The Australian – 6 hours agoJULIA Gillard has urged political parties in Papua New Guinea to show restraint after police arrested the country’s chief justice and charged him …
Radio Australia – 17 hours ago
Fijivillage – 7 hours ago
Lance Sharkey, then General-Secretary of the Communist Party of Australia, was charged that, in March 1949 he: uttered the following seditious words: “If Soviet …
Australia’s sedition laws were amended in anti-terrorism legislation passed on 6 … were sought to be charged with sedition for advocating independence for the …
2 hours ago – Radio Australia’s Pacific correspondent Campbell Cooney discusses the arrest of chief justice Sir Salamo Injia in Papua New Guinea.
22 hours ago – Police in Papua New Guinea have charged the country’s chief justice with sedition after a dramatic attempt to arrest him in court.
14 hours ago – News, current affairs & topical conversations from Australia, Asia and the Pacific … He was then charged with sedition and released on bail.
16 hours ago – News, current affairs & topical conversations from Australia, Asia and the … Guinea have charged the country’s chief justice with sedition after a …
10 hours ago – Police in Papua New Guinea have charged the country’s chief justice with sedition after a dramatic attempt to arrest him in court.
2 hours ago – He was then charged with sedition and released on bail, the ABC reported. Australian Foreign Minister Bob Carr has contacted the PNG …
7 hours ago – Local media says Papua New Guinea’s chief justice has been charged with sedition and will appear in court this morning. Chief Justice Sir …
Posts Tagged ‘Government’
Hawthorne, CA – Today, Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) successfully launched its Falcon 9 rocket carrying a Dragon spacecraft to orbit in an exciting start to the mission that will make SpaceX the first commercial company in history to attempt to send a spacecraft to the International Space Station — something only a handful of governments have ever accomplished.
At 3:44 a.m. Eastern, the Falcon 9 carrying Dragon launched from SpaceX’s launch pad at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. Now, the Dragon heads toward the International Space Station. On that journey, it will be subjected to a series of tests to determine if the vehicle is ready to berth with the station.
At a press conference held after the launch, SpaceX CEO and Chief Designer Elon Musk began, “I would like to start off by saying what a tremendous honor it has been to work with NASA. And to acknowledge the fact that we could not have started SpaceX, nor could we have reached this point without the help of NASA… It’s really been an honor to work with such great people.”
The vehicle’s first stage performed nominally before separating from the second stage. The second stage successfully delivered the Dragon spacecraft into its intended orbit. This marks the third consecutive successful Falcon 9 launch and the fifth straight launch success for SpaceX.
“We obviously have to go through a number of steps to berth with the Space Station, but everything is looking really good and I think I would count today as a success no matter what happens with the rest of the mission,” Musk said.
He continued by expressing his gratitude to the more than 1,800 SpaceX employees. “People have really given it their all.” Describing the scene inside of SpaceX headquarters in Hawthorne, California, he said, “We had most of the company gathered around SpaceX Mission Control. They are seeing the fruits of their labor and wondering if it is going to work. There is so much hope riding on that rocket. When it worked, and Dragon worked, and the solar arrays deployed, people saw their handiwork in space operating as it should. There was tremendous elation. For us it is like winning the Super Bowl.”
Explaining the significance of the day, Musk stated, “This mission heralds the dawn of a new era of space exploration, one in which there is a significant commercial space element. It is like the advent of the Internet in the mid-1990s when commercial companies entered what was originally a government endeavor. That move dramatically accelerated the pace of advancement and made the Internet accessible to the mass market. I think we’re at a similar inflection point for space. I hope and I believe that this mission will be historic in marking that turning point towards a rapid advancement in space transportation technology.”
This is SpaceX’s second demonstration flight under a 2006 Commercial Orbital Transportation Services (COTS) agreement with NASA to develop the capability to carry cargo to and from the International Space Station. Demonstration launches are conducted to determine potential issues so that they might be addressed; by their very nature, they carry a significant risk. If any aspect of the mission is not successful, SpaceX will learn from the experience and try again.
Mission Highlights: During the mission, Dragon must perform a series of complex tasks, each presenting significant technical challenges (dates subject to change):
- May 22/Launch Day: SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket launches a Dragon spacecraft into orbit from the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.
- May 23: Dragon orbits Earth as it travels toward the International Space Station.
- May 24: Dragon’s sensors and flight systems are subjected to a series of complicated tests to determine if the vehicle is ready to berth with the space station; these tests include maneuvers and systems checks in which the vehicle comes within 1.5 miles of the station.
- May 25: NASA decides if Dragon is allowed to attempt berthing with the station. If so, Dragon approaches. It is captured by station’s robotic arm and attached to the station, a feat that requires extreme precision.
- May 25 – 31: Astronauts open Dragon’s hatch, unload supplies and fill Dragon with return cargo.
- May 31: After approximately two weeks, Dragon is detached from the station and returns to Earth, landing in the Pacific, hundreds of miles west of Southern California.
SpaceX designs, manufactures and launches the world’s most advanced rockets and spacecraft. With a diverse manifest of 40 launches to deliver commercial and government satellites to orbit, SpaceX is the world’s fastest growing launch services provider. In 2010, SpaceX became the first commercial company in history to put a spacecraft into orbit and return it safely to Earth. With the retirement of the space shuttle, the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon spacecraft will soon carry cargo, and one day astronauts, to and from the Space Station for NASA. Founded in 2002 by Elon Musk, SpaceX is a private company owned by management and employees, with minority investments from Founders Fund, Draper Fisher Jurvetson, and Valor Equity Partners. The company has over 1,800 employees in California, Texas, Washington, D.C., and Florida. For more information, visit www.SpaceX.com.
Even foreign companies have to pay for crimes committed in the good ole US of A.
HUD, HUD INSPECTOR GENERAL AND U.S. ATTORNEY ANNOUNCE
$202 MILLION SETTLEMENT WITH DEUTSCHE BANK AND MORTGAGEIT
Civil Fraud case alleged reckless mortgage lending and false claims
Preet Bharara, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Stuart F. Delery, the Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Division of the U.S. Department of Justice, Helen Kanovsky, General Counsel of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (“HUD”), and David A. Montoya, Inspector General of HUD, announced today that the United States has settled a civil fraud lawsuit against DEUTSCHE BANK AG, DB STRUCTURED PRODUCTS, INC., DEUTSCHE BANK SECURITIES, INC. (collectively “DEUTSCHE BANK” or the “DEUTSCHE BANK defendants”) and MORTGAGEIT, INC. (“MORTGAGEIT”).
The Government’s lawsuit, filed May 3, 2011, sought damages and civil penalties under the False Claims Act for repeated false certifications to HUD in connection with the residential mortgage origination practices of MORTGAGEIT, a wholly-owned subsidiary of DEUTSCHE BANK AG since 2007. The suit alleges approximately a decade of misconduct in connection with MORTGAGEIT’s participation in the Federal Housing Administration’s (“FHA’s”) Direct Endorsement Lender Program (“DEL program”), which delegates authority to participating private lenders to endorse mortgages for FHA insurance. Among other things, the suit accused the defendants of having submitted false certifications to HUD, including false certifications that MORTGAGEIT was originating mortgages in compliance with HUD rules when in fact it was not. In the settlement announced today, MORTGAGEIT and DEUTSCHE BANK admitted, acknowledged, and accepted responsibility for certain conduct alleged in the Complaint, including that, contrary to the representations in MORTGAGEIT’s annual certifications, MORTGAGEIT did not conform to all applicable HUD-FHA regulations.
MORTGAGEIT also admitted that it submitted certifications to HUD stating that certain loans were eligible for FHA mortgage insurance when in fact they were not; that FHA insured certain loans endorsed by MORTGAGEIT that were not eligible for FHA mortgage insurance; and that HUD consequently incurred losses when some of those MORTGAGEIT loans defaulted. The defendants also agreed to pay $202.3 million to the United States to resolve the Government’s claims for damages and penalties under the False Claims Act. The settlement was approved today by United States District Judge Lewis Kaplan.
Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara stated: “MORTGAGEIT and DEUTSCHE BANK treated FHA insurance as free Government money to backstop lending practices that did not follow the rules. Participation in the Direct Endorsement Lender program comes with requirements that are not mere technicalities to be circumvented through subterfuge as these defendants did repeatedly over the course of a decade. Their failure to meet these requirements caused substantial losses to the Government – losses that could have and should have been avoided. In addition to their admissions of responsibility, Deutsche Bank and MortgageIT have agreed to pay damages in an amount that will significantly compensate HUD for the losses it incurred as a result of the defendants’ actions.”
Acting Assistant Attorney General Stuart F. Delery stated: “This is an important settlement for the United States, both in terms of obtaining substantial reimbursement for the FHA insurance fund for wrongfully incurred claims, and in obtaining the defendants’ acceptance of their role in the losses they caused to the taxpayers.”
HUD General Counsel Helen Kanovsky stated: “This case demonstrates that HUD has the ability to identify fraud patterns and work with our partners at the Department of Justice and U.S. Attorney’s Offices to pursue appropriate remedies. HUD would like to commend the work of the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York in achieving this settlement, which is a substantial recovery for the FHA mortgage insurance fund. We look forward to continuing our joint efforts with the Department of Justice and the SDNY to combat mortgage fraud. The mortgage industry should take notice that we will not sit silently by if we detect abuses in our programs.
HUD Inspector General David A. Montoya stated: “We expect every Direct Endorsement Lender to adhere to the highest level of integrity and accountability. When the combined efforts and attention of the Department of Justice, HUD, and HUD OIG are focused upon those who fail to exercise such integrity in connection with HUD programs, the end result will be both unpleasant and costly to the offending party.
The following allegations are based on the Complaint and Amended Complaint (the “Complaint”) filed in Manhattan federal court by the Government in this case:
Between 1999 and 2009, MORTGAGEIT was a participant in the DEL program, a federal program administered by the FHA. As a Direct Endorsement Lender, MORTGAGEIT had the authority to originate, underwrite, and endorse mortgages for FHA insurance. If a Direct Endorsement Lender approves a mortgage loan for FHA insurance and the loan later defaults, the holder of the loan may submit an insurance claim to HUD for the costs associated with the defaulted loan, which HUD must then pay. Under the DEL program, neither the FHA nor HUD reviews a loan before it is endorsed for FHA insurance. Direct Endorsement Lenders are therefore required to follow program rules designed to ensure that they are properly underwriting and endorsing mortgages for FHA insurance and maintaining a quality control program that can prevent and correct any deficiencies in their underwriting. These requirements include maintaining a quality control program, pursuant to which the lender must fully review all loans that go into default within the first six payments, known as “early payment defaults.” Early payment defaults may be signs of problems in the underwriting process, and by reviewing early payment defaults, Direct Endorsement Lenders are able to monitor those problems, correct them, and report them to HUD. MORTGAGEIT failed to comply with these basic requirements.
As the Complaint further alleges, MORTGAGEIT was also required to execute certifications for every mortgage loan that it endorsed for FHA insurance. Since 1999, MORTGAGEIT has endorsed more than 39,000 mortgages for FHA insurance, and FHA paid insurance claims on more than 3,200 mortgages, totaling more than $368 million, for mortgages endorsed for FHA insurance by MORTGAGEIT, including more than $58 million resulting from loans that defaulted after DEUTSCHE BANK AG acquired MORTGAGEIT in 2007. As alleged in the Complaint, a portion of those losses was caused by the false statements that the defendants made to HUD to obtain FHA insurance on individual loans. Although MORTGAGEIT had certified that each of these loans was eligible for FHA insurance, it repeatedly submitted certifications that were knowingly or recklessly false. MORTGAGEIT failed to perform basic due diligence and repeatedly endorsed mortgage loans that were not eligible for FHA insurance.
The Complaint also alleges that MORTGAGEIT separately certified to HUD, on an annual basis, that it was in compliance with the rules governing its eligibility in the DEL program, including that it conduct a full review of all early payment defaults, as early payment defaults are indicators of mortgage fraud. Contrary to its certifications to HUD, MORTGAGEIT failed to implement a compliant quality control program, and failed to review all early payment defaults as required. In addition, the Complaint alleges that, after DEUTSCHE BANK acquired MORTGAGEIT in January 2007, DEUTSCHE BANK managed the quality control functions of the Direct Endorsement Lender business, and had its employees sign and submit MORTGAGEIT’s Direct Endorsement Lender annual certifications to HUD. Furthermore, by the end of 2007, MORTGAGEIT was not reviewing any early payment defaults on closed FHA-insured loans. Between 1999 and 2009, the FHA paid more than $92 million in FHA insurance claims for loans that defaulted within the first six payments.
Pursuant to the settlement, MORTGAGEIT and the DEUTSCHE BANK defendants will pay the United States $202.3 million within 30 days of the settlement.
As part of the settlement, the defendants admitted, acknowledged, and accepted responsibility for certain misconduct. Specifically,
MORTGAGEIT admitted, acknowledged, and accepted responsibility for the following:
MORTGAGEIT failed to conform fully to HUD-FHA rules requiring Direct Endorsement Lenders to maintain a compliant quality control program;
MORTGAGEIT failed to conduct a full review of all early payment defaults on loans endorsed for FHA insurance;
Contrary to the representations in MORTGAGEIT’s annual certifications, MORTGAGEIT did not conform to all applicable HUD-FHA regulations;
MORTGAGEIT endorsed for FHA mortgage insurance certain loans that did not meet all underwriting requirements contained in HUD’s handbooks and mortgagee letters, and therefore were not eligible for FHA mortgage insurance under the DEL program; and
MORTGAGEIT submitted to HUD-FHA certifications stating that certain loans were eligible for FHA mortgage insurance when in fact they were not; FHA insured certain loans endorsed by MORTGAGEIT that were not eligible for FHA mortgage insurance; and HUD consequently incurred losses when some of those MORTGAGEIT loans defaulted.
The DEUTSCHE BANK defendants admitted, acknowledged, and accepted responsibility for the fact that after MORTGAGEIT became a wholly-owned, indirect subsidiary of DB Structured Products, Inc and Deutsche Bank AG in January 2007:
The DEUTSCHE BANK defendants were in a position to know that the operations of MORTGAGEIT did not conform fully to all of HUD-FHA’s regulations, policies, and handbooks;
One or more of the annual certifications was signed by an individual who was also an officer of certain of the DEUTSCHE BANK defendants; and
Contrary to the representations in MORTGAGEIT’s annual certifications, MORTGAGEIT did not conform to all applicable HUD-FHA regulations.
* * *
The case is being handled by the Office’s Civil Frauds Unit. Mr. Bharara established the Civil Frauds Unit in March 2010 to bring renewed focus and additional resources to combating financial fraud, including mortgage fraud.
To date, the Office’s Civil Frauds Unit has brought four civil fraud lawsuits against major lenders under the False Claims Act alleging reckless residential mortgage lending. Three of the four cases have settled, and today’s settlement represents the third, and largest, settlement. On February 15, 2012, the Government settled its civil fraud lawsuit against CITIMORTGAGE, INC. for $158.3 million. On February 24, 2012, the Government settled its civil fraud suit against FLAGSTAR BANK, F.S.B. for $132.8 million. The Government’s lawsuit against ALLIED HOME MORTGAGE CORP. and two of its officers remains pending. With today’s settlement, the Government has achieved settlements totaling $493.4 million in the last three months. In each settlement, the defendants have admitted and accepted responsibility for certain conduct alleged in the Government’s Complaint. The Office’s Civil Frauds Unit is handling all three cases as part of its continuing investigation of reckless lending practices.
The Civil Frauds Unit works in coordination with President Barack Obama’s Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force, on which Mr. Bharara serves as a Co-Chair of the Securities and Commodities Fraud Working Group. President Obama established the interagency Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force to wage an aggressive, coordinated, and proactive effort to investigate and prosecute financial crimes. The task force includes representatives from a broad range of federal agencies, regulatory authorities, inspectors general, and state and local law enforcement who, working together, bring to bear a powerful array of criminal and civil enforcement resources. The task force is working to improve efforts across the federal executive branch, and with state and local partners, to investigate and prosecute significant financial crimes, ensure just and effective punishment for those who perpetrate financial crimes, combat discrimination in the lending and financial markets, and recover proceeds for victims of financial crimes.
Mr. Bharara thanked HUD and HUD-OIG for their extraordinary assistance in this case. He also expressed his appreciation for the support of the Commercial Litigation Branch of the U.S. Department of Justice’s Civil Division in Washington, D.C.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys Lara K. Eshkenazi, Pierre G. Armand, and Christopher B. Harwood are in charge of the case.
If you go to Wikipedia.org today, you get a black page asking you to protest. If you to Google today, you will find their logo blacked-out and a plea to protest. Wordpress.org, The Membrane.com and KingArthur.com have also *blacked-out* in support of the protest.
What has Internet intellectuals all in an up-roar?
Millions of Americans oppose SOPA and PIPA because these bills would censor the Internet and slow economic growth in the U.S.
Two bills before Congress, known as the Protect IP Act (PIPA) in the Senate and the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) in the House, would censor the Web and impose harmful regulations on American business. Millions of Internet users and entrepreneurs already oppose SOPA and PIPA.
The Senate will begin voting on January 24th. Please let them know how you feel. Sign this petition urging Congress to vote NO on PIPA and SOPA before it is too late.
Tell Congress: Don’t censor the Web
Fighting online piracy is important. The most effective way to shut down pirate websites is through targeted legislation that cuts off their funding. There’s no need to make American social networks, blogs and search engines censor the Internet or undermine the existing laws that have enabled the Web to thrive, creating millions of U.S. jobs.
Too much is at stake – please vote NO on PIPA and SOPA.
by the American Civil Liberties Union
WASHINGTON, DC – President Obama signed the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) into law today. The statute contains a sweeping worldwide indefinite detention provision. While President Obama issued a signing statement saying he had “serious reservations” about the provisions, the statement only applies to how his administration would use the authorities granted by the NDAA, and would not affect how the law is interpreted by subsequent administrations. The White House had threatened to veto an earlier version of the NDAA, but reversed course shortly before Congress voted on the final bill.
“President Obama’s action today is a blight on his legacy because he will forever be known as the president who signed indefinite detention without charge or trial into law,” said Anthony D. Romero, ACLU executive director. “The statute is particularly dangerous because it has no temporal or geographic limitations, and can be used by this and future presidents to militarily detain people captured far from any battlefield. The ACLU will fight worldwide detention authority wherever we can, be it in court, in Congress, or internationally.”
Under the Bush administration, similar claims of worldwide detention authority were used to hold even a U.S. citizen detained on U.S. soil in military custody, and many in Congress now assert that the NDAA should be used in the same way again. The ACLU believes that any military detention of American citizens or others within the United States is unconstitutional and illegal, including under the NDAA. In addition, the breadth of the NDAA’s detention authority violates international law because it is not limited to people captured in the context of an actual armed conflict as required by the laws of war.
“We are incredibly disappointed that President Obama signed this new law even though his administration had already claimed overly broad detention authority in court,” said Romero. “Any hope that the Obama administration would roll back the constitutional excesses of George Bush in the war on terror was extinguished today. Thankfully, we have three branches of government, and the final word belongs to the Supreme Court, which has yet to rule on the scope of detention authority. But Congress and the president also have a role to play in cleaning up the mess they have created because no American citizen or anyone else should live in fear of this or any future president misusing the NDAA’s detention authority.”
The bill also contains provisions making it difficult to transfer suspects out of military detention, which prompted FBI Director Robert Mueller to testify that it could jeopardize criminal investigations. It also restricts the transfers of cleared detainees from the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay to foreign countries for resettlement or repatriation, making it more difficult to close Guantanamo, as President Obama pledged to do in one of his first acts in office.
by Daniel Brouse
I suggested that there should be little (to no) taxes.
How does any of this function
I would like to know your thinking on this…
it doesn’t seem to be working now
and sure doesn’t favor poor to middle class…
but I think this is too long to write?
There are a few ways one can look upon it. Here are two of the shorter versions –
In the beginning there was Adam and Lilith. There were no taxes. For more generations than I can count, the world got along fine without taxes. In fact, humans prospered in the Garden Of Edan without taxation until we evolved into corrupt beings.
2) Exploitation And Corruption
An economic evaluation of taxation reveals a costs and benefits shutout. That is to say, there are no known benefits to taxation. On the other hand, there are at least a trillion costs to taxing (see the National Deficit for a an exhaustive list.) A small sampling includes…
The cost of taxing productive people
The cost of corruption inherent in collecting money
The cost of additional bureaucracy
The cost of removing the efficiency inherent in the competition of the free market place
You may want to think of it this way… every adult in the USA owes about $42,614.99 just for the Iraq War. (And, that is if we pay off the debt today. Oh, yeah. The cost of life and limb is not included.)
Next time, in order to be fair to everyone… maybe we should be required to pay the tax in advance… instead of 1% of the population footing 40% of the bill?
Additional resources: Occupy Wall Street? Occupy Yourself
November 17, 2011
by Daniel Brouse
CITY HALL, PHILADELPHIA, PA: The city of Philadelphia gave official notice to the protesters of Occupy Philly to vacate Dilworth Plaza that adjoins City Hall.
CITY HALL, PHILADELPHIA, PA
November 13, 2011
by Daniel Brouse
The infamous Jesse Jackson visited the Occupy Philly encampment to show his support. In town for the Joe Frazier funeral, Rev. Jackson advocated for a Joe Frazier statue. Saying that Rocky Balboa is a fictitious character, he encouraged a monument be dedicated to a true hero of the working class.
YouTube Video Interviews with Jesse Jackson
Comcast Building, Philadelphia, PA
November 2, 2011
by Daniel Brouse
Individuals that identified themselves as being with Occupy Philly got arrested at the Comcast building. It is believed they invaded private property and/or committed illegal trespass.
The Philadelphia Police were patient and cordial as protestors were put into paddy wagons.