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Does The Illuminati Exist in Hollywood? Amazing Atheist Vs Katt Williams ( other insiders)
The Amazing Atheist tries to debunk my videos on the entertainment industry! But does he even know what he talking about? No not a clue in fact !!! In this video I prove his opinion holds no…

By: The Vigilant Christian

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Does The Illuminati Exist in Hollywood? Amazing Atheist Vs Katt Williams (& other insiders) – Video

News VietNamNet

Islands Comments Off
Oct 162014

VietNamNet Bridge – Former Deputy Minister of Defence, Lieutenant General Nguyen Van Rinh, confirmed that Chinas construction activities on islands in Vietnams Truong Sa Archipelago (Spratly Islands) aim at military targets, laying the foundation for implementation of the “China dream”.

China is turning Johnson South Reef into an artificial island. Photo: DSPL

China is building artificial islands in order to change the status quo of the Gac Ma (Johnson South) Reef and some areas in the Spratly Islands of Vietnam. What do you think about Chinas latest moves?

Former Deputy Minister of Defence, Lieutenant General Nguyen Van Rinh: Johnson South is actually a reef of the Sinh Ton (Sin Cowe) Island in the Spratly Islands of Vietnam. This is a brown reef, surrounded by a white coral belt. Only a few stones float on the sea and most of the reef is underwater. The Johnson South Reef is over 3km southeast of Vietnams Co Lin (Collins) Reef and marks the southwestern tip of Sin Cowe Island. In 1988, China used force to illegally seize Johnson South Reef of Vietnam.

Chinas declaration of improving the reef to serve people’s lives is ridiculous because this is the new island, which is still under construction so it is it impossible to have civil activities there. According to satellite images, the building activities on the reef are on a large scale to form a floating island. In my opinion, the main goal of China still aims at military goals.

This is part of the long-term strategy: claiming Hoang Sa (Paracel) and Truong Sa (Spratly) Islands of China and laying the groundwork for the next steps, which is extremely dangerous to realize the “China Dream” and the U-shaped line claim.

Why does China choose Johnson South Reef to build a floating island and what threat will it pose?

Rinh: According to the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), countries cannot claim sovereignty over underwater reefs and “the reefs that do not sustain human settlements or do not have economic life will not have the exclusive economic zone or the continental shelf.” Chinas new moves in the East Sea aim to turn the Johnson South Reef into an inhabited island to claim sovereignty.

On the other hand, the position of Johnson South Reef is very important for defense and military. If a military base is built there, it will control the entire military operations in the Spratly Islands of Vietnam. It is a threat to peace and security not only in the East Sea but also the entire Asia – Pacific.

More here:
News VietNamNet



Magic trick, plus my opinion on the Illuminati
Introducing PlatefaceTheMagician (that's me). Hi everyone, I am PlatefaceTheMagician. I have finally created this new channel to openly express who I am. Sometimes a mask allows us to be…

By: PlatefaceTheMagician

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Magic trick, plus my opinion on the Illuminati – Video



Dr. Stan Monteith: A Legend of Freedom Fighting
Paul Joseph Watson plays a memorial clip for the late Dr. Stan Monteith in which Alex Jones interviews him and gets his opinion on world trends. http://www.i…

By: THElNFOWARRlOR

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Dr. Stan Monteith: A Legend of Freedom Fighting – Video

Yesterday the Tenth Circuit heard oral arguments in Bonidy v. United States, which is an as-applied challenge to the U.S. Postal Service regulation which completely prohibits firearms on all postal property, including parking lots. Mr. Bonidy lives in Avon, Colorado, and has a concealed carry permit issued pursuant to Colorado law, following a fingerprint-based background check, safety training, and the County Sheriffs determination that he does not pose any threat to himself or others.

The post office does not provide home delivery in Avon, so residents must go to the post office to pick up their mail from a box. The local post office is open 24 hours a day, has counter staff 6 hours a day, and provides no security for patrons.

In the District Court, Judge Richard Matsch upheld the postal ban for the post office lobby (where patrons access their mail boxes), ruling it to be among Hellers sensitive places. He ruled the gun ban unconstitutional as applied to Mr. Bonidy and the parking lot at the Avon Post Office. The case thus came to the 10th Circuit on cross-appeals by the parties. Mr. Bonidy is represented by the Mountain States Legal Foundation. Some of the documents in the case (but not the appellate briefs) are available on the website of Michel and Associates, a southern California firm with a specialty in firearms cases. Like me, Michel and Associates has no role in the case.

Heres my take on some of the issues that the three-judge panel raised at oral argument:

Heller says that nothing in our opinion should be taken to cast doubt on longstanding prohibitions on the possession of firearms by felons and the mentally ill, or laws forbidding the carrying of firearms in sensitive places such as schools and government buildings, or laws imposing conditions and qualifications on the commercial sale of arms. A footnote adds: We identify these presumptively lawful regulatory measures only as examples; our list does not purport to be exhaustive.

First question: What should lower courts do with presumptively lawful? Does this mean that any law in the three listed categories (felons/mentally ill, sensitive places, conditions on commercial sale of firearms) must automatically be upheld? After all, as Judge David Ebel pointed out at oral argument, Heller must be construed so as not to cast doubt on the listed laws. Doesnt this mean that all such laws are undoubtedly constitutional?

Lets try applying that interpretation, to see if it makes sense. Say that a regulation requires that when the owner of a retail gun store goes home for the night, the store must have security devices to prevent/deter theft, including that guns must be locked up. This is an easy fit with the Heller dicta, and can speedily be held as lawful.

But suppose that the anti-theft rule is that every gun in the store must be disassembled before the store closes at night. Or that the gun store may only be open for business five hours per week. Or that only persons with a college degree may work in a gun store. All of these would be conditions and qualifications on the commercial sale of arms. These laws are manifestly oppressive, extreme, and unreasonable. They should be subject to heightened scrutiny, and with heightened scrutiny applied, should be ruled unconstitutional.

So one way to answer the question about presumptively lawful would be to say that the presumption can be overcome. The more unreasonable, oppressive, or excessive the regulation, the better the argument that the presumption has been overcome. In this argument, it also matters whether the regulation is longstanding. The Postal Service gun ban only dates back to the early 1970s, just a few years before the District of Columbia enacted its 1975 handgun ban and ban on use of firearms for self-defense in the home. The D.C. ordinances were obviously not longstanding by Hellers standards, and s neither is the postal ban.

Now that we know that the presumption of lawfulness can sometimes be rebutted, the next question is what is the scope of sensitive places such as schools or government buildings? We have to take into account that in the single sentence about permissible gun controls, the Supreme Court was providing general guidance, and was not attempting to provide a detailed rule to cover all situations.

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Volokh Conspiracy: Bonidy v. United States: The Second Amendment at the post office

Oct 012014

This past week, I was joined by Josh McCoy of Vizion Interactive in presenting an SEO workshop for attendees of the Integrated Marketing Summit in Kansas City. The workshop was four hours and the presentation totaled just more than 100 slides.

As you might imagine, there was a lot of stuff to talk about. By its nature, some of that content was a “bit” on the technical side, but we tried our best to speak “English” so that the attendees could walk away with fewer questions than they had coming in.

We wanted the workshop to be interactive, and welcomed questions. One question did strike me as something that I think too often is bantered in executive meetings throughout the world

The comment (and question), as best as I can recall was something like, “Youve covered a lot of technical stuff in this presentation, but can you just tell me what the one thing is that we can do to really improve our results for SEO?”

We didnt dodge the question. I mean, if you had to pick one tactic, I would have to pick “create content.” But, thats really too simplistic an answer.

I shared with this individual that sometimes content isnt the answer. Each and every project is unique, the competitive set is unique, and every website (company) has its own set of unique challenges. I shared a few examples of instances where I had worked with large organizations that simply had an issue with getting content indexed. Once this “one thing” was fixed, it was a hockey stick. Traffic, in some cases, doubled. These companies already had authority built into their site (solid link profile/larger brands, etc.). And, in some cases, that “one thing” was the fact that their title tags were absolutely horrible (yes, there are still some with the title tag of “home” on their home/index page of their sites).

There are currently more than 1 million results for an “allintitle:” search on Google for “homepage” and nearly that many for the same search for “home page.”

But, these “one thing” opportunities dont come around very often.

More often, you are engaging in an omni-channel approach to building authority, strategically developing content, technical stuff, and optimizing conversion rates as much as you are title tags.

This, in my opinion, is “todays SEO.”

See more here:
SEO Is No One-Trick Pony

Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne is pledging to bring a pro-free-speech message with her when she visits China later this month.

As Beijing took a harder line on pro-democracy demonstrations in Hong Kong Wednesday, Ms. Wynne came out on the side of the protesters. When she leads a trade mission to China Oct. 25 to Nov. 1, she said, she will not shy away from telling Chinese officials that they must allow peaceful protests to go ahead.

THE GLOBE IN HONG KONG

No matter where I am, I will reinforce my belief and our commitment to freedom of speech and peoples ability to gather and express themselves peacefully, she said at a Queens Park press conference reannouncing the trade mission. I will say that anywhere and I will continue to reinforce it.

The Premier said she, along with International Trade Minister Michael Chan, met with the Chinese consul-general Tuesday and gave him exactly this message.

Ms. Wynne, however, refused to go a step further and say whether the Chinese government should grant the aims of the protesters fully democratic elections that dont require candidates be vetted by Beijing.

Asked if the people of Hong Kong should have the right to elect their leaders, she said: For me, its very important that we defend the right of people to express their opinion in Canada, in China or in the world.

Ms. Wynne on Wednesday also attended a flag raising to mark Chinas National Day, which commemorates the day Mao Zedong proclaimed the Peoples Republic in 1949.

Provincial politicians typically shy away from raising issues of human rights and democracy during overseas visits, preferring to focus purely on trade and leave larger political questions to the federal government. But Ms. Wynne indicated she would line up behind Canadas Foreign Affairs Minister, John Baird, who has also called for China to respect the protesters.

We support the ability of people in whatever country they reside to be able to express freely their opinions in a peaceful environment, Ms. Wynne said. We certainly follow the lead of and work with the federal government in terms of those relationships. Our commitment to supporting people to express themselves freely in a peaceful setting, that is absolutely firm.

Go here to read the rest:
Amid Hong Kong protests, Wynne vows to promote free speech on China visit



Pour la libert d'expression en Russie, pas ici. / Freedom of Opinion in Russia not here !
This political satire of the highest quality, thoroughly entertaining and hard hitting at the same time! Kudos to the team responsible for this. Video Details: Original source: Die Anstalt…

By: France Saker

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Pour la libert d’expression en Russie, pas ici. / Freedom of Opinion in Russia not here ! – Video

In D.C. v. Heller, the Supreme Court stated that (emphasis added, citations omitted, as usual),

Like most rights, the right secured by the Second Amendment is not unlimited. From Blackstone through the 19th-century cases, commentators and courts routinely explained that the right was not a right to keep and carry any weapon whatsoever in any manner whatsoever and for whatever purpose. For example, the majority of the 19th-century courts to consider the question held that prohibitions on carrying concealed weapons were lawful under the Second Amendment or state analogues. Although we do not undertake an exhaustive historical analysis today of the full scope of the Second Amendment, nothing in our opinion should be taken to cast doubt on longstanding prohibitions on the possession of firearms by felons and the mentally ill, or laws forbidding the carrying of firearms in sensitive places such as schools and government buildings, or laws imposing conditions and qualifications on the commercial sale of arms.

[Footnote: We identify these presumptively lawful regulatory measures only as examples; our list does not purport to be exhaustive.]

The question, then, is whether this presumpti[on] of validity can ever be rebutted for instance, if a persons felony conviction is many decades in the past, is for a not very serious felony, or both. Some federal courts have stated that the answer would be yes under the right circumstances. United States v. Moore, 666 F.3d 313, 320 (4th Cir. 2012); United States v. Barton, 633 F.3d 168, 174 (3d Cir. 2011); United States v. Williams, 616 F.3d 685, 693 (7th Cir. 2010); United States v. Duckett, 406 Fed. Appx. 185, 187 (9th Cir. 2010) (Ikuta, J., concurring); United States v. McCane, 573 F.3d 1037, 1049-50 (10th Cir. 2009) (Tymkovich, J., concurring). Some North Carolina state court decisions have actually set aside particular claimants state-law gun disabilities, under the North Carolina Constitutions right to bear arms provision. Britt v. State, 681 S.E.2d 320 (N.C. 2009) (holding that a nonviolent felon whose crime was long in the past regained his state constitutional right to keep and bear arms); Baysden v. State, 718 S.E.2d 699 (N.C. Ct. App. 2011) (same). But Thursdays Binderup v. Holder (E.D. Pa. Sept. 25, 2014) is, to my knowledge, the first federal court decision to actually set aside such a gun disability on Second Amendment grounds.

The court began by deciding whether Daniel Binderups conviction counts as a felony for federal felon-in-possession law, and concludes that it does. Federal felon-in-possession law actually bars gun possession by people who have state or federal convictions for any crime punishable by a year or more in prison or, if its labeled a misdemeanor by state law, by two years or more in prison. The focus isnt (solely) on the formal felony-vs.-misdemeanor label attached to a crime by state or federal law, nor on the actual sentence for the crime, but on the maximum sentence authorized for the crime (or so the Binderup court held, consistently with other cases). The crime in this case corruption of minors is labeled by Pennsylvania as a first-degree misdemeanor, which means it carries a maximum sentence of five years. It must therefore be treated, the court held, as a felony for purposes of the federal felon-in-possession statute.

But then, the court asked whether the Second Amendment nonetheless preempts federal felon-in-possession law in this particular case. In Barton, one of the cases cited above, the Third Circuit the federal appellate court that sets binding federal precedent for Pennsylvania and some other jurisdictions wrote:

To raise a successful as-applied challenge, [a defendant] must present facts about himself and his background that distinguish his circumstances from those of persons historically barred from Second Amendment protections. For instance, a felon convicted of a minor, non-violent crime might show that he is no more dangerous than a typical law-abiding citizen. Similarly, a court might find that a felon whose crime of conviction is decades-old poses no continuing threat to society. The North Carolina Supreme Court did just that in Britt v. State, 363 N.C. 546 (2009), finding that a felon convicted in 1979 of one count of possession of a controlled substance with intent to distribute had a constitutional right to keep and bear arms, at least as that right is understood under the North Carolina Constitution.

And Binderup, the court held, did present such facts about himself and his background. His only conviction was nearly 17 years before. It stemmed from a nonviolent incident a consensual sexual relationship Binderup had with a 17-year-old employee. Pennsylvania law does not even treat the offense as a statutory rape; the formal age of consent in Pennsylvania (as in most other states) is 16, and sexual conduct by an adult with a 16- or 17-year-old is treated as consensual, though bad for a the minor and therefore the crime of corruption of minors. The statistics presented by the government, showing that people with criminal convictions even nonviolent ones are likely to commit other crimes arent probative given the nature of the crime, how long ago the crime was, and Binderups current age (59). For these reasons, the court held,

[P]laintiff has demonstrated that, if allowed to keep and bear arms in his home for purposes of self-defense, he would present no more threat to the community that the average law-abiding citizen.

And because of this, the presumption that theres no Second Amendment problem with barring felons from possessing guns, the court held, has been rebutted.

Go here to see the original:
Volokh Conspiracy: A rare Second Amendment exemption from federal ban on felons possessing guns

By Katie Kilmartin | Published 09/23/14 12:40am

Greg Lukianoff is the presidentof the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education and the keynote speaker at UNC’s sixth annual First Amendment Day, which is organized by theUNC Center for Media Law andPolicy.

In an email,Staff Writer Katie Kilmartin asked him about what he plans to talk about in his keynote address, his opinion on UNC’s First Amendment climate and more.

THEDAILY TAR HEEL:What are your thoughts on UNCs ranking as one of the worst 10 universities for free speech?

GREG LUKIANOFF:I was disappointed that I had to include UNC on this years list. I explain my reasons in that piece which you can find here:http://huff.to/1qoIv5M

Im quite sure I will be getting questions about it tomorrow!

DTH:What do you plan to speak about at the keynote address for First Amendment Day?

GL:Tomorrow, I plan to talk about, of course, the First Amendment, but beyond that the larger principles of freedom of speech itself and why I believe those principles are under threat. Make no mistake about it, free speech is an eternally radical idea, so it is always under threat at all times in human history.

I will also talk about my first book, “Unlearning Liberty,” and my new short book, “Freedom From Speech,” in which I lay out my causes for concern for speech going forward.

DTH:What main ideas do you hope people will take away from your address?

Continued here:
Q&A with First Amendment Day speaker Greg Lukianoff



The Long Rant; Spirituality, Illuminati, fear, mongering ……fun stuff
Along with tons of other stuff…. I kinda outdid it on this one. It's long. But it was fun to make ;) Sorry people disagree…but that's the world we live in. I welcome your opinion, if you…

By: carpo719

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The Long Rant; Spirituality, Illuminati, fear, mongering ……fun stuff – Video

Sep 172014

Stuff.co.nz

John Key says journalist Glenn Greenwald got it wrong over mass surveillance taking place in New Zealand.

Prime Minister John Key cannot rule out that the United States National Security Agency is undertaking mass surveillance of New Zealanders’ data but has rejected claims New Zealand spies would have access to such information.

“What I can say is the GCSB [Government Communications Security Bureau] does not have access to any information through XKeyscore or any other database, unless they basically comply with the New Zealand law, and the New Zealand law forbids that unless there is a warrant to do so,” he said.

Asked whether that was an admission GCSB spies on occasion used the controversial XKeyscore programme, Key declined to elaborate.

“I don’t talk about whatever programmes they have,” he said.

* Beehive Live

* NZ spied on allies: Greenwald

*Opinion: We deserve answers on spying

* Opinion: Spy scandal impact on election far from certain

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NSA spying can't be ruled out: PM

Denver, Colorado (PRWEB) September 09, 2014

Attorney for the IRP6, Gwendolyn Solomon, is asking the U.S. Supreme Court to consider reviewing the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals decision in the IRP6 case. U.S. Supreme Court records show that a petition for writ of certiorari was filed with the U.S. Supreme Court on August 23, 2014 and placed on the docket on August 27, 2014. (U.S. Supreme Court, Docket No. 14-229, 8/27/14, RE: David A. Banks, Kendrick Barnes, Demetrius Harper, Clinton A. Stewart, Gary L. Walker, David A. Zirpolo vs. United States).

The IRP6 case concerns a Colorado-based company (IRP Solutions Corporation) that developed the Case Investigative Life Cycle (CILC) criminal investigations software for federal, state, and local law enforcement. The IRP6 (Kendrick Barnes, Gary L Walker, Demetrius K. Harper, Clinton A Stewart, David A Zirpolo and David A Banks) were convicted in 2011 after being accused of mail and wire fraud. (D. Ct. No. 1:09-CR-00266-CMA).

Court documents show that the IRP6 case was previously submitted to the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals based on Fifth Amendment Prohibition of Compulsory Testimony, Sixth Amendment Right to Present a Defense and Speedy Trial Act Violation. That appeal was denied in August 2014. (IRP 6 Case – Appellate Case: 11-1492, Document: 01019289332, 8/4/14). Records also show that A Just Cause previously filed a lawsuit against Court Reporter Darlene Martinez for a missing transcript related to the Fifth Amendment violation argument. Court records show that the IRP6 made repeated requests for the transcript from court proceedings of October 11, 2011, arguing that a sidebar discussion was missing. (D. Ct. No. 1:09-CR-00266-CMA).

We put together a solid argument for appeal, but I am troubled at what I have observed throughout these proceedings at how there can be evidence of innocence, yet men sit in jail, says Attorney Gwendolyn Solomon, Appellant Attorney for the IRP6. The next obvious step was the U.S. Supreme Court, adds Solomon.

Regardless of decisions by lower courts, filing the petition for writ of certiorari with the United States Supreme Court on behalf of the IRP6 is a great opportunity, says Solomon. I was truly amazed when I got the letter showing that it had been filed and that it passed the first step of getting on the docket, exclaims Solomon. It is my ultimate goal that this case is reviewed by the Justices and the IRP6 can get back to their families, Solomon concludes. (U.S. Supreme Court, Docket No. 14-229, 8/27/14, RE: David A. Banks, Kendrick Barnes, Demetrius Harper, Clinton A. Stewart, Gary L. Walker, David A. Zirpolo vs. United States)

While working on this case there are so many things that I have observed and argued in lower court filings to include judicial abuse of authority and power. Im now petitioning the highest court to review arguments showing how the lower court was not impartial, but exhibited judicial bias in favor of the government, argues Solomon. Court filings show that appellants have argued that exculpatory evidence was disallowed, not only documents but expert witnesses to allow the defendants to properly defend their case. Court transcripts show that the Judge didnt assist in enforcement of subpoenas, but reprimanded the defendants for being unable to get service on their witnesses, added Solomon (D. Ct. No. 1:09-CR-00266-CMA) . As for the Fifth Amendment violation argument, I have serious questions on what the court records show regarding how a court reporter can withhold court records of legal proceedings and the court not enforce a persons fundamental right to those court records. This is the type of action that warrants a review by the Supreme Court because of the potential conflict it poses with federal law, asserts Solomon.

A Just Cause is very pleased at the ongoing interest that Attorney Solomon has shown in the IRP6 case, says Sam Thurman, A Just Cause. Ms. Solomon has been working this case pro bono for over two years, and you have to respect that type of dedication. She was on board already when Mark Geragos joined the team and continued to do most of the research and legwork afterwards. The defendants and AJC have since parted ways with Mr. Geragos, adds Thurman. That situation is one in which we have recently filed a complaint on behalf of AJC and the families with the California Bar Association under Rule 3-500 Communication and 3-110 – Failing to Act Competently (California Bar Association Complaint Ref #14-25162). The complaint shows that the families paid Mr. Geragos over $100,000 in retainer fees, but they do not feel that the case was adequately represented, adds Thurman. The fact that Solomon has continued to progress with this case in light of the recent complaint that we had to file is a testament to her willingness to see this case through to the end, says Thurman.

At first I was very excited to work with Mark Geragos, says Solomon. He is a veteran with over 30 years experience and I graduated from law school only 7 years ago. It was my desire to advance my skills and knowledge of the legal system, adds Solomon. I became concerned as certain events occurred that ultimately led to Mr. Geragos dismissal and subsequent complaint. I acknowledge that there was a riff between he and I at one point but that doesnt concern me as much as how he treated the IRP6 and their families. I support the families and A Just Cause in their complaint against Mr. Geragos, which cites that he didnt exercise professional courtesy in this relationship. I was lead counsel, but as the complaint states, he didnt communicate well with the client or me. On several occasions he refused to follow my suggestions and wouldnt return calls or timely emails. Lack of communication and disrespect for me as a professional attorney are key to the California Bar complaint, and I believe that the dismissal of the IRP6 civil case for the transcript can be attributed to Geragos that lack of communication and failing to act competently; as the complaint cites, Solomon asserts (California Bar Association Complaint Ref #14-25162). You dont yell at your clients during a conference call and hang up on them; I was shocked, explains Solomon.

Referring to the filing of the complaint with the California Bar Association, David Banks comments, Mr. Geragos comment to us that You can chase your constitutional rights, but you are going to spend your time in jail was uncalled for and showed lack of professional consideration for us as his clients. In our opinion the complaint with the California Bar is the right thing to do and we are glad that Attorney Solomon didnt let his actions deter her from filing the petition with the Supreme Court, added Banks.

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Attorney Gwendolyn Solomon Petitions United States Supreme Court to Review Tenth Circuits Decision in Case of the IRP6

TIME Opinion foreign affairs The Islands Stuck in the Middle of Scotlands Vote for Independence Houses of the Neolithic settlement of Skara Brae, on June 1, 2014 in Bay of Skaill, Scotland. The Skara Brae settlement was discovered in 1850 and is one of the most important prehistoric sites on the Orkney, showing how people lived approximately 5,000 years ago. Jeremy Sutton-HibbertGetty Images For Orkney, a “yes” vote may not lead to sovereignty

Ten years ago a farmer was digging in his backyard in Ness of Brodgara village on one of the islands that makes up the Scottish archipelago of Orkneywhen he came across some strange stones. They seemed to be man-made. By 2008 archaeologists had started to excavate the site on a small stretch of green land between the waters of the North Atlantic. Soon they realized they had found the most well-preserved stone houses of the Stone Agewhat are now being called the First Stonehenge.

Who governed Orkney then? We dont know. Who governs Orkney now? We still dont know. But some clarity could come this month with a referendum that will impact the lives of the 23,000 people who inhabit these 70 islands. On September 18, the voters of Scotlandall residents older than 16 yearswill decide whether to become an independent country or remain within the United Kingdom.

The question is a complicated one, and it is being debated in not only Scotland but also around the world. The question is even more complicated in the case of Orkney, where sovereignty has been an open question since the beginning of European society here more than 5,000 years ago.

Orkney lies in the sea north of the Scottish mainland, between Scotland and Norway. This strategic position has given the Orkney people both opportunities and challenges. Over the ages, the archipelago has been occupied by Nordic Vikings, Norwegian kings, and Scottish monarchs. In 1707, it was attached to the United Kingdom along with Scotland.

During the two world wars, the British military used Orkney as their main naval basethe remains of sunken warships can still be seen today along the coastlines of Orkney. More recently, the regions enormous natural resourceincluding fish, gas, oil, and new opportunities to generate electricity from wind and tidal flowshave given rise to a great deal of interest in Orkney.

The fertile land and mild climate offered (and still offer) a perfect setting for people to settle, meet, and develop, explains the historian David Murdoch, who makes his living by showing the archipelago to foreigners from Scotland and beyond. When I arrived on the tiny airfield to report on Orkney for the Swiss Broadcasting Company, the first landmark outside the airport in Kirkwall, the main city of Orkney, was a large sign with three big lettersY-E-S.

A yes vote in the September referendum would mean independence for Scotland, but its not clear if that would mean more independence for Orkney. Sovereignty has a difficult history here. When Scotlandafter a successful popular vote back in 1997achieved more autonomy within the United Kingdom, Orkneys regional powers were reduced. And Orkneys regional powers werent much to begin with, the UK being one of Europes most centralized polities.

Orkney is hoping for a reversaland more sovereignty. The question is whether an independent Scotland will produce that result.

We need to be taken much more seriously, stresses the islands Prime Minister Steven Heddle as he welcomes me at the Orkney Islands Councils headquarters in Kirkwall. The Council governs all of Orkney. While we contribute a lot to the wealth of Scotland and the UK, we have very little possibility to decide our own local affairs, says Heddle, who would like to see the development of a strong democracy across Orkney, including what he calls the features of true direct democracy.

Excerpt from:
The Islands Stuck in the Middle of Scotlands Vote for Independence

TIME Opinion Media Hacked Celebrity Pics Should Not Be an Excuse To Throttle Our Free and Open Internet Actress Jennifer Lawrence attends the Christian Dior show as part of Paris Fashion Week – Haute Couture Fall/Winter 2014-2015. Rindoff/Dufour2014 Rindoff/Dufour For better or worse, the Internet is the greatest free-speech forum ever imagined

In the wake of the nude-picture-hacking scandal involving images of Jennifer Lawrence, Kate Upton, and dozens of other mostly (but not exclusively) female celebrities, calls to shut down or legally punish the sites at which they were postedsuch as Reddit and 4chanare flying fast and furious. So are calls to increase the scope and penalties for involuntary porn and revenge porn, in which intimate photos and videos are shared without the consent of all involved parties.

Such reactions are as understandable as they are ultimately misguided. Theres something deeply disturbing about peoples most intimate information being hacked and distributed across the globe. But most remedies threaten not bad behavior as much as the very openness of expression the Internet makes possible.

Its already a criminal act to hack into private online accounts, so its not exactly clear how new laws will change bad actors behavior. Under the best of circumstances, its notoriously difficult to prove exactly who uploaded what where, and the types of people who are likely commit such acts tend to have an overriding disregard not just for common decency but legal sanctions. Indeed, the hacker believed to be responsible for the posting of the celebrity nudes is reportedly both on the run from the FBI and still threatening to release yet more photos. Similarly, attempts to shut down the so-called Darknet, on which illegal drugs and other illicit goods and services are traded, have proven ineffective. Last year, federal agents arrested the alleged mastermind of the biggest such site, Silk Road, only to see Darknet activity increase by nearly 60% or more since then.

Under current federal law, Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and websites enjoy broad legal immunity from the actions of people who use online services. Thats as it should be and the main reason the Internet evolved into the greatest free-speech forum ever imagined. Yet recent laws designed to criminalize revenge porn effectively nullify such protections.

Earlier this year, for instance, Virginia passed a law that makes it illegal for any personwith the intent to coerce, harass, or intimidate to disseminate or sell images of someone in a state of undress where such person knows or has reason to know that he is not licensed or authorized to disseminate. Violations are Class 1 misdemeanors and carry monetary fines and up to a year in prison. The first case brought under the new law was filed in July and the defendant is currently out on bond. Members of Congress such as Rep. Jackie Speier (D-Calif.) are pushing federal versions of such laws, which would strip ISPs and websites of their immunity.

The problem with such legislation is that it doesnt just criminalize the posting of images whose meanings and intentions are rarely as clear-cut as prosecutors want to believe. It also has the potential to massively chill free speech by gulling ISPs and websites into either pulling down totally legal material when faced with any sort of complaint, but also proactively policing free expression. Individuals, too, will also feel the chill as they wonder exactly what sort of material may land them in court.

As Lee Rowland of the ACLU told one of my colleagues at Reason TV earlier this year, Criminal law is such a blunt instrument that we have real doubts that its possible to draft these laws in a way that wont end up criminalizing pure speech.

Its only been little more than a year that revelations from Edward Snowden detailed just how much of all of our on- and off-line communications are being monitored by any number of government agencies and programs. While the Internet has exponentially increased the possibilities of human rudeness, crudeness and rotten behavior, it has also similarly exploded our ability to communicate openly and to speak truth to powereven as that power is trying harder than ever to keep track of every random thought we have.

The celebrities affected by this latest online scandal will survive with their careers intact. They have every right to be aggrieved and to pursue legal claims that exist against hacking and invasion of privacy. But all of us deserve a free and open Internet, too. Anything we do to tamp down the free flow of information on the Internet will ultimately come at a price that is steeper than advertised.

Original post:
Hacked Celebrity Pics Should Not Be an Excuse To Throttle Our Free and Open Internet

I have requested that our communications office allow posting to our Internet discussion forums of material that is racist, sexist, homophobic, and otherwise, in my opinion, morally wrong — not merely offensive, but morally wrong. I have three reasons.

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First Amendment – The Huffington Post

STORY HIGHLIGHTS

(CNN) — Free speech has consequences — especially when business interests are involved.

That’s a lesson most recently learned by real estate professionals David and Jason Benham, who lost the HGTV show they were scheduled to host after a recording of David Benham’s anti-homosexuality views emerged.

Should the Benham brothers have lost their HGTV show?

After the site Right Wing Watch published a post about the pair and posted a recording of Benham talking to a talk show host about “homosexuality and its agenda that is attacking the nation,” HGTV dropped their planned show, called “Flip It Forward.”

“HGTV has decided not to move forward with the Benham Brothers’ series,” the network tweeted after the post went public.

The Benhams aren’t the first ones to lose work over their words. Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling was banned for life from the team’s day-to-day operations and facilities — and fined $2.5 million — for racist comments that were recorded and posted online. Paula Deen became an ex-Food Network host after she admitted to using a racial slur. “Duck Dynasty’s” Phil Robertson was suspended after his controversial comments on homosexuals were published, though the A&E show has stayed on the air.

Opinion: What happened to Sterling was morally wrong

Regardless of the platform, the personal, political and corporate have ways of getting entangled with one another these days — particularly when corporations try to maintain very public reputations of welcoming diversity and inclusiveness, says crisis management consultant Eric Dezenhall.

“I defy you to go to a corporate meeting and not hear words incanted over and over again: ‘diversity,’ ‘inclusiveness,’ ‘transparency,’ ‘corporate social responsibility,’ ‘sustainability,’ et cetera,” he says. “If you step out of the narrow margins on some of these issues, there’s going to be a problem.”

Go here to read the rest:
Underneath all the speech controversies, it's just business

May 092014

STORY HIGHLIGHTS

(CNN) — Free speech has consequences — especially when business interests are involved.

That’s a lesson most recently learned by real estate professionals David and Jason Benham, who lost the HGTV show they were scheduled to host after a recording of David Benham’s anti-homosexuality views emerged.

Should the Benham brothers have lost their HGTV show?

After the site Right Wing Watch published a post about the pair and posted a recording of Benham talking to a talk show host about “homosexuality and its agenda that is attacking the nation,” HGTV dropped their planned show, called “Flip It Forward.”

“HGTV has decided not to move forward with the Benham Brothers’ series,” the network tweeted after the post went public.

The Benhams aren’t the first ones to lose work over their words. Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling was banned for life from the team’s day-to-day operations and facilities — and fined $2.5 million — for racist comments that were recorded and posted online. Paula Deen became an ex-Food Network host after she admitted to using a racial slur. “Duck Dynasty’s” Phil Robertson was suspended after his controversial comments on homosexuals were published, though the A&E show has stayed on the air.

Opinion: What happened to Sterling was morally wrong

Regardless of the platform, the personal, political and corporate have ways of getting entangled with one another these days — particularly when corporations try to maintain very public reputations of welcoming diversity and inclusiveness, says crisis management consultant Eric Dezenhall.

“I defy you to go to a corporate meeting and not hear words incanted over and over again: ‘diversity,’ ‘inclusiveness,’ ‘transparency,’ ‘corporate social responsibility,’ ‘sustainability,’ et cetera,” he says. “If you step out of the narrow margins on some of these issues, there’s going to be a problem.”

Original post:
Free speech has consequences

On Monday, April 28, the Court will hear oral arguments in Lane v. Franks on the First Amendment protections for a public employee who testifies in court. There are two respondents the previous and current presidents of the college in question and they disagree with each other on the First Amendment question. The Solicitor General will participate in the oral argument.

Background

Central to the resolution of Lane v. Franks is the reach of Garcetti v. Ceballos, the Courts latest pronouncement on the First Amendment rights of public employees. Since Pickering v. Board of Education in 1968, the First Amendment has protected public employees from adverse employment actions when they are speaking as a citizen on a matter of public concern. In Garcetti, the closely divided Court held that, when public employees make statements pursuant to their official duties, such speech is not protected by the First Amendment. The employee in Garcetti was a deputy district attorney in Los Angeles who investigated a law enforcement officers affidavit in support of a search warrant and concluded it was false. The prosecutor wrote a memo recommending the case be dismissed; his supervisors not only vehemently disagreed but also allegedly retaliated against him. In an opinion by Justice Kennedy, the Court reasoned that when an employee is simply performing his or her job duties, there is no relevant analogue to speech by citizens who are not government employees.

In the eight years since Garcetti, courts have varied in their application of the doctrine. For some courts, Garcetti has seemed a broad mandate insulating public employer actions from First Amendment challenge by any employee. Other courts, however, have limited and distinguished Garcetti. The Court has denied certiorari in several closely watched cases, such as Jackler v. Byrne and Bowie v. Maddox, which both involved police officers and reached differing conclusions, arguably producing a circuit split.

The Eleventh Circuits opinion in Lane v. Franks is decidedly in the expansive mandate camp. Indeed, the opinion is a per curiam one, decided without oral argument and intended as non-precedential. In affirming the district judges grant of summary judgment to the public employer, the Eleventh Circuit described Garcetti as further restricting public employees protected speech. Relying on its own circuit precedent, including pre-Garcetti cases, the court of appeals ruled that an employee enjoys no First Amendment protection when the speech was made pursuant to his official duties, including if his speech owes its existence to the employees professional responsibilities and is a product that the employer itself has commissioned or created. This broad category included subpoenaed testimony. However, the Eleventh Circuit recognized, albeit in a footnote, that both the Seventh Circuit and Third Circuit had decided this issue differently, citing Morales v. Jones and Reilly v. City of Atlantic City.

Even as related by the Eleventh Circuit, however, the circumstances giving rise to Lane v. Franks paint a troubling picture of retaliation for a public employees failure to cooperate with political corruption and his resulting testimony. In 2006, soon after Edward Lane became the director of a program for at-risk youth at Central Alabama Community College (CACC), he looked at the programs finances. He discovered that an Alabama state representative, Suzanne Schmitz, was listed on the payroll. He also discovered she had never performed any work for the program. Edward Lane raised his concerns about Schmitz, but he was warned by the CACC president (a predecessor to respondent Steve Franks) and CACCs lawyer that terminating Schmitzs employment could have negative repercussions for both Lane and CACC. Nevertheless, Lane did terminate Suzanne Schmitz after she refused to report to work. Schmitz told another program employee that she planned to get [Lane] back for terminating her and that, if he requested money from the state legislature, she would tell him youre fired. The FBI began investigating Suzanne Schmitz and contacted Edward Lane for information. Lane testified before a federal grand jury and pursuant to a subpoena he testified at Schmitzs two federal criminal trials for mail fraud and fraud involving a program receiving federal funds. Schmitz was ultimately convicted, although a divided Eleventh Circuit panel reversed her convictions on some of the counts.

Lane was terminated after his testimony at the first criminal trial. In January 2009, Franks who had become president of CACC terminated the twenty-nine employees of the at-risk youth program, but soon rescinded the termination of all the employees except Lane and one other. Whether Franks terminated Lane due to Lanes testimony against Schmitz remains unresolved; an essential issue in the Supreme Court is whether it needs to be.

Arguments and analysis

The primary question before the Court is whether the Eleventh Circuit was correct in holding that Lanes testimony was categorically unprotected by the First Amendment, although there is also a secondary issue of whether Franks is entitled to qualified immunity from an award for damages.

There is little support for a straightforward affirmance of the Eleventh Circuit opinion on the First Amendment issue. Lane is not the only one to argue that the Eleventh Circuits categorical exclusion of First Amendment protection for subpoenaed testimony is incorrect: the Solicitor General, representing the United States as an amicus, agrees with him. More unusually, the Alabama attorney general Alabama representing respondent Susan Burrow, the current acting president of CACC also agrees that the Eleventh Circuit was incorrect to conclude that Lanes testimony was categorically unprotected by the First Amendment. Additionally, almost all of the amicus briefs agree with this position, including one from the National Association of Police Organizations, which is perhaps not surprising given that so many of the similar cases involve persons employed in law enforcement.

Read the original here:
Argument preview: First Amendment protections for public employees subpoenaed testimony

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