Two facts everybody needs to know before the open

I am a guest in this country, so it is not for me to express an opinion on whether you guys should have an electoral college. But the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade guarantees free trade in facts, so I am going to express two – in this case, about the electoral college.  If you don’t like it, take it up with WTO. In the meantime, this is a case of a low-cost Canadian supplier dumping facts into the US market.

First, the electoral college was specifically designed to provide some resistance to the will of the people – or the “mob” as the Founders knew them. Strikingly, one of their objectives was to prevent foreign influence (e.g. from Russia) operating through that mob.  Here is Alexander Hamilton explaining it in Federalist 68.

Nothing was more to be desired than that every practicable obstacle should be opposed to cabal, intrigue, and corruption. These most deadly adversaries of republican government might naturally have been expected to make their approaches from more than one quarter, but chiefly from the desire in foreign powers to gain an improper ascendant in our councils. How could they better gratify this, than by raising a creature of their own to the chief magistracy of the Union? But the convention have guarded against all danger of this sort, with the most provident and judicious attention. They have not made the appointment of the President to depend on any preexisting bodies of men, who might be tampered with beforehand to prostitute their votes; but they have referred it in the first instance to an immediate act of the people of America, to be exerted in the choice of persons for the temporary and sole purpose of making the appointment.

So it would be odd to point out that “faithless” electors would be resisting the will of the people if they prevented the election of somebody electors felt unfit for office.  Such resistance is precisely the purpose of the electoral college, for good or ill.  Every middle schooler knows that or should. The purpose of the electoral college is not merely to have Americans vote for president as states. To obtain that objective would not require an electoral college.

Second, yes, this is elitist*, and definitely by design.  I would be happy getting rid of the electoral college and just have the person with the most votes nationally become president. That would be Hillary, this time around.  But that is also an opinion. Here, I am just pointing out the fact of how you guys set it up.

Not that the fact of the matter is important in this particular case.  Activating the logic of the electoral college is a no hoper. And I am not even sure I am disappointed by that. But I am going to do my bit to resist fascism by occasionally insisting on the continued general relevance of facts. Facts have an anti-fascist bias.

* I don’t get people complaining about elitism and giving all the money to the plutocrats.  Maybe it is a cultural thing, as Paul Krugman suggests.

Trump rally rolls on


Speaking of opinion, the word has obviously come down from the managers at GE to the “liberal” journalists * at CNBC to refer to the resumption of the 8-year bull market as the “Trump rally.”  This may be evidence that GE is a less liberal corporation than, say, Viacom. I am speaking in purely relative terms here because everybody knows that the corporations that deliver the mainstream media are a bunch of communists. But within that, GE is probably relatively less commie than Viacom.


As I have mentioned more than too many times, given its unimportance, I am light of rather than negative this market.  Having no source of income and a small underweight portfolio, I worry that low underlying economic volatility will just allow valuations to drift higher, not as part of a “bubble” but just as a reflection of the notion that less economic risk might clear the ground for more financial risk. And then what am I gonna do?

But I am not smart enough to know if that will or will not happen.  For me, the part of the rally I might have an opinion on ended a couple years ago. For me, it looks like subpar returns from here. Sigh. I will let you know when I get sucked in to equities, so you will know what to do.

In the meantime, one thing we do know, thanks to the liberals at CNBC working for the man, this Trump rally has legs!


 * The logical case for a liberal media bias is unimpeachable.  The mainstream media derive their income overwhelmingly from the upper end, whether that be through subscription fees or more importantly through advertising aimed by definition at the upper end, which has money. So it only stands to reason that the content of the media would be biased towards the interests of those who have no money. Within the mainstream media itself, the fact of this is taken as self evident.


Source: Bloomberg, which is owned by a multibillionaire, as opposed to a corporation, if you except the minority stake held by Merrill Lynch, owned by Bank of America Corporation.