Tuesday, May 31, 2016

The Media is a Sleazy Pile of Garbage

[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="600.0"] Milbank and Cillizza, serving up their "Mad Bitch Beer." [/caption]

The Washington Post is a really, really bad newspaper, and Donald Trump actually said something today that was true:

Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump on Tuesday defended his fundraising for veterans charities and said he had not inflated reports of how much money he had donated to military organizations.  

“As of this moment, it’s $5.6 million,” Trump told reporters at a press conference at Trump Tower in New York City. 

“The money has all been sent,” Trump said, holding up a copy of a $1 million check he said had been a donation to a Marine Corps charity. The Donald J. Trump Foundation hasn’t used any of the money raised to pay staff or cover operational expenses, he added.  

Trump also named several charities — including the Fisher House Foundation, the Marine Corps-Law Enforcement Foundation and the Navy SEAL Foundation — he said had received money.

“I wanted to keep it private, because I don’t think it’s anybody’s business if I want to send money to the vets,” Trump said when he was asked why it had taken four months for him to release details about how much money he had raised and to which groups the funds had been sent. That was a somewhat perplexing explanation, considering the press conference had been called specifically so Trump could boast about his giving. 

The event quickly devolved into a typical Trumpian rant against the media, and the candidate went on tirades against a plaintiff and judge involved in a fraud case against Trump University. 

It didn't take long for Chris Cillizza to flip out and write something foolish in response to Trump's comments about the media, ignoring the fact that pretty much everyone agrees that the sky is blue, water is wet, and the media is sleazy as hell.

Oh, and in case you forgot, Chris Cillizza is one half of the mighty duo who gave us "Mad Bitch Beer." This makes him uniquely qualified to defend the working media from charges of being sleazy.

Trump University

There's a sucker born every minute.

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman slammed Donald Trump after the GOP presidential nominee spent the weekend criticizing a federal judge about a lawsuit against Trump University. "You defrauded people out of money," New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said Tuesday. "They're entitled to their day in court. He keeps saying it's an easy case to win but he keeps losing. All he's doing is delaying." Schneiderman added that Trump demonstrated a "willingness to lie to people" to get them into his "phony seminars" and that it was "heartless." He added, "It's important information to get out there and I think that between the judge releasing these records and other things, I hope all the facts will get out that can between now and the election. I think it's important public policy."

I can't find any sympathy for the people who gave Donald Trump money in exchange for information or knowledge. I realize that this is heartless of me, and that I am a horrible person, but if you gave this man tens of thousands of dollars and expected something valuable in return, you're a fucking idiot.

Add this to the endless list of stories that will finally "finish off" Donald Trump.

Jerry Brown Cuts Bernie Sanders Off at the Knees

This was an unexpected boost for Hillary Clinton's primary campaign in California:

California Gov. Jerry Brown is “deeply impressed” with Bernie Sanders’ campaign, but next week he will cast his vote in the state’s Democratic primary for Hillary Clinton, praising the former secretary of state as the best candidate to prevent a Donald Trump victory in November.

“I have closely watched the primaries and am deeply impressed with how well Bernie Sanders has done,” Brown wrote in an open letter to California Democrats and independents published Tuesday. “He has driven home the message that the top one percent has unfairly captured way too much of America’s wealth, leaving the majority of people far behind. In 1992, I attempted a similar campaign.”

Clinton, however, “has convincingly made the case that she knows how to get things done and has the tenacity and skill to advance the Democratic agenda,” he continued, noting that she has gotten nearly 3 million more votes than Sanders and leads by hundreds of delegates.

“In other words, Clinton’s lead is insurmountable and Democrats have shown — by millions of votes — that they want her as their nominee,” Brown said. “But there is more at stake than mere numbers.”

"Deeply impressed" means, "you should have conceded a month ago" and "insurmountable" means that Sanders can still win as long as people don't try to do "math." I think that's what it means, but my translation of weasel speak is probably a little off. I don't know how you get any farther to the left than Jerry Brown and I don't know what else provides more legitimacy than the endorsement of one of the few remaining progressive left governors in this country (Mark Dayton of Minnesota being the only other one that is presiding over a rebounding state economy right now).

Anyway, for Jerry Brown to endorse Hillary is a bit of shock--I never would have guessed that he had it in him. Brown has a long history of hating Bill Clinton, going all the way back to the early 1990s when Brown was dumped by the side of the road. I really didn't see any softening of this until very recently when Bill went to California last week to meet with Brown. I mean, Bill was endorsing Gavin Newsom not that long ago.

California needs help from the Federal government, and Brown knows that he can get that help from a Clinton administration. This is the smart play, and it has to be galling to see Brown wrap his arms around people who gave him short shrift a long time ago. This also signifies that the only person who doesn't know that it's over for Bernie Sanders is Sanders himself.

If you can't get Jerry to support you, then what's the point? Or is he another corporate sellout and a whore to boot? I'd really like to see the logic of saying that having Jerry Brown stick the knife into the Sanders campaign means nothing because it does. It does matter when the governor of California basically takes a dump on your movement just days away from the primary.

If you're a Sanders supporter, this has to sting a little bit.


The Difference Between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton

I'm dying to know how much money Hillary Clinton has raised this month. I'm hoping it's enough to persuade other donors to keep giving her campaign the money that it will need to stay competitive in battleground states during the summer months; I hope it touches off a wave of donations that will give Democrats everywhere the funds they need to make the push into the fall election.

Donald Trump is broke. Donald Trump can't come up with the millions of dollars necessary to compete. Donald Trump gets way to much free media coverage already, but that's neither here nor there. His campaign has eschewed analytics, decency, and any hope of reaching out to Hispanics. His campaign is a dumpster on fire being pushed into a river of gasoline.

Donald Trump's mostly self-funded campaign now apparently needs help.

A report from the Washington Examiner says Trump representatives told Senate Republicans that the campaign "won't have much money to spend fending off attacks from Hillary Clinton" before the Republican National Convention in July.

Trump officially secured the party's nomination for president last week. Before that, the real-estate mogul's campaign said it would partner with the Republican National Committee to raise as much as $1 billion for the general election.

So much for the billionaire. So much for the business acumen that has been central to his months-long boasts. So much for the cash he was supposed to have. The one thing Trump had going for him was success and wealth. He has neither, and Senator Elizabeth Warren has been telling everyone exactly what he is--a failed businessman. Well, he's an even bigger failure than anyone realized. He's a sham and a phony.

There has been a lot of criticism over Hillary's ties to Wall Street. I think we can all agree that Wall Street needs more regulation and more oversight. It needs to be kept in check by an agency with some bite. Anyone who risks the larger economy's health needs to be stopped by government regulators long before another massive bubble pops. I think she'll continue Obama's policies and give them too much freedom, but, then again, I think she'll find a way to piss people off and kick these guys to the curb when she has to. That's her super power--kicking the right people who have it coming.

She's doing a masterful job of working with the Democratic National Committee. Unlike Trump, she's not going to waltz in after spewing racist crap all over the television and turn her pockets out and scream for more cash. She's not going to make her problem their problem with no heads up. She's going to keep fighting and she's not taking any votes for granted. I think she realizes that as long as the Republicans are in disarray, the last thing anyone should do is bail them out.

I also think her acceptance of their money has meant that she will be competitive in the general election. There's no way around it--you have to take money when it's handed to you and you have to keep pushing those funds down to other tickets so that the Democratic Party competes in as many places as possible. We finally have a Democrat who wants to win, and win big, and that's a positive thing to say when so many things are looking pretty grim.

Can't wait for the numbers.

Saturday, May 28, 2016

The Balls on This Guy

Is this really happening? Bernie Sanders is telling Hillary Clinton who she can pick as a running mate. He's telling her who is "pure" enough and he's issuing a threat that he hasn't made before. He's saying that the loser of the primary gets to pick the Vice Presidential candidate for the person who won. When did that become the precedent for how things are done in any political party anywhere?

Senator Bernie Sanders doubled down on his warning to democratic rival Hillary Clinton that her pick for running mate will be critical to winning over his supporters going into the general election during an interview to air Sunday on "Meet the Press."

"That means having a candidate who can excite working families, excite young people, bring them into the political process, create a large voter turnout," Sanders told Chuck Todd. 

The Vermont senator was adamant that Clinton pick a hardline progressive for vice president if she successfully secures the Democratic nomination for president. This could help her appeal to the supporters who have flocked to Sanders' campaign during the primary. 

Asked whether Virginia senator Tim Kaine, who's rumored to be on Clinton's short list, is the kind of running mate he's recommending, Sanders said, "I really like him very much," but declined any further speculation.

We have reverted to the days when party "leaders" subverted everyone's choice and went with their agenda. Sanders isn't accepting his loss when he echoes the old way of doing things--he's really choosing an anti-democratic (small d) position that cannot stand up to any scrutiny. Does he really think that he has a say in who gets picked? 

This is how Bernie Sanders lays the groundwork to do two things--one, he's going to deny any legitimacy to Hillary Clinton as a candidate and, two, he's going to create some sort of a scenario where his endorsement and support network gets behind a third party candidate (Johnson of the Libertarian Party or Stein of the Green Party) when his conditions aren't met. I haven't wanted to speculate on that so far, but it really looks like he is going to do whatever he can to destroy comity in the Democratic Party and cause a rift between the people who support him and the larger Democratic Party base. Today he went that extra step further than anyone was willing to admit was possible just a few weeks ago.

I mean, holy hell. This is bad. Really, really bad. I hope people see this for what it is--a declaration of war against the legitimacy of the entire Democratic Party. Sanders is intent on denying the presidency to Hillary Clinton by any means necessary.

If she doesn't pick a "hardline progressive" then what? What happens if he's not happy with who she picks? Does he, as the loser of the primary, then go after that person and call them a corporate sellout as well? Does he allow his surrogates to savage the person who agrees to serve on the ticket? And does he make it harder for Hillary to find someone to agree to run with her?

Who in their right mind would agree to run as Vice President knowing that Sanders and his followers are going to attack them, given that there's already going to be an unprecedented attack from Donald Trump waiting for them? People go into public life with all kinds of expectations of being torn to pieces for their views and their positions. I don't know of anyone who would welcome being hit by a crazy orange billionaire from one side and from the people screaming about their insufficient purity from the other side.

Dictating strict conditions to the winner as to how to proceed takes the kind of balls only found on someone who has already made up their mind to burn the whole thing down. Sanders isn't just building a fundraising scheme that will keep bringing in the money after this election cycle. He is going to sabotage the entire Democratic Party and bring the house down around him. We won't just lose the presidency--we will lose our best chance to take back the Senate and gain ground in the House. We will lose more than we'll ever know because no one wants to accept the outcome of the primary and move forward.

This is not the behavior of someone who wants to see the country in the hands of a competent leader. This is how someone acts when they want to see Donald Trump running everything into the ground.

Trump's Hispanic Outreach Program Looks Promising

[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="600.0"]   Spencer Platt / Getty Images   Spencer Platt / Getty Images [/caption]

If it's a day of the week, Donald Trump must be out there trying to pit one group of Americans against another group so that white nationalists and racists can feel good about voting for him:

Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump railed against the judge in the legal battle over Trump University, telling a large crowd Friday in San Diego, "There should be no trial." 

"We're in front of a very hostile judge. The judge was appointed by Barack Obama," Trump told a campaign rally on the same day as a hearing was held in San Diego over his online real estate school, which closed in 2010. "I mean frankly, he should recuse himself because he's given us ruling after ruling after ruling, negative, negative, negative." 

U.S. District Court Judge Gonzalo Curiel "happens to be, we believe Mexican, which is great. I think that's fine," Trump added of the judge, who was born in East Chicago, Indiana. 

But he's "not doing the right thing," Trump told the rally. 

"I have a judge who is a hater of Donald Trump, a hater, he's a hater," he continued. "I'm getting railroaded by a legal system that frankly they should be ashamed."

This is exactly what Americans want in a president--no respect for the rule of law, a willful ignorance of the legal system, an fetish for running his mouth off about things he does not know, and a man who enjoys pandering to the most racist elements of American society. Anyone who uses the ethnicity of the judge to decry the American legal system should not be allowed anywhere near the Executive Branch of government. Or government, period.

I am thinking about writing down the names of each and every person who publicly supports this man so I can pull it out in five years. I can guarantee you one thing--those people will not pay the price for their support for this racist, bigoted fool and they will be on television for years and years, yapping about how they know more about politics than everyone else. They will develop Trump-nesia, a form of amnesia where they forget that they did not have the courage to stand up and call this man a virulent, un-American racist. Look at everyone who supported the Iraq War. They're still on TV and they're still convinced people need to hear what they think.

The Suburbs Want Hillary

We are months away from the part of the election where people start to pay attention. In a typical presidential election year, things begin to solidify around Labor Day, which is surprising for many people who began following the race roughly a year before that. If you're a political junkie, it's hard to reconcile the fact that most of the voters who will decide the race aren't even paying attention right now.

Donald Trump is doing very badly with people who live in suburban areas, though. I don't know how strong this polling is because it's barely summer, but it does look pretty good for Hillary Clinton:

Trump's showing a nine-point drop in the suburbs. 

Plenty of experts argue that the rural-urban cultural divide is so deeply entrenched that the suburbs are where the election will be won and lost. And, as he is with white women, Donald Trump is showing significant weakness with this slice of electorate. In 2012, Obama won urban suburbs 57 percent to 41 percent, according to NBC's Dante Chinni. Clinton is matching Obama's performance at 57 percent now, but Trump has slid to 32 percent. Swing suburban areas of the battleground states — places like Fairfax County, Virginia or Bucks County, Pennsylvania — are almost sure to help determine the general election winner. Right now, Clinton is enjoying a big head start.

I guess education and status equals an awareness of things and a rejection of what Trump stands for. You don't even have to be clued in to know that Trump is a nationalist using populism like he's on television. But let's be clear about something--there are plenty of voters who aren't going to vote for Hillary just because of Trump's negatives. They know the overall Republican brand, they know what's being going on for the last eight years, and they are enthusiastically supporting Hillary over any Republican out there. They're all in for a continuation of Obama's policies, which are rising in popularity as we head for the finish line. 

Those people aren't going away and they don't care what the New York Times or Morning Joe have to say about anything. They were suffering like hell in 2008 and, by 2012, things were coming back around for them. They don't want a return to instability and crazy schemes. And they certainly don't want what Trump is selling.

Friday, May 27, 2016

Trump Will Kick Bernie's Ass

I don't see any harm in Bernie Sanders having a debate with Donald Trump. The end result of it would be the humiliation of Sanders as a candidate and it would have a tinge of freak show attached to it, making both Sanders and Trump look like the side show attractions they really are:

Bernie Sanders is helping stoke talk of a debate between him and Donald Trump, telling ABC's Jimmy Kimmel on Thursday night that the network had contacted the Vermont senator about a matchup between himself and the presumptive GOP nominee.

Kimmel opened up the discussion when he asked Sanders if he had seen Wednesday's show, when the host told Trump he had a question from Sanders' campaign, asking if Trump would be willing to debate the Democratic hopeful. 

    Trump joked, "How much is he going to pay me?"

    "You saw the show last night? You saw what I did for you?" Kimmel asked Sanders.

    "You made it possible for us to have a very interesting debate about two guys who look at the world very, very differently," Sanders replied.

    Sanders would approach this from the professional standpoint of having debated opponents in the Senate and House races he has won in the past. There's a decorum followed in political debating that Sanders has demonstrated that he understands and follows. He concedes points of logic and that plays to his strengths as a politician who wants to create opportunities for change. His debates with Hillary Clinton have never delivered a knockout blow, however, because he does not have that blood instinct.

    Trump has delivered at least a dozen if not more knockout blows to people who have had as much, if not more, debate experience as Sanders. He is formidable when it comes to deploying the dismissive language of an elitist. This would rattle Sanders immediately, who would rely on his command of information and reasoning to "win" when, in the modern setting, he would lose. He's a good debater, but he is not on a par with Trump. Sanders would adhere to the rules and use facts and figures; Trump would bulldoze past that with lies and dismissive statements. Sanders would play to the thinking audience and Trump would win the room.

    In many of the Republican debates, Trump relied on being entertaining as opposed to being right. He found a particular set of insults that excited the crowds that he knew would go viral and become the story of the night. In a debate with Sanders, he would lose on substance, of course, but he would ultimately win in the 48 hours after the debate by delivering enough zingers to go viral. The media has to have quick summation videos in order to gather the clicks they need on their websites. You had this during the early part of the Republican Primary season--Trump would never land a hit within the accepted rules of any modern political debate but he would play to the cameras and the crowd and deliver key phrases and statements that would be picked up by the media.

    Now, there's an offhand chance that Sanders and his people will be ready for this by studying the game tapes from when Trump literally destroyed Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz, and whoever else. What they would learn is that you have to have a better insult ready for Donald Trump without looking opportunistic. Marco Rubio tried this before the Florida primary and looked like an amateur. Sanders would look and feel foolish because it would be an unnatural stretch for him to return insults and act un-Presidential. With Trump, you have to be calm and turn his statements back on him and get people to laugh. Sanders could get people to laugh if he attacked the legitimacy of Trump and hit him on his insecurities. But Sanders is not Larry David and he's not that fast on his feet.

    Hillary will have her hands full with Trump in the "real" debates this fall. Each contest will require a hell of a lot of adjustments and she will have to be ready for a fact-challenged man who hates women and who will not play within any established set of rules or decency. I think much of the reason why you hear her laugh more nowadays is because the rules have changed and she needs to keep a sense of humor. That will be her strength this fall.

    Trump has won by being the un-Presidential guy sticking it to the fact-laden politicos. Why Sanders would want to go up against that smacks of desperation and poor analysis of why Trump won the Republican nomination. You could win every argument with Trump and still look like a fool because his insults will be the only thing that will get any coverage.

    Thursday, May 26, 2016

    Ron Fournier is Blind to the Answer Before Him

    Ron Fournier is mad that the President won't lead but he has no idea how to correctly identify who's responsible for the fact that we're "screwing" kids with autism and their families:

    The two of us were eating sandwiches in the office of L. Vincent Strully Jr., the NECC’s irrepressible chief executive officer who oversees 1,200 employees, a $90 million budget, and a campus in Abu Dhabi. Strully spoke in bursts of declarative sentences when I steered the conversation away from teaching theories to Holly—and what she represents for me: The lack of public support for autistic people.

    “The system is fundamentally unfair,” he said.

    “Parents with children on the spectrum are bounced from one bureaucracy to the next.”

    “The system is rigged against parents with autism.”

    Strully explained that, for decades, the federal government has required states to accommodate the special needs of people with autism and other disabilities, but Congress has never provided the money to do so. That leaves a gap that state and local governments must fill—or dodge, which is what usually happens.

    “The parents of these kids are getting screwed,” Strully said.

    Yes they are. They're getting screwed by a Republican-controlled Congress that wants to cut SNAP benefits for the poor, screw Veterans eight ways to Sunday, and play hide and seek with money to combat the spread of the Zika virus. Democrats in Congress want to solve these problems with smart solutions. Republicans want to hand fists full of money over to the rich. Democrats in Congress are the only hope for people who want to stay alive and have some sort of future in this country.

    Fournier is insufficiently angry at the right people. In other words, everything is messed up, but it's not the fault of the people actually messing it up because he likes having access to them.

    I mean, what do you think eight years of willful obstructionism looks like? It looks like underfunded programs, falling down bridges, and pain and suffering as far as the eye can see. These things aren't hard to identify and understand. But if your default ideological setting is, "daddy Republicans can't do anything because libtards EVERYWHERE!" then I can't help you with your plaintive cries from the world where real people are having a shitty time of making things work. If you think Donald Trump gives a damn about people who are not beautiful and willing to kiss his ass, you really don't know American politics right now.

    There are several words that do not appear in Fournier's column. One is Republican. The other two words are Paul Ryan. If he wants to know the fucking answer to the fucking question he's asking, maybe he needs to wake the fuck up and start identifying the fucking problem that sits in front of his blinkered fucking eyes. I mean, not to get off on a fucking rant, but fuckity fuck fuck fuck, man. Why do you even fucking try anymore?

    I'm sorry. Sometimes these things get away from me.

    I think gist of what I'm saying is pretty obvious. Do you really care about people who are suffering? Then quit pretending both sides do it. One side is screwing the pooch and the other side is represented by a  woman who probably cares more about kids and autism than the entire male population of the Republican Congress. 

    Wednesday, May 25, 2016

    When Hillary Was Popular With Republicans

    There are a few of these stories floating around, and we should remember them during this election season. On more than a few occasions, Republicans had a lot of praise for Hillary Clinton:

    For the better part of a quarter-century, Hillary Clinton has loomed over American politics as a hate figure for many on the right—and she seems poised to re-assert her dominant position in right-wing demonology in 2016. But there was a time, stretching roughly from her concession of the Democratic presidential nomination to Barack Obama in 2008 to the Benghazi attack in 2012, when conservatives changed their tune on Clinton. In fact, plenty of Republicans even said nice things about her.

    Benghazi was an attempt to use a foreign policy disaster to defeat President Obama in the November, 2012 election. Hillary was right in the middle of it because, as soon as she stepped away from being Secretary of State, she was gearing up for a presidential run.

    Here are the highlights:

    Dick Cheney: “I have a sense that she is one of the more competent members of the current administration, and it would be interesting to speculate about how she might perform were she to be president.”

    Paul Ryan: “Look, if we had a Clinton presidency, if we had Erskine Bowles as chief of staff of the White House or president of the United States, I think we would have fixed this fiscal mess by now,” he said. “That’s not the kind of presidency we’re dealing with right now.”

    Gordon Smith: "I was in the well of the Senate, had just cast a vote, and Hillary approached me and asked to walk back to our offices together. We walked around the Russell Building several times talking about my son, the difficulty of raising children in this confusing time and the state of mental health law in our country. She revealed to me by that unselfish outreach her humanity and her decency,"

    Orrin Hatch: “I happen to like Hillary Clinton; I think she’s done a good job for the… secretary of state’s position, and I have high respect for her and think a great deal of her.”

    John McCain: In 2011, at a breakfast sponsored by The Christian Science Monitor, McCain praised Clinton as “an international star” who has done “a tremendous job” as secretary of state. He also later told to CBS News, “I respect Secretary/Senator Clinton; I respect her views.”

    Judd Gregg: "I found her to be easy to work with, smart and willing to reach agreement on complicated issues," And Gregg believes her "approach to governing, of seeking principled compromise" could break the logjam between the Congress and White House.

    Lindsey Graham: “a good role model, one of the most effective secretary of states, greatest ambassadors for the American people that I have known in my lifetime” in May 2012. The Republican also went out of his way to praise Clinton to The New York Timesthree months later, saying, “She is extremely well-respected throughout the world, handles herself in a very classy way, and has a work ethic second to none.”

    Where did all of these reasonable people go? And here's one anecdote that is linked above:

    A 2006 profile in The Atlantic describes how Clinton stunned GOP colleagues by showing up one day in 2001, shortly after being sworn in, for their weekly prayer meeting. Then-Sen. Sam Brownback of Kansas was so moved by her appearance that he asked her to forgive him for having hated her. Clinton became a regular at the meetings and partnered with most of the regulars there on legislation.

    In her maiden speech as a senator 15 years ago in February, Clinton described how her failed effort as first lady to convince Congress to pass a sweeping overhaul of the country's health care system had changed her. "I learned some valuable lessons about the legislative process, the importance of bipartisan cooperation, and the wisdom of taking small steps to get a big job done," she said.

     Yeah, she sounds like she's trying to rival Jimmy Carter for the title of history's greatest monster.

    Tuesday, May 24, 2016

    Bernie Sanders is Wasting Everyone's Time

    Even though claiming one more delegate won't change a single thing, Bernie Sanders is going to ask the Democrats in Kentucky to conduct a recanvass so that maybe--just maybe--he can walk away with a victory that he otherwise did not earn:

    Sanders has vowed to amass as many delegates as possible in his lengthy primary fight against Clinton, where he trails the former secretary of state by 271 pledged delegates according to a count by The Associated Press. Clinton holds a substantial lead with party leaders and elected officials, called superdelegates, and is on track to clinch the nomination through the combination of pledged delegates and superdelegates after contests on June 7.

    Sanders can ask a judge to order a recount or an examination of individual ballots but his campaign would have to pay for it. The deadline to request a recanvass is Tuesday at 4 p.m.

    Clinton and Sanders both picked up 27 delegates in Kentucky and one remaining delegate will be allocated in the sixth congressional district, which includes Frankfort and Lexington. The delegate will be awarded based on final vote tallies and Clinton currently leads Sanders by a slim margin of about 500 votes in that district.

    The recanvass is conducted by the state at no cost to the campaign.

    A tip in the statewide vote in Sanders' favor would not guarantee him that last delegate. But if a recanvass were to determine he actually received more votes than Clinton in the sixth congressional district, Sanders could earn the last remaining delegate that Clinton would otherwise receive.

    The institutional memory of people starts to come into play here. If you've insisted on damaging the party you claim to want to lead, what's it going to take for people to call you on your bullshit? It's started, but I don't think it has reached the necessary level of outrage. If you've lost the race, why are you putting pressure on people who delivered for you so that you can game the system? I don't think people are going to forget how difficult Sanders has been, I really don't.

    Yes, it's important to count every vote. And every vote was counted. But this is not a recount--it's a recanvass of the vote totals and that's important to note. Is Sanders really intent on wasting everyone's time? Is he being difficult on purpose? Sanders and Clinton each split Kentucky with 27 delegates apiece. They were in a virtual tie, but she beat him by about 1,900 votes. If you're running a big picture campaign designed to show the Democratic Party that you know the rules and that you respect the process, I really don't think throwing a Hail Mary pass at the idea of gaining a single delegate when you, um, need hundreds and hundreds of delegates to magically flip to your side is going to do the trick.

    In fact, why piss off the party you claim to want to lead? I don't get that at all, but, then again, I'm not building a fundraising scheme, either. Sanders is looking for a windmill that he can attack and I'm wondering when people will get sick of it all.

    David Brooks is Just Asking Questions About Hillary

    If you want to get angry, just read David Brooks:

    Clinton’s career appears, from the outside, to be all consuming. Her husband is her co-politician. Her daughter works at the Clinton Foundation. Her friendships appear to have been formed at networking gatherings reserved for the extremely successful.

    People who work closely with her adore her and say she is warm and caring. But it’s hard from the outside to think of any non-career or pre-career aspect to her life. Except for a few grandma references, she presents herself as a résumé and policy brief.

    For example, her campaign recently released a biographical video called “Fighter.” It’s filled with charming and quirky old photos of her fighting for various causes. But then when the video cuts to a current interview with Clinton herself, the lighting is perfect, the setting is perfect, her costume is perfect. She looks less like a human being and more like an avatar from some corporate brand.

    Clinton’s unpopularity is akin to the unpopularity of a workaholic. Workaholism is a form of emotional self-estrangement. Workaholics are so consumed by their professional activities that their feelings don’t inform their most fundamental decisions. The professional role comes to dominate the personality and encroaches on the normal intimacies of the soul. As Martyn Lloyd-Jones once put it, whole cemeteries could be filled with the sad tombstone: “Born a man, died a doctor.”

    At least in her public persona, Clinton gives off an exclusively professional vibe: industrious, calculated, goal-oriented, distrustful. It’s hard from the outside to have a sense of her as a person; she is a role.

    Let's get something out of the way--Hillary Clinton is always going to be held to a impossible standard because she's a woman. She cannot raise her voice in anger without being criticized for the tenor and tone of her remarks and not their substance. She cannot be loose and unguarded because every utterance will be pounced on and made viral by a massive hate machine driven by the need to dehumanize her. She cannot simply be a grandmother running for President because we know more about what happened with an obscure stack of billing records from her past than we do about her grandchild, thanks, of course, to media outlets like the New York Times. Other candidates can go through bankruptcy, divorce, extramarital affairs, claims of fraudulent business practices, and a whole host of scandals and not receive a tenth of the scrutiny of Hillary's e-mail server. 

    This is the tremendous double standard of our modern political age--the Clinton Rules are in full force and they will continue to be for some time. If you judged Hillary the way men are judged, she'd skate to the nomination and win the election outright. Being focused and professional is now a drawback for being President? Are we supposed to crave the aw shucks what-me-worry? attitude of Ronald Reagan? Are we supposed to look for a candidate who clears brush on his "ranch" so we can have a beer with him (when was the last time George W. Bush cleared brush, by the way?) and feel good about ourselves?

    I think people have really started to see through this double standard. Who does she work for and why does she work for them? You're telling me that the person who did more to give kids access to health care is a corporate shill? Then why have they spent all that money to demonize her? You can tell a lot about a person by their enemies. Hillary's enemies have never done anything to help the American people to anything other than disaster and ruin. They know that they can drive up her negatives and make people question her agenda. 

    Sorry, but it didn't work then and it doesn't work now.

    David Brooks has to turn in a column, so why not ask questions about Hillary's negatives while pretending to care what the answer might be? He knows the answer. He's part of a media opinion machine that has to generate yet another 800 words that can be thrown on the pile. He is, after all, an astute student of the hate literature surrounding the Clintons and this allows him to bring up all kinds of things and escape accountability because he's "just asking questions." 

    It's as if he knows nothing of Maureen Dowd, et al.

    I don't want anything in a President other than competence. I don't have to like them or relate to them. I want them to know what the hell is going on and do the right thing about it. During the eight years of the Bush Presidency, if you were sleeping easily at night, you were doing it wrong because we went through a period of incompetence that we are still digging ourselves out of. I have slept easily through the entire Obama presidency because, hello, competence? That's the only criteria. I don't care if she's a woman, and neither should you.

    She's got competence down to a science. She's got this. That's all you need to know.

    Monday, May 23, 2016

    South Korea is Just Like Iraq, You Know

    If only President Obama would lead, the Middle East would be just like South Korea:

    More fundamentally, the administration’s fatalism ignores a fourth policy option that Obama, from the beginning, was determined not to try: patient, open-ended engagement using all U.S. tools — diplomatic as well as military — with a positive outcome, not a fixed deadline, as the goal.

    That is an approach that has worked before. In Korea, the United States forged an intimate alliance more than a half-century ago, and today U.S. soldiers and diplomats are still present. U.S. support deterred an external foe while — and people forget this, given South Korea’s stability today — helping steady a society torn by civil war as its people gradually built a democracy.

    Obama came into office determined to avoid this approach. In Afghanistan, he set a timetable for troop withdrawal, untethered to conditions. In Libya, he bombed the Gaddafi regime out of power but did not stay to help a new government get on its feet. In Iraq, he overrode his civilian and military advisers and declined to keep in the country the 15,000 or 20,000  troops that might have helped preserve the stability the U.S. surge had helped achieve.

    Oh, good gravy.

    In the Middle East, you have Shia and Sunni adherents who are opposed to U.S. policy. They are willing to kill Americans and destroy their own countries in order to advance their goals. Leaving tens of thousands of Americans in Iraq would have accomplished one thing--we would have continued to see them come home in body bags to defend a corrupt government not worth saving. Our departure did not create ISIS--invading the country set that wheel in motion when we carried out a policy of de-Ba'athification. 

    In South Korea, you have a homogeneous population united against a common enemy. The Korean War was a police action carried out by the United Nations. Our presence there has shrunk to the point where it will be more of a bother for the South Koreans to watch us get on planes and boats and leave than it would be for the massive South Korean Army to hang back, wait til the North Koreans run out of gas, and then bomb them into oblivion from the air. There are barely 30,000 Americans serving in South Korea, and that number shrinks every year. There are about 600,000 South Koreans on active duty and another 2.5 million in the reserves. We provide logistical support and, when the balloon goes up, most of the Americans in South Korea are not going to be in combat--they're going to be headed for the exits. And many, many South Koreans don't want us there anymore--don't forget that. But they're not triggering IEDs to blow up the Kimchi bus as it heads from Camp Humphreys to Osan Air Base.

    When you do what this president has done and reverse the greatest foreign policy blunder in American history, there will always be  handful of pundits who spend decades running away from their support for said blunder. Fred Hiatt is one of those pundits, and he's completely and utterly wrong. He's as wrong as Jim Hoft, and hereby replaces him as the newest stupidest man on the Internet.

    How does Hiatt still have a job? What an embarrassment.

    Barbara Mikulski Issues a Warning to Bernie Sanders

    When a heavy hitter like Barbara Mikulski goes after you, it matters a lot:

    “You know he’s been an Independent, we welcomed him, but now that he’s finally gotten around to becoming a member of the Democratic Party, you sign up for the rules and we want Bernie to go by the rules that he’s signed up for,” Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) told The Daily Beast. “That is up to him, to get his supporters to calm down. Bernie has to be in charge of what he, himself has unleashed.”

    Bernie Sanders thinks the "rules" don't apply to his candidacy, and that's why we're still talking about him and writing things on the internet that deal with his inability to recognize the damage that he's doing to the Democratic Party. Mikulski is no mere proxy in this fight--she is leaving the Senate as one of the most powerful female members in history and she has a lot of influence over how the Senate minority caucus could punish Sanders in the future. Or not. They need his vote but they don't need the divisiveness that comes with his new movement.

    There is virtually no chance he can be ousted from his Senate seat and there is also very little chance that the destructive, vindictive campaign he leads is going to bring anything other than a result that will see him supported by an infrastructure that wants nothing to do with the Democratic Party. 

    The Sanders team knows that real Democrats are falling away and will continue to leave to support Hillary Clinton this fall. There are plenty of disaffected people who will continue to provide financial support for his marginal campaign. These people will constitute a small third party in America that never had any intention of voting for either of the two major parties. It will become a home for people who believe themselves to be smarter and more valuable than everything else and they will come dangerously close to throwing the Electoral College to the Republicans.

    There's a cottage industry that sits to the left of whoever is President, be they Democrat or Republican. They hate the system, they want to blow it up, but there are too many rubes in this country for their plans to work so they just sit there, like a self-licking ice cream cone, and they're too pure to consider forming an alliance with anyone. Good luck reasoning with them--you're corrupt in their eyes for even trying to find a way that works.


    Sunday, May 22, 2016

    Bernie Sanders Goes After Another Democrat

    As much as I would like to see Debbie Wassermann Schultz out at the DNC, I do not want to lose her seat in Congress:

    Bernie Sanders said Saturday that he supports DNC chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz's Democratic primary opponent in her August 30 vote, adding that if he were to become president, he'd end her term as head of the party organization. During a pre-taped interview with CNN, set to air Sunday morning, Sanders told host Jake Tapper that he favors Tim Canova for the Florida congressional race. "Well, clearly, I favor her opponent," Sanders said of Schultz. "[Canova's] views are much closer to mine than as to Wasserman Shultz's." In a response, Wasserman Schultz said she will remain neutral in the ongoing Democratic presidential primary race between Sanders and Hillary Clinton, despite the former's support for her own primary opposition.

    So now we have Bernie Sanders actively engaged in keeping the Republicans in control of the House. By blowing up the race in her district, he is weakening her with this attack and trying to push an outsider. I don't know how safe her seat is, but when you are engaged, at the national level, in bringing down a member of Congress from the Democratic Party, you're making it less likely that we can flip the House this fall (which is, I know, a remote possibility but one that should be a definite goal).

    Wassermann Schultz is not my kind of Democrat, but that's not important. What is important is realizing that to take control of the House is more important than anyone's personal feelings. I may be unhappy with her policy positions, but I would be very happy to see Paul Ryan tossed out on his ear. If you want to win things, you have to be willing to hold your nose and put up with people who disappoint you. That's how things work. You don't get what you want every time someone in Florida pulls the lever at the ballot box. You have to work for change. A Democratic-controlled House automatically means the country will start to move left. And if that's the case, Wasserman Schultz can either get on board or face a primary challenge when it does not threaten control of the House itself.

    This has been the week where Bernie Sanders revealed himself to be not so very interested in having Democrats in charge of anything. It must be easier to sit on the fringes and blow stuff up.

    Friday, May 20, 2016

    Throwing Your Vote Away is Predictable and Boring

    I don't think Doctor Jeffrey A. Singer understands anything about America and our political process, and here's why:

    I still wish to participate in the electoral process. Choosing not to vote is always an option. But I prefer to express my opinion in a less passive manner. Not voting certainly provides the satisfaction of knowing that I did not sanction or legitimize the offerings of the two major parties. But that satisfaction is only personal and private. I want to more actively make my views known. Using the following chain of logic, I have found a positive way to express myself through, what I believe, is the most effective allocation of my vote in November:

    1) According to Professor Ilya Somin in Democracy and Political Ignorance, my vote has, on average, a roughly 1 in 60 million chance of being the decisive vote in the Presidential election. (It might be a great as 1 in 10 million in my relatively small state of Arizona. It would have a roughly 1 in a billion chance of being decisive if I lived in California.)

    Your vote is an individual expression of a preference for the direction of the country. It is self-centered to think that your individual vote is "the chosen one" and has more value or meaning over all of the other votes. In this example, you can see that Dr. Singer believes that it is important for him to know that he matters more than everyone else and is thereby dissuaded from voting because there is a very remote chance that someone will hold up his individual vote and say "this is the one that decided everything!" Your vote is a community effort. If you do not value community, you're likely going to have the wrong ideas about democracy to begin with.

    2) If I vote for the lesser of evils and hold my nose, my vote is blended in with millions of others—there is no way to register my dissatisfaction with the choices the two major parties have given me. There is no way to separate those who voted for a lesser of two evils from those who voted because they actually LIKED the candidate.

    Dr. Singer fears being blended in with other votes. This is elitism, not informed participation. He wants his individual vote to matter more than all others and you can see his privilege being amplified here--he wants to be the decider. There is a world and he is at the center of it, doling out opinion and expecting to be accorded acclaim and notoriety. He does not value the expressed will of the majority and believes himself to be a part of a learned elite that should dictate outcomes. A Libertarian who flirts with fascism is no different than any other Libertarian--ridiculous, but still smarter than you, dummy.

    3) If I vote for the Libertarian party candidate, I am directly affecting the vote total of that candidate. Because that candidate will get fewer total votes than the major party candidates, when all votes are totaled up, I will have had a greater effect on raising the total percentage of votes for the Libertarian candidate. If the Libertarian candidate garners say, 5 percent of the vote as opposed to 1 percent, then my vote made a greater impact in making a statement than it would have if it was folded in with the 40 or 50 million voters who voted for a major party candidate.

    By voting for the Libertarian candidate, who will not win, Dr. Singer will be throwing his vote away on a meaningless protest. Anyone can run for President but to get elected President, you have to be a member of one of the two major parties. If you're not, then you're engaging in an exercise that demonstrates that you should not be elected President because of your inability to figure out how our system works. Anyone can play football. If you don't play football on a team, you're just playing with yourself. And if your goal is to win the Super Bowl, you have to play for a team that can actually win. You cannot win the Super Bowl by running around in the grass in the middle of nowhere with a football wedged up your ass. Protest votes for Libertarians, Greens, Ralph Nader, H. Ross Perot, et al, are valid expressions of protest except in the case of American democracy because, hello, we have a two party system. This is low-information voting in action. 

    4) If the Libertarian candidate gets say, 5 percent of the vote, then that clearly means that 5 percent of the voters chose a candidate that they KNEW had absolutely no chance of winning, rather than choosing the lesser of two evils. What’s more, they chose the candidate with the most pro-freedom, pro-Constitution, pro-Bill of Rights program. That sends a clear message.

    Voting for a candidate who can't win sends a pretty clear message--you are a self-centered, low-information voter who does not understand how the American political system works. This is not a cause for celebration.


    5) By casting my vote for the Libertarian presidential candidate, my vote is actually more meaningful and makes more of a statement.

    If you make an uninformed vote, you do not matter in the least because the votes that do matter are the ones that actually elected the President. Protest votes are just lost opportunities to demonstrate familiarity and comprehension of how America works. They are an expression of individual beliefs that have no outcome on the larger effort to make a choice. There's a reason why Americans reject Libertarianism as an ideology. It does not work and no one wants to live in a country where their house burns down because a local company went broke trying to create a private fire department.

    My conclusion: Voting for the lesser of two evils is statistically and strategically wasting my vote. I will vote Libertarian for president this year. This rationale does not necessarily apply to how I will vote in the down ballot races, where my vote has a greater numerical impact, I have a greater ability to directly communicate my views, and I might have less marked dissatisfaction with many of the candidates.

    Dr. Jeffery Singer - probably good at doctoring, not so good at making an informed decision about how to participate in his community as an informed voter.

    And, quick question--if a doctor is a Libertarian, he made himself what he is today without having to go to school, rely on the government, or get help from others, right? 

    Jeffrey A. Singer is a general surgeon in private practice in metropolitan Phoenix, AZ. He is principal and founder of Valley Surgical Clinics, Ltd., the largest and oldest group private surgical practice in Arizona. He was integrally involved in the creation and passage of the Arizona Health Care Freedom Act, and serves as treasurer of the US Health Freedom Coalition, which promotes state constitutional protections of freedom of choice in health care decisions. He is a regular contributor to Arizona Medicine, the journal of the Arizona Medical Association. He writes and speaks extensively on regional and national public policy, with a specific focus on the areas of health care policy and the harmful effects of drug prohibition. He received his B.A. from Brooklyn College (CUNY) and his M.D. from New York Medical College. He is a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons.

    That's a mountain of contradictions I just can't process right now.

    Demeaning Women is Not Normal Behavior

    I have no idea where this stuff comes from:

    It turns out the only real revelation uncovered is that when it comes to his history with women Donald Trump is a fascinating mix of misogynist and mensch, championing women he respects while demeaning women he doesn’t. In other words The New York Times’ groundbreaking investigation essentially proved one thing: Trump is more like the average man than some of us thought only with more ego and money to say what he actually thinks, and to date who he actually wants to.

    If anything the backlash provoked by the piece has actually helped prove just how futile playing the so-called woman card will be against Trump this election cycle.

    For starters, as the women defending Trump and denouncing the Times piece prove, there are plenty of women who are not shocked by Trump’s treatment of women because he simply sounds like an amplified version of their occasionally obnoxious father, husband, boss, or brother, whom they’ve learned over the years not to take seriously, to often ignore, and certainly not to see as a legitimate threat. I’m not saying Donald Trump’s not a threat. But I am saying that at this point the media coverage of his many misdeeds is having an impact that may actually help him. He’s done and said so many truly shocking things that the Times story landed with a thud in part because… well at least he didn’t call anyone a rapist or reference his “hand” size.

    It would be wrong to assume that the American people accept the objectification of women as normal behavior in a man running for President in the 21st Century. The entertainment community accepts it and has a good laugh at it, but even there, the culture is shifting away from being able to tolerate such behavior. It is ending careers left and right; it is creating a backlash from people who see nothing wrong with punching down at people.

    "We" are not accepting Trump's behavior. The majority of Americans holds a negative view of his statements in public. If Trump reminds you of someone in your life who acts like an asshole, the collective response to that is not to say, "oh he's so familiar to me." No, the response to that is, "knock it off, asshole." And if it isn't, it should be, because who has the time or the energy to put up with this bullshit?

    The engaged electorate hasn't even woken up yet--that happens in the late summer and early fall when people really start paying attention to politics. It is easy for people who have seen the last six months of political activity to forget that the vast majority of people who will vote in November have not and will not participate in the primaries and are not paying attention to the nonsense that's happening. They are as dimly aware of Trump and his outrageous statements as they are of Kanye's public meltdowns and what's going on in sports. 

    Hillary Clinton is doing a great job of letting Trump define himself and become another Charlie Sheen character in public. She is using the woman card as a cudgel against him with the people who are going to be motivated to vote in November. This is not a contest to make everyone "like" her or accept her. This is a contest where she has to motivate a high turnout among Democratic Party constituencies and crush him in the Electoral College. 

    You've got a million yahoos in the south who won't vote for Hillary? Great. We already wrote off those states. We're concentrating resources elsewhere to make sure he can't win Ohio, Pennsylvania and Michigan. The amplified noise of those yahoos doesn't mean anything when the American people start paying attention this fall. It's not a name recognition contest--it's a marathon where every single Electoral College vote has to be weighed and considered by the Democratic Party. All of the nationwide polling right now is meaningless in that context because that's not how we elect a President.

    Any woman not shocked by Donald Trump wasn't going to vote for Hillary and isn't a factor in the next election. Hillary is going to win the people who do matter and who do care about the future of this country. The elite media apparatus is desperate for a horse race. In November, it won't exactly look like Reagan's 1984 landslide but it'll be pretty close to that in Hillary's favor.

    Thursday, May 19, 2016

    There Really is a War on Women

    I'm not making this up:

    The Oklahoma state legislature has passed a bill that would criminalize abortion procedures in the state. According to the language of the bill, anyone who is found to have performed an abortion -- except in instances to save the life of the mother -- will be found guilty of a felony and can receive up to three years in prison.

    [Holy crap! Why hasn't anyone else tried to do this? Oh, right.]

    The bill now is on its way to Gov. Mary Fallin, a Republican, for final approval.

    The governor has not decided whether she will sign the bill, according to her spokesperson Michael McNutt, adding that she needs time to review the legislation.

      Once Fallin has the bill she has five business days to decide if she will approve the legislation. If she doesn't sign or veto the bill, it automatically becomes law, according to McNutt.

      The Center of Reproductive Rights, has already called on Fallin to veto the bill, which the group says is in "contravention of long standing federal and state constitutional principles as well as basic human rights."

      You don't need to know or respect the law if you're the governor of Oklahoma. You just have to keep pretending that you're there to do the bidding of people who don't understand how America works and how are laws are implemented. She can do nothing and this becomes the law in Oklahoma, despite the fact that we've settled the issue.

      Ignorance is bliss. And women bear the brunt of that ignorance. Our various states are so fundamentally run by fundamentalists that it's a wonder we don't have states trying to make up their minds over whether to secede from the Union or not.

      Oh, damn. Too soon.

      What's Clint Eastwood Up to These Days?

      It would seem to me that Mitt Romney either wanted to be asked to run (and given a billion dollars to do so) or that they forgot about Clint Eastwood:

      Mitt Romney won't launch a third-party presidential campaign of his own and has stopped trying to recruit somebody else to do it.

      The 2012 Republican nominee had attempted to recruit a challenger to Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. But prospects like Nebraska Sen. Ben Sasse said no, and Romney is now dropping his efforts, a source familiar with Romney's thinking told CNN. The news was first reported by Yahoo News.

        It's the latest blow to the "Never Trump" movement -- a group of conservatives led by Romney, blogger Erick Erickson and The Weekly Standard editor Bill Kristol -- to find an alternative to Trump.

        Romney still hopes a candidate will emerge. But an adviser to the "Never Trump" efforts confirmed Tuesday night that the efforts are looking grim.

        Part of the challenge, a key "Never Trump" official said, is that prospective candidates need to hear a campaign plan that involves money, staffing, viability, key states to target and a plan to get onto the presidential debate stages.

        Clint could run (I'm kidding of course--his "performance" in 2012 was a disaster for the Romney campaign that was dwarfed by other, more significant disasters), and he could win in this election climate. Nothing that he would say would make sense, people would remember what he was like forty years ago, and the nostalgia train of celebrity and familiarity would outrun the Trump train on its way to oblivion. I'll never understand why Clint Eastwood never ran for President. This country is just stupid enough to give him two terms, no questions asked.

        For Romney to give up, you have to conclude that the Republican Party wants to spend the next four and a half years raising money off of Hillary Clinton's name. This is good strategy for a demographically challenged political party. Surrendering the race at this early stage allows for the big donors to sit on their money. It allows the party to take a long look at that so-called "deep bench" and make some changes. The next primary calendar for the Republican Party won't look anything like what we've already seen. They're not going to walk through that wing of the fun house ever again.

        Wednesday, May 18, 2016

        National Review Can't Stop Being Racist

        National Review is still a piece of racist trash, and Victor Davis Hanson has a perpetually confused look of "what happened to the country I never lived in" look on his face. Never mind the actual contradiction here. When you criticize the foreign policy of a President who hasn't lied us into any major, costly wars and has, in fact, made the world safer by killing terrorists and not treating our allies like doormats, you had better not have your own history of praising the worst president in American history.

        When this is all over, and George Bush is reelected -- Republicans then controlling all branches of federal government, and most of the state legislatures and governorships -- then, and only then, will Democrats grasp the march of folly in 2004, and either return to their roots or perish from increasing irrelevance. Meanwhile, George Bush, oblivious to the hysteria, will finish and win this war. [the Iraq War]

        The whole thing, I can't even. When Hanson rages at the "pajama boys" and censors his own curse words, you know he's lost the plot.

        This was, and probably is, the actual "title" of the post, by the way:


        Note that the headline, using the word "boy" over a photo of the President of the United States, was originally going to be called "pajama boy menagerie" when it was created. Nothing racist or homophobic or insulting about that, huh?




        1. a collection of wild animals kept in captivity for exhibition.

          • a strange or diverse collection of people or things.

        Yeah, so, in National Review speak, the White House is now where pajama boys live like exotic or weird animals because we have a weak and feckless President. Got it.

        Steal This Election

        Bernie Sanders has a goal.

        The goal is not to defeat Hillary Clinton. The goal is not to win the nomination of the Democratic Party and then transform the country as President. The goal is not to make lives better for anyone by waging a quixotic war against the wealthy interests in this country. His goal is to steal legitimacy from her. His goal is to destroy any chance of uniting the party against the Republicans. And, on his way out the door, he'll help himself to some cash, too.

        It reminds me a little of the celebration of the counterculture and Steal This Book. To me, the goal is to deny Hillary Clinton any chance of being the new leader of the Democratic Party. This effort does not have to succeed in order to successfully establish Bernie Sanders as a player and it does not have to make sense from a strategic point of view. There's a lot of money to be made by establishing yourself as the alternative to a corporate-friendly leadership in the Democratic Party. By running to the left, you can pull a fairly large number of Americans into your orbit.

        This is how it continues to evolve:

        With the Democratic presidential primary in its twilight, frustration within the ranks over the party's handling of the primary process spilled out this week as Bernie Sanders supporters lashed out at party leaders, arguing that their candidate has been treated unfairly.

          The public outpouring of anger began last weekend at the Nevada Democratic Party convention, where Sanders supporters who said Hillary Clinton's backers had subverted party rules shouted down pro-Clinton speakers and sent threatening messages to state party Chairwoman Roberta Lange after posting her phone number and address on social media.

          No one who would undertake such an effort to destabilize the party infrastructure really cares about the outcome. This ain't about winning. This is about making the other person lose in the eyes of the country. This is about stealing thunder and making the process unsavory enough to drive people away.

          The process of denying legitimacy to every single victory by Hillary Clinton is part of an overall strategy to establish the infrastructure for an alternative to centrist Democratic candidates and what they stand for. Are the Democrats too close to the center for you? Join whatever organization grows out of the Bernie Sanders movement and you'll have a home on the left. Set up a small monthly donation to build this alternative and then watch as this new group spends the next two years attacking centrist positions in the Democratic Party. That's be their pitch.

          About a month ago, I outlined a lot of this argument by calling it the Sanders Machine. The people who work for him are going to end up running a smallish organization that will solicit funds, probably support a few Congressional candidates in 2018, and operate as the spiritual home of the people uncomfortable with whatever the Democratic Party looks like after this election cycle. Due to his age, Bernie Sanders won't run for President in 2020 unless there's cash to be made from doing so. In this way, you can see the road map. They'll operate much like Ron Paul's libertarian, anti-Fed coalition of disaffected Republicans--they'll spam you with E-mails begging for money to support the real change and the real revolution they're promising but very little will actually happen. It's not quite a scam but it'll smell like one to anyone who understands how these things evolve.

          At the center of it is this violent effort to deny Hillary any chance of making an early pivot towards defining Donald Trump. They're going to do this in every race ahead, including and especially in California, which will explode before the media. They're rehearsing for Philly. They have to tie her hands with whatever they can in order to motivate people to support their cause, and their cause is to make her look like a thief, not a President. They have to build a donor base that will allow them to operate like any other think tank or advocacy group. And it's a great way to build a retirement portfolio--convince people to give you money and then pretend like you're actually spending it. Get them mad enough and they'll unleash the dough.

          We know the fix is in. But we can't let it destroy Hillary's chances of winning because the alternative is much, much worse than can be imagined. 

          Tuesday, May 17, 2016

          Tom Burch

          Tom Burch needs to be a household name:

          At first glance, the National Vietnam Veterans Foundation is a roaring success. According to its tax filings, the charity has received more than $29 million in donations from generous Americans from 2010 to 2014 for what it calls on its website "aiding, supporting and benefiting America's veterans and their families."

          But look a little closer on those same filings and you can see that nearly all of those donations have been cycled back to telemarketers, leaving less than 2 percent for actual veterans and veterans' charitable causes.

            That's why Charity Navigator, one of the nation's largest and most influential charity watchdog organizations, has given the charity a "zero" out of four stars for those same four years.

            "It's a zero-star organization and you can't go lower than that," says Michael Thatcher, Charity Navigator's CEO. "They don't have an independent board of directors, they actually don't even have a comprehensive board of directors -- only three members on the board at this point in time and some of them are family. So one can say, is this representative of an independent board? It's not."

            The charity's most recently filed tax return, for 2014, lists a catalogue of expenses paid for by donations: including $133,000 for travel, $21,000 for unnamed "awards", $70,000 for a category described as "other expenses" and even a little more than $8,000 for parking.

            Why is Tom Burch so important to this story? Well, for starters, he actually works for the Veteran's Administration. So, in addition to the shitty charity he runs, which collects scads of money and doesn't do anything for his fellow Veterans, he uses his God-given talents to go to work at the VA and do whatever the hell it is that he does for $127,000 a year. If he's still employed by the end of this week, you know the fix is in.

            Follow the link--it shows you the video of Burch in his Rolls Royce, tearing up the pavement in front of his house when he guns it to get away from a CNN video crew. And, if you do your own research, you can see pictures of Burch giving away paltry sums of money this year to various organizations, which is not generous when you consider how much money he was actually raising.

            So, he's raising tens of millions of dollars, but he's got a few grand for some vets in Indiana? Peach of a guy.

            I get that there are thieves among us. And there's no proof that Tom Burch is a thief. But look at the optics here. Highly paid VA employee runs a charity which preys on America's emotions about VIetnam vets and collects money to take care of them. Now, except for the fact that only about 2% actually goes to the Veterans, well, what's not to like about this guy?

            Is it safe to call him a bum? A bum who wears his Green Beret, with the rank of Major, in public? I think so. What a disgrace of a man and what a waste of so much money that could have done some good in the world.

            Monday, May 16, 2016

            The Number One Job Killer in America

            I don't want to start any conspiracy theories, but do you see any trends or any commonalities in this list of the top ten companies in America that have cut jobs this year?

            Here are the year's top 10:

            1. National Oilwell Varco: 17,850 jobs cuts. Reason: Low oil prices
            2. Walmart: 16,000. Reason: Store closings
            3. Schlumberger (SLB): 12,500. Reason: Low oil prices
            4. Intel (INTCTech30): 12,000. Reason: Restructuring
            5. Halliburton (HAL): 10,200. Reason: Low oil prices
            6. Dell: 10,000. Reason: Restructuring
            7. Chevron (CVX): 7,500. Reason: Low oil prices
            8. Buffetts LLC (owns restaurants): 6,000. Reason: Bankruptcy
            9. DuPont (DD): 6,000. Reason: Merger with Dow Chemical (DOW
            10. Weatherford International (WFT): 6,000. Reason: Low oil prices.

            Something something oil industry cough oil prices falling through the floor, right? Intel and Dell are holdovers from better days, as is Wal-Mart and Buffets LLC. In the case of Buffets LLC, their key demographic is literally dying out because Old Country Kitchen Buffet is where your great grandmother goes so she can have dinner by 4 PM.

            If it wasn't for the drop in oil prices, unemployment would be a lot lower. But, if it wasn't for the drop in oil prices, working Americans wouldn't be getting what amounts to a massive reduction in their cost of living. Somewhere, it all evens out.