FLASHBACK What was Rep. Weiner working on before he was “gated”? (Hint: Clarence Thomas’s conflicts of interest)

[Correction: The author of the AngryBlackLady post mentioned below is Allan Brauer. My error and apologies – GP]

I’m following up two chunks of information this morning, both acquired over the weekend.

The first is bits and pieces regarding the “gating” of Rep. Weiner (as in “Weiner-gate,” or “Mighty-tighty-whiteys–gate,” or the “Breitbarting of Weiner’s …” something … gate).

The second involves a big chunk of info about Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan from Howie Klein at DownWithTyranny via a long interchange with Digby on a recent Virtually Speaking.

Let’s focus on the NY congressman. I’m not much interested in Weiner’s … something … but I am interested in Clarence Thomas, whom I’ve written about on several occasions.

Thanks to AngryBlackLady (h/t MG1 via email), one of the things the big bright spotlight didn’t cover on Weiner-Friday was Clarence Thomas’s re-amendment of his amendment of his financial disclosure forms.

All of a sudden, the news that Clarence Thomas was being forced to correct the lie that corrected the other lie (sorry, “impossible-to-believe double oversight”) was overshadowed by the news that someone may have tweeted Anthony Weiner’s … something. Or somebody’s something. (Think that was Breitbart’s subaltern in those shorts?)

What’s the connection? Weiner is the reason that Thomas had to make that double correction.

A timeline:

In January 2011, Common Cause reveals that Clarence Thomas has repeatedly failed to report his wife’s Movement Conservative income (from the Heritage Foundation) on his financial disclosure forms. He checked the box marked “Not one dime” when he should have checked the one labeled “Between $1 and $686,589″ in each of five years running.

In February, Anthony Weiner gets 74 congresspeople to send a letter to Clarence Thomas asking him to explain himself, then launches a Conflicted Clarence Thomas campaign, attempting to shame him into a recusal on any health care case. From Weiner’s petition (feel free to click and sign):

The Thomas household has profited from opposition to health care reform. His wife has already taken nearly $700,000 from health care opponents and now openly advertises herself as a crack lobbyist with the “experience and connections” to overturn the law of the land.

Use the form on the right to stand with Anthony Weiner and his House colleagues, co-signing their letter and calling on Clarence Thomas to recuse himself from any cases regarding the constitutionality of the health care reform law immediately in the interest of maintaining impartiality in nation’s highest court.

Note that the “nearly $700,000″ number will turn out to be wrong, significantly low.

Liberty Central is forced, presumably by Weiner’s constant tweaking, to release its own IRS forms showing $150,000 in payments to Ginni Thomas, President and CEO, in 2010 (jump to page 12 using the pop-up toolbar at the bottom).

Liberty Central is on record as opposing Obama’s Affordable Care Act, perhaps the reason this income didn’t make it to Clarence Thomas’s first round of income-correction. The ACA may well come before the Court on which Thomas sits.

On May 27 (a Friday), Thomas announces he will release his amended disclosures later that day, and starting at 9:14 am there’s a lot of Twitter traffic from @RepWeiner about it, eleven straight tweets at one point, including this one.

Note that the “nearly $700,000″ number is now $800,000 (that we know about).

Later that evening, Weiner tweets that his Facebook account has been hacked and the chicken-in-the-pants pic goes out (no link; this is why god made google, folks).

Here I part company with AngryBlackLady, by the way. She sees a connection, based in part on the fact that the intended recipient of the pants-pic is black (something I was not aware of) and Clarence Thomas’s original sin, which was sexual harassment of a black woman (Anita Hill):

But notice now what you may not have noticed before. How allegations that Anthony Weiner sexually harassed a young African American woman just appeared out of the blue at the very moment when Weiner’s campaign to discredit Clarence Thomas was peaking. Think some more about what you’ve learned that you may not know, or have forgotten, about the history of the players in this drama and their nexus with the story of the man whose name came to be synonymous with sexual harassment in the American culture 20 years ago. Think about how distracted the media have been from the story of Clarence Thomas, in spite of the efforts of Anthony Weiner to keep a spotlight on Thomas.

Perhaps, and I mean that sincerely. But for what it’s worth, I am thinking coincidence (or happy accident), though I do believe that God is an ironist. There’s a ton of information in this Daily Kos diary that fingers two Breitbart acolytes–types, James O’Keefe wannabes, as the likely tighty-whitey pic perps.

As I wrote to MG1 (who sent me the original AngryBlackLady article), I think it’s unlikely that someone at the low level occupied by those two would be coordinating with someone operating at a high enough level to be managing Clarence Thomas’s disinformation and misdirection campaign.

But still, why waste a crisis? Like AngryBlackLady, I’d like to take the big bright beam now focused on Weiner’s imagined flashlight, and shine it on Clarence Thomas’s ongoing problem with the truth, his inner angry giant, and our ongoing problem with him.

So for that, my thanks! Clarence, this one’s for you. According to ProtectOurElections.org, there’s a lot more where this came from. And Rep. Weiner, along with myself, your humble servant, will be all over it. Stay tuned.


Gaius Publius is a professional writer living on the West Coast of the United States. Click here for more. Follow him on Twitter @Gaius_Publius and Facebook.

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