Good news comes this morning for Americans who believe that the President of the United States should not be held above the law.
A federal appeals court has ruled that the Obama Administration must release secret memos that describe the legal justification for Barack Obama’s order to have an American citizen killed because of mere suspicion that the American was involved in a crime.
Barack Obama has asserted that not only does he have the power to kill, without trial, Americans whom he decides are likely to have been involved in criminal activity, but that he also has the power to withhold the legal reasoning by which he claims this power.
The Fifth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States severely restricts the power of the government to inflict criminal punishment. It reads: “No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law, nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.”
The American Barack Obama ordered to be killed was not suspected of any crime arising in the “land or naval forces, or in the Militia”. Given that, what legal justification can Barack Obama possibly give for this execution without trial?
Back in November, I wrote a critical article about the Green Party, wondering why the party had failed to find congressional candidates to run in most of the districts across the United States. Since then, many congressional candidates have stepped forward. In some districts, more than one candidate has come forth.
Such is the case in New York’s 21st congressional district, where the incumbent Democrat Bill Owens is not running for re-election. The deadline for candidates to register campaigns for federal office with recognized parties there came at the end of last week.
Matt Funiciello is one Green candidate for the seat. He emphasizes his record as a peace activist, and promises a “platform devoid of corporate funding”. A specific campaign platform has yet to be communicated by Funiciello, however.
Don Hassig is also missing an explicit campaign platform, though it’s clear from his writings that he emphasizes environmental issues. Most recently, he spoke out against fracking in Massena.
Green voters need to hear a great deal more from these candidates before they can make an informed choice, but it is a sign of Green strength that a choice within the party is being made at all.
This morning, I decided to bake crescent rolls, out of a tube, for breakfast. It’s a simple, easy pleasure I indulge in every now and then, but I like to keep it to myself.
So, instead of getting in a car with satellite navigation that could transmit a record of my journey to corporate headquarters and the NSA, I rode my bike to the store.
It was a small grocery store, not one of those big ones with cameras that track their customers with facial recognition software.
I paid cash, and didn’t swipe a frequent shopper card.
When I got home, I baked the crescent rolls in an old analog oven with mechanical knobs, totally unconnected to the Internet of Things.
How many rolls did I bake? When did I buy them, and when we’re they ready? Did I buy anything else to eat? Is there a predictable pattern to when I eat these rolls?
That’s for me to know, and the engines of Big Data to wonder. Through the power of physical, disconnected objects, I have exercised the power of dark data, the cultural equivalent of dark matter.
The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb: and the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night. — Revelation 14:10-11
I’m not a mathematician, but I’ve been told that infinity divided by any number is still infinity. Infinity divided by 1 is infinity. Infinity divided by 10 is infinity. Infinity divided by 10,000? Still infinity. Something delivered in infinite doses is infinitely out of proportion to whatever issue it is meant to address — no matter the size of the issue.
With that in mind, how is it right, just or good for a God to damn a soul to eternal, unending, infinite tarnation as punishment for a finite sin?
I admire the way that bloodroot, to match its sinister name, emerges from the ground wrapped tightly in a cloak, like a white-haired undead Transylvanian count protecting himself from the rays of the rising sun.
In 5 days, there will be a primary election in Florida’s 19th congressional district. U.S. Representative Trey Radel has resigned, and a general election to fill the position in the U.S. House of Representatives for this year’s remaining months will be held in June.
On the Democratic side, there’s only one candidate: April Freeman. There are four Republicans contesting their party’s nomination for the post, however: Lizbeth Benacquisto, Curt Clawson, Michael Dreikorn, and Paige Kreegel. A Republican is favored to win the general election, so there’s a great deal at stake in the Republican primary election.
Yesterday, a political action committee operating under the name Values Are Vital spent nearly $100,000 on advertisements designed to change the course the primary election. The ads promote one of the Republican candidates, Paige Kreegel, while seeking to undermine two of her opponents: Lizbeth Benacquisto and Curt Clawson.
Voters in the 19th district may well be asking themselves just whose values are being represented by the Values Are Vital PAC. Specifically, where did the money for these political commercials come from?
Some of the records for the payments made by the PAC lead into a dead end. Some of them were made to a company called “Morado & Associates, LLC” – but there is no online trace of such a company. Most of the money was channeled through another group, “Jamestown Associates”, which is headquartered in Princeton, New Jersey. The source of the cash used by the Values Are Vital organization is equally distant. 3 out of 5 of the top payments to Values Are Vital – totalling almost half a million dollars – come from a lawyer in Las Vegas.
Are the Republican voters of Florida’s 19th congressional district content to allow political operatives from Nevada and New Jersey to tell them which values are vital? We’ll find out when the polls close Tuesday night.
“Whether you’re an atheist looking to tickle the world with a foot-first declaration of godlessness, or someone who’s just keen on the aesthetics and craftsmanship of what we do, we really do hope you’ll give our shoes a go.” This is the message from Atheist Shoes, a small operation run out of Berlin. Atheist Shoes have been in production for almost two years now, producing shoes with the message “Ich Bin Atheist” imprinted into their soles, so that when the whether is rainy or snowy, atheist walkers can leave the German message – I am atheist – wherever they step.
Is that something you would do – if you’re an atheist? Why would an atheist need to leave the message of atheist identity in an evaporating path behind them? What is this supposed to achieve?
If you are in the camp of declaring your non-theistic identity through your footprints, does it change your decision that Atheist Shoes sells a model of their footwear in a color they call Kitten Testicle Grey? “For those grown-up enough to be comfortable with complexity, there is nothing black or white about these shoes. Their rich grey is a friend of smutty urban streets and, being as soft as a kitten’s nik-naks (& the same colour in the case of our kitten) their slipper-like comfort will keep a smug look on your face all day long.”
(No kitten testicles are actually used in the production of the shoes, or in the maintenance of this web site.)
Richard Winger’s Ballot Access News points me to fresh polls in a California Secretary of State race reopened by the revelation that gun control candidate Leland Yee had been brokering illegal gun sales on the sly. The story of Leland Yee is surely an entertaining one, but the polls in the race he leaves behind are interesting too.
Let’s look at the polls in this open moment, when sheer shock leaves possibilities open:
In case you’re curious, that’s a different Pete Peterson up at the top of the ticket from our favorite gut-the-poor billionaire. But look down the ticket. There’s a Green there. Greens have ballot access in California, but in this race the Green candidate isn’t appealing to voters, with a 5% poll share.
Look elsewhere, to the most recent political party registration report for the state of California, which shares the locations with the highest third-party registrations:
As you can see, there is no county in California where a third party has as much as a 6% share of registrations. In some cases, as with Americans Elect, the low registration share is a result of a defunct organization. But the Greens, whether you agree with them or not, have been working for a long time at building their political party share; their organization is active and enduring, if small. And if you have ever had a conversation with a member of the Libertarian Party, you’ve felt the zeal, a zeal that gives off the impression that there are more Libertarians out there then there really are.
Ballot access proponents have focused on the mechanics for getting third parties on the ballot. But once they’re there, what keeps them from rising? What keeps these third parties down? Tell me what you know.