Thursday, January 04, 2018

GOP Humor

While most of the credible (which obviously excludes Fox News) fixates, justifiably, on Michael Wolff's allegations and revelations about life inside the Trump campaign and White House, Sarah Huckabee Sanders and John Roberts are doing stand-up. We learn from Politico

The White House plans to ban the use of personal cell phones in the West Wing by both staff and guests, press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders announced on Thursday, citing security concerns.

“The security and integrity of the technology systems at the White House is a top priority for the Trump administration and therefore the use of all personal devices for both guests and staff will no longer be allowed in the West Wing,” Sanders said in a statement. “Staff will be able to conduct business on their government-issued devices and continue working hard on behalf of the American people.”

The article continues "The ban will go into effect in the coming days, and it is likely to have the secondary effect of cracking down on leaks, a top priority for White House chief of staff John Kelly."

It would be politically incorrect to point out that the primary aim is to stop leaks, although it is likely to have limited effect because, as Wolff suggests

As details of Trump’s personal life leaked out, he became obsessed with identifying the leaker. The source of all the gossip, however, may well have been Trump himself. In his calls throughout the day and at night from his bed, he often spoke to people who had no reason to keep his confidences. He was a river of grievances, which recipients of his calls promptly spread to the ever-attentive media.

Staff and guests would be banned from bringing their cell phones into the West Wing but no one can stop the sexually insecure Chief Executive from desperately trying to provoke nuclear war by, for instance, tweeting "North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un just stated that the 'Nuclear Button is on his desk at all times.'Will someone from his depleted and food starved regime please inform him that I too have a Nuclear Button, but it is a much bigger & more powerful one than his, and my Button works!"

But the presidential press secretary is a comedic amateur compared to the Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court who

in his annual State of the Judiciary report, said Sunday his branch of government will examine the issue of sexual harassment within the judicial system.

"The judiciary will begin 2018," wrote Roberts, "by undertaking a careful evaluation of whether its standards of conduct and its procedures for investigating and correcting inappropriate behavior are adequate to ensure an exemplary workplace for every judge and every court employee."

That's commendable- but who's going to tell Clarence Thomas he's out?

Well before Harvey Weinstein, there was Clarence " a high-tech lynching for uppity blacks who in any way deign to think for themselves..." Thomas, who has become famous on the Court for saying almost nothing.

Not all invocations of the "race card" are necessarily malevolent, but given that Thomas knew the accusations were both accurate and unrelated to race (and not only because Anita Hill was/is black), his was truly evil. Still, Thomas is best known for withstanding (valid) charges of sexual harassment of  Hill and given life-long tenure on the highest court in the land.

In 2010, in an article Salon entitled "How we Know Clarence Thomas did it," Steve Kornacki helpfully laid out the open-and-shut case against the judge, who denied everything and slandered his accusers as liars and worse.  Among other pieces of evidence, he quotes from a Washinton Post article which explained that the book (written by Jill Abramson and Jane Mayer)

 "Strange Justice" uses statements from Thomas's friends and associates to undermine Thomas's testimony that he never talked dirty with Hill. The authors, after interviewing acquaintances as far back as his college years at Holy Cross, report that he often recounted sexually explicit films in lurid detail. Kaye Savage, a former colleague, reports that the walls of his bachelor apartment were covered with Playboy nude centerfolds. The owner of a video store near the EEOC said Thomas was a regular customer for pornographic movies."

Clarence Thomas as he portrayed himself never would even have imagined behaving in such a manner. Still, he is now on the United States Supreme Court, whose Chief Justice, with no sense of irony, observes "events in the past few weeks have made clear that the judicial branch is not immune" from sexual harassment in the workplace. (First video below is from 4/16; the second from 10/16.)

If Chief Justice Roberts were concerned about sexual harassment in the workplace, he should ask his colleague to resign.If he wants bygones to be bygones, he needs to ask guys named "Franken" and "Moore" about double standards. Meanwhile, we can admire people like John Roberts and Sarah Huckabee Sanders, who have gotten so far with so little sincerity, and laugh at their surfeit of gall.

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