Monday, September 25, 2023

He remembers Renquist









Update time.  In Thursday's snapshot, we noted that US Senator Bob Menendez was yet again under federal investigation.  Friday, after the snapshot posted, the Justice Dept announced Menendez was indicted (we posted the press release here).  Kevin Reed (WSWS) reports:

New Jersey Democratic Senator Robert Menendez was indicted on Friday by federal prosecutors in New York, along with four others, including his wife Nadine Menendez, on multiple charges of bribery.

The US Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York brought the charges against Menendez, a senior senator and chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, for using “his official position” to provide favors to three businessmen and the Egyptian government “in exchange for hundreds of thousands of dollars” for himself and his wife which included “gold bars, cash and a luxury convertible.”

In a Department of Justice press release Friday, US Attorney Damian Williams said a grand jury charged the Menendezes for engaging in “a corrupt relationship” with New Jersey businessmen Wael Hana, Jose Uribe, and Fred Daibes and unnamed Egyptian government officials between 2018 and 2022.

Williams’ statement went on to say the businessmen “collectively paid hundreds of thousands of dollars of bribes, including cash, gold, a Mercedes Benz, and other things of value—in exchange for Senator Menendez agreeing to use his power and influence to protect and enrich those businessmen and to benefit the Government of Egypt.”

Responding eight hours after the indictment, leading Democratic Party leaders in the Garden State, including New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy, called on Menendez to resign. Murphy said the allegations are “deeply disturbing” and “implicate national security and the integrity of our criminal justice system.” The governor continued, saying the “facts are so serious they compromise the ability of Senator Menendez to effectively represent the people of our state.”

Clearly, the stench of corruption surrounding the longtime federal legislator from New Jersey—Menendez held a seat in the House of Representatives from 1993 to 2006 and has been in the Senate since 2006—was so strong that the Department of Justice was forced to shut him down.

Senator Menendez was implicated in ethics violations in 2006 for renting property he owned to a non-profit agency that received federal funding. In 2015, he was indicted on bribery and fraud charges involving requests that the State Department pressure the Dominican Republic to enforce a government contract that benefited a Florida businessman, who gave the senator money and paid for his expensive vacation trips on a private jet.

At present, the senator is refusing calls to resign from his seat.  He has announced a press conference later today.  He is not expected to announce his resignation but instead to announce that he is seeking re-election.  41-year-old House Rep Andy Kim announced over the weekend that he was going to run against the 69-year-old (and indicted) Menendez for the Senate seat:

In other news, "Stop killing Kurds!"  In Australia, a demonstration on Saturday included that chant.

A protest on September 23 called on the Australian government to break its silence about Turkey's ongoing war on the Kurds and its recent deadly attacks in the south Kurdistan region of Iraq.

On September 18, three peshmerga (Kurdish freedom fighters) affiliated with the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) were killed and three others wounded in a drone strike on an airport in Sulaymaniyah/ Silêmanî.

At around the same time, Deniz Cevdet Bülbün, the representative the Kurdistan National Congress (KNK) — Kurdish umbrella organisation — was killed in an armed attack on the KNK's Erbil (Hewlêr) office.

"This was an attack on the unity of the Kurdish people," Kurdish community representative Brusk Aeiveri told the rally.

He accused the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) authorities of collaborating with the Turkish state to facilitate attacks like these.

The protest called for a free Kurdistan.  On the KRG, Azhi Rasul (RUDAW) reports:

Iraq’s Federal Supreme Court on Sunday ruled to dissolve the Kurdistan Region’s provincial councils “due to the end of their electoral cycle,” after declaring an amendment for their extension as “unconstitutional.” 

The court stated that Article No. 2 in Law No. 2 of 2019, which amended the provincial councils for the provinces of the Kurdistan Region, was “unconstitutional,” it said in a statement. 

According to provisions from Article 2 of the Iraqi constitution, the amendments went against the principles of democracy and infringed on basic rights and freedoms. 

Elections for the Kurdistan Region’s provincial councils were last held in April 2014, and members of the council were sworn in on June of the same year to serve for four years, until June 2018. 

ALMAYADEEN notes, "It is worth noting that in July 2019, the Kurdistan Region of Iraq's Parliament passed a proposal to amend the law governing provincial councils in the region, including extending the terms of the existing councils to bridge the legal gap created by the expiration of their mandates."  MEDYA NEWS adds, "Journalist Fehim Işık told Medya News that the Kurdistan Regional Government is now considering how to respond to the court’s decision. However, the Kurdistan Region of Iraq has been left without a functioning legislative body since May due to disputed parliamentary elections. This impasse has prevented the parties from taking collective decisions or convening parliament."



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    Saturday, September 23, 2023

    Crooked Clarence's scandals just got worse

    Crooked Clarence Thomas is back in the news as is the illegitimate Supreme Court.  Katherine Fung (NEWSWEEK) reports:

    The Supreme Court has another ethics-related headache to assuage thanks to a new damning report accusing Justice Clarence Thomas of having close relationships with yet another political megadonor.

    ProPublica published a story on Friday detailing Thomas' years-long friendships with libertarian billionaires Charles Koch and his late brother, David. The report revealed that Thomas not only attended an annual donor summit hosted by the Koch network—one of the largest and most influential political organizations in the U.S.—but that his regular trips to a private retreat would have allowed the brothers to meet with him in secret, potentially influencing his position on a landmark Supreme Court case.
    "Charles and David Koch's access to Thomas has gone well beyond his participation in their donor events," the report read. "For years, the brothers had opportunities to meet privately with Thomas thanks to the justice's regular trips to the Bohemian Grove, an all-male retreat that attracts some of the nation's most influential corporate and political figures. Thomas has been a regular at the Grove for 25 years as Harlan Crow's guest, according to internal documents and interviews with dozens of members, other guests and workers at the retreat."

    This is disgusting.  It is making the Court a mockery.

    And, on that, let me echo C.I. from the roundtable for the gina & krista round-robin, how long does Jonathan Turley -- trash, I know -- intend to avoid writing about any of the Clarence Thomas scandals?  Swirley is a paid whore for FOX "NEWS."  He's supposedly a Court watcher.  He made plenty of time, for example, to trash Nina Totenberg.  But he's had nothing to say about Clarence's various scandals.

    It's time Corrupt Clarence was removed from the bench.  The Court is officially a joke.

    A sad and a dirty joke.

    The details in the latest ProPublica report on Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas would be hard to believe were it not for everything we already know about the far-right jurist. The piece begins by noting a 2018 donor summit organized by billionaires Charles and David Koch, and attended by “some of the richest people in the country.”

    It’s not the sort of event one would ordinarily expect to find a sitting Supreme Court justice — but Thomas took a private jet to the event anyway.

    According to the ProPublica report, which has not been independently verified by MSNBC or NBC News, Thomas failed to report the trip on his financial disclosure forms, and it remains unclear who paid for his flight.

    In case this isn’t obvious, let’s note for the record that none of this is normal.

    In fact, ProPublica spoke to John E. Jones III, a retired federal judge appointed by George W. Bush, who said, “I can’t imagine — it takes my breath away, frankly — that he would go to a Koch network event for donors.” Jones added that if he’d gone to a Koch summit as a district court judge, “I’d have gotten a letter that would’ve commenced a disciplinary proceeding.”

    And THE GUARDIAN adds:

    ProPublica has previously revealed undeclared links to Crow including luxury holidays and travel; a real estate sale which benefited Thomas’s mother; and school fees paid for his great-nephew. In a statement earlier this year, confirmed that Crow is a close friend with whom he has taken “family trips” and has argued that he was not required to disclose the free vacations.

    Thomas’s links with the Koch network are arguably more ethically dicey, given that the federal judiciary’s code of conduct specifically prohibits both political activity and participation in fundraising. Judges are advised not to “associate themselves” with any group “publicly identified with controversial legal, social or political positions”.

    "Iraq snapshot" (THE COMMON ILLS):

    Friday, September 22, 2023.  Shia al-Sudani uses his US visit to meet with many, Rupert Murdoch heads off for his coffin as the sun rises, Ronald DeSantis drops further in the polls and much more.

    Iraq's Prime Minister Mohammed Shia al-Sudani came to the United States this week to address the United Nations' General Assembly.  He's also met with numerous politicians and world leaders as well as business leaders and journalists.  Late yesterday, the White House issued the following statement:


    Deputy Assistant to the President and White House Coordinator for the Middle East and North Africa Brett McGurk and Deputy Assistant and Senior Advisor to the President for Energy and Investment Amos Hochstein met last night with Prime Minister Mohammed Shia al-Sudani of Iraq to confirm the strong U.S. partnership with Iraq as outlined in the Strategic Framework Agreement between the two countries. The United States took special note of Prime Minister Sudani’s leadership moving Iraq’s policy towards strengthening its own energy security, including with electricity grid connections to Jordan, Kuwait, and Saudi Arabia, as well as major energy deals with western firms to capture flared gas in southern Iraq for domestic use and future export. Hochstein and McGurk also welcomed recent agreements between the Government of Iraq and the Kurdistan Regional Government regarding monthly budget allocations, and emphasized the urgency of reopening the Iraq-Turkiye Pipeline as soon as possible. On regional matters, McGurk pledged full U.S. support to help finally resolve outstanding maritime boundary issues with Kuwait, particularly in relation to UNSCR 833. Sudani welcomed this support, and reaffirmed Iraq’s longstanding and clear policy recognizing Kuwait’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, all prior bilateral agreements between the two friendly countries, and adherence to international law, including UN Security Council Resolutions.


    In other news, Rupert Murdoch is returning to Bran Castle in Romania.  Paul Rudnick Tweets:

    Rupert Murdoch, the media magnate who built an unmatched global media empire over seven decades from a single newspaper he inherited in his native Australia, announced on Thursday that he would step down.

    "I have been engaged daily with news and ideas, and that will not change," Murdoch wrote in a memo to employees at Fox News, The Wall Street Journal, and the many other properties that make up his two corporations, Fox Corp. and News Corp. "The time is right for me to take on different roles."

    Murdoch's career has been marked by a singular drive for business success, an eagerness to have sway over elections and policies, and the repeated eruption of scandals. Fox News, which he founded in 1996, has played an increasingly prominent role in his profits, his influence, and his crises.

    [. . .]

    Murdoch's Sun tabloid relied on anonymous police sources to blame soccer hooligans for a deadly stampede after a stadium collapse; in fact, the police's own poor disaster response was found to be responsible. News Corp. later paid hundreds of millions of dollars after it came to light that people acting on its behalf had hacked into the mobile phones, voicemails and emails. The Murdochs closed down one of its tabloids, News of the World, and abandoned hope of taking full control of Sky, a major British satellite television outfit in which it held a significant stake.

    In the U.S., Fox News paid nine figures to resolve a growing wave of sexual harassment accusations against then-Fox News chairman and CEO Roger Ailes, among others. It later paid millions of dollars to the family of a slain Democratic National Committee staffer whom it baselessly claimed had leaked thousands of party emails that had actually been hacked during the 2016 campaign by the Russian government.

    Yet nothing matched the debacle after the 2020 presidential election.

    Murdoch's role in allowing Fox News stars to embrace discredited claims of fraud in that race came into sharp view during a defamation suit filed against the network and Fox Corp. The company settled for $787.5 million this spring, just before opening arguments in the trial were to begin. Dominion Voting Systems, the plaintiff, planned to make Murdoch one of the first witnesses to testify before the jury.

    Despite Murdoch's contempt for Trump, Fox amplified his baseless claims of having been cheated out of victory. Documents from that legal case show network leaders were desperate to win back viewers angry that Fox News journalists had projected Trump would lose Arizona on Election Night.

    Nothing matched the debacle after the 2020 presidential election? 


    I guess that's true . . . if you write a 920 word column and none of the words are: Iraq War.

    But in the real world, far away from NPR apparently, the Iraq War is the debacle of the 21st century.  As the UK's HEAD TOPICS notes:

    An MSNBC presenter, Mehdi Hasan, linked Mr Murdoch’s influence and Fox’s news agenda to different political events in the past 20 years. He said in a post on X that “some of the worst things we have had to experience in recent years – the Iraq war, the rise of Trump, the Big Election Lie – are all thanks to him and Fox”. headtopics.

    At THE NEW REPUBLIC, in a piece titled "Rupert Murdoch Made The World Worse," Alex Shephard writes:

    The worst thing that you can say about Rupert Murdoch, who resigned from the board of the Fox and News Corporations on Tuesday, is that no one has had a greater influence on the news over the last half-century. Murdoch’s influence is both incalculable and fantastically corrosive. It is impossible to look at all of the most malignant aspects of the current news environment—its pace, its callousness, its rancor—without seeing his impact. It is also a fully baked cake. Murdoch may be exiting the scene, but there is no undoing the damage he has done.

    [. . .]

    Much will be made about Fox News, Murdoch’s greatest and most destructive creation. With Roger Ailes, he turned it into a juggernaut and transformed the media. The cable news industry as we know it is, more or less, the invention of Murdoch and Ailes. News had long been packaged as entertainment, but this reached new heights at Fox News. The network itself existed as an answer to long-standing conservative complaints that the media had a “liberal” bias. It portrayed itself as a “fair and balanced” corrective. It was, instead, a new, powerful partisan machine. It worked immaculately.

    Fox News, with Murdoch and Ailes at the helm, transformed news into a massive engine of confirmation bias. It was a safe space for Americans, most of them older and white, to have their fantasies affirmed: Immigrants were pouring into the country, crime was out of control, their way of life was under threat from sources both foreign and domestic. For decades, it pushed conspiracies of every stripe and played a major role in pushing numerous disasters, from the Iraq War to the January 6 insurrection. Pushing conspiracies was and is Fox’s business plan: It exists to tell its viewers that their political opponents are not just their adversaries but represent an existential threat.

    Before Rupert Murdoch began illegally making inroads in the US media (foreign ownership was forbidden when Murdoch began his media empire building in the US and he had not yet become a US citizen -- wouldn't until 1985), his trashy ways were already well known.  COUNTERPUNCH has republished a 1976 piece by the late Alexander Cockburn

    US political races?  So ABC NEWS is the one who let Ronald DeSantis lie this week.  Is that the deal?  He does a sit down interview with you and you agree to let him lie?  From ABC NEWS' report on Linsey Davis' interview with him:

    "For example, I served in Iraq back in the day. al-Qaida didn't wear uniforms. You know, the typical Arab male would have had the man dress on. You didn't know if they had a bomb strapped to them or not. They carry around the AK-47s, normal civilians would, so you couldn't even say if they had," he said.

    You were a member of JAG.  You were a well protected attorney in Iraq.  

    At least he didn't try to lie again about being a Navy Seal.  But he was not in combat.  He was not doing deliveries and driving through hazardous roads and regions as part of his job.  He was in a comfy well protected office.  Green Zone Baby, basically.  

    "The man dress"?  How stupid and insulting is this idiot?

    He most likely means the dishdasha.  He wants to cite his time in Iraq as experience but he can't even identify a dishdasha or a kandora.  He's an idiot.  A short, little fat man who wears that lesbian vest everywhere he goes.  For someone who hates and persecutes LGBTQ+ people, he sure does like to dress like a lesbian in the 80s -- even that awful hairstyle.  I find it hilarious that he calls out drag queens as though he thinks he's the portrait of manly.

    Jeffrey St. Clair (COUNTERPUNCH) notes Ronald's new polling problems:

    + New CNN/UNH poll shows DeSantis in freefall in New Hampshire since the last poll in July.

    Trump: 39% (+2)
    Ramaswamy: 13% (+8)
    Haley: 12% (+7)
    Christie: 11% (+5)
    DeSantis: 10% (-13)
    Scott: 5% (-3)
    Pence: 2% (+1)
    Burgum: 1% (-5)

    Several e-mailed the public account regarding the following Tweets from Glenneth Greenwald.

    One of the conceits the Dem-loyal left tells itself is that the corporate media is deeply hostile to it, because they're so threatening to establishment interests. Meanwhile, I don't think I've ever seen the NYT lavish a book with more endless praise than Naomi Klein's new one.
    The vast majority of media figures who lucratively branded as radical, disruptive, anti-establishment leftists -- by attaching to the Bernie campaign -- is now indistinguishable from MSNBC liberalism. They don't pretend any more, which I guess is good. They're all in on Biden.
    Also, one day someone will have to explain this to me: Those who cheer the same war policy Tom Cotton and Lindsey Graham support are the real left-liberals. Those who oppose the US role in that war are "far-right fascists." These labels are pointless:

    I'm dictating this and the Tweets are being pulled from e-mails by the person I'm dictating too.  Wasn't planning on addressing this or I would have embedded the Tweets before I got on the tread mill.  At any rate . ..

    1) Naomi Klein's book.  I haven't read the reviews.  I did review it here on Saturday "Naomi Klein's DOPPELGANGER" and on Sunday Ava and I did "Books (Ava and C.I.)" (which I think posted Monday at THIRD).  I do recommend the book -- Jim asked, after he read my review, besides the punctuation what did I like about it?  I don't do puff pieces.  It's a good book.  It's worth reading.  If you're a feminist, you'll be disappointed because you will grasp Anais Nin's importance to Otto Rank (as a patient, as a translator, as a practitioner, as a lover).  So if you're mentioning Rank, you really don't know what you're talking about if you're not mentioning Anais.  That's especially true if you're writing of doppelgangers, doubles, twins.  And Anais Nin's entire output in terms of novels is nothing but the twinning.  Freud really doesn't apply to what Naomi Klein's going after.  Now most readers won't be feminists and that's going to sail over them.  I write from my point of view and if I ever have anything to offer that's the only reason why.  So, again, don't do puff pieces -- noted that in Friday's snapshot because people were e-mailing asking me to review the book.  I do tear-downs all the time.  Didn't do a tear-down on Naomi Klein.  If I'd wanted to, I would have.  And I've even got a helpful parenthetical in my review referring anyone who wants to do a negative review of the book.  And, again, if I wanted to do a tear-down, I could have.  

    2) Glenneth hates Naomi.  He's hated her for some time.  This predates his leaving THE INTERCEPT.  In fairness to him, she did come down on the wrong side -- ethically and legally -- when THE INTERCEPT refused to run Glenneth's column about the Hunter Biden laptop.  She slammed him publicly and shouldn't have.  A) One writer to another, she should have stood with him against censorship.  If she couldn't do that, the kind thing to have done was to have said nothing in the immediate aftermath.   Glenneth was an idiot himself.  They violated his contract, so he quit.  He should have sued, that's why you have contracts to begin with.  (I've sometimes made more money from a project I've signed for then one I've completed.)  When I note that's he's not a very smart attorney, that's what I'm talking about.  

    3) Glenneth's bad mouthed Naomi for over a decade so factor that in to any of his Tweets.

    4) Also factor in his stupidity.  THE NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW is not taking orders from the editorial board of the newspaper.  It and THE NEW YORK TIMES MAGAZINE operate with a degree of independence.  NYT BOOK REVIEW is -- and always has been -- rather clannish.  NYT did not rave over Naomi Klein, THE NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW did.  I'd think clarity would be something an 'attorney' would strive for.

    5) When he Tweets "The vast majority of media figures who lucratively branded as radical, disruptive, anti-establishment leftists -- by attaching to the Bernie campaign -- is now indistinguishable from MSNBC liberalism."  Huh?  He's made that a part of the thread with his Naomi Tweet.  Is she one of the vast majority . . .?  I don't get what he's trying to say or smear her with.  

    Has she presented herself as a radical?  I don't believe she has but I could be wrong.  In terms of Canadian activists, she's pretty much in the mainstream.  (That's not me sneering at her.  I'm not a radical -- I lack the energy.)  Did she attach herself to Bernie's campaign?  If so, that was wrong.  I had originally dictated something on that but we're pulling it because it will be mean towards her and we've said it before so there's no reason to say it again.  There may be at another time but certainly no reason to bring it up while responding to Glenneth's nonsense. I wish she were more and I'm probably harder on her for that reason.  But, objectively, who she is is largely who she self-presents as and I don't believe she's claimed to be a radical.  She's a climate activist mainly.  She's also a mother and I found that section of the book to be the most moving.  

    In terms of her work, she's been far more consistent than Glenneth has.  She's also got consistency that he lacks as he tries to grift her and there or play the trickster when he's influencing (or trying to) an election.  Like back in 2008.  

    Glenneth doesn't like women.  He's too busy rejecting them and anything feminine so that he can look 'like a man.'  Remember, he was closeted to most in college and did everything he could to fit in with straight bullies.  He gets his attitude towards women from them.  If you went through his Tweets and just compiled statistics, you'd realize how unimportant women are to Glenneth. 

    As for the third Tweet?  Just another example of how the supposed attorney lack clarity.  I've been against the proxy war on Ukraine since it started.  When CODESTINK wasn't sure where to come down, I'd already made my position clear.  WSWS are not "far right fascists" and they're also against the proxy war.  There are many more.  But Glenneth creates straw men because he's always been afraid of getting his butt kicked by actual men.  (Which is why I do believe that flash drive contained Glenneth's browser history.)  

    The following sites: