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Worlds Largest Single Marine Reserve Created in Pacific

 Islands  Comments Off on Worlds Largest Single Marine Reserve Created in Pacific
Apr 082015
 

British Prime Minister David Cameron’s government announced the creation of the worlds largest contiguous ocean reserve on Wednesday, setting aside 322,000 square miles (830,000 square kilometers) around the remote Pitcairn Islands in the South Pacific for special protection.

The new reserve is nearly three and a half times bigger than the landmass of the United Kingdomlarger than the state of Californiaand is home to a stunning array of sharks, fish, corals, and other marine life, says Enric Sala, a National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence who led a five-week Pristine Seas expedition to the island group in March 2012 that helped establish a scientific case for the reserve. (Explore Enric’s posts from the field.)

Announced via the government’s 2015 budget, the reserve represents a bid by the U.K. to thwart the illegal fishing that threatens the species in its territorial waters. No fishing or seafloor mining will be allowed in the reserve, except for traditional fishing around the island of Pitcairn by the local population, says Sala.

The reserve’s creation is dependent on partnerships with non-governmental organizations and satellite monitoring resources, according to the budget. Those resources are already in place, says Sala.

Thirty percent of the U.K.s waters around the world are now protected, the highest percentage of any countrys waters on Earth. Although the new reserve will become the largest single marine protected area anywhere, the network of reserves created around the Pacific remote islands by the U.S. in September is bigger in total, at nearly 490,000 square miles (1,270,000 square kilometers). (Learn about how large marine reserves are protected.)

People know Pitcairn because of the Mutiny on the Bounty, but their real bounty is the rich marine life underwater, says Sala.

About 60 people live on Pitcairn Island, most of them descendants of the Bounty mutineers from 1790 and their Tahitian companions. In September 2012, in response to the expedition, the Pitcairn Council voted unanimously to create a marine protected area in their entire economic zone, which extends 200 miles (322 kilometers) out from their four islands, three of which are uninhabited. Since the islands are administered by the U.K. as a territory, the new reserve required the support of the British government.

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Pitcairns waters contain some of the few pristine coral reefs left on the planet, says Sala. They also contain intact seamounts [submerged mountains] and deep-sea habitats that have not been touched by trawling and which harbor many species yet to be discovered by science.

On the 2012 expedition, Sala and his team discovered several new species of fish by dropping cameras into deep water. A larger effort is likely to discover hundreds of new animals there, he says. (See photos from Sala’s expedition showing life on Pitcairn today.)

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Worlds Largest Single Marine Reserve Created in Pacific

Illuminati Pharmaceutical Death Industry Exposed! Full Documentary 2015 – Video

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Apr 072015
 



Illuminati Pharmaceutical Death Industry Exposed! Full Documentary 2015
See for yourself true evil! This is what your government has been doing to you, and your loved ones! They don't care about anything except murdering people while profiting off their slow, painful….

By: Otilia Ian

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Illuminati Pharmaceutical Death Industry Exposed! Full Documentary 2015 – Video

Weddings, religion and free speech

 Free Speech  Comments Off on Weddings, religion and free speech
Apr 072015
 

After a storm of protest from supporters of gay rights and the business community, Indiana and Arkansas have revised their Religious Freedom Restoration Acts. But it still isnt clear whether bakers, caterers and photographers that have religious objections to same-sex weddings can withhold their services from such celebrations.

Thetweaked Indiana law says businesses may not deny service on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity, but some caterers, photographers andpizza purveyors insist they are happy to serve gays and lesbians and same-sex couples. They draw the line at facilitating/endorsing a ceremony they consider sacrilegious. (If a gay couple wants pizza for a New Years Eve party, no problem.)

Is refusing to bake or embellish a wedding cake for a same-sex ceremony discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, or simply a refusal to participate in — and endorse the message of — an activity? And is requiring someone to sell cakes or pizzas to a same-sex wedding really a “substantial burden” on their freeexercise of religion? We may find out as the Indiana law and others are tested in court.

Meanwhile, its worth noting that freedom of religion isnt the only legal weapon that potentially can be wielded by people in the wedding business who dont want to be complicit in same-sex nuptials.

Its widely believed that the political genesis of the Indiana RFRA was concern that anti-gay-marriage merchants would suffer the fate of Elaine Huguenin, a wedding photographer in New Mexico who didnt want to take pictures of a female couples commitment ceremony. The couple complained that Huguenins refusal violated a state law against discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, and the states Human Rights Commission andSupreme Court agreed.

Huguenin tried several arguments. She said she wasnt really discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation, but the court rejected the distinction she tried to draw between sexual orientation and conduct so closely correlated with sexual orientation.

She also cited New Mexicos RFRA, but the court said that the religious-freedom law applied to only situations in which the government was a party not to disputes between private individuals. (Not very persuasively, the court said that the legislature and a court were not government agencies.) Interestingly, the Indiana RFRA made itclear that it would apply regardless of whether the state or any other governmental entity is a party to the proceeding.

So much for Huguenins religious-freedom arguments. But she made another claim based not on religious freedom but on another right enshrined in the 1st Amendment: the freedom of speech. As the New Mexico Supreme Court put it: Elane Photography [the name of Huguenins business] concludes that by requiring it to photograph same-sex weddings on the same basis that it photographs opposite-sex weddings, the NMHRA unconstitutionally compels it to create and engage in expression that sends a positive message about same-sex marriage not shared by its owner.

The New Mexico Supreme Court wasnt impressed by this argument, and neither, apparently, was the U.S. Supreme Court, whichdeclined last year to hear Huguenins appeal. But the issue could arise again.

The free-speech argument is arguably stronger than the religious-freedom claim. For one thing, its rooted not in a statute but in the 1st Amendment, which the Supreme Court in other cases has interpreted to prohibit compelled speech. (Perhaps the most famous example is the 1943ruling in which the court held that a state couldnt require schoolchildren to salute the American flag.)

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Weddings, religion and free speech

NSA looking for the next James Bond – Video

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Apr 052015
 



NSA looking for the next James Bond
The NSA is having trouble finding recruits. FBN's Cheryl Casone breaks down what the NSA is looking for in workers. Watch Cheryl Casone talk about Government on Opening Bell.

By: Fox Business

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NSA looking for the next James Bond – Video

Backlash against religious freedom laws helps gay rights in Indiana, Arkansas

 Freedom  Comments Off on Backlash against religious freedom laws helps gay rights in Indiana, Arkansas
Apr 052015
 

What began 20 years ago as a bipartisan drive to protect the rights of people to follow their faith against an overbearing government erupted this week into a divisive dispute over gay rights and religious freedom.

And the fracture can be traced back to two recent moves by the Supreme Court that set up an unusual legal crosscurrent between liberals and conservatives.

By overturning a key provision of the federal Defense of Marriage Act in 2013, the court set in motion a string of rulings across the nation that voided state laws banning same-sex marriage. By this June, a majority of justices is widely expected to legalize gay marriage nationwide.

At the same time, the Supreme Court ruled in another case last year that the family owners of the Hobby Lobby craft-store chain had a religious-liberty right to refuse to offer contraception coverage for its employees.

So while the marriage ruling opened the door for expanded protections for gays and lesbians, the Hobby Lobby decision offered new tools for those opposed to such moves.

Conservatives applauded the 5-4 Hobby Lobby ruling, which was based on the Religious Freedom Restoration Act signed by President Clinton in 1993. The law originally aimed to protect the Amish, Native Americans and others whose religious practices ran afoul of local or state laws says the “government shall not substantially burden a person’s exercise of religion.”

But the court’s conservative majority defined “person” to include profit-making companies. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, speaking for the liberal dissenters, called it a “decision of startling breadth” that gives “commercial enterprises, including corporations” a right to ignore laws that conflict with their owners’ religious views.

Armed with the Hobby Lobby ruling and concerned that their statewide bans against same-sex marriage were in danger, conservative lawmakers in Indiana, Arkansas and other states adopted their own versions of the federal religious-freedom law.

Some conservatives hoped the 1993 law would protect religious-minded individuals and businesses from legal mandates on gay marriage that they said would violate their faith. The most commonly cited example was a religious baker who did not want to be forced to make a cake for a gay wedding.

Using the Hobby Lobby precedent, some states broadened the scope of the federal religious-liberty law which dealt with conflicts between the government and individuals and defined a protected person to include a business, company or corporation. That small change created a large concern.

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Backlash against religious freedom laws helps gay rights in Indiana, Arkansas

Marshall Islands to appeal in nuclear case vs. US; says US is modernizing arsenal, not cutting

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Apr 052015
 

UNITED NATIONS The tiny Pacific nation of the Marshall Islands is persisting with an unprecedented lawsuit demanding that the United States meet its obligations toward getting rid of its nuclear weapons. It filed notice Thursday that it will appeal a federal judge’s decision to dismiss the case.

The island group was the site of 67 nuclear tests by the U.S. over a 12-year period after World War II, with lasting health and environmental impacts, including more than 250 people exposed to high amounts of radiation.

The Marshall Islands filed its lawsuit last year, naming President Barack Obama, the departments and secretaries of defense and energy and the National Nuclear Security Administration. Obama in 2009 called for “a world without nuclear weapons” and said the U.S. would take concrete steps toward that goal, a declaration highlighted by the committee that awarded him the Nobel Peace Prize months later.

The U.S. is a party to the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, a landmark agreement to stop the spread of nuclear weapons. The United Nations this month will host the treaty’s latest five-year review conference.

But the Marshall Islands claims the U.S. is modernizing its nuclear arsenal instead of negotiating in good faith on disarmament, as the treaty requires. The lawsuit seeks action on disarming, not compensation.

A federal judge in San Francisco last month granted the U.S. government’s motion to dismiss the lawsuit, saying the Marshall Islands didn’t have standing to bring the case.

“Requiring the court to delve into and then monitor United States policies and decisions with regard to its nuclear programs and arsenal is an untenable request far beyond the purview of the federal courts,” the judge’s order said. It added that the authority to negotiate with foreign countries falls under the government’s executive branch, not the judicial one.

The Marshall Islands says the executive branch is the very one that has neglected its disarmament obligations for years.

“We believe the district court erred in dismissing the case,” the lead attorney for the Marshall Islands, Laurie Ashton, said in a statement announcing the appeal in the San Francisco-based 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. “The Marshall Islands, like every party to the NPT, is entitled to the United States’ fulfillment of its NPT promise.”

The statement also said the nuclear threat is “now magnified by the deteriorating relationship between Russia and the U.S., which between them control over 90 percent of the world’s nuclear weapons.”

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Marshall Islands to appeal in nuclear case vs. US; says US is modernizing arsenal, not cutting

Marshall Islands will appeal in unprecedented nuclear weapons case against US

 Islands  Comments Off on Marshall Islands will appeal in unprecedented nuclear weapons case against US
Apr 052015
 

UNITED NATIONS The tiny Pacific nation of the Marshall Islands is persisting with an unprecedented lawsuit demanding that the United States meet its obligations toward getting rid of its nuclear weapons. It filed notice Thursday that it will appeal a federal judge’s decision to dismiss the case.

The island group was the site of 67 nuclear tests by the U.S. over a 12-year period after World War II, with lasting health and environmental impacts, including more than 250 people exposed to high amounts of radiation.

The Marshall Islands filed its lawsuit last year, naming President Barack Obama, the departments and secretaries of defense and energy and the National Nuclear Security Administration. Obama in 2009 called for “a world without nuclear weapons” and said the U.S. would take concrete steps toward that goal, a declaration highlighted by the committee that awarded him the Nobel Peace Prize months later.

The U.S. is a party to the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, a landmark agreement to stop the spread of nuclear weapons. The United Nations this month will host the treaty’s latest five-year review conference.

But the Marshall Islands claims the U.S. is modernizing its nuclear arsenal instead of negotiating in good faith on disarmament, as the treaty requires. The lawsuit seeks action on disarming, not compensation.

A federal judge in San Francisco last month granted the U.S. government’s motion to dismiss the lawsuit, saying the Marshall Islands didn’t have standing to bring the case.

“Requiring the court to delve into and then monitor United States policies and decisions with regard to its nuclear programs and arsenal is an untenable request far beyond the purview of the federal courts,” the judge’s order said. It added that the authority to negotiate with foreign countries falls under the government’s executive branch, not the judicial one.

The Marshall Islands says the executive branch is the very one that has neglected its disarmament obligations for years.

“We believe the district court erred in dismissing the case,” the lead attorney for the Marshall Islands, Laurie Ashton, said in a statement announcing the appeal in the San Francisco-based 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. “The Marshall Islands, like every party to the NPT, is entitled to the United States’ fulfillment of its NPT promise.”

The statement also said the nuclear threat is “now magnified by the deteriorating relationship between Russia and the U.S., which between them control over 90 percent of the world’s nuclear weapons.”

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Marshall Islands will appeal in unprecedented nuclear weapons case against US

DOJ: No contempt charges against Lois Lerner

 Fifth Amendment  Comments Off on DOJ: No contempt charges against Lois Lerner
Apr 022015
 

Former Internal Revenue Service official Lois Lerner exercises her Fifth Amendment right not to speak about the IRS targeting investigation before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee during a hearing in the Rayburn House Office Building March 5, 2014 in Washington, DC. Chip Somodevilla, Getty Images

The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia will not seek contempt charges against former Internal Revenue Service official Lois Lerner for her refusal to testify before Congress, the Justice Department (DOJ) announced Wednesday.

It has been nearly a year since the House voted to hold Lerner in contempt in a mostly party-line vote. At the time, the charges were referred to the local U.S. attorney. The Justice Department officially informed House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, of U.S. Attorney Ronald Machen’s decision in a letter sent to Boehner’s office Tuesday.

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Insisting that she’s “done nothing wrong,” Lois Lerner, the IRS official in charge of the division that targeted conservative nonprofit groups fo…

“A team of experienced career prosecutors in the U.S. Attorney’s Office was assigned to carefully assess the referral. After extensive analysis, the team concluded that the House Committee followed proper procedures in notifying Ms. Lerner that it had rejected her claim of a Fifth Amendment privilege and gave her an adequate opportunity to answer the Committee’s questions,” the Justice Department said in a statement. “However, the team also concluded that Ms. Lerner did not waive her Fifth Amendment privilege by making general claims of innocence. The Constitution would provide Ms. Lerner with an absolute defense if she were prosecuted for contempt.”

Congress’ contempt vote stems from Lerner’s appearances before the House Oversight Committee. At the start of one hearing in 2013, Lerner made an opening statement declaring her innocence before invoking her Fifth Amendment right. Republicans charge that by delivering her opening statement, she waived her rights against self-incrimination. The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, and then the full House of Representatives, voted to hold Lerner in contempt for her refusal to testify on March 5, 2014.

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DOJ: No contempt charges against Lois Lerner

Federal Eye: Justice Department will not seek contempt charges against Lois Lerner

 Fifth Amendment  Comments Off on Federal Eye: Justice Department will not seek contempt charges against Lois Lerner
Apr 022015
 

Ex-Internal Revenue Service official Lois Lerner, a central figure in the IRStargeting scandal, will not face criminal contempt charges for refusing to testify about the matter before a House oversight committee last year.

Ronald Machen, the U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia, said in a letter this week to House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) that he would not bring a criminal case against Lerner, who headed the IRSs exempt-organizations division when the agency inappropriately selected nonprofit advocacy groups for extra scrutiny based on their names and policy positions.

The former officialacknowledged the agencys mistakes at a legal conference in May 2013, days beforethe release of a scathing inspector generals report about the issue.

[Related: Investigators probing for criminal activity with Lois Lerners missing e-mails]

The House approved a contempt resolutionagainst Lernerin May 2014, after she invoked her Fifth Amendment right not to testify during a hearing with the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. The panels then-chairman, Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), insisted that shewaived the right by asserting her innocence during an opening statement.

Machen disagreed with Issa, saying Lerner made only general claimsof innocence and that the Constitution would provide her withan absolute defense should she be prosecuted.

Lerners attorney, William Taylor III, applauded the decision in a statement Wednesday. Anyone who takes a serious and impartial look at this issue would conclude that Ms. Lerner did not waive her Fifth Amendment rights, he said. It is unfortunate that the majority party in the House put politics before a citizens constitutional rights. Ms. Lerner is pleased to have this matter resolved and looks forward to moving on with her life.

Boehners office criticized the decision and called on the White House to appoint a special counsel to review the IRSs actions.

Once again, the Obama administration has tried to sweep IRS targeting of taxpayers for their political beliefs under the rug, Boehner spokesman Michael Steel said in a statement on Wednesday. But unaccountable federal bureaucrats using their power to attack the First Amendment strikes at the heart of our democracy, and the American people deserve the truth.

Aside from the contempt issue, the Justice Department has beeninvestigating the IRS for possible criminal activities related to the targeting matter since May 2013, when Attorney General Eric Holder ordered the probe. On Wednesday, the agency said it is working to complete the review as expeditiously as possible.

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Federal Eye: Justice Department will not seek contempt charges against Lois Lerner

Feds won't purse contempt charges against Lerner for not testifying before House

 Fifth Amendment  Comments Off on Feds won't purse contempt charges against Lerner for not testifying before House
Apr 022015
 

The Justice Department has declined to pursue contempt of Congress charges against Lois Lerner for refusing to testify about her role at the IRS in the targeting of conservative groups.

The department announced the decision in a letter Tuesday to House Speaker John Boehner, whose Republican-controlled chamber made the request to prosecute, after holding Lerner in contempt for refusing to testify at committee hearings.

“Once again, the Obama administration has tried to sweep IRS targeting of taxpayers for their political beliefs under the rug, Boehner spokesman Michael Steel told FoxNews.com.

Lerner asserted her Fifth Amendment privilege, which allows people to not testify against themselves, during a May 2013 hearing of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform and then again at a March 2014 hearing.

However, House Republicans argued Lerner waived the privilege with an opening statement she made before the committee in the May 2013 appearance. All the chambers Republican members and six Democrats officially voted in May 2014 to hold Lerner in contempt.

Ron Machen Jr., the U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia, said in the seven-page letter that federal prosecutors concluded Lerner did not waive her privilege because she made only general claims of innocence during the opening statement.

Thus, the Fifth Amendment to the Constitution would provide Ms. Lerner with an absolute defense should be prosecuted for her refusal to testify, wrote Machen, who was appointed to the U.S. attorney post by President Obama and left for private practice Wednesday, one day after sending the letter.

He also said he will not refer the case to a grand jury or take any other action to prosecute.

Lerner ran the IRSs exempt organizations unit when Tea Party and other nonprofit groups with conservative names applying for tax-exempt status were targeted for additional auditing from April 2010 to April 2012.

She was placed on administrative leave in May 2013 and retired four months later.

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Feds won't purse contempt charges against Lerner for not testifying before House

U.S. Supreme Court: GPS Trackers Are a Form of Search and Seizure

 Fourth Amendment  Comments Off on U.S. Supreme Court: GPS Trackers Are a Form of Search and Seizure
Apr 022015
 

When the government places a location monitor on you or your stuff, it could be violating the Fourth Amendment.

If the government puts a GPS tracker on you, your car, or any of your personal effects, it counts as a searchand is therefore protected by the Fourth Amendment.

The Supreme Court clarified and affirmed that law on Monday, when it ruled on Torrey Dale Grady v. North Carolina, before sending the case back to that states high court. The Courts short but unanimous opinion helps make sense of how the Fourth Amendment, which protects against unreasonable search and seizure, interacts with the expanding technological powers of the U.S. government.

It doesnt matter what the context is, and it doesnt matter whether its a car or a person. Putting that tracking device on a car or a person is a search, said Jennifer Lynch, a senior staff attorney at the Electronic Freedom Foundation (EFF).

In this case, that context was punishment. Grady was twice convicted as a sex offender. In 2013, North Carolina ordered that, as a recidivist, he had to wear a GPS monitor at all times so that his location could be monitored. He challenged the court, saying that the tracking device qualified as an unreasonable search.

North Carolinas highest court at first ruled that the tracker was no search at all. Its that decision that the Supreme Court took aim at today, quoting the states rationale and snarking:

The only theory we discern [] is that the States system of nonconsensual satellite-based monitoring does not entail a search within the meaning of the Fourth Amendment. That theory is inconsistent with this Courts precedents.

Then it lists a series of Supreme Court precedents.

And there are a few, as the Court has considered the Fourth Amendment quite a bit recently. In 2012, it ruled that placing a GPS tracker on a suspects car, without a warrant, counted as an unreasonable search. The following year, it said that using drug-sniffing dogs around a suspects front porchwithout a warrant and without their consentwas also unreasonable, as it trespassed onto a persons property to gain information about them.

Both of those cases involved suspects, but the ruling Monday made clear that it extends to those convicted of crimes, too.

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U.S. Supreme Court: GPS Trackers Are a Form of Search and Seizure

FTC Insider with Morgan Rockwell, CEO of Bitcoin Kinetics: Science, Bitcoin, Government, Tech & More – Video

 Bitcoin  Comments Off on FTC Insider with Morgan Rockwell, CEO of Bitcoin Kinetics: Science, Bitcoin, Government, Tech & More – Video
Apr 022015
 



FTC Insider with Morgan Rockwell, CEO of Bitcoin Kinetics: Science, Bitcoin, Government, Tech More
A conversation exploring new perspectives on Bitcoin, freedom, mushrooms, nature, machines, math, intent, centralization, BitSwitch, Bitpay, Google, artificial intelligence and tech. Like…

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FTC Insider with Morgan Rockwell, CEO of Bitcoin Kinetics: Science, Bitcoin, Government, Tech & More – Video

Volokh Conspiracy: Can a city suppress speech protesting eminent domain?

 Free Speech  Comments Off on Volokh Conspiracy: Can a city suppress speech protesting eminent domain?
Apr 022015
 

The Institute for Justice had petitioned the Supreme Court to take an interesting case out of the Fourth Circuit involving the suppression of free speech protesting a taking of private property. Here is the press release:

Case Appealed to U.S. Supreme Court Shows How If We Lose One Right, We Can Lose Them All

First the Government Tried to Illegally Take Their Land, Then the Government Silenced Them So They Couldnt Hang a Protest Banner on Their Own Property

Key Facts This case started with government abusing its power of eminent domain. 10 years ago, the U.S. Supreme Court issued its infamousKeloruling eviscerating constitutional protections against eminent domain abuse. Company hung a protest banner; the government demanded they cover it up.

Arlington, Va.Ten years ago, in its infamousKelodecision, the U.S. Supreme Court adopted a radically broad interpretation of the governments power to take private property through eminent domain. But the Court recognized that the necessity and wisdom of using eminent domain are matters of legitimate public debate. Central Radio Company attempted to participate in that debate when the government tried to take its property through eminent domain. The city of Norfolk, Va., however, prevented it from doing so, barring the company from hanging a protest banner on the land in dispute. Now Central Radio is taking its fight to the U.S. Supreme Court,asking the Court to review a major case at the intersection of free speech and property rights.

This case demonstrates just how intertwined our constitutional rights arehow protecting free speech is essential to protecting our other fundamental liberties, including property rights, noted Michael Bindas, a senior attorney with the Institute for Justice, which represents Central Radio.

Central Radio has been a Norfolk institution for more than 80 years, but in 2010 the Norfolk Redevelopment and Housing Authority moved to take its land and building through eminent domain and turn it over to nearby Old Dominion University (a land grab Central Radio would ultimately defeat). In response to the threat, Central Radio hunga 375-square foot protest banneron the very building the government was trying to take. It read: 50 years on this street/78 years in Norfolk/100 workers/Threatened by eminent domain!

Acting on a complaint made by an official at Old Dominionthe very entity that stood to acquire Central Radios propertythe city quickly cited Central Radio and ordered the banner be taken down. Yet, under Norfolks sign code, the banner would have been allowed if it had fallen into one of the various favored categories of signs that Norfolk exempts from regulation. For example, a banner of the same size, in the same location, would have been perfectly permissible if, rather than protesting city policy, it depicted the city flag or crest.

In the fall of 2013, the Virginia Supreme Court held that the citys attempted taking of Central Radios property was illegal, vindicating the companys property rights. Unfortunately, however, the federal courts refused to vindicate Central Radios free speech rights. When the company challenged the citys sign code under the First Amendment, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia upheld it. And in January 2015, a divided 2-1decision of the U.S. 4thCircuit Court of Appeals affirmed the district court.

According to the 4thCircuit majority opinion, it was irrelevant that the sign code drew distinctions between different types of banners based on their content so long as those distinctions were what the court deemed reasonable. Moreover, restricting Central Radios banner was warranted, according to the majority, because some passersby had reacted emphatically to the sign by waving, honking and shouting in support when they saw it. The majority claimed that these expressions of support were evidence that motorists [we]re distracted by [the] sign while driving.

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Volokh Conspiracy: Can a city suppress speech protesting eminent domain?

Freedom of Expression Chilled by ICANN's Addition of Speech Restrictions in DNS

 Freedom  Comments Off on Freedom of Expression Chilled by ICANN's Addition of Speech Restrictions in DNS
Apr 012015
 

“Public Interest Commitments” Amount to Illegitimate Usurpation of Bottom-Up Policy

Freedom of expression on the Internet is at risk from ICANN’s recent decision to prohibit anyone but one specific type of doctor from using the word within the .doctor new gTLD space. Last month, ICANN’s New GTLD Program Committee decided that only “medical practitioners” would be allowed to register a domain in the .doctor name space. ICANN’s decision to exclude numerous lawful users of the word, including a broad range of individuals who are in fact doctors, comes at a time when the world is watching ICANN to see if it can adequately protect Internet users’ rights in the absence of US Government supervision. If ICANN’s treatment of free expression in the implementation of its new gTLD program is any indication, ICANN has not yet sufficiently developed to be trusted with protecting Internet users’ rights in the domain name system.

Often overlooked is that ICANN’s community sought to protect freedom of expression rights in the new gTLD program by including free expression principles and recommendations in the GNSO’s final approved new gTLD policy. However, those protections were quietly violated in the staff’s subsequent implementation of the GNSO’s policy, which afforded no protection to Internet users’ free expression rights.

Specifically, after the GNSO approved the community’s policy for new gTLDs, ICANN staff added a new requirement to the policy, called “Public Interest Commitments” or “PICs”, which are contractual terms ICANN imposed on new gTLD registries that add policy requirements and restrictions that were never approved by the community or subject to a bottom-up process. Some PICs actually violate the community’s consensus policy on issues, most notably freedom of expression.

The new gTLD policy approved by the GNSO Council in 2007 and subsequently ICANN’s board included Principle G: “The string evaluation process must not infringe the applicant’s freedom of expression rights that are protected under internationally recognized principles of law.”1

Additionally, Recommendation 3 of the GNSO’s final new gTLD policy states:

“Strings must not infringe the existing legal rights of others that are recognized or enforceable under generally accepted and internationally recognized principles of law Examples of these legal rights include … the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) (in particular freedom of expression rights).”

Furthermore, Recommendation 6 of the GNSO’s New GTLD Policy states:

“Strings must not be contrary to generally accepted legal norms relating to morality and public order that are recognized under international principles of law.”

Recommendation 6 goes on to cite as examples of these legal norms, rights provided by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, both of which guarantee freedom of expression in any media and regardless of frontiers.

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Freedom of Expression Chilled by ICANN's Addition of Speech Restrictions in DNS

Indiana will lose Disciples of Christ convention over religious freedom law

 Freedom  Comments Off on Indiana will lose Disciples of Christ convention over religious freedom law
Apr 012015
 

Organizers of a mainline Protestantchurch gathering say they are planning to move their 2017 convention from Indianapolis due toa hotly contested newReligious Freedom Restoration Act.

Last week, leaders of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), which is based in Indianapolis, wrote Gov. Mike Pence (R) urginghim to veto the proposal. The Disciples of Christ oncesupporteda 22-year-old federal Religious Freedom and Restoration Act, though the specifics of Indianas law have become divisive.

Indianas new lawwould prohibit the government from substantially burdening a persons exercise of religion, unless it can demonstrate that the burden hasa compelling governmental interest and is the least restrictive means of furthering the compelling governmental interest. Supporters say Indianasmeasure supports religious libertywhile opponents fear it could open up grounds for people to decline services for same-sex weddings.

Church leaders say have agreedto movetheir 6,000-person General Assembly because of concerns that some members might experience legally sanctioned bias and rejection once so common on the basis of race.The move reflectsa larger push in the state and across the nation to use business to pressure state leaders on the issue.

The church has not yet decided on a new venue for the 2017 convention.

As a Christian church, we are particularly sensitive to the values of the One we follow one who sat at (the) table with people from all walks of life, and loved them all, theletterstates. Our church is diverse in point of view, but we share a value for an open Lords Table.

All eyes are on Indiana after Gov. Mike Pence (R) signed a controversial religious freedom bill into law. The Posts Sarah Pulliam Bailey explains what’s in the law and why there’s so much opposition to it. (Pamela Kirkland/The Washington Post)

On Tuesday, Pence urgedurged state lawmakers to pass legislation making it clear that this law does not give businesses the right to deny services to anyone.

The Disciples of Christ, whichhad about600,000 membersin 2009, has held its annual convention in Indianapolis three times since 1989, according to the Indianapolis Star. Todd Adams, the associate general minister and vice president of the denomination, told theStarhe expects up to 8,000 people to attend its convention in 2017, which could have an estimated economic impact on the city of about $5.9 million.

[Religious liberty or discrimination? Read the text of Indianas religious freedom law]

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Indiana will lose Disciples of Christ convention over religious freedom law

Ron Paul Liberty, Not Government, is Key to Containing Ebola – Full Documentary – Video

 Liberty  Comments Off on Ron Paul Liberty, Not Government, is Key to Containing Ebola – Full Documentary – Video
Apr 012015
 



Ron Paul Liberty, Not Government, is Key to Containing Ebola – Full Documentary
Ron Paul Liberty, Not Government, is Key to Containing Ebola – Full Documentary More Video At: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC1aHJCHLqz0xOqjUzwOuY6Q?sub_confirmation=1 This is my …

By: Economic Collapse 2015

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Ron Paul Liberty, Not Government, is Key to Containing Ebola – Full Documentary – Video

Why Parks and Recreations Ron Swanson and Leslie Knope could agree on Indianas religious freedom law

 Misc  Comments Off on Why Parks and Recreations Ron Swanson and Leslie Knope could agree on Indianas religious freedom law
Apr 012015
 

By Russell Moore March 31 at 7:29 PM

In all the furor over Indianas controversial Religious Freedom Restoration Act, perhaps the answer to the culture war impasse wont be found in Indianapolis but in Pawnee. Pawnee, of course, is the fictional town inhabited by long-running NBC sitcom Parks and Recreation, which orbited around the often clashing visions of Parks director Ron Swanson and his crusading deputy Leslie Knope. The two could agree on little, but I think they could agree on Indianas RFRA as it originally passed, and so should we.

Ron Swanson and Leslie Knope are relevant to this discussion not despite the fact that they are fictional Hoosiers but precisely because they are. They stand in for two powerful impulses in American cultural and political life: leave me alone libertarianism and common good progressivism. Both of these strains are part of the rich heritage of religious freedom, and neither strain should go wobbly on that heritage now.

Swanson, of course, was the grumpy, just-this-side-of-cynical libertarian who feels guilty for working for the government. What he wanted to see done, more than anything, within his tiny towns parks department is for it to do just this side of nothing. He kept his money in gold, buried somewhere in the yard. His hatred of government regulations and government expenditures, of almost any kind, were second only to his hatred for skim milk (which he famously called water, lying about being milk).

Swanson, like most libertarians, probably would support same-sex marriage, if he supported any sort of government-recognized marriage at all. But his libertarianism wouldnt want the government dictating either the prohibitionor the celebrationof such unions.

The libertarian vision is one that recognizes that pluralism in the public square is not an evil to be stamped out by government fiat. And that vision is especially true when it comes to the most personal arena of a persons life: his or her conscience. We may disagree on how much government is necessary, but libertarians have consistently warned us that a government that takes upon itself the burden of paving over consciences is a government that can do anything.

The libertarian vision is true in the area of religious liberty both on the Right (when some have wanted state-written school prayers or mosques zoned out of existence) or on the Left (where now many want to force celibate nuns to pay for birth control insurance or force evangelical adoption agencies out of existence).

The federal RFRA and its counterparts in the states were designed to protect individual consciences from a Leviathan government. The point of RFRA, from the beginning, was to assert that unpopular religious views (whether of peyote-smoking native Americans, hijab-wearing Muslims or something similar) ought to be protected by more than just the whim of the majority.

Leslie Knope, on the other hand, was the office progressive, fueled by idealism about what government can do, if only given the chance. With her office filled with pictures of her women heroes from Madeleine Albright to Hillary Clinton, Knope wanted to break glass ceilings, to fill in sand pits and build parks for the sake of the flourishing of her community.

Now, as a liberal Democrat, Knope, too, probably would support same-sex marriage. But its hard to imagine that Knope would feel comfortable with the hysteria weve seen over the Indiana RFRA. The primary pressure to abandon this act, along with the (flat-out misrepresented) line that it is a freedom to discriminate bill has come from big corporate interests threatening to boycott the state.

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Why Parks and Recreations Ron Swanson and Leslie Knope could agree on Indianas religious freedom law

Can the Police Occupy My Property?

 Fifth Amendment  Comments Off on Can the Police Occupy My Property?
Mar 312015
 

A recent case has people wondering if, how, and when police officers can use their property, including their house, to stage law enforcement operations.

A Henderson, NV family claimed officers violated the Third Amendment (“[n]o Soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the Owner”) by occupying their homes to investigate a domestic dispute at a neighbor’s house. A federal court found that, while officers may have committed some other constitutional violations, the amendment didn’t apply because the officers were not soldiers.

So is there any limit to when the police can use your property as a base of operations?

No Third Amendment Protection

The District Court in Nevada dismissed the families’ Third Amendment claims because it did not consider municipal police officers as soldiers:

I hold that a municipal police officer is not a soldier for purposes of the Third Amendment. This squares with the purpose of the Third Amendment because this was not a military intrusion into a private home, and thus the intrusion is more effectively protected by the Fourth Amendment. Because I hold that municipal officers are not soldiers for the purposes of this question, I need not reach the question of whether the occupation at issue in this case constitutes quartering, though I suspect it would not.

Therefore, it seems likely that the police would have significant leeway in setting up a base of operations on a citizen’s private property. It’s generally agreed upon that officers may set up speed traps on private property, including driveways, to monitor public highways.

Fourth or Fifth Amendment Protection?

The Fourth Amendment prohibits “unreasonable searches and seizures,” a may cover officers occupying private property. Weather officers’ presence on private property is unreasonable would likely come down to the property owner’s “reasonable expectation of privacy.” This determination that could depend on whether officers are inside an owner’s home, which carries a higher privacy expectation, or outside where the expectation of privacy is lessened.

The Fifth Amendment’s Eminent Domain Clause bars the government from taking personal property for public use without “just compensation.” Although courts have expanded the definition of a taking to beyond the forced sale of a home, it remains to be seen whether police officers temporarily occupying private property would apply under the amendment.

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Can the Police Occupy My Property?

Volokh Conspiracy: Affixing ankle bracelet to monitor suspect is a search, Supreme Court holds

 Fourth Amendment  Comments Off on Volokh Conspiracy: Affixing ankle bracelet to monitor suspect is a search, Supreme Court holds
Mar 312015
 

The case is Grady v. North Carolina. Held: Forcing someone to wear an ankle bracelet to monitor location is a Fourth Amendment search. The new decision extends the Jones search doctrine to searches of persons, and it provides more opportunity to ponder what the Jones test means. Ill start with the history, then discuss the new decision, and then offer some thoughts on the new case.

I. A Brief History of Fourth Amendment Searches

First, some Fourth Amendment history. As I explained in this article, the Supreme Court had not identified a clear test for what counts as a Fourth Amendment search until Katz v. United States (1967). In Silverman v. United States (1961), the Court had indicated that a physical intrusion was enough to be a search but left open what beyond physical intrusion counted. In Katz, the government had taped a microphone to the top of a public phone booth and listened to the microphone feed from a listening station nearby when Katz placed a call. The Court in Katz announced that it could no longer follow earlier caselaw, which it claimed had imposed a trespass test. The Court held that the governments conduct triggered the Fourth Amendment:

The Governments activities in electronically listening to and recording the petitioners words violated the privacy upon which he justifiably relied while using the telephone booth, and thus constituted a search and seizure within the meaning of the Fourth Amendment. The fact that the electronic device employed to achieve that end did not happen to penetrate the wall of the booth can have no constitutional significance.

Justice Harlan concurred. According to Harlan, the key was that Katzs expectation of privacy in the phone booth was one society was prepared to recognize as reasonable. When Katz went into the phone booth, closed the door, and put a coin in the coin slot, the phone booth became a temporarily private place whose momentary occupants expectations of freedom from intrusion are recognized as reasonable. The full Court later adopted Justice Harlans concurring opinion, usually known as the reasonable expectation of privacy test, or just as short hand, the Katz test. (Im ignoring subjective expectations of privacy for reasons explained here.)

In United States v. Jones (2012) the Supreme Court held that the government conducted a search when it installed a GPS device to the underbody of a suspects car to monitor his location over time with intent to get information. The Court reasoned that the trespass test that Katz said existed before Katz still existed, and that because installing a GPS device on a car is trespassory, installing the GPS device was a trespass search without having to reach the issue of whether it violated a reasonable expectation of privacy under the Katz test. Because the trespass occurred with the intent to get information, it was a Fourth Amendment search.

As I detailed in this article and I have blogged about occasionally since then, this history leaves us unsure of what the Court thinks the Jones test is. Is the test physical intrusion as in Silverman, or is it trespass? If its trespass, which kind of trespass, given that trespass is an accordian-like term that has both broad and narrow meanings? And if attaching a GPS device to the underbody of a car was trespassory in Jones, why wasnt taping a microphone to the top of a phone booth trespassory in Katz?

II. Grady v. North Carolina

That brings us to the new case. In Grady, the defendant is a recidivist sex offender who was ordered to wear an ankle bracelet that determines his location using GPS. The bracelet was installed against his consent, and he was ordered to wear it for life.

The defendant argued that this violated his Fourth Amendment rights under the Jones case, but the North Carolina Court of Appeals disagreed. First, it relied on its own precedent that had earlier rejected the analogy to Jones for a bizarre reason: Because Jones arose in a motion to suppress rather than a civil case, it was inapplicable and using the ankle bracelet was not a search. Second, the earlier precedent had relied post-Jones on dicta in a pre-Jones North Carolina Supreme Court case, Bowditch, that had suggested that sex offenders have a lesser expectation of privacy against monitoring.

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Volokh Conspiracy: Affixing ankle bracelet to monitor suspect is a search, Supreme Court holds




Pierre Teilhard De Chardin | Designer Children | Prometheism | Euvolution | Transhumanism