Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Joseph O. Patton: Luther Strange: Political thug

  Amendment 744 to the Alabama Constitution is written in simple, Sesame Street level English. It spells out charitable bingo gambling in Macon County. Even a former Washington corporate lobbyist posing as the state’s attorney general could understand it… you’d think.

  Yet Tuesday, like a disgusting re-run from Bob Riley’s reign - replete with storm troopers - Luther Strange ordered a raid of Milton McGregor’s VictoryLand. Despite countless measures to ensure the legality of their operations and backed by national gaming experts, Strange seems to think his arbitrary, politically-driven opinions trump the facts and the law. Like crashing a crack house, Alabama State Troopers confiscated money and machines, even blocking the road to the business and cutting its electricity.

  Conveniently enough Strange was out of town for the festivities. Cowards are fairly predictable like that, though.

  And here we go again….

  I have no doubt that Strange and his cohorts will sit on VictoryLand’s stash indefinitely without taking any legal action, and terrifying customers and employees was just a proverbial cherry on top. Who needs to take matters to court when you can bleed a business dry by holding its revenue and means of operation hostage?

  Frankly I don’t even need to offer an argument here. Answering these simple questions would suffice… and I’m talking to you, Luther Strange:

-How is electronic charitable bingo illegal if it was proposed in the Alabama Legislature, passed by both houses, cleared the governor’s desk and placed on the ballot for the public approval? Why would the Alabama Secretary of State place something illegal on the ballot?

-How is it illegal when it was approved by voters?

-How is it illegal and yet has remained on the books as part of Alabama’s Constitution for a decade?

-If it’s illegal then why wasn’t Milton McGregor arrested? Why weren’t his employees hauled in? Why weren’t VictoryLand customers arrested?

-And most importantly, if it’s illegal then where is the ruling from the Alabama Supreme Court stating so and striking down Amendment 744?

  Shameless grandstanding and B-movie theatrics through which an official claims something is illegal – with no proof, with no court ruling and clearly at odds with an Alabama Constitutional Amendment  – doesn’t make an activity illegal. If that were the case, I would take this moment to declare that harassing lawful businesses, abusing power, squandering taxpayer dollars and pandering to Alabama voters is illegal. Then I would drag Luther Strange away in handcuffs, condemning him as Alabama’s most notorious offender.

  About the author: Joseph O. Patton is the editor-in-chief and founder of the Capital City Free Press. He is a former news editor for the Coosa County News, lead reporter for the Montgomery Independent and editor-in-chief of the AUMnibus, the student newspaper of Auburn-Montgomery. Patton is also the creator of and writer for the satirical news radio segment "Goat Hill Gossip," which previously aired on WAUD in Auburn, Alabama and has appeared on several Central Alabama radio programs as a political analyst.

Copyright © Capital City Free Press

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