July 19, 2010

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Goldman Sachs to pay record settlement in fraud suit, change business practices Goldman Sachs agreed Thursday to pay $550 million to settle a fraud suit brought by the Securities and Exchange Commission that accused the storied Wall Street bank of selling a subprime-mortgage investment that was secretly designed to fail. The fine is the largest the SEC has ever assessed against a financial company. But the settlement also is striking because Goldman agreed to a host of changes to how it does business and because the bank, while not admitting wrongdoing, agreed to express "regret" for including "incomplete information" in marketing materials touting the investment to clients. By doing so, Goldman acknowledged "the fundamental basis of our complaint," SEC enforcement director Robert Khuzami said at a news conference, standing with 10 colleagues who worked on the case. "Today's settlement is a stark reminder -- a very stark reminder -- that there will be a heavy price to be paid if firms violate the principles fundamental to securities law." While Goldman will pay only a tiny fraction of its $13 billion in annual profits to resolve the claims, the settlement represents a black mark for the bank, which had insisted since the suit was filed three months ago that it had done nothing wrong. It comes on the same day that Congress sent legislation to the president to curb many Wall Street practices -- including ones that have made Goldman a lot of money. via www.washingtonpost.com
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WikiLeaks disclosures unlikely to change course of Afghanistan war The excerpt below is from the Washington Post. I've wondered a bit whether the wiki-leaks disclosure indicates a problem with my critique of publicity of the sort: look, publicity and disclosure do matter! Here is evidence of all sorts of awfulness that had been kept from the public! Although there are good reasons not to count on the Post, I think my critique still stands. The most important reason: nothing in the leaks seems--so far--to be changing folks' minds about the war. There is an impact on political will. Those of against the war, are still against. Those in favor, still in favor. Those who don't want to think about, still don't want to think about it. Could the leaks add to pressure against the war? That's possible. Yet I think it's unlikely because of the current combination of multiple fragmented media, right wing attacks on reality, and a left still unlikely to oppose Obama. The first two reasons could be rephrased as communicative capitalism. The third reason is particular to the current conjuncture. In the first 24 hours after the unauthorized release of more than 91,000 secret documents about the war in Afghanistan, a few things became clear to the officials, lawmakers and experts reading them: -- New evidence that the war effort is plagued by unreliable Afghan and Pakistani partners seems unlikely to undermine fragile congressional support or force the Obama administration to shift strategy. -- The disclosure of what are mostly battlefield updates does not appear to...

Jodi Dean

Jodi Dean is a political theorist.

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