Monday, May 01, 2006

What's happened to our country?

In Lodi Terror Case, Intent Was the Clincher - Los Angeles Times

The whole situation is horrible, but this statement chills me to the bone:

But McGregor Scott, U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of California, said in an interview Friday that the case against Hayat was short on the standard elements of proof because the crime had not yet happened.

"In the post-9/11 context," Scott said, "law enforcement has been given a mission by the president and the attorney general to prevent deadly acts before they occur. That is the new paradigm for law enforcement."
So we can be arrested and convicted today, in 2006, for thought crimes? When did our country become like some really bad sci-fi movie? Have we forgotten how to stand up for our rights, rights which are guaranteed by our Constitution, or are we afraid to fight back because the government's power has become so all encompassing that we can't take the chance of making our opinions heard?

Here's some of the other news I've heard in the last few days:

Bush challenges hundreds of laws

President Bush has quietly claimed the authority to disobey more than 750 laws enacted since he took office, asserting that he has the power to set aside any statute passed by Congress when it conflicts with his interpretation of the Constitution.

Among the laws Bush said he can ignore are military rules and regulations, affirmative-action provisions, requirements that Congress be told about immigration services problems, ''whistle-blower" protections for nuclear regulatory officials, and safeguards against political interference in federally funded research.


Bush is the first president in modern history who has never vetoed a bill, giving Congress no chance to override his judgments. Instead, he has signed every bill that reached his desk, often inviting the legislation's sponsors to signing ceremonies at which he lavishes praise upon their work.

Then, after the media and the lawmakers have left the White House, Bush quietly files ''signing statements" -- official documents in which a president lays out his legal interpretation of a bill for the federal bureaucracy to follow when implementing the new law. The statements are recorded in the federal register.

In his signing statements, Bush has repeatedly asserted that the Constitution gives him the right to ignore numerous sections of the bills -- sometimes including provisions that were the subject of negotiations with Congress in order to get lawmakers to pass the bill. He has appended such statements to more than one of every 10 bills he has signed.

Understanding Mobility in America

- The middle class is experiencing more insecurity of income, while the top decile is experiencing less. From 1997-98 to 2003-04, the increase in downward short-term mobility was driven by the experiences of middle-class households (those earning between $34,510 and $89,300 in 2004 dollars). Households in the top quintile saw no increase in downward short-term mobility, and households in the top decile ($122,880 and up) saw a reduction in the frequency of large negative income shocks.

- For the middle class, an increase in income volatility has led to an increase in the frequency of large negative income shocks, which may be expected to translate to an increase in financial distress.

- The median household was no more upwardly mobile in 2003-04, a year when GDP grew strongly, than it was it was during the recession of 1990-91.

- Upward short-term mobility for those in the bottom quintile has improved since 1990-91, with no significant offsetting increase in downward short-term mobility.
FDA Grilled About Plan B Contraceptive

Simon Heller, one of the attorneys, plans to quiz Woodcock about a March 23, 2004, staff memo suggesting she was concerned Plan B might lead to teenage promiscuity.

The FDA is only supposed to consider the safety and efficacy of drugs.

In the memo released by the FDA during the discovery process, Dr. Curtis Rosebraugh, an agency medical officer, wrote: "As an example, she stated that we could not anticipate, or prevent extreme promiscuous behaviors such as the medication taking on an 'urban legend' status that would lead adolescents to form sex-based cults centered around the use of Plan B."
Nearly 30 percent at Guantanamo jail cleared to go

Nearly 30 percent of the Guantanamo detainees have been cleared to leave the prison but remain jailed because the U.S. government has been unable to arrange for their return to their home countries, the Pentagon said on Friday.

Of these 141 detainees among the 490 still at Guantanamo, various military reviews have cleared 22 to be freed in their home countries and the remaining 119 for transfer to the control of their home governments.

"It's just an outrageous situation where people have gone through this system that has been established, such as it is, and the (U.S.) government itself has found there's no reason for them to be held any longer, and yet they continue to be held," said Curt Goering, a senior Amnesty International USA official.

"It makes a mockery of any kind of system of justice," Goering added.

So, what have we learned?

- It's okay to arrest people and throw them in jail because they might not think the same way you do.

- It's okay to say one thing and then do another, to lie to the people whose trust you hold so that you can line the pockets of your rich buddies.

- We shouldn't prevent sickness and disease because it might lead to "cult behavior" and just-for-fun sex. Preventing an "urban legend" is more important than sustaining life.

- Guantanamo Bay's being converted into luxury condominiums--lease with a option to purchase.

I feel SO much better now!

Rachel Maddow says that the GOP is trying to covert this country into a monarchy--I don't think she's that far off. Add religion into the mix, and we're well on our way to become a theocracy with "King George" as our ruler.


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