July 5th, 2010
10:51 PM ET

The day's most popular stories

The five most popular CNN.com stories during the last 24 hours, according to Newspulse:

Activists scurry to save mother from stoning: A veteran Iranian human rights activist has warned that Sakineh Mohammadie Ashtiani, a mother of two, could be stoned to death at any moment under the terms of a death sentence handed down by Iranian authorities.

Cold case: Child snatched, slain in 2009: Nevaeh Buchanan was 5 when she was kidnapped on May 24 last year; her body was found in a shallow grave in Michigan on June 4. A year later, no one has been charged with abducting and killing her.

Chess icon's body exhumed in paternity case:  The body of chess legend Bobby Fischer was exhumed Monday in Iceland to settle a paternity question, law enforcement officials have told CNN. His body was reburied shortly after DNA samples were taken, the officials said.

Former hot dog eating champ arrested: He didn't compete for the hot dog eating title this year, but he did cause a scene at the contest. Takeru Kobayashi was arrested at Coney Island after his rival, Joey Chestnut, won the annual Nathan's International Hot Dog Eating Contest.

Blistering heat expected in Northeast: A heat wave of historic proportions could strike some Northeastern states as forecasters warn of prolonged triple-digit temperatures that could trigger "a dangerous situation," the National Weather Service advised Monday.

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  1. Smith in Oregon

    Republican political steps in their attempt to close an open and liberal society:

    1. invoke an internal and external threat
    People who are afraid are willing to do things that they wouldn’t otherwise do.

    2. establish secret (unaccountable) prisons where torture takes place
    In a secret system, the government does not have to provide any proof of wrongdoing by those it holds, so it can incarcerate anyone it wants.

    3. develop a paramilitary force
    A private military force — under the exclusive direction of the “commander in chief” with no accountability to Congress, the courts, or the public — blurs the line between a civilian police force and a militarized police state.

    4. surveil ordinary citizens
    People who believe they are being watched are less likely to voice opposition. To scare a population into silence, the government need only monitor the activities of a few to make everyone fear that they are being surveilled. Every closed society keeps a “list” of so-called opponents it tracks.

    5. infiltrate citizen’s groups
    Spies in activist groups put psychological pressure on genuine activists by undermining their trust in one another. They may also disrupt legal activities, undermining the effectiveness of group efforts.

    6. detain and release ordinary citizens
    Detention intimidates or psychologically damages those arrested and also lets everyone know that anyone could be labeled an “enemy combatant” and “disappeared.”

    7. target key individuals
    People are less likely to speak out when those who are highly visible, like journalists, scholars, artists, or celebrities, are intimidated or have the livelihoods threatened. Targeting those who are especially visible makes it less likely that people will speak out and robs society of leaders and others who might inspire opposition.

    8. restrict the press
    The public is less likely to find out about government wrongdoing if the government can threaten to prosecute anyone who publishes or broadcasts reports that are critical of the government.

    9. recast criticism as espionage and dissent as treason
    People who protest can be charged with terrorism or treason when laws criminalize or limit free speech rather than protect it.

    10. subvert the rule of law
    The disappearance of checks and balances makes it easier to declare martial law, especially if the judiciary branch continues to exercise authority over individuals but has no authority over the Executive branch.

    July 6, 2010 at 4:08 am | Report abuse |