In his weekend video/radio address, President Barama Obama discusses a new executive order to crack down on those who defraud military veterans and service members pursuing higher education.
** NEW COLUMNS COMING UP … NEWTONIAN MOTION: BODIES AT REST and MAD MEN: “AT THE CODFISH BALL.”
** OBAMA THIS WEEKEND AND THE COMING WEEK. President Barack Obama is in Washington and Virginia this weekend.
Obama has received the daily intelligence and economic briefings and met with senior advisors in the Oval Office.
On Saturday at 5 PM Pacific, Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama attend the White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner at the Washington Hilton. Obama, who will no doubt be roasted by comedian Jimmy Kimmel, will deliver remarks.
On Sunday at 3 PM Pacific, Obama delivers remarks at a fundraiser at a private residence in Virginia.
On Sunday at 4:30 PM Pacific, Obama delivers remarks at a second fundraiser at a private residence in Virginia.
Former President Bill Clinton joins Obama at both events.
Here’s what Obama’s week ahead looks like, at least in public. There are plenty of holes in it for dealing with geopolitical crises and responding to political exigencies.
On Monday morning, Obama will deliver remarks at the Building and Construction Trades Department Legislative Conference in Washington. In the afternoon, Obama will welcome Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda of Japan to the White House. The two leaders will discuss the U.S.-Japan Security Alliance as Obama shifts geostrategic focus to the Asia Pacific region. They will also discuss trade, finance, and various security concerns.
On Tuesday and Wednesday, Obama will attend meetings at the White House.
On Thursday, Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama will host a Cinco de Mayo reception at the White House.
On Friday, Obama will attend meetings at the White House.
On Saturday, Obama will travel to Columbus, Ohio and Richmond, Virginia, both swing states, for campaign events.
More signs of a rift at the top of Israel’s military and intelligence hierarchy with regard to the Iran crisis emerged on Friday. On Wednesday, as discussed here, the chief of staff of the Israel Defense Forces said he thinks that Iranian leaders are “rational” and will not choose to make nuclear weapons. On Friday the most recent former head of Shin Bet, Israel’s counter-intelligence and security service, Yuval Diskin, said that he has no confidence in Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak, calling their decisions “based on messianic feelings.”
Iran, incidentally, says again it is willing to “compromise” on its nuclear program, which is putting it closer and closer to becoming nuclear weapons capable, which is not the same as yet producing a nuclear weapon. But there are no specifics.
The Obama Administration, however, may have some, potentially allowing continued limited uranium enrichment, far below the level needed to construct a nuclear weapon, in exchange for unrestricted inspections.
Former President Bill Clinton, who has begun appearing at fundraisers with President Barack Obama, an antagonist of four years ago, appears in this campaign video praising Obama for the take-down of Osama bin Laden. The first anniversary of the Navy SEAL raid on Abbottabad, Pakistan is on May 2nd. Mitt Romney criticized Obama during Obama’s first campaign for advocating anti-Al Qaeda raids inside Pakistan and derided the hunt for bin Laden as a mistake.
More negotiations between Iran and several international powers will take place the third week of May. Iran had wanted the talks to happen in Baghdad, where it would have something of a home court advantage in now very friendly Iraq. But the talks will take place in Vienna, which is home to the International Atomic Energy Agency, the UN watchdog agency which seeks more meaningful access to Iran’s program.
Meanwhile, the US is quietly putting together a major armada of land-based fighter aircraft in the Middle East to complement the build-up of Navy aircraft carrier forces. The build-up of F-22 stealth fighters and conventional but high-performance F-15 air superiority fighters, based in Gulf Arab states, is only necessary as a counter to an adversary with jet fighter capability. Such planes were not needed during the Iraq War because Saddam Hussein had no air force to speak of. Iran does.
With the first anniversary of the Navy SEAL take-down of Osama bin Laden coming up on May 2nd, Pakistan on Friday deported his family to Saudi Arabia. Bin Laden’s three wives and 14 children and grand-children, all of whom somehow escaped detection for years, were flown to the Red Sea Saudi city of Jeddah.
Even as that took place, talks were underway between US AfPak special envoy Marc Grossman and top Pakistani leaders to try to get US/Pakistani relations back on an even keel.
The talks did not succeed.
Pakistan is still refusing to allow US and NATO supplies to transit Pakistan, as they long had. That’s because the US refuses to apologize at the highest level for air strikes which killed 24 Pakistani soldiers at an outpost along the AfPak border in November.
The US might have relented, even in a hyper-partisan election year, but the brazen Taliban attacks on Kabul of April 15th made that very difficult. Why? Because they probably originated from Pakistan, where Taliban and Taliban allies make their bases.
Obama is monitoring several geopolitical crises involving the Arab Awakening, Iran and Israel, Iraq, AfPak, and North Korea.
Military Crisis Zone Times: The Arabian Gulf is ten hours ahead of Pacific time, and Afghanistan is eleven and a half hours ahead of Pacific time.
** BACK ON THE NATIONAL STAGE? JERRY BROWN BRINGS AN INCOMPLETE STORY. Governor Jerry Brown is in Washington for a round of meetings and appearances on CBS’s Face the Nation and at the annual White House Correspondents Dinner, where he and First Lady/Special Counsel Anne Gust Brown will be at the Newsweek table, along with General David Petraeus, the Iraq War and Afghan War commander-turned-CIA director, U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, and Oscar-winning actress Reese Witherspoon.
While Brown is not exactly Arnold-like in his round of public appearances, or even Jerry-like in this particular incarnation of himself, he is getting out and about more than he did last year. After skipping appearances in the East during 2011, this is his second trip of the year to Washington. He was there in February around the National Governors Association conference.
It’s also a good opportunity to articulate what he’s doing as governor of California, in an historic third term, to a national and international audience. California is safe territory for Barack Obama’s re-election, but an important proving ground for new energy and transportation initiatives.
What will he say? I can certainly guess, but we know what Brown, twice runner-up for the Democratic presidential nomination, is saying when he says it. …
** FROM THE JERRY FILES. Governor Jerry Brown is in Washington, DC.
He is holding private meetings.
On Saturday, he and First Lady/Special Counsel Anne Gust Brown will attend the annual White House Correspondents Association Dinner at the Washington Hilton.
On Sunday, he will appear on the CBS News program Face the Nation for a one-on-one interview with host Bob Schieffer.
** MAD MEN: WIBBLY-WOBBLY, TIMEY-WIMEY, TRIPPY-WIPPY (AND PEGGY OLSON IS NO DANA SCULLY). On what is actually my favorite show, as in most greatly enjoyed, Doctor Who, there is a hand-waving phrase to cover the shifty plot twists inherent in the saga of the antically enigmatic traveler through time and space known as the Doctor. “Wibbley-wobbley, timey-wimey.” As in, the flux capacitor went thataway and moving right along.
To that phrase, for the latest episode of Mad Men, add trippy-wippy. … From my April 24th essay.
** HILLARY FOR PRESIDENT? ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE GAUNTLET. It might just be President Hillary Clinton, after all. But what would that mean? Could she move the country forward after a tumultuous period of transition under Barack Obama?
Pulling back from the usual back-and-forth of the moment reveals the potential for historic opportunities. But it’s a rugged gauntlet getting there.
Because it’s never too early to think about the presidential race after the one going on now. Public Policy Polling came up with numbers last week for potential candidates in both parties for their respective 2016 presidential nominations. On the Democratic side, it’s Hillary Clinton in an absolute runaway over Joe Biden. On the Republican side, Chris Christie has a slight edge over Mike Huckabee and Jeb Bush, assuming Mitt Romney isn’t on the ballot. … From my April 24th essay.
** THE PERSISTENCE OF TUNNEL VISION: ANOTHER PROBLEM FOR JERRY BROWN. … From my April 19th essay.
** MAD MEN: ROUNDING SOME HAIRPIN PLOT CURVES. … From my April 17th essay.
** FIRST WEEK: A RAGGED START, OBAMA’S BIGGER PROBLEMS. … From my April 14th essay.
** MAD MEN‘s MASTER CLASS IN AMERICAN STUDIES ROLLS ON TO SOME MYSTERY DATES. … From my April 10th essay.
** JERRY BROWN HITS 74. … From my April 7th essay.
** IS ROMNEY “INEVITABLE,” AGAIN? … From my April 5th column.
** MAD MEN: WHOSE SIDE IS TIME ON, ANYWAY? … From my April 3rd essay.
** CALIFORNIA REPUBLICANS IN CRISIS: ANOTHER BIG SHOE DROPS. … From my March 29th 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.
The Avengers, which opens across North America on May 4th, is tracking in the vicinity of record box office for an opening weekend. The film, which stars Uma Thurman, Ralph Fiennes, and Sir Sean Connery … wait, is this the right trailer?
** 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 closed on Friday at $104.93 per barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
This is up about $71 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 $9 per barrel from the price at the time of the Osama bin Laden raid.
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