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Students For Liberty Speak Out, President Jesse Ventura?
Diana and I caught up today for our weekly repartee. We talked about a very vibrant organization known as the Students for Liberty. They're a group of colleg…

By: Kevin Martin

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Students For Liberty Speak Out, & President Jesse Ventura? – Video

U.S. taxpayers would need to pay an average of $1,259 more a year to make up the federal and state taxes lost to corporations and individuals sheltering money in overseas tax havens, according to a report.

Tax haven abusers benefit from Americas markets, public infrastructure, educated workforce, security and rule of law all supported in one way or another by tax dollars but they avoid paying for these benefits, U.S. Public Interest Research Group said in the report released Tuesday, the deadline for filing 2013 taxes.

Instead, ordinary taxpayers end up picking up the tab, either in the form of higher taxes, cuts to public spending priorities, or increases to the federal debt, it said.

In total, the U.S. loses $150 billion in federal revenue and another $34 billion in state revenue annually because of money parked in tax havens, the Boston-based consumer advocacy group concluded.

Thats almost 5 percent of total federal revenue. The U.S. is projected to raise $3.032 trillion this year, up from $2.775 trillion for fiscal year 2013, according to the Congressional Budget Office.

U.S. PIRG released the report as it tries to increase pressure on lawmakers to change how companies pay taxes on income credited to foreign subsidiaries.

The largest U.S.-based companies have accumulated $1.95 trillion outside the U.S., up 11.8 percent from a year earlier, according to securities filings from 307 corporations reviewed by Bloomberg News.

Together, they added $206 billion to their stockpiles of offshore profits last year, leaving earnings in low-tax countries until Congress gives them a reason not to. Three multinational firms Microsoft Corp., Apple Inc. and International Business Machines Corp. added $37.5 billion, or 18.2 percent of the total increase.

Prospects have dimmed for a revision of the U.S. tax code this year that would have addressed offshore havens.

President Obama, House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp, a Michigan Republican, and Senate Finance Chairman Ron Wyden, an Oregon Democrat, support lowering the corporate rate and making significant changes to the taxation of foreign income.

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Tax haven abuse costs U.S. filers billions

BURLINGTON, Mass., April 15, 2014 /PRNewswire/ –inVentiv Health Clinical, a leading global supplier of drug development services, announced today that it has been selected for an osteoarthritis Investigational New Drug Application (IND) by the innovative regenerative medicine biotechnology company IntelliCell BioSciences, Inc., (OTCQB:SVFC). IntelliCell will be studying the use of adult autologous vascular cells from blood vessels in adipose tissue to treat osteoarthritis of the knee.

The principal investigator is Dr. James Andrews, an orthopedic surgeon known internationally for his scientific and clinical research into knee, shoulder and elbow injuries. Dr. Andrews is a founding member of the American Sports Medicine Institute, author of numerous scientific articles and books and founding partner and medical director at the Andrews Institute in Gulf Breeze, Florida.

inVentiv Clinical will work with Dr. Andrews to develop investigational clinical study protocols and will serve as the Clinical Research Organization (CRO) on trials conducted at the Pensacola Center of the Andrews Institute.

IntelliCell’s technology for isolating stromal vascular fraction cells from the vasculature of adipose tissue has been used to treat more than 60 knees. IntelliCell’s Chief Executive Officer, Dr. Steven Victor, said this is what we believe will be the first of several clinical trials for the biotech company studying the use of its technology in treating a variety of diseases and conditions.

“inVentiv Clinical has extensive therapeutic experience in general pain and osteoarthritis programs and a focus on partnering with innovative bioscience companies,” said Raymond Hill, President of inVentiv Health Clinical. “We are looking forward to our work with Dr. Andrews and contributing to advances in the treatment of osteoarthritis in knees.”

inVentiv Health Clinical offers clients a full range of clinical research services supported by a global infrastructure, therapeutic expertise, and unmatched commitment to quality. For pharmaceutical, biotechnology, generic drug, and medical device companies, inVentiv conducts Phase I-III clinical trials, Phase IV late stage post-approval programs, as well as offering staffing, bioanalytical and regulatory services.

IntelliCell’s IND study will focus on proving the company’s patented technology of Ultrasonic Cavitation as a method of producing stromal vascular fraction cells as a new approach and improvement on current treatment which in the worst cases can involve surgery.

About 75% of people over 70 years of age show changes consistent with osteoarthritis and symptoms such as pain, joint stiffness and joint deformities. Osteoarthritis affects more than 25 million people in the United States alone.

Regenerative medicine is the process of replacing or regenerating human cells, tissues or organs to restore or establish normal function by replacing damaged tissue and/or by stimulating the body’s own repair mechanisms to heal previously irreparable tissues or organs.

IntelliCell is planning an in-human clinical trial in late 2014 to study if the IntelliCell vascular fraction cells may demonstrate measurable benefits for patients suffering from this debilitating condition.

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inVentiv Health Clinical Engaged by IntelliCell Biosciences, a Regenerative Medicine Company, as Clinical Research …

Originally Published: April 15, 2014 10:32 AMModified: April 15, 2014 11:05 AM

Executives at Novi-based Lotus Bancorp Inc. will not be able to claim a First Amendment right to use racist remarks about customers and their banks board members in a lawsuit in Oakland County Circuit Court.

Judge Denise Langford Morris has denied a motion by the defendants’ attorneys to add the claim of a First Amendment privilege in their defense of a lawsuit brought by two bank customers who alleged that racist behavior by the executives violated the law and led, at least in part, to troubles they had in a dispute over a commercial loan.

Wednesday, the judge will hear two motions in the case, one by defense attorneys to dismiss the suit, and the other by the plaintiffs’ attorneys to grant a partial summary judgment.

An attorney for Lotus, Michelle Wezner of the Royal Oak-based law firm of Howard & Howard Attorneys PLLC, had argued last Wednesday that two executives at the bank should be allowed to claim a First Amendment right to send emails describing Asian Indians as chimps and saying they are better dead than alive.

Wezner said the emails werent proof that bank President Neal Searle and Executive Vice President Richard Bauer were unfair in their treatment of customers but were, in part, emotional rantings over frustrations with their Indian board of directors that werent meant to be seen by the general public.

I can be the biggest jerk in the world and say awful, horrible things, but I cant act on it, said Wezner. The emails, she said, indicates they may be jerks, but they didnt act on it. The plaintiffs were treated really well on their loan. All we have is some really awful emails.

Morris denied the motion, saying in part:

The Court, having reviewed the applicable law and being fully advised in the premises, finds that the proposed amendment would be futile because the statements complained of are not entitled to protection under the First Amendment.

In addition, the Court finds that this request, made more than one year after the complaint was filed and after the close of discovery, constitutes an inexcusable delay that would be prejudicial to plaintiffs. It is hereby ordered that defendants motion for leave to file first amended affirmative and special defenses to add (a) First Amendment defense is denied.

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Lotus bank execs' racist emails aren't protected by 1st Amendment, judge rules

The freedom and openness of the Internet are at stake after the U.S. government announced plans to end its contractual oversight of ICANN, some critics said Thursday.

The National Telecommunications and Information Administrations announcement last month that it will end its contract with the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers to operate key domain-name functions could embolden other nations to attempt to seize control, some Republican members of the U.S. House of Representatives Judiciary Committee said.

All hyperbole aside, this hearing is about nothing less than the future of the Internet and, significantly, who has the right, the ability and the authority to determine it, said Representative Bob Goodlatte, a Virginia Republican. Should it be decided by a few people in Washington, Beijing, Moscow, Sao Paolo or even Silicon Valley or should it be determined by those who use and stand to benefit from it?

Goodlatte suggested that other countries would try to control ICANN after the U.S. ends its contract. The U.S. can rightly take credit for the freedom that exists the Internet today, he said during a hearing. When we let go of that final link, will that institution be safer from those efforts to regulate the Internet, or will it be more exposed because it no longer has the protection of the United States?

The Internet engineers, companies and civil society groups involved in ICANN wouldnt allow a government takeover of the organization, supporters of the NTIAs plan said. I cannot imagine the Internet engineers that I know agreeing to do any of the parade of horribles that people are concerned about, said Representative Zoe Lofgren, a California Democrat.

Separately, the technology subcommittee of the House Energy and Commerce Committee voted Thursday to approve the Domain Openness Through Continued Oversight Matters (DOTCOM) Act, which would require a U.S. Government Accountability Office study about the effects of the transition before it happens. Members of that committee raised similar concerns in a hearing last week.

President Barack Obamas administration opposes the bill because it raises questions about the U.S. governments long-term support of a multistakeholder governance model at ICANN, said NTIA Administrator Larry Strickling.

Strickling assured Judiciary Committee members that the agency would not give up oversight of ICANN unless it is satisfied that the organization has a transition plan in place that prohibits a government takeover.

Several Republicans committee members questioned NTIAs move to end its contractual relationship with ICANN as soon as late 2015, but Strickling defended the plan, saying one of the main reasons for the change is to remove the perception in some countries that the U.S. has too much control.

While the NTIAs contract for ICANN to operate the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) functions is largely symbolic, the move would show the world that the U.S. supports a multistakeholder governance model at ICANN that it has advocated since 1998, Strickling said.

Excerpt from:
End of ICANN contract puts Internet freedom at risk, critics say

Liberty Media Corporation will release its first quarter earnings onThursday, May 8th, at11:30 a.m. .Greg Maffei, Liberty Media Corporation's President and CEO, will host the call.

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Liberty Media Corporation Announces First Quarter Earnings Release and Conference Call

Last week the Supreme Court overturned federal limits on the total amounts that one person may contribute to candidates and political committees during a single election cycle. The government may no more restrict how many candidates or causes a donor may support than it may tell a newspaper how many candidates it may endorse, the court declared in an opinion by Chief Justice John Roberts.

But according to Justice Stephen Breyer, who wrote a dissenting opinion that was joined by three of his colleagues, the restrictions challenged in McCutcheon v. FEC are perfectly compatible with the First Amendment, which advances not only the individuals right to engage in political speech, but also the publics interest in preserving a democratic order in which collective speech matters.

The idea that individual rights must be sacrificed for the sake of a vaguely defined collective interest reflects the dangerously broad agenda of campaign-finance reformers, who seek to shape the political debate so that it comports with their own notion of the public good.

Preventing corruption is the traditional justification for limits on campaign donations. As you might expect given his nebulous aim of preserving a democratic order in which collective speech matters, Breyer favors a broad definition of corruption, including not just quid pro quo bribery (such as agreeing to vote for a bill in exchange for a donation) but also undue influence. While everyone understands what bribery entails, undue influence is in the eye of the beholder. On the day McCutcheon was argued, for instance, President Obama worried that it would exacerbate a problem created by the Supreme Courts 2010 decision in Citizens United v. FEC, which lifted restrictions on political speech by unions and corporations. The problem, according to Obama: too much speech of the wrong sort.

You have some ideological extremist who has a big bankroll, and they can entirely skew our politics, Obama complained. There are a whole bunch of members of Congress right now who privately will tell you, I know our positions are unreasonable, but were scared that if we dont go along with the Tea Party agenda or some particularly extremist agenda that well be challenged from the right. And the threats are very explicit, and so they toe the line. And thats part of why weve seen a breakdown of just normal, routine business done here in Washington on behalf of the American people.

In short, Obama thinks Citizens United was devastating (as he called it a few days after the case was decided) because it freed his opponents to criticize him and interfered with business as usual in Washington. Many Americans would see those as advantages.

In any case, its clear that Obama views campaign-finance regulation as a way of managing the political debate and keeping it from becoming too extremist, a rationale the court has never endorsed and one that is totally at odds with the First Amendments command that Congress shall make no law … abridging the freedom of speech.

Similarly, the editorial board of The New York Times, which decries the distorting power of money on American elections, cites the broad ideological change sought by the Koch brothers as a reason to keep the aggregate caps on campaign contributions. To equate the ability of billionaires to buy elections with freedom of speech is totally absurd, Rep. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) opines, while Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) bemoans the undue influence of special interests and Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) complains that the Supreme Court has chosen to pour even more money into our process and our politics.

As self-financed candidates periodically discover, you cant really buy elections. Even if a candidate is interested only in gaining and retaining power, he has to convince voters he is worthy of their trust.

The undue influence that worries Breyer, Obama, Sanders, McCain and Pelosi is ultimately based on the power of speech to persuade a power Congress is forbidden to regulate.

Continued here:
Free speech vs. protecting rights of collective speech

Turkey's constitutional court: Twitter ban violates free speech
Turkey's constitutional court: Twitter ban violates free speech Turkey's President Abdullah Gul has condemned a court's decision to impose a complete ban on Twitter. In a tweet on the social…

By: mio

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Turkey’s constitutional court: Twitter ban violates free speech – Video

Last week the Supreme Court overturned existing limits on the total amount of money an individual can donate to political campaigns. (Limits on donations to individual candidates remain in place.) Liberal commentators claim this decision undermines democracy; Conservatives declare it a victory for free speech.

Free speech has not always been seen as an unalloyed good in America. In the early days after the Constitution was ratified, those in office were so offended by what was being said by their opponents that they passed the Alien and Sedition Acts, making it illegal to criticize certain governmental actions.

Fortunately, those laws disappeared after Jefferson became President, but uneasiness with the idea that anyone can say whatever he wants in the political arena remained. During World War I the Wilson Administration prosecuted pacifists, pro-German activists and others seen as either radical or un-patriotic for expressing their views. Few seemed to object at the time.

In 1927, the Supreme Court began to change this. In a concurring opinion that one legal scholar has called extraordinarly influential, Justice Brandeis said that freedom of speech was essential to rational political debate. In the 1950s, the Warren Court went further and included expressions of opinion by cultural radicals. Freedom of speech became a cause that liberal jurists embraced.

After the Watergate scandal, Congress passed laws limiting the amounts of money people could give to political campaigns, as well as the amounts candidates could spend, in order prevent corruption or the appearance of corruption. (Im troubled by that latter phrase. Should we really prohibit things that arent wrong just because, to some, they appear to be?)

James Buckley, a candidate for the Senate who was wealthy enough to finance his own campaign, challenged the Watergate limits on personal expenditures. He argued, Under the First Amendment, I have an unlimited right to free speech. How am I corrupted when I exercise that right by using my own money?

The Supreme Court sided with Buckley in the landmark case of Buckley v. Valeo in 1976, ruling that his constitutional right of free speech trumped the Watergate laws. He could not donate to other candidates in amounts that would give the appearance of corruption, but he could spend his own money to express his own views in whatever amounts he wanted. The author of that opinion was Justice William Brennan, the courts most liberal member. At the time, the ACLU thought it was too weak. Freedom of speech had become a dominant liberal value.

No more. In their attacks against the recent decision, which cites Buckley v. Valeo as precedent, liberals are now insisting that ones free speech rights should decrease as ones net worth increases. Too much free speech, if it is made possible by money, is, for them, a bad thing.

Justice Breyers dissent from the recent decision, about which he felt so passionately that he read it from the bench, makes that clear. He says that corruption by which he means campaign donations derails the essential speech-to-government -action tie. Where enough money calls the tune, the general public will not be heard.

He is saying that the voice of the general public is being drowned out by the voices of people who believe the First Amendment gives them the right to say whatever they think, in spite of the fact that they can afford to do it. His quarrel is really not with his current colleagues but with William Brennan, a liberal of the old school who ruled that more, rather than less, political speech is a good thing.

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Robert Bennett: More, rather than less, political speech is a good thing

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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OPINION: US, Obama must act now to save lives, protect religious freedom

On its present course, the Supreme Court will ultimately overrule its 1976 decision in Buckley v. Valeo, the landmark case upholding campaign finance reform legislation. It cant come too soon, because Buckley expressly ignored the First Amendments injunction that Congress shall make no law … abridging the freedom of speech. Instead of free speech, we now have regulated speech that has ensnarled elections in a web of bizarre and opaque rules. Last week, in McCutcheon et al. v. Federal Election Commission, the court began edging away from Buckley by striking down one of its limits on free speech. The details are less important than the courts direction.

Lets be clear about the stakes.

Free speech is not speech you agree with, uttered by someone you admire. Its speech that you find stupid, selfish, dangerous, uninformed or threatening, spoken and sponsored by someone you despise, fear or ridicule. Free speech is unpopular, contentious and sometimes ugly. It reflects a tolerance for differences. If everyone agreed on all things, we wouldnt need it.

In American democracy, this free speech plays two vital roles. The first is well recognized. It is to shape public opinion and to influence elections that, in turn, determine the social climate and steer government. We cherish the marketplace of ideas because (we assume) it allows us, through give and take, to arrive at better ideas and to grope our way toward consensus on hard issues.

Free speechs second function is less understood. It buttresses the political systems legitimacy. It helps losers, in the struggle for public opinion and electoral success, to accept their fates. It helps keep them loyal to the system, even though it has disappointed them. They will accept the outcomes, because they believe theyve had a fair opportunity to express and advance their views. Theres always the next election. Free speech underpins our larger concept of freedom.

Campaign finance reform degrades these core virtues in a quixotic effort to regulate politics. How did this happen? The answer is history. Watergate involved some especially sordid campaign solicitations by President Nixons henchmen. When exposed, these abuses inspired a backlash. We would purge politics of the evils of money. A reform ideology arose that subordinated the First Amendment to these lofty ambitions.

In this ideology, money is not speech. Speech is speech; contributions can be curbed to improve the political system without offending the First Amendment. Doing so is important because the alternative consigns governments vast powers to the rich. Through disproportionate contributions, these moneyed interests win elections and impose their narrow agenda on the nation. This is the ultimate corruption of politics and government.

All this has had an appealing logic for the high-minded. There is only one problem: Each of these basic beliefs is false.

In politics, money is speech. Political speech is a public phenomenon. It aims to affect how people behave. It requires money to hire campaign staff, build a website, buy political spots and the like. Penniless politicians cant easily communicate. Limiting my ability to contribute to candidates and parties restricts my First Amendment rights.

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Robert J. Samuelson: Restoring free speech

U.S. Mississippi

Mississippis Republican Gov. Phil Bryant signed a bill Thursday that would allow residents to sue over laws they believe impinge on their free exercise of religious beliefs.

Supporters say the Mississippi Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which will become law July 1, will guarantee freedom of religion without government interference, but opponents believe the law will permit discrimination against gays and lesbians. A similar bill that would have allowed Arizona residents to deny service to gays and lesbians on religious grounds was vetoed by Republican Gov. Jan Brewer last month.

This is a victory for the First Amendment and the right to live and work according to ones conscience, said Tony Perkins, the president of the conservative Family Research Council and an attendant at the signing ceremony, in a public statement. This commonsense measure was a no-brainer for freedom, and like the federal [Religious Freedom Restoration Act], it simply bars government discrimination against religious exercise. The legislature gave strong approval to a bill that declares that individuals do not have to trade their religious freedom for entrance into public commerce.

Similar bills are pending in Missouri and Oklahoma, according to the Washington Post, and eighteen other states have already enacted religious freedom laws. Civil rights advocates have opposed the bills, including in Mississippi, despite the state government removing some of the strongest original language.

We remain hopeful that courts throughout the state will reject any attempts to use religion to justify discrimination, Morgan Miller, communications director of Mississippis ACLU chapter, said in a public statement. Nobody should be refused service because of who they are.

The bill will also add In God We Trust to the state seal.

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Mississippi Governor Signs Controversial Religious Freedom Bill

The intersection of the First Amendment and campaign finance can seem like a murky crossroads. Good news: Help is here to understand what the Supreme Court is up to at this critical legal juncture.

On Wednesday, a divided high court struck down overall campaign contribution limits in a case called McCutcheon v. FEC, the most important political money ruling since the justices 2010 decision in Citizens United. A quick tally shows that this is the sixth time the court under Chief Justice John Roberts has poked holes in legislation designed to stem the flow of money into the election system.

What is the conservative Roberts majority up to? How far do they intend to go?

The best, most concise explanation Ive heard came from Michael Waldman, the president of the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU Law School. The court narrowed the conception of corruption to an infinitesimally small concept. It needs to be like American Hustle or Abscam handing a suitcase full of money to a member of Congress and getting an explicit agreement to do something, Waldman said on PBS NewsHour. Other than that, Chief Justice Roberts said trying to use your money to get influence with members of Congress is the heart of the First Amendment.

There you have it. Roberts and his four ideological compadres see campaign spending and contributions as a form of expression protected by the First Amendment. One may disagree with that concept, but it is now enshrined in the constitutional law of the land.

The only limiting principle Roberts & Co. seem to perceive to the First Amendments reach in this regard is quid pro quo corruption: when money buys a specific favor from a particular politician. Then cash, checks, and wire transfers cease to be simply political expression and morph into briberythe roguish influence peddling at the heart of the highly entertaining American Hustle and the real-life Abscam sting on which the movie was loosely based.

Congrats to Waldman for providing such a vivid aid for comprehending whats going on in Washington. Condolences to him, the Brennan Center, and other liberal fans of campaign finance restrictions for their losing streak at the Supreme Court, one which will likely continue as long as Chief Justice Roberts commands a majority.

The rest is here:
Understanding the Supreme Court's Campaign Finance Ruling

Regen Med Investor Day 2014 | Program Introduction
Speaker: Geoff MacKay, Chair, Alliance for Regenerative Medicine (ARM); President CEO, Organogenesis Inc.

By: Alliance for Regenerative Medicine

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Regen Med Investor Day 2014 | Program Introduction – Video

World Leaders Illuminati Pyramid and Badges
World leaders meeting at a summit are wearing Illuminati Badges on their suits except President Obama. A holographic pyramid also appears during the meeting….

By: ConspiracyRealism

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World Leaders Illuminati Pyramid and Badges – Video

By Katy Stickland

Story Created: Apr 1, 2014 at 11:24 PM ECT

Story Updated: Apr 1, 2014 at 11:24 PM ECT

TOURISM leaders are calling on the Tobago House of Assembly (THA) to provide more lifeguards for the islands beaches. It comes following the drowning of 26-year-old Sashell Ross at Bacolet beach earlier this month. The Maravel pre-school teacher was on holiday with friends in Tobago when she got into difficulty in the water. The beach has no lifeguard cover. The President of the Tobago Hotels Restaurants and Tourism Association, Nicholas Hardwicke says although it is impossible and impracticable to have lifeguard cover on all of Tobagos beaches, major public beaches should be covered. Some beaches such as Lambeau have no bathers but lifeguard cover. Grafton, Turtle Beach, Grange and Back Bay which are visited by hundreds of bathers a week during the season have no coverage, says Hardwicke. If lifeguard facilities are not provided on the beach then you should at least have enough adequate signage to warn the visiting public to exercise caution. The THA has taken some strides towards this, although it is not universal. But this should not be a cheap option. We need lifeguard facilities at all the key beaches. The THAs Division of Tourism and Transportation provides lifeguard cover for nine of Tobagos beaches including Store Bay, Pigeon Point, Mt. Irvine, Bloody Bay, Castara, Kings Bay, Charlotteville and Speyside. There are currently no lifeguards on duty at Little Rockly Bay (Lambeau) because the lifeguard tower is closed for renovation work. Hardwicke says the provision of lifeguards is a benchmark issue and one we have been aspiring to for a long time. Their importance is not just that theyre there for the protection of swimmers in the water but in many incidences lifeguards are the first responders to incidents which can happen in a beach environment. They are an authoritative presence which is required. They provide an important link to other law enforcement and emergency response agencies, said Hardwicke. I first raised this in1999 and there was a unanimous agreement by all stakeholders and government that something should be done. It is now 2014 and nothing has been done. From a public safety point of view we want to see the facilities with appropriately trained, manned and capable teams put in place. There is much more that they could do. Tobago News asked the THAs Division of Tourism and Transportation to respond to the concerns. Up until press time there had been no response.

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Calls for more lifeguards on Tobagos beaches

A dispute over state regulation of political speech serves as the backdrop for an important case about when First Amendment claims are ripe for judicial decision.

The case, Susan B. Anthony List v. Driehaus, involves a constitutional challenge to an Ohio law that makes it a crime during a political campaign to make a false statement about the voting record of a candidate or public official. A second provision makes it illegal to disseminate any false statement about a candidate, either knowing it is false or with reckless disregard for whether it is true, with the goal of electing or defeating the candidate.

The central issue is whether government officials may punish false political statements or whether such falsehoods are entitled to the First Amendments protection for freedom of speech. But before that issue can be reached, there is a threshold problem of when a law like Ohios may be challenged specifically, whether a constitutional challenge must await the outcome of a prosecution for violation of the law or may instead proceed as long as a speaker feels that his free speech rights are chilled by the very existence of the law.

This stage of the dispute is about justiciability: whether the issue is ripe for decision because there is a current, timely genuine controversy with injured parties whose grievances can be remedied in court. The issue of justiciability is an important step in all litigation and should be of interest to students in constitutional law, federal courts, civil procedure, and clinical and trial practice programs.

The dispute arose during the failed 2010 reelection campaign of Representative Steven Driehaus, a Democrat from Ohio. Driehaus complained to the Ohio Elections Commission after a non-profit anti-abortion group, the Susan B. Anthony (SBA) List, planned to run billboard advertising in his district saying that his vote for President Obamas health care law, the Affordable Care Act, was a vote for taxpayer-funded abortions. The billboard company refused the ad when a lawyer for Driehaus raised the possibility of legal action. But apparently because the ad was still a possibility, Driehaus went ahead with his complaint to the commission.

Following its established procedures, a panel of the commission issued a finding of probable cause that the proposed ad violated the law and referred the matter to the full commission for a hearing. Rather than await the hearing, however, the Susan B. Anthony List filed suit in federal district court to block both the commission hearing and the enforcement of the law. The district court declined to stay the commission actions, but the parties agreed to put off the hearing until after the election. Driehaus lost his reelection bid, and the commission process ended. But the SBA List amended its federal court complaint to contend that its free speech had been chilled by the commission proceedings.

At roughly the same time, a second non-profit group, the Coalition Opposed to Additional Spending and Taxes (COAST), planned to disseminate much the same message that Driehaus had voted to allow taxpayer-funded abortions and that his complaint to the Ohio Election Commission was designed to obscure his vote. COAST filed suit in federal court, too; although Driehaus did not file a complaint against COAST with the commission, the group alleged that it withheld its messages about Driehaus because of the proceedings against SBA List.

The district court decided the two cases together, dismissing the challenges to the Ohio law on the ground that neither SBA List nor COAST had standing to assert a real injury that was ripe for decision. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit affirmed those dismissals, finding that there were no claims that were ripe for review. As to SBA List, the Sixth Circuit held that there was no commission action pending and no objective fear of future enforcement against the group. Moreover, the appeals court concluded, the group was able to get its message out in numerous ways; only the billboard was scrapped as a result of the controversy. COASTs claims, the appeals court held, were even more speculative because there had never been a commission action or even a threat of one against the group.

The two groups petitioned the Supreme Court, and the Justices are scheduled to hear arguments in their cases on April 22. In their appeal, lawyers for the groups take a somewhat incredulous tone about the Ohio law, exhorting the Court that believe it or not false campaign speech is a criminal offense in Ohio. The groups argue that they face an ongoing, genuine threat to their free speech rights because the existence of the Ohio law raises the specter of a future prosecution if they engage in similar speech. The fact that the threat is real, they contend, is demonstrated at least in part by the Ohio Election Commissions finding of probable cause in SBA Lists case.

The groups maintain that the Sixth Circuits approach to when a First Amendment dispute is ripe for decision would require those wishing to exercise their free speech rights to wait until they have been successfully prosecuted before they could challenge the validity of the state law. This provides far too little protection for free speech, they argue, and ignores the chill on free speech that comes from the mere threat of prosecution created by the law.

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SCOTUS for law students (sponsored by Bloomberg Law): Litigating free speech cases

Obama awards US Medal of Freedom to Bill Clinton and Oprah Winfrey at JFK memorial event
Subscribe to ITN News: President Obama has awarded America's highest civilian honor, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, to former Pres.

By: belnay nanke

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Obama awards US Medal of Freedom to Bill Clinton and Oprah Winfrey at JFK memorial event – Video

Gene Policinski

Senior Vice President/Executive Director, First Amendment Center

Thursday, February 13, 2014

If you associate the First Amendment more with the rarified air of constitutional debate, or powdered wigs and Colonial days, try thinking in more modern terms say speed traps and blinking headlights.

For most of us, much of the Bill of Rights comes into play infrequently, if ever. A few examples: According to a 2013 survey, only one in three U.S. households are home to a firearm (Second Amendment). And thankfully, protection in our lifetimes against illegal search and seizure (Fourth) or self-incrimination (Fifth) will be more legal theory rather than active tool.

But the First Amendment the nations blue collar amendment goes to work every day alongside us. We regularly, if not daily, use the freedoms of religion, speech, press, assembly and petition to worship as we will, to speak our minds freely, and to ask our elected leaders to make changes on matters of public interest.

There are disputes over the way we apply those core freedoms, sometimes reaching the U.S. Supreme Court. But at other times, the legal collision and decision are more down-to-earth and closer to home. Case in point, Michael J. Elli challenged a city ordinance in his hometown, Ellisville, Mo., that permitted police to ticket drivers who flashed headlights to warn oncoming motorists approaching a speed trap.

About 2:50 p.m. on Nov. 17, 2012, Elli flashed his headlights after passing police. He was stopped and ticketed. Elli faced a $1,000 fine, and later was warned by a municipal judge about a charge of obstruction of justice.

The city dropped the prosecution after Elli pled not guilty, and later said it ordered police not to enforce the law. Nonetheless, Elli proceeded with a federal lawsuit. In early February, U.S. District Judge Henry Autrey issued an order to make certain he stopped the chilling effect on citizens exercising their First Amendment right of free speech.

Judge Henrys ruling makes the important point that Missouri law forbids someone from warning of impending discovery or apprehension, but specifically excludes telling someone to comply with the law. In other words, communicating slow down is protected speech because it encourages safer driving.

Originally posted here:
A flash of insight on just how free is our free speech

U.S. bankruptcy trustee: Freedom president’s legal fees not a priority

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — If the president of Freedom Industries wants his legal fees paid, he should get in line with the others who believe the company owes them money, a federal trustee said Friday.

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — If the president of Freedom Industries wants his legal fees paid, he should get in line with the others who believe the company owes them money, a federal trustee said Friday.

Gary Southern’s legal fees should be treated as a general unsecured claim, rather than an administrative expense, as Southern requested, a trustee appointed by the U.S. Department of Justice to handle the bankruptcy case wrote in an objection Friday.

Southern is president of Freedom Industries, the company responsible for a Jan. 9 chemical leak that tainted the water supply of 300,000 West Virginians for days. The company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on Jan. 18. Chapter 11 allows a company to reorganize and continue operating, but its attorney has said the company is winding down.

Southern filed a motion earlier this month asking a judge to pay him until a chief restructuring officer was hired. He also asked that Freedom’s insurance cover his legal expenses.

On March 18, a judge approved the hiring of chief restructuring officer Mark Welch to head Freedom’s finances while it winds down operations. Welch is a “turnaround consultant” with MorrisAnderson in Chicago.

Trustee Judy Robbins wrote in her filing Friday that she doesn’t object to Southern being paid for his work up until Welch’s hiring. However, the $48,909 owed to the Kay Casto & Chaney law firm — the legal expenses Southern wants Freedom’s insurance to cover — shouldn’t be an administrative expense, the trustee’s filing states.

“While this may result in some hardship to the present officers or directors in the event they must fund their own defense, their plight is neither better nor worse than general creditors who rendered services or supplied goods in reliance upon the expectation of payment,” the trustee’s filing states.

In a separate filing Friday, attorneys for Freedom Industries said they don’t object to Southern’s legal fees being classified as an administrative expense.

View post:
U.S. bankruptcy trustee: Freedom presidents legal fees not a priority

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