Archive for the ‘Free Speech’ Category

By Darren Smith, Weekend Contributor

Baronelle Stutzman

Baronelle Stutzman

We previously wrote HERE of Richland, Washington Florist Baronelle Stutzman, the owner of Arlene’s Flowers, who caused a row when she refused to provide her floral services for a gay wedding. Now, a Benton County Superior Court Judge ruled that she violated the state’s consumer protection act that bars discrimination against a protected class.

The legal action was brought by customer Robert Ingersoll and the Washington Attorney General’s Office.

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582574_215472875248080_1866740398_n220px-Recep_Tayyip_ErdoganSedef Kabas, a leading Turkish journalist, has been arrested in another example of the rollback on civil liberties under President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. As part of his attack on secularism and his introduction of Islamic laws into Turkey’s government, Erdogan has been cracking down critics and journalists over the outcry of the international community. In the case of Kabas, a single tweet on Twitter was enough. The journalist had just sent her five-year-old to school when police came knocking to ask if she authored a tweet about how the government quashed a corruption investigation into his family and close associates of Erdogan. Erdogan previously promised to “eradicate” Twitter in Turkey and he appears to be now doing it one journalist and poster at a time.

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Drhayatsindi220px-Harvard_Wreath_Logo_1.svgDr. Hayat Sindi is a Saudi Arabian medical scientist and a woman who has earned respect for extraordinary accomplishments in a country that denies women basic liberties. She is not only an award-winning scientist but one of the first female members of the Consultative Assembly of Saudi Arabia. Ranked by Arabian Business as the 19th most influential Arab in the world and the ninth most influential Arab woman, it is not surprising that Harvard University has brought her to the country as a visiting scholar. However, a nasty lawsuit in King County has raised deeply disturbing allegations about Sindi’s efforts against women who she accuses of hacking her emails. According to counsel for one of those women, Sindi worked to have another woman flogged for writing on Facebook that she had had an affair with her husband. On the other side is Samia El-Moslimany, a women’s activist and photographer who lives in the U.S. and Saudi Arabia, who is fighting to keep Sindi from forcing the disclosure of the women, who would face medieval Sharia justice in Saudi Arabia.

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220px-HK_HSBC_Main_Building_2008

Respectfully submitted by Lawrence E. Rafferty, (rafflaw) Weekend Contributor

British banking giant, HSBC reached an agreement in 2012 with the Department of Justice that kept it from being hauled in to court on criminal charges due to its systemic assistance in laundering money for drug cartels and allegedly terrorists.  HSBC, with its Hong Kong headquarters shown above, is now in trouble again for alleged problems prior to the settlement agreement in 2012.

“The US Department of Justice is considering bringing criminal charges against HSBC and its executives as part of its investigation into whether the bank’s Swiss subsidiary helped US clients evade taxes.

Democratic senator Elizabeth Warren called on prosecutors to “come down hard” on HSBC if the bank is found to have colluded with tax evaders on Tuesday.

Her intervention came as US government officials with knowledge of the DoJ’s investigation provided the Guardian with new details about the inquiry.

Renewed focus has been placed on the long-running investigation into HSBC Switzerland by the department, after a huge leak of secret bank data – passed to the DOJ’s tax division almost five years ago – was obtained by the Guardian and other media.

It shows that HSBC Switzerland helped some clients conceal millions of undeclared assets, and has immediately raised questions on Capitol Hill about the response from prosecutors and tax authorities.  US government officials said the investigation is not merely looking at HSBC’s US clients, and could also result in criminal indictments against the bank itself. “That has not been ruled out,” one official said, when asked if HSBC or its executives could be criminally indicted. “It is certainly something that is under consideration.” ‘ Reader Supported News  (more…)

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By Darren Smith, Weekend Contributor

sureshbhai-patel-in-hospitalWe previously wrote HERE of the plight of Sureshbhai Patel who was left partially paralyzed after being thrown to the ground by Madison, Alabama police during an investigative detention. The officer accused in this matter has been charged with Third Degree Assault.

Thanks to a crowd sourced donation campaign seeking to help alleviate the financial costs of his injuries, in just over three days $130,000 dollars so far has been raised. The amounts continue to grow.

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10406369_322412331277747_7680132564831969271_n225px-Umichigan_color_sealThe University of Michigan has spent $16,000 on a campaign to get students to use “inclusive language” and stop using certain words and phrases. Around campus, posters give examples of the now verboten words like “crazy,” “insane,” “retarded,” “gay,” “tranny,” “gypped,” “illegal alien,” “fag,” “ghetto” and “raghead.” In fairness to the school and students, there program is broader than just the listing of offensive terms and phrases. The campaign is also featured on Facebook.

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dXBsb2Fkcy9tYWdhemluZV9pbWFnZXMvMDdmZjQ2YWQxZTFiNjg1OTQ4NjY1M2U3NWVmODE4NGNiZDZjYmQ5YS5qcGc=.238.600.1.1.70I had the pleasure this month of writing a piece on free speech in the leading policy magazine in Switzerland, “Schweizer Monat.” The piece is published in German (Charlies falsche Freunde or Charlie’s False Friends), which is particularly cool for my son Benjamin who is taking German at McLean High School in Virginia. The German version can be found here. Germany is currently our fifth highest supplier of readers with Switzerland close behind. Ironically, Harvard Professor Cass Sunstein also wrote a piece in the same issue this month. The translated column is below:

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