Monday, June 6, 2011

Decide for yourself

The major controversy of the moment is the Weiner affair, in which congressman Anthony Weiner of New York supposedly posted an obscene picture on his twitter account. At first, it seemed a cut-and-dry fiasco, but it appears that some people are suspecting a third party was involved. Can you say Andrew Breitbart?

Here's a good synopsis of the argument. Basically, it all comes back to Justice Thomas, the supreme court justice who recently got in trouble for failing to disclose his wife's income from organizations like Citizens United (which Thomas also received campaign funds from, and then went on to vote in favor of, breaking neutrality on the Supreme Court). The theory is that, because Weiner was such an outspoken opponent of Justice Thomas serving on the upcoming Health Care case, he was targeted by Breitbart and was actually hacked like he says.

Breitbart, of course, is the ultra-conservative activist who pulled off the scandals against ACORN, Shirley Sherrod, and NPR. Keep in mind that in each of these previous cases, Breitbart was found to have falsified documents, edited video in order to present false information, and generally been shown to lie blatantly.

Thomas, who has now released the financial records of his spouse, was initially reluctant to do so, which we now know is because it ties him financially to several major conservative organizations that have launched campaigns against Obama's health care plan. His wife in particular started her own lobbying firm after leaving her position as Liberty Central president and CEO, called Liberty Consulting, whose sole purpose is to work against Obama health care reform.

According to US Title 28, Section 455, a judge must be excused from proceedings in which they have a conflict of interest. Thomas clearly has one now. This is significant because Thomas represents a deciding vote that will certainly be cast against health care reform. Because conservatives have a 5-4 majority on the Supreme Court, it's likely the HCR would be voted down. If the court follows their own rules, Thomas should not sit on the proceedings.

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