A Fair And Honest Justice? I Think NOT!

The teaser at the start of Jonathan V. Last’s newsletter this morning was: “Guess which Supreme Court justice has lavish travel paid for by a billionaire but never discloses it?”  Without hesitation, my first guess was Justice Clarence Thomas, and guess what?  I was right!  But even so, my jaw dropped when I read the extent to which Justice Thomas has been the recipient of lavish gifts and travel that he failed to report.  Read it for yourself … and I highly recommend the Pro Publica article he references, as well!

From The Triad

Jonathan V. Last

Sugar Daddy

There is no more important piece for you to read today than this Pro Publica investigation into Justice Clarence Thomas’s relationship with billionaire Harlan Crow:

IN LATE JUNE 2019, right after the U.S. Supreme Court released its final opinion of the term, Justice Clarence Thomas boarded a large private jet headed to Indonesia. He and his wife were going on vacation: nine days of island-hopping in a volcanic archipelago on a superyacht staffed by a coterie of attendants and a private chef.

 If Thomas had chartered the plane and the 162-foot yacht himself, the total cost of the trip could have exceeded $500,000. Fortunately for him, that wasn’t necessary: He was on vacation with real estate magnate and Republican megadonor Harlan Crow, who owned the jet — and the yacht, too.

For more than two decades, Thomas has accepted luxury trips virtually every year from the Dallas businessman without disclosing them, documents and interviews show. A public servant who has a salary of $285,000, he has vacationed on Crow’s superyacht around the globe. He flies on Crow’s Bombardier Global 5000 jet. He has gone with Crow to the Bohemian Grove, the exclusive California all-male retreat, and to Crow’s sprawling ranch in East Texas. And Thomas typically spends about a week every summer at Crow’s private resort in the Adirondacks.

The extent and frequency of Crow’s apparent gifts to Thomas have no known precedent in the modern history of the U.S. Supreme Court.

These trips appeared nowhere on Thomas’ financial disclosures. His failure to report the flights appears to violate a law passed after Watergate that requires justices, judges, members of Congress and federal officials to disclose most gifts, two ethics law experts said. He also should have disclosed his trips on the yacht, these experts said.

Read the whole thing.

Every last word.

The least important aspect of this story is the hypocrisy. But we’re going to dwell on it for a moment anyway. Because I can’t stop myself.

Here’s another line from the story:

In Thomas’ public appearances over the years, he has presented himself as an everyman with modest tastes.

“I don’t have any problem with going to Europe, but I prefer the United States, and I prefer seeing the regular parts of the United States,” Thomas said in a recent interview for a documentary about his life, which Crow helped finance.

“I prefer the RV parks. I prefer the Walmart parking lots to the beaches and things like that. There’s something normal to me about it,” Thomas said. “I come from regular stock, and I prefer that — I prefer being around that.”

Who am I to doubt Justice Thomas. I’m certain he does prefer RV parks and Walmart parking lots to pretentious settings like this one:

CROW’S PRIVATE lakeside resort, Camp Topridge, sits in a remote corner of the Adirondacks in upstate New York. Closed off from the public by ornate wooden gates, the 105-acre property, once the summer retreat of the same heiress who built Mar-a-Lago, features an artificial waterfall and a great hall where Crow’s guests are served meals prepared by private chefs. Inside, there’s clear evidence of Crow and Thomas’ relationship: a painting of the two men at the resort, sitting outdoors smoking cigars alongside conservative political operatives. A statue of a Native American man, arms outstretched, stands at the center of the image . . .

I admire Thomas’s willingness to endure such opulence just to put his friend, Harlan, at ease. Because even though Justice Thomas would surely prefer a Walmart parking lot, Harlan clearly would not feel comfortable in such environs. And so Justice Thomas makes—routinely— the kind of sacrifice that true friends make for one another.

A man hath no greater love than this: That he lay down by an artificial waterfall at a private resort for his friends.

Harlan Crow himself is an interesting fellow. For instance, like many of the ultra rich, he inherited much of his wealth.

Also, here he is giving an interview to Harvard Business School’s Dallas club in which he offers some advice to his younger self:

RH: What advice would you give your 35-year-old younger self?

HC: It’s not as hard as you think.

No shit.

Look, I shouldn’t poke fun. One of the downsides to immense wealth is that it robs a man of the capacity for self-awareness.

I’m sorry: There’s more.

Crow also bankrolled a group that paid Justice Thomas’s wife a six-figure salary:

Over the years, some details of Crow’s relationship with the Thomases have emerged. In 2011, The New York Times reported on Crow’s generosity toward the justice. That same year, Politico revealed that Crow had given half a million dollars to a Tea Party group founded by Ginni Thomas, which also paid her a $120,000 salary.

We’ve talked about Ginni Thomas before. I’m sure sure this donation was purely because he believed in the genius of her vision.

All of that is fluff, though. The real story here is that the Supreme Court has rules about financial disclosures.

Thomas didn’t report any of the trips ProPublica identified on his annual financial disclosures. Ethics experts said the law clearly requires disclosure for private jet flights and Thomas appears to have violated it.

Justices are supposed to disclose gifts worth more than $415. Just Thomas appears to have used Harlan Crow’s private jet not just for vacations, but almost like a taxi, even using it for a jaunt from Washington to New Haven.

But don’t worry. I’m sure there will be serious repercussions.

Filosofa’s Famous Snarky Snippets!

It’s hard to focus on a single topic these days, as there are so many things pulling our attention, demanding a voice in our heads!  I’ve been working on two posts for over a week now, but every time I get back to them, I seem to veer off on some other tangent.  I will get them finished though, and soon, before they lose their relevance … as if anything ever does any more!  Meanwhile, I have a bunch of angst building over a few little snippets from the last day or so, and you know what that means!  It means it’s time for some of Filosofa’s famous Snarky Snippets!

O’ Da Hypocrisy!!!

Contradictions and hypocrisy are the platform of the Republicans

From Jonathan V. Last’s newsletter “The Id theory of politics”

It’s not like Republican voters have been overburdened by logical consistency over the last decade. By turns they have:

  • Insisted that character and virtue are the paramount issues in politics; then voted for the thrice-married liar who cheated on his postpartum wife with a porn star and was on the cover of Playboy.
  • Proclaimed the importance of Christian teaching in public policy; then celebrated using refugees as political pawns.
  • Claimed that January 6th was a false-flag operation conducted by Antifa activists; insisted the protests were entirely peaceful; and also believed that the people engaging in violence were brave patriots trying to stop a constitutional usurpation of the presidency.
  • Demanded unquestioning support of law enforcement when minorities are beaten or killed by police; then argued for defunding the FBI when it investigated Trump and also called the Capitol Police crisis actors after January 6th.
  • Argued that America shouldn’t be giving aid to Ukraine because we should be “helping people at home”—even though they opposed the Child Tax Credit to help working families.

What a mum!

Here’s one to make you roll your eyes and shake your head …

Michigan Man Arrested For YouTube Threats Against Whitmer And Biden

Randall Robert Berka II was arrested and charged with federal firearms violations after Google tipped off the feds that he was making threatening remarks on YouTube, according to news reports and court filings.

There’s a lot going on here (emphasis mine):

Investigators went to Berka’s house, in Huron County, and spoke with his mother, who said she had purchased a handgun and three long guns for her son in the past year. She said he keeps the guns, as well as ammunition and body armor, in his room at their house.

Berka was involuntarily committed for mental health treatment in 2012, court documents say, and his mental health history is what prohibits him from having a gun. His mother told investigators she didn’t think his treatments are working and that he should be arrested and imprisoned.

The YouTube rants also included threats against FBI agents and the LGBT community.

His threats were made using the handle “@killthefeds42”, writing …

  • “Hey FBI! My name is Randall the 2nd and I live in Sebewaing Michigan and I am willing to kill these people.”
  • “im going to kill these democrats biden deserves to die” and that he was “more than willing” to kill Gov. Whitmer, also a Democrat. He also allegedly wrote that LGBTQ+ people need to “die and be genocided.”

Now, he is obviously a problem and should not walk among us, but the thing that I don’t understand is the mother.  WHY THE HELL would she buy guns for her son, knowing of his threats, knowing of his mental illness???  Personally, I think the mother should be in a cell right next to her son!

And down in South Carolina …

There is currently a proposal in the South Carolina General Assembly that would make people who obtain abortion care eligible for the death penalty.  Did you hear that?  Death Penalty.  And this from those who call themselves the “Right to Life” bunch???

Now, you might say that this is just a fringe bunch of Republicans and that the bill is going nowhere, but as it happens, 21 Republican legislators are in support of this bill!  Proposed by state Representative Rob Harris, it is titled the “South Carolina Prenatal Equal Protection Act of 2023” and does not include an exception for people whose pregnancies result from rape or incest.  Some who have read the proposal say that the language is vague enough to suggest that some people who suffer miscarriages could become eligible for the death penalty.  WTF????

I have to ask the question … what do you think they would say if someone proposed making men who have vasectomies eligible for the death penalty?  I’m telling you, sisters, it’s time we take a stand for our rights!  A strong stand!  Lorena Bobbitt … calling Lorena Bobbitt … help, we need you!