Monday, May 30, 2016

Last Call For Deflecting Defection

So a lot is being made of former AG Eric Holder saying that Edward Snowden "performed a service" to the government by taking a treasure trove of NSA documents to leak, but it's more complicated than that.

In an appearance on former Obama campaign strategist David Axelrod’s podcast, Holder said Snowden’s 2013 leaks “harmed American interests” but that the light he shone on controversial government practices could mitigate some of the damage done.

"I know there are ways in which certain of our agents were put at risk, relationships with other countries were harmed, our ability to keep the American people safe was compromised,” Holder told Axelrod. “There were all kinds of re-dos that had to be put in place as a result of what he did, and while those things were being done we were blind in certain really critical areas. So what he did was not without consequence."

In other words, Snowden forced the NSA to re-examine methods and manners across the board, which for an intelligence agency is I guess a good thing, being stuck with outdated (or in this case, wholly compromised) resources makes the agency useless.

Which of course was Snowden's entire point, to render the NSA powerless internationally. 

“He's broken the law in my view. He needs to get lawyers, come on back, and decide, see what he wants to do: Go to trial, try to cut a deal. I think there has to be a consequence for what he has done,” Holder continued. "I think in deciding what an appropriate sentence should be, I think a judge could take into account the usefulness of having had that national debate."

Appearing from Russia via videoconference at a University of Chicago event earlier this month, Snowden reiterated his willingness to return to the U.S., but only if he could be guaranteed a “fair trial.”

“If I had access to public interest defenses and other things like that, I would want to come home and make my case to the jury," Snowden said. "But, as I think you're quite familiar, the Espionage Act does not permit a public interest defense. You're not allowed to speak the word 'whistleblower' at trial."

Since Snowden's definition of a fair trial is "one where he walks free and is treated like a hero after delivering reams of classified NSA information to Russia and China" no, he's not going to get a fair trial and should stay in Moscow.

Besides Putin is having too much fun laughing at us. In a lot of ways, Edward Snowden is one of the Obama administration's biggest failures with repercussions affecting American intelligence services for years, if not decades to come.

Whether or not you agree that Snowden jump-started the debate over civil liberties in America is one thing, but the fact that Snowden broke the law doing it doesn't absolve him of the crime, either.  Both can be true, that Snowden started a needed debate, and that Snowden needs to face trial, and that continues to be my position.

The Kroog Versus The Math

As Paul Krugman points out, the horse race political "journalism" covering the Democratic primary season is full of crap, and that the people who are telling you Bernie Sanders is going to be the nominee are willfully lying.

First, at a certain point you have to stop reporting about the race for a party’s nomination as if it’s mainly about narrative and “momentum.” That may be true at an early stage, when candidates are competing for credibility and dollars. Eventually, however, it all becomes a simple, concrete matter of delegate counts.

That’s why Hillary Clinton will be the Democratic nominee; she locked it up over a month ago with her big Mid-Atlantic wins, leaving Bernie Sanders no way to overtake her without gigantic, implausible landslides — winning two-thirds of the vote! — in states with large nonwhite populations, which have supported Mrs. Clinton by huge margins throughout the campaign.

And no, saying that the race is effectively over isn’t somehow aiding a nefarious plot to shut it down by prematurely declaring victory. Nate Silver recently summed it up: “Clinton ‘strategy’ is to persuade more ‘people’ to ‘vote’ for her, hence producing ‘majority’ of ‘delegates.’” You may think those people chose the wrong candidate, but choose her they did.

Second, polls can be really helpful at assessing the state of a race, but only if you fight the temptation to cherry-pick, to only cite polls telling the story you want to hear. Recent hyperventilating over the California primary is a classic example. Most polls show Mrs. Clinton with a solid lead, but one recent poll shows a very close race. So, has her lead “evaporated,” as some reports suggest? Probably not: Another poll, taken at the very same time, showed an 18-point lead.

What the polling experts keep telling us to do is rely on averages of polls rather than highlighting any one poll in particular. This does double duty: it prevents cherry-picking, and it also helps smooth out the random fluctuations that are an inherent part of polling, but can all too easily be mistaken for real movement. And the polling average for California has, in fact, been pretty stable, with a solid Clinton lead.

Polls can, of course, be wrong, and have been a number of times this cycle. But they’ve worked better than many people think. Most notably, Donald Trump’s rise didn’t defy the polls — on the contrary, he was solidly leading the polls by last September. Pundits who dismissed his chances were overruling what the surveys were trying to tell them.

Which brings us to the general election. Here’s what you should know, but may not be hearing clearly in the political reporting: Mrs. Clinton is clearly ahead, both in general election polls and in Electoral College projections based on state polls.

It’s true that her lead isn’t as big as it was before Mr. Trump clinched the G.O.P. nomination, largely because Republicans have consolidated around their presumptive nominee, while many Sanders supporters are still balking at saying that they’ll vote for her.

But that probably won’t last; many Clinton supporters said similar things about Barack Obama in 2008, but eventually rallied around the nominee. So unless Bernie Sanders refuses to concede and insinuates that the nomination was somehow stolen by the candidate who won more votes, Mrs. Clinton is a clear favorite to win the White House

Accept the things you cannot change, and have the wisdom to know the difference, as the back two-thirds of the serenity prayer goes.

Like A Kansas Tornado, Con't.

The ultimate insult to the injury of the Sam Brownback Austerity Regime is that, like most GOP-controlled governments, what sacrifices that are demanded of the little people are never enforced upon those who make the laws. After all, Kansas has got to cut salaries for state employees like teachers, but not so much for lawmakers.

The one-of-a-kind Kansas pension plan lets representatives and senators sign up for full-time pension benefits while working their part-time elected positions.

“Legislators,” notes an employee benefit sheet explaining the pension plan to new lawmakers, “have a special deal here.”

They get a modest salary for the roughly four months they spend each year in Topeka, but their pensions grow as if the state paid them for a year-round gig.

All told, a salary shy of $15,000 makes a lawmaker eligible for a pension that any teacher, road worker, prison employee or Kansas bureaucrat could qualify for only if their actual pay ran north of $90,000.

“It’s not fair or appropriate,” said Rebecca Proctor, the executive director of the Kansas Organization of State Employees, a union representing 8,000 workers.

She was a member of a Kansas Public Employees Retirement System study commission that in 2011 suggested changing the system for legislators. The Legislature never acted on that recommendation.

Instead, she said, lawmakers have attempted to shore up KPERS by increasing contributions required of regular state employees. In addition, some legislators have floated proposals limiting whether those workers could count unused vacation and sick time toward their pension benefits.

“It’s hypocritical,” Proctor said.

To be sure, members of the House and Senate must pay into the kitty, 6 percent of the supposed salary on which their pensions are calculated. But it’s such a good deal that few pass it up.

Taxpayers typically pay about twice an employee’s contribution toward the pension. So the more legislators sign up for, the more the state also must chip in.

Read more here:

And of course this awesome pension deal isn't new, Kansas lawmakers have been enjoying this since 1982 and no other state employee gets that kind of deal.  But the state lawmaker pension plan wasn't touched when Gov. Brownback installed his austerity regime, while other state employees received massive pension cuts, especially teachers.

Did you think austerity in Kansas actually counted for the "servants of the people"?



Sunday, May 29, 2016

It's A Zoo Out There

Something of a tragedy here at the Cincinnati Zoo this weekend as Harambe, one of the gorillas at the zoo's primate enclosure was shot and killed by keepers who were trying to protect a 4-year-old boy who had climbed into the habitat.

The encounter at the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden occurred Saturday afternoon when the boy crawled through a barrier and fell into a moat at the facility’s outdoor gorilla center, zoo director Thane Maynard told reporters.

The boy wasn’t seriously hurt in the fall, Maynard said at a news conference, but after he dropped into the enclosure, the gorilla, a 17-year-old male named Harambe, “went down and got him.” The animal grabbed and dragged the child, Maynard said, and that’s why officials determined that the boy’s life was in danger.

“It seemed very much by our professional team, our dangerous-animal response team, to be a life-threatening situation,” Maynard said. “And so the choice was made to put down, or shoot, Harambe. And so he’s gone.”

The 4-year-old boy was taken to a children’s hospital, according to a news release from the zoo. His name was not released.

“It’s a sad day all the way around,” Maynard said. “The right choice was made; it was a difficult choice. We have protocols and procedures, we do drills with our dangerous-animal response team. But we’ve never had a situation like this at the Cincinnati Zoo, where a dangerous animal needed to be dispatched in an emergency situation.”

Zoo employees opted to put down the animal instead of using tranquilizers because in “agitated” situations, it can take time for the drugs to take effect, Maynard said. Harambe also would have had a “dramatic response” to a tranquilizer’s effect, he said.

Maynard praised the workers tasked with handling the incident, saying they had a “tough choice.”

“Because they saved that little boy’s life,” he said. “It could have been very bad.”

The child squeezed into an area where he shouldn't have, getting away from his busy mother, and climbed the wall outside the Gorilla World area. He then fell into the moat surrounding the enclosure, and Harambe dragged the boy out of the water.

That was enough for the keepers to make the call to put the gorilla down.

There's going to be a lot of second guessing here, about if it was the right choice, if the zoo could have done more to protect the enclosure, if the child's mother could have stopped the boy, if the zoo should have had a silverback in the first place.

I don't know the honest answers to these questions, but they need to be answered, I think.

Sunday Long Read: Under The Sea

Mitch Moxley brings us an amazing piece over at The Atavist, the story of Chinese billionaire Jon Jiang and his spectacular, $100 million failure at turning Beijing into Hollywood. 

The script called for an epic battle. In the movie’s third act, the forces of the Eight Faery Kingdoms defend their aquatic empires from annihilation by the evil Demon Mage and his spectral legions. Five hundred extras would play the opposing armies.

But in January 2010, when Jonathan Lawrence, the director of Empires of the Deep, showed up for the shoot, in Qinyu, a resort town in coastal China, he saw only about 20 extras, mostly ornery Russians complaining that they hadn’t been paid in weeks.How would he turn 20 people into 500? On top of that, their costumes—swamp green rubber suits decorated with scales, octopus suckers, and shells—looked like poorly made Halloween getups. Some of them had fins glued to their heads.

Lawrence was in most ways a strange choice to be running a massive film set in China. A 40-something director from Los Angeles with just one feature-film credit, he made his living directing shorts, commercials, and music videos. But then again, ever since he saw Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Arkas a teenager in 1981, he had waited for this chance.

The offer to direct a fantastical adventure movie was a dream come true.Empires of the Deep would be China’s Avatar—a reportedly $100 million production featuring mermaid sirens, Greek warriors, pirates, and sea monsters, complete with cutting-edge special effects and an international cast. The film’s producers hoped that it would break through the cultural barrier that had frustrated producers on both sides of the Pacific for years: a Hollywood-style blockbuster made in China that would captivate audiences around the world.

But the offer came with strings attached. Massive strings. The film’s producer was Jon Jiang, a billionaire real estate mogul and film fanatic who had writtenEmpires and put up much of the funding himself. On set he gave actors preposterous and contradictory directions. But mostly he deployed his assistants to watch Lawrence’s every move and report back to him.

The beach location, which would stand in for Mermaid Island, home of an ancient race of mer-folk, had much of what Lawrence required—a long stretch of coast, endless ocean beyond it—but a few weeks earlier, when he inspected the location, he couldn’t help but notice the row of luxury resort buildings at the edge of the sand. A bit modern for Mermaid Island, he thought.

Lawrence joked to the assistant director that they’d have to build a wall to hide the resort from view.

Let's just say that the story of this disaster is a thousand times more interesting than the attempted movie itself, and would probably make a better film.  It's a hell of an adventure though.

Enjoy it for your long weekend.

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Meanwhile, In Venezuela...

The socialist Nicolas Maduro government of Venezuela is in the process of real-time self-destruction, and the resulting (and inevitable) power void is going to be brutal, ugly, and probably extremely deadly in Caracas.

The growing economic crisis — fueled by low prices for oil, the country’s main export; a drought that has crippled Venezuela’s ability to generatehydroelectric power; and a long decline in manufacturing and agricultural production — has turned into an intensely political one for President Nicolás Maduro. This month, he declared a state of emergency, his second this year, and ordered military exercises, citing foreign threats.

But the president looks increasingly encircled.

American officials say the multiplying crises have led Mr. Maduro to fall out of favor with members of his own socialist party, who they believe may turn on him, leading to chaos in the streets.

Old allies like Brazil, whose leftist president, Dilma Rousseff, was removed this month pending an impeachment trial, are now openly criticizing Venezuela. José Mujica, the leftist former president of Uruguay last week called Mr. Maduro “crazy like a goat.”

The regional tensions came to a head last week when Mr. Maduro went on television to chide the Organization of American States, which has criticized Venezuela’s handling of the economic and political crises. Mr. Maduro took aim at Luis Almagro, its secretary general, calling him a “longtime traitor” and implying he was a spy.

Mr. Almagro responded with an open letter blasting the president, calling on him to allow the recall referendum his opponents are pushing this year to remove Mr. Maduro from office.

“You betray your people and your supposed ideology with your diatribes without substance,” Mr. Almagro wrote. “To deny the people that vote, to deny them the possibility of deciding, would make you just another petty dictator, like so many this hemisphere has had.”

As the sparring continues, Mariángel González, a 32-year-old mother of two, is most worried about the retreat of the government from daily life.

Venezuela’s public schools are now closed on Fridays, another effort to save electricity. So Ms. González was waiting in line with her elder child at an A.T.M., while her husband watched over the other one at home.

“Right now, my older girl should be at elementary school and the little one in kindergarten,” she said. “My husband and I have been inventing new routines.”

Ms. González, a freelance lawyer, lived a middle-class life until recently. But she says the government shutdown has left her without work and her family without food.

The older girl, who understands what’s going on says, ‘What is there, Mom: bread, arepas or nothing?’” She said that on a recent night, the family ate a dinner of pasta and ketchup.

When your government has failed so utterly that people have no food to buy, no fuel or electricity to cook it with, and no water to drink, the riots will come quickly.  When they do come, and the crackdown follows, and the government comes apart, what happens then?

We've seen this play out in MENA countries over the Obama years: Morocco, Libya, Bahrain, Yemen, Egypt, Syria.  The final results have been different, but each time involved a lethal government crackdown that killed thousands of its own citizens and a government collapse.

It certainly won't be the first time it's happened in the Americas considering a slightly more polite version of a coup is going on in Brazil now, with Dilma Rouseff gone and not coming back. But it's always a tragedy when it happens.

I'm guessing we'll meet the new boss in Caracas fairly soon.

Water Babies

Californians will be pleased to know that they should vote for Donald Trump as president, because he can stop droughts.

No, really, that's his Golden State plug.

California suffered one of its driest years in 2015. And last year the state hit its driest four-year period on record.

But Donald Trump isn't sold. The presumptive GOP nominee told supporters in Fresno, Calif., on Friday night that no such dry spell exists.

Trump said state officials were simply denying water to Central Valley farmers to prioritize the Delta smelt, a native California fish nearing extinction — or as Trump called it, "a certain kind of three-inch fish.”

We’re going to solve your water problem. You have a water problem that is so insane. It is so ridiculous where they’re taking the water and shoving it out to sea,” Trump told thousands of supporters at the campaign event.

After all, this is a guy who blames climate change on Chinese propaganda, so of course he can fix droughts.

Trump's comments come weeks after Gov. Jerry Brown issued an executive order updating water restrictions. The water rules were imposed in hopes of building the state's "resilience" in the long-term water conservation measures through monthly water use reporting and bans on "clearly wasteful practices such as hosing off sidewalks, driveways and other hardscapes," according to a news release from the California Government Operations Agency's website.

Meanwhile, the powerful farm lobby is trying to secure federal and state approval for billions of dollars to create new water tunnels, dams and other projects.

At least we know where Trump stands on the issue: “If I win, believe me, we’re going to start opening up the water so that you can have your farmers survive."

Because environmental concerns are all fake anyway.  Just bulldoze nature and put up a Wal-Mart or sixteen and hey, they sell water there.

Friday, May 27, 2016

Last Call For Dispatches From Bevinstan

And just because Gov. Matt Bevin hasn't wasted enough taxpayer money on fighting the Obama administration, he's joining the Texas suit over where kids pee.

WKYT has learned Kentucky is joining the list of states suing the Obama administration over a federal directive concerning transgender students in public schools. 
Governor Matt Bevin's office made the announcement on Friday. 
Earlier this month, President Obama issued a directive telling schools that they must allow students to use bathrooms and locker rooms based on their gender identity instead of the sex on their birth certificate. 
In a statement, Governor Bevin says that since Attorney General Andy Beshear did not act, his administration is joining in on the lawsuit. 
“The federal government has no authority to dictate local school districts' bathroom and locker room policies,” said Gov. Bevin. “The Obama Administration’s transgender policy ‘guidelines’ are an absurd federal overreach into a local issue.” 
“Unfortunately, Attorney General Andy Beshear is unwilling to protect Kentucky’s control over local issues. Therefore, my administration will do so by joining this lawsuit. We are committed to protecting the Tenth Amendment and fighting federal overreach into state and local issues.”

Yep, gotta protect the state's right to discriminate and treat people like sub-human garbage.  So when the courts tell Bevin "Why yes, if you take federal money for schools, local and state government buildings, and  public facilities, you can't actually use them to discriminate" then I'll have a good laugh, but I really, really hope that at some point we get rid of the hatred this man proposes.

He's been in office six months and he already is tiresome.

Oh well.  I voted for Conway.

Berned Out, Con't

It's kind of hard to talk about "party unity" when Sanders supporters are openly hoping for an FBI indictment for Hillary Clinton.

Senator Bernie Sanders may be trailing Hillary Clinton by hundreds of delegates, and Mrs. Clinton may be treating the Democratic nomination as hers, but Julie Crowell, a stay-at-home mother and a die-hard Sanders supporter, is holding out for an 11th-hour miracle: divine deliverance at the hands of the F.B.I. 
Like many of Mr. Sanders’s supporters, Ms. Crowell, 37, said she hoped that Mrs. Clinton’s use of a private email server during her time as secretary of state would eventually yield an indictment, and she described it as the kind of transgression that would disqualify another politician seeking high office. 
“She should be removed,” said Ms. Crowell, of Tustin, Calif., who attended a Sanders rally here on Tuesday and said she planned to vote for a third-party candidate if Mr. Sanders failed to overtake Mrs. Clinton and capture the Democratic nomination. “I don’t know why she’s not already being told, ‘You can’t run because you’re being investigated.’ I don’t know how that’s not a thing.” 
Campaigning in California, where polls show a tightening primary race, Mr. Sanders continued to hit Mrs. Clinton over her positions on Wall Street, trade deals, the minimum wage, hydrofracking and “super PACs” — seemingly everything except her emails, which he famously took off the table as an issue during an early Democratic debate. But Mrs. Clinton faces renewed criticism after an inspector general’s report faulted her for violating the State Department’s records-retention policy. And as the F.B.I. continues its investigation into the handling of classified information, attendees at Sanders rallies have repeatedly expressed hope that the scandal would result in criminal charges against Mrs. Clinton. 
“If there’s any chance of her getting indicted, they shouldn’t even consider her for the nomination,” said Zachary O’Neill, 21, of Escondido. “We can’t have a criminal in the White House.” 
And what would be a more colossal comeuppance to the Democratic establishment? 
“We can’t go back and undo giving her the Democratic nomination,” said Jennifer Peters, 28, of Costa Mesa. 

I know, 2008 was far worse.  I was there. It's why I started the blog nearly 8 years ago. But it's going to be months more of idiocy like this, and every bit of it will only help Trump.

Sanders is the one who will have to bury the hatchet.  I still have reservations believing he will, because assholes like this exist:

Victor Vizcarra, 48, of Los Angeles, said he would much prefer Mr. Trump to Mrs. Clinton. Though he said he disagreed with some of Mr. Trump’s policies, Mr. Vizcarra said he had watched “The Apprentice” and expected that a Trump presidency would be more exciting than a “boring” Clinton administration. 
A dark side of me wants to see what happens if Trump is in,” said Mr. Vizcarra, who works in information technology. “There is going to be some kind of change, and even if it’s like a Nazi-type change. People are so drama-filled. They want to see stuff like that happen. It’s like reality TV. You don’t want to just see everybody be happy with each other. You want to see someone fighting somebody.”

Trump'll make the trains Bern on time!

Seriously, folks, there's a subset of Bernie voters who were never, ever going to vote for Clinton in the first place, and they're having their day in the hot take sun.

They were never Dems to begin with, just embarrassed Republicans, most of them. Treat them as such.

The Sound Of The Police

With two of the six officers charged in the death of Freddie Gray in Baltimore getting off with no convictions so far, two more of the officers are now suing Baltimore State's Attorney Marilyn Mosby for defamation of character ahead of their respective trials, essentially saying they were scapegoated.

Sgt. Alicia White and Officer William Porter, who are facing charges of involuntary manslaughter in the 25-year-old's death last April, filed the lawsuit against Mosby, Baltimore sheriff's office Maj. Sam Cogen and the state of Maryland on May 2, according to Baltimore Circuit Court records made public Wednesday. 
The officers claim that Mosby and Cogen knew the statement of charges filed against the officers and other statements made by Mosby at a May 1, 2015, news conference announcing the charges "were false." 
"These among other statements were made not for the purpose of prosecuting crimes that had allegedly been committed by White and Porter, but rather for purposes of quelling the riots in Baltimore," the suit alleges. 
The officers had asked that the lawsuit be sealed to "avoid any suggestion" that they were "not complying with the spirit of" a gag order issued in their criminal cases by Circuit Judge Barry G. Williams, and to "avoid any additional pretrial publicity in connection with their upcoming criminal trials." They said they had to file the lawsuit at this time because of statute of limitations concerns. 
Judge Althea Handy on Wednesday denied the motion to seal the case, saying the officers had "failed to provide a special and compelling reason to preclude or limit inspection of the case record sufficient to overcome the presumption of openness" under Maryland law.

Basically, White and Porter are saying the charges are trumped-up just to stop rioting last year.  It's a stupid shot in the dark, but considering Mosby is zero for two so far, and given the minuscule percentage of cops ever convicted for murder, it's probably worth the hassle.

Not that I expect a single charge to stick to any of these scumballs.


Thursday, May 26, 2016

Last Call For Shutting The Door

Gotta love Republicans who think Donald Trump isn't going far enough on immigration and deportation.

Robert Blaha, a Republican primary candidate in Colorado’s Senate race, said on Tuesday that Donald Trump’s proposed ban on Muslims entering the country doesn’t go far enough. 
“I want to go beyond just Muslims,” Blaha said at a GOP meeting in Fremont County. “And I’ll tell you why. The issue is not—the issue is partially a religious issue, but the real issue there is—the real issue is security. The real issue is we do not know who these people are. We don’t know where they’re coming from, we don’t know whether a terrorist state. We do not have the ability as a government right now to vet these people.”

But please, tell me again how being the party of "Let's get rid of all the brown people!" is going to help in 2016.

“Until we can properly vet people and know who they are and know where they’re coming from and know what their belief structures are they’re coming out of, we cannot afford to take that risk,” he said. “So it’s bigger than just a religious issue, to me. It’s a much bigger issue than just a religious issue. So we must secure the border, and we must not allow people to come into this country when we do not know who they are.”

Forget Trump blocking Muslims from coming into the country, this guy wants to block everyone.

I hope this guy wins the primary next month.  It'll be funny to see Michael Bennet defend his Senate seat and win by 20.

The Bern Out Continues

Apparently this whole horrible idea of a Bernie Sanders/Donald Trump debate in California is not only a real thing, but apparently may actually happen.

Donald Trump late Wednesday said that he is ready and willing to debate Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) for charity. 
“Yes, I am,” he said on ABC’s “Jimmy Kimmel Live!" "How much is he going to pay me? If he paid a nice sum toward a charity, I’d love to do that.

“If I debated him, we would have such high ratings and I think I should take that money and give it to some worthy charity,” the GOP’s presumptive presidential nominee added. 
Sanders, a Democratic presidential candidate, later accepted Trump’s offer, even offering a potential battleground site.

I'm with Steve M. on this.  It's an atrocious idea that only plays into Trump's stubby little hands.

Trump will spend most of the "debate" either agreeing with Sanders (on trade deals, on the need for more jobs) or chiding him gently. Trump will have no motivation to bang heads with Sanders -- remember, in the primaries he attacked opponents only when they seemed to be gaining on him in polls of upcoming contests. Trump's goal will be to use the words of Sanders as a club to beat Clinton with. Sanders won't see that coming, though he certainly won't object when it happens. He'll pile on
It's not going to be a great moment in the history of Western democracy. Sorry, kids.

Agreed.  This is going to be a slag fest on Hillary, and Sanders won't lay a glove on Trump. He'll be too busy trashing Clinton. I don't see any reason for doing this unless Sanders is willing to destroy the party for his own ego (entirely possible at this juncture.)

And can you imagine the howling of "Arrogant!" and screaming of "What a bitch!" from the Sanders camp if Hillary debated Trump before the California primary?

Nope, there's zero upside for Sanders here other than to be used as a tool to attack Hillary with by Trump, and at this point Sanders is okay with that.

Right now any possible goodwill I've had left for the Sanders camp is gone. The man was never a Democrat, and with this stunt, he clearly shows that he doesn't care if he fractures the party and hands the country over to Trump.

But the joke's on Bernie: Trump has no actual intention of debating him.

I'm done with him at this point.

Don't Come Ryan To Trump Anymore

Looks like the "principled conservative Never Trump movement" is about as dead as the Reds' chances of winning the World Series this year, as GOP House Speaker Paul Ryan is now waving the white flag in surrender to the Party of Trump.

House Speaker Paul Ryan has begun telling confidants that he wants to end his standoff with Donald Trump in part because he’s worried the split has sharpened divisions in the Republican Party, according to two people close to the lawmaker. 
Ryan aides say nothing has been decided about a possible Trump endorsement. But Trump’s campaign manager, Paul Manafort, told a small group of Republican lawmakers Thursday that he expects Ryan to endorse the party’s nominee as early as this week, according to two people in the meeting. 
If Ryan were to endorse Trump, the move would end a nearly unprecedented standoff between the House speaker and his party’s presumptive presidential nominee, and remove the biggest remaining obstacle to Trump’s efforts to unite Republicans around his campaign.

In fact, Manafort told the gathering of Republican lawmakers that Ryan’s endorsement would put more pressure on the party’s remaining Trump holdouts to fall in line.

Which would be the first truthful thing Paul Manafort has said this year, but he's right.  Not that there ever was any real resistance to Donald Trump's racist, misogynist, Islamophobic, fear-based garbage, because Republicans are now the party of hate, but you guys they tried to stop him, they tried really, really hard and I guess they'll just have to support him rather than that mean ol' Hillary.

I'm so tired of Republicans.  It really is hard for me not to just say "Every single one of you are racist dirtbags who hate anyone darker than a paper bag" and be done with it, except I know that's not true.

But it's difficult to find a Republican who rejects Trump, and by the time November rolls around, they'll be voting for him for President of the United States of America in the tens of millions.

I miss Republicans who weren't insane.  Then again, Paul Ryan knows exactly what he's doing, and that is attempting to destroy Social Security, Obamacare, Medicare and Medicaid for good, so maybe Trump by comparison isn't the actual problem.  Paul Ryal after all is already in office, and he's House Speaker.

Perhaps we should fix that in November.
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