Pentagon officials today said that other nations need to step up with arms and training for the rag-tag Libyan rebels.
** QUICK HITS. President Barack Obama will come to California for fundraisers in Los Angeles and San Francisco April 20th and 21st as part of his national re-election campaign announcement swing. Planning has been underway for the Obama re-elect for months. Meanwhile, no Republican has formally announced. … Late this afternoon, Governor Jerry Brown released a 12-point public pension reform plan, which he says is what he had proposed to Republican legislators. Will this help re-ignite California budget crisis negotiation, especially in light of the awful prospect of an all-cuts budget? … Brown also declared today to be Cesar Chavez Day in California. If that’s a little confusing, since the official state holiday was Monday, today is actually Chavez’s birthday.
** NEW COLUMN COMING UP … MAD ABOUT MAD MEN.
** CALIFORNIA 2011: A QUIET DAY IN THE DYSFUNCTIONAL CAPITOL. With Governor Jerry Brown having pulled the plug Tuesday on negotiations with Republican legislators, it’s a mostly quiet day in the California budget crisis scene. Brown has gained the decided upper hand in the image wars, especially after state Senate Republican leaders obligingly released their remarkable Christmas wish list of supposed final negotiating points.
So Republicans are trying to recoup.
This morning, the California Republican Party provided this web video attack on Brown, which says he’s breaking his promise to voters by not, well, solving the budget crisis. It takes two to tango, kids.
Then state Senate Republican leaders Bob Dutton and Bob Huff — I appeared on Which Way LA? with Huff several weeks ago — held a press conference.
Dutton complained that special counsel Anne Gust Brown, also known as California’s first lady, “yelled” at him in a meeting last week. And he didn’t come up with the infamous list of 53 items until late last Friday because nobody asked him.
Actually, Brown was publicly pushing for weeks for a list of final negotiating points, as was widely reported.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, continuing to press on Libya, is the most popular official in the Obama Administration.
** NEW POLL: THE MOST POPULAR OFFICIAL IN THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION IS NAMED … CLINTON. A new Gallup Poll shows that the most popular official in the Clinton Administration is actually the one who lost to President Barack Obama in 2008.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, relentlessly in the spotlight after some early missteps on the Arab uprising, is easily the most popular official in the Obama Administration. In fact, she’s near her all-time high, which was achieved at the height of the Monica Lewinsky scandal when the then first lady benefited from a wave of public sympathy.
Clinton has a whopping 66% favorable rating.
Obama himself is next with a 54% favorable rating. He’s followed by Defense Secretary Bob Gates with a 52% favorable rating, and Vice President Joe Biden with a 46% favorable rating.
What’s the key to Clinton’s success? Having a high profile … and not much criticism.
She’s more popular than the Libyan policy which has thrust her into the center of the spotlight.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s favorable rating from Americans is now 66%, up from 61% in July 2010 and her highest rating to date while serving in the Obama administration. The current rating is just one percentage point below her all-time high rating of 67%, from December 1998. …
Clinton’s record-high rating came shortly after the U.S. House of Representatives impeached President Bill Clinton on charges of perjury related to the Monica Lewinsky and Paula Jones investigations, matters that engendered Americans’ sympathy for the first lady. However, her subsequent entry into electoral politics — first as a U.S. senator from New York, and later as a candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination — made her a more polarizing figure, and her favorable rating descended at times into the 40s.
Since Gallup began measuring Clinton’s favorable rating in 1993, there have been several instances when Americans viewed her more unfavorably than favorably — one as recently as February 2008. However, more than 60% of Americans viewed her favorably in all three measures Gallup has taken since she assumed her State Department job, and she scored 65% in January 2009 just prior to President Barack Obama being sworn in.
The latest results are from a March 25-27 Gallup poll conducted while the United States was actively involved in enforcing a no-fly zone over Libya, a policy Clinton reportedly advocated. The same poll finds Clinton rated more positively than other top administration officials. Obama receives a 54% favorable rating, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, 52%, and Vice President Joe Biden, 46%. …
Clinton enjoys extraordinary popularity among women, and particularly women 50 and older. She also receives support from a solid majority of independents and 40% of Republicans.
Underscoring that views of Clinton and Obama are not one and the same, Clinton is seen in a favorable light by 45% of those who separately say they disapprove of the job Obama is doing as president. Naturally, she is also viewed favorably by 89% of those who approve of Obama’s job performance. …
Clinton is largely following in the footsteps of two well-liked female secretaries of state who came before her — Condoleezza Rice, who served former President George W. Bush during his second term; and Madeleine Albright, who served during former President Clinton’s second term. Rice’s favorable ratings ranged from 59% to 63% (according to Gallup measurements conducted in 2005 and 2006) and Albright’s from 61% to 69% (between 1998 and 2000).
However, Clinton’s popularity does not approach that of Colin Powell, who served as secretary of state in George W. Bush’s first term. Powell’s favorable ratings were consistently above 80%, ranging from 83% to 88%.
With a 66% favorable rating from Americans, Secretary of State Clinton is more popular than the president, more popular than the vice president, and more popular than she, herself, has been for much of her time in the national spotlight since 1993.
Clinton’s popularity may be partly due to the nature of the secretary of state position, which is somewhat above the fray of partisan politics and focused on defending U.S. interests globally.
Clinton recently ruled out serving another term as secretary of state in a possible Obama second term and has squelched speculation that she might replace Biden as vice president. This has only fueled speculation about what her presidential ambitions might be for 2016. While Clinton’s broad appeal would seem an auspicious foundation for seeking the White House, the presidential track record of secretaries of state is not — the last time a former secretary of state won the presidency was James Buchanan in 1856. Perhaps that is one reason Clinton is looking to end her service on a high note, and in plenty of time to add another presidential-worthy credential to her resume, should the presidency be her goal.
>>>>>>LIVE VIDEO NETCAST
At 10 AM Pacific, White House press secretary Jay Carney delivers a briefing. The event will be netcast live on New West Notes.
UPDATE: White House press secretary Jay Carney’s briefing, scheduled for 9:30 AM Pacific on the first schedule I got, then changed to 10 AM, is now scheduled for 10:30 AM Pacific.
** 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.
President Barack Obama, shifting the focus from Libya back to green tech and the innovation economy, spoke about energy security yesterday at Georgetown University.
** OBAMA TODAY. President Barack Obama is in Washington.
Obama and Vice President Joe Biden have received the daily intelligence and economic briefing in the Oval Office.
At 10 AM Pacific, Press Secretary Jay Carney delivers a briefing in the James S. Brady Briefing Room.
The event will be netcast live on New West Notes.
You can mute the audio by clicking on the pause button.
At 12 noon Pacific, Obama and Biden meet with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in the Oval Office.
At 7:30 PM Pacific, Obama meets with senior advisors in the Oval Office.
Obama is working on the top geopolitical crises, as well as the federal budget impasse. Vice President Joe Biden has Democratic and Republican congressional leaders on the same page around a $33 billion budget cut. Which is far less than the $61 billion that Tea Party types are demanding.
In Libya, the Gaddafi offensive continues, but alliance air strikes have stabilized the situation that Libyan rebels could not.
British and US leaders hint that they may arm the rebels, but NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen, the former Danish prime minister, says that the UN Security Council resolution authorizing the military intervention does not allow for that, as it includes an arms embargo on Libya.
Meanwhile, not surprisingly, it turns out that Obama dispatched CIA operatives to Libya weeks ago to scope out the situation on the ground. And British MI-6 agents and SAS commandos are there providing guidance for the air strikes.
The defection of Libyan Foreign Minister Moussa Koussa, who flew yesterday from Tunisia to London, is a major development, as he is the former Libyan intelligence director and one of Gaddafi’s closest henchmen. His defection has reportedly been followed by those of the country’s oil minister and current intelligence director.
Meanwhile, NATO formally took over leadership of all military operations early this morning. It will be interesting to see if there is any change in the expansive rules of engagement that have applied so far.
In Japan, the slow-motion nuclear disaster continues, with widespread acknowledgment nuclear reactor meltdowns and core breeches. The extent of all that is what is still unclear.
Obama is monitoring a variety of other geopolitical crises, mostly related to the Arab uprising, AfPak, and Iraq.
While the Libyan rebels fall back, and controversy grows over President Barack Obama’s previously secret dispatch of CIA agents, Libyan Foreign Minister Moussa Koussa, the regime’s longtime spymaster, has defected to Britain.
** LIBYAN WAR: NEW INTERNATIONAL “CONTACT GROUP” OFF TO A RUGGED START. It certainly wasn’t the most auspicious way for a potential new international order to begin. There were the live reports from London, where dozens of nations came together to hail a humanitarian intervention in Libya and plan for a post-Gaddafi future. Then there was the live Al Jazeera feed from Libya, where rebel forces were doing their best Road Warrior impressions, in this case of high-speed retreat.
The rebels, frankly, looked like rabble, in sharp contrast to the sharply-dressed diplomats gathered in London to discuss Libya’s bright pro-Western future.
After alliance air strikes emboldened them over the weekend, the rebels had taken town after town, advancing to the outskirts of Muammar Gaddafi’s hometown of Sirte. There they encountered a fierce counter-attack that, by the end of Wednesday, had erased nearly all the rebel gains, taking back key oil ports in the process, leaving the civilians of Ajdabiya, just freed from Gaddafi’s guns, in fear once again.
It’s a rugged start for the new international “contact group” on Libya, a newfound forum that, only a few days ago looked like a sure winner, not to mention a potential precedent in international relations. Western leaders, with some Arab leaders involved as well, had cobbled together a new adhocracy to counter, if not remove, a notorious monster attacking his people and threatening to send the “Arab spring” back into bloody winter.
If one ruthless dictator could be stopped, others might be dissuaded. Or at least think twice. …
** 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 California state government’s chronic budget crisis and his nascent administration.
California’s Capitol is in disarray as its typical dysfunction takes center stage once again in the wake of failed budget negotiations.
Former Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger went for a bike ride yesterday with London Mayor Boris Johnson before meeting with British Prime Minister David Cameron, addressing Conservative members of Parliament on Libya, and attending the 80th birthday gala for Mikhail Gorbachev at the Royal Albert Hall.
** FROM THE ARNOLD FILES. Former Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger had quite a day yesterday in London.
While his successor strugglesd with the same intractable Sacramento factors he did, Schwarzenegger put his jet to good use and had a much more enjoyable time.
Schwarzenegger was in the UK capital for Mikhail Gorbachev’s 80th birthday gala last night at the Royal Albert Hall. But first he met with London Mayor Boris Johnson, and the two men rode “Boris bikes” for a horde of photographers to promote the plan to reduce cars in the center city.
Then Schwarzenegger met with Prime Minister David Cameron prior to giving a talk to Conservative members of Parliament on the Libyan War. The ex-governor extolled the UK’s involvement in the struggle against Libyan dictator Moammar Gaddafi.
Then Schwarzenegger, along with a host of notables, attended the gala celebration of Gorbachev’s 80th birthday.
As part of his opening up of Soviet society in the late 1980s, Gorbachev allowed Schwarzenegger to shoot part of his film Red Heat in Moscow’s Red Square. It was the first Western film to shoot there.
Schwarzenegger has said many times that he considers Gorbachev, with whom he met privately last October in Moscow on his final international trip as governor, to be one of his greatest heroes.
Gorbachev is controversial in Russia for his central role in ending the Soviet Union. But he is lionized in the West for his historic reformer’s role in ending the Cold War.
** 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? … From my March 26th feature.
** 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? …
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.
** 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 three wars in the region, and the Arab uprising underway, 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 $106 per barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
This is up about $72 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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