one nation, under surveillance
number 107    
Airline Passengers Crowded onto Overbooked Watch List
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The FBI recently revealed that the
number of Americans and foreign
citizens that are currently reported on
its terror watch list exceeds 500,000.  
The FBI reported the previously
secret number in its unclassified
2008 budget proposal that was
posted by the agency on the
Department of Justice Web site.  The
budget request reported that the
“entire watch list” included 509,000

The FBI refused to comment on the
number it reported saying that both
the names and number of individuals
reported on the list are classified
information.  The FBI distributes the
list to an array of police and national
security agencies including the
Transportation Security

Privacy and civil rights advocates,
who have previously criticized the
methods used to develop the FBI
terror watch list and how it has been
used by authorities, have questioned
the value of such an enormous list.  
The American Civil Liberties Union
expressed concern that the list is
expanding “without control or
limitation” and that it is “virtually
useless” because of its size.

The implementation of the FBI terror
watch list by the TSA has revealed
that the list contains the names of US
Senators and Congress Persons,
members of professional sports
teams and at least one pilot who
flys passenger jets for a major
airline company.  The list is also
known to include partial names,
aliases and even mistaken
identities.  There is no uniform
way for a person who discovers
that they are on a terror watch list
to request to have their name
removed from the list.  The TSA
received 30,000 requests for
name removal in 2005 and only
60 appeals were granted by the

The FBI is one of 26 federal law
enforcement that has compiled a
terror watch list since the terror
attacks in 2001.               
it's all true
interpreting the constitution

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one nation, under surveillance

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Pharmaceutical Lobbyists Find FDA Officials are Always on
Feds Force
Feed Farmers
The Food and Drug Administration
recently provided documentation to
Congress that revealed that agency
officials met with pharmaceutical
company representatives more than
100 times while revising a
controversial drug-review program
that allows drug companies to make
payments directly to the FDA to
ensure that their companies' new
drugs get reviewed to be approved
for sale.

The FDA’s records showed that the
agency had 112 meetings with drug
manufacturing companies while the
agency was re-writing its policy but
only met with consumer protection
and patient advocacy groups five
times during the review period.  
Representatives of the nations
largest pharmaceutical and
biotechnology lobby firms attended
more than half of the industry
A spokesperson for the agency did
not dispute that the closed-door
meetings took place stating that the
FDA engaged in “extensive
discussions” with industry lobbyists
as new protocols were being
established for reviewing the safety
and efficacy of new drugs that
manufacturers want to sell in the
American health care market.  The
spokesperson did specify that the
FDA’s meetings with industry
representatives met the requirements
of US law.

The Prescription Drug User Fee Act
has existed for ten years and critics
believe that the act has created a
situation where drug companies have
become a benefactor to the agency
providing streams of funding that the
agency has come to depend on.  Dr.
Sidney Wolf, the long time director of
Public Citizen’s Health Research
Group, told the
documentary program Frontline
that the FDA has “started looking
upon the industry as their client”
as opposed to having an “vigilant
and appropriately adversarial
attitude with industry.”

The disclosure came in answer to
questions submitted by Rep.
Maurice Hinchey (D-NY) who is
the co-author of a pending bill
that would stop the FDA from
collecting fees from drug
manufacturers to review new
medicines stipulating that drug
company monies would instead be
placed in the Treasury’s general
revenue fund.  

Hinchey said, “The FDA has
essentially become the
government affairs office of the
it's all true
A little-noticed clause
contained within the 2007-
2012 omnibus Farm Bill which
is currently working its way
through Congress would grant
the Secretary of Agriculture
the authority to override state
or local statutes relating to
farming and food safety. If
enacted, the legislation would
effectively nullify scores of
local farming regulations,
notably existing bans on
genetically modified crops in
several California counties.
Organic farmers and
environmental activists have
assailed the provision as an
unwarranted federal intrusion
into state and local affairs, with
implications beyond agriculture.

The proposed legislation,
which was inserted into the
Farm Bill near the end of
committee debates, is similar
to a provision introduced by
Republican representatives in
2006. According to the
Organic Consumers
Association, the 2006 law
would have “nullified 200 food
safety and food labeling laws
across the US.” The
Association also warns that the
passage of the current bill
would "set an ominous
precedent undermining states'
rights."  Bans on genetically
modified crops are pending in
at least 16 states.

Rep. Dennis Cardoza (D-CA),
a member of the House
Agriculture Committee, told the
Stockton Record, “I am
slightly troubled by this
language, with respect to the
fact that it was put in… towards
the end of the legislative
process, without proper debate
and consideration.”          
it's all
interpreting the constitution
Appeals Court Rules No Trial an
Percentage of couples with
selected countries
A federal appeals court has ruled
that the government cannot continue
to hold a US resident without charge,
despite his designation by the
president as an “enemy combatant”.
The decision rejects Bush
administration assertions of broad
executive authority to indefinitely
detain civilians, including US citizens,
without ever bringing charges against
them or allowing them access to legal
counsel if they are classified as
“enemy combatants” by the White
House. In the opinion, Judge Diana
Gribbon Motz wrote, “We refuse to
recognize a claim to power that would
so alter the constitutional foundations
of our Republic.”  Administration
spokesmen said they were
disappointed by the decision, and
planned to appeal.

The case involved the detention of
Qatari national Ali Saleh Kalah al-
Marri, a
legal US resident who was studying
for a master’s degree in computer
science at Bradley University in
Peoria, Illinois, when he was arrested
in December 2001. President Bush
designated Marri an enemy
combatant in 2003, and he was
transferred to military custody in the
Naval brig in South Carolina, where
he has remained for four years.

He is one of only three people to be
held as enemy combatants by the
military on the US mainland. One of
the other two, US citizen Jose Padilla,
was charged with less serious
offenses in the criminal court system
just as the US Supreme Court was
set to review his status. The other,
Yaser Esam Hamdi, also a US citizen,
was released by  military authorities
to his native Saudi Arabia after
winning a preliminary challenge to his
it's all true
italy    spain    uk     japan    us
source: OECD






previous editions

Links of the Week

CRS Report : Secret Sessions
of the House and Senate,
updated 05.25.2007

Inequality and Institutions in
20th Century America :  MIT
Department of Economics
Working Paper

Viridiana, Screenplay by Luis
Bunuel and Julio Alejandro,

Mt. Rainier National Park

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Debt Diversion Devours Devalued Dollars
Americans Prefer
Creative Writings
A recent global macroeconomic
overview by United Nations
economists points to several aspects
of the US economy as among the
chief threats to the stability and
growth of world markets. The report
notes the effects of the continuing US
housing slump and the dangers
posed by the possibility of large
hedge fund failures, and significantly
warns that US debt levels may be
unsustainable, even in the short
term, creating the conditions for a
collapse of the dollar. The currency
is particularly vulnerable at this time,
with the $860 billion US deficit
essentially being financed by a
handful of nations, according to the
report, which concludes that adverse
economic conditions in any of these
countries could trigger a “disorderly
adjustment” of the global imbalance
and a “steep fall” for the US dollar.

The midyear update of the 2007
World Economic Situation and
Prospects report, released by the UN
Department of Economic and Social
Affairs, raises concerns about a
variety of downward pressures on the
US currency. The dollar has
depreciated against the world’s major
currencies by at least 35 percent
since 2002, losing 25 percent of its
value against a broader range of
currencies over the same period. US
GDP growth
has slowed significantly due to
troubles in the housing market and
high energy costs, which are largely
an indirect result of the weak dollar.
A report released early this year by
the International Monetary Fund
predicted an eventual separation of
the growth of the US and the
economies of developing countries.

Some economists have accused the
Federal Reserve Board of adopting a
tacit policy of propping up the US
economy by keeping credit artificially
cheap. To absorb the available
credit, the Treasury reportedly
increased money supply by more
than 11.8 percent last year, but the
actual figures are no longer
published. Critics warn of a
potentially volatile scenario in which
the country’s primary asset, its
packaged debt, and its currency both
lose favor with international

Even the architect of the current Fed
strategy admits that the current
situation is ultimately unsustainable.
Former Fed chief Alan Greenspan
told a conference last week, “It’s
liquidity that is driving the world. It will
continue to be strong as long as real-
term interest rates stay low. This is
not a permanent feature. It’s an
intermediate-term period in world
economic history that has never
occurred before.”              
it's all true  
A recent poll found that 66
percent of Americans adhere to a
Creationist explanation of the
origins of the earth and mankind.  

The poll, which was commissioned
by USA Today and the Gallup
polling organization, found that a
majority of Americans agreed with
the Creationist view that “God
created human beings pretty
much in their present form at one
time within the last 10,000 years.”  

The poll found that 82 percent of
respondents were familiar with the
theory of evolution and 86
percent said that they were
familiar with the tenants of

Overall, 81 percent of
respondents said that they
believed that either God had
created man in his present form
or guided the development of man
while 14 percent of respondents
said that they believed man
developed without the help of God.

The poll was conducted in the first
week of June,  consisted of 1007
adult Americans and had a margin
of error of 3 percent.          
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verbatim                                 number 21.1
"And so, what
Gen. Petraeus is
…some early
signs, still
dangerous, but…
...give me -give my
chance a plan to
New York   04.24.07