interpreting the constitution
number 22      
Natural Disaster Used to Justify National Disaster
In the aftermath of the Hurricane
Katrina disaster, and amid
widespread criticism of the federal
response, the Bush administration
has renewed its efforts to increase
the role of the military in domestic
affairs.  Defense Department officials
and senior members of congress
have called for review or repeal of the
Posse Comitatus Act of 1878.  Also
under review is the Civil War
Insurrection Act of 1861.

The arcane legislation is viewed by
some in the Pentagon as outdated
and restrictive.  But civil libertarians
see the 1878 act in particular  as a
key legal bullwark against unlimited
authority over state and local
government and, ultimately,
In a nationally televised speech from
New Orleans, the president referred to
the military's superior logistical
capability and called for "greater
federal authority and a broader role
for the armed forces" in times of
crisis.  Senate Armed Services
Committee chairman John Warner, a
consistent advocate of military
deployment in domestic contexts,
renewed his calls for reconsideration
of Posse Comitatus.  A pentagon
spokes person called the law "very
archaic" and suggested it limited the
effectiveness of the federal response
to the flooding in New Orleans.

The Insurrection Act of 1861 could be
invoked in an emergency to waive
the law enforcement restrictions of
the Posse Comitatus Act.  The
Insurrection Act allows
deployment of troops in domestic
emergencies when "rebellion
against authority of the United
States- make(s) it impracticable to
enforce the laws."  The last time
the Insurrection Act was invoked
was in 1992 by president George
H W Bush at the request of the
governor of California in response
to riots after the Rodney King

Constitutional scholars point out
that relaxation of the Posse
Comitatus Act is essentially a
matter of asserting federal
authority over state sovereignty,
with implications far beyond
disaster relief operations.
interpreting the constitution

crowd control

spread of the red

one nation, under surveillance

fun d' mental

in bed with the red

red state rebate

in bed with the red
Sheriff Proclaims Louisiana Refugees Have no Right to
Sheriff Richard Fewell has issued
an emergency proclamation in
Ouachita Parish demanding the
names, addresses, dates of birth
and social security numbers of the
more than 1000 refugees housed
by the American Red Cross in the
old State Farm building in
Monroe, Louisiana. The Ouachita
Parish police are requiring the
personal information of the
displaced persons, many who
have lost their houses and all of
their personal belongings, to
identify parolees, sex offenders
and individuals with outstanding
warrants. Fewell has also
demanded the personal identifiers
of the Red Cross volunteers who
are caring for the refugees.

Sheriff Fewell made the demand
without a warrant or suspicion that
a crime may occur. Fewell justified
the action due to
Governor Kathleen Blanco’s
declaration of a “State of
Emergency” in Louisiana. The
proclamation says that the influx of
refugees “creates unique security
risks” in the Ouachita Parish.

The Red Cross has not complied with
the demand stating that the Sheriff’s
order violates the privacy policies of
the Charity. A Red Cross
Spokesperson said that the
organization has always run
background checks on its volunteers
and that the organization will not
compromise the privacy of the people
in it’s care.

The Governor’s Office and the State’
s Attorney General have stepped in
to attempt to get Fewell to rescind his
proclamation. Although the details
have not been completely worked
out, the
compromise hinges on offers of the
Attorney General to provide additional
Iran Slide Show Confirms Threat: US Ready to
Officials of the Bush administration
have compiled an hour-long slide
show that they are presenting to
foreign leaders in an attempt to
convince them that Iran is secretly
pursuing a nuclear weapons program.

The 43 slide Power Point
presentation entitled “A History of
Concealment and Deception” was
also shown to members of the
International Atomic Energy Agency,
as the US prepares to lobby the
United Nations for sanctions against
Iran. International observers say the
presentation is disturbingly similar to
the now discredited allegations
against Iraq in 2002 and 2003.
The US position rests in three premises:
that Iran doesn’t need a nuclear energy
program, that the program is
suspiciously large in scale, and that the
Iranians have been secretive with regard
to their nuclear research. But even US
officials admit that the evidence is not
definitive, and diplomats who have seen
the presentation remain skeptical.  

The slide show was produced by the
Energy Department outside the
auspices of US Intelligence. Many who
have seen it are reminded of Colin
Powell’s presentation on Iraqi weapons
to the United Nations in February 2003.
Powell has recently called that appliance
a “blot” on his record.





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Links of the Week

The Ambassadors by Hans

Maps of Trout Streams in
Wisconsin by county:
Department of
Natural Resources

Senate Concurrent Resolution
36--Expressing the Sense of
Congress Concerning Actions
to Support the Nuclear
Non-Proliferation Treaty on the
Occasion of the Seventh NPT
Review Confrence by Senators
Fienstein, Durbin, Finegold and

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States Out Pace Feds in Restricting Legal Abortions
In recent weeks, during Senate
confirmation hearings of John
Roberts, there has been concern
that should the strongly conservative
Roberts be appointed as the
Supreme Court’s Chief Justice, the
nation’s highest court would overturn
the landmark Roe v. Wade decision
making abortion illegal in the US.  
While the debate has centered on
the federal laws and the federal
courts, the year 2005 saw many
changes in state laws that place
restrictions on women who seek legal
abortions. Several dozen individual
state laws were enacted by states
that restrict a woman’s right to
choose and there were also
restrictions placed on the acquisition
of birth control in several states.

Many States, such as Texas and
Arkansas strengthened the
requirements of parental notification
laws.  In 2005, 22 states introduced
over 30 bills that would require that
women be read state scripted
information as part of the abortion
procedure. Three states approved
rules that require that health care
providers counsel women seeking
legal abortions that fetus will endure
pain. Though there is no conclusive
scientific justification for such an
assertion, women in Arkansas,
Georgia and Minnesota are now
required by law to be informed of this

Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour
signed a bill that placed further
restrictions on legal abortions.
Mississippi has only one abortion
clinic. The law requires that abortions
after the first trimester must be
performed in a hospital.

17 state legislatures introduced bills
that would require women to delay
abortions by state law. Georgia
Governor Sonny Perdue signed into
law a 24-hour waiting period for all
women seeking legal abortions in his
state. The Governor’s wife who
attended the bill’s signing stated that
the law shows that “Georgia respects
and values all life”.  A California
ballot initiative, proposition 73, to be
voted on in 2006 would mandate an
abortion waiting period if approved.

A total of 44 bills were introduced in
22 states (including the territory of
that would establish some type of
ban on
abortion. Two states mandated such
laws, South Dakota and Texas.
The rule in South Dakota would
become “effective on the date that
the states are recognized by the
United States Supreme court to
have the authority to regulate or
prohibit abortions at all stages of
pregnancy” and would immediately
ban abortions in the state in all
cases except where the mother’s
life is threatened.

States also were also active in
promoting the belief that the
unborn fetus has the same rights
as other American citizens.  115
measures were introduced into the
legislatures of more than 35 states
that attempt to accord legal status
to the unborn fetus.

The States of Maryland, West
Virginia, Florida, Oklahoma and
Arizona enacted laws that make
the killing of a viable fetus a
homicide, with the exception of
legal abortions.

Oklahoma and Arizona laws allow
homicide charges to be leveled for
the unlawful killing of a fetus at the
“moment of conception”.
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Senator Frist
Considers Stem
Cell Treatment
for 'Blind' Trustee
It was reported last week that
two separate investigations
were underway into Senate
Majority Leader Bill Frist’s sale
of stock in his family’s
company just before a
disappointing earnings
forecast caused the value of
the stock to drop more than
8%. Frist (R, Tenn) held the
Hospital Corporation of
America shares in a blind trust,
and ordered the sale in June,
ostensibly to avoid conflict of
interest charges before a
possible presidential campaign
in 2008.

A trustee completed the sale of
all Frist’s shares by July 8th.
On July 13th the company
downgraded its earnings
estimate for the quarter and
the stock dropped 8.8%.
Overall HCA stock lost about
15% of its value between mid
June and mid July. The
Securities and Exchange
Commission had asked Frist to
provide information on the
transaction. On Friday HCA
confirmed that federal
prosecutors had subpoenaed
documents related to the sale.

An editorial in Sunday’s New
York Times traced the history
of the HCA stock and called for
further investigation by the
SEC. HCA was founded by
Frist’s father; his brother
remains the company’s largest
police to the parish police department.
A spokesperson for the Louisiana
State Police said that no other parish
has yet made similar proclamations.

The demand for information
proclamation was the second such
order made by Fewell. Using his
perceived authority under the State of
Emergency, Fewell ordered the early
closure of the Ark-La-Miss Fair, at 12:
00 pm instead of 3:00 am. The West
Monroe Civitan Club, the fair’s host,
said that banning the Friday Night
Moonlight Madness event, where
patrons of the fair can ride as many
carnival rides they want for one price
would reduce the amount of funds
raised by the civic group at this
annual event.
“I just want you to know
that, when we talk
about war...
...we're really
talking                       about
    Washington DC  06.18.02
verbatim                                                                                                                          number
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previous editions archive
source: US Census
US Poverty Rates by
year 2004 statistics




%       10          20         30