Propublica didn’t start out investigating Clarence Thomas. They were investigating travel and happened on the Crowe connection with Clarence Thomas. Thomas had taken Crowe’s private plane and flown to Connecticut for only a few hours. Talking to charter companies, they said that renting a jet for a comparable flight would cost somewhere like $70,000.
Crowe is very involved in pro0business conservative politics. He’s a major republican donor. Also, he has given millions to ideological efforts to move the judiciary to the right. He sits on the board of major conservative think tanks.
Joshua Kaplan was one of three reporters who broke the initial story of the Thomas corruption.
2019, Thomas flew to Indonesia and spent nine days island hopping on Crowe’s super yacht complete with private chefs.
The first direct financial transaction was an undisclosed financial transaction, involved the house Thomas mother lived in. Money directly flowed from Crowe into Thomas’ pocket.
There are few rules about what kind of gifts Supreme Court Judges can receive. Thomas appears to have broken the law for not disclosing any of these gifts.
Then, after these stories broke, there were other stories, like that of Neil Gorsuch who struggled to sell a property and then nine days after being confirmed to the Supreme Court suddenly sold it to the head of a top law firm.
Then, there was the wife of Chief Justice Roberts who made $10 million placing lawyers with law firms. Some of them have had had business before the court.
There is no oversight of the court.
This is one of those nights when I think I am going to lose my mind. First, there was Nicolle Wallace weeping on national television over the fact that Tim Russert died and his son wrote a book. You would think that nobody’s parent ever died in the history of the world. First, I have never understood why people find it necessary to winge on and on about Russert. I am sure he was a nice guy, but please, all this adoration? I don’t get it. Second, Luke Russert is not the only person who has ever experienced grief or hardship. Why does his grief merit an entire segment on nightly corporate news? Third, Nicolle Wallace was making it perfectly clear to her audience last night that she was crying over gun deaths. We do not need news anchors weeping. We need a media that will stand up for what is right, cover something beside the latest episode in the “Trump’s Legal Trouble” saga.
Alright. Then, there’s Ari Melber. Melber’s guests are talking about how the brinksmanship over the debt limit is “so yesterday.” The base seems to have moved on to fights with Disney, etc. I have no idea how this conclusion was reached by Chai Komanduri, a guest on Melber’s show. I really think that establishment Washington is incapable of realizing that the REALLY CRAZY faction of the Republican party actually wants to throw the world into economic chaos. People like Steve Bannon want there to be an economic catastrophe so they can establish a religious fascist state in the ruins.
Establishment Democrats refuse to fight, refuse to look at the reality of the political situation in this country. The Republicans are not going to be defeated in some kind of nice, rules-based debating session. They want to tear down society, to tear it apart. It seems like they will have to do it before establishment Washington will realize the truth. But, we will be the losers.
These are the most serious protests in the history of Israel.
Half a million people were in the streets on Saturday.
There are warnings of a civil war.
He has a tiny majority with far right and ultra-orthodox factions.
The protests have been going on for ten weeks.
The protests are increasing in ferocity and number.
January – New government, a “legal reform” was introduced. Taking away most of the checks and balances of democracy.
Ultra-orthodox groups see the Supreme Court as having imposed its own values on the rest of society.
Half the population sees it important to preserve an independent judiciary.
It’s about a secular and liberal segment of the population in the economy and in the military. What’s worried about are the other policies that will follow this change.
Two critical communities have mobilized, the tech sector which is threatening to leave the country. The other group is officers in the reserve units of the military. They are threatening to refuse to serve what they see as a dictatorship.
Netanyahu has been surprised by the reaction. The involvement of these two sectors – tech and the military – makes it harder for him to portray the protesters as unpatriotic anarchists.
He has tried to placate the reserve forces, a climb down for him.
The protesters have not focused on the Palestinian citizens. (This has been a criticism).
Western allies have been “surprisingly vocal” on this issue. Biden and other senior administration officials have said that there is a need for independent judicial institutions. The western Jewish community has also expressed discomfort with the changes.
Netanyahu senior officials shunned by groups in the US.
Netanyahu is trapped. Other parties will not join his government because he has been indicted. The factions supporting Netanyahu are determined to take down the Supreme Court.
It’s another day and still, still, the west does not stop the killing and destruction in Ukraine. I am ashamed.
Report of a man who was the chief of a yacht owned by a Russian oligarch. He tried to scuttle the yacht and was arrested. He went back to Ukraine.
Zwack: The longer the Ukrainians hold, the more pressure there is on Russia. Troops are hearing what is going on at the front. Because of last minute notification of the fact that they were going into a war, the Russian troops were unprepared. (Note: Zwack has a book about pre-Putin Russia.
The Alabama Attorney General refused to say that Biden was “legally elected and lawfully serving” when testifying in front of the Congress.
Carole Leonig: what knowledge did Justice Thomas have of his wife’s activities? “The optics are just horrible for the Supreme court Justice.” Because he is the one justice who voted not to turn over the records. That vote was without legal support. This looks bad for the court in general. There is a ruling that is a “suspicious” vote, and then the text messages come out. Leonig is minimizing the importance of Genni Thomas’ input. (Note: Meadows’ response is not the issue, Genni Thomas’ behavior is.)
Scarborough: Genni Thomas was the “establishment of the establishment” when Scarborough knew him. She was saying that Biden and his family would be tried on barges off Guantanamo. The Republican party has been taken over by “cranks.” (Note: Again, political movements are diminished in importance through the “crazy” label.
Lemire: Flynn has been videoed giving a Q-anon salute. Her behavior does not break any law. (Note: Isn’t it against the law to plot a coup?)
Eugene Robinson: (WP) “This is crazy stuff.” She was talking about watermarked ballots and boats off Guantanamo. This is an example of “radicalization” of the conservative movement in Washington.
Lemire: Talking about the “limitations” on what we can do to deter Putin. He is talking about crippling sanctions that haven’t done anything. (Note: If they are “crippling” why aren’t they doing anything?).
UKRAINE WORLD (@ukraine_world)
Around 300 people were killed at the Mariupol Drama Theatre.
Russians were disseminating the story that the US had funded bio labs in Ukraine. Now they are saying that Hunter Biden was involved in financing these labs.
Zelensky is warning about famine.
Wesley Clark has said that Putin may use low yield nuclear weapons, probably not in Ukraine, but on the staging areas or some populated area in Poland.
US and EU announce a “task force” to reduce dependence of Europe on Russian oil and gas. (Note: A task force?)
Reuters is reporting that the US estimates an up to 60% failure rate for Russian missiles.
Australia sanctions Lukashenko and 22 Russians.
Russian shelling is preventing the rotation of essential personnel at Chornobyl.
Mariupol City Council calls for help as residents begin to die from starvation.
Russia claims to have “evacuated” 400,000 Ukrainians to Russia, including 84,000 children.
Zelensky urges G7 to fully block Russia’s Central Bank and block Russia from the GPS.
Zenensky: “You have thousands of fighter jets, but we have not been given one yet.”
The Police General in Mariupol offers to surrender himself to the Russians in exchange for getting children out of Mariupol.
Japan will freeze assets of 25 more Russians and prohibit exports to 81 Russian organizations.
Remember when Thomas’ confirmation hearings were going on, Thomas reportedly was laying in a fetal position under a table crying about the “high-tech lynching.”
Elie Mystal, of the Nation Magazine, is a national treasure.
He is like a breath of fresh air in the middle of the stale, phony, self-serving, power and celebrity worshiping hosts and commentators appearing regularly on corporate news.
One, just one of the reasons I love him is that he rolls his eyes on national television. Another reason I love him is that he tells the truth and talks like a regular person. He doesn’t use ten words with one will do, and he doesn’t surround every statement he makes with a boat load of qualifying phrases.
He rolls his eyes, he tells the truth, he doesn’t obfuscate because (unlike almost every other person appearing on corporate news) he is not afraid.
The right is not afraid of stealing Supreme Court seats, lying, cheating, rigging elections, subverting justice and a whole host of other things. The center, however, is a culture of people who are afraid. They are afraid to see the truth right in front of their faces, afraid to confront depressing and distressing facts, afraid of the very possibility of offending somebody, afraid of being inconvenienced, afraid of not perhaps, maybe not getting some job they haven’t even thought of yet.
I spent almost a decade out of the country. When I returned, I was astounded to hear a student tell me she couldn’t take an internship at World Wildlife (World Wildlife, not the Communist Party) because she might someday want to apply for a job with the State Department. This is who we have become. The right, the Republican party is fighting 24-hours-a-day to establish a Christo-fascist authoritarian government and those in the center are afraid of their shadows.
On Thursday, Nicolle Wallace, MSNBC, spent an entire segment of her program listening to people lionize the members of the January 6 Commission for considering, considering referring Steven Bannon to the Justice Department for criminal contempt. But, as Eli Mystal pointed out on CNN this morning, the whole process of the referrals to the Justice Department is nothing but theatre.
What every news program and every host should have been pointing out is that the Committee has (but is not using) the right of inherent contempt. Using this right, the Congress can jail people who don’t abide by subpoenas until they do abide. They don’t have to refer the matter to the Justice Department and wait for Biden’s (wimp noodle) hatchet man, Merrick Garland to act.
In addition, inherent contempt means that people like Bannon will be jailed and stay jailed until they provide the information that was subpoenaed. Going down the criminal contempt path and referring to the Justice Department, assuming Garland will prosecute (which he will not) and assuming a conviction, only punishes the offender for not cooperating. It does not secure the information needed.
So, the House Commission investigating the coup attempt should be shamed and criticized for not taking the path designed to get the information we need. Instead, they are heralded as heroes, patriots, courageous public servants. The Nicolle Wallace program last night became a virtual campaign ad for Benie Thompson and the other members. Not once, did Wallace or any of the members of the panel she assembled tell the American people that what the Commission was doing was a sleight of hand maneuver to look like they were doing something and not doing it.
Similarly, the Commission Biden appointed to study the Supreme Court expansion was “designed to fail.” As Mystal wrote in April when the commission was formed: “Biden’s choices confirm the worst fears court reformers had about the president: He doesn’t want a solution; he wants an excuse to do nothing.”
Quoting from Eli Mystal’s article IN APRIL:
“Instead of creating a commission of high-minded reformers or bare-knuckle politicos, Biden has created the quintessential government committee that is purposefully designed to accomplish nothing. The “Commission on the Supreme Court” isn’t even allowed to make policy recommendations on what to do about the Supreme Court. It is merely supposed to “study” the issue, which is like hiring a chef to draw pictures of food instead of cooking a meal. When Republicans take power, they don’t commission a book report on what they should do with the courts. They show up to Washington prepared to reshape the judiciary from day one. Biden showed up prepared to read a law review article.”
“Perhaps even more troubling, instead of balancing some of the center-left people on the commission with more, or any, outspoken advocates of court reform, Biden went the other way and put Federalist Society scholars and judges in there to drag the whole thing to the right. I cannot recall the last time a Republican president bothered even to consult a Democratic voice, never mind a genuinely left voice, on how to proceed with a matter related to the Supreme Court. But Democrats continue to act like they need a hall pass from Republicans before they take any action.”
Their inclusion—again, at the expense of some of the individuals who have been actively fighting these people and their conservative takeover of the courts—is insulting.
It’s also a giant waste of time. Donald Trump appointed 226 fire-breathing conservative judges to the federal bench in just four years; we are 20 months away from a midterm election during which Democrats might lose their tenuous grip on power; yet Biden’s committee on studying whether we should maybe, possibly try to fix the court will spend 180 days dickering with Federalist Society people about what Thomas Jefferson would do.”
This report did exactly what it was intended to do, provide cover for Biden who doesn’t have the stomach to expand the Supreme Court (or get rid of the filibuster for that matter). As Mystal pointed out, the commission itself was composed of people who make their living arguing before the Supreme Court. Appointing a commission like that is like appointing the sharks to supervise water safety.
In addition, the commission had nothing to say, nothing, about ethics and the Supreme Court. The Supreme court is the only judicial body in the country with absolutely no ethics regulations. There is no requirement for members of the Supreme Court to recuse themselves from cases in which they might have an interest. There is nothing to prevent the wife of a sitting Supreme court Justice to participate in a coup attempt to overthrow the government. Ethics complaints filed against Bret Kavanaugh were summarily buried after his appointment to the Supreme Court.
But, the Biden administration, so widely hailed on corporate news spins its wheels, claims the high ground and does nothing.
Afghanistan has evidently disappeared since Biden and the corporate democrats have declared the war over and the operation a “success.”
Now, the corporate media evidently intends show hundreds of hours of disaster coverage. Fortunately, there is a hurricane that can be used as an excuse for doing any real investigative reporting. The disaster coverage comes in two categories. The first is telling us what has happened and reciting statistics, flood levels, houses affected, etc. The other involves telling “hero” stories, heart-warming stories of heroic behavior during difficult times. These stories are designed to convince Americans that what they are watching is not clear evidence that climate change is an existential threat. As one New York Congresswoman said today “We’ll be fine.” That should be the sentence running over and over endlessly at the bottom of the screen.
The “hero” stories are like the “brave first responder” stories that always follow a mass shooting. Look, the corporate media says, this is not a mass shooting which should make you go bat shit crazy over the state of the society you live in, this is an example of how wonderful we really are, how we are an exceptional people. And, with the hurricane, this is not about climate change that has been brought about by the greed and corruption of a few, but an opportunity to celebrate our heroic natures.
Meanwhile, as the corporate media is interviewing the hundredth reporter standing in water saying NOTHING OF INTEREST TO ANYBODY, Kevin McCarthy is using the Republican Party and threatening to destroy private companies if they comply with a lawful investigation into the Jan. 6 coup attempt. Just let that sink into your head. Kevin McCarthy (with the agreement of Marjorie Taylor Greene and Tucker Carlson) is promising to use the power of the government to destroy private companies if they comply with federal law while Democrats are in power.
You can’t appoint members of the Supreme Court if the Democrats are in power and you cannot comply with a lawful order if Democrats are in power.
But, why get too bent out of shape? We’ll be fine.
Neal Katyal, the darling of legal commentary on MSNBC, is on Nicolle Wallace’s show to comment on the Texas SCOTUS decision about abortion. Katyal is whining about the decision and blaming the Republicans for putting three radical authoritarian judges on the Supreme Court. Katyal was the person who introduced Gorsuch in his confirmation hearings. Katyal wrote an article scolding Democrats and liberals for not supporting Gorsuch as the best qualified candidate. And, MSNBC still has him on. And, to make matters even worse (if that’s possible) Katyal is now saying that we have to “do something” about the state of the judiciary. Well, there were people who were trying to “do something” about the state of the judiciary when Kaytal was out there trying to win career brownie points chiding liberals for pointing out the dangers of a Gorsuch appointment. I am so sick of these people.
The Biden administration is taking on the same elitist “we’ll handle this you don’t need to bother” attitude that characterized the Obama administration. And, the result will probably be the same.
When there was clear evidence that the Russians had hacked into the election infrastructure in 2016, Obama, fearful of appearing partisan, refused to make the information public. Harry Reid all but announced the information, but the corporate media ignored him. But, Obama, remained silent.
According to staffers, Obama was so confident that Hillary was going to win, he figured she would take care of the issue after she was elected. “We’ll handle this.” Right.
Well, it didn’t turn out that way and we wound up with a Russian puppet in the White House for four years. We will never know the extent of the devastation of that four years.
Obama cared more about his legacy than he did about the American people and the damage is incalculable.
Biden is issuing the same patronizing kinds of statements about the recent outbreak of conflict in Israel. The administration is doing “quiet diplomacy.” That’s the story. “We’ll handle this you don’t need to bother.” It’s behind the scenes because really cool guys (like Biden) with experience (like Biden) know that it’s better to move behind the scenes than come out publicly and (in this case) demand a ceasefire.
In fact, not that you would know it from watching corporate news (celebrity gossip, agent driven interviews about new books, rap lyric quotes, hand wringing about the hypocrisy of the Republicans, the creation of Liz Cheney as a super-star) but the U.S. government has blocked a UN Security Council call for a ceasefire three times since this conflict began.
Why, why would the U.S. block a call for a ceasefire? What possible purpose would that serve unless you wanted to signal to Netanyahu that we support driving the Palestinians into the sea?
But, there is not a peep about this on the corporate news, or at least not that I have seen. It’s all reassuring elitist head patting. “We’ve got this under control.” “Don’t worry.” “You don’t have to know what’s going on. Just trust us.” “After all, it’s uncle Joe and his son died.”
When Barak Obama decided he knew better than the American people what to do about the Russian hacking, we wound up with the disaster of Trump, three Supreme Court justices not to mention a legion of federal court judges who comprise a ticking time bomb. Biden adopting the same “trust me” attitude is not comforting.
The corporate news by and large is promoting its usual “both sides” analysis. Well, the Israelis are launching some missiles and Hamas is launching some missiles. But, as was pointed out on Christine Amanpour’s show on 17 May 2021, there is no symmetry in the destructive power of the two entities.
And, as Ehaled Elgindy, former advisor to the Palestinian authority commented on Amanpour’s program, the Israelis are essentially asking that Hamas stop firing on Israel in exchange for the Israelis stopping firing at some time in the future as yet undetermined.
Elgindy noted that what was needed was the “robust” involvement of Biden in the situation, not the passive approach he is taking at the moment. Elgindy argued that Biden was essentially saying to Netanyahu, go ahead, we’ll run diplomatic interference for you until you get what you want. Biden should be calling for an immediate cease fire. Because he is not, Biden is “greenlighting” the process.
Elgindy continued that the policy in Washingon is basically that we have to “hug Israel” to get them to do anything. Through 54 years of occupation, expulsions, and blockades, all Washington is willing to come up with are “positive inducements.” The U.S. has “enabled” the situation for decades.
This week on the horrible Morning Joe (home for all middle of the road has beens who have nothing, and I mean nothing,to say) David Ignatius claimed that there wasn’t really anything the U.S. could do about the situation.
Meanwhile, Washington approved $735 million in precision-guided weapons to Israel. The Democrats were largely silent.
Can I just say that Sam Nunberg is an imbecile. He was in an important position in the Trump as a “campaign advisor” because he is an imbecile and now CNN is interviewing him as if he is this expert on anything.
Nunberg at one time faced prosecution because of his role in the Trump campaign and he is saying about Trump: “He is not a perfect man.” Nunberg, says that he has no regrets about working to get Trump elected. This fruitful line of discussion was cut off by the CNN anchor. But, Nunberg continued: “I don’t regret the Supreme Court. I don’t regret …Israel.” “He (Trump) did a service to the forgotten men and women…” “I am happy he beat Hillary Clinton…”
Tony Schwartz, who was also on the CNN panel broke in to confront Nunberg. Schwartz said it was “sad to hear somebody say I don’t take any responsibility.” “Come one Sam.” “It’s time to say the truth about this man.”
But, Nunberg, growing visibly angry, just continued to defend Trump.
While CNN cut this discussion off, it is an important one. What it demonstrates is that these people around Trump (even those who have been left out to dry in terms of prosecution by the Trump administration) have learned nothing. To the extent that Nunberg is willing to criticize Trump and those around him it is because they didn’t step in to legally protect Nunberg.
On to another topic raised by the CNN coverage this morning. Tony Schwartz said that this might be his last public statement about Trump because everything that can be said has been said.
I agree with Schwartz. I am completely disgusted with this continued cheap psychoanalysis of Trump that takes up hours and hours on corporate news. I don’t care what Trump thinks. I don’t care what is “inside Trump’s head” as CNN purported to cover this morning. I care about what Trump does and what he represents and what the complicit group of people around him are fomenting. This is a movement and make no mistake, Mitch McConnell is as much a part of it as is Donald Trump. Getting rid of Trump (if we even can) is not going to solve the problem.
This is one of the reasons why people in my intellectual territory of the Democratic Party shudder every time Biden or his cohorts starts to talk about “healing” or “unity” or (to repeat Obama’s line) “moving on.”
McConnell may have decided that he has gotten as much out of Trump as he can, and is now ready to kick him to the curb. But, moving on means McConnell and the Koch’s will find somebody else, smarter, cleaner, more devious, and more palatable to carry on the fight to establish an authoritarian one-party Christian nationalist state. That’s where they have been going for decades and where they will continue going, with Trump at the head or not.
Mitch McConnell (and McConnell’s wife), Bill Barr and others are making self-serving statements, so that they can live to fight another day. And, the corporate media is already complicit in laundering the reputations of prominent Republicans. Joe Scarborough is a prime example of someone who will happily criticize Trump (who threatened to out his adulterous affair, and who called Scarborough a murderer) and then turn around and laud Republicans who are complicit in advancing Republican goals while making superficial criticisms of Trump.
“I don’t regret the Supreme Court” should be tattooed on the foreheads of Mitch McConnell, Steve Schmidt, Joe Scarborough, Elise Jordan, Nicolle Wallace, Mitt Romney, Pat Toomey, Ben Sasse, John Bolton, George Conway, Bill Kristol, Michael Steele, Jeff Flake, Justic Amash, David Jolly?, John Kasich, Tom Cotton, Marco Rubio, Susan Collins, Richard Burr, James Lankford and many others.
Folks, these people are not our friends. They cannot be our allies. They have worked for decades to bring this situation about. They established the groundwork for this situation. They cannot plead ignorance and innocence now.
Just note the phrases of submission, of deliberate non-threatening language in the opening statement of ACB. The play here is: Look, this is a soft-spoken, non-threatening, non-intellectual mom, home, apple pie person. How could you be afraid of this? But, make no mistake about it, this woman is the handmaiden of oppression.
“I thank the President” “my family” “I thank” “I am especially grateful” “it has been a privilege” “my family” “my husband” “have been married” “he has been a selfless” “marriage” Marriage “is easy.” “far luckier in love than I deserve.” “parents” “wonderful children.” “parents” “her parents’ “love” “liberal arts” “brought him home” “happy-go-lucky” “kind” “our delight” “loves watching movies” “mom” “siblings” “dearest friends” “happy” “so grateful” “my parents” “my parents” “life of service, principle, faith and love.” “grade-school spelling bee” “Dad sang” “devoted teachers” “high school” “literature class” “my first presentation” “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” “feared I had failed” “my professor” “filled me with confidence” “mentor” “degree in English” “passion for words” “legal mentors” “my first job” “continues to teach me” “he is cheering me on” “from his livingroom” “taught me” “devoted to his family” never let the law define my identity” “discussed the issues with my colleagues” “remain mindful” “I read every word from the perspective of the loosing party” “one of my children was the party””I would understand” “fairly reasoned” “deeply honored” “sacrifice, particularly from my family” “believe deeply” “humility” “with appreciation” “I was nine years old” “grace and dignity” “When I was 21 years old” “just beginning my career” “forever grateful” “honor of a lifetime” “valued colleague” “I might bring a few new perspectives” “first mother of school age children” “only sitting justice who didn’t attend law school at Harvard or Yale.” “Maybe I could even teach them a thing or two about football.” “I would like to thank” “reached out with messages of support” “I believe in the power of prayer” “so many people are praying for me.” “I pledge faithfully”
The Supreme Court is a nightmare.
Women, just think about where we are. This statement was not an exposition of brilliant legal reasoning. Instead, it was a woman displaying stories about her children, her husband and how wonderful he is, how she might teach men on the Supreme court something ABOUT FOOTBALL. What a f…ing embarrassment. Disgraceful.
I despise the celebrity culture that has taken over this country. The Democratic National Convention was nothing other than a cheap, vacuous, celebrity infomercial devoid of policy and full of “cult of personality” programming. It was an embarrassment.
Somehow, we were supposed to believe that because Joe Biden is a nice guy and has lost family members, he should be president of the United States. Somehow, we were supposed to pat ourselves on the back and glory in the fact that we had nominated an African American, Asian woman to be vice president. Never mind the policies of these two people. Never mind their histories. It is supposed to be enough that these two are telegenic, just as nice as they can be, and fit certain categories of human beings.
That is evidently where we are.
After the convention we were treated to more infomercials. In one of them, Kamala Harris had a charming, laughing, conversation with Barak Obama about Biden liking ice cream and wearing a certain kind of sunglasses. This was seriously intended to get us to vote for the Democrats – the fact that the party elite could chat on television and laugh about the personal foibles of the candidate. This is what they think of us. This is nothing but insulting.
In the true fashion of this celebrity worship culture we have going on, the corporate media is this weekend, endlessly talking about the life of Ruth Bader Ginsburg. We are in the middle of a war for a democratic society, and we are engaging in celebrity worship.
As Elie Mystal pointed out writing in the Nation, we don’t have time for this, and Ginsburg would be the first person to see that we don’t have time for this.
Ginsburg occupied a pivotal position on the U.S. Supreme Court and her death has created a crisis that just illustrates the dysfunction of the government and the society. The death of a judge, one judge, shouldn’t throw the country into a crisis. The appointment of one judge shouldn’t mean the difference between democracy and authoritarianism. But, it does. It hands to the Republicans the opportunity to conclusively warp this society into an authoritarian kleptocratic state devoid of rights for regular ordinary human beings.
This is where we are. We have to fight this authoritarian take-over with everything in our beings. But, tonight, on CNN they are hosting Scalia’s son to discuss (out of all the other things about Ginsburg’s life) the beautiful relationship between Ginsburg and one of the arch enemies of law and therefore democracy, Antonin Scalia.
I’m sorry but I just can’t stomach this. I suppose there is somewhere, something laudatory about being able to be friends with people who are sitting at the peak of privilege and wealth and power and working to destroy democracy and the rule of law for the rest of us, but I just don’t see it.
If we have to sit through this eulogizing of Ginsburg, the last thing we need is to have right-wing Federalist Society zealots to talk about her. The last thing we need is to try to convince people that what we need is more bipartisan cooperation. No, we need less, and we need to fight for democratic law and democratic institutions.
The corporate Democrats who have much more reason to talk about Ginsburg, are bad enough. Last night, Nina Totenberg was on Rachael Maddow talking about her friendship with Ginsberg. She said wistfully that Ginsburg had planned to retire in 2016 and have her successor named by the first woman president. Isn’t that special? I might plan to have thoroughbred horses fly out of my ass, but that doesn’t mean it’s going to happen.
This story was presented as if it demonstrated something positive about Ginsburg, and it has been retweeted today by people who obviously think the same thing.
To me, it just demonstrates what was wrong with the Democratic Party elite in 2016 and what is still wrong with the Democratic Party elite today.
Barak Obama declined to tell the American people the truth about something crucially important to them. He refused to tell them that Russian operatives had intervened in the 2016 election to the extent of penetrating the voting systems in 50 states.
Obama made this decision, as far as I can tell, because first, he was afraid of the reaction of Republicans if he came out and told the American people without bipartisan support. He was so afraid of appearing partisan he lied by omission, lied about something vital to the functioning of democracy. Mitch McConnell refused to join Obama and make a public, bipartisan statement and Obama didn’t have the guts to do it alone.
Second, Barak Obama was afraid of tarnishing his cherished legacy by appearing to be “partisan” in the 2016 election. He was more concerned with his legacy (to people who despise him) than his country.
Third, Barak Obama was so sure Hillary Clinton was going to win, he decided he wouldn’t have to tell the truth to the American people. Clinton could solve the problem after she was elected.
All three of these excuses stink to high heaven and again illustrate something characteristic about the Democratic corporate elite.
This professional class of Democrats think they know better than the American people how to run the country. They think that their judgement is better than everybody else’s.
They can handle, among themselves, an unprecedented intrusion into the election process. Why tell the unwashed masses?
Obama reportedly thought that telling the truth would shake the confidence of the American people in the election process. He’s not the only member of the Democratic elite to think this. There are an astounding number of people out there who will react like vicious dogs if the integrity of the election process is even questioned.
The logic of this position just amazes me. It goes something like this. The election process has been corrupted but we mustn’t tell the American people because it might shake their confidence in an election process that because of corruption can be no longer relied on. So, it’s better to have the American people believe a lie, continue to trust an election system that can’t be trusted. It’s better because we (the Democratic elite) can deal with it ourselves, behind closed doors. That worked out really well.
This same kind of hubris evidently led Ruth Bader Ginsburg to think she could continue (in ill health and advanced age) to sit on the Supreme Court and have Clinton name her replacement. Having the first woman president name her replacement made a good story, a fitting end to her career. And, like Obama, she was convinced (so convinced she was willing to risk our future) that Clinton was going to win. Even with a compromised election process (which they all knew about), Clinton’s baggage and low approval ratings and an e-mail scandal, Clinton was going to win. Why? Because they wanted her to.
I’ve got news for these people. They don’t get to determine what’s going to happen. They don’t control events. What kind of delusional hubris leads one to stay in a position at the Supreme Court, a crucial position, a history changing pivotal position, counting on the fact that they are going to waltz out with the first woman president because that’s what they want to happen?
I’m sorry. Ginsburg appears to have been a wonderful person, lawyer, activist, but someone genuinely concerned with and committed to the struggle, with the future of the country for ordinary people, would have resigned during Obama’s administration to make sure that the ideals she believed in and fought so hard for, had a chance of continuing.
And, I fault not only Ginsburg but Obama and his administration for not pushing her resignation. I ask you: What is wrong with these people?
I keep going back to a film quote. As Yankees are overrunning Atlanta, Aunt Pittypat is concerned about Scarlet having a chaperone. Dr. Meade, in utter and complete frustration yells: “Good God, woman, this is a war, not a garden party.”
But, this Democratic elite – the politicians, the “strategists,” the pollsters, the pundits – all of them are so filled with pride and smug assuredness that they can’t see what is happening around them.
Even now, after all the mistakes of 2016, the Democratic corporate elite seems to be waltzing off an electoral cliff supported by their own delusions.
Ginsburg wasn’t a healthy 50-year-old. They knew she was ill, had known for years. If they couldn’t convince her to resign when Obama could nominate a successor, they should have had a strategy for what they were going to do if she suddenly died during Trump’s administration. They should have hit the ground running on Friday night, not sat stunned, grief stricken, and still counting on the Republicans to “do the right thing.”
I mean, Jesus F…ing Christ. Anybody who is now, four years into this administration, relying in any way on the Republicans to do the right thing, is just brain dead (I include Cory Booker in that category).
For the first time on Friday night, I heard Chris Hayes interview somebody (Rebecca Traister) who sounded like I and a lot of other people have felt for four years. Traister was and said she was terrified and furious. She sounded like somebody who was terrified and furious, not like the stable of “calmers”, the “institutions are holding” gang on MSNBC who have been interviewed today. Cory Booker, Klobuchar, the presidential historians, Hirono (as much as I love her), Capehart, Jarrett.
I swear I think that part of the deal to convince all the corporate democrats to drop out of the race and endorse Biden was an agreement by MSNBC to interview them every fifteen minutes.
Last week, Cory Booker was on Ari Melber’s (also disgustingly celebrity laden) show claiming that what we needed was a “return to civic grace.” That’s Booker’s answer to an authoritarian take-over, a return to “civic grace.” I’m sure Mitch McConnell will take that “return to civic grace” and stuff it up Booker’s nose.
I would like to mourn her. But even Ginsburg herself realized there would be no time for that.
McConnell has already removed the filibuster rule for Supreme Court appointments, which means he needs only 50 votes to confirm a new justice (since the vice president breaks any ties), and he has 53 Republicans.
It’s not hard to see how McConnell will control his caucus. Remember, while some Republicans will occasionally furrow their brows in performative outrage at the latest Trump tweets, almost all of these people are in favor of the hardcore conservative legal policies Ginsburg spent her life opposing.
Republican senators might not like Trump’s handling of the coronavirus, but they love taking health care away from millions of people; they love the deregulation that leads to environmental destruction; and they consider it a moral imperative to reduce a pregnant woman to the legal status of a medical incubator…
Obama either didn’t anticipate McConnell’s unprecedented maneuver to block his nominee or thought that Garland’s moderate stances would cause other Republicans to resist McConnell’s gambit to block him.
These are people who support “…the right to bear shoulder-launched grenades…”
It would now seem like the list of potential Supreme Court nominees Trump produced last week was released with some kind of inside information about Ginsburg’s failing health
McConnell has proven that the composition of the Supreme Court is a function of raw political power.
We must do everything we can to stop McConnell from filling Ginsburg’s seat and, however that turns out, we must retake political power and reform a Supreme Court that has been irrevocably broken by McConnell’s ongoing hypocrisy.