interpreting the constitution
number 14      
07.31.05
The White House released a
statement last weak threatening
the first veto of George Bush’s
presidency to thwart the passage
of a restriction that would prohibit
the CIA and Pentagon from using
cruel and unusual punishment
and interrogation techniques on
prisoners in the “war on terror”.
The statement released by the
White House said that outlawing
cruel and unusual punishment
would “restrict the President’s
authority to protect Americans
effectively from terrorists”.
Vice President Dick Cheney met
with
Senate Republicans also in an
attempt to get the sponsors of the
legislation to back down and remove
the amendment that is attached to
the defense-spending bill. The
amendment was conceived of by
Republican Senator John McCain but
has the support of other republicans
on the Senate Armed Services
Committee. Republican Senators
Lindsey Graham and John Warner
held hearings in mid July to explore
evidence of detainee abuse and
humiliation at the detention facility at
Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

The statement from the White House
contradicts assurances given by
President Bush in 2003 after a
barrage of reports
of prisoner maltreatment, which in
some instances, resulted in the
deaths of inmates. The White House
pledged to not use “cruel and
inhumane tactics” when interrogating
prisoners in the” war on terror”.

The pledge to honor the human
rights of prisoners captured in
Afghanistan and Iraq was intended to
counter reports of violent and
degrading torture of  “enemy
combatants”. The prevailing attitude
was revealed in a comment made to
the
Washington Post by an
interrogator in 2002, “If you don’t
violate someone’s human rights…
you probably aren’t doing your job”.
interpreting the constitution

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Threat of "Super Weed" Won't Stop Growing
British government scientists
performing follow up studies to the
world’s largest test of genetically
modified food crops found a hybrid
of a common weed at one of the
trial sites that could not be killed
when exposed to herbicide. The
new weed, a hybrid of the plant
charlock, was discovered growing
in fields where a genetically
modified rape seed plant was
grown last year. The scientists
found two other plants in the fields,
both wild turnips, which also were
resistant to herbicide.

Researchers had presumed that
the modified rape plant could not
interbreed with similar plants. But
the charlock was found to have the
same gene construct and was
resistant to the same chemical,
Monsanto’s “Liberty”, that the rape
was genetically modified to
withstand.

Last year’s experiment was
considered to be the most
significant test of genetically
modified crops to date. Four
genetically modified crops; maize,
sugar
beet and two types of rapeseed,
were tested throughout England
over a period of three years. The
modified crops were protected
from “kill all” herbicides intended
to kill weeds such as charlock.

Environmental watchdog groups
view the discovery of the mutant
weed as justification of their fears
that the use of genetically
modified crops will lead to the
proliferation of “super weeds”
which will  prompt farmers to use
more chemicals and more toxic
herbicides.

While the discovery or the “super
weed” strikes both British
scientists and representatives of
the corporations that have
developed the genetically
modified food crops as meriting  
“further study”, they reported that
the consequences of discovering
the mutant charlock were
“presumed” to be negligible.
British Environmental Minister
Elliot Marley acknowledged the
report saying that the
government's “top priority is to
safe guard human health”.
A report published last week finds
that Congressional service is
increasingly a stepping-stone to
lucrative work as a lobbyist, with
43 percent of members who left
office since 1998 registering to
lobby.  The report, which was
released by Public Citizen’s
Congress Watch, calls for
changes in the rules that regulate
the lobbying industry.

In June in the
Washington Post
reported that the total number of
registered lobbyists in
Washington had more than
doubled since 2000, to a total
exceeding 34,000.  Fees charged
by lobbying firms have also
doubled in that time.  The
increase in government spending
under the Bush administration has
created a parallel surge in
spending for lobbyists’ services.
The report also mentioned the so-
called “K Street Project”, under
which lobbying firms that
employed former Democratic
representatives were to be denied
access and contracts. Scandal-
plagued House Majority Whip,
Tom DeLay has denied
involvement in the K Street
Project.
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Broadcasters
Fight to Cite the
Right
Digital Fingerprints Track Laser
Printer Owner's Documents
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Links of the Week

Oriental Institute of the
University of Chicago: Lost
Treasurers From Iraq- on line
images of art looted from the
Baghdad Museum

The Oyez Supreme Court
Project: oral argument by
supreme court nominee John
Roberts in Bray vs. Alexandria
Clinic in mp3 and podcast
formats

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A recent study of the media’s
citation of various think tanks in
news reporting shows that right and
center-right organizations dominate
broadcasts, with over 80 percent of
total citations for the 10th straight
year.  The study, which is
conducted annually for Fairness
and Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR),
finds that despite slight gains for
progressive or left-leaning think
tanks in 2004, all numbers were
within single digits of their 10-year
averages.

Conservative organizations received
the most news coverage with just
over 50 percent of all citations.  The
leading conservative think tanks
were the Heritage Foundation and
the American Enterprise Institute.  
Centrist think tanks, led by the
Brookings Institution and the
Council on Foreign Relations,
received about 33 percent of total
citations.  Progressive organizations
were cited just over 16 percent of
the time by broadcasters.  The
leading progressive think tanks
were the Economic Policy Institute
and the Urban Institute.
The Secret Service has revealed
that the largest manufacturers of
copy machines made for the United
States consumer market have been
working in cooperation with law
enforcement agencies to equip all
laser printers with a technology that
tracks every document produced on
every laser printer in America.

The technology prints a barley
visible series of yellow dots on every
copy or document printed on laser
printers that spells out the serial
number of the specific laser printer
that produced the document. The
minuscule dots are nestled within the
printed words and margins of every
page printed and
cannot be detected with the unaided
human eye. This printer “finger print”
can, with the cooperation of the
manufacturer of the printer, reveal
where and when the copier was sold
and who purchased the copier.

There is no way that the system can
be disabled by the owner of the
printer
without breaking the printer.
Additionally, there is no law that
requires the manufacturers to advise
consumers that every document that
they produce on their own laser
copiers can be tracked by the FBI
and the Secret Service.

US law enforcement agencies assure
the
owners of laser printers that the
government will only decode the
fingerprints on documents when they
have been advised of possible
criminal wrong doing. Some
manufacturers keep databases to
track purchasers of their laser
printers that can be shared with law
enforcement and boast of having
“good relationships” with such
agencies.

Neither the manufactures or law
enforcement agencies can estimate
how many copy machines in the US
track documents in this surreptitious
fashion, but all major laser printer
manufactures admit that they have
been installing the computer chip
tracking device in laser printers for
many years.
Bush, Cheney Want Torture on the Table
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investigating it."
Washington DC  07.18.05
There have been no further studies
of genetically modified rapeseed
conducted on British soil due to
public concern for the safety of the
food supply and the environment.
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source:  Economic Policy
Institute
Rates of Unionization in the
United States since 1975
%    5      10     15     20    
25
1985

1
98
0

1975
2003

2000

1995

1990
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