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

OECD : Economic Projections
for the US, Japan, and Euro

Nuclear Regulatory
Commission : Criteria for
Protective Action
Recommendations for Severe

November. Knocking acorns
from trees for pigs : Book of
Hours, French ca. 1500

Bob Marley and the Wailers :
Concrete Jungle  BBC
Television 1973

contact us  
back to top of
interpreting the constitution
crowd control
one nation, under surveillance
spread of the red
number 174    
Brown Tribute
…Free market capitalism is
far more than economic
theory. It is the engine of
social mobility -- the highway
to the American Dream…And
it would be a terrible mistake
to allow a few months of
crisis to undermine 60 years
of success.
Washington DC 11.13.08
verbatim                               number 33.6
"We are faced with
the prospect of a
global meltdown…I'm
a market-oriented guy,
but not when I'm faced
with the prospect of a
global meltdown…
…In the wake of the financial crisis,
voices from the left and right are
equating the free enterprise system
with greed and exploitation and
failure...the answer is not to try to
reinvent that system. It is to…move
forward with the free market
Emergency Room Visits
per 1000 residents
selected states
hi   mn    ia     nd    oh   me   
In spite of the fact that President
Bush has less than two months in his
presidency, he recently invoked the
power of the presidency to nullify
sections of two pieces of legislation
that he signed into law that he
believes would impinge upon his
understanding of the power of the

Bush has asserted his right to use
‘signing statements’ to bypass more
laws than any of his predecessors.  
Up until the current presidency, 600
sections of laws were nullified by 3
different presidents.  Bush has used
signing statements to annul over
1100 sections of laws passed by
Congress in his term.  Bush and his
advisors have sought to limit the
effect of new laws as they relate to
the executive branch with the
statements.  Bush challenged four
sections of a military spending bill,
including a provision that has to do
with American access to Iraq’s oil.  
That section prohibited using any of
the money being appropriated by the
measure “to exercise United States
control of the oil resources of Iraq.”  
Another provision required
negotiations with the Iranian
leadership to help fund US military
operations in the country.  Bush
wrote in his statement that these
provisions would “inhibit the
President’s ability to carry out his
constitutional obligations.”  

Bush also attached an objection to a
law that would have required the
executive branch to inform Congress
of the results of the review of the
various federal agency inspectors
general of each of their agencies’
yearly budget requests.  The
president said in this statement that
“consistent with the this statement
President’s constitutional
authority”, he would only advise
Congress of the inspectors
general’s reviews “as the
President shall judge necessary
and expedient.”

Although the American Bar
Association has said that the
president’s extensive use of
signing statements is “contrary to
the rule of law,” the president's
interpretations of law advanced in
the statements have the effect of

As previously reported by, an
investigation by the Government
Accountability Office into the
effect of presidential signing
statements found that federal
agencies have ignored
implementing laws that had
statements attached by President
it's all true
Lame Duck Quacks Continued Contempt for Congressional
Facing growing caseloads and
shrinking funding, public
defenders in cities across the
US are refusing to accept
additional cases saying that
the volume of their workloads
is jeopardizing their ability to
effectively represent their

County budgets have been
reduced dramatically as the
nation slips into recession and
funding for public defender’s
offices has been reduced.  In
Miami-Dade County, the
budget for the public defender’
s office has been cut by 12.6
percent over the past two
years.  The yearly
misdemeanor caseload for a
public defender in Miami is
over 2200 cases, up
from 1300 in 2005. Defenders
in Miami sought and received a
judge’s order allowing them to
refuse new cases so they
could provide basic legal
representation to their current
clients.  A spokesperson for
the National Legal Aid and
Defender Association said that
defenders nationwide “can’t
ethically handle” the
burgeoning caseloads.

Defender’s offices from
Tennessee, Maryland, Arizona,
Michigan and Kentucky have
also begun to decline
misdemeanor cases that will
not result in prison sentences
for the accused.  A public
defender in Kentucky has filed
a lawsuit similar to the one filed
in Florida seeking authority for
defenders in Kentucky to
decline to accept new cases.  
The attorney, Ed Monahan,
told the
New York Times, I
don’t remember a time when
challenges to adequate
representation have been so
it's all true
Public Defenders
Go on the
The Denver Police Department
engaged undercover agent
provocateurs to infiltrate, spy on and,
in one incident, act to incite a violent
response from protestors who
picketed the Democratic National
Convention in August.  The
revelation was contained in a report
prepared by the Denver Police that
was obtained by the American Civil
Liberties Union through a freedom of
information request.  The “Use of
Force” report produced by the
Denver Police referred to a specific
incident that involved undercover
agents where force was used by the

The undercover agents had,
according to the report, infiltrated
groups who intended to picket the
Party’s convention, posing as
protestors.  At a point where the
undercover agents thought that their
cover might be blown, the
undercover “protesters” incited a
melee to allow their uniformed
cohorts to pull them from the crowd,
ostensibly to be arrested.  In the
ensuing struggle, a police officer who
was not informed of the undercover
operation, witnessed the attack and
discharged a pepper spray weapon
on the crowd, unintentionally
spraying the undercover police

The ACLU believes the faked attack
staged by the police had the effect of
inciting the crowd of real protesters.  
The night the staged attack
happened, Denver Police arrested
106 protesters.  The Union has sent
a letter to the independent agency
that reviews allegations of police
misconduct in Denver appealing for
an investigation into the
it's all true
Police-on-Police Brutality Documented by Police
With several White House staff and
cabinet-level selections already
locked in, divisions have arisen within
the Obama transition team over
appointments to senior intelligence
posts, portending significant conflicts
over intelligence policy in the
incoming administration.

The rift became publicly apparent
last week as opposing factions
leaked contradictory accounts of the
internal debate to major media
outlets. Reports suggesting that the
President elect may retain either
Director of National Intelligence Mike
McConnell or CIA Director Gen.
Michael Hayden were greeted with
astonishment by constitutional
scholars and civil liberties
advocates, who have called on
Obama to reject Bush administration
policies permitting indefinite
incarceration, torture, data mining,
and domestic surveillance.

Wall Street Journal reported
that Obama was considering the
advantages of continuity in security
matters. According to the report,“Mr.
Obama is being advised largely by a
group of intelligence professionals,
including some who have supported
Republicans, and centrist former
officials in the Clinton administration.
They say he is likely to fill key posts
with pragmatists.” The next day, a
front-page article in the
reported, “The
nation’s two top intelligence
officers expect to be replaced by
President-elect Barack Obama
early in his administration,
according to senior intelligence
officials.” The piece goes on to
detail widespread opposition
among Congressional Democrats
to retaining McConnell or Hayden.

Veteran observers of the Obama
campaign said conflicting versions
of the story may have been
purposely floated as “trial
balloons”. They point out that the
Obama team has been extremely
adept at both controlling
unwanted leaks and deriving
maximum political advantage from
“approved” leaks.            
it's all true
Civil Liberties Advocates Burned by Bush, Hosed by
A federal judge has ordered the
CIA to comply with requests for
records brought under the
Freedom of Information Act by the
Washington DC-based National
Security Archive, reaffirming the
Archive’s status as a journalistic
institution and condemning the
intelligence agency’s
“extraordinary misbehavior”. US
District Court Judge Gladys
Kessler added that the CIA’s
treatment of the news
organization and misleading
statements to the court over the
course of 28 months made the
agency’s request not to enter a
formal order in the case “truly
hard to take seriously.”

For years the CIA officially
recognized the National Security
Archive, a nonprofit research
organization affiliated with George
Washington University, as a news
media outlet before abruptly
changing its status in 2005 and
refusing 43 FOIA requests. Since
then, the agency has  made
several promises to provide the
documents, including before
Judge Kessler, but as of this
month the information was still
being withheld.          
it's all true
Freedom of
Just an Act for CIA
When cotton prices fell below a
predetermined threshold last week,
the government of India announced
that it would step up purchases of the
commodity in an effort to aid millions
of poor farmers. For decades, cotton
producers in the United States have
benefited from a variety of subsidies
and price supports, but government
intervention in India is a recent
phenomenon, explicitly aimed at
stemming a tide of suicides among
debt-ridden small farmers that has
reached epidemic proportions.
International relief agencies estimate
that more than 125,000 Indian
farmers have killed themselves since
2002 as drought, infestations, and
falling prices for their crops have left
them heavily indebted to local banks
and private moneylenders.

Britain’s Prince Charles recently
discussed the issue during a speech
to an Indian human rights
organization, drawing fire from
corporate agribusiness interests
when he spoke of “the truly appalling
and tragic rate of small farmer
suicides in India, stemming in part
from the failure of many GM crop
varieties.” Manufacturers of
Genetically Modified seeds dispute
claims that the introduction of their
products has exacerbated the
alarming trend, pointing
to a range of contributing factors
including drought, intractable rural
poverty, and even alcoholism among
small farmers.

Human rights advocates and non-
governmental organizations counter
that the companies’ promises of
massive increases in yields have
lured thousands of farms to try GM
products, incurring exponentially
higher costs and dramatically raising
the stakes for each crop. With GM
seeds costing as much as 1000 times
the price of traditional seeds, a single
failed crop can saddle a farmer with
crippling debt; successive crop
failures can lead to financial ruin and
desperation. In a bitter irony, a
majority of the farmers who commit
suicide do so by ingesting the
expensive and deadly pesticides
required by the modern farming
methods they were pressured to

India is home to 120 million farmers,
with agriculture supporting about two-
thirds of the population. Unlike large
corporate farming enterprises in the
US and Europe, most Indian farms
are only a few acres. Among Indian
farmers committing suicide because
of their inability to repay loans, the
average debt is less than 2500 US
it's all true
Mutant Seeds Yield Growing Despair
previous editions archive