News Articles By Lisa Graves

Taking a Stand for Religious Freedom and Against Intolerance

Religious Freedom"All that is necessary for evil to prevail is for good men [and women] to do nothing," wrote Sergei Bondarchuk. In order to stand up to the escalating animosity directed against Muslim Americans, and in light of the upcoming anniversary of 9/11, I helped create this pledge to support religious freedom and stand in solidarity against bigotry and intolerance. I hope people of all faiths, and people of conscience who do not practice a religion, will speak out against the planned burning of the Koran this Saturday, as with the burning of any sacred books or other books. Surely, good men and women in this country vastly outnumber hate mongerer Terry Jones and his little band of religious bigots in Gainesville and elsewhere.

Just the Facts on Judge Martin Feldman's Financial Investments

Joe FridayDetailed in this article are the recent oil and gas speculation investments, including investments in deep-sea drilling companies, made by the federal judge who blocked the new deep-sea drilling ruling. I recently called for his impeachment in my comments on the financial disclosure reports of Judge Martin Feldman, who struck down the temporary moratorium on new deep-water oil drilling. I based my comments on the financial disclosure reports that had been provided by the Administrative Office ("AO") of the U.S. Courts, from the Financial Disclosure Office (FDO) of the Article III Judges Division (where I previously served as Deputy Chief). And, I stand by my strong rebuke of the judge.

Impeach the Oil-Investing Judge Who Declared Deep Sea Drilling Ban Void

Judge Martin Leach-Cross FeldmanA federal judge sitting in Louisiana struck down the Obama Administration's six-month moratorium on new deep water drilling, despite the unfolding disaster in the Gulf of Mexico caused by BP's Deepwater Horizon drilling operation. Who is the unelected man standing in the way of permitting a six-month review of this inherently dangerous activity?

Chamber's "Virtual" March on Washington: Only an Avatar Can Love a Big Bank

AvatarThe U.S. Chamber of Commerce has launched what it is calling a virtual march on Washington to oppose financial reforms being considered by Congress this week. With relatively few actual Americans willing to take their summer vacation in D.C. to march in favor of the Big Banks whose gambling broke the economy and whose practices have pillaged the financial security of working people, the Chamber has resorted to urging "avatars," or computer representations of people, to march on the virtual capital of the U.S. This so-called march seems a fitting symbol of the emptiness of the whole gambit by the Chamber. With Wall Street lobbyists swarming the capitol and Wall Street spending millions of dollars to thwart the reforms most needed and wanted by actual American people, the Chamber has had to manufacture a people's protest against the reforms, but sans real people. Apparently, they could not even enlist their buddies orchestrating the Tea Party, like former Congressman Dick Armey, or their cashroots allies in astroturf over at the Orwellian-named FreedomWorks, to cajole or even hire stand-in protesters to come to the National Mall to take up pitchforks against financial reforms. But lest all this computer gamesmanship be in vain, the Chamber is taking steps to ensure that Members of Congress know how many of the avatars are their purported constituents -- residents who love the Big Banks enough to send the very best: their idealized computer images.

CMD Welcomes More New Law Fellows

The Center for Media and Democracy is pleased to welcome its three newest additions to our team this summer, Ross Wolfarth, Max Abbott, and Sue Izevbigie. These new law fellows all hail from Columbia Law School, one of the very best law schools in the country, and one which has a terrific program to support public interest careers by sponsoring placements in public interest groups like CMD. Please join us in welcoming our newest legal/policy researchers and spin-fighters!

Shifting BP's Clean Up Costs to Consumers? Say It Ain't So!

Who is going to pay to clean up BP's disastrous oil spill, besides BP? After all, they made $14 billion in profit last year alone. BP has asserted it will pay all "legitimate claims" for damages -- talk about a lot of wiggle room there -- but beyond actual cleanup costs, BP's economic damage liability is legislatively, and outrageously, capped at $75 million, a pittance to a company that made 186 times that amount in profit in 2009. Senate Democrats attempted to increase the liability cap to $10 billion by proposing and passing a bill, but their efforts were thwarted by Senate Republicans. The current tally for the cleanup cost stands at $760 million, but that is surely understated.

Banksters Create New Fake "Consumer" Group

CARD AllianceAccording to a story in the Washington Post by Mike Konczal, the Big Banks have just created an astroturf or cashroots group called the "Consumers Against Retail Discrimination Alliance" to fight a provision of the financial reform bill: This nominal "consumers" group is constituted of really, really big "consumers," according to Konczal, including "Visa, MasterCard, Bank of America, JP Morgan Chase, U.S. Bank, Citi" and almost every banking association that is part of the more accurately named "Electronic Payments Coalition." They have attempted to label this a corporate "civil rights" issue by talking about "discrimination" -- or "retail discrimination," that is.

CMD Welcomes New Lawyer and Law Fellow

The Center for Media and Democracy is pleased to welcome two new additions to our team fighting against spin and for the truth this summer, Janos Marton and Monica Chang.

Janos graduated magna cum laude from Fordham Law School last year and returned this month from Liberia, where he served in the Office of General Counsel for the Ministry of Health. He previously worked for Norman Siegel, the former Executive Director of the New York Civil Liberties Union, on civil rights issues, and he also worked for the law firm of Hogan & Hartson, for the criminal defense clinic, for disaster relief in Mississippi in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, and on get-out-the-vote efforts for America Coming Together. Janos earned his Bachelor of Arts in history from Dartmouth College, where he was twice elected president of the student body. This distinguished scholar sought out CMD to aid in our efforts to respond to the Supreme Court's decision in the Citizens United case, which expanded corporate "rights."

Down Under Consumers Leading the Way?

A special report for the Center for Media and Democracy by Glen Frost, Editor of The PR Report: "Class action against banks ensures 'access to justice' says Australian Minister"

bank customers versus the banksAccording to the organizers, it's Australia's largest class action lawsuit: a case of disgruntled bank customers versus the big banks.

Financial Redress, a specialist in recovering compensation from financial institutions for excessive charges or mis-selling, and a subsidiary of litigation funder IMF Australia, is launching a class action against a number of Australian and foreign banks (with operations in Australia) who have allegedly overcharged customers for years.

The fees in question are honour and dishonour fees on overdrawn bank accounts and over-limit and late payment fees on credit cards. Financial Redress refers to these as "exception fees" and alleges that the banks have been charging customers an "unfair" amount. Customers are both individuals and businesses.

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