spread of the red
number 59    07.03.06
Congressional Hearings Decline to Address Patronage
previous editions archive
After the release last month of the
Government Office of Accountability
study of fraud by recipients of aid in
the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina,
members of Congress paraded some
of the more outrageous examples
before the public at hearings in
Washington DC.

Although the fraud by individual aid
recipients was significant, The GAO
has found that that companies that
engineered sweetheart deals and
operated under little or no scrutiny
gouged the US taxpayer for far more
money.  In some instances the GAO
found that the same companies that
received no-bid contracts to assist in
the occupation of Iraq were given
by FEMA and other agencies.   In
other cases, relatives of government
officials started companies simply to
be given contracts, whether or not
they had any qualifications to

Two former officers in the Projects
and Contracting Office in Baghdad
were hired by corporations that later
received multi-million dollar federal
contracts.  Charles Hess secured two
separate $100 million dollar contracts
to assist in reconstruction for his new
company, The Shaw Group and
David Nash was hired by a company
working with a Halliburton subsidiary
to fulfill of a Defense Department
contract for clean-up and security on
the Gulf.
The wife of the nephew of
Mississippi Governor Haley
Barbour, Rosemary Barbour, set
up a company that received $6.4
million dollars in FEMA contracts
to supply converted semi-trailers
fitted with shower heads to tent
cities that sprang up after the
hurricane passed.   Ms. Barbour
was able to secure more than ten
separate contracts; even though
her newly formed company had no
experience providing disaster

The GAO estimates that nearly 11
percent of the $19 billion spent by
FEMA on Hurricanes Katrina and
Rita as of last month was wasted
or lost to fraud.                         
all true
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
E-Voting Laws
Pave Way For
E-Voting Flaws
High Tech Superhighway Designed To Bypass Unions
With the tacit support of the Bush
administration, a loose consortium of
public and private sector groups is
promoting the construction of a
high-tech free trade superhighway
that will be the central component of
a proposed North American
transportation corridor stretching
from southwestern Mexico to central
Canada. The highway, which will be a
ten-lane limited access freight road,
will eventually run from Laredo,
Texas through Duluth, Minnesota on
a route roughly paralleling the
existing US Interstate 35. The plan
also includes the creation of an
inland port of entry for Mexican truck
traffic in Kansas City.

Instead of approaching the interstate
transportation corridor as a federal
project requiring Congressional
funding and public comment,
developers have focused on
completing local segments of the
corridor through various state and
municipal initiatives. Backers of the
plan also rely heavily on private
sources of funding, including
multinational shipping and rail
interests. The majority of funding for
the Trans-Texas Corridor, scheduled
to begin construction in 2007, will be
secured through Cintra Concessions
de Infraestructuras de Transporte, S.
A. of Spain, which will retain the
contract to operate the highway as a
toll road, sharing the proceeds with
the state.

The Mexican section of the corridor
will follow newly developed railways
from the Pacific Ocean port of Lazaro
Cardenas through Monterrey to  
southern Texas. When the
superhighway is completed, trucks
will be able to cross the
US-Mexico border at speed, their
data read by the remote SENTRI
system, which is already being
implemented. The first US stop for
the freight would be at the Kansas
City SmartPort.

The busiest ports in the US, at
Los Angeles and Long Beach,
California, employ dockworkers of
the International Longshore and
Warehouse Union. The plan for
the transportation corridor from
Lazaro Cardenas to Canada will
circumvent strongholds of both
the ILWU and the Teamsters, who
represent US truck
it's all true
The three electronic voting
systems that will be most
widely used in this November’s
elections all pose significant
security risks, according to a
comprehensive study by the
non-partisan Brennan Center
for Justice. The study found
more than 120 separate
design flaws or security threats
in the three machines most
commonly purchased by local
election authorities under the
auspices of the Help America
Vote Act. Together, the three
systems will account for about
80 percent of all voting
machines that will be used in
the upcoming Congressional

The study investigated both
optical scanner and touch-
screen machines, and included
systems that produced paper
receipts. The Brennan Center’
s Task Force on Voting
System Security found that all
tested technologies contained
serious risks. The report
singled out systems with
wireless components as the
most vulnerable, but noted that
even machines that produce a
voter-verified paper receipt
must be regularly audited.
Task Force Chairman
Lawrence Norden said that to
ignore the threat of election
fraud would be “unrealistic.”

The world’s three largest
manufacturers of voting
machines are Diebold,
Sequoia, and Election Systems
and Services. Spokesmen for
an industry trade group
dismissed the report as
it's all
CIA Policy Raises Price of Freedom
American workers with
A Washington, D.C.-based research
library has sued the CIA in federal
court for the intelligence agency’s
newly implemented policy of imposing
fees for processing requests made
under the Freedom of Information
Act. The National Security Archive,
which is affiliated with George
Washington University, brought the
suit after the CIA assessed search
and duplication fees on more than 40
of the Archive’s FOIA requests since
2005. The National Security Archive
had been routinely receiving fee
waivers since a 1989 federal ruling
recognized its status as a news

According to the lawsuit, in late 2005
the CIA began to apply a range of
restrictions to FOIA requests that are
not contemplated under the Act itself.
Among the new criteria are
requirements that the requested
material “concern current events,”
and “interest the general public.”  In
unilaterally implementing the policies,
the CIA appears to have given itself
broad discretion as to its compliance
with the statute.

In a statement, National Security
Archive Director Thomas Blanton
said “This policy is a clear attempt to
prevent journalists from getting
information out to the public.”  The
National Security Archive maintains
the world’s largest non governmental
library of declassified federal
documents and records. It has
received numerous awards for its
work, including the 2005 Emmy for
Outstanding Achievement in News
and Documentary Research.           
it's all true
union            non-union






previous editions

Links of the Week

The Changing Demographic
Profile of the United States -
Congressional Research
Service report

Steriods Report 2006 : U.S.
Sentencing Commission

The Dictionary of the  
History of Ideas

Bowl - Mimbres (Native
American), Prehistoric, 850–
1000  New Mexico, United
States, Mimbres River Valley
11.43 cm (4 1/2 in.)
Earthenware with slip paint

contact us
one nation, under surveillance
red state rebate
Community Cameras Can't Catch
FDA Enforcement
Calls in Sick
networks has increased over the past
few years exponentially, in most
instances the cities that use the
equipment have not codified rules or
policies that limit possible abuse of
the technology.  Moreover, states
and the federal government have not
laws setting limits on the use of video
surveillance networks or regarding
retention of images.

Cameras are trained 24/7 on parks,
apartment complexes, streets,
schools and inside buses and
subway rains.  The mayor of Chicago
has proposed that every business in
the city that is open for 12 hours
would be required by code to install
video monitoring of their doorways at
their own expense.  These cameras
would be networked to police
computers giving the Chicago police
a window into every business in the

Although it is certain that your
movements will be surveilled if you
live in a large American city, many
studies have shown that you will not
be safer even though you have
ceded your personal privacy.  
Officials in St. Petersburg FL said
that public surveillance video
equipment installed in that city has
not produced a single criminal
prosecution.  Police officials in the UK
have abandoned placement of video
surveillance cameras because they
have not noticeably reduced crime
over a ten-year period.             
it's all
Flush with federal Homeland Security
Administration grants, American cities
and small towns have begun to invest
in public video surveillance networks
to monitor the activities of residents.  
Although the benefits are unproven,
many local officials believe that video
monitoring reduces crime and
congress has appropriated vast
amounts of money to states and
cities in a furious attempt to create a
national bulwark against foreign

Scripps Howard New Service
performed a survey to find that more
than 200 cities in 37 states watch
public space and the private
individuals who inhabit it with police
monitored digital surveillance
equipment.  The number does not
include more than 300 cities that use
traffic monitoring cameras.

Video monitoring equipment has
become cheaper and more
sophisticated.  Digital surveillance
cameras have the ability to read an
automobile license plate from 5000
feet and many cities are deploying
cameras with night vision lenses.  
Software applications can listen for
sounds such as gunshots, scan the
faces of people in public places using
facial recognition technologies and
can even be set to detect
‘suspicious' body movements.

The news service found out that
while the proliferation of video
A review of enforcement actions
taken by the Food and Drug
Administration released recently
by the House Committee on
Government Reform revealed a
significant reduction in the
enforcement of the nation’s health
laws since 2000.  

The committee reported that
enforcement actions by the
agency have dropped more than
54 percent in the past five years.  
FDA enforcement has declined to
a 15 year low since Bush took
office in 2000.  During this same
period, the agency’s seizures of
mis-labled or dangerous products
have declined by 44 percent.     

The agency has failed repeatedly
to take action after it's own
investigators had found cause for
enforcement.  In 138 instances,
inspectors from FDA have
recommended that law
enforcement actions should
commence, but the agency’s
administration declined to
proceed against the violators.      

The lax trend in enforcement led
the author of the report to
conclude “the people who've
been making decisions at the FDA
have decided to favor
it's all true
back to top of
...there's a certain set
of values you learn in
that experience."     
Washington DC  05.05.06
verbatim                                                    number 11.5
"If people want
to get to know
me better,
they've got to
know my parents
and the values
my parents
instilled in me...
and the fact that I
was raised in West
Texas, in the
middle of the
desert, a long way
away from
anywhere, hardly...