Kentucky Senator Rand Paul today launched an old-fashioned, for-real filibuster of CIA Director-designate John Brennan’s confirmation in the U.S. Senate, citing the Obama Administration’s refusal to rule out a clandestinely-determined drone strike against an American citizen in the US. Paul, who acknowledges that he does not fear such an Obama order actually taking place but is troubled by the expansive powers being claimed in drone policy, of which Brennan has been the principal architect, has been joined by several other conservative senators and by liberal Oregon Senator Ron Wyden.
MIDNIGHT UPDATE: Paul ended his filibuster late this evening.
** NEW COLUMNS COMING UP … CALIFORNIA REPUBLICANS: OUT OF STUNTS and THE ALLURE OF ARABIA.
** QUICK HITS. Why hasn’t Senator Rand Paul’s anti-drone policy filibuster on John Brennan’s confirmation as CIA director moved to a cloture vote yet? Because Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid didn’t file necessary paperwork prior to an actual talking filibuster taking place. An interesting oversight, with liberal Democratic Senator Ron Wyden of Oregon joining Paul and several conservative senators. … At issue, with drones on the verge of being accepted in domestic surveillance culture, is what may be a rather expansive definition of what constitutes an “imminent” threat from an American citizen sufficient to take away the constitutional right of due process prior to execution. … My old LA Weekly colleague Harold Meyerson has a brand new American Prospect cover story on Governor Jerry Brown, “The Once and Future Guv,” saying “Two years into his second go-round as governor, Jerry Brown has — to the surprise of many — turned California around.” More to follow. …
** NEW SURVEY: PRE-SEQUESTER GOVERNMENT HIRING FLAT, NON-GOVERNMENT HIRING UP. A new Gallup Poll survey shows little anticipatory impact on the job market from the fabled budget sequester.
The deep concern the Obama Administration was looking for simply didn’t materialize. It’s either a failure of communication or conceptualization by the White House.
I suggest the latter, leading to the former.
Government job creation in the U.S. was modest at +3 in February, before the sequester — essentially unchanged from +4 in January. At the same time, nongovernment job creation improved slightly to +21 last month from +18 in January. …
Government and nongovernment job creation suffered after the recession and financial crisis. However, the trends began separating in mid-2010 as nongovernment job creation improved and government job creation remained weak. This continues to be the case even though overall government job creation has been trending slightly positive since October 2012.
Federal government net hiring improved to -5 in February from -10 the prior month. State government net hiring was essentially unchanged at +8 compared with +10 in January, while local government net hiring declined to +2 last month from +8 in January. …
With the White House having oversold the immediate impact of the budget sequester, as NWN warned for weeks, Attorney General Eric Holder argued today that there will be long-term effects on national security.
** NEW COLUMNS COMING UP … THE ALLURE OF ARABIA and CALIFORNIA REPUBLICANS: OUT OF STUNTS.
** OBAMA TODAY. President Barack Obama is in Washington.
Obama and Vice President Joe Biden received the intelligence and economic briefings in the Oval Office.
Obama then met with senior advisors in the Oval Office.
At 9:30 AM Pacific, Obama and Biden meet for lunch in the Private Dining Room.
At 12 noon Pacific, Obama and Biden meet with Treasury Secretary Jack Lew in the Oval Office.
Washington is semi-paralyzed by a big snow storm which is throwing off a lot of happenings in the nation’s capital, including the planned White House ceremony for the national champion University of Alabama football team.
Obama’s pick to head the CIA, John Brennan, won a 12 to 3 confirmation vote yesterday in the Senate Intelligence Committee. He is having to reveal more on US drone policy, but so far only to senators, in secret.
I suspect more will have to be revealed to Senator John McCain and company on how the Benghazi disaster talking points for UN Ambassador Susan Rice were altered from accurate (terrorist attack) to inaccurate (protest gone sour).
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid would like to have the full Senate vote to confirm Brennan this week.
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.
The regular San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge light show began Tuesday night. It’s part of the run-up to the opening of the new portion of the span, redesigned (with major input from then Oakland Mayor Jerry Brown) and rebuilt in the wake of the great earthquake of 1989, in the fall. The “Bay Lights” light sculpture will run every night for the next two years, including during the global coverage of this year’s America’s Cup in San Francisco Bay.
** FROM THE JERRY FILES. Governor Jerry Brown is in Northern California.
He has no scheduled public events as of this morning.
The very desultory Los Angeles municipal elections went through their first round of voting last night.
As expected, LA City Councilman Eric Garcetti and LA City Controller Wendy Greuel led a pack of candidates vying to replace Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. They will face off in a run-off later on May 21st.
In another near record low turnout in a city known for voter apathy in local elections, Garcetti led Greuel in the mayoral race, 32% to 29%.
Brown is neutral in the mayor’s race.
But he is backing veteran state legislator Gil Cedillo for a Los Angeles City Council seat and cut a robocall for him.
Cedillo nearly won last night, with over 49% of the vote. But he seems to be falling just short of the majority needed to avoid the May 21st run-off.
** WILL JERRY BROWN BE UNOPPOSED FOR RE-ELECTION? … From my March 4th feature.
** SECRETARY HAGEL AND THE SENATE’S MASSIVE WASTE OF TIME. … From my February 27th essay.
** OSCARMANIA! (OR NOT): A POLITICAL STEW ON LIGHT SIMMER. … From my February 25th essay.
** THE HAILSTORM AROUND HAGEL POINTS UP THE SYSTEM’S DYSFUNCTIONALITY. … From my February 21st essay.
** THE ANTI-HAGEL GAMBITS: CLEVER, BUT NOT REALLY THAT CLEVER. … From my February 15th essay.
** WITH LITTLE POLITICAL OR POLICY IMPACT AND DUMBED DOWN LANGUAGE, DOES THE STATE OF THE UNION EVEN MATTER? … From my February 12th column.
** JERRY BROWN FINDS FUN (IN NEW FOIL RICK PERRY) AND MORE THAN A BIT OF ILLUMINATION. … From my February 7th column.
** 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 $90 per barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
This is up about $57 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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