Tuesday, March 31, 2009

The Real Dangers of an Iranian or North Korean Satellite Launch

Many people including the Obaministration are trying to downplay the importance of North Korea putting a satellite in orbit. Iran already launched one without causing concern for the new homeland defense team.

Newt Gingrich and William Forschten just wrote an article about this subject: A Single Nuke Could Destroy America. It explains how a nuclear EMP attack could wreak a lot more havoc than a nuclear bomb delivered an American soil. That EMP attack can be simply ignited from the orbit, without the need of an ICBM.

For more on the science behind this, check the Wikipedia article and references. In brief, a nuclear detonation at an 120mi orbit could effectively paralyze the entire USA. It's not sure if North Korea or Iran can reach that altitude now, but even a lower height could affect most of the continental US.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

2009 Elections Might End Up Well for Monmouth Republicans

Art just broke the news that Barbara McMorrow will not run for Monmouth freeholder. Which means that John Curley will be the favorite in November, and the Republicans will retake control of the Board after a one-year hiatus.

Also, it seems like Crazy Pat Short will not run for re-election in Middletown. With an easy Steve Massell win, Republicans will have again a 4-1 advantage in the council.

We also hope that Chris Christie will be the NJ governor. And on Tuesday, we're rooting for Jim Tedisco in the NY-20 special election. Now let's see how tough the Dems are when Obama is not at the top of the ticket.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Some Good News About the Real Estate Market

Here are two statistics that went largely ignored by the media:

1. Real Estate Loans hit a record high in February.

2. Home price index hit a record 1.7% increase in January.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Closer to Socialism: Censoring Movies

The next step of the Left's path to socialist dictatorship is the continued assault on movies critical of left-wing icons. Now they went to the Supreme Court to challenge Hillary: The Movie.

According to them, that movie is a political ad, and should fall under campaign finance regulations. I wonder where were those lawyers during 8 years of anti-Bush and anti-American movies. So Fahrenheit 9/11 and W are works of art, but Hillary The Movie is a political ad??

Natasha Richardson - A Victim of the Wonderful Socialized Canadian Healthcare?

This is one way to look at it. As AP reports:

Questions are arising over whether a medical helicopter might have been able to save actress Natasha Richardson.

The province of Quebec lacks a medical helicopter system, common in the United States and other parts of Canada, to airlift stricken patients to major trauma centers. Montreal's top head trauma doctor said Friday that may have played a role in Richardson's death.

While Richardson's initial refusal of medical treatment cost her two hours, she also had to be driven to two hospitals. She didn't arrive at a specialized hospital in Montreal until about four hours after the second 911 call from her hotel room at the resort.
So, my fellow Americans, this is what Obama wants for you, a state-run healthcare system where you spend hours in critical condition before the Government can take you to a hospital. As a comparison, I've seen med-evac choppers at small ski areas like Hunter or Windham arriving before the injured person was even brought down the slopes.

Is New Jersey Really a Blue State?

Alan Steinberg asks a very legitimate question: How Blue is New Jersey?

Very interesting article, here are a few arguments that NJ should not be dismissed as a safely blue state:
  • In six consecutive Presidential contests from 1968 through 1988, the Republican candidate carried New Jersey in each election.
  • From January, 1992 until January, 2002, the Republicans controlled both the New Jersey Assembly and Senate.
  • From January, 1995 until January, 1999, the Republicans controlled a majority of the 13-member New Jersey delegation to the U.S. House of Representatives.
  • The Republicans have controlled the Governorship of New Jersey for 16 of the past 28 years.
  • During this 28 year period, no Democrat has been reelected as governor, and it appears increasingly unlikely that Jon Corzine will be reelected in 2009.
  • The 2001 Larry Bartels-approved legislative district reapportionment has given the Democrats a much more firm control of the state Assembly and Senate than they would have received under the previous map. The key evidence of this is the results of the 2003 legislative elections. The Republican legislative candidates actually carried 53 per cent of the total votes cast statewide; yet the New Jersey GOP lost seats in both houses.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

New Jersey Is the 4th Worst State for Business

No wonder, New Jersey drops one spot to 48th. Now it's the 4th worst state for doing business.

According to Steve Lonegan, here are the 5 worst business laws in New Jersey (apart from the tax laws):
Paid Family Leave, Project Labor Agreements, Binding Arbitration, Card Check and the $500 S-Corporation Tax.

“Paid Family Leave is a new government program financed by an income tax on working people to pay other people not to work,” Lonegan said. “It is typical of the silly ‘feel-good’ legislation liberals pass because they have no comprehension of what it is like to run a business and make ends meet.”

Lonegan called Project Labor Agreements, where union wages must be paid on all government projects and Binding Arbitration for municipal labor negotiations “two of the reasons property taxes have skyrocketed in recent years and that affects businesses bottom line.”

New Jersey’s “Card Check” law -- a model for legislation being pushed by the Obama Administration today -- would end secret ballots in union elections and replace them with a system where union organizers can intimidate workers into supporting a union merely by signing a membership card.

“This so-called ‘reform’ takes Union elections from an American-style process to the type seen in Cuba where thugs and goons insure people vote ‘correctly’.”

Lonegan said the worst of all the anti-business laws was the McGreevey $500 S-Corporation tax. “This penalizes the job creator who is starting their business because you pay this tax even if your company loses money,” Lonegan said. “That’s not only wrong, it single-handedly tells an untold number of our residents not to bother starting your own business and that’s the wrong approach to take.”

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Obama's Ignorance on History

The latest from our stupid president: "There has never been a Secretary of the Treasury, except maybe Alexander Hamilton, right after the Revolutionary War, who's had to deal with the multiplicity of issues that Secretary Geithner is having to deal with"

I recommend Obama to get a history book and learn that the Revolutionary War ended in 1783, and Hamilton became Treasury Secretary in 1789. That's 6 years, not "right after".

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

AIG, Bonuses and Government

Of course everyone is outraged now about the 150 millions in bonuses that AIG employees are receiving. After all, the company received 180 billions of taxpayer money, and we are paying their bonuses. But the democrats should be the last to be outraged. After all, it's Chris Dodd's amendment to the bailout bill that guaranteed all bonuses that were part of contracts made before the bill went into effect. So it's a specific amendment introduced by Dodd dealing with this, just to make it clear. The reasons shouldn't be hard to guess. Chris Dodd together with Barrack Obama are the biggest beneficiaries of AIG contributions in the last election cycle. As for the recipients of bonuses, of course they deserve it. After all, they worked together and earned the company 180 billions even when the businesses was going into the ground. Let me tell you, if any of you can get me 10 millions in Government money for my company, I promise you a $100k bonus!

And why would Obama's people be mad at this? After all, those employees receive this money (which comes from the Government), and they'll use it to buy cars, maybe a new home, and other consumer products, thus stimulating the economy. Isn't this that the new Keynesian push is all about? I don't agree with it, but it's the new adminstration's policy. Or maybe, like Dick Morris said, Obama is not only a socialist, but an incompetent socialist.

I think all this scandal about the bonuses is just a distraction to hide the real horror: about 93 billions of the bailout money has been paid to other banks, especially European banks. So in the end, we the taxpayers bailed out the Europeans. The bonuses represent less than 0.1% of the bailout (and they reutrn into our economy), while the amounts transfered to Europe make up more than 50%.

And one more thing. AIG is now owned 80% by the Government. All this, bonuses and foreign transfers, happened on the Government watch. AIG's CEO, Edward Liddy, is a Government appointee who doesn't receive a salary from AIG, because he is a federal bureaucrat. This should serve as the beste xample of how good the Government is at running a business. The same Government that couldn't even run a restaurant inside the Capitol. Just wait until the Government starts building cars and deciding on your treatment options...

Monday, March 16, 2009

The Truth About Socialism

Jeffrey Folks wrote a remarkable article in American Thinker, titled My Socialist Past. It strikes a particular cord with me because I spent 14 years under communism and another 10 under quasi-socialism. I recommend you read it in its entirety, because it explains everything that's wrong with socialism. I can help with further explanation for those who still don't get it. My former country of Romania experimented about 50 years with socialism, and some of our neighbors even longer. They all failed miserably. Here are a few excerpts from Mr. Folks' article:
Anyone who has lived inside the demoralized, unproductive, gray prison of a communist state, as I did in the mid-1980s, knows to what depths of impoverishment the egalitarian fantasies of socialism inevitably lead. They lead to decades of frustrated poverty and lifetimes of untreated illness culminating in early death. I remember the columns of death notices for men and women in their forties and fifties that appeared in the local newspaper. Gradually I learned to associate those death notices with the lack of fresh foodstuffs, the travesty of state health care, and the pervasive demoralization of an enslaved population drowning itself in cheap alcohol and cigarettes.

Unnumbered lives were sacrificed on the ungodly altar of communism in the last century, not only in my temporary abode of Yugoslavia but throughout eastern Europe, Russia, and much of Asia, Africa, and South America, and now the American Left wishes to revive this monstrous ideology on our own shores. Every totalitarian regime begins with the same heartfelt promises of justice and equality, just those promises of fairness that Barack Obama has made the fixation of his political career. What tyrant, one might ask, has not risen to power on promises of benevolent change?

Soon, however, those who come to power, even with good intentions, discover that for all men to be made equal, some men must be made poor, and most men will not agree to be made poor in the absence of force. So force must be applied, assets must be seized, censorship must be imposed, dissidents must be jailed, enemies must be destroyed. Men must be made equal by any means necessary, and soon enough those means include intimidation, imprisonment, and execution.

Under socialism, those who are lazy and unproductive, or not productive at all, or even blatantly destructive, get a free ride; those who are skillful and enterprising are punished. When ambitious workers attempt to get ahead on the basis of their abilities, as inevitably they do, they are harassed, beaten, imprisoned, and executed. The longer that ambition is repressed, the less productive the overall economy becomes.

Socialism always stifles talent and ambition, and the more it does so, the more squalid things get. It is no accident that socialism always fails. It fails because of its fundamental assumption that self-interest can be suppressed in human relations. Socialism fails every time because of the arrogant lie upon which it rests.

Anyone who does not understand what this means has failed to study the history of the past century, especially those horrific decades of political oppression and moral collapse resulting from centralized government planning and control in the Soviet Union and eastern Europe. There is nothing subjective about this notion of decline. The symptoms of this demise of civilization are all easily measured and acutely felt: they include a shrinking food supply, a decline in the quality and availability of housing, a reduction of educational standards, an attenuation of essential public services, a diminishment of private property rights, and, ultimately, a decreased life expectancy.

As astounding as it may seem, given the history of Yugoslavia and of much worse, socialism remains the dream of the American Left, and it is exactly what we are getting with the Democrats now in control of the White House and Congress. In one form or another, we will have socialized medicine, with its callous specter of long waiting lists or outright denials for life-saving operations and drugs. In one form or another, we will see government control of the energy industry, and with it ever higher prices for fuel and electricity.

Without the powerful effect of the free market, no one has any real incentive to work. If the high earners are removed at the top, the new top comes to be measured in hundreds of thousands of dollars in pay, not in millions. But if the new top becomes hundreds of thousands, why not tens of thousands? With the realization of this fact, why would any young person sacrifice so much in training for and obtaining a professional position?

Every communist regime in history has begun its rule with sweeping confiscations of private wealth and widespread nationalization of industry. How does this differ from Democratic proposals for government regulation and confiscation within the health care, financial services, and energy industries, or from their plan eventually to institute a four trillion dollar tax increase -- the result of bloated stimulus programs and rollback of President Bush's tax cuts?

Sunday, March 15, 2009

The Treasury Yield Curve Makes TARP Obsolete

Larry Kudlow wrote a very good explanation on why the current recovery of the banks is not due to TARP, but to the upward-sloping Treasury yield curve.
When the Fed loosens money, and short-term rates are pulled well below long rates, banks profit enormously from the upward-sloping yield curve. This is principally because banks borrow short in order to lend long. If bankers can buy money for near zero cost, and loan it for 2, 3, or 4 percent, they’re in fat city. So the upward-sloped yield curve is the real bailout for the banking system.

Now, turn the clock back to 2006 and 2007. In those days the Treasury curve was upside down. Due to the Federal Reserve’s extremely tight credit policies, short-term rates moved well above long-term rates for an extended period, and that played a major role in producing the credit crunch. Since interest margins turned negative, the banks had to turn off the credit spigot, and all those exotic securities — like mortgage-backed bonds and various credit derivatives — could no longer be financed.
The truth is that the tightening of the money supply during periods of economic expansion will always lead to to a downward yield curve, but this is part of the economic cycles. The tightening is required to prevent inflation that would normally accompany a huge growth. It's what brings us recessions every 8-10 years. Now, it has coupled with a few other events, like the real estate bubble and the introduction of all those exotic investments, to hit banks harder than normal. But once the Fed loosened the money supply, the yield curve is turning upward, and this is what will help banks recover.

Of course "downward sloping Treasury yield curve" doesn't have the same impact as "predatory lenders", "evil CEOs", or "failed Bush administration", so politicians and media pundits will keep hammering the latter.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Taliban Lawyer Nominated to the Justice Department

There is a pattern starting to show up here. It's not even unbelievable anymore. Here's the latest one from the Obaministration: American Taliban's lawyer was nominated to head the Justice Department’s Civil Division.

A couple of days ago I was joking that Bernie Madoff meets all the requirements to be nominated to the SEC... It doesn't even sound like a joke anymore.

Friday, March 13, 2009

John Murtha is the Crook of the Day

I remember how someone was laughing that on the cover of The Soprano State there's a sticker now saying "Updated With The Latest Scandals", saying that book can turn into a daily newspaper. The same could be told about Obama's administration and everybody related to them.

The latest one is Rep John Murtha (D-Pa), who a few days ago was exposed in Politico:
Over the course of the past decade, Rep. John P. Murtha has earmarked millions of dollars for the Electro-Optics Center at Penn State University — money that has, in turn, gone to clients of the PMA Group, the Murtha-linked lobbying shop that was raided in November as part of a federal criminal probe.
Murtha already has a strong resume. He escaped prosecution in the Abscam scandal just by testifying against his accomplices (being as innocent as a mob rat). He's also the one who called the US military nazis who terrorize innocent people.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Obama's Cabinet of Crooks

This is like the gift that keeps on giving. Every day, another crook shows up in Obama's administration. Let's see just what the past couple of days gave us:

Vivek Kundra, White House Chief Information Officer. On leave after FBI raided his office and arrested two people.

Charles Freeman, National Intelligence Council Chairman. Withdrew after his anti-semitic, pro-arab views were revealed.

David Ogden, Deputy Attorney General. To be confirmed, despite his vast experience as a porn industry attorney.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Setting the Record Straight on Wanting the President to Fail

Enough with all this outrage at Rush Limbaugh wanting Obama to fail! In 2006, Democrats wanted Bush to fail by a majority of 51-40%. Also 34% of the independents wanted Bush to fail.

So I don't have to apologize to anyone if I also want Obama to fail miserably. I'm going by this mantra: "I'll treat your president the same way you treated mine".

Coming Soon to a City Near You: The Bike Tax

Yeah, we're getting there. Oregon is debating introducing a tax on bikes. I guess it's following the liberal mantra: "If it moves, tax it!". Watch also this CNN clip.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

The Global Warming Religion

Jeff Jacoby writes a good article in today's Boston Globe, titled Where's global warming?

He starts by stating some facts:
The United States has shivered through an unusually severe winter, with snow falling in such unlikely destinations as New Orleans, Las Vegas, Alabama, Georgia. On Dec. 25, every Canadian province woke up to a white Christmas, something that hadn't happened in 37 years. Last week, satellite data showed three of the Great Lakes - Erie, Superior, and Huron - almost completely frozen over. In Washington, D.C., what was supposed to be a massive rally against global warming was upstaged by the heaviest snowfall of the season, which paralyzed the capital. The National Snow and Ice Data Center has acknowledged that due to a satellite sensor malfunction, it had been underestimating the extent of Arctic sea ice by 193,000 square miles - an area the size of Spain.
As a consequence, 2008 was the coolest year of the past decade - global temperatures have not exceeded the record high measured in 1998, notwithstanding the carbon-dioxide that human beings continue to pump into the atmosphere.

Mr. Jacoby wonders why there's no media reaction to any of this. You all know how ballistic the media would go if there was any sign of a warmer than usual weather. We've been warned that we're doomed even when we'd get a heat wave in August. So this is how we get to the religious conclusion:
But for many people, the science of climate change is not nearly as important as the religion of climate change. When Al Gore insisted yet again at a conference last Thursday that there can be no debate about global warming, he was speaking not with the authority of a man of science, but with the closed-minded dogmatism of a religious zealot.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

More Illiterate Gems from Obama on the Stock Market

On Tuesday, Obama spoke about the stock market and his long-term plans. I know he admitted he doesn't know anything about the stock market, and I think he should rather shut up in that case, since every time he opens his mouth we have another crash. Look what he said on Tuesday:

"The stock market is sort of like a tracking poll in politics. It bobs up and down day-to-day, and if you spend all your time worrying about that, then you're probably going to get the long-term strategy wrong."

I have no idea what he means by "bobs up and down". Since he took office, it's been bobbing up and down kind of like the Titanic bobbed up and down after hitting the iceberg. There's no more up-and-downs, it's plain DOWN to around 6,700 from 9,600 on Election Day.

And another plain stupid gem from The Anointed One:

"Profit and earning ratios are starting to get to the point where buying stocks is a potentially good deal"

Really? I have no economic studies, and never had too much money to invest, but... what the heck are "profit and earning ratios"?? Any chimp who ever put his money in stocks knows it's actually "price and earnings ratios".

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Who Needs a Foreclosure Bailout?

We hear quite often from Obama how vital it is to save people affected by foreclosures, and how we must chip in to pay their mortgages. According to him, the drama is caused by the falling house prices, and his plans are trying to accommodate that. But let's see who really needs this bailout, and how it should be done.

First of all, most homeowners who live in their houses are not affected in any way by falling house prices. Variability in the market price has no impact on a family's ability to pay, since the monthly payment stays the same. Of course, they might feel bad because the "investment" is worth less now, but the falling prices don't matter until the family decides to sell. And of course, there's little reason to sell now. These homeowners aren't more entitled to a bailout than people who lost money on their 401k's due to market losses.

Falling prices only matter when someone wants to sell the house. The main reason someone would want to do that is if they bought an over-priced house that they knew they can't afford to pay, only thinking it would be a good investment because the prices are going up and if something happens they can sell and get the cash. Also those who bought to flip the house and re-sell at a profit. These are investors who just bought the bad investment. Do you really need to rescue them? I see no reason. Again, no more reason than we need to rescue people who bought stocks whose prices have fallen. Risk is inherent in any investment, and reducing risks would only result in inflated prices and higher costs to be paid by responsible people who made good investments.

There is one more category of homeowners in trouble, and that's people who can't afford to pay because they lost their job. But in this case, again, the decline in home prices doesn't affect the ability to pay. It's the loss of income from the job that creates the crisis. And for those people, modifying loans and reducing monthly payments doesn't help at all. When you earn $0 income, paying $1,200/month or $1,500/month is pretty much the same. The only thing you can do to really help those homeowners is to help create jobs. And Government can do this only by creating a better business environment, through less costly regulations and especially lower corporate taxes.

So I'm still curious about how is Obama's plan going to help and, more importantly, whom?

Monday, March 2, 2009

Is It Really the "Worst Crisis since the Great Depression"?

Not according to factual data.
Click image below to see the graph of GDP percent change from a year ago. It looks slightly better than most other recent recessions.