Wandering Eye: A huge percentage of rich people are criminals, NBC investigates Williams' reporting on Katrina, and more

For those surprised that elected Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore is trying to block a federal order that same-sex marriages begin today in his state, don't be. He's attempting to implement the ancient "doctrine of the lesser magistrate," also known as the "doctrine of the lower civil magistrate," which posits that lower authorities are invested with the authority to rebel against perceived tyranny handed down from higher civil-government powers. It is espoused by Christian evangelicals and secessionists with white-supremacist ties, such as Anne Arundel County councilmember Michael Peroutka, who have latched onto the doctrine as a way to legitimize their defiance of laws they deem ungodly. This is why people like Peroutka are running for obtainable elected offices, rather than for the presidency, which Peroutka sought in 2004. Here's Salon's Paul Rosenberg explaining the doctrine's ramifications, and here's one of its main apologists, Matt Trewhella of Mercy Seat Christian Church near Milwaukee, who founded Missionaries to the Preborn, praising Moore's strategy.  (Van Smith)


All week Louise Story and Stephanie Saul and the New York Times are going to kick your ass and blow your mind with this One Big Idea that everyone knows but allows to slip from their mind during their daily routine: A huge percentage of rich motherfuckers are criminals, and giving them anonymity and tax breaks is no way to advance civilization. Part One came Sunday (really Saturday), wherein Story and co. found out the names of the actual human people behind 200 LLCs which bought multimillion-dollar condos in one dark Manhattan skyscraper. People who care about democracy and decency have long pushed for this corporate form, in particular, to be made more transparent. (The Community Law Center has taken the baton locally.) It hasn't happened yet. In the Times piece, Russian "oligarchs" and Chinese princelings rub elbows with movie and sports stars and convicted fraudsters. All launder money with no problems. "They have been able to make these multimillion-dollar purchases with few questions asked because of United States laws that foster the movement of largely untraceable money through shell companies." The first piece is long, understated, and devastating. The second is about the prime minister of Malaysia. The rest should be no less eye-opening, and then, please, can we get a few senators—maybe a president—to fucking do something to stop this bullshit? (Edward Ericson Jr.)


In light of the news that Brian Williams fudged the details on being shot down in Iraq, NBC is now investigating anchor's reporting from New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina in 2005. As the Washington Post notes, Williams has said—in interviews on TV and with authors of books—that the Ritz-Carlton he was based out of during the national disaster was "overrun" by gangs. In addition to these gangs, Williams reported these stories: "The one he told about witnessing a suicide at the Superdome. Or the one he told about watching a body float past the Ritz-Carlton, perched at the edge of an otherwise dry French Quarter. Or the one about the dysentery he said he got." Williams voluntarily stepped away from the anchor's desk last week. The move could become permanent and involuntary if some of these other stories prove to be false. (Brandon Weigel)

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