At the end of the day in Benghazi, Senator John McCain called for the recognition of the Transitional National Council as Libya’s legitimate government, advised against sending in foreign troops, and called for increased military support for the rebels, including weapons, training, and close air support to take on the heavy firepower of Gaddafi forces.
** QUICK HITS. Maine Republican Senator Susan Collins announced today that she opposes the so-called Ryan Plan for America’s fiscal future passed last week by the new Republican House, further pointing up its lack of any future in the Senate. She can evidently read polls. … The U.S. State Department signed off on today’s John McCain trip to Libya, where the Vietnam War hero called the Libyan rebels “my heroes” and insisted that they are not Al Qaeda. … The first Los Angeles Times/USC poll since the November post-election survey comes out this weekend. Will it be good news or bad news for Governor Jerry Brown? … Brown was in Silicon Valley today for a business summit of the Silicon Valley Leadership Group and to drum up/harden support for his state budget compromise. …
** NEW COLUMN COMING UP … HAS CALIFORNIA’S REFORM MOMENT ARRIVED?
** HAPPY EARTH DAY: MOST IN WORLD VIEW HUMANS AS CLIMATE CHANGE CAUSE, EXCEPT IN … THE U.S. A new Gallup Poll survey shows that most people in the world who are away of the issue view humans as the cause of climate change through the greenhouse effect. The big holdout? America, oddly enough, where a plurality now ascribes the phenomenon to natural causes.
This is a big downturn in the U.S. since 2008.
Is this because we have a major political party in which only one-third believe that the President of the United States is really an American citizen?
World residents are more likely to blame human activities than nature for the rise in temperatures associated with climate change. Thirty-five percent of adults in 111 countries in 2010 say global warming results from human activities, while less than half as many (14%) blame nature. Thirteen percent fault both. …
People nearly everywhere, including majorities in developed Asia and Latin America, are more likely to attribute global warming to human activities rather than natural causes. The U.S. is the exception, with nearly half (47%) — and the largest percentage in the world — attributing global warming to natural causes.
Americans are also among the least likely to link global warming to human causes, setting them apart from the rest of the developed world. Americans’ attitudes in 2010 mark a sharp departure from 2007 and 2008, when they were more likely to blame human causes. …
People nearly everywhere are more likely to believe humans cause global warming. In the United States, where residents are less likely to blame humans for global warming and to see it as a threat, residents could potentially feel less empowered to act as stewards of the environment in the future.
** NEW POLL: TRUMP AND HUCKABEE LEAD REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL FIELD. A new Gallup Poll shows Donald Trump and Mike Huckabee tied atop the Republican presidential field, with Mitt Romney a close third, Sarah Palin a close fourth, and everyone else in single digits.
This is the first Gallup Poll that has included Trump.
One thing that is very interesting is that, even with Trump not included, Newt Gingrich has lost half his support in the past five months. Does this mean I won’t have an excuse to read and write about his alternate history novels?
Here are the numbers: Trump 16%, Huckabee 16%, Romney 13%, Palin 10%, Ron Paul 6%, Newt Gingrich 6%, Michele Bachmann, Mitch Daniels 3%, Tim Pawlenty 3%, Rick Santorum 2%, Haley Barbour 2%, Jon Huntsman 1%, Gary Johnson less than 1%.
The April 15-20 Gallup poll finds Trump leading the field among moderate and liberal Republicans, with 21% supporting him. Huckabee is the leader among conservative Republicans. Huckabee’s support and Trump’s support differ between ideological groups, while Romney and Palin get similar support from both ideological wings of the party.
Among the lower-ranked candidates, Newt Gingrich’s support and Michele Bachmann’s support tilt decidedly conservative. Trump is the only potential candidate who shows notably stronger appeal to liberals and moderates than to conservatives within the GOP. …
To stay competitive, Trump would need to maintain a decent level of support among conservatives, since they outnumber moderates and liberals by about 2 to 1 among rank-and-file Republicans and Republican leaners. For the same reason, Huckabee’s smaller support among moderates and liberals is less of an issue if he maintains his top standing among conservatives.
Trump’s Support Would Generally Go to Other Leaders if He Does Not Run
Gallup included Trump as an explicit choice in its monitoring of GOP preferences for the first time in April 15-20 polling. In recent months, Gallup surveys in which Trump was not offered as an explicit choice found 1% or less of Republicans volunteering his name as the potential candidate they are most likely to support for the GOP presidential nomination.
The likelihood of Trump’s officially entering the race is still unclear, with many continuing to wonder whether his public discussion about running for president is serious or designed to attract publicity to himself and his reality television show.
The poll asked for Republicans’ second choice for the nomination, allowing for an analysis of what preferences would look like without Trump in the field. Under that scenario, most of Trump’s support is spread among the other leading candidates, with Huckabee’s support climbing to 19%, followed by Romney at 16% and Palin at 13%.
Those numbers are similar to what Gallup has found in recent months, before Trump’s inclusion. The most notable change since March is the dip in support for Newt Gingrich, from 10% to 7%, a new low for the former House speaker.
Senator John McCain is in Libya meeting with rebel leaders and others in Benghazi.
** OBAMA TODAY. President Barack Obama is in California and Washington.
At 8:55 AM Pacific, Obama departs Los Angeles on Air Force One en route to Andrews Air Force Base.
At 1:15 PM Pacific, Obama arrives at Andrews Air Force Base, where he boards Marine One.
At 1:30 PM Pacific, Obama lands on the South Lawn of the White House.
Obama will receive his daily intelligence and economic briefings and meet with senior advisors on Air Force One.
Obama had a very successful trip to the West, raising a combined $7 million for his re-election campaign account and Democratic National Committee activities promoting his re-election at events in San Francisco and Los Angeles.
Among those on hand for Obama in San Francisco were Senator Dianne Feinstein, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (who introduced Obama at his Thursday breakfast fundraiser), former state Controller Steve Westly (one of his top fundraisers and earliest supporters), Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom, and state Attorney General Kamala Harris (one of Obama’s earlier supporters).
Hall of Fame wide receiver Jerry Rice appeared with Obama at Wednesday’s big event at the Masonic Auditorium on Nob Hill. Stevie Wonder appeared at the earlier private dinner at Salesforce.com CEO Marc Benioff’s home.
Last night in Los Angeles, Capitol Group Private Banking President John Emerson (who was my best man) introduced Obama at a major fundraiser at Sony Pictures Studios.
At a later event, Obama was joined by Steven Spielberg, Tom Hanks, George Clooney, and Governor Jerry Brown and First Lady Anne Gust Brown.
Following this sojourn in a land of promise, Obama is returning to a capital in crisis.
Obama approved the use of Predator drones in Libya for offensive strikes, but their first missions on Thursday were wiped out by bad weather. The aircraft are able to fly low and slow and linger around a battlefield, making them very useful in taking out harder to identify targets.
Today, however, alliance air strikes helped rebel forces re-take the city center in besieged Misurata.
Also today, Senator John McCain arrived in Benghazi to meet with rebel leaders and assess the situation.
The 2008 Republican presidential nominee, now the ranking minority member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, is a big proponent of the fight against Gaddafi.
He is the highest ranking official to visit war zone Libya, and is expected to get a read-out on the rebels’ somewhat chaotic political and military leadership structure.
President Barack Obama has authorized the use of Predator drones to mount air strikes against Gaddafi forces.
In Syria today, hundreds of thousands protested in the streets against longtime President Hafez Assad, unimpressed by his new reforms announced last Saturday. At least 15 were killed when security forces opened fire in several cities.
Obama is also monitoring other geopolitical crises, mostly related to the Arab uprising, AfPak, and Iraq.
War Zone Times: The time in Libya is nine hours ahead of Pacific time; the time in Iraq is ten hours ahead of Pacific time; and the time in Afghanistan is eleven-and-a-half hours ahead of Pacific time.
** FROM THE JERRY FILES. Governor Jerry Brown is in Northern California today.
At 1 PM, Brown will participate in the Silicon Valley Leadership Group’s 8th Annual CEO Business Climate Summit in San Jose. He will join Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg, SunPower CEO Tom Werner, and Applied Materials CEO Michael Splinter in a panel discussion on the state’s economy, budget and business climate.
Following the event on his state budget compromise yesterday in Santa Clarita with Republican state Assemblyman Cameron Smyth, Brown and First Lady Anne Gust Brown joined President Obama at his final fundraiser of the evening in Los Angeles, a dinner for 60 at the Tavern.
With half of the state’s budget deficit eliminated, but the other half stuck in impasse, the state Legislature is off on its 10-day spring break.
Brown continues working on the California state government’s chronic budget crisis and his nascent administration.
** THE NON-IMPERIAL PRESIDENCY: OBAMA AND LIBYA. Newscaster: The failure of today’s pre-dawn Special Forces raid in Tripoli to catch or dispatch Moammar Gaddafi leaves the Obama Administration with a dwindling set of options on Day 32 of the Libyan War. The wily colonel had already moved from his Bab al-Azizia compound to an alternate headquarters, leaving the assault force of Navy Seals and Army Rangers little choice but to fight their way out of a trap. The Pentagon has not released casualty figures. The CIA is not commenting on the misfiring mission.
More than a month of round-the-clock air strikes and Tomahawk missile attacks have forced Gaddafi forces back from the rebel-held eastern part of Libya but have failed either to relieve the dictator’s siege of Misurata in the west or to loosen his grip on the capital. Widespread civilian casualties from the increased allied aerial bombardment have stiffened the resolve of the colonel’s supporters and spurred anti-American sentiment.
Now America’s hopes for victory turn on the amphibious units on the ships offshore, where heroic young U.S. Marines await the chance to perform their generation’s version of the second line of their famous anthem, ‘From the halls of Montezuma, To the shores of Tripoli …’
Nothing at all like this has happened, of course, though many imagined that something much like it would.
There were fantasies here and elsewhere of another Iraq or, better yet, the golden oldie, Vietnam.
But in reality, it looks, as I said at the beginning, a lot more like Kosovo. … From my April 21st essay.
** ASSESSING THE JERRY BROWN ASSESSMENTS (AND WHY HE WAS IN STEALTH MODE SO LONG). Jerry Brown is now 15 weeks into his new/renewed governorship. How were the assessments at his 100-day mark? And, oh yeah, why was he in stealth mode for so long, eschewing virtually all public appearances for months in favor of behind-the-scenes negotiations? …
Brown gets top marks from most for having eliminated half the state’s bulging $26 billion budget deficit, largely through steep budget cuts. And he gets widespread kudos for bringing a new spirit — hmm, that could be a slogan — of constant engagement with state legislators from both parties.
Brown’s predecessors weren’t exactly keen on hanging with the legislature. Republican legislators famously wore name tags to a meeting with Schwarzenegger a couple of years back. …
The reality is that Jerry Brown is his own chief of staff, his own chief strategist, his own communications director, his own media director, his own chief negotiator, etc. …
Some believe he’s trying to set up a contrast with Schwarzenegger, who traveled in motorcades and had a fairly large staff. And certainly there is an element of calculation to what Brown does. He is, after all, a politician.
But the deeper reality is that this is how he operates. At least since the first time he was governor.
After his father died in 1996, the California Democratic Party held a lengthy commemorative ceremony honoring the great Democrat at its April convention in Los Angeles. … From my April 18th feature.
** MAD ABOUT MAD MEN: WILL IT MATCH WEST WING‘S MARK? … From my April 14th essay.
** THE RETURN OF JERRY BROWN. … From my April 11th column.
** LIBYAN WAR: NEW INTERNATIONAL “CONTACT GROUP” OFF TO A RUGGED START. … From my March 30th essay.
** CALIFORNIA’S PARTY OF NO TAKES CENTER STAGE, OR DOES IT? > … From my March 26th feature.
** OBAMA’S DIFFIDENT WAY OF WAR. … From my March 21st feature.
** IS LIBYA A TURNING POINT ON HUMANITARIAN INTERVENTIONISM? … From my March 18th essay.
** 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.
The Doctor arrives in 1969 America to assist … President Nixon? The season premiere of the longtime British cult fave Doctor Who, now occurring same day UK and US, is tomorrow.
** 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 $112 per barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
This is up about $78 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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