High tensions continue between Turkey, Syria, and Russia in the wake of the interception by Turkish fighter jets and subsequent forced landing in the Turkish capital of Ankara of a Syrian airliner originally bound from Moscow to Damascus.
** QUICK HITS. Following his Tuesday night debate on Long Island with conservative Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney, President Barack Obama will campaign over the next two days in Iowa, Ohio, New Hampshire, and New York (the latter for fundraising). … New polling, incidentally, shows Obama leading in swing state Nevada outside the margin of error. … Governor Jerry Brown speaks tonight at 6:30 PM in Oakland at the 40th anniversary celebration of PICO, a national network of faith-based community organizations. … In a sign of the times, the Service Employees International Union, which represents many thousands of workers, just put $2 million into the Prop 30 revenue initiative. And heiress Molly Munger, who represents her personal opinion, just put another $2 million into her campaign against it. Brother Charlie Munger, Jr. is spending more than that, as I already wrote. … The John Scully who just gave $500,000 to the No on 30 campaign is not, as has been reported in a few California media outlets, the John Sculley (notice the different spelling) who was president of Apple Computer in the 1980s.
** NEW SURVEY: POLARIZATION AT RECORD LEVEL AS OBAMA IS ON TRACK TO BE MORE DISLIKED BY REPUBLICANS THAN GEORGE W. BUSH WAS BY DEMOCRATS. A new Gallup Poll survey indicates that partisan views of President Barack Obama are on track to be the most polarized in history.
They are just a hair more polarized than the views of President George W. Bush, the previous record holder, just prior to his re-election in 2004.
That’s because at least half as many again Democrats held an approving opinion of Bush’s job performance then as Republicans do of Obama’s job performance now.
And you probably recall how despised Bush II was among Democrats.
Thus far in October, an average of 90% of Democrats, and 8% of Republicans, approve of the job Barack Obama is doing as president. That 82-percentage-point gap in approval ratings by party is on pace to be the largest Gallup has measured for a recent incumbent president in the final month before Americans vote on his re-election. George W. Bush had an 80-point party gap in approval, while the October gaps for other presidents were less than 70 points. …
Obama’s already highly polarized ratings are becoming even more so in his fourth year in office. Thus far, his ratings have averaged 85% among Democrats and 10% among Republicans, for a 75-point gap. That compares with gaps averaging 68 points during his second and third years in office and 65 points during his first.
That is not unexpected, as Gallup has typically found presidents’ ratings to be most polarized by party in their fourth year in office, which is normally the year they seek re-election to a second term. But ratings of recent presidents are far more politically divided than those of less recent presidents. …
President Barack Obama says he’s “really proud” of Vice President Joe Biden for his performance in Thursday night’s vice presidential debate, notably more spirited and forceful than Obama’s own a week earlier.
** OBAMA TODAY. President Barack Obama is in Washington.
Obama received the daily intelligence and economic briefings in the Oval Office.
At 3:30 PM Pacific, Obama has dinner with winners of a campaign contest at Smith Commons Dining Room.
Conservative Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney is campaigning today in swing states Virginia and Ohio, where Obama still leads, albeit very narrowly in the Dominion State.
Obama is spending today and the three days after that on debate prep in advance of next Tuesday’s confrontation with conservative Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney in Long Island, New York.
He is also monitoring and managing various crises.
And he’s undoubtedly pleased by Vice President Joe Biden’s performance in his Thursday night debate in Kentucky with Congressman Paul Ryan, who clearly bested the conservative favorite in polls of undecided voters and gave a jolt of needed spirit to the Democratic base.
Biden mostly got the best of Ryan with a spirited and forceful performance. Unlike Obama, who was surprisingly listless in his first encounter with Romney, he did not forget their campaign themes.
Ryan wasn’t bad, but he also wasn’t very good, coming off factually challenged on his Romney’s budget plans, economic plans, and geopolitical plans.
Biden, naturally, was far from perfect. While he hit the marks on most issue areas, he distracted from his performance with too many personal tics — laughter, grinning, grimacing, too frequent interruption.
And, while he correctly brushed back Ryan’s attack on the Benghazi tragedy by pointing out that the ballyhooed Ryan Plan for the budget advocated huge cuts in the diplomatic security budget, and that Ryan also voted for big cuts, he also made it sound like the administration hadn’t been informed that there was a looming problem there.
The White House later “clarified” that Biden and Obama had not been informed. The State Department was certainly informed. Along with a small, seemingly unknown, at least in the public narrative of this disaster, agency called the CIA.
Congressional testimony on the 9/11 anniversary security situation in Benghazi earlier revealed the obvious. As I pointed out at the time last month, there clearly wasn’t anywhere near enough security. And it diminished even while Libya was clearly something of a Wild West territory.
The late Ambassador Chris Stevens, as I expected, had requested more security little more than a month before he was murdered by jihadists. I’m sure the Obama team can come up with some retroactive spin on this. But at the moment I’m at a loss. It’s true that congressional Republicans voted to cut security funding. But the cupboard was not bare.
Meanwhile, Turkey and Syria drift closer to war, with Russia involved. Border shellings have given rise to Turkey combat air patrols right along the border.
And tensions ratcheted higher still with the interception by Turkish fighter jets of a Syrian airline flight from Moscow to Damascus, which was forced to land in Ankara, Turkey.
There Turkish officials say they found, in addition to a majority of Russian passengers, sophisticated Russian radar gear that is highly useful in anti-aircraft systems.
Russia, asserting innocence, has filed a formal protest.
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.
Space Shuttle Endeavour is taking a 12-mile trip through the streets of Los Angeles to its final home at the California Science Center, where it arrives late Saturday.
** FROM THE JERRY FILES. Governor Jerry Brown is in Northern California.
He has no scheduled public events.
Brown is working on the Prop 30 revenue initiative, now under multi-million dollar assault by a few super-rich individuals.
Individuals mainly named Munger.
“There’s not a difficulty to having an insider’s knowledge and an outsider’s mind,” he says. “The more you understand, the better off you are.”
I kind of like that inside/outside thing.
“Silence gives you time to think.”
“I find watching politicians on TV boring for the most part. I don’t watch very often. But sometimes I watch with curiosity — kind of like an anthropologist who’s seeing what the hell is going on.”
“It’s not just the politicians. It’s the commentary afterwards. It’s the endless talking heads. Sometimes they have something to say. But there are not twenty-four hours of something to say.”
** GEOPOLITICS: OBAMA FACES BIG CHALLENGES DESPITE DEBATE WINNER ROMNEY’S LATEST POLICY WHIFF. … From my October 9th essay.
** JERRY BROWN GETS AN OCTOBER SURPRISE. … From my October 8th feature.
** 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.
** 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.
The new Bond film for the 50th anniversary of the franchise, Skyfall, has its global premiere in London on October 23rd. Skyfall, which opens across the UK on October 26th, goes wide in North America on November 9th.
** 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 $92 per barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
This is up about $58 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 $22 per barrel from the price at the time of the Osama bin Laden raid.
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