After a longer than scheduled meeting between President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu, which evidently yielded no peace process breakthroughs, the two leaders made statements to the press but answered no questions.
** QUICK HITS. Today’s lengthy meetings between President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister, as expected, yielded no breakthroughs on the question of Palestine. And none were forthcoming before Obama announced that he favors a return to pre-1967 borders restoring lands seized by Israel in the Six Day War (with land swaps in the mix). What Obama has done, in reiterating an already established position echoed by most of the world, is eliminate a stumbling block for America being associated with the Arab awakening. … The 60-day period allowed for unilateral US military action ordered by the president has now expired with regard to the Libyan War, where the US is participating as part of a coalition. Congress will begin hearings next week. The war, as I said would be the case, has not turned into an American show. Nor was it a CIA plot all along, as so many on the left opined. … In another slow day in California politics, Governor Jerry Brown made some appointments and proclaimed Sunday to be Harvey Milk Day, in honor of the assassinated San Francisco politician and gay rights icon. … But some big news comes in the form of the California Independent System Operator, which manages the state’s electric power grid, approving $1.2 billion in grid upgrades to accommodate the increase in renewable power projects.
** NEW COLUMN COMING UP … JERRY BROWN RETURNS. AGAIN!
** NEW POLL: MOST NOW FAVOR THE RIGHT TO SAME SEX MARRIAGE, WITH REPUBLICANS STILL STAUNCHLY OPPOSED. In a continuing sign of a remarkable turnaround on the issue, a new Gallup Poll shows that, for the first time in the poll’s history, a majority of Americans now favor the right to same sex marriage.
Support is up a whopping nine points since last year.
The increase all comes from independents and Democrats. Republicans remain locked in opposition, with only 28% in favor.
For the first time in Gallup’s tracking of the issue, a majority of Americans (53%) believe same-sex marriage should be recognized by the law as valid, with the same rights as traditional marriages. The increase since last year came exclusively among political independents and Democrats. Republicans’ views did not change. …
Democrats’ and independents’ support for legalized same-sex marriage increased this year by 13 and 10 points, respectively. Republicans’ views on the issue did not change from last year. Clear majorities of both Democrats and independents now support gay marriage, 69% and 59% respectively, contrasted with 28% support among Republicans.
Majorities of moderates and liberals support gay marriage, as they did last year, contrasted with 28% of conservatives. …
Support for legal gay marriage decreases markedly with age, ranging from 70% support among those aged 18 to 34, to 39% support among those 55 and older. More broadly, support is highest among younger women and lowest among older men.
Compared with last year, support for legalizing same-sex marriage increased most among younger, 18- to 34-year-old Americans, and among men under 50. …
This year marks a significant uptick in support for legalizing same-sex marriage, exceeding the symbolic 50% mark for the first time in Gallup’s history. Support rose from 27% in 1996 to the low 40% range in 2004 and remained fairly constant through last year.
The issue does, however, remain highly divisive. While big majorities of Democrats and young people support the idea of legalizing same-sex marriage, fewer than 4 in 10 Republicans and older Americans agree. Republicans in particular seem fixed in their opinions; there was no change at all in their support level this year, while independents’ and Democrats’ support jumped by double-digit margins.
Within the past year, Congress passed and President Obama signed a law allowing gay and lesbian members of the military to openly reveal their sexual orientation, rather than keeping it hidden as part of the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy. A majority of Americans have supported such a change in policy since 2005, rising to two-thirds support in 2009 and again last year. It is unclear whether the highly publicized official change in government policy on Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell may have been a factor in the rise in Americans’ support for legalizing same-sex marriage.
** NEW POLL: A SKEPTICAL VIEW ON ISRAELI/PALESTINIAN PEACE. A new Gallup Poll reveals that Americans continue to have low expectations for Middle East peace.
Those who are most hopeful are young voters — i.e., engaged but highly inexperienced — but expectations overall are up slightly over what they were in 2010.
President Obama has revved up his call for Israeli-Palestinian peace talks this week in advance of his major Middle East policy address on Thursday and meetings with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Friday. Gallup’s annual update of Americans’ outlook for the conflict finds 38% optimistic that Israel and the Arab nations will someday live in peace, but 60% are doubtful this will occur. …
Since 2005, Democrats have tended to be the most optimistic on this question, but that has expanded in recent years, first with a decline in Republican optimism amid internal Palestinian violence between Fatah and Hamas factions, and then with independents’ optimism declining after Obama took office in 2009.
Democrats’ views about the conflict have been fairly steady since 2001, except for brief spurts of optimism in 2003 (after the appointment of Mahmoud Abbas as Palestinian prime minister) and in 2005 (coincident with a Palestinian-Israeli peace summit in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, that led to a cease-fire). These increases in optimism were seen among all three party groups.
Among major American subgroups, only young adults are currently more likely than Democrats to believe Mideast peace will happen. In fact, a slight majority of adults aged 18 to 29 (55%) now believe peace will eventually come about, compared with roughly a third of all older age groups.
Gallup polling on Mideast peace prospects since 1997 suggests Americans typically presume failure in the region unless real agreements at a peace table have recently been achieved, however temporal those have proved in the long term.
** QUARTET POWERS SUPPORT OBAMA APPROACH ON MIDDLE EAST PEACE. Amidst various statements of opposition from the conservative Israeli government and most Republican presidential candidates, the Middle East Quartet (United Nations, Russian Federation, United States, and European Union) has put out a statement:
The Members of the Quartet are in full agreement about the urgent need to resolve the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians. To that effect, the Quartet expressed its strong support for the vision of Israeli-Palestinian peace outlined by U.S. President Barack Obama on May 19, 2011. The Quartet agrees that moving forward on the basis of territory and security provides a foundation for Israelis and Palestinians to reach a final resolution of the conflict through serious and substantive negotiations and mutual agreement on all core issues.
The Quartet reiterates its strong appeal to the parties to overcome the current obstacles and resume direct bilateral negotiations without delay or preconditions. The Quartet further recommits itself to its previous statements and principles.
>>>>>>LIVE VIDEO NETCAST
At 9:30 AM Pacific, White House press secretary Jay Carney delivers a briefing. At 12:10 PM Pacific, President Barack Obama speaks to CIA staffers at CIA Headquarters in Langley, Virginia. Both events will be netcast live here on New West Notes.
** 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 netcasts 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 yesterday delivered a major address defining much of US policy with regard to the Islamic world.
** OBAMA TODAY. President Barack Obama is in Washington and Virginia.
Obama has received his daily intelligence and economic briefings and met with senior advisors in the Oval Office.
At 8:15 AM Pacific, Obama meets with Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu of Israel in the Oval Office.
At 9:05 AM Pacific, Obama and Prime Minister Netanyahu deliver statements to the press in the Oval Office.
At 9:30 AM Pacific, Obama holds a working lunch with Prime Minister Netanyahu in the Old Family Dining Room.
At 9:30 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.
At 12:10 PM Pacific, Obama delivers remarks to CIA Employees at CIA Headquarters in Langley, Virginia.
The event will be netcast live on New West Notes.
He will thank the CIA for its central role in the take-down of Osama bin Laden.
Yesterday was Obama’s long in the works major address on the Arab awakening, the jihadist struggle, and Middle East peace at the State Department.
The speech, which lays out support for reform efforts in the Arab world, has been generally well received. But Obama is taking hits from advocates of the current Israeli government, the most right-wing in that nation’s history, whose ranks include most of the Republican presidential candidates?
Why? Because Obama called, among other things, for Israel to return to its pre-1967 borders. Israel seized additional territory during the Six Day War.
This call of Obama’s wasn’t nearly so controversial when then President George W. Bush said the same thing.
This and more will dominate with Obama’s meetings today with Israeli Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu, who arrived late last night on an extended visit to the US. Netanyahu will address a joint session of Congress next Tuesday.
In the Libyan War, under increasing military pressure, the Gaddafi regime is floating a new peace feeler through the Russians. They are offering to pull troops back any contested cities if the rebels do the same.
NATO air strikes sunk eight Libyan Navy ships on Thursday. This is footage from British aircraft flying the mission.
Obama is monitoring a variety of other geopolitical crises, mostly focused on the Arab uprising, AfPak, and Iraq.
War Zone Times: Libya is nine hours ahead of Pacific time, Iraq is ten hours ahead of Pacific time, and Afghanistan is eleven and a half hours ahead of Pacific time.
** FROM THE JERRY FILES. Governor Jerry Brown is in Sacramento.
He has no scheduled public events as of this morning.
Brown is working on California’s chronic budget crisis and his nascent administration.
He spoke briefly very early yesterday morning at a bipartisan legislative prayer breakfast at the Sheraton Grand Hotel, but had little to say, though he did make a quip about the present exhaustive media obsession with his predecessor’s private life.
** NCIS: AMERICA’S FAVORITE SHOW AND WHAT IT TELLS US. Tuesday night saw the season finale of NCIS, the most watched scripted television series in America. Indeed, if a national poll is to be believed, the veteran CBS procedural about Navy cops (NCIS standing for Naval Criminal Investigative Service), finishing its eighth season, is not only the most popular current scripted show in the country, it’s the favorite show of all time.
How was the season finale? On the anti-climactic side, actually, and not nearly as good as the penultimate episode, one of the show’s best. But it did set up an intriguing beginning to the show’s ninth season in the fall, one which says nefarious things about our national security apparat. More about that in a moment. There be some spoilers ahead.
So, NCIS, the most popular show of all-time? Really? … From my May 18th essay.
** IN THE SHADOW OF BIN LADEN: THE CALIFORNIA CONNECTION. The first official to announce the death of Osama bin Laden was not President Barack Obama, it was Senator Dianne Feinstein. The Senate Intelligence Committee chair was speaking at a memorial service in Santa Monica for her longtime campaign manager, Kam Kuwata.
Feinstein says she thought that Obama was about to give his nationally televised address. Which he actually gave about an hour later. And that the memorial, filled with pols and media types, was off the record. Which of course is why her remarks were reported in the media.
But Feinstein’s premature announcement of one of the biggest stories in recent memory is only one of the California connections to the demise of the legendary founder and leader of al Qaeda, who claimed credit for ordering the 9/11 attacks on America and eluded American forces for nearly a decade. … From my May 11th feature.
** IN THE SHADOW OF BIN LADEN: REPUBLICANS AND THE PRESIDENTIAL DEBATE. … From my May 7th essay.
** CALIFORNIA DEMOCRATS: AN UNCERTAIN TRUMPET. … From my May 2nd feature.
** OBAMA’S BIGGEST PROBLEMS STILL LIE ABROAD. … From my April 29th essay.
** HAS CALIFORNIA’S REFORM MOMENT ARRIVED? … From my April 26th column.
** THE NON-IMPERIAL PRESIDENCY: OBAMA AND LIBYA. … From my April 21st essay.
** ASSESSING THE JERRY BROWN ASSESSMENTS (AND WHY HE WAS IN STEALTH MODE SO LONG). … From my April 18th 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 $98 per barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
This is up about $64 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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