interpreting the constitution
number 108    
Signing Statements Interpreted as Executive Orders by
previous editions archive
An investigation into the effect of
presidential signing statements found
that federal agencies have ignored
implementing laws that had
statements attached by President
Bush.  The Government
Accountability Office studied 12
appropriations acts that were passed
in 2006, 11 of which Bush attached
singing statements asserting that the
law did not apply to the executive or
that the president could interpret the
law differently than Congress had
intended.  The administration’s
statements re-interpreted a total of
160 separate provisions in the 11
appropriations acts.

The investigators examined the
implementation of 19 provisions in
the appropriations acts that Bush
had expressed reservations about in
signing statements and found that six
of the laws had been ignored
completely by the Bush
Administration, approximately 30
percent of the total laws reviewed.

In one instance uncovered by
investigators, the Department of
Defense ignored its responsibility to
provide detailed budget plans to
Congress that describe how money
appropriated for 2007 would be
spent.  In another example, the
Federal Emergency Management
Agency refused to submit an
expenditure proposal
for a works project to Congress as
required by law.

President Bush has attached
signing statements to more than
150 laws objecting to over 700
different provisions of those laws.  
In 85 percent of the statements,
Bush objected to the laws
asserting that as the executive,
the laws did not apply to him or
the government agencies he
controls. The investigation was
requested by Sen. Robert Byrd (D-
WV), the Chairman of the Senate
Appropriations Committee, who
said about the report's findings,
“Too often, the Bush
Administration does what it wants,
no matter what
the law.”                        
its all true
interpreting the constitution

crowd control

spread of the red

one nation, under surveillance

fun d' mental

in bed with the red

red state rebate

crowd control
spread of the red
New Orleans Sees Rising Tide of Death as Federal Funds Drain
Properties Blighted,
Developers Delighted
Almost two years after nearly 80
percent of New Orleans was flooded
by Hurricane Katrina, doctors have
reported that the death rate of
citizens in that city rose by nearly 50
percent in the year that followed the
natural disaster.  

The research, which was reported in
the inaugural edition of the American
Medical Association’s journal
Disaster Medicine and Public Health
Preparedness, found that between
January and June 2006 the death
rate in New Orleans was 47 percent
higher than the year prior to the
hurricane.  The study found that “the
post-Katrina mortality rate for the first
six months of 2006 was 91.37 deaths
per 100,000 population.  Compared
to the pre-Katrina population
mortality rate of 62.17 deaths per
100,000 population.”
The doctors who performed the
research said that the rise in deaths
was associated with the collapse of
New Orleans’ public health care
infrastructure.  The city lost 4 of its
22 hospitals and over 4000 doctors
left the city.  The study’s authors
wrote that the dramatic rise in deaths
“suggested that a destroyed or
poorly recovered public health
infrastructure, which normally would
be able to identify health problems
and protect the health of a
population, has in fact contributed to
excess mortality.”

New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin has
criticized the federal government,  
particularly the Federal Emergency
Management Agency, for slowing the
process of rebuilding the city’s health
and other critical infrastructure by
delivering aid too slowly.  The city
has received
only half of the relief aid that
FEMA has budgeted to rebuild
New Orleans.  Frustrated with the
slow pace of federal bureaucracy,
the mayor has begun to seek
relief funding from foreign
countries to help New Orleans

The mayor’s spokes person said
that the city is ”very serious”
about accepting financial relief
from foreign governments,
acknowledging that the city has
opened discussions with at least
five foreign countries.  Mayor
Nagin was prompted to seek  
disaster assistance from foreign
countries after it was reported
earlier this year that the federal
government declined to accept
over $800 million that foreign
governments had donated to help
rebuild New Orleans after the
its all true
Government efforts to seize
private property for
redevelopment through the
application of eminent domain
statutes are likely to target
poor and minority populations,
according to the results of a
study published to mark the
second anniversary of the US
Supreme Court decision in
Kelo v. New London, which
supported the concept of
municipal seizure of properties
for development by private

The study, by the Institute for
Justice, found that property
owners subject to eminent
domain actions in 184 US cities
had significantly lower median
incomes and lower educational
levels. The researchers report
that some 58 percent of the
populations in areas
designated for eminent domain
projects were ethnic minorities,
as opposed to 45 percent in
neighboring districts not
targeted by municipal officials
and real estate developers. In
a statement, Institute for
Justice president and general
counsel Chip Mellor said, “The
only real solution is ending
eminent domain for private
development. Those with the
least means most need robust
protection of constitutional

Since the 2005
Kelo ruling, at
least 41 states have enacted
some form of restriction on
eminent domain powers. Most
of these reforms still make an
exception for so-called
"blighted" areas, a loophole
that critics say is often
improperly exploited by cities
and private developers.     
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AG Ties File Sharing to International Terrorism
Percent of residents over
the age of 65 by state
selected states
The Department of Justice has
proposed legislation that would
criminalize attempts to violate
copyright law and proposes a
maximum sentence of life in prison
for violating copyright laws in limited

Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez
said that he was going to propose
the legislation last November
because he was concerned that
“large scale criminal enterprises”
were using profits derived through
intellectual property theft  “to fund
terrorism activities.”  The Justice
Department delivered the legislative
proposal to the House of
Representatives last month.

The proposed law, the Intellectual
Property Protection Act, would
criminalize even unsuccessful
attempts to infringe on protected
copyrights.  The
current penalty for not-for-profit
copyright infringement, such as
copying a DVD or CD, is between
one and ten years in prison.  The
Justice Department justifies the
broadening of the law because it said
that those who attempt to commit a
crime “are as morally culpable” as a
successful thief.  

The act also proposes a maximum
sentence of life in prison for the
crime of using pirated computer
software and “knowingly or
recklessly” causing or attempting to
“cause death.”   

The Justice Department said that
because “counterfeit goods create
serious risks to public health and
safety”, life prison sentences are
called for
to “provide greater deterrence”
to counterfeiters and users of
copied software.            
it's all true
source: US Census
verbatim : quotation marks
Scalia Calls Fictional Character Witness
all our countries do not subscribe
to the mantra of “What would Jack
Bauer do?” The character Bauer
uses torture on suspects on the
television show.  Scalia
responded by recounting an
episode of the TV show in specific
detail.  The episode centered on
a nuclear terror threat to Los
Angeles.  Scalia suggested that,
while torture may not be legal,
government agents could use
torture if they wanted, asking the
panel of justices rhetorically, “Is
any jury going to convict Jack
Bauer?, I don’t think so.”  Scalia
remembered that it
was "a great scene.”       
its all true
Supreme Court Justice Antonin
Scalia surprised other panelists at an
international symposium regarding
torture and international terrorism law
when he used a detailed example
from a television show to posit a
hypothetical situation where torture
could and should be used.  

Scalia recently sat on a panel of
senior judges from Europe and North
America at a conference in Ottawa,
Canada.  While discussing the use of
torture, a justice from Canada made
an offhand reference to the television
24 saying, “Thankfully,
security agencies in
Clinton, Pelosi Have Problem With Boos
Spinning Stem Cell Veto a Hard Sell for Snow
Democratic presidential
candidate Senator Hillary
Rodham Clinton drew boos
and shouts of disapproval for
her position and actions on the
Iraq war from the liberal
audience at the Campaign for
America’s Future conference
in Washington last week.
Speaking later to the same
group, House Speaker Nancy
Pelosi also encountered
sustained vocal opposition to
her remarks on the war and
her stance on the issue of
troop withdrawals. For Clinton,
it was the second year in a row
that her appearance at the
conference was met with
protests from antiwar activists.

Clinton’s speech had started
off well, with the Senator from
New York reciting a laundry list
of Bush administration failures
improprieties, specifically citing the
disastrous response to Hurricane
Katrina, widespread erosion of civil
liberties, and a policy of placing
“ideology before science.” But in
discussing the “catastrophic “ Iraq
war, Clinton sparked protests from
the crowd when she commented,
“The American military has
succeeded; it is the Iraqi government
which has failed to make the tough

Pelosi addressed the same audience
later in the day, enduring catcalls
from critics of  Democratic policy on
Iraq and Darfur that began during
her introduction by Rep. John Murtha
(D-PA), and continued throughout
her speech. After her attempts to
engage the hecklers from the dais
only resulted in additional shouting
and booing, Pelosi told the
protesters, “Your impatience with the
war is totally justified.”       
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Presidential spokesperson Tony
Snow recently attempted to elucidate
the presidents’ decision to again veto
the use of federal dollars to research
the  promises of embryonic stem cell
therapy, stating that by not approving
federal funding the president is
“putting science before ideology.”

Doctors, researchers and patients
have all criticized the president’s
moratorium on funding stem cell
research because it stifles medical
progress to placate
fundamentalist ideologues while
ignoring patients with long term
debilitating illnesses.  When a
reporter pointed out that the
president's veto has been
criticized by doctors for
“deliberately hampering" the
process of medical research,
Snow defended his statement by
saying that the president’s ban is
“certainly not an attempt to muzzle
its all true
Hits returned by a
major search engine
for queries for
selected public
figures and the
phrase ‘war on terror’
obama          giuliani       limbaugh       clinton         
source: Viroqua






previous editions

    Links of the Week

Response to the President's
Assertion of Executive
Privilege; House Judiciary
Committee Chairman John
Conyers, Jr.

Poor Countries Catching up
with Rich Nations in Chronic
Illnesses : World Bank report

On Just War Theory and the
Invasion of Iraq : Noam

The Eight Medical Buddhas :
18th century,Color and gold on
canvas, Freer and Sackler

contact us  
Researchers Offer Foreboding Forecast
Conflicts Escalate,
Refugees Proliferate
An independent group of eminent
scientists has published a research
paper dramatically warning that the
Earth is in immediate danger of a
series of catastrophic environmental
upheavals due to increasing
concentrations of toxic gases in the
atmosphere. The paper challenges
recent projections for sea level rises
in this century by the United Nations
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate
Change, asserting that the panel
misinterpreted available scientific
evidence and underestimated the
potential for the sudden melting of
polar ice sheets. The six leading
climate researchers conclude that
the implementation of intensive
efforts to reduce greenhouse gas
emissions on a global scale,
combined with the development of
new technology that could extract
these compounds from the
atmosphere, are essential to the
preservation of the Earth as we know

The 29-page paper,
Climate Change
and Trace Gases
, was published in
the British academic journal
Philosophical Proceedings of the
Royal Society
. The lead author was
James Hansen, the director of the
Goddard Institute for Space Studies
at NASA, who has written extensively
on climate change issues. According
to the report, “Recent greenhouse
gas emissions place the Earth
perilously close to dramatic climate
change that could run out of control,
with great dangers for humans and
other creatures.”  The other
contributing researchers were Makiko
Sato, Pushker Kharecha, and Gary
Russell of the Goddard Institute,
David Lea of the University of
California at Santa Barbara, and
Mark Siddall of Columbia University.

The paper is specifically critical of the
IPCC calculations for sea level
increases over the next 50-100
years. A February report by the
panel projected rises from 18 to 59
centimeters, but the scientists say
that the IPCC ignored evidence of a
possible “albedo flip,” a  
phenomenon that could “spark a
cataclysm” in the vast ice sheets of
Antarctica and Greenland, making
sea level increases of several meters
by 2100 possible.

“Civilization developed, and
constructed extensive infrastructure,
during a period of unusual climate
stability, the Holocene, now almost
12,000 years in duration. That period
is about to end,” according to the
authors. Continued emissions at
current levels “would guarantee
dramatic climate change, yielding a
different planet from the one on
which civilization developed and for
which extensive physical
infrastructure has been
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The total number of refugees in
the world rose last year by 14
percent to 9.9 million, according
to an annual report released last
week by the United Nations High
Commissioner for Refugees. The
increase, the first in five years,
was largely attributable to the
situation in occupied Iraq, where
violence and lawlessness forced
some 1.2 million people to flee the
country in 2006. The report
warned that ongoing conflicts in
several parts of the world would
lead to further increases in
displaced populations this year.

2006 Global
report shows that Afghans
comprise the world’s largest
group of refugees, at 2.1 million,
followed by Iraqis at 1.5 million,
Sudanese at 686,000, and
Somalis at 460,000. The statistics
do not include over 4.3 million
displaced Palestinians living in
various Middle Eastern countries
because they fall under the
authority of a different UN agency.
The figures also exclude internally
displaced persons, or IDPs,
refugees within their own
homelands. According to the
report, the total number of IDPs
worldwide exceeded 13 million in
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back to top of
May Day  
March in
%                10                  20
"I think it's very important for
the American President to
mean what he says. That's
why I understand that the
enemy could misread what I
say. That's why I try to be as
clearly I can."  
Washington DC  
verbatim                                                                          number 21.3
verbatim                                                                                           number 21.2
"Iraq is a very important part of securing the homeland, and it's a very
important part of helping change the Middle East into a part of the world
that will not serve as a threat to the civilized world, to people like—or to
the developed world, to people like—in the United States."
Washington DC