interpreting the constitution
number 43     
White House Seeks to Expand Executive Authority with
Line-Item Veto
previous editions archive
President Bush has proposed
legislation that would create a
line-item veto authority for the
executive branch. The measure
would allow the president to delete
specific items from larger bills, and
sign the remainder into law. Although
the White House says it is seeking
the new  authority as part of an effort
to control government spending,
opponents of the line-item veto call it
an unconstitutional usurpation of the
powers of Congress.

The administration argues that the
veto authority would act as a restraint
on the
practice of attaching so-called "pork
barrel" measures to large spending
or tax omnibus bills. But legal
scholars note that with the line- item
veto, the president is able to sign into
law a bill that was never actually
passed by Congress. Critics charge
this amounts to an undue expansion
of executive authority.

Congress approved an executive
line- item veto authority in 1996, but
it was struck down by the Supreme
Court in 1998, for the very reason
that it violated the principle that
Congress should ultimately control
spending. The new legislation being
sponsored by the Bush
administration seeks to address
those concerns by changing the
process by which vetoed items
are sent back to Congress for
reconsideration,and by making
such vetoes less difficult to  

The initiative comes amid growing
unease among members of
Congress of both parties with
White House attempts to expand
executive power.
Nevertheless, Senate majority leader
Bill Frist (R; TN),and Speaker of the
House Dennis Hastert (R; IL.), are both
supporting the administration
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interpreting the constitution

crowd control

spread of the red

one nation, under surveillance

fun d' mental

in bed with the red

red state rebate

fun d'
spread of the red
IRS Reports
Churches Push
Politics From
the Pulpit
Iraq Reconstruction Will Be Confined to Prisons
The United States has almost
completed its $20 billion
reconstruction program in Iraq, with
this year's budget request of $100
million being totally devoted to the
building of new prison facilities for the
Iraqi government.

Although much of the original
reconstruction work on the civilian
infrastructure of Iraq remains
unfinished, the US has begun to
withdraw from direct involvement in
these projects. At the same time,
dealing with the insurgency has
consumed an increasing portion of
the available reconstruction funds.
This shift in priorities from rebuilding
to security has left many high
profile projects, such as the updating
of the Iraqi electrical grid, unfinished.
The grid has an average daily output
of 4000 megawatts, about ten
percent less than before the US
invasion in March,2003. In  the
summer of 2003, US officials
predicted an output of 6000

Similar projections for a return to
productivity for Iraq's oil fields have
also failed to materialize. By the end
of 2003, it was clear to US authorities
that the reconstruction funds would
have to be diverted to security. In
addition to building as many as ten
new  prisons, it became necessary to
develop large  hostage rescue and
bomb disposal forces
for deployment in Baghdad, as
well as special security forces to
protect the new Iraqi judiciary.

In addition to $100 million for
prison construction, this year's
budget request includes $287
million to protect existing oil and
electricity production facilities,
which are frequently targeted by
insurgents. The office of the
Special Inspector General for Iraq
Reconstruction estimates that up
to 25 percent of the cost of all
nonmilitary reconstruction in the
country  goes to security against
insurgent attacks.
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The Internal Revenue Service
reported recently that 75
percent of the churches and
charities it reviewed gave
political contributions in
violation of their tax-exempt
statuses.  The IRS found that
55 of 85 completed cases
investigated by the agency
reveal instances of improper
political activity.  The agency
reviewed more than one
hundred complaints of
religious and civic groups that
donated to political campaigns
in the 2004 election cycle.

IRS examiners found that
charities and churches
distributed voter guides and
candidate rating cards.  
Churches were found to have
made improper contributions to
candidates.  Religious leaders
were also found to have
promoted political candidates
from the pulpit.  

The Baltimore Sun reported
its own investigation of
churches in Maryland.  The
Sun found that over 100
churches made campaign
contributions political
candidates between 2000 and
2004.   The candidates who
received the improper
donations included Maryland’s
Senate majority leader and
the  Baltimore State's Attorney.

IRS Commissioner Mark
Everson said that the agency’s
review “substantiated a
disturbing amount of political
intervention in the 2004
electoral cycle''.  While most of
the violations resulted in
administrative action, in three
cases the IRS uncovered
enough violations to revoke
the groups' tax-exempt
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crowd control
Prison Mothers Give Birth in Chains
Actual and projected oil
consumption by region  (million
barrels per day)
africa      central and    emerging   
   south america     asia        states

grey reflects 2002 statistics and red
represents projections for the year
A survey of state departments of
corrections performed by Amnesty
International has brought to light the
lack of laws in the US that would ban
the practice of shackling the legs of
pregnant women prisoners who are
giving birth or being transported.

The survey, which was forwarded to
all state departments of corrections,
revealed that 23 state’s laws allow for
the use of physical restraints on
women prisoners who are giving
birth.  The study found that pregnant
prisoners in Louisiana can be
shackled with ‘leg irons’ and that the
states of Alabama and Arkansas
allow for women prisoners to be
restrained at ‘two extremities’ as they
are delivering babies.

Nevada reported that corrections
officials “normally only (use) wrist
restraints” on prisoners who are in
labor and New Hampshire officials
reported that regulations in that state
allow that “only one foot” may be
shackled to
the bed as a woman prisoner is giving
birth, but that the rule is contingent
on a security assessment of the
prisoner by corrections authorities.

Amnesty reported that only five state
departments of corrections have
written policies stipulating that no
restraints are to be used on pregnant
inmates during labor; Connecticut,
Florida, Rhode Island, Washington
and Wyoming.

The Amnesty report cites pediatric
physicians who state that binding a
pregnant woman's legs in leg irons is
dangerous to both the health of the
mother and fetus.  41 states allow
pregnant prisoners to be shackled in
leg irons while they are being
transported between cells and the
hospital. 3 states allow pregnant
prisoners to be bound at the waist
with "belly chains".

The Bureau of Justice Statistics
information reports that
approximately five percent of women
inmates are pregnant at the time that
they are admitted to state
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source: US Department of
one nation, under surveillance
Report Finds
US Rivers Bug,
Weed Free






previous editions

Links of the Week

Environmental Protection
Agency AirData

National Security Archive :
Justice Department e-mail on
wiretapping program released
through FOIA

Salvador Dali Gallery with over
1500 works

Shawnee National Forest

Photo gallery of C F Martin flat
top acoustic guitars,
1887-1995  by Gruhn Guitars,

contact us
Concern for Privacy Seen to be a
'Well Intentioned' Mistake at DOD
A recently leaked Department of
Defense memorandum indicates that
military commanders have opened
the door to the unrestrained
monitoring of US citizens in
furtherance of the administration’s
national security objectives.   The
memorandum establishes that
“contrary to popular belief” the US
military has the authority to monitor
the activities and communications of
private Americans.

In the memorandum, the Pentagon
relies upon the same expansive
interpretation of ‘the war on
terrorism’ that President Bush used
to rationalize surveillance of private
citizens with no court approval.  In
addition to spying on US citizens, the
memorandum further concludes that
Military Intelligence “may receive
information from anyone, anytime.”

The document was written in
November of 2001 to clarify for
military personnel that “there is no
absolute ban on intelligence
components collecting U.S. person
information”.  The writer of the
memorandum, Lt. General Robert W.
Noonan, Jr., sought to communicate
that the DOD is unconstrained in its
ability to collect the personal
information of US citizens by the
courts to lower level intelligence
Noonan referred to soldiers who had
refused to accept intelligence on
Americans from other authorities in
the document as “well intentioned”
but misinformed.  

Although the document suggests that
the US military will spy on Americans
in a manner that is “respectful of the
principles upon which the United
States was founded”, it goes on to
assert that an obscure DOD policy
dating back to the early 1980s allows
the military to skirt judicial oversight
in its surveillance efforts.   

The memorandum also points out
that “merely receiving information
does not constitute ‘collection’”,
suggesting that the DOD may have
received information from the
National Security Administration that
it has collected over the past three
years without court orders.

The document also justifies the extra-
judicial spying by referring to the
then recently initiated ‘war on terror’
stating that the threat of a “shadowy
underworld operating globally with
supporters and allies in many
countries, including, unfortunately,
our own” led the Pentagon to
reassess the constraints of the US
Constitution on the military.
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Potentially toxic chemical
compounds are detectable in
virtually every river and stream in
the continental United States,
according to a recently released
report by the US Geological
Survey. Pesticides and herbicides
used in agriculture and industrial
processes were found in every
sample studied for the report. The
same chemicals were found in the
tissue of most fish from these

The USGS reviewed data
collected from 51 major river
systems between 1992 and 2001.
The study also sampled
groundwater systems in eight
states.In each of the rivers and
streams sampled, at least one
known pesticide was present.

The study tested for 100 major
chemical compounds, and found
that about 40 of these were widely
dispersed throughout the
aquifers. Certain well known and
commonly used pesticides were
prevalent in agricultural areas,
while a number of prominent
herbicides were found in urban

Over one billion pounds of
pesticides are used by US
agriculture and industry each
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verbatim                                                                        8.5
"Evil men, obsessed
with ambition and
unburdened by
conscience, must be
taken very seriously...
...we didn't ask for this
global struggle, but
we're answering
history's call with
confidence, and with
a comprehensive
strategy to win this war."
Anchorage   AK   11.12.05