Monthly Archives: June 2009

Time for a National Mortgage Strike?

Some creative thinkers in Worcester Mass had the right idea last winter —but no carry through at all….I say the time for action is NOW—no more delays, no more hesitation: sock it to the system and “send them a message they’ll never forget”—the people want HONEST currency and an HONEST economy and NO FEDERAL GOVERNMENT WELFARE for individuals OR corporations funded by anything but voluntary contributions from willing private sponsors.

http://www.worcesterite.com/forums/general/2009/2/24/national-mortgage-strike-april-2009

It is gratifying to see I’m not the only person thinking about this.  I would be happy if we could get 10-15% of all mortgage grantors (“borrowers”) to go on a mortgage strike.  Imagine what this would do to the system!  If we could get 25-33% of the population to “strike” (refuse to pay their mortgages until certain key questions were answered), we could definitely change/bring down the phony “monopoly money” system that has dominated this Country, for all intents and purposes, since 1913—the unholy Trinity of the Federal Reserve Banking System, the Income Tax, and Social-Security/Welfare did not immediately destroy the American spirit—it took about 50 years.  Then with the death of Kennedy and the accession of Johnson (which eerily predated by exactly one year the disappearance of Silver currency from circulation [last year for silver dimes, quarters, and half-dollars was 1964], and hence the last element of real “value” in our money), and specifically the institution of Johnson’s Stalinist Five Year Plan known as the “Great Society”—which expanded the Federal Welfare programs beyond New Deal FDR’s or Communist Party Leader (and Roosevelt’s Third Term Vice-President) Henry Agard Wallace’s wildest dreams, the American economy DID die and give way to first Japanese and then Chinese domination in EVERYTHING.

National Mortgage Strike of April 2009

deseeded's picture

February 24, 2009 – 5:35pm — deseeded

http://92percentgroup.org

92% of Americans are current on their mortgages. Yet we are going to shoulder the other 8% that failed Capitalism 101 where you learn that bad investments are not rewarded…

…Except in America where we are teaching our children that it’s ok to fail…and at the same time we’re showing them how to make it ok to fail by saddling them with hundreds of thousands of dollars of future debt.

Even if you don’t strike, which I know I won’t because I was raised to not spend what I can’t afford and as such, I can afford my mortgage no matter how much I don’t want to…it’s still a cool concept to think about.

Viva la revolucion!


 

“Government’s view of the economy could be summed up in a few short phrases: If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. And if it stops moving, subsidize it.” – RR

 

 

February 24, 2009 – 5:41pm — terrible_buddhist 

terrible_buddhist's picture

Re: National Mortgage Strike of April 2009

So we are going to protest helping people who can’t pay their mortgages…but not paying our mortgage?

THESE are the intelligent people?

Not many people hate the mortgage bailout plan more than I do, but this just seems dumb.

February 24, 2009 – 6:03pm — deseeded 

deseeded's picture

Re: National Mortgage Strike of April 2009

They have written this to be a “stimulus” for those who won’t be getting “stimulated” by the actual plan.

If the problem is people not paying, how is letting them to continue not paying for a period of time going to suddenly make them start paying again? If they can’t get current now, they won’t. Banks are already lowering rates rediculously low for those who were bad investors.

On the other hand, I can understand why a bank would not want to write down an interest rate on a person who is not defaulting, because those people are already putting money in to the bank that the bank is losing on those not paying.

However, this problem seems like it could be fixed by not double-porking those who are current.

Why not reward those who are current with access to deferred loans for things like solar panels and other things that will raise the value of their homes? As it stands, we get nothing….in fact, we don’t even get access to that $8k home buyer loan with no repayment extended to all those (not just first timers) buying homes after Jan 1st.

Sadly, I don’t feel entitled to free money, because that’s rediculous…but if you’re handing out my sperm’s college fund to pay for Mr. Fuckass with the 3500sqft house and 60k/yr job….give me something back, ya know? 🙂

And now I’m /ranting.

February 24, 2009 – 6:36pm — Ronaldo 

Ronaldo's picture

Re: National Mortgage Strike of April 2009

deseeded wrote:

…but if you’re handing out my sperm’s college fund to pay for Mr. Fuckass with the 3500sqft house and 60k/yr job….give me something back, ya know?

A-fuckin-men.


 

blech.

 

February 24, 2009 – 9:41pm — gigi 

gigi's picture

Re: National Mortgage Strike of April 2009

Is this just an idea that’s being floated just to generate discussion, or are there actually people out there who won’t be paying their mortgage in April? As a conversation starter I think it’s a great idea. As a practice, ruining my credit rating to make a point no one in a position of power will “get” or be affected by in any way seems like a profoundly stupid thing to do.

February 24, 2009 – 10:52pm — Louie 

Louie's picture

Re: National Mortgage Strike of April 2009

Yeah, we should throw those loafers in concentration camps.

February 25, 2009 – 8:57am — Craiglucantus 

Craiglucantus's picture

Re: National Mortgage Strike of April 2009

Your credit score is the most important thing of your financial well being.


 

“what?”

 

February 25, 2009 – 10:48am — terrible_buddhist 

terrible_buddhist's picture

Re: National Mortgage Strike of April 2009

Louie wrote:

Yeah, we should throw those loafers in concentration camps.

eh…I think Guantanamo will have some openings soon…I mean, as long as they are living off the govt., why not send them to a nice warm place.

February 25, 2009 – 12:23pm — actiongeek 

actiongeek's picture

Re: National Mortgage Strike of April 2009


(click to read larger version)


 

dsquared graphic design
http://www.dsquared.org

Doug-Cab
http://www.dsquared.org/dougcab.html

 

 

February 25, 2009 – 4:19pm — deseeded 

deseeded's picture

Re: National Mortgage Strike of April 2009

That’s my favorite Action Geek ever, I think.

February 25, 2009 – 7:01pm — JohnD 

JohnD's picture

Re: National Mortgage Strike of April 2009

Louie wrote:

Yeah, we should throw those loafers in concentration camps.

In a perfect world, there’d be no room.

The camps would already be full of politicians and bankers.


 

And yet, I’ve lived your future out, by pounding stages like a clown

 

February 25, 2009 – 10:43pm — mscrystallee 

mscrystallee's picture

Re: National Mortgage Strike of April 2009

credit scores only matter if you are not rich, if you are rich who needs credit…lol So lets all just become rich

February 26, 2009 – 12:59pm — Craiglucantus 

Craiglucantus's picture

Re: National Mortgage Strike of April 2009

rich is a state of mind. just as poor is.

knowledge, hard work, accountability and responsibility determine the former or the latter.

the problem with most american’s is even the rich in the wallet are poor in the mind.

diamond studded trash bags, fur covered homes, dinosaur egg omlettes. there is an obsession with “looking rich” over actually being rich.

February 26, 2009 – 1:55pm — Brendan 

Brendan's picture

Re: National Mortgage Strike of April 2009

Chris, I couldn’t agree with you more. I love driving by shithole homes and seeing some souped up ride in the driveway. I understand that people have different priorities, but when your porch is falling off your house and you have a an open air skylight in the roof, the rims on your mustang should be the least of your worries. Everyday i think i hate my fellow man more.

May 6, 2009 – 9:16am — Michalraise 

Michalraise's picture

Re: National Mortgage Strike of April 2009

Banks have different percentage or interest.I think banks serves in a very legal way.

May 6, 2009 – 5:54pm — JoeTaco 

JoeTaco's picture

Re: National Mortgage Strike of April 2009

Michalraise wrote:

Banks have different percentage or interest.I think banks serves in a very legal way.

Thats just what I was thi….wait…what?

May 16, 2009 – 5:23pm — Michalraise 

Michalraise's picture

Re: National Mortgage Strike of April 2009

Here’s a thought while AIG GM and all the other companies are getting money to not go under how about all the home owners who got a mortgage they can’t afford get some help as well?

It is hard to know the truth about World Climate, but when well-published scientists are locked out…..

I have been listening attentively, but without any really deep insight or knowledge, to the debate on world climate change. To the extent that there is scientific evidence on regularities or anomalies in world climatic history, I am very interested and curious. To the extent that noble species such as the polar bears are involved, I could become quite emotionally involved. However, when excellent scientists with unimpeachable credentials are locked out of conferences, I can’t help but smell a great-big politically important rat. The popular perception of truth is, after all, almost always politically determined or controlled. Think of the struggles that Galileo and Copernicus had with the “Renaissance” Church of Rome over their contentions (which we now consider irrefutable truths) about the relationship between the Sun and the Earth in their relative position and rotation. Think about the debate during that same time period about whether cadavers should be used in medical research. Then consider the 19th Century debate over Human Evolution, when the question of “the missing link” in Darwin’s chain of evolution between Apes and Man was first raised up. One of the most distinguished and high ranking scientists of the time, the strong-willed and politically smoothe Thomas Huxley (Aldous’ grandfather) assumed and took over the role as the mild-mannered and retiring Charles Darwin’s mediator and advocate to the rests of the world. Thomas Huxley boldly and fiercely proclaimed that there was no problem posed by the question of the “missing link” between man and apes because “he lives among us today: the Negro.” Yes, Thomas Huxley, man of progress and enlightenment, falsely stated that African-Negroids had skulls half-way in thickness between fossil men and modern Homo Sapiens, that they had prehensile toes (I’m not making this up, I swear!) and that the body odor of Negros was as bad as unwashed apes. This was “scientific truth” in service of the British Empire’s subjugation of almost half of the African continent, except that there was no “scientific truth” in it at all. Every mildly and remotely competent medical doctor and physical anthropologist/ human biologist in the world today (not to mention every observant and decent person of every race) recoils in horror from what Huxley wrote about Black Africans. Yet this was accepted as “scientific truth” 120-140 years ago. What about the Polar Bears? What about Global Warming? What are the political agendas that push these doctrines? Are they any better than Huxley’s appalling pseudo-science? Was what Huxley wrote any less appalling if you believe or oppose general acceptance of the theory of evolution? It was FALSE! His statements today are an embarrassment to evolutionists. In fact, his statements today are so outrageously false that they are even an embarrassment to White Supremacists! What will we think in another 50-100 years about the Polar Bear Extinction and Global Warming arguments? Could Al Gore ever be considered as far off the mark as Thomas Huxley? Exclusion of scientists from important conferences, because of their dissenting views, is simply appalling….  So now, I reproduce from:

http://wattsupwiththat.com/2009/06/27/warmists-deny-copenhagen-access-to-polar-bear-scientist/

Warmists deny Copenhagen access to polar bear scientist

27062009

From the UK Telegraph 26 June 2009

Christopher Booker

POLAR BEAR EXPERT BARRED BY WARMISTS

Over the coming days a curiously revealing event will be taking place in Copenhagen. Top of the agenda at a meeting of the Polar Bear Specialist Group, set up under the International Union for the Conservation of Nature/Species Survival Commission, will be the need to produce a suitably scary report on how polar bears are being threatened with extinction by man-made global warming.

This is one of a steady drizzle of events planned to stoke up alarm in the run-up to the UN’s major conference on climate change in Copenhagen next December. But one of the world’s leading experts on polar bears has been told to stay away from this week’s meeting, specifically because his views on global warming do not accord with the views of the rest of the group.

Dr Mitchell Taylor has been researching into the status and management of  polar bears in Canada and around the Arctic Circle for 30 years, as both an academic and a government employee. More than once since 2006 he has made headlines by  insisting that polar bear numbers, far from decreasing, are much higher than they were 30 years ago. Of the 19 different bear populations, almost all are increasing or at optimum levels, only two have for local reasons modestly declined.

polar_bears480

WUWT readers may recall seeing this photo flashed around the world of polar bears “stranded” on ice at sea. Photo by: Amanda Byrd

Dr Taylor agrees that the Arctic has been warming in the past 30 years. But he ascribes this not to rising levels of CO2 – as is dictated by the computer models of the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and believed by his PBSG colleagues – but to currents bringing warm water into the Arctic from the Pacific and the effect of winds blowing in from the Bering Sea.

He has also observed, however, how the melting of Arctic ice, supposedly threatening the survival of the bears, has rocketed to the top of the warmists’ agenda as their most iconic single cause.

The famous photograph of two bears standing forlornly on a melting iceberg was produced thousands of times by Al Gore, the WWF and others as an emblem of how the bears faced extinction – until last year the photographer, Amanda Byrd, revealed that the bears, just off the Alaska coast, were in no danger. Her picture had nothing to do with global warming and was only taken because the ‘wind-sculpted ice’ they were standing on made such a striking image. 

[Added by Anthony: Please follow this link to the original photographer. See the bottom right photo.

She just wanted a photograph more of the “wind-sculpted ice” than of the bears. Byrd writes:

“[You] have to keep in mind that the bears aren’t in danger at all. It was, if you will, their playground for 15 minutes. You know what I mean? This is a perfect picture for climate change, in a way, because you have the impression they are in the middle of the ocean and they are going to die with a coke in their hands. But they were not that far from the coast, and it was possible for them to swim.”

]

Dr Taylor had obtained funding to attend this week’s meeting of the PBSG, but this was voted down by its members because of his views on global warming. The chairman, Dr Andy Derocher, a former university pupil of Dr Taylor’s, frankly explained in an email (which I was not sent by Dr Taylor) that his rejection had nothing to do with his undoubted expertise on polar bears: ‘it was the position you’ve taken on global warming that brought opposition’.

Dr Taylor was told that his views running ‘counter to human-induced climate change are extremely unhelpful’. His signing of the Manhattan Declaration – a statement by 500 scientists that the causes of climate change are not CO2 but natural, such as the radiation of the sun and changing ocean currents – was ‘inconsistent with the position taken by the PBSG’.

So, as the great Copenhagen bandwagon rolls on, stand by this week for reports along the lines of ‘ scientists say polar bears are threatened with extinction by vanishing Arctic ice’. But check out also on Anthony Watt’s Watts Up With That website for the latest news of what is actually happening in the Arctic. Average temperatures at midsummer were still below zero – the latest date this has happened in 50 years of record-keeping – and after last year’s recovery from its September 2007 low, this year’’s ice melt is likely to be substantially less than for some time, The bears are doing fine.

(Note – this was sent to me via email as an advance copy. Also I should add that the photo was not originally part of the story sent to me, I added the photo since I know the reference. – Anthony)

Related WUWT story here

Want to Go to Jail for Nothing? Support your President!!!!! Obama wants to institute a program of detention without charges.

SATURDAY JUNE 27, 2009 05:28 EDT

Obama contemplates Executive Order for detention without charges

(updated below – Update II)

When Obama first unveiled his “preventive detention” policy, many defenders praised him (and claimed he was different than Bush) because of his vow that — as he put it — “my Administration willwork with Congress to develop an appropriate legal regime.”  But now, relying exclusively on three Obama officials speaking behind a veil of anonymity, Peter Finn and Dafner Linza of TheWashington Post and ProPublica report that the White House is “crafting language for an executive order that would reassert presidential authority to incarcerate terrorism suspects indefinitely.”  TPM calls this “the latest installment in the Obama administration’s tendency to mimic the Bushies on war on terror tactics.”  And the article itself points out the obvious:  “Such an order would embrace claims by former president George W. Bush that certain people can be detained without trial for long periods under the laws of war.”  Revealingly, the article quotes two Bush national security officials justifying the need for detention without charges.

Anonymous trial balloon articles like this one are difficult to comment on because it’s obviously designed to announce that a certain policy is being considered before it’s actually written, and so none of the key details is known.  Would Obama’s new detention powers apply only to current “War on Terror” prisoners at places like Guantanamo and Bagram, or would they also apply to future, not-yet-abducted detainees as well?  Would these powers apply to detainees picked up anywhere in the world, far away from “war zones”?  Would there be any judicial review or other meaningful oversight provisions so that — even in theory — this was something other than the unilateral, unchecked presidential power to detain indefinitely without charges?  None of these important details is known (though the article notes that, under one White House proposal, “ongoing detention would be subject to annual presidential review“; the Emperor, sitting alone, will decree once a year whether they must remain in a cage).

This specific article is even worse than the usual one of its type, since it’s particularly uncritical in passing along administration claims without any skepticism (I addressed each of the “justifications” for Obama’s preventive detention proposal — Obama has to do this because of what Bush did; we can’t get convictions because of Bush’s torture; it’s common in War to do things like this, etc. etc. —here).  Worse, the article does not provide any information about the Obama officials whose mission the reporters are dutifully carrying out, so there’s no way to assess their motives. 

Those journalistic practices produce egregious sentences like this:  “‘Civil liberties groups have encouraged the administration, that if a prolonged detention system were to be sought, to do it through executive order’, the official said.”  I’d love to know which so-called “civil liberties groups” are pushing the White House for an Executive Order establishing the power of indefinite detention.  It’s certainly not the ACLU or Center for Constitutional Rights, both of which issued statements vehemently condemning the proposal (ACLU’s Anthony Romero:  “If President Obama issues an executive order authorizing indefinite detention, he’ll be repeating the same mistakes of George Bush”). 

All of that said, we already know that Obama wants a system of preventive detention without charges — because he said so explicitly in last month’s “civil liberties” speech ironically and cynically delivered in front of the U.S. Constitution at the National Archives.  And it’s hard to imagine how he won’t get what he wants:  Republicans are eager to grant the President this detention authority (Sens. Tom Coburn and Lindsey Graham have both gushingly praised Obama’s proposal) and, as the Bush era proved, there are always more than enough Congressional Democrats to join with the GOP caucus to enact any new system of expanded detention and surveillance powers.  Absent serious public opposition (and one recent poll shows overwhelming opposition), it seems highly likely that Barack Obama will wield the power to imprison people indefinitely without charges of any kind.

* * * * *

There is one point in particular I really want to highlight about all of this:

There has now emerged a very clear — and very disturbing — pattern whereby Obama is willing to use legal mechanisms and recognize the authority of other branches only if he’s assured that he’ll get the outcome he wants.  If he can’t get what he wants from those processes, he’ll just assert Bush-like unilateral powers to bypass those processes and do what he wants anyway.  In other words, what distinguishes Obama from the first-term Bush is that Obama is willing to indulge the charade that Congress, the courts and the rule of law have some role to play in political outcomes as long as they give him the power he wants.  But where those processes impede Obama’s will, he’ll just bypass them and assert the unilateral power to do what he wants anyway (by contrast, the first-term Bush was unwilling to go to Congress to get expanded powers even where Congress was eager to give them to him; the second-term Bush, like Obama, was willing to allow Congress to endorse his radical proposals:  hence, the Military Commissions Act, the Protect America Act, the FISA Amendments Act, etc.).

That, for instance, is the precise pattern that’s driving his suppression of torture photos.  Two federal courts ordered the President to release the photos under the 40-year-old Freedom of Information Act.  Not wanting to abide by that decision, the White House (using Lindsey Graham and Joe Lieberman) tried to pressure Congress to enact new legislation vesting the administration with the power to override FOIA.  When House progressives blocked that bill, the White House assured Lieberman and Graham that Obama would simply use an Executive Order to decree the photos “classified” (when they are plainly nothing of the sort) and thus block their release anyway.  In other words:  

We’ll go to court and work with Congress so we can pretend that we’re not like those bad people in the last administration, but if we don’t get what we want by doing that, we’ll just do it anyway through unilateral Presidential action, using the theories that the last administration so helpfully left behind and which we’ve been aggressivelydefending in court.

This was also the mentality that shaped Obama’s “civil liberties” speech generally and his “prolonged detention” policy specifically.  In that speech, Obama movingly assured us that some of the Guantanamo detainees will be tried in a real court — i.e., only those the DOJ is certain ahead of time they can convict.  For those about whom there’s uncertainty, he’s going to create new military commissions to make it easier to obtain convictions, and then try some of the detainees there — i.e., only those they are certain ahead of time they can convict there.  For the rest — meaning those about whom Obama can’t be certain he’ll get the outcome he wants in a judicial proceeding or military commission — he’ll just keep them locked up anyway.  In other words, he’ll indulge the charade that people he wants to keep in a cage are entitled to some process (a real court or military commissions) only where he knows in advance he will get what he wants; where he doesn’t know that, he’ll bypass those pretty processes and assert the unilateralright to keep them imprisoned anyway. 

A government that will give you a trial before imprisoning you only where it knows ahead of time it will win — and, where it doesn’t know that, will just imprison you without a trial — isn’t a government that believes in due process.  It’s one that believes in show trials.

And here again, with this Executive Order proposal, we see this same mentality at play.  According to the Post article, one motive behind the Executive Order is that “White House officials are increasingly worried that reaching quick agreement with Congress on a new detention system may be impossible.”  In other words:  we’ll be happy to work with Congress as long as they give us what we want; if they don’t, we’ll just do it anyway using unilateral presidential powers.   It’s certainly possible — in fact, I’d say it’s likely — that if Congress passes a preventive detention law, it will be even more Draconian than the one Obama wants.  But a President who recognizes Congressional authority only when he likes the outcome — and ignores it when he doesn’t — isn’t a President who actually recognizes Congressional authority at all.

* * * * *

What ultimately matters here is that we not lose sight of the critical point:  no matter the form it takes, and no matter which route is used to implement it (act of Congress or executive order), indefinite detention without charges is a repugnant and tyrannical power.  Democrats and progressives had no trouble understanding that fact during the last eight years, so they should have no trouble understanding it now.  As The New York Times columnist (and Obama supporter) Bob Herbert put it this week:  “Policies that were wrong under George W. Bush are no less wrong because Barack Obama is in the White House.”  Herbert also wrote:

Americans should recoil as one against the idea of preventive detention , imprisoning people indefinitely, for years and perhaps for life, without charge and without giving them an opportunity to demonstrate their innocence.

And yet we’ve embraced it, asserting that there are people who are far too dangerous to even think about releasing but who cannot be put on trial because we have no real evidence that they have committed any crime, or because we’ve tortured them and therefore the evidence would not be admissible, or whatever. President Obama is O.K. with this (he calls it “prolonged detention”), but he wants to make sure it is carried out — here comes the oxymoron — fairly and nonabusively.

Proof of guilt? In 21st-century America, there is no longer any need for such annoyances.

Human rights? Ha-ha. That’s a good one.

Just look at the rationale being invoked by Obama officials to justify all of this, from the Post article:

Tawfiq bin Attash, who is accused of involvement in the bombing of the USS Cole in 2000 and who was held at a secret CIA prison, could be among those subject to long-term detention, according to one senior official.

Little information on bin Attash’s case has been made public, but officials who have reviewed his file said the Justice Department has concluded that none of the three witnesses against him can be brought to testify in court. One witness, who was jailed in Yemen, escaped several years ago. A second witness remains incarcerated, but the government of Yemen will not allow him to testify.

Administration officials believe that testimony from the only witness in U.S. custody, Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, may be inadmissible because he was subjected to harsh interrogation while in CIA custody.

I thought Democrats (and Obama himself) believe that information obtained via “harsh interrogation” is unreliable.  Isn’t that supposed to be a core Democratic belief?  If so, why would we want to imprison someone as “dangerous” based on unreliable information obtained using those methods?   If the accusations against someone were drowned or beaten out of another person, shouldn’t we consider those coerced accusations too unreliable to justify keeping the accused in a cage for years with no trial?  And if they’re willing to repeat the accusations in court now that they’re not being tortured — and if we have independent, non-coerced evidence to prove the accusations — why would past abuse bar the use of their testimony (as Marcy Wheeler suggests, the real reason why we’d want to prevent witnesses who were tortured from testifying in a court seems to be “because we’re covering up our own torture”)?

More important, look at the mentality being expressed — and about to be implemented — here:  there may be instances where we cannot get convictions because of witness unavailability or other logistical problems, so we’ll just imprison them anyway.  Does it really require any effort to demonstrate how dangerous that mentality is — that the President will have the power to order people imprisoned wherever there are some logistical barriers to obtaining convictions?  If there’s one principle that can be described as fundamental to the American founding, it’s that the state — and certainly the President — do not have the power to order people imprisoned without charges.  Thomas Jefferson said that trials by jury is “the only anchor ever yet imagined by man, by which a government can be held to the principles of its constitution.”  Why is this painfully obvious proposition still necessary to defend after the November election?

 

UPDATE:  I posted this before, but Rachel Maddow’s 7-minute commentary on Obama’s preventive detention proposal was really superb and well worth watching:

On a related note:  as I’ve written many times, the area in which Obama is replicating Bush abuses most egregiously is his embrace of Bush’s secrecy obsessions.  Jon Stewart last night had much to say on that topic.   That Obama is adopting approaches similar to Bush’s in these areas is a view that is obviously spreading — even among Obama supporters — and is becoming increasingly difficult to deny.

 

UPDATE II:  Digby, today:

The irony, of course, is that the man who ran on transparency is actually turning out to be less transparent than the president he excoriated on the campaign trail for his secrecy. Bush and Cheney were pretty upfront about the fact that they believed they had the constitutional right to act in any way they saw fit, regardless of the accepted understanding of the constitution or congressional and judicial prerogatives. Bush declared “I’m the decider” and he meant it. This administration obviously believes it has that right as well — it just pretends otherwise.

I suspect they understand that keeping the folks from losing that freedom loving, patriotic illusion of American exceptionalism is an important part of exercising American political power. And they’re probably right. Bush and Cheney’s biggest mistakes were in being honest about something nobody wants to know.

Relatedly, Booman — a very enthusiastic Obama supporter — documents multiple reasons to be suspicious of the claim that the DOJ cannot prosecute Tawfiq bin Attash (the example Obama officials cited in the Post article).  That’s why excessive secrecy is the linchpin of abuse of power — it allows government officials to make dubious and misleading claims without any ability to verify them, all while they operate in the dark.

— Glenn Greenwald

Charles Lincoln is North-by-Northeast for June-July 2009

Charlie, now 16 5/6 years old, is back at Harvard Summer School for a second summer.  My son loves this place, the environment inside and outside of “the Yard.”  It is a great place to be and connect with our past and present.  So I’m camping out in the Cambridge vicinity again, flat broke but doing whatever I can to get to know my son well and make up for those awful years when the vile Republican Socialist Judges, Lawyers, and Social-Workers/”Guardians ad Litem” who run the Texas Family Courts in Williamson County kept us apart by hijacking our fundamental rights.  My wife and I had promised each other that we would never divorce, but instead (largely, I’d say, because of social pressure) we’ve gone through the process twice now, neither time very satisfactorily or ad all conclusively.  

Those perverted, twisted anti-Family Williamson County Family Court Monsters and all their  mockeries of  truth, justice, and the American way: Judge Michael Jergins, Laurie J. Nowlin, J. Randall Grimes, and James F. Clawson made all our lives a living hell for five years.   I am proud to have rejected the system—proud that I had the courage and just said “NO” to participating in it.  I am proud that I would not compromise with evil, even when my failure to compromise (in the short run) hurt me and the growing boy I love more than anyone else.  In the long run, well, they made me who I am, and now I have dedicated my life to the expunction of their customs, practices, and policies from the judicial map in America.

I suppose in a sense, however, I owe those Williamson County thugs and troglodytes a big hearty, ironic, “thank you” in that they, together with assistant Texas Attorney General J. Carlton Todd and Williamson County ogre Michael P. Davis opened my eyes to the reality of governmental program to obtain and exercise complete control over the family, private property, and the state.  The only thing that held me together those five years of constant struggle from July 2002-July 2007 was prayer, the Church, and my growing sense of destiny that I was born to fight this fight against the evils of Corporate-State Socialism in America.  Last week I was in Philadelphia for the first (and quite possibly, I would hope, the last) hearing in Berg v. Taitz, which I would rate as one of the stupidest lawsuits I’ve ever seen in my life—two unique Political radicals originally dedicated to the same worthy cause of deposing de facto President Barack Obama fighting each other inside the system they would be more likely to reform if they worked together.   Ironically enough, in the middle of this necessary but most unworthy fight, I did see a rare good judge in action: the Honorable Eduardo C. Robreno of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.   I was pleased and honored to be on the side of the clear winner in the case, Dr. Orly Taitz, who did not win an outright dismissal of the case on the first go-round but instead was awarded a triple order-to-show cause entered against former Pennsylvania Deputy Attorney General Philip J. Berg.  I have literally never seen an attorney sanctioned with not one but three orders to show cause in a single case.  It is a much heavier burden on the losing party than “mere dismissal” ever would or could have been.   Dr. Taitz is a wonderful woman of great conviction and boundless energy, but it was very sad to imagine what she and Berg could have accomplished in these times of crisis if they worked together instead of competing with each other.  After Philadelphia I met with a chap named Robert Ponte who is trying to develop a new strategy to enable me more effectively to fight mortgage fraud by finding the people best able to do so.  Robert calls himself a “spiritual patriot” (i.e. non-violent) and is developing a new website > http://www.charleslincoln.spiritualpatriot.com  I could never have thought of a more appropriate name.  It was spiritual peace that kept me going 2002-2007.  It was spiritual peace that I found on the two distinct but related occasions when I was arrested in August 2006 and December 2007 by the order of tyrannical judges in George H.W. Bush’s “home” district—the Southern District of Texas, centered in Houston.  These judges have no sense of justice but too much enjoyed their immunity from liability for constitutional violations and accordingly spend too much of their time throwing their weight around to land on (and sometimes break) the necks of proud but otherwise innocent people.  One of the great experiences of my dual arrests (as I have repeatedly stated) was the people I met in connection therewith.  The case of Jacques Jaikaran, formerly distinguished plastic surgeon, born in Guyana, and author of the far-seeing book, “The Debt Virus”, is one of the most horrible stories of judicial abuse and torment with which I have ever had any personal contact.  Jaikaran was in essence enslaved (quite literally) by the distinctly NOT so Honorable Judge Lynn N. Hughes (who had ordered my arrest in August 2006 on charges of “he just wanted to talk to me”), and Jaikaran has remained in a state of supervised/involuntary servitude, in-and-out of jail for civil contempt, ever since.  It is a little known fact that Judges, for purposes of “civil, coercive” (i.e. supposedly non-punitive) contempt can literally hold any prisoner as long as they want to and essentially for any reason they want to.

Attorney General Martha Coakley Reaches $10 Million Settlement with Subprime Lender Fremont Investment and Loan

June 09, 2009 – For immediate release:

Attorney General Martha Coakley Reaches $10 Million Settlement with Subprime Lender Fremont Investment and Loan

Thousands of homeowners protected from foreclosure

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BOSTON
Today, Attorney General Martha Coakley’s Office entered into a settlement with Fremont Investment & Loan and its parent Fremont General Corporation (“Fremont”) to resolve the Commonwealth’s lawsuit against the California-based lender.  Fremont has agreed to pay the Commonwealth $10 million in consumer relief, civil penalties and costs.  Fremont has also agreed not to foreclose upon unfair loans without certain protections for borrowers or originate unfair loans in the Commonwealth.  Those protections against foreclosure, which have been in place since the Superior Court issued a Preliminary Injunction in March 2008 are now permanent and also apply to the loan holders and servicers who acquired the Fremont loans since the injunction issued. 

“The American dream of homeownership has turned into a nightmare for many borrowers because of predatory lending practices.  We have vigorously sought to hold companies accountable for these practices, and today we have taken another important step toward achieving that goal.” said Attorney General Coakley. “With the $10 million we have obtained through this settlement, we have an opportunity to provide consumers and the Commonwealth with additional relief from the predatory lending practices that have besieged our state and nation.  We will continue to hold companies responsible for their role in the foreclosure crisis.” 

Under the terms of the settlement, Fremont has agreed to pay the Commonwealth $10 million, including $8 million in consumer relief, $1 million in civil penalties, and $1 million in costs, including attorneys’ fees.  The consumer relief funds will be used to redress the negative impact of mortgage foreclosures, predatory lending practices, and to provide relief to Massachusetts borrowers. 

Additionally, the settlement makes permanent the terms of the preliminary injunction granted in February 2008.  In that preliminary injunction, the Superior Court held that certain Fremont loans were “presumptively unfair” because by their very terms—short term interest rates followed by payment shock, plus high loan-to-value and high debt-to-income ratios—were likely to lead to default and foreclosure.  For those loans, the court established a notice and objection process before Fremont or its assignees or servicers could initiate foreclosures. Under this process the Attorney General’s Office receives:

  • 30 days’ advance notice for loans that are either (1) ‘not presumptively unfair’; (2) vacant; or (3) not the borrowers’ primary residence.
  • 45 days’ advance notice for loans that are ‘presumptively unfair.’

If the Attorney General’s Office objects after initial notice then the parties have 15 days to resolve their dispute.  If the dispute remains then Fremont must seek court approval to foreclose.  After the notice and objection process, Fremont may only proceed with a foreclosure to which the Attorney General objects if Fremont requests and receives approval from the Superior Court.  In considering whether to allow the foreclosure, the court will consider, among other factors, whether the loan is unfair and whether Fremont has taken reasonable steps to work out the loan and avoid foreclosure.  Fremont also agreed not to originate unfair loans.

The Attorney General’s Office filed suit on October 5, 2007, in Suffolk Superior Court against Fremont and its parent company, Fremont General Corporation based on the defendants’ unfair and deceptive loan origination and sales conduct. The complaint specifically alleges that the company was selling risky loan products that it knew was designed to fail, such as 100% financing loans and “no documentation” loans.  The complaint further alleged that the company sold these loans through third party brokers and provided financial incentives to these brokers to sell high cost products.

As a result of the lawsuit, up to 2,200 Fremont-originated loans have been protected from unrestricted foreclosures, because the preliminary injunction allowed foreclosures to proceed only after the underlying loan was analyzed for unfair, ultra-risky loan criteria.  Although Fremont originated about 15,000 loans in Massachusetts from 2004 through 2007, only 2,200 of those loans remained “live” when the lawsuit commenced.  Even though most of the 2,200 loans had been transferred to new holders and servicers, the Superior Court’s preliminary injunction required that those holders also were restricted by the court’s order.  

 The enforcement action against Fremont is a central part of Attorney General Coakley’s initiative to combat predatory lending.  The settlement follows the unanimous decision from the state’s highest court, the Supreme Judicial Court, in December 2008 which affirmed the Superior Court’s order barring Fremont from foreclosing on any structurally unfair loan without court approval.  That decision confirmed the fundamental aspects of the Commonwealth’s case against Fremont, namely that a lender’s failure to reasonably assess a borrower’s ability to repay his or her loan and the use of loan features that predictably lead to foreclosure is unfair and deceptive in violation of Massachusetts law.  The SJC further affirmed it is unfair and a violation of the Massachusetts law to originate loans in such a manner that would lead predictably to a borrower’s default and foreclosure, even if such loans are underwritten with the assumption that borrowers could refinance out of the loans.

Attorney General Coakley has undertaken a multifaceted approach to combat the foreclosure crisis and predatory lending.  This initiative includes Attorney General Coakley’s latest inquiry into the role of securitizers—those who bundled mortgage loans and sold them as mortgage-backed securities or other investments—and recent $60 million settlement with Goldman Sachs  for its role in securitizing subprime loans, including subprime loans originated by Fremont.  The Attorney General’s Office has also sued Option One  and its parent H&R Block, alleging unfair, deceptive and predatory lending practices, and obtained preliminary injunctions against those companies.  The Office also promulgated consumer protection regulations, effective in January 2008, governing mortgage lenders and brokers.  In addition, the Attorney General’s Office has also brought civil and criminal actions against local lenders and brokers who engaged in fraudulent lending activity, or who perpetrated foreclosure rescue or loan modification scams

This matter was handled by Assistant Attorneys General Jean Healey, John Stephan, and Shannon Choy-Seymour of the Consumer Protection Division, Financial Investigator Christine Murphy, and Assistant Attorney General Christopher Barry-Smith, Chief of the Public Protection and Advocacy Bureau.        

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Supporting Materials

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Press Statement Audio and Transcript

Listen to the press statement audio from June 9, 2009:

Download and view a transcript of today’s press statement:

 
 

Press Statement Video

  

Charles Lincoln / two major anti-monopoly decisions in the Supreme Court

Today in History — Saturday, June 27 (Christian Kane of Angel/Leverage)

 

The Associated Press

 

Today is Saturday, June 27, the 178th day of 2009. There are 187 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On June 27, 1844, Mormon leader Joseph Smith and his brother, Hyrum, were killed by a mob in Carthage, Ill.

On this date:

In 1846, New York and Boston were linked by telegraph wires.

In 1893, the New York stock market crashed.

In 1944, during World War II, American forces completed their capture of the French port of Cherbourg from the Germans.

In 1950, the U.N. Security Council passed a resolution calling on member nations to help South Korea repel an invasion from the North.

In 1957, more than 500 people were killed when Hurricane Audrey slammed through coastal Louisiana and Texas.

In 1969, police raided the Stonewall Inn, a gay bar in New York’s Greenwich Village; patrons fought back in clashes considered the birth of the gay rights movement.

In 1977, the Supreme Court, in Bates v. State Bar of Arizona, struck down state laws and bar association rules that prohibited lawyers from advertising their fees for routine services. The Republic of Djibouti became independent of France.

In 1984, the Supreme Court ended the NCAA’s monopoly on controlling college football telecasts, ruling such control violated antitrust law.

In 1986, the International Court of Justice at The Hague ruled that the United States had broken international law and violated the sovereignty of Nicaragua by aiding the contras.

In 1988, 57 people were killed in a train collision in Paris.

Ten years ago: George Papadopoulos, the head of Greece’s 1967-74 military dictatorship, died of cancer in Athens at age 80. 

Juli Inkster shot a 6-under 65 to win the LPGA Championship, becoming the second woman to win the modern career Grand Slam (the first was Pat Bradley). 

The Seattle Mariners beat the Texas Rangers 5-2 in the final game at the Kingdome.

Five years ago: NATO leaders gathered in Turkey closed ranks on a pledge to take a bigger military role in Iraq; 

President George W. Bush declared that the alliance was poised to “meet the threats of the 21st century.” 

Insurgents threatened to behead Cpl. Wassef Ali Hassoun, a U.S. Marine who’d vanished in Iraq, in a videotape that aired on Arab television. 

(However, Hassoun contacted American officials in his native Lebanon the following month; after being reunited with his family in Utah, Hassoun disappeared in December 2004.)

One year ago: North Korea destroyed the most visible symbol of its nuclear weapons program, the cooling tower at its main atomic reactor at Yongbyon. 

(However, North Korea announced in September 2008 that it was restoring its nuclear facilities.) 

In Zimbabwe, roaming bands of government supporters heckled, harassed or threatened people into voting in a runoff election in which President Robert Mugabe was the only candidate.

 

Today’s Birthdays: Business executive and former presidential candidate Ross Perot is 79. 

The former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, retired Army Gen. John Shalikashvili, is 73. 

Former Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt is 71. Singer-musician Bruce Johnston (The Beach Boys) is 67. 

 

Actress Julia Duffy is 58. Actress Isabelle Adjani is 54. Country singer Lorrie Morgan is 50. 

 

Actor Brian Drillinger is 49. Writer-producer- director J.J. Abrams is 43. Olympic gold and bronze medal figure skater Viktor Petrenko is 40. 

 

TV personality Jo Frost (Supernanny) is 39. Actor Yancey Arias is 38. Actor Christian Kane is 35. Actor Tobey Maguire is 34. Gospel singer Leigh Nash is 33. 

 

Actor Drake Bell is 23. Actor Ed Westwick is 22. Actress Madylin Sweeten is 18.

 

Thought for Today: “A man, after he has brushed off the dust and chips of his life, will have left only the hard, clean question: Was it good or was it evil? Have I done well ‚Äî or ill?” — John Steinbeck, American author (1902-1968).

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Neale Donald Walsch

Stopping Meditation / When Everything Changes, Change Everything: In a Time of Turmoil, a Pathway to Peace Neale Donald Walsch.

Decide that six times today and everyday you will stop whatever you are doing for ten seconds and look closely and intently at one of its component pieces.

Say you are washing dishes. Stop what you are doing for ten seconds – just stop in the middle of it – and peer deeply inside one aspect of what you are doing. See if you can count the drops of water on the dish in your hand. Just count the water drops. I know it is an impossible task, but undertake to do it anyway, just for ten seconds.

Consider the wonder of the water. Look deeply into it. Peer inside. Go inside, in your consciousness. See what you experience there, see what you find. Just stop for a tiny moment and appreciate that moment in a single way.

Okay, now the ten seconds are up. Now pull yourself out of that highly focused reality and back into the larger space of your experience. Don’t get lost in it. Blink your eyes rapidly, or snap your finger, and literally snap out of it. Then, notice what you experienced for that brief moment.

Now go on with what you were doing. Yet don’t’ be surprised if it takes on a whole new quality.

Excerpt from When Everything Changes, Change Everything: In a Time of Turmoil, a Pathway to Peace