The battle for free speech is on as Big Tech cracks down on conservatives on social media.

mark-zuckerberg-facebook-big-tech
No Fear: Big Tech Censors As They Aren’t Afraid of Us
The battle for free speech is on as Big Tech cracks down on conservatives on social media.

By Jenna Ellis

No Fear: Big Tech Censors As They Aren’t Afraid of Us


July 3, 2019

The battle for free speech on the internet is heating up and one thing is clear: Big Tech will bend to criticism from the left, but not the right.

The reason is simple. Silicon Valley does not fear any consequences from conservatives, who are instinctually prone to letting private companies do as they please.

Silicon Valley does not fear any consequences from conservatives, who are instinctually prone to letting private companies do as they please.

Meanwhile, because of the leftist inclinations of their own employees and their need to maintain a healthy relationship with their Democratic political protectors in Washington, the Big Tech companies are terrified of defying the activist left.

We are in the midst of an extensive crackdown on conservative speech by Facebook, Twitter, and Google’s YouTube. YouTube, for example is “demonetizing” and banning channels at an unprecedented rate, and in a complete reversal of its founding ethos, is also totally overhauling its policies to replace an emphasis on free speech with one on preventing “hateful content.”

The most immediate cause is direct pressure from left-wing activists who characterize their explicit efforts to deplatform the right as “journalism.” The YouTube policy changes, for instance, came in response to a coordinated media blitz over conservative comedian Steven Crowder making fun of Vox reporter Carlos Maza.

This network of activist-journalists works closely with groups like the Antifa gangsters who savagely beat Quillette editor Andy Ngo in Portland this weekend. After Ngo was attacked, some of these “journalists” mocked him and tried to justify his beating. Others, including Maza himself, have explicitly and publicly endorsed these violent tactics.

Yet, none of these leftist activists face censorship from Big Tech. In fact, the researcher who exposed their links to Antifa was himself banned from Twitter for doing so.
facebook
Facebook (Official White House Photo)

But now there’s a new dynamic at work. The federal government has begun making the long-awaited opening moves toward the most significant government action ever aimed at Silicon Valley, and Big Tech is paying attention.

The latest wave of censorship, unfortunately, shows that when Big Tech companies are under pressure, their instinct is to veer further left.

The Federal Trade Commission is opening an antitrust investigation into Facebook, and the Justice Department’s Antitrust Division is about to do the same for Google, but that’s not the end of Big Tech’s woes. Somewhere between 12 and 20 state attorneys general are reportedly prepping their own coordinated investigations into Big Tech’s anti-competitive practices and possible violations of state consumer protection laws.

The latest wave of censorship, unfortunately, shows that when Big Tech companies are under pressure, their instinct is to veer further left.

Even with the U.S. Department of Justice and top state law enforcers opening investigations, Silicon Valley remains far more responsive to the threats of Democrats, who are signalling that their own House Judiciary Committee investigation will be framed as a push towards more censorship, not less.

Representative Frank Pallone (D – NJ), who will be among the most prominent Democrats at the upcoming hearings, has already issued a threatening tweet urging more aggressive social media moderation beyond the censorship of conservatives that is already underway.

The last time Facebook executives appeared before her Senate committee, Senator Mazie Hirono (D – HI) similarly made it clear that she thinks the problem with social media is too little censorship, not too much.

Unfortunately, that’s the message Big Tech is responding to, egged on by a liberal press eager to silence competing sources of information. The New York Times, for example, ran a Sunday cover story last month about how YouTube turned a young man into a neo-Nazi, ostensibly through no fault of his own, by allowing voices such as Jordan Peterson and Lauren Southern on its platform.

This was always the activist left’s plan. Shortly after the 2016 election, Media Matters for America leader David Brock produced a memo explicitly calling for pressure on social media companies to deplatform conservatives in hopes that this would prevent a repeat of Trump’s upset victory. Thanks to reporting from Breitbart News and an undercover investigation by Project Veritas, we now know that senior elements within Google share the same goal.
trump-2020
Donald Trump MAGA Rally. The Epoch Times. Creative Commons. Flickr.

The Epoch Times. Creative Commons. Flickr.

The tide can still be turned, though. If the avalanche of antitrust investigations is not enough to convince Big Tech to clean up its act, then conservatives and elected Republicans will have to take an even stronger stand against biased censorship of the modern public square.

If the avalanche of antitrust investigations is not enough to convince Big Tech to clean up its act, then conservatives and elected Republicans will have to take an even stronger stand against biased censorship of the modern public square.

President Trump is setting the tone. He’s making it clear his administration will not sit on the sidelines with a summit on social media at the White House. “Twitter should let the banned Conservative Voices back onto their platform, without restriction. It’s called Freedom of Speech, remember. You are making a Giant Mistake!” the President tweeted in perhaps his strongest message to Big Tech yet.

We’re only at the end of the beginning, not the beginning of the end, in this fight to preserve free speech on the internet. A huge part of that fight will involve the antitrust enforcement that’s starting to take shape, but conservatives can’t rely solely on federal regulators.

Elected Republicans, conservative activists, and the public at large need to follow Donald Trump’s lead and become far more invested in this issue by advocating loudly against censorship and seeking change through grassroots action, lawsuits, and legislation.

Democrats are already out ahead of us, with their 2020 presidential contenders competing fiercely to lock in Silicon Valley campaign contributions.

If conservatives can’t convince the social media giants that we can create as much pressure as the left exerts, Big Tech will continue to dismiss our concerns. They must fear the consequences of their assault on free speech, or else we will have to accept limits on our liberties.

Jenna Ellis (@realJennaEllis) is a member of the Trump 2020 Advisory Board. She is a constitutional law attorney, radio host, and the author of The Legal Basis for a Moral Constitution

Short-Term Pain, Long-Term Wonder Foreclosure.com Scholarship Program Winning Essay 2017, (Grand Prize)

You know, I just read the following article, and see that the “Millennials” are being brain washed. Goldman Sachs said back around 2008 “Only the rich should own houses, everyone else should be renting”. Sorry, I am still looking for the article wherein I quoted from. I will find it, I used that in a brief.

I knew that meant trouble. Even with foreclosure hell in the middle of its heyday, it still meant something. Not long after that, people being foreclosed upon, began being offered the chance to rent the house that they just lost.

Now, these third party entities popped up almost over night, and instead of the properties at foreclosure, reverting back to the lenders, these third parties now purchase at foreclosure auctions. Then they offer to rent you your house, or take you to magistrate court and have your thrown out, instead of the banks having to do that.

Funny thing, if you research most of these third parties, back far enough, the banks own them too, so still the same thing, just different names. Nevertheless, I could not help but post the article. It is obvious that “they” want us all in little apartments in and around the cities, easier to control “us”. I just had not realized that they were in the progress of brain-washing the Millennials into not even wanting to own a house.

Read the article:

Short-Term Pain, Long-Term Wonder
Foreclosure.com Scholarship Program Winning Essay 2017, (Grand Prize)
https://article.foreclosure.com/short-term-pain-long-term-wonder-82f82b90ff52
Go to the profile of Foreclosure.com Staff
Foreclosure.com Staff
Feb 28, 2018
By Jack Duffley | University of Illinois At Urbana-Champaign

foreclosure-kid
(photo from https://article.foreclosure.com/short-term-pain-long-term-wonder-82f82b90ff52)

In the gleeful times of 2005, my parents decided, like so many others, that it was time to “upgrade.” They sold our smaller home on the other side of town, which had appreciated nicely, and bought a 3700 square foot behemoth in a town with already exorbitant property taxes. My younger brother and I were thrilled to finally have a basement, our own rooms, and even a concrete basketball court in our backyard! All eight-year-old me knew was that things were going to be a whole lot more comfortable from there, and my optimistic parents seemed to think the same.

Jack Duffley | University of Illinois At Urbana-Champaign
The year is 2017, and my parents have only just now reached the equity levels in the house that they started with over a decade ago, nearly one-hundred-fifty mortgage payments later. However, after being bombarded by extremely high taxes for that entire time, they are essentially underwater on the property, but see little choice but to hang on for dear life until equity recovers just a bit more before they abandon ship. A thin retirement plan, mostly resting on the house, has forced their hand.

My parents’ story is in no way unique; millions of Americans who purchased homes before the 2008 recession have faced similar dilemmas, often worse than theirs. Many had no choice but to foreclose during the worst of it. After all, the homeownership rate has declined almost 5 points nationwide since the recession.[1] If anything, they can be considered lucky, yet they are still stuck in the mud. Their children, on the other hand, are now at their own fork in the road: to be [a homeowner] or not to be.

And, all things considered, they are often choosing not to be. The census shows a stark dip in homeownership among those under the age of 35 of almost 10 percent, lowering significantly from its peak pre-recessionary levels of 43 percent to a dismal 34 percent. At the same time, rental vacancy rates nationwide fell from over 10 percent to less than 7 percent as more people turned to renting, millennials especially.[2] Why is this happening?

Aside from the obvious fear of the failure that their parents faced, millennials are renting more as they define their own unique lifestyle. Millennials, in ever increasing numbers, are focusing on “living now.” They are choosing to move into urban areas in particular. As a predominantly liberal group, and with large cities tending to lean left, this is partially due to political forces. The majority, however, is due to lifestyle conveniences that come with a city: multiple options for transportation and not needing to own a car, proximity to cultural events and nightlife, and, especially with the decline of the suburbs as retail simultaneously sinks, a more positive future economic outlook. They more readily take the loss in living space for these benefits than their previous generations did.

At the same time, a growing number of millennials are facing burdensome student loan debt. Rather than come out of college with pristine back-end ratios primed for a hefty mortgage, they are handcuffed by the debt that they have amassed in their early twenties. As the Pew Research Center has noted, 37 percent of people under the age of thirty have student loan debt. They contribute to the $1.3 trillion in student debt, leverage that could presumably be used for a mortgage or some other useful credit if it were not locked up already.[3] Millennials are trying to increase their earning power by going to school so that they have the opportunity to advance economically, but it is simultaneously holding many of them back via years of extra debt — debt that is notably not going to a physical asset.

What does this mean for real estate? For the single family home market, it spells disaster, at least in the short term. Grant Cardone, one of the premier real estate investors in the world, calls homeownership a “scam,” and emphasizes that renting over homeownership among young people is becoming more and more popular. He notes that there is a huge need for affordable rentals as millennials deviate away from single family homes. Cardone is always one to advocate renting as a more advantageous and flexible lifestyle choice, and, as it has been mentioned, millennials increasingly value the flexibility that comes with renting instead of buying a home. Many, like Cardone, now see homeownership as a solely negative ordeal.

While it may not be up to the level of a “scam,” there are significant drawbacks with owning a home. For one, it locks up a significant amount of capital, money that could be used for a number of different projects or investments. In sum, homeownership is very expensive, at least in the short term when people make their initial down payment and any potential renovations. This makes it very hard to own a home for people of all ages. Additionally, owning a home can financially lock someone to a particular location, one which they might not want to be in after a while. Finally, for those hoping for appreciation when they purchase their home, as with any investment, there is a chance that it does not pan out. A poorly timed crash can wipe out an owner’s equity in seconds just as it did to my parents and so many others.

While there are drawbacks, the Great Recession and its subsequent lifestyle shift suggest the lack of education about the benefits of owning real estate. Even my parents are constantly warning me of the dangers of homeownership; the shift is not totally driven by millennials themselves. They too are still shaken by their mistakes and the sledgehammer that was the crash. They ignore the value of building equity over the long term, the typical tax benefits that come with a primary residence, and the relative stability of the real estate market because they mistakenly overpaid for a house that, in hindsight, they cannot comfortably afford in a downturn. They just hope that I do not do the same, and rightfully so. However, what millennials should have learned from the recession is not that real estate is bad, but that they simply must be careful and reasonable with what they assume when purchasing it.
3310-Harrison-Rd-east-point
Unfortunately, the average consumer purchases on emotion. With the tremendous amounts of emotional trauma from the recession, millennials are increasingly refusing to buy a home as their parents might have desired at the same age. But what are they purchasing in its place? Many take on higher rents, consistent with the “living now” mentality. Many more use their money to buy a wealth of products online. Some are even speculating on cryptocurrency, something far more unknown than real estate, expecting to make a lot of money. Why do they do that? Because the average consumer purchases on emotion, not on something systematic. Real estate has already been proven to be a relatively safe and a potentially very powerful asset. Instead, the negatives have been, and continue to be, emphasized. This masks the positives of owning a home, or even a simple condo. Millennials in some cases are mistakenly ignoring all real estate and not just the kind of overleveraging or speculating that got their parents into trouble.

Does this spell the end to America? Will the country burst into flames as millennials move to urban areas? Of course not. It must be noted that the current trend does not own the future; millennials could very well begin to purchase homes in huge numbers, especially as prices drop over the next few years. While it is likely that this will not be the case, it is impossible for anyone but millennials themselves to determine that.

What is certain is that, in the short run, there will be pain. The single family housing market is going to suffer as millennials make lifestyle choices contrary to their parents. The market will be oversupplied with single family homes. However, millennials will still need a place to live, just like anyone else. Their increasing demand for urban locations and conveniences will push rent up in cities, as it already has in places like San Francisco and Seattle. This will open a new, and huge, opportunity for real estate investors and developers alike to profit in the cities as millennials develop their own American Dream. After all, a dream is only what a person makes of it, not what someone else defines it as.

References:
[1] U.S. Census Bureau, Annual Homeownership Rates for the United States and Regions: 1968–2016, (accessed Dec 10, 2010), https://www.census.gov/housing/hvs/data/charts/fig05.pdf

[2] U.S. Census Bureau, Annual Rental Vacancy Rates for the United States and Regions: 1968–2016, (accessed Dec 10, 2010), https://www.census.gov/housing/hvs/data/charts/fig03.pdf

[3] Anthony Cilluffo, “5 facts about U.S. student loans,” Pew Research Center, last modified August 24, 2017. http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2017/08/24/5-facts-about-student-loans/

The winning essay above was submitted to Foreclosure.com’s scholarship program.

The 2017 essay topic:
IS THE “AMERICAN DREAM” OF ONE DAY OWNING A HOME ALIVE AND WELL AMONG MILLENNIALS?
Millennials having experienced the “Great Recession,” which was the traumatic housing crisis that triggered the financial crisis a decade ago. As a result, data suggests that Millennials (those born between 1981 to 1997) have been slow to adopt homeownership. Discuss the pros and cons of homeownership for Millennials, as well as which factors could increase or decrease homeownership among the generation. Will their collective hesitation and apprehension hurt them in the long run or are Millennials simply in the process of re-defining the “American Dream?”

2nd Circuit Upholds Insider Trading Conviction of Ex-Goldman Sachs Director The panel’s decision represented the latest retreat from the appellate court’s holding in 2014’s “U.S. v. Newman,” which narrowed prosecutors’ ability to prove insider trading.

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Rajat Gupta, right, with his attorney Gary Naftalis, following his sentencing in 2012. Photo: Louis Lanzano/ Bloomberg
https://www.law.com/newyorklawjournal/2019/01/07/2nd-circuit-upholds-insider-trading-conviction-of-ex-goldman-sachs-director/
By Colby Hamilton | January 07, 2019 at 04:12 PM

For the second time in as many months the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit has declined to reverse an insider trading secured by federal prosecutors before the circuit court’s ruling in United States v. Newman and the sequence of decisions it spawned.

On Monday, the panel, composed of Circuit Judges Amalya Kearse, Richard Wesley and Christopher Droney, denied former Goldman Sachs director Rajat Gupta’s second attempt to have his insider trading conviction overturned. The Second Circuit had previously in 2014 denied Gupta’s argument that the trial court erred in admitting some evidence, while excluding other evidence offered by the defense ahead of his 2012 conviction. He ultimately served 19 months in prison, and was released in 2016.

The current appeal came after U.S. District Judge Jed Rakoff of the Southern District of New York denied Gupta’s motion to vacate his conviction in the wake of the Second Circuit’s 2014 decision in Newman, which substantially narrowed the “personal benefit” requirements of an insider trading relationship. Gupta argued before Rakoff that the jury instructions in his case were legally invalid under Newman.

On appeal, the panel reviewed Gupta’s challenge based on a cause-and-prejudice standard. It agreed with Rakoff’s argument that nothing stopped Gupta from arguing that the jury instructions were faulty on direct appeal from his conviction, since they were made during trial.

The panel observed that its November 2018 decision in Whitman v. United States tracks closely with the dynamics of Gupta’s case, as jury instructions were objected to at trial but weren’t pursued on appeal. Other insider trading cases pursued the line on appeal before Newman, the panel noted, making the claims in Whitman—and therefore Gupta’s case—insufficient to show cause.

Defendants in other insider trading prosecutions were contending that juries should be given narrower definitions of the personal benefit needed to find culpable insider trading,” the panel wrote. “We conclude that [Gupta] presents no viable claim that the personal benefit challenge was unavailable to his counsel on appeal.”

While the panel, having found Gupta failing the cause standard, could arguably have ended its findings there, it proceeded to address the issue of prejudice, and, in doing so, waded directly back in to the circuit’s muddied law on insider trading.

The panel first found that Gupta failed to show the personal benefit instructions were so flawed as to deny him due process, noting that the actual language provided to the jury in question spoke of “maintaining a good relationship with a frequent business partner.”

That last clause proved critical for the panel, who argued it squared with requirements under precedent, but not the Second Circuit’s most recent double take in United States v. Martoma, which is mentioned briefly later. Instead, the panel opted to return to the insider trading Ur-precedent from the Supreme Court’s 1983 decision in Dirks v. SEC.

The Dirks court set out a “varying sets of circumstances…which would warrant a finding of the tipper’s illegal purpose,” the panel noted. Despite the fact the specific language required by Newman for a tangible or pecuniary benefit was not present in Gupta’s jury instructions, the language was satisfactory under Dirks’ seemingly broader “circumstances.”

In fact, the panel’s acknowledgment that Dirks highlighting the ability for a quid pro quo relationship despite “the lack of need for proof of the tipper’s financial or tangible gain” appeared to potentially undercut a portion of the court’s holding in Newman, continuing the erosion that began with the Supreme Court’s findings in Salman v. United States and continued through the two versions of the Second Circuit’s Martoma decision.

The fact that Newman‘s requirement for proof of a tipper’s pecuniary or other tangible gain has been rejected by the Supreme Court disposes of Gupta’s contention that Newman meant the trial court’s instruction that proof of pecuniary or tangible benefit was not necessary caused him to be convicted of a crime for ‘conduct that is not criminal,’” the panel said, quoting from Gupta’s brief on appeal.

A spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York, which secured Gupta’s original conviction and handled the appeal, declined to comment.

Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel name attorney Gary Naftalis handled Gupta’s appeal. He did not respond to a request for comment.

Related:

Censorship in America??? Chilling precedent? InfoWars block exposes Big Tech as no friend of free speech. Alex had been warning us of this for months, it is of no surprise, the only surprise is if we are going to take it!


HomeUS News
Chilling precedent? InfoWars block exposes Big Tech as no friend of free speech
Published time: 6 Aug, 2018 23:19
Edited time: 7 Aug, 2018 07:13
https://www.rt.com/usa/435271-alex-jones-inforwars-censorship/

Chilling precedent? InfoWars block exposes Big Tech as no friend of free speech
Alex Jones at a rally during the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio, July 18, 2016 © Lucas Jackson / Reuters

The US Constitution explicitly forbids government censorship. So Silicon Valley big-tech companies made themselves the gatekeepers of ‘goodthink,’ de-platforming anyone who runs afoul of their arbitrary ‘community standards.’

Alex Jones, the host of InfoWars, has often been derided by establishment media as a conspiracy theorist. Yet on Monday, Apple, Spotify, YouTube and Facebook proved right the motto of his show – “There’s a war on for your mind!” – by blocking or deleting InfoWars accounts from their platforms, saying he allegedly engaged in “hate speech” and violated their “community standards.”

Simply put, these corporations appointed themselves arbiters of acceptable political thought, and censored Jones for failing to comply with arbitrary political standards set in Silicon Valley boardrooms, not at the ballot box.

Whether you like @RealAlexJones and Infowars or not, he is undeniably the victim today of collusion by the big tech giants. What price free speech? https://t.co/DWroGYaWvk
— Nigel Farage (@Nigel_Farage) August 6, 2018

The First Amendment to the US Constitution says that Congress shall make no law “abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press.” There is no “hate speech” exemption, either. In fact, hate speech is not even a legal category in the US. However, a chorus of voices all too glad Jones was purged immediately chimed up to argue that Apple, Alphabet, Facebook and Spotify are private companies and this does not apply to them.

There is a wrinkle in that argument, though: civil rights outfits such as the ACLU have argued that social media amount to a “designated public forum” in cases where government officials tried to avail themselves of blocking, muting and other functions put forth by Big Tech as a way to police “toxicity” on their platforms.

“When the government designates social media a public forum, the First Amendment prohibits it from limiting the discourse based on viewpoint,” the ACLU said in a brief submitted last year in a case before the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals in Virginia. “When a government actor bans critics from speaking in a forum, it silences and chills dissent, warps the public conversation, and skews public perception,” the ACLU brief went on.
Read more


© Adrees Latif Censorship or justice? Twitter debate rages over tech giants’ simultaneous InfoWars ban

In a separate but obviously related case, a federal judge used the “designated public forum” definition to demand that President Donald Trump allow critics access to his personal Twitter account – not the official @POTUS one – because he is a public official.

However, if social media platforms are a “designated public forum” that government is not allowed to exclude people from on First Amendment grounds, how is it OK for corporations that operate these platforms to do so? Or is chilling dissent, warping conversation and skewing perception only bad when a government actor does it, thereby creating a legal system in which the what is irrelevant, and the only thing that matters is who/whom?

There is something deeply cynical about people who until yesterday denounced discrimination and evil corporatism – and will do so again tomorrow – suddenly defending private property and freedom to discriminate against political viewpoints. That’s because this isn’t about principles, but about power.

Liberals were once all for free speech, starting a movement by that name at Berkeley in the 1960s. Now that the media and academia overwhelmingly march in lockstep with the Democratic Party, however, they’re all about “no-platforming” opposing views and calling them “hate speech,” all in an effort to limit the range of permissible thought and expression in America.

Alex Jones’ Warning To The World On Internet Censorship pic.twitter.com/DNdiR6goHb

— Alex Jones (@RealAlexJones) August 6, 2018

This has manifested in many forms, from literal riots in Berkeley to “shadowbanning” of several Republican lawmakers on Twitter. That platform, which has so far refrained from banning InfoWars, didn’t hesitate to block conservative African-American activist Candace Owens after she pointedly echoed the hateful tweets of a liberal journalist hired by the New York Times. Needless to say, the same people up in arms about Alex Jones argued that Sarah Jeong’s tweets were fine, because one “cannot be racist against white people.”

If Infowars has been removed for pushing conspiracy theories and “glorifying violence and hate speech…”

Then what’s the plan for outlets who still push ‘Russian collusion’ and promote violent ANTIFA protests/harassing Trump admin officials?
— Tim Young (@TimRunsHisMouth) August 6, 2018

This ideological conflict in American society actually goes back years, maybe even decades. However, the victory of Trump over Hillary Clinton in the 2016 US presidential election, even though most of the media and all of the Silicon Valley were #WithHer, flushed it out in the open. Democrats quickly latched onto a claim of “Russian meddling,” intended to delegitimize Trump’s presidency but also, as it turns out, create an excuse for corporate censorship.

Consider the November 1, 2017 hearing before the Senate Intelligence Committee, where lawyers for Google, Facebook and Twitter were subjected to a barrage of demands to regulate their platforms against “Russians” – or else.

“You have to be the ones to do something about it, or we will,” said Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-California). She also pressed for the removal of RT from YouTube, only to have a Google representative say that despite looking very hard, the company hasn’t found any policy violations that would justify such a move.

“I’m not really satisfied with that,” said Feinstein.
Read more
YouTube is also banning channels unrelated to the InfoWars brand, but have livestreamed Jone’s show daily. © Dado Ruvic/Reuters War on InfoWars? YouTube shuts down Alex Jones’ channel with 2.5mn subscribers

Now, imagine how much more chilling this would be if Feinstein represented the ruling party, rather than the opposition. It isn’t that far-fetched: during the 2016 election, Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg told Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman John Podesta that she “badly” wanted Clinton to win, while Eric Schmidt, the executive chairman of Google’s parent company Alphabet, actually spent election night at Clinton HQ with a “staff” badge. More recently, this April actually, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey described as a “great read” an article describing how Democrats should fight and win the “civil war” currently being waged in the US.

This isn’t about how much one likes or dislikes Alex Jones or InfoWars. This is about corporations deciding for you what you should be allowed to hear, read, say or think – and the people normally criticizing such behavior cheering it on, because it suits their political agenda.

As Jones’s colleague Paul Joseph Watson put it, “The great censorship purge has truly begun.”

Ask not for whom the censorship bell tolls; it tolls for thee.

Nebojsa Malic, RT

FORECLOSURE HELL

I had been doing so much better about keeping up with my blogs, until about this last week. I had not gotten back to posting as much as I had in the past, but was doing much better.

I have to admit though, every month, beginning the week before foreclosure hell (the day they auction the homes foreclosed upon), have been particularly hellish.

I guess for a while, no one I know was being foreclosed upon. But beginning last month, my friends began being sold at auction again. It had been a whole year until just these last couple of months. Then all of the sudden, properties that the banks had lost interest in, out of the blue, and with little or no warning, were sold at auction.

We all managed to stop two of the sales, those two were cancelled, but last month, one was lost to foreclosure, and it took a lot of work to get cancelled, the two that were cancelled.

So, even though there may not be the number of foreclosures every month that there had been for a long time, looks like the banks have managed to get lined up, these companies, that will purchase damn near any house at auction. These companies that want to turn around and rent you your house they just purchased at foreclosure.

I told everyone, back in 2008-2009 when Goldman Sachs’ sorry ass said that “only the rich should own houses, everyone else should be renters”, that this is what could be expected. Yes, it took another 8 years for it to happen to this scale, but it is here, and it won’t be going away, till they get every one of our homes.

I have watched foreclosure sales every month since around 2006, and all the properties that were fought for, and the banks, just kind of fizzled away without a lot of fuss, homes that they realized would be close to impossible to get the foreclosed upon owner to leave, now that they can work it out to where these rent home companies, are the ones that has to get rid of the previous owners of the properties.

The banks see this as minor housekeeping, which they don’t mind at all.

When I read this article, I kept hearing that song “Take It To The Limit One More Time”! They’ve changed the words “Sub-Prime” to “Non-Prime” and we re going to take it to the limit one more time…

Subprime mortgages make a comeback—with a new name and soaring demand
The subprime mortgage industry vanished after the Great Recession but is now being reinvented as the nonprime market.
Carrington Mortgage is now offering mortgages to borrowers with “less-than-perfect credit.”
Demand from both borrowers and investors is exceeding expectations.
Diana Olick | @DianaOlick
Published 10:45 AM ET Thu, 12 April 2018 Updated 1:54 PM ET Thu, 12 April 2018
CNBC.com
https://www.cnbc.com/2018/04/12/sub-prime-mortgages-morph-into-non-prime-loans-and-demand-soars.html
Subprime stages comeback as ‘non-prime’ loans Subprime stages comeback as ‘non-prime’ loans
1:41 PM ET Thu, 12 April 2018 | 01:28

They were blamed for the biggest financial disaster in a century. Subprime mortgages – home loans to borrowers with sketchy credit who put little to no skin in the game. Following the epic housing crash, they disappeared, due to strong, new regulation, and zero demand from investors who were badly burned. Barely a decade later, they’re coming back with a new name — nonprime — and, so far, some new standards.

California-based Carrington Mortgage Services, a midsized lender, just announced an expansion into the space, offering loans to borrowers, “with less-than-perfect credit.” Carrington will originate and service the loans, but it will also securitize them for sale to investors.

“We believe there is actually a market today in the secondary market for people who want to buy nonprime loans that have been properly underwritten,” said Rick Sharga, executive vice president of Carrington Mortgage Holdings. “We’re not going back to the bad old days of ninja lending, when people with no jobs, no income, and no assets were getting loans.”

A home improvement contractor works on a house in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Here’s how much homeowners could cash out in home equity
2:32 PM ET Mon, 2 April 2018 | 01:14
All loans will not be the same


Sharga said Carrington will manually underwrite each loan, assessing the individual risks. But it will allow its borrowers to have FICO credit scores as low as 500. The current average for agency-backed mortgages is in the mid-700s. Borrowers can take out loans of up to $1.5 million on single-family homes, townhomes and condominiums. They can also do cash-out refinances, where borrowers tap extra equity in their homes, up to $500,000. Recent credit events, like a foreclosure, bankruptcy or a history of late payments are acceptable.

All loans, however, will not be the same for all borrowers. If a borrower is higher risk, a higher down payment will be required, and the interest rate will likely be higher.

“What we’re talking about is underwriting that goes back to common sense sort of practices. If you have risk, you offset risk somewhere else,” added Sharga, while touting, “We probably are going to have the widest range of products for people with challenging credit in the marketplace.”

Carrington is not alone in the space. Angel Oak began offering and securitizing nonprime mortgages two years ago and has done six nonprime securitizations so far. It recently finalized its biggest securitization yet — $329 million, comprising 905 mortgages with an average amount of about $363,000. Just more than 80 percent of the loans are nonprime.

A ‘who’s who of Wall Street’
Investors in Angel Oak’s nonprime securitizations are, “a who’s who of Wall Street,” according to company representatives, citing hedge funds and insurance companies. Angel Oak’s securitizations now total $1.3 billion in mortgage debt.

Angel Oak, along with Caliber Home Loans, have been the main players in the space, securitizing relatively few loans. That is clearly about to change in a big way, as demand is rising.

“We believe that more competition is positive for the marketplace because there is strong enough demand for the product to support multiple originators,” said Lauren Hedvat, managing director, capital markets at Angel Oak. “Additionally, the more competitors there are, the wider the footprint becomes, which should open the door for more potential borrowers.”

Big banks are also getting in the game, both investing in the securities and funding the lenders, according to Sharga.

“It’s large financial institutions. A lot of people with private capital sitting on the sidelines, who are very interested in this market and believe that as long as the risks are managed well, and companies like ours are particularly good at managing credit risk, that it’s a good investment opportunity,” he said.

As the economy improves, and rents continue to rise, more Americans are trying to become homeowners, but the scars of the Great Recession still stand in the way. One-fifth of consumers today still have very low credit scores, often disqualifying them from obtaining a mortgage in today’s tight lending market.

Relaxed lending standards
Last summer, Fannie Mae announced it would relax its lending standards for prime loans, allowing borrowers with higher debt and lower credit scores to obtain loans without additional risk overlays, such as large down payments and a year’s worth of cash reserves.

Fannie Mae raised its debt-to-income (DTI) limit from 45 percent to 50 percent. DTI is the amount of total debt a borrower can have compared to his or her income. As a result, demand from buyers with higher debt exceeded all expectations. The share of high DTI loans jumped from 6 percent in January 2017 to nearly 20 percent by the end of February 2018, according to a study by the Urban Institute.

“From January to July 2017, Fannie purchased 80,467 loans with DTI ratios between 45 and 50 percent. But from August 2017 to February 2018, Fannie purchased 181,911 loans in the same DTI bucket. This increase of more than 100,000 loans in just seven months exceeded our estimate (85,000 additional Fannie loans annually) and Fannie’s expectations.” – Urban Institute

The mortgage industry expectation was that Fannie Mae would mitigate the additional risk with other factors, like a higher necessary credit score, but that was not added. The mortgage insurers balked, since they would be on the hook for the risk, so last month Fannie Mae “recalibrated” its risk assessment criteria again.

“We got a bigger response than we thought we were going to, so we dialed back to make sure we were in the right spot where our governance kicks in to make sure we’re not taking excessive risk,” said Doug Duncan, Fannie Mae’s chief economist.

Millennials carry more debt
The outsized demand from borrowers with more debt as well as demand for nonprime mortgages in the private sector show just how many borrowers today would like to become homeowners but are frozen out of the mortgage market.

Millennials, the largest homebuying cohort today, have much higher levels of student debt than previous generations. Members of older generations who went through foreclosures during the housing crisis or other hits to their credit are still struggling with lower FICO scores.

In addition, credit tightened up dramatically. In fact, between 2009 and 2015, tighter credit accounted for just more than 6 million “missing” loans, according to research by Laurie Goodman at the Urban Institute. These are mortgages that would have been granted under more normal historical underwriting standards.

The rebirth of the nonprime market is focused on these missing mortgages. The hope is that the industry will also focus on better standards of underwriting and not take risk to the levels it once did, levels that resulted in disaster.

Israel Solved the School Shooter Problem, US Should Follow


Chuck Morse
https://www.newsmax.com/chuckmorse/israel-maalot-school-shooter/2018/02/27/id/845719/?utm_medium=referral&utm_source=idealmedia&utm_campaign=newsmax.com&utm_term=68856&utm_content=2196187
By Chuck Morse
Tuesday, 27 Feb 2018 12:34 PM

On May 15, 1974, three shooters entered the Netiv Meir Elementary School in the Jewish-Arab town of Ma’alot in northern Israel taking 115 people including 105 children hostage. At the time, Israel was on a leftist utopian bender with social experiments that included disarmament and gun free zones. On the second day of the standoff, the Israeli army stormed the building as the shooters murdered children with grenades and automatic weapons. 25 hostages were killed including 22 children, 68 were injured.

Israel responded to the atrocity by mandating armed security in every school. Retired military veterans and police, often grandfathers and grandmothers, began to monitor schools. Teachers and school staff began to volunteer for gun training and began to carry concealed weapons after registering with their school administration. Teachers started to participate in active shooter drills. There have been only two school shootings in Israel since that slaughter and in both cases the shooter was killed and stopped from killing more innocents.

In September 2015, Israel responded to a plethora of knife attacks by making it easier for citizens to obtain guns. Army officers with the rank of Lieutenant and above would be permitted to purchase guns freely and security guards would be allowed to take their guns home after work. The minimum age for gun purchases was dropped from 21 to 18. Jerusalem mayor Nir Barkat urged residents to carry a gun and was photographed carrying a Glock 23. Israelis overwhelmingly view the right to bear arms as the best means of deterring gun violence.

The mainstream media is lying about President Trump’s call for arming teachers in one of the ugliest and most dangerous pieces of fake news yet.

The president has not called for arming all teachers, only making it possible for the approximately 10 percent of teachers who are former military or security personnel, who are already licensed and trained, or who would like to obtain a license and training to be permitted to carry a concealed weapon if they choose to do so. In fact, 17 states already allow teachers who register with their school boards and who are cleared to carry concealed weapons. I’m proud to note that my own state of Massachusetts is one of those states. Apparently, Florida is not on the list.

The use by the left of impressionable young children who have been traumatized by school shootings to push their gun grabbing agenda is a particularly odious and despicable manipulation of emotions. If these leftists possessed a shred of decency or genuine concern for the safety of school children they might inquire as to whether the child feels safe going to school in a gun free zone where no one is properly equipped to stop a shooter. They might consider no longer stigmatizing and mocking gun training or the teaching of self-defense.

The social phenomena that constitutes school shootings and its uptick since Columbine, the social and psychological factors that led to this uptick, is a broad and profound subject that urgently calls out for a national discussion and a scientific inquiry free of ideology and invective from all sides. The question of gun regulation, particularly of semi-automatic weapons, is also an important topic that needs to be addressed without histrionics and posturing.

Meanwhile, and in these times of clear and present danger to our school children, common sense steps such as securing our school buildings and allowing trained and willing teachers and administrators to defend the students with concealed weapons is urgently needed.

Chuck Morse hosts “The Morse Force” live Monday-Friday at Noon, ET on YouTube. The program is also available on iTunes, Stitcher, and Google Play and his books are available on Amazon.com. For more of his reports — Click Here Now.