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The biggest threat to Citizens United --Montana AG explains why


The Montana AG explains why his state's challenge to the controversial decision could hold up in the Supreme Court

The biggest threat to Citizens United
by David Sirota

Last week, while the national press corps was busy pretending the tiny Iowa caucus was the only news in America, a major ruling out of Montana paved the way for a likely U.S. Supreme Court showdown over the role of corporate money in politics.

In the case, which was spearheaded by the state’s Democratic Attorney General Steve Bullock, Montana’s top court restored Big Sky country’s century-old law banning corporations from directly spending on political candidates or committees. Legal experts believe that upon appeal, this case will come before the nation’s highest court. While there, it could serve as the first test of the precedents in the infamous Citizens United decision that essentially allows unfettered corporate spending in campaigns.

This week on my weekday morning radio show on KKZN-AM760, I spoke with Bullock about the case. What follows is an edited transcript of our discussion (you can find the full audio podcast here).

Walk us through what this case was all about and why it’s important not just for Montana but for politics all across the country.


PRESS RELEASE (NLG): Rights Groups Urge City to Halt Illegal Restrictions at Zuccotti Park


PRESS RELEASE: Rights Groups Urge City to Halt Illegal Restrictions at Zuccotti Park
By admin, January 9, 2012 2:32 pm
Jennifer Carnig, 212.607.3363 / jcarnig@nyclu.org
NLG Contact, Gideon Orion Oliver, 212.766.8050

Rights Groups Urge City to Halt Illegal Restrictions at Zuccotti Park

January 9, 2012 – Arbitrary and inconsistently applied rules and security measures restricting the public’s access to Zuccotti Park violate city zoning laws, the New York Civil Liberties Union, the Center for Constitutional Rights, and the New York City chapter of the National Lawyers Guild argued today in a letter to the New York City Department of Buildings.

The groups urge Buildings Commissioner Robert LiMandri to promptly address the violations and ensure that Zuccotti Park is open and accessible to all members of the public on an equal basis.

“Right now, Zuccotti Park is a public space in name only,” said NYCLU Executive Director Donna Lieberman. “The metal barricades, security checkpoints and selectively enforced rules not only raise serious constitutional concerns, they violate city zoning laws. We expect the city to ensure that the park is managed in a manner consistent with its own laws.”

Metal barricades have encircled Zuccotti Park since the NYPD cleared the Occupy Wall Street encampment there on Nov. 16. The public can only enter the park through two gaps where security personnel selectively subject people to searches.

The groups maintain that these security measures and the constantly changing, selectively enforced and unwritten park rules violate zoning laws, longstanding city policies, and park-owner Brookfield Properties’ legal obligations under a 1968 special zoning permit that established the park as a “permanently open park” for “the public benefit.”

In its letter, the groups present a list of these violations. Among them:

The metal barricades encircling the park violate a city voting law requiring at least 50 percent of the plaza’s frontage be unobstructed with unrestricted access to all walkways through the park.

The barricades and checkpoints interfere with the public’s use and enjoyment of the park, in violation of Brookfield’s legal obligation to maintain the space as a “permanent open park.” People are reluctant to enter an area encircled by metal police barricades.

The barricades constitute a major design modification to the park. Under zoning law, such modifications must go through a city approval process, which has not occurred.

Security personnel have prohibited individuals from bringing an ever-changing list of items into the park, including food, cardboard signs, musical instruments and yoga mats even though the park’s written rules do not prohibit any particular items from entering the park. The written rules only apply to prohibited conduct.

“In a statement issued by Mayor Bloomberg explaining his decision to evict peaceful protesters from Zuccotti Park, the mayor noted that ‘we must never be afraid to insist on compliance with our laws,’” said NYCLU Senior Staff Attorney Taylor Pendergrass. “That is precisely what we are asking the City to do now—comply with its own laws and restore the park to its role as a functioning public space open to all New Yorkers.”

“First Amendment freedoms are particularly vulnerable to selective enforcement by the government,” said Baher Azmy, legal director of the Center for Constitutional Rights. “Like the constitution, City zoning law also recognizes that in New York City’s public plazas, members of the public cannot be selectively targeted for the enforcement of patently unreasonable restrictions.”

“Brookfield and the City must remove these restrictions and restore Liberty Park to the people immediately,” said Gideon Orion Oliver, president of the National Lawyers Guild – New York City Chapter. “Every day they refuse to do so, they compound the irreparable harm they have done – and continue to do – to our First Amendment freedoms.”

In addition to the complaint filed today, others have made similar complaints to the Department of Buildings. The Department of Buildings’ online complaint website shows an open complaint regarding the barricades at Zuccotti Park, and the group “whOWNSspace” states that nearly 100 additional complaints have been filed by other individuals asking the Department of Buildings to investigate the ongoing zoning law violations at the park.

To read the full letter, visit http://www.nyclu.org/files/releases/NYCLU_letter_to_LiMandri_1.9.12.pdf.

Courageous Whistleblower Wants You To Know: The Keystone Pipeline is a Lemon


Courageous Whistleblower Wants You To Know: The Keystone Pipeline is a Lemon (VIDEO)

January 8, 2012
By Mitchell S. Gilbert

In their zeal to promote their personal investment portfolios and serve their godfathers in the private sector, Republicans would like the American people to believe two lies about the Keystone Pipeline that is intended to transport synthetic crude oil and diluted bitumen (“dilbit”) from northern Canada to the United States:

Lie #1: The pipeline will create 20,000 or more jobs. The truth: The U.S. State Department estimates it will only create 6,000 jobs and those jobs will only exist during the construction phase.

Lie #2: The construction of the pipeline will be in accordance with the highest standards of the industry. Keystone will not pose any danger to the environment or the communities that it will pass through. The truth: Mike Klink, a whistle-blower inspector on the Keystone XL phase of the pipeline, dares to differ.

After losing his job for complaining about shoddy construction practices, Klink shared his concerns in a courageous op-ed piece. His chilling opening two paragraphs sum up the worst fears of those critics who are concerned about the potential risks of a transcontinental pipeline that will pass through many communities, farmlands and environmentally sensitive pristine areas:


the world is flat & the moon is made of swiss cheese

OR.....there are no such things as evolution and global warming. So much attention for a bunch of ridiculous quacks.

PA Village Waiting On H20 Shipments After Fracking Allegedly Destroyed Its Wells

A Pennsylvania Village Is Waiting On Water Shipments From The EPA After Fracking Allegedly Destroyed Its Wells

AP | Jan. 7, 2012, 6:21 AM

Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/dimock-fracking-water-epa-2012-1#ixzz1imx9tuRy

Pennsylvania village where a natural gas driller has been accused of tainting water wells with methane and possibly hazardous chemicals say the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is promising to deliver fresh water.

Homeowners in Dimock Township have been without a reliable supply of clean water since Houston-based driller Cabot Oil & Gas Corp. stopped making daily deliveries more than a month ago.

Three Dimock residents say the EPA told them Friday it's hiring a private contractor to deliver water to their homes about 20 miles south of the New York state line. The EPA says no decision has been made.

Cabot has been blamed for polluting an aquifer but denies responsibility for the contamination. It won permission from Pennsylvania environmental regulators to stop delivering water to Dimock on Nov. 30.

```and....posted by cal04,


Northeast Ohio rocked by 11th earthquake linked to Youngstown injection wells

The 4.0-magnitude quake was centered near Youngstown, reported the U.S. Geological Survey and the Ohio Earthquake Information Center.

The earthquake at 3:05 p.m. was felt as far away as Michigan, Ontario, Pennsylvania and New York, reported Michael C. Hansen, state geologist and coordinator of the Ohio Seismic Network, part of the Ohio Department of Natural Resources’ Division of Geological Survey.

The quake was the 11th over the last eight months in Mahoning County, all within two miles of the injection wells, he said. Saturday’s quake was the largest yet.

There is “little doubt” that the quake is linked to injection wells that the state and the owner agreed on Friday to shut down, Hansen said.

Ohio Earthquake Linked To Fracking Injection Wells

BREAKING NEWS: Wall Street Occupier Confronts Ron Paul (comedy)

Santorum: Our Abortion Was Different


Santorum: Our Abortion Was Different
By Ellen On April 15, 2011

Rick Santorum is one dangerously confused denialist. The former Pennsylvania Senator and presidential aspirant is best known for his inability to associate his professed compassion for life at the level of the zygote, with the physical realities of human sexuality. He has equated loving same-sex relationships to bestiality. He is opposed to abortion under any circumstance. Almost.

In October, 1996, his wife Karen had a second trimester abortion. They don’t like to describe it that way. In his 2004 interview with Terry Gross, Santorum characterizes the fetus, who must be treated as an autonomous person, as a practically a gunslinging threat, whom the mother must murder in self-defense. Karen has had to justify her decision to save her own life by explaining that if she died her other children would have lost a mother.

Republican extremists in Congress and the statehouses propose to make abortion illegal even if it would save the mother’s life. Even the Santorums admit they would make that choice, while claiming that they didn’t.

Losing a pregnancy because of a fatal fetal anomaly is never cause for celebration. The pain of second-trimester abortions is compounded by the hateful hypocrites who vilify families facing sorrowful circumstances, and the resulting scarcity of abortion clinicians.

..more..(well done, worth a read)

if the news folks sat around for months discussing a handfull

of quacks that believed the earth was flat and the moon was made of swiss cheese, it would be no different than spending all this time on the present GOP idiocy, who believe there are no such things as global warming or evolution...? It's cruelly absurd.

House Republicans Increase the Pressure on Obama Over Tar Sands Pipeline Decision

shed on Wednesday, January 4, 2012 by CommonDreams.org

House Republicans Increase the Pressure on Obama Over Tar Sands Pipeline Decision

House Republicans now have the clock ticking on President Obama's timeline for a decision on the Keystone XL pipeline.

From The Hill:

House Republicans are putting more pressure on President Obama to make a decision on the Keystone XL pipeline, unveiling a clock that counts the number of days since the president signed legislation requiring a speedy verdict on the project.

Obama signed broad payroll tax cut legislation last month that includes a GOP-backed provision requiring him to make a decision on the pipeline within 60 days.

“Will President Obama choose jobs and energy security for America?” says the countdown clock unveiled Wednesday by Republicans on the House Energy and Commerce Committee. “America is waiting for President Obama's decision.”

The countdown clock marks the latest push by Republicans to pressure Obama to approve the project, which would carry oil sands crude from Alberta, Canada, to refineries on the Gulf Coast.


Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao Sends An Ominous Warning On The Economy

Joe Weisenthal | Jan. 4, 2012, 6:32 AM

This is getting some attention this morning: Comments from Chinese Premier Wen Jiabo in regards to a difficult economy.

From Bloomberg:

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao said business conditions may be “relatively difficult” this quarter and monetary policy will be fine-tuned as needed.

“We see downside pressure on our economy and elevated inflation at the same time,” Wen said during a two-day trip to Hunan province, according to a statement on the government’s website yesterday. “We also face problems of weakening external demand and rising costs for companies.”

In its first day of trading in the new year, the Shanghai Composite fell 1.3%.

Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/wen-jiabao-warns-on-the-economy-2012-1#ixzz1iVo5yaFj
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