Gorsuch Also Made a Cozy Property Deal - The Wednesday AM Quickie 4/26/23

Congratulations to stoners in Minnesota, where the legislature just voted to legalize recreational cannabis. Notably, the sky hasn't fallen anywhere this has already happened. - Corey

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Oh, Look, Another Supremely Sketchy Property Deal

When ProPublica dropped its investigation into Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas's corrupt relationship with a tax-avoidant billionaire, Harlan Crow, I wondered: "is Thomas alone in behaving this way?" And I was not the only one to have this question! Check out this story from Politico about Thomas's conservative peer, Neil Gorsuch:

For nearly two years beginning in 2015, Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch sought a buyer for a 40-acre tract of property he co-owned in rural Granby, Colo.
Nine days after he was confirmed by the Senate for a lifetime appointment on the Supreme Court, the then-circuit court judge got one: The chief executive of Greenberg Traurig, one of the nation's biggest law firms with a robust practice before the high court. ...
Gorsuch did not disclose the identity of the purchaser. That box was left blank.
Since then, Greenberg Traurig has been involved in at least 22 cases before or presented to the court... In the 12 cases where Gorsuch's opinion is recorded, he sided with Greenberg Traurig clients eight times and against them four times.

Gorsuch did not respond to Politico's questions about the property sale and his failure to disclose the buyer's identity. Clearly the dominant right-wing bloc of justices see themselves as above reproach and immune to any rules. To underscore that point, yesterday Chief Justice John Roberts wrote to Senate Judiciary Committee chair Dick Durbin and refused to testify regarding ethics on the court.

Also, following up ProPublica's report on Thomas, Bloomberg News reported this week that Thomas's subsequent claim that his donor buddy Crow "did not have business before the court" was false. The court in 2005 declined to hear an appeal from an architecture firm that claimed it was owed $25 million from from a property company that Harlan Crow leads to this day as board chair. How 'bout that!

In other news of the rotten, the Washington Post reports that former National Security Agency director and retired Army Gen. Keith Alexander "secured $2 million in consulting deals with foreign governments after leaving office, including a $700,000 contract to advise Saudi Arabia on cybersecurity after the 2018 killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi." Since leaving government, Alexander has reported more foreign compensation than any other retired military officer in the past decade. Congratulations on your good fortune, general, and thank you for your, uh, service?

Civil Rights Luminary, Singer, Actor: RIP Harry Belafonte

He grew up in poverty in Harlem as the child of immigrants and ascended to unparalleled heights of artistic achievement and political activism. He helped organize the 1963 March on Washington, bailed the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. out of jail, criticized the first Black U.S. president, Barack Obama for lacking "fundamental empathy with the dispossessed" and called Obama's predecessor, George W. Bush, "the greatest terrorist in the world." He recorded the first album to sell 1 million copies, "Calypso," and was the first Black man to win a Tony Award for his performances on Broadway. He once told an interviewer that "anger is a necessary fuel" for his art, adding, "rebellion is healthy." Harry Belafonte died of congestive heart failure at home in Manhattan yesterday, aged 96. He is survived by four children, two stepchildren and eight grandchildren. He lived by the advice his mother gave him as a child: "Never go to bed at night knowing that there was something you could have done during the day to strike a blow against injustice and you didn't do it."

Biden's Reelection Launch Looks Like a Pepsi Commercial

Here is the video, see for yourself. President Joe Biden's three-minute reelection campaign launch video dropped yesterday with a message only slightly tweaked from Democratic narratives in the 2022 midterms. It casts Biden and his party as defenders of freedom against violent assaults by "MAGA extremists" on basic human rights and the democratic process. It asks voters to help him "finish the job" (and chip in some cash). NBC News reports that Biden's campaign "is expected to lean heavily on surrogates and digital media," so expect more of this. Per the Washington Post, "Biden is expected to hold few explicitly campaign-style events in the near future, as his aides hope that he can remain above the political fray during a hard-fought GOP primary." As the New York Times reports, Biden's numbers aren't great for an incumbent; he's angered younger voters with his support for Alaska's Willow oil project and plans to restart student loan payments this year. However, Republicans and their agenda -- which includes stripping 21 million Americans of Medicaid coverage -- are even more distasteful. Finally, Vermont socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders says he isn't running.


  • Acute Shortages of Food, Water, Medicines and Fuel in Sudan The World Health Organization also warned of an "extremely, extremely dangerous" after fighters took over a lab in Khartoum containing infectious diseases. via Al Jazeera and the CBS News.
  • Washington State Bans the Sale of AR-15s "These weapons of war, assault weapons, have no reason other than mass murder," Democratic Gov. Jay Inslee said. via the Seattle Times.
  • Bring It On: Fox News Kept Oppo File on Tucker Carlson "Fox is prepared to disclose some of its contents if execs suspect that Carlson is coming after the network." via Rolling Stone.
  • Fossil Fuel Hype Man Joe Manchin Wants to Repeal a Bill He Got Passed West Virginia's coal baron Sen. told Fox News he's so mad about President Biden's support for electric cars that he'd vote to repeal the Inflation Reduction Act, which he helped pass last year. via HuffPost and NBC News.
  • Japanese Space Company Loses Contact with Lunar Lander Ispace had hoped its M1 lander would be the first privately owned spacecraft to explore on the moon, but the vehicle likely crashed during its landing attempt. via the Associated Press.
  • Senate to Vote on Equal Rights Amendment This Week The proposed Constitutional amendment, first introduced in 1923, "has never been as necessary and urgent as it is today," Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said. via the Washington Post.


50 percent

That's how many New York City residents can't really afford to live there, according to a new study by the United Way. "Households in all five boroughs needed to be pulling in at least $100,000 to afford housing, food and transportation," the New York Times reports. "The actual median household income in the city was hovering around $70,000."


4/26: It's Hump Day! Sam and Emma host Amy Wilentz, professor of literary journalism at the University of California Irvine, to discuss her recent piece in The Nation entitled "Haiti, April 2023: Soon There Will Be No One Left to Kidnap." Then, they're joined by Djene Bajalan, professor of history at Missouri State University, to discuss the upcoming Turkish elections.


Trump Vows to Nominate More Extreme Judges if Elected in 2024

Lots of loud nasal breathing in this message from the God-Emperor.

Desperate Right-Wing Bigot Says Trans Health Is Part of the 'Woke Agenda'

Expect more such Fox News audition material, with Tucker Carlson's time slot now up for grabs.


"I want people who have been prosecuted for their antiwar position in Russia to know that they are not alone, and we are ready to fight for their rights. Despite all the repression and intimidation from the state."

-- Violetta Fitsner, a lawyer with the Russian rights group OVD-Info, speaking to the New York Times about a legal complaint she co-authored and filed with the country's Constitutional Court yesterday seeking to nullify a censorship law banning criticism of the military. More than 6,500 Russians have faced punishment under that law, adopted immediately following the invasion of Ukraine.

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