January 24, 2012 archive
Jan 24 2012
Jan 24 2012
Iowa AG Miller Claims No Foreclosure Fraud Settlement This Week
By: David Dayen, Firedog Lake
Monday January 23, 2012 2:55 pm
Perhaps Tom Miller, the head of the executive committee negotiating a foreclosure fraud settlement, is feeling a little too much heat today.
(L)et’s just go back to what this is all about, because it has very little to do with the usual media storylines and narratives running about. Somewhere along the lines the financial industry stopped keeping the records they were legally required to keep to ensure that they had standing to foreclose on borrowers. Instead of untangling the mess, they participated in a cover-up, by fabricating documents and affidavits on a mass scale to sucker courts into allowing foreclosures. That is no different than criminal theft. If I came into a courtroom looking to foreclose on a homeowner, and my proof of ownership was a plastic bag with the words “I OWNZ THAT” scrawled on it, that would be little different, under the eyes of the law, from what the banking industry has done over the last decade. Strip away all the complexities in the law and that’s what you’re left with.
So state and federal regulators attempting to settle with banks for stealing homes are really violently upsetting any pretense of a rule of law in America. Setting aside the fact that the penalty is completely inadequate and there’s no indication that banks will actually follow through on the specifics, some things are more important than a financial settlement can provide. The current group of big banks and loan servicers broke the richest market in the world, the residential US housing market. They really do need to pay for this. Because if they don’t, they will continue to violate the law as they have been doing unchecked for the past several years.
The lights will be burning late tonight as they frantically re-write the State of the Union.
Jan 24 2012
This is your morning Open Thread. Pour your favorite beverage and review the past and comment on the future.
Find the past “On This Day in History” here.
January 24 is the 24th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. There are 341 days remaining until the end of the year (342 in leap years).
On this day in 1848, A millwright named James Marshall discovers gold along the banks of Sutter’s Creek in California, forever changing the course of history in the American West.
The California Gold Rush began at Sutter’s Mill, near Coloma. On January 24, 1848 James W. Marshall, a foreman working for Sacramento pioneer John Sutter, found shiny metal in the tailrace of a lumber mill Marshall was building for Sutter on the American River. Marshall brought what he found to John Sutter, and the two privately tested the metal. After the tests showed that it was gold, Sutter expressed dismay: he wanted to keep the news quiet because he feared what would happen to his plans for an agricultural empire if there were a mass search for gold. However, rumors soon started to spread and were confirmed in March 1848 by San Francisco newspaper publisher and merchant Samuel Brannan. The most famous quote of the California Gold Rush was by Brannan; after he had hurriedly set up a store to sell gold prospecting supplies, Brannan strode through the streets of San Francisco, holding aloft a vial of gold, shouting “Gold! Gold! Gold from the American River!” With the news of gold, local residents in California were among the first to head for the goldfields.
At the time gold was discovered, California was part of the Mexican territory of Alta California, which was ceded to the U.S. after the end of the Mexican-American War with the signing of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo on February 2, 1848.
On August 19, 1848, the New York Herald was the first major newspaper on the East Coast to report the discovery of gold. On December 5, 1848, President James Polk confirmed the discovery of gold in an address to Congress. Soon, waves of immigrants from around the world, later called the “forty-niners”, invaded the Gold Country of California or “Mother Lode”. As Sutter had feared, he was ruined; his workers left in search of gold, and squatters took over his land and stole his crops and cattle.
San Francisco had been a tiny settlement before the rush began. When residents learned about the discovery, it at first became a ghost town of abandoned ships and businesses whose owners joined the Gold Rush, but then boomed as merchants and new people arrived. The population of San Francisco exploded from perhaps 1,00 in 1848 to 25,000 full-time residents by 1850. The sudden massive influx into a remote area overwhelmed the infrastructure. Miners lived in tents, wood shanties, or deck cabins removed from abandoned ships. Wherever gold was discovered, hundreds of miners would collaborate to put up a camp and stake their claims. With names like Rough and Ready and Hangtown, each camp often had its own saloon and gambling house.
Jan 24 2012
Where have all our freedoms gone? Have they eroded before our eyes because we failed to use them by demanding that our elected representatives protect the Constitution? Did irrational fear of an unseen enemy with no country, armed with a fanatical hatred scare us into allowing those freedoms to be abrogated? Apparently our current government from the executive to the judicial seem to think that the Constitution is a nice idea but its time has passed. We’re at war with “terror” and “terror” will never surrender. Law Professor Jonathan Turley, in an op-ed written shortly after President Obama signed the National Defense Authorization Act into law, enumerated the ten reasons the US is no loner the land of the free:
1. Assassination of U.S. citizens
Last year, President Obama went further than George W. Bush would have dared with the ordered assassination of a US citizen, Anwar al-Awlaqi. Just as the Bush administration justified torture, Pres. Obama justified targeted assassination of an American citizen without due process in a secret memo from administration lawyers. The administration cavalierly calling it “due process in war.” Yet, the US is hypocritical enough to criticize other countries for doing the same.
2. Indefinite detention
Under the NDAA the president can indefinitely detain a citizen that is suspected of terrorism and allow the military to hold them. While President Obama issued a signing statement saying that he would never do that, signing statement have no force of law and are not binding, either for Obama or any future president. Presidents have been known to change their minds, Obama does so on a regular basis.
3. Arbitrary justice
The president decides who will be tried in the Federal courts or by a military tribunal, a system, as Prof. Turley points out, “that has been ridiculed around the world for lacking basic due process protections.” Yet countries like China and Egypt have rejected tribunals as an alternative to civilian courts.
Those first three reasons totally disregard the Fifth, Sixth and Eighth Amendments
4. Warrantless searches
Under the Patriot Act of 2001, and reinforced by Pres. Obama in 2011, the government can force companies and businesses to turn over citizens records, everything from finances to library records without a warrant and bar the company from telling the targets.
Fourth Amendment? What Fourth Amendment?
5. Secret evidence
The government under the guise of national security says it doesn’t have to show evidence it deems secret for national security thus forcing the dismissal of lawsuits brought against it for illegal detention and torture. This is how the Obama Justice Department has protected the war criminals from the Bush administration not only from civil liability but criminal prosecution for crimes against humanity. As Prof Turley describes, “This allows the government to claim secret legal arguments to support secret proceedings using secret evidence.”
6. War Crimes
Since 2009, the President Obama has refused to allow the prosecution of anyone responsible for waterboarding and torture. This in complete disregard of treaty obligations and the Nuremberg principles of international law. The Obama administration went so far as to pressure countries such as Spain to drop criminal investigations of war crimes committed by the Bush administration. Yet the US continues to reserve the right to prosecute war criminals in other countries. ”
“Do as I say not as I do” is the attitude that has fed the hatred of terrorists, as well as, disdain from countries like China when we criticize their human rights violations.
7. Secret court
The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court is the United States’ “secret court”, the “star chamber“, that operates in total secrecy. Created in 1978, the eleven judges of the U.S. Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FIS) consider and rule on applications by federal law enforcement and intelligence agencies to conduct electronic surveillance anywhere within the United States. When FISA came up for renewal under the Bush administration it expanded its secret warrants to include individuals deemed to be aiding or abetting hostile foreign governments or organizations. Then Sen. Barack Obama said that he would filibuster the renewal unless certain portions of the bill were fixed to ensure that it did not violate the Constitution. Needless to say, Sen Obama not only did not filibuster the FISA, he voted for it, promising to “fix it” if he was elected president. That was a lie. In 2011, not only did President Obama not fix it, he expanded it to in include secret searches of individuals who are not part of an identifiable terrorist group.
8. Immunity from judicial review
The Obama administration has pushed for, and granted, immunity of telecommunications companies that assist in warantless surveillance. Citizens who have had their privacy violated by the government no longer have redress.
9. Continual monitoring of citizens
So far the Obama administration has successfully defended in the courts its view that it has the right to use GPS to monitor every move of targeted citizens without securing any court order or review. The case, Jones v. United States, could overturn Katz v. United States which is celebrated as saving privacy in the United States, articulated the principle that “the Fourth Amendment protects people, not places.” That 1967 decision reversed a long erosion of privacy protection and required greater use of warrants by the government.
10. Extraordinary renditions
While the Obama administration has insisted that it no longer transfers persons into the custody of other countries where they could be held and tortured, it is still claiming the right to to order such transfers, including the possible transfer of U.S. citizens.
Prof. Turley goes in to quote those who are justifying these abuses as saying it’s all due to the times we in which we live. But as he so importantly notes in conclusion:
An authoritarian nation is defined not just by the use of authoritarian powers, but by the ability to use them. If a president can take away your freedom or your life on his own authority, all rights become little more than a discretionary grant subject to executive will.
The framers lived under autocratic rule and understood this danger better than we do. James Madison famously warned that we needed a system that did not depend on the good intentions or motivations of our rulers: “If men were angels, no government would be necessary.”
Benjamin Franklin was more direct. In 1787, a Mrs. Powel confronted Franklin after the signing of the Constitution and asked, “Well, Doctor, what have we got – a republic or a monarchy?” His response was a bit chilling: “A republic, Madam, if you can keep it.”
Since 9/11, we have created the very government the framers feared: a government with sweeping and largely unchecked powers resting on the hope that they will be used wisely. [..]
Dishonesty from politicians is nothing new for Americans. The real question is whether we are lying to ourselves when we call this country the land of the free.
What was that “change” that was promised three years ago?
Jan 24 2012
Monday morning the Supreme Court handed down a 9 – 0 decision on the 4th Amendment and privacy right ruling that police must obtain a warrant before they can place GPS device on a person’s vehicle. The ruling in United States v. Jones upholds a citizen’s right to privacy and smacks down the Obama administrations defense of unlimited surveillance. The ruling overturns the drug conviction of Antoine Jones that used information from a GPS device that was placed on his vehicle without a warrant.
WASHINGTON – The Supreme Court on Monday unanimously ruled that the police violated the Constitution when they placed a Global Positioning System tracking device on a suspect’s car and monitored its movements for 28 days.
But the justices divided 5-to-4 on the rationale for the decision, with the majority saying that the problem was the placement of the device on private property. That ruling avoided many difficult questions, including how to treat information gathered from devices installed by the manufacturer and how to treat information held by third parties like cellphone companies. [..]
Though the ruling was limited to physical intrusions, the opinions in the case collectively suggested that a majority of the justices are prepared to apply broad Fourth Amendment privacy principles unrelated to such intrusions to an array of modern technologies, including video surveillance in public places, automatic toll collection systems on highways, devices that allow motorists to signal for roadside assistance and records kept by online merchants.
One of the Obama administration’s main arguments in support of warrantless GPS tracking was the high court’s 1983 decision in United States v. Knotts, in which the justices ruled it was OK for the government to use beepers known as “bird dogs” to track a suspect’s vehicle without a warrant. In that case, the police had the consent of that truck’s owner, which was not the case in the opinion decided Monday, Scalia wrote.
Law Professor Jonathan Turley provides broader discussion of the two opinions that were written by Justices Samuel Alito and Anton Scalia. Scalia’s opinion prevailed with Justices Anthony M. Kennedy, Clarence Thomas and Sonia Sotomayor concurring.
Whether the electronic surveillance, if achieved without having to physically trespass on Jones’s property, would have been “an unconstitutional invasion of privacy.”
Jan 24 2012
What has happened to Keith Olbermann?
I know that he has some health issues, but for Chrissakes, he is younger than I am, and I NEVER miss a post unless something really important is happening. And I do not make any money posting here, either.
Jan 24 2012
I shall start with this one.
A trillion dollar lawsuit which would end financial tyranny. The Keenan lawsuit, fact or fraud? How bout those Patriots.
Rand Paul detained by TSA goons.
Also of note are worldwide reports of strange noises in the sky.
There are pages upon pages of youtubes etc.
Is the Chicago morgue full?
All your computer files belong to “us” here on the cloud (clod computing).
Also not in the news former secret service agent claims police brutality.
Oh, and I am looking at a house in New Hampshire that lists for 229 today. In 2006 it sold for 480.
Iran is not our enemy, we are our enemy.