Comey ‘Rigged’ Hillary Clinton FBI Investigation, No Shit?


Donald Trump: James Comey ‘Rigged’

http://www.breitbart.com/big-government/2017/09/01/donald-trump-james-comey-rigged-hillary-clinton-fbi-investigation/

President Donald Trump reacted to reports that former FBI Director James Comey already started drafting a statement clearing Hillary Clinton two months before she was interviewed by the FBI.

“Wow, looks like James Comey exonerated Hillary Clinton long before the investigation was over…and so much more,” Trump wrote on Twitter. “A rigged system!”

In a letter to FBI Director Christopher Wray, Republican senators revealed transcripts of an Office of Special Council interview with Comey’s Chief of Staff and other FBI officials.

“Conclusion first, fact-gathering second — that’s no way to run an investigation,” the letter from Senator Chuck Grassley and Senator Lindsey Graham read. “The FBI should be held to a higher standard than that, especially in a matter of such great public interest and controversy.”

White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders also commented on the story in Thursday’s press briefing.

“If it is as accurate as they say it is, that would certainly give cause and reason that Jim Comey was not the right person to lead the FBI,” she said.

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Bob Unruh: Obama amnesty shot down – again!


Obama amnesty shot down – again!
Posted By Bob Unruh On 10/03/2016 @ 12:37 pm In APP Frontpage,Front
http://www.wnd.com/2016/10/obama-amnesty-shot-down-again/print/

For the second time, and without comment, the U.S. Supreme Court has rejected President Obama’s tactic of granting amnesty to millions of illegal aliens through administrative actions.

The high court on Monday declined to revisit the dispute, as the White House had wanted.

Fox News reported the case might still return to the Supreme Court at a later date but almost certainly not while Obama is president.

The issue has been percolating throughout Obama’s tenure in the White House. He repeatedly stated he alone didn’t have the authority to change America’s immigration laws to allow amnesty for millions of illegals and tried to pressure Congress to take action.

When the lawmakers refused to do what he wanted, he had administration officials re-interpret existing law to allow as many as 5 million illegal aliens to remain in the country.

But his plan was shot down by a federal judge in Texas, whose decision in a case brought by 26 states, led by Texas, was upheld by an appeals court. The Supreme Court earlier this year voted 4-4 on the case, leaving the lower court precedent standing.

Now the court has declined to revisit the fight.

The district judge’s ruling found the Constitution doesn’t give the president that authority.

Ann Coulter’s back, and she’s never been better than in “Adios, America!: The Left’s Plan to Turn our Country into a Third World Hellhole.”

When he was speaker of the House, Rep. John Boehner listed 22 times when Obama made statements that he is not allowed to do what he did.

For example, in October 2010, Obama said: “I am president, I am not king. I can’t do these things just by myself. … I’ve got to have some partners to do it. … If Congress has laws on the books that says that people who are here who are not documented have to be deported, then I can exercise some flexibility in terms of where we deploy our resources, to focus on people who are really causing problems as opposed to families who are just trying to work and support themselves. But there’s a limit to the discretion that I can show because I am obliged to execute the law. … I can’t just make the laws up by myself.”

But in 2014, the administration announced an immigration-law change that would “shield more than four million people from deportation,” NBC News said.

Read WND’s investigative report on Obama’s plan to “institutionalize” his immigration policies throughout 16 federal agencies that will do his bidding long after he’s gone from the White House.

Texas sued and was joined by more than two dozen other states, citing the massive new demands for public services such as school and health care that would be imposed by those who previously had been subject to deportation.

“In seeking rehearing – a [chance] to argue the same case over again – the Justice Department said the move ‘is consistent with historical practice and reflects the need for prompt and definitive resolution of this important case,’” NBC said.

The 4-4 tie was set up by the death earlier this year of Justice Antonin Scalia. A tie at the high court means the lower court ruling is left standing.

It was Obama’s Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents program that was derailed. It was set up to let certain categories of illegal aliens stay in America.

The Obama administration announced the program as a series of administrative orders in November 2014. It said the actions were necessary because Congress refused to make the changes in law that he wanted.

The lawsuit was filed to halt the plan, and shortly after, a federal district judge in Texas and a panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit ruled in favor of the states.

But the Obama administration fought back, claiming the states don’t have standing to sue the federal government over immigration policy.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit in New Orleans had ruled 2-1 to uphold a lower court’s injunction blocking the White House from going forward with its deferred-action plan and to make the injunction permanent.

“The president must follow the rule of law, just like everybody else,” argued Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, who was leading up the coalition of 26 states suing the Obama administration.

He went on, the Washington Post reported: “Throughout this process, the Obama administration has aggressively disregarded the constitutional limits on executive power.”

While the case was pending at the lower courts, 113 members of Congress said in a court brief Obama’s amnesty program violates the Constitution.

“Our position is clear – President Obama’s executive action is unconstitutional and impermissibly disrupts the separation of powers,” said Jay Sekulow of the American Center for Law and Justice, which filed on behalf of Congress.

WND broke the story when a federal judge in Texas granted a temporary injunction halting Obama’s executive-order driven amnesty program.

The ruling from U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen ordered the government not to proceed with any portion of the Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents.

“The United States of America, its departments, agencies, officers, agents and employees and Jeh Johnson, secretary of the Department of Homeland Security; R. Gil Kerlikowske, commissioner of United States customs and Border Protection; Ronald D. Vitiello, deputy chief of United States Border Patrol, United States Customs and Border Protection; Thomas S. Winkowski, acting director of United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement; and Leon Rodriguez, director of United States Citizenship and Immigration Services are hereby enjoined from implementing any and all aspects or phases of the Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents,” the ruling said.

The dispute elevated to the astonishing when, in his Texas courtroom, the judge bluntly asked a Justice Department attorney whether or not President Obama and federal officials can be believed regarding the administration’s executive action on immigration.

“I can trust what Secretary [Jeh] Johnson says … what President Obama says?” Hanen asked, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Fox News reported the judge even went further, instructing Justice Department attorney Kathleen Hartnett, “That’s a yes or no question.”

She responded, “Yes, your honor.”

Hanen called for the hearing because of questions about whether the Justice Department misled the judge by claiming that deportation reprieves would not go forward before he made a ruling. It turned out that federal officials had delayed deportation for 108,000 people for three years and granted them work permits.

The administration had argued the reprieves were granted under a 2012 program that was not impacted by Hanen’s order. But the 2012 program, called Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, granted only two-year reprieves, while Obama’s November 2014 order allows three-year deferrals.

Hartnett told the judge “government attorneys hadn’t properly explained this because they had been focused on other parts of the proposed action,” Fox reported.

Hanen remained skeptical, and it was then he asked, “Can I trust what the president says?”

He later told the lawyers representing the government to go to ethics classes.
Copyright 2016 WND

We have new details on Goldman Sachs’ $5 billion legal settlement


We have new details on Goldman Sachs’ $5 billion legal settlement

Evan Vucci/APGoldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein.

Jamie Dimon Lloyd Blankfein

Wells Fargo just agreed to pay $1.2 billion to settle ‘shoddy’ mortgage practices

We now know more about the $5 billion settlement Goldman Sachs has agreed to pay related to residential mortgage-backed securities it sold between 2005 and 2007.

Regulators announced details of the settlement on Monday.

Goldman initially announced the settlement in January. That nearly wiped out fourth-quarter earnings for the firm.

“Today’s settlement is yet another acknowledgment by one of our leading financial institutions that it did not live up to the representations it made to investors about the products it was selling,” said one regulator, US Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner of the Eastern District of California, in a statement.

“We are pleased to put these legacy matters behind us,” Goldman Sachs said in a statement. “Since the financial crisis, we have taken significant steps to strengthen our culture, reinforce our commitment to our clients, and ensure our governance processes are robust.”

Morgan Stanley announced a similar settlement in February. It agreed to pay $3.2 billion over charges that it misled investors on the quality of mortgage loans it sold.

And on Friday, the US Justice Department announced that Wells Fargo had agreed to pay $1.2 billion to settle “shoddy” mortgage-lending practices.

Here’s what we learned about the Goldman settlement on Monday:

  • $2.385 billion in a civil-monetary penalty
  • $875 million to settle claims by various federal and state entities, including:
    • $575 million to settle claims by the National Credit Union Administration
    • $37.5 million to settle claims by the Federal Home Loan Bank of Des Moines as successor to the Federal Home Loan Bank of Seattle
    • $37.5 million to settle claims by the Federal Home Loan Bank of Chicago
    • $190 million to settle claims by the state of New York
    • $25 million to settle claims by the state of Illinois
    • $10 million to settle claims by the state of California
  • $1.8 billion in the form of relief to aid consumers who were allegedly harmed

Here’s a press release from the Department of Justice:

WASHINGTON — The Justice Department, along with federal and state partners, announced today a $5.06 billion settlement with Goldman Sachs related to Goldman’s conduct in the packaging, securitization, marketing, sale and issuance of residential mortgage-backed securities (RMBS) between 2005 and 2007. The resolution announced today requires Goldman to pay $2.385 billion in a civil penalty under the Financial Institutions Reform, Recovery and Enforcement Act (FIRREA) and also requires the bank to provide $1.8 billion in other relief, including relief to underwater homeowners, distressed borrowers and affected communities, in the form of loan forgiveness and financing for affordable housing. Goldman will also pay $875 million to resolve claims by other federal entities and state claims. Investors, including federally-insured financial institutions, suffered billions of dollars in losses from investing in RMBS issued and underwritten by Goldman between 2005 and 2007.

“This resolution holds Goldman Sachs accountable for its serious misconduct in falsely assuring investors that securities it sold were backed by sound mortgages, when it knew that they were full of mortgages that were likely to fail,” said Acting Associate Attorney General Stuart F. Delery. “This $5 billion settlement includes a $1.8 billion commitment to help repair the damage to homeowners and communities that Goldman acknowledges resulted from its conduct, and it makes clear that no institution may inflict this type of harm on investors and the American public without serious consequences.”

“Today’s settlement is another example of the department’s resolve to hold accountable those whose illegal conduct resulted in the financial crisis of 2008,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Benjamin C. Mizer, head of the Justice Department’s Civil Division. “Viewed in conjunction with the previous multibillion-dollar recoveries that the department has obtained for similar conduct, this settlement demonstrates the pervasiveness of the banking industry’s fraudulent practices in selling RMBS, and the power of the Financial Institutions Reform, Recovery and Enforcement Act as a tool for combatting this type of wrongdoing.”

“Today’s settlement is yet another acknowledgment by one of our leading financial institutions that it did not live up to the representations it made to investors about the products it was selling,” said U.S. Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner of the Eastern District of California. “Goldman’s conduct in exploiting the RMBS market contributed to an international financial crisis that people across the country, including many in the Eastern District of California, continue to struggle to recover from. I am gratified that this office has developed investigations, first against JPMorgan Chase and now against Goldman Sachs, that have led to significant civil settlements that hold bad actors in this market accountable. The results obtained by this office and other members of the RMBS Working Group continue to send a message to Wall Street that we remain committed to pursuing those responsible for the financial crisis.”

The $2.385 billion civil monetary penalty resolves claims under FIRREA, which authorizes the federal government to impose civil penalties against financial institutions that violate various predicate offenses, including wire and mail fraud. The settlement expressly preserves the government’s ability to bring criminal charges against Goldman, and does not release any individuals from potential criminal or civil liability. In addition, as part of the settlement, Goldman agreed to fully cooperate with any ongoing investigations related to the conduct covered by the agreement.

Of the $875 million Goldman has agreed to pay to settle claims by various other federal and state entities: Goldman will pay $575 million to settle claims by the National Credit Union Administration, $37.5 million to settle claims by the Federal Home Loan Bank of Des Moines as successor to the Federal Home Loan Bank of Seattle, $37.5 million to settle claims by the Federal Home Loan Bank of Chicago, $190 million to settle claims by the state of New York, $25 million to settle claims by the state of Illinois and $10 million to settle claims by the state of California.

Goldman will pay out the remaining $1.8 billion in the form of relief to aid consumers harmed by its unlawful conduct. $1.52 billion of that relief will be paid out pursuant to an agreement with the United States that Goldman will provide loan modifications, including loan forgiveness and forbearance, to distressed and underwater homeowners throughout the country, as well as financing for affordable rental and for-sale housing throughout the country. This agreement represents the largest commitment in any RMBS agreement to provide financing for affordable housing—a crucial need following the turmoil of the financial crisis. $280 million will be paid out by Goldman pursuant to an agreement separately negotiated with the state of New York.

The settlement includes a statement of facts to which Goldman has agreed. That statement of facts describes how Goldman made false and misleading representations to prospective investors about the characteristics of the loans it securitized and the ways in which Goldman would protect investors in its RMBS from harm (the quotes in the following paragraphs are from that agreed-upon statement of facts, unless otherwise noted):

  • Goldman told investors in offering documents that “[l]oans in the securitized pools were originated generally in accordance with the loan originator’s underwriting guidelines,” other than possible situations where “when the originator identified ‘compensating factors’ at the time of origination.” But Goldman has today acknowledged that, “Goldman received information indicating that, for certain loan pools, significant percentages of the loans reviewed did not conform to the representations made to investors about the pools of loans to be securitized.”
  • Specifically, Goldman has now acknowledged that, even when the results of its due diligence on samples of loans from those pools “indicated that the unsampled portions of the pools likely contained additional loans with credit exceptions, Goldman typically did not . . . identify and eliminate any additional loans with credit exceptions.” Goldman has acknowledged that it “failed to do this even when the samples included significant numbers of loans with credit exceptions.”
  • Goldman’s Mortgage Capital Committee, which included senior mortgage department personnel and employees from Goldman’s credit and legal departments, was required to approve every RMBS issued by Goldman. Goldman has now acknowledged that “[t]he Mortgage Capital Committee typically received . . . summaries of Goldman’s due diligence results for certain of the loan pools backing the securitization,” but that “[d]espite the high numbers of loans that Goldman had dropped from the loan pools, the Mortgage Capital Committee approved every RMBS that was presented to it between December 2005 and 2007.” As one example, in early 2007, Goldman approved and issued a subprime RMBS backed by loans originated by New Century Mortgage Corporation, after Goldman’s due diligence process found that one of the loan pools to be securitized included loans originated with “[e]xtremely aggressive underwriting,” and where Goldman dropped 25 percent of the loans from the due diligence sample on that pool without reviewing the unsampled 70 percent of the pool to determine whether those loans had similar problems.
  • Goldman has acknowledged that, for one August 2006 RMBS, the due diligence results for some of the loan pools resulted in an “unusually high” percentage of loans with credit and compliance defects. The Mortgage Capital Committee was presented with a summary of these results and asked “How do we know that we caught everything?” One transaction manager responded “we don’t.” Another transaction manager responded, “Depends on what you mean by everything? Because of the limited sampling . . . we don’t catch everything . . .” Goldman has now acknowledged that the Mortgage Capital Committee approved this RMBS for securitization without requiring any further due diligence.
  • Goldman made detailed representations to investors about its “counterparty qualification process” for vetting loan originators, and told investors and one rating agency that Goldman would engage in ongoing monitoring of loan sellers. Goldman has now acknowledged, however, that it “received certain negative information regarding the originators’ business practices” and that much of this information was not disclosed to investors.
  • For example, Goldman has now acknowledged that in late 2006 it conducted an internal analysis of the underwriting guidelines of Fremont Investment & Loan (an originator), which found many of Fremont’s guidelines to be “off market” or “at the aggressive end of market standards.” Instead of disclosing its view of Fremont’s underwriting, Goldman has acknowledged that it “[u]ndertook a significant marketing effort” to tell investors about what Goldman called Fremont’s “commitment to loan quality over volume” and “significant enhancements to Fremont underwriting guidelines.”  Fremont was shut down by federal regulators within several months of these statements.
  • In another example, Goldman was aware in early-mid 2006 of certain issues with Countrywide Financial Corporation’s origination process, including a pattern of non-responsiveness and inability to provide sufficient staff to handle the numerous loan pools Countrywide was selling. In April 2006, while Goldman was preparing an RMBS backed by Countrywide loans for securitization, a Goldman mortgage department manager circulated a “very bullish” equity research report that recommended the purchase of Countrywide stock. Goldman’s head of due diligence, who had just overseen the due diligence on six Countrywide pools, responded “If they only knew . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .”
  • Meanwhile, as Goldman has acknowledged in this statement of facts, “[Around the end of 2006], Goldman employees observed signs of uncertainty in the residential mortgage market [and] by March 2007, Goldman had largely halted new purchases of subprime loan pools.”

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Colleen Kennedy and Kelli Taylor of the Eastern District of California investigated Goldman’s conduct in connection with RMBS, with the support of the Federal Housing Finance Agency’s Office of the Inspector General (FHFA-OIG) and the Office of the Special Inspector General for the Troubled Asset Relief Program (SIGTARP).

“Goldman Sachs had a fiduciary responsibility to investors, which they blatantly side stepped,” said Deputy Inspector General for Investigation Rene Febles of FHFA-OIG. “They knowingly put investors at risk and in so doing contributed significantly to the financial crisis. The losses caused by this irresponsible behavior deeply affected not only financial institutions but also taxpayers and one can only hope that Goldman Sachs has learned the difference between risk and deceit. Two Federal Home Loan Banks suffered significant losses so we are pleased to see both entities receive a portion of this settlement. We will continue to work with our law enforcement partners to hold those accountable who have engaged in misconduct.”

“Goldman took $10 billion in TARP bailout funds knowing that it had fraudulently misrepresented to investors the quality of residential mortgages bundled into mortgage backed securities,” said Special Inspector General Christy Goldsmith Romero for TARP. “Many of these toxic securities were traded in a taxpayer funded bailout program that was designed to unlock frozen credit markets during the crisis. While crisis investigations take time, SIGTARP is committed to working with our law enforcement partners to protect taxpayers and bring accountability and justice.”

The settlement is part of the ongoing efforts of President Obama’s Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force’s RMBS Working Group, which has recovered tens of billions of dollars on behalf of American consumers and investors for claims against large financial institutions arising from misconduct related to the financial crisis. The RMBS Working Group brings together attorneys, investigators, analysts and staff from multiple state and federal agencies, including the Department of Justice, U.S. Attorneys’ Offices, the FBI, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), HUD’s Office of Inspector General, the FHFA-OIG, SIGTARP, the Federal Reserve Board’s OIG, the Recovery Accountability and Transparency Board, the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network and multiple state Attorneys General offices around the country. The RMBS Working Group is led by Director Joshua Wilkenfeld and five co-chairs: Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Mizer, Assistant Attorney General Leslie R. Caldwell of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, Director Andrew Ceresney of the SEC’s Division of Enforcement, U.S. Attorney John Walsh of the District of Colorado and New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman. This settlement is the fifth multibillion-dollar RMBS settlement announced by the working group.

Here’s a press release from New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman:

NEW YORK — Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman today joined members of the state and federal working group he co-chairs to announce a $5 billion settlement with Goldman Sachs over the bank’s deceptive practices leading up to the financial crisis. The settlement includes $670 million—$480 million worth of creditable consumer relief and $190 million in cash—that will be allocated to New York State. The resolution requires Goldman Sachs to provide significant community-level relief to New Yorkers, including resources that will facilitate a significant expansion of the New York State Mortgage Assistance Program enabling distressed homeowners to restructure their debt, as well as first-lien principal forgiveness, and funds to spur the construction of more affordable housing. Additional resources will be dedicated to helping communities transform their code enforcement systems, and invest in land banks and land trusts.

The settlement was negotiated through the Residential Mortgage-Backed Securities Working Group, a joint state and federal working group formed in 2012 to share resources and continue investigating wrongdoing in the mortgage-backed securities market prior to the financial crisis.

New York has now received $5.33 billion in cash and consumer relief from the National Mortgage Settlement (NMS) and all five Residential Mortgage-Backed Securities Working Group settlements (RMBS). The combined $3.2 billion in cash and consumer relief from RMBS settlements is more than any other state.

“Since 2012, my number one priority has been getting New Yorkers the resources they need to rebuild,” Attorney General Schneiderman said. “These dollars will immediately go to work funding proven programs and services to help New Yorkers keep their homes and rebuild their communities. We’ve witnessed the incredible impact these programs and services can have in helping communities recover from the financial crisis. This settlement, like those before it, ensures that these critical programs—such as mortgage assistance, principal forgiveness, and code enforcement—will continue to get funded well into the future, and will be paid for by the institutions responsible for the financial crisis.”

The settlement includes an agreed-upon statement of facts that describes how Goldman Sachs made multiple representations to RMBS investors about the quality of the mortgage loans it securitized and sold to investors, its process for screening out questionable loans, and its process for qualifying loan originators. Contrary to those representations, Goldman Sachs securitized and sold RMBS backed by large numbers of loans from originators whose mortgage loans contained material defects.

In the statement of facts, Goldman Sachs acknowledges that it securitized thousands of Alt-A, and subprime mortgage loans and sold the resulting residential mortgage-backed securities (“RMBS”) to investors for tens of billions of dollars. During the course of its due diligence process, Goldman Sachs received pertinent information indicating that significant percentages of the loans reviewed did not conform to the representations it made to investors. Goldman also received and failed to disclose negative information that it obtained regarding the originators’ business practices. Indeed, Goldman’s due diligence vendors provided Goldman with reports reflecting that the vendors had graded significant numbers and percentages of sampled loans as EV3s, i.e., not in compliance with originator underwriting guidelines. In certain circumstances, Goldman reevaluated loan grades and directed that such loans be waived into the pools to be purchased or securitized.

Even when the percentage of problematic loans in pools sampled by it vendors indicated that the unsampled portions of the pools likely contained additional such loans, Goldman typically did not increase the size of the sample or review the unsampled portions of the pools to identify and eliminate any additional such loans. In many cases, 80 percent or more of the loans in the loan pools Goldman purchased and securitized were not sampled for credit and compliance due diligence. Nevertheless, Goldman approved various offerings for securitization without requiring further due diligence to determine whether the remaining loans in the deal contained defects. A Goldman employee overseeing due diligence for a particular loan pool noted that the pool included loans originated with “[e]xtremely aggressive underwriting” and “large program exceptions made without compensating factors.” Despite this observation, Goldman did not review the remaining portion of the pool, and subsequently securitized thousands of loans from the pool.

Goldman made statements to investors in offering documents and in certain other marketing materials regarding its process for reviewing and approving originators, yet it failed to disclose to investors negative information it obtained about mortgage loan originators and its practice of securitizing loans from suspended originators.

Beginning in mid-2006, Goldman recognized that Fremont, a “key originator, was experiencing an increasing level of early payment defaults (“EPDs”) (i.e., loans for which the borrowers had failed to make one or more of their first payments). Goldman was aware that EPDs were a sign of originators’ bad credit decisions and could be indicators of potential borrower fraud. However, Goldman did not put Fremont on its “no bid” list and continued to purchase loan pools from Fremont during the period Fremont’s EPD claims remained unpaid. Moreover, Goldman “[u]ndertook a significant marketing effort” to tell investors about what Goldman called Fremont’s “commitment to loan quality over volume” and “significant enhancements to Fremont underwriting guidelines.” Likewise, Goldman identified issues with Countrywide’s origination practices. Goldman’s head of due diligence, when presented with a “very bullish” equity report on Countrywide, another large originator, exclaimed “[i]f they only knew  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .”

Attorney General Schneiderman was elected in 2010 and took office in 2011, when the five largest mortgage servicing banks, 49 state attorneys general, and the federal government were on the verge of agreeing to a settlement that would have released the banks—including Bank of America—from liability for virtually all misconduct related to the financial crisis. Attorney General Schneiderman refused to agree to such sweeping immunity for the banks. As a result, Attorney General Schneiderman secured a settlement that preserved a wide range of claims for further investigation and prosecution. In his 2012 State of the Union address, President Obama announced the formation of the RMBS Working Group. The collaboration brought together the Department of Justice (DOJ), other federal entities, and several state law enforcement officials—co-chaired by Attorney General Schneiderman—to investigate those responsible for misconduct contributing to the financial crisis through the pooling and sale of residential mortgage-backed securities.

Under today’s settlement, Goldman Sachs will be required to provide a minimum of $480 million in creditable consumer relief directly to struggling families and communities across the state. The settlement includes a menu of options for consumer relief to be provided, and different categories of relief are credited at different rates toward the bank’s $480 million obligation, including at least:

  • $220 million for debt restructuring
  • $30 million for land banks and land trusts
  • $30 million for code enforcement
  • $150 million for first-lien principal reduction
  • $50 million for the creation and preservation of affordable rental housing

In addition to the settlement with Goldman Sachs, the RMBS working group has reached settlements with four other major financial institutions since 2012:

  • J.P. Morgan Chase: $13 Billion
  • Bank of America: $16.6 Billion
  • Citibank: $7 Billion
  • Morgan Stanley: $3.2 Billion

The National Mortgage Settlement (NMS), reached with the five largest national mortgage servicers, has provided $51 billion in consumer relief and cash nationwide. The combined amount of cash and consumer relief that has been returned to New York as a result of all the RMBS and NMS deals is $1.481 billion in cash and $3.857 in consumer relief, for a total of $5.338 billion. This matter was led by Senior Enforcement Counsel for Economic Justice Steven Glassman and Assistant Attorneys General Desiree Cummings and Kenneth Haim, both of the Investor Protection Bureau.

 

ENENews: “100% death rate of baby seals on California coast — ‘None have survived'”


100% death rate of baby seals on California coast — “None have survived” — “Many are starving, suffering from shortage of food in Pacific Ocean” — “Extremely thin… all sorts of illnesses, infections” — “Milkless moms immediately abandoning pups” — TV: “The problem is getting worse” (VIDEOS)

ENENews: Scientists: West Coast bird die-off “is biggest ever recorded” — Stomachs completely empty — “Staggering… Alarming… Unheard of… Never seen anything like it” — “Unprecedented in size, scope, duration” — “Deaths could reach many hundreds of thousands” — “A host of other freakish phenomena”


Scientists: West Coast bird die-off “is biggest ever recorded” — Stomachs completely empty — “Staggering… Alarming… Unheard of… Never seen anything like it” — “Unprecedented in size, scope, duration” — “Deaths could reach many hundreds of thousands” — “A host of other freakish phenomena” (VIDEO)

Published: February 4th, 2016 at 9:41 am ET
By ENENews
http://enenews.com/scientists-west-coast-bird-die-biggest-recorded-staggering-unheard-never-anything-like-unprecedented-size-scope-duration-worst-case-scenario-deaths-could-reach-many-hundreds-thousands-host?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+ENENews+%28Energy+News%29


http://www.adn.com/article/20160129/scientists-think-gulf-alaska-seabird-die-biggest-ever-recorded
Alaska Dispatch News, Jan 29, 2016 (emphasis added): Scientists think Gulf of Alaska seabird die-off is biggest ever recorded… The mass of dead seabirds that have washed up on Alaska beaches in past months is unprecedented in size, scope and duration, a federal biologist said… The staggering die-off… is a signal that something is awry in the Gulf of Alaska, said Heather Renner, supervisory wildlife biologist at the Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge… It coincides with widespread deaths of other marine animals, from whales in the Gulf of Alaska to sea lions in California… Common murres and whales… are not the only Gulf of Alaska marine animals to fall victim to ailments… Kachemak Bay saw an eight-fold increase in sea otter deaths… Sea stars in Kachemak Bay in 2015 were found stricken with a wasting disease similar.

http://www.adn.com/article/20160129/scientists-think-gulf-alaska-seabird-die-biggest-ever-recorded
Heather Renner, Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge: “We are in the midst of perhaps the largest murre die-off ever recorded”… [In Homer] the beaches are “littered” with murre carcasses… A breeding colony in the Barren Islands that is usually teeming in late summer with adult murres tending their young was deserted this year… “nobody was home… In more than three decades of monitoring murres in the Barrens, we’ve never had complete reproduction failure before“… Similar failures occurred at some other nesting colonies.

http://www.nprb.org/assets/amss/images/uploads/files/2016_AMSS_Poster_Sessions.pdf
USGS (pdf), Jan 2016: During March through September 2015, at least 25 seabird mortality events were reported across Alaska… The primary avian species reported included common and thick-billed murres, black-legged kittiwakes, horned and tufted puffins, glaucous-winged gulls, and sooty and short-tailed shearwaters… Some of these avian mortalities were concurrent with whale, pinniped, sea otter, and fish mortalities…

Marine Science Symposium – LIVEBLOG – Thursday

Alaska Public Radio, Jan 28, 2016: [T]his event will likely be the largest and most widespread on record. And seeing the starving birds dying far inland apparently searching for food is “nearly unheard of,” said USFWS’s Heather Renner.

Dead murres wash up on Haines’ beach

KHNS, Jan 15, 2016: “We’re seeing the effects of this throughout the food web,” [Rob Kaler U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service biologist] says… The murres’ stomachs are completely empty, Kaler says… Not only is the bird die-off unsettling, the implications are scary, [bird expert Pam Randles] says. “Our salmon eat that stuff and who knows what else is dying off, or starving, or having trouble?” Norm Hughes has been commercial salmon fishing in Alaska for more than 30 years. He says last season saw skinnier fish – up to 20 percent smaller… “there’s less fish”…

http://edition.cnn.com/2016/01/21/us/alaska-bird-die-off/
CNN, Jan 22, 2016: “We have never found close to 8,000 birds on a 1-mile long beach before,” [seabird biologist David Irons] said… “It is an order of magnitude larger than any records that I am aware of… Seabird biologists say seabirds are indicators of the health of the ecosystem. Now they’re dying and that is telling us something… this is bigger than I’ve ever seen.”

APRN, Jan 28, 2016: Scientists say murre die-off comparable to Exxon Valdez spill… Heather Renner with USFWS says it is already one of the largest die-offs in history and, unlike when the tanker went aground, not many people have gone out to remote beaches to survey for dead seabirds… “there’s dead murres on the ground everywhere, and it’s hard not to notice them.”

http://www.economist.com/news/united-states/21689605-thousands-seabirds-are-washing-up-dead-alaskas-shores-murre-mystery
The Economist, Jan 30, 2016: [Probably hundreds] of thousands of these birds have drifted in dead… last summer they failed to raise chicks. And they have been dying in large numbers along the Pacific coast, from California to Alaska… “Whole systems are out of whack,” says Heather Renner… Old-timers in Homer have never experienced anything like this. And they are perplexed by a host of other freakish phenomena…

KTOO, Jan 28, 2016: “[T]here’s dead murres on the ground everywhere, and it’s hard not to notice them.”… The reason for the dead birds is still a mystery… “I think it suggests something more related to the food web structure,” said Renner.

http://homertribune.com/2016/01/murre-deaths-lead-to-more-questions/
Homer Tribune, Jan 2016: Irons found an estimated 7,800 dead murres on a one-mile stretch of beach… he had never seen anything like that. Similar reports came in from other areas… “The really frustrating question of why they are starving to death”… said Heather Renner… [M]urres abandoned their breeding attempts mid-season at many colonies in the Gulf of Alaska, something very uncommon.

http://news.discovery.com/animals/massive-bird-die-off-puzzles-alaska-scientists-1602031.htm

LiveScience, Feb 3, 2016: Massive Bird Die-Off Puzzles Alaska Scientists — Dead common murres have washed ashore in Alaska in alarming numbers … leaving scientists concerned and confused… [The birds] have nothing in their stomachs… [S]imilar events affected seabird populations in Washington, Oregon and California.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/north/alaskan-scientist-thinks-murre-die-off-related-to-algal-blooms-1.3424246

CBC News, Jan 28, 2016: Bruce Wright, a senior scientist Aleutian Pribilof Islands Association… estimates up to 200,000 Alaskan murres could die. With a population he puts at more than two million, Wright said the species should recover, as long as the food base comes back.

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/01/19/science/what-does-it-mean-when-animals-suffer-a-vast-die-off.html
New York Times, Jan 18, 2016: Animals Die in Large Numbers, and Researchers Scratch Their Heads… The latest victims are common murres… this die-off has surprised experts, because it has been going on for around a year and it covers such a vast area… “I still don’t think we’ve seen the worst,” said [John F. Piatt, USGS seabird expert], who… speculated that if the worst happened, the deaths could reach into the many hundreds of thousands.

Watch CNN’s broadcast here:
http://edition.cnn.com/2016/01/21/us/alaska-bird-die-off/

“Secretary of State Hillary Clinton…secret pact with Japan within one month of the meltdown for the U.S. to continue importing Japanese foodstuff, no questions asked”


Is Fukushima Getting Worse?
http://dissidentvoice.org/2015/06/is-fukushima-getting-worse/
by Robert Hunziker / June 28th, 2015

There are some really interesting issues within this article from June 2015.
One of those is this:

“Japan would be wise to suggest China first consult with the United States because confidently, audaciously, imperturbably Secretary of State Hillary Clinton allegedly signed a secret pact with Japan within one month of the meltdown for the U.S. to continue importing Japanese foodstuff, no questions asked”. (Deborah Dupre, “Radiating Americans: Fukushima rain, Clinton’s Secret Food Pact”, Examiner.com, August 14, 2011).

Another is:
“Of the three major nuclear disasters, Fukushima has its own uniqueness. The seriousness of the problem is immense, far-reaching, and daunting as its containment vessels are leaking radioactivity every day, every hour, every minute. How to stop it is not known, which is likely the definition of a nuclear meltdown!”
———————————————————————

Is Fukushima Getting Worse?
http://dissidentvoice.org/2015/06/is-fukushima-getting-worse/
by Robert Hunziker / June 28th, 2015

The Fukushima multiple nuclear disasters continue spewing out hot stuff like there’s no tomorrow. By all appearances, it is getting worse, out-of-control nuclear meltdowns.

On June 19th TEPCO reported the highest-ever readings of strontium-90 outside of the Fukushima plant ports. The readings were 1,000,000 Bq/m3 of strontium-90 at two locations near water intakes for Reactors 3 and 4. TEPCO has not been able to explain the spike up in readings. The prior highest readings were 700,000 Bq/m3.

Strontium-90 is a byproduct of nuclear reactors or during the explosion of nuclear weapons; e.g., it is considered the most dangerous component of radioactive fallout from a nuclear weapon.1 It is a cancer-causing substance because it damages genetic material (DNA) in cells. Strontium-90 is not found in nature. It’s a byproduct of the nuclear world of today; e.g., strontium-90 was only recently discovered, as of August 2014, for the first time ever, by the Vermont Health Department in ground water at the Vermont Yankee Nuclear Power Station. Coincidentally, Vermont Yankee, as of December 29, 2014, is being shut down.

When a fission chain reaction of uranium-235 or plutonium-239 is active in a nuclear power station containment vessel, it produces a vast array of deadly radioactive isotopes. Strontium-90 is but one of those. So, somewhere in Fukushima Dai-ichih a lot of atoms are splitting like crazy (meanwhile Einstein e=mc2 turns over in his grave) and ergo, a lot of strontium-90 pops out and hangs around for decades upon decades. This is not a small problem.

Which may be why Einstein famously said, “Nuclear power is one hell of a way to boil water.”

For example, a large amount of strontium-90 erupted into the atmosphere from the Chernobyl nuclear explosion (1986), spread over the old Soviet Republics and parts of Europe. Thereby, strontium-90, along with other radioactive isotopes, kills and maims people, a lot of people, to this day, more on this later.

Farming in Fukushima

Because of the Fukushima nuclear meltdown, farmers in the greater area have had a tough go of it. For example, on June 6, 2013 Japanese farmers met with TEPCO and government officials, including the official in charge of Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (Translated and Edited by World Network for Saving Children from Radiation).

The 13-minute video of the farmers’ meeting with officials shows farmers testifying about contaminated food that, “We won’t eat ourselves, but we sell it… I know there is radiation in what we grow. I feel guilty about growing and selling them to consumers.”

Well, sure enough, officials from New Taipei City’s Department of Health (Taipei, Taiwan), and other law-enforcement authorities, seized mislabeled products from Japan. It seems that “more than 283 Japanese food products imported from the radiation-stricken areas near the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear disaster were found to be relabeled as having come from other areas of Japan and sold to local customers.”2

Meanwhile, within a couple of months of the illicit underhanded devious mislabeling incident, Taiwan draws a line in the sand for Japanese foodstuff.3

Not only that but on the heels of Taiwan’s discovery of the mislabeling gimmick, and only three months later, this past week, Japanese authorities are asking China to remove the restrictions.4 Previously, China banned food imports from ten prefectures in Japan, including Miyagi, Nagano, and Fukushima.

Japan would be wise to suggest China first consult with the United States because confidently, audaciously, imperturbably Secretary of State Hillary Clinton allegedly signed a secret pact with Japan within one month of the meltdown for the U.S. to continue importing Japanese foodstuff, no questions asked.5

Meantime, Chancellor Merkel (PhD, physics) ordered a shutdown of nuclear power plants throughout Germany. Hmm.

Fukushima and Our Radioactive Ocean

According to the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute, Video- March 2015:

When Fukushima exploded, radioactive gases and particles escaped into the atmosphere. Most fell nearby on land and in the ocean. A smaller amount remained in the air, and within days, circled the globe… in the ocean close to Fukushima, levels of cesium-137 and 134, two of the most abundant radioactive materials released, peaked at more than 50,000,000 times above background levels.

Nevertheless, according to Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute:

Scientists who have modeled the plume predict that radioactivity along the West Coast of North America will increase, but will remain at levels that are not a threat to humans or marine life.

To date, based upon actual testing of water and marine life in the Pacific Ocean by Woods Hole, radioactive levels along the North American West Coast remain low, not a threat to humans, not a threat to marine life, so far.

Fukushima and its Ocean Impact

According to Dr. Ken Buesseler, Senior Scientist, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute, March 11, 2015, cesium uptake in the marine food web is diluted, for example, when Bluefin tuna swim across the Pacific, they lose, via excretion, about one-half of the cesium intake that is ingested in Japanese waters.

Expectantly, there are no commercial fisheries open in the Fukushima-affected areas of Japan. On a continual monitoring basis, no fishing is allowed in contaminated areas off the coastlines.

When contamination levels of fish in Japan are compared to fish along the coast of North America, the levels of radiation are relatively low in Canada and in the U.S. As a result, according to studies by Woods Hole, eating fish from the U.S. Pacific region is okay.

Not only that, but rather than categorical acceptance of U.S. government statements about safety from radiation in ocean currents, Dr. Buesseler established a citizen’s network called “How Radioactive is Our Ocean?” where individuals contribute by voluntarily taking samples. Every sample from the West Coast had cesium-137, but the numbers are low and at levels harmless to humans, thus far.

But, on a cautionary note, Dr. Buesseler is the first one to admit the situation requires constant monitoring.

Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute’s findings are not sufficient to dismiss health concerns for many reasons, among of which Fukushima is white hot with radioactivity, tenuously hanging by a thread, extremely vulnerable to another earthquake or even an internally generated disruption. Who knows? It is totally out of control!

The California Coastal Commission issued a report that agrees with the low levels of Fukushima-derived radionuclides detected in air, drinking water, food, seawater, and marine life in California; however, “it should be noted that the long-term effects of low-level radiation in the environment remain incompletely understood….”6

The risk of long-term exposure to low-level radiation is unclear. Studies of radiotherapy patients and others indicate that there is a significant increase in cancer risk if lifetime exposure exceeds 100,000 microsieverts, according to the World Health Organization. A person exposed daily to radiation at the high end of the levels now seen at Miyakoji [a village in Fukushima Prefecture] would reach that lifetime exposure level in fewer than 23 years.7

Current Status of Fukushima Nuclear Site

According to Dr. Ken Buesseler of Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, who travels to Japan to measure radiation levels: The site continues to leak radioactive materials. In fact, release of strontium-90 has grown by a factor of 100 when compared to 2011 levels. In other words, the situation is worsening. One hundred times anything is very big, especially when it is radiation.

Strontium-90 is acutely dangerous, and as it happens, highly radioactive water continuing to spew out of the Fukushima Dai-ichih facilities is seemingly an endless, relentless problem. The mere fact that strontium-90 has increased by a factor of 100 since the disaster occurred is cause for decisive sober reflection. Furthermore, nobody on the face of the planet knows what is happening within the nuclear containment vessels, but apparently, it’s not good. More likely, it’s real bad.

According to Dr. Helen Caldicott:

There is no way they can get to those cores, men die, robots get fried. Fukushima will never be solved. Meanwhile, people are still living in highly radioactive areas.8

Comparison analysis of Three Mile Island (1979), Chernobyl (1986), and Fukushima (2011)

The world’s three most recent nuclear disasters are dissimilar in many respects. However, all three are subject to the same adage: “an accident is something that is not planned.” Thus, by definition, in the final analysis, the risk factor with nuclear power is indeterminate. Fukushima is proof.

Three Mile Island’s containment vessel, in large measure, fulfilled its purpose by containing most of the radiation so there was minimal radiation released. As such, Three Mile Island is the least harmful of the three incidents.

By way of contrast, Chernobyl did not have an adequate containment vessel and as a result, the explosion sent a gigantic plume of radioactive material blasting into the atmosphere, contaminating a 70 square kilometer (approximately 30 sq. mi.) region, a “dead zone” that is permanently uninhabitable, forever unlivable.

To this day, tens of thousands of people affected by Chernobyl continue to suffer, and die, begging the question of whether Fukushima could be worse. After all, the incubation period for radiation in the body is 5-to-40 years (Caldicott). As, for example, it took 5 years for Chernobyl children to develop cancer (Caldicott), and Fukushima occurred in 2011.

“Fukushima is not Chernobyl, but it is potentially worse. It is a multiple reactor catastrophe happening within 150 miles of a metropolis of 30 million people,” claims John Vidal. Whereas, Chernobyl was only one reactor in an area of 7 million people.

John Vidal, environmental editor, The Guardian newspaper (UK), traveled to Chernobyl:

Five years ago I visited the still highly contaminated areas of Ukraine and the Belarus border where much of the radioactive plume from Chernobyl descended on 26 April 1986. I challenge chief scientist John Beddington and environmentalists like George Monbiot or any of the pundits now downplaying the risks of radiation to talk to the doctors, the scientists, the mothers, children and villagers who have been left with the consequences of a major nuclear accident. It was grim. We went from hospital to hospital and from one contaminated village to another. We found deformed and genetically mutated babies in the wards; pitifully sick children in the homes; adolescents with stunted growth and dwarf torsos; fetuses without thighs or fingers and villagers who told us every member of their family was sick. This was 20 years after the accident, but we heard of many unusual clusters of people with rare bone cancers… Villagers testified that ‘the Chernobyl necklace’ – thyroid cancer – was so common as to be unremarkable.9

There’s more.

Konstantin Tatuyan, one of the ‘liquidators’ who had helped clean up the plant [Chernobyl], told us that nearly all his colleagues had died or had cancers of one sort or another, but that no one had ever asked him for evidence. There was burning resentment at the way the UN, the industry and ill-informed pundits had played down the catastrophe.10

And still more yet:

Alexy Yablokov, member of the Russian Academy of Sciences, and adviser to President Gorbachev at the time of Chernobyl: ‘When you hear no immediate danger [from nuclear radiation] then you should run away as far and as fast as you can’… At the end of 2006, Yablokov and two colleagues, factoring in the worldwide drop in births and increase in cancers seen after the accident, estimated in a study published in the annals of the New York Academy of Sciences that 985,000 people had so far died and the environment had been devastated. Their findings were met with almost complete silence by the World Health Organisation and the industry.11

The environment is devastated and almost one million dead. Is nuclear power worth the risks? Chancellor Merkel doesn’t seem to think so.

Of the three major nuclear disasters, Fukushima has its own uniqueness. The seriousness of the problem is immense, far-reaching, and daunting as its containment vessels are leaking radioactivity every day, every hour, every minute. How to stop it is not known, which is likely the definition of a nuclear meltdown!

The primary containment vessels at Fukushima may have prevented a Chernobyl-type massive release of radioactivity into the atmosphere in one enormous explosion. Even though, Fukushima did have four hydrogen explosions in the secondary containment structures, and as previously mentioned, according to Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute:

When Fukushima exploded… levels of cesium-137 and 134, two of the most abundant radioactive materials released, peaked at more than 50,000,000 times above background levels.

But, more significant, troublesome, and menacing the primary containment vessels themselves are an afflictive problem of unknown dimension, unknown timing, unknown levels of destruction, as the nuclear meltdown left 100 tons of white-hot radioactive lava somewhere, but where?

“Hell is empty and all the devils are here,” William Shakespeare The Tempest.

Postscript: Quietly into Disaster is an alluring, exquisite, handsome full-length film that examines the consequences of nuclear fission, Produced by: Holger Strohm, Directed by Marcin El.

HyperPhysics, Dept. of Physics and Astronomy, Georgia State University [↩]
Stephanie Chao, 283 Mislabeled Japanese Food Products Originated Near Fukushima, The China Post, March 25, 2015. [↩]
“Taiwan Enforces Stricter Controls on Japanese Food Imports”, J.R. Wu in Taipei and Ami Miyazaki in Tokyo, Reuters, May 15, 2015 [↩]
“Japan Asks China to Ease Food Import Restrictions Introduced After Fukushima Nuclear Disaster”, South China Morning Post, June 25, 2015. [↩]
Deborah Dupre, “Radiating Americans: Fukushima rain, Clinton’s Secret Food Pact”, Examiner.com, August 14, 2011 [↩]
Report on the Fukushima Dai-ichih Nuclear Disaster and Radioactivity along the California Coast, California Coastal Commission, April 30, 2014. [↩]
Patrick J. Kiger, “Fukushima Return: At Nuclear Site, How Safe is Safe?” National Geographic, April 2, 2014. [↩]
Helen Caldicott, Speech at Seattle Town Hall, September 28, 2014. [↩]
John Vidal, “Nuclear’s Green Cheerleaders Forget Chernobyl at Our Peril”, The Guardian, April 1, 2011. [↩]
Ibid [↩]
Ibid. [↩]

Robert Hunziker (MA, economic history, DePaul University) is a freelance writer and environmental journalist whose articles have been translated into foreign languages and appeared in over 50 journals, magazines, and sites worldwide. He can be contacted at: rlhunziker@gmail.com. Read other articles by Robert.

This article was posted on Sunday, June 28th, 2015 at 11:11pm and is filed under China, Environment, Germany, Japan, Nuclear Energy, Oceans/Seas.

ENENews: TV: “Carcasses littering beaches for miles” on Pacific coast of Alaska — “Complete reproductive failure” — “Horrifying… Horrid… Mind-boggling… Off the charts”


TV: “Carcasses littering beaches for miles” on Pacific coast of Alaska — “Complete reproductive failure” — “Horrifying… Horrid… Mind-boggling… Off the charts” — Unprecedented die-off “has potential to be biggest mortality event in state history” — “The most extreme I’ve ever seen” (VIDEOS)

Published: January 13th, 2016 at 3:00 pm ET
By ENENews
http://enenews.com/tv-carcasses-littering-beaches-miles-pacific-coast-alaska-horrifying-mind-boggling-charts-unprecedented-die-could-be-biggest-mortality-event-states-history-extreme-ive-videos?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+ENENews+%28Energy+News%29


(In this Jan. 5, 2016 photo, Guy Runco, director of the Bird Treatment and Learning Center, releases…)
AP, Jan 12, 2016 (emphasis added): “It was pretty horrifying,” [Seabird biologist David Irons] said… An estimated 8,000 of the black and white birds were found dead on the Whittier beach, said [USGS’s] John Piatt… “That’s unprecedented, that sheer number in one location is off the charts,” he said… “The length of time we’ve been seeing dead birds, and the geographic scope, is much greater than before in other die-off events,” said Kathy Kuletz, a biologist for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. “We’re looking at many times that. So possibly a good chunk of the population.”… Many females in 2015, however, were too weak to breed, Kuletz said.

http://www.ktva.com/thousands-of-dead-seabirds-wash-up-in-whittier-888/
KTVA, Jan 6, 2016: “It’s a major event and it’s difficult to see,” said Kathy Kuletz, the seabird coordinator for Fish and Wildlife. On Wednesday afternoon, Justin Siemens [said] “It’s super crazy. I’ve always seen a little bit of die off… but nothing like this,” [Kuletz] said this has the potential to be the biggest mortality event in the state’s history — numbers could reach more than 100,000.


(Photo by Anna Frost, Homer News/Homer News reporters counted 126 dead murres washed up on the trail by Mud Bay on Dec. 31. Biologists don’t know what is causing the murres to die in such huge numbers).
Alaska Journal of Commerce, Jan 7, 2016: Anyone who has walked Homer’s beaches the past few weeks has seen a horrid event. Every few yards… dead birds… In the summer of 2015, the murres also suffered a complete colony collapse and failed to breed… “We had complete reproductive failure, which is really rare for murres,” said Heather Renner, a bird biologist… 8,000 dead murres on a 1-mile stretch of beach in Whittier. “That number is totally off the charts,” Renner said. “This whole region is having through-the-roof numbers in the last couple of days.”… In an interview in July, [Julia Parrish, a fisheries professor at the University of Washington] said a big die off would be like one seen at Kayak Island near Prince William Sound, with 1,000 dead birds per kilometer. “That’s knee deep in birds,” she said then… other species like auklets and guillemots have been found dead… Murres also have been dying in above-average numbers in areas of the Washington and Oregon coast… “These are scrappy birds. They’re used to it. Something else is going on… They’re telling us something is going on in the marine ecosystem,” she said.

http://www.adn.com/sites/default/files/styles/ad_slideshow_wide/public/Common%20Murre%20on%20beach%203×2.jpg?itok=M_fItOSN
(Dead murres line a beach in Prince William Sound the first week of January, 2016.
David Irons / USFW)
Alaska Dispatch News, Jan 5, 2016: Thousands of dead common murres are washing up on the beaches of Whittier, an unprecedented die-off that has scientists wondering how many more thousands remain uncounted… The scale of the die-off is unprecedented along the Sound, longtime residents say. “It’s just mind-boggling,” said David Janka, a Cordova charter owner… [It’s] the worst Piatt has seen in 40 years of research in both the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. “It’s a regular part of their life history, but I would say this is the most extreme I have ever seen or heard of,” he said… It’s possible that… there’s a disease or some other medical condition that’s causing them to starve… “It’s turning out to be something that does have the potential for population-level effects,” she said. “It is just off the chart as far as what we typically see with these events.”

http://www.ktva.com/scientists-counting-number-of-dead-common-murres-in-southcentral-alaska-571/
KTVA, Jan 7, 2016: Carcasses littered beaches for miles outside Whittier… “Scientists tend to get blasé about this but this is bigger than I’ve ever seen,” [Irons] said. They know the birds are starving to death, they just don’t know why. “Seabird biologists say seabirds are indicators of the health of the ecosystem. Now they’re dying and that is telling us something.”

Alaska Dispatch News, Dec 30, 2015: Normally found skimming the North Pacific, seabirds known as common murres are appearing inland… starving and unable to fly… [Biologists] say the seabirds may already be pushing away from the ocean in a desperate quest to find food… [It’s] part of a widespread seabird die-off up and down the Pacific coast, possibly due to shortages of squid, krill and little fish the birds usually eat.

Murre die-off around Kachemak Bay estimated to be in the thousands

KTOO, Dec 26, 2015: Seabird die-offs have been recorded all along the West Coast of the U.S. in Washington, Oregon and California this year… “Based on the duration of the time that we’ve had carcasses being reported to us, I would say, it’s into the thousands, certainly, throughout Kachemak Bay,” [??] Slater said… They’ve also had reports of dead tufted puffins, horned puffins and an ancient murrelet…

Alaska Sealife Center Common Murre Mini-Rehab

Seward City News, Dec 30, 2015: It’s hard to miss the bloody bird carcasses strewn about town… None of this is normal… Alarming numbers of seabird die-offs are also occurring this year from California up the coast to the Gulf of Alaska.

http://homertribune.com/2016/01/stranded-seabirds-crowd-alaska-rescue-center/
Homer Tribune, Jan 2016: Dead murres litter Homer’s Mud Bay beach… and [continue to] baffle scientists…. This most recent wave of murre strandings is part… of a widespread seabird die-off up and down the Pacific coast.

Seward City News, Nov 16, 2015: It’s hard to miss the many seabird carcasses scattered along the beach, and in town… [Many] paddle lethargically as if in a daze… Murres are also acting strange in other ways, paddling towards people and other birds, not recognizing danger.

Watch broadcasts here: KTVA:
http://www.ktva.com/scientists-counting-number-of-dead-common-murres-in-southcentral-alaska-571/
| KTUU:
http://www.ktuu.com/news/news/rescue-efforts-underway-for-starving-exhausted-seabirds-found-far-inland/37221704
| KTVA:
http://www.ktva.com/thousands-of-dead-seabirds-wash-up-in-whittier-888/