It’s hilarious to me that people thought that Kelly would “fix” Trump, but Kelly has been even worse than I could have imagined. Has he demonstrated any leadership skills at all as White House Chief of Staff? I mean, if he’s around Trump then it’s not surprising he’d be a coldly arrogant sexist nativist (most recent example), that’s just taken as read. But everybody knows that he can’t meaningfully control Trump, it wouldn’t seem that he exercises any authority in the White House (which still leaks like a sieve and is as fractious as ever), and he’s frequently “the story” in ways that none of Obama’s Chiefs of Staff (or even Dubya’s) ever were, always caught up in the palace intrigue like anybody else there. Perhaps it’s unavoidable in that environment! But if the guy really found that way of working intolerable, why is he still there?

Then again, maybe it is explicable that he’s so blinkered that he can’t accept the truth about an obvious, inevitable disaster: the guy?is the product of a military culture which every year makes a presentation to Congress that is premised upon the idea that “we should be looking backward, not forward” and of course continuing to bomb people as we’ve been doing regardless of any objections, I suppose because if we looked back on the past decade-plus of failure it would make it obvious that whatever design we’re trying to impose on the Middle East is hopeless and that we would be better off giving up. I’ve read a number of books on Vietnam that viciously upbraid the military brass of the time for their complicity on letting that disaster happen. I can’t imagine what the ones about the current crew will look like.

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They don’t even really care if we believe them, do they? Like, this is a “dog ate my homework” response. Who killed the guy? Just rogue killers. Who knows?

So yeah, it’s mainly about corruption?with Trump. As for the sudden upswell of dissent: while it’s been good to see some resistance to the Saudis, the fact that it was caused not by four years of death and destruction in Yemen but rather because somebody they knew was killed says pretty much all that needs to be said about Washington elites. It’s a reminder that parochialism and not any grand vision of human rights is all that matters there.

Also too, considering just how unpopular Saudi Arabia is among the public, perhaps some Democratic 2020 hopefuls might see their way to bashing it a little? Could be a decent wedge issue if Trump’s in the tank for them: I’ve never noticed any particular partisan difference myself in loathing of that horrible state, and Trump has dealt himself a hand here that he can’t help but lose.

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Seeing them everywhere this month. Amnesia wins again.

Also, I’m really looking forward to the inevitable movie about when Komen went nuts. Margo Martindale was born to play Karen Handel.

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Gotta love how the Obama Administration’s plan for a disputed election was?bipartisanship! True to form, I suppose. I mean, in the specific hypothetical it’s more defensible than “Let’s work with Republicans to pass a center-left agenda, they’ll totally do that, right?” They were never going to because they never have and never would. They didn’t want those policies enacted in any form and their political self-interest dictated that they stymie them. No amount of patience would have gotten them to yes. But this plan is also just so quaint. Did they really think that the MAGA hordes were going to be mollified by Colin Powell? Really? Why? (Incidentally, I sort of think that literally the only person who gave a shit about what Colin Powell thought during the Obama era was Obama himself. He spent so much time courting Powell even though it brought seemingly no benefit. Sure, it was bipartisan, but Powell lacked any power or influence that he could lend to Obama. He was basically just a famous person by 2008, last known for being ineffective and terrible in Dubya’s White House.)

The whole thing just screams “out of touch” to an extraordinary degree. If Trump had officially lost and was interested in raising a fuss, I’m pretty sure that Powell saying everything went fine would only have helped him. Powell (and Condi Rice, who is also mentioned) are exactly the sorts of failed leaders that Trump specifically sought to tear down in 2016. Did these folks not see what Trump did to Jeb!? Incidentally, this is also why all the liberals (and there were many!) who just shrugged off Obama’s foreign policy errors with “they have more information than us” were wrong. They did, but they also had narratives they wanted to push, and that has major effects on how you interpret data. Domestically, they still thought the adults from the Bush II Era would save them, could save them. They simply didn’t know what world they were in.

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It’s weird because I barely even think of it as a paper. They seem to never break any news and I’m not really sure who it’s even for. Everybody jokes about them as a publication that just appears in hotels and only in hotels, though they used to publish Larry King’s amazing, proto-Twitter op-ed pieces. Also I remember reading about it a long time ago that the same folks behind USA Today also are behind the Newseum, which recently attracted attention for selling MAGA hats.

Probably tells you all you need to know.?The Trump article is really outright propaganda, the sort of thing that should have been a FOX News blog post, not in a putatively mainstream paper. Good on WaPo for going after it.

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I’m not as unsympathetic to the plight of the red state Democrat as you might think (though I do often get frustrated with them!), but I simply have no idea why anybody would spend valuable resources on Phil Bredesen. With the exception of Joe Manchin (who probably would have voted the right way had it mattered but he’s been a chickenshit his entire Senate career, starting with his disappearing act over Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell repeal), Democrats did the right thing on Kavanaugh. I had long worried they wouldn’t, but they did. But the?whole point of having the Senate under Trump is to block his bad nominees. All the oversight stuff can be done by the House, which is an easier lift. If you support oversight, why not put money into the House? If you’re going to back all of Trump’s SCOTUS nominees (because if you back Kavanaugh then you’re going to back them all), then why should we care?

Given the indefensible (though often defended, and not just by Republicans!) nature of the Senate, I get why you need to accept people like Manchin. But what value does Bredesen even bring to the table?

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The Saudis putting a hit out on Khashoggi has become a real thing they may have to answer for.

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Our libertarian friends often bring up this difference between a pro-market orientation–just set up a good system and enforce the rules fairly–and a pro-business orientation, which is all about enticing firms and taking an interest in how they do. Or, if you will, “picking winners and losers.” Here’s the thing: I don’t even know how you can really be pro-market in our current system. The sums of money involved in running for office seem to make that functionally impossible. Are you really going to be indifferent to the fate of a firm whose CEO is a major donor? Or if you’re a regulator who wants to work at that firm one day? And furthermore, this distinction is already outmoded given that capital is now so powerful that it can make its own demands on “the system” and threaten to just bolt if they aren’t met. Or to audition cities to extract all the concessions they want, a la that episode of?Silicon Valley, any team with a sports team wanting a new stadium, or, um, the state of Wisconsin.?Capital is now increasingly just creating the system.

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