N E W S B R I E F S
Lawsuit Claims Iraq War Requires Formal Declaration
Six congressmen, along with several U.S. soldiers and parents of soldiers, filed a lawsuit in a federal court in Boston, Mass. on February 13. The suit sought to prevent President Bush from attacking Iraq without Congress formally declaring war. According to a United Press International report, John Bonifaz, lead attorney for the plaintiffs, explained that “a war against Iraq without a congressional declaration of war will be illegal and unconstitutional.”
Citing Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution, which states only Congress has the power to declare war, the lawsuit asserts that the congressional resolution on Iraq passed in October 2002 “did not declare war and unlawfully ceded the decision to Bush.” “The president is not a king,” plaintiff Charles Richardson stressed. “If he wants to launch a military invasion against Iraq, he must first seek a declaration of war from the United States Congress. Our Constitution demands nothing less.”
While U.S. District Judge Joseph Tauro agreed to hold an expedited hearing on February 20 on the injunction request, past precedents indicate this lawsuit will likely fail. As the Associated Press reported on February 14, “Congress has not formally declared war since World War II,” pointing out that the War Powers Act of 1973 only required that the President seek congressional approval “before or shortly after ordering military action abroad.” But proponents argue that precedents created by presidential usurpation, or congressional abdication, do not supersede the Constitution.
A similar lawsuit was filed against President George Bush (the elder) before the Persian Gulf War. But a federal judge rejected it on the grounds that the President “had not clearly committed the country to a course of action,” and that the 54 congressmen filing the suit only represented 10 percent of Congress, which was far from a majority.
U.S. Conference of Mayors Appoints Mayor O’Malley Chair of Homeland Security Task Force
Baltimore Mayor Martin O’Malley was appointed Chair of the U.S. Conference of Mayors’ new Homeland Security Task Force on March 19. The task force will spend its efforts on securing funding for police, fire, and emergency response personnel. Mayors have been seeking a stronger federal partnership and funding for local homeland security since 9/11. The federal budget for this fiscal year did not provide the promised $3.5 billion in new assistance for rising security costs in cities nationwide.
Consumers Beware of Cell Phone Blunders
Maryland Attorney General J. Joseph Curran, Jr. warns consumers of the pitfalls of certain cell phone plans which make it easy to wind up with an expensive bill. In the latest issue of Consumer’s Edge, Curran points out the different ways customers are confused by cell phone plans and gives solutions to the problems in the following:
Check with your provider about a return policy, in case your phone doesn’t work where you need it to. If there is no return period, a customer may be unable to terminate the contract unless a fee is paid, usually $150—200. Look for plans that allow a couple weeks to cancel if necessary.
Get all promises in writing. What the salespeople tell customers in a store may be different than what is in the written contract. Read carefully before signing.
Be absolutely clear about when “peak” and “off-peak” periods are. Some calls during peak periods cost up to 40 or 50 cents a minute.
Families sharing a cell phone plan should set ground rules as to how many minutes each family member gets, so the allotted number of minutes is not exceeded.
Toll-free calls and calls with a calling card made on a cell phone are not free. Customers will be charged airtime for these calls on their cell phone.
Consumers can request a copy of Consumer’s Edge by calling 410-576-6500 or read it online here.
US Representatives Introduce Resolution to Start Exploring Renewable Energy Options
Representatives Udall (D-NM), Udall (D-CO), and Leach (R-IA) recently introduced HR 1294, a Renewable Electricity Standard bill that requires utilities to generate 20 percent of their electricity from clean renewable sources by 2025. This bill would save consumers money on their utility bills, benefit farmers, create jobs, spur economic development, and improve our energy security. Encouraging the use of renewable energy would also reduce air pollution and heat-trapping emissions that threaten public health. Learn more about this issue and about HR 1294 by visiting this webpage.
Eight Local Anti-War Protestors to be Tried June 10
On Saturday, March 1 at 4:30 p.m., eight anti-war activists were arrested in the Townson Town Mall in Towson, Maryland. They were among 18 activists representing the Iraq Pledge of Resistance-Baltimore, one of 43 chapters across the country.
The entire group was peacefully leafleting without mall permission. No patrons had their movement obstructed.
During the 14 and a half hours of jail time, the eight activists endured shackles, handcuffs, cold jail cells, and verbal harrassment from guards.
They will be tried on June 10 with charges of trespassing, failure to obey a police order, and disorderly conduct. They face jail sentences of 210 more days in jail, along with $1500 in fines. In addition, the Towson Town Center Mall has informed the eight protestors that they are banned for life from the shopping complex.
The age range of the eight arrested is 24 to 60. They are Max Obuszewski, Maria Allwine, Levanah Ruthschild, John Dornheim, Marcel Estevez, Donald (Donny) Gann, Mark Giffen and Ann Forno.
The Iraq Pledge of Resistance is a national organization promoting a peaceful resolution to the Iraq crisis. Members engage in non-violent civil disobedience and promote the UN Charter and international law generally.
2003 Pocket Guide to Boating and Fishing Now Available
The Department of Public Works announced that the 2003 Boating and Fishing Guide for City Reservoirs is currently available for free to the public. The 32-page pocket-sized guide provides the rules and regulations governing reservoir activities and includes detailed fish species data.
The cost of a season boating permit is $50. For the safety of boaters and the protection of the water supply, gasoline powered engines are prohibited along with inflatable and collapsible vessels.
For additional information or to obtain a copy of the guide or a boating permit, contact the Department of Public Works at 410-795-6150.
Baltimore Reverses Permit Refusal to Group’s Circus Protest Truck
The City of Baltimore reversed a permit refusal for the animal rights group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) to park its travelling protest truck outside the Ringling Brothers Circus on opening night at First Mariner Arena on March 12. The group hired First Amendment lawyer Jonathan L. Katz of Silver Spring, Md.’s Marks & Katz, LLC, to seek the reversal.
Baltimore City’s Department of Public Works originally turned down the permit application of the Norfolk-based group, whose travelling protest truck shows videotapes from circuses and slaughterhouses as part of a campaign for the humane treatment of animals. The original reason for refusal, issued on February 27, was the anticipated pedestrian traffic.
Katz obtained a reversal for PETA one day before the circus’s opening night, after arguing to Baltimore’s Law Department that the permit denial amounted to an unconstitutional prior restraint of protected speech. He argued that Baltimore had a particular First Amendment problem for not even having written guidelines for granting or denying such permit applications.
Doctors Denounce Bush Speech
Physicians for Social Responsibility-Los Angeles called on the Bush Administration to continue diplomacy and find a peaceful solution to the Iraqi crisis on March 17, two days prior to when the attack began. The public health group claimed that a war on Iraq would increase the likelihood of a terrorist attack in the U.S., cause untold suffering to the Iraqi people, and threaten our economy and social needs at home. The group also demanded that President Bush publicly commit to a “no first use” policy on nuclear weapons.
The group expressed concern that a humanitarian crisis would follow war, killing innocent Iraqis. In early March, a PSR doctor returned form a mission to Iraq sponsored by the Center for Economic and Social Rights, and determined that the country is completely unprepared to deal with the disruption of war.
“We must understand the horrible consequences of war on the Iraqi citizens who are already weakened by twelve years of war, sanctions, and a kleptocratic leader,” said Dr. Jose Quiroga, a Board member of Physicians for Social Responsibility. “I prescribe peace.”
PSR-LA is part of the US affiliate of International Physicians for the Prevention Nuclear War, which received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1985.
Fossil Fuel Use Increases Despite Pollution It Causes
According to the Union of Concerned Scientists Action Network, fossil fuels currently supply 69 percent of the electricity used by Maryland homes and businesses. Burning these fuels emits smog-forming nitrogen oxide and sulfur dioxide pollution that triggers an estimated 200,000 asthma attacks in Maryland annually. Maryland power plants are also responsible for 27 percent of the state’s global warming pollution.
Maryland’s use of coal, the dirtiest fossil fuel has increased by 25 percent since 1992, and is still on the rise. Local environmentalist groups are calling for the implementation of a clean energy standard in the state that would ensure a steady ramp up to 7.5 percent of new, clean energy sources in the next 10 years.
Updated for the Baltimore Chronicle & Sentinel
by Allegro Web Communications on March 5, 2003.
Local Stories, Events
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Books, Films, Arts & Education
07.11 7,000+ Colleges and Universities Declare Climate Emergency and Unveil Three-Point Plan to Combat It [Fox News and Betsy DeVos never talk about this stuff so it must be Bull Shit, right?]
Ref. : Letters to the editor
Health Care & Environment
07.17 Planned Parenthood president Leana Wen forced out by board [Given that states have lost abortion rights on political grounds recently, Wen's philosophical approach to protect abortion rights based on ‘health care’ was smarter – therefore it was that smarter strategy that was killed at the secret meeting.]
07.17 What is happening in America's Cancertown is tragic, immoral and evil [Niggardly white government policies could change to produce better students, better jobs and net revenue instead of costs. But it seems they enjoy more cruelty—like Trump.]
07.15 Extinction Rebellion protests block traffic in five UK cities [Non-corporate human animals make their annoying bleating sounds...]
07.14 A Glacier the Size of Florida Is Becoming Unstable. It Has Dire Implications for Global Sea Levels [The willfully ignorant needn't read more, Trump]
07.13 'Climate Despair' Is Making People Give Up on Life [Willfully ignorant governments—having fired many of their best scientists—have made themselves too stupid to despair]
07.13 Trump administration to approve pesticide that may harm bees [The worst government money can buy!]
07.10 Plastic Has A Big Carbon Footprint — But That Isn't The Whole Story [Fixing our world begins by educating your consciousness with the best truth from trustworthy news sources—so you'll then insist truly bad things will get fixed. But if instead you are educated by untrustworthy news sources—then your consciousness could be warped to where you are hating and fighting with your best friends. Clue: untrustworthy news sources never seriously report news about the world's most critical emergency—Global warming.]
07.09 Judge reinstates Madrid's low emissions zone [Yeh!]
07.07 How Solar Panels Work (And Why They're Taking Over the World) [Hope they leave space between panels for wild flowers to grow so birds and butterflies can flourish!]
07.04 US produces far more waste and recycles far less of it than other developed countries [As expected—and made worse by Trump—the U.S. is best at being the worst]07.03 Booming LNG industry could be as bad for climate as coal, experts warn
07.03 Caravan of Americans battling diabetes heads to Canada for affordable insulin [3:36 video; Like Central Americans flee for their lives from criminal drug gangs, Americans flee for their lives for affordable pharmaceutical drugs]
News Media Matters
US Politics, Policy & 'Culture'
07.18 Inside Trump's DC hotel, where allies and lobbyists flock to peddle their interests [Also, too much ignored by media, the $millions "donated" corrupting moderate Democrats and Republicans every election cycle must stop]
07.18 This Republican's Case for Medicare for All [A well-informed Republican is rare, so let's hold him in the light so others may learn]
07.18 Trump rally crowd chants 'send her back' after president attacks Ilhan Omar [1:03 video shows Trump pandering to his ignorant idolaters, and together they're making America a greater shit-hole country]
07.16 As Trump Sows Discord, Chief of Staff Mulvaney Reportedly Focused on 'Building Empire for the Right Wing' [And the South shall rise again...]
07.16 Turnstile teaching [The problem is NOT the color of students skin, as our fake President reflexively thinks. The problem is the lax attitude and deficient funding by government to always do a much better job for a better future.]
07.16 Contempt [Variations of frequent loss & theft of property title by organized legal efforts against black owners]
07.15 Australia 'deeply concerned' about China's treatment of Uighur people [What are the reasons, exactly, that justify harsh imprisonment of a million people?]
07.15 Zuma tells South Africa corruption inquiry he is victim of foreign plot [Unaccountable corrupt governments are so in fashion these days...]
07.14 Warren vows to probe U.S. crimes on immigrants if elected [Can you imagine living in a nation with a working Justice System? How far we've fallen!]
Economics & Corrupt Capitalism
International & Futurism
07.18 ‘No rioters, only a tyrannical regime’: Thousands of Hong Kong seniors march in support of young extradition law protesters [Most people around the world have more in common with these Hong Kong Chinese protestors than with the ignorant people at Trump rallies]
07.18 Dozens Arrested as Over 1,000 Jewish Activists and Allies Shut Down Entrances to ICE Headquarters Demanding Closure of Trump Detention Camps [Obviously these are not the immoral and less educated right-wing jews who support Netanyahu, Trump and ICE, and who slowly exterminate Palestinians when no one is looking]
07.17 Trump Murdered the Iran Deal—And Europe Isn’t Too Happy About It [Only psychopathic Saudi Arabia and Russia are U.S. ’allies’ now...]
07.15 Australia now has the highest minimum wage in the world [From 1960 to 2018 – the U.S. has fallen from 1st place to below the tenth place and off the chart]
07.14 At least 24 Yellow Vests lost eyes in violent protests. Now they're more determined than ever [Protests of all kinds will continue until systemic inequality loses political dominance]
07.13 After a Police Shooting, Ethiopian Israelis Seek a ‘Black Lives Matter’ Reckoning [Since so-called modern humans evolved there have been 10,000 generations of people. It is extremely far-fetched to think anyone is racially pure. SO ALL THIS HATE IS INCREDIBLY STUPID.]
07.13 Brazil’s President May Appoint Son, Friend to the Trumps, as Ambassador to U.S. [Friend of the Trumps, so we know they're all brain-dead except about near-term profits. They are clear-cutting the Amazon Rain Forest to feed-then-butcher millions of methane farting cows, over and over. Yep, that's there business plan. So therefore the rest of the world will hopefully plant billions of trees elsewhere to sequester CO2 to offset what the Bolsonaro family and investors are destroying. What's wrong with this picture?]
07.13 Trump’s Cruelty and Mexico’s Duty [Our president is immoral to his core and reacts to things like a child, not understanding that his actions are often crueler than they should be. And that cruelty will never completely be excused or forgotten—the people's hatred of Trump is growing, like the Texan's hatred when President General Santa Anna laid seige to the Alamo, which was Mexico's territory at the time...]