Morning Briefing for January 26, 2009

JANUARY 26, 2009

1. Obama’s Treasury Secretary Needlessly Makes the Chinese Mad

He cheated on his taxes. He said he did not understand his taxes. Nonetheless, Tim Geithner is supposed to be super smart. Why then did he nearly start an economic war with China before he even got sworn in?

2. Barack Obama Is Already Signaling His Weakness to Terrorists

Changing Bush policies designed to keep us safe will only get us killed.

3. Muslim Leaders Expect Obama to Take Eye Off Terror

It’s already beginning and it will end up killing us.

4. Bush Green Lights Wind Power. Puts Obama in Danger of Hacking Off Environmentalists or Kennedys

This was a masterful stroke by the outgoing administration. Obama will now have to either prove he really is a green President or show he kowtows to Ted Kennedy.

5. The Stimulus Provides No Help Till Election Year 2010 At Its Earliest

Why is the government pushing something that will do nothing for two years?

6. House GOP Introduces Their Own Stimulus Plan

The Obama Stimulus Plan provides more money for grass planting on the national mall than for small businesses.

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1. Obama’s Treasury Secretary Needlessly Makes the Chinese Mad

He cheated on his taxes. He said he did not understand his taxes. Nonetheless, Tim Geithner is supposed to be super smart. Why then did he nearly start an economic war with China before he even got sworn in?

Treasury Secretary-designate Tim Geithner mentioned yesterday that he believes the Chinese are “manipulating” their currency, presumably downward against the dollar in an attempt to goose their exports.

This issue is going to get a lot of play in the next few months, because China’s mercantilist policy depends on an artificially undervalued currency. Since this causes tremendous imbalances in global capital flows, it’s long been US policy to encourage the Chinese to let their currency appreciate against ours.

And they came a long way, taking renminbi from about 7.5 to the dollar in late 2007, to the recent perceived target of 6.85. (The Chinese don’t let their currency float freely. Rather, the People’s Bank of China sets a narrow range in which it may float on any given day.)

China’s revaluation policy abruptly reversed last July as the global economy began to crumble. But it’s most important here to note Geithner’s use of the word “manipulation.” That’s a very special word, because the Treasury Secretary is required by law to report currency “manipulators” to Congress every six months, and may be required to take action against them.

The Chinese have retaliated swiftly to Geithner’s remarks. They let the yuan decline by 20 basis points overnight. And they caused a lot of minor banking officials to get quoted to the effect that, due to recessionary conditions in China, yuan would be considerably weaker yet, if the authorities weren’t holding it UP rather than down.

SOURCE

2. Barack Obama Is Already Signaling His Weakness to Terrorists

Changing Bush policies designed to keep us safe will only get us killed.

One of The One’s first acts was signing an Executive Order which is supposed to close down the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay. Other than Jack Murtha’s offer to move them all to his district, there seems to be no plan to deal with the dangerous prisoners. Apparently sending them home is out of the question for reasons I’m not terribly clear on. Off course, some feckless Euro can always be prevailed upon to take in a terrorist or ten.

What is pretty obvious is that we can’t have a catch and release program. Two men we released since Robert Gates began his I’m-Not-Rumsfeld toadying offensive have now returned to leadership positions in al Qaeda. At least 61 have returned to combat.

SOURCE

3. Muslim Leaders Expect Obama to Take Eye Off Terror

It’s already beginning and it will end up killing us.

In 1973 a terrorist named Khalid Duhham al-Jawary built three powerful car bombs and placed them around New York City. Fortunately, his plot failed and he was captured, tried under our criminal justice system, and imprisoned. But, now his 30-year sentence is up and the officials in New York will be compelled to release him with time served.

Now, whether this particular man is still dangerous and filled with hate for America or not, the basic point that we can take from this story is that he is being released as if he is now ready to reenter society, his debt paid like any other criminal. And this is the same fate that might befall any number of terrorists that would be prosecuted by our criminal justice system. We may find safety from these evil men for a time, but by virtue of our own system we will have to release them right back to their terrorist activities at some point.

In other words, Obama’s plan to treat terrorism in the same way we’d treat bank robbery or jaywalking is not an effective means of truly stopping terrorism.

And this gets us back to what Muslims seem to expect of an Obama administration and what, at least at this point, it seems he is poised to give them. And that would be a far, far less strenuous focus on stopping Islamofascist terror. They certainly expect him to give their desires, ideals and policies a wink and a nod and a friendly ear.

This will surely put America in danger.

And that is just what they hope Obama will facilitate.

SOURCE

4. Bush Green Lights Wind Power. Puts Obama in Danger of Hacking Off Environmentalists or Kennedys

This was a masterful stroke by the outgoing administration. Obama will now have to either prove he really is a green President or show he kowtows to Ted Kennedy.

As it happens, offshore Massachusetts has the combined advantages of being ideally suited to wind power, while being relatively close to population centers. It has the distinct disadvantage of also being relatively close to Nantucket Island, Martha’s Vineyard, and a small but politically-influential compound at Hyannis Port. He-he-he.

One of the last official acts of George W. Bush as President was to give the project the go-ahead; the final Environmental Impact Statement was published last week; it rated the project’s environmental impact as “negligible”, apart from a “moderate” impact on the scenery.

Ted Kennedy sunbathing, the EIS notes, has an “ungodly” impact on the scenery. Just kidding.

Now it’s up to President Obama to either advance his green agenda or piss off New England’s rich & powerful. Without his interference, construction on the project could begin within a year.

SOURCE

5. The Stimulus Provides No Help Till Election Year 2010 At Its Earliest

Why is the government pushing something that will do nothing for two years?

This so-called “stimulus” package, all $850 Billion, 334 pages, and counting of it, contains very little by way of actual economic stimulation, and very much by way of massive pork barrel giveaways to be paraded as an “I got mine!” monetary victory in Senators’ states and Representatives’ districts — all at taxpayers’ expense.

Testifying Thursday before the House Ways and Means Committee yesterday, Thomas Barthold, head of the Joint Committee on Taxation, couldn’t promise one single job would result from the Democrats’ proposal, which makes one wonder what the point of all this spending really is in the first place. While earmarks like $1,000,000,000 for new Censuses, $400,000,000 for “habitat restoration and migration activities,” $150,000,000 for “bridge removal,” $800,000,000 more for Amtrak, and $200,000,000 for the “leaking underground storage tank trust fund” may be deemed necessary to some (particularly those who have a stake in each of those projects), none are actually stimulative to the economy.

The New Deal was a very, very raw deal for America at the time and since (with the latter being far worse due to the repercussions of such an increase in government ownership, involvement, and interference in the economy and the day-to-day lives of American citizens). At very least, though, its infrastructure projects were forward-looking for the time — new roads, bridges, etc. What was progressive in the 1930s, though, is now incredibly regressive, and therefore not worth a fraction of the time or investment now it was then.

SOURCE

6. House GOP Introduces Their Own Stimulus Plan

The Obama Stimulus Plan provides more money for grass planting on the national mall than for small businesses.

Republican Whip Eric Cantor (R-VA), Congressman Jeb Hensarling (R-TX) and Congressman Peter Roskam (R-IL) discussed their meeting with President Obama, and their request that he encourage Congressional leaders to make good on his commitment to give Republican proposals a fair hearing. It sounds as if Mr. Obama was non-committal.

The three Congressmen aired strong concerns about the extraordinary level of spending in the Democratic package, and the near complete absence of growth-stimulating tax cuts. One fact to remember: there is more than 4 times as much funding for grass planting on the Washington Mall as there is small business tax relief. House Republicans have proposed the following package, which they believe will ‘cost’ far less than the Democratic leadership package, and which they believe might even lead to increased revenue, thanks to its potential to generate new business activity.

SOURCE and plan details

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Erick Erickson

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