HomeUncategorized4/29-30 Weekend News Roundup and Open Thread
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orlbucfan

T and R x 2, jcb!! 🙂 Thank you for Nest Hosting this weekend. Weather down here is hot, humid and severe t-storms predicted for late afternoon/early evening. As long as there are NO tornadoes, I’m cool with it. Everything is blooming like crazy.

wi65

Cold,rainy -throw in some snow showers, After that record setting week in March its been down hill from thier and I’m getting behind on garden work.

Benny

Got nasty here this afternoon. Very chilly too. Cold front pushing through. Should warm up mid-week.

Benny

Guess who’s talking to Chris Wallace?

CNN anchor Chris Wallace went back at Bernie Sanders after the Vermont senator pointed out his age as they discussed cognitive testing for presidential candidates.

In an extensive interview with Senator Sanders, Wallace took exception when Sanders tried to turn the tables on their lengthy discussion of a number of age-themed topics — such as President Joe Biden’s age, former South Carolina Governor and ex-Trump U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley’s proposed cognitive tests for 75+ politicians, and Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s refusal to resign under pressure over her fitness — by cracking that he’d make sure Wallace kept his job no matter his age:

WALLACE: New subject, House Republicans want…

SEN. SANDERS: We’re off of age. We’re worried about getting old here. That’s what that’s what I’m hearing Chris. I’ll fight to keep you on the station.

WALLACE: Let me all right, look. You poked the bear, I’m gonna go back to age. Honestly. You’re 81 I’m 75. Am I sharp do I think I have the mental acuity I had five or 10 years ago. No, I think I’m pretty good. And to a certain degree, I take a mental acuity test every time I sit down with somebody like you. Do you think maybe you’ve lost a step?

SEN. SANDERS: I mean, I let other people make that decision. I think you’re doing pretty well. I’ll vote to keep you on the station here, how’s that?

WALLACE: I think you’re a young 81. So I’ll vote for you too.

Wallace brought up Bernie’s age again with his final question:

WALLACE: Finally, as we’ve mentioned, you’re 81 years old, you’re up for re election in 2024. Have you decided whether or not you’re going to run again?

SEN. SANDERS: No I have not. And one of the concerns that I do have and I think it’s kind of pushed by the media is we have never ending elections like three days after the election people were asking what are you going to do? You know what I have? Wanna hear a radical and crazy idea? I think elected officials should work for the people. I’m chair of the Health Education Labor Pension Committee, I have a lot of work to do. So instead of talking about running for office and campaigning 24 hours a day, maybe we should do some work for the American people. So I will make that decision. At the appropriate time, much too early.

You can see the video clip at this link: https://www.mediaite.com/politics/you-poked-the-bear-75-yr-old-chris-wallace-hits-back-when-bernie-sanders-cracks-wise-about-his-age/

I watched the HBO Max/CNN show with Chris Wallace and Bernie Sanders last night. I was not impressed terribly by either of them. Bernie avoided answering some of Wallace’s questions about why he endorsed Biden so quickly, even though they have vastly different views on issues like climate change. He reiterated the looming issue of the oligarchy influencing policy decisions. Bernie’s comment about his own re-election, as seen above, is spot on. He said we should focus on the issues, not on who is running or not.

Benny

BTW, Bernie will be on SOTU on CNN tomorrow morning.

Benny

Elie Mystal

Democrats Respond to the Festering Supreme Court Rot by… Calling a Hearing

Do the Democrats have a coherent strategy to address the ethical rot oozing from the Republican-controlled Supreme Court? Do they have any strategy, coherent or discombobulated, at all? Do they want one? Or am I exposing my child-like naivete by expecting duly elected Democrats to have a discernible plan to address the ongoing corrupt-o-rama that is the Supreme Court of the United States?

I ask because I’m one of the people who pays attention to this stuff everyday. I consider it the most essential part of my job to explain to voters why the courts matter—a function Democratic Party leadership has basically failed to perform for the last 30 years. But I cannot tell you what the Democrats are doing right now. Clarence Thomas and Neil Gorsuch have both been out there treating financial disclosure documents like optional homework assignments instead of critical public responsibilities, but Democrats seem too preoccupied trying to run a real-life Weekend at Bernie’s scam with Diane Feinstein to do anything about it.

After the Thomas revelations broke, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Dick Durbin promised to hold a hearing on Supreme Court ethics. It’s a response so feckless I suspect Caligula’s horse, Incitatus, will be appointed to conduct questioning. Durbin set the date of the hearing for May 2 and invited—yes, invited, not subpoenaed—Chief Justice John Roberts to testify. Earlier this week, Roberts “respectfully” declined.

Roberts’s reasons for refusing to appear before Congress are, of course, self-serving gloop. In a letter to the Judiciary Committee, the chief justice cited “concerns” over what his appearance might mean for the separation of powers and judicial independence, as if explaining to the American people why their justices appear to be on the take is something frowned on by the Constitution. He further pointed out that chief justices don’t usually appear before Congress—which is true, but also exploits the nifty lawyer trick of redefining terms to help finesse an argument. In this case: SCOTUS justices have testified before Congress, including during Roberts’s own term, just not the chief.

Roberts closed his letter by issuing a nonbinding “Statement of Ethics Principles and Practices,” which all nine justices signed. This “statement” is a judicial “promise” to follow “foundational ethics principles,” but the astute reader will note that the justices stopped short of binding themselves to an actual code of ethics, including statutory penalties, should they fail to live up to their promises.

I cannot emphasize enough how completely useless this “statement” is—not only as a guidepost for justices’ future conduct but also, and perhaps more important, as a source of accountability for their past infractions. A statement on ethics, signed in 2023, does nothing to address whether these people violated actual laws regarding financial disclosures over the course of their entire careers. Having a person accused of lying issue a statement saying “I will not lie” is such a waste of time that I bemoan the precious seconds of my life I’ve spent typing this sentence.

So much for Durbin’s hearings.

If Congress really wanted to hold justices accountable, the obvious solution would be to bring impeachment charges against them. Congress would investigate whether Justices Thomas and Gorsuch violated legal disclosure requirements (spoiler: Thomas did, and Gorsuch may have) and if so, remove them from the bench. That will never happen, though, because impeachment starts in the House (currently run by the kinds of people who think bribery is speech) and ends up in the Senate, where McConnell and company will circle wagons to defend the antidemocratic rule of their handpicked justices.

That leaves us with the option of Congress stepping in to pass legislation bringing these nine unelected, unaccountable law wizards to account for their ethical failures. Roberts might disagree with me on this, but I’m pretty sure the Constitution allows the legislative branch to pass legislation that binds all citizens, rulers and Nazi memorabilia collectors alike, under the law.

As it happens, Senators Angus King and Lisa Murkowski (two non-Democrats, by the way, leaving us to still wonder where the party supported by the majority of the country is on all this, though King does caucus with Democrats) introduced a bill on Wednesday that would require the Supreme Court to issue its own code of ethics within a year. The problem is that even this cautious attempt to use the Senate’s constitutional authority to regulate the court seems to vastly underestimate the scope of the issue.

The King-Murkowski bill would require the court to initiate its own investigations into potential violations—because, I guess, the Dobbs leak investigation is the kind of hilarious incompetence King and Murkowski would like to see on a rolling basis—and issue a yearly report. The bill contains no penalties for the justices if they violate their own ethical standards. That’s right: The Senate response to the Supreme Court’s utter failure to police itself is to ask the Supreme Court to police itself. It’s a joke—and Clarence and Ginni Thomas are laughing all the way to their next vacation.

If Congress were as eager to regulate the Supreme Court as the court is to regulate people’s uteruses, I bet they’d stop laughing. Congress could ban judicial graft: pass legislation that imposes ethical requirements on the court (as opposed to asking the court to invent some themselves) and legal penalties on justices who violate those standards. Once again Roberts would squeal like a child being told it’s their bedtime that Congress can’t pass legislation that touches the court, and impeachment is the only constitutionally allowable penalty for misbehaving justices. But I believe the court can be made to accept congressional imposition of an ethics code—if Congress is willing to use its biggest stick and cut the court’s funding if it refuses to comply.

orlbucfan

jcb is right when he commented that Durbin isn’t worth a pot to piss in (my words, not his). Durbin has plenty of worthless company!!

Aint Supposed to Die A Natural Death
Aint Supposed to Die A Natural Death

Ready For Mondaire Jones Back In Congress?
From Down With Tyranny –

I got some good news yesterday: Mondaire Jones is going to run for Congress in his old Hudson Valley district. He was an excellent member and thinly thing he ever did wrong was to allow crooked conservative, Sean Patrick Maloney, chase him out of his own district. That was depressing— and the nice, safe blue district (D+7 partisan lean) flipped Republican because… who likes a carpetbagging asshole? Of course the Westchester parts of the district stayed blue and the Dutchess and Putnam parts went red. But the key was Rockland— where Mondaire was strong— and that is the area that fucked Maloney. And in a close race like that, you can’t lose the second biggest county and expect to win. Republican light-weight Mike Lawler squeaked by with a win. Maloney would have won his old district, which stayed blue, and Mondaire would still be in Congress now.

That all said, a mutual friend told me Mondaire has pretty much made up his mind to take on Lawler. There’s a problem though— Liz Gereghty, who’s on a local school board, says she’s running too. Who cares? Well, she’s Gretchen Whitmer’s sister. Who? The governor of Michigan. Why should anyone care? I don’t think anyone does, except some people who live and breath politics. Apparently, she’s also kind of conservative for a Democrat, more like New Dem Maloney than like Mondaire.

There’s more at DWT – https://www.downwithtyranny.com/post/ready-for-mondaire-jones-back-in-congress

orlbucfan

Good!!

Benny

wi65

Cut out the cult-45 tax breaks for starters Then we can talk about other cuts like the MIC budget and tax breaks for craprate America.