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BBC News – Nato: Russia had illegally crossed Ukraine's border
Nato has accused Russia of blatantly violating Ukraine's sovereignty by sending troops and weapons over the border. Russia's President, Vladimir Putin, denie…

By: newstoday towatch

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BBC News – Nato: Russia had illegally crossed Ukraine’s border – Video



President Bush Defends Obama's NSA Surveillance Program
Former President George W. Bush defended some of the cellphone data-gathering tactics used by the National Security Agency that have caused a public uproar, saying that America is still…

By: The College Fix

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President Bush Defends Obama’s NSA Surveillance Program – Video

Reading companies annual reports to the Securities and Exchange Commission is a reliable cure for insomnia. Every so often, though, there is a significant revelation in the paperwork. This year, one of the most important revelations came from Microsofts filings, which spotlighted how the tax code allows corporations to enjoy the benefits of American citizenship yet avoid paying U.S. taxes.

According to the SEC documents, the company is sitting on almost $29.6 billion it would owe in U.S. taxes if it repatriated the $92.9 billion of earnings it is keeping offshore. That amount of money represents a significant spike from prior years.

To put this in perspective, the levies the company would owe amount to almost the entire two-year operating budget of the companys home state of Washington.

The disclosure in Microsofts SEC filing lands amid an intensifying debate over the fairness of U.S.-based multinational corporations using offshore subsidiaries to avoid paying American taxes. Such maneuvers although often legal threaten to significantly reduce U.S. corporate tax receipts during an era marked by government budget deficits.

Microsoft has not formally declared itself a subsidiary of a foreign company, so the firm has not technically engaged in the so-called inversion scheme that President Obama and Democrats have lately been criticizing. However, according to a 2012 U.S. Senate investigation, the company has in recent years used its offshore subsidiaries to substantially reduce its tax bills.

That probe uncovered details of how those subsidiaries are used. In its report, the Senates Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations noted that despite the [companys] research largely occurring in the United States and generating U.S. tax credits, profit rights to the intellectual property are largely located in foreign tax havens. The report discovered that through those tax havens, Microsoft was able to shift offshore nearly $21 billion (in a three-year period), or almost half of its U.S. retail sales net revenue, saving up to $4.5 billion in taxes on goods sold in the United States, or just over $4 million in U.S. taxes each day.

Microsoft, of course, is not alone. According to a report by Citizens for Tax Justice, American Fortune 500 corporations are likely saving about $550 billion by holding nearly $2 trillion of permanently reinvested profits offshore. The report also found that 28 corporations reveal that they have paid an income tax rate of 10 percent or less to the governments of the countries where these profits are officially held, indicating that most of these profits are likely in offshore tax havens.

In the political debate over taxes, conservatives often cite inversions and other games with offshore subsidiaries as proof that the U.S. corporate tax rate is too high in comparison to other industrialized countries. Yet, when all the existing tax deductions, write-offs and credits are factored in, Americas effective corporate tax rate is actually one of the industrialized worlds lowest.

With the U.S. tax code now permitting companies to use brazen tax avoidance schemes in true tax havens, the real question is more fundamental than what the proper corporate tax rate should be. Instead, the question is now whether corporations should have to pay any taxes on their profits at all?

The answer should be obvious. Companies enjoy huge benefits from operating in the United States benefits like (among other things) intellectual property protection, government provided security (police, firefighting, etc.) and publicly financed infrastructure. Those services and assets cost money.

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Sirota: Should companies have to pay taxes?

Afghanistan may have to send only its defence minister to a NATO summit that will decide on future support because of an impasse over the presidential election, officials said Sunday. The deadlock over the fraud-tainted election has left Afghanistan in paralysis as two rival candidates battle to succeed outgoing President Hamid Karzai, who has declined to attend the NATO gathering. NATO's combat …

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Afghan defence minister may attend key NATO summit

By Alexei Anishchuk and Richard Balmforth LAKE SELIGER Russia/KIEV (Reuters) – Ukraine called on Friday for full membership in NATO, its strongest plea yet for Western military help, after accusing Russia of sending in armored columns that have driven back its forces on behalf of pro-Moscow rebels. Russian President Vladimir Putin, defiant as ever, compared Kiev's drive to regain control of its …

Originally posted here:
Ukraine seeks to join NATO; defiant Putin compares Kiev to Nazis

President Barack Obama will visit Estonia and attend a NATO summit in Wales next week to send a strong message to Russian President Vladimir Putin that his incursion into Ukraine must be reversed and to keep his hands off the Baltic nations.

A fresh move into eastern Ukraine by Russian forces in support of separatists is rattling the region, and Obama will reassure NATO’s Baltic allies Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania that the alliance will stand with them should Moscow turn its attention to them.

It will be the second visit ever to Estonia by an American president, following George W. Bush’s 2006 stop there. Obama will meet all three Baltic leaders together and give a speech on Wednesday.

The White House said Obama will stress that the alliance’s Article 5 commitment to the common defense of each member is an ironclad guarantee.

“Russia, don’t even think about messing around in Estonia or in any of the Baltic areas in the same way that you have been messing around in Ukraine,” Charles Kupchan, the senior White House director for European affairs, said on Friday in laying out Obama’s mission.

The NATO summit will put Obama in the same room with many European leaders who have joined with him in imposing economic sanctions on Moscow for its move into Ukraine and he has said Washington is considering stiffening those sanctions.

A focus of the summit will be to shift attention of the alliance toward the east as a bulwark against any Russian expansionism in Eastern Europe.

Ukraine has asked for NATO for membership, but there is no consensus within NATO for enlarging the alliance.

Also overshadowing Obama’s trip will be how to confront a challenge from Islamic State militants who have a stronghold in Syria and have made gains against government forces in Iraq.

NATO diplomats said a leaders’ dinner next Thursday will be dominated by talks on what they said is the increasingly prominent threat posed by Islamic State at NATO’s southeastern corner along Turkey’s border with Syria and Iraq.

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Obama, at NATO summit, to send strong message to Putin

GDANSK, Poland (AP) Poland's new European Solidarity Center should help raise future generations with an appreciation of freedom and democracy, President Bronislaw Komorowski said as the center opened on Sunday.

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Poland honors Solidarity with new culture center

Letter from the President

Liberty University is the largest private, nonprofit university in the nation, the largest university in Virginia, and the largest Christian university in the world. Liberty was founded in 1971 by my father, the late Dr. Jerry Falwell, Sr., with a vision to Train Champions for Christ as a world class university. An accredited institution, Liberty now offers more than 450 unique programs of study. Libertys more than 7,000-acre campus boasts millions of square feet of technologically advanced academic, residential, and recreational space, the vast majority of which was constructed in the last 15 years. Liberty hosts some of the worlds best-known speakers from all walks of life every semester, and our vibrant spiritual life programs are based on a solid doctrinal statement that truly sets us apart from other schools. Our code of conduct teaches discipline and promotes a lifestyle of Biblical morality, but is well-balanced to allow students the freedom to enjoy their college experience. While academics and faith are our top priorities, Liberty also fields 20 NCAA Division I athletic teams, 32 club sport teams, and provides a host of student activities, intramural sports, and recreational opportunities. Everything we do is designed to develop Christ-centered men and women with the values, knowledge and skills essential to impact tomorrows world.

– President Jerry Falwell

Liberty University is a Christian academic community in the tradition of evangelical institutions of higher education. As such, Liberty continues the philosophy of education which first gave rise to the university, and which is summarized in the following propositions.

God, the infinite source of all things, has shown us truth through scripture, nature, history, and above all, in Christ.

Persons are spiritual, rational, moral, social, and physical, created in the image of God. They are, therefore, able to know and to value themselves and other persons, the universe, and God.

Education as the process of teaching and learning, involves the whole person, by developing the knowledge, values, and skills which enable each individual to change freely. Thus it occurs most effectively when both instructor and student are properly related to God and each other through Christ.

Maintaining the vision of the founder, Dr. Jerry Falwell, Liberty University develops Christ-centered men and women with the values, knowledge, and skills essential to impact the world.

Through its residential and online programs, services, facilities, and collaborations, the University educates men and women who will make important contributions to their workplaces and communities, follow their chosen vocations as callings to glorify God, and fulfill the Great Commission.

Link:
About Liberty | Official Page | Liberty University

In March 2008 I chatted with a silver-haired law school professor under the marble pillars of the U.S. Supreme Court building. He was very excited. The court was to about hear Heller v. D.C. The case would decide whether the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution protects an individual right to own and carry guns. He had 20 law students with him. He said anxiously, When I put in the paperwork to get seats months ago I didnt know wed get to see one of the last unresolved constitutional questions debated. He said this while looking at a line of people hoping to get seats that went down the block, around a corner and out of sight.

Hours later a mainstream reporter next to me in the press section gasped, Oh no, when Justice Anthony Kennedy hinted that he believed the Second Amendment to be an individual right while asking the governments attorney a question.Months later, when the high court ruled 5-4 that the Second Amendment protects an individual right from government infringement, the media was paying attention. Many, however, are missing whats happening now. The Second Amendment is having its defining moment in history. The decisions now percolating up to the Supreme Court are deciding what guns the Second Amendment covers, when requirements become infringements and more.

Gun-rights and gun-control groups understand that these court decisions illustrate how much elections matter, as the federal judges making these decisions are nominated by the president and voted on by the senate. However, two recent federal court decisions from judges appointed by former president Bill Clinton show how difficult these decisions can be to handicap.

In one just-decided case, California Senior U.S. District Court Judge Anthony W. Ishii found that 10-day waiting periods of Penal Code violate the Second Amendment as applied to people who fall into certain classifications. He found this arbitrary wait time burdens the Second Amendment rights of the plaintiffs. (The decision can be read here.) This court decision orders the California Department of Justice to allow the unobstructed release of guns to those who pass a background check and possess a California license to carry a handgun, or who hold a Department of Justice-issued Certificate of Eligibility and already possess at least one firearm known to the state. Basically, it says if someone already legally has a gun in California the state cant make that person wait 10 days for a second gun just because it wants to. If that sounds like common sense to you, youre right, but common sense isnt a given in the courts.

Brandon Combs, a plaintiff in the case who is also director of the executive director of the Calguns Foundation, said the decision clears the way for them to challenge other irrational and unconstitutional gun-control laws. We look forward to doing just that.

United States Supreme Court building. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A flurry of such challenges began right after Heller, led to McDonald v. Chicago (2010) and are still ongoing. In an important example, in February 2014 the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals confirmed that the Second Amendment protects an individual right to carry firearms for self-defense in public. The decision came in Peruta v. San Diego County. The majority opinion in Peruta said, We are called upon to decide whether a responsible, law-abiding citizen has a right under the Second Amendment to carry a firearm in public for self-defense.

The California Rifle and Pistol Association Foundation brought the case on behalf of five individuals who were denied the right to carry a handgun by the San Diego sheriff. According to California law, a person applying for their Second Amendment right to carry a concealed handgun must: (1) be a resident of their respective city or county; (2) be of good moral character; (3) have good cause for such a license; and (4) pass a firearms training course. Many rural California counties accept self-defense as good cause for a person to get a license to carry a handgun, but some urban sheriffs and chiefs of police disagreed. In those jurisdictions the few who attain permits had to beg, plead, and show imminent danger to their lives before they could exercise their right to bear arms.

The Ninth Circuit decided 2 to 1 that the restrictive good cause policy of the San Diego County Sheriffs Department was unconstitutional. The majority opinion accepted that the Second Amendment right is not unlimited. It is not a right to keep and carry any weapon whatsoever in any manner whatsoever and for whatever purpose. Rather, it is a right subject to traditional restrictions, which themselvesand this is a critical pointtend to show the scope of the right.

The majority decision in Peruta said, Our reading of the Second Amendment is akin to the Seventh Circuits interpretation [in Shepard v. Madigan] and at odds with the approach of the Second, Third, and Fourth Circuits. We are unpersuaded by the decisions of the Second, Third, and Fourth Circuits for several reasons. First, contrary to the approach in Heller, all three courts declined to undertake a complete historical analysis of the scope and nature of the Second Amendment right outside the home. As a result, they misapprehend both the nature of the Second Amendment right and the implications of state laws that prevent the vast majority of responsible, law-abiding citizens from carrying in public for lawful self-defense purposes.

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The Second Amendment's Defining Moment

By Justine McDaniel, Robby Korth and Jessica Boehm August 29

Across the country, a thriving dissatisfaction with the U.S. government is prompting a growing spate of bills in state legislatures aimed at defying federal control over firearms more than 200 during the last decade, a News21 investigation found.

Particularly in Western and Southern states, where individual liberty intersects with increasing skepticism among gun owners, firearms are a political vehicle in efforts to ensure states rights and void U.S. gun laws within their borders. State legislators are attempting to declare that only they have the right to interpret the Second Amendment, a movement that recalls the anti-federal spirit of the Civil War and civil-rights eras.

I think the president and the majority of Congress, both in the House and Senate, are just completely out of touch with how people feel about Second Amendment rights, said Missouri state Sen. Brian Nieves, who has fought for bills to weaken the federal governments authority over firearms in his state.

In Idaho, the Legislature unanimously passed a law to keep any future federal gun measures from being enforced in the state. In Kansas, a law passed last year says federal regulation doesnt apply to guns manufactured in the state. Wyoming, South Dakota and Arizona have had laws protecting firearms freedom from the U.S. government since 2010.

A News21 analysis shows 14 such bills were passed by legislators in 11 states, mainly in Western states, along with Kansas, Tennessee and Alaska. Of those, 11 were signed into law, though one was later struck down in court. In Montana, Missouri and Oklahoma, three others were vetoed.

More than three-quarters of U.S. states have proposed nullification laws since 2008. More than half of those bills have come in the last two years after the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut. All but three have been introduced since President Barack Obama took office.

Underneath the policy jargon lies a culture of firearms woven into the heritage and politics of states whose histories were shaped by guns.

(The federal government) is diving off into areas unchecked that theyre not supposed to be involved in, said Montana state Rep. Krayton Kerns, who introduced a bill in 2013 to limit the ability of local police to help enforce federal laws. Not only is it our right in state legislatures to do this, its our obligation to do it. Somebodys got to put a whoa on it.

Opponents say its not federal gun regulation thats unconstitutional, but laws to nullify it.

More here:
GovBeat: In states, a legislative rush to nullify federal gun laws

Donald Trump is coming to New Hampshire this fall to help honor the First Amendment.

The Nackey S. Loeb School of Communications Inc., announced this weekend that Trump will be the featured speaker at the school’s 12th annual First Amendment Awards event. The program is at the Radisson Hotel in downtown Manchester on the evening of Wednesday, Nov. 12.

The event honors First Amendment freedoms and those from New Hamphire who go above and beyond to uphold them.

Honorees have included outspoken school board members and private citizens, newspapers and editors, and a former state attorney general.The outspoken Trump, know to many simply as “The Donald,” is a successful real estate developer, reality TV host, author and political commentator.

His visits to the First Primary state regularly spark speculation about his own presidential ideas. He has said he is keeping his options open for 2016.Meanwhile, his appearances draw crowds. His speech at a “Politics and Eggs” business forum at St. Anselm College last winter drew a packed house.

Tickets to the Loeb School event go on sale Sept. 12 at http://www.loebschool.org.

Trump joins a distinguished list of national figures who have donated their time to help the school with its major annual fundraising event.

First Amendment speakers have included the late Tim Russert of NBC, Fox’s Bill O’Reilly, Vice President Joe Biden, U.S. Sen. John McCain, commentators Patrick Buchanan and George Will and ABC’s George Stephanopoulos.

The school was founded in 1999 by Nackey S. Loeb, the late president and publisher of the New Hampshire Union Leader and Sunday News.

Its mission is to promote understanding and appreciation of the First Amendment and “to foster interest, integrity and excellence in journalism and communication.”

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Donald Trump to headline 1st Amendment event in NH

What Is Libertarianism?

There are many ways of saying the same thing, and libertarians often have unique ways of answering the question What is libertarianism? Weve asked many libertarians that question, and below are some of our favorite definitions.

Libertarianism is, as the name implies, the belief in liberty. Libertarians believe that each person owns his own life and property and has the right to make his own choices as to how he lives his life and uses his property as long as he simply respects the equal right of others to do the same. Sharon Harris, President, Advocates for Self-Government

The CATO Insistutes David Boaz

Libertarianism is the view that each person has the right to live his life in any way he chooses so long as he respects the equal rights of others. Libertarians defend each persons right to life, liberty, and property rights that people possess naturally, before governments are created. In the libertarian view, all human relationships should voluntary; the only actions that should be forbidden by law are those that involve the initiation of force against those who have themselves used force actions like murder, rape, robbery, kidnapping, and fraud. David Boaz, Executive Vice President, Cato Institute

Libertarianism is a philosophy. The basic premise of libertarianism is that each individual should be free to do as he or she pleases so long as he or she does not harm others. In the libertarian view, societies and governments infringe on individual liberties whenever they tax wealth, create penalties for victimless crimes, or otherwise attempt to control or regulate individual conduct which harms or benefits no one except the individual who engages in it. definition written by theU.S. Internal Revenue Service, during the process of granting theAdvocates for Self-Governmentstatus as a nonprofit educational organization

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Definitions of Libertarianism – The Advocates for Self …

(AP file photo)

WASHINGTON The House on Thursday passed legislation to end the National Security Agency’s bulk collection of American phone records, the first legislative response to the disclosures by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.

Although the compromise measure was, in the words of Democrat Jan Schakowsky of Illinois, significantly “watered down,” it passed by a vote of 303-120, with nine members not voting.

“We must not let the perfect be the enemy of the good,” Schakowsky, an intelligence committee member, said in summing up the feelings of many Republicans and Democrats who voted for the measure but wanted tougher provisions. Dropped from the bill was a requirement for an independent public advocate on the secret intelligence court that oversees the NSA.

The USA Freedom Act would codify a proposal made in January by President Barack Obama, who said he wanted to end the NSA’s practice of collecting the “to and from” records of nearly every American landline telephone call under a program that searched the data for connections to terrorist plots abroad.

The bill doesn’t ask the phone companies to hold records for any longer than they already do, which varies by carrier. The bill would give the NSA the authority to request certain records from the companies to search them in terrorism investigations in response to a judicial order. The phone program was revealed last year by Snowden, who used his job as a computer-network administrator to remove tens of thousands of secret documents from an NSA facility in Hawaii.

The measure now heads to the Senate. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., the chairwoman of the intelligence committee, has said she is willing to go along with a similar idea.

NSA officials were pleased with the bill because under the existing program, they did not have access to many mobile-phone records. Under the new arrangement, they will, officials say.

“I believe this is a workable compromise that protects the core function of a counterterrorism program we know has saved lives around the world,” said Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Mich., the House Intelligence Committee chairnan.

Privacy and civil-liberties activists denounced the measure, saying it had been “gutted” to win agreement from lawmakers such as Rogers who supported the NSA phone-records program.

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U.S. House passes law to end NSA's bulk collection of photo records

May 252014

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

24th MAY 2014

OFFICIAL STATEMENT BY HAKAINDE HICHILEMA

AFRICAN FREEDOM DAY 2014

On 15 April 1958, in Accra, Ghana, African leaders and political activists gathered at the first Conference of Independent African States. The Conference called for the founding of African Freedom Day, a day to mark each year the onward progress of the liberation movement, and to symbolize the determination of the People of Africa to free themselves from foreign domination and exploitation. Five years later, specifically On 25 May 1963, leaders of thirty-two then independent African states met to form the Organization of African Unity (OAU). By then more than two-thirds of the continent had achieved independence, from imperial European states. This meeting changed the African freedom day date from 15 April to 25 May. The day was then declared African Liberation day. This is very significant in the sense that indeed Africans must be liberated in line with their own aspirations. The question is; has Africa achieved the aspirations of its founding leaders in this regard? Have the negative experiences we as a people went through under the york of colonialism been reversed?

Independence for African countries came at a great cost. Gallant men and women shed their blood for our independence. We saw in the initial stages of independence that we the African people enjoyed political freedom while we continued to grapple with economic freedom. Within a few years of independence, we saw the greed of the few leaders exceed the needs of the majority of the people. Political freedoms were quickly taken away. Ruling parties declared countries one party states. This period was characterised by an unprecedented levels of political oppression where the state machinery was used to silence any form of dissent, in many cases, brutally. Ruling parties soon blurred the line between the party and the government, creating a state of affairs where state resources became party resources firmly controlled by the ruling class. Political sycophancy became the order of the day. Zambia was no exception to this unfortunate dark era of political intolerance. Dissenting voices were brutally crashed. The nation was put under a perpetual state of emergency which was used with swift ruthlessness. Zambians against all odds rose against the system and dismantled the one party system in 1990. We saw a serious attempt to reverse this gain during the failed third term project.

We are now seeing a very worrying trend in Zambia where opposition party political meetings are being disrupted by the highly compromised police formation. Opposition leaders are being dragged before courts of law on flimsy charges. Innocent Zambians gathering to accompany their political leaders are being overrun by vehicles, assassination attempts have become the order of the day. The list of the evidence that shows the reversal of political freedoms are too numerous for one message.

No serious attempt is being made in Africa generally and in Zambia particularly to give the people economic freedom. Life has been reduced to dog eat dog to survive. The basic social services such as education, health, water and sanitation are all in free fall. If people cannot receive quality education, cannot access health care and do not have access to clean water and sanitation facilities, what sort of liberation are we talking about? If people cannot criticize the Government openly without fear of victimization, then what kind of liberation are we talking about? Africa has some of the longest serving Presidents, most of whom (if not all) have manipulated constitutions to perpetuate themselves in power. Africa has the indignity of having six of the of top ten worlds longest serving Presidents in the world. The longest serving President the world over, at 37 years and still counting, is from Africa. Such a record is not something to be proud about.

What do we promise as UPND? There can be no liberation if people are not economically liberated. We therefore promise economic liberation by enacting laws that will guarantee citizens participation in the economic activities of the country. We also promise the citizens free quality education. People have to be educated to make informed decisions including choosing the kind of leaders they want. We promise quality health care. We cannot have an educated people, who are economically liberated but not healthy. That will affect productivity negatively. We promise a Zambia that will be food secure. We cannot have a people that are in a good economy, educated, health but hungry. Most importantly, what I, Hakainde Hichilema personally promise to deliver, is freedom of expression and assembly through a people driven constitution. My personal commitment and that of our party UPND to a people driven Constitution is unequivocal. Zambia claims to be liberated from colonialism yet the public order act that was used by the colonialists is still in force. We seem to have changed the DJ but left the same music playing with some of it repeating ad infinitum. Countrymen and women, let us take this opportunity to take a hard look of where we are coming from and where we want to go. Where we want to go will then determine what kind of manpower we need to get us there.

Have a blessed day.

More here:
HHs African Freedom Day Message

Now that Robert Copeland has finally resigned as a police commissioner in Wolfeboro, N.H., after referring to President Obama with a vile racial epithet, there seems to be a move afoot in some quarters to portray him as a victim of political correctness and a martyr in the cause of free speech. He is neither, and to think so betrays a thorough misunderstanding of constitutional rights.

Copelands remark, which contained a racial slur preceded by an obscenity, was overheard in a restaurant in March by a resident. She brought it to the attention of the town manager and the other two members of the police commission, an elected body that hires, fires and disciplines police officers and sets their salaries. When confronted about it, Copeland, 82, was hardly apologetic, writing in response that, I believe I did use the N word in reference to the current occupant of the Whitehouse. For this, I do not apologize he meets and exceeds my criteria for such.

Earlier this month, about 100 residents attended a public meeting that was held to discuss the issue. Given that Wolfeboro, a wealthy resort town of 6,300 residents, has no mechanism for removing public officials between elections, many of those who attended were there to urge him to resign. Eventually he did, much to the relief of other town officials, who feared that his widely reported remark might lead to a boycott by potential visitors this summer.

Both at the meeting and subsequently, defenders of Copeland have suggested that the public outcry that greeted his remark was an example of the thought police stifling his free speech rights. Actually, the whole affair was a vindication of free speech.

The First Amendment provides that Congress shall make no law abridging the freedom of speech or of the press. That is, government may not interfere with freedom of expression. It does not guarantee, however, that free speech will be free of the consequences it may incur in the marketplace of ideas.

In this instance, Copeland exercised his right to speak his mind if, in fact, he still has one and defended vigorously his right to do so. That did not mean that those who learned of his views were obliged to treat them with tolerance or refrain from exercising their own speech rights. Constituents of an elected official are under no obligation to remain silent when that official expresses views, even privately, that they find repugnant. In fact, many residents of Wolfeboro may have felt that their silence could have been interpreted as an endorsement of, or at least acquiescence in, Copelands slur.

So they were perfectly free to call on him to resign, and people living farther away certainly had a right to express themselves by threatening a tourist boycott. Just because a person has a right to say something doesnt mean that he has a right not to be contradicted, or to be immune from public condemnation.

The faith of the nations founders was that so long as government was barred from prohibiting speech it deemed dangerous or offensive, unsound views would be exposed as such in the welter of public debate, and wiser counsel would prevail. Thats what happened in this case.

More:
Editorial: Free Speech Vs. Free Speech

May 232014

President Obama’s BlackBerry was more difficult to create than you’d think.

NEW YORK (CNNMoney)

“It just really bothered a lot of people — nobody wanted to put anything out there that wasn’t completely secure,” said retired NSA technical director Richard “Dickie” George in an interview with CNNMoney.

George’s role was to review the BlackBerry’s algorithms and write and engineer diagrams for the phone.

In response to Obama’s request, the NSA set up a lab where dozens of experts performed surgery for several months on a high-profile patient: the soon-to-be presidential BlackBerry. The course of treatment was to manipulate the device’s innards to weed out potential threats to secure communication.

In the end, that meant taking most of the fun out of the phone: the president can’t play Angry Birds, for example.

“You try to get rid of any functionality that’s not really required. Every piece of functionality is an opportunity for the adversary,” George says.

According to George, the president simply wanted a phone that enabled him to communicate with his advisers. Though the president was a well known BlackBerry (BBRY) addict at the time, the choice of smartphone model was the NSA’s, not Obama’s, George explained.

What functionality the president’s phone actually possesses is secret — and the NSA won’t even confirm that he can use it to send a text or write an email (but it’s a pretty safe bet it isn’t used for Oval Office selfies).

Related: Let’s talk about text, baby

Read the rest here:

NSA guy who made Obama's BlackBerry

This June 6, 2013, file photo shows the sign outside the National Security Agency campus in Fort Meade, Md. A presidential advisory panel has recommended dozens of changes to the government’s surveillance programs, including stripping the NSA of its ability to store Americans’ telephone records and requiring a court to sign off on the individual searches of phone and Internet data.AP/File

WASHINGTON The House on Thursday passed legislation to end the National Security Agency’s bulk collection of American phone records, the first legislative response to the disclosures by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.

Although the compromise measure was significantly “watered down,” in the words of Democrat Jan Schakowsky of Illinois, it passed by a vote of 303 to 120, with 9 members not voting.

“We must not let the perfect be the enemy of the good,” Schakowsky, an intelligence committee member, said in summing up the feelings of many Republicans and Democrats who voted for the measure but wanted tougher provisions. Dropped from the bill was a requirement for an independent public advocate on the secret intelligence court that oversees the NSA.

The USA Freedom Act would codify a proposal made in January by President Barack Obama, who said he wanted to end the NSA’s practice of collecting the “to and from” records of nearly every American landline telephone call under a program that searched the data for connections to terrorist plots abroad.

The bill instructs the phone companies to hold the records for 18 months–which they already were doing– and lets the NSA search them in terrorism investigations in response to a judicial order. The phone program was revealed last year by Snowden, who used his job as a computer network administrator to remove tens of thousands of secret documents from an NSA facility in Hawaii.

The measure now heads to the Senate. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., the chairwoman of the intelligence committee, has said she is willing to go along with a similar idea.

NSA officials were pleased with the bill because under the existing program, they did not have access to many mobile phone records. Under the new arrangement, they will, officials say.

“I believe this is a workable compromise that protects the core function of a counter terrorism program we know has saved lives around the world,” said Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Mich., the House Intelligence Committee chairman.

Privacy and civil liberties activists denounced the measure, saying it had been “gutted” to win agreement from lawmakers such as Rogers who supported the NSA phone records program.

Here is the original post:

House approves curbs on NSA record-gathering

This June 6, 2013, file photo shows the sign outside the National Security Agency campus in Fort Meade, Md. A presidential advisory panel has recommended dozens of changes to the government’s surveillance programs, including stripping the NSA of its ability to store Americans’ telephone records and requiring a court to sign off on the individual searches of phone and Internet data.AP/File

WASHINGTON The House on Thursday passed legislation to end the National Security Agency’s bulk collection of American phone records, the first legislative response to the disclosures by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.

Although the compromise measure was significantly “watered down,” in the words of Democrat Jan Schakowsky of Illinois, it passed by a vote of 303 to 120, with 9 members not voting.

“We must not let the perfect be the enemy of the good,” Schakowsky, an intelligence committee member, said in summing up the feelings of many Republicans and Democrats who voted for the measure but wanted tougher provisions. Dropped from the bill was a requirement for an independent public advocate on the secret intelligence court that oversees the NSA.

The USA Freedom Act would codify a proposal made in January by President Barack Obama, who said he wanted to end the NSA’s practice of collecting the “to and from” records of nearly every American landline telephone call under a program that searched the data for connections to terrorist plots abroad.

The bill instructs the phone companies to hold the records for 18 months–which they already were doing– and lets the NSA search them in terrorism investigations in response to a judicial order. The phone program was revealed last year by Snowden, who used his job as a computer network administrator to remove tens of thousands of secret documents from an NSA facility in Hawaii.

The measure now heads to the Senate. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., the chairwoman of the intelligence committee, has said she is willing to go along with a similar idea.

NSA officials were pleased with the bill because under the existing program, they did not have access to many mobile phone records. Under the new arrangement, they will, officials say.

“I believe this is a workable compromise that protects the core function of a counter terrorism program we know has saved lives around the world,” said Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Mich., the House Intelligence Committee chairman.

Privacy and civil liberties activists denounced the measure, saying it had been “gutted” to win agreement from lawmakers such as Rogers who supported the NSA phone records program.

Originally posted here:

House approves bill curbing NSA phone data collection

The Madison-based Freedom From Religion Foundation is sponsoring a commercial featuring Ron Reagan on Comedy Central Thursday night, where he concludes with: “Ron Reagan. Lifelong atheist. Not afraid of burning in hell.”

The son of President Ronald Reagan has long been an outspoken atheist and is an honorary officer of FFRF.

The ad will air during The Daily Show, which begins at 10 p.m., and again during the Colbert Report, which airs at 10:30 p.m. It will also appear during the reruns two hours later, for a total of four showings.

Annie Laurie Gaylor, co-president of FFRF, said that Reagan “had done an ad for us for Air America Radio when that was on. I had in mind we could recreate this as a visual for several years and we finally made it happen.”

You can watch the ad here.

While airing the ads during two of Comedy Central’s most popular shows was quite costly compared to other times, Gaylor said the audience is the right fit for the message.

“Both shows are highly irreverent, and yet are considered news sources for young people, so it was the right national audience,” she said. “It’s kind of a splashy way to debut the ad, and then we’ll air it during cheaper times.”

Here’s the entire text of the 30-second spot: “Hi, Im Ron Reagan, an unabashed atheist, and Im alarmed by the intrusions of religion into our secular government. Thats why Im asking you to support the Freedom From Religion Foundation, the nations largest and most effective association of atheists and agnostics, working to keep state and church separate, just like our Founding Fathers intended. Please support the Freedom From Religion Foundation. Ron Reagan. Lifelong atheist. Not afraid of burning in hell.”

Gaylor and her husband, Dan Barker, who is also co-president of FFRF, are in Canada for a conference.

“The irony of this whole thing is they don’t get Comedy Central in Canada,” she said.

Go here to read the rest:
Freedom From Religion ad by Ron Reagan airs on Comedy Central



Romania: America needs NATO because of Russian aggression – Biden
VideoID: 20140520-023 SOT Joe Biden, Vice President of the United States (English): “So I'm here to say on behalf of the President, what I hope you already know: you can count on us. Period….

By: RuptlyTV

Excerpt from:

Romania: America needs NATO because of Russian aggression – Biden – Video



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