The lawyer for the Army sergeant accused of massacring Afghan civilians outside Kandahar says there is very little actual evidence against his client and that he intends “to put the war on trial.”
** QUICK HITS. President Barack Obama is heading to South Korea this weekend for the Nuclear Security Summit. Look for a lot of talk about North Korea’s satellite launch next month — which also serves as a test for a long-range missile — in the wake of agreeing to back away from its nuclear weapons program in exchange for major food aid. And of course, look for talk about the Iran crisis. But don’t look for US aircraft carriers, because they are off to the Arabian Gulf. … Governor Jerry Brown has named the California poet laureate. He is Juan Felipe Herrera, an acclaimed author and University of California at Riverside professor hailed as a hybrid artist. The UCLA grad is the son of migrant workers from Mexico. … There’s been a great deal of speculation that Las Vegas casino magnate Sheldon Adelson would back away from continuing to bankroll Newt Gingrich’s super PAC, especially in the wake of recent setbacks for him in Macau. (Which you have not heard about.) But no, Adelson has put another $2.5 million in for the former speaker of the House, and more may be on the way. … But is this to help Gingrich? Or Mitt Romney? After all, at this point, Gingrich is largely spoiling the candidacy of the man that Romney calls a spoiler, Rick Santorum.
** NEW COLUMNS COMING UP … THE REAL GAME CHANGE: PALINISM’S RISE AND MODERATE REPUBLICANISM’S ECLIPSE and CALIFORNIA REPUBLICANS HAVE ONLY THEMSELVES TO BLAME.
** OBAMA TODAY. President Barack Obama is in Washington, Nevada, New Mexico, and Oklahoma.
Obama has received the daily intelligence and economic briefings in the Oval Office.
He then flew to Las Vegas, Nevada on Air Force One.
At 1:10 PM Pacific, Obama tours Copper Mountain Solar 1 Facility in Boulder City, Nevada.
At 1:20 PM Pacific, Obama delivers remarks at Copper Mountain Solar 1 Facility in Boulder City.
At 2:50 PM Pacific, Obama departs Las Vegas, Nevada on Air Force One en route Roswell, New Mexico.
What, no stop at Area 51 first?
At 4:20 PM Pacific, Obama arrives in Roswell, New Mexico.
At 5:15 PM Pacific, Obama delivers remarks on expanding domestic oil and gas production in Maljamar, New Mexico.
At 6:35 PM Pacific, Obama departs Roswell, New Mexico on Air Force One en route Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.
At 7:50 PM Pacific, Obama arrives in Oklahoma City.
Obama is on his “American Energy” tour, emphasizing his commitment both to renewable energy and to sustainable oil and natural gas development.
Mitt Romney won big last night in Illinois, helped by several Rick Santorum miscues — like saying he doesn’t care about the unemployment rate, thus negating his innate blue collar appeal — and the continued presence of Newt Gingrich in the race.
Now the race moves on to Louisiana, where Santorum has a better chance than the Prairie State, where Romney led throughout, despite serious tightening two weeks ago.
Romney is in trouble today for an idiotic statement. This one made by a top aide, rather than himself, which characterized the chameleon candidate as an “etch-a-sketch” candidate.
Hey, I didn’t say it, they did!
Meanwhile, as part of its energy strategy, the Obama Administration is moving forward with plans to impose tariffs on Chinese solar panels, arguing that China is trying to take over the burgeoning market with unfair trade and labor practices.
Campaigning today in Louisiana, Rick Santorum hit Mitt Romney, yesterday’s big winner in Illinois, for his top aide’s comment today that Romney is “an etch-a-sketch” candidate who would shake up and recast his “views” for the general election.
It’s one of the great ironies that China is so aggressive on green tech, since the PRC refuses to move on greenhouse gas reductions and has been very aggressive in coal-fired electric power.
Mixed signals today out of Israel, where on Monday Defense Minister Ehud Barak said that Iran is verging on the “zone of immunity” in which no air strikes will have much effect on their rogue nuclear program.
Today the word is that Israel is eager to give at least three months to allow new sanctions against Iran to bite.
I wonder if Israel expects us to have three aircraft carrier strike groups hanging around the Gulf three months from now.
I also wonder how much Israel really expects from the new sanctions.
The Obama Administration today declared Japan exempt from Iran oil sanctions, saying it is pleased with Japan’s voluntary efforts to limit its use of Iranian oil.
Obama is monitoring several geopolitical crises involving the Arab Awakening, Iran and Israel, Iraq, and AfPak.
Military Crisis Zone Times: The Arabian Gulf is eleven hours ahead of Pacific time, and Afghanistan is twelve and a half hours ahead of Pacific time.
** FROM THE JERRY FILES. Governor Jerry Brown is in Northern California and Southern California.
He spoke this morning in Palm Springs at the funeral of Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians Chairman Richard Milanovich.
Brown speaks on Friday outside Santa Barbara at a major conference on “eco:nomics” — environmental considerations driving sustainable economic practices and greentech — sponsored by the Wall Street Journal, as I revealed here a few weeks ago.
The left-labor coalition behind the “Millionaires Tax” initiative in California is dropping its efforts to qualify the measure as a back-up, saying it expects that the compromise version negotiated with Governor Jerry Brown will make it. The group had initially said it would drop its own drive, then said that it would have a back-up. Brown will have a back-up.
** JERRY BROWN DEALS AWAY TROUBLE ON THE LEFT. Governor Jerry Brown has dealt away some potential problems on the left to strengthen his chances of passing a revenue initiative in November.
Brown dealt with California’s chronic state budget crisis by making big cuts in 2011. But he couldn’t get Republicans to go along even with a public vote on extending 2009′s temporary tax hikes, and so has had to go to the ballot this year. After Brown and his allies succeeded in convincing a group of billionaires and former officeholders (the Think Long Committee) to back away from their own tax initiative plans, which would have lowered tax rates on the rich and corporations, likely muddying the electoral waters with a big money campaign even though they had little chance of success, he then had two other initiatives to deal with.
This week he dealt with the most problematic for him. I wrote early in the week on New West Notes that “Brown’s problem with the two other tax initiatives may be smaller than it appears. I’ll have more on that.” Here’s the “more on that” part. … From my March 16th column.
** MAKING SENSE OF KALEIDOSCOPIC PRESIDENTIAL POLITICS. Presidential politics has gone kaleidoscopic. Between Mitt Romney’s split decision on a not so Super Tuesday for him and the big geopolitically-driven crises President Barack Obama has to manage, it’s easy to get lost in the weeds. Here’s a view of the forest. … From my March 7th essay.
** IMPOSSIBLE MISSIONS AND 50 YEARS OF BOND. … From my March 6th essay.
** JERRY BROWN MAKES SOME SPLASHY MOVES. … From my March 1st essay.
** THINKING THE UNTHINKABLE: IRAN, ISRAEL, AFGHANISTAN. … From my February 29th essay.
** DEBATING IN DISARRAY: SEARCHING FOR SOME CLARITY IN THE REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL MESS. … From my February 24th essay.
** OBAMA’S CALIFORNIA GOLD RUSH: ECLIPSING THE EMPIRE STATE. … From my February 21st 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 major military operations 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. 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 from the Russia Today channel. The NWN live link to RT does not constitute an endorsement of the state-run 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 $107 per barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
This is up about $73 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 about $7 from the price at the time of the Osama bin Laden raid.
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