number 23      
10.03.05
Mercenaries Will be Your Next Door Neighbors
executive order that made it easier
for foreign-born US residents to
become American citizens. In 2004
more than 7000 alien soldiers
became American citizens.  So far
this year the immigration service
has received over 11,000
naturalization petitions from
members of the military.  Since
September 11, 2001 there have
been 59 posthumous citizenships
given to non-citizens who served in
US forces.

There are an estimated 15,000
private military personnel in Iraq.  
There are more mercenaries in
Iraq than British
forces.  The US military has
out-sourced many of its traditional
duties to these private contractors
interpreting the constitution

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Endangered Species Act Threatened With
Extinction
Justice Scalia
Won't Even
Pay For
The Tune
The US House of Representatives
voted last week to substantially
revise the Endangered Species Act,
approving a bill that would reduce the
authority of the federal government
to protect plant and animal species
threatened with extinction.  The bill
was proposed by Representative
Richard Pombo  (R-CA), Chairman of
the House Resources Committee,
and a long time opponent of the
existing Act.  The new legislation
emphasizes the rights of property
owners among other concessions to
corporate interests.

Citing the argument that 90 percent
of endangered species live on
privately owned land, Pombo said “I
am willing to
do whatever we can to put the focus
on recovery and do what we can to
recover these species- as long my
property owners are protected.”

The Pombo legislation mandates
federal compensation for property
owners whose development plans are
affected by the Endangered Species
Act, and limits the definition of “critical
habitat.”  The bill would also give the
Interior Secretary the authority to set
scientific standards for use under the
Act, instead of panels of independent
experts, as is currently the case.  

Pombo has been trying to re-write the
Endangered Species Act since 1996.  
The
Justice Antonin Scalia recently
clarified his views on
government support of the arts
by elevating an aphorism
above constitutional rights at a
symposium on the arts and the
law held at the Julliard School.  

Scalia said of government
funding of the arts and
censorship, "The First
Amendment has not repealed
the ancient rule of life, that he
who pays the piper calls the
tune."

Scalia voted with the majority
when a law that allows
government to deny funding to
artists whose work is deemed
to be controversial came
before the Supreme Court in
1998.  

The case tested a law passed
in 1990 that was written to
respond to the government's
financial support of artists
Robert Mapplethorpe and
Adres Serrano. The court
voted to uphold the
government's right to not fund
artwork that offends "public
values."

Justice David Souter, who was
the only dissenter in the case
wrote, the law has a
"significant power to chill
artistic production and display."

Scalia also criticized the courts
inability to define "obscenity"
which is not protected by the
First Amendment.  "the only
remedy," Scalia reasoned, "is
to get out of funding artworks
altogether."  
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Suburban Cops Dump Their Problems in LA
The Los Angeles Police Department
has accused four suburban
townships that border the city and
the Sheriff's Department of Los
Angeles County of having unofficial
policies to drop off homeless citizens
and patients released from
psychiatric institutions in the city of
Los Angeles in an area called skid
row.

The policy, known as dumping, is
explicitly prohibited by the various law
enforcement agencies alleged to be
committing the practice. The suburbs
of El Monte, Pasadena and El
Segundo each have denied that they
use the practice of dumping to
alleviate their communities of
homeless people but have agreed to
investigate the charges if the LAPD
can provide dates and times that the
incidents occurred. The city of
Burbank,
also accused of committing the
practice, decline to comment on the
charges. The Los Angeles County
Sheriff's Department of Independent
Review stated that it had an
obligation to find out what happened
in an incident of dumping observed
by officers of the LAPD.  

In that incident, a prisoner who was
the price of Halliburton stock-
approximate weekly high price,
first week of the month since
the invasion of Iraq
70
60
50
40
30
20
10
$
03/03  10/03  03/04  10/04  03/05  
10/05
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Links of the Week

New Deal Art During the Great
Depression-on line
compendium and gallery of
works created under the
Federal Art Project as part of
the Works Progress
Administration

Income, Poverty and Health
Insurance Coverage in the
United States: 2004; US
Department of Commerce,
Census Bureau

Portrait of Arnold
Schwarzenegger by Robert
Mapplethorp

contact us
The release from jail last week of
New York Times reporter Judith
Miller, who had refused to cooperate
with a federal investigation in order
to "protect a source," has led to
furious speculation about the
reporter's motives, even as
questions as to the extent of her
involvement in the so-called Plame
affair remain unanswered. Many
have asked why Miller decided to
capitulate after spending 85 days in
jail, cutting a deal with federal
prosecutors and naming her source
in sworn testimony as I. Lewis Libby,
the Vice President's Chief of Staff.

Although Libby had recently written
to Miller to waive his confidentiality
and urge her to testify, his own
lawyers say that such a waiver had
been in Miller's possession for over
a year. Miller continues to insist that
the recent waiver was qualitatively
different and that the letter plus a
personal phone call from Libby had
convinced her to break her silence.
Others have speculated that Miller
feared that prosecutors would
extend their investigation and with it
her stay in jail. It has also been
suggested that Miller herself may
have faced an indictment as a result
of the probe.
The Pulitzer prize- winning reporter
was a highly controversial figure
even before her incarceration.
Miller's close ties to the Bush
administration have led to numerous
front page exclusives for the
Times.
In the run up to the invasion of Iraq,
Miller wrote or co-wrote many stories
which seemed to give credence to
administration claims about Iraqi
weapons of mass destruction. A
self-styled expert on chemical and
biological warfare, Miller was
embedded with a task force charged
with searching for banned Iraqi
weaponry in the initial stages of the
US occupation.

But the task force came up empty,
and Miller's exclusives, always
attributed to "confidential" sources or
unnamed "defense department
officials,"  began to unravel. When
the
Times published an
unprecedented apology for its
uncritical and inaccurate reporting on
Iraqi WMD, it was primarily referring
to the work of Judith Miller. By then
the front page disinformation
campaign had achieved the
administration's goal of selling the
invasion and occupation of Iraq.

Some columnists have suggested
that Miller's decision to go to jail to
protect  
her source in the Plame
investigation, a story that she
never wrote about, was really an
attempt to rehabilitate her
tarnished journalistic reputation
after the debacle of her reporting
on Iraq. Critics also point out that
because of the nature of the
Plame  affair, Miller wasn't so
much protecting a source as
aiding in an illegal leak of
classified information in a blatant
reprisal against an administration
whistle-blower.

It is quite possible that prosecutor
Patrick Fitzgerald would have
pressed obstruction of justice
charges against the reporter.
Even after her deal and her
testimony last Friday, Miller may
eventually be named as a
participant in an illegal conspiracy
involving Libby, White House
Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove,
and other members of the
administration and the press.

Was Judith Miller protecting a
source, protecting  criminal
conspirators, or protecting
herself? The answer may yet be
forthcoming. It was revealed over
the weekend that Miller has
signed a $1.2 million contract to
write a book about her ordeal.
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redstateupdate.net
verbatim                                                                                                                                              
number 4.5
"At first, people said, whew. There
was a sense of relaxation, and
that's what I was referring to. And I,
myself, thought we had dodged a
bullet. You know why? Because I
was listening to people, probably
over the airways, say, the bullet has
been dodged. And that was what I
was referring to. Of course, there
were plans in case the levee had
been breached. There was a sense
of relaxation in the moment, a
critical moment...
...And thank you for giving me
a          chance to clarify that."
  New Orleans  LA  09.12.05
As the occupation of Iraq becomes
more dangerous and intractable the
US Army and military reserves have
seen a dramatic decline in enlistment
and re-enlistment.  In an effort to
provide the manpower needed for the
Bush administration's interventionist
foreign policy adventures, the military
is exploring creative ways to put boots
on the ground in Iraq and
Afghanistan.  With over 30,000
foreign soldiers in the US military from
over 100 countries, the Bush
administration has begun to offer US
citizenship to the mercenaries it hires
to perform some of the most
dangerous and undesirable jobs in
occupied Iraq.

In July 2002, President Bush signed an
who patrol in full armor.  US forces
often work along side private
mercenaries in what the Pentagon
describes as a relationship of
"coordination, not control".

A leading commentator on the US  
military, Max Boot has recently called
for offering US citizenship to all foreign
fighters who will serve in American
forces in its far-flung military
engagements.  Boot feels that
because so many people are
"desperate to move" to America it
makes sense to offer them citizenship,
but only if they will fight for the US.  
Says Boot, "it would establish beyond
a doubt that they are the kind of
motivated, hard working immigrants
we want"
interpreting the constitution
bill that the house approved last
Thursday was introduced in
committee only one week before
The bill was made available to
members of the committee on
Wednesday and a vote was taken
on the following day.  One week
later it had passed the full house
by a vote of 229-193. Critics of
the bill have said that the
truncated process was designed
to limit scrutiny of the drastic
changes sought by Pombo.

Congressional observers say that
the Senate will be unlikely to
approve the bill, as it now stands,
with moderate Republicans wary
of adopting some of Pombo’s
more controversial proposals.
Judith Miller Sticks To Her Story
released from the county jail was
handcuffed and transported by LA
county sheriffs in the back of a squad
car to an area nearby a food line at a
charity in skid row. The LA county
officers were observed taking the
released prisoner out of the squad
car, un-cuffing him and handing him
a plastic bag containing his
belongings.  When questioned about
the incident, the officers said that
they were under the direct orders of
their supervising police commander.

Los Angeles city officials have
suspected that officials from
surrounding jurisdictions have used
the city as a dumping ground for
homeless citizens and those in need
of psychiatric care.  In early 2005 the
LAPD ordered its officers to stop
police cars from other towns if they
are observed dropping off people in
skid row.  

Captain Andrew Smith, who is the
command officer of the downtown
division of the LAPD said that skid
row "cannot accommodate all the
intoxicated, drug addicted and
homeless individuals from all over the
county."
 
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