News Brief: Goldman Sachs Exec. May Have Lied Under Oath and More . . .

Reuters reported the unveiling of a new immigration bill by Senate Democratic leaders yesterday, with an emphasis on bolstered border security. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and fellow Democrats moved to overhaul the nation’s “broken” immigration system in the wake of Arizona’s crackdown on undocumented immigrants.

The bill calls for the creation of a high-tech identification card for immigrant workers, “tough sanctions” against American employers who hire undocumented immigrants, a process to admit temporary workers and a path towards citizenship for undocumented immigrants. According to Reid, the blueprint would “require those here illegally to register with the government, pay taxes, learn English, pass criminal background checks and go to the back of the line to earn legal status.”

It will serve as a counterweight to the proposal made by Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) and Chuck Schumer (D-New York).

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The New York Times reported a march by thousands of union members and community activists near Wall Street to press for higher taxes on the nation’s banks and a larger jobs program.

The labor rally in Lower Manhattan on Thursday called for the national discussion to focus not only on regulatory reform, but on bringing punitive action against banks for their damage to the economy. The ALF-CIO has called for a new tax on short-term financial transactions, along with higher taxes on bankers’ bonuses and private equity managers.

“People in New York and across the country who did nothing wrong and want to work have paid for the misdeeds of the big banks with their jobs, homes and retirement savings,” said Richard Trumka, the ALF-CIO president.

Police estimated that the crowd numbered 4,000 to 7,500 people.

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The New York Times cited reports that oil from a spill in the Gulf of Mexico washed ashore overnight, threatening fragile wildlife and affecting fisheries. Though officials have not yet confirmed whether the oil had touched land, the oil has been moving toward the shore, and Petty Officer Shawn Eggert of the United States Coast Guard said that officials were planning a flyover Friday morning to assess the movement.

According to a senior adviser of President Obama’s, the government will not allow any new offshore drilling until an investigation has been conducted into the explosion on an offshore oil rig last week that lead to the spill. This has set back Obama’s recently announced allowance to expand offshore oil and gas drilling off the coast of the United States.

The federal government has brought in the military to assist with the attempt to contain the oil spill.

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Mother Jones may have caught a former head of Goldman Sachs’ mortgage department lying to Congress about their expectations for the mortgage industry.

In response to a query from a Senate investigations subcommittee as to how he could “in good faith” sell mortgage-related products to clients when indicators showed the mortgage market was near collapse, and when Goldman Sachs had itself begun betting against the market, Daniel Sparks was evasive, saying, “at the time we did those deals, we expected those deals to perform.”

The numerous documents released by the subcommittee bring into question whether this was true, indicating that Sparks in his capacity as head of the mortgage department, and his employer, knew otherwise. This has brought allegations that Sparks lied under oath during his testimony during the Security and Exchange Commission’s fraud investigation against Goldman Sachs.

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Democracy Now reported that paramilitaries in Oaxaca, Mexico, have killed two prominent human rights activists. The victims were identified as Beatriz Carino, director of the Mexican human rights group CACTUS, and Jyri Jaakkola, a human rights observer from Finland. They were shot while traveling with a convoy to deliver aid to a town that has been the target of paramilitary blockades since 2006, when there was an uprising against governor Ulises Ruiz.

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The Guardian reported the quiet lifting of the US military’s ban on women serving on submarines Friday. The ban was scheduled to be lifted Thursday at midnight unless Congress took action against it, according to Secretary of Defense Robert Gates.

The Navy will assign three female officers each in eight different crews of guided-missile attacks submarines and ballistic missile submarines. The women will first have to complete a 15-month training program, and will serve on submarines with about 15 officers and 140 enlisted personnel.

Women make up 15 percent of people on active duty in the US Navy.