Scene above:  Constitution Island, where Revolutionary War forts still exist, as photographed from Trophy Point, United States Military Academy, West Point, New York


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ELECTION - 21 days – three weeks – from today


I did Silvio Canto Jr's Dallas-based show yesterday.  Hear the recording here.





NEW TERROR THREAT – AT 8:40 P.M. ET:  This should not come as a total shock, as the same terror method has been used throughout Europe and in Israel for years.  But now a major terror group wants us to get our share.  From the New York Daily News:

WASHINGTON - The terror group tied to the Ft. Hood killings and the Christmas Day undies airbomber urge wannabe American jihadis to open fire on crowded restaurants in the nation's capital to massacre U.S. government workers.

The advice appears in "Inspire," the latest issue of a slick propaganda publication by Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, Osama Bin Laden's franchise in Yemen.

"A random hit at a crowded restaurant in Washington, D.C., at lunch hour might end up knocking out a few government employees," Yahya Ibrahim writes in the 74-page jihadi how-to magazine.

"Targeting such employees is paramount and the location would also give the operation additional media attention," Ibrahim added.

Other trash talk came from "Samir Khan," an American who came to AQAP from North Carolina, who produces the publication and wrote that he is "proud to be a traitor in America's eyes."

"This guy is bad news, and given the fact that he helps publish AQAP trash, he certainly spreads a lot of it around, too," said a senior U.S. official.

COMMENT:  Should be taken very seriously.  These small operations can be carried out by one man with a suicide belt.  The result of a successful attack would be sheer terror in Washington, and the need for retail establishments to hire security guards, a commonplace in Israel. 

And, of course, Yahya Ibrahim is right - you get a lot of press in Washington.

We have been generally lucky so far, with exceptions like the horror at Fort Hood.  We won't be lucky forever.

October 12, 2010      Permalink

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GUARDED OPTIMISM – AT 7:12 P.M. ET:  Republicans are expressing cautious satisfaction as new polls show some, we repeat, some progress toward possible control of the U.S. Senate.  Fox reports:

The race for the Senate continues to heat up as Republicans lead for two seats currently held by Democrats -- Nevada and Washington -- while another Republican has closed into striking distance for an open seat in Connecticut.

Republican Linda McMahon has taken a bite out of Democrat Richard Blumenthal's lead in Connecticut while her fellow GOPers Dino Rossi and Sharron Angle cling to slim leads over entrenched Democrats in Washington state and Nevada.

With just three weeks to go, control of the U.S. Senate may hang on a handful of ballots in these key states.

The latest surveys were conducted on Oct. 9 by Pulse Opinion Research for Fox News. Each survey included 1,000 likely voters and has a margin of error of 3 points.

In Connecticut, GOP wrestling lady Linda McMahon has pulled to within six points of state Attorney General Richard Blumenthal, from ten a week ago.  Can Linda close the gap?  Connecticut will report early on election night, and a horse race there can really warm up the evening.

Sharron Angle, who has now raised a ton of cash, holds on to a two-point lead over Harry Reid in Nevada.  No one is calling this yet.

Dino Rossi has pulled ahead of Patty Murray, but only by a point, in Washington.  Again, too close to call.

Republican Rob Portman has a 17-point lead in Ohio, and that seat will remain in GOP hands.

Delaware is lost, period.  Christine O'Donnell, a lovely and affecting young woman, has been Palinized by the press and by some retrogrades in her own party, and is making no progress.  I'd like to have someone send in the name of a liberal woman who's been treated this way.  Please note that the press has a special knife out for attractive conservative women, like Sarah, Christine, and Michelle Bachmann.  Is this some kind of resentment, or what?

On balance, though, the GOP is holding its own or advancing, if slowly.  But we have three weeks to go, and there is nothing certain.  RealClearPolitics has the Senate tied at 48-48, with four toss ups.  I could give you a scenario where all four toss ups go Democratic, or Republican. 

Republicans will make gains in the Senate.  Control of the Senate will go down to the wire.

October 12, 2010      Permalink

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SOME GOOD NEWS FROM AFGHANISTAN – AT 8:54 A.M. ET:  That in itself is unusual.  It's good to report something positive from that difficult war.  From Rowan Scarborough at the Washington Times: 

The U.S. military is starting to see signs that the troop surge in Afghanistan is working on a timetable similar to the Iraq reinforcement campaign in 2007, according to an outside adviser and military sources.

"There are already some early signs of a beginning of a momentum shift in our favor," retired Army Gen. Jack Keane told The Washington Times.

Gen. Keane just returned from a two-week tour of the battlefield, where the focus is on ousting the Taliban from Kandahar, its birthplace, as well as from Helmand province and other southern and eastern areas.

Gen. Keane reported his findings to Army Gen. David H. Petraeus, the top U.S. and NATO commander in Kabul, who saw the surge of 30,000 troops completed in August, placing about 100,000 American service members in country.

An architect of the Bush administration's surge of troops in Iraq, Gen. Keane advised Gen. Petraeus when he was the top commander there.

Gen. Keane told The Times he has witnessed in Afghanistan the same shift in fortunes: Taliban fighters are changing sides, villages are being cleansed of the enemy and protected, and intercepted communications show flagging Taliban morale.

COMMENT:  Keane is a solid guy who refused to get pessimistic in Iraq.  While some might say he has a vested interest in finding the good news, I think he's sophisticated enough about PR to know that these reports can't be sensationalized.  I'd take him seriously.

If we start to succeed in Afghanistan, I wonder who'll get the credit?  Obama will take it.  He's already tried to take credit for Iraq, but the irony is that such chest thumping will alienate his own base even further.  The Democratic left-wing base never met an American victory it liked.

October 12, 2010      Permalink

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MR. POPULARITY ISN'T – AT 8:37 A.M. ET:  We want all American presidents to succeed – country first – but I don't think I've ever seen a faster fall from grace than that suffered by Mr. Obama.  Andrew Malcolm of the L.A. Times's Top of the Ticket blog, has details on a new, and stunning survey:

Nearly half the people who once considered themselves supporters of President Barack Obama don't anymore...

...A new poll released today by Bloomberg News finds all that hopey-changey stuff is rapidly turning to disappointment and disenchantment. While 47% of all voters approve of Obama's job now, ominously for 2012 only 36% of onetime Obama supporters now approve. Feeling jilted?

Someone named Hillary Clinton is now viewed favorably by fully 64% of Americans, even more than like Obama's wife.

Of course, Obama is on no ballot three weeks from today. But Republicans appear to ...

... be succeeding in making the Democrat's first midterm election -- a time of traditional defeat anyway for the party of the White House occupant -- into a referendum on the Illinois guy.

Something about a stubborn national unemployment rate of 9.6% despite $700+ billion in non-stimulating stimulus spending and promises to keep the jobless rate below 8%.

Something about consecutive federal deficits of $1,291,000,000,000 and $1,416,000,000,000 despite that campaign promise to go through the budget line by line. Something about a controversial healthcare bill that a near-majority of Americans would like repealed.

COMMENT:  Yeah, spot on.  In 1994, after the smashing Republican midterm victory, the leftist anchorman, Peter Jennings, announced that Americans had experienced a temper tantrum.  When Dems lose, according to the Jennings camp, it's always a result of some character flaw or temporary emotional defect in the American people.

It wasn't a temper tantrum, it was a judgment.  That judgment is being made again.  As Andrew Malcolm points out, there are rational reasons for it, not illusions.  The president has ignored the people, and even showed contempt for them, their views, and their culture.  The people are responding, with ballots.  No teleprompters.

October 12, 2010      Permalink

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WHERE NO REPUBLICAN DARED TO GO BEFORE – AT 8:15 A.M. ET:   Republicans are not generally seen as bold.  This year they've become bold.  From The New York Times:

ST. CLAIRSVILLE, Ohio — Republicans are expanding the battle for the House into districts that Democrats had once considered relatively safe, while Democrats began a strategy of triage on Monday to fortify candidates who they believe stand the best chance of survival.

Among Democrats, triage will now be called "allocating resources to insure the growth of cultural diversity."

As Republicans made new investments in at least 10 races across the country, including two Democratic seats here in eastern Ohio, Democratic leaders took steps to pull out of some races entirely or significantly cut their financial commitment in several districts that the party won in the last two election cycles.

Representatives Steve Driehaus of Ohio, Suzanne M. Kosmas of Florida and Kathy Dahlkemper of Pennsylvania were among the Democrats who learned that they would no longer receive the same infusion of television advertising that party leaders had promised. Party strategists conceded that these races and several others were slipping out of reach.

With three weeks remaining to save its majority, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has increased its spending on two New York races, along with at-risk seats in Colorado, Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky and Massachusetts, setting up a map of competitive districts that is starkly different from when the campaign began.

When Dems have to increase their spending in New York and Massachusetts, you know they're in trouble.  But in New York, weak Republican gubernatorial and senatorial candidates are turning two competitive races into giveaways.  That's not good, but the national picture is promising.

October 12, 2010       Permalink

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RELAX, AND FIGHT – AT 8:06 A.M. ET:  So, we're three weeks away from the election.  What does that mean?  It means nothing.

Three weeks are four lifetimes in politics.  The idea at this point is never to relax, never to assume anything, for anything can happen.  Many of the most important races in the country are very close.  The Democrats are fighting desperately, and making wild charges about sinister "foreign money" entering the campaign.  You know those foreigners.  Gotta watch 'em. 

At this stage the GOP, if present trends continue, stands a good chance to capture the House, and has at least a shot at the Senate.  But beware the October surprise.  In particular, beware the surprise from a president schooled in the ways of Chicago politics.  This race can get very ugly.

So relax, and fight.  We're not winding down anything.

October 12, 2010     Permalink

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GET READY FOR 2012 – AT 9:13 P.M. ET:  Once this midterm is wrapped up in three weeks, the 2012 election season begins.  It's never too early to agonize and worry.  It is our patriotic responsibility.

I hear a great deal of buzz from contacts, media friends and the like, but the most persistent buzz is about Mitch Daniels, the very successful Republican governor of Indiana.  Michael Barone has some comments about him: 

It's an ornate office in Indiana's beautifully maintained mid-19th century Capitol, but the 49th governor of Indiana, Mitch Daniels, is not dressed to match the setting. He's just returned from spending the night in Princeton, Ind., staying at a constituent's house -- as he often does around the state -- and he's dressed in a work shirt and jeans.

It's true.  Daniels stays with constituents to save the taxpayers the cost of a hotel.  You gotta like the guy already.

After four sometimes controversial years as governor -- he sold off the North Indiana Toll Road and persuaded the legislature to smooth out the state's time zone boundaries -- he was re-elected 58 percent to 40 percent in 2008 even as Barack Obama was carrying the state.

As much as any American politician of his generation, he's proved that cutting spending and gaining a reputation as a skinflint is good politics.

Image so far:  All-American guy, respectful of other people's money, successful governor.

...he says that, if he runs, he'll be a different kind of candidate. As for "the federal fiscal picture -- and why don't we have the philosophic debate tomorrow -- as for today, can we agree that the arithmetic doesn't work? We're going to have higher and higher levels of debt."

He goes on. "This is a survival-level issue for the country. We won't be a leader without major change in the federal fiscal picture. We're going to have to do fundamental things you say are impossible."


He thinks voters may be ready to support such changes because they've had a searing experience with debt, and their lives are changing. Younger people may be ready to put up with lower Social Security benefits for high earners because they've seen that some companies' new hires aren't getting the pensions and benefits their elders got. "There's nothing radical about this. It's already happened all over the place."


You can almost see the green eyeshade as he speaks. It's been noted that Daniels is short and balding (with a combover), that he speaks with just a bit of a Southern country twang (he moved to Indiana from Tennessee and Georgia at age 10) -- hardly a glamorous candidate.

"I'm not a long-range planner," Daniels says, when asked if he's running. "I play the ball where it is." But if he runs, he promises to be more of a long-range planner if he runs than any presidential candidate we have ever seen.

COMMENT:  Barone draws an accurate portrait.  However, a few things:  I was at a small gathering earlier this year where Daniels spoke.  He's personable, but a dull speaker.  At times he sounded like an accountant, at other times he drifted into semi-philosophy.  People like him and have confidence in him, but he'll have to sharpen his presentation a bit.  Beyond that, he's about as white bread as you can get, and I wonder about his appeal to minorities and ethnics.

However, he's been a fantastic governor, succeeding where other governors have failed.  And his plain spokenness might actually turn out to be an asset, a contrast to the windbaggery from the windy city that we're experiencing today.

Watch Mitch Daniels.  I think he's still a long shot, but if the economy is still the issue in 2012, the shot will get shorter.

By the way, Daniels bears a striking resemblance to another famous son of Indiana – Ernie Pyle, the great
World War II correspondent.

October 11, 2010     Permalink

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GOP IN A GALLUP – AT 7:31 P.M. ET:  The new Gallup generic poll just out shows the Republicans maintaining their strength as we move to within three weeks of the election:

PRINCETON, NJ -- Republicans maintain a substantial advantage over Democrats among likely voters in Gallup's generic ballot for Congress -- in both lower- and higher-turnout scenarios -- fueled in part by the GOP's strong showing among independents.

If the turnout is high, the Democratic percentage is 41, the Republican 53.

If the turnout is low, the Democratic percentage is 39, the Republican 56.

The only change from last week's numbers is that the Dems advanced one point in each category, high and low.

We've been told by some pundits that there's a movement toward the Democrats, but we don't see it.

Hold tight.

October 11, 2010     Permalink

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(Reuters) - Britons find being older than 52 is nothing to laugh about because that's the age when they start becoming grumpy, according to a survey on Friday.  The poll of 2,000 Britons found those over 50 laughed far less than their younger counterparts and complained far more.

The U.S. Congress, explained at last. 

October 11, 2010      Permalink

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AND IN THE REAL WORLD – AT 9:07 A.M. ET:  We may be distracted by our political campaign; others are not.  The Pakistan situation has become dire – an unstable country, yet one determined to develop weapons that can produce a catastrophe if they fall into the wrong hands.  from London's Telegraph:

Pakistan has been secretly accelerating the pace of its nuclear weapons programme, infuriating the US which is trying to cap worldwide stocks of fissile material and improve fraught relations with a fragile ally in the Afghanistan war.

The Institute for Science and International Security, a Washington-based nuclear watchdog, has obtained satellite images showing that a row of cooling towers at Pakistan's secret Khushab-III reactor has been completed. This suggests the plant could begin operation within months, allowing Pakistan substantially to increase its stockpiles of weapons-grade plutonium.

COMMENT:  The Pakistani population is anti-American and pro-Islamic.  Pakistan is the only Islamic country with a nuclear-weapons capability.  (Iran will be next.)  The greater danger here comes, not from a missile fired at us, but from a nuclear device being given by Pakistan, or stolen from Pakistan, and sailed into an American harbor aboard a freighter manned by a suicide crew. 

Talk of scary.  That is scary, and real world.  The Pakistanis are not intimidated by us.  Neither are the Iranians.  Flash ahead five to ten years. 

October 11, 2010      Permalink

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QUOTE OF THE DAY – AT 8:41 A.M. ET:  From political commentator Mark Halperin, who tilts left, on the awkward political style of the president.  From TIME, which is still publishing, on some kind of crinkly material:

...Obama has exacerbated his political problems not just by failing to enact policies that would have actually turned the economy around, but also by authorizing a series of tactical moves intended to demonize Republicans and distract from the problems at hand. He has wasted time lambasting his foes when he should have been putting forth his agenda in a clear, optimistic fashion, defending the benefits of his key decisions during the past two years (health care and the Troubled Asset Relief Program, for example) and explaining what he would do with a re-elected Democratic majority to spur growth.

Throughout the year, we have been treated to Obama-led attacks on George W. Bush and Dick Cheney, Rush Limbaugh, Congressman Joe Barton (for his odd apology to BP), John Boehner (for seeking the speakership — or was it something about an ant?) and Fox News (for everything). Suitable Democratic targets in some cases, perhaps, but not worth the time of a busy Commander in Chief. In the past few days, we have witnessed the spectacle of the President himself and his top advisers wading into allegations that Republicans are attempting to buy the election using foreign money laundered through the Chamber of Commerce, combining with Karl Rove and his wealthy backers to fund a flood of negative television commercials. Not only is this issue convoluted and far-fetched, but it also distracts from the issues voters care about, frustrating political insiders and alienating struggling citizens (not that many are following such an offbeat story line). Feinting and gibing can't obscure those job numbers.

COMMENT:  I think that nails it, especially coming from a liberal.  The president, who has many fine qualities, just isn't presidential.  Peggy Noonan once wrote about Ronald Reagan that he "knew how to be president."  You have to know how.  It may be instinctive, it may be learned.  But the people must have confidence that the president is "The President."  They lack that confidence in Obama, whose whole political training was in the Chicago political machine.  But the presidency isn't about getting stop signs for the neighborhood school or organizing workers at a lamp factory. 

Mr. Obama was not ready, and it's sad.

October 11, 2010       Permalink

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YOU CANNOT MAKE THIS UP – AT 8:21 A.M. ET:   Party of Roosevelt?  Party of Truman?  Party of JFK?  Or...party of, hey man, y'know, we're cool, y'know what I mean?  I've heard of strange political strategies, but I never thought the party that led us through World War II would resort to this.  From The Politico:

Forget the billion-dollar budget hole and layoff threats — the big debate in California right now is whether a bong war over legalizing pot could help boost Gov. Moonbeam back into office.

Seizing on new independent polling data, proponents of Proposition 19 — the Golden State ballot measure that would make possessing and growing marijuana legal — argue the measure is going to drive younger-voter turnout in such a way that it will benefit the Democrats statewide, from gubernatorial retread Jerry Brown to Sen. Barbara Boxer.

Yeah. man, well, y'know, it's important...like that UFO up there.

"It literally is the thumb on the scale that has been generally missed by the polling models out there, and it is going to have an impact not only on the initiative but everything else on the ballot including the candidates," said Dan Newman, consultant for the “Yes on 19” campaign.

"The community has been very active and engaged," he added, suggesting there's been "anecdotal and quantifiable evidence" of voters being spurred on by the issue.

"There's an energy and enthusiasm that is literally unprecedented in an initiative campaign," he said.

While the state Democratic Party is neutral on the ballot measure and its standard-bearer and two U.S. senators are all opposed, Chairman John Burton gave a one-word answer to the San Francisco Chronicle back in April when asked at the party’s convention what will bring out young, first-time Barack Obama voters again: “pot.”

COMMENT:  On this the fate of the nation may depend.  I can just imagine the late-night comedians the night after the election if the pot vote puts Jerry Brown in the governor's chair and sends Barbara Boxer back to the Senate.

And, of course, it will work wonders for the image of California.  Not.

I only wish Johnny Carson was still with us.  Can you imagine what he'd do with this?

Oh, you never heard of Johnny Carson?  I'll explain sometime.

October 11, 2010      Permalink

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JOE McCARTHY LIVES – AT 8:10 A.M. ET:  Hey, I thought questioning people's patriotism was something done only by the so-called "far right."  Apparently, I didn't quite appreciate the skills developed by the left, including a certain political operator from Chicago.  The Washington Post instructs us:

The White House intensified its attacks Sunday on the powerful U.S. Chamber of Commerce for its alleged ties to foreign donors, part of an escalating Democratic effort to link Republican allies with corporate and overseas interests ahead of the November midterm elections.

The chamber adamantly denies that foreign funds are used in its U.S. election efforts, accusing Democrats of orchestrating a speculative smear campaign during a desperate political year.

President Obama, speaking at a rally in Philadelphia, said "the American people deserve to know who is trying to sway their elections" and raised the possibility that foreigners could be funding his opponents.

"You don't know," Obama said at the rally for Senate candidate Joe Sestak and other Democrats. "It could be the oil industry. It could even be foreign-owned corporations. You don't know because they don't have to disclose."

The remarks are part of a volley of recent attacks by Obama and other Democrats on alleged foreign influence within the Republican caucus, whether through support for outsourcing jobs by major U.S. corporations or through overseas money making its way into the coffers of GOP-leaning interest groups.

COMMENT:  This is really sleazy stuff.  Not one iota of evidence has been produced.  And Dems like Obama adviser David Axelrod said over the weekend that the Chamber would have to "prove" its innocence, a somewhat un-American concept.

Several news organizations have already reprimanded the president and his party for unsubstantiated allegations.

The Democrats are desperate.  But a resort to McCarthyism is lower than low.

October 11, 2010     Permalink

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"What you see is news.  What you know is background.  What you feel is opinion."
    - Lester Markel, late Sunday editor
      of The New York Times.


"Councils of war breed timidity and defeatism."
    - Lt. Gen. Arthur MacArthur, to his
      son, Douglas.



Part I of this week's Angel's Corner will be sent late Wednesday night.

Part II will be sent late Friday night.



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