FORECLOSURE HELL


I had been doing so much better about keeping up with my blogs, until about this last week. I had not gotten back to posting as much as I had in the past, but was doing much better.

I have to admit though, every month, beginning the week before foreclosure hell (the day they auction the homes foreclosed upon), have been particularly hellish.

I guess for a while, no one I know was being foreclosed upon. But beginning last month, my friends began being sold at auction again. It had been a whole year until just these last couple of months. Then all of the sudden, properties that the banks had lost interest in, out of the blue, and with little or no warning, were sold at auction.

We all managed to stop two of the sales, those two were cancelled, but last month, one was lost to foreclosure, and it took a lot of work to get cancelled, the two that were cancelled.

So, even though there may not be the number of foreclosures every month that there had been for a long time, looks like the banks have managed to get lined up, these companies, that will purchase damn near any house at auction. These companies that want to turn around and rent you your house they just purchased at foreclosure.

I told everyone, back in 2008-2009 when Goldman Sachs’ sorry ass said that “only the rich should own houses, everyone else should be renters”, that this is what could be expected. Yes, it took another 8 years for it to happen to this scale, but it is here, and it won’t be going away, till they get every one of our homes.

I have watched foreclosure sales every month since around 2006, and all the properties that were fought for, and the banks, just kind of fizzled away without a lot of fuss, homes that they realized would be close to impossible to get the foreclosed upon owner to leave, now that they can work it out to where these rent home companies, are the ones that has to get rid of the previous owners of the properties.

The banks see this as minor housekeeping, which they don’t mind at all.

The Donald’s Done — The Deep State Wins Its War On America First; written by david stockman wednesday may 9, 2018


The Donald’s Done — The Deep State Wins Its War On America First
written by david stockman wednesday may 9, 2018
http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2018/may/09/the-donalds-done-the-deep-state-wins-its-war-on-america-first/

The Donald’s action to ash-can the Iranian nuclear deal marks the War Party’s complete and baleful triumph. There is now nothing much left of America First.

Trump’s reckless, unwarranted and utterly irrational action will pull Washington ever deeper into an incendiary middle eastern vortex of political and religious conflict that has absolutely nothing to do with the safety and security of the America people.

To the contrary, picking a fight with Tehran is an exercise in unprovoked Imperial aggression. The Iranian regime has no means to attack America militarily and has never threatened to do so. Nor has it invaded any other country in the region where it was not invited by a sovereign government host.

Even Iran’s minor skirmishes with American forces in recent years have been owing to the happenstance of Washington’s far-flung imperial ventures.

For example, Washington destroyed Saddam’s Sunni/secular government in Iraq and installed a Shiite regime in Baghdad, thereby leaving the Sunni lands of western Iraq in chaos. Only then did Baghdad invite their shiite co-religionists from Iran to help excise the scourge of ISIS that formed from the remnants of Saddam’s army and government.

Likewise, Washington and its allies sent thousands of jihadist warriors and billions of aid and supplies into Syria to topple its dully elected government. Only then did the Alawite (Shiite) Assad regime invite help from its confessional compatriots in Tehran.

And you can’t find any more ludicrous example of the cat calling the kettle black than the Donald’s claim that Iran is a terrorist state because it is aligned with the Shiite population of Lebanon represented by Hezbollah.

For crying out loud. The War Party pretends Washington has turned much of the middle east into rubble and barbarism in order to spread democracy — whether they wanted it or not, and whether they were ready for it or not.

But Lebanon is a serviceable democracy and last weekend Hezbollah and its allies — including certain Sunni factions — won an overwhelming election victory. They now control a clear majority in its legislature, where Hezbollah will have the power to name a new Prime Minister (a Sunni) and Speaker of the Parliament (a Shiite) — both of whom will be pledged to work with the country’s Christian president.

That particular outcome of democracy the War Party can’t abide. But it fairly violates the english language itself to call it state sponsored terrorism.

In a similar vein, the Houthi tribe of Shiites have dominated much of northern and western Yemen for centuries. So when a Washington installed government in Sana’a was overthrown, the Houthi took power in northern Yemen — as had been the case during the long expanse from 1918-1990 when the two Yemens were finally unified.


But it is the Houthis who are the victims of aggression by the brutal Saudi bombing campaign that has left more than 10,000 civilians dead and the land plagued with famine, cholera, rubble, and economic collapse.

There is no telling which faction in Yemen’s fratricidal civil war and invasion by Saudi Arabia is the more barbaric, but the modest aid provided by Iran to its Shiite kinsman in northern Yemen is absolutely not a case of state sponsored terrorism.

In a word, the Donald has fallen hook, line and sinker for the War Party’s lie- and propaganda-filled demonization of the Iranian regime. We have debunked this false history elsewhere, but suffice to say that it boils down to two very imperialist propositions.

To wit, that Iran is not entitled to have its own foreign policy via alliances with Iraq, Syria, the dominant party of Lebanon, or the official government in Sana’a Yemen because Washington (and Israel) say so; and that it’s not allowed to have even intermediate and medium range missiles (that can’t reach either the US or most of Europe) to defend itself — even though Washington has armed its far wealthier Sunni rival across the Persian Gulf with upwards of $250 billion of America’s most advanced warplanes, attack helicopters, missiles, drones and sundry other accoutrements of war.

And that is to say nothing of a tiny residual capacity to enrich uranium to 3.5 percent purity (compared to 90 percent weapons grade) for civilian power reactors on fewer than one-fifth of the oldest and slowest centrifuges it had before the 2015 nuke deal.

Nor does it consider that all 17 US intelligence agencies certified in an official NIE (national intelligence estimate) in 2007 and again in 2011 that Iran only had a small weaponization research program between 1999 and 2003, which was then abandoned and never restarted.

Moreover, the documentary proof of that was thoroughly investigated by the IAEA after the 2015 deal, which then re-validated that the Iranian weapons program was indeed disbanded in 2003.

In short, the Donald has fallen for a pack of lies and distortions that are only remotely plausible if the aim is to find enemies and territories around the planet to police, occupy or otherwise hegemonize. And to thereby keep the Warfare State in business, its $800 billion budget funded, and the Imperial City’s vast beehive of think-tanks, contractors, NGOs, lobbyists, and racketeers in clover.

The invincible grip on power of the above — the Deep State for short-hand purposes — has now been proven. And that’s a full-on tragedy because the Donald’s inchoate notion of America First was an incipient challenge to its power — the only one since the end of the cold war.

To be sure, Donald Trump never had a coherent or articulated notion of America First. But all of his impulses were in the right direction.

Perhaps like renegade Sarah Palin before him, for example, he could see Russia from his airy on the 68th floor of Trump Tower and recognize that it is no threat whatsoever to America’s security.

That is, from his perch the Donald could gaze upon metro New York’s $1.6 trillion of GDP, which is greater than the entirety of Russia’s economy ($1.5 trillion GDP); and whether he knew the precise numbers or not, his impulse toward rapprochement with Putin was spot on.

Likewise, whether he had gotten George Bush’s folly in Iraq right on day one or not — he was loud and clear in his consistent denunciation years before Hillary sprouted her dawkish feathers.

Nor was he any less correct when he averred that NATO was obsolete. After all, the GDP of the EU-29 is 10X larger than Russia’s, and their combined military spending is 4X greater.

If you’re not a prisoner of Imperial Washington’s twisted group think you cannot possibly believe that Russia’s supremely rational leader — Cool Hand Vlad — intends to militarily assault his European neighbors. He’d like to supply their markets, not occupy their cities — something that anyone except the demented, self-serving bureaucrats of NATO can easily understand.

Ditto for Afghanistan, Syria, Yemen, Libya, Somalia et. al. They aren’t cold war “dominoes” because the Soviet Union slithered off the pages of history 27 years ago; they don’t threaten America directly, either, because they don’t have two dimes to rub together economically or militarily; and whether they affiliate with the Saudi-Sunni axis or the Iran-Shiite crescent makes not one damn bit of difference for the safety and security of American citizens in Lincoln NE or Springfield MA.

In the case of the Korean Peninsula, the Donald also rightly questioned why we are still funding 29,000 US troops when the war there ended 65 years ago.

The truth is, it is a war that never should have been fought in the first place because the now open Soviet archives show both Stalin and Mao were against it. US national security was never at stake.

Rather than a domino, it originated purely as a civil war between the communist/nationalists under Kim II-sung, who had fought the Japanese occupiers to the death, and a puppet government in the South under Syngman Rhee.

The latter was an aristocratic dandy who moved to the US in 1904 and spent most of the next 40 years hob-knobbing in Washington. So doing, he promoted endless schemes to install himself in power back in Korea, which finally happened when Japan’s 35-year long occupation was ended in August 1945.

At length, the two Korean political rivals got into a war that the north would have handily won — and might well have turned itself into a cheap labor based export platform just as did Mao’s heirs on the mainland. It might even have become a darling of Wall Street — just as the Red Suzerains of Beijing are today.

That is to say, there was exactly nothing at stake in June 1950 — until the rabid cold warriors in Washington persuaded Truman to intervene.

So doing, the US military launched the most destructive and vicious bombing campaign in history under the blood-thirsty top Air Force general, Curtis LeMay. By the 1953 armistice, North Korea had become a bombed-out wasteland with hardly a city or town not reduced to rubble and with millions of civilians dead or starving.

But it was not merely a pointless war and waste of American blood and treasure; it also became forever embraced by the people of the north as the patriotic war of resistance that paved the way for six decades of the brutal Kim family dictatorship and a life of poverty and misery for its 25 million people, who could otherwise be working in Apple factories and auto plants today.

Needless to say, Imperial Washington has no regard for honest history — only its own self-serving narrative and imperative need for enemies and missions to justify nearly $800 billion per year for the machinery of war and empire. In the case of North Korea, in fact, its imperial pretensions and penchant for “regime change” under the neocons in recent decades, unleashed a veritable monster.

That is, a drive by the Kim family to obtain nuclear weapons, thereby hoping to avoid Saddam’s fate at the end of a rope or Khadafy’s bloody demise with a shive up his rectum.

Fortunately, the Donald has been blessed with a historic serendipity. His military bluster and name-calling apparently caused Kim Jong-un to stage so many nuclear bomb tests culminating in a huge (for N. Korea) 160 kiloton explosion last September that the Fat Boy of Pyongyang has literally destroyed the mountains which house his Punggye-ri test site.

A recent authoritative study actually warns that if North Korea were to use the same area for another test it could cause an “environmental catastrophe.”

North Korea’s past tests have altered the tectonic stress in the region to the extent that previously inactive tectonic faults in the region have reached their state of critical failure. Any further disturbance from a future test could generate earthquakes that may be damaging by their own force or crack the nuclear test sites of the past or the present.
Of course, Kim Jong-un is now attempting to make a virtue out of necessity by ostentatiously shuttering the no longer useable site and inviting the world to witness its entombment. But if that leads to a denuclearization of the Korean peninsula, so be it.

And let it also be an occasion to reverse the mistake of June 1950, and get American forces off the peninsula once and for all: Return Korea to the Koreans to work out their own governance as they see fit!

Yet even on this matter, where the Donald has recently tried to explore a drastic reduction, if not complete removal, of US troops as part of the pending deal with Kim Jong-un, the Deep State has come down on him with all fours.

In that regard, here is what former “peace” candidate Barack Obama’s leading advisor on the topic had this to say:

Kelly E. Magsamen, a top Asia policy official at the Pentagon during the Obama administration, said, ‘U.S. presence in South Korea is a sacrosanct part of our alliance.’
In fact, apparently the entire global empire of Washington is sacrosanct — including the ridiculous fact that in the year 2018 Washington still has military bases in the defeated powers of World War II. Yet neither Japan nor Germany have any mortal military enemies and both are utterly dependent on the trade custom of the US for their high standard of living.

So the Deep State now owns the Donald and America First is not even a slogan. It’s inoperative, Nixon-style.

Indeed, it’s only a matter of time before the Donald gets the ultimate Nixon treatment — now that he has done the Deep State’s dirty work and ash-canned the deal that could have opened a broad avenue toward peace in the world and drastic retrenchment of the fiscally bankrupting Warfare State at home.

That is to say, at length the ingrates of the Deep State will put the Donald on the Dick Nixon Memorial Helicopter for his final ride to Gonesville.

To paraphrase the great Randolph Bourne, Demonization of the Unwilling is the Health of the Deep State.

At least that much the Donald has now, regrettably, confirmed with his sophomoric attack on Iran.

So doing he has also lurched America drastically forward on the path to a monumental financial catastrophe. That’s because taken together the Warfare State and the Welfare State are also the fiscal demise of the state.

One of these days even the lemmings of Wall Street — which took day’s calamitous news in stride — will finally get the memo, too.

Reprinted with permission from David Stockman’s Contra Corner.

How does the purported shooter exit his Uber ride, put on full body dress, helmet, assemble his rifle, load it and start firing at targets within two minutes? By Shepard Ambellas


Teacher grazed by Parkland shooter’s bullet: ‘Shooter was in full metal garb, helmet, face mask, bulletproof armor, shooting a rifle I never seen before’
By Editor February 26, 2018

http://www.theeventchronicle.com/florida-hs-shooting/teacher-grazed-parkland-shooters-bullet-shooter-full-metal-garb-helmet-face-mask-bulletproof-armor-shooting-rifle-never-seen/

How does the purported shooter exit his Uber ride, put on full body dress, helmet, assemble his rifle, load it and start firing at targets within two minutes?
By Shepard Ambellas

PARKLAND, Fla. (INTELLIHUB) — Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School teacher Stacy Lippel was grazed by a hot bullet which left the chamber of the shooter’s gun as she closed the door to her classroom after letting a number of students file into what would presumably be safety. However, nothing could have prepared the teacher for what she was to witness next.

“I suddenly saw the shooter about twenty feet in front of me standing at the end of the hallway actively shooting down the hallway, just a barrage of bullets, and I’m staring at him thinking why are the police here,this is strange because he’s in full metal garb, helmet, face mask, bulletproof armor, shooting this rifle that I’ve never seen before,” Lippel told Good Morning America last Wednesday.

The brave teacher said she told fellow Stoneman Douglas H.S. teacher Scott Beigel, 35, to get back in his room just before the shooter fired a number of rounds into his room killing him and other students.

Lippel said the shooter fired four to five rounds into her classroom which shattered the classroom door window before the heavily-claded assassin continued his diabolic shooting spree down the hallway.

“I never really knew when he left because we all thought he was still here,” she said.

Two of Lippel’s students were fatally wounded in the attack.

Police maintain the suspect Nikolas Cruz arrived via an Uber ride at 2:19 p.m. and initiated his attack within 1 minute. If true, that would mean that Cruz would have had to suit up into full metal body armor, put on a full helmet and the whole nine yards, all the while assembling an AR-15 rifle which was purportedly packed into a duffle bag with a number of fully-loaded magazines.

An affidavit filed by the Broward County Sheriff states: “Cruz stated that he was the gunman who entered the school campus armed with an AR-15 and began shooting students that he saw in the hallways and on the school grounds. Cruz stated that he brought additional loaded magazines to the school campus and kept them hidden in a backpack until he got on campus to begin his assault.”

An NBC News report gives the official timeline of events:

Within barely two minutes of being dropped off, Cruz started firing into four classrooms in Building 12, returning to two of them to shoot again, Israel said.

Cruz then went upstairs to the second floor, where he shot one of his victims, before proceeding to the third floor, where he ditched his rifle and backpack, Israel said.

He then ran down the stairs and outside, where he blended in with hundreds of terrified students — many of them his former classmates — and eluded officers as he left campus, Israel said.

Amid the chaos he’d left behind at the school, Cruz made his way to a Walmart store, bought a drink at its Subway restaurant and walked away again, Israel said.

Such a scenario seems not only entirely unlikely but almost impossible. Not to mention the fact that prosecutors have already offered Cruz a deal to spare his life in exchange for his plead of guilt. However, if school cameras, video footage, and other hard evidence reveals that Cruz was, in fact, the shooter, why would there be a need for Cruz to plead guilty? Wouldn’t the case be cut and dry?

What exactly is going on here?

Please comment and share!

©2018. INTELLIHUB.COM. All Rights Reserved.

Shepard Ambellas is an opinion journalist, analyst, and the founder and editor-in-chief of Intellihub News & Politics (Intellihub.com). Shepard is also known for producing Shade: The Motion Picture (2013) and appearing on Travel Channel’s America Declassified (2013). Shepard is a regular contributor to Infowars. Shepard is the leading journalist covering the Las Vegas Massacre, logging over 800+ hours, 130+ reports, during his ongoing investigation. Read more from Shep’s World. Follow Shep on Facebook. Subscribe to Shep’s YouTube channel.

Follow @ShepardAmbellas

This article (Teacher grazed by Parkland shooter’s bullet: ‘Shooter was in full metal garb, helmet, face mask, bulletproof armor, shooting a rifle I never seen before’) was originally published on Intellihub and syndicated by The Event Chronicle.

Don’t You Take Anything That Big Pharma Isn’t Making Money On. Next they will be putting people into jail for using homeopathic medications.



(Chamille White/Shutterstock.com)

FDA Is Taking a More Aggressive Stance Toward Homeopathic Drugs
https://www.sciencealert.com/fda-takes-more-aggressive-stance-toward-homeopathic-drugs?perpetual=yes&limitstart=1

“Just silly from a scientific point of view.”
LAURIE MCGINLEY, THE WASHINGTON POST
19 DEC 2017

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on Monday proposed a tougher enforcement policy toward homeopathic drugs, saying it would target products posing the greatest safety risks, including those containing potentially harmful ingredients or being marketed for cancer, heart disease and opioid and alcohol addictions.

Homeopathy is based on an 18th-century idea that substances that cause disease symptoms can, in very small doses, cure the same symptoms.

Modern medicine, backed up by numerous studies, has disproved the central tenets of homeopathy and shown that the products are worthless at best and harmful at worst.

Under US law, homeopathic drugs are required to meet the same approval rules as other drugs. But under a policy adopted in 1988, the agency has used “enforcement discretion” to allow the items to be manufactured and distributed without FDA approval.

Agency officials don’t plan to begin requiring that homeopathic products get approval – officials say that would be impractical – but they are signalling stepped-up scrutiny for items deemed a possible health threat.

Examples of high-risk products include ones that are administered by injection, are intended for vulnerable populations like children or the elderly, or are marketed for serious diseases, the agency said.

The FDA’s proposed approach, outlined in a draft guidance that will be open for public for 90 days, comes more than a year after homeopathic teething tablets and gels containing belladonna were linked to 400 injuries and the deaths of 10 children.

An FDA lab analysis later confirmed that some of the products “contained elevated and inconsistent levels of belladonna”, a toxic substance, the agency said.

Once a niche field, homeopathy has grown into to a US$3 billion industry that peddles treatments for everything from cancer to colds, FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb noted in a statement.

“In many cases, people may be placing their trust and money in therapies that may bring little or no benefit in combating serious ailments, or worse – that may cause significant and even irreparable harm” because of poor manufacturing quality or unsafe ingredients, he said.

Still, he said, the agency wants to balance its safety concerns with the desires of consumers who want to continue using the products.

Under its planned approach, many products won’t be considered high risk and will remain available to consumers, Janet Woodcock, director of the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, told reporters during a teleconference.

But she said, the agency would “go after” products that cause – or might cause – “overt harm”.

The National Center for Homeopathy, which advocates for homeopathy and is based in Mount Laurel, NJ, says on its website that “homeopathy is a safe, gentle, and natural system of healing that works with your body to relieve symptoms, restore itself, and improve your overall health.”

Steven Salzberg, a biomedical engineer at Johns Hopkins University who in the past has criticised the FDA for not taking action against homeopathy, said it was “terrific” that the agency now plans to try to rein in the industry.

He cautioned that product makers are likely to “hit back hard with lots of spurious claims in an effort to confuse consumers and to protect their profits.”

Salzberg added that homeopathic products’ packaging suggests that the items “cure all sorts of conditions – pain, colds, asthma, indigestion, arthritis, you name it – and yet there’s not a whit of evidence” that they cure anything.

The homeopathy field, he said, is “just silly from a scientific point of view, more like a religious belief than a scientific belief.”

In July, Britain’s National Health System announced plans to stop doctors from prescribing homeopathic drugs. Simon Stevens, the system’s chief executive, described homeopathy as “at best a placebo and a misuse of scarce NHS funds”.

The move came years after the House of Commons called on the government health service to stop paying for homeopathic prescriptions, saying, “To maintain patient trust, choice and safety, the Government should not endorse the use of placebo treatments, including homeopathy.”

In April 2015, the FDA held public hearings on the way it regulates homeopathic products as part of an effort to get public input on its enforcement polices.

The agency said Monday that as a result of the hearing and 9,000 comments submitted by the public, the FDA had decided to propose a new “comprehensive, risk-based enforcement approach to drug products labelled as homeopathic and marketed without FDA approval.”

Over the past several years, the FDA has issued warnings about other homeopathic drug products, including zinc-containing intranasal products that may cause a loss of sense of smell; certain homeopathic asthma products that have not been effective in treating asthma and other products that contain strychnine, a poison used to kill rodents.

2017 © The Washington Post

This article was originally published by The Washington Post.

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.

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.