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The White House is resisting calls for a national moratorium on foreclosures despite revelations that major lenders may have committed fraud while forcing thousands of people out of their homes. On Friday, Bank of America became the first bank to halt foreclosures in all fifty states. JPMorgan Chase and Ally Financial have suspended foreclosures in twenty-three states. But on Sunday White House adviser David Axelrod said a national moratorium is not needed.
David Axelrod on Face the Nation: “We’re working with these institutions. I’m not sure about a national moratorium, because there are, in fact, valid foreclosures that probably should go forward.”
Federal Housing Administration Commissioner David Stevens also opposes a nationwide moratorium, telling the Washington Post it is not the “prudent step to take in this fragile housing market.” Meanwhile, the Washington Post reports the attorneys general of up to forty states plan to announce soon a joint investigation into banks’ use of flawed foreclosure paperwork.
The nation’s official unemployment rate remained at 9.6 percent in September as 95,000 jobs were lost in the month. September marked the seventeenth month in a row that the unemployment rate was over nine percent.
The wife of jailed Chinese pro-democracy activist Liu Xiaobo has been placed under house arrest in Beijing just days after her husband won the Nobel Peace Prize. The group Human Rights in China says Liu Xia is being barred from contacting media and friends and has been told she may only leave her home when escorted in a police car. She was placed under house arrest just after she was allowed to visit her husband in jail. Following the visit, she told friends that Liu Xiaobo had dedicated the Nobel award to “all the lost souls” of the 1989 Tiananmen protests. Meanwhile, a group of seventeen pro-democracy activists were reportedly detained in Beijing on Friday as they arrived at a restaurant to celebrate Liu’s award.
In other Nobel news, this year’s prize for economics has been awarded to Peter Diamond of MIT, Dale Mortensen of Northwestern University and Christopher Pissarides of the London School of Economics.
The Republican candidate for governor in New York said Sunday that children should not be “brainwashed” into thinking that homosexuality is acceptable. Tea Party favorite Carl Paladino made the remarks before a group of Hasidic Jewish leaders, in Brooklyn.
Carl Paladino: “I didn’t march in a gay parade this year — the gay pride parade this year. My opponent did. And that’s not the example that we should be showing our children… My approach is live and let live. I just think my children and your children would be much better off and much more successful getting married and raising a family, and I don’t want them to be brainwashed into thinking that homosexuality is an equally valid or successful option. It isn’t.”
Newsday reported that Carl Paladino’s prepared remarks also included a sentence saying, “There is nothing to be proud of in being a dysfunctional homosexual.’’ But Paladino omitted that line when he gave the speech. Paladino made the remarks on the same day that eight men were arraigned on hate crime charges in New York after they allegedly brutally beat and tortured three men because of their sexuality.
The congressional race in northwest Ohio took a surprising turn this weekend when photos emerged showing Republican candidate Rich Iott wearing a Nazi uniform and participating in Nazi reenactments. Iott is a Tea Party favorite who is challenging incumbent Marcy Kaptur. Iott told The Atlantic magazine that he was involved with a group of Nazi reenacters over a number of years, but said his interest in Nazi Germany was historical and that he has dressed up for other military reenactments as well.
There has been another shakeup in President Obama’s inner circle. White House National Security Adviser General Jim Jones announced his retirement Friday and has been replaced by Tom Donilon. Donilon is reported to have counseled the President last year to resist Pentagon requests for a larger troop increase in Afghanistan.
The Israeli cabinet has approved a proposal to require that all non-Jews seeking citizenship take a loyalty oath to “the State of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state.” Twenty-two cabinet ministers voted for the oath; eight voted against it. On Sunday, over 100 Israeli artists, writers and intellectuals held a demonstration against the measure, warning that Israel was becoming a fascist state.
A Syrian man who was held at Guantánamo for seven years has filed a lawsuit against the United States. In the suit, Abdul Razak al Janko describes his time at Guantánamo as a “decade-long Kafkaesque nightmare.” Janko was detained by the US in 2002 after he was held for eighteen months by the Taliban or al-Qaeda on suspicion that he was a pro-American Israeli spy. While at Guantánamo, his lawyers say that he suffered a broken knee and other injuries during interrogations and that he has tried to commit suicide seventeen times. The thirty-two-year-old Janko is the first man who was released through a Guantánamo habeas petition to file a civil case.
In news from Ecuador, one of the three police commanders who has been charged in the recent unsuccessful coup attempt against President Rafael Correa has been identified as a graduate of the School of the Americas in Ft. Benning, Georgia. According to SOA Watch, Colonel Manuel Rivadeneira Tello was a graduate of the SOA’s combat arms training course. Rivadeneira was the commander of the barracks where President Correa was attacked by protesting police.
In a jailhouse confession, a California man has admitted it was Fox News host Glenn Beck who inspired him to plot the assassination of employees of the ACLU and the Tides Foundation. Byron Williams made national headlines in July, when he was arrested after he opened fire on California Highway Patrol officers. The shootout occurred as Williams was driving to the headquarters of the Tides Foundation headquarters in San Francisco. Earlier today, the media watchdog group Media Matters released audio from a jailhouse interview in which Williams talks about Beck’s influence.
Byron Williams: “I would have never started watching Fox News if it wasn’t for the fact that Beck was on there. And it was the things that he did, it was the things he exposed, that blew my mind. I said, 'Well, nobody does this.' …Beck will never say anything about a conspiracy, will never
advocate violence. He’ll never do anything of this nature. But he’ll give you every ounce of evidence that you could possibly need. Go look at all the stuff that you’ll find. I would suggest you go back and see, try to find the videos about –– all the June videos.”
That was Byron Williams being interviewed by freelance journalist John Hamilton. According to Media Matters, in the eighteen months before the shooting, Beck used his Fox News show to attack the Tides Foundation twenty-nine times, claiming that the small foundation is part of a secret George Soros-funded plot to infiltrate and gain control of big businesses and to indoctrinate the youth of America. Even after the shooting Beck continued to threaten Tides.
Glenn Beck: “I’m just going to throw this message out for the people at the Tides Foundation: I’m coming for you. Oh, I’m coming for you. Well, no, not in a — not — Glenn Beck making threats? No, mm-mm. Nope, I’m just going to reverse all the things that you have done, all the things that you have done. The tide is about to change.”
In what’s been described as the world’s biggest day of climate action, over 7,000 rallies and events were held Sunday in 188 Countries. The “10/10/10 Global Work Party” was organized by 350.org to urge people across the globe to do something in their city or community that will help deal with global warming.
And Saturday marked what would have been John Lennon’s seventieth birthday. His widow Yoko Ono commemorated the day by awarding the Lennon Ono Peace Award to filmmaker Josh Fox, director of the documentary Gasland, writers Alice Walker and Michael Pollan, and food safety spokesperson Barbara Kowalcyk.