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S&P expects to be sued by Department of Justice over ratings on mortgage-backed bonds

Standard and PoorStandard & Poor’s says the government plans to file a lawsuit alleging wrongdoing by the agency when it gave high ratings to mortgage-backed securities that later plunged in value and fueled the 2008 financial crisis.

S&P said Monday that it has been told by the Department of Justice that it intends to file a civil lawsuit focusing on S&P’s ratings on some mortgage-backed securities in 2007.

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Chinese firm wins A123 despite U.S. tech transfer fears

Chinese buy A123China's largest auto parts maker won U.S. government approval to buy A123 Systems Inc (AONEQ.PK), a maker of electric car batteries, despite warnings by some lawmakers that the deal would transfer sensitive technology developed with U.S. government money.

The sale of the lithium-ion battery maker to a U.S. unit of Wanxiang Group was approved by a U.S. government committee on foreign investment, according to a statement from the Chinese company.

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Report: Treasury approved excessive pay for executives at bailed-out AIG, GM and Ally

US Treasury The U.S. Treasury Department disregarded its own guidelines by allowing large pay increases for executives at three firms bailed out during the financial crisis, a report released Monday says.

The Special Inspector General for the Troubled Asset Relief Program said Treasury approved all 18 requests it received for executive raises at American International Group Inc., General Motors Corp. and Ally Financial Inc. Of those requests, 14 were for $100,000 or more. One raise, for the CEO of a division at AIG, was for $1 million.

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American unions suffer steep decline in membership

Union membership fallsThe nation's labor unions suffered sharp declines in membership last year, led by losses among public sector workers in cash-strapped states, cities, counties and towns.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics says the unionization rate fell from 11.8 percent to 11.3 percent of all workers, the lowest level since the 1930s. Total union membership fell by about 400,000 workers to 14.4 million.

TVNL Comment: Union busting is a planned and well orchestrated political move across the United States.  American labor is being depleted of any power, and will be at the absolute mercy of predatory corporations.

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Fed missed warning signs in 2007 as crisis gained steam

Fed missed warning signsTop policymakers at the Federal Reserve felt for most of 2007 that problems in housing and banking were isolated and unlikely to tear down the U.S. economy as they ultimately did.

Even as crisis signals started flashing red with the freezing of credit markets during the summer, Fed officials believed the troubles would be moderate and short-lived, according to transcripts of the 2007 meetings released on Friday after the customary five-year lag.

U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, then president of the New York Federal Reserve Bank, said during an emergency telephone call on August 10 of that year that most of Wall Street was still doing fine.

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Should More Bankers Be in Prison?

Prison

The financial crisis had many causes—too much borrowing, foolish investments, misguided regulation—but at its core, the panic resulted from a lack of transparency. The reason no one wanted to lend to or trade with the banks during the fall of 2008, when Lehman Brothers collapsed, was that no one could understand the banks’ risks. It was impossible to tell, from looking at a particular bank’s disclosures, whether it might suddenly implode.

For the past four years, the nation’s political leaders and bankers have made enormous—in some cases unprecedented—efforts to save the financial industry, clean up the banks, and reform regulation in order to restore trust and confidence in the American financial system. This hasn’t worked. Banks today are bigger and more opaque than ever, and they continue to behave in many of the same ways they did before the crash.

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Payback! Hundreds of Homeowners Associations Threaten Banks with Foreclosure

Homeowners foreclose on banksIt’s payback time—literally. In Florida, hundreds of homeowner and neighborhood associations are foreclosing on banks that have failed to upkeep their repossessed properties, according to—of all things— a CNN money report.

Florida is one of the states hardest hit by foreclosures, and there are nearly a half-million foreclosed houses now standing vacant and often slowly deteriorating. When a bank forecloses on a house, evicts the family and then repossesses the property, it also assumes responsibility for maintaining the home and yard and paying homeowner or condo association fees.

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