NJ Muslims Meet Their Accusers But Doubts Linger

The castigation of American Muslims is now a national pastime. From unforgiving Internet defamation to political candidates' indignant statements, to a massive spying campaign by the NYPD, and to more of the so-called Congressional Hearings by Rep. Peter King (R-NY), all represent the ugliest manifestation discriminatory practices and xenophobic sentiments against an American minority citizens. If you were to believe the polls, Americans are readily willing to sacrifice the liberties of American Muslims for the sake of the country's security and safety. However, you would not have guessed this: lastSunday, at the 15th Annual Community Brunch organized by the American Muslim Union (AMU), speaker after speaker made statements and promises portending a complete rejection of anti-Muslims rhetoric or policies.

 

Police Pepper-Spray Santa Monica College Students

Campus police pepper sprayed as many as 30 Santa Monica College students this evening as they disrupted a meeting of the Board of Trustees, which is moving forward with a controversial plan to offer a second tier of classes not subsidized by the state.

James Murdoch Out As BSkyB Chairman: Reports

Once his father's heir apparent, James Murdoch stepped down Tuesday as chairman of British Sky Broadcasting, surrendering one of the biggest jobs in the Murdoch media empire in a bid to distance the broadcaster from a deepening phone hacking scandal.

James Murdoch's credibility and competence have come under severe questioning because of the phone hacking crisis and alleged bribery by British newspapers while he was in charge, and he faces further questioning in the scandal.

National Occupation of Washington Begins with Demonstration at the EPA

Environmental and social justice advocates marched on the federal headquarters of the Environmental Protection Agency on Friday, March 30th, kicking off the National Occupation of Washington, DC Campaign. Protestors called on the EPA to prioritize environmental protection and sustainability over corporate interests, safeguard the civil rights of agency employees, and protect whistleblowers from retaliation. Marsha Coleman-Adebayo is a former EPA employee who won a federal discrimination lawsuit against the agency and helped to pass the first federal legislation protecting whistleblowers. She helped organize Friday’s action and currently heads a coalition that seeks to protect employees from abusive and discriminatory behavior.

Funders Behind New Anti-Obama Ad Blitz Stay Hidden

A new and highly aggressive multi-million-dollar anti-Obama ad campaign has started airing on television stations in eight key political swing states—but for now at least, the funders are staying hidden in the shadows.

The ads in question have a distinctly oily aura, which is unsurprising, perhaps since the group sponsoring them has been funded in the past by major fossil-fuel companies. The group defines itself as a non-partisan nonprofit, but exemplifies the growing role that secret money is playing in the 2012 Presidential campaign. 

Technically, the ads have been produced and aired by the Washington-based American Energy Alliance, a 501c-4 social-welfare organization under the Internal Revenue Service’s tax code, whose activities, under the law, have to be largely non-political. This group shares office space and personnel with a sister organization, the Institute for Energy Research, a 501c-3, whose tax status is typically reserved for charities. Its activities have to be strictly non-partisan and non-political. Both groups hide the identities of their funders. All that Benjamin Cole, director of communications for both groups would say is that the ads are funded by “individuals, foundations, and corporations.”

Koch Brothers, Chamber of Commerce Face Possible Campaign Donation Disclosure After Ruling

On Friday evening, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia issued a ruling that could begin the process of revealing the identities of secret donors to groups connected to Karl Rove and the Koch brothers.

The court ruled in Van Hollen v. Federal Election Commission that the FEC rules that restricted campaign donor disclosureare not valid and must be changed to provide for disclosure.

"We are very happy to see the judge got it right," says Paul Ryan, a lawyer for the Campaign Legal Center, a campaign finance watchdog that was a part of the team challenging the FEC rules.

Those rules state that donors to groups spending money on "electioneering communications," or advertisements that do not specifically call to elect or defeat a candidate, must only be disclosed if they specifically earmarked their donation to that particular expenditure. Since few, if any, donors to these groups ever earmark their donation for a specific election expense there was no disclosure.

Campaign Donor Advertising Rule Invalidated by U.S. Judge

The U.S. Federal Election Commission overstepped its authority by allowing groups that give money for election advertising to withhold the names of their donors from the public, a federal judge ruled.

U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jacksonin Washington yesterday threw out FEC regulations adopted in 2007 that let organizations and nonprofit groups keep secret the names of donors who pay for pre-election ads. She said the regulations clashed with requirements of the 2002 campaign finance law known as McCain-Feingold that groups report their ad spending to the commission.

“When the agency determined in this instance that the statute should be revised in light of legal developments, it undertook a legislative, policy making function that was beyond the scope of its authority,” Jackson said in her 31-page ruling.

Designing a Blueprint for Accountability

If you live in the Washington-Wall Street power corridor, what do you think is the essential first task to reviving the economy? Repealing some of the very few protections against fraud in the market that were put in place after the multiple crises of the past decade. Only in the Washington, D.C. echo chamber -- the same one that brought you the deregulatory spasm that led to the bubbles and inevitable crises in the first place -- could repealing these protections be seen as a step to reviving a moribund economy. Even as the Volcker Rule -- the single most important element of the minimalist reform agenda that was approved -- is being killed through death by a thousand cuts, the voices of entrenched Wall Street have succeeded in turning back the clock.

'Koch Brothers Exposed:' New Film Examines How Billionaire Brothers Shaped The Political Narrative

Over the past two years, Charles and David Koch have commanded a great deal of attention and been held up as an example of how corporate forces have corrupted the democratic process in America. Now a provocative new film, "Koch Brothers Exposed," seeks to uncover how the Koch brothers have manipulated the political narrative for personal and ideological gain, particularly in the post-Citizens United era.

The film, directed by Robert Greenwald, who notably uncovered unethical labor practices at Wal-Mart in his documentary "Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Wages," is set to premiere in New York City on March 29.

In an interview with The Huffington Post, Greenwald said that the Kochs' money and power have had an "unparalleled" impact.

"The Kochs are using their money, their power and the inequalities of our system for personal gain," he said, "and the size and scale that they're doing it at is fairly impressive."

Lobbyists, Guns and Money

Florida’s now-infamous Stand Your Ground law, which lets you shoot someone you consider threatening without facing arrest, let alone prosecution, sounds crazy — and it is. And it’s tempting to dismiss this law as the work of ignorant yahoos. But similar laws have been pushed across the nation, not by ignorant yahoos but by big corporations.

 

Specifically, language virtually identical to Florida’s law is featured in a template supplied to legislators in other states by the American Legislative Exchange Council, a corporate-backed organization that has managed to keep a low profile even as it exerts vast influence (only recently, thanks to yeoman work by the Center for Media and Democracy, has a clear picture of ALEC’s activities emerged). And if there is any silver lining to Trayvon Martin’s killing, it is that it might finally place a spotlight on what ALEC is doing to our society — and our democracy.

Loudoun County Supervisor Eugene Delgaudio's Public Advocate Labeled A Hate Group

A right-wing advocacy group headed by a Republican county supervisor in Northern Virginia has been designated a "hate group" by the Southern Poverty Law Center, a long-established civil rights organization that monitors and litigates against hate groups and extremists in the United States.

The Washington Post reports that the Loudoun County Democratic Committee is calling for Loudoun County Superviser Eugene Delgaudio to resign.

Delgaudio's group, Public Advocate of the United States, focuses its efforts on opposing gay marriage while promoting school prayer, anti-abortion legislation and the Boy Scouts. The group's website also has a poll asking who of the following President Obama should nominate to the U.S. Supreme Court: Dan Quayle, or former presidents George W. Bush or George H.W. Bush.

Fox News Literally Scares Woman To Death

Hallie Jean Mayes Knauss Culpepper was a vibrant, beautiful woman. She was stylish. She was sharp as a tack. She was good-natured. She was a trailblazer, a businesswoman, a woman who gave to the community and to her country. She was a “dyed-in-the-wool Republican.” She was a mother of three and raised five of her grandchildren. She was an avid watcher of Fox News. Fox News taught the woman of courage a new emotion – fear. She feared the President. She feared the Government. She feared healthcare. She feared Muslims. She feared death panels. On February 16, 2012, Hallie Jean Mayes Knauss Culpepper died at 85 years old because Fox News made her fear her doctor.

She left behind a beautiful family (pictured), including her grieving son, Tracy Knauss, who posted this on his Facebook page:

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