Saturday 28 February 2009

Mixed Messages

Chinese policymakers must be bemused, or at least confused.

The current message from Washington: US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has pleaded with China to continue buying US Treasury bonds amid mounting fears that Washington may struggle to finance bank bail-outs and ballooning deficits over the next two years. "It's a safe investment. The United States has a well-deserved financial reputation," she told Chinese television stations at the end of her diplomatic tour of Asia.

The message one month ago: President Barack Obama believes China is “manipulating” its currency, his choice to head the U.S. Treasury said on Thursday....Washington will “aggressively” use all its diplomatic tools to press Beijing to move faster on currency reform, New York Federal Reserve Bank President Timothy Geithner said ...U.S. Treasury bond prices fell on worries China could respond to Mr. Geithner’s frank comments by dumping U.S. Treasury bonds.

The inconsistency in the policy here becomes fully apparent only when one understands how China "manipulates" its currency: It keeps the value of the yuan lower than it otherwise might be by supplying yuan and demanding dollars in foreign-exchange markets. Those dollars are then invested in U.S. Treasuries.

In other words, Secretary Clinton is now asking the Chinese to do precisely what Secretary Geithner asked them not to do.
Source: Greg Mankiw's 'Blog.

Wednesday 25 February 2009

Obama Thinks America Invented The Automobile

In tonight's mini-State of the Union, President Obama said the "nation that invented the automobile cannot walk away from it." One problem. We didn't. That would be Karl Benz, in Mannheim, Germany.

Thursday 19 February 2009

Fury at Obama chimp cartoon

A newspaper cartoon has sparked outrage by likening Barack Obama to a crazed chimp shot dead after mauling a woman. The illustration in the New York Post cartoon has been condemned as racist by politicians and civil rights leaders.

Sean Delonas' cartoon shows two police officers, one with a smoking gun, standing over the body of a bullet-riddled chimp, with the caption: "They'll have to find someone else to write the next stimulus bill." It refers to a chimpanzee named Travis, who was killed on Monday in Connecticut after viciously attacking a friend of its owner.

Some critics called the cartoon racist and said it trivialised a tragedy which left Charla Nash with what police called "life-changing" facial injuries. Others said the cartoon suggests that Obama should be assassinated, with critics urging a boycott of the Post and the companies advertising in it....
Source: The Metro

Rahm's rent is just the tip of the ethics iceberg

NEWS broke last week that Rahm Emanuel, now White House chief of staff, lived rent- free for years in the home of Rep. Rosa De Lauro (D-Conn.) - and failed to disclose the gift, as congressional ethics rules mandate. But this is only the tip of Emanuel's previously undislosed ethics problems.

One issue is the work Emanuel tossed the way of De Lauro's husband. But the bigger one goes back to Emanuel's days on the board of now-bankrupt mortgage giant Freddie Mac...

Nor is this all that seems to have been missed in the Obama team's vetting process. Consider: Emanuel served on the Freddie Mac board of directors during the time that the government-backed lender lied about its earnings, a leading contributor to the current economic meltdown.

The Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight Agency later singled out the Freddie Mac board as contributing to the fraud in 2000 and 2001 for "failing in its duty to follow up on matters brought to its attention." In other words, board members ignored the red flags waving in their faces. The SEC later fined Freddie $50 million for its deliberate fraud in 2000, 2001 and 2002.

Meanwhile, Emanuel was paid more than $260,000 for his Freddie "service." Plus, after he resigned from the board to run for Congress in 2002, the troubled agency's PAC gave his campaign $25,000 - its largest single gift to a House candidate.
Source: New York Post, via Karl Denninger

Tuesday 17 February 2009

Aren't late night comics looking for Obama material?

Could you imagine if Ronald Reagan or George W. Bush had used a teleprompter to answer questions during a press conference? The late night joke writers wouldn’t have let it go until the President gave in to the merciless ridicule as he was painted as an idiot who couldn’t tie his shoes without being fed instructions on how to do it.

While people who watched Obama’s first national press conference noticed his use of a teleprompter to give his initial presentation as well as in answering questions, the media and late night joke writers completely ignored it. The American Spectator notes that in many events:

…down to many of the questions and the answers to those questions … [t]eleprompter screens at the events scrolled not only his opening remarks, but also statistics and information he could use to answer questions.

Apparently, Obama is looking to install a computer screen into the podium so that, according to one Obama advisor, ”It would make it easier for the comms guys to pass along information without being obvious about it.” [emphasis added] Obama’s aids would put together answers to a large number of possible questions so as soon as a reporter asks a particular question the computer screen would flash talking points to remind Obama how he’s supposed to respond to that question.

Jay, Dave, Conan… You don’t see anything funny here?
Source: Big Hollywood, submitted by Anti-Citizen One.

Saturday 14 February 2009

Barack Obama's second commerce nominee Judd Gregg withdraws over 'irresolvable conflicts'

Mr Gregg, who was nominated as Commerce Secretary last week after Governor Bill Richardson had pulled out after he was implicated in a corruption investigation, cited disagreements over the massive economic stimulus bill as a principal reason for his decision.

Mr Obama promised that his presidency would usher in a new era of bipartisanship in Washington. But while two Republicans, Bob Gates, the Pentagon chief, and Ray LaHood, the transportation secretary, remain in his cabinet, only three Republicans out of 219 in Congress voted for the stimulus bill.

Mr Gregg's reference to the stimulus underscored the sharp partisan divide over the centrepiece of Obama's economic recovery plan. Conservatives in both houses of Congress have been relentless critics of the plan, arguing that it is filled with wasteful spending and will not create new jobs quickly.

The Commerce Department has jurisdiction over the Census Bureau, and the Obama administration recently took steps to assert greater control over the 2010 census. Republicans have harshly criticised the decision, charging it was an attempt to politicise the survey, taken every 10 years, possibly in an attempt to redraw congressional districts.
Source: The Telegraph, via Julia M.

Friday 13 February 2009

'Sanctions' sought in eligibility case

A high-powered team of Los Angeles attorneys representing President Obama in his effort to keep his birth certificate, college records and passport documents concealed from the public has suggested there should be "monetary sanctions" against a lawyer whose clients have brought a complaint alleging Obama doesn't qualify for the Oval Office under the Constitution's demand for a "natural born" citizen in that post.

The suggestion came in an exchange of e-mails and documents in a case brought by former presidential candidate Alan Keyes and others in California. The case originally sought to have the state's electors ordered to withhold their votes for Obama until his eligibility was established. Since Obama's inauguration, it has been amended to seek a future requirement for a vetting process, in addition to the still-sought unveiling of his records.
Source: World Net Daily.

Tuesday 10 February 2009

Obama: The Market Is Issuing You A WARNING

Put the kids away - this is not going to be pleasant.

I'm done Mr. President. You stood in front of the American Public and lied through your damn teeth. You claim that America faces a "catastrophe" if we don't pass your bill - but its not YOUR BILL, its Pelosi's and Reid's bill - a bill full of PORK and BS.

I'm tired of the lies, America is tired of the lies, and we the people are not going to sit still for it any longer. You promised us change. This is what we got for "change"...
Source: Karl Denninger.

Friday 6 February 2009

Barack Obama faces taxing problems as the shine comes off his polished image

This article retreads old ground, but I didn't know this:
One of his first acts as President was to sign executive orders for a new era of civic responsibility designed to end the old influence-peddling ways of Washington by banning lobbyists from working in his Administration.

The White House swiftly bent its new rules to allow a lobbyist for the defence contractor Raytheon to be picked as the Pentagon's No 2 and another to be lined up as Mr Daschle's deputy.

Mr Daschle, though not a registered lobbyist, had received more than $250,000 (£173,000) in income from health sector clients as he amassed a multimillion-dollar fortune in the private sector. The six-figure sum in federal tax that he had failed to pay was owed from a chauffeur-driven car provided for him by a wealthy Democratic donor.
Source: The Times, via Julia M

Thursday 5 February 2009

A Barack Too Far? New Rochelle Public Schools Assign Seven Year Olds to Obama Campaign

Students at an elementary school in New Rochelle, NY, a largely Democratic suburb of New York City with a City Council and School Board dominated by Democrats, were recently assigned an in-class assignment to color in drawings of Barack Obama to mark the occasion of the inauguration of the 44th President.

The drawings depicted Obama in various heroic poses, flags waving in the background, but one drawing went beyond adulation into overt political activity disguised as a pedagogical exercise. The drawing is a campaign button, in the center of a circle Barack Obama is smiling surrounded by another circle with the words "Students for Obama 2008".
Source: New Rochelle's Talk Of The Sound.

Tuesday 3 February 2009

Two Obama nominees - Tom Daschle and Nancy Killefer - quit over tax problems

President Obama's promise of setting a new ethical standard for American politics took a knock today when his choices for budget enforcer and Health Secretary asked for their nominations to be withdrawn because of controversy over their personal tax records.

Tom Daschle had struggled for the past three days to secure his confirmation in the health role, admitting that he had been left “deeply embarrassed” by his failure to pay $128,000 (£89,000) in taxes for a car and driver provided by a wealthy Democrat donor.

Today, just hours after Nancy Killefer withdrew from consideration as the Chief Performance Officer over a similar tax issue, Mr Daschle gave up the fight, saying that he did not want to be a “distraction” for the Administration as it sought to introduce universal healthcare.
Source: The Times

Obama suffers blow over nominees

Former Senator Tom Daschle has withdrawn his nomination as US health and human services secretary after a controversy involving unpaid taxes. US President Barack Obama said he had accepted his nominee's withdrawal "with sadness and regret". It was revealed last week that Mr Daschle, an early Obama backer, had failed to pay some $130,000 in taxes.
Source: BBC