Tag Archives: government

Privacy Protection – 4th Amendment Legal Issues …

Posted: January 12, 2017 at 1:47 pm

Legal Topics > Government > Constitutional Law > Constitutional Laws

The Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution protects individual privacy interests by preventing unreasonable searches and seizures. An individual’s privacy interests are referred to as a person’s reasonable expectation of privacy. The Fourth Amendment protects this interest by limiting when and how police can conduct a search of a citizen’s house, papers, effects, or physical person.

However, the Fourth Amendment only protects people against “unreasonable” searches. “Reasonable” searches can override a person’s Fourth Amendment privacy concerns. Generally, the police need two things before they can invade a persons reasonable expectation of privacy:

Under certain circumstances however, the police can conduct searches without a warrant.

The Fourth Amendment only applies to searches that violate a person’s reasonable expectation of privacy. If no reasonable expectation of privacy exists, then the Fourth Amendment cannot protect that search. Courts ask two questions when determining whether a person had a reasonable expectation of privacy:

A search warrant is an order authorizing police officers to search for specific objects or materials at a specific time and location. Police obtain these warrants by showing a judge that they have probable cause to believe that criminal activity is taking place and that illegal contraband will be found at the place to be searched.

The Fourth Amendment does not define probable cause; it is a term developed by judges and lawyers to assist in determining the reasonableness of a search. Probable cause occurs where the facts and circumstances of a situation combined with a police officer’s knowledge and experience lead him to believe that criminal activity is occurring. Thus, probable cause is somewhere above a mere suspicion but less than beyond a reasonable doubt.

Generally, in cases where a police officer seeks a search warrant, and his probable cause is mistaken but made in good faith, the search can still be considered valid and reasonable.

A lawyer can help you navigate through the complex legal system and restore your privacy rights. If a search is unreasonable, the police cannot use any evidence obtained in the search. Therefore, it is important to discuss the search with a criminal defenselawyer who can evaluate the search procedure.

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Privacy Protection – 4th Amendment Legal Issues …

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Bahamas – The New York Times

Posted: January 11, 2017 at 12:10 am

Latest Articles

A new climate study warning of abrupt coastal flooding gets dipped in the acid bath of open peer review.

To celebrate turning 29, the designer made a Bahamian getaway with his boyfriend, Paul Arnhold, and their cockapoo, Bird.

By JULIE BAUMGARDNER

From aristocratic roots to a peaceful beachside existence on Harbour Island, the model-turned-designers new lifestyle brand reveals no shortage of inspiration.

By EVIANA HARTMAN

Raids on places where Haitians live have swept up hundreds of people since a new policy took effect, requiring everyone to hold a passport.

Many buyers of high-end condos in Manhattan have started shopping for beachfront retreats in the Bahamas, some developed by New Yorkers.

By JULIE SATOW

Baha Mar, a luxury resort scheduled to open next year in Nassau in the Bahamas, will have four different hotel brands in separate towers.

By SHIVANI VORA

About 20 years ago, the beautiful and otherworldly red lionfish started showing up in south Florida and the Caribbean. Now theyre a plague.

About 20 years ago, the beautiful and otherworldly red lionfish started showing up in south Florida and the Caribbean. Now theyre a plague.

As the plane was touching down in Nassau, flames were spotted near the lefthand engine. All 93 on board escaped safely.

The wind was picking up here Thursday afternoon as Hurricane Frances worked its way up the Bahamas, kicking up 15-foot waves in the sparsely populated southeastern islands. But Mervyn Taylor, a graying civil servant, was playing a leisurely game of dominoes outside the Columbus Primary School with some friends who, like himself, had boarded up their houses and now were just waiting for the storm. Mr. Taylor and the others had heard the reports of hundreds of thousands of Floridians clogging the highways in an urgent exodus from the beaches. But, he said, having lived all his life on one or another of the 700 islands that make up the Bahamas, the idea of trying to run from a hurricane never occurred to him.

SHIFTING FORTUNES — New figures show how sharply the fortunes of the big airlines and their low-cost rivals have diverged since the industry’s peak year of 2000. The discount carriers flew 20 percent more seats in May than four years earlier, according to a report by the Transportation Department’s Office of Inspector General, while the network airlines capacity was down 16 percent. Reflecting the relentless pressure that low-cost carriers have kept on their bigger competitors, average air fares for a 1,000-mile trip dropped to $116 from $147 over that period. Underlining the trend toward driving rather than flying short distances, the report said that there were 27 percent fewer scheduled flights of under 250 miles in May than in May 2000, but there were 9 percent more flights of over 1,000 miles. Southwest had a 59 percent share of the low-cost market in May, followed by America West with 12 percent and Air Tran with 8 percent. Meanwhile, the propeller-driven airplane is rapidly becoming scarce on commercial flights. Flights by turboprop and piston-engine aircraft fell 63 percent in May over May 2000. Flights by regional jet increased 180 percent.

The plane crash on Aug. 25 in the Bahamas that killed Aaliyah, the 22-year-old singer and actress, followed a decision by the officials managing her travel not to use two professional charter services with planes nearby and instead to rely on a small charter company. A reconstruction of the days leading up to the crash at the Bahamian island of Abaco suggests a disorganized and confused effort to set up the filming of a video for Aaliyah. On the flight there, an official from the cargo company that loaded the planes said, the managers who supervised the travel were warned that their attempts to overload their aircraft could lead to disaster.

A fire in Nassau that raged for hours as it crept along rooftops destroyed the capital’s renowned handicrafts market as well as the offices of the Tourism Ministry. The blaze, which took eight hours to control, started Tuesday afternoon in the Straw Market, a crowded and popular tourist destination. No one was reported injured, although the authorities had to evacuate 300 guests from a hotel, as well as remove artifacts from the nearby national museum, which is in an 18th-century building. David Gonzalez (NYT)

A sailboat packed with perhaps as many as 156 Haitians trying to get to the United States ran aground on the reefs surrounding Great Inagua Island in the Bahamas during the past week, leaving six dead and possibly dozens more missing, American and Bahamian authorities said today. Helicopters and boats combed the waters off Great Inagua, the southernmost island of the Bahamas, on Tuesday looking for signs of life and evacuating 69 survivors from the island. Based on interviews with survivors, the authorities could be looking for as many as 81 others.

William Morris Bain walked barefoot and somberly today through his house, where the tile floors were slick and silty from the surge of sea water that swept inside when Hurricane Floyd struck. Outside, piles of debris were all that remained of his tool shop and storehouse. The rushing water had also ripped through his two sons’ homes next door, where their wives now hung damp clothes to dry on a fallen tree trunk. ”There ain’t going to be no drying,” he said as he showed a visitor a waterlogged mattress. ”We got to start all over again.”

Around 7:30 on the morning after Christmas, Orlando Hernandez, one of the best pitchers ever on the Cuban national baseball team, and seven companions got into a small sailboat with four oars. They loaded four cans of Spam, bread, sugar and drinking water onto the craft and guided it into the calm azure Caribbean water off the Cuban coast. Hernandez, known in his homeland as El Duque (The Duke), was banned from the baseball team in August 1996 because the Government believed he was about to defect and had aided in the defection of other baseball players, including his half brother, Livan, who is a pitcher for the Florida Marlins and was the World Series most valuable player last season.

In 1988, eight Democratic members of Congress formed a company to buy a tiny island in the Bahamas — an old pirates’ lair with pink beaches and palm trees — with the idea of turning it into a resort. One of them was Matthew F. McHugh, the upstate New York Representative who is now leading the ethics committee investigation of the House bank affair. Two of the others were Robert J. Mrazek of Long Island and Edward F. Feighan of Ohio, who figure prominently in that affair and who are now appealing to Mr. McHugh’s panel for exoneration on the ground that they did not “routinely and repeatedly” overdraw their accounts by significant amounts.

LEAD: Eight members of Congress are buying a Bahamian island.

The Commonwealth conference here, now in its second day, has developed into a lobbying session on South Africa, with Britain trying to persuade most of the other members that discussion is likely to be more effective than sanctions in eliminating apartheid Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher avoided the subject of South Africa when she opened today’s closed-door meeting with a wide-ranging speech on world issues. But she had previously spent 45 minutes talking mainly about South Africa with Prime Minister Robert Hawke of Australia. Sir Geoffrey Howe, the British Foreign Secretary, had lunch with several Caribbean foreign ministers and others in the 21-member British delegation had fanned out among the conference participants.

The heads of government of the Commonwealth nations opened a weeklong meeting here today with an apparent majority seeking to increase pressure on South Africa to end apartheid. But Britain, which once dictated policy to the Commonwealth members when they were colonies or dominions of the British Empire, has indicated that it is opposed to taking further measures against South Afica. Thus, in the meetings over the next few days, which are to take place behind closed doors, as is customary at these conferences, many of the heads of government will try to persuade Britain to shift its position. Terrorism and Drugs In initial remarks, Lynden O. Pindling, the Prime Minister of the Bahamas, said the heads of government would also take up the issues of terrorism, drug trafficking and economic problems.

A new climate study warning of abrupt coastal flooding gets dipped in the acid bath of open peer review.

To celebrate turning 29, the designer made a Bahamian getaway with his boyfriend, Paul Arnhold, and their cockapoo, Bird.

By JULIE BAUMGARDNER

From aristocratic roots to a peaceful beachside existence on Harbour Island, the model-turned-designers new lifestyle brand reveals no shortage of inspiration.

By EVIANA HARTMAN

Raids on places where Haitians live have swept up hundreds of people since a new policy took effect, requiring everyone to hold a passport.

Many buyers of high-end condos in Manhattan have started shopping for beachfront retreats in the Bahamas, some developed by New Yorkers.

By JULIE SATOW

Baha Mar, a luxury resort scheduled to open next year in Nassau in the Bahamas, will have four different hotel brands in separate towers.

By SHIVANI VORA

About 20 years ago, the beautiful and otherworldly red lionfish started showing up in south Florida and the Caribbean. Now theyre a plague.

About 20 years ago, the beautiful and otherworldly red lionfish started showing up in south Florida and the Caribbean. Now theyre a plague.

As the plane was touching down in Nassau, flames were spotted near the lefthand engine. All 93 on board escaped safely.

The wind was picking up here Thursday afternoon as Hurricane Frances worked its way up the Bahamas, kicking up 15-foot waves in the sparsely populated southeastern islands. But Mervyn Taylor, a graying civil servant, was playing a leisurely game of dominoes outside the Columbus Primary School with some friends who, like himself, had boarded up their houses and now were just waiting for the storm. Mr. Taylor and the others had heard the reports of hundreds of thousands of Floridians clogging the highways in an urgent exodus from the beaches. But, he said, having lived all his life on one or another of the 700 islands that make up the Bahamas, the idea of trying to run from a hurricane never occurred to him.

SHIFTING FORTUNES — New figures show how sharply the fortunes of the big airlines and their low-cost rivals have diverged since the industry’s peak year of 2000. The discount carriers flew 20 percent more seats in May than four years earlier, according to a report by the Transportation Department’s Office of Inspector General, while the network airlines capacity was down 16 percent. Reflecting the relentless pressure that low-cost carriers have kept on their bigger competitors, average air fares for a 1,000-mile trip dropped to $116 from $147 over that period. Underlining the trend toward driving rather than flying short distances, the report said that there were 27 percent fewer scheduled flights of under 250 miles in May than in May 2000, but there were 9 percent more flights of over 1,000 miles. Southwest had a 59 percent share of the low-cost market in May, followed by America West with 12 percent and Air Tran with 8 percent. Meanwhile, the propeller-driven airplane is rapidly becoming scarce on commercial flights. Flights by turboprop and piston-engine aircraft fell 63 percent in May over May 2000. Flights by regional jet increased 180 percent.

The plane crash on Aug. 25 in the Bahamas that killed Aaliyah, the 22-year-old singer and actress, followed a decision by the officials managing her travel not to use two professional charter services with planes nearby and instead to rely on a small charter company. A reconstruction of the days leading up to the crash at the Bahamian island of Abaco suggests a disorganized and confused effort to set up the filming of a video for Aaliyah. On the flight there, an official from the cargo company that loaded the planes said, the managers who supervised the travel were warned that their attempts to overload their aircraft could lead to disaster.

A fire in Nassau that raged for hours as it crept along rooftops destroyed the capital’s renowned handicrafts market as well as the offices of the Tourism Ministry. The blaze, which took eight hours to control, started Tuesday afternoon in the Straw Market, a crowded and popular tourist destination. No one was reported injured, although the authorities had to evacuate 300 guests from a hotel, as well as remove artifacts from the nearby national museum, which is in an 18th-century building. David Gonzalez (NYT)

A sailboat packed with perhaps as many as 156 Haitians trying to get to the United States ran aground on the reefs surrounding Great Inagua Island in the Bahamas during the past week, leaving six dead and possibly dozens more missing, American and Bahamian authorities said today. Helicopters and boats combed the waters off Great Inagua, the southernmost island of the Bahamas, on Tuesday looking for signs of life and evacuating 69 survivors from the island. Based on interviews with survivors, the authorities could be looking for as many as 81 others.

William Morris Bain walked barefoot and somberly today through his house, where the tile floors were slick and silty from the surge of sea water that swept inside when Hurricane Floyd struck. Outside, piles of debris were all that remained of his tool shop and storehouse. The rushing water had also ripped through his two sons’ homes next door, where their wives now hung damp clothes to dry on a fallen tree trunk. ”There ain’t going to be no drying,” he said as he showed a visitor a waterlogged mattress. ”We got to start all over again.”

Around 7:30 on the morning after Christmas, Orlando Hernandez, one of the best pitchers ever on the Cuban national baseball team, and seven companions got into a small sailboat with four oars. They loaded four cans of Spam, bread, sugar and drinking water onto the craft and guided it into the calm azure Caribbean water off the Cuban coast. Hernandez, known in his homeland as El Duque (The Duke), was banned from the baseball team in August 1996 because the Government believed he was about to defect and had aided in the defection of other baseball players, including his half brother, Livan, who is a pitcher for the Florida Marlins and was the World Series most valuable player last season.

In 1988, eight Democratic members of Congress formed a company to buy a tiny island in the Bahamas — an old pirates’ lair with pink beaches and palm trees — with the idea of turning it into a resort. One of them was Matthew F. McHugh, the upstate New York Representative who is now leading the ethics committee investigation of the House bank affair. Two of the others were Robert J. Mrazek of Long Island and Edward F. Feighan of Ohio, who figure prominently in that affair and who are now appealing to Mr. McHugh’s panel for exoneration on the ground that they did not “routinely and repeatedly” overdraw their accounts by significant amounts.

LEAD: Eight members of Congress are buying a Bahamian island.

The Commonwealth conference here, now in its second day, has developed into a lobbying session on South Africa, with Britain trying to persuade most of the other members that discussion is likely to be more effective than sanctions in eliminating apartheid Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher avoided the subject of South Africa when she opened today’s closed-door meeting with a wide-ranging speech on world issues. But she had previously spent 45 minutes talking mainly about South Africa with Prime Minister Robert Hawke of Australia. Sir Geoffrey Howe, the British Foreign Secretary, had lunch with several Caribbean foreign ministers and others in the 21-member British delegation had fanned out among the conference participants.

The heads of government of the Commonwealth nations opened a weeklong meeting here today with an apparent majority seeking to increase pressure on South Africa to end apartheid. But Britain, which once dictated policy to the Commonwealth members when they were colonies or dominions of the British Empire, has indicated that it is opposed to taking further measures against South Afica. Thus, in the meetings over the next few days, which are to take place behind closed doors, as is customary at these conferences, many of the heads of government will try to persuade Britain to shift its position. Terrorism and Drugs In initial remarks, Lynden O. Pindling, the Prime Minister of the Bahamas, said the heads of government would also take up the issues of terrorism, drug trafficking and economic problems.

Continued here:

Bahamas – The New York Times

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Income inequality in the United States – Wikipedia

Posted: January 10, 2017 at 2:58 am

Income inequality in the United States has increased significantly since the 1970s after several decades of stability, meaning the share of the nation’s income received by higher income households has increased. This trend is evident with income measured both before taxes (market income) as well as after taxes and transfer payments. Income inequality has fluctuated considerably since measurements began around 1915, moving in an arc between peaks in the 1920s and 2000s, with a 30-year period of relatively lower inequality between 19501980.[1][2]

Measured for all households, U.S. income inequality is comparable to other developed countries before taxes and transfers, but is among the highest after taxes and transfers, meaning the U.S. shifts relatively less income from higher income households to lower income households. Measured for working-age households, market income inequality is comparatively high (rather than moderate) and the level of redistribution is moderate (not low). These comparisons indicate Americans shift from reliance on market income to reliance on income transfers later in life and less than households in other developed countries do.[2][3]

The U.S. ranks around the 30th percentile in income inequality globally, meaning 70% of countries have a more equal income distribution.[4] U.S. federal tax and transfer policies are progressive and therefore reduce income inequality measured after taxes and transfers.[5] Tax and transfer policies together reduced income inequality slightly more in 2011 than in 1979.[1]

While there is strong evidence that it has increased since the 1970s, there is active debate in the United States regarding the appropriate measurement, causes, effects and solutions to income inequality.[5] The two major political parties have different approaches to the issue, with Democrats historically emphasizing that economic growth should result in shared prosperity (i.e., a pro-labor argument advocating income redistribution), while Republicans tend to downplay the validity or feasibility of positively influencing the issue (i.e., a pro-capital argument against redistribution).[6]

U.S. income inequality has grown significantly since the early 1970s,[8][9][10][11][12][13] after several decades of stability,[14][15][16] and has been the subject of study of many scholars and institutions. The U.S. consistently exhibits higher rates of income inequality than most developed nations due to the nation’s enhanced support of free market capitalism and less progressive spending on social services.[17][18][19][20][21]

The top 1% of income earners received approximately 20% of the pre-tax income in 2013,[7] versus approximately 10% from 1950 to 1980.[2][22][23] The top 1% is not homogeneous, with the very top income households pulling away from others in the top 1%. For example, the top 0.1% of households received approximately 10% of the pre-tax income in 2013, versus approximately 34% between 19511981.[7][24] According to IRS data, adjusted gross income (AGI) of approximately $430,000 was required to be in the top 1% in 2013.[25]

Most of the growth in income inequality has been between the middle class and top earners, with the disparity widening the further one goes up in the income distribution.[26] The bottom 50% earned 20% of the nation’s pre-tax income in 1979; this fell steadily to 14% by 2007 and 13% by 2014. Income for the middle 40% group, a proxy for the middle class, fell from 45% in 1979 to 41% in both 2007 and 2014.[27]

To put this change into perspective, if the US had the same income distribution it had in 1979, each family in the bottom 80% of the income distribution would have $11,000 more per year in income on average, or $916 per month.[28] Half of the U.S. population lives in poverty or is low-income, according to U.S. Census data.[29]

The trend of rising income inequality is also apparent after taxes and transfers. A 2011 study by the CBO[30] found that the top earning 1 percent of households increased their income by about 275% after federal taxes and income transfers over a period between 1979 and 2007, compared to a gain of just under 40% for the 60 percent in the middle of America’s income distribution.[30] U.S. federal tax and transfer policies are progressive and therefore substantially reduce income inequality measured after taxes and transfers. They became moderately less progressive between 1979 and 2007[5] but slightly more progressive measured between 1979 and 2011. Income transfers had a greater impact on reducing inequality than taxes from 1979 to 2011.[1]

Americans are not generally aware of the extent of inequality or recent trends.[31] There is a direct relationship between actual income inequality and the public’s views about the need to address the issue in most developed countries, but not in the U.S., where income inequality is worse but the concern is lower.[32] The U.S. was ranked the 6th worst among 173 countries (4th percentile) on income equality measured by the Gini index.[33]

There is significant and ongoing debate as to the causes, economic effects, and solutions regarding income inequality. While before-tax income inequality is subject to market factors (e.g., globalization, trade policy, labor policy, and international competition), after-tax income inequality can be directly affected by tax and transfer policy. U.S. income inequality is comparable to other developed nations before taxes and transfers, but is among the worst after taxes and transfers.[2][34] Income inequality may contribute to slower economic growth, reduced income mobility, higher levels of household debt, and greater risk of financial crises and deflation.[35][36]

Labor (workers) and capital (owners) have always battled over the share of the economic pie each obtains. The influence of the labor movement has waned in the U.S. since the 1960s along with union participation and more pro-capital laws.[22] The share of total worker compensation has declined from 58% of national income (GDP) in 1970 to nearly 53% in 2013, contributing to income inequality.[37] This has led to concerns that the economy has shifted too far in favor of capital, via a form of corporatism, corpocracy or neoliberalism.[38][39][40][41][42][43][44]

Although some have spoken out in favor of moderate inequality as a form of incentive,[45][46] others have warned against the current high levels of inequality, including Yale Nobel prize for economics winner Robert J. Shiller, (who called rising economic inequality “the most important problem that we are facing now today”),[47] former Federal Reserve Board chairman Alan Greenspan, (“This is not the type of thing which a democratic society a capitalist democratic society can really accept without addressing”),[48] and President Barack Obama (who referred to the widening income gap as the “defining challenge of our time”).[49]

The level of concentration of income in the United States has fluctuated throughout its history. Going back to the early 20th Century, when income statistics started to become available, there has been a “great economic arc” from high inequality “to relative equality and back again,” in the words of Nobel laureate economist Paul Krugman.[50] In 1915, an era in which the Rockefellers and Carnegies dominated American industry, the richest 1% of Americans earned roughly 18% of all income. By 2007, the top 1 percent account for 24% of all income.[51] In between, their share fell below 10% for three decades.

The first era of inequality lasted roughly from the post-civil war era (“the Gilded Age”) to sometime around 1937. But from about 1937 to 1947 a period that has been dubbed the “Great Compression”[52] income inequality in the United States fell dramatically. Highly progressive New Deal taxation, the strengthening of unions, and regulation of the National War Labor Board during World War II raised the income of the poor and working class and lowered that of top earners.[53] This “middle class society” of relatively low level of inequality remained fairly steady for about three decades ending in early 1970s,[14][52][54] the product of relatively high wages for the US working class and political support for income leveling government policies.

Wages remained relatively high because of lack of foreign competition for American manufacturing, and strong trade unions. By 1947 more than a third of non-farm workers were union members,[55] and unions both raised average wages for their membership, and indirectly, and to a lesser extent, raised wages for workers in similar occupations not represented by unions.[56] Scholars believe political support for equalizing government policies was provided by high voter turnout from union voting drives, the support of the otherwise conservative South for the New Deal, and prestige that the massive mobilization and victory of World War II had given the government.[57]

The return to high inequality or to what Krugman and journalist Timothy Noah have referred as the “Great Divergence”,[51] began in the 1970s. Studies have found income grew more unequal almost continuously except during the economic recessions in 199091, 2001 (Dot-com bubble), and 2007 sub-prime bust.[58][59]

The Great Divergence differs in some ways from the pre-Depression era inequality. Before 1937, a larger share of top earners income came from capital (interest, dividends, income from rent, capital gains). After 1970, income of high-income taxpayers comes predominantly from labor: employment compensation.[60]

Until 2011, the Great Divergence had not been a major political issue in America, but stagnation of middle-class income was. In 2009 the Barack Obama administration White House Middle Class Working Families Task Force convened to focus on economic issues specifically affecting middle-income Americans. In 2011, the Occupy movement drew considerable attention to income inequality in the country.

CBO reported that for the 1979-2007 period, after-tax income of households in the top 1 percent of earners grew by 275%, compared to 65% for the next 19%, just under 40% for the next 60%, 18% for the bottom fifth of households. “As a result of that uneven income growth,” the report noted, “the share of total after-tax income received by the 1 percent of the population in households with the highest income more than doubled between 1979 and 2007, whereas the share received by low- and middle-income households declined…. The share of income received by the top 1 percent grew from about 8% in 1979 to over 17% in 2007. The share received by the other 19 percent of households in the highest income quintile (one fifth of the population as divided by income) was fairly flat over the same period, edging up from 35% to 36%.”[5][61]

According to the CBO,[62] the major reason for observed rise in unequal distribution of after-tax income was an increase in market income, that is household income before taxes and transfers. Market income for a household is a combination of labor income (such as cash wages, employer-paid benefits, and employer-paid payroll taxes), business income (such as income from businesses and farms operated solely by their owners), capital gains (profits realized from the sale of assets and stock options), capital income (such as interest from deposits, dividends, and rental income), and other income. Of them, capital gains accounted for 80% of the increase in market income for the households in top 20%, in the 20002007 period. Even over the 19912000 period, according to the CBO, capital gains accounted for 45% of the market income for the top 20% households.

In a July 2015 op-ed article, Martin Feldstein, Professor of Economics at Harvard University, stated that the CBO found that from 1980 to 2010 real median household income rose by 15%. However, when the definition of income was expanded to include benefits and subtracted taxes, the CBO found that the median household’s real income rose by 45%. Adjusting for household size, the gain increased to 53%.[63]

Just as higher-income groups are more likely to enjoy financial gains when economic times are good, they are also likely to suffer more significant income losses during economic downturns and recessions when they are compared to lower income groups. Higher-income groups tend to derive relatively more of their income from more volatile sources related to capital income (business income, capital gains, and dividends), as opposed to labor income (wages and salaries). For example, in 2011 the top 1% of income earners derived 37% of their income from labor income, versus 62% for the middle quintile. On the other hand, the top 1% derived 58% of their income from capital as opposed to 4% for the middle quintile. Government transfers represented only 1% of the income of the top 1% but 25% for the middle quintile; the dollar amounts of these transfers tend to rise in recessions.[1]

This effect occurred during the Great Recession of 20072009, when total income going to the bottom 99 percent of Americans declined by 11.6%, but fell by 36.3% for the top 1%. Declines were especially steep for capital gains, which fell by 75% in real (inflation-adjusted) terms between 2007 and 2009. Other sources of capital income also fell: interest income by 40% and dividend income by 33%. Wages, the largest source of income, fell by a more modest 6%.

The share of pretax income received by the top 1% fell from 18.7% in 2007 to 16.0% in 2008 and 13.4% in 2009, while the bottom four quintiles all had their share of pretax income increase from 2007 to 2009.[64][65] The share of aftertax income received by the top 1% income group fell from 16.7%, in 2007, to 11.5%, in 2009.[1]

The distribution of household incomes has become more unequal during the post-2008 economic recovery as the effects of the recession reversed.[66][67][68] CBO reported in November 2014 that the share of pre-tax income received by the top 1% had risen from 13.3% in 2009 to 14.6% in 2011.[1] During 2012 alone, incomes of the wealthiest 1 percent rose nearly 20%, whereas the income of the remaining 99 percent rose 1% in comparison.[22]

If the United States had the same income distribution it had in 1979, the bottom 80 percent of the population would have $1 trillion or $11,000 per family more. The top 1 percent would have $1 trillion or $750,000 less. Larry Summers[69]

According to an article in The New Yorker, by 2012, the share of pre-tax income received by the top 1% had returned to its pre-crisis peak, at around 23% of the pre-tax income.[2] This is based on widely cited data from economist Emmanuel Saez, which uses “market income” and relies primarily on IRS data.[67] The CBO uses both IRS data and Census data in its computations and reports a lower pre-tax figure for the top 1%.[1] The two series were approximately 5 percentage points apart in 2011 (Saez at about 19.7% versus CBO at 14.6%), which would imply a CBO figure of about 18% in 2012 if that relationship holds, a significant increase versus the 14.6% CBO reported for 2011. The share of after-tax income received by the top 1% rose from 11.5% in 2009 to 12.6% in 2011.[1]

Inflation-adjusted pre-tax income for the bottom 90% of American families fell between 2010 and 2013, with the middle income groups dropping the most, about 6% for the 40th-60th percentiles and 7% for the 20th-40th percentiles. Incomes in the top decile rose 2%.[34]

The top 1% captured 91% of the real income growth per family during the 2009-2012 recovery period, with their pre-tax incomes growing 34.7% adjusted for inflation while the pre-tax incomes of the bottom 99% grew 0.8%. Measured from 20092015, the top 1% captured 52% of the total real income growth per family, indicating the recovery was becoming less “lopsided” in favor of higher income families. By 2015, the top 10% (top decile) had a 50.5% share of the pre-tax income, close its highest all-time level.[70]

Tax increases on higher income earners were implemented in 2013 due to the Affordable Care Act and American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012. CBO estimated that “average federal tax rates under 2013 law would be higher relative to tax rates in 2011 across the income spectrum. The estimated rates under 2013 law would still be well below the average rates from 1979 through 2011 for the bottom four income quintiles, slightly below the average rate over that period for households in the 81st through 99th percentiles, and well above the average rate over that period for households in the top 1 percent of the income distribution.”[1] In 2016, the economists Peter H. Lindert and Jeffrey G. Williamson contended that inequality is the highest it has been since the nation’s founding.[71] French economist Thomas Piketty attributed the victory of Donald Trump in the 2016 presidential election, which he characterizes as an “electoral upset,” to “the explosion in economic and geographic inequality in the United States over several decades and the inability of successive governments to deal with this.”[72]

U.S. income inequality is comparable to other developed countries measured before taxes and transfers, but is among the worst after taxes and transfers.[2]

According to the CBO and others, “the precise reasons for the

rapid growth in income at the top are not well understood”,[60][75] but “in all likelihood,” an “interaction of multiple factors” was involved.[76] “Researchers have offered several potential rationales.”[60][77] Some of these rationales conflict, some overlap.[78] They include:

Paul Krugman put several of these factors into context in January 2015: “Competition from emerging-economy exports has surely been a factor depressing wages in wealthier nations, although probably not the dominant force. More important, soaring incomes at the top were achieved, in large part, by squeezing those below: by cutting wages, slashing benefits, crushing unions, and diverting a rising share of national resources to financial wheeling and dealing…Perhaps more important still, the wealthy exert a vastly disproportionate effect on policy. And elite priorities obsessive concern with budget deficits, with the supposed need to slash social programs have done a lot to deepen [wage stagnation and income inequality].”[92]

There is an ongoing debate as to the economic effects of income inequality. For example, Alan B. Krueger, President Obama’s Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisors, summarized the conclusions of several research studies in a 2012 speech. In general, as income inequality worsens:

Among economists and related experts, many believe that America’s growing income inequality is “deeply worrying”,[48] unjust,[84] a danger to democracy/social stability,[96][97][98] or a sign of national decline.[99] Yale professor Robert Shiller, who was among three Americans who won the Nobel prize for economics in 2013, said after receiving the award, “The most important problem that we are facing now today, I think, is rising inequality in the United States and elsewhere in the world.”[100] Economist Thomas Piketty, who has spent nearly 20 years studying inequality primarily in the US, warns that “The egalitarian pioneer ideal has faded into oblivion, and the New World may be on the verge of becoming the Old Europe of the twenty-first century’s globalized economy.”[101]

On the other side of the issue are those who have claimed that the increase is not significant,[102] that it doesn’t matter[98] because America’s economic growth and/or equality of opportunity are what’s important,[103] that it is a global phenomenon which would be foolish to try to change through US domestic policy,[104] that it “has many economic benefits and is the result of … a well-functioning economy”,[105][106] and has or may become an excuse for “class-warfare rhetoric”,[102] and may lead to policies that “reduce the well-being of wealthier individuals”.[105][107]

Economist Alan B. Krueger wrote in 2012: “The rise in inequality in the United States over the last three decades has reached the point that inequality in incomes is causing an unhealthy division in opportunities, and is a threat to our economic growth. Restoring a greater degree of fairness to the U.S. job market would be good for businesses, good for the economy, and good for the country.” Krueger wrote that the significant shift in the share of income accruing to the top 1% over the 1979 to 2007 period represented nearly $1.1 trillion in annual income. Since the wealthy tend to save nearly 50% of their marginal income while the remainder of the population saves roughly 10%, other things equal this would reduce annual consumption (the largest component of GDP) by as much as 5%. Krueger wrote that borrowing likely helped many households make up for this shift, which became more difficult in the wake of the 20072009 recession.[95]

Inequality in land and income ownership is negatively correlated with subsequent economic growth. A strong demand for redistribution will occur in societies where a large section of the population does not have access to the productive resources of the economy. Rational voters must internalize such issues.[108] High unemployment rates have a significant negative effect when interacting with increases in inequality. Increasing inequality harms growth in countries with high levels of urbanization. High and persistent unemployment also has a negative effect on subsequent long-run economic growth. Unemployment may seriously harm growth because it is a waste of resources, because it generates redistributive pressures and distortions, because it depreciates existing human capital and deters its accumulation, because it drives people to poverty, because it results in liquidity constraints that limit labor mobility, and because it erodes individual self-esteem and promotes social dislocation, unrest and conflict. Policies to control unemployment and reduce its inequality-associated effects can strengthen long-run growth.[109]

Concern extends even to such supporters (or former supporters) of laissez-faire economics and private sector financiers. Former Federal Reserve Board chairman Alan Greenspan, has stated reference to growing inequality: “This is not the type of thing which a democratic society a capitalist democratic society can really accept without addressing.”[48] Some economists (David Moss, Paul Krugman, Raghuram Rajan) believe the “Great Divergence” may be connected to the financial crisis of 2008.[105][110] Money manager William H. Gross, former managing director of PIMCO, criticized the shift in distribution of income from labor to capital that underlies some of the growth in inequality as unsustainable, saying:

Even conservatives must acknowledge that return on capital investment, and the liquid stocks and bonds that mimic it, are ultimately dependent on returns to labor in the form of jobs and real wage gains. If Main Street is unemployed and undercompensated, capital can only travel so far down Prosperity Road.

He concluded: “Investors/policymakers of the world wake up you’re killing the proletariat goose that lays your golden eggs.”[111][112]

Among economists and reports that find inequality harming economic growth are a December 2013 Associated Press survey of three dozen economists’,[114] a 2014 report by Standard and Poor’s,[115] economists Gar Alperovitz, Robert Reich, Joseph Stiglitz, and Branko Milanovic.

A December 2013 Associated Press survey of three dozen economists found that the majority believe that widening income disparity is harming the US economy. They argue that wealthy Americans are receiving higher pay, but they spend less per dollar earned than middle class consumers, the majority of the population, whose incomes have largely stagnated.[114]

A 2014 report by Standard and Poor’s concluded that diverging income inequality has slowed the economic recovery and could contribute to boom-and-bust cycles in the future as more and more Americans take on debt in order to consume. Higher levels of income inequality increase political pressures, discouraging trade, investment, hiring, and social mobility according to the report.[115]

Economists Gar Alperovitz and Robert Reich argue that too much concentration of wealth prevents there being sufficient purchasing power to make the rest of the economy function effectively.[116][117]

Joseph Stiglitz argues that concentration of wealth and income leads the politically powerful economic elite seek to protect themselves from redistributive policies by weakening the state, and this leads to less public investments by the state roads, technology, education, etc. that are essential for economic growth.[118][119]

According to economist Branko Milanovic, while traditionally economists thought inequality was good for growth, “The view that income inequality harms growth or that improved equality can help sustain growth has become more widely held in recent years. The main reason for this shift is the increasing importance of human capital in development. When physical capital mattered most, savings and investments were key. Then it was important to have a large contingent of rich people who could save a greater proportion of their income than the poor and invest it in physical capital. But now that human capital is scarcer than machines, widespread education has become the secret to growth.” He continued that “Broadly accessible education” is both difficult to achieve when income distribution is uneven and tends to reduce “income gaps between skilled and unskilled labor.”[120]

Robert Gordon wrote that such issues as ‘rising inequality; factor price equalization stemming from the interplay between globalization and the Internet; the twin educational problems of cost inflation in higher education and poor secondary student performance; the consequences of environmental regulations and taxes…” make economic growth harder to achieve than in the past.[121]

In response to the Occupy movement Richard A. Epstein defended inequality in a free market society, maintaining that “taxing the top one percent even more means less wealth and fewer jobs for the rest of us.” According to Epstein, “the inequalities in wealth … pay for themselves by the vast increases in wealth”, while “forced transfers of wealth through taxation … will destroy the pools of wealth that are needed to generate new ventures.[122] Some researchers have found a connection between lowering high marginal tax rates on high income earners (high marginal tax rates on high income being a common measure to fight inequality), and higher rates of employment growth.[123][124] Government significant free market strategy affects too. the reason is there is a failure in the US political system to counterbalance the rise in unequal distribution of income amongst the citizens.[125]

Economic sociologist Lane Kenworthy has found no correlation between levels of inequality and economic growth among developed countries, among states of the US, or in the US over the years from 1947 to 2005.[126]Jared Bernstein found a nuanced relation he summed up as follows: “In sum, I’d consider the question of the extent to which higher inequality lowers growth to be an open one, worthy of much deeper research”.[127]Tim Worstall commented that capitalism would not seem to contribute to an inherited-wealth stagnation and consolidation, but instead appears to promote the opposite, a vigorous, ongoing turnover and creation of new wealth.[128][129]

Income inequality was cited as one of the causes of the Great Depression by Supreme Court Justice Louis D. Brandeis in 1933. In his dissent in the Louis K. Liggett Co. v. Lee (288 U.S. 517) case, he wrote: “Other writers have shown that, coincident with the growth of these giant corporations, there has occurred a marked concentration of individual wealth; and that the resulting disparity in incomes is a major cause of the existing depression.”[130]

Central Banking economist Raghuram Rajan argues that “systematic economic inequalities, within the United States and around the world, have created deep financial ‘fault lines’ that have made [financial] crises more likely to happen than in the past” the Financial crisis of 200708 being the most recent example.[131] To compensate for stagnating and declining purchasing power, political pressure has developed to extend easier credit to the lower and middle income earners particularly to buy homes and easier credit in general to keep unemployment rates low. This has given the American economy a tendency to go “from bubble to bubble” fueled by unsustainable monetary stimulation.[132]

Greater income inequality can lead to monopolization of the labor force, resulting in fewer employers requiring fewer workers.[133][134] Remaining employers can consolidate and take advantage of the relative lack of competition, leading to less consumer choice, market abuses, and relatively higher prices.[109][134]

Income inequality lowers aggregate demand, leading to increasingly large segments of formerly middle class consumers unable to afford as many luxury and essential goods and services.[133] This pushes production and overall employment down.[109]

Deep debt may lead to bankruptcy and researchers Elizabeth Warren and Amelia Warren Tyagi found a fivefold increase in the number of families filing for bankruptcy between 1980 and 2005.[135] The bankruptcies came not from increased spending “on luxuries”, but from an “increased spending on housing, largely driven by competition to get into good school districts.” Intensifying inequality may mean a dwindling number of ever more expensive school districts that compel middle class or would-be middle class to “buy houses they can’t really afford, taking on more mortgage debt than they can safely handle”.[136]

The ability to move from one income group into another (income mobility) is a means of measuring economic opportunity. A higher probability of upward income mobility theoretically would help mitigate higher income inequality, as each generation has a better chance of achieving higher income groups. Conservatives and libertarians such as economist Thomas Sowell, and Congressman Paul Ryan (R., Wisc.)[137] argue that more important than the level of equality of results is America’s equality of opportunity, especially relative to other developed countries such as western Europe.

Nonetheless, results from various studies reflect the fact that endogenous regulations and other different rules yield distinct effects on income inequality. A study examines the effects of institutional change on age-based labor market inequalities in Europe. There is a focus on wage-setting institutions on the adult male population and the rate of their unequal income distribution. According to the study, there is evidence that unemployment protection and temporary work regulation affect the dynamics of age-based inequality with positive employment effects of all individuals by the strength of unions. Even though the European Union is within a favorable economic context with perspectives of growth and development, it is also very fragile. [138]

However, several studies have indicated that higher income inequality corresponds with lower income mobility. In other words, income brackets tend to be increasingly “sticky” as income inequality increases. This is described by a concept called the Great Gatsby curve.[95][139] In the words of journalist Timothy Noah, “you can’t really experience ever-growing income inequality without experiencing a decline in Horatio Alger-style upward mobility because (to use a frequently-employed metaphor) it’s harder to climb a ladder when the rungs are farther apart.”[48]

The centrist Brookings Institution said in March 2013 that income inequality was increasing and becoming permanent, sharply reducing social mobility in the US.[140] A 2007 study (by Kopczuk, Saez and Song in 2007) found the top population in the United States “very stable” and that income mobility had “not mitigated the dramatic increase in annual earnings concentration since the 1970s.”[139]

Economist Paul Krugman, attacks conservatives for resorting to “extraordinary series of attempts at statistical distortion”. He argues that while in any given year, some of the people with low incomes will be “workers on temporary layoff, small businessmen taking writeoffs, farmers hit by bad weather” the rise in their income in succeeding years is not the same ‘mobility’ as poor people rising to middle class or middle income rising to wealth. It’s the mobility of “the guy who works in the college bookstore and has a real job by his early thirties.”

Studies by the Urban Institute and the US Treasury have both found that about half of the families who start in either the top or the bottom quintile of the income distribution are still there after a decade, and that only 3 to 6% rise from bottom to top or fall from top to bottom.[141]

On the issue of whether most Americans do not stay put in any one income bracket, Krugman quotes from 2011 CBO distribution of income study

Household income measured over a multi-year period is more equally distributed than income measured over one year, although only modestly so. Given the fairly substantial movement of households across income groups over time, it might seem that income measured over a number of years should be significantly more equally distributed than income measured over one year. However, much of the movement of households involves changes in income that are large enough to push households into different income groups but not large enough to greatly affect the overall distribution of income. Multi-year income measures also show the same pattern of increasing inequality over time as is observed in annual measures.[30]

In other words, “many people who have incomes greater than $1 million one year fall out of the category the next year but that’s typically because their income fell from, say, $1.05 million to 0.95 million, not because they went back to being middle class.”[30][142]

Several studies have found the ability of children from poor or middle-class families to rise to upper income known as “upward relative intergenerational mobility” is lower in the US than in other developed countries[143] and at least two economists have found lower mobility linked to income inequality.[48][144]

In their Great Gatsby curve,[144]White House Council of Economic Advisers Chairman Alan B. Krueger and labor economist Miles Corak show a negative correlation between inequality and social mobility. The curve plotted “intergenerational income elasticity” i.e. the likelihood that someone will inherit their parents’ relative position of income level and inequality for a number of countries.[48][145]

Aside from the proverbial distant rungs, the connection between income inequality and low mobility can be explained by the lack of access for un-affluent children to better (more expensive) schools and preparation for schools crucial to finding high-paying jobs; the lack of health care that may lead to obesity and diabetes and limit education and employment.[143]

Krueger estimates that “the persistence in the advantages and disadvantages of income passed from parents to the children” will “rise by about a quarter for the next generation as a result of the rise in inequality that the U.S. has seen in the last 25 years.”[48]

Greater income inequality can increase the poverty rate, as more income shifts away from lower income brackets to upper income brackets. Jared Bernstein wrote: “If less of the economy’s market-generated growth i.e., before taxes and transfers kick in ends up in the lower reaches of the income scale, either there will be more poverty for any given level of GDP growth, or there will have to be a lot more transfers to offset inequality’s poverty-inducing impact.” The Economic Policy Institute estimated that greater income inequality would have added 5.5% to the poverty rate between 1979 and 2007, other factors equal. Income inequality was the largest driver of the change in the poverty rate, with economic growth, family structure, education and race other important factors.[146][147] An estimated 16% of Americans lived in poverty in 2012, versus 26% in 1967.[148]

A rise in income disparities weakens skills development among people with a poor educational background in term of the quantity and quality of education attained. Those with a low level of expertise will always consider themselves unworthy of any high position and pay[149]

Lisa Shalett, chief investment officer at Merrill Lynch Wealth Management noted that, “for the last two decades and especially in the current period, … productivity soared … [but] U.S. real average hourly earnings are essentially flat to down, with today’s inflation-adjusted wage equating to about the same level as that attained by workers in 1970. … So where have the benefits of technology-driven productivity cycle gone? Almost exclusively to corporations and their very top executives.”[150][150] In addition to the technological side of it, the affected functionality emanates from the perceived unfairness and the reduced trust of people towards the state. The study by Kristal and Cohen showed that rising wage inequality has brought about an unhealthy competition between institutions and technology. The technological changes, with computerization of the workplace, seem to give an upper hand to the high-skilled workers as the primary cause of inequality in America. The qualified will always be considered to be in a better position as compared to those dealing with hand work leading to replacements and unequal distribution of resources.[151]

Economist Timothy Smeeding summed up the current trend:[152]

Americans have the highest income inequality in the rich world and over the past 2030 years Americans have also experienced the greatest increase in income inequality among rich nations. The more detailed the data we can use to observe this change, the more skewed the change appears to be … the majority of large gains are indeed at the top of the distribution.

According to Janet L. Yellen, chair of the Federal Reserve,

…from 1973 to 2005, real hourly wages of those in the 90th percentile where most people have college or advanced degrees rose by 30% or more… among this top 10 percent, the growth was heavily concentrated at the very tip of the top, that is, the top 1 percent. This includes the people who earn the very highest salaries in the U.S. economy, like sports and entertainment stars, investment bankers and venture capitalists, corporate attorneys, and CEOs. In contrast, at the 50th percentile and below where many people have at most a high school diploma real wages rose by only 5 to 10% [77]

Economists Jared Bernstein and Paul Krugman have attacked the concentration of income as variously “unsustainable”[97] and “incompatible”[98] with real democracy. American political scientists Jacob S. Hacker and Paul Pierson quote a warning by Greek-Roman historian Plutarch: “An imbalance between rich and poor is the oldest and most fatal ailment of all republics.”[96] Some academic researchers have written that the US political system risks drifting towards a form of oligarchy, through the influence of corporations, the wealthy, and other special interest groups.[153][154]

Rising income inequality has been linked to the political polarization in Washington DC.[155] According to a 2013 study published in the Political Research Quarterly, elected officials tend to be more responsive to the upper income bracket and ignore lower income groups.[156]

Paul Krugman wrote in November 2014 that: “The basic story of political polarization over the past few decades is that, as a wealthy minority has pulled away economically from the rest of the country, it has pulled one major party along with it…Any policy that benefits lower- and middle-income Americans at the expense of the elite like health reform, which guarantees insurance to all and pays for that guarantee in part with taxes on higher incomes will face bitter Republican opposition.” He used environmental protection as another example, which was not a partisan issue in the 1990s but has since become one.[157]

As income inequality has increased, the degree of House of Representatives polarization measured by voting record has also increased. The voting is mostly by the rich and for the rich making it hard to achieve equal income and resource distribution for the average population (Bonica et al., 2013). There is a little number of people who turn to government insurance with the rising wealth and real income since they consider inequality within the different government sectors. Additionally, there has been an increased influence by the rich on the regulatory, legislative and electoral processes within the country that has led to improved employment standards for the bureaucrats and politicians.[158] Professors McCarty, Pool and Rosenthal wrote in 2007 that polarization and income inequality fell in tandem from 1913 to 1957 and rose together dramatically from 1977 on. They show that Republicans have moved politically to the right, away from redistributive policies that would reduce income inequality. Polarization thus creates a feedback loop, worsening inequality.[159]

Several economists and political scientists have argued that economic inequality translates into political inequality, particularly in situations where politicians have financial incentives to respond to special interest groups and lobbyists. Researchers such as Larry Bartels of Vanderbilt University have shown that politicians are significantly more responsive to the political opinions of the wealthy, even when controlling for a range of variables including educational attainment and political knowledge.[161][162]

Historically, discussions of income inequality and capital vs. labor debates have sometimes included the language of class warfare, from President Theodore Roosevelt (referring to the leaders of big corporations as “malefactors of great wealth”), to President Franklin Roosevelt (“economic royalists…are unanimous in their hate for me–and I welcome their hatred”), to more the recent “1% versus the 99%” issue and the question of which political party better represents the interests of the middle class.[163]

Investor Warren Buffett said in 2006 that: “There’s class warfare, all right, but it’s my class, the rich class, that’s making war, and we’re winning.” He advocated much higher taxes on the wealthiest Americans, who pay lower effective tax rates than many middle-class persons.[164]

Two journalists concerned about social separation in the US are economist Robert Frank, who notes that: “Today’s rich had formed their own virtual country .. [T]hey had built a self-contained world unto themselves, complete with their own health-care system (concierge doctors), travel network (Net jets, destination clubs), separate economy…The rich weren’t just getting richer; they were becoming financial foreigners, creating their own country within a country, their own society within a society, and their economy within an economy.[165]

George Packer wrote that “Inequality hardens society into a class system … Inequality divides us from one another in schools, in neighborhoods, at work, on airplanes, in hospitals, in what we eat, in the condition of our bodies, in what we think, in our children’s futures, in how we die. Inequality makes it harder to imagine the lives of others.[99]

Even these class levels can affect the politics in certain ways. There has been an increased influence by the rich on the regulatory, legislative and electoral processes within the country that has led to improved employment standards for the bureaucrats and politicians. They have a greater influence through their lobbying and contributions that give them an opportunity to immerse wealth for themselves.[166]

Loss of income by the middle class relative to the top-earning 1% and 0.1% is both a cause and effect of political change, according to journalist Hedrick Smith. In the decade starting around 2000, business groups employed 30 times as many Washington lobbyists as trade unions and 16 times as many lobbyists as labor, consumer, and public interest lobbyists combined.[167]

From 1998 through 2010 business interests and trade groups spent $28.6 billion on lobbying compared with $492 million for labor, nearly a 60-to-1 business advantage.[168]

The result, according to Smith, is a political landscape dominated in the 1990s and 2000s by business groups, specifically “political insiders” former members of Congress and government officials with an inside track working for “Wall Street banks, the oil, defense, and pharmaceutical industries; and business trade associations.” In the decade or so prior to the Great Divergence, middle-class-dominated reformist grassroots efforts such as civil rights movement, environmental movement, consumer movement, labor movement had considerable political impact.[167]

“We haven’t achieved the minimalist state that libertarians advocate. What we’ve achieved is a state too constrained to provide the public goods investments in infrastructure, technology, and education that would make for a vibrant economy and too weak to engage in the redistribution that is needed to create a fair society. But we have a state that is still large enough and distorted enough that it can provide a bounty of gifts to the wealthy.”

Economist Joseph Stiglitz argues that hyper-inequality may explain political questions such as why America’s infrastructure (and other public investments) are deteriorating,[170] or the country’s recent relative lack of reluctance to engage in military conflicts such as the 2003 invasion of Iraq. Top-earning families, wealthy enough to buy their own education, medical care, personal security, and parks, have little interest in helping pay for such things for the rest of society, and the political influence to make sure they don’t have to. So too, the lack of personal or family sacrifice involved for top earners in the military intervention of their country their children being few and far between in the relatively low-paying all-volunteer military may mean more willingness by influential wealthy to see its government wage war.[171]

Economist Branko Milanovic argued that globalization and the related competition with cheaper labor from Asia and immigrants have caused U.S. middle-class wages to stagnate, fueling the rise of populist political candidates such as Donald Trump.[172]

The relatively high rates of health and social problems, (obesity, mental illness, homicides, teenage births, incarceration, child conflict, drug use) and lower rates of social goods (life expectancy, educational performance, trust among strangers, women’s status, social mobility, even numbers of patents issued per capita), in the US compared to other developed countries may be related to its high income inequality. Using statistics from 23 developed countries and the 50 states of the US, British researchers Richard G. Wilkinson and Kate Pickett have found such a correlation which remains after accounting for ethnicity,[173] national culture,[174] and occupational classes or education levels.[175] Their findings, based on UN Human Development Reports and other sources, locate the United States at the top of the list in regards to inequality and various social and health problems among developed countries.[176] The authors argue inequality creates psychosocial stress and status anxiety that lead to social ills.[177] A 2009 study conducted by researchers at Harvard University and published in the British Medical Journal attribute one in three deaths in the United States to high levels of inequality.[178] According to The Earth Institute, life satisfaction in the US has been declining over the last several decades, which has been attributed to soaring inequality, lack of social trust and loss of faith in government.[179]

It is claimed in a 2015 study by Princeton University researchers Angus Deaton and Anne Case that income inequality could be a driving factor in a marked increase in deaths among white males between the ages of 45 to 54 in the period 1999 to 2013.[180][181]

Paul Krugman argues that the much lamented long-term funding problems of Social Security and Medicare can be blamed in part on the growth in inequality as well as the usual culprits like longer life expectancies. The traditional source of funding for these social welfare programs payroll taxes is inadequate because it does not capture income from capital, and income above the payroll tax cap, which make up a larger and larger share of national income as inequality increases.[182]

Upward redistribution of income is responsible for about 43% of the projected Social Security shortfall over the next 75 years.[183]

Disagreeing with this focus on the top-earning 1%, and urging attention to the economic and social pathologies of lower-income/lower education Americans, is conservative[184] journalist David Brooks. Whereas in the 1970s, high school and college graduates had “very similar family structures”, today, high school grads are much less likely to get married and be active in their communities, and much more likely to smoke, be obese, get divorced, or have “a child out of wedlock.”[185]

The zooming wealth of the top one percent is a problem, but it’s not nearly as big a problem as the tens of millions of Americans who have dropped out of high school or college. It’s not nearly as big a problem as the 40 percent of children who are born out of wedlock. It’s not nearly as big a problem as the nation’s stagnant human capital, its stagnant social mobility and the disorganized social fabric for the bottom 50 percent.[185][186]

Contradicting most of these arguments, classical liberals such as Friedrich Hayek have maintained that because individuals are diverse and different, state intervention to redistribute income is inevitably arbitrary and incompatible with the concept of general rules of law, and that “what is called ‘social’ or distributive’ justice is indeed meaningless within a spontaneous order”. Those who would use the state to redistribute, “take freedom for granted and ignore the preconditions necessary for its survival.”[187][188][188]

The growth of inequality has provoked a political protest movement the Occupy movement starting in Wall Street and spreading to 600 communities across the United States in 2011. Its main political slogan “We are the 99%” references its dissatisfaction with the concentration of income in the top 1%.

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Hate Speech on Campus | American Civil Liberties Union

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In recent years, a rise in verbal abuse and violence directed at people of color, lesbians and gay men, and other historically persecuted groups has plagued the United States. Among the settings of these expressions of intolerance are college and university campuses, where bias incidents have occurred sporadically since the mid-1980s. Outrage, indignation and demands for change have greeted such incidents — understandably, given the lack of racial and social diversity among students, faculty and administrators on most campuses.

Many universities, under pressure to respond to the concerns of those who are the objects of hate, have adopted codes or policies prohibiting speech that offends any group based on race, gender, ethnicity, religion or sexual orientation.

That’s the wrong response, well-meaning or not. The First Amendment to the United States Constitution protects speech no matter how offensive its content. Speech codes adopted by government-financed state colleges and universities amount to government censorship, in violation of the Constitution. And the ACLU believes that all campuses should adhere to First Amendment principles because academic freedom is a bedrock of education in a free society.

How much we value the right of free speech is put to its severest test when the speaker is someone we disagree with most. Speech that deeply offends our morality or is hostile to our way of life warrants the same constitutional protection as other speech because the right of free speech is indivisible: When one of us is denied this right, all of us are denied. Since its founding in 1920, the ACLU has fought for the free expression of all ideas, popular or unpopular. That’s the constitutional mandate.

Where racist, sexist and homophobic speech is concerned, the ACLU believes that more speech — not less — is the best revenge. This is particularly true at universities, whose mission is to facilitate learning through open debate and study, and to enlighten. Speech codes are not the way to go on campuses, where all views are entitled to be heard, explored, supported or refuted. Besides, when hate is out in the open, people can see the problem. Then they can organize effectively to counter bad attitudes, possibly change them, and forge solidarity against the forces of intolerance.

College administrators may find speech codes attractive as a quick fix, but as one critic put it: “Verbal purity is not social change.” Codes that punish bigoted speech treat only the symptom: The problem itself is bigotry. The ACLU believes that instead of opting for gestures that only appear to cure the disease, universities have to do the hard work of recruitment to increase faculty and student diversity; counseling to raise awareness about bigotry and its history, and changing curricula to institutionalize more inclusive approaches to all subject matter.

A: Free speech rights are indivisible. Restricting the speech of one group or individual jeopardizes everyone’s rights because the same laws or regulations used to silence bigots can be used to silence you. Conversely, laws that defend free speech for bigots can be used to defend the rights of civil rights workers, anti-war protesters, lesbian and gay activists and others fighting for justice. For example, in the 1949 case of Terminiello v. Chicago, the ACLU successfully defended an ex-Catholic priest who had delivered a racist and anti-semitic speech. The precedent set in that case became the basis for the ACLU’s successful defense of civil rights demonstrators in the 1960s and ’70s.

The indivisibility principle was also illustrated in the case of Neo-Nazis whose right to march in Skokie, Illinois in 1979 was successfully defended by the ACLU. At the time, then ACLU Executive Director Aryeh Neier, whose relatives died in Hitler’s concentration camps during World War II, commented: “Keeping a few Nazis off the streets of Skokie will serve Jews poorly if it means that the freedoms to speak, publish or assemble any place in the United States are thereby weakened.”

A: Not so. Only a handful of the several thousand cases litigated by the national ACLU and its affiliates every year involves offensive speech. Most of the litigation, advocacy and public education work we do preserves or advances the constitutional rights of ordinary people. But it’s important to understand that the fraction of our work that does involve people who’ve engaged in bigoted and hurtful speech is very important:

Defending First Amendment rights for the enemies of civil liberties and civil rights means defending it for you and me.

A: The U.S. Supreme Court did rule in 1942, in a case calledChaplinsky v. New Hampshire, that intimidating speech directed at a specific individual in a face-to-face confrontation amounts to “fighting words,” and that the person engaging in such speech can be punished if “by their very utterance [the words] inflict injury or tend to incite an immediate breach of the peace.” Say, a white student stops a black student on campus and utters a racial slur. In that one-on-one confrontation, which could easily come to blows, the offending student could be disciplined under the “fighting words” doctrine for racial harassment.

Over the past 50 years, however, the Court hasn’t found the “fighting words” doctrine applicable in any of the hate speech cases that have come before it, since the incidents involved didn’t meet the narrow criteria stated above. Ignoring that history, the folks who advocate campus speech codes try to stretch the doctrine’s application to fit words or symbols that cause discomfort, offense or emotional pain.

A: Symbols of hate are constitutionally protected if they’re worn or displayed before a general audience in a public place — say, in a march or at a rally in a public park. But the First Amendment doesn’t protect the use of nonverbal symbols to encroach upon, or desecrate, private property, such as burning a cross on someone’s lawn or spray-painting a swastika on the wall of a synagogue or dorm.

In its 1992 decision inR.A.V. v. St. Paul, the Supreme Court struck down as unconstitutional a city ordinance that prohibited cross-burnings based on their symbolism, which the ordinance said makes many people feel “anger, alarm or resentment.” Instead of prosecuting the cross-burner for the content of his act, the city government could have rightfully tried him under criminal trespass and/or harassment laws.

The Supreme Court has ruled that symbolic expression, whether swastikas, burning crosses or, for that matter, peace signs, is protected by the First Amendment because it’s “closely akin to ‘pure speech.'” That phrase comes from a landmark 1969 decision in which the Court held that public school students could wear black armbands in school to protest the Vietnam War. And in another landmark ruling, in 1989, the Court upheld the right of an individual to burn the American flag in public as a symbolic expression of disagreement with government policies.

A: Historically, defamation laws or codes have proven ineffective at best and counter-productive at worst. For one thing, depending on how they’re interpreted and enforced, they can actually work against the interests of the people they were ostensibly created to protect. Why? Because the ultimate power to decide what speech is offensive and to whom rests with the authorities — the government or a college administration — not with those who are the alleged victims of hate speech.

In Great Britain, for example, a Racial Relations Act was adopted in 1965 to outlaw racist defamation. But throughout its existence, the Act has largely been used to persecute activists of color, trade unionists and anti-nuclear protesters, while the racists — often white members of Parliament — have gone unpunished.

Similarly, under a speech code in effect at the University of Michigan for 18 months, white students in 20 cases charged black students with offensive speech. One of the cases resulted in the punishment of a black student for using the term “white trash” in conversation with a white student. The code was struck down as unconstitutional in 1989 and, to date, the ACLU has brought successful legal challenges against speech codes at the Universities of Connecticut, Michigan and Wisconsin.

These examples demonstrate that speech codes don’t really serve the interests of persecuted groups. The First Amendment does. As one African American educator observed: “I have always felt as a minority person that we have to protect the rights of all because if we infringe on the rights of any persons, we’ll be next.”

A: Bigoted speech is symptomatic of a huge problem in our country; it is not the problem itself. Everybody, when they come to college, brings with them the values, biases and assumptions they learned while growing up in society, so it’s unrealistic to think that punishing speech is going to rid campuses of the attitudes that gave rise to the speech in the first place. Banning bigoted speech won’t end bigotry, even if it might chill some of the crudest expressions. The mindset that produced the speech lives on and may even reassert itself in more virulent forms.

Speech codes, by simply deterring students from saying out loud what they will continue to think in private, merely drive biases underground where they can’t be addressed. In 1990, when Brown University expelled a student for shouting racist epithets one night on the campus, the institution accomplished nothing in the way of exposing the bankruptcy of racist ideas.

A: Yes. The ACLU believes that hate speech stops being just speech and becomes conduct when it targets a particular individual, and when it forms a pattern of behavior that interferes with a student’s ability to exercise his or her right to participate fully in the life of the university.

The ACLU isn’t opposed to regulations that penalize acts of violence, harassment or intimidation, and invasions of privacy. On the contrary, we believe that kind of conduct should be punished. Furthermore, the ACLU recognizes that the mere presence of speech as one element in an act of violence, harassment, intimidation or privacy invasion doesn’t immunize that act from punishment. For example, threatening, bias-inspired phone calls to a student’s dorm room, or white students shouting racist epithets at a woman of color as they follow her across campus — these are clearly punishable acts.

Several universities have initiated policies that both support free speech and counter discriminatory conduct. Arizona State, for example, formed a “Campus Environment Team” that acts as an education, information and referral service. The team of specially trained faculty, students and administrators works to foster an environment in which discriminatory harassment is less likely to occur, while also safeguarding academic freedom and freedom of speech.

A: The ACLU believes that the best way to combat hate speech on campus is through an educational approach that includes counter-speech, workshops on bigotry and its role in American and world history, and real — not superficial — institutional change.

Universities are obligated to create an environment that fosters tolerance and mutual respect among members of the campus community, an environment in which all students can exercise their right to participate fully in campus life without being discriminated against. Campus administrators on the highest level should, therefore,

ACLU Executive Director Ira Glasser stated, in a speech at the City College of New York: “There is no clash between the constitutional right of free speech and equality. Both are crucial to society. Universities ought to stop restricting speech and start teaching.”

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First Amendment Foundation – – Protecting Your Right to …

Posted: January 8, 2017 at 7:47 pm

The First Amendment Foundation is a highly visible and accessible source of authoritative information, expertise and assistance to the public and news media.Founded as a non-profit organization in 1984 by The Florida Press Association, the Florida Society of Newspapers Editors and the Florida Association of Broadcasters to ensure that public commitment and progress in the areas of free speech, free press, and open government do not become checked and diluted during Floridas changing times.

Floridas Sunshine Laws guarantee our right to open government, but government officials can get downright creative to keep their decision-making in the dark. Like the state agency that demanded $3,200 to copy a single page of a public record, or the city commissioner who accidentally dropped her government phone in the toilet after a reporter asked her to see her text messages. And of course, you, the taxpayer footed the $1.3 million legal tab to keep our Governor and his cabinet out of court over secret emails. Fortunately, we have the Florida First Amendment Foundation fighting on our side. I urge you to support the First Amendment Foundation and keep Florida government by the people, for the people and in the Sunshine.

Carl Hiaasen, Miami Herald columnist and author ofSkin Tight,Strip Tease, Skinny Dip, Nature Girl, Star Island,Bad Monkey, Razor Girl and many more.

Thepurpose of the First Amendment Foundation is to protect and advance the publics constitutional right to open government by providing education and training, legal aid and information services. Funding is based on voluntary contributions from various organizations and concerned individuals.

You know, the critical research of my book would not have been possible without access granted by law via Floridas longstanding Open Government laws. Without Sunshine, stories like the injustice I uncovered in Central Florida could not have come forward. The Florida First Amendment Foundation has been protecting your citizen right to know for the past 31 years. Support the First Amendment Foundation. Support Open Government. It pays dividends.

Gilbert King, February 2016. Pulitzer Prize winning author of Devil in the Grove Devil in the Grove: Thurgood Marshall, the Groveland Boys, and the Dawn of a New America

Our actions get results. In the past year, we led a broad coalition of open government advocates anddefeated a billthat would have made it harder to hold agencies accountable for public records violations. In dozens of courthouses and government offices around the country, citizens with FAFs help won access to the recordsand meetings.

Still,our job has never been more challenging and,with your help, we will continue to fight efforts to erode Floridas long-standing tradition of open government.

Find out more about the First Amendment Foundation.

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Turks and Caicos Islands – Wikipedia

Posted: January 6, 2017 at 11:07 pm

The Turks and Caicos Islands ( and / / ), or TCI for short, are a British Overseas Territory consisting of the larger Caicos Islands and smaller Turks Islands, two groups of tropical islands in the Lucayan Archipelago of the Atlantic Ocean and northern West Indies.

They are known primarily for tourism and as an offshore financial centre. The resident population is 31,458 as of 2012[update][2] of whom 23,769 live on Providenciales in the Caicos Islands.

The Turks and Caicos Islands lie southeast of Mayaguana in the Bahamas island chain and north of the island of Hispaniola and the other Antilles archipelago islands. Cockburn Town, the capital since 1766, is situated on Grand Turk Island about 1,042 kilometres (647mi) east-southeast of Miami, United States. The islands have a total land area of 430 square kilometres (170sqmi).[b]

The first recorded European sighting of the islands now known as the Turks and Caicos occurred in 1512.[7] In the subsequent centuries, the islands were claimed by several European powers with the British Empire eventually gaining control. For many years the islands were governed indirectly through Bermuda, the Bahamas, and Jamaica. When the Bahamas gained independence in 1973, the islands received their own governor, and have remained a separate autonomous British Overseas Territory since. In August 2009, the United Kingdom suspended the Turks and Caicos Islands’ self-government after allegations of ministerial corruption.[8] Home rule was restored in the islands after the November 2012 elections.

The Turks and Caicos Islands are named after the Turk’s cap cactus (Melocactus intortus), and the Lucayan term caya hico, meaning ‘string of islands’.[9][10][11]

The first inhabitants of the islands were Arawakan-speaking Tano people, who crossed over from Hispaniola sometime from AD 500 to 800. Together with Taino who migrated from Cuba to the southern Bahamas around the same time, these people developed as the Lucayan. Around 1200, the Turks and Caicos Islands were resettled by Classical Tanos from Hispaniola.

Soon after the Spanish arrived in the islands in 1512,[7] they began capturing the Tano of the Turks and Caicos Islands and the Lucayan as slaves (technically, as workers in the encomienda system)[12] to replace the largely depleted native population of Hispaniola. The southern Bahama Islands and the Turks and Caicos Islands were completely depopulated by about 1513, and remained so until the 17th century.[13][14][15][16][17]

The first European documented to sight the islands was Spanish conquistador Juan Ponce de Len, who did so in 1512.[7] During the 16th, 17th, and 18th centuries, the islands passed from Spanish, to French, to British control, but none of the three powers ever established any settlements.

Bermudian salt collectors settled the Turks Islands around 1680. For several decades around the turn of the 18th century, the islands became popular pirate hideouts. From 17651783, the islands were under French occupation, and again after the French captured the archipelago in 1783.

After the American War of Independence (17751783), many Loyalists fled to British Caribbean colonies; in 1783, they were the first settlers on the Caicos Islands. They developed cotton as an important cash crop, but it was superseded by the development of the salt industry.

In 1799, both the Turks and the Caicos island groups were annexed by Britain as part of the Bahamas.[citation needed] The processing of sea salt was developed as a highly important export product from the West Indies, with the labour done by African slaves. Salt continued to be a major export product into the nineteenth century.

In 1807, Britain prohibited the slave trade and, in 1833, abolished slavery in its colonies. British ships sometimes intercepted slave traders in the Caribbean, and some ships were wrecked off the coast of these islands. In 1837, the Esperanza, a Portuguese slaver, was wrecked off East Caicos, one of the larger islands. While the crew and 220 captive Africans survived the shipwreck, 18 Africans died before the survivors were taken to Nassau. Africans from this ship may have been among the 189 liberated Africans whom the British colonists settled in the Turks and Caicos from 1833 to 1840.[18]

In 1841, the Trouvadore, an illegal Spanish slave ship, was wrecked off the coast of East Caicos. All the 20-man crew and 192 captive Africans survived the sinking. Officials freed the Africans and arranged for 168 persons to be apprenticed to island proprietors on Grand Turk Island for one year. They increased the small population of the colony by seven percent.[18] Numerous descendants have come from those free Africans. The remaining 24 were resettled in Nassau. The Spanish crew were also taken there, to be turned over to the custody of the Cuban consul and taken to Cuba for prosecution.[19] An 1878 letter documents the “Trouvadore Africans” and their descendants as constituting an essential part of the “labouring population” on the islands.[18]

In 2004, marine archaeologists affiliated with the Turks and Caicos National Museum discovered a wreck, called the “Black Rock Ship”, that subsequent research has suggested may be that of the Trouvadore. In November 2008, a cooperative marine archaeology expedition, funded by the United States NOAA, confirmed that the wreck has artefacts whose style and date of manufacture link them to the Trouvadore.[19][20][21]

In 1848, Britain designated the Turks and Caicos as a separate colony under a council president. In 1873, the islands were made part of the Jamaica colony; in 1894, the chief colonial official was restyled commissioner. In 1917, Canadian Prime Minister Robert Borden suggested that the Turks and Caicos join Canada, but this suggestion was rejected by British Prime Minister David Lloyd George. The islands remained a dependency of Jamaica into 1959.[citation needed]

On 4 July 1959, the islands were again designated as a separate colony, the last commissioner being restyled administrator. The governor of Jamaica also continued as the governor of the islands. When Jamaica was granted independence from Britain in August 1962, the Turks and Caicos Islands became a Crown colony. From 1965, the governor of the Bahamas also was governor of the Turks and Caicos Islands and oversaw affairs for the islands.[citation needed]

When the Bahamas gained independence in 1973, the Turks and Caicos received their own governor (the last administrator was restyled). In 1974, Canadian New Democratic Party MP Max Saltsman tried to use his Private Member’s Bill for legislation to annex the islands to Canada, but it did not pass in the Canadian House of Commons.[22]

Since August 1976, the islands have had their own government headed by a chief minister, the first of whom was James Alexander George Smith McCartney.

The islands’ political troubles in the early 21st century resulted in a rewritten constitution promulgated in 2006. The UK took over direction of the government in 2009.[23][24]

In 2013 and 2014, interest in annexing Turks and Caicos to Canada was renewed as Edmonton East MP Peter Goldring met with the Turks and Caicos’ premier Rufus Ewing in a reception at Torontos Westin Harbour Castle hotel.[25][26]

The two island groups are in the North Atlantic Ocean, southeast of the Bahamas, northwest of Puerto Rico, north of Hispaniola, and about 1,000 kilometres (620mi) from Miami in the United States, at 2145N 7135W / 21.750N 71.583W / 21.750; -71.583Coordinates: 2145N 7135W / 21.750N 71.583W / 21.750; -71.583. The territory is geographically contiguous to the Bahamas, both comprising the Lucayan Archipelago, but is politically a separate entity. The Caicos Islands are separated by the Caicos Passage from the closest Bahamian islands, Mayaguana and Great Inagua.

The eight main islands and more than 299 smaller islands[citation needed] have a total land area of 616.3 square kilometres (238.0 square miles),[b] consisting primarily of low, flat limestone with extensive marshes and mangrove swamps and 332 square kilometres (128sqmi) of beach front. The weather is usually sunny (it is generally regarded that the islands receive 350 days of sun each year[27]) and relatively dry, but suffers frequent hurricanes. The islands have limited natural fresh water resources; private cisterns collect rainwater for drinking. The primary natural resources are spiny lobster, conch, and other shellfish.

The two distinct island groups are separated by the Turks Islands Passage.

The Turks Islands are separated from the Caicos Islands by Turks Island Passage, which is more than 2,200m or 7,200ft deep,[28] The islands form a chain that stretches northsouth. The 2012 Census population was 4,939 on the two main islands, the only inhabited islands of the group:

Together with nearby islands, all on Turks Bank, those two main islands form the two of the six administrative districts of the territory that fall within the Turks Islands. Turks Bank, which is smaller than Caicos Bank, has a total area of about 324km2 (125sqmi).[30]

25 kilometres (16mi) east of the Turks Islands and separated from them by Mouchoir Passage is the Mouchoir Bank. Although it has no emergent cays or islets, some parts are very shallow and the water breaks on them. Mouchoir Bank is part of the Turks and Caicos Islands and falls within its Exclusive Economic Zone. It measures 960 square kilometres (370sqmi) in area.[31] Two banks further east, Silver Bank and Navidad Bank, are geographically a continuation, but belong politically to the Dominican Republic.

The largest island in the Caicos archipelago is the sparsely-inhabited Middle Caicos, which measures 144 square kilometres (56sqmi) in area, but has a population of only 168 at the 2012 Census. The most populated island is Providenciales, with 23,769 inhabitants in 2012, and an area of 122 square kilometres (47sqmi). North Caicos (116 square kilometres (45sqmi) in area) had 1,312 inhabitants. South Caicos (21 square kilometres (8.1sqmi) in area) had 1,139 inhabitants, and Parrot Cay (6 square kilometres (2.3sqmi) in area) had 131 inhabitants. East Caicos (which is administered as part of South Caicos District) is uninhabited, while the only permanent inhabitants of West Caicos (administered as part of Providenciales District) are resort staff.

The Turks and Caicos Islands feature a relatively dry and sunny marine tropical climate[32] with relatively consistent temperatures throughout the course of the year. Summertime temperatures rarely exceed 33C (91F) and winter nighttime temperatures rarely fall below 18C (64F).

The Turks and Caicos Islands are a British Overseas Territory. As a British territory, its sovereign is Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom, represented by a governor appointed by the monarch, on the advice of the Foreign Office. The United Nations Special Committee on Decolonization includes the territory on the United Nations list of Non-Self-Governing Territories.

With the election of the territory’s first Chief Minister, J.A.G.S. McCartney, the islands adopted a constitution on 30 August 1976, which is Constitution Day, the national holiday.

The constitution was suspended in 1986, but restored and revised 5 March 1988. In the interim two Advisory Councils took over with members from the Progressive National Party (PNP), People’s Democratic Movement (PDM) and National Democratic Alliance (NDA), which was a splinter group from the PNP:[35]

A new constitution came into force on 9 August 2006, but was in parts suspended and amended in 2009. The territory’s legal system is based on English common law, with a small number of laws adopted from Jamaica and the Bahamas. Suffrage is universal for those over 18 years of age. English is the official language. Grand Turk is the administrative and political capital of the Turks and Caicos Islands and Cockburn Town has been the seat of government since 1766.

Under the suspended 2006 constitution, the head of government was the premier, filled by the leader of the elected party. The cabinet consisted of three ex officio members and five appointed by the governor from among the members of the House of Assembly. The unicameral House of Assembly consisted of 21 seats, of which 15 were popularly elected; members serve four-year terms. Elections in the Turks and Caicos Islands were held on 24 April 2003 and again on 9 February 2007. The Progressive National Party, led by Michael Misick, held thirteen seats, and the People’s Democratic Movement, led by Floyd Seymour, held two seats.

Under the new constitution that came into effect in October 2012, legislative power is held by a unicameral House of Assembly, consisting of 19 seats, 15 elected and 4 appointed by the governor; of elected members, five are elected at large and 10 from single member districts for four-year terms. After the 2012 elections, Rufus Ewing of the Progressive National Party won a narrow majority of the elected seats and was appointed premier.[36]

The Turks and Caicos Islands participates in the Caribbean Development Bank, is an associate in CARICOM, member of the Universal Postal Union and maintains an Interpol sub-bureau. Defence is the responsibility of the United Kingdom.

The winning party of Turks and Caicos’ first general election in 1976, the People’s Democratic Movement (PDM) under “Jags” McCartney, sought to establish a framework and accompanying infrastructure in the pursuit of an eventual policy of full independence for the islands. However, with the early death of McCartney, confidence in the country’s leadership waned. In 1980, the PDM agreed with the British government that independence would be granted in 1982 if the PDM was re-elected in the elections of that year.[citation needed] That election was effectively a referendum on the independence issue and was won by the pro-dependency Progressive National Party (PNP), which claimed victory again four years later. With these developments, the independence issue largely faded from the political scene.[citation needed]

However, in the mid-2000s, the issue of independence for the islands was again raised. In April 2006, PNP Premier Michael Misick reaffirmed that his party saw independence from Britain as the “ultimate goal” for the islands, but not at the present time.[37]

In 2008, opponents of Misick accused him of moving toward independence for the islands to dodge a commission of inquiry, which examined reports of corruption by the Misick Administration.[38]

The Turks and Caicos Islands are divided into six administrative districts (two in the Turks Islands and four in the Caicos Islands), headed by district commissioners. For the House of Assembly, the Turks and Caicos Islands are divided into 15 electoral districts (four in the Turks Islands and eleven in the Caicos Islands).

A great number of tourists who visit the Turks and Caicos Islands are Canadian. In 2011 arrivals from Canada were about 42,000 out of a total from all countries of about 354,000.[39] Owing to this, the islands’ status as a British colony, and historical trade links, some politicians in Canada and the Turks and Caicos have suggested some form of union between Canada and the British territory. In 1917, Canadian Prime Minister Robert Borden attempted to persuade the British government to annex the islands, and the idea has been discussed several times over the last century. In 1974, the government of the islands sent Canada a “serious offer” to join the country, however at the time the Canadian government was focusing on their free trade agreement with the United States.

In 2013, Rufus Ewing, the Premier of the islands, rejected the idea of the islands joining Canada, however the following year he stated that he wasn’t “closing the door completely” on the possibility.[40]

In April 2016, it was reported that the New Democratic Party, one of the three major political parties in Canada, was considering a resolution at an upcoming national convention to discuss the possibility of working with lawmakers and citizens of Turks and Caicos Islands to have it join Canada as the eleventh Canadian province.[41]

In 2008, after members of the British parliament conducting a routine review of the administration received several reports of high-level official corruption in the Turks and Caicos,[42] then-Governor Richard Tauwhare announced the appointment of a Commission of Enquiry into corruption.[43] The same year, Premier Michael Misick himself became the focus of a criminal investigation after a woman identified by news outlets as an American citizen residing in Puerto Rico accused him of sexually assaulting her,[44] although he strongly denies the charge.[45]

On Monday, 16 March 2009, the UK threatened to suspend self-government in the islands and transfer power to the new governor, Gordon Wetherell, over systemic corruption.[46]

On 18 March 2009, on the advice of her UK ministers, Queen Elizabeth II issued an Order in Council giving the Governor the power to suspend those parts of the 2006 Constitution that deal with ministerial government and the House of Assembly, and to exercise the powers of government himself. The order, which would also establish an Advisory Council and Consultative Forum in place of the House of Assembly, would come into force on a date to be announced by the governor, and remain in force for two years unless extended or revoked.[47]

On 23 March 2009, after the enquiry found evidence of “high probability of systemic corruption or other serious dishonesty”, Misick resigned as Premier to make way for a new, unified government.[48] Politicians were accused of selling crown land for personal gain and misusing public funds.[49] The following day, Galmo Williams was sworn in as his replacement.[48][50] Misick denied all charges, and referred to the British government’s debate on whether to remove the territory’s sovereignty as “tantamount to being re-colonised. It is a backwards step completely contrary to the whole movement of history.”[49]

On 14 August 2009 after Misick’s last appeals failed, the Governor, on the instructions of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, imposed direct rule on the Turks and Caicos Islands by authority of the 18 March 2009 Order in Council issued by the Queen. The islands’ administration was suspended for up to two years, with possible extensions, and power was transferred to the Governor, with the United Kingdom also stationing a supply vessel in between Turks and Caicos. Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs Chris Bryant said of the decision to impose rule, “This is a serious constitutional step which the UK Government has not taken lightly but these measures are essential in order to restore good governance and sound financial management.”[51]

The move was met with vehement opposition by the former Turks and Caicos government, with Misick’s successor Williams calling it a “coup”, and stating that, “Our country is being invaded and re-colonised by the United Kingdom, dismantling a duly elected government and legislature and replacing it with a one-man dictatorship, akin to that of the old Red China, all in the name of good governance.”[51] Despite this, the civilian populace was reported to be largely welcoming of the enforced rule.[51] The British government stated that they intended to keep true to their word that the country would regain home rule in two years or less, and Foreign Office Minister Chris Bryant said that elections would be held in 2011, “or sooner”.[52] Governor Wetherell stated that he would aim to “make a clean break from the mistakes of the past” and create “a durable path towards good governance, sound financial management and sustainable development”. Wetherell added: “In the meantime we must all learn to foster a quality of public spirit, listen to all those who have the long-term interests of these islands at heart, and safeguard the fundamental assets of the Territory for future generations… Our guiding principles will be those of transparency, accountability and responsibility. I believe that most people in the Turks and Caicos will welcome these changes.”[51]

On 12 June 2012 British Foreign Secretary William Hague announced that fresh elections would be held in November 2012, stating that there had been “significant progress with an ambitious reform programme” and that there had been “sufficient progress, on the milestones and on putting in place robust financial controls”[53] A new constitution was approved on 15 October 2012. The terms of the election are specified in the constitution.[54]

The judicial branch of government is headed by a Supreme Court; appeals are heard by the Court of Appeal and final appeals by the United Kingdom’s Judicial Committee of the Privy Council. There are three justices of the Supreme Court, a Chief Justice and two others. The Court of Appeal consists of a president and at least two justices of appeal.

Magistrates’ Courts are the lower courts and appeals from Magistrates’ Courts are sent to the Supreme Court.

As of September 2014, the Chief Justice is Justice Margaret Ramsay-Hale.[55]

Eight of the thirty islands in the territory are inhabited, with a total population estimated from preliminary results of the census of 25 January 2012 (released on 12 August 2012) of 31,458 inhabitants, an increase of 58.2% from the population of 19,886 reported in the 2001 census.[2] One-third of the population is under 15 years old, and only 4% are 65 or older. In 2000 the population was growing at a rate of 3.55% per year. The infant mortality rate was 18.66 deaths per 1,000 live births and the life expectancy at birth was 73.28 years (71.15 years for males, 75.51 years for females). The total fertility rate was 3.25 children born per woman. The annual population growth rate is 2.82%.

The adult population is composed of 57.5% immigrants (“non-belongers”). The CIA World Factbook describes the islanders’ ethnicity as African 87%, European 7.9%, Mixed 2.5.%, East Indian 1.3% and Other 0.7% [58]

Vital statistics related to the population are:[59][60][61]

The official language of the islands is English and the population also speaks Turks and Caicos Islands Creole[62] which is similar to Bahamian Creole.[63] Due to its close proximity to Cuba and Hispaniola, large Haitian Creole and Spanish-speaking communities have developed in the territory due to immigration, both legal and illegal, from Creole-speaking Haiti and from Spanish-speaking Cuba and Dominican Republic.[64]

72.8% of the population of Turks and Caicos are Christian (Baptists 35.8%, Church of God 11.7%, Roman Catholics 11.4%, Anglicans 10%, Methodists 9.3%, Seventh-Day Adventists 6%, Jehovah’s Witnesses 1.8% and Others 14%).[58]

Catholics are served by the Mission “Sui Iuris” for Turks and Caicos, which was erected in 1984 with territory taken from the then Diocese of Nassau.

The Turks and Caicos Islands are most well known for ripsaw music. The islands are known for their annual Music and Cultural Festival showcasing many local talents and other dynamic performances by many music celebrities from around the Caribbean and United States.

Women continue traditional crafts of using straw to make baskets and hats on the larger Caicos islands. It is possible that this continued tradition is related to the liberated Africans who joined the population directly from Africa in the 1830s and 1841 from shipwrecked slavers; they brought cultural craft skills with them.[21]

The island’s most popular sports are fishing, sailing, football (soccer) and cricket (which is the national sport).

Turks and Caicos cuisine is based primarily around seafood, especially conch.[65] Two common dishes, whilst not traditionally ‘local’, are conch fritters and conch salad.[66]

Because the Turks and Caicos is a British Overseas Territory and not an independent country, they, at one time, could not confer citizenship. Instead, people with close ties to Britain’s Overseas Territories all held the same nationality: British Overseas Territories Citizen (BOTC) as defined by the British Nationality Act 1981 and subsequent amendments. BOTC, however, does not confer any right to live in any British Overseas Territory, including the territory from which it is derived. Instead, the rights normally associated with citizenship derive from what is called Belonger status and island natives or descendants from natives are said to be Belongers.

In 2002, the British Overseas Territories Act restored full British citizenship status to all citizens of British Overseas Territories, including the Turks and Caicos. See British Overseas Territories citizen#Access to British citizenship.

Public Education is supported by taxation, and is mandatory for children aged five to sixteen. Primary education lasts for six years and secondary education lasts for five years. In the 1990s, the island nation launched the Primary In-Service Teacher Education Project (PINSTEP) in an effort to increase the skills of its primary school teachers, nearly one-quarter of whom were unqualified. Turks and Caicos also worked to refurbish its primary schools, reduce textbook costs, and increase equipment and supplies given to schools. For example, in September 1993, each primary school was given enough books to allow teachers to establish in-class libraries.[citation needed] In 2001, the studentteacher ratio at the primary level was roughly 15:1.[citation needed] The Turks and Caicos Islands Community College offers free higher education to students who have successfully completed their secondary education. The community college also oversees an adult literacy program. The Ministry of Health, Education, Youth, Sports, and Women’s Affairs oversees education in Turks and Caicos. Once a student completes their education at The Turks and Caicos Islands Community College, they are allowed to further their education at a university in The United States, Canada, or the United Kingdom for free. They have to commit to working in The Turks and Caicos Islands for four years to receive this additional education.

The Turks and Caicos established a National Health System in 2010. Residents contribute to a National Health Insurance Plan through salary deduction and nominal user fees. Majority of care is provided by the private-public-partnership hospitals in Providenciales and Grand Turk. In addition there are a number of government clinics and private clinics. The hospital opened in 2010 is administered by Interhealth Canada and has been accredited by Accreditation Canada in 2012 and 2015.

In 2009, GDP contributions were as follows:[67] Hotels & Restaurants 34.67%, Financial Services 13.12%, Construction 7.83%, Transport, Storage & Communication 9.90%, and Real Estate, Renting & Business Activities 9.56%.[clarification needed] Most capital goods and food for domestic consumption are imported.

In 2010/2011, major sources of government revenue included Import Duties (43.31%), Stamp Duty on Land Transaction (8.82%), Work Permits and Residency Fees (10.03%) and Accommodation Tax (24.95%). The territory’s gross domestic product as of late 2009 is approximately US$795 million (per capita $24,273).[67]

The labour force totalled 27,595 workers in 2008. The labour force distribution in 2006 is as follows:

The unemployment rate in 2008 was 8.3%. In 20072008, the territory took in revenues of $206.79 million against expenditures of $235.85 million. In 1995, the island received economic aid worth $5.7 million. The territory’s currency is the United States dollar, with a few government fines (such as airport infractions) being payable in pounds sterling. Most commemorative coin issues are denominated in crowns.

The primary agricultural products include limited amounts of maize, beans, cassava (tapioca) and citrus fruits. Fish and conch are the only significant export, with some $169.2 million of lobster, dried and fresh conch, and conch shells exported in 2000, primarily to the United Kingdom and the United States. In recent years, however, the catch has been declining. The territory used to be an important trans-shipment point for South American narcotics destined for the United States, but due to the ongoing pressure of a combined American, Bahamian and Turks and Caicos effort this trade has been greatly reduced.

The islands import food and beverages, tobacco, clothing, manufacture and construction materials, primarily from the United States and the United Kingdom. Imports totalled $581 million in 2007.

The islands produce and consume about 5 GWh of electricity, per year, all of which comes from fossil fuels.

The United States was the leading source of tourists in 1996, accounting for more than half of the 87,000 visitors; another major source of tourists is Canada. Tourist arrivals had risen to 264,887 in 2007 and to 351,498 by 2009. In 2010, a total of 245 cruise ships arrived at the Grand Turk Cruise Terminal, carrying a total of 617,863 visitors.[68]

The government is pursuing a two-pronged strategy to increase tourism. Upscale resorts are aimed at the wealthy, while a large new cruise ship port and recreation centre has been built for the masses visiting Grand Turk. Turks and Caicos Islands has one of the longest coral reefs in the world[69] and the world’s only conch farm.[70]

The French vacation village company of Club Mediterannee (Club Med) has an all-inclusive adult resort called ‘Turkoise’ on one of the main islands.

Several Hollywood stars have built homes in the Turks and Caicos, including Dick Clark and Bruce Willis. Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner married on Parrot Cay in 2005. Actress Eva Longoria and her ex-husband Tony Parker went to the islands for their honeymoon in July 2007 and High School Musical actors Zac Efron and Vanessa Hudgens went for a vacation there. In 2013 Hollywood writer/director Rob Margolies and actress Kristen Ruhlin vacationed here. Musician Nile Rodgers has a vacation home on the island.

To boost tourism during the Caribbean low season of late summer, since 2003 the Turks and Caicos Tourist Board have organised and hosted an annual series of concerts during this season called the Turks & Caicos Music and Cultural Festival.[71] Held in a temporary bandshell at The Turtle Cove Marina in The Bight on Providenciales, this festival lasts about a week and has featured several notable international recording artists, such as Lionel Richie, LL Cool J, Anita Baker, Billy Ocean, Alicia Keys, John Legend, Kenny Rogers, Michael Bolton, Ludacris, Chaka Khan, and Boyz II Men.[72] More than 10,000 people attend annually.[72]

The Turks and Caicos Islands are a biodiversity hotspot. The islands have many endemic species and others of international importance, due to the conditions created by the oldest established salt-pan development in the Caribbean. The variety of species includes a number of endemic species of lizards, snakes, insects and plants, and marine organisms; in addition to being an important breeding area for seabirds.[79]

The UK and Turks and Caicos Islands Governments have joint responsibility for the conservation and preservation to meet obligations under international environmental conventions.[80]

Due to this significance, the islands are on the United Kingdom’s tentative list for future UNESCO World Heritage Sites.[81]

Providenciales International Airport is the main entry point for the Turks and Caicos Islands. Altogether, there are seven airports, located on each of the inhabited islands. Five have paved runways (three of which are approximately 2,000m (6,600ft) long and one is approximately 1,000m (3,300ft) long), and the remaining two have unpaved runways (one of which is approximately 1,000m (3,300ft)s long and the other is significantly shorter).[82]

The islands have 121 kilometres (75 miles) of highway, 24km (15mi) paved and 97km (60mi) unpaved. Like the United States Virgin Islands and British Virgin Islands, the Turks and Caicos Islands drive on the left, but use left-hand-drive vehicles that are imported from the United States.[83]

The territory’s main international ports and harbours are on Grand Turk and Providenciales.[84]

The islands have no significant railways. In the early twentieth century East Caicos operated a horse-drawn railway to transport Sisal from the plantation to the port. The 14-kilometre (8.7-mile) route was removed after sisal trading ceased.[85]

There is no postal delivery in the Turks and Caicos; mail is picked up at one of four post offices on each of the major islands.[86] Mail is transported three or seven times a week, depending on the destination.[87] The Post Office is part of the territory’s government and reports to the Minister of Government Support Services.[88]

Mobile phone service is provided by Cable & Wireless Worldwide, using GSM 850 and TDMA, and Digicel, using GSM 900 and 1900 and Islandcom Wireless, using 3G 850. Cable & Wireless provides CDMA mobile phone service in Providenciales and Grand Turk. The system is connected to the mainland by two submarine cables and an Intelsat earth station. There were three AM radio stations (one inactive) and six FM stations (no shortwave) in 1998. The most popular station is Power 92.5 FM which plays Top 100 hits. Over 8000 radio receivers are owned across the territory.

West Indies Video (WIV) has been the sole cable television provider for the Turks and Caicos Islands for over two decades and WIV4 (a subsidiary of WIV) has been the only broadcast station in the islands for over 15 years; broadcasts from the Bahamas can also be received. The territory has two internet service providers and its country code top level domain (ccTLD) is “.tc”. Amateur radio callsigns begin with “VP5” and visiting operators frequently work from the islands.

WIV introduced Channel 4 News in 2002 broadcasting local news and infotainment programs across the country. Channel 4 was re-launched as WIV4 in November 2007 and began providing reliable daily online Turks and Caicos news with the WIV4 News blog,[89] an online forum connecting TCI residents with others interested in the islands, while keeping users updated on the TCI’s daily news.

Since 2013 4NEWS has become the Islands HD Cable News service with Television Studios in Grace Bay, Providenciales. DigicelPlay is the local cable provider.

Turks and Caicos’s newspapers include the Turks and Caicos Weekly News, the Turks and Caicos SUN[90] and the Turks and Caicos Free Press.[91] All three publications are weekly. The Weekly News and the Sun both have supplement magazines. Other local magazines Times of the Islands,[92]s3 Magazine,[93]Real Life Magazine, Baller Magazine, and Unleashed Magazine.

From 1950 to 1981, the United States had a missile tracking station on Grand Turk. In the early days of the American space program, NASA used it. After his three earth orbits in 1962, American astronaut John Glenn successfully landed in the nearby ocean and was brought back ashore to Grand Turk island.[94][95]

Cricket is the islands’ national sport.[96] The national team takes part in regional tournaments in the ICC Americas Championship,[97] as well as having played one Twenty20 match as part of the 2008 Standford 20/20.[98] Two domestic leagues exist, one on Grand Turk with three teams and another on Providenciales.[96]

As of 4 July 2012, Turks and Caicos Islands’ football team shared the position of the lowest ranking national men’s football team in the world at the rank of 207th.[99]

Because the territory is not recognized by the International Olympic Committee, Turks and Caicos Islanders compete for Great Britain at the Olympic Games.[citation needed]

27b. http://www.cbc.ca/news/background/turksandcaicos/

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Commune – Wikipedia

Posted: December 27, 2016 at 6:09 pm

Not to be confused with comune.

A commune (the French word appearing in the 12th century from Medieval Latin communia, meaning a large gathering of people sharing a common life; from Latin communis, things held in common)[1] is an intentional community of people living together, sharing common interests, often having common values and beliefs, as well as shared property, possessions, resources, and, in some communes, work and income and assets. In addition to the communal economy, consensus decision-making, non-hierarchical structures and ecological living have become important core principles for many communes. Andrew Jacobs of The New York Times wrote that, contrary to popular misconceptions, “most communes of the ’90s are not free-love refuges for flower children, but well-ordered, financially solvent cooperatives where pragmatics, not psychedelics, rule the day.”[2] There are many contemporary intentional communities all over the world, a list of which can be found at the Fellowship for Intentional Community (FIC).[3]

For the usually larger-scale, political entities in communist political theory, see socialist communes, which are similar but distinct social organizations.

Benjamin Zablocki categorized communities this way:[4]

Of course, many communal ventures encompass more than one of these categorizations.

Some communes, such as the ashrams of the Vedanta Society or the Theosophical commune Lomaland, formed around spiritual leaders, while others formed around political ideologies. For others, the “glue” is simply the desire for a more shared, sociable lifestyle. Moreover, some people find it is more economical to live communally.[citation needed]

The central characteristics of communes, or core principles that define communes, have been expressed in various forms over the years. Before 1840 such communities were known as “communist and socialist settlements”; by 1860, they were also called “communitarian” and by around 1920 the term “intentional community”[citation needed] had been added to the vernacular of some theorists.[5]

At the start of the 1970s, “The New Communes” author Ron E. Roberts classified communes as a subclass of a larger category of Utopias. He listed three main characteristics. Communes of this period tended to develop their own characteristics of theory though, so while many strived for variously expressed forms of egalitarianism Roberts’ list should never be read as typical. Additionally, the items listed by Roberts were the subject of general pop-theory discourse before and during his time and rather than being particular to communes indicate a wider international political discussion about post industrial societal structures and order. Roberts’ three listed items were: first, egalitarianism that communes specifically rejected hierarchy or graduations of social status as being necessary to social order. Second, human scale that members of some communes saw the scale of society as it was then organised as being too industrialized (or factory sized) and therefore unsympathetic to human dimensions. And third, that communes were consciously anti-bureaucratic.

Twenty five years later, Dr. Bill Metcalf, in his edited book “Shared Visions, Shared Lives” defined communes as having the following core principles: the importance of the group as opposed to the nuclear family unit, a “common purse”, a collective household, group decision making in general and intimate affairs. Sharing everyday life and facilities, a commune is an idealized form of family, being a new sort of “primary group” (generally with fewer than 20 people although again there are outstanding examples of much larger communes or communes that experienced episodes with much larger populations). Commune members have emotional bonds to the whole group rather than to any sub-group, and the commune is experienced with emotions which go beyond just social collectivity.

With the simple definition of a commune as an intentional community with 100% income sharing, the online directory of the Fellowship for Intentional Community (FIC)[3] lists 186 communes worldwide (17 August 2011).[8] Some of these are religious institutions such as abbeys and monasteries. Others are based in anthroposophic philosophy, including Camphill villages that provide support for the education, employment, and daily lives of adults and children with developmental disabilities, mental health problems or other special needs.[9] Many communes are part of the New Age movement.

Many cultures naturally practice communal or tribal living, and would not designate their way of life as a planned ‘commune’ per se, though their living situation may have many characteristics of a commune.

In Germany, a large number of the intentional communities define themselves as communes and there is a network of political communes called “Kommuja”[10] with about 30 member groups (May 2009). Germany has a long tradition of intentional communities going back to the groups inspired by the principles of Lebensreform in the 19th century. Later, about 100 intentional communities were started in the Weimar Republic after World War I, many had a communal economy. In the 1960s, there was a resurgence of communities calling themselves communes, starting with the Kommune 1 in Berlin, followed by Kommune 2 (also Berlin) and Kommune 3 in Wolfsburg.

In the German commune book, Das KommuneBuch, communes are defined by Elisabeth Vo as communities which:

Kibbutzim in Israel, (sing., kibbutz) are examples of officially organized communes, the first of which were based on agriculture. Today, there are dozens of urban communes growing in the cities of Israel, often called urban kibbutzim. The urban kibbutzim are smaller and more anarchist.[12] Most of the urban communes in Israel emphasize social change, education, and local involvement in the cities where they live. Some of the urban communes have members who are graduates of zionist-socialist youth movements, like HaNoar HaOved VeHaLomed, HaMahanot HaOlim and Hashomer Hatsair.[13]

In 1831 John Vandeleur (a landlord) established a commune on his Ralahine Estate at Newmarket-on-Fergus, Co. Clare. Vandeleur asked Edward Thomas Craig, an English socialist, to formulate rules and regulations for the commune. It was set up with a population of 22 adult single men, 7 married men and their 7 wives, 5 single women, 4 orphan boys and 5 children under the age of 9 years. No money was employed, only credit notes which could be used in the commune shop. All occupants were committed to a life with no alcohol, tobacco, snuff or gambling. All were required to work for 12 hours a day during the summer and from dawn to dusk in winter. The social experiment prospered for a time and 29 new members joined. However, in 1833 the experiment collapsed due to the gambling debts of John Vandeleur. The members of the commune met for the last time on 23 November 1833 and placed on record a declaration of the contentment, peace and happiness they had experienced for two years under the arrangements introduced by Mr. Vandeleur and Mr. Craig and which through no fault of the Association was now at an end.[14]

In imperial Russia, the vast majority of Russian peasants held their land in communal ownership within a mir community, which acted as a village government and a cooperative.{{[15]; [16]}} The very widespread and influential pre-Soviet Russian tradition of Monastic communities of both sexes could also be considered a form of communal living. After the end of Communism in Russia monastic communities have again become more common, populous and, to a lesser degree, more influential in Russian society. Various patterns of Russian behavior — toloka (), pomochi (), artel’ () — are also based on Communal (“”) traditions.

A nineteenth century advocate and practitioner of communal living was the utopian socialist John Goodwyn Barmby, who founded a Communist Church before becoming a Unitarian minister.[17] The UK today has several communes or intentional communities, increasing since the New Towns Act 1946 to recuperate a lost sense of community at the centralization of population in Post-War New Towns such as Crawley or Corby.

The Simon Community in London is an example of social cooperation, made to ease homelessness within London. It provides food and religion and is staffed by homeless people and volunteers. Mildly nomadic, they run street “cafs” which distribute food to their known members and to the general public.

In Glandwr, near Crymych, Pembrokeshire, a co-op called Lammas Ecovillage focuses on planning and sustainable development. Granted planning permission by the Welsh Government in 2009, it has since created 9 holdings and is a central communal hub for its community.[19]

In Scotland, the Findhorn Foundation founded by Peter and Eileen Caddy and Dorothy Maclean in 1962[20] is prominent for its educational centre and experimental architectural community project based at The Park, in Moray, Scotland, near the village of Findhorn.[21]

The Findhorn Ecovillage community at The Park, Findhorn, a village in Moray, Scotland, and at Cluny Hill in Forres, now houses more than 400 people.[22]

Although communes are most frequently associated with the hippie movementthe “back-to-the-land” ventures of the 1960s and 1970sthere is a long history of communes in America (see this short discussion of Utopian communities).[23]Andrew Jacobs of The New York Times wrote that “after decades of contraction, the American commune movement has been expanding since the mid-1990s, spurred by the growth of settlements that seek to marry the utopian-minded commune of the 1960s with the American predilection for privacy and capital appreciation.”[24] (See Intentional community). The Fellowship for Intentional Community (FIC) is the best source for listings of and more information about communes in the United States.

As of 2010, the Venezuelan state has initiated the construction of almost 200 “socialist communes” which are billed as autonomous and independent from the government. The communes have their own “productive gardens that grow their own vegetables as a method of self-supply. The communes also make independent decisions in regards to administration and the use of funding.[25] The idea has been denounced as an attempt to undermine elected local governments, since the central government could shift its funding away from these in favor of communes, which are overseen by the federal Ministry of Communes and Social Protection.[26]

In Vietnam, commune (x) is the lowest subdivision. It is a subdivision of a district-level town (th x), rural district (huyn) or provincial city (thnh ph trc thuc tnh).

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H.R.2802 – 114th Congress (2015-2016): First Amendment …

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Array ( [actionDate] => 2015-06-17 [displayText] => Introduced in House [externalActionCode] => 1000 [description] => Introduced )

First Amendment Defense Act

Prohibits the federal government from taking discriminatory action against a person on the basis that such person believes or acts in accordance with a religious belief or moral conviction that: (1) marriage is or should be recognized as the union of one man and one woman, or (2) sexual relations are properly reserved to such a marriage.

Defines “discriminatory action” as any federal government action to discriminate against a person with such beliefs or convictions, including a federal government action to:

Requires the federal government to consider to be accredited, licensed, or certified for purposes of federal law any person who would be accredited, licensed, or certified for such purposes but for a determination that the person believes or acts in accordance with such a religious belief or moral conviction.

Permits a person to assert an actual or threatened violation of this Act as a claim or defense in a judicial or administrative proceeding and to obtain compensatory damages or other appropriate relief against the federal government.

Authorizes the Attorney General to bring an action to enforce this Act against the Government Accountability Office or an establishment in the executive branch, other than the U.S. Postal Service or the Postal Regulatory Commission, that is not an executive department, military department, or government corporation.

Defines “person” as any person regardless of religious affiliation, including corporations and other entities regardless of for-profit or nonprofit status.

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NSA Spying on Americans Is Illegal | American Civil Liberties …

Posted: December 26, 2016 at 2:55 pm

Click here for more on NSA Surveillance

What if it emerged that the President of the United States was flagrantly violating the Constitution and a law passed by the Congress to protect Americans against abuses by a super-secret spy agency? What if, instead of apologizing, he said, in essence, “I have the power to do that, because I say I can.” That frightening scenario is exactly what we are now witnessing in the case of the warrantless NSA spying ordered by President Bush that was reported December 16, 2005 by the New York Times.

According to the Times, Bush signed a presidential order in 2002 allowing the National Security Agency to monitor without a warrant the international (and sometimes domestic) telephone calls and e-mail messages of hundreds or thousands of citizens and legal residents inside the United States. The program eventually came to include some purely internal controls – but no requirement that warrants be obtained from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court as the 4th Amendment to the Constitution and the foreign intelligence surveillance laws require.

In other words, no independent review or judicial oversight.

That kind of surveillance is illegal. Period.

The day after this shocking abuse of power became public, President Bush admitted that he had authorized it, but argued that he had the authority to do so. But the law governing government eavesdropping on American citizens is well-established and crystal clear. President Bush’s claim that he is not bound by that law is simply astounding. It is a Presidential power grab that poses a challenge in the deepest sense to the integrity of the American system of government – the separation of powers between the legislative and executive branches, the concept of checks and balances on executive power, the notion that the president is subject to the law like everyone else, and the general respect for the “rule of law” on which our democratic system depends.

The ACLU ran the following advertisement in the December 29, 2005 edition of The New York Times:

The tensions between the need for intelligence agencies to protect the nation and the danger that they would become a domestic spy agency have been explicitly and repeatedly fought out in American history. The National Security Act of 1947 contained a specific ban on intelligence operatives from operating domestically. In the 1970s, America learned about the extensive domestic political spying carried out by the FBI, the military, the CIA, and the NSA, and Congress passed new laws to prevent a repeat of those abuses. Surveillance laws were debated and modified under presidents Ford, Carter, Reagan, Bush Sr. and Clinton.

But, President Bush would sweep aside this entire body of democratically debated and painstakingly crafted restrictions on domestic surveillance by the executive branch with his extraordinary assertion that he can simply ignore this law because he is the Commander-in-Chief. In a December 17 radio address, for example, Bush asserted that the spying was “fully consistent with my constitutional responsibilities and authorities.” But his constitutional duty is to “take care that the laws be faithfully executed” (Article II, Section 3); the law here clearly establishes well-defined procedures for eavesdropping on U.S. persons, and the fact is, Bush ordered that those procedures not be followed.

Government eavesdropping on Americans is an extremely serious matter; the ability to intrude on the private realm is a tremendous power that can be used to monitor, embarass, control, disgrace, or ruin an individual. Because it is so invasive, the technology of wiretapping has been subject to carefully crafted statutory controls almost since it was invented. Ignoring those controls and wiretapping without a court order is a crime that carries a significant prison sentence (in fact, criminal violations of the wiretap statute were among the articles of impeachment that were drafted against President Nixon shortly before his resignation).

Unfortunately, although the law in this matter is crystal clear, many Americans, faced with President Bush’s bold assertions of “inherent” authority for these actions, will not know what to believe. There are only 5 points they need to understand:

The law on surveillance begins with the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution, which states clearly that Americans’ privacy may not be invaded without a warrant based on probable cause.

United States Constitution Fourth Amendment

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

The US Supreme Court (US v. Katz 389 US 347) has made it clear that this core privacy protection does cover government eavesdropping. As a result, all electronic surveillance by the government in the United States is illegal, unless it falls under one of a small number of precise exceptions specifically carved out in the law.

United States Code Title 50, Chapter 36, Subchapter 1 Section 1809. Criminal sanctions

(a) Prohibited activities A person is guilty of an offense if he intentionally-

(1) engages in electronic surveillance under color of law except as authorized by statute

In other words, the NSA can only spy where it is explicitly granted permission to do so by statute. Citizens concerned about surveillance do not have to answer the question, “what law restricts the NSA’s spying?” Rather, the government is required to supply an answer to the question “what law permits the NSA to spy?”

There are only three laws that authorize any exceptions to the ban on electronic eavesdropping by the government. Congress has explicitly stated that these three laws are the exclusive means by which domestic electronic surveillance can be carried out (18 USC, Section 2511(2)(f)). They are:

Title III and ECPA govern domestic criminal wiretaps and are not relevant to the NSA’s spying. FISA is the law under which the NSA should have operated. It authorizes the government to conduct surveillance in certain situations without meeting all of the requirements of the Fourth Amendment that apply under criminal law, but requires that an independent Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court oversee that surveillance to make sure that Americans who have no ties to foreign terrorist organizations or other “foreign powers” are not spied upon.

FISA was significantly loosened by the Patriot Act (which, for example, allowed it to be used for some criminal investigations), and parts of it now stand in clear violation of the Constitution’s Fourth Amendment in the view of the ACLU and many others. However, even the post-Patriot Act version of FISA does not authorize the president to conduct warrantless eavesdropping on U.S. citizens or permanent legal residents in the U.S. without an order from the FISA Court. Yet it is that very court order requirement – imposed to protect innocent Americans – that the President has ignored.

In fact, one member of the FISA Court, Judge James Roberston, has apparently resigned from the court in protest of President Bush’s secret authorization of this program. And the New York Times reported that the court’s chief judge complained about the program when she was (belatedly) notified of it, and refused to allow information gathered under the program to be used as the basis for FISA wiretap orders.

Congress after 9/11 approved an Authorization to Use Military Force against those responsible for the attacks in order to authorize the president to conduct foreign military operations such as the invasion of Afghanistan.

But that resolution contains no language changing, overriding or repealing any laws passed by Congress. Congress does not repeal legislation through hints and innuendos, and the Authorization to Use Military Force does not authorize the president to violate the law against surveillance without a warrant any more than it authorizes him to carry out an armed robbery or seize control of Citibank in order to pay for operations against terrorists. In fact, when President Truman tried to seize control of steel mills that were gripped by strikes in 1952, the Supreme Court decisively rejected his authority to make such a seizure, even in the face of arguments that the strike would interfere with the supply of weapons and ammunition to American troops then under fire on the battlefields of the Korean War.

U.S. Supreme Court YOUNGSTOWN CO. v. SAWYER, 343 U.S. 579 (1952)

“The order cannot properly be sustained as an exercise of the President’s military power as Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces. . . .

“Nor can the seizure order be sustained because of the several constitutional provisions that grant executive power to the President. . . . The Constitution limits his functions in the lawmaking process to the recommending of laws he thinks wise and the vetoing of laws he thinks bad. And the Constitution is neither silent nor equivocal about who shall make laws which the President is to execute. . . .

“The Founders of this Nation entrusted the lawmaking power to the Congress alone in both good and bad times.”

The Supreme Court also rejected similar assertions of inherent executive power by Richard Nixon.

In fact, FISA contains explicit language describing the president’s powers “during time of war” and provides that “the President, through the Attorney General, may authorize electronic surveillance without a court order under this title to acquire foreign intelligence information for a period not to exceed fifteen days following a declaration of war by the Congress.” 50 U.S.C. 1811 (emphasis added). So even if we accept the argument that the use-of-force resolution places us on a war footing, warrantless surveillance would have been legal for only 15 days after the resolution was passed on September 18, 2001.

Point #5: The need for quick action does not justify an end-run around the courts The FISA law takes account of the need for emergency surveillance, and the need for quick action cannot be used as a rationale for going outside the law. FISA allows wiretapping without a court order in an emergency; the court must simply be notified within 72 hours. The government is aware of this emergency power and has used it repeatedly. In addition, the Foreign Intelligence court is physically located in the Justice Department building, and the FISA law requires that at least two of the FISA judges reside in the Washington, DC area, for precisely the reason that rapid action is sometimes needed.

If President Bush still for some reason finds these provisions to be inadequate, he must take his case to Congress and ask for the law to be changed, not simply ignore it.

President Bush’s claim that he has “inherent authority” as Commander-in-Chief to use our spy agencies to eavesdrop on Americans is astonishing, and such spying is clearly illegal. It must be halted immediately, and its origins must be thoroughly investigated by Congress and by a special counsel. (See letter from the ACLU to Attorney General Gonzales calling for a special counsel).

Given the extensive (indeed, excessive) surveillance powers that the government already possesses, the Administration’s blatantly illegal use of warrantless surveillance raises an important question: why? One possibility, raised by the New York Times in a Dec. 24, 2005 story (“Spy Agency Mined Vast Data Trove, Officials Report”), is that the NSA is relying on assistance from several unnamed telecommunications companies to “trace and analyze large volumes of communications” and is “much larger than the White House has acknowledged.”

This, as security expert Bruce Schneier has noted, suggests the Bush Administration has developed a “a whole new surveillance paradigm” – exploiting the NSA’s well known capabilities to spy on individuals not one at a time, as FISA permits, but to run communications en masse through computers in the search for suspicious individuals or patterns. This “new paradigm” may well be connected to the NSA program sometimes known as “Echelon,” which carries out just that kind of mass collection of communications (see http://www.nsawatch.org). This “wholesale” surveillance, as Schneier calls it, would constitute an illegal invasion of Americans’ privacy on a scale that has never before been seen. (See Schneier, “NSA and Bush’s Illegal Eavesdropping,” Salon.com)

According to the Times, several telecommunications companies provided the NSA with direct access to streams of communications over their networks. In other words, the NSA appears to have direct access to a large volume of Americans’ communications – with not simply the assent, but the cooperation of the companies handling those communications.

We do not know from the report which companies are involved or precisely how or what the NSA can access. But this revelation raises questions about both the legal authority of the NSA to request and receive this data, and whether these companies may have violated either the Federal laws protecting these communications or their own stated privacy polices (which may, for example, provide that they will only turn over their customers’ data with their consent or in response to a proper order).

Regardless of the scale of this spying, we are facing a historic moment: the President of the United States has claimed a sweeping wartime power to brush aside the clear limits on his power set by our Constitution and laws – a chilling assertion of presidential power that has not been seen since Richard Nixon.

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Entheogens and Spirituality | Kava | Kratom | Teacher Plants

Posted: December 25, 2016 at 11:05 pm

by Keith Cleversley | Sep 30, 2016 | Features, Kratom | 0 Comments

What I think really happened, is that the DEA had no idea how large the Kratom industry was. They vastly underestimated the pro-Kratom movement, the number of Kratom users, as well as the size of the Kratom industry. After reading through the extraordinarily cherry-picked, and very biased notice they entered into the Federal Register, the truth becomes difficult to deny. In fact, in a discussion with an industry insider who had an attorney in daily contact with the DEA, an agent was quoted as saying; “If we had any idea what the public reaction was going to be, we never would have move to schedule Kratom in the first place.”

by Keith Cleversley | Sep 29, 2016 | Features, Kratom | 1 Comment

It turns out that the government isn’t as broken as we thought, that democracy still works, and we, as a people, do have the power to have our individual voices heard! From the horse’s mouth, a spokesperson for the DEA formally announced that they do not yet have a…

by Keith Cleversley | Sep 13, 2016 | News Articles | 0 Comments

Center for Regulatory Effectiveness Kratom Letter There was a glimmer of hope for the absurdly unfair Emergency Scheduling of Kratom by the DEA today. If you’re not up on the current status of Kratom and how it’s in severe danger of being made a Schedule I substance,…

by Keith Cleversley | Sep 7, 2016 | News Articles | 0 Comments

The unspeakable has happened; the DEA has decided that because of a fabricated public threat, thatKratom needs to be scheduled immediately. They cited 15 deaths from Kratom, yet when that number was researched, there was not a single death associated with Kratom….

by Keith Cleversley | Mar 29, 2016 | Features, Kava Kava | 0 Comments

What is a usual and safe Kava Kava dosage? We answer that question in detail here at Entheology.com to help give you a safe path to Kava consumption.

by Keith Cleversley | Mar 4, 2016 | News Articles | 0 Comments

Shockingly, the current Congress of the United States has offered an official response to President Barak Obamas recent interview with David Remnick in the January 27, 2014 issue of the New Yorker (See our article entitled President Obama for Marijuana…

by Keith Cleversley | Feb 23, 2016 | Kava Kava | 1 Comment

I’ve spent more than half my life exploring and working with various plants. One of my favorite plants to help me relax is one that continues to gain steam in the mainstream, but is still very much in the shadows; Kava Kava. I’ve been in the Kava biz for nearly 20…

by Keith Cleversley | Nov 3, 2015 | Kava Kava, Research | 1 Comment

Ona late 2015 trip to the Hawaiian Islands, I had the pleasure of experiencing a cultivar of Kava unlike any other I had experienced previously. This variety was called Hiwa (pronounced HEE-vuh), and I had the pleasure of experiencing this incredible cultivar over a…

by Keith Cleversley | Mar 30, 2015 | Kava Kava, Research | 0 Comments

I was having difficulty finding an articles regarding Kava benefits in terms of health and nutrition, so I thought an article here would be appropriate. What I discovered, is that since Kava lost its “food” status (called GRAS) in the early 2000’s, and is only…

by Keith Cleversley | Dec 19, 2014 | Kratom, News Articles | 0 Comments

Recent developments in Florida indicate that Palm Beach County officials are backing away from an outright ban on kratom and may instead implement educational initiatives to teach consumers about kratom, its effects, and its potential risks. The initiative would include warning labels on packages of kratom, partnerships with schools, and distributing information at community events and through social media.

by Keith Cleversley | Dec 7, 2014 | Features, Kava Kava | 3 Comments

Now that Cannabis is legal for recreational use in three states as of the writing of this article, it feels important to address what will undoubtedly be a continuing flood of questions regarding combiningkava and cannabis (marijuana). Customers from both Washington…

by Keith Cleversley | Nov 25, 2014 | Kava Kava | 0 Comments

To indigenous peoples throughout the South Pacific, kava is a central aspect of social and religious life. In the spirit of exploring the lesser-known aspects of kava, this article brings you a collection of the myths, legends, and rituals surrounding kava in Hawaiithat piece of the South Pacific closest to our shores!

Excerpt from:

Entheogens and Spirituality | Kava | Kratom | Teacher Plants

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