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Wednesday, Oct 01st

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The Worst Campaign Finance Ruling Since Citizens United

Scott WalkerWhatever one thinks about Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker and his policies, the decision last week by federal judge Rudolph T. Randa to summarily halt an investigation into alleged campaign finance violations by Walker’s campaign and supporters—and to order prosecutors to destroy all the evidence they collected—was a striking instance of judicial chutzpah.

The accompanying opinion (PDF) is laced with ideological rhetoric seeking to undermine many of the remaining campaign finance laws on the books. Even following the Supreme Court’s evisceration of campaign finance law in the Citizens United and McCutcheon decisions, Randa’s ruling is a bridge too far. It should not stand.

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The 800-Pound Gorilla Of The Christian Right

Christian rightThe Alliance Defending Freedom wants to take America back to the 3rd century. Literally. On the website for its legal fellowship program, the organization explains that it “seeks to recover the robust Christendomic theology of the 3rd, 4th, and 5th centuries.”

“This is catholic, universal orthodoxy and it is desperately crucial for cultural renewal,” the explanation goes on. “Christians must strive to build glorious cultural cathedrals, rather than shanty tin sheds.”

While the Arizona-based organization has not made much progress in its mission of restoring the religious sentiments of the Byzantine Era, it has built a massive “legal ministry,” relying on 21st century attorneys and an eight-figure annual budget to reshape American law and society.

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Supreme Court to rule on political campaigns’ pretty little lies

Supreme CourtIt turns out that there is a tenet in American politics that groups as diverse as the American Civil Liberties Union, the Obama administration, the anti-abortion group the Susan B. Anthony List and the Republican National Committee can agree on: Elections thrive on free speech, even if that speech contains obfuscations, mudslinging, half-truths and, occasionally, blatant lies.

The Supreme Court will hear oral arguments Tuesday in Susan B. Anthony List v. Driehaus, a case that turns on whether an Ohio law that prohibits “false statements” about candidates during a political campaign violates the right to free speech enshrined in the First Amendment.

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The tea party radio network

tea party radioGlenn Beck worked the crowd like a preacher at a rally this month in Louisville, Ky., declaring that God had responded to conservatives’ prayers by sending a slate of tea party candidates to wrest control of the Republican Party from Mitch McConnell.

But there was a more earthly benefit to the arrangement that brought Beck to the rally. It was organized by the tea party nonprofit group FreedomWorks, which had endorsed the candidates — and which has paid more than $6 million in recent years to have Beck promote the group, its initiatives and events.

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The US is not a democracy but an oligarchy, study concludes

wall streetOligarchy is a form of government in which power is vested in a dominant class and a small group exercises control over the general population.

A new study from Princeton and Northwestern Universities concluded that the U.S. government represents not the interests of the majority of citizens but those of the rich and powerful.

"Testing Theories of American Politics: Elites, Interest Groups, and Average Citizens" analyzed extensive data, comparing nearly 1,800 U.S. policies enacted between 1981 and 2002 with the expressed preferences of average and affluent Americans as well as special interest groups.

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Obama To Sign Executive Orders On Equal Pay

equal pay executived orderPresident Barack Obama will sign two new executive orders on equal pay for women Tuesday, Politico reports. The executive actions coincide with "Equal Pay Day" -- the date that symbolizes how far into 2014 women must work to earn the same amount of money men earned last year.

Both executive orders mirror provisions of the Paycheck Fairness Act, which Congress has twice failed to pass. One would prohibit federal contractors from retaliating against employees who share their salary information with each other. The provision is inspired by Lilly Ledbetter, the namesake of the first bill Obama signed on equal pay in 2009, who worked for nearly 20 years at Goodyear Tire and Rubber Co. before discovering that men in her same job with equal or lesser experience were earning significantly more money than she was.

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Feds accused of steering funding to anti-pot researchers

Feds pushing anti pot researchAs the nation’s only truly legal supplier of marijuana, the U.S. government keeps tight control of its stash, which is grown in a 12-acre fenced garden on the campus of the University of Mississippi in Oxford.

From there, part of the crop is shipped to Research Triangle Institute in North Carolina, where it’s rolled into cigarettes, all at taxpayer expense.

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