Thursday, May 31, 2012

War Against Women; War Against Men


We hear it everyday.  The "War Against Women."  Women earn less, on average, than men.  Women pay more for health insurance than men.  But we don't hear about the "War Against Men."

Young women, on average better drivers, pay less for car insurance than young men.  Older women, on average with longer life spans, pay less for life insurance than older men.  Fewer men are graduating from college than women... and  lower educated men have riskier jobs than lower educated women. [image]

So, why is it supposed to "fair" that men pay higher health insurance premiums so that women can pay less?  Shouldn't it also follow that women should pay higher automobile insurance so that men can pay less?  Same thing for life insurance.

But wait, you say, men can afford to pay more for insurance because they earn more.  That's correct, if you disregard the work being done, the years on the job, and the qualifications brought to the job.  All things being equal, women tend to earn somewhat more than men.  So, those women should pay more than men, right?  Maybe give some of their earnings back so men can receive them?

This points to the absurdity of the phrase "War Against... ".  But if you still feel that it's wrong for men and women to earn differently and pay differently, then here is a good project for you: convince the NFL that cheerleaders should make as much as football players.  Hey, they are all entertainers working in the same stadium.  Part of the big theater.

Okay, men don't have to pay $9 per month for birth control pills.  But they may have to keep a supply of condoms handy.  That's gotta run at least $9 per month for a healthy 23-year old male.  Some war....
No amount of government threatening or screaming crowds can ever make everything equal... unless every risk, every cost, every effort, every qualification, every capability is equal.  The closest you can get to that is the military... that's where real wars are waged.

Be careful what you ask for... you may get it.


2012 IS HERE


Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Oil Signals Economic Slowdown


Perhaps all of those all-electric cars are driving down the price of oil.  Perhaps not.

The recent price drop in oil suggests that confidence in the global economies is slipping badly.  Keynesian economics say this is the time for governments to spend more money.

That was tried in Greece.  Fail.

Perhaps it is time to re-visit some economic assumptions about government spending and debt... although those who claim that spending and inflation are the keys to success probably want to double down on that bet.

FT [Financial Times] has an interesting interactive graphic.  Check it out here.

Damn, those Austrians might have been right.

2012 IS HERE


McCotter Plays The Blues


Thaddeus McCotter has been in the Michigan and national news for the past week.  Rep. McCotter of Livonia, a Detroit suburb, became somewhat known nationally for his attempt to be recognized as a viable presidential candidate.  He is also known as a guitar playing congressman who shows up at events and jams with bands.  His acerbic wit and droll manner are his trademark.

Thaddeus McCotter is a smart man, but he or his staff made an extremely stupid move by trying to file for the Michigan primary with a petition containing fake signatures.  I'm going to give Rep. McCotter the benefit of the doubt and say that this probably was the result of a staff mess-up.  The filing deadline was probably looming and the petition most likely was simply forgotten until the last minute.  Then panic set in and the fake signatures were used in an effort to meet the deadline.  There is no doubt that the popular representative could have easily gotten the necessary number of signatures to file a legitimate petition, but this was a case of leaving on vacation and forgetting the dog... a simple, big screw-up.

From the Detroit Free Press:
"This wasn't anything that was an innocent mistake," Lansing political consultant Tom Shields said Tuesday. "It was purely an attempt to make up for a lack of signatures, which is politically criminal." 
Or maybe just plain criminal. The state Attorney General's Office is investigating to determine whether any laws were broken. 
"We will review information provided by the Secretary of State and determine whether additional action is warranted," said Joy Yearout, spokeswoman for Attorney General Bill Schuette.
From NPR:
McCotter claims he was duped, but also says he accepts responsibility for what happened. He says he wants the Michigan attorney general to investigate, and he will run as a write-in candidate. There is already another Republican candidate on the ballot, so McCotter will have to get more people to write in his name. 
Elections experts says that's a big hurdle. 
"I think it's doable, but he's got a lot of work to do, and I think he knows that," says Michigan Republican Party Chairman Bobby Schostack. "We at the state party will support whoever it is that wins the primary.
This is one of those career-killer moments.  We'll be watching how this plays out.


2012 IS HERE


Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Why Detroit Is Doomed


It's hard to believe what happens in Detroit.  Recently, it was a man with a bullet hole in his chest declared dead of "natural causes."  Now this.

The Detroit Free Press reports:

The nine-months-pregnant Detroit woman who was kidnapped in Warren, taken to Detroit, set on fire and shot early Saturday went into labor, police said Monday evening.

The 22-year-old was due in three weeks, but went into labor at about 4:30 p.m. Monday, said Warren Police Deputy Commissioner Louis Galasso. She has burns on her torso, face and back and was being treated at a Detroit Medical Center hospital.

Galasso lauded the woman for her quick thinking -- she played dead after she was shot and drove to a gas station about four miles away to call for help. [read more]

You just can't make up stuff like this.

And how can you describe the man as "father?"  I can think of a lot of words to describe him, but "father" is not one of them.  Depraved because he was deprived?  No, simply depraved.  A sociopath.

Unfortunately, Detroit, despite it's plummeting population, still has one of the highest absolute number of murders in the nation and by far the highest rate of murder.  I worked there about 20 years ago.  I never go back except to use I-75 going south... and then only on weekends when traffic moves along at posted speeds.

You can cite all of the statistics about Detroit being safer than driving a car, but I don't have idiots like that guy in my car.

1 dead, 2 wounded after gunman fires into crowd in downtown Detroit

See what I mean?

2012 IS HERE


Swatting May Become A Felony In Michigan


What some have called a "prank" may become a felony in Michigan.  There is nothing funny about calling up the police and claiming there has been a shooting at an address of someone who has done nothing of the sorts.  The police respond with drawn guns and someone could get killed as a result of these "pranks."  It's like yelling "fire" in a crowded theater. [image]

This phenomenon has come under national attention as a result of being perpetrated on several conservative bloggers.  The police would certainly like to know who turns in these false reports, but they are often done in an untraceable manner.
Legislation is now under consideration that would ensure that the prank — called “swatting,” involving a fake call to 911 in which the perpetrator attempts to have police and SWAT teams sent to the victim’s home for a bogus violent crime — has harsh consequences. 
State Reps. Kurt Heise, R-Plymouth, and Pat Somerville, R-New Boston, joined Oakland County Sheriff Michael Bouchard Wednesday at the sheriff’s department to discuss legislation that would make swatting a four-year felony and require those responsible to reimburse responding law enforcement representatives for the time and equipment used on the bogus call. [source]
This is an appropriate response to these "pranks."

More about this here.

2012 IS HERE


New Computer Malware Attacks The Middle East


From the BBC:

This new threat appears not to cause physical damage, but to collect huge amounts of sensitive information, said 
[Russian security firm] Kaspersky's 
[Labs] chief malware expert Vitaly Kamluk. 
"Once a system is infected, Flame begins a complex set of operations, including sniffing the network traffic, taking screenshots, recording audio conversations, intercepting the keyboard, and so on," he said. 
More than 600 specific targets were hit, Mr Kamluk said, ranging from individuals, businesses, academic institutions and government systems....

Among the countries affected by the attack are Iran, Israel, Sudan, Syria, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia and Egypt
"The geography of the targets and also the complexity of the threat leaves no doubt about it being a nation-state that sponsored the research that went into it," Mr Kamluk said.
If this is a nation-sponsored attack, the question is which nation has the most to gain from gathering all of this intelligence?  One can safely assume that the malware code does not have a line saying "Made in USA" or "Made in China."  Looking at the list of countries affected, only two... Iran and Israel... would be likely targets for technology information.  The other countries are buyers of technology, not developers.  So, one can safely assume that technology secrets are not the primary targets of this malware.

What is more likely is that military and terrorist operations are the targets.  Some nation really wants to infiltrate the inner workings of the political/military apparatuses in these countries.

I'll give you three guesses... three different guesses.


2012 IS HERE


Monday, May 28, 2012

Memorial Day 2012


From a previous Memorial Day post:

SATURDAY, MAY 26, 2007

Memorial Day - Remembering


War is the most violent of human activities. There will always be those who believe that all war is unjustified and should be handled by "discussions." There are those who believe that war is always justified whenever they perceive a threat to our nation. There are those who will refuse to participate in a war for whatever reason. We tend to forget all of them.

And there are those who will answer the call of duty. This weekend, we remember them.

Each of these wars was unpopular with some section of our citizens. I'm not going to debate the merits or lack thereof for each war. Rather, I am showing a very few of the heroes that answered the call of duty and had an impact on our history. You can read a brief background on each on by clicking on the links below the pictures.

Revolutionary War Hero - Casimir Pulaski

Read about him

1812 War Hero - Winfield Scott

Read about him

Civil War Hero - Frank Haskell

Read about him

WWI Hero - Eddie Rickenbacker

Read about him

WWII Hero - John Basilone

Read about him

Korean War Hero - Hiroshi "Hershey" Miyamura

Read about him

Vietnam War Hero - Franklin Miller

Read about him

Now we have the "Gulf War" and the "War in Iraq" Someday, we will sort out the politics and recognize the young people who were the heroes of those conflicts. Someday, they will be remembered as those above have been.

Someday, they will be acknowledged as those below.

Picture by Harry Doerr

2012 IS HERE


Sunday, May 27, 2012

Alternative Energy Not Ready For Prime Time


You've probably heard of the reliability problems that plague alternative energy sources.  Wind doesn't blow; electricity doesn't flow.  Sun don't shine; electricity won't be mine.

What you probably won't hear is the 10% failure rate for wind turbines.  No, not failure to produce electricity because of calm winds.  Failure to work... period.
Statistically, based on the sample, 1 in every 10 turbines has been shut down because of significant damage. This sample is collected from 2006 to 2010, so in the first 4 years of operation, 237 failure incidents. The wind industry needs to get serious about testing and the DOE needs to get serious about new technology that will make wind energy a success. [source]
Regardless, the government feels compelled to push the U.S. away from fossil fuels toward alternatives.  President Obama has targeted coal with the hope that dramatically reducing coal generated electricity will force a move to wind and solar power.  Instead, it has forced a move to natural gas.

Congress said "enough" and refused to extend the Production Tax Credit for wind power although the wind power industry is lobbying fiercely for such credits while claiming all sorts of miracle improvements in wind power and reduction in the megawatt costs.

Solar power has been a basket case.

Here is a brief list of government-back alternative energy failures from economist Mark J. Perry:

● Raser Technologies. In 2010, the Obama administration gave Raser a $33 million taxpayer-funded grant to build a power plant in Beaver Creek, Utah. After burning through our tax dollars, the company filed for bankruptcy protection in 2012. The plant now has fewer than 10 employees, and Raser owes $1.5 million in back taxes.
● ECOtality. The Obama administration gave ECOtality $126.2 million in taxpayer money in 2009 for, among other things, the installation of 14,000 electric car chargers in five states. Obama even hosted the company’s president, Don Karner, in the first lady’s box during the 2010 State of the Union address as an example of a stimulus success story. The company has since incurred more than $45 million in losses and has told the federal government, “We may not achieve or sustain profitability on a quarterly or annual basis in the future.” Worse, the company is now under investigation for insider trading.
● Nevada Geothermal Power (NGP). The Obama administration gave NGP a $98.5 million taxpayer loan guarantee in 2010. The New York Times reported last October that the company is in “financial turmoil” and that “[a]fter a series of technical missteps that are draining Nevada Geothermal’s cash reserves, its own auditor concluded in a filing released last week that there was ‘significant doubt about the company’s ability to continue as a going concern.’ ”
● First Solar. The Obama administration provided First Solar with more than $3 billion in loan guarantees for power plants in Arizona and California. According to a Bloomberg Businessweek report last week, the company “fell to a record low in Nasdaq Stock Market trading May 4 after reporting $401 million in restructuring costs tied to firing 30 percent of its workforce.”
● Abound Solar, Inc. The Obama administration gave Abound Solar a $400 million loan guarantee to build photovoltaic panel factories. In February the company halted production and laid off 180 employees.
● Beacon Power. The Obama administration gave Beacon — a green-energy storage company — a $43 million loan guarantee. At the time of the loan, “Standard and Poor’s had confidentially given the project a dismal outlook of ‘CCC-plus.’ ” In the fall of 2011, Beacon received a delisting notice from Nasdaq and filed for bankruptcy.
●  This is just the tip of the iceberg. A company called SunPowergot a $1.2 billion loan guarantee from the Obama administration, and as of January, the company owed more than it was worth. Brightsource got a $1.6 billion loan guaranteeand posted a string of net losses totaling $177 million.
● And, of course, let’s not forget Solyndra — the solar panel manufacturer that received $535 million in taxpayer-funded loan guarantees and went bankrupt, leaving taxpayers on the hook. 
It's not that government is wrong to push new technologies.  It's just that there doesn't seem to be a lot of business acumen in the way it is done.  Apparently, all that is needed is a marketing presentation with the word "green" prominently displayed and the government literally throws money at them.

There is always the argument that entrenched forces will make it impossible for new alternatives to reach the marketplace.  You know, the airplane would never take the place of passenger trains.  Cars would never take the place of horse-drawn carriages.  Light bulbs would never take the place of gas lamps.  But they all did because they were better alternatives and were developed without the government picking a winner or subsidizing them.  Private individuals took the risks and proved their products were superior.  With that proof came plenty of investors willing to risk their money... not the taxpayers' money.

The marketplace recognizes a better idea... and a worse one.

2012 IS HERE


Saturday, May 26, 2012

Economic Post Mortem


My background is business and I get a bit ticked when I read something like this:

And that's what business types have a hard time understanding because in the business world money equals income. If those failed green projects that Obama tried had not been attempted and if we had simply decided to not increase the deficit, that would not have been a savings for the macro economy. Those saved dollars would have leaked from the income flow. 
Way back in college I noticed that business majors did fine in micro, but they seemed to have a hell of a time getting macro. Business types just don't have the intuition for macro because they tend to think in terms of stock variables...that might be why so many of them also had problems with calculus. Anyway, I see this same confusion with Romney. I'm sure he's a smart and sharp businessman. And he might have excellent CEO skils (and that's important in a President); but the guy is clearly at sea when it comes to macroeconomics. Clueless beyond belief.
Back awhile, I wrote this:

THURSDAY, OCTOBER 13, 2005Excessive Spending - The Next RecessionI'm going out on a limb now, but I think the 4th Quarter of 2005 will be viewed, retrospectively, as the beginning of a new recession in the U.S. 
For those of you who did not read my post of September 16, check it out.
Here are some economic stories from Reuters:

The Fed is getting ready to pounce on the economy. Why? Well, apparently it sees that the economy is running out of energy (pun intended), so it is time to put on the economic brakes by raising interests rates further. For those of you with short-term memory loss, go back to 2000 when the Fed raised the prime to 8.5% for our own good. Alan G. did admit to a slight error in judgment on that action. Unfortunately, the Fed seems to have a short-term memory loss, but the logic is still consistent: when the economy is hit with natural disasters, energy market aberrations, job losses and currency manipulation by competitors, then it is time to cripple the economy by tightening the money supply and raising interest rates.

The official recognition of the "recession" was about 3 years later... well after the malaise hit the economy.  The "macro" numbers showed things were pretty good. The "macro" numbers failed to recognize what millions of businesses and individuals were seeing... the U.S. was in big trouble.  I'll admit that I used the term "recession" in a way that would make a macro-economist cringe... but in a way that most individuals and businessmen would understand.

Macroeconomics is the belief that looking at large amounts of aggregated data can tell you what you need to know about the economy... like this:
February 27, 2008 
Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke went to Capitol Hill today to provide Congress with an update on the struggling US economy. The Fed forecast he summarized called for very slow growth in 2008, but no recession; and that was the good news. 
The Feds forecast says that growth could be as low a 1.3 percent for all of 2008, down sharply from its July forecast. And with the economy expected to pick up only in the second half of the year, that could mean almost no growth at all in the first six months. 
Chairman Bernanke acknowledged the problem in the second paragraph of his testimony. "The economic situation has become distinctly less favorable since our July report," said the chairman. 
Now the song, 4 years later, is that all we have to do is spend money on green projects to make sure "income" doesn't fall.  My thoughts:
So, you say that it doesn't matter that the government dumped money into "investments" that had no real business cases. What was the opportunity cost? Come on, don't tell me there was no opportunity cost because the government can spend as much as it wants. Chickens come home to roost. 
At the same time that the "don't need no business case" geniuses [like Frank and Dodds who liked the idea of everyone owning a home even if they couldn't afford it because all that spending was good stuff] were dumping money down a series of black holes, the government was waging its own Don Quixote wars on carbon vapor. The goal? Why to protect us from plant food, of course. Better to kill the most efficient sources of energy and thousands of jobs along with it than to risk having to run the air conditioners a few more days. 
So, our macro data experts have urged spending and our macro data bureaucrats have responded with policies and investments that have guaranteed a far less cost effective source of energy. Gee, if you pay more per KW, that means the economy will be booming. Think of all of that spending. 
If Ben [big economics] Bernanke couldn't see the writing on the wall and all of that recent government spending has simply increased government debt with very little to show for it, why it's just those stupid business types who don't understand how good things are? ...
Tell me, what besides the imaginary 4.2 million jobs saved has all of that spending achieved? Housing is still a mess, unemployment is still over 8% and millions have stopped being counted because they are discouraged, and government debt will soon be beyond servicing when interest rates do increase... the time implication of current spending.
Government spending that simply expands dependency on government [Nancy Pelosi's more people on unemployment is good for the economy] while the government attacks those who create jobs and incomes is a recipe for... well, the Obama administration and Keynesian economics. In your words: "clueless beyond belief." 

With regard to the impact of government spending, three professions from the Harvard Business School [uh, oh... not economists] came to the following conclusion [click on image for larger view]:

2012 IS HERE


Friday, May 25, 2012

Domestic Terrorists


Read this now!

2012 IS HERE


Obama To Homeowners: You Can Use Natural Gas But It Will Bankrupt You


Recently, the price of natural gas has been extremely low as shale gas has flooded the market with a clean, reliable, efficient source of energy.

That is about to change.

RightMichigan reports that thanks to the President's war on coal, natural gas will have to take up significant slack in our electricity generation plants.  And what does that mean for you?
The market-clearing price for new 2015 capacity - almost all natural gas - was $136 per megawatt. That's eight times higher than the price for 2012, which was just $16 per megawatt.
You may not generate electricity with natural gas, but your utility company will buy natural gas to generate your electricity.
These are not computer models or projections or estimates. These are the actual prices that electric distributors have agreed to pay for new capacity. The costs will be passed on to consumers at the retail level.
Take whatever your present electric bill is and watch it skyrocket.

That's half of the story....

The average monthly residential bill for natural gas is about $80... all year long.  That might be $30 in the summer and $130 in the winter... for a small house. [source]   That is projected to double by 2015.  How's that hope for change going now?  Think about your pocketbook when you go to the polls this November.  

I can't wait for Obama to start blaming the energy industry for this.  After all, the EPA just implemented a few really needed regulations... Obama didn't have anything to do with that.  Sure.  Janus has nothing over him. [image]



Killing Coal And Killing Our Economy

2012 IS HERE


Thursday, May 24, 2012

About Face(book)!


Facebook is fun.  Facebook is trivial.  Facebook is overrated.

Facebook has a lot of users... or people who have Facebook "accounts."  But there is nothing really unique about Facebook.  Google+ offers similar features and functionality for widespread sharing of "what I am doing now."  Instant messaging less.  Email less.  Cell phones less.  But, given a choice between losing cell phones and email or Facebook, Facebook would run a distant 4th.

So I'm not surprised to read this:

Morgan Stanley Revisits Facebook Trades; Investors File Suit

Morgan Stanley is considering adjusting prices for trades made during Facebook Inc.'s initial public offering, as the lead underwriter and other banks face a fresh investor lawsuit over the how the deal was handled.  ...
The suit follows a report by Reuters that analysts at the Wall Street firms cut their revenue forecasts on Facebook amid the investor roadshow, a change that wasn't widely disseminated. [source]
Here's the thing: Facebook has little real functionality beyond people visiting their service and sharing trivial pursuits.  It is not a search engine or an email system or massive data repository of information that can be readily commercialized.  IT'S A FAD AND IF YOU BUY INTO IT WITH YOUR OWN MONEY, YOU WILL LOSE IT.

At least that's my opinion... for what it's worth.
2012 IS HERE

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

It Could Only Be A Natural Death In Detroit


Detroit is a synonym for futile.

Mortician discovers gunshot wound in body after man's death ruled natural

Well, that's natural in Detroit. [source]

2012 IS HERE


Going Off The Cliff With Grandma


The Democratic Party produced a political video aimed at scaring seniors by saying Republicans wanted to throw them off the cliff with regard to health care.  That despite the fact that the greatest threat to seniors' health care coverage comes from Obamacare:

Now the Congressional Budget Office [CBO] has come out and declared that everyone is going off the cliff in a very short time.  From CNNMoney:
CBO: Fiscal cliff likely to cause recession 
Trillions of dollars in looming tax hikes and spending cuts set to take effect next year would likely cause a recession, the Congressional Budget Office said Tuesday. 
At issue is the so-called fiscal cliff -- a series of measures set to begin in January that would take more than $500 billion out of the economy in 2013 alone. 
Those measures include the expiration of the Bush tax cuts and protection of the middle class from the Alternative Minimum Tax, the onset of $1 trillion in blunt spending cuts, and a reduction in Medicare doctors' pay. 
If Congress lets all those policies take effect, inflation-adjusted growth for 2013 would be just 0.5% -- with the economy projected to contract by 1.3% in the first half of the year and to grow by 2.3% in the second half. 
"Given the pattern of past recessions as identified by the National Bureau of Economic Research, such a contraction in output in the first half of 2013 would probably be judged to be a recession," the CBO said. 
So, we shouldn't do those things?
But the agency cautioned that just canceling all the fiscal cliff measures and not imposing "comparable restraint in future years" would hurt the economy in the long run. [read more]
Yup, damned if you do and damned if you don't.  Where did I put my parasail?

2012 IS HERE


Latest Obama Conspiracy Theory


When it comes to conspiracy theories, our current president seems to always be the epicenter.  The latest conspiracy bouncing around the "Interweb" has President Obama the target of a fake assassination attempt which would then somehow lead to martial law, the cancelling of elections, and the president assuming dictatorial powers.

The presumption is that there is no way that President Obama can win re-election, so in order to implement his communist-Islamist agenda, he has to have some pretext to suspend the Constitution and assume the powers of a Hugo Chavez or Fidel Castro while turning the U.S. into his personal banana republic.

Here is a sampling:

The Obama agents, through the DHS and other assorted colluders, are plotting a major ‘Reichstag’ event to generate racial riots and produce the justification for martial law, delaying the November 2012 elections, possibly indefinitely, a DHS whistleblower informed the Canada Free Press on Tuesday.

The ‘Reichstag Event’ would take the form of a staged assassination attempt against Barack Obama, “carefully choreographed” and manufactured by Obama operatives. It would subsequently be blamed on “white supremacists” and used to enrage the black community to rioting and looting, the DHS source warned.

The Obama administration would then use the violence and chaos they created as justification for the imposition of martial law in major urban cities in America, the creation of DHS checkpoints, restriction of travel, and the indefinite delay of the November 2012 elections.

Is this possible?  That falls under the answer, "Anything is possible."  Of course, that means "possible" is meaningless.  Is it plausible?  You be the judge.

Consider this: that would be the first time that Obama has demonstrated anything remotely resembling "leadership" if he could pull that off.  But if you are considering purchasing a gun, this is as good an excuse as any.

2012 IS HERE


Tuesday, May 22, 2012

This Rolls Royce Didn't Generate Much Electricity Among Customers


This was tried but failed.

Now this wasn't even tried.

Rolls-Royce had estimated that the car, officially called the 102EX, could go about 125 miles on a full charge thanks to massive battery packs -- the largest in any passenger vehicles -- stuffed under its extra-long hood.
Wow, a whole 125 mile range.  But that wouldn't even be enough to travel to the summer castle.  No wonder the clientele turned up their noses.

2012 IS HERE


SpaceX Falcon 9 Launches - Big Issue Is That It May Be Profitable


The first commercial launch of a rocket into space is recorded here.

Now that SpaceX has shown its capability to launch payloads into space, the obvious concern is that it may be less costly than the NASA launches of the past thereby crowding out the government from its space monopoly... and worse, SpaceX might actually show a profit in the future from their efforts to pollute the pristine ether with non-government equipment... not to mention the loss of government jobs which is an obvious part of the War on Women.

How long before #OccupyEmptySpace will rise up to defend the universe?

2012 IS HERE


Obama Polls Up Down All Over The Place


The Economist came up with an interesting video analyzing attitudes and dynamics about the U.S. presidential race.

This should help explain any confusion you may have.

What don't you understand?  This is May.  The election is in November.  Stuff will happen... and 10% of the voters don't know who Obama and Romney are.

2012 IS HERE


Monday, May 21, 2012

China's ‘Economic Espionage’


From FT via IBN:

China linked to ‘economic espionage’ 
Washington: China is the world’s biggest supporter of “economic espionage”, the Pentagon says in its annual report on the Chinese military which also claimed that Beijing’s defence budget is much higher than official numbers. 
Friday’s report said China would continue to be an “aggressive and capable” collector of sensitive US technological information, including that owned by defence-related companies, and represented a “growing and persistent threat to US national security”. 
“Chinese actors are the world’s most active and persistent perpetrators of economic espionage,” the report said.
Over the years, the subject of China's military and expansionist policy has appeared in this blog many times [see label "China"].  The one persistent graphic is this which first appeared in 2007:

[click image for larger view]

China has since gone on to establish itself as a "trading partner" with Iran and many African nations... and been a continual source of computer espionage against both U.S. government and U.S. business.

Rep. Mike Rogers who heads up the House Intelligence Committee sent this out last month:
House to Consider Bipartisan Cyber Security BillNext week the House of Representatives will consider my bipartisan cyber security legislation.  The Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (H.R. 3523), which has over 100 bipartisan cosponsors, allows the private sector to defend its own networks on a voluntary basis.  This bill is designed to protect American innovation and the jobs that come with it from foreign cyber attacks. 
Every day, countries like China and Russia launch countless cyber attacks against U.S. businesses, military targets, and critical infrastructure.  These attacks have increased at an alarming pace over the past few years.  Top intelligence officials estimate over $400 billion in economic output is lost every year due to cyber espionage.  These losses are a direct threat to jobs in Michigan and across the country.  My legislation is a simple solution that would allow the government and private sector to share cyber threat information in order to defend our networks.  It also includes strong privacy and civil liberty protections.  
CLICK HERE to read the text of the bill and additional background.  CLICK HERE
 to read more about this issue in Congressional Quarterly.  CLICK HERE
 for more information in U.S. News & World Report.

2012 IS HERE


Can"t Find It?

Use the SEARCH BLOG feature at the upper left. For example, try "Global Warming".

You can also use the "LABELS" below or at the end of each post to find related posts.

Blog Archive

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CO2 Cap and Trade

There is always an easy solution to every human problem—neat, plausible, and wrong.
Henry Louis Mencken (1880–1956)
“The Divine Afflatus,” A Mencken Chrestomathy, chapter 25, p. 443 (1949)
... and one could add "not all human problems really are."
It was beautiful and simple, as truly great swindles are.
- O. Henry
... The Government is on course for an embarrassing showdown with the European Union, business groups and environmental charities after refusing to guarantee that billions of pounds of revenue it stands to earn from carbon-permit trading will be spent on combating climate change.
The Independent (UK)

Tracking Interest Rates

Tracking Interest Rates


SEARCH BLOG: FEDERAL RESERVE for full versions... or use the Blog Archive pulldown menu.

February 3, 2006
Go back to 1999-2000 and see what the Fed did. They are following the same pattern for 2005-06. If it ain't broke, the Fed will fix it... and good!
August 29, 2006 The Federal Reserve always acts on old information... and is the only cause of U.S. recessions.
December 5, 2006 Last spring I wrote about what I saw to be a sharp downturn in the economy in the "rustbelt" states, particularly Michigan.
March 28, 2007
The Federal Reserve sees no need to cut interest rates in the light of adverse recent economic data, Ben Bernanke said on Wednesday.
The Fed chairman said ”to date, the incoming data have supported the view that the current stance of policy is likely to foster sustainable economic growth and a gradual ebbing in core inflation”.

July 21, 2007 My guess is that if there is an interest rate change, a cut is more likely than an increase. The key variables to be watching at this point are real estate prices and the inventory of unsold homes.
August 11, 2007 I suspect that within 6 months the Federal Reserve will be forced to lower interest rates before housing becomes a black hole.
September 11, 2007 It only means that the overall process has flaws guaranteeing it will be slow in responding to changes in the economy... and tend to over-react as a result.
September 18, 2007 I think a 4% rate is really what is needed to turn the economy back on the right course. The rate may not get there, but more cuts will be needed with employment rates down and foreclosure rates up.
October 25, 2007 How long will it be before I will be able to write: "The Federal Reserve lowered its lending rate to 4% in response to the collapse of the U.S. housing market and massive numbers of foreclosures that threaten the banking and mortgage sectors."
"Should the elevated turbulence persist, it would increase the possibility of further tightening in financial conditions for households and businesses," he said.

"Uncertainties about the economic outlook are unusually high right now," he said. "These uncertainties require flexible and pragmatic policymaking -- nimble is the adjective I used a few weeks ago."

December 11, 2007 Somehow the Fed misses the obvious.
[Image from:]
December 13, 2007 [from The Christian Science Monitor]
"The odds of a recession are now above 50 percent," says Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody's "We are right on the edge of a recession in part because of the Fed's reluctance to reduce interest rates more aggressively." [see my comments of September 11]
January 7, 2008 The real problem now is that consumers can't rescue the economy and manufacturing, which is already weakening, will continue to weaken. We've gutted the forces that could avoid a downturn. The question is not whether there will be a recession, but can it be dampened sufficiently so that it is very short.
January 11, 2008 This is death by a thousand cuts.
January 13, 2008 [N.Y. Times]
“The question is not whether we will have a recession, but how deep and prolonged it will be,” said David Rosenberg, the chief North American economist at Merrill Lynch. “Even if the Fed’s moves are going to work, it will not show up until the later part of 2008 or 2009.
January 17, 2008 A few days ago, Anna Schwartz, nonagenarian economist, implicated the Federal Reserve as the cause of the present lending crisis [from the Telegraph - UK]:
The high priestess of US monetarism - a revered figure at the Fed - says the central bank is itself the chief cause of the credit bubble, and now seems stunned as the consequences of its own actions engulf the financial system. "The new group at the Fed is not equal to the problem that faces it," she says, daring to utter a thought that fellow critics mostly utter sotto voce.
January 22, 2008 The cut has become infected and a limb is in danger. Ben Bernanke is panicking and the Fed has its emergency triage team cutting rates... this time by 3/4%. ...

What should the Federal Reserve do now? Step back... and don't be so anxious to raise rates at the first sign of economic improvement.
Individuals and businesses need stability in their financial cost structures so that they can plan effectively and keep their ships afloat. Wildly fluctuating rates... regardless of what the absolute levels are... create problems. Either too much spending or too much fear. It's just not that difficult to comprehend. Why has it been so difficult for the Fed?

About Me

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Michigan, United States
Air Force (SAC) captain 1968-72. Retired after 35 years of business and logistical planning, including running a small business. Two sons with advanced degrees; one with a business and pre-law degree. Beautiful wife who has put up with me for 4 decades. Education: B.A. (Sociology major; minors in philosopy, English literature, and German) M.S. Operations Management (like a mixture of an MBA with logistical planning)