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, . . .
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.
Here's C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"
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...
(SOUNDBITE OF DRINK POURING)
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.
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.
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 Cajon, Escondido, San Marcos, Santee 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. In August 2018, both were indicted on charges including conspiracy, wire fraud, and violating campaign finance laws. In June 2019, Jankowski pleaded guilty to corruption and named him as a co-conspirator in using campaign funds for personal expenses.
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. In December 2019, Hunter changed his plea to guilty on one count of misusing campaign funds. 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. On March 17, 2020, Hunter was sentenced to 11 months in prison, scheduled to begin in January 2021. He was pardoned by President Donald Trump in December 2020. The next day Trump pardoned Hunter's wife.
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.
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.
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.”