Friday, March 11, 2011

Obama's news conference today: oil, gas prices, Libya, Bradley Manning, the budget and "tackling entitlements" (phasing out Social Security)



Obama sounds like a President, in contrast to the swaggering, smirking frat boy who was his predecessor.

Options on Libya: starts around 11:45. Obama makes it clear at multiple points that military intervention in the civil war there is under active consideration. In Europe, by contrast, French President Nicolas Sarkozy's suggestion of direct military strikes brought a public disagreement with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who opposes military intervention. (Gadhafi spaltet Europa Die Zeit 11.03.2011) Merkel sensibly says, "Wir müssen die Schritte, die wir übernehmen, genau überlegen, damit sie zu einem vernünftigen Ende führen" ("We must carefully consider the steps that we undertake so that they will lead to a reasonable end").

Federal budget: starts around 19:00. Here the bipartisan blather makes my head hurt. He gives the impression that the last thing he wants to do is actually fight for Democratic budget priorities. Just after 41:00 he talks about his commitment to "tackling entitlements," which in Beltway-speak means phasing out the Social Security program. It's unbelivable that we have to worry about a Democratic President pushing to phase out Social Security!


Housing problems: starts around 38:15. Obama says foreclosure relief is "a slow process." As a description of his own Administration miniscule actions to provide relief to homeowners threatened with foreclosure, "slow process" is a considerable overstatement. The relief that Bush's and then Obama's Administration rushed to the giant "too big to fail" banks was far, far faster and almost unimaginably more generous.

The Republican jihad in Wisconsin and elsewhere against the labor movement didn't come up in this 45-minute-plus news conference. But he did assure us his Democratic Administration is going to be "tackling entitlements," aka, attempting to eliminate the Social Security program.

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