Archive for the ‘freedom’ Category

Muslims and Hindus Complained So Now Britain’s Honor “Trinity Cross” Is Unlawful

May 8, 2009

An honour established by the Queen has been declared unlawful after Muslims and Hindus complained that its Christian name and cross insignia were offensive.

The Trinity Cross of the Order of Trinity was established by the Queen 40 years ago to recognise distinguished service and gallantry in the former colony of Trinidad and Tobago. It has been received by 62 people including the cricketers Garfield Sobers and Brian Lara, the novelist V. S. Naipaul and many of the islands’ leading politicians and diplomats.

The Privy Council in London has ruled that the decoration is unconstitutional because it discriminates against non-Christians. Five British law lords said that the creation of the honour breached the right to equality and the right to freedom of conscience and belief. The implications of the ruling on British decorations are being studied by lawyers at the Cabinet Office, which oversees the honours system. A spokesman said: “We have noted the judgment and are monitoring the situation.”

A parliamentary review of British honours has already recommended streamlining the system with new titles that have no reference to Christian saints or symbols.

From The Times (UK)

Read the rest:
http://business.timesonline.co.
uk/tol/business/law/article6245144.ece

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Obama’s First 100 days: Gag bill for ministers? “God damn America” is O.K., Literal reading of the bible may not be….

April 29, 2009

The House is expected to act on hate crimes legislation Wednesday.

Opponents spoke out against the bill, Tuesday, on Capitol Hill calling it a “gag bill for ministers.”

The legislation adds gay and transgender people to the list of federally protected classes for hate crimes.

Texas congressman Louie Gohmert is a former judge. He says the law already punishes people who commit terrible crimes for any reason.
.
 hate crimes law, he said, would add nothing but punishment for pastors who preach biblically held beliefs against homosexuality.

“It would not take too many arrests to have an extraordinary chilling affect on some religious teachings with regard to sexual immorality,” Gohmert claimed.

Congressman Clyburn says the law is only meant to keep gay people from being targeted because of their sexuality.

“Nothing in this legislation will stymie the free expression of any religion,” he said.

Opponents are working to amend the legislation to protect pastors.

From CBN News

Michelle:
http://michellemalkin.com/2009/0
4/29/100-days-of-the-poser-presid
ency/

Every phone call, email or website visit will be monitored by the government

April 25, 2009

Every phone call, email or website visit will be monitored by the state under plans to be unveiled next week in the UK.

By Tom Whitehead
Telegraph (UK)

The proposals will give police and security services the power to snoop on every single communication made by the public with the data then likely to be stored in an enormous national database.

The precise content of calls and other communications would not be accessible but even text messages and visits to social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter would be tracked.
.
The move has alarmed civil liberty campaigners, and the country’s data protection watchdog last night warned the proposals would be “unacceptable”.

Jacqui Smith, the Home Secretary, will argue the powers are needed to target terrorists and serious criminals who are taking advantage of the increasing complex nature of communications to plot atrocities and crimes.

A consultation document on the plans, known in Whitehall as the Interception Modernisation Programme, is likely to put great emphasis on the threat facing Britain and warn the alternative to the powers would be a massive expansion of surveillance.

But that will fuel concerns among critics that the Government is using a climate of fear to expand the surveillance state.

Information Commissioner Richard Thomas, the country’s data watchdog, told the Daily Telegraph: “I have no problem with the targeted surveillance of terrorist suspects.

“But a Government database of the records of everyone’s communications – if that is to be proposed – is not likely to be acceptable to the British public. Remember that records – who? when? where? – can be highly intrusive even if no content is collected.”

Read the rest:
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/ukn
ews/5215413/Every-phone-call-email
-or-website-visit-to-be-monitored.html

If you had told me some of these Obama stories three months ago I would have said “impossible!”

April 24, 2009

Vice President Joe Biden got off the leash (again) today suggesting that people should avoid trains, subways and aircraft until the N1H1 (formerly swine) flu passes.

Biden was in trouble with airlines and everyone else for his dim bulb remarks.

The U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security got in trouble with U.S. military veterans and Canadians in just a few weeks time.  And refused to say the word “terrorists” at her confirmation hearigs.

Then she had to apologize to the American Legion.

Today she bailed out Joe Biden.  Where I come from, the U.S. Navy, juniors can’t bail out seniors.  Blame goes up the chain of command.  But Barack was busy bailing out Chrysler.  To hell with Biden.

If you had told me that three months ago I would have said “No Way!

Way….

Ed Morrissey at Hot Air said today, “Ironically, Barack Obama and the Democrats have started becoming French at the exact same time as the French have started becoming more American in economics … or at least more British…”

That is a hoot since Sarkozy said Obama was “unoriginal, unsubstantial and overrated.”

Sounds a lot like “overpaid, oversexed and over here.”

How about the President of the United States mugging with Hugo Chavez while hoding the numero uno anti-American text in the Latin American world — in Latin American history?

How about the first cabinet meeting (after 90 days) and bragging about saving $100 million?

Big deal.  No way.

How about Numero Uno flying to Iowa to give a 20 minute talk on energy conservation and then flying home?

How about insulting the PM of the UK and the queen for foolish, ill- conceived gifts, like an IPod made in China and DVDs that don’t work in Britain?

Or returning the bust of Sir Winston to Gordon Brown.  Ever hear of storage?  That’s what the Smithsonian is for: unwanted White House decor….

Or giving a giant red reset button to Russia with the word mis-spelled so it says “discount”?  Or was it “overcharge”?

If you told me a few months ago that the U.S. would barrow so much that China virtually owned the U.S. I would have asked: are you on drugs?

If you had said the government will own GM and Chrysler and most of the major banks I would have howled with laughter last Christmas….

Now that isn’t even funny….

If you had told me the U.S. economy was losing more than 600,000 jobs every month in 2009 I would have cried….

If you had told me the president suggested and the congress passed (without reading) the biggest government give-away of tax dollars in history and that didn’t even make a dent I can’t say what I might have done….

It is just too crazy….

If you had told me the president, this president, President Obama would pass and sign (in secret) a budget loaded with earmarks after he campaigned against earmarks I would have howled in protest….

If you had told me conservatives took to the streets with signs of protest?  I would have laughed out loud (LoL).

But if you had told me three months ago that Nancy Pelosi and Barney Frank were saying stupid stuff left and right I would have said, “What’s new?”

If you had told me the president begged for forgiveness of the french for America’s arrogance?

Sac Le Bleu!

And that Sarkozy would stab Obama in the back?  That part I’d believe….

You can’t make this stuff up.  Leno should sue: Obama has all the good material….

Yup.

They are kidding, right?

Obama White House Engineered Photo Ops, Publicity Stunts Not Always Honest, Well Conceived

 Obama’s Dumb Moves Getting More Difficult to Ignore? On Friday Mainstream Media Realiazes Monday’s Cabinet Meeting Was Laughable, Really

Revolt! Missouri May Give Federal Stimulus Money Back To State Taxpayers

http://hotair.com/archives/2009/0
4/30/video-dont-make-us-into-fr
ance-mr-president/

US President Barack Obama (L) and French President Nicolas Sarkozy ... 
US President Barack Obama (L) and French President Nicolas Sarkozy meet during the NATO summit arrival ceremony at the the Palais Rohan in Strasbourg. Obama threw his backing behind Turkey’s bid to join the European Union before being slapped down by Sarkozy for intervening in the bloc’s affairs. Sarkozy also said Obama was “unoriginal, unsubstantial and overrated.”(AFP/Eric Feferberg)

Pentagon Cyber-Command Is in the Works

April 22, 2009

The Obama administration is finalizing plans for a new Pentagon command to coordinate the security of military computer networks and to develop new offensive cyber-weapons, sources said last night.

Planning for the reorganization of Defense Department and intelligence agencies is underway, and a decision is imminent, according to a person familiar with the White House plans.

The new command would affect U.S. Strategic Command, whose mission includes ensuring U.S. “freedom of action” in space and cyberspace, and the National Security Agency, which shares Pentagon cybersecurity responsibilities with the Defense Information Systems Agency.

The Pentagon plans do not involve the Department of Homeland Security, which has responsibility for securing the government’s non-military computer domain.

But President Obama must approve the changes and Congress must be notified of them before they can be implemented, said this source, who has spoken with several White House and military officials. This individual spoke on the condition of anonymity because the process is still “in motion.”

Read the rest fromThe Washington Post:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/cont
ent/article/2009/04/22/AR2009042
200029.html?hpid=topnews

Senate Proposal Could Put Heavy Restrictions on Internet Freedoms

April 22, 2009

A proposed bill that would give the president widespread power to shut down the Internet in the event of a cyberattack could have sweeping implications on civil liberties.

By James Osborne

Fox News

The days of an open, largely unregulated Internet may soon come to an end.

A bill making its way through Congress proposes to give the U.S. government authority over all networks considered part of the nation’s critical infrastructure. Under the proposed Cybersecurity Act of 2009, the president would have the authority to shut down Internet traffic to protect national security.

The government also would have access to digital data from a vast array of industries including banking, telecommunications and energy. A second bill, meanwhile, would create a national cybersecurity adviser — commonly referred to as the cybersecurity czar — within the White House to coordinate strategy with a wide range of federal agencies involved.

Related:
Obama’s Plan: Shut Off Free Speech by Shutting Off Internet, Talk Radio and Fox News

The need for greater cybersecurity is obvious:

– Canadian researchers recently discovered that computers in 103 countries, including those in facilities such as embassies and news media offices, were infected with software designed to steal network data.

– A Seattle security analyst warned last month that the advancement of digital communication within the electrical grid, as promoted under President Obama’s stimulus plan, would leave the nation’s electrical supply dangerously vulnerable to hackers.

– And on Tuesday the Wall Street Journal reported that computer spies had broken into the Pentagon’s $300 billion Joint Strike Fighter project and had breached the Air Force’s air-traffic-control system.

Nonetheless, the proposal to give the U.S. government the authority to regulate the Internet is sounding alarms among critics who say it’s another case of big government getting bigger and more intrusive.

Silicon Valley executives are calling the bill vague and overly intrusive, and they are rebelling at the thought of increased and costly government regulations amid the global economic crisis.

Others are concerned about the potential erosion of civil liberties. “I’m scared of it,” said Lee Tien, an attorney with the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a San Francisco-based group.

“It’s really broad, and there are plenty of laws right now designed to prevent the government getting access to that kind of data. It’s the same stuff we’ve been fighting on the warrantless wiretapping.”

Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W. Va, who introduced the bill earlier this month with bipartisan support, is casting the legislation as critical to protecting everything from our water and electricity to banking, traffic lights and electronic health records.

“I know the threats we face.” Rockefeller said in a prepared statement when the legislation was introduced. “Our enemies are real. They are sophisticated, they are determined and they will not rest.”

The bill would allow the government to create a detailed set of standards for cybersecurity, as well as take over the process of certifying IT technicians. But many in the technology sector say the government is simply ill-equipped to get involved at the technical level, said Franck Journoud, a policy analyst with the Business Software Alliance.

“Simply put, who has the expertise?” he said. “It’s the industry, not the government. We have a responsibility to increase and improve security. That responsibility cannot be captured in a government standard.”

A spokeswoman from Rockefeller’s office said neither he nor the two senators who co-sponsored the bill, Olympia Snowe, R-Maine, and Bill Nelson, D-Fla., will answer questions on cybersecurity at a later date.

Obama, meanwhile, is considering his own strategy on cybersecurity. On Friday, the White House completed a lengthy review of the nation’s computer networks and their vulnerability to attack. An announcement is expected as early as this week.

“I kind of view [the Rockefeller bill] as an opening shot,” said Tien. “The concept is cybersecurity. There’s this 60-day review underway, and some people wanted to get in there and make their mark on the White House policy development.”

IT leaders hope the president will consider their argument that their business is not only incredibly complex and static, but that it also spreads over the entire globe.

If the United States was to set its own standard for cybersecurity, they say, it would create a host of logistical challenges for technology companies, virtually all of which operate internationally.

“Any standards have to be set at an international level and be industry led,” said Dale Curtis, a spokesman for the Software Business Alliance. “This industry moves so fast, and government just doesn’t move that fast.”

Many Silicon Valley executives remain hopeful that the White House’s recommendations will be more industry-friendly, following what Journoud said was a good dialogue with former Bush administration official Melissa Hathaway, who is leading the White House review and is considered a likely candidate for cybersecurity czar.

Bush, In China, Gets Laughs; Talks Freedom of Religion

April 19, 2009

Former President George W. Bush cracked jokes about how he scoops up after his dog on neighborhood walks and then turned to more serious subjects like terrorism and the financial crisis Saturday during his first overseas trip since leaving office.

Bush — in China for the Boao Forum — also shared some of his most unusual moments with leaders, including the time he listened to former Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi sing “Hound Dog” while visiting Graceland mansion, home to the late Elvis Presley in Memphis, Tennessee.

The stories drew laughter and applause from the audience in a huge banquet hall at the forum, an annual conference where executives hobnob with global leaders at a resort on China’s southern tropical island province of Hainan. Security was tight and there were no protests.

Bush said after he left the White House and moved into his new home in Dallas, Texas, he decided to take his Scottish terrier Barney for a walk. To be a good neighbor, he said he carried a plastic bag so he could clean up his dog’s droppings. The task seemed ironic to him, he said.

“I was picking up what I had been dodging for eight years,” Bush said.

The former president said after he left the presidency in January, he plopped down on the couch and said, “Free at last.”

But his wife, Laura, piped in: “You’re free to do the dishes,” he said.

After a few other jokes, Bush shifted to more serious topics. Although this was his first trip overseas since leaving office, it was his second speech in a foreign country. Last month, Bush spoke in Calgary, Canada.

On Saturday, he said he would not criticize Barack Obama and wished his successor all the best.

“He was not my first choice, but now that this election was made, it speaks volumes about the United States of America,” Bush said.

He recalled that when the financial crisis began hitting America, he accused Wall Street of getting drunk and giving the country a hangover. Bush said he hoped a more sober economic order would emerge from the global slump.

“Maybe the next time around, there won’t be enough booze,” he said.

The crisis gives the world an opportunity to modernize financial systems, craft smarter regulations for complex financial instruments, create better banking standards and enact more efficient warning systems, Bush said.

“Our economy has been hit hard, but we have the resources and resilience to recover,” he added.

Bush also urged global leaders to continue the struggle against terrorism and to support the young democracies in Iraq and Afghanistan.

But he said the economic center of the world was shifting to Asia, which accounts for 55 percent of the global economy. China will continue to be of high importance to the U.S., he said.

“It’s just mind boggling how this country has changed,” he added.

During past visits to China, Bush urged Chinese leaders to expand religious freedom in the country. He mentioned the issue again Saturday in a low-key, oblique way.

“People who are allowed to worship freely in society,” he said, “are people who are going to be peaceful citizens.”

Fox News

Jackie Chan Urges China To Remain its Restrictive, Controlling, Communist Self: “Freedom is Too Chaotic”

April 18, 2009

BOAO, China —  Action star Jackie Chan said Saturday he’s not sure if a free society is a good thing for China and that he’s starting to think “we Chinese need to be controlled.” 

Chan’s comments drew applause from a predominantly Chinese audience of business leaders in China’s southern island province of Hainan.

By WILLIAM FOREMAN, Associated Press Writer

The 55-year-old Hong Kong actor was participating in a panel at the annual Boao Forum when he was asked to discuss censorship and restrictions on filmmakers in China. He expanded his comments to include society.

“I’m not sure if it’s good to have freedom or not,” Chan said. “I’m really confused now. If you’re too free, you’re like the way Hong Kong is now. It’s very chaotic. Taiwan is also chaotic.”

Chan added: “I’m gradually beginning to feel that we Chinese need to be controlled. If we’re not being controlled, we’ll just do what we want.”

The kung fu star has not been a vocal supporter of the pro-democracy movement in his hometown of Hong Kong. Since the former British colony returned to Chinese rule in 1997, voters have not been allowed to directly elect their leader. Several massive street protests have been held to demand full democracy, but Beijing has repeatedly said Hong Kong isn’t ready for it.

The theme at Saturday’s panel discussion was “Tapping into Asia’s Creative Industry Potential,” and Chan had several opinions about innovation in China.

He said that early in his career, he lived in the shadow of the late martial arts star Bruce Lee. He said that during his first foray into Hollywood, he struggled to establish his own identity, so he returned to Hong Kong. After spending 15 years building his reputation in Asia, Chan finally got rediscovered by Hollywood, he said.

Chan said the problem with Chinese youth is that “they like other people’s things. They don’t like their own things.” Young people need to spend more time developing their own style, he added.

The action hero complained that Chinese goods still have too many quality problems. He became emotional when discussing contaminated milk powder that sickened tens of thousands of Chinese babies in the past year.

Speaking fast with his voice rising, Chan said, “If I need to buy a TV, I’ll definitely buy a Japanese TV. A Chinese TV might explode.”

Hong Kong actor Jackie Chan, right, gestures as he speak while ... 
Hong Kong actor Jackie Chan, right, gestures as he speak while Chinese actress Lin Peng look on during a news conference to promote his new film ‘Big Soldier’ in Beijing, China, Thursday, April 2, 2009.(AP Photo/Andy Wong)