Showing posts with label Clarence Thomas. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Clarence Thomas. Show all posts

August 22, 2023

Could Trump avoid legal peril and go live in Russia, Russia, Russia as Vlad's roomie?

 

I superimposed Trump's plane over a photo of Moscow Airport Terminal C.

"The failed District Attorney of Fulton County (Atlanta), Fani Willis, insisted on a $200,000 Bond from me. I assume, therefore, that she thought I was a 'flight' risk – I’d fly far away, maybe to Russia, Russia, Russia, share a gold domed suite with Vladimir, never to be seen or heard from again. Would I be able to take my very 'understated' airplane with the gold TRUMP affixed for all to see. Probably not, I’d be much better off flying commercial – I’m sure nobody would recognize me!"

By Hal Brown 

The above Truth Social post is Trump's attempt at showing how unseriously he takes his legal situation and what a great comedy writer he is and is about as close as he ever comes to self-depricating humor and an awareness of his grandiose narcisism.

What Trump doesn't "get" about the bond is that it doesn't prevent him from leaving, or fleeing, the country to live in Russia, Russia, Russia. He can blow off the $200,000 and leave the country to live with Vladimir.

Where he'd actually live would have to be determined as Putin has eight official residences (read article).

 He might live in his suite (pictured below) where the ceilings have their share of gold.
One of the bedrooms in the Black Sea mansion known as Putin's Palace

Putin's $1.4 billion Black Sea compound is non-too-shabby (Link):



Putin apparently spends much of his time in a mansion in Valdai which is 240 miles from Moscow and has no airport so I assume he'd travel to and from the Kremlin by helicopter.

Putin's bedroom in his residence in Valdai on Lake Valdayskoye

Putin does not actually live in the actual Kremlin the way US presidents live in the White House so Trump could end up living at another of his residences. Putin reportedly spends much of his time in the Novo-Ogaryovo estate in Moscow which has been unofficially termed his de facto residence.

If he wants to end up a Putin's most famous houseguest he'll first have to convince the murderous dictator, who might have to convince his girlfriend gymnast Alina Kabaeva, to have him as a permanent roomie. 

Of course the judge could order him not to leave the country, and order his passport (or passports, he has said he has three) seized.  I don't know exactly how he could fly out of the country in his own plane illegally, but if he managed to sneak onto his plane and it took off on the way to Russia I doubt the Air Force would shoot it down even if it had a fleeing felon onboard.

What the bond does do is described here:

The bond agreement, known as a consent bond order, sets strict rules for Trump’s release. The former president is not allowed to communicate with witnesses or co-defendants about the case, except through his lawyers, and he is barred from intimidating witnesses or co-defendants. He is also forbidden from making any “direct or indirect threat of any nature against the community or to any property in the community,” including in “posts on social media or reposts of posts” by others on social media.


“The defendant shall perform no act to intimidate any person known to him … to be a co-defendant or witness in this case or to otherwise obstruct the administration of justice,” the agreement says. (Washington Post)

If he violates the conditions of the bond agreement as by now everyone who has been following this case knows there are actions that Fulton County Superior Court Judge Scott McAfee can take to punish him from levying fines up to putting him in jail.


Most people, probably including Trump himself, don't think Judge McAfee would take such a final step. 


As noted in Raw Story "former Donald Trump lawyer Michael Cohen doesn't think the ex-president will be capable of complying with the bail conditions set in Fulton County, Georgia. Still, he anticipates that Trump will only get a slap on the wrist."


This doesn't mean that there's no way Trump can be certain he won't eventually end up incarcerated. He could end up in a Georgia prison and the only way he can be certain he won't be imprisoned for a federal crime is if a Republican is elected president and decides to drop the cases against him or pardon him.


If he does end up doing time at a Club Fed and Biden is president there's always the chance Biden would pardon him but then he'd have to admit guilt and accept the ultimate favor from the man he despises.


Let's say that Trump makes it to Russia and takes up residence there. As long as Putin is in power I don't see him allowing him to be extradited. If Putin is replaced a new leader might send him back to the United States to face charges.


What the United States might be able to do is freeze as many of his assets as possible. This might make a large dent in the money available to him depending on how much has has in foreign accounts in countries that won't cooperate with the US justice system. 


Trump might have tried to take actual cash or valuables like Melania's jewelry with him to sell since the government now has the documents he stole so he couldn't sell them. He'd somehow have to get ahold of as many suitcases full of $100 bills as he could if he wanted cash.



Although he won't get that much, he could sell a kidney. The most recent report I could find on this says he could get between one and five million rubles ($14,300 - $73,000).


The easy way for Trump to make it to Russia, Russia, Russia is to board his plane on a flight meant to go to Atlanta or between Bedminster and Mar-a-Lago for example and have it fly to one of his Russkie pal's pads instead.


For those who suggest that there's no pilot who would agree to fly Trump out of the country illegally consider that he wanted his personal pilot John Duncan  (bleow) to be made the head of the FAA. If he wouldn't do it I think he could find another pilot sufficiently loyal to do this for the right price.



One last thought: there is something the judge, any ot the jduges in his cases, can do that that might bother Trump short of throwing him in the hoosecow. They could confiscate his plane.


Of course he could ask Harlan Crow to have him flown out of the coutnry on his  Bombardier Global 5000 jet (below). 





Crow himself might like living in a mansion on the Black Sea, and while I am in a flight of fancy, perhaps Clarence and Ginni Thomas might also move there.






May 9, 2023

Ticket to Hell: The moral turpitude of Clarence Thomas

 By Hal Brown



.

Clarence Thomas, and his wife Ginni, consider themselves to be good Christians. Presumably they believe in Heaven and Hell. No less an expert than the Billy Graham tells us the following:

Satan is not imaginary; he isn’t something people dreamed up just to try to explain the existence of evil. Satan is real, and the Bible makes it clear that he is a powerful (and evil) spiritual being who is absolutely opposed to God and His goodness.

The Bible doesn’t give us a detailed account of Satan’s origin but it does indicate that Satan originally was one of God’s angels, created by Him to carry out His will. But apparently Satan became filled with jealousy and pride, and he decided that he would lead a rebellion against God so he could take God’s place as the ruler of all creation. The Bible says, “You said in your heart… ‘I will make myself like the Most High'” (Isaiah 14:13-14).

 By what standard of morality are they going to Heaven when they die? If living one's life mired in moral turpitude is a ticket to hellfire and damnation they will be welcomed as fitting for a dignitary with his resume with open arms to Hell by Satan himself.

Caricature by DonkeyHotey


I thought it was ironic that when I looked at this Washington Post article that the ad on the side was for the Netflix hit political thriller starring Keri Russell ("The Americans"),  "The Diplomat", because the show is about a highly moral and ethical woman newly assigned to be ambassador to the United Kingdom.

There are two related definitions of moral turpitude:

Click above to enlarge, malum in se means
 an offense that is evil or wrong from its
 own nature irrespective of statute
 


The first definition is "an act or behavior that gravely violates the sentiment or accepted standard of the community" and the second is "a quality of dishonesty or other immorality that is determined by a court to be present in the commission of a criminal offense."

Note the following with my emphasis:

 Whether a criminal offense involves moral turpitude is an important determination in deportation, disbarment, and other disciplinary hearings. Past crimes involving moral turpitude usually may also be introduced as evidence to impeach testimony. Crimes such as theft, perjury, and vice crimes have been found to involve moral turpitude.
Moral turpitude can be a factor in disbarment hearings. Ordinary lawyers can be disbarred and thus no longer allowed to practice law. I am not sure whether judges can be disbarred but I do know that there is only one way to remove a Supreme Court justice and that is through impeachment. No Supreme Court justice has been removed from office and the only one to be impeached by the House of Representatives was Samuel Chase in 1804 who was accused of allowing his political bias to influence his decision on the high court.

This is despite that fact that the Constitution says the following in Article III, Section 1 (my emphasis):

The judicial Power of the United States, shall be vested in one supreme Court, and in such inferior Courts as the Congress may from time to time ordain and establish. The Judges, both of the supreme and inferior Courts, shall hold their Offices during good Behavior, and shall, at stated Times, receive for their Services a Compensation which shall not be diminished during their Continuance in Office. 
Good behavior is not defined. It seems obvious that the Founders did not think it was necessary to define what this meant. 

What Clarence Thomas has done, from what I and many others believe he did to Anita Hill, to how he accepted gifts from a billionaire is to act in a manner which fits definition number one. It is a stretch to define his actions as a justice in the highest court in the land as good behavior.

Dictionary definition number two is a legal standard and, to quote Hamlet, ay, there's the rub.

Clarence Thomas sits on the one American court which has no ethical or moral code which judges, called... and I have to use the word ironically again... are referred to as justices, are held to. On the Supreme Court we have several justices whose idea of justice if you define the word as used in "equal justice for all" has little to do with justice. 


Lucky for Thomas, there's no justice Supreme Court justices are compelled to apply to themselves.

Addendum

Here's another DonkeyHotey caricature and illustration. It was published in Who, What, Why.

Click above to enlarge. Clarence's malfeasance is entwined with and involves collusion with his wife Ginni to advance their shared agenda.  

Clarence's bad behavior doesn't merely involve his sugar daddy with the NAZI memorabilia collection and the dictator garden Harlan Crow. If you believe Crow never used his relationship with the Thomases to influence SCOTUS rulings I have a timeshare in a posh tropical resort to give you for free.

Afternoon bonus having nothing to do with Clarence Thomas but everything to do with justice, with Trump's Truth Social all caps reaction to being found liable in the E. Jean Carroll lawsuit:

Click image to enlarge

Also on the justice is a dish best served cold front:

Exclusive: Rep. George Santos charged by Justice Department in federal probe. CNN



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April 10, 2023

A tale of two judges: who deserves the title of Judge Dreadful

 By Hal Brown

Has anybody wondered whether Clarence Thomas is jealous of a hitherto before obscure federal judge in Texas? The Supreme Court justice known for being reticent to say much of anything during litigation has rarely given interviews. This isn't to say he doesn't enjoy publicity. He has managed to elevate himself to being the most well-known Supreme Court justice.

The notion that he wants to avoid publicity is belied by the fact that he hasn't reined in his wife whose activities have shined a bright light on him. 

I believe he loves the spotlight. I think he is so arrogant that he doesn't care whether there are dark shadows around the spotlight. For Clarence, at least until now, all publicity is good publicity. While liberals demonize him he has become a hero to the far right significantly because he is the object of intense progressive scorn.

The current so-called scandal won't hurt Clarence's reputation with those who admire him. After all, these are the same people who worship at the foot of their golden idol Donald Trump and in their weird "Lifestyle of the Rich and Famous" manner they enjoy observing the opulent life he leads. 

Now along comes this upstart judge with a name most people would be hard pressed to spell.

How dare he hog the headlines?


Meanwhile, another judge few people outside of the state of Washington, Thomas O. Rice (left), has earned a laurel wreath for both smarts and heroism for making a conflicting ruling, thus making it quite likely that the case will fast-track to the Supreme Court. Ironically, once in the Supreme Court Clarence Thomas will be faced with either going along with Judge Kacsmaryk or contradicting his ruling.

Addendum:

For those who, like me, only knew the name Judge Dredd, this is from Wikipedia:


Judge Joseph Dredd
 is a fictional character created by writer John Wagnerand artist Carlos Ezquerra. He first appeared in the second issue of 2000 AD(1977), which is a British weekly anthology comic. He is the magazine's longest-running character. He also appears in a number of film and video game adaptations.

Judge Dredd is a law enforcement and judicial officer in the dystopian future city of Mega-City One, which covers most of the east coast of North America. He is a "street judge", empowered to summarily arrest, convict, sentence, and execute criminals.

In Great Britain, the character of Dredd and his name are sometimes invoked in discussions of police statesauthoritarianism, and the rule of law.[2] Over the years, Judge Dredd has been hailed as one of the best satires of American and British culture with an uncanny trend to predict upcoming trends and events such as mass surveillance, the rise of populist leaders, and the COVID-19 pandemic.[3] In 2011, IGN ranked Judge Dredd 35th among the top 100 comic book heroes of all time.[4]

Judge Dredd made his live-action debut in 1995 in Judge Dredd, portrayed by Sylvester Stallone. Later, he was portrayed by Karl Urban in the 2012 adaptation Dredd. In audio dramas by Big Finish Productions, Dredd is voiced by Toby Longworth.

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April 8, 2023

Why Clarence Thomas shouldn't have had to disclose his trips to visit his close friends

By Hal Brown

In view of what came out since I originally wrote this with the top illustration (see Sunday blog here) I added the bottom image.
.....................

Clarence and Ginni have two besties. They happen to be fairly rich. To quote what Clarence said:

“Harlan and Kathy Crow are among our dearest friends, and we have been friends for over 25 years. As friends do, we have joined them on a number of family trips during the more than quarter-century we have known them.”

People, with the exception of hermits and totally anti-social curmudgeons, have friends. Most have a range of friends some of whom are closer than others.

On occasion they may exchange gifts, say for birthdays, and how expensive, or lavish, these gifts are varies. Some people visit each other so often that they rarely if ever bring presents. On special occasions people of modest means may bring a bottle of supermarket wine when they eat over at a friend's house. 

It may look tawdry, or worse, for Clarence and Ginni Thomas to have considered travel on a private jet and being entertained on a big boat not to be things they need to have reported as gifts, but rich people consider their planes and yachts to be homes away from home. What's the difference, really, between having meal prepared by a chef and having your pal flip burgers on a backyard grill? Food is food, right?

People may be served hamburgers or they may serve filet mignon on special occasions. Wealthy people may treat their houseguests to Dom Perignon champagne and expensive cheese. The super rich may serve astronomically expensive vintage wine, Croatian truffles, and  "Strottarga Bianco" caviar .

Headlines like the following included terms that are relative:

What's to be defined as a lavish gift?

There are some people who would scoff at the description of what The NY Times headlines as lavish gifts.

Is there a line between driving to visit friends for dinner, having your kids play in their above ground pool, and having a barbecue, and what the Thomas's did by being transported in a common Bombardier Global 5000 private jet and being entertained on yacht that in the snobby yachting world wouldn't even be considered a super yacht. 

After all the Crows are said to be worth a paltry $2 billion. There are super yachts that cost  almost that much or more

The Michela Rose is the boat the Thomas's were entertained on.

There are private jets that cost much more than the one the couple own. For example the AirBus A380 owned by Prince Alwaleed bin Talal goes for $600 million.

To mirror Marc Antony's eulogy for Julius Caesar indulge me when I say that I come not to bury Thomas nor to praise him. The evil Thomas has done, and is likely to continue to do, will be his legacy. There is no Brutus to end his tenure.  

There are those who argue that no person should be above the law and those who contend that only Donald Trump should be above the law. Clarence Thomas gave the appearance of impropriety, but did he break any laws in accepting the hospitality of his close friends and not reporting this?

There are those in public office who are scrupulous about accepting absolutely nothing of value from anyone who might be trying to influence them.  For example, I have a friend who used to work for a U.S. Senator as a senior aide. From time to time they reminded them that they shouldn't let a lobbyist pick up the tab when they dined out. There are others in official positions who may be a bit looser when it comes to such matters.


What are the ethical boundaries for people who have political power and influence?

I once invited a local lawmaker to lunch for an interview. Lunch would be on me. He wouldn’t allow it. “I wouldn’t even let you buy me a cup of coffee at Starbucks,” he told me.

At least that was a good thing, since I’m not exactly a fan of Starbucks.


A member of Congress, the executive branch, or the judiciary may engage with lobbyists and others who want to influence policy. It's also possible they could be friends with them. This, truly, could put one in a sticky wicket.

These revelations about Clarence hopefully has him meandering in a mucilaginous morass. If he and Ginni are feeling stuck in the muck it makes me happy. However, I rather doubt anything will come of it. I have a feeling that this will prove to be a tempest in a teapot, although it may be an expensive teapot.

Updates: You'll need a subscription to read why The Wall Street Journal says this is a smear.

"The left is furious it lost control of the Supreme Court, and it wants it back by whatever means possible. The latest effort is a smear on Justice Thomas."


Is it illegal for Thomas to receive gifts? 

Generally speaking, Supreme Court justices are required to disclose any perks that they receive if they are valued at more than $415 and they aren't reimbursed, according to public filings for judicial officers and employees. Those perks may include travel, food or lodging. 

But some exceptions can include situations when a person hosts a justice on their own property, in which case food and lodging would not have to be disclosed. But this exception does not apply to travel expenses such as costs for a private plane, however. 

Additionally, it appears Thomas should have reported vacations at Crow's Camp Topridge resort in New York because the developer technically owns the resort through a company, as opposed to owning it personally, according to ProPublica.

This confirms that everything that the Thomases accepted by way of hospitality on the Crow's yacht wasn't different than it would have been if they went to a friend's backyard barbecue. The travel expenses should have been reported.

Blogs are also posted on Booksie and Medium.

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