Thursday, May 18, 2023

Howie Hawkins


That's Howie Hawkins.  He was the Green Party's presidential nominee in 2020 and he has spent every week since the election continuing to build the Green Party and to raise Green issues and make sure we're part of the national conversation.

The national Green Party fails us.  Two press releases -- that's what they've accomplished in the last months -- one in March, one at the start of this month.  Neither dealt with Clarence Thomas, by the way.  Didn't address that issue at all.  (Thank you to Betty for filling in for me here last night with "Crooked Clarence Thomas (Betty)".)  We have nothing to say on that apparently.

We've said nothing on it from our national organization.

So when Ajamu Baraka gets on his high horse and starts insulting Howie, yeah, I get pissed.

They sit on their asses and then, in a presidential election year, want to pretend that they're a party.  But they're all vacationing the rest of the time.

Howie has rolled up his sleeves and put in the work required to build this part.  As a Green, I say thank you to him.


This is C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"

Thursday, May 18, 2023.  Was the US government attempting to make deals with Saddam Hussein after the start of the Iraq War, Judge Clarence Thomas' corruption leads to a Senate hearing, and much more.

Starting with a new claim.  The Iraq War has left many people dead.  The most famous death would be Saddam Hussein, Iraq's leader.  The US invaded in March of 2003 and Saddam went into hiding and eluded capture until December of 2003.   From WIKIPEDIA:

On 13 December 2003, in Operation Red Dawn, Saddam was captured by American forces after being found hiding in a hole in the ground near a farmhouse in ad-Dawr, near Tikrit. Following his capture, Saddam was transported to a US base near Tikrit, and later taken to the American base near Baghdad. Documents obtained and released by the National Security Archive detail FBI interviews and conversations with Saddam while he was in US custody.[126] On 14 December, US administrator in Iraq Paul Bremer confirmed that Saddam Hussein had indeed been captured at a farmhouse in ad-Dawr near Tikrit.[127] Bremer presented video footage of Saddam in custody.

Saddam was shown with a full beard and hair longer than his familiar appearance. He was described by US officials as being in good health. Bremer reported plans to put Saddam on trial, but claimed that the details of such a trial had not yet been determined. Iraqis and Americans who spoke with Saddam after his capture generally reported that he remained self-assured, describing himself as a "firm, but just leader."[128]

British tabloid newspaper The Sun posted a picture of Saddam wearing white briefs on the front cover of a newspaper. Other photographs inside the paper show Saddam washing his trousers, shuffling, and sleeping. The US government stated that it considered the release of the pictures a violation of the Geneva Convention, and that it would investigate the photographs.[129][130] During this period Saddam was interrogated by FBI agent George Piro.[131]

The guards at the Baghdad detention facility called their prisoner "Vic," which stands for 'Very Important Criminal', and let him plant a small garden near his cell. The nickname and the garden are among the details about the former Iraqi leader that emerged during a March 2008 tour of the Baghdad prison and cell where Saddam slept, bathed, and kept a journal and wrote poetry in the final days before his execution; he was concerned to ensure his legacy and how the history would be told. The tour was conducted by US Marine Maj. Gen. Doug Stone, overseer of detention operations for the US military in Iraq at the time.[132] During his imprisonment he exercised and was allowed to have his personal garden, he also smoked his cigars and wrote his diary in the courtyard of his cell.[133]

On 30 June 2004, Saddam Hussein, held in custody by US forces at the US base "Camp Cropper," along with 11 other senior Ba'athist leaders, was handed over to the interim Iraqi government to stand trial for crimes against humanity and other offences.

A few weeks later, he was charged by the Iraqi Special Tribunal with crimes committed against residents of Dujail in 1982, following a failed assassination attempt against him. Specific charges included the murder of 148 people, torture of women and children and the illegal arrest of 399 others.[134][135] Among the many challenges of the trial were:

  • Saddam and his lawyers contesting the court's authority and maintaining that he was still the President of Iraq.[136]
  • The assassinations and attempted assassinations of several of Saddam's lawyers.
  • The replacement of the chief presiding judge midway through the trial.

On 5 November 2006, Saddam was found guilty of crimes against humanity and sentenced to death by hanging. Saddam's half-brother, Barzan Ibrahim, and Awad Hamed al-Bandar, head of Iraq's Revolutionary Court in 1982, were convicted of similar charges. The verdict and sentencing were both appealed, but subsequently affirmed by Iraq's Supreme Court of Appeals.[137]

And that's how we in the world have known the events.

The late Iraqi President Saddam Hussein rejected a US proposal to name his vice president without power in return for his release, the head of Saddam's legal defence team has revealed. Khalil Al-Dulaimi told Al-Arabiya TV that the US also asked Saddam to stop fighting against US soldiers in Falluja and leave the country, but he refused.

The claim could be false.  It could be true.  It could be both in that the offer(s) were made to Saddam but the US government had no intention of honoring them.  

Now let's go to a US hearing.

This is not a first.  Believe it or not, we’ve been in nearly this exact situation before.  Back in 2011, the nonprofit group Common Cause uncovered that Justice Thomas hadn't reported years of his wife's income paid by a right-wing dark-money group.  The New York Times reported that Justice Thomas also had not disclosed gifts of free private jet and yacht travel from the same right-wing billionaire -- the same kinds of undisclosed gifts from the same right-wing billionaire that were revealed last month.

That is Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, Chair of the Senate Judiciary's Subcommittee on Federal Courts, Oversight, Agency Action, & Federal Rights.  The Supreme Court, as many have noted, has become an illegitimate court.  This is the result of many actions including tossing aside precedent and, more recently, the non-stop scandals of Crooked Clarence Thomas resulting from his using a public office to enrich himself.  That's corruption plain and simple and it qualifies as such without a need to determine how much influence was purchased or which cases were impacted.  We, the American taxpayers, provide Clarence with a salary.  That wasn't enough for him.  Or his wife.  So they sought to use the position of Supreme Court justice to enrich themselves -- tawdry, yes; however, it's also corrupt and unethical.

It's a betrayal of the American people and it's betrayal of the office.

In a press release, the senator's office provides this overview:

In 2011, Justice Thomas's undisclosed private jet and yacht trips from highly political Republican billionaire Harlan Crow were sent to the Judicial Conference’s Financial Disclosure Committee for a determination as to whether Thomas may have broken the law.  It also came to light during that era that Justice Thomas had for years failed to disclose income his wife received from the Heritage Foundation, a right-wing think tank with frequent business before the Court.

Recent reporting from the Washington Post revealed that in 2012, Leonard Leo, the orchestrator of right-wing influence campaigns around the Supreme Court, directed payments of at least $25,000 to a consulting firm run by Ginni Thomas and asked that her name be left off the paperwork.

In April, bombshell reporting by ProPublica exposed that Justice Thomas and his wife accepted extravagant vacations worth as much as $500,000 on the dime of Harlan Crow and did not disclose the travel.  That report was later followed by an additional ProPublica story detailing Crow’s purchase of a string of properties from Justice Thomas and his family members, which was not properly disclosed.  Further reporting by ProPublica indicates that Crow paid for multiple years of tuition for Justice Thomas’s grandnephew to attend private boarding schools.

Congress created the Judicial Conference through statute and with passage of the Ethics in Government Act, Congress imposed clear financial disclosure and recusal rules that apply to the Supreme Court.

 "The assault . . . comes in waves," insisted Subcommittee Ranking Member John Kennedy and he tried to conjure up some innocent Court that was under attack but considering how the suit he wore assaulted the eyes, who could follow whatever nonsense he was attempting to pass off as logic?  In addition to that, his hair had distracting waves -- as though newly permed, he spoke as though he took diction from Nurse Diesel (Cloris Leachman's character in HIGH ANXEITY -- note the similarities in the heavy hitting on the letter "s"), continuously dug his tongue into the side of his mouth while speaking and don't get me started on the glasses. It was all too distracting and he came across like an Angela Lansbury wanna-be -- is that why he's so anti LGBTQ+?  Did he go through life with people mistaking him for gay?  I don't know but it's hard, having seen him now, not to laugh about this line in THE WASHINGTON EXAMINER's report on Robert F. Kennedy Jr. calling (non-relative) John Kennedy out for his racist attack on Mexico: "The Louisiana Republic is known for not mincing words" -- no, no, honey, all he does is mince, he's non-stop mincing.

"Are you kidding me?" he shook his head, grinning and looking like a lunatic.  When you're accusing a witness of mob connections, you're going to look like a lunatic anyway.  We don't have time for his unhinged mincing and we're not going to pretend that this fat femme throwing out crackpot conspiracy theories had anything of value or of interest to offer ("colorful remarks" was what the Chair termed Kennedy's lengthy opening remarks) nor are we going to waste our time attempting to fact check what appears to be the criminally insane (Senator Dick Durbin is the Chair of the Committee and participated in the Subcommittee hearing and that included refuting and correcting Kennedy's unhinged ravings -- he has far more patience than I do). Equally true, Kennedy didn't even pretend to be interested in any response to his wild accusations as evidenced by the fact that he walked out of the hearing after his grandstanding remarks.

Back to reality, Whitehouse noted:

One month ago, Congressman Hank Johnson and I wrote to the Judicial Conference of the United States, asking it to look at recent reports that Justice Clarence Thomas violated the Ethics in Government Act by failing to disclose gifts of travel and luxury vacations provided by a right-wing billionaire.  The Judicial Conference's responsibilities under that law are quite clear.  If there is 'reasonable cause to believe' that Justice Thomas willfully failed to file, then it must refer him to the Justice Department for investigation.

In the hearing, Durbin noted that "what this Court has to rely on is the  confidence of the American people  and the integrity of justices when they hand down decisions.  If they hand down controversial decisions and the American people don't like them, they can at least say, 'Well that's the Court.  They can go their own way.'  But if there's any question about the character and the integrity of these justices, it really undermines the institution of the Court."

And the Court has been undermined due to its own actions.  Mark Sherman and Emily Swanson (AP) reported yesterday, "Confidence in the Supreme Court sank to its lowest point in at least 50 years in 2022 in the wake of the Dobbs decision that led to state bans and other restrictions on abortion, a major trends survey shows."  In January, Daniel De Vise (THE HILL) noted, "Public approval of the nine-justice panel stands near historic lows. Declining faith in the institution seems rooted in a growing concern that the high court is deciding cases on politics, rather than law. In one recent poll, a majority of Americans opined that Supreme Court justices let partisan views influence major rulings."

Crooked Clarence is a disgrace to this country and he is harming the reputation of the Court with his gold digging greed.  

Appearing as the witness before the Subcommittee was Judge Mark Wolf:

My name is Mark L. Wolf. I am a Senior United States District Judge in the District of Massachusetts. Prior to my appointment in 1985, in addition to practicing law in Washington, D.C. and Boston, Massachusetts, I served in the Department of Justice as: a Special Assistant to Deputy Attorney General Laurence H. Silberman (1984); a Special Assistant to Attorney General Edward H. Levi (1975-77); and Deputy United States Attorney and Chief of the Public Corruption Unit in the District of Massachusetts (1981-85). Since 1985, in addition to my work as a trial judge, I have been actively involved in the governance of the judiciary. I have served as Chief Judge of the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts (2006-12); as a member of the Judicial Conference of the United States (2010-12); as Chair of the group of District Judge members of the Judicial Conference (2012); and as a member of the Judicial Conference Committees on Criminal Law, Codes of Conduct, and Criminal Rules.

But US District Judge Mark Wolf, an appointee of President Ronald Reagan, said on Wednesday that the full Judicial Conference did not receive notice of the complaints sent to leaders of the conference and therefore couldn’t decide how the body should act on them.

“This concerned me because the issues raised by the letters were serious,” Wolf said in testimony to a Senate Judiciary subcommittee looking into court ethics.

“Pursuant to established conference policies and procedures, if the committee (on financial disclosures) had considered the letters, my colleagues on the Judicial Conference and I should have been informed of them in its reports to the Conference, even if the committee was not recommending any action by the Conference,” he said.

“Such information would have afforded me and the other members of the conference the opportunity to discuss and decide whether there was reasonable cause to believe Justice Thomas had willfully violated the act and, if so, to make the required referral to the attorney general,” Wolf added.

"What is this judge doing? How can we trust his judgment if one Texas billionaire has such a large part of his life in terms of his attention?" is what the American people has to wonder, Senator Durbin noted.

Judge Mark Wolf: It's essentially what you characterize accurately based on what I hear just being a citizen may be the reaction of the man on the street. However, as I wrote in my testimony The Ethics in Government Act emerged after the Watergate scandal for good reasons: Greater transparency of  financial activities of public officials -- not just judges -- was understood to be very important to assure, among other things, the impartiality of judges.  And I think that act struck, as its written, a very appropriate balance.  It gives the Judicial Conference the opportunity and the obligation, to determine whether there's reasonable cause to believe there has been a willful violation.  It doesn't permit, though, the Judicial Conference to make the ultimate determination of whether there was.  If the Judicial Conference makes a referral to the Justice Department, it should diminish the potential and the perception that the Justice Dept has launched a 'witch hunt' against a judge or justice. Uh, but members of the Judicial Conference don't -- are not all impartial.  There are friendships, there are professional relationships there are interests --

Senator Dick Durbin: That goes to the heart of the issue before us. And that is the fact that the Supreme Court of the United States of America has not  established a code of conduct and ethical standards that in and of itself are trustworthy.  And when this matter came before this Committee, several weeks ago, there were dissenters on the other side, the Republican side, at to whether or not this was even worthy of  talking about.  They accused us of smear and harassment to even raise the facts brought up by PRO-PUBLICA.  And I also want to say there's a second argument we've just addressed here and that's separation of powers.  Do we have any business as Congress, when it comes to the ethics of the Court?  Well I thought that we did until we received a response from Chief Justice [John] Roberts and let me read it to you.  This response was from the 2011 Year End Report On The Federal Judiciary.  Chief Justice Roberts wrote:

Senator Dick Durbin (Con't): In other words, I think he's going to the heart of  the question as to whether anyone can raise a question about the ethical standards or establish ethical standards -- even those embraced by the rest of the federal government. That, to me, gets to the heart of why we need to enact federal legislation.  Senator Whitehouse has a bill on the subject, others do.  I'm sure this Committee is going to address it.  This is not a witch hunt, this is not a smear, this is not a harassment.  This is to try to rescue the reputation of the Court from some very sordid facts that have been disclosed and proven. 

We'll note this exchange.

Senator Mazie Hirono:  Judge Wolf, does the Supreme Court have a code of ethics that applies to them?

Judge Mark Wolf: No.

Senator Mazie Hirono: Is there a code of ethics that applies to the federal  district and circuit justice and courts?

Judge Mark Wolf: Yes.

Senator Mazie Hirono: Is there any reason that the Supreme Court should not have a code of ethics that applies to them as it applies to every other federal judge?

Judge Mark Wolf: As I wrote in the article, it was consistent with the code of conduct 2021, I think it would be beneficial if the Supreme Court had a code of conduct.  But if I could say, as I wrote in my testimony, as I continue to think about these things, I think that the discussion of enacting a statute that would require the Supreme Court to adopt a code of conduct is distracting from the more important issue about enforceability -- Well, the way the existing statutes are being enforced because if there was a code of conduct for the Court and it was the ultimate arbiter of whether a justice was complying with the code of conduct, you'd have -- I predict -- enforcement problems that are similar to the problems that I've identified to the ethic ends.

Senator Mazie Hirono: Judge Wolf, the enforcement of a code of conduct is, I think, a separate issue that we would need to address.  But, really, the bottom line question is: Should they have a code of conduct as applicable to them as to every other federal judge and your answer is yes.  We can figure out how to do it.  For example, in Hawaii, our constitution requires the Supreme Court to establish a process where it will abide by a code of conduct that we establish.  And there is established a commission that does not have any judges and if that commission determines that there needs to be further referral then it does go to the Supreme Court but the judge, justice, who is involved would have to recuse himself.  So there are ways that we can do the enforcement part. 

 The judge agreed and noted that his state (Massachusetts) had a similar system.

The hearing concluded with Judge Wolf responding to some of Senator Kennedy's crazed musings (the ones that took place at the start of the hearing).  We'll conclude with this observation that Senator Dick Durbin made:

For anyone -- including my colleagues in the Senate on both sides of the aisle -- to believe that this is normal, acceptable conduct for an elected official -- Supreme Court justice, senator -- to be receiving hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of gifts and vacations, to have your mother's home purchased by an individual so she doesn't have to pay a mortgage any longer . . . The list just goes on and keeps going on.

 We need to wind down.  Rebecca noted last night:

john stauber really is disgusting.  he used to be a media critic.  today, the transphobe tweets: 

a real media critic would have noted that the trans hatred was fueled by 'the times' and had nothing to do with 'a few stories of regret.'  it had everything to do with the paper ignoring science and ignoring medical experts.  it had everything to do with promoting fear based hate - to the point that bette midler did her ridiculous tweet and then couldn't grasp why people were outraged.  because you fell for a hate trap, bette.

today, john stauber is just another transphobe.  

he's an embarrassment.

if 'the times' wants to talk about the war on transpersons, they should have the guts to admit that they're responsible for it and have helped carry it out.

THE TIMES article notes that the 'witnesses' around the country are the physical equivalent of astroturf (when one small group of people -- as a campaign -- would write letters to the editor -- the same letter usually -- and send it out everywhere to try to make it look as though they were the majority) -- it's a small group that's paid to go state to state telling their stories.  This is intended to harm the rights of transgendered persons.  John Stauber is mocking the notion that 'only a few' -- reality, and we've noted this before, we all regret some decision.  The tattoo, the haircut, the drink we shouldn't have had, not stopping at 7-11 which would have allowed us to have missed the traffic cop, etc, etc.  And as I've noted before, life is about choices.  You make the wrong one, own it.  Don't blame it on other people.

Whether it's the nearly 50 year old transition-non-transition creep or anyone else, own your decision.  Having spent decades in the military, remember that guy, and over 40, he decides he is a woman.  Now he's decided he's a man.  And now he's attacking the VA and others for what was done to him.

What was done to him?  His requests were honored -- medical requests made by an adult.  Now he regrets it.  Boo-hoo.  Grow the hell up.  And, as with so many of these types, he never had surgery.  He's whining about some hormones he took.  He is the whore moan as he moans and whines.  And as we noted in real time, his real problem was that transitioning would make him a woman, not the 16-year-old girl that he wanted to be.

The bulk of transgendered persons who receive medical assistance and treatment do not regret it.  

Look at plastic surgery.  You or I can say Michael Jackson overdid it but it was his face.  And he was an adult.  And he had the right to get whatever work he wanted done.  Now are there people who regret having plastic surgery?  Yes.  They don't like their nose job or the face lift left them lop-sided or they don't like that people are talking about how they had work done.  That's life.  

An adult should be able to make choices and an adult should be responsible and own their choices -- good or bad.

And children?

I find it amazing that the hate merchants want to insist on 'parental rights' in what is stocked on a library shelf while dismantling parental rights with regards to your child's health.  If a minor wants to have therapy or even surgery, that's to be decided by them and their parent(s) (or legal guardian -- unless they're an emancipated minor).  But the hate merchants, in state after state, are stripping parents of their rights and no one's supposed to notice or comment on that.  No one's supposed to notice that Candy Jones can get THE COLOR PURPLE pulled from a school library with her 'parental rights' but Candy Jones can't okay that her child take hormones prescribed by a medical doctor.  It's not about parental rights, it's about destroying LGBTQ+ people.

THE TIMES article is an improvement over their previous hideous and non-scientific coverage.  It is not a cure for all the paper has published before.  GLAAD notes:

Last week the Pulitzer Prizes were announced, and noticeable among the accolades for strong, authentic journalism was the absence of awards for individual New York Times pieces. 

For more than a year, The New York Times has published irresponsible, biased coverage of transgender people, and repeatedly elevated the views and opinions of the small fringe of anti-LGBTQ activists, often without identifying their connections to anti-LGBTQ groups, amplifying inaccurate and harmful misinformation about transgender people and issues. Three months after a coalition of GLAAD and more than 100 coalition partners sent a letter to The New York Times demanding fair, accurate, and inclusive trans coverage, the Times did not receive any Pulitzer Prizes for individual articles, nor for Investigative Reporting (the prize went to the staff of The Wall Street Journal), Explanatory Reporting (awarded to Caitlin Dickerson of The Atlantic), National Reporting (awarded to Carline Kitchener of The Washington Post), Feature Writing (awarded to Eli Saslow of The Washington Post), Commentary (awarded to Kyle Whitmire of, Birmingham), or Editorial Writing (awarded to Miami Herald Editorial Board, for a series written by Amy Driscoll). The complete list of prizes is here.

The Pulitzer Prizes recognized robust, inclusive, and empathetic reporting on vulnerable communities, with winners representing topics of massive impact on diverse, marginalized, and voiceless people—indigenous and Black populations, children, immigrants, detainees, prisoners—and stories that did not trade in an artificial “both sides” dynamic that has characterized the Times’s transgender coverage. The prizes included recognition of work that featured inclusive reporting of vulnerable communities by journalists who are members of those communities, including awarding the prize for General Nonfiction to Washington Post reporters Robert Samuels and Toluse Olorunnipa for their book, His Name Is George Floyd: One Man’s Life and the Struggle for Racial Justice (Viking). 

Despite what the Times’s leadership has claimed, more precise and empathetic journalism can and should include reporters whose own backgrounds and experiences reflect the people they are reporting on. Ignoring critiques as “activism” and silencing colleagues from oppressed backgrounds reflects a moral, intellectual and emotional failure across the Times’s leadership. In the three months following the coalition letter, the Times has refused to publicly acknowledge its coverage failures, respond directly to the letter, or meet with trans leaders. 

GLAAD continued its protest of The New York Times on May 9, with a digital billboard at the entrance of the New York Times building in Manhattan. 

Also in awards news this past week, on May 13, GLAAD announced recipients for the final 18 of this year’s 33 categories of the 34th Annual GLAAD Media Awards in New York City hosted by producer, Critics Choice-nominated actor and GLAAD Award winner, Harvey GuillĂ©n.  

The following sites updated:

Wednesday, May 17, 2023

Crooked Clarence Thomas (Betty)

Betty filling in for Ann tonight.  She's got church and that includes a program that her daughters are in -- GAs back in my day.  So it's going to run late and I told her I would fill in.  At my site, I've been covering Crooked Clarence and Senator Dianne Feinstein -- you do know that they're lovers, right?  Just joking!  No, I've been alternating between the two of late and I did DiFi at my site tonight so I'm going to go for Crooked Clarence here.  Clarence Thomas is on the Supreme Court because men didn't believe women in the 90s.  Clarence harassed Anita Hill.  He should never have been confirmed.  The Democrats controlled the Senate and could have brought the many other women forward who had testimony against Clarence but they didn't.  

So we've been stuck with him and only now do we realize just how corrupt he has been. Khaleda Rahman (NEWSWEEK) reports:

A federal judge who raised concerns about how ethics complaints against Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas were handled will testify during a Senate hearing on Wednesday.

Senior U.S. District Judge Mark L. Wolf is scheduled to appear before a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing chaired by Senator Sheldon Whitehouse. It comes as a series of revelations about Thomas have fueled calls for stricter ethics rules for the Supreme Court.

Among them was the revelation by ProPublica that Thomas for years accepted luxury trips paid for by billionaire Harlan Crow, a Republican donor, without disclosing them. Thomas has said he was not required to disclose the trips.

Whitehouse, a Rhode Island Democrat, has sought information about how complaints against Thomas more than a decade ago were handled in light of the recent reports about Thomas.

Wolf, a former member of the U.S. Judicial Conference, the U.S. court system's leadership body, repeatedly questioned in 2012 why members were not receiving information about complaints filed against Thomas and how they had been resolved, Bloomberg News reported earlier this month.

Newsweek reached out to a Supreme Court spokesperson via email for comment from Thomas.

The year before, Democratic lawmakers and public interest groups had filed complaints with the Judicial Conference after reports that Thomas did not disclose years of income earned by his wife, Virginia "Ginni" Thomas, a conservative activist.

The complaints were referred to the Committee on Financial Disclosure, which cleared Thomas of "willful" wrongdoing but did not report information about the complaints to the Conference.

"In other words, Justice Thomas's transgressions remained known only to the small group of judges on the committee—they were never reported out to the full conference," former U.S. Attorney Joyce Vance noted in a Substack post. "Because only the full conference is permitted to make referrals to the Attorney General, nothing else happened. The process was cut off."

Vance said even if Thomas was not aware of his obligations back then, "he is most certainly aware of them now."

That "brings into sharp focus allegations that he continued to accept and failed to disclose significant benefits from people who were not entirely disinterested in the work of the Court," she added.

By the way, legal fraud and transphobe Jonathan Turley has bent over backwards avoiding this scandal.  The former Democrat has become a schill for the Republican party since being put on the FOX "NEWS" payroll.  He pretends to be a legal scholar with a focus on Supreme Court issues but he won't touch this because he's both a coward and a fraud.  

Now here's Devan Cole (CNN) reporting on the hearing today:

But US District Judge Mark Wolf, an appointee of President Ronald Reagan, said on Wednesday that the full Judicial Conference did not receive notice of the complaints sent to leaders of the conference and therefore couldn’t decide how the body should act on them.

“This concerned me because the issues raised by the letters were serious,” Wolf said in testimony to a Senate Judiciary subcommittee looking into court ethics.

“Pursuant to established conference policies and procedures, if the committee (on financial disclosures) had considered the letters, my colleagues on the Judicial Conference and I should have been informed of them in its reports to the Conference, even if the committee was not recommending any action by the Conference,” he said.

“Such information would have afforded me and the other members of the conference the opportunity to discuss and decide whether there was reasonable cause to believe Justice Thomas had willfully violated the act and, if so, to make the required referral to the attorney general,” Wolf added.

He's crooked to the core and has escaped oversight for far too long.  If he had any ethics at all, he'd resign.  But he's a crook.  TPM notes:

Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) sent a lengthy letter to the attorney of Harlan Crow—the GOP mega-donor who was recently exposed for showering Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas in luxury trips and gifts for decades – rebutting claims that Congress didn’t have the authority to inquire about Crow’s gifting.

In a six-page letter shared with TPM on Wednesday, the Senate Finance Committee chairman reupped questions he’d asked in April, while responding to a May 8 letter from Crow’s attorney Michael D. Bopp.

Bopp argued that Congress had neither the legislative purpose nor authority to ask for the information requested from Crow. Wyden slapped down that argument in response.

“These assertions are without merit,” he wrote. “A cursory review of the Committee’s activities demonstrates longstanding oversight and legislative interests in gift and estate tax laws.”

The Oregon Democrat went on to deconstruct Bopp’s claims before reiterating his prior request for details from Crow. “It goes without saying, but Mr. Crow is not a branch of government,” Wyden said in a separate statement. “My hope is that with the issue of committee jurisdiction settled, Mr. Crow provides answers to the questions I’ve put before him a second time.”

He concluded that Bopp’s argument does not align with established tax law—but not without sneaking in a jab at Crow himself.

“If Mr. Crow needs any further clarification, he might find it helpful to refer to the considerable amount of analysis his own law firm has done on the committee’s tax policy work,” Wyden said in his statement. 

This all comes after ProPublica released a bombshell investigation on April 6 revealing that Thomas had received international trips from Crow, a Texas real estate magnate who’s donated millions of dollars to conservative causes. It was later revealed that Crow had also bought three properties from Thomas, deals the justice never reported, including the house Thomas’ mother reportedly still lives in.

We have an illegitimate Supreme Court. 

"Iraq snapshot" (THE COMMON ILLS):

Wednesday, May 17, 2023.  Another do-as-I-say-not-as-I-do hypocrite is exposed for the liar that they really are.

Damn you, Paul Rudnick!  :D  I thought I was done dictating this snapshot and then I said, "Wait, Paul's probably got something funny about this on Twitter." He does.  And he also makes a Dogpatch reference.  So I have to redo my sentence that originally opened the snapshot and we'll just instead open with his Tweets.  So here's Paul.

Those two crazy kids were a match made in a blazing hell with Jesse Helms smiling over them.  In spite of -- or because of -- that, Josh Fiallo and Roger Sollenberger (DAILY BEAST) report, Lauren Boebert served her registered sex offender husband with divorce papers on Tuesday.  He refused the papers but she confirmed to the press that she had filed for divorce. 

He was taken by surprise which makes clear that hate merchant and alleged Christian  Lauren decided this was something she could do without God.  She didn't do counseling, she didn't discuss the decision with her husband.  

It's really interesting to watch the Christian illiterates like Lauren stand in judgment of others when, point of fact, they do whatever they want and then utter some mealy mouthed words if anyone notices.

By Lauren's beliefs, she will now be an adulteress as a result of this divorce -- which per the Book of Matthew -- must be due to her "sexual immorality."

I was thinking about this yesterday.  The Bible is very clear that sex outside of marriage is wrong.  But when Lauren's son gets an underage girl pregnant, oh, well Lauren doesn't care what the Bible says.  However when it comes to a same-sex couple having sex, she's all about citing the Bible.  

Anti-LGBTQ Christian nationalist Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-CO) recently gave a speech telling Christians to “rise up” and put “God back at the center of our country.” She also said that LGBTQ people have created a national “identity crisis” for children and families by “spitting in God’s face” and perverting his creation.

Boebert made her comments last weekend at the three-day conference hosted by Truth and Liberty Coalition, a Christian nationalist organization that believes the U.S. must be a rigidly Christian nation. The organization was founded by far-right preacher Andrew Wommack, and the event was hosted at Wommack’s Charis Bible College in Woodland Park, Colorado.

Republican Colorado representative Lauren Boebert has suggested that children in public schools should be forced to undergo “biblical citizenship training”.

Boebert’s chilling comments were made on an episode of FlashPoint, a Christian news show which airs on the Victory Channel, owned by the anti-LGBTQ+ televangelist Kenneth Copeland. 

The Colorado Republican and gun rights activist, who has previously said that LGBTQ+ people should be banned from coming out before the age of 21, discussed the upcoming midterm elections and said Republicans must prove that they will “get America rolling again”.

She added: “Maybe we need to have some sort of legislation that requires… biblical citizenship training in our schools. And that’s how we get things turned around.”

It's nonsense.  It's two different standards.  She's a hypocrite and so is anyone who goes along with her.

Ava and I called out the flaming pearl clutcher in that awful NETFLIX documentary CALL ME KATE -- he had a heart attack that anyone might wonder if Katharine Hepburn was a lesbian (she was) but he was fine talking about her alleged affairs with men -- including with Spencer Tracy who was married.  

I'm sick of it.  I'm sick of the damn hypocrisy where you feign outrage that Hepburn might be a lesbian (she was) while you dish about her (brief) affair with the married Spencer Tracy and try to present that as 'normal' and 'love.'  No, he was a raging drunk who hit her repeatedly.  Don't pimp the 'feminist' Kate lie while glorifying her relationship with Spencer -- which lasted weeks only according to Garson Kanin.  I'm sick of it.  And everyone knows about Hepburn and everyone knew about her.  

And everyone knew Lauren Boebert was demanding that others live by this or that in the Bible while ignoring the very book she claimed to follow.  Her own kind should pick up rocks and stone her -- that's in the Bible -- but the rest of us should just point a finger and laugh anytime we see her in public.  

"Now in the law Moses commanded us to stone such women" -- isn't that in the Book of John?  (It is.)

Some reactions on Twitter.

Citing a "crisis of legitimacy" they say is plaguing the U.S. Supreme Court, a group of congressional Democrats on Tuesday reintroduced legislation aimed at thwarting Republican attacks on democracy by expanding the nation's top court from nine to 13 justices.

Sens. Ed Markey (D-Mass.), Tina Smith (D-Minn.), and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), and Reps. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.), Hank Johnson (D-Ga.), Cori Bush (D-Mo.), and Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) reintroduced the Judiciary Act outside the Supreme Court in Washington, D.C., where they held a press conference.

"The nation's highest court today faces a crisis of legitimacy that began when Senate Republicans first abandoned norms and precedent to block the confirmation of then-President [Barack] Obama's Supreme Court nominee, Merrick Garland, only to later ram through the confirmation of Amy Coney Barrett a mere 10 days before Election Day 2020, and while millions of Americans were already casting ballots," the lawmakers said in a statement

"The stolen, far-right Supreme Court majority has since ruled to destroy 50 years of settled precedent by rolling back the fundamental right to abortion care in Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization and has become the subject of scandal, including new and resurfaced reports of Justice Clarence Thomas' failure to disclose gifts provided to him by billionaire Republican donor Harlan Crow and his spouse's more than $680,000 in unreported income from the conservative think tank, the Heritage Foundation," the statement noted.

Markey contended that "Republicans have hijacked the confirmation process and stolen the Supreme Court majority—all to appeal to far-right judicial activists who for years have wanted to wield the gavel to roll back fundamental rights."

"Each scandal uncovered, each norm broken, each precedent-shattering ruling delivered is a reminder that we must restore justice and balance to the rogue, radical Supreme Court," he argued. "It is time we expand the court."

Johnson said that "it's easy to take for granted that the number of justices on the Supreme Court must be nine. But it is not written in the Constitution and has changed seven times over the course of our nation's history."

Meanwhile, the Iraq War continues.  The White House issued the following yesterday:

Notice on the Continuation of the National Emergency with Respect to the Stabilization of Iraq

     On May 22, 2003, by Executive Order 13303, the President declared a national emergency pursuant to the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (50 U.S.C. 1701 et seq.) to deal with the unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States posed by obstacles to the orderly reconstruction of Iraq, the restoration and maintenance of peace and security in the country, and the development of political, administrative, and economic institutions in Iraq. 

     The obstacles to the orderly reconstruction of Iraq, the restoration and maintenance of peace and security in the country, and the development of political, administrative, and economic institutions in Iraq continue to pose an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States.  For this reason, the national emergency declared in Executive Order 13303, as modified in scope and relied upon for additional steps taken in Executive Order 13290 of March 20, 2003, Executive Order 13315 of August 28, 2003, Executive Order 13350 of July 29, 2004, Executive Order 13364 of November 29, 2004, Executive Order 13438 of July 17, 2007, and Executive Order 13668 of May 27, 2014, must continue in effect beyond May 22, 2023.  Therefore, in accordance with section 202(d) of the National Emergencies Act (50 U.S.C. 1622(d)), I am continuing for 1 year the national emergency with respect to the stabilization of Iraq declared in Executive Order 13303.

     This notice shall be published in the Federal Register and transmitted to the Congress.

                             JOSEPH R. BIDEN JR.

  May 16, 2023.

The following sites updated: