IVN Week Ahead: June 4-10, 2012

Californians Go to the Polls

While national attention on the Republican primary election has fizzled out as Mitt Romney hit 1,144 delegates last week, Californians are expected to come out strong for the state’s first ever Open Primary. Any voter regardless of party affiliation can support the candidate of their choice, for all races except the Republican Presidential primary.

There are two initiatives on the primary ballot for the June 5th election. Public opinion polling shows both are supported by a majority of Californians. One however, Prop. 29, which aims to increase state cigarette tax by $1, will be a close call. Tens of millions of dollars have funded both proponent’s and opponent’s television ads statewide.

There is a slew of independent candidates taking advantage of the new primary scheme this cycle, and more than one are projected to make it through to a November run-off.

Walker’s Wisconsin Recall

National attention is also focused on the Tuesday election in Wisconsin, where the stakes are high. The Washington Post says the recall election is the second most important race of 2012 apart from the presidential contest.

Governor Scott Walker, a Republican, is facing an attempted recall and challenge from Milwaukee Mayor Democrat Tom Barrett.

Over $60 million has flowed into the state throughout the election.

Ben Bernanke Testifies on Capitol Hill

In the shadow of May’s jobs report, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke will testify at a congressional committee on the state of the US economy on Thursday.

Except investors to be watching closely. Following the disappointing employment figures released last Friday, the Dow average is now negative for 2012.

The Fed will meet later in June. Some predict more stimulus measures may be on the discussion table.

US Cybersabotage “Olympic Games”

Following the discovery of the newest malware superbug targeting systems in Iran and other Middle East countries called “Flame”, the New York Times reports that an earlier cybersabotage bug known as “Stuxnet” was developed by the CIA.

In cooperation with Idaho National Laboratory and the Israeli government, the CIA development of Stuxnet is part of a US campaign named “Olympic Games” and designed to attack Iran’s nuclear enrichment program. As the New York Times continues, Stuxnet eventually “broke free”.

Experts from the Kaspersky Labs, the Russian firm who discovered it, say the newer Flame malware was designed by a different team, but commissioned by the “same larger entity” who developed Stuxnet.

The story continues to unfold and more comes to light about this new generation of cyber warfare.