In a town hall meeting today in Silicon Valley, President Barack Obama pressed his American Jobs Act proposal.
** QUICK HITS. With the latest Washington dysfunction surrounding a potential government shutdown over failure to fund emergency management activities after multiple disasters looking especially preposterous, the U.S. Senate tonight voted 72-19 for a bipartisan compromise measure. … New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, touted once again as the latest Republican presidential hope, speaks Tuesday at 6 PM Pacific at the Reagan Library on “transformative leadership and American exceptionalism.” The event will be netcast live on NWN. … Governor Jerry Brown announced today that he has formally asked the California Public Utilities Commission to use its regulatory authority to replicate much of the so-called public goods charge under which utilities paid $400 million per year to fund renewable energy programs. Brown and legislative leaders are criticized by some environmentalists for a late-developing drive during this year’s session to extend the program through normal legislation. … Brown is holding a jobs-oriented event tomorrow morning at the LA Convention Center. More to follow.
** NEW POLL: AMERICANS AT OR NEAR HISTORIC LOWS IN VIEWS TOWARD GOVERNMENT. A new Gallup Poll survey indicates that popular dissatisfaction with governance is at stratospheric levels.
This is due to the country’s undoubted problems.
It is also due to the split power structure in Washington, which blocks movement in either direction.
And it is due to the heightened partisanship and mutual hatreds of the era. Each side is free to blame the other, and thus the divided government, without accepting any responsibility.
A record-high 81% of Americans are dissatisfied with the way the country is being governed, adding to negativity that has been building over the past 10 years. …
Majorities of Democrats (65%) and Republicans (92%) are dissatisfied with the nation’s governance. This perhaps reflects the shared political power arrangement in the nation’s capital, with Democrats controlling the White House and U.S. Senate, and Republicans controlling the House of Representatives. Partisans on both sides can thus find fault with government without necessarily blaming their own party. …
* 82% of Americans disapprove of the way Congress is handling its job.
* 69% say they have little or no confidence in the legislative branch of government, an all-time high and up from 63% in 2010.
* 57% have little or no confidence in the federal government to solve domestic problems, exceeding the previous high of 53% recorded in 2010 and well exceeding the 43% who have little or no confidence in the government to solve international problems.
* 53% have little or no confidence in the men and women who seek or hold elected office.
Americans believe, on average, that the federal government wastes 51 cents of every tax dollar, similar to a year ago, but up significantly from 46 cents a decade ago and from an average 43 cents three decades ago.
* 49% of Americans believe the federal government has become so large and powerful that it poses an immediate threat to the rights and freedoms of ordinary citizens. In 2003, less than a third (30%) believed this. …
>>>>>>LIVE VIDEO NETCAST
At 11 AM Pacific, President Barack Obama takes part in a town hall meeting sponsored by LinkedIn at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, California. The event 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.
In the latest stunning security breach, an Afghan employee shot one one American CIA officer to death and wounded another last night at the CIA station in Kabul before being killed himself.
MONDAY MORNING QUARTERBACK.
An intriguing week on tap in presidential politics, and a relatively quiet one in California politics.
Fresh from spending much of last week at the United Nations in New York, where he was alternately uplifted (Libya) and embarrassed (Israel/Palestine, AfPak), President Barack Obama is in campaign mode much of this week across the West. Back in Washington, another government shutdown, at least of a sort, looms again with Republicans refusing to fund emergency management efforts in the wake of recent disasters. (And, yes, it’s just as strange an experience to type that as it is for you to read it.) Freshman New Jersey Governor Chris Christie comes under renewed pressure from some Republicans to jump into the presidential race, which I think would be a big mistake for his future.
Obama also deals with many geopolitical repercussions, not the least of them from the Palestinians’ insistence on pursuing their statehood ambitions at the UN after failed negotiations.
In California politics, a somewhat disgruntled Governor Jerry Brown continues digging through the hundreds of bills on his real and metaphorical desk. He’s reading bills himself, which is something certain to prompt thoughts of a part-time legislature. He has till October 9th to decide the fate of these bills, the vast majority of which have nothing to do with the core concerns of governance which prompted Brown’s return to the governorship.
Palestinian leaders defied pressure from the US last week and formally applied for full membership in the United Nations. The UN Security Council will begin taking up the matter this week, with many possibilities for resolution as the Middle East Quartet powers (US, EU, UN, Russia) announced an accelerated negotiation timeline which may or may not be relevant.
But that negotiation is to run on a separate track. If in fact it runs at all. It hasn’t for quite some time.
As for the UN application, Palestinians leaders said that they will give the UN Security Council two weeks to act on it. The US and others would prefer a much slower walk than that.
The fast-emerging BRIC powers — Brazil, Russia, India, China — all back the Palestinian play at the UN. But the US is lobbying other nations on the Security Council furiously, hoping to avert the Palestinians gaining the needed nine of the 15 Security Council votes for approval without a veto. Because the US desperately wants to avoid having to use its veto power to back Israel once again.
If the Palestinians lose at the Security Council, they have several other options. They can go to the UN General Assembly and seek a two-thirds vote to gain full membership on grounds of supposed gross human rights violations. Or they can go to the General Assembly and, on a majority vote, become a non-member state with permanent observer status like the Vatican — the Palestinians are currently an observer mission — which affords them membership in some UN agencies and the ability to become parties to important global treaties with leverage over relations with Israel.
This latter is the compromise position being pushed by French President Nicolas Sarkozy, who increasingly is taking on the role of broker in regard to the Arab world with the Obama Administration forced into backing Israel rather playing a mediating role.
With this, and the overthrow of longtime Libyan dictator Moammar Gaddafi, Sarkozy would seem to be on an upswing. But he’s still in trouble in the polls in France, where he faces re-election next year, and in fact the Socialists won Sunday’s election for the French Senate. But it’s unclear how strong a presidential candidate they will have, former International Monetary Fund chief Dominique Straus Kahn having been rendered too controversial as a result of ultimately dropped rape charges brought against him by a New York prosecutor.
Speaking of the BRICs, in what should have been a surprise to no one, Vladimir Putin and Dmitri Medvedev today announced in Moscow that they will switch jobs in next year’s Russian national elections.
President Medvedev, a personal friend of Obama, will defer to his former boss the former president with regard to the presidency, moving over to the prime minister post that Putin currently holds.
Putin, who is not a personal friend of Obama — he pointedly delayed Obama’s big speech last year in Moscow after forcing the president to travel out to his dacha and detaining him in lengthy conversation — will, absent the upset of all time, return to the presidency next year. This will enable him to preside over the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, where Putin has a huge estate.
It will also enable him to unleash more of his rather waspish view of the US on the global stage. Putin is driving the Russian bid to open up the Arctic to petrochemical development as the greenhouse effect increases and the ice cap recedes.
Russia, of course, is one of the world’s greatest powers in oil and natural gas and a competitor of the US in the aerospace and arms businesses. It also has an improved relationship with the US.
But much of the tone of that is due to Medvedev. If the US continues to flounder, Putin won’t hesitate much to take advantage.
Meanwhile, Libyan rebel forces have secured most of the small desert towns, including the city of Sabha, which had remained in the hands of diehard Gaddafi regime loyalists. On Saturday, they pushed into the center of Gaddafi’s home town of Sirte. But on Sunday, facing fierce resistance, they pulled back. They’re back again on Monday, having benefited from NATO air strikes overnight.
The whereabouts of the deposed dictator remain unclear.
The Arab awakening continues to run into fierce, though less violent, opposition elsewhere.
In Yemen, where there has been major fighting, President Ali Abdullah Saleh surprised US officials by returning at the end of last week from Saudi Arabia, where he had been convalescing for the past three months following an assassination attempt that killed a dozen of his advisors and bodyguards. The Saudis apparently didn’t tell the US that Saleh was returning, something which came as a bad surprise. Riyadh, which has tried to broker Saleh’s departure, is unhappy with the US for opposing UN recognition of Palestine.
Not that the Saudis, who alternately bought off potential opposition and cracked down on it, aren’t doing their own part for democracy. Women will be allowed to vote for the first time. In four year, that is. Still no word on whether they will be allowed to drive.
In Bahrain, where the ruling Sunni monarchy cracked down hard on pro-democracy reformers, mostly Shia in the island nation that hosts the US Navy’s 5th Fleet, weekend elections to replace parliamentarians who resigned in protest largely fizzled due to poor turnout.
And there’s more bad news from Afghanistan, where an Afghan employee working in the CIA station in the capital city Kabul shot one American CIA officer to death and wounded another before himself being shot to death.
Meanwhile, the long vaunted Florida Republican Straw Poll on Saturday saw former pizza mogul Herman Cain win, with frontrunning Texas Governor Rick Perry second.
This follows a California GOP convention straw poll win by Ron Paul. And of course Michele Bachmann’s supposedly big win in the Iowa straw poll.
Remember how I trashed straw polls a few months ago as ridiculous exercises hyped by the media?
Rick Perry hasn’t done very well in his three quick debate to date. But he hasn’t done as badly as some over-analyzing types suggest.
And Mitt Romney, oddly, continues to draw little fire, allowing him to win the debates. For whatever that is worth, since John Edwards won most of the debates in the 2008 Democratic presidential contest.
Not that Romney is actually benefiting measurably. Perry leads in all national polls. And he leads in all the early contest states, except for New Hampshire, where Romney has a home.
So there is renewed chatter about Chris Christie. I don’t see it. Speaking of not seeing it, there’s this unintentionally amusing misreading of Yeats by Christie cheerleader Bill (I’m not an intellectual but I play one on TV) Kristol. Yikes, indeed.
Here’s what Obama’s week looks like.
On Monday, Obama will participate in “Putting America Back to Work: LinkedIn Presents a Town Hall with President Obama” in Mountain View, California. In the afternoon, Obama will travel to San Diego to attend a DNC event. Later in the afternoon, Obama will travel to Los Angeles, California to attend two DNC events.
On Tuesday, Obama will travel to Denver, Colorado where he will visit Abraham Lincoln High School to highlight his American Jobs Act proposal to put workers back on the job by rebuilding and modernizing schools across the country. The American Jobs Act proposes a $25 billion investment in school infrastructure that will modernize at least 35,000 public schools. Obama will return to Washington late that night.
On Wednesday, Obama will deliver his third annual Back-to-School Speech at Benjamin Banneker Academic High School in Washington.
On Thursday, Obama will follow his usual practice of keeping things loose to deal with emerging events. He will attend meetings at the White House.
On Friday, Obama will deliver remarks at the “Change of Office” Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff ceremony at Fort Myer. And on Saturday, Obama will deliver remarks at the pro-gay and lesbian rights Human Rights Campaign’s 15th Annual National Dinner in Washington.
In his Saturday night address to what he called “the conscience of the Congress” during an appearance at the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation’s annual awards dinner, President Barack Obama called on Democrats to get off the sidelines and get engaged.
** OBAMA TODAY. President Barack Obama is in California.
At 11 AM Pacific, Obama participates in a LinkedIn Town Hall Meeting at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View. Mountain View is in Silicon Valley and has — well, how to put this? — not much in the way of a mountain view.
The event will be netcast live here on New West Notes. You can mute the audio by clicking on the pause button.
At 12:25 PM Pacific, Obama departs Mountain View on Air Force One en route San Diego.
At 1:40 PM Pacific, Obama arrives in San Diego.
At 3 PM Pacific, Obama delivers remarks at a campaign event at a private residence in San Diego.
At 4 PM Pacific, Obama departs San Diego on Air Force One en route Los Angeles.
At 4:40 PM Pacific, Obama arrives in Los Angeles.
At 6:20 PM Pacific, Obama delivers remarks at a campaign event at the House of Blues in West Hollywood.
At 8:20 PM Pacific, Obama delivers remarks at a campaign event at a private residence.
Obama is monitoring a variety of 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.
** JERRY BROWN SCHEDULE UPDATE: In an announcement made shortly before noon, it emerged that Governor Jerry Brown is meeting today with Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan at a luncheon hosted by Los Angeles City Councilmember Paul Krekorian at Los Angeles City Hall.
At 2 PM, Brown will meet with the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors at the Kenneth Hahn Hall of Administration to discuss realignment issues.
** 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 decide upon by October 9th.
** MEG WHITMAN TO RUN CALIFORNIA (ICON)! The 2010 Republican nominee for governor of California is back. And apparently out of her leading role in her mentor Mitt Romney’s formerly frontrunning campaign for the Republican presidential nomination. She won’t be running California, but she will be running a California icon.
Months after losing in a landslide to Governor Jerry Brown, billionaire Meg Whitman is back at the helm of a big Silicon Valley company. The former eBay CEO, who waged the biggest-spending non-presidential campaign in American history last year, only to be crushed by Brown, 54% to 41%, joined the board of Silicon Valley icon Hewlett-Packard in January. And today, with the HP board firing its third CEO in six years — a spate which began with Carly Fiorina, who also lost in a landslide last year in her bid against Senator Barbara Boxer — Whitman became the CEO of the Palo Alto-based firm founded by high tech legends David Packard and William Hewlett.
If she’s not simply an interim choice, and nothing emanating from HP is indicating that now, Whitman seems an odd choice. … From my September 22nd column.
** 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. … 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.
** 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.
China is about to launch its most massive rocket yet this week and to place The Heavenly Palace, an experimental unmanned spacecraft, into orbit. The module will form the basis for China’s own space station, and will joined by two more modules in the coming years. Analysts say the space station could be operational by the year 2020.
** 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 $80 per barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
This is up about $46 from the low of $34 per barrel prior to enactment of the Obama economic recovery program, reflecting a low point in global economic activity, and down $34 from the price at the time of the Osama bin Laden raid.
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