Today’s London summit on Libya drew leaders from 40 nations and several international agencies.
** QUICK HITS. Late this afternoon, Governor Jerry Brown officially called off negotiations with Republican state legislators on California’s chronic budget crisis, complaining about a kaleidoscopic list of collateral demands (which was helpfully provided to the press by state Senate Republican leaders late last Friday). What’s next? Stay tuned. … While top officials of 40 nations and several international agencies discussed the post-Gaddafi future of Libya today in London, Gaddafi forces routed Libyan rebels in another counter-offensive, threatening their just renewed hold on the strategic oil ports of Ras Lanuf and Brega. … A newly formed Libya contact group, overseeing the intervention, will meet in two weeks in Doha, Qatar, home of Al Jazeera.
** NEW COLUMN COMING UP … DOES LIBYA POINT THE WAY TO A NEW INTERNATIONAL CONVENTION?
** JERRY BROWN ISSUES STATEMENT HALTING CALIFORNIA BUDGET NEGOTIATIONS. A little after 4 PM, Governor Jerry Brown issued the following statement calling a halt to negotiations on California’s chronic budget crisis. Of course, this takes the issue out of the weeds and throws it into the laps of Republican legislators.
“Yesterday, I stopped the discussions that I had been conducting with various members of the Republican party regarding our state’s massive deficit.
The budget plan that I put forth is balanced between deep cuts and extensions of currently existing taxes and I believe it is in the best interest of California. Under our constitution, however, two Republicans from the Assembly and two from the Senate must agree before this matter can be put to the people.
Each and every Republican legislator I’ve spoken to believes that voters should not have this right to vote unless I agree to an ever changing list of collateral demands.
Let me be clear: I support pension reform, regulatory reform and a spending cap and offered specific and detailed proposals for each of these during our discussions. While we made significant progress on these reform issues, the Republicans continued to insist on including demands that would materially undermine any semblance of a balanced budget. In fact, they sought to worsen the state’s problem by creating a $4 billion hole in the budget.
One glaring example is the taxation of multinational corporations. My budget plan requires that gigantic corporations be treated the same as individual taxpayers and not be allowed to choose their preferred tax rate.
This is the so-called single sales factor. The Republicans demand that out-of-state corporations that keep jobs out of California be given a billion dollar tax break that will come from our schoolchildren, public safety and our universities. This I am not willing to do.
Much is at stake, and in the coming weeks I will focus my efforts on speaking directly to Californians and coming up with honest and real solutions to our budget crisis.
Attached is my letter to Republican Leader Dutton last Friday that outlines in greater detail my position.”
** FAR RIGHT NATIONAL GROUP RUNS RADIO ADS AGAINST REPUBLICAN SENATORS IN CALIFORNIA BUDGET CRISIS. In a sign of deep concern for the reflexive anti-government lobby, Americans for Prosperity, the national right-wing group backed by the billionaire Koch brothers, just started running a 60-second radio ad targeting two Central Valley legislators who are negotiating with Governor Jerry Brown.
The ad urges state Senators Sal Canella or Ceres and Tom Berryhill of Modesto to vote against any budget compromise allowing a special election to extend temporary tax hikes.
** NO MAD MEN TILL 2012. Oh, well. It’s not a surprise, and it certainly frees up a lot of my writing time.
Mad Men won’t be back this year. The three-time Emmy winner for best drama has fallen prey to tortured negotiations between the network, the studio, and creator Matthew Weiner.
Meanwhile, the Season 4 DVD/Blu-ray release went live today.
What’s the big dispute? I don’t know all of it, but there were reportedly demands for more product placement, a two-minute cut in time per episode, and the elimination of two major characters.
Which, incidentally, are not resolved.
Something not unlike this happened with The Sopranos, which, after increasingly long gaps, went nearly two years between Seasons 5 and 6.
I’ll have more about this.
** NEW POLL SHOWS SPLIT VIEW ABOUT LIBYA, WITH MOST FAVORING A LESSER ROLE FOR THE U.S. OR NONE AT ALL. A new Gallup Poll, taken before President Barack Obama’s speech last night, shows a very diffuse public view of the Libyan War.
Only 10% favor the classic American exceptionalism argument pushed by many on the right, for the U.S. to take the lead role. Most (nearly two-thirds) think that American should have a major role or a minor role — however those might be defined, of course. And 22% take the classic isolationist or far left view and think the U.S. should not be involved at all.
Naturally, we hear most from the extremes who represent less than a third of the country.
Prior to President Barack Obama’s speech to the U.S. on Libya Monday night, 10% of Americans said the U.S. should take the lead role in the multi-national military campaign in Libya and 29% said it should have a major role. The plurality, 36%, favors a minor role for the U.S., while 22% think the country should withdraw entirely. …
These results come from a March 25-27 USA Today/Gallup poll, conducted as the Obama administration was negotiating with the United States’ Western allies to turn command for the Libya campaign over to NATO.
That agreement, announced Monday, is likely to be welcomed by Americans, relatively few of whom want the U.S. to play either the leading role or withdraw altogether. Republicans are slightly more in favor of a major role for the U.S., while independents and Democrats lean more toward a minor role. …
The formal goal of the NATO Libya mission is expressly humanitarian — attempting, via a no-fly zone, to prevent Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi from carrying out his threats to kill civilians associated with rebel forces. However, Western leaders, including Obama, have made various statements along the lines of “Gadhafi must go” that have raised questions about what the ultimate scope of the mission will be.
The American public is closely divided on this question: 45% say the goal of military actions being conducted in Libya should be limited to maintaining a no-fly zone and weakening that government’s military; 44% say the mission should be expanded to removing Gadhafi from power.
Republicans and Democrats are slightly more likely to favor expanding the mission to remove Gadhafi while independents lean toward the narrower goal of enforcing a no-fly zone. The slight majority of conservatives favor toppling Gadhafi while moderates and liberals tend to favor enforcing the no-fly zone. …
Roughly 7 in 10 Americans report they are following the news about Libya very or somewhat closely — on par with public attention to the recent uprising in Egypt, and fairly high relative to interest in other news events Gallup has polled on over the past decade. …
President Barack Obama spoke Monday at the National Defense University in Washington on the military intervention in Libya.
** OBAMA TODAY. President Barack Obama is in Washington and New York.
Obama has received his daily intelligence and economic briefing and met with senior advisors in the Oval Office.
At 10 AM Pacific, Obama departs the White House on Marine One en route to Andrews Air Force Base.
At 10:15 AM Pacific, Obama departs Andrews Air Force Base on Air Force One en route to New York City.
At 11:05 AM Pacific, Obama arrives in New York.
At 1:45 PM Pacific, Obama delivers remarks at the dedication of the Ronald H. Brown United States Mission to the United Nations Building at the USUN Building in New York.
A5 4 PM Pacific, Obama delivers remarks at a DNC event at the Red Rooster Restaurant.
At 6:05 PM Pacific, Obama delivers remarks at a DNC event at the The Studio Museum.
At 7:10 PM Pacific, Obama departs New York on Air Force One en route to Andrews Air Force Base.
At 8 PM Pacific, Obama arrives at Andrews Air Force Base, where he boards Marine One.
At 8:15 PM Pacific, Obama lands on the South Lawn of the White House.
While in New York, Obama will do one-on-one interviews with the news anchors for NBC, ABC, and CBS, following on his address last evening on the Libya War.
The response to his address was generally favorable, but broke mostly along now very predictable political lines.
Obama is monitoring today’s London Conference on Libya, where Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has joined the foreign ministers from some 40 other nations and international organizations.
The focus was on forming a contact group to oversee the international military operation and plan for the post-Gaddafi forces.
But in Libya, rebel forces were repulsed by Gaddafi forces defending the dictator’s hometown of Sirte, which some rebels on Sunday night claimed to have taken. In fact, the rebels have been pushed out of the town of Bin Jawad, which they captured yesterday.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, speaking during today’s London Conference on Libya, called for the world “to speak with a single voice” to longtime dictator Moammar Gaddafi.
Gaddafi forces are now shelling the strategic oil port of Ras Lanuf, which the rebels recaptured over the weekend.
In Japan, the government admits that it is nowhere near being able to secure the crippled the Fukushima nuclear power plant. Plutonium has now leaked out of the facility, where partial reactor meltdowns and reactor core breeches have occurred.
Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan says the government is on “maximum alert” on the nuclear power crisis.
Obama is monitoring a variety of other geopolitical crises, mostly related to the Arab revolt, AfPak, and Iraq.
** FROM THE JERRY FILES. Governor Jerry Brown is in Sacramento.
He has no scheduled public events as of this morning.
Brown continues working on the state’s chronic budget crisis and his nascent administration.
His negotiations with Republican legislators continued yesterday and will continue today.
** CALIFORNIA’S PARTY OF NO TAKES CENTER STAGE, OR DOES IT? Between its strange state convention last weekend and the ongoing state budget impasse, California’s party of no has seemingly taken center stage in the not so Golden State. But is that really so? And is it a good thing for Republicans if it is?
Surely the spectacle of the Republicans’ state convention in Sacramento did nothing more than further cement the party’s reputation as an increasingly narrow club of ideologues. And during the week, most Republican legislators mirrored just that, though some continue to negotiate with Governor Jerry Brown. But it remains to be seen how serious they are, and if their ultimate goal is to shoot the moon and try to look good.
After nearly three months of talks, Brown has been asking Republicans for a “term sheet” of what it will take to close the deal. Finally, late on Friday, Republicans released it. What it is, is a Christmas wish list, filled with items unrelated to the budget crisis, including moving the state’s primary election. Of course, that list was put out by Republican leaders in the Legislature, not most of the legislators who’ve been negotiating with Brown. … From my March 26th feature.
After being repulsed by Gaddafi forces defending the dictator’s hometown of Sirte, Libyan rebels were pushed back further, forced to abandon the town of Bin Jawad they had captured the day before.
** OBAMA’S DIFFIDENT WAY OF WAR. Barack Obama has suddenly sidled his way into a third war in the Muslim world, his first on his own. How has he gone about it? Why Libya and not somewhere else? And how does it end?
How has Obama gone about it? In a remarkably diffident manner. Never before has an American president embarked on a war with such reserve. And I can’t recall one who went to war while on tour in an entirely different part of the world. …
The Arab revolt is in the post-romance phase, and had been heading into the bummer phase. That is to say, after the early phase in which we believe that revolutions are effected simply by virtue of people rising up through the magic of social media. … From my March 21st feature.
** IS LIBYA A TURNING POINT ON HUMANITARIAN INTERVENTIONISM? … From my March 18th essay.
** ONE WORD: OBAMA’S NIGHTMARE SCENARIO, AND WHY IT HASN’T HAPPENED (YET). … From my March 15th essay.
** WILL JERRY BROWN PULL IT OFF? … From my March 7th essay.
** A WELCOME BLAST FROM THE NEW DOCTOR WHO. … From my February 28th essay..
** IF OBAMA LOSES, IT WON’T BE BECAUSE “IT’S THE ECONOMY, STUPID.” From my February 24th feature.
** FROM GOVERNATOR TO MOONBEAM. … From my January 3rd, 2011 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.
U.S. F-16 fighter jets and A-10 attack planes took off from and landed this morning at Aviano Air Base in Italy.
** 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 $105 per barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
This is up about $71 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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