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Flickr photo by kuddlyteddybear2004

Thanksgiving brings many things to mind: family and friends, football and fireside naps, colorful leaves and cozy sweaters, cranberries and pumpkin pie.

At Public Citizen, our thoughts also turn to how thankful we are for the activists and supporters all across the country who stand with us day after day, year after year.

We look forward to working with you in the coming year to protect our democracy and take on runaway corporate power.

And we wish you and yours a relaxing and joyful holiday.

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Tea Party protestersTea Party members who want to punish corporations for supporting the policies of President Obama or congressional Democrats should demand that their senators pass the DISCLOSE Act (S.3628).

That’s the conclusion I came to after reading Paul Bedard’s Washington Whispers column in today’s U.S. News & World Report.

Bedard’s piece offers some interesting speculation by Tea Party organizers about upcoming campaigns to punish corporations that supported “President Obama’s progressive agenda.”

But Bedard doesn’t mention that the eager Tea Partiers will have no way to know which corporations to target, since so many corporations secretly give money to Big Business’ lobbying heavyweight, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and let it do the dirty work. (more…)

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Today’s Flickr photo

Scroll with signatures collected by the Monahan brothers who walked across the country to protest the Citizens United ruling. Flickr photo by M.V. Jantzen

If you read one thing today . . .

It’s pretty clear that Tea Party matriarch Sarah Palin  is no lover of Big Government or big bailouts. Except, she was for the bailouts before she was against them. David Corn in Mother Jones has an interesting look at the old Sarah’s defense of bailouts and the new Sarah’s displeasure.

Palin went further this summer, when she contended that Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski’s support for the bailout was grounds for voting against her. Palin was backing Joe Miller in the GOP primary against Murkowski. In an endorsement message for Miller posted on her Facebook page in August, Palin, bashing Murkowski as a faux Republican, declared,

Alaska deserves a senator who will not talk one way in the Last Frontier and then vote the opposite way in the Beltway. It’s time for Alaskans who are concerned about endless bailouts, ever increasing debt and deficits, and the government take-over of health care (all planks Lisa Murkowski has walked) to get behind Joe Miller.

Palin added, “We know Joe won’t support more bailouts, but we know Lisa already has.”

In less than two years, Palin had gone from endorsing the bailout to using it as ammo to slam a fellow Republican who had also supported TARP.

Overheard

That nervous rattling you hear is coming from the U.S. Capitol where those up for election in 2012 who must feel like they have targets painted on their chest after watching so many incumbents and party favorites bite the dust during the midterm primaries and general election. Call it the Tea Party effect. Politico’s Manu Raju writes that several veteran Republicans and Democrats are worried. Missouri Democrat Claire McCaskill, who faces the prospect of running in a solid red state, is stressing her independence:

“I don’t think you have to be disloyal to President [Barack] Obama, to be independent,” said McCaskill, who is facing reelection in a state that Obama lost in 2008. “And I think that’s the message that I got to make sure that Missourians understand: that I haven’t been afraid to differ from Harry Reid; I have not been afraid to take on Nancy Pelosi; I have not been afraid to tell the president he is wrong. And that I have been the independent that I think most Missourians want.”

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The BP oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico this summer tragically demonstrated the costs of our nation’s reliance on fossil fuels.

But despite this ongoing catastrophe, some major corporations—including Safeway and Walmart—are fueling their trucking fleets with tar sands oil, the dirtiest oil in the world.

Join our friends at ForestEthics in calling on Safeway and Walmart to shift to cleaner, not dirtier, energy.

Tar sands oil is even more destructive (more…)

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Look, if you thought making the world a better place was going to be easy, you got a rude wake-up call Wednesday morning. Now, you can either whine or you can roll up your sleeves and join the fight. Michael Kieshnick, president of CREDO Mobile, has some suggestions in HuffPo on what you can do to help push back against the Tea Party and its handpicked members of Congress. Here are his top three  suggestions:

1. Commit to Taking Down FOX News. So long as FOX News has any credibility within the Beltway, it will be a pipeline for malicious material that will poison our political culture. Join our friends at Color of Change.

2.Tell the Senate to pass the DISCLOSE Act during the lame duck session. We were able to defeat the Texas Oil Initiative, Prop 23 in California, in part because we knew who the enemy was — having disclosure of corporate contributions brings the enemy out in the open for us to take on and fight. The DISCLOSE Act passed the House and came within a single vote of passing the Senate. One vote. You can join this fight by taking action with Public Citizen at http://citizen.org/disclose-act-action.

3. Keep fighting to end the Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans. This issue will get resolved during the lame duck session. Take action here.

To see the rest of his top 10 list, click here. And we would add another to this list: Join Public Citizen and help us fight corporate power in Congress, in the courts and in the executive branch.  Join Public Citizen for as little as $20 a year.

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Flickr photo by Cosmic Smudge.

There was no shortage of political signs among the estimated 250,000 people who attended Jon Stewart’s Rally to Restore Sanity Saturday on the National Mall.  Public Citizen’s voice was heard through the 5,000 signs it distributed bearing the winning slogans from its Signs for Sanity Contest.

While Stewart might have been spreading his message on stage, organizations and individuals took to the mall.

“One of the motivating reasons that people are attending is their frustration with the overweening corporate presence in politics and we want to give voice to that,” Public Citizen’s President Robert Weissman told Politico.

Public Citizen also collected signatures at the rally  for a constitutional amendment overturning the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision.
Stewart’s and Colbert’s antics were entertaining and certainly the highlight of the rally, but the people in attendance and the messages they brought also helped define the rally.

“What is it that is going to define the rally the morning after?” James Poniewozik, a senior writer on popular culture for Time magazine, told NPR. “Is it what is said from the stage? Or the groups of people that show up, and the signs they carry, and their political leanings?”

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Weissman

A staggering amount of money—$3.7 billion and counting—has been spent on the 2010 midterm elections that will be decided today.

Please join me at noon (EDT) this Wednesday, November 3, for a live, interactive online presentation: “Corporate Money and the Midterm Elections.”

I’ll review—and take your questions about—the election results, the unprecedented levels of corporate spending, and Public Citizen’s ongoing work to preserve democracy for We, the People.

This one-hour webinar is free and open to the public. Space is limited, so just fill out this simple registration form to reserve your virtual seat: www.citizen.org/election-webinar-registration

With the economy in crisis—and the Obama administration having made a fatal political (and policy) error by embracing Bush’s Wall Street bailout—corporations have sought to exploit an electorate that is, quite rightfully and understandably, outraged.

And the Supreme Court’s massively misguided decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission has permitted corporations to spend all the money they want trying to influence your vote.

I hope you can join me and hundreds of fellow Public Citizens for the “Corporate Money and the Midterm Elections” webinar.

Take just a moment and register now so that you can join us!

Thank you.

P.S. No matter how much money Big Business spends to drown out the voice of the people, there is still one way to make your voice heard: Vote. If you haven’t participated in early voting, please be sure to vote today.

Robert Weissman is president of Public Citizen.

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