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Posted: January 14, 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.

Bush Delivers Arms Sale to Saudi Arabia

By ANNE GEARAN, AP Diplomatic Writer

12:27 PM PST, January 14, 2008

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia -- President Bush, on his first visit to this oil-rich kingdom, delivered a major arms sale Monday to a key ally in a region where the U.S. casts neighboring Iran as a menace to stability.

A recent poll conducted for Terror Free Tomorrow, a bipartisan group whose goal is undermining world support for terrorism, found only 12 percent here view Bush positively -- lower than Iran's president or even al-Qaida chief Osama bin Laden -- and more think warmly toward Iran than America. Top among the reasons are the chaos in Iraq that followed the 2003 U.S.-led invasion and the widespread Arab feeling that the United States is biased

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What's Really Going on Here??

The bubbling regional war to pick up speed?

Alex Wierbinski, Berkeley, Ca., January 14, 2008

There has been an underground regional conflict percolating through the middle-east since the end of the cold war. Our other imperial bookend in the middle-east, the soviets, melted away. This released the middle-east from the jaws of the soviet-western vice in which they were held.

Although we seemed, and still seem oblivious to the change, a new paradigm replaced the contest between soviet-backed states and western backed states for domination of the middle-east. Not only were nations released from this vice, so were the aspirations of their people.

we have not failed to disappoint.

After the fall of the soviets, american foreign policy abuses were no longer judged as part of the contest against the soviets, but we were now to be judged on our own merits, by our own standards.

Before and after the fall of the soviets, american policy in the middle-east has been dedicated to maintaining authoritarian regimes capable of imposing american political and economic policies on their people.

All arabs, from bedouins to post-colonial urban elites, would have responded favorably to any real american support for democracy. They have been bitterly disappointed, leading all classes of muslims to find legitimacy in islam, rather than secular democracy.

As bush tours nations ruled by kings, emirs, and religious democracies who all hold power in the shadow of the american sword, it is clear that american power and influence in the middle-east has not brought a golden age of democracy.

On the contrary, our support for dictatorships and authoritarian governments, be they be disguised as dictators, kings, emirs, or exclusive democracies, has dramatically increased since the fall of the soviets.

Bush's middle-eastern crime spree in iraq, Afghanistan, and pakistan has now blown up in his face, and he has come to the middle-east to arm and rally his authoritarian allies for the impending contest to re-re impose western authority on Iran and pakistan, in addition to rescuing his miserable failures in iraq and Afghanistan.

The bubbling underground regional conflict is about to burst forth as a regional war.

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Also See:

U.S. Arms Plan for Mideast Aims to Counter Iranian Power: Bush fuels middle east arms race, nyt, 7-31-07

Lieberman: U.S. Should Weigh Iran Attack, ap, June 10, 2007

War-torn Iraq 'facing collapse,' bbc, 5-17-07

Clouds of War Gathering over Greater Middle-East, 10-13-07

articles about iran

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iraq war

middle east

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

Israeli PM: All Options Open on Iran

By MARK LAVIE, Associated Press Writer

9:35 AM PST, January 14, 2008,0,4708567.story?coll=la-ap-topnews-headlines

JERUSALEM -- Prime Minister Ehud Olmert warned Monday that all options are open when it comes to keeping Iran from obtaining atomic weapons, his clearest sign yet that Israeli could use force against a nation considered among its most serious threats.

A participant in the Monday committee meeting said Olmert warned, "Israel clearly will not reconcile itself to a nuclear Iran," adding, "All options that prevent Iran from gaining nuclear capabilities are legitimate within the context of how to grapple with this matter."

...there has been speculation all along that Israel might mount a pre-emptive strike at Iran, similar to its 1981 Israeli attack on the Iraqi nuclear reactor.

Israel is widely believed to have a considerable arsenal of nuclear weapons, though its government has never admitted that, preferring a policy of "ambiguity" as a way of deterring attackers.

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What's Really Going on Here??

Israel ready to attack Iran

Alex Wierbinski, Berkeley, Ca., January 14, 2008

Bush's iraq disaster has not just enhanced iran's regional power and influence, it has inflamed the saudi, egyptian, jordanian, and lebanese people against their american-supported dictators and kings.

This has put huge pressure on all the above mentioned governments to moderate their support for america, and american wars, in a vain attempt to maintain even a shred of the appearance of popular support and political legitimacy.

Israel realizes that these governments have neither popular support nor legitimacy, and their bellicose statements against Iran are not going to draw any support across the arabic middle-east.

bush's failures in iraq and Afghanistan have put israel in an impossible situation: If the present conditions persist, iran will soon have iraq as a good buddy and strong ally, Afghanistan and pakistan will agree the taliban should run Afghanistan, and pakistan will form a nominally moderate islamic democracy hostile to american interference. Egypt will eventually fall to its own people, as will saudi arabia and jordan.

If the people of the middle east ever control their own destines and governments, the legitimacy of israel and their 50 year reign of war crimes and crimes against humanity will be reexamined by the region and the world.

By israeli calculation, this cannot be allowed to happen at any cost. If Iran is not curbed, the road to a middle-east independent of american and israeli domination will be pass through tehran.

When the us or israel attacks iran, which seems highly likely, it is questionable if any of the middle-eastern allies bush is visiting would be able to maintain domestic control of their own nations, let alone field effective forces against iran.

The whole world is being slowly drawn into an emerging middle-eastern war. The regional conflict that is emerging will change the political character of the middle-east, and the global balance of wealth and power.

The problem is that we are on the wrong side of history and our own stated values, let alone the rights of the people in the middle-east.

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Also See:


U.S. Arms Plan for Mideast Aims to Counter Iranian Power: Bush fuels middle eastern Arms Race, NYT, July 31, 2007

Israel, $30 Billion in Military Aid From U.S. essay: Bush Wars Push Saudi Arabia..., nyt, 8-15-07

No elections if Hamas will win, Al-Ahram, Egypt, 30 August - 5 September, 2007

Bush Who? goes to Israel, independent (UK) 1-7-08

Bush predicts Victory in Middle-east, ft, (uk) 1-6-08

Israeli articles

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

Kenya rulers reject outside help

The Kenyan government has again turned down international efforts to broker a solution to the crisis triggered by disputed elections.

bbc, Monday, 14 January 2008, 17:17 GMT

Government minister John Michuki said there was no need for former UN chief Kofi Annan to visit Kenya on Tuesday to lead fresh mediation efforts.

Last week an initiative led by Ghanaian President John Kufuor failed.

More than 600 people have been killed and 250,000 displaced in violence that followed elections on 27 December.

A key stumbling block to efforts to resolve Kenya's crisis has been the opposition's insistence on involvement by international mediators, while the government maintains a domestic solution should be found.

"No party should create facts on the ground or engage in acts that complicate the search for a negotiated solution"

Kofi Annan,

leading mediation panel to Kenya

After his mediation effort last week failed, Mr Kufuor suggested both sides had agreed to work with another panel of mediators, this time led by former UN Secretary General Annan.

Mr Annan is due to arrive in Kenya on Tuesday, but his visit was played down by Mr Michuki - a hardline member of the new partially filled cabinet announced by Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki.

While Mr Kibaki has put forward the possibility of a power-sharing government, ODM leader Raila Odinga insists the presidential election was rigged and must be re-run.

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What's Really Going on Here??

Alex Wierbinski, Berkeley, Ca., December 30, 2007

I tried to comment on earlier about the first two articles above, (dec. 30, #10 and 10b) reporting about the corrupt nature of the Kenyan election, before the election results came in, but the workload proved too great.

The key element distinguishing the first two articles, above, (page 140_10) from each other consists in how the American press under-reports and de-emphasize the depth and scope of Kenyan election fraud, likely due to Kenya's doing our dirty work through kidnapping, illegally detaining, and setting up Somalis for American torture, if not doing it themselves.

As the third article above, by China's points out, Mwai Kibaki's election fraud is being strongly supported by the American government.

This should come as no surprise to anyone who has honestly studied American foreign policy during the last 100 years.

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Also See:

Riots Batter Kenya as Rivals Declare Victory, NYT, 12-30-07

Kenyan Election Fraud covered by US,

Kenyan Election Condemned, telegraph, 12-31-07

Violence Grips Kenya, Sky, 12-31-07

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

Kenya election fraud rejected, economist, 1-2-03

Kenyan election chair announced result before finishing count, guardian, 1-3-08

Kenya's Attn General calls for independent count, guardian, 1-4-08

Group: Kenyan police have killed dozens, ap, 1-13-08

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as of 1-14-08 the data base is up to date only to page 119. Sorry.

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

Americans Cut Back Sharply on Spending


nyt, January 14, 2008


Strong evidence is emerging that consumer spending, a bulwark against recession over the last year even as energy prices surged and the housing market sputtered, has begun to slow sharply at every level of the American economy, from the working class to the wealthy.

The abrupt pullback raises the possibility that the country may be experiencing a rare decline in personal consumption, not just a slower rate of growth. Such a decline would be the first since 1991, and it would almost certainly push the entire economy into a recession in the middle of an election year.

There are mounting anecdotal signs that beginning in December Americans cut back significantly on personal consumption, which accounts for 70 percent of the economy.

A raft of consumer companies — high-end stores like Nordstrom and Tiffany, and middle-of-the-road ones like Target and J. C. Penney — reported a pronounced slowdown in growth last month, and in several cases an outright drop in business.

Andrew Kohut, president of the Pew Research Center, says consumer satisfaction with the economy has reached a 15-year low, according to the firm’s polling.

Even wealthier consumers, who were seen as invulnerable to rising gasoline prices and falling home values, are feeling the squeeze.

Perhaps the strongest barometer over the last 30 days is the performance of the country’s big chain stores. December turned out to be a blood bath for retailers at every rung on the economic ladder, with sales for the month growing at the slowest rate in seven years.

Sales at stores open at least a year, a crucial yardstick in retailing, plunged by 11 percent at Kohl’s and 7.9 percent at Macy’s, compared with last year.

Chains that cater to the middle and upper classes, which have benefited from years of trading

up — when customers splurge on select expensive products — struggled as well.

This is the real deal — consumers are slowing down across the spectrum,” said David Schick, a retail analyst at Stifel Nicolaus.

And Tiffany, the upscale jeweler, said the number of purchases at its stores dropped last month.

At the same time, the number of overdue payments on American Express cards is surging, the company said — and this among well-heeled cardholders who charge up to $12,000 a year, on average, on each card.

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What's Really Going on Here??

See: Housing-credit crisis exposing the rotten core of American Markets and Economy, committee, 11-24-07


Who's at Fault for the Impending Meltdown?

Blame the Politicians, who are nothing more than the BRIBED TOOLS of Corporate America

Alex Wierbinski, Berkeley, Ca., January 14, 2008:

We are facing an impending economic meltdown on a scale of the great depression. We have been brought to this point by massive irresponsible growth. The way we have grown in population and consumption has changed the distribution of wealth, it has drained our natural and social infrastructures, and it has seriously damaged our democracy. It is the grandest bubble of all, and has driven all of our smaller bubbles.

The result is that our corrupted democracy has put irresponsible growth and the concentration of wealth and power before our democratic rights, our constitution, and the general welfare of our country.

Our irresponsible growth during the last 30 years has threatened our national security across a wide range of our vital interests. We have exceeded our natural limits. we have grown past our water and energy supplies.

We have grown beyond the capacity of our social infrastructure to support. Our schools, hospitals, roads, and social institutions are in a shambles. Here in california our employers and corporations drove wages down with illegal labor, and put every penny into their pockets as the expenses of the flood of crimigrants into the schools, hospitals, and prisons destroyed the middle-class's social infrastructure in california.

This rapid growth in population, poverty, and profits has concentrated wealth into the hands of one small class, who have used this wealth to throw off any pretence they are restrained by our citizens or our constitution.

These people will have you believe that we have naturally outgrown our democracy, and that the pride and arrogance of their rule is an appropriate extent ion of nature's rule of the fittest.

Personally, I believe that their are winners and losers. But I also believe that our constitution limits the scope of the winner's victory, and the loser's loss: the winners do not win political control. They do not win religious control. Under our constitution, the economic and political winners are required to respect our democracy and the rights of the citizens.

The resulting concentration of wealth has literally bought both parties. and almost completely ended the power and influence of the voter over their own representatives. The parties and special interests, not the local voters, now own "our" politicians.

The fundamental unit of our democracy is now the corporate or special interest contributor, not the people who actually voter in the election.

These corporate politicians have allowed massive corporations to seize our free press. These corporate politicians have given our national energy grid and public utilities to private interests. These corporate politicians have gutted our health system, and now subsidize corporate medicine at the expense of our citizen's health. These corporate politicians have allowed the corporations to bring cheap labor to our jobs, or move our jobs to cheap laboring countries.

Representatives elected by the people would have never approved of these destructive, short-sighted policies. The growth bubble is popping.

Thus we find our politicians desperately trying to figure out how to re stimulate our massive growth, and our massive gross consumption. If they fail, their whole house of cards will come tumbling down.

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Also See:

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

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

Budget analyst criticizes Gov.'s plan

Hill says governor's plan to cut spending 10% across the board makes little effort to set priorities and would be unnecessarily disruptive to schools.

By Evan Halper, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer

1:57 PM PST, January 14, 2008,1,3236554.story?coll=la-headlines-california


SACRAMENTO -- The state's chief budget analyst warned today that Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's plan to close a $14.5-billion budget gap fails to properly prioritize how the state should spend its money, uses questionable accounting methods and would be unnecessarily disruptive to schools and community colleges.


Legislative Analyst Elizabeth G. Hill, whom both Democratic and Republican lawmakers look to for unbiased advice on fiscal issues, is particularly critical of the governor's proposal to spare almost no agency or program in calling for state spending to be cut immediately by 10% across the board.


"It reflects little effort to prioritize and determine which state programs provide essential services or are most critical for California's future," Hill wrote in a report released this morning.


The report is the Legislature's first assessment of the proposed budget the governor unveiled Thursday. That blueprint, which covers the next 18 months, would rely on a series of deep spending reductions in government services to bring the state's books into balance.


An emergency proclamation the governor signed last week forces the Legislature to make spending reductions immediately. If lawmakers fail to act on the budget within 45 days, they will be required by law to stop all other legislative business until they do

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What's Really Going on Here??


Alex Wierbinski, Berkeley, Ca., January, 2008

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Also See:

Huge budget shortfall seen, bee , May 16, 2007

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

State Tax Revenues Plunging, Bee, Nov 23, 2007

Budget Cuts for Education on the way bee 12-10

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

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


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Arnie links


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

Water laws may throttle growth

lat, 1-14-07,0,3183703.story?coll=la-home-local


Statutes force a district near Lake Perris to assess whether supply will be available for huge warehouse project, which is now on hold.


By Deborah Schoch, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer


The dilemma shows what can happen when construction and global trade, key drivers of the regional economy, are reined in by a potential lack of water.


"Just looking at the raw numbers, we kept coming up short," said David J. Slawson, president of the board of directors of the Perris-based Eastern Municipal Water District, one of the largest districts in the state.


He says he's surprised that other water districts have not paused to review their own supplies.


This winter is posing the first significant test of two little-known state laws passed in 2001 that link large development to the availability of water.


The Eastern district may be the first in the region to cite water as the reason for delaying approval of a large project because of the laws.

Developers and water officials worry that more agencies may do the same, further weakening a building market already crippled by the sub-prime mortgage crisis. Although Inland Empire business leaders hope Eastern will ease its restrictions as early as March, the district is offering no guarantees.


"No water. No construction. It's a bad combination," said Borre Winckel, executive director of the Riverside County Building Industry Assn., which has seen a dramatic decrease in requests for building permits.


But state Sen. Sheila Kuehl (D-Santa Monica), sponsor of one of the two laws, says it is working the way it should, by requiring cities to be realistic about how ambitious developments can strain water supplies to the limit.


The twin laws require local water agencies statewide to assess the needs of large projects and assure that water supplies are there for both existing and new customers for the next 20 years. The Kuehl law focuses on residential growth of 500 units or more, while a related one sponsored by a former state senator, now Rep. Jim Costa (D-Fresno), requires supply studies for all large projects.

Each time, they looked at whether the projects would strain water supplies. Each time, they found that the water was there. That changed last year, amid what some are calling "the perfect drought," a confluence of natural problems sharply decreasing water deliveries to the area: a record-low snowpack in the Sierra Nevada, an eight-year drought in the Colorado River Basin, record-dry weather at home.


The final blow came in late summer with a federal court decision protecting the endangered Delta smelt by limiting water deliveries from the Sacramento-San Joaquin Bay Delta, linchpin of the state Water Project that distributes water statewide. The federal order, made final in December, will reduce deliveries to Southern California by an estimated 22% to 30%, state officials say.


"What triggered things was the cutback on the state Water Project," said Peter Odencrans, spokesman for Eastern. "That made us think that until we work things out and get some security, we'd better be a little more cautious, and make sure that the data we come up with we do stand behind 100%."

Economist John Husing, who has studied the Inland Empire extensively, worries that other water agencies will be forced to follow Eastern's lead, squeezed by the twin water laws and the federal smelt ruling.


 “I expect that you're going to see it in every edge area of Southern California. That's Palmdale/Lancaster, out in the Imperial Valley," Husing said.


Eastern gets 80% of its water from the Los Angeles-based Metropolitan Water District, the water wholesaler that sells to 26 member cities and agencies. The MWD, in turn, gets its water from Northern California and the Colorado River Basin, and current shortages may force cutbacks to its members as early as May.


The MWD board could approve a formula as early as February that could benefit the Inland Empire by allotting more water to growing areas that are heavily dependent on MWD water -- exactly the sort of area served by Eastern.Some older, built-out cities in the Los Angeles area are criticizing that formula, saying it would force low-income customers to subsidize growth elsewhere.

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What's Really Going on Here??


march 2007 (edited 1-14-08)

The last 10 years has seen summer extending deep into fall, Fall ending in late December, and Winter occurring in Spring.

Yet the people of California seem unaware of these changes. Our “residents” perceive the deteriorated conditions in our schools, the loss of our middle class, and massive poverty as normal.

For those of you who have not been here for long, know that it has not always been like this. There have been radical changes in our social, political, and economic values. These changes, like the change in our climate, are the product of our unprecedented growth.

The majority of our population arrived recently, and have no historical perspective on what our schools, roads, our environment or our democracy were like before they got here.

The changes are invisible to those who just got here, as well as those who are blinded by the profits generated by bleeding our citizens, our democracy, and our state.

They tell us, “It's always been like this.”

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Also See:

Top Scientists Warn of Water Shortages and Disease Linked to Global Warming, ap, March 12, 2007

Delta:We Don't have a Water Crisis, or an Energy Crisis, We Have Too Many People, bee, 6-21-07

Climate Change Debate Hinges On Economics, wp, july 15, 2007

Delta fish at center of huge water war. Essay: no water problem, an overpopulation problem, bee, 8-19-07


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water (41 article abstracts)




Environment article abstracts


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Today's Headlines

1] Bush guns up middle east as iran conflict looms

2] Israel ready to attack Iran

3] Kibaki on Kenya election: I stole it, I keep it

4] Consumer spending drops like a rock

5] Leg analyst: Arnie budget sucks

6] Water shortage limiting growth