Here’s a great example of the stupidity of public officials in many countries – the United States, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands – when it comes to drugs, and more specifically, marijuana policy.
In the US, marijuana is “classified” as being as risky as heroin and meth for a person. So, the Congressman above keeps asking the top administrator of the Drugs Enforcement Agency (DEA) a simple question: are heroin and meth more dangerous and addictive than marijuana? Watch the reaction of the administrator as she keeps selling the “official” answer.
One wonders how long these fact-free policies can go on. In the Netherlands, kids are now on the streets selling marijuana, because of a government-enforced registration of marijuana smokers. We have, among others, the Christian Democrat party to thank for that. The smaller Christian Union is even proposing, out of pure religious zeal, to abolish the distinction between ‘soft’ and ‘hard’ drugs, which will result in the same idiotic charade as witnessed in the video above.
I keep coming back to the same question: what goes on in the brains of these people? If anybody has an answer, I’ll be glad to hear it.
Last Thursday the Obama campaign showed its first feat of arms. The tone is harsh, gloomy and realistic, which is a pretty bold move, because I’m pretty sure that one of the primers of advertising is that it should always convey a positive message. It shows all the hardships the country went through in the last 4 years: the economic crisis, an imploding housing market, two nasty wars, etc. And it ends on a sort of positive note, with the capture of Osama Bin Laden, the retreat from Iraq and a slowly recovering economy. It’s narrated by Hollywood A-lister Tom Hanks and features usual suspects like Rahm Emanuel, Joe Biden and Bill Clinton. Would there be a particular reason not to include Hillary Clinton by the way? Also, “Obamacare” is not mentioned (EDIT: Healthcare reform is actually mentioned quite a bit, from 7:15 to ,9:50. My bad).
The underlying message is: it takes eight years of Obama to repair eight years of Bush, so give me another term. I think this ad, or rather mini-documentary, is meant to assure his base that Obama is still the Obama of 2008, but that he is now wisened and hardened. And most of all, he has rescued America from imminent doom by averting financial breakdown, creating new jobs, bringing home soldiers and investing in the car industry. I am wondering if the tone is not a bit too gloomy, because at certain moments the film is almost like an obituary. But all in all it’s a pretty impressive mini-documentary IMHO, which gives a fair portrayal of his accomplishments (obviously, there are also enough negative points would have been mentioned in a real documentary), without any nasty smears to Republicans. It sets the tone for his reelection campaign, which I guess has changed from “Yes we can” to “We will overcome” or “Through struggle we are humbled”, or something like that. If voters are going to buy this (which in the end I think enough of them will) then Andrew Sullivan will be right with his “Obama’s long game” analysis.
Unbeknownst to many people, Barack Obama’s ascendency to the presidency has, despite his 2008 campaign promises, done almost nothing to reverse one of the most heinous policies of the Bush-Cheney era: the practice of indefinitely detaining people whom the US state deems “enemy combatants”, or terrorism suspects. Without charges and without recourse to a judge. The mere charge of being a terror suspect can still lead to uncontrollable, unaccountable detention by the American government; this is viewed by both Bush-Cheney and Obama as an inherent, presidential prerogative. No one who is not out of his right mind would not view this as in straightforward contradiction to the rule of law.
But President Obama’s record has just gotten even worse. After months of threatening to veto a bill put forward by the partly Republican-controlled Congress allowing the U.S. military to indefinitely detain anyone, including American citizens, anywhere in the world, including in the U.S., without charges, he has now said that he will sign it into law.
Thereby Obama, the 2008 darling of liberals and progressives, has become the president who has made extrajudicial indefinite detention at the charge of being an “enemy combatant” official law and policy, rather than an exception. Obama is even worse than Bush-Cheney! This should be clear to anyone who is still an Obama fanboy.
When in the 1950s, the McCarthy era, Congress presented Harry Truman with a similar bill allowing the indefinite detention of Communists and other ‘subversive elements’ without charges, Truman vetoed it. But Obama is not such a person. The right not to be detained forever by the state without a fair trial is a fundamental human right, part of the Western juridical tradition, that has just been violated possibly forever by this president.
This becoming law will also mean two things. First, that the U.S. military can now be involved in domestic policing activities (!). Second, that the battleground of the so-called ‘War on Terror’ has now been extended to American soil too. Can you believe that?
At this point, I would officially hope that Obama gets defeated at the polls next year. If Ron Paul’s ideas on economic policy weren’t so nutty, I would support him – a Republican - if he was the nominee.
In one of the least surprising developments imaginable, President Obama – after spending months threatening to veto the Levin/McCain detention bill – yesterday announced that he would instead sign it into law (this is the same individual, of course, who unequivocally vowed when seeking the Democratic nomination to support a filibuster of “any bill that includes retroactive immunity for telecom[s],” only to turn around – once he had the nomination secure — and not only vote against such a filibuster, but to vote in favor of the underlying bill itself, so this is perfectly consistent with his past conduct). As a result, the final version of the Levin/McCain bill will be enshrined as law this week as part of the the 2012 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). I wrote about the primary provisions and implications of this bill last week, and won’t repeat those points here.
The ACLU said last night that the bill contains “harmful provisions that some legislators have said could authorize the U.S. military to pick up and imprison without charge or trial civilians, including American citizens, anywhere in the world” and added: “if President Obama signs this bill, it will damage his legacy.” Human Rights Watch said that Obama’s decision “does enormous damage to the rule of law both in the US and abroad” and that “President Obama will go down in history as the president who enshrined indefinite detention without trial in US law.”
Both groups pointed out that this is the first time indefinite detention has been enshrined in law since the McCarthy era of the 1950s, when — as the ACLU put it — “President Truman had the courage to veto” the Internal Security Act of 1950 on the ground that it “would make a mockery of our Bill of Rights” and then watched Congress override the veto. That Act authorized the imprisonment of Communists and other “subversives” without the necessity of full trials or due process (many of the most egregious provisions of that bill were repealed by the 1971 Non-Detention Act, and are now being rejuvenated by these War on Terror policies of indefinite detention). President Obama, needless to say, is not Harry Truman. He’s not even the Candidate Obama of 2008 who repeatedly insisted that due process and security were not mutually exclusive and who condemned indefinite detention as “black hole” injustice.
Barack Obama has abandoned a commitment to veto a new security law that allows the military to indefinitely detain without trial American terrorism suspects arrested on US soil who could then be shipped to Guantánamo Bay.
Human rights groups accused the president of deserting his principles and disregarding the long-established principle that the military is not used in domestic policing. The legislation has also been strongly criticised by libertarians on the right angered at the stripping of individual rights for the duration of “a war that appears to have no end”.
The law, contained in the defence authorisation bill that funds the US military, effectively extends the battlefield in the “war on terror” to the US and applies the established principle that combatants in any war are subject to military detention.
The legislation’s supporters in Congress say it simply codifies existing practice, such as the indefinite detention of alleged terrorists at Guantánamo Bay. But the law’s critics describe it as a draconian piece of legislation that extends the reach of detention without trial to include US citizens arrested in their own country.
Senator Lindsey Graham said the extraordinary measures were necessary because terrorism suspects were wholly different to regular criminals.
“We’re facing an enemy, not a common criminal organisation, who will do anything and everything possible to destroy our way of life,” he said. “When you join al-Qaida you haven’t joined the mafia, you haven’t joined a gang. You’ve joined people who are bent on our destruction and who are a military threat.”
Graham added that it was right that Americans should be subject to the detention law as well as foreigners. “It is not unfair to make an American citizen account for the fact that they decided to help Al Qaeda to kill us all and hold them as long as it takes to find intelligence about what may be coming next,” he said. “And when they say, ‘I want my lawyer,’ you tell them, ‘Shut up. You don’t get a lawyer.’”
Other senators supported the new powers on the grounds that al-Qaida was fighting a war inside the US and that its followers should be treated as combatants, not civilians with constitutional protections.
“We’re talking about American citizens who can be taken from the United States and sent to a camp at Guantánamo Bay and held indefinitely. It puts every single citizen American at risk,” he said. “Really, what security does this indefinite detention of Americans give us? The first and flawed premise, both here and in the badly named Patriot Act, is that our pre-9/11 police powers were insufficient to stop terrorism. This is simply not borne out by the facts.”
Paul was backed by Senator Dianne Feinstein.
“Congress is essentially authorising the indefinite imprisonment of American citizens, without charge,” she said. “We are not a nation that locks up its citizens without charge.”
So let it be noted that Obama here has followed the line of the most conservative Republicans.
Anthony Weiner is a politician who had chatroom conversations with women. Also, he sent sexually loaded text messages to women. In both instances, he transmitted non-pornographic images of himself to them.
So why the hell should this guy resign from elected office?
This incident only goes to show the surface puritanism and moralistic ambiguity of American political culture. The fact that Weiner is married, and in first instance lied about his actions (as if they should be subject of media attention in the first place) is unfortunate for him. But calling on him to resign, as well as getting psychiatric treatment for his actions is absurd.
Marital infidelity is a common aspect of modern American life, and considering the amount of sex scandals that frequently rock DC, even more common in American politics. Yet at the moment that some politician is discovered, the flock descends upon him to decry his immorality and thereby confirm their own high moral standards. Note: this goes from Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi all the way to president Obama. The Democrats supposedly do this to prevent damage to the party, yet turn this into a self-fulfilling prophecy by going on about it. But the worst of all are their demands that Weiner should get psychiatric treatment because he is “sick”; sick for being horny.
At first, Weiner said that he made a mistake, which to me seems the correct thing to do and then move on. But, now he apparently goes along with the diagnosis of his psychological ailments, and is forced to go into therapy. What a ridiculous spectacle. I hope he stays put and refuses to resign.
Excuse me for asking, but why exactly should Anthony Weinerresign? He flirted with women in a crude, dorky and easily traceable way. And he lied about it, which is what married men usually do in such circumstances. Who cares? As far as we know, he violated no law or congressional ethics rule. There’s been no allegation of sexual harassment. It’s entirely possible that his constituents would reelect him if given the chance. So why is he being hounded from office?
The current line among talking heads is that he must resign because he’s hurting the Democratic Party, which no longer can focus public attention on the GOP’s efforts to cut Medicare. Talk about a self-fulfilling prophecy. The main reason the Democrats no longer can focus public attention on the GOP’s efforts to cut Medicare, after all, is that talking heads would rather focus on Anthony Weiner’s pecs. If pundits are really so upset that Weiner is distracting attention from the nation’s budgetary dilemmas, perhaps they should start discussing the nation’s budgetary dilemmas and return Weiner’s seduction strategies to the obscurity they so richly deserve.
Other critics say Weiner has shown poor judgment in his private life, which casts doubt about the judgment he’ll show in public life. But there’s no necessary connection between the two. Bill Clinton was privately reckless and publicly cautious; with George W. Bush it was the reverse. And if critics are worried about what Weiner’s texting habits portend for his behavior in Congress, why don’t they look at his behavior in Congress? I think he’s been significantly less reckless than those Republicans who continue to try to deregulate every industry they can, even after such efforts nearly wrecked the Gulf of Mexico and the global financial system.
Truth be told, I don’t think the real reason pundits are baying for Weiner’s head has anything to do with his ability to be a good congressman. It’s more primal than that. We live in a kick-them-while-they’re-down culture. We love to see the powerful humiliated because it proves that they were no better than us to begin with. Yet we simultaneously imagine that because they’re powerful and famous, they don’t need the empathy that we’d desire were we in their stead. Instead of being moved by their suffering, we revel in it.
How many of the pundits mocking Weiner have marriages that could survive the kind of scrutiny they have been giving his? The realization that everyone’s private life is messy and flawed should produce humility and compassion. Instead, pundits enter the public arena as disembodied Olympian figures, entitled to render the harshest of verdicts, secure in the knowledge that no one will ever investigate their most intimate of domains.
Columnists and talk show hosts who obsess over trivialities such as Weinergate should be called out by their peers. And politicians asked about their consensual sex lives by journalists should say that they will answer on condition that the reporters and their editors answer the same questions about theirs. I hope Anthony Weiner figures out his private life; but even more, I hope he survives in public life. Someone needs to stand up to the media mobs that are making American politics both vicious and small. If he has the courage to do so, maybe others will follow.
Here’s Glenn Greenwald in a very well-written analysis of this preposterous “scandal”. Especially note how mainstream ‘serious’ journalists forgo their duties in scrutinizing government behaviour in favour of reporting about non-items such as this:
There are few things more sickening — or revealing — to behold than a D.C. sex scandal. Huge numbers of people prance around flamboyantly condemning behavior in which they themselves routinely engage. Media stars contrive all sorts of high-minded justifications for luxuriating in every last dirty detail, when nothing is more obvious than that their only real interest is vicarious titillation. Reporters who would never dare challenge powerful political figures who torture, illegally eavesdrop, wage illegal wars or feed at the trough of sleazy legalized bribery suddenly walk upright — like proud peacocks with their feathers extended — pretending to be hard-core adversarial journalists as they collectively kick a sexually humiliated figure stripped of all importance. The ritual is as nauseating as it is predictable.
This isn’t a case of illegal sex activity or gross hypocrisy (i.e., David Vitter, Larry Craig, Mark Foley (who built their careers on Family Values) or Eliot Spitzer (who viciously prosecuted trivial prostitution cases)). There’s no lying under oath (Clinton) or allegedly illegal payments (Ensign, Edwards). From what is known, none of the women claim harassment and Weiner didn’t even have actual sex with any of them.
I’d really like to know how many journalists, pundits and activist types clucking with righteous condemnation of Weiner would be comfortable having that standard applied to them. I strongly suspect the number is very small. Ever since the advent of Internet commerce, pornography — use of the Internet for sexual gratification, real or virtual — has has been, and continues to be, a huge business. Millions upon millions of people at some point do what Weiner did. I know that’s a shocking revelation that will cause many Good People to clutch their pearls in fragile Victorian horror, but it’s nonetheless true. It’s also true that marital infidelity is incredibly common.
Marc Ambinder over at The Atlantic has put together a ‘reelection report card’ for Obama. It seems to be a very realistic and empirical info-based assessment of Obama’s prospects, strenghts and weaknesses going into the 2012 presidential election campaign.
I don’t know, however, to which extent this assessment should be seen as complete – taking in all possible sides and angles. I like it for its conciseness, though, so here is an excerpt.
Political Identity: C. Who is this guy, and where does he want to take the country? Obama’s hope-and-change platform in 2008 allowed people to fill in whatever details they wanted. This strategy served a little-known candidate, but it’s untenable for an incumbent. Americans know that Obama has a vision–70 percent do, according to an April 9-10 CNN/Opinion Research poll of 824 adults.
Separate from the birther constellation is a cluster of beliefs with fairly high magnitude. Obama’s style is conciliatory and concessional. Even liberals don’t seem to know precisely where Obama wants to lead them. It’s not a question of goals; it’s a question of guts. Where will he fight? Perhaps his new deficit-cutting plan will show the way. This grade, incidentally, is given without reference to his potential opponents. Throw a Republican with an identity crisis into this mix and Obama’s grade rises.
Campaign Team: A. Obama’s reelection team is experienced, trusted, and not riven by the usual infighting that besets campaigns. It’s true that they’re cocky, but after any number of near-death experiences with health care and other issues, their hubris is a bit more muted. It must here be noted that several potential GOP opponents — notably Tim Pawlenty and Mitt Romney — are putting together A-list campaign teams too.
Leadership: C. Americans are not sure about Obama’s leadership skills.
One version of the case posits that Obama has spent way too much time blaming predecessors even as he continued Bush policies, from TARP to Guantanamo Bay. His leadership skills tie into his political identity. He seems rudderless at times. His advisers will say that Obama wants to fix problems and is a pragmatist, and that external events have made it all but impossible to chart a straight course and follow it. That may be true, but the challenge is to convince the American people that this style of governing is the right one.
Attributes and Values: A. Americans like Obama; they trust that he wants the best for them–even if they don’t quite know what that is; they see him as honest, on their side, and likable (see Gallup). This will be a significant asset. It helped carry President Bush to reelection in 2004.
Organization: A. Regardless of whether there’s a drop-off in volunteer intensity early on, there’s no question that Obama’s reelection operation will be formidable and well-funded enough to compete with whatever Republicans are able to construct. This includes outside groups who will try to chip away at Obama in battleground states. Democrats will have well-financed vehicles of their own.
Position Relative to His Opposition: B. The Republican field is unleavened at best. The all-but-declared Republican candidates (Mitt Romney, Tim Pawlenty) all have significant, if resolvable, flaws. Some of those thought to be considering the race — from Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., to former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin to Donald Trump — threaten to pull the GOP off its rails. Dark-horse challenges could make the field rougher, especially Gov. Mitch Daniels of Indiana.
Foreign issues: B. He continues the Bush war in Afghanistan and drew down the one in Iraq while joining one against Libya. There’s no crowning achievement like a Middle East peace deal. Guantanamo Bay remains open. Independents liked Obama because he promised to repair America’s relationship with the world and raise its standing. He has done that. He will remind independents of this. It will probably work. Obama’s proposed defense cuts are going to be troubling to voters in the industrial Midwest and the Intermountain West.
Among Democrats, Obama’s job approval is about 5 percentage points away from where he needs to be. Three-fourths of self-identified liberals approve of Obama’s performance to date. He needs these numbers to be higher. Liberal white Democrats and African-Americans are solid Obama supporters. But Obama’s approval rating has dropped significantly among Latino voters (73 percent when he was elected; 54 percent now, according to Gallup), and slightly among younger voters (ages 18 to 29) who were hardest hit by the economic sluggishness. While 55 percent among this group is stronger than it was half a year ago, according to a huge Institute of Politics poll released last week, it needs to be higher. Still, in the absence of a Republican foil, these are generally sufficient numbers for the president. At this point in 1995, more than 4 in 10 Democrats wanted a primary challenger for Bill Clinton; fewer than 2 in 10 do for Obama.
If you wanna know more about Donald Trump’s election prospects, read here.
In the context of the Wisconsin fight about public union collective bargaining, Hendrik Hertzberg at The New Yorkerpresents a short history of labor unionism in America – which in the last half century is a story of tragic decline. In that respect, the US is no different from Western Europe, only in the US unions are even more marginalized. Now, the Republic governor Scott Walker wants to strip Wisconsin state employees of their right to collectively bargain, and make union dues voluntary rather than integrated in paycheck deduction. This will effectively cripple the public unions (unions in the American private sector are already dead), robbing the people of one method of organizing themselves in a system of nearly unchecked capitalism, as well as depriving the Democratic Party of a crucial resource base.
Sounds like old-fashioned class war. If only the democratic revolutions in the Middle East weren’t happening at the same time, this would be front page news everywhere. Because the people of Wisconsin have been demonstrating and camping out for two weeks straight, and the Democratic Senators of the state have fled to Illinois, in order to temporarily avoid a vote. It’s hard not to draw a parallel with the Mid East. Either way, Hertzberg presents in a nutshell what it’s all about:
Organized labor was powerful and, for the most part, respected. Its economic and political muscle had played an indispensable role in insuring that the benefits of postwar prosperity were widely shared, transforming much of what many had unironically called the proletariat into an important segment of the broad American middle class.
Labor has come a long way since then—a long way down. At the outset of the nineteen-sixties, one in four workers had the protection of a union. By the early eighties, after President Reagan destroyed the air-traffic controllers’ union, the proportion was down to one in five. Now it’s one in eight. In a workforce twice the size it was in Edward P. Morgan’s heyday, the A.F.L.-C.I.O.’s onetime fifteen million has shrunk to twelve million, with a couple of million more in unions unaffiliated with the federation.
Organized labor’s catastrophic decline has paralleled—and, to a disputed but indisputably substantial degree, precipitated—an equally dramatic rise in economic inequality. In 1980, the best-off tenth of American families collected about a third of the nation’s income. Now they’re getting close to half. The top one per cent is getting a full fifth, double what it got in 1980. The super-rich—the top one-tenth of the top one per cent, which is to say the top one-thousandth—have been the biggest winners of all. What is always called their “compensation” (wage workers lucky enough to have a job simply get paid) has quadrupled.
Last Friday—in the wee hours of morning, after two weeks of tumult and protest demonstrations—Republicans in the Wisconsin Assembly passed a bill that is breathtaking in its fealty to the ideology of the far right. The bill, dictated by the new Republican governor, Scott Walker, strips the state’s employees of their half-century-old right to bargain collectively—except over base pay, which can never be increased above inflation without a public referendum. It makes union dues purely voluntary and prohibits their collection via paycheck deduction. It requires the unions to face a certification vote every year—and, to get recertified, a union must win a majority of all employees, not just a majority of those voting.
What’s getting awfully difficult to deny is that what the Wisconsin Republicans are doing—and they have plenty of imitators and admirers—is solely for a partisan purpose, and a potentially lethal one.
Ezra Klein argues (and I see that argument a lot) that the last Congress was one of the most productive ones in history. A victory of policy over politics. The question how that resonates with the public, now or in the future, is another one.
But if you see the point of politics as actually getting things done, the last two years, for Democrats, have been a stunning, historic success. Whatever else you can say about the 111th Congress, it got things done.
There was health-care reform, of course. The bill is projected to cover 32 million Americans (lifting us above 95 percent insured) while cutting the deficit by about $140 billion in the first 10 years — and by more after that. It creates competitive insurance markets in every state and ends the days in which insurers could turn you away or jack up your premiums because you have preexisting conditions. It empowers an independent commission to cut Medicare’s costs and begins to ratchet back the tax break for employer-sponsored health-care insurance that’s been at the root of many of our system’s dysfunctions.
There was financial regulation, too. If you were looking for a bill that reformed the financial-services sector, as I was, Dodd-Frank probably didn’t go as far as you hoped. But it did what it set out to do, creating a 21st century financial-regulation system that now includes a regulator for the consumer-financial products that filled the bubble, a systemic-risk regulator able to watch the institutions that turned the bubble into a crisis, and an array of new methods and powers that can be used to take down the firms that pose a threat to the system.
Then there was the stimulus. Too small? Absolutely. Were there votes to make it much bigger? Probably not. And even putting aside the economic relief that the expansions of Medicaid, COBRA, food stamps, tax cuts and unemployment benefits gave to millions of Americans, or the millions of jobs the Congressional Budget Office estimates the legislation created or saved, there were the investments designed to pay dividends down the road.
[Reasonable] people disagree on whether these bills were worth doing in the first place – on whether the government should do more to regulate the financial sector, or stimulate the economy, or expand health-care insurance. It’s entirely possible to believe the 111th Congress did a lot, and most of it was bad.
But if they failed as politicians, they succeeded as legislators. And legislating is, at least in theory, what they came to Washington to do.
I have posted earlier about the importance of recent changes to third-party campaign spending regulations in the States, and how large corporations and wealthy individuals can use their resources to influences campaigns unduly. The earlier post examined spending to-date and noted that Republican supporters were spending in more races for both the House and the Senate and largely spending more in the races they were investing in. (And it is an investment).
The NY Times picks up on further bad news for the Democrats:
George Soros, the billionaire financier who was an energetic Democratic donor in the last several election cycles but is sitting this one out, is not feeling optimistic about Democratic prospects.
“I made an exception getting involved in 2004,” Mr. Soros, 80, said in a brief interview Friday at a forum sponsored by the Bretton Woods Committee, which promotes understanding of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.
“And since I didn’t succeed in 2004, I remained engaged in 2006 and 2008. But I’m basically not a party man. I’d just been forced into that situation by what I considered the excesses of the Bush administration.”
Beyond the loss of spending the Democrats can’t be thrilled with Soros’ analysis of their prospects in November’s mid-term elections:
Asked if the prospect of Republican control of one or both houses of Congress concerned him, he said: “It does, because I think they are pushing the wrong policies, but I’m not in a position to stop it. I don’t believe in standing in the way of an avalanche.”
With the whole saga about health care reform finally coming to a close, the next legislative priority on President Obama’s and the Congressional Democrats’ agenda is financial regulatory reform. One only needs to think back to the credit crisis of 2008-2009 to get a sense of the urgency of these measures. This time, moreover, some Republicans seem on board.
Buoyed by passage of landmark health care legislation, the Obama administration and Democrats in Congress said Wednesday that an overhaul of financial regulations was the next legislative priority.
The legislation appeared to be gaining momentum, as two crucial Republicans on the Senate Banking Committee, Judd Gregg of New Hampshire and Bob Corker of Tennessee, said they expected the overhaul to pass this year even though they had concerns about some of its provisions.
A Democratic strategy appeared to be emerging: expressing confidence that the measure would pass and urging Republicans to help shape legislation that they could support, rather than trying to block it.
Described as the most sweeping change in financial rules since the Depression, the legislation would create a council to detect and avert systemic risks to the financial system; expand the Federal Reserve’s oversight over the largest and most interconnected financial companies; create a consumer financial protection agency to regulate mortgages and credit cards; and regulate many of the over-the-counter derivatives that amplified the risk-taking that brought about the 2008 financial crisis.
In contrast to the economic stimulus and the health care overhaul, where the White House outlined broad goals but largely left it to Congress to shape the legislation, the administration has been intensely engaged in drafting the legislation.