The US Justice Department has confirmed it will sue Standard and Poor’s over a “scheme to defraud investors” before the financial crisis.
Attorney General Eric Holder announced that the Department had filed a civil lawsuit against the firm over the way it rated mortgage bonds.
“This alleged conduct is egregious and it goes to the very heart of the recent financial crisis,” he said.
For many years, the ratings agencies have defended themselves successfully in civil litigation by saying their ratings were independent opinions, protected by the First Amendment, which guarantees the right to free speech. Developments in the wake of the financial crisis have raised questions about the agencies’ independence, however. For example, one federal judge, Shira A. Scheindlin, ruled in 2009 that the First Amendment did not apply in a lawsuit over ratings issued by S&P and Moody’s, because the mortgage-backed securities at issue had not been offered to the public at large. Scheindlin also agreed with the plaintiffs, who argued the ratings were not opinions, but misrepresentations, possibly the result of fraud or negligence.
from the hubristupidity! dept
Choose your battles carefully. This warning/advice is more relevant than ever in an era of instant feedback, social media and thousands of pages of “relevant results” microseconds away. Here’s a small story of how not to deal with a problem caused by your own actions.
Mark Bennett, a Houston criminal defense lawyer, was recently pointed in the direction of a rather inexplicable statement attached to a Twitter profile.
This prompted Bennett to do a little digging. For someone who’s so concerned with retaining strict control of her information, Buhl certainly doesn’t seem to mind throwing around other people’s information — even the contents of a teenage girl’s personal journal.
A New Canaan woman police say posted personal and sexually explicit information on Facebook about her boyfriend’s 17-year-old daughter was arraigned Tuesday in state Superior Court on charges of second-degree harassment, second-degree breach of peace and interfering with an officer.
Teri Buhl, 38, of 81 Locust Ave., appeared briefly before Judge Maureen D. Dennis with her lawyer, Christopher W. Caldwell of Norwalk…
Buhl surrendered on Oct. 27 at New Canaan police headquarters after learning that a warrant had been obtained for her arrest. She was released after posting a $5,000 bond.
Here’s how Buhl allegedly set about “publishing” someone else’s much more private “statements:”
A look at the documents that led to the warrant and arrest tells a disturbing story of Web-based strong-arming and privacy invasion from a woman who knew her victim and attempted to disguise her own identity.
New Canaan police Youth Bureau Commander Sgt. Carol Ogrinc said in an affidavit that the girl and her father, Paul Brody, came to police June 24 to report that someone using the name ‘Tasha Moore’ had posted personal notes from the girl’s journal on Facebook.
The girl said she kept the journal in her dresser drawer in her bedroom, and that she wrote the notes shown on Facebook last April. The girl said she had replied to the e-mail address provided by Moore on her Facebook page, and had told Moore to stop posting personal information about her or she would contact police.
Moore reportedly answered that she welcomed the legal action and knew the girl’s father was a corporate lawyer. Moore said she didn’t think the girl would contact police because then her father would find out about the embarrassing information from the journal, according to Ogrinc’s statement.
As Bennett points out, it’s apparently OK to publicly post information from a minor’s personal journal, but not OK to post a public Teri Buhl tweet anywhere else on the internet.
With the 2014 World Cup in Brazil drawing closer, a European police intelligence agency said Monday that its 19-month investigation, code-named Operation Veto, revealed widespread occurrences of match-fixing in recent years, with 680 games globally deemed suspicious. The extent was staggering: some 150 international matches, mostly in Africa, Asia and Latin America; roughly 380 games in Europe, covering World Cup and European championship qualifiers as well as two Champions League games; and games that run the gamut from lower-division semiprofessional matches to contests in top domestic leagues.
All sports are essentially turning into pro wrestling. People only watch them because they have no idea which way the matches are fixed.
A confidential Justice Department memo concludes that the U.S. government can order the killing of American citizens if they are believed to be “senior operational leaders” of al-Qaida or “an associated force” — even if there is no intelligence indicating they are engaged in an active plot to attack the U.S.
The 16-page memo, a copy of which was obtained by NBC News, provides new details about the legal reasoning behind one of the Obama administration’s most secretive and controversial polices: its dramatically increased use of drone strikes against al-Qaida suspects, including those aimed at American citizens, such as the September 2011 strike in Yemen that killed alleged al-Qaida operatives Anwar al-Awlaki and Samir Khan. Both were U.S. citizens who had never been indicted by the U.S. government nor charged with any crimes.
Note also that ‘an associated force’ is a term so elastic as to be meaningless; it can be any person or organization that has ever exchanged an email with someone defined as being a friend of the gardener of the second cousin removed of a member of Al Qaeda. Ergo, if you are assassinated in this way, it seems likely that you will be declared retroactively guilty, even if you weren’t the original target. And, man, is it ever hard to find and pay a lawyer from the grave.
For example, Jubair Ahmad can easily be argued to fall under this memo:
Over the past several years, the Justice Department has increasingly attempted to criminalize what is clearly protected political speech by prosecuting numerous individuals (Muslims, needless to say) for disseminating political views the government dislikes or considers threatening. The latest episode emerged on Friday, when the FBI announced the arrest and indictment of Jubair Ahmad, a 24-year-old Pakistani legal resident living in Virginia, charged with “providing material support” to a designated Terrorist organization (Lashkar-e-Tayyiba (LeT)).
What is the “material support” he allegedly gave? He produced and uploaded a 5-minute video to YouTube featuring photographs of U.S. abuses in Abu Ghraib, video of armored trucks exploding after being hit by IEDs, prayer messages about “jihad” from LeT’s leader, and — according to the FBI’s Affidavit — “a number of terrorist logos.”
Evasi0n is interesting because it escalates privileges and has full access to the system partition all without any memory corruption. It does this by exploiting the /var/db/timezone vulnerability to gain access to the root user’s launchd socket. It then abuses launchd to load MobileFileIntegrity with an inserted codeless library, which is overriding MISValidateSignature to always return 0.
Scientists have discovered a way to show the neural activity that indicates the thought processes of a fish while hunting its prey.
“Our work is the first to show brain activities in real time in an intact animal during that animal’s natural behavior,” said Koichi Kawakami of Japan’s National Institute of Genetics in a statement. “We can make the invisible visible; that’s what is most important.”