What’s Wrong With Westernization?

•October 17, 2016 • Leave a Comment

One of the reasons why the term “westernization” carries with it such negative connotations is because it harkens back to the colonialist theories of eighteenth and nineteenth century European cultural anthropologists about the progression of civilizations being linear and unidirectional. One of the ways that the imperialist colonization of Africa, the Americas and Southeast Asia were rationalized was because the prevailing theories in anthropology held that human civilizations existed not on a spectrum but rather in a hierarchy. Needless to say, these Western European anthropologists placed their own culture and society at the “peak” or “pinnacle” of this hierarchical power structure.

The problem with this was that the overwhelmingly vast majority if not all of the criteria that these anthropologists utilized to delineate “advanced” human civilizations from “barbaric” and “savage” ones were for the most part if not entirely arbitrary. Before the advent of archaeology as we know it as a discipline of systematic methodological scientific study, for example, European anthropologists rationalized placing Western European societies “above” those of the Americas by asserting that Europeans lived in cities with stone buildings, whereas the Native Americans only ever lived in wooden huts. The discoveries of cities like Cahokia, Teotihuacan and Tenochtitlan dispelled this illusory distinction.

That having been said, however there are, I believe, some objective ways by which the relative advancement and progress of a given civilization can be measured objectively. The first and foremost of these is knowledge. Rather than asking how large or populous a give society’s cities are or how tall the buildings in those cities are, a vastly more dispassionate, and accurate gauge of how advanced a civilization is would be to ask how much they know about their world, about life, about the earth and about the universe. By this measurement Europeans, at last in the post-Renaissance, post-Enlightenment, post-Industrial Revolution era were not on the whole entirely incorrect when they judged the nineteenth century Western Europe whence from they came to be more progressed than the indigenous native cultures they were encountering in Africa.

However, here is where we run into why the term “Westernization”, in the twenty-first century, is a misnomer.

In his 1997 book “Guns, Germs and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies: A Short History of Everybody For the Last 23,000 Years” University of California—Los Angeles Professor of Geography and UCLA Medical School Professor of Physiology Jared Diamond theorizes that the relative advancement of Eurasian civilizations such as those of the eighteenth century Western European colonial empires as compared against the relative civilizational retardation of civilizations such as that of the Native Americans had significantly less to do with hemispheres or sides of the Atlantic Ocean than on latitude. The shape assumed by the Eurasian supercontinent after the final breakup of Pangaea landmass in the Jurassic Period of the Mesozoic Era 175 Million years ago was highly conducive to the lateral movement across its breadth and width from East to West or vice versa with precious little change in latitude. The shape of the Americas, by contrast, was much more aligned along vertical lines of longitude, meaning that any traveler from North to South America would pass through both the tropics and the equator.

In 1817, Prussian geographer and naturalist Friedrich Humboldt discovered that the biogeographical variation of plants and animals at different levels of elevation above sea level was closely mirrored by their distribution at differing degrees of latitude above and below the equator. As such, whereas travel from East to West or vice versa across the Eurasian supercontinent meant maintaining relatively the same latitudinal coordinates and thus broadly speaking a comparably similar biome or ecosystem throughout, travel from North to South America through the tropics and across the equator would have been comparable biogeographically to constantly climbing up and down to and from wildly different elevations.

According to Professor Diamond in “Guns, Germs and Steel”, the relative constancy of the biogeography and ecology across Eurasia aided the civilizations thereof to advance relatively unimpeded by their environment and to move and trade freely with one another across the continent. The Native American civilizations, by comparison, such as the Aztec and the Maya, who built the largest cities in the Americas such as Tenochtitlan; which at its height in the fifteenth century before the Spanish conquest of Mexico surpassed any city in Western Europe at that time in size and population; were forced by their environmental constraints to remain relatively isolated to one very specific latitudinal region such as the Yucatan Peninsula of Central America. If indeed any trade or even communication ever took place between the Maya of the Yucatan and people of Cahokia in the Mississippi River Valley of North America, or between the Aztec of Tenochtitlan in Mexico and the Anasazi people of Mesa Verde in Arizona, no record of it has survived the centuries since.

One of the most frequent objections to the projection map made by Belgian cartographer and geographer Gerardus Mercator in 1569, which pioneered the use of straight lines of latitude and longitude is that it, and all maps and globes manufactured from it in the centuries since, places the Northern hemisphere at the top of the map and the Southern hemisphere at the bottom. The argument, made by analysts of globalization such as University of Peking Professor Gao Shangquan, is that this leads to the adoption of “North and South” attitudes [2]. Indeed, it does seem in the 21st century as though the difference between the developed first world and the underdeveloped third world is no longer so much one of East versus West, since there are now nations in the East such as China which are just as industrialized as those in the West such as the United States of America, but rather instead between North and South.

Like “Westernization”, “Colonialism”, too, has negative connotations that it carries along with it to this day, but it is notable that the places in the world where critics of globalization are most concerned about “colonialism” are not countries such as the United States, even though North America was colonized by half a dozen different European empires over the course of more than three hundred years from the time of Christopher Columbus through the Louisiana Purchase and the completion of the transcontinental railroad, but instead in former colonies in the Southern hemisphere such as in Africa.

In anthropology and history, one of the defining characteristics of a civilization is the division and specialization of labor, stemming from a sedentary urban lifestyle and an agrarian agriculturally based abundance of natural resources. It is notable that the first agricultural revolution in human history, the “Neolithic Revolution” of circa 10,000 BCE occurred in the very heart of the Eurasian supercontinent, in the “fertile crescent” of Mesopotamia between the Euphrates and Tigris and independently in the Indus River valley near the western border of the Indian subcontinent. This is notable because, with the notable exception of the Anasazi, Aztecs, Inca and Maya, even as late as the European conquest in the 15th Century CE the majority of tribes in the Americas remained nomadic hunters and gatherers. This lends credence to Professor Diamond’s theory of the growth civilization being dependent upon longitudinal consistency.

As the title suggests, one of Diamond’s theories as to why the Europeans were able to conquer and colonize the Americans has to do with technology. The word “Neolithic” means “New Stone Age”, but 11,500 years later when Christopher Columbus and Conquistador Hernando Cortez arrived in the Americas, they were armed not with stones, but with steel. Very few of the kings and emperors of the Aztec, Inca and Maya had metal weaponry of any kind, and the majority of their warriors were armed with wooden clubs tipped with obsidian blades. In other words, while a few of the civilization of Central and South America were in the early stages of what in Eurasia was called the Bronze Age, the majority of Native American tribes were still in the pre-Neolithic Stone Age as late as five hundred years ago. The technology of the Western European Empires was due, once again, to their knowledge, in the form of science.

In the late fifteenth century when Columbus reached the Western hemisphere, Western Europe had just experienced the Renaissance, which in turn had brought it out of the nearly millennium-long period that followed the fall of the Western Roman Empire in the Fifth Century CE called the “Dark Ages”. Fifteenth century figures such as German Renaissance astronomer Nicolaus Copernicus and sixteenth century scientists such as Italian astronomer and physicist Galileo Galilei would very soon thereafter launch what is called the “Scientific Revolution” [the scientific method was pioneered by English philosopher Francis Bacon in 1620, though the term “scientist” would not be coined until 1833 by English historian and philosopher William Whenwell].

Unfortunately, in no small part, I believe, due to the lingering unpleasant shadow cast by those early European colonial cultural anthropologists, outside of the developed First World in places such as Africa, “Western Science” evidently still has negative connotations to it, as was on display when the leadership of the student body at the University of Cape Town in South Africa called in an address to the University’s faculty for, as part of “decolonialization”, among other things, the abolition of science, calling it the “product of Western modernity” [1].

Indeed, since the Civil Rights movements of the late twentieth century, it has become increasingly common for those in Western developed first world nations such as the United States complaining of racism and other forms of discrimination and prejudice to, as a sort of colloquial shorthand, place the blame for such ills at the feet of what they derisively refer to as “Western civilization” or “Western Culture”. It is ironic, however, that more often than not these self-proclaimed “Social Justice Warriors” choose to voice their disenchantment with “western civilization” over the world wide internet, one of the dozens of technologies they utilize in their everyday lives that are a monument to the very western science that the smartphone-bearing student leadership at Cape Town University calls to be abolished. Indeed, far be it from being a system of oppression as the South African students assert, scientific knowledge and technology, as a means of measuring a civilization’s relative advancement is both dispassionate and accurate.

As theoretical astrophysicist Doctor Neil Degrasse Tyson of the Hayden Planetarium at the American Museum of Natural History’s Rose Center for Earth and Space pointed out in his 2005 Natural History Magazine article “The Perimeter of Ignorance”, the Arabic-speaking world of the Near East and West Asia experienced a nearly half-millennium-long “Golden Age” from the eighth through the thirteenth centuries CE [786-1258 CE], during the overwhelmingly vast majority of the stars in the night sky and mathematical principles such as algebra and algorithms were all given Arabic names. Tyson points out that, for a variety of various reasons, the Muslim world then fell into a “technological Dark Age”, an intellectual black hole from which it has yet to emerge centuries later. It is, I believe, for this reason above and beyond all other that for the past few centuries, European imperial powers have conquered, colonized and divided up amongst themselves in various contentious temporary arrangements the states and territories of the Middle East again and again. And while the nations of the Near East and West Asia, as well as those of Africa, gained their independence in the twentieth century just as the United States did more than a century and a half earlier, the United States has joined the nations of Western Europe and East Asia as the primary drivers of scientific and technological progress through the turn of the millennium whilst the former colonies of the Middle East and Africa have yet to emerge from their respective scientific and technological Dark Ages.[3]

So contrary to the assertions made by the student leadership at Capet Town University, the scientific gap is not between what they called “African science” and “Western science”. It is instead, as Professor Shangquan implies, between Northern science and the third world South.

One hallmark of science and technology, and a particular target for the anti-Western advocacy of the South African students, is modern medicine. Medical science and technology, in turn, provides what I believe to be quite a useful benchmark for the measurement of a given society’s scientific progress, which might otherwise prove exceedingly difficult to accurately quantify in easily-understandable terms. After the discovery of smallpox vaccination by English physician Edward Jenner in 1796 the global eradication of smallpox was formally officially announced by the World Health Organization less than two centuries later in 1980. Since 1900, the world average life expectancy has more than doubled from 31 years to more than 67 years as of 2010. The country with the longest life expectancy for males is Switzerland at more than 81 years. The lowest life expectancy both form females [48 years] and overall [49 years] according to the United Nations as of 2015 is in Swaziland, just 1,700 miles from the University of Cape Town in South Africa whose students called for the abolishment of science. For males, the lowest life expectancy is in the Central African Republic at 47 years.
The fact that the life expectancy for males in the Western European developed industrialized nation of Switzerland is nearly double that in the sub-Saharan equatorial Central African Republic presents a clear a qualitative as well as quantitative difference between the developed first world in the North and the underdeveloped third world in the South that is not, as the South African students accuse science of being, “racist”, but is instead dispassionate in its objectivity. Living longer is as definitive a measurement of the relative advancement of a given civilization as any conceivable.

A disproportionate percentage of the deaths in the equatorial underdeveloped third world such as the Central African Republic are due to malaria, a mosquito-borne parasitic disease that kills more people than all others put together combined…and that western medical science and technology is even as we speak well on its way towards eradicating as it did Smallpox three and half decades ago [as of 2015, a malaria vaccine had already been developed and was being tested]. Another killer in equatorial Africa is the Human Immunodeficiency Virus, which causes Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome, or HIV/AIDS. As of now, medical scientists are working on developing a vaccination against AIDS as well. This is partially at least what makes South Africans of all people being the ones to be calling for the abolition of science all that much more paradoxical, as such an abolishment of medical technology would arguably damage the populations of the nations of sub-Saharan Africa more so than anyplace on planet Earth.



  1. Claymore, Ezra. “UCT Student Says Science Must Be “Decolonized”, The South African. October 14, 2016: http://www.thesouthafrican.com/sciencemustfall-goes-viral-after-uct-student-says-science-must-be-decolonised/
  2. Shangquan, Gao. “Economic Globalization: Trends, Risks and Risk Prevention”. United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs Development Policy and Analysis Division Committee for Development Policy. 2000: http://www.un.org/en/development/desa/policy/cdp/cdp_background_papers/bp2000_1.pdf
  3. Tyson, Neil. “The Perimeter of Ignorance”. Natural History Magazine. November 1, 2005: http://www.haydenplanetarium.org/tyson/read/2005/11/01/the-perimeter-of-ignorance http://www.naturalhistorymag.com/universe/211420/the-perimeter-of-ignorance

“We Are Both”

•October 11, 2016 • Leave a Comment

In Chapter 18 of his 1798 book “An Essay on the Principle of Population”, English scholar Thomas Malthus wrote:

The savage would slumber forever under his tree unless he were roused from his torpor by the cravings of hunger or the pinching of cold and the exertions that he makes to avoid these evils, by procuring food and building himself a covering, are the exercises which from and keep in motion his faculties, which otherwise would sink into listless inactivity… The Supreme Being has ordained that the Earth shall not produce food in great quantities until much preparatory labor and ingenuity had been exercise upon its surface…. In order to rouse man into action and form his mind to reason.”

78 years later, on page 120 of his May 28, 1876 autobiography “Recollections of the Development of My Mind and Character”, English naturalist Charles Darwin recalled:

In October 1838 that is fifteen months after I had begun my systematic inquiry, I happened to read for amusement Malthus on population and being well prepared to appreciate the struggle for existence which everywhere goes on from long continued observation of the habits of animals and plants, it at once struck me that under these circumstances favorable variation would tend to be preserved and unfavorable ones to be destroyed. The result would be the formation of new species.”

The concept that Darwin is describing is what English anthropologist; biologist and sociologist Herbert Spencer would later term in Volume 1 Chapter 3: “The Evolution of Life” of his 1864 “Principles of Biology” as “survival of the fittest”.

21 years after the period Darwin describes, in Chapter 3: “Struggle for Existence” of his November 24, 1859 book “On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection”, he wrote:

As more individuals are produced than can possibly survive, there must in every case be a struggle for existence, either one individual with another of the same species or with the individuals of distinct species or with the physical conditions of life. It is the doctrine of Malthus applied with manifold force to the whole animal and vegetable kingdoms.”

Darwin concluded his book “On the Origin of Species” by writing:

Thus from the war of nature, from famine and death, the most exalted object which we are capable of conceiving, namely the production of higher animals, directly follows. There is grandeur in this view of life, with its several powers having been originally breathed into a few forms or into one and that, whilst this planet has gone cycling on according to the fixed law of gravity, from so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been and are being evolved.”

Three years after Darwin’s “Origin of Species” was published, in a June 18, 1862 letter to his fellow German philosopher, social scientist and political theorist Friederich Engels, Karl Marx damns Darwin with faint praise:

I’m amused that Darwin, at whom I’ve been taking another look, should say that he also applies the Malthusian theory to plants and animals, as though in Malthus’s case the whole thing didn’t lie in its not being applied to plants and animals but only—with its geometric progression—to humans as against plants and animals. It is remarkable how Darwin rediscovers, among the beasts and plants, the society of England with its division of labor, competition, opening up of new markets, inventions and Malthusian struggle for existence. It is Hobbes’ bellum omnium contra omens…in Darwin, the animal kingdom figures as civil society.”

Marx, the author of the February 1848 “The Communist Manifesto” was a revolutionary socialist. The American Heritage Dictionary of Cultural Literacy defines socialism as “An economic system in which production and distribution of good are controlled substantially by the government rather than by private enterprise and in which cooperation rather than competition guides economic activity.” The Collins English Dictionary elaborates that socialism is “characterized by production for use rather than profit, by equality of individual wealth, by the absence of competitive economic activity and usually by government determination of investment, process and production levels.”

Whilst Marx was correct that, in his “Origin of Species” Darwin focused primarily on competition [3] as being the primary driving force behind evolution, in the more than a century and a half since Darwin’s book was published, scientists in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries have increasingly discovered the importance of cooperation [1] in the forms of coevolution, coexistence and symbiosis [2][5]. From Marx’s perspective, by projecting the infrastructure of his own capitalist society onto the animal kingdom, what Darwin was doing was implying that capitalism such as that found in his native England was the natural state not only of humans but also of all animals and indeed all life. As a revolutionary, challenging the status quo, Marx objected to this as it rendered his movement to make his society communist at the very least quixotic if not futile.

The reality is, of course, that the world seldom if ever operates in such concrete black and white terms. Darwin’s analysis of the animal and plant kingdoms of life displaying a competition for survival reminiscent of the one Malthus described in humans was accurate. But so, as it turns out, was Marx’s belief that cooperation must be just as much a part of the natural world as is competition.

Just as Darwin took the theories Malthus developed for human society and applied them to the natural world, so too can we take this lesson of the natural world and apply it back to human society. Just as nature does not operate in black and white terms, neither does society. The reason why neither Darwin nor Marx was either entirely right nor entirely wrong in their respective perspectives on life is the same reason why neither capitalism nor socialism are an accurate way of describing the most efficacious organization of a socioeconomic system. Just like, as scientists are discovering, the natural world functions through a mixture of equal parts competition and cooperation, so too are the most prosperous and successful socioeconomic systems in the world likewise mixtures of elements taken from both capitalism and socialism.

In his April 5, 2005 book “The World is Flat: A Brief History of the Twenty-First Century”, Pulitzer-Prize-winning New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman wrote that “Communism was a great system for making people equally poor—in fact, there was no better system in the world for that than communism. Capitalism made people unequally rich.” That is to say, unfettered capitalism often referred to as “vulture capitalism”, results in extreme income inequality and a vast wealth gap between the wealthiest and the poorest. By eliminating private property, as Marx strove to do, wealth inequity is abolished…along with wealth itself…for everyone.

This demonstrates the challenge that is presented by the task of attempting to categorize the phenomenon of socioeconomic globalization as being either a positive or a negative. It is both and it is neither simultaneously. The capitalistic elements of economic globalization can and do lead to drastic wealth gaps between developed first world and underdeveloped third world countries. However, the more distributive or redistributive elements lead to countries that would not have been otherwise being exposed to liberal progressive ideals such as the freedom of expression and leading them out of the oppressive sociopolitical, often theocratic religious institutions that had heretofore retarded their intellectual achievement and societal scientific progress towards joining the post-Enlightenment scientific revolution information age. Each of these has textbook examples in relatively recent history. For the capitalism of economic globalization leading to the systematic and systemic institutionalized exploitation by wealthy countries of the underdeveloped third world, the most obvious case in point is that of the centuries-long transatlantic slave trade from the relatively undeveloped continent of Africa to the Imperialistic kingdoms of Western Europe and their overseas colonies in the Americas. More recently, however, on the other hand, for globalization opening up heretofore closed parts of the world to joining the free world in the information age, perhaps the most transformative instrument of globalization in the known recorded history of civilization is the world wide internet.

The natural world is not wholly, as English journalist Rudyard Kipling described it in his 1894 story “The Jungle Book”: “Red in tooth and claw”, as Darwin portrayed it in his “Origin of Species”. Nor is it, however, as Marx may have wanted, an egalitarian paradise based upon foundations of fundamental universal equality and cooperation. Likewise, socioeconomic globalization is not purely the great equalizer that the Internet and the foundation of organizations such as the United Nations and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization may make it appear. Neither, though, is it necessarily the great Satan, perpetrator and perpetuator of any and all economic inequalities and iniquities suffered by people of the underdeveloped world.
Nature is both.

Globalization is both.

  1. Gatti, Roberto. “Cooperation, Not Struggle for Survival, Drives Evolution”. Tomsk State University. May 12, 2016: http://en.tsu.ru/news/cooperation-not-struggle-for-survival-drives-evolution/
  2. Pollack, Jordan and Watson, Richard. “How Symbiosis Can Guide Evolution”. Brandeis University. 1999: http://www.demo.cs.brandeis.edu/papers/ecal_hsge.pdf
  3. Singer, Emily. “Competition May Not Be the Driving Force of Species Diversity After All”. WIRED Magazine. March 18, 2014: https://www.wired.com/2014/03/bird-evolution/
  4. Wilson, Edward. “Groups Are the Driving Force of Human Evolution”. Rice University. April 6, 2012: http://news.rice.edu/2012/04/06/groups-are-the-driving-force-of-human-evolution-wilson-says/
  5. Zook, Douglas. “Symbiosis as a Driving Force of Evolution”. American Association for the Advancement of Science. February 2013: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/267541999_Symbiosis_as_a_Driving_Force_of_Evolution

One Month Out

•October 8, 2016 • Leave a Comment

Former United States Senator and Cabinet Secretary of the United States Department of State Hillary Rodham Clinton  [D-NY] has an 86% chance of winning the Tuesday November 8, 2016 Presidential election with 341 Electoral Votes, as polls show Clinton defeating defeating Republican Party Presidential Nominee Donald Trump by fourteen percentage points [Clinton: 52%, Trump: 38%, NBC News/Wall Street Journal, October 8, 2016]


Clinton has an 86% chance of winning the battleground swing state of Colorado and its 9 Electoral Votes, as polls show Clinton defeating Trump in Colorado by eleven percentage points [Clinton: 49%, Trump: 38%, Monmouth University, October 3, 2016].

Clinton has a 71% chance of winning the battleground swing state of Florida and its 29 Electoral Votes, as polls show Clinton defeating Trump in Florida by seven percentage points [Clinton: 47%, Trump: 40%, University of North Florida, October 6, 2016].

Clinton has a 95% chance of winning the battleground state of Maine and its 2 Electoral Votes, as polls show Clinton defeating Trump in Maine by nine percentage points [Clinton: 44%, Trump: 35%, Emerson College, September 7, 2016].

Clinton has a 93% chance of winning the battleground state of Michigan and its 16 Electoral Votes, as polls show Clinton defeating Trump in Michigan be eleven percentage points [Clinton: 43%, Trump: 32%, Detroit Free Press, October 6, 2016].

Clinton has a 92% chance of winning the battleground state of Minnesota and its 10 Electoral votes, as polls show Clinton defeating Trump in Minnesota by seven percentage points [Clinton: 46%, Trump: 39%, KSTP-TV, September 25, 2016].

Clinton has a 72.3% chance of winning the battleground swing state of Nevada and its 6 Electoral votes, as polls show Clinton defeating Trump in Nevada by six percentage points [Clinton: 44%, Trump: 38%, Suffolk University, September 29, 2016].

Clinton has an 86% chance of winning the battleground swing state of New Hampshire and its 4 Electoral Votes, as polls show Clinton defeating Trump in New Hampshire by nine percentage points [Clinton: 47%, Trump: 38%, WBUR, September 29, 2016].

Clinton has a 66.7% chance of winning the battleground swing state of North Carolina and its 15 Electoral Votes, as polls show Clinton defeating Trump in North Carolina by six percentage points [Clinton: 45%, Trump: 39%, Elon University, October 4, 2016].

Clinton has a 63% chance of winning the battleground swing state of Ohio and its 18 Electoral Votes, as polls show Clinton defeating Trump in Ohio by seven percentage points [Clinton: Clinton: 46%, Trump: 39%, CBS News, September 9, 2016].

Clinton has a 93% chance of winning the battleground state of Pennsylvania and its 20 Electoral Votes, as polls show Clinton defeating Trump in Pennsylvania by twelve percentage points [Clinton: 48%, Trump: 36%, Franklin and Marshall College, October 4, 2016].

Clinton has a 95% chance of winning the battleground swing state of Virginia and its 13 Electoral Votes, as polls show Clinton defeating Trump in Virginia by twelve percentage points [Clinton: 46%, Trump: 34%, Hampton University, October 2, 2016].

Clinton has an 87% chance of winning the battleground state of Wisconsin and its 10 Electoral votes, as polls show Clinton defeating Trump in Wisconsin by eight percentage points [Clinton: 43%, Trump: 35%, Loras College, October 5, 2016].


Fact Check: First Clinton-Trump 2016 Presidential Debate, Hofstra University, Hempstead, New York, Monday September 26, 2016 Part 2: Hillary Rodham Clinton

•October 4, 2016 • Leave a Comment
  1. When given her chance, former First Lady of the State of Arkansas, First Lady of the United States, United States Senator and Cabinet Secretary of the United States Department of State Hillary Rodham Clinton stated that Republican Presidential Nominee Donald Trump “rooted for the housing crisis”.
    1. This is true.
      1. In 2004, Trump told CNN about the real estate market crash in the late 1980’s: “The real estate markets crashed…I always made a lot of money in bad markets. I love bad markets. You can do very well in bad markets.”
      2. Trump counseled Trump University students to take advantage of the housing bubble as an investment opportunity. In an interview with Jon Ward for his January 1, 2006 audiobooks “How to Build a fortune: Your Plan for Success from the World’s Most Famous Businessman” and “Bubble-Proof Real Estate Investing” for Trump University, Ward asked Trump “There’s a lot of talk, which you’ve no doubt heard too, about a so-called real estate bubble. What’s your take on that pessimism?” Trump answered: “Well first of all, I sort of hope that happens because then people like me would go in and buy. You know, if you’re in a good cash position, which I’m in a good cash position today, then people like me would go in and buy like crazy. If there is a bubble burst, as they call it, you know you can make a lot of money.”
        -Diamond, Jeremy. “Donald Trump in 2006: “I sort of hope” real estate market tanks”. CNN. Thursday May 19, 2016.
      3. On May 20, 2007 Trump told the Toronto Globe and Mail that he was ready to invest in real estate because the market was starting to head down and that he was excited for the housing bubble to end because of the money he would make: “People have been talking about the end of the cycle for 12 years and I’m excited if it is. I’ve always made more money in bad markets than in good markets.”
        -Jaffe, Alexandra. “Trump in 2007: “I’m excited” for Housing Market Crash”. NBC News. May 23, 2016.
      4. On February 17, 2009, Trump told Wolf Blitzer of CNN about real estate markets “I can tell you, they’re a hell of a lot lower than they were a year ago or two years ago. And this is a great opportunity… And now I’m saying, I think that this is a good time…I think this is a great time to buy. If you have cash, this is the great time to buy.”
  2. Clinton then stated that Trump’s tax plan “would blow up the debt by over $5 trillion”.
    1. This is true.
      1. Donald Trump’s tax plan could add as much as $24.5 Trillion to the national debt over the coming 20 years unless it is accompanied by steep cuts in spending and entitlement programs, a new analysis finds…The numbers are startling, according to the new report: Trump’s proposals for consolidating and slashing individual and corporate taxes and getting rid of the estate tax would reduce federal revenues by an estimated $9.5 trillion over the coming decade and additional $15 trillion over the subsequent 10 years. And that’s before accounting for the government’s added interest costs from having to borrow substantial sums to make up for the revenue shortfall and keep the government operating.”

        The Tax Policy Center estimates the proposal would reduce federal revenue by $9.5 trillion over its first decade and an additional $15 trillion over the subsequent 10 years, before accounting for added interest costs or considering macroeconomic feedback effects.”

        The Center initially estimates that the Trump plan would decrease tax revenues by $9.5 trillion over 10 years. The Center then increases this estimate to $11.2 trillion to reflect the incremental interest that the US Treasury would pay on the additional $9.5 trillion in national debt, since the Trump plan has no cuts in federal spending.”
        -Pianin, Eric. “Trump’s Tax Cuts Would Add $24.5 Trillion to the Debt”. Fiscal Times. December 23, 2015.

      2. Over 10 years, the Center projected, Trump’s policies would increase the debt by $11.2 trillion. Over 20 years, they would increase the debt by $34.1 trillion. In its report, the Center found that “including interest costs, the proposal would add $11.2 trillion to the national debt by 2026 and $34.1 trillion by 2036.”
        -Jacobson, Louis. “According to Analysts, Donald Trump Would Increase Debt by $30 Trillion”. Poynter Institute School for Journalism. Wednesday July 27, 2016: http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2016/jul/27/tim-kaine/tim-kaine-says-donald-trumps-plan-would-add-30-tri/ http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2016/jul/13/hillary-clinton/hillary-clinton-says-according-analysts-donald-tru/
      3. According to Robert Pozen of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Alfred Sloan School of Management “the Trump plan increases the federal deficit over the next decade by $10 trillion or $12 trillion, according to several estimates that do not include macroeconomic changes in GDP, investment and employment… However, even under dynamic scoring, which takes into account a broad range of macroeconomic effects of tax proposals, his tax cuts would still expand that federal deficit by $10 trillion, on top of the $10 trillion increase in the deferral deficit already projected under current law…In a recent report based on current law, the CBO estimates that the cumulative deficit will be $9.4 trillion between 2017 and 2026. This would bring the total national debt to approximately $30 trillion, without the tax cuts in the Trump plan.”
        -Pozen. Robert. “Donald Trump’s Tax Plan Could Land America $10 Trillion Deeper in Debt”. Brookings Institution. Monday March 7, 2016
      4. The gross national debt is projected to rise from $19 trillion today to $29.1 trillion by 2026, or a 50 percent increase, according to government increase…The Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, the non-partisan fiscal watchdog group that has been taking the lead in tallying up the costs of the Presidential candidates’ proposals, has previously estimated that $14 trillion in publicly held debt would rise to $23.9 trillion by 2026 under Clinton’s plans for raisin taxes and boosting domestic spending…Yet under Trump’s tax cut and spending plan, gross debt would rise to %39.5 trillion by 2026, or an astounding doubling of the current $19 trillion figure, according to a new study by the CRFBThe gross national debt as a share of the overall economy is expected to remain relatively flat over the coming years, with a slight uptick from 104 percent of GDP this year to 105 percent by 2026, according to the study…Under Trump’s plan, by comparison, it would rise to 143 percent of GDP.”
        -Pianin, Eric. “Trump Fumes Over $19 Trillion National Debt, But His Plan Would Double It”. Fiscal Times. July 28, 2016
      5. A new Washington study says Donald Trump’s tax and budget plans would make the national debt skyrocket by $10 trillion or more over the coming decade, mostly because of his ambitious and expensive tax cuts…All told, Trump’s policies would result in the $19.3 trillion national debt spiking to 127 percent the size of the U.S. economy by 2026…The Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget says Democrat Hillary Clinton’s agenda, which relies on tax increases to pay for proposals such as making the Affordable Care Act more generous, would increase the debt by about $250 billion over 10 years…Clinton’s plans would closely track current law, in which the debt would equal 86 percent of the economy.”
        -Associated Press. “Donald Trump’s Budget Plan Would Add $10 Trillion in Debt”. CBS News. June 27, 2016
      6. Republican Presidential front-runner Donald Trump’s tax plan would cost an eye-popping $12 trillion over 10 years, according to a new estimate that runs directly counter to the billionaire’s pledge not to increase the deficit”:

        Mr. Trump’s plan would cut taxes by $11.98 trillion over the next decade on a static basis…Our analysis finds that the plan would reduce federal revenues by $11.98 trillion over the next decade…Overall, the plan would reduce federal revenue on a static basis by $11.98 trillion over the next ten years

        The conservative Tax Foundation also scored it using a model that assumes supply side conservative theories of economic growth are correct and found it still would add $10.14 trillion to the deficit: ”After accounting for increased incomes due to these factors, the plan would only reduce tax revenues by $10.14 trillion.”
        -Sarlin, Benjy. “Tax Group: Trump Tax Plan Would Cost $12 Trillion”. NBC News. September 29, 2015.


  3. Clinton further stated that Trump’s tax plan would “lose 3.5 million jobs”.
    1. This, too, is also true.
      1. Mark Zandi, a well-respected economist, did issue a report saying that if Trump’s economic plans were fully implemented, 3.5 million jobs would disappear, incomes would stagnate, debt would explode and stock prices would plummet…His report also said that if Clinton were able to fully implement her economic plans, the economy would add an additional 3.2 million jobs during the first four years of her Presidency. Combined with anticipated job creation under current law, that adds up to 10.4 million jobs.”
        -Lee, Michelle. “Fact Check: Clinton’s Claim on the Impact of Trump’s Tax Plan Versus Her Plan”. Washington Post. September 26, 2016
      2. According to the University of Pennsylvania School for Communications Annenberg Public Policy Center “Moody’s forecast that if Trump were able to implement all of his proposed policies, the economy would suffer an extended recession and result in 3.4 million job losses over the course of Trump’s Presidency…If his policies were fully implemented, Moody’s predicts the economy would suffer an extended recession beginning in early 2018. The policies would also result in 3.4 million job losses over the course of Trump’s Presidency. Moody’s Analytics concluded that if Clinton were to fully implement the plans she has outlined in her campaign, the economy would add 10.4 million jobs during Clinton’s Presidency. That’s 3.2 million ore than it projects would be added under current law.”
        -Farley, Robert and Gore, D’Angelo, et al. “Clinton’s Economic Speech”. Annenberg Public Policy Center. August 11, 2016.
      3. The downturn under a President Trump would last longer than the Great Recession. The Republican Presidential Nominee’s policies would result in an economic downturn that would last longer than the Great Recession. About 3.5 Million Americans would lose their jobs, unemployment would jump back to 7%, home prices would fall and the stock market would plummet, Moody’s predicts…. Hillary Clinton’s plans for the economy would boost growth and create millions of jobs, according to a new analysis. Moody’s Analytics estimates that if the Democratic Presidential Nominee’s Proposals are enacted, the economy would create 10.4 million jobs during her Presidency, or 3.2 million more than expected under current law.”
        -Long, Heather. “Moody’s: Trump’s Plans Would Cost 3.5 Million Jobs”. CNN. June 21, 2016.
  4. Clinton then stated that Trump believes climate change to be a hoax.
    1. This is true.
      1. On March 28, 2012, Trump stated on Twitter, “Global warming had been proven to be a canard repeatedly over and over again.”
      2. On November 1, 2012, Trump stated, “Let’s continue to destroy the competitiveness of our factories and manufacturing so we can fight mythical global warming.” On November 2, 2012, he wrote, “Global Warming is based on faulty science and manipulated data.” On November 5, 2012, he stated, “We can’t destroy the competitiveness of our factories in order to prepare for nonexistent global warming.” On November 6, 2012, he stated “The concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive.”
        -Ohlheiser, Abby. “Trump Didn’t Delete His Tweet Calling Global Warming A Chinese Hoax”. Washington Post. September 27, 2016.
      3. On March 25, 2013, Trump wrote, “They changed the name from “global warming” to “climate change” after the term global warming just wasn’t working anymore.”
      4. On April 23, 2013, he wrote, “Used to be called global warming and when that name didn’t work, they deftly changed it to climate change, because it’s freezing!”
      5. On May 25, 2013, he wrote, “It’s called “climate change”. No, they changed it to “climate change” when “global warming wasn’t working anymore, too cold!” On May 25, 2013, he wrote, “It’s 45 and snowing in New York on Memorial Day, tell the so-called “scientists” that we want global warming right now!”
      6. On June 26, 2013, he stated, “Obama’s speech on climate change was scary. It will lower our standard of living and raise costs of fuel and food for everyone. China loved Obama’s climate change speech yesterday. They laughed! It hastens their takeover of us as the leading world economy.”
      7. On November 23, 2013, he wrote, “The people that gave you global warming are the same people that gave you ObamaCare! They changed the name global warming to climate change because the concept of global warming just wasn’t working!”
      8. On December 5, 2013, he stated, “The problem with the concept of “global warming” is that the U.S. is spending a fortune on “fixing it” while China and others do nothing”. On December 6, 2013, he stated, “Global warming is total and very expensive hoax! We should be focused on magnificently clean and healthy air and not distracted by the expensive hoax that is global warming!” On December 14, 2013, he wrote, “Are we still wasting billions on the global warming con?” On December 15, 2013, he wrote, “The “global warming” name isn’t working anymore, sorry! They call it “climate change” now because the words “global warming” didn’t work anymore. Same people fighting hard to keep I all going!” On December 16, 2013, he stated, “John Beale, the top person in the government on climate change, is a total fraud”. On December 19, 2013, he stated, “John Beale, the man who headed up Climate Change for the government, is a proven con man and total phony.” On December 28, 2013, he wrote, “We should focus on clean and beautiful air, not expensive and business closing Global warming, a total hoax! The global warming scientists don’t want to be airlifted off the ship, they are having too much fun and that is too simple a solution, fame!” On December 30, 2013, he wrote, “What the hell is going on with Global Warming. The Planet is freezing, the ice is building and the G.W. scientists are stuck, a total con job. The con artists changed the name from Global Warming to Climate Change when Global Warming was no longer working and credibility was lost!”
        -Adler, Ben. “Donald Trump Says Global Warming is a Chinese Hoax. China Disagrees.Mother Jones. September 29, 2016.
      9. On January 1, 2014, Trump wrote on Twitter, “This very expensive Global warming bullshit has got to stop.” On January 2, 2014, he wrote, “You know its actually called Climate Change, right? That’s only because Global Warming wasn’t working!”
      10. On the Fox News Channel network on January 6, 2014, Trump called climate change a “hoax”: http://mediamatters.org/video/2014/01/06/fox-regular-donald-trump-decries-climate-change/197432
        -Schulman, Jeremy. “Did Trump Call Global Warming A Chinese Hoax? Yes. And Tonight He Lied About It”. Mother Jones. September 26, 2016.
        -Jacobson, Louis. “Yes, Donald Trump Did Call Climate Change a Chinese Hoax: What Donald Trump Said About the Chinese Inventing the “Hoax” of Climate Change”. Poynter Institute School for Journalism. Friday June 3, 2016: http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2016/jun/03/hillary-clinton/yes-donald-trump-did-call-climate-change-chinese-h/ http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2016/jan/24/bernie-s/yes-donald-trump-really-did-tweet-climate-change-h/
      11. On January 25, 2014, he wrote on Twitter, “Is our country still spending money on the global Warming hoax?” On January 26, 2014, he stated, “Don’t forget. “Global warming” can also mean Earth is getting colder! That way they cover both sides of the fence! Any and all weather events are used by the Global Warming hoaxers to justify higher taxes to save our planet!” On January 29, 2014, he stated, “Global Warming is an expensive hoax! The weather has been so cold for so long that the global warming hoaxers were forced to change the name to climate change to keep the $ flow! Give me clean, beautiful and healthy air, not the same old climate change bullshit! I am tired of hearing this nonsense.”
      12. On February 5, 2014, he stated, “Smart that Global Warming hoaxers changed name to Climate change!” On February 17, 2014, he wrote, “Don’t let the Global Warming wise guys get away with changing the name to Climate Change because the facts do not let GW tag to work anymore! It’s not climate change it’s global warming. Don’t let the dollar sucking wise guys change names midstream because the first name didn’t work. Secretary of State John Kerry just stated that the most dangerous weapon of all today is climate change. Laughable”. On February 18, 2014, he wrote, “Whether Global Warming or Climate change. The fact is we didn’t cause it. We cannot change it.”
      13. On March 4, 2014, he posted “Global warming con!”
      14. On July 14, 2014, he wrote, “They only changed the term to Climate Change when the words Global Warming didn’t work anymore. The only global warming that people should be concerned with is the global warming caused by nuclear weapons because of out weak U.S. leader”. On July 16, 2014, he wrote, “Lucky they changed the name from global warming to climate change, G.W. just doesn’t work!”
      15. On September 9, 2014, he stated, “Windmills are the greatest threat in the US to both bald and golden eagles. Media claims fictional “global warming” is worse.” On September 17, 2014, he posted, “Great article on so-called climate change, formerly known as global warming.”
      16. On November 18, 2014, he stated, “Just like Jonathan Gruber viciously lied and called Americans “stupid” on ObamaCare, many consultants are doing the same on Global Warming. There are many Jonathan Gruber types selling the global warming stuff, and they really do believe the American public is stupid.” On November 19, 2016, he wrote, “For those that constantly say that “global warming” is now “climate change”, they changed the name. The name global warming wasn’t working”.
        -Schroeder, Robert. “Trump Denies Saying Climate Change Was Chinese hoax, and is Contradicted By His Own Twitter Account”. Wall Street Journal, September 27, 2016.
      17. Trump told CNN in September 2015 “I don’t believe in climate change”: http://blogs.wsj.com/washwire/2015/09/24/donald-trump-i-dont-believe-in-climate-change/

Fact Check: First Clinton-Trump 2016 Presidential Debate, Hofstra University, Hempstead, New York, Monday September 26, 2016 Part 1: Donald Trump (R-NY)

•October 3, 2016 • Leave a Comment
  1. Republican Party Nominee Donald Trump began by stating that China is manipulating its currency.
    1. This is a lie.
      1. According to Dartmouth College Amos Tuck School of Business Administration Paul Danos Dean and Earl Daum 1924 Professor of International Business Matthew Slaughter: “Movements in the yuan’s nominal exchange rate do not affect long-term trade flows or jobs in the U.S…Movements in the nominal yuan exchange rate have almost no long-term impact on global flows of exports and imports or on broader considerations such as average wages…Long-term movements in nominal exchange rates often have nothing to do with the evolution of global trade flows.”
        -Slaughter, Matthew. “The Myths of China’s Currency Manipulation”. Wall Street Journal. January 8, 2016.
      2. According to George Mason University Professor of Economics and Mercatus Center F.A. Hayek Program for Advanced Study in Philosophy, Politics and Economics Martha and Nelson Getchell Chair for the Study of Free Market Capitalism Donald Boudreaux: “Movements in the nominal yuan exchange rate have almost no long-term impact on global flows of export and imports or on broader considerations such as average wages…Long-term movements in nominal exchange rates often have nothing to do with the evolution of global trade flows.”
        -Boudreaux, Donald. “Slaughtering the Myth of Chinese Currency Manipulation”. American Spectator. January 11, 2016.
  2. Trump went on to say, on the subject of currency manipulation, that there is “no one in the government to fight”.
    1. This, too, is a lie.
      1. A Treasury report targets five countries in particular: China, Japan, Korea, Taiwan and Germany…The Treasury report notes China has intervened heavily in forex markets, and the issue has become political as well, with Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump frequently bemoaning China’s undercutting of the U.S. dollar. “
        -Cox, Jeff. “The US Just Dropped the Hammer on Currency Manipulation”. NBC News. Monday May 2, 2016.
  3. Trump then stated, “Ford is leaving the United States…Their small car division is leaving. Thousands of jobs leaving Michigan, leaving Ohio…. We have to stop out companies from leaving the United States and, with it, firing all of their people.”
    1. This is a lie.
      1. Asked if Ford would cut any United States Jobs as part of its plans to build a new plant in Mexico, Ford Motor Company Chief Executive Officer Mark Fields: “Absolutely not. Zero. Not one job will be lost. Most of our investment is here in the US. And that’s the way it will continue to be…. We will be replacing those products with two very exciting new products so not one job will be lost.”
        -Harlow, Poppy and Isidore, Chris. “Ford CEO: Donald Trump is Wrong About Mexico”, CNN, September 15, 2016.
        -Snavely, Brent. “Ford CEO Fields Fires Back at Trump: Zero Jobs to be Lost to Mexico”, Detroit Free Press. September 16, 2016.
      2. According Ford Motor Company Executive Chairman Bill Ford, great-grandson of Henry Ford, Trump’s “basic premise is wrong…We are everything that he should be celebrating about this country…We’ve been adding jobs in the U.S. And we’re the largest manufacturer of cars and trucks in the U.S.”
        -Estevez, Dolia. “Debunking Trump: We Have Moved Jobs to Ohio from Mexico, Not the Other Way, Ford Says”. Forbes. October 3, 2016.
        -Roskopp, Jack. “Ford Has the Best Response to Trump’s Lie Last Night”. Detroit Metro Times, Tuesday September 27, 2016. 
  4. Trump then stated, “Lowering taxes is a job creator”.
    1. This is a lie.
      1. According to the Center for Effective Government:

        There’s no relationship between tax cuts and job creation…we find no relationship between tax rates and job creationOur examination of the evidence found no relationship between cutting taxes on corporate profits and job growth… We found no evidence that cutting the tax rate on corporate profits induces firms to create new jobs in the United States…. Historical trends show no relationship between tax rates and job growth…there is no discernible connection between corporate tax rates and job growth…we have found no evidence that tax holidays or lowering taxes on corporate profits will create jobs in the U.S… The Evidence shows that locking in lower tax rates on corporate profits is not an effective path to increasing jobs in the U.S.”

        -Gumm, Brian and Klinger, Scott, et al. “Lower Taxes on Corporate Profits Not Linked to Job Creation”. Center for Effective Government, December 2013

      2. Fischer, Brendan. “Tax Cuts For the Rich Do Not Create Jobs”. Center for Media and Democracy. December 18, 2010.
      3. Tax Cuts For the Rich Do Not Lead to Growth in Jobs, a Study Says”, Owen Zindar, University of Chicago David Booth Graduate School of Business, National Bureau of Economic Research, March 2015: http://www.ibtimes.com/tax-cuts-poor-middle-class-not-rich-create-jobs-research-shows-1892251 
  5. Trump then stated that, if elected the 45th President of the United States, he would “create 25 million jobs.”
    1. This is a lie.
      1. In actuality, the Trump economists note their plan will add 18 million new positions to the seven million that would happen anyway. The Congressional budget Office projects employment will rise by 7.1 million over current levels by 2026 amid an increase in the labor force of eight million people. To add 25 million jobs by then, the number of people who seek to work would have to increase more than three times as much as the economists at the budget office think likely. According to Macroeconomics Advisers chairman Joel Prakken, “To achieve such dramatic gains, many jobs would have to come from an increase in labor supply, or an increase in the labor force participation rate at a level that most economists would consider pretty far outside the range of credibility.” The Congressional Budget Office sees the participation declining from the current 62.8 percent level to 61 percent over the next decade. To generate 25 million jobs, the participation rate would need to climb to 66.7 percent. America has only had participation rates that high in the 1990’s and early 200’s. But even if the percentage of working 25 to 54 year olds returned to its peak in the spring of 2000, that would add only about 5.2 million more potential workers compared with current levels. The 2.5 million new jobs per year is precisely the average increase for the last five years. The Trump plan requires implausible growth rates to create jobs at the same pace the Obama economy has added since 2011.
        -Naroff, Joel. “Why Trump’s Economic Plans Are Unrealistic and Costly”. Philadelphia Inquirer. October 2, 2016.
      2. According to Mark Zandi from Moody’s Analytics, the only way for Trump to reach his jobs target is if he “more than doubles immigration.”
      3. In the absence of immigration, those demographic trends are going to be impossible to replicate.” Said Center on Budget and Policy Priorities Chief Economist Chad Stone. Congressional Budget Office Director Douglas Holtz-Eakin estimated Trump’s promise to close the door to new immigrants if he wins the election and immediately deport millions of undocumented workers would actually shrink the labor force of U.S. workers by 6.4 percent.
        -Schoen, John. “Trump’s 25 Million New Jobs Promise Doesn’t Add Up”. NBC News. Thursday September 15, 2016.
      4. A deep analysis of the positions Trump has taken from the nonpartisan Peterson International Institute of Economics attempted to quantify the impact of Trump’s proposed trade policies. The Institute’s review of the proposed trade policies concludes that if a President Trump did what candidate Trump promised, the Republican’s proposals could cost America almost 5 million jobs, plunge the country into a recession and increase illegal immigration from Mexico.
        -Scotti, Ciro. “How a President Trump Could Cost the US Economy Almost 5 Million Jobs”. Fiscal Times. September 19, 2016. 
  6. Trump then stated that he built his business empire with a single “very small loan” of a million dollars from his father Frederick Trump.
    1. This is a lie.
      1. His father did give him a loan that was indeed just $1 million, though it appears to have happened before Trump entered the Manhattan real estate market in the early 1970’s. Trump’s father made the loan in 1968, the year his son graduated from the University of Pennsylvania. According to the United States Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics, that $1 million would be worth $6.8 million in today’s dollars.
        -Kessler, Glenn. “Trump’s False Claim He Built His Empire With a “Small Loan” From His Father”. Washington Post. March 3, 2016.
      2. A Wall Street Journal investigation tracked down a 1985 casino license disclosure document that showed Trump owed his father’s companies roughly $14 million, a value of $31 million in today’s dollars.
        -Arnsdorf, Isaac. “Clinton is Right About Trump’s “Very Small” $14 Million Loan”. Politico. September 26, 2016. 
  7. Trump then stated, about Mexico, that: “they have a VAT tax. We’re on a different system. When we sell into Mexico, there’s a tax. When they sell in, automatic, 16 percent, approximately. When they sell into us, there’s no tax.”
    1. This is false.
      1. According to University of New York Graduate School Distinguished Professor of Economics Paul Krugman “A VAT is basically a sales tax. It is levied on both domestic and imported goods, so that it doesn’t protect against imports, which is why it’s allowed under international trade rules and not considered a protectionist trade policy.”
        -Worstall, Tim. “In the Debate Donald Trump was Simply Wrong About VAT and Mexico”, Forbes, September 27, 2016.
      2. According to Tim Worstall, a fellow at the Adam Smith Institute based in the United Kingdom “If I, as a UK company, make something for sale in the UK then I collect VAT from the buyer, and I’ve paid out VAT to my suppliers. But if I export what I’ve made then I do not…this puts me in exactly the same situation as a US company. When I make goods for export I have paid no sales tax/VAT tax on my supplies. Just like the American company. The same is true of imports by that American producer. To the consumer it all looks the same. They have to pay the full VAT whether something is an import or domestically produced…The American, imported goods are treated exactly the same as the domestically produced ones.”
        -Worstall, Tim. “Trump’s Advisers Claim VAT is a Trade Barrier, Subsidy—Flat Out Untrue, Simply Wrong”. Forbes. September 26, 2016.
      3. Due to WTO rules, Mexican companies and U.S. companies are subject to the exact same taxes.”
        -Edwards, Haley. “Here’s What Donald Trump Got Wrong About Mexico’s Taxes”. TIME Magazine. October 2, 2016.
      4. According to Eric Toder of the Brookings Institution and Urban Institute Tax Policy Center “These aren’t barriers by any means. What would be considered a trade barrier is if a country like the U.S. imposed taxes on imported goods and services, without subjecting domestic products to those same fees.”
        -Toder, Eric. “A Value Added Tax is Not a Trade Barrier”. Tax Policy Center. September 28, 2016.
      5. According to University of Michigan Economics Professor Alan Deardorff “Mexican companies do pay the same VAT tax in Mexico that U.S. companies pay.”
        -Gillespie, Patrick and Luhby, Tami. “Trump’s “Incredibly Misleading” Claim On Mexico”, CNN. September 28, 2016.

Republican Party Tears Self To Pieces, Sets Pieces On Fire, Burns To Ground, Salts Fields

•September 27, 2016 • Leave a Comment

Am i the only the only one who thinks that, in any normal election year, or in any other democratic country, if a candidate was as childishly belligerent, as disrespectful, as disingenuous and as compulsively, habitually pathologically dishonest as Donald Trump was last night to someone as admired, as credentialled, as experienced and as qualified as Hillary Clinton, that not only would they lose the election right then and there, but that their career and political life would effectively be over forever?
Because it really should.
But i’m not naive enough to believe that is what is going to happen. If last night’s debate is going to move the polls’ proverbial needle at all, any change is going to be miniscule at best: one, two, three or four percentage points at most.
To me, that fact is both an outrage of irreducible proportions and pathetically pitiful beyond words.
I think it just goes to show just how profoundly flawed, how deeply broken our political system in this country really is.

To their credit, and credit where credit is due, the Republican Party actually had what seems to me like an at least somewhat sound message.
As the old saying in political science goes “Campaign in poetry. Govern in prose”.
The Republican Party actually had something resembling a point: that politics is perception. That is to say, politics is not about facts, but about feelings.
Their message was that people don’t FEEL like the world is more peaceful now that it has ever been before in the known recorded history of civilization, even though it is.
People don’t FEEL like we are at full employment and experiencing the longest sustained period of economic growth and prosperity in our nation’s history, even though we are.
People don’t FEEL like the rates of very nearly every crime in the books are dropping both nationwide as well as in very nearly each and every single city and state in the United States, even though they are.
And, had the Republican Party nominated any of the NINE current and former State Governors or any of the FIVE current or former United States Senators that campaigned for the Republican nomination in 2016, they might have even stood a chance of making that argument…even against a former Senator and Cabinet Secretary with as many decades of experience in elected government office as Hillary Clinton.
But then, at the beginning of the summer, the GOP went horribly wrong…They Nominated Donald Trump.
If any sane person in their right mind thought that the United States might not necessarily be headed in the right direction, Donald Trump is someone who is guaranteed to take it in the wrong one.
If anyone did not feel that America was necessarily any safer or more secure, Donald Trump is someone who is sure to make it significantly less so.
If anyone did not believe that the world is a more peaceful place, Donald Trump is the one person certain to make it a more violent one.

Donald Trump, however, is a monster of the GOP’s own making.
The roots of the problem date back to 2008 when they nominated to be one eighty-year old cancer survivor’s fourth heart attack away from being Commander in Chief Sarah Palin: a woman who did not know that Germany had been our enemy in the First and Second World Wars, did not know that there was a difference between North and South Korea, did not know that there was a difference between Saudi Arabian Osama Bin Laden’s Al-Qaeda and Bathist Saddam Hussein’s Iraq, did not know what the George Bush Doctrine of Preemptive Invasion [in violation of international law] of 2002 was, and believed that her imagined ability to see the Northeasternmost tip of the Siberian peninsula from the Northwesternmost of the Alaskan Aleutian Islands qualified her on the subject of foreign policy to deal with ex-KGB Russian President/Prime Minister Vladimir Putin’s military expansionist imperialist efforts to reconstitute the former USSR bloc.
Then came the 2010 Congressional Midterm elections, when the now anti-government, anti-taxation “Teabagger” Republican Party elected, among others, dentists and reindeer farmers, who campaigned on a platform of promising to shut down the United States federal government [which they did three years later in 2013], to take over control of the Speakership and Majority in the United States House of Representatives [and later, in 2014, the United States Senate as well], appointing men who rejected the overwhelmingly vast majority of irrefutable scientific proof of climate change and evolution based on nothing more than their own interpretations of the Bible: a millennia-old book of the prehistoric stone age fables, fairytales, mysticisms, mythologies and supernaturalistic superstitions of primitive, ignorant, uneducated, illiterate, pre-scientific, Bronze Age, superstitious animal-and-human-sacrificing goat-herding nomadic, cave-dwelling desert tribesmen.
Throughout all of this ran a singular theme:
Credentials do not matter, education does not matter, experience does not matter and qualifications do not matter…a theme which culminated and pinnacled in their nomination of Donald Trump; a bigoted, discriminatory, hateful, homophobic, intolerant, misogynistic, prejudiced, racist, sexist xenophobe and compulsive habitual pathological serial liar with a histrionic megalomaniacal narcissistic sociopathic personality disorder: the most manifestly unqualified, most inexperienced and most temperamentally unfit candidate ever nominated by any political party in the more than 220-year-long history of American democracy.
Given their previous “feelings over facts” messaging, the Republicans’ profoundly flawed reasoning can only be reasonably described thusly:
“Americans don’t feel safe, so let’s make them unsafe. Americans feel like the world is a less peaceful place, so let’s make it a less peaceful place. Americans feel like the world is on fire, so let’s light it on fire.”
To make matters worse, as was on full display at Hofstra University last night, Trump is pitted opposite Hillary Rodham Clinton, a former United States Senator and Cabinet Secretary of the United States Department of State: The best-credentialed, best-educated, best-experienced and most qualified Presidential candidate ever nominated by any major political party in 220 years.

And it is my firm belief that, were the same contest of childish shoolyard bully versus calm, cool, collected and composed statesman that played out on that debate stage last night to have happened in any other country in the civilized world, it would have been a career-ending cataclysmic catastrophe for whomever that country’s equivalent of Donald Trump might be.
Like Sarah Palin and the Teabaggers before him, Donald’s Trump’s bluster is founded on jingoistic ultra-nationalism, stating that America is the “greatest nation on Earth” as if it were an established and undeniable fact.
In reality, there exists absolutely no evidence to support such an assertion: The United States does not make the top ten on the lists of the best-educated, freest, healthiest, happiest, most prosperous and safest nations, and on only a few of these lists does it even crack the top 25.
Since Donald Trump is the incarnate manifestation of all of the worst things that we have ever been as a nation [homophobic, misogynistic, racist, sexist, xenophobic, etc.], electing his as the face that Americans present to the rest of the world for the next four years would drive home to the rest of the civilized world one message: That the jingoistic platitude that America is the “greatest nation on Earth” is perhaps even more false and even further from being even remotely close to ringing true than it has ever been.
Donald Trump loves nothing more than to tell his bigotedly xenophobic supporters that the other nations of the rest of the world “are laughing at” the United States of America.
Like the Republicans seeming to wish to reward voters feeling unsafe by making them unsafe, Trump’s talk about America being “laughed at” may very well be a self-fulfilling prophecy as well.
Because whether he is right or not, regardless of whether or not the rest of the civilized world is laughing at us already [presumably for claiming to be the greatest nation in the world when we’re not even in the top ten by any measure or metric], if we elect Donald Trump to be the face that represents us as a nation to them, they will be then.

First Day of Fall

•September 21, 2016 • Leave a Comment

Former United States Senator and Cabinet Secretary of the United States Department of State Hillary Clinton [D-NY] has a 74% probability of winning the November 8, 2016 with 299 Electoral votes of the 270 needed to become the 45th President of the United States on January 20, 2017, as polls show Clinton defeating her opponent, Republican Party Presidential Nominee Donald Trump by eight percentage points [Clinton: 51%, Trump: 43%, ABC News/Washington Post, September 11, 2016].

Clinton has a 77% probability of winning the battleground swing State of Colorado and its nine Electoral votes, as polls show Clinton defeating Trump in Colorado by nine percentage points [Clinton: 44%, Trump: 35%, Colorado Mesa University, September 18, 2016].

Clinton has a 62% probability of winning the battleground swing State of Florida and its 29 Electoral votes, as polls show Clinton defeating Trump in Florida by five percentage points [Clinton: 46%, Trump: 41%, Monmouth University, September 20, 2016].

Clinton has an 89% probability of winning the battleground State of Maine and its two Electoral votes, as polls show Clinton defeating Trump by nine percentage points [Clinton: 44%, Trump: 35%, Emerson College, September 7, 2016].

Clinton has a 78% probability of winning the battleground State of Michigan and its sixteen Electoral votes, as polls show Clinton defeating Trump in Michigan by five percentage points [Clinton: 47%, Trump: 42%, Mitchell Research and Communications, September 9, 2016].

Clinton has an 87% probability of winning the battleground State of Minnesota and its ten Electoral votes, as polls show Clinton defeating Trump in Minnesota by six percentage points [Clinton: 49%, Trump: 43%, KSTP-TV, September 20, 2016].

Clinton has an 86% probability of winning the battleground swing State of New Hampshire and its four electoral votes, as polls show Clinton defeating Trump in New Hampshire by nine percentage points [Clinton: 47%, Trump: 38%, Monmouth University, September 21, 2016].

Clinton has an 82% probability of winning the battleground State of Pennsylvania and its twenty Electoral votes, as polls show Clinton defeating Trump in Pennsylvania by nine percentage points [Clinton: 47%, Trump: 38%, Muhlenberg College, September 17, 2016].

Clinton has a 93% probability of winning the battleground swing State of Virginia and its thirteen Electoral votes, as polls show Clinton defeating Trump in Virginia by eleven percentage points [Clinton: 51%, Trump: 40%, Roanoke College, September 20,2016].

Clinton has a 77% probability of winning the battleground State of Wisconsin and its ten Electoral votes, as polls show Clinton defeating Trump in Wisconsin by seven percentage points [Clinton: 45%, Trump: 38%, Emerson College, September 20, 2016].

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