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Posted: November 30, 2007, Draft edition

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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.

As Lenders Tighten Flow of Credit, Growth at Risk


NYT, November 29, 2007




Credit flowing to American companies is drying up at a pace not seen in decades, threatening the creation of jobs and the expansion of businesses, while intensifying worries that the economy may be headed for recession.

The combined value of two leading sources of credit — outstanding commercial and industrial bank loans, and short-term loans known as commercial paper — peaked at about $3.3 trillion in August, according to data from the Federal Reserve. By mid-November, such credit was down to $3 trillion, a drop of nearly 9 percent.

Not once in the years since the Fed began tracking such numbers in 1973 has this artery of finance constricted so rapidly. Smaller declines preceded three recessions going back to 1975; at other times such declines tended to occur in conjunction with an economic downturn.

Policy makers at the Federal Reserve are growing increasingly alarmed about the problem, which is an outgrowth of the woes of the housing and mortgage industries. Just yesterday, the Fed’s vice chairman, Donald L. Kohn, said that the latest market turbulence appeared to be reducing credit to businesses and consumers, hinting that the central bank, in response, was prepared to cut interest rates further.

Great set of links within the article below track many global and national repercussions of credit crisis:

Citigroup gets $7.5 billion infusion from Abu Dhabi

By Steve Goldstein, Greg Morcroft & Alistair Barr, MarketWatch

Last Update: 4:55 PM ET Nov 27, 2007




Subprime Woes Hit Norwegian Brokerage


NYT, November 29, 2007




LONDON, Nov. 28 — A Norwegian brokerage firm said Wednesday that it would file for bankruptcy protection after losing its license because of accusations that it made four remote towns victims of subprime lending problems in the United States.

Norway’s main financial regulator said the firm, Terra Securities, violated the “good code of conduct” by failing to adequately inform four towns near the Arctic Circle of possible risks related to complex investment securities that it sold them.

Most large European financial services companies have joined their American counterparts in announcing substantial write-downs, totaling more than $40 billion so far, as the value of assets linked to mortgage-related securities slumped and as new and unexpected victims came to light. Last week, CIFG Holdings, a bond insurance company in Paris, ran into troubles, and Swiss Re, the reinsurance giant based in Zurich, shocked markets with further write-downs.



China to Let Market Forces Weigh on Value of Yuan


NYT, November 29, 2007




BEIJING, Nov. 28 — China will allow market forces to exert more influence over the value of the yuan as the country moves toward a fully convertible currency, Prime Minister Wen Jiabao said on Wednesday.

His remarks came after European financial leaders visiting Beijing stepped up demands for a stronger Chinese currency, also known as the renminbi, to curb Europe’s trade deficit with the Asia country.

“China will continue to perfect the renminbi exchange rate regime in a gradual, proactive and manageable manner, give a further role to the market in determining the exchange rate, and will bring flexibility to the renminbi with a view to enabling capital account convertibility,” Mr. Wen was quoted as saying at a European Union-China business forum.


Home Prices Post Big Drop in Survey


NYT, November 28, 2007




Housing prices fell the most in almost 20 years this summer, and consumers remain deeply skeptical about the economy, according to reports released yesterday.

Prices of single-family homes in the third quarter fell 4.5 percent nationwide compared with a year ago, according to the Standard & Poor’s/Case-Shiller National Home Price Index. It was the largest drop since records for the index began in 1988.

A separate survey by S.& P./Case-Shiller of home prices in 20 major metropolitan areas showed a drop of 4.95 percent in September from a year ago, the biggest decline in more than six years. Prices declined 0.9 percent in September alone, and were down in all 20 areas, the survey found.



Falling house prices in London last month fuel fears of a crash

By STEVE DOUGHTY and SEAN POULTER - More by this author »

Last updated at 18:13pm on 28th November 2007







Fed Official’s Remarks Send Stocks Soaring


NYT, NYT, November 28, 2007




Stocks soared on Wall Street today after a top Federal Reserve official appeared to open the door for additional interest rate cuts, pledging to follow “flexible and pragmatic policy making” as the central bank decides how to cope with the current financial upheaval.

The unusually candid remarks by the Fed’s vice chairman, Donald L. Kohn, were taken as a sign that the Fed would give serious consideration to a rate cut at its Dec. 11 meeting.

Even as Mr. Kohn spoke of the danger that market turbulence could reduce credit to businesses and consumers, there were new indications today of the toll on economic activity. Orders for durable goods fell more sharply than expected in October, and business inventories continued to increase, signaling a decline in demand. Housing inventories were also on the rise last month as existing-home sales continued to decline.


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What's Really Going on Here?


Alex Wierbinski, Berkeley, Ca., November, 2007

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Also See:


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Speak your Mind here! Send your Comments about the Topic Above for Posting!

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

Boxer says she'll back farm bill if it helps Californians

Carolyn Lochhead, Chronicle Washington Bureau

Tuesday, December 4, 2007


(12-04) 04:00 PST Washington -- Sen. Barbara Boxer said Monday she will support reforms in the farm bill now stalled in the Senate, provided they benefit California consumers and specialty crop growers. That marks a significant change in the California Democrat's position from last summer, when Boxer cited California's subsidized cotton and rice growers as a priority.

The Senate bill would retain and in some cases increase subsidies to corn, cotton, wheat, rice and soybeans, raise federal support for sugar and dairy, and add a "permanent disaster" program that would funnel billions more dollars to a handful of Plains states where marginal farmland has routine crop failures.

Boxer and her Democratic colleague, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, have been under intense pressure from Bay Area environmental and consumer groups that want to reshape farm programs to support healthier food choices and better environmental stewardship of the nation's millions of acres of farmland. The farm bill is one of the top environmental bills written by Congress. One-quarter of land in California - 27.6 million acres - is farmland, much of it in the heavily polluted San Joaquin Valley.

Boxer said she is working closely with Feinstein, "analyzing all the different amendments. ... How does it impact our state, what does it mean to our specialty crops, what does it mean to our consumers? So I will vote for as much reform as I feel helps our consumers and the state."

A separate proposal considered a major reform by environmental and global poverty groups would cap at $250,000 the amount of money any farmer could receive in one year in federal subsidies.

California is far and away the largest farm producer in the nation, but 91 percent of its farmers do not receive crop subsidies because they grow fruits, nuts or vegetables. The House and Senate Agriculture committees, bastions of old-line commodity interests, have sought to preserve billions of dollars in federal payments that go to a minority of farmers in a minority of states. They have tried to do so, in part, by cutting a deal to add research and marketing money for fruit and vegetable growers and boosting money for environmental and nutrition programs.

The idea is to give lawmakers from states outside the South and Midwest a reason to support the crop subsidies.

"Our ratings have dropped 10 points, and we know it," she said. "It's very sad. We don't like it. ... What we're trying to do is work with this president, and say, 'We'll meet you halfway. If you won't meet us halfway, we'll meet you a third of the way, but you have to recognize that we represent the people too.' "

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What's Really Going on Here?

Thieves' Plan to maintain Subsidized Corporate Agriculture Profits and ensuing bribes to All Party Politicians

Alex Wierbinski, Berkeley, Ca., November , 2007

Neither Boxer nor Bush represent the people, as she claims. Remove their corporate bribes, and both would be below-average dishonest people. Add millions of dollars of bribes, and "wham," you have political leaders.

Trading her agriculture bribes for tax paid profits for her special interest bribers does not "help californians." What would help californians is the elimination of corporate and special interest bribes to all politicians.

Then we would not be confronted with the ugly spectacle of the paid whores of corporate agriculture, "our politicians," fighting over who's buddies get the biggest chunks of our money.

If I could buy a politician, I could be rich too.

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Also See:




Dem leaders shield farm bill: Preserve Subsidies to Corporate Agriculture, SF Chron, 7-27-07

Search the Corruption Database under

Farm Bill


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

Brown hangs Harman out to dry as three top ministers face questions over sleaze scandal

Daily Mail, 27th November 2007




Three Cabinet ministers are today entangled in the new sleaze crisis engulfing Labour as the threat of criminal prosecutions was raised for the first time.

Deputy leader Harriet Harman, Aid Secretary Douglas Alexander and Environment Secretary Hilary Benn are all facing questions after being on the receiving end of gifts.

In a highly significant move, it has emerged the Crown Prosecution Service has been called in to give advice.

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What's Really Going on Here?

Alex Wierbinski, Berkeley, Ca., November , 2007

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Also See:

Brits Censor Corruption Reporting, NYT, 3-7-07


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Selling Peerages



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

Harsh truth of Russian democracy


By Quentin Peel


FT, November 27 2007 17:20


On Sunday Russian voters go to the polls to elect a new parliament. There is a strange lack of excitement in the air.

One reason is that the outcome looks entirely predictable, with United Russia, the party that most loyally supports President Vladimir Putin, likely to win a landslide. Another is that the contest has been virtually devoid of ideological debate between the main contestants.

Yet perhaps the most fundamental reason is that democratic politics have simply not taken root in Russia, and very few people seem to care.

Three of the four parties with any chance of clearing the 7 per cent hurdle to win seats in the Duma are artificial creations of the Kremlin: United Russia (founded in 2001 by a bunch of pro-Putin provincial governors), Just Russia launched last year to fill a perceived vacuum on the centre-left, and the Liberal Democratic Party of Russia, led by the populist nationalist Vladimir Zhirinovsky, and founded with the backing of the KGB in 1990. The exception is the rump of the old Soviet Communist party, which represents the only serious opposition to Mr Putin, but with an old and shrinking constituency.

All the other political parties, far more committed to “normal” democratic debate, such as the pro-market Union of Right Forces (SPS), and the economically liberal Yabloko group, are likely to gain no more than 1 per cent or 2 per cent of the poll. They are blamed for the chaos of economic reform in the 1990s.

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What's Really Going on Here?

The Impending Crisis in Russia:

How will Putin Seize Power?

Alex Wierbinski, Berkeley, Ca., Dec 6, 2007 (a throwback essay)

Reading back into Putin's recent political manipulations, and then, even further back, at how Putin seized, consolidated, and has used power in Russia, it is apparent that Putin will shortly seize power in Russia.

The groundwork has already been established. Putin was just acclaimed as Russia's "national leader," and this incredible announcement was strongly reinforced by his overwhelming parliamentary victory.

Putin has been deftly complimented these power grabs by craftily positioning himself as if he was aiming to become a constitutional "power behind the presidency" after his constitutionally limited term ends.

I seriously doubt that Putin's public pronouncements reflect his actual plans.

Many astute observers would say that Putin has already seized power, but that is not completely true. Putin, like Russia, has not consolidated its new identity, nor how it will justify power. That moment is still in the future, and Putin's moves in consolidating, and how he justifies institutionalizing long term power will define Russia's actual post-soviet identity.

This is not the Soviet Union, but the Soviet notions about the structure and holding of power still perpetuate themselves, but under different terms of legitimacy.

The underlying terms of identity being established in Russia are disturbing. The post-Soviet re-creation of Russian identity has bred the elements of Russian neo-fascism. The disturbing elements in the birth of "New Russian" identity is the backwash of the retreat from the Soviet Empire. This has expressed itself through intolerance of ex-Soviet minorities who now live in Russia.

This has also expressed itself in the streets of Russian cities. The gangs of the Russians and neo-nazis are indistinguishable to outsiders, but they apparently understand the different reasons they beat the same people.

"New Russia" is no longer based on a unifying idea that transcends nationalism, as both commie and capital societies require, but is transitioning to an identity based on national and racial identities.

Now, I'm not saying that's the only powerful force operating in Russian society today, but it is the most powerful force..

Putin is playing it all the ways possible; he's consolidating parliamentary power, while pursuing constitutional amendment to extend his power, while maintaining the bureaucratic and military authority required to maintain power, independent of the success of his parliamentary and constitutional efforts. Popular support will be consistent, independent of which path Putin takes to maintain the Presidency, or "national leader," or whatever title he decides to take.

The chances are that Putin will succeed in all his domestic efforts to first maintain authority, then move towards reshaping his authority as he reshapes Russia's identity, in conjunction with reshaping Russia's relationship with the west, and especially the us.

I'll have to work this idea later, as it's real late, but Bush has exposed our strategic global assets not just by overextending our military, stressing our Euro allies to the breaking point, alienating our Arab allies, and removing the restraints of the global Rule of Law from every tin-plated dictator in the world, he has provoked Russia. That could be Bush's worse mistake.

Putin may find that the heights of power he is able to create will reflect the average Russian's perception of the outside threats confronting Russia. Serbia, the Ukraine, the stans, and the whole belt of post-soviet states that straddle Russia's soft underbelly have freaked the Russians out, and heavily contributed to the consolidation of post-soviet nationalism in Russia.

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Also See:

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

Schwarzenegger calls for new tack on infrastructure

He wants private firms to partner with the state in building and maintaining roads and other projects.

By Michael Rothfeld

Los Angeles Times Staff Writer


November 28, 2007




SACRAMENTO — Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger on Tuesday signaled a controversial push to engage private companies in the building and management of state and local public works projects, proposing a strategy widely employed in Canada, Europe and elsewhere.

In such partnerships, which could take a variety of forms, private companies could finance, build and manage roads, schools, waste-water treatment plants, ports, levees, hospitals and other projects. The companies would rent the facilities to the government or collect fees from users.

Though public-private partnerships have been undertaken in some other states and occasionally in California, such as in the construction of San Diego's South Bay Expressway, state law does not explicitly authorize or set rules for such deals.

Until now, Schwarzenegger's piecemeal efforts to involve the private sector in state government generally have been opposed by lawmakers and labor unions. But the governor is considering an ambitious proposal that would institutionalize private-sector deals, and would need legislative approval for it.

Schwarzenegger, who has repeatedly criticized the state's failure to maintain its public works, said he would offer more details in his State of the State speech in January. He said California needs $500 billion in public projects over the next two decades to catch up to, and keep up with, rapid population growth.

"There's not enough money there in the public sector, in the tax base," Schwarzenegger said Tuesday...

The governor's plan also could involve leasing existing state assets, along the lines of his proposal to privatize the lottery to pay for a healthcare overhaul. But aides said sell-offs of state property were not on the governor's immediate agenda.

State officials have been discussing their plans with federal authorities who offer financial incentives for such projects across the country.

"The governor's plan to expand the private sector's role in financing and managing the state's transportation infrastructure is a very welcome sign," U.S. Transportation Secretary Mary E. Peters said in a statement Tuesday. "California has always been viewed by the private investment community as the most attractive destination, because the economy is so big."

Schwarzenegger, who frequently refers to his business experience in Hollywood, has been tapping the private sector since taking office.

He and his aides have traveled to other countries on trips funded by donors to a tax-exempt foundation. He supplemented the salaries of top aides with donations from campaign contributors, citing political work they did.

But his attempts to introduce privatization in public works through high-occupancy toll lanes, the hiring of private engineers for road projects and the shifting of new government workers to a 401k-style program have gone up in smoke because of opposition from various quarters.

Among the scattered instances of private-public partnerships in California are a courthouse project in Long Beach; investments by the state pension fund in projects outside the state; and the U.S. Navy's privatization over the last six years of all 14,000 housing units for sailors in California.

Those partnerships pale against the potential that some private investors see in California's public works.

Kathleen Brown, a former Democratic state treasurer and candidate for governor who is now an investment banker, praised Schwarzenegger for "an extraordinarily positive and good idea."

"Given the depth of infrastructure deficit that we have in this state and in the country," said Brown, who heads the public sector and infrastructure group for the Western Region of Goldman Sachs, "policymakers need every tool to reinvest and rebuild."

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What's Really Going on Here?

The final piece of the corporate fascist state

Alex Wierbinski, Berkeley, Ca., November , 2007

They've stolen our democracy. They've stocked the country with cheap, obedient labor that takes our own sovereignty out of our hands. They've stolen all the money. Now they are going to take full physical possession and ownership of our public infrastructure.

It was the combined work and money of our people who built our once great infrastructure. Now, we have already turned over our public energy, garbage, and telecommunications over to private ownership, and they have screwed the people out of every penny possible.

When the next earthquake devastates our communication, roads, and telecom system, the public will be left holding the bag. The public will be the only group with the power and wealth necessary to rebuild these chunks of infrastructure. The private interests have been allowed to steal our infrastructure and our money, and the people pay the bills to subsidize their profits. And when a disaster hits, the private companies will have already stolen billions, and we will be left with the bill to rebuild our infrastructures.

When the next pandemic hits, the private health insurance industry will collapse. The public will be the only group with the power and wealth necessary to minister to the public health. The private interests make the money, and we the people pay the bills to subsidize their profits.

During the last 30 years of generally "good times," our roads, schools, health, and energy systems have fallen to crap so our private interest could avoid paying the responsible taxes to pay the bills for the growth that fuels their swelling profits and power.

This is the final act of the looting of California. This is the apogee of the cycle of corruption between the politicians and the corporations.

Now the special interests have drained our infrastructure, and pocketed as profits their share of social responsibility. Now their paid whores in Sacramento and Washington are trying to give them ownership of all of our public infrastructure.

The dems are down for this, as they are paid tools of the very same corporate interests that own the repugnants. Remember when the Democraps "privatized" our energy system, setting up Enron and PGE to openly steal billions from our citizens?

Yeah, these are the same democraps that control our legislature today. There is only one way to save our schools, roads, the public health and, most importantly, our democracy.

We must cut the link between outside money and our candidates and officeholders. We must limit all contributions to qualified voters, while maintaining the ability of parties to support candidates.

Parties must be limited to contributing no more than 30% of the total contributions made by local voters to their candidate. These rules will allow special interests to make economic political statements through the parties while returning to the local voters the role as the deciding factor in the viability of local candidates.

The voters, rather than corrupt outside interests, will decide who is the best candidate for them.

Check out our initiative, get on board, and help us put this revolutionary concept, democracy, back in charge of our government.

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Also See:

LA TIMES Kicks RepubliCrats Junketeering in Ass, LAT, 4-5-07

Benidict Arnie Link List.

Also see the two brief notes above the link list


Search the Corruption Database under

Arnie (51 abstracts)


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

Term limit modifier takes a hit

By Dan Walters - dwalters@sacbee.com


Published 12:00 am PST Monday, November 26, 2007

Story appeared in MAIN NEWS section, Page A3




Dry winter underlines water need

By Dan Walters - dwalters@sacbee.com

Published 12:00 am PST Wednesday, November 28, 2007




SOUTH LAKE TAHOE – It's almost December, but anyone driving in the bone-dry Lake Tahoe basin is more likely to encounter blowing dust than drifting snow.

Northern California, it's becoming more evident every day, faces the scary prospect of a second dry winter that will not refill its badly depleted reservoirs. How depleted? Shasta Lake, at the head of the Sacramento River system near Redding, can hold 4.6 million acre-feet of water but contains just 1.8 million. Lake Oroville, with a capacity of 3.5 million acre-feet, has just 1.3 million. Folsom Lake is scarcely one-quarter full.

On Monday, the state Department of Water Resources told the water agencies that serve two-thirds of Californians that they can expect just 25 percent of their normal allocations next year, down from 60 percent this year. Several cities in Southern California have declared water emergencies. The fire danger remains high, as this week's Malibu fire underscores. Within a few days, a judge's order that curtails water deliveries to the San Joaquin Valley and Southern California from the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta to save endangered fish will take effect.

This is the immediate crisis, and there's very little that politicians can do to avert it. But it's part of a longer-range crisis that's been developing for decades in a political vacuum. It may worsen if the warnings about global warming prove true, because winter snows will lessen, and more of the state's precipitation will come in the form of rain.

Against that background of immediate water shortages and long-range peril, are the Capitol's politicians rising to the occasion? Not noticeably.

Yes, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and legislative leaders are talking about making a multibillion-dollar investment in water conservation and storage. And talking. And talking. But the philosophical and partisan conflicts that have stalled water policy for decades are as strong as ever. Tellingly, on the day that state water officials delivered the bad news to Californians, Schwarzenegger and legislative leaders met again to discuss the long-stalled water plan and failed again to reach agreement.

The pivotal point is whether the state should build new reservoirs as part of its water plan or rely on conservation and other forms of non-storage water management to meet its needs, such as shifting more water from farmers to residential, commercial and industrial users.

Republicans, however, are insisting that the money be appropriated permanently, fearing that environmentalists would block its use if it remains subject to legislative appropriation.

Their fear is well-founded. Environmental groups see water supply as the key element in land use and other development issues and believe that restricting supply will somehow slow growthdisregarding the simple demographic fact that California's population growth stems almost entirely from immigration and babies. Thus, the never-ending debate over water really isn't about water so much as it is about how and if California will continue to grow.

There is no small irony in that conflict. Those on the political left who oppose new reservoirs generally oppose immigration restrictions and universally believe in global warming scenarios that imply the state needs more storage to capture winter rains and offset the loss of snowpack.


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What's Really Going on Here?

Corporate Dems, Crimigrants, and Hippies:

growing us to environmental disaster while feeding the beast of irresponsible corporate growth/consumption

Alex Wierbinski, Berkeley, Ca., November , 2007

The corporate dems and their so-called "environmental" allies want to save nature while continuing the irresponsible growth that has changed our seasons, drained our state's water supply, and broken every piece of our infrastructure.

It's not working, but they pretend ignorance of the impending disaster they have "led" us to.

These assholes are fully aware of what they are doing. The democraps are trading away our quality of life for the votes of the last wave of crimigrants who were made "citizens," while providing corporate agriculture and industry an endless supply of cheap, state subsidized illegal labor.

According to the democraps, and their new crimigrant "citizens," the decision of who is an American does not lay in the hands of our citizens, Americans, but it is decided in Mexico by Mexicans. Fuck that.

These seemingly incongruent democrapic policies emanate from the undemocratic nature of the Democrat party of California. Corporate money and crimigrant votes are the "base" of the democraps in California.

The general welfare of our state is what the Democraps trade to the crimigrants and corporations for their votes and bucks.

That is not the basis of a democracy, if you were wondering. It is the basis of a political fraud, and an economic and demographic ponzi, or pyramid scheme. This fraud has hit the environmental, infrastructural, and, if we the people have any balls left at all, the political limits of its expansion.

The leadership of the "environmental" movement should rename themselves "corporate greens." According to them, as long as you drive a prius, recycle, and collect your 100,000 dollar salary, everything's cool, No environmental problem here.

Everything has been "cool' for them during the last few decades as our schools, roads, medical services, environment and our democracy have been raped.

Let's be clear: It is not the repugnants who have failed. Their greed and treachery is crystal clear. The problem is that the opposition, the democraps, have sold out to the powers that control the Repugnant party.

The democrats and environmentalists have failed to protect either our democracy or our environment, and it is their failures that have led us to the disasters we face.

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Also See:

A Link list containing a wide selection of enviro news abstracts of the last year.

Freak weather essay

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Today's Headlines

1) Credit Shrinks, Citi bailout, Global writedown, China Pressured, Housing Plunging, (London Too), Fed Cutting,

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

Comment: Cycle of Bribery under Dems

3) Brit Corruption Continues under Brown

4) No Democracy in Russia? Financial Times, Nov 27, 2007

Essay: When-How Will Putin Seize Power?

5) Arnie plan to give state assets to his bribers

Essay: The final piece of the corporate fascist state

6) Dem Term-limit FRAUD

6b) Sacto: Incompetent to Lead

Essay: Democrapic Politics in California: Corporate Democrats, Corporate Greens, and Crimigrants