Is Pelosi Controlling Access to Feinstein? - The Friday AM Quickie 5/19/23

Do check out Quickie emeritus writer Jack Crosbie's latest feature in Rolling Stone, about armed antifascists and the John Brown Gun Club. - Corey

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Feinstein Is in Even Worse Shape Than You Thought

There were a couple of significant stories yesterday concerning the ailing 89-year-old California Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein. First, the New York Times reports that her condition is worse than her office has disclosed – and it isn't, as she says, "the flu."

The shingles spread to her face and neck, causing vision and balance impairments and facial paralysis known as Ramsay Hunt syndrome. The virus also brought on a previously unreported case of encephalitis, a rare but potentially debilitating complication of shingles... Characterized by swelling of the brain, post-shingles encephalitis can leave patients with lasting memory or language problems, sleep disorders, bouts of confusion, mood disorders, headaches and difficulties walking.

Second, Politico reports that Feinstein's "primary caregiver" is now Nancy Carinne Prowda, the eldest daughter of former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. The two families are old friends, but the arrangement has "raised uncomfortable questions about whether Nancy Pelosi's political interests are in conflict with Feinstein's personal interests." Pelsoi is backing Rep. Adam Schiff to replace Feinstein, but if the ailing Sen. does step down, California Gov. Gavin Newsom is likely to appoint Rep. Barbara Lee to the Senate, weakening Schiff's chances.

The Times, which says Prowda "has been practically living at [Feinstein's] house during her recovery," also reported the following:

At home in San Francisco during her recovery, Ms. Feinstein refused to have contact with California lawmakers who tried checking in with her. A call from Mr. Newsom on her personal phone was answered by an aide and went unreturned. An offer of an in-person visit from Senator Alex Padilla, Democrat of California, was flatly rejected. Even some family members who wanted to see her were turned away.

Is Pelosi's daughter controlling access to Feinstein? It sure seems that way, per this Los Angeles Times story. Is Pelosi helping to keep Feinstein in office when the Sen.'s health would be better served by retirement? That's harder to answer. But between the lines, all these stories suggest that Pelosi's family has effectively taken charge of one of California's two Senate seats. None dare call it elder abuse, but the situation is as grim as anything I've seen in U.S. politics.

Supreme Court Punts on Tech Industry Shield Law

Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, better known simply as Section 230, protects Silicon Valley companies from liability for hosting content posted by users. The Supreme Court was asked in two recent cases to consider the constitutionality of that aspect of the law, but yesterday the justices said they'd rather not. The court released an unsigned opinion declining to consider a challenge to Section 230 involving YouTube on the grounds that the case raised identical issues to a complaint against Twitter, which they also declined to consider. Per the Washington Post, the court's decision to sidestep the matter of Section 230 is a "victory for Google and other social media companies, who argued that any change to the provision could upend the Internet, leaving companies exposed to lawsuits over their efforts to police offensive posts, photos and videos on their service." But as NBC News reports, both the Biden administration and Congressional Republicans agree that Section 230 needs reform, though they disagree on the whys and hows. Finally, per the Associated Press, a new poll shows just 18 percent of Americans, and only 12 percent of women, have a great deal of confidence in the Supreme Court, a 50-year low.

G7 Summit Kicks Off Today in Hiroshima

President Joe Biden and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida met yesterday ahead of the Group of Seven summit, held this year in Kishida's home city, which the U.S. destroyed with atomic weapons at the end of World War II. Russia's war in Ukraine will be a leading topic at the summit, but threats from artificial intelligence will also be discussed. Per the Associated Press, Biden and Kishida talked about "economic matters" yesterday, including renewable energy promotion and supply chains for "critical minerals." Meanwhile, China -- not a G7 member, but the subject of some hand-wringing -- is hosting some counterprogramming with its inaugural China-Central Asia summit. As the New York Times reports, the China-led summit underscores Russia's waning influence in many former Soviet republics.


  • At Least Seven States Would Now Imprison Librarians for Providing 'Harmful' Books Six of those states have passed their strict censorship laws in the past two months. via the Washington Post.
  • GOP's FBI 'Whistleblowers' Had Security Clearances Revoked Because "their conduct on Jan. 6 cases brought into question their allegiance to the United States." via NBC News.
  • Kremlin Accuses Three Missile Scientists of Treason The scientists worked on hypersonic missiles touted as unstoppable, though Ukraine has been able to shoot some of them down. via NBC News.
  • 98-Year-Old French Resistance Fighter Owns Up to War Crime Edmond Réveil says the order to kill 47 captured German soldiers in 1944 came from French Liberation Army leadership. via the New York Times.
  • Deutsche Bank Settles with Jeffrey Epstein Victim for $75 Million A "proposed class-action lawsuit, filed late last year, accused the German bank of knowingly providing the funds for the continued operation of a sprawling sex trafficking ring, enabled by continued cash payouts that required the support of a major bank." via the Washington Post.
  • Corporate Executives Are Afraid of Bernie Sanders His chairmanship of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee allows the socialist Sen. from Vermont "to drag his corporate nemeses to Washington to be pilloried for their alleged sins against the working class." via the Washington Post.



That's how many Los Angeles County Sheriff Department deputies, identified as members of deputy gangs called the Executioners and the Banditos, have been told by the county's inspector general to show their tattoos and name any other deputies with similar ink. According to the LA Times, members of the Executioners "are alleged to sport tattoos of a skull with Nazi imagery and an AK-47," while the Banditos "are allegedly known for their matching tattoos of a skeleton outfitted with a sombrero, bandoleer and pistol."


5/19: It's Casual Friday! Sam and Emma host Ryan Grim, DC Bureau Chief at The Intercept, to round up the week in news.


Elon Musk Goes Full Batcrap Tinfoil During Softball CNBC Interview

This is what happens when nobody is allowed to tell a rich man "no."

Feinstein STUNS Reporter, Claims She Has Not Been Absent From Senate

Some context for today's Big News.


"It's like calling a person of color the N-word which should never happen. Calling me a white supremacist is equal to that."

-- Crackpot white supremacist Georgia Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, who hopes to impeach Joe Biden, speaking to reporters yesterday about an argument she had with Democratic New York Rep. Jamaal Bowman on Wednesday. Greene said she felt "threatened" by the Black congressman's presence; meanwhile, GOP Rep. Clay Higgins of Louisiana was caught on tape manhandling a protester.

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