spread of the red
number 78  11.12.06
interpreting the constitution

crowd control

spread of the red

one nation, under surveillance

fun d' mental

in bed with the red

red state rebate

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spread of the red
one nation, under surveillance
redstat
Corporate Income tax as a
percentage of total tax collected by
the country
25
20
15
10
5
%
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2006 Human Development
Report : Beyond
Scarcity-Power, Poverty and
the Global Water Crisis, UN
Development Program

Social Science Research
Network study : Obligations of
Privilege, American University
College of Law

British Film Institute website:
Powell & Pressburger:
A Pilgrims' Progress


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Slim Harpo  
Tribute Page
verbatim                                                        number 15.3
"And my answer was,
they're going to stay on...
...and so, the only way to
answer that question and to
get you on to another
question was to give you that
answer."
         Washington DC  11.08.06
In the aftermath of last week’s
defeats in the midterm elections,
indications have emerged of deep
divisions behind the scenes at the
White House, as competing factions
struggle to influence the direction of
policy in the final two years of the
Bush administration. The ouster of
Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld
the day after the elections, with the
Senate still undecided, is only the
most visible signal of a move to
implement a set of policy initiatives
favored by a group of senior advisors
to former president George H.W.
Bush, the president’s father. The
nominee to replace Rumsfeld, Robert
Gates, has held a variety of
intelligence and national security
appointments under six US
presidents, culminating in three years
as Director of the CIA for the elder
Bush.

Gates was a member of the
Congressionally-mandated Iraq
Study Group, a bipartisan
commission headed by former
Secretary of State James A. Baker III.
The former president’s closest
advisor, Baker is reportedly leading
an attempt to salvage the current
administration’s foreign policy with a
view to retaining Republican control
of the White House in 2008. Gates is
said to have been privately critical of
the management of the occupation of
Iraq, and other members of the
former president’s cabinet have
publicly questioned broader aspects
of the
administration’s wars in Iraq and
Afghanistan.

The departure of Rumsfeld leaves
Vice President Cheney
increasingly isolated as an
advocate for an Iraq policy that is
perceived as largely to blame for
Republican losses in Congress.
The ascendancy of Baker and
other members of the former
administration such as Gates and
former National Security Advisor
Brent Scowcroft may act to
counter momentum for a US
military strike against Iran. Gates
is expected to face confirmation
difficulties over
his involvement in the Reagan-era
Iran-Contra scandals.         
its all
true
Justice Department figures reveal
a significant decline in
prosecutions of terrorism-related
cases referred by FBI
investigators, according to a
report released last week. The
data documents a five-year trend
in which federal prosecutors have
declined to bring charges in an
increasing percentage of FBI
terrorism referrals. The report,
which was prepared by the
Syracuse University-based
Transactional Records Access
Clearinghouse (TRAC), has been
assailed by the FBI as
“inaccurate.”

The report was compiled using
official Justice Department
statistics. According to TRAC, the
numbers “raise troubling
questions about the bureau’s
investigation of criminal matters
involving individuals the
government has identified as
international terrorists.” The
report notes that, after spiking in
2002, terrorism prosecutions are
also down over the period
studied, 2001-2006.

In 2001, the Department refused
to prosecute 33 percent of
terrorism cases referred by FBI
agents; for 2006, the declination
rate currently stands at 87
percent.          
its all true
As a variety of local and regional
statistics continue to confirm that a
significant adjustment in real estate
values is occurring across the
country, industry observers are
pointing to the impending collapse of
the home equity loan market as a
further sign of the deterioration of the
housing market. A downturn in equity
extraction is expected to have a
severe impact on consumer
spending, which accounts for almost
70 percent of US economic activity, in
2007 and 2008.

Although mortgage equity extraction
hit record levels in the first half of
2006, experts predict a dramatic
slowdown, attributing most of the
recent activity to mortgage holders
rushing to get out of interest-only
loans that are due to reset to higher
rates. From 2000 through June of
this year, total home equity actually
declined by 4 percent, despite an
increase in total home values of 78
percent.

Just as many homeowners who
purchased short-term adjustable rate
mortgages are facing sharp
increases in their payments without
realizing commensurate gains in
value, holders of home equity loans
may find themselves making
payments based on an ultimately
unrealizable value. In both cases the
the consumers risk paying back
loans that greatly exceed the value of
the assets. Sharp reductions in real
estate value make effective
refinancing of such debt impossible
for most individual homeowners.

Some economists have criticized the
Federal Reserve for failing to act
decisively to prevent, or at least curb,
the housing bubble. Last January, in
an article surveying the career of
outgoing Fed Chairman Alan
Greenspan, the
Economist noted,
“From a risk-management
perspective, the case for acting
against the housing bubble is even
greater than for the stockmarket
bubble. A housing bubble has bigger
wealth effects on consumer
spending, so a collapse in housing
prices would cause more economic
harm than one in share prices.”  But
Greenspan was reluctant to quell
spending, which is increasingly the
only agent for growth in the US
economy.

It remains unclear how the US
economy will replace equity
withdrawal activity. In the third
quarter of this year, even with more
than $250 billion in equity extraction,
US GDP was up only 1.6 percent. If
that activity is significantly curtailed,
analysts agree that negative GDP is
a likely result.              
its all true
The Inspector General for Iraq
Reconstruction has provided data to
Congress that reveals that the US
military has given hundreds of
thousands of weapons to the Iraqi
Security Force that it cannot track.  
The study found that the military
admits that it did not follow its own
procedures for recording and
tracking the whereabouts more than
350,000 weapons that it disbursed to
the ISF between 2003 and 2005.

In an analysis requested by Senator
John Warner (R-VA), Inspector Stuart
Bowen found that only 10,000
weapons were registered out of
370,000 small arms, including
grenade launchers, machine guns
and assault rifles, that were supplied
to the ISF.  The report also found
that 14,000 weapons had been lost
by the US Military command in
Baghdad.  The total cost of the
weapons provided by US
forces was $133 million through April
2005.

Weapons transferred by US forces to
foreign troops or security forces are
supposed to be trackable.  
Regulations require that the serial
numbers of all weapons transferred
are to be registered in the DOD
Small Arms Serialization Program.

There is concern that the
unaccounted for weapons could be
conveyed to the Iraqi resistance
movement.  There have been reports
that the ISF may have connections
with insurgent militant groups in the
occupied country.

Bowen also recently told the
BBC
that Iraq was facing a “second
insurgency” in the form of pervasive
corruption and mismanagement
within the Iraqi
government.  “The money that’s
stolen doesn’t merely enrich
criminals,” Bowen told the
BBC, it
often goes to “fund criminal
militias or insurgents.”

Bowen’s office began its
operations in 2004 and has
brought 24 cases of fraud, bribery
and waste to the Justice
Department.  The auditor’s work
has resulted in four convictions
and has recently uncovered
evidence that a subsidiary of
Halliburton conspired to cover up
poor contract performance.  The
Inspector General's office was de-
funded effective next year.   The
responsibilities of the office will be
transferred to the State
Department where a reduced staff
will be under the authority of
Secretary of State Condoleezza
Rice.       
its all true
The federal government recently
disclosed elements of a surveillance
program that was developed after the
terror attacks in 2001 that purports to
collect, analyze and retain travel
documents, itineraries and other
personal information of all travelers
who enter or exit the US, whether on
a plane, by auto or by foot.

The Department of Homeland
Security admits that it has been
operating what is known as the
Automated Targeting System out of
the National Targeting Center since
2001.  What was not public
knowledge was that the Automated
Targeting System, which was
authorized by Congress to screen
cargo as it enters the US to prevent
the importation of illegal drugs, had
begun to be used by DHS as a
means of collecting information
on and profiling innocent travelers.

DHS advised in a notice published in
the Federal Register that agents
have collected, analyzed and stored
information on air travelers for the
past five years, assigning a risk
assessment level to every air traveler
whether or not the traveler has ever
been a target of investigation by law
enforcement.

Information collected is cross-
referenced against a massive
database that includes state and
federal law enforcement data and
commercially collected information
regarding private citizens.  DHS
reported that all information collected
will be stored for 40 years by DHS “to
cover the potential lifespan of
individuals associated with terrorism
and other criminal activities.”     
its all
true
On election day 2006 citizens
in 37 states voted on more
than 200 different measures
and ballot initiatives on a
broad range of issues
including same-sex marriage,
immigration, minimum wage,
private property rights, and
abortion restrictions.

Eight states had measures
seeking to ban same-sex
marriage on this year’s
ballots.  Seven of these states,
including, Idaho, Virginia,
South Dakota and Wisconsin,
voted to amend their state
constitutions to prohibit same-
sex marriage.  These seven
states joined 16 other states
where the right to marriage is
not extended to all citizens.

Arizona voters were faced with
four proposals advanced by
anti-immigrant groups that
targeted undocumented
workers.  All of the initiatives
were approved by the voters in
Arizona, including a measure
that calls for making English
the official language in the
state.

In six states voters supported
ballot initiatives that called for
raising the minimum wage,
including a measure in
Missouri that ties future
minimum wage increases to
the consumer price index.

The electorate in Champaign-
Urbana IL voted  that the
president and vice president
should be impeached for
misrepresentations that led to
the occupation of Iraq, the
torture of detainees, and the
illegal wire tapping of
Americans.    
its all true
Baker's Boys to Enter White House Through Gates
Iraq Inspector General Discovers Weapons Are Missing
Bush, Cheney
Can’t Get Married,
Can Get Impeached
Traveler Track Knows Your Itinerary, Forever
Bursting Bubble Means Equity Trouble
Charges Dropping
In FBI Terror
Probes
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