President Barack Obama announced new steps for some mortgage relief today in Las Vegas, where home values have fallen by more than 50% over the past five years.
** QUICK HITS. Libya’s new leaders say they will bury deposed dictator Moammar Gaddafi tomorrow in an unmarked desert grave to avoid his grave becoming any sort of shrine. Gaddafi’s notably decaying and stinking corpse is finally being removed from public viewing in Misurata, which suffered for months under bombardment by Gaddafi regime forces. … The BBC is just reporting that a relatively moderate Islamist party has finished a clear first in Sunday’s vote in Tunisia, where the Arab awakening began. The once banned Ennahda party is gaining a strong plurality and will seek to form a coalition government. … President Barack Obama pulled 300 contributors to a fundraiser today at the Bellagio casino in Las Vegas, paying between $1000 and $35,800 per person. Obama also pipped Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell for last week blocking what he called a “bail-out” in the form of funding for teachers and public safety employees. … The California Republican Party has given another $300,000 to the referendum drive to suspend the Citizen Redistricting Commission’s new state Senate districts. But where is the money really coming from? The state party has no money.
** NEW POLL: DEMOCRATIC AND REPUBLICAN VOTERS DIAMETRICALLY OPPOSED ON HOW TO CREATE JOBS. Democrats and Republicans alike say they want to create more jobs. But party members differ dramatically on how to do that.
Democrats want to invest in infrastructure. Republicans want to cut taxes again and reduce regulations.
Both say they want to stop moving manufacturing jobs overseas. But neither group is clear on how to go about that.
Ironically, stopping the outsourcing/off-shoring of manufacturing probably entails more regulation, not less, despite the fact that it is apparently the top Republican priority on job creation.
The top recommendation among Republicans and Republican-leaning independents is keeping manufacturing jobs in the U.S., followed by less government involvement and lower taxes. Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents’ top recommendation is spending more on infrastructure jobs, and then keeping manufacturing jobs in the U.S.
Republicans and Democrats in roughly equal numbers mention doing more to help small businesses, raising taxes on imports, improving education, and hiring Americans rather than illegal immigrants as ways to create more jobs. …
Americans’ most frequently offered recommendation on how to create more jobs — as it has been each of the three times Gallup has asked this question — is to focus on keeping manufacturing jobs in the U.S. rather than exporting them overseas.
Americans also prioritize creating more infrastructure work, reducing government involvement in the business world (including less regulation), lowering taxes, helping small businesses, and putting higher taxes on imported goods. Over the last two years, Americans have become somewhat more likely to mention reduced government regulation in response to the “create more jobs” question, and slightly less likely to mention helping small businesses. …
>>>>>>LIVE VIDEO NETCAST
At 2:30 PM Pacific, President Barack Obama speaks about the economy in Las Vegas, Nevada. 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.
The Libyan rebel leadership declared the liberation of their nation yesterday in a celebration in Benghazi.
** NEW COLUMN COMING UP … STEVE JOBS: HARDLY A PERFECT PERSON, PERHAPS A PERFECT ICON.
MONDAY MORNING QUARTERBACK.
Another big week in presidential politics on tap, and a week of intrigue in California politics, as we await the possible unveiling of potential statewide initiatives.
Obama is back on the road Monday for another three-day swing, this time in the West. He will hit Nevada (a key swing state, with a big Vegas fundraiser), California (his top finance state, where he will have fundraisers in Los Angeles and San Francisco and also appear on The Tonight Show), and Colorado (another key swing state, with a big Denver fundraiser).
The Republican presidential candidates are sliding toward the flat tax, and its siren song ever attractive to conservatives. But even Jerry Brown in his 1992 presidential campaign found it difficult to advocate without appearing to advantage the affluent.
In today’s Republican Party, that’s not a huge concern, with former frontrunner Rick Perry — now bringing on some new high-powered advisors and about to launch a TV blitz — coming out for it, sometime frontrunner Mitt Romney making approving noises, and new frontrunner Herman Cain already there.
Meanwhile, Nevada Republicans have backed off on their bid to move the Silver State’s presidential caucuses to January 14th, instead choosing February 4th in order to stave off a New Hampshire-instigated boycott of the contest. Florida violated party rules to move its primary to January 31st, prompting moves by Nevada and South Carolina, designated by the party to go third and fourth after Iowa and New Hampshire.
But cranky New Hampshire officials, insistent that no other contest could be within a week of their pristine primary, scuttled the Nevada move. So here’s the likely early calendar: Iowa on January 3rd, New Hampshire on January 10th, South Carolina on January 21st, Florida on January 31st, and Nevada February 4th. Florida will be penalized in delegates, but has plenty to lose in order to gain early positioning advantage.
Libyan rebels yesterday formally declared the liberation of their country after a lengthy uprising against dictator Moammar Gaddafi. But the accomplishment is soured by the treatment of Gaddafi following his capture on Friday.
It’s increasingly obvious, as it really was very early on as discussed here on Friday, that Gaddafi was murdered. His body was then displayed until today in a meat locker in Misurata, a grisly sort of exercise showing that vengeance turns out to be a more powerful motive than following Islamic teachings.
The UN wants an investigation into Gaddafi’s killing, which itself may constitute a war crime, and today the new Libyan government said it would comply. Gaddafi was wanted for crimes against humanity by the International Criminal Court, and the interim Libyan government had agreed at various points to make him available for trial. Though in now familiar fashion, at various points they said the exact opposite.
Turkey is continuing its major military incursion into northern Iraq, pursuing Kurdish separatist guerrillas who killed some 26 Turkish troops during cross-border raids during the week. The Turks say they have killed over 100 Iraq-based Kurdish fighters.
Iraqi security forces are notably absent from the scene inside their own country. The Turkish offensive inside Iraq is ongoing, with no set end date.
Meanwhile, Turkey was hit yesterday by a 7.2 magnitude earthquake which has killed hundreds of people.
Tunisia, the place where the Arab spring began in January, held elections on Sunday to select a permanent government replacing that of ousted former President Ben Ali.
The turnout was reportedly very high, upwards of 90%. Official returns won’t be out until Tuesday, but the leading party, though short of a majority, is thought to be a moderate Islamist party banned under the old regime.
European Union leaders meeting over the weekend in Brussels, struggling to prop up the Eurozone amidst months of in-fighting between Germany and France, don’t seem to have come up with much. But they’ll keep trying this week.
In Afghanistan, the ever helpful President Hamid Karzai said that if there were war between the US and Pakistan, he would side with Pakistan.
Karzai, who was installed as Afghanistan’s president by the Bush/Cheney Administration after playing only a minor role in the fight to overthrow the Taliban after 9/11, went to India recently to sign a security treaty that upset Pakistan.
Obama is getting hit by many Republicans, including John McCain, who must know better, for not leaving a substantial military force in Iraq after the end of the year. And this is being dutifully reported by much of the media. All this requires a serious reality check. There is a status of forces agreement between the US and Iraq. It’s running out. If Iraq wanted to allow US troops there, it would grant immunity from potential prosecution, as currently exists. The parliament (heavily influenced by Iran, which was formerly held in check in the region by Saddam Hussein) refuses to do that. Because, wait for it, they don’t want US troops there.
The killing of Moammar Gaddafi is proving highly controversial, with widespread doubt about the official story(ies). These Libyan fighters say the man in this video shot the deposed dictator in the head with the pistol shown here.
Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki made it clear over the weekend that US troops are leaving by the end of the year despite attempts to gain basing rights beyond the current status of forces agreement. The stumbling block, he said in pointed comments designed to underscore his nationalist credentials, was the US demand for immunity from prosecution or civil action for all US troops, something the Iraqi parliament simply would no longer allow.
Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Sultan, next in line for the throne, died early over the weekend at New York City’s Presbyterian Hospital. Sultan served as the kingdom’s defense minister since 1962, overseeing its big military build-up fueled by vast new oil wealth. His son, Prince Bandar, was the longtime Saudi ambassador to the US, becoming close to the Bush family and to top politicians of both parties.
Since King Abdullah is 87 years old and has undergone back surgery three times in recent years, the question of succession is critically important. Abdullah can choose his successor, as Saudi Arabia is anything but a democracy, except, in some instances, at the top. Elite royal opinion is important and observers say that court intrigue abounds. Especially since there is something called the Allegiance Council to confer on the selection.
Abdullah is widely thought likely to select Prince Nayef, a relative youth of 77, who has served as Saudi interior minister since 1970. Nayef is, if anything, more conservative than Abdullah and Sultan.
He is against elections and against allowing women to drive. But he has gained some favor in the West with ruthless crackdowns against jihadists in the kingdom, which some think has merely had the affect of dispersing jihadism on an international scale.
Here’s what Obama’s week looks like.
On Monday, Obama will travel to Las Vegas to make remarks on the American Jobs Act and take part in a campaign event. In the evening, Obama will participate in campaign events in Los Angeles and spend the night there.
On Tuesday morning, Obama will tape an appearance on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno before departing for San Francisco. In San Francisco, Obama will participate in a campaign event. In the afternoon, he will travel to Denver and participate in campaign events. He will spend the night in Denver.
On Wednesday morning, Obama will deliver remarks on the American Jobs Act in Denver before returning to Washington.
On Thursday, Obama will hold a bilateral meeting with Prime Minister Petr Necas of the Czech Republic. And on Friday, Obama will attend meetings at the White House.
As is the usual practice, Obama is keeping his schedule more flexible toward the end of the week in order to deal with any emerging events.
U.S. Ambassador to Syria Robert Ford has been called back to Washington after threats against him. Ford has become a lightning rod in Syria as the Assad regime continues its bloody crackdown against protesters.
** OBAMA TODAY. President Barack Obama is in Washington, Nevada, and California.
Obama has received the daily intelligence and economic briefings and met with senior advisors in the Oval Office.
Obama then departed on Air Force One, bound for Las Vegas, Nevada.
At 12 noon Pacific, Obama lands in Las Vegas.
At 1:05 PM Pacific, Obama delivers remarks at a fundraiser at the Bellagio Hotel in Las Vegas.
At 2:10 PM Pacific, Obama meets with homeowners at a private residence in Las Vegas.
At 2:30 PM Pacific, Obama delivers remarks at a private residence in Las Vegas.
The event will be netcast live here on New West Notes.
Obama is expected to announce new federal housing rules designed to help homeowners with underwater mortgages and prod new lending.
Last week in Las Vegas, Mitt Romney said that the homeowners should be allowed to sink.
At 3:40 PM Pacific, Obama departs Las Vegas on Air Force One en route Los Angeles.
At 4:45 PM Pacific, Obama lands in Los Angeles.
At 6:15 PM Pacific, Obama delivers remarks at a fundraiser at a private residence in Los Angeles.
At 8:45 PM Pacific, Obama delivers remarks at a fundraiser in Los Angeles.
Antonio Banderas and Melanie Griffith, who host the first event at their home, Eva Longoria, and Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith are among the prime movers behind tonight’s Obama fundraisers.
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.
** FROM THE JERRY FILES. Governor Jerry Brown is in Northern California.
He has no scheduled public events as of this morning.
** 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. … From my October 20th essay.
** 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). … 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.
** 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 $90 per barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
This is up about $56 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 $24 from the price at the time of the Osama bin Laden raid.
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