Posts Tagged ‘Activism’

People are taking action across the country to mark the one-year anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling that corporate political spending is the same thing as real speech by real people.

Left unchecked, the Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission ruling will have grave consequences for our democracy. In last fall’s elections, corporate spending soared, and sources of outside spending were kept secret. This outside money was a major factor in 80 percent of the races where power changed hands.

Now, any lawmaker who is interested in standing against corporate interests has to figure out how to say ‘no’ to corporate lobbyists wielding the resources to replace him or her with a more corporate-friendly lawmaker.

But We, the People are mobilizing to fight back.

From Massachusetts to Oregon, Florida to Alaska, more than 100 demonstrations are being held throughout the nation.
Even a group of socially conscious business corporations, led by Ben & Jerry’s, is standing up to assert that we need a constitutional amendment to stop the corporate takeover of our democracy.

Nearly a million concerned citizens have signed petitions calling on Congress to pass such a constitutional amendment — petitions that will be delivered to Congress at noon today (Public Citizen’s petition is at www.DontGetRolled.org).

If you’re participating in today’s actions, be sure to take pictures, make videos, blog and tweet about what you’re doing. You can share your photos, videos and other documentation with us by sending an email to action@citizen.org, sending a tweet to @Public_Citizen or posting it on our Facebook page. (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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Just two years after the Wall Street banks were bailed out and just three months after we passed a tough new law to rein them in, the Wall Street bankers want weak regulations so they can keep making risky bets with your money.

Because of the upcoming election, the banks apparently thought nobody would notice that they redeployed their horde of lobbyists to try to weaken the new rules as they’re being written.

They were wrong. We noticed. And we need your help to fight back.

Regulators with the Financial Stability Oversight Counsil are accepting public comments on the new law’s important “Volcker rule.” The rule is named for Paul Volcker, former chairman of the Federal Reserve and a vocal White House official who called on Congress to stop banks from making risky bets for their own profit while relying on taxpayer bailouts if the bets go bad.

Here’s how you can help:

1. Follow this link, and you’ll get to the page where you can submit a comment about the Volcker rule.

2. Next, cut and paste the SAMPLE COMMENT at the end of this post into the comment box. Fill out all the required information (First Name, Last Name, and Organization Name).

3. In the required field that asks for your “Organization Name” write “PUBLIC CITIZEN MEMBER.”

4. Click “Submit.”

The banks have already submitted their regulatory comments. Now it’s our turn! (more…)

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We’ve seen an extraordinary amount of enthusiasm in recent weeks for our effort to build a grassroots movement for a constitutional amendment to restore free speech and fair elections to the people.

In our recent survey, activists across the nation expressed interest in supporting our effort to undo the Supreme Court’s disastrous decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission by gathering petition signatures.

So we created a printer-friendly version of the constitutional amendment petition (PDF), a tip sheet about how to gather petition signatures and a web page where activists can pledge to collect signatures.

We’re already coordinating with activists in Washington, D.C., who are planning to help us gather signatures at several events, including Jon Stewart’s Rally to Restore Sanity. And we’re encouraging activists across the nation to help build the movement by gathering signatures in their own communities.

Petitioning is a fundamental way to show Congress and others in power that the American people demand action against the threat to our democracy posed by the flood of unlimited corporate money into our elections. And we’re convinced that once they hear about it, millions more will join this cause.

As Americans gather this fall for events ranging from local festivals and concerts to political rallies and demonstrations, everyone can play a critical role by collecting signatures.

So take the pledge to gather signatures for the Don’t Get Rolled petition. If you have any questions or ideas, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us at action@citizen.org.

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Despite the disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, Congress has done nothing to end our addiction to oil.

Wondering why? Crude is not the only thing flowing from Big Oil. The industry’s money is flowing through the halls of Congress and polluting our political system.

The members of Congress have oil on their hands.

Sign the “Congress: You Have Oil on Your Hands” petition.

The corporate control of our government – in particular, the influence of oil and gas money – has endangered our environment and the people who depend on it. The situation in the Gulf of Mexico is a tragic example of what can result from this corrupt political process.

We are collecting signatures to build public pressure on our elected officials to give their BP money – and all their oil and gas industry contributions – to the Gulf recovery effort.

We will deliver the petition on July 20 – the three-month anniversary of the disaster – following a rally on Capitol Hill.

And if you’re in Washington, come join us for the protest. It’ll be on Tuesday at noon. Meet in the upper Senate park, located at Constitution and New Jersey Avenues.

Speakers include:  (more…)

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According to The New York Times, the Fish and Wildlife Service concurred with a 2007 Minerals Management Service report that declared the risks posed by an oil spill insignificant. Although it agreed with the Minerals Management Service’s characterization of the risks as “low,” the Fish and Wildlife Service did make some minor suggestions that went largely ignored.

This story highlights what seems to be a trend not just among environmental regulators, but elsewhere in government as well: namely, a profound lack of accountability. The Fish and Wildlife Service, tasked (among other duties) with overseeing the protection of endangered species, ignored scientific findings that an oil spill could severely disrupt and harm the habitats of many plants and animals. The agency appears to have decided that ignoring the potential for disaster would be easier than confronting it.

We of course are upset (although unfortunately no longer surprised) by this behavior. The government has failed to effectively regulate for a long time. The House of Representatives just passed a compromise bill that promises to improve regulation of the financial industry; the Senate will vote on it in coming weeks. When will regulation of oil companies be seriously addressed?

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When consumers make investments, we don’t get government-backed guarantees. Goldman Sachs shouldn’t either.

Readers, you can help us stop Goldman and other Wall Street banks from getting government support for their risky trades.

The Merkley-Levin amendment – cosponsored by Sens. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) and Carl Levin (D-Mich.) – to the Wall Street reform bill would stop government-backed banks from engaging in risky trading. It would also stop big banks from making Goldman-Sachs-style bets against their own clients.

Here’s how you can help. We’ve set up a public “whip chart” where you can see where your senators stand on this issue. We’re asking you to make a quick call to your senators’ offices to find out whether they support, oppose or are undecided on the Merkley-Levin amendment (there’s a short script on this page). After you make the call, you can use the page to report your senators’ postions.  (more…)

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If corporations are people, does that mean they can run for public office? We’ll find out soon enough. The p.r. firm Murray Hill Inc., has announced through its “designated person,” Eric Hensal, its intention to run as the Republican candidate in this year’s election against Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.). Under the banner, “Corporations are people too!”, Hensal rallied with Public Citizen on that cold, rainy day in Annapolis, Md., for a constitutional amendment and legislative action to fix damage the Supreme Court did in its Citizens United v. FEC decision.

Listen to the latest interview with Hensal on his tongue-in-cheek campaign for corporate representation on NPR.org, and spread the word about our campaign to get corporate money out of politics.

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You’ve been hearing a lot from us about the need for a strong, independent Consumer Financial Protection Agency to rein in Wall Street’s predatory practices and help prevent another financial crisis. In the video above, now you can hear about it from Presidents Clinton, both Bushes, Reagan, Carter and Ford as they urge Obama to fight for an independent watchdog agency with teeth (played by an all-star cast of Saturday Night Live funnymen, including my personal favorite, Dana Carvey as Bush Sr.). (more…)

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Despite the chilly wind and cold rain that came down on activists at the Maryland State House in Annapolis last Monday evening, dozens of activists turned out. The movement to amend the constitution to prevent corporate power from dominating our elections and fix campaign finance law is building momentum for the battle ahead. As grassroots protests occur all over the country, it’s clear that the public is fed up with corporate domination of American politics. Watch Angela Canterbury, advocacy director for Public Citizen’s Congress Watch division, rally the crowd in the video above.

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