United Nations monitors have suspended their mission in Syria, blaming the move on an increase in violence. Needless to say, the ceasefire has failed.
** NEW COLUMN COMING UP … THE ENLIGHTENMENT DIVIDES AMERICAN POLITICS.
** OBAMA THIS WEEKEND. President Barack Obama is in Illinois and Mexico.
Obama has no scheduled public events on Saturday, which he is spending at home with the family in Chicago, Illinois.
At 4:30 PM Pacific, Obama departs Chicago on Air Force One en route to Los Cabos, Mexico.
At 8:30 PM Pacific, Obama arrives in Los Cabos, Mexico.
Here’s what Obama’s week ahead looks like. As usual, it has plenty of flexibility built in to deal with emerging dynamics and for crisis management not reflected in his public schedule.
On Monday and Tuesday, Obama will take part in the G-20 Summit in Los Cabos, Mexico.
He will hold several bilateral meetings while there as well, including his first mini-summit with new/renewed Russian President Vladimir Putin, who is far less friendly to Obama and American interests than Putin’s ex-chief of staff, former President-turned-Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev.
Obama will return to the White House late Tuesday night.
On Wednesday and Thursday, Obama will attend meetings at the White House.
On Friday, Obama will travel to Orlando, Florida to deliver remarks at The National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials’ Annual Conference. Obama will return to Washington on Friday evening.
While Obama is busy with the G-20 Summit in Los Cabos, the Baja California resort area that includes the better known Cabo San Lucas — immortalized in the hit Van Halen song, “Cabo Wabo” (for yet another California angle, I remember those guys when they were the house band at Gazzari’s on the Sunset Strip) — the next phase of the Iranian nuclear negotiations will be going down in Moscow.
The US, UK, France, Russia, China, and Germany will negotiate with top Iranian officials over the Iranian nuclear program.
Sanctions spurred by the Obama Administration seem to be having a big impact on Iran, and that impact was furthered by the OPEC meeting in Vienna at which Gulf Arab states Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and the UAE made clear their intention to keep their production up to take up the slack of lost Iranian exports and to keep oil prices significantly lower than Iran needs now.
But is Iran going to back off? They’ve come this far. (All supposedly for a civilian nuclear power program in this post-Fukushima in which nuclear power is increasingly falling away as an option.)
And what will Israel do next?
The US State Department has backtracked on claims by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton that Russia is sending new attack helicopters to its Syrian ally, the Assad regime. The helos were already owned by Syria, and had been repaired by Russian technicians.
In addition to denying Clinton’s charge, Moscow accused the US of hypocrisy for selling military equipment to Bahrain as its government put down protesters there.
Meanwhile, the UN is ending its peacekeeping mission in Syria. Things have just gotten far too violent during the, er, agreed upon ceasefire.
What critics are calling a “legal coup” has happened in Egypt just prior to this weekend’s presidential run-off election.
In his weekend video/radio address, President Barack Obama says that the stalemate in Washington is holding our economy back during a “make-or-break moment” for the middle class.
The new parliament, the country’s first democratically-elected parliament, has been dissolved. And a form of martial law is in effect.
Egypt’s Supreme Court threw the country’s politics into disarray by invalidating the laboriously elected national parliament.
The Egyptian presidential run-off is between Muslim Brotherhood candidate Mohamed Morsi, who has a doctorate from USC, and retired Air Force General Ahmed Shafik, candidate of the old Mubarak crowd which also dominates the Supreme Court.
Meanwhile, Mitt Romney is continuing a bus tour of some swing states, attacking Obama for failing the middle class on the economy and for supposedly fearing the impact of a war with Iran more than Iran having nuclear weapons.
He is also struggling to deal with Obama’s sudden move suspending the extensive deportations of young illegal immigrants his administration has been carrying out. This move will help Obama with the Latino community, which Romney has been trying to make some inroads with after running far right on immigration issues in the primaries.
Rommey has taken to characterizing his program as “A Fair Shot” for Americans.
As distinguished from the “Fair Deal” offered by President Harry Truman.
It sounds to me not like a social compact, which is implicit in a deal, but instead something more akin to a chance at the roulette table.
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 Northern California.
He has no scheduled public events.
Brown is continuing state budget negotiations even though the June 15th deadline has passed. And even though a budget bill has been adopted and sent to the governor.
Most of Brown’s big budget cuts seem to be accepted, leaving major contention in a few areas amounting to less than a billion dollars, including a potential trade-off between workfare overhaul and the provision of child care services, and in-home health care services.
But there isn’t really a new state budget yet. Despite legislative claims to the contrary, which leaders say justify their being paid despite not meeting the obvious spirit of the Prop 25 budget reform.
Because most of the so-called “trailer bills” necessary to actually implement the budget have not been passed.
Much less signed by Brown.
Brown vetoed a budget last year, first time in California’s history that has happened, and is prepared to veto again.
But the process is far less disorderly, and hence is a big improvement, over what had been happening for a very long time until last year, and hence is an improvement, as former Governor Gray Davis pointed out to me on Friday.
Brown got more clearcut good news yesterday in the form of an unexpected increase in employment last month. California added another 34,000 jobs in May, and found that the previous month’s employment picture was upgraded from a slight decline to a gain of a few thousand jobs.
Continuing his history lessons, Brown proclaimed June 16th to be “Juneteenth” in California, as the true end to the institution of slavery in America:
“On September 22, 1862, President Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation, officially ending slavery in the United States of America. It took three more years of war to defeat the upholders of that evil institution, and the toil of generations to erase its awful legacy.
“Each year, we celebrate the day known as “Juneteenth” as the true anniversary of the end of slavery. Texas was among the last states to allow ownership of slaves, and on June 18th, 1865, Union troops led by General Gordon Granger landed in Galveston to enforce the President’s order. On the following day, June 19th, General Granger formally announced the end of slavery in Texas and hence the liberation of some of the last men and women to be legally held as slaves in our country.
“I call on all Californians to observe Juneteenth as an important milestone in our long march towards equality; a reminder of the great contributions African-Americans have made as free citizens of our nation, as well as the injustices they suffered as slaves; and the courage of our forebears of all races and creeds who gave their lives to the fight against slavery.”
NOW THEREFORE I, EDMUND G. BROWN JR., Governor of the State of California, do hereby proclaim June 16, 2012, as “Juneteenth.”
** LOOKING FORWARD FROM MAD MEN‘S MEANDERING SEASON 5: YOU ONLY LIVE TWICE (ONE CAN ONLY HOPE) … From my June 13th essay.
China launched its most ambitious space mission yet this weekend, carrying its first female astronaut and two male colleagues aloft in an attempt to dock with an orbiting module and work on board for more than a week. This voyage of the three taikonauts is preparation for a planned Chinese space station.
** MIDWAY: 70TH ANNIVERSARY OF ONE OF HISTORY’S MOST PIVOTAL BATTLES CAME IN MIDST OF OBAMA’S BIG STRATEGIC PIVOT TO THE PACIFIC. … From my June 9th essay.
** MAD MEN: THE ANVIL HAS LANDED. … From my June 6th review.
** JERRY BROWN FOR PRESIDENT + 20. … From my June 6th essay.
** FIAT LUX, WILLARD! … From my June 1st column.
** MAD MEN: CONTROVERSY AS JOAN LOWERS HERSELF TO RISE, PEGGY EXITS ANTICLIMACTICALLY (AND SCDP GETS ITS HALO CLIENT). … From my latest essay.
** THE NEW SPACE ERA TAKES BIG STEPS FORWARD. … From my May 30th essay.
** MAD MEN: A GREAT LEAPER FORWARD? JOAN, JAG, DON’S RETURN TO ADVERTISING (AND OTHER, ER, TREKS). … From my May 23rd review.
** A BUCKET OF WOE: JERRY BROWN’S UNSURPRISINGLY UNHAPPY BUDGET. … From my May 16th 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 closed on Friday at $84.03 per barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
This is up about $50 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 $30 per barrel from the price at the time of the Osama bin Laden raid.
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