Tuesday, September 13, 2011

The Honorable Member's Member

Today constituents of New York's 9th District are going to the polls in a special election to choose Anthony Weiner's successor.

Weiner was a big voice in the U S Congress. Some would say, succinctly, that he was a big mouth and little else. Maybe that's true. What he didn't accomplish legislatively, I suppose he accomplished in getting himself noticed and, certainly, heard. In this respect, he can be called New York's equivalent of Rahm Emanuel, if only in Weiner's ambitions to become Mayor of New York City.

While it can be argued that a lot of what Weiner did whilst he was in Congress was done with the above in mind, and mainly in aid of Weiner's ever-expanding ego (which was abetted by his frequent and popular appearances on MSNBC, Fox and YouTube), it goes without saying that he will be missed. After all, who can forget some of his most dramatic performances at the Congressional podium, like the moment he spoke out in favour of the First Responders' Bill, which initially failed in a last-minute vote at the end of the summer session of 2010?

By now we all know the sad tale of Anthony Weiner's political demise. We know about the Facebook trysts, the naughty photographs, some of which were clearly obscene. We know about the Twitter teasings and what appeared to many to be the inveterate stalking of various, sundry and increasingly younger women by a recently-married fortysomething man in a position of power and authority. We know, too, that he and his wife were also expecting their first child, which adds both to the poignancy and the tragedy of the situation.

But we also know that Weiner, himself, was very possibly the victim of stalking, himself, in this venture - that a group of political activists from the Right were monitoring his activity, both on Twitter and Facebook, to the extent that they were able, accurately, to predict that a high-profiled Democratic legislator would, within weeks, be the victim of a sex scandal. We know that these selfsame Rightwingers were targeting Weiner (unbeknownst to him) with a vengeance, even to the point of assuming false identities in order to snare him in a honey trap.

And we know that - ultimately, although not initially - Andrew Breitbart was involved.

Although I'm not anything remotely resembling a conspiracy theorist, it's easy to see why these people targeted Anthony Weiner and why in their interest that he be brought down. In recognising the motives behind this, it's also not rocket science to surmise who might have been at the helm of this absolutely prize example of what can only be described (pun intended) as sexual ratfucking.

At the time Weiner was "exposed" (in more ways than one), he was heavily involved in trumpeting the truth about Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas's blatantly illegal conflict of interest peccadilloes and financial irregularities, which - in any other sane society at any other time - would patently result in either Thomas's resignation from the Highest Court in the Land or his impeachment.

Surprisingly, The Huffington Post broke the story on May 27th:-

WASHINGTON — Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.) spent his Friday afternoon pestering Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas for executing a classic news dump: a release of his financial disclosure filing on the eve of Memorial Day Weekend.

The Congressman spent the day tweeting to his heart’s content, first alerting his 43,000-plus followers to the likelihood that someone on the Court was going to try and bury an embarrassing story while the world’s attention was turned toward the commute and barbecue ahead:

“Friday dump Scotus style? I’m hearing disclosures released today. #ConflictsAbound,” he tweeted.

Shortly thereafter, Weiner let it be known that it was Thomas whose financial disclosure filing he was awaiting. Around 4:30, he had a link to send, showing that Thomas had served on the Board of Directors for the nonprofit Horatio Alger Association and had made $10,000 for a speech at University of Minnesota School of Law.

The real conflict, if there was one, was with his wife Ginni, who earned “Salary and benefits” from Liberty Central and Liberty Consulting — prominent Tea Party Groups. The filing also revealed that the two share several financial investments, including 1/3 interest in rental property in Liberty City, Georgia, and a 401k plan. Thomas went on to note that, “two of the Georgia rental properties have been torn down. The only remaining property is an old house in Liberty County.”

Joy-Ann Reid of The Reid Report takes the matter further:-

TRR has done several stories on what Twitterites are calling ClarenceGate, and what Weiner had called Conflicted Clarence Thomas (he even put up a website.) In fact, on the same day a group of rather nefarious denizens of the hacker and right wing worlds unleashed the pictures that spawned Weinergate, Weiner was Tweeting, and taunting, about the Thomas affair.

This post is meant to catalog everything we know about the Thomas conflict of interest case that Weiner was pushing for an investigation of. What is already in the public record is shocking, to say the least, in that it involves potentially 20 years of violations of disclosure rules by Thomas, whose wife was bringing nearly $800,000 of income into their family home, unbeknownst the public, while conducting very public advocacy on issues that are sure to come before the court, namely, healthcare reform.

I was on Weiner's e-mail list, and I recall a flurry of regular newsletters, detailing Weiner's relentless endeavours to expose Thomas for the dishonest poltroon he was and is, including his last missive, dated May 25th, immediately before the cack hit the fan:-

Does Justice Clarence Thomas have a conflict of interest?

It may not please the court, but it sure looks that way. Permit me to present the evidence.

Thomas's wife earned $700,000 from uber-conservative groups that opposed health care reform. He neglected to disclose her income for 13 years -- until he got caught and submitted a slew of amended filings.

What's the honorable justice's defense? Deny and deflect. First he said his critics were "undermining" the Supreme Court. Now, apparently we're suffering from "a disease of illiteracy or laziness."

We have been waiting for 10 days to find out what conflicts Justice Thomas is bringing to our Supreme Court every day. He MUST make the financial disclosure forms he filed over a week ago public immediately. Hundreds of thousands have already joined me in calling out Conflicted Clarence Thomas, but I need your help to make sure he hears us loud and clear ...

Clearly it's getting to him. At a speech last week in Augusta, he went so far as to call us "cynics" who are "drunk on their own opinions." The nerve of us, questioning a U.S. Supreme Court justice who has been featured in Koch promotional material -- alongside such bastions of impartiality as Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh -- for conservative political events and causes.

I expected more out of someone who sits on the most distinguished court in the land.

This "impartial" member hid $700,000 of his household income for over a decade and won't recuse himself from health care reform cases even though his wife has made boatloads of money lobbying against it. What's he hiding in his financial disclosure forms now?

I know I won't let up until he stops dodging the question. I hope I can count on having you with me.

Because it's not our behavior that's undermining the Supreme Court -- it's Justice Thomas's.

Typical Weiner bombast, but absolutely and undeniably true, true, true. Anyone not seeing a link in what happened to Anthony Weiner in the immediate aftermath of this exposure of a man who is arguably the most corrupt individual to sit on the Supreme Court, is obtuse. Anyone not connecting the dots to someone close to Mr Justice, whose own behaviour earlier this year leant immense credence to Anita Hill's already credible testimony two decades ago, is even more obtuse.

Let me be abundantly clear: I don't condone what Weiner did. It was creepy and more than just a little bit vile, especially considering he'd barely been married a year. This was the ultimate arrogance of a man who did what he did because he could. His initial attitude was every bit as arrogant as that exhibited by his Republican opposite, John Ensign, who jumped before he could be pushed in the wake of a soap opera tale of his pursuit of the wife of his best friend, who happened to be on his payroll.

But I do object to the fact that Weiner was as sinisterly stalked and blatantly set up by people with a definite agenda. Come on, who's talked about Clarence Thomas's ethical problem since then?


And so we have this special election in a Congressional district which will, more than likely, cease to exist after re-districting next year. This is an election that really shouldn't be happening. As so often happens, the candidates are weaker than those who would normally run in a Mid-Term or General Election year - and when I say "candidates," I most generally mean the Democratic one. We lost Ted Kennedy and got Martha Coakley (who lost). We lost Robert Byrd and ended up with Joe Manchin in the Senate (just so the Blue Dogs wouldn't miss Blanche Lincoln).

What I find resentful about this election is the media's incessant and pejorative attempts to pin the blame on the President.

It's getting a bit boring, this meme of blaming Obama for everything. This morning, my cat died. Did Obama cause that too? I'm truly beginning to wonder.

This election pits an Orthodox Jewish councilman in the Democratic corner to a devout Catholic ex-advertising executive in the Republican one. The latter has Tea Party links, which puts paid to the myth that most 'Baggers are old, white, Southern racists. Carl Palladino, anyone?

As much as the usual mischief makers like Rudolph Giuliani are trying to make this a referendum on Obama, especially with the President's insistance that any Israeli-Palestinian negotiations start from Israel's 1967 borders (a stance taken by every negotiating President since Jimmy Carter), this is also a referendum on same-sex marriage, recently passed by the New York legislature and nothing at all to do with the President.

It's not all about him, you know, although there are plenty of people on the Right, as well as those guided by the usual suspect and dodgy celebrity talking heads on the Left, who would have you think otherwise.

No, indeed. This is an election which needn't have happened, save for the overbearing hubris of one prurient Congressman and his dick which seemed to have a mind of its own.

The other supreme irony is that Weiner's downfall came in the wake of a Democratic coup in New York's ueber red 27th Congressional district - a Democratic victory in a constituency which had never gone blue. How many remember that now?

If the Democrats lose this Congressional seat today - and there's every reason to surmise that they will - this will not be a referendum on the President. It will not be his fault. The blame will lie squarely and firmly between the legs of Anthony Weiner.

Such is what happens when one's member is as big as one's ego.

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