Thursday, July 6, 2017

Last Call For Return Of The Centrist Daleks

Utter failure of a Dem strategist Mark Penn and Trump-vsupporting NYC millionaire Andrew Stein know exactly how Democrats can win in 2018 and going back to 1996 and 1998 to TRIANGULAAAAAAAAATE!

The path back to power for the Democratic Party today, as it was in the 1990s, is unquestionably to move to the center and reject the siren calls of the left, whose policies and ideas have weakened the party. 
In the early 1990s, the Democrats relied on identity politics, promoted equality of outcomes instead of equality of opportunity and looked to find a government solution for every problem. After years of leftward drift by the Democrats culminated in Republican control of the House under Speaker Newt Gingrich, President Bill Clinton moved the party back to the center in 1995 by supporting a balanced budget, welfare reform, a crime bill that called for providing 100,000 new police officers and a step-by-step approach to broadening health care. Mr. Clinton won a resounding re-election victory in 1996 and Democrats were back. 
But the last few years of the Obama administration and the 2016 primary season once again created a rush to the left. Identity politics, class warfare and big government all made comebacks. Candidates inspired by Senator Bernie Sanders, Senator Elizabeth Warren and a host of well-funded groups have embraced sharply leftist ideas. But the results at the voting booth have been anything but positive: Democrats lost over 1,000 legislative seats across the country and control of both houses of Congress during the Obama years. And in special elections for Congress this year, they failed to take back any seats held by Republicans. 
Central to the Democrats’ diminishment has been their loss of support among working-class voters, who feel abandoned by the party’s shift away from moderate positions on trade and immigration, from backing police and tough anti-crime measures, from trying to restore manufacturing jobs. They saw the party being mired too often in political correctness, transgender bathroom issues and policies offering more help to undocumented immigrants than to the heartland.

Got that?  Screw everyone but white Catholic Midwest working-class straight guys.  Only they matter. Everyone else must take a back seat: black voters, immigrants, women, LBGTQ folks, atheists, the ultimate identity politics are the ones this country was born from.  Forget the DREAMers, forget Black Lives Matter, forget the pink pussy hats, forget the Pride flags, we gotta get those white men back in the party or else!

Americans are looking for can-do Democrats in the mold of John F. Kennedy and Bill Clinton — leaders who rose above partisanship to unify the country, who defended human rights and equality passionately, and who also encouraged economic growth and rising wages. That is the road back to relevance, and the White House, for the Democrats.

It's the road back to relevance for white men, and they already have an entire political party just for them.  If Dems go down the same road, they'll arrive at the same place.

Trump Cards, Con't

Reminder: we live in a proto-fascist kleptocracy where Dear Leader seeks to enrich himself at the cost of the citizenry, and he is cheered on doing so because the serfs see him as an avenging sword against the enemy they have been conditioned to hate for decades.

It is rare that a single news organization attracts the level of ire mustered by President Trump, who over the weekend posted on Twitter a video that portrayed him wrestling a figure with the logo of CNN for a head. 
But the president’s denunciations — in stinging tweets and slashing speeches, in phrases like “fraud news” and “garbage journalism” — have far outstripped his criticisms of other prominent news outlets, like The New York Times or The Washington Post. And his attacks have spawned a cottage industry of Trump supporters who have declared a digital war of sorts against CNN, including gotcha videos of network employees and threatening messages sent to anchors’ cellphones.

The onslaught has contributed to a foxhole-like mentality inside CNN’s offices, where security measures have been tightened and some hosts have considered abandoning their social media accounts because of abuse. Other employees, like Chris Cuomo, co-anchor of the morning show “New Day,” insist that the scrutiny has only galvanized them further. 
“I’m comfortable going to work in Thunderdome every day,” Mr. Cuomo said in an interview, referring to the steel-cage fighting venue of the “Mad Max” movies. 
Still, CNN’s troubles have been compounded by a series of recent self-inflicted wounds — not least a high-profile retraction of a sensitive article about one of Mr. Trump’s close allies, which last week led to the forced resignations of three veteran journalists.

Those who serve Dear Leader are rewarded with glory.  Those who oppose him will be snuffed out.

Mr. Trump’s allies argue that it is CNN’s conduct that is unbecoming. Starting on last year’s campaign trail, the president and his aides have accused the network of bias and arrogance, an offensive that heated up again in January after CNN reported on the existence of a secret dossier detailing a series of lurid accusations against Mr. Trump. The network’s reporters now routinely joust with Mr. Trump’s press aides, and Jim Acosta, a White House correspondent, recently denounced the administration’s use of off-camera briefings as an affront to American values. 
White House advisers have discussed a potential point of leverage over their adversary, a senior administration official said: a pending merger between CNN’s parent company, Time Warner, and AT&T. Mr. Trump’s Justice Department will decide whether to approve the merger, and while analysts say there is little to stop the deal from moving forward, the president’s animus toward CNN remains a wild card.

I know it's hard to cheer for Time Warner/AT&T in this scenario because Trump wrecking yet another media mega-merger out of spite would actually be far better for the American consumer in the long run, and it would be yet another very public example of Trump being unfit to govern.

It doesn't however make it right.

The Slobby Hobby Lobby Hammurabi Mobby Robby Jobby

So it turns out that when you have a large, family-owned private corporation that purports to be a Christian enterprise that has no problem using that religious belief to deny their employees benefits like birth control, that same corporation can also reference its religious beliefs in order to justify the theft of religiously significant artifact from other countries as well.

In 2010 and 2011, a series of packages were shipped to Hobby Lobby's headquarters or one of the craft retailer's affiliates. Shipping labels described the contents as clay tiles or tile samples of minimal value, but, according to federal prosecutors, they were actually valuable ancient artifacts of Iraqi origin being smuggled into the United States.

Hobby Lobby has now agreed to forfeit thousands of antiquities that it bought over the years — via a process that prosecutors say was "fraught with red flags" — and pay an additional $3 million to resolve any claims by the US government, according to court papers filed on Wednesday.

US laws restrict the import of Iraqi cultural items that were looted from Iraqi institutions or where "a reasonable suspicion exists that they were illegally removed." Iraq bars the export of antiquities and restricts private possession.

According to prosecutors, an expert hired by Hobby Lobby to advise the company on its acquisitions warned that antiquities likely from Iraq carried "considerable risk," and noted that hundreds of thousands of objects — including cuneiform tablets and cylinder seals, which Hobby Lobby ultimately purchased — had been looted from Iraq since 1990.

So we're taking about stolen Iraqi artifacts looted from the pre-Desert Shield days of President Poppy Bush and the first Iraq War, and of course Hobby Lobby and Steve Green had zero ethical problems in obtaining these over the last 25 plus years.  Providing insurance that covered birth control for their own employees, that however was worth going to the goddamn US Supreme Court over.

Hobby Lobby reached an agreement with the government to give up thousands of artifacts and to adopt new internal measures to make sure any future acquisitions comply with customs laws and regulations. The company will also have to file regular reports for 18 months about new purchases of "cultural property." Hobby Lobby did not admit any criminal wrongdoing.

Hobby Lobby said in a statement provided to BuzzFeed News that the company "did not fully appreciate the complexities of the acquisitions process," which led to "regrettable mistakes."

“We should have exercised more oversight and carefully questioned how the acquisitions were handled,” Hobby Lobby president Steve Green said in the statement. “Hobby Lobby has cooperated with the government throughout its investigation, and with the announcement of today’s settlement agreement, is pleased the matter has been resolved.”

The forfeiture comes as Green prepares to open the Museum of the Bible in Washington, DC, a project that he has spearheaded and that will reportedly feature items from his vast private collection of biblical artifacts. The forfeiture case filings don't mention the museum, but the company said in a statement on Wednesday that Hobby Lobby had been buying artifacts over the years to share "with the world in public institutions and museums."

So, we're talking about a billionaire (Steve's worth at least $5 billion according to Forbes) who is literally appropriating Iraqi culture for his own art collection but covering birth control for his own employees was a literal federal case.

Christian values indeed.  And he's going to get away with it because he's going to open a museum with his stolen crap after getting slapped on the wrist for less than 0.1% of his net worth.  And what makes this utterly, completely perfect is that "selling stolen Iraqi artifacts to morality-free Western billionaires" is pretty much the chief source of funding for the Islamic State, which is why even the Trump DoJ is involved with this.

That's right.  Hobby Lobby is essentially funding ISIS through buying stolen antiquities.

Can't make this up, guys.

Also, I will never apologize for that post title.  Ever.


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