopped by the police for no reason. That same article cites the surprising fact that black men are actually less likely to have contact with the police in a given year than a white man.’s not true that black men are constantly stopped by the police for no reason. Indeed, black men are less likely than white men to have contact with the police in any given year, though this includes situations where the respondent called the cops himself: 17.5 percent versus 20.7 percent. Similarly, a black man has on average only 0.32 contacts with the police in any given year, compared with 0.35 contacts for a white man. It’s true that black men are overrepresented among people who have many contacts with the police, but not by much. Only 1.5 percent of black men have more than three contacts with the police in any given year, whereas 1.2 percent of white men do.

Police Brutality?

I will leave it to you to decide the justification for protesting any of this given these facts.

However, no matter how you come down on this, what is the reason to do so by disrespecting the flag and the country that has provided those in the NFL with the opportunity and freedom to take the field and earn millions of dollars doing it?

Is there any consideration of the men and women who died under that flag to preserve that freedom?

Most particularly, what of the 360,000 Union soldiers who died in the Civil War to insure that freedom for those African American players?

Should they be kneeling?

Or should they proudly stand to honor the flag of the country and those that sacrificed their lives for that freedom?

Monday, September 3, 2018

Labor Day 2018

If there was ever a Labor Day to celebrate it is this one.

156 million Americans are employed. The most ever.

GDP grew at 4.2% last quarter.

The stock market is near all-time highs

The number of those working full time has increased by 5 million since January alone. This is almost unimaginable. Look at this chart that shows that full-time job growth since last July.

Monthly Number of Full-Time Employees in the U.S. (July 2017-July 2018)
(in millions, unadjusted)


The unemployment rate is 3.9%. We generally have not seen unemployment this low in half a

Black unemployment is at all-time lows.

Hispanic unemployment is at all-time lows.

High school dropouts are even seeing all-time low unemployment lows.

327,000 new manufacturing jobs were added in the last year. That is the largest amount in 23 years.

There is also distinct difference in the jobs that are growing the most under Trump compared to what they were in the last year or so under Obama.

The chart below tells the tale. Mining, manufacturing and oil and gas extraction have all seen a resurgence under Trump.

Is that just luck? Or does a lot have to do with less regulation, tougher trade stances and low business taxes?

Obama supporters are trying to argue that all of this good economic news is due to the policies of the past eight years. Look at this chart and try to make that argument with a straight face.

Credit: using BLS data

Remember when Barack Obama told workers in many of these industries that these jobs were never coming back?

The Obama administration also consistently argued that sustained economic growth beyond 3% was a thing of the past. We were told that our expectations had to be lowered to a new reality. Perhaps that was because there was not one year in Obama's eight years that GDP grew at least 3%.

On this Labor Day let's consider our blessings that so many in the United States are productive, working members of society.

Make no mistake. The cycles of economic activity are still with us. These good times will surely be followed by some tough times. Donald Trump cannot reverse the cyclical nature of man and his universe. No man can. However, all of this should show that the right policies and incentives do make a difference.

Thank you, one and all, for your labor. Enjoy your day.