Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Corporate$ Control of Government

All organizations that strive to overturn the Supreme Court’s gift of personhood to corporations, giving a huge boost to the power of money over our democracy, deserve our support.   Public Citizen is leading the way.   The issues are fundamental to this Blog on US militarism and empire, because the trillions of dollars spent each year for the militarized economy support the military-industrial complex—the contractors, the Pentagon, the wars, nuclear weapons, the Veterans Administration, and other agents of the US warfare state. D
Public Citizen Presses to Overturn Citizens United
In January 2010, democracy was dealt a major blow when the U.S. Supreme Court decided, in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, that corporations have a First Amendment right to spend as much money as they want to influence elections.

Immediately after the decision was issued, Public Citizen launched a multifaceted campaign to overturn it.
 We are advocating a constitutional amendment specifying that First Amendment protections are for people, not corporations.
We are pushing for public financing of elections to make politicians less beholden to private money.
We are urging Congress to pass the DISCLOSE Act (Democracy Is Strengthened by Casting Light on Spending in Elections), which would let the public know which corporations and individuals are funding political ads.
We are helping states prepare “pay-to-play” legislation that restricts campaign contributions and expenditures from government contractors.
 And we are promoting legislation that would give shareholders a say over whether – and how much – corporations spend on elections.


We are advocating a constitutional amendment specifying that First Amendment protections are for people, not corporations.

“The Supreme Court’s decision was a tragedy for our democracy,” said Robert Weissman, Public Citizen president. “We want to save our democratic government, and our efforts are aimed at doing just that.”

Corporations already have taken significant advantage of the court’s decision, showering more cash on the 2010 congressional elections than ever before. They funneled their money through independent organizations, such as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and Crossroads GPS, a new group formed by Republican strategist Karl Rove. Those organizations then poured millions into races around the country, supporting candidates who would carry the corporate water. Of 75 congressional contests in which partisan power changed hands, spending by outside groups favored the winning candidate in 60.

Partly as a result, control of the U.S. House of Representatives shifted to Republicans, who have made it very clear that they want to advance pro-corporate policies.

“The elections in November illustrate just how damaging the Citizens United decision was,” Weissman said. “The recent elections show the importance of continuing to build our movement to overturn Citizens United and restore our democracy.”

Public Citizen is moving forward with an ever-growing campaign to overturn the Supreme Court’s decision. A Public Citizen petition supporting a Free Speech for People amendment attracted more than 72,000 signatures as of December.

We also worked with other groups, such as People For the American Way, to organize demonstrations around the country on or around Jan. 21, 2011, the one-year anniversary of the disastrous Citizens United decision.

Our efforts won’t stop there. Whether working at the grassroots or the policy level, we will make our message clear: Lawmakers should be responsive to the people who elect them – not beholden to corporations who shower them with the most money.

Keep up with our efforts at

At Jon Stewart's "Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear" held in October in Washington D.C., Public Citizen spread its message that corporations should not have more influence over government than people. Barbara Holzer (pictured), Public Citizen's broadcast and marketing manager, was one of the staff members who handed out about 5,000 signs to those attending the rally.

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....How do we break the cycle of despair, exclusion, powerlessness, and endless betrayal by those given the authority to bring down the exploiters and oppressors to lawful accountability?
The Empire rips up the Constitution and takes the reserve army of the young unemployed to kill and die in aggressive wars of the White House’s choice, with Congress watching from the sidelines; its only role to funnel trillions of tax dollars into the insatiable war machine’s unauditable budgets. President Eisenhower wanted us to control the “military-industrial complex”. Instead it grew much more out of control. Eisenhower’s grave warning as expressed in his farewell address in 1961 was prescient.
The spark can come from a recurrent sequence of abuses that strike a special chord of deeply felt injustice. Or it could be a unique episode or bullying that tolls the feeling “enough already” throughout the land. Such sparks cannot be manufactured; the power to arouse and break people’s routines is spontaneous.
When that moment comes, millions of Americans whose self-respect and keen sense of wrong will remind them precisely why our Constitution begins with “We the People” and not “We the Corporations”. They will realize the necessity for a Jeffersonian revolution.

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