Former Afghan President Burhanuddin Rabbani, head of Afghanistan’s High Peace Council, was assassinated this evening at his home in Kabul’s protected green zone by a Taliban suicide bomber with explosives concealed in his turban.
** QUICK HITS. No resolution on the Palestinian situation at the United Nations today, with the Palestinian foreign minister saying in a TV interview that US officials are pushing hard behind the scenes to get them to drop their statehood bid and word that Israel is threatening to withhold Palestinian fees which Israel currently collects. … Governor Jerry Brown, the Zen archer of American politics who goes up (slightly) in the polls with a decidedly minimalist PR effort while everyone else is going down, ventures forth for another rather rare public appearance tomorrow for a 10 AM speech at a statewide conference on realigning public safety efforts to the local level. At the Sacramento Convention Center with leading local and law enforcement officials. …
** NEW COLUMN COMING UP … 9/11 AT 10+: DID OSAMA BIN LADEN WIN AFTER ALL?
** CALIFORNIA 2012: REPUBLICAN STUMBLES ON REDISTRICTING. California’s troubled Republican Party, its ballyhooed presidential straw poll won over the weekend in Los Angeles by Ron Paul, is having trouble getting even its defensive act in gear.
Republicans benefited from a sort of incumbents protection act in the last gerrymandered redistricting a decade ago. While some backed Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s redistricting reform initiative in 2008, in part to avoid a big-time Democratic gerrymander in 2011, the hard partisans did not. They knew their best chance lay in cutting political deals, as was always done in the past. Which left them with slim chances.
While efforts to block the Citizens Redistricting Commission’s new state Senate districts have picked up a little steam, efforts to block the new Congressional districts are fizzling badly.
The effort to qualify a referendum on the state Senate districts has garnered about a half million dollars in contributions so far. Proponents need to gather just over half a million valid signatures by mid-November to qualify a referendum for the June statewide primary election. That means at least 700,000 signatures to be sure of having the necessary valid ones.
Meanwhile, the drive to place a referendum blocking the new congressional districts on the June ballot has apparently raised no money.
Republicans look to lose a significant number of seats in both the state Senate and Congress. But some important Republican incumbents, like House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy of Bakersfield, like their seats.
And the bigger factor is that there are limited amounts of funds available. Even losing half a dozen congressional seats in California might not affect affect the House Republican majority. If that goes, it’s because the party is in deep trouble nationwide.
But allowing Democrats to get to two-thirds in the state Senate — they are just two seats away now — would remove any further direct relevance for Republicans in California governance.
The party has defined its relevance around its no tax ever stance. So there they are.
There’s just one thing. If Governor Jerry Brown signs a bill passed at the last minute in the legislative session just past, there won’t be any referendum on the June ballot. That would defer to November.
** NEW POLL: STRONG BACKING FOR OBAMA’S MORE POPULIST APPROACH ON ECONOMY. President Barack Obama’s more populist tack on the economy gets thumbs up in a brand new Gallup Poll.
Big majorities favor his approach of raising taxes on the rich and closing corporate tax breaks.
By a 70-26 ratio, they favor ending some corporate tax breaks.
By a 66-32 ratio, they favor increasing taxes on individuals making more than $200,000 per year and families making more than $250,000 per year.
With such a sustained economic slowdown, and greatly increased gaps in wealth, it’s hardly a surprise.
In addition, voters favor virtually all of the elements in Obama’s American Jobs Act.
Hmm, you don’t think the White House had some advance polling on this, do you?
The only element in his plan which does not have big majority support is Social Security taxes for workers and employers. Which is odd in a sense because that will put money in people’s pockets.
Perhaps respondents didn’t understand that part of the question.
Obama laid out his proposals for the jobs bill in an address to Congress on Sept. 8, and sent the bill to Congress a few days later. Since then, the president has been pushing Congress to adopt the plan, although there are no signs yet as to when either House of Congress will begin to debate the bill.
The president also proposed raising taxes on wealthy Americans in his deficit-reduction proposal announced on Monday at the White House. Republican leaders have responded that this idea represents nothing more than “class warfare,” but the current data show that the majority of Americans generally favor increasing taxes on the rich as a way to increase revenue.
Slightly more than half of rank-and-file Republicans and Republican-leaning independents favor the idea of eliminating certain corporate tax deductions as a way to pay for a jobs creation bill. Forty-one percent of Republicans favor raising taxes on higher-income Americans. Democrats strongly favor both proposals for paying for the cost of the jobs bill. …
This is the second Gallup survey conducted in the last two weeks showing that the American public broadly supports Obama’s jobs plan. A majority of Americans interviewed this past weekend believe the plan would help at least a little to create jobs and improve the economy.
Many of the proposals embedded in the plan receive majority support, and Americans strongly endorse the idea of paying for the plan by raising taxes on higher-income individual taxpayers and by eliminating tax deductions for some corporations. While Republicans are considerably less positive about the potential efficacy of the plan than are Democrats, a majority of the former favor a number of Obama’s proposals, and also favor eliminating tax deductions for corporations to help fund the plan.
>>>>>>LIVE VIDEO NETCAST
At 11:15 AM Pacific, President Barack Obama speaks at the Open Government Partnership event in New York. The event will be netcast live here on New West Notes. You can mute the audio by clicking 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 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.
Don’t Ask/Don’t Tell is no more.
** OBAMA TODAY. President Barack Obama is in New York.
At 7:15 AM Pacific, Obama met with the Libyan Transitional National Council (TNC) Chairman, Mustafa Abdel Jalil at the United Nations Building.
At 7:30 AM Pacific, Obama attends a Libya Contact Group Meeting at the United Nations Building.
At 8:45 AM Pacific, Obama holds a bilateral meeting with President Hamid Karzai of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel.
At 8:55 AM Pacific, Obama meets with President Dilma Rousseff of Brazil at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel.
At 11:15 AM Pacific, Obama and President Dilma Rousseff join in a family photo with leaders attending the Open Government Partnership Event at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel.
At 11:25 AM Pacific, Obama attends the Open Government Partnership Event at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel.
At 11:30 AM Pacific, Obama attends a bilateral meeting with Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel.
At 5:20 PM Pacific, Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama attend a DNC Event at Gotham Hall.
The Don’t Ask/Don’t Tell policy on gays and lesbians in the US Armed Forces ended just after midnight today. The world has not ended.
In less uplifting news, the head of Afghanistan’s Peace Council, former Afghan President Burhanuddin Rabbani, was assassinated today in Kabul. Rabbani, who’d been making little progress, was charged with finding a compromise solution to the fighting in Afghanistan.
The former president’s assassination is yet another blow to the security situation in Afghanistan, coming just a week after a 20 hour-plus jihadist siege in central Kabul. Rabbani lived in the so-called green zone, a supposedly secured area.
With the Palestinians continuing their push for statehood at the United Nations, Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak arrived this morning for consultations at the Pentagon with Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, the veteran California political figure.
Better news for Obama on Libya. Rebel forces are making some progress in remaining Gaddafi regime enclaves, though the deposed dictator remains at large. But the real good news is in New York, where Obama enjoys something of a victory lap today with the new Libyan officials recognized, seated, and feted at the United Nations and in related forums such as the Libya Contact Group.
But Obama has only a brief respite from the geopolitical rapids, for the Palestinian question is very far from any resolution, and Palestinian leaders are pushing on to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s speech on Friday for statehood at the UN General Assembly.
Obama is monitoring a variety of other geopolitical crises, mostly related to the Arab awakening, 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 Northern California.
He has no scheduled public events as of this morning.
Brown is working his way through some 600 bills which he must decided upon by October 9th.
He has very good news today.
He is practically the only major politician in America whose job approval rating has actually improved.
According to a new Field Poll, Brown’s job approval rating is now at 49%, with disapproval at 32%.
That is a three-point rise since the last sounding.
It’s also in line with Brown’s own private polling, which recently had his job approval at 51% and disapproval at 29%.
Meanwhile, the supposed longtime most popular politician in California, Senator Dianne Feinstein, finds her job approval down, her inclined to re-elect number lower than her disinclined to re-elect number.
Of course, the Republicans would have to have a credible candidate to run against Feinstein. There is no such person.
There is a fly in the ointment for Brown, in the form of a Field Poll finding that most voters don’t like the automatic budget cut triggers in this current state budget. But the opposition seems based on confused reasons, which, to be utterly frank about it, is typical of voter attitudes toward fiscal matters.
And the poll doesn’t make something rather important clear; namely, that there are very disparate and contradictory reasons for the finding.
>>>>>>LIVE VIDEO NETCAST
At 9:15 AM Pacific, former Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger delivers an address on renewable energy and energy access for all at the United Nations in New York. The event is netcast live here on New West Notes. You can mute the audio by clicking on the pause button.
** FROM THE ARNOLD FILES. Former Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger is in New York today.
At 9:15 AM Pacific, Schwarzenegger addresses the United Nations Global Compact’s gathering on energy access for all, championing renewable energy and energy efficiency in the climate change struggle.
Schwarzenegger’s address will be netcast live on this United Nations network. Click on Channel 5.
Or you can watch it on the embedded UN feed above.
Schwarzenegger delivered a similar message in June at the UN’s energy forum in Vienna, where he helped kick off the UN’s new drive for universal energy access and sustainable energy for all.
Today in New York he will be addressing a crowd of heads of government and CEOs, governmental ministers and NGO officials.
** T2 AND ALIENS ANNIVERSARIES POINT UP THE PROBLEMS WITH TODAY’S ACTION MOVIES. After a summer of action films, many of them rather indifferent, it’s useful to consider two classic movies having their 20th and 25th anniversaries.
Terminator 2: Judgment Day came out in 1991; Aliens in 1986. Both directed by a guy best known in some circles for a movie about an old boat that sank and some other picture about a planet filled with nine-foot tall blue people, T2 and Aliens stand in very sharp contrast to latter-day action flicks.
T2 has a polish and, yes, a beauty that makes it appear timeless. Aliens, now 25 years old, looks rougher than that. But the movie is a flavorful mix of the creepshow suspense of the original Alien and the martial virtues of Robert Heinlein’s Starship Troopers, with an anti-corporatist twist and tremendous narrative drive.
What do each these movies have that the action movies of today generally don’t? … From my September 18th essay.
** OBAMA AND THE REPUBLICANS: TWO CONTRASTING NIGHTS. “You should pass it. I intend to take that message to every corner of the country.”
In his big economic speech to Congress, President Barack Obama made plain his intention to take a page from Harry Truman’s playbook and run against what he clearly sees as a reactionary, do-nothing Congress. Too bad for Obama he’s been so late in identifying that particular problem.
The night before, Obama got a bit more of a boost as Texas Governor Rick Perry held up pretty well in his first debate.
Fortunately for Obama’s cause, the Republicans have largely played their assigned parts, ignoring the evident post-partisanship of Obama’s proposals, reacting with the hyper-partisan rejectionism that has generally marked their behavior since his inauguration. … From my September 9th column.
** THE FARM WORKERS AND JERRY BROWN MAKE UP, FOR NOW. … From my September 7th column.
** JERRY BROWN FINDS POST-BUDGET FOCUS. … From my September 1st feature.
** WHY OBAMA WAS RIGHT ON LIBYA AND BIN LADEN AND WRONG ON AFGHANISTAN. … From my August 31st essay.
** OBAMA’S BIG DISCONNECT. … From my August 22nd column.
** OF “A THEORY THAT’S OUT THERE,” GOP STRAW POLLS, MARTHA’S VINEYARD VACATIONS, AND OTHER FOLLIES. … From my August 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.
You’ve heard of the Northern Lights, the Aurora Borealis. NASA has provided this spectacular footage from the International Space Station of “the Southern Lights,” the Aurora Australis over Australia from early September.
** 24/7 LIVE TV NEWS FEED FROM AL JAZEERA. With the US entangled in three wars in the region, and the Arab awakening 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.
** 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.
** 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 $87 per barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
This is up about $53 from the low of $34 per barrel prior to enactment of the Obama economic recovery program, reflecting a low point in global economic activity.
Your posts are welcome in the Forum. You can send me a private tip by clicking on the “Contact” button in the upper right.