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Archive for the ‘Social Justice’ Category

Weissman

WikiLeaks is under attack from powerful government and corporate officials and entities. The attacks are an assault not only on WikiLeaks, but on freedom of speech, freedom of the press and freedom of the Internet.

Of greatest concern are the efforts to deny WikiLeaks access to the Internet and to financial services. We do not know of publicly available evidence that these efforts — which include reported denial of service attacks on WikiLeaks websites from unknown sources, terminated service agreements from companies like Amazon and PayPal, and shuttered bank accounts around the world — have been coordinated by the U.S. government, though many suspect this to be the case. Public Citizen has submitted Freedom of Information Act requests that we hope will reveal more about the government’s response.

What we do know is that the actions of powerful corporations to sever commercial relations with WikiLeaks occur in the shadow of what major media outlets have called a government declaration of war against WikiLeaks. Amazon reportedly decided to stop providing computing services to WikiLeaks after contact from the office of U.S. Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.). PayPal says it cut service to WikiLeaks in response to statements from the U.S. State Department.

Whether or not coordinated, Public Citizen condemns the unconstrained and unaccountable actions by corporations and the government to deny a disfavored website, nongovernmental organization or journalist enterprise access to the Internet and financial services. (more…)

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A meager $293? That’s the average weekly unemployment check collected by the 15 million Americans looking for work right now. Or $293 million? That’s what outside groups funded primarily by corporations and the very wealthy spent on the 2010 elections.

$75 billion? That’s the windfall coming to people who are already rich if the Bush tax cuts are extended. $145 billion? That’s the record amount Wall Street is paying in bonuses this year.

Trillions? In the wake of the financial crisis, that’s what We, the People provided in bailouts, loans and other supports to save Big Business from its own greed and irresponsibility.

At Public Citizen, our mission is to counteract the policies that cause numbers like these. We can defeat corporate power. But we need your help.

Please contribute $10, $20, $35 or whatever you can today.

Contribute $100 or more and get a free DVD from a selection of popular progressive films!

Corporations just elected their dream Congress. It’s going to take all of us doing everything we can, together, to prevent Congress from rolling back our health and safety protections and showering gifts on their corporate patrons—and to win new public interest initiatives.

Public Citizen will be leading the fight against corporate power in the new Congress, a Congress that will be less critical of corporate America’s agenda than any we’ve ever seen.

The critical first step is making sure we can hit the ground running when Congress returns to Washington in January. That’s why I’m writing now to ask for your help to raise $150,000 by the end of 2010.

Your contribution of $10, $20, $35 or whatever you can afford will be put to work immediately building on our important achievements in 2010 and growing our movement against runaway corporate power.

For four decades, Public Citizen members have stood together to face down corporate power.

I need you to stand with me today.

Robert Weissman is president of Public Citizen.

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We figured there was no better place to mark the U.N.’s International Anti-Corruption Day (you missed it?) than in front of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. That’s the same Chamber of Commerce that would like to seriously weaken the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. The FCPA basically makes it illegal for a corporation to bribe foreign government leaders. Back in the 70s before the act was passed, it was pretty common for corporations to bribe foreign governments in exchange for all sorts of favors.

Friends of the Earth, Common Cause, U.S. Chamber Watch and Public Citizen all took a moment today to talk about the need for strong anti-corruption measures. Unfortunately, no one from the Chamber attended our rally.

From today's rally in front of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Photo by Dorry Samuels.

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Today’s Flickr photo

Elizabeth Edwards. Flickr photo by Tony the Misfit.

If you read one thing today . . .

A lot of well-deserved tributes today to Elizabeth Edwards, who passed away Tuesday after a six-year battle with cancer. The WaPo’s Patricia Sullivan writes:

Describing herself as the “anti-Barbie” for her real-woman figure and her serious intellect, Ms. Edwards’s public stature was greatly defined by how she coped with cancer. She talked about it, wrote about it and managed the conversation in much the same way she managed her husband’s political career.

She first learned that she had breast cancer just after Election Day 2004, when her husband’s running mate, Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mass.), lost the presidential race to incumbent George W. Bush.

“The same day our campaign ended at Faneuil Hall, we saw Elizabeth head off to Mass General to confront this terrible disease,” Kerry said Tuesday. “America came to know her in a different and even more personal way, as she fought back with enormous grace and dignity. She became an inspiration to so many.”

Overheard:

President Obama praised Edwards’ tenacity as an advocate for improving health care and fighting poverty. From  her hometown Raleigh News and Observer:

“In her life,” Obama said, “Elizabeth Edwards knew tragedy and pain. Many others would have turned inward; many others in the face of adversity would have given up. But through all that she endured, Elizabeth revealed a kind of fortitude and grace that will remain a source of inspiration.”

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Weissman

With the year coming to a close, it’s time to reflect on how things are going. I’m very proud of the work we’ve done together. We won some hugely important victories and built an increasingly powerful movement to take on corporate power.

I’ll be reviewing our achievements—and addressing the just-announced deal to give massive tax cuts to the nation’s richest people—in subsequent messages.

For now, I want to offer a snapshot of corporate power in Washington. It’s not a pretty picture.

Corporate crime and wrongdoing is an everyday fact of life in the United States and around the world. Still, the past year has been remarkable for a series of (more…)

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Corporate America is raking in higher profits than ever before.

On Capitol Hill, lobbyists are calling for cuts to line the pockets of the super-rich while gouging holes in the safety net for those hit hardest by the Great Recession.

And in January, a new Congress will arrive — a Congress stacked with members whose campaigns reaped the benefits of the limitless corporate money unleashed by the U.S. Supreme Court.

It’s time for We, the People to take a stand.

Join us next month in demonstrations against Corporate America on the one-year anniversary of the Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission. To stay in the loop on planning and preparations, sign up at www.citizen.org/i-will-stand-up-to-corporate-america.
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David Arkush, Public Citizen

Arkush

More than a decade ago, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) alerted the nation to a crisis of medical errors in hospitals. Today, we learn that nothing has changed and that patients are suffering needless injuries and deaths from preventable medical mistakes. The Inspector General’s office of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has reconfirmed what has been reported repeatedly over the years: that the country is in a patient safety crisis, and that medical professionals, lawmakers and regulators must do significantly more to avert it.

The IOM’s 1999 landmark report, “To Err is Human,” dropped the first bombshell, reporting that between 44,000 and 98,000 Americans die in hospitals each year from medical mistakes, costing an estimated $17 billion to $29 billion annually. HHS’ new finding that medical mistakes kill 15,000 Medicare patients a month equates to 180,000 Medicare deaths per year – more than the IOM’s estimate, which attempted to cover all patients in the United States. That means that the annual death toll in this country caused by mistakes in hospitals is well over 250,000 deaths a year! But perhaps the most startling finding by HHS is that a significant number of patients suffered injuries or died needlessly, as 44 percent of the medical errors were preventable. (more…)

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