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Saturday, February 18, 2012

Fox:

Iranian warships enter Mediterranean Sea


Iranian ships moved through the Suez Canal and into the Mediterranean Sea on Saturday, the IRNA news agency reported, citing the country's navy commander, Admiral Habibollah Sayari.
Sayari said the passage through the Suez Canal was only the second made by Iranian ships since the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

It follows the passage of the Iranian frigate Alvand and the supply ship Kharg on Feb. 22 last year. The ships successfully moved through the canal and then docked two days later at the Syrian port of Latakia.

Israel called last year's passage a "political provocation" and put its own navy on alert in response.

It was not known how many ships passed through the canal Saturday. However, Sayari said the ships were docked in the Saudi port city of Jeddah ahead of their passage through the canal, AFP reported.

Two Iranian ships -- the destroyer Shahid Qandi and the Kharg -- were docked in Jeddah two days ago.

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Jeff Beck & Joss Stone
I Put A Spell On You

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Nina Simone

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San Francisco: Tea Party And Occupy Movement Join Forces In Anti-Obama Rally

This is a new development, and it could mean both good and bad things for our future.

From Zombie:
Media pundits have often tried to point out the similarities between the Tea Party and the Occupy movement, in a futile attempt to get the two groups to merge. Unfortunately, the differences were too great, and we have yet to see the Tea Party and Occupy Wall Street protesting against the same thing side-by-side at the same protest.

That is, until now.

The unthinkable finally happened last night in San Francisco: the Tea Party shared a protest with the Occupiers, both groups angry with the same person.

And who was this unifier, the only man who can bridge the divide and bring together all sides of the political spectrum? Why, President Obama, of course.

He ping-ponged across San Francisco on Thursday, February 16, hosting a series of high-end fundraisers that netted him somewhere near $4 million, by some estimates. I tailed him all day, and will present photos from each of his stops. But we’ll start with what was in fact the final event, on Nob Hill at the Masonic Auditorium, because that’s where all the protesters congregated. Photos from the day’s earlier events are found in the second half of the report, below.

Protest Outside the Obama Fundraiser, Masonic Auditorium, San Francisco

Here it is: proof! All three kinds of protesters, together at last. On the left (appropriately), an Occupier angry at Obama for not being sufficiently left-wing, and promising not to vote for Obama unless he stops enforcing federal drug laws. And on the right, a Tea Partier who thinks Obama is too left-wing. And in the middle, a rare find at such events, an Obama supporter who thinks he’s “just right.”
Now everybody link arms and sing along with me: “Kumbaya, my Lord, Kumbaya….

Sadly, however, it was not to be. For although the Tea Party and the Occupiers were both at the same event protesting against Obama, this was no lovefest. Mutual distrust and disdain still divided the two camps, who also for the most part kept to opposite ends of the police-designated protest zone. Here we can see the Occupy end of the zone, with a wall of police keeping them away from the long line of Obama donors filing into the Masonic Auditorium across the street.

Go read the whole thing.
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Friday, February 17, 2012

NOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!

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Joe Louis Walker
Rebecca



Sugar Mama



You Don't Love Me Girl


High Blood Pressure

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The Weeping Saudi Sheikh

What to say about the weeping fool below as he sobs over a Tweet that insulted the Prophet Muhammad?

From Mark Alexander's A New Dark Age Is Dawning:


This sheikh is soooo worried that the prophet has been insulted. Well, Muhammad is DEAD.

Furthermore, if Allah is so great and so powerful, why does he always need defending via cutting off the heads of apostates?

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Blue Monk

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Fox:

Exclusive: Feds arrest man allegedly heading to U.S. Capitol for suicide mission after sting investigation
By Mike Levine

Authorities have arrested a man allegedly on his way to the U.S. Capitol for what he thought would be a suicide attack on one of the nation's most symbolic landmarks, Fox News has learned exclusively.

The man, in his 30s and of Moroccan descent, was nabbed following a lengthy investigation by the FBI, initiated after he expressed interest in conducting an attack. It's unclear how the FBI learned of his aspirations.

The man thought undercover FBI agents assisting him in his plot were associates of Al Qaeda. When he was arrested Friday in Washington, he was carrying with him a vest supposedly packed with explosives, but the material inside was not actually dangerous, Fox News was told.

A short time earlier, he had been praying at a mosque in the Washington area. His destination was Capitol Hill.

The public was never in danger, as he had been under constant surveillance for some time.

An arrest usually indicates charges have been filed in some form, but it's unclear when or how charges would have been filed in this case. It's also unclear if the suspect will be appearing in court Friday. In similar past cases, suspects have made their initial court appearance within hours of their arrest.

Sites in Washington have long been a target for terrorists, especially self-radicalized extremists caught in FBI stings.

In September, a Massachusetts man was arrested for allegedly plotting to fly bomb-laden model planes into the Pentagon and U.S. Capitol. FBI agents claiming to be associates of Al Qaeda provided 26-year-old Rezwan Ferdaus with what he thought was explosive material for the remote-controlled planes.

Nearly a year earlier, a Virginia man was arrested for trying to help Al Qaeda plan multiple bombings against Washington's Metrorail system. For months, 34-year-old Farooque Ahmed of Ashburn, Va., had been meeting and discussing "jihad" with individuals he thought were affiliated with Al Qaeda, but in fact he was meeting with FBI agents.

In the past year alone, at least 20 people have been arrested in the United States on terrorism-related charges, according to the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.

"Most of the arrests" have involved "lone wolves," radicalized online and able to use the Internet to build bombs, FBI Director Robert Mueller told the Senate committee last month.

At the time of Ahmed's arrest in October 2010, the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, Neil MacBride, said the case showcases "our ability to find those seeking to harm U.S. citizens and neutralize them before they can act."

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The Chair Is Against The Wall

If you think they're not watching you. . .

If you think they don't have a file on each of us here at IBA and other websites. . .

If you think they are more oncerned with foreign terrorists and the jihad than they are with American citizens. . .

All I can say is

John has a long mustache

John Galt:

I am a Patrioterrorist

by John Galt
February 17, 2012 05:30 ET

I am a Patrioterrorist.

I believe the following:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.

I believe in the Bill of Rights.

I believe that the rights of American citizens supersede those of non-citizens within the borders of this great nation, yet the government desires to institute an international or global standard of jurisprudence upon the people.

I believe in using cash to prevent the risk of credit fraud or excessive waste and accumulation of debt for everyday or weekly purchases, while avoiding enslavement to the banks as a debtor.

I believe in acquiring goods and services in large quantities or small without having to answer to others.

I believe the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution only asks that I demonstrate that I am sane, legally able to, and of age to acquire firearms and ammunition but not explain why I wish to purchase a firearm to a neighbor, stranger, or bureaucrat.

I believe the United States must divorce itself from foreign entanglements and begin the process of repatriating our troops home, while honoring those who have served, and assisting the families of the fallen.

I believe America should come first. All other nations should remain at the rear of the line.

I believe that all religions should have the right to be practiced within our borders until they begin to infringe upon the rights of others.

I believe the two political parties are so corrupt that they are assisting in the destruction of our society at a cultural, economic, and international level.

I believe that I should be allowed to purchase PVC pipe to repair my sprinkler system, nails for my nail gun, shovels for my yard, and fertilizer for my grass without being subjected to a Department of Homeland Security inquisition.

I believe that I should be free to buy waterproof matches for camping, MRE’s for hiking, and those nifty .50 caliber ammunition boxes for storage without being put on a FBI watch list.

I believe that I should not have to live my life in fear of my neighbors, children, or strangers contacting authorities and submitting false reports about my daily activities.

I believe that I should be allowed to speak freely to my wife about the corruption and absolutism within our government while out in public without a clerk, stool pigeon, or dupe calling a toll free number and destroying my family’s life with accusations of crimes of which I am not guilty.

I am a Patrioterrorist. If you believe in the Bill of Rights, the Torah, the Christian Bible, Hindu writings, peaceful Islamic script, anything that the Democrats or Republicans object to, or the ideals of our Founding Fathers, then you are a terrorist too.

The reason for this editorial? Read the PDFs from the following series of FBI Fliers in the “Communities Against Terrorism” where what used to be everyday or seasonal activities for legitimate American citizens is now something worthy of calling the attention of the Federal government on to the shoulders of the allegedly guilty party. The America I grew up in defended and protected the rights for people to conduct business in private using cash, express dissent openly, and acquire goods in large quantities for future needs or while the price was still low. Now the past will not set one free but quite possibly entrap that poor soul into a NDAA detention without cause.

Think about that as you read the brochures, because you will begin to realize that you might well be a terrorist suspect for no reason other than going to Home Depot, a gun show, or the grocery store in the near future. The near future being tomorrow.

The following brochures are originated from the Public Intelligence Research Project. I have re-posted the most pertinent brochures for the reader so as to avoid duplication or scenarios the majority of citizens would not encounter. To read all of the brochures, click on this link for the Public Intelligence website.




Beauty Drug Distributors

Home Improvement

----------

I only copied 2 from Shenandoah because the embeds were giving blogger fits.

Here is the original website, Public Intelligence:

FBI “Communities Against Terrorism” Suspicious Activity Reporting Flyers

February 1, 2012 in Federal Bureau of Investigation

The following collection of 25 flyers produced by the FBI and the Department of Justice are distributed to local businesses in a variety of industries to promote suspicious activity reporting. The flyers are not released publicly, though several have been published in the past by news media and various law enforcement agencies around the country. We have compiled this collection from a number of online sources.

To view the documents, click on a threat area in the menu to the left and the PDF will appear on the right side of the page. You can also download the complete collection of files (ZIP Archive, 6.27 MB).

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Old Hollywood vs New Hollywood

My old man weaned me on these movies as well. Saturday and Sunday afternoons watching them on an old 13 channel t.v. First Abbott and Costello, then something like these. I have most of them on my DVD shelf now. Alongside the entire Abbot and Costello catalog.

Watching them he'd always start teaching me about what was going on, why and, maybe most importantly, what was incorrect historically. I do the same thing to my daughters now. Drives them nutz BUT the thirteen year old is far and away ahead in her early American History class, surprising her teacher with answers about the Revolution.

I may have learned classical music from Bugs Bunny Cartoons but history I started learning from Pop and the old movies.

Missing from this brief list, though, is Pop's favorite and one of mine, Gunga Din.

This author's education seems to have some gaps. . .

American Spectator:

Old Hollywood versus New Hollywood

By Mark Tooley

Lucky the child of 40 years ago who was introduced to the last great wave of the old.

The Academy Awards are next weekend, and undoubtedly a dwindling audience will watch, if declining movie profits are any indication. Old Hollywood, though liberal, once celebrated America's virtues. Now new Hollywood obsesses over and celebrates its vices. Old Hollywood was patriotic. New Hollywood sees America as villainous. Old Hollywood celebrated family life. New Hollywood primarily honors autonomous individuals. Old Hollywood, though not itself religious, respected faith. Its iconic representative was perhaps director Cecil B. DeMille, renowned for its biblical epics, who did not attend worship services but liked to sit quietly in church buildings. Old Hollywood portrayed struggles between good and evil, often with nuance, in which Providence gave victory to the former. New Hollywood often likens life to a casino. Old Hollywood privately misbehaved but publicly was glamorous and classy. New Hollywood is proudly trashy.

Hollywood became cynical and trashy partly thanks to the Vietnam War and the sexual revolution of the 1960s. Fortunately, my father took me to several movies over 40 years ago, when I was only age 5 or 6 or so, that reflected the nobility of old Hollywood and that were deeply impressionable to me. The most celebrated of those movies we saw was Patton, starring George C. Scott as the flamboyant World War II commander. Scott himself won an academy award, though eccentrically declined to accept it. It was Scott's greatest role, though he was actually much younger than the general he portrayed, and his voice was much deeper. Patton's grandson recalled in his family memoir that his father, himself a general who served in Vietnam, quietly taking the family to a theater to see the portrayal of his father. The son quietly whispered to the grandson that his own father's voice was much higher pitched than Scott's. But the son also wept during the movie's portrayal of the Battle of the Bulge, one of Patton's supreme moments. Appropriately, Scott dominates the film. His chief military aide is a slightly prissy actor who later appeared in television soap operas. Patton's superior, Eisenhower, is felt but never shown on screen. His favorite enemy, German Field Marshall Erwin Rommel, is barely shown. Karl Malden's General Omar Bradley is accurately stolid and bland. The not well-known British actor portraying British Field Marshall Bernard Montgomery comes close to challenging Scott's dramatic dominance, which is true to life. Montgomery was Patton's chief nemesis. He is portrayed as prickly and arrogant, partly thanks to the real life Omar Bradley, who shared Patton's disdain for their ally, and who served as a film advisor.

Many years later, Scott would again portray the general in a television movie The Last Days of Patton, showing Patton's agonies as he lay dying after a car accident. Mercifully,Patton omits that final chapter, instead stirringly ending with Patton, at the height of his fame, walking his bull terrier towards an Austrian mountain, as he recalled the ancient Roman warning that all glory is fleeting. President Richard Nixon famously relished the movie, supposedly watching it repeatedly, especially during the Cambodian incursion. Rod Steiger reputedly always regretted declining to portray Patton. But it's nearly impossible to picture anyone other than George C. Scott, in full battle regalia, gruffly addressing his troops before a giant American flag in Patton's iconic opening scene.

Rod Steiger did gloweringly portray Napoleon is another film to which my father took me, Waterloo, also superbly featuring Christopher Plummer as the Duke of Wellington. More magnificently, but too briefly, a sardonically corpulent Orson Welles is King Louis XVIII, who ambles to his escape after a terrified courtier warns the "monster" has returned from his exile on Elba. Marshal Ney has promised the king he would bring Napoleon back to Paris in an "iron cage." But when a defiant Napoleon asks Ney's troops who will be first among them to fire on their emperor, they rally to him, with Ney once again in the service to his old commander. The battle scenes are wonderfully staged, with aerial scenes of British and French troops arrayed into "battle squares" to receive attacks. Plummer, as Wellington, remains composed when a subordinate at his side loses a limb to a cannon ball. The climax is when aging Marshal Gebhard Leberecht von Blücher arrives with his Prussian army, ensuring Napoleon's doom. "Kill, my children, kill!" he shouts as they galloped into the field. It's a very rare moment in any film for British or American audiences when German troops are rescuers. The actor playing Blücher was a Soviet Georgian. Over 15,000 Soviet army troops were extras, a rare opportunity for the Red Army during the Cold War to be constructively useful. And the film was partially filmed in the Soviet Union. The film itself was an Italian-Soviet collaboration.

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Outrage!

OVER THIS?!?!? Really?!?!?

The media, on both sides of the aisle, need to get a grip.

This was a funny (if very old) way of forwarding chastity as the most effective contraceptive.

Don't want to get pregnant? Don't fuck around.

I post it not because I'm outraged by it, but because I'm glad someone had the balls to say it.

And to watch Andrea's outrage.

Even if she is faking it. . .

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy



story here. If you want to bother.

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BBC Broadcast: Poor America, What happened to Obama's change?

Thanks to Her Royal Whyness:
Poor America - P a n o r a m a [B B C] - Broadcast Date: 13th February 2012

With one and a half million (1.5 million) American children now homeless, reporter Hilary Andersson meets the school pupils who go hungry in the richest country on Earth. From those living in the storm drains under Las Vegas to the tent cities now springing up around the United States, P a n o r a m a finds out how the poor are surviving in America and asks whatever happened to the supposed 'government' and the Real People in charge - those who you 'don't see' pulling on the strings; and their vision and welfare for the country.

Could this be a form of 'Social cleansing' without the need of war or disease inflicted by the orchestrators - simply a controlled bout of poverty?
Or is this the forced education that only condition children to know only a certain amount of knowledge that can only ever see them progress in working environments such as confined offices within the 'Human Zoo' qualities within the desperately overcrowded cities.

Why are our children not educated properly - to be able to survive communally with real craft and building skills? Is the social mobility (as in other 'rich countries' such as the UK) only fairing the rich; the wealthy and the 'clever elite'; the white collar criminal, as per usual?

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Another Molly Norris? Colorado Student Who Wouldn't Sing Song Praising Allah Quits School After Death Threats

Note from AOW....The boy's name is James Harper, not James Harbor. I've corrected the post to reflect the correct name.

The interview with James Harper, which appears in this video, was conducted before he dropped out of school. I think it is important to note that.

The kid, who I believe is heroic for standing by his beliefs, did not condemn Islam. Rather his intent was to avoid worshipping or praising a God other than his own.

That is perfectly acceptable behavior in a free society, is it not? That's why the Pilgrims came here in the first place, and it is much of the impetus behind our First Amendment protection of Freedom of Religion.



Note the news story does not say who it is that is threatening the kid.

Is James Harper going to end up being another Molly Norris?

Addendum from AOW....Below is the song this young man objected to:

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Underwear bomber makes himself the gazillionth jihadist to not regret his actions

Umar Abdulmutallab, who attempted to blow himself up on a Northwest Airlines flight over Detroit, has been sentenced to life imprisonment and has made clear he's not sorry for what he tried to do:
Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, who tried to bring down Northwest flight 253 over Detroit on Christmas Day 2009 with an underwear bomb, said he was was "proud to kill in the name of God" before he was sentenced to multiple life sentences today in a Detroit courtroom.

"Today is a day of victory and God is great," said Abdulmutallab, 25. He also said that al Qaeda would one day be victorious, and that acts like his will continue until "the righteous servants of Allah inherit the world."

"The defendant has never expressed doubt or remorse about his mission," said Judge Nancy Edmunds in imposing four life sentences plus 50 years. "To the contrary, he sees that mission as divinely inspired and a continuing mission."

Assistant U.S. Attorney Cathleen Corken had asked Judge Edmunds to impose the maximum sentence allowable for Abdulmutallab's "cold-blooded, calculated plan to kill everyone aboard the plane."

"We ask the court to impose the maximum sentence on each count," said Corken, "to ensure that he never again will have the chance to harm an American citizen."
One of the sickest, most destructive things about Islam is how it teaches its adherents to virtually throw away their lives all for the sake of evil. Eventually, Abdulmutallab will end up facing God's Law, and then he'll learn just how much time and positive potentials he threw away all for the sake of something so repugnant.
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As you all probably know, I foster a particular unfondness for ShittyGroup. I wouldn't shed a tear if they went under. In fact I may throw a party. Big one. You're all invited.

So, thanks to Will for this one.

Bloomberg:

Citigroup Whistle-Blower Says Bank’s ‘Brute Force’ Hid Bad Loans From U.S.


Four years after rotten mortgages helped trigger a global financial crisis, Sherry Hunt said her Citigroup Inc. quality-control team was still finding flaws in new loans that included altered tax forms, straw buyers and borrowers who listed fictitious employers.

Instead of reporting the defects to the Federal Housing Administration, the bank saddled the agency with losses by falsely declaring the loans fit for its federal insurance program, according to a complaint filed yesterday by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Manhattan. Citigroup agreed to pay $158.3 million to settle the claims, and admitted that it certified loans for FHA backing that didn’t qualify.

Hunt, who filed a sealed lawsuit against New York-based Citigroup in August that the government joined, will collect $31 million of that sum -- before taxes and attorney’s fees -- as a whistle-blower, she said in an interview yesterday. The settlement, which encompassed misconduct spanning 2004 to the present, indicates Citigroup has lingering problems in its O’Fallon, Missouri-based CitiMortgage unit.

“Citigroup in particular received government funding, taxpayer dollars, because of its risky operations,” said Peter Henning, a law professor at Wayne State University in Detroit.“It shows that they hadn’t really learned much of a lesson from the financial crisis.”

Inspector General

The inspector general for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development faulted Citigroup’s quality-control program during a 2008 audit, according to the complaint. Taxpayers rescued the bank with a $45 billion bailout that same year and guaranteed more than $300 billion of its risky assets after the lender’s stability was threatened by mounting costs on soured loans. The bank lost a total of $29.3 billion in 2008 and 2009.

Hunt’s co-workers, instead of checking for fraud or making reports about underwriting defects to the FHA as required, argued with her over the soundness of the loans, she said. Employees who acted as “gatekeepers” applied “what they describe as ‘brute force’ to pressure Citi’s quality control managers” into downplaying defects, according to the government’s complaint.

Some colleagues had pay incentives tied to reducing the number of reported problems, and they spent hours trying to get her to relax her warnings, including those about the most basic deficiencies, Hunt said.

‘Beating Us Up’

“They started beating us up over the quality-control reports,” she said.

Last year, she said, she became convinced she was being asked to look the other way on serious flaws. That’s when she decided to become a whistle-blower.

“All a dishonest person had to do was change the reports to make things look better than they were,” Hunt said in an interview. “I wouldn’t play along.”

Citigroup has approved about 30,000 loans with a value of $4.8 billion for FHA insurance since 2004; more than 30 percent of those borrowers have quit paying, the Justice Department said in its complaint. Almost half the bank’s FHA loans originated in 2006 and 2007 have defaulted, the government said, with HUD paying out almost $200 million in insurance claims on mortgages Citigroup originated or underwrote since 2004.

Mark C. Rodgers, a Citigroup spokesman, said bank executives were pleased to resolve the matter.

Improvements Undertaken

“We take our quality-assurance processes seriously and have proactively undertaken process improvements to ensure that they are as robust as possible,” Rodgers said in an e-mailed statement. “We are committed to continuing to work with the Department of Housing and Urban Development to make mortgage loans available to low- and moderate-income borrowers through the FHA program.” He declined to comment further.

The CitiMortgage unit is run by Sanjiv Das, who was hired by Chief Executive Officer Vikram S. Pandit, 55, in July 2008. Das reports to consumer-banking head Manuel Medina-Mora and Eugene McQuade, head of Citibank N.A., the bank’s deposit-taking unit. Both Das and Pandit are former Morgan Stanley executives. Das declined to be interviewed.

Citigroup executives say they fixed trouble spots throughout the bank after it took the most bailout money of any U.S. financial institution during the credit crisis. Its shares have tumbled 35 percent over the past year, underperforming the 24-member KBW Bank Index (BKX), which fell 20 percent in the same period. Pandit in 2010 promised a “New Citi” that “practices responsible finance.”

Star Players

Efforts to quash negative quality-control reports about mortgages continued into 2011, according to the complaint. That January, at a quarterly staff meeting that Hunt said 1,000 people attended, CitiMortgage managers gave a “Star Players Award” to workers who had successfully challenged negative reviews during meetings with quality-assurance workers and others, according to the complaint.

“Many of the quality-assurance underwriters who sat in those meetings were humiliated in front of everyone,” Hunt said.

Her supervisor, Michael Watts, said in a May 21, 2010, e-mail that the challenges were aimed at improving numbers tied to compensation, not fixing the underlying problems.

“Instead of reviewing and analyzing results and then teaching their channels what is needed to improve, they’re being encouraged to rebut legitimate variances in an effort to drive down the rate. It appears that is how their worth is being measured,” Watts wrote, according to the government’s complaint.

Watts, reached at his home in Michigan, said he hadn’t seen the complaint and declined to comment further.

Records Erased

The complaint describes a broken mortgage-processing system. In one instance, employees erased records of about 1,000 loans that Hunt’s quality-control team identified as possibly fraudulent, according to the complaint. Defects identified by the quality-control team didn’t make it into reports, a violation of HUD requirements, it said.

“A substantial percentage of those claims resulted from loans that were ineligible for FHA insurance and never should have been insured,” the government said in the complaint.

The FHA insures qualified loans, relying on what it calls Direct Endorsement lenders such as Citigroup to make sure the mortgages adhere to its guidelines. Lenders are required to notify the FHA when they find underwriting flaws.

Hunt, who lives in Silex, Missouri, said she started in the mortgage business as a loan processor for a small Fairbanks,Alaska, lender in 1975. She was hired by Citigroup in 2004 and is now a vice president of quality assurance. She sued the bank, the third-largest in the U.S. by assets, under the False Claims Act, charging that the company defrauded the government.

‘The Little Guys’

“When this process began, Sherry had no idea there was a monetary award and what she could get,” said her attorney, Finley D. Gibbs of Rotts & Gibbs LLC in Columbia, Missouri.“She risked everything. We were the little guys standing up to the big guys.”

The $158.3 million that the bank is paying is the second-biggest ever in a mortgage-fraud case, said Jerika Richardson, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Southern District of New York. The largest was the $1 billion agreement on Feb. 9 between the U.S. and Bank of America Corp. and its Countrywide mortgage unit.

“I had to do something to stop them,” Hunt said. “I felt that if I were brave enough to come forward and take a stand, then maybe others would, too.”

U.S. District Judge Victor Marrero in New York approved the accord and unsealed Hunt’s lawsuit yesterday. CitiMortgage must pay the agreed-on amount within 30 days, said Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara.

Fourth-Quarter Charge

Citigroup will record a $125 million after-tax charge to fourth-quarter results “in connection with the resolution of related mortgage litigation,” according to a Feb. 9 statement.

The FHA, whose cash has been depleted amid increasing insurance payouts to cover rising defaults among borrowers, announced on Jan. 20 “steps to limit risk and strengthen finances.” They include holding lenders accountable for “fraud and misrepresentation such that the mortgage never should have been endorsed by the lender.”

Under the settlement, the government reserved the right to pursue criminal charges. Citigroup’s mortgage unit will work with HUD to maintain business practices that comply with the department’s requirements, according to the settlement.

“What it’s going to require in Citigroup, that unit, is a real change in their culture,” Henning said. “It will be interesting to see if Citigroup can pull it off.”

Accused in Testimony

Citigroup was accused of spotty underwriting in testimony in April 2010 before a committee created by Congress to investigate the financial crisis.

The bank bought at least $70 billion of mortgages from outside originators in 2006 and 2007 that didn’t meet Citigroup guidelines, according to Richard M. Bowen III, who supervised more than 200 underwriters for the bank from 2006 to 2008.

Bowen told the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission, or FCIC, that he began warning supervisors in June 2006 about the defective loans and continued through 2007 as the defect rate climbed to 80 percent.

Citigroup began an investigation and the head of the group responsible for the poor underwriting was fired, according to a Nov. 1, 2010, letter to the FCIC from Brad S. Karp, chairman of Paul Weiss Rifkind Wharton & Garrison LLP law firm in New York.

In the second half of 2009 and the first half of 2010, 15 percent of the performing loans Citigroup sold to Freddie Machad such flaws as incomplete appraisals, missing insurance documents or miscalculations of income, according to an internal Freddie Mac review of 375 mortgages obtained last year by Bloomberg News.

The upper limit for defects should be about 5 percent, Hunt said.

Other Litigation

Citigroup faces other litigation over mortgage-related securities, including a suit filed by the U.S Federal Housing Finance Agency, which oversees Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the government-controlled mortgage buyers.

“Citigroup seems willing to work with HUD to resolve these isssues,” Hunt said. “I take that as a positive sign.”

The case is U.S. ex rel. Hunt v. Citigroup Inc. (C), 11-cv-005473, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).

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James Blood Ulmer
Blues

Dimples
(John Lee Hooker)



Bright Lights Big City
(Jimmy Reed)



Down To Mississippi
(J B Lenoir)

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Thursday, February 16, 2012

No Depression

New CBO Report Decimates 'Obamanomics': Real Unemployment Hits 15%

“The rate of unemployment in the United States has exceeded 8 percent since February 2009, making the past three years the longest stretch of high unemployment in this country since the Great Depression. Moreover, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) projects that the unemployment rate will remain above 8 percent until 2014. The official unemployment rate excludes those individuals who would like to work but have not searched for a job in the past four weeks as well as those who are working part-time but would prefer full-time work; if those people were counted among the unemployed, the unemployment rate in January 2012 would have been about 15 percent. Compounding the problem of high unemployment, the share of unemployed people looking for work for more than six months—referred to as the long-term unemployed—topped 40 percent in December 2009 for the first time since 1948, when such data began to be collected; it has remained above that level ever since.”

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This Week On The Gathering Storm: Midnight Rider!

Listen to The Gathering Storm Radio Show, hosted by WC and Always On Watch. The show broadcasts live every Friday beginning at noon, Pacific Time, for 30 minutes.

The call-in number is 646-915-9870.

This week's scheduled guest is Midnight Rider.

Listen to the February 17, 2012 edition of The Gathering Storm Radio Show, live or later, by CLICKING HERE.

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American Thinker:

The Rising Fever of Despotism

By Lee DeCovnick

Andrew McCarthy commands a well-deserved respect for his insightful and thought provoking discourse on American conservatism. And Saturday's'
NRO column clearly delineates what many conservatives think about the despotic nature of this Administration. The sharply focused conclusion, that tyranny's deadly embrace has ensnared our nation, should set painfully on the shoulders of all Americans.

Here are the opening and ending paragraphs:

The thing to understand about the Department of Health and Human Services' birth-control mandate, and the last, is that it is an assault on both faithful Christians and the Constitution by leftists who consider themselves at "war" -- their word -- with bourgeois America. It has nothing to do with guaranteeing access to contraceptives, sterilization, and abortifacients. [...]

There would not be a United States without the Bill of Rights -- absent the understanding that a Bill of Rights would soon be added, the states would not have ratified the Constitution. There would not be a Bill of Rights without the guarantees of free speech and religious liberty enshrined in the very first amendment. This is the irreducible core of the social contract: Government may not compel an American to parrot the policy preferences of the executive branch, nor may it force an American to engage in or directly abet practices that are repellent to Christian doctrine.

The Obama Left is well aware of these things, for these things are basic. The president does not care. His doctrine, hard-Left doctrine, is government promotion of contraception and abortion on demand. On these tenets, he brooks no dissent. Regardless of what the Constitution says, you are commanded to obey. He has started the war against our liberties not because of any crisis, but because he can. That is tyranny. It is a rupturing of the American conception of sovereignty, in which the president is our servant, not our ruler. It cannot stand.

"That is tyranny." For a rational intelligent citizen who loves this country and who appreciates the founding principles enshrined in the Declaration of the Independence, that phrase invokes a profound detestation of the moral and authoritarian schisms, purposefully rendered by this Administration, dividing our nation.

Two hundred and thirty-six years after it's signing, the Declaration of Independence shines forth as one of mankind's greatest intellectual achievements. Radical then as now, the Declaration upended the relationship between a monarchial government and the people. So profound are the principles and moral beliefs laid out by Jefferson in 1776, that they still continue to enrage our 21st century's dictators and despots.

How radical is the Declaration of Independence? Here are the epochal ideas that Jefferson postulated. The Creator endows men, not governments, with certain unalienable rights: Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness. These rights exist independent of government. So even when a government fails to uphold these rights, the rights endure because they are preexistent to the government.

From the fff.org website, by Jacob G. Homberger:

Where then do government's powers come from? The powers come from the people because it is the people who bring government into existence. Government does not preexist the citizenry (and their rights); instead, the government exists by favor of the citizenry. Thus, whenever the people wish to dismantle or abolish government, it is their right to do so, since the existence of government depends on the will of those who bring it into existence -- that is, the people.

As a tyrant becomes increasingly and unceasingly abusive of our rights, at what point should the people abolish the government anew? The Declaration of Independence answers this question with exquisite eloquence.

Prudence, indeed, will dictate that governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shown that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such government, and to provide new guards for their future security.

Certainly political theory does not get any more radical, or rational, than that.

The United States now suffers the fever of despotism, in great part, because Congress has relentlessly abrogated its sworn Constitutional duty. Article One, Section One of the Constitution informs us:

All legislative Powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States, which shall consist of a Senate and House of Representatives.

Nowhere in the Constitution do we find that Executive branch appointees, such as those comfortably ensconced at HHS, EPA, or Treasury may write laws that the people are expected to obey. Congress and her law-writing committees were once responsible for actually writing all the Federal laws and regulations, down to the smallest detail. Now Congress passes two thousand pages of overview legislation that specifically permits the unelected, unappointed, and unconfirmed bureaucrats to add cauldrons full of the devil brew to the details of new legislation. The Founders of this country would be aghast at the powers so easily forfeited by Congress and hoarded by the Executive branch.

Congress has also allowed a non-Constitutional plague of mutant appointees: Obama's czars. These goose-stepping Marxist termites gnaw at our Constitutional foundation of checks and balances. Here is an excerpt from a Judicial Watch report on the forty-five czars deeply imbedded in the Executive agencies. Read the entire report here, a terrifying piece of investigative reporting.

President Barack Obama has installed personal advisors in czar positions in the White House and has created new czar positions elsewhere in the Executive Branch. As of the date of this report, the number of czars that have been appointed by the President, or by others in his administration, appears to total 45. In addition, there are as many as 18 other unfilled or planned czar positions.

"Many of these 'czars' are unconfirmed by the Senate and are largely unaccountable to Congress. Further, their activities are often outside the reach of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), creating a veil of secrecy about their precise role in the administration.

Czars appointees have seized unprecedented control over major aspects of government policy and programs.

In some instances, unconfirmed czars have authority, in seeming violation of the U.S. Constitution, over certain Senate-confirmed officers.

A number of the czars have been linked to scandals, thefts and kickbacks, flagrant and offensive statements, conflicts of interest, and radical leftist political ideologies and policies.

Barack Obama's unconstitutional use of czars to help run his administration is at odds with republican, limited, and accountable government. Obama has simply installed his radical leftist allies in various positions of power while thumbing his nose at Congress and the American people. As we document in this report, too many of these czars have proven to be corrupt or radicals (or sometimes both). No wonder the Obama administration fights tooth and nail to allow these czars to operate in secret.

Thomas Jefferson reaches out over the centuries to counsel us that, "Prudence, indeed, will dictate that governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes." The requirement for such forceful change will results from a cascade of bitter failures within our social and governmental institutions. We are not at that fork of history. However, thoughtful conservatives must look toward some uncomfortable duties, a start of redress, to stem our current slide into tyranny.

That initial redress starts today when each one of us begins to reach out, one on one, to our liberal neighbors, co-workers, friends and family. We must patiently discuss today's headlines within the context of the Declaration of Independence. By educating and reminding them of America's self-evident truths, unalienable rights, and that our government derives its powers from the consent of the governed, we open minds and give substance to the looming icebergs of tyranny, dead ahead.

Redress also means that Congress must start doing its job. Congress should follow the Constitution by actually writing the laws in public view, rather than fob them off on the Executive agencies. And Congress must de-fund and forever decertify the existence of the czars. Or else we must vote these damn Congressional monarchists out of power. These ideas are less radical then those written in the Declaration. To believe otherwise renders us all silent passengers on that "long train of abuses and usurpations."

Americans, Lincoln and Jefferson's people, may have but a single Constitutionally mandated opportunity to avoid a further "rupturing of the American conception of sovereignty, in which the president is our servant, not our ruler." November 6th, 2012 will become a crucial day of national reckoning, not unlike that warm July day in Philadelphia, two hundred and thirty-six years ago.

"Educate and inform the whole mass of the people... They are the only sure reliance for the preservation of our liberty." -Thomas Jefferson

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Colorado student quits high school choir over Islamic song praising 'Allah'

A young man after my own heart. I would be proud of him, if he were my son.

From Fox News:
A Colorado high school student says he quit the school choir after an Islamic song containing the lyric "there is no truth except Allah" made it into the repertoire.

James Harper, a senior at Grand Junction High School in Grand Junction, put his objection to singing "Zikr," a song written by Indian composer A.R. Rahman, in an email to Mesa County School District 51 officials. When the school stood by choir director Marcia Wieland's selection, Harper said, he quit.

"I don’t want to come across as a bigot or a racist, but I really don’t feel it is appropriate for students in a public high school to be singing an Islamic worship song,” Harper told KREX-TV.
"This is worshipping another God, and even worshipping another prophet ... I think there would be a lot of outrage if we made a Muslim choir say Jesus Christ is the only truth."
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Humpday Blues

Slim Harpo
Baby Scratch My Back



King Bee



Got My Finger On Your Trigger

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Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Less Experience Preferred

Below is an email I received this morning.

It is a rejection for a position I applied for.

Rejected not for lack of experience, but for too much experience.

For having done well in my profession. For being, perhaps, just a little too old. Maybe a little too loyal to the company I had been with for twenty years. Cradle to grave at a company means nothing in America anymore. Excelling at what you do means nothing anymore.

Yes, I know it is not an out and out rejection. But I also know how it will play out.

If I state I am still interested and if they decide they still want to interview me we will go through the motions and then they will decide to go with someone with less experience. Less of a risk to leave if something better comes along. Someone more malleable. Someone cheaper and content to be so.

Never mind that I could show their workforce analyst a thing or two.

Think I'm kidding? The very same thing happened with the very same position, but at a different international company, two weeks ago.

In that case I was asked why in the world I would want to take a step down like that.

The irony is that I used to do what that position and two others on their telecom team do by myself in my former position.

And I did it very well.

(one of the persistent problems for the long term unemployed is a diminishing of self esteem. happens when all you have to keep you sane during the day is a crazy Jack Russell and your deepest conversations happen with the checkout girl at the grocery store. so you have to pat yourself on the back now and then)

But companies don't want that, despite their protestations to the contrary.

So the next time you hear the TeeVee bubbleheads decry a lack of skill and talent in the American workforce, that we've gotten soft here in America, keep this in mind.

It's a two way street. There is plenty of valuable experience out there looking for work. Both professional experience and just as importantly or more so life experience. I've seen this before experience. I know what really does and doesn't work experience. Imagine what younger employees could learn from those who have been down the road.

But the companies don't want to pay for that experience. And they don't want to take a chance on it, regardless of how beneficial it may be to them, long or short term.

I've raised a family. Taken two daughters to be terrific adults and a third well on her way. Balanced a household budget and navigated the tricky financial shoals when times were tight (getting much tougher these days. ask my creditors). And all the while working. Same place all those years. Climbing toward the top of my game.

Letters, emails and phone calls like these are an all too common piece of my life these days. For the last 2-1/2 years. And of so many like me.

Is it any wonder that there are so many who have given up hope on finding a job?

It's not age discrimination. Not exactly. Not overtly.

It's experience discrimination.

From a regional bank:

Good morning, John, and thanks for your interest in the Workforce Management Specialist position available at Susquehanna.

I wanted to reach out to you before I proceed with the prescreening process as I wanted to be sure that you were still interested in being considered after I share the following information with you.

First of all, this is an entry-level Specialist position reporting to the Workforce Management Analyst. Upon reviewing your resume, I can’t help but wonder if it would be challenging enough for you.

Secondly, we are looking to start this candidate in the $14.85-$15.50/hr range.

Please take a minute to think this information through and then let me know if you are still interested or if you prefer to withdraw your application for this specific entry.

Thanks in advance!

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