one nation, under surveillance
number 114    
Capitol Capitulation Continues Congressional
previous editions archive
The US Congress has agreed to give
expansive authority to the Bush
administration to wiretap with no
judicial oversight.  Congress voted to
give the director of national
intelligence and the attorney general
the power to authorize surveillance of
the communications of any persons
that they deem to be a  potential
suspect, including American citizens,
without a warrant.  The laws also
would allow surveillance of “groups”
of people instead of individual
suspects for the first time.

The American Civil Liberties Union
said that the law offers no protections
for US citizens “whose calls or emails
are vacuumed up, leaving it to the
branch to collect, sort and use this
information as it sees fit.”

President Bush pressed Congress
hard for more power to spy last week
after a  Republican representative
disclosed a classified judicial order
that found that an element of the
president’s Terrorist Surveillance
Program was illegal.  Bush told the
nation that America faces
“sophisticated terrorists” who want to
“strike our country again.”  The
measure passed through both
houses of Congress with Democratic
support on the last day of session.  
Democrats who voted for the
measure said that they felt bullied to
accept the administration’s proposal,
but some critics see the Democrats'
vote as
political, cast out of fear that they
may appear weak on matters of
national security.  

The vote came in the same week
that the administration admitted
for the first time that the Terrorist
Surveillance Program employed
an array of surreptitious
information  collection operations
when it was instituted in 2001,
referred to obliquely in a letter
written by Director McConell as
"various intelligence activities."  A
White House spokesperson said
that the president’s new powers
would not affect "the legitimate
privacy concerns” of US citizens.   
it's all true
interpreting the constitution

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one nation, under surveillance

fun d' mental

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Failure to Maintain Infrastructure Water Under Troubled
Bill Makes Womb
A Penile Colony
More than 77,000 bridges across the
US have been categorized as
“structurally deficient” in scheduled
inspections according to
transportation analysts.  The I-35W
bridge in Minnesota was judged to be
structurally deficient when it
collapsed last week.  The US
Department of Transportation
defines structurally deficient as
“major deterioration, cracks, or other
deficiencies in (a bridge’s) deck,
structure or foundations.”

The USDOT has stressed that the
collapse was an anomaly, but does
not dispute that the nation’s
infrastructure is aged and
deteriorating.  There are 756 bridges
in the US that are designed like the I-
35W bridge and the American
Society of Civil Engineers estimates
that 27 percent of all the bridges in
the US are “obsolete.”
Both age and neglect have left not
just bridges, but roadways, water
systems and the electrical
infrastructure decayed and
crumbling.  The US interstate
highway system is over fifty years
old, an estimated 33 percent of
roadways in the US are in poor
condition and 30 percent of the
nation’s dams are reported to be
unsafe.  Funding to maintain the
nation’s electrical grid has declined
one percent every year since 1992.

The Urban Institute recently released
a study that reviewed the nation’s
infrastructure and reported that the
“United States is on the cusp of a
crisis” because “neglect,
deterioration, congestion and
reduced reliability appear across all
sectors.”  The Institute said that the
poor condition of the nation’s
infrastructure “results in lost
productivity and quality of life.”
Although Democrats criticized the
Bush administration after the
collapse of the I-35W bridge for
not funding the repair of old and
unsafe infrastructure, politicians
on both sides of the isle have
sacrificed needed repairs to be
able to keep promises to reduce
taxes leaving the US with over $1
trillion dollars worth of repairs,
replacements and modernizing
needed to bring the nation’s
infrastructure up to date.

The Democratic controlled
Congress requested $631million
to be allocated to replace
dilapidated roadway bridges this
year, but the ASCE estimates that
it would require an investment of
$9.4 billion dollars every year
over a 20 year period to ensure
that all existing bridges are
structurally sound.        
it's all true
The Ohio State Legislature is
currently considering enacting
a law that would require a
pregnant woman to solicit the
“written informed consent of
the father of the fetus” before
she would be able to get an
abortion.  If the measure is
approved, a woman who has
an abortion without the written
approval of the father will be
committing “abortion fraud.”  
The proposal would make
abortion fraud a misdemeanor
for the first offense and a
felony for a second offense.

The proposal states, “It is not
a defense to a violation” of the
law “that the woman does not
know the father of the fetus.”  
The law prescribes that women
who are unsure of who the
father is must inform the doctor
who is to perform the
procedure of the identities of
possible fathers.  The doctor is
required by the law to give
paternity tests to all possible
fathers before performing the
abortion.  The law has
exceptions for rape, incest and
if the mother’s life is
threatened.  The law also
makes it a crime for a man who
knows he is not the father of a
child to state that he is so that
a woman can receive an

Rep. John Adams (R-Sidney)
said he proposed the law
because fathers “should have
a say in the birth or destruction
of the child.”  The proposal
has received support from
Christian groups.  
A spokesperson for the Ohio
chapter of the National
Abortion and Reproductive
Rights Activist League said the
proposal was “a clear attack
on a woman’s freedom and
it's all true
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Verifiable Voting Not a Democratic Priority
Housing starts since June
Legislative efforts to reform federal
election laws, requiring verifiable
ballots and banning secret
proprietary source codes in time for
the 2008 presidential elections,
stalled last week in the US Senate.
Democrat Dianne Feinstein of
California, the chief sponsor of the
Senate bill, agreed to put
implementation of the legislation on
hold until the 2010 congressional
election cycle, citing requests from
state and local election authorities
that they be given more time to
update their equipment. Rep. Rush
Holt (D-NJ) continued to push for
House approval of his reform
package, with a view to pressuring
the Senate to act.

Both bills are aimed at modifying
aspects of the 2002 Help America
Vote Act. Adoption of HAVA
prompted states, counties, and
municipalities to purchase
increasingly suspect electronic voting
systems. Now, with primary elections
less than a year away, many local
authorities fear that compliance with
the proposed regulations will cause
new logistical problems.

Feinstein had called earlier this year
for the new requirements to be in
place for 2008, but at a recent
hearing of the Senate Committee on
Rules and Administration she said
that postponement of the changes
will allow election officials to “enact a
new law that provides for increased
accuracy and accountability at the
polls without raising the specter of
creating major new errors.”

At least 30 states have enacted
election laws requiring a verifiable
paper trail for electronic voting
it's all true
06/05  12/06    06/06     12/07   
source: US






previous editions

Links of the Week

CRS Report : Presidential
Claims of Executive Privilege :
History and Recent

National Science Foundation :
Asia’s Rising Science and
Technology Strength:
Comparative Indicators for
Asia, the EU, and the US

Anarchy: a pamphlet, by Errico
Malatesta, 1891

Malay Ceremonial skirt,
Indonesia National Gallery

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one nation, under surveillance
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FBI Proposals Will Raise the
TSA Transferred
To City Bus Stops
Despite numerous revelations of
widespread violations of civil liberties
and privacy laws by the Federal
Bureau of Investigation in its
domestic surveillance and data
collection programs since 2002, the
bureau is proceeding with plans to
expand these operations under the
auspices of the revised PATRIOT Act
and a series of executive orders.
According to unclassified FBI
documents and recent reports by
ABC News, proposals include the
development of a network of covert
informants to provide tips on
suspicious persons or groups,
contracting with private firms to retain
vast databases of phone and Internet
records, and the continued use of
national security letters to secretly
access business records without
obtaining warrants. An internal FBI
audit completed in June found
hundreds of errors and abuses in
cases involving national security
letters, leading to the establishment
of a special Justice Department
oversight office for FBI terror

The bureau is implementing
modifications to its own databases to
accommodate information from a
planned network of more than 15,000
informants, reportedly seeking
guidance from the CIA on the
recruitment and management of the
“confidential human  
sources.”  Most of the informants will
be based in the US, although the FBI
will develop some overseas
resources, as indicated by
department budget proposals, which
put the cost of the program at $22
million. According to the
ABC reports,
FBI agents will receive “legal and
policy” instruction because of the
“constitutionally sensitive” nature of
domestic surveillance operations.  

In an apparent effort to circumvent
statutes prohibiting indiscriminate
mass data retention by law
enforcement agencies, the FBI will
pay private firms to gather and store
millions of citizens’ and businesses'
phone and computer records, making
the databases available if they are
needed for terrorism investigations.
The bureau has unsuccessfully
promoted legislation that would
mandate companies to hold network
data; the failure of those efforts has
apparently prompted the new
initiative, which earmarks $5 million
for the development of “storage and
retrieval systems.” Although the
current project reportedly involves
AT&T and Verizon, a general
unwillingness by phone companies to
be associated with data mining
operations has created a market
niche for third-party firms that
purchase and resell the records, as
previously reported by
redstateupdate.             it's all true
Agents of the federal
Transportation Security
Administration set up ad-hoc
checkpoints in downtown
Indianapolis last week, screening
passengers as they boarded city
buses. The security operation
targeted two busy commuter bus
stops during the morning traffic
rush. Passengers were patted
down and had their bags
searched by teams of TSA
inspectors that usually work at the
Indianapolis airport.

TSA federal security director
David Kane said the action was
part of a broader effort by the
agency to increase random
security sweeps across the
country. “This is a national
initiative known as ‘Viper’,” Kane
told local NBC affiliate WTHR,
“Visual Intermodal Prevention
Response.” The TSA teams
included plainclothes inspectors,
uniformed security officers,
federal air marshals and
"behavior detection specialists."

The jurisdiction of the TSA
extends to railroads, ports and
waterways, and municipal public
transportation systems. The
passenger screenings in
Indianapolis resulted in the
confiscation of two knives.  
it's all
back to top of
verbatim                            number 22.4
"It's important for the
American people to
understand there are
cold-blooded killers
who want to come
to our homeland and
wreak havoc through
…In other words,
we've got to do more
than just keep pace
with these people.
We've got to
be ahead of the
people in order to
protect the American
people, in order to do
our most important
…and that's what
we're talking about
Washington DC