Archive for the ‘Free Speech’ Category

Stora_riksvapnet_-_Riksarkivet_Sverige228px-Picture_of_Edward_SnowdenThe debate in the United States continues over whether Edward Snowden is a whistleblower or a traitor. I previously wrote a column on that question. There appears to be less debate in Sweden where Snowden received standing ovations in the Swedish parliament after being given the Right Livelihood award for his disclosure of sweeping surveillance programs of the United States. The award honors Snowden “for his courage and skill in revealing the unprecedented extent of state surveillance violating basic democratic processes and constitutional rights”. This week, the new movie on Snowden also captured two more awards and critical acclaim.

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department of treasury

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

Now that we have celebrated Thanksgiving, I was struck by the news that Congress is considering legislation that would grant large tax breaks to corporate citizens and actually remove tax breaks for the poor and the middle class.

‘ “This Congress seems willing to give huge tax cuts to big businesses—who are already doing better than ever—but somehow can’t prevent tax increases on 50 million working Americans that will occur when expansions of the Earned Income Tax Credit and Child Tax Credit expire,” Harry Stein, the Associate Director for Fiscal Policy at American Progress Action Fund, told ThinkProgress. “This is a great deal for CEOs and a terrible deal for struggling families.”’ Nation of Change  (more…)

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Screen Shot 2014-11-26 at 10.12.15 PMVeena Malik, along with her husband Asad Bashir Khan Khattak and former network owner Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman to a total of 104 years in jail in the latest absurd blasphemy prosecution based on Sharia law. Malik, an actress, was given 26 years in jail by a Pakistani anti-terrorism court for “malicious acts” of blasphemy for reenacting the marriage of the Prophet Mohammed’s daughter.

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singleton_colorAssemblyman Troy Singleton (D-Mount Laurel) has introduced a controversial measure that would change the law in New Jersey to criminalize lies used to get someone to have sex. While such lies are notorious but common elements in many pickup situations, Singleton calls such acts as “rape by fraud.”

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1408390089660_Image_galleryImage_Officer_DARREN_WILSON_picstlouis13n-14-webThe Grand Jury in Missouri appears to have rendered its decision in the shooting investigation Michael Brown. It is expected to be announced shortly. Below is my column in USA Today.

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By Darren Smith, Weekend Contributor

turkish-journalists

In another example of the diminishing freedom of the press in Turkey, Yurt newspaper reporter Meriç Şenyüz and Ulusal Kanal reporter Özer Sürmeli received sentences of six and five months respectively for their reporting of a December seventeenth corruption probe involving, among others, then Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s son Bilal Erdoğan.

Turkey has an unfortunate history of repression of media critical of government, though in the last year an estimated forty imprisoned journalists have been released. According to BIA Media Monitoring Reports, the number of jailed journalists in Turkey fell from 104 in 2010 to 59 last year and to 19 by November 2014. However the underlying trend of jailing journalists in Turkey and many other nations of the world continues.

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By Darren Smith, Weekend Contributor

artur-masPresident of the Generalitat of Catalonia, Artur Mas i Gavarró, his deputy, and his education minister face prosecution by the Spanish Government for alleged civil disobedience, abuse of power, usurpation of duties, and embezzlement of public funds according to a statement released by the public prosecutor’s office of the Spanish Government.

In what many see as clearly dubious prosecution by Spanish authorities, President Mas remarked: “It is sad to see that when the Catalan people want to express their opinion … the reaction of the state comes from the courts and prosecutors.”

The action comes several weeks after Catalonia held a non-binding vote on independence from Spain, buoyed by what many Catalonians hailed as a close race with the Scottish Independence referendum, a worrisome event to the Spanish government.

The matter brings into the discussion of Parliamentary Immunity and Executive authority held by other nations, and the chilling effect the threat of prosecution can have for representative government of constituents.

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