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Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Plants are Family Oriented

according to a recent study, Biologists have found that plants are able to recognize their own relatives. "Researchers at McMaster University have found that plants get fiercely competitive when forced to share their pot with strangers of the same species, but they're accommodating when potted with their siblings. [...] Though they lack cognition and memory, the study shows plants are capable of complex social behaviours such as altruism towards relatives, says Dudley. Like humans, the most interesting behaviours occur beneath the surface."

HU.NOR.MUS Bird in China

A gigantic bird-like dinosaur weighing as much as a car towered over its relatives about 70 million years ago, a new finding suggests.

The unearthed beaked dinosaur was not full-grown, yet it tipped the scales at more than 3,000 pounds. Paleontologists who discovered its remains estimate the behemoth was just 11 years old when it perished.

Chinese scientists unearthed the skeletal remains of the dinosaur, now named Gigantoraptor erlianensis, in the Erlian Basin of Inner Mongolia, China. Gigantoraptor was also much ganglier than other dinosaurs. Typically, larger dinosaurs had proportionally stouter limbs and shorter lower legs than their smaller relatives. Relative to its size, Gigantoraptor had unusually slender limbs and lengthy legs.

LOL.CATS


if you know me you know i love cats. i love dogs too, they just wont fit in my tiny apartment. i need a house for more critters. anyway, just wanted to share a couple of funny cat piks i had found...

dictionary entry

Zenith, n. The point in the heavens directly overhead to a man standing or a growing cabbage. A man in bed or a cabbage in the pot is not considered as having a zenith, though from this view of the matter there was once a considerably dissent among the learned, some holding that the posture of the body was immaterial. These were called Horizontalists, their opponents, Verticalists. The Horizontalist heresy was finally extinguished by Xanobus, the philosopher-king of Abara, a zealous Verticalist. Entering an assembly of philosophers who were debating the matter, he cast a severed human head at the feet of his opponents and asked them to determine its zenith, explaining that its body was hanging by the heels outside. Observing that it was the head of their leader, the Horizontalists hastened to profess themselves converted to whatever opinion the Crown might be pleased to hold, and Horizontalism took its place among fides defuncti.

BREAKING: Turkish Troops Crossing into Iraq

Several thousand Turkish troops crossed into northern Iraq early Wednesday to chase Kurdish guerrillas who operate from bases there, Turkish security officials told The Associated Press. Now what about that bunker you were digging? The reports came amid worries Turkey might launch an offensive against the rebel bases, touching off a conflict with U.S.-backed Iraqi Kurds in one of Iraq's most stable regions. The U.S. is urging itsNATO ally not to strike, and Turkey's foreign minister denied any incursion occurred.



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Mummified Tyrolean Iceman taken down by arrow...

Oetzi, the 5,100-year old mummified iceman found in a Tyrolean glacier in 1991, bled to death after being hit in the back by an arrow, Swiss scientists said Wednesday following X-ray. "A lesion of a close-to-the-shoulder artery has been found thanks to a CT scan,"



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SWAT teams, armored vehicle seen near Brown home

Neighbors of convicted tax evaders Ed and Elaine Brown reported police SWAT teams and at least one armored vehicle converging on a field near their Plainfield home this morning. An Associated Press photographer in a plane over the Browns’ property this morning was told to leave the airspace. On the ground, state police set up a checkpoint at Stage Road and Route 12A and would not let reporters pass.The Browns insist federal income tax laws are invalid and have holed up in their hilltop home on 110 acres in Plainfield, which has a watchtower, concrete walls and the ability to run on wind and solar power. Brown said he has stockpiled food and supplies.They were convicted in January of scheming to hide $1.9 million of income between 1996 and 2003. They also were convicted of using $215,890 in postal money orders to pay for their residence and for Elaine Brown’s dental office. The money orders were broken into increments just below the tax-reporting threshold.U.S. District Judge Steven McAuliffe sentenced them each to 5¼ years in prison. They skipped the April sentencing hearings, and Ed Brown has said he and his wife will refuse to surrender to authorities.



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random comment #367

"Fortunately, I'm adhering to a very strict drug regimen to keep my mind limber..."

AT&T is Spying on YOU!

In a move that has executives from movie studios and record labels grinning from ear to ear, AT&T has announced that it will develop and deploy technology that will attempt to keep pirated content off its network. The move is spurred in part by the company's decision to offer IPTV television service as part of its U-Verse package, AT&T senior VP James W. Cicconi told the Los Angeles Times.

Despite the major technical problems inherent in such a program, AT&T is moving ahead. By making themselves into the arbiters of copyright law, the company risks being drawn into a costly "arms race" with programmers who don't like the idea of a massive corporation (and one which appears to have turned over information to the NSA) peeking into their packets and deciding which ones go through.

This is exactly the situation that Dr. Greg Jackson, CIO of the University of Chicago, warned Congress about last week. "The only successful, robust way to address problems that involve personal responsibility and behavior is with social rather than technological tools," he said in a hearing. "If we instead try and restrict behavior technologically... the only result will be an arms race that nobody wins."

There's a certain creepiness to having one of the country's largest IP networks doing deep packet inspection and monitoring, but consumers who value their privacy can always go somewhere else, right? Not necessarily. In addition to running a massive network of its own, AT&T runs a good chunk of the backbone infrastructure in the US. It's a rare bit of traffic that can make it to its destination without passing on to an AT&T-owned network. If the company deploys its anti-piracy technology to all data passing through its networks, AT&T's "solution" could affect most US Internet users. In addition, many US residents have limited broadband choices. arstechnica.com-source

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

random.quote.#.113

"You want a toe? I can get you a toe. Believe me. There are ways, Dude. You don't want to know about it, believe me. Hell, I can get you a toe by 3 o'clock this afternoon. With nail polish."

So, We are gonna arm the Sunnis'

Mr. Gates our present Sec of Defence cut his teeth on this little number -- it was called the -- Iran-Contra Affair.

Arms transaction

The Iran-Contra report found that the sales of arms to Iran violated United States Government policy; it also violated the Arms Export Control Act.[2] Overall, if the releasing of hostages was the purpose of arms sales to Iran, the plan was a failure as only three of the 30 hostages were released.[9]

First arms sale

Michael Ledeen, a consultant of Robert McFarlane, asked Israeli Prime Minister Shimon Peres for help in the sale of arms to Iran.[11] The general idea behind the plan was for Israel to ship weapons to Iran, then the US would reimburse Israel with the same weapons. The Israeli government required that the sale of arms meet high level approval from the United States government, and when Robert McFarlane convinced them that the U.S. government approved the sale, Israel obliged by agreeing to sell the arms. [11] Reagan approved McFarlane's idea to reach out to Iran on July 18, 1985 while in a hospital bed recovering from cancer surgery.[12] [12] In July 1985, Israel sent American-made BGM-71 TOW (Tube-launched, Optically-tracked, Wire-guided) anti-tank missiles to Iran through an arms dealer named Manucher Ghorbanifar, a friend of Iran's Prime Minister. One hostage, reverend Benjamin Weir was subsequently released, despite the completed arms sale. This ultimately proved Ledeen's plan a failure [8] with only three shipments through Israel. [11]

Subsequent dealings

Robert McFarlane resigned in December 1985[13]. He was replaced by Admiral John Poindexter. On the day of McFarlane's resignation, Oliver North, a military aide to the United States National Security Council (NSC), proposed a new plan for selling arms to Iran. This time, there were two new ideas. Instead of selling arms through Israel, the sale was to be direct. Second, the proceeds from the sale would go to the Contras at a markup. Oliver North wanted a $15 million markup, while contracted Iranian arms broker Manucher Ghorbanifar added a 41% markup of his own. [14] Other members of the NSC were in favor of North's plan. John Poindexter authorized the plan, and it went into effect. [15]

At first, the Iranians refused to buy the arms at the inflated price because of the excessive markup imposed by North and Ghorbanifar. In February 1986, 1000 TOW missiles were shipped to Iran.[15] From May to November 1986, there were additional shipments of miscellaneous weapons and parts.[15] Reagan claimed that the total of all arms sales was less than a planeload.[5]

The Contras

The plan went ahead, and proceeds from the arms sales went to the Contras, a right-wing guerilla organization engaged in an insurgency against the leftist Sandinista government of Nicaragua. The diversion was coordinated by Oliver North of the National Security Council. Supporting the Contras financially was an effort to assist them in their fight against the Nicaraguan government.

Both the sale of weapons to Iran and the funding of the Contras attempted to circumvent not only stated Administration policy, but also legislation passed by Congress known as the Boland Amendment. Administration officials argued that regardless of the Congress restricting the funds for the Contras, or any affair, the President (the administration) could carry on by seeking alternative means of funding such as private entities and foreign governments.[16]

The Contras were also involved in drug trafficking, as detailed in the "Drug money" section linked. A little more kool ayd to sip...

The Iran-Iraq War, also known as the Iraqi Imposed War (جنگ تحمیلی, Jang-e-tahmīlī), Holy defense (دفاع مقدس, Defa-e-moghaddas) and Iranian Revolutionary War in Iran, and Saddām's Qādisiyyah (قادسيّة صدّام, Qādisiyyat Saddām) in Iraq, was a war between the armed forces of Iraq and Iran lasting from September 1980 to August 1988. It was commonly referred to as the Persian Gulf War until the Iraq-Kuwait conflict of (1990–91), and for a while thereafter as the First Persian Gulf War. The Iraq-Kuwait conflict, while originally known as the Second Persian Gulf War, later became known simply as the Persian Gulf War.

The war began when Iraq invaded Iran on 22 September 1980 following a long history of border disputes and demands for the overthrow of Saddam Hussein's regime. Although the Iraqis attacked without formal warning, they failed to make progress and were soon repelled by the Iranians. Despite several calls for a ceasefire by the United Nations Security Council, hostilities continued until 20 August 1988; the last prisoners of war were exchanged in 2003. The war altered regional and even global politics.

The war is also noted for Iraq's extensive use of chemical weapons against Iranian troops and civilians as well as Iraqi Kurds.

Direct U.S. Support for Iraq had been wary of the Islamic Republic of Iran since the Iranian Revolution, not least because of the kidnapping of its Tehran embassy staff in the 1979-81 Iran hostage crisis. According to Robert Parry there was a secret encouragement by the US administration (President Jimmy Carter, conveyed through Saudi Arabia) which was embroiled in a dispute with the new Islamic Republic of Iran. In the words of Alexander Haig, secretary of state from 1981, "It was also interesting to confirm that President Carter gave the Iraqis a green light to launch the war against Iran through Fahd." [12][13][14] However, Dr. Zbigniew Brzezinski, President Carter's National Security Advisor (United States) does not support this assertion.[15]

Starting in 1981, both Iran and Iraq attacked oil tankers and merchant ships, including those of neutral nations, in an effort to deprive the opponent of trade. After repeated Iraqi attacks on Iran's main exporting facility on Khark Island, Iran attacked a Kuwaiti tanker near Bahrain on May 13, 1984, and a Saudi tanker in Saudi waters on May 16. Attacks on ships of noncombatant nations in the Persian Gulf sharply increased thereafter, and this phase of the war was dubbed the "Tanker War."

In 1982 with Iranian success on the battlefield, the U.S. made its backing of Iraq more pronounced, supplying it with intelligence, economic aid, normalizing relations with the government (broken during the 1967 Six-Day War), and also supplying weapons.[16] President Ronald Reagan decided that the United States "could not afford to allow Iraq to lose the war to Iran", and that the United States "would do whatever was necessary and legal to prevent Iraq from losing the war with Iran."[17] President Reagan formalized this policy by issuing a National Security Decision Directive ("NSDD") to this effect in June, 1982.[18]

Lloyd's of London, a British insurance market, estimated that the Tanker War damaged 546 commercial vessels and killed about 430 civilian mariners. The largest of attacks were directed by Iran against Kuwaiti vessels, and on November 1, 1986, Kuwait formally petitioned foreign powers to protect its shipping. The Soviet Union agreed to charter tankers starting in 1987, and the United States offered to provide protection for tankers flying the U.S. flag on March 7, 1987 (Operation Earnest Will and Operation Prime Chance). Under international law, an attack on such ships would be treated as an attack on the U.S., allowing the U.S. to retaliate militarily. This support would protect ships headed to Iraqi ports, effectively guaranteeing Iraq's revenue stream for the duration of the war.

An Iraqi plane attacked the USS Stark (FFG 31), a Perry class frigate on May 17, killing 37 and injuring 21.[19] However, U.S. attention was focused on isolating Iran; it criticized Iran's mining of international waters, and sponsored UN Security Council Resolution 598, which passed unanimously on July 20, under which it skirmished with Iranian forces. In October 1987, the U.S. attacked Iranian oil platforms in retaliation for an Iranian attack on the U.S.-flagged Kuwaiti tanker Sea Isle City.[20]

On April 14, 1988, the frigate USS Samuel B. Roberts was badly damaged by an Iranian mine. U.S. forces responded with Operation Praying Mantis on April 18, the United States Navy's largest engagement of surface warships since World War II. Two Iranian ships were destroyed, and an American helicopter crashed with no apparent combat damage, killing the two pilots.[21]

In the course of these escorts by the U.S. Navy, the cruiser USS Vincennes shot down Iran Air Flight 655 with the loss of all 290 passengers and crew on July 3, 1988. The American government claimed that the airliner had been mistaken for an Iranian F-14 Tomcat, and that the Vincennes was operating in international waters at the time and feared that it was under attack. The Iranians, however, maintain that the Vincennes was in fact in Iranian territorial waters, and that the Iranian passenger jet was turning away and increasing altitude after take-off. U.S. Admiral William J. Crowe also admitted on Nightline that the Vincennes was inside Iranian territorial waters when it launched the missiles.[22] . The U.S. eventually paid compensation for the incident (to non Iranian passengers of the airliner), but never apologized.

According to an investigation conducted by ABC News' Nightline, decoys were set during the war by the US Navy inside the Persian Gulf to lure out the Iranian gunboats and destroy them, and at the time USS Vincennes shot down the Iranian airline, it was performing such an operation. What kind of games are We (and I mean the royal We.) playing here?

Spam King pleads Guilty!

looks like 'Spam King' Adam Vitale has finally plead guilty to violation of the CAN-SPAM Act of 2003 in federal court in New York City. 'The indictment said that in less than a week in August 2005, Vitale and Moeller sent e-mails on behalf of the informant to more than 1,277,000 addresses of subscribers at AOL, the online division of Time Warner Inc. Vitale will be sentenced on September 13 when he faces a maximum sentence of 11 years in prison.

Republicans successfully blocked 'no-con' vote

AP via Yahoo:

The 53-38 vote to move the resolution to full debate fell seven short of the 60 required. In bringing the matter up, Democrats dared Republicans to vote their true feelings about an attorney general who has alienated even the White House’s strongest defenders by bungling the firings of federal prosecutors and claiming not to recall the details.

Republicans did not defend him, but most voted against moving the resolution ahead.

Monday’s vote was not the end of scrutiny for Gonzales and his management of the Justice Department—more congressional hearings are scheduled and an internal department investigation continues.

Read more

Monday, June 11, 2007

Democrats stick it to Gonzales

Democrats Monday aim to stick the knife into President George W. Bush's besieged Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, with a rare Senate "no confidence" vote sparked by a row over fired federal prosecutors.

The debate is the culmination of an intense Democratic campaign for the scalp of Gonzales, one of Bush's closest political allies, who has also faced calls to resign from some senior Republicans.

Bush Monday vigorously defended Gonzales, following up White House accusations that the symbolic and non-binding Senate vote is simply political mischief drummed up by Democrats to appease grass roots supporters.

"They can try to have their votes of no confidence, but it's not going to determine who serves in my government," Bush told reporters in Bulgaria before flying back to Washington after a tour of Europe.

An afternoon of debate was scheduled on a simple resolution stating that Gonzales "no longer holds the confidence of the Senate and of the American people."

Is GITMO over?

June 11 (Bloomberg) -- A divided federal appeals court, in a rebuke to the Bush administration, ruled that an alleged al-Qaeda agent held for four years in U.S. military custody can't be detained indefinitely without being charged.

The 2-1 decision by the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Virginia said accused terrorist Ali Saleh Kahlah al-Marri can instead be given a criminal trial in a civilian court. The judges said the U.S. can no longer hold him in a Navy brig in South Carolina.

``The president cannot eliminate constitutional protections (even more details of US Constitution and State's Rights) with the stroke of a pen by proclaiming a civilian, even a criminal civilian, an enemy combatant subject to indefinite military detention,'' the court said. Al-Marri ``can be returned to civilian prosecutors, tried on criminal charges, and, if convicted, punished severely.''

Al-Marri was in the U.S. legally when he was arrested in December 2001 during the investigation of the Sept. 11 attacks. He was the first terrorism defendant labeled an illegal enemy combatant by the government. A citizen of Qatar, al-Marri was transferred to naval custody in 2003, and he has been held since then in the military prison near Charleston, South Carolina.

In a statement, Justice Department spokesman Dean Boyd said the administration was ``disappointed'' with the ruling and would ask the full appellate court to re-hear the case.

Israel launches new spy satellite

JERUSALEM, June 11 (Reuters) Israel is also monitoring neighbouring Syria for signs of a military build-up following last year's war against the Lebanese Hezbollah guerrilla group, an ally of Damascus.) - Israel launched a new spy satellite on Monday and said it would provide high-quality surveillance over enemies such as Syria and Iran, rivalling the capabilities of the United States. Rocketed into orbit from a coastal Israeli air base, the Ofek 7 was expected to begin relaying high-resolution ground photographs from an altitude of 200-500 km (125-315 miles) by the end of the week. "The successful launch adds an important layer to Israel's defence capabilities and it is a testament to Israel's technological strength," Defence Minister Amir Peretz said in a statement. Haim Eshed, head of the Defence Ministry's space directorate, told Army Radio that Ofek 7 would help Israel "deal with the Iranian issue". Iran's nuclear programme has raised fears in the West, though Tehran denies it wants nuclear bombs. The Ofek 7 was produced by state-owned Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) under pressure to replace the Ofek 6, which was lost in a 2004 launch malfunction. The previous satellite in the series, Ofek 5, has been in orbit since 2002 and will soon be out of commission. Isaac Ben-Israel, director of the Israel Space Agency, said Ofek 7 combined compactness -- at 300 kg (660 lb) -- with advanced cameras that can photograph objects "just a few centimetres in size". "It is the only satellite in the world with this kind of weight and performance. This standard is only available on the heavy American satellites," Ben-Israel told Army Radio.

U.S. arming Sunnis in Iraq

BAGHDAD, Iraq - With the 4-month-old "surge" in U.S. troops showing only modest success in curbing insurgent attacks, U.S. commanders are turning to another strategy they acknowledge is fraught with risk: arming Sunni Arab groups that have promised to fight Al-Qaida-linked militants who have been their allies in the past.

U.S. officials who have engaged in what they call "outreach" to the Sunni groups say the groups are mostly ones with links to Al-Qaida, but disillusioned with Al-Qaida's extremist tactics, particularly suicide bombings that have killed thousands of Iraqi civilians.

In exchange for U.S. backing, these officials say, the Sunni groups have agreed to fight Al-Qaida and halt attacks on U.S. units. Commanders who have undertaken these negotiations say that in some cases Sunni groups have agreed to alert U.S. troops to the location of roadside bombs and other lethal booby traps.

U.S. commanders have successfully tested the strategy in Al-Anbar province and have held talks with Sunni groups suspected of prior assaults on U.S. units, or of links to groups that have attacked Americans, in at least four other areas where the insurgency has been strong. In some cases, the U.S. commanders say, these groups have been provided, usually through Iraqi military units allied with the Americans, with arms, ammunition, cash, fuel and other supplies.

he strategy of arming Sunni groups was first tested this year in Al-Anbar province, the desert hinterland west of Baghdad, and attacks on U.S. troops plunged after tribal sheiks angered by Al-Qaida strikes that killed large numbers of Sunni civilians recruited thousands of men to join government security forces and tribal police. With Al-Qaida groups quitting the province for Sunni havens elsewhere, Al-Anbar has lost its long-held reputation as the most dangerous place in Iraq for U.S. troops.

Now, the Americans are testing the "Al-Anbar model" across wide areas of central and north-central Iraq, where the Sunni insurgency is concentrated.

U.S. officers acknowledge that providing weapons to breakaway rebel groups is not new in counter-insurgency warfare, and that in places where it has been tried before, including the French colonial war in Algeria, the British-led fight against insurgents in Malaya in the early 1950s, and in Vietnam, the effort often backfired, with weapons given to the rebels being turned against the forces providing them.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Abu Ghraib Torturer Learned Nazi Torture Techniques from Holocaust Memoir

"At every point, there was part of me resisting, part of me enjoying," Lagouranis said. "Using dogs on someone, there was a tingling throughout my body. If you saw the reaction in the prisoner, it's thrilling." --washingtonpost --



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McDonald's Wants To Manipulate The English Language

Lobbyists for the popular fast food chain want to redefine a word (McJob) in the dictionary. They want to change the definition of McJob from "a low-paying job that requires little skill and provides little opportunity for advancement," to "a job that is stimulating, rewarding, and offers skills that last a lifetime."



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Saturday, June 9, 2007

Ex-Taleban media leader defects
By Charles Haviland
BBC News, Kabul

The former head of broadcast media for the Taleban has arrived in the Afghan capital, Kabul, and is likely to join the Western-backed government there.

There has been no immediate comment from the government.

The Taleban and a former mujahideen commander who brokered the deal have confirmed the defection.

Under Afghanistan's Islamist Taleban government, from 1996 to 2001, Ishaq Nizami was well-known as head of the television and radio directorate.

In practice there was only radio and Mr Nizami, who never had a military role, made regular broadcasts in support of the Islamic movement's leader, Mullah Omar.

'Brainwashed'

After the US-led invasion of the country, which led to the overthrow of the Taleban authorities, he disappeared from public view and stopped having a media role with the Taleban, who started fighting an insurgency.

He has now resurfaced in Kabul, according to the man who brokered the deal, former mujahideen commander Sadeq Mohammand.


[Mr Nizami] worked to protect some of the country's music and film archives, despite the ban on both art forms at the time

Local media quoted Ishaq Nizami as saying he respects Afghanistan's new constitution and will encourage other Taleban to join the government of President Hamid Karzai.

A spokesman for the Taleban has confirmed the defection and accused Mr Nizami of being brainwashed.

Several dozen former Taleban leaders, including their former foreign minister, have returned to Kabul under a national reconciliation process.

It is not yet clear how much influence, if any, Mr Nizami will have in bringing about other similar defections.

Some people who worked in media under the Taleban in Kabul have said that he worked to protect some of the country's music and film archives, despite the ban on both art forms at the time.

Story from BBC NEWS:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/2/hi/south_asia/6737879.stm

Published: 2007/06/09 22:03:48 GMT

© BBC MMVII

RIAA Accused of Extortion

NewYorkCountryLawyer writes "The defendant in a Tampa, Florida, case, UMG v. Del Cid, has filed counterclaims accusing the RIAA record labels of conspiracy and extortion. The counterclaims (pdf) are for Trespass, Computer Fraud and Abuse (18 USC 1030), Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices (Fla. Stat. 501.201), Civil Extortion (CA Penal Code 519 & 523), and Civil Conspiracy involving (a) use of private investigators without license in violation of Fla. Stat. Chapter 493; (b) unauthorized access to a protected computer system, in interstate commerce, for the purpose of obtaining information in violation of 18 U.S.C. 1030 (a)(2)(C); (c) extortion in violation of Ca. Penal Code 519 and 523; and (d) knowingly collecting an unlawful consumer debt, and using abus[ive] means to do so, in violation of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, 15 U.S.C. 1692a et seq. and Fla. Stat. 559.72 et seq."

Bush's New World dis-Order

It looks like Bush is abandoning what's left of his conservative base before they abandon him.

Bush told the group, "This is a fine organization and it's an important organization. It's rallying businesses and non-governmental organizations and faith-based and community and civic organizations across our country to advance a noble cause, ensuring that the United States leads the world in spreading hope and opportunity."

Another part of this "legacy building" is his decision to seek ratification of the U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), a dangerous document that transfers control of the oceans and much of the land area of the world as well to a U.N. bureaucracy. It finances its activities with a global tax. The pact is endorsed by some of the same groups and individuals involved in the Global Leadership Campaign.

UNCLOS charges American corporations a "fee" for exploiting ocean resources for the benefit of America and threatens these same corporations with global climate change litigation before an international court if they "pollute" the oceans from anywhere on the face of the earth.

U.S. Navy support for UNCLOS masks the sharp decline in U.S. Naval forces. The number of U.S. ships has declined under Bush to 276, from a high of 594 under President Reagan, who rejected UNCLOS. The Bush budget projects their further decline to 210. The American Shipbuilding Association says that, if present trends continue, the U.S. Naval Fleet will decline to 180 ships by 2024.

Those who haven't been paying attention think that Bush's policy for the last six years has been "unilateralist" and anti-U.N. He did keep us out of the global warming and International Criminal Court treaties. He also withdrew the U.S. from the ABM treaty so the nation could pursue national missile defense. But generally speaking, he has been pouring huge amounts of money into the U.N. and associated institutions. Office of Management and Budget figures show that U.S. financial contributions to the U.N. System under Bush have gone from $3.1 billion in fiscal year 2001 to $5.3 billion in fiscal year 2005.

bill to impeach Vice President Dick Cheney

(APN) ATLANTA — US Reps. Barbara Lee (D-CA) and Lynn Woolsey (D-CA) became the sixth and seventh total cosponsors of US Rep. Dennis Kucinich's (D-OH) bill to impeach Vice President of the United States Dick Cheney, Atlanta Progressive News has learned.

In addition to Kucinich, the additional four Members of Congress who have signed on to H. Res 333 are US Reps. Yvette Clarke (D-NY), Janice Schakowsky (D-IL), William Lacy Clay (D-MO), and Albert Wynn (D-MD).

"It's their prerogative to represent their constituents," Drew Hammill, spokesperson for US House Majority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), told Atlanta Progressive News, adding the intrepid seven do not face retribution from Pelosi.

US Reps. Lee and Woolseys’ cosponsorships are quite significant, as they are the Co-Chairs of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, and their leadership may pave the way for other Members of Congress to feel it is safe to sign on. (More)
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Keep the ball rolling by sending your Representative Do-It-Yourself Impeachments!

no-confidence vote against Gonzales

it is about time Congress has started using the 'no-confidence' vote. better yet, the people of this Republik should rise up and start using it...

"The Senate plans to take up a no-confidence vote against Attorney General Alberto Gonzales on Monday, a sponsor of the measure announced Friday.

"If all senators who have actually lost confidence in Attorney General Gonzales voted their conscience, this vote would be unanimous," Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said in a statement announcing the vote. "However, the President will certainly exert pressure to support the Attorney General, his longtime friend. We will soon see where people's loyalties lie."

Gonzales has faced myriad calls for his resignation from lawmakers in both parties, but Republicans have so far been hesitant to endorse the no confidence vote.

The measure would be non-binding and would not force Gonzales to leave his post as the nation's top law enforcement officer. But the political symbolism if the Senate formally declared itself to have lost faith in Gonzales's ability to perform his duties would deal another blow to the scandal-wracked Bush administration.

The attorney general is under fire for his role in the US Attorney firing scandal, in which Democrats accuse Gonzales and the White House of conspiring to oust federal prosecutors who did not advance their political will." -- RAW --

PNAC on the CIA

October 13, 2005

MEMORANDUM TO: OPINION LEADERS

FROM: GARY SCHMITT

SUBJECT: Therapy as Policy: CIA and Clandestine Ops

In today’s Washington Post, Walter Pincus reports (“CIA to Remain Coordinator of Overseas Spying”) that the Agency’s operations directorate will continue in its senior intelligence community role for coordinating and overseeing all other clandestine human intelligence collection activities of the U.S. Government. This will include the overseas activities of both the FBI and various Defense Department Agencies. As Pincus notes, this “keeps the CIA’s traditional position as leader” of U.S. human collection intact.

Approved by the White House, the plan ignores the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence’s recommendation that – given the CIA’s failures to penetrate Saddam’s Iraq or Bin Laden’s al Qaeda – the task of coordinating the overall management of human intelligence be moved to the office of the director of national intelligence, now headed by Amb. John Negroponte. Instead, according to the Post, key arguments within the administration were that “If the coordinating ‘role had not remained in CIA, it would have been bad for agency morale, which already is down,’” and despite its record of failures, the CIA is “more disciplined and sophisticated on human intelligence than elsewhere” in the intelligence community.

Well, we certainly wouldn’t want to make the folks at CIA any less happy. And, certainly, we wouldn’t want to lose all that “discipline” and “sophistication” in light of all the “success” the CIA had in not recruiting a single useful spy in the Soviet Union or Iraq, and having all its agents rolled up or doubled in places like Iran, Cuba, and East Germany. No, apparently we would rather have the Agency control efforts by others to take new and imaginative measures to collect needed human intelligence.

Here’s a contrary suggestion: Perhaps the CIA operations directorate should concentrate on doing its own job overseas before worrying about losing one of its long-standing prerogatives within the beltway. And, by the way, if we are going to have a director of national intelligence, shouldn’t he at least have the responsibility for directing this key activity?

CIA rendition trial opens

The first criminal trial over the CIA's "extraordinary rendition" of terror suspects has opened in Italy.

Twenty-six Americans and six Italians are accused of kidnapping a Muslim cleric from Italy and sending him to Egypt, where he was allegedly tortured.

The American CIA agents and military personnel will be tried in absentia. Italy has not announced if it will seek their extradition to the Milan trial.

US President George W Bush arrived in Italy hours after the trial began.

Mr Bush will have his first meeting with Pope Benedict XVI at the Vatican on Saturday and will later hold talks with Italy's prime minister, Romano Prodi.

Mr Prodi has already said that the extraordinary rendition case will not be on the agenda.

Iraqi War Expanding?

Iraq has made an official protest to Turkey, accusing it of shelling Kurdish areas in northern Iraq this week.

A protest letter by the Iraqi foreign ministry said the shelling caused widespread damage in northern Iraq.

Turkey has not confirmed any such shelling but it has been building up forces along the border with Iraq.

Speculation grows that Ankara could mount a raid in Iraq on PKK rebels sheltering there who it blames for recent attacks in Turkey.

The Iraqi foreign ministry summoned Turkey's charge d'affaires to voice its protest.

The letter said that said the shelling took place over several hours on Wednesday and early Thursday, starting large fires and causing serious damage.

It said such actions "undermine confidence between the two nations and negatively affect their friendship".

However, it added that Iraq would not allow its territory to be used as a base or a springboard for action against neighbours and any PKK (the Kurdistan Workers' Party) presence was illegal and rejected.

"Iraq would like to take this opportunity to declare its resolve to co-operate with Turkish authorities to allay Turkey's legitimate fears through a constructive dialogue and positive co-operation," the letter said.

The Iraqi protest letter is clearly aimed at keeping the rising tension as an affair to be dealt with between the two states and not between Turkey and the Iraqi Kurds, the BBC's Jim Muir in Baghdad says. Four soldiers were killed by a roadside bomb early on Friday in one of the zones.

At least five other people were injured when Kurdish guerrillas detonated the bomb near the town of Siirt.

Attacks by the banned PKK, which has been fighting for an ethnic homeland since 1984, have been increasing in recent weeks.

Friday, June 8, 2007

CIA rejects secret jails reports

The CIA has dismissed a Council of Europe report alleging that it ran secret jails for terror suspects in Europe after the 11 September attacks.

A CIA spokesman said the report was biased and distorted, and that the agency had operated lawfully.

Swiss Senator Dick Marty, who wrote the report, said secret CIA prisons "did exist in Europe from 2003 to 2005, in particular in Poland and Romania".

The charge was denied by both Polish and Romanian officials.

Former Polish President Aleksander Kwasniewski, who served from 1995 to 2005, said on Friday: "There were no secret prisons in Poland."

Romanian senator Norica Nicolai, who headed an investigation into the allegations, also denied his country's involvement. The report says Romania "was developed into a site to which more detainees were transferred only as the HVD programme expanded".

"The secret detention facilities in Europe were run directly and exclusively by the CIA," the report says.

But it said "the highest state authorities" knew of the CIA's activities.

A report approved by a European Parliament committee earlier this year said more than 1,000 covert CIA flights had crossed European airspace or stopped at European airports in the four years after the 9/11 attacks.

US President George Bush admitted last year that terror suspects had been held in CIA-run prisons overseas, but he did not say where the prisons were located. read an official unbiased report here (PDF)

Romania and Poland 'had US prisons'

JON BOYLE IN PARIS

A EUROPEAN investigator said yesterday he had proof Poland and Romania hosted secret prisons for the US Central Intelligence Agency in which it interrogated top al-Qaeda suspects using methods akin to torture.

Swiss senator Dick Marty said Poland housed some of the CIA's most sensitive prisoners, including Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, who says he masterminded the 11 September, 2001, attacks on the US that killed 3,000 people.

"There is now enough evidence to state that secret detention facilities run by the CIA did exist in Europe from 2003 to 2005, in particular in Poland and Romania," Mr Marty said in a report for the Council of Europe human rights watchdog.

He said US intelligence told him the two EU members hosted the secret jails under a special CIA programme, created by George Bush's administration after 9/11 "to kill, capture and detain terrorist suspects deemed of 'high value".

Mr Marty said the former president of Poland and the current and former presidents of Romania knew and approved of their countries' roles in a "global spider's web" of secret CIA detentions and transfers, known as extraordinary renditions. He said the proof of his charges was confirmed in interviews with more than 30 serving, retired or contract workers for US or European intelligence services, but he had not seen the text of any US agreement with Poland or Romania on secret prisons.

Germany and Italy had used "state secrecy" to obstruct investigations, said Mr Marty.

Mr Marty said CIA sources confirmed to him that Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and another al-Qaeda captive, Abu Zubaydah, were held in Poland and subjected to "enhanced interrogation techniques", which he called a euphemism for torture.

The Polish Foreign Ministry said there were no such secret centres and former defence minister Jerzy Szmajdzinski, one of those named, said: "Marty's work is pure political fiction. It is a waste of time and a waste of money."

The Romanian Foreign Ministry said the report contained "no evidence to confirm these allegations, except for unnamed sources, whose credibility cannot be estimated." A CIA

spokesman said Europe had been the source of "grossly inaccurate allegations about the CIA".

pro-NAFTA Corporate whores...

The groups that fought against NAFTA particularly the citizens' coalitions formed by labor, environmental, consumer, family farm and other groups are proud that they took on practically the entire Fortune 500 and nearly won. (The vote was 234 to 200 in the House). At the same time, the experience was a chilling reminder of how things work in Washington.

USA NAFTA representing more economic clout than many nation- states wrapped its self-serving lobbying campaign in an American flag. During the past two years, that flag has proved to have an exceptionally slick Teflon coating. The group has suffered neither negative publicity nor political disfavor, despite NAFTA's miserable results so far. Nor have USA NAFTA members drawn fire for the way they contributed to and benefited from the failure of NAFTA to fulfill its stated promises. Their star-spangled report, NAFTA: It's Working for America, opens with a quote from USA NAFTA Chair and AlliedSignal CEO Lawrence Bossidy. Today, it is clear that NAFTA is a success, he proclaims. Exports to Mexico and Canada are up, and we've been able to create thousands of new jobs here in the United States. By any standards, NAFTA is surely a winner.

As Bossidy indicates, U.S. exports to Mexico did indeed increase in 1994. However, what the report fails to point out is that during that time, U.S. imports from Mexico increased at a faster rate and displaced U.S. jobs by muscling out American products. Since the peso devaluation in December 1994, the U.S. trade surplus with Mexico has turned into a large and growing deficit expanding from $885 million in May 1994 to $6.9 billion a year later, and thereby wiping out any basis for claiming that NAFTA is a net job creator for U.S. workers.

The bulk of the USA*NAFTA report is a state-by-state listing of jobs created by NAFTA. However, a careful examination reveals a sleight of hand. Almost all of the job claims are empty statements by USA NAFTA firms that they intend to hire more workers, not that they have already created actual jobs.

Although USA NAFTA's work was completed with the passage of the agreement, the coalition continues to play an important political role in supporting the free trade model. When President Clinton was attempting to mobilize congressional support for the financial bailout of Mexico in January 1995, he arranged for lobbyists from 150 USA NAFTA firms to meet in Washington. Business Week reported that Rep. Robert Matsui (D-Calif.), Clinton's chief congressional strategist on NAFTA, told the group, You got us NAFTA. Now you can deliver on this one, too. The article described USA NAFTA's strategy as two-fold: mobilizing its troops to voice their support for the bailout package, and fear-mongering among border state legislators by claiming that an aborted bailout might trigger a flood of illegal immigrants.

In the end, Clinton did not need USA NAFTA's help on the bailout, since he opted to bypass Congress with an executive order. However, the administration is clearly confident that the old USA NAFTA gang can still wield enough influence and con artistry to help push another free trade agreement through Congress. Otherwise, the administration might not have rushed into its latest round of trade negotiations aimed at expanding NAFTA to include Chile. President Clinton reportedly would like to push the expanded NAFTA through Congress before the 1996 election. When that bill comes up for a vote, USA NAFTA's patriotic neckties will no doubt reappear in the halls of Congress. CovertAction Quarterly has won numerous awards for investigative journalism. It is read around the world by investigative reporters, activists, scholars, intelligence buffs, news junkies, and anyone who wants to know the news and analysis behind the soundbites and headlines. Recommended by Noam Chomsky; targeted by the CIA.
in an about face of typical French non-involvement- Sarkozy urges tough sanctions message for Iran- HEILIGENDAMM, Germany, June 8 (PDF) - French President Nicolas Sarkozy said on Friday the international community needed to signal tougher sanctions to Iran over its disputed nuclear programme.

The U.N. Security Council has imposed two rounds of sanctions against Tehran since December and the Group of Eight industrialised nations said on Friday it would back "further measures" against Iran if it did not comply with U.N. demands that it suspend its uranium enrichment programme.

"On Iran, it seems to me that there is a large community of views of China, of Russia and of the United States of America to push the Iranian leaders to return to the negotiating table," Sarkozy told a news conference at an annual G8 summit in Germany.

"I think we will have to send a message of firmness, certainly of toughening sanctions," Sarkozy said.

The existing sanctions were imposed on Iran for its failure to convince world powers that it is not developing nuclear weapons under the cover of a civilian atomic programme.

Iran says it only wants to harness nuclear energy to generate electricity.

EPA Policy Muddies the Water

via Technology News -- Taking into consideration a decision reached last year by the U.S. Supreme Court, the EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers have issued new guidelines for the protection of wetlands and bodies of water under the Clean Water Act. Critics charge that the new rules impede the organizations' ability to look at the big picture when considering how to protect wetlands. "We're really disappointed with the new guidelines," Julie Sibbing, senior program manager for wetlands and agriculture policy for the National Wildlife Federation, told TechNewsWorld. "The court decision itself left some opening for interpretation, but it seems like the [Bush] administration took every opportunity to retreat from protection in any possible way they could, and we think they retreated unacceptably, even according to what the Rapanos decision said."

Furthermore, the new guidance leads to new procedures where individual streams or ponds would be isolated in the decision-making process, meaning that a single headwater stream would have to have an adverse effect on a larger body of water, Sibbing said. While possible to prove that a headwater stream could affect the Mississippi River, for example, the new guidelines reduce the likelihood of that determination.

The combined effects of several watersheds, for example, could possibly be ignored, which can be critical to the evaluation of environmental problems. Hypoxia, for example, is a condition in which aquatic environments lose dissolved oxygen that can lead to the mass death of fish and other aquatic organisms. Pollution entering a body of water from a single stream, for example, might not lead directly to hypoxia, but pollution entering multiple streams could possibly lead to downstream hypoxia.

Pentagon appeals Omar Khadr case

Canadian Omar Khadr was accused of killing a US soldier


The Pentagon is to ask US military judges to reconsider a decision earlier this week to throw out charges against two Guantanamo Bay detainees.

This week charges against Canadian Omar Khadr and Yemeni Salim Ahmed Hamdan, were dropped, casting fresh doubt on efforts to try foreign terror suspects.

Both cases collapsed because military authorities had failed to designate the men as "unlawful" enemy combatants.

The Pentagon will be filing a motion for reconsideration, a spokesman said.

Salim Ahmed Hamdan has been accused of being al-Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden's driver and bodyguard.

Canadian Omar Khadr was accused of killing a US soldier in Afghanistan with a grenade.

Khalid Sheikh Mohammed's '31 plots'

The alleged mastermind of the 9/11 attacks, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, has admitted his role in them, and 30 other terror plots around the world, in a hearing at Guantanamo Bay, the Pentagon has said. According to partial transcript of the closed-door hearing, released by the US defence department, the suspect confessed to the following attacks or plots.

1. The 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center in New York City that killed six people and injured more than 1,000.

2. The 11 September 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon in Washington using four hijacked commercial airliners. Nearly 3,000 people were killed.



Full transcript [1.3MB]
PDF_DOCUMENT

3. A failed "shoe bomber" operation to bring down two US commercial airliners.

4. The October 2002 attack in Kuwait that killed two US soldiers.

5. The nightclub bombing in Bali, Indonesia that killed 202 people.

6. A plan for a "second wave" of attacks on major US landmarks after 9/11 attacks. Alleged targets included the Library Tower in Los Angeles, the Sears Tower in Chicago, the Plaza Bank building in Seattle and the Empire State Building in New York.

7. Plots to attack oil tankers and US naval ships in the Straits of Hormuz, the Straits of Gibraltar and in Singapore.

8. A plan to blow up the Panama Canal.

9. Plans to assassinate former US presidents including Jimmy Carter.

10. A plot to blow up suspension bridges in New York.

11. A plan to destroy the Sears Tower in Chicago by burning fuel trucks beneath or around it.

12. Plans to "destroy" Heathrow Airport, Canary Wharf and Big Ben in London.

13. A planned attack on "many" nightclubs in Thailand targeting US and British citizens.

14. A plot targeting the New York Stock Exchange and other US financial targets after 9/11.

15. A plan to destroy buildings in Elat, Israel, by using planes flying from Saudi Arabia.

16. Plans to destroy US embassies in Indonesia, Australia and Japan.

17. Plots to destroy Israeli embassies in India, Azerbaijan, the Philippines and Australia.

18. Surveying and financing an attack on an Israeli El-Al flight from Bangkok.

19. Sending several "mujahideen" into Israel to survey "strategic targets" with the intention of attacking them.

20. The November 2002 suicide bombing of a hotel in Mombasa, Kenya, frequented by Israelis. At least 14 people were killed.

21. The failed attempt to shoot down an Israeli passenger jet leaving Mombasa airport with a surface-to-air missile on the same day as the hotel bombing.

22. Plans to attack US targets in South Korea, such as US military bases and nightclubs frequented by US soldiers.

23. Providing financial support for a plan to attack US, British and Jewish targets in Turkey.

24. Surveillance of US nuclear power plants in order to attack them.

25. A plot to attack Nato's headquarters in Europe.

26. Planning and surveillance in a 1995 plan (the "Bojinka Operation") to bomb 12 American passenger jets, most on trans-Pacific Ocean routes.

27. The planned assassination attempt against then-US President Bill Clinton during a mid-1990s trip to the Philippines.

28. "Shared responsibility" for a plot to kill Pope John Paul II while he visited the Philippines.

29. Plans to assassinate Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf.

30. An attempt to attack a US oil company in Sumatra, Indonesia, "owned by the Jewish former [US] Secretary of State Henry Kissinger".

31. The beheading of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl, who was kidnapped in Pakistan in January 2002 while researching Islamist militancy.

Thursday, June 7, 2007

Articles of Confederation

The Articles of Confederation

Agreed to by Congress November 15, 1777; ratified and in force, March 1, 1781.
Preamble

To all to whom these Presents shall come, we the undersigned Delegates of the States affixed to our Names send greeting.

Articles of Confederation and perpetual Union between the States of New Hampshire, Massachusetts bay, Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia.

Article I. The Stile of this Confederacy shall be "The United States of America."

Article II. Each state retains its sovereignty, freedom, and independence, and every power, jurisdiction, and right, which is not by this Confederation expressly delegated to the United States, in Congress assembled.

Article III. The said States hereby severally enter into a firm league of friendship with each other, for their common defense, the security of their liberties, and their mutual and general welfare, binding themselves to assist each other, against all force offered to, or attacks made upon them, or any of them, on account of religion, sovereignty, trade, or any other pretense whatever.

Article IV. The better to secure and perpetuate mutual friendship and intercourse among the people of the different States in this Union, the free inhabitants of each of these States, paupers, vagabonds, and fugitives from justice excepted, shall be entitled to all privileges and immunities of free citizens in the several States; and the people of each State shall free ingress and regress to and from any other State, and shall enjoy therein all the privileges of trade and commerce, subject to the same duties, impositions, and restrictions as the inhabitants thereof respectively, provided that such restrictions shall not extend so far as to prevent the removal of property imported into any State, to any other State, of which the owner is an inhabitant; provided also that no imposition, duties or restriction shall be laid by any State, on the property of the United States, or either of them.

If any person guilty of, or charged with, treason, felony, or other high misdemeanor in any State, shall flee from justice, and be found in any of the United States, he shall, upon demand of the Governor or executive power of the State from which he fled, be delivered up and removed to the State having jurisdiction of his offense.

Full faith and credit shall be given in each of these States to the records, acts, and judicial proceedings of the courts and magistrates of every other State.

Article V. For the most convenient management of the general interests of the United States, delegates shall be annually appointed in such manner as the legislatures of each State shall direct, to meet in Congress on the first Monday in November, in every year, with a power reserved to each State to recall its delegates, or any of them, at any time within the year, and to send others in their stead for the remainder of the year.

No State shall be represented in Congress by less than two, nor more than seven members; and no person shall be capable of being a delegate for more than three years in any term of six years; nor shall any person, being a delegate, be capable of holding any office under the United States, for which he, or another for his benefit, receives any salary, fees or emolument of any kind.

Each State shall maintain its own delegates in a meeting of the States, and while they act as members of the committee of the States.

In determining questions in the United States in Congress assembled, each State shall have one vote.

Freedom of speech and debate in Congress shall not be impeached or questioned in any court or place out of Congress, and the members of Congress shall be protected in their persons from arrests or imprisonments, during the time of their going to and from, and attendance on Congress, except for treason, felony, or breach of the peace.

Article VI. No State, without the consent of the United States in Congress assembled, shall send any embassy to, or receive any embassy from, or enter into any conference, agreement, alliance or treaty with any King, Prince or State; nor shall any person holding any office of profit or trust under the United States, or any of them, accept any present, emolument, office or title of any kind whatever from any King, Prince or foreign State; nor shall the United States in Congress assembled, or any of them, grant any title of nobility.

No two or more States shall enter into any treaty, confederation or alliance whatever between them, without the consent of the United States in Congress assembled, specifying accurately the purposes for which the same is to be entered into, and how long it shall continue.

No State shall lay any imposts or duties, which may interfere with any stipulations in treaties, entered into by the United States in Congress assembled, with any King, Prince or State, in pursuance of any treaties already proposed by Congress, to the courts of France and Spain.

No vessel of war shall be kept up in time of peace by any State, except such number only, as shall be deemed necessary by the United States in Congress assembled, for the defense of such State, or its trade; nor shall any body of forces be kept up by any State in time of peace, except such number only, as in the judgement of the United States in Congress assembled, shall be deemed requisite to garrison the forts necessary for the defense of such State; but every State shall always keep up a well-regulated and disciplined militia, sufficiently armed and accoutered, and shall provide and constantly have ready for use, in public stores, a due number of filed pieces and tents, and a proper quantity of arms, ammunition and camp equipage.

No State shall engage in any war without the consent of the United States in Congress assembled, unless such State be actually invaded by enemies, or shall have received certain advice of a resolution being formed by some nation of Indians to invade such State, and the danger is so imminent as not to admit of a delay till the United States in Congress assembled can be consulted; nor shall any State grant commissions to any ships or vessels of war, nor letters of marque or reprisal, except it be after a declaration of war by the United States in Congress assembled, and then only against the Kingdom or State and the subjects thereof, against which war has been so declared, and under such regulations as shall be established by the United States in Congress assembled, unless such State be infested by pirates, in which case vessels of war may be fitted out for that occasion, and kept so long as the danger shall continue, or until the United States in Congress assembled shall determine otherwise.

Article VII. When land forces are raised by any State for the common defense, all officers of or under the rank of colonel, shall be appointed by the legislature of each State respectively, by whom such forces shall be raised, or in such manner as such State shall direct, and all vacancies shall be filled up by the State which first made the appointment.

Article VIII. All charges of war, and all other expenses that shall be incurred for the common defense or general welfare, and allowed by the United States in Congress assembled, shall be defrayed out of a common treasury, which shall be supplied by the several States in proportion to the value of all land within each State, granted or surveyed for any person, as such land and the buildings and improvements thereon shall be estimated according to such mode as the United States in Congress assembled, shall from time to time direct and appoint.

The taxes for paying that proportion shall be laid and levied by the authority and direction of the legislatures of the several States within the time agreed upon by the United States in Congress assembled.

Article IX. The United States in Congress assembled, shall have the sole and exclusive right and power of determining on peace and war, except in the cases mentioned in the sixth article — of sending and receiving ambassadors — entering into treaties and alliances, provided that no treaty of commerce shall be made whereby the legislative power of the respective States shall be restrained from imposing such imposts and duties on foreigners, as their own people are subjected to, or from prohibiting the exportation or importation of any species of goods or commodities whatsoever — of establishing rules for deciding in all cases, what captures on land or water shall be legal, and in what manner prizes taken by land or naval forces in the service of the United States shall be divided or appropriated — of granting letters of marque and reprisal in times of peace — appointing courts for the trial of piracies and felonies committed on the high seas and establishing courts for receiving and determining finally appeals in all cases of captures, provided that no member of Congress shall be appointed a judge of any of the said courts.

The United States in Congress assembled shall also be the last resort on appeal in all disputes and differences now subsisting or that hereafter may arise between two or more States concerning boundary, jurisdiction or any other causes whatever; which authority shall always be exercised in the manner following. Whenever the legislative or executive authority or lawful agent of any State in controversy with another shall present a petition to Congress stating the matter in question and praying for a hearing, notice thereof shall be given by order of Congress to the legislative or executive authority of the other State in controversy, and a day assigned for the appearance of the parties by their lawful agents, who shall then be directed to appoint by joint consent, commissioners or judges to constitute a court for hearing and determining the matter in question: but if they cannot agree, Congress shall name three persons out of each of the United States, and from the list of such persons each party shall alternately strike out one, the petitioners beginning, until the number shall be reduced to thirteen; and from that number not less than seven, nor more than nine names as Congress shall direct, shall in the presence of Congress be drawn out by lot, and the persons whose names shall be so drawn or any five of them, shall be commissioners or judges, to hear and finally determine the controversy, so always as a major part of the judges who shall hear the cause shall agree in the determination: and if either party shall neglect to attend at the day appointed, without showing reasons, which Congress shall judge sufficient, or being present shall refuse to strike, the Congress shall proceed to nominate three persons out of each State, and the secretary of Congress shall strike in behalf of such party absent or refusing; and the judgement and sentence of the court to be appointed, in the manner before prescribed, shall be final and conclusive; and if any of the parties shall refuse to submit to the authority of such court, or to appear or defend their claim or cause, the court shall nevertheless proceed to pronounce sentence, or judgement, which shall in like manner be final and decisive, the judgement or sentence and other proceedings being in either case transmitted to Congress, and lodged among the acts of Congress for the security of the parties concerned: provided that every commissioner, before he sits in judgement, shall take an oath to be administered by one of the judges of the supreme or superior court of the State, where the cause shall be tried, 'well and truly to hear and determine the matter in question, according to the best of his judgement, without favor, affection or hope of reward': provided also, that no State shall be deprived of territory for the benefit of the United States.

All controversies concerning the private right of soil claimed under different grants of two or more States, whose jurisdictions as they may respect such lands, and the States which passed such grants are adjusted, the said grants or either of them being at the same time claimed to have originated antecedent to such settlement of jurisdiction, shall on the petition of either party to the Congress of the United States, be finally determined as near as may be in the same manner as is before prescribed for deciding disputes respecting territorial jurisdiction between different States.

The United States in Congress assembled shall also have the sole and exclusive right and power of regulating the alloy and value of coin struck by their own authority, or by that of the respective States — fixing the standards of weights and measures throughout the United States — regulating the trade and managing all affairs with the Indians, not members of any of the States, provided that the legislative right of any State within its own limits be not infringed or violated — establishing or regulating post offices from one State to another, throughout all the United States, and exacting such postage on the papers passing through the same as may be requisite to defray the expenses of the said office — appointing all officers of the land forces, in the service of the United States, excepting regimental officers — appointing all the officers of the naval forces, and commissioning all officers whatever in the service of the United States — making rules for the government and regulation of the said land and naval forces, and directing their operations.

The United States in Congress assembled shall have authority to appoint a committee, to sit in the recess of Congress, to be denominated 'A Committee of the States', and to consist of one delegate from each State; and to appoint such other committees and civil officers as may be necessary for managing the general affairs of the United States under their direction — to appoint one of their members to preside, provided that no person be allowed to serve in the office of president more than one year in any term of three years; to ascertain the necessary sums of money to be raised for the service of the United States, and to appropriate and apply the same for defraying the public expenses — to borrow money, or emit bills on the credit of the United States, transmitting every half-year to the respective States an account of the sums of money so borrowed or emitted — to build and equip a navy — to agree upon the number of land forces, and to make requisitions from each State for its quota, in proportion to the number of white inhabitants in such State; which requisition shall be binding, and thereupon the legislature of each State shall appoint the regimental officers, raise the men and cloath, arm and equip them in a solid- like manner, at the expense of the United States; and the officers and men so cloathed, armed and equipped shall march to the place appointed, and within the time agreed on by the United States in Congress assembled. But if the United States in Congress assembled shall, on consideration of circumstances judge proper that any State should not raise men, or should raise a smaller number of men than the quota thereof, such extra number shall be raised, officered, cloathed, armed and equipped in the same manner as the quota of each State, unless the legislature of such State shall judge that such extra number cannot be safely spread out in the same, in which case they shall raise, officer, cloath, arm and equip as many of such extra number as they judge can be safely spared. And the officers and men so cloathed, armed, and equipped, shall march to the place appointed, and within the time agreed on by the United States in Congress assembled.

The United States in Congress assembled shall never engage in a war, nor grant letters of marque or reprisal in time of peace, nor enter into any treaties or alliances, nor coin money, nor regulate the value thereof, nor ascertain the sums and expenses necessary for the defense and welfare of the United States, or any of them, nor emit bills, nor borrow money on the credit of the United States, nor appropriate money, nor agree upon the number of vessels of war, to be built or purchased, or the number of land or sea forces to be raised, nor appoint a commander in chief of the army or navy, unless nine States assent to the same: nor shall a question on any other point, except for adjourning from day to day be determined, unless by the votes of the majority of the United States in Congress assembled.

The Congress of the United States shall have power to adjourn to any time within the year, and to any place within the United States, so that no period of adjournment be for a longer duration than the space of six months, and shall publish the journal of their proceedings monthly, except such parts thereof relating to treaties, alliances or military operations, as in their judgement require secrecy; and the yeas and nays of the delegates of each State on any question shall be entered on the journal, when it is desired by any delegates of a State, or any of them, at his or their request shall be furnished with a transcript of the said journal, except such parts as are above excepted, to lay before the legislatures of the several States.

Article X. The Committee of the States, or any nine of them, shall be authorized to execute, in the recess of Congress, such of the powers of Congress as the United States in Congress assembled, by the consent of the nine States, shall from time to time think expedient to vest them with; provided that no power be delegated to the said Committee, for the exercise of which, by the Articles of Confederation, the voice of nine States in the Congress of the United States assembled be requisite.

Article XI. Canada acceding to this confederation, and adjoining in the measures of the United States, shall be admitted into, and entitled to all the advantages of this Union; but no other colony shall be admitted into the same, unless such admission be agreed to by nine States.

Article XII. All bills of credit emitted, monies borrowed, and debts contracted by, or under the authority of Congress, before the assembling of the United States, in pursuance of the present confederation, shall be deemed and considered as a charge against the United States, for payment and satisfaction whereof the said United States, and the public faith are hereby solemnly pledged.

Article XIII. Every State shall abide by the determination of the United States in Congress assembled, on all questions which by this confederation are submitted to them. And the Articles of this Confederation shall be inviolably observed by every State, and the Union shall be perpetual; nor shall any alteration at any time hereafter be made in any of them; unless such alteration be agreed to in a Congress of the United States, and be afterwards confirmed by the legislatures of every State.

And Whereas it hath pleased the Great Governor of the World to incline the hearts of the legislatures we respectively represent in Congress, to approve of, and to authorize us to ratify the said Articles of Confederation and perpetual Union. Know Ye that we the undersigned delegates, by virtue of the power and authority to us given for that purpose, do by these presents, in the name and in behalf of our respective constituents, fully and entirely ratify and confirm each and every of the said Articles of Confederation and perpetual Union, and all and singular the matters and things therein contained: And we do further solemnly plight and engage the faith of our respective constituents, that they shall abide by the determinations of the United States in Congress assembled, on all questions, which by the said Confederation are submitted to them. And that the Articles thereof shall be inviolably observed by the States we respectively represent, and that the Union shall be perpetual.

In Witness whereof we have hereunto set our hands in Congress. Done at Philadelphia in the State of Pennsylvania the ninth day of July in the Year of our Lord One Thousand Seven Hundred and Seventy-Eight, and in the Third Year of the independence of America.

On the part and behalf of the State of New Hampshire:
Josiah Bartlett
John Wentworth Junr. August 8th 1778

On the part and behalf of The State of Massachusetts Bay:
John Hancock
Samuel Adams
Elbridge Gerry
Francis Dana
James Lovell
Samuel Holten

On the part and behalf of the State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations:
William Ellery
Henry Marchant
John Collins

On the part and behalf of the State of Connecticut:
Roger Sherman
Samuel Huntington
Oliver Wolcott
Titus Hosmer
Andrew Adams

On the Part and Behalf of the State of New York:
James Duane
Francis Lewis
Wm Duer
Gouv Morris

On the Part and in Behalf of the State of New Jersey, November 26, 1778.
Jno Witherspoon
Nath. Scudder

On the part and behalf of the State of Pennsylvania:
Robt Morris
Daniel Roberdeau
John Bayard Smith
William Clingan
Joseph Reed 22nd July 1778

On the part and behalf of the State of Delaware:
Tho Mckean February 12, 1779
John Dickinson May 5th 1779
Nicholas Van Dyke

On the part and behalf of the State of Maryland:
John Hanson March 1 1781
Daniel Carroll

On the Part and Behalf of the State of Virginia:
Richard Henry Lee
John Banister
Thomas Adams
Jno Harvie
Francis Lightfoot Lee

On the part and Behalf of the State of No Carolina:
John Penn July 21st 1778
Corns Harnett
Jno Williams

On the part and behalf of the State of South Carolina:
Henry Laurens
William Henry Drayton
Jno Mathews
Richd Hutson
Thos Heyward Junr

On the part and behalf of the State of Georgia:
Jno Walton 24th July 1778
Edwd Telfair
Edwd Langworthy

Legislating Morality:Failure

When the State of Illinois was tardy in paying its legal bills after attempting to defend a law that regulated the sale of violent and sexually explicit video games, the Entertainment Software Association wondered about the reasons for the delay. Now they know: the state was scouring department budgets, looking for the $1 million it cost to defend the unconstitutional legislation in court. Yes, you read that right—the State of Illinois spent one meeeellion dollars of taxpayer money on the litigation even as the state budget was starved for cash in other, more pressing areas. And worse yet, they spent it on a bill which, when introduced, was plainly unconstitutional.
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The grand total was reported this week in a Quad Cities Online article which revealed that "the governor raided funds throughout state government to pay for the litigation. Some of the areas money was taken from included the public health department, the state's welfare agency and even the economic development department." A state representative who attended recent hearings on the issue said that Gov. Blagojevich's staff simply spread the legal bills around by sticking them to agencies which had funds left in their budgets—even if the agencies had nothing to do with the issue or the litigation.

The Illinois law in question was struck down by both a federal court and an appeals court. In the final decision on the case, the justices noted that the law used a set of simplistic criteria to evaluate video games. They even used God of War as an example of the law's failings.

"Because the (Illinois law) potentially criminalizes the sale of any game that features exposed breasts, without concern for the game considered in its entirety or for the game’s social value for minors, distribution of God of War is potentially illegal, in spite of the fact that the game tracks the Homeric epics in content and theme," the judges wrote.

Spending this sort of money on important causes is one thing; spending it on video game regulation approaches that have been repeatedly ruled unconstitutional in other states is quite another. The situation might be more understandable were it not for the fact that Illinois could have easily seen this coming, either by paying attention to what other states are encountering or by opening a dialogue with the likes of the ESA. Instead of taking that cautious approach, the Governor decided to press on, and now the taxpayers will bear that burden. The fact that some of the money was pulled from public health and welfare only makes the situation worse. original story -- arstechnica

Putin Proposes Joint Defence Plan

In a move that stunned most of the world, Putin proffered want amounts to a NATO/EASTERN-BLOC Defence Force! FTA:


Putin proposes joint US-Russian base to overcome missile crisis

Published: 6/7/2007


HEILIGENDAMM - President Vladimir Putin on Thursday offered to set up a joint Russian-US anti-missile base to end a crisis between the two countries as Group of Eight leaders agreed a face-saving compromise on climate change.

Putin made the startling proposal for a base to be located in Azerbaijan during talks with US President George W. Bush aimed at rescuing relations between the two countries from a post-Cold War low.

The two met on the sidelines of the G8 summit in the German resort of Heiligendamm where police arrested another 300 demonstrators and police vessels rammed two Greenpeace boats that entered a maritime exclusion zone around the summit venue.

Russia angrily opposes a US proposal to set up a missile shield in Poland and the Czech Republic and Putin had previously threatened to aim Russian weapons at European targets if the US system was deployed.

Russia says it is the target of the shield while the United States insists the system is to guard against an attack by Iran or North Korea.

Putin said he had spoken on Wednesday to the president of Azerbaijan, Ilham Aliyev, who had agreed that the Gabalin base there could be jointly used by Russia and the United States.

Bush and Putin as G8 looms...

Mr Bush, en route to the G8 summit in Germany, is visiting the Czech Republic and then Poland - two countries where the US seeks to build a missile shield.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has threatened to aim weapons at Europe if the US sets up a missile shield.

Correspondents say the rhetoric has echoes of Cold War rivalry.

White House officials insist that President Bush's speech is not about Russia but rather renewing his commitment to spreading freedom and democracy.

See map of US missile defence bases

However, the BBC's Jonathan Beale, who is travelling with Mr Bush, says the president is expected to talk about the difficulties of promoting democracy in countries such as Russia and highlight concerns about the Kremlin's tightening grip on power.

Washington has dismissed talk of a new Cold War but says the rhetoric coming out of the Kremlin has worrying echoes belonging to that era and wants the words toned down.

Any criticism will not be welcomed by Moscow and can only lead to further strains, our correspondent says.

Washington wants to deploy interceptor rockets in Poland and a radar base in the Czech Republic to counter what it describes as a potential threat from "rogue states" such as Iran and North Korea.

On Sunday President Putin said Iran was not a threat to the US, hinting that Russia was the target.