Occupy Wall Street protesters, deprived of their camp at Zuccotti Park, tried to shut down the New York Stock Exchange today but didn’t come anywhere near doing that.
** NEW COLUMN COMING UP … DARWINIAN: OBAMA GOES POST-IRAQ IN OZ, REPUBLICANS RACE TO THE PAST.
** UNOCCUPIED II. Is Occupy Wall Street turning into a major missed opportunity for the left?
Concerns I expressed two weeks ago in the “Ocupado” piece, linked below, are being borne out. Which doesn’t exactly make me clairvoyant, since it’s perfectly obvious.
A new poll from Public Policy Polling shows opinion flipping from positive to negative over the past month. The Tea Party, which is no serious person’s idea of a majoritarian movement, is now viewed more favorably than Occupy Wall Street.
Are today’s events going to flip opinion back? Or accentuate the decline?
Today’s big protests in New York and elsewhere around the country don’t look all that big. And they aren’t succeeding in doing much of anything. Well, several hundred people in Manhattan did succeed in getting arrested, so that’s something.
As one would suppose, Occupy Wall Street came nowhere near actually shutting down Wall Street. But they did inconvenience quite a few people, many if not most of whom have nothing to do with Wall Street.
In Los Angeles, protesters, many of whom are still camped out outside LA City Hall, and who have not indulged in the sort of vandalism and confrontations with police that we have seen with elements associated with Occupy Oakland — which in its consensus process refuses to coherently denounce such behavior due to tolerance of “diversity of tactics” — blocked some streets today in the downtown area and tied up some freeway traffic.
Aside from irritating people, it’s not clear what this is accomplishing.
Similar things have happened elsewhere.
If the Occupy movement is about people who don’t seem at all mainstream camping out and angrily protesting, it doesn’t work. To represent “the 99%,” you have to communicate to the 99%, or become just another sliver of the American scene.
** JERRY-RIGGING: GOOD OVERALL RESULTS IN NEW POLLING, TROUBLE ON HIGHER ED, AND THE BEAT GOES ON WITH THE GAY MARRIAGE FIGHT. Amidst all the chaos of the moment, which is an awfully long moment, Governor Jerry Brown is holding up well in the esteem of Californians.
A new Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC) poll shows that Brown is still riding high with a 47% job approval rating. His disapproval rating is up to 38%, which means that folks who voted against him are deciding they were right to do so.
Brown defeated billionaire Meg Whitman’s highest-spending non-presidential campaign in American history last November in a 54-41 landslide.
Brown, who has adopted something of a stealth mode approach in public, as I may have mentioned on occasion, has consistently underperformed his vote. But this 47% job approval is at the high end of the range that PPIC has for him.
A new USC Dornsife/LA Times poll has similar results.
Where Brown is down is on higher education. Far fewer give him a good rating there.
Why? Well, let’s look at what PPIC found:
- About six in 10 Californians say the state’s higher education system is headed in the wrong direction.
- Three-fourths say there is not enough state funding for higher education.
- Most say college affordability and the potential of more cuts are big problems for higher education.
All true, as in all too true. But without the funds, Brown can’t fully fund higher education. That seems obvious enough.
Meanwhile, student protests are on the rise, and are apt to continue and get bigger.
In other action, the California Supreme Court unanimously ruled this morning that the proponents of 2008′s anti-gay marriage Proposition 8 have legal standing to take over its defense in court.
Then Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and then Attorney General Jerry Brown refused to have the state defend the initiative from legal challenge, throwing its standing in limbo.
So the beat goes on with regard to the legal fight over same sex marriage in California. A federal court has ruled it unconstitutional, but the decision was stayed while appeals continue.
Prop 8 proponents have fared poorly in their other legal challenges, in trying to have the federal judge’s decision thrown out because he is gay and might want to get married himself at some point in the future, and in trying to keep contributions secret on grounds that donors might be harassed for their opposition to this aspect of gay and lesbian rights.
On a visit to Darwin, where some of the U.S. Marines bound for Australia will be based, President Barack Obama speaks to U.S. and Australian troops about a shared purpose of the preservation of peace and security.
** OBAMA TODAY. President Barack Obama is in Australia and Indonesia.
Australia is a very large country, a continent of its own, with four time zones. The time in Canberra, Australia, the nation’s capital, is 19 hours ahead of Pacific time.
The time in Darwin, Australia, where the US is about to have a joint military base with the Australians, is 17 hours ahead of Pacific time.
The time in Bali, Indonesia, where Obama is the first president to take part in the East Asia Summit, is 16 hours ahead of Pacific time.
President Barack Obama addressed the Australian Parliament on Thursday (Australian time) and vowed to expand U.S. influence in the Asia Pacific region even as he reduces defense spending and winds down two wars.
Following his address to the Australian Parliament, which definitely reverberated in Beijing, Obama flew to Darwin, Australia, site of the new joint basing arrangement between US and Australian forces.
Darwin is capital of Australia’s Northern Territory, and Obama is the first US president to visit the province. It’s vast, some 520,000 square miles, but with only 230,000 people, just over half of whom live in the capital city Darwin, a lovely little city which boasts tropical beach weather and hosts bases for the Royal Australian Army, Navy, and Air Force. While Darwin is in the tropical zone, much of the NT, as it’s called, is in desert terrain, such as the province’s second largest city, Alice Spring, a city of perhaps 30,000.
Darwin’s mayor is an environmentalist in the new media business. The Northern Territory’s governor is a member of Australia’s Labor Party, as is Prime Minister Gillard, who pushed through Australia’s new carbon tax law on big greenhouse gas emitters.
Darwin itself is the starting point for the annual World Solar Challenge, a race between solar-powered cars that runs 1900 miles across Australia to Adelaide, the capital of South Australia.
There, more background on what will become in this decade a major hub of US geopolitics. Darwin is near the Indian Ocean, key to global trade, and the South China Sea. Other US basing arrangements are much more in the North Pacific, centering on Japan.
Following his arrival in Darwin, Obama then joined in a wreath laying ceremony with Prime Minister Julia Gillard at the USS Peary Memorial in the Port of Darwin.
The Peary is an American destroyer which was sunk in a Japanese attack during the early days of the Pacific War of the 1940s.
Obama and Prime Minister Gillard then delivered remarks to Australian troops and U.S. Marines at the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) Base in Darwin.
Following that, Obama left Darwin on Air Force One for Bali, Indonesia, where he arrived at 2:45 AM Pacific.
At 5:10 PM Pacific, Obama participates in an event to announce a commercial deal with representatives of Boeing and Lion Air at the Grand Hyatt in Bali.
At 5:30 PM Pacific, Obama holds a bilateral meeting with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh of India at the Grand Hyatt in Bali.
At 7 PM Pacific, Obama holds a bilateral meeting with President Benigno Aquino III of the Philippines at the Grand Hyatt in Bali.
“In the Asia Pacific of the 21st century, the United States of America is all in.” So said Obama in his address to the Australian Parliament as he unveiled an upgraded security alliance with Australia as part of America’s post-Iraq moves to counter a rising and more aggressive China. “As a Pacific nation, the United States will play a larger and long-term role in shaping this region and its future, by upholding core principles and in close partnership with allies and friends,” he declared.
As Obama makes his way around the Asia Pacific region, so too does another high-ranking member of his administration, also carrying the message that the US is reasserting itself in response to the rise of China, whose growing assertiveness worries many nations.
Secretary of State Hilary Clinton and Philippine Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario marked the 60th anniversary of the two countries’ defense treaty with the signing of “the Manila Declaration” yesterday aboard the guided missile destroyer USS Fitzgerald in Manila Bay.
The US again agreed to strongly assist the Philippines in its defense. There have been several near-clashes between Philippine and Chinese forces in the South China Sea, where China is asserting very expansive prerogatives.
The two sides also committed to continue their cooperation “in addressing regional and global challenges, including maritime security and threats to security such as climate change, nuclear proliferation, terrorism and transnational crime. We are committed to continuing our close and effective cooperation to counter al-Qaida-linked terrorist groups in the southern Philippines.”
Obama’s moves are getting a big reaction in Beijing, as anticipated.
President Barack Obama, shown here addressing the Australian Parliament, has now moved on to the East Asia summit in Bali, Indonesia. That will be the final leg of what has been a marathon trip around the Asia Pacific, a region he says he wants America to focus on like never before.
National newspapers in China have launched furious attacks on US President Barack Obama’s announcement of closer military links with Australia.
Coverage can be found on newspapers ranging from the People’s Daily to the Global Times, with China Daily illustrating the story with a picture of Mr Obama kissing the Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard as he arrives in Canberra.
The Chinese edition of Global Times described reactions from the Chinese and US authorities as “bickering”; a commentary piece in the overseas edition of People’s Daily appeals for calm.
In a separate Chinese editorial, Global Times appeals for China to “ignore” the Philippines diplomatically as a punishment for Manila’s attempt to seek US support on the South China Sea dispute.
“Let the Philippines pay the real price,” says the editorial, but it does not elaborate on how to carry out this policy.
Obama got some good news on the economy this morning, to the extent that he is perceiving a morning with his time zone sense completely disrupted by his trip to the land down under.
Unemployment claims dipped to a seven-month low.
The Congressional “super-committee” on the budget is nowhere near an agreement with its deadline less than a week away. I don’t say much about the super-committee because, to me, it looked doomed to failure from the beginning.
A new Fox News poll confirms former House Speaker Newt Gingrich’s rise to the top of the heap in the Republican presidential race. It’s Gingrich 23%, Mitt Romney with a familiar 22%, Herman Cain 15%, Ron Paul 8%, Rick Perry 7%, Michelle Bachman 6%, Jon Huntsman 3%, and Rick Santorum 2%.
Occupy Wall Street’s call for a day of action, on the two-month mark of its existence as a movement, in New York to disrupt the financial industry appears to be falling rather flat. The crowds don’t look that large, perhaps in the low thousands, and police have easily kept protesters away from the famed stock exchange.
Obama is monitoring a variety of other geopolitical crises, mostly related to the Arab awakening, AfPak, and Iraq.
War Zone Times: Iraq is eleven hours ahead of Pacific time, and Afghanistan is twelve and a half hours ahead of Pacific time.
An estimated 17 tons of marijuana were seized when authorities discovered a major cross-border drug tunnel between San Diego and Tijuana, Mexico.
** FROM THE JERRY FILES. Governor Jerry Brown is in Northern California.
He has announced no scheduled public events as of this morning.
But I expect him to attend tonight’s screening of California State of Mind: The Legacy of Pat Brown. It’s a documentary about his late father, former Governor Pat Brown, and Jerry did several interviews for it with his nieces, film director Sascha Rice and executive producer Hilary Armstrong.
They will be on hand, along with their mother, former state Treasurer and 1994 Democratic gubernatorial nominee Kathleen Brown.
The event is at 7 PM at the San Francisco Film Society.
Brown, like the rest of us, awaits a decision today from the California Supreme Court on Proposition 8. Specifically, whether its proponents have standing to defend it in court.
As attorney general, Brown joined with Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger in removing the state from defending the anti-gay marriage initiative adopted in November 2008.
In a striking development, one of the biggest drug smuggling tunnels yet discovered has just been found on the Mexican border near San Diego. It’s a reminder of how large and powerful the drug cartels have become in Mexico.
The second Mexican interior minister in three years was killed over the weekend in an air crash outside Mexico City while on his way to meet with anti-drug police and prosecutors in a neighboring province.
Yesterday’s protests by college students and Occupy demonstrators are still reverberating, with many arrested after seizing a Bank of America branch in San Francisco’s financial district.
Meanwhile, the nascent Occupy Cal encampment in Berkeley’s Sproul Plaza was raided in the middle of last night and taken down, with little incident and only two arrests.
Today, incidentally, is the eighth anniversary of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s spectacular inauguration as governor of California.
** ALI, FRAZIER, JACKSON, STALLONE: OF IMAGE, RACE, POLITICS, AND MYTH. Monday’s Philadelphia funeral for former heavyweight boxing champ Joe Frazier brought some old but still very salient issues back to the fore. Frazier’s sudden death from liver cancer has reminded many of some uncomfortable truths.
One of the great figures of the “Golden Age” of boxing in the ’60s and ’70s, Frazier ended up very much slighted and neglected, unfairly so, chewed up and spit out by a celebrity culture that opts for popular myths. And he was whipsawed by ruthless racial politics, from right and left. … From my November 16th essay.
** VETERANS DAY IN A FRACTURED AMERICA. Credit Barack Obama with some brilliant Veterans Day moves. In addition to the customary Arlington solemnities, he presided over the opening of the college basketball season on the flight deck of the aircraft carrier which conducted the funeral of Osama bin Laden.
Obama ESPN hoopster, check. Obama bagging Osama, check. Obama buds with the troops, check.
It’s all a very nice kick-off to Obama’s nine days of Asia Pacific summitry, a neat contrast to the reality show clownfest that is the Republican presidential race.
But the stagecraft obscures basic realities that plague the country, which this Veterans Day found ever more fractured. … From my November 12th essay.
** RECALLING JOE FRAZIER: AN APPRECIATION, AND A NOTE OF HORROR. … From my November 10th essay.
** OCUPADO. … From my November 4th essay.
** HIGH-SPEED RAIL: JERRY BROWN’S BIG MOVE TO THE FUTURE. … From my November 2nd essay.
** “OUT OF CONTEXT”: HILLARY’S P.R. OFFENSIVE. … From my October 29th column.
** STEVE JOBS: HARDLY A PERFECT PERSON, PERHAPS A PERFECT ICON. … From my October 26th essay.
** SIGNS: JERRY BROWN AFTER A DISAPPOINTING LEGISLATIVE YEAR. … From my October 20th essay.
** AFGHAN WAR AT 10, 9/11 AT 10+: DID OSAMA BIN LADEN WIN AFTER ALL? … From my October 7th 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 $100 per barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
This is up about $66 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 $14 from the price at the time of the Osama bin Laden raid.
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