Wall Street’s Best Investment II: 12 Deregulatory Steps to Financial Meltdown

What can $5 billion buy in Washington?

Quite a lot.

Over the 1998-2008 period, the financial sector spent more than $5 billion on U.S. federal campaign contributions and lobbying expenditures.

This extraordinary investment paid off fabulously. Congress and executive agencies rolled back long-standing regulatory restraints, refused to impose new regulations on rapidly evolving and mushrooming areas of finance, and shunned calls to enforce rules still in place.

“Sold Out: How Wall Street and Washington Betrayed America,” a report released by Essential Information and the Consumer Education Foundation (and which I co-authored), details a dozen crucial deregulatory moves over the last decade — each a direct response to heavy lobbying from Wall Street and the broader financial sector, as the report details. (The report is available here.) Combined, these deregulatory moves helped pave the way for the current financial meltdown.

Here are 12 deregulatory steps to financial meltdown: (more…)

Published in: on March 9, 2009 at 9:06 am  Comments (4)  

Occupation On The Home Front

Welcome to Bizarro Congress. The past six months have been stuffed chockfull of triumphs and disappointments for the Democratic Party: bills denouncing the Iraq War, bills prolonging the Iraq War, bills calling the troops home, bills providing the funds to keep the troops in Iraq for up to three more years. The strange news? They’re all the same bill.

by Maya Schenwar

Published in: on August 1, 2007 at 9:22 am  Leave a Comment  

House Votes 411-8 to Pass Ethics Overhaul

Far-Reaching Measure Faces Senate Hurdles

By Jonathan Weisman

The House gave final and overwhelming approval yesterday to a landmark bill that would tighten ethics and lobbying rules for Congress, forcing lawmakers to more fully detail how their campaigns are funded and how they direct government spending.

Published in: on August 1, 2007 at 8:48 am  Leave a Comment  

Senate tied in knots by filibusters

Margaret Talev |
WASHINGTON — This year Senate Republicans are threatening filibusters to block more legislation than ever before, a pattern that’s rooted in — and could increase — the pettiness and dysfunction in Congress.

Published in: on July 21, 2007 at 11:25 pm  Leave a Comment  

House Passes Responsible Re-Deployment From Iraq Act

The House has passed the Responsible Redeployment from Iraq Act by a vote of 223-201. This marks the largest vote in favor of redeployment to date.

The legislation, sponsored by Armed Services Committee Chairman Ike Skelton, would begin the responsible redeployment of U.S. troops within 120 days and complete redeployment by April 1, 2008. The President would have to report to Congress why troops should remain in Iraq for limited purposes such as to fight terrorism or to train Iraqi forces.

Published in: on July 14, 2007 at 11:02 pm  Comments (68)  

Fight Hate

You’ve got to watch this video. Thousands of people are attacked every year because of their sexual orientation, and there’s still no federal hate crimes law to protect them. This video is a powerful statement on hate crimes. http://www.hrc.org/FightHate

There’s a bill in the Senate right now that would address this heartbreaking problem, and we only have a few weeks until the vote. Take a minute to watch the video and write your Senators, and then pass this along to five friends. None of us can sit this one out. Just go to: http://www.hrc.org/FightHate

Published in: on June 22, 2007 at 8:15 pm  Leave a Comment  

Mind Games: Points of Entry

A game based on immigration legislation recently considered by Congress

Published in: on June 22, 2007 at 10:34 am  Comments (1)  

House Passes Stem Cell Bill Despite Veto Threat

On a vote of 247 to 176, the House overwhelmingly passed the bill, with Republicans and Democrats forging a coalition to authorize federal support for research using stem cells derived from spare embryos that fertility clinics would otherwise discard. The Senate approved the legislation in April.

Published in: on June 7, 2007 at 11:27 pm  Leave a Comment  

House Passes Stem Cell Bill Despite Veto Threat

On a vote of 247 to 176, the House overwhelmingly passed the bill, with Republicans and Democrats forging a coalition to authorize federal support for research using stem cells derived from spare embryos that fertility clinics would otherwise discard. The Senate approved the legislation in April.

Published in: on June 7, 2007 at 11:24 pm  Leave a Comment  

Tell Congress to Pass a Strong Price Gouging Bill

Here’s the bad news: Gas prices hit a record high around Memorial Day and show no sign of declining anytime soon.

Here’s the good news: Already, 500,000 people have signed last week’s petition asking Congress to make gas price gouging illegal. The American people have had enough, and it’s time for a change. (more…)

Published in: on June 4, 2007 at 3:49 pm  Comments (2)  

Cable competition bill a threat to local programming, critics say

A bill that would rewrite the rules governing cable television franchises in Ohio and help telecommunications giant AT&T Inc. enter the video market threatens to wipe out local public access channels, critics say.

Published in: on June 4, 2007 at 3:37 pm  Leave a Comment  

A Subversion of American Democracy?

White House & Democratic Leadership Agree on Secret Trade Deal

Rick MacArthur, publisher of Harper’s Magazine, and author of the book “The Selling of “Free Trade: NAFTA, Washington, and the Subversion of American Democracy,” discusses what’s been happening behind closed doors on Capitol Hill and why many environmentalists, AIDS activists, American labor unions, and social movements in Latin America oppose the deal.

It was an unexpected announcement from Washington — and one many are still trying to figure out. Earlier this month, the White House and Democratic leaders announced they had reached a historic agreement on trade.

Published in: on May 22, 2007 at 8:08 pm  Leave a Comment  

Ill senator settles in for voter ID fight

Gallegos legislating from bed near Senate despite warnings from his transplant doctors.

“If not for voter ID, I wouldn’t be here; that’s how serious the issue is for me,” said Gallegos, D-Houston. “It’s very important for my community that we block this legislation.”

Published in: on May 22, 2007 at 8:01 pm  Leave a Comment  

Divided Over Trade

May 14, 2007
Op-Ed Columnist

Nothing divides Democrats like international trade policy. That became clear last week, when the announcement of a deal on trade between Democratic leaders and the Bush administration caused many party activists to accuse the leadership of selling out. (more…)

Published in: on May 13, 2007 at 10:26 pm  Comments (3)  

Rescue Internet Radio


A ruling by an obscure regulatory agency to raise royalty rates up to 1200 percent threatens to silence thousands of Internet radio stations.

Published in: on May 10, 2007 at 10:34 pm  Leave a Comment  

NRA opposes bill to stop gun sales to terror suspects

The National Rifle Association is urging the Bush administration to withdraw its support of a bill that would prohibit suspected terrorists from buying firearms.

Published in: on May 5, 2007 at 10:52 pm  Leave a Comment  

Rise in gun crime forces Swiss to reconsider right to bear arms

Switzerland, an island of gun culture at the heart of Europe, is agonising over whether to introduce controls on possessing guns and ammunition as alarm spreads about the number of gun deaths in the country.

Published in: on May 2, 2007 at 4:12 pm  Leave a Comment  

Senators Now Decrying ‘Pork’ Voted to Approve ‘Railroad to Nowhere’

Via The Center for American Progress: Because Americans strongly back a timeline to redeploy from Iraq, conservatives have focused their opposition to the recently-passed Iraq redeployment legislation on the domestic spending that is attached. (more…)

Published in: on April 3, 2007 at 12:38 pm  Leave a Comment  

Advocacy and Teaching


Delray Beach, Fla.

When a bill before a state legislature bears a woman’s name, it is usually because someone has been abducted or raped or murdered. But in Missouri, House Bill 213, or the Emily Brooker Intellectual Diversity Act, is under consideration because someone was given an assignment.

Published in: on March 23, 2007 at 10:50 pm  Leave a Comment  

Appeal judges draw fire over sex consent

The jury found the defendent guilty of forced intercourse, but not of forcing oral sex.

* Rape verdict rejected after consensual sex act
* Court of Appeal erases criminal record
* State Government to table new rape laws

Published in: on March 23, 2007 at 1:45 pm  Leave a Comment  

Democrats Seek to Repeal 2002 War Authorization

Senate Democratic leaders intend to unveil a plan next week to repeal the 2002 resolution authorizing the war in Iraq in favor of narrower authority that restricts the military’s role and begins withdrawals of combat troops.

House Democrats have pulled back from efforts to link additional funding for the war to strict troop-readiness standards after the proposal came under withering fire from Republicans and from their party’s own moderates. That strategy was championed by Rep. John P. Murtha (D-Pa.) and endorsed by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.).

Published in: on February 23, 2007 at 3:11 pm  Leave a Comment  

Death certificates on abortions proposed

House Judiciary Chairman Rob Briley, a Democrat, called Campfield’s proposal “the most preposterous bill I’ve seen” in an eight-year legislative career.

Unionizing bill advances

Cheney threatens veto

Published in: on February 15, 2007 at 3:34 am  Leave a Comment  

Bill Would Restore Detainees’ Rights, Define ‘Combatant’

A group of Senate Democrats introduced legislation yesterday that would restore habeas corpus rights to all detainees in U.S. custody and would narrowly define what it means to be an “enemy combatant” against the United States, a measure designed to challenge laws ushered in by the Republican-controlled Congress last year.

Published in: on February 14, 2007 at 7:30 pm  Leave a Comment  

Chipping Away at Family Leave

February 8, 2007, 5:46 pm
Domestic Disturbances
by Judith Warner

An interesting new chapter in the family wars has been playing out lately under the radar. In response to pressure from business groups, the Department of Labor has put out an official request for information on the Family and Medical Leave Act to find out if, as critics contend, the law is too generous and places an undue burden on employers who are required to comply with it.

Published in: on February 9, 2007 at 3:35 pm  Leave a Comment  

Cheney’s Fund Manager Attacks … Cheney

The oil-based energy policies usually associated with Vice President Dick Cheney have just come under scathing attack. There’s nothing remarkable about that, of course — except the person doing the attacking.

Published in: on February 7, 2007 at 1:17 pm  Leave a Comment  

The Bills That Can End the War

Senator Feingold held a hearing on the topic yesterday and plans to introduce a bill today to end the war by denying the President the money to continue it. Congress Members Lynn Woolsey, Jim McGovern, and Jerrold Nadler have bills in the House to do the same. But the bills are not all the same.

Published in: on February 1, 2007 at 1:28 pm  Leave a Comment  


Number of amendments offered by conservatives to the minimum wage bill, including multiple amendments to abolish the federal minimum wage.

Published in: on January 26, 2007 at 7:26 pm  Leave a Comment  

Rep. believes Democratic media reform bill may prevent possible ‘fascist’ takeover of US media

Rep. Hinchey: New bill would break up media monopolies and restore fairness doctrine

Warns media reform critical to prevent ‘end of democratic republic’

Published in: on January 22, 2007 at 9:42 pm  Leave a Comment