number 7       
06.12.05
interpreting the constitution

crowd control

spread of the red

one nation, under surveillance

fun d' mental

in bed with the red

red state rebate

verbatim
The Inspector General for the Interior
Department has released the
findings of an investigation into the
sale of mineral rights for 400,000
acres of land in the Florida
everglades to the US government by
Collier Resources where the
government was found to have paid
substantially more than the rights
were worth.  The most recent
estimate of the land's value,
conducted by the US Geographical
Survey, assessed the mineral rights
to be worth between $5 million and
$20 million.  The company was paid
$120  million for the rights and
was also offered additional tax
deductions by the US Government.  

The Inspector General, Earl
Devaney, has found that instead of
using estimates offered by
department employees, attorneys in
the Interior Department  had brought
in a firm with “no experience" in
subsurface land mineral rights
evaluation.  Devaney wrote in a letter
that accompanied the recently
released report that “the conduct
revealed in this special report
cries out for accountability.”   
The Collier family is one of the
largest land owners in Florida.  The
company Collier Resources gave
over $100,000 in campaign
donations to republican candidates
in the last election cycle including
$5000 to Jeb Bush’s re-election
campaign.

The land sale was announced by
President Bush in 2002 in a
ceremony that was attended by
Secretary of the Interior Gale Norton
who characterized the deal as a “win
for all sides”.
fun d'
mental
in bed with the
red
DOJ Disregards Expert Witness in Tobacco Trial
Project Places
Patriot Pastors
Late last week the Department of
Justice stunned anti-smoking
advocates, tobacco industry insiders
and a federal judge when it
proposed a settlement in the United
State’s lawsuit against the nation’s
tobacco producers of less than 10
percent of what has been previously
indicated by government attorneys
throughout the 8 month long trail.

Government expert witness Dr.
Michael Fiore had previously,
recommended that the leading
tobacco industry manufacturers be
required to pay 130 billion dollars
over the next twenty five years to
fund smoking cessation programs in
the United States.  The Justice
Departments lawyers advised the
court on June 2nd that they would
seek only 10 billion dollars from the
defendants.  

The trial judge, US Associate Judge
Gladys Kessler, was apparently
taken aback by the Justice
Department’s substantial back-
peddling on the fines which it is
seeking and asked rhetorically in the
court room whether the decision was
the result of “additional” influences
brought to bear on government
attorneys.   

Sources who have requested to
remain anonymous have come
forward to describe that the
department's change in tactics was
motivated by politically appointed
officials at the Department of Justice,
including Associate Attorney General
Robert McCallum who is the
Religious conservatives in Ohio
have a plan to promote politics
from the pulpit with the help of
Ohio Secretary of State Kenneth
Blackwell.  The Ohio Restoration
Project is gearing up to train local
pastors on “issues relevant to the
Christian Community” and hold
meetings and rallies featuring
Blackwell among other politically
conservative religious leaders in
the run up to the 2006 election
season.   

The project has targeted the
faithful in that state with a
marketing campaign that enlists
church elders as “patriot pastors”
who are to provide lists of church
congregations to the
organization.  The project’s
coordinators want to ensure that
members of the state’s churches
will be provided with Christian
Coalition voter’s guides that will
help them “engage their
communities with conviction and
confidence”.  

The group’s web site describes
regional policy briefings on topics
including school vouchers, tax
reform and tort reform and a radio
advertisement blitz called “Ohio
for Jesus” featuring Ohio
Secretary of State Kenneth
Blackwell.  

Ohio Secretary of State Blackwell,
who is also currently running for
Governor of Ohio, presided over
the 2004 election in that state
which was characterized in a
recent congressional report as
being marred by “misconduct and
illegal behavior” (see link of the
week: Conyers Report).  
redstat
News
Committee Passes a Worried and Worrisome
Budget
The House Appropriations
Committee approved President
Bush’s domestic spending bill which
calls for cuts in more than 50
government programs.  The budget
for America’s schools for the year
2006 was locked at 2005 levels and
the Departments of Health and
Human Services and Department of
Labor have been cut by over one
billion dollars.   

The president’s original budget was
formulated to take account of record
high and growing federal budget
deficits and did not include
spending targeted for the
occupation of Iraq or the cost of the
president’s plan to privatize the
country’s Social Security benefit
program.
The president’s budget calls for the
elimination of programs for worker
training and preventive health care
services which were paid out of block
grants to the states.  Overall the
president’s budget for 2006
eliminates or drastically reduces 150
programs, one in three of these are
education programs.
The president’s plan also eliminates
$100 million in grants for water and
land conservation and terminates the
Community Food Nutrition
Program.    

President Bush acknowledged that
he was worried about the rapidly
expanding deficit caused largely the
occupation of Iraq.  “My last budget
worried about it, this budget will really
worry about it” the president said of
the budget proposal.
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Exxon Finds Federal Environmental Policy
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Two recently leaked sets of
documents reveal that the Bush
administration routinely involves
energy industry interests and
representatives in the formulation of
federal energy policy.

Last Wednesday it was reported that
a White House official who is a former
oil industry lobbyist has frequently
edited government reports to
downplay concerns about global
warming. According to the
New York
Times
, Phillip Cooney, the Chief of
Staff for the White House Council on
Environmental Quality, made
“dozens” of emendations which “tend
to produce an air of doubt about
findings that most climate experts say
are robust.”  Cooney, previously the
“climate team leader” at the
American Petroleum Institute, has no
scientific credentials.
Also made public last week were
briefing papers dating from 2001
through 2004 which confirm that the
Bush administration’s controversial
abrogation of the Kyoto Treaty on
global warming was in part due to
active lobbying by ExxonMobil.  
Executives of the world’s largest
energy company have repeatedly
denied any attempts to pressure the
administration with regard to Kyoto.  
But an article in the
Guardian
reports that not only did Exxon seek
to influence energy policy, the Bush
administration sought the
corporation’s “advice on what
climate change policies the
company might find acceptable”.

The revelations came just as British
Prime Minister Tony Blair was
arriving
in Washington to discuss climate
change issues with President Bush
ahead of the G8 summit at
Gleneagles in Scotland next
month.  Blair has made
addressing global warming a
priority of his government. The
Bush administration has
consistently questioned scientific
links between greenhouse gas
emissions and long-term climate
change.  This stance has led to
tensions between the US and
many of its traditional allies.

ExxonMobil, with revenue of over
$350 billion, has been facing
some protests from shareholders
over its position on climate
change in general, and the Kyoto
accords in particular.  
Environmentalists were able to
introduce two resolutions at the
company’s recent annual
meeting.  After discussion, both
measures were defeated.
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redstateupdate.net
a supervisor in Justice’s civil
division.  McCallum previously
represented R.J. Reynolds when
he worked for Atlanta law firm
Alston & Bird.   

Several senators called for a
review of the shift in tactics by the
Justice Department’s Inspector
General’s Office.  Senator Frank
Lautenberg (D-NJ) stated that the
about-face of the Justice
Department “reeks of political
interference by the Bush
administration”.  In a letter sent to
Inspector General Glenn Fine,
Congress persons Henry
Waxman (D-CA) and Martin
Meehan (D-MA) also requested a
formal investigation into what they
characterized as “inappropriate
political interference”.  
Government finds Government Paid too Much
"We must stay the
course."
               April 3 2004
"We must stay the
course."
       November 3 1969
"We must stay the
course."
      November 1 1967
verbatim                                Number  2.1
 
source: Center on Budget and
Priotities
states with the highest
rates of children under
18 living in poverty:
2003
0          10           20         30          
40
in percents to total number of children
District of
Columbia
Louisiana
Mississippi
West Virginia
New Mexico
Kentucky
Arkansas
Alabama
Texas
Oklahoma