spread of the red
number 112    
FEMA Found Legal Liability More Threatening Than Trailer
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Documents obtained by a
Congressional committee reveal that
senior officials of the Federal
Emergency Management Agency
knew that trailers provided to victims
of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita
contained dangerous levels of
formaldehyde, but discouraged field
workers from addressing the issue in
an effort to minimize the agency’s
legal liability.

Representatives from both parties
expressed their outrage at FEMA’s
response to the initial evidence of
formaldehyde contamination, and
their frustration at agency attempts to
obstruct Congressional investigation
of the reports, at a hearing of the
Oversight and Government Reform
Committee last week. FEMA officials
withheld 5000 relevant documents,
citing attorney-client privilege, until
they received subpoenas from the
committee. Among the papers are
transcripts of e-mails in which FEMA
lawyers explicitly forbid field staff from
performing tests to determine
formaldehyde levels in the trailers,
with a view to protecting the agency’s
litigation position.

“Do not initiate any testing until we
give the OK,” wrote FEMA attorney
Patrick Preston in June 2006, a
month after the first lawsuit against
the agency by a trailer resident was
filed, “Once you get
results and should they indicate
some problem, the clock is
running on our duty to respond to
them.”  After the death of an
evacuee in July 2006 a group of
28 officials from six agencies
recommended independent
testing of trailer air quality, but
they were blocked by FEMA
lawyers who warned that any
action not approved by the
agency’s Office of General
Counsel “could seriously
undermine the Agency’s position”
in future litigation.

According to FEMA director David
Paulison, 58 of the 66, 800
trailers still in use have been
replaced due to formaldehyde
it's 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
interpreting the constitution
Modern Monarchy May Be Bush's Crowning
City Shields
Chitmo Cops
In a gesture that Senate Majority
Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) called an
“outrageous abuse of executive
privilege,” presidential advisors have
said that the White House will move
to forbid the Justice Department from
compelling administration officials to
give testimony before Congress.  

Washington Post reported that
an unnamed presidential
spokesperson said, “A US attorney
would not be permitted to bring
contempt charges or convene a
grand jury in an executive privilege
case.”  The prohibition comes within
days of the House Judiciary
Committee voting to begin to explore
bringing contempt of Congress
charges against former White House
counsel Harriet Miers and the current
White House Chief of Staff, Joshua
Bolten, after they ignored
congressional subpoenas.
The White House’s proclamation that
Justice would not be allowed to
enforce the congressional
subpoenas is a further extension of
the expansive “executive privilege”
that President Bush has asserted
over the course of the past few
years.  The administration most
recently asserted the privilege to
prevent White House aides from
testifying under oath before a
congressional committee that is
investigating the Justice Department’
s firing of US Attorneys.  

The administration has crafted an
interpretation of executive privilege
based upon an opinion written in
1984 by the Reagan administration
to prevent the testimony of the
administrator of the Environmental
Protection Agency.  The opinion
asserted that “the President, through
a US Attorney, need not, indeed may
not, prosecute
criminally a subordinate for
asserting on his behalf a claim of
executive privilege.”  That opinion
was never tested in the courts
because the Reagan
administration accommodated the
congressional panel seeking
testimony.  A study by the
Congressional Research Service
found that relevant appellate
court cases cast “considerable
doubt on the broad claims of
privilege posited” by the
president.  The study found that
appellate judges have determined
that the protection accorded by
executive privilege is highly
“qualified” and must relate to acts
of “quintessential and non-
delegable presidential power.”  

Reid said that the president must
be “accountable to Congress and
the American people.”         
it's all
A 200-page document was
recently made available to the
Chicago City Council that
details the complaints filed
against officers of the Chicago
Police Department over the
past five years.  The document
disclosed that over 660
Chicago Police officers have
had ten or more complaints
filed against them during the
past five years.  

The report revealed that the
CPD’s Special Operations Unit
was the subject of the majority
of the complaints, with 30
officers in that unit being the
subject of 862 individual
allegations of brutality.  The
report further identified that
just ten Special Operations
officers had a total of 408
complaints filed against them.  
The department’s Office of
Professional Standards, the
division of the Chicago Police
Department that investigates
claims of police brutality,
decided  that after reviewing
these complaints, only a single
officer deserved suspension.

The document was released
by  Chicago's mayor, Richard
M. Daley, to members of the
city council in advance of a
meeting where the objectivity
of the Office of Professional
Standards was to be
reviewed.  When asked about
the startling number of brutality
complaints filed against his
police officers, Daley told
reporters that officers of the
Special Operations Unit have
seized “12,000 and 15,000
guns” over the past few years,
and added “if you want them to
stop seizing guns, then write
an editorial.”            
it's all true
one nation, under surveillance
Inspector General Eyeing Illegal
Kilograms of municipal waste
generated per person-per year
selected countries
The Inspector General for the US
Department of Justice is investigating
a section of the FBI that is
responsible for sending
administrative demands to large
telephone companies for personal
information about their customers.   
Wired Magazine reported that the
Inspector’s office is investigating the
Communications Analysis Unit of the
FBI for sending National Security
Letters, or ‘exigent letters’, to
America’s largest
telecommunications companies,
including AT&T and Verizon.  The
investigation is the first time that the
agency has been scrutinized for
misusing the expanded powers
accorded to it under the PATRIOT

Although National Security Letters
were authorized by the PATRIOT Act,
they can only be authorized by
counter terrorism agents in
investigations having
to do with international terrorism or
espionage.  The Communications
Analysis Unit was found by
investigators to have issued 739
exigent letters involving the records
of more than 3000 customers with no
authority under the law.  

The letters required the companies
to hand over information about
specific customer’s phone numbers
including local and long distance call
histories, e-mail transactional
records, and billing and payment
records.  Recipients of exigent letters
could not advise the customers who
owned the phone numbers that the
records were demanded by the FBI.  
The FBI is not required to obtain
judicial approval to make the
information demands using National
Security Letters.  The letters were
also used to obtain financial
it's all true
japan    italy     austria      
source: OECD






previous editions

    Links of the Week

General Services
Administration : An Overview of
the US Federal Government's
Real Property Assets  

DHS Privacy Office Review of
the Analysis, Dissemination,
Visualization, Insight, and
Semantic Enhancement

Visitor's Guide to Tasmanian
National Park System

Joe Jones : Handling Pipe  
Oil on canvas, ca. 1944-45

contact us  
spread of the red
Feds Elect to Ignore Vote Suppression Tactics
Report Reveals
Spending Surge
A report published last month by the
federal Election Assistance
Commission reveals that despite an
80 percent decrease in voter
registrations from public assistance
agencies over the last decade, the
Department of Justice has done little
to enforce the law mandating states
to offer registration services to public
aid applicants. But the Department is
reportedly stepping up efforts to
increase enforcement of another
section of the same statute: one that
requires states to conduct “purges”
of their voter registration records to
remove the names of ineligible
voters. The apparently uneven
enforcement amounts to a policy that
seeks the disenfranchisement of
minority and low-income voters,
according to national voting rights
organizations that have charged the
Bush administration with improperly
politicizing the Justice Department’s
Voting Section and Civil Rights
Division in an attempt to influence the
outcomes of elections in key states.

The EAC report documents that
registrations in public assistance
agencies have dropped by almost
half since 2003, and that most states
do not provide any form of voter
registration training to agency
workers. A consortium of voter
advocacy groups including Demos,
Project Vote, and the Lawyers’
Committee for Civil Rights Under Law
has monitored Justice Department
enforcement of the National Voter
Registration Act, regularly providing
the Civil Rights Division with evidence
that states are failing to comply with
Section 7 of the law. But there has
been only one recent DoJ lawsuit
seeking enforcement of Section 7, a
2002 case that resulted in federal
oversight of elections in Tennessee.

In a statement, the groups said, “As
a testament to what DoJ oversight
can accomplish, Tennessee
accounted for almost a quarter of the
nation’s public assistance voter
registrations in 2005-2006.
Unfortunately, DoJ has continued to
ignore the evidence of Section 7
violations in almost all other states,
and instead has pursued policies to
remove voters from the voter rolls.”
The coalition has called on the
House and Senate Judiciary
Committees to conduct formal
investigations of the Justice
Department’s “selective
enforcement” of voter registration

Last week, a hearing of the House
Judiciary Committee was postponed
when the Justice Department
"refused to make Voting Section chief
John Tanner available to testify,"
according to a panel press
it's all true
Spending on the Iraq war will
reach half a trillion dollars and
total expenditures for the global
“war on terror” will exceed three
quarters of a trillion dollars in the
coming fiscal year, according to a
new report by the Congressional
Research Service. The current
“burn rate” of $12 billion a month
for operations in Iraq and
Afghanistan is up from about $8
billion in 2005. In 2003, the year
of the invasion of Iraq, monthly
spending was less than $6 billion.

The report, which endeavors to
quantify total spending on
President Bush’s “war on terror”
since September 2001, projects
that Congress will have allocated
more than $758 billion for these
operations by the end of fiscal
year 2008. The authors are
critical of the scope of information
provided to Congress by the
Pentagon, describing “many
unresolved discrepancies and
gaps in reported Defense
Department figures,” with “trends
difficult to decipher and
explanations unlikely to be
available.”  The report notes that
a continuation of the current troop
"surge" levels beyond September
will require additional funding.   
all true
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Wrigley Field
verbatim                                                                            number 22.1
...They use violence
as a tool to do that."
Washington DC  03.22.06
“No question that
the enemy has
tried to spread
sectarian violence...