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CRS report : Presidential
Transitions: Issues Involving
Outgoing and Incoming

Pew Center on the States :
Election Day Will Likely Test
Voting System, Voter Patience

Anton Chekhov :  
Lady with Lapdog,  1899

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number 172    
The Syrian government has strongly
condemned the United States for
conducting an illegal military
incursion into its territory over the
weekend, reportedly killing civilians
including four children. The action
signals an apparent expansion of a
controversial new Bush
administration policy authorizing such
cross-border raids as part of the so-
called “war on terror”. US forces
have staged at least 19 raids inside
Pakistan since August, most recently
on Monday when a missile attack by
unmanned “drone” aircraft left 20

The White House argues that border
regions in Syria and Pakistan harbor
terrorist enclaves, and that the  
governments in Damascus and
Islamabad have failed to curtail
activities that threaten US forces.
The repeated missile strikes against
suspected al Qaeda encampments in
North and South Waziristan in
Pakistan, along the border with
Afghanistan, prompted the Pakistani
government to summon the US
ambassador to the foreign ministry
on Wednesday. According to a
statement released by the ministry,
“It was emphasized that such attacks
were a violation of Pakistan’s
sovereignty and should be stopped

Ambassador Anne Patterson was
previously summoned to receive an
official protest in early September,
a commando raid on Pakistani
territory much like the action
inside Syria on Sunday. Pakistani
officials stress that the raids and
the civilian casualties only
reinforce resistance among the
tribal inhabitants of the remote,
mountainous border region where
US intelligence believes
Osama bin Laden is living.

Mohammed Sadiq, a spokesman
for the Pakistani foreign ministry,
said  “The drone attacks have
negative repercussions when the
Pakistani government tries to get
the support of the people in the
tribal area. They are not helping
meet the objectives of the war on
it's all true
US Military Forces Become Illegal Aliens in Pakistan,
The United States is ranked 36th
in the new edition of the
international Press Freedom
Index, a report published annually
by Paris-based advocacy group
Reporters Sans Frontieres, which
monitors conditions for journalists
in 173 countries. Topping the
index for 2008 were Iceland,
Luxembourg, Norway, Estonia and
Finland, while Cuba, Burma,
Turkmenistan, North Korea, and
Eritrea were the lowest ranked

The report notes that all of the
countries ranked in the top 20 on
the index are parliamentary
democracies that are not currently
engaged in conflicts beyond their
borders. RSF warned that even
economically prosperous nations
such as the US and Israel fall
short on press freedoms when
they become involved in foreign
military actions. Regarding the US
and Israel, the report says,
“Destabilized and defensive, the
leading democracies are
gradually eroding the space for
freedoms.” On conditions outside
its own territory, the US ranked
119th,  according to the report.   
it's all true
Freedom of Press
Fails to Impress
Scientists have discovered alarming
new evidence that melting permafrost
on land and on the seabed is
accelerating the release of methane,
a greenhouse gas 20 times more
potent than carbon dioxide, into the
atmosphere. Researchers aboard a
laboratory vessel in the Siberian
Arctic observed methane “chimneys”
where the gas bubbled up to the
surface from vast underground
stores that have accumulated over
centuries through the natural decay
of plant and animal matter. The
expedition documented local
concentrations of methane up to
10,000 times higher than normal.

Climatologists have hypothesized
that enormous quantities of methane,
which have remained frozen beneath
Arctic ice for thousands of years, are
beginning to be released as warming
sea and air temperatures rapidly
erode the permafrost. Research has
shown that atmospheric methane
levels have risen steadily since 2006,
after a relatively stable period lasting
about seven years. Scientists believe
that sudden releases of methane in
the past have resulted in dramatic
climate changes, including increased
sea levels and mass extinctions of
species. The prospect that melting
Arctic permafrost would lead to
significant methane releases was
previously reported by
redstateupdate in June 2006.

Researchers around the world were
puzzled when methane levels rose by
28 million tons between June 2006
and October 2007. Atmospheric
methane has more than doubled
since the industrial revolution, and
recent data show that there is
currently more than 5.6 billion tons of
methane in the air. Scientists
estimate the amount of methane
locked beneath the Arctic permafrost
to be many billions of tons, exceeding
the carbon stored in all of the world’s
coal deposits.

Professor Orjan Gustafsson of
Stockholm University, who led the
expedition to the Siberian Arctic, told
Independent newspaper, “The
conventional thought has been that
the permafrost ‘lid’ on the sub-sea
sediments on the Siberian shelf
should cap and hold the massive
reservoirs of shallow methane
deposits in place. The growing
evidence for release of methane in
this inaccessible region may suggest
that the permafrost lid is starting to
get perforated and thus leak
methane.” The disappearance of
summer sea ice is also thought to be
accelerating the warming trend in the
Arctic Ocean.    
it's all true
Methane Warnings More Than Just Hot Air
The government sponsored
mortgage guarantee company
Freddie Mac hired a
Republican consulting firm in
2005 to lobby against a bill
that would have provided
stronger regulations governing
both Freddie Mac and Fannie
Mae.  The company, DCI, a
Republican consulting and
lobbying firm, was paid $2
million to attempt to persuade
a group of Republican
senators to not support the
tighter regulations.

The campaign organized by
DCI included newspaper
articles, television segments
and orchestrated phone calls
from prominent business
people who opposed
regulating the giant
government sponsored
mortgage firms.  Opponents of
the law said the new
regulations would restrict the
housing boom that was
occurring 3 years ago.  The
bill, which came before the
Senate Banking, Housing and
Urban Affairs, was sponsored
by Republican Chuck Hagel (R-
NE) and was opposed by all of
the Democrats on the
committee.  DCI was hired to
undermine the support of 17
Republicans on the
committee.  At the time, Hagel
and his colleges wrote a letter
to the Senate Majority Leader
warning, “ If effective
regulatory reform
legislation…is not enacted this
year, American taxpayer will
continue to be exposed to the
enormous risk that Fannie Mae
and Freddie Mac pose.”

In the end, the measure did
not garner Republican
support, and had no support
from committee Democrats; it
died never being voted
it's all true
Following rules that were established
more than a year ago, the
Department of Homeland Security will
begin to take over the process of
analyzing data about air travelers
procured by airlines to decide which
passengers will be deemed to be a
terror risk and not allowed to fly in
the US and internationally.  The
change will affect the more than 2
million air travelers who board
domestic and international flights in
the US every day.  

Air travelers will be required to
provide their full name, date of birth
and gender to board an airplane in
the US for the first time under the
new regulation.  The new
pre-departure rules require airlines
to request these personal identifiers
from travelers at the time they make
a reservation and transmit this and
all additional manifest information on
passengers to the Travel Security
Administration. The TSA will then
decide which passengers will be able
to board the airplane and travel to
their destinations.  

Department of Homeland security
Secretary Michael Chertoff warned in
a press conference announcing the
new rules, “If you don’t provide the
data, then you are going to put
yourself in a position where you are
probably going to be a selectee” for
additional and more intrusive

The TSA said that it will retain the
information that it receives from the
airlines for a week in the majority of
cases, but it will store the travel
records that seem to match a name
on the government’s secret no-fly list
99 years.                    
it's all true
In spite of recent court rulings
requiring some states to reestablish
the voting rights of citizens who were
thrown off the voter registration rolls,
aggressive voter registration purges
by local party politicians who control
states' voter registration rolls and
autocratic implementation of specific
components of the federal Help
America Vote Act have combined to
create a situation as Americans head
to the voting booth next week where
many voters will be unable to vote
and others' right to vote will be
questioned by party officials.  
In the majority of the cases, the voter
disenfranchisement and voter
suppression that will take place in
2008 will occur in minority and
marginalized communities.  

Systematized voter registration
purges have been documented in
Colorado,Georgia, Indiana,
Louisiana, Ohio and Nevada.  In
Michigan, a panel of federal judges
ruled that 5,500 voters had been
illegally removed from the state’s
voting rolls and ordered that these
voters’ rights be reestablished.  
Michigan was found to have purged
these voters too close to the date of
the election. Federal rules disallow
purges within 90 days before

While it is true that these voters’
rights will be reestablished, voter
purges carried out by Michigan and
other states, have taken away
millions of American's right to vote.  
Rolling Stone Magazine reported
recently that more than 1 million
voters had their right to vote taken
away by the Colorado Secretary of
State who embarked on a massive
voter registration purge in 2005.  
Since that time, 19.6 percent of
residents, one in five of the state’
s voters, have been removed from
the voting rolls.
Rolling Stone
said that at least 10 million voters
have been scrubbed from voting
rolls nation-wide since the last
presidential election in 2006.

In addition to voter purging,  
aggressive implementation of the
Help America Vote Act, which
allows voters to be challenged at
polling places by party workers if
a voter’s identification does not
match the way it is recorded on
federal databases, has been used
in recent elections to limit voter
participation.  Election day voter
challenges of
this type have the effect of
disenfranchising the one in ten
citizens who do not carry a
government ID.          
it's all true
Election season gas
price reductions
feb    april    june      aug      
Election Machinery Provides Opportunity for Voting
Freddie Mac Lobby
Warned Senate of
Federal No-Fly-List Vetting Prepares For Takeoff
...What we need is more
Washington DC  06.02.08
verbatim                                                                                            number 33.4
"We got plenty of money
in Washington...
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