White House Rejects Petition to Pardon Snowden

A petition calling for clemency for NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden was denied on Tuesday. (Photo: August Kelm/flickr/cc)

A petition calling for clemency for NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden was denied on Tuesday. (Photo: August Kelm/flickr/cc)

This article originally appeared on Common Dreams. See more of Nadia Prupis’ articles here.

The White House on Tuesday formally rejected a ‘We the People’ petition to pardon Edward Snowden, the National Security Agency (NSA) whistleblower who has been living in exile since exposing the U.S. government’s invasive spying operation in 2013.

More than 167,000 people signed the petition urging the government to grant him clemency, stating in their petition that Snowden is “a national hero … [who] should be immediately issued a full, free, and absolute pardon for any crimes he has committed or may have committed related to blowing the whistle on secret NSA surveillance programs.”

Not only will Snowden not be pardoned, the Obama administration said, he should face criminal charges for his actions.

“Mr. Snowden’s dangerous decision to steal and disclose classified information had severe consequences for the security of our country and the people who work day in and day out to protect it,” Lisa Monaco, adviser to President Barack Obama on homeland security and counter-terrorism, said in a statement on Tuesday.

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Pop Culture Conspiracy: Is Snoop Dogg Faking It?

Snoop Dogg is one of America’s (and possibly the World’s) favorite stoners. Or should we say Alleged Stoners

The internet was abuzz with the story of Snoop being detained and piss tested in Sweden for suspicion of marijuana possession.

Dave's not here.

Dave’s not here.

Snoop (of course) claimed it was racial profiling. Profiling, maybe — racial? Not so much (See: Willie Nelson).

The Inquisitr has the gory details:

Snoop (real name: Calvin Cordozar Broadus) had just performed a concert in the Swedish city of Uppsala when police suspected he might have been under the influence of narcotics. It’s unclear whether or not Snoop was driving, but it doesn’t matter: under Swedish law, anyone suspected of being under the influence of drugs can be detained and forced to take a urine test.

And that’s exactly what happened to Snoop: cops put him into the back of a police car and brought him to the station.

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MH370: wreckage found on Reunion ‘matches Malaysia Airlines flight’

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A piece of wreckage has been found on La Réunion Island and a French aviation expert believes it could be from the missing Malaysia Airlines flight, MH370.

Harriet Alexander writes at The Telegraph:

Xavier Tytelman, a former military pilot who now specialises in aviation security, was contacted on Wednesday morning by a man living on the island of Reunion, in the Indian Ocean. The man sent Mr Tytelman a series of photos showing wreckage of a plane, which the Frenchman said could possibly be the missing jet.

“I’ve been studying hundreds of photos and speaking to colleagues,” Mr Tytelman told The Telegraph. “And we all think it is likely that the wing is that of a Boeing 777 – the same plane as MH370.

“Police in Reunion examining the wreckage say that it looks like it’s been in the water for around a year, which again would fit with MH370.

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The Colossal Hoax Of Organic Agriculture

Before you shoot the messenger, the title of this post, “The Colossal Hoax Of Organic Agriculture,” is that of the authors Henry I. Miller and Drew L. Kershen and Forbes, where their op-ed was published. Any counters?:

Organic agriculture is an unscientific, heavily subsidized marketing gimmick that misleads and rips off consumers. The federal government should stop promoting and subsidizing it.

Consumers of organic foods are getting both more and less than they bargained for. On both counts, it’s not good.

2013 March Against Monsanto DC 51

Many people who pay the huge premium—often more than a hundred percent–for organic foods do so because they’re afraid of pesticides.  If that’s their rationale, they misunderstand the nuances of organic agriculture. Although it’s true that synthetic chemical pesticides are generally prohibited, there is a lengthy list of exceptions listed in the Organic Foods Production Act, while most “natural” ones are permitted. However, “organic” pesticides can be toxic.  As evolutionary biologist Christie Wilcox explained in a 2012 Scientific American article (“Are lower pesticide residues a good reason to buy organic? 

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Salvador Dalí’s Rare, Erotic Vintage Cookbook

dali_lesdinersdegalaSalvador Dali fans, Brain Pickings features your hero’s cookbook, and quite a feast it is:

“When I was six years old,” Salvador Dalí once professed, “I wanted to be a cook.” But it wasn’t until his late sixties that he channeled his childhood fantasy into Les Diners de Gala — a lavishly illustrated cookbook, originally published in 1973 and featuring Dalí’s intensely erotic etchings and paintings. The twelve chapters each cover a specific class of dishes — from exotic courses to fish and shellfish to vegetables — rendered with a surrealist twist both gastronomically and aesthetically, but nowhere more so than in the tenth chapter, dedicated to aphrodisiacs.

Prefacing the recipes is Dalí’s unambiguous cautionary disclaimer, penned at the dawn of the first major dieting era of popular culture:

We would like to state clearly that, beginning with the very first recipes, Les Diners de Gala, with its precepts and its illustrations, is uniquely devoted to the pleasures of Taste.

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Our World is a Metaphorical Representation of Higher Dimensional Space

Transdimensional Architecture IEarlier in the year, an essay of mine ended up being featured in a compendium of psychedelic writing compiled by Graham Hancock. It’s an incredibly worthwhile read that I recommend checking out to anyone (The Divine Spark, which you can pick up here). I could actually go on and on about the thing. In particular, Graham’s stories of dealing with dark ayahuasca entities and the piece about the prevailing concept of the holy trinity throughout various mystical traditions (The Soul Cluster: Reconsideration of a Millenia Old Concept, if you’re curious). The funny thing about this is that I’m also an Occultist and if my work was featured in an Occult compilation, I probably wouldn’t even mention it to anyone. Man, what passes for the Occult these days is some seriously embarrassing bullshit. Monotheism won. They slandered the art of summoning your Holy Guardian Entities with a dark creepster veneer so effectively that it’s become an absolute fucking joke.… Read the rest

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Hunter S. Thompson on Outlaws

“I keep my mouth shut now. I’ve turned into a professional coward.”
— Hunter S. Thompson in 1967

In the 1960s, Hunter S. Thompson spent more than a year living and drinking with members of the Hell’s Angels motorcycle club, riding up and down the California coast. What he saw alongside this group of renegades on Harley’s, these hairy outlaws who rampaged and faced charges of attempted murder, assault and battery, and destruction of property along the way–all of this became the heart of Thompson’s first book: Hell’s Angels: A Strange and Terrible Saga. Shortly after the book came out, Thompson sat down for a radio interview with the one and only Studs Terkel.

CHOICE QUOTES

“I can’t remember ever winning a fight.”

“I used to take it out at night on the Coast Highway, just drunk out of my mind, ride it for 20 and 30 miles in just short pants and a t-shirt.… Read the rest

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EmDrive Back in the News

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Paul Gilster via Centauri Dreams:

Martin Tajmar (Dresden University of Technology) offers a paper entitled “Direct Thrust Measurements of an EmDrive and Evaluation of Possible Side-Effects” in his presentation on apparent thrust produced by the test device. As he told WIRED (which announced that The ‘impossible’ EmDrive could reach Pluto in 18 months), the current work will not close the story. From the paper itself:

The nature of the thrusts observed is still unclear… Our test campaign can not confirm or refute the claims of the EmDrive but intends to independently assess possible side-effects in the measurements methods used so far. Nevertheless, we do observe thrusts close to the magnitude of the actual predictions after eliminating many possible error sources that should warrant further investigation into the phenomena. Next steps include better magnetic shielding, further vacuum tests and improved EmDrive models with higher Q factors and electronics that allow tuning for optimal operation.

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The remarkably high odds you’ll be poor at some point in your life

If you’re not poor now, there’s a good chance you once were or will be eventually, per the Washington Post:

The poor in America are not a permanent class of people. Who’s poor in any given year is different from who’s poor a few years later.

We Accept Food Stamps

Census data on who participates in assistance programs suggests as much. But Mark Rank, a sociologist at Washington University, has for several years been compiling far more comprehensive evidence of this pattern. He and colleagues have been studying the economic fortunes of several thousand families in the longest running longitudinal survey in America, going all the way back to 1968. Follow people over a really long period of time, they’ve found, and an incredible number of them experience economic insecurity at some point.

In fact, a vast majority do.

By the time they’re 60 years old, Rank has found, nearly four in five people experience some kind of economic hardship: They’ve gone through a spell of unemployment, or spent time relying on a government program for the poor like food stamps, or lived at least one year in poverty or very close to it.

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