Thursday, February 12, 2009

The Definition of Arrogant

Making the same exact mistake as someone else, under the exact same conditions, and believing the outcome will be different because you are special. That's arrogant.

Making certain no one can challenge you after making such an error is equally arrogant.

We heard the Left use the word "arrogant" often to describe President Bush. Strangely, we haven't heard that word used to describe President Obama for making the same stupid decision as President Bush did with the financial bailout.

Bush/Paulson/Bernanke, gave the Obama administration a shining example of what doesn't work (bank bailouts). Obama and his team didn't learn. Maybe they need some picture books or cartoons? I could understand if we were talking 1929 here, but it was just last fall--2008.

In addition, the market is off ~500 points after details of the current bailout were released demonstrating that the market doesn't like the bailout--this is critical. Obama is probably too arrogant to care about the stock market, but if stocks keep falling companies will be unable to capitalize. Assets will fall in value. Banks will become insolvent requiring even more government intervention. See a trend?

The TARP program was rewritten to inject capital rather via preferred stock issues as opposed to taking the bad assets off the private sector's books as originally intended. We, the taxpayers, are all captive shareholders watching Wall St. bleed.

The worst part is that we are unable to challenge the bad decisions that spend the vital capital we need to get out of this mess and rebuild because no one can call Obama arrogant.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Losing Respect for John McCain

I remember thinking, after McCain won the GOP nomination last year, "well it could be worse." I didn't agree with McCain on a lot of issues and didn't appreciate his efforts to be bipartisan (which usually meant he compromised and allowed Dems to walk on him). I didn't have a favorite then, but was leaning heavily towards Romney.

McCain is a noble man. He loves his country. And you can't say a bad thing about the man as a person.

But when I heard him say the words "I think this can only be described as generational theft..." in reference to the current stimulus bill being debated, I nearly went nuts. I agree 100% with McCain on this one, no question about it, but it's the flip-flop that kills me.

It was John McCain's decision to take a break from his campaign last year to support the first stimulus that paved the way for the current bill. It was bipartisanship at it's finest! He sat there at the table, holding hands with Obama and Pelosi, and created the bailout precedent that we all knew would become a slippery slope, the total cost of which is now estimated at $9.7T.

The $780B last year wasn't "generational theft," but the $819M being considered now is? Exactly how does that work Senator? Did he start reading Malkin? Had he done that in September 2008 he might be President today!!!

Not only did he help get that stimulus bill in 2008 passed, but his position on the bailout prevented the GOP from running against it. And now that so much money has been spent, how can Republicans stand up and fight now?

If Republicans have to go along with it, there is no high road, and the American people aren't offered any alternatives once this stimulus fails, just like the last one.

If this is generational theft then John McCain is one of the thieves.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Google Latitude

Lots of buzz about Google's new Latitude application which allows uses to track friends, family members, lost cell phones, etc... Apple has a similar app for the iPhone, but it is device specific. Latitude will work with any phone that has is data capable (except the iPhone and a few others) and it's free!

After using Latitude for a few days I have few notes...

1. Was the name Google Stalker taken? Latitude does offer some privacy controls, but you have to make a point of taking yourself offline.

2. Make sure you have a data plan (unlimited or lots of bandwidth). To use on a mobile device, you must install Google Maps which actually a really cool little app and it's also free! I have no idea if Latitude works overseas, but the roaming data costs could be a problem.

3. If you don't have a GPS enabled phone, forget about it. The triangulation method, using cell sites, has a radius (for me) of about 5,000 meters which is a little over 3 miles--huge radius for urban environments.

Overall I really like the app. There are lots of privacy concerns, but in the information age that comes with the territory. I tried to do some Googling to see how much location data the cell phone carriers keep and for how long and couldn't find a concise answer. Lots of links on this data being used in criminal cases, so I think it's safe to assume the carriers have the data and keep it for some length of time.

If the carriers have this data, and there is no way to opt out of collection, then the new concerns presented by Google Latitude are minimal.

Google has a record of delivering cool new products, at low or no cost, to get user adoption and then evolving the product over time. So what will the future hold for Latitude? I'm thinking targeted adds, more traffic through Maps, and maybe more online interaction (think chat with proximity).

Friday, February 6, 2009

Wall St. Likes Layoffs?

Sometime Drudge sums it up the best!

The signs coming out of the market are troubling. There is no good labor news yet the market is trending upward.

Today it was reported that we lost 598,000 jobs in January, which is the highest month over month loss since 1974. It might not be the 500,000,000 job cuts Nancy Pelosi was hoping for, but nearly 600k is bad enough.

The more jobs we lose, the less consumer spending we have in the markets, the more defaults we have on mortgages and consumer credit. The more jobs we lose, the more people and households we have on social programs which either further increases our debt or our tax bill.

So why is the Street up almost 3% on this news?

Wall Street is pleased that American businesses are figuring out that they can no longer afford the market price of labor in this environment. Cutting American jobs demonstrates that companies are doing what has to be done to survive.

And take note, there is nothing in either stimulus bill that will force TARP/stimulus fund recipients to stop workforce reductions. Nothing that guarantees we won't see 500M layoffs in February! Nancy Pelosi has a prepared speech ready should that occur.

There is also nothing that encourages employers to hire Americans instead of outsourcing or hiring foreign workers. Companies know they will have to dramatically cut costs to survive and foreign labor, which doesn't impose the high social costs of American labor, is a great way to do just that.

Consider the following e-mail I received from

The notice offers me legal assistance should I want to hire foreign workers; visa, green card, etc...

Why would I want to hire foreign labor when I can get American labor for a steal? Why pay attorneys to help legitimize foreign workers?

Many on the unemployment rolls would readily accept 10/20/30% pay cuts just to have a job right now. It's an employee sale! Why wouldn't I hire Americans?

Well, I already gave you the answer.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Buy American

I blogged before about the dangers of giving Europeans legitmacey in our political process while Barack Obama was actively campaigining in Germany. It would seem my concerns were well founded.

The economic recovery bill being considered in Congress used to contain language requiring stimulus recipients to buy American whenever possible. The idea being to keep the recovery dollars in our economy. The EU objected and the language is now being modified.

Oddly enough, I find myself on the side with US labor unions and Democrats on this one. If you're going to have socialist intervention in the markets, then we have to have some level of protectionism. This is something Europe practices on a daily basis and it's become an expectation. Ironically, the EU is criticizing the US for being just like the EU and in doing so demonstrate that they have a vested interest in US recovery money--which is probably another post.

Politics set aside, keeping US dollars in the US is critical to recovery where every single job is valuable and necessary to keep the recession from becoming a depression.

I know trade agreements have been signed. I know they are binding. I don't think it's that crazy to say there is more on the line now than the value of US/European relations.

President Obama and Congress had it right the first time: it's time to put America first!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Why Elite Democrats Don't Pay Taxes

Recent headlines reveal a series of high profile Democrats with tax "issues." From Caroline Kennedy, Timothy Geithner, Nancy Killefer, Charles Rangel, and finally Tom Daschle.

I wonder how many other Democrats not up for cabinet positions or Senate seats also have tax "issues?"

A lot has been written on the hypocrisy of the tax and spend party that doesn't pay taxes. Jonah Goldberg has an excellent take on it in the LA Times. The comment section is hilarious--many people lining up to attack Goldberg and carry water for tax cheats. You'd think Goldberg was the issue. Distract, obfuscate, distract, and repeat. The MSM is doing everything it can not to cover any of these stories and the details.

If you believe the excuses (Geithner with Turbo Tax, Daschle not knowing about his consulting income) you are a fool. These are incredibly wealthy individuals with the means, education, and resources to file and pay correctly buy have chosen not to. Geithner, by the way, will be the man running the Department of the Treasury which oversees the IRS. It is ironic that he will be enforcing IRS regulations but can't follow them as a private citizen. I imagine tax attorneys all over the country are busy preparing the "Geithner Defense" for their clients.

The bottom line is that these people see the tax code (redistribution scheme) as a system for the little people. They believe they are exempt. They believe they can carelessly cheat the system and if they don't get called on it, it's okay. They write the tax code to give themselves breaks and fight any attempt to reform the tax system or implement a Fair Tax. They will grandstand about "taking care of others" and creating "social and economic justice" but at the end of the day they aren't even willing to pay their "fair" share of the taxes required to achieve those lofty goals.

These select individuals will also prosecute the working class American, to the fullest extent of the law, should he fail to pay his middle class taxes that pale in comparison to the amount of back taxes Kennedy, Geithner, Killefer, Rangel, and Daschle owe.

Every socialist/communist regime in history has had this elite class that is exempt from the schemes of redistribution. This is a warning sign. A wake up call for America and a sign of things to come.

Americans overwhelmingly voted for hope and change. Obama promised integrity and transparency. We are getting corruption, deceit, and double standards. President Obama is asking middle class America to make sacrifices yet three wealthy cabinet picks can't even sacrifice enough to pay their taxes!