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Libertarian Party of Florida

 Libertarian  Comments Off on Libertarian Party of Florida
Jun 212016
 

The Libertarian Party of Florida (LPF) is the third largest political party in the nation, and is the only true alternative to the Republican/Democrat stranglehold on our economic freedom and individual liberty.

The LPF recognizes that you own your life, and that you are free to pursue happiness in your own way, with extremely limited interference from government. The Libertarian Party of Florida promotes and defends the following principles:

We are building the structure to ensure historic electoral victories in 2016 and beyond. We have the right legislative plan to ensure that government is beholden to the We the People. And we have the right platform to repair the economy and restore our freedoms. We have the candidates on the local, county and state level who will actually uphold and defend the Constitutionnot just talk about it during campaign season.

The LPF has new leadership, a bold vision, and a renewed determination to achieve these goals. All we need now is you!

Become a part of the Libertarian revolution. Join the Libertarian Party of Florida today. Support your local Libertarian candidates. Invest you time to our noble and worthy cause. Donate as much money as you can so that we have the resources to defeat the political ruling class.

With your help, we can ensure our children inherit a State, and a Nation, that would make our Founding Fathers proud.

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Libertarian Party of Florida

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Conservative vs Liberal – Difference and Comparison | Diffen

 Liberal  Comments Off on Conservative vs Liberal – Difference and Comparison | Diffen
Jun 212016
 

Social Issues

In terms of views on social issues, conservatives oppose gay marriage, abortion and embryonic stem cell research. Liberals on the other hand, are more left-leaning and generally supportive of the right of gay people to get married and women’s right to choose to have an abortion, as ruled by the U.S. Supreme Court in Roe v Wade.

With regard to the right to bear arms, conservatives support this right as it applies to all US citizens, whereas liberals oppose civilian gun ownership – or at the very least, demand that restrictions be places such as background checks on people who want to buy guns, requiring guns to be registered etc.

The different schools of economic thought found among conservatives and liberals are closely related to America’s anti-federalist and federalist history, with conservatives desiring little to no government intervention in economic affairs and liberals desiring greater regulation.

Economic conservatives believe that the private sector can provide most services more efficiently than the government can. They also believe that government regulation is bad for businesses, usually has unintended consequences, and should be minimal. With many conservatives believing in “trickle-down” economics, they favor a small government that collects fewer taxes and spends less.

In contrast, liberals believe many citizens rely on government services for healthcare, unemployment insurance, health and safety regulations, and so on. As such, liberals often favor a larger government that taxes more and spends more to provide services to its citizens.

See Also: Comparing Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump’s Tax Plans

Some good examples of this policy split are the Environmental Protection Agency, which liberals think is vital and some conservatives want to abolish or scale down, and the Medicare and Medicaid programs, which liberals want to expand and conservatives believe should be partially or completely privatized through a voucher system connected to private health insurers.

In the early part of the twentieth century, liberals – especially those in Britain – were those who stood for laissez fair capitalism. In more recent times, however, the nomenclature seems to have reversed. The exception to this is found in Australia, where the mainstream conservative party is called the Liberal Party and the mainstream non-conservative party is called the Labour Party.

Political liberals believe that parties motivated by self-interest are willing to behave in ways that are harmful to society unless government is prepared- and empowered to constrain them. They believe regulation is necessitated when individuals-, corporations-, and industries demonstrate a willingness to pursue financial gain at an intolerable cost to society–and grow too powerful to be constrained by other social institutions. Liberals believe in systematic protections against hazardous workplaces, unsafe consumer products, and environmental pollution. They remain wary of the corruption- and historic abuses–particularly the oppression of political minorities–that have taken place in the absence of oversight for state- and local authorities. Liberals value educators and put their trust in science. They believe the public welfare is promoted by cultivating a widely-tolerant and -permissive society.

Political conservatives believe commercial regulation does more harm than good–unnecessarily usurping political freedoms, potentially stifling transformative innovations, and typically leading to further regulatory interference. They endorse the contraction of governmental involvement in non-commercial aspects of society as well, calling upon the private sector to assume their activities. Conservatives call for the devolution of powers to the states, and believe locally-tailored solutions are more appropriate to local circumstances. They promulgate individual responsibility, and believe a strong society is made up of citizens who can stand on their own. Conservatives value the armed forces and place their emphasis on faith. Conservatives believe in the importance of stability, and promote law and order to protect the status quo.

Liberals believe in universal access to health care–they believe personal health should be in no way dependent upon one’s financial resources, and support government intervention to sever that link. Political conservatives prefer no government sponsorship of health care; they prefer all industries to be private, favour deregulation of commerce, and advocate a reduced role for government in all aspects of society–they believe government should be in no way involved in one’s healthcare purchasing decisions.

Jonathan Haidt, a University of Virginia psychology professor, has examined the values of liberals and conservatives through paired moral attributes: harm/care, fairnesss/reciprocity, ingroup/loyalty, authority/respect, purity/sanctity. He outlines the psychological differences in the following TED talk:

Haidt has also written a book, The Righteous Mind, based on his studies conducted over several years on liberal and conservative subjects. Nicholas Kristof, an avowed liberal, offered an unbiased review of the book and cited some interesting findings such as:

Liberals should not be confused with libertarians. Libertarians believe that the role of the government should be extremely limited, especially in the economic sphere. They believe that governments are prone to corruption and inefficiencies and that the private sector in a free market can achieve better outcomes than government bureaucracies, because they make better decisions on resource allocation. Liberals, on the other hand, favor more government involvement because they believe there are several areas where the private sector — especially if left unregulated — needs checks and balances to ensure consumer protection.

The primary focus of libertarians is the maximization of liberty for all citizens, regardless of race, class, or socio-economic position.

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Conservative vs Liberal – Difference and Comparison | Diffen

Ascension of Jesus – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

 Ascension  Comments Off on Ascension of Jesus – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jun 192016
 

The Ascension of Jesus (anglicized from the Vulgate Latin Acts 1:9-11 section title: Ascensio Iesu) is the Christian teaching found in the New Testament that the resurrected Jesus was taken up to Heaven in his resurrected body, in the presence of eleven of his apostles, occurring 40 days after the resurrection. In the biblical narrative, an angel tells the watching disciples that Jesus’ second coming will take place in the same manner as his ascension.[1]

The canonical gospels include two brief descriptions of the ascension of Jesus in Luke 24:50-53 and Mark 16:19. A more detailed account of Jesus’ bodily Ascension into the clouds is then given in the Acts of the Apostles (1:9-11).

The ascension of Jesus is professed in the Nicene Creed and in the Apostles’ Creed. The ascension implies Jesus’ humanity being taken into Heaven.[2] The Feast of the Ascension, celebrated on the 40th day of Easter (always a Thursday), is one of the chief feasts of the Christian year.[2] The feast dates back at least to the later 4th century, as is widely attested.[2] The ascension is one of the five major milestones in the gospel narrative of the life of Jesus, the others being baptism, transfiguration, crucifixion, and resurrection.[3][4]

By the 6th century the iconography of the ascension in Christian art had been established and by the 9th century ascension scenes were being depicted on domes of churches.[5][6] Many ascension scenes have two parts, an upper (Heavenly) part and a lower (earthly) part.[7] The ascending Jesus is often shown blessing with his right hand directed towards the earthly group below him and signifying that he is blessing the entire Church.[8]

The canonical gospels include two somewhat brief descriptions of the Ascension of Jesus in Luke 24:50-53 and Mark 16:19.[9][10][11]

In the Gospel of Mark 16:14, after the resurrection, Jesus “was manifested unto the eleven themselves as they sat at meat; …”. At the meal, Jesus said to them, “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to the whole creation.” (Mark 16:15) Following this the Ascension is described in Mark 16:19 as follows:[9]

However, based on strong textual and literary evidences, biblical scholars no longer accept Mark 16:9-20 as original to the book.[12] Rather, this section appears to have been compiled based on other gospel accounts and appended at a much later time. As such, the writer of Luke-Acts is the only original author in the New Testament to have referred to the ascension of Jesus.

In Luke, Jesus leads the eleven disciples to Bethany, not far from Jerusalem. Luke 24:50-52 describes the Ascension as follows:[9][10]

The blessing is often interpreted as a priestly act in which Jesus leaves his disciples in the care of God the Father.[10] The return to Jerusalem after the Ascension ends the Gospel of Luke where it began: Jerusalem.[11]

The narrative of the Acts of the Apostles begins with the account of Jesus’ appearances after his resurrection and his Ascension forty days thereafter in Acts 1:9-11.[10][11] Acts 1:9-12 specifies the location of the Ascension as the “mount called Olivet” near Jerusalem.

Acts 1:3 states that Jesus:

After giving a number of instructions to the apostles Acts 1:9 describes the Ascension as follows:

Following this two men clothed in white appear and tell the apostles that Jesus will return in the same manner as he was taken, and the apostles return to Jerusalem.[11]

A number of statements in the New Testament may be interpreted as references to the Ascension.[13]

Acts 1:9-12 states that the Ascension took place on Mount Olivet (the “Mount of Olives”, on which the village of Bethany sits). After the Ascension the apostles are described as returning to Jerusalem from the mount that is called Olivet, which is near Jerusalem, within a Sabbath day’s journey. Tradition has consecrated this site as the Mount of Ascension. The Gospel of Luke states that the event took place ‘in the vicinity of Bethany’ and the Gospel of Mark specifies no location.

Before the conversion of Constantine in 312 AD, early Christians honored the Ascension of Christ in a cave on the Mount of Olives. By 384, the place of the Ascension was venerated on the present open site, uphill from the cave.[16]

The Chapel of the Ascension in Jerusalem today is a Christian and Muslim holy site now believed to mark the place where Jesus ascended into heaven. In the small round church/mosque is a stone imprinted with what some claim to be the very footprints of Jesus.[16]

Around the year 390 a wealthy Roman woman named Poimenia financed construction of the original church called “Eleona Basilica” (elaion in Greek means “olive garden”, from elaia “olive tree,” and has an oft-mentioned similarity to eleos meaning “mercy”). This church was destroyed by Sassanid Persians in 614. It was subsequently rebuilt, destroyed, and rebuilt again by the Crusaders. This final church was later also destroyed by Muslims, leaving only a 12×12 meter octagonal structure (called a martyrium”memorial”or “Edicule”) that remains to this day.[17] The site was ultimately acquired by two emissaries of Saladin in the year 1198 and has remained in the possession of the Islamic Waqf of Jerusalem ever since. The Russian Orthodox Church also maintains a Convent of the Ascension on the top of the Mount of Olives.

The Ascension of Jesus is professed in the Nicene Creed and in the Apostles’ Creed. The Ascension implies Jesus’ humanity being taken into Heaven.[2]

The Catechism of the Catholic Church (Item 668) states:[18]

Referring to Mark 16:19 (“So then the Lord Jesus, after he had spoken unto them, was received up into heaven, and sat down at the right hand of God.”) Pope John Paul II stated that Scripture positions the significance of the Ascension in two statements: “Jesus gave instructions, and then Jesus took his place.[19]

John Paul II also separately emphasized that Jesus had foretold of his Ascension several times in the Gospels, e.g. John 16:10 at the Last Supper: “I go to the Father, and you will see me no more” and John 20:17 after his resurrection he tells Mary Magdalene: “I have not yet ascended to the Father; go to my brethren and say to them, I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God”.[20]

In Orthodox, Oriental non-Chalcedonian, and Assyrian theology, the Ascension of Christ is interpreted as the culmination of the Mystery of the Incarnation, in that it not only marked the completion of Jesus’ physical presence among his apostles, but consummated the union of God and man when Jesus ascended in his glorified human body to sit at the right hand of God the Father. The Ascension and the Transfiguration both figure prominently in the Orthodox Christian doctrine of theosis. In the Chalcedonian Churches, the bodily Ascension into heaven is also understood as the final earthly token of Christ’s two natures: divine and human.[21]

The Westminster Confession of Faith (part of the Reformed tradition in Calvinism and influential in the Presbyterian church), in Article four of Chapter eight, states: “On the third day He arose from the dead, with the same body in which He suffered, with which also he ascended into heaven, and there sits at the right hand of His Father, making intercession, and shall return, to judge men and angels, at the end of the world.”[22]

The Second Helvetic Confession addresses the purpose and character of Christ’s ascension in Chapter 11:[23]

New Testament scholar Rudolph Bultmann writes, “The cosmology of the N.T. is essentially mythical in character. The world is viewed as a three-storied structure, with the Earth in the center, the heaven above, and the underworld beneath. Heaven is the abode of God and of celestial beingsangels… No one who is old enough to think for himself supposes that God lives in a local heaven.”[24]

The Jesus Seminar considers the New Testament accounts of Jesus’ ascension as inventions of the Christian community in the Apostolic Age.[25] They describe the Ascension as a convenient device to discredit ongoing appearance claims within the Christian community.[25]

The Feast of the Ascension is one of the great feasts in the Christian liturgical calendar, and commemorates the bodily Ascension of Jesus into Heaven. Ascension Day is traditionally celebrated on a Thursday, the fortieth day from Easter day. However, some Roman Catholic provinces have moved the observance to the following Sunday. The feast is one of the ecumenical feasts (i.e., universally celebrated), ranking with the feasts of the Passion, of Easter, and Pentecost.

The Ascension has been a frequent subject in Christian art, as well as a theme in theological writings.[6] By the 6th century the iconography of the Ascension had been established and by the 9th century Ascension scenes were being depicted on domes of churches.[5][26] The Rabbula Gospels (c. 586) include some of the earliest images of the Ascension.[26]

Many ascension scenes have two parts, an upper (Heavenly) part and a lower (earthly) part. The ascending Christ may be carrying a resurrection banner or make a sign of benediction with his right hand.[7] The blessing gesture by Christ with his right hand is directed towards the earthly group below him and signifies that he is blessing the entire Church.[8] In the left hand, he may be holding a Gospel or a scroll, signifying teaching and preaching.[8]

The Eastern Orthodox portrayal of the Ascension is a major metaphor for the mystical nature of the Church.[27] In many Eastern icons the Virgin Mary is placed at the center of the scene in the earthly part of the depiction, with her hands raised towards Heaven, often accompanied by various Apostles.[27] The upwards looking depiction of the earthly group matches the Eastern liturgy on the Feast of the Ascension: “Come, let us rise and turn our eyes and thoughts high…”[8]

The 2016 film, Risen, depicts Jesus’ ascension in a more understated tone. The film depicts Jesus giving his final address to his disciples while in front of the Sun as it rises on daybreak, and rather than himself physically ascending, Jesus turns and walks into the glare of the Sun and disappears into its light as the Sun itself ascends into the sky.

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Ascension of Jesus – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Yeah, About That Second Amendment

 Second Amendment  Comments Off on Yeah, About That Second Amendment
Jun 192016
 

Source: Jim Jesus / YouTube.com

The Second Amendment of the United States Constitution reads: “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”

While there have been countless debates, tests and judgments that have defined and re-defined how to interpret this amendment, the current prevailing interpretation and belief in America is that individual gun ownership is a constitutional right. As a result, America has seen a steady and consistent stream of deregulation around gun ownership, even as mass shootings appear to be on the rise. As progressives get increasingly concerned about the gun culture in America, as a tactic, they try to make their case by comparing gun ownership to other safety-related, common-sense laws:

While certainly humorous while making a practical point, this tweet burn completely misses the larger point: people don’t have a constitutional right to buy Sudafed. You simply cannot compare a constitutional right to anything else not on the fundamental rights playing field.

This lack of focus on the constitutional argument is where progressives have lost their way. They have been so focused on the practical utility of public policy that they end up losing the larger fights that define America. Constitutional interpretation lends itself to a more strategic (and philosophical) debate platform than arguing the facts and stats on how laws can and should protect people. Constitutional theory is the debate platform that conservatives have been playing on for decades while progressives get frustrated and lose ground.

The remarkable irony is that the wording and intent within the Second Amendment is actually on progressive’s side. In fact, the Second Amendment is a progressive’s dream: the third word in the amendment is “regulated” for heaven’s sake.

No matter the interpretation of every other word and phrase after the first three words, the entire context of the amendment is that it will be a regulated right. Through this lens, the Second Amendment is barely even comparable to the First Amendment in terms of what rights it enables. There is simply no language in the First Amendment that regulates the right to free speech… and yet we still regulate speech despite the unassailable strength of the the First Amendment constitutional language

The upshot? Even in today’s hardcore gun rights environment and culture, the Constitution itself provides the guidance — and mandate — to not just regulate militia (i.e., groups of people) and arms, but to regulate them well.

How our culture defines “well” can and will certainly evolve over time, but we shouldn’t let gun rights ideologues and arms industry special interests continue to convince the public that they’re the only ones who have the Constitution on their side in this debate.

Yes, current Supreme Court interpretation is that every citizen has the right to bear arms. But it’s also constitutionally mandated that we regulate these armed people (i.e., militia) and their arms well. Seeing as the right to bear arms has been implemented pretty effectively in America, perhaps now it’s time to start implementing regulation well too, as the Constitution also mandates.

Editor’s note: On 6/18, I revised the article to include people (i.e., militia)” as well as arms, because I originally mistakenly linked regulation only to arms, not the people who have the right to own them

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Yeah, About That Second Amendment

Genetic Engineering | Greenpeace International

 Genetic Engineering  Comments Off on Genetic Engineering | Greenpeace International
Jun 172016
 

While scientific progress on molecular biology has a great potential to increase our understanding of nature and provide new medical tools, it should not be used as justification to turn the environment into a giant genetic experiment by commercial interests. The biodiversity and environmental integrity of the world’s food supply is too important to our survival to be put at risk. What’s wrong with genetic engineering (GE)?

Genetic engineering enables scientists to create plants, animals and micro-organisms by manipulating genes in a way that does not occur naturally.

These genetically modified organisms (GMOs) can spread through nature and interbreed with natural organisms, thereby contaminating non ‘GE’ environments and future generations in an unforeseeable and uncontrollable way.

Their release is ‘genetic pollution’ and is a major threat because GMOs cannot be recalled once released into the environment.

Because of commercial interests, the public is being denied the right to know about GE ingredients in the food chain, and therefore losing the right to avoid them despite the presence of labelling laws in certain countries.

Biological diversity must be protected and respected as the global heritage of humankind, and one of our world’s fundamental keys to survival. Governments are attempting to address the threat of GE with international regulations such as the Biosafety Protocol.

April 2010: Farmers, environmentalists and consumers from all over Spain demonstrate in Madrid under the slogan “GMO-free agriculture.” They demand the Government to follow the example of countries like France, Germany or Austria, and ban the cultivation of GM maize in Spain.

GMOs should not be released into the environment since there is not an adequate scientific understanding of their impact on the environment and human health.

We advocate immediate interim measures such as labelling of GE ingredients, and the segregation of genetically engineered crops and seeds from conventional ones.

We also oppose all patents on plants, animals and humans, as well as patents on their genes. Life is not an industrial commodity. When we force life forms and our world’s food supply to conform to human economic models rather than their natural ones, we do so at our own peril.

Here is the original post:

Genetic Engineering | Greenpeace International

 Posted by at 4:55 am  Tagged with:

Liberal Conspiracy

 Liberal  Comments Off on Liberal Conspiracy
Jun 132016
 

by Sunny Hundal

Whether Britain acts against ISIL in Syria isnt about provoking them or if they pose a threat, but whether our actions will be effective and justified. Whatever we decide, we will get attacked by ISIS; its their aim and in their interests. The bigger question is whether we should join our international allies against a terror group that has already declared war on us.

If we have to engage with ISIS sooner or later, then we have to evaluate whether this is the right time and we have the right plan. I said earlier that Cameron hadnt properly made the case, and want to continue evaluating that.

The people who made up their mind ages ago whether for or against are the ones I tend to ignore. Its clear they arent interested in the details and are driven more by ideological than operational reasons.

Yesterday, Cameron set out his case for air-strikes against ISIL (over 36 pages) and then Jeremy Corbyn responded with seven questions. Some of those questions are quite important and I find it odd that some in the shadow cabinet have already made up their mind without see Camerons response.

When Islamic State came to notoriety last year, many commentators including myself made assumptions about its plans.

I wrote for Al-Jazeera that it poses a far greater threat to Muslims than it does to the west and this has remained true. I also said its impact on community relations in Europe and the US could be devastating an obvious prediction that is also turning out to be true, sadly.

But I said something else which now doesnt apply: Its leaders believe fighting apostates is more important than fighting non-Muslims for now. They want to unite the Middle East under their banner before truly turning their sights on the US and Europe. I wasnt alone in this assumption: Obama and his team have not engaged ISIS more forcefully also because of the belief that ISIS did not pose an immediate threat to US interests (see this and this).

But following the attack in Paris its clear that despite Islamic States initial focus on local sectarian wars, its priorities have now changed. The execution of journalist James Foley and aid worker Alan Henning showed it that it gained a lot (attention, supporters and perhaps donations) for going after western targets.

This goes to the heart of why Ive been arguing with Al-Jazeeras Mehdi Hasan over this issue. Mehdi wrote that Russian bombs provoked the ISIS attack, and so do western bombs. The implication is that if we stop bombing ISIS, maybe theyll stop retaliating. Thats two separate arguments there, one about provocation and other about our response.

Keep this in mind: I agree with Mehdi on foreign policy issues far more than I disagree with him. This isnt a debate about whether western foreign policy is counter-productive or not (it can be, frequently). I should also add that I dont think he is excusing or justifying ISIS, as some claim.

My problem is that just as the Right try and divert debate about ISIS to immigration and refugees, many on the Left try and divert it to foreign policy. I think Mehdi et al only see world events through the lens of western foreign policy. All this obscures more important issues that we need to debate about tackling ISIS. (I spend 90% of my time criticising the right for their diversion, so Im allowed to criticise fellow lefties too). And it assumes the world revolves around what we think / do.

As is common these days, I get abused on Twitter by some lefties outraged that Ive not fallen in line with popular opinion on the left.

In my latest column for LabourList I show why the assumption that Jeremy Corbyn will appeal to non-voters or UKIPers with his clear principles or economic populism seem wildly optimistic. Britons who dont vote or opt for UKIP are largely culturally conservative Britons who prefer the Daily Mail and Express over the Mirror, and value policies that the left would not want to sign up to (patriotism, low immigration, cutting welfare). Their biggest gripes are about immigration and welfare benefits, and in favour of reducing them not increasing them.

When you know Corbyn is a bit radical, why the shock when someone points out he may only appeal to other radicals?

Anyway, my point is this: yes, Ive changed my opinions views the election.

I havent changed what I believe in. I still believe in economic and social equality, I believe in an economy that doesnt unfairly reward the already rich and privileged, I believe in the free provision of education and other public goods like health. I believe the railways should be nationalised and that large parts of the banking sector have become a parasite on our economy. I still believe that climate change, sustainability, clean energy and ending waste are among the biggest challenges of our time.

But the British left is broken.

A few weeks before the General Election in May, I found that the National Council of Hindu Temples a registered charity posted a message calling on British Hindus to vote Conservative. It was clearly in violation of the Charity Commission rules, which state that charities cannot be politically aligned, and I complained. The []

The revolution doesnt start a thousand miles away, it starts with you.

It could be a statement put out by ISIS, the group that has encouraged its sympathisers all over the world to take action in defense of the Caliphate. But actually thats the strapline on the front page of National Action, a neo-Nazi group in the UK that is committed to fighting to recapture our country in an increasingly hostile and foreign environment.

Yesterday, Zack Davies was sentenced for the attempted murder of Dr Sarandar Bhambra, a man who was assaulted because he looked Asian according to Davies. His family said after the sentencing:

We are in no doubt, given the racial and political motivations, that this should have been rightly defined as an act of terrorism. By his own admission, the defendant Zack Davies had extreme neo-Nazi views and is a member of a white supremacist organisation.

So why werent the actions of Zack Davies seen as an act of terrorism, when a similar attack by a Muslim man would have been?

Seamus Milne says:

Opposition to all this [austerity] has barely begun. But theres no democratic reason for people to accept it. The Tories were elected by fewer than 37% of voters. Only 24% of those eligible backed the Conservatives and thats not counting the unregistered.

I know some people will not want to hear this but this is a ridiculous argument.

This came to my inbox last night, and I think the findings are worth sharing in full. Important to note, this was commissioned by a centre-right group, not a leftwing group.

Survation, on behalf of Bright Blue the independent think tank & pressure group for liberal conservatism, conducted an in-depth study of ethnic minority voters attitudes to immigration to inform their new report: A balanced centre-right agenda on immigration: Understanding how ethnic minorities think about immigration.

The report has six main findings:

This week I was kindly invited by the Cambridge Universities Labour Club for a talk on where Labour goes from here.

A lot of people made mistakes in predicting outcomes in the 2015 General Election, mostly because the polling was so out of sync with the eventual result. I made predictions based on polling too, and it was embarrassing enough when they turned out to be very wrong.

But I made other assumptions in the last election cycle and its only right to own up to them. Partly, I feel its important for my readers, but partly I think its worth articulating them so I can learn from my mistakes.

Despite losing his seat in Westminster, Jim Murphy is trying to hang on as leader of Scottish Labour. I find this astonishing. Late last year, when he became leader, he said they could hang on to most seats in Scotland. He said he was astonished at how easy its been to outwit the SNP. Yup, []

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Liberal Conspiracy

Hillary Clinton wavers on Second Amendment right to bear arms …

 Second Amendment  Comments Off on Hillary Clinton wavers on Second Amendment right to bear arms …
Jun 052016
 

Hillary Clinton declined to say Sunday whether she believes in a constitutional right to bear arms, possibly opening the door to a fresh round of attacks from Donald Trump, who has already accused the likely Democratic presidential nominee of wanting to “abolish” the Second Amendment.

In an interview on ABC’s “This Week,” Clinton deflected twice when she was asked whether she agrees with the Supreme Court’s interpretation of the Second Amendment. The court ruled in 2008 that the Constitution affords private citizens the right to keep firearms in their homes and that such possession need not be connected to military service.

The wording of the Second Amendment has long made the extent of gun-ownership rights a point of contention.

“A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.”

Questioned by George Stephanopoulos about her view of the amendment, Clinton talked about a “nuanced reading” and emphasized her belief in the rights of local, state and federal governments to regulate gun ownership. Stephanopoulos, formerly a top aide to President Bill Clinton, wasn’t satisfied by the response.

“That’s not what I asked,” he replied.

Clinton then discussed the right to own a gun as a hypothetical. “If it is a constitutional right,” she began her next answer, “then it like every other constitutional right is subject to reasonable regulations.”

Here’s the full exchange:

STEPHANOPOULOS: Let’s talk about the Second Amendment. As you know, Donald Trump has also been out on the stump talking about the Second Amendment and saying you want to abolish the Second Amendment. I know you reject that. But I want to ask you a specific question: Do you believe that an individual’s right to bear arms is a constitutional right that it’s not linked to service in a militia?

CLINTON: I think that for most of our history there was a nuanced reading of the Second Amendment until the decision by the late Justice [Antonin] Scalia. And there was no argument until then that localities and states and the federal government had a right as we do with every amendment to impose reasonable regulations. So I believe we can have common-sense gun-safety measures consistent with the Second Amendment. And, in fact, what I have proposed is supported by 90 percent of the American people and more than 75 percent of responsible gun owners. So that is exactly what I think is constitutionally permissible and, once again, you have Donald Trump just making outright fabrications, accusing me of something that is absolutely untrue. But I’m going to continue to speak out for comprehensive background checks; closing the gun-show loophole; closing the online loophole; closing the so-called Charleston loophole;reversing the bill that Senator[Bernie] Sanders voted for and I voted against, giving immunity from liability to gun makers and sellers. I think all of that can and should be done, and it is, in my view, consistent with the Constitution.

STEPHANOPOULOS: And, and the Heller decision also says there can be some restrictions. But that’s not what I asked. I said, “Do you believe their conclusion that the right to bear arms is a constitutional right?”

CLINTON: If it is a constitutional right, then it like every other constitutional right is subject to reasonable regulations. And what people have done with that decision is to take it as far as they possibly can and reject what has been our history from the very beginning of the republic, where some of the earliest laws that were passed were about firearms. So I think it’s important to recognize that reasonable people can say, as I do, responsible gun owners have a right. I have no objection to that. But the rest of the American public has a right to require certain kinds of regulatory, responsible actions to protect everyone else.

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Hillary Clinton wavers on Second Amendment right to bear arms …

 Posted by at 9:41 pm  Tagged with:

Bitcoin Markets – Bitcoinity.org

 Bitcoin  Comments Off on Bitcoin Markets – Bitcoinity.org
Apr 092016
 

Price of currency / BTC went trend to 0

Message displayed at , your notification has been disabled.

Bars in the background represent volume (that is, how many coins were traded during that time) enumerated in [BTC]. The Value for this is shown on the left axis.

change: high: low:

About these bars going up and down (if there are any at the moment). They show market depth changes over the last 10 minutes. The value axis for them is on the right [BTC]. Bars on the left of the current price are bid offer changes, and on the right ask offer changes. So if somebody is adding a bid offer, you will see a green bar up on the left. About colors: if bids are added they are in green, and when removed they are in red. For asks it’s the opposite. That’s because when somebody is adding an ask, it makes it harder for the price to go up (red). If somebody is removing an ask it’s easier for the price to go up (green). Still confused? Try this

The big number here is the price at which last trade was made.

And here we have the last trades table. On the left: amount of bitcoins traded. On the right: price at which it happened.

If you still have some questions, you can find a link to my contact information on the bottom of this page. I also hang out on freenode under nick comboy.

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Bitcoin Markets – Bitcoinity.org

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Parsing the Second Amendment – CBS News

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Mar 192016
 

Any discussion of the right to bear arms has to take note of the Second Amendment. Here’s Anthony Mason:

At the heart of the debate over guns in America is a single, inscrutable sentence: The Second Amendment of the Bill of Rights, whose wording is unusual.

Simon & Schuster

“The Second Amendment says, ‘A well-regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.’ What does that mean?”

The most-disputed clause in the Constitution is the phrase about militias, which were a great concern when the Bill of Rights was written in 1792.

“At the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia, there was a very big controversy about how to allocate military power,” said Nelson Lund, professor of constitutional law at George Mason University. He says the states feared the new government would try to disarm the 13 state militias, which required every white male over 16 to own a musket.

“The anti-Federalists were very worried that the states would be deprived of their power to resist federal tyranny,” Lund said.

“The militia, sir, is our ultimate safety,” Patrick Henry argued. “We can have no security without it.”

While guns were commonplace then, so were gun regulations. New York and Boston prohibited the firing of guns within city limits.

And in the notes for the Constitutional Convention, Waldman says, “There’s literally not a word about it protecting an individual right for gun ownership for self-protection, hunting, or any of the other things we think about now.”

“There’s one side that believes that this amendment refers specifically and only to militias,” said Mason.

“Well, I know people say that, but it just can’t be true,” replied Lund. “If you look at what the words say, it says ‘The right of the people to keep and bear arms.’ It does not say, ‘The right of the states’ or ‘The right of the militias.’ It says ‘the right of the people.'”

The debate over the Second Amendment came to a head at the Supreme Court in 2008, in a case filed over the Capital’s gun laws, called District of Columbia v. Heller. In a 5-4 vote, the court affirmed an individual’s right to keep and bear arms, striking down D.C.’s ban on handguns in the home.

‘The inherent right of self-defense,” Justice Antonin Scalia wrote in the majority opinion, “has been central to the Second Amendment right.”

But, Scalia added, “The right … is not unlimited,” also leaving room for gun regulation.

Lund said, “It is absolutely a continuing grey area.”

Another grey area is how the court might rule on future Second Amendment issues after the sudden death of Justice Scalia in February.

“So, you know, a lot depends on who replaces Justice Scalia,” said Lund.

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The Rutherford Institute :: Free Speech

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Feb 212016
 

Defending this fundamental right of free expression is a central theme of The Rutherford Institutes work because we believe that all other liberties spring forth from this right.

The First Amendment guarantees all Americans the opportunity to freely express themselves. This fundamental freedom includes the right to distribute literature and discuss a multitude of viewseven views distasteful to most people. It also protects the right of the people to engage in lawful picketing and the right to peaceably assemble. It is critical that a free society value and honor a free marketplace of ideas, a diversity of opinion, and free expression. Without free expression, no democratic society would be possible.

It is for these reasons that The Rutherford Institute is dedicated to preserving these fundamental rights for all Americans. The Institute responds to hundreds of complaints of free speech violations each year. From environmental activists peaceably protesting on public property to preachers relaying their message in a public forum, The Rutherford Institute believes that all people, regardless of their personal beliefs, are entitled to speak freely.

Free Speech Double Standard: Rutherford Institute Asks U.S. Supreme Court to Declare Unconstitutional Its Own Ban on Expressive Activity on Plaza

First Amendment Victory: Appeals Court Rejects Government Attempt to Deny Trademarks for Names That Might Cause Offense, e.g., ‘The Slants’

Rutherford Responds: City Officials, Police Ask Federal Court to Dismiss First Amendment Lawsuit Over Violation of Street Preachers Free Speech Rights

‘Government Cannot Discriminate Against Offensive Speech’: Rutherford Institute Argues for First Amendment Protection for Redskins’ Name

Federal Appeals Court Refuses to Reconsider Decision Upholding 60-Year-Old Ban on Expressive Activity on U.S. Supreme Court Plaza

The Rutherford Institutes petition for review in Clary v. Virginia DMV

Rutherford Institute Challenges Virginia Over Its Cancellation, Revocation and Recall of License Plates Displaying the Confederate Flag

The Right to Tell the Government to Go to Hell: Free Speech in an Age of Government Bullies, Corporate Censors and Compliant Citizens

Fear of the Walking Dead: The American Police State Takes Aim

Sheep Led to the Slaughter: The Muzzling of Free Speech in America

The Emergence of Orwellian Newspeak and the Death of Free Speech

Free Speech, Facebook and the NSA: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

An Unbearable and Choking Hell: The Loss of Our Freedoms in the Wake of 9/11

Free Speech, RIP: A Relic of the American Past

Voter ID Laws: Silencing the American People

Criminalizing Free Speech: Is This What Democracy Looks Like?

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The Rutherford Institute :: Free Speech

Libertarianism – TheFreeDictionary.com

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Jan 242016
 

A political philosophy that advocates free will, individual rights, and voluntary cooperation.

The core doctrine of libertarianism begins with the recognition that people have certain natural rights and that deprivation of these rights is immoral. Among these natural rights are the right to personal autonomy and property rights, and the right to the utilization of previously unused resources. These two basic assumptions form the foundation of all libertarian ideals.

Libertarianism can be traced back to ancient China, where philosopher Lao-tzu advocated the recognition of individual liberties. The modern libertarian theory emerged in the sixteenth century through the writings of Etienne de La Boetie (15301563), an eminent French theorist. In the seventeenth century, John Locke and a group of British reformers known as the Levellers fashioned the classical basis for libertarianism with well-received philosophies on human nature and economics. Since the days of Locke, libertarianism has attracted pacifists, utopianists, utilitarianists, anarchists, and fascists. This wide array of support demonstrates the accessibility and elasticity of the libertarian promotion of natural rights.

Essential to the notion of natural rights is respect for the natural rights of others. Without a dignified population, voluntary cooperation is impossible. According to the libertarian, the means to achieving a dignified population and voluntary cooperation is inextricably tied to the promotion of natural rights.

Libertarianism holds that people lose their dignity as government gains control of their body and their life. The Abdication of natural rights to government prevents people from living in their own way and working and producing at their own pace. The result is a decrease in self-reliance and independence, which results in a decrease in personal dignity, which in turn depresses society and necessitates more government interference.

Thus, the libertarian views government as both the cause and the effect of societal ills. Government is the cause of crime and prejudice because it robs people of their independence and frustrates initiative and creativity. Then, having created the sources of crime and prejudice by depriving individuals of their natural rights, government attempts to exorcise the evils with more controls over natural rights.

Libertarians believe that government should be limited to the defense of its citizens. Actions such as murder, rape, Robbery, theft, Embezzlement, Fraud, Arson, Kidnapping, Battery, Trespass, and Pollution violate the rights of others, so government control of these actions is legitimate. Libertarians acknowledge human imperfection and the resulting need for some government deterrence and punishment of violence, Nuisance, and harassment. However, government control of human activity should be limited to these functions.

Boaz, David. 1997. Libertarianism: A Primer. New York: Free Press.

Otsuka, Michael. 2003. Libertarianism Without Inequality. New York: Oxford Univ. Press.

Anarchism; Independent Parties; Natural Law; Utilitarianism.

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Libertarianism – TheFreeDictionary.com

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Michigan SEO Company | Search Engine Optimization Consultants …

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Jan 192016
 

For nearly ten years as anindustry leader forMichigan SEO, Web Traffic Partners hasfocused on generating more customers for our clients. Our philosophy has remained simple: deliveroutstanding results supported by exceptional customer service.

Based in Grand Rapids and serving all ofMichigan,Web Traffic Partnersoffers effectiveSEOand uniqueInternet Marketing Strategiesthroughout Michigan- successfully generating new customers for businesses in thelegal, medical, constructionandprofessional serviceindustries. Using provenSEOmarketing strategiessupported by amazingweb designand powerful branding, we create a customized online strategy for your company that will work around-the-clock to generate new business opportunities.

If yourMichiganSEO companykeeps taking your money without getting you results, then it is time for a change. OurMichigan SEO Firmtakes a huge interest in the success of your website and business. Unfortunately, when most businesses attempt to develop a website they ignore most of the key components toSEO.

We can help potential customers find you easily and be impressed with what they find on your website. Proven results that you can see! Get a freeMichigan SEO quote here!

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SEO Doesn’t Cost It Pays!

Businesses that have embraced social media continue to reap rewards, while strengthening customer loyalty and reaching the right customers at just the right time. More

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Free Speech – Shmoop

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Oct 262015
 

In a Nutshell

The courts have been largely responsible for protecting and extending this right of speech. Over the past two centuries they have explored the protection owed all sorts of expression, including sedition, “fighting words,” “dangerous” speech, and obscenity, and all sorts of persons, including political radicals, Ku Klux Klansmen, and even students. But in doing so, the courts have also operated under the premise that a portion of the British legacy was correct: the right to speech is not absolute. As a result, the legal history of the First Amendment could be summarized as a balancing actan attempt to protect and extend free speech guarantees but also define the limits of this right in a manner consistent with the equally compelling rights of the community.

Freedom of speech would be easy if words did not have power. Guaranteeing people the right to say and print whatever they wanted would be easy if we believed that words had no real effect.

But Americans tend to believe that words do have powerthat they can anger and inspire, cause people to rise up and act out. Americans celebrate speakers like James Otis, Abraham Lincoln, and Martin Luther King, Jr., whose words inspired people to fight for independence, advance the American experiment in republican government, and dream of a more just society.

Freedom of speech would be easy if all people could be trusted to be rational discerners of truthif everyone could be trusted to sort out good ideas from bad ideas and recognize the ideologies and policies that were truly aimed at the best interests of the community.

But history has proven that people do not always recognize and reject bad ideas. The past is filled with examples of peoples and nations swayed by destructive ideas.

Freedom of speech would be easy if we just said that the right was absolute, that there were no limitations on what a person could say or print and no legal consequences for any expression no matter how false, slanderous, libelous, or obscene.

But as a nation, we have always held that there are limits to the right of speech, that certain forms of expression are not protected by the First Amendment.

The bottom line: freedom of speech is not easy. Words are powerful, which means that they can be dangerous. Humans are fallible, which means that they can make bad choices. And the right of speech is not absolute, which means that the boundaries of protected speech have to be constantly assessed.

All of these facts complicate America’s commitment to free speech, but they also make this commitment courageous. In addition, they leave the legal system with a difficult challenge. On the one hand, the courts are entrusted with protecting this right to free expression, which is so central to our national experience. On the other hand, they are charged with identifying the often blurry edges of this freedom.

Read on, and see if the courts have appropriately met both of these responsibilities.

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Free Speech – Shmoop

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Censorship and Free Speech | Amnesty International USA

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Oct 262015
 

“Free speech” isn’t so free when it costs you your liberty. In countries around the world, the right to express one’s thoughts and beliefs is under assault.

Throughout the world individuals face harassment and imprisonment as a result of exercising their right to freedom of expression.

Everyone has the right to seek, receive and impart information and ideas without fear or interference.

This right is important for the personal development and dignity of every individual and is vital for the fulfillment of other human rights.

Freedom of expression has always been a core part of Amnesty International’s work and is closely linked to the right to hold opinions and the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion.

Amnesty International has campaigned on behalf of thousands of prisoners of conscience people who are imprisoned because of their political, religious or other conscientiously held beliefs, ethnic origin, sex, color, language, national or social origin, economic status, birth, sexual orientation or other status.

Amnesty International calls for the immediate and unconditional release of all prisoners of conscience

Human rights defenders are individuals, groups of people or organizations who promote and protect human rights through peaceful and non-violent means. Their actions depend on, and fuel, freedom of expression.

Because of their activities, human rights defenders can become a target of abuse. Governments, security forces, business interests, armed groups, religious leaders and sometimes even their own families and communities can try and silence their dissenting opinions or actions.

The internet has opened up new possibilities for individuals and groups to seek and impart information and ideas. Yet, the internet is also a new frontier where freedom of expression is being challenged.

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Censorship and Free Speech | Amnesty International USA

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SEOLOGIST – SEO Company Toronto – Content Marketing Canada …

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Sep 232015
 

Innovative techniques to keep your rankings on the first page

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Proper research is a fundamental part of digital marketing and we can help you target the right people at the right time.

Working with influencers in your industry we create powerful content that gets you seen.

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We look at your website traffic and let you know the best performing keywords to increase conversions.

Give us a try for your internet marketing needs in Toronto!

Our approach is simple: we are thorough in what we do, and pay attention to every little detail, including keyword traffic quantity and quality, and your Alexa ranking, and perform an in-depth competitor analysis. Our approach leaves no stone unturned to ensure you increase search rankings, create a better user experience and get more conversions; we only execute when all of our most stringent quality requirements are met. Thats why all that we do is in perfect compliance with what Google wants, never against it.

Todays search engine optimization is all about self-education and staying ahead of the permanently changing SEO curve. Our SEO specialists are constantly sharing information and knowledge on a daily basis to provide you with the best service possible. Sharing best practices, the latest analytical tools, R & D reports, industry news and market insights, our in-house and local professionals know the industry inside and out.

At Seologist we have over 15 years of experience in promoting websites to the top of search results for the most competitive keywords in the toughest industries. We have served over 100 different industries in B2B and B2C SEO markets, which means we already know a winning formula in your industry that works.

We provide custom solutions for our clients. See for yourself:

Our five-step SEO process to effective search engine optimization includes the following:

Before a customized SEO strategy can be devised, your companys current standings need to be reviewed. An in-depth needs assessment includes a look at what sort of search engine saturation there is for your industry, the age of your domain name, what type of reputation your domain has, and next steps. By learning more about your business, website and competitors we can gain a better understanding of your current and future needs.

Our strategy development involves a competitive and keyword analysis, looking at where your site ranks on searches in comparison to competitors, what tactics they are employing, where their approach creates opportunities for you, and where and how you can expect challenges from them. It is only after we have looked at your competitors can we determine the best possible keywords; popular search terms need to be identified for your specific site, as do relevant, low competition keywords. This balance ensures effectiveness and affordability.

A landing page is where a visitor first arrives on your website, and in most cases, where conversions occur. If one of the goals of your site is to generate more leads, a cohesive on-page strategy is essential. Depending on your particulars, a strategy might include a micro-site that has been optimized for a list of niche keywords, or include some effectively placed calls-to-action to boost visitors attention. Your details will define the solution.

Search engines give websites higher long-term rankings when their content is regularly updated. The easiest way to achieve this is to diligently update your website with fresh and engaging content, and then choose reputable websites to distribute it. In addition, acquiring social signals as an SEO ranking factor is an important part of increasing brand awareness, authority and exposure, and can be improved with great content.

The ultimate goal of analytics and refinement is to increase sales and reduce costs (i.e. add value). Analytics are one of the most important things your organization can do, as it transforms data and information into insights it allows you to tweak and improve the quality of content on your site, location of call-to-action, landing pages and other components, to improve conversion rates and generate leads.

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Second Amendment Foundation

 Second Amendment  Comments Off on Second Amendment Foundation
Sep 132015
 

By SAF Admin on September 11, 2015

BELLEVUE, WA Responding to statements made by Seattle City Attorney Pete Holmes Thursday to KING 5 News that the so-called gun violence tax is not too drastic, Alan Gottlieb, founder of the Second Amendment Foundation which is (read more)

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By SAF Admin on August 24, 2015

BELLEVUE, WA The nations three leading firearms organizations joined forces today to sue the City of Seattle over adoption of a retail sales tax on guns and ammunition in what they allege is a clear violation of Washington States (read more)

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By SAF Admin on August 21, 2015

BELLEVUE, WA Attorneys for the Second Amendment Foundation and Florida Carry have asked a circuit court judge to assess fines of $5,000 against city officials in Tallahassee for failing to repeal local gun control ordinances that conflict with (read more)

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By SAF Admin on August 13, 2015

BELLEVUE, WA The Second Amendment Foundation (SAF) and Calguns Foundation (CGF) today filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California on behalf of a Santa Clara County resident, challenging the city, its police (read more)

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By SAF Admin on July 23, 2015

BELLEVUE, WA This weeks announcement by the Obama administration that new citizens can recite the Oath of Allegiance without declaring they will bear arms on behalf of the United States is another subtle swipe at the right to keep and bear (read more)

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By SAF Admin on July 20, 2015

BELLEVUE, WA The Second Amendment Foundation today responded to published reports that the Obama administration is pushing to prevent citizens collecting Social Security benefits from owning guns if they have problems managing their own affairs (read more)

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By SAF Admin on July 9, 2015

BELLEVUE, WA Criminal charges have been dropped against a Nebraska man whose expensive firearms collection was seized in a case involving a misdemeanor conviction some years ago for carrying a knife that was an eighth-inch too long, and the (read more)

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By SAF Admin on July 7, 2015

BELLEVUE, WA The Second Amendment Foundation has named Andrew Gottlieb as its new director of Outreach and Development, representing the second generation of family activism in promoting and defending the right to keep and bear arms.

Gottlieb (read more)

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By SAF Admin on June 24, 2015

BELLEVUE, WA The Second Amendment Foundation is encouraged that a federal appeals court has ruled 2-1 that Stephen Dearths challenge of a federal law that prevents citizens living abroad from buying firearms while visiting in the United States (read more)

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By SAF Admin on June 23, 2015

BELLEVUE, WA The auction of an 1849 Colt Baby Dragoon revolver that once belonged to the late James Brady will help the Second Amendment Foundation battle restrictive gun laws and educate the public about the right to keep and bear arms.

A (read more)

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Second Amendment Foundation

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First Amendment of our countrys Bill of Rights

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Sep 102015
 

Freedom of Speech and of the Press: The First Amendment allows citizens to express and to be exposed to a wide range of opinions and views. It was intended to ensure a free exchange of ideas even if the ideas are unpopular.

Freedom of speech encompasses not only the spoken and written word, but also all kinds of expression (including non-verbal communications, such as sit-ins, art, photographs, films and advertisements). Under its provisions, the media including television, radio and the Internet is free to distribute a wide range of news, facts, opinions and pictures. The amendment protects not only the speaker, but also the person who receives the information. The right to read, hear, see and obtain different points of view is a First Amendment right as well.

But the right to free speech is not absolute. The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that the government sometimes may be allowed to limit speech. For example, the government may limit or ban libel (the communication of false statements about a person that may injure his or her reputation), obscenity, fighting words, and words that present a clear and present danger of inciting violence. The government also may regulate speech by limiting the time, place or manner in which it is made. For example the government may require activists to obtain a permit before holding a large protest rally on a public street. Freedom of Assembly and Right to Petition the Government: The First Amendment also protects the freedom of assembly, which can mean physically gathering with a group of people to picket or protest; or associating with one another in groups for economic, political or religious purposes.

The First Amendment also protects the right not to associate, which means that the government cannot force people to join a group they do not wish to join. A related right is the right to petition the government, including everything from signing a petition to filing a lawsuit.

Freedom of Religion: The First Amendment’s free exercise clause allows a person to hold whatever religious beliefs he or she wants, and to exercise that belief by attending religious services, praying in public or in private, proselytizing or wearing religious clothing, such as yarmulkes or headscarves. Also included in the free exercise clause is the right not to believe in any religion, and the right not to participate in religious activities.

Second, the establishment clause prevents the government from creating a church, endorsing religion in general, or favoring one set of religious beliefs over another. As the U.S. Supreme Court decided in 1947 in Everson v. Board of Education of Ewing Township, the establishment clause was intended to erect “a wall of separation between church and state,” although the degree to which government should accommodate religion in public life has been debated in numerous Supreme Court decisions since then.

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First Amendment of our countrys Bill of Rights

First Amendment – Kids | Laws.com

 Misc  Comments Off on First Amendment – Kids | Laws.com
Sep 102015
 

A Guide to the First Amendment

The First Amendment, sometimes called Amendment 1, is the first amendment to the United States Constitution and is also one out of ten amendments in the Bill of Rights. The First Amendment makes it illegal to make a law that establishes a religion, stops the freedom of speech, stops people from practicing their religion, stops the press from printing what they want, and stops people from exercising their right to assemble peacefully or demonstrating against the government.

Text of the First Amendment

The text of the First Amendment of the United States Constitution is the following:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

What Does the First Amendment Mean?

There are many key phrases in the first Amendment. Here are some explanations on what exactly they mean.

Freedom of religion: The First Amendment of the United States Constitution prevents the government from setting up or establishing an official religion of the country. American Citizens have the freedom to attend a church, mosque, synagogue, temple, or other house of worship of their choice. They can also choose to not be involved in any religion as well. Because of the First Amendment, we can practice our religion however we want to.

Freedom of speech: The First Amendment of the United States Constitution stops the government from making any laws that may stop us from saying what we feel or think. The American people have the right to share their opinions with other people or criticize the government.

Freedom of the press: Freedom of the press means we have the right to get information from many different sources of information. The government does not have the power to control what is broadcasted on radio or TV, what is printed in books or newspapers, or what is offered online. American citizens can request time on TV to respond to any views that they disagree with. They can also write letters to newspapers, which might be printed for others readers to see. Americans can also pass out leaflets that state their opinions. They may also their own online web pages that have their opinions.

Freedom of assembly: American citizens have the right to come together in private and public gatherings. Citizens can join groups for religious, social, recreational, or political reasons. By organizing in order to act on a common idea and accomplish a common goal, American citizens can more easily spread their ideas to others.

Right to petition: The right to petition the government means that American citizens can ask for adjustments or changes in the government. Citizens can do this by collecting signatures for petitions and sending them to elected representatives. They can also call, e-mail, or write to their elected representatives as well. Another way they can petition the government is by creating support groups that try to cause change by lobbying the government.

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First Amendment – Kids | Laws.com

Fifth Amendment | Wex Legal Dictionary / Encyclopedia | LII …

 Fifth Amendment  Comments Off on Fifth Amendment | Wex Legal Dictionary / Encyclopedia | LII …
Aug 312015
 

The Fifth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution provides, “No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a grand jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the militia, when in actual service in time of war or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.”

The clauses incorporated within the Fifth Amendment outline basic constitutional limits on police procedure. The Framers derived the Grand Juries Clause and the Due Process Clause from the Magna Carta, dating back to 1215. Scholars consider the Fifth Amendment as capable of breaking down into the following five distinct constitutional rights: grand juries for capital crimes, a prohibition on double jeopardy, a prohibition against required self-incrimination, a guarantee that all criminal defendants will have a fair trial, and a promise that the government will not seize private property without paying market value. While the Fifth Amendment originally only applied to federal courts, the U.S. Supreme Court has interpreted the Fifth Amendment’s provisions as now applying to the states through the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.

Grand juries are a holdover from hundreds of years ago, originating during Britain’s early history. Deeply-rooted in the Anglo-American tradition, the grand jury originally served to protect the accused from overly-zealous prosecutions by the English monarchy.

Congressional statutes outline the means by which a grand jury shall be impaneled. Ordinarily, the grand jurors are selected from the pool of prospective jurors who potentially could serve on a given day in any juror capacity. At common-law, a grand jury consists of between 12 and 23 members. Because the Grand jury was derived from the common-law, courts use the common-law as a means of interpreting the Grand Jury Clause. While state legislatures may set the statutory number of grand jurors anywhere within the common-law requirement of 12 to 23, statutes setting the number outside of this range violate the Fifth Amendment. Federal law has set the federal grand jury number as falling between 16 and 23.

A person being charged with a crime that warrants a grand jury has the right to challenge members of the grand juror for partiality or bias, but these challenges differ from peremptory challenges, which a defendant has when choosing a trial jury. When a defendant makes a peremptory challenge, the judge must remove the juror without making any proof, but in the case of a grand juror challenge, the challenger must establish the cause of the challenge by meeting the same burden of proof as the establishment of any other fact would require. Grand juries possess broad authority to investigate suspected crimes. They may not, however, conduct “fishing expeditions” or hire individuals not already employed by the government to locate testimony or documents. Ultimately, grand juries may make a presentment. During a presentment the grand jury informs the court that they have a reasonable suspicion that the suspect committed a crime.

The Double Jeopardy Clause aims to protect against the harassment of an individual through successive prosecutions of the same alleged act, to ensure the significance of an acquittal, and to prevent the state from putting the defendant through the emotional, psychological, physical, and financial troubles that would accompany multiple trials for the same alleged offense. Courts have interpreted the Double Jeopardy Clause as accomplishing these goals by providing the following three distinct rights: a guarantee that a defendant will not face a second prosecution after an acquittal, a guarantee that a defendant will not face a second prosecution after a conviction, and a guarantee that a defendant will not receive multiple punishments for the same offense. Courts, however, have not interpreted the Double Jeopardy Clause as either prohibiting the state from seeking review of a sentence or restricting a sentence’s length on rehearing after a defendant’s successful appeal.

Jeopardy refers to the danger of conviction. Thus, jeopardy does not attach unless a risk of the determination of guilt exists. If some event or circumstance prompts the trial court to declare a mistrial, jeopardy has not attached if the mistrial only results in minimal delay and the government does not receive added opportunity to strengthen its case.

The Fifth Amendment protects criminal defendants from having to testify if they may incriminate themselves through the testimony. A witness may “plead the Fifth” and not answer if the witness believes answering the question may be self-incriminatory.

In the landmark Miranda v. Arizona ruling, the United States Supreme Court extended the Fifth Amendment protections to encompass any situation outside of the courtroom that involves the curtailment of personal freedom. 384 U.S. 436 (1966). Therefore, any time that law enforcement takes a suspect into custody, law enforcement must make the suspect aware of all rights. Known as Miranda rights, these rights include the right to remain silent, the right to have an attorney present during questioning, and the right to have a government-appointed attorney if the suspect cannot afford one.

If law enforcement fails to honor these safeguards, courts will often suppress any statements by the suspect as violative of the Fifth Amendment’s protection against self-incrimination, provided that the suspect has not actually waived the rights. An actual waiver occurs when a suspect has made the waiver knowingly, intelligently, and voluntarily. To determine if a knowing, intelligent and voluntary waiver has occurred, a court will examine the totality of the circumstances, which considers all pertinent circumstances and events. If a suspect makes a spontaneous statement while in custody prior to being made aware of the Miranda rights, law enforcement can use the statement against the suspect, provided that police interrogation did not prompt the statement.

After Congress passed the Crime Control and Safe Streets Act, some felt that the statute by implication overruled the requirements of Miranda. Some scholars also felt that Congress constitutionally exercised its power in passing this law because they felt that Miranda represented a matter of judicial policy rather than an actual manifestation of Fifth Amendment protections. In Dickerson v. United States the U.S. Supreme Court rejected this arguments and held that the Warren Court had directly derived Miranda from the Fifth Amendment.

The guarantee of due process for all citizens requires the government to respect all rights, guarantees, and protections afforded by the U.S. Constitution and all applicable statutes before the government can deprive a person of life, liberty, or property. Due process essentially guarantees that a party will receive a fundamentally fair, orderly, and just judicial proceeding. While the Fifth Amendment only applies to the federal government, the identical text in the Fourteenth Amendment explicitly applies this due process requirement to the states as well.

Courts have come to recognize that two aspects of due process exist: procedural due process and substantive due process. Procedural due process aims to ensure fundamental fairness by guaranteeing a party the right to be heard, ensuring that the parties receive proper notification throughout the litigation, and ensures that the adjudicating court has the appropriate jurisdiction to render a judgment. Meanwhile, substantive due process has developed during the 20th century as protecting those right so fundamental as to be “implicit in the concept of ordered liberty.”

While the federal government has a constitutional right to “take” private property for public use, the Fifth Amendment’s Just Compensation Clause requires the government to pay just compensation, interpreted as market value, to the owner of the property. The U.S. Supreme Court has defined fair market value as the most probable price that a willing but unpressured buyer, fully knowledgeable of both the property’s good and bad attributes, would pay. The government does not have to pay a property owner’s attorney’s fees, however, unless a statute so provides.

In Kelo v. City of New London, the U.S. Supreme Court rendered a controversial opinion in which they held that a city could constitutionally seize private property for private commercial development. 545 U.S. 469 (2005).

See constitutional amendment.

See constitutional clauses.

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Aug 302015
 

“The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects against unreasonable searches and seizures shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation and particularly describing the place to be searched and the persons or things to be seized.”

The Fourth Amendment protection against “unreasonable searches and seizures” was adopted as a protection against the widespread invasions of privacy experienced by American colonists at the hands of the British Government. So-called “writs of assistance” gave royal officers broad discretion to conduct searches of the homes of private citizens, primarily as a way of discovering violations of strict British customs laws. This practice led to a unique awareness among our Founding Fathers of the threat to individual liberty and privacy that is created by unchecked government search powers.

Today, the Fourth Amendment has lost its preferred status among our cherished Bill of Rights Protections. In recent decades, growing concerns regarding crime and public safety in America have forced our Courts to balance the privacy rights contained in the Constitution with the ever-expanding needs of law-enforcement officers whose duty it is to investigate and arrest dangerous criminals. The Supreme Court’s rulings in Fourth Amendment cases demonstrate the challenge involved in reconciling these competing ideals.

Ultimately, the Constitution’s prohibition against unreasonable searches and seizures has been trimmed-down in recent years and tailored to suit the needs of modern law enforcement as we wage war against drugs and terrorism. For this reason, it is important for conscientious citizens to be familiar with the lawful parameters of police authority to conduct searches, as well as the legal doctrines by which that authority is limited.

The Fifth Amendment: Self-incrimination Clause

“…No person… shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself or be deprived of life liberty or property without due process of law…”

* The Supreme Court has made a new ruling that you must tell the police officer that you will NOT talk to him, you request a lawyer and then keep your mouth shut.

The right against self-incrimination has ancient roots in common law dating back to biblical times. While most provisions of the Fifth Amendment, such as the right to a jury trial and the right against double jeopardy, impose restrictions upon our courthouses, the right against self-incrimination has a profound effect upon the behavior of law-enforcement officers as they investigate crimes. For this reason, the meaning of the self-incrimination clause has remained one of the most controversial issues in criminal procedure since the Supreme Court’s ruling in Miranda v. Arizona.

At this time, it is required by the Supreme Court that police inform all criminal suspects of their right to remain silent prior to interrogation. This right extends from the point of arrest throughout the suspect’s involvement in the criminal justice system. While many in the law-enforcement community feel that this restriction unfairly limits the ability of police and prosecutors to obtain convictions, studies have shown that conviction rates have not changed significantly since the Court first required police to inform those arrested of their right against self-incrimination.

The Sixth Amendment: Right to Counsel Clause

“In all criminal proceedings, the accused shall enjoy the right to have the assistance of counsel for his defense.”

The Sixth Amendment right to counsel is a critical component of the Bill of Rights in that it provides the accused with an advocate who is trained in the legal process and can provide a safeguard against violations of the suspect’s other Bill of Rights protections. Interestingly, it was not until 1963 that the Supreme Court held that states must provide a lawyer for all felony suspects, ending disparities in legal representation based on economic class.

Today, all person charged with a serious crime in the United States enjoy the assistance of a defense attorney regardless of economic status. State-employed public defenders represent clients who cannot afford their own attorneys, and contrary to popular belief, achieve roughly equal outcomes for their clients as do the more expensive privately-hired lawyers.

The Relationship Between Self-incrimination and the Right to Counsel

Many Americans, particularly young people, have become cynical about police practices and our legal system. It is not uncommon to lose hope when arrested or even become angry at the officer or the law he is enforcing. It is an important reality however, that our legal system does provide services for the accused. It cannot be overstated how important it is to wait for legal advice before attempting to discuss a criminal charge with police. The subtleties of the legal process require careful decisions about what to say and how to say it. A lawyer will help you prepare for tough questions and can emphasize your positive qualities to the judge, including qualities you didn’t know you had.

The constitution includes protections for criminal suspects because the legal system is incredibly complex, involving rules and regulations that everyday people would not understand. If you are charged with a crime, take advantage of the protections the constitution gives you. Don’t talk to police about what happened until you have spoken with a lawyer and discussed how to present your side of the story.

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Pierre Teilhard De Chardin | Designer Children | Prometheism | Euvolution