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Good news

This isn’t the good news, because I don’t for one minute believe the feds will go after these guys:

Shahien Nasiripour scoops that HUD’s inspector general audited Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo, Citigroup and Ally Financial and referred its finding to the Department of Justice for possible prosecution. A welcome shift for HUD, which is usually the demonized and not the demonizer. “The audits accuse the five major lenders of violating the False Claims Act, a Civil War-era law crafted as a weapon against firms that swindle the government. The audits were completed between February and March, the sources said. The internal watchdog office at HUD referred its findings to the Department of Justice, which must now decide whether to file charges…The resulting reports read like veritable indictments of major lenders, the sources said. State officials are now wielding the documents as negotiating props in their ongoing talks with mortgage companies aimed at forcing them to agree to pay fines to resolve allegations of routine violations in their handling of foreclosures.”

Nope, here’s the good news!

Eric T. Schneiderman, the New York attorney general, has requested information and documents in recent weeks from three major Wall Street banks about their mortgage securities operations during the credit boom, indicating the existence of a new investigation into practices that contributed to billions in mortgage losses.

Officials in Mr. Schneiderman’s office have also requested meetings with representatives from Bank of America, Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley, according to people briefed on the matter who were not authorized to speak publicly. The inquiry appears to be quite broad, with the attorney general’s requests for information covering many aspects of the banks’ loan pooling operations. They bundled thousands of home loans into securities that were then sold to investors such as pension funds, mutual funds and insurance companies.

It is unclear which parts of the byzantine securitization process Mr. Schneiderman is focusing on. His spokesman said the attorney general would not comment on the investigation, which is in its early stages.

This means for all practical purposes, that cozy little state attorney generals’ coverup the administration wants so desperately is coming undone. Hallelujah, sometimes ambition and the best interests of the people coincide!

More here.

Bye to probable cause

Cops can pretty much kick in your door for almost any reason at all now!

Roseanne

Still one of my heros for standing up for working people everywhere. And yes, I still watch her show.

People my age

John Gorka:

Leaks

If you have the stomach, go read how Obama turned against whistleblowers and launched a crusade against leaks:

Jack Balkin, a liberal law professor at Yale, agrees that the increase in leak prosecutions is part of a larger transformation. ”

We are witnessing the bipartisan normalization and legitimization of a national-surveillance state,” he says. In his view, zealous leak prosecutions are consonant with other political shifts since 9/11: the emergence of a vast new security bureaucracy, in which at least two and a half million people hold confidential, secret, or top-secret clearances; huge expenditures on electronic monitoring, along with a reinterpretation of the law in order to sanction it; and corporate partnerships with the government that have transformed the counterterrorism industry into a powerful lobbying force. Obama, Balkin says, has “systematically adopted policies consistent with the second term of the Bush Administration.”

Part 1

Shock therapy for economics.

Louisiana 1927

Randy Newman:

R.I.P.

Odell Brown, 70, co-writer of “Sexual Healing.”

Living dolls

I’ve never understood women who treat their daughters like little dolls, putting on makeup, getting their ears pierced and dressing them like fairy princesses and/or sluts instead of like little kids. It’s kind of creepy.

But Botox for an 8-year-old? That really takes the cake.

Transparency

Good for Minnesota!

By a 2-1 vote, the 8th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Monday sided with a federal judge in allowing a state campaign finance law to require corporations to disclose when they spend money to support or defeat a candidate.

“Minnesota did not ban corporate independent expenditures,” the Appeals Court wrote. “Instead, based upon the lower court’s findings, as strongly supported by the record, we find that Minnesota created a statutory scheme designed to require corporations to disclose certain information when making independent expenditures.”

The decision affirms a ruling by U.S. District Judge Donovan Frank in September 2010, in which he refused to strike down the law. In his ruling, Frank said that voters have “an interest in knowing who is speaking about a candidate on the eve of an election.”

One of those reports before the primary elections last year showed that Target, Best Buy and other corporations gave to MN Forward, a pro-business group that is buying ads to support GOP gubernatorial candidate Tom Emmer. The disclosures riled groups at odds with Emmer’s opposition to same-sex marriage, and they launched a blistering attack on the companies.

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