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Posted: february 27, 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.


Politicos' fundraising circuit leaves bad taste

By Andy Furillo -

bee, February 23, 2008


Democratic Assemblymen Jose Solorio, Jared Huffman and Chuck Calderon smiled and glad-handed, back-slapped and chit-chatted, working barrooms, restaurants and art galleries packed with lobbyists from labor, business and beyond.


If the past is a guide, incumbents like them are likely to raise and spend an average of $320,000 (Assembly) to $476,000 (state Senate) to get re-elected, and more than $1 million if they're in for a tough fight.


So it was just another Wednesday night of political fundraising, Sacramento style, an evening thick with lobbyist and legislator foot traffic heading in and out of candidate-hosted soirées up and down L Street from Spataro to Frank Fat's, and along K Street from Chops to the Smith Gallery.

Wednesday's breakfast-to-happy hour fundraising schedule included 14 Sacramento events – nine Democratic and five Republican. Even the termed-out legislators raise money for "officeholder accounts." The accounts pay for travel and other expenses and have to be shut down when the officeholder no longer holds office.


The evening amounted to barely a blip when it comes to California campaign financing. According to the National Institute on Money in State Politics, $810 million changed hands during California's 2006 election cycle, with committees of every persuasion – gubernatorial, statewide officeholder, legislative, ballot measure and political parties – collecting cash. (An unknown sum was counted twice, as operatives spread it from committee to committee, according to institute spokeswoman Rachel Weiss.)


Oil, tobacco, entertainment, financial, legal, real estate, insurance and the medical industries, as well as public and private sector unions and environmental advocates, led the way with eight-figure contributions each, according to the institute. The two major political parties also racked up eye-popping figures.


Derek Cressman, director of government watchdog programs for California Common Cause, said it's the nature of the system that leaves candidates – limited to $3,600 contributions per individual per primary or general election – feeling demeaned.


"Generally, the process of holding fundraisers has an unseemly feel to it, primarily because the people going to those fundraisers are lobbyists, as opposed to constituents back in a representative's district," Cressman said.


At Frank Fat's, representatives of Modesto Republican Sen. Dave Cogdill, who earlier in the day had been elected the leader of his caucus, also declined to pull him away. Among the big boppers: former state finance director Craig Brown, now a lobbyist for the California Correctional Peace Officers Association, and Richard Costigan, the one-time legislative liaison for Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and now the senior director of state and government affairs for Manatt, Phelps & Phillips – the L.A.-based King Kong of California law firms.


The next day, Cogdill called fundraising "a necessary evil."


From the lobbyists' side, Deborah Mattos attended the $1,500 Cogdill event at Frank Fat's on behalf of the California Independent Oil Marketers Association. She said the minimum entry fees are making it tougher for her clients to get in the game.


"I think campaigns have gotten out of control," said Mattos, a 25-year lobbyist. "They cost way too much. It would be great if we could put a cap on it. My clients are not big corporate clients."

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What's Really Going on Here??


Alex Wierbinski, Berkeley, Ca., February 27, 2008

These fundraisers are more than simple acts of bribery, where money changes hands for political influence. These fundraisers are the forum where the real constituients of california's politicians, the special interests, gather to maintain their control of law and policy in california.

These funraisers are the places where policy and law which guides our state are actually created. Long before we will get to vote for these special interest funded and created candidates, they have been throughly bribed by the interests they are charged with regulating.

These fundraisers are where the real power in california politics sits, not the voters.

Our initiative controls the link between non-voting contributors, the corporate parties, and every electoral district's candidate. Our initiative maintains the free speech rights of all of our citizens, but makes the local voter the biggest contributor to the local candidates.

Our initiative will clean up the bribery and dirty deals that have cluttered up our democracy. Our initiative will bring local candidates and politicians to the fore who represent their local constituients, rather than the corporate special interests who now dominate our whole political system.

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Also See:

Contribute to Win, Big Contribs try to Trump State Safety Laws, AP, 9-20-06

Parties-Special Interests Divide Political and Economic Ownership of California, Bee, 8-21-06

How to Corrupt Democracy: The Insurance Industry and the Governor, LAT, 9-24-06

Governor, PGE, Set Up Political Slush Fund, Bee, 10-29-06

Big Tobacco buys and Sells Politicians, Policy, californiaprogressreport, 11-04-07


Arnie sells influence to Corporations, Bee, 3-15-07

Insurance Industry Battle Plan: Combined Business assualt on Democracy, LAT, 9-24-06

Political Incompentence and Corruption Soft Peddled...Drug and Telecom Bill Signed, LAT, 9-30-06

Link Lists:




Search the Corruption Database under

California (183 Abstracts of California Corruption)

Killing safety regulations (37 abstracts)


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

Political practices fines drop in leader's first year

Fair Political Practices commissioner cites a push toward bigger issues, but activists are alarmed at the shift.

By Patrick McGreevy, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer

lat, February 27, 2008


SACRAMENTO -- In the year since a former state legislator took the reins of the state's political watchdog agency, prosecutions and fines for violations have dropped significantly while more cases have been resolved with only warning letters, agency statistics show.


That has some good-government activists worried about the shift at the state Fair Political Practices Commission since former state Sen. Ross Johnson became chairman. The agency is facing a proposed 10% budget cut.


"It's a concern that there are fewer penalties for cheating or breaking the rules," said Trent Lange, president of the California Clean Money Campaign. "If people are just get warning letters, that is a slap on the wrist, and of course people won't pay attention to it."

The commission levied $583,474 in fines in 159 cases last year, less than half the $1.2 million in fines imposed the year before in 269 cases. The amount last year marked a seven-year low and was far below the $1-million annual average for the previous decade.


At the same time, the number of warning letters issued by the agency increased from 30 in the year ending Feb.13, 2007, when Johnson took over, to 294 in the ensuing year. Commission spokesman Roman Porter said the numbers also reflect an effort to clear a significant backlog of cases.


Still, the numbers startled some who count on the agency to keep state government clean.


"That does raise some questions for me, particularly because we had understood the FPPC has wanted to sharpen its teeth and be much more proactive," said Kathay Feng, executive director of California Common Cause.

As head of the commission, Johnson has impressed some by pursuing new rules to close loopholes in campaign finance reporting laws.


This month, the commission approved rules that will require politicians to publicly explain how meals, gifts and out-of-state travel paid for with campaign money are connected to political or governmental business.

Johnson said a lot is going on behind the scenes to toughen enforcement against the worst violations.


He said he had ordered his staff to create a task force on political money laundering that will pursue cases in which one donor disguises his involvement by reimbursing several others for the political contributions they provide to his favored candidate.


"I think that's one of the most serious offenses," Johnson said.

Lange says the governor's plan to cut the commission's budget next year does not bode well for better enforcement.


The five-member commission was approved by voters in 1974 as part of the Political Reform Act, which gave the panel and its staff the role of enforcing rules that restrict political fundraising and lobbying.

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What's Really Going on Here??

Regulating Bribery

Alex Wierbinski, Berkeley, Ca., February 27, 2008

The present system of political contributions in california is a system of legalized bribery. No amount of documentation, reporting, or regulation of the present system of massive outside contributions-bribes-will alter the fact that our elections are an affront to our democracy and our democratic principals.

Our citizen's interests and democratic right to select and elect their own representatives has been swept aside by the wealth and power of the special interests.

Until we eliminate every direct outside contribution in every election in california, our candidates and officeholders will continue to serve the interest of their bribers over their local constituients.

Reporting and disclosure rules will not alter the fact that our candidates and officeholders are more dependent on the lobbyists and special interests than their own consitituients.

The politicians all parrot the same line, "we are in a bad system," but will do nothing about it, unless to make it worse. The democrat's recent term limit farce comes to mind, as well as redistricting that divided the state between the parties. We cannot look to the politicians for democracy; they enjoy too much wealth, power, and luxury from their corruptions to trade it in for a democratic system.

The politicians have been crying crocidile tears for years over our dilapidated schools, prisons, and middle-class, as they have traded the general welfare of our state for the profits of their bribers.

Until we change the campaign financing laws to define bribery and punish it with serious prison time, our present regulations will do no more than record the machinations of corporate and special interest wealth and power as they bend our politicians to their will.

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Also See:

Corruption Updates 21, 2nd article on page, Unregulated groups put millions in elections

Donors poured millions into state parties, Nunez and Perata live like Kings, bee, 10-3-07


Rule changes coming soon for issue ads: Corporate Voice gets Louder yet, wp, 8-23-07

essay: corporate democracy


Corruption Database



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

EPA staff sought influence of former chief on California warming law

Documents show agency officials thought the pending decision was wrong. One memo warned of damage to its credibility.

By Richard Simon and Janet Wilson, Los Angeles Times Staff Writers

lat, February 27, 2008

WASHINGTON -- Some officials at the Environmental Protection Agency were so worried their boss would deny California permission to implement its own global-warming law that they worked with a former EPA chief to try to persuade the current administrator to grant the state's request.


That unusual effort was revealed by documents released Tuesday by congressional investigators probing whether EPA Administrator Stephen L. Johnson was swayed by political pressure when he decided not to allow California to enact vehicle emission standards stricter than the federal government's.


The documents were released as a battle escalated between a key California Democrat, Sen. Barbara Boxer, the chairwoman of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, and the Bush administration over her efforts to get correspondence between the White House and the EPA leading up to Johnson's decision in December.


One of the newly released documents features "talking points" prepared by an agency staff member for former EPA Administrator William K. Reilly to help him build the case for granting California's request. In the October 2007 memo, the staffer said there was "no legal or technical justification" for the EPA to deny the request. If the agency refused California permission to implement its tailpipe law, the document said, "the credibility of the agency . . . will be irreparably damaged."


In an e-mail also released by Boxer, William L. Wehrum, a former lawyer for the chemical, utility and auto industries who recently left his EPA job after serving as acting assistant administrator for air and radiation, argued against granting the waiver as far back as 2006.


Boxer said the documents were further evidence that Johnson acted against the advice of his legal and scientific advisors in denying California's request. "We see more and more evidence of Administrator Johnson ignoring the science and the facts," she said. She plans to question the EPA chief when he testifies before her committee today on the agency's budget.


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What's Really Going on Here??

Who Rules Us?

Big Oil and the Corporate Sponsors of Both Political Parties

Alex Wierbinski, Berkeley, Ca., February 27, 2008

The present administration in washington is dominated by big oil. Thus for the last 7 years we have seen every instrument at the administration's disposal twisted for the benefit of big oil.

War, torture, foreign dictators, climatic destruction and stripping our natural resources while silencing science and scientists have all been employed to benefit big oil.

This latest event, denial of the california waiver by the EPA, does not vary from this pattern of serving corporate interest before the public good.

The problem does not lie in this administration, although it is completely corrupt. The problem does not lie in the EPA, althought it too is corrupt. The problem lies in the center of our political structure.

We have allowed the power of the dollar to exceed the power of democracy at the center of our political soul. Until we fix that the next administration will be as corrupt as the last.

Big oil may no longer exert the predominate influence in the next administration, as it does now. The dems favor splitting corporate welfare between corporate agriculture and big oil. In any case big oil will maintain the majority of its present level corporate welfare and political influence in the next administration, and will continue to corrupt our politicians and policy as long as big oil is able to buy politicians and political influence.

Until we end the sale of political influence, our policy, law, and foreign policy will continue to be insturments of profit and power for the biggest bribers, rather than the products of a democratic process.

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Also See:


The Big Oil link List: A catalogue of Shame

Search the Corruption Database under

Big Oil


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


Media Blackout Update: Pakistan and Alabama?

By Mike Nizza

nty, February 25, 2008,  1:03 pm


Governments that try to keep a firm grip on information flow in their countries, like the Kremlin, have used “technical problems” as an excuse to shut out unwelcome content on the Web and television. But could it have happened in the United States?


A controversy has been brewing on the Web since a “60 Minutes” segment failed to appear on a CBS affiliated TV station in Alabama last night. The report covered a bitter flashpoint between Democrats and the Bush administration: the case of Don Siegelman, a former Democratic governor of Alabama who was jailed for corruption last June.


So hot was the anticipation of the segment in left-leaning circles that one political site published an article, “Bama TIVOs at the ready for ‘60 Minutes’.” But many Alabamans did not see initial broadcast of the report, which included new allegations that Karl Rove, President Bush’s former top adviser, waged a campaign against Mr. Siegelman.


Instead, just before the segment was to start, people in the northern part of the state who were tuned in to WHNT-TV, Channel 19 in Huntsville, found this on their screen instead:


We apologize that you missed the first segment of 60 Minutes tonight featuring ‘The Prosecution of Don Siegelman.’ It was a technical problem with CBS out of New York.


Upon hearing reports of the missed segment from readers, Scott Horton, a writer blogging at Harper’s, phoned CBS headquarters in New York, which offered him a startling contradiction:


“There is no delicate way to put this: the WHNT claim is not true. There were no transmission difficulties. The problems were peculiar to Channel 19, which had the signal and had functioning transmitters.” I was told that the decision to blacken screens across Northern Alabama “could only have been an editorial call.”


Thousands of miles away, another channel abruptly turned dark on Friday night. But this one didn’t claim technical difficulties.


After two broadcasters who had been banned by the Pakistani government appeared on the Aaj TV channel there on Friday night, the channel’s programming was suddenly cut off, and replaced with a message, according to CNN:


Dear Users, Please note Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) temporarily suspended transmission of independent news TV channels till further instructions.


Regular programming returned hours later without further explanation, but the message was made even clearer than the incident earlier this month, when one of the banned broadcasters sparked another blackout.


Unlike the puzzling episode in northern Alabama, this one seemed easily tied to the nation’s political leaders. CNN’s coverage, datelined Islamabad, begins with a remarkably candid assertion:


A Pakistani television cable and satellite channel resumed programming Saturday morning, several hours after it was abruptly shut down for reportedly upsetting the president.

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What's Really Going on Here??

Alex Wierbinski, Berkeley, Ca., February 27, 2008

We have not had a free press since the regan administration. The corporations now own the press, the politicians, and all of the material wealth of this country, lock, stock, and barrel.

We the people no longer control our government. We the people no longer regulate the corporations. The corporate interests control the politicians and politics, and they regulate the people, rather than the people regulating commerece.

The incompentence and greed of our corporate democracy has brought our social infrastucture to its knees. Our corporate democracy has constructed a global empire composed of illigitimate kings, dictators, and and rascist states, such as israel, who all torture people to maintain their, and our, criminal authority.

Our corporate democracy has stolen our future by looting our economy and environment for selfish gain and short term profits.

If we want to restore our free press, let alone our democracy and rights, we must end the corporate and special interest control over our politicians and government.

Until we restore our democracy, our government and press will continue to be no more than the lapdogs of the corporate fascists who are running our country, and the whole world, into the ground.

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Also See:

Corruption Updates 39, 3rd article on page, “Rove's role in firings is focus”

Corruption Updates 42 , 2nd article on page, “Tobacco prosecutor says administration interfered"

Corruption Update 43 2nd article on the page, "GONALES CAUGHT IN OPEN LIES TO CONGRESS"

Corruption Updates 46, 8th article on the page, "Prosecutor Posts Go To Bush Insiders: Bush packing US Attorney posts with biased insiders"

LA Times, 5-3-07: Justice Department looking into prosecutor hirings: Justice Department Investigates Itself: EXPECT NO JUSTICE

NY Times, 5-31-07: Ex-Governor Says Affidavit Shows Politics in Bribe Case: Can we Trust the Prosecutor or the Politician? No, both would be in Jail in a Democratic Country

NYT, July 17, 2007; Congressional Inquiry Urged in Prosecution of Ex-Governor: Repubs Prosecute Dems for Same Bribes they receive

Washington Post, August 31, 2007; Justice Dept. Probing Whether Gonzales Lied: Can the Justice Department be Trusted?

HARPERS, 10-29-07; Career Prosecutors Opposed Siegelman Case


Department of Injustice: US Attorneys

The Corporate Media


Search the Corruption Database under

US Attorney




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


Cal State moves up application deadlines

Officials hope students will miss deadlines, easing the effect of budget cutbacks.

By Howard Blume, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer


lat, February 27, 2008


Midnight on March 1 -- Saturday -- recently became the deadline for students to apply to seven Cal State campuses that traditionally accepted applications months later. An even earlier deadline, Feb. 1, has already passed for 16 other Cal State campuses


The root cause of the time crunch is a multibillion-dollar state deficit. In his provisional budget for next year, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger set Cal State's share of reductions at $386.1 million. If that figure holds, schools have much difficult budget-cutting ahead. As a precaution, Chancellor Charles B. Reed limited the number of students by shortening the application period.


"An effort was made to try to slow down what was otherwise going to be a record year in enrollment," said Jim Blackburn, director of enrollment management services in the chancellor's office. Blackburn did not know of another time when Cal State sought to curtail students in this fashion. He noted, however, that campuses frequently stop reviewing new applications when they reach enrollment thresholds. The priority application period ended Nov. 30, which was the deadline for Cal State Long Beach and four other especially popular schools. Three other campuses would have closed by Feb. 1 regardless.


But 15 other schools still had room for freshmen. Reed compromised somewhat, allowing seven campuses to accept applications until March 1 because they serve great numbers of disadvantaged students, who often apply later. The seven schools are Cal State L.A., Cal State Dominguez Hills, Cal State Bakersfield, Cal State Sacramento, Cal State East Bay, Cal State San Bernardino and Cal State Monterey Bay. The Cal State system serves about 450,000 students.


Applications are running about 12% higher than this time last year, continuing a trend of recent years. With a record number of high school seniors, officials said, it is impossible to determine the effect of the coming deadline.

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What's Really Going on Here??

How cheap was 30 years of cheap labor?

Alex Wierbinski, Berkeley, Ca., February 27, 2008

Thirty years of growth based on importing cheap labor and pocketing the profits required to grow our schools, medicine, roads, prisons, and retirement have made the richest richer, and spread vast deposits of poverty all across california.

And now the bill is coming due.

Our schools already failed long before this budget crisis. Our social policies have been based on draining our middle-class to subsidize the corporations and their cheap foreign slaves. The democrats long ago sacrificed our schools to the gods of corporate profits and growth.

This has been the forte of the democrapic party: subsidize corporate profits by making the taxpayers subsidize the costs of the business community's illegal laboring force. Wages fall, services fall, the schools fail, and the middle-class disappears.

No problem for the democraps, as they plan on replacing their old middle-class supporters with amnesty voters, the people who work cheap, make no problems for the boss, obey the boss, and consume, consume, consume. You know them, the people who put themselves before their country, our country, their duty, and the rights of our citizens: the crimigrants.

And gee, Corporate Contributions (bribes) to the democraps has surpassed the bribes the repugnants recieve from our government's corporate sponsors.

This same shit happened in the 1890s, when the robber barons destroyed our farmer democracy on a wave of eastern european immigrants. But this time our corporate democracy is giving way to a corporate fascist state. This time the robbery is hiding behind a flood-tide of mexicans and asians, rather than eastern europeans.

It does not seem to bother any of the crimigrants or immigrants that they are clamoring for "citizenship" in a corporate fascist state that has no democratic or constitutional legitimacy.

Want to raise your kids in a country with good educational, medical, and retirement benefits? Want to raise your kids in a country that cares about its middle-class and provides good wages and working conditions?

You better move to europe, because if you don't "succeed," in the US, you will live like a third-world refugee in your own country.

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Also See:

Study: Schools need billions, bee, March 16, 2007

More in U.S. plunge deeper into poverty, Mcclatchy, March 1, 2007

Failing Schools Strain to Meet U.S. Standard, NYT, October 16, 2007


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

Many Pakistanis 'still missing'

By Syed Shoaib Hasan

BBC, 2-25-08


A Pakistan human rights organisation has accused the government of continuing to detain hundreds of citizens without trial.


Domestic and international rights groups have repeatedly called for the release of those detained.


The Pakistani government had long denied holding them.


But a judicial inquiry led by the country's now dismissed top judge Iftikhar Chaudhry managed to get dozens freed from custody.


Mr Chaudhry's efforts came to an end in November 2007 when President Musharraf sacked several top judges including Mr Chaudhry, accusing them of "interfering" in the use of executive powers.




"In all, 521 people have been kidnapped since 2001, 98 of whom later returned home," Khalid Khawaja, head of the Defence of Human Rights organisation told the BBC.


"There are 422 cases where the missing people have still to be recovered."




"The most recent are two young men, Abdullah and Shaban, who were kidnapped from their homes in Faisalabad on 30 January.


"They were taken away by security personnel without charge, and the local police refuse to register their families' complaints."


Mr Khawaja and his organisation have pioneered the fight to locate the missing people of Pakistan.


Most of the people are said to be suspects or related to people involved in alleged terrorist activities.


"The entire movement against Musharraf was launched to get these people free, but now everybody has forgotten about them," Mr Khawaja contended.


He said a majority of those classified as missing had been tortured in custody.


Mr Khawaja himself was imprisoned for several months last year, including a period when the government declared it had no knowledge of his whereabouts.



'UN inquiry'



He remains a controversial figure, having acknowledged ties with the Taleban and al-Qaeda leaders in the past.



He did not seem optimistic about the recent elections changing matters.


"All the parties who have won the election have more or less tacitly agreed to protect the interests of the Americans," he said.


Mr Khawaja is demanding that the UN holds an inquiry into the missing.


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What's Really Going on Here??

The global march of American Freedom: Pakistan

Alex Wierbinski, Berkeley, Ca., February 27, 2008

Pakistan, like egypt, saudi arabia, china, and a whole host of "ameican allies" are merely exercising the powers bush has claimed and used here in the US: The power to secretly kidnap, imprison without charge, torture, and kill those suspected by the president of being "bad people."

The democraps have not disputed these powers here, so we should not expect that the powers bush claims here will go away with his administration. These criminal powers have been sustained by the democrats, and will be avaiable until we actually punish the presidents who have committed crimes against humanity, our laws, and our constitution.

We should start our criminal trials with billery I (clinton I), who secretly kidnapped people and "rendered" them to syria and egypt for us sanctioned and supervised torture.

You see, Bush's only divergence from the previous administrations of both parties is that Bush merely took into his own hands the same actions that both parties had previously executed through foreign proxies.

The democraps, like the repugnants, are the party of illegal wars, torture, unlimited searches, and earmarks. Neither party represents nor respects the limits or spirit of our constitution. Both kiss the ass of corporate wealth and power on bended knee.

Do you want to set the world free from our abuses? Are you tired of seeing criminals and con men disgrace our democracy here, and discredit the very notion of democracy around the world? Then you are one of us.

Our first step is to reestablish democracy here. Then we will be qualified to offer leadership to the world that it will follow if it chooses, rather than fight.

contact us.

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Also See:

Pakistan Holds 2 in Pearl Killing: False, These Men Kidnapped 4 years Ago, THE NEW YORK TIMES, 6-6-07

Corruption Updates 69, 2nd article on the page, "Pakistan Arrests 300 Workers From Opposition"

Paki Security chief gets jail warning for kidnapping, BBC NEWS: 8-20-07

Pakistan frees 'al-Qaeda suspect', BBC NEWS, August 20, 2007

Our Paki Dictator reveals his true source of power: Martial Law, Washington Post, November 4, 2007

US continues to back Paki dictator after arrest of supreme court, closing media, and arresting moderate opponents, Christian Science Monitor, Nov 6, 2007

Links: Pakistan


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


Waterboarding Is Focus of Justice Dept. Inquiry


nyt, February 23, 2008





WASHINGTON — The Justice Department revealed Friday that its internal ethics office was investigating the department’s legal approval for waterboarding of Qaeda suspects by the Central Intelligence Agency and was likely to make public an unclassified version of its report.


The disclosure by H. Marshall Jarrett, the head of the department’s Office of Professional Responsibility, was the first official acknowledgment of an internal review of the legal memorandums the department has issued since 2002 that authorized waterboarding and other harsh interrogation methods.


Mr. Jarrett’s report could become the first public accounting for legal advice that endorsed methods widely denounced as torture by human rights groups and legal authorities. His office can refer matters for criminal prosecution; legal experts said the most likely outcome was a public critique of the legal opinions on interrogation, noting that Mr. Jarrett had the power to reprimand or to seek the disbarment of current or former Justice Department lawyers.


The cloak of secrecy that long concealed the C.I.A.’s secret interrogation program and its legal underpinnings has gradually broken down.


The C.I.A. director, Gen. Michael V. Hayden, publicly admitted for the first time two weeks ago that the agency used waterboarding in 2002 and 2003 in the interrogation of three Qaeda suspects but said that the technique was no longer used, and its legality under current law is uncertain. The technique, which has been used since the Spanish Inquisition and has been found illegal in the past by American courts, involves water poured into the nose and mouth to create a feeling of drowning.


After General Hayden’s acknowledgment, Attorney General Michael B. Mukasey rebuffed demands for a criminal investigation of interrogators who used waterboarding or of their superiors, saying C.I.A. officers could not be prosecuted for actions the Justice Department had advised them were legal. Mr. Jarrett’s review focuses on the government lawyers who gave that advice.


Mr. Jarrett’s disclosure came as prosecutors and F.B.I. agents conduct a criminal investigation of the C.I.A.’s destruction in 2005 of videotapes of harsh interrogations and a week after Congress passed a ban on coercive interrogations, which President Bush has said he will veto.


In a letter to two Democratic senators, Richard J. Durbin of Illinois and Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island, Mr. Jarrett wrote that the legal advice approving waterboarding was one subject of an investigation into “the circumstances surrounding the drafting” of a Justice legal memorandum dated Aug. 1, 2002.


The document declared that interrogation methods were not torture unless they produced pain equivalent to that produced by organ failure or death. The memorandum, drafted by a Justice Department lawyer, John Yoo, and signed by Jay S. Bybee, then head of the department’s Office of Legal Counsel, was withdrawn in 2004.


Mr. Jarrett said the investigation was also covering “related” legal memorandums prepared by the Office of Legal Counsel since 2002. That suggested the investigation would address still-secret legal opinions written in 2005 by Steven G. Bradbury, then and now the acting head of the Office of Legal Counsel, that gave legal approval for waterboarding and other tough methods, even when used in combination.


Mr. Jarrett said his office was “examining whether the legal advice in these memoranda was consistent with the professional standards that apply to Department of Justice attorneys.”


“Because of the significant public interest in this matter, O.P.R. will consider releasing to Congress and the public a nonclassified summary of our final report,” Mr. Jarrett wrote, using the initials for the Office of Professional Responsibility.


Mr. Jarrett’s letter, dated Monday, came in reply to a Feb. 12 letter from Mr. Durbin and Mr. Whitehouse to him and the Justice Department’s inspector general, Glenn A. Fine, seeking an investigation into the department’s legal approval of waterboarding.


“Despite the virtually unanimous consensus of legal scholars and the overwhelming weight of legal precedent that waterboarding is illegal,” the senators wrote, “certain Justice Department officials, operating behind a veil of secrecy, concluded that the use of waterboarding is lawful. We believe it is appropriate for you to investigate the conduct of these Justice Department officials.”


Mr. Fine replied in a letter this week that the law gave Mr. Jarrett’s office responsibility for reviewing the actions of department lawyers providing legal advice. Mr. Jarrett confirmed that his office was investigating.


Mr. Jarrett reports to the attorney general and oversees only the professional conduct of Justice Department attorneys. He does not enjoy the independence or authority of Mr. Fine, who covers all aspects of Justice operations and also reports to Congress.


In 2006, when Mr. Jarrett tried to look into the Justice Department’s role in approving the National Security Agency’s domestic surveillance program, Mr. Bush blocked the investigation by denying Mr. Jarrett’s investigators the necessary security clearances. Mr. Fine’s office subsequently obtained the necessary clearances and began such an investigation.


Last November, days after Mr. Mukasey was confirmed as attorney general, Mr. Bush reversed course and granted clearances to Mr. Jarrett’s staffers, who began a delayed review of the legal authorization for the N.S.A. program.


In 2004, Mr. Durbin first proposed a ban on cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment that Congress passed in 2005, when it was sponsored by Senator John McCain, Republican of Arizona.


Mr. Whitehouse, a former United States attorney, said in an interview that he believed the August 2002 memo on torture, as well as classified opinions he had reviewed, fell far short of the Justice Department’s standards for scholarship. He said that in approving waterboarding, the opinions ignored both American military prosecutors’ cases against Japanese officers for waterboarding American prisoners during World War II and a federal appeals court’s decision that upheld the 1983 conviction of a Texas sheriff for using “water torture” on jail inmates.


“I’m very, very pleased that the Office of Professional Responsibility is looking into this,” Mr. Whitehouse said.


Mr. Yoo, who asserted that a president during wartime has extraordinarily broad powers, was a highly influential figure in the Justice Department in the first year after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. His views found favor with Vice President Dick Cheney and his legal adviser, David S. Addington, who shared his views of presidential power.


But some of Mr. Yoo’s opinions, including the August 2002 memo on torture, were withdrawn in 2004 after Jack L. Goldsmith took over as head of the Office of Legal Counsel. Mr. Yoo could not be reached for comment Friday.

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What's Really Going on Here??

Justice dept investigate itself:

I'll bet dollars to dogshit they find no problem with torture, dissappearences, illegal searches and the unitary president

Alex Wierbinski, Berkeley, Ca., February 27, 2008

I hope I'm wrong, and we see a flood of charges citing everyone involved in authorizing and conducting torture (and the rest of the associated crimes), starting with the president, his white house lawyers, the VP, and including the attorney general and Justice department lawyers, and anyone else who participated in these crimes from the president's order to the torturer himself.

Everyone who participated in these crimes must be held accountable. All of them must be exposed, charged, and tried.

Unless we take this action, we will never restore our ability to defend human rights anywhere in the world, let alone restore our democratic rights and protections here in america.

note: "obeying orders" is not a defence for committing war crimes or crimes against humanity. Althought the nazis had formulated legal justifications for killing the jews, these justifications were also criminal and carried no legal weight. Each person who participated in formulating, planning, or carrying out these crimes is responsible for their criminal actions, regardless of the official opinions of hitler or the gestapo. Or the opinions of Bush and the Justice department.

Lets start with john yoo. Let's give him a fair trial, then hang his traitor ass in front of the white house. Then let's go into the white house, drag the criminals out, and do the same to bush, cheney, gonzales and their whole crew. Then let's get Clinton for his renditions and tortue.

After holding these political criminals responsible for their war crimes, maybe we can form a government that will respect the democratic and personal rights of people here in the US, and the rights of people around the world.

If we stop the tyranny, we stop the terror.

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


Tainted Chinese heperin kills four in US


China Didn’t Check Drug Supplier, Files Show


NYT, February 16, 2008



A Chinese factory that supplies much of the active ingredient for a brand of a blood thinner that has been linked to four deaths in the United States is not certified by China’s drug regulators to make pharmaceutical products, according to records and interviews.


Because the plant, Changzhou SPL, has no drug certification, China’s drug agency did not inspect it. The United States Food and Drug Administration said this week that it had not inspected the plant either — a violation of its own policy — before allowing the company to become a major supplier of the blood thinner, heparin, to Baxter International in the United States.


Baxter announced Monday that it was suspending sales of its multidose vials of heparin after 4 patients died and 350 suffered complications. Why the heparin caused these problems — and whether the active ingredient in the drug, derived from pig intestines, was responsible — has not been determined.


China provides a growing proportion of the active pharmaceutical ingredients used in drugs sold in the United States. And Chinese drug regulators have said that all producers of those ingredients are required to obtain certification by the State Food and Drug Administration. However, some of the active ingredients that China exports are made by chemical companies, which do not fall under the Chinese drug agency’s jurisdiction.


In December, American and Chinese regulators signed an agreement under which China promised to begin registering at least some of the thousands of chemical companies that sell drug ingredients. Some of these companies are the source of counterfeit or diluted drugs, including those used to treat malaria.


The heparin plant in China has not been accused of providing a harmful product. The American majority owner of that plant, Scientific Protein Laboratories, also owns a plant in Wisconsin that produces the active ingredient in heparin for Baxter.


Eric S. Langer, managing partner of BioPlan Associates, which prepares and publishes reports on the biopharmaceutical and biotechnology industry, said he found it hard to believe that a company exporting the heparin ingredient would not be licensed by Chinese drug regulators.


“Being able to produce a pharmaceutical or a biologic in the U.S. or anywhere without having regulatory oversight really doesn’t happen,” Mr. Langer said, adding, “I find it surprising from a regulatory perspective, and I find it surprising from a business perspective.”

Baxter makes roughly half of the United States supply of heparin, which is used widely for surgical and dialysis patients. Problems with Baxter’s heparin were first noticed late last year when four children undergoing dialysis in Missouri had severe allergic reactions minutes after being injected with the drug.


The F.D.A. then allowed Baxter to deliver heparin that it was in the midst of shipping, for fear that a total recall would lead to a shortage of the drug, but cautioned doctors to use as little of it as possible and to administer it very slowly.


The agency also suggested that doctors give steroids or antihistamines with the Baxter heparin to help prevent allergic reactions.


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What's Really Going on Here??

China Trade Kills Again

US lives secondary to US Corporate Profits

Alex Wierbinski, Berkeley, Ca., February 27, 2008

I am for stopping the China trade completely, for political reasons. China is a police state.

I am for stopping the China trade completely, for environmental reasons. China is being used by american corporations to avoid environmental responsibility.

I am for stopping the China trade completely, for the sake of labor. China has no labor, health or safety laws.

But these are the very reasons we deal with china. These abuses are the source of american profits in china. To stop this abuse of both american and chinese workers, our environment, and our principals, we must change who controls our government.

Until we put democracy back to work in the US, our government will continue to support any and all abusive governments who serve american corporate profits.

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

Raul Castro, Cuban president

irna, 2-25-08

Raul Castro has been unanimously selected to succeed his brother Fidel as leader by Cuba's National Assembly.


Fidel Castro stepped down last week after nearly half a century in charge.


Raul has in effect been president since Fidel had major surgery in July 2006.


He chose 78-year-old Politburo official Machado Ventura as vice-president.


There had been speculation that Raul Castro, aged 76, would name one of Cuba's younger generation of communist leaders as his number two.


But he instead opted for one of the original leaders of Cuba's communist revolution.


Raul Castro said the Cuban government would continue to consult Fidel Castro, 81, on major decisions of state - a move backed by the National Assembly deputies.


Raul Castro had suggested implementing major economic reforms and "structural changes".


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What's Really Going on Here??

Alex Wierbinski, Berkeley, Ca., February, 2008

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Today's Headlines


1] Special interests buying politicians in Sacramento

2] California regulator of political bribery backing off

3] EPA waiver for California emissions influenced by political bribery: Big Surprize!

4] Alabama TV station kills report on Rove-US attorney political prosecution

5] Cal State Colleges shorten registration to deny education to students

6] Bush justice in Pakistan: Musharraf's secret prisons full

7] Department of Justice investigates its own criminal torture program: Expect no Justice from the Department of Injustice

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

9] Fidel out, Raul in