Tag: Kentucky

Doing Your Job

Shortly after the Obergefell decision was handed down, the states complied with the ruling by instructing their employees to issue marriage license to gay couples who applied. Almost all have complied. A couple of counties in Texas and a few in Alabama are refusing. But the debate has come to center around Kim Davis, a clerk in Rowan County, Kentucky, who has refused to issue marriage licenses because she says it violates her religious liberty. She has been ordered by the courts to issue marriage licenses and the Supreme Court has now denied her appeal on religious grounds.

On this matter, I find myself agreeing with Ed Morrissey:

We’ve written plenty of posts defending religious freedom and the right to choose not to participate in private ceremonies, but this case is different. The other cases about which we have written involve private enterprise — bakers, photographers, venue owners — who do not exercise a monopoly on their markets. Operating a private business should not strip people of the right to free religious expression in all phases of their lives; other businesses can and do wish to participate in those events, and the free market should be free for all within it.

Government is not a free market, however; it is a monopoly backed up by force. If the law says these couples can apply for and receive a marriage license, then government has to abide by that law. They exercise a monopoly on marriage licenses; these couples cannot go anywhere else to get one. This is a denial of access to market by government force, essentially, a much different situation than with bakers, photographers, and so on.

Accepting office in government means upholding the law. If that conflicts with Davis’ religious beliefs, then she should resign and find other work. Ignoring the law and denying services on the basis of an official’s own desires is a form of petty tyranny. We may not like the law, but those in office cannot be allowed to decide for themselves which they follow on the basis of personal preference.

I said the same thing when Judge Roy Moore refused to move a monument to the Ten Commandments after a court order (and Moore is also telling Alabama clerks not to issue licenses). If you have a moral objection to what the government has ordered you to do, you should resign your position. You do not get to just refuse and keep drawing a paycheck.

There’s been some noise about how many times Kim Davis has been married and what her personal life is like. I find that to be pointless muck-raking. If Davis were a paragon of virtue, would that make a difference? Then what’s the point in wallowing in her personal life? She would be wrong if she were Mother Theresa. Her job to is to issue marriage licenses compliant with the law. She’s not doing her job. She’s disobeying a court order. Either force to resign or arrest her for Contempt.

The McConnell Taper Confesses

Is your jaw sitting a bit too high on your face? Or have you had trouble getting it open wide enough to eat? Well, then. Feast your eyes on this piece from the guy who recorded Mitch McConnell … gasp! … talking strategy about a possible Senate opponent. We discussed this before and it wasn’t clear whether the eavesdropper committed a crime.

The answer now appears to be Holy Fucking Shit Yes:

The front door to the office building [of McConnell’s campaign HQ] was unlocked, and there was no one behind the reception desk. Walking down the hall of the second floor, I recognized McConnell’s voice. He was talking about Sen. Rand Paul’s strategic use of the Tea Party in procuring his 2010 election.

The voices were coming from the other side of a nearby door, which had a window. I pulled out my Flip camera and started to record.

I don’t need to tell you what a weapon the pocket video camera has become. Bartender Scott Prouty changed the trajectory of the entire 2012 election when he captured Mitt Romney in his now classic “47 percent” speech. You just never knew when a politician was going to open his mouth and accidentally reveal his true agenda. And as I held my Flip up to the window, that’s what I was hoping for, but I soon realized that the video I was capturing was the back of a projection screen, and only the audio was of value. So I held the Flip closer to the door vent instead of the window, and began recording the 11:45 minutes of footage later released by Mother Jones.

I was sweating. My heart was racing. I tried to record backup audio on my phone, but my cheap replacement phone would only let me record voice memos of one minute in length. Every time the minute was up, the phone would beep, which was excruciating for the person crouching by a door vent. When a gentleman walked out of the campaign headquarters and into the hall, I put my Flip and phone back in my pocket, and headed to the elevator.

Shawn was already there. We made our escape.

That, my friends, is the description of a felony, not journalism. Journalism would be meeting with a politician and recording the interview. Journalism might even mean having a hidden microphone on a staffer. Journalism does not include breaking into the campaign quarters, hunting down the candidate and recording a private conversation to which you are not a party.

The whole op-ed is just bizarre. There is a smug “everything I did, I did for Kentucky” tone to it; as if Mitch McConnell’s views justified any tactic. He cites people who’ve claimed he didn’t do anything illegal ignoring that their support was predicated upon a very different version of events (the initial reports were that he happened to be walking by and heard the conversation clearly). He says he intends to go to law school but I’m not sure how once this is over.

I almost feel sorry for the guy. What the hell kind of a lawyer does he have who would let him write this? If I were the prosecutor, I’d present it to the jury and rest my case. He thinks his life was turned upside down before? Wait until he’s a convicted felon. I wish I could feel schadenfreude here but this is just sad.

(Ken at Popehat always says that the must frustrating thing about clients accused of crimes is when they won’t shut the hell up. Let this be an example to everyone. If you are accused of a crime, shut the hell up.)

The McConnell Nontroversy

OMG! You guys, Mother Jones has a huge scoop! They have discovered that Mitch McConnell is … a politician!

On February 2, Mitch McConnell, the Republican leader in the US Senate, opened up his 2014 reelection campaign headquarters in Louisville, Kentucky, and in front of several dozen supporters vowed to “point out” the weaknesses of any opponent fielded by the Democrats. “They want to fight? We’re ready,” he declared. McConnell was serious: Later that day, he was huddling with aides in a private meeting to discuss how to attack his possible Democratic foes, including actor/activist Ashley Judd, who was then contemplating challenging the minority leader. During this strategy session—a recording of which was obtained by Mother Jones—McConnell and his aides considered assaulting Judd for her past struggles with depression and for her religious views.

Can you believe that happy crappy? That slimeball was doing research on a potential political opponent! You can see the transcript here. Now I will grant that most of it is about Judd’s political views — her opposition to mining, her support for Obama, her criticism of the Democrats for moderating. But then there’s this:

She’s clearly, this sounds extreme, but she is emotionally unbalanced. I mean it’s been documented. Jesse can go in chapter and verse from her autobiography about, you know, she’s suffered some suicidal tendencies. She was hospitalized for 42 days when she had a mental breakdown in the ’90s.

Now, granted, that is the entire discussion of Judd’s mental health. I mean, the entire discussion. No “assault” really. But … they discussed it! As if the people of Kentucky would care about whether their Senator might have some mental health issues (I mean, apart from the mental health issue of being a Democrat).

The thing I love about Liberals is that they never get into this sort of thing. It’s not like they started wondering about Sarah Palin’s religious views or speculated that her fifth child was actually her grandson. It’s not as if they’ve previously dumped a candidate like a 200 pound maggot because he’d had some mental health issues.

And I’ll say this. The Democrats never go after an opponent’s mental health (I mean, unless it’s Alzheimer’s jokes about Reagan, but he deserved it). No, they have the decency and honor to go after … his wife:

I ask [General Powell] to talk me through his thinking in 1996 when everyone was telling him to run for president – his polls were through the roof and even Bill Clinton, who went on to win, was saying that Powell was the one man he didn’t want to face. Was his heart just not in it? “There was a lot of speculation and I foolishly said, ‘So many people are pressing me on this I will have to think about it.’ That raised the temperature even higher, but after six weeks of not having a single morning where I got out of bed and said, ‘This is what I want to do,’ I realised I didn’t have the passion for the job a potential president must have. It just ain’t me. I decided the speculation had got out of control and we had to shut it down. My wife looked at me and said: ‘What took you so long?’ She had become part of the story because she suffered from depression and Time magazine was making a big thing of it.

Don’t the Republicans understand that when someone as liberal and famous as Judd is running for Senate, they are just supposed to give in? She’s liberal! She’s famous! She’s pretty! She’s supposed to be a Senator. Just think about what could have been if we didn’t look into the background of pretty politicians. John Edwards would be President right now.

No, this is too far. It’s time for McConnell to resign, go to the top of the Capitol and hurl himself off. It’s the only way he can atone for the serious crime of being a successful Republican politician.