Monthly Archives: July 2010

Foreclosures Continue To Dramatically Increase In 2010


In a very alarming sign for the U.S. economy, foreclosures have continued to dramatically increase in 2010. But there has been a shift. Back in 2007 and 2008, experts tell us that most foreclosures were due to toxic mortgages. People were being suckered into mortgages that they couldn’t afford with “teaser rates” or with payments that would dramatically escalate after a few years, and when those mortgages reset, the people who had agreed to them no longer could make the payments. But now RealtyTrac says that unemployment has become the major reason for foreclosures. Millions of Americans have become chronically unemployed during the economic downturn and many of them are losing their homes as a result. But whatever the cause, one thing is certain – foreclosures have continued to skyrocket at a staggering rate.

According to a new report from RealtyTrac, foreclosure filings climbed in 75% of the nation’s metro areas during the first half of 2010. At a time when the Obama administration believes that we are “turning the corner”, things just seem to get even worse.

Some areas of the country continue to be complete and total disaster areas when it comes to real estate. For example, you have got to feel really sorry for anyone trying to sell a house down in Florida right now. According to RealtyTrac, Florida led the way with nine of the top 20 metro foreclosure rates in the country during the first half of 2010.

Ouch.

But the worst city for foreclosures continues to be Las Vegas.

According to RealtyTrac spokesman Rick Sharga, unemployment has replaced bad loans as the number one cause of foreclosures there….

“Las Vegas has seamlessly shifted from having a high level of foreclosures due to bad loans to defaults caused by a high level of unemployment.”

But other cities with high unemployment rates are having huge problems as well.

For those who believe that the economy is supposed to be “improving”, it must seem really odd that foreclosure rates in major cities such as Chicago continue to soar.

RealtyTrac says that foreclosure filings in Chicago have increased 23 percent year-over-year to one out of every 48 households.

But it isn’t just cities like Las Vegas and Chicago that are nightmares right now.

The truth is that this is a national crisis.

The Mortgage Bankers Association recently announced that more than 10% of all U.S. homeowners with a mortgage had missed at least one mortgage payment during the January to March time period. That was a new all-time record and represented an increase from 9.1 percent a year ago.

Unfortunately, new all-time records are being set all over the place….

*The number of home foreclosures set a record for the second consecutive month in May.

*Banks repossessed 269,962 U.S. homes during the second quarter of 2010, which was a new all-time record.

*As of March, U.S. banks had an inventory of approximately 1.1 million foreclosed homes, which was a new record and which was up 20 percent from a year ago.

So is there any hope that things are going to get better soon?

Well, according to RealtyTrac’s CEO James Saccacio, that depends on the U.S. economy….

“The fragile stability achieved in many local housing markets hinges on improvements in the underlying economy, specifically job growth. If unemployment remains persistently high and foreclosure prevention efforts only delay the inevitable, then we could continue to see increased foreclosure activity and a corresponding weakness in home prices in many metro areas.”

Without good jobs, the American people are not going to be able to pay their mortgages.

So are the millions upon millions of jobs that have been lost coming back soon?

No, unfortunately they are not.

As we discussed at length in a previous article, the big global corporations that dominate our economy are figuring out that they don’t really need the rest of us anymore. The American worker is becoming obsolete. After all, why pay an American ten times as much to do the same job? Big corporations can hire two people in China or India to do the same job and still pocket 80% of the difference.

In addition, big corporations don’t really need the headache of making employer contributions to Social Security, setting up benefit packages and pension plans or of trying to comply with the thousands upon thousands of ridiculous regulations that the U.S. government continues to spew out.

At this point, the American worker has become extremely unattractive for large corporations, and so jobs will continue to migrate to other areas of the world.

We allowed our politicians to merge us into a “global economy”, so now we are all going to have to deal with being part of a “global workforce”.

As jobs continue to be offshored and outsourced, more Americans are going to become unemployed and the foreclosure crisis is going to continue to be a nightmare.

It would be nice to put a positive spin on all of this, but there isn’t one.

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Angel


California Rep. Waters may face fall ethics trial


WASHINGTON – A second House Democrat, Rep. Maxine Waters of California, could face an ethics trial this fall, further complicating the election outlook for the party as it battles to retain its majority.

People familiar with the investigation, who were not authorized to be quoted about charges before they are made public, say the allegations could be announced next week. The House ethics committee declined Friday to make any public statement on the matter.

Waters, 71, has been under investigation for a possible conflict of interest involving a bank that was seeking federal aid. Her husband owned stock in the bank and had served on its board.

New York Democrat Rep. Charles Rangel also faces an ethics trial this fall on charges that include failure to disclose assets and income, nonpayment of taxes and doing legislative favors for donors to a college center named after him.

Both Waters and Rangel are prominent members of the Congressional Black Caucus and the trials would be an embarrassment for the group. Dual ethics trials would also be a major political liability for Democrats, forcing them to defend their party’s ethical conduct while trying to hold on to their House majority.

While Rangel is a former chairman of the tax-writing House Ways and Means Committee, Waters is a prominent member of the House Financial Services Committee.

Waters came under scrutiny after former Treasury Department officials said she helped arrange a meeting between regulators and executives at Boston-based OneUnited Bank without mentioning her husband’s financial ties to the institution.

Her husband, Sidney Williams, held at least $250,000 in the bank’s stock and previously had served on its board. Waters’ spokesman has said Williams was no longer on the board when the meeting was arranged.

Waters has said the National Bankers Association, a trade group, requested the meeting. She defended her role in assisting minority-owned banks in the midst of the nation’s financial meltdown and dismissed suggestions she used her influence to steer government aid to the bank.

“I am confident that as the investigation moves forward the panel will discover that there are no facts to support allegations that I have acted improperly,” Waters said in a prior statement.

The committee unanimously voted to establish an investigative subcommittee to gather evidence and determine whether Waters violated standards of conduct.

Waters, like Rangel, could settle her case by arranging a plea bargain with the ethics committee. So far she has decided instead to fight.

___

Online:

House ethics committee: http://ethics.house.gov

Amnesty – Criminal Conduct by Obama


America has reached the point where nothing matters. The Constitution does not matter. The United States Code (Federal Law) does not matter. Morality, common sense, and founding principles do not matter. Nothing Matters. There is often discussion about another Revolution. Well, brother, it began in 2008! It is not we who started the Revolution; it is the Socialists who finally inhabit the White House!

8 U.S.C. § 1325 : US Code – Section 1324 & 1325 are the existing and valid
Federal Law regarding Bringing in and harboring certain aliens, and Improper entry by alien. These two sections are worth reading. Pay particular attention not to the crime of the alien who (1) enters or attempts to enter the United States
at any time or place other than as designated by immigration officers, but rather give thought to the crime of those persons who assist in this crime.

§ 1324 mandates penalties for the crimes of “aiding and abetting,” or, “encourages or induces an alien to come to, enter, or reside in the United States, knowing or in
reckless disregard of the fact that such coming to, entry, or residence is or will be in violation of law.” Notice that the penalties up to and including life in prison or the death penalty, are applicable for each individual entering illegally.

An example might be that you encourage someone to enter illegally and that illegal
so-called immigrant commits murder.
Any person who—
(iii) knowing or in reckless disregard of the fact that an alien has come to, entered, or remains in the United States in violation of law, conceals, harbors, or shields from detection, or attempts to conceal, harbor, or shield from detection, such alien in any place, including any building or any means of transportation;

(iv) encourages or induces an alien to come to, enter, or reside in the United States, knowing or in reckless disregard of the fact that such coming to, entry, or residence is or will be in violation of law; or

(v)

(I) engages in any conspiracy to commit any of the preceding acts, or

(II) aids or abets the commission of any of the preceding acts,

The person guilty of the encouragement is subject to prosecution and sentencing
as follows:

shall be punished as provided…; (iv) in the case of a violation
of subparagraph (A)(i), (ii), (iii), (iv), or (v) resulting in the death of any person, be punished by death or imprisoned for any term of years or for life, fined under title 18, or both.

Our current occupant of the Oval Office has often publicly spoken about Amnesty and
not enforcing the existing law! These two statements are encouraging persons from many other nations to violate our existing Federal Law! These actions by the Highest
Office in the Land are criminal conduct. We often like to think that there are kindred spirits remaining in office in Congress. Perhaps a Republican or Independent holding
office that still believes in the “Rule of Law.” Where is their voice? Where is the impeachment and criminal trial?

Bud Parker
TOP SGT.
US Army, Retired

Resist.net

“Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it on to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children what it was once like in the United States when men were free.”
Ronald Reagan, Address to the annual meeting of the Phoenix Chamber of Commerce, (03/30/1961)

Look What Surprises They Snuck Into The Financial Reform Bill


Even just a decade ago, major pieces of legislation in the U.S. Congress would be just a few dozen pages long. But today, it seems like every time Congress passes an important bill it ends up being over a thousand pages long. In fact, the final version of the new financial reform law was over 2,300 pages. Overall, as we wrote about extensively in a previous article, this much-ballyhooed new law does a whole lot of nothing, but it turns out that lobbyists and special interests were able to insert a few nasty surprises that we are just now finding out about. But it was the same thing with the health care reform law. It was only after it was passed that most of us learned that it contained a provision that will force U.S. small businesses to collectively produce millions more 1099 tax forms each year. Now small businesses from coast to coast are screaming bloody murder about that provision but it is too late – the law has already passed. Unfortunately, there are some surprises in the recently passed financial reform law that are nearly just as bad.

So just what are those surprises?

Well, first let’s talk about what the financial reform law does not do. The financial reform bill was supposed to “fix” Wall Street and the financial system, but it did not do much of anything….

-It does nothing to address the problems with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

-It does not eliminate “too big to fail”.

-It does absolutely nothing to eliminate the horrific bubble in the derivatives market.

-It does nothing to reform the organization most responsible for the recent financial crisis – the Federal Reserve. In fact, this new law actually gives the Federal Reserve even more power.

But it does create a ton of new paperwork and a bunch of new government organizations.

Oh goody!

But was there any major law that Congress has passed over the last several years that did not increase the size and scope of government?

That is a good question.

In any event, let’s get to some of the nasty surprises contained in the new financial reform law….

*Barack Obama has been running around touting how this new law will “increase transparency” in the financial world, but it turns out that a little-noticed provision of the new law exempts the Securities and Exchange Commission from virtually all requests for information by the public, including those filed under the Freedom of Information Act.

Not that the SEC was doing much good anyway.

But now the SEC’s incompetence and the nefarious actions of those they are investigating will be hidden from public view.

So what makes the SEC so special that they get to block the public from seeing their records while other government agencies still have to comply with FOIA?

Talk about ridiculous.

But there is actually another little surprise contained in the new law that is even more nasty….

*Another little-noticed section deeply embedded in the financial reform law actually gives the federal government the authority to terminate government contracts with any “financial firm” that fails to ensure the “fair inclusion” of women and minorities in its workforce.

This section of the law, written by U.S. Representative Maxine Waters, is 1,261 words long and it establishes ”Offices of Minority and Women Inclusion” in the Treasury Department, the Federal Reserve, the Securities and Exchange Commission and more than a dozen other finance-related agencies.

The directors of these new departments are tasked with developing standards that “ensure, to the maximum extent possible, the fair inclusion and utilization of minorities, women, and minority-owned and women-owned businesses in all business and activities of the agency at all levels, including in procurement, insurance, and all types of contracts.”

The maximum extent possible?

That sounds pretty strong.

So what kind of firms does this section apply to?

Well, according to Politico, this section is going to apply to just about anyone who has anything to do with the financial industry….

This applies to “services of any kind,” including investment firms, mortgage banking firms, asset management firms, brokers, dealers, underwriters, accountants, consultants and law firms, the legislation states. Every contractor and subcontractor must now certify that their workforces reflect a “fair inclusion” of women and minorities.

The truth is that this small section of the law represents a fundamental change in employment law in the United States.

And it is written so vaguely that firms are going to be tempted to go above and beyond in complying with it just so they are safe. In fact, many analysts are already saying that it could lead to an unofficial quota system.

In any event, hundreds of new federal government bureaucrats will be watching to make certain that these vague new regulations are fully implemented.

*It also looks like the new financial reform law is going to end the era of free checking accounts.

Why?

Well, it turns out that the new law really limits the amount of fees that banks can charge and the way that they charge them.

So banks have got to make their money somewhere. Wells Fargo and Bank of America have already announced new fees on checking accounts, and other banks are expected to follow their lead shortly.

What a mess.

Can’t Congress do anything right these days?

At this point Congress is so incompetent that if they would just sit there and do nothing that would be a vast improvement.

But that isn’t going to happen.

Andy of Mayberry Shills for Obamacare




Andy Griffith is telling seniors “good things are coming” under Obamacare. The actor, who played the sheriff of Mayberry on The Andy Griffith Show in the 1960s, says retiring Baby Boomers can expect free preventive checkups and lower-cost prescriptions when they become Medicare recipients. Griffith was paid with Medicare money to shill the program.

Polls, however, show seniors are overwhelmingly skeptical of Obamacare. Medicare will be cut to the bone over the next decade in order to provide Obamacare to the uninsured. 60% of seniors 65 and older oppose Obamacare, according to Gallup. They know Medicare will institute rationing and denial of healthcare.

In the tax payer funded ad Griffith says he thinks seniors will like Obamacare. He does not mention the fact many doctors hate it. According to a New England Journal of Medicine survey, 46.3% of primary care physicians believe Obamacare will either force them out of medicine or make them want to abandon the profession.

An alarming number of physicians say they will no longer accept Medicare patients because the government doesn’t reimburse them enough to cover the cost of care. In response, Congress voted to cut Medicare doctor payments by an additional 21.3 percent. “It is, frankly, inconceivable that Medicare is beginning to reimburse doctors at a 21% cut over their already below-cost payment level,” the Alliance for Speciality Medicine said in June.

Doctors routinely complain about the government delaying payment on Medicare claims. “Doctors who serve high numbers of Medicare patients say they are defaulting on rent, laying off staff and begging drug suppliers not to stop shipments. One cardiologist said she’s even resorted to doing the office laundry to cut costs,” reported the Los Angeles Times in 2008, well before Obamacare sailed through Congress.

Congress knows cutting pay will produce a dramatic reduction of physician participation in Medicare and will result in widespread rationing under Obamacare.

Earlier this month it was reported that Obama would make a recess appointment of Donald Berwick to head up the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, the federal bureaucracy that administers the Medicare program and works with state governments to administer Medicaid. Berwick is an advocate healthcare rationing.

Berwick is fond of he UK’s National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence. However, according to British MEP Daniel Hannan, Britain’s National Health Service “produces some of the worst health outcomes in the industrialized world. Britain is the Western state where you’d least want to have cancer or a stroke or heart disease. Ours is now a country where thousands of people are killed in hospitals for reasons unrelated to their original condition.”

Obamacare will transfer the healthcare industry over to the social engineers who believe the elderly have outlived their social utility. “From a series of statements by [Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel, Obama’s health czar] it is apparent that he, and many others in positions of power, conclude that the elderly have lived their lives and it is time for them to move on, especially if they are costing the state money,” writes Russell L. Blaylock, M.D.

Obamacare with its rationing schemes and philosophy of social utility, writes Blaylock, is akin to Nazism. “This is not really that far away from the German National Socialist Party’s thinking, which referred to those with no social utility as ‘useless eaters’ and the disabled, chronically ill and incurables as ‘life unworthy of life.’”

“We can honestly say that it was the labor of our seniors that built this great country, so how can be betray them now? Even worse is that we are telling them that we don’t even care that they are suffering during their last days and that they are aware that relief of their suffering exist, but they cannot have it – the money, they are told, would be better spent on educational programs, studies of global climate change and a plethora of other socialist dreams.”

Obamacare is a eugenics program operating under the cover of a socialist dream. The ruling elite are not socialist dreamers — they are hardcore psychopaths and control freaks who indeed consider most of us as little more than useless eaters and are working methodically behind the scenes to implement a plan designed to drastically reduce world population.

“It is important to keep in mind that those supporting these draconian eugenic programs were not disgruntled dreamers cogitating in some New York coffee house, they were men and women of high social rank, intellectuals, presidents of major universities, policymakers, corporate heads and even presidents of the United States. These were people in positions of power and influence who could enforce these dreams of a Utopian society and that made them very dangerous,” writes Dr. Blaylock.

It is not a mistake Andy Griffith — the fair-minded and even-handed small town sheriff portrayed on television — was selected to sell Obamacare. Griffith occupies a place in the Madison Avenue created 60s pantheon of mythological figures cherished by many Baby Boomers. Due to this status he was hired to sell eugenics disguised as “free” healthcare to a crushing tidal wave of retirees who were inundated with “Great Society” propaganda in the 1960s. Many believe government is beneficent and loving when in fact it is a murderous leviathan that has over the span of a century killed hundreds of millions of people and enslaved untold millions more.

The elite allowed the United States to develop the most productive and creative society in history following the Second World War. Now the elite are systematically destroying the United States and exploiting its advanced technology to turn the planet into a sprawling slave gulag. In the Brave New World envisioned by the globalists, there is no place for the concept of retirement and no room for millions of retirees who were sold a bill of goods only to have it vanish.

3 squabbling companies must cooperate to plug well


NEW ORLEANS – On shore, BP, Halliburton and Transocean are engaging in a billion-dollar blame game over the blown-out oil well in the Gulf of Mexico. At sea, they’re depending on each other to finally plug up the environmental disaster.

Workers say the companies’ adversarial relationship before Congress, in public statements and maybe one day in the courts isn’t a distraction at the site of the April 20 rig explosion, where Transocean equipment rented by BP is drilling relief wells that Halliburton will pump cement through to permanently choke the oil well.

“Simply, we are all too professional to allow disagreements between BP and any other organization to affect our behaviors,” Ryan Urik, a BP well safety adviser working on the Development Driller II, which is drilling a backup relief well, said in an e-mail last week.

But at least one expert said government probes and potential for lawsuits can’t help but chill communication between the companies.

Urik’s rig was in a holding pattern Saturday, awaiting progress by its sister rig, the Development Driller III, which is drilling the primary relief well and ran into a minor snag while preparing for a procedure known as a static kill that will make it easier to stop the gusher for good.

The DDIII is clearing out debris that fell in the bottom of the relief well when crews had to evacuate the site last week because of Tropical Storm Bonnie.

Once the debris is cleared, engineers plan to start as early as Monday on the static kill, which involves pumping mud and possibly cement into the blown-out well through the temporary cap. If it works, it will take less time to complete another procedure known as a bottom kill, the last step to permanently sealing the well by pumping mud and then cement in from the bottom, which could happen by mid- to late August.

Workers know all about the clashes among their respective employers, “but the crews have done an excellent job of focusing on getting these relief wells finished safely,” Dennis Barber, a Transocean senior toolpusher aboard the DDII, said last week in an e-mail from the rig.

The roles of the three companies in the relief kill effort are much the same as they were on the Deepwater Horizon, the exploratory rig that blew up soon after a temporary cement cap was placed on its well, killing 11 workers. The conflicts began almost as soon as oil started flowing.

“Transocean’s blowout preventer failed to operate,” BP executive Lamar McKay said in Senate testimony in May, referring to the massive safety device atop the well that was supposed to bottle up the oil in an emergency.

Transocean CEO Steven Newman shifted blame in the same hearing, saying “all offshore oil and gas production projects begin and end with the operator, in this case BP.” He also noted that Halliburton was responsible for encasing the well in cement, while Halliburton executive Tim Probert said his company’s work was completed 20 hours before the rig went up in flames.

President Obama called the finger-pointing testimony a “ridiculous spectacle.”

The Justice Department has opened civil and criminal investigations into the spill. Attorney General Eric Holder has indicated that BP isn’t the only company that could be held liable.

Kenneth Green, a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research think tank, said the investigations may have stifled communications between the government and companies — and between the companies themselves.

“The problem is you’ve chilled communications with the very people you need to solve the problem,” he said. “Once the Justice Department got involved, the lawyers were basically immediately in charge of the show.”

BP is trying to move forward from the disaster that sent anywhere from 94 million to 184 million gallons of oil spewing into the Gulf, announcing once the cap was finally in place that its vilified chief executive, Tony Hayward, will be leaving in October.

He will be replaced by American Bob Dudley, who told reporters in Biloxi, Miss., on Friday that it’s “not too soon for a scaleback” in the cleanup, and in areas where there is no oil, “you probably don’t need to see people in hazmat suits on the beach.”

State waters closed by the spill have slowly reopened to fishing, most recently in Florida, where regulators on Saturday reopened a 23-mile area off of Escambia County to harvest saltwater fish. The area was closed June 14 and remains closed to the shrimp and crab harvesting pending additional testing. Oysters, clams and mussels were never included in the closure.

Relatively little oil remains on the surface of the Gulf, leaving less for thousands of oil skimmers to do, though Plaquemines Parish President Billy Nungesser on Saturday offered to prove to Dudley that there’s still plenty of oil off the coast of Louisiana.

“Let me take him water-skiing out here and see if he comes up black,” Nungesser said as he took a small group of reporters on a boat tour of an inlet at St. Mary’s Point, about an hour south of New Orleans. Fresh globs of thick oil saturated the marshes and brownish tar balls were visible in the water.

Even in areas where no oil was visible on the surface, workers were pulling up heavily stained boom that had been placed there in recent days.

Hundreds of lawsuits already have been filed in the aftermath of the explosion and spill. Rig workers are suing their employers. Idled fishermen, coastal property owners and tourism-dependent businesses are suing the companies. Environmental lawyers are suing government regulators.

So far, the companies haven’t sued each other. Christopher Ruppel, an energy expert and managing director of capital markets for the Execution Noble investment banking group, said the companies are probably waiting to get a full tally for the cleanup costs and a better read on the government probes.

Meanwhile, he added, the companies are acting like “porcupines working together.”

“Everyone is going to move very slowly and carefully,” he said.

Informant says WikiLeaks suspect had civilian help


HAGERSTOWN, Md. – An Army private charged with leaking classified material to the whistleblower website WikiLeaks had civilian help, a key figure in the case said Saturday.

The development, first reported in the New York Times, suggests an expansion of the government’s investigation into leaks including more than 76,900 secret Afghanistan war records posted on WikiLeaks in the past week.

Army and FBI officials didn’t immediately return calls and e-mails from The Associated Press asking if they are looking at possible civilian accomplices of Army Pfc. Bradley E. Manning, who’s charged under military law with leaking classified material.

Adrian Lamo, the Sacramento, Calif.-based computer hacker who turned in Bradley to military authorities in May, claimed in a telephone interview Saturday he had firsthand knowledge that someone helped Manning set up encryption software to send classified information to WikiLeaks.

Lamo, who’s cooperating with investigators, wouldn’t name the person but said the man was among a group of people in the Boston area who work with WikiLeaks. He said the man told him “he actually helped Private Manning set up the encryption software he used.”

Lamo said the software enabled Manning to send classified data in small bits so that it would seem innocuous.

“It wouldn’t look too much different from your average guy doing his banking on line,” Lamo said.

He said Manning sent the data to get the attention of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.

Assange didn’t immediately respond to an e-mailed query from AP about Lamo’s claim.

Also on Saturday, a New York Times reporter who has been the newspaper’s liaison with Assange, dismissed Assange’s claim that WikiLeaks had offered to let U.S. government officials go through leaked documents to ensure that no innocent people were identified. Assange told the Australian Broadcasting Corp. in an interview that aired Thursday that the New York Times had acted as an intermediary and that the White House hadn’t responded to the offer.

Times reporter Eric Schmitt told the AP that on the night of July 23, at White House spokesman’s Robert Gibbs’ request, he relayed to Assange a White House request that WikiLeaks not publish information that could lead to people being physically harmed.

The next evening, Schmitt said, Assange replied in an e-mail that WikiLeaks was withholding 15,000 documents for review. Schmitt said Assange wrote that WikiLeaks would consider recommendations made by the International Security Assistance Force “on the identification of innocents for this material if it is willing to provide reviewers.”

Schmitt said he forwarded the e-mail to White House officials and Times editors.

“I certainly didn’t consider this a serious and realistic offer to the White House to vet any of the documents before they were to be posted, and I think it’s ridiculous that Assange is portraying it that way now,” Schmitt wrote to the AP.

On Friday, White House spokesman Tommy Vietor said it was “absolutely, unequivocally not true” that WikiLeaks had offered to let U.S. government officials go through the documents to make sure no innocent people were identified.

Manning is being held at the Quantico Marine Corps Base in northern Virginia, awaiting possible trial on 12 offenses.

He is accused of leaking a helicopter cockpit video from Iraq that WikiLeaks posted in April, and a classified cable from the U.S. embassy in Reykjavik, Iceland, dated Jan. 13, 2010, that also has appeared on WikiLeaks.

Manning is also charged with illegally obtaining more than 150,000 classified State Department cables and leaking more than 50 of them. It’s not clear from the charges, though, whether the allegedly diverted documents were those published on the WikiLeaks site

Will Washington’s Failures Lead To Second American Revolution?


By ERNEST S. CHRISTIAN AND GARY A ROBBINS

The Internet is a large-scale version of the “Committees of Correspondence” that led to the first American Revolution — and with Washington’s failings now so obvious and awful, it may lead to another.

People are asking, “Is the government doing us more harm than good? Should we change what it does and the way it does it?”

Pruning the power of government begins with the imperial presidency.

Too many overreaching laws give the president too much discretion to make too many open-ended rules controlling too many aspects of our lives. There’s no end to the harm an out-of-control president can do.

Bill Clinton lowered the culture, moral tone and strength of the nation — and left America vulnerable to attack. When it came, George W. Bush stood up for America, albeit sometimes clumsily.

Barack Obama, however, has pulled off the ultimate switcheroo: He’s diminishing America from within — so far, successfully.

He may soon bankrupt us and replace our big merit-based capitalist economy with a small government-directed one of his own design.

He is undermining our constitutional traditions: The rule of law and our Anglo-Saxon concepts of private property hang in the balance. Obama may be the most “consequential” president ever.

The Wall Street Journal’s steadfast Dorothy Rabinowitz wrote that Barack Obama is “an alien in the White House.”

His bullying and offenses against the economy and job creation are so outrageous that CEOs in the Business Roundtable finally mustered the courage to call him “anti-business.” Veteran Democrat Sen. Max Baucus blurted out that Obama is engineering the biggest government-forced “redistribution of income” in history.

Fear and uncertainty stalk the land. Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke says America’s financial future is “unusually uncertain.”

A Wall Street “fear gauge” based on predicted market volatility is flashing long-term panic. New data on the federal budget confirm that record-setting deficits in the $1.4 trillion range are now endemic.

Obama is building an imperium of public debt and crushing taxes, contrary to George Washington’s wise farewell admonition: “cherish public credit … use it as sparingly as possible … avoiding likewise the accumulation of debt … bear in mind, that towards the payment of debts there must be Revenue, that to have Revenue there must be taxes; that no taxes can be devised, which are not … inconvenient and unpleasant … .”

Opinion polls suggest that in the November mid-term elections, voters will replace the present Democratic majority in Congress with opposition Republicans — but that will not necessarily stop Obama.

A President Obama intent on achieving his transformative goals despite the disagreement of the American people has powerful weapons within reach. In one hand, he will have a veto pen to stop a new Republican Congress from repealing ObamaCare and the Dodd-Frank takeover of banks.

In the other, he will have a fistful of executive orders, regulations and Obama-made fiats that have the force of law.

Under ObamaCare, he can issue new rules and regulations so insidiously powerful in their effect that higher-priced, lower-quality and rationed health care will quickly become ingrained, leaving a permanent stain.

Under Dodd-Frank, he and his agents will control all credit and financial transactions, rewarding friends and punishing opponents, discriminating on the basis of race, gender and political affiliation. Credit and liquidity may be choked by bureaucracy and politics — and the economy will suffer.

He and the EPA may try to impose by “regulatory” fiats many parts of the cap-and-trade and other climate legislation that failed in the Congress.

And by executive orders and the in terrorem effect of an industrywide “boot on the neck” policy, he can continue to diminish energy production in the United States.

By the trick of letting current-law tax rates “expire,” he can impose a $3.5 trillion 10-year tax increase that damages job-creating capital investment in an economy struggling to recover. And by failing to enforce the law and leaving America’s borders open, he can continue to repopulate America with unfortunate illegals whose skill and education levels are low and whose political attitudes are often not congenial to American-style democracy.

A wounded rampaging president can do much damage — and, like Caesar, the evil he does will live long after he leaves office, whenever that may be.

The overgrown, un-pruned power of the presidency to reward, punish and intimidate may now be so overwhelming that his re-election in 2012 is already assured — Chicago-style

Lawsuit: Antimicrobial Soaps Damage Reproductive Organs


A nonprofit environmental group has sued the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, claiming the agency failed to regulate toxic chemicals found in “antimicrobial” soap and other personal care products.

The National Resources Defense Council alleges that two common ingredients, triclosan and triclocarban, can damage reproductive organs, sperm quality and the production of thyroid and sex hormones.

According to the suit, which also names U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius as a defendant, recent bio-monitoring results found “residues of triclosan in 75 percent of Americans over the age of 6.”

The lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court in Manhattan on Tuesday. Representatives of the FDA and the Department of Health and Human Services declined to comment, saying it was a matter of policy not to comment on lawsuits.

Plaintiffs contend that the FDA violated federal law in its delay over establishing safe conditions of use. More than 30 years ago, the agency first proposed to regulate such products for over-the-counter use, but they remain on the market and are unregulated, the group said.

“As a result of the FDA’s lengthy delay, consumers remain exposed to triclosan and triclocarban through a variety of over-the-counter drug products, such as antimicrobial hand soaps, that proliferate on the market,” the lawsuit stated.

The suit seeks an order requiring the FDA to finish its study on the conditions of use by a specific deadline.

No manufacturers or retailers were named as defendants or were cited in the lawsuit.

The FDA said in April it was reviewing the safety of triclosan. It noted there was no evidence it could be harmful to people and did not recommend changing consumer use of products that contain the agent.

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The popularity of antimicrobial products has grown in recent years and the products are increasingly found in homes and offices, where germs can easily be passed from person to person.

The lawsuit cites various recent studies that associate the chemicals with a host of health risks, from lower thyroid hormone levels to the disruption of testosterone production.

In 1978, according to the lawsuit, the FDA proposed to ban from interstate commerce both triclosan and triclocarban either six months or two years after publication of its final study, but no action was taken until 1994, when some ingredients were reclassified.

“Healthcare antiseptics containing these chemicals remained on the market and increased in prevalence” since 1994, the lawsuit said.

The National Resources Defense Council said it had met with the FDA to try to hasten the study, to no avail.

Responding to a letter from U.S. Rep. Edward Markey of Massachusetts in February, the FDA said it could not give a specific timeline, but said it was “working diligently” to publish the proposed rule. It also cited a lack of long-term data regarding potential health effects from exposure to the toxins.

The case is National Resources Defense Council v. USDA et al, 10 CIV 5690.