Image 01 Image 03

Obama Speech Tag

Obama just completed his speech on NSA reforms. Below the key video portion of the speech (full text here). I found this part to be a key dose of reality often lacking from the debate:
First, everyone who has looked at these problems, including skeptics of existing programs, recognizes that we have real enemies and threats, and that intelligence serves a vital role in confronting them. We cannot prevent terrorist attacks or cyber-threats without some capability to penetrate digital communications – whether it's to unravel a terrorist plot; to intercept malware that targets a stock exchange; to make sure air traffic control systems are not compromised; or to ensure that hackers do not empty your bank accounts. Moreover, we cannot unilaterally disarm our intelligence agencies. There is a reason why blackberries and I-Phones are not allowed in the White House Situation Room. We know that the intelligence services of other countries – including some who feign surprise over the Snowden disclosures – are constantly probing our government and private sector networks, and accelerating programs to listen to our conversations, intercept our emails, or compromise our systems. Meanwhile, a number of countries, including some who have loudly criticized the NSA, privately acknowledge that America has special responsibilities as the world's only superpower; that our intelligence capabilities are critical to meeting these responsibilities; and that they themselves have relied on the information we obtain to protect their own people.
Whether the "reforms" are meaningful in protecting the privacy of law-abiding Americans is another questions.

That's the take away from today's press conference, which still is in progress as of this writing. So Democrats should run on it in 2014.

If Obama can do it, why can't I? A follow up to a prior question, What race is an illegal alien? Obama is pivoting back to immigration reform, which really amounts to an amnesty push, because without amnesty there could be "reform" of a wide variety of immigration issues. During a speech at DreamWorks, Obama curiously stated that he could tell who were immigrants based on their faces (transcript via RCP):
OBAMA: As I was getting a tour of DreamWorks, I didn't ask, but just looking at faces, I could tell there were some folks who are here not because they were born here, but because they want to be here and they bring extraordinary talents to the United States. And that's part of what makes America special. And that's part of what, by the way, makes California special, because it's always been this magnet of dreamers and strivers. And people coming from every direction saying to themselves, you know, if I work hard there I can have my piece of the American Dream.
I know exactly what he means. I spotted this immigrant from a mile away (the one on the left). Piers Morgan Mike Tyson Must have been the fear of deportation on his face:

By now the statements are legion. You can keep your doctor and your insurance plan if you want to.  Guaranteed. It was more of a "lie" than George W. Bush's statements regarding Iraq having WMD stockpiles, which were in reliance on faulty intelligence that most Democrats and others in the world believed too. With Obama, there was no bi-partisan cheering section as there was with Iraq. There never was a basis for the categorical sales pitch. To the contrary, a loud chorus of voices insisted that there was no basis for Obama's statements and that the result would be what it is today: Millions and eventually possibly tens of millions of American will not get to keep their doctor and their insurance plan. Obama himself played the central role in the creation of Jonah Goldberg calls it possibly the greatest policy lie by any President ever.  It's hard to dispute that.

Press conference now over. If you missed it, you missed one of the most demeaning, pejorative performances I've ever seen by any President. I say "one of" because it's possible there's a more snide performance I've forgotten. But today was memorable. Just more of the eliminationist rhetoric about ransoms and extortion and so on. And with one exception, all of the questions were completely soft-ball. Obama Presser analysis in one Tweet: Nile Gardner got the headline right (via Fuzzy):

President Obama throws a tantrum

  These were my feelings during the press conference as well: Updates in reverse chron:

Coming up at 4:45 p.m. Any guesses? [live feed over now][transcript here] Obama Press Statement Shutdown Basically what was expected.  The 2012 election was about Obamacare, he won, we lost, it's done, move on.  The election was about Obamacare?  Actually, it was about everything except Obamacare: Tweet - Legal Insurrection - Obama speech election about Obamacare Update: This National Review post lists all the things that do not get shut, and it's quite a long list, Not Actually a Shutdown.

As of this writing, it's unclear where things stand. There is a vague offer by Vladimir Putin agreed to by Syria to turn over chemical weapons, but Russia opposes a binding U.N. resolution to that effect and the details are to be worked out. Putin also insists that the U.S. agree not to use force. We will see how this all plays out, but it appears that Obama is negotiating the terms of a surrender to Putin and Assad. (Transcript here) Reactions:

Not the indecision and delayed decision about the use of force in Syria. The Golf immediately after the Rose Garden statement. Right after shipping responsibility for authorizing an attack on Syria, President Barack Obama returned to his comfort zone: The golf course. Obama’s motorcade left the White House at...

For continuing coverage, Syria Attack Watch. Full text here. UPDATE: Obama says has decided on military action, doesn't need U.N. Security Council or Congress, BUT will seek congressional authorization anyway:

Obama is holding a press conference at 3 p.m. Eastern today before he leave on an extended vacation. Expectations are low.  He is expected to announce new NSA oversight measures. [press conference over - video embed removed] [Twitter feed removed] Obama prepared remarks on his intelligence community reforms are here. Some reactions:

Politico hasn't been this excited since Herman Cain. Looking at the tweets from attendees at the White House Correspondents' Dinner was nauseating enough. Obama's speech was fine, he had some good one liners and some cheap shots, but it certainly wasn't the funniest speech ever: I just witnessed...

Fight the Machine. Support Paul McKinley for Congress. Donate. Watch this Alternative SOTU speech, and spread it far and wide. More video....

Remind me again why I should watch. Also, I can't wait for the warm welcome Chief Justice Roberts gets this time, now that he cast the deciding vote in favor of Obamacare. Via NRO: Update: From RCP: The president’s speech, described by White House officials as an expansion...