Cyborg | Designer-Babies | Futurism | Futurist | Immortality | Longevity | Nanotechnology | Post-Human | Singularity | Transhuman

Apr 152014

Got 10 seconds? Probably. But I bet you wont spend it waiting for a web page to spin, sputter and load. I hate that. You hate that. And search engines hate that, too. But if your site is lightning fast, everyone will love you.

Not too worried about your slow site? Maybe you should be. Sweet Brown(video autoplay) said it best: Aint nobody got time for that! And research findings agree.

As SEL news reporter Amy Gesenhues noted in her post last March, average page-load speed for top retail sites was over seven seconds well above the ideal load time of three seconds or less. And, according to KissMetrics, that four- to five-second differential is costing retailers billions. In fact, according to their findings, a one-second delay in page response can lead to a seven percent reduction in sales.

But, page speed has implications beyond a poor user experience and loss of revenue it also affects search engine rankings. SEOs have known this for years, but I wanted to find out if that factor was growing in importance. So naturally, I turned to the government to investigate.

No, I dont have a friend in the NSA; rather, I explored the issue by examining Googles page speed patents. Eventually, I dug into one entitled, Using Resource Load Times in Ranking Search Results.

Published in February 2014 (and filed seven months after Matt Cutts 2010 announcementthat Google was now incorporating site speed into its ranking algorithm), the patent details how web pages that load faster receive a ranking score bonus that can move them up in the organic search results:

But what I found interesting was how Google is actually tracking page speed. They are using Chrome not their web crawler.

Thats because when Google developed their Chrome browser, they included tools that enable developers and Google engineers to measure page load speed. This time tracker sends device and page speed information to Google every time you visit a page within your Chrome browser.

But, Google also factors in page speed beyond Chrome.

Read the original post:
5 SEO Tips To Boost Page Speed

As much as six per cent of all world wealth is hidden in tax shelters, according to a new study ‘One per centers’ earned an average of $1.2million in 2012, the most recent year data is available for, but the top 0.01 per cent earned over $30million One per centers’ incomes have remained flat, but the super rich 0.01 per cent have seen incomes sky rocket by 1,300 per cent since the early 1990s

By Ryan Gorman

Published: 18:59 EST, 12 April 2014 | Updated: 19:00 EST, 12 April 2014

348 shares

184

View comments

The richest of the rich are amassing wealth at an astonishing rate and increasingly hiding it in offshore bank accounts, a new report claims.

Those at the top 0.01 per cent of the tax bracket are hiding at least six per cent of their assets offshore, and their expatriation of wealth to tax havens is flying under the radar of even the authorities, according to UC Berkley professor Gabriel Zucman.

‘Ofcial statistics substantially underestimate the net foreign asset positions of rich countries because they fail to capture most of the assets held by households in offshore tax havens,’ Zucman wrote.

Losing out: Government entities like the IRS are less able to tax wealthy citizens because they are increasingly hiding assets in tax shelters

Continued here:
Super rich are even richer than thought as increasingly they hide money in overseas tax havens

GRANT PASS, OR – Hauling a truckload of logs to a Southern Oregon mill last fall, Chris Hill noticed a sheriff’s deputy behind him and flashed his lights to warn a UPS driver coming the other way.

The deputy pulled over Hill on U.S. Highway 140 in White City and handed him a $260 ticket for improperly using his headlights, saying another deputy had seen the flashing lights from behind the UPS truck and alerted him to stop the log truck because of the signaling.

Outraged, Hill decided to fight the ticket, and on Wednesday, a Jackson County Justice Court judge dismissed the citation, finding that motorists flashing their headlights amounts to speech protected by the Oregon Constitution.

Judge Joseph Carter determined the law covering the use of high beams was valid, but was unconstitutional as it was applied by the deputy.

“The citation was clearly given to punish the Defendant for that expression,” the judge wrote. “The government certainly can and should enforce the traffic laws for the safety of all drivers on the road. However, the government cannot enforce the traffic laws, or any other laws, to punish drivers for their expressive conduct.”

The Jackson County Sheriff’s Office did not return a telephone call for comment.

Hill, 38, of Klamath Falls, has been driving truck for 10 years, and was not interested in seeing his insurance rates go up for getting a ticket. He initially told the deputy that the UPS driver was his neighbor, and he was just saying hello.

“My point to the cop was his partner didn’t know why I was flashing my lights,” Hill said. “He couldn’t tell for sure what I was doing.”

By the time his case went to court last month, Hill had researched the law and found nothing that expressly prohibited the use of headlights to signal other drivers. He also recalled a TV news story about a federal judge in the Midwest barring police from handing out tickets to drivers who flashed their lights to warn others of a speed trap ahead.

“I thought, `Well, I’ll throw that in there, too,”‘ he said.

Visit link:
Flashing headlights free speech? Judge says yes



News Wrap: China warns it will defend disputed islands
In our news wrap Tuesday, Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel met with China's defense minister, who warned that his government is ready to use force to defend their sovereignty over a group of…

By: PBS NewsHour

Excerpt from:
News Wrap: China warns it will defend disputed islands – Video

Hauling a truckload of logs to a Southern Oregon mill last fall, Chris Hill noticed a sheriff’s deputy behind him and flashed his lights to warn a UPS driver coming the other way.

The deputy pulled over Hill on U.S. Highway 140 in White City and handed him a $260 ticket for improperly using his headlights, saying another deputy had seen the flashing lights from behind the UPS truck and alerted him to stop the log truck because of the signaling.

Outraged, Hill decided to fight the ticket, and on Wednesday, a Jackson County Justice Court judge dismissed the citation, finding that motorists flashing their headlights amounts to speech protected by the Oregon Constitution.

Judge Joseph Carter determined the law covering the use of high beams was valid, but was unconstitutional as it was applied by the deputy.

“The citation was clearly given to punish the Defendant for that expression,” the judge wrote. “The government certainly can and should enforce the traffic laws for the safety of all drivers on the road. However, the government cannot enforce the traffic laws, or any other laws, to punish drivers for their expressive conduct.”

The Jackson County Sheriff’s Office did not return a telephone call for comment.

Hill, 38, of Klamath Falls, has been driving truck for 10 years, and was not interested in seeing his insurance rates go up for getting a ticket. He initially told the deputy that the UPS driver was his neighbor, and he was just saying hello.

“My point to the cop was his partner didn’t know why I was flashing my lights,” Hill said. “He couldn’t tell for sure what I was doing.”

By the time his case went to court last month, Hill had researched the law and found nothing that expressly prohibited the use of headlights to signal other drivers. He also recalled a TV news story about a federal judge in the Midwest barring police from handing out tickets to drivers who flashed their lights to warn others of a speed trap ahead.

“I thought, ‘Well, I’ll throw that in there, too,’” he said.

Original post:
Judge Says Flashing Headlights Is Free Speech



Andrew Bolt on Racism and Free Speech March 2014
In March 2014 proposed changes to the Australian Racial Discrimination Act 1975 prompted claims that the government is supporting bigotry. http://www.attorneygeneral.gov.au/Mediareleases/Pages/2014…

By: Rex Lupis

Link:
Andrew Bolt on Racism and Free Speech March 2014 – Video

GEORGE TOWN, GRAND CAYMAN, CAYMAN ISLANDS–(Marketwired – Apr 9, 2014) – Consolidated Water Co. Ltd. (NASDAQ: CWCO) (“Consolidated Water” or “the Company”), which develops and operates seawater desalination plants and water distribution systems in areas of the world where naturally occurring supplies of potable water are scarce or nonexistent, today announced the receipt of a new contract to refurbish the Lower Valley desalination plant and the extension of an existing contract to operate the North Sound desalination plant.Both contracts are with the Water Authority-Cayman (“WAC”), the water utility owned by the Cayman Islands Government, and each of the plants is located on the island of Grand Cayman.

Following a competitive tender process, the WAC has awarded to Consolidated Water a contract to refurbish its 800,000 US gallons per day (USgpd) Lower Valley desalination plant.The refurbishment includes complete replacement of the high pressure pumps; the first and second pass membrane racks, including membranes, pressure vessels and piping; the energy recovery systems; the controls systems; and associated electrical power systems.The WAC will demolish the existing Lower Valley Plant equipment to be replaced under the contract and prepare the existing plant building for installation of the new equipment.The contract requires completion of the refurbishment work within 250 days following the contract’s execution date.

Following the commissioning of the refurbished plant, Consolidated Water will operate the plant for a period of three months and comply with certain performance criteria before transferring the plant to the WAC.The refurbished plant will have a rated water production capacity of 800,000 USgpd.

Consolidated Water constructed and commissioned the Lower Valley desalination plant in 1997 for the WAC and operated the plant under contract until 2013.The Company expanded and refurbished the plant during this period under various contracts and contract extensions.The WAC took over operations and maintenance responsibilities involving the plant in January 2013.

The Company also announced a 12-month extension of its contract to operate the WAC’s 1.6 million USgpd North Sound seawater desalination plant.Consolidated Water constructed and commissioned the North Sound plant in 2002 for the WAC, expanded its production capacity in 2007 from 800,000 USgpd to 1.6 million USgpd, and has satisfactorily operated the plant under contract since commissioning.The operations contract was originally scheduled to expire on April 1, 2014.The WAC has extended the contract for 12 months, with certain adjustments to the terms of the contract as agreed between the WAC and the Company and approved by the Central Tenders Committee of the Cayman Islands Government.

The 12-month extension period will allow the WAC sufficient time to arrange the public tender process for a new operations contract for the plant, as required under the Cayman Islands Public Management and Finance Law.Consolidated Water intends to participate in this tender process.

CWCO-G

About Consolidated Water Co. Ltd.

Consolidated Water Co. Ltd. develops and operates seawater desalination plants and water distribution systems in areas of the world where naturally occurring supplies of potable water are scarce or nonexistent. The Company operates water production and/or distribution facilities in the Cayman Islands, Belize, the British Virgin Islands, The Commonwealth of The Bahamas, and Bali, Indonesia.

Consolidated Water is headquartered in George Town, Grand Cayman, in the Cayman Islands.The Company’s ordinary (common) stock is traded on the NASDAQ Global Select Market under the symbol “CWCO”.Additional information on the Company is available on its website at http://www.cwco.com.

Read more:
Consolidated Water Co. Ltd. Announces Contracts With the Water Authority-Cayman



Catherine Engelbrecht – Friend to Freedom, Enemy of Big Government
Catherine Engelbrecht dared to speak up about the integrity of the electoral system. She didn't just worry about it, write about it, or complain about it. Sh…

By: WesternFreePress

See more here:
Catherine Engelbrecht – Friend to Freedom, Enemy of Big Government – Video

Worshippers carry a cross in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre on Good Friday during Holy Week, in Jerusalem’s Old City.Reuters

As priests are abducted in Crimea, churches burn in Sudan, and American pastors waste away in North Korean prisons, how long will it take this administration to name a new ambassador-at-large for international religious freedom?

With the president visiting Saudi Arabia and the first lady visiting China earlier this month, April would have been a prime opportunity to send a message that America values religious freedom, even in the presence of necessary allies with dismal reputations in this regard. This isnt a Democratic, Republican, liberal, or conservative issue; its a matter of common decency and of human rights.

The ambassadorship has been vacant for six months and it has been nearly two months since President Obama stated at the National Prayer Breakfast that he looks forward to nominating our next ambassador-at-large for international religious freedom.

I have personally witnessed the shocking truth of the presidents related statement that “around the world, freedom of religion is under threat.”

– Recently, I was in the West Bank where earlier this year in the village of Deir Istiya, attackers set fire to the local mosque and spray painted hate messages on its walls.

– The same day I was leaving the region, radical Islamists fired at least 40 rockets into the towns of their Jewish neighbors.

– A few weeks ago, as worshippers were gathering in St. Pauls Roman Catholic Church in Nigeria, Boko Haram a militant group trying to overthrow the government and create an Islamic state, attacked the church and killed over 45 parishioners. One of the survivors lost her husband and child in the attack and when interviewed all she could say was, we saw hell.

– In the mainly Buddhist nation of Burma, the number of displaced Rohingya Muslims has climbed to more than 150,000; others have been killed at the hands of Buddhist mobs, and all of this has happened since Burma began making its move toward political reform.

— In the Central African Republic, Christian militias are now responding with unspeakable violence against the mainly Muslim Seleka rebels who notoriously terrorized Christians in the country last year, and on a recent Sunday morning in Mombasa, Kenya, extremists killed 2 Christian church leaders as they sat in the pews of Joy Jesus Church.

See the article here:
OPINION: US, Obama must act now to save lives, protect religious freedom

Forty people are missing and 49,000 homeless after entire communities washed away following heavy rains Devastating flash floods in the Solomon Islands have killed at least 19 people, while 40 are still missing and an estimated 49,000 people are homeless. Entire riverside communities and bridges were washed away when the Matanikau river in Honiara broke its banks on Thursday. The government …

See more here:
Solomon Islands flash floods kill at least 19 people

HONIARA, Solomon Islands Flash floods in the Solomon Islands have killed 14 people and left thousands more homeless.

Government spokesman George Herming said Saturday that the death toll could rise further, with many people listed as missing. He said as many as 15,000 people have had their homes destroyed or made uninhabitable.

The South Pacific island nation is home to 600,000 people.

Herming said there were several days of rain before the Mataniko River in the capital, Honiara, burst its banks Thursday and flooded low-lying settlements alongside the river.

He said the flooding continued through Friday, and waters began to gradually recede Saturday.

New Zealand’s government has pledged 300,000 New Zealand dollars ($258,000) to the relief effort.

See more here:
Solomon Islands flooding kills 14 people and leaves thousands more homeless

Meat producers including Hormel Foods Group Inc. (HRL) will get another chance to challenge country-of-origin labeling rules in a case pitting corporate free-speech rights against the governments regulatory reach.

The U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington today threw out a March 28 ruling by a three-judge panel upholding the Department of Agricultures labeling requirements so all 11 judges on the court can reconsider a constitutional question of corporate free speech: Can regulators require labels only that correct a deception such as false advertising or can they demand data for other purposes such as addressing consumer confusion?

The regulations, which were adopted in May and took full effect in November, require producers to specify the country or countries where an animal was born, raised and slaughtered. Retail packages cant mix muscle cuts from different countries under a general label.

Country-of-origin labeling forces meat producers to segregate animals and raises costs, according to the American Meat Institute and other opponents. They also argue the government doesnt have a good enough reason to override their free speech rights and force them to make statements against their will, a contention the appeals court panel rejected.

Admittedly, theres consumer curiosity about the origin of meat products, said Mark Dopp, general counsel of the meat institute, the Washington-based meat industry group leading the challenge to the rules. But we dont feel that rises to the level of a compelling government interest that would be needed to justify the labeling mandate, he said.

The Consumer Federation of America argued in court papers supporting the government that the rules aim to lessen confusion is enough reason to compel labels that put factual statements on packages.

Congress recognized that such confusion was particularly acute in the case of meat products, the group said.

Allison Price, a spokeswoman for the Justice Department, which is defending the rule, declined to comment in an e-mail.

In deciding to re-hear the free speech issue, the court followed the panels urging that the entire court resolve which of two earlier cases should set the standard on corporate free speech in the circuit.

The panels ruling sustained a decision by U.S. District Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson in September rejecting the meat groups bid to block the rules pending a trial on the merits of their case.

View post:
Meat Groups Get Second Crack in Court at Label Rules



Iraqi journalists question media freedom
Journalists in Iraq say they are subject to a campaign of violence and intimidation by both opposition fighters and the government. It comes after a veteran …

By: Al Jazeera English

More:
Iraqi journalists question media freedom – Video

What kind of bizarro world do we live in where a near majority of Justices of the United States Supreme Court criticizes a First Amendment ruling for being overly concerned with the individuals right to engage in political speech? Where these same jurists instead elevate the publics interest in preserving a democratic order in which collective speech matters? Are these four reactionary horsemen who wont countenance anti-war protestors, marches against oppressive laws, and other anti-establishment speech-acts? Or perhaps theyre censorious troglodytes inveighing against flag-burning, nude dancing, and other emotion-riling forms of expression?

It turns out no, that this statist-majoritarian cant is the highest explication of so-called liberal dissent. Weve always been at war with Eurasia (at least until those in charge decree that our eternal enemy is Eastasia), etc.

Rubbish. Just as the government cant limit the number of hours that Oprah broadcasts or issues that The New York Times publishes lest they unduly influence our political system it cant restrict the money that someone wants to spend on campaign donations lest he skew the marketplace of ideas. Heck, Ive been part of enough SCOTUSblog symposia that Im sure glad theres no federal limit on how much analysis someone can provide on a website thats read by all the key opinion-making eyeballs!

Despite the alarming five-to-four split among the Justices, McCutcheon is an easy case if you apply well-settled law (let alone the political-speech-protective first principles upon which this nation was founded): (1) Preventing quid pro quo corruption (or the appearance thereof) is the only valid basis for regulating the finance of political campaigns; (2) restrictions on the total amount an individual may donate to candidates and party committees dont serve that bribery-prevention interest and thus violate the First Amendment; (3) thats it; case closed.

The only surprise here is that the ruling wasnt a unanimous rejection of the governments incredible claim that, somehow, someone who maxes out to nine congressional candidates corrupts the system by giving more than $1,800 to any others. (Or maybe its those nine candidates who are corrupted by the jealous knowledge that theyre no longer unique snowflakes, that their benefactor has Benjamins for literally anyone who agrees with his political positions?I could never fully grasp the logic.)

In any event, Chief Justice Roberts provided the nut of this oh-so-easy-to-crack-case when he called the contribution limits a tax wrote for the majority (which is indeed a majority because Justice Thomas concurred on broader grounds): Money in politics may at times seem repugnant to some, but so too does much of what the First Amendment vigorously protects. If the First Amendment protects flag burning, funeral protests, and Nazi paradesdespite the profound offense such spectacles causeit surely protects political campaign speech despite popular opposition.

With Justice Thomas, however, I would go beyond that simple point and overrule Buckley v. Valeo altogether because [c]ontributions and expenditures are simply two sides of the same First Amendment coin and the Courts efforts to distinguish the two have produced mere word games rather than any cognizable principle of constitutional law (quoting Chief Justice Burgers partial dissent in Buckley). Justice Thomas would abandon Buckleys framework and replace it with a strict scrutiny test for limits on both contributions and expenditures. Quite so.

Buckley transmogrified the speech-restrictive post-Watergate Federal Election Campaign Act into something no Congress wouldve passed, also inventing legal standards such that one type of political speech has greater First Amendment protection than another.

Nearly twenty years later, the Supreme Court in McConnell v. FEC again rewrote a congressional attempt to reform the rules by which people run for office the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act, also colloquially known as McCain-Feingold shying away from striking down Buckley and producing a convoluted mish-mash. (The Chief Justice delivered the opinion of the Court with respect to miscellaneous BCRA Title III and IV provisions. . . . Justice Breyer delivered the Courts opinion with respect to BCRA Title V504 . . . . Stevens and OConnor, JJ., delivered the opinion of the Court with respect to BCRA Titles I and II, in which Souter, Ginsburg, and Breyer, JJ., joined. . . . [and on and on and on, such that this part of the syllabus explaining who agrees with what jot and tittle is longer than the average Oliver Wendell Holmes opinion].)

Enough! The drip-drip of campaign-finance rulings over the last decade has shown that existing campaign-finance law is as unworkable as it is unconstitutional, serving nobodys interest but the election lawyers who regularly get to bill hours explaining to their clients exactly what type of speech will now get them thrown in jail and how to structure their next political move so as not to provoke Justice Breyer into attaching yet another appendix onto his next dissent.

Read more here:
Symposium: The First Amendments protection of political speech extends to both donations and spending

Opinion Courts

There is no right more basic in our democracy than the right to participate in electing our political leadersand those who govern should be the last people to help decide who should govern. Thus begins the Chief Justices majority opinion in McCutcheon v. FEC. This outcome of this case, decided by the Supreme Court this morning, struck down a law that limited the freedom of Americans to financially associate with the candidates, parties, and political organizations of their choosing.

The case decided today turned on a substantial infringement on our First Amendment right to freely associate.Already, those favoring more political speech restrictions have begun denouncing the decision, armed by Justice Stephen Breyers irresponsible suggestion that McCutcheon eviscerates our Nations campaign finance laws. Theres no serious reading of the Chief Justices opinion that supports such hysterical exclamation.

The case turned on a substantial infringement on our First Amendment right to freely associate the so-called aggregate contribution limit. The aggregate contribution limit should not be confused with base limits. Base limits restrict the ability of any individual to give unlimited sums to a candidate, party, or PAC. Under current law, not affected by McCutcheon, a donor may only give $2,600 to any given candidate for each election, and $5,000 to a political action committee (PAC). Corporate and union contributions to candidates are prohibited, another restriction that was not at issue in todays decision.

The aggregate limit, however, stacked another cap over the base limits, and prevented any donor from, for example, giving the maximum legal contribution to nine candidates in both the primary and general elections. As Chief Justice John Roberts recognized, such a rule is nonsensical. The Government may no more restrict how many candidates or causes a donor may support than it may tell a newspaper how many candidates it may endorse. And it is pretty hard to see how, if the first nine candidates are not corrupted, candidate 10 will be corrupted by the same size contribution.

In a desperate effort to defend the constitutionality of the aggregate limits, the government offered the Court a series of wild hypotheticals, completely unbound from common campaign practice or common sense. These examples, and others suggested at oral argument by Justices Breyer and Elena Kagan, involved elaborate Rube Goldberg giving schemes. These theories all had two things in common either existing regulations made them entirely implausible, or existing regulations made them entirely illegal. Its a testament to how complex the remaining campaign finance regulations are that four Supreme Court justices were unable to recognize how quickly their hypotheticals would place the conspirators involved at the top of the FECs enforcement priorities.

Indeed, as the Chief Justice noted, few states have aggregate contribution limits. Yet, the government could point to zero examples of activity similar to the scary stories in Justice Breyers minority opinion. In response, Justice Breyer suggested that the neer-do-wells are simply too smart and cunning to be caught.

If nothing else, the real takeaway from todays opinion is that federal and state governments are not permitted to squelch First Amendment rights based on a fear that monsters are under the bed. Regulatory advocates both on and off the Court have long credulously accepted wild fears as a substitution for hard facts in this area. This has led to a tremendous regulatory overkill. For example, in recent years, governments have defended contribution limits against the deceased, demanded the donor lists of groups which print nonpartisan voter guides, and forced four citizens to register with the state in order to run $600 worth of radio ads. But from now on, governments will have to defend their campaign finance statutes with grounded, concrete reason and facts not flights of fancy.

For too long, governments have been able to defend constitutional deprivations under flimsy reasoning that would be laughed out of court if applied to a law restricting virtually any other liberty protected by the Bill of Rights. (Can anyone imagine a court refusing a shoplifters release under Miranda merely on the grounds that he might commit, hypothetically, another perhaps even worse crime?; or a court allowing warrantless searches because of the appearance of criminal activity?)

As the Court noted, some may find the existence of money in politics repugnant, but [i]f the First Amendment protects flag burning, funeral protests, and Nazi paradesit surely protects political campaign speech. And if a government wants to regulate such speech it better have a very good reason.

Link:
Former FEC Commissioner: Decision Restores First Amendment



Segment from Free Speech TV: Government for the Corporations
In this segment on Free Speech TV's “Ring of Fire” program, Howard L. Nations, a nationally renowned trial lawyer, criticizes the Congress' efforts to cut so…

By: HowardNations

Read more:
Segment from Free Speech TV: Government for the Corporations – Video

Any day now, the Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in a free-speech case that could cement a dangerous precedent one establishing a de facto double standard in governments favor.

The case stems from the election season of 2004, when a group of 200 or so protesters showed up near a Jacksonville, Ore., restaurant where George W. Bush was eating. They started chanting about Bushs polices on war and the environment. After 15 minutes or so, the Secret Service decided that was enough anti-Bush speech for the day. Agents instructed local law enforcement to move the demonstrators which was done, with riot police firing plastic bullets.

A pro-Bush demonstration nearby was allowed to continue unimpeded.

Michael Mookie Moss and his anti-Bush compadres have a strong claim that the disparate treatment violated their First Amendment rights. But they are spitting into the wind of a two-year-old precedent. In 2012, the Supreme Court said Secret Service agents enjoyed qualified immunity in arresting Steven Howard, who accosted Vice President Dick Cheney and told him his policies in Iraq are disgusting.

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg wrote that officers assigned to protect public officials must make singularly swift, on-the-spot, decisions whether the safety of the person they are guarding is in jeopardy. In performing that protective function, they rightly take into account words spoken to, or in the proximity of, the person whose safety is their charge.

You can see the sense in that. At the same time, though, you can see how such a policy creates a bias in favor of the government: People who oppose the incumbent partys policies are more likely to be considered potential threats than people who support them.

A similar problem bedevils the 35-foot-buffer zone around Massachusetts abortion clinics that the high court also is scrutinizing this term. Defenders of the buffer zone claim it does not violate the Constitution because it is a neutral rule that applies to everyone and is meant merely to ensure safe access to abortion clinics. As Boston Globe writer Jeff Jacoby noted earlier this year, that concern is understandably taken seriously in the state where John Salvi murdered two employees of Planned Parenthood clinics in 1994.

But as Jacoby also notes, murder, the use of physical force and even the threat of physical force are already against the law. Federal law prohibits obstructing access to a clinic. The Massachusetts buffer zone, then, seems designed to protect potential clients from the discomfort of close proximity to abortion protesters.

That impression was reinforced during oral arguments, when Justice Samuel Alito hypothesized two women within the buffer zone one telling a potential client this is a safe facility, and the other telling her, this is not a safe facility. The only difference between the two, he noted, is that theyve expressed a different viewpoint. Yet under the current statute one of them the anti-abortion protester has violated Massachusetts law and the other has not. Once again, a safety rationale enables viewpoint discrimination.

Many American universities are subordinating free speech not merely to physical safety but to emotional equilibrium. The problem extends beyond campus speech codes and free-speech zones, both of which have received considerable attention in recent years. On many campuses, certain viewpoints are considered so inherently offensive that they require silencing.

Follow this link:
Free speech case triggers dangerous precedent

The Reformist Block referred the government decision to give priority to construction of a resort in Karadere to the prosecution..

The coalition also demanded the resignation of Economy Minister Dragomir Stoinev.

According to the coalition, the project was in violation of the Limiting of Offshore Companies Act, recently passed by Parliament.

The Reformist Block insists that prosecution checks whether there was an administrative violation or a crime by an official with the suggestion that the Black Sea Eco Garden Resort project of the Madara Europe company be granted a priority status.

The Offshore Act stipulates that an offshore company may apply for a priority investor status after it has registered the actual owners of the company in the Trade Registry. In the Madara Europe case, the company did so five days after it got the priority status.

Visit link:
Reformist Block Refers Government Decision On Karadere To Prosecution

Although the Malaysian constitution guarantees freedom of religion, many Malaysians continue to face serious and systemic religious intolerance, observe Aliran and Suaram.

Jais raided the Bible Society of Malaysia Photograph: themalaymailonline.com

Malaysia has a population of 30m people, with 60 per cent of the population practising Islam, 19 per cent Buddhism, 9 per cent Christianity, 6 per cent Hinduism and 5 per cent other faiths and beliefs. Although Malaysia remains a secular state and its constitution guarantees freedom of religion, many Malaysians continue to face serious and systemic religious intolerance and persecution.

Although Muslims may proselytise to non-Muslims, under Article 11(4) of the Malaysian Constitution, proselytisation by those of non-Muslim faiths to Muslims is prohibited. Freedom of religion was one of the key issues discussed during Malaysias second cycle of the Universal Periodic Review, with several states including Austria, Canada, Italy and Poland making critical comments and recommendations. In January 2014, Amnesty International stated It is concerning to see the Malaysian authorities increasingly taking their cue from hard-line religious groups and others seeking to silence those who espouse views that differ from their own agenda.

A court ruling in October 2013 prohibits non-Muslims from using the word Allah to refer to God. The appeals court stated that the term Allah must be exclusive to Islam or it could cause public disorder. According to the Christian Federation of Malaysia, about 60 per cent of the 2.6m Christians in the country use the word Allah to refer to God. In a statement made at the second cycle of Malaysias Universal Periodic Review (UPR) in October, the Malaysian Government stated that the Court ruling was a preventive measure to ensure public safety and to protect public order in Malaysia.

In November 2013, the UN Special Rapporteur, Mr Heiner Bielefeldt, urged the Government of Malaysia to reverse its decision to ban a Catholic publication from using the word Allah to refer to God, warning that the case may have far-reaching implications for religious minorities in the country.

UN Independent Expert on minority issues Ms Rita Izsk stated that, Discrimination on the grounds of religion or belief constitutes a violation of human rights and fundamental freedoms, and in this instance is a breach of the rights of a religious minority to freely practise and express their faith as they have done for generations. Such actions may present an obstacle to friendly and peaceful relations between faith communities.

The UN Special Rapporteur on freedom of expression, Mr Frank La Rue, has also echoed these statements: The Ministry of Home Affairs and the Government of Malaysia should take necessary steps to secure immediately the right to freedom of opinion and expression of Herald The Catholic Weekly and withdraw unconditionally from further litigation on this issue.

On 2 January 2014, officers from the Selangor Islamic Department (Jais) raided the Bible Society of Malaysia (BSM) and seized 321 copies of the Bible in the Malay language and a further 10 bibles in the Iban language because they used the world Allah to refer to God. Jais unlawfully conducted the raid without a warrant and threatened to force their way into the office of BSM if they would not open the door for them. During the raid, the Jais officers also arrested the Bible Societys president, Lee Min Choon, and office manager, Sinclair Wong, for allegedly violating that decree. Both were later released on bail.

Read the rest here:
Threats to freedom of religion or belief in Malaysia

11 hours ago Mar. 26, 2014 – 3:30 PM PDT

Ever since the Arab Spring uprisings in Egypt and Tunisia, Twitter has been seen by many as an engine for free speech and particularly the kind of political speech that questions authority and/or gives ordinary citizens the power to inform themselves. Although the companys gaze often seems to have moved elsewhere, now that it is publicly traded and pursuing advertising deals, its resolve to fight a ban by the Turkish government shows it isnt ready to give up its claim to be the free-speech wing of the free-speech party any time soon.

Turkeys prime minister Recep Erdogan sparked the social-media battle by blocking Twitter last week, forcing users in that country to employ a number of workarounds including Tor anonymization technology and open DNS servers run by companies like Google, which were circulated quickly via email and even graffiti. Since then, a court has overturned the ban, but Twitter reportedly remains blocked, since the government apparently has 30 days to respond to the courts decision.

In a blog post on Wednesday, Twitters general counsel Vijaya Gadde outlined the context for the blockage and its ongoing attempts to challenge the ban. The Turkish governments decision was apparently triggered by several accounts that it believed were behaving illegally, including one pretending to be someone it was not which is a breach of Twitters terms of service and another that was spreading information accusing a former government minister of corruption.

Twitter says it received two court orders to take down content that breached its rules (which the company said it had already done before it was ordered to do so) but added that it is fighting the third order, which was to remove the account accused of posting details of corruption in the government. As Gadde put it:

This order causes us concern. Political speech is among the most important speech, especially when it concerns possible government corruption. Thats why today we have also petitioned the Turkish court on behalf of our users to reverse this order.

While Twitter appeals the order, it is using its Country Withheld Content tool, which allows the service to block specific tweets from being seen within specific geographic areas. It launched this ability in early 2012 in order to get around legal issues in Germany, where content that promotes Nazi ideology is against the law, and has since used it in France, Japan and Russia for a variety of reasons. The company also said it would be filing the details of the Turkish order and its response with Chilling Effects, a central directory for all such requests that Twitter committed to use when it implemented the blocking feature.

In fighting the Turkish governments attempts to either block the service or force it to remove content, Twitter is sticking to the commitment made by its former general counsel Alex Macgillivray that it would remain the free-speech wing of the free-speech party. Twitter has not only fought against requests from governments including the U.S. government for information about users, but has also notified users of such requests even after being ordered not to do so.

More:
Twitter fights Turkish censorship, determined to uphold its status as free-speech champion



FireFox! Start Your Own Web Hosting Company
Web Hosting Advertise Here $10 a Month Affordable web-hosting
Pierre Teilhard De Chardin




Designer Children | Prometheism | Euvolution | Transhumanism

Sign up below for the Prometheism / Designer Children Discussion Forum

Subscribe to prometheism-pgroup

Powered by us.groups.yahoo.com