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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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OCTOBER 24,  2014

SHORT TAKES ON THE DRIFTING WRECKAGE – AT 11:55 P.M. ET: 

NAILED – New York Police Commissioner Bill Bratton officially labeled yesterday attack on two police officers a terrorist act.  The attacker, who was killed by another officer at the scene, had a jihadist history.  I am baffled by the lack of general outrage.  Canada had two similar incidents this week, and the prime minister responded.  The nation was shaken.  I'm not aware of any response to the terrorist attack in New York by the president of the United States.  Amazing.

A MITT IN OUR FUTURE? – From Fox:  "MESA, Ariz. – Flashing the easy smile of someone whose name isn't on the Election Day ballot, Mitt Romney has never been so politically popular. He’s traveled the country – 23 states by his count – in recent months to lend support to fellow Republicans in advance of November’s midterm election.  'A lot of people who helped me – I owe big time,' the two-time presidential candidate cheerfully explained when asked about his campaign stops.  It’d be understandable if Romney’s enthusiasm for rallies, banquet halls, fundraisers and the seemingly never-ending line of outstretched hands had waned since his 2012 loss. But two years later, Romney is busy stumping for candidates in tight races nationwide including this two-day stretch in Arizona."  I just have a feeling he's paving the way for another run for president.

OH, THE PHONIES – From ABC:  "Hillary Clinton and Sen. Elizabeth Warren both stumped for Massachusetts governor candidate Martha Coakley today, and one thing was clear: Hillary hearts Elizabeth.  'I love watching Elizabeth,' Clinton gushed about the populist Massachusetts senator. 'You know, give it to those who deserve to get it. Standing up not only for you, but people with the same needs and same wants across our country. It's a great pleasure to be here in a state that has such tremendous tradition of leadership.' Clinton called Warren a 'passionate champion for working people and middle class families.'"  I hope Warren had a food taster with her.

October 24, 2014       Permalink

 

THE DEMS' FEMALE PROBLEM – AT 10:52 A.M. ET:   There has been a serious erosion of support for the Democratic Party among women.  From The Wall Street Journal:   

In a warning flag for Democrats, recent polls suggest the party is failing to draw enough support from women in three key Senate races—in Iowa, Arkansas and Colorado—to offset the strong backing that men are giving to Republicans.

Surveys this week in Arkansas and Colorado for the first time also showed the GOP candidates pulling even or ahead of Democrats among women voters, threatening to close the gender gap that has been a cornerstone of Democratic electoral strategy for decades.

While the situation remains fluid, an erosion in the Democrats’ traditionally large advantage among women would be perilous for the party, especially in an election year in which men, who favor Republicans overall, are showing a greater enthusiasm for voting.

Democrats are making a particular effort to mobilize unmarried women—their strongest supporters, but a group that tends to skip midterm elections. However, the rise of national-security concerns and low approval ratings for President Barack Obama may undercut that effort.

And...

This month’s Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll, taken Oct. 8-12, found men more enthusiastic about voting than women. Groups such as men age 50 and over were among the most enthusiastic about voting, while core Democratic groups, such as women age 18-49 and college-educated women, were among the least enthusiastic.

COMMENT:  I just have the sense that the Democratic Party is rapidly becoming the party of the past – past issues, past grievances.  Most American women, from what I understand, don't get up every day thinking about abortion.  They have wider concerns, and the Democrats seem not to care about those concerns, or even to ridicule them.

But we'll have to see actual turnout figures on election day.  There have been times when turnout of the Democratic base has been underestimated in the days before the election.

October 24,  2014     Permalink

 

THE ATTACK ON COPS IN NEW YORK – AT 9:47 A.M. ET:   There is this, from Fox: 

The NYPD is reportedly investigating whether Islamic extremism played a role in Thursday's hatchet attack on city cops.

Officers shot and killed a man identified as Zale Thompson, 32, of Queens, who fractured the skull of Officer Kenneth Healey, 25, at about 2 p.m. in the Jamaica section of Queens. Videotape and witness accounts apparently showed Thompson intentionally targeting four rookie officers.

Thompson was seen minutes before the attack pulling a hatchet from his backpack and then began attacking the officers, slicing a second cop on the arm before he was fatally shot, the New York Post reports.

"There's nothing we know at this time that would indicate that [Islamic terrorism] is the case," NYPD Commissioner William Bratton told reporters during a press conference at Jamaica Hospital. "That's what the investigation will attempt to determine."

A 29-year-old woman walking nearby was struck in the back by a stray police bullet and remains in stable condition, police sources told the Post. The second injured cop, Officer Joseph Meeker, was "conscious and alert" at Jamaica Hospital.

Thompson, whose Facebook page includes a passage from the Koran and a photograph of a masked militant, is being investigated for possible terrorist connections.

"There are suspected terror ties," one source told the newspaper.

Thompson allegedly called for a revolution on American soil on his Facebook page, but the messages were no longer visible early Friday.

"America's military is strong abroad, but they have never faced an internal mass revolt,” Thompson posted on the social media site. “They are weaker at home. We are scattered and decentralized, we can use this as an advantage. They are centralized and strong, which can be exploited as a weakness. Think of a swarm of bees (negroes) that surround and attack an elephant (America) to death."

The suspect also called for guerilla warfare.

COMMENT:  Just a guy with some problems.  Nothing to see, nothing to see. 

Note how the mainstream media types are playing this down.  Two fatal attacks on soldiers in Canada by Islamists, and now a near-fatal attack on New York policemen, and the New York attack is carried out by a guy who quotes the Koran on his Facebook page.  And we're told simply that authorities are "investigating" possible links to terrorism.

This is the impact of having a Mayor DeBlasio rather than a Mayor Giuliani.  Rudy would have called this one in about five minutes, just as Canadian Prime Minister Harper did.

October 24,  2014     Permalink

 

FBI WARNS JOURNALISTS OF DANGER FROM ISIS – AT 9:14 A.M. ET:  From The Politico: 

The Federal Bureau of Investigation sent a bulletin to reporters on Thursday warning that the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant had identified reporters and media personalities as "desirable targets" for retribution attacks against the United States.

"The FBI assesses, based on open source statements and postings, that [ISIL] members and supporters view members of the US media establishment as legitimate targets for retribution attacks as the US-led air campaign against ISIL in Iraq and Syria continues," the FBI bulletin states. "Online supporters of ISIL have called—via various social media sites—for retaliation against the United States and US interests abroad, especially since US-led air strikes in Iraq and Syria began."

In the bulletin, the FBI claims to have "recently obtained credible information indicating members of an ISIL-affiliated group are tasked with kidnapping journalists in the region and returning them to Syria. Members of this group might try to mask their affiliation with ISIL to gain access to journalists," the bulletin reads.

The bulletin also noted the recent executions of American journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff and cited an online post by an ISIL supporter titled "A Message to 2.6 Million Muslims in the United States: This Is How To Respond to Obama's War on Islam." The post's author identified media personnel such as anchormen, field reporters and talk show hosts as people “proved to be biased” and, as such, prioritized targets for execution.

The bulletin, which the FBI supplied to news organizations so that they "may take appropriate steps to notify their journalists in the field," was dated Oct. 22 but sent out Thursday by the Public Affairs department for the FBI's Washington Field Office.

COMMENT:  That is very chilling, and we wonder how it might affect reporting.  Will reporters, understandably concerned about themselves and their families, start pulling their punches?  They're human, after all. 

Remember that the purpose of terror is to terrorize, to render your opponent frightened and ineffective.  This assault on the press is clearly part of a terror campaign.  It has already claimed lives by beheading. 

October 24,  2014     Permalink

 

ISIS HAS USED CHEMICAL WEAPONS – AT 8:43 A.M. ET:  One of the nightmare scenarios born in the days after 9/11 was that a terror group would get WMD.  Welcome to the nightmare come true.  From the Washington Post: 

ALAD, Iraq — Dizzy, vomiting and struggling to breathe, 11 Iraqi police officers were rushed to a government hospital 50 miles north of the capital last month. The diagnosis: poisoning by chlorine gas. The perpetrators, according to the officers: Islamic State extremists.

The chlorine attack appears to be the first confirmed use of chemical weapons by the Islamic State on the battlefield. An Iraqi Defense Ministry official corroborated the events, and doctors said survivors’ symptoms were consistent with chlorine poisoning.

Iraqi forces say two other crude chlorine attacks have occurred since the extremists seized vast tracts of Iraqi territory this summer, but details on those incidents remain sketchy. The reported assaults all raise concerns that the militants are attempting to hone their chemical weapons capabilities as they push to control more ground.

The presence of a large former Iraqi chemical weapons production plant in territory seized by the Islamic State has compounded those fears, although officials and chemical weapons experts say the 2,500 degraded rockets filled with nerve agents that remain there are unlikely to be fit for use. Weapons inspectors sealed them off with concrete in a bunker more than 20 years ago.

The Islamic State’s reported chlorine attacks appear to have been largely ineffectual. The attack on the police officers last month is the only one officially documented.

COMMENT:  Ineffectual...for now.  And let's not worry about that German military buildup, Mr. Chamberlain. 

Wonder where ISIS got those chem weapons.  Hmm, they were used in Iraq.  You don't think that Iraq actually did have WMD, do you?  Why, that would mean Bush was right.  Can't have that, can we?  Nah.  ISIS probably got 'em from ebay.

October 24,  2014    Permalink

 

 

 

OCTOBER 23,  2014

SHORT TAKES ON THE DRIFTING WRECKAGE – AT 11:52 P.M. ET: 

EBOLA BITES THE APPLE – New York City has its first confirmed Ebola case, a doctor who returned from treating Ebola patients in Africa.  He is now at Bellevue Hospital.  We're being told that thousands of people are coming into the United States each day, either directly from west Africa or indirectly from west Africa by way of European cities.  We certainly don't have an epidemic, but New York has a bad case of nerves tonight. 

MORE FROM NEW YORK – Two New York City police officers were attacked today by a seemingly deranged man, who critically injured one of the cops with a hatchet.  Sources say that a check of the alleged assailant's social media page indicates that he may have had political motives.  He was shot dead at the scene.  If this is a terror attack, it will have been the third in North America this week, following the two in Canada.  Targeting soldiers and police officers is a tactic taught by ISIS and other terror groups.

A SLIGHT VOTING ERROR IN ILLINOIS – Reader Jacqueline Reckseit sends us this, from Fox:  "CHICAGO — Early voting in Illinois got off to a rocky start Monday, as votes being cast for Republican candidates were transformed into votes for Democrats.  Republican state representative candidate Jim Moynihan went to vote Monday at the Schaumburg Public Library.  'I tried to cast a vote for myself and instead it cast the vote for my opponent,' Moynihan said. 'You could imagine my surprise as the same thing happened with a number of races when I tried to vote for a Republican and the machine registered a vote for a Democrat.'  The conservative website Illinois Review reported that 'while using a touch screen voting machine in Schaumburg, Moynihan voted for several races on the ballot, only to find that whenever he voted for a Republican candidate, the machine registered the vote for a Democrat in the same race. He notified the election judge at his polling place and demonstrated that it continued to cast a vote for the opposing candidate’s party. Moynihan was eventually allowed to vote for Republican candidates, including his own race."  I'm shocked because Illinois has such a reputation for clean elections.  It's so inclusive that even the dear departed are encouraged to vote.

APPROPRIATE APOLOGY – From The Politico:  "CNN’s Carol Costello apologized on Thursday for joking about a police recording of Bristol Palin.  'Over the past few days I have been roundly criticized for joking about a brawl involving the Palin family. In retrospect, I deserve such criticism and would like to apologize,' Costello said in a statement to POLITICO.  On Wednesday, before playing a tape in which Bristol Palin describes an alleged altercation at a party in Wasilla, Alaska, Costello said, 'This is quite possibly the best minute and a half of audio we’ve ever come across. Well, come across in a long time anyway.'  In the tape, Palin is heard describing what happened to her after she confronted someone she accused of pushing her sister."   At least Costello apologized, as did, apparently, some other journalists.  The incident was serious, and Bristol was defending her family.  Give her credit for that. 

October 23, 2014       Permalink

 

ELECTION LATEST – AT 10:32 A.M. ET:  Three items dominate today's election news:

First, a new poll shows Democratic incumbent Jeanne Shaheen only two points ahead of Scott Brown in the race for a Senate seat in New Hampshire.  That's a statistical tie.

Another new poll shows Republican Joni Ernst two points ahead of Republican Bruce Braley for the Iowa Senate seat.

In perhaps the most surprising news, the Democrats are starting to spend money again in Kentucky, in light of a new poll showing gaffe-ridden challenger Alison Lundergan Grimes closing on Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.  However, many experts discount the poll as an outlier, and point to others showing McConnell well ahead. 

Overall, with a week and a half to go before election day, Republicans are guardedly optimistic about taking the Senate, but many races are close.  This will be a turnout election.  The ground game, getting voters to the polls, now comes into play.  That will decide it.

October 23, 2014     Permalink



STUNNING – AT 9:57 A.M. ET:  Obama is waiting until after the election to unveil his immigration program because he knows that program will be intensely unpopular.  Early information shows why.  From The Hill: 

Angst over President Obama's post-election plans on immigration is growing amid revelations that the U.S. Citizen and Immigration Service (USCIS) has issued a procurement request for as many as 34 million work permits and green cards.

The solicitation, discovered by Breitbart News, says bidders must be able to produce at least 4 million cards annually over a five year contract, and “surge” to provide as many as 9 million documents in the early years of the contract.

That would far exceed current levels at which both documents are issued by the federal government, prompting Republicans to speculate the Obama administration is readying a sprawling executive order that could offer legal status to millions of illegal immigrants.

“This revelation provides startling confirmation of the crisis facing our Republic,” said Senate Budget Committee Chairman Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) “The president is preparing to issue work authorization and ‘legal’ status to millions of individuals illegally present in the country, in violation of plain statute.”

The Alabama lawmaker added that the executive action looked poised to “nullify the immigration laws of the United States and its sovereign people.”

COMMENT:  This is very serious stuff.  Please note Senator Sessions's phraseology.  Is he preparing a bill of impeachment?  The president can be impeached for high crimes and misdemeanors.  The House, which votes a bill of impeachment, will be in Republican hands.  The Senate then acquits or convicts, conviction requiring a two thirds majority.

And yet, Republicans know the risks of impeachment.  The last time they impeached a president it was Bill Clinton, who was acquitted and became more popular.  And impeaching Obama would mean attempting to remove the first black president.  What chance is there to get two thirds of the Senate to go along?

And yet, if a new immigration program is overwhelmingly unpopular, even among blacks, the GOP might risk it if it feels there is a solid legal foundation.  We may have very dramatic times ahead.

October 23, 2014       Permalink

 

CANADA – AT 9:28 A.M. ET:  More is known about the terrorist who killed a Canadian soldier yesterday and tried to attack the Canadian parliament.  From Fox: 

The man who stormed Canada’s government complex Wednesday, killing a soldier and sending Ottawa into an all-out panic, was a small-time criminal who recently converted to Islam and desperately wanted to move to the Middle East, according to reports.

Michael Zehaf-Bibeau, the 32-year-old whose morning raid on Parliament Hill ended when a sergeant-at-arms gunned him down as he was unleashing a fusillade of bullets in the halls of Canada’s federal government, had recently undergone a religious awakening that left at least one friend alarmed, the Globe and Mail reported.

“We were having a conversation in a kitchen, and I don’t know how he worded it: He said the devil is after him,” Dave Bathurst told the newspaper. “I think he must have been mentally ill.”

Witnesses said an armed Zehaf-Bibeau drove to the Ottawa complex just before 10 a.m Wednesday, jumped out of a Toyota with no license plates and ran to the National War Memorial, where he shot a soldier later identified as Cpl. Nathan Cirillo. The 25-year-old father of a 6-year-old boy, who was a member of Canada's Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders regiment, died later at Civic Hospital.

COMMENT:  I'm sure some will use the "mental illness" defense.  But, if it's true, there seem to be an awfully large number of "mentally ill" people shooting up people and buildings around the world while shouting the slogans of radical Islam.

Canadian leaders were blunt in calling this terrorism.   In America, the Department of Defense still calls the Fort Hood massacre "workplace violence."

October 23, 2014       Permalink

 

SIGN OF OUR CULTURE – AT 8:52 A.M. ET:  A new report fully describes the scandal of academic corruption at the "prestigious" University of North Carolina, allowing thousands of students, mostly athletes, to be given credit for phantom courses.   From Reuters: 

(Reuters) - More than 3,000 students at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill received credit for fake classes over an 18-year period as part of a program that allowed many of them to remain eligible to play sports, according to a report released on Wednesday.

The investigation by former federal prosecutor Kenneth Wainstein is the latest of several attempts to unravel allegations of academic fraud involving student-athletes at a university known for both its academic rigor and athletics.

"This is a very complex organization that needed oversight at every step of the way, and it didn't exist," Wainstein said at a news conference following the report's release. "It's pretty shocking that it didn't exist."

The report does not incriminate any coaches or athletic administrators in the scheme, which it said was carried out by a former department head and former office administrator within the African and Afro-American Studies department.

Pretty bad.  And what is the reaction of the university's chief honcho?

"Mr. Wainstein has found that the wrongdoing at Carolina lasted much longer and affected more students than previously known," UNC-Chapel Hill Chancellor Carol Folt said in a statement.

"The bad actions of a few and the inaction of others failed the University's students, faculty and alumni, and undermined the institution as a whole.

"This conduct could and should have been stopped much earlier by individuals in positions of influence and oversight, and others could have sounded the alarm more forcefully."

COMMENT:  Remarkable.  What does the chancellor of the university leave out in her statement?  She leaves out the responsibility of students.  There are thousands of UNC graduates running around with false degrees.  Presumably, all or almost all are African American.  (Thousands of other black students worked their heads off to get honest degrees.)  Yet, the chancellor does not condemn students who accepted these academic bribes.

Is the chancellor prepared to revoke the false degrees?  Is she prepared to order a review of every affected transcript?  Is she prepared to demand that "graduates" with tainted degrees do further work to insure that they have met UNC's standards?   

I doubt that anything will be done.  Folt has a reputation for political correctness. 

Must make the honest students feel like suckers. 

October 23,  2014     Permalink

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
 

 

 

 




 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 
 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

 


 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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