Saturday, April 9

Conyers lays it out!

In a new editorial on Buzzflash.com, Rep John Conyers combines with the works of his own bloggers to create an excellent article which clearly outlines the slow and eminant demise of the Republican Party. Proving that the voiceless can be heard, and that at least some of our Representatives are still listening.

http://www.buzzflash.com/contributors/05/04/con05129.html

When the history is written concerning fall from political grace of the Bush presidency, I believe we will point to the emergency passage of the Schiavo legislation as constituting the turning point. Clearly there is short term political fall-out from the unprecedented legislative intervention into a private family matter. The most recent CBS poll shows the president's popularity is at an all time low - 43%, while the Congressional approval rating is down to 34%.

...

To begin with, Americans now understand that Republicans can no longer claim the mantle of being "pro-life," when they are decimating Medicaid, when they are preventing life-saving stem cell research, when they allow guns to flow freely to terrorists, when they ignore the tragic school shooting in Minnesota, and when more than 1,500 American soldiers and more than 100,000 innocent civilians have died in Iraq as a result of a misguided war.

...

They certainly can't claim to be "pro-family," when their bankruptcy bill would put credit card companies ahead of families, when they tolerate families living on a minimum wage below the poverty level, and when the president signed legislation in Texas authorizing the removal of life support systems for financial reasons.

The Schiavo case has taught the entire country that the Republican leadership is willing to systematically cast aside the norms of politics and comity in the Congress, the courts, the state legislatures, and even our most intimate family decisions.


Read it, enjoy it - share it with your friends. This link needs to be everywhere on the web - NOW!

Vyan

Send Ashley to Fallujah!

Reposted from Media Matters.org:

Coulter: Fly Ashley Smith to Saudi Arabia to save Muslims' souls

Attacking what she portrayed as the anti-religious views espoused by liberals and the "secularist crowd," right-wing pundit Ann Coulter compared Muslims to Brian Nichols, the suspected rapist accused of killing a judge and three other people after escaping police custody at an Atlanta courthouse in March. Coulter claimed that Nichols's hostage, Ashley Smith, had "saved [his] soul" by "talking to him about Christianity" during her period of captivity, and could do the same for "the Muslims."

From Coulter's April 7 nationally syndicated column:

Smith saved the soul of a man on a killing spree [Nichols] by talking to him about Christianity. But the liberals think this won't work with the Muslims? We ought to fly this Ashley Smith to Saudi Arabia. We could just make her a box lunch every day and send her on her way.

Coulter's comments echo similar remarks from a September 13, 2001, column for National Review, which resulted in her dismissal as a contributing editor:

We should invade their countries, kill their leaders and convert them to Christianity. We weren't punctilious about locating and punishing only Hitler and his top officers. We carpet-bombed German cities; we killed civilians. That's war. And this is war.

Media Matters for America has documented other instances of Coulter's anti-Islamic rhetoric.

Friday, April 8

Blame Canada!

When in doubt, Conservative Pundits rarely fail to find a way to blame the Democrats for their own excesses...

It's all a "Vast Left-Wing Conspiracy" - don't cha know?



Conservatives on Fox baselessly cast ethics charges against DeLay as partisan attacks by Democrats, "liberal media"

Conservative media figures on Fox News have portrayed allegations of ethical misconduct by House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-TX) as a conspiracy by the "liberal media" to aid Democrats, echoing DeLay's own efforts to defend himself. The most recent revelations concern trips to Moscow, London, and South Korea -- apparently funded by lobbyists attempting to influence congressional business -- in 1997, 2000, and 2001, respectively; and revelations that DeLay's political action and campaign committees have paid his wife and daughter $500,000 since 2001.

On the April 6 edition of Hannity & Colmes, co-host Sean Hannity described the most recent charges against DeLay as "liberal allegations" and asked: "Is he the target of a smear campaign?" Former Rep. J.C. Watts (R-OK) also characterized the allegations against DeLay as partisan: "I think the left has a way of vigorously imposing political correctness, and they viciously punish anyone that doesn't comply. We all know that Tom DeLay is not one that -- that is going to comply." Watts later suggested that the charges against DeLay are likely "frivolous": "I think you usually find ... on the Republican and the Democratic side, at the end of the day, probably 90 percent of the ethics complaints ... are frivolous."

Read more...


Dissecting a right-wing smear: How conservatives used trumped-up evidence to blame Democrats for Schiavo memo

Despite a lack of evidence, several media sources have repeated conservative speculation and accusations that Democrats secretly authored a "talking points" memo that described the Terri Schiavo case as a "great political issue" for Senate Republicans. These baseless accusations, apparently hatched on right-wing blogs and in conservative media such as The American Spectator, were given credibility by The Washington Post and CNN's Inside Politics. But as recent reports indicate, Sen. Mel Martinez (R-FL) has admitted publicly that one of his aides is the true author of the memo.

However that hasn't stopped the pundits from pointing a finger at Dems:

March 24

Accuracy in Media press release: "[E]vidence suggests that the memo may have been manufactured as part of an effort to make Republicans look bad."

Rush Limbaugh: "The memo was made up by Democrat staffers."

The American Spectator claims: "It's Rathergate all over again."

Bill Bennett: "I think it was planted either by a fraud or an idiot."

Hinderaker: "There is no evidence that this memo came from the Republicans."

March 27

Tucker Carlson: "...within a week or two, it will become clear that it -- that memo -- was a forgery, possibly written by Democrats..."

March 28

Fox News' Brit Hume repeats claims that Republicans had never seen the memo and that it contained "numerous factual and typographical errors" to discredit it.

March 29

Limbaugh asserts the memo is forged.

March 30

Howard Kurtz in The Washington Post: "[T]here are several strange things about [the memo]."

Accuracy in Media press release: "[M]edia outlets who reported on this bogus memo need to admit their error."

Wes Vernon of NewsMax claims examination by American Spectator, Limbaugh, Hannity and others indicates the memo is a "fraud" and "political dirty trick."

April 4

Fred Barnes op-ed in The Weekly Standard: "[T]he memo story turns out to be yet another instance of crude liberal bias."

April 6

The Washington Times: "Was the Schiavo memo a fake?"

The answer to all these questions is -- "NO!".

Read more...

Thursday, April 7

The Minutemen and Immigration Reform

Much has been made in recent days of the so-called "Minutemen", a group of volunteers who plan to spend a month playing lookout for illegal immigrants along the Arizona border. http://www.minutemanproject.org The issue has the ACLU up in arms, so much so that it has decided to provide it's own set of observers to watch the watchers and document any potential civil rights abuses. If the function of the Minutemen is to simply watch the border and report what they see to overworked and overtaxed Federal officials, I see little problem with the effort. However, if they are to attempt to apprehend illegals on their own, the issue of their qualifications, experience with law enforcement techniques, as well as legal authorization to detain and hold anyone on public property is a serious concern.

Clearly there are tangible national security interests to border security, as we do seem to be continually bleeding along our southern border. But activities such as those by the Minutemen are unlikely to stanch that wound. Many people are clearly outraged that the Federal Government seems completely unable to address this problem, letting these "illegals" enter at will - but few people ever seem to ask the question. Why can't these people enter legally? Do they have no respect for our laws, or is something else at work?

The answer may reside with the U.S. State Dept. Visas offered by the State Dept to immigrants from various nations are limited by a quota. Quotas of this type began to first be established in 1882 when Congress passed the Chinese Exclusion Act, as the scare of the "Yellow Menace" began to rise and the need for railroad workers (who were primarily Chinese) began to wane. In the 1920's there was the "Red Scare" and in the 1940's the internment of Japanese Americans. In the 21st century we like to consider ourselves more 'enlightened' than we were in the past, yet these types of quotas remain.

So again we return to the question, besides National Security concerns, why are we so desperate to keep certain people out while allow near open-ended immigration from Europe and Asia, especially since most illegal immigrants are frequently Europeans who have overstayed their visas? And more importantly, how do we fix this?

I submit that a we can go a large way toward resolving our problems with illegal immigration by reforming and correcting inadequacies that currently exist in our legal immigration system. We need to either fix or abandon the current "quota" system. The President has suggested a "Guest-Worker" program to allow migrant workers entry into the U.S. when they have a specific job waiting for them. I support measures of this type, because the vast majority of immigrants from Central America are coming to the U.S. to find work. Rather than simply employing the revolving door of "catch and release" at the border, I suggest that we crack down on the employers of illegal migrant workers and offer them a choice. Either these employers will abide by the law, pay their employees the legal minimum wage, and get involved with the State department to help find and screen migrant workers who do not present a security risk - or else be fined severely and risk losing their business. If we are going to expect immigrants to abide by the law, we need to expect American companies who employ them to do exactly the same.

From the latest information I've heard, In California, immigrant workers provide over $100 Billion to the economy compared to using $6 Billion in state services. Understandably, many residents of the border states do not appreciate their tax dollars being spent to support people who have evaded the law - however what they often ignore is the savings on locally produced goods and products they are benefiting from, particularly in agriculture, as a result of undocumented workers who are being paid under the table. If the law were being applied consistently across the board, these workers would and should become "documented" and paid competitive wages as well as have access to healthcare. (The demand for these undocumented workers might even decrease if wages were made more attractive to native U.S. citizens who are trying to make ends-meet.) If this were the case, much of the state services they now utilize would be reduced because people who pay taxes and have health-care don't have to use the county emergency room as their regular doctor. Mandatory Government expenditures on Medicare (and the need for supporting tax revenue) would go down, while prices for some goods might rise, but so would the pool of people with funds to purchase those products.

Clearly we still need to secure our borders. We need to complete fixing the fence as was begun under the Clinton Administration. We need to recruit and train more members of the Border Patrol and better equip them with security and surveillance gear. Further, we need to close the revolving door - fingerprinting and taking pictures of all illegal entrants, then placing them on a Tipoff/No Entry List so that they are restricted from access to legal immigration for several years. If they are caught a second time, they should be held in custody for ever increasing periods before being deported. We should make those who defy our laws pay a penalty, but similarly we should reward those who do follow the rules and are only seeking a better life for themselves while contributing to the best of their ability to America society and growth.

Vyan

EPA pays to poison children

WASHINGTON, April 6 - Stephen L. Johnson, President Bush's nominee to lead the Environmental Protection Agency, encountered unexpected turbulence at his Senate confirmation hearing on Wednesday as Senator Barbara Boxer of California threatened to hold up his nomination over a small but controversial pesticide program in Florida.

Appearing before the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, Mr. Johnson, a 24-year veteran of the agency who has been acting administrator since his predecessor, Michael O. Leavitt, became secretary of health and human services, was greeted warmly by Republicans and faced predictably pointed questions from Democrats over recent agency initiatives, including emission control rules put into place last month.

Ms. Boxer's objections were based on a little-known research program near Jacksonville, Fla., sponsored by the agency and the American Chemistry Council, that offered money to low-income families willing to allow the agency to measure the effects of pesticides on their children under one year of age. The project, called Children's Environmental Exposure Research Study, or Cheers, was suspended last year after negative public reaction that prompted the agency to call in outside experts to assess its feasibility.

The program was limited to families in Duval County that routinely used pesticides inside their homes. It offered parents $970 over two years if they made sure their young children went about their usual activities as the use of pesticides continued. Researchers would then visit the home every three to six months to collect data.

In a letter that reached Ms. Boxer several hours after she raised her concerns, Mr. Johnson said, "No additional work will be conducted on this study subject to the outcome of external scientific and ethical review."

But that was well short of her demands. Calling the program "appalling, unethical and immoral," Ms. Boxer implored Mr. Johnson "to pull the plug on this program tomorrow." In an interview later, she said she would do whatever she could to hold up Mr. Johnson's confirmation so long as the program had any chance of being revived.

"Until it's canceled, I will do anything I can to stop this nomination," she said. "This program is the worst kind of thing; it's environmental injustice where children are the victims."

http://www.nytimes.com/2005/04/07/politics/07enviro.html

Wednesday, April 6

Bush: Another Slip of the Lip?

"I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States."

George W. Bush, Jan 20, 2005
****
"There is no 'trust fund,' just IOUs that I saw firsthand, that future generations will pay — will pay for either in higher taxes, or reduced benefits, or cuts to other critical government programs.

The office here in Parkersburg stores those IOUs. They're stacked in a filing cabinet. Imagine — the retirement security for future generations is sitting in a filing cabinet."

George W. Bush., April 5, 2005
****
The Constitution of the United States

Article XIV

Section 4. The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law, including debts incurred for payment of pensions and bounties for services in suppressing insurrection or rebellion, shall not be questioned.

Academic Liberalism?

Wash. Times news, opinion pieces peddled flawed survey on liberal professors

Over the past week, The Washington Times ran one news report and columns by Suzanne Fields and Cal Thomas about a recent study indicating that more self-identified liberals than conservatives are serving as professors at U.S. colleges and universities, a conclusion reached by comparing data from faculty surveys taken in 1984 and 1999. Two of the articles repeat the claim that the study demonstrates a profound "ideological shift to the left among college faculty" and a pervasive anti-conservative bias in hiring and tenure decisions. In fact, neither conclusion is warranted based on the study itself.

The study, released March 29, is titled Politics and Professional Advancement Among College Faculty. Its authors are Stanley Rothman, director of the Center for the Study of Social and Political Change and Smith College professor emeritus of government; S. Robert Lichter, George Mason University professor and director of GMU's Center of Media and Public Affairs; and University of Toronto professor Neil Nevitte. The study was sponsored by the Randolph Foundation, a private philanthropy that funds many conservative organizations, such as Americans for Tax Reform, the Independent Women's Forum, and right-wing pundit David Horowitz's Center for the Study of Popular Culture.

The Washington Times reported in a March 30 news article that the study found that "nearly three-quarters" of faculty members describe themselves as liberals, according to 1999 data from the North American Academic Study Survey (NAASS), up from 39 percent in a 1984 survey by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. Relying on this comparison, the Times described a "shift to the left among college faculty [that] has become much more pronounced in the past 20 years." In fact, the two surveys examined such dissimilar samples that one cannot draw valid conclusions about a trend.

According to the study, the NAASS "American sample" included 1,643 faculty members from 183 universities and colleges. The responses came from "81 doctoral, 59 comprehensive and 43 liberal arts institutions." The 1984 Carnegie survey, however, contained "data obtained from over 5,000 faculty employed at a variety of institutions from Two-Year Community Colleges to Research Institutions." * Remarking on these two contrasting samples, the weblog Critical Montages observed that "the NAASS's exclusion of two-year colleges and overrepresentation of doctoral institutions is a recipe for accentuating the proportion of liberals":

Research has shown that faculty and students at research institutions are more liberal than those at primarily teaching institutions (see, for instance, Gordon Shepherd and Gary Shepherd, "War and Dissent: The Political Values of the American Professoriate," The Journal of Higher Education 65.5 [September/October 1994], especially p. 586; and Richard F. Hamilton and Lowell L. Hargens, "The Politics of the Professors: Self-Identifications, 1969-1984," Social Forces 71.3 [March 1993], especially pp. 608-609, 613-614, 616), so the NAASS's exclusion of two-year colleges and overrepresentation of doctoral institutions is a recipe for accentuating the proportion of liberals.

On the question of ideological orientation, the study's comparison of the 1984 and 1999 surveys violates a fundamental principle of survey research. As decades of research have shown, altering questions in even subtle ways can produce dramatically different results. Rothman, Lichter, and Nevitte base their conclusion that "a sharp shift to the left has taken place among college faculty in recent years" on questions asked in two entirely different ways in the two studies, one asking respondents to place themselves on a ten-point scale, and one asking them to select from a list of descriptions.

Does this mean that there has been no shift to the left among faculties? Not necessarily -- but with the available data we have no idea whether such a shift has occurred, and neither do Rothman, Lichter, and Nevitte.

The study attempted to depict an epidemic of "liberal bias" on campus by contrasting the alleged "sharp shift to the left" among college faculty to the "relatively stable" ideological makeup of the general public over time. This comparison has little illustrative value, however, since the vast majority of the general public lack the necessary credentials for a professorship at the surveyed schools. Moreover, available data suggest that highly educated Americans may be more left-leaning than the general population. Exit polls from the November 2004 presidential election indicate that 55 percent of voters who have postgraduate study experience voted for Democrat John Kerry, compared to 44 percent for Republican George W. Bush. (Interestingly, when New Yorker staff writer Nicholas Lemann asked Bush adviser Karl Rove how to identify "who's a Democrat" as opposed to a Republican for a 2003 profile, Rove answered: "Somebody with a doctorate.")

Both the news report and an April 4 Times column by Fields quoted Lichter -- whose Center for Media and Public Affairs states on its website that it conducts "scientific studies of the news and entertainment media" but receives funding from numerous conservative organizations -- saying that "this is the first study that statistically proves bias [against conservatives] in the hiring and promotion of faculty members." But Lichter's own study undermines this claim. The study specifically notes: "The results do not definitively prove that ideology accounts for differences in professional standing" [emphasis added]. Rather, the study concluded more modestly that the findings are merely "consistent with the hypothesis" of bias [emphasis added]. According to Lichter's study:

The results do not definitively prove that ideology accounts for differences in professional standing. It is entirely possible that other unmeasured factors may account for those variations. That said, the results are consistent with the hypothesis that political conservatism confers a disadvantage in the competition for professional advancement. ...

Our findings on the more controversial issue of discrimination against conservative faculty should be regarded as more preliminary. [PDF p. 15]

Considering that, according to Lichter's bio on the Center for Media and Public Affairs website, "Dr. Lichter also directs the Statistical Assessment Service (STATS), a nonpartisan organization dedicated to improving the quality of news involving statistical or scientific information," his statement is little short of shocking. Cross-sectional studies like those cited in Lichter's study seldom "prove" anything; at best they can demonstrate associations and relationships.

Furthermore, the study does not even show, much less "prove," that conservatives have been discriminated against in hiring and promotion. Few would doubt that liberals outnumber conservatives among university faculty. But justifying claims about hiring and promotion would data on the number of conservatives and liberals who applied for various positions or came up for tenure review. Despite Lichter's comments, the study's authors present no data addressing the issue. (Academic promotion is extraordinarily complex; in such a study, researchers would have to determine, for instance, which respondents were denied tenure at a first-tier institution, then received tenure at a second-tier institution, then decide how such a person should be classified.)

The conservative claim of bias (as opposed to mere underrepresentation) rests on the idea that there are significant numbers of conservative Ph.D.s who have been denied faculty positions or tenure because of their political views. Lichter, Rothman, and Nevitte provide no evidence to support this assumption.

Fields similarly claimed that "a left-wing conspiracy -- or something close to it -- flourishes on the campus." But this conclusion assumes, implausibly, that hiring bias is the only conceivable overrepresentation of liberals on campuses relative to the general public.

Nationally syndicated columnist Thomas also referenced the flawed study in his March 30 column (reprinted in the April 4 Washington Times). He used the study as a springboard to inveigh against "liberalism on college campuses," which he criticized as fostering curricula that is "anti-American, anti-religious, anti-Israel, pro-homosexual rights and pro-abortion, often to the exclusion and ridicule of opposing views."

* Rothman, Lichter, and Nevitte reference the 1984 Carnegie survey in their bibliography as "Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. 1989. The Condition of the Professoriate: Attitudes and Trends. Princeton, NJ: The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, 1989." Rothman, Lichter, and Nevitte do not provide information on the sample used in the 1984 survey. A Media Matters internet search did not produce the 1984 Carnegie survey, but it did produce references to the same survey (based on the bibliographic information) -- including the one linked above -- that contained information about the 1984 survey sample.

Tuesday, April 5

Foot-n-Cornyn Disease

Reposted from Dailykos.

Cornyn's defense of domestic terrorism is making lots of noise online.

The Left Coaster (Soto)

[I]f Cornyn and DeLay think that there may be a connection between violence against lifetime appointment judges and their allegedly political decisions, does that mean that DeLay and Cornyn would have found it acceptable if millions of Democrats had made direct threats against the GOP majority in the Bush V. Gore case? Would DeLay and Cornyn somehow excuse any subsequent violence that may have ensued against Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas, and the rest of the gang by wondering if there were a connection?
AmericaBLOG (Aravosis)
We now have Republican Senators making excuses for terrorists. Explaining why terrorism is understandable. Why terrorists have legitimate concerns. Justifying why the victims of terrorism are really to blame for these heinous crimes. Wonder what Senator Cornyn thinks of rape victims?

This is utterly outrageous. Outrageous. The GOP is now embracing domestic terrorists who are trying to undermine our democracy. And they're doing it so they can take down the judges who "killed" Terri Schiavo, and instead impose some Pat Robertson-like theocracy on our country. This is absolutely utterly beyond contempt. Tell Judge Lefkow in Chicago that her mother and husband are dead because she brought it on herself.

And the ultimate irony is that it is people like John Cornyn who now risk inciting violence against judges by giving aid and comfort to these homicidal maniacs. Cornyn should resign immediately.

Rep. Conyers (yeah, he blogs)
This apparent effort to rationalize violence against judges is deplorable. On its face, while it contains doubletalk that simultaneously offers a justification for such violence and then claims not to, the fundamental core of the statement seems to be that judges have somehow brought this violence on themselves. This also carries an implicit threat: that if judges do not do what the far right wants them to do (thus becoming the "judicial activists" the far right claims to deplore), the violence may well continue.

If this is what Senator Cornyn meant to say, it is outrageous, irresponsible and unbecoming of our leaders. To be sure, I have disagreed with many, many court rulings. (For example, Bush v. Gore may well be the single greatest example of judicial activism we have seen in our lifetime.) But there is no excuse, no excuse, for a Member of Congress to take our discourse to this ugly and dangerous extreme.

My message is not subtle today. It is simple. To my Republican colleagues: you are playing with fire, you are playing with lives, and you must stop.

Atrios:
We get so used to hearing this kind of wingnuttery, and while it's wrong when Michael Savage says something like this, it's certainly way beyond any standard of decency for a United States Senator. And, as Josh points out, it's certainly fascinating for Senator Cornyn to find common cause with murderer and accused rapist Brian Nichols...

Update: Cornyn has been going around citing the supposed support of three constitutional scholars for the GOP's nuclear option. I write "supposed", because all three of those scholars have denied such support. One of them, asked by Kagro X about her supposed support, wrote back:

This is a carefully structured misrepresentation which does seem to get repeated. Attached is a memo I have written to Boyden Gray and Senator Cornyn, the two that I know have been misrepresenting my views.
Bloch’s March 14th reply memo to Gray states the following:
You have seriously misrepresented my views. In a February 28, 2005 memo to journalists on behalf of the Committee for Justice, you argue that the Senate’s use of the filibuster against judicial nominations is unconstitutional. In so doing, you suggest I said such use in unconstitutional. In fact, I have never said such a thing. On the contrary, in the article you quote (but never cite), I said precisely the opposite, explicitly distinguishing the Senate filibuster from the House Rule thater, I was criticizing.
Despite attempts to get Cornyn (and Gray) to stop the lies about the matter, both persist in keeping up the charade.

Monday, April 4

China rates America on Human Rights

Communist Propoganda or bitter taste of truth - You decide?




Full Text :Human Rights Record of the US in 2004


Following is the full text of the Human Rights Record of the United States in 2004, released by the Information office of China's State Council Thursday, March 3, 2005.

The Human Rights Record of the United States in 2004

By the Information Office of the State Council of the People's Republic of China

March 3, 2005

<> In 2004 the atrocity of US troops abusing Iraqi POWs exposed the dark side of human rights performance of the United States. The scandal shocked the humanity and was condemned by the international community. It is quite ironic that on Feb. 28 of this year, the State Department of the United States once again posed as the "the world human rights police" and released its Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2004. As in previous years, the reports pointed fingers at human rights situation in more than 190 countries and regions (including China) but kept silent on the US misdeeds in this field. Therefore, the world people have to probe the human rights record behind the Statue of Liberty in the United States.

I. On Life, Liberty and Security of Person

American society is characterized with rampant violent crimes, severe infringement of people's rights by law enforcement departments and lack of guarantee for people's rights to life, liberty and security of person.

Violent crimes pose a serious threat to people's lives. According to a report released by the Department of Justice of the United States on Nov. 29, 2004, in 2003 residents aged 12 and above in the United States experienced about 24 million victimizations, and there occurred 1,381,259 murders, robberies and other violent crimes, averaging 475 cases per 100,000 people. Among them there were 16,503 homicides, up 1.7 percent over 2002, or nearly six cases in every 100,000 residents, and one of every 44 Americans aged above 12 was victimized.

The Associated Press reported on June 24, 2004 that the number of violent crimes in many US cities were on the rise. In 2003 Chicago alone recorded 598 homicides, 80 percent of which involved the use of guns. The Washington D.C. reported 41,738 murders, robberies and other violent crimes in 2003, averaging 6,406.4 cases per 100,000 residents. In 2004 the District recorded 198 killings, or a homicide rate of 35 per 100,000 residents. Detroit,which has less than 1 million residents, recorded 18,724 criminal cases in 2003, including 366 murders and 814 rapes, which amounted to a homicide rate of 41 per 100,000 residents.

In 2003 the homicide rate in Baltimore was 43 per 100,000 residents. The Baltimore Sun reported on Dec. 17, 2004 that the city reported 271 killings from January to early December in 2004.

It was reported that on Sept. 8, 2004 that by Sept. 4, 2004 there had been 368 homicides in the city, up 4.2 percent year-on-year. The USA Today reported on July 16, 2004 that in an average week in the US workplace one employee is killed and at least 25 are seriously injured in violent assaults by current or former co-workers. The Cincinnati Post reported on Nov. 12, 2004 that homicides average 17 a week and there are nearly 5,500 violent

assaults a day at US job sites.

The United States has the biggest number of gun owners and gun violence has affected lots of innocent lives. According to a survey released by the University of Chicago in 2001, 41.7 percent

of men and 28.5 percent of women in the United States report having a gun in their homes, and 29.2 percent of men and 10.2 percent of women personally own a gun. The Los Angeles Times reported on Jul. 19, 2004 that since 2000 the number of firearm holders rose 28 percent in California.

About 31,000 Americans are killed and 75,000 wounded by firearms each year, which means more than 80 people are shot dead each day. In 2002 there were 30,242 firearm killings in the United States; 54 percent of all suicides and 67 percent of all homicides were related to the use of firearms. The Associated Press reported that 808 people were shot dead in the first half of 2004 in Detroit.

Police violence and infringement of human rights by law enforcement agencies also constitute a serious problem. At present, 5,000 law enforcement agencies in the United States use TASER - a kind of electric shock gun, which sends out 50,000 volts of impulse voltage after hitting the target. Since 1999, more than 80 people died from TASER shootings, 60 percent of which occurred between November 2003 and November 2004.

A survey found that in the 17 years from 1985 to 2002, Los Angeles recorded more than 100 times increase in police shooting at automobile drivers, killing at least 25 and injuring more than 30 of them. Of these cases, 90 percent were due to misjudgment. (The Los Angeles Times, Feb. 29, 2004.)

On Jul. 21, 2004 Chinese citizen Zhao Yan was handcuffed and severely beaten while she was in the United States on a normal business trip. She suffered injuries in many parts of her body and serious mental harm.

The New York Times reported on Apr. 19, 2004 a comprehensive study of 328 criminal cases over the last 15 years in which the convicted person was exonerated suggests that there are thousands of innocent people in prison today. The study identified 199 murder exoneration, 73 of them in capital cases. In more than half of the cases, the defendants had been in prison for more than 10 years.

The United States characterizes itself as "a paradise for free people," but the ratio of its citizens deprived of freedom has remained among the highest in the world. Statistics released by the Federal Bureau of Investigation last November showed that the nation made an estimated 13.6 million arrests in 2003. The national arrest rate was 4,695.1 arrests per 100,000 people, 0.2 percent up than that of the previous year (USA Today, Nov. 8, 2004).

According to statistics from the Department of Justice, the number of inmates in the United States jumped from 320,000 in 1980 to 2 million in 2000, a hike by six times. From 1995 to 2003, the number of inmates grew at an annual rate of 3.5 percent in the country, where one out of every 142 people is behind bars. The number of convicted offenders may total more than 6 million if parolees and probationers are also counted. The Chicago Tribune reported on Nov. 8 last year that the federal and state prison population amounted to 1.47 million last year, 2.1 percent more than in 2003. The number of criminals rose by over 5 percent in 11 states, with the growth in North Dakota up by 11.4 percent and in Minnesota by 10.3 percent.

Most prisons in the United States are overcrowded, but still cannot meet the demand. The country has spent an average of 7 billion US dollars a year building new jails and prisons in the past 10 years. California has seen only one college but 21 new prisons built since 1984.

Jails have become one of the huge and most lucrative industries, with a combined staff of more than 530,000 and being the second largest employer in the United States only after the General Motors. Private prisons are more and more common. The country now has over 100 private prisons in 27 states and 18 private prison companies. The value of goods and services created by inmates surged from 400 million US dollars in 1980 to 1.1 billion US dollars in 1994. Abuse of prisoners and violence occur frequently in US jails and prisons, which are under disorderly management. The Los Angeles Times reported on Aug. 15 last year that over 40 state prison systems were once under some form of court order, for brutality, crowding, poor food and lack of medical care.

The NewsWeek of the United States also reported last May that in Pennsylvania, Arizona and some other states, inmates are routinely stripped in front of others before being moved to a new prison or a new unit within their prison. Male inmates are often made to wear women's pink underwear as a form of humiliation. New inmates are frequently beaten and cursed at and sometimes made to crawl.

At a jail in New York City, some guards bump prisoners against the walls, pinch their arms and wrists, and force them to receive insulting checks nakedly. Some male inmates are sometimes compelled to stand in the nude before a group of women guards. Some female inmates go in shackles to hospital for treatment and nursing after they get ill or pregnant, some give births without a midwife, and some are locked to sickbeds with fetters after Caesarean operation.

Over 80,000 women prisoners in the United States are mothers, and the overall number of the minor children of the American women prisoners is estimated at some 200,000. The country had more than 3,000 pregnant women in jails from 2000 to 2003 and 3,000 babies were born to the prisoners during this period (see Mexico's Milenio on Feb. 21, 2004). It is estimated that at least more than 40,000 prisoners are locked up in the so-called "super jails", where the prisoner is confined to a very tiny cell, cannot see other people throughout the year, and has only one hour out for exercise every day.

Sexual harassment and encroachment are common in jails in the Unite States. The New York Times reported last October that at least 13 percent of inmates in the country are sexually assaulted in prison (Ex-Inmate's Suit Offers View Into Sexual Slavery in Prisons, The New York Times, Oct. 12, 2004). In jails of seven central and western US states, 21 percent of the inmates suffer sexual abuse at least once after being put in prison. The ratio is higher among women inmates, with nearly one fourth of them sexually assaulted by jail guards.

II. On Political Rights and Freedom

The United States claims to be "a paragon of democracy," but American democracy is manipulated by the rich and malpractices are common.

Elections in the United States are in fact a contest of money. The presidential and Congressional elections last year cost nearly 4 billion US dollars, some 1 billion US dollars or one third more than that spent in the 2000 elections. The 2004 presidential election has been listed as the most expensive campaign in the country's history (see http://www.opensecrets.org/overview), with the cost jumping to 1.7 billion US dollars from 1 billion US dollars in 2000. To win the election, the Democratic Party and Republican Party had to try their utmost to raise funds.

The Washington Post reported on Dec. 3 last year that the Democratic Party collected 389.8 million US dollars in electoral funds and the Republican Party raised 385.3 million US dollars, both hitting a record high (see Fundraising Records Broken by Both Major Political Parties, Washington Post on Dec. 3, 2004).

Data released by the Federal Election Commission (FEC) on Dec. 14, 2004 show the average spending for Senate races was 2,518,750 US dollars in 2004, with the highest reaching 31,488,821 US dollars; and the average spending for House races was 511,043 US dollars (see http://www.opensecrets.org/overview), with the highest reaching 9,043,293 US dollars (see http://www.opensecrets.org/overview/topraces.asp?cycle=2004).

The Republican Party, the Democratic Party and their periphery organizations spent a total of 1.2 billion US dollars on TV commercials, making this presidential election the most expensive in history. The TV commercials were broadcast 750,000 times, twice of the airings in the general election in 2000. In the Oct. 1 - 13 period in 2004, the Republican Party spent 14.5 million US dollars on advertising, and the Democratic Party's advertising spending amounted to 24 million US dollars in the first 20 days of October 2004.

In the elections, political parties and interest groups not only donated money for their favorite candidates, but also directly spent funds on maximizing their influence upon the elections. In Maryland, some corporate bosses donated as much as 130,000 US dollars. In return, the candidates after being elected would serve the interests of big political donators. The Baltimore Sun called this "Buying Power" (see "Buying Power", The Baltimore Sun, April 5, 2004). Due to the fact that local judges in 38 states need to be elected, quite a number of candidates began campaign advertising and looking for big donators. Some interest groups also got themselves involved in the judge election campaign.The US election system has quite a few flaws. The newly adopted Help America Vote Act of 2004 requires voters to offer a series of documents such as a stable residence or identification in registering, which in reality disenfranchises thousands of homeless people.

The United States is the only country in the world that rules out ex-inmates' right to vote, which disenfranchises 5 million ex-inmates and 13 percent male black people (see Milenio, Mexico, Oct. 22 2004).

The 2004 US presidential election reported many problems, including counting errors, machine malfunctions, registration confusion, legal uncertainty, and lack of respect for voters. According to a report carried by the USA Today on Dec. 28, 2004, due to counting errors, a review of election results in 10 counties nationwide by the Scripps Howard News Service found more than 12,000 ballots that weren't counted in the presidential race, almost one in every 10 ballots cast in those counties. Due to machine malfunctions, 92,000 ballots failed to record a vote for president in Ohio alone. Registration confusion made four fifths of the states go into the election without computerized statewide voter databases (see "Election Day Leftovers", USA Today, Dec. 28, 2004). The Democratic Party brought 35 lawsuits against the Republican Party in at least 17 states, charging the latter with threatening and blocking voters from registering or voting, especially minority ethnic groups. In Florida, the cases of black people being removed from voter registration list or their votes being denied were 10 times higher than people of other races. The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) reported on Sept. 22, 2004 that during the period of election, someone often distributed handbills to black voters to bilk and intimidate them by saying that anyone who defaulted electricity bills, apartment bills or parking fines would be arrested outside the polling booths. Some others pretended to be plainclothes outside polling booths and demanded voters show their identifications. However, black people who were able to present photo identification were less than one fifth of white people, therefore, many of them were rejected.

In the meantime, fabrications of disputable pictures and statements were put in the agenda of political maneuvers. Campaign advertisement and political debates were full of distorted facts, false information and lies. According to statistics of the Annenberg Public Policy Center of University of Pennsylvania, campaign advertisement for the 2004 US presidential election had a large proportion of false information that was enough to mislead voters, far beyond 50 percent in 1996. In the Republican camp, at least 75 percent contained untrue information and personal attacks. The website of the center (http://www.FactCheck.org) listed at least 100 items of such information.

The US freedom of the press is filled with hypocrisy. Power and intimidation hang over the halo of press freedom. The New York Times published a commentary on March 30, 2004, saying that the US government's reliance on slandering had reached an unprecedented level in contemporary American political history, and the government prepared to abuse power at any moment to threat potential critics.

A collected works, Zensor USA, revealed that whenever the faults of government dignitaries or big companies were touched, the strong American press censorship system would snap at the journalists who insisted on investigation and made them the last sacrificial lamb. (see Das Schweigen der Journalisten, Handelsblatt, Germany, March 17, 2004).

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) kept watch on a leader of freedom of speech movement in University of California at Berkeley for a decade long. Although no record showed he violated federal laws, the FBI hired someone to keep monitoring his daily activities and collect his personal information without permission from the court. (see SingTao Daily, Oct. 11, 2004).

On July 16, 2004 the US State Department made a regulation, in violation of the norms of most other countries, that foreign reporters should leave the country while waiting for the valid period of their visas to be extended. The annual report of Native American Journalists Association criticized the US administration for the move, which severely infringes upon press freedom. (see AP story, Antigua, Guatemala Oct. 24, 2004).

Someone with the American Society of Newspaper Editors said that the US administration's measures reflected its repulsion of foreign news media. (see Milenio, Mexico, June 20, 2004). In Iraq, the United States on the one hand alleged that it had brought democracy to the Iraqi people, on the other hand it suppressed public opinion. On March 28, 2004 US troops closed down a Shiite newspaper in Baghdad, which triggered a protest demonstration by thousands of Iraqi people.

On Sept. 27, the Association of American University Presses, Association of American Publishers and other organizations jointly lodged a complaint to the district court of Manhattan, New York, charging the Office of Foreign Assets Control under the Department of the Treasury with deliberately preventing literary works of Iranian, Cuban and Sudanese writers from entering the United States and turning the economic sanctions against the three countries into a "censorship system" to stop free dissemination of information and ideology. (see Xinhua story, Sept. 30, 2004).

In another case, eight reporters, including Jim Taricani of the TV station in Providence, Rhode Island with the National Broadcasting Company (NBC), Judith Miller of The New York Times, and Matthew Cooper of Time magazine, were declared guilty for they declined to disclose the confidential sources of news. The New York Times pointed out on Nov. 10, 2004 that through these cases, it was found out that press freedom suffered rampant infringement.

In addition, in recent years, over a dozen foreign journalists have been detained in airports in the United States, including the one in Los Angeles. In March 2003, a Danish press-photographer was expelled out of the country after a DNA test. A Swiss journalist was rejected from entry of an airport in Washington D.C. The airport staffs by force took pictures and finger prints of the journalist. Meanwhile, he was not permitted to contact the Swiss embassy in the Unite States. In May, two groups of French journalists, altogether six members, were rejected of entry the US territory. They simply came to the Unite States to cover an exposition. Two Dutch journalists fell into trouble when they were covering a film award ceremony. In October and December, one British reporter and one Austrian journalist were held up at US airports respectively. In early May, 2004, a British female journalist, who was sent by The Guardian to Los Angeles to cover some events, was detained at the Los Angeles airport and faced interrogation and body search, and then was handcuffed and taken to the detention house in the downtown. There, she was detained for 26 hours before sent back to Britain.

III. On Economic, Social and Cultural Rights

The United States refuses to ratify the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural rights and took negative attitude to the economic, social and cultural rights of the laborers. Poverty, hunger and homelessness have haunted the world richest country.

The population of people living in poverty has been on a steady rise. According to a report by The Sun on July, 6, 2004, from 1970 to 2000 (adjusted for inflation), the bottom 90 percent's average income stagnated while the top 10 percent experienced an average yearly income increase of nearly 90 percent. Upper-middle-and-upper-class families that constitute the top 10 percent of the income distribution are prospering while many among the remaining 90 percent struggle to maintain their standard of living. Worsening income disparities have formed two Americas. (Two Americas, The Baltimore Sun, July 6, 2004). According to a report of the Wall Street Journal on June 15, 2004, a study on the fall of 2003 by Arthur Kennickell of the Board of Governor of the Federal Reserve System showed that the nation's wealthiest 1 percent owned 53 percent of all the stocks held by families or individuals, and 64 percent of the bonds. They control more than a third of the nation's wealth. ( US Led a Resurgence Last Year Among Millionaires World-Wide, The Wall Street Journal, June 15, 2004). In Washington D.C., the top 20 percent of the city's households have 31 times the average income of the 20 percent at the bottom. (D.C. Gap in Wealth Growing, The Washington Post, July 22, 2004).

Since November 2003, the average income of most American families have been on the decline. The earning of many medium and low-income families could not keep up with the price rises. They could barely handle the situation. According to the statistics released by the US Census Bureau in 2004, the number of Americans in poverty has been climbing for three years. It rose by 1.3 million year-on-year in 2003 to 35.9 million. The poverty rate in 2003 hit 12.5 percent, or one in eight people, the highest since 1998. (Census: Poverty Rose By Million, USA Today, August 27, 2004, More Americans Were Uninsured and Poor in 2003, Census Finds, The New York Times, August 27, 2004).

The homeless population continues to rise nationwide. On Dec. 15, 2004, an annual survey report released at the US Conference of Mayors showed that the number of people seeking emergency food aid increased by 14 percent year-on-year while the number of people seeking emergency shelter aid increased by 6 percent. (http://www.usmayors.org). It is estimated that the homeless population reached 3.5 million in the United States. But the US Federal budget has stopped providing fund to build new affordable housing, which forced many local governments to cut the public housing projects. The city of San Diego has a homeless population of 8,000, but the government could only provide 3,000 temporary beds. Those without lodging tickets are regarded illegal to live on the streets. They would be summoned or detained. In January 2004, an investigator with the US Commission on Human Right denounced the US for large-scale infringement on human rights on housing issue.

The health insurance crisis has become prominent. A report of the Washington Post on Sept. 28, 2004 said health insurance costs posted their fourth straight year of double-digit increases in 2004. Over the past four years, health insurance costs have leaped 59 percent - about five times faster than both wage growth and inflation. Around 14.3 million Americans put one fourth of their income on the health expenses. (Higher Costs, Less Care, The Washington Post, September 28, 2004). Currently, family health insurance plan costs more than 10,000 US dollars each year. Many families could not afford it. Fewer workers have coverage - 61 percent in 2004, compared with 65 percent in 2001. (Health Plan Costs Jump 11%, The Washington Post, September 10, 2004) Compared with 2003, the number of people without health insurance increased 1.4 million to 45 million, or 15.6 percent of the country's population. (Census: Poverty Rose by Million, USA Today, August 27, 2004). In Texas, about one fourth of the workers don't have health insurance. (Spain Uprising newspaper, May 11, 2004). In California, around 6 million Californians don't have health insurance and the welfare system with the annual cost of 60 billion US dollars are about to collapse. (The Los Angeles Times, May 6, 2004). Meanwhile, medical accidents occurred one after another, becoming the third killer following heart disease and cancer. According to a report of Boston Globe on July 27, 2004, one out of every 25 in-patients become the victim of medical accident. From 2000 to 2002, 195,000 people died of medical accidents each year. The actual figure might be twice of that.

IV. On Racial Discrimination

Racial discrimination has been deeply rooted in the United States, permeating into every aspects of society.

The colored people are generally poor, with living condition much worse than the white. According to a report of The Guardian of Britain on Oct. 9, 2004, the average net assets of a white family is 88,000 US dollars in 2002, 11 times of a family of Latin American ancestry, or nearly 15 times of a family of African ancestry. Nearly one third of the African ancestry families and 26 percent of the Latin American ancestry families have negative net assets. 74 percent of the white families have their own houses, while only 47 percent of families of the African and Latin American ancestry have their own houses. The market value of houses bought by black families is only 65 percent of those of white people. Black people's encounter of mortgage loans refusal for house purchase or furniture is twice that of white people. Some black families don't even think of buying their own houses. The death rate of illness, accident and murder among the black people is twice that of the white.

The rate of being victim of murders for the black people is five times that of the white. The rate of being affected by AIDS for the black people is ten times that of the whites while the rate of being diagnosed by diabetes for the black people is twice that of the whites. (The State Of Black America 2004, Issued by National Urban League on March 24, 2004, http://www.nuL.org/pdf/sobaexec.pdf).

Statistics show that the number of black people living in poverty is three times that of the white. The average life expectancy of the black is six years shorter than the white.

People of minority ethnic groups are biased against in employment and occupation. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission of the United States received 29,000 complaints in 2003 of racial bias in the workplace (Racism in the 21st Century, published in USA Today May 5, 2004 issue).

Statistics provided by the United States Department of Labor also suggest that by November 2004, the unemployment rate for black and white people is 10.8 percent and 4.7 percent respectively (http://bls.gov/news.release/pdf/empsit.pdf). In New York City, one of every two black men between 16 and 64 was not working by 2003 (see Nearly Half of Black Men Found Jobless, published by The New York Times on Feb. 28 2004). Black people not only have fewer job opportunities, but also earn less than white people. Even with the same job, a black man only earns 70 percent of that for a white man. Regions such as California, where immigrants make up a larger proportion of the local population, are almost like traps of death. Mexican Laborers who have come to work in the United States have a mortality as high as 80 percent.

Teenagers from at least 38 countries work like slaves (EFE San Francisco, Sept. 26, 2004). Out of 45 million people who are unable to afford Medicare in the United States, 7 million are African-Americans, accounting for about one fifth of the total African-Americans in the States. The proportion is 77 percent higher than that for the white people (available at http://www.johnkerry.com/communities/african-americans/gw_record.html).

The Declaration of Independence said all men are created equal, so the gap between black and white people is simply an insult to the founding essence of the United States (see US News and World Report on March 29, 2004).

Apartheid runs rampant at schools of the United States. On May 17, 1954, Chief justice Earl Warren of the Supreme Court announced the court's decision over a case known as Brown v. Board of Education that the doctrine of "separate but equal" had no place in US public schools. Fifty years later, white children and black children in the United States still lead largely separate lives. One in eight southern black students attends a school that is 99 percent black. About a third attend schools that are at least 90 percent minority. In the Northeast, by contrast, more than half of blacks attend such schools (Schools and Lives Are Still Separate, The Washington Post, May 17, 2004).

Racism recurs on campus of American universities. Fascist slogans and posters promoting superiority of white people, along with threats by weapon or words were found on college campuses including University of California at Berkeley. Protests were sparked off when Santa Rosa Junior College in California published anti-Semitism opinions in a column article in its campus newspaper and the chat room of its website were dominated by white-superior surfers. At Dartmouth College, white girl students auctioned off black slaves in fund-raising activities. At the University of Southern Mississippi, hordes of white students assaulted four black students, chanting racist slogans after a football match was over. At Olivet College of Michigan State, where there are only 55 black students, 51 of the black students quitted school after racial cases of violence or harassment (see The China Press, a Chinese language newspaper published in New York, on April 17, 2004).

Racial prejudice has made social conflicts to become acute, causing a rise in hate crimes. Racial prejudice, most often directed at black people, was behind more than half of the nation's 7,489 reported hate crime incidents in 2003, the FBI said on Nov.22 2004. Race bias was behind 3,844 of the total cases in 2003, FBI claimed after having made statistics of hate crimes handled by 16 percent of the law-enforcement organizations in the States.

Reports of hate crimes motivated by anti-black bias totaled 2,548 in 2003, accounting for 51.4 percent of the total, more than double the total hate crimes against all other racial groups. There were 3,150 black victims in these reports, according to the annual FBI figures (AP, Washington, Jan. 26, 2004). And with regard to the attribute of race, among the 6,934 reported offenders, 62.3 percent were white (http:/www.fbi.gov/pressrel/presssrel04/pressel/12204.htm).

In a related development, because of the "lingering atmosphere of fear" stemming from the Sept. 11 attacks and fallout from the Iraq War, there were 1,019 anti-Muslim incidents in the United States in 2003, representing a 69 percent increase. There were 221 incidents in 2003 of anti-muslim bias in California, tripled a year ago (Los Angeles Times, May 3).

Racial prejudice is ubiquitous in judicial fields. The proportion for persons of colored races being sentenced or being imprisoned is notably higher than whites. In accordance with a report published in November 2004 by the US Department of Justice, colored races accounted for over 70 percent of inmates in the United States. And 29 percent of black people have the experience of being in jail for once. Black people make up 12.3 percent of the population in the United States, but by the end of 2003, out of 1.4 million prisoners who are serving jail terms above one year at the federal or state prisons, 44 percent were blacks, or on average, 3,231 in every 100,000 African-Americans were criminals. Latino-American inmates make up 19 percent of the total prisoners, or 1,778 in every 100,000 Latino-Americans are inmates. Inmates of other color races account for 21 percent (http://wwww.ojp.usdoj.gov/bjs/abstract/P03.htm). At the end of 2003, 12.8 percent of black men aged 25 to 29 were in prison (Chicago Tribune, Nov. 8, 2004), compared 1.6 percent of white men in the same group (A Growing Need for Reform, The Baltimore Sun, June 20, 2004). Blacks receive, on average, a longer felony sentence than whites. A black person's average jail sentence is six months longer than a white's for the same crime. Blacks who are arrested are 3 times more likely to be imprisoned than whites who are arrested. White felons are more likely to get probation than blacks. (see the State Black America 2004, issued by National Urban League on March 24, 2004, http://www.nul.org/pdf/sobaexec.pdf).

After the Sept. 11 incident, the United States openly restricts the rights of citizens under the cloak of homeland security, and uses diverse means including wire tapping of phone conversations and secret investigations, checks on all secret files, and monitoring transfers of fund and cash flows to supervise activities of its citizens, in which, people of ethnic minority groups, foreigners and immigrants become main victims.

Statistics show that after the Sept. 11 attacks, 32 million were investigated out of racial prejudice concern throughout the United States. Among the people being investigated out of racial prejudice concern, African-Americans made up 47 percent, followed by people of Latino and Asian origins. White Americans only account for 3 percent. On June 23, 2004, authorities with the Los Angeles Police Department and the US Federal Bureau of Investigation authorities investigated the televised beating of a black suspect by white police in Los Angeles that has resurrected the explosive spectre of the 1991 Rodney King assault. Eight police officers have been removed from regular duties following the incident on June 23 in which three of them were seen tackling the suspected black car thief, one beating him repeatedly with a metal flashlight (AFP, Los Angeles, June 24, 2004).

In the meantime, the anti-immigrant trend has become increasingly serious in the States. The US Department of Homeland Security announced in November 2004 that 157,281 immigrants were repatriated in one year, up 8 percent from a year ago, a record high. The number of foreigners arrested without any documents also went up by 112 percent (Argentina La Nacion, Nov. 21, 2004).

Another report says starting from last year, many American cities such as San Francisco, Baltimore, Philadelphia, Miami, Saint Paul, Denver, Kansas and Portland, dozens of immigrants from Mexico or other countries are arrested each day and are forced to wear fetters like suspects. The practice of treating illegal immigrants like criminals has become a national trend. The limit in the definition of terrorists and illegal immigrants has become very blurry.

V. On The Rights of Women and Children

The situation of American women and children was disturbing. The rates of women and children physically or sexually victimized were high. According to FBI Crime Statistics, in 2003 the United States witnessed 93,233 cases of raping. Virtually 63.2 in every 100,000 women fell victims. The statistics also showed that every two minutes one woman was sexually assaulted and every six minutes one woman was raped.

The number of women abused and treated at First Aid Centers exceeded one million every year. More than 1,500 women in the United States were killed every year by their husbands, lovers or roommates (The Milenio, Mexico, Sept. 26, 2004). Nearly 78 percent of American women were physically victimized at least once in their lifetime. And 79 percent of the women were sexually abused at least once. A survey released in November 2004 by the US National Institute of Justice showed by the time they concluded four years of college education, 88 percent of the women had experiences of physical or sexual victimization and 64 percent of them experienced both. In the past decade, charges handled by the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission against sexual harassment on women surged 22 percent (The Sun, Jul. 16, 2004).

Sex crimes in the US military were on the rise. According to the Washington Post (Jun. 3, 2004), from 1999 to 2002 the number of lawsuits against sexual crimes in the US army that were formally filed grew from 658 to 783, up 19 percent. And the number of rape cases went up from 356 to 445, up 25 percent. The number of such cases rose equally 5 percent between 2002 and 2003. The British Guardian reported on Oct. 25, 2004 that by the end of September 2004 the Miles Foundation had dealt with 242 cases filed between September 2002 and August 2003 about US woman soldiers being raped or sexually harassed in Iraq, Kuwait, Bahrain or Afghanistan. In addition, there were 431 cases of US women soldiers being sexually harassed at other military bases.

Women's labor and social rights were violated. According to The Sun newspaper (Jul. 16, 2004), the charges handled by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission on sexual discrimination against women grew 12 percent in the past decade. In 2004 two cases drew wide attention. They were a bias class lawsuit involving 1.6 million women employees at Wal-Mart and another case involving 340 women staffers of Morgan Stanley (New York Times, Jul. 13, 2004).

Men and women on the same job were not paid the same. Statistics released by the US Labor Department in Jan. 2004 showed a woman who worked full time had the median earning of 81.1 percent of that for a man. The Chicago Tribune said on Aug. 27, 2004 that the rate of women in poverty went up fast, to 12.4 percent of the entire female population.

The health care for American women was at a low level. The US Family Medical Leave Act guarantees 12 weeks of unpaid leave for childbirth to about half of all mothers and nothing for the rest. A study of 168 countries conducted by the Harvard School of Public Health indicated that US workers have fewer rights to time off for family matters than workers in most other countries, and rank near the bottom in pregnancy and sick leave. "The United States trails enormously far behind the rest of the world when it comes to legislation to protect the health and welfare of working families," said Jody Heymann, a Harvard associate professor who led the study. (AP Boston, Jun. 17, 2004)

Child poverty was a serious problem. The Chicago Tribune reported on Aug. 27, 2004 that the number of children in poverty climbed from 12.1 million in 2002 to 12.9 million in 2003, a year-on-year increase of 0.9 percent. About 20 million children lived in "low-income working families" -- with barely enough money to cover basic needs (AP Washington, Oct. 12, 2004). In California, one in every six children did not have medical insurance. The Los Angeles Times said on May 6, 2004 that in the metropolitan area the number of homeless children found wondering on the streets at nights numbered 8,000, which had stretched the 2,500-bed government-run emergency shelter system well beyond capacity. Poverty deprived many children the opportunity to obtain higher education. In the 146 renowned institutions of higher learning, only 3 percent of the students came from the low-income class, while 74 percent of them were from the high-income class.

Children were victims of sex crimes. Every year about 400,000 children in the US were forced to engage in prostitution or other sexual dealings on the streets. Home-deserting or homeless children were the most likely to fall victims of sexual abuse. Reports on children sexually exploited, which were received by the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, soared from 4,573 cases in 1998 to 81,987 cases in 2003 (The USA Today, Feb. 27,2004).

In recent years scandals about clergymen molesting children kept breaking out. According to a study commissioned by the American Catholic Bishops, in 2004 a total of 756 catholic priests and lay employees were charged with child sexual harassment. It is believed that from 1950 to 2002 more than 10,600 boys and girls were sexually abused by nearly 4,400 clergymen (AFP, Feb. 17, 2005). Moreover, every year over 4.5 million kids in the United States were molested in kindergartens and schools, which amounted to one in every ten (AP, Jul. 14, 2004).

Violent crimes occurred frequently. Studies show nearly 20 percent of US juveniles lived in families that possessed guns. In Washington D.C. 24 people younger than 18 were killed in 2004, twice as many as in 2003 (The Washington Post, Jan. 1, 2005). In Baltimore, 29 juveniles were killed from Jan. 1 to Sept. 27 in 2004. In 2003 35 were killed (The Washington Post, Sept. 28, 2004).

A report released by the US Justice Department on November 29, 2004 said about 9 percent of school kids aged 9 to 12 admitted being threatened with injury or having suffered an injury from a weapon while at school in 2003.

More and more schoolers were reluctant to go to school because of security concerns. Child abuses and neglects were widely reported in the United States. The Sun newspaper reported on May 18, 2004 that in 2002, a total of 900,000 children in the United States were abused, of whom nearly 1,400 died.

Every year, 1.98 out of every 100,000 American children were killed by their parents or guardians. In Maryland, the rate was as high as 2.4 per 100,000. (Md Child Abuse Deaths Exceed National Average, The Sun, May 18, 2004). The Houston Chronicle newspaper reported on Oct. 2, 2004 that in Texas, each staff of local government departments responsible for protecting children's rights handled 50 child abuse cases every month.

Two thirds of juvenile detention facilities in the United States lock up mentally ill youth; every day, about 2,000 youth were incarcerated simply because community mental health services were unavailable. In 33 states, juvenile detention centers held youth with mental illness without any specific charges against them (http://demonstrats.reform.house.gov/Documents/200408171941-41051.pdf).

The USA Today reported on July 8, 2004 that between Jan. 1 and June 30 of 2003, 15,000 youth detained in US youth detention centers were awaiting mental health services, while children at the age of 10 or younger were locked up in 117 youth detention centers. The detention centers totally ignored human rights and personal safety with excessive use of drugs and force, and failed to take care of inmates with mental problems in a proper way. They even locked up prisoners in cages. There were reports about scandals involving correctional authorities in California, where two juvenile inmates hanged themselves after they were badly beaten by jail police (San Jose Mercury News and Singtao Daily, March 18, 2004).

VI. On the Infringement of Human Rights of Foreign Nationals

In 2004, US army service people were reported to have abused and insulted Iraqi POWs, which stunned the whole world. The US forces were blamed for their fierce and dirty treatments for these Iraqi POWs. They made the POWs naked by force, masking their heads with underwear (even women's underwear), locking up their necks with a belt, towing them over the ground, letting military dogs bite them, beating them with a whip, shocking them with electric batons, needling them sometimes, and putting chemical fluids containing phosphorus on their wounds. They even forced some of the these POWs to play "human-body pyramid" while staying naked, in the presence of US soldiers who were standing on the roof and mocking at them. They sometimes sodomized these POWs with lamp pipes and brooms. Some Iraqi civilians were also fiercely abused.

The newspaper Pyramid pointed out that the true face of Americans was exposed through this incident. A spokesman of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said, sarcastically, that the US has made the whole world see what the hell a democratic, law-ruled nation is.

According to US media like the Newsweek and the Washington Post, as early as several years ago, in US forces' prisons in Afghanistan, interrogators used various kinds of torture tools for acquiring confession, causing many deaths.

British newspaper The Observer reported on March 14, 2004 that according to a report by the ICRC, US soldiers had formed a kind of mode for arresting people even before the Iraq war. "Torture is part of the process."

Over 100 former Iraqi high-ranking government and military officials were put under special custody by the US military. They stayed 23 hours a day in dark, small and tightly closed concrete-made wards, where they were allowed to leave the wards twice a day, with 20 minutes available for taking a bath or going to the toilet.

On Nov. 26, Iraqi Lieutenant General Abid Hamid Mahmud al-Tikriti was put in a sleeping bag by force and died after he was physically tortured during an interrogation.

According to a latest report by AP, on Feb. 18, 2005, in November 2003, CIA people hanged dead one of the so-called "ghost" prisoner in the Abu Ghraib Prison by fierce means, with his two hands cuffed behind his back. When he was released with shackles and lowered, blood gushed from his mouth "as if a faucet had been turned on."

Among the 94 abuse cases confirmed and published by the Office of the US Inspector General for the Filed Army, 39 people were killed, 20 of these cases were confirmed as murder. There were also severe child abuses conducted by the US forces.

At least 107 children were imprisoned in seven prisons including the Abu Ghraib Prison run by the US forces in Afghanistan. They were not allowed to get in contact with their families. Their term in prison was undetermined. It was not clear when they were going to be brought court hearing. Some of these children had been abused. One low-ranking US officer who had served in the Abu Ghraib Prison testified that US soldiers abused some of these children in custody, and they had even assaulted young girls sexually.

What's more fierce is that US soldiers used military dogs to frighten these juvenile prisoners to see whose dog could scare them to lose control on excretion. US forces had violated the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, by detaining two Palestinian diplomats to Iraq in a prison ward of the Abu Ghraib Prison, together with 90 other men. They spent one year in the prison, suffering from very poor living conditions.

The ICRC believed that abuse of detained Iraqis in the notorious Abu Ghraib Prison was not a single case. It was a systematic behavior. According to some White House documents that were made public on June 22, 2004, the Department of Defense approved to use harsh means to interrogate prisoners in Guantanamo, Cuba.

The US Secretary of Defense said in the public that the Geneva Convention does not mean that all the detainees, especially those who were so-called "non-fighting personnel", should be treated as a POW. A draft memorandum of the Department of Defense also claimed that US laws and international conventions, including the Geneva Convention, which strictly ban the use of torture, do not apply to US President as the General Commander of the US Army. A memorandum of the US Department of Justice makes it even more clearly that the United States could use international laws to measure other countries on the issue of the treatment of POWs, while it is not necessary for Washington to abide by these laws. The interrogators were trained to find ways to torture prisoners, physically, while they should exceed the Geneva Convention, technically.

Media found that the US soldiers' behaviors in humiliating Iraqi prisoners as showed photos were typically what they were trained for. US Brigadier General Yanis Karpinski told the press that her boss once said to her that "prisoners are dogs." If they were made to think that they were a bit better than dogs, they could get out of control.

Meanwhile, the US government has tried for the third successive year to extend the term of a resolution of the UN Security Council that soldiers could be exempted of lawsuit by the International Criminal Court, even if they break the relevant rules. In view of prisoner abuses in Iraq, this has been strongly criticized by the UN General Secretary (Reuters' story on June 17,2004).

Former US President Jimmy Carter also criticized that the US policies formulated by the high-ranking officials are a kind of retrogression, which has damaged the principles of democracy and rule of law and lacked respect for fundamental human rights.

To avoid international scrutiny, the United States keeps under wraps half of its 20-odd detention centers worldwide which are holding terrorist suspects. And at least seven US-controlled clandestine prisons, one of which dubbed "inferno," in Afghanistan, have not been kept within the bounds of law. (Prensa Latina, Aug. 16, 2004)

In a report by the Human Rights First on 24 US secret interrogation centers, these secret facilities are believed to "make inappropriate detention and abuse not only likely but virtually inevitable." (British newspaper the Times, Sept. 11, 2004)

Moreover, an executive jet is being used by the American intelligence agencies to fly terrorist suspects to other countries, in a bid to use torture and evade American laws. The plane is leased by the US Defense Department and the CIA from a private company in Massachusetts. Being accused of making so-called "torture flights," the jet has conducted more than 300 flights and has flown to 49 destinations outside the United States, including the Guantanamo Bay prison camp in Cuba. The suspects are frequently bound, gagged and sedated before being put on board the plane (British newspaper the Times, Nov. 14, 2004). The United States has secretly shifted thousands of captives worldwide in the past three years, most of whom were not indicted officially.

The United States is the No. 1 military power in the world, and its military spending has kept shooting up. Its fiscal 2005 defense budget hit a historical high of 422 billion US dollars, an increase of 21 billion dollars over fiscal 2004. As the biggest arms dealer in the world, the United States has made a fortune out of war. Its transactions of conventional weapons exceeded 14.5 billion dollars in 2003, up 900 million dollars year-on-year and accounting for 56.7 percent of the total sales worldwide. The Iraq War has been "a helping straw" to the US economic development.

The United States frequently commits wanton slaughters during external invasions and military attacks. Spain's Uprising newspaper on May, 12, 2004 published a list of human rights infringement incidents committed by the US troops, quoting two bloodthirsty sayings of two American generals, "The only good Indians I ever saw were dead" by General Philip Sheridan and "we should bomb Vietnam back to the stone age" by air force general Curtis LeMay. We can still smell a similar bloodiness in the Iraq War waged by the United States.

Statistics from the health department of the interim Iraqi government show 3,487 people, including 328 women and children, have been killed and another 13,720 injured in 15 of Iraq's 18 provinces between April 15 and Sept. 19 in 2004.

A survey on Iraqi civilian deaths, based on the natural death rate before the war, estimates that the US-led invasion might have led to 100,000 more deaths in the country, with most victims being women and children.

Jointly designed and conducted by researchers at Johns Hopkins University, Columbia University and the Al-Mustansiriya University in Baghdad, the survey also finds that the majority of the additional, unnatural deaths since the invasion were caused by violence, while air strikes from the coalition forces were the main factor to blame for the violence-caused deaths. (Associated Press, Oct. 28, 2004)

On Jan. 3, 2004, four US soldiers stationed in Iraq pushed two Iraqi civilians into the Tigris River, making one of them drowned.

On May 19, 2004, an American helicopter fired on a wedding party in a remote Iraqi village close to the Syrian border, killing 45 people, including 15 children and 10 women. On Nov. 20, 2004, seven people were killed in Ramadi in the Anbar province when US troops opened fire on a civilian bus.

According to a Staff Sergeant in the US Marines, his platoon killed 30 civilians in six weeks. And he has witnessed the blasphemy and gradual rotting of many corpses, and a lot of wounded civilians were deserted without any medical treatment. (British newspaper The Independent, May 23, 2004)

In addition, the US troops often plunder Iraqi households when tracking down anti-US militants since the invasion. The American forces has so far committed at least thousands of robberies and 90 percent of the Iraqis that have been rummaged are innocent.

The United States has been hindering the work of the United Nation's human rights mechanism. And it either took no notice of or used delaying tactics on the requests of relevant UN agencies to visit its Guantanamo Bay prison camp in Cuba.

Some justice-upholding developing countries introduced draft resolutions on America's democracy and human rights situation to the 59th UN General Assembly, to show their strong concern over the US human rights infringement, prisoner abuse, media control, and loopholes in its election system.

It is the common goal and obligation for all countries in the world to promote and safeguard human rights. No country in the world can claim itself as perfect and has no room for improvement in the human rights area. And no country should exclude itself from the international human rights development process, or view itself as the incarnation of human rights which can reign over other countries and give orders to the others. Even the United States shall be no exception.

Despite tons of problems in its own human rights, the United States continues to stick to its belligerent stance, wantonly trample on the sovereignty of other countries, and constantly stage tragedies of human rights infringement in the world.

Instead of indulging itself in publishing the "human rights country report" to censure other countries unreasonably, the United States should reflect on its erroneous behavior on human rights and take its own human rights problems seriously. The double standards of the United States on human rights and its exercise of hegemonism and power politics under the pretext of promoting human rights will certainly put itself in an isolated and passive position and beget opposition from all just members of the international community.

Powermad : Senate usurps Judiciary

Constitution Restoration Act of 2005 (Introduced in Senate)

S 520 IS

109th CONGRESS
1st Session

S. 520

To limit the jurisdiction of Federal courts in certain cases and promote federalism.

IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES

March 3, 2005

Mr. SHELBY (for himself, Mr. BROWNBACK, and Mr. BURR) introduced the following bill; which was read twice and referred to the Committee on the Judiciary


A BILL

To limit the jurisdiction of Federal courts in certain cases and promote federalism.

    Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

    This Act may be cited as the `Constitution Restoration Act of 2005'.

TITLE I--JURISDICTION

SEC. 101. APPELLATE JURISDICTION.

    (a) Amendment to Title 28- Chapter 81 of title 28, United States Code, is amended by adding at the end the following:

`Sec. 1260. Matters not reviewable

    `Notwithstanding any other provision of this chapter, the Supreme Court shall not have jurisdiction to review, by appeal, writ of certiorari, or otherwise, any matter to the extent that relief is sought against an entity of Federal, State, or local government, or against an officer or agent of Federal, State, or local government (whether or not acting in official or personal capacity), concerning that entity's, officer's, or agent's acknowledgment of God as the sovereign source of law, liberty, or government.'.
    (b) Table of Sections- The table of sections at the beginning of chapter 81 of title 28, United States Code, is amended by adding at the end the following:
      `1260. Matters not reviewable.'.

SEC. 102. LIMITATIONS ON JURISDICTION.

    (a) Amendment to Title 28- Chapter 85 of title 28, United States Code, is amended by adding at the end of the following:

`Sec. 1370. Matters that the Supreme Court lacks jurisdiction to review

    `Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the district courts shall not have jurisdiction of a matter if the Supreme Court does not have jurisdiction to review that matter by reason of section 1260 of this title.'.
    (b) Table of Sections- The table of sections at the beginning of chapter 85 of title 28, United States Code, is amended by adding at the end the following:
      `1370. Matters that the Supreme Court lacks jurisdiction to review.'.

TITLE II--INTERPRETATION

SEC. 201. INTERPRETATION OF THE CONSTITUTION.

    In interpreting and applying the Constitution of the United States, a court of the United States may not rely upon any constitution, law, administrative rule, Executive order, directive, policy, judicial decision, or any other action of any foreign state or international organization or agency, other than English constitutional and common law up to the time of the adoption of the Constitution of the United States.

TITLE III--ENFORCEMENT

SEC. 301. EXTRAJURISDICTIONAL CASES NOT BINDING ON STATES.

    Any decision of a Federal court which has been made prior to, on, or after the effective date of this Act, to the extent that the decision relates to an issue removed from Federal jurisdiction under section 1260 or 1370 of title 28, United States Code, as added by this Act, is not binding precedent on any State court.

SEC. 302. IMPEACHMENT, CONVICTION, AND REMOVAL OF JUDGES FOR CERTAIN EXTRAJURISDICTIONAL ACTIVITIES.

    To the extent that a justice of the Supreme Court of the United States or any judge of any Federal court engages in any activity that exceeds the jurisdiction of the court of that justice or judge, as the case may be, by reason of section 1260 or 1370 of title 28, United States Code, as added by this Act, engaging in that activity shall be deemed to constitute the commission of--
      (1) an offense for which the judge may be removed upon impeachment and conviction; and
      (2) a breach of the standard of good behavior required by article III, section 1 of the Constitution.

Controlling the Terrorism Budget

I just found this Cato Institute analysis on our Defense spending and I have to respond. This analysis claims that attempting to combat al Qaeda using primarily military means is an inappropriate strategy, I have to disagree. Based on the analysis of Michael Scheurer in Imperial Hubris, al Qaeda should not be viewed as a conventional terrorist group to be fought using law enforcement. Using Bin Laden and the Afghan mujahadeen's experience in succesfully battling the Red Army they have, through a decade of development, become a world-wide Islamic insurgency, a veritable underground guerilla army of highly trained urban combatants with a wide variety of expertese in operational cells located in dozens of countries from Europe, Asia and Indonesia as well as the Middle-East and Persian Gulf.

I do agree that we should use our armed forced with a great deal more care and deliberation than has been used in either Iraq or Afghanistan so far, particular because of the budgetary impact - but neither should we completely foreclose the use of extreme force when neccesary.



$400 Billion Defense Budget Unnecessary to Fight War on Terrorism

by Charles V. Peña

Charles V. Peña is director of defense policy studies at the Cato Institute.


Executive Summary

President Bush signed a $417.5 billion defense appropriations bill for fiscal year 2005 on August 5,2004. With the addition of an $82 billion supplemental for military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, in real terms U.S. military spending will be at a level exceeded only by that of the waning years of World War II and the height of the Korean War. The Defense Department had requested $401.7 billion, which was a 7 percent increase over the FY04 defense budget. The recently submitted FY06 Pentagon budget is $419.3 billion (notincluding funds for military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan). The administration argues that increased military spending is a necessary part of the war on terrorism.

Those budgets assumed that the war on terrorism is primarily a military war to be fought by the U.S. Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marines. The reality is that large conventional military operations will be the exception rather than the rule in the war on terrorism. Although President Bush claims Iraq is the central front in the war on terrorism, the truth is that ridding the world of Saddam Hussein's brutal regime did not eliminate an Al Qaeda sanctuary or a primary source of support for the terrorist group.

The military's role in the war on terrorism will mainly involve special operations forces in discrete missions against specific targets, not conventional warfare aimed at overthrowing entire regimes. The rest of the war aimed at dismantling and degrading the Al Qaeda terrorist network will require unprecedented international intelligence and law enforcement cooperation, not expensive new planes, helicopters, and warships.

Therefore, an increasingly large defense budget (DoD projects that the budget will grow to more than $487 billion by FY09) is not necessary to fight the war on terrorism. Nor is it necessary to protect America from traditional nation-state military threats—the United States is in a unique geostrategic position; it has no military rivals and is relatively secure from conventional military attack because of vast oceans on its flanks and friendly neighbors to the north and south.

In fact, U.S. security would be better served by adopting a less interventionist policy abroad and pulling back from the Cold War–era extended security perimeter, which necessitates forward-deployed military forces around the world. If the United States adopted a balancer-of-last-resort strategy (allowing other countries to manage the security of their own regions), most overseas U.S. military deployments could be eliminated and the defense budget could be substantially reduced.

Full Text of Policy Analysis no. 539 (PDF, 1 MB