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Plural Marriage Recognized In New York Under Key Precedent

Plural Marriage Recognized in New York Under Key Precedent; Could Lead to Right To Marry More, Or Reconsideration of Same-Sex Marriage Plural Marriage Now Recognized In New York WASHINGTON, D.C. (September 25, 2022) – A judge in New York has just ruled that polyamorous relationships – in this case a 3-person married unit living together […] Plural Marriage Recognized in New York Under Key Precedent; Could Lead to Right To Marry More, Or Reconsideration of Same-Sex Marriage Plural Marriage Now Recognized In New York WASHINGTON, D.C. (September 25, 2022) – A judge in New York has just ruled that polyamorous relationships – in this case a 3-person married unit living together in an apartment – are entitled to the same legal protection as opposite-sex or same-sex 2-person marriages. if (typeof jQuery == 'undefined') { document.write(''); } .first{clear:both;margin-left:0}.one-third{width:31.034482758621%;float:left;margin-left:3.448275862069%}.two-thirds{width:65.51724137931%;float:left}form.ebook-styles .af-element input{border:0;border-radius:0;padding:8px}form.ebook-styles .af-element{width:220px;float:left}form.ebook-styles .af-element.buttonContainer{width:115px;float:left;margin-left: 6px;}form.ebook-styles .af-element.buttonContainer input.submit{width:115px;padding:10px 6px 8px;text-transform:uppercase;border-radius:0;border:0;font-size:15px}form.ebook-styles .af-body.af-standards input.submit{width:115px}form.ebook-styles .af-element.privacyPolicy{width:100%;font-size:12px;margin:10px auto 0}form.ebook-styles .af-element.privacyPolicy p{font-size:11px;margin-bottom:0}form.ebook-styles .af-body input.text{height:40px;padding:2px 10px !important} form.ebook-styles .error, form.ebook-styles #error { color:#d00; } form.ebook-styles .formfields h1, form.ebook-styles .formfields #mg-logo, form.ebook-styles .formfields #mg-footer { display: none; } form.ebook-styles .formfields { font-size: 12px; } form.ebook-styles .formfields p { margin: 4px 0; } Get Our Activist Investing Case Study! Get the entire 10-part series on our in-depth study on activist investing in PDF. Save it to your desktop, read it on your tablet, or print it out to read anywhere! Sign up below! (function($) {window.fnames = new Array(); window.ftypes = new Array();fnames[0]='EMAIL';ftypes[0]='email';}(jQuery));var $mcj = jQuery.noConflict(true); Q2 2022 hedge fund letters, conferences and more   Since the judge relied upon the famous legal precedent which led to constitutional protection for same-sex marriages, this ruling could expand that right by creating a fundamental right to marriages of 3 or more persons. On the other hand, this expansive reading of the law could even lead to an overruling of the constitutional right of two people of the same sex to marry, says public interest law professor John Banzhaf. In the court's words: "Before gay marriage was legalized in any state, Braschi v Stahl Assocs. Co. (N.Y. 1989) was decided. The New York State Court of Appeals became the first American appellate court to recognize that a non-traditional, two-person, same-sex, committed, family-like relationship is entitled to legal recognition. Braschi is widely regarded as a catalyst for the legal challenges and changes that ensued. By the end of 2014, gay marriage was legal in 35 states through either legislation or state court action. Obergefell v Hodges (2015), the seminal Supreme Court decision that established same-sex marriage as a constitutional right, was also heralded as groundbreaking." The Braschi case from New York's highest court, upon which the trial judge relied, held that whether or not a individuals in a marriage are entitled to some legal protection "should be based upon an objective examination of the relationship of the parties. In making this assessment, the lower courts of this State have looked to a number of factors, including the exclusivity and longevity of the relationship, the level of emotional and financial commitment, the manner in which the parties have conducted their everyday lives and held themselves out to society. And the reliance placed upon one another for daily family services...it is the totality of the relationship as evidenced by the dedication, caring and self-sacrifice of the parties which should, in the final analysis, control." Clearly, some judges can early find that these same characteristics are present in other polyamorous relationships where 3 or more persons live together in a house or apartment, and perhaps even raise children together, suggests the law professor. The Rapidly Expanding Legal Recognition Moreover, it is not the only example of the rapidly expanding legal recognition of plural marriages. As the trial judge wrote: "In February 2020, the Utah legislature passed a so-called Bigamy Bill, decriminalizing the offense by downgrading it from a felony to a misdemeanor. In June [2020], Somerville, Massachusetts, passed an ordinance allowing groups of three or more people who 'consider themselves to be a family' to be recognized as domestic partners…. The neighboring town of Cambridge followed suit, passing a broader ordinance recognizing multi-partner relationships. The law has proceeded even more rapidly in recognizing that it is possible for a child to have more than two legal parents. In 2017, the Uniform Law Commission, an association that enables states to harmonize their laws, drafted a new Uniform Parentage Act, one provision of which facilitates multiple-parent recognition. Versions of the provision have passed in California, Washington, Maine, Vermont, and Delaware, and it is under consideration in several other states. Courts in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Texas, Arizona, and Louisiana have also supported the idea of third parents. American conservatism has long mourned the proliferation of single parents, but, if two parents are better than one, why are three parents worse?" [emphasis added] On the other hand, if the Supreme Court's decision in Obergefell is going to be open the door to judicial recognition of plural marriages - something many experts predicted at the time would never happen - the Supreme Court with its new conservative majority might decide to reconsider and then overrule Obergefell as it so recently overruled Roe v. Wade and its constitutional right to abortions, says Banzhaf. Indeed, in helping to overrule Roe, Justice Clarence Thomas said that same rationale should also be used to overturn cases establishing rights to contraception, same-sex consensual relations and same-sex marriage. He wrote that the court “should reconsider” all 3 decisions. Moreover, he said, the Court has a duty to “correct the error” established by those precedents. . . overruling these demonstrably erroneous decisions, the question would remain whether other constitutional provisions” protected the rights they established. If rights not expressly found in the Constitution can be held to establish entitlements to marry someone of the same sex, as well as 3 or more persons of any sex, could they be further expanded to a right to marry a close relative, especially if offspring with possible genetic defects are unlikely to occur (e.g., father and son), asks the law professor, who has himself created some new legal rights......»»

Category: blogSource: valuewalkSep 26th, 2022

11 Best Gold Stocks For Inflation

In this article, we will take a detailed look at the 11 Best Gold Stocks For Inflation. For a quick overview of such stocks, read our article 5 Best Gold Stocks For Inflation.  Gold stands as one of the oldest investment assets in history, with opinions about its value varying among investors. Nevertheless, its unique role in […] In this article, we will take a detailed look at the 11 Best Gold Stocks For Inflation. For a quick overview of such stocks, read our article 5 Best Gold Stocks For Inflation.  Gold stands as one of the oldest investment assets in history, with opinions about its value varying among investors. Nevertheless, its unique role in markets as a store of value sets it apart from nearly all other assets. Acting as a safe-haven metal, gold offers a hedge against geopolitical instability and financial turbulence, providing investors with a secure asset to protect their purchasing power and guard against currency devaluation, such as that of the US dollar. Like any commodity, gold’s price is influenced by the dynamics of supply and demand. However, its utility extends beyond being a mere store of value or investment. A significant portion of gold demand arises from its use in jewelry and various industrial applications, including electronics and medical devices. Consequently, fluctuations in the growth or contraction of these sectors inevitably impact the demand for gold. According to a Bloomberg report earlier in 2023, information provided by Invesco revealed a trend of global sovereign wealth funds and investors accumulating gold. Invesco’s findings were based on a survey of 85 sovereign wealth funds and 57 central banks, collectively managing around $21 trillion in assets. Regarding gold, the report highlighted that “a significant portion of central banks express apprehension about the precedent established by the US freezing of Russian reserves, with the majority (58%) concurring that this incident has heightened the attractiveness of gold.” The survey results emphasized that gold continues to serve as an inflation hedge, with a notable proportion of central banks intending to increase their gold holdings over the next three years. In addition, Netherlands-based ING Group stated in a report that the upward trend in gold prices observed in 2023 due to geopolitical tensions and uncertainties is anticipated to persist in 2024. The report notes that gold prices surged following the outbreak of conflict in Israel earlier in the year. Despite tensions easing in the Middle East, gold prices remain high. ING Group predicts that the Federal Reserve will commence reducing interest rates in May 2024, with a total expected reduction of 150 basis points throughout the year, and an additional 100 basis points in early 2025. According to ING, these rate cuts are projected to bolster gold prices in 2024. With that in mind, today we will explore some of the best gold stocks for inflation, with prominent choices including Newmont Corporation (NYSE:NEM), Barrick Gold Corp (NYSE:GOLD), and Agnico Eagle Mines Limited (NYSE:AEM). A closeup view of a large gold mine, illustrating the company’s gold properties. Our Methodology For our list of the best gold stocks for inflation, we scanned Insider Monkey’s database of 910 hedge funds and picked 11 dividend-paying gold stocks with the highest number of hedge fund investors. Hedge funds’ top 10 consensus stock picks outperformed the S&P 500 Index by more than 140 percentage points over the last 10 years (see the details here). That’s why we pay very close attention to this often-ignored indicator. 11. Sibanye Stillwater Ltd (NYSE:SBSW) Number of Hedge Fund Investors: 16 Dividend Percentage as of February 2: 8.12% Sibanye Stillwater Limited (NYSE:SBSW) stands as a multinational mining and metals processing Group, boasting a diverse portfolio of mining and processing operations, projects, and investments spanning five continents. Renowned as one of the world’s foremost primary producers of platinum, palladium, and rhodium, it also holds a prominent position as a top-tier gold producer. In addition to these accomplishments, the company is a significant producer of other platinum group metals (PGMs) like iridium and ruthenium. Furthermore, it extracts chrome, copper, and nickel as valuable by-products of its operations. On November 9, Sibanye Stillwater Limited (NYSE:SBSW) made headlines by announcing its agreement to acquire US metals recycler Reldan for $211 million. Reldan, headquartered in Pennsylvania, is renowned for its recycling operations, particularly in re-processing various waste streams, including industrial waste. Among the hedge funds monitored by Insider Monkey, AQR Capital Management, headquartered in Connecticut, stands out as a key shareholder in Sibanye Stillwater Limited (NYSE:SBSW), holding 5 million shares valued at over $31 million. One of the best gold stocks to invest in, Sibanye Stillwater Limited (NYSE:SBSW) ranks among the likes of Newmont Corporation (NYSE:NEM), Barrick Gold Corp (NYSE:GOLD), and Agnico Eagle Mines Limited (NYSE:AEM). 10. Osisko Gold Royalties Ltd (NYSE:OR) Number of Hedge Fund Investors: 18 Dividend Percentage as of February 2: 1.20% Osisko Gold Royalties Ltd (NYSE:OR), a Canadian company, specializes in holding royalties in gold, silver, and diamond mines, primarily through net smelter returns and streams. Additionally, the company engages in investments in mineral exploration companies through the purchase of shares. On November 8, Osisko Gold Royalties Ltd (NYSE:OR) announced a quarterly dividend of CAD 0.06 per share. This dividend was set to be paid on January 15 to shareholders of record as of December 29. As of February 2, the stock’s dividend yield stood at 1.20%. In the third quarter, 18 hedge funds held a stake in Osisko Gold Royalties Ltd (NYSE:OR)’s stock. Millennium Management was the most significant shareholder of the company, with 8.85 million shares worth $104.019 million. Palm Valley Capital Management commented on Osisko Gold Royalties Ltd (NYSE:OR) in its first quarter 2023 investor letter. Here is what it said: “We did not purchase any new holdings for the Fund during the first quarter. In January, we sold one position: Osisko Gold Royalties Ltd (NYSE:OR). Osisko reported record royalty and streaming revenues as it has steadily grown its portfolio of assets, which is skewed toward Canada—considered to be the highest quality jurisdiction for miners. The company recently deconsolidated the results of mining developer Osisko Development from its financials, clarifying Osisko Royalties’ business model for less familiar investors. Each quarter, we update the company’s NAV based on the underlying value of each of its key royalty and streaming interests, in addition to the net financial assets it holds. Osisko’s share price exceeded our estimate of NAV, so we sold the position.” 9. B2Gold Corp (NYSE:BTG) Number of Hedge Fund Investors: 19 Dividend Percentage as of February 2: 5.88% B2Gold Corp. (NYSE:BTG) is a Canadian company specializing in the exploration and development of gold resources. With operations spanning multiple countries, including Colombia, Mali, Namibia, the Philippines, Uzbekistan, Finland, and Canada, the company engages in exploration, development, and production activities. In November 2023, B2Gold Corp (NYSE:BTG) released its Q3 results. The adjusted earnings per share (EPS) for the period were reported at $0.05, falling short of estimates by $0.02. However, revenue experienced a significant increase of approximately 21.7% year over year, reaching $477.89 million, exceeding estimates by $12.55 million. A total of 19 hedge funds tracked by Insider Monkey reported having stakes in B2Gold Corp (NYSE:BTG). The biggest hedge fund stakeholder of B2Gold Corp (NYSE:BTG) was John Overdeck and David Siegel’s Two Sigma Advisors which owns a $34.3 million stake in B2Gold Corp (NYSE:BTG). 8. Pan American Silver Corp (NYSE:PAAS) Number of Hedge Fund Investors: 22 Dividend Percentage as of February 2: 3.05% Formerly known as Pan American Minerals Corp, Pan American Silver Corp. (NYSE:PAAS) is a diversified metals mining company involved in the exploration, development, extraction, processing, refining, and reclamation of silver, gold, zinc, lead, and copper mines. Its operations span across Canada, Mexico, Peru, Argentina, and Bolivia. On December 11, BMO Capital resumed coverage of Pan American Silver Corp. (NYSE:PAAS) with an Outperform rating and a $25 price target. The firm highlighted several positive aspects of the company, including its successful acquisitions and robust mine operations, ultimately deeming it “well-valued.” As of September 2023 end, 11 out of the 910 hedge funds polled by Insider Monkey had invested in Pan American Silver Corp. (NYSE:PAAS). David Greenspan’s Slate Path Capital owned the biggest stake among these which was worth $76 million. 7. Royal Gold, Inc. (NASDAQ:RGLD) Number of Hedge Fund Investors: 23 Dividend Percentage as of February 2: 1.40% Royal Gold, Inc. (NASDAQ:RGLD) is recognized as one of the foremost precious metals streaming and royalty companies globally. The company specializes in acquiring and managing precious metal streams, royalties, and similar production-based interests. On November 14, Royal Gold, Inc. (NASDAQ:RGLD) announced a 6.7% increase in its quarterly dividend to $0.40 per share. The dividend was payable by January 19 to shareholders of record as of January 5. As of February 2, the stock’s dividend yield stood at 1.40%. Furthermore, on November 1, Royal Gold, Inc. (NASDAQ:RGLD) reported its Q3 non-GAAP earnings per share (EPS) of $0.76, while its revenue increased by 5.5% year-over-year (YoY) to $138.62 million. This revenue surpassed analysts’ estimates by $11.33 million. As of the end of the third quarter of 2023, 23 hedge funds were long Royal Gold Inc (NASDAQ:RGLD). The biggest stakeholder of Royal Gold Inc (NASDAQ:RGLD) was Jean-Marie Eveillard’s First Eagle Investment Management which owns a $386 million stake in Royal Gold Inc (NASDAQ:RGLD). 6. Wheaton Precious Metals Corp (NYSE:WPM) Number of Hedge Fund Investors: 24 Dividend Percentage as of February 2: 1.29% Wheaton Precious Metals Corp. (NYSE:WPM) is a Canadian multinational company with a primary focus on precious metals streaming. The company holds a significant position in the production and sale of precious metals, particularly silver, with over 26 million ounces produced and more than 29 million ounces sold. These metals are typically sourced as by-products from the primary operations of other mining companies. On December 6, Canaccord analyst Carey MacRury reaffirmed a Buy rating on Wheaton Precious Metals Corp. (NYSE:WPM) stock and increased the price target to C$74 from C$67. A total of 24 hedge funds tracked by Insider Monkey were long Wheaton Precious Metals Corp (NYSE:WPM). The biggest stakeholder of Wheaton Precious Metals Corp (NYSE:WPM) during this period was Jean-Marie Eveillard’s First Eagle Investment Management which owns an $851 million stake in Wheaton Precious Metals Corp (NYSE:WPM). Much like Newmont Corporation (NYSE:NEM), Barrick Gold Corp (NYSE:GOLD), and Agnico Eagle Mines Limited (NYSE:AEM), Wheaton Precious Metals Corp (NYSE:WPM) is one of the best gold stocks for inflation.   Click here to continue reading and check out 5 Best Gold Stocks For Inflation.   Suggested articles: 11 Best Aluminum and Aluminum Mining Stocks To Buy 14 Best Bank Dividend Stocks To Buy Now 12 Best Metal Stocks To Invest In Disclosure: None. 11 Best Gold Stocks For Inflation  is originally published on Insider Monkey......»»

Category: topSource: insidermonkeyFeb 6th, 2024

The Beltway Judge Hearing Trump Cases And Her Anti-Trump, Anti-Kavanaugh Husband

The Beltway Judge Hearing Trump Cases And Her Anti-Trump, Anti-Kavanaugh Husband Authored by Julie Kelly via RealClear Wire, Washington glitterati assembled at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in October to celebrate federal employees making a difference in government. Hosted by CNN anchor Kate Bolduan, the black-tie affair featured in-person appearances by top Biden White House officials including Chief of Staff Jeffrey Zients, Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco, and Secretary of Agriculture Thomas Vilsack. Midway through the evening’s festivities, Max Stier, president of the group sponsoring the event – the Partnership for Public Service, a $24 million nonprofit based in Washington that recruits individuals to work in the civil service – took the stage to thank his high-profile guests. “Great leaders are the heart and soul of effective organizations,” Stier said, “which is why I am so thankful to see so many of our government’s amazing leaders here tonight.” Stier also acknowledged one federal employee, his wife, Judge Florence Y. Pan, who sits on the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia. Pan would soon need no introduction. Earlier this month she made headlines  by asking Donald Trump’s lawyers whether the presidential immunity he sought in connection with alleged Jan. 6 crimes was absolute. Could a president order SEAL Team Six to assassinate a political rival?” Pan asked Trump lawyer John Sauer. “That’s an official act – an order to SEAL Team Six?” she clarified. Related: Anti-MAGA Networker at White House and Her J6 Prosecutor Husband Although the back and forth between Pan and Sauer was inconclusive as to the question about a president’s criminal liability, many mainstream outlets misconstrued the exchange while lionizing Pan for posing a question that they then used to advance their description of Trump as a lawless menace. The exchange, which Pan prompted when she posed the pre-arranged hypothetical at beginning of the hearing, has raised new questions about the impartiality of judges hearing politically charged cases. For months progressives have been insisting that Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas should recuse himself from any case that involves Trump because of his wife Ginni Thomas’ political involvement and participation in the events of Jan. 6. Those same interests have yet to express similar worries about Pan’s objectivity, despite her husband’s longtime political activism and current opposition to another Trump presidency. Power couples are the lifeblood of Washington so it’s not unusual for political activists, judges, and White House bigwigs to rub elbows at fancy soirees like the October gala at the Kennedy Center. But Max Stier’s longtime ties to the Democratic Party, his access to key Biden administration officials, and his suggestion that Trump represents a threat to democracy at the same time his wife is handling sensitive matters related to the Department of Justice’s prosecution of the former president should raise questions about her impartiality. A member of Bill Clinton’s legal team during the Monica Lewinsky scandal, Stier, 57, has been a Democratic Party fixture for nearly three decades. Since 2001, he has run the Partnership for Public Service, which is funded by some of the most generous benefactors of progressive causes including the Gates Foundation, Democracy Fund, and the Ford Foundation. In 2020, the Partnership launched an effort tied to the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) movement, pledging to demand what it considers greater diversity in government agencies and institutions. In a letter to mark the group’s 20-year anniversary, Stier lamented the country’s democratic “crisis” caused by “a violent insurrection against Congress and growing suspicions about the results of a legitimate election.” Recently, Stier has joined the growing chorus of Beltway voices warning that a second Trump presidency would pose a unique “threat” to the country’s future. Stier and others are particularly concerned with Trump’s promise to convert tens of thousands of federal bureaucrats into political appointees, meaning they could be fired without cause by the president. Such a plan, according to Stier, undermines the Constitution and the law. “You wind up with a workforce that is not only going to deliver poor service, but also that is going to be a tool for retribution and actions that are contrary to our democratic system,” Stier said in a December 2023 Politico interview. “If you are selecting people on the basis of their political persuasion or their loyalty as opposed to their expertise and their commitment to the public good, you’re going to wind up with less good service and more risk for the American people.” Related: In Her J6 Courtroom, Trump Judge Is Pot Calling Defendant Incendiary “I don’t think we have a deep state today,” he said. But “the proposals that are on the table would create a deep state, rather than the effective state that we all should be pursuing.” Stier is doing more than just discussing the issue in media interviews; he is working directly with Biden officials to prevent Trump from following through on his pledge if he wins in November. Stier has called Trump’s plans to reform so-called “Schedule F” employees “an assault on our civil service, the core to our system of government and democratic institutions.” When Republicans threatened to shut down the government last year over disagreements with Democrats on federal spending levels, Stier warned it would sideline what unions estimate as 4 million government employees. “[It] is the equivalent of burning down your own house," he said of a potential shutdown. But Stier is perhaps best known for his involvement in attempting to thwart Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court. Stier and Kavanaugh attended Yale University together in the mid-1980s. In September 2019, while reporting on a sexual abuse accusation made by another Yale student, Deborah Ramirez, the New York Times disclosed Stier’s account of an incident he allegedly witnessed during their freshman year. Two Times reporters, in their first-person-plural “analysis” favoring Kavanaugh’s accusers, wrote: A classmate, Max Stier, saw Mr. Kavanaugh with his pants down at a different drunken dorm party, where friends pushed his penis into the hand of a female student. Mr. Stier, who runs a nonprofit organization in Washington, notified senators and the F.B.I. about this account, but the F.B.I. did not investigate and Mr. Stier has declined to discuss it publicly. We corroborated the story with two officials who have communicated with Mr. Stier; the female student declined to be interviewed and friends say she does not recall the episode. Stier’s still unproven allegations are included in a new documentary, “Justice,” about the Kavanaugh scandal. The film, which premiered at the 2023 Sundance Film Festival, centers on Ramirez and features a recording of Stier’s never-before-heard 2018 call to the FBI tip line detailing what he claimed to have seen and heard.  Washington Post entertainment reporter Jada Yuan wrote in January 2023: In the previously unheard recording, Stier says classmates told him not just that Kavanaugh stuck his penis in Ramirez’s face, but that afterward, Kavanaugh went to the bathroom to make himself erect before allegedly returning to assault her again, hoping to amuse an audience of mutual friends, In the film, Ramirez says she’d suppressed the memory so deeply she couldn’t recall this second incident. … Stier’s message to the FBI also cites another incident involving a different woman, which he says he witnessed "firsthand": A severely inebriated Kavanaugh, his dorm mate, pulling his pants down at a different party while a group of soccer players forced a drunk female freshman to hold his penis. Stier did not appear as an interview subject in the film. Some speculated that Stier’s involvement in the Kavanaugh matter was retaliation against former Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell for allowing his wife’s earlier nomination as district judge to expire with the end of the Obama administration. Judge Pan, 57, a Taiwanese-American, has longstanding ties to the Democratic Party. A graduate of Stanford Law School, Pan worked for President Clinton’s departments of Justice and Treasury before joining the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia in 1999. In 2009, President Barack Obama nominated her to serve as an associate judge on the Superior Court of the District of Columbia. As his tenure drew to a close, Obama then nominated her unsuccessfully to serve as a United States district judge for the District of Columbia. After Trump left office in 2021, Pan became one of President Biden’s first judicial nominees, tapped again to serve as a U.S. district judge in Washington. Less than a year later, Biden promoted her to the D.C. appellate court; in both instances, Pan replaced Ketanji Brown Jackson as she made her way to the Supreme Court. She is the first Asian American to serve on both benches. “This is a perfect example of how the Deep State defends its interest,” Russell Vought, president of the Center for Renewing America, one of the organizations pushing for the Schedule F reforms told RealClearInvestigations. “In and out of government, multiple branches of government, relying on personal networks, even marriages, to defeat President Trump and thereby protect a permanent, unaccountable bureaucracy.” During her brief tenure on the appellate court, Pan has found herself on an unusually high number of politically charged cases. A panel of three judges initially hears appeals before the full court selected out of 11 sitting judges. Pan has been seated on two such panels regarding cases involving Jan. 6 and Donald Trump. In both cases she provided the key vote in a split, 2-1 decision, that sided with the government. In Fischer v. USA, Pan acknowledged that the government was making a “novel” use of a post-Enron statute that addressed tampering with documents to increase the legal jeopardy of individuals who disrupted the Electoral College Count on Jan. 6. “To be sure, outside of the January 6 cases brought in this jurisdiction, there is no precedent for using 1512(c)(2) to prosecute the type of conduct at issue in this case.” Nonetheless, Pan applied a “broad reading of the statute” to allow application of the law. Pan reached the same conclusion in Robertson v. USA on the same matter in another 2-1 decision. Her opinion in the Fischer case is now before the Supreme Court; legal observers predict the court might reverse her opinion, essentially overturning how the DOJ has interpreted the statute’s language to charge more than 300 Jan. 6 protesters with the felony count. (This would put Judge Kavanaugh in the unique position of voting against a decision written by the spouse of one of his accusers.) Unusual GOP Dissent on Court Pan also upheld another controversial lower court ruling that favored the DOJ and worked against Trump, one that recently resulted in a harsh rebuke from some of her colleagues on the circuit court. U.S. District Court Judge Beryl Howell, another Obama appointee, in 2023 authorized an application from Special Counsel Jack Smith to obtain a search warrant for Trump’s Twitter data in his Jan. 6 case against the former President. Not only did Howell force the company to produce the records, which included direct messages and draft posts, she signed a nondisclosure order to prevent Twitter – now X and owned by liberal bête noire Elon Musk – from notifying its customer, Trump, about the warrant for 180 days. X appealed Howell’s nondisclosure order; Judge Pan backed Howell’s decision and ruled against the company’s appeal, citing the need to “safeguard the security and integrity of the investigation” and “avoid tipping off the former President about the warrant’s existence.” But Pan’s conclusions were wrong, four Republican-appointed judges on the D.C. circuit court wrote this month in what legal observers described as an unusual 12-page statement related to the appeal. "The Special Counsel’s approach obscured and bypassed any assertion of executive privilege and dodged the careful balance Congress struck in the Presidential Records Act,” Judges Neomi Rao, Justin Walker, Gregory Katsas, and Karen Henderson wrote in an order filed Jan. 16. “The district court and this court permitted this arrangement without any consideration of the consequential executive privilege issues raised by this unprecedented search. We should not have endorsed this gambit. Rather than follow established precedent, for the first time in American history, a court allowed access to presidential communications before any scrutiny of executive privilege.” But it was Pan’s exchange with Trump’s defense attorney during oral arguments related to Trump’s claims of presidential immunity against criminal prosecution that caught the media’s attention. Trump is seeking to dismiss Smith’s Jan. 6 indictment on immunity grounds; Judge Tanya S. Chutkan issued a landmark ruling in December denying Trump’s motion and concluded that presidents are subject to criminal prosecution. Roughly one minute into the Jan. 9 discussion, Pan interrupted Trump lawyer Sauer with her hypothetical question. The exchange went as follows: Pan: Could a president order SEAL Team Six to assassinate a political rival? That’s an official act, an order to SEAL Team Six? John Sauer: He would have to be and would speedily be impeached and convicted before the criminal prosecution. Pan: But if he weren’t ... there would be no criminal prosecution, no criminal liability for that? Sauer: Chief Justice’s opinion in Marbury against Madison ... and the Impeachment Judgment Clause all clearly presuppose what the Founders were concerned about ... Pan: I asked you a yes or no question. Could a president who ordered SEAL Team Six to assassinate a political rival who was not impeached, would he be subject to criminal prosecution? Sauer: If he were impeached and convicted first. Pan: So your answer is ... no. Sauer: It is a qualified yes. Despite Sauer’s answer, figures in major media nonetheless reported that Sauer claimed a president could not be prosecuted for ordering the assassination of a political rival. (It was unclear whether Pan suggested the order or the act itself was illegal.) Legal analysts, cable news hosts, and columnists praised Pan regardless of the plausibility of such a scenario. Former federal prosecutor Harry Litman told MSNBC host Chris Hayes that “after Judge Pan asked that hypo about SEAL Team Six, Sauer … was a dead man walking. He will lose. He should lose.” Writing for the Atlantic, former federal prosecutor and Trump antagonist George Conway described Pan’s hypothetical as a way of setting a “trap” for Team Trump. He further suggested Pan could host “Meet the Press” if she decided to pursue a different career outside the judiciary. Conway continued to praise Pan in a CNN interview, calling her SEAL Team Six line of inquiry an “intellectual tour de force.” Democrats also seized on Sauer’s response. Rep. Adam Schiff, currently running for the U.S. Senate in California, denounced Trump and his legal team, insisting “there is no immunity for murder.” A reporter asked Trump about the exchange during an appearance on Jan. 11. “Do you agree with your lawyers, what they said on Tuesday, that you should not be prosecuted if you ordered SEAL Team Six to kill a political opponent?” Trump replied that presidents “have to have immunity,” otherwise every president would be prosecuted by that leader’s successor of the opposite political party. Some pundits took Pan’s hypothetical a step further. MSNBC contributor Elie Mystal misrepresented Sauer’s answer, then proposed that Joe Biden could “launch a preemptive strike on a rebel stronghold at Mar-a-Lago” under Trump’s way of thinking. Paul Rozenzweig of the anti-Trump conservative site The Bulwark wrote that Trump’s reasoning meant Biden could assassinate Trump without any consequences. The controversy presumably will continue to swirl until Pan’s panel issues its ruling. It could be weeks until the opinion is filed. Until then, Trump’s March 4 trial date is on hold and looks less likely by the day, which is why Jack Smith asked the court to fast-track the announcement to expedite the process as it inevitably heads toward the Supreme Court. Considering the political composition of the three-judge panel – two judges appointed by Democratic presidents – most observers expect the appellate court to uphold Chutkan’s ruling. Meanwhile, Pan’s hypothetical scenario of a presidentially ordered hit likely will figure prominently in any opinion. Tyler Durden Tue, 01/30/2024 - 21:25.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeJan 30th, 2024

They Didn’t Plan to Be at the Center of a Civil Rights Battle. Then the Fearless Fund Was Sued

In August it was sued by the American Alliance for Equal Rights, an organization led by Edward Blum Seated under a spotlight in a darkened room, Arian Simone is the main attraction.  It’s a Friday afternoon in September at the Brooklyn leg of AfroTech, one of those multicity networking events where people exchange personal QR codes and work their elevator pitches into conversation. Here in a sleek, modern minimalist hotel, about 125 mostly Black and under-50 internet-economy workers are gathered for what’s billed as a fireside chat with Simone, “Capital for a Cause.” [time-brightcove not-tgx=”true”] As co-founder and CEO of the Fearless Fund, the nation’s first venture-capital (VC) firm run by women of color that invests exclusively in tech and consumer-goods companies owned by women of color, Simone, 41, deploys some Mae West–level wit as she talks about her work and the disconnect between the fact that Black women are founding businesses at a higher rate than anyone else yet get an almost negligible share of VC investment. She mentions that Black- and Latino-owned firms deemed low-risk borrowers remain roughly half as likely as white-owned firms to see nonemergency bank-loan applications approved. And, she points out, the same Americans have the smallest number of personal contacts who can help them, as a young Donald Trump did, get started with “a small loan” or gift of $1 million from a parent. The questions and commentary go on for about 20 minutes until finally Simone acknowledges the elephant in the room, the reason she and Fearless Fund general partner Ayana Parsons have had their summer and fall consumed by media appearances. The ReidOut With Joy Reid. CBS’s morning show. The View. Good Morning America. In January Simone debuted a new podcast Fearlessly Living With Arian Simone. They’ve been advised by the civil rights lawyer Ben Crump, among others, to reach as many people as they can. “I have a question,” Simone says. “You all don’t want to talk about this crazy lawsuit that I’m in?” On Aug. 2, the American Alliance for Equal Rights—an organization led by Edward Blum, the architect of the affirmative-action cases decided by the Supreme Court in June, in which the court struck down race-based college-admissions programs—filed a federal civil rights suit against the Fearless Fund, its management, and its nonprofit arm, the Fearless Foundation. It alleges that Fearless engages in racial discrimination by operating the Fearless Strivers Grant in which the foundation has awarded $10,000 to $20,000 and business-development services to early-stage Black-woman-owned businesses.  “Our nation’s civil rights laws do not permit racial distinctions because some racial groups are overrepresented in various endeavors, while others are underrepresented,” Blum told TIME in an emailed statement. On Sept. 26, days after the AfroTech talk, a district court in Atlanta rebuffed the alliance’s request to temporarily halt Fearless’s program. Then, a few days later, a three-judge panel of the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals granted an injunction putting it on indefinite hold. On Jan. 31, another three-judge panel of the 11th Circuit will hear Fearless’s attempt to revive the Fearless Strivers program while the case continues at a lower level. Most legal experts expect the case to ultimately reach the Supreme Court.   While the amount of money at issue is relatively small, the case has potentially massive implications, and some of the ripple effects are already visible. The case is one of several brought in recent years by organizations connected to Blum or his ideological allies. But the volume has grown so rapidly since the Supreme Court’s college-admissions decision that while some minority- and woman-focused business organizations are facing active legal challenges, others have scrubbed their websites of explicit mentions of what they do to boost racial and gender diversity. A company offering grants to support minority economic advancement and inclusion asked a Black business-advocacy organization to replace the word “Black” in its application with “underrepresented populations.” Within months of being sued by the alliance over fellowship programs they operated for law students of color, many from groups severely underrepresented in the profession, three major law firms agreed to open their programs to all law students, and the cases were dropped. What’s developing has bolstered warnings that the Supreme Court’s ruling in the Harvard and University of North Carolina cases was only the beginning. “We find ourselves in a curious moment,” says Damon T. Hewitt, president and executive director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, a 60-year-old organization that has submitted an amicus brief in support of the Fearless Fund. “It’s one where everything and nothing has changed at the same time. The law–civil rights law–has not changed. What has is what some people are trying to do with it, then call that a defense of civil rights.” Simone did not ask to be at the center of a major civil rights battle, but she has long understood what it means to engage. Born and raised in Detroit, she’s the daughter of a computer-engineer mother and a lawyer father who counted Rosa Parks among his clients. In the early 1990s, after Parks was robbed and beaten in her own home, Simone’s father was among the people who helped her move into a more secure apartment. It was Simone’s “job” to stop by after school to see if Parks needed anything. “Just about every day she would say no, just some orange juice,” Simone says. “So I would get the juice from the store, and we would sit and talk. She was quite a lady, a lady, you hear me? Just this incredible human being.”  As the two talked, Simone learned what compelled Parks to take on the dangerous work of an NAACP sexual-assault investigator looking into cases involving Black women and girls typically ignored by police. She grasped the economic and social consequences Parks and her husband faced for the rest of their lives after Parks famously refused to abide by the segregated code of Montgomery, Ala.’s buses in 1955. And she got a sense of what a woman who will not be shamed, cowed, or broken sounds like, she says. Years later, when she was a student at Florida A&M University, Simone set up a clothing shop in a Tallahassee mall. It was a struggle, in part, because she couldn’t find investors, she says. She remembers sitting on the floor before opening, promising herself she would find a way to be the solution, the investor, she had needed. After a short time in L.A. and a few years back in Detroit, Simone moved to Atlanta, where her PR business served that city’s small empire of musicians, producers, and others connected to the film industry. But that promise she made on the mall floor kept calling.  By 2017, Simone had come to see that America’s racialized economic hierarchy was among the things Martin Luther King Jr. seemed most concerned about in his final years. The early civil rights fight required what he described in the Nation in March 1966 as something uncomfortable but relatively easy for most of the country. But once legal changes were won, attention had to turn to correcting the things that would require Americans who had benefited from inequality to sacrifice. When some Americans are locked in industries that pay poverty wages, King wrote, others get rich. He argued that complicity must be faced and ended. Nearly 60 years later, all kinds of people in the U.S. experience odds of climbing above the economic station to which they were born far below that of many other developed countries. But, by one estimate, 70% of Black Americans born into the middle class are likely to fall out as adults.  In 2018, Simone created the Fearless Fund, work she describes as “civil rights 3.0.” “If you are concerned with justice, if you are a true believer, then you also have to be concerned with the economic standing of people of color in this country,” she says.  The world she entered, venture capital, is the second largest source of business funding in the U.S., and was instrumental in birthing such companies as Apple, Uber, Airbnb, and Tesla. Sebastian Mallaby, a senior fellow for international economics at the Council on Foreign Relations and author of The Power Law: Venture Capital and the Making of the New Future, estimates that of 10 companies backed by a VC firm, seven will fail and one or two will “make it big.” Most founders don’t have the personal assets that banks require for a business loan, so venture capitalists like to talk about their work as a “great equalizer,” he says. “Venture capital loves to say we support, we invest in the underdogs. What they mean by that is some 22-year-old with a radical idea. But there are different definitions of an underdog.” The majority of VC’s accredited investors and industry staff, Mallaby explains, are white men. And people inside the industry rarely make funding decisions without calling someone they know, which often leaves them inside an all-white and -male loop that’s not that different from how most white Americans operate when it comes to all kinds of opportunities, analyses show. The result: just 2.4% of the VC industry’s billions went to companies founded by women of any race or ethnicity on average over the past 30 years, a 2019 Harvard University Kennedy School Women and Public Policy Program report found. Crunchbase, which analyzes VC and other industry data, found that 2020 was a growth year. Still, venture capital firms invested less than 0.35% of available money in companies founded by Black women. Investment in companies owned by both Black men and women combined slipped from 1.5% of available VC funds in 2021 to 1.1.% in 2022, according to Crunchbase. In 2020, when George Floyd was murdered, the Fearless Fund had been raising money for their first fund, Fund I, for almost two years. Suddenly, Simone says, their phones were ringing off the hook. They ultimately raised $25.8 million, which they’ve invested in 36 companies including the restaurant chain Slutty Vegan, the cosmetics company The Lip Bar, and a digital platform for activists, COMMUNITYx.  But, now as the Fearless Fund tries to raise $100 million for Fund II, almost all of the proactive calls have stopped, Simone says. In fact, after the alliance filed suit, JPMorgan Chase & Co., one of Fund I’s major investors and a company that in 2021 produced a report saying Black women are the “fastest growing demographic of entrepreneurs in the U.S., but they face disproportionate financial headwinds,” informed Simone it would continue to invest in Fund I but would not invest in Fund II. For Simone, the bank’s decision was both surprising and disappointing, as repeat investment ranks among the signs of a VC fund’s health. She notes that while most of Fearless’s initial major investors have put money into Fund II because of the performance of Fund I, others declined to participate after JP Morgan Chase’s decision. JPMorgan Chase declined to comment when contacted by TIME, and Simone declined to describe how much money its choice may have cost Fund II, only saying that she and the team are working hard to raise it elsewhere and that they have made investments into eight additional companies with the early intake. After the lawsuit was filed, a separate arm of JPMorgan Chase, which controls philanthropic activity, did make a donation to the Fearless Foundation, Simone says. What troubles Simone more is the unclear state of Fearless’s relationship with Mastercard, which launched the Fearless Strivers Grant program in partnership with the Fearless Fund in 2021, taking a role in drafting the rules for it and suggesting the timing of awards. Mastercard delivered its promised investment in Fund I and Fund II before the lawsuit was filed. However, the company has not offered financial support for the legal fight, and C-suite executives have stopped returning her calls, Simone says. “Commitment to this work can’t be conditional,” she says. The division of Mastercard that controls its efforts to increase financial inclusion fulfilled its commitment to the Fearless Foundation and the Strivers Grant with a contribution in January 2023, Simone says, but the foundation has not received a new round of funding in 2024. It’s difficult to know, however, if that’s simply because the lawsuit makes it impossible to distribute the funds to founders who apply for the Strivers program and Mastercard is waiting to see if the program can go forward or if the decision was made for another reason. Mastercard, which the Alliance did not sue, declined to comment on what it described as “third-party litigation” and provided a statement in response to a list of questions sent by TIME: “Mastercard is a long-standing leader in financial inclusion. We are focused on empowering people by ensuring everyone can access, use and transact equitably, and participate sustainably in today’s digital economy. There is no change in the commitments we have made, including our support of small business owners, entrepreneurs and underserved communities … We are supporters of the Fearless Fund through our commitment to both Fund I and Fund II, and the grant initiatives on which our teams have engaged together.” Simone would like to know more about what the commitments Mastercard describes will involve going forward. “Support in a situation like this is more than verbal,” she says. As it turns out, someone at AfroTech does have a question about the lawsuit. “Greetings,” says a tall Black man in a black suit and pristine sneakers who made a beeline for a microphone as soon as Simone raised the suit. “I feel the fund is attacking our culture, that it’s part of a secret war—you know we are all family here, so I am going to say it—between Black women and men. What is the plan for us to come together, for opportunities and resources for men?” Most people here did not learn today that hard work and little sleep aren’t quite determinative of one’s economic fate. Yet in this exchange is the reality that the Fearless Fund is at the center of a civil rights lawsuit not just because of how it is trying to disrupt the usual determinants of access to business capital. It is also because of the kind of zero-sum logic that has found welcome residence among an outspoken variety of people who believe efforts to boost American inclusivity have or will cost them entirely too much.  Simone has heard this argument many times. In August, she, Parsons, and Crump stopped by The Breakfast Club, a radio show that, in 2020, entered what the Los Angeles Times described as the top tier of influential radio talk shows. It has 5.2 million monthly listeners and airs on more than 100 stations nationwide. “Is it illegal to have a venture-capitalist fund that’s specific to a certain group?” asked DJ and host Charlamagne Tha God. “No!” Parsons said. “Listen, our premise is that when you solve for the most marginalized, the most overlooked, the most underfunded, the most unsupported, that helps us all. That’s what this is about. And it’s economic freedom. So if we don’t exist, who is going to look out for us?” But when a video of the interview is posted on Instagram, the comments reflect just how controversial the issue is. “Just swap black for white, if it feels wrong, then it probably is. Funny thing about laws … they apply to everyone no matter your skin color. Nobody special in this country,” one listener wrote. “So there’s no options for the brothers to get financing for generational wealth …” another chimed in. “What’s being captured here is something significant,” says Samantha Tweedy, CEO of the Black Economic Alliance (BEA), a nonprofit and political action committee whose foundation filed an amicus brief in the case supporting the Fearless Fund. In fact, dozens of lawyers have attached their names to amicus briefs backing the alliance or the Fearless Fund in the case. “What we have to be careful of is to disaggregate the difference between well-organized, well-funded, and loud, and what people actually want in this country.”  Surveys have found substantial support for diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) initiatives in the workplace with some differences along race, gender, and ideological lines. In August, the BEA commissioned a Harris Poll, in which 78% of respondents told researchers they support businesses taking active steps to ensure companies reflect the diversity of the American population. This included 75% of white, 78% of Hispanic, and 88% of Black respondents. Still, the poll also surfaced deep delusion about how diverse the nation’s corporate leadership ranks are. Specifically, 37% of respondents estimated that 20% or more of Fortune 500 CEOs are Black. In reality, that share is closer to 2%. Exactly two Black women are among them. These numbers do little to assuage those who express concerns about fundamental or legal fairness or believe something that rightfully belongs to them is being taken. And critics seem to have created enough traction that leading companies have retreated from their diversity efforts or at least begun to talk about them in different ways. At least seven states, including Texas and Florida, have restricted or banned DEI at public colleges and universities. Perhaps most prominently, the forced resignation of Claudine Gay, Harvard’s first Black president, followed a coordinated campaign led by the kind of loud and well-organized people Tweedy describes. “I’ve run the same playbook on critical race theory, on gender ideology, on DEI bureaucracy,” conservative activist Christopher Rufo told Politico. “For the time being, given the structure of our institutions, this is a universal strategy that can be applied by the right to most issues. I think that we’ve demonstrated that it can be successful.” The Congressional Black Caucus’ Annual Legislative Conference, better known as Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) week, is an annual gathering with so many events that Washington, D.C., starts to look like it did before it became one of America’s most gentrified cities. While Simone is in New York in September, Parsons is scheduled to speak at something dubbed a National Town Hall, a press conference, and two panel discussions including one on diversity, equity, and inclusion. Raised in Hot Springs, Ark., Parsons, 41, would have never guessed the word activist would appear near her name. She was a self-described studious introvert, who went to what she describes as a high school full of kids from hardworking families. But she never saw a Black doctor or lawyer in her hometown. She never saw a Black person leading a company. “The impact that has on your psyche is tremendous,” Parsons says.  After getting her M.B.A. at Florida A&M—where she knew of the popular Simone—Parsons took on sales and marketing work in corporate America, then moved into corporate strategy with an eye on a future Fortune 500 CEO role. In 2013, she became the global head of retail and consumer goods at the World Economic Forum. What Parsons noted at the forum’s annual gatherings in Davos, Switzerland, was there was a lot of talk and concern about gender parity, but race, she felt, did not get the same attention.  By 2016 Parsons, a married mother of two, was working sometimes 70- and 80-hour weeks, flying around the world and helping her husband co-found the country’s only Black-owned management-consulting firm. Three years later, it was all affecting her health. She took a job in executive recruiting trying to help companies diversify their boards and executive ranks. Then in 2019 she and her husband sat down for a meeting with Simone, which Parsons thought was going to be about investing in Fund I. It was. But Parsons’ husband also had an idea: Parsons should help raise and manage the fund. At first she thought adding another responsibility sounded insane. But Parsons, who continues her work in executive recruiting, soon agreed.  “This is about money,” she says onstage on CBC week. “This is about wealth creation. This is about the American Dream. And quite frankly what Ed Blum, who has sued the Fearless Fund, is trying to do is dismantle our economic freedom and our ability to ‘pull ourselves up by our bootstraps,’ and experience that which is the American Dream. So this is so much bigger than us. We need 1,000 Fearless Funds. But most importantly, we need access to capital.”  What Parsons doesn’t mention onstage is that some reporting has identified several organizations that contribute to conservative causes as major funders of Blum’s nonprofits. When I ask her later what it means to face off with well-funded people who have employed a long and, of late, successful legal strategy connected to this political ideology, Parsons—who, like Simone, is a PR professional’s on-message, talking-point-loving dream—rejects the idea. “Making money, lifting people out of poverty, the power of entrepreneurship to do all of that is the ultimate bipartisan issue,” she says.  Later that night, Parsons and I walk along The Wharf in Southwest D.C. “Ayana? Is that you, girl?” a Black woman named Tiffany Moore calls to her. “Tiffany?” Parsons says as she crosses the walkway to give Moore a hug.  “This is Ayana Parsons, with the Fearless Fund,” Moore says to a white man she’d been walking with.  “Oh, ohhh,” he says, communicating that he has some sense of the enormity of the case. “How are things going with the case?”  In the months since CBC Week, Parsons has stepped back from much of the public-facing work related to the litigation—she’s not the owner of the Fearless Fund, she has a full plate, and she and her family divide their time between Atlanta and a Caribbean island—but the case has continued to work its way through federal court. It’s one of a number of lawsuits, Equal Employment Opportunity Commission complaints, and dispatched letters filed or sent by Blum; former Trump adviser Stephen Miller, who is probably best known for the Administration’s child-separation policy and now heads America First Legal; Republican attorneys general; or other nonprofits that claim corporate diversity and inclusion programs are now illegal. “What is really going on,” says Katy Youker, director of the Economic Justice Project at the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, “is an attempt to earn political points and to gain political influence to roll back the racial progress that’s been had and made in the last 30 years, but especially the last few years since George Floyd’s murder.”  The alliance’s lawsuit argues that Fearless is violating a portion of the Civil Rights Act of 1866, the nation’s first civil rights law frequently referred to as Section 1981, which, among other things, bars race-conscious contracts. The latter was passed by Congress in an attempt to stop efforts to restrict the wages of the nation’s recently freed Black workers. But the alliance argues that it prohibits discrimination in all contracts and that the Strivers grant is a contest, and a type of contract. It claims that Fearless has changed the way it describes the program and adjusted the rules since the litigation began in an attempt to get around this issue. “No doubt Fearless would prefer that the statute permitted discrimination in favor of black women while barring discrimination against them. But it will have to convince Congress to make that change,” it wrote in a September filing. Its members—fewer than 80, according to court documents—will be irreparably harmed if the program for Black-women business owners moves forward, it claims. And, on Jan. 3, an alliance brief described the infinitesimal share of VC funding going to Black women as “virtually meaningless,” because Fearless has presented no information on how many made a rejected pitch.  “A useful way of determining the fairness, and, ultimately, the legality, of a policy is to apply the ‘shoe on the other foot’ test,” Blum said in an emailed statement. “In the case of the Fearless Fund, would a different venture capital fund’s requirement that only white men are eligible for its funding and support be fair and legal? If the answer is no, then it must follow in the law that racially exclusive policies that target a different race and sex must be unfair and illegal as well.” Lawyers for Fearless argue that select private entities such as foundations can’t be compelled to spend their funds as directed by others, because this can be a protected form of expression. In this case, the Fearless Foundation accepts grant applications four times a year to address systemic funding disparities that hit Black women particularly hard and contribute to a cycle of unequal opportunity. Fearless’s lawyers have also argued the grants actually align with the goals of Section 1981: “The public has a strong interest in addressing manifest racial imbalances and encouraging expressive philanthropy; the grant program furthers these aims,” they wrote in one document. And they note that except in rare instances, precedent requires an organization suing on behalf of its members to name at least some of the individuals who have been harmed. When Thurgood Marshall argued 32 civil rights cases that ultimately went to the Supreme Court, including Brown v. Board of Education, he and his clients faced all manner of danger, including threats from the KKK, on at least one occasion a lynch mob, and on another the murder of a colleague. Still, all but one of those cases included a named party. The alliance has put forth unnamed plaintiffs and says it can’t provide more information about them because of the risk of reprisals. According to a document filed with the district court, for Blum, the menacing communications have already begun. “A popular Instagram user, with nearly 200,000 followers, posted about this lawsuit—gratuitously adding rumored information about the city where I live and even the color of my house,” he wrote. (The Fearless Fund, its founders, and staff have also received a deluge of insulting and threatening messages.) Should the Fearless case make it to the Supreme Court, the alliance would likely ask the conservative majority to decide that the nation’s civil rights laws don’t allow for race-targeted policy or practice to reduce inequality, says Richard Lempert, a distinguished university professor emeritus of law and sociology at the University of Michigan. In addition, he says, the alliance is leaning into the fact that the current court has rarely recognized racial-disparity data as evidence of discrimination. “They are trying to reimpose structural discrimination without saying that,” says Lempert, who has testified in multiple affirmative-action-related cases. What’s more, if the court ultimately rules that DEI activity inside private companies or nonprofits cannot involve programs or policies open only to specific groups, the effects aren’t going to be limited to the Fearless Fund or the VC industry. An alliance victory could mean the end of everything from Korean American pooled business investment funds to college scholarships for the undocumented children of Mexican migrants. Then there’s the inconvenient fact that although many opponents of affirmative action and its offshoots describe them as “unfair advantages” for Black Americans, it’s white women who have benefited most. Access to venture capital has followed the same pattern. “This case,” Lempert says, “truly opens a very nasty can of worms.”   However, an alliance win is hardly a sure thing, Lempert says. Lower courts have been inconsistent in their responses to these cases. Plus, the high court has its own reputation to consider. Though it’s dominated by conservatives who have demonstrated a willingness to overhaul precedent, there are also liberals who object to where this takes us, and possibly both liberals and conservatives concerned about how much legitimacy the court maintains in the public’s eyes after its abortion decision and others, and ethics questions raised about Justices in recent years. And some Justices may opt to decide the narrower issues like standing and proof of harm, Lempert says, avoiding or at least delaying a more sweeping decision. For many, wait-and-see is not an option. At a TIME event on Martha’s Vineyard in August, former Attorney General Eric Holder described the case as a potentially earth-shattering development for those concerned with questions of equity and fairness, diversity and inclusion in the U.S. DEI efforts are the processes, programs, and rules necessary to accomplish something that in the late 20th century was described as integration, Holder said.  “We see where the Supreme Court has gone with regard to affirmative action in higher education,” Holder said. “So now what will happen in another sector? Will we get into the fetal position, or will there be a robust response, to say, ‘not here’?”  The answer, Holder said, unequivocally has to be the latter.  The question at AfroTech, the one about the fund “attacking our culture,” causes Will Lucas, the brand manager onstage with Simone, to shake, then drop his head before looking to her to respond. She asks what precisely is the concern? The questioner says the Fearless Fund seems to be “chipping away” at resources, something “we need to make sure doesn’t happen.” “Are you asking this question because the fund is focused on women?” Lucas interjects. “Yes,” the man says, unleashing chatter, laughter, and other sounds of disdain in this room where about 60% of the audience appears to be Black women. Later, he tells me the question wasn’t well thought out but rooted in long-simmering concerns he’s had about the declining prospects of men, Black men in particular, and what that means for Black families and Black America.  But feelings are not facts. Worries that there is only so much venture capital to go around or that will ever be put into Black-owned businesses are not facts. There’s not a limited pool from which every VC investment in America is made. A fund is made up of however much money investors decide to put in. So Simone doesn’t respond by sharing the data on men of color seeking VC funding that’s made her believe that when it comes to business funding, sexism may be more potent than racism, or her strategy for raising Fund II. She doesn’t even tell him about the way her grandmother’s decision to listen in on investment conversations between her wealthy white employer and his wealthy white friends while working as a housemaid sent Simone’s mother to college debt-free. What she does is volley back a question. “So, why haven’t you set up your own fund?”.....»»

Category: topSource: timeJan 30th, 2024

A Ukrainian Model"s Crowning As "Miss Japan" Shows The Spread Of Liberal-Globalism In Asia

A Ukrainian Model's Crowning As 'Miss Japan' Shows The Spread Of Liberal-Globalism In Asia Authored by Andrew Korybko via Substack, From the perspective of Japan’s historically conservative-nationalist society, ethnic ancestry – not citizenship, language, or culture – is the crucial prerequisite for truly being considered Japanese, thus disqualifying ethnic Ukrainian Karolina Shiino in their mind and making her crowning an insult to all ethnic Japanese women. Asia and especially Japan are considered to be bastions of conservative-nationalism but the crowning of a Ukrainian model as “Miss Japan” last week shows that liberal-globalism has spread there too. What’s meant by these terms in this context is the contrast between traditional and so-called “progressive” notions of identity whereby the former relate to ancestry while the latter is malleable. It’s important to elaborate on these concepts in order to avoid any malicious misinterpretation of them. Anyone can migrate anywhere so long as they do so legally, after which they can receive citizenship and pass it on to their descendants, who’ll ideally assimilate and integrate into the host country’s society. As for 26-year-old Ukrainian-born Karolina Shiino, she’s lived in the country since she was five following her mother’s marriage to a Japanese man. Karolina speaks fluent Japanese and became a naturalized citizen in 2022, which is why she identifies as Japanese instead of Ukrainian. In her words: “I wanted to be recognized as a Japanese person. After all, we live in an era of diversity — where diversity is needed. There are many people like me who are worried about the gap between their appearance and (who they are). I kept being told that I’m not Japanese, but I am absolutely Japanese, so I entered Miss Japan genuinely believing in myself. I was really happy to be recognized like this.” Just because she identifies as Japanese and is legally considered as such doesn’t mean that she’s recognized that way by society, however, which is why her crowning as “Miss Japan” reignited a fierce debate about identity according to the BBC. This historically ethno-religiously homogenous country began opening its borders in recent years following its drastic population decline, and foreign-born residents are now almost 2.5% of the total, with most being Chinese, Vietnamese, and Korean. While this statistic might appear miniscule to most observers, Karolina’s crowning as “Miss Japan” brought this gradual demographic shift into the open after the judges declared her the “Foremost Beauty of All Japanese Women”, which offended many ethnic Japanese. From their perspective, ancestry – not citizenship, language, or culture – is the crucial prerequisite for truly being considered Japanese, thus disqualifying Karolina in their mind and making her victory an insult to all ethnic Japanese women. Liberal-globalists condemn this conservative-nationalist viewpoint as “bigoted, racist, and xenophobic”, but societies have the right to identify however they want, as well as acknowledge or withhold this from others based on widely agreed-upon criteria no matter how subjective they might seem. The context within Karolina was just crowned “Miss Japan” concerns Tokyo’s indirect arming of Ukraine with air defense systems via the US and its newfound embrace of immigration, thus suggesting political motives. The first-mentioned are self-explanatory while the second requires a bit more explanation since readers might not be aware of this policy. Here’s what Bloomberg reported over the summer: “The number of foreigners rose 11% from a year earlier to comprise 2.4% of the total population, or just under 3 million people…It often goes unremarked that the number of workers from overseas has more than doubled in the last decade alone, while the broader foreign community (including students and families) has risen 50%. Based on population projections, conversation has already been shifting to a future where foreigners will make up more than 10% of people in the country 50 years from now.” What they omit is that the foreign-born population will likely have their own children at some point, thus leading to the non-ethnic Japanese population reaching much more than 10% in less than 50 years’ time. The Western liberal-globalist (“progressive”) elite and their “fellow travelers” in Japan want to reshape this historically conservative-nationalist (traditional) society’s attitudes towards foreigners in order to facilitate this demographic shift. To that end, they’re leveraging their allies in civil society and the permanent bureaucracy, which explains why Karolina’s crowning as “Miss Japan” was arguably a form of politically driven “shock therapy” aimed at forcing ethnic Japanese to accept this emerging trend. The veneration of one’s ancestors is an extremely important part of Japanese culture, which Ukrainian-born Karolina is unable to participate in due to her not being ethnically Japanese, nor do her ancestors share the same historical experience as her formal compatriots. Being a Japanese citizen, speaking Japanese, and participating in the outward expressions of its contemporary culture aren’t sufficient for her to be deemed Japanese by most of its people no matter how much she wishes otherwise. The same goes for her 3 million or so fellow foreigners in the country, not to mention their descendants, but the support that they receive from liberal-globalists at home and abroad could lead to them exerting disproportionate influence in reshaping local attitudes with time as their numbers continue to grow. The goal is to erode the traditional concept of identity and ultimately replace it with a “progressive” version whereby official designations and media endorsements take precedence over ethno-ancestral ties. The model that they plan to apply is a copy-and-paste of the one that they’ve already successfully imposed in America and Western Europe where the liberal-globalist socio-political elite apply maximum pressure on the historically conservative-nationalist masses to accept their new definition of identity. Some still resist, but the fear of being smeared as a “bigot, racist, and/or xenophobe” coerces most to passively accept this politically driven trend, which is also now being imposed in Poland too. That country has a similar ethno-ancestral concept of identity as Japan does despite the centuries of ethno-religious diversity under the erstwhile Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth where Poles, Lithuanians, Jews, Protestant Germans, and Orthodox Belarusians and Ukrainians lived under the same state. By contrast, Japan never had any such diversity in its history except for its foreign conquests in China, Korea, and Southeast Asia, which makes it a much tougher nut for the liberal-globalists to crack in this case. Karolina’s crowning as “Miss Japan” was meant to be a milestone in their plot to artificially manufacture a “progressive” notion of identity in this historically conservative-nationalist society, which’ll inevitably be followed by other examples of politically driven “shock therapy”. Average Japanese can’t do much to stop this either since their elite are beholden to the US’ liberal-globalists, who’ll force them to promote the imposition of this concept onto their compatriots in exchange for continued military support. Tyler Durden Sat, 01/27/2024 - 17:30.....»»

Category: worldSource: nytJan 27th, 2024

Hunter Biden Not Protected From Gun Charges By 2nd Amendment: Federal Prosecutors

Hunter Biden Not Protected From Gun Charges By 2nd Amendment: Federal Prosecutors Authored by Zachary Stieber via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours), The U.S. Constitution’s Second Amendment does not protect President Joe Biden’s son from felony gun charges, federal prosecutors said in a new brief. “Anglo-American law has long recognized that the government may disarm those who, by their conduct or characteristics, present an increased risk to public safety if they possess firearms,” prosecutors said in the Jan. 16 filing. That means a U.S. law against gun ownership by people who use or are addicted to drugs can still stand under the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2022 decision that struck down restrictions in New York, they added. Hunter Biden in Washington on Dec. 19, 2023. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images) Hunter Biden, 53, is facing three felony counts after certifying on a form in 2018 that he was not a user of or addicted to drugs. Mr. Biden later wrote in his memoir that he was using drugs at the time. But lawyers for the defendant argued in late 2023 that the statute Mr. Biden was charged with violating is not constitutional under court precedent, including the Supreme Court decision in New York State Rifle & Pistol Association v. Bruen. “In truth, the statute is indefensible under the Bruen framework,” they wrote in a motion to dismiss. Lawyers referenced a recent appeals court ruling in favor of Patrick Daniels Jr. from Mississippi. Mr. Daniels was convicted of violating the same law because he was a marijuana user who owned a gun. Mr. Daniels challenged the law in question, 18 U.S.C. §922(g)(3), under the new Bruen framework, and the court said that the government failed to demonstrate the existence of laws from around the time of America’s founding that prohibited gun ownership for intoxicated individuals. While several states passed similar laws after the Second Amendment was adopted, such a small number doesn’t support a tradition, the court said. “In short, neither the restrictions on the mentally ill nor the regulatory tradition surrounding intoxication can justify Daniels’s conviction,” the ruling stated. But prosecutors said Tuesday that the case is nonbinding, noting that the Supreme Court has taken it up but has yet to rule on the matter. They said that many laws throughout history barred gun ownership among people deemed to present a danger to the public and that the choice by Congress to prohibit ownership by drug users “falls firmly within longstanding historical traditions and accords with the Second Amendment.” That includes the 1662 Militia Act, enacted by the English Parliament, and laws in the 1800s in the United States that prevented intoxicated people from carrying guns, prosecutors said. “In short, the prohibitions contained in § 922(g) are simply the latest step in a lengthy history of firearm regulation aimed at addressing the threat to public safety by individuals whose conduct or characteristics present an increased risk of danger when possessing a firearm,” prosecutors said, making the law in question “relevantly similar” to the historical laws, a criteria outlined in Bruen. Studies show that drugs impair physical and mental function and “it is practically beyond reasonable dispute that firearm possession while operating under significant cognitive impairment in critical areas like attention, speed of processing, emotional regulation, inhibition control, and the ability to prioritize negative long-term consequences—not to mention psychological and physiological effects like panic, paranoia, tremors, or muscle twitches—presents a significant public safety risk,” prosecutors added. False Statements Mr. Biden is accused of making several false statements related to the gun he bought and owned. Mr. Biden bought a Colt Cobra 38SPL revolver on Oct. 12, 2018, from a store in Delaware. He was presented with a form asking whether he used or was addicted to drugs. Despite his admission of drug use, he answered ‘no’. Had he answered ‘yes’, the store would have been legally prohibited from selling him the gun. Eleven days later, Mr. Biden’s girlfriend found the weapon in his unlocked vehicle and threw the firearm and associated items into a trash can behind a grocery store in Wilmington. An elderly man discovered the items and police later obtained them from him. Authorities placed the items into “an evidence vault” and no charges were brought. Searches of Mr. Biden’s account, undertaken as federal agents investigated him for tax crimes, uncovered evidence that led to the firearm charges. That included pictures showing drugs and texts relating to how Mr. Biden was using drugs. He later wrote in his memoir that he was addicted to drugs during the period he bought and owned the revolver. If the gun law is struck down as unconstitutional, the false statement counts should also be dismissed, Mr. Biden has also argued through his lawyers. “The charges for falsely checking a box on a form denying being a user of a controlled substance and causing the seller to retain that form with a falsely checked box both fall to the wayside, along with the charge for unlawful possession of a firearm, once Section 922(g)(3) is found unconstitutional,” they said. Prosecutors urged the court to also reject that position. They noted that earlier Supreme Court rulings have concluded that “a defendant cannot make a false statement to evade a statute the defendant believes is unconstitutional and escape criminal liability for the false statement by arguing the unconstitutionality voids his knowingly false statement.” Tyler Durden Thu, 01/18/2024 - 14:20.....»»

Category: dealsSource: nytJan 18th, 2024

"Sister Wives" star Meri Brown hard-launches her new boyfriend a year after Kody Brown split

Meri Brown's boyfriend Amos made his first appearance on her Instagram, about a year after the "Sister Wives" star announced her split from Kody Brown. Meri Brown on "Sister Wives."TLC"Sister Wives" star Meri Brown, formerly Kody Brown's first legal wife, has a new boyfriend.She was the third of three of Kody's wives to leave him, announcing the split in January 2023.Here's what we know about Meri's life today, including her new relationship and where she's living.TLC's "Sister Wives" star Meri Brown was there from the start of Kody Brown's polygamous family and remained with him through many ups and downs. But the two announced their split last year, and now, Meri is officially moving on with a new man.Meri and Kody Brown announced their split in January 2023 after years of marital problemsMeri became Kody's first wife when they legally married in 1990. The two then decided as a couple to live plural marriage, and Janelle Brown became the first sister wife to join their family when she "spiritually" married Kody in 1993.Meri and Kody, who have one child together, remained legally married for about 14 years. In 2014, she divorced Kody so he could legally marry his fourth wife, Robyn Brown, in order to adopt Robyn's three older children from a previous marriage. Though they were no longer legally married, they remained spiritually married.But in 2015, Meri was the victim of a catfishing scandal that caused her marriage to Kody to become estranged. As depicted on "Sister Wives," Kody cited diminished trust in Meri as the reason why he stopped visiting Meri's house and ceased to have romantic feelings for her.In the "Sister Wives" season 16 tell-all special that aired in 2022, Meri suggested that her marital problems with Kody had started long before she was tricked into an emotional relationship with a catfish. Meri admitted to host Sukanya Krishnan that she hadn't been intimate with Kody for a decade.Meri Brown and Kody Brown.TLC; TLCEven when faced with Kody's blatant disregard for her on episodes of "Sister Wives," Meri said that she stayed with the family because of her faith, her commitment to the family, and the hope she held onto that Kody would one day want to reconcile with her romantically.Meri refused to consider herself separated from Kody, though she knew he had no interest in repairing their bond. But in January 2023, the pair finally announced the official end of their "spiritual" marriage."After more than a decade of working on our relationship in our own unique ways, we have made the decision to permanently terminate our marriage relationship," a statement posted to their Instagram accounts read.Meri's gradual distancing from Kody and Robyn played out on season 18 of "Sister Wives," which filmed in late 2021 and early 2022. At the time of filming, Kody's former third wife, Christine Brown, had already left him, and Janelle was in the process of splitting from him as well.Where does Meri Brown live now?Meri Brown, Janelle Brown, Kody Brown, Christine Brown and Robyn BrownFrederick M. Brown/Getty ImagesIn a season 18 episode of "Sister Wives," Meri discussed her move to Utah with Robyn, remarking that she didn't think Kody would "give a crap" about her moving to Utah. She also assured a stressed out Robyn that she'd still maintain a home in Flagstaff, Arizona (where the Brown family has lived for the past few years) and intended to split her time between Flagstaff and Lizzie's Heritage Inn, the bed-and-breakfast she owns in Parowan, Utah. Meri bought that property, which used to be owned by her family generations ago, in 2017.While the conversation between Meri and Robyn would have been filmed around a year before Meri and Kody officially announced their split, it doesn't appear as though she is spending much time, if any, in Flagstaff anymore. Meri shared a post after visiting Utah's Zion National Park in September 2023. Plus, she hosts a live chat with her best friend Jenn Sullivan many Friday nights talking to fans on Instagram, often from inside Lizzie's Heritage Inn. View this post on Instagram A post shared by Meri Brown (@therealmeribrown) When she's not running the inn, Meri also clearly loves to travel, and has used social media to document her trips. She visited New York City in late summer 2023, and was in California in July 2023.What does Meri Brown do for a living?Robyn Brown, Janelle Brown, Meri Brown, and Christine Brown.Gabe Ginsberg/FilmMagicIn addition to the salary she earns for appearing on TLC's "Sister Wives," which is expected to return for season 19, Meri presumably generates income from Lizzie's Heritage Inn. On top of the money presumably generated from guest stays, the inn's website sells branded merch, including baseball caps and hand-cut stone coasters.Meri has also been selling clothing for the multi-level marketing company LuLaRoe since 2016. On season 18 episodes, Meri shared that she was considering moving inventory for her clothing business from Arizona to the Utah inn.Meri also offers personalized video messages to fans on Cameo for $150.Does Meri Brown have a boyfriend? View this post on Instagram A post shared by Meri Brown (@therealmeribrown) After her split from Kody, Meri was presumed to be single. She regularly posted pictures with friends on Instagram while traveling, sometimes sharing the ways they've helped her while she's on her 2023 personal growth journey.In February 2023, shortly after announcing she'd left Kody, Meri shared a cheeky "relationship status" update on her Instagram story just ahead of Valentine's Day. "Relationship Status: committed to inner peace, growth, self love and gratitude," the quote in Meri's post read, per People.But in January 2024, Meri announced in an Instagram post honoring her 53rd birthday that she had been dating a man named Amos since October 2023."He's not 6 foot 6, nor is he a pilot, but he loves Christmas almost as much as I do, and we laugh a lot together, both of which are important elements to a relationship," she wrote in the post's caption. View this post on Instagram A post shared by Meri Brown (@therealmeribrown) Meri continued the caption by explaining why she hadn't revealed her new relationship sooner."I've been keeping this kind of close to me as we've been enjoying the last few months of dating and getting to know each other," Meri wrote. "As I've considered when and how I wanted to share this fun news and share him with the world (jk, not really sharing, I'm keeping him to myself) I knew I wanted to celebrate my birthday in a special way and let you celebrate this with me!"Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: worldSource: nytJan 17th, 2024

14 Asian Countries that Allow Dual Citizenship

In this article, we will list and explore 14 Asian countries that allow dual citizenship. You can skip our detailed analysis and go directly to our list of 5 Asian Countries that Allow Dual Citizenship. Dual citizenship offers enticing global privileges, yet navigating its complexities demands a thorough understanding of legal intricacies. An informed approach, weighing […] In this article, we will list and explore 14 Asian countries that allow dual citizenship. You can skip our detailed analysis and go directly to our list of 5 Asian Countries that Allow Dual Citizenship. Dual citizenship offers enticing global privileges, yet navigating its complexities demands a thorough understanding of legal intricacies. An informed approach, weighing benefits and risks, is crucial before deciding. Careful consideration and planning help avoid pitfalls and fully leverage the advantages of dual citizenship. One can acquire dual citizenship through various means, for instance, being born in a country that automatically grants citizenship or through naturalization processes, marriage, ancestry, or investment programs (such as Citizenship or Residence by Investment). However, the rules for obtaining dual citizenship differ across nations and may involve residency requirements, language proficiency, or renunciation of previous citizenship. Dual Citizenship & Migration Patterns – Asian Dynamics While some Asian countries have embraced policies allowing dual citizenship for foreigners, others maintain more stringent regulations. For instance, nations like Japan, South Korea, and China traditionally have stricter rules, often requiring individuals to renounce their previous citizenship upon naturalization. However, countries such as Vietnam and India permit dual citizenship, allowing their nationals to hold the citizenship of another country alongside their own. The varying stances on dual citizenship within Asian countries highlights the complex nature of citizenship and migration policies across the continent. Several reasons bolster migration in Asia, such as economic opportunities, political instability, education, cultural diversity, and an enhancement in living standards. These factors collectively contribute to shaping a dynamic global workforce and investor sector within the region. The International Organization for Migration reported that over 115 million people migrated internationally from Asia, constituting 40% of the global migrant population in 2020. Within this number, approximately 69 million individuals relocated within Asia, showing a significant increase from 61 million in 2015. This trend demonstrates a notable surge in intraregional migration within Asia. The movement of people within the continent has seen a remarkable escalation, rising from 35 million in 1990 to 69 million in 2020, signaling a substantial increase in intraregional migration over the years. Furthermore, there has been a substantial upswing in the population of Asian-born migrants in Northern America and Europe over the last two decades. In 2020, migration from Asia to Northern America slightly surpassed 17.5 million, slightly higher than the 17.3 million recorded in 2015. Similarly, migration from Asia to Europe surged to 23 million in 2020, up from nearly 20 million in 2015. This extra regional migration from Asia to Northern America and Europe notably contributed to the substantial increase in the number of Asian migrants living outside the Asian continent, resulting in a total of over 46 million Asian migrants residing in regions beyond Asia by 2020. Global Industry Leaders in Asia As pioneers in various sectors including e-commerce, semiconductor manufacturing, and entertainment technology, Alibaba Group Holding Limited (NYSE:BABA), Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company Limited (NYSE:TSM), and Sony Corporation (NYSE:SONY) stand at the forefront of innovation, bolstering economic growth regionally and globally. Alibaba Group Holding Limited (NYSE:BABA) has revolutionized the e-commerce industry in Asia and beyond, offering a wide array of services ranging from online retail platforms to cloud computing and digital payment solutions. Alibaba Group Holding Limited (NYSE:BABA) has recently become a part of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD), joining a cohort of more than 200 global sustainable businesses. The primary emphasis of the partnership between WBCSD and Alibaba Group Holding Limited (NYSE:BABA) will center on Climate Action. Specifically, the focus will involve exploring inventive strategies to utilize Alibaba’s platforms for extensive decarbonization efforts. Additionally, there will be collaborative efforts with WBCSD members to develop frameworks and methodologies for Avoided Emissions. Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company Limited (NYSE:TSM) with its cutting-edge semiconductor manufacturing technology has been crucial in driving technological advancements in various sectors, including telecommunications, automotive, and consumer electronics. TSMC’s subsidiary, WaferTech, has rebranded to TSMC Washington in line with the company’s global expansion plans. This change signifies the strong bond between Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company Limited (NYSE:TSM) and its subsidiaries, showcasing the pivotal role played by WaferTech in semiconductor manufacturing over the past 27 years. Sony Corporation (NYSE:SONY) is a renowned company known for its electronics, gaming consoles, music, and film production. As per Nikkei Asia‘s recent report, Sony Corporation (NYSE:SONY) has partnered with Nikon and Canon, aiming to tackle the issue of deepfakes by introducing advanced technology for authenticating photographs. This innovation involves enabling photographers to embed digital signatures directly into their images, containing essential information such as the photographer’s identity, date, time, and location of the picture. These embedded signatures can be verified through a web-based application called Verify, launched by a collaborative effort among global media outlets, camera manufacturers, and tech companies. These industry leaders not only contribute significantly to Asia’s economic growth but also play a pivotal role in attracting talent and fostering a conducive environment for technological advancements and innovation. Their impact transcends borders, influencing global markets and shaping the future of various industries. As Asia continues to evolve as a hub for technological innovation and economic development, companies like Alibaba Group Holding Limited (NYSE:BABA), Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company Limited (NYSE:TSM), and Sony Corporation (NYSE:SONY) drive progress and showcase the region’s potential globally. With this backdrop, let’s now proceed to our list of 14 Asian countries that accept dual citizenship. alphaspirit/Shutterstock.com Methodology We identified the Asian countries allow dual citizenship by conducting a thorough research, and ranked them based on their Human Development Index (HDI), which reflects the quality of life. The countries are listed in ascending order to show the progression from lower to higher HDI values. Note: As the HDI value for Taiwan wasn’t provided in the index, we referenced its GDP per capita from the IMF, which closely aligns with Slovenia’s GDP per capita. Consequently, we utilized Slovenia’s HDI value as a substitute to rank Taiwan. By the way, Insider Monkey is an investing website that tracks the movements of corporate insiders and hedge funds. By using a similar consensus approach, we identify the best stock picks of more than 900 hedge funds investing in US stocks. The top 10 consensus stock picks of hedge funds outperformed the S&P 500 Index by more than 140 percentage points over the last 10 years (see the details here). Whether you are a beginner investor or professional one looking for the best stocks to buy, you can benefit from the wisdom of hedge funds and corporate insiders. 14 Asian Countries that Allow Dual Citizenship 14. Pakistan HDI Value: 0.544 Pakistan has established dual nationality agreements with 21 countries, allowing citizens of these countries to attain Pakistani citizenship without the requirement of renouncing their original nationality. These countries include the United Kingdom, France, Italy, Belgium, Iceland, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Finland, Egypt, Jordan, Syria, Switzerland, the Netherlands, the United States of America, Sweden, Ireland, Bahrain, Denmark, Germany, and Norway. This bilateral arrangement facilitates the acquisition of Pakistani citizenship for individuals from these specified countries while maintaining their original citizenship status. 13. Cambodia HDI Value: 0.593 Cambodia has allowed dual citizenship since 1996, except for top government positions like the prime minister as of 2021. Most people can acquire dual citizenship through ancestry, naturalization, or investment. Those born to at least one Khmer parent qualify automatically, while foreigners can apply via investment or marriage to a Cambodian citizen. The general population faces no dual citizenship restrictions, except for certain government roles. 12. Timor-Leste HDI Value: 0.607 Timor-Leste (East Timor) permits dual citizenship, allowing individuals to hold citizenship in Timor-Leste and another country simultaneously. The Constitution of Timor-Leste (2002) and the Nationality Act (2002) explicitly endorse dual citizenship. Timorese citizenship can be acquired by birth within the country or through descent if one parent is a Timorese citizen. Additionally, after residing in Timor-Leste for 10 years, individuals can apply for naturalization while potentially maintaining their existing citizenship. 11. Laos HDI Value: 0.607 Laos now offers an ‘honorary’ citizenship program for foreign investors making significant economic contributions. This initiative, the second in Asia after Cambodia’s, requires a $1.5 million investment, split between socio-economic development and real estate. Honorary citizens gain various rights, including land purchase without restrictions. Applicants, open to all foreign nationals over 18 with a clean record, receive a response within 30 days from the Ministry of Justice. The program is expected to benefit Chinese and Asian investors, given their substantial contributions to Laos’ economy. Laotian passport holders enjoy visa-free access to 51 countries, including Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, the Philippines, Russia, and Seychelles. 10. Bangladesh HDI Value: 0.661 Taking the 10th spot on our list of Asian countries that allow dual nationality, Bangladesh allows foreigners  to obtain citizenship through naturalization, regulated by The Citizenship Act of 1951, which has been amended through legislative orders. Eligibility criteria include being a law-abiding adult either married to a Bangladeshi or residing in the country for a specified period. To retain citizenship, individuals of Bangladeshi origin must obtain a Dual Nationality Certificate (DNC). 9. Tajikistan HDI Value: 0.685 Foreign citizens and stateless individuals aged 18 and above can apply for Tajikistan naturalization regardless of their background. Requirements include continuous residence, proficiency in the official language, and no ongoing criminal prosecution. Notarized and translated documents are needed, unless waived by international treaties recognized by Tajikistan. Dual nationality is allowed under specific treaties, but Tajik citizens cannot hold dual citizenship unless permitted by Tajik law. 8. Kyrgyzstan HDI Value: 0.692 Similar to Tajikistan, individuals who are foreign citizens or stateless persons and have attained the age of 18 possess the entitlement to seek citizenship in the Kyrgyz Republic through the standard application process. This eligibility is contingent upon their uninterrupted residency within the territory of the Kyrgyz Republic for the preceding five years leading up to the time of their application. 7. Philippines HDI Value: 0.699 Philippines allows dual citizenship through Administrative, Judicial, or Legislative Naturalization, based on specific residency, property ownership, moral character, and other criteria. Marriage to a Filipino offers residency but not automatic citizenship. Children born to at least one Filipino parent are automatically granted Philippine citizenship. 6. Sri Lanka HDI Value: 0.782 Sri Lanka ranks 6th on our list of Asian countries that allow dual citizenship. Foreigners can obtain citizenship in Sri Lanka through five years of residency and inclusion in the Resident Guest Scheme. Sri Lankan ancestry, marriage to a citizen, or specific Citizenship Act provisions allow citizenship registration. Dual citizenship is possible under outlined conditions with document submission to Immigration. Sri Lanka’s “Golden Paradise Visa” offers citizenship eligibility via a $100,000 bank deposit for 10 years or $300,000 for a 5-year visa or $500,000 for a 10-year visa through direct investments. The “Resident Guest Scheme” allows citizenship eligibility after five years of residency. The “Independent Means Visas” offer citizenship after five years of Sri Lankan residency. Click to continue reading and see the 5 Asian Countries that Allow Dual Citizenship. Suggested Articles: 15 Best Countries for Dual Citizenship for US Citizens 15 Easiest Countries to Get Citizenship Without Investment 10 Easiest Countries in Europe to Get Citizenship Disclosure: None. 14 Asian Countries that Allow Dual Citizenship is originally published on Insider Monkey......»»

Category: topSource: insidermonkeyJan 6th, 2024

Diamond Prices Are Going To Collapse

Diamond Prices Are Going To Collapse Authored by Jeffrey Tucker via The Epoch Times, What is the modern world’s most powerful and successful industrial cartel? You could say it is pharma today but there are too many competitors in the realm of drug production to qualify as a cartel. It is a fantastically successful corporatist mess but it is not technically a cartel. Until fairly recently, there was one institution that qualified: diamonds as produced and distributed mainly by DeBeers Consolidated Mines in South Africa. For the better part of the 20th century, this one company controlled 90 percent or more of the global market for diamonds. Coming with that has been amazing amounts of corruption, graft, and even war to maintain control. That control began to face real stress in the 21st century, as the company had failed to line up various distribution networks in Canada, the United States, and elsewhere, partly due to pressure from online commerce plus the unrelenting drive of the market to break down even the most powerful industrial monopolies. Earlier last year, the diamond market faced a remarkable decline in the midst of a terrible global inflation, to the point that prices hit a 14-year low. That prompted DeBeers to engage in a deliberate restriction of supply designed to stabilize the market. That seemed to work and now production is back up again. And yet this is not going to last. Just watch this market over the coming 5 years. We are going to see a stunning fall in prices. There is one major reason: lab-grown diamonds. I was just at Macy’s and I was amazed to see a full display, more in the view of the consumer than the “natural” diamonds. I was truly dazzled at the beauty. I’m no specialist but I must say that they looked spectacular. The salesperson confirmed that she sees far more interest in these products than traditional diamonds. And the price? For now at retail locations, they are 40 percent cheaper than regular diamonds. But they can be 60 percent lower or even as much as 90 percent lower. And this is with the market just now starting to mature. They are reaching the consumer marketplace as never before. We seem to be at a turning point. The Gemological Institute of America stopped calling them “synthetic” in 2019 because that’s not accurate. According to the GIA, “Laboratory-grown diamonds have essentially the same chemical, optical and physical properties and crystal structure as natural diamonds. Like natural diamonds, they are made of tightly-bonded carbon atoms. They respond to light in the same way and are just as hard as natural diamonds. The main differences between laboratory-grown and natural diamonds lie in their origin. Think of it this way: laboratory-grown diamonds are like ice from your refrigerator, while natural diamonds are like ice from a glacier. They are both ice, although their formation stories and the age of each are very different.” The dropping of that little word seems to have established lab-grown diamonds as authentic luxury goods. There is even a political twist here: the legend on the street is that they are more environmentally friendly than the naturally grown ones. The Federal Trade Commission has also said that these products should be considered diamonds in every way this term can be used. This recognition has provoked a massive industry shift. Global sales for lab-grown diamonds increased to $12 billion in 2022, up 38 percent compared to the year before. CBC News reports that “rapid growth has attracted the attention of mainstream jewelry giants like Pandora and Swarovski, which have launched their own lab-grown diamond lines. Luxury brands are beginning to embrace the created stones, with Prada introducing them into its latest fine jewelry collection. The gems are also showing up on red carpets, shining bright when worn by celebrities like Taylor Swift, Jennifer Lopez and Pamela Anderson.” These days, I like to look for every reason to celebrate when markets seem to be working well, and this is one of those cases. For the better part of 100 years, diamonds have been the most overblown cartel good in the world, thanks to brilliant marketing (“A diamond is forever” is a DeBeers marketing pitch) that includes one of the century’s most popular songs (“Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend”). They came to be associated with wedding rings even though there is zero historical precedent for that, and the prices have been sending young men to the poorhouse for many generations. Essentially, the diamond wedding ring reversed the ancient tradition of the dowry, which was the payment from the bride’s family to the groom. The idea was to make the daughters more marketable in the marriage market and it often meant that the newly formed family possessed new wealth at the very start of the match. But with the diamond wedding ring, things got reversed: the groom would enter into marriage with new debt that had to be serviced just following marriage, and that was made worse with children, another car, and a house. Not a good way to start. The lab-created diamond dramatically lessens the pressure, and allows the bride to wear a rock of magnificent size at a fraction of the price. So you get the high status without the high debt. The development has sent DeBeers and the entire industry into an existential crisis, dealing what might be the final blow to Lloyd’s of London and the Rothschild family that has long controlled international diamond dealing through DeBeers. Give it a few years and we will see natural diamonds forced to relent with pricing. This time, fancy tricks like sudden reductions in supply will not work with ever more labs getting into the diamond business. My own mentor Murray Rothbard would be cheering right now. He wrote in 1992: “in South Africa, the major center of world diamond production, there has been no free enterprise in diamond mining. The government long ago nationalized all diamond mines, and anyone who finds a diamond mine on his property discovers that the mine immediately becomes government property .... In short: the international diamond cartel was only maintained and has only prospered because it was enforced by the South African government.” Rothbard’s prediction of a long-term collapse of this market due to new pressure turns out to have been remarkably prescient. Thanks to technology and declining costs of production, it seems as if the dream is finally coming true. Diamonds could soon be within the reach of any budget, with some predictions that prices could fall into $100 or even $10 per carat. What a lovely world that would be! Tyler Durden Tue, 01/02/2024 - 05:00.....»»

Category: dealsSource: nytJan 2nd, 2024

Julia Haart is fighting to change coercive-control laws to save "chained women" trapped in marriages

The star of Netflix's "My Unorthodox Life" is working alongside activists to try and free Orthodox Jewish "chained women" from abusive marriages. Julia HaartClark Hodgin for Business InsiderHaving spent most of her adult life in Monsey's ultra-Orthodox Jewish community, Julia Haart of Netflix's "My Unorthodox Life," recalls being surrounded by "chained women."These women, also called agunot, bear the label because their husbands refuse to grant them a divorce under Jewish law.Their existence was no secret to the other residents of the Hasidic enclave of New York, Haart said. In fact, if anything they were an "absolute constant."But the housewife-turned-reality-TV-star remembers a "hands in the air" mentality from leading rabbis, who were reluctant to intervene.Now Haart, who famously left Monsey for a secular life in the city, doesn't want to leave that legacy behind.She and other Jewish activists in the US are taking matters into their own hands by advocating for coercive-control legislation that they say could unshackle these chained women.In the UK, using secular courts and coercive-control laws to get husbands to free their wives is increasingly the approach of choice.That was the case with Rifka Meyer, who spoke to Business Insider about her experience of being refused a gett — a document in Jewish law that puts in force a religious divorce.But across the Atlantic, such legal recourse is rare.New York has a couple of laws that aim to prevent the misuse of the gett system. California, Connecticut, and Hawaii have legislation against coercive control — but none include any reference to getts.Haart and fellow activists want more laws in more states, and they want them quickly."It's often the difference between life and death," she said. 'I was a non-entity at my own divorce' To obtain a religiously accepted divorce in Judaism, women require a gett.Under traditional interpretations of Jewish law, a woman has no power to obtain a gett herself, or otherwise commence divorce proceedings.And when a husband refuses to grant a gett, the women become "agunot" — making them unable to date, remarry, or start new families under the Jewish law.How many "chained women" there are in the US is unknown, with no organization tracking the exact number.According to the Organization for the Resolution of Agunot (ORA), there is a fundamental lack of data on the topic.But a 2011 survey identified hundreds of cases.Although Haart was never an agunah herself, she underwent a lengthy process to obtain a gett following the end of her first marriage.The process was long and, although it wasn't contentious, it nonetheless colored her perception of how Orthodox Jewish women are treated by the Jewish courts, the Batei Din, during divorce proceedings.Haart provided BI with videos from her proceedings, which showed her as the only woman in the room, seated at a distance from the presiding religious judges."They never once looked at me," she said. "I was a non-entity at my own divorce, as I was throughout my marriage."This experience, which left her infuriated, is now driving her to advocate for women in worse situations.Sanctuaries, prenups, and other solutionsHaart's initial idea to resolve the crisis was to establish a sanctuary for chained women, with financial resources and secular education.In the second season of her show "My Unorthodox Life," which was released in 2022, Haart visited two buildings in New York City which she said she hoped to transform into a center providing housing, education, and childcare to agunot.Julia HaartClark Hodgin for Business InsiderBut those plans are on hold, she said, until her civil divorce from fashion executive Silvio Scaglio is finalized because her assets are "locked and frozen.""The minute that that divorce is over, that is my first order of business," she said.In the meantime, she is exploring other strategies.One approach, which is becoming increasingly popular in some religious communities, involves promoting halakhic prenups to newlyweds.These prenups, rooted in Jewish law, get each spouse to agree to appear before a Beth Din and abide by its decision with respect to the gett. It also creates a monetary incentive for a spouse to give the gett."At least it's something," Haart said.But there's a downside: the approach is preventative and it doesn't help women already in marriages. 'Gett refusal is a form of domestic abuse' Keshet Starr, executive director of ORA. For women trapped in marriages without prenups, activists are instead focusing on introducing state-level laws to classify gett refusal as coercive control."That will be a really brilliant way to use American laws to force these people to release these women," Haart said.A gett can't technically be forced under Jewish law, because it becomes invalid if either party is believed to be acting under duress.But Keshet Starr, the executive director of ORA, said there is still value in the effort."Those of us working in the field to help agunot know very clearly that gett refusal is a form of domestic abuse, in which one spouse manipulates and weaponizes the Jewish divorce process to control his or her partner," Starr told BI."Coercive control legislation is one important way to make sure our legal system understands this critical issue," she added.Making it a Class-E FelonyAmber Adler was an agunah for two years. She told Business Insider that she was made to feel isolated and afraid in her own home.This year, Amber unsuccessfully ran for New York City Council to represent District 48, which covers several ultraorthodox communities in Brooklyn.She hoped, if elected, she could have brought about city-wide legislation against coercive control.She had already been pushing for new legislation for some years, working with members of the New York State Assembly to try to introduce a statewide law that would mark coercive control as a form of abuse as well as a Class E felony.Adler told BI that passing a bill to establish the crime of coercive control in New York would set a precedent, hopefully prompting other states to do the same.A delicate balancing actHowever, the US Constitution prohibits courts from excessively engaging in religious matters, and Jewish law has several prohibitions against interference from secular courts.According to Adler, lawmakers are struggling with this balance, which keeps killing the bill.But if legislation does manage to overcome these obstacles, it will send a powerful message to gett-refusers, Adler said.A landmark case in the UK last year put the use of such legislation to the test.Alan Moher was sentenced to 18 months in prison for controlling or coercive behavior after he refused to grant a gett to his wife, Caroline Moher-Maxwell.Julia HaartClark Hodgin for Business InsiderFor Haart, it's a hopeful sign that, with the right laws in place, women like the ones she knew back in Monsey might one day be free."People are saying that truly things are never going to change," she said, before adding: "If I actually believed that I wouldn't be doing the work that I do."Photo Credits:Photography: Clark HodginLighting Assistance: Conor CunninghamHair: Tiffany/ L' Appartement Hair Boudoir TN GroupMakeup: Asami Matsuda/Saint Luke ArtistsRead the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: personnelSource: nytDec 31st, 2023

Elon Musk met his first wife, Justine, when he was 19. She"s the mother of 5 of his kids but grew disillusioned with their marriage as he got richer – here"s everything we know about her.

Their relationship was rocky from the start. Elon Musk's biographer says his friends and family didn't want them to get married. Chesnot/Getty Images; Ryan Miller/Getty ImagesElon Musk met his first wife, Justine, at college when she was 18 and he was 19.Their relationship was rocky from the start. Elon's biographer says his friends and family didn't want them to get married.They divorced after eight years together. Justine said she'd felt like a "trophy wife" and was disillusioned by their jet-setting lifestyle.Justine Musk is a fantasy author from Canada.She's also Elon Musk's ex-wife and the mother of five of his children.Little information is publicly available about her early life, with most coverage focusing on her relationship with Elon, now the world's richest person, who serves as CEO of Tesla and SpaceX. Justine lifted the lid on their turbulent relationship in an explosive Marie Claire column in 2010. Walter Isaacson's recent biography of the tech mogul cast further light on the couple's time together.Justine Musk was born in 1972 as Jennifer Wilson and grew up in Peterborough, Ontario, around 80 miles north-east of Toronto.She studied at Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario, where she majored in English literature. It was here, when she was 18, that she met the then-19-year-old Elon.For their first date, he invited her for ice-cream, but when he came to pick her up she wasn't there. He walked around campus carrying the gradually melting cone until he found her studying, she wrote in her Marie Claire column."He's not a man who takes no for an answer," Justine wrote.While Elon studied at Queen's, she was "not the only woman he pursued," she wrote. He ended up transferring to the University of Pennsylvania, but they stayed in touch. He would sometimes send her roses and go for dinner with her when he came back to visit his friends at Queen's, she wrote."It was the first time that a boy found my sense of ambition — instead of my long hair or narrow waist — attractive," she wrote.After studying, Justine spent a year teaching English in Japan, where she ultimately decided to ditch the name Jennifer "because it was far too common and the name of a lot of cheerleaders," she told Isaacson. She returned to Canada, took a bartending job while working on a novel, and mulled over whether to return to Japan or go to grad school, she wrote in her Marie Claire column.But things changed when she rekindled her relationship with Elon, culminating in her moving into the apartment in Palo Alto that he shared with his housemates and their dog.Justine spent most of her time writing in their bedroom. "Friends would not want to stay at my house because Justine was too grumpy," Elon told Isaacson.Their relationship was turbulent. They often had big arguments in public, and Elon "never hesitated to let me know that I was wrong about something," Justine told Isaacson. "And I would fight back. I realized that I could say anything to him, and it just did not faze him."As his wealth grew, Justine "made uneasy jokes" that he'd dump her for a supermodel, she wrote. But instead, Elon proposed to her one day on a street corner.Some of Elon's friends and family, including his mother Maye Musk, younger brother Kimbal Musk, and college friend Navaid Farooq, didn't approve of the relationship, per Isaacson's book. Some even tried to talk him out of the wedding.But the couple still got married in Saint Martin, in the Caribbean, in January 2000. Elon and Justine got into an argument the day before the ceremony was due to take place over their unsigned prenup and Elon told his mother that the wedding was off, to her delight, Isaacson wrote.The wedding ultimately went ahead. During their first dance, Elon whispered to Justine that he was "the alpha in this relationship," she wrote in her Marie Claire column.Justine said that Elon "wanted to get married and have kids early on," according to Ashlee Vance, once of his biographers.Their first child, Nevada, who was born in 2002, died from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. He stopped breathing in his sleep when he was 10 weeks old and his parents took him off life support after three days, Justine wrote in Marie Claire. "I held him in my arms when he died," she wrote."Nevada's death sent me on a years-long inward spiral of depression," Justine wrote. She wrote that one of the ways she coped was by trying to get pregnant again "as swiftly as possible," visiting an IVF clinic less than two months later.Through IVF, Justine gave birth to twins Griffin and Jenna in 2004 and triplets Damian, Kai, and Saxon in 2006. In between, she published her first novel, "BloodAngel," in 2005.Elon and Justine had a jet-setting lifestyle. They went to parties with celebrities, traveled in Musk's private jet, and lived in a 6,000-square-foot house in Bel Air, Los Angeles with five domestic staff, Justine wrote in Marie Claire.But they weren't happily married."It was a dream lifestyle, privileged and surreal," she wrote. "But the whirlwind of glitter couldn't disguise a growing void at the core. Elon was obsessed with his work: When he was home, his mind was elsewhere. I longed for deep and heartfelt conversations, for intimacy and empathy."During some arguments, Justine would say how much she hated Elon and he would call her a "moron" or "idiot," per Isaacson's book. She wrote in her Marie Claire column that he sometimes told her that, if she were his employee, he'd fire her."I met him when he didn't have much at all," she told Isaacson. "The accumulation of wealth and fame changed the dynamic."Musk kept urging her to dye her hair blonder and even go platinum, and she had to attend events where "the men talked and the women smiled and listened," she wrote in her Marie Claire column."I barely recognized myself," she wrote. "I had turned into a trophy wife — and I sucked at it.""I didn't want to be a sideline player in the multimillion-dollar spectacle of my husband's life," she wrote. "I wanted equality. I wanted partnership. I wanted to love and be loved, the way we had before he made all his millions."Describing the social circle she was in during their marriage, Justine wrote: "Women disappeared after some point in their 30s, and any female ambition other than looking beautiful, shopping, and overseeing the domestic realm became an inconvenience."The couple ultimately divorced in 2008. "I felt numb, but strangely relieved," Justine wrote. She used the separation as an opportunity to dye her hair dark and cut it.Just six weeks after starting divorce proceedings, Elon texted her to say he was engaged to actor Talulah Riley, Justine wrote.Justine wrote that she didn't regret her marriage to Elon. "I will always respect the brilliant and visionary person that he is," she added.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: dealsSource: nytDec 29th, 2023

Ukraine"s LGBTQ+ soldiers are fighting for acceptance — and some say the war with Russia is helping

Support for equal rights among Ukrainians is rising across the nation, the Nash Svit Center, an LGBTQ+ human-rights nongovernmental organization, says. A Pride parade in Cologne, Germany, and cadets of the Military Institute of Taras Shevchenko National University.REUTERSUkrainian LGBTQ+ soldiers are fighting for acceptance on and off the battlefield.Some told Business Insider about their experiences on the front lines and fighting for equality.Here's how soldiers say the war with Russia is helping them get closer to their goal.Pavlo Lagodya said he was outed as gay by his military comrades soon after joining the Ukrainian army in 2021.He said someone in his unit came across notifications on his phone showing flirtatious messages between him and another man.Before long, the 19-year-old was outed to his entire unit without his consent, he said.Pavlo Lagodya.Pavlo LagodyaHe described being forced out of the closet as "the same fear" as being on the front line."When they don't accept you as gay, whether you're good or bad, that's the biggest test," he wrote on Instagram.But two years later, Lagodya is an antiaircraft gunner and told Business Insider that progress toward LGBTQ+ acceptance was increasing.Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022 meant his comrades were starting to understand him and accept him, he said."The queer community is doing the same thing as the others for victory," he added.Homosexuality is legal in Ukraine, but same-sex partnerships are not recognized by law.Lagodya is one of many LGBTQ+ soldiers who have had Ukrainians rally behind them but have seen little political support for their rights.Legal roadblocksAn online petition calling on the Ukrainian government to legalize same-sex marriage and give same-sex couples the same rights as heterosexual couples passed the 25,000 signatures required to trigger a presidential review.But Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy struck it down, saying that "the constitution of Ukraine may not be amended in the event of martial law or a state of emergency."He added: "The government was developing options for legalizing registered civil partnerships in Ukraine."After several attempts to introduce a bill to legalize same-sex unions were blocked, Inna Sovsun, a member of Ukraine's parliament, told BI that she and her team had figured out two ways legislation could pass.One of them is if Zelenskyy supports the bill and urges committee members to submit it to a vote.But the most likely solution is increased pressure from international partners — and the European Court of Human Rights has already sent a strong signal, Sovsun said.The court ruled in June that Ukraine violated the rights of a same-sex couple."Now Ukraine has a legal obligation" to draft legislation on same-sex unions, Sovsun said.Changing attitudesIvan Ivanov, 21, is another LGBTQ+ soldier, serving as a driver.He told BI that his fellow soldiers "see him as their colleague serving in the trenches together and working together" and that it "doesn't matter who you sleep with."But Ivanov's parents and sister struggled to understand his sexuality, he said.Two life decisions changed everything for him — going to Kyiv and joining the army.He found Kyiv to be a "city of freedom" after growing up in Odesa, while the army taught him to stay strong and believe in himself, bringing him a sense of peace, he added.He said that after coming out to his military unit, his fellow soldiers shed some of the macho locker-room talk that had gone on before and stopped homophobic jokes, as they didn't want to hurt his feelings.Sarah Ashton-Cirillo.Sarah Ashton-CirilloSarah Ashton-Cirillo, a transgender American woman volunteering for the Ukrainian military, said her presence in the army was proof that Ukraine had become more inclusive.She's a junior sergeant in the Armed Forces of Ukraine and was formerly a spokesperson for the Territorial Defense Forces."No one talked to me about being trans," Ashton-Cirillo said, adding that she would sleep with a headscarf every night because she didn't want her wig to come off.Eventually, she said they asked her about the headscarf and told her: "You're in a war zone with us. You live with us. We don't give a fuck what's on your head."That was the first and last time she discussed trans issues with them for six weeks, she said, and she now frequently appears on social media without a wig."I think me being so public and present creates a situation where it normalizes things," she added.Support for equal rights among Ukrainians is rising across the nation, according to the Nash Svit Center, an LGBTQ+ human-rights nongovernmental organization.A poll carried out for the NGO by the Kyiv International Institute of Sociology found that 33.4% of Ukrainians surveyed in 2016 thought that LGBTQ+ people in the country should have the same rights as everyone else — this rose to 63.7% in 2022.But when it comes to the right to same-sex registered partnerships, support remained low, at 23.6% — which still reflected a big rise from 4.8% in 2016.Sovsun said she believed the introduction of her bill could change that figure even more but that because of continued political obstacles, she didn't think it would pass this year.Maxim Potapovych, a spokesperson for LGBTIQ Military, a Ukrainian NGO, struck a more positive note, saying he believed that the surge in support for the LGBTQ+ community would be enough to get the bill over the line.Potapovych said he had even noticed a shift in commanders' attitudes during the war.They know they need to be supportive of LGBTQ+ communities to align with the European Union's values and avoid scandals in the military that could tarnish their reputation and affect Western weapon deliveries, he told BI.A long road aheadBut not all soldiers have seen such a big shift in attitudes.One soldier who wished to remain anonymous because he said the army would not allow him to speak publicly about his experience as a gay man in the military, told BI that he believed some Ukrainian military commanders "don't have the balls" to acknowledge the existence of LGBTQ+ soldiers in the armed forces.The 39-year-old mortar-crew soldier said that while he thought soldiers had gradually become more tolerant, he still felt like he couldn't be himself around them."It's a subconscious thing that happens. I speak and walk differently," he said.The soldier said he was anxious when he joined the military with his then-boyfriend at the start of Russia's invasion. While the couple didn't face physical aggression, he added, some soldiers refused to shake hands with them or simply ignored them."People did talk shit behind our backs," he said, adding that they quickly came to believe some soldiers were using them as an excuse to avoid going into battle, refusing to fight alongside them."Some refused to communicate with us because they don't want to be thought of as gay," he added.But commanders don't have the "luxury" of rejecting people based on their sexual orientation because of low morale and declining numbers of Ukrainian soldiers on the battlefield, he said — so they included them in the unit.Being a gay man in the military comes with a lot of responsibility and pressure, the soldier said."You are trying your best because if you're bad, they will judge all gay people," he said."My life would be a lot easier if I didn't have to fight Russians and homophobia in my own country," he added.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderDec 28th, 2023

25 Straightest Countries in the World

In this article, we will look at the 25 straightest countries in the world.  The term ‘straight’ usually refers to heterosexual people. It originated in the mid-20th century as a slang used by homosexuals to refer to people who are only sexually attracted to the opposite gender. Today, we know that human sexuality is alot […] In this article, we will look at the 25 straightest countries in the world.  The term ‘straight’ usually refers to heterosexual people. It originated in the mid-20th century as a slang used by homosexuals to refer to people who are only sexually attracted to the opposite gender. Today, we know that human sexuality is alot more fluid than either being homosexual or heterosexual. There are many forms of sexuality in between the two. However, one might ask the following question: what are the most common sexualities?  The two most common sexualities, as we all know, are heterosexuality and homosexuality. People who are romantically and sexually attracted to males and females are termed as bi-sexual. Those who identify themselves as bicurious are interested in having a sexual or romantic encounter with someone of the same gender but face some uncertainties. Then, there is asexuality. According to the LGBTQIA Resource Center, asexuality is a spectrum of its own. While some people may feel no sexual or romantic attraction toward anyone, others may feel varying degrees of sexual or romantic attraction to others.  Global perception regarding homosexuality is changing, and people all around the world are becoming more accepting of it. Pew Research Center conducted a survey across 34 countries, in which the respondents were asked whether they think society should accept homosexuality or not. This survey was first done in 2002, and then later in 2019. Many countries had a double-digit increase in the acceptance of homosexuality between the two years. The research also saw a clear correlation between wealth and acceptance of homosexuality. Generally, the higher the income per capita of the country, the higher the acceptance of homosexuality.  Despite significant global progress in accepting homosexuality, some countries still place legal sanctions on it. There are 63 countries which have outlawed homosexuality. It is worth noting that nearly half of these countries are in Africa. However, more recently, some countries where homosexuality was illegal have moved to decriminalize it. One such example is Singapore, which in 2022, repealed a controversial law criminalizing homosexuality. Mozambique and Seychelles are also examples of countries which have recently scraped homosexuality laws. However, on the opposite end of this spectrum are countries that have recently tightened their existing laws against homosexuality. These countries include Nigeria and Uganda. Countries that place legal sanctions on homosexuality place varying degrees of restrictions. Some countries punish specific sexual acts, while others criminalize homosexuality in general, often having vague laws open to interpretation. These countries also differ in their punishment for homosexuality. Some only place a fine, while others even have death sentences. In some of these countries, law enforcement agencies actively target and persecute people belonging to the LGBTQ community. These countries are so anti-LGBTQ that they even criminalize posing as an opposing gender. It is also quite obvious that most of the countries that outlaw homosexuality have ended on our list of the straightest countries in the world. These are also some of the countries with the highest gay tax, a term used to refer to the additional housing prices for gay-friendly communities.  Although the United States is considered a progressive society, much needs to be done to counter homophobia. While the country does not criminalize homosexuality, a survey from the Pew Research Center indicates that 21% of the people in the country believe that homosexuality should not be accepted by society. This makes the United States a part of our list of the 25 straightest countries in the world. If you want to know what it ranks, read our list.  Methodology  To curate our list of the 25 straightest countries in the world, we used a survey by the Pew Research Center on the acceptance of homosexuality globally. The survey asked its respondents whether they believed that society should accept homosexuality or not. The higher the percentage of people who answered ‘no,’ the straighter the country.  Beatriz Gascon J/Shutterstock.com 25 – Italy Percentage of people who do not accept homosexuality – 20 Italy is at the bottom of our list of 25 straightest countries in the world. Homosexuality is generally more accepted in Italy compared to other countries on our list. The law of the country does not penalize homosexuality and recognizes same-sex marriage. However, there is a sizeable chunk of the population that still does not accept homosexuality in the country.  24 – United States Percentage of people who do not accept homosexuality – 21 It might be surprising to see the United States in the list of the straightest countries in the world. While same-sex marriages are recognized in all states, more than one-fourth of the population is not accepting of homosexuality. There are often reports of hate crimes against people belonging to the LGBTQ community.  23 – Japan Percentage of people who do not accept homosexuality – 22 Japan is one of the most technologically advanced countries in the world, yet that has done very little to eradicate anti-gay sentiments from the country’s ruling elites. The Labor Democratic party of the country seems reluctant to accept homosexuality, as more recently its representatives were quoted claiming the ‘LGBT issue’ a problem.  22 – Brazil Percentage of people who do not accept homosexuality – 23 Brazil is one of the straightest countries in the world, with 23% of its people saying that society should not accept homosexuality. One research found that women in the country are more homophobic than men.  21 – Mexico Percentage of people who do not accept homosexuality – 24 While Mexico is on our list of the straightest countries, with 24% of its population saying that the society should not accept homosexuality, it has made good progress in the recent past. The country is becoming increasingly accepting of same-sex relationships. However, it should be noted that it remains a country with strong catholicism, which has historically been hostile towards the LGBTQ community.  20 – Philippines Percentage of people who do not accept homosexuality – 24 Philippines is a predominantly catholic country, with 85% of its population identifying with the faith. It is no surprise that a little less than one-fourth of the population is not accepting of homosexuality.  19 – Czech Republic Percentage of people who do not accept homosexuality – 26 The Czech Republic is one of the very few European countries to end up on our list of the straightest countries in the world. According to a report by the European Network of Equality Bodies, people belonging to the LBTQ community suffer discrimination more than three times that of others.  18 – India Percentage of people who do not accept homosexuality – 37 India is one of the top 20 straightest countries in the world. It is worth noting that the unacceptance of homosexuality took a sharp increase from the previous entry. Although the legal system and courts of the country seem increasingly accepting of homosexuality, the LGBTQ community faces discrimination and harassment.  17 – South Africa Percentage of people who do not accept homosexuality – 38 South Africa has made the most significant progress in accepting homosexuality over the last two decades. However, it remains one of the straightest countries in the world, with 38% of its people believing that society should not accept homosexuality. Hate crimes against people belonging to the LGBTQ community are also quite common.  16 – Hungary Percentage of people who do not accept homosexuality – 39 Hungary is another European country on the list of the straightest countries in the world. While homosexuality is not criminalized, some laws in the country put people belonging to the LGBTQ community at a disadvantage. Earlier this year, the European Union sued the country for an anti-gay law.  15 – Poland Percentage of people who do not accept homosexuality – 42 With more than 42% of people not accepting of homosexuality, Poland is one of the top 15 straightest countries in the world. In addition, while the country does not criminalize homosexuality, the state often adopts and propagates homophobic rhetoric.  14 – Israel Percentage of people who do not accept homosexuality – 45 Israel is a predominantly Jewish country with a significant portion of orthodox jews. So, it is unsurprising to see it in the list of straightest countries in the world. In 2022, the country saw a record number of anti-LGBTQ incidents.  13 – Lithuania Percentage of people who do not accept homosexuality – 45 Lithuania is not only in the top 15 of our list of straightest countries, but it is also one of the most homophobic countries in the European Union. However, more recently, debates in the country regarding LGBTQ acceptance are starting to take place.  12 – Slovakia Percentage of people who do not accept homosexuality – 46 Transphobia and homophobia are prevalent in Slovakia’s society. The first terrorist attack in modern Slovakia took place against two nonbinary people in 2022.  11 – Greece Percentage of people who do not accept homosexuality – 47 Greece is one of the straightest countries in the world, as 47% of its people think that society should not accept homosexuality.  10 – Bulgaria Percentage of people who do not accept homosexuality – 48 Bulgaria is among the top 10 straightest countries in the world. The LGBT community in the country is constantly targeted by violence and hate speeches. The right-wing Bulgarian National Movement is openly against homosexuality. 9 – South Korea Percentage of people who do not accept homosexuality – 53 Although South Korea has made significant economic progress in the recent past, it remains one of the most anti-gay countries in the world. Homophobia and Transphobia are prevalent in the society and in the ruling elites of the country. Homosexuality remains a taboo in South Korea, where same-sex union is not legally recognized.  8 – Turkey Percentage of people who do not accept homosexuality – 57 With 57% of people believing that society should not accept homosexuality, Turkey is among the top 10 straightest countries in the world. Each year, pride marches in the country are met with state deterrence, hate speeches, harassment, and violence. Its government even pursues extensive campaigns to propagate the anti-LGBTQ narrative.  7 – Ukraine Percentage of people who do not accept homosexuality -69 A whopping 69% of people in Ukraine believe that homosexuality should not be accepted by society, making it the most anti-gay country in Europe. The LGBTQ community in Ukraine constantly faces attacks and violence from transphobic and homophobic people.  6 – Tunisia Percentage of people who do not accept homosexuality – 72 With 72% of people unaccepting of homosexuality, Tunisia is one of the straightest countries in the world, second only to Russia, which is among the top 5. The country outlaws same-sex relationships and sentences up to three years in prison for homosexuality.  5 – Russia Percentage of people who do not accept homosexuality – 74 Russia is among the top five straightest countries in the world. While its law does not criminalize same-sex acts and forms of gender expression, the country prohibits the so-called “LGBTQ propaganda”. The laws in the country prohibit public portrayal of the so-called “non-traditional sexual relationships”.  4 – Indonesia Percentage of people who do not accept homosexuality – 80 Only one-fifth of the people in Indonesia are accepting of homosexuality. The LBBTQ community in the country constantly endures transphobic and homophobic rhetoric and faces discrimination. .....»»

Category: topSource: insidermonkeyDec 24th, 2023

We"re 2 Gen Zs who watched Gen X"s favorite Christmas movies. We don"t get it.

Two Gen Zers reviewed five Gen X Christmas movies from the '80s to see if they held up. Some were charming. Others had humor that wouldn't land now. "A Christmas Story."MGMChristmas movies are a snapshot of each generation's holiday traditions and norms. Two Gen Z reporters watched five Christmas movies from the 80s to see if they held up. Some movies were charming, but others had humor that just wouldn't land these days.Between the cutting-edge slang, the sometimes tacky fashions, and the head-scratching technology (don't ask me how to work a VCR), it's hard to find a more perfect snapshot of the "before times" than a movie made, well, before you were born.Unlike most movies, however, Christmas films sometimes stay the course regarding cultural relevancy. For example, we're sure many Americans of all ages still sit down to watch the 1965 classic '"A Charlie Brown Christmas" — or at least know to tap their feet when "Linus and Lucy" starts playing.However, through subjecting ourselves to some of the most significant Christmas hits of the 1980s, we've learned that some movies should probably exist in obscurity to our generation.Here are two Gen Z takes on some of Gen X's favorite Xmas movies and whether or not they've remained timeless or are aging faster than milk.'Gremlins' presents the ageless theme that Americans are stupidGizmo in "Gremlins."Archive Photos/Getty ImagesYear: 1984Rotten Tomatoes score: 86%Gen Z approved? YesGen Z is a sucker for anything cutesy — puffer jacket Snoopy, anyone? — so when I first saw the "Gremlins" movie poster, I was sucked in. Gizmo is the Baby Yoda of the '80s. The movie should have been an hour of Gizmo being his adorable little self.However, the plot is less about Gizmo and more about the hubris of mostly white suburbanites hell-bent on adopting and controlling a species called Mogwai. The Peltzer family, who essentially steal Gizmo, are given three rules: No water, no sunlight, and no food after midnight for the Mogwai. Of course, they don't listen, and the cute and fuzzy pets become evil and multiply.I was surprised to learn that the movie helped create the PG-13 rating. At the time, parents thought the excessive explosions and gremlin gore were too graphic for precious eyes. Maybe it's because Gen Z grew up on much scarier content (thanks to the internet), but I do not think kids from my generation would find this movie terrifying.My favorite scene was at the end, when Mr. Wing, the Chinese-American man who comes to collect Gizmo, subtly drags the Peltzer family for taking Gizmo without his permission and failing to adhere to simple instructions for his care. I love a satisfying read.'Die Hard' proves that Bruce Willis will always be famous"Die Hard."20th Century FoxYear: 1988Rotten Tomatoes score: 94%Gen Z approved? Enthusiastically, yes!How wild is it to watch pre-9/11 movies about flying? Bruce Willis starts by getting on a plane to Los Angeles strapped up for no reason.Anywise, apart from being the movie that catapulted a dreamy — and ripped — Willis to mainstream stardom, "Die Hard" is refreshing because it doesn't showcase the same boring action genre tropes.Unlike some of the macho action counterparts of the decade, Willis' character, John McClane, seems real: He's fallible, his plans aren't always sure to succeed, and at his core, he just wants to fix his marriage. Besides that, it's also Alan Rickman's screen debut. He's a fantastic and compelling villain as Hans Gruber and pushes the movie along at breakneck speed.I'm going to excuse any claims of copaganda because if McClane weren't a cop himself, the movie would actually make cops look bad, considering all the bumbling actions they make while he deals with a dozen terrorists on his own.I'm not a huge fan of the action genre, but sitting through the entire two hours and 15 of this movie wasn't hard. Willis for the win, as usual.'National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation' is full of outdated jokesWarner Bros./"Nation Lampoon's Christmas Vacation"Year: 1989Rotten Tomatoes score: 70%Gen Z approved? No.Watching these movies, I'm learning that goofy dads are a prominent theme in these '80s Christmas movies. And "Christmas Vacation" is chock full of goofy dad cliches.The movie is about a father, Clark Griswold, who wants to make Christmas special for his family, but he's just trying too hard. Things break, fires start, and people get hurt.However, the slapstick humor just didn't work for me. Do you know how many cartoonishly ridiculous ladder falls I have seen in this lifetime? You can't get me to crack.The pacing was also a huge issue. Gen Z may have a short attention span, but this has been a critique of the movie for quite some time. Watching this movie gave me the urge to breeze through it at 2x speed. It's too bad Max doesn't work like TikTok.'Trading Places' should have thought twice about the blackfaceNetflixYear: 1983Rotten Tomatoes score: 88%Gen Z approved? Not at all.This one stars Dan Ackroyd and Eddie Murphy as two men who essentially switch lives as pawns in a game played by two rich brothers theorizing about human nature. I went into this one expecting it would be a product of its time, but it was so much worse than I anticipated.Not only did it take a billion years to get started, but it also features a healthy dose of homophobic and racist slurs, a bizarrely capitalist message, and an insanely contrived reason for Ackroyd to do blackface in the name of a disguise. Oh, and also sexual assault from a gorilla. Yeah.The idea of a movie trying to prove that men are often the product of their circumstances rather than because of their innate characteristics isn't a bad idea by itself — the movie could have been a much smarter and edgier pushback into bigoted conceptions about people of color and class that didn't boil down to "as long as you want to be rich, you can't be that bad, even if you are a sex worker/not white/not a man."Luckily, Ackroyd told the Daily Beast this June that he "probably" wouldn't do blackface again, which is super reassuring."I probably wouldn't be allowed to do a Jamaican accent, white face or Black," he told the Beast. "In these days we're living in, all that's out the window. I would be hard-pressed to do an English accent and get away with it. They'd say, 'Oh, you're not English, you can't do it.'"That comment is about as charming and delightful as this movie was. Huge pass.'A Christmas Story' ruins its charm with unnecessary racism"A Christmas Story."MGMYear: 1983Rotten Tomatoes score: 89%Gen Z approved? Sort of."A Christmas Story" was the most heartwarming of the movies on the list and had the trappings of a Christmas classic — a lovable main character, a chaotic nuclear family, and a cameo from a cranky mall Santa.Plus, a child's journey is more endearing than that of a buffoonish father.The story features a young boy's emotionally draining journey to get a BB gun for Christmas. Too bad everyone thinks it's dangerous!Things were going great, and then bam: you get hit with a weirdly racist Chinese restaurant scene. The Parker's Christmas dinner is ruined by a pack of dogs who eat their turkey, so they decide to dine at a Chinese restaurant where employees sing carols to customers. The writers thought it would be funny to poke at their non-American accents.This scene, however, might seem tame if placed in "Trading Places."Beyond the plot, my mind kept wandering to the tinier details. For example, I instantly recognized the sexy leg lamp, but before this, I honestly had no idea it was a relic from this movie. The Leg Lamp has surpassed the film in terms of cultural relevancy.One generational thing that caught my attention was all the tinsel on the Christmas tree! I had never seen anything like it growing up, but all these old Christmas movies featured them prominently. It seems that these days, though, tinsel is an environmentalist's nightmare.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderDec 24th, 2023

Our First Insurrection? The Boston Tea Party

Our First Insurrection? The Boston Tea Party Authored by Richard Samuelson via RealClear Wire, On the evening of December 16, 1773, 250 years ago today, New England colonists disguised as Native Americans calmly boarded three ships in Boston Harbor and dumped 90,000 pounds of tea overboard. By 1773, the Americans had been pushing back against Parliament’s efforts to tax the colonies for roughly a decade. In 1764, Parliament passed the Sugar Act, and in 1765 the Stamp Act. These laws sparked intense resistance. The Stamp Act, requiring that all papers – legal documents, newspapers, and other publications (in addition to playing cards and dice) – bear the King’s stamp as proof of having paid the tax, sparked intense resistance, often in the form of mobs which gathered to ensure that no colonist was foolhardy enough to be the official stamp agent.  According to an old nugget of wisdom, the key to a good tax is to pluck the maximum number of feathers from the goose with a minimum amount of squawking. From that perspective, taxing writers, publishers, and lawyers was particularly ill-conceived.  But how to protest an act that faraway British subjects, with no representatives in Parliament, regarded as illegal? The colonists believed they had the right to tax themselves in their legislatures which were, significantly, the only elected legislatures in the Americas at the time. In an age before elected legislatures were generally understood to be the heart of the government, mobbing was sometimes recognized across the board as a legitimate, albeit extreme, way of vetoing what the common people regarded as an unconstitutional law, or of blocking an illegal action by the government. Hence, colonists would distinguish between legal and illegal mobs. Such mobs generally reflected the opinion of the local majority – they were not part of street fights between factions. Some of the Stamp Act mobs did get out of hand; others were more restrained (perhaps not by the standards of our more civilized age) and the colonists succeeded in blocking the Stamp Act, which was repealed.   Parliament saved face by asserting its right to rule the colonies “in all cases whatsoever.”  Parliament soon followed that assertion with the Townshend Acts, named after the Parliamentary leader Charles Townshend. These were revenue-raising duties on lead, paper, paint, glass, and tea. The colonists resisted and boycotted the goods, and in early 1770, these taxes were also repealed, with the exception of the duty on tea, which was retained – like the previous assertion of Parliament’s right to rule – as a marker defending Parliament’s claim of the right to tax the colonists. Repeal broke the boycott, although some colonists tried to sustain the boycott on British tea, preferring smuggled tea instead. Compared to other port cities, Boston’s tea boycott was less solid after 1770. In early 1773, with the British East India Company in financial trouble, Parliament tried to help the company, and perhaps force the tax issue, by allowing it to sell directly in the colonies, eliminating the middlemen. They were blind to the reality that this act was, in fact, extremely provocative. In reaction, the boycott movement returned in full force.  In most colonies, the patriots succeeded in keeping the tea out, but in Boston, Gov. Thomas Hutchinson sought to force the issue. He refused to give the tea ships clearance to leave port. And it was illegal for a ship to leave without proper papers. The ship owner could lose everything if he failed to comply with the law. Leading colonists repeatedly lobbied the governor to let the ships go, but he was adamant.  The first tea ships arrived in Boston Harbor on Nov. 28. By law, a ship had 19 days to unload its goods, or it was forfeited to the government on the 20th day. In other words, at midnight on Dec. 17, the tea would become the government’s property, and the government could unload it forcibly and, presumably, sell it to the minority in Boston who opposed the boycott. That would confirm the legal precedent the colonists wished to prevent – it was an implicit acceptance of the right of Parliament to tax citizens without their consent. On the afternoon of Dec. 16, after a failed final appeal to the governor, the town of Boston convened at the Old South Church, the largest meeting house in Boston. The assembly represented the “Body” of the people, not merely a faction. After the speakers concluded that there was nothing to be done, out of the streets came the whoop of the tea partiers, disguised as Native Americans, who marched down to the harbor and systematically and peacefully destroyed the tea – and nothing but the tea. Lifting 400-pound chests of tea with 18th-century implements was skilled work. The patriot leaders had done a good job selecting workmen. They unloaded the tea chests methodically, broke them open, and made sure the tea was spoiled in the salty water of Boston Harbor. Meanwhile, the tea partiers kept their focus on the tea, blocking, for example, those who tried to break into the ships’ liquor supply. This was no unruly, out-of-control mob parading randomly about the ships or the harbor. It was focused directly on blocking enforcement of the Tea Act. The Tea Party was a sensation. Some colonists, notably George Washington, believed it was excessive – attacking property in the name of property rights was a step too far. But then the British government reacted harshly, replacing the free government of Massachusetts with a military one, and taking other extreme measures. Parliament’s “Intolerable Acts,” as the colonists called them, did not divide the colonies as Parliament had hoped. Instead they rendered Washington’s qualms moot. In response the colonists called the First Continental Congress; several months later, fighting began at Lexington and Concord, and we were on the road to Revolution.  At the Second Continental Congress, which met not long after those battles, Massachusetts’ John Adams nominated Virginia’s George Washington to lead the Continental Army. The Union was coming together. On the other side, Gov. Hutchinson, unwilling to bend to overwhelming public opinion, lost the right to rule. British government would suffer the same fate across the colonies. Riots, mobs, and the like have historically been the tool of outsiders. The Tea Party was not quite that. It was the act of men who, by 1773, had long been part of their colonial political system.  Yet they were outsiders in British politics. The British wished to fix that by creating a separate class of their kind of gentlemen who ruled over the colonists. The scope of the people’s role in colonial government made them shudder. In other words, they sought to change the norms of colonial government to make them more like the norms of British government. That’s what the taxes would pay for. The colonists had other ideas. And the Revolution came. Americans today might consider a couple of lessons from the Tea Party. One has to do with tea itself. Only in the 18th century did tea begin to become a staple in Britain or British America. Enjoying daily tea and other like consumer goods became common and not merely a luxury for gentlemen and aristocrats. Tea drinking grew with the rise of global trade and the British merchant class. It was part of the revolution of rising standards of living that began in that age.  (As we know today, drinking tea has health benefits. It has antioxidant properties and other good things. Globalization has many benefits.) Back in the 18th century, the economic turn that produced an expanding middle class enjoying consumer goods, combined British liberties and literacy came the desire of more and more colonists to be respectable – and recognized as solid and responsible members of society. That meant one should not merely drink tea, but one ought to do it properly, in that way becoming a civilized British subject. Drinking tea and other respectable activities were signs that one was worthy of the responsibilities that came with British liberties. Part of the reason the colonists reacted so strongly against the efforts by Parliament to tax them without their consent was that their English cousins were, by implication, treating them as inferiors not truly worthy of the political rights that were their due. Another lesson has to do with the mobs. This was one way those outside the political system could make their voice heard. After the Revolution, replacing bullets with ballots and mobs with peaceful mass meetings, protests, and petition campaigns represented a fundamental turn.  On the other side, the question of the right to block the government when it violates the law remains a problem, and probably will be as long as governments are staffed with human beings.  In the late 1760s John Adams successfully defended John Hancock when he had his men forcibly block government agents trying to conduct an illegal search below the deck of one of his ships. Their warrant was only for the deck; Hancock kept them to the letter of the law. The larger move from mobbing to voting was itself built upon a more robust idea of rights – the rights of men rather the rights of Englishmen. And that points to the looming crisis of slavery. As soon as the colonists transformed the rights of Englishmen into the rights of men, slavery was logically and morally untenable. Yet it was deeply entrenched. In some ways, slavery and racial caste grew deeper in a human and also perverse way to manage the tensions between American slavery and American freedom, and, as the centuries pass, the problems of race and the legacy of slavery threaten to be the dram of evil in the tragedy of American liberty. Finally, there is in the Tea Party the eternal political problem of elites and commoners. All societies have them. When an elite grows distant (or is literally distant) and loses touch with the bulk of the people, it always causes trouble. The less connection it has to the local democratic process, the more likely it is to be a problem. On the other side, if the people have rights, they also have responsibilities. Two hundred and fifty years after the Boston Tea Party, are our elites once again the snobs who look down on the common citizens, deeming them unworthy of full participation in government? On the other side, does the common citizen still understand that to be a citizen is, in a sense, to be a little bit of an aristocrat, with the duties and responsibilities that necessarily entails?  On this anniversary of the Tea Party, as we begin the 250th celebration of the American Revolution, we ought to begin, once again, to think seriously about what it means to live in a democratic republic, and how we might sustain it for another 250 years. Richard Samuelson is an American historian and associate professor of government at Hillsdale College, Washington, D.C., campus. Tyler Durden Wed, 12/20/2023 - 00:05.....»»

Category: personnelSource: nytDec 20th, 2023

No, Senator Warren, You Won"t Get A Wealth Tax From The Supreme Court

No, Senator Warren, You Won't Get A Wealth Tax From The Supreme Court Authored by J.G.Collins via The Epoch Times, On Dec. 5, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments on a tax case that could broadly affect how the United States taxes income and whether the accretion of wealth in assets equals income. The case addresses an issue arising from the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) provision that transitioned the United States tax system from a worldwide tax system to a territorial tax system that taxes only U.S. source income. As part of that transition, shareholders of foreign corporations were treated as though their respective share of the corporation’s accumulated profits were “income,” even though the profits had not been remitted as a dividend to the corporation’s shareholders. The TCJA imposed a relatively low one-time tax on unremitted accumulated profits, known as the Mandatory Repatriation Tax, or “MRT.” Charles and Kathleen Moore were assessed tax under the new scheme because they owned a foreign corporation with accumulated but unremitted profits. In court, they asserted, among other things, that the accretion in value of their shares was not “income” in the common meaning of the phrase. Left-leaning progressives, like Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), are watching the Moore case closely, hoping it will open the door to taxing accreted wealth. The New York Times even printed an op-ed entitled, "Want to Tax the Rich for Real? Pay Attention to This Supreme Court Case." Progressives hope the Moore case will open the door to the taxation of “on paper” profits “realized” from the property appreciation. Those paper profits are now largely exempt from tax until the appreciation is “recognized” by an event, like a stock sale, that fixes the value of the asset's appreciation so it can be independently determined in a specific amount and at a particular time. The Sixteenth Amendment Taxes on income were first imposed for eleven years during the Civil War and thereafter until 1872, when Congress repealed it. Another income tax was imposed in 1894, but it was almost immediately struck down by a divided Supreme Court in a 5-4 decision. When progressive Republicans and Democrats attempted to impose an income tax in 1909, conservatives in Congress—hoping to kill the idea of an income tax once and forever—proposed a Constitutional amendment, believing it would never pass and simply die. But to the conservatives’ chagrin, the amendment was adopted, and the Federal Income Tax came into being in 1913. It read: "The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes on incomes, from whatever source derived, without apportionment among the several States, and without regard to any census or enumeration." In defining income from various case law, Black's Law Dictionary says, among other things, that "income," when applied to the affairs of individuals, expresses the same idea that “revenue” does when applied to the affairs of a state or nation. Value must be received, and not merely accreted, by an individual in order for it to be “income” that is subject to an income tax. That was essentially the argument the Moores made. Adam Smith, an economist and philosopher who heavily influenced the Founding Fathers, is quoted in The Wealth of Nations as saying taxes on people should be imposed using four conditions: “In proportion to the revenue which they respectively enjoy under the protection of the state,” i.e., graduated and based on the ability to pay. In a way that “....ought to be certain, and not arbitrary.” i.e., not be subject to opinion. “Levied at the time, or in the manner, in which it is most likely to be convenient for the contributor to pay,” i.e., when the taxpayer has funds, as when the taxpayer has made a sale of an appreciated asset. “As little as possible over and above what it brings into the public treasury of the state, i.e., administered efficiently. All four of Smith’s principles would be contradicted by a tax on the appreciation of value. Appreciation is not in the nature of “revenue.” Taxing appreciated values without a recognition event makes the value of the appreciation arbitrary and subject to opinion. Appreciated property may have no cash affiliated with it, so taxing the appreciation might force the taxpayer to sell the property in order to pay the tax. If you have a Picasso your great-grandfather bought in 1950 for $10,000, you may have to sell it to pay the tens of millions of tax on its value. Finally, administering the tax would require a whole army of IRS agents to monitor and appraise virtually everything people own. And since there is no recognition event to independently discern and fix the gain in a specific amount, taxpayers and the IRS would be arguing valuations incessantly. During oral argument, some of the conservative justices raised the specter that a precedent in this case might enable Congress to impose a wealth tax. The government and some of the liberal justices, on the other hand, cited other long-settled elements of the tax law that recognize realized gains even if the income is not received in a recognition event. For example, Under Subpart F, a section of the Internal Revenue Code, U.S. shareholders who held 10 percent or more of the shares in a foreign corporation where U.S. persons collectively owned more than 50 percent of the shares are taxed on certain types of mostly passive income like interest and royalties. Bonds that pay interest only at maturity are taxed each year under the Original Issue Discount regime, whereby interest is recognized each year, even though it is only paid at maturity. Under Subchapter S, a corporation’s shareholders may elect to be taxed on their income, whether it is distributed or not, but the corporation itself generally pays no taxes. People who expatriate from the United States and renounce their U.S. citizenship are taxed as if they sold all their assets at fair market value and taxed at long-term capital gain rates. As the justices questioned the Solicitor General Prelogar, who argued the case for the government, Justice Gorsuch raised the specter of Congress using a court decision on the MRT as a basis to impose a wealth tax. He asked, “Would you agree, General, that when the Court opens a door, Congress tends to walk through it? The General, in reply, seemed willing, albeit reluctantly, to accept that the court could approve the tax on the MRT, but only on the very narrow grounds of the TCJA. Conclusion The court won’t issue an opinion on the Moore case until next summer. The court may render a divided opinion supporting the MRT but on narrow grounds. I suspect some of the justices will issue a broader opinion than the narrow one that Justice Gorsuch seemed to prefer. For the time being, though, it appears that Senator Warren and like-minded progressive colleagues will have to earn the ability to tax wealth at the ballot box, not through the Supreme Court. Tyler Durden Tue, 12/19/2023 - 13:25.....»»

Category: worldSource: nytDec 19th, 2023

20 photos that show how Princess Charlene of Monaco"s style has evolved, from her days as an Olympic athlete to a European princess

Princess Charlene of Monaco previously said finding her "fashion feet" was a challenge, but she's since embraced a daring style. Princess Charlene of Monaco's style evolution from 2001 to 2023.Terry Shean/Sunday Times/Gallo Images via Getty Images, Stephane Cardinale/PLS Pool/Getty ImagesPrincess Charlene of Monaco wasn't always one of the most recognized royal women. Before marrying Prince Albert, Charlene was an Olympic swimmer representing South Africa.She said finding her "fashion feet" was a challenge, but Charlene has since embraced a daring style.When Princess Charlene married Prince Albert of Monaco in 2011, her life changed.Once best known as an Olympic swimmer representing South Africa, she was reintroduced to the world as a princess.According to the official Monaco royal website, she was born Charlene Lynette Wittstock on January 25, 1978, in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe. At age 12, she moved to South Africa with her parents and her younger brothers.There she began forging a career as a swimmer, taking home several awards at the 1997 South African championship, including the prized Best Female Swimmer.In 2000, Charlene represented South Africa at the Sydney Olympics. As fate would have it, her future husband Albert was there as a spectator. But the pair wouldn't officially cross paths until she visited Monaco for a swimming competition later that year. From there, their relationship blossomed into a marriage, which was followed by the birth of their twins, Prince Jacques and Princess Gabriella.However, marrying into a royal family came with certain lifestyle adjustments, including the way Charlene dressed in public.From her days as an Olympic athlete to being one of the most recognized princesses around the world today, here's a closer look at Charlene's style evolution.In 2001, Charlene was still very much in her athlete era. Princess Charlene pictured in South Africa on June 28, 2001.Terry Shean/Sunday Times/Gallo Images via Getty ImagesShe was photographed in South Africa in a laid-back look that consisted of gray sweatpants, a navy-blue windbreaker, and Nike sneakers.Later that year, she maintained her sporty sense of style on the front cover of South African Sports Illustrated. Princess Charlene poses for a portrait shoot for South African Sports Illustrated in November 2001.Jacques Weyers/SA Sports Illustrated/Touchline/ Getty ImagesFor the photo shoot, Charlene wore a sporty red tank top, white flared jeans, and a sailor hat. In keeping with the easygoing, nautical aesthetic of the shoot, she opted to go barefoot.Charlene and Albert made their first public appearance as a couple at a 2006 F1 Monaco Grand Prix party. For the big night, she wore a black floor-length gown. Charlene with Albert at the Automobile Club party following the F1 Grand Prix in Monaco on May 28, 2006.BENAINOUS/CATARINA/LEGRAND/Gamma-Rapho via Getty ImagesThe elegant evening look was a world away from Charlene's previous ensembles. It featured a knee-length slit with lace detailing.She paired the gown with silver drop earrings and a matching clutch.Charlene brushed shoulders with fashion heavyweights like Karl Lagerfeld at the 2007 Monaco Red Cross ball — but she went on to regret her look.Charlene at the Monaco Red Cross Ball on August 4, 2006.Pascal Le Segretain/Getty ImagesFor her first appearance at Monaco's annual Red Cross Ball, Charlene wore a sparkly, semi-sheer, backless ball gown that she borrowed from a friend, according to her Tatler interview in 2010.Reflecting on the look, Charlene wasn't exactly fond of her choice. "I looked like a Christmas tree," she said."'I was used to living in a swimsuit and totally clueless about fashion. The day of the ball, I had been playing volleyball all day on the beach and didn't think about getting ready until late in the afternoon," Charlene added. In a separate interview with Vogue before her 2011 wedding, Charlene also remembered this outfit as one of her least favorite."Finding my fashion feet has certainly been the biggest challenge," she said. "I realize that my debut into Monaco society should have been better executed!"Charlene ditched the sparkly gowns for cargo shorts and a light-blue polo later that year.Charlene Wittstock coaching children at a training session on December 2, 2006, in Richards Bay, South Africa.Barry Tuck/Gallo Images/Getty ImagesShe wore the casual ensemble during a visit to Richards Bay in South Africa to teach kids swimming lessons.Charlene opted for a more daring look for the 2007 Closing Ceremony of the Small European States games.Prince Albert and Charlene in Monaco on June 9, 2007.LEGRAND/Gamma-Rapho via Getty ImageFor the event, she wore a black, strapless bustier top over asymmetric suit pants that featured a slit on the left leg. She accessorized with a sheer black scarf and a black clutch.She tapped into the rock-and-roll theme of the 2009 Rose Ball with a bold hairdo and a black bejeweled gown.Charlene Wittstock and Prince Albert of Monaco in Monte Carlo, Monaco, on March 28, 2009.Alain BENAINOUS/Gamma-Rapho via Getty ImagesCharlene's sleeveless dress featured a daring neckline and colorful jewels. A matching biker glove and a small black clutch completed the ensemble.Albert and Charlene announced their engagement in June 2010. For the official photographs sharing the big news, she wore a colorful, floor-length dress. Prince Albert II and Charlene Wittstock's official engagement portrait In Monte Carlo, Monaco, on June 23, 2010.Interagences/Gamma-Rapho via Getty ImagesThe flowy blue-and-green gown was designed by Akris, according to People. It was backless and featured an elegant halter neck.The official portraits also showed off her sparkling engagement ring, which featured a three-carat, pear-cut diamond surrounded by smaller round jewels, Brides reported.For the couple's civil marriage ceremony, Charlene collaborated with Karl Lagerfeld to come up with her powder-blue ensemble that perfectly complemented her eyes. Princess Charlene and Prince Albert II at their civil marriage ceremony on July 1, 2011, in Monaco.Pascal Le Segretain/Getty ImagesThe ensemble, made of a blazer and palazzo pants, was both regal and reflective of Charlene's sporty aesthetic."It's feminine and keeps with tradition yet has a little twist that reflects my personal style," Charlene told Vogue. "I thought it was a nice change to go for trousers instead of a skirt, especially since I'm an athlete and have always kept my clothes clean and simple."Later, for the grand religious ceremony, she dazzled in a custom-made Giorgio Armani gown that took 2,500 hours to make. Princess Charlene and Prince Albert smile as they leave the palace after their religious wedding ceremony on July 2, 2011, in Monaco.Andreas Rentz/Getty ImagesThe designer told Vogue that the off-the-shoulder gown — which was made of Duchesse silk and silk organza — was covered in 40,000 Swarovski crystals, 30,000 gold stones, and 20,000 mother-of-pearl teardrops.The look was completed with an intricate, silk tulle veil that took around 100 hours to embroider.In 2012, the newlyweds made a dapper debut as a married couple on the Oscars red carpet. Princess Charlene and Prince Albert II of Monaco at the 84th Annual Academy Awards held on February 26, 2012, in Hollywood, California.Ethan Miller/Getty ImagesFor the occasion, Charlene wore a sleeveless, ivory Akris gown that was partially sheer at the top and featured a cutout at the back, according to Red Carpet Fashion Awards.Channeling the regal image of her late mother-in-law Grace Kelly, Charlene arrived at the 2013 Princess Grace Awards in a striking Ralph Lauren gown. Princess Charlene of Monaco attends the Princess Grace Awards Gala on October 30, 2013, in New York City.Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for Princess Grace FoundationThe sleeveless Ralph Lauren gown featured a ruffled halter neck and a small train, according to The Cut. She paired it with a simple gold bracelet.While distributing Christmas gifts to children in Monaco in 2015, Charlene stood out in a beige cape jacket.Princess Charlene attends the annual Christmas gifts distribution on December 16, 2015, in Monaco.Pascal Le Segretain/Getty ImagesThe princess paired the unique jacket with a black turtleneck, black leggings, and leather knee-length boots.Charlene arrived at the 2017 Red Cross Ball in a silver, sleeveless jumpsuit designed by Versace. Princess Charlene at the 69th Monaco Red Cross Ball Gala at Sporting Monte Carlo on July 28, 2017, in Monaco.Stephane Cardinale - Corbis/Corbis via Getty ImagesCharlene's shimmery, sleeveless pantsuit — which was designed by Versace, according to W Magazine — featured semi-sheer, palazzo-style pants.She later attended Versace's Spring 2018 show in an asymmetric, chainmail minidress with several daring cutouts. Princess Charlene attends the Versace show during Milan Fashion Week Spring/Summer 2018 on September 22, 2017, in Milan, Italy.Venturelli/WireImageCharlene wore the bold dress with a black leather biker jacket and silver stilettos.Ditching a gown for the 2018 Princess Grace Awards Gala, Charlene instead wore a black suit with suspenders. Princess Charlene attends the Princess Grace Awards Gala on October 16, 2018, in New York City.Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images for Princess Grace Foundation-USAShe kept the top buttons of her white shirt open and wore her suit jacket casually over her shoulders.In 2020, she showed off a brand-new, half-shaved haircut at the annual Monaco Christmas gift distribution.Princess Charlene of Monaco attends the Christmas gift distribution on December 16, 2020, in Monaco.SC Pool - Corbis/Corbis via Getty ImagesCharlene's hairstyle was met with mixed reactions following the annual Christmas event in Monaco, according to People. Nevertheless, the outlet reported that she told the French magazine Point de Vue that she didn't care for anyone else's opinion."This haircut was my decision," she said. "It seems that it has provoked all kinds of comments. But it turns out that I wanted it for a long time. The style pleases me. That's all."In 2022, she returned to the F1 Monaco Grand Prix racetrack wearing a powder-blue Terrence Bray jumpsuit.Princess Charlene, Princess Gabriella, and Prince Jacques during the F1 Grand Prix of Monaco at Circuit de Monaco on May 29, 2022.Arnold Jerocki/FilmMagicPeople reported that the unique jumpsuit was designed by Terrence Bray. It featured a wide neckline and bell sleeves.She later put another unique spin on regal attire at a ceremony honoring Monaco National Day.Princess Charlene of Monaco, Princess Stephanie, and Prince Jacques attend the Monaco National Day on November 19, 2022.David Niviere/PLS Pool/Getty ImagesAccording to People, Charlene's eye-catching white coat was designed by one of her go-to brands, Akris.The princess paired it with a black turtleneck, leather gloves, and a wide-brimmed hat made by British hatmaker Stephen Jones.For the Monaco National Day gala in 2023, Charlene went for a dazzling ruby-red ensemble. Princess Charlene attends a gala at the Grimaldi Forum during the Monaco National Day 2023 on November 19, 2023.Stephane Cardinale/PLS Pool/Getty ImagesThe festive dress was designed by DidierAngelo, according to Town and Country. Charlene coordinated the gown with her lipstick, jewelry, heels, and nail color, which were all similar shades of scarlet red.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: worldSource: nytDec 7th, 2023

The Supreme Court Case That Could Upend Parts Of The Tax Code

The Supreme Court Case That Could Upend Parts Of The Tax Code Authored by Matthew Vadum via The Epoch Times, The Supreme Court on Dec. 5 will take up an important but little-noticed case about "unrealized" income that considers the constitutional limitations on federal taxing power. The case is significant because the court could use it to strike down the Mandatory Repatriation Tax (MRT), also known as the Section 965 transition tax, which was part of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act approved by the Republican-controlled Congress in 2017 and signed into law by then-President Donald Trump. Conservative constitutionalists say if the Supreme Court finds that the MRT violates the 16th Amendment to the Constitution, such a legal precedent could prevent Congress from enacting legislation to tax wealth. Wealth tax proposals regularly surface in Congress. For example, Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) recently introduced a plan to tax the unrealized capital gains of high earners. The Internal Revenue Service building in Washington on Jan. 24, 2023. The current Supreme Court case could change the tax code. (STEFANI REYNOLDS/AFP via Getty Images) Liberal groups worry that invalidating the tax law could unleash chaos. The left-leaning Institute on Taxation and Economy Policy said the case "could become the most important tax case in a century." That's because "a broad ruling could destabilize our tax system, enrich many profitable corporations, and widen existing economic and racial inequalities." Since the 1960s, corporations have been able to move income across borders to avoid taxation. If the law is erased, “the floodgates to offshore tax dodging” could be opened “on a scale never seen before,” the group said in a recent commentary. The 2017 law changed the way foreign income of U.S. corporations was taxed. Lawmakers created the tax because in their view too much money was being invested abroad and not benefiting U.S. tax coffers. Before the change, much of that income wasn't taxed until it returned, or was repatriated, to the United States. To transition to the new system, Congress imposed a one-time tax on outstanding unrepatriated foreign earnings of U.S. corporations. KisanKraft supplies power tools to small-scale, individual Indian farmers with the aim of helping to make their operations more productive. The Moores had owned KisanKraft shares for more than a decade but never received any income from the shares because the company plowed all its profits back into the business. (Screenshot via The Epoch Times) The law taxes U.S. corporate earnings abroad going back 30 years, even if the earnings haven’t been distributed. The statute also applies to U.S. taxpayers with 10 percent or more of shares in an overseas corporation as of the end of 2017. That means taxing people on income they never received and never owned, according to the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI), which is providing legal representation to plaintiffs Charles and Kathleen Moore. The Congressional Budget Office estimated in 2018 that the law would lead corporations to have a one-time tax liability of $347 billion. The Moores, a married couple from the state of Washington, claim this tax violates the Constitution’s requirement that direct federal taxes must be apportioned among the states, as well as the Constitution’s prohibition against retroactive taxation. The court agreed on June 26 to hear the case, Moore v. United States (court file 22-800). At least four of the nine justices had to vote to grant the petition for the case to move forward. The Moores ended up in court after they invested in an India-based company founded by a friend. KisanKraft supplies power tools to small-scale, individual Indian farmers with the aim of helping to make their operations more productive. The Moores had owned KisanKraft shares for more than a decade but never received any income from the shares because the company plowed all its profits back into the business. Unexpected IRS Bill But after the new tax was enacted, the Moores received an unexpected tax bill from the IRS for $14,729 for additional income tax they owed, despite having never received any payments from KisanKraft. Although such profits aren’t ordinarily considered income unless shareholders either receive dividends or sell the shares for a capital gain, the MRT attempts to tax these funds as income by simply declaring them to be taxable income, which is a legal fiction, according to the CEI. The Moores lost in U.S. district court, appealed, and lost again. They asked the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit to rehear the case after a circuit panel affirmed the district court’s dismissal of the action seeking to invalidate the tax law provision, but on Nov. 22, 2022, a divided 9th Circuit again denied the couple’s petition. “There is no constitutional prohibition against Congress attributing a corporation’s income pro-rata to its shareholder,” the appeals court ruled. Four of the circuit judges dissented from the decision to deny rehearing. Judge Patrick Bumatay, who was appointed by President Trump, wrote that the court erred in disregarding the realization requirement of the 16th Amendment by allowing an unapportioned direct tax on unrealized income—undistributed earnings of a foreign corporation owned by a U.S. taxpayer—without offering any other limiting principle. A copy of the U.S. Constitution in Washington on Dec. 17, 2019. (Andrew Harnik-Pool/Getty Images) The court opinion opens the door to new federal taxes on other kinds of wealth and property being categorized as an “income tax” without the constitutional requirement of apportionment, the judge said. The Biden administration argues that the MRT is constitutional, and had urged the court not to hear the case. The 16th Amendment The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act “appears to be working largely as Congress envisioned,” U.S. Solicitor General Elizabeth Prelogar wrote in a brief filed with the court on May 16. In a follow-up brief on Oct. 16, Ms. Prelogar said, “The Sixteenth Amendment authorizes Congress to tax shareholders’ pro rata shares of undistributed corporate earnings as income.” But legal experts suggest the 16th Amendment is the obstacle that could be the tax’s undoing. The amendment was enacted to allow the federal government to levy an income tax. Congress had previously tried to impose an income tax but its efforts were stymied by the Supreme Court. A pedestrian walks toward the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington on June 5, 2023. The Supreme Court will hear a significant tax case on Dec. 5, 2023, and will hand down a decision by June 2024. (Alex Wong/Getty Images) Ratified in 1913, the 16th Amendment states: “The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes on incomes, from whatever source derived, without apportionment among the several States, and without regard to any census or enumeration.” Attorney Steven A. Engel of the Dechert law firm in Washington told The Epoch Times that the Biden administration “takes the position that the definition of income is malleable and subject to Congress’s discretion.” “The Supreme Court has previously recognized that income requires ‘realization.’ It requires that the taxpayer actually received the money, and the Congress cannot eliminate that requirement without complying with the apportionment requirement of the Constitution.” Mr. Engel, who filed a friend-of-the-court brief in the case on behalf of Americans for Tax Reform, acknowledged that the concept of “apportionment” is elusive to many people. “The founders were concerned that Congress [should] not be able to tax directly certain forms of property in a way that created unequal burdens among the states. So they allowed Congress to impose taxes on transactions, like excises or duties, which people could avoid by not engaging in those transactions. “But if Congress were going to directly tax property, such as a land tax, Congress would have to do that in a way that fell equally among all the states, which [is hard to do] because there is an uneven distribution of property—land is cheaper in some states than in others.” A woman participates in a Tea Party rally to protest against the Internal Revenue Service's targeting Tea Party and grassroots organizations for harassment, at the U.S. Capitol in Washington on June 19, 2013. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images) The 16th Amendment, however, allowed Congress to tax income, and was added after the Supreme Court ruled that under certain circumstances income taxes could be direct taxes, Mr. Engel said. “So the question posed by the Moore case is, 'What is the definition of income under the 16th Amendment?' And specifically, 'Can Congress do away with the realization requirement?'” Unfavorable Appeals Court Ruling The 9th Circuit said there was no need for there to be a realization requirement in the Moores’ case because under the MRT they are being taxed based on their stock ownership, that is, their share of the accumulated earnings of the foreign company over the past 30 years, even though they have not received any of the money themselves, Mr. Engel said. Although the Moores argued the MRT was a tax on their property, the circuit court said, “If Congress says it’s income, it’s income, even if you didn’t realize that income,” Mr. Engel said. It's difficult to predict what the Supreme Court will do in this case, but generally the court “does not grant cases unless it has a concern with the correctness of the lower court opinion,” he said. “There was something about the 9th Circuit decision that at least four justices thought was worthy of the court’s review and potential correction.” A customer enters a Block Advisors tax preparation office in San Anselmo, Calif., on April 15, 2019. April 20 is the deadline for U.S. residents to file their income tax returns. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images) Attorney Jim Burling, vice president of legal affairs for the Pacific Legal Foundation, a national nonprofit public interest law firm that challenges government abuses, also spoke to The Epoch Times. The MRT is “a very limited wealth tax” that applies to unrealized capital gains abroad, he said. “But the implications are absolutely huge. Because if you can impose a wealth tax, and it doesn’t have to be apportioned among the states ... then the chances that the federal government would impose one and try to go after our assets are huge. “We don’t know exactly what the court is going to do as far as ... direct versus indirect tax, and the implications are huge as far as what future taxation of Americans could be.” Mr. Burling predicts the Moores will prevail. “I think the Supreme Court is going to reject the idea that you can have a wealth tax because that really requires a Constitutional amendment, not a questionable interpretation of an ambiguous statement in the Constitution,” he said. “I think the court is going to be askance at this end-run around because this is essentially a wealth tax, [and is] essentially what Congress attempted to do as an income tax before the Constitution was amended to allow the income tax.” Steven J. Allen, a distinguished senior fellow at Capital Research Center, a watchdog group, said his concern is that if the Supreme Court doesn’t strike down the MRT, there will be little to stop Congress from levying new and large taxes in the future. “There are always enough Republicans who will join with the Democrats to raise taxes, which helps to explain the current high tax level that we have,” Mr. Allen told The Epoch Times. “The fear is that the people who support raising taxes are always looking for different ways to do it. And if they can come up with a tax on the number of miles you drive in your car, then they will put that in there. If they can come up with a tax on wealth, then they will enact a tax on wealth. “History shows that higher taxes don’t necessarily increase revenue. Yet, that’s the theory they’re operating on," Mr. Allen said. “I think that it’s just important to restrict the power of government to tax whenever you can, because the power to tax is the power to destroy—that’s a famous legal principle—and you want to limit the destructive power of government. “That’s what the Constitution is about,” Mr. Allen said. Former U.S. Solicitor General Paul Clement expressed the same concern at a Sept. 20 event hosted by The Heritage Foundation, a think tank. Former U.S. Solicitor General Paul Clement (R) talks to reporters outside the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington on March 25, 2014. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images) If the MRT is upheld, “then there’s no reason for the federal government to wait until you actually take money from your stocks that have appreciated over time and take it as a capital gain,” he said. “I think the issue here is much more important than meets the eye." Read more here... Tyler Durden Tue, 12/05/2023 - 10:45.....»»

Category: worldSource: nytDec 5th, 2023

5 wedding planning red flags that could mean you"re headed for divorce, according to therapists

Two relationship experts shared the signs that a couple might divorce that arise during wedding planning. Landis Bejar (pitcured) and Vasia Toxavidi told Insider the red flags you should look out for whilst wedding planning.Landis Bejar/ GettyLandis Bejar and Vasia Toxavidi are relationship therapists specializing in pre-wedding therapy.They told Business Insider the signs they see in engaged couples that suggest they might not last.These include not being able to compromise, and prioritizing the wedding over the future marriage.It might seem pessimistic to think about divorce while you're engaged, but plenty of married couples break up. And cracks can appear as early as the wedding planning stage, therapists told Business Insider.Landis Bejar, a licensed therapist and founder of Aisle Talk, a New York-based therapy practice that specializes in the stresses of wedding planning, said that a wedding is a "microcosm for the rest of your marriage." How you solve issues during planning processes can be a good litmus test for how you deal with issues later on in your marriage, she said.A strong marriage requires communication with and respect for the other person, and wedding planning can expose when these things are missing, Vasia Toxavidi, a relationship psychotherapist in London, said.Bejar and Toxavidi shared the red flags they see during wedding planning that suggest that a couple's marriage might end in divorce.Prioritizing details of the wedding over the marriage that it representsBejar said that she gets concerned for the outlook of an upcoming marriage when people get caught up in the details and what a wedding "should" look like, and can't bring themselves back to the reason for the celebration."It's OK to get swept up in organizing a wedding," she said, "but it's important to not prioritize the wedding over the marriage."Toxavidi said that couples should remember that they're getting married because they want to be together for life, and so details such as the extravagance of the wedding party or the number of guests don't matter as much as the commitment they're making on that day.Not being able to compromise"Some people dream of their wedding day," Toxavidi said, and have a specific image of what they want it to look like. But, there are two people getting married, so the wedding needs to suit them both and one partner shouldn't feel pushed out of decision making.Bejar said that "there's got to be some give and take and some compromise. When there's no compromise, that's a red flag for how the rest of the marriage will be."Spending outside of your meansA couple's attitude towards the wedding budget and how it fits into their long-term finances can be a warning sign that the marriage might not work out, Bejar said."If you're going way over your personal budget, you're not in touch with what your specific spending capabilities are, or if you're going into debt taking out wedding loans, that is concerning," she said. "Getting caught up in optics or trying to impress people means you've lost sight of what is important."You get a wedding for a day and — hopefully — a marriage for a lifetime, she said. But if you prioritize the wedding over the long-term parts of your marriage, like finances and the health of your relationship, that could be a problem.Only one person is invested in the weddingHaving one partner take the reins in wedding planning can work if both parties are genuinely happy with that set-up. But if one partner feels alone in wedding planning, that can be a red flag, Toxavidi said.Weddings that are planned by one partner, when the other partner has the capability but chooses not to make the effort, can be a predictor of divorce, because they suggest that one partner is more invested in the marriage.Prioritizing family over the partner"Only ever prioritizing your family of origin rather than the partner that you're about to marry is not a good sign," Bejar said.Again, the wedding is about the joining together of partners, Toxavidi said, and so it's important to "protect the couplehood," and not "bend over backwards" trying to please family members.Couples shouldn't let other people influence wedding planning too much, because it could lead to a precedent being set where external influences have more power in the relationship than they should in the future, Toxavidi said.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: dealsSource: nytDec 4th, 2023

George Santos criticized gay marriage on his own wedding anniversary: "It should have been a civil union"

"To force that on society was a problem," said George Santos, who said that he was "an opposer" of same-sex marriage. Rep. George Santos of New York leaves Congress shortly after being expelled from the House on Friday.Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call via Getty ImagesGeorge Santos sat down with a group of reporters the day before he was expelled.He criticized the institution of same-sex marriage, saying he prefers civil unions."To force that on society was a problem," he said.There were many historic aspects of Rep. George Santos's short tenure in Congress.One of the less recognized was his status as the first non-incumbent, openly gay Republican elected Congress, particularly at a time when LGBTQ rights have once again become a target of the right.And in a sit-down with a group of reporters on Capitol Hill on Thursday — the day before his historic expulsion from Congress — the scandal-plagued Republican took a swipe at what most consider to be the foremost achievement of the LGBTQ rights movement."I was an opposer of gay marriage," Santos said in response to a question about his relationships with more conservative House Republicans, according to audio obtained by Business Insider.It just so happened to be the two-year anniversary of his own gay marriage to his husband, Matt.Santos said that he entered into such a marriage "because that was the option," but did not believe it should be called "marriage" and that the government should not be involved in the institution.2 year since we said I Do!Happy anniversary to my partner in life and to my rock who has not skipped a beat over the past few months.Thank you for being the most amazing spouse! I Love you to the moon and back! ❤️ pic.twitter.com/uoVTuVSTWp— George Santos (@MrSantosNY) November 30, 2023"I thought it should have been a civil union," said Santos, referring to the alternative to fully-recognized marriage that some proposed prior to the Supreme Court's legalization of same-sex marriage in 2015. "It would have given us the same benefits, the same rights under the law.""Making it marriage was never the business of the government," he said. "I'm not saying I oppose just gay marriage. I oppose marriage by the government in general.""To force that on society was a problem," he added. "That is why we're still debating, right?"It's not the first time Santos has made arguments that run counter to the rest of the LGBTQ community.Also on Thursday, Santos posed with a sign produced by Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene's office declaring that there are only two genders.Trust the Science! #TwoGenders pic.twitter.com/Gecfv5t9x7— Rep. George Santos (@RepSantosNY03) November 30, 2023And as a candidate, Santos endorsed the Florida Parental Rights in Education Law — known to critics as "Don't Say Gay" — and said Gov. Ron DeSantis had his "full-blown support" for signing the law."As a gay man, I stand proudly behind not teaching our children sex or sexual orientation," he said in a Facebook video in April 2022.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: dealsSource: nytDec 1st, 2023

Recessionary Indicators Update: Soft Landing Or Worse?

Recessionary Indicators Update: Soft Landing Or Worse? Authored by Lance Roberts via RealInvestmentAdvice.com, I previously discussed a slate of recessionary indicators with high correlations to recessionary onsets. However, as we head into 2024, many Wall Street economists predict a “soft landing” or “no recession” outcome for the economy. Are these recessionary indicators with near-flawless track records wrong this time? Will it be a soft landing in the economy or something worse? We must start our recessionary indicator review with the “Godfather” of them all – “Yield Curve Inversions.” Bonds are essential for their predictive qualities, so analysts pay enormous attention to U.S. government bonds, specifically the difference in their interest rates. As such, there is a high correlation between the yield curve’s slope and where the economy, stock, and bond markets generally head longer term. Such is because everything from volatile oil prices, trade tensions, political uncertainty, the dollar’s strength, credit risk, earnings strength, etc., reflects in the bond market and, ultimately, the yield curve. Regarding yield curve inversions, the media always assumes this time is different because a recession didn’t occur immediately upon the inversion. There are two problems with this way of thinking. The National Bureau Of Economic Research (NBER) is the official recession dating arbiter. They wait for data revisions by the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) before announcing a recession’s official start. Therefore, the NBER is always 6-12 months late, dating the recession. It is not the inversion of the yield curve that denotes the recession. The inversion is the “warning sign,” whereas the un-inversion marks the start of the recession, which the NBER will recognize later. As discussed in “BTFD Or STFR,” if you wait for the official announcement by the NBER to confirm a recession, it will be too late. To wit: “Each of those dots is the peak of the market PRIOR to the onset of a recession. In 9 of 10 instances, the S&P 500 peaked and turned lower prior to the recognition of a recession.“ Here is the analysis in table form. It is worth noting that the market’s lead to the economic recession has shrunk markedly since 1980. As such, given the rally in the market this year, it is not surprising a recession has not been recognized as of yet. Which Yield Curve Matters Which yield curve matters mostly depends on whom you ask. DoubleLine Capital’s Jeffrey Gundlach watches the 2-year vs. 5-year spreads. Michael Darda, the chief economist at MKM Partners, says it’s the 10-year and the 1-year spread. Others say the 3-month and 10-year yields matter most. The most-watched is the 10-year versus the 2-year spread. While most mainstream economists focus on a specific yield curve, we track ten different economically important spreads from short-term consumption to long-term investments. Most yield spreads we monitor, shown below, are inverted, which is historically the best recessionary indicator. However, technically, the UN-inversion of the yield curve is the recessionary indicator. Notably, when numerous yield spreads turn negative, the media will discount the risk of a recession and suggest the yield curve is wrong this time. However, the bond market is already discounting weaker economic growth, earnings risk, elevated valuations, and a reversal of monetary support. As such, a recession followed when 50% or more of the tracked yield curves became inverted. Every time. (Read this for a complete history.) But it isn’t just the yield curve as a recessionary indicator that we are watching. Are Leading Indicators Wrong? We wrote “Economic Cycles Will Recover” in July after a significant drop in many leading economic indicators. To wit: “As with market cycles, the economy cycles as well. There is little argument that the current economic data is fragile, whether you look at the Leading Economic Index (LEI) or the Institute Of Supply Management (ISM) measures. As with the market cycle, long periods of slowing economic activity will eventually bottom and turn higher. The Economic Composite Index, comprised of 100 hard and soft economic data points, clearly shows the economic cycles. I have overlaid the composite index with the 6-month rate of change of the LEI index, which has a very high correlation to economic expansions and contractions.” As shown, the data has bottomed since July and has started to improve. Notably, these economic measures are at levels that previously marked the bottoms of economic contractions outside financial crises or economic shutdown events. As noted in July, the improvement in economic activity seen in Q3 and Q4 was expected. That improvement also supports the earnings cycle we have seen as of late. While there are reasons to remain suspect of an upturn in the current economic and market cycles, it is difficult to discount the historical evidence completely. Yes, the Federal Reserve has hiked rates aggressively, which weighs on economic activity by reducing personal consumption. However, the government continues to increase spending levels sharply, i.e., the Inflation Reduction Act and the CHIPs Act, which support economic activity. We see that same support to economic activity in the monetary supply (M2) as a percentage of the economy. While those monetary and fiscal supports are reversing following the “pandemic-related” spending spree, both are reversing. Eventually, the support provided by those massive infusions into the economy will fade. The hope is that the economy will return to normal functioning by then. The only issue is that we have no historical precedent to base those hopes on. Soft Landing Or Recession? The question of a “soft landing” or an outright “recession” is difficult to answer. It is certainly possible that all of the tell-tale signs of economic recession may be wrong this time. There is another possibility. Given the massive increase in activity due to a shuttered economy and massive fiscal stimulus, the reversion may take longer than expected. Both scenarios support the rising optimism of Wall Street economists in the near term. However, such also brings to mind Bob Farrell’s Rule #9: “When all experts agree something else tends to happen.” As noted previously, we would already be in a recession if we had entered this current period at previous growth rates below 4%. The difference is the contraction began from a peak in nominal GDP of nearly 12%. As noted above, a bounce in activity is not surprising after a significant contraction in the economic data. The question is whether that bounce is sustainable. Unfortunately, we won’t know the answer for quite some time. We know that Federal Reserve actions regarding hiking rates have about a 6-quarter lead over changes to economic growth. Given the last Fed rate hike was in Q2 of this year, such would suggest a further slowing in economic activity into the end of 2024. Investor Implications As noted above, the massive surge in monetary stimulus (as a percentage of GDP) remains highly elevated, which gives the illusion the economy is more robust than it likely is. As the lag effect of monetary tightening continues to weigh on consumption, the reversion to economic strength may surprise most economists. For investors, the implications of reversing monetary stimulus on prices are not bullish. As shown, the contraction in liquidity, measured by subtracting GDP from M2, correlates to changes in asset prices. Given that there is significantly more reversion in monetary stimulus to come, this suggests that lower asset prices will likely follow. However, the markets have recently been betting that a reversal of liquidity is coming. Given the inflationary implications of providing monetary accommodation, i.e., rate cuts and quantitative easing, it seems unlikely the Federal Reserve will act before the onset of a recession. If that assumption is correct, investors may set themselves up for disappointment. As we update our recessionary indicators, there is still no clear visibility regarding the certainty of a recession. Yes, this “time could be different.” The problem is that, historically, such has not been the case. Therefore, given this uncertainty, we must continue to weigh the possibility that Wall Street economists are correct in their more optimistic predictions. However, we must remain open to the probabilities that still lie with the indicators. No one knows what the future holds with any degree of certainty. Therefore, we must remain nimble in our investment approach and trade the market for what it is rather than what we wish it to be. Tyler Durden Fri, 12/01/2023 - 12:15.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeDec 1st, 2023