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June 22-24, 2007

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Pelosi: Impeachment 'off the table'

10/23/2006 @ 12:47 pm

Filed by RAW STORY


In an interview with CBS's 60 Minutes, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) pledged that impeachment of President George W. Bush was off the table should Democrats gain a majority next month.

Pelosi speculated that Republicans would "just love" the "waste of time" such proceedings would be. "Making them lame ducks," she concluded, "is good enough for me."


Just a Reminder of why Bush is Out of Control

Alex Wierbinski, Berkeley, Ca., June, 22, 2007: Written for Corruption Update 82_2

We have an understanding of the basic outlines of Bush's crimes against our citizens, our Constitution, and scores of known and unknown victims around the world.

But this does not bother Pelosi or most of the Democrats in Congress. Pelosi "took impeachment off the table" before the November election.

It is strange that Pelosi could rule out impeachment before a full accounting of Bush's crimes was even begun.

It is apparent that Bush has kidnapped, tortured, and held many people without cause or warrant. It is apparent that Bush has instituted massive illegal searches within the US by the NSA. It is apparent that Bush has manipulated the appointment of US Attorneys for political purposes. It is apparent that Bush lied about the causes for the Iraq war to Congress and the American people.

All of these incidents need to be thoroughly investigated, and if the investigations warrant a trial, Bush must be impeached.

And then there was Katrina. Katrina not only blew down New Orleans, but it blew the cover off of Bush's appointment of buddies and lobbyists to run every executive branch agency.

The result is that the executive branch agencies have given away massive chunks of America's health and wealth to corporate America, and other practioners of political bribery.

These corruptions in the executive branch agencies must be thoroughly investigated, and Bush must be impeached, if the investigations indicate he committed high crimes and misdemeanors.

Considering Bush's crimes, one needs to ask just what Bush would have to do to put Impeachment back on Pelosi's table? Nuke California?

Pelosi's failure to impeach Bush for these fundamental insults to our Constitution and Congressional law will do long term damage to our government.

If Pelosi fails to repudiate both Bush's actions, as well as his claims to unlimited Presidential powers, Pelosi and the Democrats will be validating Bush's claims to illegal and unconstitutional powers, leaving them on the table for abuse by future Presidents.

It is vital to the health of our government that Pelosi drive all the investigations on Bush's crimes forward, and begin impeachment proceedings if the investigations indicate the President acted criminally.

Without strong action, future presidents may preserve, or resurrect Bush's claims to tyrannical powers.

Also See:

Corruption Updates 43, 6th article on the page, "Bush impeachment on the table, Hagel says"

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Unconstitutional Presidential Power

Illegal Searches


US Attorney


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U.S. Group Says Pakistan Is Building New Reactor


NY Times, June 23, 2007



ISLAMABAD, Pakistan, June 22 — Pakistan is building a third plutonium production reactor at a major nuclear weapons center, a sign of plans to increase the nation’s nuclear arsenal significantly, a Washington group specializing in nuclear issues said Friday.

...it appeared that Pakistan would be able to build a new generation of lighter, more powerful weapons that could be more easily launched on missiles, said David Albright, the president of the Institute for Science and International Security.

He added that it was possible that Pakistan was pushing forward with the new reactor because the military was not satisfied that the current nuclear warheads were of sufficient power.

The more powerful weapons, which use plutonium instead of highly enriched uranium — currently Pakistan’s principal nuclear explosive material — would do greater damage to the large cities of its rival, India, which also possesses nuclear arms, Mr. Albright said.

John D. Negroponte, the deputy secretary of state, met with the Pakistani president, Gen. Pervez Musharraf, here last weekend during a visit that reaffirmed Washington’s backing of the military leader, who is now under increasing popular pressure to return Pakistan to civilian rule.

“The expansion of the Pakistani nuclear program demonstrates that the Bush policy of giving Musharraf a pass on nonproliferation is accelerating the nuclear arms race in South Asia,” said Bruce Riedel, who directed Pakistan policy at the National Security Council under President Clinton and is now at the Saban Center at the Brookings Institution in Washington.

Pakistan’s facilities at Khushab are not subject to safeguard inspections by the International Atomic Energy Agency because the nation has not signed the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty. The first reactor at the Khushab site came on line in 1998.

Pakistan and India, which has also not signed the nonproliferation treaty, each have enough fissile material for more than 50 nuclear weapons, and possibly 100, Mr. Albright said.


US Supports Tyrants and illegal Nuclear Programs in Pakistan and India

Alex Wierbinski, Berkeley, Ca. 26, June, , 2007

The situation with Pakistan is not going to end well for American interests. The main flaw in our relationship with Pakistan is we are supporting a nuclear armed military dictator. If he is toppled, the next government may deeply resent our intereference in their internal affairs. This is complicated by our support for India's illegal nuclear weapons program.

The central flaw in our foreign policy is that it is guided by no principals, only self-interest. Our toleration and support of both nation's illegal weapons programs increases regional instability to achieve our short-term goals.

In India, we pander to their illegal nuclear program to gain economic benefits from India's expansion, while simultaneously using India as a strategic counter-balance against Chinese power in the region.

In Pakistan, we have made a dirty deal with the dictator Musharraf. We silenced our objections to both the dictatorship, and its nukes, and paid him billions of dollars, in exchange for his "official" support for our Terror War.

Supporting a military dictator to fight for "freedom and democracy" exposes the lie at the center of our foreign policy.

The problem is that the Pakistani people support neither Musharraf, nor our terror war against their tribal brothers in Afghanistan. When Musharraf is deposed, the guns and money we bribed Musharraf with, as well as control of Pakistan's nuclear arsenal, will fall under the control of unknown people. There is a good chance that Pakistan's next government will wholly reject American sponsored dictators, and resent us for supporting the dictator who ruled them.

India, on the other hand, may well end up becoming a better friend of China and Russia than the United States. Our economic and nuclear support for India may well backfire as China, Russia, and the Arabic nations reposition themselves, and their relationships with each other, as the world balance of power and control of middle eastern oil shifts away from American control.

Our best option was to maintain a firm rejection of both country's nuclear programs, with the goal being complete disarmament, and complete verification that both countries nuclear programs have no military component.

Combined with diplomatic efforts to defuse the situation in Kashmir, we could have lessened the tensions driving both countries to develop and evolve better nukes.

The Bush Administration's threats of unilateral military action, combined with repeated threats to use nukes in a first strike, has hardened the resolve of nations around the world to obtain a nuclear deterrent to the American Nuclear Menace.

In our dealings with both Pakistan and India, we have committed ourselves to a policy of supporting the illegal nuclear programs in both countries, ignoring Kashmir and the underlying conflict, to achieve short-term tactical advantages.

Our strategy of unconditionally supporting Musharraf's dictatorship ensures that violent domestic resistance will increase. Domestic resistance Musharraf's dictatorship has been enhanced and hardened by our support. Our support for Musharraf has hastened his rejection by his own people.

The ultimate result of our short-sighted Pakistani policy will be the emergence of an independent Pakistani government, armed with nuclear weapons, enraged by America's support for Mursharraf's dictatorship.

India, on the other hand, will take all of our military and economic support, and do whatever the hell they see as best for their country, not ours.

The full weight and power of our nation has been focused to achieve our regional goals through bribes and threats. Using bribes and threats as the basis of our relationships with India and Pakistan assures that we will have little influence when changes in political fortunes bring administrations that will not respond to bribes and threats.

Our participation in Pakistan has enraged their people, while protecting their nuclear program from outside scrutiny and international pressure. Our diplomacy with India has effectively recognized and accepted their illegal nuke program, recieving nothing in return.

Overall, our relationships with both countries have increased the ability of each to nuke the other, and has laid the groundwork for further regional, and global, instability.

Until we develop a set of basic principals to guide our foreign policy, our diplomacy of bribes and threats will continue to assure that international relations are based on greed and violence.

Also See:

Corruption Updates 31, 10th article on the page, "Pakistan's old new year"

Corruption Updates 38, 10th article on the page, "American Dictator Removes Chief Justice in Pakistan"

Corruption Updates 62, 10th article on the page, "Billery Clinton: Pakistani businessman, donor to Dems, returns to U.S. to face charges"

Corruption Updates 68, 2nd article on the page, "Pakistan Holds 2 in Pearl Killing: False, These Men Kidnapped 4 years Ago"

Search the Corruption Database under


Supporting Dictators


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Iran Cracks Down on Dissent


June 24, 2007



Iran is in the throes of one of its most ferocious crackdowns on dissent in years, with the government focusing on labor leaders, universities, the press, women’s rights advocates, a former nuclear negotiator and Iranian-Americans, three of whom have been in prison for more than six weeks.

The hard-line administration of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, analysts say, faces rising pressure for failing to deliver on promises of greater prosperity from soaring oil revenue. It has been using American support for a change in government as well as a possible military attack as a pretext to hound his opposition and its sympathizers.

Some analysts describe it as a “cultural revolution,” an attempt to roll back the clock to the time of the 1979 revolution, when the newly formed Islamic Republic combined religious zeal and anti-imperialist rhetoric to try to assert itself as a regional leader.

The country’s police chief boasted that 150,000 people — a number far larger than usual — were detained in the annual spring sweep against any clothing considered not Islamic. More than 30 women’s rights advocates were arrested in one day in March, according to Human Rights Watch, five of whom have since been sentenced to prison terms of up to four years. They were charged with endangering national security for organizing an Internet campaign to collect more than a million signatures supporting the removal of all laws that discriminate against women.

At least three prominent nongovernment organizations that pushed for broader legal rights or civil society have been shuttered outright, while hundreds more have been forced underground. A recent article on the Baztab Web site said that about 8,000 nongovernment organizations were in jeopardy, forced to prove their innocence, basically because the government suspects all of them of being potential conduits for some $75 million the United States has earmarked to promote a change in government.

Professors have been warned against attending overseas conferences or having any contact with foreign governments, lest they be recruited as spies. The Iranian-Americans are all being detained basically on the grounds that they were either recruiting or somehow abetting an American attempt to achieve a “velvet revolution” in Iran.

Analysts trace the broadening crackdown to a March speech by Ayatollah Khamenei, whose pronouncements carry the weight of law. He warned that no one should damage national unity when the West was waging psychological war on Iran. The country has been under fire, particularly from the United States, which accuses it of trying to develop nuclear weapons and fomenting violence in Iraq.

To the political crackdown, Mr. Ahmadinejad adds a messianic fervor, Mr. Milani noted, telling students in Qom this month that the Muslim savior would soon return.

Most ascribe Mr. Ahmadinejad’s motives to blocking what could become a formidable alliance between the camps of Mr. Khatami and Hashemi Rafsanjani, both former presidents. Parliamentary elections are scheduled for early next year, and the next presidential vote in 2009.

“Having to face a single pragmatic conservative and reform block is extremely threatening,” Mr. Nasr said, hence the intimidation of all possible supporters.



Alex Wierbinski, Berkeley, Ca., March 29, 2007:

(Originally written for Corruption Update 45_4)

Bush is trying to provoke the Iranians into war. Not a "hot" war, as he has broken our army, and we are as incapable of invading Iran as we are of controlling Iraq.

What Bush is looking for is a pretext to do to Iran what Israel just did to Lebanon, and what the US did to Iraq after the first Gulf War: destroy its social and economic infrastructure with air power.

I anticipate that Bush's political plan for the upcoming presidential election is to put together some kind of "October surprise," that he will use to expand the war into Iran.

Bush's goal will be to sweep aside domestic political resistance to his unilateral authority, and create a crisis that will allow his regime free hand to declare some type of "national emergency," and suspend the presidential election.

Does this sound crazy? Who was crazy enough to invade Poland? What group is running our country? Hitler, and Corporate fascists, respectivly.

I would not be surprised if it came down as a major "terrorist" attack occurring at the height of the presidential campaign, causing a "temporary" delay in the election to deal with the "crisis."

Bush has already claimed, and exercised, unlimited power, and merely needs the proper circumstances to further expand his claims to impose illegal emergency powers.

I give it a 20% chance that Bush will blow up something in the US, and cancel the '08 presidential election. I set the odds at 30% that Bush will provoke a war with Iran, and Bush will try to cancel the '08 presidential election.

Overall, I put the odds at 50-50 that Bush is going to pull a fast one to prolong his presidency.

Also See:

Corruption Updates 45, 3rd article on the page, "Is a U.S.-Iran War Inevitable?"
Corruption Updates 51, 6th article on the page, "U.S. Decides Against Freeing 5 Iranian Agents"
Corruption Updates 58, 4th article on the page, "Cheney's choices"

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General’s Iraq Progress Report Has Competition


June 24, 2007




WASHINGTON, June 23 — Last month, Congress set a deadline for the American commander in Iraq, declaring that by Sept. 15 he would have to assess progress there before billions more dollars are approved to finance the military effort to stabilize the country. The commander, Gen. David H. Petraeus, said in recent days that his report would be only a snapshot of trends, strongly suggesting he will be asking for more time.

...the administration is commissioning other assessments that could dilute its findings about the impact of the current troop increase. The intent appears to be to give President Bush, who publicly puts great emphasis on listening to his field commanders, a wide range of options.

The assessments are likely to conclude that the Iraqi government has failed to use the troop increase for the purpose the president intended, to strike the political accommodations that he said would stabilize the country. That and other views expected in the various reports could also provide some rationale for beginning a reduction of troops in Iraq under conditions far short of the “victory” Mr. Bush, for the past four years, has said was his ultimate goal. He has used that word with far less frequency recently.

Congress has also asked for an independent commission to report on whether the Iraqi security forces are ready to take on the greater role in stabilizing the country that Mr. Bush has talked about since soon after the 2003 invasion. But lawmakers did not mandate who would conduct the assessment, and tellingly, the Pentagon assigned that task to the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a bipartisan Washington policy institute that has regularly published some scholars’ stinging evaluations of strategic blunders in the administration’s strategy.

The reality, officials said, is that starting around April the military will simply run out of troops to maintain the current effort. By then, officials said, Mr. Bush would either have to withdraw roughly one brigade a month, or extend the tours of troops now in Iraq and shorten their time back home before redeployment.

with the proliferation of assessments, there may also be a proliferation of contradictory views. That is exactly what the White House sought to create last December, when it ordered other studies to offset the findings of the Iraq Study Group, led by former Secretary of State James A. Baker III and former Representative Lee H. Hamilton. Mr. Bush rejected much of the group’s advice — until recently, when he declared that it was his intention to get back to the group’s plan. He did not say which parts, but the plan includes a call, filled with caveats, for gradual withdrawal of all combat brigades by the end of March 2008.

Already, Mr. Bush’s aides are anticipating that General Petraeus’s report will be met with anger in Congress from Democrats and some Republicans who have expressed skepticism that Iraq can achieve real political progress.

The first, preliminary report demanded by Congress is due from the administration on July 15, just as Congress is in the midst of further debate on a bill that would authorize military spending for Iraq for the fiscal year that begins in October. The main benchmarks assessment, due on Sept. 15, will arrive on Capitol Hill as Congress is debating legislation to appropriate that money, the second part of the budgeting process. Any of those bills could serve as vehicles for members to try to legislate troop levels or timetables for the Iraq mission.



Bush lining up his next set of Excuses for Failed War and Failed State in Iraq

Alex Wierbinski, Berkeley, Ca., June 26, 2007

Let's do away with all those fancy reports, and just put the real facts on the table: WE LOST THE WAR IN IRAQ. Period.

None of Bush's Opium dreams of a war plan worked, except defeating the Iraqi Army. After that, everything as fallen to hell, and is going deeper into hell every moment we stay in Iraq.

Bush is apparently preparing a range of reports detailing his failures, but this stragety of confusing the issue will not work, as every aspect of Iraq's failure follows from Bush's decision to invade Iraq. Bush failed to calculate, or prepare for, the cascading repercussions of his flawed invasion.

Each aspect of the failure of Iraq, including Iraq's failed government, the multi-headed insurgency, the stregthening of Iran's position, and the failure of the military to control Bagdad, are all Bush's failures.

Bush is failing again. Rather than failing in planning, preperation, and execution of his crazy occuptation, Bush is failing to take responsibility for his failures.

Bush is commissioning a handful of reports to point the finger of blame away from him, in a desperate attempt to blame the Iraqi Government, military, and militias for Bush's failed war. None of this covers the fact that Bush's invasion and occuptation is the mother of the Iraqi government and the new Iraqi army. The failed government, military, and the rise of local militias are all failures of Bush's. Bush was the decider, and is directly responsible for every military and political failure in Iraq.

Most importantly, every American, and especially every military family in America, must understand that their government has been hijacked, and used to criminally attack another nation without just cause.

Bush's ultimate responsibility is being criminally responsible for every death that has occured in Iraq.

Fighting and dying for freedom never happened in Iraq. Fighting and dying for Bush and his corporate sponsors continues uabated in Iraq.

Bush continues in his stubborn failure to honestly acess, or take responsibility for his failed war, the failure of the Iraqi state that followed, and the subsequent loss of American influence around the middle east, and the world that is continuing to erode our international power and influence.

Also See:

Corruption Updates 67, 1st article on the page, "'03 Iraq reports warned Bush about Iraq: Bush is an Irresponsible Idiot"

Corruption Updates 45, 1st article on the page, "McCaffrey Paints Gloomy Picture of Iraq"

Corruption Updates 56, 5th article on the page, "Batiste: Army Career Behind Him, General Speaks Out on Iraq"

Corruption Updates 58, 6th article on the page, "War-torn Iraq 'facing collapse'"

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Brown takes Labor Party reins

Tony Blair officially hands over leadership. His successor calls for seek non-military solutions in Iraq.

By Kim Murphy
Times Staff Writer

12:23 PM PDT, June 24, 2007


From the Los Angeles Times

MANCHESTER, England — British Prime

Minister Tony Blair handed over leadership of the Labor Party today to his treasury chancellor, Gordon Brown, who pledged that Britain "will meet our international obligations" in Afghanistan and the Middle East but called for going beyond military solutions to combating terrorism.

Blair will formally step down as prime minister on Wednesday, and Brown will succeed him at least through the next general elections, which must be held by 2010. The transition came as Labor appeared to pull ahead of the Conservative Party in public confidence for the first time in eight months.

A poll for the Observer newspaper showed that 40% of respondents believed that Brown would make the most capable prime minister, compared to 22% for Conservative leader David Cameron. The party overall was 3 percentage points ahead of the Conservatives, a result Observer analysts attributed to Brown "bounce."

Brown said he would boost the housing ministry to a cabinet-level position to address widespread alarm over expensive housing and raise state spending on public schools to the level spent per pupil on private school education, a difference of 45%.

He also announced an initiative to align aid, debt relief and trade policies in an attempt to combat poverty, illiteracy, disease and environmental degradation around the world.


Blair Out, Brown in: Will English Foreign Policy return to Sanity?

Alex Wierbinski, Berkeley, Ca., June, 26, 2007

The Poodle has played his last game of fetch for Bush. The Brits have been our only substantial ally in Iraq, and Blair was a reliable tool of Bush's political will across the middle east.

As badly as Bush has botched the Iraqi war and our diplomatic relationships with the whole of the middle east, England is as deeply engaged in supporting the Saudi, Egyptian, and Jordanian dictatorships as we are. England is as deeply wedded to, and dependent on, Israeli military supremecy in the middle east as we are.

England is a partner with America in maintaining the political, diplomatic, economic, and military foundations of every oil and gas producing regime in the middle east, as well as Israel.

The countries that are outside of the Anglo-American Sphere of Influence feel the punishing weight of the Anglo-American's political, diplomatic, economic and military powers used against their attempts at self-determination.

This leaves Brown few options. If he does not support our failed war, the threat to Anglo-American corporate dominance of middle eastern energy increases. If Brown continues to support the war, the threats and tensions still increase.

Brown is facing a "damned if you do, damned if you don't" situation. The contours of the political situation in the middle east offer a third way out of this mess.

The third option, that Brown will take a new course in middle eastern diplomacy, is the most unlikely outcome. The third option requires completely repolarizing the nature of English relations with the middle east.

Reasonable diplomacy focuses on developing long term diplomatic and political stability. In the middle east this requires directly addressing and difusing the fundamental issues that are tearing the region apart. The main issues that threaten our relationship with oil is our support of middle eastern dictatorships and Israel. These relationships assure the enevitable extinction of our influence in the middle east.

The first step is fully opening relations with Hamas, Iran and Syria, and confirming the legitimacy of their independent governments. The second step is stopping all military, political and economic aid and assistance to Israel, and shifing it to Palestine. The third step is demanding open, democratic elections in Egypt, Jordan, Pakistan, and Saudi Arabia.

By opening full relations with, and confiriming the legitimacy of Hamas, Syria, and Iran, Brown would move the bulk of the Arab street from support of "terrorism,"  and violent resistance to Israel and our dictators, to supporting peaceful diplomatic and democratic processes to achieve their domestic and regional goals.

Recognizing Hamas will finally bring a legitimate negociator for Palestinian interests to the table. Switching all English material and political support from Israel to Palestine will force Israel to finally negociate, rather than attempt to dictate, the terms of a viable long term peace.

Demanding actual democratic elections in our dictatorial states will alter the trajectory of Egypt, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia away from a radical Islamic overthrow of these Anglo-American supported dictatorships, towards the development of stable, self-governed independent states.

Brown has to change the nature of England's relationship with the middle east from bribery and violence, to diplomacy and democracy. The American stragety of supporting dictators and Israel is literaly going down in flames.

America's middle eastern policies have failed. Our invasion of Iraq is no more than a failed attempt to stem the rising tide of  Arabic independece.

Rather than changing our relationship with the middle east in response to the rise of calls for Arabic self-determination, America invaded Iraq, continues to insult Iran, and gave Israel cover to contine their crimes against the Palestinans.

Rather than diffuse these conflicts in a way that reflects our our stated values, America has hardend its support for its dictators, and employed unrestricted violence across the whole middle east to achive our goals. This has made the Arabs brutally aware that our versions of diplomacy and democracy are no more than thin covers for naked power.

Bush's war has accelerated our already flawed middle eastern policies towards immediate failure, and his unrestricted use of violence assures that when the full repercussions of his Iraq adventure play out across the whole middle east, the results will be disasterous.

Saudi Arabia stopped manipulating oil production to favor our needs immediatly after we invaded Iraq, and now calls our occupation illegal. Pakistan's dictator is barely hanging onto power. Egypt's fake elections may please us, but his dictatorship rests on military power alone, and will not be passed to his son. Our dictators, the men who depend on our guns and money to stay alive and in power, are repudiating us to maintain credibility and influence among their own people.

The irony of our situation is oppressive: none of our dictators could survive without our support, and none will survive long with our support.

Brown has a chance to change the complexion and direction of the whole middle east, if he has the balls to pragmatically, and honestly, address the layers of injustice that drives American brutality and injustice in the middle east.

If Brown can map out alternatives to our Terror War against the middle east, he will defuse our quest for military dominance, and simultanously defuse the "terrorists" who contest our illigimate dominanation of their lands.

Brown has a brief oppertunity to chart a path to peace and stability in the middle east. But Brown would have to demonstrate he has the brains to see it, and the balls to put it on the table.

Also See:

Corruption Updates 25, 4th article on the page, "ENGLISH LORD COMPARES HITLER'S INVASION OF POLAND WITH IRAQ WAR"

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Saudi Arabia


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$3.2 Billion Move by Bear Stearns to Rescue Fund


NY Times, June 23, 2007



Bear Stearns Companies, the investment bank, pledged up to $3.2 billion in loans yesterday to bail out one of its hedge funds that was collapsing because of bad bets on subprime mortgages.

The crisis this week from the near collapse of two hedge funds managed by Bear Stearns stems directly from the slumping housing market and the fallout from loose lending practices that showered money on people with weak, or subprime, credit, leaving many of them struggling to stay in their homes.

Bear Stearns averted a meltdown this time, but if delinquencies and defaults on subprime loans surge, Wall Street firms, hedge funds and pension funds could be left holding billions of dollars in bonds and securities backed by loans that are quickly losing their value.

Bear Stearns acted yesterday after the hedge fund and a related fund had suffered millions in losses and after shocked investors had begun asking for their money back.

The firm is, meanwhile, negotiating with banks to rescue the second, larger fund started last August, which has more than $6 billion in loans and reportedly holds far riskier investments.

“We don’t think it is over,” said Girish V. Reddy, managing director of Prisma Capital Partners, which invests in other hedge funds. “More funds will feel the pain, but not many are as leveraged as the Bear fund.”

If lenders had seized the assets of the funds and tried to sell billions of dollars in mortgage-related securities at fire-sale prices, it could have exposed Bear Stearns and the market to substantial losses.

While the board of Bear Stearns never met over the funds, all of its top executives, including the chief executive, James E. Cayne; its presidents, Alan D. Schwartz and Warren J. Spector; and the chief financial officer, Samuel L. Molinaro Jr., huddled in meetings over the last few days looking to find a way to contain the crisis, according to people briefed on the discussions who could not speak for attribution.

The first fund, the Bear Stearns High-Grade Structured Credit Fund — the one bailed out yesterday — was started in 2004 and had done well, posting 41 months of positive returns of about 1 percent to 1.5 percent a month. But investors were clamoring for even higher yields, which would require more aggressive bets on riskier mortgage-related securities and significantly higher levels of borrowed money, or leverage, to bolster returns.

The firm clearly had the expertise — it was a leader in underwriting and trading bonds and esoteric securities backed by mortgages.

So, in August, the Bear Stearns High-Grade Structured Credit Enhanced Leveraged Fund — the second fund that eventually had huge losses — was started with $600 million in investments, mostly from wealthy individual clients of Bear Stearns, and at least $6 billion in money borrowed from banks and brokerage firms. Bear Stearns and a handful of its top executives invested a mere $40 million in both funds.

The Bear Stearns funds, like so many others, had invested in collateralized debt obligations, or CDOs, which invest in bonds backed by hundreds of loans and other financial instruments.

Last year, $316.4 billion in mortgage-related CDOs were issued, about 77 percent more than the year before, the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association said.

By April, the older fund was down by 5 percent for the year, and the newer fund had fallen 10 percent.

Managers tried to protect the fund by hedging potential losses in lower-rated securities they held, but did not do so for higher-rated bonds, which also fell in value.

“They didn’t realize this was Katrina,” the investor said. “They thought it was just another storm.”

In May, however, more significant problems began to emerge. The Swiss investment bank UBS shut its hedge fund arm, Dillon Read Capital Management, after bad subprime bets led to a $124 million loss.

Perhaps the most startling development was a sharp restatement in April of the second fund. The firm revalued some securities and told investors that the fund was down 23 percent, not 10 percent as it had said earlier.

Shocked investors began contacting Bear Stearns, demanding to pull their money out. In May, the firm froze all redemption requests. This month, at least three Wall Street firms — JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup and Merrill Lynch — began demanding more cash as collateral for the loans they had made.

Fighting to save the funds, Bear Stearns sold $3.6 billion in high-grade securities. Meanwhile, its adviser, Blackstone, scrambled to line up a deal in which Bear Stearns would put up $1.5 billion in new loans and a consortium of banks led by Citigroup and Barclays would put in $500 million.

In return, the lenders would have their exposure to the funds reduced but could not make further margin calls for 12 months.

Some lenders, including Merrill Lynch and Deutsche Bank, balked and moved to sell assets. At one point Wednesday, nearly $2 billion in securities were listed for sale, although some banks, including JPMorgan, eventually canceled scheduled auctions.

By the end of the day, out of the $850 million in securities that Merrill had put up for sale, only a small portion actually sold.

In the wake of the weak auctions, several other lenders, including JPMorgan, Citigroup, Goldman Sachs and Bank of America, reached deals with Bear Stearns. At least some of the deals involved the lenders selling the securities back to Bear Stearns for cash, although the prices were not disclosed.


Out of Control Unregulated Markets Threatens Every American's Security.

Alex Wierbinski, Berkeley, Ca., June 25, 2007: originally written for Corruption Update 83_8

The problem is not just unregulated markets, it's why they're unregulated.

The problem is that we are allowing markets to lead, rather than follow, the will of the people. Supply-Side economics says if you give the rich all the money, they will rain down a golden shower upon all us lesser folk.

Instead of using law to concentrate wealth in the hands of the rich, god bless them, we should require the rich to earn their wealth, their concentration of capital, by drawing citizen spending to their endeavor.

The hedge funds represent just the opposite. Rather than earning wealth responsibly, and being restrained by the requirements of responsibility, the hedge funds appeared and grew as regulation and taxation on wealth receded.

Once you allow Supply side economics to run out its first stage, concentrating wealth at the top of society, the second stage begins. Vast pools of concentrated capital are guided to create, and profit from, the market effects of their own movements.

In the case of  Amaranth, they fell into a hole of their own creation, similar to the Silver hole the Hunts created, and fell into, in the early '80s. You must understand that when a big market player makes a monopolistic move on a position, be it a stock or commodity, at a certain point their purchases create a shortage of that position in the market, driving up the price.

By theory, in a "perfect" market, the price drop when they unload the position will equal out with the price rise when they bought in. But we do not live in a perfect world. Perfect markets do not, and cannot exist.

The big move of the Big Market Player creates not just a shortage of the position they purchase, but has the potential to create a psychological momentum in the market that drives up the price high enough to generate profits when they offload of a big chunk of their position, at a vast profit, before the price tanks completely.

Amaranth, like the Hunts, failed to pull the trigger at the proper moment, and got caught in their own trap.

To avoid this bullshit, we must revert to citizen-side economics, maintaining the majority of the wealth of this country in the middle-class.

Concentrations of wealth and capital must emanate from, and be responsible to, the middle class for the highest degree of economic security.

Also See:

Corruption Updates 81, 8th article on the page, "Bear Stearns Staves Off Collapse of 2 Hedge Funds: Billions in Worthless Loans Ready to Hit Market"

Corruption Updates 83, 8th article on the page, "Report on Amaranth Collapse Is to Be Made Public"

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Britain: Biggest Union Backs Israel Boycott


June 23, 2007

World Briefing | Europe


Britain’s largest labor union urged “concerted and sustained pressure upon Israel,” including “an economic, cultural, academic and sporting boycott,” to force its withdrawal from Palestinian areas.

The union, called Unison and grouping 1.3 million public service employees, also called on the British government to oppose the sale of arms to Israel. The calls were made in a motion approved at Unison’s annual conference in Brighton demanding the creation of a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza with its capital in Jerusalem

The resolution followed similar calls for pressure on Israel from British labor unions representing journalists and college teachers. British and American Jewish organizations condemned the latest boycott call.


British Unions Oppose Israeli War Crimes and Crimes against Humanity:

Join them in their fight to stop Jewish crimes against humanity

Alex Wierbinski, Berkeley, Ca., June 26, 2007

Join the Boycott of Israel. Demand that our government spend not one penny of our tax dollars to support Israel war crimes, and crimes against humanity. Stop the Jews thievery of Arabic lands.

Buy no products from Israel. Do no business with companies that do any business with Israel.

To do otherwise is equivalent to buying war bonds to support Hitler's war of racial supremacy.

Israel is little different than Hitler: the Jews difference is that they use religion, rather than race, to justify their crimes against humanity.

Neither religion, nor race, excused the crimes of Hitler then, nor of Israel today.

Also See:

Corruption Updates 37, 1st article on the page, "Poll: Israel, Iran, US most Negative Countries in World"

Corruption Updates 42, 4th article on the page, "Bolton Admits: US ALLOWED ISRAEL TO DESTROY LEBANON"
Corruption Updates 64, 3rd article on the page, "British Academics’ Union Endorses Israel Boycott"

Corruption Updates 64, 4th article on the page, "Largest Labor Union in Britain May Consider a Boycott of Israel"

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Air board OKs first steps to cutting greenhouse gas emissions

By Jim Downing - Bee Staff Writer
Published 12:00 am PDTFriday, June 22, 2007


The state Air Resources Board on Thursday adopted three fast-track strategies for cutting greenhouse gas emissions.

The so-called "early action strategies," first proposed in April, are scheduled to become law by Jan. 1, 2010. They make up the first package of regulations authorized under Assembly Bill 32, the climate-change law enacted last year. The measures include:

-- A low-carbon fuel standard, as directed by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger in January, requiring that the "carbon content" of the fuel powering the state's vehicle fleet drop 10 percent by 2020.

-- New standards for methane-capture systems at garbage dumps.

-- A plan to reduce releases of the refrigerants used in automotive air conditioners. Rather than outright banning retail sales of the refrigerants, as proposed in April, the board left open the possibility of a compromise plan from the refrigerant industry that would make cans of refrigerant self-sealing and institute a recycling program.

The decision to put just three strategies on the list for implementation by Jan. 1, 2010 fell short of what many environmental advocates requested during roughly four hours of public testimony Thursday. They urged the board to add measures including fuel-efficiency improvements for heavy-duty trucks, a emissions reductions from cement plants and a variety of strategies to reduce pollution from seaport operations.


Feel Good Environmental Protections Worthless in face of Massive Demographic Growth in California

Alex Wierbinski, Berkeley, Ca., June, 26, 2007

Although our pollution from the past 150 years of growth brought us to today's climate crisis, we are not going to stop the growth and expansion of consumers and consumption that fuels the climate crisis.

Instead, we are going to continue to grow as rapidly as possible, guaranteeing that all of our efforts to curb CO2 will be worthless.

The only way to address, and slow the rapid onset of our expanding climate crisis is to completely stop our growth. The place for every environmentalist to start, is by insisting on removing every crimigrant in the country, and stopping even one from entering the country, or gaining any type employment here.

If we combine this with our CO2 reduction program, we will actually reduce future per capita emission of CO2 while reducing the population producing CO2.

If we don't, our environment is going to cook us.

Our growth rate makes our CO2 programs ineffective. Like recycling, our C02 programs give us superficial actions that only serve to make us feel better without addressing the core source of global warming: massive American population growth.

Our plans to combat global warming do not address the primary causes of global warming, only the most superficial manifistations. We are continuing down the same road that brought us to this crisis.

If we fail to read the handwriting on the clouds and on our diminishing waters, and act directly on the problem, we will finish off the destruction of our state's the natural beauty, and our environment's ability to support our already massive population.


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