The sun is shining, the birds are chirping, and it only snowed a little bit yesterday: I think spring is here (knock wood). - Corey
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THE BIG NEWS
The Supreme Corruption of Clarence Thomas
ProPublica dropped a bombshell investigation yesterday revealing that far-right Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas has taken potentially millions of dollars worth of undisclosed gifts from a Texas-based Republican megadonor, Harlan Crow, in a brazen and possibly illegal violation of judicial ethics. Per ProPublica:
For more than two decades, Thomas has accepted luxury trips virtually every year from the Dallas businessman without disclosing them, documents and interviews show. A public servant who has a salary of $285,000, he has vacationed on Crow's superyacht around the globe. He flies on Crow's Bombardier Global 5000 jet. He has gone with Crow to [Alex Jones voice] the Bohemian Grove, the exclusive California all-male retreat, and to Crow's sprawling ranch in East Texas. And Thomas typically spends about a week every summer at Crow's private resort in the Adirondacks.
The extent and frequency of Crow's apparent gifts to Thomas have no known precedent in the modern history of the U.S. Supreme Court.
These trips appeared nowhere on Thomas' financial disclosures. His failure to report the flights appears to violate a law passed after Watergate that requires justices, judges, members of Congress and federal officials to disclose most gifts, two ethics law experts said. He also should have disclosed his trips on the yacht, these experts said.
Crow even keeps a photorealistic painting of himself smoking cigars with Thomas at his 105-acre private resort, Camp Topridge, where the justice vacations almost every summer. Per ProPublica, "Crow's access to the justice extends to anyone the businessman chooses to invite along" to the resort, including corporate executives, GOP donors and think-tank leaders.
"This is beyond party or partisanship," New York Democratic Rep. and Squad member Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez wrote on Twitter. "This degree of corruption is shocking — almost cartoonish. Thomas must be impeached." Senate Judiciary Chairman Dick Durbin described the ProPublica report as "a call to action" and promised to work on an "enforceable code of conduct" for justices. That's well and good, but AOC is right: impeachment seems entirely appropriate. One wonders, though: is Thomas alone in behaving this way?
MORE STORIES TO WATCH
2 of 'Tennessee 3' Democratic Lawmakers, Both Black, Expelled By GOP – But White Lady Can Stay
Last week, three Democratic state Reps. -- Gloria Johnson, Justin Jones and Justin Pearson -- joined a demonstration for gun control at the Tennessee Capitol, just days after three children and three adults were shot and killed at an elementary school in Nashville. Yesterday the Republican-controlled House voted to expel Jones and Pearson for joining that protest, an unprecedented response to supposed violations of "decorum." Johnson, the only white member of the trio, survived expulsion by a single vote. The authoritarian GOP tactic only drew more protesters to the Capitol, chanting "gun control now" and carrying signs that said "school zones shouldn't be war zones." Before his expulsion, Pearson wrote to colleagues that "it was untenable to hear the chants, pleas, and cries of thousands of peaceful children outside our chambers and do nothing." Yesterday, he said: "We are losing our democracy. This is not normal. This is not OK." Some 200,000 Tennesseans lost representation yesterday.
Idaho Gov. Signs Insane 'Abortion Trafficking' Law
A dubious first-of-its-kind law that bans adults from helping minors obtain abortion care, with penalties of up to five years in prison, passed Idaho Gov. Brad Little's desk on Wednesday. The state Planned Parenthood Alliance called the legislation "despicable," and said "we're going to do everything in our power to stop it." Americans have a constitutional right to travel between states, but the Idaho law, rather creatively, bans only the in-state portion of a pregnant child's trip to an out-of-state doctor. The law also allows the parents of children who obtain abortions to sue anyone who helped the kids. Parents who raped and impregnated their own children will not be eligible to sue – isn't that nice? – but the law's criminal penalties will still apply. Abhorrent. Meanwhile in Michigan, Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer repealed a 1931 abortion ban that had been nullified by Roe v. Wade until the Supreme Court overturned that ruling last year.
- After Wisconsin Election, Democrats Confident in 2024 Strategy Campaigning for abortion rights and against Republican extremism still seems to resonate. via the Washington Post and the New York Times.
- Juror in Proud Boys Trial Fears She's Being Followed "The incident was discussed in multiple sealed hearings this week." via CNN.
- Judge in Trump Criminal Trial Already Getting Dozens of Threats Most are in the form of phone calls and emailed death threats. via ABC News.
- Biden Would Allow Some Anti-Trans School Prejudice A proposed Education Department rule would require schools to provide certain justification when they deny fair treatment to trans athletes. via the Post.
- FBI, U.S. Army Mistakenly Raid Boston Hotel Room During Training "First and foremost, we'd like to extend our deepest apologies," Lt. Col. Mike Burns said. via CNN.
- Silvio Berlusconi Is in Intensive Care with Leukaemia The 86-year-old former Italian prime minister has evidently had the condition "for some time." via the Guardian.
- French Unions Keep Up the Fight with 11th Strike in 3 Months In Paris, protesters set fire to the awning of a restaurant beloved by out-of-town President Emmanuel Macron and took over the offices of BlackRock. via Le Monde and CNN.
That was the cost of a bribe to be released from the migrant prison in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, where a fire broke out last week and killed 39 men whom guards left trapped in their cells. Survivors and guards told Vice News the prison, which held many asylum seekers turned away from the U.S. by Biden administration policies, was an "extortion center."
ON THE SHOW TODAY
DON'T MISS MR CLIPS
Patriots in control.
I'm old enough to remember when rock stars were cool.
"It's appalling to say the least. They said, 'Here, let us take your money, all your life savings, and you can live here forever,' and 10 months later they’re saying, 'We miscalculated, and we are no longer taking Medicaid beds.'"
-- Megan Brillault, speaking to the Washington Post about her mother's eviction from an assisted living facility in Wisconsin after spending most of her $120,000 savings there. Federal law protects Medicaid beneficiaries in nursing homes from eviction, but the law does not protect residents of assisted-living facilities, and such evictions are becoming commonplace around the country.
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