Filed under: Economy, Foreign Policy, National Security, Politics
(Source: ABC News)
ABC’S “THIS WEEK WITH GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS”
STEPHANOPOULOS: Major milestone this week here in Iraq with the American troops pulling out of the cities. And I wonder if you can put the broader American mission in context. Are we in the process of securing victory or cutting our losses to come home?
BIDEN: Securing victory. Look, the president and I laid out a plan in the campaign which was twofold. One, withdraw our troops from Iraq in a rational timetable consistent with what the Iraqis want. And the same time, leave behind a stable and secure country.
And one of the reasons I’m here, George, is to push the last end of that, which is the need for political settlement on some important issues between Arabs and Kurds and among the confessional groups. And I think we’re well on our way.
Fact Checking Obama Administration’s Report on Stimulus
For all of you who think traditional journalism is dead or would be happy to see it die, the Associated Press reminds us tonight what the watchdog is all about.
Vice President Joe Biden released a report today regarding progress made with funds from the recently enacted American Recovery and Reinvestment Act – the stimulus bill. I looked at it. It’s pretty weak beer.
Here’s part of what the Associated Press wrote tonight:
But the effect of that spending is less clear. Many of the claims the White House is making are based on anecdotes selected to fit the Obama administration’s message. For instance, the report cites a newspaper article about workers being rehired at a factory in Chicago. That account is true, but is no more an accurate snapshot of the nation’s economy than a story, not cited in the report, about a Roanoke, Va., railcar factory closing. (Read More)
The Obama Administration report also says that 150,000 jobs have been saved or created. How could one even begin to get to a number like that so soon? The report doesn’t mention – but the AP does – that since February the nation has lost 1.3 million jobs.
President Obama is not well served by flooding the Internets and airwaves with pablum. Every time you turn around there’s another “.gov” site out there promising real information and transparency. What we get instead is messaging wrapped in slick graphics. Everything seems to be a mile wide but an inch deep.
I had high hopes for an information presidency, what we’ve gotten instead is the Ronald Reagan communications team with better technology.
There is a lot of good going on with this Administration. Creating bullshit, releasing it and then patting yourself on the back for being “transparent” is not in the category of good. It’s in the category of annoying.
Without the worldwide recession driving down the price of oil, Americans might still be paying between $4 and $5 for a gallon of gasoline. If you are concerned about Peak Oil, those prices – although painful – hurt so good because for a brief period of time in 2008 the politicians in Washington began to notice that we don’t have a bridge built to the next energy future.
Demand for oil is down. Supplies are plentiful with reports of oil tankers being used for storage rather than delivery. Prices are low once again. Those trying to draw the masses attention to the issues facing industrial societies after the peak feel like we’re wasting more time dithering.
Today, a faint bright spot. In a fairly unremarkable message event at the White House, President Barack Obama said the following:
Finally, building on the Recovery Plan my administration is implementing and the budget I have proposed, we will be pursuing comprehensive legislation to finally end our addiction to foreign oil and prevent the worst consequences of climate change, while creating the incentives to finally make clean energy the profitable kind of energy in America.
So what is this legislation going to be all about? Will the U.S. move away from an energy policy which is merely focused on slaking our thirst for the black stuff? Is someone about to make the full court political press that will have neocons (foreign oil = national insecurity) cavorting with Al Gore?
There are certainly thorny issues in the world other than Peak Oil and the current world financial crisis is making many of them worse. Obama chief of staff Rahm Emanuel famously said during the transition that we shouldn’t waste a good crisis – in other words, while we have your attention we’d like to fix a few things.
It looks as if just when we thought the president may have moved our dependence on oil – foreign or otherwise – down the priority list, he may in fact have a pleasant surprise in store. I’m waiting for the “legislation.”
If reality aligns with rhetoric, there is change occurring in Washington.
In a speech today before state legislators meeting in Washington, D.C., President Barack Obama talked about the recently enacted economic stimulus program. Specifically, he addressed how decisions should be made regarding stimulus dollars and the role of lobbyists.
From Obama’s remarks:
They will not be made as a way of doing favors for lobbyists. Any lobbyist who wants to talk with a member of my administration about a particular Recovery Act project will have to submit their thoughts in writing, and we will post it on the Internet for all to see. (Applause.) If any member of my administration does meet with a lobbyist about a Recovery Act project, every American will be able to go online and see what that meeting was about. These are unprecedented restrictions that will help ensure that lobbyists don’t stand in the way of our recovery.