Defense Secretary Leon Panetta lashed back at criticism from Afghan President Hamid Karzai. The veteran California political figure declared that the Afghan leader should say thank you now and then to the allied forces who are fighting and dying there, rather than criticizing them. Karzai prompted Panetta’s disapproval by saying that NATO forces should go after insurgents outside Afghanistan and, criticizing the US for supposedly not supplying enough arms to Afghan forces, by saying that he may have to go to Russia or China for arms.
** NEW COLUMNS COMING UP … JERRY BROWN GETS AN OCTOBER SURPRISE and MITT ROMNEY TRIES GEOPOLITICS, TAKE 4.
** OBAMA THIS WEEKEND. President Barack Obama is in Washington and California.
On Saturday, he has no scheduled public events.
On Sunday …
At 8 AM Pacific, Obama departs the White House on Marine One en route Joint Base Andrews, where he boards Air Force One.
At 8:15 AM Pacific, Obama departs Joint Base Andrews on Air Force One en route Los Angeles, California.
At 1:20 PM Pacific, Obama arrives in Los Angeles.
At 2 PM Pacific, Obama attends a fundraiser at a private residence in Los Angeles.
At 6:05 PM Pacific, Obama delivers remarks at a fundraiser at the Nokia Theater in downtown Los Angeles.
At 9:15 PM Pacific, Obama delivers remarks at a fundraiser at the Ritz Carlton Hotel in Los Angeles.
Obama spends of the remainder of the night in LA.
On Monday …
At 8:50 AM Pacific, Obama departs Los Angeles en route Bakersfield, California.
At 9:45 AM Pacific, Obama arrives in Bakersfield.
At 10:35 AM Pacific, Obama tours the Memorial Garden at the Chávez National Monument in Keene, a community in the Tehachapi Mountains.
At 11:15 AM Pacific, Obama announces the establishment of the César E. Chávez National Monument at Villa La Paz in the United Farm Workers Union’s National Chávez Center in Keene.
At 12:35 PM Pacific, Obama departs Bakersfield on Air Force One en route San Francisco.
At 1:40 PM Pacific, Obama arrives in San Francisco.
At 4 PM Pacific, Obama attends a fundraiser at the InternContinental Hotel San Francisco.
At 7:15 PM Pacific, Obama delivers remarks at a fundraiser at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium in San Francisco.
At 9:40 PM Pacific, Obama delivers remarks at another fundraiser at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium.
This appears to be Obama’s last visit to California before the election.
Obviously a trip heavy on fundraising and on icononography.
Cesar Chavez, of course, was the legendary farm workers union leader and Latino civil rights leader. Obama’s dedication of the memorial will resonate across Latino and Hispanic communities throughout the US.
The Bill Graham Civic Auditorium, incidentally, is named for the legendary late rock concert promoter. You may have seen him playing a version of himself in Apocalypse Now, or as Lucky Luciano in Bugsy.
He died late one night flying across the Bay Area after a concert he promoted.
Mitt Romney is campaigning in swing state Florida this weekend, where he trails but the race is close.
Here’s what the rest of Obama’s week looks like.
On Tuesday, Obama will travel from San Francisco to Columbus, Ohio where he will deliver remarks at a campaign event. Obama will return to Washington, DC in the evening.
On Wednesday, Obama will attend meetings at the White House.
On Thursday, Obama will travel to Miami, Florida where he will deliver remarks at a campaign event. Obama will return to Washington, DC in the evening.
While Obama is still raising big money, he has just smashed a monthly fundraising record.
I reported yesterday that Obama had raised $150 million in September for his own campaign and for the closely coordinated Democratic Party effort.
Actually, Obama raised $181 million. Romney has not announced his total for the month.
This puts Obama well over $900 million for the entire campaign. So it looks like he will be the first billion dollar presidential candidate after all.
Romney, of course, is benefiting from far more than Obama in unlimited super PAC spending, fueled by the super-rich and mega-rich, which is why Obama and company have really borne down on the fundraising.
They have had special success with small donors. 1.8 million people gave money to Obama’s campaign effort last month.
While the $181 million is a record in this campaign cycle, Obama surpassed it in September 2008, when he raised $190 million shortly before handily defeating John McCain.
For a few months before August, Romney was getting the best of it in fundraising over Obama, after trailing consistently beforehand.
In August, the Romney/Rapublican National Committee effort raised $111 million to $114 million for Obama and the Democratic National Committee.
In July, Romney/RNC raised $101.3 million to the Obama/DNC total of $75 million.
in June, Romney/RNC raised $106.1 million to $71 million for Obama/DNC.
In May, Romney/RNC $76.8 million to the Obama/DNC’s $60 million.
In his weekend video/radio address, President Barack Obama campaigns against the Republican House on tax cuts for the rich, help for homeowners, and creating a job corps for veterans.
Obama was already recovering from his listless performance in the Denver debate, in which Romney got the best of it with a crisp performance in which he morphed back into moderate Mitt.
Obama’s performance on the stump immediately picked up on Thursday and Friday. On Friday, the new jobs numbers contained good news for Obama, in the form of a dip in the unemployment rate below 8% for the first time in nearly four years, to 7.8%.
Much of the hard right is claiming some sort of government conspiracy on the unemployment number.
But as readers know, I reported Thursday on the Gallup unemployment survey, which also had the rate dipping below 8% in September. And Gallup, if anything, has a somewhat more conservative model than I think is actually the case in its renditions of Obama’s standing.
And I recall the hard right claiming in 2008 that there was no recession.
There’s no excuse for Obama’s poor debate performance, but he undoubtedly had other things on his mind.
Like major developments in Iran, where the economy is in danger of collapse after months of tough international sanctions against the Tehran regime’s nuclear program.
Like the specter of war between Turkey and Syria after repeated border incidents spurred by the deaths of five Turkish civilians, killed by a Syrian mortar shell.
Like the dispatch of major US naval forces to flash points in the South China Sea and the East China Sea.
With the police and security troops out in force, Tehran has been quiet after demonstrations Wednesday and, to a certain extent, Thursday.
Iran’s currency collapsed by more than 40% over the past week and a half. What that means is that things have suddenly become much more expensive for Iranians. Iran’s economy is under big pressure from international sanctions against the regime’s nuclear program.
The US and allies have rejected an Iranian bid to have sanctions removed in exchange for throttling back on its nuclear program on grounds that Iran’s proposal retained too much capacity. Spinning up the sanctions again would take time and require a fresh round of maneuvering. Perhaps a new Iranian proposal will be forthcoming.
Meanwhile, Turkey and Syria are not far from war. A Syrian mortar round landed in a Turkish village late Wednesday, killing five Turkish citizens.
Turkey spun up a big response, with the national parliament authorizing expansive retaliatory raids against Syrian territory. This resulted in some long-range artillery attacks.
Syrian rebel forces seem to be making progress against the Assad regime. It’s doubtful that Assad’s forces could hold off the Turks if they went into Syria in force. Turkey has a large, well-trained, and well-equipped military. Of course, if Turkey goes in, Syria’s remaining allies, which include Iran, Russia, and China, might have something to say about that.
Of particular note is the fact that Turkey is a member of NATO. If a NATO member is attacked, its fellow members of the collective security organization are bound to come to its defense.
While Obama was supposedly in prep to debate Mitt Romney, something I very much doubt he has much interest in, he quietly moved not one but two Navy aircraft carrier strike groups, plus an amphibious assault task group with a Marine brigade, into what maritime regions China is trying to dominate.
In the East China Sea, where Japan and China are feuding over islands that both nations claim, the USS George Washington carrier strike group is now on patrol. In the South China Sea, which China, much to its neighbors dismay, claims nearly in its entirety, the USS John Stennis carrier strike group is now on patrol. And in the nearby Philippine Sea, USS Bonhomme Richard, an amphibious assault vessel carrying the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit, is on station with its escort vessels.
Obama is monitoring several geopolitical crises involving the Arab Awakening, Iran and Israel, Syria, Iraq, AfPak, and the South China Sea.
Military Crisis Zone Times: The Persian/Arabian Gulf is ten hours ahead of Pacific time and Afghanistan is eleven and a half hours ahead of Pacific time. The time in Manila, on the South China Sea, is fifteen hours ahead of Pacific time.
** NEW COLUMN COMING UP … JERRY BROWN GETS AN OCTOBER SURPRISE.
** FROM THE JERRY FILES. Governor Jerry Brown is in Northern California.
He has no scheduled public events.
Brown is preparing his next moves in a campaign for the Proposition 30 revenue initiative which has been complicated by the intervention of a few billionaires operating behind the shield of the Small Business Action Committee, which I discussed here on NWN yesterday.
Meanwhile, Brown’s predecessor, former Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, appears Sunday on Meet the Press.
** RECALLING TOTAL RECALL: SCHWARZENEGGER’S COMEBACK PROCEEDS WITH A BIG (NATURALLY) BOOK. … From my October 5th essay.
** BOND AT 50: DR. NO IS A TIME CAPSULE FROM THE EARLY MAD MEN ERA. … From my October 4th essay.
** OBAMA PASSES THROUGH THE MINEFIELD OF U.N. WEEK (BUT SETS UP A POTENTIAL EXPLOSION NEXT YEAR). … From my September 28th essay.
** IS POST-PARTISANSHIP PASSE? SCHWARZENEGGER AND COMPANY (AND BILL CLINTON) SAY NO. … From my September 26th column.
** DETHRONED: MAD MEN‘S DOWN SEASON OPENED THE DOOR FOR A SUPERLATIVE HOMELAND. … From my September 24th column.
** JERRY BROWN: GEARING UP A CAMPAIGN AT LAST? … From my September 22nd feature.
** HOW ROMNEY SHOULD HAVE ATTACKED OBAMA: ANATOMY OF A GEOPOLITICAL CRISIS. … From my September 19th essay.
** CONSIDERING THE DARK KNIGHT TRILOGY. … From my September 15th essay.
** WHAT HAVE WE LEARNED SINCE 9/11? … From my September 11th essay.
** PAY NO ATTENTION TO THE ELEPHANT: THE CONVENTIONS AND THE CLIMATE. … From my September 8th essay.
** WHILE ONE CLINTON WOWS AT THE OBAMARAMA, ANOTHER PIVOTS TO THE LONG GAME. … From my September 6th 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 $89.88 per barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
This is up about $56 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 $23 per barrel from the price at the time of the Osama bin Laden raid.
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