Wednesday, July 28, 2021

Last Call For Orange Meltdown, Con't

The Former Guy™ has been making plenty of GOP primary endorsements, demanding that people kiss his cheeto-stained rings in the hope of winning House and Senate seats. Only one problem: Trump is lazy and doesn't care as long as his pick is deferential enough, and sometimes Trump's word is not law to GOP primary voters.
Donald Trump's advisers are angry at David McIntosh, president of the conservative Club for Growth, for persuading the former president to endorse a losing candidate in the special election for Texas' 6th District.

Why it matters: Susan Wright's defeat Tuesday in a Republican runoff with Navy veteran Jake Ellzey dealt a blow to Trump's aura of invincibility as a Republican kingmaker. It's critical to his 2022 midterm endorsements and continued hold on the GOP.
Trump advisers and allies have been ambivalent about the Club's advice and thought he should stay out of this Republican-on-Republican contest. They take the long view and are protective of his successful record — so far — in GOP primary endorsements.

McIntosh did not respond to repeated requests for comment from Axios.

Trump himself disputed the result had dented his power. In a phone call with Axios on Wednesday, the former president conceded McIntosh had pushed him to support Wright but blamed Democrats — not the Club for Growth — for Ellzey's victory. He also said he actually "won" because Wright had bested Ellzey in the initial primary and the runoff came down to two Republicans he liked.

"I think this is the only race we've lost together," Trump said of McIntosh and the Club for Growth, before catching himself mid-sentence on the word "lost."
"This is the only race we've ... this is not a loss, again, I don't want to claim it is a loss, this was a win. …The big thing is, we had two very good people running that were both Republicans. That was the win."
Trump is notorious for shifting or refusing to accept blame for any failure, whether as a businessman or a politician.
The Club for Growth spent more than $1 million on the run-off, making it easily the top outside spender.

Behind the scenes: In private conversations with Trump, McIntosh pushed the former president hard to throw his weight behind Wright. She's the widow of Rep. Ron Wright (R-Texas), whose death from COVID-19 vacated the seat. In these conversations with Trump, McIntosh painted Ellzey as non-conservative and anti-Trump, according to sources familiar with their conversations. 
McIntosh appealed to Trump's vendetta-streak by telling him that the Never-Trumper Bill Kristol had previously donated money to Ellzey (it was a paltry $250 in 2018).McIntosh also mentioned to Trump that Ellzey didn't want to join the Freedom Caucus — a group of ultra-conservative House Republicans who are fervently pro-Trump.

Between the lines: The Wright campaign and the Club for Growth also cited internal polling to reassure Team Trump of Wright's strength. The polling proved to be way off.
I don't feel bad, this was a disaster from the start for Trump, and he walked right into it. Remember, we wouldn't even be having this election if Ron Wright hadn't been a complete dumbass and gotten COVID from refusing to wear a mask.
It killed him.
Even Republicans don't think the person who married someone that stupid deserves his seat.

The Vax Of Life

President Biden will be mandating all federal employees either get vaccinated against COVID or submit to weekly testing until further notice as new US cases are on a sharp rise due to the delta variant.


President Joe Biden will announce on Thursday a requirement that all federal employees and contractors be vaccinated against Covid-19, or be required to submit to regular testing and mitigation requirements, according to a source with direct knowledge of the matter. 
The announcement will come in remarks where Biden is also expected to lay out a series of new steps, including incentives, in an attempt to spur new vaccinations as the Delta variant spreads rapidly throughout the country. It will also follow the decision by the Department of Veterans Affairs to require its frontline health care workers to be vaccinated over the course of the next two months. 
Biden alluded to the looming announcement on Tuesday. 
"That's under consideration right now," Biden said, when asked if he would impose a vaccination mandate on federal workers. 
While the specifics are still being finalized, the source said, federal workers would be required to attest to their vaccination status or submit to regular testing. The source said the proposal will be roughly similar to what is being implemented in New York City. 
Additional requirements for the unvaccinated could be added as agencies push to vaccinate their employees. 
Biden will not impose the requirement on the US military, despite his authority to do so, for the time being. He is, however, likely to outline how the Department of Defense may seek to approach the issue going forward, the source said. 
Asked if he thinks the new revised guidance on masks from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will lead to confusion for Americans, Biden cast blame on unvaccinated Americans, saying that if they had been vaccinated "we'd be in a very different world." 
"We have a pandemic because the unvaccinated and they're sowing enormous confusion. And the more we learn about this virus and the Delta variantion, the more we have to be worried and concerned. And there's only one thing we know for sure, if those other hundred million people got vaccinated, we'd be in a very different world," he said. 
The administration's decision to require vaccines for VA health workers provided a powerful signal that vaccine requirements could be necessary to convince the still-hesitant to get their shots.
Some observations:

One, no, you don't have to get the vaccine. But you're going to be regularly tested for the disease if you're not. Your choice, federal employees. Not everyone can get the vaccine for medical reasons but the immunocompromised are taking active mask and distancing precautions.

Two, I would expect the Department of Defense and the Joint Chiefs are going to make an identical mandate very soon for soldiers and sailors, as military personnel get vaccinated for all kinds of things all the damn time. It's not like preventing diseases among the US military is new, folks.
Three, it is damn refreshing to have a president actually take this all seriously, and the CDC is asking us to mask up again indoors. Do it. Two-thirds of US counties are under this mask advisory right now, areas where there is a moderate to high risk of COVID transmission, and that will only get worse.

Get vaxxed.

Wear masks.

This isn't hard, folks.

The Slobby Hobby Lobby Hammurabi Mobby Robby Jobby, Con't

United States District Judge Ann M. Donnelly entered an order yesterday forfeiting a rare cuneiform tablet bearing a portion of the epic of Gilgamesh, a Sumerian poem considered one of the world’s oldest works of literature. Known as the Gilgamesh Dream Tablet, it originated in the area of modern-day Iraq and entered the United States contrary to federal law. An international auction house (the “Auction House”) later sold the tablet to Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc. (“Hobby Lobby”), a prominent arts-and-crafts retailer based in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, for display at the Museum of the Bible (the “Museum”). Law enforcement agents seized the tablet from the Museum in September 2019.

Jacquelyn M. Kasulis, Acting United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, Kenneth A. Polite, Jr., Assistant Attorney General of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, and Peter C. Fitzhugh, Special Agent-in-Charge, Homeland Security Investigations, New York (HSI), announced the forfeiture decree.

“This forfeiture represents an important milestone on the path to returning this rare and ancient masterpiece of world literature to its country of origin,” stated Acting U.S. Attorney Kasulis. “This Office is committed to combating the black-market sale of cultural property and the smuggling of looted artifacts.”

“Forfeiture of the Gilgamesh Dream Tablet demonstrates the Department’s continued commitment to eliminating smuggled cultural property from the U.S. art market,” stated Assistant Attorney General Polite. “Thwarting trade in smuggled goods by seizing and forfeiting an ancient artifact shows the department’s dedication to using all available tools, including forfeiture, to ensure justice.”

“The trafficking of cultural property and art is a lucrative criminal enterprise that transnational criminal organizations exploit to make a profit, regardless of its destructive consequence to cultures around the globe,” stated HSI Special Agent-in-Charge Fitzhugh. “HSI continues to partner in art and antiquities investigations to ensure looted pieces are no longer trafficked through commerce for an illicit profit, because the cultural value of this tablet that travelled the world under false provenance exceeds any monetary value.”

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. 
And remember, the crime was such an obviously blatant theft from Iraq's Museum of Antiquities that the Bill Barr Justice Department started the process of making Hobby Lobby give the tablet back in May of 2020.

Still not apologizing for the title though.

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