While watching a live feed earlier today from Bahrain, I noticed that the country’s foreign minister said that protesters were “evacuated” from the capital city’s main square in a pre-dawn security exercise today. Here is the result of the “evacuation.” Don’t watch if you’re squeamish. Bahrain is headquarters of the U.S. Navy’s 5th Fleet.
** QUICK HITS. The U.S. is moving carefully with regard to today’s bloody crackdown in Bahrain, especially compared to similar situations in Iran and Egypt. Criticism has increased, but remains much more measured. … Governor Jerry Brown today wrote to new House Speaker John Boehner asking him not to pursue cuts in family planning funding to groups that support abortion given the crisis in California health care funding. … Brown’s bare-bones inaugural last month, incidentally, turns out to have raised around $400,000. Don’t know how much was spent, though it’s certainly far less. … A group of California members of Congress, including George Miller and former Lieutenant Governor John Garamendi, decried language in the House Republican spending package that they say would wreck efforts to manage the vast Sacramento River Delta and threaten the state’s water supply.
** NEW COLUMN COMING UP … IF OBAMA LOSES, IT WON’T BE BECAUSE “IT’S THE ECONOMY, STUPID.”
** OBAMA’S HIGH TECH DINNER TONIGHT. It’s at a private residence in Woodside, south of San Francisco, and here are the expected attendees:
John Doerr, Partner of Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers
Carol Bartz, President and CEO of Yahoo
John Chambers, CEO and Chairman of Cisco Systems
Dick Costolo, CEO of Twitter
Larry Ellison, Co-Founder and CEO of Oracle
Reed Hastings, CEO of Netflix
John Hennessy, President of Stanford University
Steve Jobs, Chairman and CEO of Apple
Art Levinson, Chairman of Genentech
Eric Schmidt, Chairman and CEO of Google
Steve Westly, Managing Partner of The Westly Group and former State Controller of California
Mark Zuckerberg, Co-Founder and CEO of Facebook
It’s not a fundraiser, it’s a discussion.
I’ll have a report.
** NEW POLL: OBAMA TIED BY GENERIC REPUBLICAN. A new Gallup Poll shows President Barack Obama tied in a race for re-election with a generic Republican.
It’s Obama 45%, nameless Republican 45%.
Of course, that’s not at all how races are run.
U.S. registered voters are evenly split about whether they would back President Barack Obama for re-election in 2012 (45%) or “the Republican Party’s candidate” (45%). This is similar to the results for the same question when it was asked a year ago. …
Results from a parallel question Gallup asked during the presidencies of George W. Bush and George H.W. Bush show both of those presidents performing better on this re-elect measure at comparable points in their third years in office than Obama does today.
In polling from October 2001 through January 2004, George W. Bush consistently led an unnamed Democratic opponent, although by a shrinking margin as his job approval rating descended from a post-9/11 reading of 87% to the 50s and 60s. In February 2003, the point in Bush’s presidency comparable to Obama’s presidency today, Bush beat a generic Democrat among registered voters by 47% to 39%.
Gallup trends during George H.W. Bush’s tenure were asked mostly during his third year in office, and show a similar descent in the elder Bush’s standing vis-à-vis an unnamed Democrat. However, Bush’s position switched from a strong lead — 54% to 33% — in February 1991, during the Persian Gulf War, to a slight deficit (39% to 43%) in early January 1992.
Most 2008 Demographic Support Patterns Carry Over to 2012
Women and nonwhites were important elements of Obama’s winning 2008 coalition. Today, a wide gulf in political preferences remains between whites and nonwhites, with the majority of the former favoring the Republican candidate and a larger majority of the latter favoring Obama. Women are five percentage points more likely to say they would vote for Obama than are men (47% vs. 42%), similar to the seven-point gender gap in support for Obama in Gallup’s final pre-election poll in 2008.
Younger voters are one element of Obama’s original coalition that may not be intact heading into 2012. Gallup’s 2008 pre-election poll found 63% of registered voters aged 18 to 34 choosing Obama, while 33% backed his Republican rival, John McCain. In addition, 53% of 35- to 54-year-old voters and 48% of those 55 and older supported Obama in that same poll. By contrast, today a bare majority of the 18- to 34-year-old group, 51%, and 43% of those 35 to 54 say they would vote to re-elect Obama.
Naturally, a large proportion of Democrats, 84%, support Obama for re-election, similar to the 88% of Republicans backing the Republican candidate.
>>>>>>LIVE VIDEO NETCAST
White House press secretary Jay Carney delivers a media briefing at 9:30 AM Pacific and Vice President Joe Biden delivers remarks at the Cabinet meeting on the economic recovery act at 12 noon Pacific. You can watch both live here on New West Notes. If you wish to mute the audio, click on the pause button.
** LIVE FROM THE WHITE HOUSE.
With massive geopolitical events swirling and the 2012 presidential race unfolding, the White House is increasingly a pivot point for the day’s events.
Live streaming of key presidential events is now available as a matter of course here on New West Notes.
You can mute the audio by clicking on the pause button.
NWN will continue to present other live webcasts in full streaming mode, as it did with the Ronald Reagan Centennial events from the Reagan Library, as they emerge and are technically available and as significance dictates.
The crisis in Bahrain escalated today when security police mounted a pre-dawn raid of the protest encampment in capital city Manama’s Pearl Square. At least four people were killed. Martial law has been declared. Bahrain is headquarters of the U.S. Navy’s 5th Fleet, a cornerstone of U.S. strategy in the Middle East.
** OBAMA TODAY. President Barack Obama is in Washington and California.
Obama and Vice President Joe Biden received the daily intelligence and economic briefing in the Oval Office.
Obama then held a meeting on the Elementary and Secondary Education Act in the Roosevelt Room.
At 9:15 AM Pacific, Obama and Biden meet with the House Democratic Leadership for lunch in the Oval Office.
At 9:30 AM Pacific, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney delivers the media briefing in the James S. Brady Briefing Room.
This event will stream live here on NWN. You can mute the sound by pressing the pause button.
At 10:45 AM Pacific, Obama signs the John M. Roll United States Courthouse Bill in the Oval Office.
The courthouse is being named in honor of the late Judge John Roll, Arizona’s presiding federal judge who was assassinated in January during the attack on Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords.
At 12 noon Pacific, Obama departs the White House on Marine One en route to Andrews Air Force Base, where he boards Air Force One.
At 12:15 PM Pacific, Obama departs Andrews Air Force Base en route to San Francisco, California.
At 5:45 PM Pacific, Obama arrives in San Francisco.
At 6:45 PM Pacific, Obama meets with business leaders in technology and innovation for a private dinner in a private residence south of San Francisco.
The list of 10 people meeting with Obama is very closely held, as is the location of the event, and I won’t play guessing games around it, though Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg has been repeatedly identified in the media as one of the participants.
I will report on the event itself and what it means.
Obama goes on to Oregon on Friday, continuing his theme of the innovation economy by touring an Intel plant there.
For his part, at 12 noon Pacific, Biden holds a Recovery Act Cabinet meeting in the Eisenhower Executive Office Bldg.
Biden’s remarks will stream as live video here on NWN. If you want to mute the audio, click on the pause button.
Meanwhile, things are not going very well in the arc of crisis across the Arab world.
In Egypt, protests continue for more rapid and specific change, especially in economic matters, despite hints from the ruling military government action may be taken against protesters.
There are widespread strikes and the banks and stock exchange are closed.
Protests in Libya have reportedly turned bloody, but it’s hard to get information out of there.
Protests in Yemen are also violent in spurts, and are continuing. These protests are taking place in cities around the deeply impoverished country.
Wily President Saleh’s pledge not to run for re-election in 2013, which briefly mollified protesters, and his longstanding ability to manipulate tribal leaders, is not sufficing to stanch a growing rebellion.
But the biggest news today is out of Bahrain, the Persian Gulf island kingdom of fewer than 800,000 which hosts the headquarters of the U.S. Navy’s 5th Fleet, the guarantor of much of the world’s oil flow.
Peaceful protesters camped in the capital city Manama’s Pearl Square, not far from the Navy base, were raided this morning by security police who brutally and indiscriminately beat and gassed them. At least four people were killed.
The country’s security forces are dominated by imports from South Asia and the Pacific Basin, many of whom do not even speak Arabic and have no ties to the people of Bahrain. This is quite unlike the situation in Egypt, where the army is a conscript force.
Martial law has been imposed and protests banned. But protest leaders pledge massive protests on Friday.
The population is 70% Shiite but the king and most of the parliament are Sunni. 18 members of the 40-member national parliament making up the opposition bloc withdrew after the attacks on the protesters.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called Bahrain’s foreign minister to deplore the violence.
In another reaction, Formula One racing, which longtime NWN readers know is one of my favorite sports, announced that it is reviewing the status of the Bahrain Grand Prix, currently scheduled for March 13th as the start of its globe-spanning season.
The Bahrain Grand Prix also kicked off the 2010 F1 season, when it was won by former F1 world champion driver Fernando Alonso of Spain, racing for Ferrari. The GP2 race kicking off F1′s feeder circuit, slated for this weekend in Bahrain, has been canceled.
The F1 race is the biggest event of the year in Bahrain, symbol of its modernization.
In Pakistan, Senator John Kerry seems to have failed in his mission to gain the release of U.S. consular employer Ray Davis, an ex-Green Beret who killed two Pakistanis who were stalking him in Lahore last month. A Pakistani judge ruled that the government gets another three weeks to determine if he has diplomatic immunity.
Meanwhile, the scheduled AfPak summit next week in Washington has been canceled as a result of the furor.
Protests against the U.S.-aligned government continued today in Yemen, a key flashpoint in the fight against jihadists.
Obama is also monitoring geopolitical crises in Bahrain, Egypt, Tunisia, Yemen, Jordan, Palestine, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iran, and Iraq, as well as the still unfolding Wikileaks crisis.
** FROM THE JERRY FILES. Governor Jerry Brown is in Sacramento today.
He has no scheduled public events as of this morning.
He’s working on California’s chronic budget crisis and his nascent administration.
Legislative hearings are taking place on various elements of Brown’s budget proposal, with pushback anticipated from Democrats as well as Republicans.
Republicans have not yet publicly articulated any alternatives to Brown’s budget or elements they want to see negotiated.
In fact, state Senate minority leader Bob Dutton told the Sacramento Bee yesterday that he doesn’t want to provide any votes for any revenue, doesn’t have negotiating points, and doesn’t care if there have to be over $26 billion in budget cuts.
Thought naturally he refuses to say what should be cut.
Of course, if Brown’s plan works, most of what you hear publicly will be negative. Until it is positive.
** IS THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION STILL WAY BEHIND THE CURVE ON EGYPT? President Barack Obama’s comeback since the November elections has been very impressive professionally, if not always politically. What has not been at all impressive is how far behind the curve his administration has been on Egypt, a distressing development over the past few weeks that reached a nadir of sorts on Thursday with an epic level of confusion.
There are clear limits to American power. The failure of neoconservative adventures in Iraq and Afghanistan make that obvious. But there should not be many limits to American knowledge. Especially given the limits to American power. …
The real power games have only just begun. And, this administration — stunningly, given Obama’s choice of Cairo for his great address to the Muslim world in 2009 — has been behind the curve repeatedly throughout the crisis thus far. … From my February 11th essay.
** JERRY BROWN 2.0: HOW’S IT GOING? So how’s Jerry Brown 2.0 going? The new/renewed governor of California won a landslide victory over billionaire Meg Whitman 90 days ago, took over from Arnold Schwarzenegger four weeks ago, and has worked on laying out an austerity-with-revenues budget plan and slowly building his administration ever since.
It’s going, well, well enough. Well enough to begin to straighten out the state’s chronic budget crisis in the first half of this year? We’ll see. … From my January 31st feature.
** OBAMA AND THE SIGNIFICANCE OF THE JFK INAUGURAL 50 YEARS ON. … From my January 22nd essay.
** THE JERRY BROWN ERA UNFOLDS (AGAIN). … From my January 11th feature.
** FROM GOVERNATOR TO MOONBEAM. … From my January 3rd feature.
** 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, 2009 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 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, 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.
** 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, 2008, crude oil is trading around $85 per barrel.
This is up about $51 from the low of $34 per barrel prior to enactment of the Obama economic recovery program, reflecting a low point in global economic activity.
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