Impeach Judge McKeon? Sure, but he’s retiring anyway

District court judge John McKeon sentenced a man to 60 days in jail for raping his own daughter.

Judge John McKeon sentenced a man to 47 days in jail for raping his own daughter.

Last month in Valley County, Montana, a man pled guilty to repeatedly raping his 12 year-old daughter and was sentenced to 60 days in jail, with credit for 13 already served. The state-mandated minimum sentence for incest is 100 years, but judges are allowed to mitigate that at their discretion. In this case, a psychosexual evaluation found that the defendant was not likely to reoffend. Judge McKeon also cited the support the defendant had received from his “family, friends, church and employer.” These supporters included the victim’s mother and grandmother, who requested that he not be sent to prison.

A petition calling on the Montana Supreme Court to impeach Judge McKeon for this sentence now has nearly a quarter million signatures. But it doesn’t really matter, because he’s retiring at the end of November, anyway. It’s frustrating. No sanction we can impose on him now would satisfy us. Like the crime itself, this situation wrecks our sense of justice, partly because nothing can balance the scales but also because it’s kind of our fault. You can read all about it this week’s column for the Missoula Independent.

For lighter fare, or at least for fare that does not center on the most awful crime imaginable, this is also the Indy’s election issue. You can read my introductory essay here. If this feels like the longest election of our lifetimes, it’s probably because it is. Ted Cruz announced way back in March 2015, and sixteen other Republicans followed him—the largest slate of primary candidates any American party has ever fielded. Somehow, we would up with Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, the two most disliked major-party candidates in history. It’s tempting to view these options as both and therefore equally unpalatable. But it is a choice between licorice and shit, and in such moments, it is imperative we not surrender to the luck of the draw.

Besides, there are plenty of exciting races further down the ballot. In Montana, voters can choose between another multimillionaire with no experience in politics and a lukewarm Democratic successor to a more popular executive, in the race between Greg Gianforte and Governor Steve Bullock. Our limited polling suggests that contest is close, and so is the supreme court election between Dirk Sandefur and Kristen Juras, who has never served as a judge. She did try to shut down a sex advice column in the student newspaper, though. Politics may be gross this year, but it’s gross like Chthulhu, which is to say gross but also interesting and potentially apocalyptic. We’ll be back tomorrow with the very last Friday links of this election cycle. I hope it is, anyway.

SEC disclosure petition makes half of America insane

The other, much more fun SEC that this post is not about

The other, more fun SEC that this post is not about

Last Thursday, House Republicans introduced a bill that would make it illegal for the SEC to require publicly-held corporations to disclose their political spending. They did so in response to a popular petition asking the SEC to require publicly-held corporations to et cetera etc. At this point, the GOP is by far the most responsive party in American politics. The people issue a petition, and before the relevant government agency can even take it up, the Republicans have drafted a law demanding that it never be satisfied. They cited free speech. Welcome to the extremely ironic world of modern campaign finance.

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Why do politics when you can go insane?

To the untrained eye, it might seem like a center-left technocrat beat a moderate Republican last Tuesday, and politics have returned to business as usual. You probably think that, because you have been hypnotized by the mainstream media. People who see past the bias—primarily those who get their news from sources directly affiliated with one of the parties—know that this year’s election sounded the death knell for American liberty. There’s this lady, who ran over her husband with a Jeep because he didn’t vote. There’s Texas’s petition to secede from the union, which cites TSA screenings and is well past the 25,000-signature threshold after which the White House guarantees a response. And there’s Eric Dondero, the libertarian and former Ron Paul aide who has launched a personal boycott of Democrats. Props to J-Sri for the link. Insane elaborations after the jump.

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Force the White House to talk to you with petitions

You fuckers are lucky there aren't 5,000 of me.

Here is something amazing that the federal government is doing right now: if you put together a petition with 5,000 signatures, the White House will respond to whatever that petition asks. It’s like praying, if god actually existed and/or cared what people thought about him. At a time when a lot of people think the United States has strayed from Constitutional principles, this program is an unprecedented realization of the First Amendment. The people have the right to petition the government for a redress of grievances—something that almost never works when you do it via an actual petition, which is to contemporary politics what asking for a snack machine in the cafeteria is to student council. Nobody with a letter after his name has given a rat’s ass about petitions since the Sherman Act, until now. The good news is that this new program is very well-timed, since the internet has made the logistics of petitioning easier than ever. The bad news is that the two petitions answered thus far have 1) asked the President to legalize marijuana and 2) demanded that the federal government acknowledge the existence of extraterrestrial life.

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