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How The Wealthy Buy Politicians

Lawrence Lessig & Jack Abramoff

Jack Abramoff is a former lobbyist who pleaded guilty in 2006 to charges of fraud, tax evasion, and conspiracy to bribe public officials. Abramoff also worked as businessman, movie producer and writer. Abramoff's lobbying and the scandals and investigation are featured in a documentary movie "Casino Jack and the United States of Money" and a political satire movie titled "Casino Jack".

Lawrence Lessig is a law professor at Harvard. He has been the lead counsel in important cases concerning copyright laws for digital content. His current work concerns institutional corruption.
Source: Lawrence Lessig interviews Jack Abramoff

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Legal Experts Destroy Rationale for Obama’s Assassination Policy … And Slam Democrats for Supporting It

Legal Experts Destroy Rationale for Obama’s Assassination Policy … And Slam Democrats for Supporting It

Obama Expanding Program Started by Cheney

    Attorney General Eric Holder announced at Northwestern University law school that the U.S. can assassinate U.S. citizens without any without disclosure of why they are even alleged to be baddies and without any review of any nature whatsoever by any judge, Congress or the American people.

    Northwestern University’s law school professor Joseph Margulies said:

      I defy anyone to read [Holder's] speech and show any differences between Obama and Bush on these issues, They both say we are in a war not confined to particular battlefield. … Both say we can target citizens without judicial oversight and that can happen anywhere in the world.

    Columbia law school professor Scott Horton notes that this assassination strategy was created by Dick Cheney, and is being carried out by the Obama administration:

      A lot of this seems to have been put in place under the tutelage of Dick Cheney. So here we see one of Dick Cheney’s ideas being ratified by Barack Obama and his Attorney General Eric Holder.

Garamendi tries to stop California water war

Congressman John Garamendi (D-Fairfield, CA), a Member of the House Natural Resources Committee and former Deputy Interior Secretary under President Bill Clinton, said in a press release on February 28 that he is "doing all he can to prevent reigniting another California water war."

On February 27, Garamendi sent a "Dear Colleague" letter to all Members of Congress urging his Democratic and Republican colleagues to vote 'nay' or 'present' on H.R. 1837, the so-called San Joaquin Water Reliability Act.

There is broad and substantial opposition to H.R. 1837 in California among urban, agricultural, conservationist, and recreational water stakeholders. A huge, diverse coalition of 190 environmental, environmental justice, tribal and fishing organizations from around the state sent comments in opposition to H.R. 1837 to Speaker Boehner and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi. California Indian Tribes opposing the legislation include the Winnemem Wintu Tribe, Karuk Tribe and Modoc Nation. (

The "water grab" is also opposed by the Western States Water Council, which consists of representatives appointed by the governors of 18 western states.

President Obama Signs Indefinite Detention Into Law

Posted by Amanda Simon, ACLU Blog of Rights

President Obama signed the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) today, allowing indefinite detention to be codified into law. As you know, the White House had threatened to veto an earlier version of the NDAA but reversed course shortly before Congress voted on the final bill. While President Obama issued a signing statement saying he had “serious reservations” about the provisions, the statement only applies to how his administration would use it and would not affect how the law is interpreted by subsequent administrations.

The statute is particularly dangerous because it has no temporal or geographic limitations, and can be used by this and future presidents to militarily detain people captured far from any battlefield.

Under the Bush administration, similar claims of worldwide detention authority were used to hold even a U.S. citizen detained on U.S. soil in military custody, and many in Congress now assert that the NDAA should be used in the same way again. The ACLU believes that any military detention of American citizens or others within the United States is unconstitutional and illegal, including under the NDAA. In addition, the breadth of the NDAA’s detention authority violates international law because it is not limited to people captured in the context of an actual armed conflict as required by the laws of war.

Ralph Nader and the Police State

Scott Horton Interviews Francis Boyle

Francis Boyle discusses how in 2004 the FBI and CIA tried to make him an informant to betray his Arab and Muslim legal clients. His refusal landed him on several terrorism watch lists and guaranteeing him a lifetime of harassment when traveling. He asks if we are already living in a police state, which will become a military dictatorship after one more major terrorist attacks. Currently Professor Boyle lectures on international law at the University of Illinois College of Law.
Source: Scott Horton Interviews Francis Boyle

Ralph Nader

Ralph Nader talks with Bob McChesney

Ralph Nader was named by The Atlantic as one of the 100 most influential figures in American history, and by Time and Life magazines as one of the hundred most influential Americans of the twentieth century. Nader has organized millions of citizens into more than 100 public interest groups to advocate for solutions. His efforts have helped create laws, regulatory agencies, and federal standards that have improved the quality of life for generations of Americans. Because of Ralph Nader we drive safer cars, eat healthier food, breathe better air, drink cleaner water, and work in safer environments.
Source: Ralph Nader on Media Matters with Bob McChesney

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The Whole World is Watching

Troy Davis Execution Delayed, Awaiting Decision From Supreme Court

    The prison has temporarily delayed the execution, awaiting a decision from the Supreme Court. The Atlanta Journal Constitution reports:
    Sara Totonchi of the Southern Center for Human Rights confirms the prison has temporarily delayed the execution while awaiting word from the U.S. Supreme Court on whether they can proceed with the execution tonight.

Arson at Orangevale dry cleaners owned by Christian Palestinians investigated as hate crime, FBI says

Arson at Orangevale dry cleaners owned by Christian Palestinians investigated as hate crime, FBI says

By Stephen Magagnini

    The FBI is investigating the pre-dawn arson of an Orangevale dry cleaners - which included offensive graffiti and a swastika - as a hate crime. FBI spokesman Steve Dupre said Wednesday.


    The federal ATF and the Sacramento Sheriff's Department have joined the investigation, Dupre said. The graffiti, painted in black on the wall outside the cleaners, included a swatiska and the words "f--- Arab."

    One of the owners, Joe Kurt, said he and his sister are "very proud to say we're Arab Christians - Antiochian Orthodox - we have our icon in the middle of the story and many pictures of the holy Virgin Mary."

Senate to vote on Patriot Act Extension Tomorrow (Thursday) at 10 AM With Virtually No Debate

I wish I had time to explain or fully comprehend all the arcane and archaic legislative maneuvers Harry Reid is pulling, but I'll try to process it and lay it out in a post tomorrow. Suffice it to say, Harry Reid is doing just about everything he can to force this contemptible piece of junk on the American people for four more years. Call Senator Boxer at her Sacramento office or call her DC office (202) 224-3553 and ask her to vote "no" on the extension

How Can Congress Debate a Secret Law?

By Sen. Ron Wyden and Sen. Mark Udall

    Members of Congress are about to vote to extend the most controversial provisions of the USA PATRIOT Act for four more years, even though few of them understand how those provisions are being interpreted and applied.

    As members of the Senate Intelligence Committee we have been provided with the executive branch's classified interpretation of those provisions and can tell you that we believe there is a significant discrepancy between what most people - including many Members of Congress - think the Patriot Act allows the government to do and what government officials secretly believe the Patriot Act allows them to do.



Changes the Sens want to make to § 215


No Time to Debate Patriot

The New Jim Crow: American Social Justice Tour

"The New Jim Crow: American Social Justice Tour" Featuring Professor Michelle Alexander

Wednesday, May 25, 2011, 6:30PM-8:00PM

Women's Civic Improvement Center, 3555 3rd Avenue, Sacramento, CA

A longtime civil rights advocate and litigator, Michelle Alexander won a 2005 Soros Justice Fellowship and now holds a joint appointment at the Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity and the Moritz College of Law at Ohio State University. Alexander served for several years as director of the Racial Justice Project at the ACLU of Northern California, and subsequently directed the Civil Rights Clinics at Stanford Law School, where she was an associate professor. Alexander is a former law clerk for Justice Harry Blackmun on the US Supreme Court and has appeared as a commentator on CNN, MSNBC, and NPR. The New Jim Crow is her first book. [The following event is free admission to the public.]

March 11, 2010 DemocracyNow interview below

The New Jim Crow

Wherever There Is a Fight' book reading

'Wherever There Is a Fight' book reading, signing by former ACLU staffers, in Sacramento May 24; Book chronicles how those fighting for their rights – from slaves to poets – shaped state of California

SACRAMENTO – The two authors of "Wherever There's a Fight - how Runaway Slaves, Suffragists, Immigrants, Strikers, and Poets Shaped Civil Liberties in California" will do a reading and book signing MAY 24, 7 – 8:30 p.m., at Sacramento Friends Meeting House, 890 57th St. (between H and J Streets). It's free and open to the public. Refreshments will be served.

Authors Elaine Elinson and Stan Yogi are both former ACLU staffers. The book won the 2010 Gold Medal in California from the California Book Awards.

The authors present historic and contemporary images of places you may have walked by every day, without realizing the civil liberties battles that were fought there:

  • the Votes for Women Club in San Francisco where shop girls gathered to eat and organize for suffrage,
  • the murals that Richard Nixon tried to censor,
  • the building occupied by disability rights activists who changed federal law.

It includes stories of how

Concert for Civil Liberties

Friday, May 20, 2011 8 p.m.
Marilyn's on K St. 909 K St., Sacramento

Are you ready for a fun evening out on the town in Sacramento, with an excellent line up of live music and a chance to connect with new people who care about the issues that matter the most to you? Join the ACLU of Northern California’s Sacramento Chapter, and three unforgettable bands as we rock the house at Marilyn’s on K Street, on Friday, May 20th.

You’ll hear the sounds of the Family Bandits, Backward Beast and Man/Miracle, and between sets, treated to important updates on two of the ACLU’s most critical campaigns.

Tickets $10 or $5 with ACLU discount (copy of the flyer on this web page [click the pic to enlarge], or the attachment)

Obama and Torture

Ted Rall
Jason Leopold
Will Durst

From the Peter B. Collins' Show
Jason Leopold on Obama’s contradictory positions on torture.
Peter B. Collins' memo to Obama.
Ted Rall talks about his new book, "The Anti-American Manifesto".
Will Durst on Democratic whiners.
Source: Obama’s Hypocritical Positions on Torture; PBC says “I’ll Stop Whining If….”; Ted Rall’s Anti-American Manifesto; Will Durst

Music includes Earth Anthem, How Can a Poor Man Stand Such Times and Live, We'll Meet Again

Play Program or Download below the fold

News coverage of UC Davis Students' Revelation of Spying by University Officials

I'll have more on this later

The Aggie

    Students and representatives from the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) held a press conference Tuesday to shed light on the Student Activism Team (SAT) - administrators' efforts to monitor campus action.

Celebrate “American Sikh Day” in Sacramento, CA: April 13, 2011

Sikhs in the Sacramento, California area will be gathering on the west steps of the State Capitol building on Wednesday April 13, 2011 from 11:00 AM to 1:30 PM to commemorate the first “American Sikh Day“:

American Sikh Day
A Celebration of this Nation and Religious Freedom

Wednesday, April 13th, 2011 11:00AM – 1:30PM
West Steps of the State Capitol (10th & Capitol Streets)

Come help us celebrate:
✓ Our Sikh faith
✓ Our history in California
✓ Our contributions to the community

More Than 50,000 Americans Call On Homeland Security To Drop Baseless Charges Against Internet User

Momentum Building: More Than 50,000 Americans Call On Homeland Security To Drop Baseless Charges Against Internet User

Demand Progress members decry scurrilous charges against Brian McCarthy -- arrested for nothing more than linking to other websites

More than 50,000 Americans have signed a petition urging the Department of Homeland Security and Immigration and Customs Enforcement to release Brian McCarthy. McCarthy ran a website,, that linked to various sites where Internet users could watch online streams of TV shows and sports networks. DHS and ICE seized his domain name in late January. And in an unprecedented move, they arrested him earlier this month and charged him with criminal copyright infringement -- punishable by five years in prison. As public outcry and media coverage of the story have grown, DHS and ICE have so far declined all requests for comment.