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Tag Archives: president
Posted: September 29, 2016 at 11:52 am
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Slide: 1 / of 18 . Caption: Travis McHenry or Montague Ier, King of Calsahara. Lo Delafontaine
Slide: 2 / of 18 . Caption: With a living area of 5,920 square feet, Sealand boasts multiple bedrooms, a chapel and a prison. Lo Delafontaine
Slide: 3 / of 18 . Caption: Princess Chirley of Sealand. Lo Delafontaine
Slide: 4 / of 18 . Caption: Prince Michael of Sealand. Lo Delafontaine
Slide: 5 / of 18 . Caption: The Consul Philippon de la Boirie of the Consulate of la Boirie. Lo Delafontaine
Slide: 6 / of 18 . Caption: The Consul Pascalux de la Boirie of the Consulate of la Boirie. Lo Delafontaine
Slide: 7 / of 18 . Caption: Frederikke Rose Holm, Julie Holstein, Nanna Gilsgaard, Christine Barnett and Bolette Winnerskjold Gjaldbk, The Butterflies of the Kingdom of Elleore. Lo Delafontaine
Slide: 8 / of 18 . Caption: The people of Elleore waiting for their king. Lo Delafontaine
Slide: 9 / of 18 . Caption: Sir Peter Anderson, Secretary General of the Conch Republic. Lo Delafontaine
Slide: 10 / of 18 . Caption: The airport of the Conch Republic. Lo Delafontaine
Slide: 11 / of 18 . Caption: The border between Molossia and the United States. Lo Delafontaine
Slide: 12 / of 18 . Caption: The post office of Molossia. Lo Delafontaine
Slide: 13 / of 18 . Caption: Kevin Baugh, President of the Republic of Molossia. Lo Delafontaine
Slide: 14 / of 18 . Caption: Georgette Bertin-Pourchet, President of the Republic of Saugeais. Lo Delafontaine
Slide: 15 / of 18 . Caption: Jacques Vuillemin, customs officer of the Republic of Saugeais. Lo Delafontaine
Slide: 16 / of 18 . Caption: Gianni Trucchi, guard of the Principality of Seborga. Lo Delafontaine
Slide: 17 / of 18 . Caption: Emperor George II of the Empire of Atlantium. Lo Delafontaine
Slide: 18 / of 18 . Caption: A television crew interviews the Emperor of Atlantium. Lo Delafontaine
Never heard of the Imperial Kingdom of Calsahara? The Conch Republic? The Principality of Sealand? Youre not alone.Lo Delafontaine hadnt either until 2012, when he visited the Republic of Saugeais, a self-proclaimed micronation in eastern France. Hes since become fascinated with countries unrecognized by world governments and organizations. His bookMicronations documents independent states that are just as varied and interesting as their official counterparts.
Humankind likes discoveries and challenges. One solution is the creation of new countries, but not in order to persecute people or for religious reasons. The idea, rather, is to create new countries and territories for fun, to make people think, to re-enchant the world in a way, he says via email.
French writer and historian Bruno Fuligni, who wrote the introduction to Micronations, estimates there are more than 400 of these self-proclaimed entities.
Delfontaine visited 12 locationsthroughout the US, Europe, and Australia. They included monarchies, republics, funny dictatorships, and some with no government at all. He earned citizenship in threethe Principality of Sealand, the Principality of Seborga, and the Conch Republic.
ThePrincipality ofHutt Riverin Australia draws thousands of visitors annually, which is one reason it exists at all. Others serve as political satire.Conch Republic, for example, was created in 1982 after Key West Mayor Dennis Wardlow symbolically began the Conch Republics Civil Rebellion by breaking a loaf of stale Cuban bread over the head of a man dressed in a U.S. Navy uniform according to the Conch Republics website. Some micronations are easily accessiblewhile others are difficult to get to.In Copenhagen, tourists can enter Christiania on foot, while visitors to thePrincipality of Sealand, a WWII island fortress six miles off the eastern shores of Britain, have to shell out over $2,000 for transport and a visa.
Regardless of their intention, these countries commit: They have national anthems and flags, passports and coins, militaries and laws. The Kingdomof Elleore hosts history classes for kids and created its own national sport.
Most of the people I met were really well educated, curious, ironic and completely aware of what they are doing. They are not crazy or greedy for power. But they like to dress up and make fun of their country of origin, he says.
Most of these micronations declared sovereignty between the 1970s and 1990s. But there have been some newcomers; the Imperial Kingdom of Calsahara in southern California declared its sovereignty in 2009. Delafontaine says most new micronations, like theKingdom of Talossa,exist primarily online.
I think that the golden age of micronations is almost over. The famous ones, like the Principality ofHutt River and the Republic ofSaugeais,are headed by very old people, he says. And after their death, their micronations will disappear with them. Young people interested in micronations dont seem to be interested in claiming a physical territory. They prefer to create new countries online. Its not better or worse, but its different.
Posted: September 22, 2016 at 8:02 pm
A Belgian lawmaker told CNN affiliate VTM that the physician-assisted suicide happened within the past week.
The child, who was suffering from an incurable disease, had asked for euthanasia, Sen. Jean-Jacques De Gucht told VTM. The identity of the child and age are unknown.
“I think it’s very important that we, as a society, have given the opportunity to those people to decide for themselves in what manner they cope with that situation,” said Gucht, a supporter of euthanasia legislation.
Wim Distelmans, who chairs Belgium’s Federal Control and Evaluation Committee on Euthanasia, told state broadcaster RTBF that fortunately few children had demanded mercy killing but “that does not mean we should deny them the right to a dignified death.”
In 2014, the bill extended the “right to die” to those under the age of 18. But there were additional strict conditions, including that the child was judged to be able to understand what euthanasia means.
Consent of parents or guardians must also be given.
“This can only be in cases of serious and incurable diseases, which is the same thing for adults … but for minors an additional condition is that the death must be expected in the near future,” Jacqueline Herremans told RTBF. Herremans is the president of Belgium’s Association for the Right to Die with Dignity and also a member of the federal committee on euthanasia.
Belgium is the only country that allows euthanasia for children of any age.
The Netherlands also allows mercy killings for children, but only for those 12 and over. It became the first country to legalize euthanasia in April 2002.
CNN’s Margot Haddad contributed to this report.
See the rest here:
Posted: at 7:46 pm
Madison’s original proposal for a bill of rights provision concerning religion read: ”The civil rights of none shall be abridged on account of religious belief or worship, nor shall any national religion be established, nor shall the full and equal rights of conscience be in any manner, or on any pretence, infringed.” 1 The language was altered in the House to read: ”Congress shall make no law establishing religion, or to prevent the free exercise thereof, or to infringe the rights of conscience.” 2 In the Senate, the section adopted read: ”Congress shall make no law establishing articles of faith, or a mode of worship, or prohibiting the free exercise of religion, . . .” 3 It was in the conference committee of the two bodies, chaired by Madison, that the present language was written with its some what more indefinite ”respecting” phraseology. 4 Debate in Congress lends little assistance in interpreting the religion clauses; Madison’s position, as well as that of Jefferson who influenced him, is fairly clear, 5 but the intent, insofar as there was one, of the others in Congress who voted for the language and those in the States who voted to ratify is subject to speculation.
Scholarly Commentary .–The explication of the religion clauses by the scholars has followed a restrained sense of their meaning. Story, who thought that ”the right of a society or government to interfere in matters of religion will hardly be contested by any persons, who believe that piety, religion, and morality are intimately connected with the well being of the state, and indispensable to the administration of civil justice,” 6 looked upon the prohibition simply as an exclusion from the Federal Government of all power to act upon the subject. ”The situation . . . of the different states equally proclaimed the policy, as well as the necessity of such an exclusion. In some of the states, episcopalians constituted the predominant sect; in others presbyterians; in others, congregationalists; in others, quakers; and in others again, there was a close numerical rivalry among contending sects. It was impossible, that there should not arise perpetual strife and perpetual jealousy on the subject of ecclesiastical ascendancy, if the national government were left free to create a religious establishment. The only security was in extirpating the power. But this alone would have been an imperfect security, if it had not been followed up by a declaration of the right of the free exercise of religion, and a prohibition (as we have seen) of all religious tests. Thus, the whole power over the subject of religion is left exclusively to the state governments, to be acted upon according to their own sense of justice, and the state constitutions; and the Catholic and the Protestant, the Calvinist and the Arminian, the Jew and the Infidel, may sit down at the common table of the national councils, without any inquisition into their faith, or mode of worship.” 7
”Probably,” Story also wrote, ”at the time of the adoption of the constitution and of the amendment to it, now under consideration, the general, if not the universal, sentiment in America was, that Christianity ought to receive encouragement from the state, so far as was not incompatible with the private rights of conscience, and the freedom of religious worship. An attempt to level all religions, and to make it a matter of state policy to hold all in utter indifference, would have created universal disapprobation, if not universal indignation.” 8 The object, then, of the religion clauses in this view was not to prevent general governmental encouragement of religion, of Christianity, but to prevent religious persecution and to prevent a national establishment. 9
This interpretation has long since been abandoned by the Court, beginning, at least, with Everson v. Board of Education, 10 in which the Court, without dissent on this point, declared that the Establishment Clause forbids not only practices that ”aid one religion” or ”prefer one religion over another,” but as well those that ”aid all religions.” Recently, in reliance on published scholarly research and original sources, Court dissenters have recurred to the argument that what the religion clauses, principally the Establishment Clause, prevent is ”preferential” governmental promotion of some religions, allowing general governmental promotion of all religion in general. 11 The Court has not responded, though Justice Souter in a major concurring opinion did undertake to rebut the argument and to restate the Everson position. 12
Court Tests Applied to Legislation Affecting Religion .–Before considering the development of the two religion clauses by the Supreme Court, one should notice briefly the tests developed by which religion cases are adjudicated by the Court. While later cases rely on a series of rather well-defined, if difficult-to-apply, tests, the language of earlier cases ”may have [contained] too sweeping utterances on aspects of these clauses that seemed clear in relation to the particular cases but have limited meaning as general principles.” 13 It is well to recall that ”the purpose [of the religion clauses] was to state an objective, not to write a statute.” 14
In 1802, President Jefferson wrote a letter to a group of Baptists in Danbury, Connecticut, in which he declared that it was the purpose of the First Amendment to build ”a wall of separation between Church and State.” 15 In Reynolds v. United States, 16 Chief Justice Waite for the Court characterized the phrase as ”almost an authoritative declaration of the scope and effect of the amendment.” In its first encounters with religion-based challenges to state programs, the Court looked to Jefferson’s metaphor for substantial guidance. 17 But a metaphor may obscure as well as illuminate, and the Court soon began to emphasize neutrality and voluntarism as the standard of restraint on governmental action. 18 The concept of neutrality itself is ”a coat of many colors,” 19 and three standards that could be stated in objective fashion emerged as tests of Establishment Clause validity. The first two standards were part of the same formulation. ”The test may be stated as follows: what are the purpose and the primary effect of the enactment? If either is the advancement or inhibition of religion then the enactment exceeds the scope of legislative power as circumscribed by the Constitution. That is to say that to withstand the strictures of the Establishment Clause there must be a secular legislative purpose and a primary effect that neither advances nor inhibits religion.” 20 The third test is whether the governmental program results in ”an excessive government entanglement with religion. The test is inescapably one of degree . . . [T]he questions are whether the involvement is excessive, and whether it is a continuing one calling for official and continuing surveillance leading to an impermissible degree of entanglement.” 21 In 1971 these three tests were combined and restated in Chief Justice Burger’s opinion for the Court in Lemon v. Kurtzman, 22 and are frequently referred to by reference to that case name.
Although at one time accepted in principle by all of the Justices, 23 the tests have sometimes been difficult to apply, 24 have recently come under direct attack by some Justices, 25 and with increasing frequency have not been applied at all by the Court. 26 While continued application is uncertain, the Lemon tests nonetheless have served for twenty years as the standard measure of Establishment Clause validity and explain most of the Court’s decisions in the area. 27 As of the end of the Court’s 1991-92 Term, there was not yet a consensus among Lemon critics as to what substitute test should be favored. 28 Reliance on ”coercion” for that purpose would eliminate a principal distinction between establishment cases and free exercise cases and render the Establishment Clause largely duplicative of the Free Exercise Clause. 29
Justice O’Connor has suggested that it is inappropriate to try to shoehorn all Establishment cases into one test, and has called instead for recognition that different contexts may call for different approaches. Supp.1 For example, the Justice proposes that cases involving government ”speech” on religious topics be judged by an endorsement test that would invalidate government actions only if a reasonable observer would perceive the action as an endorsement or disapproval of religious belief. Supp.2
Government Neutrality in Religious Disputes .–One value that both clauses of the religion section serve is to enforce governmental neutrality in deciding controversies arising out of religious disputes. Schism sometimes develops within churches or between a local church and the general church, resulting in secession or expulsion of one faction or of the local church. A dispute over which body is to have control of the property of the church will then often be taken into the courts. It is now established that both religion clauses prevent governmental inquiry into religious doctrine in settling such disputes, and instead require courts simply to look to the decision-making body or process in the church and to give effect to whatever decision is officially and properly made.
The first such case was Watson v. Jones, 30 which was decided on common-law grounds in a diversity action without explicit reliance on the First Amendment. A constitutionalization of the rule was made in Kedroff v. St. Nicholas Cathedral, 31 in which the Court held unconstitutional a state statute that recognized the autonomy and authority of those North American branches of the Russian Orthodox Church which had declared their independence from the general church. Recognizing that Watson v. Jones had been decided on nonconstitutional grounds, the Court thought nonetheless that the opinion ”radiates . . . a spirit of freedom for religious organizations, and independence from secular control or manipulation–in short, power to decide for themselves, free from state interference, matters of church government as well as those of faith and doctrine.” 32 The power of civil courts to resolve church property disputes was severely circumscribed, the Court held, because to permit resolution of doctrinal disputes in court was to jeopardize First Amendment values. What a court must do, it was held, is to look at the church rules: if the church is a hierarchical one which reposes determination of ecclesiastical issues in a certain body, the resolution by that body is determinative, while if the church is a congregational one prescribing action by a majority vote, that determination will prevail. 33 On the other hand, a court confronted with a church property dispute could apply ”neutral principles of law, developed for use in all property disputes,” when to do so would not require resolution of doctrinal issues. 34 In a later case the Court elaborated on the limits of proper inquiry, holding that an argument over a matter of internal church government, the power to reorganize the dioceses of a hierarchical church in this country, was ”at the core of ecclesiastical affairs” and a court could not interpret the church constitution to make an inde pendent determination of the power but must defer to the interpretation of the body authorized to decide. 35
In Jones v. Wolf, 36 however, a divided Court, while formally adhering to these principles, appeared to depart in substance from their application. A schism had developed in a local church which was a member of a hierarchical church, and the majority voted to withdraw from the general church. The proper authority of the general church determined that the minority constituted the ”true congregation” of the local church and awarded them authority over it. The Court approved the approach of the state court in applying neutral principles by examining the deeds to the church property, state statutes, and provisions of the general church’s constitution concerning ownership and control of church property in order to determine that no language of trust in favor of the general church was contained in any of them and that the property thus belonged to the local congregation. 37 Further, the Court held, the First Amendment did not prevent the state court from applying a presumption of majority rule to award control to the majority of the local congregation, provided that it permitted defeasance of the presumption upon a showing that the identity of the local church is to be determined by some other means as expressed perhaps in the general church charter. 38 The dissent argued that to permit a court narrowly to view only the church documents relating to property ownership permitted the ignoring of the fact that the dispute was over ecclesiastical matters and that the general church had decided which faction of the congregation was the local church. 39
Thus, it is unclear where the Court is on this issue. Jones v. Wolf restated the rule that it is improper to review an ecclesiastical dispute and that deference is required in those cases, but by approving a neutral principles inquiry which in effect can filter out the doctrinal issues underlying a church dispute, the Court seems to have approved at least an indirect limitation of the authority of hierarchical churches. 40
[Footnote 1] 1 Annals of Congress 434 (June 8, 1789).
[Footnote 2] The committee appointed to consider Madison’s proposals, and on which Madison served, with Vining as chairman, had rewritten the religion section to read: ”No religion shall be established by law, nor shall the equal rights of conscience be infringed.” After some debate during which Madison suggested that the word ”national” might be inserted before the word ”religion” as ”point[ing] the amendment directly to the object it was intended to prevent,” the House adopted a substitute reading: ”Congress shall make no laws touching religion, or infringing the rights of conscience.” 1 Annals of Congress 729-31 (August 15, 1789). On August 20, on motion of Fisher Ames, the language of the clause as quoted in the text was adopted. Id. at 766. According to Madison’s biographer, ”[t]here can be little doubt that this was written by Madison.” I. Brant, James Madison–Father of the Constitution 1787-1800 at 271 (1950).
[Footnote 3] This text, taken from the Senate Journal of September 9, 1789, appears in 2 B. Schwartz (ed.), The Bill of Rights: A Documentary History 1153 (1971). It was at this point that the religion clauses were joined with the freedom of expression clauses.
[Footnote 4] 1 Annals of Congress 913 (September 24, 1789). The Senate concurred the same day. See I. Brant, James Madison–Father of the Constitution 1787-1800, 271-72 (1950).
[Footnote 5] During House debate, Madison told his fellow Members that ”he apprehended the meaning of the words to be, that Congress should not establish a religion, and enforce the legal observation of it by law, nor compel men to worship God in any Manner contrary to their conscience.” 1 Annals of Congress 730 (August 15, 1789). That his conception of ”establishment” was quite broad is revealed in his veto as President in 1811 of a bill which in granting land reserved a parcel for a Baptist Church in Salem, Mississippi; the action, explained President Madison, ”comprises a principle and precedent for the appropriation of funds of the United States for the use and support of religious societies, contrary to the article of the Constitution which declares that ‘Congress shall make no law respecting a religious establishment.”’ 8 The Writings of James Madison (G. Hunt. ed.) 132-33 (1904). Madison’s views were no doubt influenced by the fight in the Virginia legislature in 1784-1785 in which he successfully led the opposition to a tax to support teachers of religion in Virginia and in the course of which he drafted his ”Memorial and Remonstrance against Religious Assessments” setting forth his thoughts. Id. at 183-91; I. Brant, James Madison–The Nationalist 1780-1787, 343-55 (1948). Acting on the momentum of this effort, Madison secured passage of Jefferson’s ”Bill for Religious Liberty”. Id. at 354; D. Malone, Jefferson the Virginian 274-280 (1948). The theme of the writings of both was that it was wrong to offer public support of any religion in particular or of religion in general.
[Footnote 6] 3 J. Story, Commentaries on the Constitution of the United States 1865 (1833).
[Footnote 7] Id. at 1873.
[Footnote 8] Id. at 1868.
[Footnote 9] For a late expounding of this view, see T. Cooley, General Principles of Constitutional Law in the United States 224-25 (3d ed. 1898).
[Footnote 10] 330 U.S. 1, 15 (1947). Establishment Clause jurisprudence since, whatever its twists and turns, maintains this view.
[Footnote 11] Wallace v. Jaffree, 472 U.S. 38, 91 (1985) (then-Justice Rehnquist dissenting). More recently, dissenters, including now-Chief Justice Rehnquist, have appeared reconciled to a ”constitutional tradition” in which governmental endorsement of religion is out of bounds, even if it is not correct as a matter of history. See Lee v. Weisman, 112 S. Ct. 2649, 2678, 2683-84 (1992) (Justice Scalia, joined by the Chief Justice and Justices White and Thomas, dissenting).
[Footnote 12] Lee v. Weisman, 112 S. Ct. 2649, 2667 (1992) (Justice Souter, joined by Justices Stevens and O’Connor, concurring).
[Footnote 13] Walz v. Tax Comm’n, 397 U.S. 664, 668 (1970).
[Footnote 14] Id.
[Footnote 15] 16 The Writings of Thomas Jefferson 281 (A. Libscomb ed., 1904).
[Footnote 16] 98 U.S. 145, 164 (1879).
[Footnote 17] Everson v. Board of Education, 330 U.S. 1, 16 (1947); Illinois ex rel. McCollum v. Board of Education, 333 U.S. 203, 211 , 212 (1948); cf. Zorach v. Clauson, 343 U.S. 306, 317 (1952) (Justice Black dissenting). In Lemon v. Kurtzman, 403 U.S. 602, 614 (1971), Chief Justice Burger remarked that ”the line of separation, far from being a ‘wall,’ is a blurred, indistinct and variable barrier depending on all the circumstances of a particular relationship.” Similar observations were repeated by the Chief Justice in his opinion for the Court in Lynch v. Donnelly, 465 U.S. 668, 673 (1984) (the metaphor is not ”wholly accurate”; the Constitution does not ”require complete separation of church and state [but] affirmatively mandates accommodation, not merely tolerance, of all religions, and forbids hostility toward any”).
[Footnote 18] Zorach v. Clauson, 343 U.S. 306, 314 (1952); Engel v. Vitale, 370 U.S. 421 (1962); Sherbert v. Verner, 374 U.S. 398 (1963); Abington School District v. Schempp, 374 U.S. 203, 305 (1963) (Justice Goldberg concurring); Walz v. Tax Comm’n, 397 U.S. 664, 694 -97 (1970) (Justice Harlan concurring). In the opinion of the Court in the latter case, Chief Justice Burger wrote: ”The course of constitutional neutrality in this area cannot be an absolutely straight line; rigidity could well defeat the basic purpose of these provisions, which is to insure that no religion be sponsored or favored, none commanded, and none inhibited. The general principle deducible from the First Amendment and all that has been said by the Court is this: that we will not tolerate either governmentally established religion or governmental interference with religion. Short of those expressly proscribed governmental acts there is room for play in the joints productive of a benevolent neutrality which will permit religious exercise to exist without sponsorship and without interference.” Id. at 669.
[Footnote 19] Board of Education v. Allen, 392 U.S. 236, 249 (1968) (Justice Harlan concurring).
[Footnote 20] Abington School District v. Schempp, 374 U.S. 203, 222 (1963).
[Footnote 21] Walz v. Tax Comm’n, 397 U.S. 664, 674 -75 (1970).
[Footnote 22] 403 U.S. 602, 612 -13 (1971).
[Footnote 23] E.g., Committee for Public Educ. & Religious Liberty v. Regan, 444 U.S. 646, 653 (1980), and id. at 665 (dissenting opinion); Stone v. Graham, 449 U.S. 39, 40 (1980), and id. at 43 (dissenting opinion).
[Footnote 24] The tests provide ”helpful signposts,” Hunt v. McNair, 413 U.S. 734, 741 (1973), and are at best ”guidelines” rather than a ”constitutional caliper;” they must be used to consider ”the cumulative criteria developed over many years and applying to a wide range of governmental action.” Inevitably, ”no ‘bright line’ guidance is afforded.” Tilton v. Richardson, 403 U.S. 672, 677 -78 (1971). See also Committee for Public Educ. & Religious Liberty v. Nyquist, 413 U.S. 756, 761 & n.5, 773 n.31 (1973); Committee for Public Educ. & Religious Liberty v. Regan, 444 U.S. 646, 662 (1980), and id. at 663 (Justice Blackmun dissenting).
[Footnote 25] See, e.g., Edwards v. Aguillard, 482 U.S. 578, 636 -40 (1987) (Justice Scalia, joined by Chief Justice Rehnquist, dissenting) (advocating abandonment of the ”purpose” test); Wallace v. Jaffree, 472 U.S. 38, 108 -12 (1985) (Justice Rehnquist dissenting); Aguilar v. Felton, 473 U.S. 402, 426 -30 (1985) (Justice O’Connor, dissenting) (addressing difficulties in applying the entanglement prong); Roemer v. Maryland Bd. of Public Works, 426 U.S. 736, 768 -69 (Justice White concurring in judgment) (objecting to entanglement test). Justice Kennedy has also acknowledged criticisms of the Lemon tests, while at the samed time finding no need to reexamine them. See, e.g., Allegheny County v. Greater Pittsburgh ACLU, 492 U.S. 573, 655 -56 (1989). At least with respect to public aid to religious schools, Justice Stevens would abandon the tests and simply adopt a ”no-aid” position. Committee for Public Educ. & Religious Liberty v. Regan, 444 U.S. 646, 671 (1980).
[Footnote 26] See Marsh v. Chambers, 463 U.S. 783 (1983) (upholding legislative prayers on the basis of historical practice); Lee v. Weisman, 112 S. Ct. 2649, 2655 (1992) (rejecting a request to reconsider Lemon because the practice of invocations at public high school graduations was invalid under established school prayer precedents); Zobrest v. Catalina Foothills School Dist., 509 U.S. 1 (1993) (upholding provision of sign-language interpreter to deaf student attending parochial school); Board of Educ. of Kiryas Joel Village v. Grumet, 114 S. Ct. 2481 (1994) (invalidating law creating special school district for village composed exclusively of members of one religious sect). The Court has also held that the tripartite test is not applicable when law grants a denominational preference, distinguishing between religions; rather, the distinction is to be subjected to the strict scrutiny of a suspect classification. Larson v. Valente, 456 U.S. 228, 244 -46 (1982).
[Footnote 27] Justice Blackmun, concurring in Lee, contended that Marsh was the only one of 31 Establishment cases between 1971 and 1992 not to be decided on the basis on the Lemon tests. 112 S. Ct. at 2663, n.4.
[Footnote 28] In 1990 Justice Kennedy, joined by Justice Scalia, proposed that ”neutral” accommodations of religion should be permissible so long as they do not establish a state religion, and so long as there is no ”coercion” to participate in religious exercises. Westside Community Bd. of Educ. v. Mergens, 496 U.S. 226, 260 -61. The two Justices parted company, however, over the permissiblity of invocations at public high school graduation ceremonies, Justice Scalia in dissent strongly criticizing Justice Kennedy’s approach in the opinion of the Court for its reliance on psychological coercion. Justice Scalia would not ”expand[ ] the concept of coercion beyond acts backed by threat of penalty.” Lee v. Weisman, 112 S. Ct. 2649, 2684 (1992). Chief Justice Rehnquist has advocated limiting application to a prohibition on establishing a national (or state) church or favoring one religious group over another. Wallace v. Jaffree, 472 U.S. 38, 98 , 106 (1985) (dissenting).
[Footnote 29] Abington School District v. Schempp, 374 U.S. 203, 222 -23 (1963). See also Board of Education v. Allen, 392 U.S. 236, 248 -49 (1968); and Tilton v. Richardson, 403 U.S. 672, 689 (1971); Lee v. Weisman, 112 S. Ct. 2649, 2673 (Justice Souter concurring) (”a literal application of the coercion test would render the Establishment Clause a virtual nullity”).
[Footnote 1 (1996 Supplement)] Board of Educ. of Kiryas Joel Village v. Grumet,114 S. Ct. 2481, 2498-99 (1994).
[Footnote 2 (1996 Supplement)] Lynch v. Donnelly, 465 U.S. 668, 688 (1984) (concurring); Allegheny County v. Greater Pittsburgh ACLU, 492 U.S. 573, 625 (1989) (concurring); Board of Educ. of Kiryas Joel Village v. Grumet, 114 S. Ct. 2481, 2500 (1994) (concurring).
[Footnote 30] 80 U.S. (13 Wall.) 679 (1872).
[Footnote 31] 344 U.S. 94 (1952). Kedroff was grounded on the Free Exercise Clause. Id. at 116. But the subsequent cases used a collective ”First Amendment” designation.
[Footnote 32] Id. at 116. On remand, the state court adopted the same ruling on the merits but relied on a common-law rule rather than the statute. This too was struck down. Kreshik v. St. Nicholas Cathedral, 363 U.S. 190 (1960).
[Footnote 33] Presbyterian Church v. Hull Memorial Presbyterian Church, 393 U.S. 440, 447 , 450-51 (1969); Maryland and Virginia Eldership of the Churches of God v. Church of God at Sharpsburg, 396 U.S. 367 (1970). For a similar rule of neutrality in another context, see United States v. Ballard, 322 U.S. 78 (1944) (denying defendant charged with mail fraud through dissemination of purported religious literature the right to present to the jury evidence of the truthfulness of the religious views he urged).
[Footnote 34] Presbyterian Church v. Hull Memorial Presbyterian Church, 393 U.S. 440, 449 (1969); Maryland and Virginia Eldership of the Churches of God v. Church of God of Sharpsburg, 396 U.S. 367, 368 (1970). See also id. at 368-70 (Justice Brennan concurring).
[Footnote 35] The Serbian Eastern Orthodox Diocese v. Dionisije Milivojevich, 426 U.S. 697, 720 -25 (1976). In Gonzalez v. Archbishop, 280 U.S. 1 (1929), the Court had permitted limited inquiry into the legality of the actions taken under church rules. The Serbian Eastern Court disapproved of this inquiry with respect to concepts of ”arbitrariness,” although it reserved decision on the ”fraud” and ”collusion” exceptions. 426 U.S. at 708 -20.
[Footnote 36] 443 U.S. 595 (1979). In the majority were Justices Blackmun, Brennan, Marshall, Rehnquist, and Stevens. Dissenting were Justices Powell, Stewart, White, and Chief Justice Burger.
[Footnote 37] Id. at 602-06.
[Footnote 38] Id. at 606-10. Because it was unclear whether the state court had applied such a rule and applied it properly, the Court remanded.
[Footnote 39] Id. at 610.
[Footnote 40] The Court indicated that the general church could always expressly provide in its charter or in deeds to property the proper disposition of disputed property. But here the general church had decided which faction was the ”true congregation,” and this would appear to constitute as definitive a ruling as the Court’s suggested alternatives. Id. at 606.
Follow this link:
Annotation 1 – First Amendment – FindLaw
Posted: at 7:44 pm
Our Vision: People living and working in thriving communities beyond the Earth, and the use of the vast resources of space for the dramatic betterment of humanity.
The Society publishes Ad Astra magazine and maintains an active global network of volunteers and local chapters. Membership and participation are open to all. Join the space movement, and help build a positive future for humanity!
Enterprise In Space: A Tutor for Every Child, video presentation for the MacArthur Foundation 100&Change Grant.
The President of the National Space Society describes how many children around the world lack access to a basic education and how ValueSpring Technology is developing an artificial intelligence that will be a tutor for each person, thus helping to bring about the world that Gene Roddenberry imagined, where everyone is able to contribute to his or her full potential. This project is being submitted in competition for a $100 million MacArthur Foundation grant to fund a single proposal that promises real and measurable progress in solving a critical problem of our time.
Elon Musk talk Making Humans a Multiplanetary Species to be webcast September 27
On Tuesday September 27, on the second day of the International Astronautical Congress (IAC) in Guadalajara, Mexico, Elon Musk will deliver a special keynote presentationonMaking Humans a Multiplanetary Species.
Musk will discuss the long-term technical challenges that need to be solved to support the creation of a permanent, self-sustaining human presence on Mars. The technical presentation will focus on potential architectures for colonizing the Red Planet that industry, government and the scientific community can collaborate on in the years ahead.
The presentation is scheduled for one hour beginning at 2:30 PM Eastern Daylight Time, 1:30 PM Central Daylight Time (Guadalajara), 12:30 PM Mountain Daylight Time, and 11:30 AM Pacific Daylight Time.
This and other IAC plenary sessions will be webcast on thisdirect link to IAC webcasts on livestream.com. For a schedule of other sessionssee theIAC website plenaries and highlight lectures page.
National Space Society Congratulates NASA, ULA, and Lockheed Martin on the Successful Launch of OSIRIS-REx
(Washington, DC — September 9, 2016) With the successful launch of a United Launch Alliance Atlas 5 411 on September 8 at 7:05 PM EST, 2016 from Space Launch Complex 41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida, NASAs mission to travel to a near Earth asteroid and return a sample got underway. NSS congratulates the team who made this happen. OSIRIS-REx stands for Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, and Security-Regolith Explorer.
OSIRIS-REx has NSS members really excited, said Bruce Pittman, NSS Senior Vice President. The craft will provide a complete map of the chemistry and mineralogy of a carbon based asteroid. Such asteroids will be critical for both the economic development and settlement of space. The TAGSAM sample collection device may provide a foundation for the development of future asteroid mining robots. Dante Lauretta, the OSIRIS-REx principal investigator, and his team at the University of Arizona have put together a really impressive mission.
See full press release.
National Space Society Urges Renewed Commitment to Competition and Reusability Following Falcon 9/Amos 6 Incident
(Washington, DC — September 6, 2016) At about 9:07 AM September 1, 2016, during preparation for a routine static fire test of the SpaceX Falcon 9 on Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral, an explosion resulted in the loss of both the F9 and the satellite payload. At this time there are no reports of injuries in the incident. Although Elon Musk has reported that the explosion Originated around [the] upper stage oxygen tank the cause remains unknown.
Clearly this incident is a setback for SpaceX, said Dale Skran, NSS Executive Vice President. However, it emphasizes the wisdom of NASA in supporting multiple cargo and crew carriers to the International Space Station. NASA deserves the highest praise for holding fast to supporting multiple providers with dissimilar vehicles to provide both competition and redundancy. NSS looks forward to the return to flight of the Orbital ATK Antares rocket hauling cargo to the ISS later this year, and welcomes the addition of Sierra Nevadas Dreamchaser to the list of ISS cargo haulers.
See full press release.
National Space Society Book Project: Space 2.0
(Washington, DC — July 25, 2016) The National Space Society has contracted with space historian and author Rod Pyle to write a new book entitledSpace 2.0. This new book will embark on a compelling narrative about the future development, exploration and settlement of the final frontier. NSS plans to use the finished volume as a primary tool for outreach and STEM/STEAM educational efforts, as well as supporting the organization in the broader marketplace. See full announcement.
The National Space Society Applauds Alan Stern Winning the NASA Distinguished Public Service Medal
(Washington, DC — July 19, 2016) The National Space Society congratulates Dr. Alan Stern on winning the NASA Distinguished Public Service Medal. This award is the highest honor that NASA can bestow. NSS has also awarded one of our highest honors to Dr. Stern, the NSS Wernher von Braun Award, which he received at our International Space Development Conference last May in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Dr. Stern was Principal Investigator of NASAs New Horizons mission to Pluto. See full press release.
National Space Society Applauds SpaceX Launch of IDA to the ISS and successful RTLS of the Falcon 9 First Stage
(Washington, DC — July 18, 2016) With a successful launch on July 18 at 12:45 AM EST, 2016 from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, SpaceX achieved several dramatic milestones on the Commercial Resupply Services 9 mission (CRS-9). In addition to supplies and experiments in the pressurized part of the Dragon, an unpressurized trunk houses the 1,028 lb (467 kilogram) International Docking Adaptor (IDA), manufactured by Boeing. The IDA, once attached to the International Space Station (ISS) will be the connecting point for Boeings CST-100 Starliner and SpaceXs Crewed Dragon 2 spacecraft as they bring American astronauts to the ISS on American-built and operated vehicles for the first time since the end of the Space Shuttle program. See full press release.
The National Space Society Congratulates Boeing on 100 Years of Aerospace Excellence
(Washington, DC — July 16, 2016) NSS congratulates the Boeing Company on reaching its 100th anniversary, and doing so while continuing to be the world leader in the aerospace business. NSS was very happy to view the recent Boeing You Just Wait commercial (below), and to hear the words of Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg, who said Friday, In another 100 years, we might make daily trips to space, fly across the globe in less than an hour, or receive unlimited clean power from solar satellites. See full press release.
The National Space Society Pays Tribute to the Space Policy Leadership of Former FAA Leader Patricia Grace Smith
(Washington, DC — June 14, 2016) The National Space Society celebrates the life and contributions of a visionary champion of the commercial space industry and human space settlement, the Honorable Patricia Grace Smith. Ms. Smith unexpectedly passed away on June 5th, after quietly fighting pancreatic cancer over the last year.
The commercial space industry owes a huge debt to Patti Grace Smith whose years of determined and well-reasoned advocacy combined with her natural charm and grace won over many converts in government and fostered the birth of a new industry. There might not be a commercial space flight industry were it not for Pattis leadership, said Bruce Pittman, Senior Operating Officer of the National Space Society.
See full press release.
Smithsonian Science Education Center and NSS Team Up for Next-Generation Space Education Program Enterprise In Space
(Washington, DC — May 11, 2016) Enterprise In Space (EIS), an international program of the National Space Society, is excited to announce the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding with the Smithsonian Science Education Center (SSEC). EIS and SSEC plan to collaborate on two projects dedicated to space education. The first is a mission patch design challenge in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Education to present at Space Day at the National Air and Space Museum, tentatively set to occur this summer. The second is the development of a space science summer course for the Smithsonian Science Education Academies for Teachers (SSEATs) that will enrich and enhance space education in the participating educators classrooms. See full press release.
NSS Applauds SpaceX for Successful Drone Ship Landing and Launch of CRS-8/BEAM
(Washington, DC — April 8, 2016) With a successful launch on April 8, SpaceX achieved several dramatic milestones. In this mission it is hard to know what to be the most excited about, said Dale Skran, NSS Executive Vice President. SpaceX continues to break new ground in lowering the cost of going into space, and the drone ship landing is key to maximizing the amount that can be lifted into space by a first stage that is flying back to Earth. BEAM will pave the way for more affordable future commercial and deep space stations. See full press release.
The Space Exploration, Development, and Settlement Act of 2016
(Washington, DC — March 25, 2016) The Space Exploration, Development, and Settlement Act of 2016 (H.R. 4752) has been introduced by Congressman DanaRohrabacher to require the National Aeronautics and Space Administration to investigateand promote the exploration and development of space leading to humansettlements beyond Earth, and for other purposes.
The National Space Societyurges you to call or write your Congressional Representative today and request that he or sheco-sponsor H.R. 4752 (the Space Exploration, Development, and Settlement Act of 2016). Youshould specifically ask that the space staffer for yourRepresentative should contact Tony DeTora in Congressman Rohrabachers office to become a co-sponsor.
The full text of the bill can be found here:nss.org/sedsact. More information on the NSS Blog.
Space Solar Power Team Breaks Through at D3 Innovation Summit
(Washington, DC — March 7, 2016) The National Space Society congratulates the Space Solar Power D3 (SSPD3) team on sweeping the awards in a March 2 multi-departmental competition to find promising new technology ideas that could simultaneously advance diplomacy, defense and development (D3). The SSPD3 team proposal was titled Carbon-Free Energy for Global Resilience and International Goodwill. See full press release and video of the 11-minute presentation below.
The Gravity of the National Space Societys Vision
(Washington, DC — February 15, 2016) We are very proud and honored to congratulate the amazing achievement of our NSS member Dr. Kip Thorne for his leading involvement in the creation of the LIGO (Laser Interferometer Gravitational Wave Observatory) project. LIGOs recent world-changing detection of the existence of gravitational waves predicted by Einstein a century ago in his General Relativity Theory.
Regarding the grand NSS vision, Dr. Thorne remarked, I think that its clear that it is attainable to colonize the solar system. Getting beyond the solar system is going to be exceedingly difficult. We are going to either require a lot of brute force over a period of several centuries or else a brilliant idea that none of us has grasped yet. The first thing is the solar system, but we have not been moving at anything like the pace that we could or we should. See full press release.
NSS Pays Tribute to Late NSS Governor Dr. Marvin Minsky, A Pioneer in Artificial Intelligence
(Washington, DC — February 11, 2016) The National Space Society pays tribute toDr. Marvin Minsky, who was very involved in early NSS activities and was part of many NSS space policy projects such as the 1981 Citizens Advisory Council on National Space Policy. He died on January 14 in Boston from a cerebral hemorrhage at the age of 88. Hugh Downs, Chair of the NSS Board of Governors, said, Marvin Minskywas a bright light in the arena of accelerating knowledge in modern physics. Where many of us plodded along to keep up with these changes, he seemed to always manage tobe evenwith them. He will be sorely missed by those who worked with him and knew him well. See full press release.
Settling Space Is the Only Sustainable Reason for Humans to Be in Space
(Washington, DC — February 1, 2016) Dale Skran, NSS Executive Vice President, has published the following article in The Space Review:
As robotic and artificial intelligence technologies improve and enable increasingly robust exploration without a human presence, eventually there will be only one sustainable reason for humans to be in space: settlement. Research into the recycling technology required for long-term off-Earth settlements will directly benefit terrestrial sustainability. Actively working toward developing and settling space will make available mineral and energy resources for use on Earth on a vast scale. Finally, space settlement offers the hope of long-term species survival that remaining on Earth does not. SEE FULL ARTICLE.
National Space Society Congratulates Blue Origin on First Reflight of New Shepard Rocket
(Washington, DC — January 23, 2016) On January 22, 2016, two months after Blue Origins New Shepard rocket first successfully flew to the edge of space and returned to its launch site intact, Blue Origin again made history by re-flying the same vehicle. Jeff Bezos stated Though wings and parachutes have their adherents and their advantages, Im a huge fan of rocket-powered vertical landing. Why? Becauseto achieve our vision of millions of people living and working in spacewe will need to build very large rocket boosters. And the vertical landing architecture scales extraordinarily well.
Blue Origins successful re-use of the New Shepard booster after reaching the edge of space represents a major step toward a fully re-usable sub-orbital vehicle, said Bruce Pittman, NSS Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer. SEE FULL PRESS RELEASE AND VIDEO on the NSS Blog.
National Space Society Applauds Selection of Dream Chaser, Dragon 2, and Cygnus for ISS Cargo Services
(Washington, DC — January 16, 2016) NSS congratulates Orbital ATK (Cygnus), Sierra Nevada (Dream Chaser), and SpaceX (Dragon 2) for being selected to provide cargo services to the International Space Station as part of the Commercial Resupply Service 2 (CRS-2) contract. The CRS contract covers the delivery of supplies to the ISS, disposal of ISS waste, and the return of scientific samples from the ISS. The new contract provides a minimum of six missions to each of the three winners during the period 2019-2024. A NASA spokesperson said, NASAs service contracts to resupply the space station have changed the way the agency does business in low-Earth orbit. With these contracts, NASA continues to advance commercial spaceflight and the American jobs it creates.
This announcement represents a major forward advance for NASA and the CRS program, said Dale Skran, NSS Executive Vice President. Both Orbital ATK and SpaceX added significant new capabilities over the first contract. In the new contract, the up-sized Cygnus with new solar panels will be used, and the Dragon 2 offers options for both berthing and docking, along with a rapid return to Earth capacity via propulsive landing. However, the selection of Sierra Nevada and the Dream Chaser means that for the first time since the retirement of the Space Shuttle reusable winged vehicles will be returning from space and landing at Kennedy Space Center.
NSS congratulates NASA on adding a third CRS provider, said Mark Hopkins, Chair of the NSS Executive Committee. The CRS-2 program now has triple redundancy in both orbital components and launch vehicles. NSS members look forward to the Dream Chasers first return from space. See full press release.
Interviews of NSS Chairman Mark Hopkins
Mark Hopkins, Chairman of the NSS Executive Committee, was interviewed on The Space Show on January 4 on the subject of space settlement in general and interstellar space settlement in particular. You can downloadthe 90-minute program here: thespaceshow.com/show/04-jan-2016/broadcast-2617.
You can hear other interviews of Mark conducted byDr. Karl Hricko on the show Contours on member-supported public radio station WNTIoperated by Centenary College in Hackettstown, NJ: Mark Hopkins interview August 23, 2015 (14 minutes) and Mark Hopkins interview May 28, 2015 (21 minutes).
Mark was also on a special edition of The Space Show in March 2007: thespaceshow.com/show/10-mar-2007/broadcast-683-special-edition.
National Space Society Partners with Voices From L5: A Space Settlement Podcast
(Washington, DC — January 6, 2016) The National Space Society is proud to announce its partnership withVoices From L5. This exciting new podcast will open new discussions on space settlement, focusing on the humanities and social sciences, and educate the public on the science of space settlement. Space settlement is the concept of humankind moving our economy into space, with people living and working in space.
NSS vice president for Public Affairs Lynne Zielinski said, We are thrilled to strengthen our online community and outreach by branching into the vibrant world of podcasts, and we are very excited to be working withVoices From L5. This podcast project will explore topics such as law, art, politics and sociology to generate excitement among a whole new generation of space settlement enthusiasts.
To learn more aboutVoices From L5visit: https://www.patreon.com/VoicesFromL5
For previous podcasts visit: http://www.podcastchart.com/podcasts/voices-from-l5
Made In Space Teams with Enterprise In Space to 3D Print First Space-Bound Airframe
(Washington, DC — December 18, 2015) Enterprise In Space (EIS), an international project of the non-profit National Space Society, is excited to announce a partnership with Made In Space, Inc. to extensively use 3D printed components in a spacecraft to be launched into Earth orbit. This educational spacecraft will be the first real spacecraft bearing the Enterprise name. Once in orbit, the NSS Enterprise will not only be the first 3D printed airframe in space, but it will also carry more than 100 passive and active student experiments into space and back to Earth.
See full press release.
The National Space Society Pays Tribute to Dr. Kalam One of Our Leading Lights Has Joined the Stars
(Washington, DC — July 31, 2015) On 27 July 2015, Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam, eleventh President of India and a friend and inspiration to the National Space Society (NSS), passed away. NSS would like to convey our condolences to the family and friends of Dr. Kalam, and to all of India. His death is a great loss not only to India, but to the whole of humanity, said Mark Hopkins, chair of the NSS Executive Committee. In his honor, a permanent part of the online NSS library will be dedicated to his visionary space legacy. He was a true friend to NSS giving his name to our shared Kalam-NSS Space-based Solar Power Initiative.
One of the true statesmen of our generation, Dr. Kalam was regarded as one of the greatest minds, visionaries, and peacemakers of the early 21stcentury. Dr. Kalam was a towering spacefaring advocate. His passing is a deep loss to NSS. Loved and admired by the masses of India, he was loved and admired by us as well. We were honored to work with him and to present him with our 2013 Wernher von Braun Memorial Award (photo) for leading India into space and for being a global leader in space development. He will be missed terribly by all around the world who share a common vision of humanitys future in space.
See full press release.
NASA-Funded Study Reduces Cost of Human Missions to Moon and Mars by Factor of Ten
(Washington, DC — July 20, 2015) The National Space Society (NSS) and Space Frontier Foundation (SFF) today announced their support for NASAs funding of the newly released NexGen Space study, illustrating how to cut the cost of human space exploration by a factor of 10. The study, Economic Assessment and Systems Analysis of an Evolvable Lunar Architecture that Leverages Commercial Space Capabilities and Public Private Partnerships, finds public-private partnerships are able to return humans to the Moon for approximately 90% less than the previously estimated $100 billion, allowing the United States to ensure national security in a new space age.
NSS congratulates NASA for funding the team at NexGen that discovered how such cost reductions are possible, said NSS Executive Committee Chair, Mark Hopkins. A factor of ten reduction in cost changes everything.
See full press release and video of press conference.
Read more here:
National Space Society
Posted: September 20, 2016 at 7:15 pm
Join us in Washington DC for the 20th annual Nanotech 2017 Conference & Expo, co-located with the TechConnect World Innovation Conference, National Innovation Summit and National SBIR/STTR Conference. On behalf of our symposium organizers we warmly invite you to submit your research abstract and participate in this exciting international event.
Lloyd Whitman OSTP, Executive Office of the President
Stefanie Harvey TE Connectivity
Piotr Grodzinski National Cancer Institute
Harriet Kung Department of Energy
Dorothee Martin Saint-Gobain
Lisa Friedersdorf National Nanotechnology Coordination Office
Ara Nazarian Harvard Medical School
Thomas Gillespie In-Q-Tel
Stefanie Harvey TE Connectivity
Rushan Sakhibgareev Chevron
Prantik Mazumder Corning
Prithwiraj Maitra Johnson and Johnson
Steven Zullo NIBIB/NIH
Martin Schoeppler FUJIFILM Dimatix
Mike Cameron Sherwin Williams
Loucas Tsakalakos GE Global Research
Johan Pluyter International Flavors & Fragrances
Mandakini Kanugo Xerox Innovation Group
Jessica Tucker NIBIB
Brent Segal Lockheed Martin
YuanQiao Rao The Dow Chemical Company
Paul Vogt Momentive
Nicole F. Steinmetz Case Western Reserve University
Imre Gyuk DOE
Marcellino Gemelli Bosch Sensortec
Susana Addo Ntim US FDA
Lewis Sloter DOD
Loucas Tsakalakos GE Global Research
Read the original post:
Posted: September 18, 2016 at 8:12 am
WASHINGTON A House intelligence committee report issued Thursday condemned Edward Snowden, saying the National Security Agency leaker is not a whistleblower and that the vast majority of the documents he stole were defense secrets that had nothing to do with privacy.
The Republican-led committee released a three-page unclassified summary of its two-year bipartisan examination of howSnowdenwas able to remove more than 1.5 million classified documents from secure NSA networks, what the documents contained and the damage their removal caused to U.S. national security.
Snowdenwas an NSA contract employee when he took the documents and leaked them to journalists who revealed massive domestic surveillance programs begun in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks. The programs collected the telephone metadata records of millions of Americans and examined emails from overseas.Snowdenfled to Hong Kong, then Russia, to avoid prosecution and now wants a presidential pardon as a whistleblower.
Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif., chairman of the committee, saidSnowdenbetrayed his colleagues and his country.
“He put our service members and the American people at risk after perceived slights by his superiors,” Nunes said in a statement. “In light of his long list of exaggerations and outright fabrications detailed in this report, no one should take him at his word. I look forward to his eventual return to the United States, where he will face justice for his damaging crimes.”
Snowdeninsists he has not shared the full cache of 1.5 million classified documents with anyone. However, the report notes that in June, the deputy chairman of the Russian parliament’s defense and security committee publicly conceded that “Snowdendid share intelligence” with his government.
Ben Wizner,Snowden’sattorney at the American Civil Liberties Union, blasted the report, saying it was an attempt to discredit a “genuine American hero.”
“After years of investigation, the committee still can’t point to any remotely credible evidence that Snowden’sdisclosures caused harm,” Wizner said. “In a more candid moment, the NSA’s former deputy director, who was directly involved in the government’s investigation, explicitly said he didn’t believe Snowdenhad cooperated with either China or Russia.”
Snowden’srevelations about the agency’s bulk collection of millions of Americans’ phone records set off a fierce debate that pit civil libertarians concerned about privacy against more hawkish lawmakers fearful about losing tools to combat terrorism. Democrats and libertarian-leaning Republicans pushed through a reauthorization of the USA Patriot Act last year that ended the program.
There was little evidence that the phone records or other surveillance programsSnowdenrevealed ever thwarted an attack.
Snowdenis seeking a presidential pardon because he says he helped his country by revealing secret domestic surveillance programs. Separately, all members of the committee sent a bipartisan letter to President Barack Obama urging him not to pardonSnowden.
“The vast majority of what he took has nothing to do with American privacy,” said Rep. Adam Schiff of California, the ranking Democrat on the House intelligence committee.
“The majority of what he took has to do with military secrets and defense secrets,” Schiff said in an interview Thursday for C-SPAN’s “Newsmakers.” ”I think that’s very much at odds with the narrative that he wants to tell that he is a whistleblower.”
The Obama administration has urgedSnowdento return to the U.S. and face trial. Justice Department spokesman Marc Raimondi has said “there is no question his actions have inflicted serious harms on our national security.”
The committee report says that he was a “disgruntled employee who had frequent conflicts with his managers.”
Publicly revealing classified information does not qualify someone as a whistleblower, the report said. The committee “found no evidence thatSnowdentook any official effort to express concerns about U.S. intelligence activities to any oversight officials within the U.S. government, despite numerous avenues for him to do so.”
According to the committee,Snowdenbegan mass downloads of classified material two weeks after he was reprimanded for engaging in a spat with NSA managers. The committee also describedSnowdenas a “serial exaggerator and fabricator.”
“A close review ofSnowden’sofficial employment records and submissions reveals a pattern of intentional lying,” the report said. “He claimed to have left Army basic training because of broken legs when in fact he washed out because of shin splints. He claimed to have obtained a high school degree equivalent when in fact he never did. ”
The report saidSnowdenclaimed to have worked for the CIA as a senior adviser, when he was a computer technician.
“He also doctored his performance evaluations and obtained new positions at NSA by exaggerating his resume and stealing the answers to an employment test,” the report said.
Speaking by video link from Moscow,Snowdensaid Wednesday that whistleblowing “is democracy’s safeguard of last resort, the one on which we rely when all other checks and balances have failed and the public has no idea what’s going on behind closed doors.”
The 33-year-old addressed a New York City news conference where advocates from the American Civil Liberties Union, Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International announced an online petition drive to urge Obama to pardonSnowdenbefore he leaves office. The supporters calledSnowdena hero for exposing the extent of government surveillance by giving thousands of classified documents to journalists.
The report was released one day ahead of Friday’s opening of director Oliver Stone’s film “Snowden.”
Posted: September 14, 2016 at 1:11 am
[Update 2016.06.20] -Treat ageing as a disease – let’s spread the word on election day!
Meow-Ludo Disco Gamma Meow-Meow Really Wants You To Care About Science -The Huffington Post
Chip Implants – The New Credit Cards?
[Update 2016.05.21]- Triple H FM radio interview with transhumanist and Science Party Candidate for Berowra, Brendan Clarke!
[Update 2016.05.18] – Matt Barrie Supports Science Party
[Update 2016.05.10]- Podcast with Questionable Content – AI For Prime Minister!
[Update 2016.05.05]- Coverage of Zoltan Istvan and the Transhumanist Partyby Vocativ!
[Update 2016.04.27]- Transhumanism Australia Update blog is up!Science Party Candidates, Design Workshops, Biohackers, Effective Altruism and More!
[Update 2016.04.09]- “CRISPR: A Genetic Cut and Paste Tool” from The Verge
[Update 2016.03.21]- Blog update is up! Future Day, Biohack+Ethereum, Basic Income and More!
[Update 2016.03.20] – The Tiny Key To Ageing
[Update 2016.03.18]- Dr Brian Greene in Sydney, Luna Park During Q&A
[Update 2016.03.12]- Real Future: Meet Zoltan Istvan, the Transhumanist Running For President (Episode 5)
Cleaned up homepage and moved old stuff to Archives
[Update 2016.3.01]- Happy Future Day! The videos from the Sydney event are up!
[Update 2016.02.26] – Transhumanism Australia on Vice AU!
[Update 2016.02.25]- Zoltan on The Feed – SBS 2!
[Update 2016.01.26] – New AI blog on Sightings from the Edge: Artificial Intelligence – January 2016. See our page dedicated to AI
[Update 2016.01.23] – How Will You Die? (Unless We Do Something About It)
Sign the petition to deem ageing as a disease.
[Update 2016.01.10]- Update to our page onAutomation. Enjoy!
[Update 2016.01.06] – Podcast with Questionable Content onSimulated Transhuman Overlords!
[Update 2016.01.02] -We’ve started uploading videos on our Facebook page and YouTube channel!
[Update 2015.12.31] – Zoltan’s 2015 wrap up!
[Update 2015.12.30] -Join the chat group on Slack for all transhumanists around the world! If you haven’t received an invite already, send an email to email@example.com
[Update 2015.11.29] -Check out our new page onTranshumanism in pop culture!
Join us in signing this petition to deem ageing as a disease!
[Update 2015.10.17]Transhumanist Leandro Brun joins Sunday Night Safran on Triple J radio! (Skip to 43:45)
Welcome to the official site shared by Transhumanism Australia – the nonprofit organisation, and Transhumanist Party Australia – the Australian political organisation.
Transhumanism(abbreviated as H+ or h+) is an international cultural and intellectual movement with an eventual goal of fundamentally transforming the human condition by developing and making widely available technologies to greatly enhance human intellectual, physical, and psychological capacities.
Transhumanismis a positive philosophy about the future based in optimism, rational thinking and the application of science and technology to improve the human condition. We seek to live longer, stay healthier, and become smarter and even more physically fit. We want to develop tools and technologies to help ourselves and others do the same.
Here’s a well designed FAQ on What Is Transhumanism.
Transhumanism in Australia is a nonprofit organisation dedicated to our communities which educate and invest in scientific research and technologies enhancing the human biological condition.
Get involved with the Transhumanist movement today!
For a timeline of Transhumanism throughout history, check out the coverage by The Verge.
TRANSHUMANIST PARTY AUSTRALIA (TPAU)
TPAU is an Australian political organisation dedicated to putting science, health, and technology at the forefront of the Australian political agenda.
TPAU aims to uphold the energy and political might of millions of transhumanist advocates around the world who desire to usescience and technology to significantly improve our lives.
The co-founders of TPAU arelisted here. Join ourFacebook groupto meet our existing TPAU admins and the transhumanist community in Australia!
Our party’s core ideas and goals can be found in theTranshumanistDeclaration.The Transhumanist Party in the United States wasfoundedby futurist and philosopherZoltan Istvanon October 7, 2014 as a nonprofit organisation. Istvan manages the party and is its 2016 US Presidential candidate.
Check out thecalendarfor a list of upcoming events, and please considervolunteering for the partyormaking a donation.
Together we can vastly improve Australia through effective policy and investment in science, health and technology. Help us create a better future for all Australians.
Become a member today!
Find out more about us belowand get to know our team.
TPAU is not currently registered with the AEC. We have an alliance with theScience Partyto pool our votes and therefore contribute to shaping the policies of the Science Party. The Science Party’s values are aligned with ours and you can find out about their policieshere.
Please support us by clicking on the sponsored ad below or throughout the website, or by making a donation!
GLOBAL NETWORK OF TRANSHUMANISTS
Transhumanist Party Globalis an organisation co-founded byAmon TwymanandZoltan Istvan,dedicated to supporting Transhumanist Parties around the world and encouraging effective cooperation between them.
H+Pedia is a wiki for a single source of truth on all things transhumanism, created by Chris Monteiro and David Wood
MAKING TRANSHUMANISM MAINSTREAM
Transhumanism is becoming more and more popular every day, and we hope to desensitise the term itself so that people can understand what the movement is about. Here’s a video fromRhett & LinkfromGood Mythical Morningthat did a great job of this:
Read the rest here:
Posted: September 10, 2016 at 5:25 am
What is Freedom?
Freedom. We sing about it in our patriotic songs. We teach it to our children in school. Hollywood and Madison Avenue glorify it. Here in the United States, freedom is the civic religion.
But if freedom is our civic religion, why is the libertarian movement in the U.S. so small? Why is government so big and our jails so full? Is all our talk of freedom mere lip service? Are we a nation of sheeple duped by the powers that be?
To some degree, yes. But these are not the major reasons why the libertarian movement is so small. Pure libertarians lack credibility with the masses because they dont necessarily offer liberty. Abolish the government willy nilly and reduced liberty is the likely result. The power vacuum left by vanished government is likely to be filled by feudal warlords, a military junta and/or invading armies. Anarchy with liberty may be possible but it is not automatic. The People are prudent to refuse the risk.
What about moderate libertarians? What about those who would like to shrink the federal government to its Constitutional bounds? Why havent freedom lovers joined their banners en masse? Well, some did, for Ron Pauls recent run for President, but not nearly enough to win the Republican nomination, much less elect a President. This is supposed to be the Land of the Free. What gives?
It took me years to figure it out, but I believe I have the answer. It is an answer most active libertarians will not like to hear. Pragmatic libertarians do indeed offer liberty, but liberty is not the same thing as freedom!
By liberty I mean what my libertarians friends mean by liberty: liberty is the absence of coercion. It is a state of being where transactions are voluntary, where all constraints are the result of honest contracts. I like liberty. I wish we had more of it, here and in other parts of the world. I even have a series on libertarian strategy in the the hope that libertarians become more successful in increasing liberty. But liberty is not the same thing as freedom. Freedom is something bigger.
So what is freedom?
You can pull out a dictionary for a stilted definition. I will define it simply: freedom is being able to do what you want to do. Free speech and free beer both speak of freedom. Free speech is a freedom that comes directly from liberty. Free beer, however, requires more than mere permission to drink fermented barley. It requires that someone has gone through the trouble to brew the beer and is willing to give it out. If no one is so inclined brew beer and give it away, the ideal of Freedom as in Free Beer contains a conflict. Free beer for you means beer servitude for someone else.
This is why freedom-loving Vulcans stick to promoting liberty. They see the potential conflict inherent in free beer freedoms as a contradiction. Liberty can be granted to all who respect the liberty of others or at least thats the ideal. (In practice we run up against a few conflicts or even contradictions.) So many libertarians would define freedom down to mere liberty, and thus wall off from their minds the messy business of balancing trade-offs.
I say mere liberty because for many people more liberty need not translate into more freedom. A marginal increase in liberty can result is subtantially less freedom, especially in the short run. This, I submit, is why libertarianism has limited popularity here in the Land of the Free. For millions of people liberal and conservative ideas offer more increments freedom than many libertarian ideas.
Consider a single mom who has to put in 50 hour weeks at Dennys to support her children. A cuddly fascist offering government childcare and socialized medicine along with his program of censorship of naughty TV and conquering Bolivia for no good reason offers more freedom to this mother than a smaller government libertarian. This is but one illustration. I give others elsewhere.
Libertarianism has limited popularity for good reason.
This is not a libertarian site. It is a pro-freedom site. Here, we attempt to balance several freedoms, including:
Back when I was a libertarian and active in the Libertarian Party, I spent thousands of dollars and hours promoting the party and the cause. Converts and recruits were few and far between. Today, I am mostly out of the game, playing Candy Land with my young daughter instead of placing signs, dropping leaflets, working booths and attending meetings. Yet I have well over a hundred people lining up to join my nonexistent new political party proposed elsewhere on this site.
Freedom is popular here in the Land of the Free.
What is not popular is knowledge of how to be more free. Many liberals call for mass bureaucracy because they know no other way to achieve freedom from the boss. If that is you, or you wish to persuade such liberals otherwise, see the red titles on the sidebar. Likewise, many environmentalists believe we have to abride economic freedom and/or our prosperous way of life in order to preserve nature. For you I have the green article series. For those of you who desire a safe and moral place to raise your children, there are the blue articles.
If you are ready to dive in and look at specific proposals, feel free to jump to the relevant article series. On the other hand, if you are a top down thinker, or a libertarian/small government conservative who has a hard time grokking the distinction between liberty and freedom, please continue with this series.
Originally posted here:
Posted: August 27, 2016 at 7:22 pm
Alternate Title: Republic of Seychelles
National anthem of Seychelles
Seychelles, island republic in the western Indian Ocean, comprising about 115 islands. The islands are home to lush tropical vegetation, beautiful beaches, and a wide variety of marine life. Situated between latitudes 4 and 11 S and longitudes 46 and 56 E, the major islands of Seychelles are located about 1,000 miles (1,600 km) east of Kenya and about 700 miles (1,100 km) northeast of Madagascar. The capital, Victoria, is situated on the island of Mah.
Seychelles, one of the worlds smallest countries, is composed of two main island groups: the Mah group of more than 40 central, mountainous granitic islands and a second group of more than 70 outer, flat, coralline islands. The islands of the Mah group are rocky and typically have a narrow coastal strip and a central range of hills. The overall aspect of those islands, with their lush tropical vegetation, is that of high hanging gardens overlooking silver-white beaches and clear lagoons. The highest point in Seychelles, Morne Seychellois (2,969 feet [905 metres]), situated on Mah, is located within this mountainous island group. The coralline islands, rising only a few feet above sea level, are flat with elevated coral reefs at different stages of formation. These islands are largely waterless, and very few have a resident population.
The climate is tropical oceanic, with little temperature variation during the year. Daily temperatures rise to the mid-80s F (low 30s C) in the afternoon and fall to the low 70s F (low 20s C) at night. Precipitation levels vary greatly from island to island; on Mah, annual precipitation ranges from 90 inches (2,300 mm) at sea level to 140 inches (3,560 mm) on the mountain slopes. Humidity is persistently high but is ameliorated somewhat in locations windward of the prevailing southeast trade winds.
Of the roughly 200 plant species found in Seychelles, some 80 are unique to the islands, including screw pines (see pandanus), several varieties of jellyfish trees, latanier palms, the bois rouge, the bois de fer, Wrights gardenia, and the most famous, the coco de mer. The coco de merwhich is found on only two islandsproduces a fruit that is one of the largest and heaviest known and is valued by a number of Asian cultures for believed aphrodisiac, medicinal, mystic, and other properties. The Seychellois government closely monitors the quantity and status of the trees, and, although commerce is regulated to prevent overharvesting, poaching is a concern.
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Wildlife includes a remarkably diverse array of marine life, including more than 900 identified species of fish; green sea turtles and giant tortoises also inhabit the islands. Endemic species include birds such as Seychelles bulbuls and cave-dwelling Seychelles swiftlets; several species of local tree frogs, snails, and wormlike caecilians; Seychelles wolf snakes and house snakes; tiger chameleons; and others. Endemic mammals are few; both fruit bats (Pteropus seychellensis) and Seychelles sheath-tailed bats (Coleura seychellensis) are endemic to the islands. Indian mynahs, barn owls, and tenrecs (small shrewlike or hedgehoglike mammals introduced from Madagascar) are also found.
Considerable efforts have been made to preserve the islands marked biodiversity. Seychelles government has established several nature preserves and marine parks, including the Aldabra Islands and Valle de Mai National Park, both UNESCO World Heritage sites. The Aldabra Islands, a large atoll, are the site of a preserve inhabited by tens of thousands of giant tortoises, the worlds oldest living creatures, which government conservation efforts have helped rescue from the brink of extinction. Valle de Mai National Park is the only place where all six of the palm species endemic to Seychelles, including the coco de mer, may be found together. Cousin Island is home to a sanctuary for land birds, many endemic to the islands, including the Seychelles sunbird (a type of hummingbird) and the Seychelles brush warbler. The nearby Cousine Island is part private resort and part nature preserve, noted for its sea turtles, giant tortoises, and assorted land birds. Bird Island is the breeding ground for millions of terns, turtle doves, shearwaters, frigate birds, and other seabirds that flock there each year.
The original French colonists on the previously uninhabited islands, along with their black slaves, were joined in the 19th century by deportees from France. Asians from China, India, and Malaya (Peninsular Malaysia) arrived later in smaller numbers. Widespread intermarriage has resulted in a population of mixed descent.
Creole, also called Seselwa, is the mother tongue of most Seychellois. Under the constitution, Creole, English, and French are recognized as national languages.
More than four-fifths of the population are Roman Catholics. There are also Anglicans, Christians of other denominations, Hindus, and Muslims.
More than four-fifths of the population live on Mah, many of them in the capital city, Victoria. The birth and death rates, as well as the annual population growth rate, are below the global average. Some one-fourth of the population are younger than age 15, and about one-half are under age 30. Life expectancy for both men and women is significantly higher than the global average.
Seychelles has a mixed, developing economy that is heavily dependent upon the service sector in general and the tourism industry in particular. Despite continued visible trade deficits, the economy has experienced steady growth. The gross domestic product (GDP) is growing more rapidly than the population. The gross national income (GNI) per capita is significantly higher than those found in most nearby continental African countries.
Agriculture accounts for only a fraction of the GDP and employs an equally modest proportion of the workforce. Arable land is limited and the soil is generally poorand the country remains dependent upon imported foodstuffsbut copra (from coconuts), cinnamon bark, vanilla, tea, limes, and essential oils are exported. Seychelles has a modern fishing industry that supplies both domestic and foreign markets; canned tuna is a particularly important product. The extraction of guano for export is also an established economic activity.
The countrys growing manufacturing sectorwhich has expanded to account for almost one-sixth of the total GDPis composed largely of food-processing plants; production of alcoholic beverages and of soft drinks is particularly significant. Animal feed, paint, and other goods are also produced.
Seychelles sizable trade deficit is offset by income from the tourism industry and from aid and investment. Although the countrys relative prosperity has not made it a preferred aid recipient, it does receive assistance from the World Bank, the European Union, the African Development Bank, and a variety of contributing countries, and aid obtained per capita is relatively high. The Central Bank of Seychelles, located in Victoria, issues the official currency, the Seychelles rupee.
Seychelles main imports are petroleum products, machinery, and foodstuffs. Canned tuna, copra, frozen fish, and cinnamon are the most important exports, together with the reexport of petroleum products. Significant trade partners include France, the United Kingdom, Saudi Arabia, and Germany.
The service sector accounts for nearly four-fifths of the GDP and employs the largest proportion of the workforce, almost three-fourths of all labourers. After the opening of an international airport on Mah in 1971, the tourism industry grew rapidly, and at the beginning of the 21st century it provided almost one-fourth of the total GDP. Each year Seychelles draws thousands of tourists, many attracted by the islands magnificent venues for scuba diving, surfing, windsurfing, fishing, swimming, and sunbathing. The warm southeasterly trade winds offer ideal conditions for sailing, and the waters around Mah and the other islands are afloat with small boats.
The majority of Seychelles roadways are paved, most of which are on the islands of Mah and Praslin; there are no railroads. Ferry services operate between the islandsfor example, linking Victoria with destinations that include Praslin and La Digue. Air service is centred on Seychelles International Airport, located near Victoria on Mah, and the smaller airports and airstrips found on several islands. Seychelles has air connections with a number of foreign cities and direct flights to major centres that include London, Paris, Frankfurt, Rome, and Bangkok. Scheduled domestic flights, provided by Air Seychelles, chiefly offer service between Mah and Praslin, although chartered flights elsewhere are also available. The tsunami that reached Seychelles in 2004 damaged portions of the transportation infrastructure, including the road linking Victoria with the international airport.
Telecommunications infrastructure in Seychelles is quite developed. The country has a high rate of cellular telephone useamong the highest in sub-Saharan Africaand, at the beginning of the 21st century, the use of personal computers in Seychelles was several times the average for the region.
Under the 1993 constitution, Seychelles is a republic. The head of state and government is the president, who is directly elected by popular vote and may hold office for up to three consecutive five-year terms. Members of the National Assembly serve five-year terms. A majority of the available National Assembly seats are filled by direct election; a smaller portion are distributed on a proportional basis to those parties that win a minimum of one-tenth of the vote. The president appoints a Council of Ministers, which acts as an advisory body. The country is divided into more than 20 administrative divisions.
The Seychellois judiciary includes a Court of Appeal, a Supreme Court, and Magistrates Courts; the Constitutional Court is a branch of the Supreme Court.
Suffrage is universal; Seychellois are eligible to vote at age 17. Women participate actively in the government of the country and have held numerous posts, including positions in the cabinet and a proportion of seats in the National Assembly.
The Peoples Party (formerly the Seychelles Peoples Progressive Front) was the sole legal party from 1978 until 1991. It is still the countrys primary political party, but other parties are also active in Seychellois politics, including the New Democratic Party (formerly the Seychelles Democratic Party), the Seychelles National Party, and the Seychelles Movement for Democracy.
Seychelles defense forces are made up of an army, a coast guard (including naval and airborne wings), and a national guard. There is no conscription; military service is voluntary, and individuals are generally eligible at age 18 (although younger individuals may serve with parental consent).
In general, homes play a highly visible part in maintaining traditional Seychellois life. Many old colonial houses are well preserved, although corrugated iron roofs have generally replaced the indigenous palm thatch. Groups tend to gather on the verandahs of their houses, which are generally recognized as social centres.
The basis of the school system is a free, compulsory, 10-year public school education. Education standards have risen steadily, and nearly all children of primary-school age attend school. The countrys first university, the University of Seychelles, began accepting students in 2009. The literacy rate in Seychelles is significantly higher than the regional and global averages for both men and women.
Seychellois culture has been shaped by a combination of European, African, and Asian influences. The main European influence is French, recognizable in Seselwa, the Creole language that is the lingua franca of the islands, and in Seychellois food and religion; the French introduced Roman Catholicism, the religion of the majority of the islanders. African influence is revealed in local music and dance as well as in Seselwa. Asian elements are evident in the islands cuisine but are particularly dominant in business and trade.
Holidays observed in Seychelles include Liberation Day, which commemorates the anniversary of the 1977 coup, on June 5; National Day, June 18; Independence Day, June 29; the Feast of the Assumption, August 15; All Saints Day, November 1; the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, December 8; and Christmas, December 25.
Because of the exorbitant expense of the large and lavish wedding receptions that are part of Seychellois tradition, many couples never marry; instead, they may choose to live en mnage, achieving a de facto union by cohabitating without marriage. There is little or no social stigma related to living en mnage, and the arrangement is recognized by the couples family and friends. The instance of couples living en mnage increases particularly among lower income groups.
Dance plays an important role in Seychellois society. Both the sga and the moutya, two of the most famous dances performed in Seychelles, mirror traditional African customs. The sensual dances blend religion and social relations, two elements central to African life. The complicated and compelling dance movements were traditionally carried out under moonlight to the beat of African drums. Dances were once regular events in village halls, but these have largely died out in recent years; now dances take place in modern nightclubs.
Seychellois enjoy participating in and watching several team sports. The national stadium, located in Victoria, offers a year-round program of events. Mens and womens volleyball are popular, and several Seychellois players and referees participate at the international level. Football (soccer) is also a favourite, and Seychellois teams frequently travel to East Africa and India to play in exhibition matches and tournaments. The Seychelles national Olympic committee was established in 1979 and was recognized that year by the International Olympic Committee. The country made its official Olympic debut at the 1980 Moscow Games, but its first Olympic athlete was Henri Dauban de Silhouette, who competed for Great Britain in the javelin throw at the 1924 Paris Games.
Much of the countrys radio, television, and print media is under government control. There are several independent publications, including Seychelles Weekly and Vizyon.
The islands were known by traders from the Persian Gulf centuries ago, but the first recorded landing on the uninhabited Seychelles was made in 1609 by an expedition of the British East India Company. The archipelago was explored by the Frenchman Lazare Picault in 1742 and 1744 and was formally annexed to France in 1756. The archipelago was named Schelles, later changed by the British to Seychelles. War between France and Britain led to the surrender of the archipelago to the British in 1810, and it was formally ceded to Great Britain by the Treaty of Paris in 1814. The abolition of slavery in the 1830s deprived the islands European colonists of their labour force and compelled them to switch from raising cotton and grains to cultivating less-labour-intensive crops such as coconut, vanilla, and cinnamon. In 1903 Seychellesuntil that time administered as a dependency of Mauritiusbecame a separate British crown colony. A Legislative Council with elected members was introduced in 1948.
In 1963 the United States leased an area on the main island, Mah, and built an air force satellite tracking station there; this brought regular air travel to Seychelles for the first time, in the form of a weekly seaplane shuttle that operated from Mombasa, Kenya.
In 1970 Seychelles obtained a new constitution, universal adult suffrage, and a governing council with an elected majority. Self-government was granted in 1975 and independence in 1976, within the Commonwealth of Nations. In 1975 a coalition government was formed with James R. Mancham as president and France-Albert Ren as prime minister. In 1977, while Mancham was abroad, Ren became president in a coup dtat led by the Seychelles Peoples United Party (later restyled the Seychelles Peoples Progressive Front [SPPF], from 2009 the Peoples Party [Parti Lepep]).
In 1979 a new constitution transformed Seychelles into a one-party socialist state, with Rens SPPF designated the only legal party. This change was not popular with many Seychellois, and during the 1980s there were several coup attempts. Faced with mounting pressure from the countrys primary sources of foreign aid, Rens administration began moving toward more democratic rule in the early 1990s, with the return of multiparty politics and the promulgation of a new constitution. The country also gradually abandoned its socialist economy and began to follow market-based economic strategies by privatizing most parastatal companies, encouraging foreign investment, and focusing efforts on marketing Seychelles as an offshore business and financial hub. As Seychelles entered the 21st century, the SPPF continued to dominate the political scene. After the return of multiparty elections, Ren was reelected three times before eventually resigning in April 2004 to allow Vice Pres. James Michel to succeed him as president.
In late 2004 some of the islands were hit by a tsunami, which severely damaged the environment and the countrys economy. The economy was an important topic in the campaigning leading up to the presidential election of 2006, in which Michel emerged with a narrow victory to win his first elected term. He was reelected in 2011. One of Michels ongoing concerns was piracy in the Indian Ocean, which had surged since 2009 and threatened the countrys fishing and tourism industries. To that end, the Seychellois government worked with several other countries and international organizations to curb the illegal activity.
In October 2015 Michel called for an early presidential election, rather than wait until it was due in 2016. Michel was standing for his third term, again representing the Peoples Party. The election was held December 35, 2015. For the first time since the return of multiparty politics in 1993, the Peoples Partys candidate did not win outright in the first round of voting. Michel garnered 47.76 percent of the vote; his nearest challenger was Wavel Ramkalawan of the Seychelles National Party (SNP), who took 33.93 percent. Ramkalawan was an Anglican priest who was the leader of the SNP and had run for president in previous elections. The runoff election was held December 1618. On December 19 Michel was declared the winner by a very narrow margin, taking 50.15 percent of the vote, with only 193 votes between him and Ramkalawan. Michel was quickly sworn in the next day for his third term. Ramkalawan voiced allegations of voting irregularities and asked for a recount.
Posted: August 25, 2016 at 4:35 pm
William P. Ruger
William P. Ruger is Vice President of Policy and Research at the Charles Koch Institute and Charles Koch Foundation. Ruger is the author of the biography Milton Friedman and a coauthor of The State of Texas: Government, Politics, and Policy. His work has been published in International Studies Quarterly, State Politics and Policy Quarterly, Armed Forces and Society, and other outlets. Ruger earned an AB from the College of William and Mary and a PhD in politics from Brandeis University. He is a veteran of the war in Afghanistan.
Jason Sorens is Lecturer in the Department of Government at Dartmouth College. His primary research interests include fiscal federalism, public policy in federal systems, secessionism, and ethnic politics. His work has been published in International Studies Quarterly, Comparative Political Studies, Journal of Peace Research, State Politics and Policy Quarterly, and other academic journals, and his book Secessionism: Identity, Interest, and Strategy was published by McGill-Queens University Press in 2012. Sorens received his BA in economics and philosophy, with honors, from Washington and Lee University and his PhD in political science from Yale University.