President Barack Obama and Afghan President Hamid Karzai today signed an agreement aimed at cementing a lasting but very limited U.S. commitment to Afghanistan after the long and unpopular war comes to an end. The Afghans appear to have gotten most of what they wanted in gaining control over U.S. operations.
** QUICK HITS. On a sudden trip to Afghanistan just before the one-year anniversary of the Navy SEAL raid that took down Osama bin Laden, President Barack Obama met with the troops, addressed the world, and signed a deal with President Hamid Karzai to “fulfill our mission in Afghanistan.” Which means an ongoing but vastly scaled down presence after 2014. … The California state budget looks like it’s running about $3 billion below projections. But of course there’s no need for those cuts that Governor Jerry Brown has been pushing since January … Maybe Facebook’s IPO in mid-May will save the day. But that’s a one-time windfall. …
** SEALED UP, BUT NOT SEALED OVER: THE OSAMA BIN LADEN RAID AT 1. It’s a year since the daring Navy SEAL raid that took down Osama bin Laden. (The Al Qaeda leader was killed around 1 a.m. on May 2 in Pakistan, but it was mid-day to early afternoon on May 1 in the U.S.)
It was a triumph of American arms, satisfying retribution for al Qaeda’s attacks on New York and Washington, and a major blow to the global jihadist network. But it points up the many mistakes we’ve made and continue to make in the wake of 9/11, and reminds that even the surgical use of military force provides only part of a solution. …
* The raid into Abbottabad was a great success. …
* In contrast, there was Tora Bora. …
* All things have consequences. …
* The debacle that is AfPak strategy. …
* Counter-terrorism, yes. Counter-insurgency, no. …
* The success of the bin Laden raid is a big problem for Mitt Romney. …
* A bigger picture: The old energy economy and the new. …
At 4:30 PM Pacific, President Barack Obama makes a major address from Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan. At 2:30 PM Pacific, he addresses a rally of US troops at the base. The events will be netcast live here on New West Notes. You can mute the audio by clicking on the pause button.
** LIVE FROM AFGHANISTAN.
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.
Under intense security and the cover of night, President Barack Obama slipped into Afghanistan on Tuesday to sign an agreement cementing a U.S. commitment to the nation after the long and unpopular war comes to an end.
** NEW COLUMN COMING UP … MAD MEN: TO THE MOON! (AND CRASHING BACK AGAIN).
** OBAMA TODAY. President Barack Obama is in Washington and Afghanistan.
Obama pulled off a surprise visit to Afghanistan today.
At 4:30 PM Pacific, Obama will make a major address from Bagram Air Base outside Kabul.
The event will be netcast live here on New West Notes.
Obama even went so far as to put out a dummy schedule.
Here it is, in original form, minus various movement instructions. (All times are East Coast.)
The President and the Vice President receive the Presidential Daily Briefing
The President meets with senior advisors
Press Briefing by Press Secretary Jay Carney
The President and the Vice President meet with Secretary of Defense Panetta
The original block schedule for his week, as you can see from “The Week Ahead” below, had him in private meetings in the White House on Tuesday and Wednesday.
On Thursday, he is due back in Washington for Cinco de Mayo celebrations, but we’ll see where he goes next.
Cinco de Mayo is not actually until Saturday.
A special investigative committee of the British Parliament today released a report saying that media magnate Rupert Murdoch is unfit to lead News Corp in the UK, finding him responsible for what they called a culture of illegal phone hacking. Murdoch also owns Fox News in the US, along with other media properties.
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.
** FROM THE JERRY FILES. Governor Jerry Brown is in Sacramento.
He has no scheduled public events.
** 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. … From my April 28th essay.
** 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. … 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.
** 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 $106 per barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
This is up about $72 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 $8 per barrel from the price at the time of the Osama bin Laden raid.
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