Reaction is pouring in from around the world to the death of Moammar Gaddafi.
** QUICK HITS. How exactly did Moammar Gaddafi die? It’s not clear. I saw footage of him earlier today in which the captured dictator looked battered but hardly terminal. Not long after, he was dead. How did it happen? Gaddafi was “caught in a cross-fire,” a Libyan rebel spokesman told Al Jazeera. … Governor Jerry Brown announced today that the sale of $1.8 billion in bonds, much of it infrastructure projects from the Schwarzenegger Administration, will act as a “homegrown economic stimulus.” … For his part, Schwarzenegger, now filming The Last Stand in New Mexico, hailed the California Air Resources Board’s adoption of the final version of the cap and trade rules for the state’s greenhouse gas emissions reduction program. “As I said both when we signed the legislation in 2006, and when we fought to protect it last year when Texas oil companies attempted to overturn it with Proposition 23, the most critical phase in the fight against climate change is diligently, aggressively, and correctly implementing this law. I have always believed that we can create a world where economic growth, energy independence, and environmental protection are all achieved.”
** NEW COLUMN COMING UP … STEVE JOBS: NOT A PERFECT PERSON, PERHAPS A PERFECT ICON.
** SIGNS: JERRY BROWN AFTER A DISAPPOINTING LEGISLATIVE YEAR. After a rather disappointing legislative year, Governor Jerry Brown is looking ahead to 2012. Brown and his appointees are digging into future economic and energy policy, the prospects for major water and high-speed rail projects, the possibility of mid-course cuts in the current state budget, and the 2012 elections.
The central disappointment, of course, is that Brown got only half his grand compromise to solve California’s chronic state budget crisis. He got big cuts through early on, but couldn’t get four Republican legislators to go along with even allowing the public to vote on tax extensions. From then on, Brown dealt with a dysfunctional legislature, which did little on the state’s slow-to-recover economy, focusing in many instances on far less relevant bills. …
When Brown, whom I’ve known for decades, finished going through hundreds of bills on other matters earlier this month, his decisions caused a degree of consternation, feigned or otherwise, among observers used to knee-jerk orthodoxies of left and right. Brown was said to be inscrutable. Which was strictly non-serious.
As I put it on my New West Notes blog, “Jerry is a mystery for people who aren’t into mysteries.”
Two days later, Los Angeles Times columnist George Skelton — who not only covered Brown during his first go-round as governor but also covered his dad — chimed in, saying: “Jerry Brown is not a mystery. He’s a moderate.”
Well, in a way. But not really. Brown is more a pragmatic iconoclast who wants California as much on the edge of futuristic change as possible. He wants a healthy public sector but not an ever-expanding public sector. He wants strong labor protections without labor running the show. He wants a dynamic and innovative entrepreneurial sector while reining in capitalism’s excesses. He wants strong environmental protections — and especially a new energy economy based on renewables and efficiency — without choking off business. He’s a hopeful skeptic.
Not that he’s doing much to provide a narrative for what he’s about. …
Appearing in the White House Rose Garden, President Barack Obama discussed the death today of deposed Libyan dictator Moammar Gaddafi.
** NEW POLL: CHRISTMAS SPENDING FORECAST AT SAME LEVEL AS LAST YEAR. While there are some signs of improvement in the employment picture, a new Gallup Poll survey indicates that holiday spending will be at the same levels this year as last.
That’s better than the situation at the depths of the recession, but not a sign that consumers are getting off the fence to drive recovery. Of course, investors haven’t done that, either. As people hold back, stasis continues.
But respondents may simply be conservative in their estimation of relative spending, as they apparently have been historically.
Americans forecast they will spend $712 on Christmas gifts this year, nearly identical to the $715 they estimated they would spend on Christmas at this time last year. …
More specifically, about one-quarter of Americans plan to spend at least $1,000 on gifts, another quarter say they will spend between $500 and $999, and about one-third will spend between $100 and $499. Very few plan to spend less than $100 while 14% are unsure. …
As can be seen in Gallup’s full trend for the comparative spending question (see pdf at the end of this report), Americans almost always answer this question conservatively. The only exceptions have come in particularly robust economic years (such as 1998 through 2000), when the “spend more” and “spend less” percentages were about equal. In most measures, historically, the majority of Americans have said they will spend about the same on gifts as they did the year before.
U.S. holiday retail spending rebounded somewhat in 2010 after three years of highly anemic sales. Thus, if consumers’ 2011 Christmas spending intentions remain at 2010 levels, 2011 holiday retail spending could be flat, although at a modestly improved level over 2008 to 2009.
Consumer spending showed significant year-to-year growth in June and July, according to government retail sales data. However, Americans’ economic confidence has since slumped to nearly match the extreme lows seen after the Wall Street financial crisis in 2008. Whether that will translate into restrained holiday spending remains to be seen, but Gallup Daily tracking already detects some belt-tightening in Americans’ routine discretionary spending. Gallup will measure Americans’ Christmas spending intentions again in November.
>>>>>>LIVE VIDEO NETCAST
At 11 AM Pacific, President Barack Obama delivers remarks in the Rose Garden on the death of deposed Libyan dictator Moammar Gaddafi. At 11:20 AM Pacific, White House press secretary Jay Carney delivers a briefing. Both events 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.
Deposed Libyan dictator Moammar Gaddafi was killed this morning while trying to escape from his home town of Sirte.
** OBAMA TODAY. President Barack Obama is in Washington.
Obama has received the daily intelligence and economic briefings and met with senior advisors in the Oval Office.
UPDATE: At 11 AM Pacific in the Rose Garden, Obama will deliver remarks on the death of Moammar Gaddafi.
The event will be netcast live here on New West Notes.
At 9:30 AM Pacific, White House press secretary Jay Carney delivers a briefing in the James S. Brady Briefing Room.
The event will be netcast live here on New West Notes.
UPDATE: Carney’s media briefing has been rescheduled to 11:20 AM Pacific.
At 11 AM Pacific, Obama welcomes the 13 recipients of the 2011 Presidential Citizens Medal to a ceremony in the East Room.
Obama will likely comment on the death of Moammar Gaddafi.
The event will be netcast live here on New West Notes.
At 1:10 PM Pacific, Obama holds a bilateral meeting with Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg of Norway in the Oval Office.
Deposed Libyan dictator Moammar Gaddafi was killed today in Sirte, his home town.
Gaddafi had been holed up in the last stand quadrant of resistance inside the city which has been besieged by Libyan rebels for weeks. This morning he and some close associates decided to make a run for it. Their convoy of vehicles was hit by a NATO air strike.
The air strike reportedly did not kill the colonel who seized power 42 years ago. He was found hiding in a storm drain by Libyan rebel fighters.
Gaddafi died in an ambulance on the way to Misurata, victim of several gunshot wounds as you can see in the video above.
Gaddafi’s death marks the end of any serious potential resistance from his remaining loyalists.
This is all a tremendous vindication of the Obama Administration’s strategy on Libya. US intervention proved to be utterly crucial, but did not turn into a US operation.
The entire military operation has cost the US less than $2 billion. There were no American casualties, either killed or wounded.
Contrast that to Iraq.
Turkish troops today launched a major ground offensive into northern Iraq after attacks from Kurdish separatists based there killed at least 26 Turkish soldiers, the worst loss of life by Turkish forces in decades.
This of course is a major blow to Iraqi sovereignty, but there is little that the Iraqi government — which has failed to reign in Kurdish guerrillas based there — can do about it.
Once US forces withdraw, we can expect even greater Iranian involvement throughout the country — the parliament is already tilted toward Iran, and has denied US troops any future ability to avoid trial in Iraqi courts — and Turkish involvement in northern Iraq to quell Kurdish separatist activity.
As Turks denounce the killings of dozens of their soldiers by Kurdish separatist guerrillas based inside Iraq, the Turkish Army has launched a large-scale ground offensive into northern Iraq.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is in Afghanistan today, trying to get Afghan leaders to renew peace contacts with the Taliban. These ended after last month’s dramatic assassination of the former Afghan president in charge of the peace process.
The Obama strategy in Afghanistan was, in my term for it, escalate to negotiate. The escalation happened, but the negotiation has languished as the Taliban found they could withstand the military pressure from the US and its allies and thoroughly disrupt the nascent Afghan government.
As it teeters on the brink of financial collapse, Greece is in the second day of a growing general strike against austerity policies demanded for bailout.
While the Eurozone is in crisis, Obama received some good economic news here at home, with unemployment claims at their lowest level since April.
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.
The California Air Resources Board meets today and is expected to approve a cap and trade system on greenhouse gas emissions pushed by Brown’s predecessor, former Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.
** AFGHAN WAR AT 10, 9/11 AT 10+: DID OSAMA BIN WIN AFTER ALL? It’s 10 years since our Afghan War began, and ten-plus years since 9/11.
Most Americans, according to two new polls, don’t think we should be doing what we’re doing in Afghanistan, or that the war effort has been worth it. Every week, there are major fiascoes in Afghanistan. But Osama bin Laden has found his eternal rest far beneath the surface of the Arabian Sea, courtesy of the U.S. Navy SEALs. So bin Laden still lost, right?
Yes. And no. Mostly no. … From my October 7th essay.
** CALIFORNIA’S WILD RIDE: OF ARNOLD, JERRY, AND VANITIES FAIR (AND OTHERWISE). It’s nine months since Jerry Brown’s inauguration as governor. After a big early flurry of activity around big state budget cuts, Brown has proceeded more slowly, his new/renewed tenure as California’s second three-term governor beset by the same forces of dysfunctionality that marked the governorship of predecessor Arnold Schwarzenegger. … From my October 4th essay.
** MAD MEN‘S FEAT. … From my September 28th essay.
** MEG WHITMAN TO RUN CALIFORNIA (ICON)! … From my September 22nd column.
** T2 AND ALIENS ANNIVERSARIES POINT UP THE PROBLEMS WITH TODAY’S ACTION MOVIES. … From my September 18th essay.
** OBAMA AND THE REPUBLICANS: TWO CONTRASTING NIGHTS. … From my September 9th 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.
** PAN AMERICAN GAMES LIVE. The Pan American Games, bringing together athletes from 41 nations across North, Central, and South America and the Caribbean contesting in 36 sports, have their opening ceremony tonight in Guadalajara, Mexico. The Pan Ams run until October 30th.
You can watch the action on ESPN Deportes.
** 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 $85 per barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
This is up about $51 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 $29 from the price at the time of the Osama bin Laden raid.
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