Friday, October 11, 2019


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TRADITION FRIDAY WIDE WORLD OF NEWS QUIZ: ROSENCRANTZ AND GUILDENSTERN ARE LEV (& IGOR) EDITION

1. The entity that Donald Trump genuinely thinks is out to get him (as opposed to just a red-meat line) is

a. The media.

b. The Deep State.

c. House Democrats.

d. All of the above.

****
2. The best paragraph about Rudy, Lev, and Igor in today’s papers is

a. “Mr. Giuliani said Thursday that he continues to represent Messrs. Parnas and Fruman in their legal complaint against Mr. Kolomoisky. He said he also provides them ‘civil advice on business.’” (Wall Street Journal)

b. “Mr. Fruman is less well-known, according to the people who encountered them in political circles. Mr. Fruman’s export-import company reg­is­tered with New York in 1996, according to state records. An archived webpage for the company, F.D. Ex­port and Import Corp., says it is a major food distributor in Ukraine. Its products include coffee, chocolate, bananas and jewelry.” (Wall Street Journal)

c. “Mr. Galloway recalled that Mr. Parnas worked out of a strip mall in Boca Raton but was chauffeured around in a black SUV.” (Wall Street Journal)

d. “The indictment, along with interviews and other documents, show Mr. Parnas, Mr. Fruman and their associates as somewhat hapless operators, scrambling recklessly to use their new connections to the highest levels of American politics to seek financial gain while guiding Mr. Giuliani, the former New York City mayor, into a Ukrainian political culture rife with self-dealing and ever-shifting alliances.” (New York Times)

e. “On Thursday, Mr. Giuliani said he did not regret working with Mr. Parnas and Mr. Fruman in Ukraine. ‘I have to presume they’re innocent,’ he said, adding: ‘There are a lot of motives going on trying to smear people, so I wouldn’t say that I regret it, no. Who else would I have turned to?’” (New York Times)

f. “Mr. Parnas and Mr. Fruman were arrested on Wednesday evening at Dulles International Airport as they held one-way tickets on a Lufthansa Airlines flight to Frankfurt. They were walking down a glass-framed jetway, boarding with first-class passengers after indulging in free drinks and food in the lounge, when two plainclothes officers stopped them, according to someone who witnessed the arrest.” (New York Times)

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3. Rudy Giuliani is in the pickle he is in because 

a. The Zarrab case.

b. He was too interested in making too much money for too long.

c. He can’t cure his addiction to talking to the media.

d. He has lost 9 ½ steps.

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4. The two people who have the most sophisticated three-dimensional- chess sense of where impeachment is going are 

a. Nancy Pelosi and Tom Cole.

b. Mitch McConnell and Mick Mulvaney.

c. Jared Kushner and Steny Hoyer.

d. Chuck Schumer and Roy Blunt.

****
5. The gap between Washington’s and New York’s focus on impeachment and the interest level of the rest of America is 

a. Narrowing fast.

b. Not big at all.

c. Is still vast but will narrow meaningfully by November 1.

d. Impossible to measure but is starting to trouble some of the leading members of Team Trump (but not others).

****
 
6. The third most likely Democratic presidential nominee now is 

a. Bernie Sanders.

b. Pete Buttigieg.

c. Andrew Yang.

d. Someone else.

****
 
7. The best recent news for Joe Biden is 

a. His poll numbers have not dropped as much as they might have.

b. Contributors are rallying around him because of the president’s attacks.

c. The all-mighty expectations game no longer requires him to finish first in Iowa or New Hampshire to have a chance to be the nominee.

d. The media continues to largely lay off Hunter Biden (but watch for looming investigative pieces, some fueled by opposition research from many quarters).

****
 

8. The most likely factor that will keep Donald Trump from being president in February of 2021 is
 

a. A global slump and continuing trade wars that collapse the economy in the Midwest.

b. His widely derided Syria policy.

c. The Democrats nominating someone for president who is super formidable.

d. Impeachment.

****

9. The person who represents the biggest threat to the president is

a. John Bolton (beware the book and the leaks).

b. Rex Tillerson (beware the leaks).

c. Geoffrey Berman.

d. Marie Yovanovitch (who is at this writing still expected on Capitol Hill for Friday closed-door testimony).

****

10.  The most seminal passage from Peggy Noonan’s essential reading column about Donald Trump’s Turkey decision(s) is

a. “The Syria decision contributes to the hardened impression that in foreign policy he’s all impulse, blithely operating out of his depth. It adds to the hardening suspicion that in negotiations he’s not actually tough; he’ll say yes to a lot of things, and some very bad things, to get the deal, the photo-op, the triumphant hand­shake.”

b. “Foreign-policy decisions in this administration look like the ball in a pinball machine in some garish arcade with flashing lights and some frantic guy pushing the levers ping ping ping and thinking he’s winning.”

c. “One thing I think I’ve correctly observed about the U.S. military in the 21st century is that its leaders tend to be the last to want to go to war and the last to want to leave it.”

d. A and C.

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Answers: 1-b; 2-all of it; 3-b; 4-a; 5-d; 6-b; 7-c; 8-a; 9-c; 10-a.

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The New York Times reports this about impeachment:

“Democrats are eyeing an accelerated timetable for their impeachment inquiry that could mean the entire process — including a House vote to charge the president and a Senate trial — could be almost over by January.”

My take: “Could”?! “Almost”?!  Congress never does anything on its projected timetable, and Team Trump has only just begun its multi-pronged efforts to stall the process. If this reporting accurately reflects Nancy Pelosi’s expectations and battle plan, this is the single most important paragraph in the Wide World of News today.  It would mean that impeachment is effectively dead.

****

There is optimism for the moment about a decent-sized U.S.-China trade accord.

My take: There are various reasons to believe this time it is for real, but, as always, nothing is decided until everything is decided. And there is a lot that hasn’t been decided yet.

****

Iran claims tanker off Saudi coast hit by rockets. LATEST

****

Top sports story: NBA cancels media availability for rest of China trip

ESPN

Top business story: More than two dozen now dead from vaping lung illness as outbreak spreads, CDC says

CNBC

Top entertainment story: HBO to Add Mental Health Disclaimers in Front of Select Shows

Variety


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