oklahoma senate

Oklahoma state senator, Trump backer reportedly charged with soliciting prostitution

  • Oklahoma police have recommended prostitution charges against state Sen. Ralph Shortey, an early backer of President Donald Trump’s election campaign, according to multiple media reports. Shortey allegedly checked into a Motel 8 in Moore, Oklahoma, alongside an underage boy shortly after midnight on March 9. 
  • Police arrived 30 minutes later, Oklahoma City Hearst affiliate KOCO-5 reported
  • The charges recommended by police include soliciting prostitution of a minor; prostitution within 1,000 feet of a church; and transporting for the purpose of prostitution, KOCO-5 reported. Read more. (3/15/2017 5:50 PM)

anonymous asked:

I know that having HIV isn't a crime, but isn't having unprotected sex with someone when you know you have it against the law? They always have to be aware of the risks, right?

yes, unfortunately many areas have laws of that nature. the statutes exist to criminalise the existence of people living with hiv. these laws do make hiv a crime, i do not support them on any level.

malicious or purposeful infection of others is rare! the vast majority of people living with hiv invest huge amounts of their available resources into keeping their viral loads low and keeping their potential partners safe. living with hiv sucks! it’s expensive! it’s exhausting! it’s a stigmitised existence! we don’t seek out new “victims”, many of us actively campaign for education & safe sex resources to prevent the spread of hiv. obviously there are careless outliers in any group, but these cases of legitimate aggravated negligence can be easily prosecuted under other, non-hiv specific statutes - as is the case in many districts and states. to give you an idea of how these oppressive hiv-specific laws have been used in the past:

  • an hiv+ man who had an undetectable viral load was sentenced to 25 years after a single sexual encounter during which he used a condom but did not disclose his status [source]
  • an hiv+ man was sentenced to 10 years for aggravated assault after biting a police officer. his saliva was considered to be the dangerous instrument for the purpose of the “aggravated” portion of the charge - it’s worth noting that saliva cannot transmit hiv [source]

other laws or bills:

  • in oklahoma proposed senate bill 733 would require couples pass blood tests proving they did not have communicable diseases like hiv before being able to marry [source]
  • in iowa, 709c was used until may 2014 to require hiv+ people to serve up to 25 years in prison and register as sex offenders if they engaged in sexual conduct with hiv- people, regardless of whether or not infection occurred [source]

supporters of these laws claim that they are protecting at-risk groups but they are actually typically championed by conservative, racist, homophobic, and anti-sex education politics. but don’t just take my word for it!

“Policies and laws that create HIV-specific crimes or that impose penalties for persons who are HIV-infected are unjust and harmful to public health around the world.” - HIV Medicine Association of the Infectious Diseases Society of America [source]

Most of these laws are appallingly broad. And many of the prosecutions under them have been wickedly unjust. Sometimes scientific evidence about how HIV is transmitted, and how low the risk of transmitting the virus is, is ignored. - Edwin Cameron, openly HIV+ South African Justice [source]

The overly broad application of criminal law to HIV non-disclosure, exposure and transmission raises serious human rights and public health concerns. - United Nation AIDS Guide [source]

We See You

Quotes from people who once spoke out against a Muslim ban:

Mike Pence (Vice President):
Then: “Calls to ban Muslims from entering the U.S. are offensive and unconstitutional.” - Mike Pence, December 8 2015
Now: Stood by Trump as he signed the executive order. He nodded along as Trump said, “I’m establishing new vetting measures to keep radical Islamic terrorists out of the United States. We don’t want ‘em here.”

Paul Ryan (Speaker of the House):
Then: “I do not think a Muslim ban is our country’s interest. I do not think it’s reflective of our principles not only as a party, but as a country.” - Paul Ryan, June 14 2016
Now: “President Trump is right to make sure we are doing everything possible to know exactly who is entering our country.“ - Paul Ryan, January 27, 2017

Reince Preibus (Chief of Staff):
Then: "We need to aggressively take on radical Islamic terrorism but not at the expense of our American values.” - Reince Preibus (in response to Trump’s call for a Muslim ban), December 8 2015
Now: No comment.

General James Mattis (Secretary of Defense)
Then: “Now, I’ve fought a lot of times. I have never fought in an all-American formation. Where I’ve fought, we’ve had Muslim background troops inside of my formation. So this kind of thing is causing us great damage right now, and it’s sending shock waves through this international system.” - James Mattis (in response to being asked about Trump’s proposed Muslim ban), July 12 2016
Now: Stood by Trump as he signed the executive order. He “took the order and grinned while Pence started clapping.”

Marco Rubio (Senator from Florida):
Then: “I disagree with Donald Trump’s latest proposal. His habit of making offensive and outlandish statements will not bring Americans together.” - Marco Rubio (in response to Trump’s call for a Muslim ban), December 7 2015
Now: No comment.

Tim Scott (Senator from South Carolina):
Then: “A lot of hyperbolic language is used during campaign season. We need to focus on serious solutions to address the real dangers presented by ISIS.” - Tim Scott (in response to Trump’s call for a Muslim ban), December 7 2015
Now: No comment.

Jim Inhofe (Senator from Oklahoma)
Then: “If he had changed instead of saying Muslim and said radical Islam, then I would agree with him. But I don’t agree.” - Jim Inhofe (in response to Trump’s call for a Muslim ban), December 8 2015
Now: No comment.

Michael McCaul (US Representative for Texas’s 10th Congressional District)
Then: “We were founded upon freedom of religion, this country is protected by the Constitution, so I would argue that there are questions regarding the constitution — which is our first obligation.” - Michael McCaul (in response to Trump’s call for a Muslim ban), December 8 2015
Now: “Today, President Trump signed an order to help prevent jihadists from infiltrating the United States. With the stroke of a pen, he is doing more to shut down terrorist pathways into this country than the last administration did in eight years.” - Michael McCaul, January 27, 2017

For the sake of fairness, Republicans (currently in power) who have spoken out: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (ish, he warned him against it, but said the courts would decide if the ban went too far), Representatives Charlie Dent, Justin Amash, Barabara Comstock, Brian Fitzpatrick, Mike Coffman, Susan Collins, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Elise Stefanik, and Senators Jeff Flake, Ben Sasse, Lindsey Graham, James Lankford, John Barasso, and John McCain.

To the rest of you, we see you.

The most important Comey takeaway is that congressional Republicans don’t care
America’s Trump crisis is a crisis of partisan politics.
By Matthew Yglesias

Paul Ryan, as speaker of the House of Representatives, is the leader of his party’s caucus in the lower chamber. He’s also a constitutional officer of the United States, with obligations to the Congress and the country that transcend party. Here is his take on former FBI DirectorJames Comey’s testimony that PresidentDonald Trump repeatedly sought to intervene in an ongoing criminal investigation in an inappropriate way: “He’s just new to this.” Ryan told reporters on Thursday that he “probably wasn’t steeped in long-running protocols.”

James Lankford, a senator from Oklahoma who sits on the Senate Intelligence Committee, described Trump’s intervention in the Flynn matter as a “light touch.”

Meanwhile, virtually every Republican celebrated the news that at the time Comey was still in office, Trump was not personally under investigation by the FBI.

This is part of an ongoing process of Republicans lowering the bar for Trump’s statements and conduct in a way that is both nonsensical and dangerous.The president of the United States is not supposed to interfere in criminal investigations. There’s no “he only did it with a light touch” or “it was to help out a buddy, not himself personally” exemption to that rule. And “he’s too ignorant to know that was the rule” is an absurd excuse to make for a septuagenarian who also happens to be president of the United States.

Either he has the character, intellect, temperament, and disposition to do the job properly or he doesn’t.

The answer to that question is ultimately more political than legal, and Republicans are giving their misguided answer to it on a daily basis.

The GOP’s absurdly low bar for Trump

The Republican spin on this involves a twofold absurdity:

  • The first plank is pretending not to notice that after Trump’s request to Comey regarding Flynn was not fulfilled, Trump fired Comey. That’s not a light touch at all.
  • The second plank is pretending not to notice that a president covering for subordinates’ crimes is serious wrongdoing, even if the president himself is not under investigation.

Forget Russia. Trump, like any president, has a wide range of contacts with friends, political supporters, donors, and the broader social and professional networks of his subordinates. He also oversees a vast executive branch that is responsible for supervising a huge range of law enforcement officials and regulatory agencies.

He could, if he were so inclined, sit in the Oval Office and spend his time making various phone calls to various law enforcement officials, prosecutors, and regulators and suggest to them that they should drop various investigations and enforcement activities into his various friends and donors. That would, of course, end up transforming the United States into the kind of authoritarian kleptocracy that the founders feared.

The safeguard would be Congress. Congress is supposed to stiffen the spine of executive branch officials by reminding them that their oath is to the Constitution and not to the president. Congress is supposed to oversee the executive branch and police not only legal misconduct but political misconduct, like pervertingthe legal process to benefit his friends and allies.

Instead, congressional Republicans have chosen to stand on the ground that it’s okay to order an investigation quashed as long as you do it with a wink-wink and a nudge-nudge — even if you follow up by firing the guy you winked at. And they’re standing on the ground that it’s okay to quash an investigation as long as the investigation you quashed targeted a friend and close political associate, rather than the president himself.

That’s a standard of conduct that sets the United States up for massive and catastrophic erosion of the rule of law, not only, or even especially, because the president is behaving corruptly, but because Republican Partymembers of Congress have chosen to allow it.

Republicans know something is wrong, but they don’t care

Ezra Klein rightly wrote yesterday that Trump’s presidency is an American crisis.

I would only add that it’s a political crisis. Anyone who has had any occasion to speak to Republican members of Congress or other pillars of the Washington conservative establishment knows they are perfectly aware that Trump is unfit to serve as president.

“Washington conservatives know that reporters are not making up these incredible quotes, or relying only on Democratic holdovers, or getting bits of gossip from the janitor,” asMegan McArdle put it in an excellent Bloomberg View column speaking as a member of the beltway right trying to address the grassroots right. “They know that the Trump administration is, in fact, leaking like a rusty sieve — from the top on down — and that this is a sign of a president who has, in just four short months, completely lost control over his own hand-picked staff.”

Over lunch, a right-of-center think tanker told me that during the transition his colleagues joked that in this administration, you’d rather get a job in a federal agency than a White House job — because that way you’d stay out of jail when the indictments come down.

But Republicans have decided they aren’t going to address this crisis situation. Instead, they are going to try to manage it in pursuit of the shared agenda of tax cuts, welfare state rollback, and deregulation of banks and polluters.

A political crisis needs a political solution

The Comey hearing was a moment of high political drama. But it was also a fundamentally meaningless spectacle.

Nobody approached the hearing with an open mind, and, more to the point, there is no real legal issue to investigate. The question of Russian interference in the 2016 election is an important foreign policy and counterintelligence matter, and it’s possible it will reveal that crimes have been committed. But as far as Trump is concerned, the only evidence that matters was the evidence from his interview with Lester Holt in which he said he fired theFBI director in order to stymie the Russia investigation.

The question before Congress is whether or not it’s appropriate for a president to fire law enforcement officials in order to protect his friends and associates from legal scrutiny. 

And the answer congressional Republicans have given is that it’s fine.
The question before the public is now whether or not they will face political consequences for having reached that conclusion.

Senator Andrew Rice's final pieces of advice

To the Republicans at the Capitol: Being entirely dismissive of the minority party’s views is just as toxic to good government as it was when the ruling Democrats did it. Little good comes from single-party rule — regardless of which party is in charge. Don’t become what you used to abhor.

To Republican voters in OKC: Many of you are much more moderate than you realize. This shouldn’t scare you. Oklahoma City’s dynamic growth over the past 20 years has come from a mixture of both conservative and progressive initiatives between city government and the private sector. The day soon may present itself that a centrist Democrat or independent candidate is more in line with your policy positions than a conservative Republican candidate. 

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To straight allies of Oklahoma’s LGBT community: The far right in Oklahoma cannot hold back the inevitable evolution taking place in regard to LGBT equal rights across America, even in this deeply red state. But your gay and lesbian sibling, colleague or friend needs you to step up publicly more often and affirm that he or she plays an important role in the mainstream culture and commerce of this city and state.

To Oklahoma Democrats: Despite what many in the local media say about the reasons for the demise of the Democratic Party here, we local Democrats bear little of the blame. What could we have done to stop right-wing talk radio and cable news, political activism from evangelical pulpits, and the political money from Oklahoma’s business community that all have effectively made the Democratic brand unacceptable to the state’s swing voters? I suggest holding your ground in the political middle, while elected Republicans try to outrace each other to the far right.

To public-education reformers: I trust you realize there is no easy fix. But I maintain much of the most important and difficult work to do is outside of the classroom, not inside of it. Kids from low-income families bring to the classroom a host of domestic, emotional and economic problems that can overwhelm even the most dedicated and experienced teacher. Check out Educare in south OKC, and learn how that facility creates stability for the entire family of the student.

To future candidates for the Legislature: Campaigning door-to door is a must. It does not ensure victory, but it’s very hard to win if you don’t do it. It will inoculate you well from your opponent’s attacks, and will build a unique trust between you and your future constituents. Plus, it will provide meaningful memories on those days at N.E. 23rd Street and Lincoln Boulevard when you ask yourself, “Why in the world did I do this to myself and my family?” 

To my constituents: Thank you for entrusting me with the privilege and responsibility of being your senator for six years. I tried to match your fierce, independent-minded spirit in my day-today work. It was an honor to serve you.

And lastly: Go, Thunder!

Andrew Rice is a member of the Oklahoma Senate, representing District 46. He is resigning his seat Jan. 15 to move with his family to another state.


Oklahoma racist chants ‘disgraceful’ - http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-31802738

The University of Oklahoma president has called students who took part in a videotaped racist chant “disgraceful”, as he joined a pre-dawn campus rally.

“Real Sooners are not bigots,” said David Boren, referring to the nickname for University of Oklahoma students.

The video, posted online by a black student group, showed fraternity members making racist chants on a bus.

The university’s chapter of Sigma Alpha Epsilon has since been closed down and its members suspended.

The short clip shows people sitting on a coach bus chanting how the fraternity would never let in a black person, using a racial slur and referencing lynchings.

On Monday, students attended a rally against racism and in support of a black student group, Unheard.

Many placed post-it notes with messages of support on the organisation’s door.

One student activist told CBS News: “We do not believe this is an isolated incident.”

Mr Boren, a former governor of Oklahoma and former US senator, promised an investigation.

“If OU students are involved, this behaviour will not be tolerated and will be addressed very quickly,” he said.

The national fraternity released a statement on Sunday saying it was “embarrassed” by the “unacceptable and racist” behaviour.

Sigma Alpha Epsilon’s national headquarters said the Oklahoma chapter had been closed.

The fraternity also criticised the bystanders for not intervening.

if only they had intervened, instead of filming the incident and then posting it online for all the world to undeniably see, we would have all been able to quietly sweep this under a rug, and pretend that a stern talking-to by whoever had the camera would have the same effect as a hugely embarassing national scandal, and maybe these nice young men might still be students at uo and members of a respected fraternity

oh call out culture, won’t you think of //the (implicitly white, obvs) children//

Oklahoma Republican Senator Jim Inhofe, National Journal’s 2009 Top Conservative in the Senate—the man who, in February, tossed a snowball on the floor of the chamber to assert that global warming is a hoax—calls Sanders one of his best friends in the Senate. “Bernie Sanders is unique,” Inhofe says, “in that most of the Democrats I know in the Senate vote liberal and press-release conservative. Not Bernie. He’s a proud, in-the-heart, sincere liberal. I’ve never heard him once say something that didn’t come from his heart. That’s not true with all the people running for president, Democrats and Republican. I hold him in high regard.”

Sanders and Inhofe met in the early ’90s, when they were both representatives, and Sanders was proposing an amendment hiking taxes on the oil and gas industry. Inhofe rushed to the floor, debated him, and won the vote. Afterward, Sanders thanked him for offering a thoughtful, fact-based exchange.

Despite 25 years of friendship, Inhofe doesn’t know much about Sanders personally. “With everyone else in the Senate, they’ll discuss the Oklahoma-Oklahoma State game,” Inhofe says. “But not Bernie. I don’t think he has any other interests. I really don’t. I’ve never heard him talk about anything besides something legislative he’s all wrapped up in. It’s very unusual.”

Inhofe pauses. “I, to this day, don’t even know if he has grandkids. Or even a wife.” The two have never gone to dinner or lunch. “I don’t know what we’d talk about,” Inhofe says, before remembering that, of course, Sanders would talk about wealth inequality. “You can’t have a whole dinner talking about that.”

—  “Bernie Sanders Doesn’t Want Your Vote,” Bloomberg Businessweek