I can’t even grasp how wrong it is that a man who murders and feels no remorse for it can say without hesitation:
“It isn’t our duty to take life, it’s our heavenly father’s.”
Here’s a great column from Glenn Greenwald:
Events like this provide an important reminder about how crucial and well-crafted the Constitution is. Though rarely invoked, the ban on “bills of attainder” is no technical or legalistic right; it’s vital. Allowing Congress — rather than courts — to pass judgment on parties’ guilt and then punish them for it is to circumvent all of the due process rights guaranteed in a judicial proceeding. It virtually ensures that, as happened here, guilt will be imposed due to political passions and a lynch mob mentality rather than a careful and fair examination of evidence. It also leaves weak and unpopular parties far more vulnerable to punishment. The fact that groups far more powerful than ACORN have actually been found guilty of serious wrongdoing yet have never been de-funded by Congress –particularly defense contractors — illustrates that danger.
The reasons the Founders barred such bills of attainder are perfectly highlighted by the ACORN case. During the reign of abusive Kings, it was a favorite instrument for enabling unpopular parties to be convicted, punished and deprived without benefit of a trial. Under the Constitution, parties aren’t supposed to be found guilty of wrongdoing as a result of a Fox-News-led witch hunt joined by cowardly members of Congress. The recent finding of the Massachusetts Attorney General that ACORN had not committed crimes in connection with the notorious prostitution videos underscores the danger of the state’s assuming someone’s guilt outside of the judicial process. Congress is especially ill-suited to pass judgment on whether a particular party has violated the law, as they are far more likely to protect the powerful and popular and punish the weak and unpopular (which is one reason, incidentally, why it was wrong for Congress to retroactively immunize rich and powerful telecoms based on the consummately judicial finding that they acted in “good faith” when violating eavesdropping laws).
I highly recommend reading the whole thing.
You find out the most interesting things in articles detailing the fall of financial institutions. I found out this about failed bank Washington Mutual (WaMu):
“Someone in Florida had made a second-mortgage loan to O.J. Simpson, and I just about blew my top, because there was this huge judgment against him from his wife’s parents,” she recalled. Simpson had been acquitted of killing his wife Nicole and her friend but was later found liable for their deaths in a civil lawsuit; that judgment took precedence over other debts, such as if Simpson defaulted on his WaMu loan.
“When I asked how we could possibly foreclose on it, they said there was a letter in the file from O.J. Simpson saying ‘the judgment is no good, because I didn’t do it.’ “
Well you know, WaMu really got what they deserved.
Ever since reading the heartbreaking New Yorker article about Todd Willingham’s execution, I haven’t been able to stop thinking about him. I haven’t talked about it, because what can you say? What can say about something so evil as the execution of an innocent man? It challenges our beliefs in a way that isn’t comfortable to think or talk about.
Since I read that article, Governor Rick Perry of Texas has done everything in his power to sabotage an investigation of his conviction and execution. While I can’t transfer my own feelings into words, I feel that John Cole and DougJ at Balloon Juice are really on target.
Pointing out a comment on a Megan McCardle post, DougJ cites the following user comment:
Well Megan, I really don’t see any smoking gun in this case. We know you’re anti death-penalty but this is grasping at straws.
And then says this:
There is no smoking gun that the guy is innocent, so the state was right to execute him.
I totally agree with his sentiment. We’ve come to a point in this country where “innocent until proven guilty” is meaningless. We have guilty until proven innocent. We see that in the indefinite detention of Americans in America, and we see it here in Willingham’s case.
How about this from John Cole:
No, we will not have a serious discussion about the death penalty. In fact, if you want to be exceptionally horrified, check out this Kay Bailey Hutchison statement referencing Rick Perry’s actions:
Cole then quotes Hutchinson:
“As hard as Rick Perry’s office and his campaign may try to divert from the issue, this is not about one man or one case. The issue is Rick Perry’s heavy-handed politicization of a process and Commission established by the legislature to provide critical oversight. First, Rick Perry delayed the formation of the Texas Forensic Science Commission, then he tried to ensure it didn’t have funding and when all else failed, he fired everyone he could. The only thing Rick Perry’s actions have accomplished is giving liberals an argument to discredit the death penalty. Kay Bailey Hutchison is a steadfast supporter of the death penalty, voted to reinstate it when she served in the Texas House and believes we should never do anything to create a cloud of controversy over it with actions that look like a cover-up.”
And provides this commentary:
She’s not concerned that an innocent man might have been killed by the state. She’s concerned that evil liberals might get in the way of killing more people.
This is truly a low point for America.
Justice Clarence Thomas’ dissent on the Supreme Court decision that a school violated a student’s rights when it strip-searched her, more specifically, made her remove her panties to search for gasp!?! ibuprofen.
“It was eminently reasonable to conclude the backpack was empty because Redding was secreting the pills in a place she thought no one would look,”
Eminently reasonable? In what universe? And by the way, she didn’t have any ibuprofen.
Today we hear another case of random yet targeted violence in the shooting at the Holocaust Museum in D.C. Random, because the perpetrator didn’t know the museum security guard who he killed. But targeted, because the perpetrator, a white supremacist, chose to kill someone at a museum which documents the genocide of millions of Jews during World War II.
And once again I am reminded of the poem “The Hangman” by Maurice Ogden. In the poem the hangman comes to town and at first he hangs a man from outside the town. The town breathes a sigh of relief. But the next day the hangman hangs someone from the town. Then another and another. Sometimes the hangman comes up with justifications like calling one of his victims an infidel. At the end there is no one left to save the narrator of the poem when he too is chosen by the hangman for death.
Should you worry about these crazy right-wing radicals who if not directly responsible for the violence are at least lending moral and financial support to the ones who are. If Operation Rescue were a Muslim charity, their accounts would have been seized a while ago.
Should you worry?
I’m not an abortion provider you might say. I’m not a Jew. I’m not gay. I’m not a black man running for president of the United States. I’m not a Latina woman nominated for the Supreme Court. I don’t need to worry.
Well you should.
Who was killed? A security guard who was just doing his job. Think of Naveed Haq who permanently wounded a 23-year old receptionist at the Jewish Federation in Seattle. Layla Bush was not Jewish. She too just needed a job. John Lotter and Marvin Thomas Nissen, in order to enact revenge on transsexual Brandon Teena, also killed 24-year-old Lisa Lambert and 19-year-old Phillip DeVine. Gay city supervisor Harvey Milk was shot along with mayor George Moscone.
You should care. You should really care.
By Maurice Ogden
Into our town the hangman came,
smelling of gold and blood and flame.
He paced our bricks with a different air,
and built his frame on the courthouse square.