Presidents as Regulators: From Ike to The Donald

According to the Regulatory Studies Center of George Washington University,

the number of total pages published in the CFR [Code of Federal Regulations] annually provides a sense of the volume of existing regulations with which American businesses, workers, consumers, and other regulated entities must comply.

The dataset published by the Center provides a consistent measure of the total number of CFR pages for each year from 1950 through 2019, and for 2020 through July 9. Armed with those numbers, I computed the annual rate of increase in the size of the CFR under each administration, from Eisenhower’s to Trump’s (as of July 9, 2020). The result is shown below.

It is no surprise that Trump’s administration was the least heavy-handed. Nor is it surprising that each Democrat administration was generally more heavy-handed than its GOP predecessor. The surprising exception is Clinton’s regime, which was better than Bush I’s, and was second only to Trump’s in its regulatory austerity.

Modeling and Science Revisited

I have written a lot about modeling and science. (See the long list of posts at “Modeling, Science, and ‘Reason’“.) I have said, more than once, that modeling isn’t science. What I should have said — though it was always implied — is that a model isn’t scientific if it is merely synthetic.

What do I mean by that? Here is an example by way of contrast. The famous equation E = mc2 is an synthetic model in that it is derived Einstein’s special theory of relativity (and other physical equations). But it is also an empirical model in that the relationship between mass (m) and energy (E) can also be confirmed by observation (given suitable instruments).

On the other hand, a complex model of the U.S. economy, a model of Earth’s “average” temperature (called misleadingly a climate model), or a model of combat (to give a few examples) is only synthetic.

Why do I say that a complex model (of the kind mentioned above) is only synthetic? Such a model consists of a large number of modules, each of which is mathematical formulation of some aspect of the larger phenomenon being modeled. Here’s a simple example: An encounter between a submarine and a surface ship, where the outcome is expressed as the probability that the submarine will sink the surface ship. The outcome could be expressed in this way:

S = D x F x H x K x C, where S = probability that submarine sinks surface ship, which is the product of:

D = probability that submarine detects surface ship within torpedo range

F = probability that, given detection, submarine is able to “fix” the target and fire a torpedo (or salvo of them)

H = probability that, given the firing of a torpedo (or salvo), the surface ship is hit

K = probability that, given a hit (or hits), the surface ship is sunk

C = probability that the submarine survives efforts to find and nullify it before it can detect a surface ship

This is a simple model by comparison with a model of the U.S. economy, a global climate model, or a model of a battle involving large numbers of various kinds of weapons. In fact, it is a simplistic model of combat. Each of the modules could be decomposed into many sub-modules; for example, the module for D could consist of sub-modules for sonar accuracy, sonar operator acuity, acoustic conditions in the area of operation, countermeasures deployed by the target, etc.. In any event, the module for D will consist of a mathematical relationship, based perhaps on some statistics collected from tests or exercises (i.e., not actual combat). The mathematical relationship will encompass many assumptions (mainly implicit ones) about sonar accuracy, sonar operator acuity, etc. The same goes for the other modules — C, in particular, which encompasses all of the effects of D, F, H, and K — at a minimum.

In sum, the number of unknowns completely swamps the number of knowns. There is nothing close to certainty about the model — or any model of its kind. (In the case of the model of S, for example, relatively small errors — say, 25 percent from the actual value of each variable — can yield an estimate of S that is three times greater than or one-third as much as the actual value of S.) The mathematical operations involved do nothing to resolve the uncertainty, they merely multiply it. But the mathematical operations nevertheless convey the appearance of certainty because they yield numbers. The numbers merely represent a lot of guesses, but they seem authoritative because numbers mesmerize most people — even scientists who should be always be skeptical of them.

Despite all of that, analysts have for many decades been producing — and decision-makers have been consuming — the results of such models as the basis for choosing defense systems. Models of similar complexity have been and are being used in making decisions about a broad range of policies affecting the economy, health care, transportation, education, the environment, the climate (i.e., “global warming”), and on into the night.

The unfounded confidence that modelers have in their models, because the models produce numbers, captivates most decision-makers, who simply want answers. And so, modelers will go to ridiculous extremes. One not untypical example that I recall from my days as an in-house critic of analysts’ work is the model that purported to compare competing weapons (on of which was still in development) based on their relative contribution to the outcome of a hypothetical battle. The specific measure was the movement of the forward edge of the battle area (FEBA) to within a yard.

Global climate models are like that warfare model: Their creators pretend that they can estimate the change in the average temperature of the globe to within less than a tenth of a degree. If you believe that, I have a bridge to sell you.


Related pages:

Climate Change

Modeling, Science, and “Reason”

Where’s the Outrage?

Early today

two FBI agents were fatally shot and three more were injured while serving a search warrant at a South Florida residence in a child pornography case….

Later, President Biden issued this statement:

[O]ur hearts go out to the families of these FBI special agents, and — two of whom were killed and three of whom were injured today in Florida….

[E]very single day, every single one of these folks get up and they — by and large, the vast, vast majority of these men and women are decent, honorable people who put themselves on the line, and we owe them.

[End of topic. On to other things.]

As if it was necessary to apologize for the fact that FBI agents were serving a warrant in a child-pornography case.

What the president pretender should have said was this:

I am outraged by the killing of two FBI agents and the wounding of three others who were lawfully serving a warrant in a child-pornography case. It is the efforts of FBI agents and other law-enforcement officers that enable Americans to enjoy the fruits of liberty. Today’s tragedy is further proof that those who wish to defund the police are no better than the criminals whose foul deeds they condone.

President Trump would have said that, or something much like it.

The MADness of It All

This post covers ground that is already well-covered in “It’s a MAD, MAD, MAD, MAD World“, “MAD, Again“, and ““MAD, Again”: A Footnote“. But those posts are now going on three years old and the issue at hand is too important to ignore.

Here is David Hambling, writing at Forbes (“The Hidden Nuclear Policy the Biden Administration Needs to Tackle“, January 26, 2021):

A U.S. Navy policy on ballistic missile submarines may threaten the stability of the strategic nuclear balance. This seems to be the result of the inertia of a strategy laid down in a different era, one which is becoming increasingly precarious as technology advances.

Previous administrations have failed to spell out the actual policy, preferring to keep it under wraps. Continuing this lack of clarity could prove catastrophic….

ASW is all about finding, tracking and destroying enemy submarines. Strategic ASW targets the submarines carrying nuclear missiles. During the Cold War, Strategic ASW was about tying up enemy forces [Soviet submarines armed with nuclear missiles, thus] affecting the war on the ground, but now the situation is quite different….

The rationale for putting missiles on submarines is to ensure second-strike capability. The argument is that while land and air-based weapons might be knocked out in a surprise attack, the underwater force would survive because submarines cannot be located. This makes submarine-based weapons a linchpin for the nuclear deterrent, the most secure leg of the U.S. nuclear triad as well as the Russian one.

Any threat to a nation’s ballistic missile submarines makes it vulnerable to a first strike, and, in a time of crisis, might prompt them to act first. Hence the question … is strategic ASW still official U.S. policy?

There is no official answer. The last National Security Strategy to be completely declassified was from the 1986 Reagan administration, which explicitly tasked the Navy with strategic ASW. The most recent National Security Strategy, from 2018, has only been released in summary form, and says nothing on the topic.

Actions speak louder than words though, and from the U.S. Navy’s actions, they are still very much in the business of pursuing Russian subs in the Arctic. For example, there are regular ‘ICEX’ exercises which include submarines test-firing torpedoes at targets under the ice….

In fact it is not even clear whether there has been any decision-making process, or whether strategic ASW has become the default policy….

This would make it one of those zombie policies that keeps going long after it ought to be dead and buried. And, while strategic ASW might have made strategic sense 30 years ago it, does not today. This is partly because technology is improving and submarine detection keeps getting better. Each new advance makes the ability to threaten ballistic missile submarines more serious….

[Some] analysts and academicians want to encourage the new administration to state clearly whether strategic ASW is still U.S. policy, and if so who is driving it. [The] aim, for starters, would be to ensure the policy is disowned, which could at least reduce the risk and open up the way for discussion.

And so, the non-problem of strategic ASW is to be solved by a non-solution: a treaty that would be hard to enforce.

Why is strategic ASW a non-problem? First, as Hambling suggests, it wasn’t a problem during the cold war, but not for the reason given by Hambling; namely,

Strategic ASW was about tying up enemy forces and affecting the war on the ground, but now the situation is quite different….

That’s tail-wagging-the-dog reasoning. Whatever strategic ASW was about during the Cold War — in the minds of American strategists — it could only have been about one thing in the minds of Soviet strategists: a threat to Soviet second-strike capability. The possibility that the U.S. would engage in strategic ASW was never an actual threat to Soviet second-strike capability because the precondition — a ground war in Europe being lost by the Allies — was never met.

Moreover, the U.S. rationale for strategic ASW during the Cold War was flawed, and the Soviets knew it. The rationale, as Hambling says, was to tie up Soviet forces defending Soviet submarines armed with nuclear missiles (the Soviet second-strike capability). But those defensive forces were in place long before strategic ASW became a U.S. policy. And those defensive forces wouldn’t have been used for any other purpose, so intent were Soviet strategists on protecting their second-strike capability.

Further, an actual effort to take out the Soviet second-strike capability during the Cold War would have met the same response as an actual effort to take out Russia’s second-strike capability now or in the future: an ultimatum followed, if necessary, by a warning shot across the bow. The ultimatum would be along these lines: Make a move toward our second-strike capability and we will take out one of your cities. And if the ultimatum were ignored, the city would be taken out. (Why, then, the need for defensive forces? Well, why do some men wear both belt and braces (suspenders, in American)? “Just in case”is the best answer to both questions.)

You can play what-ifs and if-this-then-thats all day long. But the bottom line will always be the same: Strategic ASW wouldn’t be conducted in the first place (and wouldn’t have been conducted during the Cold War) because no U.S. president would want to risk having a U.S. city taken out (or worse), nor would he want to risk being humiliated by having to back down in a game of nuclear “chicken”.

The Soviets understood all of that. The Russians (and Chinese) understand all of that. So any talk of strategic ASW is simply irrelevant. Just as irrelevant is the notion that U.S. Navy talk of strategic ASW is destabilizing. It’s not destabilizing because the Russians (and Chinese) know that it won’t happen.

But what could happen? The U.S. could sign on to — and honor — an agreement that limits the ability of the U.S. to detect enemy submarines, even as Russia (and China) — acting clandestinely in bad faith — would develop more sophisticated means of detecting U.S. submarines. Such capabilities, even if irrelevant to a nuclear showdown, would be invaluable in a war where U.S. interests are at stake (e.g., a contest for control of the South China Sea).

So, wittingly or not, Hambling and those U.S. analysts whom he represents are playing into the hands of our adversaries by advancing a “solution” to a non-problem. The “solution” — a hard-to-enforce agreement — would weaken the ability of U.S. forces to defend America and Americans’ overseas interests.

Old Wisdom Revisited

To paraphrase Kurt von Hammerstein-Equord (1878-1943), an anti-Nazi German general, there are four personality types:

Smart and hard-working (good middle manager)

Stupid and lazy (lots of these around, hire for simple, routine tasks and watch closely)

Smart and lazy (promote to senior management — delegates routine work and keeps his eye on the main prize)

Stupid and hard-working (dangerous to have around, screws up things, should be taken out and shot)

It would be fun to classify presidents accordingly, but my target today is a former boss. He wasn’t very smart, but he put up a good front by deploying rhetorical tricks (e.g., Socratic logic-chopping of a most irritating kind). But he was hard-working, if you call constant motion without a notion (my coinage) hard-working.

His rhetorical tricks and aimless energy impressed outsiders who couldn’t appreciate the damage that he did to the company. Both traits irritated intelligent insiders, who were smart enough to pierce his facade and understand the damage that he did to the company.

He kept his job for 25 years because he had only to impress outsiders — the board of directors and the senior officials of client agencies — who had no idea what he actually did from day to day. Good things were accomplished in spite of him, but the glory reflected on him, undeservedly.

About Those “Green” Jobs

The Biden bunch is regurgitating a bit of economic hogwash that originated in the Clinton clatch (#3 here): “Green” jobs will replace jobs that are based on the use of fossil fuels.

First, there will be fewer jobs overall because the economy will tank with the decline of fossil fuels. Second, the resulting “green” jobs will exemplify the broken windows fallacy.

The fallacy is that a broken window is a good thing because it generates business for a glazier. On the same principle, war is a good thing because it results in the recruitment of soldiers. And the killing of solders is a good thing because it results in the recruitment of additional soldiers.

The only thing to be said about Biden’s hysterical call to “climate action” is that it will result in the killing of a lot of a productive jobs and the creation of a smaller number of unproductive and counterproductive jobs.

Biden: Off to a Bad Start with Voters

It comes as no surprise to me (and to many others) that Biden isn’t enjoying a post-inaugural “honeymoon” with the mass of voters. Though it can be said that he seems intent on screwing them with higher taxes, higher energy prices, and privileges for identity groups.

Compare and contrast Biden’s performance in the Daily Presidential Tracking Poll published by Rasmussen Reports. Specifically, compare and contrast Biden’s performance relative to the performances of Obama and Trump according to a measure that I devised back in the early days of Obama’s presidency. I call it the enthusiasm ratio. It is the number of likely voters expressing strong approval as a percentage of the number of likely voters expressing either approval or disapproval (that is, it ignores likely voters who express neither approval nor disapproval).

Here’s the comparison:

What’s noteworthy about the graph, aside from Biden’s slow start, is Trump’s dominance over Obama after the first ten months of their respective presidencies. It should cast some (additional) doubt on the official outcome of the 2020 election.

Some People Are More Equal Than Others, Illustrated

Fox News reports:

On his first day in office last week, Biden signed an executive order to “define equity as the consistent and systemic fair, just, and impartial treatment of all individuals.” That includes those who “belong to underserved communities such as Black, Latino, Indigenous and Native American persons, Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, and other persons of color; LGBTQ+ persons; people with disabilities religious minorities; persons who live in rural areas; and persons otherwise affected by persistent poverty or inequality.”

Shades of George Orwell, who in Animal Farm coined the immortal maxim, “All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.” It is ever thus in the world of the left, where equality or equity always comes with a codicil, which amounts to this: There are groups of persons who must be given special treatment because they are favored by the regime.

The specific enumeration of identity groups (blacks, Latinos, etc.) means that they are deserving of unearned compensation — in the form of cash subsidies, subsidies in kind, jobs, promotions, university admissions — that they “earn” only because of their membership in one of the listed identity groups.

Those privileges — that’s what they are — will be extracted (in money and kind) from persons who can’t claim membership in one of the listed identity groups, despite the fact that almost all of those who are on the paying end cause no harm to members of identity groups. Moreover, vast numbers of persons on the paying end do great good for members of identity groups, by creating jobs for them (directly or through investments), giving to charitable organizations, and paying the already high taxes that are the price of living in a welfare state.

In the end, as economic growth returns to pre-Trumpian stagnation because of the additional burdens placed on those who earn what they get, the burden will be borne disproportionately by members of identity groups, who will find fewer an lower-paying jobs open to them.

Stock Markets: The Next Victims of Totalitarian Democrats?

Stock prices are about due for a major correction. Consider the graph below, which I derived from statistics available here. I define a major decline as one that lasts at least 6 months and results in a real drop of at least 25 percent in the real (inflation-adjusted) price or total return of the S&P Composite Index.

When will the correction come? No one knows, though there are probably many (and varying) predictions. But I expect it to come during Biden’s one-term presidency. (I have bet the price of a Prius that it will happen before broad market indices rise much more.) And given the run-up in stock prices since the last major correction, it will be a doozy. During the correction of November 2007 to March 2009, for example, the real value of the S&P Composite Index dropped by 50 percent.

Why does that put stock markets in the cross-hairs of totalitarian Democrats? Because stock prices, volatile and emotion-driven as they can be, represent real-world feedback about the effects of government policies. The fact that stock prices continued to rise throughout Trump’s presidency — despite modest corrections in 2018 and 2020 (the latter related to COVID-19) — was seen by many observers (though not Democrats, of course) as a sign of the success of Trump’s economic policies.

The next big correction — when it comes a week, a month, or a year from now — will be seen by many as real-world feedback about the economic destructiveness of Biden’s policies. The policies in question will include new and higher taxes; heavy handed re-regulation, especially to fight “climate change”; the initiation of vast and costly programs to fight “climate change”; the destabilization of civil order through tighter controls on policing and continued laxity in controlling riot by blacks and leftists; bailouts for Blue States and cities; and increases in “social” spending, including but not limited to the subsidization of hordes of recent and new immigrants from south of the border (of the kind formerly known as illegal).

At the first hint of a correction — perhaps even in anticipation of it — policy-makers in the Biden administration will use the power of the Treasury, the Federal Reserve, and the Securities and Exchange Commission to throttle and “guide” stock trading. This will be done in the name of economic stability, of course, but the real aim will be to prevent or minimize a major correction in stock prices that would be seen, correctly, as real-world feedback about the destructiveness of Biden’s policies.

“We Believe”

Unless you live in Deep-Red territory, you will have seen one or more of these in your neighborhood:

These signs are displayed in front of two of the ten houses on my short street. I’m surprised that there aren’t more, because I live in Deep-Blue Austin.

At any rate, sign-sighting tells me something about the persons who post the signs — in addition to their visceral leftism, virtue-signaling (to others of their ilk), and pathetic resort to sloganeering as a religion-substitute.

What is the meaning of each slogan? Here are my interpretations:

Black live matter — We don’t care about black-on-black murder (and other crimes). We don’t care about the demonstrably higher rate of criminality among blacks. We just want to wallow in white guilt about the rare instances in which white (and sometimes non-white) police officers unjustifiably kill blacks.

No human is illegal — This is a bit of nonsense which signifies support for illegal immigration. It labels the believers as persons who disrespect the rule of law and are eager to import more votes for left-wing politicians.

Love is love — This is another bit of nonsense which signifies support homosexuality and the “marriage” of homosexuals. It signifies an eagerness to reject civilizing social norms, as long as the results don’t directly affect the eager believer.

Women’s rights are human rights — This defies translation. Perhaps it means that women are human beings, which is a rather banal statement. And what are “human rights”, anyway? They seem to consist of a list of things that do-gooders would like to force the “haves” to pay for so that they (the do-gooders) can feel better about themselves.

Science is real (or is it “racist“?) — We don’t know what science is, but we believe things that are labeled scientific if we agree with them. We don’t understand (or care) that science is a process that sometimes yields useful knowledge, or that the knowledge is always provisional and always in doubt. We support the movement of recent decades to label some things as scientific that are really driven by a puritanical, anti-humanistic agenda, and which don’t hold up against rigorous, scientific examination. (Examples are the debunked “science” of “climate change”; the essential equality of the races and sexes (despite their scientifically demonstrable differences); and the belief that a man can become a woman, and vice versa.)

Water is life — I don’t water my property, and you shouldn’t either. (Well, may you should quit cooking, taking showers, and washing your car. Watering my property is a way of preserving vegetation that absorbs CO2, provides shade, and harbors wildlife — so there!)

Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere — This is more incoherent nonsense. Imagine a regime that condones the stoning to death of adulterers, and imagine a regime that punishes such activity. Does the first regime somehow infect the second one? Or is it possible that the second regime might be a threat to the first one. Of course, true believers who post yard signs filled with nonsense are the kind of people of support regimes of the first kind because they are anti-American and not beholden to “decadent” Western values, such as the prohibition of stoning as punishment (or the defense of the millions of victims of abortion).

Trump’s Popularity: A Summing Up

For most of his term as president, Donald Trump was more popular than Barack Obama was at the same points during Obama’s presidency:

That Trump failed of re-election can be chalked up to a combination of four things: fraud, a determined effort by Democrats to get out the vote, anti-Trump enthusiasm, and the decline in Trump’s popularity during the fourth year of his presidency. Even the resurgence between weeks 183 and 196 (due mainly to the Hunter Biden affair) couldn’t save him.

Will Trump remain influential within the Republican Party? Will he form a third party? If he does, will it be self-sustaining or will it fade away like Ross Perot’s party and the Tea Party movement?

Stay tuned….

The End of Freedom of Speech?

Vivek Ramaswamy and Jed Rubenfeld, writing in The Wall Street Journal (“Save the Constitution from Big Tech“; January 11, 2021), opine about an issue that I addressed almost three years ago. Here’s some of what Ramaswamy and Rubenfeld say in their piece:

Conventional wisdom holds that technology companies are free to regulate content because they are private, and the First Amendment protects only against government censorship. That view is wrong: Google, Facebook and Twitter should be treated as state actors under existing legal doctrines. Using a combination of statutory inducements and regulatory threats, Congress has co-opted Silicon Valley to do through the back door what government cannot directly accomplish under the Constitution.

It is “axiomatic,” the Supreme Court held in Norwood v. Harrison (1973), that the government “may not induce, encourage or promote private persons to accomplish what it is constitutionally forbidden to accomplish.” That’s what Congress did by enacting Section 230 of the 1996 Communications Decency Act, which not only permits tech companies to censor constitutionally protected speech but immunizes them from liability if they do so….

Section 230 is the carrot, and there’s also a stick: Congressional Democrats have repeatedly made explicit threats to social-media giants if they failed to censor speech those lawmakers disfavored [emphasis and link added]. In April 2019, Louisiana Rep. Cedric Richmond warned Facebook and Google that they had “better” restrict what he and his colleagues saw as harmful content or face regulation: “We’re going to make it swift, we’re going to make it strong, and we’re going to hold them very accountable.” New York Rep. Jerrold Nadler added: “Let’s see what happens by just pressuring them.”

Such threats have worked. In September 2019, the day before another congressional grilling was to begin, Facebook announced important new restrictions on “hate speech.” It’s no accident that big tech took its most aggressive steps against Mr. Trump just as Democrats were poised to take control of the White House and Senate. Prominent Democrats promptly voiced approval of big tech’s actions, which Connecticut Sen. Richard Blumenthal expressly attributed to “a shift in the political winds.”

There are idiots in the so-called libertarian legal community who still defend Big Tech’s right to censor conservatives because Big Tech is “private”. Power is power, and the nation is under the thumb of a power elite, of which Big Tech is a leading-edge component.

My recommendations (here and here) for swift action against Big Tech and its allies weren’t heeded. But I will borrow from them here, beginning with the predicate for action.

Apple, Google, Facebook, Microsoft, Amazon, and other information-technology companies represent just one facet of the complex of institutions in the thought-control business.

A second facet consists of the so-called mainstream media (MSM) — the print and broadcast outlets that for the most part, and for many decades, have exploited their protected status under the First Amendment to heavily lard their offerings with “progressive” propaganda. MSM’s direct influence via the internet has been diluted slightly by the plethora of alternative sources, many of them libertarian and conservative, but Google and friends do a good job of throttling the alternative sources.

I need say little about a third facet — the “entertainment” industry — which also exploits its First-Amendment privilege to spew left-wing propaganda.

The academy and its spawn, public education indoctrination, form a fourth facet. The leftward tilt of most academic administrations and goodly chunks of the professoriate is no secret. Neither is the stultifying atmosphere on college campuses.

These information-entertainment-media-academic institutions are important components of what I call the vast left-wing conspiracy in America. Their purpose and effect is the subversion of the traditional norms that made America a uniquely free, prosperous, and vibrant nation.

Clearly, the information-entertainment-media-academic complex is striving for a monopoly on the expression and transmission of political thought in America. Such a monopoly would be tantamount to state action (see this and this), and must therefore be prevented before it can be perfected. For, if it can be perfected, the First Amendment will quickly become obsolete.

Complete victory for the enemies of liberty is nearly upon us. The squishy center of the American electorate — as is its wont — will swing back toward the Democrat Party. With a Democrat in the White House, a Democrat-controlled Congress, and a few party switches in the Supreme Court [or perhaps without those switches], the dogmas of the information-entertainment-media-academic complex will become the law of the land.

Here is what should have been done before it was too late:

Enforce the First Amendment against information-entertainment-media-academic complex. This would begin with action against high-profile targets (e.g., Google and a few large universities that accept federal money). That should be enough to bring the others into line. If it isn’t, keep working down the list until the miscreants cry uncle.

What kind of action do I have in mind? This is a delicate matter because the action must be seen as rescuing the First Amendment, not suppressing it; it must be taken solely by the executive; and it must comport with legitimate authority already vested in the executive. Even then, the hue and cry will be deafening, as will the calls for impeachment. It will take nerves of steel to proceed on this front.

Here’s a way to do it:

EXECUTIVE ORDER NO. __________

The Constitution is the supreme law of the land. (Article V.)

Amendment I to the Constitution says that “Congress shall make no law … abridging the freedom of speech”.

Major entities in the telecommunications, news, entertainment, and education industries have exerted their power to suppress speech because of its content. (See appended documentation.) The collective actions of these entities — many of them government- licensed and government-funded — effectively constitute a governmental violation of the Constitution’s guarantee of freedom of speech (See Smith v. Allwright, 321 U.S. 649 (1944) and Marsh v. Alabama, 326 U.S. 501 (1946).)

As President, it is my duty to “take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed”. The Constitution’s guarantee of freedom of speech is a fundamental law of the land.

Therefore, by the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution, it is hereby ordered as follows:

1. The United States Marshals Service shall monitor the activities of the entities listed in the appendix, to ascertain whether those entities are discriminating against persons or groups based on the views, opinions, or facts expressed by those persons or groups.

2. Wherever the Marshals Service observes effective discrimination against certain views, opinions, or facts, it shall immediately countermand such discrimination and order remedial action by the offending entity.

3. Officials and employees of the entities in question who refuse to cooperate with the Marshals Service, or to follow its directives pursuant to this Executive Order, shall be suspended from duty but will continue to be compensated at their normal rates during their suspensions, however long they may last.

4. This order shall terminate with respect to a particular entity when the President is satisfied that the entity will no longer discriminate against views, opinions, or facts on the basis of their content.

5. This order shall terminate in its entirety when the President is satisfied that freedom of speech has been restored to the land.

I recommended those because of the imminent danger to what was left of Americans’ liberty and prosperity. The alternative was to do nothing and watch liberty and prosperity vanish from view. There was nothing to be lost, and much to be gained.

It is now too late to act. The deluge is upon us. The enemies of free speech are in power, and their allies in the information-entertainment-media-academic complex will do their bidding, quite willingly.


Related reading:

David Marcus, “Don’t Worry, It’s Just Corporate Fascism“, The Federalist, January 19, 2021

Niall Ferguson, “The Tech Supremacy: Silicon Valley Can No Longer Conceal Its Power“, The Spectator, January 22, 2021

The “Pause” Redux: The View from Austin

Christopher Monckton of Brenchley — who, contrary to Wikipedia, is not a denier of “climate change” but a learned critic of its scale and relationship to CO2 — posits a new “pause” in global warming:

At long last, following the warming effect of the El Niño of 2016, there are signs of a reasonably significant La Niña, which may well usher in another Pause in global temperature, which may even prove similar to the Great Pause that endured for 224 months from January 1997 to August 2015, during which a third of our entire industrial-era influence on global temperature drove a zero trend in global warming:

As we come close to entering the la Niña, the trend in global mean surface temperature has already been zero for 5 years 4 months:

There is not only a global pause, but a local one in a place that I know well: Austin, Texas. I have compiled the National Weather Service’s monthly records for Austin, which go back to the 1890s. More to the point here, I have also compiled daily weather records since October 1, 2014, for the NWS station at Camp Mabry, in the middle of Austin’s urban heat island. Based on those records, I have derived a regression equation that adjusts the official high-temperature readings for three significant variables: precipitation (which strongly correlates with cloud cover), wind speed, and wind direction (the combination of wind from the south has a marked, positive effect on Austin’s temperature).

Taking October 1, 2014, as a starting point, I constructed cumulative plots of the average actual and adjusted  deviations from normal:

Both averages have remained almost constant since April 2017, that is, almost four years ago. The adjusted deviation is especially significant because the hypothesized effect of CO2 on temperature doesn’t depend on other factors, such as precipitation, wind speed, or wind direction. Therefore, there has been no warming in Austin — despite some very hot spells — since April 2017.

Moreover, Austin’s population grew by about 5 percent from 2017 to 2020. According to the relationship between population and temperature presented here, that increase would have induced an temperature increase of 0.1 degrees Fahrenheit. That’s an insignificant number in the context of this analysis — though one that would have climate alarmists crying doom — but it reinforces my contention that Austin’s “real” temperature hasn’t risen for the past 3.75 years.


Related page and posts:

Climate Change
AGW in Austin?
AGW in Austin? (II)
UHI in Austin Revisited

The White House Brochures on Climate Change

You will find working links to them later in this post. Also, I have created a page to memorialize the links and the back story about the preparation of the ten brochures and the attempt to send them down the memory hole.

Here is the page, reproduced in its entirety:

Post by Dr. Roy W. Spencer at Roy Spencer, Ph.D. on January 8 2021:

White House Brochures on Climate (There is no climate crisis)

January 8th, 2021 by Roy W. Spencer, Ph. D.

Late last year, several of us were asked by David Legates (White House Office of Science and Technology Policy) to write short, easily understandable brochures that supported the general view that there is no climate crisis or climate emergency, and pointing out the widespread misinformation being promoted by alarmists through the media.

Below are the resulting 9 brochures, and an introduction by David. Mine is entitled, “The Faith-Based Nature of Human Caused Global Warming”.

David hopes to be able to get these posted on the White House website by January 20 (I presume so they will become a part of the outgoing Administration’s record) but there is no guarantee given recent events.

He said we are free to disseminate them widely. I list them in no particular order. We all thank David for taking on a difficult job in more hostile territory that you might imagine.

Introduction(Dr. David Legates)

The Sun Climate Connection(Drs. Michael Connolly, Ronan Connolly, Willie Soon)

Systematic Problems in the Four National Assessments of Climate Change Impacts on the US(Dr. Patrick Michaels)

Record Temperatures in the United States(Dr. John Christy)

Radiation Transfer(Dr. William Happer)

Is There a Climate Emergency(Dr. Ross McKitrick)

Hurricanes and Climate Change(Dr. Ryan Maue)

Climate, Climate Change, and the General Circulation(Dr. Anthony Lupo)

Can Computer Models Predict Climate(Dr. Christopher Essex)

The Faith-Based Nature of Human-Caused Global Warming(Dr. Roy Spencer)

Post by Dr. Roy W. Spencer at Roy Spencer, Ph.D. on January 12, 2021:

At the White House, the Purge of Skeptics Has Started

January 12th, 2021 by Roy W. Spencer, Ph. D.

Dr. David Legates has been Fired by White House OSTP Director and Trump Science Advisor, Kelvin Droegemeier

[Image of the seal of the Executive Office of the President]

President Donald Trump has been sympathetic with the climate skeptics’ position, which is that there is no climate crisis, and that all currently proposed solutions to the “crisis” are economically harmful to the U.S. specifically, and to humanity in general.

Today I have learned that Dr. David Legates, who had been brought to the Office of Science and Technology Policy to represent the skeptical position in the Trump Administration, has been fired by OSTP Director and Trump Science Advisor, Dr. Kelvin Droegemeier.

The event that likely precipitated this is the invitation by Dr. Legates for about a dozen of us to write brochures that we all had hoped would become part of the official records of the Trump White House. We produced those brochures (no funding was involved), and they were formatted and published by OSTP, but not placed on the WH website. My understanding is that David Legates followed protocols during this process.

So What Happened?

What follows is my opinion. I believe that Droegemeier (like many in the administration with hopes of maintaining a bureaucratic career in the new Biden Administration) has turned against the President for political purposes and professional gain. If Kelvin Droegemeier wishes to dispute this, let him… and let’s see who the new Science Advisor/OSTP Director is in the new (Biden) Administration.

I would also like to know if President Trump approved of his decision to fire Legates.

In the meantime, we have been told to remove links to the brochures, which is the prerogative of the OSTP Director since they have the White House seal on them.

But their content will live on elsewhere, as will Dr. Droegemeier’s decision

I have saved the ten brochures in their original (.pdf) format. The following links to the files are listed in the order in which Dr. Spencer listed them in his post of January 8, 2021:

Introduction

The Sun Climate Connection

Systematic Problems in the Four National Assessments of Climate Change Impacts on the US

Record Temperatures in the United States

Radiation Transfer

Is There a Climate Emergency?

Hurricanes and Climate Change

Climate, Climate Change, and the General Circulation

Can Computer Models Predict Climate?

The Faith-Based Nature of Human-Caused Global Warming

How Are Americans Really Reacting to the Election?

Forget the Democrat-media propaganda about “no evidence” of election fraud. Forget the trumped up (pun) charges of incitement to riot. Forget the selective condemnation of the mostly white mob that stormed the Capitol, after years of failure to condemn mostly black mobs that looted and burned cities across the land.

Forget all of that and look at what likely voters think about the state of the union.

Likely voters (polled by Rasmussen Reports) have become much more pessimistic about the country’s direction since the election, that is, since Biden’s stolen victory. Following a steep decline in the mood of the country during the months of pandemic panic, the mood began to lift as Trump began to close the gap with Biden. The peak at week 197 of Trump’s presidency came a week before the election of 2020. The ensuing decline suggests that likely voters, despite the assurances of “establishment” Republicans and the Democrats’ media allies, know what’s coming at them — and it ain’t pretty.

Here We Go …

Down the tubes. It is almost certain that the Democrat candidates will be declared the winners of Georgia two Senate seats. The Senate will then be divided 50-50, and control will pass to the Democrats because VP Harris will cast deciding votes in the case of ties.

This won’t be the first time that Democrats have controlled Congress and the White House, but this Democrat Party isn’t your grandfather’s party, or your father’s party. It isn’t even the party that was led by Barack Obama, who was (and is) an ardent advocate of government control. Today’s party is filled with Obamas and politicians who make the Obamas seem moderate.

What, exactly, happens now (or as soon as Democrats get organized)? The follow list is borrowed from an earlier post. Not every item on the list will be adopted, but it wont’ be for want of trying.

1. Abolition of the Senate filibuster.

2. An increase of at least two seats on the U.S. Supreme Court (USSC), though there may be some vacancies to be filled.

3. Adoption of an interstate compact by states controlling a total of at least 270 electoral votes, committing each member state’s electoral votes to the presidential candidate who compiles the most popular votes nationwide, regardless of the outcome of the popular vote in each state that is a party to the compact. (This may seem unnecessary if Biden wins, but it will be a bit of insurance against the possibility of a Republican victor in a future election.)

4. Statehood for either the District of Columbia or Puerto Rico, or for both of them. (Each would then have two senators and a requisite number of representatives with full voting privileges in their respective bodies. All of them will be Democrats, of course.)

5. Empowerment of the executive branch to do at least three of the following things:

a. Regulate personal and business activity (in new ways) with the expressed aim of reducing CO2 emissions.

b. Commit at least $500 billion in new obligational authority for research into and/or funding of methods of reducing and mitigating CO2 emissions.

c. Issue new kinds of tax rebates and credits to persons/households and businesses that spend money on any item on a list of programs/technologies that are supposed to reduce CO2 emissions.

d. Impose tax penalties on persons/households and businesses for their failure to spend money on any item in the list mentioned above (shades of the Obamacare tax penalty).

e. Impose penalties on persons/households and businesses for failing to adhere to prescribed caps on CO2 emissions.

f. Establishment of a cap-and-trade program for CO2 emissions (to soften the blow of the previous item). (Needless to say, the overall effect of such initiatives would deal a devastating blow to economic activity – meaning massive job losses and lower real incomes for large swaths of the populace.)

6. Authorization for an agency or agencies of the federal government to define and penalize written or spoken utterances that the agency or agencies declare “unprotected” by the First Amendment, and to require media enforcement of bans on “unprotected” utterances and prosecution of violators (e.g., here). (This can be accomplished by cynically adopting the supportable position that the First Amendment protects only political speech. The purported aim would be to curb so-called hate speech, but when censorship is in full swing — which would take only a few years — it will be illegal to criticize or question, even by implication, such things as illegal immigration, same-sex marriage, transgenderism, anthropogenic global warming, the confiscation of firearms, or the policies of the federal government. Violations will be enforced by fines and prison sentences — the latter sometimes called “sensitivity training”, “citizenship education”, or some other euphemistic term. Candidates for public office will be prime targets of the enforcers, which will suppress open discussion of such matters.)

7. Imposition of requirements for organizations of all kinds — businesses, universities, charitable organizations, clubs, and even churches — to favor anyone who isn’t a straight, white male of European descent. (The “protections” will be enacted, upheld, and enforced vigorously by federal agencies, regardless of their adverse economic and social effects.)

8. Effective nullification of the Second Amendment through orders/regulations/legislation, to enable gun confiscation (though there will be exemptions for private security services used by favored elites).

9. Use of law-enforcement agencies to enforce “hate speech” bans, mandates for reverse discrimination, and gun-confiscation edicts. (These things will happen regardless of the consequences; e.g., a rising crime rate, greater violence against whites and Asians, and flight from the cities and near-in suburbs. The latter will be futile, anyway, because suburban and exurban police departments will also be co-opted.)

10. Criminalization of “sexual misconduct”, as it is defined by the alleged victim, de facto if not de jure. (Investigations and prosecutions will be selective, and aimed mainly at straight, white males of European descent and dissidents who openly criticize this and other measures listed here.)

11. Parallel treatment for the “crimes” of racism, anti-Islamism, nativism, and genderism. (This will be in addition to the measures discussed in #7.)

12. Centralization in the federal government of complete control of all health care and health-care related products and services, such as drug research, accompanied by “Medicare and Medicaid for All” mandates. (Private health care will be forbidden or strictly limited, though — Soviet-style — there will be exceptions for high officials and other favored persons. Drug research – and medical research, generally – will dwindle in quality and quantity. There will be fewer doctors and nurses who are willing to work in a regimented system. The resulting health-care catastrophe that befalls most of the populace will be shrugged off as necessary to ensure equality of treatment, while ignoring the special treatment accorded favored elites.)

13. Revitalization of the regulatory regime (which already imposes a deadweight loss of 10 percent of GDP). A quantitative measure of revitalization is an increase in the number of new rules published annually in the Federal Register by at least 10 percent above the average for 2017-2020.

14. Proposals for at least least two of the following tax-related initiatives:

a. Reversal of the tax-rate cuts enacted during Trump’s administration.

b. Increases in marginal tax rates for the top 2 or 3 income brackets.

c. Imposition of new taxes on wealth.

15. Dramatic enlargement of domestic welfare programs. Specifically, in addition to the creation of “Medicare and Medicaid for All” programs, there would be a “fix” for Social Security that mandates the payment of full benefits in the future, regardless of the status of the Social Security Trust Fund (which will probably be abolished). (Initiatives discussed in #5, #7, #9, #10, #11, #12, #13, #14, and #15 would suppress investment in business formation and expansion, and would disincentivize professional education and training, not to mention work itself. All of that would combine to push the real rate of economic growth toward a negative value.)

16. Reduction of the defense budget by at least 25 percent, in constant dollars, by 2031 or sooner. (Eventually, the armed forces will be maintained mainly for the purpose of suppressing domestic uprisings. Russia and China will emerge as superpowers, but won’t threaten the U.S. militarily as long as the U.S. government acquiesces in their increasing dominance and plays by their economic rules.)

17. Legalization of all immigration from south of the border, and the granting of citizenship to new immigrants and the illegals who came before them. (The right to vote, of course, is the right that Democrats most dearly want to bestow because most of the newly-minted citizens can be counted on to vote for Democrats. The permanent Democrat majority will ensure permanent Democrat control of the White House and both houses of Congress.)

*      *     *

The list is in keeping with the direction in which the country is headed and, in many cases, has been headed since the 1930s — despite Reagan and Trump, and with the connivance of Ike, Nixon, the Bushes, and (in some crucial cases) the USSC.

The Constitution’s horizontal and vertical separation of powers, system of checks and balances, and limitations on the power of the federal government have been eroded almost to the point of irrelevance. The next few years will put an end to the pretense (or false hope) of governance in accordance with the Constitution as it was written. The next few years will see the destruction of liberty, the bankruptcy of America, and the onset of obeisance to Russia and China.

Thinking about Thinking — and Other Things: Desiderata As Beliefs

This is the fifth post in a series. (The previous posts are here, here, here, and here.)This post, like its predecessors, will leave you hanging. But despair not, the series will come to a point — eventually. In the meantime, enjoy the ride.

How many things does a human being believe because he wants to believe them, and not because there is compelling evidence to support his beliefs? Here is a small sample of what must be an extremely long list:

There is a God. (1a)

There is no God. (1b)

There is a Heaven. (2a)

There is no Heaven. (2b)

Jesus Christ was the Son of God. (3a)

Jesus Christ, if he existed, was a mere mortal. (3b)

Marriage is the eternal union, blessed by God, of one man and one woman. (4a)

Marriage is a civil union, authorized by the state, of one or more consenting adults (or not) of any gender, as the participants in the marriage so define themselves to be. (4b)

All human beings should have equal rights under the law, and those rights should encompass not only negative rights (e.g., the right not to be murdered) but also positive rights (e.g., the right to a minimum wage). (5a)

Human beings are, at bottom, feral animals and cannot therefore be expected to abide always by artificial constructs, such as equal rights under the law. Accordingly, there will always be persons who use the law (or merely brute force) to set themselves above other persons. (5b)

The rise in global temperatures over the past 170 years has been caused primarily by a greater concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, which rise has been caused by human activity – and especially by the burning of fossil fuels. This rise, if it isn’t brought under control will make human existence far less bearable and prosperous than it has been in recent human history. (6a)

The rise in global temperatures over the past 170 years has not been uniform across the globe, and has not been in lockstep with the rise in the concentration of atmospheric carbon dioxide. The temperatures of recent decades, and the rate at which they are supposed to have risen, are not unprecedented in the long view of Earth’s history, and may therefore be due to conditions that have not been given adequate consideration by believers in anthropogenic global warming (e.g., natural shifts in ocean currents that have different effects on various regions of Earth, the effects of cosmic radiation on cloud formation as influenced by solar activity and the position of the solar system and the galaxy with respect to other objects in the universe, the shifting of Earth’s magnetic field, and the movement of Earth’s tectonic plates and its molten core). In any event, the models of climate change have been falsified against measured temperatures (even when the temperature record has been adjusted to support the models). And predictions of catastrophe do not take into account the beneficial effects of warming (e.g., lower mortality rates, longer growing seasons), whatever causes it, or the ability of technology to compensate for undesirable effects at a much lower cost than the economic catastrophe that would result from preemptive reductions in the use of fossil fuels. (6b)

Not one of those assertions, even the ones that seem to be supported by facts, is true beyond a reasonable doubt. I happen to believe 1a (with some significant qualifications about the nature of God), 2b, 3b (given my qualified version of 1a), a modified version of 4a (monogamous, heterosexual marriage is socially and economically preferable, regardless of its divine blessing or lack thereof), 5a (but only with negative rights) and 5b, and 6b.  But I cannot “prove” that any of my beliefs is the correct one, nor should anyone believe that anyone can “prove” such things.

Take the belief that all persons are created equal. No one who has eyes, ears, and a minimally functioning brain believes that all persons are created equal. Abraham Lincoln, the Great Emancipator, didn’t believe it:

On September 18, 1858 at Charleston, Illinois, Lincoln told the assembled audience:

I am not, nor ever have been, in favor of bringing about in any way the social and political equality of the white and black races, that I am not, nor ever have been, in favor of making voters or jurors of negroes, nor of qualifying them to hold office, nor to intermarry with white people; and I will say in addition to this that there is a physical difference between the white and black races which I believe will forever forbid the two races living together on terms of social and political equality … I will add to this that I have never seen, to my knowledge, a man, woman, or child who was in favor of producing a perfect equality, social and political, between negroes and white men….

This was before Lincoln was elected president and before the outbreak of the Civil War, but Lincoln’s speeches, writings, and actions after these events continued to reflect this point of view about race and equality.

African American abolitionist Frederick Douglass, for his part, remained very skeptical about Lincoln’s intentions and program, even after the p[resident issued a preliminary emancipation in September 1862.

Douglass had good reason to mistrust Lincoln. On December 1, 1862, one month before the scheduled issuing of an Emancipation Proclamation, the president offered the Confederacy another chance to return to the union and preserve slavery for the foreseeable future. In his annual message to congress, Lincoln recommended a constitutional amendment, which if it had passed, would have been the Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution.

The amendment proposed gradual emancipation that would not be completed for another thirty-seven years, taking slavery in the United States into the twentieth century; compensation, not for the enslaved, but for the slaveholder; and the expulsion, supposedly voluntary but essentially a new Trail of Tears, of formerly enslaved Africans to the Caribbean, Central America, and Africa….

Douglass’ suspicions about Lincoln’s motives and actions once again proved to be legitimate. On December 8, 1863, less than a month after the Gettysburg Address, Abraham Lincoln offered full pardons to Confederates in a Proclamation of Amnesty and Reconstruction that has come to be known as the 10 Percent Plan.

Self-rule in the South would be restored when 10 percent of the “qualified” voters according to “the election law of the state existing immediately before the so-called act of secession” pledged loyalty to the union. Since blacks could not vote in these states in 1860, this was not to be government of the people, by the people, for the people, as promised in the Gettysburg Address, but a return to white rule.

It is unnecessary, though satisfying, to read Charles Murray’s account in Human Diversity of the broad range of inherent differences in intelligence and other traits that are associated with the sexes, various genetic groups of geographic origin (sub-Saharan Africans, East Asians, etc.), and various ethnic groups (e.g., Ashkenazi Jews).

But even if all persons are not created equal, either mentally or physically, aren’t they equal under the law? If you believe that, you might just as well believe in the tooth fairy. As it says in 5b,

Human beings are, at bottom, feral animals and cannot therefore be expected to abide always by artificial constructs, such as equal rights under the law. Accordingly, there will always be persons who use the law (or merely brute force) to set themselves above other persons.

Yes, it’s only a hypothesis, but one for which there is ample evidence in the history of mankind. It is confirmed by every instance of theft, murder, armed aggression, scorched-earth warfare, mob violence as catharsis, bribery, election fraud, gratuitous cruelty, and so on into the night.

And yet, human beings (Americans especially) persist in believing tooth-fairy stories about the inevitable triumph of good over evil, self-correcting science, and the emergence of truth from the marketplace of ideas. Balderdash, all of it.

But desiderata become beliefs. And beliefs are what bind people – or make enemies of them.

Ho, Ho, Ho?

Despite the impending vaccination of most Americans, and the surcease from COVID-19 that should result from it, I am not eagerly anticipating 2021. It will see the installation of the Harris-Biden regime, which in fairly short order will disarm America in the face of growing threats from Russia and China, and impoverish it by tilting at the windmill of “climate change”. Perhaps, when Russia and China take over, that foolishness will come to an end.

The prospect of Russian-Chinese hegemony over the U.S. might have been dreadful (correct usage) as few as twelve years ago, before the advent of Barack Obama’s warm-up act for state socialism. Now, with Harris-Biden poised to complete what FDR, LBJ, and BHO started, and with wokeness in the saddle, Russian-Chinese hegemony may well seem like a logical continuation of the status quo. I take that back: Harvard will have to quit discriminating against Asians, if Harvard continues to exist.

On a brighter (?) note, I am in my 80th year* and rapidly approaching what used to be considered great old age. Which means that whatever happens with Harris-Biden, Russia, and China — or another plague — may not be mine to endure for too many years. Though I do rage — albeit silently — when I think of the lives that my children, grandchildren, and their progeny may be forced to lead.

That wasn’t a bright note, was it?

Here’s one: The flight of tech companies from California to Texas and financial companies from New York to Florida may hasten the bankruptcy of California and New York. And I wouldn’t be surprised if a large number of Blue States join Red ones in refusing to bail out California and New York. I hope I’m around to see it.

Happy New Year?
__________
* For the benefit of anyone who says things like 25-year anniversary, when 25th anniversary is correct, or — even worse — 25-year birthday, being in one’s xxth year means that one is approaching xx years of age, not that one has already reached one’s xxth birthday. I learned this as a lad, whilst listening to a Canadian radio station that broadcast from a city across the river from the one in Michigan where I was raised. In those days, Anglo-Canadians were more British than American in the way that they used English. Americans also used to know what being in one’s xxth year means, witness an obituary of Alexander Graham Bell from The New York Times of August 3, 1922:

SYDNEY, N. S., Aug. 2.–Dr. Alexander Graham Bell, inventor of the telephone, died at 2 o’clock this morning at Beinn Breagh, his estate near Baddeck.

Although the inventor, who was in his seventy-sixth year, had been in failing health for several months, he had not been confined to bed, and the end was unexpected….

The inventor of the telephone was born in Edinburgh, on March 3, 1847.

A bit of arithmetic will tell you that Dr. Bell was 75 years old at the time of his death, having observed his 75th birthday on March 3, 1922. In other words, he had completed 75 years of life and was in his 76th year when he died.

Proof of Election Fraud or Statistical Hocus-Pocus?

There are many good reasons to believe that Biden’s almost-official election to the presidency was the result of electoral misfeasance, malfeasance, fraud, and judicial bias. But the statistical analysis reported at this link isn’t among them. The authors concocted a statistical model that, according to them,

explains 96% of county-level variance in Trump’s two-party vote share with four demographic variables (non-college white, college-educated white, black and hispanic) and one historical variable (the average of county-level GOP two-party presidential vote share, 2004-2016). All five variables are highly significant. This reinforces the conclusion that the model is generally a very strong predictor of vote shares, and so deviations from it should be considered surprising.

And

regression analysis shows Trump ought to have won AZ, GA, NV, PA, WI.

Are you convinced? I am not, because the authors (perhaps unwittingly) provide evidence that undermines their claim.

There is a table at the end of the article that gives Trump’s predicted share of the two-party vote for every State (except Alaska and Hawaii) and the District of Columbia. I compared the authors’ predictions with the State-level results compiled as of today at Dave Leip’s Atlas of U.S. Elections. The absolute average of the prediction errors in 1.9 percentage points. The absolute errors for the six States listed above are as follows (in percentage points): AZ, 5.0; GA, 3.3; NV, 1.5; PA, 0.6; WI, 1.0; and MI, 1.1. So, as it turns out, the only outcomes (of the six) that the authors’ predictions might point to as fraudulent are the ones in George and Nevada.

Further, the authors don’t bother to highlight Trump’s significant underperformance (relative to their regression results) in many other States: CA, 4.3; DE, 3.5; ID, 2.4; IN, 2.0; KY, 3.0; ME, 2.5; MD, 3.3; NE, 2.1; NH, 2.2; NM, 2.1; OR, 4.9; TX, 3.6; UT, 6.3; VT, 4.3; and WA, 4.0. If their regression results for Georgia and Nevada are indicative of fraud, so are the results in California, Delaware, … , Vermont, and Washington. But I am unaware of any claims that the official outcomes in those States are bogus.

On top of that, Trump did significantly better than the authors predicted in DC (8.5 percentage points) and North Dakota (3.4 percentage points). Is anyone seriously suggesting that there was electoral fraud favoring Trump in DC, or that his campaign had to resort to fraud in deep-Red North Dakota?

The bottom line: The authors made some good predictions and a lot of very bad ones (20 of their 49 predictions exceed the average absolute error). But there’s nothing in the predictions to prove that Biden’s putative victories in Arizona, Georgia, Nevada, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin (or even Michigan) were obtained fraudulently. There is plenty of other evidence of misfeasance, malfeasance, and fraud in those States, but the authors’ statistical “proof” is nothing but a demonstration of the errors that abound in statistical analysis.

In this case, the errors resulted in the overprediction of Trump’s share of the vote in 39 States and D.C. — including, coincidentally, the six States that the authors claim to have shown were were stolen from Trump.