Patterico's Pontifications


Kentucky Clerk Jailed for Refusing to Issue Marriage Licenses to Gay Couples

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:55 am

In the District Attorney’s office, some people are opposed to the death penalty. The office makes an accommodation for such people because of their beliefs, and finds someone else to do the case. I think this is appropriate.

Kim Davis has a religious belief that she believes prevents her from issuing marriage licenses to gay couples. Her employers should try to arrange an accommodation for her. Since I don’t work in that office, I don’t know if they have tried, or how easy it would be.

That said, the licenses must be issued, and if no accommodation is possible, she can’t simply refuse. If government officials simply refuse to carry out their functions, the system breaks down.

So I’m disappointed to see Ted Cruz issuing this statement:

U.S. Sen. Cruz, R-Texas, today released the following statement regarding the arrest of Kentucky Clerk Kim Davis:

“Today, judicial lawlessness crossed into judicial tyranny. Today, for the first time ever, the government arrested a Christian woman for living according to her faith. This is wrong. This is not America.

“I stand with Kim Davis. Unequivocally. I stand with every American that the Obama Administration is trying to force to choose between honoring his or her faith or complying with a lawless court opinion.

Cruz goes on to point out the lawlessness of several other actors in the political system, including the lawless judges who declared gay marriage was a right under the 14th Amendment, and the lawless actions of this president. I agree with him, and I could add more examples, Hillary’s handling of emails being one glaring example. It seems that the laws in this country apply to little people. This causes people to be contemptuous of law generally.

But the way to respond to lawlessness is to end it, not to emulate it. I thought Ted Cruz understood that. And while I still support Ted Cruz as the best choice, I do so with a little less enthusiasm today.


Cowardly Democrats: We’ll Give Planned Parenthood Money For Super Important Things Like Obamacare, But We Won’t Watch Those Nasty Videos

Filed under: General — Dana @ 6:56 pm

[guest post by Dana]

How concerned is this administration about the barbaric treatment and suffering of babies in Planned Parenthood’s butcheries? Need you ask? Perhaps the better question would be, how much does this administration support the barbaric treatment and suffering of babies in Planned Parenthood’s butcheries? Answer: a whole lot.

The Obama administration announced more than $1 million in grants Wednesday to Planned Parenthood, banking on the women’s health care provider to help sell Obamacare to patients and defying congressional Republicans battling to end all public funding for the organization.

Planned Parenthood chapters in Iowa, Missouri and Montana were among 100 recipients of “navigator” grants, which pay nonprofit groups to provide in-person help to people trying to sign up for coverage under Medicare or the health insurance exchanges set up under Obamacare.

Republicans blasted the funding, saying it was a particular affront at a time when Planned Parenthood is facing intense questions over its practices involving the handling and sale of fetal tissue. A series of videos released by the Center for Medical Progress appear to show Planned Parenthood officials haggling over prices and discussing abortion techniques designed to preserve the most fetal tissue possible.

Democrats, from the president down, remain frightened of the awful truth. While they continue to huff and puff with faux indignation and accuse the Center for Medical Progress and Republicans of deceptive and malicious attacks harming women’s access to healthcare, they reveal themselves as small, spineless creatures. What else to call those who condemn, in the strongest of terms, that which they haven’t yet seen because they are too afraid of what it might reveal, and not just about Planned Parenthood, but about their own hearts as well?


rnc to gop candidates: swear your loyalty to us

Filed under: General — Dana @ 6:43 am

[guest post by Dana]

It is being reported that the RNC is attempting to control GOP candidates by having them pledge fealty to the party. And specifically, they are targeting Donald Trump in an effort to force the front-runner’s hand. Huh? When has Trump ever shown himself to be easily controlled and concerned with what the RNC thinks about him??

The Republican National Committee on Wednesday privately reached out to GOP presidential candidates to ask whether they’d be willing to sign a pledge stating they would not run as an independent candidate in the event they fail to win the Republican nomination in 2016.

The move is an implicit challenge to Trump, who pointedly refused to rule out a third-party run during the first GOP debate. He was the only candidate who declined.

The language of the draft pledge speaks directly to the issue vexing Republicans – the possibility that the billionaire could choose to wage a third party bid if he fails to win the GOP nomination, a prospect that could seriously damage the GOP’s prospects of reclaiming the White House. Tapping into deep anti-establishment animosity among the conservative grassroots, Trump has surged to the lead of the deepest presidential field in recent memory. If Trump were to pull just a fraction of the vote as an independent, write-in or third party candidate, it could be enough to sink the eventual Republican nominee.

Signing a loyalty pledge won’t stop Trump from doing anything. It’s foolish to think it would. Demanding this also shows who is in control – and it’s certainly not the RNC. Further, if the party establishment wants to fire up Trump supporters even more than they already are, then just go right ahead and try to strong-arm their candidate.


Rocker Assumes Responsibility For Her Rape; Outrage Follows

Filed under: General — Dana @ 6:09 am

[guest post by Dana]

For daring to suggest that women can play a role in contributing to sexual violence by their actions and how they dress, Chrissie Hynde, front woman for the Pretenders, is now facing a backlash from the sisterhood.

During an interview published this weekend, Hynde, 63, openly discussed being raped by a biker gang at age 21. What is causing the feminist rancor isn’t the fact that Hynde was raped while a student at Kent State, but rather it’s that she assumed responsibility for the rape. Hynde, who was drunk and high at the time, freely climbed onto the back of one of a biker’s motorcycle and was subsequently taken to a vacant house and forced to perform sexual acts. Assuming responsibility for this, according to Hynde, is just “commonsense”:

“Technically speaking, however you want to look at it, this was all my doing and I take full responsibility,” she told the Times.

“You can’t f— about with people, especially people who wear ‘I Heart Rape’ and ‘On Your Knees’ badges,” Hynde added.

“Those motorcycle gangs, that’s what they do… You can’t paint yourself into a corner and then say whose brush is this? You have to take responsibility. If you play with fire, you get burnt. It’s not any secret, is it?”

She then pointed to women’s presentation in provoking attacks:

“You know if you don’t want to entice a rapist, don’t wear high heels so you can’t run from him.”

“If you’re wearing something that says ‘Come and f— me’, you’d better be good on your feet,” she continued.

Hynde offered this distinction:

“If I’m walking around and I’m very modestly dressed and I’m keeping to myself and someone attacks me, then I’d say that’s his fault,” said Hynde. “But if I’m being very lairy and putting it about and being provocative, then you are enticing someone who’s already unhinged — don’t do that.”

The blowback came quickly:

“Victims of sexual violence should never feel or be made to feel that they were responsible for the appalling crime they suffered, regardless of circumstances or factors which may have made them particularly vulnerable,’’ said Lucy Hastings, the director of the group Victim Support.

A columnist for Britain’s Independent newspaper, Holly Baxter, added, “This persistent belief that men are naturally inclined towards rape and that women have to dress or act or behave accordingly . . . is one that prevents so many assaults from being reported or prosecuted every year.”

Jackie Fox, lead singer of the Runaways, and rape victim, offered this:

“It bothers me, because I don’t know that she’s gone out there and talked to [other] rape victims. If you had seen the messages that people sent me, so many of them were about ‘I’ve always thought it was my fault.’ We already think that anyway. So this is just telling people who’ve recently gone through this experience of being raped or abused, ‘Yeah, you’re right, it is your fault.’ But there’s no such thing as asking for it. And poor judgment is not an invitation to rape, nor an excuse for it.

“I know so many women who were raped while they were drunk or high, and they all blame themselves. To say that a woman can’t misjudge how much she’s drinking, or dress in a way that makes her feel good about herself for fear that men aren’t going to be able to control themselves, or that she has to be able to know who is dangerous and who isn’t, is asking an awful lot of men and women — especially young people.”

Offering another perspective is Julia Hartley-Brewer, who recognizes that Hynde lives in the “real world” and understands people do not act the way we hope and believe they should:

Hynde was simply suggesting that women have to live in the real world, as it exists, and not a utopian paradise where sexual violence is a thing of the past.

There will always be rapists, just as there will always be murderers and thieves.

Pretending they don’t exist doesn’t make them go away.

You have every right to leave your front door wide open while you are away on holiday and assert your right not to be burgled, but most people (including your insurance company) might advise against it. Similarly, you are entitled to walk into an opposing football team’s local pub wearing your own club’s shirt and demand not to be punched in the face, but you probably shouldn’t be surprised if it happens.

In the same vein, telling a young woman she can wear what she wants, drink as much alcohol as she wants, go off with any strange man she wants and to hell with the consequences, is not a victory for modern feminism. It’s just irresponsible.

All Chrissie Hynde has done is recognise that the world is not always as we would like it to be.

That does not make her a rape apologist. It just proves she is the one living in the real world and it is the Sisterhood who are the pretenders.

Hynde is not excusing her rapists nor condoning what they did. She is not saying that rape should be decriminalized or that those who commit such a heinous act should not be legally prosecuted and face serious consequences. Rather she has attempted to learn and grow from her own personal experiences. Whether one refers to it as self-blaming or self-responsibility, she is using the opportunity to empower other women by reminding them that behaving responsibly is one of the greatest protections against those would seek to harm them. It should go without saying that this isn’t foolproof and I don’t think Hynde is foolish enough to believe it is. But what she is doing is using an ugly event in her life as a cautionary tale for women: To a great degree, you have the power to protect yourselves, so take care not to diminish that power by allowing yourself to get into an out-of-control situation where vulnerability is increased and decision-making becomes clouded. As much as is within your power, remain in control.



Report: More Than Half of Nation’s Immigrants Receive Welfare

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 10:22 pm

USA Today:

More than half of the nation’s immigrants receive some kind of government welfare, a figure that’s far higher than the native-born population’s, according to a report to be released Wednesday.

About 51% of immigrant-led households receive at least one kind of welfare benefit, including Medicaid, food stamps, school lunches and housing assistance, compared to 30% for native-led households, according to the report from the Center for Immigration Studies, a group that advocates for lower levels of immigration.

“It is one thing to have free immigration to jobs. It is another thing to have free immigration to welfare. And you cannot have both.” — Milton Friedman

Regarding the Kentucky Clerk’s Refusal to Grant Same-Sex Marriage Licenses

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 8:05 pm

First we have Rand Paul, saying the clerk’s refusal is “part of the American way.” No, Senator. Adherence to the rule of law is the American way.

Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) suggested Tuesday that a Kentucky clerk who is refusing to grant marriage licenses to same-sex couples was “making a stand” and “an important part of the American way.” But he argued the whole situation could have been avoided if states stopped processing marriage licenses entirely.

“I think people who do stand up and are making a stand to say that they believe in something is an important part of the American way,” Paul told Boston Herald Radio, according to The Washington Post.

Mike Huckabee is even worse, saying thank God for the clerk. Ted Cruz has a slightly more nuanced version (see the link immediately above), decrying the assault on religious liberty currently taking place in the U.S., but implicitly acknowledging that the law must be carried out, and pleading (without specificity) for “alternative ways” to allow the law to be carried out without trampling on religious liberty.

Which sounds good . . . but unless they want to reassign her, the main “alternative way” I see is: resignation. Even when you don’t like the law, as a government official, you must carry it out (unless to do so would be so immoral that it would represent the very breakdown of society).

Jonathan Adler quotes Justice Scalia on a similar issue: the role of judges:

[W]hile my views on the morality of the death penalty have nothing to do with how I vote as a judge, they have a lot to do with whether I can or should be a judge at all. To put the point in the blunt terms employed by Justice Harold Blackmun towards the end of his career on the bench, when he announced that he would henceforth vote (as Justices William Brennan and Thurgood Marshall had previously done) to overturn all death sentences, when I sit on a Court that reviews and affirms capital convictions, I am part of “the machinery of death.” My vote, when joined with at least four others, is, in most cases, the last step that permits an execution to proceed. I could not take part in that process if I believed what was being done to be immoral. . . .

[I]n my view the choice for the judge who believes the death penalty to be immoral is resignation, rather than simply ignoring duly enacted, constitutional laws and sabotaging death penalty cases. He has, after all, taken an oath to apply the laws and has been given no power to supplant them with rules of his own. Of course if he feels strongly enough he can go beyond mere resignation and lead a political campaign to abolish the death penalty” and if that fails, lead a revolution. But rewrite the laws he cannot do.

Ed Morrissey makes the argument very well today at Hot Air. I can’t add anything to it.

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.

One might sympathize with Davis on her religious objections to same-sex marriage, but that doesn’t give her the authority to deny it if it is lawful. A politician might object to alcohol purchases, perhaps even on religious grounds, but he can’t deny permits to liquor stores in a jurisdiction that allows them just because of his religious objections to alcohol consumption. That would be an abuse of power, the kind conservatives would protest in other circumstances.

Accepting office in government means upholding the law. If that conflicts with Davis’ religious beliefs, then she should resign and find other work.

I’d be open to “alternative ways” that don’t involve rejection of the rule of law (as strongly as we might disagree with the “law” as the Supreme Court has determined it) — but I think Sen. Cruz should tell us what those alternative ways might be.

Whatever they might be, they can’t involve simply refusing to carry out your duty. That is not the “American way” in my book.

Caveat: I have not heard Sen. Paul’s interview. If it turns out he was misrepresented — as Scott Walker was, when he supposedly advocated a wall on our border with Canada (watch the video and you’ll see he was simply being inattentive, and talking over Chuck Todd) — I’ll defend him. Until then, the criticism stands.

Carly Fiorina Now Very Likely To Be On Main Stage At GOP Debate

Filed under: General — Dana @ 7:15 am

[guest post by Dana]

Do you think Fiorina is now vulnerable to being accused of gender politics given that she benefits the most from the rules being tweaked? And will Trump, with the most to lose, be the one making that accusation?

The organizers of the next Republican presidential debate have announced changes to debate criteria that mean former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina will almost certainly join the rest of the top-tier candidates on the main stage at the Reagan Library on Sept. 16.

“CNN reevaluated its criteria and decided to add a provision that better reflects the state of the race since the first Republican presidential debate in August,” the network announced. “Now, any candidate who ranks in the top 10 in polling between August 6 and September 10 will be included.”


New Planned Parenthood Video: “It Just Fell Out”

Filed under: General — Dana @ 6:35 am

[guest post by Dana]

Yet another Planned Parenthood video has been released by the Center for Medical Progress. In this video, Planned Parenthood’s business of organ harvesting fetal baby parts is discussed in graphic terms:

The video features undercover conversations with Dr. Katharine Sheehan, the long-time medical director of Planned Parenthood of the Pacific Southwest until 2013; Perrin Larton, the Procurement Manager for ABR; and Cate Dyer, the CEO of rival fetal tissue procurement company StemExpress.

Sheehan tells actors posing as a new human biologics company that at Planned Parenthood Pacific Southwest, “We have already a relationship with ABR.” Sheehan explains, “We’ve been using them for over 10 years, really a long time, just kind of renegotiated the contract. They’re doing the big collections for government-level collections and things like that.” When one of the actors negotiates, “We return a portion of our fees to the clinics,” Sheehan responds eagerly, “Right, get a toe in and make it, make a pro–alright.”

Perrin Larton, the Procurement Manager at ABR, is shown describing ABR’s fetal tissue harvesting practice to a prospective buyer. “I literally have had women come in and they’ll go in the O.R. and they’re back out in 3 minutes, and I’m going, ‘What’s going on?’ Oh yeah, the fetus was already in the vaginal canal whenever we put her in the stirrups, it just fell out,” she explains of situations where there has been a great enough degree of cervical dilation to procure an intact fetus.

ABR, founded in 1989 by CEO Linda Tracy, charges $340 per second-trimester fetal tissue specimen, yet seems less concerned about tissue quality than other harvesting companies: “Whenever we have a smooth portion of liver, we think that’s good!” says Larton

Unsurprisingly, Sen. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said this week that there are not enough Republican votes to defund Planned Parenthood as part of a federal spending agreement:

“We just don’t have the votes to get the outcome that we’d like,” McConnell said during an appearance on WYMT. “The way you make a law in this country, the Congress has to pass it and the president has to sign it. The president has made it very clear he’s not going to sign any bill that includes defunding of Planned Parenthood, so that’s another issue that awaits a new president hopefully with a different point of view about Planned Parenthood.”

Well, there are enough votes for a shutdown, but who wants that, right?



Paul Krugman: Democrats Don’t Create Cults of Personality Around Politicians

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 10:39 pm

Well, at least not undeserving ones.

John Sexton’s post is classic John Sexton: hard-hitting, fair, and well-reasoned. I can’t do it justice with an excerpt. Go read it all.

UPDATE: Maybe they just come dangerously close?

Nadia Naffe Dismisses Lawsuit Against Me — Without Collecting a Penny

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 5:18 pm

Nadia Naffe and I have settled her lawsuit against me. I am paying her nothing. I am retracting nothing. There are no secret promises. The lawsuit has been dismissed, in exchange for my waiving any claims for attorneys’ fees or costs.

Throughout this lawsuit I have vigorously defended my First Amendment rights, and continue to do so. I stand by what I have said about Ms. Naffe, and I remain free to criticize her in the future. I continue to believe Ms. Naffe’s lawsuit was a vehicle designed to silence me. Ms. Naffe sued my wife. Ms. Naffe even sued Steve Cooley — who at the time was the Los Angeles County District Attorney, and my boss.

I continue to believe these were obvious attempts to misuse the court system, to punish me for my speech about a matter of public interest. Recall that the trial judge threatened to sanction Ms. Naffe and her lawyer Jay Leiderman for, as the judge put it, “Plaintiff’s (and/or her counsel’s) willingness to play fast-and-loose with the language that is actually at issue here.”

In the end, these tactics were unsuccessful.

It was interesting to be a defendant in a frivolous lawsuit. I went through the experience of watching media outlets publish stories about this case that repeated Ms. Naffe’s allegations as if they were true. It will be interesting to see whether any of them report that the lawsuit has been settled, with nothing retracted, and not one cent paid to Ms. Naffe. Frankly, I doubt it. Big Media loves to repeat wild allegations made in frivolous lawsuits — but the dismissal of those lawsuits is, all too often, not considered newsworthy.

While litigation is never pleasant, this litigation had some positive effects. For example, it set an important Ninth Circuit free speech precedent, holding that public employees are allowed to discuss matters of public concern on their own time. I am proud to have had a part in setting that precedent. The courts have ruled that I did not act under color of law. I did not blog or tweet about Ms. Naffe on taxpayer time.

The best part about the experience was the support I received. Not only did you, the readers, stand by me, but three lawyers stepped up and helped me throughout the process. I owe a huge debt of gratitude to attorneys Ronald D. Coleman (from Likelihood of Confusion) and Kenneth P. White (from Popehat), who both worked endless hours on this case for zero pay — and came up with the strategy that made this result possible. I would like to thank also Eugene Volokh of UCLA Law School and the Volokh Conspiracy blog at the Washington Post. Eugene wrote an amicus brief supporting my position in the Ninth Circuit, where I prevailed on the “color of law” claim.

These gentlemen all did outstanding work — not so much for me, but for the cause of free speech. I was just an incidental beneficiary . . . but a very pleased and grateful one.

Please join me in thanking Ken White, Ron Coleman, and Eugene Volokh for their efforts in bringing home this victory.

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