Friday, April 07, 2023

THE VANGUARD and time to award this week's Idiot of the Week

First up, saw this when C.I. reposted it at THE COMMON ILLS earlier.

That is not a good look for Matt Taibbi. And I can't write about a private conversation I had with C.I. in detail but I think I can write the following.  It is known -- and has been known for over 15 years -- that C.I. did not write about Matt because someone who loved Matt asked her to please never do it.  I think Matt was still in Russia when that request was made.  And C.I. honored it up until 2022.  Seeing the video of Matt, it's clear that this is what worried people about Matt.  I asked C.I. if she was going to write about it and she said she didn't plan on it.  But if you've wondered what someone would say that would make C.I. respond, "Sure, I won't write about him," I think you're seeing the issue in the video above.  And that's not meant to trash Matt or make fun of him.  But for years, a lot of us have wondered why someone would be worried about Matt and why C.I. would agree to it.  We did a piece at THIRD in 2009 which was an interview with Evan Bright.  And I thought it went well.  But there was a behind the scenes scramble because Evan mentioned his heroes and they included Matt. And were we going to be able to include that.  As I remember it, Ava and C.I. were off writing "" (their TV piece).  And we were back and forth and Ava and C.I. rejoin and C.I.'s like what's the problem?  We explain it to her and she says, "We're just quoting Evan.  I think quoting Evan is fine and won't break my promise.  If anyone thinks it does then we can just take my name off the Evan piece because clearly Matt is a big influence on Evan."

But watching the video above, it became clear to me why a loved one of Matt's would be worried about him -- and especially worried that C.I. might rip him a new one.  

So, moving on, . . .

Clarence Thomas is the idiot of the week.  He thinks a long-winded 'woopsie' is going to wipe away his corruption.  It's not.  Ben Burgis (JACOBIN) notes:

Florida governor Ron DeSantis’s new book, The Courage to Be Free, strikes a populist tone. He rails against the “the elites.”

But he’s eager not to be misunderstood. Not everyone “of tremendous aptitude, great wealth, or major achievement” is part of the elites. The real elites are defined by their adherence to the “ideology and outlook of the ruling class” and their shared interest in “virtue signaling.”

Governor DeSantis even provides an example of someone whose exalted position might make us think he’s part of these elites even though he totally isn’t.

That example is… Supreme Court justice Clarence Thomas.

DeSantis’s book came out less than two months ago. Yesterday, ProPublica published a story revealing that Justice Thomas has routinely traveled around the world on the superyacht owned by billionaire real estate magnate and Republican megadonor Harlan Crow. Thomas also often flies on Crow’s private jet, even for very short trips, and stays in Crow’s palatial invitation-only resort. The justice never pays a dime for any of this — and he doesn’t disclose it, as is required by both judicial codes of ethics and the letter of the law.

Corrupt Clarence needs to go.  He's a liar and his corruption is on display.  Do they want the French Revolution here?  Or do they want to hold Clarence accountable?  He's not fit to be on the Court.  He's already got 30 years, he should resign.  If he doesn't have the ethics to do that, he needs to removed by Congress.  There is no third option.  He has no honor, he has no ethics.  He is a greedy pig with his and stretched out begging for a corporate pay off. 

By the way, I hope you're noticing the silence on Clarence's corruption.  This is a major story.  People who Tweet repeatedly throughout the day have just ignored it.  That's the pathetic Glenn Greenwald, that's Matt Taibbi, Jimmy Dore, go down the list.  It's strange that they insist they are not lovers of Donald Trump but they can't cover Clarence's corruption being exposed.


Here's C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"


April 7, 2023.  A major truth about an Iraq incident emerges and NPR can now report that Duncan Hunter is responsible for the deaths of two US soldiers, Clarence Thomas is corrupt and exposed but look at our 'straight talkers' (grifters who've moved from the left to the right) who just can't find that story, not even for a Tweet -- all this and Tara Reade puts the food down long enough to fan girl over Marjorie Taylor Greene.

Well I guess if you scream and call them out loud enough, if you shame them just enough, even idiots like Tom Bowman can belatedly due their damn job.  Online, I'm referring to "Tom Bowman acts our War Porn while NPR pushes for the money shot" from March 26.  Offline, I'm referring to endless conversations with friends at NPR.  

Tom Bowman is supposed to be a reporter but he filed a 'report' March 16th that was nothing but porn.  His fellow reporter was too busy impersonating a US soldier -- that should be as big a crime as civilians who try to scam people for money.  Graham "G" Smith acting like he's a soldier with his use of  "Man, . . ."  and "bitch" thinking he's sounding like  a solider.  WTF was that?  how insulting to the enlisted.  

I can remember the first time I went to an AIDS hospice.  A friend put it together -- this was back when many were encouraged to fear people with AIDS and told to be wary of even casual contact.  So I applaud the others who went with me but one, a fortyish TV actor, immediately sat down on the floor in a main area, removed his shoes and socks and thought this was a 60s rap session.  And I looked at the people there and noticed them staring at his bare feet with dismay.  This was their home and he thought he was cozying up to them but he actually was insulting some of them with his actions -- which were overly familiar.

That's "G" Smith.  Or should he have been billed on air as "G" Dawg?

If you missed it, here's the opening of the critique we gave:

NPR's cancelled four podcasts.  (See Ruth's "NPR created their own problems.")  They should make it five.  TAKING COVER needs to be cancelled as well.

Tom Bowman's always been more of an idiot than a journalist -- but he really let his stupidity shine last week with a 'report.'  Bowman and company wasted 49 minutes and over 7,500 words to tell you nothing.  NPR should be ashamed of themselves.  They gave your war porn while claiming it was reporting.  

Here's how it started: A tip to Tom about the US military (when? This year? we're never told).    The tip was  about events on April 12, 2004 in Falluja.  The US military lied.  They concealed details of a death.  They didn't just conceal it in real time.  When Bowman and NPR made an open records request, they were told that there were no records.  

This should have been big.  It should have been huge.

A report like this should have ended with the family of the dead Marine -- or his friends -- speaking about how disgusting it was that the US military concealed his death for 'optics.'   It should have had a comment from Senator Jack Reed who is the chair of the Senate Armed Services Committee. 

It didn't.  Instead we got a lot of nonsense.  Including the fact that no one ever needs to hear NPR reporters tossing around the term "man" as though they're buddies with the veterans.  Graham Smith and Tom Bowman aren't part of the Marines.  They are journalists -- someone should have reminded them of that.


They use the 49 minutes  to serve up war porn.  

And to make themselves the stars.

You can listen to the report and find out about how what books and documents the two 'reporters' went through.  As though that's the story?  Because that is what they made the story.  

Not the death, not the cover up.  In fact most people listening to this garbage may not grasp at the end, after 49 minutes, that Bowman and Smith never revealed what the story needed revealed.

Here's Tom Bowman yammering away early in the porn:

 I might run into a colonel I knew in Afghanistan or a general visiting from his overseas command who can tell me what's really going on. But there are some things, well, people just don't want to talk about in the building. So I might call them at home at night, or...


BOWMAN: ...We might meet up at a bar, which is what happened one night at a whiskey bar in D.C. Actually, this very bar, a guy who spent a lot of time in Iraq told me a story very few people knew. He told me that early in the Iraq War, there'd been this tragedy. U.S. Marines had dropped a mortar or a rocket on their own people. That's what they call friendly fire. Now, in this case, he said, one Marine was killed and another seriously wounded. Friendly fire deaths - they happen. They happen in every war throughout history. That's not what made his story shocking. Here's the thing - he said that the Marine brass had actually covered it up, burying the truth about this terrible incident because, he said, the son of a powerful politician was involved in the screw-up.

"SOUNDBITE OF DRINK POURING"?  That was needed to drive home that the two are trying for entertainment not not news.

A death was covered up.  And it was covered up because "the son of a powerful politician was involved in the screw-up."

We need to know why the cover up and we need to know son of a politician.  

They can add sound effects and they can brag on themselves but Bowman and Harris can't deliver the basic facts.

This is shameful.

49 minutes on this and they never told you a damn thing.  It opened with the tip.  49 minutes later, they had not asked anyone with DoD for a public response, they had no response of outrage from no members of Congress -- and we're never told who the son of the politician was.  

But we got sound effects!  We got "G" Dawg talking in a manner he assumed is how soldiers speak.  We got "bitch" on NPR, didn't we?  We got so much -- so very much of nothing.

And as I've noted here, my conversations with NPR friends were not just me complaining.  A large number of people at NPR were bothered by that nonsense as well.

So Tommy Bowman and "G" Dawg were put back on the story but this time with a chaperone -- Chris Haxel.  With a designated adult on the team, 22 days after their 'report,' it can finally be told: Duncan Hunter.

22 days later.  Despite the fact that Tom Bowman was told it was Duncan Hunter on day one, NPR can finally release the name.  I knew the name back in March.  A friend at NPR and I were on the phone and he told me a listener or two had written in asking if it were Beau Biden.  I said, "No, it's not Beau, he wasn't even in Iraq that year.  If someone wants to figure it out, it's not going to be that hard, there weren't a lot of children of Congress members in Iraq.  There's Duncan Hunter --" and he cut me off with, "I didn't say that."  And his nervousness made it clear that it was Duncan.  They were working on getting a report on the air and I said I wouldn't put it up here until they did.  I wasn't trying to 'scoop' them, my point was that it needed to be public knowledge.

On the night of April 12, 2004, a deadly explosion rocked a schoolhouse in Fallujah, Iraq, where U.S. troops had set up a temporary base. Two Marines died and a dozen were wounded, some severely.

But as seared as the fatal explosion is in the men's memory, to the Pentagon it's as if it never happened.

An NPR investigation found that the explosion at the schoolhouse in Fallujah was a tragic accident — the worst Marine-on-Marine "friendly fire" of recent decades. Officers determined almost immediately that the explosion was caused by an errant 81 mm mortar fired by the victims' own comrades, yet the families of the dead men weren't told for years, despite Marine Corps regulations. Some of the wounded have never been told.

Three officers involved in the deadly mortar fire were recommended for punishment, but that was rejected by the Marines' ground commander in Iraq — Maj. Gen. James Mattis. Consequently, no one was ever disciplined.

And NPR found another secret: An officer who was part of the confusion, but was not cited for discipline, was the son of an important and powerful member of Congress. Then-1st Lt. Duncan D. Hunter was working in the command center that mistakenly approved the mortar launch. His father — U.S. Rep. Duncan L. Hunter — was then-chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, responsible for oversight of the war.

For those who don't know of nepo-baby Duncan Hunter, from WIKIPEDIA:

Duncan Duane Hunter (born December 7, 1976) is an American former politician and United States Marine who served as a U.S. representative for California's 50th congressional district from 2013 to 2020. He is a member of the Republican Party, who was first elected to the House in 2008. His district, numbered as the 52nd from 2009 to 2013, encompassed much of northern and inland San Diego County and a sliver of Riverside County, including the cities of El CajonEscondidoSan MarcosSantee and Temecula. He served in the U.S. Marines from 2001 through 2005 and succeeded his father, Republican Duncan Lee Hunter, a member of Congress from 1981 to 2009.

In 2017, the Department of Justice began a criminal investigation into Hunter and his campaign manager and wife Margaret Jankowski, for alleged campaign finance violations.[1][2] In August 2018, both were indicted on charges including conspiracy, wire fraud, and violating campaign finance laws.[3] In June 2019, Jankowski pleaded guilty to corruption and named him as a co-conspirator in using campaign funds for personal expenses.[4]

Also in June 2019, federal prosecutors showed that from 2009 to 2016, Hunter had spent campaign funds on extramarital affairs with five women, including lobbyists and congressional staff.[5][6] In December 2019, Hunter changed his plea to guilty on one count of misusing campaign funds.[7] On January 7, 2020, he submitted letters of resignation to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and California Governor Gavin Newsom, that took effect on January 13, 2020.[8] On March 17, 2020, Hunter was sentenced to 11 months in prison, scheduled to begin in January 2021.[9][10] He was pardoned by President Donald Trump in December 2020.[11][12][13] The next day Trump pardoned Hunter's wife.[14]

Maybe if old "Mad Dog" had done his job, we wouldn't have had to endure Congress member Little DD Hunter.  But Mad Dog never did what he was required to which is why it was embarrassing to watch some rush to praise him just because he was an enemy of Donald Trump.

NPR's in the news and not for the right reasons.  Twitter has labeled them government funded or something like that.  They do need to be labeled that way, they do get government money.  And the whining over it -- not every friend at NPR agrees with me on this (obviously) -- has been a distraction all week long.  We didn't comment, there was no reason to do so, we had serious issues to cover.   But since we're noting NPR right now -- first time this week, we'll note that.  

And thank you to everyone at NPR who worked so hard to get the truth out -- the truth that Tommy Bowman and "G" Dawg never thought was all that important.

49 minutes about a cover up and they couldn't tell you Duncan Hunter.

Now let's go to the Glenneths.  Starting with Glenneth Greenwald himself.  Not one tweet about Corrupt and Crooked Clary Thomas.  But the transphobes like Glenny insist that there are real issues and it's the transgendered people who are distracting us from them.  Okay, let's go to John Stauber.

Nope.  Not a word.  What about bigot Tara Reade?  

Thank you Tara for speaking with and I today. Courage is contagious. More to come.

Tara, you just get more disgusting.  You really are garbage.  

I honestly thought Jimmy Dore would've Tweeted about it and was about to give him credit for at least breaking from his pack.

This is why we've caught on to your con, people.

Oh, we must defend Donald and it's not about politics, it's about what's right. 

Isn't that the garbage that you transphobes are forever insisting?

No, it's not about anything but your admiration for the Republican Party.

Did someone say Jonathan Turley?

Yep, another transphobe in their con artist group.

I didn't write about Clarence here until right now.  Because Monday through Friday here, I write in the morning.  But even here, we've got these posts:

So five videos on the topic -- one's a CBS NEWS report -- went up here last night and this morning.  Last night, it was the topic of the roundtable for the gina & krista round-robin.   And many community sites covered it.

It is big news.  

Here's some of Elaine's post:

Tonight, I have a question: What do you have to do to get impeached if you're on the Supreme Court?

Your wife being part of organizing a riot doesn't appear to be an issue.  You're breaking the law doesn't appear to be an issue.  Ken Meyer (MEDIATIE) notes:

ProPublica appears to have sparked a looming media uproar with their bombshell report on Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas’ acceptance of luxurious perks from a Republican megadonor, which Thomas never disclosed as required by law.

The report delves into multiple instances over the years where the conservative justice and his wife, Ginni, were treated to lavish vacations, yacht cruises, and flights on a private jet, all on the dime of billionaire real estate developer Harlan Crow. ProPublica analyzed flight records, internal documents, and interviews with dozens of Crow’s employees to track his access to Thomas and the number of times he schmoozed with Crow and his friends while accepting princely trips to exclusive locations.

Crow gave ProPublica a statement on his friendliness with the Thomases while claiming he and his cohorts “never sought to influence Justice Thomas on any legal or political issue.” However, ProPublica reports that Justice Thomas never revealed anything about this in his financial disclosures, which raises the possibility he violated ethical norms along with a law requiring public officials to disclose these kinds of gifts.

He needs to be immediately removed from the bench.  He cannot effectively rule on others and other issues when he himself cannot follow the law.  He needs to be removed.  Their should be zero tolerance.  This is not a kid.  This is not someone who doesn't know the law.

Clarry T is not only supposed to know the law, he's supposed to rule on it. 

If he can't follow the law himself, no one should have any confidence in him as a judge.  He needs to be removed from the Court immediately.  Failure on the part of Congress to take action would constitute a dereliction of duty.

Crooked Clarry Thomas needs to resign immediately or he needs to be impeached and removed from the Supreme Court. Natalie Musumeci and Oma Seddig (Business Insider) report:

US Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas has been taking secret lavish vacations on a private jet and superyacht paid for by a GOP megadonor for years without disclosing them, according to a bombshell ProPublica report published Thursday.

Thomas, a conservative who joined the nation's highest court in 1991 and is currently the longest-serving member, has accepted the trips from real estate magnate and Republican donor Harlan Crow nearly every year for more than two decades, ProPublica reported, citing flight records, internal documents, and interviews.  
According to the report, Thomas has vacationed with Crow on his 162-foot yacht around the world, flown around on Crow's Bombardier Global 5000 jet, and stayed at his private resort in the Adirondacks almost every summer. 

A June 2019 Indonesia vacation that Thomas and his wife went on, thanks to Crow, could have cost more than an estimated $500,000 if Thomas had chartered the yacht and plane himself, according to the report.

This is corruption plain and simple.  He needs to be off the Court immediately.  There is no excuse for doing it and there's no excuse for failing to report it.  This is corruption and this is betrayal of the public trust.  There is no way that he can continue to serve on the bench.  If Democrats allow him to they're spitting on the rule of law.

Everyone is accountable and no one is above the law.

He needs to go.  This is grossly offensive.  He needs to go.  He needs to go immediately.

Now for some news.  Elaine's writing about PROPUBLICA's expose on Crooked Clarence.  Thomas has not been reporting many ''gifts'' such as private jet travel.  He is dishonest, he is shady and he needs to resign.   John Wagner (WASHINGTON POST) reports:

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Richard J. Durbin (D-Ill.) vowed in a statement that his panel would take action in response to the ProPublica report, calling the behavior of Thomas “simply inconsistent with the ethical standards the American people expect of any public servant, let alone a Justice on the Supreme Court.”

Durbin and other Democrats renewed calls for the Supreme Court to adopt a strict ethics code that would include a process for investigating alleged misconduct, and some Democrats called on Thomas to resign.

“This cries out for the kind of independent investigation that the Supreme Court — and only the Supreme Court, across the entire government — refuses to perform,” tweeted Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), who has sponsored legislation that would direct the court to adopt an ethics code.

Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), who is chairman of the Senate Appropriations subcommittee on financial services and general government, promised to use the appropriations process to ensure that the Supreme Court adopts a code of conduct similar to other members of the federal judiciary.

“The Supreme Court should have a code of ethics to govern the conduct of its members, and its refusal to adopt such standards has contributed to eroding public confidence in the highest court in the land," Van Hollen said in a statement.

“Is Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas corrupt? I don’t know,” Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Calif.), a member of the House leadership team, said in a tweet. “But his secretive actions absolutely have the appearance of corruption. … For the good of the country, he should resign.”

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), who has previously called for Thomas to step down, renewed her call Thursday, saying “[t]his degree of corruption is shocking — almost cartoonish.”

He resigns or he gets impeached -- those are the only two choices.  He's made a mockery of the law and he's no longer fit to preside over it.  Resign or be impeached.  And shame on anyone who doesn't have the backbone to push impeachment if he refuses to resign.  We either have a Supreme Court that follows the law or we don't.  And his corruption reeks.  

This is not minor.  The con artists have slammed transgender people and have told us that they are a distraction.  There are important issues to focus on, they insist.  As they focus on Donald Trump and how wrong his case is.  What case?  He's been charged, he hasn't been tried but they're acting as though he's behind bars on death row.  They can't make time to defend the transgender community and, in fact, they ridicule it.  And they're just calling balls and strikes, understand.  This isn't about partisanship. 


Clarence is an embarrassment for the Republican Party so they just all happen to ignore it?

No, they're exposing themselves.

What Clarence did is outrageous.  

And they have no comment.  Not even a damn Tweet.

He needs to resign and if he won't resign he needs to be impeached.  The Supreme Court is for sale -- that's the message Clarence has sent with his actions.  He cannot rebuild the public trust.  

He needs to go.

But they can't say that.  I guess they haven't gotten their marching orders yet from Tallahassee? 

Let's stay on Jonathan Turley for a moment because he came up in a Zoom yesterday and I made a point that I didn't realize wasn't well known.  It goes to how outrageous his transphobia has been.  I was talking about how disgraceful that this person holding the Shapiro Chair of Public Interest Law at George Washington University had been.  A young man asked me what "public interest law" is?  That's a good question.

Public interest law is defined as anything affecting the well-being, the rights, health, or finances of the public at large, most commonly advocating for those living in poverty or marginalized populations. While it can be tireless work, and the financial rewards are not great, on campuses across the country, the desire to “give back” is growing.

Jonathan holds the chair and spends all of his time obsessing over millionaire Donald Trump.  In the last 12 months, he's only offered one defense (and that was last week and only because his image of a transphobe is building across the country) -- and  a weak one -- of the attacks taking place.

Every week, that community is attacked.

This is QUEER NEWS TONIGHT from yesterday.

Jonathan Turley is not fit to hold that chair.  He's a Trump apologist who does nothing to defend the powerless.  He's taken more recently to attacking schools and public education.  He's sold his soul to FOX "NEWS."

He and the others have exposed themselves, have shown their true nature.  Their silence on Clarence Thomas should be the last clue anyone needs.

The following sites updated: