Hermann Missouri 175 Year Anniversary 1836-2011

Hermann Missouri 175 Year Anniversary 1836-2011
Hermann Missouri 175 Year Anniversary 1836-2011

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Friday, September 2, 2011

WikiLeaks Cables Just Released: LINK to 251,287 Cables No Download Needed (Browse 60 gigs)


WikiLeaks releases unredacted U.S. cables

Robert Marquand | The Christian Science Monitor
September 2, 2011

Here is the link to all the Wiki leaks cables - no download needed now to view them.

Wiki leaks released 60 gig of cables yesterday.

There is a search keyword also on the site.  You can put in a keyword of cables that may interest you in certain areas. 

When WikiLeaks first started releasing US diplomatic cables, it invoked ideals of universal truth and transparency as its motivation.
While those are noble goals, this summer a new question began to emerge about the WikiLeaks release – or nonrelease – of the cables: Who decides in highly partisan local settings which cables are put out for public consumption?
Yet the WikiLeaks release today of all 251,287 cables in uncensored form blows that question out of the water.
Saying it is “shining a light on 45 years of US 'diplomacy',” WikiLeaks today made its entire cache of State Department cables searchable on the web – an act that US officials say will expose whistleblowers and informants in China, Afghanistan, the Arab world, and elsewhere to danger. It has also resulted in new revelations about a grisly massacre of an extended family in 2006 by US troops in Iraq.
The move by the controversial organization, originally set up by Julian Assange to “crack the world open and let it flower into something new,” follows a week of cables showing up in mainstream media after the compromise of a secret cache.
In a sense, WikiLeaks itself was starting to leak.
How the cables began appearing is a bumbling narrative starting with the creation of the secret cache, moving to the split of Mr. Assange and his main confidant, the publishing of a password in a book by British reporters, and an article last week in Berlin newspaper Der Freitag that drew a connection between the cache and the password – all leading by twists and turns to the cables being accessible.
Assange is seen now by analysts as simply deciding in the midst of his own leak crisis, to take the lead.
Today the five news organizations – The New York Times, the Guardian, El Pais, Der Spiegel, and Le Monde – that published Wikileaks cables only after they were redacted by US intelligence officials to protect informants, immediately condemned the uncensored cable release, saying it “could put sources at risk.” And in separate statement today, Le Monde said that the crisis seemed almost inevitable.

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. Important Note: FAIR USE NOTICE: This blog may contain copyrighted (©) material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. Such material is made available to advance understanding of ecological, political, human rights, economic, democracy, scientific, moral, ethical, and social justice issues, etc. It is believed that this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior general interest in receiving similar information for research and educational purposes. "Copyright Disclaimer Under Section 107 of the Copyright Act 1976, allowance is made for "fair use" for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research. Fair use is a use permitted by copyright statute that might otherwise be infringing. Non-profit, educational or personal use tips the balance in favor of fair use." . ________________________________________________________________________

Feds Finally Sue Big Banks Over Sales of Toxic Investments

Feds sue big banks over sales of risky investments

 Sept 2, 2011

NEW YORK (AP) -- The government on Friday sued 17 financial firms, including the largest U.S. banks, for selling Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac billions of dollars worth of mortgage-backed securities that turned toxic when the housing market collapsed.
Among those targeted by the lawsuits were Bank of America Corp., Citigroup Inc., JP Morgan Chase & Co., and Goldman Sachs Group Inc. Large European banks including The Royal Bank of Scotland, Barclays Bank and Credit Suisse were also sued.
The lawsuits were filed by the Federal Housing Finance Agency. It oversees Fannie and Freddie, the two agencies that buy mortgages loans and mortgage securities issued by the lenders.
The total price tag for the mortgage-backed securities sold to Fannie and Freddie by the firms named in the lawsuits: $196 billion.
The government didn't say how much it is seeking in damages. It said it wants to have the securities sales canceled and wants to be compensated for lost principal, interest payments as well as for attorney fees.
The government action is a big blow to the banks, many of which have seen their stock prices fall to levels not seen since the financial crisis in 2008 and 2009. Until now, the stocks have been undermined mostly by unrelated worries about the U.S. and European economies.
It is particularly damaging to Bank of America, which bought Countrywide Financial Corp. in 2008 and Merrill Lynch in 2009. All three are being separately sued by the government for mortgage-backed security sales totaling $57.5 billion.
After Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase was listed in the lawsuits with the second-highest total at $33 billion. Royal Bank of Scotland followed at $30.4 billion.
Bank of America has already paid $12.7 billion this year to settle similar claims. Last month insurer American International Group Inc. sued the bank for more than $10 billion for allegedly selling it faulty mortgage investments.
In a statement Friday, Bank of America rejected the claims in the government's lawsuits.
Fannie and Freddie invested heavily in the mortgage-backed securities even after their regulator said they didn't have the needed risk-management capabilities, the bank said. "Despite this, (Fannie and Freddie) are now seeking to hold other market participants responsible for their losses," it said.
Bank stocks fell sharply on Friday as news of the government's lawsuits emerged. Bank of America tumbled 8.3 percent, JP Morgan Chase fell 4.6 percent, Citigroup lost 5.3 percent, Goldman shed off 4.5 percent and Morgan Stanley's ended down 5.7 percent.
Residential mortgage-backed securities bundled pools of mortgages into complex investments. They collapsed after the real-estate bust and helped fuel the financial crisis in late 2008.
The FHFA said the mortgage-backed securities were sold to Fannie and Freddie based on documents that "contained misstatements and omissions of material facts concerning the quality of the underlying mortgage loans, the creditworthiness of the borrowers, and the practices used to originate such loans."
The FHFA filed a similar lawsuit in July against Swiss bank UBS AG, seeking to recoup more than $900 million in losses from mortgage-backed securities.
Also sued Friday were are Ally Financial Inc., formerly known GMAC LLC, Deutsche Bank AG, First Horizon National Corp., General Electric Co., HSBC North America Holdings Inc., Morgan Stanley, Nomura Holding America Inc., and Societe Generale.
JPMorgan, Goldman, Citigroup and Morgan Stanley declined to comment on the lawsuits. Ally Financial said in a statement said the government's "claims are meritless, and the company intends to defend its position aggressively." A spokeswoman for First Horizon said the bank intends to "vigorously defend" itself.
Ken Thomas, a Miami-based banking consultant and economist, said he expects the banks to settle soon with the government.
"This will be nothing but a distraction to them and the quicker you settle something like this the better," he said.
Christina Rexrode contributed to this report.

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DWI Check-Points This Weekend in Franklin County


September 2, 2011

The Franklin County Sheriff's Department will be conducting DWI checkpoints this weekend. It's part of the effort by law enforcement to remove drunk drivers from the state's streets and highways during the "You Drink, You Drive, You Lose Campaign." The sheriff's office conducted two sobriety checkpoints last Friday on Highway W in Stanton and at Highway 100 and Route T in Villa Ridge. Officers checked 231 vehicles resulting in nine DWI arrests. A federal grant is used to pay officer overtime hours.
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The WEDGE: Newport Beach California, Killer Waves Dude, Sept. 2 2011 VIDEO


Massive Waves To Pummel Southland Beaches Through Sunday

» PHOTOS: Massive Waves Pummel Newport Beach

Missouri 'Rhine Valley' Begins Winery Promotion: Hermann Country Fair & Civil War Days, New Haven Tunes & Balloons, Washington Brewfest, Augusta Harvest Festival


Missouri's 'Rhine Valley' launches winery promotion

BY JUDITH EVANS > Post-Dispatch Food Editor
September 1, 2011

Wineries in the Missouri Rhine Valley -- the area along the Missouri River between St. Charles and Hermann -- have launched a Passport program to encourage visitors throughout September.
The program highlights these events:
The Passports are free and are available at various venues in the area, but the easiest way to obtain one is to send an email to PassportMRVA@yahoo.com (put "Passport" in the subject line). Visitors to three or more of the events may enter a drawing for gift certificates and other prizes.
The prizes will be awarded during the Meet the Missouri Rhine Valley Fall Fare, 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Nov. 5 at Robller Winery in New Haven. The event will feature artisans, vintners, food producers and entrepreneurs from the area, and admission is free. You do not have to be present to win a Passport prize.
The Passport is the first program from the new Missouri Rhine Valley Association (MRVA), a non-profit group of food producers, wineries, artisans, tourism venues, retailers and government agencies. The Passport event is sponsored by the Missouri Wine and Grape Board.

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BANKER FRAUD: Bogus mortgage docs date back to late 1990s


Robo-signed mortgage docs date back to late 1990s

Associated Press 
September 1, 2011

Counties across the United States are discovering that illegal or questionable mortgage paperwork is far more widespread than first thought, tainting the deeds of tens of thousands of homes dating to the late 1990s.
The suspect documents could create legal trouble for homeowners for years.
Already, mortgage papers are being invalidated by courts, insurers are hesitant to write policies, and judges are blocking banks from foreclosing on homes. The findings by various county registers of deeds have also hindered a settlement between the 50 state's attorneys general who are investigating big banks and other mortgage lenders over controversial mortgage practices.
The problem of shoddy mortgage paperwork, which comprises several shortcuts known collectively as "robo-signing," led the nation's largest banks, including Bank of America Corp., JPMorgan Chase & Co., Wells Fargo & Co., and other lenders to temporarily halt foreclosures nationwide in the fall of 2010.
At the time, "robo-signing" was thought to be contained to the affidavits that banks file and use to prove they have the right to seize a home for foreclosure. Companies that process mortgages said they were so overwhelmed with paperwork that they cut corners.
But now, as county officials review years' worth of mortgage paperwork, in some cases combing through one page at a time, they are finding suspect signatures _ either signed with the same name by dozens of different people, improperly notarized or signed without a review of the facts in the paperwork _ on all sorts of mortgage documents, dating back as far back as 1998, The Associated Press has found.
"Because of these bad titles, property owners can't prove they own the properties they think they bought, and banks can't prove they had the right to sell them," says Jeff Thigpen, the registrar of deeds in Guilford County, N.C.
In Guilford County, where Greensboro is located, a sample of 6,100 mortgage documents filed since 2006 turned up 74 percent with questionable signatures. Thigpen says his office received 456 more documents with suspect signatures from Oct. 1, 2010, through June 30.
The suspect signatures found by Thigpen and other registrars around the country were on documents from the banks involved in the temporary foreclosure halt and others like Citigroup.
Widespread robo-signing that stretches back a decade or more could create problems for homeowners. Regulators have so far not asked lenders to clean up the potentially millions of suspect documents filed in the past decade or earlier. That troubles some banking experts, including Sheila Bair, who until early July was chairwoman of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.
"We do not yet really know the full extent of the problem," Bair said in written remarks to the Senate Banking Committee. She and others have called for a comprehensive study on the extent of the fraudulent signatures in mortgage documents.
If documents with robo-signed signatures are challenged in court, judges could question the ownership of the properties, says Katherine Porter, a professor at University of California Irvine School of Law and an expert on consumer credit law. The consequences extend to homeowners in good standing when they try to sell.
If invalid documents are discovered in the chain of ownership, it could delay the sale or make it difficult for buyers to get a mortgage because title insurers won't write a policy for the property, says Justin Ailes, vice president of government affairs of the American Land Title Association, a trade association representing the title insurance industry. Banks and other mortgage lenders won't write a home loan without title insurance.
Among the findings shared with The Associated Press by county officials from several states:
_ An investigation of mortgage documents in the county that includes Salem, Mass., found that more than 25,000 had suspect signatures. The earliest date to 1998, says John O'Brien, the registrar of deeds there.
_ In Michigan, the state attorney general has sent criminal subpoenas to three companies that processed mortgage paperwork after 24 local recorders of deeds looked through their files and found rampant robo-signing.
_ An Illinois county, Kankakee, pulled a sample of 60 documents filed since 2007 to look for suspect signatures. All 60 were "signed" by people who have been identified as robo-signers. At least 12 county officials in Illinois have sent their findings to the state attorney general.
The results of these reviews are troubling to the registers of deeds in counties across the country. It's job of these front line officials to record documents on property transfers and they need to be able to trust that notarized paperwork is legitimate.
"I want papers that come into our office to be clean," says Lori Gadbois, the recorder of deeds in Kankakee County, whose office handles more than 15,000 mortgage documents in a typical month.
Many banks began outsourcing paperwork at the beginning of the housing boom around 1998. That's when an increasing number of home loans were being packaged into securities on Wall Street and sold off to global investors. As demand skyrocketed, lenders and mortgage processing firms hired entry-level employees to sign hundreds of mortgage documents a day.
Sometimes they forged the signatures of executives who were qualified to sign. Other times, actual executives signed the documents without ever verifying their accuracy. Many of the documents were stamped by notaries even though the people who had signed the documents weren't present when the papers were notarized, a requirement by law.
All are instances of robo-signing, and are illegal because they involve people signing legal documents and swearing to their accuracy without verifying any of the information.
In that sense, robo-signing is different from auto-pen signing that's used when, say, the president uses a machine to sign a pile of documents. Those are usually cards and letters, not legal documents.
The 50 state attorneys general have been negotiating a settlement with banks over robo-signing and other bad mortgage practices. Analysts say it could top $20 billion. But the attorneys general of some states, including New York, Massachusetts, Illinois, Delaware and California, have balked because banks have demanded a release from all future liability on past mortgage practices or the mortgage-backed securities they sold to investors.
Meanwhile, federal bank regulators have focused on getting banks to clean up their act in the future, not on fixing the potentially millions of tainted documents that have been filed in land record offices in counties across the country.
Robo-signing came to light last fall, when the largest banks halted foreclosures for several months to clean up their paperwork problem. The lenders promised last fall to stop the practice. But The Associated Press reported in July that robo-signing has continued. Officials in at least four states say mortgage documents with suspect signatures have been filed with counties in recent months. The revelation led to calls for Congressional hearings.
"The banks are playing with the integrity of the land record system," says John O'Brien, the recorder of deeds from Salem, Mass.
The documents that are filed in county deed offices are legal affidavits that transfer loans from one bank to another in a sale, refinancing, or foreclosure and certify a loan has been paid off. They verify that there are no claims against the property.
Robo-signing could ultimately invalidate tens of thousands of home ownership documents, say legal experts like Porter, the professor and consumer credit law expert.
In addition to delaying regular sales, banks could be blocked from foreclosing even if the homeowner falls behind on mortgage payments for the same reasons.
That's already happening.
Judges who handle foreclosures in Maine, California, Arizona, New York and other states have thrown out cases, effectively stopping a foreclosure, if documents contain signatures of known robo-signers.
On July 1, a state judge in Brooklyn ruled that HSBC lacked the legal authority to foreclose on homeowner Ellen Taher because the mortgage documents that accompanied the filing were signed by at least three known robo-signers.
In May, in another case of a home foreclosure by HSBC, a Maine judge dismissed it calling mortgage documents presented in a case untrustworthy because they contained signatures of one person posing as three different people. HSBC spokesman Neil Brazil says another company handled the mortgage paperwork in the New York case and the bank is working with regulators to address and resolve issues related to robo-signing.
And in Florida, condo associations are taking advantage of paperwork problems at the expense of lenders who own foreclosed homes. The state has a "safe harbor" law that limits how much the bank must pay the condo association in back assessments when it foreclosures on a condo.
Condo associations usually charge owners a monthly fee averaging $400 to maintain the community's property and amenities. They can also charge extra fees, called assessments, if big improvements are needed or if the community adds new amenities. Associations are now using the tainted paperwork to get lenders to pay past-due assessments and dues beyond the limits of the safe harbor law if an owner is behind when a property is sold or foreclosed.
"We've settled hundreds of cases with banks when we find documents that weren't recorded properly or have the signature of a known robo-signer," says Aaron Gordon, in-house legal counsel for LM Funding, a specialty finance company that collects assessments on behalf of condo associations.
Registrars like Thigpen in North Carolina and O'Brien in Massachusetts say they have taken their findings to federal authorities.
Thigpen has wheeled a 2-foot-high stack of 4,500 documents to the office of his representative in Congress, Brad Miller. He has also sent his findings to the North Carolina attorney general and to federal regulators.
Except for a call from the North Carolina attorney general's office, though, Thigpen says he has been ignored for months.
Deed offices in North Carolina and Massachusetts have stopped recording documents if they contain signatures of names known to be part of the robo-signing scandal. Such actions could delay new sales. Gloria Noto, recorder of deeds in Cumberland County, N.J., says she's pushing for a statewide decision to allow county officials to refuse documents they suspect are fraudulent.
O'Brien, the recorder of deeds from Massachusetts, says he's only responsible for one county out of more than 3,000 in the U.S.
"Federal regulators with a lot more authority than me have to step up to the plate and help correct this," he says.
Iowa attorney general Tom Miller, who is leading the settlement talks with big banks on behalf of the 50 state attorneys general, says more study would be futile. Miller did not answer questions about whether an agreement would require banks to clean up problems in paperwork filed long ago.
Even Thursday's action against Goldman Sachs Group Inc. by the nation's chief banking regulator, the Federal Reserve, doesn't address potential paperwork problems before 2009. The Fed said it planned a monetary penalty and ordered Goldman to retain an independent consultant to review foreclosure proceedings initiated by its mortgage loan unit, Litton Loan Servicing, that were pending in 2009 and 2010.
Also Thursday, Litton agreed to stop the practice of robo-signing and halt foreclosures of homes if mortgage paperwork was robo-signed as part of a settlement with New York's Department of Financial Services and Banking Department.
Associated Press business writer Michelle Conlin contributed to this report.

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Appeals Court Ruling: Not Illegal To Film Police - Americans still being arrested for recording cops as a consequence of mass hoax


Appeals Court Rules It Is Not Illegal To Film Police

Paul Joseph Watson
Prison Planet.com
Thursday, September 1, 2011

Despite the mass hoax still being promulgated by both the mainstream media and local authorities across America, the First Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that it is not illegal for citizens to videotape police officers when they are on public duty.
“The filming of government officials while on duty is protected by the First Amendment, said the Court,” reports Daily Tech.
“The filming of government officials engaged in their duties in a public place, including police officers performing their responsibilities, fits comfortably within these principles [of protected First Amendment activity].,” said the Court. “Gathering information about government officials in a form that can readily be disseminated to others serves a cardinal First Amendment interest in protecting and promoting the free discussion of governmental affairs,” stated the ruling, adding that this has been the case all along, and that the right to film police officers is not just restricted to the press.
The case cited several examples where citizens were arrested for documenting acts of police brutality on recording devices, including that of Simon Glik, who was arrested after he filmed Boston police punching a man on the Boston Common.
Another case involved Khaliah Fitchette, a teenager who filmed police aggressively removing a man from a bus in Newark. Fitchette was arrested and detained for two hours before police deleted the video from her cellphone.
The court ruling also made it clear that bloggers who report news based on their recordings of police have equal protection under the law as journalists.
“The proliferation of electronic devices with video-recording capability means that many of our images of current events come from bystanders with a ready cell phone or digital camera rather than a traditional film crew, and news stories are now just as likely to be broken by a blogger at her computer as a reporter at a major newspaper. Such developments make clear why the news-gathering protections of the First Amendment cannot turn on professional credentials or status,” stated the court.
Despite the ruling, state authorities in Illinois are still trying to prosecute 41-year old mechanic Michael Allison for recording police officers in public. Allison faces a life sentence on five separate counts of “eavesdropping” that add up to 75 years.
The Attorney General’s Office is determined to make an example out of Allison in a bid to intimidate the public against filming the actions of police. In brazenly disregarding the law as well as legal precedent (every single charge against people for filming police, including a recent case in Illinois, has been thrown out of court), authorities are clearly using official oppression in their vendetta against Allison.
Despite innumerable cases where charges have been dropped against citizens arrested for filming police, the mass media still constantly invokes the misnomer that it is illegal to record cops in public.
The fact that arrests are still occurring on a regular basis nationwide also underscores how police are being trained to enforce a law that doesn’t exist, before hitting victims of this hoax with charges more severe than those a murderer would expect to receive and expecting them to back down and plea bargain, a startling reflection of the cancerous criminality that has set the United States well on course to becoming a police state.
Paul Joseph Watson is the editor and writer for Prison Planet.com. He is the author of Order Out Of Chaos. Watson is also a regular fill-in host for The Alex Jones Show.

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