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Dallas SEO | Integrated Digital Marketing |

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Nov 022015

Im Damon Gochneaur, founder of Aspiro Digital Marketing Agency. My team and I have spent the past decade helping businesses get more out of their online presence and investing in the Dallas SEO community. From lead generation to eCommerce, B2B to B2C, Ive personally worked with companies of all sizes to get listed, get found, get traffic, get conversions and ultimately get a healthier bottom line. Are you looking to grow your business? Are you finally ready to commit to getting more from your website? Give me a call so we can figure out an actionable and attributable plan to increase your bottom line.

Im looking to help businesses grow their business, simple as that, to breathe new life into revenue streams. Digital Marketing isnt a magic bullet that solves all your businesses problems. SEO, PPC, Social Media Management & Email Marketing are all effective tools to help businesses grow, when the underlying business is solid and the product or service being offered is well positioned. Bottom line, nobody can fix a bad business. But if youre making fans and winning customers, I can help you find new prospects, new potential customers and get your message in front of them on the right channel.

Call me today so we can help grow your business.

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Dallas SEO | Integrated Digital Marketing |

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Dallas SEO Company / Internet Marketing – Red Spot Design

 SEO  Comments Off on Dallas SEO Company / Internet Marketing – Red Spot Design
Nov 022015

Having the perfect website is of little value if no one can find your website from the search engines.

Are you looking for a Dallas SEO Company. Well, youve come to the right place.

Call us today at (214) 432-1608 or request a free quote to learn more about our Dallas SEO services.

Red Spot Design is comprised of a team of internet marketing experts and search engine optimization consultants headquartered in the Dallas / Ft. Worth Metroplex. Based on our years of search engine marketing experience supporting clients around the DFW metroplex and across the globe coupled with our outstanding reputation, we know how to increase your websites rankings in the search engine.

Research has shown that more than 85% of Internet users search for products, services and information by utilizing the search engines. Every day we hear more and more about the need for search engine optimization (SEO) and search engine marketing (SEM) and its importance for an online business. It is in fact a critically necessary measure for how well your companys website will perform in the search engines and whether your website satisfies the search engines criterion. Not only does SEO address how search engines achieve their goals, but it also helps to uncover how individuals and companies in the Dallas and Fort Worth, Texas metroplex search for products and services on the web, what they may be searching for and whether or not a site influences visitors to buy.

Having a perfectly designed website will be of little use if your site cannot be found in the search engines. If the search engines do not index your site or your targeted audience cannot find where you are located, your web site will do nothing to generate new business. To ensure that your rankings improve on all major search engines for your Dallas / Ft. Worth based company, we offers affordable Dallas search engine optimization (SEO) as well as search engine marketing (SEM) that gets results.

While there are countless Dallas search engine optimization companies and Fort Worth search engine marketing companies, many of the companies are not equipped to optimize your site effectively. They may boast about their services and encourage you to utilize their SEO strategies, but when it comes right down to it, they may not know which tools have proven to increase and improve the volume and quality of traffic to your site. For effective web site optimization in the Dallas and Fort Worth, Texas Metroplex, you must utilize a company that drives traffic to your website. Ultimately, your goal is to convert traffic into sales. Red Spot Design is a Dallas search engine marketing and search engine optimization company with a proven reputation for helping companies rank high in search engines.

If you are looking for a Dallas search engine optimization company then you probably already have a little knowledge of search engine optimization and search engine marketing or maybe you just heard the terms and wanted more information. As youve probably seen there are hundreds upon thousands of websites with information on SEO and just about as many SEO companies in Dallas and Fort Worth offering SEO services.

Based on our years of internet marketing experience and our reputation, our Dallas SEO (search engine optimization) team has the knowledge to make sure you succeed. We do what we say by conducting keyword research to assure the keywords and phrases we choose align perfectly with search engines and what people are searching for. As a Dallas search firm, we also make sure to draw visitors to your site by utilizing an array of SEO and SEM strategies that help get you noticed.

Why struggle with other DFW search engine optimization companies when in no time flat, our SEO consultants will get you higher rankings than you thought were possible. For search engine optimization in Dallas Texas or search engine marketing in Fort Worth Texas, let us help you get the results you are after. Give us a call today and youll be getting new business before you can say Search Engine Optimization.

To learn more about our Dallas SEO Firm and our SEO services please feel free to contact us at (214) 432-1608 or just fill out our website marketing estimate form. We will be happy to discuss your website optimization project needs, and there is never any obligation.

If you are located in the Dallas / Fort Worth (DFW) Metroplex. We offer our search engine optimization as well as web design services and website hosting to the following cities locally, however we can service clients across the state of Texas as well as worldwide:

Addison, Allen, Argyle, Bedford, Gainesville, Mesquite, Carrollton, Garland, Plano, Dallas, Granbury, Richardson, Denton, Grapevine, Rowlett, Desoto, Greenville, Sherman, Duncanville, Haltom City, The Colony, Euless, Hurst, Irving, Decatur, Grand Prairie, Coppell, Flower Mound, North Richland Hills, McKinney, Fort Worth, Lewisville, Arlington, Frisco, McKinney

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Dallas SEO Company / Internet Marketing – Red Spot Design

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Libertarianism: What Everyone Needs to Know

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Nov 022015

Historically, Americans have seen libertarians as far outside the mainstream, but with the rise of the Tea Party movement, libertarian principles have risen to the forefront of Republican politics. But libertarianism is more than the philosophy of individual freedom and unfettered markets that Republicans have embraced. Indeed, as Jason Brennan points out, libertarianism is a quite different–and far richer–system of thought than most of us suspect.

In this timely new entry in Oxford’s acclaimed series What Everyone Needs to Know, Brennan offers a nuanced portrait of libertarianism, proceeding through a series of questions to illuminate the essential elements of libertarianism and the problems the philosophy addresses, including such topics as the Value of Liberty, Human Nature and Ethics, Economic Liberty, Civil Rights, Social Justice and the Poor, Government and Democracy, and Contemporary Politics. Brennan asks the most fundamental and challenging questions: What do Libertarians think liberty is? Do libertarians think everyone should be selfish? Are libertarians just out to protect the interests of big business? What do libertarians think we should do about racial injustice? What would libertarians do about pollution? Are Tea Party activists true libertarians? As he sheds light on libertarian beliefs, Brennan overturns numerous misconceptions. Libertarianism is not about simple-minded paranoia about government, he writes. Rather, it celebrates the ideal of peaceful cooperation among free and equal people. Libertarians believe that the rich always capture political power; they want to minimize the power available to them in order to protect the weak. Brennan argues that libertarians are, in fact, animated by benevolence and a deep concern for the poor.

Clear, concise, and incisively written, this volume explains a vitally important philosophy in American history–and a potent force in contemporary politics.

What Everyone Needs to Know is a registered trademark of Oxford University Press.

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Libertarianism: What Everyone Needs to Know

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Can You Cheat Death With Cryonics? – YouTube

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Oct 302015

How the process of cryonics works,does it work and the problem scientists are currently having with the process.


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The process of Cryonics, it’s a technique used to store a persons body at an extremely low temperature with the hope of one day reviving them. You may of seen this method used in many sci fi films for example the demolition man, But, the science behind this process isn’t just fictional, it actually does exist, and the technique is being performed today. However it is still in its very early infancy. The idea of being cryogenically suspended is that if you die from a disease or condition that is currently incurable, scientists freeze you. Then one day in the near or far future, when the technology has been created to revive your body and the cure for the disease or condition has been discovered, you will be brought back, cured and allowed to carry on your life, only in the future. So how does it work? Well first you would have to join a cryonics facility and pay an annual membership fee. Then, when you are confined legally dead, an emergency response team from the facility stabilises your body, supplying your brain with enough oxygen and blood to preserve minimal function until you can be transported to the suspension facility. You are then packed in ice and injected with an anticoagulant ready to be transported, once you are at the cryonics facilities the team remove the water from your cells and replace it with a type anti freeze called a cryoprotectant to prevent cells from freezing and shattering. Your body is then cooled on a bed of dry ice until it reaches -130 C and then you are inserted in to an individual container that is then placed into a large metal tank filled with liquid nitrogen at a temperature of around -196 degrees Celsius. This isn’t a cheap process however, currently it costs more than 100,000 to have your whole body preserved. The kind of price that Walt Disney would of been able to pay all those years ago. However the fact that everybody thinks they know about the famous Mr Disney being preserved though cryogenics after deaf, is actually incorrect. It is only an urban legend, Walt was cremated in 1966 after he passed away. In actual fact, James Bedford became the 1st human to be cryogenically preserved on 12 January 1967. Currently there is around 150 people that have had their whole body stored in liquid nitrogen in the United States, while around 80 have had just their heads or brains preserved. So does it actually work? Will science ever bring back James Bedford? Well, currently none of companies offering cryogenic suspension have successfully revived anyone, and dont expect to be able to anytime soon. One of the biggest problems with this process seems to be that if the scientists do not warm the body at exactly the right speed and temperature, the cells could form ice crystals and shatter. However there are studies in to some frogs that have a natural antifreeze in there cells which can protect them if theyre frozen completely solid. This may one day be adapted to the human body, potentially solving this problem. Another method that may be available in the future, is nanotechnology. These tiny little bots may make it possible to repair or build human cells and tissue if it becomes damaged during the cryogenic process. This may sound like a Sci Fi story as seen in many films, but some scientists have predicted that the first cryonic revival might occur as early as the year 2045 and there are more than 1,000 living people who have instructed companies to preserve their bodies after their death, on the hope that these scientists one day, will bring them back.

Attributes – Frozen Head – Self_(2011)_by_Marc_Quinn Black and white film – Cryonic Society at Phoenix, Arizona, January 31, 1967 Universal Newsreel- Public domain film from the US National Archives Cryogenic Scene-Demolition Man Futuristic User Interface -Nawaz Alamgir Killer T cell attacking cancer-Cambridge University Music – Night Music – YouTube Audio Library

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Can You Cheat Death With Cryonics? – YouTube

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Abel Danger: Airliner Atrocity Is Another Illuminati False Flag

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Oct 302015


July 19, 2014

by Henry Makow Ph.D.

False flag: You commit an atrocity and blame your enemies. In this case, the Kiev-based junta shot down the plane and blamed the Donetsk separatists and their Russian backers. The reaction of the Western mass media is the “tell.” Just as they blamed Osama bin Laden within a half-hour of the 9-11 false flag, the Illuminati Jewish mass media pins the blame on the Russian-backed separatists without any evidence whatever. Echoes of 9-11, they call this shootdown “an act of terror.”

You have to ask, “who benefits” from such a crime? What possible benefit could the Russians or their allies derive from this atrocity?

The Ukrainians on the other hand are backed by the US-based Illuminati Jewish NeoCons who are anxious to increase tensions and provoke war with Russia. Their ultimate goal is to unseat Putin. This heinous crime must be seen in the context of the sinking of the Maine or the Lusitania as an attempted casus belli. Obama called it a “wakeup call for Europe.” CNN “experts” say the Russians did it; militias don’t have the skills. (No proof is necessary, just like Assad’s “chemical attack” on his own people. This is what the Illuminati-Jewish-dominated West has descended to: Commit an atrocity and blame the “enemy,” i.e. the nation that refuses to surrender.)

Here are articles which support the False Flag view:

Was Ukraine’s Ministry of Interior Behind the Downing of Malaysian Airlines MH17?

The Ukrainians says the separatist militias do not have the Buk system. A report from an expat Spanish air traffic controller in Kiev said the plane was diverted over the conflicted area and taken down by order of the Nazi-run Ukrainian Interior Ministry which is in charge of pacifying the Eastern region. ‘Smoking gun’ intercepts in the MH17 shootdown The Ukrainian Secret Service released a reported phone conversation in which Russian separatists admit shooting down the plane by mistake. The Russians debunk this as a fraud. They say the conversation was concocted before the plane was hit. See also: “Busted: Tape Made Before Shootdown”

Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 Downed Over Warzone Ukraine. Who Was Behind It? Cui Bono?

Russia and the fighters operating in eastern Ukraine have nothing to gain by downing a civilian airliner, but absolutely everything to lose thus pointing the finger in another direction that of NATO and their proxy regime in Kiev.

Malaysian Plane Crash: Lies and Sinister Political Agenda by the West

The Russian Defense Ministry has said that when a Malaysia Airlines plane was apparently shot down over Ukraine, a Ukrainian Buk anti-aircraft missile battery was operational in the region.

Kiev Refuses to Release Controller Instructions to MH17 Pilots A simple search at FlightAware reveals that MH17 was in fact diverted 200 kilometers north from the usual flight path taken by Malaysia Airlines in the previous days and plunged right in the middle of a war zone. Why? What sort of communication did MH17 receive from Kiev air control tower? Kiev has been mute about it. Yet the answer would be simple, had Kiev released the Air Traffic Control recording of the tower talking to Flight MH17; Malaysia did it after Flight MH370 disappeared forever. It won’t happen; SBU security confiscated it. So much for getting an undoctored explanation on why MH17 was off its path, and what the pilots saw and said before the explosion. The Russian Defense Ministry, for its part, has confirmed that a Kiev-controlled Buk anti-aircraft missile battery was operational near MH17’s crash. Kiev has deployed several batteries of Buk surface-to-air missile systems with at least 27 launchers; these are all perfectly capable of bringing down jets flying at 33,000 ft.

Russia Slams US for Implicating Rebels

On Saturday, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said the US administration sought to pin the blame on separatists and Russia without waiting for the results of an investigation. “The statements of representatives of the US administration are evidence of a deep political aberration of Washington’s perception of what is going on in Ukraine,” he told Russian news agencies.

The cynicism is breath-taking.

The Royal United Services Institute (RUSI), in a statement titled “The Downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17: Russia in the Dock,” provides a self-incriminating indictment as to the motives Kiev and its NATO backers had in carrying out the attack on MH17 and subsequently framing Russia for it. RUSI’s statement claims: A Game Change: Within days, however, the real debate will shift from one about producing the right evidence and culprits, to more about what can be saved from the rapidly-deteriorating relations between Russia and the West. The tragedy will stain Russia’s relations with the world for years to come. Nations determined to keep on good terms with Russia such as China or Vietnam which relies on Russian weapon supplies and wishes these to continue will keep quiet. And there will always be some plausible deniability, giving other countries enough room for manoeuvre to avoid accusing Russia directly for this disaster. But the culprits for the crime will be pursued by international investigators and tribunals. And many Russian officials will be added to the ‘wanted’ lists of police forces around the world. The story will linger, and won’t be pretty for Russian diplomats. Given the fact that the majority of the victims are European citizens, it is also getting increasingly difficult to see how France would be able to deliver the Mistral ships which Russia ordered for its navy, or how Britain could continue shielding Russia from financial sanctions. And, given the fact that scores of US citizens were also killed on the MH17 flight means that the US Congress will demand greater sanctions on Russia, making any improvement in relations with Washington highly unlikely.

Russia Asks Kiev to Answer Ten Simple Questions

6. Why did Ukrainian air traffic controllers allow the plane to deviate from the regular route to the north, towards “the anti-terrorist operation zone”?


Another Summary of Evidence by Nick Kollerstrom Points to Ukrainian Military Jets shooting Down MH-17

Russian Expert Says Damage Confirms MH-17 Shot Down by Ukrainian Military Jets _______

First Comment from James Perloff:

Just in case they don’t get a war against Russia over MH17, perhaps the Western media should trot out the following tried-and-tested headlines this week as “breaking news”:


If one false flag doesn’t suffice, why not use the shotgun approach?

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Abel Danger: Airliner Atrocity Is Another Illuminati False Flag

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Top Ten Secret Societies | Illuminati Rex

 Illuminati  Comments Off on Top Ten Secret Societies | Illuminati Rex
Oct 292015

Annual meeting of around 130 North-Atlantic elites from the fields of energy, finance, government, intelligence, academia and the media.

Official site:

Famous Attendees: David Rockefeller, Henry Kissinger, Bill Clinton, Gordon Brown, Angela Merkel, Alan Greenspan, Ben Bernanke, Larry Summers, George Soros, Donald Rumsfeld, Robert Murdoch, Jean-Claude Trichet (EU Bank President), Mervyn King (Bank of England), Edmond de Rothschild, Robert Oppenheimer, Robert McNamara, Henry Ford II

List of Bilderberg participants (wiki) 2012 list of US participants on They Rule Infographic showing how members of the Bilderberg are connected to absolutely everything.

With 65 to 70 regular members, the Bilderberg Group is the most exclusive group on this list. The group came to be identified with the Bilderberg Hotel in Holland where the group first met in 1954. The ultra secret group was founded by Denis Healey, Joseph Retinger, David Rockefeller and Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands (of the infamous Lockheed scandal in which he took kickbacks selling exploding planes).

From the get-go the Bilderbergers sought to develop a strategy and create European consensus for a European Common Market. They were behind the Amsterdam Treaty, the Treaty of Maastricht, the Treaty of Rome, and finally the European Constitution. Leaked 1955 transcripts revealed that Bilderbergers had discussed the creation of a United European with its own currency. They are also working on merging Canada, United states and Mexico into a North American Union. The Bilderberg discussed improving business relations and extending IMF loans to China before Nixons famous 1972 visit. At the Bilderberg meeting of 1991, David Rockefeller told then Arkansas Governor Bill Clinton to support NAFTA.

The groups major source of funds is the Rockefeller and Ford Foundations. The members are cherry picked most prominent members of other influential organization and national think tanks such as the Brookings, Carnegie Endowment, and Council of Foreign Relations. Much of the leadership of the Bilderberg is also groomed within these foundations. All these organization have similar ideologies. Henri de Castries of the French House of Castries currently heads the Bilderberg.

The High Priests of Globalization at the first Bilderberg Group Meeting in Oosterbeek, Netherlands

The annual meetings are held in a different country each year and is attended by around 130 elites with about 65 regulars. Forty percent of Bilderbergers are Americans. Each international region is roughly represented by one member from the finance sector, one from the government sector, and one from academia. The Group is separated into 6 panels with around 20 people in each panel. There are 3 main speakers per panel and everyone is obligated to comment.

As a whole the membership manages the planets resources and their membership is especially concentrated in the energy and banking sectors. Their goals are a one world constitution, a one world government, a one army and they work tirelessly towards that goal. The typical globalist agenda.

Potential candidate are observed a for a few meetings before being asked to join. Bilderberg researchers often point out that according to the Logan Act, it is illegal for any American government official to be present at the Bilderberg meetings.

Researcher and author of True Story Of Bilderberg Daniel Estulin has investigated the Bilderberg Group for 15 years. He stresses that the Bilderberg is not a Judeo-Masonic conspiracy. His book is the book on the Bilderberg. Strangely, Estulin claims that Bilderberg Steering Committee member and founder of Canadas largest book chain Heather Reisman has banned True Story Of Bilderberg from her stores. However, that doesnt appear to be the case.

Jim Tucker has dedicated his entire life to chasing the Bilderbergers around the world after learning of the Groups existing in the 70s. Tucker has an informer inside the group who has consistently leaked him list of participants and talking points for years.

Secret Bavarian secret society active at the end of the 18th century and modern blanket term for the crme de la elite crme.

The Bavarian Illuminati was founded by Adam Weishaupt on May 1, 1776. The Illuminati is a secret society within secret societies. In 1784, the order was banned by the Bavarian government. Today, the term Illuminati is usually used as a blanket term for the inner circle of the elite.

The Illuminati was separated into three classes; 1. The Nursery Class; 2. The Masonic Class; 3. The Mystery Class. Each class was separated into degrees. Lower classes were unaware of the existence of higher classes. Non Illuminati were called the Profane.

I. Nursery Class: 1. Illuminati Novice (1-2 year trial period) 2. Illuminati Minerval 3. Illuminati Minor

II. Masonic Class: Symbolic Masonry 1. Entered Apprentice 2. Fellow Craft 3. Master Mason

Scottish Masonry 1. Illuminati Major (Scot Novice) 2. Illuminati Dirigens (Scot Knight)

III. Mystery Class: Lesser Mysteries 1. Illuminati Priest 2. Illuminati Prince (Regent)

Greater Mysteries 1. Illuminati Magus 2. Illuminati Rex

I am currently exposing the secrets of the Bavarian Illuminati in comic format and Terry Melanson has written a detailed non-fiction book about Adam Weishaupts Order of the Illuminati.

Exactly what the illuminati is varies a great deal from one conspiracy theorist to the next. Different versions of it continues to appear in computer games, music, television and movies. Illuminati Researcher Mark Dices book Illuminati: Facts & Fiction does a great job at weeding through the various modern Illuminati incarnations and separating the wheat from the chaff. It has saved me hours of work in establishing the root of various Illuminati theories and rumors. (although he considers the Bavarian Illuminati to be Luciferian, which is something I should ask him about) Nevertheless, Dice book is essential.

Some researchers believe the Illuminati originated before and that Adam Weishaupt simply reincarnated a much older society. The 13 Bloodlines of the Illuminati is a popular theory about ancient families secretly ruling the United States.

Others believe that the modern elite and the current proponents of the New World Order grew out of Weishaupts movement. However, we have access to most of the original writings of the Illuminati and we know that the abolishment of private property was one of the goals of the Order. This is hardly in line with the modern capitalist plutocrats who make up todays Illuminati. Todays Illuminati is anything but enlightened.

Elite senior fraternity at Yale University

Famous Bonesmen: William H. Taft (Us President), George H.W. Bush (Us President, CIA), George W. Bush (US President) Averell Harriman, H.J. Heinz II, Henry Luce (Time-Life,CIA), Bill Bundy (CIA) and William F. Buckley. (CIA)

AKA Chapter 322, is a secret society at Yale University established by William Russell and Alphonso Taft in 1832. Each year 15 juniors are selected to join the Skulls in their senior year.

The Tomb, Yale

Investment banking firm Brown Brothers Harriman pays the tax bill. No one lives inside the Tomb. At the mention of the words Skull and Bones, they must leave the room. Meetings are on Thursdays and they always have dinner on Sundays. In the 2004 US Election, two Bonesmen, John Kerry and George W. Bush went head-to-head for the Presidency of the United States.

Skull and Bones, do you accept?

If the neophyte accepts, he is given a rolled up message tied with a black ribbon and sealed with the skulls emblem imprinted into black wax. The message instructs the neophyte of the time of place of his initiation. He is also instructed not to bring any metal. (Note that Masons are also divested of all metals during their initiation ceremonies.) Once they accept, they are members for life.

Skull and Bones owns Deer Island in St-Lawrence river

The clock is 5 minutes faster, which represents Skull and Bones which is to differentiate time spend inside the tomb from the outside, which is referred to as Barbarian time.

In 1876 a group of students calling themselves File and Claw broke into the Tomb and discovered that the Order was founded in 1832 (32) as the second chapter (+2) of a German secret society. They discovered a painting of a skull surrounded by Masonic symbols in Room 322 and released floor plans of the Tomb. The Skull themselves claim that 322 represents 322 bce, the year Demosthenes died. In keeping with this legend, their calendar begins 322 years before the Roman calendar. The year 2013 would be 2335 Anno Demostheni in Bonespeak.

They reportedly have the bones of Geronimo and Pancho Villa hidden in 322. Room 322 is the inner temple of the Skull and Bones. It features an encased skeleton which the Bonesmen called Madame Pompadour. There are other compartments in the case including manuscripts, secrecy oaths and initiation rituals.

HW Bush, Bonesman, 1948

Author of Fleshing out the Skull and Bones Kris Milliken, claims that the core group of Skull and Bones is still very much involved in the dope trade. They are Sorcerers of Death performing black magic. Taft Russells family fortune came from opium and according to Eustace Mullins, the fraternity continued to be involved in the dope trade all the way up to the Vietnam war.

3000 elites from academia, government, media, intelligence, military, banking and top corporations.

Official site:

Famous Members: David Rockefeller, Henry Kissinger, Bill Clinton, Conrad Black, William F. Buckley, Bill Bundy, Allen Dulles, Gerald Ford, Herbert Hoover, Angelina, Jolie George Kennan, Carl Sagan, Paul Warburg, Oprah Winfrey, George Soros, Colin Powell, Bill Moyers, Rupert Murdoch, Zbigniew Brzezinski and Edgar Bronfman, Sr.

List of Council on Foreign Relations Members (wiki) Membership map on They Rule

The Council on Foreign Relations grew out of the round table groups and began as a gathering of scholars known as the Inquiry which included the power behind FDRs throne and author of Philip Dru: Administrator, Colonel House and Walter Lippmann.

This group attended the Paris Peace Conference where powerful members of the elite attended a private gathering at the Majestic Hotel. Round Table member Lionel Curtis suggested the creation a Royal Institute for International Affair in London and the Council of Foreign Relations, its US counterpart in New York. The CFR was officially founded in 1921.

Council on Foreign Relations HQ at 58 East 68th Street and Park Avenue

It is one of the most powerful private organizations and has a major influence on U.S. foreign policy. Its equally powerful British sister organization, the Royal Institute of International Affairs has been renamed Chatham House. Today the CFR has over 3000 members.

The group suggested the formation of a League of Nation. Five of the 6 men of the Agenda Group which drafted the United States proposal for a United Nations were members of the CFR. Carol Quigley called its members the international financial coterie The CFR was instrumental in planning the post World War 2 economic and political world order.

About the round table groups: De Beers Cecil Rhodes and journalist William T. Stead organized a secret society with an executive committee known as the Circle of Initiate. The secret society had an outer circle known as the Association of Helpers which eventually evolved into the Round Table Groups.

Sources and further information: Memoirs (Amazon) David Rockefeller, 2003

David Rockefellers elite think tank of over 300 private citizens from Europe, Asia, and North America.

Official site:

Famous Members: David Rockefeller, George HW Bush, Bill Clinton, Zbigniew Brzezinski, Jean-Claude Trichet, Henry Kissinger and Jimmy Carter.

List of List of Trilateral Commission Members ( .PDF) Membership map on They Rule.

David Rockefeller had been looking for a way to include Japan into international cooperation discussion. At the Belgium Bilderberg conference of 1972, Rockefeller discussed the idea with Columbia University Russian Studies professor Zbigniew Brzezinski (Zbig) who had himself previously approached the Bilderberg Steering Committee. The Steering Committee had been unreceptive to the idea.

The think tank had its first executive committee meeting in Tokyo in October 1973. The Trilateral Commission receive funds mostly from the Rockefeller Brothers Fund and is deeply rooted in the CFR. The commission helps governments around the world reach constructive accords with other governments. They promote closer cooperation between Europe, Asia, and North America. In 1974 they published The Crisis of Democracy calling for democracy in moderation.

Ancient secret society sworn to protect the holy bloodline of Jesus Christ and Mary Magdalene

Famous Grandmasters: Jean de Gisors (11881220), Nicolas Flamel (13981418), Ren dAnjou (14181480), Lonard de Vinci (15101519), Isaac Newton (16911727), Charles de Lorraine (17461780), Maximilian de Lorraine (17801801), Victor Hugo (18441885), Claude Debussy (18851918),Jean Cocteau (19181963)

Certainly one of the most intriguing of all secret societies, unfortunately, it isnt real. The Priory of Sion legend is completely made up! (almost)

He also included Rennes-le-Chteau restaurant owner Nol Corbus (another admitted hoaxer) legend of Father Franois Brenger Saunire about discovering parts of the Knights Templarss lost treasure. It all made for a great story.

The strange events of the Priory of Sion and Rennes-le-Chteau were finally epitomized on the big screen in 2006 Da Vinci Code starring Tom Hanks.

Note to Mr. Langdon: Vinegar freezes at just under 0C (32F ). Next time you encounter an impossible-to-open-without-the-combination-type Cryptex, consider sticking the thing in the freezer for a few hours.

Researchers Lynn Pickett and Clive Prince have found evidence for the existence of a Priory of Sion within the Masonic Strict Observance Rites of Germany. Their goal was to form a United states of Europe.

Male elites meet every July for a 2 week encampment at private campground.

Famous Attendees: Henry Kissinger, David Rockefeller, Ronald Reagan, GW Bush, Gerald Ford, Richard Nixon, Malcolm Forbes, William F. Buckley, Clint Eastwood, and William Randolph Hearst. Camp Membership

Founded in 1872, the Bohemian Grove is a 2700-acre campground in the midst of ancient Redwood trees located in Sonoma County, California. Every July, elites participate in a 2 week encampment to make ritual sacrifices to the sinister owl-god Moloch. Power brokers assemble at The Owl Shrine for informal Lakeside Talks. Nixon canceled his scheduled Lakeside Talk in 1971 because the media was insisting on covering it.

Thanks to the work of Alex Jones, Chris Jones and Phillip Weiss who have each individually infiltrated the Grove, the outside world has been able to assemble a lot of information on what happens there. Alex Jones footage can be seen in Dark Secrets: Inside Bohemian Grove (Youtube, 2:02:56) and Chris Joness (who worked undercover at the Grove) can be seen in Alex Jones The order of Death, which was released 5 years later to commemorate Alex Jones infiltration of the Grove. (Youtube, 44:46)

President Ronald Reagan and Richard Nixon, 1967

Weiss stayed as a guess at Bohemian Grove for 7 days in 1989. Weiss heard Walter Cronkite himself as the voice of the infamous owl. He even shook Ronald Reagans hand who confirmed that it was indeed at the Grove in 67 that he had assured Nixon that he would not challenge him in the upcoming Republican nomination. (so much for non-weaving. spiders) He also witnessed a Grover engaging in unBohemian behavior when Henry Kissinger rudely cut in line at the phone banks.

The Founding Founders, Freemasonry and the capital of the United States

Mostly harmless today, the freemasons held immense power in the 18th and 19th century. The earliest historical document mentioning the Old Charges of Freemasonry is the Regius Poem and dates to around 1425. The Grand Lodge of England formed in 1717. Masonic expressions that have become common idioms include: On the square, On the level, giving/getting the third degree and blackballing.

Blue Lodge and 2 major appendant bodies

Due to multiple bans on Freemasonry by Popes, a good catholic is still expected join the Knights of Columbus, as President Kennedy did, the Vaticans answer to Freemasonry. The Vatican is yet to reverse its stance on Freemasonry.

Freemasonry is composed of three levels, referred to as the Blue Lodge degrees:

1. Entered Apprentice 2. Fellow craft 3. Master Mason

Non-masons are called Cowans. There are multiple other degrees that a mason can obtain once he has become a Master Mason (Third degree) which masons call Appendant degrees. The most popular ones are the Scottish Rite of Freemasonry, with 33 degrees and the York Rite .

In addition there are Masonic Lodges not recognized by the Grand Loge of England, and as a result, by the majority of regular Masonic lodges. For example, the Rite of Memphis-Misraim has 99 degrees and the Grand Orient de France accepts women.

A group of Three Hundred ruling individual descendant from the Black Nobility

Famous Members: British royals, Dutch royals, House of Hapsburg (?),Lord Halifax, Winston Churchill, Cecil Rhodes, George Bush, Aldous Huxley, Henry Kissinger, David Rockefeller, Giuseppe Mazzini and H.G. Wells

The existence of the Committee of 300 is wholly dependent on the word of Dr John Coleman, author of Conspirators Hierarchy The Story of The Committee of 300.

Joseph Pavlonksy John Clarke Doctor Coleman tells us that he gazed upon a mention of the supranational Committee of 300 or the Olympians while stationed with MI6 in Angola. He then decided to dedicate the rest of his life to exposing the group. His status as a MI6 whistleblower and the origin of his doctorate are never discussed in interviews. (leading Eustace Mullins to question his motives.)

Coleman uses the core of conspiracy theory literature and adds his own secret group which allegedly controls all the other ones. (Popular author David Icke added shape-shifting Reptilians to conspiracy lore and became an international bestseller) All the usual players are there. The Bilderberg Group, the Royal Institute of International Affairs, the Club of Rome, the Trilateral Commission and the Council on Foreign Relations all make an appearance and serve as the executive arms of the Committee of 300. In Colemans scenario, the RIIA is above all the others and chooses the American Secretary of State and through him/her give the US President his marching orders. Prime Minister Disraeli had MI6 snuff out Abraham Lincoln and later, William Stevenson of Mi6 ordered the hit on JFK.

He also throws in popular nuggets such as the Black Nobility, (the group varies a great deal in conspiracy lore from the historical Black Nobility) who according to Coleman, made the Borgias look like Sunday school teachers. (The mysterious nobles are always a crowd pleaser.) According to Dr. Colemans decade long studies at the Cairo Museum (?), no member of the families of the Black Nobility or their servants has ever died from the Black Plague. He discovered that they drank a secret herbal compound and exposed themselves to low-frequency radiation making them immune to the disease.

The Queen of England is the head of the Committee of 300. The 300 families all rule with equal shares! (highly doubtful) The Queen is actually from the Black Nobility family of the House of Guelph. (Rex note: It is true that they change their name from Saxe-Coburg-Gotha to Windsor)

The Committee of 300 were behind Beatlemania and used the Beatles to induce young Americans towards drugs and Rock n Roll. They even came up with the word teenager (or not)

New words and new phrases prepared by Tavistock were introduced to America along with the Beatles. Words such as rock in relation to music sounds, teenager, cool, discovered and pop music were a lexicon of disguised code words signifying the acceptance of drugs and arrived with and accompanied the Beatles wherever they went, to be discovered by teenagers. Incidentally, the word teenagers was never used until just before the Beatles arrived on the scene, courtesy of the Tavistock Institute for Human Relations.

Colemans own deep hatred seeps into his work:

I hate to use these beautiful words in the context of Beatlemania; it reminds me of how wrongly the word lover is used when referring to the filthy interaction between two homosexuals writhing in pigswill. To call rock music, is an insult, likewise the language used in rock lyrics.

Is there any collaboration for Colemans Committee of 300 claims?


Coleman claims to have heard Gorbachev referred to the Committee of 300 on CNN but no one has been able to confirm it and the clip has disappeared from the CNN archives. Proponents of the group often point to German industrialist Walter Rathenaus quote, but there is no indication that Rathenau was referring to an actual group rather than a number.

Three hundred men, all of whom know one another, direct the economic destiny of Europe and choose their successors from among themselves. Geschftlicher Nachwuchs, Neue freie Presse, Walter Rathenau, 1909

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Oct 282015

Clauses of the First Amendment

The Establishment Clause

Americas early settlers came from a variety of religious backgrounds: Puritans predominated in New England; Anglicans predominated in the South; Quakers and Lutherans flocked especially to Pennsylvania; Roman Catholics settled mostly in Maryland; Presbyterians were most numerous in the middle colonies; and there were Jewish congregations in five cities.

During colonial times, the Church of England was established by law in all of the southern colonies, while localized Puritan (or Congregationalist) establishments held sway in most New England states. In those colonies, clergy were appointed and disciplined by colonial authorities and colonists were required to pay religious taxes and (often) to attend church services. Dissenters were often punished for preaching without a license or refusing to pay taxes to a church they disagreed with. Delaware, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and much of New York had no established church.

After Independence, there was widespread agreement that there should be no nationally established church. The Establishment Clause of the First Amendment, principally authored by James Madison, reflects this consensus. The language of the Establishment Clause itself applies only to the federal government (Congress shall pass no law respecting an establishment of religion). All states disestablished religion by 1833, and in the 1940s the Supreme Court held that disestablishment applies to state governments through the Fourteenth Amendment.

Virtually all jurists agree that it would violate the Establishment Clause for the government to compel attendance or financial support of a religious institution as such, for the government to interfere with a religious organizations selection of clergy or religious doctrine; for religious organizations or figures acting in a religious capacity to exercise governmental power; or for the government to extend benefits to some religious entities and not others without adequate secular justification. Beyond that, the meaning of the Amendment is often hotly contested, and Establishment cases in the Supreme Court often lead to 5-4 splits.

The Lemon Test

In 1971, the Supreme Court surveyed its previous Establishment Clause cases and identified three factors that identify when a government practice violates the Establishment Clause: First, the statute must have a secular legislative purpose; second, its principal or primary effect must be one that neither advances nor inhibits religion; finally, the statute must not foster an excessive entanglement with religion. Lemon v. Kurtzman (1971). In the years since Lemon, the test has been much criticized and the Court often decides Establishment Clause cases without reference to it. Yet the Justices have not overruled the Lemon test, meaning the lower courts remain obliged to use it. In some specific areas of controversy, however, the Court has adopted specific, more targeted tests to replace Lemon.

The vast majority of Establishment Clause cases have fallen in four areas: monetary aid to religious education or other social welfare activities conducted by religious institutions; government-sponsored prayer; accommodation of religious dissenters from generally-applicable laws; and government owned or sponsored religious symbols.

Aid to religious institutions

Scholars have long debated between two opposing interpretations of the Establishment Clause as it applies to government funding: (1) that the government must be neutral between religious and non-religious institutions that provide education or other social services; or (2) that no taxpayer funds should be given to religious institutions if they might be used to communicate religious doctrine. Initially, the Court tended toward the first interpretation, in the 1970s and 1980s the Court shifted to the second interpretation, and more recently the Court has decisively moved back to the first idea.

After two early decisions upholding state statutes allowing students who attend private religious schools to receive transportation, Everson v. Board of Education (1947), and textbook subsidies available to all elementary and secondary students, Board of Education v. Allen (1968), the Court attempted for about fifteen years to draw increasingly sharp lines against the use of tax-funded assistance for the religious aspects of education. At one point the Court even forbade public school teaching specialists from going on the premises of religious schools to provide remedial assistance. Aguilar v. Felton (1985). More recently, the Court has upheld programs that provide aid to educational or social programs on a neutral basis only as a result of the genuine and independent choices of private individuals. Zelman v. Simmons-Harris (2002). Indeed, the Court has held that it is unconstitutional under free speech or free exercise principles to exclude otherwise eligible recipients from government assistance solely because their activity is religious in nature. Rosenberger v. University of Virginia (1995).

Government-sponsored prayer

The Courts best-known Establishment Clause decisions held it unconstitutional for public schools to lead schoolchildren in prayer or Bible reading, even on an ostensibly voluntary basis. Engel v. Vitale (1962); Abington School District v. Schempp (1963). Although these decisions were highly controversial among the public (less so among scholars), the Court has not backed down. Instead it has extended the prohibition to prayers at graduation ceremonies, Lee v. Weisman (1992), and football games, Santa Fe Independent School District v. Doe (2000).

In less coercive settings involving adults, the Court has generally allowed government-sponsored prayer. In Marsh v. Chambers (1983), the Court upheld legislative prayer, specifically because it was steeped in history. More recently, the Court approved an opening prayer or statement at town council meetings, where the Town represented that it would accept any prayers of any faith. Town of Greece v. Galloway (2014).

Accommodation of religion

Hundreds of federal, state, and local laws exempt or accommodate religious believers or institutions from otherwise neutral, generally-applicable laws for whom compliance would conflict with religiously motivated conduct. Examples include military draft exemptions, kosher or halal meals for prisoners, medical neglect exemptions for parents who do not believe in medical treatment for their ill children, exemptions from some anti-discrimination laws for religious entities, military headgear requirements, and exemptions for the sacramental use of certain drugs. The Supreme Court has addressed very few of these exemptions. While the Court held that a state sales tax exemption limited to religious publications was unconstitutional in Texas Monthly, Inc. v. Bullock (1989), it unanimously upheld the exemption of religious organizations from prohibitions on employment discrimination for ministers. Hosanna-Tabor Evangelical Lutheran Church and School v. E.E.O.C. (2012).

Two federal laws, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) and the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA), provide broad-based statutory accommodations for religious practice when it conflicts with federal and certain state and local laws. A unanimous Court upheld this approach for prisoners against a claim that granting religious accommodations violates the Establishment Clause, reasoning that RLUIPA alleviates exceptional government-created burdens on private religious exercise in prisons. Cutter v. Wilkinson (2005).

The Court in Cutter left open the question whether such a regime applied to land use is constitutional and it also left open the possibility that even some applications in prisons may be unconstitutional if they are not even-handed among religions or impose too extreme a burden on non-believers. The Courts recent 5-4 decision in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc. (2014), holding that RFRA exempts for-profit employers from paying for insurance coverage of contraceptive drugs that they believe are abortion-inducing, has reinvigorated the debate over such laws.

Government-sponsored religious symbols

The cases involving governmental displays of religious symbolssuch as Ten Commandment displays in public school classrooms, courthouses, or public parks; nativity scenes in courthouses and shopping districts; or crosses on public landhave generated much debate. The most prominent approach in more recent cases is called the endorsement test; it asks whether a reasonable observer acquainted with the full context would regard the display as the government endorsing religion and, therefore, sending a message of disenfranchisement to other believers and non-believers.

The Courts decisions in this arena are often closely divided. They also illustrate that the Court has declined to take a rigid, absolutist view of the separation of church and state. In Lynch v. Donnelly (1984), the Court allowed display of a nativity scene surrounded by other holiday decorations in the heart of a shopping district, stating that it engenders a friendly community spirit of good will in keeping with the season. But in County of Allegheny v. American Civil Liberties Union (1989), a different majority of Justices held that the display of a nativity scene by itself at the top of the grand stairway in a courthouse violated the Establishment Clause because it was indisputably religiousindeed sectarian. In McCreary County v. American Civil Liberties Union (2005), the Court held that a prominent display of the Ten Commandments at the county courthouse, which was preceded by an officials description of the Ten Commandments as the embodiment of ethics in Christ, was a religious display that was unconstitutional. The same day, it upheld a Ten Commandments monument, which was donated by a secular organization dedicated to reducing juvenile delinquency and surrounded by other monuments on the spacious statehouse grounds. Van Orden v. Perry (2005). Only one Justice was in the majority in both cases.

More broadly, the Establishment Clause provides a legal framework for resolving disagreements about the public role of religion in our increasingly pluralistic republic.

An accurate recounting of history is necessary to appreciate the need for disestablishment and a separation between church and state.

The Establishment Clause of the First Amendment Congress shall pass no law respecting an establishment of religion is one of the most misunderstood in the Constitution.

The Establishment Clause: A Check on Religious Tyranny by Marci A. Hamilton

An accurate recounting of history is necessary to appreciate the need for disestablishment and a separation between church and state. The religiosity of the generation that framed the Constitution and the Bill of Rights (of which the First Amendment is the first as a result of historical accident, not the preference for religious liberty over any other right) has been overstated. In reality, many of the Framers and the most influential men of that generation rarely attended church, were often Deist rather than Christian, and had a healthy understanding of the potential for religious tyranny. This latter concern is to be expected as European history was awash with executions of religious heretics: Protestant, Catholic, Jewish, and Muslim. Three of the most influential men in the Framing era provide valuable insights into the mindset at the time: Benjamin Franklin, James Madison, and John Adams. Franklin saw a pattern:

If we look back into history for the character of the present sects in Christianity, we shall find few that have not in their turns been persecutors, and complainers of persecution. The primitive Christians thought persecution extremely wrong in the Pagans, but practiced it on one another. The first Protestants of the Church of England blamed persecution in the Romish Church, but practiced it upon the Puritans. These found it wrong in the Bishops, but fell into the same practice themselves both here [England] and in New England.

Benjamin Franklin, Letter to the London Packet (June 3, 1772).

The father of the Constitution and primary drafter of the First Amendment, James Madison, in his most important document on the topic, Memorial and Remonstrance against Religious Assessments (1785), stated:

During almost fifteen centuries has the legal establishment of Christianity been on trial. What have been its fruits? More or less in all places, pride and indolence in the Clergy, ignorance and servility in the laity, in both, superstition, bigotry and persecution. . . . What influence, in fact, have ecclesiastical establishments had on society? In some instances they have been seen to erect a spiritual tyranny on the ruins of the Civil authority; in many instances they have been seen upholding the thrones of political tyranny; in no instance have they been the guardians of the liberties of the people.

Two years later, John Adams described the states as having been derived from reason, not religious belief:

It will never be pretended that any persons employed in that service had any interviews with the gods, or were in any degree under the influence of Heaven, any more than those at work upon ships or houses, or laboring in merchandise or agriculture; it will forever be acknowledged that these governments were contrived merely by the use of reason and the senses. . . .Thirteen governments [of the original states] thus founded on the natural authority of the people alone, without a pretence of miracle or mystery, which are destined to spread over the northern part of that whole quarter of the globe, are a great point gained in favor of the rights of mankind.

The Works of John Adams, Second President of the United States, Vol. 4, 292-93 (Charles C. Little & James Brown, eds., 1851).

Massachusetts and Pennsylvania are examples of early discord. In Massachusetts, the Congregationalist establishment enforced taxation on all believers and expelled or even put to death dissenters. Baptist clergy became the first in the United States to advocate for a separation of church and state and an absolute right to believe what one chooses. Baptist pastor John Leland was an eloquent and forceful proponent of the freedom of conscience and the separation of church and state. For him, America was not a Christian nation, but rather should recognize the equality of all believers, whether Jews, Turks, Pagans [or] Christians. Government should protect every man in thinking and speaking freely, and see that one does not abuse another. He proposed an amendment to the Massachusetts Constitution in 1794 because of the evils . . . occasioned in the world by religious establishments, and to keep up the proper distinction between religion and politics.”

Pennsylvania, dubbed the Holy Experiment by founder William Penn, was politically controlled by Quakers, who advocated tolerance of all believers and the mutual co-existence of differing faiths, but who made their Christianity a prerequisite for public office, only permitted Christians to vote, and forbade work on the Sabbath. Even so, the Quakers set in motion a principle that became a mainstay in religious liberty jurisprudence: the government may not coerce citizens to believe what they are unwilling to believe. If one looks carefully into the history of the United States religious experiment, one also uncovers a widely-shared view that too much liberty, or licentiousness, is as bad as no liberty. According to historian John Philip Reid, those in the eighteenth century had as great a duty to oppose licentiousness as to defend liberty.

Establishment Clause Doctrine

The Establishment Clause has yielded a wide array of doctrines (legal theories articulated by courts), each of which is largely distinct from the others, some of which are described in Professor McConnells and my joint contribution on the Establishment Clause. The reason for this proliferation of distinct doctrines is that the Establishment Clause is rooted in a concept of separating the power of church and state. These are the two most authoritative forces of human existence, and drawing a boundary line between them is not easy. The further complication is that the exercise of power is fluid, which leads both state and church to alter their positions to gain power either one over the other or as a union in opposition to the general public or particular minorities.

The separation of church and state does not mean that there is an impermeable wall between the two, but rather that the Framers fundamentally understood that the union of power between church and state would lead inevitably to tyranny. The established churches of Europe were well-known to the Founding era and the Framers and undoubtedly contributed to James Madisons inclusion of the Establishment Clause in the First Amendment, and its ratification. The following are some of the most important principles.

The Government May Not Delegate Governing Authority to Religious Entities

The Court has been sensitive to incipient establishments of religion. A Massachusetts law delegated authority to churches and schools to determine who could receive a liquor license within 500 feet of their buildings. The Supreme Court struck down the law, because it delegated to churches zoning power, which belongs to state and local government, not private entities. Larkin v. Grendels Den, Inc. (1982). According to the Court: The law substitutes the unilateral and absolute power of a church for the reasoned decision making of a public legislative body . . . on issues with significant economic and political implications. The challenged statute thus enmeshes churches in the processes of government and creates the danger of [p]olitical fragmentation and divisiveness along religious lines.

In another scenario, the Supreme Court rejected an attempt to define political boundaries solely according to religion. In Board of Education of Kiryas Joel Village School District v. Grumet (1994), the state of New York designated the neighborhood boundaries of Satmar Hasidim Orthodox Jews in Kiryas Joel Village as a public school district to itself. Thus, the boundary was determined solely by religious identity, in part because the community did not want their children to be exposed to children outside the faith. The Court invalidated the school district because political boundaries identified solely by reference to religion violate the Establishment Clause.

There Is No Such Thing as Church Autonomy Although There Is a Doctrine that Forbids the Courts from Determining What Religious Organizations Believe

In recent years, religious litigants have asserted a right to church autonomythat churches should not be subject to governmental regulationin a wide variety of cases, and in particular in cases involving the sexual abuse of children by clergy. The phrase, however, is misleading. The Supreme Court has never interpreted the First Amendment to confer on religious organizations a right to autonomy from the law. In fact, in the case in which they have most recently demanded such a right, arguing religious ministers should be exempt from laws prohibiting employment discrimination, the Court majority did not embrace the theory, not even using the term once. Hosanna-Tabor Evangelical Lutheran Church and School v. E.E.O.C. (2012).

The courts are forbidden, however, from getting involved in determining what a religious organization believes, how it organizes itself internally, or who it chooses to be ministers of the faith. Therefore, if the dispute brought to a court can only be resolved by a judge or jury settling an intra-church, ecclesiastical dispute, the dispute is beyond judicial consideration. This is a corollary to the absolute right to believe what one chooses; it is not a right to be above the laws that apply to everyone else. There is extraordinary slippage in legal briefs in numerous cases where the entity is arguing for autonomy, but what they really mean is freedom from the law, per se. For the Court and basic common sense, these are arguments for placing religion above the law, and in violation of the Establishment Clause. They are also fundamentally at odds with the common sense of the Framing generation that understood so well the evils of religious tyranny.

The Establishment Clause: Co-Guarantor of Religious Freedom by Michael McConnell

The Establishment Clause of the First Amendment Congress shall pass no law respecting an establishment of religion is one of the most misunderstood in the Constitution. Unlike most of the Constitution, it refers to a legal arrangement, the establishment of religion, which has not existed in the United States in almost two centuries. We understand what freedom of speech is, we know what private property” is, and we know what searches and seizures are, but most of us have no familiarity with what an establishment of religion would be.

The Church by Law Established in Britain was a church under control of the government. The monarch was (and is) the supreme head of the established church and chooses its leadership; Parliament enacted its Articles of Faith; the state composed or directed the content of its prayers and liturgy; clergy had to take an oath of allegiance to the king or queen; and not surprisingly, the established church was used to inculcate the idea that British subjects had a religious as well as a civic obligation to obey royal authority. The established church was a bit like a government-controlled press: it was a means by which the government could mold public opinion.

British subjects (including Americans in eight of the colonies) were legally required to attend and financially support the established church, ministers were licensed or selected by the government, and the content of church services was partially dictated by the state.

The establishment of religion was bad for liberty and it was bad for religion, too. It was opposed by a coalition of the most fervently evangelical religious sects in America (especially the Baptists), who thought the hand of government was poisonous to genuine religion, joined by the enlightenment and often deist elite (like Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin), who thought church and state should be separate, and by the leadership of minority religions, who worried that government involvement would disadvantage them. Accordingly, there was virtually no opposition to abolishing establishment of religion at the national level. Establishments survived for a while in a few states, but the last state (Massachusetts) ended its establishment in 1833.

The abolition of establishment of religion entails a number of obvious and uncontroversial elements. Individuals may not be required to contribute to, attend, or participate in religious activities. These must be voluntary. The government may not control the doctrine, liturgy, or personnel of religious organizations. These must be free of state control. Other issues are harder.

For a few decades between the late 1960s and the early 1990s, the Supreme Court attempted to forbid states to provide tax subsidies to schools that teach religious doctrine along with ordinary secular subjects. Most of these schools were Roman Catholic. This effort was largely based on a misinterpretation of history, egged on by residual anti-Catholicism. The Justices said that neutral aid to schools is just like a 1785 effort to force Virginians to contribute to the church of their choice. The analogy, however, made little sense: there is all the difference in the world between funding churches because they inculcate religion and funding schools because they provide education. In fact, the history of the early republic shows that states (and later the federal government, during Reconstruction) funded education by subsidizing all schools on a nondiscriminatory basis, and no one ever suggested this violated the non-establishment principle. By 2002, in Zelman v. Simmons-Harris, the Supreme Court returned to this original idea, allowing the government to fund schools on a neutral basis so long as the choice of religious schools was left to voluntary choice. Not only was ruling this true to history, it also best serves the ideal of religious freedom, making it possible for families to choose the type of education they want for their children.

It is sometimes suggested that laws making special accommodations for people whose religious beliefs are at odds with government policy violate the Establishment Clause, on the theory that these accommodations privilege or advance religion. This is a recently-minted idea, and not a sensible one. In all cases of accommodation, the religion involved is dissenting from prevailing policy, which means, by definition, that the religion is not dominating society. The idea that making exceptions for the benefit of people whose beliefs conflict with the majority somehow establishes religion is a plain distortion of the words. And the Supreme Court has unanimously held that religious accommodations are permissible so long as they lift a governmental obstacle to the exercise of religion, take account of costs to others, and do not favor one faith over another. Nonetheless, when religions take unpopular stances on hot-button issues (for example, regarding abortion-inducing contraceptives or same-sex marriage), critics are quick to assert that it violates the Constitution to accommodate their differences, no matter how little support that position has in history or Supreme Court precedent.

The fundamental error is to think that the Establishment Clause is designed to reduce the role of religion in American life. A better understanding is captured in this statement by Justice William O. Douglas of the Supreme Court: this country sponsor[s] an attitude on the part of government that shows no partiality to any one group and that lets each flourish according to the zeal of its adherents and the appeal of its dogma. Zorach v. Clauson (1952).

The Free Exercise Clause

Many settlers from Europe braved the hardships of immigration to the American colonies to escape religious persecution in their home countries and to secure the freedom to worship according to their own conscience and conviction. Although the colonists often understood freedom of religion more narrowly than we do today, support for protection of some conception of religious freedom was broad and deep. By the time of Independence and the construction of a new Constitution, freedom of religion was among the most widely recognized inalienable rights, protected in some fashion by state bills of rights and judicial decisions. James Madison, for example, the principal author of the First Amendment, eloquently expressed his support for such a provision in Virginia: It is the duty of every man to render to the Creator such homage, and such only, as he believes to be acceptable to him. This duty is precedent both in order of time and degree of obligation, to the claims of Civil Society.

Although the original Constitution contained only a prohibition of religious tests for federal office (Article VI, Clause 3), the Free Exercise Clause was added as part of the First Amendment in 1791. In drafting the Clause, Congress considered several formulations, but ultimately settled on protecting the free exercise of religion. This phrase makes plain the protection of actions as well as beliefs, but only those in some way connected to religion.

From the beginning, courts in the United States have struggled to find a balance between the religious liberty of believers, who often claim the right to be excused or exempted from laws that interfere with their religious practices, and the interests of society reflected in those very laws. Early state court decisions went both ways on this central question.

The Supreme Court first addressed the question in a series of cases involving nineteenth-century laws aimed at suppressing the practice of polygamy by members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS), also known as Mormons. The Court unanimously rejected free exercise challenges to these laws, holding that the Free Exercise Clause protects beliefs but not conduct. Laws are made for the government of actions, and while they cannot interfere with mere religious belief and opinions, they may with practices. Reynolds v. United States (1878). What followed was perhaps the most extreme government assault on religious freedom in American history. Hundreds of church leaders were jailed, rank-and-file Mormons were deprived of their right to vote, and Congress dissolved the LDS Church and expropriated most of its property, until the church finally agreed to abandon polygamy.

The belief-action distinction ignored the Free Exercise Clauses obvious protection of religious practice, but spoke to the concern that allowing believers to disobey laws that bind everyone else would undermine the value of a government of laws applied to all. Doing so, Reynolds warned, would be to make the professed doctrines of religious belief superior to the law of the land, and in effect to permit every citizen to become a law unto himself.

Reynolds influenced the meaning of the Free Exercise Clause well into the twentieth century. In 1940, for example, the Court extended the Clausewhich by its terms constrains only the federal governmentto limit state laws and other state actions that burden religious exercise. Cantwell v. Connecticut (1940). Though it recognized that governments may not unduly infringe religious exercise, the Court reiterated that [c]onduct remains subject to regulation for the protection of society, citing Reynolds as authority. Similarly, the Court held in 1961 that the Free Exercise Clause did not exempt an orthodox Jewish merchant from Sunday closing laws, again citing Reynolds.

In the 1960s and early 1970s, the Court shifted, strengthening protection for religious conduct by construing the Free Exercise Clause to protect a right of religious believers to exemption from generally applicable laws which burden religious exercise. The Court held that the government may not enforce even a religiously-neutral law that applies generally to all or most of society unless the public interest in enforcement is compelling. Wisconsin v. Yoder (1972). Yoder thus held that Amish families could not be punished for refusing to send their children to school beyond the age of 14.

Although the language of this compelling-interest test suggested powerful protections for religion, these were never fully realized. The cases in which the Supreme Court denied exemptions outnumbered those in which it granted them. Aside from Yoder, the Court exempted believers from availability for work requirements, which denied unemployment benefits to workers terminated for prioritizing religious practices over job requirements. But it denied exemptions to believers and religious organizations which found their religious practices burdened by conditions for federal tax exemption, military uniform regulations, federal minimum wage laws, state prison regulations, state sales taxes, federal administration of public lands, and mandatory taxation and other requirements of the Social Security system. In all of these cases the Court found, often controversially, either that the governments interest in enforcement was compelling, or that the law in question did not constitute a legally-recognizable burden on religious practice.

In 1990, the Supreme Court changed course yet again, holding that the Free Exercise Clause does not relieve an individual of the obligation to comply with a valid and neutral law of general applicability on the ground that the law proscribes (or prescribes) conduct that his religion prescribes (or proscribes). Employment Division v. Smith (1990). Though it did not return to the belief-action distinction, the Court echoed Reynolds concern that religious exemptions permit a person, by virtue of his beliefs, to become a law unto himself, contradicting both constitutional tradition and common sense. Any exceptions to religiously-neutral and generally-applicable laws, therefore, must come from the political process. Smith went on to hold that the Free Exercise Clause does not protect the sacramental use of peyote, a hallucinogenic drug, by members of the Native American Church.

Smith proved to be controversial. In 1993, overwhelming majorities in Congress voted to reinstate the pre-Smith compelling-interest test by statute with the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA). RFRA authorizes courts to exempt a person from any law that imposes a substantial burden on sincere religious beliefs or actions, unless the government can show that the law is the least restrictive means of furthering a compelling governmental interest. Almost half of the states have passed similar lawsstate RFRAsapplicable to their own laws. In 1997 the Supreme Court held that Congress had constitutional authority only to apply RFRA to federal laws, and not to state or local laws. Congress then enacted a narrower law, the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA), which applies the compelling-interest test to state laws affecting prisoners and land use. RFRA and RLUIPA have afforded exemptions in a wide range of federal and state contextsfrom kosher and halal diets for prisoners, to relief from zoning and landmark regulations on churches and ministries, to exemptions from jury service.

Although some exemption claims brought under these religious freedom statutes have been relatively uncontroversialthe Supreme Court unanimously protected the right of a tiny religious sect to use a hallucinogenic drug prohibited by federal law and the right of a Muslim prisoner to wear a half-inch beard prohibited by state prison rulessome touch on highly contested moral questions. For example, the Court by a 5-4 vote excused a commercial family-owned corporation from complying with the contraception mandate, a regulation which required the corporations health insurance plan to cover what its owners believe are abortion-inducing drugs. Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores Inc. (2014). In the wake of Hobby Lobby and the Courts subsequent determination that states may not deny gays and lesbians the right to civil marriage, state RFRAs have become a flashpoint in conflicts over whether commercial vendors with religious objections may refuse their products and services to same-sex weddings.

Besides RFRA and other exemption statutes, the Free Exercise Clause itself, even after Smith, continues to provide protection for believers against burdens on religious exercise from laws that target religious practices, or that disadvantage religion in discretionary, case-by-case decision making. In Church of the Lukumi Babalu Aye, Inc. v. City of Hialeah (1993), for example, the Court unanimously struck down a local ordinance against the unnecessary killing of animals in a ritual or ceremonya law that was drawn to apply only to a small and unpopular religious sect whose worship includes animal sacrifice.

The Court recently recognized that the Free Exercise Clause (along with the Establishment Clause) required a religious exemption from a neutral and general federal antidiscrimination law that interfered with a churchs freedom to select its own ministers. The Court distinguished Smith on the ground that it involved government regulation of only outward physical acts, while this case concerns government interference with an internal church decision that affects the faith and mission of the church itself. Hosanna-Tabor Evangelical Lutheran Church & School v. E.E.O.C. (2012).

It remains unclear whether Lukumi and Hosanna-Tabor are narrow exceptions to Smiths general presumption against religious exemptions, or foreshadow yet another shift towards a more exemption-friendly free exercise doctrine.

At the time the United States adopted the First Amendment to the Constitution, other nations routinely imposed disabilities on religious minorities within their borders, depriving them of legal rights, making it difficult or impossible to practice their faith, and often enabling violent persecution.

One of this nations deepest commitments is to the full, equal, and free exercise of religion a right that protects not only believers, but unbelievers as well.

Religious Liberty Is Equal Liberty by Frederick Gedicks

At the time the United States adopted the First Amendment to the Constitution, other nations routinely imposed disabilities on religious minorities within their borders, depriving them of legal rights, making it difficult or impossible to practice their faith, and often enabling violent persecution. The Free Exercise Clause was thus an exceptional political achievement, imposing a constitutional norm of civic equality by prohibiting the federal government from interfering with all religious exerciseregardless of affiliation.

Only a few years before the First Amendment was ratified, James Madison wrote that all people naturally retain equal title to the free exercise of Religion according to the dictates of conscience without the governments subjecting some to peculiar burdens or granting to others peculiar exemptions. A Memorial and Remonstrance against Religious Assessments (1785). As Madison suggested, at the time the Constitution and Bill of Rights were ratified, the guarantee of religious free exercise was understood to protect against government discrimination or abuse on the basis of religion, but not to require favorable government treatment of believers. In particular, there is little evidence that the Founders understood the Free Exercise Clause to mandate religious exemptions that would excuse believers from complying with neutral and general laws that constrain the rest of society.

The Supreme Court has historically left the question of religious exemptions to Congress and the state legislatures. The first judicially-ordered exemptions arose in the 1960s and early 1970s, when the Supreme Court held the Free Exercise Clause required religious exemptions for Amish families who objected to sending their children to high school, and for employees who were denied unemployment benefits when they lost their jobs for refusing to work on their Sabbath. This doctrine of judicially-ordered exemptions, however, was an historical aberration. In Employment Division v. Smith (1990), the Court considered a claim by members of a Native American religion who lost their jobs as drug counselors for using an illegal drug in a religious ritual. The Court abandoned its new doctrine of religious exemptions, ruling that the Free Exercise Clause did not grant believers a right to exemptions from religiously neutral, generally applicable laws, though legislatures were free to grant such exemptions if they wished. This relegation of exemptions to the political process in most circumstances returned the Free Exercise Clause to its historical baseline. Notwithstanding the narrow ministerial exception recognized in Hosanna-Tabor Evangelical Church & School v. EEOC (2012), the Court has repeatedly affirmed Smith and the century of precedent cited in that case, and has shown no inclination to overturn its basic principle that neutral and general laws should apply equally to all, regardless of religious belief or unbelief.

The growth of social welfare entitlements and religious diversity in the United States has underscored the wisdom of the Smith rule. Exempting believers from social welfare laws may give them a competitive advantage, and also may harm those whom the law was designed to protect or benefit.

For example, the Court refused to exempt an Amish employer from paying Social Security taxes for his employees, reasoning that doing so would impose the employers religious faith on the employees by reducing their social security benefits regardless of whether they shared their employers religious objection to government entitlement programs. United States v. Lee (1982). Similarly, the Court refused to exempt a religious employer from federal minimum wage laws, because doing so would give the employer an advantage over competitors and depress the wages of all employees in local labor markets. Tony & Susan Alamo Foundation v. Secretary of Labor (1985).

Read the full discussion here.

The Court seems poised to adopt this third-party burden principle in decisions interpreting the 1993 Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) as well. Five Justices in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc. (2014), expressly stated that RFRA exemptions imposing significant costs on others are not allowed. The majority opinion likewise acknowledged that courts must take adequate account of third-party burdens before ordering a RFRA exemption.

The growth of religious diversity makes a religious exemption regime doubly impractical. The vast range of religious beliefs and practices in the United States means that there is a potential religious objector to almost any law the government might enact. If religious objectors were presumptively entitled to exemption from any burdensome law, religious exemptions would threaten to swallow the rule of law, which presupposes its equal application to everyone. As the Court observed in Lee, a religiously diverse social welfare state cannot shield every person . . . from all the burdens incident to exercising every aspect of the right to practice religious beliefs.

Even under the equal-liberty regime contemplated by the Founders and restored by Smith, government remains subject to important constraints that protect religious liberty. Religious gerrymanders, or laws that single out particular religions for burdens not imposed on other religions or on comparable secular conduct, must satisfy strict scrutiny under the Free Exercise Clause. Church of the Lukumi Babalu Aye, Inc. v. City of Hialeah (1993); Sherbert v. Verner (1963). Under RFRA and the related Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act of 2000 (RLUIPA), the federal government and often the state governments are prohibited from burdening religious exercise without adequate justification. Holt v. Hobbs (2015); Gonzales v. O Centro Espirita Beneficiente Uniao Do Vegetal (2005). And, like judicially-ordered exemptions, legislative exemptions that impose material costs on others in order to protect believers free exercise interests may be invalid under the Establishment Clause, which protects believers and unbelievers alike from bearing the burdens of practicing someone elses religion. Estate of Thornton v. Caldor (1985).

If exemptions are to be afforded to those whose religious practices are burdened by neutral and general laws, they should generally not be granted by courts, but by the politically accountable branches of the federal and state governments. These branches are better situated to weigh and balance the competing interests of believers and others in a complex and religiously-diverse society.

Free Exercise: A Vital Protection for Diversity and Freedom by Michael McConnell

One of this nations deepest commitments is to the full, equal, and free exercise of religion a right that protects not only believers, but unbelievers as well. The government cannot use its authority to forbid Americans to conduct their lives in accordance with their religious beliefs or to require them to engage in actions contrary to religious conscience even when the vast majority of their countrymen regard those beliefs as backward, mistaken, or even immoral.

Unfortunately, in the last few years and especially since the Supreme Courts decision requiring states to recognize same-sex marriage this consensus in favor of tolerance has been slipping. All too often, we hear demands that religious people and religious institutions such as colleges or adoption agencies must join the state in recognizing same-sex marriages (or performing abortions or supplying contraceptives, or whatever the issues happen to be), or lose their right to operate.

That has not been the American way. When this country severed its ties with the British Empire, one thing that went with it was the established church. To an unprecedented degree, the young United States not only tolerated but actively welcomed people of all faiths. For example, despite his annoyance with the Quakers for their refusal to support the revolutionary war effort, Washington wrote to a Quaker Society to express his wish and desire, that the laws may always be as extensively accommodated to them, as a due regard for the protection and essential interests of the nation may justify and permit. Letter to the Annual Meeting of Quakers (1789).

What would it mean to have a regime of free exercise of religion? No one knew; there had been no such thing before. It quickly became clear that it was not enough just to cease persecution or discrimination against religious minorities. Just two years after the ink was dry on the First Amendment, the leader of the Jewish community in Philadelphia went to court and asked, under authority of his states free exercise clause, to be excused from complying with a subpoena to appear in court on his day of sabbath. He did not ask that the state cease to do official business on Saturday, but he did ask the court to make an exception an accommodation that would enable him to be faithful to the Jewish law.

This would become the central interpretive question under the Free Exercise Clause: Does it give Americans whose religions conflict with government practices the right to ask for special accommodation, assuming an accommodation can be made without great harm to the public interest or the rights of others?

Read the full discussion here.

In the early years, some religious claimants won and some lost. The Mormon Church lost in a big way, in the first such case to reach the United States Supreme Court. Reynolds v. United States (1878). In 1963, the Supreme Court held that the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment does require the government to make accommodations for religious exercise, subject as always to limitations based on the public interest and the rights of others. Sherbert v. Verner (1963). In 1990, the Court shifted to the opposite view, in a case involving the sacramental use of peyote by members of the Native American Church. Employment Division v. Smith (1990).

Today we have a patchwork of rules. When the federal government is involved, legislation called the Religious Freedom Restoration Act grants us the right to seek appropriate accommodation when our religious practices conflict with government policy. About half the states have similar rules, and a similar rule protects prisoners like the Muslim prisoner who recently won the right to wear a half-inch beard in accordance with Islamic law, by a 9-0 vote in the Supreme Court. Holt v. Hobbs (2015).

The range of claims has been as diverse as the religious demography of the country. A small Brazilian sect won the right to use a hallucinogenic drug in worship ceremonies; Amish farmers have won exceptions from traffic rules; Muslim soldiers have been given special accommodation when fasting for Ramadan; Orthodox Jewish boys won the right to wear their skullcaps when playing high school basketball; a Jehovahs Witness won the right to unemployment compensation after he quit rather than working to produce tank turrets; a Mormon acting student won the right to refuse roles involving nudity or profanity; and in the most controversial recent case, a family-owned business with religious objections to paying for abortion-inducing drugs persuaded the Supreme Court that the government should make those contraceptives available without forcing them to be involved.

In all these cases, courts or agencies came to the conclusion that religious exercise could be accommodated with little or no harm to the public interest or to others. As Justice Sandra Day OConnor (joined by liberal lions Brennan, Marshall, and Blackmun) wrote: courts have been quite capable of applying our free exercise jurisprudence to strike sensible balances between religious liberty and competing state interests. Employment Division v. Smith (1989) (concurring opinion).

At a time when the Supreme Courts same-sex marriage decision has allowed many millions of Americans to live their lives in accordance with their own identity, it would be tragic if we turned our backs on the right to live in accordance with our religious conviction, which is also part of who we are. A robust protection for free exercise of religion is not only part of the American tradition, it is vital to our protection for diversity and freedom.

Freedom of Speech and the Press

Congress shall make no law . . . abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press. What does this mean today? Generally speaking, it means that the government may not jail, fine, or impose civil liability on people or organizations based on what they say or write, except in exceptional circumstances.

Although the First Amendment says Congress, the Supreme Court has held that speakers are protected against all government agencies and officials: federal, state, and local, and legislative, executive, or judicial. The First Amendment does not protect speakers, however, against private individuals or organizations, such as private employers, private colleges, or private landowners. The First Amendment restrains only the government.

The Supreme Court has interpreted speech and press broadly as covering not only talking, writing, and printing, but also broadcasting, using the Internet, and other forms of expression. The freedom of speech also applies to symbolic expression, such as displaying flags, burning flags, wearing armbands, burning crosses, and the like.

The Supreme Court has held that restrictions on speech because of its contentthat is, when the government targets the speakers messagegenerally violate the First Amendment. Laws that prohibit people from criticizing a war, opposing abortion, or advocating high taxes are examples of unconstitutional content-based restrictions. Such laws are thought to be especially problematic because they distort public debate and contradict a basic principle of self-governance: that the government cannot be trusted to decide what ideas or information the people should be allowed to hear.

There are generally three situations in which the government can constitutionally restrict speech under a less demanding standard.

The rest is here:
First Amendment – National Constitution Center

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Transhuman Singularity

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Oct 262015

A list of links to my science fiction short stories:

I am a Hummingbird After my body died the surgeons put me in a hummingbird. It took a while to get use to having my perspective darting around so quickly, but my mind had finally adapted to it.

Sneeze! A few days Mr. Anderson. Don’t worry, it’s a positive virus, I’m origin zero. Then you’ll be one of us, welcome to the new global hivemind, we-I always choose well. It will be unlike anything you have ever experienced or imagined. Expect a mental call, anything will be possible, said Kay, a future echo … Kay Noble replied, then collected the documents, velvet and all, and left the room without a further word.

Muffy the Time Traveling Chihuahua Muffy was a loyal pack dog on the locally collapsed time-day of his death, which varied in fractal quantum probability across a multitude of bifurcated futures or space-time universes.

Lunch 2032 Her IQ was probably skyrocket norm. It seems the gene engineers had given her both great brains and beauty. She wanted to be a Terraforming Research Scientist, but on Earth she would have to settle for other work. Her parents had lost most of their money in a wild Marsearth start-up investment, so she had to work her way through the university, no one would give a genmod scholarship. It was just plain and simple prejudice.

Virtuality Zane Pax hid behind a large bolder as the black alien warship flew overhead. NaHan had swarmed the cities of the world laying waste to human civilization. Humanity was on the endangered species list, on our way out for good.

The Alien Time-Traveler Historian Mathew answers, Variations of me exist in most all future branches. Thats really rare, and thats why Im allowed to speak to you. To help you understand. You see, those that are still basically human in the future have great compassion. They want to help reduce the suffering. Im here on their behalf to try and influence things.

The Galactic Culture Finally, in order to survive the approaching technological singularity and remove their aggressive and self-destructive evolved behaviors, pre-type 1 species sometimes begin an extensive program of self-initiated genetic re-engineering and intelligence amplification (usually proceeded by development of a global computing system -Internet). Sometimes this is successful, other times not.

Lunar CityOutward space exploration and expansion grew at a rapid pace, due to the privatization of all space exploration and its subsequent exploitation. Corporations headed by forward thinking executives now controlled access to space. Spaceports have sprouted up all over the world, giving average citizens access to affordable space travel. Now space stations, moon bases and asteroid factories, which provided most of the raw materials, have become independent space communities. Distant science outposts have been constructed on the outer planets and moons. The solar system has become the playground of humanity.

VR Prototype Jason Chen bent over in his subway seat to pick up a rarely seen plastic penny he spotted face-up on the train floor. A penny existed today only to make exact change for those who still stubbornly used physical money. He didnt understand why, but somehow its continued existence was comforting for some. Angling the lucky coin in his fingers to see the three-dimensional head of Abraham Lincoln, he noted the year on the coin was 2053, the year of his birth.

Dr. Xanoplatu Dr. Xanoplatu, an alien anthropologist, historian, and time traveler, materialized on stage wearing the body of his ancestors, a giant green Praying Mantis with large yellow eyes and small black pupils. He was speaking at a galactic cultural lecture, inside a de-localized spherical space station, somewhere and some when in a multi-versed space-time reality.

Virtuality Mind Marcus replies, Yes, you can assume Im crazy. But, Im just communicating to you through this mans body. For a short period of time, I can do this, without his knowing it. When I leave and his consciousness re-awakens, this memory will seem like a daydream to him.

Resurrection Birth Jason awoke to a static humming sound.It was so annoying, grating on his nerves more than a badly tuned alarm clock.He lifted his heavy eyelids to blinding light, and out of focus images.His vision slowly cleared and he realized he was inside a plastic coffin thing.

See more here:
Transhuman Singularity

 Posted by at 1:41 am  Tagged with:

Free Speech – Shmoop

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Oct 262015

In a Nutshell

The courts have been largely responsible for protecting and extending this right of speech. Over the past two centuries they have explored the protection owed all sorts of expression, including sedition, “fighting words,” “dangerous” speech, and obscenity, and all sorts of persons, including political radicals, Ku Klux Klansmen, and even students. But in doing so, the courts have also operated under the premise that a portion of the British legacy was correct: the right to speech is not absolute. As a result, the legal history of the First Amendment could be summarized as a balancing actan attempt to protect and extend free speech guarantees but also define the limits of this right in a manner consistent with the equally compelling rights of the community.

Freedom of speech would be easy if words did not have power. Guaranteeing people the right to say and print whatever they wanted would be easy if we believed that words had no real effect.

But Americans tend to believe that words do have powerthat they can anger and inspire, cause people to rise up and act out. Americans celebrate speakers like James Otis, Abraham Lincoln, and Martin Luther King, Jr., whose words inspired people to fight for independence, advance the American experiment in republican government, and dream of a more just society.

Freedom of speech would be easy if all people could be trusted to be rational discerners of truthif everyone could be trusted to sort out good ideas from bad ideas and recognize the ideologies and policies that were truly aimed at the best interests of the community.

But history has proven that people do not always recognize and reject bad ideas. The past is filled with examples of peoples and nations swayed by destructive ideas.

Freedom of speech would be easy if we just said that the right was absolute, that there were no limitations on what a person could say or print and no legal consequences for any expression no matter how false, slanderous, libelous, or obscene.

But as a nation, we have always held that there are limits to the right of speech, that certain forms of expression are not protected by the First Amendment.

The bottom line: freedom of speech is not easy. Words are powerful, which means that they can be dangerous. Humans are fallible, which means that they can make bad choices. And the right of speech is not absolute, which means that the boundaries of protected speech have to be constantly assessed.

All of these facts complicate America’s commitment to free speech, but they also make this commitment courageous. In addition, they leave the legal system with a difficult challenge. On the one hand, the courts are entrusted with protecting this right to free expression, which is so central to our national experience. On the other hand, they are charged with identifying the often blurry edges of this freedom.

Read on, and see if the courts have appropriately met both of these responsibilities.

Excerpt from:
Free Speech – Shmoop

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Origins of Eugenics: From Sir Francis Galton to Virginias …

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Oct 232015

Sir Francis Galton. Courtesy of the American Philosophical Society. [2.1]

ENLARGE [2.2] Faces and Races, illustration from a eugenical text, Racial History of Mankind. Courtesy of Special Collections, Pickler Memorial Library, Truman State University.

[2.3] Harry H. Laughlin and Charles Davenport at the Eugenics Record Office. Courtesy of Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Archives.

Sir Francis Galton first coined the term eugenics in 1883. Put simply, eugenics means well-born. Initially Galton focused on positive eugenics, encouraging healthy, capable people of above-average intelligence to bear more children, with the idea of building an improved human race. Some followers of Galton combined his emphasis on ancestral traits with Gregor Mendels research on patterns of inheritance, in an attempt to explain the generational transmission of genetic traits in human beings.

Negative eugenics, as developed in the United States and Germany, played on fears of race degeneration. At a time when the working-class poor were reproducing at a greater rate than successful middle- and upper-class members of society, these ideas garnered considerable interest. One of the most famous proponents in the United States was President Theodore Roosevelt, who warned that the failure of couples of Anglo-Saxon heritage to produce large families would lead to race suicide.

The center of the eugenics movement in the United States was the Eugenics Record Office (ERO) at Cold Spring Harbor, New York. Biologist Charles Davenport established the ERO, and was joined in his work by Director Harry H. Laughlin. Both men were members of the American Breeders Association. Their view of eugenics, as applied to human populations, drew from the agricultural model of breeding the strongest and most capable members of a species while making certain that the weakest members do not reproduce.

Eugenicists attempted to demonstrate the power of heredity by constructing pedigree charts of defective families. These charts were used to scientifically quantify the assertion that human frailties such as profligacy and indolence were genetic components that could be passed from one generation to the next. Two studies were published that charted the propensity towards criminality, disease, and immoral behavior of the extended families of the Jukes and the Kallikaks. Eugenicists pointed to these texts to demonstrate that feeblemindedness was an inherited attribute and to reveal how the care of such degenerates represented an enormous cost to society.

The ERO promoted eugenics research by compiling records or pedigrees of thousands of families. Charles Davenport created The Family History Book, which assisted field workers as they interviewed families and assembled pedigrees specifying inheritable family attributes which might range from allergies to civic leadership. Even a propensity for carpentry or dress-making was considered a genetically inherited trait. Davenport and Laughlin also issued another manual titled How to Make a Eugenical Family Study to instruct field workers in the creation of pedigree charts of study subjects from poor, rural areas or from institutionalized settings. Field workers used symbols to depict defective conditions such as epilepsy and sexual immorality.

The American Eugenics Society presented eugenics exhibits at state fairs throughout the country, and provided information encouraging high-grade people to reproduce at a greater rate for the benefit of society. The Society even sponsored Fitter Family contests.

ENLARGE [2.4] Kallikak family of New Jersey Normal and Degenerate Lines (enlarge to view additional eugenical pedigree charts). Courtesy of Paul Lombardo.

ENLARGE [2.5] Eugenics Display. Courtesy of the American Philosophical Society.

[2.6] Winners of Fittest Family Contest. Courtesy of the American Philosophical Society.

[2.7] Harry H. Laughlin photograph. Courtesy of American Philosophical Society.

ENLARGE [2.8] Comparative Intelligence Chart. Courtesy of the American Philosophical Society.

ENLARGE [2.9] Virginias Racial Integrity Act of 1924 (enlarge to view additional Virginia legislative acts). Courtesy of Special Collections, Pickler Memorial Library, Truman State University.

In 1914, Harry H. Laughlin attended the first Race Betterment Conference, sponsored by J. H. Kellogg. The same year, in his Model Sterilization Law, Laughlin declared that the socially inadequate of society should be sterilized. This Model Law was accompanied by pedigree charts, which were used to demonstrate the hereditary nature of traits such as alcoholism, illegitimacy, and feeblemindedness. Laughlin asserted that passage of these undesirable traits to future generations would be eradicated if the unfortunate people who possessed them could be prevented from reproducing. In 1922 Laughlins Model Law was included in the book Eugenical Sterilization in the United States. This book compiled legal materials and statistics regarding sterilization, and was a valuable reference for sterilization activists in states throughout the country.

Proponents of eugenics worked tirelessly to assert the legitimacy of this new discipline. For Americans who feared the potential degradation of their race and culture, eugenics offered a convenient and scientifically plausible response to those fears. Sterilization of the unfit seemed a cost-effective means of strengthening and improving American society.

By 1924 Laughlins influence extended in several directions. He testified before Congress in support of the Immigration Restriction Act to limit immigration from eastern and southern Europe. Laughlin influenced passage of this law by presenting skewed data to support his assertion that the percentage of these immigrant populations in prisons and mental institutions was far greater than their percentage in the general population would warrant.

Laughlin also provided guidance in support of Virginias Racial Integrity Act, which made it illegal for whites in Virginia to marry outside their race. The act narrowly defined who could claim to be a member of the white race stating that the term white person shall apply only to such person as has no trace whatever of any blood other than Caucasian. Virginia lawmakers were careful to leave an escape clause for colleagues who claimed descent from Pocahontasthose with 1/16 or less of the blood of the American Indian would also count as white.

The language of Laughlins Model Sterilization Act was used in Virginias Eugenical Sterilization Act to legalize compulsory sterilizations in the state. This legislation to rid Virginia of defective persons was drafted by Aubrey E. Strode, a former member of the Virginia General Assembly, at the request of longtime associate, Albert Priddy, who directed the Virginia Colony for the Epileptic and Feebleminded in Lynchburg, Virginia.

2004 Claude Moore Health Sciences Library

Excerpt from:
Origins of Eugenics: From Sir Francis Galton to Virginias …

 Posted by at 9:44 am  Tagged with:

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Company. Canada SEO Services …

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Oct 222015

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Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Company. Canada SEO Services …

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Princes’ Islands – Lonely Planet

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Oct 182015

Most stanbullus refer to the Princes’ Islands as ‘The Islands’ (Adalar), as they are the only islands around the city. They lie about 20km southeast of the city in the Sea of Marmara, and make a great destination for a day escape from the city.

You’ll realise after landing that there are no cars on the islands, something that comes as a welcome relief after the traffic mayhem of the city. Except for the necessary police, fire and sanitation vehicles, transportation is by bicycle, horse-drawn carriage and foot, as in centuries past.

All of the islands are busy in summer, particularly on weekends. For that reason, avoid a Sunday visit. If you wish to stay overnight during the summer months, book ahead. Many hotels are closed during winter.

There are nine islands in the Princes’ Islands group and the ferry stops at four of these. Year-round there are 15,000 permanent residents scattered across the six islands that are populated, but numbers swell to 100,000 or so during summer when stanbullus – many of whom have holiday homes on the islands – escape the city heat. The small islands of Knalada and Burgazada are the ferry’s first stops; frankly, neither offers much reward for the trouble of getting off the ferry.

In contrast, the charming island of Heybeliada (Heybeli for short) has much to offer the visitor. It’s home to the Deniz Lisesi (Turkish Navel Academy), which was founded in 1773, and which you’ll see to the left of the ferry dock as you arrive, and it has a number of restaurants and a thriving shopping strip with bakeries and delicatessens selling picnic provisions to day-trippers, who come here on weekends to walk in the pine groves and swim from the tiny (but crowded) beaches. The island’s major landmark is the hilltop Hagia Triada Monastery (%351 8563). Perched above a picturesque line of poplar trees in a spot that has been occupied by a Greek monastery since Byzantine times, this building dates from 1894. It functioned as a Greek Orthodox theological school until 1971, when it was closed on the government’s orders, and has an internationally renowned library. There are signs that it may re-open soon. You may be able to visit if you call ahead.

The largest island in the group, Bykada (Great Island) shows is impressive from the ferry, with gingerbread villas climbing up the slopes of the hill and the bulbous twin cupolas of the Splendid Otel providing an unmistakable landmark. It’s a truly lovely spot to spend an afternoon.

The ferry terminal is an attractive building in the Ottoman kiosk style; it dates from 1899. Inside there’s a pleasant tile-decorated caf with an outdoor terrace, as well as a Tourist Information Office. Eateries serve fresh fish to the left of the ferry terminal, next to an ATM.

The island’s main drawcard is the Greek Monastery of St George, in the ‘saddle’ between Bykada’s two highest hills. To get there, walk from the ferry straight ahead to the clock tower in skele Square (Dock Square). The shopping district is left along Recep Ko Sokak. Bear right onto 23 Nisan Caddesi, then head along ankaya Caddesi up the hill to the monastery; when you come to a fork in the road veer right. The walk (at least one hour) takes you past a long progression of impressive wooden villas set in gardens. About a quarter of the way up on the left is the Bykada Kltr Evi, a charming spot where you can enjoy a tea or coffee in a garden setting. The house itself dates from 1878 and was restored in 1998. After 40 minutes or so you will reach a reserve called ‘Luna Park’ by the locals. The monastery is a 25-minute walk up an extremely steep hill from here. Some visitors hire a donkey to take them up the hill and back for around YTL10. As you ascend, you’ll see countless pieces of cloth tied to the branches of trees along the path – each represents a prayer, most made by female supplicants visiting the monastery to pray for a child.

Bicycles are available for rent in several of the town’s shops, and shops on the market street can provide picnic supplies, though food is cheaper on the mainland. Just off the clock tower square and opposite the Splendid Otel there are fayton stands. Hire one for a long tour of the town, hills and shore (one hour around YTL45) or a shorter tour of the town (around YTL35). It costs around YTL16 to be taken to Luna Park. A shop just near the fayton stand hires out bicycles (per hour around YTL3-3).

Fourteen ferries run to the islands each day from 06:50 to midnight, departing from Kabata’ ‘Adalar skelesi’ dock. The most useful departure times for day-trippers are 09:30, 10:00 and 11:30. On summer weekends, board the vessel and grab a seat at least half an hour before departure time unless you want to stand the whole way. The trip costs around YTL3 the islands and the same for each leg between the islands and the return trip. The cheapest and easiest way to pay is to use your Akbil. To be safe, check the timetable at, as the schedule can change.The ferry steams away from Kabata and on its journey treats passengers to fine views of Topkap Palace, Aya Sofya and the Blue Mosque on the right, and skdar and Haydarpaa on the left. After 20 minutes the ferry makes a quick stop at Kadky on the Asian side before making its way to the first island, Knalada. This leg takes 30 minutes. After this, it’s another 15 minutes to Burgazada; another 15 minutes again to Heybeliada, the second-largest island; and another 10 minutes to Bykada, the largest island in the group.Ferries return to stanbul every 1.5 hours or so. The last ferry of the day leaves Bykada at 22:00 and Heybeliada at 22:15.

Read more:
Princes’ Islands – Lonely Planet

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Eugenics in North Carolina – University of Vermont

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Oct 162015

Home (link to Eugenic Sterilizations in the United States)

Lutz Kaelber, Associate Professor of Sociology, University of Vermont and students in HCOL195 Contact: Last updated: 10/30/2014

Eugenics/Sexual Sterilizations in

(eugenics; sexual sterilization)

Number of Victims

Over 8,000 sterilizations were approved by the Eugenics Board of North Carolina. The total number of victims actually sterilized is estimated to have been over 7,600 (Winston-Salem, Lifting the Curtain on a Shameful Era). Of this number, females represented approx. 85% of those sterilized (State Library, Statistics, p. 1). By the late 1960s, the sterilization of men was virtually halted, as women made up 99% of those sterilized (Sinderbrand, p. 1). African Americans represent 39% of those sterilized overall; by the later 1960s, they made up 60% of those sterilized, even though they made up only a quarter of the population (Sinderbrand, p. 1). Of those sterilized up to 1963, 25% were considered mentally ill and 70% were considered mentally deficient. In each of these categories, females account for over 75% of the sterilizations. North Carolina ranked third in the United States for the total number of people sterilized.

Period During Which Sterilization Occurred

Sterilizations started in 1929 with the passage of the sterilization law and continued through 1973, when the last recorded sterilization is known to have been reported.

Temporal Pattern of Sterilization

After the passage of the sterilization law in 1929, sterilization law began at slow rate. It was not until about 1938 that sterilizations began to increase at a steady rate. After WWII, sterilizations accelerated and peaked in the two years between 1950 and 1952, with 704 sterilizations (State Library, Statistics, p. 1). This makes North Carolina fairly unique, as its peak sterilizations occurred after WWII, at a time when most other states had ceased performing operations (for other exceptions, see also eugenic sterilizations in Iowa and Georgia). After 1960, the rate of sterilization began to slow and continued to decrease from a rate of about 250 a year in 1963 to 6 per year in 1973. From 1950-1963 there were an average of about 300 sterilizations per year.In the peak years (the 1950s) there were about 7 sterilizations for every 100,000 residents of the state per year.

Passage of Laws

The very first sterilization law was passed in 1919 but it was probably never put to use. Many feared that the law was unconstitutional and therefore the state feared putting it into practice (Paul, p. 420). In 1929, The North Carolina General Assembly passed a new sterilization law. It stated that the governing body or responsible head of any penal or charitable institution supported wholly or in part by the State of North Carolina, or any sub-division thereof, is hereby authorized and directed to have the necessary operation for asexualization or sterilization performed upon any mentally defective or feeble-minded inmate of patient thereof (State Library, History, p. 1). After this law was declared unconstitutional by the state’s Supreme Court in 1933 due to a deficient appeals process, North Carolina in the same year enacted a new sterilization law that provided for notice, hearing, and the right to appeal (Paul, p. 421). The passage of this law also created the North Carolina Eugenics Board (see below). The passage of the 1929 sterilization law made North Carolina the 17th state out of 33 to pass one. North Carolina’s 1933 law remained effective until 1973, when the last recorded sterilizations were performed (State Library, History, p. 1). Finally, on April 4, 2003, the North Carolina Senate voted unanimously to overturn it (Bill to Overturn Eugenics Law Passes State Senate, p. 1).

Groups Identified by the Law

As stated in the original sterilization law of 1929, the groups targeted for sterilization were identified as mentally ill, mentally retarded, and epileptic (Paul, p. 421). However, the law also stated that the purpose of sterilization is to protect impaired people from parenthood who would become seriously handicapped if they were to assume parental responsibilities (Paul, p. 421).

With the passage of the 1933 law, the state of North Carolina instituted a Eugenics Board made up of high-ranking public health officials. Their main purpose was to decide whether sterilization petitions should be carried out. These Board members were addresses cases of individuals diagnosed as feeble minded or mentally ill (Gardella, p. 108). Another major goal of sterilization was to keep the handicapped from perpetuating themselves. Sterilization was seen as a way to prevent the spending of tax dollars on the feeble-minded (Gardella, p. 108). It should be noted that the law had an “extramural” component; i.e., it allowed for the sterilization of individuals who were presently not placed in state institutions.

Process of the Law

Under the sterilization law, the North Carolina General Assembly gave the governing body or executive head of any penal or charitable public institution the authority to order the sterilization of any patient or inmate whose operation they considered would be in the best interest of the individual and of the public good. It also gave the county boards of commissioners authority to order sterilization at the publics expense of any mentally defective or feeble-minded resident upon receiving a petition from the individuals next of kin or legal guardian outside state institutions (State Library, History, p. 1) – thus applying potentially to every resident in North Carolina. All orders for sterilization had to be reviewed and approved by the commissioner of the Board of Charities and Public Welfare, the secretary of the State Board of Health, and the chief medical officers of any two state institutions for the feeble-minded or insane. In the reviewing process, they looked at a medical and family history of the individual being ordered for sterilizations to help decide whether the operation would be performed or not. They also considered whether it was likely that the individual might produce children with mental or physical problems (State Library, History, p. 1).

In 1933, under the new law, the General Assembly created the Eugenics Board of North Carolina to review all orders for sterilization of mentally diseased, feeble-minded, or epileptic patients, inmates, or non-institutionalized individuals (State Library, History, p. 1). This centralized board included five members: the commissioner of the Board of Charities and Public Welfare, the secretary of the State Board of Health, the chief medical officer of a state institution for the feeble-minded or insane, the chief medical officer of the State Hospital at Raleigh, and the attorney general. In the hearings of patients or inmates in a public institution, the head of that institution was the prosecutor in presenting the case to the Eugenics Board. In hearings of individuals who were non-institutionalized, the county superintendent of welfare or another authorized county official acted as the prosecutor. However, in both hearings, the prosecutor provided the board with a medical history signed by a physician familiar with the individuals case. The petition for the hearing was sent to the individual being ordered or to their next of kin or legal guardian. In the situation where this person could not represent or defend themselves at the hearing, the next of kin, guardian, or county solicitor stepped in to represent them. If the board decided to order the sterilization, the order had to be signed by at least 3 members and then returned to the prosecutor. This decision could be appealed by the individual to the county superior court and then further appealed to the state supreme court. If the appeal was successful, any petitions for sterilization were prohibited for one year, unless the individual, or his or her guardian or next of know requested sterilization (State Library, History, p. 1).

Eugenics in the 1950s was to some extent a southern phenomenon, as many states in other regions saw their number of sterilizations drop. Few sterilizations occurred in the 1930s in North Carolina (and in the other southern states) because the Great Depression resulted in funding crises that didnt allow for sterilization to occur in full force in the South. Sterilization picked up pace after WWII, especially during the mid-1950s (Castles, p. 1).

One factor leading to the acceleration after WWII was race. Race has always been a loaded issue in the south, as slavery was prominent there. When slavery was legal, white slave owners encouraged the reproduction of their slaves in order to create bodies to work and sell. The legacy of considering poor Blacks as a source of cheap servant labor continued. By the 1950s, some in the white majority were becoming anxious about supporting blacks through welfare. The heads of the agencies of welfare departments agreed on the value of sterilization for reducing general welfare relief and ADC (Aid for Dependent Children) payments (Winston-Salem, Wicked Silence). Some erroneously believed that blacks accounted for the majority of illegitimate births that were subsidized by ADC. The state threatened to remove welfare benefits if the person did not submit to the operation. The fears about the rising cost of the ADC program was a major factor in leading to the shift in racial composition of those targeted for sterilization. As the attention shifted away from the structural causes of poverty and crime to placing the blame for urban poverty and social unrest on blacks, sterilization of blacks was facilitated (Schoen, Choice and Coercion; see also Schoen, “Reassessing,” p. 149). It was believed the control the reproduction of ADC recipients was necessary; as a result, the percentage of Blacks sterilized rose from 23% in the 1930s and 1940s to 59% between 1958-60 and finally to 64% between 1964 and 1966 (Schoen, Choice and Coercion, p. 108; “Reassessing,” p. 149).

Sterilization also accelerated because it expanded to include the general population when the state gave social workers the authority to submit petitions for sterilization. Therefore, the amount of eligible people increased drastically. The North Carolina Board-which initially targeted those who were deemed mentally ill, expanded its program to include the general population. In fact, the majority of those sterilized had never been institutionalized, and 2,000 were younger than 19 (Wiggins, p. 1). In addition, the fight against poverty in North Carolina led to sterilizations in the general population. As this fight intensified, a new policy was created that led to an increase in the number of non-institutionalized people who were sterilized. Sterilizations of the non-institutionalized rose from 23% between 1937 and 1951 to 76% between 1952 and 1966 (Schoen, Choice and Coercion, p. 109, “Reassessing,” p. 151).

The Human Betterment League made it their mission to spread information to the public regarding the benefits of eugenic sterilization (Gardella, p. 110). At the University of North Carolina State Public officials from the department of sociology searched for any possible people eligible for eugenic sterilization. Eventually through their efforts and the upholding of the states sterilization law North Carolina eve managed to sterilize the non-institutionalized (Gardella, p. 110)

Other Restrictions Placed on Those Identified in the Law or with Disabilities in General

There are no other known restrictions placed on those identified in the law.

Groups Targeted and Victimized Women, Especially African Americans and Those with Developmental Disabilities 77% of all those sterilized in North Carolina were women. North Carolina carried out 50 percent of these between 1929 and 1947 on females under the age of twenty (Cahn, p.162). There was a strong historical mentality in the South that supported the idea of trying to control the reproduction of women, and African Americans which helped the idea of eugenics to spread from the North to the South with little opposition from the elitist White male population. Because of the strong belief in moral purity of the South, however it was easy to explain why White women were just as endangered as African American women. Physicians in North Carolina didnt leave any margin for error either. Many women were brought in under the pretext that they might have been exhibiting behaviors that were sexual in nature and thus increasing the possibility of sexual promiscuity and warranting eugenic sterilization (Cahn, p. 165). Women that were deemed subnormal intellectually were also likely to be forcibly sterilized. About sixty percent of the inmates at a North Carolina Farm Colony in the 1930s were considered feebleminded and candidates for sterilization (Cahn, p.165). The greatest fear with women was that they are deceiving to others as they are still attractive to men and yet are below the standards for reproduction. North Carolinian journalists reported on these issues stated that these morons would breed rapidly like mink and contaminate the whole healthy human stock, (Cahn, p.166). And most of the women that they felt needed to be sterilized most were those women that exhibited no outward sign of incompetence but simply didnt do well on IQ tests because these womens charm of personality and conversation l abilityposed a greater social threat than more obviously disabled persons since their very attractiveness would lead to more opportunities for illicit sex or marriage and , thus a, the likelihood of starting a family of future liabilities to the State (Cahn, p. 168). Women were not safe even if they somehow managed to flee the State of North Carolina either. Such sexually deviant women could be chased all the way to Florida, as was the case for Emma Suggs. She was a candidate for sterilization because of her mental state due to her past and her out of wedlock pregnancy (Cahn, p. 169). Soon North Carolina set its sights on women of color who were seen as likely to be on welfare and to have illegitimate children. Chapel Hill Weekly stated that there was a higher proportion of Negroes than whites: and noted that the feebleminded Negro woman, often with illegitimate children, is a familiar and recurrent problem to health and welfare agencies (Cahn, p. 177). Women, including wives, daughters, sisters and unwed mothers, were overrepresented. They were labeled as either promiscuous, lazy, or unfit (Wiggins, p. 1), or more commonly as sexually uncontrollable (Schoen, Choice and Coercion, p. 110). Overall, women made up 84.8% of sterilizations (State Library, Statistics, p. 1). However, more interesting is that the sterilization of men virtually halted in the 1960s, with only 2 sterilizations in 1964, and 254 sterilizations of women (State Library, Sterilizations, p. 1). Therefore, after 1960, women accounted for 99% of sterilizations (Sinderbrand, p. 1). While many white women were sterilized, the state began to focus on sterilizing black women as they became the majority of the welfare population. Black women were seen as highly uneducated, poor, and as having higher fertility rates than their white female counterparts. Schoen noted that as the amount of black women on welfare increased the public association between ADC and black female recipients was particularly close (Schoen, Choice and Coercion, p.109; see also “Reassessing,” p. 153). Black women were presumed to have uncontrollable sexual behavior, and as these racial stereotypes were reinforced, black women became an even larger target for controlled reproduction through sterilization.

Social class also played a role in who was targeted after WWII, as women on welfare, usually living in socially isolated places, were overrepresented. The reason for this was to prevent poor and unfit women from reproducing children with mental or social ills (Wiggins, p. 1). They were generally ordered for sterilization by social workers and lived outside of institutions. The poor were not only targeted for their social ills but also because they were easier to sterilize. They would often not be released until they or a family member agreed to have them sterilized (Wiggins, p. 1).

Women that were social workers were strong supporters for the eugenics movement. Johanna Schoen (2011) has argued that some social workers provided sterilization out of empathy. However, Krome-Lukens maintains that women were often coerced and that many social workers provided sterilizations as an opportunity to save money from future drains on society (Krome-Lukens, p. 49). Interestingly enoughaccording to Krome-Lukenseugenics was a key element of progressive reform and was indicative of the new mentality surrounding sexuality and the standard gender roles of the time (Krome-Lukens, p. 9).

Finally, race also played a role in those targeted for sterilization. During the Civil Rights Movement, petitions were sent to the states eugenics board for black women (Winston-Salem, Wicked Silence). Overall, by the later 1960s, 60% of those sterilized were young, black women (Wiggins, p. 1). Overall, blacks represent 38.9% of sterilizations. This is because sterilizations of blacks were concentrated in a shorter period of time and because minorities only made up quarter of North Carolinas population (State Library, Statistics, p. 1). From the years 1960 to 1962, of the 467 sterilization ordered by the board, 284 (61%) were black (Winston-Salem, Wicked Silence). In addition, blacks were targeted because the amount of welfare recipients who were black grew from 31% in 1950 to 48% in 1961 (Schoen, Choice and Coercion, p. 109; see “Reassessing,” p. 151). It was seen as necessary to sterilize those recipients of welfare to decrease the growing financial burden on the state.

There are two stories that were made public by two black women who were sterilized against their will at a young age in North Carolina. The first is Elaine Riddick, who had been sterilized at the age of 14 by a state order in North Carolina in 1968 after giving birth to a baby after being raped. When she was operated on she was not informed that she was being sterilized. She only discovered this years later when she was trying to get pregnant with her husband. She was considered part of a lower class and the consent form had been signed by her illiterate grandmother, who was threatened to lose her public benefits, and her parents, who were both alcohol dependent at the time. She blames the sterilization for ending her marriage and is still affected by the surgery, saying, I felt like I was nothing. Its like, the people that did this; they took my spirit away from me (Sinderbrand, p. 1).

The second story is of Nial Cox Ramirez, who was sterilized at the age of 17 after several instances of pressure from social workers to get sterilized after becoming pregnant. She eventually complied because they threatened to take her family off of welfare, but she was never informed of the consequences of the surgery. She was assured she would be able to become pregnant again, but learned otherwise when she attempted to conceive years later. Like Riddick, her marriage fell apart. When she sued the state of North Carolina in 1967, the lawsuit was dismissed on a technicality (Wiggins, p. 1). These women were only two among those who fell under the categories of the groups targeted, and suffered as a result.

Some were quick to believe that Black Americans practiced reckless breeding (Larson, p. 156). However, North Carolina took an ever more grand approach to solving its reproductive woes, instituting a birth control program geared towards giving poor women a more acceptable and less costly way to prevent unwanted pregnancies claiming that it would be taught when the economic status precludes adequate care (Larson, p.157).

Young children were also targeted by these eugenic practices. A teenage girl from North Carolina was the object of her fathers affections. She was given a physical and the doctors realized that shed had sexual intercourse. As a result he parents gave consent to have their daughter sterilized instead of reprimanding the father for sexually assaulting his daughter (Ariyo, p. 59).

Blacks and Mentally and Physically Disabled: The Story of Junius Wilson


Junius Wilson was born in 1908 to Sidney and Mary Wilson (Burch, p. 1). He was born deaf in and so his literacy level was extremely low. At the age of eight he was sent away to a residential North Carolina School for the deaf and blind in Raleigh. This was Americas first school created to care for the special needs black children (Burch, p. 20). He was never taught proper sign language and so his family members often would misunderstand him or misinterpret gestures that he made, and he also did not understand the things that his family members were telling him, as his mother could not teach him how to read and write (Burch, p. 18). Because of the confusing communication, some of his family members suspected that he had assaulted one of his own family members sexually. In this community he was somewhat safer from his family however he was sent here not for deafness per se but for his perceived mental deficiencies and sexual deviations. Here in this institution Wilson became a member of a community that was equally misunderstood and equally ostracized by the greater community. They were all people of color and they were all unable to communicate by normal conventions. They were never officially taught ASL (American Sign Language) as they were all people of color and at the time no one saw fit to use their teaching resources on Blacks. They instead developed their own gestures and signs to communicate with one another and to the staff members in the institution. This form of sign language was entirely unique to these people. As a result, the deaf Blacks from Raleigh could not communicate with other signing deaf people, and far less could they be understood by their hearing peers (Burch, p. 22).

Southern states had a strong history of segregation. This mentality of separation and White superiority bled the special education programs of even the most progressive places south of the Mason Dixon, like North Carolina. Gustavus Ernest Lineberry became the superintendent for the North Carolina School for the Colored Blind and Deaf in 1918, after this the quality of education changed dramatically. Lineberry was a firm believer in the teaching of the blind and deaf, even Blacks, but he was not so kind as to consider the needs of his White and Black students to be the same (Burch, p. 22). He completely redistributed the resources of the school so that the best teachers and alumni were teaching at the White schools. He then made sure to provide a far less academic curriculum for the Blacks, as he felt there was a dire need to keep Blacks in their place (Burch, p. 22). The Black students with physical disabilities were given an education that would prepare them for rudimentary, vocational labor so that they could prove their worth to society boys were taught shoe repairing, carpentry and cabinetmaking along with dairy work (Burch, p. 22). It was also clear that this vocational form of training, towards fields that required little interaction, lowered the cost that their programs would incur and made the need for sufficient literacy nearly unimportant.

This, however, created a great deal of socialized problems for the students participating in the programs. Everyone sent to the school for the Colored Deaf and Blind was sent there to become better functioning and well prepared to rejoin society. But the students were not exposed to role models that were not fluent in sign and who did not know how to supply the needs of the deaf and blind. And because of the segregation that was taking place students could not even be taught by their White peers secretly, because they were transferred to Morganton (Burch, p.23).

Goldsboro Asylum during the Great Depression

Junius Wilson was becoming too much of a burden for his family as he became older, and his communication with them had not really improved either which was greatly to his detriment. His family decided that the best thing they could do in their situation was to have Wilson committed to a mental asylum. He was given up to the police by his family under the charge of attempted rape. However, it is clear that not everyone was on board with this idea. Although, his mother allowed them to take him away it was said that she didnt approve of the decision and would not speak with Andr, his father, because he was the one that supported removing his son permanently (Burch, p. 129).

Wilson was moved to Goldsboro Asylum in a farming colony. North Carolina was experiencing the debilitation of the Great Depression just like everyone else at the time and so holding whole mental institutions was more of a juggling act than those that ran the institutions could bear alone. Goldsboro opened up farming colonies in order to defer some of the costs involved in feeding inmates by having the inmates work for the food that they ate. The institution even went so far as to send inmates to other farms so that they could make money for the asylum. One could look at this as a sad combination of economic desperation seasoned with racism in the South and a disregard for the mentally and physically disabled (Burch, p. 76).

Freedom for Wilson

After a great deal of mistreatment however, Junius Wilsons case was taken up by John Wasson, who noted that Wilson was being held in the Asylum for phase of life adjustment disorder something he felt didnt warrant a seventy year stay in a mental institution (Burch, p. 128). In a major State court case Junius Wilson v. the State of North Carolina Wilson was finally granted his freedom and a cottage to call his own on the outskirts of the Hospital property at Goldsboro.

The Years after Junius Wilson

Wilsons story continued to have a significant impact after his death. His case which he brought through the North Carolina judiciary as a result of his poor treatment and wrongful sterilization was a model that others used in order to seek compensation for the trauma caused (Burch, p. 214). The state of North Carolina has made great efforts to own up to its involvement in the eugenics movement. In 2003 North Carolina was one of the first states to repeal the eugenic sterilization laws. Unfortunately it has taken until very recently for any party afflicted by the eugenics laws to be officially recognized and monetarily compensated. Until the 2009-2010 session of the State Legislature of North Carolina, there had been one promise after another with only symbolic acknowledgement being offered (Burch, p. 215). (See also below on compensation for victims.)

Dr. William Allan was North Carolinas initial promoter of negative eugenics. He wrote his first study on eugenics in 1916 and by the end of his life he had written 93 papers. He had his own private practice until 1941, when he started the medical genetics department at Bowman Gray. He thought that hereditary diseases could be halted by prevention and based much of his work on field studies and surveys. He pushed for a statewide bank of genetic information that would catalog peoples genetic backgrounds to see if they were prospective parents. He continued to push for this until his death in 1943 (Winston-Salem, Forsyth in the Forefront).

Dr. C. Nash Herndon followed in the footsteps of Allan when he took over the department at Bowman Gray after his death. He conducted surveys of those with disabilities in an effort to find links of hereditary diseases. He was president of the American Eugenics Society from 1953-1955 and president of the Human Betterment League of North Carolina. He was the greatest contributor in pushing the eugenics movement forward in North Carolina after WWII (Winston-Salem, Forsyth in the Forefront).


Ira M. hardy was the Superintendent at the North Carolina School for the Feeble-Minded. She appealed to the Southern Medical Association that took place in Florida expressing her deep desire to make the mentally ill completely separate from the rest of the population (Larson, p. 46).

Kate Burr Johnson was female social worker during the era of eugenic sterilization. She was a major proponent of the movement of compulsory sterilization. Johnson claimed that she wanted women to be liberated and be provided with reproductive freedom; however, she was actually strongly supporting the eugenic sterilization of people that would become social liabilities and produce unfit or economically unstable offspring (Krome-Lukens, p. 3).

Feeder Institutions and institutions where sterilizations were performed

The Bowman Gray School of Medicine housed a program for eugenic sterilizations starting in 1948. It was aimed at the eugenic improvement of the population of Forsyth County. It consisted of a systematic approach that would eliminate certain genetically unfit strains from the local population (Winston-Salem, Forsyth in the Forefront). It expanded the program throughout North Carolina. The school received much philanthropic support for research of genetic ideas. Today, school officials condemn eugenic research, as the dean of the school, Dr. William B. Applegate, states I think that the concepts and the practice of eugenics is wrong and unethical and would in no way be approved or condoned in modern medical times (Winston-Salem, Forsyth in the Forefront). The school is now part of the Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center-one of the most respected academic medical centers in the country. Although officials of the school condemn eugenics there is no mention of the program for eugenic sterilizations on the medical centers website.

(Photo origin: North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, available at


The Stonewall Jackson Training School was founded in 1907 and was North Carolinas first juvenile detention facility. This was mostly a school for boys, but a few girls were sterilized there over its history, all of whom were labeled as mentally retarded. The boys who were sent there had only minor scrapes with authorities, not for mental illness. In 1948, seven boys out of 300 were targeted for sterilization because they were ready for discharge. These boys were deemed feebleminded as a justification for the operation. These were the only boys sterilized at this school (Winston-Salem,DETOUR: In 48 State Singled out Delinquent Boys). The building still exists but does not remain in operation today. There is no commemoration at the site or mention of the past.

The Goldsboro Training School, now known as the OBerry Center, opened in 1957 as the first institution for black intellectually disabled citizens. It had 150 clients were transferred to it from Cherry Hospital, at which point the treatment of the patients was limited to academics and vocational training. It is still operating today with approximately 430 clients, but it is no longer limited to African Americans (Castles, pp. 12-14). The centers website refers to the institution’s history of dealing with Black citizens with intellectual disabilities.


Opposition Blacks were opposed to sterilizations one two levels: those who knew about its racial bias and those who didnt. The sterilization program was only whispered about in the black communities, and any evidence that race played a part in those who were sterilized wasnt made public or scrutinized. Therefore, the eugenics board was allowed to proceed with few hurdles (Winston-Salem). Those blacks knew about the racial bias involved with sterilization tried to push for their rights. In 1959, State Senator Jolly introduced a bill that would authorize the sterilization of an unmarried woman who gave birth for the third time. This bill was contested bygroup of blacks. However, the senator’s response was “Youshould be concerned about this bill. One out of four of your race is illegitimate.” Blacks that demanded to be heard were ruledout of order by the white-controlled legislature (Winston-Salem,”Wicked Silence”).

Some college students were in opposition to the sterilizations.In 1960, students fromNorth Carolina A&TState Universitybegan sit-in movement against states progressive attitude or race relations. However, this gained little speed or recognition by the state to make any changes. Also, at Shaw University in Raleigh from 1968 to 1972, student activists tried to educate blacks about the issues and threats of sterilization. However, they lacked detailed information, and therefore this gained little momentum as well (Winston-Salem, Wicked Silence).

Today, North Carolina is trying to amend for its past, making it one of the only states to do so thus far. In April 2003, the sterilization law was unanimously voted to be overturned by the North Carolina Senate. A few weeks later, a law was then signed by Governor Easley to officially put an end to forced sterilizations in North Carolina. Soon after, on April 17, 2003, Easley issued a public apology, stating, To the victims and families of this regrettable episode in North Carolina’s past, I extend my sincere apologies and want to assure them that we will not forget what they have endured” (“Easley Signs Law Ending States Eugenics Era,” p. 1). Then, in December 2005, the National Black Caucus of State Legislators passed resolution calling for federal and state programs to identify victims nationwide and get them health care and counseling (Sinderbrand, p. 1). However, these current efforts to find sterilized victims are difficult due to budget constraints and high costs of a publicity campaign. Therefore, efforts to find victims through “free media” were employed, such as posting info on bulletins, offices, health departments, libraries, schools, billboards, and city buses etc. (Sinderbrand, p. 1).


In 2009, a marker was dedicated in Raleigh, where the state eugenics board had met

A task force created by the governor has considered providing compensation for victims (NC Justice for Victims Foundation). (

Anderson Cooper on CNN ran a story on compensation for victims of sterilizations on 12/27/2011 (see

While a task force recommended to set compensation for surviving and verified victims at the amount of $50,000, the state senate rejected such a proposal in the summer of 2012, and the foundation was faced with the prospect of shutting down due to a lack of money. As of October 2012, only about 170 victims who are still alive have been verified, out of an estimated total of approx. 1,500-2,000. The low number of victims who have revealed themselves in this way reflects the continuing stigma of being sterilized and parallels the situation in Germany, where for many decades victims were reluctant to come forward in part due to the stigma attached to sterilizations and the still-existing belief that a sterilization constitutes a black mark on a family lineage.

The situation might be reflective of the difficulty of citizens in North Carolina to allow for “negative memory,” i.e., a willingness to concede that the state representing the will of its citizens was capable of committing atrocious (though legal) deeds. In contrast to sterilization victims in British Columbia and Alberta, not a single victim of a state eugenic sterilization law is known to have been compensated by a state in the United States so far.

After extensive efforts by organizations such as the Office of Justice for Sterilization Victims, the states NAACP, and legal clinics by the University of North Carolina Center for Civil Rights to spread the word about compensation to victims of eugenic sterilization, the number of claimants reached a number close to 800 until the cutoff date of June 30, 2014. In the larger context of compensation for social injustice stemming from illiberal and injurious state programs a firm deadline seems highly problematic, as the date seems arbitrary and informed not by considerations of justice but by political expediency, and it remains unclear why such a deadline would be necessary in the first place.

The number of verified cases remains very low at less than 220 (see here). It appears that a victim is only verified for compensation if a record of an order by the state’s Eugenics board exists. If this is the case, it leaves out those whose records might no longer be extant, or whose sterilization was due not to a sterilization order under the state’s eugenics law but what is known as “Mississippi appendectomies” (this is noted and explained here). As is the case with the deadline, this very narrow definition of victimhood is not calibrated to the historical record or experience of victimhood.


Ariyo, Oluwunmi. 2006. Making the Unfit Individual: Analysis of the Rhetoric of the Eugenics Board of North Carolina. Masters Thesis, Department of Communication, Wake Forest University.

Schoen, Johanna. 2011. Reassessing Eugenic Sterilization: The Case of North Carolina. Pp. 141-60 in A Century of Eugenics in America: From the Indiana Experiment to the Human Genome Era, ed. Paul Lombardo. Bloomington: Indiana University Press. ——. 2005. Choice and Coercion: Birth Control, Sterilization, and Abortion in Public Health and Welfare. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press.

Severson, Kim. “Thousands Sterilized, a State Weighs Restitution.” Dec. 9, 2011. Available at .

Sinderbrand, Rebecca. 2005. “A Shameful Little Secret.” Newsweek 33 (March 28). State Library of North Carolina. “Eugenics in North Carolina.” Available at Wiggins, Lori. 2005. North Carolina Regrets Sterilization Program. Crisis 112, 3: 10. Winston-Salem Journal. Against Their Will. Available at .

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Second Amendment – National Constitution Center

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Oct 122015

The Second Amendment

Modern debates about the Second Amendment have focused on whether it protects a private right of individuals to keep and bear arms, or a right that can be exercised only through militia organizations like the National Guard. This question, however, was not even raised until long after the Bill of Rights was adopted.

Many in the Founding generation believed that governments are prone to use soldiers to oppress the people. English history suggested that this risk could be controlled by permitting the government to raise armies (consisting of full-time paid troops) only when needed to fight foreign adversaries. For other purposes, such as responding to sudden invasions or other emergencies, the government could rely on a militia that consisted of ordinary civilians who supplied their own weapons and received some part-time, unpaid military training.

The onset of war does not always allow time to raise and train an army, and the Revolutionary War showed that militia forces could not be relied on for national defense. The Constitutional Convention therefore decided that the federal government should have almost unfettered authority to establish peacetime standing armies and to regulate the militia.

This massive shift of power from the states to the federal government generated one of the chief objections to the proposed Constitution. Anti-Federalists argued that the proposed Constitution would take from the states their principal means of defense against federal usurpation. The Federalists responded that fears of federal oppression were overblown, in part because the American people were armed and would be almost impossible to subdue through military force.

Implicit in the debate between Federalists and Anti-Federalists were two shared assumptions. First, that the proposed new Constitution gave the federal government almost total legal authority over the army and militia. Second, that the federal government should not have any authority at all to disarm the citizenry. They disagreed only about whether an armed populace could adequately deter federal oppression.

The Second Amendment conceded nothing to the Anti-Federalists desire to sharply curtail the military power of the federal government, which would have required substantial changes in the original Constitution. Yet the Amendment was easily accepted because of widespread agreement that the federal government should not have the power to infringe the right of the people to keep and bear arms, any more than it should have the power to abridge the freedom of speech or prohibit the free exercise of religion.

Much has changed since 1791. The traditional militia fell into desuetude, and state-based militia organizations were eventually incorporated into the federal military structure. The nations military establishment has become enormously more powerful than eighteenth century armies. We still hear political rhetoric about federal tyranny, but most Americans do not fear the nations armed forces and virtually no one thinks that an armed populace could defeat those forces in battle. Furthermore, eighteenth century civilians routinely kept at home the very same weapons they would need if called to serve in the militia, while modern soldiers are equipped with weapons that differ significantly from those generally thought appropriate for civilian uses. Civilians no longer expect to use their household weapons for militia duty, although they still keep and bear arms to defend against common criminals (as well as for hunting and other forms of recreation).

The law has also changed. While states in the Founding era regulated gunsblacks were often prohibited from possessing firearms and militia weapons were frequently registered on government rollsgun laws today are more extensive and controversial. Another important legal development was the adoption of the Fourteenth Amendment. The Second Amendment originally applied only to the federal government, leaving the states to regulate weapons as they saw fit. Although there is substantial evidence that the Privileges or Immunities Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment was meant to protect the right of individuals to keep and bear arms from infringement by the states, the Supreme Court rejected this interpretation in United States v. Cruikshank (1876).

Until recently, the judiciary treated the Second Amendment almost as a dead letter. In District of Columbia v. Heller (2008), however, the Supreme Court invalidated a federal law that forbade nearly all civilians from possessing handguns in the nations capital. A 54 majority ruled that the language and history of the Second Amendment showed that it protects a private right of individuals to have arms for their own defense, not a right of the states to maintain a militia.

The dissenters disagreed. They concluded that the Second Amendment protects a nominally individual right, though one that protects only the right of the people of each of the several States to maintain a well-regulated militia. They also argued that even if the Second Amendment did protect an individual right to have arms for self-defense, it should be interpreted to allow the government to ban handguns in high-crime urban areas.

Two years later, in McDonald v. City of Chicago (2010), the Court struck down a similar handgun ban at the state level, again by a 54 vote. Four Justices relied on judicial precedents under the Fourteenth Amendments Due Process Clause. Justice Thomas rejected those precedents in favor of reliance on the Privileges or Immunities Clause, but all five members of the majority concluded that the Fourteenth Amendment protects against state infringement the same individual right that is protected from federal infringement by the Second Amendment.

Notwithstanding the lengthy opinions in Heller and McDonald, they technically ruled only that government may not ban the possession of handguns by civilians in their homes. Heller tentatively suggested a list of presumptively lawful regulations, including bans on the possession of firearms by felons and the mentally ill, bans on carrying firearms in sensitive places such as schools and government buildings, laws restricting the commercial sale of arms, bans on the concealed carry of firearms, and bans on weapons not typically possessed by law-abiding citizens for lawful purposes. Many issues remain open, and the lower courts have disagreed with one another about some of them, including important questions involving restrictions on carrying weapons in public.

The right to keep and bear arms is a lot like the right to freedom of speech. In each case, the Constitution expressly protects a liberty that needs to be insulated from the ordinary political process.

Gun control is as much a part of the Second Amendment as the right to keep and bear arms. The text of the amendment, which refers to a well regulated Militia, suggests as much.

Not a Second Class Right: The Second Amendment Today by Nelson Lund

The right to keep and bear arms is a lot like the right to freedom of speech. In each case, the Constitution expressly protects a liberty that needs to be insulated from the ordinary political process. Neither right, however, is absolute. The First Amendment, for example, has never protected perjury, fraud, or countless other crimes that are committed through the use of speech. Similarly, no reasonable person could believe that violent criminals should have unrestricted access to guns, or that any individual should possess a nuclear weapon.

Inevitably, courts must draw lines, allowing government to carry out its duty to preserve an orderly society, without unduly infringing the legitimate interests of individuals in expressing their thoughts and protecting themselves from criminal violence. This is not a precise science or one that will ever be free from controversy.

One judicial approach, however, should be unequivocally rejected. During the nineteenth century, courts routinely refused to invalidate restrictions on free speech that struck the judges as reasonable. This meant that speech got virtually no judicial protection. Government suppression of speech can usually be thought to serve some reasonable purpose, such as reducing social discord or promoting healthy morals. Similarly, most gun control laws can be viewed as efforts to save lives and prevent crime, which are perfectly reasonable goals. If thats enough to justify infringements on individual liberty, neither constitutional guarantee means much of anything.

During the twentieth century, the Supreme Court finally started taking the First Amendment seriously. Today, individual freedom is generally protected unless the government can make a strong case that it has a real need to suppress speech or expressive conduct, and that its regulations are tailored to that need. The legal doctrines have become quite complex, and there is room for disagreement about many of the Courts specific decisions. Taken as a whole, however, this body of case law shows what the Court can do when it appreciates the value of an individual right enshrined in the Constitution.

The Second Amendment also raises issues about which reasonable people can disagree. But if the Supreme Court takes this provision of the Constitution as seriously as it now takes the First Amendment, which it should do, there will be some easy issues as well.

District of Columbia v. Heller (2008) is one example. The right of the people protected by the Second Amendment is an individual right, just like the right[s] of the people protected by the First and Fourth Amendments. The Constitution does not say that the Second Amendment protects a right of the states or a right of the militia, and nobody offered such an interpretation during the Founding era. Abundant historical evidence indicates that the Second Amendment was meant to leave citizens with the ability to defend themselves against unlawful violence. Such threats might come from usurpers of governmental power, but they might also come from criminals whom the government is unwilling or unable to control.

McDonald v. City of Chicago (2010) was also an easy case under the Courts precedents. Most other provisions of the Bill of Rights had already been applied to the states because they are deeply rooted in this Nations history and tradition. The right to keep and bear arms clearly meets this test.

The text of the Constitution expressly guarantees the right to bear arms, not just the right to keep them. The courts should invalidate regulations that prevent law-abiding citizens from carrying weapons in public, where the vast majority of violent crimes occur. First Amendment rights are not confined to the home, and neither are those protected by the Second Amendment.

Nor should the government be allowed to create burdensome bureaucratic obstacles designed to frustrate the exercise of Second Amendment rights. The courts are vigilant in preventing government from evading the First Amendment through regulations that indirectly abridge free speech rights by making them difficult to exercise. Courts should exercise the same vigilance in protecting Second Amendment rights.

Some other regulations that may appear innocuous should be struck down because they are little more than political stunts. Popular bans on so-called assault rifles, for example, define this class of guns in terms of cosmetic features, leaving functionally identical semi-automatic rifles to circulate freely. This is unconstitutional for the same reason that it would violate the First Amendment to ban words that have a French etymology, or to require that French fries be called freedom fries.

In most American states, including many with large urban population centers, responsible adults have easy access to ordinary firearms, and they are permitted to carry them in public. Experience has shown that these policies do not lead to increased levels of violence. Criminals pay no more attention to gun control regulations than they do to laws against murder, rape, and robbery. Armed citizens, however, prevent countless crimes and have saved many lives. Whats more, the most vulnerable peopleincluding women, the elderly, and those who live in high crime neighborhoodsare among the greatest beneficiaries of the Second Amendment. If the courts require the remaining jurisdictions to stop infringing on the constitutional right to keep and bear arms, their citizens will be more free and probably safer as well.

The Reasonable Right to Bear Arms by Adam Winkler

Gun control is as much a part of the Second Amendment as the right to keep and bear arms. The text of the amendment, which refers to a well regulated Militia, suggests as much. As the Supreme Court correctly noted in District of Columbia v. Heller (2008), the militia of the founding era was the body of ordinary citizens capable of taking up arms to defend the nation. While the Founders sought to protect the citizenry from being disarmed entirely, they did not wish to prevent government from adopting reasonable regulations of guns and gun owners.

Although Americans today often think that gun control is a modern invention, the Founding era had laws regulating the armed citizenry. There were laws designed to ensure an effective militia, such as laws requiring armed citizens to appear at mandatory musters where their guns would be inspected. Governments also compiled registries of civilian-owned guns appropriate for militia service, sometimes conducting door-to-door surveys. The Founders had broad bans on gun possession by people deemed untrustworthy, including slaves and loyalists. The Founders even had laws requiring people to have guns appropriate for militia service.

The wide range of Founding-era laws suggests that the Founders understood gun rights quite differently from many people today. The right to keep and bear arms was not a libertarian license for anyone to have any kind of ordinary firearm, anywhere they wanted. Nor did the Second Amendment protect a right to revolt against a tyrannical government. The Second Amendment was about ensuring public safety, and nothing in its language was thought to prevent what would be seen today as quite burdensome forms of regulation.

The Founding-era laws indicate why the First Amendment is not a good analogy to the Second. While there have always been laws restricting perjury and fraud by the spoken word, such speech was not thought to be part of the freedom of speech. The Second Amendment, by contrast, unambiguously recognizes that the armed citizenry must be regulatedand regulated well. This language most closely aligns with the Fourth Amendment, which protects a right to privacy but also recognizes the authority of the government to conduct reasonable searches and seizures.

The principle that reasonable regulations are consistent with the Second Amendment has been affirmed throughout American history. Ever since the first cases challenging gun controls for violating the Second Amendment or similar provisions in state constitutions, courts have repeatedly held that reasonable gun lawsthose that dont completely deny access to guns by law-abiding peopleare constitutionally permissible. For 150 years, this was the settled law of the landuntil Heller.

Heller, however, rejected the principle of reasonableness only in name, not in practice. The decision insisted that many types of gun control laws are presumptively lawful, including bans on possession of firearms by felons and the mentally ill, bans on concealed carry, bans on dangerous and unusual weapons, restrictions on guns in sensitive places like schools and government buildings, and commercial sale restrictions. Nearly all gun control laws today fit within these exceptions. Importantly, these exceptions for modern-day gun laws unheard of in the Founding era also show that lawmakers are not limited to the types of gun control in place at the time of the Second Amendments ratification.

In the years since Heller, the federal courts have upheld the overwhelming majority of gun control laws challenged under the Second Amendment. Bans on assault weapons have been consistently upheld, as have restrictions on gun magazines that hold more than a minimum number of rounds of ammunition. Bans on guns in national parks, post offices, bars, and college campuses also survived. These decisions make clear that lawmakers have wide leeway to restrict guns to promote public safety so long as the basic right of law-abiding people to have a gun for self-defense is preserved.

Perhaps the biggest open question after Heller is whether the Second Amendment protects a right to carry guns in public. While every state allows public carry, some states restrict that right to people who can show a special reason to have a gun on the street. To the extent these laws give local law enforcement unfettered discretion over who can carry, they are problematic. At the same time, however, many constitutional rights are far more limited in public than in the home. Parades can be required to have a permit, the police have broader powers to search pedestrians and motorists than private homes, and sexual intimacy in public places can be completely prohibited.

The Supreme Court may yet decide that more stringent limits on gun control are required under the Second Amendment. Such a decision, however, would be contrary to the text, history, and tradition of the right to keep and bear arms.

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Beaches and Islands – Krabi

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Oct 052015

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:: Beaches & Islands in the Sun

Visitors to Krabi beaches and islands are of many different backgrounds. Some are on their honeymoon and are overseas for the first time, others are adventurists who barely unpack their bags before leaving on their next adventure. We have visitors who have traveled the world over who have enjoyed travels on continents around the world, hot and cool climates. When you read about the islands and beaches of Krabi you will see that there is truly something to enjoy and love for everyone.

Ao Nang Beach

Krabi is hardly 18 km away from the bay and the bay has some 83 islands scattered around. Each one of these islands are a short distance away from one another. And during low tides, you can even wade your way to the neighboring island. In this sort of a natural set up, there is little shortage for sandy beaches and crystal clear water. But among them all, Ao Nang beach is supposed to be the best.

Ao Nang has the cleanest of environments in the area. This is the most developed beach in the area. And the beach is accessible by road from Krabi. Less crowded and more quiet, it gives a more peaceful atmosphere to the tourist than the Krabi. The majestic looking limestone cliffs rising straight from calm, clear waters of the sea and the long beach line that runs the whole length of the resort are great attractions claimed exclusively by Ao Nang. The shallow coast line is very safe for children to play with the waves. The deserted beach of Pai Plong is easily accessible on foot when the tide is low. There are 83 islands of various sizes in the bay off this beach. And the facilities for boat trips are well organized in the beach. Tourism sector takes care of the food requirements at the sea front itself. With widest range of accommodation facilities , transports either by boat or road, excellent facilities for tasty foods, tourists often make this area a base camp to make their foray further deep to discover the caves or for trekking and rock climbing.

Hat Noppharat Thara

This beach is on the western side of the Krabi town. The park covers an extensive area of the main land and 80 islands including Phi Phi Islands.

20 km west of Krabi and 3 miles long, this beach is lined with a majestic Casuarina forest. The beach is a part of Koh Phi Phi National Marine Park. Just as in the case of Ao Nang , during low tides, it is possible to reach other islands in the bay on foot.

Railay or Railey Beach & ( Hat Tham Beaches )

Two of the most popular beaches in Ao Phra Nang peninsula are Rai Leh and Hat Tham. This is just to the south of Ao Nang. Phra Nang area is a hilly terrain with craggy limestone cliffs. There are no proper roads in this area. The beaches are accessible by long tail boats. This scenario gives a secluded feel to the place.

In Rai Leh, excellent accommodation is available which gives an added attraction to this beach. There are plenty of rock formations in the area. And caves with stalactites and stalagmites are spectcular attraction in Rai Leh. As is quite typical of this area, the limestone geology has forged many interesting rock formations.

Besides, these beaches provide opportunities for rock climbing enthusiasts. A spectacular view of the surrounding areas from the top of the cliff is a rewarding experience to the hardship and strain you take to climb the hill side. The facilities including supplies of climbing gear and training for the novice are also available.

Pristine beaches with pure white sand and shallow clear water make the Rai Leh beach a favorite to the tourists. Swimming and sunbathing in this beach is much popular. Rai Leh beach is considered to be one of the most beautiful beaches of the world. And this is one of Krabi’s most unique areas.

Pra Nang Beach

Connected to Rai Lei by a small path is Phra Nang (not to be confused with Ao Nang) on the outer most point of the headland, backed by a limestone cliff which soars above the beach providing some welcome shade in the hot afternoon. At the bottom of the cliff lies the Princess Cave or Tham Phra Nang Nok – local legend surrounds the cave and local fishermen leave offerings for good fortune. It’s a great beach to simply hang out. In the late morning the “sandwich boats” arrive. Local longtail boats equipped with ice boxes, bread and sandwich ingredients. Fancy a cheese and ham baguette? Freshly made and not expensive, the ladies on the boats will serve with a smile and often a free piece of fruit. A path Swimming and snorkeling can be enjoyed off this pristine, white sandy beach, and from here it is possible to hike to the top of the headland to get spectacular views of the entire area.

Klong Muang Beach/Tubkaak

Krabi’s latest beach destination, Muang Klong is aiming upmarket with 5 star and boutique hotels like the Sheraton Krabi Resort, the Nakamanda and the Tubkaak Resort. Unlike Ao Nang it doesn’t have the impressive cliffs immediately towering over the beach, but it does have powder white sand and safe swimming

The Lanta Island Group

About 53 islands are included in this group, which form the southern most district of Krabi Province.

Koh Lanta Yai The largest of the islands, it was formerly known as Pulao Satak, its name in the Malay language, which means Long Beach Island. The island is a favourite spot for those seeking peace and solitude, and is the home of the District and National Park offices. Mountainous and rugged in some spots, especially near the southern tip; with a combination of gravely and fine white sandy beaches, the island is also home to a clan of Chao Ley, or Sea Gypsies – an ethnic group who preserve many of their ancient customs and ceremonies. In recent years accommodation has increased in Lanta with a range from basic bungalows to upmarket resorts now available. You can get to Lanta on the regular ferry from Jao Fah Pier in Krabi Town.

Koh Taleng Beng Lies in the Lanta district and is similar in shape to Phi Phi Ley. Swallows also nest at this island which at low tide has a small beach and tunnel.

Mu Koh Hah Still in the Lanta area, this is a group of 5 islands featuring coral gardens and good diving spots.

Koh Ngai, Koh Rock Nai and Koh Rock Nok South of Lanta Island, these 3 islands are close to Trang Province. Koh Ngai is easily accessed via ferry from Pak Meng Beach, others are accessed by hired boat and feature both beaches and coral gardens.

Poda Beach

This is another location much favored by tourists. Lying off the coast of Ao Nang , Poda Beach is famous for its pure white sandy beach and warm waters. Diving and snorkeling , sun bathing and boating are the favorite activities in this beach. This is considered to be an ideal place for fun and relaxation.

Phi Phi Island Beaches

These islands are some of the most beautiful tourist destinations in the world. This is one of the much sought after locations in Krabi province. The superb scenery of these islands are not just limited to the silvery sand beaches but the Emerald green sea, the multi colored coral reefs and the abundance of the underwater marine life. Hardly 2 hrs journey by boat from Ao Nang beach, the twin islands Phi Phi Don and Phi Phi Leh provide excellent entertainments.

Phi Phi Don is the larger of the two islands. Covering some 28 square km area, this is in the northern part of the island. Phi Phi Don has several long white sand beaches. Long ,white curved beach, fringed by palms and between mountain ranges provide sheltered calm waters for beach sports. Plenty of accommodation is available at the site. You can have beach side bungalows or smaller resorts as you please. Bars are available adjacent to the Muslim areas where you have to be discrete. Sun bathing and swimming in the shallow waters are the popular enjoyment here.

There are very many restaurants in Phi Phi Don. In fact, Thailand as a whole is considered to be a land of restaurants. This may perhaps be the only place in the world where you have more number of restaurants and eateries on a per capita basis. And Phi Phi Don is no exception. Both European cuisine and tasty Thai foods are available at the beach restaurants. Bars, cabaret, souvenir shops, fishing excursions and chartered boats are all available at the site.

Phi Phi Leh is only some six in area. The main attraction is the rocks and caves. Rugged cliff surfaces with sparse vegetation rising staraight from the sea bed to several metres to the sky provide real challenge to the rock climbing enthusiasts.

There are several caves where birds roost in their multitudes. The sea swallows make their gelatinous nests in these caves. And these nests are some delicacy in the Chinese cuisine. The Viking cave is famous for the murals inside. These paintings depict Viking-like sailing vessels and sailors there by giving the name for the cave.

The underwater life is also much captivating. The colorful coral reef and underwater creatures give a feast to the divers. Snorkeling is a favorite sport in these beaches. In short, Phi Phi Islands are a real treat to the tourist and one of the best choices in the Andaman Bay.

Ko Paid ( Bamboo Island ) This is another of the Phi Phi Islands but uninhabited. This has some of the most beautiful beaches in the area. And the beaches are unspoiled as the area is uninhabited.

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Beaches and Islands – Krabi

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The problems Tackle Tax Havens

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Oct 032015

Switzerland is not only one of the worlds biggest financial centres but also one of the worlds largest tax havens; find out why the country took first place on the 2011 Financial Secrecy Index.

Learn about SAB Miller, the brewing multinational whose transfer pricing techniques are depriving countries of much needed tax revenue.

This multi-billion dollar Ponzi scheme orchestrated by infamous Wall Street financier Bernie Madoff could not have happened without tax havens.

Teodoro Nguema Obiang used tax havens to exploit Equatorial Guineas natural resources. Not a very nice man.

Dublin a magical city of light touch regulation, which draws in money from far and wide and channels it directly into the shadow banking system.

The epic corruption which destroyed Enron and hundreds of livelihoods could not have happened without tax havens.

The Alpine offshore microstate of Liechtenstein hit the headlines in early 2008 for harbouring the corrupt funds of hundreds of tax evaders.

Find out why the rich-poor gap is greater in the United States than almost any other developed nation.

Following on from point 8, find out why Delaware, The First State, is the best place to escape tax in the world.

The City of London Corporation. Local-government authority and massive offshore lobbying body.

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The problems Tackle Tax Havens

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Pro-Human Transhuman – TV Tropes

 Transhuman  Comments Off on Pro-Human Transhuman – TV Tropes
Oct 022015

This character has been hit with a Viral Transformation, Emergency Transformation, become a cyborg, demon, magical creature, alien or discovers they were never human at all. Despite this, and regardless of any angst over What Have I Become?, they decide that rather than go down the path of Transhuman Treachery and be a Smug Super, Black Shirt, or The Quisling, they will do everything in their power to stay a part of humanity. And if their new species/transhuman fellows are anti-human, they will vow to protect humanity in a pseudo Faustian Rebellion. This can also include transhumans who cast themselves in a shepherd-like role for mankind. This doesn’t include forcibly applying What Measure Is a Non-Super? to bootstrap humanity up, though. That’s more of a Visionary Villain who believes Utopia Justifies the Means. Many Friendly Neighborhood Vampires fall in this category. If the transformation is due to The Virus, this requires copious Heroic Willpower. These characters can usually pull off a Sheep in Wolf’s Clothing gambit. See also Monster Adventurers. Related to My Species Doth Protest Too Much, which refers to creatures that aren’t former humans. Opposite Trope to Transhuman Treachery. Super Trope to Vampire Refugee and Phlebotinum Rebel. See also/compare A God I Am Not.

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Pro-Human Transhuman – TV Tropes

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Fourth Amendment | United States Constitution |

 Fourth Amendment  Comments Off on Fourth Amendment | United States Constitution |
Sep 282015

Fourth Amendment,amendment (1791) to the Constitution of the United States, part of the Bill of Rights, that forbids unreasonable searches and seizures of individuals and property. For the text of the Fourth Amendment, see below.

Introduced in 1789, what became the Fourth Amendment struck at the heart of a matter central to the early American experience: the principle that, within reason, Every mans house is his castle, and that any citizen may fall into the category of the criminally accused and ought to be provided protections accordingly. In U.S. constitutional law, the Fourth Amendment is the foundation of criminal law jurisprudence, articulating both the rights of persons and the responsibilities of law-enforcement officials. The balance between these two forces has undergone considerable public, political, and judicial debate. Are the amendments two clauses meant to be applied independently or taken as a whole? Is the expectation of privacy diminished depending on where and what is suspected, sought, and seized? What constitutes an unreasonable search and seizure?

The protections contained in the amendment have been determined less on the basis of what the Constitution says than according to what it has been interpreted to mean, and, as such, its constitutional meaning has inherently been fluid. The protections granted by the U.S. Supreme Court have expanded during periods when the court was dominated by liberals (e.g., during the tenure of Chief Justice Earl Warren [195369]), beginning particularly with Mapp v. Ohio (1961), in which the court extended the exclusionary rule to all criminal proceedings; by contrast, during the tenure of the conservative William Rehnquist (19862005) as chief justice, the court contracted the rights afforded to the criminally accused, allowing law-enforcement officials latitude to search in instances when they reasonably believed that the property in question harboured presumably dangerous persons.

The full text of the amendment is:

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

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Fourth Amendment | United States Constitution |

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SINGULARITY: a Joshua Gates, Destination Truth …

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Sep 242015

Going to miParacon to see Josh and other paranormal personalities? Tweet your experiences and photos to @joshuagatesfans I will also be monitoring for stuff to share on the fan page once the convention is over!

Josh has been pretty quiet on social media lately. Could it be because we’re going to get some news soon? Here is a clue, to your left. I won’t say what/where it is or my sources, but I’ll just say to “stay tuned” :)

The show has been met with much praise and according to Brad at the production company, viewer numbers have been good. For now, it looks like the only criticisms fans have had for the show are that they miss the ghost hunting/cryptids search elements, and they’d like the crew who follows him and helps make the show to be featured. Fans cannot deny the better quality of filming, the fact that each episode only focuses on one case, and because the episodes are less rushed, we get to see more of the destination, and humor is definitely not missing from EXU.

In the meantime, here’s some news!

Be sure to follow Josh on Twitter HEREand follow this fan page on Twitter for fan interaction and exclusives HERE. Photo credit to Brandt, who you can follow on Twitter HERE

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SINGULARITY: a Joshua Gates, Destination Truth …

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Home – Liberty Elementary School District

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Sep 242015

Thank youfor visiting Liberty Elementary School District

Liberty Elementary School District is located roughly 30 miles west of Phoenix, Arizona. The district covers approximately 285 square miles of both rural and suburban communities. Libertys boundaries span county land as well as the cities of Buckeye and Goodyear. Founded in 1887, Liberty is one of the oldest school districts in Arizona. The building currently being used for music class at one of our schools was built in 1910 and is the oldest still in use school building in the state. The Liberty District consists of four K-8 schools and one PreK-8 school.

In the Liberty District our mission is to build world-class schools in our neighborhoods. Our goal is to provide every one of our students with a world class education and our programs, foci and instruction are tailored to achieve that goal. One way that Liberty is working toward this goal is by offering an extensive array of education options for parents and students. For example, in recent years our schools have been innovating and maximizing their strengths by implementing a unique school focus. These foci include S.T.E.M.(Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics), IB (International Baccalaureate), Leadership, Agricultural Sciences, Visual and Performing Arts and Dual Language Immersion. Liberty District also offers open enrollment opportunities for students. Open enrollment gives parents and students that might go to another school in the district, or go to a school in a neighboring district, the option to choose which school and focus is right for them. All of our schools offer the usual programs that you would expect to find in most schools like art, music, PE and sports. However, the schools also have some more unique programs like Graphics Arts, Foreign Language, Choir, Concert Band, Drama Club, Science Club, Lego Robotics Club and Math Counts.

Normal Hours of Operation 8:00 am to 4:30 pm M-F Closed on Holidays

SummerHours of Operation 8:00 am to 4:30 pm M-Th Closed on Holidays

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