Many people write or speak to tell us what we should think. Some want to be believed because they are experts, or think they are. Some want to be believed because they claim to speak for us. Some have had revelations. Others want us to trust them because they communicate through prominent media outlets. Many tell us what we should think. I write to encourage my readers to think for themselves. I write to ask you to inquire. Question me. Have fun.

  
Comment of the Day
The Editorial Board should have no opinion

Jul 11, 2020

The WSJ Editorial Board expressed its opinion about the case of Michael Flynn. It does not matter what they said; in my book, the Editorial Board should have no opinion on any topic. Editorial boards’ job is not to lecture, but to facilitate views from individuals who can present valid arguments. The Editorial Board's job at the WSJ is to guarantee to me, a subscriber, that the different opinions presented are fact-checked. I pay a subscription for the WSJ because I do not have the time nor the means to fact-check whatever is written and posted on the internet. I do not pay for the subscription to be brainwashed by whatever the self-anointed authority of the Editorial Board believes is right. I can make my judgment based on the facts and their interpretation by other individuals.

PREVIOUS COMMENTS
More parenting is needed
Aug 01, 2019
Peter Gray in Psychology Today advises for less parenting. The problem is exactly the opposite: There is not enough parenting. In the past, when most of our ancestors lived in self-supporting households, often a farm, out of necessity, children were an integral part of whatever adults needed to do during their daily life, and they learned that way. Now, we do not need to do as much at home. Work is outside the home, food is brought in, heat is turned on and off, and mysteriously magical, colorful screens are the center of most activities. If we leave children free to explore what they find the most attractive, they will play video games. There might be some educational value in it, but one needs to learn much more. Hence, we need more effort in parenting, with parents doing more in the home than is otherwise required, and spending more time with children outside in order to introduce them to the real world. This realization hit home after I witnessed the surprise of a 7-year old seeing apples on my apple tree.
More
Less fight more work
Jul 30, 2017

The fight over Obamacare repeal is over, at least for now. The GOP can start to work on a new proposal that each of us can look at it, and then compare how my particular health care solution would play in it, as compared to Obamacare. In a television interview, HHS Secretary Tom Price said that Obamacare “may be working for Washington, it may be working for insurance companies, but it’s not working for patients.” Maybe it is time to consider patients’ involvement in the preparation of an Obamacare alternative? It could be that Obamacare repeal failed just because it has been prepared by Washington with consultation from insurance companies. Let us start with addressing 19 health care issues that politicians avoid talking about.

More
How to pay for the wall?
Apr 04, 2017

If you want to build the wall, pay for it with your own money. How much of your own money are you willing to donate? Trump received 62,979,879 votes. If each of Trump’s supporters voluntarily donates at least $1,000, which corresponds to about $42 per month for the next two years, and if we encourage those who are more affluent to double their donations, then Trump can have on hand about $100 billion, which may suffice for a substantial piece of the wall. Hence, all of you who are talking loudly about spending my money on building this wall, stay away from my wallet, but open your own wallet and send money to the “Build the Wall Fund.” Put your money where your mouth is.

More
What is wrong with Russia?
Dec 22, 2015

It appears that Russian leaders cannot free themselves from the medieval concept of regional influence, where weaker neighbors were subdued into becoming serf states. Is anyone capable of explaining to them that in these times of a global economy, any influence comes from economic strength? Russia, thanks to its size, natural resources and well-educated labor force, has everything that it takes to maintain a dominant position in the region, just by maintaining free trade with all its neighbors. It can do so without military interventions in Georgia and in Ukraine. Russia has everything that it takes to be a respected wealthier neighbor, to whom everyone in the region would turn for help when needed. Instead, it is a bully and a hooligan. It would take so little to change that. But it is so hard for Russia to do it. 

More
Closed mind for closed borders
Nov 19, 2015

Known to some as a libertarian, Llewellyn H. Rockwell Jr. speaks against open borders. His argument is that it is an infraction against private property. He misses the point that most people migrate just because Mr. Rockwell’s neighbors want them on their private property – for picking apples, washing the dishes or writing a computer code. Then, Mr. Rockwell wrongly laments that those foreigners invited by his neighbors violate his private property rights by loitering in the public spaces that he frequents. He wants the government to deny the rights of his neighbors to do on their private property whatever they wish, so he will not need to face immigrants in the public spaces. Mr. Rockwell left the train called “liberty” at the station called “xenophobia.”    

More
They do not know…
Sep 14, 2015

Mr. Trump says: “A lot of what I’m doing is by instinct.” I prefer that our President would make decisions based on systematic due diligence. The instinct that guides Mr. Trump in his professional life arrives from his vast experience, starting when he was growing up under the mentoring of his successful father, followed by a solid education and years of practice. Mr. Trump's confidence is misguiding, as it gives his supporters the illusion that someone who mastered real estate dealing can be equally skillful as President. It is similar to the illusion surrounding Dr. Carson, that he can be as good a President as he is a brain surgeon. If both gentlemen were humbler, they would realize that they qualify to be President equally as much as Mr. Trump qualifies to conduct brain surgeries and Dr. Carson to run Mr. Trump’s real estate empire. The problem is not that they do not know many things they should; the problem is that they do not realize that.

More
More Comments

Socialists are taking over Wall Street

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

It does not happen every day that when reading the Wall Street Journal, I have to double-check that I did not accidentally click on the Onion web page. Or that it was not an April Fools’ Day prank. No, it was Dec. 1, 2020, and the report was about the Nasdaq’s proposal to advance diversity through a new listing requirement.

Nasdaq leaders read scientific studies showing that companies with women and minorities on their boards of directors perform better than those dominated by white males. Full of good intentions, they decided to push corporations listed on their exchange to make their boards more diversified. By that, they mean “to have at least one director who self-identifies as a female, (…) at least one director who self-identifies as Black or African American, Hispanic or Latinx, Asian, Native American or Alaska Native, Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander, two or more races or ethnicities, or as LGBTQ+.” On its own, Nasdaq does not have the powers to implement these rules. For that, it needs a decree from the Securities and Exchange Commission. The 271 pages of lingo contain the draft of the proposed regulation and its method of enforcement.

Science tells us that good-looking people, especially those with decorum, get better jobs and advance faster. For someone short, fat, having crossed eyes or Asperger’s syndrome, it can be more challenging to overcome the hurdles in climbing the corporate ladder than being a woman, a racial minority, or being gay. Why should only some get preferences when, besides a very few born to money, all of us face hurdles in getting to the top? Likely some will challenge the narrow understanding of diversity as defined by aspiring politicians from Nasdaq. I hope that the Supreme Court will end up deciding that 99% of us have some drawbacks classifying us as “diverse.”

Then there are tricky questions such as whether people from India and Iran can be considered Asians. Is a Mexican man of German descent considered Latino? Or, is he a white man? If the proposal passes, I bet that at least one straight white man will self-identify as a female to meet the Nasdaq requirements. Let political correctness specialists at Nasdaq challenge the sincerity of this kind of declaration in court. Welcome to 1984.

Image by Gordon Johnson from Pixabay

Assuming emotional exhibitionism as a norm, Nasdaq’s overly ambitious leaders completely dismissed the possibility that some may want to keep their private matters private. For these instances, Nasdaq’s bureaucrats suggest expanding the board of directors by hiring people meeting the diversity criteria. They are about appearance.

Nasdaq’s zealous ideologues could not imagine that women and others who might seem disadvantaged would be offended – if they are competent – by getting positions on the board of directors not for their qualities but thanks to political preferences. They might also see it as damaging their reputation because, one can predict, with the new rules, individuals not otherwise worthy of nomination might get it. People will be guessing who is on the board by virtue of their merit and who by a fluke. As businesses need to prosper, tricky procedures will appear, allowing corporate leaders to circumvent politically appointed directors’ incompetence. Running a business will become costlier, more cumbersome, and more susceptible to corruption.

Just ask Google; most posts about the proposed diversity rule are from lawyers. If implemented, it will boil down to one more legal expense. No business person would have the time and patience to plunge into 271 pages of surrealism. Interestingly, to help companies with this task, Nasdaq partnered with Equilar.

When looking at studies that show some businesses stay afloat despite low earnings, Adena T. Friedman, the CEO of Nasdaq, did not ask why it is happening. Why do some companies with meager earnings not change their directors?

Let us look at Equilar as an example. If the proposed diversity rule passes, the business at Equilar will boom, regardless of who is on the board of directors. It is an example of what we all know: To a greater degree than ever before, American companies’ earnings depend on getting business steered by government connections or directly from the government. The diversity of the boards of directors is the smokescreen for crony capitalism. In her interview with the WSJ, Ms. Friedman proudly talks about “advancing capitalism.” Real capitalism is increasing the liberties of corporations in conducting their business. Ms. Friedman advocates for the opposite; she is advancing crony capitalism.

The America where one can advance from a bootblack to a millionaire is gone. Under the noble pretenses of a higher good, people with money and influence formed a legal net protecting their position and making it harder for others to move up. The rule proposed by Nasdaq will be a bigger burden for minor players than for the big boys. It will add to the inequalities we have. The solution is not in implementing new rules “improving” the market. Things will get better when we can identify and remove existing regulations that make it harder for the underprivileged to advance.    

A reasonable person can ask how it could be that Ms. Friedman and her team do not see their proposal’s surrealism. How can they promote with a straight face an absurd, overdone imitation of Onion’s writers? The 271 pages give a clue. There are many assurances that companies can explain why they do not comply. No one thought about the possibility that no excuse is needed because of the old promise of “unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” Ms. Friedman and her team have gone way beyond the old ideas that made America great the first time around. They see so many imperfections in the system we have, and they know how a wealthy nation with wise governance can improve social justice. They are eager to use their power to contribute to this noble effort. They might have capitalism on their lips, but they are idealistic socialists in their hearts.

That was my first impression when reading their proposal. But, I got a confirmation during the Zoom presentation about the proposed diversity rule, held by Nasdaq on Dec. 10. The narration reminded me of lectures about socialism’s superiority I often heard when growing up in then socialistic Poland. The speakers were misleading, minimizing the obligatory aspects of the proposed rule. It was typical of socialists, downplaying the limitations on the freedom they impose. As it often happens with socialists, those at Nasdaq could not even do a simple presentation right. It started with a 16-minute delay. The cost of time lost by business managers and top-paid lawyers worldwide amounted likely to millions of dollars. Before implementation, the proposed rule had already caused losses to affected corporations.  Apologizing, Nelson Griggs, the Nasdaq president, promised that things would go smoothly in the future despite the rough start.

His vow reminded me of the classic joke from the beginnings of socialism in Poland. A passionate lecturer ended his speech, saying that things might be tough at the beginning of socialism, but the future was bright. The crowded room responded with cold silence, interrupted after a while with a frail voice from the back of the room: “I am not afraid; I have cancer.”

Pundits warn us about socialists’ influence in media, academia, and politics. But Wall Street is the place that matters. So far, in criticizing the Nasdaq proposal, the Wall Street Journal did not call it socialistic. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, in a statement by its executive vice president, Tom Quaadman, supported the Nasdaq proposal. Leaders of Nasdaq have the backing of the American Civil Liberties Union as well. When it comes to our freedom of enterprise, the ACLU leaders left the train called Liberty at the station called Socialism.

Stock exchanges are temples of capitalism. Socialists run at least one of them.  In his wildest dreams, Lenin could not ask for more. Those with fourth-stage cancer likely will be unaffected. All others better pay attention to what is going on.

_____________________________________________________

Originally published at https://www.datadriveninvestor.com

Leave a Reply

About me

I was born in 1951 in Gdansk, Poland.
Since my high school years, I have interest in politics and love for writing. During my college years, I started writing to student papers and soon became freelance author to major Polish political magazines.

In 1980 I wrote a book “Czy w Polsce może być lepiej?” (“Could it be better in Poland?” – this book is available only in Polish) analyzing major problems in Poland at the time and outlining possible solutions.

I was among those Polish political writers who by their writings contributed to the peaceful system transformation that finally took place in 1989. Since 1985, I live in the Chicago area. I went through the hard times typical of many immigrants. Working in service business, I have seen the best and the worst places, I met the poorest and the richest. I have seen and experienced America not known to most of politicians, business people, and other political writers. For eleven years, I ran my own company. Presently, I am an independent consultant.

My political writing comes out of necessity. I write when I see that the prevailing voices on the political arena are misleading or erroneous. Abstract mathematics and control theory (of complex technological processes) strongly influenced my understanding of social phenomena. In the past, my opponents rebuked my mathematical mind as cold, soulless, and inhuman. On a few occasions I was prized for my engineer’s precision and logic.

I have a master’s degree in electronic engineering with a specialization in mathematical machines from Politechnika Gdańska (Technical University of Gdansk).

... more