Just around the time Mary Tyler Moore – make that Mary Richards of course – was moving to Minneapolis, a young college grad from North Carolina moved to NYC and became a teacher. The year Jimmy Carter was elected, she married a banker, having lived through the city’s financial near-collapse. And when the Mary Tyler Moore Show ended it’s glorious run in 1977, Carolyn Maloney entered local politics in the city she had adopted as her home.

But make no mistake, Carolyn Maloney is no Mary Tyler Moore. She’s a tireless tigress of a legislator who is at the intersection of every major progressive political trend to have surfaced in America over the last generation or so. Including finance. Big finance. And she’s one of Hillary Clinton’s biggest boosters, especially in the House, where she also fights for every last billion of public funds for her constituents.

The American Enterprise Institute has just released a report on Chinese investment in America over the last 8 years. You can download the spreadsheet and scroll down the numerous investments – many in the billion dollar range – and you will notice a name that keeps coming up, usually with a large sum next to the details of what company or sector the Chinese invested in.

You betcha. Carolyn Maloney.

Yes, it’s true. Her district is NYC’s 12th. Which includes the lower East Side and parts of Brooklyn and Queens. And has a per capita income around 75K. A little higher than Kentucky’s 5th congressional district in Lee County. For example. So it’s logical that some big deals get done in Maloney’s district. How big? According to the spreadsheet, 18.54 billion dollars worth. Chinese money, that is. Not total deals. Just Chinese money.

Maybe Carolyn Maloney could work with Kentucky’s Hal Rogers and scare up some Chinese investment in coal. Which the Chinese burn a lot of in their homeland. But that won’t happen of course. Not yet at least. Not with Hillary in a still-undecided race with the man who Kentucky’s 5th district will likely be voting for. Not with Obama still in the White House.

But it’s not completely out of the question for someone like Maloney. You see, she is the personification of intersectionality in action. Not as a haranguing professor browbeating students in a seminar at Oberlin College. But rather as a legislator who has been everywhere: from the 9/11 Commission Caucus to the Campus Sexual Violence Elimination Act, to Credit Card Legislation, to even helping getting the long-delayed Second-Avenue Subway built. She is ranked as one of the most prolific legislators on the hill.

Carolyn Maloney is the Compliance Dame. Everything is interconnected. There is therefore a legislative solution for every problem, imagined or real, objective or felt.

You want to drill offshore? Go through Maloney’s Minerals Management Service Improvement Act.

You want to fight to maintain subsidies for sugar growers in America? Get Maloney to host a fundraiser.

You want universal child care like in Sweden? Start with Maloney’s Childcare Affordability Act. Or her Family Medical Leave and Inclusion Act.

Do you need a vetting system to control foreign investments in America after the Dubai Ports World scandal? Go through Maloney.

You want to turn your renminbi into dollars and drop a few billion on real estate or finance in America? Go through Carolyn Maloney.

You want to be president? America’s first female president? Make sure Carolyn’s on board. And of course, Maloney’s already there, ready to help clear a path for Hillary. And she is. If Hillary wins the White House, what even brighter future awaits Carolyn Maloney? A Cabinet position? Or is she more valuable working the halls of Congress? Perhaps when President Hillary decides she actually is kinda in favor of TPP.

Remember, if Hillary wins – or if Hillary should even lose – go through Maloney.

Panic in the campaign headquarters. Pressure on the candidate. Mainstream Media sounding the alarms. Yes, Hillary’s campaign has plenty to ponder according to the pundits. Is this the media finally turning a more critical eye on the Democratic nominee?

Not really.

It’s more like an outsourcing of a portion of her campaign strategy and tactics to those in the media who – having decided that the debates are history with Hillary the winner in all 3, ignoring the tiny detail that there are 2 debates still to come – now are helping her shore up any targeted vulnerabilities in her voter base. Call it tough love.

Florida still is key. And like in 2000, there are a couple of problems in Florida for Hillary. She has to solve them to ensure she gets those 29 juicy electoral votes. Black voters are only 85% in her camp. A shameful shortcoming which has to be tackled head on. So her representatives and supporters in the Sunshine State – like Leslie Wimes and Miami Gardens Mayor Oliver Gilbert – are busy revealing to Politico just how bad things are and how much work has to be done. Here’s a couple of lines from the article:

… she’s polling less than 85 percent among African-American voters in Florida, while Trump polls around 5 percent.
__
It’s not just Clinton’s margins with black voters that concerns Democrats.

Panic because Hillary’s not at Obama’s 95% mark with black voters in Florida. And then there’s the other problem. Like in 2000 and 1992, we have a third party candidate. We, in fact, have 2 third party candidates who are drawing away millennials from Hillary while barely impacting Trump’s numbers. So to ensure that the Johnson/Weld ticket doesn’t Nader (that’s a verb) Hillary’s election, The Hill helpfully has the most evil photograph of the silliest man in politics who is nothing if not affable and quirky. And the article helpfully lists the policy reasons why millennials will be forever guilty if they vote for Johnson or Stein. Maybe sent to a special place in Hell?

We are in the final weeks, approaching the final 40 days, and the echo chamber is dialed up to 11 to do it’s patriotic duty: ensure that voters are informed of the issues – the ones that make them vote for Hillary. They successfully badgered and browbeat Lester Holt to ensure there was no repeat of Matt Lauer’s performance. And now they have turned their sound system straight at the voters. Those targeted voters who will make the difference in Hillary’s quest for 270 plus electoral votes. They are spinning up a storm as they toss out energy drinks to a reluctant and suspicious crowd of young voters. Slamming the needle, pumping up the volume.

There has rarely if ever been a media storm so one sided in electoral history. And yes, there are more than a few pundits – both conservative as well as liberal – who feel Trump deserves the volume. But they are setting a dangerous precedent.

As the left, from Vox to Politico and from CNN to MSNBC, delight at what they see as Trump’s poor first debate performance, here’s an idea that Donald Trump could use to boost his next performance. Show that the presidency of the United States of America matters more to you than your brand.

Because that’s a problem. Not that it is only Donald Trump that has corporate interests that could conflict with his role as the next president of America. The Clinton Foundation mixes money and politics in a shamelessly seamless way. There is nothing shamed or seamed about Bill and Hillary Clinton. But it’s all beltway stuff with the Clintons. Some of it was paid for directly by the U.S. taxpayer, when Hillary received her salary as Senator and then Secretary of State, for example. Some of it was paid by book sales. Much of it was paid for by speaking fees, especially Bill Clinton, but Hillary as well. All of it was directly related to politics. Building their wealth by leveraging their political power in all sorts of ways as they rose through the state and federal political structure of America was the Clinton’s daily bread.

Trump, on the other hand, has been a developer-turned-media-marketing-mogul. He built his brand the old-fashioned way, through bankruptcy and real estate bubbles and busts. And he survived and prospered – exactly by how much he prospered remains to be seen of course. And through it all, the one constant was building and rebuilding his brand.

When he decided to enter politics, Trump had a choice. He could finance and support an existing politician whose views and policies he found engaging. Or he could enter himself. He did and despite the amused predictions of a colorful collapse, he survived. And he did more than survive. He won. He is now 2 debates and a slender few (at this point) percentage points from winning the White House.

Did he really think he’d get this far? It has been suggested that he did not. But the energy and gusto with which he has taken on one challenge after another – whatever antipathy his methods have provoked in both parties – suggests he was in it to win from the start. And whether he really thought he could win it all in the June of 2015 has long been a moot point. Because he really could win it all now.

To do that he needs to let go of his brand. Not his past. His brand. Yes, he needs to effectively point out how he understands job creation from the inside of a business. And not from a policy brief in an office in the White House or on the Hill. But he can never let Hillary bait him so easily by disparaging his brand and questioning how he built it. He has to work past that, if he can.

Is he narcissistic? Pretty clearly, yes he can be. Perhaps he needs to be just a touch more of a sociopath. Able to disconnect and reconnect with whatever emotion is handy at any given moment. And do it on a dime, like Bill Clinton noticing the video camera at Ron Brown’s funeral, and switching from a chuckle to shedding tears at the drop of a hat. Now that’s impressive.

But more than anything, if Trump can keep his brand at an emotional arms length, he might find it easier to avoid the traps that Hillary’s team meticulously laid for him at the Hofstra debate.

You’re nearly as dumb as Gary Johnson, who apparently doesn’t need cannabis to go from affable to really weird at the drop of a hat. You know why you are? Because you don’t get Aleppo. Just like Gary, despite his protestations of: oh, yeah, got it. You don’t get it however. Here’s why.

Aleppo is hot, dry and in the middle of a hot, dry country. This what those who know tell us. And that is one of the main reasons why people are killing each other and why refugees have been streaming out of Syria and through Turkey and the Balkans and into the EU. There are other minor factors like a ruthless second-generation autocrat killing as many of his fellow Syrians as necessary to cling to power, but you have to keep the weather in mind, don’t you see?

Praise be to Obama then for stroking his pen underneath yet another executive order – who needs Congress? – and pulling together 20 federal agencies of all sorts to ensure that climate change will be placed firmly at the table when the Chiefs of Staff and intelligence agencies analyze the world’s hot spots. A fortunate turn of phrase if you believe the EPA needs to be part of the provisioning of the men and women who risk their lives around the world for the sake of their country.

So there it is: the Presidential Memorandum on Climate Change and National Security. Signed, sealed, but not really delivered. Not yet at least. But here’s the thing. Obama is not crazy. He is not a lone wolf acting on his peculiar vision that makes him hear voices in his head. Would that it would be so simple. But no. He is putting into action what an increasing percentage of the academic and even, yes, the intelligence communities actually believe. It’s a brave, dangerous and exciting new world. You can be a lover of emissions-trading, vegan, environmental analyst. And guess what? There’s a job opening for you at the NSA. Not just the EPA.

And that’s why Congress should have no place in this matter. They would actually strike committees and hold hearings and listen to evidence and debate loudly and publicly amongst themselves. With representatives of industry and science and environmental groups and other stakeholders having their say in front of the media’s prying presence. Both about the actual data on global warming, and on whether an added layer of bureaucracy with it’s own vested interests is the best way to forge national security. For America and for it’s allies. You don’t imagine China striking those sorts of committees, somehow. Or Russia.

By the way, Aleppo has a cool steppe climate and sits on a plateau about twelve hundred feet above sea level. And yes, it’s relatively dry with winters having rare snowfalls. Snow. Falling. But only rarely of course. On Friday it had a high of 77 F and a low of 59.

The bombs being dropped by Syrian and/or Russian jets, however, produce a great deal more heat for the unfortunate souls who have to try and survive them.

The details are different between what happened in Charlotte and Tulsa, and the reaction has been more violent in Charlotte, but certainly angry in Tulsa. And Tulsa is where Trump has decided to stake out a position, by questioning police actions in the shooting of a black man in a strange confrontation involving an abandoned vehicle in the middle of the road.

If it was Hillary doing this, it would be par for the course. But Trump has suddenly turned on a dime from supporting police forces, after having earned the endorsement of the National Fraternal Order of Police fairly recently, and having been seen as a strong supporter of police officers across the country.

Is it a one-off comment in a church in Cleveland for the benefit of his African American audience? And will it work? And how will police officers associations react?

We’ll see is the best answer that can be given right now. In Tulsa there is clear footage from a helicopter of most of the event. But even then, police officials and supporters and friends and family of Terrence Crutcher have opposing interpretations of the facts. He had his hands up. True. But Officer Shelby states he was refusing her orders to kneel down on the pavement. He lowered his right arm and appears to be reaching into the car. For a gun? No gun was found and the car window was up, apparently. Was Crutcher high on PCP? The narcotic was found in his car, but no results for tests on Crutcher have been released or perhaps even done. Should that have changed Officer Shelby’s attitude?

Crutcher’s family paint the portrait of a decent father who was attending community college. Police seem to have seen a dangerous “bad dude” who happened to be large, and black. And acting strangely, perhaps high on PCP. Does that, however, justify pulling the trigger? Or would Officer Shelby have done better to hold back a few yards and let her colleagues taser the man. Which is exactly what one of the officers was doing at almost the exact moment when she decided to pull the trigger.

And into these turbulent waters Trump has decided to wade. Is he ready to defend his actions? Because Hillary will jump all over his comments on the Tulsa shooting, in order to score points with her audience. And Hillary’s audience would love Trump to be accused of pandering to African Americans for the sake of a town hall in a black church.

One suspects that groups like the Fraternal Order of Police will limit their reactions until more information is available in both cases. And will give Trump a waiver, while expressing their support for the men and women who risk their lives on a daily basis. Trump could have waited perhaps. And he will certainly claim his comments were taken out of context, and that he was merely expressing concern at what he saw in the footage. And that he will wait for more information to come out before making a judgement.

At the same time, in his Hannity Town Hall, Trump praised the results obtained by NYC’s stop-and-frisk program, as a way to reduce black on black violence. And the tweeted calls for unity in Charlotte and Tulsa. One suspects that Hillary’s debate support staff are taking detailed notes.

Terrorism has been a defining force in American politics for nearly two decades now. Like it or not. Bush 43 was going to be the education president. He is now remembered as the president who had to take on the war on terror, like no other president before him. And since, unfortunately.

One can argue over what tactics and strategies are best. The Iraq invasion looks less wise with each passing year. But one cannot argue over George W. Bush’s commitment to fight terrorism. The same cannot be said of President Obama. Because he has willfully refused to define it as a war against terrorism. As if somehow he could negotiate his way around the brutal reality of radical jihadist terrorism.

He’s still trying.

After the weekend of terrorist attacks in NYC, New Jersey, and Minnesota, Obama lectured the media not to jump to conclusions and “get ahead” of the story. Like a mildly annoyed college professor dressing down his pupils for not turning in well written essays.

At every stage of his presidency, Obama has tried to downplay and qualify and relativize islamic terrorism. And as part of his now near-delirious insistence on his view that jihadism is not as great a threat as people think, the West must appease Islam. Or risk angry retaliation on the part of islamic peace-loving faithful who shall be pushed to take up workshops in IED’s because the West, and America, dare to defend themselves. Jihadims is always the West’s fault by his progressively perverse logic.

And of course, as Josh Earnest whined in an interview, we can’t let ISIL control the narrative by allowing them to turn their terrorism into a battle of the West versus Islam. Because that’s what will happen if we use phrases like: radical islamic terrorism. Does Earnest really believe what he’s made to say anymore? Maybe he does. Or maybe as a good spokesperson, he does his best to transmit his leader’s will to the public at large.

It’s getting to the point where comparing Obama’s foreign policy to Jimmy Carter’s is a bit of an insult to the former governor of Georgia. But Obama is, tragically, not at all alone in this matter. From Merkel opening up the borders of Germany and allowing terrorists in with the refugees, to British police who refuse to take action when they fear it will stir up complaints of islamophobia, even if it involves the abuse of adolescents, leaders in the West are paralyzed by the fear of being branded racist.

But that’s what aggressive activists on the left have done to speech in North America and Europe and around the world. Naming and Shaming, in everything from transgender bathrooms to micro-aggressions, has wrought a deadly silence on those who need to muster the strength and courage, but also the intellectual flexibility, to deal with what is a serious problem. And not one that merely affects the West. Terrorism has caused far more deaths in the Middle East and Asia, as well as Africa. But freedom of expression is not always a right in many of these countries. Nor is it expected to be. It is a right in much of the West. At least in theory. Because right now, fear in of being shamed seems greater than the courage to deal with terrorism.

Obama, however, is not someone fearful of being shamed. He actually and whole heartedly believes the progressive ideology. Rubio was right. America elected a charming smooth talking radical. And is now paying the price by a lack of vision on how to fight jihadism. Yes, the men and women who defend America – like the police forces and the FBI that were able to apprehend Rhahami in less than 50 hours – are doing admirable work day after day. They just need a leader who is willing to take up the challenge, instead of constantly belittling it.

Millennials would rather hang with Gary What’s-a-Leppo? Johnson than Hillary. Trump has for some unknown reason decided to dig up the birther zombie again and annoy mainstream media at the same time with his version of what a press conference is. And Nate Silver just doesn’t know; as he asks us to wait another week for the data to show some trend that might impact the final, actual, pull the-damn-lever, vote on November 8th.

What five thirty eight’s data guru seems to mean is that, while the polls have gyrated around a trendline or mean of a Hillary 5 point lead, it is almost impossible to suggest this pattern will continue in the final weeks of this very unique election. There is no long term equilibrium seems to be Nate Silver’s big worry. Trump is not a GOP-typical candidate, so you can’t compare him to any other Republican when trying to detect a statistical pattern.

At the same time, will Hillary’s ground game overcome the noticeable relative lack of enthusiasm among her supporters? Given that her base of support is far more urban and therefore concentrated, while Trump’s is far more rural and dispersed, will Trump’s enthusiasm advantage translate into actual votes? Doesn’t Trump’s much smaller team (or the RNC structure to be more accurate) have to literally cover way more real estate to get out a similar number of votes?

Or is there a silent army of Trump supporters who will drive (rather than walk a few city blocks) to the polls and surprise the predictors?

All these questions are producing far more stress than a few months ago, because it is no longer clear that Hillary will be president. The experts – as personified by Silver – are suddenly unsure of the final result in a way that they haven’t been before. And there is now more than a little panic.

Among Republicans that is. Not just Dems and MSM pundits. Even as the GOP see their grip on the Senate perhaps being just firm enough to hold on to a slim majority.

Never mind Charles Blow or Rachel Maddow. Jim Geraghty of National Review fame listed a very funny but pointed list of some of the consequences of a Trump victory. The finger pointing within the GOP if Trump wins and the Senate is lost would be ugly. Or if Trump loses and the Senate also goes Democrat. Or, if Trump does win, aside from imagining the transition between Obama’s and Trump’s administration, the legacy of Obama’s 8 years would be in tatters. How could a prosperous, happy America elect someone like Trump?, the progressives who adore Obama right now would howl.

And Hillary.

If she loses to Trump – though the odds still are that she probably won’t – she will be reviled and attacked like no other Democrat. Not even McGovern. With both liberal and conservative media piling on about what a terrible candidacy hers was and how could the Democrats have nominated her? All the questions that were angrily dismissed after her sunny yet righteously angry convention just a few weeks ago will come roaring back in the very mouths of those who dismissed them back in late July.

This is starting to look like the election with no winners, precisely because of much of the media’s contempt for Trump. And its partisan water carrying for Hillary. That’s a pessimistic view and hopefully – whoever wins – America can face and solve some of the challenges she faces. Let us hope and pray for that. And let’s hope for a vigorous debate and not just nasty name calling on September 26.

It didn’t take long. But we’ll see if it has legs and can last. The Hillary camp – and it’s a really big tent, folks all the way from State AG’s offices to mainstream media outlets like Newsweek – hit back quickly to try and divert some of the lousy press HRC has been getting over the last week. Especially this last weekend.

Never mind that even her own supporters are asking for Hillary to be a little less Nixonian in her attitudes towards transparency. The Trump Empire is an evil one and a widespread one. And one that will cause irreparable damage to America’s foreign policy should Donald J. Trump actually be elected president. And they will kindly share this vital information with the public. As many times as necessary.

In a hit piece in Newsweek, Kurt Eichenwald carefully details possible conflicts of interest that might arise from Trump’s numerous business connections around the world. From Korea to India to Russia, and especially the Middle East, Trump’s relationships with local developers – who put the buildings up and then pay Trump to slap his name on them – could cause conflicts of interest between American foreign policy and Trump’s own economic interests.Even if the details seem a little stretched at times. And whether certain developers really did break the rules, or merely fell out of favor with the ruling party is an open question.

Trump, and his family, must divest all – they practically shout – after first submitting to an inquiry.

Never mind bothering with the Clinton Foundation, which is all about charity and not paying to play, as Eichenwald reassures his readers. It’s Trump’s relationship with (currently out of favor) developers in key ally Turkey that should cause panic. Or in India. And the Gulf States as well. It certainly is valid to seek out information on Trump’s business interests. And the fact that he hasn’t released, and may not release, his tax returns is something that journalists of all persuasions should and do focus on. But the timing of Eichenwald’s piece is a little suspicious.

Coming on practically the same day that New York AG Schneiderman announced his office is opening an inquiry into the Donald J. Trump foundation, it feels like a well-marshalled counter attack against Trump’s campaign to try and do something to stop the momentum that is steadily shifting to Trump’s side. Mainstream media has practically sworn to do their best to prevent a Trump presidency, and this certainly is proof of that.

Will the inquiry reveal scandalous pay-for-play at Trump’s charity? Trump’s organization donated $25,000 to a political group associated with Florida AG Pam Bondi. And that may have caused her not to open an investigation into Trump University. At least, that’s the accusation. For not disclosing the donation, Trump was fined $2,500, and he also took back the donation. Is this a scandal? Schneiderman will do his best to make sure it becomes one. Time will tell, but the New York AG is not beyond shrill activism, as a few oil company executives will testify to.

I know, let’s get CNN’s Anderson Cooper to interview Pam Bondi.

It seems clear that Trump’s business activities will be the target of people like Schneiderman and Eichenwald. One can imagine Hillary’s aides pouring through briefs on Trump’s international connections in preparation for the first debate. Does she really want to go that route?

Thank you alert Twitter user for your footage of Hillary Clinton having a rough few moments as she was being bundled into her vehicle by the strong arms of her security personnel. Nice that you happened to have a tripod or very steady hands, whoever you were.

What if that footage had not happened and not gone viral? If Hillary had made it smiling and waving quickly, before climbing into the vehicle and had then collapsed inside? Would we have had disclosure later Sunday on the bare facts of her pneumonia? Or would there have been a discrete silence, followed by an announcement that Bill Clinton would be filling in for her out west in California this week? Followed by speculation about her health. Followed by angry denouncements by her campaign team and her supporters that Trump’s followers and the media had it in for her. Because she happens to be a woman.

David Axelrod – who is as responsible as anyone for Obama’s successful election campaigns – expressed concern over Hillary Clinton’s zealous need for privacy, and the “unnecessary problems” that creates. That’s a diplomatic way of summing up Hillary’s biggest vulnerability. People don’t trust her, because they can never believe she’s quite being straight with them. This latest stumble has that lack of trust metastasizing into concerns even on the part of her own party that suddenly she may not be up to the job. In the most basic physical meaning.

Yes, FDR’s handlers hid his polio and their candidate became a defining figure in American politics. Yes, Kennedy’s handlers hid his Addison’s disease and more than a few shady dealings. But these are unsustainable options in 21st century politics. All it takes is one Twitter feed, to blow the lid off a hermetically sealed campaign strategy.

So now we have good old Bill Clinton on the way to California apparently to fill in. And nasty talk of Joe Biden being considered as a sudden back-up for Hillary should the unthinkable happen, and she be unable to continue in her quest for the presidency. The kind of talk that made Howard Dean furious at that vast right wing media outlet, National Public Radio.

In light of this nervous chatter, perhaps Joe Biden offering her his advice to take 6 days off for every 3 days off her doctors recommend is a little unseemly. Even if Biden is more than ready to look forward to his well-earned retirement as he works the hustings one last time for Hillary. Yes, apparently Article 2, Section 7, of the DNC bylaws does give the DNC authority to fill vacancies in the nominees for president and vice president. Donna Brazile, interim chair, suddenly has a possible added task she never thought she’d have. Right?

No, Hillary will likely not drop out. Yes, illness is part of many past candidates and office holders. Especially given that most are in their 50’s or older. But once again, the need to carefully control an official story has led to more questions than Hillary’s campaign would like. Will this story really be a problem several weeks from now? It certainly could. It depends on whether Hillary bombs in the debates. Will she then blame Trump’s “deplorables”? Or blame her comments regarding half of Trump’s supporters on dehydration?

In the new Suffolk University poll, Trump has edged past Hillary Clinton by a slender margin in North Carolina, but well within the margin of error. Ahead none the less. The unfavorables for both candidates are high, higher than their favorables, and as a sort of extension of that, the undecideds are statistically significant. Especially seeing we’re in the post-Labor Day stretch.

11% were either unsure of who to vote for for president, or unwilling to say who would be their choice. And in the senate race between GOP incumbent Burr and Democrat challenger Deborah Ross, the don’t-know-won’t-say crowd is double the percentages in the presidential race. 22% either don’t know who they’ll vote for, or won’t say who they’ll vote for when it comes to the senate race.

Now, the importance of this election has been broadcast continually for about a year, with even louder cries of how much hangs in the balance since Trump won the nomination of the Republican Party. The Supreme Court. The battle with ISIS and how to keep the nation secure. But especially how to bring back strong economic growth and somehow combat a growing feeling of economic stagnation and lost opportunity that’s backed up by the slow growth numbers and the 6 or 7 million silent army of unemployed middle aged men.

These indeed are key issues and who gets elected president on November 8 matters. As does who holds the Senate.

So are these fairly sizable number of undecideds a case of just now tuning in to the electoral campaigns? Or is it voters showing their clear hesitancy to embrace either candidate? Or voters keeping their choices to themselves in what is as partisan and hostile an electoral environment as America has seen for some time?

Whether North Carolina is indeed a tipping point state, or swing state, or not, every poll from here on in will help clarify the race in ways earlier polls cannot. The Tar Heel State’s 15 electoral college votes are not quite Ohio’s 18 or Pennsylvania’s 20, but it is a significant enough amount. No, it’s not Florida with its 29 electoral votes with the sunshine state’s tight race once again looming large. But maybe it’s a sign that Trump’s tightening the gap is a gaining trend. And if that’s the case, expect Hillary’s campaign to ramp up the attacks to an even nastier level with Trump counter punching as hard as he can. As in the Commander-in-Chief forum moderated/hosted by Matt Lauer, where they each tried to paint the other as unfit to lead the nation’s armed forces. And continued doing so the next day.

Yes, the demographics in Florida are very different from those in North Carolina. Florida being just the kind of place that home boy Rubio should have swept in the primaries. Which means nothing can be taken for granted, except maybe that California will stay deeply blue. So as five thirty eight’s Nate Sliver wrote a few days ago, look at how the polls are in a couple of weeks on the eve of the first debate. If Trump is still ahead in places like North Carolina that means he’s fought off a Democratic challenge in what should have been a safe state for him. Whether that means he’s then got a shot in Florida will depend on if he can keep his focus. And on how bad a debater Hillary really is.

And if the undecideds are still a significant percentage of likely voters on September 25, then 2016 will start shaping up as the defining election that no one wanted to vote in. Let’s hope that’s not the case.

With her campaign plane behind her, Hillary berated the assembled press for their unfair treatment of her, the first female president of the United States. In waiting. Unless the polls keep tightening. In which case, it’s not just Hannity’s fault. It’s the entire mainstream media’s fault.

15 minutes and 6 questions. That’s very efficient, isn’t it? 2 and 1/2 minutes per question on average and you’re back in the air and on to the next stop. And it makes sense to keep the misguided press to questions limited to things like how does it feel to be treated differently because you’re a woman – rather than a single question on the FBI’s latest report on her email scandal – because the real action is elsewhere. As in the vast progressive echo chamber that has been flogging the mainstream media even if it really kinda resembles mainstream media itself. And certainly feeds mainstream media with the Hillary-Correct narrative. Never to be confused with the evil Hillary-Crooked narrative.

Yes Twitter is where the warning shots are being fired. Where the true dem-blue narrative is being nudged into place. Like an Elon Musk rocketship steaming away on it’s launching pad. Nick Merril and Jon Favreau sent out sharp little twit-jabs against reporters who dared talk about Hillary’s health, for example. The WaPo’s Chris Cillizza sneered at those who waste their time on issues like Hillary’s health. And deftly explained why it was valid to worry about McCain’s health, but it is biased and ridiculous to do the same when it’s Hillary Clinton. And Jim Manley helped place all that silly anti-Hillary talk in its proper context: alt-right fringe ranting. Yes, ask a polite question about Hillary Clinton’s health and you will be outed as a white supremacist.

What more do you expect in terms of tactics from the progressively righteous left when they set their sights on controlling a narrative that displeases them? It’s in their DNA to shout down, or attempt to shame, any fact, opinion, or other item of speech that offends them. Or gets in the way of their official narrative of Hillary as the best-prepared candidate for the presidency. Ever. So please stick to the approved script or they will do their best to shut you up. We have all been warned.

Now that Myra Adams, writing in the Washington Examiner, has let the world know that Trump TV is not just a rumor but a very real option, a new post-Labor Day question must be asked. What if Trump wins?

If Adams is right and the CEO and COO of this yet-to-be media empire is in fact Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, then maybe Trump TV has both outcomes covered. If Trump loses – especially if it’s a very tight result – then he will assume the chairman’s role at Trump TV and become it’s spiritual leader and branding image. With the rebellion against the establishment still burning in the aftermath of a Hillary victory, what better environment to launch a media network that aims to capture a significant segment of conservative and/or populist voters?

If Trump wins the presidency, then it gets really interesting. If this planned media group is indeed to be mostly internet focused, with advice, but not day to day involvement, from Breitbart’s Steve Bannon, (who left his chairman post at the media group to help run Trump’s campaign), then Jared Kushner will have to build an internet based media group which appeals to Trump’s angry supporters. Who will now have their man in the White House. And theoretically be a little less angry.

Ah, but the separation of powers ensures plenty of anger at every legislative roadblock that President Trump would meet for his ambitious agenda. So Jared could be head of a partisan news and opinion outlet that would help out his father-in-law get his proposals into workable laws. Or he could cheerlead Trump’s suddenly pragmatic coalition building once he’s in the Oval Office, the new president confounding everyone except Rudy Giuliani, Eric, Donald Jr., and Hannity.

Or. Jared could build on his present media holdings, Observer Media, and turn it into an even bigger power player. What would his new and jacked Observer look like? Well, there’s one respected law professor and conservative commentator who might be interested in working with Jared. Greta Van Susteren. And Kushner’s New Observer Media Empire might not turn out to be as pro-Trump as everyone expects it to be. The son-in-law was running his own family’s business well before he hooked up with Ivanka.

There is another possibility. A Third Way if you will. Trump wins. Trump TV goes into production with Trump as a weekly guest. Or the president could appear even more frequently perhaps. Imagine President Trump being as available for interviews as he was back a few months ago. On Trump TV.

Wait a minute. Come on. Jared Kushner would have to rename the media group, if Trump wins in November.

Wouldn’t he?

It doesn’t matter who wins the election in November. If you’re Putin, that is. He’s got all the bases covered.

That’s essentially the conclusion that John Schindler, writing for Jared Kushner’s Observer, has come to. And this is someone with lots of experience in the security and intelligence areas. While Manafort and others in, or out of, Trump’s campaign team have well-known connections to Moscow and Putin allies in the Ukraine, Hillary Clinton is hardly clean when it comes to the Russian connection.

Her role in 2010 at State in encouraging major Clinton Foundation donors like Google, Intel, and Cisco to promise billions of spending in Skolkovo, the Russian Silicon Valley that is in fact a military-state espionage center, means she has helped facilitate the transfer of American technology into the hands of Russian hackers and spies.

And along with Obama, her reset with Russia and his need to evade confrontations with an aggressive Putin administration, has left the Russian strongman feeling like the bully on the block. And as far as cyber-warfare is concerned, that’s exactly what Russia has become. Now bullies are usually full of bluster and not quite as dangerous as they like us to believe they are, so using a restrained approach to Putin only seems to encourage him.

Jill Stein? She was in Moscow last winter, enjoying sightseeing in the Red Square and railing against American exceptionalism at an RT sponsored conference. RT as in Russian Television, the Putin propaganda machine.

Gary Johnson? Maybe he’s not quite as explicitly linked to Putin’s propaganda and spy war, but as a non-interventionist, and perhaps an isolationist as well, he would hardly worry Moscow should he somehow manage to slip between Trump and Hillary in a bizarre election upset. And as a libertarian his concerns over internal surveillance add to the declining worth Americans put on their nation’s spies and the dangerous and vital work they do.

How do you fight back in a cyber spy war against an authoritarian adversary which is drifting back to it’s totalitarian roots in many small and not so small ways? Does America’s conflicting opinions on how to fight the war against ISIS, for example, with former top soldiers attacking the current strategy, lead to effective military and intelligence policies?

Clearly this is asymmetric intelligence warfare, between open democracies and closed thuggish authoritarian regimes. And we haven’t even mentioned China, which while it is more concerned with procuring industrial secrets from America’s top companies, is also aggressively expanding its sphere of influence in the Pacific. And while no one knows what we all don’t know about everything the NSA and other agencies are up to to defend American interests, they have been mercilessly exposed in several damaging scandals, with Russia always in the background.

With polls as they are, perhaps the best one can hope for is that Hillary really is a female Nixon and will use her ability to shamelessly deal with and betray Putin once she’s in the oval office. The problem there is that the FBI’s view of her understanding of cyber security, is that she is naive at best. So maybe we should hope that her statements regarding the private server really were all lies. And she’s a lot more savvy than she is currently suggesting, all for the sake of avoiding prosecution, or at least political and ethical condemnation.

Because if Hillary really is as naive as FBI Director Comey would like us to believe, then America’s security will be even more vulnerable than it currently is under President Obama.