interpreting the constitution

crowd control

spread of the red

one nation, under surveillance

fun d' mental

in bed with the red

red state rebate







previous editions

    Links of the Week

CRS Report : Homeland
Security : Roles and Missions
for United States Northern

Environmental Performance  
Index 2008 : Executive

Uninsured Children in the
South, Southern Institute on
Children and Families report

Pearl : Late 14th Century,
Author Unknown,  University of
Virginia Electronic Text Center

Kasimir Malevich :  
Dynamic Suprematism,  1915,
The Tate Gallery on line,

contact us  
back to top of
interpreting the constitution
crowd control
spread of the red
number 138    
ML King
United States military veterans
are not legally entitled to any
specific form or level of
medical care, according to
government lawyers
responding to a class action
lawsuit against the Department
of Veterans Affairs. In
documents filed last week in
federal court in San Francisco,
the Justice Department argued
that a law providing for medical
services for veterans after
their discharge does establish
“veterans’ eligibility for health
care, but it does not create an
entitlement to any particular
medical service.” Bush
administration attorneys assert
in the filing that such services
are provided entirely at the
discretion of the VA, and only
to the extent that funds are

The lawsuit was brought by a
coalition of advocacy groups
on behalf of veterans and their
families who claim that the VA
has illegally denied mental
health care to troops returning
from overseas duty. A lawyer
for the plaintiffs told the
Francisco Chronicle
“Veterans need to know in this
country that the government
thinks all their benefits are
mere gratuities.
They’re saying it’s completely
discretionary, that even if
Congress appropriates money
for veterans’ health care we
can do anything we want with

The case is being heard at a
time of increased concern over
mental health issues for
returning troops.
Last week the
reported on a VA study
that said such concerns were a
factor in high unemployment
rates among former
it's all true
New concerns about the vulnerability
of crucial international
communications systems have arisen
after at least four major undersea
fiber optic cables were cut in a period
of six days last week, knocking out
Internet access for hundreds of
millions in the Middle East and South
Asia.  Officials have been quick to
deny that any of the cables were
intentionally cut, and have said that
an abandoned anchor weighing more
than five tons severed one of the
cables in the Persian Gulf. Despite
these assurances, speculation about
sabotage and possible motives and
actors has been rampant, particularly
among bloggers.

The damaged cables slowed Internet
service throughout the Middle East,
with Egypt, Oman, and the United
Arab Emirates suffering outages and
delays. Service in India was
impacted, with local
media reporting that while
multinational corporations were able
to reroute their service through
alternative cable networks, smaller
business and home users
experienced severe disruptions. The
private companies that own the
affected cables said that repairs to
the first two would be completed this

The extent of the interruption of
Internet and telecommunications
services in Iran remains unclear, but
some observers have suggested that
if the cuts were indeed sabotage, the
intended effect may have been to
disrupt the launch of the Iranian oil
bourse, scheduled for this month.
The bourse represents the first
attempt to trade oil internationally
without using the US dollar as the
reference currency. The dollar is
seen by some oil producing nations
as too volatile.        
it's all true
verbatim                                            number 27.1
"America stands
for liberty...
…for the pursuit of
...and for the
right of life."
Washington DC  
source: Center for Disease
Human deaths from Bird Flu
top five countries
0                  20                 40
The top commander of US military
detention operations at Guantanamo
Bay, Cuba has confirmed for the first
time the existence of “Camp 7,” a
super-secret facility within the prison
compound that houses just 15 “high
value” terrorist suspects. Delegations
from International Red Cross and
some civilian government authorities
had access to the secret site, but the
comments by Rear Admiral Mark
Buzby, in an interview with the
Associated Press, represent the
first official public acknowledgement
that such a detention center is in
operation. Buzby said the maximum-
security unit holds prisoners
transferred from secret CIA prisons
around the world in 2006.

Some journalists have been allowed
to tour Camp Echo and Camps
1,2,3,4,5, and 6, where 260 military
have been in custody for up to six
years. It had been widely assumed
that the most important suspected
terrorists were being held in either
Camp 5 or Camp 6, which are also
high-security complexes. In
December, when lawyers for
detainee Majid Khan released
documents related to his case, the
New York Times noted, “The
documents also suggest that Mr.
Khan, 27, and other high-value
detainees are now
being held in a previously
undisclosed area of the Guantanamo
prison in Cuba he called Camp 7.”

Buzby said that the 15 prisoners
were confined to Camp 7 in part to
protect other inmates, citing a
“potential for retribution” among
detainees. He stressed that very few
personnel were allowed entry to the
unit. Col. Bruce Vargo, chief
commander of the Joint
Detention Group at Guantanamo,
told the
AP, “Not everybody, even
within the Joint Task Force, has
access or even knowledge of
where Camp 7 is.”  

The disclosures about Camp 7
came as the Bush administration
announced plans to try a number
of “high-value” terrorist suspects
in special tribunals to be held at
Guantanamo Bay. The detainees,
who are reportedly facing the
death penalty, are presumed to
be those confined to Camp 7. A
2006 change to regulations allows
military executions to be
performed at Guantanamo, which
is not on US soil. The rule change
will effectively limit the right of
appeal of so-called "enemy
combatants" who are tried and
convicted outside of the US justice
it's all true
Vets Forced to Fight
For Medical Benefits
Cutting of Cables May Delay Cutting of Cord
US Achieves Robust Growth in Secret Prison Camp
Through his own inaction
President Bush has nullified a
commission set up by Congress to
monitor his administration's anti-
terror programs for abuses of civil
liberties and privacy rights.

The terms of the current members
of the Privacy Board expired on
January 30 and the administration
has not nominated candidates to
fill positions on the 5-person
board. The Board reviews the
administration’s national security
surveillance programs to make
suggestions to ensure that
American’s civil liberties are
protected. The panel was
reconfigured by Congress in 2007
at the recommendation of the
9/11 commission to include
members from both parties, but
the panel remains under the
authority of the president.

The panel’s first yearly report
since being reorganized was
released last year after the Bush
administration had made over 200
revisions. The edits included
deleting whole sections regarding
administration anti-terrorism
programs that the Board saw as
“potentially problematic” to civil
liberties and criticism of federal
prosecutors’ authority to
indefinitely detain material
witnesses. The panel’s only
Democrat resigned due to
administration’s interference in
the release of the full report.  
all true
President Bush has proposed a
budget for the 2009 fiscal year that
reduces funding for Medicare and
Medicaid and eliminates funding for
many federal programs while at the
same time increases funding for both
the Pentagon and the Department of
Homeland Security.

Bush proposes in his 2009 budget to
freeze spending on domestic
programs including food programs
for poor children, community
development programs, training
programs for displaced workers,
subsidies for home heating and
funding for public housing. The
proposed budget eliminates or
reduces funding to over 150 federal

The budget also calls for legislative
changes to reduce spending on
Medicare by $6 billion in 2009 and by
$91billion by 2013. Bush proposes
eliminating programmed annual
increases in payments made to
hospitals, home health care
providers, nursing homes and
hospices. Federal payments to these
institutions are currently adjusted
annually for inflation.

The Bush budget cuts would impact
America’s hospitals the most,
including cutting funding for in-
patient care by $15 billion reducing
funding to hospitals that serve large
poor populations by $25 billion. The
proposed budget also finds savings
in cuts to Medicaid of $1.3 billion in
2009 and more than $13 billion over
the next four years.
The proposal also reduces funding
for federal block grants to
communities that support day care
and foster care programs, children’s
health services and other family
services. Overall, the Bush budget
proposes to cut more than $2 billion
from programs overseen by the
Department of Health and Human

The Bush budget also cuts funding to
educational programs including
eliminating the early childhood
literacy program called Even Start
and defunding a college scholarship
program. The budget also cuts
federal funding to the states to
promote technology education and
provide training for incarcerated

Although the president reduced
federal spending for these and more
domestic programs, the proposal
increases military spending as a
percent of the total budget to a level
not reached since World War II. The
budget calls for $515.4 billion for the
Pentagon in 2009. That figure does
not include appropriations to support
the occupation of Iraq and the
military actions in Afghanistan. Bush
has, over the past years, funded
these military operations by
submitting special supplemental
funding bills to Congress instead of
adding them to the annual budget

The budget that Bush proposed
could be the first proposed by a US
president that exceeds $3
it's all true
With members of Congress working
towards the passage of legislation
banning certain extreme interrogation
techniques including simulating
drowning through the use of
waterboarding, Bush administration
officials have come forward stating
that although waterboarding could
lead to the death of suspects, the
CIA used the technique at the
detention camp in Guantanamo Bay,
Cuba and other black-site prisons
around the world and could use the
technique again at the direction of
the President. The use of
waterboarding to extract information
from subjects is considered to be
torture by most of the world’s
countries, including many of America’
s allies.
CIA chief, Michael Hayden admitted
for the first time that the CIA had
utilized  waterboarding during
interrogations in 2002 and 2003.
Hayden told a congressional
committee that the technique was
used on specific “high-value”
detainees and that less than a third
of detainees held in the CIA’s
detention and interrogation program
were subjected to “coercive”
techniques. Hayden said that
although waterboarding is not
currently employed by the CIA as an
interrogation technique,”it is not
certain that the technique would be
considered to be lawful under current
statute.”  The technique it is not
specifically banned under current law.
White House spokesperson Tony
Fratto later clarified Hayden’s
statements stating that the
administration considers water-
boarding to be a legal
interrogation tool that could be
used at any time by when
authorized by the president.
President Bush has said that he
would veto any legislation that
places restrictions on CIA
interrogators.  The Vice President
recently told a gathering that he
was proud to support Bush’s
decision to use water-boarding.  
Speaking of the detainees who
were tortured, Cheney said, “Its a
good thing we had them in
custody, and its a good thing we
found out what they knew.”       
all true
Torture Regime Trumpets Using Terrible Tactic on Terror
President's Budget Buys Bombs, Torpedoes
Bush Boards-up
Privacy Board
previous editions archive