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Posted: October 18, 2007

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1) The Articles linked below were Abstracted from the sources cited. After the abstract there's analysis and commentary, links to related articles, and a link to the database with suggested search terms.

Senate and Bush Agree On Terms of Spying Bill

Some Telecom Companies Would Receive Immunity


By Jonathan Weisman and Ellen Nakashima

Washington Post, October 18, 2007; A01




Senate Democrats and Republicans reached agreement with the Bush administration yesterday on the terms of new legislation to control the federal government's domestic surveillance program, which includes a highly controversial grant of legal immunity to telecommunications companies that have assisted the program, according to congressional sources

The collapse marked the first time since Democrats took control of the chamber that a major bill was withdrawn from consideration before a scheduled vote. It was a victory for President Bush, whose aides lobbied heavily against the Democrats' bill, and an embarrassment for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), who had pushed for the measure's passage.

The draft Senate bill has the support of the intelligence committee's chairman, John D. Rockefeller IV (D-W.Va.), and Bush's director of national intelligence, Mike McConnell. It will include full immunity for those companies that can demonstrate to a court that they acted pursuant to a legal directive in helping the government with surveillance in the United States.

Such a demonstration, which the bill says could be made in secret, would wipe out a series of pending lawsuits alleging violations of privacy rights by telecommunications companies that provided telephone records, summaries of e-mail traffic and other information to the government after Sept. 11, 2001, without receiving court warrants. Bush had repeatedly threatened to veto any legislation that lacked this provision.

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Dem Traitors Roll Over to Criminal President Yet Again

Alex Wierbinski, Berkeley, Ca., October , 2007

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Also See:

Associated Press, October 10, 2007; Bush Threatens Veto of Eavesdropping Bill: Bush Presses for Permenant Illegal Searching Powers

Washington Post, October 3, 2007; White House Secrecy On Wiretaps Described: Dissray Reigns in Criminalized Department of Justice


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2) The Article linked below was Abstracted from the source cited.

Mukasey Endorses Expansive Presidential Authority

Nominee Says Bush Entitled to Ignore Federal Surveillance Law


By Dan Eggen and Paul Kane

Washington Post, October 18, 2007; 2:29 PM




Attorney general nominee Michael B. Mukasey suggested today that the president could ignore federal surveillance law if it infringes on his constitutional authority as commander in chief.

Under sharp questioning about the Bush administration's warrantless eavesdropping program, Mukasey said there may be occasions when the president's wartime powers would supersede legal requirements to obtain a warrant to conduct wiretaps.

In such a case, Mukasey said, "the president is not putting somebody above the law; the president is putting somebody within the law. . . . The president doesn't stand above the law. But the law emphatically includes the Constitution."

Sen. Patrick J. Leahy (D-Vt.), chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said he was "troubled by your answer. I see a loophole big enough to drive a truck through."

During a second day of hearings on his nomination, Mukasey defended several of the Bush administration's most controversial legal policies, prompting a drop in temperature in his previously warm relations with Democrats on the committee.

Mukasey, for example, endorsed the administration's views of expansive presidential authority in the use of executive privilege, saying it would be inappropriate for a U.S. attorney to press for contempt charges against a White House official protected by a claim of executive privilege.

Mukasey also demurred when he was repeatedly asked whether a simulated drowning technique known as waterboarding constitutes unlawful torture. Mukasey had strongly condemned the use of harsh interrogation tactics yesterday and said that the president could not order treatment that violated constitutional prohibitions.

But Mukasey said he could not elaborate on what techniques might be allowed, and specifically refused to answer questions from Democrats about whether waterboarding specifically was unconstitutional, saying he did know enough about what the technique entailed.

"If it is torture as defined by the Constitution, or defined by constitutional standards, it can't be authorized," Mukasey said.

Mukasey's remarks stood in sharp contrast to his comments during his first day of testimony yesterday, when he stopped short of embracing the Bush administration's legal views on several important topics and criticized its policies or legal reasoning in several areas.

The apparent shift prompted criticism from several committee Democrats, who largely showered Mukasey with praise yesterday and have predicted that he will be easily confirmed to replace former attorney general Alberto R. Gonzales.

During a break in testimony, Leahy told reporters that he was concerned about a "sudden change" in Mukasey's answers regarding the limits of presidential power.

"There were far clearer answers yesterday than there were today," Leahy said.


Yesterday, Sen. Russell Feingold (D-Wis.) pressed Mukasey on the limits of federal surveillance law with little success. Today, after Mukasey more clearly embraced the argument that such a law might infringe on presidential authority, Feingold complained that Mukasey had gone from being "agnostic" to holding a "disturbing view."

"You suggest that I've gone overnight from being an agnostic to being a heretic; I haven't," Mukasey responded, though he did not elaborate.

Mukasey also amplified his opposition to a proposed federal shield law for journalists, which has been approved by the Judiciary Committee in the wake of several high-profile cases in which reporters were jailed or threatened with contempt charges for refusing to divulge sources.

But Mukasey also declined to directly answer some questions related to controversial surveillance, detention and interrogation issues, and he suggested that in some policy areas his views might differ little from those of his predecessor.

During a sparring session with Feingold, for example, Mukasey declined to say whether the president could order a violation of federal surveillance law.

Mukasey said he could not provide an informed analysis without being briefed on the classified program but noted that some lawyers think the law does not entirely limit the president.

Most of the committee's Democrats, including Leahy, yesterday nonetheless repeated earlier predictions that Mukasey will be confirmed easily and with strong bipartisan support. "I'm encouraged by the answers," Leahy told reporters.

Gonzales, who has hired a private defense attorney, is under investigation by the Justice Department over whether he lied to Congress or improperly tried to influence a congressional witness.

Democrats had earlier threatened to hold up the Mukasey hearings until they received more documents from the White House related to congressional investigations of the prosecutor firings and other issues. Those demands were put on hold, but Democrats say they will not abandon their probes.

Mukasey said flatly that the president's commander-in-chief powers do not give him the authority to order torture or cruel treatment, which are prohibited by U.S. laws and international treaties.

At the same time, Mukasey essentially agreed with Gonzales's contention that a president can find a law unconstitutional.

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Mukasey Affirms He Will Defend and Advance the President's Career as a Criminal

Alex Wierbinski, Berkeley, Ca., October 18, 2007

Mukasey's testamony before the Senate is very disturbing. Mukasey has affirmed the basic elements of Unconstitutional authority that the Bush Administration has been pushing since 9/11.

Mukasey's testamony indicates he holds, and will advance legal positions that confirm the alteration of our government from a Constitutional Republic to a military dictatorship of the "Commander and Chief."

Murkasey has defended the doctrine that the Office of the President has the Power to Interprete the Constitution, void laws, and selectively obey laws as it suits the President.

This astounding view allows the President to Void all Laws pertaining to Rules of War, Illegal Domestic Searching, and the power of Congress to oversee, check and balance the Executive. If the Senate approves Mukasey, they will have signed the death warrant for the powers and rights of Congress, the people, and our Constitution.

Mukasey is forwarding an incredible propostition: The President is not just above the Law, but the President is the law, with the full capability to pick and choose which parts of legislation to obey and which parts to discard. According to Mukasey's theory, we don't need a Supreme Court, as the President has the power to decide on the Constitutionality of laws.

In fact, The President has no authority to judge laws Constitutional or Unconstitutional. The Constitution is unambigious on this issue: The President may sign, or not sign a law, and that is all. If a law has been legally passed, The President, in all of his roles, must obey it.

Mukasey and the Bush Administration have proved themselves traitors, enemies to our Constitution.

The Constitution, section 7, number 1, clearly states that, when Congress crafts

“...a law, (it) be presented to the President of the United States; if he approve he shall sign it, but if not he shall return it, with his objections to that house in which it shall have originated,...and (the house shall) proceed to reconsider it...”

The constitutionally mandated process leads to a law, or no law.

The Constitution does not authorize “signing statements,” or any Presidential power to accept, or reject, part of a law at the time of signing, or afterwards.

“Signing statements” are clearly Unconstitutional, and undermine the balance of Powers between the branches of Government, to the detriment of the rights of the people.

Muksey also defended the President's claims to be above the 4th Amendment and Congressional law made to apply this Constitutional Right. The Constitution is clear on this matter:

...and No warrant shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

The president has no authority to interfere with this Constitutionally mandated standard. Nor does Congress, nor the Courts. It is time for officeholders to protect and enforce the Constitution. Those that do have rendered themselves Constitutionally illegitimate, and must be removed from office and prosecuted for betraying our Constitution.

Congress and Mukasey are creating an authoritarian state run by a commander and chief that is above the Constitution and the law, right before our eyes.


Who Will Defend the President's Crimes Now?

the Mukasey confirmation

Alex Wierbinski, Berkeley, Ca., August 28, 2007
(edited on 1-10-08 for grammar only. Oh, and I added new links)

Bush has real problems now. He must find a new AG who will sign off on, well, what will he have to sign off on? Not much. Congress just passed an illegal and unconstitutional law that gives the President the power to conduct unlimited, warrantless searches on Americans. So that issue is settled. Congress covered Bush's illegal searches with a criminal law of its own, so the new AG is off the hook for illegal domestic searches.

Then we come to the President's use of kidnapping, unlimited secret detentions, and torture. I'm sure there are a set of super-secret findings somewhere in the Justice Department that contend the President has the power to secretly kidnap, detain, and torture anyone he wants. (Confirmed on Oct. 4, 2007-Alex) The new AG has a real hot potato here. Italy and Germany are prosecuting CIA agents in absentia for our kidnappings on their soil, moving them to secret detention facilities, and torturing them. Will our next AG have a problem with defending kidnapping?

It depends on if the next AG agrees with John Yoo and Gonzales' contentions that the President Can do Anything He Wants. (Confirmed Today, Oct. 18, 2007-Alex) This outrage was confirmed by Congress in the Military Commissions Act of 2006. This unconstitutional "law" grants the Presidential the right to kidnap, secretly detain, and torture anyone he wants, including American Citizens.

The next AG will have no problem defending American kidnapping, secret detentions, and torture as Congress passed laws authorizing these crimes. But that will not cover our international crimes. That responsibility will fall into the capable hands of Rice at State.

The next AG should have it easy. Congress, besides laying the legal groundwork for an unchecked, Unconstitutional President, is currently fully funding all of the President's crimes.

It has been rather easy for Gonzales to defend the President's crimes, as Congress has been a willing partner under both parties. The same will be true for the next AG. (Confirmed Today, Oct. 18, 2007)

If we had a real Constitutional Democracy, a real Attorney General would review all of the unconstitutional "findings" of Gonzales and Yoo, and throw them into the dustbin of Fascist History, where they belong.

A real AG would identify, investigate and immediately charge all of the criminals who have searched without warrants, kidnapped, tortured, or secretly detained anyone anywhere. A real AG would immediately turn over all the CIA participants in the European kidnappings to Italy and Germany for trial.

The next AG, if they have any sense of Justice and duty to our Constitutional rule of law, would begin a parallel investigation in the executive branch to determine who in the CIA, Pentagon, Justice Department, FBI, and White House approved of these crimes, and charge them accordingly. These are high crimes and misdemeanors against domestic and international law.

A real Congress would demand that of the next AG. But this Congress already indeminified the President's crimes before getting elected, when Pelosi "took impeachment off the table,"  and after getting elected passed their bogus Illegal Spying "law," so don't get your hopes up. In fact, Gonzales' resignation came on the heels of passage of the repugnant Illegal Spying "law."

I smell a big, nasty, stinking secret deal between Congress and Bush: Congress gave Bush Criminal Search Powers, and Bush, after a short delay, gave Congress the Head of Gonzales.

Thus Congress assured Bush that giving up Gonzales would not result in his immediate prosecution for illegal searches.

With Congress signing off on virtually all of Bush's crimes, and approving them with unconstitutional "laws," Bush has almost nothing to worry about, and Pelosi has finally and completely taken impeachment off the table. (i was mistaken. renegade dems later tried to impeach cheney, and pelosi squashed them)

Unless I'm completely wrong, and I hope I am, the next AG is going to be acclaimed by both parties, and is not going to challenge any of the President's illegal claims to royal authority to search, kidnap, detain, torture, and then run kangaroo courts on anyone he wants.

As the use of these criminal powers is being supported by Congress, rather than being taken away and repudiated, these criminal powers will continue to be used by future presidents against our people, our rights, and our Constitution. Congress' affirmation of these crimes has made them permanent presidential powers.

Since we have already lost control of our democracy, we face a future where, like now, the richest corporate factions will elect presidents. But unlike the past, our future Presidents will have unlimited, unchecked power to pay back their bribes, harass their political enemies with perpetual surveillance and fake prosecutions, and use the full power of the government to do the will of their corporate masters. This, my friends, is the face of Corporate Fascism.

Although Gonzales is gone, the attack on our civil rights is only now beginning to get really ugly. Establishing the foundation for unlimited illegal surveillance is just the start. Once they figure out how to use a complete record of everyone's communications, their power will be complete.

The first set of links below deals with Gonzales' lies to Congress about the Administration's attempts to railroad their illegal search program through an ill, but determined Ashcroft.

The second, longer set of links cover the wide range of governmental crimes Gonzales participated in, excluding the US Attorney Scandal.  A link following that list leads to the US Attorney Scandal Abstracts.

(See the links from this Aug. 28 story.)

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Also See:

Los Angeles Times, September 18, 2007; Mukasey is drawn into an old fight: Dems Ready to Confirm AG who will Protect Bush's Crimes

Four Articles on Mukasey Confirmation:

Two by the NY Times, the first of which soft-pedals Mukasey's defense of Unconstitutional presidential authority, and the second, which combes out some of Mukasey's disturbing statements supporting unconstitutional presidential authority:

1) NY Times, Oct 18, 2007: Mukasey condemns torture, says he'd be independent

2) NY Times, Oct 18, 2007: Attorney General Pick Treads Careful Line at Hearing

The Washington Post follows the same pattern. The first article soft-sells Mukasey's support of fascist governmental powers, while the second article explores some of the dangerous implications of Mukasey's ambigious positions.

1) Washington Post, Oct 18, 2007: Mukasey Vows Not to Bow to Political Power

2) Washington Post, Oct 19, 2007: Mukasey Endorses Expansive Presidential Authority

Truthout also did a weak article:

Truthout, Oct 18, 2007: Mukasey's Testimony Answers, Raises Questions


Who's investigating itself? The Executive Branch!

Who Will Defend the President's Crimes Now? The Senate, by confirming Our New Attorney General

Liars in Congress to ban torture: They already did, and bush ignored them, NYT, December 7, 2007


CIA destroyed evidence of torute and war crimes to subvert justice: torture tapes, lat, December 23, 2007

AG Mukasey blocks Congressional inquiry into CIA destruction of Torture evidence, AP, 12-14-07

Mukasey asserts Federal Courts have no Jurisdiction over torture evidence, AP, 12-18-07


Judge Orders CIA to Explain Torture Tape destruction, ap, 12-19-07

White House involved in Torture Tape Destruction, nyt, 12-19-07

Senate Probes CIA Torture Tape Destruction LAT 12-12

CIA Destroys evidence of Torture, Guardian 12-7-07



US admits torture, ap, 2-6-08

Mukasey refuses to investigate, prosecute admitted torture crimes of US govt, ap, 2-7-08


mukasey rules torture legal, reuters, 1-30-08


Mukasey refuses to hold president accountable for US Attorney corruption, ap, 3-1-08

White House aides must appear before Congress, judge rules, mcclatchy, 7-31-08


U.S. Justice Department officials will not be prosecuted in hiring scandal, iht, 8-12-08



What did they expect? Mukasey's confirmation testimony supported:

the Unitary President


The Dem Congress sold out the 4th amendment, tolerates Torture, and has taken impeachment off the table: The Corporate fascist Police State has revealed itself.


Cheney institutes torture in '02, wp, 6-25-07

How the Torture program was designed, Vanity Fair, 6-17-07

All torture links



analysis: Dem Congress WILL Confirm AG who will Cover Criminal President, committee, 8-28-08

Essay: American Revolution Outlawed by Congress early nov

analysis: Mukasey Affirms He Will Defend and Advance the President's Career as a Criminal, committee, 10-18-08

article/analysis: article: mukasey defends torture, lat, 10-31-08. analysis: It's 1984 in America: Up is Down, Torture an open tool of State, committee, 11-07.

analysis: Torture Tapes? committee, 1-08


torture links

illegal spying links

secret government

Corruption Database

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3) The Article linked below was Abstracted from the source cited.

Putin Warns Against Attacks on Iran

By VLADIMIR ISACHENKOV, Associated Press Writer

LAT,  October 16, 2007




TEHRAN, Iran -- Vladimir Putin issued a veiled warning Tuesday against any attack on Iran as he made the first visit by a Kremlin leader to Tehran in six decades -- a mission reflecting Russian-Iranian efforts to curb U.S. influence.

Putin strongly warned outside powers against use of force in the region, a clear reference to the United States, which many in Iran fear will attack over the West's suspicions that the Iranians are secretly trying to develop nuclear weapons.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad made similar comments.

"We are saying that no (Caspian) nations should offer their territory to outside powers for aggression or any military action against any of the Caspian states," Putin said.

The five national leaders at the summit later signed a declaration that included a similar statement -- an apparent reflection of Iranian fears that the United States could use Azerbaijan's territory as a staging ground for military strikes in Iran.

Putin has warned against such attacks previously, but reiterating them in Tehran gave them greater resonance -- particularly at a summit for a region where Moscow deeply resents U.S. and European attempts at greater influence.

The Russian leader also used the occasion to make a nod to Iran's national pride -- describing it as a "world power" and referring to the might of the ancient Persian empire.

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Iran Rising

Alex Wierbinski, Berkeley, Ca., October , 2007

These new Iran sancations are just the latest manifistation of Bush's unilateral International behavior. Iran has the right under international treaty to enrich uranium. Until Bush decided that international treaties mean nothing to the United States.

Shortly after taking office, Bush pulled out of the ABM treaty with Russia, ended negociation with N. Korea, and attacked Iraq against international law. Intentional violations of the Geneva Conventions against torture shortly followed Bush's illegal invasion.

Bush has continued to arm and aid three nations who illegally developed and possess nuclear weapons, India, Pakistan, and Israel, while denying Iran their sovereign right to develop nuclear power.

Bush's unreasonable stance towards Iran has historical roots that go back to the Iranian deposition of our Dictator, the Shah of Iran, in 1979. The Shah, alongside Israel, were the twin pillars of American Might in the Middle-East, and all nations in the region lived in the shadow of their might. 1979 changed all that.

Since then, we have treated Iran in much the same pattern as we have treated Cuba: We do not recognize the power of nations controlled by American Dictators or American-backed Corporate Elites to determine the terms of their own legitimacy or soveregnity. This tends to piss people off.

Since then Iran has survived 22 years of American economic isolation, the brutal 7 year American sponsored war with our then-buddy, Saddam, and every kind of economic and political pressue we could conjure up. Despite, or possibly because of these obstructions, Iran has prospered.

The spirit of self-determination that fueled Iran's Revolution of Independence from America has now intensified, radicalized, and spread across the whole Middle-East. All of America's dictators in the Middle-East are now facing the same dangers the Shah faced prior to his deposition.

America has responded by distancing ourself even further from our own values. We have hardened our support for our dictators, and turn a blind eye as they too kidnap, detain and torture their domestic political opponents. We sit by quietly as they threaten, imprison, and kill independent reporters.

Most disturbingly, we have created a legal black hole called "terrororism." This term trumps every law, Constitution, or international agreement that once held governments in check.

"Terror" declaring all who resist the American backed state violence used by the Saudi, Jordanian, Egyptian, and Israeli states to maintain their claims to legitimacy, to be "terrorists."

Bush's ill-concieved invasion of Iraq damaged the domestic political legitimacy of all of our Middle-Eastern allies from the very beginning of the war. Marching foreign troops into Iraq rekindled repugnant memories of British Colonial brutality, as well as the Crusades across the whole Middle-East.

Even more dangerously, Bush's failed invasions, and our impending defeats in Iraq and Afghanastan, have moved the body of middle-eastern opinion, not just to the point of sympathizing with the anti-American insurgencies in Iraq and Afghanastan, but has fueled independence movements in Egypt and Saudia Arabia as well.

The real victim is not just the honor and credit of the US, but the corporate fascism of the United States has discredited the notion and practice of democracy itelf.

The perpetual uglyness of our Iraqi and Afghan occupations is fuel to the fire of every Middle-Eastern independence movement, and has greatly contributed to the rise of Iran, again, as the dominant power in the Middle-East, under its own government, rather than one of our dictators.

This is the great complication, and the driving force behind the increasing US pressure on Iran: as Bush's idiocy continues to drive our wars to failure and damage our Middle-Eastern allies and influence, our failures simultanously feed the growth of Iran's power and influence.

Bush has stuck our arm into a bear trap. If he tries to pull it out, it will strip the flesh from our arm. If he pushes it in further, he will rip up fresh arm. Since Bush is incapable of thinking his way out of this crisis, we are fucked.

Bush's "solution" to the consequences of our Iraqi and Afghan disasters will be to spread the crisis to Iran. Bush is thinking that by bombing Iran into the Stone Age he will reduce Iran's ability to act on the regional oppertunities our Iraq and Afghan disasters have thrown on their doorstep.

This too, like the Iraq and Afghan invasions, will fail. A regional war will follow any attack on Iran, and this regional war will end the era of American-backed dictators in the Middle-East.

Iran will still, ultimatly, be the greatest benificiary of the rapid Middle-Eastern decolonization that is occuring before our eyes.

Our bombs may kill people, but they feed the ideas that are driving our opponents to victory.

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Also See:

Russia prepares to revise military doctrine in response to USA's missile defense plans, Corruption Updates 36, 1st article

Who's to Blame for Russia? Corruption Updates 39, 8th article

Russian Minister Says No ‘Rogue State’ Missile Threat to Europe, Corruption Updates 49, 4th article

Russia, Putin: US imperialists start new round of arms race, Corruption Updates 64, 8th article

Putin increases missile defence rhetoric: Bush Gives Russia every Reason to ReArm Corruption Updates 102, 3rd article

At Asian Security Meeting, Russian and Iranian Criticize the U.S., NYT, August 17, 2007

Stark Differences on Arms Threaten U.S.-Russia Talks: Bush, Fool of the Ages, Continues to Abuse Treaties, the Rule of Law, and Russia, NYT, October 10, 2007

PUTIN in IRAN: Putin Warns Against Attacks on Iran, Associated Press, October 16, 2007

Putin wants US date to quit Iraq, BBC NEWS, 18 October 2007

Iran-Russia Strategic talks, Iran Times, Dec 3, 2007

Russia begins arms treaty freeze, BBC, 12-12-07





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4) The Article linked below was Abstracted from the source cited.

Putin wants US date to quit Iraq

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said the US should set a date for a withdrawal from Iraq.

Story from BBC NEWS, 18 October 2007;




He was speaking during a live televised question-and-answer session with the public covering both domestic and foreign policy issues.

He also said Russia planned "grandiose" improvements to its armed forces.

New missile technology and an overhaul of the nuclear arsenal were also planned, he said.


Missile shield

Mr Putin told viewers that the US presence in Iraq was motivated in part by a desire to "establish control of the country's oil reserves".

But he said the US was now engaged in a "pointless" battle against a popular uprising.

"One can wipe off a political map some tyrannical regime... but it's absolutely pointless to fight with a people," he said.

He assured his audience that Russia, unlike Iraq, was militarily strong enough to defend its territory and its natural resources.

Mr Putin also warned that Russia would boost its deployment of weapons if Washington went ahead with plans to build a missile shield.

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5) The Article linked below was Abstracted from the source cited.

A Bay Area couple with two kids can't make it on $50,000 a year


Sam Zuckerman, Chronicle Staff Writer


SF Chron, October 17, 2007




A family of four in the Bay Area with two working adults must earn $77,069, equaling an hourly wage of $18.53, just to pay for basic necessities, a study released today calculates. If only one adult works, that figure falls to $53,075, largely because the family doesn't have to pay for child care, according to the report by the California Budget Project, a liberal Sacramento research group. But that one wage-earner must make $25.52 an hour.

And a single parent with two children needs to take in $65,864 annually, at an hourly wage of $31.67, to cover expenses, the Budget Project figures.

Statewide, the two-working-parent family needs an annual income of $72,343 to cover necessities; the family with one working adult must earn $50,383.

That's in a state with one of the highest minimum hourly wages in the country - $7.50. In San Francisco, the minimum wage is even higher, $9.14. The federal minimum wage is $5.85.

"Most Californians live on less than $50,000," said Michael Shires, an associate professor of public policy at Pepperdine University.

The Bay Area is by many measures the richest region in the United States. Median household income - the level at which half of households are above and half below - was $62,024 in 2000, the highest in the nation, according to the Census Bureau.

But that means that almost half of all households in the region don't take in what the Budget Project reckons is needed to make ends meet. Those families often must do without some of the things viewed as essential to middle-class life, such as health insurance or a separate bedroom for the kids.

The federal poverty threshold, used by the government to calculate how many of the nation's people are poor, is an income of $20,650 for a family of four. That means basic necessities in the Bay Area cost roughly 2.5 times the federal poverty level.


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6) The Article linked below was Abstracted from the source cited.

Poverty line out of touch with costs, advocates say

A report by the California Budget Project estimates that a two-working-parent family in L.A. needs $74,044 to make ends meet.

By Alana Semuels

Los Angeles Times, October 17, 2007




Everyone knows living in California isn't cheap. But a new report casts a light on how challenging it is to afford basic necessities -- and how inadequate a minimum-wage job is to meet those needs.

A two-parent family in Los Angeles with one working member needs $51,035, while a two-working-parent family needs $74,044, the report calculated.

The group estimated the cost of housing, food, transportation, child care, healthcare, taxes and miscellaneous items in regions across the state.

But the poverty line, the report says, "is an obsolete measure that fails to take into account the reality of modern families." The federal poverty line for a family of four was $20,650 in 2007, less than a third of what this report estimates they need.

The study said the San Francisco Bay Area was the most expensive region in the state to raise a family, requiring a basic budget of about $77,069 for a family of four with two working parents. The San Joaquin Valley was the least expensive, with an estimated budget of $62,624 for the same family.

California families spend more on housing than families in many other states. The report estimates that 23.3% of a single parent's $4,978 monthly budget is spent on housing and utilities.

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Alex Wierbinski, Berkeley, Ca., October , 2007

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Also See:

Corruption Updates 36, 7th article on the page,  "More in U.S. plunge deeper into poverty"

Corruption Updates 45, 8th article on the page,  "Income Gap Is Widening, Data Shows"

Huffington Press, "Auto Sales Plummet"

Corruption Updates 61, 8th article on the page, "Home Sales Climb, but Prices Plummet"

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"

Washington Post,  August 29, 2007; Fake Stats: U.S. Poverty Rate Drops; Ranks of Uninsured Grow

The Michigan Citizen, Detroit - MI, 9-9-07; STUDY: Black workers earn low wages, lack advancement: here's proof: Which Threatens Blacks More, Mexican Cheap Labor, or Chinese Racism?

State Tax Revenues Plunging, Bee, Nov 23, 2007

Boxer Backs Corporate Welfare for Industrial Agriculture, SF Chron, Dec 4, 2007

Arnie predicts 14 bil shortfall, bee, 12-12-07

Mortgage crisis de funding cities and states for years to come, lat, 12-31-07

era of easy money over, financial times, 1-2-08

Recession? ft (uk) 1-2-08

US Jobs grind to halt, ft, (uk) 1-4-08

Fed Confused at brink of crisis, Times, (uk) 1-7-08

Econ links


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7) The Article linked below was Abstracted from the source cited.

Plan Would Ease Limits on Media Owners


NYT, October 18, 2007





WASHINGTON, Oct. 17 — The head of the Federal Communications Commission has circulated an ambitious plan to relax the decades-old media ownership rules, including repealing a rule that forbids a company to own both a newspaper and a television or radio station in the same city.

Kevin J. Martin, chairman of the commission, wants to repeal the rule in the next two months — a plan that, if successful, would be a big victory for some executives of media conglomerates.

Among them are Samuel Zell, the Chicago investor who is seeking to complete a buyout of the Tribune Company, and Rupert Murdoch, who has lobbied against the rule for years so that he can continue controlling both The New York Post and a Fox television station in New York.

Currently, a company can own two television stations in the larger markets only if at least one is not among the four largest stations and if there are at least eight local stations. The rules also limit the number of radio stations that a company can own to no more than eight in each of the largest markets.

The deregulatory proposal is likely to put the agency once again at the center of a debate between the media companies, which view the restrictions as anachronistic, and civil rights, labor, religious and other groups that maintain the government has let media conglomerates grow too large.

“This is a big deal because we have way too much concentration of media ownership in the United States,” Senator Byron L. Dorgan, Democrat of North Dakota, said at a hearing on Wednesday called to examine the digital transition of the television industry.

“If the chairman intends to do something by the end of the year,” Mr. Dorgan added, his voice rising, “then there will be a firestorm of protest and I’m going to be carrying the wood.”

Three years ago, the commission lost a major court challenge to its last effort, led by Michael K. Powell, its chairman at the time, to relax the media ownership rules. The United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, in Philadelphia, concluded that the commission had failed to adequately justify the new rules. Mr. Martin’s proposal would presumably include new evidence aimed at fending off similar legal challenges.

Mr. Powell’s effort, which had been supported by lobbyists for broadcasters, newspapers and major media conglomerates, provoked a wave of criticism from a broad coalition of opponents. Among them were the National Organization for Women, the National Rifle Association, the Parents Television Council and the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.

The agency was flooded with nearly three million comments against changing the rules, the most it has ever received in a rule-making process.

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Alex Wierbinski, Berkeley, Ca., October , 2007

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Also See:

Bush Authorized illegal Domestic Spying, TIMES HID THE CRIME FOR A YEAR: Bush is a Criminal, and an Enemy of our Constit..., wp, 12-16-05










Times Softpedals Presidential War Crimes and Domestic Crimes, nyt, December 3, 2006




Corporate Media Humiliates itself, Again:War,WMD,Kidnapping,Torture,and Plame protected, ap, 3-6-07






U.S., China Got Climate Warnings Toned Down:Corporate Media Whitewash American S..., wp, 4-7-07


Murdoch’s Dealings in China: It’s Business, and It’s Personal, nyt, 6-26-07


NY Times, July 3, 2007; Iran Expands Role in Media, via Satellite and in English


Los Angeles mayor In bed with the press, lat, 7-5-07


Where is the media watchdog? Nader: Government and Media Not Trustworthy, SF Chron, July 27, 2007


Bush Defends his policy of Criminal Incompentence: Press Swallows like a Porn S..., wp, August 10, 2007


SF Chron, August 27, 2007; Yahoo says it followed Chinese law in releasing user records: US Government, Corporations Assist Chinese Police State


Plan Would Ease Limits on Media Owners: Bush FCC to End last traces of independent free press, NYT, October 18, 2007


FEMA Workers Play Role of Reporters, AP, October 26, 2007


Keyna "election" fraud minimized by US Corporate Press, SF Chron, 12-15-07


Reporter persecuted for exposing bush's illegal search programs, nyt, February 1, 2008


Media Blackout Update: Pakistan and Alabama? nty, February 25, 2008


zell, tribune, LAT, going down in flames, nyt, 4-6-08


Pentagon propaganda machine leads corporate media, american opinion, by the nose, nyt, 4-20-08


Your "news" are the lies of corporate fascist lapdogs, not a Free Press

Bill Moyers speech, National Conference for Media Reform, Democracy Now, 6-9-08


Ex-White House spokesman Scott McClellan attacks Bush, lat, 5-28-08

2007 McClellan article: Former Press Secretary Points Finger at Bush, Cheney for Deceit in CIA Leak Scandal, ap, November 21, 2007



lat and tribune company

Los Angeles Times Publisher David Hiller resigns, lat, 7-14-08

zell, tribune, LAT, going down in flames, nyt, 4-6-08





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8) The Article linked below was Abstracted from the source cited.

Study warns of spreading 'superbug'

Antibiotic-resistant bacterium that causes severe infections has migrated from hospitals and now kills more Americans than AIDS.

By Thomas H. Maugh II, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer

October 17, 2007




The number of severe infections by a "superbug," known as methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, isat least twice as high as researchers previously believed, and the bacterium now kills more Americans than AIDS, researchers reported today.

The antibiotic-resistant infections, commonly called MRSA, were once confined to a few hospitals, but a new study by the national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that in 2005 they made an estimated 94,000 Americans seriously ill and killed almost 19,000, compared with 17,000 who died of AIDS.

The study reported that nearly 14% of new antibiotic-resistant staph infections are not linked to hospitals or other medical facilities, indicating that the disease has become ingrained in parts of the wider community.

The finding, reported in the Journal of the American Medical Assn., is the latest evidence of a widespread pattern of increasing drug resistance among a variety of infectious agents, including multi-drug resistant tuberculosis, antibiotic-resistant Clostridium difficile and other once-innocuous organisms.

The spread of resistant organisms is "astounding," Dr. Elizabeth A. Bancroft, an epidemiologist with the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, wrote in an editorial accompanying the report.

Bancroft said the reported incidence of resistant staph infections is just "the tip of the iceberg" because the CDC researchers studied only blood-borne infections that find their way into internal organisms.

Several studies have found that such infections represent only 6% to 9% of all MRSA infections, which can also thrive on the skin in a more innocuous form, waiting for the opportunity to enter the body.

"It appears that the total burden of MRSA is much greater than what was estimated in this study," she said.


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Alex Wierbinski, Berkeley, Ca., October , 2007

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Also See:

High staph infection rates in hospitals stun public health officials, sf chron, 6-25-07

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9) The Article linked below was Abstracted from the source cited.

An Ex-Leader in Congress Is Now Turkey’s Man in the Lobbies of Capitol Hill


NY Times





WASHINGTON, Oct. 16 — Since leaving Capitol Hill in 1999, former Representative Robert L. Livingston has been the main lobbyist for Turkey in blocking Congressional efforts to pass an Armenian genocide resolution.

After succeeding twice before — and collecting more than $12 million in fees for his firm, the Livingston Group — he is pushing once again for his client.

Mr. Livingston has also showered money on House and Senate members, the National Republican Congressional Committee and other political causes. He and his firm gave more than $200,000 in campaign donations in the last election cycle, records show.

The issue has pitted Turkey’s money and high-placed connections against a persistent and emotional campaign by Armenian-American citizens’ groups.

“The Turks have done everything they possibly could,” said former Representative Stephen J. Solarz, whose firm got $165,000 this summer lobbying for Turkey under an arrangement with Mr. Livingston. Representative Adam B. Schiff, Democrat of California, a resolution sponsor, called Turkey’s lobbying “the most intense I’ve ever seen.”

...records filed at the Justice Department show Turkish expenditures since August 2006 of about $3.2 million for lobbyists and public relations firms. In Mr. Livingston’s case, the reports offer details of his lobbying efforts.

Turkey has never mustered the intense grass-roots support in the United States that has been Armenia’s strength, with constituents pressing lawmakers to back the measure. Records show that Armenia has spent far less money on lobbying. Its largest expenditure went to the public relations firm of Burson-Marsteller, which earned about $300,000 from August 2006 to April 2007.

Mr. Livingston’s courtship of Mr. Murtha began in February. After a meeting with Mr. Livingston and another lobbyist from the firm, Mr. Murtha was among a group of members who met with Mr. Livingston, Mr. Sensoy and the Turkish foreign minister, Abdullah Gul. Long opposed to a genocide resolution, Mr. Murtha wrote Ms. Pelosi on Feb. 8 asking her not to allow a floor vote.

Mr. Livingston contributed $3,000 to Mr. Murtha’s campaign in February. A Murtha aide said the contribution reflects support for his record on the issue.


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Dem Congress Sells Ethics to Turks: This is how it Works

Dem Traitors at it Again: Selling Influence to, and Accepting Bribes From Foreigners

This happened before, during the 1996 election cycle, when Clinton and the Corporate Branch of the Democratic Party received unreported foreign bribes.

But this does not bother the Dems, especially the "global" Dems. If they had their way, foreigners would be able to both bribe, and collect favors, from them just like the American Special interests do.

For are not Greed, Bribery, and the American Way universal truths? Does not everyone, from Saudi Prince, to Mexican Peasant, recognize the power of political bribery? Is it not unfair to prohibit well funded foreginers from entering our political auction, as we have allowed poor foreigners to enter the labor pool?

The Poor Foreigners can destroy our working conditions and wages from the bottom, and the Rich Foreigners can participate in the destruction of our democracy, from the top.

Maybe Hillary doesn't have to wait for Amnesty to reap foreign bribes. Let's just open up the political auction to all the illegal foreigners already here.

The Dems could charge them by the head, and pay them off by giving them free access to our hospitals, medical care, our schools, roads, water and electrical supplies. Hell, we still have enough for half the people who are here.

Both parties will continue to use foreigners as cheap labor, earning massive profits while throwing the social costs onto what's left of the middle-class's broken infrastructure.

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Also See:

Mearsheimer and Walt, March 2006, THE ISRAEL LOBBY AND U.S. FOREIGN POLICY.

Election power of the Israel lobby, aljazeera, 12-30-07


dems bribed to the hilt

Clinton's foreign bribes

Also See Right Web for an interesting profile of the DLC and its Corporate Backers


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10) The Article linked below was Abstracted from the source cited.

Accused Law Firm Continues Giving to Democrats


NYT, October 18, 2007





Over the years, as it became Exhibit A for critics of shareholders’ class action lawsuits, the law firm of Milberg Weiss often enjoyed the support of Democrats who called the suits an invaluable weapon in the universal conflict between big business and the little guy.

The Democrats, in turn, enjoyed the support of Milberg Weiss and its partners, who together have contributed more than $7 million to the party’s candidates since the 1980s.

Last year, the firm was indicted on federal charges of fraud and bribery. But the political partnership has not been entirely severed. Since the indictment, 26 Democrats around the country, including four presidential candidates, have accepted $150,000 in campaign contributions from people connected to Milberg Weiss, according to state and federal campaign finance records. And some Democrats have taken public actions that potentially helped the firm or its former partners.

The recent contributors include current and former Milberg partners who had either been indicted or were widely reported to be facing potential criminal problems when they wrote their checks. One, William S. Lerach, was a fund-raiser for John Edwards’s presidential campaign until his guilty plea last month. Melvyn I. Weiss, a founder of the firm, gave the maximum $4,600 to Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York in June. Other firm members contributed to the presidential campaigns of Senators Barack Obama of Illinois and Joseph R. Biden Jr. of Delaware.

Milberg Weiss reaped billions of dollars in legal fees over four decades as the acknowledged king of class action lawsuits, which accused executives of misleading investors with erroneous financial statements or some other fraud. According to the indictment, the New York-based firm ran a “racketeering enterprise” that collected a quarter billion dollars in 250 cases in which people were paid secret kickbacks for serving as plaintiffs.

The reluctance of Democrats to shut off the cash spigot, even in the face of scandal, underscores how the pressure to raise money creates marriages of political interests that can be difficult to break up. Fred Wertheimer, a longtime advocate of campaign finance reform, called it the “natural outcome of a system where huge amounts of private contributions are raised and spent, and the political parties turn to groups with interests in government to feed the spending machine.”

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Dems Sell Themselves, Our Government, to Anyone with Two-Cents to rub together

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Also See:

dems bribed to the hilt


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