interpreting the constitution
number 72  10.01.06
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interpreting the constitution

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University E-voting studies

Rebuilding Iraq: Actions Still
Needed to Improve Use of
Private Security Providers :
GAO testimony

Industria Moderna, 1933 :
Diego Rivera mural at the
Diego Rivera web museum

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Slim Harpo  
Tribute Page
verbatim                                                                  number 14.2
"America is a Nation
with a mission...We
have no desire to
dominate, no
ambitions of empire.
Our aim is a
democratic peace...
...a peace founded upon
the dignity and rights of
every man and woman."
Washington DC   01.20.04
A recent report by a United Nations
commission recommends sweeping
changes in the way aid to African
nations is administered, calling for a
reduction of the role played by the
World Bank and the International
Monetary Fund. The report, issued
by the UN Conference on Trade and
Development, depicts an
unstructured amalgam of aid
agencies and programs, often
operating at cross-purposes, in a
process that has become unduly
politicized. With international
commitments to dramatically increase
aid, the UNCTAD report proposes the
formation of an independent fund,
which would distribute aid

The World Bank and IMF, the
dominant organizations in packaging
aid and loans to developing
countries, have been criticized for
imposing conditions on
assistance that serve to advance the
strategic goals of the United States
and certain multinational
corporations. According to the
UNCTAD report, in addition to the
inefficiency of the administration of
African aid, “There are also very
clear signals that security concerns
and energy politics are again
shaping the policy debates on aid
and development.”  The report
concludes that the World Bank and
IMF “have not lived up to
expectations and are not suited to
administering doubled aid.”

World Bank President Paul Wolfowitz
has emphasized the institution of
strict anti-corruption measures for
recipient nations, and his priorities
have drawn criticism from many in the
international aid community. Last
month, Britain  threatened to withhold
payments of more than $90 million
from the World
Bank to protest the conditions
placed on loans and grants by the
Bank. Wolfowitz was the deputy to
Defense Secretary Donald
Rumsfeld during preparations for
the invasion of Iraq.

Total international aid to Africa since
1980 has exceeded $500 billion, but
structural and administrative problems
have consistently undermined the effort.
African nations need to average eight
percent annual growth to meet current
UN development targets.  The author of
the UNCTAD report, Richard Kozul-
Wright told the
Guardian,  “Many of the
aid increases over the last 40 years
have been wasted as flows are dogged
by unpredictability, conditionality, and
its all true
Town leaders in a northwestern
Chicago suburb have proposed an
ordinance that would make it illegal to
hire or to rent housing to
undocumented aliens and would
establish “English” as the official
language in the township.   

The Illegal Alien Immigration Relief
Act, if passed by supervisory officials
in the Chicago bedroom community
of Carpentersville, IL, would impose
fines of up to $1000 on landlords
who rent housing to undocumented
workers and threatens local
businesses who hire or otherwise
“aid and abet” what the proposal
terms “illegal immigrants” with the
revocation of their business licenses.
Approximately 40 percent of the total
population of Carpentersville is
Latino.  Town commissioner Judy
said, describing the proposal,
“this is not a racist thing.”

Village Trustee Paul Humpfer, who
heads the audit and finance
commission in Carpentersville, said
that he modeled the law on a
proposal that was recently codified
as law in Hazelton, PA.  The iniative
is being promoted by a coalition of
anti-immigrant groups that include
the border patrol vigilante squad
known as the “Minute Men”.  The
proposal has previously been
considered in other Illinois

Humpfer told the
Northwest Herald
that he was “tired of shuffling the
issue (of illegal immigration) off to the
federal government."  The town's
mayor reminded the trustees that
enforcement of federal immigration
laws “is up to federal officials.”         
its all true
The Congressional Research
Service has reported that
President Bush has, over the
past five years, attempted to
extend the constitutional
authority of the executive
branch of government by
attaching so-called signing
statements to more than 750
laws that he has signed.  

In the signing statements that
he has appended to
legislation, such as the
prohibition on torture that was
passed by Congress in 2005,
Bush has asserted that he, as
president, is not restricted by
the new laws and can ignore
them.  Bush has appended
such statements to more than
one in ten laws that he has

The Congressional Research
service, a federal agency that
provides analysis for members
of Congress, found that Bush
has, unlike previous
presidents, “employed these
instruments in an attempt to
leverage power and control
away from Congress” in the
effort to establish “broad
assertions of authority as a
constitutional norm.”  The CRS
advised members that
Congress should take back its
role of crafting legislation by
instituting a “robust oversight
regime” so that it may “more
effectively assert its
constitutional prerogatives and
ensure compliance” by the
president with federal statutes.

The CRS said that although
there is a “long historical
pedigree” for presidents to
attach statements to the laws
that they enact, such
statements “do not have legal
force or effect.”        
its all true
A public relations company that
was involved in a controversial
Pentagon program to pay media
outlets to publish positive stories
about the activities of US
occupation forces in Iraq has
received a new federal contract
for media services in the country.
The Lincoln Group, a
Washington, DC-based firm, will
be paid $12.4 million over two
years to monitor print and
broadcast media both in Iraq and
abroad, and to prepare talking
points and speeches to be
delivered by American personnel.
The program is intended to “build
support” among various
constituencies for Pentagon
objectives in the Middle East.

Public interest group Source
Watch reports that in addition to
Iraq, the Lincoln Group has
worked for the US government in
Lebanon, Afghanistan, Colombia,
and Indonesia.

The company describes itself as a
“strategic communications and
public relations firm providing insight
and influence in challenging and
hostile environments.”                  
all true
The US Congress has passed
legislation that satisfies the Bush
administration’s demand to create a
system for trying detained terror
suspects in military and CIA detention
centers around the world.   

Although the Military Commissions
Act of 2006 proposed by Congress
meets the requirements set by the
Bush administration for such trials,
critics of the proposed law contend
that the system agreed to by
legislators violates requirements of
international law and does not meet
the standards for fair trials
established in the US Constitution.
An analysis of the legislation
performed by
reveals that
the new law would give exclusive
authority to the president to determine
who can be arrested, detained and
tried by the commissions.  The act
allows suspects, including US citizens,
to be permanently detained without
being charged with a crime.  Under the
new law, the president is empowered
by Congress to create a new
classification of “alternative”
interrogation tactics that could violate
international standards that guard
against torture.  

The law disallows detainees from
challenging their captivity in a court of
law and retroactively bars victims of
torture at the hands of US agents from
prosecuting the torturers or seeking
legal redress or
or compensation for their suffering.

The law also allows the Secretary
of Defense to amend the act or
further restrict the minimal rights of
detainees at his discretion based
upon what the act refers to as any
“practical need”.

Defenders of the act say that the
president needs the new and
expansive powers granted under
the MCA 2006 because the
detainees who are being held
without charge in prison camps
around the world want to “cripple
our economy and discredit the
principals we hold dear-freedom
and democracy.”            
its all true
The White House moved to block the
publication of a document prepared
by government scientists linking
increases in the incidence and
intensity of hurricanes to climate
change, according to a report in the
current issue of the journal
Government officials have denied
that the report was censored for
political reasons, calling it an internal
document not meant for release. The
possibility of global warming and
higher average seawater
temperatures leading to stronger and
more frequent hurricanes has
become a focus of debate after last
year’s unusually violent tropical
storm season.

According to the report in
Nature, a
panel convened last February by the
National Oceanic and Atmospheric
Administration to explore the
relationship of global warming to
changing patterns of tropical storms
completed a draft of its findings
confirming the link and forwarded it to
their supervisors at NOAA and the
Commerce Department. The results
were to be part of a press release
scheduled for the start of the
hurricane season in May. Instead,
the panel’s chairman received
instructions from department officials
to withhold his
report, pending revisions to make the
document “less technical.”  The
report was never made public.

The incident is the latest in a series
of apparent attempts by the Bush
administration to interfere with
government scientific agencies in
pursuit of political objectives. Last
month, obtained e-mails
through a Freedom of Information Act
request that show, according to the
website, “that the White House was,
in fact, controlling access to
scientists and vetting reporters.”
Earlier this year, reports surfaced of
administration attempts to restrict
media access to NASA climate
specialist Jim Hansen, whose view is
that human activity is a primary
cause of global warming.  

In a statement responding to the
Nature article, Democratic Senator
Frank Lautenberg of New Jersey
said, “The administration has
effectively declared war on science
and truth to advance its anti-
environment agenda ...
The Bush administration continues to
censor scientists who have
documented the current impact of
global warming."
The NOAA has denied White House
involvement in its decision.      
its all
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