Mike Pompeo Visited Kim Jong Un Over Easter Weekend


The Washington Post reports that CIA Director Mike Pompeo met with Kim Jong Un over Easter weekend in preparation for Donald Trump’s visit. Trump dropped a hint earlier this afternoon when he said that talks had taken place at a high level. Trump’s meeting seems to be planned for early June, but Trump did his usual “Who knows?”

The sources were “two people with direct knowledge of the trip.” That probably means they’re in the administration. A number of senators are declaring that they will vote No on Pompeo’s nomination for Secretary of State. They include Corey Booker (D-NJ), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Tim Kaine (D-VA), Ed Markey (D-MA), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Chris Murphy (D-CT), Rand Paul (R-KY), Bernie Sanders (whatever-VT), Brian Schatz (D-HI), Tina Smith (D-MN), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Tom Udall (D-NM), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), and Ron Wyden (D-OR).

So the question is whether this was leaked to help assure Pompeo’s approval by the Senate. Can’t take the guy out if he’s in the middle of this important negotiation, right?

Many people are concerned that Trump will give up too much just to have a deal. He seems not to understand that when Kim Jong Un talks about denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, he means that the US military will be out. The way the administration uses that word, it means that Kim will give up all his nukes.

But it looks like Trump is taking some advice. There’s an interpreter behind him in the photo. And Trump doesn’t look at all pleased. We can still wonder if Pompeo took along an interpreter and a note-taker, or if he just figured he’d use the North Korean ones.


Monday Morning Open Thread: The Profitable Stigmata of Palmer Comey

After all, he has a book to sell…

Ed Kilgore, at NYMag:

The belief that Clinton couldn’t lose is the only way to make sense of what a lot of people said and did in October 2016. But most of them did not have as much power to derail her campaign as Comey.

Polls are usually blamed for the illusion of Clinton’s invulnerability. But for the most part, they weren’t that far off track, particularly if you recall that she won the popular vote by more than 2 percent, and prescient observers noted before the election that Trump was in striking distance based on the polls.

Perhaps all the pollsters and prognosticators who guessed wrong about 2016 are complicit in fostering the overconfidence of the Clinton campaign, Democratic voters — and yes — even James Comey. Certainly the big national news organizations whose coverage decisions reflected an apparent belief that the victorious Clinton could safely be taken down a few pegs over the email “story” have a lot to answer for. But in the end it was probably the difficulty of envisioning a President Trump that fed the overconfidence about Clinton most of all. It couldn’t happen here, until it did. And Comey is just one of the players in the political game who must now regret their lack of imagination. His mistake, however, had far bigger consequences than most.

Read more

The four people you meet in hell

A few years ago I did a post about the three different kinds of conservatives in the media. I decided they were:

  1. “Atlas Shrugged” conservatives: Megan McArdle, the Reasonoids, Larry Kudlow, etc.
  2. “Chronicles Of Narnia” conservatives: Ross Douthat, Peggy Noonan, many other Catholic conservatives.
  3. “300” conservatives: Victor David Hanson, war bloggers, any neoconservatives.

I thought it might be time to revisit this classification in the age of Trump. Enough media conservatives have come out against Trump (and, not surprisingly, many even-the-liberals are busily enabling Trump) that I don’t want to make this about conservatives per se but about Trump supporters and enablers. The front page of Reason was almost all anti-Trump today, and Jen Rubin’s column these days could double as a Daily Kos diary, so to start, I’m not putting neoconservatives or Reasonoids on the list…but Megan McArdle will remain, in a different category. And Narnians will also stay in the classification.

Here we go:

  1. Narnians: Peggy Noonan, Rod Dreher (supporters); Ross Douthat (enabler). These are folks who believe that the United States is first and foremost a magical Christian nation. Therefore, Trump is at best Aslan and at worst a boob who was brought to power by left-wing excesses.
  2. Narcissists: Megan McArdle, Charles Lane, Frank Bruni, Nick Kristof. These self-styled centrists can’t let their beautiful minds be consumed by partisanship, so they have to spend as much or more criticizing impolite protesters and the Oberlin student council as they do criticizing Trump. Show business kids making movies of themself, you know they don’t give a fuck about anybody else. It pains me to leave Ron Fournier off this list, but he’s been very tough on Trump.
  3. Nihilists: Bob Woodward, most Republican elected officials, everyone who works at Axios. The nihilists have no political convictions, they only care about access and power. If you haven’t noticed, B Dub is all the way in the tank for Trump. Republican elected officials would give Satan a rim job if it killed the Great Society. Axios has already run a great deal of Satan-sponsored content.
  4. Neo-Nazis: Marc Thiessen, everyone at Breitbart. Needs no explanation. Say what you want about their tenets…

Different electorates, different results

One of the dumbest arguments of the 2008 Democratic primary season was the extrapolation of primary results to general election results.

“Obama rolls up big margins on the Plains, he can win there in November…”

“Clinton winning the Democratic primaries in Ohio and Pennsylvania means she and only she can win the industrial Midwest”

Both sides of that argument are stupid.

And we’re seeing the same stupid on Iowa:


Repeat after me, primary electorates and caucus selectorates are not random samples of the general electorate.

It is perfectly plausible in 2016 for a 23 year old Democratic activist in Iowa to have the following preference order: Sanders>Clinton>Chlamydia>Republican Nominee.

In last night’s contest the only part of the preference order that was under examination was how Sanders and Clinton related.

In November, the relevant preference order is either Sanders and Republican nominee, or far more likely Clinton and Republican nominee.

The same logic applied in 2008.  In Pennsylvania, the primary preference order was usually Clinton-Obama, but the general election preference order was Obama over McCain.

The people who take part in caucuses are highly unlikely to flip parties in the general election.  They are self-identified intense partisans.  Trying to generalize caucus results into general election results is obtuse.

Technically true bullshit

One of the leading lights of the conservative “health wonk” community is peddling bullshit that is technically true if you parse it correctly but designed to mislead anyone but a hyper technical reader.

Last year open enrollment started on November 15th. The 6th week of open enrollment would have been the first week of January.

This year, open enrollment started on November 1st. The 6th week of open enrollment just wrapped up.

Yes, at the six week mark of open enrollment, 2014 enrollment is running higher than 2015 enrollment.  However there is one massive fact that will show 2015 open enrollment 7th week selections running ahead of 2014 7th week selections.  Sometime at the end of this week, Healthcare.gov and most of the state based exchanges will conduct a massive automatic renewal of plans.  That will move between 3 and 4 million people to new plans by next Monday (plus whatever number of people choosing new plans on the “waiting in line” extension that ends tonight for Healthcare.gov).  So Week 7 2015 will wreck Week 7 2014 plan selection figures.

He knows that, I know that, 80% of the people on my Twitter follow list know that, but 98% of the American public does not know that.  It is pure bullshit of technically true nonsense.