Thursday, May 04, 2023

That illegitimate Supreme Court

Isaiah's THE WORLD TODAY JUST NUTS "Matt Gaetz Wet" went up last night.

The same Texas billionaire who treated Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas to lavish vacations paid private boarding school tuition for Thomas’s grandnephew, a boy the justice has said he raised as a son, according to a new report that said Thomas did not disclose the payments.

ProPublica reported that Harlan Crow, a prominent Republican donor, paid tuition at Hidden Lake Academy, a boarding school in Georgia, as well as at Randolph-Macon Academy in Virginia, for Mark Martin. Thomas had legal custody of the boy.

The publication cited a bank statement that showed Crow paid $6,200 in monthly tuition at Hidden Lake Academy in July 2009. Christopher Grimwood, a former administrator at the school, was quoted as saying that Crow “picked up the tab” for the entire time Martin was a student there, about a year. Grimwood also told ProPublica that Crow told him that he paid tuition as well for Martin at Randolph-Macon Academy, which Martin attended both before and after his time at Hidden Lake Academy.

ProPublica said the exact total Crow paid for Martin’s education remains unclear. But if he paid for all four years at the two schools, the cost could have exceeded $150,000, based on public records of tuition rates at the schools, the publication reported.

Yes, back on the beat of the illegitimate Supreme Court.  Only a fool (Jonathan Turley) would believe there's nothing wrong with Clarence Thomas and his sugar daddy.  Steve Benen (MSNBC) notes:

The difficult questions surrounding Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas and Republican megadonor Harlan Crow are not altogether new. The New York Times reported 12 years ago, for example, on the men’s “ethically sensitive friendship,” and the fact that Crow had showered Thomas with lucrative gifts, including a generous check to the justice’s wife to start a lobbying organization, despite the fact that Crow’s company had multiple cases in the federal court system.

But by any fair measure, those questions have become far more serious over the last month. ProPublica reported nearly a month ago on the extent to which the far-right jurist has spent the last couple of decades accepting gifts and luxury trips from Crow, which Thomas failed to disclose. The outlet ran a second report soon after, noting that the real estate magnate also bought property from Thomas, which the justice also failed to disclose.

The story grew even more serious with the latest ProPublica report, published this morning.

According to the report, which has not been independently verified by MSNBC or NBC News, when the teenager attended a second boarding school, Crow picked up that tab, too. That also went undisclosed.

If you read the PROPUBLICA story, watch for this:

“Harlan Crow has long been passionate about the importance of quality education and giving back to those less fortunate, especially at-risk youth,” the statement said. “It’s disappointing that those with partisan political interests would try to turn helping at-risk youth with tuition assistance into something nefarious or political.”

It is disgusting that a relative of a Supreme Court judge -- disgusting and racist -- would be labeled "less fortunate, especially at-risk youth."  What a crock.

It is an illegitimate Court and we need Congress to reign them in.  If they can't, let's pack the Court because there are crooks on the Court and we need to balance them out.  

The Supreme Court has run out of excuses.

Earlier this month, after ProPublica revealed that Justice Clarence Thomas frequently takes lavish vacations funded by billionaire Republican donor Harlan Crow, Thomas attempted to defend himself by claiming that this sort of “personal hospitality from close personal friends” is fine because Crow “did not have business before the court.”

As it turns out, that’s not true. As Bloomberg reports, the Supreme Court — including Justice Thomas — did briefly consider a $25 million copyright dispute involving a company that Crow was a partial owner of in 2005. At that point, Crow had already given a number of gifts to Thomas, including a $19,000 Bible that once belonged to Frederick Douglass.

As ProPublica later revealed, Crow even paid for the private school education of Thomas’s grandnephew, who Thomas said he is raising “as a son.” That includes tuition at a boarding school that charged more than $6,000 a month.

Similarly, if the rule is that justices must be extra careful when dealing with people who have business before the Supreme Court, then Justice Neil Gorsuch may also have violated this rule. According to Politico, a tract of land that Gorsuch owned with two other individuals was on the market for nearly two years before it found a buyer — nine days after Gorsuch was confirmed to the Supreme Court. The buyer was the chief executive of Greenberg Traurig, a massive law firm that frequently practices before the Supreme Court.

As Politico notes, “such a sale would raise ethical problems for officials serving in many other branches of government,” but the rules governing the justices are particularly lax.

There is a federal statute which requires all federal judges, including Supreme Court justices, to recuse themselves from any case “in which his impartiality might reasonably be questioned,” but there is no effective enforcement mechanism to apply this vague law to a Supreme Court justice.

Mike's going to be tackling Clarence and the Court tonight too so be sure to check that out.

"Iraq snapshot" (THE COMMON ILLS):

Thursday, May 4, 2023.  Exploitation in Iraq, Antonia Juhasz returns to the topic of how oil destroys our world, a look at the three races for the Democratic Party's presidential nomination, and much more.

In 2005's STRANGERS WITH CANDY (directed by Paul Dinello, screenplay by Paul, Stephen Colbert and Amy Sedaris), Amy stars as 47-year-old Jerri Blank who's gone back to Flatpoint High School to get her diploma. To get her out of his classroom, her teacher Mr. Noblet (Colbert) sends her to the grief counselor (Sarah Jessica Parker).


Jerri Blank : Are you the grief counselor?

Peggy Callas : Oh, god, it never ends. Have a seat. I should tell you up front, each student gets ten minutes, that last student took fifteen, so you get five.

Jerri Blank : Well, that's not fair!

Peggy Callas : Take it up with Les. He's the one that's frigid.

Jerri Blank : I'm Jerri Blank and my daddy's in a coma.

Peggy Callas:  You know what, Jerri? I wish my daddy was in a coma. He's dead, Jerri. He was executed for War Crimes -- but for insurance purposes, we say he was eaten by wolves. Anyway, my point is, Jerri, somebody's always got it worse. 

Anyway, my point is, Jerri, somebody's always got it worse.  And it's true.  Even in Iraq.

THE CABLE reports:

The National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) says Nigerian women working as domestic workers in Iraq are being exploited.

Fatima Waziri-Azi, director-general of the agency, raised the alarm in a statement released on Wednesday by Vincent Adekoye, the NAPTIP spokesperson.

Waziri-Azi said most of the women are requesting assistance to return home.

The DG said the women were trafficked to Iraq under the guise of greener pastures, adding that most of them were young.


The NAPTIP also mentioned that awareness by the agency and other partners of the well-known destination countries across the globe had now made traffickers shift their attention to Iraq.

“We are inundated with pleas for rescue and repatriation from female victims trafficked to Iraq, especially to the cities of Baghdad and Basra, where they are distributed to homes by their recruiters to a hard life of domestic servitude,” stated Ms [Fatima] Waziri-Azi.

She added, “Available information shows that many of these victims have been admitted to hospital many times due to long work hours under harsh conditions they are forced to undergo. Most of them have complained of deteriorating health resulting from the weight of work.”

The NAPTIP explained that they “are constantly under threat of being harmed either by their direct employers or the Iraqi agents, each time they complained of unbearable workload.”

In other news, Human Rights Watch posts a piece by Antonia Juhasz:

Ali Hussein Jaloud, an Iraqi man barely in his 20s, died April 21 of leukemia, a disease Ali and his family attributed to the pollution from the oil production and constant gas flares that surround their community in the southern Iraqi town of Rumaila, about 50 kilometers from the port city of Basra.

Many of us around the world felt we knew Ali and suffered his death personally, having followed his story in BBC and Unearthed investigations of the human and environmental toll of fossil fuel operations in Iraq, focusing on the devastation caused by flaring.

Flaring occurs when fossil fuel companies burn off excess methane gas from oil operations rather than capturing the gas in pipelines. When burned, the powerful greenhouse gas more than 80 times more potent at global warming than carbon dioxide over a 20-year period – is released into the atmosphere. After Russia, Iraq accounts for the most flared gas in the world.

Flaring also releases toxic pollutants known to harm human health, including benzene, a human carcinogen that can cause leukemia. An Iraq Health Ministry report leaked to the BBC attributed pollution from the oil industry, among other sources, as the cause of a 20 percent rise in cancer in Basra between 2015 and 2018,  and revealed cancer cases in the region to be  three times higher than publicly disclosed figures.

Iraqi government officials have acknowledged a link between the oil pollution from flaring and cancer. Iraq’s former environment minister, Jassem al-Falahi, told the BBC that pollution from oil production is the main reason for increases in cancer rates in Basra. Similarly, Luay Al-Khateeb, Iraq’s former oil minister, told Unearthed that unregulated oil operations in southern Iraq and “poisonous gases being flared in the air” are the link to rising cancer rates.

Flaring is a global crisis with clear solutions. The Iraqi government should start by moving beyond simply acknowledging the problem to enacting and enforcing tight regulations to restrict flaring, providing proper health services to impacted communities, and making polluters compensate those who have suffered, as required by Iraqi law. To address the full harm to local communities and the global climate, the government should transition away from fossil fuels.

Ali’s was a tragic yet predictable death. “I hope in the future that these companies go away,” Ali says in the film. “That the emissions stop, so children can live in peace.”

Iraq will be one of the hardest hit by climate change according to current models.  The effects are already being felt.  Sinan Mahmoud (THE NATIONAL) observes:

Climate change, mismanagement and conflict have contributed to the depletion of water resources, affecting agriculture and food security.

One of the most pressing issues is dwindling flows of the two main rivers, the Tigris and Euphrates, mainly as a result of upstream dams in Turkey and Iran, as well as poor water management.

The country is experiencing its worst drought in decades, with temperatures exceeding 50°C last summer. Many of Iraq’s lakes have also shrunk — in some cases revealing ancient cities previously thought to have been lost to the water.

This morning, Tim Stickings (THE NATIONAL) reports:

Germany on Thursday pledged to help protect Iraq’s drinking water as Chancellor Olaf Scholz travelled to Africa with his sights on clean energy.

Berlin is to invest €62 million ($68.5 million) to shield water supplies in Iraq’s southern Muthanna province from the effects of climate change, Germany said after two of its senior officials visited the country.

It comes after a climate summit in Berlin heard calls to help the developing world tackle global warming.

A lack of clean water compounded by climate change is threatening livelihoods, public hygiene and food security in Iraq and other countries across the Middle East, as The National found in a special report.

Let's move over to the US and remember the Sarah Jessica Parker line about how someone's always got it worse.  I didn't think it could get much worse, however, QUEERTY reports:

Florida has thrown LGBTQ+ people under the bus again… and this time they’d better not be hoping for hospital treatment for their injuries.

Yesterday evening the state’s House approved SB 1580/HB 1403. The Senate approved the legislation last week. It allows healthcare providers and insurers the right to refuse patients in line with their conscience. It’s officially called the “Protections of Medical Conscience” Act.

The legislation includes clarification stating healthcare providers cannot turn anyone away based on their “race, color, religion, sex, or national origin.”

Notice what’s missing from that list?

Yes, there’s nothing about sexual orientation or gender identity. Democratic lawmakers pushed for amendments to include LGBTQ+ protections but they were all rejected in the Republican-majority House and Senate.

During a heated debate on the issue, Democrat Anna Eskamani offered up potential ramifications.

“A nurse could refuse to provide a doctor’s prescription for fertility drugs to a single woman or someone who identifies as a lesbian,” she said. “Nursing homes could refuse to provide elderly, transgender residents for their ongoing hormone treatment.”

The American Taliban has got to be stopped.  I don't have time for idiots right now.  I'm 100% with Trina on this -- see her "My problems with Anthony Zenkus" -- and I don't understand if Anthony thought he was being cute or what -- more to the point, I don't give a damn.  Screw you, Anthony, if you're not in the fight.  I don't need your little attempts at clever.  I need you to be defending the rights of the people.  If you can't do that, just say so and we'll know your an enemy to democracy and the people.  This isn't minor.  The Republicans have declared a war on all of us.  It's against women (DOBBS), it's against African-Americans (the targeting of school curriculums), it's against LGBTQ+, stop making your "cultural war" 'jokes.'  They aren't funny and they only reveal how shallow and empty your mind is.

We're talking about people potentially being refused care.  These are basic rights that were long ago established and the American Taliban wants to destroy them.

I don't have time for your 'silly,' Zenkus.  Get on board or you've made it clear that you are foe.  We have enough of those already.

I really don't want to do the horse race so I'm only weighing in when something strikes me as worth commenting on.  In the Democratic Party field, Joe Biden, Marianne Williamson and Robert F. Kennedy Jr. are all running for the party's presidential nomination.

I don't get Fiorella Isabel and that's why I'm commenting today.  She's a host on THE CONVO COUCH.  People accuse her of being a 'Russian agent' because she's on RT.  Being on RT doesn't make her a Russian agent.  Being in love with Vladimir Putin, however, might.  I am against the US proxy war on Russia and it didn't take months for me to say it.  I called it out in real time.  I also called out some of the 'lefties' in real time who couldn't find a voice but now have one and try to pretend like they weren't offering justifications for the war.  

I don't love Vladimir Putin -- or any world leader.  I like Daniel Ortega.  I don't love him.  I enjoy talking music with Daniel.  This site isn't a celebration of Daniel or a fanzine to him.  

I bring this up because Fiorella has a problem with RFK Jr.: 

A lot of people have rose-colored glasses about RFK Jr simply for his stance on COVID. But that’s not enough when foreign policy drives the entire world. The same insiders and institutions behind COVID’s nefarious policies for profit & control are behind US foreign & military…

In the video she posts with her Tweet, he says "Putin is a bully and a thug."

Unlike Tara Reade, I've never had sexual fantasies about Putin.  Ava and I love to point out, "We don't fall in love with politicians.  We're not that desperate."

So my point here is: SO?

Who cares what Robert thinks about Putin?  (Disclosure, I know all three running for this nomination.)  I don't need a politician who is in love with another politician.  The fact that Fiorella is so butt hurt over what Robert said makes me wonder how involved with Putin she is?  Is she subscribing to his JUST FANS channel?  Does she suggest content?

Robert is against the proxy war.  That should be the issue.  Not that he won't bow down before Putin.  

It's this sort of 'logic' that makes people roll their eyes when Fiorella speaks.  

Let's note Joe Biden.  Bringing TJ Ducklo onto his campaign staff?  While he kept his word by dismissing Ducklo from the administration, it's a weasel move to bring Ducklo back now.  I don't know why you would do it.  You're trying to put forward an image of the one who does the right thing.  Bringing Ducklo back is not the right thing.  You either take the threats he made against journalist Tara Palmeri seriously or you don't.  This is about leadership and character.  I see neither in bringing  Ducklo onto the campaign.

 What Joe is getting right is the threat that the American Taliban is.  I wish I could say the same for Marianne Williamson.  I was all eager to note her on the topic when Spencer Friedland's article was slid over to me.  Her 'remarks'  were uninspiring (and her comments on abortion should really make us pause).  Add to that the fact that she didn't lead on the trans issue and only commented because she was directly asked.

This is leadership, Marianne.  Lizzo's shown more leadership than you.

Out pop star Hayley Kiyoko says she was told by police that bringing drag performers onstage at her show in Nashville, Tennessee could result in legal action. She brought the queens onstage anyway.

In a long Instagram post, Kiyoko explained that after attending a drag show at Nashville gay club Play ahead of her May 1 tour stop in the city, she decided to invite some of the performers to appear onstage with her the following night at Marathon Music Works. But, she writes, “At soundcheck the day of, I was advised by local law enforcement that having a drag performance at my all ages show could result in legal action. They warned us to not bring any drag performers on stage.”

People are standing up.  Marianne isn't one of them currently.  Strange because, at her website, she can post this:

Our Declaration of Independence holds that the inalienable rights of, “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness,” are endowed to ALL humans by their creator at birth. In 2015, marriage equality became the law of the land, yet there is still no federal law explicitly protecting the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) communities from discrimination. These communities, therefore, do not enjoy the full breadth of freedoms that this country espouses to guarantee to each and every citizen.

This is in direct violation of our founding principles.

Generation after generation, people have fought to rid our country of the “except for’s.” “Except for blacks,” “except for women,” and so forth. Today, we are challenged by the ongoing prejudice that seeks to repudiate the fundamental American dedication to freedom and equality for all. The idea that there should be God-given life, liberty and pursuit of happiness, “except for them,” is a stain on our national character.

The ability to pursue a livelihood free from discrimination is a right denied, every day, to members of the LGBTQIA+ communities. It is estimated that roughly 7% of the US Population identifies as LGBTQIA+. But this large percentage of our population still does not have full legal rights and due process rights in many aspects of their life.

Unfortunately, the problem is now even worse than that. Certain parts of the LGBTQIA+ population, particularly transgender women of color, are at higher risk for marginalization and even violence. This makes them a population that needs not only equal rights but the specific status of special protection. Under a Williamson administration, they would have that.

The Lack of LGBTQIA+ Protections Today

Currently, LGBTQIA+ citizens are not included in the non-discrimination protections provided by the federal Civil Rights Act, and in 30 states, there are no state laws that protect LGBTQIA+ Americans from discrimination.

A report from the Center for American Progress found that more than half of LGBTQIA+ individuals have experienced discrimination at work, and 68.5% of respondents said that anti-LGBTQIA+ discrimination has impacted their mental health.

Hypothetically, you can legally enter into a same-sex marriage on Saturday. Then, on Sunday, you can be refused service at your local restaurant, denied partnership rights at your local hospital, fired by your employer for your orientation, and evicted from your home by your landlord – with little or no legal protections or recourse available.

According to the Human Rights Campaign, today, more than 320 bills described as “anti-LGBTQIA+” were introduced across 35 states, including adoption laws and so-called bathroom bills. A frightening percentage of these types of bills have become law over the last few years.

Every American deserves to live free from fear of discrimination, regardless of who they are and whom they love.

There have been ongoing efforts for over 60 years to change these “except for” legal loopholes. There has been meaningful, bipartisan legislation in the US House ever since 1974, and one version of this reform legislation has been introduced in every Congress since 1994.

Unfortunately, through the 118th Congress, all these reforms remain unpassed.

Additionally, violence against gay and transgender populations internationally should be of specific concern to the United States. Special asylum status should be granted based on patterns of violence against those now seeking refuge in this country. Unfortunately, there have been reports of violence against transgender persons in American custody, including ICE facilities. Such behavior would not be tolerated in a Williamson administration, and all perpetrators would be held accountable to the full extent of the law.

Live what you post and we'll give you some applause, Marianne.

We don't have time for the closet case running from LGBTQ+ because he's afraid people will know that when the press isn't around he's a power-bottom forgetting his wife and his marriage.  Maybe we'll have time for that politician tomorrow.

But we need to wind down.  While I'm weighing in on things, if "all" Jen Psaki wanted was "to be a cable host," that would be pretty pathetic, I agree, Megyn Kelly.  How pathetic she would be.  The only thing sadder?  If Jen was a failed  cable host.  I'm thinking of someone.  Who is it that's a failed cable host?  Who left FOX "NEWS" as her ratings were in downfall?  Oh, that's right Megyn Kelly.  Yeah, Megyn, that would be pathetic, like you're pathetic.  

I've taken Jen Psaki to task many times over the years going back to when she and Marie Harf were spokespeople for the US State Dept but, when I called them out, I always had a reason -- something that they said or did.  I never called them out for their dreams.  

And if I burned my bridges at FOX "NEWS" and was run off from NBC NEWS, if my career went up in flames to the point that I had nothing impressive to point to and now had to make do with a YOUTUBE program, I don't know that I'd be picking on Jen.  I also should point out that Jen still looks like a human being.  

Megyn, I remember you asking Jane Fonda about her plastic surgery.  She's had it.  I don't remember you asking Robert Redford -- who was in the same interview -- about his plastic surgery (he's had a ton) or about that ridiculous wig he had on his head that looked like road kill.  Tip for you, Megyn, sassy senior men in their 80s?  Their hair isn't naturally strawberry blonde at that age.  

Seems like you're real good about attacking women but you freeze up when it comes to men.  Is that why you had those problems at FOX "NEWS"?  Who knows, right?  Why don't you stick to talking about how Santa's really White?  I mean it's crazy talk but clearly you believe it.  

Isaiah's THE WORLD TODAY JUST NUTS "Matt Gaetz Wet" went up last night.  The following sites updated:

Wednesday, May 03, 2023

Crusty Lips Clyburn needs to butt out

Rep. James E. Clyburn (D-S.C.) on Wednesday announced his endorsement of Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) in the competitive Democratic Senate primary in California, breaking with former House speaker Nancy Pelosi, who is supporting Rep. Adam B. Schiff.

Clyburn served alongside Pelosi (D-Calif.) in House leadership for years, most recently as majority whip when she was speaker during the last Democratic-led Congress. Clyburn now holds a lower-ranking leadership position, assistant Democratic leader.

In a statement, Clyburn called Lee “the voice Americans need now in the U.S. Senate.”

Hey, Mushmouth, get your crusty lips out of my state.  You don't live here.  Your state does not neighbor us.  No one needs your tired old opinion.

You're 82 years old and should retire but if you retired you wouldn't be able to keep your children on the public grift.  They're nepo-babies with no real skills and get every job because of who Daddy is.  I generally ignore you because you matter so little.  But for that to continue, you need to know your lane.  Your opinions on California elections were not sought out and are not welcome.  Take your crusty lips home.

I don't like who Nancy's endorsing -- Adam Schiff -- but Nancy's from the state.  You're not.  Sit your tired rear end down and stop flapping those crusty lips.
DiFi is too old so the last thing we need to do is elect another senior citizen.  Barbara Lee's 76 years old right now.   She should have retired 11 years ago.  We don't need to put her into the Senate.


"Iraq snapshot" (THE COMMON ILLS):

Wednesday, May 3, 2023.  France calls out the continued attacks on the Yazidis, it's World Press Freedom Day and Julian Assange is still being persecuted, the crazy runs free in the US (look at the rabid Jonathan Turley and John Stauber), and much more.

RUDAW notes that Yazidis in Iraq are again being targeted:

The French Embassy to Iraq on Tuesday condemned the recent spark in hate speech targeting Yazidis in Shingal (Sinjar), urging relevant authorities to improve the security situation in the northern Iraqi city.

A protest was held in Shingal last Thursday against the recent return of several Arab families to the region where Islamic State (ISIS) militants committed genocide against Yazidis nearly nine years ago. Videos shared on social media showed demonstrators protesting near the mosque with a small fire burning outside the premises and security forces firing bullets into the air in an attempt to disperse crowd. Muslim groups based in Shingal claimed that the Yazidis had set fire to a mosque during the protest.

For more on religious issues in Iraq, see The US Commission on International Religious Freedom 2023 Annual Report which we covered in yesterday's snapshot.

Today is World Press Freedom Day.

Julian Assange remains imprisoned and remains persecuted by US President Joe Biden who, as vice president, once called him "a high tech terrorist."  Julian's 'crime' was revealing the realities of Iraq -- Chelsea Manning was a whistle-blower who leaked the information to Julian.  WIKILEAKS then published the Iraq War Logs.  And many outlets used the publication to publish reports of their own.  For example, THE GUARDIAN published many articles based on The Iraq War Logs.  Jonathan Steele, David Leigh and Nick Davies offered, on October 22, 2012:

A grim picture of the US and Britain's legacy in Iraq has been revealed in a massive leak of American military documents that detail torture, summary executions and war crimes.
Almost 400,000 secret US army field reports have been passed to the Guardian and a number of other international media organisations via the whistleblowing website WikiLeaks.

The electronic archive is believed to emanate from the same dissident US army intelligence analyst who earlier this year is alleged to have leaked a smaller tranche of 90,000 logs chronicling bloody encounters and civilian killings in the Afghan war.
The new logs detail how:
US authorities failed to investigate hundreds of reports of abuse, torture, rape and even murder by Iraqi police and soldiers whose conduct appears to be systematic and normally unpunished.

A US helicopter gunship involved in a notorious Baghdad incident had previously killed Iraqi insurgents after they tried to surrender.
More than 15,000 civilians died in previously unknown incidents. US and UK officials have insisted that no official record of civilian casualties exists but the logs record 66,081 non-combatant deaths out of a total of 109,000 fatalities.

The numerous reports of detainee abuse, often supported by medical evidence, describe prisoners shackled, blindfolded and hung by wrists or ankles, and subjected to whipping, punching, kicking or electric shocks. Six reports end with a detainee's apparent deat

The Biden administration has been saying all the right things lately about respecting a free and vigorous press, after four years of relentless media-bashing and legal assaults under Donald Trump.

The attorney general, Merrick Garland, has even put in place expanded protections for journalists this fall, saying that “a free and independent press is vital to the functioning of our democracy”.

But the biggest test of Biden’s commitment remains imprisoned in a jail cell in London, where WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has been held since 2019 while facing prosecution in the United States under the Espionage Act, a century-old statute that has never been used before for publishing classified information.

Whether the US justice department continues to pursue the Trump-era charges against the notorious leaker, whose group put out secret information on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, Guantánamo Bay, American diplomacy and internal Democratic politics before the 2016 election, will go a long way toward determining whether the current administration intends to make good on its pledges to protect the press.

Now Biden is facing a re-energized push, both inside the United States and overseas, to drop Assange’s protracted prosecution.

Julian remains persecuted.   When does it end? It would be great if it could end today on World Press Freedom Day.  Patrick Martin (WSWS) notes:

The annual dinner of the White House Correspondents Association is an occasion for the media elite and top politicians in Washington to schmooze and declare their mutual solidarity. This is usually couched in the language of defense of the First Amendment, although that constitutional provision has been systematically trampled on by administration after administration in the interests of American imperialism.

Illegal government spying, police violence and the violation of such basic democratic precepts as the separation of church and state are everyday practices in America, and the corporate media generally passes over them in silence as long as its own financial interests are not harmed.

There was more than the usual measure of such hypocrisy at Saturday night’s annual dinner of the White House Correspondents Association, as President Joe Biden and the assembled members of the political and media elite pretended to defend freedom of the press, but only when it serves the foreign policy interests of American imperialism.

Most presidential appearances at the dinner—attended by every president in recent years except Donald Trump—have been characterized by scripted remarks making fun of the audience, the president’s political opponents and critics, and the president himself.

But Biden devoted the bulk of his remarks to a lengthy declaration of his opposition to the repressive measures taken against journalists in Russia, China, Iran, Syria and Venezuela, and pledges to devote US diplomatic efforts to winning the release of Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich, recently arrested on bogus spying charges in Russia, and other American prisoners of the Putin regime.

The coincidence between the list of countries guilty of violating press freedom and the list of countries targeted by American imperialism for subversion and overthrow was obvious. Biden made no reference, for example, to the murder of Washington Post commentator Jamal Khashoggi, killed and dismembered inside the consulate of Saudi Arabia in the Turkish city of Istanbul.

Khashoggi, an adviser turned critic of the Saudi monarchy, was targeted by the de facto Saudi ruler, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, whose security chief sent the hit squad and directed its actions. Biden claimed during the 2020 election campaign that he would turn the Saudi leader into a “pariah.” Instead, in pursuit of greater Saudi oil production, he went cap in hand to Riyadh for talks with the prince/assassin.

But the most obvious case of a double standard was one that involves the Biden administration directly: the persecution of Julian Assange. The WikiLeaks founder and publisher was trapped in the Ecuadorian embassy in London for nearly seven years after he sought political asylum there against a US campaign to seize him and bring him to the United States for prosecution on espionage charges for exposing US war crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan, and at the Guantanamo Bay torture prison.

Since Assange was seized by British police who raided the embassy four years ago, he has been held in solitary confinement in Belmarsh, a high-security prison for terrorists and violent criminals in London, awaiting extradition to the United States, where he would face 175 years in prison if convicted under the Espionage Act. He would be the first journalist prosecuted under the century-old law, passed amid the anti-communist hysteria whipped up as part of US entry into World War I.

If you missed it, the transphobes are uniting.  Jonathan Turley Tweets nonsense and John Stauber reposts it.

I know it's hard for Turley and Stauber to understand business.  But before they choke on their cackles, Bud Light caved to the transphobes.  Some may have walked away from it for good.  But as any marketing major would tell you, what's going on right now is not about the transphobes.  Bud Light refused to stand with their influencer.  CNN already addressed this.  NIKE knew standing with Colin was going to hurt it with some but it would bolster then with others.  Bud Light embraced diversity and then shunned it.  There's no reason for those who believe in equality to continue to support Bud Light.  

So when you go on and on about how, "There sales are down!"?  Idiots, their sales are down because they went off brand.  They're now muddled and no one wants to stand with them.  They managed to anger both sides in the debate.

Some brands are able to walk the line, or pick a side and stick with it. Bud Light failed on both counts.

Again, I know you're both idiots and are too busy weighing in on things you know nothing about.  But that is what's going on and the business press -- as opposed to the reactionary world the two of you have decided to reside in -- grasped that a long time ago.  But I guess conjecture is all they have to offer.  Clearly, John Stauber has tired himself out reTweeting all those BABYLON BEE Tweets.  It's important for John Stauber to amplify the right-wing site's reach because . . . well, he's just that pathetic.  Again, I'm with Trina, he should never, ever be allowed back on the left.  What did Rebecca dub him?  Oh, that's right "john stauber is the 21st century david horowitz."

By the way, Jonathan Turley does not identify himself as a FOX "NEWS" employee on his Twitter feed.  So when he's sourcing his ridiculous claims to the ridiculous FOX "NEWS" articles isn't he required to make some kind of disclosure?  "I am paid by FOX 'NEWS' so I reTweet FOX 'NEWS' content"?  Or has becoming a bigot left him free from all ethical requirements?


I was asked to weigh in MORNING MIKA calling out Nikki Haley for saying that, if re-elected, Joe Biden will die in office.  It is her opinion.  That doesn't make it right.  Don Lemon's opinion was that Nikki was out of her prime.  That wasn't right.  I'd think Nikki, having recently been on the receiving end, would take a little more care and tact with her own statements.  I agree with Mika on this, it was rude and uncalled for.  In other Republican crazy:

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said a mass shooting last week is part of the Biden administration's "plan."

Francisco Oropeza, 38, is suspected of shooting and killing five people in Cleveland, Texas, who lived next door after reportedly being asked by the neighbor to stop shooting his gun so their baby could sleep.

As of Tuesday, the Hispanic suspect—who was identified by ICE due to being deported four previous times before the recent tragedy took place—remains at large and is considered by authorities to be armed and dangerous.

The victims were Diana Velazquez Alvarado, 21; Obdulia Molina Rivera, 31; Sonia Argentina Guzman, 25; Jose Jonathan Casarez, 18; and Daniel Enrique Laso Guzman, 9, according to ABC News.

Need more examples of Republican crazy?  Try this from ROLLING STONE:

Newsmax has been working overtime to capitalize on cable viewers outraged over competitor Fox’s firing of headline host Tucker Carlson. In their eagerness to tear down the conservative media giant, their claims about the network have now boiled over into the outright conspiratorial. 

On Monday night host Eric Bolling, himself a former Fox personality, accused the network’s owners of being members of a globalist cabal working to silence conservatives. 

“The new world order globalists, also known as the Murdochs, [are] trying to destroy Tucker Carlson but do not be mistaken, they’re not stopping there,” said Bolling. 

Bolling went on to name other Fox News personalities who have been fired from the network in recent years, calling Lou Dobbs’ exit in 2021 a “clear Murdoch hit job.” 

Lou Dobbs is 77.  A hit job?  Maybe a mercy killing. 

We may cover a hearing this week.  I planned to cover it today but I forgot it was World Press Day (which means you call out the persecution of Julian Assange).  We'll wind down with this from DALLAS VOICE:

Just a day after Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt signed SB 613 into law, banning gender affirming healthcare for transgender minors in the state, trans rights advocates have filed suit to challenge the new law.

SB 613 bans all forms of gender-affirming medical treatment for transgender youth and threatens providers who violate the law with a felony conviction and discipline from their professional licensing boards.

In a lawsuit filed today (Tuesday, May 2) by Lambda Legal, the American Civil Liberties Union, the ACLU of Oklahoma and the law firm Jenner & Block LLP, a group of families with transgender adolescents and Dr. Shauna Lawlis of OU Health “assert SB 613 unjustly and unfairly targets them and gender-affirming health care in violation of their rights under Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment,” according to a press release from Lambda Legal.

“Based on nothing but animus towards transgender people and a campaign of misinformation and disinformation, Oklahoma officials have decided to prohibit the provision of necessary, safe and effective evidence-based medical care for trans adolescents in Oklahoma,” said Omar Gonzalez-Pagan, counsel and health care strategist at Lambda Legal. “These actions risk the health, the well-being and the very lives of trans youth in the Sooner State. We will not stand idly by as discriminatory laws endanger our community.

“Trans youth in Oklahoma and elsewhere deserve no less,” Gonzalez-Pagan continued. “We are proud to represent, alongside our co-counsel, these five courageous families and a caring doctor who together are standing up for their rights.”

ACLU of Oklahoma Legal Director Megan Lambert added, “Every Oklahoman should have the freedom to access the care they need to survive and thrive. But once again, instead of deciding to boldly lead our state, Gov. Stitt and members of the legislature have decided to risk the lives of one of our most vulnerable populations, to score political points with their base.

“Oklahoma consistently ushers in the bottom of almost every list nationwide, from education and incarceration to healthcare and privacy,” Lambert said. “But lawmakers choose to spend their time pushing dangerous rhetoric on topics they know nothing about and attacking transgender children, instead of addressing the real issues Oklahomans face day to day. We all deserve the freedom to control our bodies and seek the healthcare we need, including gender-affirming care. The ACLU of Oklahoma and our partners have warned lawmakers that we will take swift action on any ban on gender-affirming care signed into law, and today is the day we make good on that promise.”

Harper Seldin, staff attorney for the ACLU’s LGBTQ & HIV Project, called the new law “a dangerous attack on the rights of families and their transgender youth,” saying that Stitt and those who passed the bill “have ignored the voices of parents, medical providers and transgender youth themselves, instead choosing to put their politics between doctors and their patients. We’re confident the state will find itself completely incapable of defending this law in court and welcome the opportunity to fight for the safety, dignity, and equality of trans Oklahomans.”

The following sites updated: