Dutch Tourists Jailed Under Russia’s ‘Gay Propaganda’ Law

Lately I’ve really come to miss the old Soviet Union.

From Huffington Post:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/07/22/dutch-tourists-jailed-russia-gay_n_3635803.html?utm_hp_ref=gay-voices


Four Dutch tourists have been jailed under Russia’s “gay propaganda” law after they were suspected of promoting homosexuality to children.

Russian LGBT Network was the first to report the tourists had been jailed Sunday. Russia’s Gazeta later reported the four suspects were with the LGBT-Groningen organization.

According to a Huffington Post translation of the report, the tourists arrived in Murmansk in mid-July to make a film about the city and the life of gay community there. While conducting a seminar with local LGBT group Center Maximum on Sunday, the police came in and arrested group chairman Kris van der Veen, as well as a camerawoman, a sound technician and a female student. Members of Center Maximum were also arrested.

The police were reportedly looking for minors at the meeting, according to Gazeta, but found none. They did, however, discover a 17-year-old in the film footage. The teen had told the crew he was 18 years old at the time of his interview, according to the report. Police were able to keep the Dutch tourists under the “homosexual propaganda” law.

The anti-gay legislation, which was signed into law by Russian President Vladimir Putin on June 30, stigmatizes gay people and bans anyone from giving children information on homosexuality. Earlier this month, it was announced tourists would be subjected to the same fines and sentences as residents if found in violation of the “gay propaganda” law. Foreigners can be jailed up to 14 days.

The is the first time tourists are known to have been arrested under the anti-gay law, Gay Star News notes.

A hearing scheduled for Monday was later postponed, Russian LGBT Network reports.

Brodway star Harvey Fierstein recently penned an op-ed in the New York Times over Russia’s anti-gay legislation, comparing such laws to those present in Nazi Germany.

Continue reading at:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/07/22/dutch-tourists-jailed-russia-gay_n_3635803.html?utm_hp_ref=gay-voices

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Transgender Love Story: Life After Surgery

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Transgender Group Leaves OutServe-SLDN, Joins Startup Group SPART*A

From The Advocate:  http://www.advocate.com/politics/military/2013/07/22/transgender-group-leaves-outserve-sldn-joins-startup-group-sparta

The transgender group of OutServe-Servicemembers Legal Defense Network announced Monday that it is cutting ties with the embattled organization, partnering with a new splinter group formed in the wake of a public controversy.

BY Sunnivie Brydum
July 22 2013

A group of transgender veterans and members currently serving in the armed forces announced today that they are leaving the embattled LGBT military advocacy group OutServe-Servicemembers Legal Defense Network to join a new startup group focused more explicitly on securing open military service for transgender individuals.

A press release today announced the formation of Service Members, Partners, Allies for Respect and Tolerance for All, or SPΛRT*A, a “group of LGBT people and allies who are currently serving or have served in the military, and our families,” that is “especially committed to our Trans members… and to gaining full equality for them in the U.S. Armed Forces. SPART*A’s Facebook page is currently active, while a website for the fledgling group is still under construction.

SPΛRT*A lists among its strategic priorities supporting LGBT service members with opportunities for professional development and networking, ensuring equal opportunity protections for all LGBT service members, creating a fully inclusive culture within the Department of Defense that is respectful of all military members regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity, and providing connections to legal support for any service member who feels they’ve been a victim of anti-LGBT bias. SPΛRT*A’s press release boasts members from military bases throughout the U.S., Afghanistan, Korea, Cuba, Guam, and Europe, with more expected to join soon. Members currently represent the Army, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard, and Marines, according to the release.

A separate statement also issued Monday announced that OutServe-SLDN’s Military Transgender Group is formally cutting ties with the organization in the wake of widely-reported upheaval that saw OutServe-SLDN’s newly appointed executive director, transgender Army veteran Allyson Robinson, asked to resign, followed by a slew of high-profile resignations in protest of Robinson’s treatment and communication breakdowns within the organization.

“Since the upheaval at OutServe-SLDN began on June 22, the transgender chapter of the organization has been working to determine where and how we can best fit within the movement,” wrote Brynn Tannehill, the chapter spokeswoman for OutServe-SLDN’s Military Transgender Group in a statement issued Monday. “This process has been painful, and strained personal and professional relationships that had previously been strong… The ultimate question we had to answer was where we need to be in order to most effectively move the issue of open service for transgender people forward. Unfortunately, it was the considered opinion of our members that OutServe-SLDN will not be able to represent our interests effectively for the foreseeable future.”

Continue reading at:  http://www.advocate.com/politics/military/2013/07/22/transgender-group-leaves-outserve-sldn-joins-startup-group-sparta

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Fired for Being Trans: The Rest of the Story

From Huffington Post:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/rebecca-juro/fired-for-being-trans-the-rest-of-the-story_b_3599933.html?utm_hp_ref=gay-voices


Recently, I was a panelist on HuffPost Live to talk about my experience with workplace discrimination due to being trans. My story was turned into a feature on the Gay Voices vertical, and while it’s completely accurate, some of what I said may have left an inaccurate impression of certain relevant facts. When you’ve only got a minute or two to tell your story, sometimes you have to skip important facts to save time. Any inaccurate perceptions are based on the way I told the story, and so I own them. In the interest of accuracy, I want to clarify the record and tell the rest of the story.

The first thing I said that may have been perceived inaccurately was that I was fired immediately after I told my boss that I’d be transitioning from male to female. This is true, and my dismissal was clearly due to my being trans, but it didn’t happen quite as immediately as my on-air comments might make it seem.

It was actually a few days after I told my boss I’d be transitioning that I was officially fired, though I did know immediately after telling my boss that it was only a matter of time, based on his reaction. I’d been a good and well-liked employee up to that point, but once my impending transition was known, my boss’ demeanor toward me changed drastically. He became openly hostile and said almost exactly what I said on-air, but it was actually a few days after I’d told him. However, there was no doubt whatsoever as to why I was being summarily fired after several months on the job with no disciplinary issues or problems with the quality of my work.

The other issue I want to clear up is the timing of my interaction with the New Jersey Division on Civil Rights. I contacted them immediately after being fired, and a hearing was scheduled for a couple of months thereafter.

By the time of the hearing, I’d fully begun my transition and was in an “in-between” mode, presenting in an androgynous manner, my hair somewhat femininely styled, and my body was already beginning to develop womanly curves from the estrogen I’d been taking for a while by then. The company sent the manager I’d worked for and a company lawyer to the meeting, and both they and I told our sides of the story. My former manager claimed that he had no idea what transition was and that he’d fired me for misbehavior. Of course, I knew this was a lie and asked for them to produce the disciplinary notices. They had none to show, because they didn’t exist.

Continue reading at:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/rebecca-juro/fired-for-being-trans-the-rest-of-the-story_b_3599933.html?utm_hp_ref=gay-voices

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Republican National Committee Chairman: Priebus: GOP Not Embracing ‘Tolerance’

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Republicans Love Lucy

From In These Times:  http://inthesetimes.com/article/15300/republicans_love_lucy/

BY Leo Gerard, United Steelworkers President
July 16, 2013

The GOP must really love Ricky Ricardo, the husband of Lucille Ball’s title character in the 1950’s show “I Love Lucy.” Just like the famously chauvinist Ricky, the party apparently thinks women are empty-headed twits.

Women are so vacuous, right-wingers figure, that they don’t understand how Obamacare benefits them and their families, so they’ll be easily swayed by an Obamacare smear ad that features a lovely young actress named “Julie.”

The ads, $1 million worth of them, are running during television shows popular with women. In the spots, “Julie” says she began paying more attention to healthcare after her son suffered seizures. But, “Julie” says, she has a lot of questions about how Obamacare will work. In the ad, the young mother sits wondering—paralyzed by confusion—because the GOP believes women are incapable of finding that information themselves. “How will Obamacare impact your family?” the ad ends by asking. The GOP is banking on women being too daft to know the answer.

The Republican Party is sure young women don’t know that Obamacare is the reason that they’re covered by health insurance—and will continue to be—on their parents’ plans—until age 26. The party is sure the mothers of America’s young adults are just clueless that Obamacare is the reason their daughters and sons managed to be insured past age 18.

The GOP is certain women are just so silly that they’re unaware that Obamacare means they get birth control and preventative care like annual ob-gyn check-ups without co-pays.

The Republican Party just knows women couldn’t possibly have absorbed the fact that Obamacare is the reason insurers can no longer charge them more than men.

The GOP is positive that women never learned that Obamacare prevents insurance companies from dropping policy holders when they get sick, like “Julie’s” seizure-stricken son in the Americans for the Prosperous commercial.

The Republican Party is darn tootin’ sure that women never found out that Obamacare ended the lifetime limits that insurance companies had devised to enable them to squirm out of providing care for people with high-cost chronic illnesses, conditions like the seizure disorder suffered by “Julie’s” son in the Americans for the Prosperous commercial.

Continue reading at:  http://inthesetimes.com/article/15300/republicans_love_lucy/

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Michigan Governor Denies That Same-Sex Families Are Deprived Of Any Rights

From Think Progress:  http://thinkprogress.org/lgbt/2013/07/23/2341031/michigan-governor-denies-that-same-sex-families-are-deprived-of-any-rights/

By Zack Ford
on Jul 23, 2013

Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder (R) and Attorney General Bill Schuette (R) have filed their formal response to a suit by a lesbian couple challenging the state’s amendment banning same-sex marriage. The couple are raising three special-needs children together but are prohibited from adopting each other’s children and becoming a unified family. The state had originally requested the case be dismissed out right, but a federal judge rejected that request, suggesting in the days after the Defense of Marriage Act was overturned that the couple had a viable case.

Snyder and Schuette’s filing responds line-by-line to the couple’s brief, repeatedly denying that April DeBoer and Jayne Rowse are a family since each of their children can only call one of them a legal guardian. For every example of a right and protection the couple argues they are excluded from, such as protections related to the death of a spouse, public and private safety nets for families, and health care decisions, the state argues that these claims are simply “untrue” and that the family has “not been adversely treated.”

Only briefly does the state explain how it intends to defend the ban on same-sex marriage::

Continue reading at:  http://thinkprogress.org/lgbt/2013/07/23/2341031/michigan-governor-denies-that-same-sex-families-are-deprived-of-any-rights/

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Some Mormons Search the Web and Find Doubt

From The New York Times:  http://www.nytimes.com/2013/07/21/us/some-mormons-search-the-web-and-find-doubt.html?hp

Published: July 20, 2013

In the small but cohesive Mormon community where he grew up, Hans Mattsson was a solid believer and a pillar of the church. He followed his father and grandfather into church leadership and finally became an “area authority” overseeing the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints throughout Europe.

When fellow believers in Sweden first began coming to him with information from the Internet that contradicted the church’s history and teachings, he dismissed it as “anti-Mormon propaganda,” the whisperings of Lucifer. He asked his superiors for help in responding to the members’ doubts, and when they seemed to only sidestep the questions, Mr. Mattsson began his own investigation.

But when he discovered credible evidence that the church’s founder, Joseph Smith, was a polygamist and that the Book of Mormon and other scriptures were rife with historical anomalies, Mr. Mattsson said he felt that the foundation on which he had built his life began to crumble.

Around the world and in the United States, where the faith was founded, the Mormon Church is grappling with a wave of doubt and disillusionment among members who encountered information on the Internet that sabotaged what they were taught about their faith, according to interviews with dozens of Mormons and those who study the church.

“I felt like I had an earthquake under my feet,” said Mr. Mattsson, now an emeritus area authority. “Everything I’d been taught, everything I’d been proud to preach about and witness about just crumbled under my feet. It was such a terrible psychological and nearly physical disturbance.”

Mr. Mattsson’s decision to go public with his disaffection, in a church whose top leaders commonly deliberate in private, is a sign that the church faces serious challenges not just from outside but also from skeptics inside.

Greg Prince, a Mormon historian and businessman in Washington who has held local leadership positions in the church, shares Mr. Mattsson’s doubts. “Consider a Catholic cardinal suddenly going to the media and saying about his own church, ‘I don’t buy a lot of this stuff,’ ” Mr. Prince said. “That’s the level we’re talking about here.”

Continue reading at:  http://www.nytimes.com/2013/07/21/us/some-mormons-search-the-web-and-find-doubt.html?hp

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Ken Cuccinelli’s War on Oral Sex

From Huffington Post:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/michelangelo-signorile/ken-cuccinelli-oral-sex_b_3639244.html


Sherri Shepherd of ABC’s “The View'” has not exactly been the most ardent champion of gay rights in the past, having supported Proposition 8 in 2008. But yesterday on the show she commented that if Virginia GOP gubernatorial candidate Ken Cuccinelli — who is intent on reinstating Virginia’s Crimes Against Nature law — really thinks oral sex (between any two people) is the same as gay sex, then she, a self-professed evangelical Christian, “is gayer than a gay two-dollar bill.”

Is this really where the GOP is going in 2013, taking on straight sex too? And that raises yet another question: Is it time for a reporter to ask Cuccinelli, currently the Virginia attorney general, if he’s ever engaged in cunnilingus or had anyone go down on him? Is American politics truly headed in that direction as the GOP defies political analysts as well as the beliefs and practices of the vast majority of Americans and continues to pander to extremists within in its base?

In 2012, we saw two political candidates who could not have been more starkly different on gay rights and some predicted it was the last time we’d see it. President Obama supported marriage equality, while Mitt Romney supported a constitutional ban on gay marriage. When Romney lost, and as polls showed majority support in the country for gay marriage, political analysts, pundits and even the Republican National Committee chair himself, Reince Preibus, predicted GOP candidates would need to change the tone on gay rights. After the Supreme Court’s gay marriage rulings last month, the predictions only continued, with some even saying that momentum in the Republican Party is moving toward changing with the times.

But that doesn’t seem to be the case despite three GOP senators coming out for marriage equality. After potential presidential contender Rick Perry’s recent railing against the Boy Scouts, and possible presidential candidate Sen. Rand Paul’s warning that gay marriage could lead to marriage with “non-humans,” we now have Cuccinelli doubling down in a debate over the weekend on his 2009 comments that homosexuality is “harmful” and “soulless.” More than that, just when you thought there couldn’t be two opponents in a race as vastly different on gay issues as Romney and Obama, the race in Virginia is simply incredible.

Continue reading at:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/michelangelo-signorile/ken-cuccinelli-oral-sex_b_3639244.html

See Also:

Raw Story: Dear Mrs. Ken Cuccinelli: Please stop asking your husband for oral for the sake of the rest of Virginia

Raw Story: Even Barbara Walters is mystified by the GOP candidate who wants to outlaw oral sex in Virginia

Think Progress: Virginia Gubernatorial Candidate Campaigns On Effort To Restore Ban On Oral Sex

Salon: Ken Cuccinelli: Keeping the war on sodomy alive!

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Politically Corrected! Food Stamps being Goody-Bag Giveaway

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Detroit, the New Greece

From The New York Times:  http://www.nytimes.com/2013/07/22/opinion/krugman-detroit-the-new-greece.html?partner=rssnyt&emc=rss&_r=0

Published: July 21, 2013

When Detroit declared bankruptcy, or at least tried to — the legal situation has gotten complicated — I know that I wasn’t the only economist to have a sinking feeling about the likely impact on our policy discourse. Was it going to be Greece all over again?

Clearly, some people would like to see that happen. So let’s get this conversation headed in the right direction, before it’s too late.

O.K., what am I talking about? As you may recall, a few years ago Greece plunged into fiscal crisis. This was a bad thing but should have had limited effects on the rest of the world; the Greek economy is, after all, quite small (actually, about one and a half times as big as the economy of metropolitan Detroit). Unfortunately, many politicians and policy makers used the Greek crisis to hijack the debate, changing the subject from job creation to fiscal rectitude.

Now, the truth was that Greece was a very special case, holding few if any lessons for wider economic policy — and even in Greece, budget deficits were only one piece of the problem. Nonetheless, for a while policy discourse across the Western world was completely “Hellenized” — everyone was Greece, or was about to turn into Greece. And this intellectual wrong turn did huge damage to prospects for economic recovery.

So now the deficit scolds have a new case to misinterpret. Never mind the repeated failure of the predicted U.S. fiscal crisis to materialize, the sharp fall in predicted U.S. debt levels and the way much of the research the scolds used to justify their scolding has been discredited; let’s obsess about municipal budgets and public pension obligations!

Or, actually, let’s not.

Are Detroit’s woes the leading edge of a national public pensions crisis? No. State and local pensions are indeed underfunded, with experts at Boston College putting the total shortfall at $1 trillion. But many governments are taking steps to address the shortfall. These steps aren’t yet sufficient; the Boston College estimates suggest that overall pension contributions this year will be about $25 billion less than they should be. But in a $16 trillion economy, that’s just not a big deal — and even if you make more pessimistic assumptions, as some but not all accountants say you should, it still isn’t a big deal.

So was Detroit just uniquely irresponsible? Again, no. Detroit does seem to have had especially bad governance, but for the most part the city was just an innocent victim of market forces.

What? Market forces have victims? Of course they do. After all, free-market enthusiasts love to quote Joseph Schumpeter about the inevitability of “creative destruction” — but they and their audiences invariably picture themselves as being the creative destroyers, not the creatively destroyed. Well, guess what: Someone always ends up being the modern equivalent of a buggy-whip producer, and it might be you.

Continue reading at:  http://www.nytimes.com/2013/07/22/opinion/krugman-detroit-the-new-greece.html?partner=rssnyt&emc=rss&_r=0

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Don’t buy the right-wing myth about Detroit

From Salon:  http://www.salon.com/2013/07/23/dont_buy_the_right_wing_myth_about_detroit/

Conservatives want you to think high taxes drove people away. The real truth is much worse for their radical agenda

Tuesday, Jul 23, 2013

In the wake of Detroit’s bankruptcy, you may be wondering: How could anyone be surprised that a city so tied to manufacturing faces crippling problems in an era that has seen such an intense public policy assault on domestic American manufacturing? You may also be wondering: How could Michigan officials possibly talk about cutting the average $19,000-a-year pension benefit for municipal workers while reaffirming their pledge of $283 million in taxpayer money to a professional hockey stadium?

These are fair questions — and the answers to them can be found in the political mythology that distorts America’s economic policymaking.

As mythology goes, the specific story being crafted about Detroit’s bankruptcy is truly biblical — more specifically, just like the fact-free mythology around the Greek financial collapse, it is copied right from the chapter in the conservative movement’s bible about how to distort crises for maximum political effect.

In the conservative telling of this particular parable, Detroit faces a fiscal emergency because high taxes supposedly drove a mass exodus from the city, and the supposedly unbridled greed of unions forced city leaders to make fiscally irresponsible pension promises to municipal employees. Written out of the tale is any serious analysis of macroeconomic shifts, international economic policy failures, the geography of recent recessions and unsustainable corporate welfare spending.

This is classic right-wing dogma — the kind that employs selective storytelling to use a tragic event as a means to radical ends. In this case, the ends are — big shocker! — three of the conservative movement’s larger long-term economic priorities: 1) preservation of job-killing trade policies 2) immunity for corporations and 3) justification for budget policies that continue to profligately subsidize the rich.

Pretending Detroit and the NAFTA era are unrelated

The bait-and-switch on the first two objectives is fairly easy to see.

Continue reading at:  http://www.salon.com/2013/07/23/dont_buy_the_right_wing_myth_about_detroit/

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Through the Looking Glass

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The Alberta Oil Sands Have Been Leaking for Nine Weeks

From Mother Jones:  http://www.motherjones.com/blue-marble/2013/07/alberta-oil-sands-have-been-leaking-six-weeks-and-no-one-knows-how-stop-it

By Tue Jul. 23, 2013

Nine weeks ago, an oil leak started at a tar sands extraction operation in Cold Lake, Alberta, and it’s showing no signs of stopping.

On Friday, the Toronto Star reported that an anonymous government scientist who had been to the spill site—which is operated by Canadian Natural Resources Ltd.—warned that the leak wasn’t going away. “Everybody [at the company and in government] is freaking out about this,” the scientist told the Star. “We don’t understand what happened. Nobody really understands how to stop it from leaking, or if they do they haven’t put the measures into place.” The Star reported that 26,000 barrels of watery tar have been removed from the site.

The impacted area spans some 30 acres of swampy forest, said Bob Curran, a spokesperson for the Alberta Energy Regulator (AER), which oversees these sites. According to the Star,  pictures and the documents provided by the scientist show that dozens of animals, including loons and beavers, have been killed, and some 60,000 pounds of contaminated vegetation have been removed. (You can see the pictures at the Toronto Star‘s website.)

Curran, confirmed to Mother Jones that the leak was ongoing as of Tuesday afternoon and said AER was working with the company on a plan to contain the damage. He added that he couldn’t make a firm assessment of what caused the leak until after AER had completed its investigation. “We don’t get into probable causes,” he explained. But he did say that AER was concerned, adding that the leak was “very uncommon—which is why we’ve responded the way we have.”

In response to specific questions about the spill, the company sent Mother Jones a previously prepared statement: “The areas have been secured and the emulsion is being managed with clean up, recovery and reclamation activities well underway. The presence of emulsion on the surface does not pose a health or human safety risk. The sites are located in a remote area which has restricted access to the public. The emulsion is being effectively cleaned up with manageable environmental impact. Canadian Natural has existing groundwater monitoring in place and we are undertaking aquatic and sediment sampling to monitor and mitigate any potential impacts. As part of our wildlife mitigation program, wildlife deterrents have been deployed in the area to protect wildlife…We are investigating the likely cause of the occurrence, which we believe to be mechanical.”

Continue reading at:  http://www.motherjones.com/blue-marble/2013/07/alberta-oil-sands-have-been-leaking-six-weeks-and-no-one-knows-how-stop-it

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It’s Not Just the NSA! Judge Rules That Chevron Can Collect Private Info of People Suing Them

From Alternet:  http://www.alternet.org/news-amp-politics/federal-judge-grants-chevron-access-internet-data

The successful move by Chevron is about harassing activists, a lawyer said.

By Alex Kane
July 23, 2013

The oil giant Chevron has received access to private Internet and phone data from Microsoft users.

As The Progressive’s Tina Gerhardt reports, the decision by a federal judge in late June opens the way for Chevron to obtain the personal information of people involved in a lawsuit that successfully forced the company to pay billions because of harmful activities in Ecuador.

In 2011, Chevron was ordered to pay $18 billion to the government of Ecuador for polluting the Amazon river basin. Residents of Ecuador had accused Texaco, which Chevron took over in 2001, of dumping toxic material into the river. Chevron appealed the ruling to the U.S. Supreme Court, but it was denied. Still, the money has yet to be paid; Chevron has little assets in Ecuador because it stripped them out before the legal case was concluded, and now plaintiffs in the suit have filed suit in other countries seeking the money.

Chevron is going on the offensive here in the U.S. The judge’s order now grants Chevron “the identity of the users of the email addresses, including ‘all names, mailing addresses, phone numbers, billing information, date of account creation, account information and all other identifying information,’” according to The Progressive. The “users” are those involved in the suit against Chevron.

Earth Rights International Attorney Marissa Vahlsing says that Chevron is harassing activists and “that Chevron seeks to establish a blueprint to go on the offensive.”

Because of the judge’s order, Chevron will get access to documents that identify Microsoft account holders and IP addresses. In total, the data gives Chevron the ability to determine the countries, cities, and building addresses.

Continue reading at:  http://www.alternet.org/news-amp-politics/federal-judge-grants-chevron-access-internet-data

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Landmark Lawsuit Challenges ‘Ag-Gag’ Law

From Common Dreams: http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2013/07/23-7

Animal welfare groups, individuals start legal fight against ‘unconstitutional’ Utah law that gags reporters and whistleblowers from documenting abuse

Andrea Germanos

A group of animal rights groups and journalists filed a landmark lawsuit on Monday challenging Utah’s “ag-gag” law as an unconstitutional attack on free speech and freedom of the press that criminalizes whistleblowers while shielding corporate agriculture.

 The state’s 2012 law criminalizes a person that records sounds or images from a livestock operation or applies for a job at a livestock operation with the intent to make such recordings; in other words, it prohibits documenting animal abuse.

The Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF), which joins PETA, CounterPunch, animal rights advocate Amy Meyer, journalist Will Potter, Professor James McWilliams and animal investigation consultant Daniel Hauff in the lawsuit, states that

corporate agriculture sees [the recording of animal abuse] as a threat to profits. Rather than change to less abusive practices it has instead chosen to keep the public uninformed by aggressively pushing for legislation that makes such investigations illegal– a classic case of shooting the messenger. The laws are designed to thwart the collection of evidence of wrongdoing, thereby “gagging” reporters and whistleblowers from exposing the facts. It’s an incredible abuse of power and public trust.

Meyer was the first person in the nation charged under ag-gag laws after she filmed a slaughterhouse from a public road. Charges were soon dropped, but the law stands in Utah and other states as well.  The Salt Lake Tribune reports that Stewart Gollan of the Utah Legal Clinic, part of the legal team representing the group,

said that other states, largely through the efforts of the conservative American Legislative Exchange Council, have adopted similar laws that limit scrutiny of industries that are the subject of public debate; in addition to agriculture, that has included mining operations, he said.

Continue reading at:  http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2013/07/23-7

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