The Corner


‘I Like Him, I Like Him.’ I Don’t.

President Trump with Turkey’s Erdogan before the NATO summit in Brussels, July 11, 2018 (Ludovic Marin / Pool / via Reuters)

My Impromptus today begins with Erdogan, the Turkish strongman — three items about him. I’d like to add a little here.

He has been sworn in again, of course. Attending the inauguration were Hungary’s Orbán, Russia’s Medvedev, and Venezuela’s Maduro. That is telling. Maduro called Erdogan a “leader of the new multi-polar world.”

Consider this, too (from a report in Politico):

Trump made small talk with Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Hungary’s Viktor Orbán while going out of his way to attack Germany. After a brief chat with Turkey’s authoritarian president on the sidelines of the summit, Trump mouthed: “I like him, I like him.”

That has been clear for some time. I don’t like Erdogan. And I think the American president should be aware of Andrew Brunson. He is an American pastor and a prisoner of the Turkish regime. He has been in prison for almost two years now. He ministered in Turkey for 23. The regime has accused him of all manner of crimes. His real “crime,” however, seems to be his ministry.

To read more about Pastor Brunson and efforts to help him, go here.

Finally, another bit of news, courtesy of Newsweek:

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan appointed his son-in-law to lead the country’s $880 billion economy on Monday, fueling concerns among investors about Ankara’s financial future.

After Erdogan announced that Berat Albayrak will lead the new post of treasury and finance minister — a combination of two previous positions — the value of the Turkish lira dropped 3.6 percent, worrying investors.

(Full article here.)

Last year, I did a piece on sons-in-law — a series, actually, here and here. I surveyed sons-in-law in both democratic governments and dictatorships. A few years ago, I wrote a book on sons and daughters of dictators. There are some sons-in-law in that one, too (and maybe a daughter-in-law or two).

In the course of today’s Impromptus, I touch on China, NATO, Mexico, Poland, music, interesting names — you know, it’s an Impromptus. I end with basketball — specifically, Frank Ramsey, an old Celtic, who died this week. He was a master of pretending to have been fouled. In 1963, he told Sports Illustrated, “Drawing fouls chiefly requires the ability to provide good, heartwarming drama and to direct it to the right audience. I never forget where the referees are when I go into an act. The most reliable eye-catcher is still the pratfall. Particularly on defense, when everything else fails, I fall down.”

Today, soccer players are accused of “flopping” (and rightly so). But what did Ramsey do, more than 50 years ago, in basketball? Flop, right?

In China, there was a cat that correctly predicted World Cup winners. He, or she, became a sensation. Then the cat died. (To read an article, go here.)

My comment was: “How do we know he isn’t flopping?” (If I didn’t laugh at my own jokes, they would get no laughs at all.)

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