number 126    
interpreting the constitution

crowd control

spread of the red

one nation, under surveillance

fun d' mental

in bed with the red

red state rebate







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  Links of the Week

CRS Report : Covert Action:
Legislative Background and
Possible Policy Questions,
updated October 11, 2007

ABA Study : State Death
Penalty Systems Deeply

Ancient Glass Pitcher,  
Roman, Syro-Palestinian
coast, probably Sidon, 2nd-4th

Yale-Carlisle football game at
Polo Grounds, NY, 1909

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interpreting the constitution
spread of the red
"Every new citizen
of the United
States has an
obligation to learn
our customs and
verbatim                            number 24.5
...including liberty
and civic
...equality under God…and
the English language."
Tucson  AZ  11.28.05
Death Rate per 100,000
selected states
MS     WY     NE      UT       HI
Newly released government
documents reveal that US
interrogators have routinely “abused,
tortured and killed” detainees since
President Bush declared the “war on
terror”.  Attorneys for the American
Civil Liberties Union analyzed the
documents that disclosed
maltreatment and torture of
detainees held in the military
detention camp at Guantanamo Bay,
Cuba that was as brutal and
inhumane as was reported to have
occurred at the notorious Abu Ghraib
prison in occupied Iraq.

The ACLU fought for the documents
in court after the government refused
to comply with a freedom of
information request in 2003 for
records about the treatment of
detainees held by the US military.  

The documents revealed that
were shackled in painful “stress
positions, held in freezing-cold cells,
forcibly stripped, hooded, terrorized
with military dogs, and deprived of
human contact for months.”  
Attorneys for the ACLU who reviewed
the documents said that at the time
that the Abu Ghraib scandal was
uncovered, the US military was
already aware of 62 allegations of
torture or abuse.

The ACLU made the documents
public during the same week that
former US Secretary of Defense,
Donald Rumsfeld was charged with
ordering and authorizing torture by a
coalition of human rights groups in
the Court of First Instance in Paris,
France.  The complaint filed with
prosecutors invokes the 1984
Convention on Torture, of which the
US is a signatory.  The complaint
contained an affidavit of the former  
commander of the prison camp at
Abu Ghraib, Janis Karpinski.  

The affidavit that states Rumsfeld
sent a general who formerly
directed detainee interrogations
at the detention center in
Guantanamo Bay to Iraq who
instituted methods such as
“beatings, sleep deprivation,
solitary confinement (and) using
attack dogs to intimidate
prisoners.”  Karpinski said that
the general bragged that “two
thirds of the 600 prisoners” at
Guantanamo had given up
“actionable intelligence” after he
focused on “improving
interrogation procedures.”

Rumsfeld, who was in France to
attend a conference, evaded
service of the complaint by
leaving the event through a side
it's all true
Officials from the Federal Emergency
Management Administration held a
news conference last week to update
the nation about federal efforts to
abate the wildfires raging in
California.  FEMA held the
conference in a press briefing room
in the agency’s headquarters where
Vice Administrator Harvey Johnson
stood at a podium on a stage with
cameras running.  Johnson answered
a limited number of questions, with
no follow-up questions being asked.  
One thing missing from the otherwise
smoothly run press event was

FEMA officials announced that the
press briefing was taking place only
15 minutes before the event was to
begin.  Although no journalists
arrived for the conference, FEMA
proceeded with the press event, with
no reporters, but with agency
employees asking Johnson what
have been described as “soft” and
gratuitous” questions.  The
questioners included FEMA’s Deputy
Director of Public Affairs and it's
Director of External Affairs.  

The FEMA staffers asked six
questions that were peppered with
agency jargon and allowed Johnson
to reiterate information contained in
press releases that FEMA has
released recently about the crisis in
California.  Playing his role in the
event, Johnson even called for a last
question.  One of the staff members
asked, “What lessons learned from
Katrina have been applied?”  
said that, with the “benefit of
experience” and "good leadership”
FEMA has responded well to the
disaster in California.  FEMA was
criticized for
its many failures in the aftermath of
Hurricane Katrina.        
it's all true
The United Nations
Environmental Program
released a report on the earth’
s environment that found that
humankind is using resources
at a rate that is not ecologically
sustainable.  The study found
that global warming, scarcity of
fresh water, pollution, species
extinction, resource
consumption and other
ecological problems could
dramatically effect the
environment and human life on
the planet.  Authors of the
report said that the response
of the world’s nations to the
environmental crisis shows “a
remarkable lack of urgency”
and has been “woefully

The study found that three
million people die each year of
easily treated diseases, most
of them children.  The
scientists reported that an
estimated 13 million people die
each year because of
pollution, disease and poor
working conditions.  

The study also said that the
earth is facing a mass
extinction with animal species
becoming extinct 100 times
faster than fossil records show
have historically become
extinct.  The study reported
that 23 percent of mammals
and 30 percent of amphibians
face extinction.

The report, Global
Environment Outlook, is the
culmination of the work of more
than 1400 scientists over a
five-year period.  The study is
the second environmental
report card issued by the
United Nations, the previous
report card was published in
it's all true
After months of extensive and well-
documented military and logistical
preparations, political debate over
the Bush administration’s apparent
determination to attack Iran
dominated the news last week, with
White House posturing prompting
calls by UN officials and foreign
leaders for the US to moderate its
rhetoric and pursue diplomatic

Nobel Laureate Mohamed El Baradei,
the head of the International Atomic
Energy Agency, criticized the latest
confrontational remarks by President
Bush and Vice President Cheney in
an interview on
CNN, saying “I would
hope we would stop spinning and
hyping the
Iranian issue.”  On the Sunday
political talk shows, senior
Democratic leaders echoed Dr. El
Baradei’s warnings that
administration escalation of the
situation leaves Iranian President
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad with little
incentive to negotiate, raising the
likelihood of a US military strike
before Bush leaves office in January
2009. But Congressional
Republicans backed the President,
with Sen. Lindsey Graham of South
Carolina saying, “We need to be
more aggressive. We don’t need to
talk softly, we need to act boldly,
because time is not on our side,”
during his appearance on
Face the Nation.

With extended deployments in Iraq
Afghanistan placing an
unprecedented strain on the
nation’s military, reserves, and
National Guard, analysts believe
that Bush is planning a massive
aerial assault on Iran, to be
coordinated by naval forces
already positioned in the Persian
Gulf. Such a strike would involve
bombardment of more than 1200
military and civil sites targeted by
US intelligence, as well as key
infrastructure including roads,
bridges, broadcasting facilities,
and power plants.

In a speech last week, Cheney
described the leadership in
Tehran as "a growing obstacle to
peace in the Middle
it's all true
Federal prosecutions against
white collar criminals, industrial
polluters, and organized crime
syndicates have dropped sharply
since 2000, as the Justice
Department has adopted a new
set of law enforcement priorities
emphasizing terrorism-related
investigations during the Bush
administration’s two terms in
office. The changes are
documented in a recent report by
the Transactional Records Access
Clearinghouse at Syracuse
University, which analyzes a wide
range of government data to chart
the significant reallocation of
federal law enforcement

Researchers found that federal
prosecutions of white-collar
crimes dropped 27 percent from
2000 through 2007. During the
same period, prosecutions of
official corruption cases
decreased 14 percent, and
organized crime prosecutions
dropped 52 percent. The TRAC
report calls the trends identified
by the analysis “evidence of the
profound and often unannounced
changes in the basic thrust of
federal enforcement under the
Bush Administration.”             
all true
UN Reports
Hope For Planet
Nearly Extinct
Gitmo, Abu Ghraib Fallout Has Retired Rummy on the
Fake FEMA Conference a Natural Disaster
Feds Don't Have Time
For White-Collar Crime
Attack on Iran a Crucial Part of Bush Presidential
The announcement last week that
Merrill Lynch would take an $8 billion
charge against its mortgage-backed
securities sent chills through the
financial sector, and by Monday
morning it had cost CEO Stanley O’
Neal his job. The episode is widely
seen as an indication that the
collapse of the US housing market
will fatally undermine the trade in
collateralized debt obligations, with
disastrous implications for some of
the world’s elite financial institutions.
As the week began, investors in the
US and abroad were looking to
Federal Reserve Board Chairman
Ben Bernanke to administer first aid
through lower interest rates.
Unfortunately for Bernanke,
economists say that recent data
signal fundamental market
deficiencies that will not be alleviated
by the Fed’s presumed quarter-point
rate cut on Wednesday.

The skyrocketing price of oil, largely
a result of the weakness of the US
currency, has moved past $90 a
barrel; the renewed threat of military
action against Iran makes sustained
prices above $100 possible. The
inflationary pressure of rising energy
costs, excluded from the officially
reported rate of inflation, threatens to
impact consumer spending, which
constitutes the vast majority of US
economic activity. Foreign
institutional investors have been
unloading US Treasury bonds since
mid-July, when the credit markets
began to contract. China, Japan,
South Korea, and Saudi Arabia, the
largest purchasers of US debt since
2000, have all implemented policies
of diversification, and are unlikely to
resume their roles as underwriters of
the American economy.

Many economists warn that these
factors have pushed the US to the
brink of recession, with anticipated
increases in gas and food prices
during the winter expected to add to
the pressure on consumers.
Hundreds of thousands of mortgages
are due to reset in 2008, which will
inevitably add to the record numbers
of foreclosures. Foreclosures and
delinquencies will, in turn, further
unravel the recent investment
strategies of large financial entities
such as banks, investment banks,
large brokerage houses, and mutual
and pension funds.

Consumer confidence indices reflect
a growing awareness of these trends.
Atlanta Journal-Constitution
reported that a CNN News poll
conducted last week found nearly
half of Americans believe that the
country is already in a
it's all true
United States Economy Too Weak To Tweak
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