Other Rating Agencies Implicated in DoJ Mortgage Bond Probe

By: Sunday August 21, 2011 7:00 pm

It turns out that the Justice Department is not only concerned with Standard and Poor’s but the entire credit rating agency industry, it appears. The reported investigation into the ratings of mortgage backed securities during the housing bubble is centered on S&P, but not limited to them.

 

US Debt Downgrades as Revenge for Dodd-Frank?

By: Wednesday August 10, 2011 7:02 pm

The Senate Banking Committee claims to be gathering information on S&P, but as Manns says this is an industry-wide phenomenon. Long ago, the government gave the rating agencies a good deal of power, and now they’re using it to protect their core business. I’d love to see Congress defy the rating agencies and reduce their role in bond deals (through mandating AAA securities in them), but I don’t see it happening.

Al Franken (D-MN) Can’t Trust Focus on the Family’s DOMA Testimony

By: Wednesday July 20, 2011 7:06 pm

In exposing Mr Minnery’s basic error in understanding the definition of “nuclear family” in the HHS study Minnery cited, Senator Franken made clear that such a fundamental mistake in reading the report made all of Minnery’s testimony suspect and unworthy of consideration by the committee.

Al Franken: “I Think We’ve Ceded Too Much Ground” in Deficit Debate

By: Friday June 17, 2011 4:20 pm

I talked to Franken via phone today, as he returned home from a funeral for a soldier killed overseas. His remarks tomorrow are really connected to the fear that we are seeing a flickering out of the American dream. “We have the greatest disparity in income since the 1920s. The middle class dream is fading, and we’re losing the argument on the economy. We need to gain back the initiative, and convince people that it’s ridiculous to be gutting Medicare, to essentially end it, in order to give huge tax cuts.”

Two Themes from Obama’s Cybersecurity Proposal: Private Auditors and Immunity

By: Thursday May 12, 2011 6:05 pm

Two and a half years after privatized auditors largely signed off on practices that contributed to the collapse of Wall Street, and a year after coziness between government inspectors and the oil industry they regulate allowed a massive oil spill in the gulf, the Obama Administration proposes relying on private auditors to ensure that private companies guard our nation’s cybersecurity.

GAO Report Calls Federal Oversight of Mortgage Servicers “Limited” and “Fragmented”

By: Friday May 6, 2011 2:50 pm

We definitely need strong federal servicer standards, and CFPB is a great place to house them. All the more reason to recess-appoint Elizabeth Warren as soon as possible.

Proper Reaction to S&P Credit Downgrade Threat: Bursting Out Laughing

By: Tuesday April 19, 2011 7:46 am

As James Fallows points out, S&P is basically making a guess, no more informed or uninformed than any observer of politics. No modeling went into this threatened downgrade. “They’re saying they have an opinion on the state of Congressional-White house dealings on the budget,” writes Fallows. “Fine. Go on a talk show or start a blog.”

Psy-Ops on Senators Just Another Example of Military Illegally Manipulating Information

By: Thursday February 24, 2011 7:45 am

Building on the success of his “The Runaway General” article that led to President Obama firing Stanley McChrystal, Michael Hastings returns to the pages of Rolling Stone with “Another Runaway General“, where he exposes information operations, or Psy-Ops, on dignitaries including US Senators as they visited Afghanistan on “fact-finding” trips. What should not be missed when contemplating the illegal and immoral aspects of this information operation directed against the citizens of the country and high level government officials is that it is just one more instance in an ongoing pattern of information manipulation and outright deception on the part of the military in recent years. A few recent examples include the use of retired generals posing as independent military analysts to spout information coordinated by the Pentagon, intentional deception to cover up Special Operations troops digging bullets out of the bodies of pregnant women they killed in a night raid and the more recent claim by General Petraeus that parents intentionally burned their children in order to exaggerate injuries received in a US attack, to name just a few.

Franken Assails FCC, DoJ Approval of Comcast-NBC Merger

By: Tuesday January 18, 2011 4:20 pm

Earlier today, the FCC and the Justice Department ruled in favor of the merger between Comcast and NBC Universal, creating one of the largest media conglomerates in the world and setting an unadvisable template for one company to combine the power of media and the Internet.

Sen. Al Franken, who has been a lonely critic of the proposed merger, released a caustic statement on the FCC action today.

Twenty-six Co-Sponsors for Senate Rules Reform; Ben Nelson Walks Back Opposition

By: Thursday January 6, 2011 6:00 pm

Senators Tom Udall, Jeff Merkley and Tom Harkin have announced that their proposal for reforming the Senate rules now has 26 co-sponsors, all Democrats. But they represent a healthy ideological cross-section of the entire caucus.

Ben Nelson’s spokesman seriously walked back his opposition today.

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