Friday Reads: You Shouldn’t go Back Home

Good Day Sky Dancers!

BB talked to me about how I’d probably be writing about this today. I was in the fetal position because I knew it would take me right back to when I had to deal with people like her all the time.

Anyone who knows me knows I consider my time in Omaha to be in service to a Lost Cause. I must’ve done something horrible in a previous life because the entire time there was like some sadistic penance. It took me about one year into high school to beg my parents to let me graduate early and head to university in someplace civilized with better food, entertainment, and just about everything you could name. I hung out with a very small group of people that graduated and immediately left. I should’ve and could’ve but that’s another story.

An illustration of this and probably also in service to whatever karmic debt forced me to spend time there, I have to be the one to cover one of my high school classmates who probably best represents why I felt miserable being there and traveled a lot to get some reprieve. Yes, Daughter of absolute raging John Birchers and scorned even by those of us that were in the Young Republicans Club at my school which included me at the time went to my High School. She was a year behind me. Today, she is married to Judge Uncle Clarence Thomas and spreading her special form of crazy to the District. The tales of her from the debate club were just unfortunate. However, she hooked on to one of my least favorite politicians wife-beater Hal Daub, former congressman, and mayor. And yes, I knew him and he knew me. I’d just like you to know I always felt like I needed to take a bleach shower after being around him. He mainstreamed her.

I also knew Kurt Andersen because he was the darling of the Journalism Teacher and I was just about to start my sophomore year studying it. Here’s a confluence of the Good and The Bad and Evil of what my high school could turn out in all its white privilege. “How Ginni Thomas, wife of Justice Clarence Thomas, influences the Supreme Court” from Dave Davies and Fresh Air at NPR. This is from the end of January of this year. It’s an interview with Journalist Extraordinaire Jane Mayer.

DAVIES: This is FRESH AIR, and we’re speaking with New Yorker, staff writer and chief Washington correspondent Jane Mayer. Her latest article examines the conservative activism and influence of Ginni Thomas, wife of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas. Let’s just talk a little bit about Ginni Thomas’ background. She grew up in Nebraska. What do we know about her family?

MAYER: Well, she grew up in a kind of upper-middle-class family in Omaha, Neb. Her father was a engineer and a developer of sort of housing complexes. And her family was very conservative and very active in politics. And one of the people I interviewed is the journalist Kurt Andersen, who grew up exactly across the street from the Lamp family. Her name before she got married was Virginia Lamp. And he said that his parents were actually Goldwater Republicans. But even they thought the Lamps were – what he said was crazy. They were – he looks at them as kind of the beginning of the modern, crazy right wing. They believed in things like the John Birch Society, and they were afraid that there was fluoridation in the water that was somehow poisoning people’s minds – that kind of thing.

DAVIES: She makes her way to Washington. How does she get there and – I don’t know. Her life took some interesting detours there; didn’t they?

MAYER: Yeah, it did. She went to Washington with the local congressman when he was elected. Her family knew him, and she got a job in his office. But it looks like she had sort of some rocky years. She was a law student. She flunked the bar exam, the state bar exam in Nebraska, and she sort of fell in with a self-help sort of self-actualization kind of cult called Lifespring in Washington, where the members kind of got into ritual humiliation of each other. They’d strip down out of their clothes and then mock each other’s body fat. And it sounded grim and kind of scary. But anyway, she was then deprogrammed, got out of it, became anti-cult. But that was a phase of her life before she met Clarence Thomas.

Yes. She belonged to a cult AND she flunked the Nebraska Bar Exam, which ranks 46 out of 50 of the hardest bar exams. It has about a 90% passage rate. So, in other words, she’s no Rhodes Scholar. Those of us who watched the Anita Hill testimony in horror also remember her crazy-go-nuts phone call to Professor Hill demanding an apology. If you want to read about LifeSpring you can see this on Psychology Wiki. I’ll defer to Dr. Boomer for anything that needs explaining. She’s just plain crazy in my book and hangs around with the least ethical individuals I’ve ever known about. Plus, she’s absolutely convinced she’s one of the few who get everything right.

I’m also using another one of my classmate’s political cartoons today! Just so you know, we did turn out a lot of decent and talented people that I still call friends. John Buss got out too! His political cartoons rock! (@Repeat1968).

Let’s say she’s a horrifying example of white privilege. Her husband is now out of the hospital and facing mounting ethics scrutiny. This is from The Hill.

Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas was discharged from the hospital earlier today, a court spokesperson said, a development that comes amid mounting ethical scrutiny of the conservative justice.

Thomas, 73, was admitted to Sibley Memorial Hospital in Washington on March 18 after experiencing “flu-like symptoms.” He was diagnosed with an infection and treated with intravenous antibiotics. A court spokesperson did not respond to a request for additional details on his health status.

Thomas faces growing ethics questions after recent reports of his wife’s aggressive effort to overturn former President Trump’s electoral defeat and participation in the Jan. 6 “Stop the Steal” rally have renewed scrutiny of the justice’s refusal to step aside from related disputes that have come before the Supreme Court.

And now let’s get straight to Ginnie’s latest antics. This is from The Washington Post and may the wisdom beings bless whoever leaked it to them. “Virginia Thomas urged White House chief to pursue unrelenting efforts to overturn the 2020 election, texts show. In messages to Chief of Staff Mark Meadows in the weeks after Election Day, the wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas called Biden’s victory “the greatest Heist of our History” and told him that President Donald Trump should not concede.” The bylines go to Bob Woodward and Robert Costa. The story broke at suppertime yesterday. I had to let my sushi settle before reading knowing full well it would be stomach-churning in terms of crazy and lack of ethical awareness.

The messages — 29 in all — reveal an extraordinary pipeline between Virginia Thomas, who goes by Ginni, and President Donald Trump’s top aide during a period when Trump and his allies were vowing to go to the Supreme Court in an effort to negate the election results.

On Nov. 10, after news organizations had projected Joe Biden the winner based on state vote totals, Thomas wrote to Meadows: “Help This Great President stand firm, Mark!!!…You are the leader, with him, who is standing for America’s constitutional governance at the precipice. The majority knows Biden and the Left is attempting the greatest Heist of our History.”

When Meadows wrote to Thomas on Nov. 24, the White House chief of staff invoked God to describe the effort to overturn the election. “This is a fight of good versus evil,” Meadows wrote. “Evil always looks like the victor until the King of Kings triumphs. Do not grow weary in well doing. The fight continues. I have staked my career on it. Well at least my time in DC on it.”

Thomas replied: “Thank you!! Needed that! This plus a conversation with my best friend just now… I will try to keep holding on. America is worth it!”

It is unclear to whom Thomas was referring.

The messages, which do not directly reference Justice Thomas or the Supreme Court, show for the first time how Ginni Thomas used her access to Trump’s inner circle to promote and seek to guide the president’s strategy to overturn the election results — and how receptive and grateful Meadows said he was to receive her advice. Among Thomas’s stated goals in the messages was for lawyer Sidney Powell, who promoted incendiary and unsupported claims about the election, to be “the lead and the face” of Trump’s legal team.

And now back to Jane Mayer writing for The New Yorker: “Legal Scholars Are Shocked By Ginni Thomas’s “Stop the Steal” Texts. Several experts say that Thomas’s husband, the Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, must recuse himself from any case related to the 2020 election.”

Several of the country’s most respected legal scholars say that Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas must immediately recuse himself from any cases relating to the 2020 election and its aftermath, now that it has been revealed that his wife, Virginia (Ginni) Thomas, colluded extensively with a top White House adviser about overturning Joe Biden’s defeat of then President Donald Trump. On March 24th, the Washington Post and CBS News revealed that they had obtained copies of twenty-nine text messages between Ginni Thomas and Mark Meadows, the Trump White House chief of staff, in which she militated relentlessly for invalidating the results of the Presidential election, which she described as an “obvious fraud.” It was necessary, she told Meadows, to “release the Kraken and save us from the left taking America down.” Ginni Thomas’s texts to Meadows also refer to conversations that she’d had with “Jared”—possibly Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner, who also served as a senior adviser to the Administration. (“Just forwarded to yr gmail an email I sent Jared this am.”)

Stephen Gillers, a law professor at N.Y.U. and a prominent judicial ethicist, described the revelations as “a game changer.” In the past, he explained, he had supported the notion that a Justice and his spouse could pursue their interests in autonomous spheres. “For that reason, I was prepared to, and did tolerate a great deal of Ginni’s political activism,” he said. But “Ginni has now crossed a line.” In an e-mail reacting to the texts, Gillers concluded, “Clarence Thomas cannot sit on any matter involving the election, the invasion of the Capitol, or the work of the January 6 Committee.”

One more before I have to return to therapy. This is from The New York Times: “Ginni and Clarence Thomas Have Done Enough Damage”. It’s an OpEd by Jesse Wegman.

Ms. Thomas had already acknowledged some involvement in the fight over the 2020 election count, recently confirming that she attended the Jan. 6 Stop the Steal rally in Washington, but she said she went home before Mr. Trump spoke to the crowd and before a mob of hundreds stormed the Capitol in a violent attempt to block the certification of Mr. Biden’s Electoral College victory. The texts reveal that her efforts to subvert the election were far more serious than we knew.

Now recall that in January, the Supreme Court rejected Mr. Trump’s request to block the release of White House records relating to the Jan. 6 Capitol attack. Mr. Meadows had submitted a brief in the case supporting Mr. Trump. The court’s ruling came as an unsigned order, with only one noted dissent: from Justice Thomas.

Perhaps Justice Thomas was not aware of his wife’s text-message campaign to Mr. Meadows at the time. But it sure makes you wonder, doesn’t it?

And that’s precisely the problem: We shouldn’t have to wonder. The Supreme Court is the most powerful judicial body in the country, and yet, as Alexander Hamilton reminded us, it has neither the sword nor the purse as a means to enforce its rulings. It depends instead on the American people’s acceptance of its legitimacy, which is why the justices must make every possible effort to appear fair, unbiased and beyond reproach.

That may seem naïve, particularly in the face of the crippling assaults on the court that Mitch McConnell and his Senate Republicans have carried out over the past six years in order to secure a right-wing supermajority that often resembles a judicial policy arm of the Republican Party — starting with their theft of a vacancy that was President Barack Obama’s to fill and continuing through the last-second confirmation of Amy Coney Barrett while millions of voters were already in the process of casting Mr. Trump out of office.

And yet the public’s demand for basic fairness and judicial neutrality is not only proper but critical to the court’s integrity, as the justices, whoever nominated them, are well aware. Partly in response to the court’s tanking public-approval ratings, several of them have grown increasingly outspoken in defense of their independence. (Though not all of them.)

The most obvious way for justices to demonstrate that independence in practice, of course, is to recuse themselves from any case in which their impartiality might reasonably be questioned. It does not matter whether there is, in fact, a conflict of interest; the mere appearance of bias or conflict should be enough to compel Justice Thomas or any other member of the court to step aside.

Just more shit from the Treason Party.

What’s on your reading and blogging list today?

29 Comments on “Friday Reads: You Shouldn’t go Back Home”

  1. dakinikat says:

    Russian Tech Failure: Small favors

  2. dakinikat says:

    Hope your weekend is full of peace, calm, love, and rock and roll! I’ve got to grade midterms and I’ll be glad for the distraction!


  3. bostonboomer says:

    Great post! I too grew up in a town filled with John Birchers, Muncie, Ind. It’s now a Democratic town, but when I was growing up it was completely different. I had to get out and I escaped to Boston when I was 19.

    Of course Muncie isn’t a big city like Omaha. Back in the 50s and 60s it was an industrial center with lots of car parts factories that fed the manufacturers in Detroit. The factories attracted people from Kentucky and Tennessee looking for good paying jobs. Then the bottom fell out of Detroit’s factories and Muncie became part of the rust belt. Unemployment was sky high.

    Today Muncie is a college town. The University is the biggest employer. I suppose there are still right wing crazies, but Democrats run the place.

  4. When I was a young typist working at a stock brokerage in San Francisco, I’d hear break room conversations among the brokers. Many of them were Birchers and they used to discuss the book “None Dare Call It Treason.” I was involved in the civil rights movement at the time and was finally fired after too many political arguments with my boss.

    • dakinikat says:

      Wow. That book was crazy. I never read it but some freaks would leave copies of bircher stuff in my father’s car dealership’s waiting room. They were worse than Jehovah’s witnesses. I’m sorry you went through that!

    • bostonboomer says:

      That book was passed around in my high school.

  5. dakinikat says:

  6. dakinikat says:

  7. dakinikat says:

    • quixote says:

      But you have to admit, nobody spent about 15 minutes saying hello to someone on an airport tarmac. Because that would have been bad.

  8. Mary Brown says:

    The Birchers are still out there. I got an enormous packet of info from a Bircher couple left in my mailbox just a couple of years ago. Astonishing.

  9. To my mind, religious freedom means we each get to live according to our own personal beliefs as long as they don’t infringe on another person’s rights. How am I infringing on the rights of others when I choose to have an abortion, or choose to marry a person of my own gender, or choose to wear a mask???
    I just don’t get how exercising the right to religious freedom translates into outlawing the rights of those with whom we disagree. Of course, Ginni Thomas would seem to believe that anyone who disagrees with her politically, religiously, or in any other sphere, should be drawn, quartered, run out of town on a rail and dumped in a black hole.
    I despair!

    • dakinikat says:

      Yeah. They don’t get the idea that their rights end where our rights start. Do what you want but don’t come interfere with my life when I’m not endangering yours!!

    • quixote says:

      Don’t look at what they call themselves. Look at what they do.

      Anti-abortion? Keeps women in “their place.” Vote suppression? Keeps them “others” in their place. Guns in white men’s hands? Likewise. Their weird “Christianity”? Cultish justification for why they should be on top. Buddies with Putin? Brothers under the skin who recognize each other at once.

      It all serves the same goal: male white supremacy. It serves a caste system. It serves their status.

      They have no interest in your rights or even their own rights. They only want all the power. To hell with rights.

      They are completely incompatible with any rule-based, rights-based, egalitarian ways of living together.

      Don’t worry about what they call themselves. It’s all just “Yup. Fits perfectly into a male white supremacist frame.”

  10. dakinikat says:

    • NW Luna says:

      “I”? What idiots. “Intersex,” which is actually an inaccurate and outdated word for Disorders/Differences of Sex Development (DSD) is not a sexual orientation nor a pretense at being the other sex. DSD people are either male or female. They are not both or in-between. They have repeatedly said to leave them out of the TQ+ alphabet soup. DSDs are medical conditions often accompanied by anomalies in other body systems besides the reproductive system. DSDs, BTW are very rare — that “as common as redheads” comparison is also idiotic.

      There’s also a growing move by LGB to have their own organizations, as they have nothing in common with the T, especially the ones who think lesbians can be males and females can be gay. “Q” is a trendy word for (usually) straight people with edgy clothing. “A”? I think that stands for “attention seeker.”

      I do not like Republicans. I question that a school should use time, effort, and funds in a “celebration” of sexuality. Schools certainly should not for non-evidence-based claims of gendered souls or sex changes. Schools should foster learning, which includes evidence-based health and biology, including sexual and reproductive health, that some humans are same-sex attracted, and that no one can change sex. No child is born in the wrong body. Break down gender stereotypes! Keep any trans cult irrationalities (bit redundant there) for adults.