Secretary of State and former presidential candidate Hillary Clinton today announced a multi-national initiative against the Somali pirates.
** PELOSI VOWS WALL STREET INVESTIGATION. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, speaking today to the Commonwealth Club in her hometown San Francisco, vowed to establish a congressional commission to investigate the causes of Wall Street’s meltdown last fall.
Pelosi said she is as unhappy as most American are with the Wall Street bailouts, and wants to get to the bottom of the elaborate financial mechanisms which nearly undid the US economy.
Pelosi wants a panel modeled after the Pecora Commission, which was established by the US Senate in 1932 to investigate the Wall Street crash of 1929.
She said the move coincides with legislation she will soon send to President Obama on financial institution regulation and reform, “so we have transparency…discipline and accountability to the American taxpayer.”
Pelosi made the unexpected announcement in response to a question from Commonwealth Club CEO Gloria Duffy just one day after Obama’s speech on the economy at Georgetown University. In his speech, Obama said oversight and regulation of Wall Street would be one of five pillars in his “new foundation” for the American economy.
** EARL GREY, ANYONE? A CALIFORNIA CAPITOL TEA PARTY. From my new column.
** TEA PARTY AT CALIFORNIA’S CAPITOL. Before a crowd that organizers claimed was 15,000 to 20,000, but these experienced ex-advance man’s eyes saw as about 3,000, a parade of right-wing personalities used tax day to decry taxation, government, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, and President Barack Obama.
The event, like other so-called tea parties around the country, was heavily promoted by the Fox News channel, right-wing talk radio hosts, and the right-wing blogosphere.
Fox News personality Neil Cavuto, who does an ostensibly business-oriented show for the channel, was on hand, as was radio host and Ronald Reagan son Michael Reagan (I’ve been on his increasingly hysterical show a few times) and hystrionic blogger Michelle Malkin, along with California personalities like Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association chief Jon Coupal and state Republican Party chairman Ron Nehring, who walked alone back to his office.
The message? Well, if you’re paying attention, you know the message. America is going socialist and surrenderist. Obama is a Manchurian candidate. Schwarzenegger is a closet socialist. The federal government is both totalitarian and weak – a tough combination to pull off – and the end is nigh.
If you are wondering what Fox News is doing organizing anti-administration rallies around the country, its obvious strategy is to aggregate all the already existing opponents of Obama into one audience. An audience for Fox News. And to incite that audience into paroxysms of believed illegitimacy regarding the Obama presidency.
As I mentioned to a top Republican consultant with whom I had an early lunch before checking out the Capitol tea party, this is a time-limited strategy, as half the audience will be dead in the next 10 years. A proposition with which he rather ruefully agreed.
** TEACHERS UNION LAUNCHES NEW TV AD FOR PROPS 1A AND 1B. The campaign committee backed by the California Teachers Association this morning launched the first TV ad of the California special election campaign. Devised by ace Democratic consultant Gale Kaufman, who led the campaign that wrecked Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s special election agenda in 2005, this ad promotes two core initiatives essential to the state budget compromise devised by Schwarzenegger and his Democratic and Republican allies in the Legislature.
Entitled, fittingly enough, “Mess,” the ad tells voters that passing Propositions 1A and 1B will prevent a bad situation from getting worse. It tells voters that Props 1A & 1B will establish long-term budget reforms to stabilize state spending and repay education some of the money that was cut in the recent budget crisis. The ad begins running today in selected markets around California.
** NEW COLUMN COMING UP … OBAMA AND MEXICO: AMERICA’S NEXT CRISIS?
** ABOUT THOSE INFLATION FEARS … There are persistent fears in some circles that America is on the verge of inflation. Why? Because of all the government spending to counter the economic downturn.
Consumer prices dipped unexpectedly in March, leaving prices over the past year falling at the fastest clip in more than a half-century. The recession is expected to keep a lid on inflation as widespread layoffs dampen wage pressures and weak demand keeps companies from raising prices.
The Labor Department said Wednesday that consumer prices edged down 0.1 percent last month as a drop in energy prices offset the biggest rise in tobacco prices in more than a decade. It was a better performance than the 0.1 percent rise in the Consumer Price Index that economists had expected. Over the past 12 months, consumer prices have fallen 0.4 percent, the first 12-month decline since a similar drop for the year ending in August 1955.
Meanwhile, the Federal Reserve said Wednesday that production at the nation’s factories, mines and utilities dropped a seasonally adjusted 1.5 percent in March, the fifth straight monthly decline. That matched February’s drop and was worse than the 1 percent dip analysts expected.
Somali pirates launched an unsuccessful attack late yesterday against an American cargo ship in the Indian Ocean.
** OBAMA’S CRISIS MANAGEMENT: OF PIRATES AND MISSILES. Barack Obama’s management of two flashpoint crises — both relatively minor but caught up in the now typical hysteria of our media culture — gives us some good clues about his crisis management style.
The just concluded hostage crisis off the coast of Somalia and the launch early this month of a new North Korean missile showed Obama in “no drama” mode, determined to avoid distraction and continue with his core messaging strategy.
Obama actually took a lower profile public role with the more consequential of the two crises, the Somali pirate hostage crisis, than he did with the North Korean missile launch. But he seems to have spent more time behind the scenes on the crisis on which he spent the least amount of time before the cameras. …
The Obamas, as you may have heard, and as promised to daughters Sasha and Malia, have a new dog. And here he is. His name is Bo (my nickname, incidentally, in a long-ago incarnation), he is a Portuguese water dog, and he is a gift from Senator Ted Kennedy. And he is “a large, rambunctious dog,” as promised by Obama in his interview with Barbara Walters, who urged a very small boutique sort of dog on the first couple, which Obama described as “a little yappy dog.” The first lady’s brand-new garden is in some jeopardy, as Bo’s breed likes tomatoes.
** OBAMA TODAY. President Barack Obama receives his daily intelligence and economic briefings in the Oval Office and meets with senior advisors.
At 8:55 AM Pacific, he talks about tax relief for working families and restoring fairness to the tax code in remarks made at the Eisenhower Executive Office Bldg. The event will receive roadblocked coverage on all cable news nets.
Elsewhere during the morning, Vice Presidetn Joe Biden talks with the Service Employees International Union executive council and meets with Haitian Prime Minister Michèle Pierre-Louis.
Obama and Biden have their weekly luncheon in the Oval Office.
Biden meets with former Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in the afternoon.
And Obama meets with US Trade Representative Ron Kirk, the former mayor of Dallas, in the Oval Office.
** FROM THE ARNOLD FILE. Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger joins U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar, the former Colorado senator, for an aerial tour of the Sacramento Delta via helicopter this morning.
At noon, Schwarzenegger and Salazar hold a press conference at the former Mather Air Force Base outside Sacramento to announce economic stimulus projects to develop water infrastructure in California and elsewhere as part of the Interior Department’s investments under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.
Tonight Schwarzenegger will be in downtown LA for the Los Angeles Times’ “Budgetary Exchange” hosted and moderated by LA Times editorial page editor Jim Newton. There he will discuss the state budget compromise-related initiatives on California’s May 19th special election ballot.
Schwarzenegger is steering clear of the “American Tea Party” events – anti-tax, anti-government, and anti-Obama – promoted by the Fox News network, the right-wing blogosphere, and the national Republican Party.
Fox News personality Neil Cavuto is in Sacramento today to preside over a Tea Party event at the Capitol.
Right-wing radio host Michael Reagan (son of the former president, and I’ve been on his show a few times) and far right blogger Michelle Malkin, one of the more hysterical figures on the scene, will join Cavuto on the West Steps of the Capitol for the right’s hoped-for anti-tax/government/Obama extravaganza.
** OBAMA’S NEW GEOPOLITICS: 10 KEY TAKEAWAYS. President Barack Obama’s just concluded big international tour is part of a major reshuffling in geopolitics. Here are 10 key takeaways from happenings in and around his trip. …
** TURKEY: NOT THE USUAL GEOPOLITICAL SANDWICH. In the wake of some desultory results over the weekend at the NATO and European Union summits, President Barack Obama is in Turkey Monday and Tuesday making a hard bid for what could be a huge new alliance for America.
The US has long had cordial relations with Turkey, the only Muslim nation in NATO. But after the end of the Cold War, things drifted between the two countries, only to turn downright frosty during the Bush/Cheney years.
The principal problem was the previous administration’s insistence on the Iraq War, with the overarching problem that of the administration’s dominant neoconservative ideology lending the distinct atmospherics of a “clash between civilizations.” … From April 6th column.
** RE-SETTING THE GEOPOLITICAL TABLE: HOW OBAMA’S BIG TRIP IS GOING. One down, three to go. At a time when the geopolitical table is being re-set, President Barack Obama is in the midst of a huge international tour. London’s G-20 summit – with several bilateral mini-summits having taken place on the side — has concluded. The NATO summit is underway in France and Germany. Waiting not far off in the wings are the European Union summit in Prague and an intriguing summit in Turkey.
With NATO’s future mission very unclear, I suspect the two most successful stops will be the first and the last. … From my April 3rd column.
** AFGHANISTAN: THIRD TIME’S THE CHARM? America has won two wars in Afghanistan in the past quarter-century. First against the late Soviet Union, then against the radical Islamist Taliban. But each time, eminently distractable America has taken its eye off the ball, and the victories have proved evanescent.
Now, under new President Barack Obama, the U.S. is hoping the third time’s the charm. But does the new strategy miss the reasons why America succeeded — to the extent it did — the first two times around in Afghanistan? Does it meet the announced mission, or lead to something else? And how is it faring so far, in the midst of international conferences and at the beginning of a tour by Obama that takes him to summits in Britain, France, Germany, the Czech Republic, and Turkey? …
** PRIME TIME O: HOW THE OMNIPRESENT PRESIDENT IS DOING. … From my March 25th column.
** OBAMA’S RUGGED WEEK. … From my March 23rd column.
** OBAMA’S CALIFORNIA: THE ARNOLD ALLIANCE AND MORE. … From my March 20th column.
** CNBC CAN SEE RUSSIA FROM ITS HOUSE, AND OTHER FIN DE SIECLE FOLLIES. …From my March 16th column.
** OUR MAN IN KABUL: BACKBITING ON THE EVE OF THE NEW OBAMA STRATEGY FOR AFGHANISTAN. … From my March 13th column.
** OBAMA’S DARING TOUR D’HORIZON: THE NEW PRESIDENT ENGAGES MULTIPLE CRISES AND PROBES FOR OPPORTUNITY. … From my March 11th column.
** OBAMA: RIDING WITH HISTORY. (NOTE: As Barack Obama was inaugurated as the 44th president of the United States, this column was the featured column on the top of the front page of the Huffington Post.) … From my January 19th Huffington Post column.
** 24/7 LIVE TV NEWS FEED FROM RUSSIA TODAY. Russia has re-emerged as one of the world’s great powers. Click here for a live TV news feed on your computer, bringing you English-language, jargon-free, fast-paced coverage of global and Russian news from the new Russia Today channel. You probably already know about CNN International, BBC World, and Al Jazeera. Russia Today, which also features culture, entertainment, and sports, is based in Moscow and is owned and operated by the TV Novosti division of Russia’s state news agency, RIA Novosti.
While it’s quite foolish to expect to see, say, criticism of Vladimir Putin on Russia Today, which I know as a former DemRussia advisor, the channel is very interesting nonetheless. With U.S. cable news chattering away as it does, this sort of respite can be informative. The NWN live link to RT does not constitute an endorsement of the channel’s views. It’s presented as an otherwise unavailable new media window.
** 24/7 LIVE TV NEWS FEED FROM AL JAZEERA. With the US entangled in two wars in the region, it’s valuable to keep up with news and perspectives from the leading Middle Eastern-based TV news network. Based in the Gulf Arab state of Qatar, Al Jazeera is very influential and more than a bit controversial.
Click here for a live TV news feed on your computer. The NWN live link to AJ does not constitute an endorsement of the channel’s views. It’s presented as an otherwise unavailable new media window.
** SCHWARZENEGGER’S CALIFORNIA. Here is my series of five columns on the governorship of Arnold Schwarzenegger for the Los Angeles Times in debate with Pulitzer Prize-winning former Times reporter/editor Bill Boyarsky, whose columns are also included.
Among them is what I’m sure is the first piece examining Schwarzenegger’s legacy as governor of California. Since he will actually be governor of California until 2011. No technology known to be disruptive to the space/time continuum was used in its preparation.
** TRACK GLOBAL AND NATIONAL ENERGY PRICES IN NEAR REAL TIME VIA BLOOMBERG ENERGY MARKET WATCH. Having crashed over $147 for yet another record on July 11th, crude oil is trading around $50 per barrel.
This is up about $16 a barrel since enactment of the Obama economic recovery program, on anticipation of increased economic activity down the line, and on increased implementation of already agreed upon OPEC production cutbacks to support the price.
Your posts are welcome in the Forum.