Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Niall Ferguson Is An Honorable Man

To my esteemed, award-winning colleague and friend, Niall Ferguson, I say:  Welcome back from the dark side.  It takes guts to admit one’s mistake as Niall did at the Milken Institute in December 2016, when he said he was wrong to oppose Brexit.  In future visits to Britain, he vows to spend more time in pubs and less time fraternizing with establishment politicians.

Niall also issued a sort-of mea culpa on Trump in praising the president elect’s nomination of our distinguished colleague, General James M. Mattis, as Secretary of Defense.

Perhaps it’s only a matter of time until he says he wrote his anti-Trump columns under duress.  C’est possible?

Niall Ferguson is also a Stephen Schwartzman Visiting Scholar at Tsinghua University in Beijing, China.  Niall can take comfort knowing that Schwartzman has agreed to chair a Trump Economic Advisory Panel of leading men and women, including Democrats, from the world of business.

Niall has also acknowledged that he is eating a plate of black crow in having been wrong in opposing Brexit.  (Crows are among the smartest birds in the world.  They can make 50 distinct sounds communicating with each other.)  But to secure his return from the dark side, he should top off his meal with several portions of humble (not mince) pie.

What’s next on Ferguson’s to-do list?  For starters, he might encourage his countryman and our distinguished colleague, Timothy Garton Ash, to turn from the dark side by disavowing his claim that Frau Merkel is now leader of the free world.

The Hoover Institution is home to a trove of Trump bashers, more than any other free-market, conservative think tank.  Altogether, fifteen fellows trashed Trump, some mercilessly.  Of those, 13 were Republicans/Conservatives; only 2 were Democrats/Liberals.  A few have softened their prior harsh criticism.  Others may be too proud to walk back their criticism, so we’ll have to wait and see.  I’m from Missouri, the “show-me state.”

To Niall I say, “May the force be with you!”

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Think Tanks On A Shoestring

Artificial Intelligence (AI), machine learning, self-driving cars, robotic vacuums, sex dolls (sexbots), chatbots, waiterbots, and other robot applications are transforming the world.  Can think tank bots be far behind?

Thinks tanks are a HUUUUGE industry, two thousand-plus in the United States and seven thousand-plus worldwide.  They own billions of dollars of property and financial assets, spend billions in research and administration, employ several hundred thousand staff, produce trillions of pages of reports, studies, briefs, memorandums, tweets, blog posts, podcasts, videos, articles, and books—most of which are not read, heard, or seen.  They host thousands of seminars, speeches, lunches, dinners, retreats, and cruises.  This is an industry ripe for disruption.

I am reminded of the time I walked into the Bank of China building on the Bund in Shanghai in April 1981.  I saw 600 individuals sitting behind desks, each using an abacus to process information.  It seemed to me that one personal computer manned by one employee could replace all 600. 

Think tanks run the gamut from right to left in their political views, and vary in coverage from single issues to the full spectrum of domestic and international issues.  Some emphasize in-depth research, while others focus on daily issues.

Your friendly proprietor thinks there may be a better way to accomplish the objectives of think tanks, which would provide better analysis and commentary at a small fraction of the cost.  The task would require some initial start-up funding, an administrator, a couple of programmers, and two policy analysts.  That’s it.  (If you like what follows, let me know and we can get started right away.)

I’m going to describe the construction of a free-market think tank-bot.  Let’s abbreviate it as FMB.  I propose to take the works of Friedman, Becker, Stigler, Hayek, Mises, and the catalogue of several hundred Liberty Fund books and other free-market literature and feed them into the FMB.  Programmers will instruct the FMB to synthesize and curate the material to provide the best free-market response to any public policy issue, small or large, domestic or international.  They will feed the FMB carefully screened worldwide daily news.

The FMB will be able to supply free-market recommendations to any problem anywhere, with full (philosophical) explanation, evidence, and documentation.  It might offer a daily report on free-market solutions to ten pending issues free, but charge a modest fee for specific searches.

Total requirements are a staff of five—two programmers, two policy wonks, one administrator, a small workplace with furniture, computers, and other office necessities.  Once up and running, the FMB could function on an annual budget of about $1.5-2 million a year.  It should become self-sustaining in a short time, obviating the need for fund-raising, and even become profitable selling advertising.

Are you out there Peter Thiel?

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Update: The Democrat Presidential Nominee in 2020 Will Be....

Mark Cuban or possibly Tom Steyer.  Tom Steyer, hedge fund billionaire, Stanford trustee, and fanatical environmentalist hints he may seek the Democrat nomination in 2020 to save the planet.

Other Democrat billionaires are likely to throw their hats into the presidential political ring in the next two years.  The new political order will be the struggle among the top 0.0001%.

The traditional election industry is withering on the vine.  Say goodbye to soon-to-be obsolete political handlers, pollsters, fund-raisers, pundits, and other relics of electing presidents.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Stanford University Faculty, Staff, and Students Living in Campus Housing Vote 91.6% For Clinton, 3.4% for Trump

From its founding in 1891, portions of Stanford’s land have been used to construct housing for faculty, staff and students.  Over 125 years, Stanford faculty and the University have built about 650 single-family homes, 250 condominiums, and 40 duplexes.  (More construction is currently underway.)

Stanford currently has 2,153 faculty members and several dozen top administrators who are eligible to purchase a campus residence.  Only about a thousand, 40%, live in the “faculty ghetto.”  The other 60% live in neighboring towns and suburbs.

Four precincts (Santa Clara County Precincts 2542, 2544, 2545, and 2546) circumscribe Stanford University.  Precincts 2542 and 2544 consist almost exclusively of graduate and undergraduate student housing.  Precinct 2545 consists solely of faculty/staff housing (F/S housing).  Precinct 2546 includes both student and F/S housing.  F/S housing is affectionately termed the “faculty ghetto.” 

Many undergraduate students are registered to vote in other states or other addresses in California. Most graduate students are not U.S. citizens and many U.S, citizens are registered to vote in other states. These facts explain why only a small fraction of students living in campus housing are registered to vote on the basis of their Stanford address.

Santa Clara County publishes election results by precinct.  Here are the results:

Precinct 2545 (all F/S):  Total 473 Votes

Clinton 426 (90%), Trump 27 (5.7%), Johnson 13 (2.7%), Stein 7 (1.5%)

Precinct 2546 (F/S and students):  Total 649 Votes

Clinton 609 (93.5%), Trump 17 (2.6%), Johnson 12 (1.8%), Stein 11 (1.7%)

Precinct 2544 (all students):  Total 720 Votes

Clinton 645 (90.0%), Trump 18 (2.5%), Johnson 31 (4.3%), Stein 26 (3.6%)

Precinct 2542 (all students):  Total 426 Votes

Clinton 398 (93.4%), Trump 14 (3.3%), Johnson 11 (2.6%), Stein 3 (0.7%)

All Campus Precincts:  Total 2268 Votes

Clinton 2078 (91.6%), Trump 76 (3.4%), Johnson 67 (3.0%), Stein 47 (2.1%)

Clinton voters outnumbered Trump voters 27 to 1. 

Stanford’s new provost, Persis Drell, said that free expression is one of her three cardinal principles of university administration.  We’ll see.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

The Democrat Nominee For President In 2020 Will Be......

Mark Cuban, or some other wealthy individual from the business community.

Even the Democrats will realize that the established political order has been overturned.

Friday, November 4, 2016

Update: Political Contributions from Stanford Faculty, Staff, and Students, October 1-19, 2016

During September 1-19, 2016, Stanford Faculty, Staff, and Students residing in campus housing (94305) made 109 separate contributions to Hillary Clinton. Some individuals made multiple contributions.


None was made to Donald Trump.

For the five and one-half months May-October 19, 2016, contributions totaled 489 for Hillary Clinton and 0 for Donald Trump.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Update: Political Contributions from Stanford Faculty, Staff, and Students, August 1-September 30, 2016

During August-September 2016, Stanford Faculty, Staff, and Students residing in campus housing (94305) made 116 separate contributions to Hillary Clinton and 51 to Democrat Party Organizations. Some individuals made multiple contributions.

None was made to Donald Trump or Republican Party Organizations.

For the five months May-September 2016, contributions totaled 380 for Hillary Clinton and 0 for Donald Trump.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Western Democracy Gone Mad

For decades, but especially following the U.S. overthrow of the Taliban in Afghanistan in 2001 and the invasion and occupation of Iraq in 2003, the U.S. government has tried to promote the establishment of democracies in the Middle East, North Africa, sub-Saharan Africa, and elsewhere around the globe.

This should come as no surprise.  Centers for the Study of Democracy have become an integral feature of universities throughout the United States and Western Europe.  They replaced older schools of realpolitik that used to be taught.  Professors, politicians, and international organizations aggressively promote the doctrine of democracy.

In the West, democracy closely follows sustainability, diversity, and reducing income and wealth inequality as a moral imperative.  The dozens of democracy centers in universities and think tanks house many distinguished scholars, but they have a tendency to act as cheerleaders for democracy.  They seek to promote democracy as a universal prescription for almost every country, regardless of its history and culture.

In recent years, democracy has fallen on hard times in numerous countries in Asia, Africa, and the Middle East.  To address this problem, in 2013 Stanford University inaugurated a Program on American Democracy in Comparative Democracy.  Its purpose is "to seek to understand problems such as ineffective governance, gridlock and polarization, and declining trust in institutions in the United States." It seems that one reason for the failed effort to promote democracy abroad may be rooted in the faults of American democracy itself.  (More on this later.)

II

Why did President George W. Bush believe, after the invasion, overthrow of Saddam Hussein, and occupation of Iraq in 2003, that he could establish a viable democracy within the artificial borders of Iraq that were drawn by the colonial powers after World War I?  Sunnis and Shiites have been at each other’s throats for centuries.  Kurds have wanted their own independent homeland.  Christians largely lived in relative peace, posing no threat to Sunnis, Shiites, or Kurds.

Bush evidently believed that the desire for democracy beats in the heart of all peoples, regardless of their history and culture.  But it was a bridge too far to try to establish democracy in multi-ethnic Iraq, which only knew dictators, oligarchs, and tribal leaders, and lacked any traditions of the rule of law, individual rights and civil liberties.  Bush’s intervention resulted in massive ethnic cleansing of more than a million Christians from their long settled homes in Iraq.

To be fair, Bush could hardly believe otherwise.  For the past 40 years, diversity and multiculturalism have been official doctrine in America’s universities.  This was the intellectual environment in which President Bush was educated, elected governor of Texas and then president of the United States.  Democracy has been viable in America, which has the shared traditions of civil liberties, individual rights, the rule of law, private property, and constitutional government, although America is fast becoming a collage of ethnic identities:  African-Americans, Spanish-speaking Americans, Native-Americans, and a plethora of Western European-Americans.

In marked contrast with America, Sunnis, Shias and Kurds only have a shared history of national unity based on the imposition of force by one or an alliance of two over the others.  Either no one told Bush that the America model could not be successfully exported to Iraq and serve as an example for other Muslim Arab and North African regimes, or he chose not to listen.   Either way, the overthrow of Saddam Hussein, followed by elections in which Shias voted in a government representing Shia interests, unleashed a hell of Sunnis vs. Shias, Kurds protecting their own territory from both and Turkey, and the growth of Al-Qaeda and rise of ISIS.

The tragedy of Bush’s folly, greater than the cost of several trillion dollars and thousands of American casualties, has been the ethnic cleansing of more than a million Christians from their homes in Iraq by Islamists since the invasion in 2003.

President Barack Obama’s deposing Libyan ruler Colonel Kaddafi compounded Bush’s folly.  Kaddafi’s overthrow unleashed tribal war in Libya, along with the rise of ISIS and its affiliates (Boko Haram, Al-Shahab, etc.) throughout North Africa.  Obama’s support of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, although the regime lasted only a year, led to killing of Coptic Christians and burning of their churches, until Egypt’s military took power and restored order.

Christians are under assault in Syria as well.  In the 1920s, Christians amounted to about 30% of the population, declining to about 10% today.  Estimates put the number of Christians who have fled Syria or been displaced in the hundreds of thousands.  Whole Christian villages have been destroyed and dozens of churches damaged.

Ethnic cleansing of Christians in the Middle East and North Africa is one of the great tragedies of the twenty-first century.   Today, Iraq, Libya, Egypt, Syria, Chad, and other Middle Eastern and North African countries do not enjoy democracy, stability or prosperity.

Hussein, Kaddafi, Mubarak, and Assad were not and are not paragons of virtue.  But what has followed is worse and the worst may be yet to come.

III

Those who propose to intervene in foreign countries to replace autocracy or other forms of authoritarian rule with democracy first need to produce a comprehensive, proven blueprint for a successful post-intervention transition to democracy.  The Bush and Obama administrations did not produce any such plans for Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya.

We have learned that the Democrat Party’s regime of super delegates, coupled with the Wikileaks email dump of the nefarious activities of the Democrat National Committee, insured the nomination of Hillary Clinton from the very beginning.  Bernie Sanders never had a chance.  Democracy as practiced by the Democrat Party made a mockery of real, one man-one vote democracy, which was the political ideal that Bush and his aides proposed to bring to the Middle East.

Well then.  If U.S. political party insiders can impose rules to cheat rival candidates of the opportunity to compete in a fair election, so too can elected leaders in one-party states, or who jail opposing candidates, and impose other rules that narrow the franchise in African, Asian, or Latin American elections, as the case may be.

What happened in democracy studies parallels what happened in the economics profession as it failed to anticipate the financial crisis of 2008 and the Great Recession it spawned.  Perhaps a bit of humility is in order before we try to remake foreign political systems.

IV

Something new has emerged in the democracy madness arena, namely, suggestions to transform America’s stable two-party democracy into a (unstable) multi-party democracy.

Some democracy specialists suggest that the unpopularity of both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump as seen in the high negatives of both candidates means that third-party candidates should be given greater latitude in meeting the requirements to run for president.  These include a lower percentage threshold of 5% instead of 15% in public opinion polls to qualify for the autumn presidential debates.  Another proposed change would make it easier to qualify for the ballot in all 50 states.  And so on.

The U.S. has experienced third parties in some elections, but these have had little chance of success, mainly serving as spoilers for one of the two main parties.

But any set of changes that enhances the prospects for third parties would be disastrous in the United States.  It would give rise to ethnic politics, spawning a Black party, a Spanish-speaking party, an Asian American party, and several White parties.  Leaders in each group would seek power by promising to be the strongest defender and promoter of their groups’ interests, giving rise to extremists in each group.  The U.S. would join the ranks of unstable “plural societies.”

It’s bad enough that the democracy promoters have destabilized the Middle East.  Now they want changes that would threaten to destabilize the United States.  None of this would be happening if the liberal professoriate were certain that Hillary Clinton would defeat Donald Trump.  But their fear that Trump could become president is leading them to propose changes that could undermine the most successful democracy in history.  Democracy promoters love democracy—until they don’t like the outcome of the democracy they profess to admire.

In August 2016, your friendly proprietor addressed a group of Chinese scholars.  I asked if they thought the 200,000 or so Chinese students studying in the United states would return to China having observed the 2016 U.S. presidential election during their stay in America, and urge Chinese President Xi Jinping to adopt U.S.-style democracy.  They all broke out in laughter.

Friday, September 2, 2016

Update: Political Contributions From Stanford Faculty, Staff, and Students, July 1-31, 2016


None were made to Donald Trump.

Adding these to the prior data for May and June, contributions for the three months May, June, and July totaled 264 for Hillary Clinton and 0 for Donald Trump.

Several Republican campus residents maxed out contributions for George W. Bush, Bob Dole, and Mitt Romney in the four previous presidential elections.  None is enamored of Trump.

Figures for August will be reported when they become available.

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Reduce Inequality? Not If It Affects My Livelihood!

Most leading American universities have established “Centers for the Study of Inequality.”  Reducing inequality is one leg of the holy academic triad of diversity, sustainability, and reducing inequality.   Inequality scholars assert that the future of democracy and social justice requires reducing inequality in income, wealth, educational opportunity, health care, neighborhood safety, and so on, that harms the less well-off members of society.

Scholars disagree on the best way to reduce inequality.  One school of thought favors more progressive income and heavier wealth taxes to reduce the income and wealth of the top 1% percent of households, and redistribute the additional revenue to middle- and lower-income households in the form of lower taxes and/or more spending.  Another school wants targeted spending programs to provide greater pre-K education, smaller class sizes, higher teachers’ pay, more local health clinics, and other services to lower-income households.

Universities rely on tax-deductible gifts to pay salaries and build and maintain physical facilities. For the 2016-17 fiscal year, Stanford projects $350 million in gifts, about 6% of its projected revenue of $5.88 billion.  Stanford also has a capital budget of $4.1 billion for the three fiscal years 2016-17 through 2018-19, of which gifts are estimated to provide 21% of funding.  Harvard is in the midst of a $6.5 billion fund raising campaign.  It received $436 million in expendable gifts in 2015-16.

Gifts are tax-deductible up to certain IRS limits.  Rich donors, who are in a higher income-tax bracket than lower-income givers, receive a larger tax deduction for their gifts, thus contributing to inequality.  These are the very people that help fund (inequality) research centers.  The wealthy also fund the bulk of capital projects. Nine-figure millionaire and billionaire donors, the 0.001% and 0.0001%, are the principal source of gifts for new buildings and research facilities.

IRS Statistics of Income and Itemized Charitable Deductions

In tax year 2013, 4.81 million households filed tax returns with Adjusted Gross Income exceeding $200,000. Their itemized charitable contributions totaled $91.0 billion.  Altogether, 36.43 million household filed returns with $194.7 billion in itemized contributions.  Households with AGI exceeding $200,000 constituted 13.2% of all returns, but itemized 46.7% of total contributions.

So, those who propose higher taxes on the income and wealth of the rich are financed, in part, from the tax-deductible contributions of the rich on whom they want to impose higher taxes.  One way to achieve greater equality of income is to eliminate the tax deductibility of gifts to universities.  But the majority of scholars do not think that this is a good idea.  Wonder why?

Let’s dig a little deeper into the numbers.  Membership in the top 2% of income-earners requires an annual AGI of about $250,000.  Many full professors in leading universities fall in the top 2%, and certainly in the top 3%.  Academic stars reporting $430,000 and above in AGI are in the top 1%.  (It takes $1.9 million to join the 0.1% club.)

It’s no surprise, then, that academics that want to levy higher taxes on the rich limit their recommendation to the top 1%, not the top 2%.  But, and a very important but, they believe that any new taxes should retain the home mortgage deduction, which they utilize, and the charitable contribution, which helps pay their salaries.  Development departments in universities are concerned their scholars’ proposals to reduce inequality do not reduce gifts from the unequal rich.

Nonetheless, these professors teach students that the income and wealth of the 1% is harmful to society, but that their contributions to universities are not.  Wonder why so many students and graduates are muddle-headed?

PS.  When Robert E. Hall and I first proposed our flat tax in 1981, which eliminates charitable deductions, we got nasty comments from Stanford’s development department.  Its fund-raisers expressed concern that eliminating the tax deductibility of charitable contributions would reduce giving to Stanford.

Friday, August 26, 2016

Another Day Brings Another Batch of Republican Bigwigs Against Trump

On August 25, 2016, the Wall Street Journal released the results of a survey of 37 current and former living members (8 others did not respond to the Journal's inquiries) who served on the White House Council of Economic Advisers under 8 presidents.  Twenty served under Democrat presidents and 17 under Republicans.  Of the 8 who did not respond, 2 served Democrat presidents and 6 Republicans.

Of the 17 serving Republican presidents, 6 said they opposed Donald Trump and 11 declined to say either way.  The 6 were concerned with Trump's anti-free trade policies.  Two said they would vote for Hillary Clinton, one for Libertarian Gary Johnson, and the other 3 said they could not support Trump or Clinton.

Of those serving Democrat presidents, 13 said they supported Hillary Clinton and 7 declined to say.

The headline of the article is the message:  "Economists Who've Advised Presidents Are No Fans of Donald Trump."  It would be expected that advisers to Democrat presidents would oppose Trump. What is evidently newsworthy is that none of the CEA members under Republican presidents would state support for Trump.

Another story in the daily saga of prominent Republicans coming out against Trump.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Political Contributions From Stanford Faculty, Staff, and Students

Zip Code 94305 encompasses all of Stanford University.  About 40% of the faculty and high-level staff and their families inhabit (own) campus residences.  Well over 10,000 undergraduate and graduate students live in student housing on campus.

The Center for Responsive Politics reports political contributions to individual candidates, parties, and PACs, among others.  As of August 24, 2016, data are available through June 30, 2016.

For Stanford (94305), 136 individual contributions were made to Hillary Clinton during the months of May and June 2016.  (I did not add up the total amount of money contributed).

No contributions were made to Donald Trump.  To be fair, most campus Republicans did not support Trump in California's Republican primary.

Your friendly proprietor will update these numbers when data are reported for July, August, and September, and will total the dollar amounts for the last reported month prior to November 8.  

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Numbers On Political Parade

250, 600, 70, 22.  What do these numbers have in common?  These are the number of people who have signed various open letters opposing Trump and/or stating their intent to vote for Hillary Clinton. 600 historians, 250 members of the foreign policy establishment, 70 former foreign policy officials in Republican administrations, and 22 authors in National Review, to name several. More open letters are likely to appear in the remaining days before the election.

18,000, 23,000, 10,000, 15,000, 30,000.  What do these numbers have in common?  These are the size of crowds that have attended Trump rallies, many people waiting in line for hours to get in. These are the folks who want to see and hear Trump.

The mainstream media (MSM) and punditocracy give more attention and attach greater importance to signatories of the letters than they do to the hundreds of thousands of individuals who show up every month at Trump rallies.  They cite polls showing Clinton in the lead, both nationally and in key battleground states.  But her largest crowds during the campaign, apart from her acceptance speech at the Democrat National Convention, rarely exceed a thousand.

The MSM and pundits speculate that Trump's huge crowds may not show up to vote.  But these are the same people who proclaimed that he had no chance to win the Republican nomination for president from Day 1 of his campaign.

Many analysts contend that Trump's primary wins and large crowds represent a rebellion against the status quo politics of the [corrupt] ruling elite.  If so, why would any member of the Academic Political Media Industrial Complex (APMIC) think that their names on letters would sway voters to their point of view?  Rather, each new letter and list of signatories are likely to strengthen Trump's support among those disenchanted with American politics and who want a change.

Sunday, August 7, 2016

250 Members, And Counting, Of The Foreign Policy Establishment Call Donald Trump’s Vision Of Foreign Policy “strategically Reckless”

Once again, the foreign policy establishment’s Praetorian Guard, 250 members and counting, signed an open letter declaring Trump’s Vision of U.S. Foreign Policy “Strategically Reckless.”  They warn that his vision, were it to materialize, would weaken America’s alliances and erode its power.  The letter lays out nine illustrations of their concern, which you can judge for yourself.

What’s missing from the letter?  Two words.  Hillary Clinton.

Trump’s vision, the signatories assert, is "strategically reckless.”  But no mention is made of Hillary Clinton’s “actual strategic recklessness.”

For example, using an unprotected private email server to send and receive classified email according to FBI Director James Comey.”  And then repeatedly lying about it to the point where even the Washington Post gave her ”four Pinocchios.”

Encouraging the overthrow of Libyan leader Muammar Kaddafi, who had made peace with the West and dismantled his nuclear weapons program.  Libya has become a hotbed of tribal violence and a base for ISIS training and operations, which is facilitating the spread of radical Islam in North Africa.

ISIS (ISIL, Islamic State) arose as a powerful force on her watch as secretary of state.

Questionable contributions were made to the Clinton Foundation.

How about a little intellectual honesty?  Comparing his words with her deeds makes him “strategically reckless?”

The good news is that the multiple open letters of 250 here and 300 there have all been on the losing side of trying to stop Brexit and stop Trump from winning the Republican nomination.

Thursday, July 7, 2016

With Hillary Cleared, Here’s What’s On Tap For July 2016

This post is your brief guide for the remaining 10 days before, and the two weeks of, the Republican (July 18-21) and Democrat (July 25-28) conventions.  Put aside the FBI’s exoneration of Hillary Clinton.  Ten million words of analyses and complaints will not reverse the outcome.  Focus on what’s ahead.

In the days before the convention, the media will publish numerous stories and videos about prominent Republicans who oppose Donald Trump and why they plan to vote for Hillary Clinton.  A typical article appeared in Politico on June 6, 2010.  There will be few, if any, stories of Democrats, including Bernie Sanders’ supporters, who will abandon the Democrat Party and vote for Trump.

Both conventions will be crawling (infested) with media.  They will be interviewing delegates inside the convention centers, at their hotels, and pundits around the world.

At the Republican convention, most the media will be interviewing delegates who disapprove of Trump as their nominee and who supported Cruz, Rubio, and other candidates.  They will also feature Republicans who intend to sit out the election or vote for Hillary, or who chose not to attend the convention to avoid being seen in the company of Trump.  Viewers who watch gavel-to-gavel coverage will think they are watching a Democrat Party-sponsored Republican convention.

In sharp contrast, coverage of the Democrat convention will highlight speakers, interviews with delegates and political commentators singing Hillary’s praises, and the media will join in chorus.  The Democrat convention will be a Hillary Clinton progressive love fest.

There is literally nothing Trump can do or say in the next three weeks that will change this plot.  It will be up to him, and him alone, in September and October to rally the American people to his cause.  I have said that I am for Trump and that he will win.  The anti-Trump media and NEVER TRUMP Republicans have been wrong since he launched his candidacy on June 16, 2015.  They will be wrong on Election Day.  Count on it!

Friday, July 1, 2016

Chicken Little: “The Sky Is NOT Falling.” “Say It Ain’t So Joe, Say It Ain’t So.”

Both the British and American Academic Political Media Industrial Complexes (APMICs) warned Britons that a vote to LEAVE (exit) the European Union would cause great financial losses.

Here are the numbers.  June 23 was the day of the referendum.  June 27, 2016, was the bottom of the decline.   July 1, 2016, is 8 days after the vote.

                              DJIA              S&P 500        FTSE 100        FTSE 250
June 23, 2016       18,011              2,113             6,338            16,271
June 27, 2016       17,140              2,001             5,982            14,968
July 1, 2016          17,949              2,103             6,578            16,465

The DJIA and S&P 500 have almost recovered to their pre-Brexit levels.  The FTSE 100 and FTSE 250 have surpassed theirs (although the decline in the value of the pound sterling against the US dollar offsets the nominal gains in the FTSE 100 and FTSE 250 when converted into dollars at the post-Brexit exchange rate).

The decline in the DJIA amounts to 0.34% and that of the S&P 500 0.49%.

Prices fluctuate.  Market indices will go up and down.  But the predicted crash did not occur.

The little boy in the crowd shouted out, “APMICs have no clothes.”

Do you suppose that prominent members of the British and America APMICs will issue a mea culpa?

Monday, June 27, 2016

BREXIT: Borders, Language, Culture, and Liberty for Britain

250 British economists and another 300 British intellectuals signed letters urging Britons to vote REMAIN to stay in the European Union, warning that LEAVE would result in economic catastrophe for Britain and political catastrophe for Europe.  British voters rejected their admonitions.  Score zero for arrogant and condescending British intellectuals and one for the common man.

The polls indicated that REMAIN would prevail by 52-54%.  To the dismay of the pollsters and the REMAIN camp, LEAVE won by 52-48%, a dramatic swing from the projection.

Why were the polls wrong?  The answer is simple.  Pollsters cannot detect lies in phone or online polling.  Those who openly state anti-politically correct views are shamed and castigated as racists, xenophobes, and bigots.  It’s easier to lie to pollsters, give them the politically correct answer, and then vote the opposite in the polling booth.

The pollsters got it wrong for the May 7, 2015, British parliamentary elections, Trump’s nomination in 2016 as the Republican candidate for president, and now BREXIT.

Despite its intense campaign, the British Academic Political Media Industrial Complex (APMIC) lost, in the same way the American APMIC lost in its attempt to deny Donald Trump the Republican nomination for president.

The lesson of BREXIT for America is beware of polls predicting a win for Hillary Clinton this November.  The anti-politically correct vote may be worth as much as 3-4 percentage points for Trump, which would give him the presidency.

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Live Blogging The American Revolution

July 4, 1776, 9:00 AM, Assembly Room in Independence Hall, Philadelphia

The door springs open.  A messenger rushes in.  He shouts "wait. Moody's and S & P have said they will downgrade our debt to junk status if we sign the Declaration of Independence."

The delegates were stunned.  What to do?  Sign and declare Colonialexit, or tear up the document and Colonialremain.

After a few minutes of heated exchanges between the financiers, who feared for their fortune, and the farmers, who valued their liberty, a majority voted to sign.

And so was born the United States of America!

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Blue, Blue, My World is Blue

California is a Blue State.  The San Francisco Bay Area is Dark Blue.  Stanford University, where your friendly proprietor has worked and lived for more than 40 years, is Deep Dark Blue.

By acreage, Stanford is the second largest university in the world.  From its founding in 1891, portions of its land have been used to construct housing for faculty and staff.  Over 125 years, Stanford faculty and the University have built about 650 single-family homes, 250 condominiums, and 40 duplexes.  (More construction is currently underway.)

Stanford currently has 2,153 faculty members and several dozen top administrators who are eligible to purchase a campus residence.  Only about a thousand, 40%, live in the “faculty ghetto.”  The other 60% are scattered about neighboring towns and suburbs (Palo Alto, Menlo Park, San Jose, San Francisco, and others).

It’s possible to tabulate political party registration for on-campus faculty.  For those living elsewhere in the San Francisco Bay Area, teams of researchers would have to scour voter registration lists numbering hundreds of thousands of people to match names with Stanford faculty.

California allows voters to register as “no preferred party.”  NPPs are able to vote in the party primaries, unless one or more parties specifically exclude them from a given primary election.  About 20% of the on-campus faculty and staff are NPPs.  In the June 7, 2016, primary, NPPs were eligible to vote in the Democrat, Libertarian, American Independence, and Green party primaries, but were excluded from the Republican primary.

California’s 2016 primary took place on June 7.  Four precincts (Santa Clara County Precincts 2542, 2544, 2545, and 2546) circumscribe Stanford University.  Precincts 2542 and 2544 consist almost exclusively of graduate and undergraduate student housing, many of whose residents have already left the campus for summer.  Precinct 2545 consists solely of faculty/staff housing(F/S housing).  Precinct 2546 includes both student and F/S housing.  F/S housing is affectionately termed the “faculty ghetto.

On the morning of June 7 I visited the two precincts (2545 and 2546) that include faculty and staff to tabulate party registration.  Although these precincts only encompass two-fifths of faculty members, it’s likely that their party registration mirrors that of the overall faculty (based on 40 years of personal observation.)

Here are the raw numbers as accurately as I could count them.  F/S registered Republicans numbered 146 and registered Democrats 1,327.  This works out to 10% Republican and 90% Democrat.  Democrats outnumber Republicans nine to one.  My forty years at Stanford indicates that about 80% of the NPPs vote Democrat in the general election. 

Santa Clara County publishes election results by precinct.  Here are the results:

Precinct 2545 (all F/S):  Democrats 227 (94.0%), Republicans 14 (6.0%).
Turnout, 27.3%

Precinct 2546 (F/S and students):  Democrats 481 (93.8%), Republicans 32 (6.2%).  Turnout 40.5%.

Precinct 2544 (all students):  Democrats 444 (95.3%), Republicans 22 (4.7%).  Turnout, 41.8%.

Precinct 2542 (all students):  Democrats 325 (92.1%), Republicans 28 (7.9%).  Turnout, 52.4%.

A higher proportion of Democrats turned out to vote than Republicans in the two F/S precincts based on party registration.  A likely reason is that some campus Republicans are not enamored of Donald Trump, and other Republican candidates had ended their campaigns before California’s primary.  Across the entire campus including all student housing, turnout was about 41%, 5 percentage points higher than the 35.83% turnout for all of Santa Clara County.  Hillary Clinton won among Democrat voters in all four precincts.  Trump likewise among Republican voters.

Stanford’s faculty routinely votes 30% to the left of the nation as a whole.  For example, if a Democrat presidential candidate wins 55% of the popular vote, he (or she in November 2016) will receive about 85% of the faculty vote.

Faculty members, supported by statements from deans, the provost, and the president, insist that they do not bring their political views into the classroom.  I can tell you from seminars and workshops in the social sciences and humanities I’ve attended that this claim is routinely violated.

The faculty need not worry about Republican faculty bringing their politics into the classroom.  They are too few in number to mold student opinion.  Moreover, many of them teach in the business school, not the social sciences, humanities, law, or education.

As I’ve written in previous posts, academics are a key element in the Academic Political Media Industrial Complex (APMIC).  Stanford, the Ivies, elite liberal arts colleges, and leading state universities set the tone for political discourse throughout higher education in the United states.  They instruct the K-12 teachers, the media, and the politicians.  They impose and enforce “political correctness.”  The antidote is not to be found among the minuscule share of Republican (conservative) professors.  Perhaps this situation partly explains Trump’s popularity among Republican voters and the academy’s vigorous opposition to him.


Monday, May 23, 2016

If Elected, Hillary Clinton Will Reshape The Supreme Court And Remake The United States

If Hillary Clinton is elected, she may have the opportunity to appoint 3 or possibly 4 justices to the Supreme Court.  First up is filling the late Antonin Scalia’s seat, which will give the Court a 5-vote liberal majority consisting, on her inauguration, of Sonia Sotomayor (age 63), Elena Kagan (56), Ruth Bader Ginsburg (83), and Stephen Breyer (78).   She may be able to appoint young liberals to replace Ginsburg and Breyer, giving the Court a 5-vote liberal majority for decades.  If she gets the opportunity to replace Anthony Kennedy (80), the Court will have a 6-vote liberal majority.   Subject to remaining in good health, Clarence Thomas (68), Samuel Alito (67) and John Roberts (62), who is not reliably conservative, are likely to outlast two terms of Clinton.

A 5-vote liberal majority in the Court will enable Hillary Clinton to remake the United States.  It’s important to remember that the law and the Constitution are what the Supreme Court says they are.

Weaken the First Amendment.  Reduce free speech by restricting conservative talk radio and other conservative expression.  Increase the scope of content designated “hate” speech, subject to federal prosecution.  Limit religious freedom by requiring all religious organizations to abide by the rules of federal programs.

Weaken, preferably eliminate, the Second Amendment.  Reduce gun ownership by banning specific guns.  Instruct the attorney general to litigate existing gun laws and reverse previous court decisions to reduce and eliminate private ownership of guns.

Issue Executive Orders to bypass Congress and impose federal regulations by decree.  The potential range of measures is described in the 31 issues listed on her campaign website.  Her potential use of Executive Orders, perhaps even more than President Obama, would further lift the United States off its constitutional moorings.

Appoint an IRS Commissioner who will increase audits of conservative individuals (and others on her enemies list) and all other conservative-oriented organizations.

Appoint an SEC Commissioner to harass wealthy Republican donors.

Vitiate what remains of the Ninth and Tenth Amendments by shifting existing state powers to the federal government, further concentrating federal authority over the states.

Erode private property rights by imposing more restrictions on its development and usage.

Her ability to remake America is limited only by her imagination and those of her supporters.

Under President Clinton, Congress will become a vestigial organ of government for four to eight years.  Article II of the Constitution, the Executive Branch, will supplant Article I, the Legislative Branch.

#NEVERTRUMP conservative intellectuals prefer the possibility of Clinton’s liberal remaking of America to a President Trump.  The United States is a free country, and that is their choice.  How free it will be in 2020 or 2024 if Clinton becomes president is the 64 trillion dollar question.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Let China Pay

The United States is militarily and financially overextended.  For decades, U.S. taxpayers have financed a security umbrella over Europe paying 75% or more of NATO’s costs and supplying most of the military personnel.  European members are not paying their fair share.  Instead, they have spent their taxpayers’ money on expanded social programs.  Enjoying U.S. protection, they even have the gall to criticize the U.S. for its harsh market economy, in which individuals lack taxpayer-provided health insurance, free university education, long maternity/paternity leave, long vacations, and so forth.

If Europe does not want to pay for its defense, so be it.  Continued U.S. military protection for Europe only encourages European politicians to disregard their own defense requirements.

Now to China.

U.S. foreign policy should encourage China to overextend itself.  Here are some concrete proposals.

The U.S. does not import much, if any, oil from the Middle East.  China, along with Japan, Korea, and other Asian countries, depends heavily on Gulf oil.  Let China patrol the Gulf, the Indian Ocean, the Straits of Malacca, the East China Sea, and other waters to secure safe passage of oil tankers to Asia.

Let China bear the cost of security for Afghanistan, the Caucasus, and elsewhere in the Western Middle East.  China is concerned about radical Islam infecting its Western provinces.

Each year Chinese military power strengthens.  Each year U.S. military power weakens.  The U.S. can no longer afford to provide a “Pax Americana” over North, East and Southeast Asia.  As it is, the bulk of Asian trade is with China, which will continue to increase.  China will increasingly dominate Asia commercially, socially, and politically.

Let China bear the cost of loans and infrastructure projects in Africa.  They will not recover or earn a return on their investments.  Their loans will not be repaid.  They will be targeted as villains in national elections, blamed for racism, unemployment, and social ills.  They will become the “ugly Chinese” who exploit Africans.

Ditto for Latin America.  Think $50 billion in lost loans to Venezuela, and incomplete infrastructure projects in Brazil and other Latin American countries that will not be completed for years and years.  Let China get blamed by Latin American politicians for their mismanaged economies..

Anywhere a hurricane, health, earthquake or other catastrophe occurs, let China pay half of all rescue and rebuilding costs.

How should the U.S. structure its relations with China?  So long as China adheres to GATT, WTO, and other trade agreements, the U.S. should allow trade to flow freely as it will.  But the U.S. should impose dollar-for-dollar costs on state-owned and/or private Chinese firms when China violates the letter and spirit of these agreements.

If China uses regulations to favor Chinese firms over American firms, (e.g., labeling, quotas, limits on foreign ownership, banning U.S. media, etc.), the U.S. should respond in kind.  For example, the U.S. could limit Chinese ownership to 49% of a U.S. firm, ban CCTV, restrict Chinese newspapers and magazines, close Confucius Institutes in American universities, and so on.  You cheat, you pay.

One way to accomplish this change in strategy is to build facilities in Beijing and Shanghai in which the United Nations, the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, and other global organizations spend half the year meeting and conducting their business in China.  And let China pay for it.

China will learn, as has Britain, France, and the United States, that money does not buy love and goodwill in Africa, Latin America, and other poor countries around the globe.  In fact, it generally produces the opposite effect.