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Turkey calls for rare NATO talks – CNN.com

 NATO  Comments Off on Turkey calls for rare NATO talks – CNN.com
Jul 282015
 

Story highlights Turkey requested meeting under Article 4 of NATO’s founding treaty It was fifth time in NATO history that members held special talks under Article 4 NATO’s council: “We strongly condemn the terrorist attacks against Turkey”

“We strongly condemn the terrorist attacks against Turkey, and express our condolences to the Turkish government and the families of the victims in Suruc and other attacks against police and military officers,” the council said in a statement after Tuesday’s meeting, referring to an attack last week in a border town across from Kobani, Syria.

The council, which is NATO’s governing body, said terrorism in any form could never be tolerated.

“Terrorism poses a direct threat to the security of NATO countries and to international stability and prosperity,” the statement said. “It is a global threat that knows no border, nationality, or religion — a challenge that the international community must fight and tackle together.”

Turkey requested the meeting under Article 4 of NATO’s founding treaty, which allows countries to ask for consultations when they believe their territorial integrity, political independence or security are threatened.

It was the fifth time in NATO history that members had met under Article 4, NATO spokeswoman Oana Lungescu told CNN before the meeting began. The North Atlantic Council is made up of the NATO ambassadors of the 28 member countries.

“In the wake of increased security threats following the attacks against our security and law enforcement forces in the provinces of Diyarbakr, Sanlurfa and Kilis, in particular the terrorist attack that took the lives of 32 innocent Turkish citizens in Suruc on 20 July, 2015, all necessary measures are being taken and in this context, operations are also being carried out by the Turkish Armed Forces,” the Turkish Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

“Upon these recent attacks and threats directed against our national security, the North Atlantic Council has been called to a meeting by Turkey this week under Article 4 of the Washington Treaty with a view to informing our Allies about the measures we are taking and the operations we are conducting against terrorism, as well as to holding consultations with them.”

The talks came as Turkey grappled with a wave of violence near its southern border with Syria, and as Turkey has made an abrupt about-face in deciding to confront the terrorist group ISIS.

Before the meeting began, Turkey’s President called on NATO to “do its part” in helping address the country’s concerns over security on its borders.

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Turkey calls for rare NATO talks – CNN.com

Eugenics – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

 Eugenics  Comments Off on Eugenics – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jul 212015
 

Eugenics (; from Greek eugenes “well-born” from eu, “good, well” and genos, “race, stock, kin”)[2][3] is a set of beliefs and practices which aims at improving the genetic quality of the human population.[4][5] It is a social philosophy advocating the improvement of human genetic traits through the promotion of higher rates of sexual reproduction for people with desired traits (positive eugenics), or reduced rates of sexual reproduction and sterilization of people with less-desired or undesired traits (negative eugenics), or both.[6] Alternatively, gene selection rather than “people selection” has recently been made possible through advancements in gene editing (e.g. CRISPR).[7] The exact definition of eugenics has been a matter of debate since the term was coined. The definition of it as a “social philosophy”that is, a philosophy with implications for social orderis not meant to be definitive, and is taken from Frederick Osborn’s journal article “Development of a Eugenic Philosophy”.[8]

While eugenic principles have been practiced as far back in world history as Ancient Greece, the modern history of eugenics began in the early 20th century when a popular eugenics movement emerged in Britain[9] and spread to many countries, including the United States and most European countries. In this period eugenic ideas were espoused across the political spectrum. Consequently, many countries adopted eugenic policies meant to improve the genetic stock of their countries. Such programs often included both “positive” measures, such as encouraging individuals deemed particularly “fit” to reproduce, and “negative” measures such as marriage prohibitions and forced sterilization of people deemed unfit for reproduction. People deemed unfit to reproduce often included people with mental or physical disabilities, people who scored in the low ranges of different IQ tests, criminals and deviants, and members of disfavored minority groups. The eugenics movement became negatively associated with Nazi Germany and the Holocaustthe murder by the German state of approximately 11 million peoplewhen many of the defendants at the Nuremberg trials attempted to justify their human rights abuses by claiming there was little difference between the Nazi eugenics programs and the U.S. eugenics programs.[10] In the decades following World War II, with the institution of human rights, many countries gradually abandoned eugenics policies, although some Western countries, among them Sweden and the US, continued to carry out forced sterilizations for several decades.

A major critique of eugenics policies is that regardless of whether “negative” or “positive” policies are used, they are vulnerable to abuse because the criteria of selection are determined by whichever group is in political power. Furthermore, negative eugenics in particular is considered by many to be a violation of basic human rights, which include the right to reproduction.

The idea of eugenics to produce better human beings has existed at least since Plato suggested selective mating to produce a guardian class.[12] The idea of eugenics to decrease the birth of inferior human beings has existed at least since William Goodell (1829-1894) advocated the castration and spaying of the insane.[13][14]

However, the term “eugenics” to describe the modern concept of improving the quality of human beings born into the world was originally developed by Francis Galton. Galton had read his half-cousin Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution, which sought to explain the development of plant and animal species, and desired to apply it to humans. Galton believed that desirable traits were hereditary based on biographical studies.[15] In 1883, one year after Darwin’s death, Galton gave his research a name: eugenics.[16] Throughout its recent history, eugenics has remained a controversial concept.

Eugenics became an academic discipline at many colleges and universities, and received funding from many sources.[18] Organisations formed to win public support, and modify opinion towards responsible eugenic values in parenthood, included the British Eugenics Education Society of 1907, and the American Eugenics Society of 1921. Both sought support from leading clergymen, and modified their message to meet religious ideals.[19] Three International Eugenics Conferences presented a global venue for eugenists with meetings in 1912 in London, and in 1921 and 1932 in New York. Eugenic policies were first implemented in the early 1900s in the United States.[20] It has roots in France, Germany, Great Britain, and the United States.[21] Later, in the 1920s and 30s, the eugenic policy of sterilizing certain mental patients was implemented in other countries, including Belgium,[22]Brazil,[23] Canada,[24]Japan, and Sweden.[25]

The scientific reputation of eugenics started to decline in the 1930s, a time when Ernst Rdin used eugenics as a justification for the racial policies of Nazi Germany. Nevertheless, in Sweden the eugenics program continued until 1975.[25] In addition to being practised in a number of countries, eugenics was internationally organized through the International Federation of Eugenics Organizations. Its scientific aspects were carried on through research bodies such as the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute of Anthropology, Human Heredity, and Eugenics, the Cold Spring Harbour Carnegie Institution for Experimental Evolution, and the Eugenics Record Office. Its political aspects involved advocating laws allowing the pursuit of eugenic objectives, such as sterilization laws. Its moral aspects included rejection of the doctrine that all human beings are born equal, and redefining morality purely in terms of genetic fitness. Its racist elements included pursuit of a pure “Nordic race” or “Aryan” genetic pool and the eventual elimination of “less fit” races.

As a social movement, eugenics reached its greatest popularity in the early decades of the 20th century. At this point in time, eugenics was practiced around the world and was promoted by governments and influential individuals and institutions. Many countries enacted[34] various eugenics policies and programmes, including: genetic screening, birth control, promoting differential birth rates, marriage restrictions, segregation (both racial segregation and segregation of the mentally ill from the rest of the population), compulsory sterilization, forced abortions or forced pregnancies, and genocide. Most of these policies were later regarded as coercive or restrictive, and now few jurisdictions implement policies that are explicitly labelled as eugenic or unequivocally eugenic in substance. The methods of implementing eugenics varied by country; however, some early 20th century methods involved identifying and classifying individuals and their families, including the poor, mentally ill, blind, deaf, developmentally disabled, promiscuous women, homosexuals, and racial groups (such as the Roma and Jews in Nazi Germany) as “degenerate” or “unfit”, the segregation or institutionalization of such individuals and groups, their sterilization, euthanasia, and their mass murder. The practice of euthanasia was carried out on hospital patients in the Aktion T4 centers such as Hartheim Castle.

By the end of World War II, many of the discriminatory eugenics laws were largely abandoned, having become associated with Nazi Germany.[36] After World War II, the practice of “imposing measures intended to prevent births within [a population] group” fell within the definition of the new international crime of genocide, set out in the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide.[37] The Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union also proclaims “the prohibition of eugenic practices, in particular those aiming at selection of persons”.[38] In spite of the decline in discriminatory eugenics laws, government practices of compulsive sterilization continued into the 21st century. During the ten years President Alberto Fujimori led Peru from 1990 to 2000, allegedly 2,000 persons were involuntarily sterilized.[39] China maintains its forcible one-child policy as well as a suite of other eugenics based legislation in order to reduce population size and manage fertility rates of different populations.[40][41][42] In 2007 the United Nations reported forcible sterilisations and hysterectomies in Uzbekistan.[43] During the years 200506 to 201213, nearly one-third of the 144 California prison inmates who were sterilized did not give lawful consent to the operation.[44]

Developments in genetic, genomic, and reproductive technologies at the end of the 20th century are raising numerous questions regarding the ethical status of eugenics, effectively creating a resurgence of interest in the subject. Some, such as UC Berkeley sociologist Troy Duster, claim that modern genetics is a back door to eugenics.[45] This view is shared by White House Assistant Director for Forensic Sciences, Tania Simoncelli, who stated in a 2003 publication by the Population and Development Program at Hampshire College that advances in pre-implantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) are moving society to a “new era of eugenics”, and that, unlike the Nazi eugenics, modern eugenics is consumer driven and market based, “where children are increasingly regarded as made-to-order consumer products”.[46] In a 2006 newspaper article, Richard Dawkins said that discussion regarding eugenics was inhibited by the shadow of Nazi misuse, to the extent that some scientists would not admit that breeding humans for certain abilities is at all possible. He believes that it is not physically different from breeding domestic animals for traits such as speed or herding skill. Dawkins felt that enough time had elapsed to at least ask just what the ethical differences were between breeding for ability versus training athletes or forcing children to take music lessons, though he could think of persuasive reasons to draw the distinction.[47]

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Eugenics – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

First Amendment to the United States Constitution …

 First Amendment  Comments Off on First Amendment to the United States Constitution …
Jul 022015
 

Thomas Jefferson wrote with respect to the First Amendment and its restriction on the legislative branch of the federal government in an 1802 letter to the Danbury Baptists (a religious minority concerned about the dominant position of the Congregationalist church in Connecticut):

Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between Man & his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legitimate powers of government reach actions only, & not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should “make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,” thus building a wall of separation between Church & State. Adhering to this expression of the supreme will of the nation in behalf of the rights of conscience, I shall see with sincere satisfaction the progress of those sentiments which tend to restore to man all his natural rights, convinced he has no natural right in opposition to his social duties.[9]

In Reynolds v. United States (1878) the Supreme Court used these words to declare that “it may be accepted almost as an authoritative declaration of the scope and effect of the amendment thus secured. Congress was deprived of all legislative power over mere [religious] opinion, but was left free to reach [only those religious] actions which were in violation of social duties or subversive of good order.” Quoting from Jefferson’s Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom the court stated further in Reynolds:

In the preamble of this act […] religious freedom is defined; and after a recital ‘that to suffer the civil magistrate to intrude his powers into the field of opinion, and to restrain the profession or propagation of principles on supposition of their ill tendency, is a dangerous fallacy which at once destroys all religious liberty,’ it is declared ‘that it is time enough for the rightful purposes of civil government for its officers to interfere [only] when [religious] principles break out into overt acts against peace and good order.’ In these two sentences is found the true distinction between what properly belongs to the church and what to the State.

Originally, the First Amendment applied only to the federal government, and some states continued official state religions after ratification. Massachusetts, for example, was officially Congregationalist until the 1830s.[10] In Everson v. Board of Education (1947), the U.S. Supreme Court incorporated the Establishment Clause (i.e., made it apply against the states). In the majority decision, Justice Hugo Black wrote:

The “establishment of religion” clause of the First Amendment means at least this: Neither a state nor the Federal Government can set up a church. Neither can pass laws which aid one religion, aid all religions, or prefer one religion to another … in the words of Jefferson, the [First Amendment] clause against establishment of religion by law was intended to erect ‘a wall of separation between church and State’ … That wall must be kept high and impregnable. We could not approve the slightest breach.[11]

In Torcaso v. Watkins (1961), the Supreme Court ruled that the Constitution prohibits states and the federal government from requiring any kind of religious test for public office. In the Board of Education of Kiryas Joel Village School District v. Grumet (1994),[12] Justice David Souter, writing for the majority, concluded that “government should not prefer one religion to another, or religion to irreligion.”[13] In a series of cases in the first decade of the 2000sVan Orden v. Perry (2005), McCreary County v. ACLU (2005), and Salazar v. Buono (2010)the Court considered the issue of religious monuments on federal lands without reaching a majority reasoning on the subject.[14]

Everson used the metaphor of a wall of separation between church and state, derived from the correspondence of President Thomas Jefferson. It had been long established in the decisions of the Supreme Court, beginning with Reynolds v. United States in 1879, when the Court reviewed the history of the early Republic in deciding the extent of the liberties of Mormons. Chief Justice Morrison Waite, who consulted the historian George Bancroft, also discussed at some length the Memorial and Remonstrance against Religious Assessments by James Madison, who drafted the First Amendment; Madison used the metaphor of a “great barrier.”[15]

Justice Hugo Black adopted Jefferson’s words in the voice of the Court.[16] The Court has affirmed it often, with majority, but not unanimous, support. Warren Nord, in Does God Make a Difference?, characterized the general tendency of the dissents as a weaker reading of the First Amendment; the dissents tend to be “less concerned about the dangers of establishment and less concerned to protect free exercise rights, particularly of religious minorities.”[17]

Beginning with Everson, which permitted New Jersey school boards to pay for transportation to parochial schools, the Court has used various tests to determine when the wall of separation has been breached. Everson laid down the test that establishment existed when aid was given to religion, but that the transportation was justifiable because the benefit to the children was more important. In the school prayer cases of the early 1960s, (Engel v. Vitale and Abington School District v. Schempp), aid seemed irrelevant; the Court ruled on the basis that a legitimate action both served a secular purpose and did not primarily assist religion. In Walz v. Tax Commission (1970), the Court ruled that a legitimate action could not entangle government with religion; in Lemon v. Kurtzman (1971), these points were combined into the Lemon test, declaring that an action was an establishment if:[18]

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First Amendment to the United States Constitution …

More than 70,000 people attended event

 Second Amendment  Comments Off on More than 70,000 people attended event
Apr 132015
 

NASHVILLE (CNN) –

A pack of 2016 Republicans made their pitch for president Friday before the National Rifle Association’s annual meeting in Nashville, blasting the Obama administration for what they described as an erosion of freedom while punctuating their remarks with sharp enthusiasm for Second Amendment rights.

The contenders also used the principles behind gun rights to fire off criticism of President Barack Obama’s handling of national security, further signaling the influential role that foreign policy is expected to have in the presidential election.

More than 70,000 people descended upon Music City to attend the convention, but tickets to see the candidates speak in a five-hour long forum was limited to about 5,000 people.

Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas was the only declared candidate on stage Friday. Other potential contenders included former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, former Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania, former Texas Gov. Rick Perry, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson, former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina and Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina.

1. Candidates show off gun credentials

As tradition at the annual NRA gathering, the speakers tried to establish their own longstanding history with guns in different ways. Santorum held up his concealed carry card before the audience and boasted that his wife requested ammunition for an upcoming birthday.

Walker talked about bow-hunting, while Huckabee perused the firearm vendor hall and later listed on stage the guns he grew up with, including his first BB gun at the age of five. “I still have the same gun in mint condition,” he said.

Perry screened a video showing off his shooting skills (the same video was also shown at the 2013 NRA convention). The former governor also crowed about the gun manufacturers he recruited to Texas from other states.

For Bush, the NRA meeting was a chance to tout his record, including his A+ rating from the NRA, before a conservative crowd that’s largely skeptical of him due to his more moderate positions on immigration and Common Core.

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More than 70,000 people attended event

PunditFact: Fact-checking John Oliver's interview with Edward Snowden about NSA surveillance

 NSA  Comments Off on PunditFact: Fact-checking John Oliver's interview with Edward Snowden about NSA surveillance
Apr 112015
 

Most Americans have a fuzzy understanding of what the National Security Agency can and cannot see with its surveillance programs, much less what a former NSA contractor named Edward Snowden tried to do about it.

That’s the finding, anyway, of informal street interviews by John Oliver’s crew at Last Week Tonight on HBO.

Oliver devoted his April 5 show to the NSA spying story. It included an exclusive interview with Snowden, who is living in Russia after the State Department canceled his passport. And it included the topic of this fact-check: Can emails sent between two people living in the United States unwittingly end up on the computer screen of some NSA analyst?

Oliver, who blends comedy with journalism, framed the discussion around the NSA peeping on nude pictures.

Oliver asked Snowden to describe the capability of various NSA surveillance programs in relation to nude pictures sent by Americans, starting with “702 surveillance.” This refers to Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978. This section was added in 2008 and was renewed under President Barack Obama in 2012.

Could the NSA see a picture of, say, Oliver’s privates under this provision, he asked?

“Yes,” Snowden said, “the FISA Amendments Act of 2008, which Section 702 falls under, allows the bulk collection of Internet communications that are one-end foreign.”

After an Oliver joke about “bulk collection,” Snowden continued, “So if you have your email somewhere like Gmail, hosted on a server overseas or transferred overseas or any time crosses outside the borders of the United States, your junk ends up in the database.”

Oliver jumped in and asked Snowden to clarify that the racy picture if you’ve seen the interview, you know we’re paraphrasing wouldn’t necessarily have to be sent to Germany in order to end up in NSA storage.

“No,” Snowden said. “Even if you sent it to someone within the United States, your wholly domestic communication between you and your wife can go to New York to London and back and get caught up in the database.”

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PunditFact: Fact-checking John Oliver's interview with Edward Snowden about NSA surveillance

Asterias Biotherapeutics – Video

 Regenerative Medicine  Comments Off on Asterias Biotherapeutics – Video
Apr 112015
 



Asterias Biotherapeutics
Pedro Lichtinger, President CEO (NYSEMKT: AST) Headquarters: Menlo Park, CA Asterias develops products based on its core technology platforms of pluripotent stem cells and allogeneic dendritic.

By: Alliance for Regenerative Medicine

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Asterias Biotherapeutics – Video

AGTC – Video

 Regenerative Medicine  Comments Off on AGTC – Video
Apr 112015
 



AGTC
Susan Washer, President CEO (NASDAQ: AGTC) Headquarters: Gainesville, FL AGTC is developing cures for rare eye diseases, offering hope to patients with unmet medical needs. With a highly…

By: Alliance for Regenerative Medicine

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AGTC – Video

Religious Freedom Debates Make Evangelicals More Tolerant, Study Finds

 Free Speech  Comments Off on Religious Freedom Debates Make Evangelicals More Tolerant, Study Finds
Apr 112015
 

April 10, 2015|4:46 pm

Protesters against U.S. President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul gather outside the Supreme Court in Washington, June 28, 2012. The Supreme Court is set to deliver on Thursday its ruling on President Barack Obama’s 2010 healthcare overhaul, his signature domestic policy achievement, in a historic case that could hand him a huge triumph or a stinging rebuke just over four months before he seeks re-election.

When Evangelicals are exposed to arguments defending their own free speech and religious freedom, they become more accepting of extending similar rights to their political foes, a new study found.

“Rights, Reflection, and Reciprocity: How Rights Talk Affects the Political Process,” by political scientists Paul Djupe, Denison University; Andrew Lewis, University of Cincinnati; and Ted Jelen, University of Nevada-Las Vegas, will be presented this month at the Midwest Political Science Association’s annual meeting in Chicago.

The researchers sought to understand if the recent culture war battles between sexual freedom and religious freedom (see, for example, here, hereand here) would lead to greater or lesser division and intolerance among the combatants. (This paper focuses on the conservative side but they suggest they will also be studying the liberal side.)

In an article for the political science blog The Monkey Cage, the authors explain that their research “has identified a fascinating silver lining [to those culture war battles]. We find that evangelical Christians who are exposed to claims about religious rights actually become more willing to extend First Amendment rights to their ideological opponents. That is, the campaign to reinforce religious liberty might actually increase political tolerance in the long run.”

(Photo: The Christian Post/Sonny Hong)

Paul Djupe, associate professor of political science at Denison University, presenting “The Choice That Matters: Politics in the Role of Leaving Congregations,” at the American Political Science Association Annual Meeting, Washington, D.C., Aug. 30, 2014.

The study used a survey experiment. A sample of 2,141 respondents, including 274 Evangelicals and 1,867 non-Evangelicals, were divided into groups exposed to different messages from hypothetical political candidates and clergy. These messages were about pro-life protestors, the Obama administration’s birth control mandate, teaching creationism, and a photographer declining to work at a same-sex wedding. Each group had messages based upon either morality, free speech, religious liberty, and a less specific message that was used as the control group. The study also used a number of control measures that are common in studies of tolerance education, ideology, political interest, gender, age, and democratic norms.

The respondents were also asked to identify which groups they either “like the least” or “disagree with the most” from among these options: immigrants, Tea Party members, Muslims, homosexuals, Christian fundamentalists, or atheists. For the full sample, the non-Evangelicals chose Christian fundamentalists as their least liked group, followed by the Tea Party. Evangelicals chose atheists as their least liked group, followed by Muslims and the Tea Party.

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Religious Freedom Debates Make Evangelicals More Tolerant, Study Finds

Rand Paul Running For President And For Liberty Lovers – Video

 Liberty  Comments Off on Rand Paul Running For President And For Liberty Lovers – Video
Apr 082015
 



Rand Paul Running For President And For Liberty Lovers
Senator Rand Paul officially announced this morning that he would be running for president in 2016. Can the young libertarian from Kentucky stand out in what is likely to be a crowded Republican…

By: AJ+

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Rand Paul Running For President And For Liberty Lovers – Video

Student: University presidents should take stronger stances against racism

 Free Speech  Comments Off on Student: University presidents should take stronger stances against racism
Apr 082015
 

How should a university president balance the Constitutional right to free speech against the responsibility to ensure students feel safe on campus after finding something as shocking as a noose, for example, hung by an undergraduate at Duke University?

Many students have demanded a strong response to show the university will not tolerate bigotry, while others caution that the First Amendment protects even the most hateful of speech. In every recent case, university leaders have unequivocally condemned the speech in question. But their other actions have varied.

Riley Brands, the editor-in-chief ofThe Daily Texan, the student newspaper of the University of Texas at Austin, has this take:

Just this semester, several racially-charged incidents have shaken universities. These incidents have tested university leaders resolve to promote an inclusive learning environment on their campuses.

In at least one case, a university president has been bold and stated unequivocally his intolerance for intolerance.

In others, however, fear or weakness has held university presidents back.

Last week, University of Maryland President Wallace D. Loh announced that a vile e-mail sent by a fraternity member violated no university rules and was protected by the First Amendment. The e-mail contained racial slurs and dismissed the idea of sexual consent.

Read more about the e-mail here.

In early February, my paper,The Daily Texan, broke the story of a racially insensitive party at the Phi Gamma Delta, or Fiji, fraternity house just off campus. The theme party, which the president of the fraternity told us was western, saw attendees in hard hats with the names Jefe and Pablo Sanchez written on them as well as reflective vests and work gloves. Some at the party said the theme was border control.

The uproar online was swift and vigorous. Many called for severe action against the fraternity.

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Student: University presidents should take stronger stances against racism

Rand Paul: 'I'm putting myself forward as a candidate for president'

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Apr 082015
 

Since riding the tea party wave into the Senate in 2010, Paul has carefully built a brand of mainstream libertarianism — dogged advocacy of civil liberties combined with an anti-interventionist foreign policy and general support for family values — that he bets will create a coalition of younger voters and traditional Republicans to usher him into the White House.

The test of that theory began Tuesday when the Kentucky senator made official what has been clear for years: He’s running for president.

“Today I announce with God’s help, with the help of liberty lovers everywhere, that I’m putting myself forward as a candidate for president of the United States of America,” Paul said at a rally in Louisville.

Paul immediately hit the campaign trail for a four-day swing through New Hampshire, South Carolina, Iowa and Nevada — the states that traditionally vote first in the primaries and caucuses.

A poster from the Rand Paul for President campaign.

READ: Can Rand Paul escape his father’s shadow?

In his speech, he called for reforming Washington by pushing for term limits and a constitutional amendment to balance the budget. He argued that both parties are to blame for the rising debt, saying it doubled under a Republican administration and tripled under Obama.

“Government should be restrained and freedom should be maximized,” he said.

The line-up of speakers who introduced Paul sought to paint the senator as a nontraditional candidate with diverse appeal, and by the time he got on stage, he was the first white man to address the crowd.

The speakers included J.C. Watts, a former congressman who’s African-American; state Sen. Ralph Alvarado, who’s Hispanic; local pastor Jerry Stephenson, who’s African American and a former Democrat; and University of Kentucky student Lauren Bosler.

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Rand Paul: 'I'm putting myself forward as a candidate for president'

State GOP lawmakers look to roll back gun restrictions after midterm wins

 Second Amendment  Comments Off on State GOP lawmakers look to roll back gun restrictions after midterm wins
Apr 072015
 

Conservatives emboldened by election victories are working to roll back gun restrictions in several states, while those on the other side of the debate are claiming success elsewhere in passing initiatives related to gun background checks.

On the pro-gun spectrum, for example, Kansas Governor Sam Brownback last week signed a bill to allow Kansans to carry concealed weapons in the state without training or a permit.

Second Amendment Foundation founder and Executive Vice President Alan Gottlieb told Fox News, “I think the voters spoke pretty loud and clear in November and elected a pretty pro-gun rights Congress as well as many statehouses across the country and we’re seeing now lots of bills being sponsored…”.

On the other side, Shannon Watts, founder of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, said her group is focused on initiatives it can win with voters, rather than legislators.

“In 2013, we helped close the background check loophole in six states,” Watts said. “In 2014, we helped pass laws in red and blue states to keep guns out of the hands of domestic abusers.”

Watts also pointed to the overwhelming passage of Initiative 594 by voters in Washington state last fall. That law expands the federal background check requirement for gun sales to private dealers, such as those now found at gun shows.

“The gun lobby has been so insidious in this country in taking away the responsibilities that go along with gun rights,” Watts said. She added in an interview with Fox News that the National Rifle Association (NRA) has an annual budget of $350 million.

The NRA said that while its operating budget is close to that figure, a “small fraction” — approximately $20 million — goes toward what it calls ‘political activity,’ with the bulk spent on safety and training programs.

Moms Demand Action works with Everytown for Gun Safety, which is bankrolled by former New York City mayor and billionaire, Michael Bloomberg.

Chris W. Cox, executive director of the NRA’s Institute for Legislative Action (NRA-ILA), told Fox News, “Billionaire Michael Bloomberg’s tactics may be new, but the fight is the same. The NRA and our five million members stand ready to defend the Second Amendment wherever the battlefield. The majority of Americans do not want more gun control and we will fight tooth and nail to expose Bloomberg’s lies and defeat his extreme gun control agenda. ”

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State GOP lawmakers look to roll back gun restrictions after midterm wins

GUN RIGHTS BATTLES GOP state legislators seek to ease gun codes

 Second Amendment  Comments Off on GUN RIGHTS BATTLES GOP state legislators seek to ease gun codes
Apr 072015
 

Conservatives emboldened by election victories are working to roll back gun restrictions in several states, while those on the other side of the debate are claiming success elsewhere in passing initiatives related to gun background checks.

On the pro-gun spectrum, for example, Kansas Governor Sam Brownback last week signed a bill to allow Kansans to carry concealed weapons in the state without training or a permit.

Second Amendment Foundation founder and Executive Vice President Alan Gottlieb told Fox News, “I think the voters spoke pretty loud and clear in November and elected a pretty pro-gun rights Congress as well as many statehouses across the country and we’re seeing now lots of bills being sponsored…”.

On the other side, Shannon Watts, founder of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, said her group is focused on initiatives it can win with voters, rather than legislators.

“In 2013, we helped close the background check loophole in six states,” Watts said. “In 2014, we helped pass laws in red and blue states to keep guns out of the hands of domestic abusers.”

Watts also pointed to the overwhelming passage of Initiative 594 by voters in Washington state last fall. That law expands the federal background check requirement for gun sales to private dealers, such as those now found at gun shows.

“The gun lobby has been so insidious in this country in taking away the responsibilities that go along with gun rights,” Watts said. She added in an interview with Fox News that the National Rifle Association (NRA) has an annual budget of $350 million.

The NRA said that while its operating budget is close to that figure, a “small fraction” — approximately $20 million — goes toward what it calls ‘political activity,’ with the bulk spent on safety and training programs.

Moms Demand Action works with Everytown for Gun Safety, which is bankrolled by former New York City mayor and billionaire, Michael Bloomberg.

Chris W. Cox, executive director of the NRA’s Institute for Legislative Action (NRA-ILA), told Fox News, “Billionaire Michael Bloomberg’s tactics may be new, but the fight is the same. The NRA and our five million members stand ready to defend the Second Amendment wherever the battlefield. The majority of Americans do not want more gun control and we will fight tooth and nail to expose Bloomberg’s lies and defeat his extreme gun control agenda. ”

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GUN RIGHTS BATTLES GOP state legislators seek to ease gun codes

SAF Takes Case of Arizona Navy Vet Whose Guns Were Seized

 Second Amendment  Comments Off on SAF Takes Case of Arizona Navy Vet Whose Guns Were Seized
Apr 062015
 

BELLEVUE, Wash., April 6, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — The Second Amendment Foundation announced today that it has taken on funding the case of a retired Glendale, Arizona Navy veteran whose gun collection was seized by authorities because of an on-going dispute with a neighbor who obtained a protection order.

The case of 56-year-old Rick Bailey has made headlines in the Southwest and across the Internet. Bailey had complained to the City of Glendale about the neighbor’s habit of parking dump trucks used in his landscaping company. The dispute unfolded over several months until Bailey called police over concerns of toxic chemical odors apparently coming from the neighbor’s property. The neighbor apparently alleged that Bailey had threatened him, and the following day, he obtained a harassment order against Bailey. Police showed up and took Bailey’s gun collection, and he wants his property back.

SAF is working with Chandler, Arizona attorney Mark J. Victor to secure the return of Bailey’s firearms and help solve his predicament. Bailey’s collection of 28 firearms has an estimated value of more than $25,000 and took more than a decade for him to collect.

“Mr. Bailey is devastated by this situation,” said SAF founder and Executive Vice President Alan Gottlieb. “We seem to live in an environment when someone’s life can be turned upside down on an allegation that should have been thoroughly investigated before any action was ordered by a court.

“Sadly,” he continued, “this kind of hideous gun confiscation flies below the radar and it is happening more frequently to gun owners across the country.

“Bailey had to retire from his job due to a disability from a back injury that also resulted in his medical discharge from the Navy after four years of service,” he noted. “He couldn’t physically harm anybody.

“This situation appears to have gotten out of control,” Gottlieb observed. “A generation ago, neighbors solved this kind of dispute over a cup of coffee or a Sunday barbecue. We’re helping Bailey in his appeal of the judge’s order so he can not only reclaim his valuable firearms, but also some of his dignity as well.”

The Second Amendment Foundation (www.saf.org) is the nation’s oldest and largest tax-exempt education, research, publishing and legal action group focusing on the Constitutional right and heritage to privately own and possess firearms. Founded in 1974, The Foundation has grown to more than 650,000 members and supporters and conducts many programs designed to better inform the public about the consequences of gun control.

SOURCE Second Amendment Foundation

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SAF Takes Case of Arizona Navy Vet Whose Guns Were Seized

Analysis: Oklahoma Frat Fallout Some Speech Protected, Some Punished

 Free Speech  Comments Off on Analysis: Oklahoma Frat Fallout Some Speech Protected, Some Punished
Apr 062015
 

WASHINGTON Three times in recent days, people uttering slurs against African-Americans were quickly punished.

Yet such consequences are hardly automatic. Insults aimed at Muslims, Latinos, Jews, women and others are routinely decried but also often defended as free speech. A congressman says something derogatory about immigrants, yet remains a power in politics. An activist-preacher slurs Jews and is later an adviser to a president.

Some offensive speech is punished. Some is protected. The line changes and shifts over time.

The latest furor was triggered by a video showing University of Oklahoma Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity members singing, You can hang them from a tree but theyll never sign with me. Therell never be a (n-word) at SAE.

A few days later, Univision fired talk show host Rodner Figueroa for saying first lady Michelle Obama looked like a cast member of Planet of the Apes. Last week, a Cleveland anchorwoman returned to the air after being suspended for using a term offensive to African-Americans.

Where, asked some experts, was their right to speak freely?

When terrorists killed French journalists who satirized Muslims, President Barack Obama led the Western chorus defending a universal belief in the freedom of expression that cant be silenced because of the senseless violence of the few.

Yet speech often is silenced, or at least punished.

Hate Speech No Crime

In Oklahoma, University President David Boren quickly kicked the fraternity off campus. I have a message for those who have misused their freedom of speech in this way, he said. Youre disgraceful.

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Analysis: Oklahoma Frat Fallout Some Speech Protected, Some Punished

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

 Islands  Comments Off on Marshall Islands to appeal in nuclear case vs. US; says US is modernizing arsenal, not cutting
Apr 052015
 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Last Bastion of Free Speech? – Video

 Free Speech  Comments Off on The Last Bastion of Free Speech? – Video
Apr 032015
 



The Last Bastion of Free Speech?
Lisa Wehden, President of the Oxford Union talks to Director of Voices from Oxford, Dr Sung Hee Kim. They discuss the highlights of her term, including vibrant debates, interesting speakers…

By: voicesfromoxfordUK

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The Last Bastion of Free Speech? – Video

Obama Rages Over Germanwings Plane Shootdown, Refuses To Meet NATO – Video

 NATO  Comments Off on Obama Rages Over Germanwings Plane Shootdown, Refuses To Meet NATO – Video
Apr 022015
 



Obama Rages Over Germanwings Plane Shootdown, Refuses To Meet NATO
By: Sorcha Faal http://http://www.whatdoesitmean.com A new report released by the Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR) today states that President Barack Obama became so enraged upon learning…

By: weareawake

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Obama Rages Over Germanwings Plane Shootdown, Refuses To Meet NATO – Video

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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




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