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Your Electronic Vote In The 2010 Election Has Just Been Bought

Your electronic vote in the 2010 election has just been bought
by Bob Fitrakis & Harvey Wasserman | Free Press

Unless US Attorney General Eric Holder intervenes, your electronic vote in 2010 will probably be owned by the Republican-connected ES&S Corporation. With 80% ownership of America's electronic voting machines, ES&S could have the power to shape America's future with a few proprietary keystrokes.

ES&S has just purchased the voting machine division of the Ohio-based Diebold, whose role in fixing the 2004 presidential election for George W. Bush is infamous.

Critics of the merger hope Holder will rescind the purchase on anti-trust grounds.

But only a transparent system totally based on hand-counted paper ballots, with universal automatic voter registration, can get us even remotely close to a reliable vote count in the future.

For even if Holder does void this purchase, ES&S and Diebold will still control four of every five votes cast on touchscreen machines. As the US Supreme Court seems poised to open the floodgates on corporate campaign spending, the only difference could be that those who would buy our elections will have to write two checks instead of one.

And in fact, it's even worse than that. ES&S, Diebold and a tiny handful of sibling Republican voting equipment and computing companies control not only the touchscreen machines, but also the electronic tabulators that count millions of scantron ballots, AND the electronic polling books that decide who gets to vote and who doesn't.

Let's do a quick review:

1) ES&S, Diebold and other companies tied to election hardware and software are owned and operated by a handful of very wealthy conservatives, or right-to-life ideologues, with long-standing direct ties to the Republican Party;

2) As votes will be increasingly cast on optiscans, touchscreens or computer voting machines in the United States in 2010, what scant few so-called paper trail mechanisms that are in place will offer little security against electronic vote theft;

3) The source code on all US touchscreen machines now used for the casting and counting of ballots is proprietary, meaning the companies that own and operate the machines---including ES&S---are not required to share with the public the details of how those machines actually work; Read more.

NLG Observes Improper Use of Force by Law Enforcement at the G-20

NLG Observes Improper Use of Force by Law Enforcement at the G-20 | Press Release

PITTSBURGH, PA - September 25 - National Lawyers Guild members witnessed first-hand yesterday the unwarranted display and use of force by police in residential neighborhoods, often far from any protest activity.

Police deployed chemical irritants, including CS gas, and long-range acoustic devices (LRAD) in residential neighborhoods on narrow streets where families and small children were exposed. Scores of riot police formed barricades at many intersections throughout neighborhoods miles away from the downtown area and the David Lawrence Convention Center. Outside the Courtyard Marriott in Shadyside, police deployed smoke bombs in the absence of protest activity, forcing bystanders and hotel residents to flee the area.

Tomgram: Arundhati Roy, Is Democracy Melting?

Tomgram: Arundhati Roy, Is Democracy Melting? | TomDispatch

So you, as a citizen, want to run for a seat in the House of Representatives? Well, you may be too late. Back in 1990, according to OpenSecrets.org, a website of the Center for Responsive Politics, the average cost of a winning campaign for the House was $407,556. Pocket change for your average citizen. But that was so twentieth century. The average cost for winning a House seat in 2008: almost $1.4 million. Keep in mind, as well, that most of those House seats don't change hands, because in the American democratic system of the twenty-first century, incumbents basically don't lose, they retire or die.

In 2008, 403 incumbents ran for seats in the House and 380 of them won. Just to run a losing race last year would have cost you, on average, $492,928, almost $100,000 more than it cost to win in 1990. As for becoming a Senator? Not in your wildest dreams, unless you have some really good pals in pharmaceuticals and health care ($236,022,031 in lobbying paid out in 2008), insurance ($153,694,224), or oil and gas ($131,978,521). A winning senatorial seat came in at a nifty $8,531,267 and a losing seat at $4,130,078 in 2008. In other words, you don't have a hope in hell of being a loser in the American Congressional system, and what does that make you?

Of course, if you're a young, red-blooded American, you may have set your sights a little higher. So you want to be president? In that case, just to be safe for 2012, you probably should consider raising somewhere in the range of one billion dollars. After all, the 2008 campaign cost Barack Obama's team approximately $730 million and the price of a place at the table just keeps going up. Of course, it helps to know the right people. Last year, the total lobbying bill, including money that went out for electoral campaigns and for lobbying Congress and federal agencies, came to $3.3 billion and almost 9 months into 2009, another $1.63 billion has already gone out without an election in sight.

Let's face it. At the national level, this is what American democracy comes down to today, and this is what George W. Bush & Co. were so infernally proud to export by force of arms to Afghanistan and Iraq. This is why we need to think about the questions that Arundhati Roy -- to my mind, a heroic figure in a rather unheroic age -- raises about democracy globally in an essay adapted from the introduction to her latest book. That book, Field Notes on Democracy: Listening to Grasshoppers, has just been published (with one essay included that originally appeared at TomDispatch). Let's face it, she's just one of those authors -- I count Eduardo Galeano as another -- who must be read. Need I say more? Tom

What Have We Done to Democracy?

Of Nearsighted Progress, Feral Howls, Consensus, Chaos, and a New Cold War in Kashmir
By Arundhati Roy

While we're still arguing about whether there's life after death, can we add another question to the cart? Is there life after democracy? What sort of life will it be? By "democracy" I don't mean democracy as an ideal or an aspiration. I mean the working model: Western liberal democracy, and its variants, such as they are.

So, is there life after democracy?

Attempts to answer this question often turn into a comparison of different systems of governance, and end with a somewhat prickly, combative defense of democracy. It's flawed, we say. It isn't perfect, but it's better than everything else that's on offer. Inevitably, someone in the room will say: "Afghanistan, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Somalia... is that what you would prefer?"

Whether democracy should be the utopia that all "developing" societies aspire to is a separate question altogether. (I think it should. The early, idealistic phase can be quite heady.) The question about life after democracy is addressed to those of us who already live in democracies, or in countries that pretend to be democracies. It isn't meant to suggest that we lapse into older, discredited models of totalitarian or authoritarian governance. It's meant to suggest that the system of representative democracy -- too much representation, too little democracy -- needs some structural adjustment.

The question here, really, is what have we done to democracy? What have we turned it into? What happens once democracy has been used up? When it has been hollowed out and emptied of meaning? What happens when each of its institutions has metastasized into something dangerous? What happens now that democracy and the free market have fused into a single predatory organism with a thin, constricted imagination that revolves almost entirely around the idea of maximizing profit? Read more.

Why we do stupid things

Hummer Owners Claim Moral High Ground To Excuse Overconsumption, Study Finds

Science Daily (Sep 25, 2009) — Hummer drivers believe they are defending America's frontier lifestyle against anti-American critics, according to a new study in the Journal of Consumer Research.

Authors Marius K. Luedicke (University of Innsbruck, Austria), Craig J. Thompson (University of Wisconsin–Madison), and Markus Giesler (York University, Toronto) researched attitudes toward owning and driving Hummers, which have become symbols to many of American greed and wastefulness.

The researchers first investigated anti-consumption sentiments expressed by people who oppose chains like Starbucks and believe they are making a moral choice by shunning consumerism. To these critics, Hummers represent the ills of contemporary society. As one extreme example, on a website, people have posted thousands of photographs of middle fingers directed at Hummer vehicles.

You Have Only the Right to Remain Silent

Let's Try Democracy By David Swanson, BlackCommentator.com Columnist

We welcome David Swanson as a BC columnist. We have published his writings a number of times in the past and look forward to what he will be writing in the future.
This first column by Mr. Swanson is the first of three excerpts from Daybreak: Undoing the Imperial Presidency and Forming a More Perfect Union (Seven Stories Press) by David Swanson published here by the kind permission of the publisher.

According to the Declaration of Independence, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

The men who put their signatures to those words sought to endow each other with those rights, and those rights can be gained or lost. And since that day, people around the world have imagined, created, and struggled for a great many additional rights as well.

Al Franken Reads the 4th Amendment to Justice Department Official

Al Franken Reads the 4th Amendment to Justice Department Official
By Daphne Eviatar | Washington Independent

Just in case he wasn’t familiar with it, Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) decided to read the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution to David Kris, assistant attorney general of the Justice Department’s National Security Division, who was testifying to the Senate Judiciary Committee today to urge reauthorization of expiring provisions of the USA Patriot Act.

Franken, who opened by acknowledging that unlike most of his colleagues in the Senate, he’s not a lawyer, but according to his research “most Americans aren’t lawyers” either, said he’d also done research on the Patriot Act and in particular, the “roving wiretap” provision that allows the FBI to get a warrant to wiretap a an unnamed target and his or her various and changing cell phones, computers and other communication devices.

Noting that he received a copy of the Constitution when he was sworn in as a senator, he proceeded to read it to Kris, emphasizing this part: “no Warrants shall issue but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”

“That’s pretty explicit language,” noted Franken, asking Kris how the “roving wiretap” provision of the Patriot Act can meet that requirement if it doesn’t require the government to name its target. Read more.

Center for Constitutional Rights Calls for Judicial Review of All Evidence When State Secrets Invoked

Center for Constitutional Rights Calls for Judicial Review of All Evidence When State Secrets Invoked | Press Release
Rights Group Critical of New DOJ Policy Promises

September 23, 2009, New York – In response to news the Attorney General is establishing new policy on the question of the use of the state secrets privilege, the Center for Constitutional Rights issues the following statement:

Leading Democrats Weigh In on New State Secrets Policy

Leading Democrats Weigh In on New State Secrets Policy
By Charlie Savage | NY Times

Representative Jerrold Nadler of New York and Senator Patrick Leahy of Vermont have released statements responding to the Justice Department’s new policy on the State Secrets Privilege.

The two Democrats are leading efforts in the House and Senate to enact legislation restricting when and how the privilege may be used to withhold evidence from a court or shut down a lawsuit for national security reasons, and a crucial question raised by the Obama administration’s policy is whether it will blunt desire to pass such a law.

The New York Times previewed the new policy in an article in today’s newspaper. This morning, Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. signed off on the policy, and the Justice Department has released the memorandum (read it below). Read more.

Obama to Set Higher Bar For Keeping State Secrets

Obama to Set Higher Bar For Keeping State Secrets
New Policy May Affect Wiretap, Torture Suits
Carrie Johnson | Washington Post

The Obama administration will announce a new policy Wednesday making it much more difficult for the government to claim that it is protecting state secrets when it hides details of sensitive national security strategies such as rendition and warrantless eavesdropping, according to two senior Justice Department officials.

The new policy requires agencies, including the intelligence community and the military, to convince the attorney general and a team of Justice Department lawyers that the release of sensitive information would present significant harm to "national defense or foreign relations." In the past, the claim that state secrets were at risk could be invoked with the approval of one official and by meeting a lower standard of proof that disclosure would be harmful.

That claim was asserted dozens of times during the Bush administration, legal scholars said.

The shift could have a broad effect on many lawsuits, including those filed by alleged victims of torture and electronic surveillance. Authorities have frequently argued that judges should dismiss those cases at the outset to avoid the release of information that could compromise national security.

The heightened standard is designed in part to restore the confidence of Congress, civil liberties advocates and judges, who have criticized both the Bush White House and the Obama administration for excessive secrecy. The new policy will take effect Oct. 1 and has been endorsed by federal intelligence agencies, Justice Department sources said. Read more.

Obama Administration Seeks Renewal of Three Key Parts of PATRIOT Act

The administration has asked lawmakers to extend powers allowing the government to collect a wide range of financial and personal records, as well as monitor suspects with roving wiretaps. The methods were authorized under the USA PATRIOT Act and are set to expire at year's end. The call for renewing the PATRIOT Act provisions comes as Democratic lawmakers and civil liberties groups want to revisit its broader powers. Democratic Senator Russ Feingold of Wisconsin has proposed a new bill that would overhaul the PATRIOT Act and other surveillance laws to include more privacy safeguards.

Listen/Watch/Read at Democracy Now!

Moore: GM Banned Me From Premiere - Who Owns GM Again?

Moore: GM Banned Me From Premiere
Screening Goes On Without Moore Present | KCRA

Controversial Michigan filmmaker Michael Moore was escorted out of the General Motors headquarters building in Detroit 20 years ago while filming “Roger and Me.” And Sunday, when Moore once again brought a film to the Renaissance Center, compromises had to be made.

In “Roger and Me,” Moore was trying to get some one-on-one time with then GM CEO Roger Smith, but Moore was asked to leave the property when cameras followed him in.

Moore rented out four movie theaters inside the Renaissance Center to screen his new film, “Capitalism -- A Love Story.”

The film blames the economic crisis on President Reagan-era deregulation and greedy business executives who Moore said he believes undermined free enterprise by pushing for policies that benefited the richest 1 percent while hurting the lower and middle classes.

But Moore said when the leaders of the auto company realized it was his film, they told him he wouldn’t be allowed in. Read more.

Media Mud Pies: CNN'S Embarrassing Response To FOX

By Linda Milazzo

In response to FOX's childish and embarrassing ad in the Washington Post that challenged competitors' coverage of the 9/12 teabaggers in Washington, DC, CNN is airing this equally chilidish and embarrassing ad to prove it did cover the teabaggers in Washington DC.

Du-uh!!

Oooh-oooh! Did I mention this is childish and embarrassing??

Two Prisoners From Ft. Hood Held Incommunicado at Ft. Lewis: Attorneys Ask Why?

Two prisoners from Fort Hood held incommunicado at Fort
Lewis Brig, Attorneys Ask Why? | Press release

September 17th, 2009 – Fort Lewis, WA – War resister Travis Bishop is being held incommunicado, in the Northwest Joint Regional Correctional Facility at Fort Lewis, and is even being denied his legal right to counsel, a violation of the Sixth Amendment to the US Constitution. Attorney Legrand Jones was denied access to Bishop, on the grounds that he is on an unnamed and unobtainable "watchlist," which constitutes deprivation of counsel. Since his incarceration, Bishop's condition is unclear due to being completely cut off from the public.

Fellow incarcerated soldier Leo Church has been able to reach his lawyer, but the call was monitored by a guard, violating his attorney-client privilege.

Homeland Security: Feingold, Others, Offer PATRIOT Act Fixes

Homeland Security: Feingold, Others, Offer PATRIOT Act Fixes
By George Loper | Loper.org

"U.S. Senators Russ Feingold (D-WI), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Jon Tester (D-MT), Tom Udall (D-NM), Jeff Bingaman (D-NM), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Daniel Akaka (D-HI) and Ron Wyden (D-OR) have introduced legislation to fix problems with surveillance laws that threaten the rights and liberties of American citizens. The Judicious Use of Surveillance Tools In Counterterrorism Efforts (JUSTICE) Act would reform the USA PATRIOT Act, the FISA Amendments Act and other surveillance authorities to protect Americans’ constitutional rights, while preserving the powers of our government to fight terrorism.

The JUSTICE Act reforms include more effective checks on government searches of Americans’ personal records, the “sneak and peek” search provision of the PATRIOT Act, “John Doe” roving wiretaps and other overbroad authorities. The bill will also reform the FISA Amendments Act, passed last year, by repealing the retroactive immunity provision, preventing “bulk collection” of the contents of Americans’ international communications, and prohibiting “reverse targeting” of innocent Americans. And the bill enables better oversight of the use of National Security Letters (NSLs) after the Department of Justice Inspector General issued reports detailing the misuse and abuse of the NSLs. The Senate Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing on Wednesday, September 23rd, on reauthorization of the USA PATRIOT Act.

“Every single member of Congress wants to give our law enforcement and intelligence officials the tools they need to keep Americans safe,” said Feingold. “But with the PATRIOT Act up for reauthorization, we should take this opportunity to fix the flaws in our surveillance laws once and for all. The JUSTICE Act permits the government to conduct necessary surveillance, but within a framework of accountability and oversight. It ensures both that our government has the tools to keep us safe, and that the privacy and civil liberties of innocent Americans will be protected. When he was in the Senate, President Obama was a strong ally on these issues, and I look forward to working with his administration to find common ground on commonsense reforms.” Read more.

Statement from Demos On Indiana Court Striking Down Voter Identification Law

Statement from Demos On Indiana Court Striking Down Voter Identification Law | Press Release

Today, the Indiana Court of Appeals struck down a controversial voter identification law. In response, Tova Andrea Wang, Senior Democracy Fellow at Demos, a national public policy center that has conducted extensive research and legal work on Voter ID and election reform, issued the following statement in support of the decision:

Don Siegelman and the Poisoning of American Politics

Don Siegelman and the Poisoning of American Politics | Legal Schnauzer

Numerous media outlets have reported in recent years on the coarsening of our culture. A country that once seemed to exhibit a sense of grace and humility now seems awash in people who are rude, arrogant, selfish, and dishonest.

If our overall culture has one leg in the sewer, what about our political culture? It seems to be covered in slime from head to toe, with no better example than the bogus prosecution of former Alabama Governor Don Siegelman.

Andrew Kreig, a Washington, D.C.-based attorney and journalist, shows in a recent piece at Huffington Post how the Siegelman prosecution showcases a political culture that is covered with muck.

Kreig focuses on a recent Justice Department filing that argues that Siegelman and codefendant Richard Scrushy have presented "no evidence" since their 2006 bribery convictions that justifies a hearing or new trial. You can almost hear Kreig's jaw hitting the floor as he writes that:

No evidence? Read more.

Free Speech Victory for Rights Groups in Advance of G-20 Summit

Free Speech Victory for Rights Groups in Advance of G-20 Summit
Judge Rules Activists Can Demonstrate in Downtown Park | Press Release

September 17, 2009, Pittsburgh, PA – Today, United States District Judge Gary L. Lancaster ruled today on a suit filed by the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) and the American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania (ACLU-PA) on behalf of groups seeking to hold peaceful demonstrations in downtown Pittsburgh where the Group of 20 Summit (G-20) will take place next week. In his decision, the judge said CodePink, one of the activist groups represented, will be allowed to use Point State Park, centrally located in downtown Pittsburgh, for several days preceding the G-20.

Max Obuszewski Knocks Karl Rove and Goucher College

On the evening of Sept. 16, 2009, a protest action was staged at Goucher College in Towson, MD, just north of Baltimore City, with respect to the appearance of Karl Rove on campus, as a guest speaker. Rove, aka “Dubya’s Brain,” was a senior advisor, (2001-07), to then President, George W. Bush. He is suspected of participating in a White House-based cabal, (WHIG), which helped to launch the immoral and illegal Iraq War. Talking on camera and sharing his views of Rove was activist Max Obuszewski. He was sharply critical of Rove for his serial wrong doings, and of Goucher College, too, for giving him a venue to speak. Mr. Obuszewski used to teach a course on “Human Rights” at the Goucher College, in the “Peace Studies Program.” To say he was disappointed with Goucher in this matter would be an understatement. Obuszewski is active with the “Iraq Pledge of Resistance” group. According to a press release of the ANSWER Coalition, Rove “should be on trial,” for not only his role in pushing the Iraq War, but for also implementing “a system of torture and secret prisons; [for]racial and religious profiling; and for massive spying on the people in this country.”

FBI: Beating At Cracker Barrel May Be Hate Crime

FBI: Beating at Cracker Barrel may be hate crime
By Craig Johnson | CNN

The FBI is investigating as a possible hate crime an incident in which a woman was beaten to the ground in front of her child at the entrance to a Cracker Barrel restaurant in Morrow, Georgia, south of Atlanta.

Troy Dale West Jr., of Poulan, Georgia, is facing charges including misdemeanor battery and disorderly conduct after allegedly beating Army reservist Tashawnea Hill, 35, after the two had words at the entrance of the Morrow, Georgia, restaurant the evening of September 9.

Hill, an African-American, told police that West, 47, yelled racial epithets at her as the attack took place.

"He did punch me with a closed fist repeated times. My head is still hurting today. I have knots on my head," Hill told CNN Wednesday night, adding she also was kicked.

Police said witnesses confirmed her account.

The FBI has "initiated an investigation in the matter to determine if a civil rights violation occurred," the agency said in a statement.

Because the alleged incident happened in full view of Hill's 7-year-old daughter, the Clayton County district attorney's office added a felony charge of cruelty to children.

"[The woman's daughter] was visibly upset the night of the attack," according to Capt. James Callaway of the Morrow Police Department, who said he was on the scene shortly after the alleged attack.

A police report of the incident said Hill's daughter was "crying uncontrollably and her body [was] shaking/trembling" from witnessing the attack. Read more.

Lynching Victim Emmett Till's Casket To Go To Smithsonian

Lynching Victim Emmett Till's Casket to go to Smithsonian
By Don Babwin | Black News

The glass-topped casket that displayed lynching victim Emmett Till's disfigured body to the world and became a rallying point for the civil rights movement is headed to the Smithsonian Institution, Till's family announced Friday.

"Hopefully, when this casket, when it's on display at the Smithsonian, young boys and young girls from all over the world are going to see it and it's going to inspire them to fight for those who are too weak to fight for themselves," said Simeon Wright, Till's cousin.

At the South Side church where Mamie Till-Mobley insisted in 1955 on opening the casket that held the remains of her 14-year-old son - and allowed photographs to be taken and published - Wright said her message of what racism looks like still needs to be told.

"Fifty years from now someone will tell the story ... that they murdered him, threw him in the Tallahatchie River, would they believe it without the casket?" asked Wright. He was 12 and was with Till the night the black teenager was pulled from his bed in Mississippi and murdered for whistling at a white woman.

Lonnie Bunch, the director of the Smithsonian's planned National Museum of African American History and Culture, where the casket will be displayed, said he knows of no other casket of a specific American put on display this way at the Smithsonian. He called it a key artifact from the civil rights movement that helps tell the story of what is both one of the darkest chapters in U.S. history and a moment that helped change it.

"Part of the responsibility of a national museum is to help people to remember, and through this donation we will ensure that future generations will remember how the death of a child, a mother's courage, helped to transform America," Bunch said. Read more.

A Safe Substitute for Alcohol?

By David Swanson

The U.S. Department of Justice says that alcohol plays a pivotal role in two-thirds of all cases of violence against an intimate (a spouse, boyfriend, girlfriend), and blames alcohol for contributing to 100,000 sexual assaults against young people every year. That's right, alcohol hurts more people than al Qaeda.

Of course, alcohol does not always lead every consumer of it to violence. Most people who drink alcohol don't hurt anyone. But a large percentage of those who do get violent have been drinking alcohol. Should we ban it? We tried that once with miserable results, and we've banned other substances with equally bad outcomes.

Note from Michael Moore: From Toronto to Pittsburgh to Jay Leno, "Capitalism" Marches On

From Toronto to Pittsburgh to Jay Leno, "Capitalism" Marches On

Friends,

It hasn't quite hit me that "Capitalism: A Love Story," my new film, will be opening in theaters in New York and L.A. just one week from tomorrow. And everywhere else on October 2nd. Is it already the fall?

Having spent the last year and a half living pretty much under the radar and quietly putting together this movie for you, it is heartening, to say the least, to read the early reviews where Time Magazine called it "Moore's magnum opus," the Los Angeles Times has declared it my "most controversial film yet," and Variety has said that "Capitalism: A Love Story" is "one of Moore's best films." Wow. Honestly, I didn't know what to expect, considering this film is an all-out assault against the racket polite people like to call "Wall Street."

Patriot Act Provisions Get Obama Support

Patriot Act Provisions Get Obama Support
Administration Wants Some Controversial Policies Renewed
By Jason Ryan | ABC News

The Justice Department has indicated that the Obama administration is in support of renewing a pair of controversial sections of the USA Patriot Act that expire later this year. The provisions that will expire in December include Section 206, that allows "roving" wiretaps so FBI agents can tap multiple phones or computers (with court authorization) that a specific person (target) may use.

Another expiring provision, Section 215, is the so-called "library provision," which allows investigators to obtain business records with approval from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court.

And the final provision which was nicknamed the "Lone Wolf" authorization, allows intelligence gathering of people not suspected of being part of a foreign government or known terrorist organization. Read more.

91 Former AGs File Brief In Siegelman Case

91 former AGs file brief in Siegelman case
BY Chris Rizo | Legal Newsline

A bipartisan group of 91 former state attorneys general are asking the U.S. Supreme Court to hear an appeal by former Alabama Gov. Don Siegelman.

The former Democratic governor is appealing his federal bribery conviction. The former attorneys general, in a brief filed Thursday, said the case raises important free speech issues.

In court papers, the former attorneys general said it was not against the law for Siegelman to appoint former HealthSouth CEO Richard Scrushy to a hospital regulatory board after Scrushy arranged for $500,000 in donations to Siegelman's campaign for a statewide lottery.

They said there was no agreement between the governor and Scrushy concerning the appointment.

"This case concerns the criminalization of conduct protected by the First Amendment - the giving and receiving of campaign contributions," the group's amicus brief said. Read more.

Charles Darwin Film 'Too Controversial For Religious America'

Charles Darwin film 'too controversial for religious America'
A British film about Charles Darwin has failed to find a US distributor because his theory of evolution is too controversial for American audiences, according to its producer.
By Anita Singh | Telegraph UK

Creation, starring Paul Bettany, details Darwin's "struggle between faith and reason" as he wrote On The Origin of Species. It depicts him as a man who loses faith in God following the death of his beloved 10-year-old daughter, Annie.

Creation: Review, background and the facts

The film was chosen to open the Toronto Film Festival and has its British premiere on Sunday. It has been sold in almost every territory around the world, from Australia to Scandinavia.

However, US distributors have resolutely passed on a film which will prove hugely divisive in a country where, according to a Gallup poll conducted in February, only 39 per cent of Americans believe in the theory of evolution.

Movieguide.org, an influential site which reviews films from a Christian perspective, described Darwin as the father of eugenics and denounced him as "a racist, a bigot and an 1800s naturalist whose legacy is mass murder". His "half-baked theory" directly influenced Adolf Hitler and led to "atrocities, crimes against humanity, cloning and genetic engineering", the site stated.

The film has sparked fierce debate on US Christian websites, with a typical comment dismissing evolution as "a silly theory with a serious lack of evidence to support it despite over a century of trying". Read more.

OpedNews Journalist and Protesters Charged With Criminal Conspiracy After Arrest At "Army Experience Center"

By Linda Milazzo

Philadelphia, PA, September 13, 2009: Six members of various anti-war groups, including World Can't Wait and Military Families Speak Out, and an OpedNews journalist, were arrested on Saturday, September 12, 2009, at approximately 3pm (ET) at a protest organized to shut down The Army Experience Center, located in Franklin Mills Mall in Philadelphia, PA. They were released early Sunday morning and charged with Criminal Conspiracy and Failure To Disperse. Their arraignment is scheduled for September 23, 2009 at 11:30am (ET) at Philadelphia Municipal Court,1301 Filbert Street.

photo

Videographer Arrested for Filming at Massey Energy Regional Headquarters

Massey Morgan Rd Julian, WV 6AM ish 9-9-09 | Press Release

I was filming a Chain & Tube Lock Down Blockade of the road which leads to Massey Energy Regional Headquarters as the first workers of the day arrived.

Protesting Dirty Military Recruiting Tactics (plus, an OpEdNews photographer unfairly arrested)

Protesting dirty military recruiting tactics (plus, an OpEdNews photographer unfairly arrested)
By Ross Levin | Op Ed News

Most of you probably don't know this, but the US military (using well over 15 million of your hard-earned dollars) has recently opened up a center for teenagers to have "the army experience" by playing video games and going through "simulations" of Humvees and "operation centers." It's called The Army Experience Center (AEC), and it's a 14,500 square foot recruiting tool located in the Franklin Mills Mall in northeast Philadelphia. It's something that the military industrial complex - excuse me, I mean the army - wants to replicate across the country.

Today I went to a protest in front of the AEC that was meant to shut it down for the day and hopefully lead to it shutting down for good. Go below the fold to see what happened, how I might be on national television, and some pictures.::::::::Crossposted to Docudharma.com, Dailykos.com, and Greenchange.org

The AEC is just what it sounds like - a rather disgusting military recruiting tool that exists to deceive kids into thinking that war is nothing more than a video game. I'm 16, and I can see how something like this would appeal to friends of mine. If it was just an arcade, I could have a fun time in there. But it's not just an arcade - it is a huge piece of propaganda that doesn't acknowledge the harsh realities of war. Like giving recruiters VIP access to high schools isn't enough, here is yet another attempt by the minions of the military industrial complex to militarize our culture and the nation's youth.

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