In its latest bid to boost a dreary economy, the Federal Reserve says it will sell $400 billion of its shorter-term securities to buy longer-term holdings.
** QUICK HITS. Still no resolution of the Palestinian question tonight at the UN following a multiplicity of meetings, including separate one-on-one sessions between President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. This may be heading, as I’ve been suggesting, toward a compromise with Palestine recognized as a non-member state, a move with real geopolitical complications. … Governor Jerry Brown, who signed and vetoed some bills today, along with speaking at conference on public safety realignment, speaks late tomorrow morning in Fresno at a renewable energy event. Brown has been doing more public events of late, after playing a virtually exclusively inside game for most of the early period of his new/renewed governorship. …
** JERRY-RIGGING: A FEW MOVES HEADING INTO 2012. Governor Jerry Brown made a speech this morning in Sacramento, had an article published about him in the New York Times, and saw a poll with relevance to next year’s elections.
These disparate strands may all be connected.
In it, Brown tells former Times chief political writer Adam Nagourney, since moved to the mysterious wonderland west from the Big Apple, that he is amazed by how conservative and hyper-partisan legislative Republicans have become.
You know, I may have noticed that once or twice myself over the years.
Old Brown friends Jodie Evans, Brown’s 1992 presidential campaign manger, and Tom Quinn, his original gubernatorial campaign manager, talk about how taken aback Brown has been.
Well, I can tell you that he has been taken aback. But is he still surprised? I mean, since finding his grand bargain of big budget cuts balanced by tax extensions blocked by knee-jerk Republican opposition last spring?
Also of some note this morning is the latest offering from the Field Poll, which continues to dribble out. In it we learn that most voters, including Republicans, support what looks like a power grab move in the form of late-breaking legislation now pending on Brown’s desk to move all statewide initiatives to the November ballot.
This would end the practice, enshrined for decades and endorsed by Brown in the ’70s in his role as secretary of state (running California’s elections), of placing initiatives and referenda on the statewide primary ballot as well as the statewide general election ballot. On the grounds that the statewide primary is not a “general election.”
Brown can solve a number of political problems by signing that bill. But it would be a reversal of his past position to do so.
However, if Republicans are simply, and shockingly, transformed into dyed-in-the-wool intransigents, why not?
There is a good government argument to be made for signing the bill. Many more people vote in November than vote in June.
And there is a good government argument to be made for vetoing the bill. Voters are already confused by initiatives and their particulars. Putting too many on one ballot will lead to even less informed decision-making.
In case anyone is interested in the good government aspects of the issue.
Brown continued looking ahead to 2012 with his speech this morning to 500 or so local government and law enforcement officials at the Sacramento Convention Center. The occasion was a conference on the realignment of public safety, which among other things means principally that state inmates will become local inmates. That’s going to require funding moving forward.
“I’m not leaving Sacramento until we get a constitutional guarantee to protect law enforcement and the whole realignment process,” Brown declared. “We will do whatever it takes to get the constitutional protection because public safety is the number one responsibility of government. I recognize that and I want to work with you to achieve it.”
Translation: This will be part of Brown’s emerging initiative agenda next year.
** NEW POLL: A SOMBER VIEW OF THE ECONOMY — LOWERING EXPECTATIONS. A new Gallup Poll contains a very somber view of the economy.
It looks like a time of lowered expectations, to borrow a phrase from a certain former governor-turned-yadayadayada-turned governor once put it.
Most think the economy will be no better in a year, and may be worse.
Intriguingly, most Americans think the economy never actually recovered from the Bush/Cheney recession.
Which is false, but which also contains an opportunity for President Barack Obama, if you think about it.
With this perspective, we’re still trying to recover from the deep recession which started under George W. Bush and Dick Cheney.
Three in four Americans assess the U.S. economy as no better than a year ago, with 35% saying it is about the same and 42% saying it is worse. Looking ahead to a year from now, Americans remain largely pessimistic, with 61% expecting economic conditions to be similar to now, or worse. …
Gallup has asked Americans to predict the course of the economy a year ahead in the late summer or early fall of 2009, 2010, and 2011. Americans were generally optimistic about improvement in 2009 — with 65% believing the economy would be better, if not fully recovered, a year out. Each succeeding year, Americans have become less likely to expect conditions to improve, with 37% in 2011 believing the economy will be better a year from now. …
These views appear to be colored by politics. Democrats are most likely among key subgroups to believe the economy will improve in the next year, with 59% saying so. That compares with 28% of Republicans and 27% of independents. More Republicans and independents expect the economy not to change in the next year than to get worse. …
Optimism about an economic recovery has declined at least marginally among all party groups in each of the last three years. In 2009, at least half of all three party groups thought the economy would improve in the year ahead. …
Although the last U.S. recession officially ended in 2009, the poll finds 80% of Americans believing the economy is currently in a recession, similar to what Gallup measured in each of the previous three years. …
The lack of consistent economic progress since 2009 has dashed Americans’ optimism that things will get better in the near future. Just over a third of Americans expect the economy to be better a year from now. With the economy and unemployment firmly atop Americans’ list of the most important problem facing the United States, both the health of the overall economy and Americans’ perceptions of its health have obvious implications for President Obama as he seeks re-election next year. His jobs plan, which Americans generally support, is perhaps his most important step in trying to improve the economy. To be successful, it must not only move the needle on official economic statistics, but also re-instill confidence in Americans that the economy is getting better and will continue to do so.
>>>>>>LIVE VIDEO NETCAST
At 11:45 AM Pacific, President Barack Obama addresses the Clinton Global Initiative 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.
President Barack Obama addressed the United Nations early this morning, saying little if anything that is new.
** NEW COLUMN COMING UP … 9/11 AT 10+: DID OSAMA BIN LADEN WIN AFTER ALL?
** OBAMA TODAY. President Barack Obama is in New York.
At 7 AM Pacific, he addressed the United Nations General Assembly at the United Nations Building.
At 8 AM Pacific, he held a bilateral meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel at the United Nations Building.
At 9:25 AM Pacific, he holds a bilateral meeting with Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda of Japan at the United Nations Building.
At 10 AM Pacific, he meets with Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser, President of the United Nations General Assembly and ambassador of Qatar at the United Nations Building.
At 10:05 AM Pacific, he meets with United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon at the United Nations Building.
At 10:20 AM Pacific, he attends a luncheon hosted by United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon at the United Nations Building.
At 11:45 AM Pacific, he delivers remarks at the Clinton Global Initiative at the Sheraton New York Hotel and Towers.
Obama’s speech will be netcast live here on New West Notes.
At 12:45 PM Pacific, he holds a bilateral meeting with Prime Minister David Cameron of the United Kingdom at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel.
At 1:45 PM Pacific, he holds a bilateral meeting with President Nicolas Sarkozy of the French Republic at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel.
At 2:35 PM Pacific, he meets with President Salva Kiir Mayardit of South Sudan at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel.
At 2:55 PM Pacific, he meets with President Mahmoud Abbas of the Palestinian Authority at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel.
At 4:05 PM Pacific, Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama attend the United Nations General Assembly Reception at the New York Public Library.
At 6:45 PM Pacific, the Obamas depart New York on Air Force One en route Andrews Air Force Base.
At 7:40 PM Pacific, the Obamas arrive at Andrews Air Force Base, where they board Marine One.
At 7:55 PM Pacific, the Obamas land on the South Lawn of the White House.
There is a tremendous scramble underway around Palestinian statehood, with the US, Israel, Britain, and France all trying to stave off the need for a US veto in the UN Security Council. The Palestinians say that tremendous pressure is being applied against them.
But it may be that the US and allies other than Israel will end up behind a compromise that is actually a huge advance for the Palestinians; i.e., the non-member state UN status previously discussed here on NWN. This would elevate the Palestinians to signatories of various international treaties which can be extremely complicating for ongoing Israeli sway over the territories.
In other tumultuous news, yesterday’s assassination in Kabul of the head of Afghanistan’s Peace Council, former Afghan President Burhanuddin Rabbani, is having tremendous reverberations. 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.
Frustrated US officials are again attempting to blame Pakistan for the latest Afghan disaster, saying that it harbors the Haqqani network, a Taliban affiliate which may or may not have had anything to do with the assassination.
Better news for Obama on Libya. Rebel forces are making some progress in remaining Gaddafi regime enclaves, though the deposed dictator remains at large.
Libyan rebels took the erstwhile Gaddafi regime stronghold of Sabha today after very limited fighting.
And the UN came together yesterday behind the Libyan rebels, with widespread acclaim for Obama’s call for ongoing support.
But it was a very short victory lap for Obama with more immediately pressing crises.
On Israel and Palestine, the new Republican presidential frontrunner, Texas Governor Rick Perry, shrewdly ventured to New York to hoist himself onto the same stage with the president, avoiding in the process the lingering controversy within his primary race around Social Security.
Perry, who met privately, I’m told, various backers of Israel including some surprising people, attacked Obama as an “appeaser” for being insufficiently supportive of Israel. Obama, he opined, is responsible for the crisis with the Palestinians, if not the entire wave of unrest sweeping the Arab world.
The Israeli government, in Perry’s formulation, easily the most right-wing in the country’s history, must be backed to the hilt no matter what. Perry made these remarks while appearing with an Israeli parliamentarian who is the head of World Likud, the international arm of the conservative Likud Party, which received 729,000 votes in the Israeli national elections. World Likud works closely with far right commentator Glenn Beck.
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.
Those wacky UC Berkeley alums who wandered across the border between Iraq and Iran in 2009 were finally released today in Tehran, after $1 million in “bail” was deposited.
** FROM THE JERRY FILES. Governor Jerry Brown is in Sacramento.
Brown is working his way through some 600 bills which he must decide upon by October 9th.
At 10 AM, he speaks at the Sacramento Convention Center at a one-day conference on programs and strategies for implementing public safety realignment in California.
The conference is just in advance of the October 1st rollout of public safety realignment.
** 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.
** 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.