Wednesday, October 26, 2022

Impeach Clarence Thomas

Impeach Clarence Thomas.  That's the answer.  NEWSWEEK notes:

The chances of impeaching U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Clarence Thomas are "slim to none," despite harsh criticism he's received for temporarily blocking a subpoena issued to South Carolina Republican Senator Lindsey Graham.

[. . .]

Nonetheless, Thomas was subjected to strong criticism and even calls for impeachment after he took the decision to grant the stay without referring the matter to the other justices.

Some critics also pointed to the justice's wife, conservative activist Virginia "Ginni" Thomas, who testified in September before the House select committee investigating the January 6, 2021, Capitol riot. She reportedly maintained in her testimony that the 2020 election was stolen from former President Donald Trump.

"Another day, another conflict of interest for Justice Thomas revealed. Add this to the laundry list of impeachable offenses he has committed. He has no business being on the Supreme Court, and no shame," tweeted Democratic Representative Jan Schakowsky.

While the U.S. Constitution gives Congress the power to impeach a Supreme Court justice, no member of the Court has ever been successfully impeached. That appears very unlikely in the case of Thomas, who is now the Court's longest-serving member.

Then the Supreme Court voted to overturn Roe v. Wade this summer, they were only able to do so because multiple justices had lied their way onto the court in the first place. During their confirmation hearings, those justices told Congress that they would not overturn Roe, that they respected the case as “settled law.” We knew those were lies as they were being said, even if certain senators (*cough* Susan Collins *cough*) chose to feign naiveté.

The late Democratic senator Ted Kennedy had no patience for those kinds of lies, even long before the days of Kavanaugh and Coney Barrett. A new biography out today includes portions of Kennedy’s diaries, which detail Kennedy’s distrust of Justice Samuel Alito during Alito’s 2005 Senate confirmation.

Just like the conservative justices that came after him, Alito was asked about his thoughts on Roe during his confirmation hearings and just like those other justices, he claimed to respect the ruling. “I am a believer in precedents,” Alito said, as recalled in Kennedy’s diary. “People would find I adhere to that.”

Of course, Alito did not adhere to that. He wrote the majority opinion for Dobbs v. Jackson WHO, the case that overturned Roe as well as Planned Parenthood v. Casey. In that opinion, he wrote that he believed “Roe was egregiously wrong from the start.”

During Alito’s confirmation, Kennedy brought up a memo Alito had written two decades earlier, when he was a DOJ lawyer in the Reagan administration. The memo stated his opposition to Roe but he swore to Kennedy that he was just writing what he thought his bosses wanted to hear, what would earn him a promotion. He said he’d “matured a lot” since then.

They all lied.  A case could be made for impeaching all who vote in the majority on DOBBS.  But the reasons to impeach Clarry go far beyond that.  This is from a roundtable we did for THIRD:

Ruth: And we need that for the Supreme Court as well.

Rebecca: That or term limits.  This can no longer be a lifetime appointment.  

Betty: I looked it up.  When the Constitution was written, the average life expectancy was 34 years old -- actually 34 and a 1/2.  Now?  78.79 years.  This far exceeds what anyone expected.  The Supreme Court is illegitimate and it doesn't represent the American people.  It's 2022.   Clarry Thomas is 74 years old, he needs to go.  We need people with experience, yes, but we also need mental fitness.  Mental fitness does not mean you haven't lost all of your faculties, it does mean you are able to think quickly and well.  I say a cap of 60 is required for the Supreme Court.  When you hit 60, get off the court.

Jim:  And those who would say that's too young?

Betty: Show me where in the Constitution it guarantees you the right to sit on the Supreme Court.   It doesn't.  It is a privilege and the privilege has been abused so it's time to rectify the matter.

Jim: You called it illegitimate.

Betty: The current Court is illegitimate.  It's made up of people who swore to uphold precedent.  But DOBBS tossed aside precedent.  It was an illegitimate decision from an illegitimate court.  And if that makes Jonathan Turley butt hurt, I don't give a damn.

Jess: Amen to that. 

Isaiah: They are woefully out of touch and they need to retire.  I think we need to do something like a ten year limit for Supreme Court justices.  These people are already out of touch and they just get more so the longer they remain on the bench.  DOBBS revealed that they are hacks.  They're not interested in the rule of law.  Get the hacks gone and let's have a faster turn over.

Jim: I can understand that.  What I don't understand is why they're not pushing to impeach Clarry Thomas?  That would be a winning, turn out the vote move.

Betty: Again, I looked it up before we got ready for the roundtable.  The House impeached Justice Samuel Chase in 1804.

Jim: Some would argue that if we start impeaching now, then it will be endless.

C.I.: Can I jump in?

Jim: Sure.

C.I.: I was asking Ava.

Jim: Ava and C.I. take notes for these transcript pieces. Ava's nodding yes.  The floor is yours.

C.I.: First off, one impeachment, in 1804, did not result in a slew of impeachments.  Second, impeaching Clarry Thomas is not impeaching the whole Court.  I think January 6th has been inflated but the Democratic Party members in Congress do not.  Okay then.  At the very least, it was an abuse of power for him not to recuse himself on matters relating to January 6th.  The committee has now heard from his wife, she was a part of those actions and he should have excused himself.  Strike one.  Strike two, we know he lied in Hill-Thomas.  If you lied in your confirmation hearing and you're found out?  Guess what: Impeach.  You misled everyone.  Anita Hill can offer testimony again and we can also hear from the women that Joe Biden refused to take testimony from.  Strike three?  You tossed aside precedent with DOBBS.  And we're still not done.  Not only did he toss aside precedent, he revealed that he planned to do it again with regards to marriage equality and birth control.  In a functioning world, having revealed his bias, he would now not be allowed to hear on those issues.  But, as evidenced by his failure to recuse himself from cases involving his wife Virginia Thomas, he has no ethics.  A strong case can be made for his removal and should be made. He harassed Anita Hill in the workplace.  That is no longer a question mark and he is unfit to serve on the Court as a result.

Jim: But retaliation --

C.I.: This is not remove all the conservative justices.  This is a case where one reeks of corruption and needs to be removed.  It would actually strengthen the Court because the American people would see that even members of the Court are held accountable.  And, again, this would not then move to target the majority on DOBBS.  There's a world of difference between them and Clarry Thomas.  

Jess: I agree.  And someone needs to be used to show that there is accountability.  The Court is now illegitimate.  A move like this could restore legitimacy.  

Jim: Illegitimate?

Jess: Yes.  When you toss aside past rulings because you didn't like them and just construct a 'verdict' out of thin air, you're illegitimate.  The Supreme Court is illegitimate.  

Dona: If the Democratic Party wanted to hold both houses of Congress, the easiest way in the world would be to announce that if they control both houses in 2023, they will move to impeach and remove Thomas.

Cedric: That's something I could go door to door and sell people on.  Even with the lousy economy, that is something tangible and something that they would see as a benefit for their lives.  

"Iraq snapshot" (THE COMMON ILLS):

Wednesday, October 26, 2022.  Cowards in Congress and homophobes in the court define the US while Iraq has a rare arrest and conviction in the murder of a protester.

Noted homophobe Cathy Miller of Bakersfield, California is being allowed to practice her homophobia and Georgetown homophobe and FOX 'NEWS' 'scholar' Jonathan Turley gets as close to jizzing as a man his age can over her court win.

Turley likes to present himself as a free speech advocate but every year with FOX 'NEWS' takes him further and further away from reality.  In his rush to celebrate discrimination, he loses whatever is left of his legal mind.

Idiot Cathy thinks she's an artist and idiots like Turley have encouraged her in that delusion.  She's a hateful person who doesn't know anything including her own supposed religion.

Idiot Cathy would be traumatized if she had to make a cake if it were for a gay couple getting married!!!! It would destroy her life.

Reality, she provides a service.  That's all she does.  This is not freedom of speech.

In the current climate where Jewish people are being attacked and many people have valid concerns about a revival of the KKK, we don't need more discrimination.  But Turley's on board with it because he's a homophobe.

You carry this nonsense out to the logical conclusion and you see how damaging it is.

You are stranded  because you ran out of gas and the only service station refuses to sell you gas because you're a gay couple and it would violate their free speech rights.  And let's expand it because that is what happens with hate.  So then some bigot gets to insist that their religion doesn't allow for interracial couples and then they're the ones denied service.  Or they insist that their faith means that they only sell to those who have accepted Jesus Christ as their savior so Jews, Muslims, et al will not be served.

No one's asked Idiot Cathy to attend a gay wedding.  She's supposed to be baking a cake.  That is her job.  But she think she can refuse service based upon what the customer does in bed.  It's discrimination, it's not free speech.  She can worship however she wants.  But if she has a business, she can't discriminate.

This is discrimination and lets invoke those two infamous words: "Slippery slope."  

You allow her to discriminate against gays and then you allow the next person to discriminate against mixed-race couples, against people based on their skin color, against people based upon their religion or lack of religion.

She bakes cakes.  I must have missed -- like she missed the part about the Good Samaritan -- the verse on "Thou shall not bake cakes for those you disagree with."  

And on Jonathan Turley, I hope your campus is taking a good luck at what you're inspiring in the comments of your website.  I hope they're seeing the effect that you are having.  I hope they're registering how you regularly issue cover-your-ass statements regarding January 6th or racism when you write about those topics but that you've fostered homophobia online by never feeling the need to even incldue the weak ass defense of "Naturally, I support the rights of LGBTQ Americans."  I hope they're seeing it because it won't be long before they've got a student complaining about your discrimination in the classroom because the two go hand and hand.

Some people are ridiculous and live their later years in fear.  Jonathan's made the choice to be one of those people.

From the embarrassment of Jonathan Turley, let's move to another -- Democrats in Congress.  Eric London (WSWS) reports:

 On Monday, 30 members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus sent a letter to President Joe Biden suggesting the US negotiate with Russia to bring an end to the war in Ukraine. The letter cited “the catastrophic possibilities of nuclear escalation and miscalculation” and expressed concern that the war is forcing billions of people worldwide to suffer loss of access to food and other necessities.

On Tuesday, with the “catastrophic possibilities” just as great as the day before, the Democratic signatories—including all four congressional members of the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA)—withdrew their letter, repudiated calls for negotiation and pledged their full support for the war.

The reversal was immediate and total. In a statement published Tuesday, Caucus Chair Pramila Jayapal (Democrat-Washington state) called Monday’s letter “unfortunate” and apologized on behalf of the letter’s signatories for causing a “distraction” to the war effort. “The Congressional Progressive Caucus hereby withdraws its recent letter to the White House regarding Ukraine,” she stated. Not a single member of the caucus voiced any opposition to the reversal.

Jayapal did not merely withdraw the letter, she also committed the caucus to support the war until Russia is forced to capitulate. “Every war ends with diplomacy,” she wrote, “and this one will too after Ukrainian victory.” But according to the letter issued on Monday, if the Russian government lacks “a realistic framework for a ceasefire,” then the “risk of catastrophic escalation” will only grow. While the signatories wrote Monday that “the alternative to diplomacy is protracted war, with both its attendant certainties and catastrophic and unknowable risks,” on Tuesday they chose “protracted war” and accepted the risks.

Such is the reactionary dynamic of Democratic Party politics. This profile in political cowardice once again demonstrates that the Democratic Party, like its Republican counterpart, is nothing but a political pillar of American imperialism. It is a vehicle for prosecuting Wall Street’s reckless drive for world domination. Its “left” wing, represented by politicians like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (Democrat-New York), is no exception.

These heroes of the upper middle class “left” are scrambling over one another to erase their signatures from Monday’s letter asking for negotiations. In a transparently false attempt to blame her subordinates, Jayapal (who claims to be a supporter of the rights of employees against employers) ignominiously said the letter “unfortunately was released by staff without our vetting.”

Many signatories employed the same phrases to explain that they no longer support negotiations, as though they were reading from a common script. Mark Pocan (Democrat-Wisconsin) tweeted, “I have no idea why it went out now. Bad timing.” Sara Jacobs (Democrat-California) said, “Timing in diplomacy is everything. I signed this letter on June 30, but a lot has changed since then.” Ilhan Omar (Democrat-Minnesota), who was endorsed by the DSA, said, “Timing is everything in public policy, letters are written to respond to a moment and in politics moments pass in the speed of light. In this particular case, the letter was a response to intel we were getting on the war and the pathway forward.”

Omar’s allusion to receiving “intel” in briefings from the CIA and Pentagon is further proof that the pseudo-left is an arm of US imperialism which “responds” to the demands of the military-intelligence agencies. The “intel” Omar and the rest of the Progressive Caucus received in the wake of Monday’s letter was that they must immediately withdraw it and reverse course, which they promptly did.

Here are four video reports on this nonsense.

Chris Hedges (SCHEERPOST) offers:

I have covered enough wars to know that once you open that Pandora’s box, the many evils that pour out are beyond anyone’s control. War accelerates the whirlwind of industrial killing. The longer any war continues, the closer and closer each side comes to self-annihilation.  Unless it is stopped, the proxy war between Russia and the U.S. in Ukraine all but guarantees direct confrontation with Russia and, with it, the very real possibility of nuclear war.

Joe Biden, who doesn’t always seem to be quite sure where he is or what he is supposed to be saying, is being propped up in the I-am-a-bigger-man-than-you contest with Vladimir Putin by a coterie of rabid warmongers who have orchestrated over 20 years of military fiascos. They are salivating at the prospect of taking on Russia, and then, if there is any habitation left on the globe, China. Trapped in the polarizing mindset of the Cold War — where any effort to de-escalate conflicts through diplomacy is considered appeasement, a perfidious Munich moment — they smugly push the human species closer and closer toward obliteration. Unfortunately for us, one of these true believers is Secretary of State Antony Blinken.

“Putin is saying he is not bluffing. Well, he cannot afford bluffing, and it has to be clear that the people supporting Ukraine and the European Union and the Member States, and the United States and NATO are not bluffing neither,” EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell warned. “Any nuclear attack against Ukraine will create an answer, not a nuclear answer but such a powerful answer from the military side that the Russian Army will be annihilated.”

Annihilated. Are these people insane?

You know we are in trouble when Donald Trump is the voice of reason.

“We must demand the immediate negotiation of a peaceful end to the war in Ukraine, or we will end up in world war three” the former president said. “And there will be nothing left of our planet — all because stupid people didn’t have a clue … They don’t understand what they’re dealing with, the power of nuclear.”

 I dealt with many of these ideologues — David Petraeus, Elliot Abrams, Robert Kagan, Victoria Nuland — as a foreign correspondent for The New York Times. Once you strip away their chest full of medals or fancy degrees, you find shallow men and women, craven careerists who obsequiously serve the war industry that ensures their promotions, pays the budgets of their think tanks and showers them with money as board members of military contractors. They are the pimps of war. If you reported on them, as I did, you would not sleep well at night. They are vain enough and stupid enough to blow up the world long before we go extinct because of the climate crisis, which they have also dutifully accelerated.

If, as Joe Biden says, Putin is “not joking” about using nuclear weapons and we risk nuclear “Armageddon,” why isn’t Biden on the phone to Putin? Why doesn’t he follow the example of John F. Kennedy, who repeatedly communicated with Nikita Khrushchev to negotiate an end to the Cuban missile crisis? Kennedy, who unlike Biden served in the military, knew the obtuseness of generals. He had the good sense to ignore Curtis LeMay, the Air Force Chief of Staff and head of the Strategic Air Command, as well as the model for General Jack D. Ripper in “Dr. Strangelove,” who urged Kennedy to bomb the Cuban missile bases, an act that would have probably ignited a nuclear war. Biden is not made of the same stuff.

Turning to Iraq where the big story remains the theft of $2.5 billion.  Since that story hit the news last week, an arrest has been made of a man at the airport trying to leave the country.  Sinan Mahmoud (THE NATIONAL) reports:

Iraq's judiciary claims to have traced and seized “most” of the $2.5 billion embezzled from government funds in the latest corruption case that has shocked the country and drawn UN condemnation.

The announcement of the recovered funds was made by a senior judge in charge of the investigation on Tuesday.

The latest scandal, revealed earlier this month by a government minister, has caused a political storm in corruption-plagued Iraq and is being dubbed domestically as “the theft of the century”.

In the embezzlement, an amount of 3.7 trillion Iraqi dinars (almost $2.5 billion) was fraudulently paid to five companies by the General Commission of Taxes, an office within the Ministry of Finance.

In other legal news, RUDAW notes:

An Iraqi court on Tuesday sentenced a man to death by hanging for the killing of an activist during the 2019 Tishreen protests, reported the Iraqi Supreme Judicial Council.

Prominent activist Thaer al-Tayeb was severely wounded when a sticky device attached to his car exploded while he was on his way back to Diwaniyah from Baghdad’s Tahrir Square on December 15, 2019. He was announced dead in hospital two days later.

“The al-Qadisiyah criminal court issued a death sentence against Kifah al-Kuraiti after the assassination in Diwaniyah province which targeted activist Thaer al-Tayeb,” read a statement from the Iraqi judiciary.

The announcement of the activist’s death prompted angry protesters in Diwaniyah to set ablaze offices of the pro-Iran militias of Asaib Ahl al-Haq (AAH) and Badr, and further charged the hundreds of thousands of people holding mass anti-corruption protests in most Iraqi provinces.

THE NEW ARAB reminds, "More than 600 Iraqi protesters were killed and tens of thousands wounded during the demonstrations. Some activists died in targeted assassinations, including former government adviser Hisham al-Hashemi who was shot near his home in July 2020."  THE NATIONAL adds:

Although departing Prime Minister Mustafa Al Kadhimi has repeatedly vowed to seek justice for the hundreds killed, most of the deaths have gone unpunished.

Two people were sentenced to death last year over the killing of a teenager who joined the protests.

Last year, the UN warned that Iraqi activists were being killed with impunity.

“The rights of many victims and their families to truth, justice, redress and reparation have not been fully respected,” it said in a report.

As we wind down, let's note BROS which is now available in the US on streaming.  Justin Heo (USC ANNENBERG MEDIA) notes:

From the quick-witted angry comedian, Eichner, who is best known for “Billy on the Street” (2011), and filmmakers Nicholas Stoller and Judd Apatow, “Bros” is a rom-com about two men who fall in love. And not to be dramatic, but “Bros” is literally the best gay film I’ve ever seen.

Eichner plays Bobby Lieber, a successful podcaster and chairman of a committee that is overseeing the creation of the first LGBTQ history museum. Bobby takes on the same charms as Eichner: He’s intense and cynical yet crass and self-deprecating. He’s a 40-year-old gay man who has never been in a serious relationship until he meets Aaron, played by Luke Macfarlane.

“Bros” is an easy watch with some familiar story beats. The jokes are hilarious in both its writing and delivery, with standout performances from Bowen Yang and Jim Rash. The comedy is smart, largely critiquing gay culture without mocking it, and pokes fun at infighting among the LGBT community, impossible beauty standards and the promiscuity of gay men.

[. . .]

At its core, “Bros” is a hilarious movie that packs a lot more heart than expected. When the movie is funny, it’s laugh-out-loud hilarious, and when it’s sweet, it’s tear-jerking. There’s something very emotional about seeing a relatable representation of gay men, and “Bros” makes me optimistic for the future of gay cinema, especially as it stands to impact many more queer adolescents by widening its audience and accessibility.

The following sites updated: