The U.S. Justice Department filed a complaint yesterday in federal court in Los Angeles, accusing McGraw-Hill and S&P of mail fraud, wire fraud and financial institutions fraud. Under the Financial Institutions Reform, Recovery and Enforcement Act of 1989, the U.S. seeks civil penalties of as much as $1.1 million for each violation. The company's shares tumbled the most in 25 years yesterday when it said it expected the lawsuit, the first federal case against a ratings firm for grades related to the credit crisis.
Of course S&P is claiming innocence.
"A DOJ lawsuit would be entirely without factual or legal merit," S&P said in a statement yesterday before the case was filed. "It would disregard the central facts that S&P reviewed the same subprime mortgage data as the rest of the market, including U.S. government officials who in 2007 publicly stated that problems in the subprime market appeared to be contained."
This is going to be a tough fight however. S&P has a huge legal budget to spend and has won fights like this in state lawsuits.
U.S. District Judge James L. Graham threw out the case in September 2011, ruling the ratings were "predictive opinions," and that absent specific allegations of intent to defraud, the firms could not be held liable.
A Cincinnati-based federal appeals court unanimously upheld that decision in December.
But it's great to finally see the DOJ going after somebody on Wall Street. I hope this is the start of a DOJ that gets tough on America's Financial Mafia
In 24 cities across the country, millions have walked off the job and taken to the streets. They're demanding an increase in the country's barely livable minimum wage of $170.
Although the minimum wage in Indonesia varies depending on the province and sector, the average is still significantly lower than China's - a comparison many businessmen in Indonesia often make. BBC
This is crazy that people are paid so poorly that they have to fight to get to the living standards of China; but it's inspiring that they are willing to stand up for their rights and fight back.
The labor movement isn't dead, I can hear it's heart beating from the factory workers of Indonesia to the teachers in Chicago, from the miners in South Africa, to the walmart warehouse workers across America. Solidarity lives on forever. If we want better conditions for working people in America or any country, it won't come from benevolent politicians, but from organized struggles by the workers themselves. Keep up the fight.
People on this site and virtually every political activist spends almost all of their time hyper focused on DC politics. But this is a horrible strategy as it leaves out state and local politics which are much more important.
Don't believe me. Ask yourself these questions
Would congress have passed HCR if it wasn't for the Massachusetts law passed a few years earlier which it was modeled on?
In 2009, Obama signed an executive order raising fuel economy standards and cutting GHG emissions for cars. Would this have happened without higher fuel economy standards passed by states like California?
Would Barack Obama have supported marriage equality if it wasn't for earlier victories in Washington, New York and other states?
In the most holy Islamic country where women must cover from head to toe when in the presence of any man other than their fathers brothers and husbands. Where women and men are forbidden to work alongside one another, it's incredible to think that Saudi Arabian women had to buy their most intimate apparel from male shop assistants.
Many Saudi women get teased and taunted about their bra sizes while shopping.
The 2006 law banning men from working in female apparel and cosmetic stores has never been put into effect, partly because of view of hard-liners in the religious establishment, who oppose the whole idea of women working where men and women congregate together, like malls.
Saudi women — tired of having to deal with men when buying undergarments — have boycotted lingerie stores to pressure them to employ women. The government's decision to enforce the law requiring that goes into effect Thursday.
This is really great news. Not only will this provide thousands of jobs for Saudi women, but it could give these women a space to congregate and discuss equal rights away from patriarchal fathers or husbands.
Saudi english teacher and women's rights activist, Eman Al Nafjan spoke favorably of the law.
"It's very significant. It's going to cause social change to have women working in the malls. It might seem like nothing to people in the West, but it's still a responsibility and it's still an opportunity to show society that women are just as responsible and capable as men."
Australian Broadcasting Corporation
This caps off a year in which Saudi women took part in civil disobedience against the country's sexist driving ban and gained the right to vote in the next elections.
Unfortunately there will always be the Pat Robertsonesque religious nuts who drag their feet at any sign of progress.
Ibrahim Al Mugaiteeb from Saudi Arabia's Human Rights First Society says men selling women underwear is un-Islamic, but that did not stop religious clerics fighting against the change.
"This is the hypocrisy of some religious people who interpret the rulings of Islam, otherwise you would think they would be fighting for that," he said.
"No man should deal with a woman about her underwear.
"The march has started - realising full rights for women in Saudi Arabia. I don't think anything can stop it now."
The arab spring has unleashed a worldwide hunger for freedom, equality, and democracy. As we enter 2012, I hope to see more popular uprisings against tyranny, discrimination, and injustice in all forms. International solidarity should be our new years resolution.
Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.
One of the most important aspects of successful totalitarian regime is a well run division of surveillance. Luckily, American corporations have become very skilled at this to the point where they will send spies around the world to follow employees who happen to be lovers.
Like many of you I am disgusted by the extreme police brutality that we've seen during the Wall Street Occupation. Sadly this is not a new thing in our supposedly free country. Way back in '08, during protests against the Twin Cities RNC, peaceful protesters were roughed up and arrested. In addition, the police arrested award winning journalist Amy Goodman as well as her producer Nicole Salazar whom they gave a bloody nose.
Those cops were very violent, but they picked the wrong ladies to mess with. I'm happy to say the Twin Cities police lost in court today, and they lost big.
Corporations are dictatorships. The major shareholders and the board of directors make all of the important decisions which are passed down the chain of command to employees who have no say in this process. When working people, who are the vast majority, can take no part in the decision making process, it certainly ain't democracy.
If you think that I’m being hyperbolic than I suggest you take a look at Foxconn, the worlds second largest employer. Foxconn is a Taiwanese manufacturing firm that makes familiar products for companies like Apple, Dell, HP, Nintendo, Playstation, Nokia and Motorola. Foxconn has had enormous success in the past 15 years growing more than 50% per year and bringing in $40 billion in revenue making it “equal to that of it’s 10 biggest global rivals combined.” Yet behind their impressive growth is something more sinister.
or Medicare. These programs were just training wheels which we've finally outgrown. They have outlived their usefulness and that money could be better spent on wars, prisons, and tax cuts.
Right now, profits are higher than ever we have a more obedient workforce than ever. In 2010 just 45,000 workers went on strike, the second lowest in history. Wanna know what the lowest year was? 2009 with a whopping 13,000 strikers! :P For comparison there were 2.5 million workers on strike in 1970.
From the 1930s to the 1970s we had crippling industry wide strike waves on a regular basis. There were even commies and anarchists stirring these people up and trying to overthrow our whole system. We tried turning the guns on them, but these assholes kept popping up with more strikes. So we gave em a few social benefits for a little while until they started to behave.
Well luckily those dark ages are over. Welcome to the new Millenium baby! We've been destroying their standard of living and labor rights and you hardly hear a peep aside from Wisconsin. Americans are clearly too stupid to organize internationally with the Greeks and British against austerity. These fuckin' morons won't even get off their asses to protest in their own country.
So why not cut social security, who's to stop us? Just read this beautiful BLS report if you really wanna see how bullish the future looks and how we arrived at this lovely moment. And while you're at it why don't we do a celebratory line of coke together.
I was pleasantly surprised to see Howard Zinn's name right on top of the rec list. The diary highlighted some excellent points such as:
We don't live in a democracy . . . we live in a capitalist oligarchy, with some democratic representation. In fact, we have enough democratic representation, it turns out, to occasionally get some things we want. Have you ever heard of Social Security, Medicare, rural electrification, the minimum wage, or labor unions? The capitalist oligarchy didn't want those reforms . . . but they were forced to accept them.
However, the diarist failed to answer one key question: "why were they forced to accept the reforms?" This is a question Howard Zinn has spent his career answering.
SANAA, Yemen – The Yemeni president told parliament on Wednesday he will not seek another term in office or hand power to his son — an apparent reaction to protests in this impoverished nation that have been inspired by Tunisia's revolt and the turmoil in Egypt.
The U.S.-allied Ali Abdullah Saleh, who has been in power for nearly 32 years, spoke to lawmakers in both houses of the assembly on the eve of mass rallies that the opposition has called for Thursday in all Yemeni provinces.
“According to our analysis, 88 percent of the ‘Egyptian Internet’ has fallen off the Internet,’” said Andree Toonk at BGPmon, a monitoring site that checks connectivity of countries and networks, to the Guardian...
The Egyptian Stock Market is still online, however, because the ISP that powers it, Noor Group, was left alone.
Just another example of how the Banks, Investors, and Big Business control everything on this planet. And how freedom of the rich to exploit the poor is always prioritized over freedom of speech. But this got me thinking about what Wall Street's reaction to these protests has been.
Throughout the last week or more as this drama in a dixie cup played out I found a critical option missing from the media menu.
We've seen bomb now, bomb later, boots on or off the ground, tomahawk ...