Monday, April 17, 2023

The Power, Kindred and an online fool

First up, watched episode five of The Power.  We did.  And we loved it.  The show is finally kicking into gear and Josh Charles is wickedly evil.  Toni Collette and the other females in the show have been delivering all along but the males are really not compelling or strong actors with the exception of Josh Charles.  

Second, I'm a big fan of Octavia E. Butler.  I had an e-mail asking about Kindred.  I loved the Hulu series and wish there was a second season.  There won't be.  I can't think of anything they could have done better.  I don't think it should have been a series.  I think it should have been a movie.  I think the going back to the time of slavery is something that is heavy for a lot of people.  I remember loving Mavis Staples and listening to We'll Never Turn Back at work one day when an older African-American woman near me asked if I would stop.  She was not trying to be mean or insulting.  She liked Mavis and any other album she wouldn't care but those songs like "We Shall Not Be Moved?"  They brought up bad times for her.  It's great that we had the Civil Rights Movement but we had it for a reason, things weren't fair, things weren't right and we were suffering.

Some people don't want to be reminded of that.  I don't fault them for that.

With a hard out -- a movie with an ending --I think Kindred might have gotten more viewers.  As a series when we're darting back and forth with the main character being a slave when she's going into the past?  I don't think that sells.

My feelings.  But I loved the show and I am so glad it was made.

I needed a laugh today so I did what most people do when they need a laugh, I checked out Tara Reade's Twitter feed.  Is there a more pathetic person in the United States?  She stands with what now?  Transphobes, homophobes, pedophiles like Scott Ritter?  

She's jut a sad and, yes, dirty joke.  She Tweeted about how she was no longer a Democrat.  Tweeted again.  I love that she thinks people like the one below are really on her side:

Tara, I agree with you a 1000%. I was the same way. I switched to republican only because of . If, it wasn't for him, I was going to switch to libertarian. There is NO GOP, if there is no President Trump. I hope realizes that soon enough! ��

She doesn't block that.  Because she's got no real ethics.  

I guess, having seen her glorify registered sex offender Scott Ritter, I shouldn't be surprised that she's so desperate she'll accept that Tweet as 'good.'  But reality, Tara, Donald Trump is accused of assaulting numerous women.  Even if one or two was lying, that still leave a lot of women.

That's who is on your side: A woman who supports Donald Trump and his assaults.

She's not appalled that you were assaulted, you dumb f**k, and she only 'cares' because it's a way to hammer a political enemy.

What's sadder than being a young fool?  Being an old one.

Here's C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"

Monday, May 17, 2023.  Crooked Clarence has more scandals emerging as he remains seated on the illegitimate Supreme Court, Ukraine's foreign minister refuses Iraq's offer of assistance, transphobe Jonathan Turley reads a DEADLINE article and thinks he understands not just profits and losses, but streaming product and everything else in the world . . . 

A pair of new investigative reports from ProPublica about Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas are a testament to not only the importance of good journalism in a democracy, but also Thomas’s unfitness on the court, and the need for better guard rails against moneyed influence. The first bombshell story, “Clarence Thomas and the Billionaire,” highlighted how a wealthy man named Harlan Crow befriended Thomas after he became a Supreme Court justice and treated him (and often his wife, Virginia “Ginni” Thomas) to luxurious vacations on a near-annual basis. Thomas did not disclose the trips as he was required to. Although he at first refused to speak with ProPublica about the initial story, he eventually made a statement saying he was advised he didn’t need to disclose the gifts.

ProPublica followed that up just days later with another story whose title says it all: “Billionaire Harlan Crow Bought Property From Clarence Thomas. The Justice Didn’t Disclose the Deal.” The property in question “wasn’t a marquee acquisition for the real estate magnate, just an old single-story home and two vacant lots down the road.” Like the vacations, Thomas also did not publicly disclose the sale. His mother has lived in the home and continues to do so after ownership passed to Crow. The billionaire has been busy making expensive renovations to it.

There is no question that Thomas broke the law by failing to disclose his financial transactions with Crow. Every American should read the ProPublica reports on how one of the nine Supreme Court justices, whose jurisdiction covers the entire nation, appears to be in the pocket of a billionaire. The relationship between Crow and Thomas is a cozy one that has borne fruit for wealthy elites: the justice has routinely sided with moneyed interests and their influence on policymaking.

Before ProPublica’s April 2023 investigations, most reporting on the court’s first Black justice had focused on his white conservative wife. Ginni Thomas has been an activist spouse, overtly reflecting the conservative political sensibility that her husband affirms in his judicial decisions. During Barack Obama’s presidency, she founded a “Tea Party” nonprofit called Liberty Central, a move the New York Times described as “the most partisan role ever for a spouse of a justice on the nation’s highest court.”

She then went further, becoming a political lobbyist and leading a small and secretive organization called Liberty Consulting. A 2011 Politico report points out that she touted “her ‘experience and connections’ to help clients ‘with governmental affairs efforts.’” She made headlineslast year for having pressured former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows via text messages to try to overturn the 2020 election results in favor of Donald Trump. More recently, the Washington Post published an investigation into anonymous donations totaling $600,000 made to yet another organization she leads called Crowdsourcers for Culture and Liberty. The donations helped fund the right’s vicious culture wars.

More troubles for Crooked Clarence, on Sunday Shawn Boburg and Emma Brown (WASHINGTON POST) reported:

Over the last two decades, Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas has reported on required financial disclosure forms that his family received rental income totaling hundreds of thousands of dollars from a firm called Ginger, Ltd., Partnership.

But that company — a Nebraska real estate firm launched in the 1980s by his wife and her relatives — has not existed since 2006.

That year, the family real estate company was shut down and a separate firm was created, state incorporation records show. The similarly named firm assumed control of the shuttered company’s land leasing business, according to property records.

Since that time, however, Thomas has continued to report income from the defunct company — between $50,000 and $100,000 annually in recent years — and there is no mention of the newer firm, Ginger Holdings, LLC, on the forms.

The previously unreported misstatement might be dismissed as a paperwork error. But it is among a series of errors and omissions that Thomas has made on required annual financial disclosure forms over the past several decades, a review of those records shows. Together, they have raised questions about how seriously Thomas views his responsibility to accurately report details about his finances to the public.

Senator Dick Durbin (and three others) signed a letter to Chief Justice John Roberts demanding accountability:

April 10, 2023

The Honorable John G. Roberts, Jr.
Chief Justice
Supreme Court of the United States
1 First Street NE
Washington, DC 20543

Dear Chief Justice Roberts:

We write regarding the April 6, 2023 report by ProPublica entitled “Clarence Thomas and the Billionaire.”1 The report describes conduct by a sitting Justice that he did not disclose to the public and that is plainly inconsistent with the ethical standards the American people expect of any person in a position of public trust.

The Senate Judiciary Committee, which has legislative jurisdiction over Federal courts and judges, has a role to play in ensuring that the nation’s highest court does not have the federal judiciary’s lowest ethical standards. You have a role to play as well, both in investigating how such conduct could take place at the Court under your watch, and in ensuring that such conduct does not happen again. We urge you to immediately open such an investigation and take all needed action to prevent further misconduct.

This is not the first time that members of this Committee have written you regarding concerns over the Supreme Court’s ethical standards. Eleven years ago, several members of the Committee, including the current Chair, sent you the attached letter urging the Court to adopt a resolution stating that the Justices of the Court abide by the Judicial Conference’s Code of Conduct for United States Judges --  a Code that binds every other judge in the federal judiciary.

You responded that the Court “does not plan to adopt the Code of Conduct for United States Judges through a formal resolution,”2 and referenced your 2011 Year-End Report, in which you said “the Court has had no reason to adopt the Code of Conduct as its definitive source of ethical guidance.”3 We submit that the Court has compelling reasons to do so, and urge prompt adoption of the Code of Conduct. While last month’s revision to the Judicial Conference’s guidance on judicial financial disclosures was a modest step in the right direction, further action is needed.
Notably, on October 5, 2011, Justices Antonin Scalia and Stephen Breyer testified before the Judiciary Committee and engaged in a discussion with Committee members about the Court's ethical standards.4 In its reporting on that hearing, the New York Times noted that "[t]he ethical conduct of the Supreme Court has been under growing "scrutiny" and that “[q]uestions have been raised over Justice Clarence Thomas's appearances before Republican-backed groups and his acceptance of favors from a contributor in Texas, Harlan Crow” (emphasis added).It is troubling that your 2011 year-end report, which dismissed the call for the Justices to adopt the Code of Conduct, was written notwithstanding the known concerns about Mr. Crow’s largesse. This problem could have been resolved then. Instead, according to  ProPublica'reporting, Mr. Crow’s dispensation of favors escalated in secret during the years that followed. 

Now the Court faces a crisis of public confidence in its ethical standards that must be addressed.

In the coming days, the Senate Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing regarding the need to restore confidence in the Supreme Court’s ethical standards. And if the Court does not resolve this issue on its own, the Committee will consider legislation to resolve it. But you do not need to wait for Congress to act to undertake your own investigation into the reported conduct and to ensure that it cannot happen again. We urge you to do so.

Thank you for your attention to this matter of critical importance.


Richard J. Durbin

Dianne Feinstein
United States Senator

Sheldon Whitehouse
United States Senator

Amy Klobuchar
United States Senator 

Crooked Clarence.

If you're not getting how bad it is, Jonathan Turley, the self-appointed Lancelot du Lac to Clarence's Guinevere, has run for the hills in recent days, grabbing madly for anything else to write about.  Being the right-wing scum that FOX "NEWS" paid him to transition to, he's still going after transgendered persons and after school and educators (it's amazing how everyone of his columns and posts and Tweets just naturally fights for the extreme right-wing agenda) and now he's tossing in films as well.

As usual, on the latter, he doesn't know a damn thing he's talking about.  With regards to LIGHTYEAR, a cameo for Tim Allen should have been offered.  It was stupid not to do so.  It was even more stupid to recast the voice role -- and to do so with a non-distinct voice (of THE AVENGERS cast, only Robert Downey Jr. has a voice distinctive enough to do animation).  STRANGE WORLD was poorly promoted and didn't boil down to an easy marketing frame which is why I noted back in December that UNIVERSAL's  PUSS IN BOOTS: THE LAST WISH would be a huge hit and, after opening weekend, when some questioned that (because the box office was only $12 million), I said it hadn't finished its run.  $483 million in tickets later, I'm not in the mood to humor idiots who don't know a damn thing about film, marketing or ticket sales.  I just sit back and read the moronic doodles of Jonathan Turley while laughing at what a stupid hack he is.

1 Top Gun: Maverick May 27, 2022 Paramount Pictures Action $718,732,821 68,778,260
2 Black Panther: Wakanda Forever Nov 11, 2022 Walt Disney Action $438,291,367 41,941,757
3 Avatar: The Way of Water Dec 16, 2022 20th Century Studios Action $425,527,069 40,720,293
4 Doctor Strange in the Multi… May 6, 2022 Walt Disney Action $411,331,607 39,361,876
5 Jurassic World: Dominion Jun 10, 2022 Universal Action $376,851,080 41,096,083
6 Minions: The Rise of Gru Jul 1, 2022 Universal Comedy $369,695,210 40,315,726
7 The Batman Mar 4, 2022 Warner Bros. Action $369,345,583 35,344,074
8 Thor: Love and Thunder Jul 8, 2022 Walt Disney Action $343,256,830 37,432,587
9 Spider-Man: No Way Home Dec 17, 2021 Sony Pictures Action $241,130,301 23,074,669
10 Sonic the Hedgehog 2 Apr 8, 2022 Paramount Pictures Adventure $190,872,904 18,265,35

DISNEY had four of the top ten biggest moneymakers.  Four.  Four, Swirley, they now own FOX so 20th CENUTRY STUDIOS is also DISNEY.  They had the number two, number three, number four and number eight films of the year.   No other corporation had four in the top ten.  Swirley also doesn't understand the 'analysis' someone else did that he tries to glom on (DEADLINE did it and would be the first to note that there are other revenue streams for the two DISNEY films while the other three flops they're looking at will have to struggle because they aren't part of DISNEY).  (Don't be stupid like Jonathan Turley, if you don't grasp that DISNEY is its own universe now, read Stan's "Did Patel understand DISNEY's business model?")

It's an illegitimate Supreme Court -- as many have been rightly noting since DOBBS.  And our 'legal mind' can't cope with the reality that now Crooked Clarence is harming the Court even more so Jonathan Swirley decides he's an expert on finance and film. 

MARKET WATCH notes Senator Amy Klobuchar's appearance on ABC's THIS WEEK:

In an interview Sunday on ABC’s “This Week,” Klobuchar called Thomas’s situation “serious.”

“When you have billionaires who are on boards with cases pending before the court, buying a justice’s mom’s home and renovating it, and then that justice doesn’t report it, this isn’t even an exception for personal friendships … This is a case where the law clearly says, you have to report these things,” the Minnesota Democrat said, according to an ABC transcript.

“It is time for ethics rules in the Supreme Court that are clear and enforceable,” she continued. “This should not be a double standard. Every federal judge in the country comes under these ethics rules. So, if they don’t do it, then the Congress should do it.”

 Iraq on Monday offered to mediate between Ukraine and Russia to try and find an end to the war in Europe, but Ukraine’s top diplomat rejected the offer during a rare visit to Baghdad.

Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba reiterated his country’s position that it would not engage in any peace talks unless Russia withdraws from all Ukrainian territory.

The Kremlin wants Kyiv to acknowledge Russia’s sovereignty over Crimea, which Moscow took over in 2014, and to also recognize September’s annexation of the Ukrainian provinces of Donetsk, Kherson, Luhansk, and Zaporizhzhia. Ukraine has rejected those demands and insists it won’t hold talks with Russia until Moscow’s troops pull back from all occupied territories.

A week ago, Turkey attacked a convoy in northern Iraq that included at least 3 US military members.  You'd never know it from US reporting.  Winthrop Rogers (THE NATIONAL) reports:

The already troubled relationship between the ruling parties in Iraq’s Kurdistan region deteriorated further this week after an apparent Turkish drone strike near Sulaymaniyah airport on April 7, which struck near a convoy carrying Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) commander Mazloum Abdi and US military officials.

It is another example of the enormous influence the actions of external forces have on the politics of the Kurdistan region and how local parties try to leverage those events for their own purposes.

In the hours after the attack, Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) spokesman Jotiyar Adil released an incendiary statement against the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK), which governs Sulaymaniyah, calling it an “authoritarian party” whose behaviour had encouraged the Turkish attack.

Turkey shut down its airspace to flights to and from Sulaymaniyah in the days before the attack and accused the PUK of being under the control of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which has fought a decades-long conflict against Ankara for Kurdish rights and autonomy in south-east Turkey.

While nominally a government spokesperson, Mr Adil is a member of the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP), the PUK’s main domestic rival. At the moment, they sit in government together, but differences over internal revenue sharing, electoral reforms and security affairs have undermined their working relationship over the past year and a half.

Speaker of the Kurdistan Parliament Rewaz Fayaq, who is a member of the PUK, denounced Mr Adil’s statement. There was “no justification for the unlawful attack … just as there was none for any earlier attacks on Erbil airport,” she said, referring to repeated missile and drone strikes on the Kurdistan region’s capital over the past two years by Iran.

Tim Hogan Tweets:

If true, not at all surprising.  One administration after another has refused to call out the Turkish government.  People talk about Vladimir Putin being in office forever, but Recep Tayyip Erdogen has been prime minister of Turkey or president of Turkey continuously since 2003. Yet the US government tries to pretend that's a democracy, skips around the Armenian genocide and refuses to acknowledge the Kurdish genocide that Turkey is carrying out.

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