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News
spread of the red
fun d' mental
one nation, under surveillance
number 170    
10.12.08
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Slim Harpo  
Tribute Page
As the international financial crisis
continues to unfold, daily revealing
undisclosed new dimensions
requiring continuous emergency
measures involving incomprehensible
amounts of money, the candidates
for president of the United States
struggle for media relevance. While
both Barack Obama and John
McCain have refurbished their
economic talking points and floated a
few new initiatives, they have been
slow to react to new developments,
preferring the tepid cooperation
endorsed by party leaders as the
election approaches. Despite an
attempt to raise the issue during the
first debate, the candidates have not
addressed how depressed economic
conditions will
impact their administrations, or their
budget proposals.

McCain last week suggested the kind
of mortgage modification program
that was a bone of contention in the
recent $820 billion bailout negotiation
when it was promoted by House
Democrats. Obama has called for a
90-day moratorium on some
foreclosures, a move that extensive
polling indicates is popular with
voters and gaining traction with
policymakers. But in their public
appearances and televised debates,
the candidates seem unwilling to
consider that economic policy
positions refined over months by
their top policy advisers have been
overwhelmed by events.
Economic analysts have warned
that neither campaign seems to
grasp the scope of the crisis and
its likely effect on federal
revenues over the next decade.

“You don’t get a sense that there’
s quite a realization that this whole
thing has sunk in yet. Clearly,
there are going to have to be
some changes made,” Concord
Coalition executive director
Robert Bixby said in an interview
with the
Houston Chronicle.
Daniel Mitchell, a senior fellow at
the libertarian Cato Institute, said
of the presidential candidates, “I
think they’re both being
unrealistic.”          
it's all true
Bush-Cheney Excesses Will Impede Successors'
Successes
The National Urban League has
called on Treasury Secretary
Henry Paulson to condemn
remarks by some conservative
politicians placing the blame for
global economic turmoil on
minority communities that may
have received subprime mortgage
loans. In a letter to Paulson,
National Urban League director
Marc H. Morial challenged such
statements and asserted that the
Treasury Secretary has “an
obligation to correct the
misinformation that is spread
concerning the root cause of the
current financial crisis.”

During Congressional debate on
the bailout package, Republicans
cited the 1977 Community
Reinvestment Act as a cause of
current market disruptions. Morial,
who was mayor of New Orleans
from 1994-2002, told reporters
that the effort by politicians and
television pundits to “pin the
subprime crisis on African
Americans and Latinos”
amounted to a propagandistic
“big lie.” The Treasury
Department did not immediately
comment on the content of Morial’
s letter.   
it's all true
Media Milk
Subprime Scapegoat
"The people in
Louisiana must know
that all across our
country there's a lot of
prayer for those whose
lives have been turned
upside down...
...And I'm one of
them."
Baton Rouge  LA 09.03.08
verbatim                                                                number 33.2
A group of politically
conservative pastors from 22
states defied the federal ban
on campaigning by nonprofit
groups when they recently
agreed to deliver highly
charged political speeches
from their pulpits, exhorting
their congregants to vote
against liberal political
candidates.  

The group organized the so-
called “pulpit imitative” to
specifically challenge the
federal government to sanction
them for violating the decades
old law that prohibits not for
profit tax exempt groups from
engaging in politics.  A
conservative legal group called
the Alliance Defense Fund
provided financial and legal
support to the group of pastors
in their law-breaking scheme.  

One of the lead pastors who
delivered a political speech
from his pulpit, Reverend Wiley
S. Drake, who said that he told
his congregation of the “un-
biblical stands that Barack
Obama takes,” stated that he
and the other pastors
supporting the initiative, “may
not be politically correct, but
we are going to be biblically
correct.”

Another group of pastors,
members of the Interfaith
Alliance, has countered the
pulpit initiative, filing a
complaint with the Internal
Revenue Service challenging
the not for profit status of the
political preachers who
participated.  The Alliance said
in a statement, “partisan
politics are…a death knell to
the prophetic freedom that any
religious organization must
protect.”                  
it's all true
A federal judge has ruled that a
series of photographs depicting the
abuse of detainees that were
captured and held in US military
detention camps be publicly
released.  The 21 photographs are
part of US Army investigation files
and have never been released to the
general public.

Human rights advocates believe that
the series of photographs
demonstrate that detainee abuse
was widespread in the
US military, being perpetrated by
soldiers in Afghanistan and Iraq, and
confirms that the abusive tactics
utilized by US soldiers in both
countries were consistent, which
suggests that the abusive
procedures were officially sanctioned
by the Department of Defense.  

The photographs were originally
ordered
to be released with redaction by a US
district judge in 2006 because he
deemed that the images were of
critical public interest.  The US
Department of Defense appealed the
ruling on the grounds that release of
the photographs would jeopardize
the privacy of the detainees depicted
in the images and may endanger US
troops by revealing the methods that
are used on US captives.  

The court found the argument made
by US government attorneys to be
“painfully insufficient” and asserted
that the release of the photographs
could in no way “endanger some
unspecified member of a group so
vast as to encompass all United
States troops
(and) coalition forces."

The American Civil Liberties Union
fought for the release of the 21
images and other photographs,
hoping that public awareness of
the practices revealed in the
images would deter future
detainee abuse.  An attorney for
the ACLU said that the images
“demonstrate that the abuse of
prisoners held in US custody
abroad was not aberrational.”  
The court said in its recent ruling,
“The photographs depict abusive
treatment of detainees by United
States soldiers in Iraq and
Afghanistan.”

US District Judge Alvin Hellerstein
said that he hoped that the
release of the photographs would
help spark a debate in the military
and the US public about the
conduct of US soldiers and the
approval of the use of abusive
interrogation tactics by US military
commanders.      
it's all true
The State Department, in apparent
violation of federal regulations, has
hired a private company to
investigate allegations of wrongdoing
and criminality made against other
private firms that were hired by the
Department of Defense to perform
quasi-military functions in occupied
Iraq.

The State Department, charged with
staffing a newly created unit that was
formed to investigate crimes, graft
and abuses of power alleged against
the private mercenary companies
that the US military has hired to carry
out security and other functions in
Iraq, awarded a $4.4 million contract
to the private firm called US
Investigations Services to fill
positions in the investigative unit.  

The Force Investigation Unit was
created by the State Department
following from several incidents
where private mercenaries were
alleged to have gone on unprovoked
killing sprees in the course of their
duties guarding diplomatic
personnel.  In one such incident in
2007 involving Blackwater Worldwide,
17 Iraqi civilians including women and
children were killed and scores more
were seriously injured.

The regulation that created the FIU
specifies that certain functions of the
unit cannot be outsourced and must
be performed by US government
officials.  One such function is the
conduct of “complex and sensitive
investigations”. USIS’s eleven
employees make up the majority of
the full time employees in the FIU
investigation unit.  USIS said that it
would not take the contract if it was
illegal to do so.                    
it's all true
Demagogue
Deacons
Politicize Pulpits
Torture Tactic Photos Put Defense Department in Stress
Position
Contractors Hired to Investigate Contractors
1
Cost of basic food items
on the rise
flour      bread      potatoes  
tomatoes
$
.50
1.50
2000          2004         
2008  
The Department of Homeland
Security has confirmed that it will
continue with the implementation of
controversial new spy satellite
protocols, despite Congressional
opposition and a recent report on the
program that renewed privacy
concerns. The satellite surveillance
initiative, known as the National
Applications Office, has been the
subject of a longstanding battle
between the Bush administration and
Congressional Democrats, who say it
lacks adequate privacy protections
and independent oversight.
Proponents of the NAO were able to
get partial funding for the project to
proceed added to the huge $634
billion spending bill that recently
became law, but received little media
attention because of the presidential
election campaign and the financial
crisis.

Homeland Security officials attempted
to downplay the findings of a 60-
page Government Accountability
Office report that raised doubts
about privacy protections in the
program. The report concludes the
DHS “lacks assurances
that NAO operations will comply with
applicable laws and privacy and civil
liberties standards,” according to the
Wall Street Journal, which obtained
access to the unreleased GAO
document. The Journal reports that
DHS officials decided that the NAO
program is in compliance with existing
laws because the GAO report did not
explicitly say otherwise.

House Homeland Security Committee
Chairman Bennie Thompson of
Mississippi sought a delay in
launching
the NAO until next year, so that the
issues could be considered by the
next administration and Congress.
Thompson and other Democrats
have been critical of the DHS
program since it was first proposed in
2006. The omnibus spending bill just
passed into law allows the
implementation of scientific and
emergency services satellite
technology. The DHS must meet
certain criteria before it will be
allowed to launch the law
enforcement and antiterrorism
functions of the NOA.

Rep. Jane Harman of California
warned that even limited funding and
approval for the NOA could have
unintended consequences. Citing the
example of
the Bush administration's warrantless
wiretapping programs, Harman said,
"Having learned my lesson, I don't
want to go there again unless and
until the legal framework for the
entire program is entirely spelled
out."         
it's all true
DHS Spy Satellites Get Bad Reception
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