Ignorance doesn’t mix with AK47s

September 11, 2015

The Oath Keepers are on their way to Kentucky to protect Kim Davis from United States District Court Judge David Bunning. When he released her from jail on Tuesday, he ordered her not to interfere with her deputy clerks issuing marriage licenses to same sex couples. She said she would not do anything that would violate her conscience. She would be in compliance with his order if she does not do anything when a deputy clerk issues a marriage license to a same sex couple. Only she knows whether standing by and not doing anything, if a deputy clerk issues a license, would violate her conscience and cause her to act.

Stewart Rhodes, the founder of Oath Keepers, explains why he believes his group of armed former cops and military veterans should go to Rowan County to protect her. Raw Story reports,

In a press release published on their website, the group says they have been in contact with Davis’ attorney, Mat Staver, and are acting because Judge David Bunning “grossly overstepped his bounds and violated Mrs Davis’ due process rights, and in particular her right to a jury trial.”

Rhodes does not know what he is talking about. Davis did not have a right to a jury trial or any sort of trial because he held her in contempt for refusing to comply with his order to issue marriage licenses. She was accorded due process of law because she was given an opportunity to explain why she refused to issue the licenses pursuant to Obergefell v. Hodges and she was permitted to appeal his decision rejecting her argument to the Sixth Circuit and to the United States Supreme Court. After she lost those appeals and still refused to issue the licenses, he ordered her to show cause why he should not hold her in contempt of court. He held her in contempt when she presented the same lame losing argument. Freedom of religion is not a license for an elected official to discriminate against others in violation of their Fourteenth Amendment right to equal protection of the laws.

He ordered her to jail until she or her deputy clerks issued the marriage licenses that the plaintiff couples had requested. He released her after those licenses were issued.

This situation is not complicated. If another same-sex couple applies for a marriage license and she refuses to permit her deputy clerks to issue them a license, she can reasonably expect Judge Bunning will again order her to appear in court to show cause why he should not hold her in contempt. If she offers the same lame excuse, he will order her back to jail until the license is issued. That is the nature of civil contempt and that is why judges and lawyers say that the person held in contempt has the key to the jailhouse door.

Rhodes and company want to ride to her rescue with AK47s and recreate a Bundy ranch standoff scenario. They would be better served if they put down their guns and read up on civil contempt.


Black lives do not matter to police in Ferguson

August 11, 2015

Black lives do not matter to police in Ferguson. We can infer that from their reaction to the presence of armed Oath Keepers.

Who are the Oath Keepers and what are they doing in Ferguson?

Wikipedia tells us who they are.

Oath Keepers is an American nonprofit organization that advocates that its members (current and former U.S. military and law enforcement) disobey any orders that they are given if they believe they violate the Constitution of the United States.

The Oath Keepers were founded on March 2009 by Stewart Rhodes and incorporated in Las Vegas, Nevada as a non-profit corporation. Rhodes is a Yale Law School graduate, a former US Army paratrooper, and a former staffer of Congressman Ron Paul. The Oath Keepers as a group have grown to include chapters in many states across America.

What oath do they take? It’s the enlistment oath administered to every person who enlists in the military, plus a caveat.

“I, (state name of enlistee), do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So help me God.”

The caveat is a promise “to disobey unconstitutional orders,” that functions as a right-wing-wacko magnet attracting Birthers, Truthers, all manner of Obama haters, self-described patriots and an assortment of conspiracy theorists who fear that the government is going to declare martial law, confiscate their guns and imprison them in FEMA trailer camps.

In her article titled, Oath Keepers and the Age of Treason, (Mother Jones March/April  2010, Justine Sharrock wrote,

 It is easy enough to dismiss the Oath Keepers as (in the words of Britain’s Independent) “right-wing crackpots” or “extremist nimrods” (Huffington Post). CNN stressed the group’s conspiracy theories in its series on militias. But beyond the predictable stereotypes, “the reality is a lot of them are fairly intelligent, well-educated people who have complex worldviews that are thoroughly thought out,” says author David Neiwert, who has been following the patriot movement closely since the ’90s.

Rhodes’ vision is simple—”It’s the Constitution, stupid.” He views the founding blueprint the way fundamentalist Christians view the Bible. In Rhodes’ America, sovereign states—”like little labs of freedom”—would have their own militias and zero gun restrictions. He would limit federal power to what’s stated explicitly in the Constitution and Bill of Rights; any new federal law affecting the states would require a constitutional amendment. “If your state goes retarded,” he says, “you can move to another state and vote with your feet.” The president would be stripped of emergency powers that allow him to seize property, restrict travel, institute martial law, and otherwise (as the Congressional Research Service has put it) “control the lives of United States citizens.” The Constitution, Rhodes explains, “was created to check us in times of emergency when we are freaking out.”

What are the Oath Keepers doing in Ferguson? Here’s Wikipedia again,

During the Ferguson unrest of 2014, the Oath Keepers arrived days after the start of the riots to protect local business and residents. A member’s comments on the situation are as follows: “We thought they were going to do it right this time,” Rhodes said of government response to the grand jury decision released Monday in the Michael Brown case. “But when Monday rolled around and they didn’t park the National Guard at these businesses, that’s when we said we have got to do something.”

They offer the same explanation this time.

However, a rose is a rose is a rose and even though Missouri is an open-carry state, I’m seeing a bunch of scary looking white guys carrying assault rifles wearing camo and bullet-proof vests . Can you spell V I G I L A N T E?

St.Louis Chief of Police John Belnar said their presence is “both unnecessary and inflammatory,” but they are still there even though the governor has placed Ferguson under a state of emergency.

I believe the police allow them to remain because the Oath Keepers are white and regarded as allies against a sinister black horde.

Time for a rhetorical question: What do you think would happen, if the Oath Keepers were black?

One thing is clear: Black Lives Do Not Matter to local and state officials and that is why the protests will continue.


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