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Posted: January 3, 2008, 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.

Bhutto tribe patriarch disputes party leadership succession

Saeed Shah | McClatchy Newspapers


last updated: January 01, 2008 03:34:23 PM




MIR BHUTTO, Pakistan — The elevation of slain former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto's husband and teenaged son to replace her as leaders of Pakistan's largest opposition party is re-opening fissures that have divided the powerful political family for decades.

To Mumtaz Bhutto, the septuagenarian patriarch of the 700,000-strong Bhutto tribe, Asif Ali Zardari and his son, Bilawal, are interlopers. The leadership of the Pakistan Peoples Party, he said in an interview Tuesday, should have gone to "a real Bhutto."

The Bhuttos are ethnic Sindhis. Zardari is from the Baluch ethnic group. His son carried Zardari as his last name until after his mother's assassination last week, when he added Bhutto as his middle name in what some experts saw as a move to perpetuate the political dynasty.

Mumtaz Bhutto was a founding member of the party established by Benazir Bhutto's father, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, the country's first democratically elected prime minister, who was executed two years after being toppled in a 1977 military coup.

"The party has come into existence on the name and the sweat and the blood of the Bhutto family," asserted Mumtaz, 74, who lives on a grand country estate in Mirpur Bhutto, the original family village in southern Sindh Province. "Therefore, the leadership should either have gone to Sanam or Murtaza's son or daughter."

Sanam, Benazir's sister, has never taken any active role in politics. Murtaza, Benazir's brother, saw himself as Zulfiqar Ali's true political heir, but he was gunned down in Karachi by police in 1996, leaving a daughter, Fatima, 25, and Zulfiqar Ali junior, 18.

After Benazir took over leadership of the party in 1984, she sacked Mumtaz in a policy disagreement. Fatima and her stepmother Ghinwa have publicly accused Benazir and Asif Zardari of complicity in Murtaza's death, which remains unsolved — Benazir was prime minister at the time.

Benazir retorted that Murtaza was killed by people who wanted to "frame" her for his murder. Sanam always sided with Benazir and it is believed that her relations with Murtaza's children remain tense, even after Benazir's death.

"The Zardaris have made no sacrifices for the party, whereas the [Bhutto] family have made big sacrifices. The Zardaris have just profited from it," said Mumtaz.

"This will split the party very badly. He [Zardari] has no political background or acumen. I think this will lead to break-up. Total disintegration," predicted Mumtaz Bhutto.

So far, the PPP has accepted the succession plan.

Fatima Bhutto, a graduate of Columbia University in New York, who was tipped as a future challenger for the party's leadership even when Benazir was alive, has so far made no claim to her grandfather's legacy.

But in a local newspaper article, she admitted she never reconciled with Benazir.

"I never agreed with her politics. I never did. I never agreed with those she kept around her, the political opportunists, hanger-ons, them. They repulse me. I never agreed with her version of events. Never. But in death, in death perhaps there is a moment to call for calm," she wrote.

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What's Really Going on Here?


Alex Wierbinski, Berkeley, Ca., December, 2007

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Also See:

Bhutto Killed, 12-28-07

Press Review:

Daily Telegraph, India

The Nation, Pakistan

Daily Times, Pakistan:

Who Killed Bhutto?

Who will replace Bhutto?

Daily Times:


Kuwait Times: everybody hated Bhutto

The Western View:


Daily Mail





Abstracts of Articles Above


Bhutto Crisis Updates:


Daily Times


'Real' Bhutto heir denounces family business, times, karachi, 1-12-08

Bhutto tribe patriarch disputes party leadership succession, McClatchy, January 01, 2008

Billery Supports Musharraf Dictatorship, Dawn, 12-31-07

Husband to Lead Bhutto Party, Dawn, 12-30-07

Husband to Lead Bhutto Party, bbc, 12-30-07

Video of Bhutto's last Moments, Explosion, guardian, 12-28-07


 All Pakistan Links

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

Twilight robbery


Jan 2nd 2008 | NAIROBI

From Economist.com

Ethnic violence comes to Kenya




THE decision to return Kenya's 76-year-old incumbent president, Mwai Kibaki, to office was not made by the Kenyan people but by a group of hardline Kikuyu leaders. They made up their minds before the result was announced, perhaps even before the opposition candidate, Raila Odinga, had opened up a lead in early returns from the December 27th election. It was a civil coup.

The planning was meticulous. All that was needed were the extra votes to squeak past Mr Odinga in what had been a closely and decently contested election. That was why returns from Central Province, Mr Kibaki's fiercely loyal Kikuyu heartland, were inexplicably held back. And why, in some constituencies, a large number of voters mysteriously decided just to vote in the presidential race, ignoring the parliamentary ballot. Real damage was done in Nairobi, the capital, by inflating the number of votes for Mr Kibaki, even after results were publicly announced. Election monitors were turned away in Nairobi while the tallying went on. But European Union (EU) monitors verified tens of thousands of votes pinched in this way. Mr Odinga's supporters were not innocent either. There were serious irregularities in his home province of Nyanza and probably ballot stuffing on his behalf elsewhere.

The EU's preliminary report on the presidential vote was scathing. After the result was announced security forces sealed off the centre of Nairboi against the angry poor, most of whom had voted for Mr Odinga. A few minutes later in State House, in the twilight, Mr Kibaki was sworn in as president, with almost nobody else there.

The reaction to the swearing-in was immediate. Nairobi's slums exploded in rage. The poor killed each other. The rest of the city was eerily empty, but for burning tyres. Across the country there was a swelling up of tribal violence, sometimes Kikuyu against Mr Odinga's Luo tribe, more often Luo and other tribes against Kikuyu. Hundreds have been killed so far and 80,000 displaced. Gang rapes and mutilations are widespread. Police have orders to shoot to kill. There has been rampant looting in Kisumu, riots in Mombasa and pitched battles in Eldoret. Thousands of Kikuyu have taken refuge in Eldoret's Catholic cathedral from roving gangs. Kikuyu hiding in another church outside Eldoret were burned alive by a mob. There will be reprisals. Some non-Kikuyus are already slipping away from Central Province.

Taken together, it amounts to a pulling apart of Kenya's rich national fabric. Some 98% of Kikuyu voted for Mr Kibaki. Everywhere else he was trounced. “We feel downgraded to second class status, harassed, profiled”, says Najib Balala, a senior Orange. The Kikuyu highlands encircling the diminishing glaciers of Mount Kenya feel like a state within a state.

The instincts of the hardliners will be to use the security services to reverse the freedoms of Mr Kibaki's first term; anything to avoid power slipping into Mr Odinga's hands. It is not clear that Kenya will stand for it. The government pressured mobile phone operators to suspend text messages for “security reasons”, without success. Kenya's media is still keen to report rather than incite. The army's strong apolitical tradition, with staff officers drawn from several tribes, looks to be holding.

Mr Odinga has called on Mr Kibaki to resign. His Oranges want a campaign of civil action, peaceable, but determined. Mr Odinga says that Kenyans today will not tolerate betrayal. They are better educated, more independent, than in the past. They may also be more frustrated, more violent, and harder to control.

A week after voting, the immediate concern is to haul the country back from ethnic cleansing. A chastened Samuel Kivuitu, head of the electoral commission, now says he is not sure that Mr Kibaki won the election. The Americans and the British have been twisting arms. The head of the African Union, John Kufuor, is also trying to mediate. More importantly, well-connected Kikuyu business leaders have been trying to persuade Mr Kibaki to cave in and form a government of national unity. “If they don't,” says a diplomat, “the country is heading for civil war.”

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What's Really Going on Here?

Alex Wierbinski, Berkeley, Ca., December, 2007
This only happened because we supported Kibaki before the election, and have tried to prop up his robbery until the country went nuts. We most likely pursued this corrupt course in return for Kibaki’s illegal detention of Somalias fleeing the us backed Ethiopian invasion of Somali.

Thailand is in the same boat: their military coup has been protected by the American government and media, in return for providing a secret prison where we could torture our kidnap victims.

Look around. Our dictatorship in Pakistan has brought chaos to eastern afganastan and western pakistan, and framed the us as yet another empire interefering in their domestic affairs. Rather than suppressing "terror," we are encouraging people who seek freedom around the world to blow up our dictators.

Egypt's people are in the same boat, suffering under a military dictatorship propped up by american guns, political support, and boatloads of money.

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Also See:

Violence Grips Kenya, Sky, 12-31-07

Video: How to win in Kenya: Fraud and Violence, Guardian, 12-31-07

recent past:
BUSH LAWLESSNESS SPREADS TO KENYA:Kenya defends transfers, absolves U.S., McClatchy, 3-15-07

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

Justice Dept. opens criminal probe in CIA tapes case

By Richard B. Schmitt, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer

1:49 PM PST, January 2, 2008



WASHINGTON -- The Justice Department said today that it has opened a full investigation into possible criminal wrongdoing associated with the CIA's destruction of videotaped interrogations of terror suspects.

"The department's National Security division has recommended, and I have concluded, that there is a basis for initiating a criminal investigation of this matter, and I have taken steps to begin that investigation," Atty. Gen. Michael B. Mukasey said in a prepared statement, adding that he had appointed John Durham, the first assistant U.S. attorney in Connecticut, to oversee the investigation.

The tapes were destroyed in late 2005 at the direction of Jose A. Rodriguez Jr., then-chief of the agency's clandestine service. Several administration lawyers have reportedly said they were involved in discussions concerning the tapes but recommended that they be preserved. Some officials have said that the tapes were destroyed in order to protect the identity of undercover CIA operatives who were involved in questioning the suspects.

The issue has inflamed members of Congress who at the time were seeking to put limits on harsh interrogation techniques by the CIA, including one known as water-boarding. Defense lawyers for military detainees have said that the existence of the tapes could help their clients by showing that the government obtained unreliable evidence against them through coercion.

The Justice Department had asked congressional leaders to put off their own investigations into the destruction of the tapes pending the criminal probe. The Senate Intelligence Committee has set a hearing for Jan. 16 and has subpoenaed Rodriguez.

CIA Inspector General John L. Helgerson said today that he had decided to recuse himself from the investigation in light of the decision to move ahead with a criminal probe. Helgerson was involved in reviewing the tapes as part of an internal probe a few years ago.

"During the coming weeks I anticipate describing fully the actions I and my office took on this matter to investigators from the executive and legislative branches," Helgerson said. "It is important to avoid the conflict of interest that surely would arise if I were also involved in the ongoing investigation."


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What's Really Going on Here?

Alex Wierbinski, Berkeley, Ca., December, 2007

Top of Page

Also See:

John Durham: special investigator: Hartford Courant, 01

John Durham: Muckracker

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

Justice opens criminal investigation of torture tapes, lat, 1-2-08

AG Mukasey Defies Congress, lat, 12-14-07

previous to mukasey:

Long history of CIA Crimes Revealed, ap, 6-21-07

CIA Lawyer who Justifies Toture-Kidnapping-Endless Detention Appears NYT, 6-21-07

In Intelligence World, A Mute Watchdog: Bush Above the Law, Washington Post, 7-15-07

CIA dissenters aided secret prisons report, Reuters, 7-17-07

Bush signs new CIA interrogation: Rules He Can Torture Anyone, lat, July 21, 2007

ABA criticizes Bush, ABA Clear: Bush Policy allows Torture, ap, 8-10-07

Lawmakers Raise Concerns Over Call for Investigation of C.I.A. Watchdog’s Work, NY Times, October 13, 2007

The New AG:

Mukasey Endorses Expansive Presidential Authority: Defends all of bush's crimes, wp, 10-18-07

Mukasey's reply draws more fire, declines to call water-boarding torture, LAT, 10-31-07

On torture:

Psycologists built, run, torture facilities, Vanity Fair , 7-17-07

Waterboarding is torture, wp, 11-1-07


Some Thoughts on torture and how our new AG was "selected:"

Gonzales Quits: Who Will Defend the President's Crimes Now? August 28, 2007

Mukasey Affirms He Will Defend and Advance the President's Career as a Criminal, Oct 18, 2007

1984 in America: Torture as a tool of State, 10-31-07

Who Will Defend the President's Crimes Now? Finding a New Attorney General to replace Gonzales, 8-28-07


All New link Index:

The Unitary Executive



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

Presidential candidates diverge on U.S. joining war crimes court


Bob Egelko, Chronicle Staff Writer

Wednesday, January 2, 2008




The International Criminal Court isn't discussed much in the presidential campaign, but few issues are more revealing of a candidate's perspective on the United States' legal and political relations with the rest of the world.

The court was established in 2002 to deal with cases of war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide. Headquartered in the Dutch city of The Hague, it was conceived as a permanent successor to the Nuremberg tribunals formed to try Nazi leaders after World War II. It now has 105 members, including virtually all current U.S. allies, but not the United States itself.

President Bush has attacked the court relentlessly, saying it could subject Americans to politically motivated prosecutions abroad. He has renounced the 1998 treaty that created the court, pressed other nations to disregard it, and signed legislation - nicknamed the "Hague Invasion Act" by critics - authorizing military action to free any citizen of the United States or an allied nation held for trial by the court.

Republican presidential candidates generally share Bush's view, while Democratic candidates largely reject it. But there are differences among candidates within each party.

Unlike the rest of the Republican field, Sen. John McCain has said he would like to see the United States join the international court, although he would first require more protections for U.S. personnel. Sens. Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama have taken similar wait-and-see positions, while most of the other Democratic hopefuls have called for full U.S. membership.

The presidential candidates also took differing positions in the only congressional vote on the issue, the 2002 legislation allowing military action to free prisoners at The Hague. Clinton and McCain voted for the bill, as did then-Sen. John Edwards - who now favors U.S. membership in the court...

The court, with 18 judges from member nations, has the power to try individuals for war crimes, crimes against humanity or genocide committed by citizens of member nations, or by others - including Americans - within those nations' borders. Crimes committed elsewhere can also be prosecuted with the approval of the U.N. Security Council, where the United States has veto power.

The court is required to give a nation's own legal system the first chance to investigate and prosecute a case and will step in only when it concludes the nation is not making a good-faith effort to hold anyone accountable. So far, it has issued arrest warrants in only three cases, from Uganda, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Sudan.

Though the United States took part in negotiations that led to the 1998 treaty, President Clinton did not sign the treaty until the final days of his administration in 2000 and never submitted it to the Senate for a ratification vote on membership. When the court came into being in 2002, Bush ordered the treaty "unsigned" - an unprecedented action for any nation, according to Scharf - and worked to insulate the United States.

Threatening cutoffs of U.S. aid, the administration has obtained agreements from 100 nations not to send Americans to the court. Bush also supported the 2002 law that, besides authorizing military action to free U.S. prisoners, forbids all U.S. cooperation with the court and, in selected cases, denies military aid to member nations who refuse to sign the agreements with the United States.

The administration has made one exception to its policy of opposing the court, the continuing slaughter of villagers in the Darfur region of Sudan, in which the advocates of U.S. intervention include Christian conservatives. Bush declined to veto a 2005 Security Council resolution authorizing the international court to investigate and indict Sudanese officials, whom Sudan's government has since refused to surrender.

"The U.S. is already exposed to the ICC," Scharf said, using the initials for the court. "It's not like staying outside it protects us. If a politician really wants to protect us from the ICC, being an influential insider might protect us more."


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Also See:

Extensive list of links reporting on US kidnapping, illegal detentions, and torture.

Search the Corruption Database under



Illegal trials


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

Eased Rules on Tech Sales to China Questioned

NYT, 1-2-07





WASHINGTON — Six months ago, the Bush administration quietly eased some restrictions on the export of politically delicate technologies to China. The new approach was intended to help American companies increase sales of high-tech equipment to China despite tight curbs on sharing technology that might have military applications

But today the administration is facing questions from weapons experts about whether some equipment — newly authorized for export to Chinese companies deemed trustworthy by Washington — could instead end up helping China modernize its military. Equally worrisome, the weapons experts say, is the possibility that China could share the technology with Iran or Syria.

The technologies include advanced aircraft engine parts, navigation systems, telecommunications equipment and sophisticated composite materials.

The questions raised about the new policy are in a report to be released this week by the Wisconsin Project on Nuclear Arms Control, an independent research foundation that opposes the spread of arms technologies.

One of the Chinese companies, the BHA Aero Composites Company, is partly owned by two American companies — 40 percent by the American aircraft manufacturer Boeing and 40 percent by the aerospace materials maker Hexcel. The remaining 20 percent is owned by a Chinese government-owned company, AVIC I, or the China Aviation Industry Corporation I.

“In principle, you could find companies that would be above suspicion, but in this case they haven’t done it,” said Gary Milhollin, director of the Wisconsin Project. “If you just look at the relations these companies have, rather than be above suspicion, they are highly suspicious.”

The Wisconsin Project report also charges that both Boeing and Hexcel have been cited for past lapses in obtaining proper licenses for exports.

Mr. Milhollin said that research by his staff had uncovered several links with the Chinese military establishment involving both BHA and another of the five companies, the Shanghai Hua Hong NEC Electronics Company.

AVIC I, the Chinese government entity that owns a minority share of BHA, also produces fighters, nuclear-capable bombers and aviation weapons systems for the People’s Liberation Army, the report says. The State Department has cited another AVIC subsidiary, the China National Aero-Technology Import & Export Corporation, for links to arms sales to Iran and Syria.

The report also says that Shanghai Hua Hong NEC Electronics is majority owned “through a corporate chain” by the China Electronics Corporation, which the report says is a government conglomerate that produces military equipment along with consumer electronics. It has a unit, the report says, that procures arms for the military.

Mr. Milhollin said that the new policy granting companies the right to import some technologies without prior licenses was adopted quietly as “a stealth attack on export controls.”

In general, the Commerce Department tries to make it easier for American companies to export to markets overseas, and there has been a particular emphasis on selling to China. The United States is expected to show a trade deficit with China of nearly $300 billion in 2007.


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What's Really Going on Here?

Bush, Boeing, and a host of American Corps are Traitors

Alex Wierbinski, Berkeley, Ca., December, 2007
Watch as these companies garner massive war profits when China flexes its military might against Taiwan, India, or Tibet. Or us.

China's role in enhancing corporate profits is a textbook example of globalism. By lowering wages, working conditions, benefits, and safety, our corporations are rolling economic conditions, profitability, and the distribution of wealth back to the levels of the Gilded Age of the Robber Barons.

Unfortunatly for us, they have achieved these profits by gutting our midde-class, destroying our manufacturing base, and growing our population beyond the ability of our natural and social infrastructures to support.

We have grown beyond our ability to fuel or feed ourselves, and have failed to grow our educational, health or social infrastructures as our population grew.

Without China, all of this would had been impossible. China's industrialization has played a vital role in assisting the corporate takeover of the US. By allowing our corporations to use low-cost Chinese products in our markets, all american manufacturers and laborers are made to compete against products made with no environmental, labor, or social costs. China has been used as a club by the corporations to bludegon the american middle-class labor into poverty.

By allowing the corporations to excape their responsibilities in China, we have allowed them to excape their responsibilities here. Opening china has created market conditions that will prevent decent wages, benefits, or working conditions in the us unitl we close china, or demand a tarriff equilivant to the labor, safety, and benefit abuses perpetuated in China.

The loss of the middle-class has also had drastic political consequences.

The loss of our middle-class has taken the wealth out of the hands of the people who were the basis of our democracy. Without a middle-class we have lost the last democratic restraints on wealth and power in our legislatue and congress.

With the destruction of our middle-class, "our" politicians are now completely dependent on, and tools of, the corporate and special interests, rather than the voters.

The sad fact is that "our" politicians only serve those who put them in office. Today, it is corporate and special interest bribes that put and keep them in office.

More has been lost than our middle-class. Our corporations have traded our national security, general welfare, and our democratic republic for their profits and power.

Our best hope to reverse this mess is to attack the center of the problem: the link of bribery between our politicians and corporations must be severed. We must make the voter the primary funder of every politicians in California.

If we want policies and laws that represent the general welfare of our citizens, rather than the profits and power of the corporations, we must restore the democratic republic our Constitution called into being.


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Also See:

An Opportunity for Wall St. in China’s Surveillance Boom, China Catches up with West: It's 1984 in China, NY Times, September 11, 2007

China Finds American Allies for Security, NYT, December 28, 2007

Corruption Updates 92, 4th article on the page, Chinese Government Covers up Party Participation in Slavery

Corruption Updates 101, 1st article on the page, Abuses Belie China Pledge on Rights, Critics Say


China is not our friend, essay, 5-07

Ban China Trade, essay, 8-07


China poisoned products: links

China: you have no rights: Links


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

Nasa attacked on air safety study

A survey of air safety by the US space agency, Nasa, has come in for criticism from members of Congress.

bbc, Tuesday, 1 January 2008, 13:21 GMT



The 16,000-page document has been presented in a way that makes it difficult to analyse, members of Congress have said.

Nasa has also been criticised for releasing only parts of its findings on New Year's Eve - an attempt, critics say, to bury the report.

Researchers interviewed nearly 30,000 pilots about their experiences.


"This is now three years old, and it's been dumped, unanalysed and scrubbed of much of the useful information"

Brad Miller

US congressman


The data shows that there were hundreds of cases where pilots flew too close to other planes, plunged from altitude or landed at airports without clearance.

The head of Nasa, Michael Griffin, said the public should not be worried about the findings, but congressmen said they needed further study.


'Commercial interests'

The federal air safety study had previously been withheld from the public over concerns it would upset travellers and hurt the commercial interests of the airlines, correspondents say.


Data gathered over four years

1,266 incidents in which aircraft flew within 152m (500ft) of each other

1,312 cases of pilots suddenly dropping or climbing more than 90m

166 reports of pilots landing without clearance at an airport


Delivering the study, Nasa chief Michael Griffin said: "It's hard for me to see any data here that the travelling public would care about or ought to care about."

Mr Griffin said Nasa had never intended to analyse the data it collected, but planned to pass its methodology of the study to the US aviation community.

He denied the report was intentionally published on New Year's Eve to bury its findings.


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What's Really Going on Here?

Alex Wierbinski, Berkeley, Ca., December, 2007
NASA is being politically manipulated to suppress safety information that would threaten the profits of the airlines.

The EPA, FDA, Interior, NOAA, and the Park Service are just a few of executive branch departments that have been corrupted by many examples of how bribery has distorted the operation of our government at every level.

as are the rest of our governmental agencies

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About NASA:

White House under Investigation for Censoring Science, ap, November 1, 2006 (INSPECTORS FOR NASA AND COMMERECE DEPTS participated in WIDESPREAD MISCONDUCT”)


Lawmakers Urge Bush To Fire NASA Official:Gonzales's Aide now Delivers Injustice, wp, 4-3-07

NASA Chief Improperly Destroyed Tapes of Meeting, Lawmaker Says, wp, April 27, 2007


Other agencies politicized:


Consumer Product Safety Commission nominee withdraws, Associated Press, May 24, 2007






Bush climate program drags its feet, has climate research satellites stripped, nyt, September 14, 2007

Corporate Lobbyists killing safety regs as fast as possible under bush, hiring and bribing dems, LAT, December 2, 2007


Senate Dems forming worthless Co2 Bill, McClatchy, Dec 3, 2007

Essay: Boxer's liar's Game: Maintain growth and Pollution while looking "Green"



Energy Bill: Dems Serve Big Oil, NYT, December 14, 2007


White House Manipulation of Climate Science Proven, csm, 12-12-07


Fed judge upholds ca auto emissions rules, NYT, December 13, 2007

And Bush bats them down: EPA rejects ca waiver. (Big Oil vs. democracy. We Lose, again.) Union of Concerned Scientists Clean Vehicles Program, December 19, 2007

Ca sues EPA for emissions waiver, lat, January 2, 2008


Political thieves busted trying to steal our last forests: New forest "rules" withdrawn, ap, January 9, 2008

Public health ripped off for corporate profits, nyt, January 8, 2008





also see: Interior department manipulation puts big oil before polar bears, McClatchy January 17, 2008

EPA ignored science to deny california auto smog rules, bloomberg, January 24, 2008


Nasa attacked on air safety study, bbc, 1-1-08

China trade Kills, yet again: Don't trust any drugs in the US. Between chinese poison and FDA corruption, the public is screwed, NYT, February 16, 2008


EPA waiver for California emissions influenced by political bribery: Big Surprize! lat, February 27, 2008


FDA: Eat your Nasty Corporate Spinach! bloomberg, March 12, 2008


FAA accused of allowing southwest safety violations, cnn, 3-12-08


Merck Wrote Drug Studies for Doctors: don't trust your bribed govt? then don't trust drugs, nyt, 4-16-08


How lobbying buys lawmakers and law:

Corruption Updates 1, 2nd to last article on the page, Big Oil Owns our Politicians

Corruption Updates 2, 6th article down, Contribute to Win, Big Contribs try to Trump State Safety Laws

Corruption Updates 3, 2nd article on page, “Big Business Spends Lawmakers into Compliance

Corruption Updates 4, 1st article on page, Checks in, Laws Out, It's that Simple

The Latest Index of Political Bribery


previous indexes you may find interesting

Read Articles describing how the Democrats represent Corporations

Links: Bribing, Silencing, and politically Manipulating Science

Read more about political Censorship of Science


Our politicians sell our health

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

The era of easy money is over


By Richard Reich


Published: January 2 2008 18:53 | Last updated: January 2 2008 18:53



According to new polls, the economy is the number one issue for American voters. A million homeowners may lose their homes because of the subprime mortgage crisis and millions more face difficulties getting credit. Energy costs are up, consumer confidence is down. We are poised for recession.

Washington is abuzz with plans to prevent the economy falling into recession. All the main presidential candidates are offering ideas for keeping the economy afloat. President George W. Bush wants to freeze mortgage rates while helping giant banks to unfreeze their credit by means of a giant bankruptcy process requiring so much government intervention as to make even a Democrat blush. Democrats are toying with middle-class tax cuts and increased spending on infrastructure to stimulate the economy. Pressure is mounting on the Federal Reserve to cut interest rates further. But none of these fixes will help much, because they do not deal with the underlying anxieties gripping American voters. The problem lies deeper than the current slowdown. It is only tangentially related to the business cycle.

The fact is, middle-class families have exhausted the coping mechanisms they have used for more than three decades to get by on median wages that are barely higher than they were in 1970, adjusted for inflation. Male wages today are in fact lower than they were then; the income of a young man in his 30s is now 12 per cent below that of a man his age three decades ago. Yet for years America’s middle class has lived beyond its pay cheque. Middle-class lifestyles have flourished even though median wages have barely budged. That is ending and Americans are beginning to feel the consequences.

The first coping mechanism was moving more women into paid work. The percentage of American working mothers with school-age children has almost doubled since 1970 – from 38 per cent to close to 70 per cent. Some parents are now doing 24-hour shifts, one on child duty while the other works. I call these families Dins – double income, no sex.

But we reached the limit to how many mothers could maintain paying jobs. We turned to a second coping mechanism. The typical American now works two weeks more each year than he or she did 30 years ago. We are veritable workaholics, putting in 350 more hours a year than the average European, more even than the notoriously industrious Japanese.

But there is also a limit to how long we can work. As the tide of economic necessity continued to rise, we turned to the third coping mechanism. We began to borrow, big time. With housing prices rising briskly through the 1990s and even faster between 2002 and 2006, we turned our homes into piggy banks through home equity loans. Americans got nearly $250bn worth of home equity every quarter in second mortgages and refinancings. With credit cards raining down like manna from heaven, we bought plasma TV sets, new appliances, vacations. With dollars artificially high because foreigners continued to hold them even as the nation sank deeper into debt, we summoned inexpensive goods and services from the rest of the world.

But this can no longer keep us going, either. The era of easy money is over. With the bursting of the housing bubble, home equity is drying up. Defaults on home equity loans have surged to the highest level this decade. Automotive and credit card debt is next. Personal bankruptcies rose 48 per cent in the first half of 2007, probably even more in the second, which means a wave of defaults on consumer loans. Meanwhile, as foreigners shift out of dollars, we will no longer have access to cheap foreign goods and services.

The anxiety gripping the American middle class is not simply a product of the current economic slowdown. The underlying problem began around 1970. Any presidential candidate seeking to address it will have to think bigger than bailing out lenders and borrowers, or stimulating the economy with tax cuts and spending increases.

Most Americans are still not prospering in the high-tech, global economy that emerged three decades ago. Almost all the benefits of economic growth since then have gone to a relatively small number of people at the top. The candidate who acknowledges this and finds ways truly to spread prosperity will have a good chance of winning over America’s large, and increasingly anxious, middle class.

The writer is professor of public policy at the University of California at Berkeley. He is former US secretary of labour and author of Supercapitalism, soon to be released in the UK

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Wall St start to new year worst in 25 years


By Chris Bryant in New York


Published: January 2 2008 13:58 | Last updated: January 2 2008 22:14




US blue-chip stocks on Wednesday suffered the worst start to a new year in 25 years after an index of manufacturing fell sharply, raising fears that the US economy is slowing more than expected.

Energy stocks were a lone bright spot as crude oil prices touched $100 a barrel, but the spike in crude accentuated selling of a broad range of transport and industrial companies. Technology stocks were particularly weak after an analyst downgraded several semiconductor companies.

The futures market fully priced in the likelihood of at least a 25 basis point cut at the end of this month compared with a 68 per cent chance a week ago.


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Dollar fear sparks rush to oil and gold


By Javier Blas in London and Michael Mackenzie in New York


Published: January 2 2008 19:00 | Last updated: January 3 2008 00:37




Crude oil prices briefly hit the $100-a-barrel mark and gold prices jumped to an all-time high as investors poured money into commodities on Wednesday amid deepening fears about the weakness of the US dollar.

The dollar fell against the euro and the yen after a report that showed the US manufacturing sector slumping to its lowest levels in five years during December. Investors bet that the Federal Reserve would be forced to lower interest rates in response to economic weakness, potentially increasing the downward pressure on the dollar.

The Institute for Supply Management said that its manufacturing index for December fell to 47.7, its lowest level since April 2003 and well below 50.8 in November. A reading below 50 indicates a contraction in activity and has historically served as a harbinger of recession.

TJ Marta, fixed income strategist at RBC Capital Markets in New York, said: “A further decline in the overall index below 45 would be consistent with the recessions of 1990-91 and 2001.”

Minutes from the Fed’s meeting in December, released Wednesday, revealed that policymakers “agreed on the need to remain exceptionally alert to economic and financial developments and their effects on the outlook”. The minutes said “members would be prepared to adjust the stance of monetary policy if prospects for economic growth or inflation were to worsen”.

The dollar fell to $1.4750 against the euro. Sterling also took a battering after weaker than expected purchasing managers’ data suggested the UK economy may also be facing a more severe slowdown than thought. The pound fell 1.3 per cent against the euro to a record low at £0.7447 and by 0.3 per cent against the dollar to $1.9791.

“People seem scared from a number of factors – an inflation spike, further US dollar weakness or systemic financial risk,” said John Reade, precious metals strategist at UBS in London.

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Ghosts of Subprime Past May Continue to Haunt

NYT, 1-2-08



There were some especially grim predictions from analysts at Goldman Sachs, who wrote last week that write-downs at the largest financial firms are likely to be “significantly larger than investors are anticipating.” Citigroup’s books still contain billions of dollars in collateralized debt obligations, the complex packages of debt whose value has plunged as their perceived risk has increased. Goldman analysts said Citi may be forced to write off $18.7 billion in assets including C.D.O.’s, up from its estimate of as much as $11 billion in early November.

Because of the write-downs, Citi may also need to cut its dividend 40 percent to preserve capital, the analysts said.

Citi is hardly the only firm where another shoe is expected to drop, however.

As the quality of mortgage-backed assets continues to decline, JPMorgan Chase may write off $3.4 billion in fixed-income securities, double Goldman’s previous estimate. Even then, the firm would still have $5 billion in C.D.O. exposure.

Meanwhile, Merrill Lynch, which is expected to face write-downs of almost $12 billion in the fourth quarter alone, has about $8 billion of C.D.O.’s in its portfolio.

“We still have billions of dollars in write-downs that have to be announced by the banks,” Joseph Brusuelas, chief United States economist at IDEAglobal, told The New York Times. “Financials still have to come clean and account for increasingly devalued portfolios. Until we get through all of that, we’re going to have volatile markets.”

United States banks have already collectively written off at least $60 billion in subprime-related securities.


Citi and other banks underestimate sub-prime exposure by billions, AP, December 27, 2007 (also see the three articles following this link)

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Mortgage crisis takes a bite out of states and cities

Tax revenue is down considerably across the nation, creating budget shortfalls and forcing hard choices on what to cut.

By Stephanie Simon, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer

December 31, 2007




DENVER -- Dozens of states, counties and cities across the nation will enter the new year facing deep and unexpected budget holes as the widening mortgage crisis cuts sharply into tax revenue.

"We're talking about a pretty tough fiscal environment for the next four or five years," said Christopher W. Hoene, the director of policy and research for the National League of Cities. "Libraries, parks, after-school programs . . . you'll see lots of questions raised about cities' abilities to fund them."

The effects of the housing slowdown are not being felt evenly across the nation; in states such as Wyoming, Alaska and Texas, they're more than offset by the boom in oil and gas prices. But in a recent survey, 24 states reported that their tax collections had taken a hit because of the housing crisis.

The 10 most affected states, including California, Nevada and Arizona, will lose a combined $6.6 billion in tax revenue next year, according to a report prepared for the U.S. Conference of Mayors.

"We're at the early stage of a problem that's going to get worse," said Corina Eckl, an analyst for the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Even more distressing to budget planners is the decline in sales tax revenue. If people aren't buying homes, they're not buying refrigerators and washing machines to furnish them. Nationwide, orders for durable goods have been flat for the last four months. (November saw the first slight uptick: 0.1%. Economists had been hoping for 2.2%.)

On average, states receive about a third of their revenue from sales taxes.

The fallout has been most severe in California, where officials are grappling with a $14-billion gap. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has ordered agencies to immediately trim spending by 10%.

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Also See:

A brief history of our recent meltdown and its causes: three essays

Markets ready to Kill Economy 8-4-07

Feds Bail out Greedy Speculators, 8-17-07

Housing Credit Crisis Exposed Rotten Core of Economy 11-24-07


California Budget Crisis Looming:

The Corporate Press, presented and refuted


Bay area foreclosures skyrocket: Local version of impending Global fiscal meltdown, SF Chron, Sept 19, 2007

Los Angeles Times, October 17, 2007; Poverty line out of touch with costs, advocates say: Two-working-parent family in L.A. needs $74,044 to make ends meet

Summary; Deterioration of the 2007–08 Budget, Elizabeth Hill, Legislative Analyst, Nov 14, 2007

Budget Cuts for Education on the way bee 12-10

Arnie predicts 14 bil shortfall, bee, 12-12

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



general economic conditions

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"

BBC, August 8, 2007; Wealth gap 'spreads across Asia': Globalism Impoverishes Asia

7 MONEY articles: Credit Shrinks, Citi bailout, Global writedown, China Pressured, Housing Plunging, (London Too), Fed Cutting, Various Sources, Nov 27-29, 2007

Big Oil: China & India demand massive increase in global oil production, consumption, NYT, Nov 7, 2007

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

econ slowing, market tanking, nyt, 1-9-08

fed minutes: fed confused, nyt, 1-9-08

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The status of our economy: Links


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Today's Headlines

Corruption abroad

1) Bhutto Clan leader Rejects husband-son leadership

2) Kenya's fraudlent election

Corruption at Home

3) Justice opens criminal investigation of CIA

4) Bush-Clinton, and US protecting US war crimes by resisting ICC

5) Bush is China's Bitch, II. also see: Bush is China's Bitch, I

6) NASA hides air dangers to protect airline profits


Economic Meltdown Heating Up

7) Era of easy money over

b] Happy New Year: Markets Tumble

c] Oil and Gold rise as dollar stinks, err, sinks

d] Subprime woes just getting started

e] Mortgage crisis defunding cities and states for years to come