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CNN town hall gives Libertarian Party an unprecedented shot …

 Libertarian  Comments Off on CNN town hall gives Libertarian Party an unprecedented shot …
Jun 242016
 

ALibertarian Party debate in Las Vegas last month featured Penn Jillette you know, the talking half of Penn & Teller as the moderator. Other questioners included Carrot Top, Drew Carey, Clay Aiken and Arsenio Hall.

The discourse was more substantive than one might have expected no thanks toCarrot Top, who just wanted to know what slogans the candidates might put on Donald Trump-style trucker hats but for a party that wants to be taken seriously in presidential politics, the entertainer-laden event probably didn’t advance the cause.

This is why Wednesday’s Libertarian town hall live in prime time on CNN is a big deal. It marks the first time Libertarian candidates will participate in a live presidential forum on one of the three major cable news channels. Chris Cuomo, who has moderated town hall events with Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders this election, will run the show, posing questions to Libertarian nominee Gary Johnson and his running mate, Bill Weld, while also fielding inquiries from the audience.

Notably, CNN is billing the questions as being “similar to those posed to the Democratic and Republican candidates during the primaries.” In other words, CNN is taking Johnson and Weld seriously for an evening, at least.

The two former governors (Johnson of New Mexico and Weld of Massachusetts) have enjoyed a spike in coverage lately. With the presumptive major-party nominees registering historically bad favorability ratings, the Libertarian ticket which Johnson also led in 2012 is getting more attention than usual. In polls that include him, Johnson’s support averages 8.5 percent, according to RealClearPolitics.

[The Libertarian Party: So hot right now]

But much of the coverage has centered not on what Johnson stands for but what effect he might have on Trump and Clinton. Which of the two real contenders is more likely to lose voters to this third-party interloper? Could he somehow prevent either one from winning a majority in the Electoral College by picking off a state or more (Utah anybody)?

Those are worthwhile considerations, but CNN’s town hall figures to give the Libertarian nominee an opportunity on a big stage to talk about more than playing spoiler.

“It’s sort of a perfect setup for Johnson and Weld to go more in-depth,” said Mitchell McKinney, who chairs the communication department at the University of Missouri. “What else do they believe? This will give them a chance to flesh that out.”

McKinney has studied presidential debates that include third-party candidates a small sample that includes, most recently, three from 1992, when independent Ross Perot joined Republican President George H.W. Bush and Democratic nominee Bill Clinton. McKinney found that outsiders like Perot are often ignored for long stretches and, when questioned, asked not about their policies but about their credibility as candidates.

A town hall format, with no opponents on the stage, should mitigate the dismissiveness, McKinney said. He added that a good showing by Johnson could help him qualify for general election debates in the fall. Johnson would have to get his poll numbers up to 15 percent.

Larry Diamond, faculty director of the Haas Center for Public Service at Stanford University, is a leading advocate for lowering the threshold to 10 percent. He believes the Commission on Presidential Debates, which sets the rules, is “clearly biased against the entry of a third option.” (Commission co-chair Michael McCurry told the “Open Mind” public television program in January that a third candidate “would be welcome in these debates.”) Whatever the case, Diamond thinks CNN’s decision to host a Libertarian town hall is a “modest but noteworthy development.”

“Maybe more significant is that the Libertarian ticket is starting to get more media attention generally,” he said.

A CNN spokeswoman did not respond to questions about why the cable channel decided to sponsor the event.

The closest Libertarian candidates have come to the level of exposure they stand to receive Wednesday was a primary debate that aired on tape delay in two parts, a week a part on Fox Business Network in April. Libertarian journalist John Stossel moderated.

“It was John Stossel who first raised the issue about the lack of national media attention the Libertarian Party was receiving,” said Bill Shine, senior executive vice president of programming at Fox Business. “And with the growing number of disenfranchised voters, we thought it was important to help viewers vet the candidates before the party tickets were declared. We’re flattered that CNN decided to follow our lead months after the fact.”

The question for Johnson and Weld is whether others in the media will follow suit. The CNN town hall could signal a new, more legitimate status for the Libertarian candidates in the eyes of the press. Or it could be a novelty event created to fill a slow Wednesday evening between the end of the primaries and the start of the major-party conventions. We’ll see.

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CNN town hall gives Libertarian Party an unprecedented shot …

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William Wilberforce: biography and bibliography

 Abolition Of Work  Comments Off on William Wilberforce: biography and bibliography
Jun 192016
 

Biography William Wilberforce is perhaps the best known of the abolitionists. He came from a prosperous merchant family of Kingston-upon-Hull, a North Sea port which saw little in the way of slave trading. (His birthplace is now preserved as the Wilberforce House Museum.) At twenty-one, the youngest age at which one could be so elected, he was returned to Parliament for his native town. Four years later he was again returned to Parliament, this time for the county seat of Yorkshire which was large and populous, and which therefore required an expensive election contest. The advantage was that the election, being genuinely democratic, conferred a greater legitimacy to the two Members which that county returned to Parliament. Wilberforce’s early years in Parliament were not untypical for a young back-bencher. He was noted for his eloquence and charm, attributes no doubt enhanced by his considerable wealth, but he did not involve himself at first with any great cause. A sudden conversion to evangelical Christianity in 1785 changed that and from then onwards he approached politics from a position of strict Christian morality. In 1786 he carried through the House of Commons a bill for amending criminal law which failed to pass the Lords, a pattern which was to be repeated during his abolitionist career. The following year he founded the Proclamation Society which had as its aim the suppression of vice and the reformation of public manners. Later in 1787 he became, at the suggestion of the Prime Minister, William Pitt the Younger, the parliamentary leader of the abolition movement, although he did not officially join the Abolition Society until 1794.

The story of Pitt’s conversation with Wilberforce under an old tree near Croydon has passed into the mythology of the anti-slavery movement. The result was that Wilberforce returned to London having promised to look over the evidence which Thomas Clarkson had amassed against the trade. As he did so he clearly become genuinely horrified and resolved to give the abolition movement his support. Working closely with Clarkson, he presented evidence to a committee of the Privy Council during 1788. This episode did not go as planned. Some of the key witnesses against the trade, apparently bribed or intimidated, changed their story and testified in favour. In the country at large abolitionist sentiment was growing rapidly. While the king’s illness and the Regency Bill crisis no doubt supplanted the slave trade as the chief topic of political conversation in the winter of 1788-9, by the spring the king had recovered and abolition was once more at the top of the agenda. It was under these circumstances that Wilberforce prepared to present his Abolition Bill before the House of Commons. This speech, the most important of Wilberforce’s life to that point, was praised in the newspapers as being one of the most eloquent ever to have been heard in the house. Indeed, The Star reported that ‘the gallery of the House of Commons on Tuesday was crowded with Liverpool Merchants; who hung their heads in sorrow – for the African occupation of bolts and chains is no more’.

The newspaper was premature in sounding the death knell of the slave trade. After the 1789 speech parliamentary delaying tactics came into play. Further evidence was requested and heard over the summer months and then, on 23 June 1789, the matter was adjourned until the next session. Wilberforce left town, holidaying at Buxton with Hannah More, confident that the next session would see a resolution of the debate and abolition of the trade. It did not and by January 1790 the question was deemed to be taking up so much parliamentary time that consideration of the evidence was moved upstairs (as parliamentary jargon has it) to a Select Committee. Evidence in favour of the trade was heard until April, followed by evidence against. In June Pitt called an early general election. Wilberforce was safely returned as a Member for Yorkshire, but parliamentary business was disrupted. Despite being behind schedule, Wilberforce continued to work for an abolition which it appeared the country wanted. News of the slave rebellion in Dominica reached Britain in February 1791 and hardened attitudes against abolition, but Wilberforce pressed on. After almost two years of delay the debate finally resumed and Wilberforce again addressed the Commons on 18 April 1791.

When, on the following night, the House divided on the question of abolition fewer than half of its Members remained to vote. Because of this or not, the Abolition Bill fell with a majority of 75 against abolishing the slave trade. Wilberforce and the other members of the Abolition Committee returned to the task of drumming up support for abolition both from Members of Parliament and from ordinary people. More petitions were collected, further meetings held, extra pamphlets published, and a boycott of sugar was organised. The campaign was not helped by news of the revolutions in France and Haiti. Perhaps sensing that a hardening of attitudes was becoming increasingly likely Wilberforce again brought the question of abolition before the House and, almost a year after the previous defeat, on 2 April 1792, once more found himself addressing the House of Commons. Every account we have of this speech shows that it was an intense and lengthy emotional harangue. Public feeling was outraged and, on this occasion, so was the feeling of the House. But not quite enough. Henry Dundas suggested an amendment to the Abolition Bill: the introduction of the word ‘gradual’. The bill passed as amended, by 230 votes to 85, and gradual abolition became law, the final date for slave trading to remain legal being later fixed at 1796. But this gave the ‘West India Interest’ – the slave traders’ lobby – room to manoeuvre. Once again parliamentary delaying tactics came into play, further evidence was demanded, and it became clear that gradual abolition was to mean no abolition.

This event marked a turning point in the fortunes of the abolition camapign. Partly because of a hardening of attitudes caused by the outbreak of war with France, and partly because of determined resistance from the West-India Interest there was a collapse in public enthusiasm for the cause. Some abolitionists withdrew from the campaign entirely. Wilberforce did not, but his speeches fell on ever deafer ears. Although Wilberforce reintroduced the Abolition Bill almost every year in the 1790s, little progress was made even though Wilberforce remained optimistic for the long-term success of the cause. He directed some of his efforts into other arenas, largely evangelical or philanthropic, and was instrumental in setting up organisations such as The Bible Society and The Society for Bettering the Condition of the Poor. In 1797 he published a book, A Practical view of the Prevailing Religious System of Professed Christians, a work of popular theology with a strong evangelical hue which sold well on publication and throughout the nineteenth century. On 30 May 1797, after a short romance, he married Barbara Ann Spooner.

If the first two years of the new century were particularly bleak ones for the abolition movement, the situation was rapidly reversed in 1804. The association of abolitionism with Jacobinism dispersed as Napoleon’s hostility to emancipation became known. Members of Parliament, especially the many new Irish members, increasingly tended toward abolition. The Abolition Society reformed with a mixture of experienced older members and new blood. Wilberforce assumed his old role of parliamentary leader, and introduced the Abolition Bill before parliament. The Bill fell in 1804 and 1805, but gave the abolitionists an opportunity to sound out support. In 1806, Wilberforce published an influential tract advocating abolition and, in June that year, resolutions supporting abolition were passed in parliament. A public campaign once again promoted the cause, and the new Whig government was in favour as well. In January 1807, the Abolition Bill was once again introduced, this time attracting very considerable support, and, on 23 February 1807, almost fifteen years after Dundas had effectively wrecked abolition with his gradualist amendment, Parliament voted overwhelmingly in favour of abolition of the slave trade. During the debate the then Solicitor-General, Sir Samuel Romilly, spoke against the trade. His speech concluded with a long and emotional tribute to Wilberforce in which he contrasted the peaceful happiness of Wilberforce in his bed with the tortured sleeplessness of the guilty Napoleon Bonaparte. In the words of Romilly’s biographer;

The Abolition Act received the Royal Assent (became law) on 25 March 1807 but, although the trade in slaves had become illegal in British ships, slavery remained a reality in British colonies. Wilberforce himself was privately convinced that the institution of slavery should be entirely abolished, but understood that there was little political will for emancipation. Already recognised as an elder statesman in his 50s, Wilberforce received a steady throng of visitors and supplicants, and he became involved in many of the political questions of the day. He supported Catholic Emancipation and the Corn Laws. His health was poor, however, and in 1812 he resigned the large and arduous seat of Yorkshire for the pocket borough of Bramber. In the same year he started work on the Slave Registration Bill, which he saw as necessary to ensure compliance with the Abolition Act. If slaves were registered, he argued, it could be proved whether or not they had been recently transported from Africa. The Prime Minister, Spencer Perceval, supported the Bill, but was assassinated shortly after. Thereafter, Wilberforce’s efforts met with increasing resistance from the government. In 1815, with the government again blocking progress, Wilberforce publically declared that as they would not support him, he felt himself no longer bound by their line on emancipation. From this time on, Wilberforce campaigned openly for an end to the institution of slavery.

Wilberforce’s health, never good, was deteriorating. Although now free to speak his mind on emancipation, he was never able to campaign with the same vigour that he had done for abolition of the trade. However, he continued to attack slavery both at public meetings and in the House of Commons. In 1823, he published another pamphlet attacking slavery. This pamphlet was connected with the foundation of The Anti-Slavery Society which led the campaign to emancipate all slaves in British colonies. Leadership of the parliamentary campaign, however, was passed from Wilberforce to Thomas Fowell Buxton. In 1825, Wilberforce resigned from the House of Commons. He enjoyed a quiet retirement at Mill Hill, just north of London, although he suffered some financial difficulties. His last public appearance was at a meeting of the Anti-Slavery Society in 1830, at which, at Thomas Clarkson’s suggestion, he took the chair. In parliament, the Emancipation Bill gathered support and received its final commons reading on 26 July 1833. Slavery would be abolished, but the planters would be heavily compensated. ‘Thank God’, said Wilberforce, ‘that I have lived to witness a day in which England is willing to give twenty millions sterling for the Abolition of Slavery’. Three days later, on 29 July 1833, he died. He is buried in Westminster Abbey.

Brycchan Carey 2000-2002

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William Wilberforce: biography and bibliography

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The origin and nature of political correctness (26/11/2015)

 Political Correctness  Comments Off on The origin and nature of political correctness (26/11/2015)
Jun 152016
 

What Is Political Correctness? Political Correctness (PC) is the communal tyranny that erupted in the 1980s. It was a spontaneous declaration that particular ideas, expressions and behaviour, which were then legal, should be forbidden by law, and people who transgressed should be punished. (see Newspeak) It started with a few voices but grew in popularity until it became unwritten and written law within the community. With those who were publicly declared as being not politically correct becoming the object of persecution by the mob, if not prosecution by the state.

The Odious Nature Of Political Correctness To attempt to point out the odious nature of Political Correctness is to restate the crucial importance of plain speaking, freedom of choice and freedom of speech; these are the community’s safe-guards against the imposition of tyranny, indeed their absence is tyranny (see “On Liberty”, Chapter II, by J.S. Mill). Which is why any such restrictions on expression such as those invoked by the laws of libel, slander and public decency, are grave matters to be decided by common law methodology; not by the dictates of the mob.

Clear Inspiration For Political Correctness The declared rational of this tyranny is to prevent people being offended; to compel everyone to avoid using words or behaviour that may upset homosexuals, women, non-whites, the crippled, the stupid, the fat or the ugly. This reveals not only its absurdity but its inspiration. The set of values that are detested are those held by the previous generation (those who fought the Second World War), which is why the terms niggers, coons, dagos, wogs, poofs, spastics and sheilas, have become heresy, for, in an act of infantile rebellion, their subject have become revered by the new generation. Political Correctness is merely the resentment of spoilt children directed against their parent’s values.

The Origins Of Political Correctness A community declines when the majority of its citizens become selfish, and under this influence it slowly dismantles all the restraints upon self-indulgence established by manners, customs, beliefs and law: tradition. (See the law of reverse civilization) As each subsequent generation of selfish citizens inherits control of the community, it takes its opportunity to abandon more of the irksome restraints that wisdom had installed. The proponents of this social demolition achieve their irrational purpose by publicly embracing absurdity through slogans while vilifying any who do not support their stance. The purpose of the slogan is to enshrine irrational fears, or fancies, as truth through the use of presumptuous words, so public pronouncement:

For example the slogan Australia is Multicultural is a claim that:

All of which is an attack upon truth, clear thinking and plain speaking.

Outright Assault Upon Tradition Naturally as the restraints shrink the rebellion grows ever more extreme in nature. When the author of Animal Farm wrote an article in 1946 about the pleasures of a rose garden, he was criticised for being bourgeois. George Orwell mentions this in his essay A Good Word For The Vicar Of Bray, published in the Tribune, 1946. The term bourgeois was then a popular slogan meaning having humdrum middle class ideas (The Oxford English Dictionary 3rd Edition, 1938), which is just a blatant attack upon tradition the sanity of the community.

From Bourgeois To Racist Now, in the late 1990s, the results of being bourgeois (retaining traditional notions), is being labelled racist, sexist etc. and risk losing your job, your reputation, being jostled in the street, being subject to judicial penalty and death threats. And it is this very extremity of reaction that has won media attention and the name Political Correctness, though the reaction will become even more unpleasant with the next generation.

Parental Values Always Attacked The inevitable scapegoat for people impatient of restraint must always be parents, because these are society’s agents for teaching private restraint. So the cherished notions of the parents are always subject to attack by their maturing offspring. This resentment of tradition was observed in his own civilization by Polybius (c. 200-118 BC), the Greek historian, who said:

Tyranny Grows Once a community embraces tyranny the penalties can only grow in severity. This gradual increase is easily seen by the example of Toastmasters. As the members of the club became more concerned about the delights of socializing and less concerned about the disciplines of public speaking, they became more intolerant of citizens who were earnest about learning the art of rhetoric. Once those members who did their duty by truthfully pointing out the shortcomings in another member’s performance were just labeled as negative or discouraging; later this became a risk of being socially ostracized. Now (since 1998) unpopularity can result in being permanently ejected from the club by a majority vote.

Australian Experience Of PC Tyranny In my country the tyranny erupted with the persecution of public figures such as Arthur Tunstall for uttering truths that had become unpopular, either directly in a speech, or indirectly by telling jokes. The maiden speech of the Federal Member of Parliament for Ipswich contained so many disliked truths that the rabble escalated the ferocity of their attack and extended them to her supporters, introducing terror into Australian politics. Anyone who watched the TV coverage (1997/8) of Pauline Hanson’s political campaign will have seen the nature of her opponents; a throng who looked and behaved more like barbarians than citizens of a civilized community. And any mob that chants “Burn the witch” (when she spoke outside an Ipswich hall after she had been refused entry) leaves no doubt as to their intent or character.

Widespread Throughout The Community Revealing the extent of the mob’s support, their sentiments (suitably refined) were enthusiastically echoed by the media and the administration. And in an unprecedented act of cooperation, all the political parties conspired to eject Ms Hanson from the federal parliament in the election of October 3rd 1998. This was revealed by the how-to-vote cards of the parties contesting the seat of Blaire, which all placed Ms Hanson last. This was a public admission by both the major parties that they would rather risk losing the election than allow this forthright woman to keep her seat in parliament.

International Experience Of PC Tyranny And it is not just in Australia but in every western democratic country popular demands have been made for restrictions on expression. Bowing to the clamour of the electorate, politicians in these countries have enacted absurd laws. The Australian community wide declaration of irrational hatred displayed by the persecution of Pauline Hanson, paralleled the Canadian experience of Paul Fromm, director of the Canadian Association for Free Expression Inc., and the examples of the national soccer coach of England and a prominent public servant in Washington, USA confirm that the hysteria is everywhere.

The Inevitable Result Of Political Correctness By using the excuse of not upsetting anyone, the politically correct are demanding that people behave like the fool who would please everyone; that everyone must become such a fool! All must accept the notions of the Politically Correct as truth, or else! This is the same mentality that inspired the Inquisition and forced Galileo to recant; the same mentality that inspired the Nazis and obtained the Holocaust. Once expression gets placed in a straitjacket of official truth, then the madness that occurs in all totalitarian states is obtained. Life, in private and public, becomes a meaningless charade where delusion thrives and terror rules.

Examples Of Denying Freedom Of Speech Evidence of this effect is amply demonstrated by the Soviets, who embraced Political Correctness with the Communist Revolution. The lumbering, pompous, impoverished, humourless monster this Nation became is now History. And it should be remembered that in 1914 Tsarist Russia was considered by Edmund Cars, a French economist who then published a book about the subject, to be an economic giant set to overshadow Europe. The SBS television program “What Ever Happened To Russia”, which was broadcast at 8.30 pm on 25th August 1994, detailed the terrible effect the Bolshevik’s oppression had on their empire. And SBS further detailed the terrible crimes inflicted upon the Russians by their leader Stalin, in the series “Blood On The Snow” broadcast in March 1999. (Also see “Stalin’s Secret War” by Nikolai Tolstoy)

An Old Witness Helen, a member of Parramatta writers club in 1992, was a citizen of Kiev during the Red Terror, and described living with official truth and the constant threat of arrest. Knowing the content of the latest party newspaper was critical to avoiding internment, as public contradiction, either directly or indirectly, meant denouncement to the KGB. If you complained about being hungry when food shortages were not officially recognized, then you became an enemy of the state. If you failed to praise a Soviet hero, or praised an ex-hero, then again your fate was sealed. The need to be politically correct dominated all conversation and behaviour, as failure meant drastic penalty. Uncertainty and fear pervaded everything, nobody could be sure that an official request to visit Party headquarters meant imprisonment, torture, death, public reward or nothing important.

Living with such a terrible handicap naturally destroyed all spontaneity of thought or action, rendering the whole community mad. The awful effect this had upon Helen’s sanity was made clear when she escaped to Australia. Here she encountered the free press, which had an unpleasant impact upon her. One day she read The Australian newspaper which happened to carry two separate articles about Patrick White, one praising, the other denigrating, this well known writer. Poor Helen found herself turning from one to the other, which was she to repeat as correct? She nearly had a nervous breakdown.

Political Correctness Is Social Dementia Unless plain speaking is allowed, clear thinking is denied. There can be no good reason for denying freedom of expression, there is no case to rebut, only the empty slogans of people inspired by selfishness and unrestrained by morality. The proponents of this nonsense neither understand the implications of what they say, nor why they are saying it: they are insane; which must mean that any community that embraces Political Correctness has discarded sanity.

Social Decline Grows Worse With Each Generation Political Correctness is part of the social decline that generation by generation makes public behaviour less restrained and less rational.

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The origin and nature of political correctness (26/11/2015)

Herndon, Virginia – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

 Beaches  Comments Off on Herndon, Virginia – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Feb 122016
 

Herndon is a town in Fairfax and Loudoun Counties,[3][4]Virginia, in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area of the United States. The population was 23,292 at the 2010 census, which makes it the largest of three towns in the county.[5]

Herndon was named for Commander William Lewis Herndon, American naval explorer and author of Exploration of the Valley of the Amazon. Commander Herndon captained the ill-fated steamer SS Central America, going down with his ship while helping to save over 150 of its passengers and crew. The settlement was named Herndon in 1858. In the 1870s, many Northern soldiers and their families came to settle in the area, taking advantage of moderate climate and low land prices. Herndon also offered a group of friendly and local Native Americans who helped the town to prosper via trade and instruction.[6]

Originally part of the rural surroundings of the Washington, D.C. area, the town of Herndon developed into a hub of dairy farming and vacationing for area residents, aided by its presence along the Alexandria, Loudoun and Hampshire Railroad (later to become the Washington and Old Dominion (W&OD) Railroad).[6] When the railroad was converted into a hike-and-bike trail, Herndon capitalized on history and small-town feel (in a major metropolitan region) by converting its train station into a museum and visitors center by relocating a Norfolk Southern Railway caboose to a nearby site and repainting it in W&OD livery.[7]

Although the caboose itself never traveled through Herndon, it remains an iconic part of the downtown area that both locals and tourists visit daily.[7] The caboose and station offer a glimpse of the original downtown’s historic charm, which residents are passionate about preserving.[7]

On January 14, 2004, the Town of Herndon commemorated its 125th anniversary.[8]

The town of Herndon was part of a nationally reported controversy involving illegal immigration beginning in 2005.[9] The controversy revolved around a day labor center called the Herndon Official Worker Center (HOW Center), operated by Reston Interfaith’s Project Hope and Harmony under a grant from surrounding Fairfax County.[10] The HOW Center was created in response to daily gatherings of Hispanic workers at a local 7-Eleven store.[9][11]

The 2006 election for Mayor and Town Council revolved mainly around the issue, and resulted in unseating the pro-center Mayor and two councilmembers.[12] The center closed after less than two years of operation, in September 2007.

Herndon is located at 385817N 772319W / 38.97139N 77.38861W / 38.97139; -77.38861 (38.971478, 77.388675).[13]

According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 4.2square miles (10.9km), all of it land.

As of the census[1] of 2010, there were 23,292 people, 7,472 households, and 5,357 families residing in the town. The population density was 5,129.9 people per square mile (1,981.3/km). There were 7,190 housing units at an average density of 1,703.3 per square mile (657.8/km). The racial makeup of the town was 50.7% White, 9.5% Black, 0.7% Native American, 17.9% Asian (8.5% Indian, 1.6% Vietnamese, 1.5% Chinese, 1.2% Filipino, 0.7% Korean, 0.1% Japanese, 4.2% Other Asian), 0.0% Pacific Islander, 16.0% from other races, and 5.2% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 33.6% of the population.

There were 6,962 households, of which 41.7% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 56.8% were married couples living together, 9.4% had a female householder with no husband present, and 28.6% were non-families. 20.6% of all households were made up of individuals and 2.8% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 3.11 and the average family size was 3.54.

In the town the population was spread out with 27.1% under the age of 18, 10.2% from 18 to 24, 38.3% from 25 to 44, 20.5% from 45 to 64, and 3.9% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 32 years. For every 100 females there were 111.4 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 111.0 males.

The median income for a household in the town was $72,912, and the median income for a family was $79,140 (these figures had risen to $92,947 and $108,446 respectively as of a 2007 estimate[15]). Males had a median income of $44,197 versus $35,548 for females. The per capita income for the town was $26,941. About 4.7% of families and 8.1% of the population were below the poverty line, including 9.1% of those under age 18 and 5.5% of those age 65 or over.

Herndon is part of the Dulles Technology Corridor, which Fortune magazine named the “Netplex” because of the presence of the headquarters of such companies as AOL, XO Communications, Verizon Business (formerly MCI, formerly WorldCom, originally UUNET), and Network Solutions, which began as the INTERNIC the registry where every domain name was once administered.

Some of those companies are within Herndon. Others have Herndon mailing addresses, but are located in unincorporated Fairfax or Loudoun counties, e.g., south of the Dulles Toll Road. These include Deltek and K12.

According to the Town’s 2014 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report, the top employers in the Town are:[16]

The town is organized as an incorporated town by the Commonwealth of Virginia,[17][18] and is governed by an elected Mayor and Town Council[19] who serve on a part-time basis. The current Mayor is Lisa C. Merkel, who was first elected to Council in 2010 and served as Vice Mayor until her election as Mayor in 2012. The Mayor chairs the Council and heads the executive branch of the town government. The Police Department, independent of the county police department, is headed by Colonel Maggie DeBoard. and consists of 56 sworn officers along with the assistance of the Herndon Police Citizen Support Team. The Herndon Police Department achieved national recognition on November 8, 1986 by becoming the 7th police agency in Virginia and the 42nd police agency in the United States to be accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies.[20]

Herndon boasts a wide variety of diversions and celebrations year round. Among the community events are:

Herndon contains the Herndon Depot Museum, the site of “Mosby’s Raid on Herndon Station”, which was a Civil War skirmish that took place on St. Patrick’s Day, 1863. Also within the town is The Herndon Centennial Golf Course, the Herndon ArtSpace (a community art gallery), community center with basketball and racquetball courts and multiple baseball fields, and an aquatic center. Adjacent to the community center is Bready Park, with indoor tennis courts. Additionally, every residence within the town borders is within a mile or less of a public park.

Nearby attractions include the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center of the National Air and Space Museum (which houses the Enola Gay B-29 Superfortress, a Concorde supersonic passenger airplane, an SR-71A Blackbird plane and the Space Shuttle Discovery), Frying Pan Park, Sully Plantation, Reston Town Center, Mount Vernon, Wolf Trap National Park for the Performing Arts, Colvin Run Mill, Aldie Mill, Oatlands Plantation, Manassas National Battlefield Park and the Washington and Old Dominion Trail (which runs through the town).

Herndon is within the Fairfax County Public Schools district.

Public schools serving students within the Herndon town limits are:[21][22][23]

Private school options include Nysmith School for the Gifted, Temple Baptist, St Joseph’s Elementary and several Montessori schools.

Fairfax County Public Library operates the Herndon Fortnightly Library in Herndon.[24]

The climate in this area is characterized by hot, humid summers and generally mild to cool winters. According to the Kppen Climate Classification system, Herndon has a humid subtropical climate, abbreviated “Cfa” on climate maps.[25]

Its sister city is Runnymede, Surrey, England, United Kingdom.[26]

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Herndon, Virginia – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Crestview, FL – Crestview, Florida Map & Directions – MapQuest

 Beaches  Comments Off on Crestview, FL – Crestview, Florida Map & Directions – MapQuest
Jan 222016
 

Crestview is a city in Okaloosa County, Florida, United States. Crestviews name was chosen because of its location on the peak of a long woodland range between the Yellow and Shoal rivers which flow almost parallel on the east and west side of the City. It is the county seat of Okaloosa County. With an elevation of 235 feet (72m) above sea level, it is one of the highest points in the state; it receives 65 inches (1,700mm) of rainfall annually, the second-most of any city in the state of Florida, next to Fort Walton Beach with 69inches. The town was once known as “the icebox of Florida”, due to it having the coldest winters in the state. Today it goes by a more popular nickname as the “Hub City” of Northwest Florida. According to the U.S Census estimates of 2010, the city had a population of 18,987. Crestview is one of Florida’s fastest growing cities, residential developments, shopping, and land area to grow. It has, as of July 2007, become the largest city in Okaloosa County. In 2007, George Whitehurst, who had been mayor for nearly 20 years, resigned, leading to the election of David Cadle. Cadle had recently retired as the long-time director of the Crestview High School band, The Big Red Machine. As part of the 2005 Base Realignment and Closure round, Crestview will experience further population growth as the U.S. Army’s 7th Special Forces Group relocates from Fort Bragg, North Carolina to a newly built cantonment facility on the northern end of the Eglin Air Force Base reservation, approximately six miles south of the city.

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Twenty-fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution …

 Fourth Amendment  Comments Off on Twenty-fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution …
Jan 192016
 

The Twenty-fourth Amendment (Amendment XXIV) of the United States Constitution prohibits both Congress and the states from conditioning the right to vote in federal elections on payment of a poll tax or other types of tax. The amendment was proposed by Congress to the states on August 27, 1962, and was ratified by the states on January 23, 1964.

Southern states of the former Confederacy adopted poll taxes in laws of the late 19th century and new constitutions from 1890 to 1908, after the Democratic Party had generally regained control of state legislatures decades after the end of Reconstruction, as a measure to prevent African Americans and often poor whites from voting. Use of the poll taxes by states was held to be constitutional by the Supreme Court of the United States in the 1937 decision Breedlove v. Suttles.

When the 24th Amendment was ratified in 1964, five states still retained a poll tax: Virginia, Alabama, Texas, Arkansas, and Mississippi. The amendment prohibited requiring a poll tax for voters in federal elections. But it was not until 1966 that the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 63 in Harper v. Virginia Board of Elections that poll taxes for any level of elections were unconstitutional. It said these violated the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. Subsequent litigation related to potential discriminatory effects of voter registration requirements has generally been based on application of this clause.

Poll tax

Cumulative poll tax (missed poll taxes from prior years must also be paid to vote)

No poll tax

Southern states adopted the poll tax as a requirement for voting as part of a series of laws intended to marginalize black Americans from politics so far as practicable without violating the Fifteenth Amendment. This required that voting not be limited by “race, color, or previous condition of servitude.” All voters were required to pay the poll tax, but in practice it most affected the poor. Notably this impacted both African Americans and poor white voters, some of whom had voted with Populist and Fusionist candidates in the late 19th century, temporarily disturbing Democratic rule. Proponents of the poll tax downplayed this aspect and assured white voters they would not be affected. Passage of poll taxes began in earnest in the 1890s, as Democrats wanted to prevent another Populist-Republican coalition. Despite election violence and fraud, African Americans were still winning numerous local seats. By 1902, all eleven states of the former Confederacy had enacted a poll tax, many within new constitutions that contained other provisions to reduce voter lists, such as literacy or comprehension tests. The poll tax was used together with grandfather clauses and the “white primary”, and threats of violence. For example, potential voters had to be “assessed” in Arkansas, and blacks were utterly ignored in the assessment.[2]

From 19001937, such use of the poll tax was nearly ignored by the federal government. Some state-level initiatives repealed it. The poll tax survived a legal challenge in the 1937 Supreme Court case Breedlove v. Suttles, which ruled that “[The] privilege of voting is not derived from the United States, but is conferred by the state and, save as restrained by the Fifteenth and Nineteenth Amendments and other provisions of the Federal Constitution, the state may condition suffrage as it deems appropriate.”[3]

The issue remained prominent, as most African Americans in the South were disenfranchised. President Franklin D. Roosevelt spoke out against the tax. He publicly called it “a remnant of the Revolutionary period” that the country had moved past. However, Roosevelt’s favored liberal Democrats lost in the 1938 primaries to the reigning conservative Southern Democrats, and he backed off the issue. He felt that he needed Southern Democratic votes to pass New Deal programs and did not want to further antagonize them.[4] Still, efforts at the Congressional level to abolish the poll tax continued. A 1939 bill to abolish the poll tax in federal elections was tied up by the Southern Block, lawmakers whose long tenure in office from a one-party region gave them seniority and command of numerous important committee chairmanships. A discharge petition was able to force the bill to be considered, and the House passed the bill 25484.[5] However, the bill was unable to defeat a filibuster in the Senate by Southern senators and a few Northern allies who valued the support of the powerful and senior Southern seats. This bill would be re-proposed in the next several Congresses. It came closest to passage during World War II, when opponents framed abolition as a means to help overseas soldiers vote. However, after learning that the US Supreme Court decision Smith v. Allwright (1944) banned use of the “white primary,” the Southern block refused to approve abolition of the poll tax.[6]

In 1946, the Senate came close to passing the bill. 24 Democrats and 15 Republicans approved an end to debate, while 7 non-southern Democrats and 7 Republicans joined with the 19 Southern Democrats in opposition. The result was a 39-33 vote in favor of the bill, but the filibuster required a two-thirds supermajority to break at the time; a 48-24 vote was required to pass the bill.[clarification needed] Those in favor of abolition of the poll tax considered a constitutional amendment after the 1946 defeat, but that idea did not advance either.[7]

The tenor of the debate changed in the 1940s. Southern politicians tried to shift the debate to Constitutional issue, but private correspondence indicates that black disenfranchisement was still the true concern. For instance, Mississippi Senator Theodore Bilbo declared, “If the poll tax bill passes, the next step will be an effort to remove the registration qualification, the educational qualification of Negroes. If that is done we will have no way of preventing the Negroes from voting.”[8] This fear explains why even Southern Senators from states that had abolished the poll tax still opposed the bill; they did not want to set a precedent that the federal government could interfere in state elections.

President Harry S. Truman established the President’s Committee on Civil Rights, which among other issues investigated the poll tax. Considering that opposition to federal poll tax regulation in 1948 was claimed as based on the Constitution, the Committee noted that a constitutional amendment might be the best way to proceed. Still, little occurred during the 1950s. Members of the anti-poll tax movement laid low during the anti-Communist frenzy of the period; some of the main proponents of poll tax abolition, such as Joseph Gelders and Vito Marcantonio, had been committed Marxists.[9]

President John F. Kennedy returned to this issue. His administration urged Congress to adopt and send such an amendment to the states for ratification. He considered the constitutional amendment the best way to avoid a filibuster, as the claim that federal abolition of the poll tax was unconstitutional would be moot. Still, some liberals opposed Kennedy’s action, feeling that an amendment would be too slow compared to legislation.[10]Spessard Holland, a conservative Democrat from Florida, introduced the amendment to the Senate. Holland opposed most civil rights legislation during his career,[11] and Kennedy’s gaining of his support helped splinter monolithic Southern opposition to the Amendment. Ratification of the amendment was relatively quick, taking slightly more than a year; it was rapidly ratified by state legislatures across the country from August 1962 to January 1964.

President Lyndon B. Johnson called the amendment a “triumph of liberty over restriction” and “a verification of people’s rights.”[12] States that maintained the poll tax were more reserved. Mississippi’s Attorney General, Joe Patterson, complained about the complexity of two sets of voters – those who paid their poll tax and could vote in all elections, and those who had not and could only vote in federal elections.[12] Additionally, non-payers of the poll tax could still be deterred by requirements that they register far in advance of the election and retain records of such registration.[13] States such as Alabama also exercised discrimination in the application of literacy tests.

Ratified amendment, 196264

Ratified amendment post-enactment, 1977, 1989, 2002, 2009

Rejected amendment

Didn’t ratify amendment

Congress proposed the Twenty-fourth Amendment on August 27, 1962.[14][15] The amendment was submitted to the states on September 24, 1962, after it passed with the requisite two-thirds majorities in the House and Senate.[12] The following states ratified the amendment:

Ratification was completed on January 23, 1964. The Georgia legislature did make a last-second attempt to be the 38th state to ratify. This was a surprise as “no Southern help could be expected”[13] for the amendment. The Georgia Senate quickly and unanimously passed it, but the House did not act in time.[12] Georgia’s ratification was apparently dropped after South Dakota’s ratification.

The amendment was subsequently ratified by the following states:

The amendment was specifically rejected by the following state:

The following states have not ratified the amendment:

Arkansas effectively repealed its poll tax for all elections with Amendment 51 to the Arkansas Constitution at the November 1964 general election, several months after this amendment was ratified. The poll-tax language was not completely stricken from its Constitution until Amendment 85 in 2008.[16] Of the five states originally affected by this amendment, Arkansas was the only one to repeal its poll tax; the other four retained their taxes until they were struck down in 1966 by the US Supreme Court decision in Harper v. Virginia Board of Elections (1966), which ruled poll taxes unconstitutional even for state elections. Federal district courts in Alabama and Texas, respectively, struck down their poll taxes less than two months before the Harper ruling was issued.

The state of Virginia accommodated the amendment by providing an “escape clause” to the poll tax. In lieu of paying the poll tax, a prospective voter could file paperwork to gain a certificate establishing a place of residence in Virginia. The papers would have to be filed six months in advance of voting and the voter had to provide a copy of certificate at the time of voting. This measure was expected to decrease the number of legal voters.[17] In the 1965 Supreme Court decision Harman v. Forssenius, the Court unanimously found such measures unconstitutional. It declared that for federal elections, “the poll tax is abolished absolutely as a prerequisite to voting, and no equivalent or milder substitute may be imposed.”[18]

While not directly related to the Twenty-fourth Amendment, the Supreme Court case Harper v. Virginia Board of Elections (1966) ruled that the poll tax was unconstitutional at every level, not just for federal elections. The Harper decision relied upon the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, rather than the Twenty-Fourth Amendment. As such, issues related to whether burdens on voting are equivalent to poll taxes in discriminatory effect have usually been litigated on Equal Protection grounds since.

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Editorial: Political speech or corruption?

 Free Speech  Comments Off on Editorial: Political speech or corruption?
Apr 062015
 

By Editorial Board April 5 at 6:53 PM

IN THE Supreme Courts landmark 2010 case Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission , the court declared that corporate independent political expenditures are protected free speech under the First Amendment and cannot be constrained. The court wrestled with the possibility that unlimited spending might have a corrupting influence on politics, but in the end it decided that free speech was the overriding goal and that as long as the expenditures were independent of candidates, and transparent, they would not increase corruption. The campaign cycles since then have been increasingly awash in this spending, much of it going to super PACs.

Now comes a disturbing set of facts that call into question the courts logic and conclusions about corruption. The April 1 indictment of Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) on bribery charges alleges a chronology that should worry everyone who cares about integrity in national politics. According to the indictment, a wealthy Florida ophthalmologist, Salomon Melgen, who was seeking Mr. Menendezs support on matters before the U.S. government, wrote two checks for $300,000 each in 2012 to the Senate Majority PAC, a super PAC devoted to supporting the election of Senate Democrats.

The donations were earmarked for use in the senators state of New Jersey. The senator was the only Democrat running for the Senate then in New Jersey. The doctor handed over one of the checks to a close friend of Mr. Menendez at the senators annual fundraiser. Is this what the court envisioned as independent?

The super PAC has said it acted within the law. It will be up to a jury to decide whether the doctor and the senator engaged in corruption. But the facts asserted in the indictment are sufficient to call into question the courts underlying thinking in Citizens United. The court declared that independent expenditures, including those made by corporations, do not give rise to corruption or the appearance of corruption. The court added that there is only scant evidence that independent expenditures even ingratiate.

In this case, the money may have earned the doctor more than just gratitude. The indictment describes a flurry of e-mails, calls and requests for meetings by the senator on behalf of the Florida doctor. The senator aimed his efforts at cabinet members, regulators and fellow senators. There is no evidence of a direct quid pro quo, but the timing is suspicious. For example, on June 1, 2012, the doctor issued a $300,000 check, through his company, to the super PAC, earmarked for New Jersey politicking. On June 7, the senator met with the acting administrator of the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to advocate for a resolution of a Medicare billing dispute involving the doctor to the tune of nearly $9 million. Just coincidence?

Whats at stake here is more than just one case. The Supreme Court has created an environment pregnant with possibility for corruption. The principles of independent expenditure are being routinely subverted. The reality of corrupt politics money for favors is growing more evident by the day.

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WESLEY PRUDEN: Democrats are ready for Hillary Clinton, but is Hillary ready?

 Illuminati  Comments Off on WESLEY PRUDEN: Democrats are ready for Hillary Clinton, but is Hillary ready?
Mar 312015
 

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

The Syndicate convened the Bilderberg Group, the Council on Foreign Relations, the Illuminati and the Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy over the weekend at a secret hideaway in downtown Shangri-la to talk about themes for the 2016 campaign.

Were all familiar with the work of the Syndicate, though few know whos in it. The Syndicate controls everything: Nothing is too small to escape Syndicate attention. Perhaps youre looking for a friends house late on a dark and rainy night on Coffee Pot Lane, and you remember that the house is definitely on the south side of the street. Frustration expands, temper grows short, and suddenly there it is but on the north side of the street. You werent wrong. The Syndicate, having heard you were coming, moved the house. During the night theyll put it back.

The Syndicate picks presidents, but calls in other smaller but powerful cartels to help. Next year the chosen Democrat is Hillary Clinton. Theres not yet a chosen Republican, though the Bilderberg Group and the Council on Foreign Relations are rooting for Jeb Bush. The Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy likes Ted Cruz. No final decision on candidates yet, but the campaign themes were locked in by Sunday night when everybody went home:

Vote for Hillary: She aint much but shes all weve got. The Republican candidate will stick with the tried and sometimes true: Vote Republican: Were not as bad as you think.

Thats the kind of year 2016 is shaping up to be. Nobody yet figures to make anyone throw his hat in the air, which is logical since no one wears a hat any more. (Women were nuts to give up hats and take up ugly shoes.) Recycling is not yet for everybody, but it works in presidential politics.

Martin OMalley, the former Democratic governor of Maryland who is trying to put his foot in the water if he can find the lake, says what a lot of people in both parties are thinking: In a nation of 330 million, give or take, why is it given to only two families to furnish candidates for president? I think that our country always benefits from new leadership and new perspectives, Mr. OMalley tells ABC News. Lets be honest here. The presidency is not some crown to be passed between two families. It is an awesome and sacred trust, to be earned, and exercised, on behalf of the American people.

Given the givens, Hillary may still be the inevitable Democrat, but she doesnt look as inevitable as she did only a few weeks ago. Within the space of a single week, The Washington Post and The New York Times, loyal as always to Democratic interests, published cautions to the party, The Post about how Democrats are alarmed about Hillarys readiness for a campaign and The New York Times about how many Democrats are frightened that they have nobody but Hillary. Theyre ready for Hillary but Hillarys not ready to run. And where is Bubba?

How could this happen to such a nice party as the Democrats, usually with prospective candidates bumping into each other on the way to the convention. They used to say in the Solid South that Democratic fights were like cat fights and fights in Baptist churches, resulting only in more Democrats, more Baptists and more cats. Now the South is solid for the Republicans, and next year the Democrats are acting like proper Republicans, talking about choosing a candidate by inheritance.

A new CBS News poll finds that 8 of 10 Democrats want Hillary to run, and 8 of 10 want someone to challenge her in the primaries. Its a lot to ask of someone to make a suicide run, but its true that sending Hillary to battle untested, with neither battle scars nor battle stars is an invitation to disappointment on Election Day.

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WESLEY PRUDEN: Democrats are ready for Hillary Clinton, but is Hillary ready?

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Governor, deputy to face-off in Riau election

 Islands  Comments Off on Governor, deputy to face-off in Riau election
Mar 312015
 

The Riau Islands General Elections Commission (KPUD) is ready to hold a gubernatorial election, with the incumbent governor and deputy governor set to battle it out to leader the province.

Riau Islands KPUD head Said Sirajuddin said the election, held alongside other elections in seven regencies and mayoralties in October, was estimated to cost Rp 89 billion (S$9.36 million), less than the earlier estimate of Rp 121 billion.

“The budget is smaller because based on the new electoral law, an election is held in a single round, so it costs less,” Sirajuddin told The Jakarta Post on Monday.

According to him, the election’s stages had yet to be arranged because the General Elections Commission (KPU) was still discussing its regulations (PKPUs) with the House of Representatives’ Commission II overseeing domestic governance on Tuesday.

“We’re still waiting for the PKPU, which will be discussed by the KPU and Commission II tomorrow. We will arrange the election phases after the new PKPUs have been decided, including the election budget,” said Sirajuddin.

According to him, based on the number of ballots obtained in the 2014 legislative election, only the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P) can nominate its candidates for governor and deputy governor for the 2015-2020 period without forming a coalition.

He added that the number of voters in the Riau Islands in the 2014 legislative election was 1.3 million, but his commission would recount the number of voters after the KPU issued the PKPU on simultaneous elections.

More than 50 per cent of eligible voters are found in Batam, while the rest are in Bintan, Karimun, Tanjungpinang, Natuna, Anambas and Lingga.

Meanwhile, Governor Muhammad Sani has declared he will team up with Batam Mayor Ahmad Dahlan to contest the election against Deputy Governor Soerya Respationo, as both vie for the gubernatorial seat for the 2015-2020 term.

Sani, a former bureaucrat and member of the Golkar Party Riau Islands supervisory board, announced Dahlan, who is also the Democratic Party’s Batam Regional Executive Board chairman, as his running mate on Feb. 19.

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Democrats Caught Up In Controversial Indiana Religious Freedom Law

 Freedom  Comments Off on Democrats Caught Up In Controversial Indiana Religious Freedom Law
Mar 292015
 

TIME Politics 2016 Election Democrats Caught Up In Controversial Indiana Religious Freedom Law Michael ConroyAP Indiana Gov. Mike Pence announces that the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services has approved the state’s waiver request for the plan his administration calls HIP 2.0, during a speech in Indianapolis. Obama, Clinton have backed similar religious freedom bills.

Indianas new religious freedom law, which has prompted calls for a state boycott because it might permit discrimination against gays and lesbians, was made law by a Republican governor and Republican legislature. But the controversy could also ensnare leading Democrats like President Barack Obama, Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and New York Sen. Chuck Schumer, who previously supported bills with similar effects years ago.

The Religious Freedom Restoration Act was signed into federal law by President Bill Clinton more than 20 years ago, said Indiana Gov. Mike Pence on ABCs This Week, defending his states actions by pointing to similar federal legislation. Indiana properly brought the same version that then state senator Barack Obama voted for in Illinois before our legislature.

The Indiana law prohibits the state from enacting statues that substantially burden a persons ability to follow his or her religious beliefs. Critics argue it could be used to allow businesses to discriminate against gay and lesbian Americans in the state, prompting criticism from executives at companies like Apple, Salesforce.com and the NCAA, which will host the mens Final Four basketball tournament in Indianapolis next weekend.

Democrats, including Hillary Clinton and aides to President Obama have also criticized the law. Sad this new Indiana law can happen in America today. We shouldnt discriminate against ppl bc of who they love, Clinton tweeted over the weekend.

But the Indiana law was modeled on the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) introduced by then-Rep. Chuck Schumer, who is now a senior Democratic Senator from New York, and signed into law in 1993 by then-President Bill Clinton. The bill passed the U.S. Senate by a vote on 97 to 3 in 1993. The power of God is such that even in the legislative process, miracles can happen, President Clinton joked at the time of the bipartisan consensus.

Unlike the federal law which is focused on restricting government action to protect religious freedom, the Indiana version has a broader scope, potentially giving new rights to claim religious beliefs for private parties, like wedding cake vendors, who do not want to serve gay couples.

As an Illinois State Senator in 1998, Obama also voted in favor of a version of the new Indiana law. Years after that law passed, Illinois passed an explicit ban on discrimination based on sexual orientation, making clear that the law could not be used to deny service between private parties. That provision is not on the books in Indiana.

Despite weighing in on other controversial legislation in states, including this months passage of an anti-union bill in Wisconsin, Obama has not commented on the Indiana law, leaving his aides to critique it.

Look, if you have to go back two decades to try to justify something you are doing today, it may raise some questions about the wisdom of what youre doing, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said Sunday on ABCs This Week. Obama ducked a question on the Indiana law Saturday from reporters before departing on a two-day golf vacation to Florida.

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No free elections without freedom

 Freedom  Comments Off on No free elections without freedom
Mar 222015
 

It is universally acknowledged that freedom of expression is a fundamental freedom which every liberal democratic polity dearly upholds. In keeping up with this liberal ideal, the Cambodian Constitution solemnly enshrines freedom of expression in its Article 41. Far too often, however, the essence of this fundamental freedom is not well understood, likely due to the lack of an adequate understanding of its raison dtre in the first place.

Since freedom of expression is a concept originating from the West, I will utilise the theory on such freedom commonly found, for instance, in the American tradition of constitutional law. This modern legal tradition expounds four simple reasons why such freedom must exist and be practiced.

First, this freedom would generate a sense self-governance for the people. Free speech is vital in a true democracy because voters can best influence governments choice of policies through free speech and can most fittingly evaluate candidates capabilities through unrestricted discussion about their ideas and deeds. In other words, in a liberal democracy, through freedom of expression it is the people themselves who govern public affairs. This ought to be so as Cambodian Constitution solemnly stipulates that all powers emanate from the people (Article 51). Representative democracy does not mean that people cease to speak. The ability to criticise government is the very core of a liberal democracy, which Cambodian political system clearly aspires to.

Second, free speech also functions as a fact-finding mechanism through which the real truth would be easy to discover. This is because open discussions often lead to find out what is right and what is wrong. There is hardly any better alternative. No reasonable citizen would ever say that government is the only organ able to determine what is true or false. Unless we forget, Cambodian Constitution vividly embraces the concept of fact-finding by the people, for instance, through National Congress Samach Cheat (Art 147) at which ordinary people would have a direct say on which policies have gone well or gone wild. Thus, the concept of empowering direct fact-finding by the people is not alien to our Constitutional system.

The third argument in favour of freedom of expression resides in its gratification of human self-identity. It is only through free speech that one person may discover her own personhood. Simply put, expressing ideas is how that person would define herself.

Civil society organisations (CSOs) represent voice of the people and have been playing very important role in democratic process including running voter education programs, organising debates and forums for all contesting political parties to improve level playing field, conducting polling and survey, monitoring elections and expressing independent opinions through making statements and giving comments, etc.

However, the current draft law on the Amendments to the Law on the Election of Members of the National Assembly (Article 84) intentionally restricts freedom and rights of CSOs to conduct the above activities, preventing CSOs from delivering civic education which could help people make a more informed decisions. Without the work of the civil society, voters will have to be content with politicised arguments of contenders.

Interestingly, the same law allows the officials of the armed forces and the judiciary to conduct political activities and campaigns during non-working hours or when they are not on official duties. In many democratic countries these officials are required to be neutral and prohibited from political activities and campaigns because they are influential and are given election related duties at various stages of the electoral process. It should also be noted that while the law restricts CSOs, it does not restrict the private sector from engaging in political activities.

Fourthly, when a government does not allow free speech, it certainly does not tolerate criticism. And tolerance, as much in Buddhism as it is in other forms of religion, is a basic value in a free society.

Cambodian Constitution unequivocally declares that Buddhism is the religion of the country (Article 43), thereby, making tolerance a basic core value in Cambodian society. Free speech ought to result from this value.

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Nato head tells David Cameron: We are counting on your leadership

 NATO  Comments Off on Nato head tells David Cameron: We are counting on your leadership
Mar 132015
 

We appreciate the leadership that the UK shows in the Alliance, and we count on leadership also in the future, Mr Stoltenberg said.

In the same press release, Nato said he would be meeting Michael Fallon to ensure important decisions from the Wales summit last year were being implemented.

A central outcome of the summit was a promise for all European allies to recommit to spending 2 per cent of their GDP on defence a long-standing obligation.

At the time the Prime Minister called on those countries below the mark to meet the obligation within a decade and signed a pledge saying Britain would aim to continue to hit the 2 per cent mark.

In a separate development, Mr Cameron appeared to admit the difficulty in justifying why a government should protect aid spending during austerity while not ring-fencing defence.

Pushed by the Financial Times on how the Prime Minister could say defence was more about deployability of forces than raw spending numbers while enshrining legal aid spending in law, Mr Cameron reportedly said: Its a fair point.

No 10 spokesperson said of the meeting between Mr Cameron and Mr Stoltenberg: The Prime Minister explained that the UK would continue to meet the 2 per cent target this financial year and next, but decisions beyond this would be made in the next Spending Review.

The Secretary General said he appreciated the UKs leadership within the Alliance and that the Government was using its defence spending to focus on investment in new capabilities.”

Last month two former Nato heads warned that Mr Cameron will embolden Mr Putin and Islamic terrorists if he reneges on a commitment to spend two per cent of GDP on defence.

Anders Fogh Rasmussen, who left the post as Nato general secretary last year, and his predecessor Jaap de Hoop Scheffer said cutting defence after the election would strength Britains enemies.

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Can the Senates new Republicans usher in NSA surveillance reform?

 NSA  Comments Off on Can the Senates new Republicans usher in NSA surveillance reform?
Feb 232015
 

With the snow-capped Montana mountains behind him, flannel-clad Steve Daines blasted the National Security Agencys sweeping surveillance practices. I stood up to the Washington establishment in support of [a bill] to stop the NSA from collecting the records of innocent Americans, he said. Big government can take away our freedoms.

That was Mr. Daines campaign ad. And the message clearly resonated Daines, a former House representative from Montana, won his election to the Senate.

Security and privacy became hot-button issues in political races across the country after former NSA contractor Edward Snowden disclosed the spy agencys collection of millions of Americans call records. With several national polls showing Americans support curbing the controversial program, many wannabe senators, like Daines, spoke out about the need to protect civil liberties.

Now, 13 new senators are here in Washington and their votes will be crucial in the upcoming debates over surveillance reform.

Congress failed to pass a reform bill last year, despite President Obamas urging and recommendations from government-appointed privacy and civil liberties boards to end the domestic call record bulk collection program. In a Republican-controlled Congress, however, the politics of privacy are even more complex.

After the November elections, incoming Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell encouraged his Republican colleagues to oppose advancing the USA Freedom Act because it could hurt the fight against terrorism. With the threat from the Islamic State in the news, the vote to debate the surveillance reform bill fell short by just two votes. This time around, privacy advocates are warily watching the fresh crop of senators all Republican but one.

If they stay consistent with their past pro-privacy positions, they could very well tip the precarious balance in the upper chamber in favor of reform.

Theres a pretty short list of issues where our phones start ringing off the hook here, Daines told Passcode. Guns, he says, is a key one and when you start looking at surveillance and the federal government overreach, our phone really starts ringing.

This year, the pressures on: A key provision of the Patriot Act the NSA says provides the legal authority for the domestic spying program is set to sunset in June.

Its something the Republican Party is going to have to debate, says Mark Jaycox, legislative analyst for the Electronic Frontier Foundation. The question is going to be, can new members convince the leadership that these authorities need to be reformed?

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Can the Senates new Republicans usher in NSA surveillance reform?

'Duck Dynasty' star to win first amendment award

 Misc  Comments Off on 'Duck Dynasty' star to win first amendment award
Feb 182015
 

Tuesday, February 17, 2015 – 10:43am

“Duck Dynasty” Star Phil Robertson will receive Citizens United’s first amendment award at the Conservative Political Action Conference, known as CPAC, next weekend in Maryland.

The controversial television star who was suspended for controversial remarks in 2013 has become a hero to conservatives supporting freedom of speech.

“In a time where conservative Christians are under attack by the media and pop culture, Phil Robertson continues to courageously stand by Truth and his convictions,” said David N. Bossie, President of Citizens United in a release. “I can think of no better person to present the “Andrew Breitbart Defender of the First Amendment Award” to than Mr. Phil Robertson.”

The award is named after Breitbart, former editor of the eponymous site who passed away in 2012. Conservative Radio star Mark Levin received the award last year.

Robertson, a devout Christian, was briefly suspended from the show for remarks he made about homosexuality in GQ magazine.

“It seems like, to me, a vagina—as a man—would be more desirable than a man’s anus. That’s just me. I’m just thinking: There’s more there! She’s got more to offer,” he said. “I mean, come on, dudes! You know what I’m saying? But hey, sin: It’s not logical, my man. It’s just not logical.”

After public protest, A&E Networks lifted the ban and let Robertson continue filming the highly successful show based on their lives in Louisiana.

CNN also learned Citizens United’s next Freedom Summit will be held in South Carolina this spring. After the success of their Iowa Summit in January, which launched Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s current lead in some polls, the group is aiming to impact the first-in-the-South primary state as well.

The group came into the mainstream during the 2010 Supreme Court case, Citizens United vs. Federal Election Committee, which gave way to the creation of Super Pacs, groups that can take unlimited donations independent of a political candidate or party.

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10 Tax Havens Face Blacklist Threat From Labour – Video

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Feb 102015
 



10 Tax Havens Face Blacklist Threat From Labour
Ed Miliband writes to leaders of overseas territories warning them he will not tolerate tax avoidance if Labour wins the election. Ed Miliband writes to lead…

By: LamontagneCalabrese

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10 Tax Havens Face Blacklist Threat From Labour – Video

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Tax Havens Face Blacklisting Threat From Labour – Video

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Feb 082015
 



Tax Havens Face Blacklisting Threat From Labour
Ed Miliband writes to leaders of overseas territories warning them he will not tolerate tax avoidance if Labour wins the election. Ed Miliband writes to lead…

By: LamontagneCalabrese

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Tax Havens Face Blacklisting Threat From Labour – Video

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Iowa Freedom Summit Kicks Off With Republican Star Power

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Jan 242015
 

DES MOINES, Iowa The Republican race for the White House in 2016 starts here. At least that’s what Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, said Saturday morning as he kicked off the Iowa Freedom Summit, a GOP star-powered event hosting nearly two-dozen speakers and possible presidential contenders. King, who’s co-hosting with the conservative group Citizens United, said he believes the next country’s president will be speaking from the summit’s stage.

This “cattle call” of potential candidates is the unofficial precursor to the Iowa caucus season, which begins Feb. 1, 2016. Twenty-three speakers are on the Iowa Freedom Summit program 10 of whom are being eyed for the White House nod in 2016, including Ben Carson, Scott Walker, Rick Santorum, Ted Cruz, Carly Fiorina, Rick Perry, Chris Christie, Mike Huckabee, Donald Trump and Sarah Palin. Other potential 2016 contenders who were invited but are not attending include Jeb Bush, Mitt Romney, Bobby Jindal, Rand Paul and Marco Rubio.

King called for the election of a “full-spectrum constitutional conservative, who makes the pledge to America … to restore that separation of powers between the legislative, executive and judicial branches of government.” He cited Obamacare as an example of President Barack Obama overreaching his authority, adding that conservatives must “defend this Constitution, and we must restore the rule of law.”

King, the social conservative leader from the Hawkeye State, is also an outspoken opponent of a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants and just this week at the State of the Union claimed first lady Michelle Obama was sitting with a “deportable.” The Obamas had invited a so-called DREAMer, an undocumented immigrant who came to the U.S. as a child.

Alex Moe and Elisha Fieldstadt

First published January 24 2015, 10:45 AM

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Iowa Freedom Summit Kicks Off With Republican Star Power

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