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CRS report : Recess
Appointments Made by
President George W. Bush,
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Finland Crepuscular Rays  
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fun d' mental : o come on, all ye
faithful
Bigotry Compromises Inaugural Gaiety
EPA High Priest's Creationist Views Evolving
More Americans Believe in Devils than
Darwin
source: Viroqua
Institute
In a pair of recent interviews granted
as his term in office concludes, Vice
President Dick Cheney has offered
an unapologetic defense of
controversial and discredited aspects
of Bush administration policy,
including warrantless surveillance of
US citizens, torture of prisoners, and
indefinite detention of terrorist
suspects. Cheney disclosed that he
played a central role in approving
interrogation tactics widely regarded
as torture and banned under
international law, adding that he
continued to support the use of such
techniques as waterboarding. The
Vice President’s contentious bearing
contrasted markedly with the tone of
similar retrospective interviews given
by
other senior administration figures,
including the President.

Cheney departed from the prevailing
view, even among White House
officials, that the military detention
facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba,
should be closed down. The prison
has become a lightning rod for
international criticism of the Bush
administration “war on terror”. Since
2001, more than 700 detainees have
been processed through
Guantanamo, with the US achieving a
single conviction: a plea bargain
arranged at the behest of the
Australian government, allowing an
Australian civilian to serve one year
in jail in his home country. But in
interviews with
both ABC News and Fox News,
Cheney said that the controversial
facility should remain open
indefinitely, until the
unforeseeable conclusion of the
“war on terror”.

The Vice President was dismissive
of opinion polls showing that the
Bush administration has
historically high disapproval
numbers, saying on
Fox,
"Eventually you wear out your
welcome in this business, but I'm
very comfortable with where we
are and what we've achieved
substantively." Cheney also
expressed his approval of the
direction of the incoming Obama
security and foreign policy
teams.                  
it's all true
The Justice Department has
announced a new policy
authorizing the collection of DNA
samples from all people arrested
for federal crimes, and also for all
noncitizens detained in the United
States. The rule, published on
December 10 to take effect
nationally on January 9, will
dramatically expand DNA
databases maintained and
accessed by law enforcement
agencies. Civil liberties and
immigration rights organizations
decried the new rule, saying that it
unfairly and prejudicially
criminalizes whole classes of
citizens and US residents.

Currently, the federal DNA
database includes information
only on convicted criminals, and
arrestees from 13 states. Under
the new policy, detainees will be
included in the database even if
they are never convicted or even
charged with a crime. Critics say
the DNA policy effectively  
abolishes the presumption of
innocence. Early this month, the
European Court of Human Rights
repudiated a British program
similar to the US DNA database
for violating privacy
rights.                 
it's all true
Database Built
On Presumption of
Guilt
Defiant Dick Cheney Still on Board With Torture Regime
President elect Barack Obama’s
selection of celebrity preacher Rick
Warren to deliver the invocation at
the inaugural ceremonies in
Washington next month has
generated a fierce backlash among
gay rights supporters and
progressive groups, who argue that
offering an important national stage
to the Christian right sends the wrong
message at the outset of the new
administration. Warren, the pastor of
the politically active Saddleback
Church in Lake Forest, California,
has publicly opposed same sex
marriage and other rights for gays,
despite efforts to appear more
tolerant
than many of his evangelical
pastor colleagues.

Spokesman for the Obama
transition team have defended the
decision to invite Warren to
participate in the inauguration.
Obama himself said that he hopes
to encourage a diversity of beliefs
in his administration, calling
Warren a “friend” with whom he
had “disagreements”. Earlier this
year, Warren hosted a debate
between presidential candidates
Obama and John McCain at his
Orange County
megachurch.                  
it's all true
A report released this month by the
Inspector General for the US
Department of the Interior provides
new details of pervasive politicization
at the federal agency by Bush
administration appointees,
particularly within the Fish and
Wildlife Service during the stormy
tenure of the already notorious
deputy assistant director Julie
MacDonald. The report is the second
by Inspector General Earl Devaney
to investigate sensational charges
against MacDonald, an administrative
manager with no expertise in biology
or natural sciences who is alleged to
have displayed an improper bias
toward business interests in routinely
overruling scientific findings and
recommendations. The Inspector
general concludes that in 15 of 20
cases investigated, “the integrity of
the process was potentially
jeopardized” by MacDonald and her
close colleagues.

In a cover letter submitted to
Congress with his report, Devaney
wrote that “MacDonald’s zeal to
advance her
agenda has caused considerable
harm to the Endangered Species Act
program and to the morale and
reputation” of the Fish and Wildlife
Service. Apart from the specific
cases studied by the Inspector
General, MacDonald’s influence may
have affected other agency
decisions,  
according to the report, which says,
“Her heavy-handedness has cast
doubt on nearly every ESA decision
issued during her tenure.”
MacDonald, who resigned in 2007
following Devaney’s
first report on her improper activities,
refused to comment on the new
document.

Investigators found that the culture of
brazen political interference was so
pervasive in the agency that veteran
scientific staff referred to persistent
politicization of agency decisions and
findings as “getting MacDonalded,”
using the controversial deputy
assistant director’s name as a verb.
In addition to MacDonald, the report
names former Assistant Secretary of
the Interior Craig Manson one of his
top aides, Randal Bowman, and
department attorney Thomas Graf as
being especially culpable for the
department’s current morale and
credibility issues.

Democratic Representative Nick
Rahall  of West Virginia said, "The
results of this investigation paint a
picture of something akin to a secret
society residing within the Interior
Department that was colluding to
undermine the protection of
endangered wildlife and covering for
one another's misdeeds."             
it's
all true
Corporate Crusader Acted to Endanger
Species
Archeologists who have been
repairing the damage caused
by the coalition forces who
occupied the ancient city of
Babylon between 2003 and
2005 said that the destruction
caused by troops, tanks and
helicopters is extensive and in
many instances permanent.  

Maryam Omran Mussa, who
directs reconstruction efforts at
the archeological site, told
Agence Presse France,
“Many of the relics were buried
near the surface.  Vibration
from tanks and lorries caused
irreversible damage.”  The
director of the museum that is
on site at the ancient city told
AFP, “Look at this land, it is
packed with remnants.  They
filled their sandbags with them.”

As previously reported by
redstateupdate.net, the British
Museum documented the
destruction that was left behind
by invading coalition forces
finding “substantial damage”
and “severe contamination” of
Babylon, one of the world’s
most important archaeological
sites.  US forces carved out
huge avenues between the
ruins of the palace of
Nebuchadnezzer that were
paved with tons of gravel
brought in from other areas
and constructed buildings to
house 2000 troops.  US forces
also built a heliport between
the palace and the temple of
Ninmah.

“From the start, we told the
Americans (their actions) were
a mistake,” Mussa told the
AFP, “That which is broken
is broken.”                
it's all true
A survey conducted by the American
College of Emergency Physicians
found that emergency care in the US
is facing a crisis of short staffing and
under funding threatening the ability
of hospital emergency rooms to care
for the increasing numbers of citizens
who rely upon immediate care
facilities.

The annual report card released by
the ACEP graded American’s access
to the nation’s emergency care
service at a D minus.  The survey
found the system to be “fraught with
significant challenges and under
more stress than ever before.”  
ACEP president, Dr. Nicholas
Jouriles, said the state of emergency
care in the US is “a national
disgrace.”  

90 percent of the states received low
or near-failing grades.  Emergency
care services in Nebraska, for
example, were
rated fifth best in the nation with a
grade of C plus.  The lowest grade
received from the College was
Arkansas, which received an overall
grade of D minus.   

The ACEP reported that emergency
room visits have increased by 32
percent over the past decade, while
emergency room facilities have been
reduced by 7 percent over that same
period.  The survey stressed, “The
nation has too few emergency
departments to meet the needs of a
growing and aging population.”

The College found that factors that
contributed to the low grades
included a shortage of nurses,
primary care physicians and
emergency physicians and
inadequate reimbursement from
private insurers and public health
care funding systems.  The College
also said that the scarcity of state-
level health care
programs that address disease
prevention have increased health
care costs and made
unnecessary demands on the
nation’s health care infrastructure.

The College said that the low
grades did not reflect on the skill
and dedication of emergency
room doctors, but rather on
emergency room resources and
the public’s access to care.  
“Doctors are working in a war
zone out there,” said Dr Angela
Gardner, the president-elect of
the ACEP, They’re being asked to
do more with less every single
day.”  The survey predicted that,
as the economic crisis in the US
intensifies, emergency care
systems would suffer further as
hospitals slash budgets and more
citizens loose their jobs.    
it's all
true
The American Civil Liberties Union
has called for the president elect to
end the federal government’s
practice of tracking the phone calls of
American journalists as one of his
first acts after being sworn in to
office.  The union recommended that
the new president “re-examine the
recent amendments to Executive
Order 12333 to limit and regulate all
intelligence community activities and
to fully protect the privacy and civil
liberties of US citizens and residents.”

As previously reported by
redstateupdate.net, in 2006 it was
revealed that America’s largest
telecommunications companies had
agreed to provide the records of
reporters to the CIA, ostensibly for
national security reasons.  At the
time, Alberto Gonzalez, who was the
attorney general, did not say that
agents engaged
in routine surveillance of reporters,
but acknowledged that reporters
phones can and will be monitored
because the Justice Department has
an “obligation to ensure that our
national security is protected.”  
President Bush said then that
collecting information about American
reporters is one of many “tools”
needed to protect against terror
attacks. A spokesperson for the
ACLU said, “The CIA’s work should
not
include rooting out confidential
sources to intimidate both
reporters.”  The ACLU noted that
history has shown that “without
proper safeguards, domestic
surveillance powers will be abused.”

The ACLU called on the president
elect to “launch an investigation to
determine if any laws were broken”
by America’s spy agencies over the
past eight years.                         
it's all
true
VERBATIM                                                                                number 34.3
"I've abandoned free
market principles...
...to save the free
market system."
Washington DC  12.16.08
A poll that was recently
conducted found that more
Americans believe in
theological concept of hell and
devils than believe in the
scientific theory of evolution.

The poll also found that large
majorities of American believe
in the existence of God and
the resurrection of Jesus.  The
poll also revealed that
“substantial minorities” of
Americans believe in ghosts,
UFOs and astrology.

The poll found that 80 percent
of Americans believe in God
and 71 percent believe that
Jesus is the “Son of God.”  
The poll found that only 47
percent of Americans believe
in Darwin’s theory of
evolution.  The poll revealed
that
Catholics are more likely to believe in
evolution than Protestants (52 to 32
percent).  Catholics are, however,
more disposed to believe in UFOs
than Protestants (43 to 31 percent).

Harris reported that for American
adults no matter what religion they
profess; 71 percent believe in the
concept of angels, 61 percent
believe in the virgin birth of Jesus
and 62 percent believe in the
concept of Hell.  The poll also
revealed that 90 percent of
Americans who believe in Hell said
that they attend weekly religious
services.   

Harris also reported that while 54
percent of Americans believe that the
New Testament is the revealed word
of God, only 9 percent believe that
the Koran, the holy book of Islam, is
the word of God.                      
it's all
true
The administrator of the
Environmental Protection Agency
recently astounded environmentalist
and scientist when he declared that
he could not say for certain he held a
scientifically informed of biblically
informed world view.  

In an interview with the
Philadelphia
Inquirer
, EPA chief Stephen
Johnson, a Bush appointee, told the
Inquirer, “If you have studied at all
creationism vs. Evolution, there’s a
theistic or God-controlled evolution
and there’s
variations on all those themes.”

Johnson assured the Inquirer's
readers that his theological views
had not been a problem as he
administered the EPA, saying, “As
a practical matter, it has never
been an issue.”  Catching himself,
Johnson added, “Perhaps after
January 20, I’ll be happy to
discuss it.”     
it's all true
Percent of houses with
five or more rooms
selected countries
canada
ireland
%        20          40         60         80
norway
denmark
austria
united
states
finland
france
Percent of
citizens who
believe religion
is important
japan          uk        norway      russia         india          us          
egypt
100
%
20
60
"We believe in an
Almighty, we believe in the
freedom for people to
worship that Almighty.
They don't."
 Martinsburg WV 07.04.07
verbatim                                                                         number 34.4
Occupier's Boot Print
Left on Babylon City
Doctors Move Nation's Emergency Rooms to Intensive Care
Unit
ACLU Calls for Reporter Phone Call Freedom
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