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

Agricultural practices in 9
States contribute majority of
excessive nutrients to the
Northern Gulf of Mexico: US
Geological Survey report

19 states face a total budget
shortfall of at least $32 billion
in 2009, 9 others expect
budget problems: Center for
Budget and Policy Priorities

Winter at Norris Geyser Basin,
Yellowstone National Park

Ramblin', Johnny Shines

contact us  
back to top of
spread of the red
crowd control
spread of the red
number 136    
source: Viroqua
Oil consumption - barrels per
selected states
SC       NY       UT      MN      ND
"We need to counter the shockwave of the evildoer by having individual rate
cuts accelerated and by thinking about tax rebates."             
Washington DC      
verbatim                                                                                                                                                                                                        number 26.5
A legislative effort is underway
in California to do away with
mandatory life sentences for
juveniles, a practice that has
been condemned by human
rights groups and shunned by
the international community. A
recent report in the
Francisco Chronicle
that the US and Somalia are
the only nations in the world
that have refused to sign the
United Nations Convention on
the Rights of the Child,
because it bans the
sentencing of juvenile
offenders to life in prison
without the possibility of parole.

According to research
published jointly by Human
Rights Watch and Amnesty
International, there are twelve
prisoners in the world outside
the US and Somalia that are
currently serving life sentences
for crimes committed as
youths; seven in Israel, four in
South Africa, and one in
Tanzania. The US has 2,270
such prisoners, with six states
– California, Florida,
Pennsylvania, Missouri,
Michigan, and Louisiana –
accounting for more than
1500. In all, 42 states have
laws that allow juvenile
offenders to be sentenced to
permanent imprisonment
without any provision for

Studies reveal that some 26
percent of these juvenile
offenders were sentenced
under increasingly common
"felony murder" laws that
prosecute accessories to
murders as if they had actually
killed the victim themselves,
even in cases where their
involvement may have been
tangential or coerced.   
it's all
The American Civil Liberties Union
has filed a federal lawsuit on behalf
of a group of protesters who allege
that they were subjected to patently
discriminatory treatment by local law
enforcement agencies, the Secret
Service, and White House political
operatives at a public appearance by
President Bush in Albuquerque last
year. The suit charges that anti-war
protesters were kept 150 yards away
from the site of the August fundraiser
for New Mexico Senator Pete
Domenici, while a group prominently
displaying a banner in support of the
president was allowed better access
to the event. ACLU lawyers said they
hoped to prove through discovery
that several unnamed co-defendants
are Secret Service agents and White
House officials.

“Law enforcement officers gave
supporters front row seats and made
those who disagreed with the
president stand behind a wall of cars
and horses,” said ACLU of New
Mexico executive director Peter
Simonson in a statement. “Officials
went to great lengths to shield the
president from viewing the people
who disagreed with him, which just
isn’t how a free society should

The plaintiffs have called attention to
a now-famous October 2002
confidential White House advance
manual that details a progressive
strategy for identifying, isolating,
marginalizing, and eventually
removing demonstrators who
manage to get close to presidential
public appearances. Over the last six
years, lawsuits alleging violations of
first amendment rights at Bush
events have also been filed in
Colorado, Iowa, West Virginia, and
it's all true
A study by the Labor Center at
the University of California found
that wages for Americans are
reduced by $4.5 billion each year
because of the presence of Wal-
Mart stores in the US economy.  
The study showed that there is a
“decline not just in average wages
but in the total wage bill” for all
workers in counties where Wal-
Mart stores are located.

The study’s authors found that
the opening of a single Wal-Mart
store in a county lowered wages
in the merchandising sector by
one percent and wages for
grocery store employees dropped
by 1.5 percent.   With an average
of 50 Wal-Mart stores in each
state, “the average wages for
retail workers were ten percent
lower, and their job based health
coverage rate was 5 percentage
points less than they would have
been without Wal-Mart’s

The company’s average wage in
2005 was $9.68 per hour, 28
percent less than other large
retailers in the US.  71 percent of
American workers employed by a
retail store work for Wal-
it's all true
A group of five former military
commanders from the US and
Europe have sent a communiqué to
NATO commanders warning that the
west must adopt a new military
paradigm to counter the “dark side”
of globalization calling for the alliance
to embrace a policy to use nuclear
weapons preemptively among other

The authors of the 150-page
manifesto include General John
Shalikashvili, who was the chairman
of the Joint Chiefs of Staff during the
Clinton administration and also
commanded the European theater
for NATO, and military leaders from
the UK, France, the Netherlands and
Germany.  The writers said that
active military leaders and military
policy makers had approached them
to urge them to present what the
writers of the proposal refer to as a
new “grand strategy” to NATO’s
commanders.  The authors said that
NATO’s credibility has been
tarnished by its failures in
Afghanistan and the organization is
“at a juncture and runs the risk of
failure” unless fundamental changes
are made in the body.

The group advised NATO that the
way of life in the western world is
threatened by growing and
dangerous “political fanaticism and
religious fundamentalism”
and that because nuclear
proliferation is unstoppable, NATO
must adopt a policy to use nuclear
weapons as a “first-strike” option.  

The writers said that the “first use of
nuclear weapons must remain in the
quiver of escalation as the ultimate
instrument to prevent the use of
weapons of mass destruction.”  
Critics of the proposal remind that so-
called preemptive warfare is a
violation of the Nuremberg Principles
and feel that countenancing the use
of nuclear weapons is immoral and

The document also concluded that
the combined threats of international
terrorism, organized crime and
impending environmental
catastrophe require dispensing with
the long standing consensus
decision making structure of NATO
and limiting the decision making in
NATO to only those nations who are
actively participating in a military
action.  This would allow large
member countries, such as the US
and the UK, to decide on their own to
take military action when they believe
it is required. The former military
commanders also called on NATO to
abandon the requirement to seek UN
Security Council ratification when
“immediate action is needed.”       
all true
President Bush and a small group of
administration officials made over
900 false public statements in the two
years prior to the invasion of Iraq in a
coordinated program to convince
American citizens that preemptively
attacking the country was necessary
and justified.

The Center for public Integrity and
the Fund for Independence in
Journalism reviewed the record of
speeches, interviews, briefings,
testimony and other public comments
made by Bush and six other high
ranking administration officials and
concluded that the lies were “part of
an orchestrated campaign that
effectively galvanized public opinion
in the process, led the nation to war
under decidedly false pretenses.”

The researchers found that the
number of lies told by administration
officials increased dramatically just
prior to Congress voting to authorize
military action in August 2002 and
then again in the two months before
the US invaded Iraq.  The study
found that Bush made the most false
statements, including 232 lies about
weapons of mass destruction in Iraq,
and 28 lies linking Iraq to Al Qaeda.  
The second most prolific liar was
Colin Powell who made 244 untrue
statements about Iraq’s weapons
capabilities and 10 statements falsely
linking Iraq to Al Qaeda.    
An example of the blatant nature
of these lies was a statement Vice
President Dick Cheney made to
the annual national convention of
the Veteran’s of Foreign Wars in
2002, where he said emphatically;
“Simply stated, there is no doubt
that Saddam Hussein now has
weapons of mass destruction.
There is no doubt he is amassing
them to use against our friends,
against our allies, against us.”  
The Bush administration did not
specifically comment on the merits
of the study but a spokesperson
said that the invasion of Iraq was
based upon “the collective
judgment of intelligence agencies
around the world.”                    
all true
In a controversial move, the Bush
administration has signaled that it
intends to proceed next week with the
auction of oil drilling rights in the
Chukchi Sea off the Alaskan coast,
despite missing a legal deadline
earlier this month to make a final
decision on Endangered Species Act
protection for polar bears, which are
native to the region. Environmental
organizations and Democratic
legislators have charged that the US
Fish and Wildlife Service delayed its
final determination of the status of
polar bears in order to facilitate the
Minerals Management Service
auction, which will open 29 million
acres to oil and gas exploration. Both
the Fish and Wildlife Service and the
Minerals Management Service are
part of the federal Department of the

Protection for polar bears under the
Endangered Species Act has been
pending for more than a year.
Research has shown that the large-
scale disappearance of sea ice has
severely threatened polar bear
populations, which could be reduced
by more than 60 percent by 2050.
The polar bear is the first species to
be considered for federal protection
based on the impact of global

“The timing of these two decisions
leaves the door open for the
administration to give Big Oil the
rights to this polar bear habitat the
moment before the protections for
the polar bear under the Endangered
Species Act go into effect,” said Rep.
Edward Markey (D-MA), who
introduced a bill that would halt the
oil lease auction until the legal status
of the bear can be resolved. In
testimony before a House panel,
Minerals Management Service
Director Randall Luthi admitted
that if the leases are sold before a
final decision on the polar bear,
they could not subsequently be

Last week the US blocked the
release of an international
research study assessing the
impact of oil and gas exploration
in the Arctic, which has been
compiled over six years by
scientists from eight countries with
interests in the area. The authors
of the study complained that
political maneuvering by the US
and Russia over development of
the Chukchi Sea oil fields had led
to the derailing of a long-awaited
“science-based effort to manage
the race for the vast energy
reserves of the Arctic,” according
to a report in the British
Independent newspaper.   it's all
Department of Interior Acts to Protect Endangered
Police Shielded President From Public
Sentencing Policy
Stigma Inescapable
Wages Wrecked by
Wal-Mart Effect
NATO Urged to Preserve Option to Destroy
Report Provides Verification of Presidential Prevarication
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