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Saturday, Aug 02nd

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Former N.J. prosecutor wants open records on quashed indictment of Christie ally

ChristieA former New Jersey county prosecutor says he was fired by the Christie administration for fighting efforts to quash the indictment of an ally of the governor.

Bennett A. Barlyn has filed a lawsuit for wrongful dismissal, the (Newark) Star-Ledger reported Wednesday. He was dismissed as Hunterdon County prosecutor in 2010 and now teaches in Pennsylvania.

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State of the Union 2014: Obama to raise minimum wage for federal workers

ObamaPresident Barack Obama will act to raise the minimum wage for federal contractors from $7.25 to $10.10, fulfilling a big wish for liberals, the White House announced.

The executive order to be announced at Tuesday’s State of the Union address would cover only the fraction of 2 million federal contractors making the minimum wage.

The president will also renew his call for Congress to raise the minimum wage for all workers to $10.10 via a bill from Democrats Sen. Tom Harkin of Iowa and Rep. George Miller of California that would then tie it to the rate of inflation.

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Meet the New Kochs: The DeVos Clan's Plan to Defund the Left

DevosTHE DEVOSES sit alongside the Kochs, the Bradleys, and the Coorses as founding families of the modern conservative movement. Since 1970, DeVos family members have invested at least $200 million in a host of right-wing causes—think tanks, media outlets, political committees, evangelical outfits, and a string of advocacy groups.

They have helped fund nearly every prominent Republican running for national office and underwritten a laundry list of conservative campaigns on issues ranging from charter schools and vouchers to anti-gay-marriage and anti-tax ballot measures. "There's not a Republican president or presidential candidate in the last 50 years who hasn't known the DeVoses," says Saul Anuzis, a former chairman of the Michigan Republican Party.

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Harvard prof. embarks on 185-mile trek to battle campaign corruption

Harvard prof. lessigFifteen years ago, an 88-year-old woman named Dorris Haddock sensed that something was seriously amiss with the way campaigns were financed in the United States. Affixing a sign that said simply “Campaign Finance Reform” to her chest, she embarked on a 3,200 mile walk across 12 states to rally support behind measures to rid the political system of corruption and influence.

Haddock is credited with helping to galvanize public will around the McCain-Feingold Campaign Finance Reform Act, which was signed into law in 2002. Nonetheless, two months before she died at the age of 100, the Supreme Court handed down its landmark decision in Citizens United vs. Federal Election Commission decision, which undid many of the limits put in place on campaign finance and heralded a new era in unprecedented spending by special interests and corporations.

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Liz Cheney quitting bid to unseat Wyoming's Enzi

Liz CheneyLiz Cheney, daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney, said Monday she is abandoning her effort to unseat Republican incumbent Sen. Mike Enzi of Wyoming.  Cheney cited "serious health issues" that "have recently arisen in our family" as the reason for her decision.

But her candidacy had raised hackles in the Republican Party and caused a public rift with her sister, Mary, a lesbian, over Liz Cheney's opposition to gay marriage.

In her withdrawal statement, Cheney did not mention those controversies.

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Facebook and Microsoft help fund rightwing lobby network, report finds

facebook and MS support right wing groupsSome of America’s largest technology and telecoms companies, including Facebook, Microsoft and AT&T, are backing a network of self-styled “free-market thinktanks” promoting a radical rightwing agenda in states across the nation, according to a new report by a lobbying watchdog.

The Center for Media and Democracy asserts that the State Policy Network (SPN), an umbrella group of 64 thinktanks based in each of the 50 states, is acting as a largely beneath-the-radar lobbying machine for major corporations and rightwing donors.

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Report: Think tanks tied to Koch Brothers

koch brothersA network of think tanks across the country is quietly pushing the agenda of right-wing groups with funding from Koch brothers-affiliated organizations, a new report alleges.

The study, by the liberal Center for Media and Democracy, is aimed at the State Policy Network, which describes itself as “dedicated solely to improving the practical effectiveness of independent, nonprofit, market-oriented, state-focused think tanks,” which are operating in all 50 states. The tax-exempt group seeks to “enable these organizations to better educate local citizens, policy makers and opinion leaders about market-oriented alternatives to state and local policy challenges.”

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