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Tag: Oversight


nathangibbs (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

Voting Rights Advocates Try to Put Oversight Back on the Map

In June, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that states and local governments with a history of discrimination no longer needed to submit new voting laws for federal approval. Now, voting rights advocates are trying to put them back under oversight using the courts and Congress.

Posted on Mar 3, 2014 READ MORE


NYSE
AP / Henny Ray Abrams

House Passes Major Financial Regulation Bill

In what is being hailed as the biggest bid to change financial regulation since Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s New Deal, the House of Representatives on Friday passed the Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2009. In a press conference after the vote, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi proclaimed, “We are sending a clear message to Wall Street: The party is over.”

Posted on Dec 11, 2009 READ MORE


waterboarding cartoon
Wikimedia Commons / tales-of-iraq-war.blogspot.com

Obama Aims to Improve America’s Interrogation Record

Monday saw more than one move on the part of Team Obama to deal with U.S. intelligence agencies’ treatment of terror suspects: In addition to Attorney General Eric Holder’s bid to take a second look into certain CIA-related cases from years past, President Obama has approved the formation of an integrated interrogation central command called the High-Value Detainee Interrogation Group.

Posted on Aug 24, 2009 READ MORE


TARP hearing
AP photo / Pablo Martinez Monsivais

Thievery Under the TARP

We are being robbed big-time, but you can’t say we haven’t been warned. Not after the release Tuesday of a scathing report by the Treasury Department’s special inspector general, who charged that the aptly named Troubled Asset Relief Program is rife with mismanagement and potential for fraud.

Posted on Apr 22, 2009 READ MORE


Armitage

Armitage on Torture, ‘AWOL’ Congress

Now that the Department of Justice has released the latest stunning Bush-era torture memos, this Al-Jazeera English interview with former Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage, in which he admits that the Bush administration flouted the Geneva Conventions and that he probably should have resigned, is even more alarming.

Posted on Apr 17, 2009 READ MORE


Frank and reporters
AP photo / J. Scott Applewhite

We’re Paying Congress for This?

Congress’ work has often offered us transparency and has usually led to useful, progressive legislation. And now comes Financial Services Committee Chairman Barney Frank’s choreographed extravaganza in the House of Representatives, supported by an echoing committee, with sound bites worthy of a night in the Borscht Belt.

Posted on Mar 27, 2009 READ MORE


Lessons of the Exxon Valdez

Twenty years ago, the Exxon Valdez supertanker spilled at least 11 million gallons of oil into Alaska’s pristine Prince William Sound. The consequences of the spill were epic and continue to this day, impacting the environment and the economy.

Posted on Mar 24, 2009 READ MORE


White House
Flickr/dcJohn

White House Looking to Curb Wall Street’s Excesses

Faced with the glaring problem of indulgence and intractability on the highest tiers of Wall Street’s corporate behemoths, the Obama administration is putting together a plan to make financial institutions more accountable and more transparent to the government and to the taxpayers who granted them buoyancy.

Posted on Mar 21, 2009 READ MORE


Warren CIA
abcnews.com

Sex Scandal Calls CIA’s Self-Policing Into Question

A CIA sex scandal, or, more precisely, allegations that a CIA agent raped two Algerian women, has raised questions in Congress about how the agency polices itself. Oddly, discussions of the controversy have failed to emphasize another significant “oops” moment in CIA operations regarding corruption and the need for oversight: torture.

Posted on Mar 20, 2009 READ MORE


It’s Time to Put the Clamps on Tobacco

An idea that has been around for years now has reached that rarest of moments: There is a political environment that should, if reason prevails, produce legislation to require the Food and Drug Administration to regulate tobacco products.

Posted on Mar 16, 2009 READ MORE



Flickr / Fillmore Photography

Go Ahead and Sue

The Supreme Court stood by that most American of rights Wednesday—the right to sue. By a 6-3 vote, the court decided that federal oversight and warning labels do not protect the pharmaceutical industry from lawsuits. The one-armed Vermont musician involved in the case was thrilled, and not just because she got to keep $6.7 million.

Posted on Mar 4, 2009 READ MORE


AIG building
AP photo / Mark Lennihan

Billions Dished Out in the Shadows

We’ve already given AIG a total of $170 billion—an amount that dwarfs the $75 billion allocated to helping those millions of homeowners facing foreclosures. And more will be thrown down the AIG rat hole because President Barack Obama is blindly following the misguided advice of his top economic advisers, who insist that AIG is too big to fail.

Posted on Mar 3, 2009 READ MORE


Government’s Long Night May Be Ending

Obama’s message was plain: The era of bashing government is over. So, too, is the folklore of a marketplace capable of producing abundance without regulation, oversight or public intervention.

Posted on Feb 25, 2009 READ MORE


Toxins ’R’ Us

The American Chemistry Council assures us that “we make the products that help keep you safe and healthy.” But U.S. consumers are actually exposed to a vast array of harmful chemicals and additives embedded in toys, cosmetics, plastic water bottles and countless other products.

Posted on Feb 24, 2009 READ MORE


A Team of Zombies

Only weeks ago, the political world was buzzing about a “team of rivals,” but instead President Obama has populated his administration with Bush yes-men and Wall Street kleptocrats whose discredited theologies cannot be killed.

Posted on Feb 6, 2009 READ MORE


Ethical Malpractice

No need to fumble for words that sum up the stew of hypocrisy, arrogance and insiderism that is the unfolding saga of Tom Daschle. This is the audacity of audacity.

Posted on Feb 2, 2009 READ MORE



Wikimedia Commons

Congress Sings the Bailout Blues

Want to know where the $350 billion banking bailout went and why it hasn’t done a bit of good? Read, and weep over, this little-noticed report from the congressional panel set up to monitor the Treasury Department’s distribution of our taxpayer funds.

Posted on Jan 18, 2009 READ MORE



AP photo / Craig Ruttle

Why I Am a Socialist

The free market and globalization, promised as the route to worldwide prosperity, have been exposed as a con game. We will either find our way out of this mess by embracing an uncompromising democratic socialism or we will continue to be fleeced and impoverished by our bankrupt elite.

Posted on Dec 29, 2008 READ MORE


Regulator Gave Blessing to IndyMac Shenanigans

The Treasury Department’s inspector general has been looking into the failure of IndyMac, which set the taxpayers back $8.9 billion, and what he found isn’t pretty. It seems a certain regulator let the bank present itself as “well-capitalized” when the truth was something entirely different.

Posted on Dec 23, 2008 READ MORE


Workers Laid Off, Executives Paid Off, Bernard Madoff

Bernard Madoff’s criminal pyramid scheme, in which losses are expected to be $50 billion, paints a grim picture—unless you are a corporate executive. Read the fine print. Of the TARP bailout funds, only those that were technically spent “in an auction” carry limits on executive pay.

Posted on Dec 16, 2008 READ MORE


Dennis Kucinich
AP photo / Kevin Wolf

Rep. Dennis Kucinich on His Battle With the Banks

Once they were as gods, but the deities of the American banking system are now in ruins, plunged from their pedestals into the maw of taxpayer largesse. There was a time when their power was real. Come with me to Cleveland 30 years ago today.

Posted on Dec 15, 2008 READ MORE


We Told You So

With the release of three new reports, there’s no debate anymore about who was correct and who wasn’t concerning the economic collapse and the Wall Street bailout. The studies prove that progressive critics were right and the Washington ideologues and the pundits were wrong.

Posted on Dec 11, 2008 READ MORE


Cummings

Fun With Bailout Hearings: Know Your Treasury Chumps

It’s clear from this monologue by Rep. Elijah Cummings that, when he wonders aloud if Neel Kashkari is a “chump” for enabling companies like AIG to hand out huge executive bonuses while seeking federal bailout money, Cummings already knows the answer.

Posted on Nov 15, 2008 READ MORE


Some Blame Must Follow the Financial Collapse

“What am I going to tell the public,” one French official asked, “when there are 3 million people marching in the streets of Paris? That ‘we all made mistakes’? That no one was really responsible?”

Posted on Nov 11, 2008 READ MORE


Paulson in negotiations
AP photo / Lauren Victoria Burke

Surprise! Paulson Sneaked $150B Bank ‘Windfall’ Into Bailout

Perhaps we should be more surprised than we are by the news that Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson and his DOT crew managed to sneak a handful of sentences into the approved bailout bill that amounted to a $150-billion “quiet windfall” for American banks, as The Washington Post put it.

Posted on Nov 10, 2008 READ MORE



U.S. Navy / Petty Officer 3rd Class Josue L. Escobosa

Military Spending ‘Not Sustainable’

The Defense Business Board, an official oversight body appointed by the secretary of defense, has warned the president-elect that the Pentagon’s bloated budget ($512 billion this year, not including war costs) is “not sustainable.” An unprecedented spending spree since 9/11 has run head-on into a financial meltdown, and Barack Obama is now stuck in the middle.

Posted on Nov 10, 2008 READ MORE



White House / Shealah Craighead

Greenspan Admits Ideological Flaw

The former Fed chair told angry lawmakers on Thursday that after 40 years of buying into free-market ideology he had “found a flaw.” Rep. Henry Waxman told Greenspan “our whole economy is paying the price” because he ignored advice and resisted regulation.

Posted on Oct 23, 2008 READ MORE


Pillow Talk
thirdphaze.com

Report: NSA Listened In on Americans’ Phone Sex

Just what kind of interpretation of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act would allow U.S. National Security Agency linguists to eavesdrop on Americans’, er, pillow talk? That’s the charge being leveled by more than one such NSA interpreter who worked at an NSA listening station at Fort Gordon, Ga.

Posted on Oct 9, 2008 READ MORE



starwoodhotels.com

AIG Execs Enjoy Sun and Fun on Your Dime

What’s $85 billion if you don’t get to spend it? Just days after taxpayers saved AIG from ruin, executives of the insurance giant spent $440,000 pampering themselves at the exclusive St. Regis resort in Monarch Beach, Calif.

Posted on Oct 8, 2008 READ MORE


Richard Fuld Jr.
World Economic Forum / Remy Steinegger

Lehman Bros. Paid Execs Millions as Company Tanked

On Monday, the House Oversight and Reform Committee took a look into the collapse of Lehman Brothers as part of a larger review of the factors leading to the current economic crisis, and it wasn’t a pretty sight. Judging by the committee’s account, leaders at Lehman Bros. disregarded key warnings of impending trouble and cut hefty checks for their fellow executives even as the firm teetered on the brink of disaster.

Posted on Oct 6, 2008 READ MORE


Saying ‘No Deal’ to This New Deal

The marriage of American capitalism and democracy has always been a Pamela Anderson and Tommy Lee affair—stormy and erratic since its hasty wedding. But during the debate over a Wall Street bailout this week, we watched that matrimonial knot unwind into a tangled tale of terror.

Posted on Oct 2, 2008 READ MORE


A Welcome Pause Before the Bailing Starts

We all owe a debt of thanks to the skeptics who refused to be steamrollered by the Bush administration’s $700-billion financial bailout plan until we at least had some understanding of what we were doing and why.

Posted on Oct 2, 2008 READ MORE


Pelosi

Pelosi: ‘The Party Is Over’

Did Nancy Pelosi’s speech just before the House vote on the proposed bailout on Monday lead to the bill’s demise? Let’s hope our legislators aren’t so susceptible that an 11th-hour speech would reverse their positions vis-à-vis a $700-billion measure. Here’s a clip of the House speaker’s comments on the floor.

Posted on Sep 29, 2008 READ MORE


Gingrich
abcnews.go.com

Gingrich: Bailout Plan ‘Un-American’

Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson certainly has his Democratic detractors, but they aren’t the only ones who have some serious doubts about his controversial $700-billion bailout plan. In an appearance on ABC’s “This Week With George Stephanopolous” on Sunday, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich blasted Paulson’s plan, calling it “un-American” and even opining that Paulson should have resigned.

Posted on Sep 28, 2008 READ MORE


How McCain’s Grandstanding Sidelined the Bailout Deal

John McCain’s sudden intervention in Washington’s deliberations over the Wall Street bailout could not have been more out of sync with what was actually happening.

Posted on Sep 25, 2008 READ MORE


McCain Has a Meltdown of His Own

John McCain is rapidly making his temperament an inescapable issue in the presidential campaign. Does the nation really want so much drama in the White House?

Posted on Sep 25, 2008 READ MORE


Socialism for Dummies

So this is how the “ownership society” works. We own all the bad stuff.

Posted on Sep 22, 2008 READ MORE


Frank and reporters
AP photo / Charles Dharapak

Bailout Negotiations Inch Forward

It seems that some key officials involved in the negotiations with the Bush administration over the terms of Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson’s $700-billion bailout proposal for Wall Street aren’t about to make a deal unless it includes specific plans for congressional oversight and help for homeowners on the brink of foreclosure.

Posted on Sep 22, 2008 READ MORE



Flickr / jurvetson

Pelosi Balks at Bailout Scheme

Nancy Pelosi isn’t buying into the idea of a $700 billion gift basket for Wall Street without any strings attached. The House speaker is all for a bailout, so long as it’s clear that “the party is over for the Bush administration’s anything goes, failed economic policies.” Update 2

Posted on Sep 21, 2008 READ MORE


This Is the Man Who’s Going to Fix the Economy?

John McCain was telling the truth when he said that economics wasn’t his strong suit. In response to what many economists have called the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression, the Republican nominee has sounded—and let’s be honest here—totally, embarrassingly and dangerously clueless.

Posted on Sep 18, 2008 READ MORE



commons.wikimedia.org

Chin Up, John McCain—There’s Always Tomorrow

John McCain’s Tuesday was so filled with gaffes and bad news that no one seemed to notice when one of his top advisers held a BlackBerry aloft and declared “you’re looking at the miracle that John McCain helped create.” That spectacle simply couldn’t compete with former HP CEO Carly Fiorina and, more significantly, the very public failure of deregulation.

Posted on Sep 16, 2008 READ MORE



White House / Eric Draper

Bush Claims Privilege Over Cheney Interviews

One of the benefits of saturating the American people with scandal is that folks eventually stop paying attention. That’s certainly the case with Plamegate, which is still being investigated despite the president’s best efforts to the contrary and a public that has generally moved on.

Posted on Jul 16, 2008 READ MORE


How to Steal an Election With the Help of FISA

There’s a lot more to object to in the new FISA bill than just retroactive immunity for the telecoms. It seems that the regulation of surveillance is still hopelessly out of date. How is a court supposed to handle complex algorithms and countless terabytes of data? Truthdig contributor Elliot Cohen warns that the new law could conceivably allow the theft of the 2008 presidential election.

Posted on Jul 2, 2008 READ MORE


Issa and Waxman

Henry ‘the Hammer’ Waxman Shows Issa Who’s Boss

EPA Administrator Stephen Johnson got the oversight chairman’s blood going by refusing to answer a straightforward question, but it was fellow Congressman Darrell Issa who sent Waxman’s gavel flying. The best part about being chairman is you get to say: “I will have you physically removed from this meeting if you don’t stop.”

Posted on May 21, 2008 READ MORE


traffic
Flickr / alforque

EPA Official Reports White House Meddling

A former EPA official, Jason Burnett, told congressional investigators that the White House interfered in a decision regarding California’s regulation of carbon emissions. EPA staff members were unanimous in supporting California’s right to tougher restrictions, Burnett said, but after the agency spoke with the White House and got “input into the rationale” from Bush aides, the state’s request was denied.

Posted on May 19, 2008 READ MORE


The Plague of Potomac Fever

Congress is ravaged by a disease inside the Washington Beltway inhibiting emotions like compassion and integrity. As the housing crisis intensifies, this malady is getting worse.

Posted on May 2, 2008 READ MORE


Doan Resigns
vassar.edu

The Gravy Train Stops Here

It’s the end of an era for the friends of General Services Administration chief Lurita Alexis Doan, who resigned from her post Tuesday following years of allegations of corruption and other inappropriate uses of power. Doan’s reign over the government’s chief contracting agency was riddled with contract handouts and examples of using her appointed position for political (read Republican) purposes.

Posted on Apr 30, 2008 READ MORE


Seven Years of Scandal

The latest plot twists are stunners, even as they unfold against the scandalous backdrop of the Bush administration’s sorry regulatory record.

Posted on Apr 8, 2008 READ MORE


Southwest Plane
Flickr / gTarded

You Are Now Free to Blow the Whistle

The shocking truth about FAA plane inspections was revealed Thursday when three inspectors told a congressional hearing their supervisors ignored their concerns about the safety of Southwest planes and reprimanded them for raising questions.

Posted on Apr 3, 2008 READ MORE


The Race to Captain a Sinking Ship

The Democratic presidential candidates squabble over real or imagined racial sensitivities, the Republican presidential candidate stages photo opportunities with the troops in Iraq, and meanwhile the financial system is coming apart at the seams.

Posted on Mar 18, 2008 READ MORE


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