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Let Donald Be Fredo…er…Donald

From Politico, by Thomas E. Ricks:

So I think that McMaster should step down—not just for his own good, but for the good of the country. What if he is replaced by a right-wing extremist who operates on an alternative set of “facts”? So much the better, I say.

Here’s why: The saving grace of Donald Trump as president is his incompetence. He knows almost nothing of how the federal government works. He seems to have been repeatedly surprised by the checks and balances written into the Constitution by the Founding Fathers. And he seems uninterested in learning.

Effectively, we have no president. Rather, we have someone who plays the president on television and on Twitter. Aside from a few of his pet subjects, such as immigration, Trump seems to have almost no effect on the workings of the federal government. What we have seen is a demonstration that it is actually a fairly robust establishment. On Iran policy, for example, Defense Secretary James Mattis seems to chug along by himself, pursuing an approach that is basically a somewhat more aggressive version of President Barack Obama’s policy. An ideologue likely would be as ineffective as national security adviser as Trump has been as president, and that wouldn’t be a bad thing.

In my revised view, the less control Trump has over the federal government, the better. Think of it this way: Which would be more dangerous, a Mafia family overseen by the cruel and competent Michael Corleone, or one led by his ineffectual brother Fredo? So, I say, Let Donald be Donald.

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Tweets of the Day from The Twilight Zone

WPEC CBS12 News WPEC CBS12 News  CBS12

BREAKING: Sinkhole near Mar-a-Lago is causing traffic delays as crews work the scene.

Schooley Schooley @Rschooley

Can we get a time stamp on this and the sinkhole opening at Mar-a-lago?

Matthew Yglesias  Matthew Yglesias @mattyglesias

Trump starts fucking with mystical orbs and the next day a sinkhole opens in front of Mar-a-Lago. He has no idea what he’s unleashed.

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Wilbur Ross, Captain Clueless

Ross opining about the fact there were no protesters visible in Saudi Arabia:

“There’s no question that they’re liberalizing their society,” said Ross, who joined Trump on the Saudi Arabian leg of his first international trip as president. “The other thing that was fascinating to me, there was not a single hint of a protester anywhere there during the whole time we were there. Not one guy with a bad placard.”

“But Secretary Ross, that may be not necessarily because they don’t have those feelings there, but because they control people and don’t allow them to come and express their feelings quite the same as we do here,” CNBC anchor Becky Quick interjected.

“In theory that could be true,” Ross conceded. “But boy there was certainly no sign of it. There was not a single effort at any incursion. There wasn’t anything. The mood was a genuinely good mood.”

As evidence that Saudi Arabia, where the law prohibits women from driving, is becoming more liberal, Ross offered that panel discussions as part of the Trump visit had included the female head of the Saudi stock exchange as well as a “very bright, very attractive young woman” on a panel on venture capitalism.

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My First Big Boy Trip by Donald J. Trump

From Slate: 

Natalie Matthews-Ramo

I’m getting ready for my big foreign trip.

I will be strongly protecting American interests—that’s what I like to do!

The airplane ride is hours and hours. I get lots of screen time! No one wants to give me my phone, but I shout and shout until they say OK.

On the plane, the pilot pins shiny wings to my jacket. Yay! I like planes as much as I like trucks!

Our first stop is Saudi Arabia. Jared says it is like a beach, big and hot and full of sand. No girls are allowed on the beach.

They eat crazy food in Saudi Arabia, like hummus! But I get to order a steak with ketchup, just the way I like it.

Mr. Steve tells me Muslims are the bad guys, but General Jim says I have to be nice to them. It’s confusing!

I wish General Mike was here. I’m not allowed to play with him anymore.

After Saudi Arabia we go to Israel, where the best Jews live. My friend Bibi sneaks into my room after dark and tells me scary stories about the bad ISIS men. I can’t wait to go home and tell my friends Sergey and Sergey.

I don’t want to go to the sad museum.

In Italy, they call pizza PIZZA! My teachers tell me that if I sit by myself and think about the long-term economic and security benefits of our multilateral North Atlantic defense regime, I can have pepperoni.

I get to meet the “pope”!

Don’t tell anyone, but before I left I was a little bit scared about my trip.

What if the other leaders laughed at me?

What if I had to touch Melania?

What if I had an accident?

But Ivanka said I should be brave. “Who’s my big brave boy?” Ivanka asked me.

“I am,” I said. “I’m a big brave boy.”

It’s been an exciting trip, but when it’s over, I’ll be glad to be home at Mar-a-Lago, where I get as much ice cream as I want.

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I Think We’ve Still Got Some Japanese Internment Camps You Could Use.

Republicans in the Oklahoma state legislature have a challenge on their hands: figuring out how to address a gaping $900 million hole in the state budget without raising taxes.

Some lawmakers have proposed firing nonessential college employees. Others want to drop a film tax credit, saving the state as much as $5 million.

Republican Rep. Mike Ritze told CBS affiliate KWTV that he has another proposal in mind: Rounding up the state’s 82,000 non-English-speaking students and handing them over to Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

“Identify them and then turn them over to ICE to see if they truly are citizens — and do we really have to educate noncitizens?” Ritze asked.

The lawmaker disagrees with the idea that the state should be responsible for educating children who aren’t citizens, though a 1982 Supreme Court decision, Plyler v. Doe, actually prohibits states from denying education to undocumented immigrants.

Still, Ritze told the station that the proposal — which faced immediate backlash and was called “utterly shameful” by the state schools superintendent — could save $60 million.

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Out of the Mouths of Boobs

In an interview with Boston’s WBUR Friday, golf reporter James Dodson recalled meeting Donald Trump in in 2014 and being invited to play golf at his property in Charlotte. When Dodson asked Donald Trump how he was paying for the courses, he says Trump “sort of tossed off that he had access to $100 million.” He then questioned Eric Trump, who was along for the day: “I said, ‘Eric, who’s funding? I know no banks — because of the recession … have touched a golf course. It’s dead in the water the last four or five years,’” he recalled. “And this is what he said. He said, ‘Well, we don’t rely on American banks. We have all the funding we need out of Russia.’ I said, ‘Really?’ And he said, ‘Oh, yeah. We’ve got some guys that really, really love golf, and they’re really invested in our programs. We just go there all the time.’”

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