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Turkey to Trump after tariffs: You have the dollar, we have Allah

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Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan is putting on a rather fierce face in reaction to new tariffs from President Donald Trump and the plunging lira. Erdogan – ever the strongman – implored the country to show economic patriotism in response to what was going on. Via Daily Sabah in Turkey.

“If you have dollars, euros or gold under your pillow, go to banks to exchange them for Turkish lira. This is a national struggle,” he said.

“This will be my people’s answer to those who declare economic war against us,” he added.

Erdoğan also said Turkish people should not worry, saying “We also have measures to guard against all negative possibilities.”

Criticizing what he called the “interest lobbies,” he reiterated that they cannot defeat Turkey.

Erdoğan said the “waves of artificial financial instability” Turkey is being subjected to ignore its economic strength, as it faces “not a single problem” in macroeconomic data, producing power, or its banking system.

He also told the people, “While they have dollars, we have our people, law and Allah,” and suggested the country’s economy was growing, despite the lira’s instability. Ed’s already looked at why comparing Erdogan’s comments to bull turds is probably an insult to actual bull turds.

He then got on the phone with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Details are a bit sketchy but both Ankara and TASS’ reports on the talk are almost a carbon copy of each other. Via Ankara:

In a phone call, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin on Friday hailed strengthening economic and trade ties between the two countries, according to Turkish presidential sources.

The two leaders also discussed bilateral and regional issues, said the sources, who asked not to be named due to restrictions on speaking to the media.

They also expressed their satisfaction about progressing cooperation in the areas of energy and defense, and discussed the latest developments about Syria and the Astana peace talks for the war-ravaged country.

Here’s the Kremlin’s statement to TASS:

The presidents discussed the current state and prospects for further development of mutually beneficial trade and economic cooperation between the two countries…They positively assessed the implementation of joint strategic projects, first of all, in the energy sector.

I wonder if Putin transmitted the statement to Erdogan or vice versa.

The reason all this is interesting is the fact Turkey is a member of NATO, so this is troubling for the EU and the U.S. It isn’t known if Russia is going to form a new version of The Warsaw Pact, but one would guess Turkey would be hip to join the alliance. Of course, it doesn’t have to because it can have its cake and eat it too. NATO would have to protect Turkey, should someone decide to attack it, so it can get close to Russia and still enjoy all the benefits of NATO.

The solution to all this is probably releasing Andrew Brunson, but Turkey’s closer ties to Russia may make it harder to secure a deal. Market Watch suggested oil prices could hit $120 a gallon by the end of the year which would be a boon to Russia’s economy. Say things do end up going well, and Russia’s economy grows. Why would Turkey back down from the demands of the U.S. on Brunson?

I still think the best way to break down Erdogan’s hold on Turkey is increase trade with them. Increased business means increased wealth for everyone in Turkey. It gives people more of an opportunity to create companies – from a corporation to a fruit cart – meaning freer markets and freedom, in general. That could force Erdogan’s hand into liberalization, especially if he’s the typical politician who wants to stay in office. Sanctions and tariffs will only help Erdogan keep power consolidated, especially if he keeps on being buddy-buddy with Putin.

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Forecast: GOP now more likely to have *at least* 54 Senate seats next year than to lose its majority

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A nifty catch by Philip Klein, eyeballing the latest data from Nate Silver’s model (as of 5:15 p.m. ET). Check it yourself. Democrats momentarily have an 18.4 percent chance of gaining two seats and winning a majority next month. Whereas Republicans have a 9.1 percent chance of gaining three, a 5.5 percent chance of gaining four, a 3.2 percent chance of gaining five, a 1.4 percent of gaining six, a 0.7 percent chance of gaining seven, and a 0.3 percent chance of shooting the lights out and gaining eight (which would leave them one seat shy of a filibuster-proof majority, for what it’s worth). Add those up and you get a 20.2 percent chance of 54 or better.

Which can be summed up in four words: Justice Amy Coney Barrett.

Klein on the path to 54:

Though Republicans were always favorites to keep the Senate, their odds have improved in recent weeks, with three states in particular giving them a boost. Republicans are now considered “likely” to keep their seats in Texas and Tennessee and North Dakota seems ready to flip into the Republican column. Barring any other major upsets, victories in those three races would be enough for Republicans to keep the Senate — hence their 81.6 percent chances overall.

To get to 54, the most likely scenario would be that Republicans win the tossup states of Nevada and Missouri, and then surge to victory in Arizona and Florida (two races that are currently tilting Democrat, but well within range of Republican victory). Beyond that, they’d have to start flipping some seats that are currently considered “likely” to remain Democrat, such as Montana and West Virginia.

Eh, I don’t know if Montana and Indiana, the latter of which he neglected to mention, are all that “likely” to remain Democratic. They’re leaning that way, with both Jon Tester and Joe Donnelly clinging to three-point leads. But Montana hasn’t been polled in three weeks and the latest from Indiana has Donnelly up four but with just 44 percent of the vote. In fact, in none of the four polls dating back to August has Donnelly topped 44, suggesting that a lot of Hoosiers are thinking hard about whether to stick with the incumbent. It’s likely that the GOP will be disappointed somewhere on Election Night — Missouri, Nevada, and Arizona are all leading candidates — but going for one for two on Montana and Indiana seems doable.

Whichever way they do it, if they can get to 54 then Collins and Murkowski might well be nonfactors during the next SCOTUS battle. Flake won’t be in the Senate at all, of course. Trump really might have the arsenal he needs to fill a Ginsburg or Breyer vacancy with a conservative.

That’s the good news. The not-so-good news, also from Silver’s model:

Click the link and add up the different probable outcomes and you’ll see that the GOP has about the same odds of holding the House as Democrats do of winning … at least 54 seats. They’ve got a 10 percent chance of winning at least 60. Gonna be a lot of subpoenas for Pat Cipollone to cope with next year.

There are no new swing-state polls as I write this but keep an eye on the one of Arizona that’s currently in progress (yes, in progress) at the NYT’s site, the Upshot. As I write this at a little after 5 p.m. on the east coast, they’ve compiled a sample of 299 people — not large enough yet to give us confidence in the topline numbers but large enough to make it worth paying attention to. Currently Martha McSally leads Kyrsten Sinema by four points, 49/45. If that holds through the end of the poll, it would be the second straight survey showing McSally ahead after trailing for most of the race. (The previous poll had her up six.) Stay tuned.

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Midterm 2018 TEXAS: Robert (Beto) O’Rourke vs. Ted Cruz

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Texas is Texas.

You don’t mess with Texas!

Texans don’t want a far left US Senator who lies about his background and police records, DUI included, and abuses everything the Lone Star State stands for.

Senator Ted Cruz is up by at least 5 points — but that is not enough.

Cruz is a real conservative and an intellectual giant. He has the highest possible ratings from conservative groups as a sitting US Senator.


We can’t let him down.

His opponent Beto (really Robert) O’Rourke isn’t Hispanic but he is loudly PROGRESSIVE.

He is a phony.

He is a Democratic Socialist and would spell doom for our Republic.

He wants open borders, more rights for criminals, and an end to the petroleum economy.

In Texas?

Trump won Texas by 9 points.

Cruz should win reelection by at least that amount.

Recall Cruz not only voted for Judge Kavanaugh but he articulately defended due process and innocent until proven guilty – the very hallmark of western jurisprudence.

We need him; America needs his voice in the Senate.

There has not been a Democrat to hold statewide office in Texas since 1994!

Keep it that way.

Cruz is a star in national politics and a firm vote for our side. He makes America first! And he is the best advocate for Texas bare none.

Turnout is critical.

Cruz MUST win.

Make this viral in every corner of Texas.

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Pat Robertson: C’mon, we’re not going to blow up a key Middle East alliance over one little murder

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Lefties are marveling that a brand-name Christian conservative would be encouraging followers to look the other way at an assassination, but they’re forgetting Jesus’s parting words at the end of the Sermon on the Mount: “If you want to make an omelette, you’ve got to break a few eggs.”

Wait, am I misremembering? My youthful memories of the gospels are not the best. I think perhaps the savior’s actual parting words were “Velvet glove, iron fist.”

I mean, that at least sounds like Jesus.

Lotta mixed feelings about the evangelical turn towards hard-nosed realpolitik under Trump. On the one hand, the gripe about Christian conservatives used to be that they were forever trying to inject morals into the messy business of politics, made more uncomfortable by the fact that many millions of people disagree with some of their stances on sexual morality and resent their attempts to convert them into policy. Well, good news: Between Robertson’s take on the Khashoggi affair and the complete pass given to Trump on matters like Stormygate, there’s less moralizing than ever.

The bad news? I’m unclear from the clip below on how many murders Pastor Robertson would be willing to tolerate in the name of preserving the alliance and “$100 billion worth of arms sales,” as he notes in passing. Presumably his interest in the latter answers my question: Some of those weapons will be used to continue killing civilians in neighboring Yemen, as he doubtless knows. If Robertson’s willing to condone that in the name of checking Iran, naturally he would condone looking the other way at a lot of things, Khashoggi’s murder just one among them. Christianity’s nice and all but we’ve gotta live in the real world.

I honestly don’t know whether to call him a fraud or to salute him for taking a cold but sober view of the international chessboard.

There may be another reason why he and POTUS’s friends at CBN are rushing to provide cover here, though:

To some extent the Saudis’ problem is Trump’s problem. Right now Trump can afford to ignore the Democrats’ interest in finding out how much his and the Kingdom’s interests overlap. In three months, with the House likely in Democratic hands, it’ll be harder.

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