Posts tagged Amendment
On November 6, 2012, Chattanooga voters opted to amend their city charter by repealing one section and inserting new language having to do with recalling an elected official.
Or, put another way, Chattanooga voters simply made official what a state appellate court has already decided: that the requirements pertaining to validation of petition signatures have been set by the Legislature.
Several provisions in Chattanooga’s recall procedure were out of line with state law, but the one change that motivated this amendment—from requiring 50% of the number of voters in the last election to requiring 15% of registered voters—is one of two* pieces the state statute leaves flexible. Tenn. Code Ann. § 2-5-151 (j) carves out the ability for qualified municipalities to set their own numeric thresholds, if they enact or amend charters after June 1997.
Do you feel like you just went in a circle? Hold tight and get something to clench your teeth on, because this post is going to get wonk-y.
The process for a voter-initiated recall effort starts in the same way as for a voter-initiated ballot measure (referendum or initiative). At least one registered voter composes a question that voters would answer in a general election. That voter or group of voters then submits the question to their county election commission, who approves the wording.
Recall petitions have an extra requirement beyond the question: they must state at least one reason that the official should be removed.
The Chattanooga City Charter, until the recent amendment was approved, was not clear on the guidelines for creating the actual petition. If you followed its language and mapped it out as a process diagram, well…first you’re a nerd, and second, you’d see that it was a bit murky until the step in the process where the petition comes back to the election commission full of signatures.
But now, the petition process itself is very clear, and quite easy to follow. (My eight-year-old was able to navigate it, with a couple of hints.)
And you thought I was kidding about the swimlanes.
In summary, the items gained or clarified by opting to follow state law are:
- A petition question validation process (30 days) by the election commission, before signatures are gathered
- A chance (15 days) to amend a rejected petition and resubmit for election commission approval (15 days) before it gets circulated
- A specified time period (75 days) for gathering signatures
- Corrected the timing of when the question can be put on an election ballot
A couple of things went away when we replaced the former Chattanooga City Charter § 3.18:
- A chance to amend a rejected petition post-circulation (i.e., get more signatures)
- The ability to use the most recent election’s turnout as a basis for the signature threshold
But all that is only about creating, filing, circulating, and verifying the petition for recall. What is supposed to happen upon and after the election? For that matter, what is the very nature of the election?
After doing a bit of reading, it seems quite clear to me that the election that gets triggered by a certified petition is not one in which candidates vie for office. Well, not technically.
Just days before Thanksgiving, the US Senate was planning on taking a vote on the National Defense Authorization Act, but there has been a slight delay. Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky has proposed an amendment halting the vote. In it, Paul reaffirms the sixth amendment guaranteeing a fair a speedy trial to all Americans which has been threatened by the NDAA. Brian Doherty, senior editor for Reason.Com, give us his take on the latest development.
The defense bill that lets the government indefinitely detain any US citizen without charge or trial wasn’t mentioned once during the three presidential debates, but that didn’t stop activists from sounding off: #StopNDAA went worldwide Monday night.
A campaign aimed at drawing awareness to the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012 and a draconian provision that provides the government the power to lock-up any person on mere suspicion of terrorist ties succeeded during Monday’s third and final presidential debate. “#StopNDAA” was among the most popular hashtags included in messages sent over Twitter Monday night, at one point entering the list of top worldwide trends.
The action was coordinated thanks in part to a grassroots campaign orchestrated by Revolution Truth and Demand Progress, among others, advertised through StopNDAA.org and endorsed by thousands of activists across the globe.
“Both parties are colluding in denying you your First and Fifth amendment rights under the 2012 National Defense Authorization Act, and both candidates refuse to discuss this bipartisan assault on civil liberties,” a message posted on the Stop NDAA website reads.
Elsewhere on the site, examples of sample tweets were included alongside information about the annual Pentagon spending blueprint that was drafted last year to include a provision, Section 1021, that affirms that the president can use military force to imprison any person considered to have “substantially supported” a terrorist group engaged in hostilities against the US or its allies. Under the law, though, the commander-in-chief can also lock-up any individual until a vaguely defined “end of hostilities” without ever being required to try them in a court of law.
By John Glaser
Via Mike Riggs at Reason, Michael Hastings reports at BuzzFeed that an amendment has been inserted into the latest version of the NDAA that would nullify the Smith-Mundt Act of 1948 and Foreign Relations Authorization Act in 1987, both of which ban domestic propaganda. It is being sponsored by Rep. Mac Thornberry from Texas and Rep. Adam Smith from Washington State.
The amendment would “strike the current ban on domestic dissemination” of propaganda material produced by the State Department and the Pentagon, according to the summary of the law at the House Rules Committee’s official website.
…The new law would give sweeping powers to the State Department and Pentagon to push television, radio, newspaper, and social media onto the U.S. public. “It removes the protection for Americans,” says a Pentagon official who is concerned about the law. “It removes oversight from the people who want to put out this information. There are no checks and balances. No one knows if the information is accurate, partially accurate, or entirely false.”
According to this official, “senior public affairs” officers within the Department of Defense want to “get rid” of Smith-Mundt and other restrictions because it prevents information activities designed to prop up unpopular policies—like the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Do you like eating natural, raw, or unprocessed food?
Republican Senators Corker and Alexander in Tennessee have just voted against food freedom by allowing the FDA to raid farmers, natural food stores, and people who sell/posses raw unprocessed foods at gunpoint!!!
Small-government Republican Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky offered an amendment which would prevent the FDA from carrying firearms or making arrests during raids without a warrant. Senators Corker and Alexander voted AGAINST Rand Paul’s amendment by voting to table it.
Senators Corker and Alexander must think it is ok for the FDA to point a gun at you if you like eating healthy food.
If you want more details read these two blog posts:
Watch Senator Rand Paul’s speech on the FDA and raw foods:
Here are videos of actual raids that have taken place by the FDA – don’t think it can’t happen to you:
Reason.tv: Rawesome Foods Raided… Again!
Zach Weissmueller | August 4, 2011
A little more than a year ago, Rawesome Foods, a health food co-op based in Venice, California was the target of an armed raid by several agencies, and the resulting video went viral.
On August 3, 2011, Rawesome experienced another multi-agency raid, but this one resulted in the arrest of the establishment’s owner James Stewart.
Stewart, and Sharon Palmer, the farmer who supplies him with raw goat milk, are being held on bails in excess of $100,000 and are each charged with four felonies and several more misdemeanors. Some examples of the charges are “processing unpasteurized milk,” “improper labeling of food,” and “improper egg temperatures.”
The government has kept pursuing Stewart and his club for years, despite a lack of any reports of illness or injury from consumption of his foods. Rawesome members argue that they are part of a private club, not subject to government regulation, and that they are being persecuted for their alternative lifestyles.
The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s office would not comment for this video, but offered this press release and also released a list of the charges against Stewart and Palmer.
Reason.tv covered the first Rawesome raid shown below.
Reason.tv: Raw Foods Raid – The Fight for the Right to Eat What You Want
Zach Weissmueller | November 17, 2010
This summer armed government agents raided Rawesome Foods, a Venice, California health food co-op. What were the agents after? Unpasteurized milk, it turns out.
Raw milk raids are happening all over the United States. The Food and Drug Administration warns that raw milk consumption can cause health problems, but a growing community of raw foods enthusiasts are ignoring government recommendations and claiming that they are getting tastier, more nutritious food by going raw.
Reason.tv visited Rawesome to examine the circumstances of the raid and discovered that this particular raw foods case stretches across county lines and involves at least five separate government agencies, despite the fact that not a single member of Rawesome has complained or been harmed by the raw foods. In fact, members have to sign a contract stating that they understand and accept the risks of consuming raw foods before they are allowed to step inside.
If members of a private club sign a waiver stating that they want to drink a certain type of milk, why is the government getting involved? As Jarel Winterhawk, a manager at Rawesome, puts it, “This is America. How are you going to tell me what I can and cannot eat?”
Though no charges have yet resulted from the raid, Rawesome is threated with shutdown due to the involvement of yet another government agency, Los Angeles Department of Building and Safety, and the club’s raw goat milk supplier, Healthy Family Farms, has had its dairy license suspended.
“Raw Foods Raid” is written and produced by Zach Weissmueller. Camera by Alex Manning and Weissmueller. Senior Producer is Ted Balaker. Music by Jami Sieber, Five Star Fall, and Kammen and Swan (Magnatune Records).
The Battle of Athens was an armed rebellion led by WWII veterans and citizens in Athens and Etowah, Tennessee, United States, against the tyrannical local government in August 1946.
If you thought using a fake name to buy your cellphone plan was a good idea — disregarding the likelihood that you were probably planning some sneaky activity — the Department of Justice is saying you may have just waived away your Fourth Amendment rights with that move.
According to the Wall Street Journal, Daniel David Rigmaiden did just that and his phone was tracked without a warrant using a stingray device by the government in order to reveal that he was filing fraudulent tax returns. Use of this device without a warrant was deemed in court as unconstitutional. But now, the Department of Justice is saying that because Rigmaiden used a fake name and address of a deceased person to create this account and purchase equipment, his rights under the Fourth Amendment that would have required a warrant are forfeited.
More specifically, Gizmodo reports, that a search warrant was not obtained to track Rigmaiden’s cellphone location, which led authorities to an apartment — at which point they did receive a warrant to search — where they found his fake ID and a broadband card with the allegedly incriminating evidence.
WSJ reports that in other recent cases warrantless searches have been permitted when the person searched used fraud to obtain the device. Still, there are opponents to this school of thought, holding that people “have a reasonable expectation of privacy”, which would still require a warrant:
“It’s not against the law to use a fake name,” said Adam Candeub, director of the Intellectual Property, Information and Communications Law Program at Michigan State University. The use of a fake ID and signing of a lease might be a different matter, though. “It can be fraudulent if you are entering into a contract under a fake name, but if it is a simple retail transaction the law is not clear,” he said.
WSJ reports Susan Freiwald, professor at the University of San Francisco School of Law, said that using a fake name is not a large enough offense to strip away these rights.
A controversial land deal by the presidential candidate robbed a vets’ home of tens of millions of dollars.
—By Andy Kroll
Like any good presidential candidate, Rick Santorum heaps praise on America’s soldiers and veterans. He’s pledged to “make veterans a high priority” if elected president, adding, “This is not a Republican issue, this is not a Democratic issue, it is an American issue.” But as a US senator, Santorum engineered a controversial land deal that robbed the military’s top veterans’ home of tens of millions of dollars and worsened the deteriorating conditions at the facility.
The Armed Forces Retirement Home, which is run by the Department of Defense, bills itself as “premier home for military retirees and veterans.” The facility sprawls across 272 acres high on a hill in northern Washington, DC, near the Petworth neighborhood. The nearly 600 veterans who now live there enjoy panoramic views of the city—the Washington monument and US Capitol to the south, the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception to the east. At its peak, more than 2,000 veterans of World Wars I and II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War lived at the Home.
But with the rise of the smaller all-volunteer military, the Home began to run into serious financial problems. It was clear that one of its primary sources of revenue—a 50-cent deduction from the paychecks of active-duty servicemembers—wasn’t enough to keep the Home operating fully. In the 1990s, the Home scrambled to find ways to avoid insolvency, trimming its staff by 24 percent and reducing its vet population by 800. Still, the money problems began to show, with its older historic facilities slipping into disrepair and decay. To grapple with its worsening shortfall, officials running the Home eyed a valuable, 49-acre piece of land worth $49 million as a potential financial lifeline.
Under one scenario, by leasing the parcel of land and letting it be developed, the Home could pocket $105 million in income over 35 years for its trust fund, David Lacy, then-chairman of the Home’s board of directors, told Congress in 1999. Lacy stressed that the Home wanted to keep the property, and not offload it to a buyer. “Once land is sold,” he said, “it is lost forever as an asset.”
Enter Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Penn.). At the behest of the Roman Catholic Church, and unbeknownst to the Home, Santorum slipped an amendment into the 1999 National Defense Authorization Act handcuffing how the home could cash in on those 49 acres. The amendment forced the Home to sell—and not lease—the land to its next-door neighbor, the Catholic University of America. Ultimately, the Catholic Church bought 46 acres of the tract for $22 million. The Home lost the land for good, and by its own estimates, pocketed $27 million less than the land’s value and $83 million less than what it could’ve made under the lease plan. Santorum’s amendment sparked an outcry from veterans’ groups and fellow US senators, who barraged his office with complaints.
By Kyle Rogers, Charleston Conservative Examiner
Just days ago, CBS national news printed new details about Department of Justice operation ”Fast & Furious.” Internal memos show that agents actually discussed using the operation as a “false flag” to justify taking away the 2nd amendment rights of US citizens.
Congress is currently investigating Fast & Furious. Attorney General Eric Holder has already been caught making at least one false statement under oath.
Gun rights advocates have been asking why Republicans aren’t calling for criminal charges against Eric Holder. Many have criticized FOX News for giving the story little coverage. CBS national news has been breaking most of the new details related to Fast & Furious. Recently Eric Holder yelled at a reporter at an event in DC. He blamed the media for public outrage over Fast & Furious, and told a reporter “you guys need to stop it.”
Today, Texas Congressman Ron Paul became the first GOP president candidate to call for criminal charges against Eric Holder.
Speaking to syndicated radio talk show host Alex Jones, Paul called for Holder to be ”immediately fired.” Paul went on to say “I think it was criminal,” and called the operation a ”false flag.” He said that there needs to be an immediate investigation into Holder himself, and said Holder ”deserves charges.”
Paul went on to discuss a now infamous memo from White House lawyers who claim Obama has the right to assassinate American citizens anywhere in the world. Paul stated that Obama is trying to ”legalize Martial law.”
Paul also mocked the FBI’s claim of uncovering an Iranian assignation plot against the Saudi ambassador. He said the man arrested ”may never be tried because they don’t want the truth to come out.”