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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.

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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.

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Argument preview: First Amendment protections for public employees subpoenaed testimony

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Red tomatoes: Freedom from slavery includes fair food



Piers Morgan Alex Jones was right Bundy Ranch Second Amendment
Did you notice something very strange about the Bundy ranch confrontation this weekend? Piers Morgan who always gives his opinion on important matters was no…

By: DailyWorldwideNews

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Piers Morgan Alex Jones was right Bundy Ranch Second Amendment – Video

The recent stir about Brendan Eichs departure as Mozilla chief executive and the reported backlash related to free speech issues are baffling to me [Mozilla CEO resignation raises free-speech issues, Business / Technology, April 5].

Yes, corporations are considered people under the law and hence are entitled to First Amendment rights. Eich, as the living, breathing personification of Mozilla, is entitled to support any cause he deems fit.

Consumers and advocates of gay equality similarly have the right to confront Eich with the discriminating nature of his opinion. And if that in turn causes stockholders or the board of a publicly traded company to deem him a liability to the company, nobody should be surprised nor dismayed if he is urged to step down.

The right to express an opinion does not protect one from the consequences of expressing an opinion.

Jos van Schagen, Seattle

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Mozilla: The right to free speech doesnt protect you from consequences

Topics: alexandria bay, editors picks, noosa, nudist beach, sunshine coast

AN OUTSPOKEN nudist suggests the “sleazy elements” that visit nude beaches would be eradicated if clothes-optional beaches became legal in Queensland.

Rocky Ind, a full-time nudist who organised the recent Alexandria Bay Beach Carnival, said legalising nude beaches – like Noosa’s Alexandria Bay – would give genuine nudists the authority to evict the creeps.

“Everywhere they’ve put legalised nude beaches, it becomes self-policing, it gets rid of the sleazy element,” Mr Ind said.

“Anywhere that becomes nude, well then they’ve got something to say to those who are not doing the right thing.”

Mr Ind’s expert input follows two recent incidents on Sunshine Coast beaches.

In the first, a lone female jogger was approached on Noosa’s A-Bay beach by a male nudist who shoved a camera into her hands and asked her to take his photo. In the second incident, a nude man approached three teen beachgoers last week at Coolum’s Second Bay.

“My opinion of these people, and the opinion of the vast majority of the nudists in Australia, is that these people are not genuine nudists,” Mr Ind said.

“People in the nude should be avoiding those people, not out there on display, in your face, as it were.

“The incidents of this sort of behaviour is just about zero in legalised nude beaches; you don’t get that sort of interaction.”

See original here:
Nudist beach would weed out perverts, says advocate

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Replica bullets and a dud shotgun shell got a man convicted of weapons charges in the nation’s capital, in a case gun rights activists say shows how overzealous authorities are trampling the Second Amendment.

On Friday, just two days after his conviction of attempted possession of unlawful ammunition, Mark Witaschek went to a Washington, D.C., police station to register in the city’s Gun Offenders Registry. The act was part of a sentence meted out after Witaschek lost his two-year legal battle that began when police searched his home and found an inert shotgun shell, a spent shell casing and a box of muzzle-loader bullets.

Im completely outraged by it, Witaschek, who moved to Virginia after he was arrested following the 2012 search, told the Washington Times. This is just a continuation of the nightmare. Just to sit there. I could not believe it.

Witaschek was also handed a $50 fine, punishments he fought as a matter of principle.

“This case is yet another example of D.C. run amok over citizens Constitutional rights,” the National Association for Gun Rights said in a statement. “Its no wonder anyone with the option and half a brain is fleeing D.C. for areas where self-defense is a virtue, and not criminalized.”

The search was in response to a complaint from his estranged ex-wife. The evidence presented against Witaschek included a 12-gauge shell that failed to fire while Witaschek was hunting years ago, a spent .270 Winchester shell casing, and a box of .45 caliber Knight muzzleloader bullets with plastic sabots. The muzzleloader bullets were for use in only antique or replica firearms.

Witaschek is an avid hunter, but says he never kept his guns in Washington D.C., because he know of the city’s strict gun laws.

Witascheks attorney, Howard X. McEachern, vowed to appeal the verdict.

Clearly the judge thought that this was overkill the sentence reflects how he felt about the prosecution of this case, he said when asked for his opinion of the verdict.

The judge never ruled on the shotgun shell itself, which was what the prosecutions case was built around.

Read more here:
Man gets weapons conviction for replica bullets in DC

Mar 202014

Every year I hear a new chorus of folks claiming that SEO is dead or that SEO has changed so fundamentally that it’s completely different now than it once was. I usually find these statements short sighted.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

SEO (still) isn’t dead and won’t be until the day that search engines can no longer drive significant traffic to websites (which won’t be for a long, long time, if ever).

Furthermore, with just a few exceptions, the only thing that has changed about SEO in my opinion is that search engines are getting better at enforcing their own rules. Thus, folks who have been historically using short cuts or tactics that might be considered less than best practices have been forced to adapt. And sad to say, there are a lot of those folks.

Search engine optimization remains an important part of the digital marketing landscape, and the path to long term success is relatively the same as it has always been.

The basic fundamentals of SEO are still important and if done correctly, will still yield favorable results. Here are some SEO basics that have remained relatively unchanged (note this list isn’t intended to be comprehensive):

This list wouldn’t be complete without everyone’s favorite topic: link building (I know people would argue with me that link building has changed dramatically, but please read the rest of the article first).

None of these things has changed that significantly enough over the last few years that they would make me say SEO is a completely new exercise compared to what it used to be.

Sure, there is less data to look at (thanks, Google) and there are changes in how the engines deal with some of the technical issues like canonical tags, rel=alternate syntax, and schema mark up to name a few, but it’s really no different than how we used to have to check to see if folks were using hyphens instead of underscores, 301 redirects instead of 302 redirects (I still recommend this by the way), and worrying about JavaScript not being indexed (which it still isn’t in some cases).

See the original post:
So… You Think SEO Has Changed?

The Minnesota Supreme Court ruled that a law banning ‘encouraging’ or ‘advising’ suicide violates the free-speech rights. The court reversed the conviction of a former nurse accused of encouraging two people whom he met online to kill themselves.

The Minnesota Supreme Court on Wednesday reversed the convictions of a former nurse accused of encouraging two people whom he met online to kill themselves.

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The court ruled that the language in the state’s assisted-suicide law that pertains to “encouraging” suicide is unconstitutional. It violates the right to free speech. However, the court upheld the part of the law that bans “assisting” suicide.

“We conclude that the State may prosecute Melchert-Dinkel for assisting another in committing suicide, but not for encouraging or advising another to commit suicide. Because the district court did not make a specific finding on whether Melchert-Dinkel assisted the victims suicides, we remand for further proceedings consistent with his opinion,” wrote Justice G. Barry Anderson in the majority opinion.

His 360-day jail sentence had been on hold pending the outcome of the appeal.

Melchert-Dinkel, 51, was convicted on two counts of aiding suicide in the deaths of two people: Mark Drybrough, 32, of Coventry, England, who hanged himself in 2005; and Nadia Kajouji, 18, of Brampton, Ontario, who jumped into a frozen river in 2008.

His attorney argued that he was exercising his right to free speech, and that the law which states that anyone who “intentionally advises, encourages, or assists another in taking the other’s own life” is guilty of a crime was too broad.

In addition to his free speech claim, Melchert-Dinkel argued that he had no influence on either person’s actions. But prosecutors say his speech wasn’t protected and that he played an integral role in the deaths, including giving step-by-step instructions.

Read more:
'Encouraging' suicide allowed by US constitution, says Minnesota Supreme Court



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