A Tale of Two Cities
By Ms PM
This article is but another example of constitutionally protected free speech.
Our story isn’t about the subject of gay marriage but rather the process in which an activist uses pressure to go after lawmakers when they ignore the will of the people.
In Alabama the federal judge struck down the ban on same sex marriage. Legislator Patricia Todd of Birmingham threatened to expose her peers who had committed adultery if they try to fight the decision using “Christian family values.” Alabama House Speaker Mike Hubbard said “The Legislature will encourage a vigorous appeals process, and we will continue defending the Christian conservative values that make Alabama a special place to live? How special is it to allow politicians to play by a different set of rules?
The big question is why Oklahoma citizens are comfortable prosecuting another citizen because of a poorly written “blackmail” law along with judges willing to ignore higher court precedents on the use of coercion in politics. Is it because the citizens of Oklahoma don’t have the grit to question the motives of Judges and prosecutors? Do they lack the courage that would demand a bad law be changed or that judges follow the law? Do they refuse to use their common sense? How many would follow along knowing a guilty plea is wrong but think nothing of it because tea and cookies are waiting? Could it be that both scenarios fall under constitutionally protected free speech and Alabama unlike Oklahoma is fully aware of this? Is the corruption in Oklahoma politics so severe that those holding office will attempt using their power to silence dissent regardless of the consequences it has on our Constitutional rights? Regardless of any belief on any subject shouldn’t the focus be freedom and in this case, freedom of speech?
As we’ve said before it may be wise to get your own house in order before hurling self-righteous values at others. Politicians seem to justify their immoral behavior and then rigorously go after others under the guise of religious morality. Do they take some sort of “hypocritical oath” as a requirement to run for office?
Todd made this statement, “I will not stand by and allow legislators to talk about family values when they have affairs, and I know of many who are and have. I will call our elected officials who want to hide in the closet OUT.”
Is her tactic wrong? Does Todd believe in what she is doing? Is this her only means of holding her peers accountable for their set of double standards?
The citizens of Alabama overwhelmingly passed a constitutional amendment that defines marriage as being between a man and a woman. The Alabama Governor stated that he was elected to uphold the Alabama Constitution. He said, “The Federal government must not infringe on the rights of states.” At the end of the article Todd stated, “I’m not a politician, I’m an activist, this is part of what I want to do.” So there were two sides to the debate and it was about legislation being protected from a high court challenge.
This brings us to the “blackmail” appeal that Al has filed against the State of Oklahoma. It is known that Al’s style is one of smacking the bad boys and girls up side their silly little heads with his words when they don’t do what the people want. He too is not a politician, certainly an activist, and holding politicians accountable is also a passion.
These two scenarios are similar. Both Al and Todd wanted to hold politicians accountable. The one difference was in Al’s email where he said he would “dig” into Branan’s life and family; bringing up the crucial point that he had nothing on Branan or his family at the time but was willing to see what he could find. With Todd, she claimed to have proof of adultery and would expose the ones that fought against same sex marriage in the banner of Christian family values. Are you scratching your head yet? Is the definition of freedom of speech dependent on what state you live in? In Oklahoma you can be prosecuted for threatening to dig into someone’s past but in Alabama you can actually publically blackmail an entire group of legislators with existing evidence.
As Supreme Court Justice Kennedy said, “The nation well knows that one of the costs of the First Amendment is that it protects speech we detest as well as speech we embrace.” (United States v. Alvarez)
It could be said that the response by many toward Al and Todd would be the same. Some will say it is politics as usual with the mudslinging. Others might say it is “rude, obnoxious or uncivilized.”
Regardless of the topic, citizens throughout Oklahoma might think hard about this core issue we all face. Is Oklahoma turning into a state that prosecutes its citizens for saying what they believe? Is the real harm brought about by the actions of the very ones we go after?
One statement in particular in Al’s Appeal document truly stands out, a sentence from the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in NAACP vs. Claiborne Hardware:
“Speech does not lose its protected character, however, simply because it may embarrass others or coerce them into action.”
If and when people fail to hold government accountable and when the citizens are afraid to sit in the hot seat, there will be a time when no one will have the right to stand up for what they believe for fear of prosecution. It doesn’t matter if people close their eyes to what is happening, it will still happen. There will come a day when those same people have no choice but to look around and wonder…how and why did we let this happen.
The appeal brief for Al’s blackmail conviction can be found here. Now it is up to Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt to decide if he is going to continue the corruption of Oklahoma County Prosecutor David Prater and the Oklahoma County District judges or if he is going to follow the law laid down by earlier U.S. Supreme Court decisions. Scott Pruitt does have a choice, he can choose to continue the corruption by defending the trial outcome, he can do the right thing and agree that the speech was constitutionally protected and agree to overturn the trial decision, or he can order Oklahoma County Prosecutor David Prater to defend the appeal.
One interesting part of the brief is the testimony of Senator Cliff Brannon about being “barraged” with 400 emails a day and a new phone call every 15 seconds, and he blamed the Sooner Tea Party for “turning up the heat.” In politics you can never trust what another competing group like Charlie Meadow’s OCPAC might say and of course the target of an effort is going to try to minimize the effect that a grassroots group might have but you simply cannot ignore sworn testimony during a public trial. Quite simply Al was prosecuted not for what he wrote but instead was prosecuted for being politically effective and turning the wrath of the Sooner Tea Party members against Senator Brannon’s refusal to hear the anti Agenda 21 legislation
The brief closes by quoting from Al’s press conference on April 4th of 2013:
“Political advocacy is not blackmail, it is core First Amendment right, it is Constitutionally permissible and Constitutionally protected. Petitioning the government in a matter pending before the state legislature is a basic U.S. and Oklahoma Constitutional right. Criminal statutes cannot criminalize what is legally considered Constitutionally protected speech.”
Scott Pruitt already knows that the Oklahoma blackmail statute is deeply flawed because Pruitt refused to defend the blackmail statute in Al’s case. By law when a statute is challenged as unconstitutional in court the Oklahoma Attorney General’s office is notified and by law he must defend the statute. Pruitt refused to defend the statute but both Prater and the trial judge ignored that ruling and continued the prosecution.
Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt is now trapped between following the law or enraging a viciously corrupt prosecutor by exposing the political corruption and illegal retaliation against a political opponent. Pruitt knows what the higher courts have already ruled and if the Court of Criminal Appeals upholds the trial decision he knows that the case will be appealed to federal courts. This is going to be a test of character for Pruitt as he will create political enemies regardless of which way he turns.
Oklahoma State Constitutional Convention
45 years past due
By the Watchman
One Oklahoma Representative is aware of the statutes of the Oklahoma State Constitution. That Representative is Gary Banz. He has filed his third bill to get the state to comply with its own Constitution this year. You can read about it here. We must applaud him in his efforts to get the state to conform to its own Constitution. In fact it is apparent that there is a better knowledge of the state’s Constitution in the House than in the Senate.
The two previous attempts to get the constitutionally required State Constitutional Convention fell on silent ears in the Senate. We must ask why? It is clear on pages 68 and 69 of this copy of the Constitution of the State of Oklahoma: January 23, 1908.--Presented by Mr ... - Google Books that a State Constitutional Convention is called for every twenty years. One has not been held since 1970. Folks that’s 45 years that the state has denied us our right to amend the Constitution as we see fit. There are plenty of people to hold accountable for this. Right now the people to hold liable for the withholding of our rights are the Oklahoma State Senate, the Senate pro-tem Brian Bingman and Governor Mary Fallin.
We cannot, however, agree with his call for a convention of the states. The rules of the convention would be laid out by the congress. Based on the numerical superiority of the blue states, and the numerous undocumented democrats in the Republican Party including the Speaker of the House, any conservative motion put to a vote at this convention would be defeated. A prime example of this is the fact that the Tea Party got them the majority in both Houses and during the mid-term elections of 2014, you saw the Republican Party go to war with the Tea Party. This just proves that in DC elitist circles, it’s the uniparty.
As much as we desire a State Constitutional Convention, if this is submitted as a joint bill, we cannot recommend its passage. Separately we recommend the passage of the State Constitutional Convention Bill and the defeat of the Convention of the States bill. A Convention of the States bill would be a disaster for the State of Oklahoma.
Nanny State Legislation Pushed by
Fallin and RINO Legislators
Forced Urine Testing Advocated for
Lower Income Patients
Publishes “List of Shame” for
Top Prescribers Every Month
Defeated in the last legislation, the push to micromanage doctors prescribing pain medication is on again with legislation requiring doctors to check an online data base prior to writing prescription painkillers. Three commonly prescribed drugs would require checks prior to prescribing to new patients and every 180 days afterward.
Tulsa RINO Rep. Doug Cox and RNIO AJ Griffin are the sponsors of the bill that would inconvenience doctors and patients alike while attempting to protect drug overdoses. Once again we see a legitimate product used for a legitimate need being pushed out of reach of the common folks in a misguided attempt to protect a few foolish drug abusers. Oklahoma already has an online prescription monitoring program that requires pharmacies to log all prescriptions within five minutes of filling the prescription. Law enforcement has access to that list and can easily track down the few patients that are abusing drugs.
The same two legislators tried last year to push legislation forcing doctors to check a data base prior to prescribing a long list of medications and this attempt is simply getting the camel’s nose under the tent flap. Oklahoma Mental Health Commissioner Terri White is pushing the legislation as well, insisting that it is “used every time by prescribers,”
Not content with making treatment difficult for doctors and patients, White ensured that veterinarians were included in the bureaucratic nightmare, requiring vets to check the online data base before writing a prescription for animals. The new legislation also creates a monthly top twenty providers of narcotics, compiled by the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics and sent to licensing boards, doctors, osteopaths, dentists, optometrists, nurses, and podiatrists. This shame list is going to impact any medical professional that prescribes medication.
Griffin is also pushing legislation to force doctors to prescribe only newer drugs that are difficult to be converted into powdered forms. There are also provisions to force urine testing of certain classes of lower income patients