Now that Kayla Mueller has been officially sanctified, we can turn our bleeding hearts to a crazed Canadian muslim convert and his American wife in Afghanistan, who have been held in captivity by the Taliban for several years. They went hiking in 2012 in a zone some 40 km from Kabul known to be a Taliban stronghold. And guess what? The Taliban picked them up.

The Canadian’s name is Joshua Boyle and he has had an obsession with terrorism and Islam for years now, according to a very unflattering profile by a Canadian website owned by Global News. His marriage to Caitlan Coleman is not his first. He was previously married to Omar Khadr’s sister. Yes, the Omar Khadr detained as an enemy combatant in Afghanistan in 2002 and held at Guantanamo Bay until his release a few years ago. Omar Khadr is now in a jail in Alberta.

Boyle separated from Omar’s sister a few years ago, hooked up with Caitlan (he apparently met both online) and decided a walk in the hills of Afghanistan would be like, cool. What the hell was he and his poor duped wife up to? Was he looking to work with an NGO as seems to be the official rumor circulating? Was he going to spread his arms out over the bare brown hills and proclaim himself the sacred bridge between the Taliban and Christianity and the whole fricking West while he’s at it? Was he going to dig wells for the villagers?

We now have two babies born in captivity and a literal sword hanging over their heads. They willfully walked into this nightmare. And it is more than likely that Joshua Boyle had delusional aspirations of some sort. So now he, his wife, and perhaps their two infant children are bargaining chips to be used by the Taliban against the Afghan government.

Kayla Mueller went to Aleppo, a city in Syria just to be clear, after having worked with refugees in Turkey. Accompanied by her Medicines sans Frontiers boyfriend. The official story is they were kidnapped by ISIS. Kidnapped? What they did was like walking with a large target on one’s back into the woods in the middle of hunting season. Or maybe antlers taped to your head. Again, delusional stubbornness in the face of clear and present danger. There is no other way to describe what both couples did. Regardless of how brave they may be, or have been.

Their need to confront danger – or far worse, their egotistical belief that they were different and not subject to the same risks – has caused great, great pain to their families and supporters, who will never put it that way for obvious reasons. They have also caused diplomatic and military and intelligence problems for their homelands.

But they will be remembered – or welcomed if Boyle and Coleman and their infants manage to get of Afghanistan alive – as heroes and peacemakers. Perhaps Kayla will become a martyr, but of the soggy, feel-good activist sort. We will hear platitudes about how we cannot give in to fear from the mouths of those who would never risk their own lives in such foolhardy ways. But maybe Kayla, who seemed to have a very powerful will, wanted unconsciously perhaps to be something more like the early Christian martyrs, who faced similar horrors in the first years of Christianity.

It did not have to be this way. Kayla chose not to stay in Turkey. Boyle and Coleman chose to hike straight into Taliban territory. Giving ISIS and the Taliban irresistible targets. Their paths are not a wise one to follow. No matter how we try to justify their madness. No matter how horrified we all are at their fate.

Labor is just one big happy family. Just ask James P. Hoffa, Jimmy’s son. And since the late 90’s, President of the Teamster’s. As he was slowly working his way up the ranks as a union lawyer from the late 60’s through the 70’s and 80’s, the Teamsters and other major unions were under mob control. Even if his progress went a little slower than hoped in the early years, given that his father was under investigation, or fighting charges, or in jail, or finally getting a pardon from Nixon in 1971

It’s an old story. Much older even than James P.’s father Jimmy Hoffa. Since at least the start of the 20th century, and likely decades earlier, organized crime and union politics have worked hand in glove. Or foot in concrete sometimes. And while you’ll be glad to know that mob rule in union business is less nowadays – thanks in part to crusading work by a then U.S. Attorney for Manhattan, Rudy Giuliani, in the mid-80’s – it ain’t quite over yet.

It certainly wasn’t over when Donald Trump was paying – like every major builder in New York City – a mob tax on concrete, for example. Even in 2014, a WSJ article quoted sources that stated the Luchese and Genovese crime families still had influence, or had been able to once again infiltrate several unions.

So maybe Trump feels a little betrayed by the Teamsters endorsing Hillary Clinton. Or maybe James P. – having seen more than his fair share of dirty politics, and worse, over his lifetime – placed what he feels is a safe bet on the outcome in November. After watching from the sidelines for more than a few months.

Why is it that unions and mob corruption seem to end up in bed, over and over again? The rough and tumble world of late 19th century labor organizing in the face of sometimes deadly strikebreakers was indeed a survival of the fittest. Or the thugiest. Violent and hierarchical. Just like Organized Crime. Yes, the world has changed, but the links still linger.

How will Hillary spin this latest endorsement? Seeing that the Teamsters shared the stage with Bernie Sanders recently, and seeing that union thuggery (whether physical or symbolic) and Democrat politicians have a long, if certainly not exclusive, relationship, this endorsement will likely be spun as just working women and men getting behind Hillary.

It’s funny, but this race at times seems to resemble a race somehow between Goldwater and Nixon. With The Teamsters on her side, just like Nixon in 1972, maybe Hillary really is in cruise control, if a little panicked as of late. She must hope that the Nixon-in-72 analogy ends on November 9, 2016, however. With no 1973-1974 style misfortunes waiting for Hillary. But that, BleachBits and all, remains to be seen.

If she could just get Jeb Bush to campaign with her, Hillary would have Florida all sewn up, wouldn’t she? They could share the stage and talk about immigration and Common Core and Lincoln and diversity, and what the GOP should stand for. And give a nice thumbs up to Bush 43. Hillary’s game for anything, except perhaps doing much to placate Bernie Sanders stragglers and doubters.

If Trump engineered a takeover of a divided GOP, it seems Hillary is trying to behave like a Vulture investor, flapping in with claws bared and bloodied beak wide open, to feast on the morsels of those who cannot and will not and shall not follow Trump.

The problem is, who wants to be the afternoon snack of a foul smelling carrion-eater? Who wants to be thought of as carrion in the first place?? You think you’re marching heroically through the symbolic smoke of Saratoga, or Gettysburg, with shredded uniform but with rifle still in hand, and suddenly you’re told you’re just a corpse waiting to be picked apart, bite by bite?

In other words, will Hillary’s aggressive bid to shame independents and doubters into voting for her, or at least hiding at home on November 8, actually work? Her ad campaign is beyond over-the-top with her KKK footage. And all this from a deeply untrustworthy candidate in most voters’ eyes, during an election that has been about voter rebellion against the status quo. In both parties.

That depends on how hard she continues to push it. And it also depends on how Trump reacts. His response in New Hampshire seemed smart and reasonable, by accusing her of smearing decent people. A sentiment more than a few Republican voters, even those inclined against Trump, would share. Will Trump, however, be tempted to fire back in ways that backfire? Seeing that Steve Bannon is as much of a target of Hillary’s latest attacks as Trump himself is, it is key how Bannon advises Trump to respond to the charges that his followers are crazed, fringe racists. Which a few undoubtedly are, but most would and do angrily reject the charge.

It’s about 2 and 1/2 weeks before the State Department has to start releasing some of the 14,900 emails recently uncovered, according to the latest judicial order. For now, Hillary has filled the stage with the smoke of racist-themed battles, and managed to divert the snipers from targeting the Clinton Foundation’s relationship with her, during her time at State.

But the story will re-emerge with details like the BleachBit app that apparently was used to wipe her server clean. That’s an industrial cleaner, if you will, used to get rid of information you don’t want anyone looking into. Some of that info appears to have been reconstructed. So for now, the battle is about the alt-right and Trump. But we’ll see what the headlines are in the 10-odd days leading up to the first debate in September.

The Southern border is anything you want it to be. If you’re Erica Grieder, it’s a waterway (where the Rio Grande is the border, that is) that Texans have a historical and apparently ecological right to access. If you’re a libertarian NeverTrump’er, it’s a delusional fantasy to build any structure, and all of that should be forgotten about. If you’re an angry pro-immigration activist, it’s an oppressive barrier to the free movement of your constituency, illegals. If you’re a progressive policy wonk, the border is a mere transition space that responds to the mix of economic incentives and cultural push and pull that affect the flows of people across it. If you’re a employer in industries like hospitality or fast food or construction, it’s the gateway to lower labor costs. And if you’re a drug dealer, it represents the frontier between areas of production and consuming markets.

Of course, if you believe that a border demarcates the limits of the sovereign territory of the United States of America, then it should be a controlled and secure frontier where the American government and it’s agents determine who enters and leaves. And how. Which is what borders have tended to mean around the globe, until the specifics of illegal migration into America over the past few decades grabbed the concept and dragged it into the realm of social policy. And the border became a metaphorical and even a real magnet for activists of all sorts to hang their radical goals on.

And many have gladly and glibly gone along with the ride, because they couldn’t stand the guy pointing out what a border should mean. But then Trump took the issue away from Ted Cruz, and then people really, really got righteous at the idea that a border means something legal and sovereign.

And so, for Donald Trump, here in late August, what does the border now mean?

Don’t ask Steve Bannon, he’s nowhere to be seen in these last few days. He’s likely more focused on Hillary and the Clinton Foundation scandals. Instead, it’s Kellyanne Conway and Mike Pence who are doing most of the message refining on the part of Trump, who has been pivoting just a little in the last area people expected him to pivot: immigration.

A speech is coming, perhaps not this Thursday, but within the next few days, but a speech on immigration is coming. What will Trump say? In the last week or so, what he says on immigration has depended in part on his audience: softer with Hispanics, harder with his standard audience.

So for now the border has become a high-wire balancing act for The Donald. With Law and Order on one side, and a vague promise not to implement mass deportations on the other. Immigration and trade have been two core issues for Trump and are vital concerns for much of his supporters. Can he find a way to justify pulling back on threatened deportations in a way that does not erode his credibility as the law and order candidate in the eyes of his most faithful followers? It’s true, with Hillary or give-them-all-a-hug Gary Johnson as the main options, they probably still see Trump as their best bet for achieving some sort of secure border.

In other words: can Trump be flexible on immigration without having the A-word hung around his neck? We’ll find out soon.

One of the many skill sets you need as president is how to fire people. In many ways. Sometimes with effusive praise, especially if they’ve taken a bullet for you. Sometimes with concerned humanitarianism, if the fired subordinate has been a crazy fool. Sometimes with crisp formality if it was really a mess that necessitated the firing.

So the fact that Trump accepted Manafort’s resignation in a rather gracious and classic way – fairly standard presidential boilerplate stuff – means he is accumulating a skill set which may perhaps be useful come late January. Manafort’s resignation/firing come as news about possible undisclosed payments by Ukranian clients with links to Putin had been weighing uncomfortably on the Trump campaign. In the middle of a bumpy few weeks thanks to a string of other controversies.

Manafort was apparently brought in to manage a possibly contested convention with Ted Cruz. But Manafort’s ambitions went far beyond that, and Lewandowski’s exit had something to do with those ambitions. Even if Lewandowski’s credibility in the eyes of Ivanka and Eric and Don Jr. was already eroded.

So far we’ve seen a fair bit of campaign manager Kellyanne Conway in the media, explaining Trump’s newly changed approach to the campaign. We’ve seen less of campaign CEO Steve Bannon, and it’s too early to tell how much he’s helped Trump focus his message in his latest speeches.

Will Trump fire Bannon in a few weeks? Likely not, if the focus and energy of the latest appearances continues. And critics of the turbulence in the Trump campaign should remember that a rebellion often feeds on itself. This is not a year for smooth-sailing campaigns.

A thought experiment: imagine that Jeb Bush won the nomination, and that much of his team of advisors were familiar faces from his brother’s campaign. Imagine that no-one was fired, or hired from say sometime last fall. A well-oiled, low-key machine quietly humming along to victory in the nomination process, and presiding over a seamless GOP convention where every speaker was experienced, not too cautious, and fit just right with Jeb’s message of an immigration-tolerant, trade-friendly, common core-boosting GOP.

Should I stop now? Did we pass absurd before finishing even the first sentence of said thought-experiment? To expect no turbulence in the Trump campaign’s structure is like sailing into a perfect storm while relaxing in sun-chairs on the deck. Trump’s campaign is different. It does not have an easy, knowable set of precedents to refer to. Despite many critics helpfully offering some from mid-20th century Germany and Italy, for example.

That means adjusting tactics in the middle of the firestorms that the media whips up because Trump does indeed provoke them. Because he questions established norms and truths, sometimes in dangerous and divisive ways. But he usually stirs trouble where there already is trouble, or frustration.

So in the middle of this turbulence, style does matter. A sense of strength and steadiness in how one responds to the controversies one faces, or creates, is something people look for in a president. That does not mean blind voter faith in institutions. That’s long gone, and Hillary is living proof that you can sell yourself as madam steady as hard as you want, but any politician with a lengthy political record is invariably guilty until proven innocent in much of the public’s eye, in 2016.

Trump has indeed discovered that firing someone when you’re the GOP nominee has to be handled far differently than on reality TV. Whether he fires Bannon or not at some point, it’s a lesson he needs to keep handy for as long as he’s in politics.

George Soros’ Open Society Foundations, handles lots of money, dispensing it around the world. Billions and billions of dollars. Maybe that’s small change when you’re working up a continuing resolution on Capitol Hill, but in many of the places where the money is apparently spent, it has made a difference.

But one has to remember that the Open Society Foundations did not merely spring from Soros’ ambitious brow, and his enormous bank balances. It has a history that goes back to the Congress for Cultural Freedom, or CCF, founded in 1950 in the early years of the Cold War, and used by the CIA and State – thank God – as a platform to influence and discredit the alarmingly widespread cultural nods of approval towards marxism and socialism in places like Western and Eastern Europe, and right around the world.

The CCF was renamed the International Association for Cultural Freedom (IACF) in the mid-60’s and one of its affiliates was merged with Soros’ Open Society around 1990. Just as the Berlin Wall was coming down. Soros had already been present in his native Hungary since the mid-80’s, presumably working to prepare for the day that the iron curtain would finally be torn away. And the Open Society was very much present in Eastern Europe throughout the turbulent 90’s.

One wonders whether the UK deliberately avoided charging Soros with currency speculation when he shorted the pound sterling to the tune of 10 billion in 1992, making off with a cool billion for himself, because it was understood that he would be spending at least some of those funds helping Eastern Europe rid itself of the legacy of decades of totalitarian, socialist rule.

Big money, big history, big politics, big ideas. Like Karl Popper. Like the Mount Pelerin Society. Soros would love to be called professor Soros no doubt, and he is indeed a billionaire yearning to unleash his inner think-tank wonk-beast on the world. And he has. For decades now.

But what worked in places like Hungary and the former Czechoslovakia was due in large part to the iron will of Thatcher and the steely optimism of Reagan and their impressive coalition with Pope John Paul II. It was under the umbrella of their focused and relentless foreign policy, one that was also willing to negotiate, that the Open Society Foundations’ cultural work was made possible. Even in the years after they were out of office. Soros is not the secret operating code that brought an end to the Cold War. He’s an app, an important one, but one that fails when the operating system is not robust.

Like with the Obama administration and the Iran deal. Iran is not analogous to countries like Poland or Hungary. It is more like Russia, caught in a totalitarian theocracy, with bubbling ethnic tensions ready to erupt when the ayatollah’s lose their grip on power.

So it’s no surprise that The Ploushares Fund, would approach the Open Society Foundations in a rather secret way to ask for a little cash (a mere $750,000) to help boost the echo chamber of experts testifying to the feasibility of the Iran deal. Back around 2013. Even Obama’s biggest boosters knew that shaking hands with the ayatollahs or their political representatives on a deal that essentially trusts Iran to be compliant, was a tricky proposition.

But that is being miserly and petty, isn’t it? We just don’t have the sweeping vision of a George Soros who knows money and loves big ideas. But perhaps Soros should recall a quote from his idol and mentor, Karl Popper, whose book The Open Society and it’s Enemies gave the name for his (and various intel agencies) foundation. It goes like this:

If we extend unlimited tolerance even to those who are intolerant, if we are not prepared to defend a tolerant society against the onslaught of the intolerant, then the tolerant will be destroyed, and tolerance with them.

Is there a better example in all of the Middle East of hate-filled intolerance of America and Western ideals than Iran? But of course, Soros, liberal think tanks, and Obama and Hillary, all think they understand this world better than those who warned of intolerance on the eve of the Cold War.

So it was Manafort who has had to step sideways and maybe down a few flights of stairs in the Trump Tower penthouse suite. The man who has more political experience than the rest of Trump’s team combined, has been struggling with an Eastern European albatross draped over his elegantly suited shoulders in the last few weeks. The Russia connection is all over the media, and questions about possible under-the-table payments totalling around $12 million have linked Manafort to Russia and Ukraine’s ousted President Yanucovych, a key Putin ally.

Throw in the DNC and DCC hacks which seem to come from Russian hackers and add in Wikileaks as a Putin agitprop media machine and you have Trump’s campaign beseiged by the type of conspiracy theories that Trump himself has been accused of fostering. Plus poll numbers are depressingly low as of late, and staying that way.

Something had to give. And that was Manafort, who now has to share duties with … Steve Bannon! And Kellyanne Conway, a GOP pollster who previously worked with pro-Cruz Super PAC Keep the Promise, and specializes in trying to bridge the gender gap that many GOP candidates face. Oh. And also, rumor has it that Roger Ailes is helping Trump prep for the upcoming debates, starting September 26.

Did Corey Lewandowski have a heads up on all this when he gleefully re-tweeted the NYT article on Manafort and the possible payments from associates linked with Putin? Regardless, Trump is going to double down on doubling down. He will do it His Way, or no way at all. Expect an even nastier campaign from here on forward than the already lurid expectations coming from most in the media.

The irony is that up in West Bend, Wisconsin Trump gave perhaps the best speech of his campaign by doing what many – like Manafort and others – have been pleading for him to do all along; being focused, disciplined and sticking to his law and order message. But bringing it down to the level of neighborhood safety and job security. While his appeal to black voters may not move the needle much at all at this point, he clearly made a case for why his positions on immigration, trade, and local policing are ones that should matter to large numbers of African American workers who have to deal with the negative consequences of illegal immigration, trade deals and insecurity in their neighborhoods on an almost daily basis.

But that speech may go unnoticed for at least a few days. Right now, everyone will be talking about Breitbart’s Steve Bannon and how his flamethrower approach will make Trump’s campaign even more controversial and theatrical than before. Anything is possible in Trump’s world. Even a well-focused political speech.

Now that Speaker Paul Ryan has roundly thumped GOP primary rival Paul Nehlen in his home district in Wisconsin, what does it mean?

There has been a fair bit written on how Ryan’s campaign team deftly managed the potential challenges that Nehlen’s surprise run involved. In other words, they managed to easily avoid a repeat of Cantor’s stunning upset loss in Virginia 2 years ago. All this while facing similar dangers: supposedly out of touch D.C. politician, voter anger on support for free trade, and anger at support for some form of amnesty for illegals.

So that’s the why behind Ryan’s winter beard, which graced his hirsute presence at sporting events. Complete with a little camouflage. The thing is, Ryan is not just play acting – yes his campaign did some spinning – but rather he is known and respected and seen as authentic by his voters back home. Cantor’s team would surely say the same, of course, but somehow Brat was able to paint Cantor as an outsider.

But the main issue may just be that Wisconsin is not Virginia. And Virginia is not Wisconsin. And when you throw Trump into the mix, his support for Nehlen surely backfired, or did little to move the needle in a state that does not poll well for the GOP presidential nominee.

The real lesson from Ryan’s resounding win in what should have been a little-noticed primary, is that it is another marker in the struggle for the future of the Republican Party. And Ryan has played his reluctant hero card very skillfully in the long 3 months between Trump sealing the nomination in Indiana and his own primary win in Wisconsin. A lot has happened in these past 3 months: two conventions and more than a fair share of controversies that have put the Speaker of The House in the media spotlight, having to comment on every tweet of his party’s nominee.

Has Ryan shown grace under pressure during his trial by fire as Speaker? For NeverTrump’ers he has not been nearly tough enough on Trump – savagely dismissive enough would be more like it – for their liking. For Trump and his team, he has been far too distant and neutral, and openly critical of the nominee on some issues.

Try this thought exercise: imagine Ted Cruz somehow as Speaker of the House. Would we already have two wings of the GOP openly waging war on each other? Umm … ok maybe we sort of already do. But it would be a far more volatile confrontation with serious talk of splitting the party in two.

And imagine this: Carly Fiorina manages to grab the RNC chairmanship from Reince Priebus, who may not feel inclined to run again. And imagine Mitch McConnell just manages to hold onto his job as majority leader in the Senate, by keeping down-ticket races clear of Trump’s campaign. Ryan in the House. Mitch in the Senate. Carly at RNC. If Trump miraculously manages to right his campaign and somehow stay on message, winning the White House will be easy compared to governing. Because as victor he will have to unite the GOP, once in the White House. He will have no choice. Won’t he?

Suction cups. Cupping. Maybe he was inspired by Michael Phelps. Not merely the cabinet full of gold medals and olympic and world records. But those odd, circular bruises on the olympian’s skin. In case you watched Phelps add a couple more gold to his collection over the last few days down in Rio de Janeiro. And read about the ancient Chinese cure of cupping, which apparently leaves those little bruises on your skin.

Who the he from Virginia exactly is will be – or already is – all over the media very soon. That’s what happens when you make a scary little viral video where you talk with a gothic southern accent and look like a vampire wearing a hoodie. And promise to get Trump’s attention. Which the hooded he certainly did by using suction cups to scale the Trump Tower.

It is a reasonable guess that this is not going to help Trump’s campaign, when more details of who this mountaineering nut case is become available. And what his beliefs are. In his viral video he asks everyone to vote for Trump and notes that he is an independent researcher. While cliff climbing and rockface scaling is arguably more healthy than driving a taxi in Manhattan in the mid 70’s; this he from Virginia does remind one a little of Travis Bickle in Taxi Driver.

Perhaps it will just be a silly summer story. One hopes so. Especially given a new controversy over Trump’s comments regarding the 2nd amendment. Again, as in past controversies, Trump’s rhetorical style gives room for a variety of interpretations, including his campaign team’s official one: those who understandably believe in Americans’ right to lawfully bear arms, are a very united voting block. And will – by implication – head to the polls in much greater numbers than pundits realize to do their best to prevent a Clinton presidency. There are other possible interpretations to his remarks, however. As usual, with The Donald.

On the same day as the cup scaling madman attached himself to the Trump Tower, Trump himself was delivering a speech in Abingdon Virginia. It was a toned down affair for the man, but he certainly did not shy away from the 2nd amendment:

We have to protect our Second Ammendement, which is under siege. Remember that: it’s under siege.

The mostly rural Virginia audience apparently loved it. If Trump wanted to make sure his stance on gun rights was headline news, he’s sure managed to do that. And without using suction cups while hanging onto the side of his building.

A short circuit is defined as an abnormal connection between two nodes of an electric circuit. Which are intended to function at different voltages. So you get an arc and the thing shuts down usually. A lie is something you state which you know to be false, for the purpose of deceiving. One is intentional. The other (generally speaking) accidental.

So they’re different, especially with regard to intent.

Did Hillary carefully work out her excuse before her appearance at the? Her stating that the direct contradictions between what she said in an interview with Fox’s Chris Wallace, and what she said to the public regarding the FBI’s investigation of her use of a private server while at State, was a … short circuit? That she and Chris Wallace operate at different voltage levels maybe? Hillary having an angry and defensive reading on the volt-a-meter? Chris having an impudently polite and prying reading on the volt-a-meter?

Does this make all her pauses – the plodding, determined school teacher rhetoric she falls into so often – suddenly understandable? Is Hillary an evil bot? Or a good bot who sometimes falls into a short-circuit?

Ok, so what she means is she and Chris Wallace were talking past each other. He meant Hillary’s comments to the public and to Congress. She meant her interview with the FBI, which apparently was not even recorded.

Does this remind you of the what the meaning of is is defense of Bill Clinton back in 98? Different styles and personas: he the slick but charming southern lawyer; she the honest-to-goodness midwesterner. Same shameless use of deceit without so much as a blush. Actually, Bill probably still can blush or cry on demand. Better than most professional method actors. But shameless none the less.

But the problem for Donald Trump is this. Unless he hammers away at Hillary’s deceits in a focused and disciplined manner, she will evade any real consequences for this latest act of deception on her part. She is a known commodity, but at the same time is a seasoned politician. Shamelessness comes easy to her. Not quite as easily to Trump, who sweats and stumbles a little when he flubs something. For all his disastrous controversies, he’s just a little more real than Hillary. And a little more believable in his bluster and unpredictability.

Does that make the public comfortable with Trump vs. Clinton as their president? No it doesn’t, not at all. He has to make this about Hillary not himself. By being disciplined when under fire. And time is running out.

As Mike Pence – speaking about Trump’s refusal to endorse Speaker Ryan – said: in politics it takes a little time to get relationships going. And to finish things off, he might have added. Just ask John Boehner, who apparently enjoyed a glass of wine in the late summer evening as he watched GOP Representative Tim Huelskamp go down in defeat in Kansas to Roger Marshall in a GOP primary on Tuesday night.

Why did Tim Huelskamp anger everyone from former speaker Boehner to the Ricketts family, who funded a super PAC to bring the Kansas Republican down? And who is the real conservative and what in fact is a conservative in Kansas? The messaging that the truckloads of outside money hammered home was that Huelskamp is not a team player and not a conservative by implication. And bad-tempered and hard to get along with. A real jerk and we’re the real conservatives. not him, was the character-assasinating chorus line’s message.

Ok. So it didn’t have anything to do with votes by the Kansas GOP representative against big ag, the Farm Bill, and the Export-Import Bank? His unwillingness to trade favors in standard, establishment DC-style had nothing to do with previously getting kicked off the Agricultural Committee by Boehner?

His demise is being spun by his opponents as a local reaction to an out-of-touch representative on the hill. But it seems to be more about powerful chapters of powerful national groups gunning for someone they saw as unwilling to pursue what they feel should be their shared agenda. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and ESA fund spent lots to vote him out, while The Club for Growth and Americans For Prosperity were supporting him.

According to the Chamber of Commerce, this was a great win for conservatives ‘who want to get big things done´. Which is exactly what Tim Huelskamp believed he was sent to Washington to fight against: big things getting done by big interest groups. That’s local?

Speaker Ryan, who promised not to be as whipish with dissenters as Boehner was, has cloaked himself in splendid isolation, trying to maintain a neutral stance throughout this nasty fight in the plains of Kansas. He wouldn’t be trying to balance his own funding needs against the right of congressmen and women to represent their district in the way they believe best, without being punished by establishment GOP leaders?

Is voting your beliefs obstructionism? It sure was to John Boehner. Is it to Paul Ryan?

Boy is she ever incoming. Soon-to-be DNC Chairwoman Donna Brazil did an oh-so-cute little dance as she exited the stage, after her speech at the convention in Philadelphia. What some of her newly-former DNC head officials did not realize at the time – as they surely clapped heartily and loudly – was that Donna was doing her you’re-fired dance.

Amy Dacy, CEO. Luis Miranda, Communications Director. And Brad Marshall, CFO. All gone from the DNC this Tuesday as the expansive and energetic veteran waved them out the front door with an abundance of love and best wishes for their future careers.

Should this cheer Bernie-or-Bust’ers? Brazil has appointed a transition team led by former DNC Executive Director Tom McMahon. So to appease the B-o-B’ers we now have Democrat warhorses moving in to take over the DNC? Could Brazile and McMahon be any more establishment?

Let’s assume that the DNC and Democrat Campaign hacks were in fact done by Russian cyber-crooks, acting in accordance with Putin’s orders. If the house-clearing at the DNC is another sign of Hillary moving back to center of the spectrum after promising the world on a platform to Sanders and his supporters, is that good for Trump?

Any answer to that question is conditional upon what really does happen. In other words, no one really has a clue. Is the DNC hack disruptive? Absolutely. But what sort of effects that disruption will have on the final result of the election is far from clear at this point.

Will Bernie supporters stay home? Will independents and disaffected NeverTrump’ers vote for Hillary?

At this point, Russia and any influence or intention it’s government and security and intel branches may or may not have with regard to the 2016 presidential election, is a wildcard. For example, if Russia continues to be a major story within the election campaign news stream, then the Clinton Foundation’s cozy cuddling up to Russian oligarchs could provide the ammunition to sink Hillary’s last determined bid for the Oval Office. It all depends on what cards get laid down over the next 3 months.

Has Russia shown up with a chess set at what, in fact, is a 100 day Texas Two Card Hold’em game?