Tuesday, December 31, 2019

The Best of BeeLine-2019

Here is a Top 10 List for the Best of BeeLine for 2019. The first 5 are the most popular posts I wrote during the year based on the number of views. The second 5 are a few of my personal favorites out of the 145 blog posts I wrote during the year.

If you missed reading these "Best of BeeLine" posts the first time around, here's another opportunity to get to "the shortest route to what you need to know" to start 2020 off right. You might also consider this forwarding this post to a couple friends who might appreciate a blog that tries to put some of the complicated issues of the day in context.

BeeLine readership continues to expand. Total readership grew by over 25% during the year. All of that growth is organic. I don't actively promote or advertise this blog. New readers almost always come from one of you passing it along to someone else.

If you enjoy BeeLine, please pass a recommendation on to your friends and family. I enjoy writing it but it is a lot easier to sit down, research and write when I know more are reading my blog.

If you want to make sure you don't miss a post, consider putting yourself on the BeeLine email list. You will receive an email the first thing in the morning when I post a new piece. You can sign up in the upper right hand corner on this page. You need to be viewing the web version to do this as this feature does not show up on your phone. You will receive a follow-up email (from FeedBurner) that you will need to confirm to begin delivery.

Thank you to all my loyal BeeLine readers and a Happy New Year to each one of you!

The Best of BeeLine-2019

Most Popular

There is no better word to describe Donald Trump than indefatigable. This post is also now the 4th most viewed blog post in the nine years I have been writing BeeLine.

The Democrats are not being honest with almost anything they tell you about what Medicare for All will be like. Facts about the current Medicare program and healthcare costs today.

This is Bad?

Written only two weeks ago but this blog post was shared  more broadly by my email subscribers with others than any post that I wrote this year. Worth reading by anyone who thinks that President Trump is the worst President ever and the United States is a horrible place to live.

Bernie Sanders talks a good game. However, how does he lead his own life? His tax returns reveal a lot.

We live in a soundbite world and a 280 character universe. That is a big reason why so many know so little today. A few examples of why people need facts and context to understand what is going on in the world. That is something I try to always do when writing BeeLine.

Five of My Favorites

Chinese Student Invasion

We are not just importing Chinese products these days. Chinese students are flooding U.S. college campuses.

The Ultimate Resource

We hear all the time that we are running out of natural resources. Fortunately, the ultimate resource---human ingenuity and innovation seems inexhaustible.

White Lightning

A most unlikely track and field star.

The Rise of the Metrosexual

Who knew that the birth control pill could change the type of man a woman is attracted to?

CO2 Math

In order to believe that carbon emissions in the United States have anything to do with our climate you have to believe that something that is .000156% of our atmosphere could have any effect. The math doesn't add up.

A Bonus Pick
One of the most read blog posts of the year and also a personal favorite.

Crazy and Improper

The Founders wrote the Constitution specifically to protect us from the crazy and improper things we are seeing around the country today.

Sunday, December 29, 2019

2019 in Pictures

The iPhone changed the world of photography forever.

This chart is old (from 2013) but it provides some context for the explosion in photography.


The tremendous growth in photography started with the introduction of the first consumer digital cameras in the late 1990's followed by the introduction of the iPhone in 2007.

It is difficult to arrive at a precise estimate of how many photos will be taken in 2019. I have seen estimates over the last few years that put the total anywhere from 1.2 trillion images on the low end to 8.8 trillion per year on the high end.

To put that number in context, it is estimated by one source that there have only been 2.5-3.5 trillion pictures ever taken with analog film cameras since the first photograph in 1827. That means we are now taking more photos each year with our phones than were taken in all of human history before the introduction of the iPhone!

When you consider that there are 3 billion smartphones in use in the world and the average user takes somewhere close to 2,000 photos in a year it is easy to see how the 8 trillion number for this year is not too far-fetched.

What I find interesting is that the research suggests that smartphone users only delete about 10% of the photos they takes. The comparable number of deletions from professional photographers----80%-90%.

Here are a few of the photos I took on my iPhone during my travels during 2019 that I did not delete.

Reviewing these photos now makes me wonder how I found the time to write at all during the year.

It is truly a beautiful world we are blessed to live in.

Miramar Beach, Florida

Miramar Beach, Florida

Santa Rosa Beach, Florida

Hilton Head Island, SC

Great American Ball Park, Cincinnati

Shoshone Falls, Idaho

Snake River, Idaho

Rome, Italy

St. Peter's Basilica, The Vatican

Dubrovnik, Croatia

Dobrota, Montenegro

Santorini, Greece

Amalfi Coast, Italy

Pompeii, Italy

Malaga, Spain

Ponta Delgada, Azores

Happy New Year to all of my readers!

Tuesday, December 24, 2019

Boxed In

The House impeached President Trump last week but Speaker Pelosi stated that they would not be delivering the articles of impeachment to the Senate for a trial.

It is a curious strategy in that the House pushed through the impeachment by stating that they could not wait one more day before impeaching Trump because he represented such an imminent threat to the country and the Constitution.

Does that make any sense at all?

The only way this makes sense is to understand that Nancy Pelosi and House Democrats were trapped in a political mess of their own making.

The far left wing of the Democrat party had been pushing for Trump's impeachment practically from the moment he was sworn in. Pelosi had pushed back on this notion for months stating that she would not be in favor of impeachment unless there was "overwhelming and bipartisan", support for pursuing it.

The final count---not one Republican voted for impeachment.

Credit: AP

This is as I predicted a month ago in what I referred to then as the "Hail Mary Impeachment". This entire process seems to be mostly about tarnishing Trump before the 2020 election than anything else. The fact that Pelosi is refusing to forward the articles of impeachment to the Senate further confirms that.

The worst thing that could happen to the Democrats now would be for the Senate to "acquit" Trump. That destroys their narrative. They want a permanent cloud over Trump's head.

However, Pelosi and the Democrats have now put themselves in another box. Every day that goes by that those Articles are not forwarded to the Senate makes this process look more and more as  a political sideshow to more and more voters.

At the same time, every day this carries on, means that the inevitable Senate trial will encroach more on the Democrat primary process. This will necessarily draw attention away from the Democrat candidates making it even more difficult to defeat Donald Trump which seems to have been the primary purpose in all of this anyway.

The polls indicate that Trump has actually gotten stronger throughout the impeachment process. This has to be the exact opposite of what Democrats calculated when they started down this path.

Even CNN has noticed.

A recent poll by CNN released last week showed that Trump's favorable rating was at 46%. He was at 44% in October and 43% in June. Just as significant, Trump's unfavorable rating in the CNN poll has dropped by 4 points since the impeachment inquiry started.

It appears that the economy is a big reason for Trump's strength according to the CNN poll.

Overall, 76% rate economic conditions in the US today as very or somewhat good, significantly more than those who said so at this time last year (67%). This is the highest share to say the economy is good since February 2001, when 80% said so.

Credit :CNN

CNN pointed out how dramatic that surge has been in how voters are viewing economic conditions in the country in an on-air report. You have to imagine this was not an easy segment for CNN to "report".

Credit: CNN

One could look at Trump's approval rating at 46% and argue that he is still below 50% so why are the Democrats so worried? Why would they think they would need to do this "Impeachment Hail Mary" when the election is only a little over 10 months away?

Do you know what Trump's approval rating was in the last CNN poll before the 2016 elections?


His unfavorable was at 61%.

Guess what? He won with those approval numbers in 2016. What leads anyone to believe that 2020 voting results will be any different at this point?

Another interesting finding in the CNN poll is that while there always seem to be a lot of talk about Trump's lackluster approval ratings we do hear much about the approval ratings of the Democrat frontrunners. They are not exactly a popular group with voters either. In fact, not one of them has an approval rating in the CNN poll that is higher than Trump's 46%.

Sanders     44%
Biden         41%
Warren       37%
Buttigieg     29%

CNN's poll does show that in a head to head voting match up, Biden is +5% over Trump, Sanders is +4%. Warren is +1% and Buttigieg is -1%. However, these are national poll numbers that would only equate to popular vote totals.

It is a different story when you look at the election on a state level which it will be due to the electoral college.

The most significant finding I saw in the CNN poll is the fact that in the group of 15 battleground states, that were decided by 8 points or less in 2016, there is not one Democrat who leads Trump.

One other chart captured my attention this week that I think is an important consideration as 2020 is almost upon us.

Two years ago this week, President Trump signed his tax cut bill. The Democrats voted against that bill in lock step in much the same manner as they voted for impeachment.

You may recall at the time the Democrats said that tax bill would do nothing for the economy. They said it was a giveaway to the rich. They said it would do nothing for middle or lower class workers.

Exhibit 1 to refute that are the facts about the economy right now (record low unemployment, wage growth and record stock market prices) as well as the poll results above on how voters believe the economy is performing based on their personal experience.

Exhibit 2 is this chart that shows wage growth comparing low-wage, middle-wage and high-wage industries.

Where has wage growth been highest since Trump became President in 2017? It has been in low-wage industries. In particular, look at that wage growth since the tax bill was effective beginning in 2018.

Do you want to know why the Democrats can't wait for the next election for the American people to decide whether Donald Trump is unfit for office?

I suggest you start by looking at the chart above once again.

It does not get much worse than that if you are a Democrat right now.

They are truly boxed in on this Christmas.

Wednesday, December 18, 2019

The Aging of Air Travel

I thought I would follow-up on my last post on "Remembering the Wright Brothers" with another focusing on the air travel theme.

Over my lifetime, I have travelled in the air well over one million miles. In fact, I flew most of the way across the country this week.

I had my first jet aircraft ride in a United DC-8 in the early 1960's.

Credit: www.avationexplorer.com

I flew a lot on business in my career and have seen many changes in the airline industry over that time.

For example, when I started flying, all air routes were heavily regulated. Airlines applied for and were granted permission by the federal government (Civil Aeronautics Board) to fly routes between cities. The CAB also controlled the right of new carriers to enter the market and had the power to regulate fares to passengers. This did not change until the Airline Deregulation Act was passed in 1978.

When I started flying many airlines had age requirements for their flight attendants which required that female attendants must retire by their mid-30's. The rule was looser for male attendants but in those days you saw very few male flight attendants. Some also required that flight attendants had to be single.

All airlines imposed weight requirements. In the regulated airline industry of the 1960's and 1970's the "look" of your flight attendants took on outsized importance as all the route fares were the same. Most passengers were business men. It did not take much for the airline's marketing department to figure out what they should focus on to try to get passengers in their seats.

Braniff Airways built an entire marketing campaign around the look of its flight attendants in the mid-1960's. One of the lines they used in their advertising was "Does your wife know you're flying with us'? Yes, really.

In the late 1960's the federal courts ruled that the age and marriage restrictions were discriminatory.

However, weight restrictions persisted until the early 1990's. This is an example of the weight restrictions in place for some of the major airlines in 1980.

Credit: Journal of Air Law and Commerce

This is an image of Southwest Airlines flight attendants in the 1970's that might explain why the airlines felt that the weight requirement was important at that time. Notice that Southwest had the most restrictive weight requirements for females  in the chart above. The "uniform" they were required to wear might explain why that was.

Times have changed and, most decidedly, for the better.

Why do I bring this all up?

I wanted to provide some context to an interesting story I saw recently involving a flight attendant for Delta Airlines who had been terminated and has filed a discrimination suit against the airline. This is the headline from the FoxNews.com story.

When you see a headline like this you know there has to be much more to the story.

The Daily Mail has a more detailed look at the background behind the story including an interview with, and pictures of, the flight attendant, Ida Gomez Llanos.

Credit: TheDailyMail

And quite a story it is.

It turns out that this flight attendant had been working for Delta since 1962 (she actually began with a regional airline Delta acquired) and had 56 years of service when she was terminated.

56 years!

Despite that length of service the story stated she was still only the fifth longest-tenured flight attendant at Delta! Wow! There are other flight attendants pushing 80 or beyond?

Making $250k per year put this flight attendant with annual income about 5 times the average at Delta.

She says she was terminated because Delta wanted to replace her with a younger flight attendant who did not make as much money. It doesn't take a lot of imagination to see that might be a motivation here.

However, in reading her legal complaint, it appears that most of her problems centered around her fellow flight attendants, some of which seemed determined to undermine her and remove her from the seniority list.

Flight attendants with the most service get their choice of the best routes and Ida was working all of them out of Los Angeles. LAX to Sydney and LAX to Shanghai among them. Ida had the most seniority for flight attendants at Delta based at LAX. It also doesn't take a lot of imagination to see that some of her co-workers would like to see her no longer ahead of them on the seniority list.

Ida was fired after allegedly taking a milk carton off a flight in Sydney that she did not declare on the customs form. This came after she was on probation because of complaints from fellow flight attendants about her that seem more appropriate to a kindergarten classroom than the cabin of a 777.

It will be interesting to see where this ends up. Ida has asked for a jury trial but you have to think that Delta will settle this before then.

At the same time, you have to wonder whether eliminating age restrictions altogether for flight attendants was such a great idea.

Can a 78 year old really be counted on to do all the work and safety requirements that are necessary in a flight attendant?

Pilots must retire by age 65 (it used to be 60) as mandated by the FAA.

My understanding is that airlines require its flight attendants to be able to operate and open exit doors in evacuation tests to retain their jobs. However, they can retake the test a number of times until they pass.

Perhaps it is time to have the FAA set a mandatory retirement age for flight attendants? The airlines would simply not able to do it unilaterally without getting sued or having union contract approval.

Than again, if we can have 77 or 78 year old men running for President who is to say we shouldn't have 78 or 79 year old flight attendants pushing a beverage cart down the aisle.

One thing is for certain---air travel has changed a lot since I took that first flight almost 60 years ago.

Tuesday, December 17, 2019

Remembering the Wright Brothers

On this day in 1903 the Wright Brothers successfully flew the first self-propelled, heavier-than-air aircraft.

I noticed some good natured humor on Twitter today on whether Ohio or North Carolina has the better case for claiming it was "first" in ushering in the airplane.

Both states have had license plates heralding their contribution to the history of aviation.

I was born and live in Ohio today but I have lots of family living in North Carolina so I am staying out of the scuffle.

Here is one of the tweets that I thought was pretty amusing.

Of course, Twitter being what it is, someone had to jump on the Neil Armstrong reference with what they claim Armstrong said about the Ohio-North Carolina bragging rights battle. I have no idea if it is true but it is a great line. Not quite as good as "That's one small step..." but good nonetheless.

The one thing I will contribute is again publishing a blog post I wrote about the Wright Brothers in 2015.

It doesn't matter much which state claims it was "first". What everyone should really appreciate is what the Wright Brothers did and how they did it. It is a remarkable story of remarkable men.

On The Shoulders Of Giants
(originally published June 1, 2015)

I am just back from a vacation on the Outer Banks of North Carolina where my beach reading included the new David McCullough biography, "The Wright Brothers".

I could not think of a more relevant read considering the history that Wilbur and Orville Wright made on that wind-swept swath of sand dunes.

What those men accomplished is still awe inspiring. Even to my three-year old grandson who asked his mother as he flew from Texas to North Carolina, "How does this plane hold its weight in the air?"

People for thousand of years wondered if man could ever fly. Many thought it was impossible. In fact, Wilbur Wright told his brother in 1901 (two years before their success at Kill Devil Hills and two years after they had begun working on the challenges of flight) that men would not fly for 50 years.

It shows what passion, perspiration and perseverance mean to success. And Wilbur and Orville Wright used all three to change the world.

A few interesting observations from the book.

Orville's first grade teacher noticed him tinkering with bits of wood one day in class. When she asked him what he was doing he said he was making a machine which he and his brother would fly one day.

Did I say passion?

The Wright Brothers made every part, sewed every seam and assembled their aircraft after it was shipped from Dayton to Kitty Hawk. They also built their own building (combined workshop and living quarters) and hanger from scratch on the Outer Banks and had to haul every piece of equipment over four miles across those sandy dunes. They made three separate trips over three years to Kitty Hawk and Kill Devil Hills to understand gliding mechanics and flight control before ever attaching an engine and propellors to their aircraft. Every time they did a test flight they had to haul the aircraft back to its original starting spot.

Did I say perspiration?

Wight Brothers Camp at Kill Devil Hills (1903)
Credit: OldPicture.com

Most knew nothing of the efforts of the Wright Brothers. They toiled in obscurity. Who would pay any attention anyway to a couple of guys who owned a bicycle shop who said they were going to fly? Most of those who did hear of their efforts thought they were crazy. In fact, the hometown newspapers in Dayton, Ohio did not even bother to send one reporter to cover the subsequent flight tests they were doing over the next several years in Dayton after their achievement in North

Did I say perseverance?

The story of the Wright Brothers is also another lesson in the limitations and ineptness that often attends government bureaucracy.

At the same time the Wright Brothers were working on the problems involved with flight the federal government was assisting a higher profile effort to the same end. $50,000 in public money was expended on the project in addition to another $20,000 in private funds. All to no avail.

The total cost of the Wright Brothers to succeed? About $1,000 out of their own pockets in addition to the sweat of their brow.

To make matters worse, the Wright Brothers were continually rejected by the federal government when they approached it with the airplane technology. After repeated rejections by the United States government their first sale was to France. In fact, the Wright Brothers initially were much more famous in Europe than they were in the United States due to the air demonstrations Wilbur did in Europe.

Sir Isaac Newton was known to have said,

"If I have seen further, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants."

This statement clearly applies to anyone who came after the Wright Brothers unlocked the mysteries of powered flight in 1903. It is truly breathtaking to consider the exponential advances in flight that followed their breakthrough in fairly short order.

By 1909, an airplane had crossed the English Channel.

By 1920, the airplane had been used in World War I.

By 1927, Charles Lindbergh had flown solo across the Atlantic.

By 1935, the DC-3 has been designed and built to carry regularly scheduled money paying passengers

By 1943, the B-29 bomber had been developed that could carry 2,000 pounds of bombs with a range of 5,000 miles at 400 mph.

By 1947, Chuck Yeager had broken the sound barrier in a supersonic jet.

It is incredible to think that Orville Wright lived to see all of this in his lifetime. He passed away in 1948 at age 77 .

Of course, by 1969 a man had walked on the moon. It just so happened that Neil Armstrong grew up in Wapakoneta, Ohio which was just up the road from Dayton.

Unfortunately, Wilbur Wright died in 1912 at the age of 45 due to typhoid fever which is typically caused by contaminated food or water. Less than 400 cases per year are now reported in the U.S. but it was a major public health issue in that era. Orville had almost died of the same disease in 1896 which is now fairly easily treated with antibiotics.

Thank God that Orville survived to work with his brother in bringing us the miracle of flight. And thank God that there are men like Wilbur and Orville Wright who dare to dream and are not afraid to perspire and persevere to propel us to new heights.

May my grandson and future generations have the same spirit and perseverance.

Wright Brothers Memorial
Kill Devil Hills, NC
May, 2015

Monday, December 16, 2019

This Is Bad?

We are not only closing in on the end of another year, but on the close of a decade. At least, that is how most people think about it. Purists might argue we won't do that until next year.

There are a lot of people in this country who are not happy with the state of the United States right now.  Some are about to impeach the duly elected President despite the fact the voters have the opportunity to remove him in less than 11 months if they choose to do so.

There are other men and women in the Democrat party on the campaign trail to replace President Trump telling everybody how bad it is to live in the United States. Don't worry, they are going to make it a lot better.

This seems to be a good time to take a step back and assess where we are in the U.S. compared to the rest of the world. After all, as I often say in these pages, context is everything when assessing anything.

I follow Charlie Bilello on Twitter as he often provides excellent context as to what it going on in the investment world. I found the three tweets below to be especially helpful in thinking about exactly where we are right now.

Stocks, housing prices at all-time highs. Economic expansion and job growth are the longest in history. The unemployment rate is at a 50-year low.

You don't get a real appreciation of how great things are in the United States economically until you look at equity returns over the last 12 years (right before the economy turned toward the great recession in 2008-2009).

It should be remembered this was a global recession. Everyone in the world saw its effects. However, compare how the United States stock market came out of it compared to the rest of the world.

Yes, the stock market is not everything. Not everyone has benefited as much as those on Wall Street. However, people have 401(k's), IRA's and pensions. They have college funds. In addition, the wealth that has been created supports a lot of investment and business expansion. If you don't think it matters, think back to what things were like after the stock market cratered in 2008/2009.

John F. Kennedy famously stated that "a rising tide raises all boats." It is really true.

USA +172% vs. Japan +30%

USA +172% vs. France +16%

USA +172% vs. Germany +10%

USA +172% vs. UK +4%

USA +172% vs. China -8%

USA +172% vs. Russia -37%

Notice in particular how much that gap accelerated since January, 2017 when Donald J. Trump became President.

One more tweet from Charlie showing that you literally could not lose in any major investment index sector in 2019 even if you tried.

I can't think of how anything could get much better economically in the United States than it is right now. Everyone should feel incredibly blessed no matter what your political persuasion. I can assure you it will not always be this good. I can also assure you that there are a significant number of people who have no comprehension of how good they have it.

Count among that number those who are voting on the articles of impeachment of Donald Trump.

Pass this on to anyone who tells you had bad it is in the United States.

If they have a job, own a house or other real estate, hold any stocks or bonds, have a 401(k) or a pension, or have a gold chain around their neck, you might have them explain why they think it is so bad.

Where do they want to move to?

Learning From Labour's Loss

I don't follow British politics very closely. I know that the UK uses a parliamentarian system and over the years I have been familiar with some of the leading English politicians. I know something about the policy positions of the major parties. I am hardly a keen observer of the British political scene.

Despite that disclaimer, I have found it interesting that the electorate of the United States and the UK have followed somewhat similar cycles in their voting patterns over the last 40 years.

USA/UK Election Background

Ronald Reagan's election in 1980 in the United States ushered in a completely different era in American politics. Before Reagan, conservative views were at the fringes of the body politic. There was very little difference between a lot of Republicans and Democrats. In fact, many Democrats in the 1960's and 1970's from the South and West were more conservative than Republicans from the Northeast and Midwest.

The United Kingdom suffered economic malaise in the 1970's. The economy was struggling, inflation was high and labor union strikes were common occurrences. Many large industries (rail, airlines, public utilities) were owned by the British government.

By 1979, the Labour Party had been in control of the British government for 12 of the previous 15 years before Margaret Thatcher took control with the Conservative party. Thatcher set about privatizing most of the government-owned businesses and the British economy started to recover. Thatcher would serve for almost 12 years.

Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher
Credit: WikiCommons

A year later Ronald Reagan won in the United States. He served for 8 years and was followed by George H.W. Bush who some would describe as Reagan lite. Thatcher was succeeded similarly by Conservative John Major who was more mild-mannered and moderate than Thatcher and served 6 years. It is hard not to see the similarities between Reagan/Bush and Thatcher/Major.

Major was followed by Tony Blair of the Labour Party in 1997. Many at the time saw many similarities in the style of Blair to Bill Clinton who was elected in 1992. Clinton went on to serve 8 years and Blair led the UK for 10 years to be followed by Labour's Gordon Brown for 3 years.

In the meantime, George W. Bush returned the White House to the Republicans for two terms and the UK returned to Conservative rule in 2010 which they have held to this day with three different Prime Ministers--David Cameron, Theresa May and Boris Johnson. The only thing missing was a Barack Obama figure to rescue the Labour Party in Great Britain.

We now have Donald Trump and Boris Johnson who share a lot of the same similarities. They are brash and at uncouth at times . They are not always politically correct. However, they favor populism over elitism and nationalism over globalism. You could say both are imperfect. However, they both benefited by running against opponents who were even more flawed.

Boris Johnson and Donald Trump
Credit: BusinessInsider.com

There are a lot of parallels looking back over those 40 years. As I have said in these pages in the past, history may not repeat but it surely rhymes. You can say the same thing looking at the last 40 years of politics in the UK and USA.

Of course, the defining political moment in both the UK and USA recently were the events of 2015 and 2016.

In a national referendum in 2015, UK voters chose to leave the European Union (Brexit) shocking the political class and media elites. Similarly, Donald Trump did the same thing by winning the Presidency in the United States on a populist and nationalist agenda.

Both countries have been in various forms of political chaos since those votes, in large part due to the fact that the political and media elites seem to have not been able to process the fact that average working people do not share their elitist, globalist views.

2019 UK General Election

In the UK last week, the Conservatives gained 47 seats in Parliament giving them 365 total seats. Labour lost 59 seats. Labour had held some of those seats for over 100 years. It was the worst overall result in 84 years.

The extent of the blind eye that the elites have compared to election results reality is revealed when you compare the predictions of Conservative party gains in the 2019 election compared to the final tallies.

It seems that the "smarter" you are only means that you are the furthest removed from reality as this tweet I saw after the election on Twitter demonstrates.

The most interesting parallel between the two countries is the extent to which each party that was traditionally considered the representative of the working people (Labour in UK, Democrats in USA) have slowly abandoned that constituency in favor of a globalist and progressive agenda.

You can see it in these next few graphs that compare voting patterns in the two countries.

UK in 1997---Red (Labour), Blue (Conservative), Other Colors (Minor Parties)

UK in 2019---Red (Labour), Blue (Conservative), Other Colors (Minor Parties)

Labour member in the House of Commons continue to hold seat in a few isolated pockets in the country.

This is also what has happened in the United States between when Bill Clinton was re-elected in 1996 and the election of Donald Trump in 2016.

USA in 1996---Blue (Democrat), Red (Republican).

It is beyond me why the same colors cannot be used in both countries to signify liberals and conservatives. I guess it is why we also drive on opposite sides of the road!

USA in 2016---Blue (Democrat), Red (Republican).

Democrats have increasingly become a party that only represents coastal urban areas and counties along the border.

Do you see some similarities here?

You also see the same age-based division in the UK as in the United States. Young voters tend to be liberal. Older voters are more conservative. However, that age divide is much greater in the UK than in the USA.

Look at this distribution of the vote in the UK by age.

57% of 18-24 year olds voted for Labour. Only 18% of those age 65 and older did.

Do you think those chronologically advantaged voters might remember what it was like back in the 1960's and 1970's in Great Britain?

This is what the UK electoral map would look like if 18-24 year olds were the only votes that counted.

This is the age distribution in the 2016 election between Clinton and Trump. You see that same general trend by age (younger--Democrat, older-Republican) but it is not as pronounced in the UK)


Implications for US Election in 2020

Are there any takeaways from the British general election that might give us a clue of where we are headed in the United States in 2020?

First and foremost, as I have stated many times in these pages, the voters are sovereign in the American political system. The same is true in the UK. The people ultimately determine the government that they want.

Politicians who disregard the will of the people do not survive in the long term.

The people spoke previously that they wanted Brexit. The Labour party didn't believe it. You would have to believe they understand it now.

The Labour party agenda also veered very far to the left. Much too far left for almost anyone but hard core socialists.

To make matters worse, the leader of the Labour party, Jeremy Corbyn, was considered "profoundly personally unpopular" by many (he had a -40 approval rating in recent polls) due to a mix of the radicalism of his views and increasing anti-Semitic sentiments in his party.

Countries that are as divided politically as the United States and Great Britain have been recently do not stay that way forever. One party eventually wrests control over the other as the voters tire of division and inaction and come down on one side or the other. When they do they want decisive action on those things that they deem most important.

That appears to be what occurred in the UK last week. There should be no mistaking what the people want regarding Brexit with their vote last week.

The losing party must adapt or die.

I see Trump following a very similar script to what Boris Johnson and the Conservatives have done in the UK.

Trump is going to continue to push populist issues and he is going to continue to be strong on sovereignty issues such as illegal immigration, trade policy and attacking identity politics. These are winning issues in this day and age. He is going to be moderate on social issues rather than radical. He is going to continue to protect Social Security and Medicare from cuts and is going to support private health care as opposed to a government takeover. He is going to extend social safety net issues selectively such as the recently passed paid family leave for federal employees indicates.

In the end, Trump will most likely be much closer to the center, and the heart of the average American voter, than any Democrat will be. From where the Democrats are now, it is a long way to get to the point that the American middle class worker believes they are on their side.

Trump, like Boris Johnson, is far from perfect.

However, political choices are binary most of the time. It is not necessarily the best man or woman that wins. Many times, especially with voters in the center, it is less a vote for someone you want than a vote for someone you do not want.

The UK election illustrates that.

I am sure Trump understands that better than anyone.

The UK election results should tell Democrats that ignoring the lesson learned by the Labour Party last week carries considerable risks to their future prospects.

The actions by Democrats this week involving impeaching President Trump on trumped up charges indicates that they are not paying much attention to what has transpired in the UK election last week.

My advice to Democrats---proceed at your own peril. The voters are watching and in the end they will have the final say. They always do.

Thursday, December 12, 2019

A Drink, a Pizza and a Tree

It has been a tough week of news. We found that the top leadership of the FBI apparently was thoroughly corrupt in an investigation of a Presidential candidates campaign. We have seen House Democrats abuse their power in a rush to impeach a duly elected President without citing any crime. We are still awaiting the final results of the UK general election but early returns suggest that Boris Johnson and the Conservatives have gotten a boost and Brexit is closer to reality.

Quite a week.

I thought it best to end the week on a less serious side and highlight some interesting information that has nothing to do with politics. How about some data on booze, pizza and trees?

Alcohol Consumption

We often hear how bad things are around the world. However, alcohol consumption is generally declining almost everywhere. It does not appear that people are drinking their troubles away.

There has been no greater reduction in drinking than in Russia. Austrians, Irish and the French now drink more than Russians. In 2007  no one could put them down like the Russians. Alcohol consumption per adult has decreased almost 40% over the last decade in Russia. Is Putin doing something right?


These charts show the locations of all the major pizza chains in the United States. It is still easier to find a Pizza Hut than any other pizza restaurant.

All the charts are from DataIsBeautiful/BoMcCready.

Domino's and Little Caesar's were both founded in the Detroit area.

I found it interesting that up and comers Marco's, Hungry Howie's and Jet's all have their biggest concentration of stores in the that area. They must really like their pizza in the Great Lake state.

Forest Cover by State

There are a lot of environmentalists running around saying that we are destroying the planet. However, when it comes to trees, there is actually more forest cover in the United States than there was one hundred years ago. This is despite the fact that the population has increased three-fold in that time to an estimated 330 million people.

The chart below shows the percent of each state covered in forests.

89% of Maine is covered in forest. Only 2% is covered by forest in North Dakota.

It is pretty startling to see how forest-covered the Northeast and Southeast are when considering the population in these regions (and the number of pizza restaurants)!

Credit: https://www.reddit.com/r/MapPorn/comments/anfpkn/percentage_forest_cover_in_each_us_state/

My suggestion for you this weekend is to forget the depressing news coming out of Washington, D.C. by grabbing yourself a drink, ordering a pizza and building a fire from the wood in all those trees.

Next week will come soon enough.