Thursday Reads: They Go Low

John (repeat1968) Buss
@repeat1968 Move along. Nothing to see here. Again. #ClarenceThomas

Good Day, Sky Dancers!

ProPublica has released new, damning information on Uncle Clarence Thomas and his Cash Crow.  “Clarence Thomas Had a Child in Private School. Harlan Crow Paid the Tuition. Crow paid for private school for a relative Thomas said he was raising “as a son.” “This is way outside the norm,” said a former White House ethics lawyer.

In 2008, Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas decided to send his teenage grandnephew to Hidden Lake Academy, a private boarding school in the foothills of northern Georgia. The boy, Mark Martin, was far from home. For the previous decade, he had lived with the justice and his wife in the suburbs of Washington, D.C. Thomas had taken legal custody of Martin when he was 6 years old and had recently told an interviewer he was “raising him as a son.”

Tuition at the boarding school ran more than $6,000 a month. But Thomas did not cover the bill. A bank statement for the school from July 2009, buried in unrelated court filings, shows the source of Martin’s tuition payment for that month: the company of billionaire real estate magnate Harlan Crow.

The payments extended beyond that month, according to Christopher Grimwood, a former administrator at the school. Crow paid Martin’s tuition the entire time he was a student there, which was about a year, Grimwood told ProPublica.

“Harlan picked up the tab,” said Grimwood, who got to know Crow and the Thomases and had access to school financial information through his work as an administrator.

Before and after his time at Hidden Lake, Martin attended a second boarding school, Randolph-Macon Academy in Virginia. “Harlan said he was paying for the tuition at Randolph-Macon Academy as well,” Grimwood said, recalling a conversation he had with Crow during a visit to the billionaire’s Adirondacks estate.

According to former prosecutor Glenn Kirshner, the development is “impeachable.”

I had to laugh at this tweet from my friend Caitlin:

Two other stories are also in the headline today. Trump’s deposition for the E. Jean rape case was entered into testimony. What a freaking moron! This is from Mitchell Epner at  The Daily Beast“Donald Trump’s Rape Trial Goes From One Disaster to Another.”

Under the Federal Rules of Evidence, Carroll’s attorneys were able to pick the worst parts of Trump’s deposition to play for the jury. They presented a large number of obvious lies, including Trump claiming that he:

  • “Did not know whether he saw women outside of [his first] marriage” (although his affairs were legendary);

  • Almost never went to Bergdorf Goodman (despite testimony from the store manager that he was frequently there); and

  • “Never saw” E. Jean Carroll’s book (although he made numerous public comments about it).

The verdict in the Proud Boys Seditious Conspiracy cases came in.  Joyce Vance had this to say.

This is from the Washington Post. “Proud Boys Enrique Tarrio, 3 others guilty of Jan. 6 seditious conspiracy. Prosecutors alleged defendants viewed themselves as Donald Trump’s army, intent on keeping him in power through violence.”

Former Proud Boys chairman Henry “Enrique” Tarrio and three other members of the extremist group were found guilty Thursday of seditious conspiracy in the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol.

A jury deliberated for seven days in Washington before finding Tarrio, 29, and the others guilty on 31 of 46 counts. The jury handed down not guilty verdicts on four counts and returned to deliberate on a remaining 11 counts. The result was another decisive victory for the Justice Department in the latest of three seditious conspiracy trials held after what it called a historic act of domestic terrorism.

Over nearly 15 weeks of trial, prosecutors alleged that the Proud Boys on trial saw themselves as Trump’s “army.” Inspired by his directive to “stand by” during a September 2020 presidential debate and mobilized by his December 2020 call for a “wild” protest when Congress met to certify the election, prosecutors said the men sought to keep Trump in power through violence.

I think I hear the sound of chickens coming home to roost.  Well, in my case, it’s actually Yellow-crowned Night Herons, but they make quite a show of coming on to the Oak Trees to nest on my street too!

A few more headlines that will make you smile are below.

Liam Stack / New York Times:
Judge Dismisses Trump’s Lawsuit Against The New York Times

Former President Donald J. Trump, who had sued The Times, three of its reporters and his niece over an investigation into his tax returns, was ordered to pay The Times’s legal expenses.

Brandon Gage /   ‘Unparalleled in its audacity and scope’: Herschel Walker implicated in ‘jaw-dropping’ wire fraud scheme

Late Wednesday evening, The Daily Beastexclusively reported that Walker solicited “hundreds of thousands of dollars” from billionaire benefactor Dennis Washington in March of 2022 “for his own personal company—a company that he never disclosed on his financial statements.”

Signe cartoon
Proud Boys Men

One more exciting probe into Trump World.  CNN has this exclusive. “Special counsel probing Trump Organization’s handling of Mar-a-Lago surveillance footage

Prosecutors for special counsel Jack Smith have been asking questions in recent weeks about the handling of surveillance footage from former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort after the Trump Organization received a subpoena last summer for the footage, according to multiple sources familiar with the investigation.

The handling of the footage, and how employees within the Trump Organization responded to the Justice Department’s demand for it, have prompted a new round of grand jury subpoenas to top Trump employees in the last few weeks, the sources told CNN.

Longtime Trump Organization executives Matthew Calamari Sr. and his son Matthew Calamari Jr. are expected to appear Thursday before the grand jury investigating possible mishandling of classified documents brought to Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home, sources said. Prosecutors are expected to ask them about the handling of the surveillance footage and Trump employees’ conversations following the subpoena, according to the sources.

There’s news in the Culture Wars too.

From Jared Gans writing at The Hill: “North Carolina House approves measure banning abortions after 12 weeks of pregnancy”

The North Carolina state House passed a bill on Wednesday that would ban abortions after 12 weeks of pregnancy, sending it to the state Senate for approval.

The House vote came just a day after Republicans in both legislative chambers announced they had reached an agreement on legislation to further restrict abortion access from the state’s current 20-week limit.

From the  Associated Press: “Oregon Republicans stay home ahead of abortion, guns votes”.

Republican state senators in Oregon didn’t show up to work on Wednesday, denying the Democrats who control the chamber a quorum and casting doubt on planned votes later this week on legislation pertaining to gun safety, abortion rights and gender-affirming health care.

The boycott comes as several statehouses around the nation, including in Montana and Tennessee, have been battlegrounds between conservatives and liberals. Oregon has been increasingly divided between the liberal population centers like Portland and Eugene, and its mostly conservative rural areas.

From Sam Wilson at the Missoulian: Gianforte signs 5 anti-abortion bills, plans to sign more  —  Gov. Greg Gianforte signed into law five bills aimed at restricting abortion access in Montana on Wednesday, triggering a legal request from Planned Parenthood of Montana later in the day to block one of the bills.

The bills include Senate Bill 154, which attempts to override the Montana Supreme Court’s longstanding recognition of abortion rights in the state. Known as the “Armstrong decision,” it holds that the state Constitution’s right to privacy protects access to abortions in Montana up to the point of viability.

And lastly, Andrew Atterbury at Politico writes: “Florida Republicans pass bill targeting transgender bathroom use.”

Florida Republicans passed legislation Wednesday that would make it a misdemeanor trespassing offense for someone to use certain bathrooms that don’t align with their sex at birth.

The bill, now headed to Gov. Ron DeSantis for his signature, is limited to people using restrooms and changing facilities in state and local government buildings, schools, colleges and detention centers.

And that’s it, except for my song choice today.

… folk singer Pete Seeger performed the controversial anti-war song “Waist Deep in the Big Muddy” on the Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour show on CBS television. The story of that appearance, and that song, illustrates the tumultuous political tensions of the era and was a bold act of defiance against corporate media power.

Seeger, who died in 2014, is now viewed as a legendary figure in American history. But when Tom and Dick Smothers invited him on their show, many people still viewed him as a dangerous radical, marginalized by the nation’s political, business, and media establishment.

Tom and Dick Smothers were among many musicians inspired by Seeger’s artistic and political contributions. In 1967, CBS invited the brothers to host their own variety show, The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour, which became a huge success, appealing to young viewers by inviting major rock and folk artists as well as comedians who reflected the political and cultural rebelliousness of the era. One sketch that lampooned President Lyndon Johnson so upset the president that he phoned CBS founder William S. Paley at home at 3 a.m. to complain.

The brothers had requested that Seeger be invited to perform, but CBS refused. Midway into the first season, however, the show’s popularity gave the Smothers more leverage with the recalcitrant network executives. Network chief Paley agreed on the condition that Seeger avoid singing any controversial songs—a demand that was, from the outset, guaranteed to provoke the Smothers brothers’ and Seeger’s defiance.

Seeger showed up to tape the second season’s opening show on September 1, which was scheduled to air September 10. At the taping, Seeger sang “Waist Deep in the Big Muddy,” a song he had written earlier that year, inspired by a photo of American troops slogging through a deep river in Vietnam’s Mekong Delta.

The song tells the story of a platoon of soldiers wading into the mud of a river while on a practice patrol in Louisiana in 1942. The captain, whom Seeger calls a “big fool,” ignores his sergeant’s warnings that the river is too deep to cross. The captain drowns and the sergeant orders the unit to turn back. The song doesn’t mention Vietnam but the “big fool” obviously refers to Johnson who got the country deeper into the quagmire in Southeast Asia.

Understandably nervous about offending Johnson again, CBS executives erased Seeger’s song from the tape of the show. The censors had no objection to his performance of the African song “Wimoweh” (in classic Seeger style, he had the whole studio audience singing along), the Cuban song “Guantanamera,” and “This Land Is Your Land.”

This seems like a good day to remember and watch the erased performance.

What’s on your blogging and reading list today?



22 Comments on “Thursday Reads: They Go Low”

  1. dakinikat says:

    I keep looking at all these headlines and wonder how we go to this time line?

  2. NW Luna says:

    Yellow-crowned Night Herons! How cool. I’d love to see them.

  3. Beata says:

    Tomorrow’s Full Moon will peak at midday in North America but those of us here can see it appear full tonight (Thursday) and Friday night. It is called the “Flower Moon”.

  4. NW Luna says:

    The “transgender bathroom bill” targets transgender people? ZOMG! It merely has people using the appropriate bathroom. Men in the men’s and women in the women’s. Considering that 90%-95% of men who identify as transwomen keep their penis and testicles, that’s even more reason for those men to use the men’s room. Let girls and women keep their right to privacy, dignity and safety.

    • darthvelma says:

      As a North Carolina resident, I am so fucking tired right now. One party wants to force me to share intimate spaces with men in dresses with no respect for women’s boundaries…the other party wants to force me to carry any unwanted pregnancy. One side wants to call me a uterus-haver. The other wants to reduce my life to nothing but a walking uterus.

      All of them can fuck off. I’m tired of having to waste energy fighting men in women’s spaces when I should be be able to spend all my energy on fighting for the right to control my body. I’m even more tired of having to constantly fight for the right to control my body and be considered a full human being in the first damn place.

      Here’s a thought…all men shut up and leave women the fuck alone for the next 10000 years. Minimum.

      • NW Luna says:

        Agree. I feel #PoliticallyHomeless.

      • quixote says:

        Exactly. Women aren’t human in those worlds. Comfort animals, service animals, sexbots, incubators of humans and future sexbots. But never humans whose feelings are important.

        It’s been astonishing to hear people (women, too) justify males in female toilets because ‘transwomen could get hurt in male toilets.’

        And then I wait, and wait, and wait for the penny to drop, but it doesn’t. Women are just footstools for aid and support. If they break, you just get a new one.

        • bostonboomer says:

          I wish we could focus on equality for trans people in basic Civil Rights, jobs, etc. I don’t understand why the focus is on transwomen getting access to women’s bathrooms, dressing rooms, and other women’s spaces.

          • quixote says:

            Indeed. There’s no argument about basic rights (except probably among Rethugs). Earlier on, people, especially women, would point out that a solution to the private-spaces issues was third options. Women and girls who need single-sex spaces can keep them, and transwomen have facilities without predatory males.

            (There was a lack of enthusiasm among the people who’d have to pay for that option, as opposed to just foisting the problem onto women.)

            But the biggest issue was that a subset of transwomen were adamantly opposed. That wasn’t good enough. It had to be *women’s* spaces. At which point the light bulb went off. It wasn’t about ‘just needing to pee.’ It was about validation. And, of course, as usual, it’s up to women to provide it at whatever cost to themselves.

            Not all transwomen, by far. But the activists are having too much fun pushing women around to go for a solution.

          • NW Luna says:

            Transpeople already have basic civil rights. It’s the insistence on overriding girl’s and women’s rights to single-sex spaces and sports that’s the problem.

  5. NW Luna says:

    “The captain, whom Seeger calls a “big fool,” ignores his sergeant’s warnings”

    It’s also a story of how too many officers — upper-class educated men with little field experience — don’t listen to their enlisted men who have many years of real-life experience in the field.