September 27th, 2010
The beings have repeated their efforts in the US and have been active since 1948, the men said, and accused the respective governments of trying to keep the information secret.
The unlikely claims were compiled by six former US airmen and another member of the military who interviewed or researched the evidence of 120 ex-military personnel.
The information they have collected suggests that aliens could have landed on Earth as recently as seven years ago.
The men's aim is to press the two governments to recognise the long-standing extra-terrestrial visits as fact.
They are to be presented on Monday 27 September at a meeting in Washington.
One of the men, Capt Robert Salas, said: "The US Air Force is lying about the national security implications of unidentified aerial objects at nuclear bases and we can prove it."
He said said he witnessed such an event first-hand on March 16, 1967, at Malmstrom Air Force Base in Montana which housed Minuteman nuclear missiles.
Capt Salas continued: "I was on duty when an object came over and hovered directly over the site.
"The missiles shut down - 10 Minuteman missiles. And the same thing happened at another site a week later. There's a strong interest in our missiles by these objects, wherever they come from. I personally think they're not from planet Earth."
Others claim to have seen similar activity in the UK.
Col Charles Halt said he saw a UFO at the former military base RAF Bentwaters, near Ipswich, 30 years ago, during which he saw beams of light fired into the base then heard on the military radio that aliens had landed inside the nuclear storage area.
He said: "I believe that the security services of both the United States and the United Kingdom have attempted - both then and now - to subvert the significance of what occurred at RAF Bentwaters by the use of well-practised methods of disinformation."
The site was then the base of the US 81st Tactical Fighter Wing.
Capt Bruce Fenstermacher, a former US Air Force officer, also claims he saw a cigar-shaped UFO hovering above a nuclear base in Wyoming in 1976.
September 27th, 2010
By Dina ElBoghdady and Dan Keating
Sunday, September 26, 2010; 4:03 AM
A new wave of distressed home sales is rippling, more quietly this time, through American cities and suburbs.
Its unsettling effects are playing out here in Manassas, along Brewer Creek Place, a modest, horseshoe-shaped street lined with 98 brick townhouses. Several years after the U.S. foreclosure crisis erupted, the U-Hauls are back.
The last time, banks seized nearly every fourth house on the street through foreclosure. This time, homeowners are going another route: a short sale.
"I love this house, but I just have to leave," said Leanna Harris, 27, the owner of a corner unit that used to be the builder's model, with a stone path in the yard and a gourmet kitchen. "I'm at peace with it now."
The original owner bought the home for $400,714 in 2006; Harris and her husband, both bartenders, paid what seemed to be a bargain price, $289,000, in 2008. But they have fallen behind on their mortgage payments, in part because her husband was out of work. Now they have a $246,000 offer for the home, and the balance on their mortgage is more than that. They want to accept the offer. All they need is their bank's okay.
That kind of deal is called a short sale, and it's sweeping the country. In these deals, a lender allows a troubled borrower to sell a home for less than what's owed on the mortgage.
Completed short sales have more than tripled since 2008, and 400,000 of these deals are projected to close this year, according to mortgage research firm CoreLogic. The giant mortgage financier Fannie Mae approved short sales on 36,534 home loans it owned in the first half of the year, nearly triple the number in 2007 and 2008 combined. Freddie Mac, its sister company, approved 22,117 in the first half of 2010, up from a mere 94 in the first half of 2007.
Distressed homeowners are being drawn to short sales in large part because they can help protect a borrower's credit rating and thus the chance of buying another home later on.
"I worked hard for a long time to keep my credit score close to perfect, and I know a foreclosure would be much worse for my credit than a short sale," said Harris, who listed her Brewer Creek Place home as a short sale about a month ago. "If there's a chance we can avoid foreclosure, we'd rather do that."
In a short sale, homeowners must get the go-ahead from the mortgage lender. Sometimes that happens before the property is put on the market, and other times before the deal closes.
In some areas of the country, including the Washington region, lenders can later pursue borrowers for the difference between the proceeds collected from the short sale and the amount owed on the mortgage, also called a deficiency. But lenders say they only do so if they conclude the borrowers skipped out on a loan that they could afford.
For lenders, short sales are less expensive than foreclosures to handle and help ensure that homes transfer in good shape. And for the wider real estate market, these sales could help shore up the floor under housing values because homeowners - unlike with foreclosures - have a vested interest in getting the best price. That's because the higher the offer, the more likely the lender will approve the sale.
But short sales are prone to maddening delays and often fall through because they require the approval of many, often-competing parties - including the primary mortgage lender and in some cases the holders of second and third liens.
Across the Washington region, short-sale listings now far outpace the number of foreclosures available for sale, according to RealEstate Business Intelligence, a subsidiary of the local multiple listing service. About 14 percent of area homes for sale are short sales, more than double the figure for foreclosures, with some of the greatest volume in Prince George's and Prince William Counties, where the drop in housing prices has been especially pronounced.
Brewer Creek Place, which wraps around the back end of the Independence subdivision south of the Prince William Parkway, was first developed five years ago on the eve of the housing market meltdown. Most of the residents bought their townhouses at a time when mortgage lending standards were especially lax, leaving some borrowers saddled with staggering debts when the home-loan market collapsed.
Yet along the street, there are few signs of the turmoil. Kids zip around on scooters. Neighbors primp their flower beds.
But from her driveway, Brenda Holliday has watched the crisis spread. Taking a break from hosing down her convertible PT Cruiser on a recent Saturday, she pointed to the three homes to her right. Each had sold as a foreclosure since 2008.
Then she pointed to the door to her immediate left with a lock box hanging on it.
"That's a short sale," she said. She nodded to the corner unit further down the block. "I think that's a short sale, too."
To Holliday, 60, her townhouse seemed ideal when moved in four years ago shortly after she was widowed. She's been renting the place from the owner with half of each monthly payment credited toward her eventual purchase of the home, which she initially agreed to buy for $365,000.
But as she's grown older, the stairs have gotten harder, she said, and now she feels a bit trapped. If she leaves, she loses the money she put toward the purchase. If she stays, she'll have to pay about $150,000 more than the townhouse is worth. Its value has been eroded by the steady stream of foreclosures and short sales.
Holliday squeezed the hose full throttle.
"A moving van pulls up and another family is gone - that's all I know," she said. "It's plain sad."
Leanna Harris may have been the first on the street to buy a home as a short sale. When she did, in early 2008, such deals were so rare that Prince William County hadn't even started to track them yet.
"I wanted this house really bad," said Harris, who went to settlement on the home the day after their baby girl was born. "It is my dream house."
But before long, she and her husband were looking at a short sale from the other side. The Harrises fell behind on their payments and never regained financial footing, she said.
The couple received temporary relief for six months from Bank of America. But Harris said the bank ultimately rejected them for a permanent loan modification and threatened foreclosure unless they immediately made up the $10,000 in payments that had been deferred, including interest and fees, or sold the house.
Harris said she felt tricked. But she listed her home as a short sale because it seemed to offer a relatively painless way out. She said she doesn't expect the bank's approval to come quickly.
Lenders acknowledge that they are overwhelmed with the volume of short sales coming their way.
"It has taken considerable effort to build up the capacity to do these [short sale and modification] processes and also to connect them together," said David Sunlin, a senior vice president at Bank America. "We're adding staff and vendors and technology."The giant mortgage financier Fannie Mae approved short sales on 36,534 home loans it owned in the first half of this year, nearly triple the number in 2007 and 2008 combined. Freddie Mac, its sister company, approved 22,117 in the first half of 2010, up from a mere 94 in the first half of 2007.
The Obama administration, meanwhile, has been seeking to encourage even more short sales as a way of reducing the nation's inventory of vacant and abandoned properties.
In April, the administration launched a program that financially rewards lenders and borrowers for successfully negotiating a short sale if the borrower's loan could not be modified through the federal government's year-and-a-half-old foreclosure prevention effort. Lenders receive $1,500 and borrowers another $3,000 for moving expenses. Under the initiative, all eligible borrowers must be notified of the option to sell their homes short before their loans are referred to foreclosure.
The Treasury-run program also sweetens the deal for borrowers by relieving them of any obligation to repay a deficiency.
Clearing the way for a short sale has often proved cumbersome because there can be so many parties to a potential deal. Aside from lenders, transactions may also have to be green lighted by investors who own the mortgages, local tax authorities, appraisal firms, escrow companies, homeowners associations, mortgage insurance companies and subordinate lien holders.
That's why the administration cannot simply order a lender to approve a short sale, said Laurie Maggiano, policy director at the Treasury Department's homeownership preservation office.
"We have to give servicers discretion to make intelligent business decisions as to which properties are likely to be successful short sales, rather than say everybody has to get one," she said.
It can also be difficult to persuade lenders to participate, because of the risk. According to Frank McKenna, a vice president at CoreLogic, the industry is on track to incur about $310 million of unnecessary losses on these transactions every year.
Monica Valladares, 29, has been trying to offload her home on Brewer Creek Place for more than a year.
She bought it new for $329,000 in 2006. Keeping up with her mortgage payment was easy when her three roommates - her grandmother and two cousins - were chipping in. But the arrangement fell apart, the family scattered and Valladares, a single mom, said she could not afford the home on her salary as a researcher for a telecommunications company.
In early 2009, Valladares listed the townhouse as a short sale for the first time. The home, overlooking a wooded lot and playground, quickly attracted multiple offers. The highest was $220,000, she recalled. She moved out, thinking the turnaround would be quick. But her agent could not get the bank to review even the most lucrative contract, she said.
When the potential buyers dropped out about six months later, Valladares applied to Bank of America for a loan modification that would reduce her payments. A few months later, Valladeres was told she did not qualify, she said.
Desperate, Valladares tried the short-sale route again.
"I don't know what else to do, what else to try," Valladares said during a recent visit back to the vacant town home. "This house is damaging my credit big time."
Within days, she received a $220,000 offer.
When she called her primary lender to get approval for the deal, however, the bank said she wasn't eligible for a short sale because she had been enrolled in a loan modification program after all, Valladares recalled. Straightening out the confusion took weeks. The lender finally agreed to the sale. But there were more obstacles. For one, the homeowners association said Valladares must pay $4,000 in dues and late fees before it will clear the sale, she said, adding she doesn't have the cash.
Yet another problem is that Valladares had taken out a second mortgage to help her finance the original purchase of her townhouse. The lender on that second loan has yet to approve the short sale, said Roger Derflinger, her current real estate agent.
"The offers come quick," Valladares said. "It's the bank that's slow."
September 27th, 2010
Just to clarify, they keep calling these tax cuts. They’re not tax cuts, it just keeps them the same. The moron in this photo doesn’t deserve to be seen with a the American flag.
September 27, 2010
House Minority Leader John Boehner today repeated his appeal to Speaker Nancy Pelosi to hold a vote on a Republican-led proposal to extend all of the Bush-era tax cuts before the House adjourns and members return to their districts to campaign for reelection.
“If Democratic leaders leave town without stopping all the tax hikes, they are turning their backs on the American people. Adjourning the Congress at the end of this week without a vote to stop all the tax hikes will be a vote to raise taxes on the American people and destroy jobs,” Boehner said today in a paper statement. “To deny Republican and many Democratic members their right to offer alternative legislation to stop all the tax hikes would be an obvious attempt to circumvent the will of the House and the American people.”
Boehner, R-Ohio, wrote a letter to the speaker on September 14 asking the Pelosi to allow the GOP proposal to be considered on the House floor under the rules of suspension, which require a two-thirds majority to pass legislation, rather than a simple majority vote.
“The ‘stimulus’ has failed, and more than two million Americans have lost their jobs since it was enacted. The economic uncertainty facing entrepreneurs and employers is crippling small business job creation, and it’s long past time for this Congress to act to help get the economy back on track,” Boehner said. “The House should have a free and open debate where alternatives can be debated and voted on, and if the Speaker isn’t willing to allow an open process she shouldn’t count on our votes. We’re confident that if our plan to stop all of the tax hikes on American families and small businesses was given a vote in the House, it would pass.”
Pelosi has signaled that the House could adjourn as early as the end of this week, timed with the end of the fiscal year Thursday, September 30. The House is not expected to take up the tax cuts issue before adjournment, which is officially still scheduled for October 8th. The Senate announced last Thursday it will wait until the lame duck session after the November 2nd election to consider what to do about the tax cuts, which are set to expire January 1, 2011.
Still, the speaker has not completely closed the door on bringing tax cuts legislation to the House floor before the House adjourns. President Obama, Speaker Pelosi and the Democratic leadership prefer that the House extend only the Bush-era tax cuts for individuals earning an annual income up to $200,000 and families making up to $250,000. Boehner and a bipartisan majority including more than 30 House Democrats have called on Congress to extend the tax cuts for all income levels, including those in the highest tier.
“We will retain the right to proceed as we choose. We’ll take it one day at a time,” Pelosi told reporters at her weekly press conference last week. “But let me be very clear, as we have all been clear in the House Democratic leadership: America’s middle class will have a tax cut, it will be done in this congress. There is no question about that.”
–John R. Parkinson
September 27th, 2010
By William Branigin
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, September 27, 2010; 3:18 PM
With the midterm elections approaching, President Obama lashed out Monday at what he called the "irresponsible policies" of Republican leaders and said he welcomes a national debate over their proposals.
In an interview on NBC's "Today" show, Obama took aim at the "Pledge to America" put forward by House Republican leaders last week, questioning the seriousness of the proposals.
Toward the end of the interview, which was largely devoted to education issues, Obama was asked whether he plans to push back against the GOP in the coming weeks, especially in view of some Democrats' recent criticism that he has not been rigorous enough in countering Republican attacks.
He said he has "very sharp differences" with the Republican leadership "on a lot of issues," although some GOP critics and independents recognize that "we've got to be serious" and must base decisions on facts in addressing major national problems.
"What I'm seeing out of the Republican leadership over the last several years has been a set of policies that are just irresponsible," Obama told interviewer Matt Lauer. "And we saw in their Pledge to America a similar set of irresponsible policies."
Although the GOP leaders "say they want to balance the budget," Obama said, "they propose $4 trillion worth of tax cuts and $16 billion in spending cuts, and then they say we're going to somehow magically balance the budget. That's not a serious approach."
He added: "So the question for voters over the next five weeks is who is putting forward policies that have a chance to move our country forward - so that our schools have improved, so that we have world-class infrastructure, so that we're serious about helping small business, we're serious about getting a handle on our spending - and who is just engaging in rhetoric. And I think that if that debate is taking place over the next five weeks, we are going to do just fine."
In response to a question from a woman who was watching the live interview, Obama acknowledged that his two daughters could not get the same quality of education from D.C. public schools that they get from the private school they attend in the District.
Asked about the nation's increasing poverty rate - recently pegged at 14.3 percent, with 44 million Americans living at or below the poverty level - Obama said that "we're still in the midst of the aftereffects" of the worst recession since the Great Depression. The recession, which officially ended more than a year ago, left 8 million people unemployed, with many more underemployed, and jobs have been slow to return, Obama noted. He said a bill to help small businesses that he plans to sign Monday should help.
"The single most important anti-poverty program we can initiate is making sure there's enough job growth," he said.
Obama disputed the characterization of the current recovery as a "jobless" one, however, saying that private-sector job growth has increased for eight months in a row. "The problem is we just lost so many jobs . . . that we've got a much bigger hole to fill."
Obama pivoted to a defense of his plan to let tax cuts for wealthy Americans expire as scheduled at the end of the year, arguing that the rich are not likely to spend the proceeds of additional tax cuts and thus spur the economy. What America needs, he said, are tax cuts for middle-class people who are "struggling" and are more likely to spend the money.
"We can't spend $700 billion on a tax cut that is not going to spur job growth," Obama said, referring to the estimated cost of extending the Bush administration's tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans.
Obama also dismissed the suggestion that he has lost touch with the average person's struggles. Asked about a supporter's comment to him at a town hall meeting a week ago that she was exhausted from defending him, he said there is widespread sentiment that the recovery is "just not happening fast enough."
Obama said, "Everyone feels that frustration right now. I feel it - acutely." He added that "all I can communicate to the American people is that every single day, the thing that I wake up with and the thing that I go to bed with is the fact that there are too many Americans out there who are . . . still having a tough time in this economy. We are doing everything we can to make sure that they have an opportunity to live out that American dream."
September 27th, 2010
A space ambassador could be appointed by the United Nations to act as the first point of contact for aliens trying to communicate with Earth...Now to figure out how to let them know this...
Mazlan Othman, a Malaysian astrophysicist, is set to be tasked with co-ordinating humanity’s response if and when extraterrestrials make contact.
Aliens who landed on earth and asked: “Take me to your leader” would be directed to Mrs Othman.
She will set out the details of her proposed new role at a Royal Society conference in Buckinghamshire next week.
The 58-year-old is expected to tell delegates that the proposal has been prompted by the recent discovery of hundreds of planets orbiting other starts, which is thought to make the discovery of extraterrestrial life more probable than ever before.
Mrs Othman is currently head of the UN’s little known Office for Outer Space Affairs (Unoosa).
In a recent talk to fellow scientists, she said: “The continued search for extraterrestrial communication, by several entities, sustains the hope that some day human kind will received signals from extraterrestrials.
“When we do, we should have in place a coordinated response that takes into account all the sensitivities related to the subject. The UN is a ready-made mechanism for such coordination.”
Professor Richard Crowther, an expert in space law at the UK space agency who leads delegations to the UN, said: “Othman is absolutely the nearest thing we have to a ‘take me to your leader’ person”.
The plan to make Unoosa the co-ordinating body for dealing with alien encounters will be debated by UN scientific advisory committees and should eventually reach the body’s general assembly.
Opinion is divided about how future extraterrestrial visitors should be greeted. Under the Outer Space Treaty on 1967, which Unoosa oversees, UN members agreed to protect Earth against contamination by alien species by “sterilising” them.
Mrs Othman is understood to support a more tolerant approach.
But Professor Stephen Hawking has warned that alien interlopers should be treated with caution.
He said: “I imagine they might exist in massive ships, having used up all the resources from their home planet. The outcome for us would be much as when Christopher Columbus first landed in America, which didn’t turn out very well for the Native Americans.”