Thursday, April 13, 2023

Dianne Feinstein needs to retire right now

Mike's "Graham Elwood, Dianne Feinstein needs to retire" and my "If you're over 72 stop running for Congress, if you're over 80 retire now" from this week both note that Senator Dianne Feinstein needs to resign. 

With Sen. Dianne Feinstein requesting to be temporarily replaced on the Judiciary Committee as she recovers from shingles, Senate Democrats on Thursday began working to break the logjam that has held up critical judicial nominations for weeks.

A spokesperson for Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said he will ask the Senate next week to allow another Democratic senator to temporarily fill her place on the high-profile committee on which Democrats hold a mere one-seat majority.

Rep. Ro Khanna, who like Feinstein is a California Democrat, was the first to publicly call on Feinstein to step down, questioning Thursday morning, "Why [does she] not just take the step and resign instead of going through all of these motions?"

"It has become painfully obvious to many of us in California that she is no longer able to fulfill her duties as she doesn't have a clear return date," he said on CNN. "We haven't been able to confirm judges at a time where women's rights and voting rights are under assault. Senator Durbin himself, the chair of the Judiciary, has said that the reason we're not being able to move these judges is because Senator Feinstein isn't there."

Asked by CNN's Manu Raju earlier this week whether Feinstein's absence had longer ramifications on Democrats' ability to confirm politically-important judges, Judiciary Chair Sen. Dick Durbin said, "Yes, of course it does."

She's a disgrace and she's needs to be hammered into humiliation on her right out because she never should have stayed on.  She was too damn old.  And the others who are refusing to leave even though they're too old -- Dems and Republicans -- need to see her humiliation and know this is going to be aimed at them as well.

The US Senate should not be a lifetime role.  She has misused her office, misused her incumbency, misused her constitutents.

It's outrageous. 

And maybe if she wasn't so damn old and senile, she could have mounted a real challenge to Kavanaugh that would have kept him off the bench instead of her idiotic attempts at a whisper campaign that then went public and that was never what it promised.  Grasp that we have Amy Comey Barrett on the bench because of how Dianne screwed up Kavanaugh's process.  People recoiled from her nonsense on Kavanaugh.  We lost the center and the conservative Dems and the media as a result.  

She ensured that Comey Barrett would sail right through with her stunts on Kavanaugh.

She needed to go in 2018 but she ran for re-election.  

She has harmed democracy and our country.  And let's be honest, she as crooked as the day is long.  Her now crooked husband benefited over and over from Dianne's office.  It was unethical and she should have been sanctioned in some manner for it.  It's disgusting and part of the corruption now built into our system of governance. 

She can't serve her duties, she needs to go.  Now.

She's lucky I don't know her because I'd treat her like some people treat bad dogs.  I'd grab her by the back of her neck and rub her nose in all the messes she's made for us. (I have never and would never treat a dog that way.  I am a cat person, love them, love them.  But I don't hate dogs and I would never do that to a dog.  I would do it to Dianne.) She's inept and she's corrupt and she supported the Iraq War -- people are dead because of her.  She needs to leave and she needs to leave in humiliation.

Over the last three years, the Democratic Party’s kid-gloves approach to whether the late Supreme Court justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg should have retired during the Obama presidency has arguably proven extremely costly. Ginsburg’s death late in Donald Trump’s presidency meant he was able to fill her seat with Amy Coney Barrett, who last summer provided a decisive fifth vote to overturn Roe v. Wade.

It’s not clear that a different approach would have pushed Ginsburg out when Barack Obama might have replaced her. But you could hardly blame Democrats for lamenting that series of events. So activists and a small number of Democratic lawmakers applied more pressure on Justice Stephen G. Breyer to retire, and he did, last year.

They’re now confronting a somewhat similar situation with Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), and the effort is even more overt than it was with Breyer.

But they’re also discovering there are no easy answers here. And the situation has taken an ugly turn, leading to uncomfortable conversations about politics, age and even gender that could reverberate in the months and years to come.

In recent days, calls have grown for the 89-year-old Feinstein to resign. That’s because her illness-related absence from the Senate Judiciary Committee since mid-February (she was diagnosed with shingles) has hamstrung Democrats’ ability to confirm judges — an increasingly important political metric for administrations.

She can't do her job, she needs to retire.  Not a month from now, right now.  Out.

"Iraq snapshot" (THE COMMON ILLS):

Thursday, April 13, 2023.  Iraq, climate change, media lies, et al -- it's all about the lack of accountability. 

Yesterday afternoon, Jon Schwartz (INTERCEPT) noted a passing:

Benjamin Ferencz died last week at the age of 103. Ferencz was the last surviving member of the team of prosecutors at the Nuremberg trials after World War II, which led to the convictions of many top Nazi officials and since been understood as the exemplar of justice for war crimes.

Ferencz served in the U.S. Army during the war and in its aftermath investigated the conditions at the Buchenwald, Mauthausen, and Dachau concentration camps. He spent the rest of his life advocating for the creation of an international criminal court and accountability for war criminals generally.

These facts appear in his obituaries. What’s missing from all of them in major outlets — including the New York Times, the Washington Post, the BBC, The Guardian, Reuters, and the Associated Press — is Ferencz’s belief that top members of the George W. Bush administration, including Bush himself, should have been tried for war crimes for the Iraq War.

This is not obscure, difficult-to-obtain information. In 2002, the Times published a letter to the editor from Ferencz stating that “a preemptive military strike [on Iraq] not authorized by the Security Council would clearly violate the UN Charter that legally binds all nations.” In December 2003, Ferencz said in an interview, “The invasion by the U.S. of Iraq, I think, would also qualify under the Nuremberg principles as a violation of international law. … If you’re going to have that kind of a factual situation as we have in Iraq, I think the first trial should be a trial which is absolutely fair and should include all the principle perpetrators and planners of the crimes which occurred.” Ferencz wrote the foreword to a 2009 book titled “George W. Bush, War Criminal?: The Bush Administration’s Liability for 269 War Crimes.” He also wrote the foreword for another book, “Blood on Our Hands: The American Invasion and Destruction of Iraq.”

Yet the Times published an almost-2,000 word obituary for Ferencz without mentioning this. It somehow includes the sentence, “Critics say the [International Criminal Court] has focused on prosecutions in Africa while American wars have not even been investigated,” without mentioning that one of the most vociferous critics of this was Ferencz.

They worked so hard to sell the illegal war and, poor things, they still have to work so hard to erase their crimes.  But no one's forgetting.  All this time later, the world remembers that the press did not serve the people, that it lied willingly for the government and that it has refused, all these years later, accountability and honesty.

How much does that impact the wave of gun violence?  What lessons are taught by a society that refuses to be accountable?  Even now, for example, the obvious thing is for Crooked Clarence Thomas to step down from the Supreme Court.  It's obvious that is what's required.  But when that doesn't happen, how does that impact our society?  When there are different sets of justice for different people, when media can lie through its teeth and have Meryl Streep praise it as the Academy Awards, when Meryl can cover up for Harvey Weinstein and when she finds out that Ronan Farrow's about to expose Weinstein Meryl can insist that Harvey's on our side, and when Rose McGowan rightly calls her out Meryl can play the victim, over and over it's a society upside down with a set of rules for the governed and no rules at all for those in power.  

Three people are dead in Iraq today.  If we want to live in the land of denial, they're dead 'because of rain.'  AFP reports that they "were aged 16, 22 and 30 and one of them was a woman and "They had all gone outside to switch off the main supply to their homes during Wednesday's storm, for fear that power fluctuations would damage their household electrical appliances."  The three are dead because of corruption.  AFP notes Iraq's dilapidated power grid.  That's at least half of it.  The other is the lack of public infrastructure which increases the flooding in many areas.  Lack of adequate sewer and drainage increases flooding.  Iraq brings in billions each year in oil and Nouri al-Maliki and other politicians certainly get rich but the money never makes it to the people.  

And they officials let the Iraqi people live in poverty and they refuse to make repairs -- to the electrical system, to the public infrastructure, to anything.

And, of course, the biggest example of the lack of accountability and the corruption of the ruling class: Climate change -- specifically the refusal to address it seriously. 

Climate change is predicted to impact us all in the next few decades and one of the hardest hit areas, per climate models, will be Iraq.  Already problems are evident.  January 10th, Yale's School of Environment published Wil Crisp's article which opened:

Three years ago, the vast marshlands of southern Iraq’s Dhi Qar province were flourishing. Fishermen glided in punts across swathes of still water between vast reed beds, while buffalo bathed amid green vegetation. But today those wetlands, part of the vast Mesopotamian Marshes, have shriveled to narrow channels of polluted water bordered by cracked and salty earth. Hundreds of desiccated fish dot stream banks, along with the carcasses of water buffalo poisoned by saline water. Drought has parched tens of thousands of hectares of fields and orchards, and villages are emptying as farmers abandon their land.

For their biodiversity and cultural significance, the United Nations in 2016 named the Mesopotamian Marshes — which historically stretched between 15,000 and 20,000 square kilometers in the floodplain of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers — a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The marshes comprised one of the world’s largest inland delta systems, a startling oasis in an extremely hot and arid environment, home to 22 species of globally endangered species and 66 at-risk bird species.

But now this ecosystem — which includes alluvial salt marshes, swamps, and freshwater lakes — is collapsing due to a combination of factors meteorological, hydrological, and political. Rivers are rapidly shrinking, and agricultural soil that once grew bounties of barley and wheat, pomegranates, and dates is blowing away. The environmental disaster is harming wildlife and driving tens of thousands of Marsh Arabs, who have occupied this area for 5,000 years, to seek livelihoods elsewhere.

Experts warn that unless radical action is taken to ensure the region receives adequate water — and better manages what remains — southern Iraq’s marshlands will disappear, with sweeping consequences for the entire nation as farmers and pastoralists abandon their land for already crowded urban areas and loss of production leads to rising food prices.

The Mesopotamian marshlands are often referred to as the cradle of civilization, as anthropologists believe that this is where humankind, some 12,000 years ago, started its wide-scale transition from a lifestyle of hunting and gathering to one of agriculture and settlement. Encompassing four separate marshes, the region has historically been home to a unique range of fish and birdlife, serving as winter habitat for migratory birds and sustaining a productive shrimp and finfish fishery. 

AP notes, "Climate change for years has compounded the woes of the troubled country. Droughts and increased water salinity have destroyed crops, animals and farms and dried up entire bodies of water. Hospitals have faced waves of patients with respiratory illnesses caused by rampant sandstorms. Climate change has also played a role in Iraq’s ongoing struggle to combat cholera."  This month began with AL MAYADEEN reporting:

A spokesperson of the Iraqi Health Ministry, Saif Al-Badr, confirmed on Saturday that more than 500 patients are suffering from breathing difficulties as a result of the dust storm taking over the country. 

Al-Badr told Iraqi News Agency (INA), "More than 515 patients were admitted to hospitals in Baghdad and the provinces with breathing problems of varying severity due to the dust storm that occurred yesterday [Friday] in the regions of the country," adding that they did receive sufficient medical care and most had been discharged. 

As of yet, no casualties have been reported and ambulances remain on standby to deliver aid to those who need it. Dust storms and sand storms are not strangers to Iraq, as they regularly occur in the region and have been known to cause serious health issues.

SEE NEWS notes, "Today, Saturday, the Iraqi Ministry of Health announced that more than 500 people had suffocated due to the dust storms that hit the country on Friday, according to the Iraqi News Agency." 

And it's only going to get worse since nothing of significance is being done to address climate change.  As Betty noted last night:

 I don't understand why we are still not addressing climate change.  This is insane and there are a wave of young people who will be of voting age in the next year (and after) who are even more outraged about this than I am.  And I'm pretty ticked off.  This has to be addressed.  The world -- and its leaders -- are apparently going to do nothing until we see so much destruction that they're forced to act and, by that time, we're talking band aids on gaping wounds.  It's going to be way too late.

We have become a society with no accountability and its destroying the world.  And it's destroying the Peabodys (see Elaine's "The Peabody Awards") as they applaud garbage that is factually incorrect because a 'celebrity' name is on it (Amy Poehler).  She produced an ahistorical documentary that is the fantasy her immature mind needs (Janeane Garofalo and Sam Seder had Amy on THE MAJORITY REPORT early in its run and she had nothing to say about anything political, yet she went on the political show -- the Iraq War was in its early years and she had nothing on that even, she just wanted to giggle and be an adult-child).  It's not about Lucy and Desi, it's about the lives that she wishes Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz had -- and it got a Peabody nomination because you can just lie and make up whatever s**t you want these days.  Desi slept with any woman he could -- and let a few men go down on him -- erase.  Erase.  Erase.  Just make up garbage and pretend like when you do that, that you're not being disrespectful to Lucille Ball who had to live with that and lived with it as long as she could before she had to end that marriage.  Considering Amy's own marital problems, that she would erase reality that forced another woman to divorce is appalling.  

In Iraq, there is no protection for religious minorities.  We can see that with the Iraqi government's fundamentalist attacks on Sunnis and Christians -- yes, the banning of alcohol.  Christians are a minority in Iraq but they are not the smallest minority.  Many other religions exist and sometimes they don't have a global reach so their followers don't get the attention or the support that they warrant.   The Society For Threatened Peoples notes:

The Mandaeans in Iraq are still in need of protection and support. In the scope of direct talks with the Middle East Consultant of the Society for Threatened Peoples (STP), the leader of the Mandaeans, Ganzevra Sattar Jabbar Hilo Al-Zahrony, and several other Mandaean dignitaries appealed to the Iraqi government not to cut back its support for the small ancient religious community – but to include them when filling political offices. It was also stated that, when visiting Iraq, German politicians should not forget to meet up with representatives of the Mandaeans.

As the Mandaean dignitaries emphasized during the talks at the residence of their leader on Easter Saturday, it would be important to have Mandaean ministers in Iraq and to send Mandaean ambassadors to other countries. Further, they would need financial support to build up a state-approved academy for the Mandaean language and religion. Also, the approximately 2,200 Mandaeans in the German diaspora need support to build a house of worship.

Of the about 100,000 Mandaeans worldwide, not more than 20,000 are still living in Iraq. Other sources speak of only 5,000. As the religious dignitaries told the STP’s Middle East Consultant, it had been an important gesture of acceptance of the small religious community that the Iraqi Prime Minister recently visited the main place of worship of the Mandaeans in Baghdad for the first time. Prime Minister Mohammed Shia' al-Sudani had paid a visit to the religious center of the Mandaeans on the Tigris River in mid-March.

Over the Easter holidays, Sido also visited a few Christian communities in the region. He noticed that more and more Christians are leaving Baghdad, even though the security situation has improved significantly. “If the remaining Christians in Iraq are to have a future, the government must ensure that they feel welcome in their home country,” he summarized his impressions.

The US government installed religious fundamentalists and used religious fundamentalism in Iraq.  They did so to sew division and violence so that the Iraqi people would not be in the streets protesting the way the occupying power was taking over their country.  A society reduced to rubble will leave the people scrambling -- that was the hope.  The Iraqi people still suffer from the decisions the US government made.


The signatories of this letter do not all share political or economic philosophies, but we are united in our astonishment at this war’s massive price tag. Invading Iraq cost the US $2 trillion directly. That’s nearly $9,000 for each taxpayer in the US. However, the Iraq War cannot be divorced from the Afghan War, the larger Global War on Terror or this century's militarism, which has seen Pentagon spending balloon from $331 billion in 2001 to $858 billion today. Including future veterans' care and interest payments, the long-term cost of these conflicts will total $8 trillion by 2050.

Dozens still perish every month in militant violence in Iraq in a seemingly unending war. VA hospitals in the US strain to keep up with a generation of shattered veterans. The war succeeded only in traumatizing millions; creating terror groups where there had been none; and instigating chaos and continual hostilities, while providing hundreds of billions of dollars to weapons manufacturers.

The Iraq War was based on lies that have brought unimaginable suffering to an entire nation and ongoing loss, grief and hardship to hundreds of thousands of American families. It was and is a great crime. And in our view, as men and women who participated in the war in one way or another, the greatest crime of all may be our nation’s inability to hold accountable those responsible for authorizing such atrocities and continuing to watch our government repeat its wars over and over again. 

Some good news . . . 

Rosie O'Donnell is back to using her gift, few can do a better interview than she does.  ONWARD WITH ROSIE O'DONNELL is her new program.  Next time, she'll be speaking with Brooke Shields but the latest episode is Rosie speaking with Dylan Mulvaney.

As Trina noted last night, until last week she hadn't heard of Dylan, " Now I can't escape news of her.  That makes me very sad because that means a lot of people are aiming a lot of hate at her.  She's a young woman.  She doesn't need this sort of grief.  She was very gracious and graceful in her interview with Rosie O'Donnell above.  (And Rosie did a great job interviewing her.)"

We're lucky to have Rosie back and we need her.  John Stauber, Glenn Greenwald and others who were supposedly 'friends' of the left now find the greatest delight in trashing transgendered people.  Jonathan Turley weeps for every right-winger who gets booed while speaking and claims it's a violation of free speech yet when the LGBTQ+ community has their rights to freedom of expression clearly violated, Swirley doesn't say a damn thing.  Oh, wait, he did make it known how distasteful he finds drag queens.  Thanks for that, Swirley.  

Out Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) has announced she is running for reelection to a third term in Congress.

In a statement, Baldwin said she’s “committed to making sure that working people, not just the big corporations and ultra-wealthy, have a fighter on their side. With so much at stake, from families struggling with rising costs to a ban on reproductive freedom, Wisconsinites need someone who can fight and win.”

Baldwin also tweeted out the announcement, saying, “Wisconsin’s working families deserve a Senator who’s going to fight for them—not a shady special interests or big corporations. We’ve made a lot of progress, but the stakes have never been higher and our work isn’t over yet.”

Baldwin made history in 2012 when she became the first out gay senator in the nation and the first woman senator from Wisconsin. At the time, she declared, “I didn’t run to make history. I ran to make a difference.”

In 2018, she won her first reelection bid against a Trump-endorsed, anti-LGBTQ+ opponent. 

Is that what's upset the great Glennyth Greenwald so much?  That Tammy won in 2018 over his boy Donald's preferred candidate?  As Marcia noted, Glenneth made tie to knock Tammy.  No one in the Senate worked harder to codify marriage equality last year than Tammy.  He's a self-loathing hate merchant.  

We're going to wind down with this from Restore The Fourth:


Restore the Fourth Logo: Flag with black and red stripes and a blue square that says

Dear Friend,


The Restricting the Emergence of Security Threats that Risk Information and Communications Technology (RESTRICT) Act, or S. 686 introduced by Senator Warner (D-VA) and Senator Thune (R-SD), is not a mere TikTok ban - it is a sweeping authorization for the Federal government to surveil U.S. person’s internet traffic. The RESTRICT Act empowers the Secretary of Commerce and Executive to block “transactions” and "covered holdings” of “foreign adversaries” that involve “information and communication technology products or services.” That's quite a broad and vague mandate.
The sponsors of the bill justify its purpose on the grounds that it prevents “undue or unacceptable risk” to national security, citing a need to defend “election integrity” and “protect critical infrastructure.” These vague foreign threats cannot distract us from what the RESTRICT Act really is: an all encompassing leviathan of anti-privacy legislation.
Restore the Fourth opposes the RESTRICT Act in its entirety. The legislation is a dangerous distraction from what is actually needed: comprehensive privacy legislation. We need you to communicate your opposition to this bill and urge your representatives to say NO to the RESTRICT Act.

The Issue Goes Beyond a TikTok Ban

The vague threats posed by foreign adversaries that are cited by the RESTRICT Act's sponsors do not justify such a sweeping dilution of First and Fourth Amendment constitutional protections. The RESTRICT Act’s broad mandate and undefined mitigation measures have the potential to criminalize the use of VPNS, heavily restrict cryptocurrency transactions, and impose heavy burdens onto everyday citizens for simply accessing an app. These violations would come with burdensome criminal and civil penalties. Serving up to 20 years in prison for accessing commonly-used technology is an extreme civil liberties violation.
The RESTRICT Act alters portions of U.S. law known as the Berman amendments, which limits the president’s authority to restrict the free flow of “informational material” from hostile countries. These protections were later expanded to extend First Amendment-type protections to foreign media and communications. Altering such an important and long-standing check on executive authority is a dangerous expansion of state surveillance powers.

We Need Comprehensive Privacy Legislation

There is no doubt that there needs to be restrictions placed on companies that collect our personal and private information for profit, including both foreign companies like TikTok and American companies like Meta and Google. But, a ban on TikTok only further entrenches the market share of Big Tech giants, which renders their mass data collection even more impenetrable to legislative action.
The RESTRICT Act is a poor substitute for what we really need: comprehensive privacy legislation. A good starting point is legislation we previously advocated for, the Fourth Amendment is Not for Sale Act, introduced by Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR). While not a replacement for a comprehensive privacy bill, it begins the long overdue task of limiting government purchasing of your data from private brokers, and is a much more effective pathway to privacy protection than outright bans on ICT and harsh criminal penalties.

Consider supporting the work we do by making a donation here.

The following sites updated:

Wednesday, April 12, 2023

The world is ending when (science post)

R.E.M. was a big rock group -- they broke up.  They were big around the country (and world) but they're from my home state so there was a sense of home pride in them.  My favorite song was probably "Fall On Me" or "Everybody Hurts."  This is the video for "It's The End Of the World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine)."

Space is the final frontier - the next great adventure awaiting human exploration. The popularization of space travel by billionaire adventurers has reintroduced a mass interest in space that has not been seen since the 1960s and '70s with NASA’s Apollo missions. 

But as exciting as space travel is, it may be a necessity for the survival of the human race. Researchers working with NASA have determined when the sun will burn off the oxygen in Earth’s atmosphere, ending all life on Earth.

Don’t panic. We still have until the year 1,000,002,021.

Do we have until that year?  With climate change, it could come a lot sooner.  I don't understand why we are still not addressing climate change.  This is insane and there are a wave of young people who will be of voting age in the next year (and after) who are even more outraged about this than I am.  And I'm pretty ticked off.  This has to be addressed.  The world -- and its leaders -- are apparently going to do nothing until we see so much destruction that they're forced to act and, by that time, we're talking band aids on gaping wounds.  It's going to be way too late.

I don't understand that.  

"Iraq snapshot" (THE COMMON ILLS):
Wednesday, April 12, 2023.  Corruption dances across the American landscape while THE ATLANTIC rushes to minimize it, 42-year-old member of Congress 'forgets' that she's not married (and has never been married),  and much more.

Will Crooked Clarence Thomas be punished?  Will he be removed from the Supreme Court to restore some legitimacy to the body?  Or is the whole system so corrupt that he'll be allowed to remain on the bench and pretend like nothing happened?  Barry Grey's WSWS report would argue for the latter since the whole system has become corrupt:

A common feature of the pervasive corruption of capitalist politics and politicians in America is the practice of using privileged information to make stock trades, particularly in the midst of the recurring crises that beset Wall Street. In such matters, as in passing laws to ban strikes by rail workers and impose contracts rejected by the workers, bipartisanship prevails.

Last month’s government bailout of rich depositors at Silicon Valley Bank and Signature Bank, the second and third biggest bank failures in US history, is no exception.

On Monday, the Wall Street Journal, citing recent legally required disclosures, reported that three House members, two Republicans and one Democrat, two of whom were directly involved in secret bailout talks, made substantial trades in bank stocks in the initial days of the crisis. According to the Journal’s own investigation, New York Republican Rep. Nicole Malliotakis and Oregon Democratic Rep. Earl Blumenauer made trades that marked “the latest instance of congressional stock trading intersecting with official business.”

Malliotakis bought stock in New York Community Bankcorp (NYCB) on March 17, two days before the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. announced that Flagstar Bank, a subsidiary of NYCB, would take on Signature’s deposits. Signature, headquartered in New York City, had been placed in receivership by New York regulators on March 12.

Just days before she bought the stock, Malliotakis issued a statement (March 13) on her Twitter account in which she boasted of working closely with federal and state officials to address the failure of Signature.

“Both last night and this morning I have been meeting with the Federal Reserve, U.S. Department of Treasury, Governor [Kathy] Hochul and New York State Department of Financial Services Superintendent Adrienne Harris to discuss the closure of Signature Bank,” she wrote, adding, “I have been assured all depositors will be made whole through the Deposit Insurance Fund which is made up of contributions from all member banks, not taxpayer funds.”

Malliotakis bought $1,001 to $15,000 in NYBC stock on March 17. The day after the March 19 announcement that NYBC’s Flagstar subsidiary would acquire Signature’s deposits, NYBC stock rose 32 percent, landing the congresswoman a tidy profit.

Rep. Malliotakis’s disclosure said the stock purchase was made by her spouse, a common excuse given by politicians who are involved in insider trading. Unfortunately for the congresswoman, she is unmarried. 

She forgot.  She forgot she wasn't married.  Just slipped her mind. A Greek Orthodox, 42-year-old woman and she 'just forgot.'  Kind of hard to believe that, kind of hard to believe it hasn't been a topic of conversation in her own Greek Orthodox family.  

Democratic senators are calling for the Supreme Court to investigate Justice Clarence Thomas for failing to disclose reported luxury trips funded by a billionaire Republican donor.

The Senate Judiciary Committee Democrats have announced they will hold a hearing on Supreme Court ethics.

The panel also warned of legislation, if the court does not resolve this issue on its own.

Clarence Thomas is the dumbest U.S. Supreme Court Justice as well as the longest serving and the most sexually creepy, I always thought, although the limber Brett Kavanaugh bounced far ahead of him in the last category.

In 2016, Thomas asked a question in court, breaking a 10-year silence. For a decade, the man had nothing to say. Was he shy? He’s no longer shy, his confidence built up from hanging with billionaire Harlan Crow.

“What first attracted you to the billionaire Harlan Crow?” I’d ask Thomas. “What first attracted you to the non-bright and biddable Justice Thomas?” I’d ask Crow.

They’re a pairing made in American hell, a bad influence on each other and a terror to fellow citizens, particularly women. For 20 years, Crow has treated Thomas and his family to luxury cruises on his yacht, flights on his private jet, and stays at his East Texas ranch and his private Adirondacks resort, ProPublica reveals. His gifts, including portraits, have been lavish. Thomas keeps them secret. 

It is a horror show.  And note the silence -- still -- from so many 'left' YOUTUBERS.  And note the shameful whores rushing in to defend Clarence and/or his sugar daddy.  The always embarrassing ATLANTIC offers garbage from Graeme Wood who rushes to defend Nazi Harlan Crow -- Clarence's sugar daddy:

Recent reporting by ProPublica has suggested that that is what Harlan Crow in fact is: a sinister Croesus meddling in world affairs, chiefly by corrupting Clarence Thomas with gifts of private-jet flights and bottles of pricey French wine.
Crow also owns Nazi memorabilia, including paintings by Adolf Hitler, a signed copy of Mein Kampf, and a set of swastika-emblazoned napkins. 

But, please note, Graeme insists that doesn't make him a Nazi.  After you question Graeme's sanity, the next one is to ask if Harlan is also Graeme's sugar daddy?

No, you don't own a signed copy of MEIN KAMPF unless you're a fan boi.  If you're disturbed -- the natural reaction -- by Hitler crimes and you somehow end up with a signed copy, you throw it in the trash.  You discontinue it as a collector's item in the interest of the millions who suffered because of Hitler.  That's before we get to the paintings and the "swastika-emblazoned napkins."  

Hon, Happy April 20th.  Clarence and Ginni are coming over, where do we keep the swastika-emblazoned napkins?

I've already placed them on the sideboard, right next to our commemorative Heinrich Himmler plates.  Happy April 20th.

The incident reflects the broader lack of accountability at the high court regarding off-bench behavior. Justices regularly brush aside reporters’ queries for specifics on travel and gifts, book advances and other extracurricular activities.

They have repeatedly spurned calls by members of Congress that they adopt a formal ethics code. Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Dick Durbin made another such plea to Roberts this week as he also urged the chief justice to open an investigation into Thomas’ conduct.   

At the same time, the high court has long benefited from a certain degree of good will, free of the scrutiny watchdog groups and news media have given the legislative and executive branches of government.

They may have squandered that good will.

Polls show the public approval of the court – now controlled by a conservative supermajority – plunging. The pattern was accelerated after last summer’s reversal of longstanding precedent in multiple cases, most notably the decision dissolving nearly a half century of abortion rights precedent.   

It's an illegitimate court and its image is in tatters.  This cannot stand. 

There’s no need to demonize and dehumanize any group of people in a legislative process stacked in Republicans state lawmakers’ favor from the get-go. Those are the spoils of 20 years of gerrymandering, packing courts with partisans and voter suppression.

Florida Republicans hold a super-majority and have all the votes in the Legislature necessary to pass whatever bill they and their autocratic agenda-setting leader, Gov. DeSantis, could possibly desire.

But they carry the bully gene in their souls.

They’ve now advanced to quash the most vulnerable among us with evil verbal attacks that have no place in society, much less the Florida House.

At a committee hearing Monday, Rep. Webster Barnaby, a Deltona Republican, railed against transgender people, calling them “demons and imps” and “mutants from another planet.”

Disgusting behavior on many levels, but the lack of decorum and civility is especially galling because he’s targeting vulnerable people — misunderstood transgender people, who have the highest suicide rates in the country.

Last month in Nashville, widely regarded as the entertainment capital of the South, Tennessee lawmakers passed a law that bans one class of entertainer: "male and female impersonators," otherwise known as drag performers. However, a day before the nation's first anti-drag law was set to take effect, a federal judge temporarily blocked it for violating the First Amendment.

That is right.  It's a free speech issue.  You wouldn't know that from watching the endlessly pontificating Jonathan Turley as he climbed the cross for every right winger who got what was coming to them -- booed.  Booing is not free speech, he Tweets endlessly and he write over and over in bad columns for FOX "NEWS" and THE NEW YORK POST.  Once upon a time, before he became so disgusting, other newspapers would carry him.  Not now.  So Swirley shows up to whine of how uncivil and mean and wrong it is when a hate merchant gets booed (or claims that they were 'assaulted' when there's no evidence to back that claim up) but when lawmakers try to strip performers of their First Amendment right, that doesn't warrant a column -- after over a year of this, he will do a blog post -- where he pretends he just stop breast feeding his own children and -- having birthed children (and nearly gotten back that figure) -- he knows how disgusting drag queens are but . . .  maybe even they have some rights too?  Such is the decaying mind of what once the country's leading legal light.  

Back to Roman Feeser:

How did drag queens get dragged into politics? For that, we turn to the city of Jackson, Tennessee.

In March, Tennessee state Rep. Chris Todd, a Republican, indicated to the state Senate that it was his constituents who requested he take up the bill: "This past year in my community, we had a local group decide to do a, quote, family-friendly drag show. When they listed this as family-friendly, my community rose up."

The community of Jackson never even saw the scheduled Pride performance before opponents raised thousands of dollars in donations and filed an injunction to prevent it from taking place. Todd then introduced the new bill as an obscenity statute to prevent "adult cabaret performers like drag queens from performing in public spaces where children could be present."

Critics of the bill say an obscenity law is already on the books, and that this is specifically targeting the LGBTQIA+ community.

And it does target them.  That's why these laws are being proposed.  But that doesn't concern Jonathan Turley.  He's too busy throwing his lot in with Lorie Smith -- the web 'designer' who insists her free speech rights would be abused and denied if she were forced to design a website for a same-sex couple.  Jonathan's so deep in his homophobia that he can't even note that the woman has no standing.  She's not been asked to do this and said "no."  But, you know, maybe someday, it might come up, possibly.  So by all means let's waste the Supreme Court's time.  Once upon a time, law professors grasped standing, taught standing and questioned it when a case moved forward when the person bringing it did not have standing.

But when, like Jonathan Turley, you now drop to all fours and beg the bigotry to take you from behind, you can't be bothered with legal concepts.

If he didn't also agree to a ball-gag, maybe he could explain to us all how Lorie Smith has been injured?  She thinks she will.  She thinks someday a same-sex couple is going to come to her for a website -- they'd have to be really self-loathing to pay her any money -- and that, when that happens, she will be damaged.  Where's the injury right now?  There is none.

But that's what we have that no one wants to get honest about:  A crazed right-wing, motivated by hate, working to overturn the rights of everyone.  They plot in secret, they seek out idiots like Lorie Smith to pursue cases and they try to get those cases with the judges they want.  I'd argue the whole thing is a criminal conspiracy that is abusing the courts and is a threat to democracy.    As Nazi worshipper Harlan Crow demonstrates, big money gives you access.  Clarence Thomas' sugar daddy is all about pay-to-play and democracy and the law are destroyed as a result.  

But don't look to Turley to weigh in on that, he's too busy gazing up at the hate merchants as he kneels before them, ready to service their every need.

It's really sad when someone's kink is so out of control that they let it destroy their reputation but, boys and girls, that's how low Turley's sunk.

Conservative commentator Ben Shapiro visibly stumbled as he attempted to defend Republican billionaire donor Harlan Crow’s ownership of Nazi memorabilia and remnants from totalitarian regimes.

The Daily Wire founder used his latest podcast to defend Clarence Thomas’ from ProPublica’s report that the Supreme Court justice accepted luxurious gifts and vacations paid for by Crow, and Thomas never marked any of this down in his financial disclosures. This led to Shapiro fuming over the scrutiny Crow has received for his collection of historical pieces from toppled autocracies.

How sad, how very sad.  Billy on the "Unplugged" episode of DIFFICULT PEOPLE (Billy Eichner's character) was tempted by Cecil Jefford until he saw the man's collection of Nazi artifacts.  That was all it took for Billy.  Sadly, the same cannot be said for Ben Shapiro and, Ben, John Mulaney is not playing the part of Harlan Crow.  So exactly what is it that has turned your head?

(John Mulaney's next comedy special debuts on NETFLIX, April 25th, FYI.)

Ben Shapiro can take comfort in the fact that he's still young.  John Stauber can't claim to be young.  Or good looking.

For those who don't know, George Sorors has given to Human Rights Watch so John's furious.  I don't like George Soros.  I'm on record and that goes back to the '00s.  I had to go on record because Ava and I were accused of taking Soros money.  I don't take blood money.  And I'm not a whore.  I can't be bought.  Why did the rumor start?  Ava and I wrote a piece that numerous sites reposted (without our permission, which is fine) and many were, like Danny Schechter's MEDIA CHANNEL, sites that took money from Soros.  We did not take money from him.  We did not take money from anyone.  We were not asked by anyone if they could reprint and we were not told by anyone that they had reposted us.  I knew Danny offline.  When I found out that the Soros claim was because of Danny's reposting, I asked him if he realized that he had damaged our reputation and he replied with a list of other sites that had reposted Ava and my piece.  Those people may have received money from Soros (I know Danny did) but Ava and I didn't.  And we made clear of that and that we found the assertion offensive because George Soros has made his money off the blood of others. That is his line of work.  Others have to suffer for him to profit.  

Unlike John Stauber, I reject George Soros.  John kind of does.  He pretends he's enraged by everyone who takes Soros money and but then he reTweets Susan "Medea" Benjamin, for example.  Does he really not know how much money Soros has given Global Exchange?  

He's deranged.  (Actually both are, John and George.)

How stupid is John?  I mean, I know he's stupid.  Rebecca's rightly pointed out "john stauber is the 21st century david horowitz."  He's gone over to the right and offers his homophobia and his transphobia and reTweets the most objectionable people -- as Rebecca and Ruth have repeatedly documented.  (He also blocked me when I objected to his lying about a friend of mine in a Tweet.  John just makes up garbage these days.)   But has he lost all his marbles (Ruth was just saying he was senile with dementia.)  The reason I ask is it was last week that the new spokesperson was noted.  And yet FOX BUSINESS NEWS knows the immediate impact.  From looking at sales records?  No, from cherry picking a few bars.  Is it even five?  Bad writing bores me and I didn't make it through the whole article.  

Imagine that, FOX BUSINESS "NEWS" -- from the network trying to demonize trans people -- publishes an article with no real figures or, for that matter, data and former media critic John Stauber swallows it down to the hairy root.   Well, at least he's found a calling.  He's kind of like a priest . . . with too much time on his hands and unlimited access to minors.

On Iraq, MEMO notes:

The Iraqi government has called on Turkiye to apologise for an attack on an airport in the country's northern Kurdish region, Reuters news agency reports.

According to the report, the Iraqi demand on Saturday came as a Turkish Defence Ministry official told the Reuters news agency that no Turkish Armed Forces operation had taken place in that region in recent days.

Iraq's presidency said the attack on Friday took place in the vicinity of the Sulaimaniyah Airport in the semi-autonomous Kurdish region, denouncing it as a "flagrant aggression" against its sovereignty.

The US press that has ignored this attack continue to ignore it.  

The following sites updated: