Appeared March 14th on DemocracyNow
A new internal report says the Justice Department massively overstated its successes in targeting mortgage fraud while in fact ranking it as a low priority for investigation. The Justice Department’s inspector general says despite playing a central role in the nation’s financial crisis, mortgage fraud was deemed either a low priority or not a priority at all. This comes as a recently revealed internal Wells Fargo document appears to guide lawyers step by step on how to fabricate missing documents to foreclose on homeowners. Wells Fargo is the country’s largest mortgage servicer and services some nine million home loans.
This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.
JUAN GONZÁLEZ: A new internal report says the Justice Department massively overstated its successes in targeting mortgage fraud while in fact ranking it as a low priority for investigation. The Justice Department’s inspector general says despite playing a central role in the nation’s financial crisis, mortgage fraud was deemed either a low priority or not a priority at all. In one instance, Attorney General Eric Holder claimed to have filed lawsuits on behalf of homeowner victims for losses totaling more than $1 billion, but the actual amount was 91 percent less, around $95 million.
This comes as a recently revealed internal Wells Fargo document appears to guide lawyers step by step on how to fabricate missing documents to foreclose on homeowners. Wells Fargo is the country’s largest mortgage servicer and services some nine million home loans.
AMY GOODMAN: State and federal regulators are now focusing on the allegations in the lawsuit brought by Linda Tirelli, who joins us now. She’s an attorney representing clients being foreclosed on by Wells Fargo. Earlier this month, she discovered the Wells Fargo manual on how to produce missing documents to foreclose on homeowners. She’s a partner at the Garvey, Tirelli & Cushner law firm in White Plains, New York.
If you look up “dark money” in Merriam-Webster, you won’t find a definition, but as of this week, their online unabridged dictionary includes a word that tells a big part of its story — “super PAC.” It’s defined in part as “an independent PAC [political action committee] that can accept unlimited contributions from individuals and organizations (such as corporations and labor unions) and spend unlimited amounts in support of a candidate.” It’s a fitting reminder that four years after Citizens United, the Supreme Court decision that opened the floodgates of campaign cash, dark money may be here to stay.
In this three-minute video, investigative reporters Kim Barker and Andy Kroll tell Bill how dark money contributes to Washington’s gridlock and why it keeps politicians from acting in the best interest of their constituents.
These are the people behind the Bush torture program, but Obama continues to "look forward" despite the ugly implications of keeping Bush's secrets locked away. (File)
White House still refusing to hand over key documents about CIA torture to senate investigative panel
Published on Thursday, March 13, 2014 by Common Dreams - Jon Queally, staff writer
What's in the more than 9,000 pages of top secrets documents held by the White House that the Senate Intelligence Committee and investigators looking into the Bush administration's torture program are not allowed to see?
After an unprecedented public skirmish between the Senate Intelligence Committee and the CIA surfaced this week over an investigative panel's look into the agency's torture program, President Obama said Wednesday that he and his White House would not "wade into" the controversy.
But according to new reporting by McClatchy, the White House is not only not "uninvolved," it is actively keeping documents from the Intelligence Committee that it has repeatedly asked to see. As the news agency reports:
The White House has been withholding for five years more than 9,000 top-secret documents sought by the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence for its investigation into the now-defunct CIA detention and interrogation program, even though President Barack Obama hasn’t exercised a claim of executive privilege.
Amnesty International said Israeli forces displayed a “callous disregard for human life,” and added that some troops may have committed war crimes against the Palestinian people.
The Thursday report came just hours before Israeli forces shot dead a 24-year-old Palestinian they were trying to arrest in the West Bank, according to a Reuters report. One of those killed was 16-year-old Samir Awad, who Amnesty says was shot dead by Israeli troops near the West Bank city of Ramallah last year. Samir’s killing “may even constitute an extrajudicial execution and war crime of willful killing,” according to Amnesty.
Samir was one of 45 Palestinians shot dead by the Israeli troops in the West Bank since 2011, with more deaths in 2013 than 2012 and 2011 combined. His death followed a familiar pattern of Palestinians protesting against Israeli occupation of land captured in the 1967 war, only to be met with lethal force by the Zionist forces. Samir’s mother Sedqeyeh told NBC News that she and others had lost hope. “Palestine is lost and there is nowhere for us to go. They kill and slaughter without anyone being held responsible.”
Traveling across the state, often flying all the way to DC itself to handcuff themselves to the White House fence; Printing statements on Tee-shirts and creatively crafted signs. It all costs and it takes time. What passion for social change. Those of you who tend to stay indoor, spend hours, days, months online, on Facebook communities. The most connected become Admins of new pages. It's all so time consuming.. winning one LIKE at a time, one shared article at a time, and often you get criticized when you're just trying to share knowledge and promote critical thinking.
But it's not just the time you spend as an activist, it's the perpetual struggle to turn things around at times when "things are just not okay". It's that feeling of unease that nobody else but us has to reclaim the system, and the awareness that you have to act now. There are so many who are overwhelmed or simply don't care... sheep, zombies, lost in the Matrix, defending the Status Quo without knowing it. How often you take a break, and shut out all stimuli, all the visuals of people living in the street, abused animals and nature, rivers and fields filled with spilled oil or Fracking chemicals.
You take some time off, kick back, share YouTube videos of your favorite music, visit the less political, more inspiring FB pages, the ones with spiritual, meditative stuff, famous quotes, to heal your wounded soul. Soon the break is over and you feel drawn back into it. This is such an epic fight and you just feel like you need to be there.
You, and all those who fight the same battle, have the same enemies, need a big break. It's time we scored big time and turned the game around. You need to create the power represented in this image. But that giant figure built by you and I, have to include all the ones who identify with the 99%, Anonymous, Occupy, and more. The idea needs to include the Indignados of Spain, the Italians, the Egyptians, the Greeks, the Turks and the Brazilian protesters.
Who knows, soon we might see headlines and cable TV shows asking: "Is Dianne Feinstein a whistleblower or a traitor?"
A truthful answer to that question could not possibly be “whistleblower.” It may already be a historic fact that Senator Feinstein’s speech on March 11, 2014 blew a whistle on CIA surveillance of the Senate intelligence committee, which she chairs. But if that makes her a whistleblower, then Colonel Sanders is a vegetarian evangelist.
In her blockbuster Tuesday speech on the Senate floor, Feinstein charged that the CIA’s intrusions on her committee’s computers quite possibly “violated the Fourth Amendment.” You know, that’s the precious amendment that Feinstein—more than any other senator—has powerfully treated like dirt, worthy only of sweeping under the congressional rug.
A tidy defender of the NSA’s Orwellian programs, Feinstein went on the attack against Edward Snowden from the outset of his revelations last June. Within days, she denounced his brave whistleblowing as “an act of treason”—a position she has maintained.
Snowden and other genuine whistleblowers actually take risks to defend the civil liberties and human rights of others, including the most vulnerable among us. Real whistleblowers choose to expose serious wrongdoing. And, if applicable, they renounce their own past complicity in doing those wrongs.
Dianne Feinstein remains in a very different place. She’s 180 degrees from a whistleblower orientation; her moral compass is magnetized with solipsism as a leading guardian of the surveillance state.
This week, Feinstein stepped forward to tweak her tap dance—insisting that intrusive surveillance, so vile when directed at her and colleagues with august stature, must only be directed at others.
Wars, their outrageous costs and the resulting slashes to social programs and austerity measures may be the consequences that make people protest. But when the state is literally imposing a perpetual ubiquitous war, including on its own citizens, spies on every human communication, while covering up for trillions in Wall Street thefts, it’s not the people revolution that needs a name. It's the definition of the ideal behind the revolution, peace, that we need to reclaim first!
The civil rights movement of the 60s that started in the Southern States inside the black community, evolved naturally in the Antiwar/peace movement, because the social conflicts blended with the facts about the Vietnam war. MLK started exposing the truth about the lies of the U.S. government and popular figures from the arts and entertainment like John Lennon or prominent anti war veterans rallied millions of people on the DC mall at times where the media was still only half way sold out to corporate shills.
However, the common denominator of a domestic revolution in the U.S. is always the presence of economic and social injustices, inequalities, lack of compassion and respect for the human suffering and a widespread frustration with a government that betrays its people. Since the U.S. ends up betraying not only its own population, but the rest of the world’s community, the revolution is manifest in similar ways in most western nations.
The bottom line for us activists is this:
If the root problem of this world crisis lies in the fact that the U.S. establishment has shredded the inherent social contract that lays the foundation of the idea of democracy, and the main stream media is by no means the public’s watchdog but the fox that guards the henhouse, why do we bother protesting? In all good conscience, I can't tell you to get mad and travel all the way across the state to a big protest, when you may get hit by the cops, arrested and registered as a domestic terrorist. However, I do offer an alternative, once we manage to be united and regain a voice. Why do we split in hundreds of tribes and how is it possible that so many liberals/progressives/democrats are still so incoherent, still perpetually lost in the "blame the other party" game? Why does every academic or Occupy organizer have its own community, it's own spin off brand of alternative defying the unity that the term Occupy provided? Where is the democratic consent that still represents the action? How are the people in Turkey, Brazil, Portugal, Bahrain, Egypt, still represented by the Occupy culture and focused in real action against institutionalized corruption? I don't see it!
What I see is anger and apathy. I can't make use of the anger but I do see that it causes fear and stress and that peace is also defined as "the absence of mental stress or anxiety". Now that is an option for a different approach to peace, since it seems so "trendy".
That magic thing that unites us is the idea that all activists realize peace and that accountability is the value we all share and are after. There's plenty of idea right there to focus the revolution and create new forms of leverage! And let's face it: as Professor Gar Alperovitz mentioned in 2013 that the next American revolution has already begun, he's right, but this is more of a global, a shift in paradigms, a metamorphosis of our collective consciousness, that is happening. The metamorphosis is not Occupy, Anonymous, UncutUS, the 99%, Popular Resistance, Occupy Gezi, Tahrir square or the Indignados. The metamorphosis is defined by the goal, PEACE, true peace and more social justice, and the key is to call the revolution for what it is inherently, a pro accountability movement that is made of millions of activists who realize peace with their courage.
You and everyone around you need to step out of the narrow minded focus of peace and war. It doesn't help! There are hundreds of antiwar organization since the Vietnam war, and if they fail is because they keep trying the same things over and over, asking the Empire and its complicit world organizations to end wars (!). We're left on our own, trying to do the impossible. We're citizens without a legitimate government, trying to reboot our corrupted system, without crashing it, and we have to try to prevent the corporate establishment to pull a global economic meltdown on us and have the power to make use of the martial law.