• Теги
    • избранные теги
    • Компании895
      • Показать ещё
      Международные организации4
      Страны / Регионы32
      • Показать ещё
      • Показать ещё
Liberty Media-Interactive
30 марта 2013, 02:46

Justin Amash Backs DOMA Repeal, Will 'Take A Look' At Support Respect For Marriage Act

WASHINGTON -- Conservative Rep. Justin Amash (R-Mich.) said Friday that he supports repealing the Defense of Marriage Act, though he wouldn't commit to cosponsor legislation to do that. In an unexpected Twitter exchange with The Huffington Post, Amash, one of the more savvy members of Congress when it comes to social media, began with a tweet stating that the "real threat" to traditional marriage isn't lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender couples, but government itself. Real threat to traditional marriage & religious liberty is government, not gay couples who love each other & want to spend lives together.— Justin Amash (@repjustinamash) March 27, 2013 This sparked a series of tweets with HuffPost about where he stands on repealing DOMA, a topic that has dominated the news this week as the Supreme Court heard oral arguments on the constitutionality of the [email protected] Hmm. So do you support the right for gay couples who love each other to get married?— jennifer bendery (@jbendery) March 29, [email protected] But you support idea that private, consensual union for gay couple = federally recognized marriage?— jennifer bendery (@jbendery) March 29, [email protected] Of course. How can anyone stop a couple from getting married in their own way? I just want government out.— Justin Amash (@repjustinamash) March 29, [email protected] Right. ;)— Justin Amash (@repjustinamash) March 29, 2013 As laid out in his tweets, Amash emphasized that his support for repealing DOMA is tied to his belief that government shouldn't be involved in anyone's marriage. Amash's spokesman Will Adams explained the congressman's libertarian-leaning position on the matter earlier this week. "I think in his ideal world, the governments -- at all levels all together -- would get out of marriage," Adams told HuffPost's Chelsea Kiene on Wednesday. "Much like we don’t want the government involved in my church’s communion or we don’t want the government to regulate my church’s baptism, we don’t want to have government regulate another sacrament in my church, which is marriage. That’s then his position." Adams added, "But as a federal legislator, as a congressman, he’s in charge of shaping federal law and so he’s willing to oppose the federal government's definition of marriage in DOMA." During Friday's Twitter exchange, HuffPost took the issue a step further and asked Amash if he would cosponsor the Respect for Marriage Act. That bill, which Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) files in every Congress, currently has three GOP cosponsors. Amash didn't [email protected] We'll take a look. Thx.— Justin Amash (@repjustinamash) March 29, 2013 Amash's views on DOMA have shifted in recent years. He said in 2010 that he "strongly support[s] the federal Defense of Marriage Act." But by 2012, his position was more in line with what he says now: "I believe that marriage is a private, religious institution that should not be defined or redefined by the federal government." Chelsea Kiene contributed reporting.

29 марта 2013, 04:00

Barclays sells off its Dutch slice for £535m

Barclays has offloaded its stake in the Dutch media group Ziggo to the billionaire who is buying Virgin Media. The banking group has agreed to sell a 12.7 per cent holding to Liberty Global, which is controlled by John Malone, pictured, for €633m (£535m). Last month, Mr Malone agreed the $16bn (£11bn) takeover of Virgin Media.

28 марта 2013, 22:29

Court rejects challenges to Gitmo trial secrecy

The appeals court overseeing the military tribunals at Guantanamo Bay has rejected, at least for now, an effort by media organizations and the American Civil Liberties Union to challenge an order governing secrecy in one of the terrorism courts. The news outlets objected to a portion of the protective order in the trial for five 9/11 defendants that provides for automatic sealing of information the military says is classified and presumes that statements by the accused about their post-capture treatment are automatically classified. In an opinion issued Wednesday (and posted here courtesy of Lawfare), the Court of Military Commission Review said the appeals were premature. "This controversy is not ripe for our review. The judge has issued a protective order in accordance with [the] Military Commission Act," the court's order said. "Petitioners have not alleged a single instance where the Military Commission Judge has improperly applied Amended Protective Order #1 to deny Petitioners access to information, sufficient to warrant the sort of extraordinary relief petitioners seek." The brief opinion was endorsed by four of the appeals court's judges. One judge, Scott Silliman, wrote separately to indicate his view that the court had no jurisdiction to consider the matter. Silliman said a provision in the Military Commissions Act of 2006 precludes courts from considering any matter related to military commission trials other than direct appeals from convictions. "I respectfully submit that Congress has explicitly stripped our Court of such jurisdiction under the All Writs Act or otherwise," Silliman wrote. The other four judges seemed to feel that issue could be left to a future ruling, once there was a more specific dispute before the court. The news organizations who filed the appeal, and a similar, unsuccessful motion with the Guantanamo commission, were: the Miami Herald, ABC, the Associated Press, Bloomberg News, CBS, Fox News, McClatchy newspapers, NPR, the New York Times, the New Yorker, Reuters, Tribune Co., Dow Jones & Co. and the Washington Post.

28 марта 2013, 21:53

Shorting Stocks On These April POMO Days May Be Hazardous To Your Health

It's that time of the month again when, with little fanfare, the NY Fed discreetly discloses on which days of the upcoming month shorting is unadvisable, because on the other end of every sale or short will be none other than Kevin Henry & Co., and some $45 billion in buying power-cum-short stop loss triggers (not to mention every possible Citadel HFT algo operating at a less than arm's length from the Liberty 33 trading desk). In short: we get the advance monthly schedule of POMO days. And as everyone knows, one should never fight the Fed (unless, of course, one is the European Central Bank, the People's Bank of China, the Bank of Japan, the Bank of England, the Swiss National Bank, and pretty much every other central bank now that the entire world has devolved to outright currency warfare, but let's ignore that particular weak link in the media's propaganda narrative for the time being). So how does April look? In short: for anyone seeking to short the market in order to take advantage of the inevitable end of the Fed's despotic central-Ponzi planning regime (for reference, please see Bernie Madoff): not good.

27 марта 2013, 22:28

Supreme court justices lay down strong challenge to gay marriage law

Justice Kennedy aligns with liberal quartet to defend states' rights and suggest Defense of Marriage Act is discriminatory to same-sex couplesUS supreme court justices on Wednesday strongly challenged a federal law banning recognition of same-sex marriages as discriminatory, motivated by prejudice, and diminishing the power of individual states to regulate marriage.The 1996 Defense of Marriage Act (Doma) faces an uncertain future as the court's usual swing vote on social issues, Justice Anthony Kennedy, aligned with the four liberal judges to strongly question the legitimacy of the law and the authority of the federal government to impose a definition of marriage as only between a man and a woman on those US states which permit same-sex unions. The law prevents same-sex spouses from receiving federal benefits, tax breaks and some legal protections.The liberal justices, during the second day of historic hearings about gay unions, at times found themselves in the unusual position of emphasising states' rights – a position usually defended by the court's conservatives – as they painted Doma as unreasonably discriminating against same-sex couples legally married under the laws of nine states and Washington DC."It really diminishes what states have said about marriage," said Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.Ginsburg dismissed descriptions of Doma as merely having an administrative impact, saying it "effects every area of life" for gay couples."There are two kinds of marriage. Full marriage and the skimmed-milkmarriage," she said.Justice Elena Kagan questioned the motivation for the law, saying Congress passed it in a climate of "animus" and "dislike" of homosexuals, and of "moral judgment".Stephen Breyer questioned why it was necessary to single out gay people as subject to a law barring them from equal treatment. He called the discrimination "irrational" in law.But while opponents of Doma were predicting its imminent demise, even if the justices strike the law down it will not establish a right to gay marriage – merely an obligation on the federal government to recognise it on those states where it is legal.The Obama administration has already repudiated the legislation and supports federal court rulings striking it down.The US solicitor general, Donald Verrilli, told the supreme court that gay people are a "persecuted minority", and asked why the spouse of a gay soldier killed in the line of duty should not receive the same benefits as those given to heterosexual couples. However, Verrilli faced questions over whether obliging the federal government to recognise same-sex marriages where they are legal would not create another kind of discrimination – namely against gay couples in states where they are not legal.Paul Clement, the former US solicitor general who argued and lost the case against Barack Obama's healthcare reforms, defended Doma as merely creating uniformity in how same-sex couples are treated across the country for administrative purposes.Clement was forced to concede that the law was passed in a climate of congressional hostility towards gay people, but said that was not enough to make it unconstitutional.The case, coming a day after the supreme court considered the constitutional legitimacy of a California referendum that overturned same-sex marriage in the state, pitted the White House against Republican leaders in Congress angered that the Obama administration will no longer defend Doma.But before the justices heard arguments over the law's constitutionality, they considered opinions over whether Congress had the right to defend Doma in court. The issue was regarded as important enough for the court to hear separate arguments, and to appoint its own lawyer, Vicki Jackson, to present the case for why Congress does not have "standing" to act in defence of Doma.Jackson told the court that once Congress passes laws, responsibility for enforcing them shifts to the executive, and the legislature ceases to have active involvement.Antonin Scalia suggested that the supreme court has a role to play, because the federal government has taken the unusual step of no longer defending a law still on the statute books.But some of the liberal justices questioned the Republican leadership's authority to bring the issue to the supreme court, saying that it was not done with the approval of both houses of Congress.Breyer and Samuel Alito raised the issue of whether the president was sidestepping his constitutional obligations to fully execute the law by opposing Doma.Gay rightsGay marriageUS supreme courtHuman rightsUS taxationUnited StatesUS constitution and civil libertiesUS politicsChris McGrealguardian.co.uk © 2013 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds

27 марта 2013, 20:24

Anti-drones activists plan month of protest over Obama's 'kill' policy

Organisers keen to build on renewed focus of president's targeted killing programme by holding series of protests in AprilMilitary bases, universities and companies involved in Barack Obama's drones programme are to be targeted in a month-long series of protests by activists keen to build on the renewed public focus over the president's controversial policy.Dubbed "April Days of Action" by participants, organisers are hoping to capitalise on a series of recent controversies that have thrust the use of drones – especially when it comes to targeted killings of suspected terrorists – into the heart of American political debate.The protests will begin on April 3 with a rally in New York, followed by three days of protest outside the facilities of companies that make drones, including at San Diego-based General Atomics which makes Predator and Reaper drones.Later in the month, protests will take place at universities and other institutions that conduct research into drones or help train drone pilots and operators. At the end of the month, rallies and demonstrations will target military bases in the US from where drones operate, including Hancock air base near Syracuse, New York."There is a tremendous amount of scepticism with the public about drone attacks in other countries. There is concern that innocent people are killed and enemies of the United States are being made," said Nick Mottern, founder of Know Drones, an educational organization that is helping co-ordinate the protests. Over the month the cities targeted by the campaign will also include Washington DC, Atlanta, Philadelphia, Honolulu, San Francisco, Sacramento, Minneapolis, Des Moines and others.The use of unmanned robots to strike at suspected Islamic militants abroad has risen sharply during the Obama administration. Its defenders say that it offers a precision way of hitting targets without the potentially disastrous deployment of US manpower abroad. But critics point out that drone strikes frequently cause civilian casualties, while the definition of a suspect is worryingly broad and the exact legal context of the programme is shrouded in secrecy.The London-based Bureau of Investigative Journalism tracks drone casualties, and estimates that in Pakistan alone 366 strikes have killed up to 3,581 people, with 884 being innocent civilians. Of that total number of attacks, 314 have been ordered while Obama has been in office.Protesters said they hoped the campaign would rally public anger. "There is no question that the April Days of Action will exhibit a level of anti-war and civil liberties activism that is unprecedented in recent years," said Medea Benjamin, founder of veteran anti-war group Code Pink, whose members recently protested against the appointment of drones advocate John Brennan as the new head of the CIA.But anger over drones is not limited to US liberals. One of the highest-profile critics of the drone programme is Kentucky senator Rand Paul, a rising star of the Republican right wing.Paul recently launched a remarkable 13-hour filibuster effort against Brennan's appointment. The bid failed, but it highlighted concerns over the legal implications of drone attacks that have killed American citizens and worries that the devices might be deployed for similar purposes on US soil.Mottern said that the April Days protests would seek to push forward the debate in the wake of Paul's action. "Most people here in the United States know a little bit about drones; we want everyone to begin to see the depth of the threat that drones present to all of us, regardless of what nation we live in," he said.DronesUS foreign policyPakistanYemenUnited StatesBarack ObamaProtestObama administrationPaul Harrisguardian.co.uk © 2013 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds

27 марта 2013, 19:00

Will We Get a Second-Hand Market for Digital Goods?

When the U.S. Supreme Court rendered its decision on Kirtsaeng v. John Wiley & Sons, it dipped a toe into waters that run much deeper. As I discussed in an earlier post, that case addressed the question of whether a book buyer, having taken ownership of a physical book, is at liberty to turn around and sell it. But that question is, to slightly mix metaphors, only the tip of the iceberg. The decision says little about the much bigger fight brewing over ownership of digital products — e-books, digital music files, and electronic copies of movies and software. Does the "first sale" doctrine the court applied in Kirtsaeng also apply to these goods? Do consumers have the right to resell songs purchased from Apple's iTunes store, or books downloaded to their Amazon Kindles, or other media accessed entirely through the cloud — goods, that is, of which they never took possession as a physical copy, standalone or embedded? What role will first sale play in a future where all information products, like software, are increasingly produced and distributed entirely through the cloud? For the past decade, emerging digital markets have operated under the assumption that, despite the obvious similarity between a music CD and an MP3 downloaded from iTunes, digital goods are different. Despite what is often sloppy use of terminology, Apple, Amazon, and others maintain that you don't "buy" a copy of an e-book, nor do you "own" the music in your iTunes library or the copies of apps loaded on your mobile phone. You rent them. Or, to use the legal term, you license their use. How does that happen? The short answer is through terms-of-service agreements and other click wrap. When you check the "I agree" box, you enter into a contract with the seller, including a litany of conditions that restrict how you can make use of the licensed good. Depending on the license, that includes how long you can use it, how many users can simultaneously access it, and, notably, what rights you have to transfer your license to someone else. The short answer to that last question? In most cases: no (re)sale. The disproportionate bargaining power of licensors and licensees aside, there are sound economic reasons why producers of digital media have insisted — so far successfully — on licensing rather than selling their goods. In brief, resale markets are dangerous, especially for information goods. If they are particularly robust, they can drive down the price for first sales, undermining the opportunity for copyright holders to recover their high sunk costs. Which is, in turn, the whole point of copyright's "exclusive rights" in the first place. Publishers and media companies may not have worried much about second-hand stores when it came to physical goods. Used physical goods deteriorate rapidly and, in the days before near-perfect market information, were relatively hard to find. Since media purchases are often impulse buys, customers tended to be willing to pay a premium price to avoid even a short delay — buying hardcover instead of paperback. Likewise, many music lovers are willing to just click the "buy" button for a music track rather than wait for the song to come around again on Pandora. But a digital copy of the latest "Iron Man" movie is a perfect replica, and infinitely reproducible at a marginal cost of zero. Stored in the cloud, it will remain a perfect copy so long as there is software that understands the format it's been encoded into. (Which may not be as long as nervous media executives think.) An unrestricted ability to resell could, therefore, easily lead to efficient second-hand markets that directly compete with first sales. The result could be, ironically, less original content in the first place — a lose-lose outcome. So the media industry's slow acquiescence to allow their copyrighted works to be distributed in digital form at all has come with the quid pro quo that reselling is forbidden. In theory, consumers have implicitly traded the right to resell for a lower price and more content to choose from. Courts have so far upheld license terms that forbid resale against arguments that they violate "first sale." Kirtsaeng, as copyright scholar Eric Goldman notes, is of no help. In the licensing of digital goods, after all, there was no sale, not even a first sale. Just a rental. But even if courts and legislatures continue to support licensing agreements that bar resale, that doesn't end the discussion. Market pressure has long been building for changes in the relationship between media companies and their customers, and customers are gaining the upper hand, thanks again to near-perfect market information. Many of those customers prefer, if only for sentimental reasons, to own rather than to rent their digital goods. Today, they cannot do so — at any price. Several start-ups have foundered on the rocks of copyright law trying to bridge the gap. In 2000, for example, MP3.com lost a life-or-death case over a service that allowed consumers to "register" music CDs they owned and access the contents from the company's servers. The court found that whatever the "equities" involved, MP3 could not lawfully make and distribute copies without permission "simply because there is a consumer demand for it." A more recent start-up, ReDigi, is now facing its own existential struggle with copyright law. The company's beta service allows users to barter MP3 files licensed from iTunes (and soon other digital sellers) to other ReDigi users at discounted prices. In effect, ReDigi operates a market for license transfers among iTunes users. According to the company's website, the value of such transfers can only be used to acquire other licenses — users cannot cash out whatever price they can get from each other for used iTunes licenses. They are simply "recycling" their music purchases. Everything stays within the iTunes universe. Not surprisingly, the company's self-imposed limits didn't satisfy the highly litigious music industry. Capitol Records quickly sued the company, and the case now awaits decision in a New York federal court. Capitol argued that the service necessarily makes copies of protected works without permission — straight-up copyright infringement. ReDigi argues that no copy is made — that it transfers the "exact file" from the seller's device to its servers. More to the point, the transfer of the licensed file does not violate the copyright holder's exclusive distribution right, because, like Dr. Kirtsaeng, they are immunized by the first sale doctrine. ReDigi is another good example of a business model I would call "barely legal by design." Here, the company is putting its eggs entirely in the "first sale" basket. If the court decides there is no "particular copy" that an iTunes customer "owns," the first sale defense will fail. It's hard to see how the service can continue in that event. For what it's worth, the relevant case law, if applied, bodes poorly for the startup. (The company did not respond to a request for a comment.) But even if ReDigi becomes the latest casualty in the war between media companies and their customers, it will hardly be the final word. The merchants themselves may find that a carefully designed second-hand market can generate profit without undermining primary markets. According to a recent New York Times article , both Amazon and Apple have filed patent applications for systems that would create digital resale systems, at least for the digital goods they respectively market. (Amazon's patent has already been granted.) Reading between the lines of the applications, the companies seem to have in mind markets that would allow their customers to transfer licenses to other customers within the system. You might someday be able to trade, sell, rent, or even loan out your Kindle books to other Kindle readers, in other words, but only under the watchful eyes of Amazon. Will that be enough? Perhaps you, like many consumers, have a visceral reaction to the very idea that you have not purchased but merely rented your digital goods, and under highly restrictive terms. "I bought it," you might be thinking even as you read this, "It's mine. And I can dispose of it any way I like." That, of course, is the essence of the consumer mindset, one that manufacturers have strongly encouraged ever since the Industrial Revolution made possible identical, cheap goods sold at fixed prices. But operating in parallel with the consumer paradigm, there have always been markets for licensed goods. When you buy a ticket to a movie, you are licensing the use of a seat in the theater, for one particular showing of the film. Your ticket is yours to keep, but it doesn't give you the right to watch the movie again, or to sell someone else that right. No one feels outraged or cheated when they have to vacate the seat. That's the only workable model, content companies believe, for digital goods. As books, entertainment, and software are being distributed less and less in physical media, the companies argue that what you are paying for is much more like a movie ticket than a manufactured gooda limited right to use, but nothing to own. You can listen to the music, read the book, watch the movie, or access the software. But only at agreed-upon times and places. Economically, they may be right. If so, however, the reeducation of consumers from buyers to renters will be a long, uphill battle. Consumers will resist, and start-ups will try to push the legal envelope to help them. The courts, in any case, are on the side of the incumbents. At least so far. Long term, however, media companies can take heart in the realization that our digital future is one in which the benefits of owning for consumers are being quickly outweighed by the costs of storing, maintaining, and replacing quickly outmoded and inferior versions. Licensing is also more flexible than ownership, and that could mean that in the future we'll see more rental options (pay-as-you-go, all-you-can-eat, subscriptions, ad-supported, hybrids), each with its own price. We may be more comfortable emotionally with ownership, in other words, but may soon come to see the superiority of licensing. For ourselves, not just the producers. Author Kevin Kelly argued in a provocative 2009 essay that the very idea of ownership for digital goods is an anachronism, an unnecessary and expensive way of thinking about information which is quickly losing relevance. Indeed, says Kelly, usage rights are far more consistent with the economics of information than the ownership of copies. "An idea can't be owned in the way gold can; in fact an idea has little value unless it is shared or used to some extent. Its value paradoxically can increase the less it is owned privately. But if no one owns it, who gains the benefit of that increase in value? In the new regime users will often assume many of the chores that owners once had to do. And so in a way, usage becomes ownership." Kelly may be further up the evolutionary ladder than the rest of us. For many consumers, outright ownership still matters, whether an information good takes physical form or not. So it should matter to them, too, what role the courts and legislatures play in deciding how such questions are resolved.

27 марта 2013, 12:38

Sirius XM: It Seems The Buyback Has Started

A bold prediction?It's no secret that Sirius XM (SIRI) has authorized a $2 billion share repurchase program. It's no secret that share repurchases are expected to "start any day now." But the question of if and / or exactly when repurchases will, or have started, is left up in the air.The company itself has not been particularly forthcoming about its share buyback plan other than the initial announcement. And why should it be? Beyond initial required disclosure, investors should not expect further details of the buyback program as it would disadvantage the company to release details. I expect investors will find out details which must be disclosed only upon completion of the plan, or within quarterly statements which disclose shares outstanding.That being said, watching daily activity and understanding what may be majority holder Liberty Media's (LMCA) goals can point to certain activities which may tip off anComplete Story »

27 марта 2013, 05:21

Last-ditch bid to dilute secret courts plan fails

Critics lament 'a terrible day for British justice' as amendments to justice and security bill narrowly rejected by LordsA new generation of secret courts will be established in law within weeks after a last-ditch bid to water down controversial government plans failed in the House of Lords.Amnesty International warned of a "terrible day for British justice" after Lib Dem peers obeyed a three-line government whip to reject amendments to strengthen the role of judges in the new courts.The justice and security bill, which extends the secretive closed material procedures (CMPs) into the main civil courts in England and Wales, will be sent to the Queen for royal assent before she opens a new session of parliament on 8 May.Tim Hancock, Amnesty International's UK campaigns director, said: "This is a terrible day for British justice. After fierce lobbying by the government, peers have failed to restore even minimal amendments previously included to this deeply damaging bill. The cherished and vitally important principle that justice must be done and seen to be done has been dealt a serious blow this evening."Kenneth Clarke, the minister without portfolio who championed the bill, says it is necessary to introduce the CMPs to allow sensitive intelligence to be heard in court, though this will be limited to the judge and to special advocates cleared for security who would represent claimants. Clarke claims the government has had to pay compensation to alleged victims of torture because some evidence cannot be heard in open court.The government won on Tuesday night when peers voted by 174 to 158, a majority of 16, to reject a Labour amendment to allow the CMPs to be convened only if a judge rules that it would be impossible to reach a fair verdict "by any other means".A separate amendment by Lord Macdonald of River Glaven, the Lib Dem former director of public prosecutions, which would have given judges the power to balance the interests of "national security" and "fair and open administration of justice" was withdrawn.Lord Beecham, who moved the unsuccessful Labour amendment, said: "[Ken] Clarke's adherence to liberal principles over the years has earned him many admirers in a lifetime in politics, though not necessarily within his own party. I hope that by endorsing these amendments the house can not only help to minimise the damage that threatens the most valued elements of our jurisprudence and judicial system but also help rescue the minister without portfolio from self-inflicted damage on his own reputation for upholding those liberal values as he comes to the end of his most distinguished career."Macdonald told peers: "The illiberalism inherent in this bill lies in this: that CMPs, as presently constituted, are not fair because they don't deliver and can't deliver balanced justice between the citizen and the state."Lord Wallace of Tankerness, the Lib Dem advocate general for Scotland who also acts as the attorney general's spokesman in the Lords, said the government had made key changes to the bill to reflect concerns in the Lords after peers had defeated the government during an earlier stage of the bill. Wallace said: "The decision rests with the judge not the secretary of state … what we have sought to do is to ensure that this should be a procedure used only in very exceptional circumstances."Clare Algar, executive director of the human rights charity Reprieve, said: "This is a disastrous result for British justice. Not only are we now facing a wave of secret courts at odds with our centuries-old legal freedoms; but we have not even seen the minor safeguards upheld which would have made them less dangerous."It is deeply shameful that the government has been allowed to push these plans through parliament, despite the total lack of evidence that they are needed. Secret courts will not make us any safer. They will, however, do irreparable damage to our reputation as a country which respects fair play and the rule of law."Justice and security billUK criminal justiceKenneth ClarkeHouse of LordsUK civil libertiesNicholas Wattguardian.co.uk © 2013 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds

27 марта 2013, 04:41

Divide Over Gay Marriage Starker Than Ever

WASHINGTON -- Rarely has the divide over gay rights in the United States appeared so visible and so stark as on Tuesday morning on 1st St. NE, the road that runs past the Supreme Court in Washington, D.C. On one side of the street, a sea of rainbow flags and signs demanding the freedom to marry. On the other, hundreds of signs declaring, "Kids do best with a mom and a dad," and "Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve." On one side, deeply personal conversations about decades-long relationships and civil rights, on the other, warnings of an apocalypse and cries for religious freedom. Inside the courthouse, lawyers were set to make arguments about the constitutionality of Proposition 8, the California law that banned same-sex marriage in the state. Winding along the sidewalk closest to the court, a line of would-be observers formed to gain entrance to hear the arguments for just three minutes. Two women dressed in long, red velvet coats waited with a hand-drawn sign declaring they'd been together for 18 years. Like many gay-rights supporters gathered before the court, J. Hobart, a retired attorney, and Mary Wilberding, a retired fashion designer, had personal reasons for traveling from California to D.C. this week. They'd met 20 years ago in Los Angeles and were married in California in 2008, in the brief window after the state supreme court granted same-sex couples the right to wed and before Prop. 8 passed, taking that right away. "We're in a tenuous position," said Wilberding, 62, who wore ropes of pearls and dark sunglasses. "The vows of marriage were so deep with us," said Hobart, 54. "It's different than just making a promise, it was a sacred oath. It felt different and folks treated us differently." "It breaks your heart that your love could be questioned," Wilberding added, putting her arm around Hobart. "It's tenuous, but I particularly feel very confident that the justices will do the right thing." A second group of demonstrators approached the courthouse, led by the National Organization for Marriage, the country's foremost organization opposing same-sex marriage. As they drew abreast with the gay-rights advocates, the tension rose. Protesters on one side chanted, "What do we want? Equality! When do we want it? Now!" Those across the street fell to their knees in prayer. "God forgive them, for they know not what they do," a man with graying hair said, pointing at the praying crowd. "God forgive them." "God doesn't need to forgive us," a blonde woman holding a toddler's hand shouted back. Both camps spilled off the sidewalks, inching closer on the street and shouting their opposing messages in each other's faces. Police officers walked up and down in between the groups, frequently pushing back demonstrators on one side or another to keep them apart. "Don't you people get it?" yelled one gay rights protester. "We're not governed by your god! You dumb-asses!" "Jesus! Jesus!" chanted back a group of African-American teenagers who appeared to be part of a church group, holding signs with the outline of a man and woman on them. A woman with short brown hair and a toddler sitting across her shoulders shook her head as she passed another woman who held a sign painted with block letters reading, "Let me marry who I love." "They'll pass the law to get married, and then force their way into our temples," said the first woman, Lenae Warr, from Fort Belvoir, Va. "We want our freedom protected." A Mormon stay-at-home mom with nine children ranging from 7 to 24 years old, Warr said she had traveled to D.C. because she felt same-sex marriage was "mocking God." Asked how two gay people getting married affected her personally, Warr paused for a long time. She turned to a man marching beside her and asked, "Should I tell her everything?" Warr then grabbed this reporter's arm and whispered fiercely, "I'm a lesbian who chose this lifestyle," gesturing to her three children who had come with her. "That other road never brought me happiness." Two women nearby, also from Northern Virginia, said they had driven to D.C. because they thought same-sex marriage could bring about "damnation." "This is the ultimate, this is what's going to push us over the edge," said Marty, 60, who asked that her last name not be used. "In June, if this passes, watch out -- we're toast!" Marty's friend from church, Janna, who also asked that her last name be withheld, agreed. In her youth she was more liberal, said Janna, who is now 63. "I gave to Planned Parenthood, all that," she said. "But now I can see -- it's like if the whole world were dying of cancer and we have the cure and we're not giving it to you. Would that be right?" Like many opponents of same-sex marriage who rallied on Tuesday, both women emphasized that they did not dislike gay people, and said they were not bigoted. "We love Anderson Cooper," Marty exclaimed. "We think of him as a point of contact -- and the thought of him burning in hell breaks my heart. Anderson, Rosie O'Donnell, all of them. It just breaks my heart." While many protesters tried to stick to their own groups, others appeared to relish the opportunity to confront their opponents directly. Many gay-rights activists echoed the words of Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan, who during Tuesdays hearing asked a lawyer defending Prop. 8 to explain how letting gay and lesbian couples marry harmed the marriages of straight couples. “How does this cause and effect work?” Kagan asked. On the sidewalk across from the court, a shouting match broke out, as a group of men supporting same-sex marriage asked three women opposing it the same question. "Why is this so important," a man wearing a woolen cap asked. "Why don't you just say, you know, 'I believe what I believe and you believe what you believe?'" "They're going to force it on us," replied one young woman with frizzy black hair. "And force it on our children at school!" cried another, who said she was a retired school teacher. "Really," the man pressed, "they're going to force you to marry a woman?" Down on the National Mall, where a coalition staged a rally with musical acts and speakers who warned of the evils same-sex marriage would bring, a man tried to explain to a straight husband and wife wearing "marriage = one man + one woman" pins why he believed same-sex marriage should be legal. "Marriage is a human right," said Tom Dietz, a senior financial analyst for the Department of Homeland Security. "But you don't have to let yourself be carried away by every desire in your body," the husband responded, as though not hearing Dietz. "You chose this life -- and you can choose a more godly one." "I do control myself; I've been in a relationship for 20 years," Dietz replied. Although many in the crowd seemed all too aware aware that public opinion had shifted against them, speakers at the rally tried to boost their supporters' morale. "Don't give up on us young people," said Alison Howard, a graduate of Liberty University and an employee of Concerned Women for America. "The media will tell you that I don't exist. Well I'll be the unicorn! I do exist, and I believe in the marriage between a man and a woman." "We've got Jesus! We've got Jesus," shouted a woman waving a flag with a cross on it. Standing nearby, Evita, a 16-year-old from Chicago wearing a black leather jacket and dark mascara, listened carefully. She shook her head. She wasn't sure of her opinion yet, and she'd come down to D.C. on her spring break to hear arguments from all sides. "Some guys just asked me if I know God -- I said, 'I know who he is, I went to Catholic school!" she said, then paused. "I don't know what God thinks about this, but I don't think I should choose if someone should get married or not."

26 марта 2013, 17:20

Tunisian Terrorists Are Now Confirmed Members of Syrian Death Squads

image sourceBrandon TurbevilleActivist Post In yet another blow to the fragile and the entirely fabricated narrative pushed by the United States, NATO, and the Anglo-American powers, a recent broadcast of a Tunisian television program features firsthand accounts demonstrating that the Syrian “rebels” are actually nothing more than religious fanatics, mercenaries, and foreign fighters. As reported by Salma Bouzid of Tusnisia Live, the Tunisian television show, Attasiaa Massaa, recently featured a clip of a young Tunisian man named Abou Zayd Attounssi who claims that he recently returned to Tunisia after fighting for eight months alongside the inappropriately named “Syrian rebels.” Further supporting the fundamentalist nature of the majority of the members of the NATO death squads (aka rebels) operating in Syria, Attounssi stated that his initial reason for traveling to Syria to engage in murder, plunder, and torture against innocent people was because “he felt his religion required him to engage in jihad against ‘the enemy.’” Although it was apparently not the killing that turned Attounssi off from the death squad movement, he nevertheless became disillusioned with it because, “most of the fighters within the Free Syrian army are fighting for the spoils of war and the foreign aid they supposedly get.”Also featured on the show was the father of Hamza Rjeb, another former death squad member who is now disabled. Rjeb’s father claimed that “the Tunisian government should take full responsibility for his son’s situation and for allowing groups in the country to ‘brainwash’ his son.” google_ad_client = "pub-1897954795849722"; /* 468x60, created 6/30/10 */ google_ad_slot = "8230781418"; google_ad_width = 468; google_ad_height = 60; In an interview with Tunisia Live, Ahmed Youssef, a journalist described by Bouzid as “pro-Assad,” stated, “For every Tunisian fighter brought to Syria, Qatar pays 3,000 dollars to the Syrian rebels.” He also claimed that, “most of the Tunisians come from disadvantaged regions in Tunisia with low unemployment,” and stated that the Tunisians fighting in Syria are “considered mercenaries.” Youssef estimated that the number of Tunisian fighters wreaking havoc in Syria is more than 3,500. While any occasion of violence is seized upon by the Western media to propagandize the alleged evils of the Assad regime and promote the position of the Syrian death squads, it has become increasingly obvious that rule by death squads is in direct contradiction to the desires of the Syrian people.In addition, it has also become clear that the “rebel” movement is nothing more than mercenaries at best and al-Qaeda fanatics at worst. In reality, the death squads are made up of both elements – consisting almost entirely of foreigners who are aided, equipped, trained, and directed by Western intelligence agencies with funds and weapons funneled in through Gulf state feudal monarchies like Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Bahrain as well as “moral” support by Tunisia. Likewise, states like Turkey and Jordan play key roles in the direction of the Syrian death squads by virtue of funneling weapons through the borders and providing intelligence and military strategies. With each passing day, the narrative propagated by NATO forces, Western media, and the U.S. State Department becomes more readily transparent and openly fabricated. Even while Secretary of State and Skull and Bones member John Kerry continues to play the fraudulent story that Syrian death squads are actually peaceful protesters demanding democracy, the death squads themselves are doing everything in their power to declare their fanaticism and impose strict Sharia law upon any and all who are unfortunate enough (also see here) to find themselves under their control. Despite numerous propaganda pushes, even their Western directors could not stop the death squads from announcing their loyalty to the al-Nusra front and, hence, al-Qaeda. Thus, the claim that Tunisian fighters are operating inside Syria as jihadists and mercenaries is by no means surprising. Indeed, such a claim merely stands as one more example of the true nature of the so-called rebels and the allegiances of Western powers.Read other articles by Brandon Turbeville here. Brandon Turbeville is an author out of Florence, South Carolina. He has a Bachelor's Degree from Francis Marion University and is the author of three books, Codex Alimentarius -- The End of Health Freedom, 7 Real Conspiracies, and Five Sense Solutions and Dispatches From a Dissident. Turbeville has published over 200 articles dealing on a wide variety of subjects including health, economics, government corruption, and civil liberties. Brandon Turbeville's podcast Truth on The Tracks can be found every Monday night 9 pm EST at UCYTV.  He is available for radio and TV interviews. Please contact activistpost (at) gmail.com.  var linkwithin_site_id = 557381; linkwithin_text='Related Articles:' Enter Your Email To Receive Our Daily Newsletter Close var fnames = new Array();var ftypes = new Array();fnames[0]='EMAIL';ftypes[0]='email';fnames[1]='FNAME';ftypes[1]='text';fnames[2]='LNAME';ftypes[2]='text';var err_style = ''; try{ err_style = mc_custom_error_style; } catch(e){ err_style = 'margin: 1em 0 0 0; padding: 1em 0.5em 0.5em 0.5em; background: FFEEEE none repeat scroll 0% 0%; font- weight: bold; float: left; z-index: 1; width: 80%; -moz-background-clip: -moz-initial; -moz-background-origin: -moz- initial; -moz-background-inline-policy: -moz-initial; color: FF0000;'; } var mce_jQuery = jQuery.noConflict(); mce_jQuery(document).ready( function($) { var options = { errorClass: 'mce_inline_error', errorElement: 'div', errorStyle: err_style, onkeyup: function(){}, onfocusout:function(){}, onblur:function(){} }; var mce_validator = mce_jQuery("#mc-embedded-subscribe-form").validate(options); options = { url: 'http://activistpost.us1.list-manage.com/subscribe/post-json? u=3ac8bebe085f73ea3503bbda3&id=b0c7fb76bd&c=?', type: 'GET', dataType: 'json', contentType: "application/json; charset=utf-8", beforeSubmit: function(){ mce_jQuery('#mce_tmp_error_msg').remove(); mce_jQuery('.datefield','#mc_embed_signup').each( function(){ var txt = 'filled'; var fields = new Array(); var i = 0; mce_jQuery(':text', this).each( function(){ fields[i] = this; i++; }); mce_jQuery(':hidden', this).each( function(){ if ( fields[0].value=='MM' && fields[1].value=='DD' && fields[2].value=='YYYY' ){ this.value = ''; } else if ( fields[0].value=='' && fields [1].value=='' && fields[2].value=='' ){ this.value = ''; } else { this.value = fields[0].value+'/'+fields[1].value+'/'+fields[2].value; } }); }); return mce_validator.form(); }, success: mce_success_cb }; mce_jQuery('#mc-embedded-subscribe-form').ajaxForm(options); }); function mce_success_cb(resp){ mce_jQuery('#mce-success-response').hide(); mce_jQuery('#mce-error-response').hide(); if (resp.result=="success"){ mce_jQuery('#mce-'+resp.result+'-response').show(); mce_jQuery('#mce-'+resp.result+'-response').html(resp.msg); mce_jQuery('#mc-embedded-subscribe-form').each(function(){ this.reset(); }); } else { var index = -1; var msg; try { var parts = resp.msg.split(' - ',2); if (parts[1]==undefined){ msg = resp.msg; } else { i = parseInt(parts[0]); if (i.toString() == parts[0]){ index = parts[0]; msg = parts[1]; } else { index = -1; msg = resp.msg; } } } catch(e){ index = -1; msg = resp.msg; } try{ if (index== -1){ mce_jQuery('#mce-'+resp.result+'-response').show(); mce_jQuery('#mce-'+resp.result+'-response').html(msg); } else { err_id = 'mce_tmp_error_msg'; html = ' '+msg+''; var input_id = '#mc_embed_signup'; var f = mce_jQuery(input_id); if (ftypes[index]=='address'){ input_id = '#mce-'+fnames[index]+'-addr1'; f = mce_jQuery(input_id).parent().parent().get(0); } else if (ftypes[index]=='date'){ input_id = '#mce-'+fnames[index]+'-month'; f = mce_jQuery(input_id).parent().parent().get(0); } else { input_id = '#mce-'+fnames[index]; f = mce_jQuery().parent(input_id).get(0); } if (f){ mce_jQuery(f).append(html); mce_jQuery(input_id).focus(); } else { mce_jQuery('#mce-'+resp.result+'-response').show(); mce_jQuery('#mce-'+resp.result+'-response').html(msg); } } } catch(e){ mce_jQuery('#mce-'+resp.result+'-response').show(); mce_jQuery('#mce-'+resp.result+'-response').html(msg); } } } BE THE CHANGE! PLEASE SHARE THIS USING THE TOOLS BELOW

26 марта 2013, 16:00

Proof The Obama Administration Is Going After The Good Guys With Guns

What got us to a time when the mainstream media thinks it’s a non-story that Chicago rated dead last in federal prosecutions of gun crimes while it earned the gruesome distinction of being the murder capital of the U.S.? Why is it that the National Rifle Association (NRA), a civil-liberties group with four-million-plus members, has to call journalists out for not reporting bloody and startling facts?

26 марта 2013, 14:37

HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE: Greg Lukianoff, the president of FIRE, the Foundation for Individual…

HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE: Greg Lukianoff, the president of FIRE, the Foundation for Individual Rights and Education stops by my PJ Media blog today for an an audio interview to discusses his recent book, Unlearning Liberty:  Campus Censorship and the End of American Debate. There’s a transcript of the interview, and comments are open, if [...]

24 марта 2013, 04:06

Ken Clarke 'misled' parliament over secret courts bill

Campaigners say Commons was given wrong information about impact on right to releaseConservative cabinet minister Ken Clarke has been accused of misleading parliament as confusion mounts over the government's plans to introduce secret courts ahead of this week's crucial vote in the House of Lords.Campaigners claim the minister without portfolio gave the Commons wrong information about whether the ancient writ of habeas corpus will be undermined by the justice and security bill.Habeas corpus, first used in Britain in 1305, is invoked to demand that a prisoner be released from unlawful detention and is regarded as one of the fundamental safeguards of liberty. Were secret court sessions, known as "closed material procedures" (CMPs), to be allowed in such cases, campaigners fear that those challenging their imprisonment could lose their case without knowing why, because evidence used against them, but deemed to be sensitive in terms of security, would be kept secret.However, days before the bill sanctioning changes that will expand the use of secret hearings into the main civil courts reaches its final stage on Tuesday, critics say the government is still sending mixed messages over the use of CMPs in habeas corpus claims.When asked earlier this month whether the bill would impact on such claims, Clarke told the Commons "no". Later in the same session, he amended his answer, reading out a note from a civil service lawyer which said that the government "can't envisage" a situation where habeas corpus would conflict with secret courts.Yet the Cabinet Office has now confirmed that secret courts could be used in habeas corpus claims where a "judge has found that their use would be in the interests of the fair and effective administration of justice". A Cabinet Office spokesman added that Lord Wallace, advocate general for Scotland, had confirmed to parliament last year that this was a theoretical possibility and that the Home Office minister, James Brokenshire, had confirmed this was the case only last month.However, Clarke, the minister responsible for the justice and security bill, told MPs that the issue of habeas corpus and closed material procedures had "bowled me middle-stump" and that the government "ought to be allowed to go away and consider the matter".Campaigners say that the Commons has still to be updated on the issue, even though the bill reaches its final stage this week.Clare Algar, executive director of the legal charity Reprieve, said: "Ken Clarke has misled parliament over the impact of the secret courts bill. He told the Commons secret courts could not be used in cases where someone's liberty is at stake, yet now his own department has been forced to admit that this claim was wrong."Under the government's plans, it will be possible to use secret courts in habeas corpus claims – the ancient right we all have to demand that we are either given a trial or released from custody."The bill seems likely to have a tricky passage, with peers reported to be planning fundamental amendments that would ensure that judges are given complete discretion over the new system and that the courts are used only as a last resort.Algar added: "This bill strikes at the heart of the principle that everyone has the right to a fair trial and that no one, not even the government, is above the law. Given the significance of these changes, it is disgraceful that we are seeing obfuscation and misinformation from ministers, even at this late stage."It is hard to see how anyone can now believe any of the reassurances given by the government on the secret courts bill. MPs and peers must do everything they can to stop these dangerous proposals from wrecking our justice system."Campaigners point to the recent habeas corpus claim of Yunus Rahmatullah, one of two men detained by UK forces in Iraq in 2004, then subsequently handed over to the US and rendered to Bagram prison in Afghanistan, where he remains without charge or trial.Reprieve brought a habeas corpus claim against the British government in 2011 because it had signed an agreement with the US under which Rahmatullah, 29, remained under UK control and the UK could request his return at any point.The habeas corpus claim in the court of appeal was successful, forcing the UK government to ask the US to return Rahmatullah into its custody, so that he could be charged or released. The appeal court's ruling was later overturned after the US refused the demand.Critics of the bill say Rahmatullah's case illustrates how, if secret courts are introduced, the government could claim "national security" reasons in such cases, making it harder to win as Rahmatullah's lawyers would not have been able to hear or challenge the government's evidence.A spokesman for the Cabinet Office said: "Habeas corpus cases involving national security evidence are extremely rare. Under the bill, a CMP could only be used in such a case where a judge has found that their use would be in the interests of the fair and effective administration of justice. Even then they could only be used to hear those pieces of evidence which that same judge has found are national security sensitive."Justice and security billKenneth ClarkeMark Townsendguardian.co.uk © 2013 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds

22 марта 2013, 04:03

Thatcher papers show Falkland islands doubts in heart of Downing Street

Former PM's personal documents show her senior advisers proposed buying out islanders rather than sending taskforceRead more on the Thatcher papers hereSome of Margaret Thatcher's closest policy advisers voiced strong concerns that the Falklands Islands were not worth the fight, from the earliest days of the campaign, according to the latest release of files from the former Conservative prime minister's personal papers.The papers show that, contrary to the jingoistic spirit at the time, the divisions over the Falklands went to the very heart of Downing Street with both Thatcher's senior economic adviser, Sir Alan Walters, and her chief of staff, David Wolfson, proposing schemes offering to buy-out the 1,800 islanders rather than send a taskforce to the South Atlantic. The scepticism extended to the head of the Downing Street policy unit, Sir John Hoskyns, who voiced the fear of making "almighty fools of ourselves" and worried that an essentially minor issue could precipitate the downfall of the Thatcher government.Hoskyns also told her press secretary, Bernard Ingham, that it was "rather unwise" to talk about the islanders' wishes being paramount, and criticised the public tone being struck: "If we talk about it as a combination of Stalingrad and Alamein we risk looking absurd. This is not a battle for our homeland and civilisation."Wolfson made an explicit proposal in a note to Thatcher on 22 April 1982 to avoid war by way of buying off the Falklanders. He suggested that the "bribe" of a US-backed index-linked guarantee of $100,000 per family and lifetime guarantees allowing residents to settle in Britain, Australia or New Zealand with full citizenship, be offered."This is the bribe which would have to convince Galtieri that they would vote for Argentine sovereignty," he told her.Walters records in his private diaries made public today that he proposed his compensation scheme on 6 April, four days after the Argentinians had seized the islands."I sent PM a memo saying we should get Argentina to pay compensation to the Falklanders – objections from John Coles [her foreign affairs adviser] that PM would through [sic] it out – need some blood first for credibility to H/C [House of Commons] and to Argentine – I doubt it. This Jingo mood will pass but JH [Hoskyns] thinks she will miss the change."The prime minister's private secretary, Michael Scholar, said the PM had already considered a number of similar ideas but concluded that "it would mean the end of the government to pursue them now".Walters did not give up however. Sir Geoffrey Howe, chancellor at the time, told him two days later that the compensation scheme was logical but would be taken as a sell-out. But her monetarist guru persisted with the idea throughout the crisis. He even revived the notion in a 1995 article for an Argentinian paper suggesting that they offer the islanders £475,000-a-head to leave.This March, the Falkland islanders voted by 1,513 to three to retain their status as an overseas territory of the UK.The Argentinian president, Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, this week urged Pope Francis, (the former archbishop of Buenos Aires) to intervene against the "militarisation of Great Britain in the South Atlantic".The release of the 1982 personal papers by the Margaret Thatcher Foundation also show that the prime minister's chief whip, Michael Jopling, was warning her about the deep divisions of the Conservatives in the Commons that went well beyond her battle with the traditional Tory "wets".The popular image of the Conservative party was defined at the time by reports of a belligerent meeting of the backbench 1922 committee, held on 3 April, as the taskforce set sail; the Foreign Office was sharply criticised and the meeting triggered Lord Carrington's resignation as foreign secretary the next day.By the time the taskforce arrived off South Georgia on 21 April the chief whip had outlined six groups of MPs, ranging from the hardline "no surrender" group headed by Alan Clark, to more than a dozen MPs who thought not a single shot should be fired in anger or that the Falklands were not worth the effort and that it was dangerous to go on describing the islanders' views as paramount.Jopling quotes one blunt Scots Conservative peer, Lord Drumalbyn, who told him: "I think the government are mad. We do not want the place, in any case."One Tory MP, Marcus Kimball, said: "Let the Argentinians have the Falklands with as little fuss as possible."The Tory "wet" Sir Ian Gilmour said: "We are making a big mistake. It will make Suez look like commonsense."Even the distinguished political historian and MP, Robert Rhodes James, was reported to be "hopelessly defeatist, depressed and disloyal".Ken Clarke, later a cabinet minister under Thatcher, was bracketed with Sir Timothy Raison in the chief whip's note as hoping "that nobody thinks we are going to fight the Argentinians, we should blow up a few ships but nothing more".Chris Patten, later party chairman, rather more opportunistically offered to "write a supportive article in the press once the situation is clearer".Another future cabinet minister, Stephen Dorrell, was described as being "very wobbly" and reportedly would "only support the fleet as a negotiating ploy; if they will not negotiate we should withdraw".Even dry-as-dust Thatcherite ministers outside Downing Street, such as Jock Bruce-Gardyne at the Treasury, sent Thatcher personal letters telling her that compromise "should not, one feels, be beyond the wit of man", posing the question that "more spectacular solutions may appeal to the gallery, but would they last?"He went on to warn that failure "would involve irreparable damage to the government out of all proportion to the significance of the islands".But one MP, West Devon's Peter Mills, said: "My constituents want blood."The papers, which are stored at the Churchill Archive Centre, in Cambridge, include a letter from John Murray, a close family friend of the Thatchers, sent after the UK's Falklands victory. It suggested it was time to re-open talks with Argentina and for the islanders to be moved on "perhaps with our assistance".The effect of all this internal criticism appears to have driven Thatcher ever deeper into the heart of the Whitehall machine and made her rely only on a handful of her most senior ministers and officials, and military and intelligence chiefs.It was this isolation that perhaps led her to declare that she "never had any doubt about the rightness of the decision" and then to tell journalists to "rejoice, just rejoice" over the recapture by the British forces of South Georgia on 25 April 1982. There was one sequel when Thatcher made some unscripted remarks in a speech to Scots Conservatives on 14 May when she said: "What really thrilled me … is that when it really came to the test was being able to serve a great cause, the cause of liberty."These remarks led the seasoned war correspondent, James Cameron, to reflect in the Guardian: "I wish Mrs Thatcher a long and happy life, but I wish she could know what it is like to be on a landing craft getting her thrills first-hand."Margaret ThatcherFalkland IslandsAmericasArgentinaAlan Travisguardian.co.uk © 2013 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds

22 марта 2013, 02:02

Liberty Media Walks a Tightrope - Analyst Blog

We reiterate our long-term Neutral recommendation on Liberty Media.

22 марта 2013, 00:09

Guantánamo hunger strike much bigger than reported, rights group claims

Pentagon accused of 'not admitting scale and scope' of strike, with reports of 130 inmates protesting mistreatment of Qur'ansA campaign group representing some of the inmates at Guantánamo Bay said on Thursday that a mass hunger strike currently taking place at the controversial prison camp is far larger than US military authorities have admitted.On Wednesday, General John Kelly told a congressional committee that 24 Guantánamo prisoners were on "hunger strike light" and eating "a bit, but not a lot" as a way of protesting against allegations that the Qur'an had been mishandled by military staff, and also to highlight their continuing detention without trial.But Omar Farah, who works on Guantánamo issues for the New York-based Center for Constitutional Rights, said that one of his seven clients at the base, Yemeni inmate Fahad Ghazy, had recently told him that the strike involved many more inmates. "They [the Pentagon] are not admitting the scale and scope of the hunger strike," Farah said.On March 14, Farah said, Ghazy had told him in a phone call that all but two inmates in Guantánamo's Camp Six were on hunger strike, and that that likely represented almost 130 people. Ghazy had added that some detainees at Camp Five were also on hunger strike. There are about 166 inmates at Guantánamo, of whom about half have been cleared for transfer or release. Nearly all inmates have been held without charge – some for as long as 11 years.Farah warned that if the hunger strike continued, some inmates could die. "We are afraid for some of the mens' lives. If someone persists with not eating food they can suffer severe physical damage and may die," he said.Kelly, who vociferously denied any charge that Qur'ans had been mishandled, did admit that eight detainees had lost enough weight that they were now being force fed via tubes. But he insisted there was no crisis."[They] present themselves daily, calmly, in a totally co-operative way, to be fed through a tube," he said, adding that he believed those prisoners were also eating by themselves when they were in their cells.The clashing versions of events are the latest in a long line of controversies that have dogged the Guántanamo prison since it was set up to house suspects caught up in the so-called "war on terror". The process of detaining terror suspects has outraged civil liberties groups in the US and abroad, especially as dealing with the suspects legally has been painfully slow or non-existent.President Obama vowed to shut the camp in his first year of office, but his efforts were stymied by Congress and have apparently been shelved. Earlier this year, the State Department office meant to deal with resettling Guantánamo prisoners was closed down.Even Kelley admitted that the inmates' morale was extremely poor. "They had great optimism that Guantánamo would be closed. They were devastated, apparently, when the president backed off," he said.Meanwhile, those advocating prisoners' rights have also criticised a recent announcement that will end the only civilian flight that goes to the base. Earlier this week Florida firm IBC Travel said it had been ordered to stop flying to the base from May 1 at the latest.That will mean lawyers, journalists and human rights workers will only be able to get to the base aboard a military flight – something that requires permission from the Pentagon. "It will certainly make it a lot more difficult to get there at a time when we all need increased access," said Farah.The only major trial to emerge from Guantanamo Bay has been a military tribunal held for alleged 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Muhammed and four others, which began last year. By contrast, Osama bin Laden's son-in-law Sulaiman Abu Ghaith, who was captured earlier this month, will be prosecuted in a criminal court in New York on charges of conspiring to kill Americans.Guantánamo BayUS foreign policyCubaUS militaryHuman rightsPaul Harrisguardian.co.uk © 2013 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds

21 марта 2013, 23:43

Why Liberty Media Will Sell Its Sirius XM Shares

Earlier this week Liberty Media (LMCA) announced that it would be making a sizable investment in cable company Charter Communications (CHTR). The investment is: ...to acquire approximately 26.9 million shares and approximately 1.1 million warrants in Charter Communications, Inc. for approximately $2.617 billion, which represents an approximate 27.3% beneficial ownership in Charter and a price per share of $95.50. Liberty expects to fund the purchase with a combination of cash on hand and new loan arrangements. The transaction is expected to close within the next two months. The agreement limits Liberty's stake and allows Liberty to appoint four members to the Charter Board of Directors. Liberty announced that those four would be Liberty Chairman John Malone, Liberty CEO Greg Maffei, Barnes & Noble (BKS) CFO Michael Huseby, and Liberty Global EVP and CTO Nair Balan.Despite the equity limitations, an article at nytimes.com begins, "John C. MaloneComplete Story »

21 марта 2013, 17:00

A New Type of Philanthropy: Donating Data

We all recognize that without support from the private sector, many of the public programs in the arts, health and education — which we take for granted — would not exist. That same spirit should extend to Big Data. At the height of the global financial crisis in 2009, the Global Pulse initiative (where I serve as director) was set up by the UN Secretary-General as an R&D lab to find out whether Big Data and real-time analytics could help make policymaking more agile and effective. The evidence is growing that it can. For example, in developing countries, mobile network operators can estimate household income of their subscribers from how much and how often they purchase airtime. Online chatter on blogs and forums can foreshadow imminent unemployment spikes. The volume of tweets mentioning food prices tends to rise and fall with inflation rates, and calling patterns through mobile phone networks shift in response to the prices of specific commodities. Such research has changed the debate from whether Big Data can have social impact to how. For the UN, this ability to glean real-time information could transform our work to protect development gains among the world's most vulnerable populations. Big Data also has serious implications for public health. Twitter has become a useful source of data for tracking everything from earthquake impacts to disease outbreaks to misuse of prescription drugs. Major institutions in the U.S. and Australia are already rolling out their own real-time Twitter monitoring tools. After the devastating earthquake in Haiti, researchers from Columbia University and Sweden's Karolinska Institute worked with mobile carrier Digicel to use phone towers to show where people from areas hard-hit by cholera were moving and taking the contagious bacteria with them. Society as a whole benefits from applications like these. But the public sector cannot fully exploit Big Data without leadership from the private sector. What we need is action that goes beyond corporate social responsibility. We need Big Data to be treated as a public good. The technology required for real-time analysis of Big Data is so new that even the private sector is struggling to learn how to use it effectively to bolster profits. And while they deserve the opportunity to focus their talent and research on realizing benefits for their shareholders, it would be a massive oversight if the public sector got left behind. Even experts operating in the private sector assert that for the true potential of Big Data to be realized, different streams of information would need to be combined. Social media data combined with mobile phone data combined with retail data might be necessary to provide a fuller picture of what's needed after a global crisis, such as a natural disaster or another economic downturn. This type of analysis might require that various private sector companies share potentially sensitive information. It is not reasonable to expect them to take this risk unless they are convinced of the public benefit. At Global Pulse our strategy has been to form strategic partnerships with leading organizations that have the data, technology, and human expertise to learn how to do this analysis. We have been approaching companies with thought leadership on what we call data philanthropy, the idea that the private sector "holders" of Big Data can make this valuable resource available to the public. Ultimately, we envision a world in which the private sector contributes to a real-time data commons. Yet we recognize that they will only do so on their own terms, and in the end, doing so must make good business sense. We believe they can share different types of real-time data in ways that don't compromise their market competitiveness, and that fully protect privacy in the process. It will take courage, imagination, new regulatory frameworks, innovative policies, and fresh thinking about how public-private sector partnerships can be structured — but we must bring about this new reality. Debates in the private sector have devolved into an existential struggle between two camps: one which believes that privacy is dead and profit is king, and one which fears that any reuse of data beyond the original purpose for which it was collected is a potential threat to privacy and civil liberties. Our goal is to insert a third pole into this discussion: Big Data is a raw public good, and we must work together to find ways to harness it for massive social impact, both safely and responsibly. For this to happen, data philanthropy has to become a private sector priority. This post is part of an online debate about How Big Data Can Have a Social Impact, which we're hosting in partnership with the Skoll World Forum on Social Entrepreneurship. You can view the entire debate here. Scaling Social ImpactInsights from HBR and The Bridgespan Group Nonprofits: Master "Medium Data" Before Tackling Big Data Big Data Means More Than Big Profits Deliver Big Impact on a Small Budget Give Us Feedback and Get a Free HBR Article

21 марта 2013, 10:20

Sirius XM Share Buyback A Double Edged Sword

Last Fall Sirius XM (SIRI) announced a $2 billion share buyback program along with a new $1.25 billion credit facility. It was news that was widely anticipated because Liberty Media (LMCA) was getting ready to establish control of the company by going over the 50% threshold and there was going to be a point in time when Liberty would seeks to get back some $1.7 billion that it had invested into buying common shares of Sirius XM on the open market and through forward contracts.Share buybacks can be a wonderful event for shareholders, but in many ways they are a double edged sword. Because of the Liberty Media dynamic this sword could actually be triple edged. Here Is why.In theory a company buys back shares to return capital to shareholders. The float drops and with less shares on the market the price of the equity should rise. CounterComplete Story »