Friday, March 11, 2011

Obama press conference: Meeting our basic standards

Obama held one of his rare press conferences today.

He began by expressing his condolences to Japan on behalf of the American people (so expect a rebuttal from Mitch McConnell) for the earthquake/tsunami/volcano/Godzilla attack, which he called “a potentially catastrophic disaster”. Potentially?

Then he moved on to a real catastrophic disaster: rising gas prices in the US. But, he says, there is “good news. The global community can manage supply disruptions like this.” If by “manage supply disruptions,” you mean use the excuse of a tiny hiccup in a country accounting for a small percentage of the world oil supply to jack up oil company profits.

He talked about his “commitment to do everything that we can to get gas prices down,” but will he invade Libya and steal their oil? I think not.

I DON’T SEE HOW ANYTHING COULD GO WRONG WITH THAT. He said that domestic oil production is at a high, including in the Gulf of Mexico.

HAVE YOU READ SARAH PALIN’S TWITTER FEED LATELY? “I don’t think anybody has forgotten that we’re only a few months removed from the worst oil spill in our history.”

BY WHICH I MEAN MOONSHINE: “Right now, all across America, our farmers are producing homegrown fuels”.

WHAT WE’VE BEEN HAVING FOR NEARLY FOUR DECADES NOW: “We’ve been having this conversation for nearly four decades now. Every few years, gas prices go up; politicians pull out the same old political playbook, and then nothing changes. And when prices go back down, we slip back into a trance. And then when prices go up, suddenly we’re shocked. I think the American people are tired of that. I think they’re tired of talk.” Oh, wait, they’re not tired, they’re just still in that trance.

IF BY “SLOWLY,” YOU MEAN IMPERCEPTIBLY: “across the board we are slowly tightening the noose on Qaddafi.”

I DON’T THINK “BEING ISOLATED INTERNATIONALLY” IS AS SCARY TO DICTATORS AS AMERICAN PRESIDENTS ALWAYS SEEM TO THINK IT IS: “He is more and more isolated internationally, both through sanctions as well as an arms embargo.”

CONVERSATIONS! A SERIES OF THEM! IF THAT DOESN’T SCARE QADDAFI, I DON’T KNOW WHAT WILL. “And what we’ve done is we’ve organized in NATO a series of conversations about a wide range of options that we can take...”

24-HOUR SURVEILLANCE! IF THAT DOESN’T SCARE QADDAFI, I DON’T KNOW WHAT WILL. “...everything from 24-hour surveillance so that we can monitor the situation on the ground and react rapidly if conditions deteriorated, to further efforts with respect to an arms embargo, additional efforts on humanitarian aid, but also potential military options including a no-fly zone.” NATO will be discussing that one on Tuesday. No rush, have a nice weekend.

WHEN SOMEONE SAYS THEY HAVEN’T TAKEN ANY OPTIONS OFF THE TABLE, AREN’T THEY JUST BRAGGING ABOUT THEIR LACK OF ABILITY TO MAKE A DECISION? “So the bottom line is, is that I have not taken any options off the table at this point.”

SO WE’RE WATCHING AND WE’RE PAYING ATTENTION. IF THAT DOESN’T SCARE QADDAFI, I DON’T KNOW WHAT WILL. It’s important “to continue to find options that will add additional pressure, including sending a clear message to those around Qaddafi that the world is watching and we’re paying attention”.

Mimi Hall (USA Today) asks if it’s an “acceptable option” that Qaddafi not leave. He doesn’t like that question, so he decides he’s being asked if the US would invade Libya, and um, doesn’t answer that question either, even though he asked it of himself.

WHAT RAISES OUR ANTENNA: “And some of the rhetoric that you’ve seen -- for example, the idea that when Qaddafi said that they’d be going door to door hunting for people who are participating in protests -- that implied a sort of lack of restraint and ruthlessness that I think raises our antenna.” Isn’t that exactly what US troops do in Afghanistan? Does that imply a sort of lack of restraint and ruthlessness?

D’UH, WINNING: “We can’t stop investing in infrastructure -- those things that are going to make us competitive over the long term and will help us win the future.”

WHAT IT’S VERY IMPORTANT TO UNDERSTAND: “I think it’s very important, when we think about the budget, to understand that our long-term debt and deficits are not caused by us having Head Start teachers in the classroom.” Not unless we pay them, and Gov. Walker is leading us inexorably towards a slave-based educational system.

AFTER ALL, NO STANDARDS ARE MORE BASIC THAN COMPLETE NUDITY: On Bradley Manning: “I have actually asked the Pentagon whether or not the procedures that have been taken in terms of his confinement are appropriate and are meeting our basic standards. They assure me that they are.” So that’s okay, then.

At the end of it, he was asked by a Japanese reporter about the earthquake/tsunami/volcano/alien invasion/mecha-Godzilla attack in Japan and said, no doubt in calm, measured tones, “I’m heartbroken by this tragedy.”

Naturally, he buried his heartbreak in the only way he knew how, by meeting the Chicago Blackhawks. He got a jersey and a ring and a miniature Stanley Cup, which he held aloft with an expression that clearly betokened his intention to use it to pound his enemies into dust.

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