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Monday, February 09, 2009


President Obama meets the press

I've been relentless bashing Barack Obama since he stepped into the ring, and I'll get back to that in the next paragraph. But may I at least say - what a relief to have an actual mature intelligent person in the office, answering questions coherently, thoughtfully, in the English language, and without a trace of the smirky fratboy arrogance hiding a massive inferiority complex with made me want to punch the previous occupant of the office in the face every time he opened his mouth.

On to the press conference. Most of what I have to say is on foreign affairs, naturally, but one quick word on this:

"More than 90 percent of the jobs created by this plan will be in the private sector."
Now I know Obama isn't a socialist, and clearly I don't expect him to be. But this quote, which I had heard him say earlier in the day as well, typifies one of the things that's wrong with Democrats - they never want to launch a frontal attack on the Ronald Reagan "the government isn't the solution, it's the problem" attitude, and even when they are proposing the government as a solution, they apologize for it, back away from it. To hear Obama talk, you'd think that private sector jobs are somehow superior to government jobs, that creating government jobs is something you have to apologize for.

Naturally on foreign policy, Obama's worst sins were on Iran:

MR. OBAMA: "I said during the campaign that Iran is a country that has extraordinary people, extraordinary history and traditions, but that its actions over many years now have been unhelpful when it comes to promoting peace and prosperity both in the region and around the world; that their attacks or -- or their -- their financing of terrorist organizations like Hezbollah and Hamas, the bellicose language that they've used towards Israel, their development of a nuclear weapon or their pursuit of a nuclear weapon -- that all of those things create the possibility of destabilizing the region and are not only contrary to our interests, but I think are contrary to the interests of international peace."
Notice the not one but two different "false starts" in this section. First he says that Iran attacked other countries, then he corrects himself to claim that Iran finances the allegedly terrorist activities of Hezbollah and Hamas. Then he claims Iran is "developing a nuclear weapon" but corrects himself (sort of) to claim (equally falsely) that they are "pursuing" a nuclear weapon. He still won't let go of this false notion, NIE or no NIE, facts or no facts.

Needless to say, that bit about "threatening the stability of the region" and "contrary to the interests of international peace" has to be read while supressing a large laugh, considering the role of the United States in not just "threatening" the stability of the region but actively destabilizing the region, and not just threatening the "interests" of international peace, but actively destroying it with their repeated invasions of some countries, bombing of others, funding, arming, and fully supporting the most aggressive state in the region, and so on.

The next part of his answer has to be read in conjunction with a subsequent question from the inimitable Helen Thomas. Answering the question above, Obama says:

"We're clear about the fact that a nuclear Iran could set off a nuclear arms race in the region that would be profoundly destabilizing."
Now you might wonder why, if a "nuclear arms race" was going to be triggered in the region, it wasn't triggered by the nuclear weapons possessed by the most aggressive state in the region, Israel. Now listen to Helen Thomas:
QUESTION: Mr. President, do you think that Pakistan and -- are maintaining the safe havens in Afghanistan for these so-called terrorists? And also, do you know of any country in the Middle East that has nuclear weapons?
I'll skip the answer to the first part, and go on to the second:
"With respect to nuclear weapons, you know, I don't want to speculate. What I know is this: that if we see a nuclear arms race in a region as volatile as the Middle East, everybody will be in danger."
As opposed to now, when the only people in danger are everyone but Israel. You remember Israel, the country that everyone in the world, except evidently Barack Obama, knows has nuclear weapons.

By the way, how does he justify "speculating" on what he supposes Iran wants, but not on what Israel has already done?

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