Home Loans for Poor Leave Some Feeling Misled By Michael Kanell The Atlanta Journal-Constitution


Home Loans for Poor Leave Some Feeling Misled
By Michael Kanell
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
August 2, 2016

Al Butts and his wife thought they were becoming homeowners when, in 2011, they moved into their Decatur, Ga., residence.

“It sounded too good to be true, because it was such an achievement for me,” Butts said. “They said, ‘This is your house.’ ”

The too-good-to-be-true part could be right.

The Butts didn’t have a mortgage loan on the home but rather something called a “land contract,” a little-known form of lending marketed to people who can’t get regular financing.

People with a land contract put money down, make regular payments plus interest, and pay taxes and insurance. If they make payments all the way to the end of the contract, they will own the home. If they don’t they can be evicted and lose everything they put into it.

That’s what could happen to Butts and his wife, who this summer got an eviction threat after some late payments.

“It’s a 30-year contract. You could make payments every month and lose it in year 29,” said Kristin Tullos of Decatur Legal Aid, which is representing the couple as they try to stay in the home.

Georgia, like most states, does not regulate land contracts, which are also known as “contract for deed.” Critics generally do not argue that they are illegal. But they say companies offering them target credit-starved, minority neighborhoods and deceive consumers. The deals typically carry interest rates well above those for mortgages.

Fueled by housing crisis

The practice was fueled by the housing crisis, which put millions of homes on the market at huge discounts while also savaging consumers’ credit ratings.

No one has recent numbers, but 3.5 million people bought a home through a land contract in 2009, according to the U.S. Census. “Evidence suggests that land contracts are making a resurgence in the wake of the foreclosure crisis,” a recent report from the National Consumer Law Center said.

Equity firms and real estate companies bought thousands of depressed properties as investments, renting them until the market made a resale lucrative.

A small group of companies have added “contract for deed” deals as a profitable variation aimed at minorities, according to the group’s report.

Dallas-based Harbour Portfolio Advisors — the name on the Butts’ deed — is one of the largest with an estimated 6,700 properties in five states.

Calls from the AJC to Harbour over the past several weeks were not returned, but earlier this year, a lawyer for Harbour told the New York Times that the company’s business model is “to purchase unproductive residential properties and sell them to other people who will make them productive again.”

Local attorneys say there’s no indication Harbour set out to exploit minorities. But in choosing low-income, foreclosure-afflicted areas and appealing to people who cannot get traditional mortgages, Harbour ends up with a clientele that is largely black.

In metro Atlanta, Harbour had 94 properties, in Fulton, DeKalb, Cobb, Gwinnett, Clayton and Rockdale counties, the report said. “The common theme is that land contracts were being sold predominantly to borrowers of color.”

Shut out of mortgages

From the 1930s to 1950s, when blacks were shut out of many mortgage programs, land contracts were often the most common form of home-buying. But the contracts did not fulfill their promise then — and still don’t, the Law Center report concluded.

“Then, as now, homeownership through these deals was often a mirage, and buyers lost their homes, their down payments, their sweat equity, and the money they paid for repairs, maintenance, insurance, and interest,” the report said.

For depressed areas, the impact is not all bad — it puts people into houses that might otherwise be vacant, said Deirdre Oakley, sociology professor and housing expert at Georgia State University.

But for people who aspire to own a home, it isn’t a good deal due to the risk and interest charged, she said.

A big motive for buying a home is to build equity — to gain wealth as the property value rises. With a contract for deed, the consumer only gains if he or she completes the full payment schedule and becomes the owner.

“They are basically like renters but also paying interest and insurance and taxes and paying for repairs,” Oakley said. “You are giving them a chance to own a home, but you are not giving them much of a chance.”

For the deal to be at all fair, customers need to know exactly what they are getting into, said Svenja Gudell, chief economist at Zillow, a national real estate research firm.

“They target people who are less informed. They are often taken advantage of,” she said.

Al Butts doesn’t claim to be blameless, but he feels misled.

‘Flim-flam from the git-go’

“I told them right up front I was on a fixed income, and I have made up every payment I’ve been late on,” he said. “The way I think of it, it was a flim-flam from the git-go. It was like we were their cash-cow.”

Irene Cole and her husband thought they were buying an East Point home from Harbour in 2013 for $49,000. They put $1,500 down, agreed to a 9.9 interest rate on the rest and started paying $605.92 a month.

“We were told that the house was ours,” Cole said.

Their land contract was sold, however, and they dealt with a series of other companies. They had a disagreement with one about which bank account the company was taking money from — when it came from the wrong account, there wasn’t enough money.

Later, they missed some payments but say they weren’t sure who to send a check to.

Now, they’ve received notice that their house is scheduled for a foreclosure hearing. They are working with attorneys at Legal Aid to fight the foreclosure.

They first sought to refinance through Home Safe Georgia, a state program aimed at helping people avoid foreclosure.

“But when we went to Home Safe Georgia,” Cole said, “they said we can’t help you because you don’t own the property.”
© 2016 The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency

Supreme Court refuses to hear challenge to Connecticut, New York weapons ban

The Supreme Court is allowing the different States to pass and uphold gun ban laws.

Supreme Court refuses to hear challenge to Connecticut, New York weapons ban

Washington Post Report

June 20 at 9:51 AM

The Supreme Court declined Monday to review bans on a lengthy list of firearms that New York and Connecticut have classified as “assault weapons,” the latest example of the justices turning down an opportunity to elaborate on an individual’s right to gun ownership.

With an emotional debate about gun control reigniting across the street at the Capitol, the justices without comment said they would not review lower-court decisions upholding the laws.

Connecticut’s ban was expanded shortly after a gunman used one of the military-style semiautomatic weapons on the list to kill 20 students and six educators at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown in 2012.

The decision Monday was not a surprise, as the justices have previously declined to review other lower-court decisions that uphold bans passed by cities and states. Maryland, California, Hawaii, Massachusetts and New, Jersey as well as many cities and towns, have similar laws. None of the legal challenges to them have been successful in lower courts.

These prohibitions were enacted after a federal ban expired in 2004. Attempts to revive the federal ban have failed, although advocates are trying in the wake of the massacre at an Orlando nightclub that left 49 victims dead.

What to know about assault-style rifles

The Supreme Court declined Monday to review bans on a lengthy list of firearms that New York and Connecticut have classified as “assault weapons,” the latest example of the justices turning down an opportunity to elaborate on an individual’s right to gun ownership.

With an emotional debate about gun control reigniting across the street at the Capitol, the justices without comment said they would not review lower-court decisions upholding the laws.

Connecticut’s ban was expanded shortly after a gunman used one of the military-style semiautomatic weapons on the list to kill 20 students and six educators at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown in 2012.

The decision Monday was not a surprise, as the justices have previously declined to review other lower-court decisions that uphold bans passed by cities and states. Maryland, California, Hawaii, Massachusetts and New, Jersey as well as many cities and towns, have similar laws. None of the legal challenges to them have been successful in lower courts.

These prohibitions were enacted after a federal ban expired in 2004. Attempts to revive the federal ban have failed, although advocates are trying in the wake of the massacre at an Orlando nightclub that left 49 victims dead.

What to know about assault-style rifles

Play Video2:21
Orlando shooter Omar Mateen used the assault-style rifle Sig Sauer MCX to kill at least 49 people, authorities say. Here’s what you need to know about the guns some are calling “the gold standard for mass murder.” (Editor’s note: This video has been updated with more specific information.) (Gillian Brockell/The Washington Post)

Like other laws, Connecticut’s ban includes semiautomatic guns and high-capacity magazines, covers popular weapons such as AR-­15s and AK-­47s, and names more than 180 weapons that cannot be sold.

But the individuals and organizations challenging the law said the state is an “outlier” in banning weapons that are popular and protected in the rest of the country.

“In truth, the odd assortment of firearms Connecticut calls ‘assault weapons’ are mechanically identical to any other semiautomatic firearm — arms that, as no one disputes, are exceedingly common and fully protected by the Second Amendment,” the challengers said in their petition to the court.

Gun rights advocates have urged the court to review such bans, saying that they violate the court’s 2008 decision in District of Columbia v. Heller, which said individuals have a right to gun ownership for self-protection.

After recognizing the individual right for the first time in Heller, which covered the federal enclave of the District, the court made clear in a subsequent case that state and local governments, like Congress, could not prohibit individual gun ownership.

But the court has not shown any interest since then in elaborating on what exactly that right covers. And in the process, the justices have passed up the chance to scrutinize lower-court decisions that have upheld the laws banning certain weapons as well as laws requiring tight restrictions on those who can legally carry guns outside their homes.

When the Supreme Court declined last December to review a lower-court decision upholding such a ban, Justices Clarence Thomas and Antonin Scalia wrote that a similar law flouts the court’s Second Amendment jurisprudence. Scalia died in February.


So, what it boils down to, is we all just sit on our happy little asses, and let them continue to do this, because some of us are ignorant enough not to realize that any and every semi-automatic, will soon fit into the category of “assault weapons”, the country is lost.

Has anyone actually heard what the govt. considers an assault weapon?  I know, that every time I hear reference to it, in the same sentence, the speaker references “semi-automatic”.  In reality, an assault weapon, is one used by our military.  It is an automatic weapon, not a semi-automatic weapon.  I could be wrong, but don’t think  so.

If I hear one more idiot reference assault weapon and deer hunting, I will scream!  They have already decided that any semi-automatic is an assault weapon.  So what the hell do you plan to kill a deer with?  A 22 rifle?  Anything and everything that has a magazine, a drum, or any other device to feed the weapon, is an assault weapon.  Before you know it, the good ole reliable six shooter will be an assault weapon.

It is now time to really think about it.  The US Supreme Court has bailed on the United States Constitution.  That is reality.  Just like the reality about the Orlando shooter, was being played with by the FBI for more than a year.  Finally, the guy went for it.  Whose idea was it, FBI’s or the shooters?

So what’s going to be boy, yes or no?

 

The Republican presidential contender identifies 11 state and federal judges, but no litigators. Marcia Coyle, The National Law Journal


Photo: andykatz/iStockphoto.com
Trump Names 11 SCOTUS Picks, Bypassing Big Law
http://www.nationallawjournal.com/id=1202757984757/Trump-Names-11-SCOTUS-Picks-Bypassing-Big-Law?mcode=0&curindex=0&curpage=ALL
The Republican presidential contender identifies 11 state and federal judges, but no litigators.
Marcia Coyle, The National Law Journal
May 18, 2016

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump gestures while speaking to the press in New York City, after his five-state super Tuesday win. April 27 2016.
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump gestures while speaking to the press in New York City, after his five-state super Tuesday win. April 27 2016.

Presumptive Republican Party presidential nominee Donald Trump’s list for potential U.S. Supreme Court nominees is heavy on federal appellate judges and former clerks for conservative justices and light on big names in politics and private practice.

Trump’s list of 11 potential nominees doesn’t include several conservative judges who have been on Supreme Court watch lists in the past, including U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit Judges Brett Kavanaugh and Janice Rogers Brown, Sixth Circuit Judge Jeffrey Sutton and Fifth Circuit Judge Priscilla Owen.

Trump’s list, released Wednesday, doesn’t include any nonjudges. Other names floated in the past as possible nominees for a future Republican president included former U.S. Solicitor General Paul Clement, now a partner at Bancroft, and Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah.

Also not on the list: Trump’s sister, Third Circuit Judge Maryanne Trump Barry, although that was no surprise. Trump has praised his sister as “brilliant,” but said he wouldn’t consider nominating her to the Supreme Court because of the conflict of interest. He’s also said that the two share “different views.”

Related: Texas’ Most Prolific Judicial Tweeter Makes Trump’s Shortlist

Trump’s list drew praise and criticism depending on where the commentator sits on the political spectrum.

“The [Supreme] Court needs more justices who will base their decisions on the law, not politics, even under pressure, especially since the next president is likely to determine the direction of the court for a generation,” Carrie Severino, chief counsel and policy director of the conservative Judicial Crisis Network, said.

“It is also heartening to see so many Midwesterners and state court judges on the list—they would bring a valuable perspective to the bench, particularly since they have already served on a court of last resort in their own states,” she added.

Miranda Blue of People for the American Way noted: “It looks like Trump has, true to his promise, picked potential justices who would advance the conservative efforts to skew the federal courts far to the right.”

Senate Judiciary chairman Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, said in statement, “Mr. Trump has laid out an impressive list of highly qualified jurists, including Judge Colloton from Iowa, who understand and respect the fundamental principle that the role of the courts is limited and subject to the Constitution and the rule of law.”

So who made the list?

Steve Colloton
Judge Steven Colloton, 53, joined the Eighth Circuit in 2003. Colloton is a former clerk to the late Chief Justice William Rehnquist. He was appointed by President George W. Bush. He previously served with independent counsel Kenneth Starr.
Before joining the appellate court, Colloton was the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of Iowa.

Allison Eid
Colorado Supreme Court justice Allison Eid is a former Clarence Thomas clerk. She took her seat on the state high court in 2006, leaving her position on the faculty of the University of Colorado Law School, where she taught constitutional law, legislation, the law of politics, first-year torts and advanced torts.
Before teaching, she also practiced commercial and appellate litigation in the Denver office of Arnold & Porter.

Thomas Hardiman
Judge Thomas Hardiman, 50, who joined the Third Circuit in 2007 just 3 1/2 years after taking his seat as a district court judge for the Western District of Pennsylvania.
Hardiman’s ruling that a jail policy of strip searching all arrestees does not violate the Fourth Amendment was upheld by the Supreme Court in 2012. In 2013, he dissented from his court’s decision upholding under the Second Amendment New Jersey’s law requiring applicants for licenses to carry handguns in public to show “justifiable need.”
“Those who drafted and ratified the Second Amendment were undoubtedly aware that the right they were establishing carried a risk of misuse, and States have considerable latitude to regulate the exercise of the right in ways that will minimize that risk,” he wrote in Drake v. Filko. “But States may not seek to reduce the danger by curtailing the right itself.”

Related: Third Circuit Judge Among Trump’s Supreme Court Picks

And he also dissented in a 2013 decision holding that a public school violated the First Amendment by banning students from wearing bracelets inscribed with “I [love] boobies” sold by a breast cancer awareness group.

Raymond Gruender
Judge Raymond Gruender, 52, became U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Missouri in 2001 and served in that position until his confirmation to the Eighth Circuit in 2004.
Gruender has written opinions holding that the Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978 did not give female employees the right to insurance coverage for contraceptives used solely to prevent pregnancy.
He dissented from a panel ruling that upheld an injunction striking down a South Dakota law requiring abortion providers to inform patients that an “abortion will terminate the life of a whole, separate, unique, living human being.” When the case was heard en banc, Gruender, writing for the full court, upheld the law as constitutional on its face.

Raymond Kethledge
Judge Raymond Kethledge, 49, sits on the Sixth Circuit and is a former clerk to Justice Anthony Kennedy. He joined the appellate court in 2008 after practicing law as a corporate attorney and former counsel to Ford Motor Co.

Joan Larsen
Trump’s list also names a number of state supreme court judges.
Joan Larsen was named to the Michigan Supreme Court by Gov. Rick Snyder in September 2015. Larsen is a former clerk to the late Justice Antonin Scalia. She worked in the George W. Bush Department of Justice in 2002-2003 and then joined the University of Michigan School of Law as an adjunct professor and special counsel to the dean.
When appointed to the state court, Larsen said she would be a “strict constructionist,” explaining, “I believe in enforcing the laws as written by the Legislature and signed by the governor. I don’t think judges are a policy-making branch of the government.”
In March, at a memorial for Scalia, Larsen recalled Scalia as a “fundamentally happy man” who would sing in his chambers and whistle in the corridors of the court. Larsen remembered one time when she made a mistake citing Webster’s Third New International Dictionary in a draft opinion.
Scalia, a critic of that tome, called her out. Larsen said she had used that edition because it was in the justice’s front office. Scalia said the dictionary had been put there as a “trap laid for the unwary.”

Thomas Lee
Trump also named a judge with a well-known pedigree in Washington legal circles. Thomas Rex Lee, son of former Solicitor General Rex Lee, joined the Utah Supreme Court in July 2010.
Lee is a former Clarence Thomas clerk who specialized in trademark litigation when in private practice. He served as deputy assistant attorney general in the Civil Division of the U.S. Justice Department from 2004 to 2005.
Lee has been called a pioneer in “corpus linguistics” to determine ordinary meaning and has applied that in an opinion. He also has argued in the U.S. Supreme Court, representing Utah in Utah v. Evans, a 2002 challenge by the state to the Census Bureau’s use of “hot-deck” imputation, a statistical method.

William Pryor
Judge William Pryor of Alabama joined the Eleventh Circuit in 2004 despite considerable controversy over his nomination. He was criticized by Senate Democrats in the 108th Congress who called him an extremist for such statements as referring to the Supreme Court as “nine octogenarian lawyers” and saying that Roe v. Wade was the “worst abomination in the history of constitutional law.”
President George W. Bush installed Pryor using a recess appointment to bypass the regular Senate confirmation process. He received Senate confirmation on May 23, 2005, after Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona, announced an agreement between seven Republican and seven Democratic U.S. senators, the so-called Gang of 14, to ensure an up-or-down vote on Pryor and other nominees.
On the bench, Pryor specially concurred in an unanimous panel decision enjoining the secretary of Health and Human Services from enforcing the contraception insurance mandate under the Affordable Care Act against Catholic television network EWTN. That case was one of the petitions pending in the high court until the justices ruling Monday in Zubik v. Burwell.
In 2009, Pryor led a unanimous panel upholding Georgia’s photo ID law as a voting requirement.

David Stras
Another former Clarence Thomas clerk on the list is Minnesota Supreme Court associate justice David Stras, 41. Stras joined that court in 2010. He taught at the University of Minnesota Law School for six years prior to his appointment.

Diane Sykes
Seventh Circuit Judge Diane Sykes, 58, of Wisconsin, is well-known in conservative circles and has been called by some liberal groups as the most conservative judge on Trump’s list. She is a former justice of the Wisconsin Supreme Court.

Her more recent opinions include supporting a voter ID law and expanding the ability of religious objectors to limit their employees’ access to contraceptive insurance coverage under the Affordable Care Act. She also wrote an opinion in 2011 holding that the Second Amendment prohibited Chicago’s ban on firing ranges
Sykes spoke about her clerk-hiring practices at a conference in Milwaukee in 2014. “I don’t want to be fighting with someone all year,” Sykes said about hiring a clerk whose views are different than hers. “I don’t only hire Federalist Society members” as clerks, she said, but there has to be “some general philosophical fit.”

Don Willett
Another state supreme court justice is well-known to the Twitter community and someone who has actually criticized Donald Trump. Texas Supreme Court Justice Don Willett, 49, worked on the Bush-Cheney presidential campaign and transition team. In the White House, Willett served as special assistant to the president and director of law and policy for the White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives.
In 2003, Willett returned to Texas to become state deputy attorney general for legal counsel in the office of newly elected Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott, where he served until he was appointed to the state high civil court in 2005.
Circuit judges’ financial disclosure forms

We’ve compiled below some of the recent financial disclosure forms of judges on Trump’s shortlist:

Steven Colloton of Iowa: 2014 and 2015
Raymond Gruender of Missouri: 2014 and 2015
Thomas Hardiman of Pennsylvania: 2014 and 2015
Raymond Kethledge of Michigan: 2014 and 2015
William Pryor of Alabama: 2014 and 2015
Diane Sykes of Wisconsin: 2014 and 2015
Zoe Tillman contributed to this report.

Judicial Corruption is Everywhere!

I have come to realize the extent of the judicial corruption permeating this country’s court system.  It is not only in Georgia, Georgia is just worse than most other states.  It is all over the whole country.  It was bad enough prior to foreclosure hell,  but has escalated during foreclosure hell began.

While neighborhoods are full of empty, and boarded up houses, the news media has come to largely ignore the fact that foreclosures have not really subsided and by no means have foreclosures gone away, it has become an acceptable fact of life.  Nevertheless, corruption with the court systems has continued to grow.  One of the major things that fed that corruption, after extreme all out greed, was the foreclosures.  It became a feeding frenzy.  There have been so many investigations about the housing bubble burst, and the fall of the economy, that the internet is chocked with the investigations.  Not one of those investigations spoke of one of the most incredible truths…The way the courts handled the foreclosures.

A few websites talked about the problem with the courts, but not one state or federal investigation told one of the major problems.   Some of the stories are mind boggling!   Bank of America was said to have foreclosed on a borrower who had paid their loan off, because the payoff had been $1.00 short.  The court allowed it to happen.  People whose homes had been paid off for years, foreclosed upon, when they owed no one a dime on the home.   The courts still allowed it to happen.  Not all of the paid off homes, but even one, was too many.

The next thing that fed the judicial corruption,  was the fact that the attorneys who had been representing the banks and who had moved on to other types of clients, were not told they could not continue they way they had in the foreclosure cases.  All of the lies, the falsification of real property documents, forgeries, creation of non-existing real property records and loan documents.  All of the nasty, low down things that those attorneys had been allowed to get away with in foreclosure hell, has spilled over to contaminate every kind of lawsuit in the courts.  No one had told those attorneys that they could only break the law for free when it came to foreclosures.   No one told those attorneys that they are expected to go back to pretending to follow the law, or making things look like they were on the up and up.

The courts, having allowed the attorneys to break the law without fear, and the judges that rubber stamped the lawsuits, granting every suit in favor of the banks, have caused justice to be hidden in every kind of lawsuit in the courts.  It was too easy.  Hell, lets face it, Supreme Court of Georgia began creating and making law.  The Georgia General Assembly did not make the laws, the Supreme Court did it for them, and the laws the Surpreme Court created, were in favor of the banks.

Apparently, the Supreme Court was so against a borrower ending up with a free house (or an affordable loan, which is what most of the borrowers sought), the appellate courts made rulings that have become precential case law, when the court was following no laws at all.  No, we could not have a borrower, who had bent over backwards attempting to make their payments to banks who were refusing the payments, causing loan defaults, end up in the end with a loan that they could actually pay for.  None of those loans were ever meant to be paid for 30 years, and ending with the satisfaction of the debt.  The loans were meant to default within the first 5 years.  Rather than follow either real esatate law, or contract law, which either one would have halted the illegal acts of the banks and their attorneys, the Courts twisted the laws.  When the laws could be twisted no further, the Courts made new laws.

In the meantime, the case law from these twisted and the court created laws became precential.  The more cases, that were based on these illegally created laws, went into the court’s records, the more case law was twisted and convulated, to the point, where the laws are unrecognizable.    Now, every wrongful foreclosure case that has to go into the courts, has to fight against the case law that came from years and years of bad and illegal rulings that have become precedential.

It is like the dominos effect, and there is no turning back from it.  To be right there, fighting with people and attorneys throughout foreclosure hell, enlightened me.  I watched as the corrupt courts, went on to become so corrupt, that they literally changed what laws stated, and created laws to make it easier for foreclosures to take place.  Not once did even one judge, try to stop what was happening.  The only honest judge in Georgia was when Amy Totenberg became a Judge at The United States District Court for the Northern District of Georgia.  She went against all of the bad rulings.  She fought like gangbusters against the case law the opposing attorneys were using against the borrowers.  I am not sure, but it looks like that she too has fallen into the same old grind.  After all, if you can’t beat them, join them.

The contamination of every kind of lawsuit within the courts, has made justice impossible for everyone, except those who have enough money to buy the attorneys and the courts.  It is a sad day in this country.

After all almost One Hundred years ago, in Olmstead v. United States, 277 U.S. 438, 48 S. Ct. 564, 72 L. Ed. 944 (1928), decided June 4, 1928.  A case in which Mr. Justice Brandeis, Mr. Justice Holmes, Mr. Justice Butler, and Mr. Justice Stone dissented.

*455 Mr. Chief Justice TAFT delivered the opinion of the Court.
These cases are here by certiorari from the Circuit Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. 19 F.(2d) 842, 53 A. L. R. 1472, and 19 F.(2d) 850. The petition in No. 493 Was filed August 30, 1927; in Nos. 532 and 533, September **565 9, 1927. They were granted with the distinct limitation that the hearing should be confined to the single question whether the use of evidence of private telephone conversations between the defendants and others, intercepted by means of wire tapping, amounted to a violation of the Fourth and Fifth Amendments. 276 U. S. 609, 48 S. Ct. 207, 72 L. Ed. —.
The petitioners were convicted in the District Court for the Western District of Washington of a conspiracy to violate the National Prohibition Act (27 USCA) by unlawfully possessing, transporting and importing intoxicating liquors and maintaining nuisances, and by selling intoxicating liquors. Seventy-two others, in addition to the petitioners, were indicted. Some were not apprehended, some were acquitted, and others pleaded guilty.
Olmstead was the leading conspirator and the general manager of the business.
The information which led to the discovery of the conspiracy and its nature and extent was largely obtained by intercepting messages on the telephones of the conspirators by four federal prohibition officers.
The Fourth Amendment provides:
‘The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.’
And the Fifth:
‘No person * * * shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself.’

The well-known historical purpose of the Fourth Amendment, directed against general warrants and writs of assistance, was to prevent the use of governmental force to search a man’s house, his person, his papers, and his effects, and to prevent their seizure against his will. This phase of the misuse of governmental power of compulsion is the emphasis of the opinion of the court in the Boyd Case. This appears, too, in the Weeks Case, in the Silverthorne Case, and in the Amos Case.

‘The Fourth Amendment is to be construed in the light of what was deemed an unreasonable search and seizure when it was adopted, and in a manner which will conserve public interests, as well as the interest and rights of individual citizens.’
Justice Bradley, in the Boyd Case, and Justice Clarke, in the Gouled Case, said that the Fifth Amendment and the Fourth Amendment were to be liberally construed to effect the purpose of the framers of the Constitution in the interest of liberty. But that cannot justify enlargement of the language employed beyond the possible practical meaning of houses, persons, papers, and effects, or so to apply the words search and seizure as to forbid hearing or sight.
Congress may, of course, protect the secrecy of telephone messages by making them, when intercepted, inadmissible in evidence in federal criminal trials, by direct legislation, *466 and thus depart from the common law of evidence. But the courts may not adopt such a policy by attributing an enlarged and unusual meaning to the Fourth Amendment. The reasonable view is that one who installs in his house a telephone instrument with connecting wires intends to project his voice to those quite outside, and that the wires beyond his house, and messages while passing over them, are not within the protection of the Fourth Amendment. Here those who intercepted the projected voices were not in the house of either party to the conversation.
7 The statute of Washington, adopted in 1909, provides (Remington Compiled Statutes 1922, s 2656(18) that:
‘Every person * * * who shall intercept, read or in any manner interrupt or delay the sending of a message over any telegraph or telephone line * * * shall be guilty of a misdemeanor.’

Mr. Justice BRANDEIS (dissenting):

‘We must never forget,’ said Mr. Chief Justice Marshall in McCulloch v. Maryland, 4 Wheat. 316, 407 4 L. Ed. 579, ‘that it is a Constitution we are expounding.’ Since then this court has repeatedly sustained the exercise of power by Congress, under various clauses of that instrument, over objects of which the fathers could not have dreamed. See Pensacola Telegraph Co. v. Western Union Telegraph Co., 96 U. S. 1, 9, 24 L. Ed. 708; Northern Pacific Ry. Co. v. North Dakota, 250 U. S. 135, 39 S. Ct. 502, 63 L. Ed. 897; Dakota Central Telephone Co. v. South Dakota, 250 U. S. 163, 39 S. Ct. 507, 63 L. Ed. 910, 4 A. L. R. 1623; Brooks v. United States, 267 U. S. 432, 45 S. Ct. 345, 69 L. Ed. 699, 37 A. L. R. 1407. We have likewise held that general limitations on the powers of government, like those embodied in the due process clauses of the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments, do not forbid the United States or the states from meeting modern conditions by regulations which ‘a century ago, or even half a century ago, probably would have been rejected as arbitrary and oppressive.’ Village of Euclid v. Ambler Realty Co., 272 U. S. 365, 387, 47 S. Ct. 114, 118 (71 L. Ed. 303); Buck v. Bell, 274 U. S. 200, 47 S. Ct. 584, 71 L. 1000. Clauses guaranteeing to the individual protection against specific abuses of power, must have a similar capacity of adaptation to a changing world. It was with reference to such a clause that this court said in Weems v. United States, 217 U. S. 349, 373, 30 S. Ct. 544, 551 (54 L. Ed. 793, 19 Ann. Cas. 705):

No court which looked at the words of the amendment rather than at its underlying purpose would hold, as this court did in Ex parte Jackson, 96 U. S. 727, 733, 24 L. Ed. 877, that its protection extended to letters in the mails. **572 The provision against self-incrimination in the Fifth Amendment has been given an equally broad construction. The language is:
‘No person * * * shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself.’
Yet we have held not only that the *477 protection of the amendment extends to a witness before a grand jury, although he has not been charged with crime (Counselman v. Hitchcock, 142 U. S. 547, 562, 586, 12 S. Ct. 195, 35 L. Ed. 1110), but that:
‘It applies alike to civil and criminal proceedings, wherever the answer might tend to subject to criminal responsibility him who gives it. The privilege protects a mere witness as fully as it does one who is also a party defendant.’ McCarthy v. Arndstein, 266 U. S. 34, 40, 45 S. Ct. 16, 17 (69 L. Ed. 158).
Independently of the constitutional question, I am of opinion that the judgment should be reversed. By the laws of Washington, wire tapping is a crime.13 Pierce’s *480 Code 1921, s 8976(18). To prove its case, the government was obliged to lay bare the crimes committed by its officers on its behalf. A federal court should not permit such a prosecution to continue. Compare Harkin v. Brundage (No. 117) 276 U. S. 36, 48 S. Ct. 268, 72 L. Ed. 457, decided February 20, 1928.
As Judge Rudkin said below (19 F.(2d) 842):
‘Here we are concerned with neither eavesdroppers nor thieves. Nor are we concerned with the acts of private individuals. * * * We are concerned only with the acts of federal agents, whose powers are limited and controlled by the Constitution of the United States.’

Decency, security, and liberty alike demand that government officials shall be subjected to the same rules of conduct that are commands to the citizen. In a government of laws, existence of the government will be imperiled if it fails to observe the law scrupulously. Our government is the potent, the omnipresent teacher. For good or for ill, it teaches the whole people by its example. Crime is contagious. If the government becomes a lawbreaker, it breeds contempt for law; it invites every man to become a law unto himself; it invites anarchy. To declare that in the administration of the criminal law the end justifies the means-to declare that the government may commit crimes in order to secure the conviction of a private criminal-would bring terrible retribution. Against that pernicious doctrine this court should resolutely set its face.

Mr. Justice HOLMES.
My brother BRANDEIS  has given this case so exhaustive an examination that I desire to add but a few words.

For those who agree with me no distinction can be taken between the government as prosecutor and the government as judge. If the existing code does not permit district attorenys to have a hand in such dirty business it does not permit the judge to allow such iniquities to succeed. See Silverthorne Lumber Co. v. United States, 251 U. S. 385, 40 S. Ct. 182, 64 L. Ed. 319, 24 A. L. R. 1426. And if all that I have said so far be accepted it makes no difference that in this case wire tapping is made a crime by the law of the state, not by the law of the United States. It is true that a state cannot make rules of evidence for courts of the United States, but the state has authority over the conduct in question, and I hardly think that the United States would appear to greater advantage when paying for an odious crime against state law than when inciting to the disregard of its own. I am aware of the often-repeated statement that in a criminal proceeding the court will not take notice of the manner in which papers offered in evidence have been obtained. But that somewhat rudimentary mode of disposing of the question has been overthrown by Weeks v. United States, 232 U. S. 383, 34 S. Ct. 341, 58 L. Ed. 652, L. R. A. 1915B, 834, Ann. Cas. 1915C, 1177, and the cases that have followed it. I have said that we are free to choose between two principles of policy. But if we are to confine ourselves to precedent and logic the reason for excluding evidence obtained by violating the Constitution seems to me logically to lead to excluding evidence obtained by a crime of the officers of the law.

 

 

 

From Scientific American: Nuclear Reactor Approved in U.S. for First Time Since 1978


(Photo Courtesy of Southern Co.)
Sustainability
Nuclear Reactor Approved in U.S. for First Time Since 1978
http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/first-new-nuclear-reactor-in-us-since-1978-approved/
But no nuclear renaissance appears to be imminent, despite the go-ahead to build and operate two new reactors in Georgia
By David Biello on February 9, 2012 73
Years of shifting and smoothing Georgia red clay paid off today, as the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) voted to allow construction of two new nuclear reactors (pdf) at the Plant Vogtle nuclear power station near Augusta. Atlanta–based utility giant Southern Co. will soon have permission to complete construction and operate two AP1000 type nuclear reactors designed by Westinghouse.
But what were initially lauded as the first reactors of a nuclear renaissance when proposed are more likely to be the exceptions that prove the rule of no new nuclear construction in the U.S. Only this twin set of reactors in Georgia, another pair in South Carolina and the completion of an old reactor in Tennessee are likely to be built in the U.S. for at least the next decade. “We won’t build large numbers of new nuclear plants in the U.S. in the near term,” says Marvin Fertel, president of the Nuclear Energy Institute, a lobbying group for the nuclear industry.
The problem is twofold: electricity demand in the U.S. is not growing and natural gas, which can be burned to generate electricity, is cheap. As a result, utilities are building more natural gas–burning turbines rather than more expensive nuclear power plants.
“Today, you ought to build gas,” Fertel admits. But “you don’t want to build only gas.”
That may become even truer as old coal-fired power plants are forced to retire by new pollution rules and/or natural gas prices rebound. Given the long lead times required to gain permits and actually build a nuclear power plant, however, five new reactors may be as many as the U.S. will see erected during this decade. “If they are built, I suspect all of them are post-2020,” says Fertel of other reactor applications awaiting NRC review.
In fact, the only reason utilities in Georgia and South Carolina are building the new reactors is because the governments in those states have allowed them to pre-charge customers for their cost. Southern Co. is already charging customers $3.73 per month for the reactors’ construction, expected to cost roughly $14 billion, and may receive a more than $8-billion loan guarantee from the federal government. In the absence of a national government policy that puts a premium on electricity generation that results in fewer emissions of greenhouse gases, there is little incentive to build nuclear power plants in the U.S. “If we get back to the carbon discussion, that will have an effect on new plants that are built,” argues Bill Johnson, CEO of Progress Energy, one of the utilities filing for a construction license but with no plans to actually build a nuclear power plant in the near future. “Nuclear can’t compete today.
Other than the Watts Bar unit No. 2 in Tennessee, which will simply be the completion of a reactor that started construction in the 1970s, the four new plants will all employ a novel design—the AP1000. They will be the first to employ so-called passive safety features, or technology that kicks in with or without human intervention. In the case of the AP1000 that means cooling water sits above the reactor core and, in the event of a meltdown like the ones at Fukushima Daiichi, will flow via gravity into the core to cool it with the automatic opening of a heat-sensitive valve.
Furthermore, although the thick steel vessel containing the nuclear reactor is encased in a shell of 1.2-meter-thick concrete, that shell is itself surrounded by a building that is open to the sky. Should the concrete containment vessel begin to heat up during a meltdown, natural convection would pull cooling air inside.
The NRC initially rejected that open-air building for a lack of structural strength. The U.S. regulator argued that it would not withstand a severe shock such as an earthquake or airplane impact because it was initially planned to be built from prefabricated concrete and steel modules to save money.
The NRC approved a modified design (pdf) in December that employs more steel reinforcement, among other changes. Nevertheless, NRC Chairman Gregory Jaczko voted against approving the license for the two reactors at Vogtle today unless they incorporated a “binding obligation that these plants will have implemented the lessons learned from the Fukushima accident before they operate.” The commission also required more inspection and testing of the explosive-opened valves that would allow venting in case of an accident.
Already, the Shaw Group facility in Lake Charles, La., a nuclear equipment supplier, has begun churning out gear for the new nuclear power plants. A “mini skyscraper,” in the words of Westinghouse CEO Aris Candris, has been built at Vogtle to allow for final assembly of the modules that will reach the site by truck or rail. “Both sites are as ready as you can be,” he adds. “Rebar is sitting outside the hole ready to go.”
A global revival of interest in nuclear power technology remains underway, despite the April 2011 meltdowns at Fukushima Daiichi in Japan. China is already building four AP1000s and more than 20 other reactors currently—and many other countries are considering new plant construction, from the Czech Republic to India.
But in the U.S., even just to maintain the current fleet of 104 reactors, which provide 20 percent of the nation’s electricity supply, would require building as many replacement reactors by 2030. In fact, nuclear power production may shrink in the U.S. before it grows. Aging reactors, even with life extensions of another two decades, will begin to drop off the grid in coming years. “Twenty years is the blink of an eye for 100 gigawatts. The time is now to begin to deploy new nuclear,” says David Christian, CEO of Virginia-based utility Dominion Generation, although his company has no plans to do so before the end of the decade. “We’re in danger of missing that window.”

The epitomy of stupidity and embaressment for Georgians who know better. Plus, we have to help pay for it. They call it investment! I don’t invest in my own death. How fucking stupid are these people? Every nuke plant in this country is failing, or will soon be. The life has expired, and all ours’ with it. Mankind will be extinct.

Ebola Updates from CDC

Disinfectants to Use Against Ebola, According to the CDC:
Disinfectants for Use Against the Ebola Virus 8/26/2015

Go Here: http://www.epa.gov/oppad001/ebola-list-L-aug2015.pdf

To confirm the products in the list above, go here:
http://www.epa.gov/oppad001/atp-product-list.pdf

And also check it here as well:
http://www2.epa.gov/pesticide-registration/antimicrobial-testing-program

Case counts updated in conjunction with the World Health Organization updates and are based on information reported by the Ministries of Health.

As of August 25, 2015
(Updated August 27, 2015)

Main Page (2014 West Africa Outbreak)
Countries with Widespread Transmission
Country Total (Suspected, Probable) Confirmed Cases Total Deaths
Guinea 3797 3336 2528
Sierra Leone 13582 8697 3952
Total 17379 12033 6480
Countries with Former Widespread Transmission and Current, Established Control Measures1
Country Total (Suspected, Probable) Confirmed Total
Liberia2 10666 3151 4806
Liberia3 6 6 2
Total 10672 3157 4808
Previously Affected Countries4
Country Total (Suspected, Probable) Confirmed Total Deaths
Nigeria 20 19 8
Senegal 1 1 0
Spain 1 1 0
United States 4 4 1
Mali 8 7 6
United Kingdom 1 1 0
Italy 1 1 0
Total 36 34 15

1 This category also includes countries that have experienced widespread transmission but are transitioning to being declared free of Ebola. The World Health Organization is responsible for determining when a country will be declared free of Ebola virus transmission. Public health authorities in these countries should maintain active surveillance for new cases of Ebola and identify, locate and monitor any potential contacts.

2 The World Health Organization declared the end of the Ebola outbreak in Liberia on May 9, 2015, after 42 days (two incubation periods) had passed since the last Ebola patient was buried. On May 13, 2015, CDC changed the country classification for Liberia to a country with former widespread transmission and current, established control measures. Public health authorities are maintaining active surveillance so that any new cases of Ebola are rapidly identified.

3 On June 29, routine surveillance detected a new confirmed case of Ebola in Liberia—the first since March 20. The person died on June 28 and postmortem testing confirmed Ebola. CDC is working closely with the Liberian government and other international partners to investigate the chain of transmission, identify any new cases, and prevent further spread.

4 There are currently no cases of Ebola in Senegal, Nigeria, Spain, the United States, Mali, the United Kingdom, and Italy. A country is considered to be free of Ebola virus transmission when 42 days (double the 21-day incubation period of the Ebola virus) has elapsed since the last patient in isolation became laboratory negative for EVD.

Judge Napolitano: Hillary Clinton Provided Material Assistance To Terrorists And Lied To Congress | Video | RealClearPolitics

Gunny G: Bloggin' BAD!

Judge Napolitano: Hillary Clinton Provided Material Assistance To Terrorists And Lied To Congress

On FOX Business News this morning, FOX News chief legal correspondent Judge Andrew Napolitano told FBN host Charles Payne a “conspiracy existed” among President Obama, then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, the Treasury Department and various Congressional leaders to have arms sent to rebels in Syria and Libya.

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