interpreting the constitution

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interpreting the constitution
in bed with the red
fun d' mental
one nation, under surveillance
spread of the red
number 144    
source: Viroqua
Slim Harpo  
Tribute Page
Attempts to address the US
dependency on imported oil by
significantly increasing the
production of corn-based
ethanol will have disastrous
effects for the Gulf of Mexico
“Dead Zone,” scientists have
warned in a pair of recently
published research studies.

Both reports conclude that
increased corn production will
result in exponentially higher
levels of nitrogen runoff from
heavily fertilized Midwestern
farm fields, overwhelming
streams in the Mississippi
River basin and contributing to
the unnatural algae blooms
that have created the low-
oxygen Dead Zone, which at
over 7900 square miles
is already approximately the
size of the state of New Jersey.
A researcher involved with one
of the studies said that the
expected increase in nitrogen
levels “will overwhelm all the
suggested mitigation options.”

One study, published in the
current issue of the journal
Nature, tracked the process by
which fresh water river systems
absorb nitrogen, revealing that
this natural denitrification
cannot keep pace with ever-
increasing levels of fertilizers
used by agribusiness. A
separate study concluded that
corn-based ethanol production
poses a direct threat to the
Gulf of Mexico, and that
congressionally proposed
increases in ethanol
production would raise Gulf
nitrogen levels between 10
and 19 percent by 2022. The
report was published in the
Proceedings of the National
Journal of Sciences
.      it's all
Election officials in New Jersey have
abandoned their plans to commission
an independent review of electronic
voting systems that malfunctioned
during primary voting in February
receiving legal threats from Sequoia
Voting Systems, the private company
that manufactured and sold the
suspect machines.

The Constitutional Officers
Association of New Jersey, acting on
behalf of county clerks that
administer elections, had
approached Princeton University
computer security expert Edward
Felten seeking an analysis of
discrepancies observed in at least 60
AVC Advantage machines built by
Sequoia. In a series of threatening
emails and letters first reported by
independent journalist Brad
Friedman on his influential
Bradblog, Sequoia Vice President
Edwin Smith  
asserted that the counties, which
have spent millions of dollars on
licensing agreements with Sequoia,
have no right to perform independent
analysis of the machines or their

The company has blamed the New
Jersey anomalies on “poll worker
error,” and has promised to conduct
its own review of the AVC Advantage
machines, which are used in 18 of
the state’s 21 counties. Friedman
reports that election officials have
told him privately that they are
reluctant to engage in legal action
against companies that sell them
electronic voting systems because
they will be dependent on the same
technology for the upcoming general
election in November. Computer
scientists have pointed out that the
same machines will be widely used in
next month’s Pennsylvania primary.  
it's all true
b$          2           4           6
Conventional arms exports
top five countries
...It must be exciting
for you, in some ways
romantic, in some
ways, you know,
confronting danger."
Washington DC 03.13.08
verbatim                                                                                                                                                            number 28.3
"I must say, I’m a little
envious, If I were
slightly younger and
not employed here, I
think it would be a
fantastic experience
to be on the front
The United Nations special
investigator on torture said that the
Pentagon has denied him access to
American military jails, prisons and
detention facilities in Iraq.  Manfred
Nowak, an Austrian Law professor
who is designated by the UN Human
Rights Council as an independent
rapporteur on torture, said officials
told him that the US military is not
required to submit to international
human rights inspections.

Nowak told reporters, “I am a little
astonished that the US government is
not willing to grant me access.”  
Nowak said that he has received
approval from the Iraqi deputy
minister for human
rights and British officials to perform
unannounced on-site visits of their
detention centers in Iraq.

Although the State Department has
declined to comment, officials who
know of the request told the
Associated Press that international
human rights law does not apply to
the US occupation of Iraq because of
on-going armed conflict in the
country.  The State Department said
it does allow inspectors from the Red
Cross to visit its detention centers in
Iraq, but the reports the Red Cross
writes about the condition of
prisoners in Iraq are confidential.  
Reports made by the Human Rights
Council to the UN
are released to the public.

The world was stunned in 2003
when the torturous treatment of
detainees at the US run Abu
Ghraib detention center came to
light.  Nowak said that he has
received reports that conditions in
US detention facilities have
improved, including anecdotal
evidence that captives in Iraq
would prefer to be held by the US
military than by the Iraqi security
forces.  The torture investigator
for the UN said he was puzzled by
the Pentagon’s refusal to allow his
inspections because, “it might
even be in
their interest.”        
it's all true
A US soldier has filed a federal
lawsuit alleging that he is the
victim of religious discrimination.  
Army Specialist Jeremy Hall claims
that he has been denied a
promotion due to the fact that he
does not believe in a god.  Hall is
a self-professed atheist.

Hall says that several incidents
led to his decision to seek
protection from the courts.  The
first incident occurred when Hall
was deployed in Iraq with his
military police unit.  Hall was
prevented from holding an open
meeting at his base to discuss
atheism.  The lawsuit alleges that
Maj Freddy Welborn prevented
the meeting from taking place and
threatened to bring military
charges against Hall.  

The lawsuit also alleges that a
platoon sergeant at Hall’s base
told him that he would not be a
candidate for promotion because
he does not believe in god.  Hall
said he was told by the platoon
sergeant that he would not be
able to “pray with his troops” and
otherwise bond with them in a
traditional fashion because of his
it's all true
The German high court last week
imposed significant limits on
government surveillance powers,
striking down recent legislation that
required telecommunications
companies to maintain large
databases of private transactions
and make them accessible to law
enforcement agencies. The ruling
blocked parts of a European Union
data collection law that sparked
protests by civil liberties advocates
and prompted the largest class
action lawsuit in the country’s history.
The decision is the latest in a series
of rulings by the court affirming
privacy rights in cases that closely
parallel litigation pending in the
United States.

The Federal Constitutional Court in
Karlsruhe ordered that the
companies continue to retain the
data, in compliance with EU law, while
a legal
review is in process, but sharply
restricted law enforcement access to
the information, requiring
investigators to obtain warrants by
producing evidence of “serious
crime”. The ruling is considered a
setback for the administration of
Chancellor Angela Merkel, which has
introduced several controversial
security measures only to see them
declared unconstitutional after legal
challenges. Opposition parties have
criticized the government for citing
the threat of terrorism in repeatedly
testing the limits of its authority to
perform surveillance on private

Earlier this month the high court
ruled that a police program that
involved automatically running vast
numbers of auto license plates was
unlawfully broad because the
surveillance was performed without
specific cause. In February, the
court blocked the government
from using sophisticated
“spyware” to access private
computers, explicitly recognizing a
“fundamental right to surveillance-
free computer systems,”
according to the German
Deutsche Welle.

In deciding the computer
surveillance case, the judges
wrote, “Given the gravity of the
intrusion, the secret infiltration of
an IT system in such a way that
use of the system and its data can
be searched can only be
constitutionally allowed if clear
evidence of a concrete threat to a
prominent object of legal
protection exists.” Critics of data
collection laws also warn that
information could be shared with
foreign governments, leading to
abuses beyond the purview of
German courts.          
it's all true
German Court Upholds Civil Liberties and Other Foreign
Biofuels Add
To Gulf Dead Zone
Company Elects to Play Hardball on Voting
For the first time in years,
congressional overseers have
proposed legislation that is intended
to level the playing field between
banks that offer credit cards and
their customers.  The Card Holder’s
Bill of Rights, sponsored by over 80
members of Congress, in the words
of its author Rep. Carolyn Maloney
(DNY) “contains no rate caps, fee
setting, or price controls” but even
still, the huge banks that sponsor
credit card agreements have
responded to the proposed
legislation with indignation, cries of
over regulation and, most recently,
bully-boy tactics.

With the assistance of Republican
facilitators who sit on the House
Financial Institutions and Consumer
Credit Subcommittee, large banks
demanded at the last minute that
consumers who were scheduled to
appear in front of the committee
release their entire financial histories
to the press before they were allowed
give testimony about how arbitrary
interest rate increases, misleading
contract terms, excessive fees and
usurious interest rates effected them
and their families.  

Representative Mark Udall (D-CO)
described the banks demand to have
aggrieved consumers reveal their
financial histories to the public before
they testify as a “form of intimidation”
that exhibited the “muscle of the
credit card industry” with committee
Republicans.  Udall said,
“Consumers weren’t given a chance
to tell their story…regular people are
getting the short end of the stick.”

The stipulation demanded by the
banks and Republicans on the
committee contradicts consumer
protection advice that, as a matter of
course, is given to individuals by
nearly every single law enforcement
agency in the US.  Due to the
prevalence of identity theft in
America, consumer protection
agencies always counsel consumers
to never under any circumstances
reveal personal identifiers, especially
financial records, to unknown

The bill provides credit consumers
with protections against arbitrary
interest rate increases and excessive
fees and calls for Congress to
provide better oversight of the credit
card industry.  So far this election
cycle, candidates Obama and  
Clinton have each raised over $6
million and McCain has raised over
$2.5 million in contributions from the
financial services industry.           
all true
Bully Banks Exhibit High Interest in
Atheist's Bid For
Promotion Doesn't
Have a Prayer
US Military Occupied With Unlawful Rejection of Torture
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