Archive for April 15th, 2010


When it comes to Wall Street, “reform” is not the issue.

We know this, because everyone supports reform.

“We believe that sensible and significant reforms that do not impair entrepreneurship or innovation, but make markets more efficient and safer, are in everyone’s best interest,” write Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein and company President Gary Cohn.

“We at JPMorgan Chase and at other banks have consistently acknowledged the need for proper regulatory reform,” echoes Jamie Dimon, CEO of J.P. Morgan.

Says Ryan McKee, senior director of the Chamber of Commerce‘s Center for Capital Markets Competitiveness: “We need strong consumer protections, the elimination of duplicative regulation, and strong enforcement against illegal financial activities.”

And Republican strategist Frank Luntz advises clients, “You must acknowledge the need for reform that ensures this NEVER happens again.”

What matters is not the fact of reform itself, but the content of reform. As the Senate takes up debate over new financial regulatory rules, Wall Street and the big banks are mobilizing to confuse the public and leverage their power on Capitol Hill. Their objectives: Confine the debate to technical issues and traditional regulatory questions. Prevent

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For decades, Public Citizen has urged Congress and regulators to address the patient safety crisis. We told them that reducing medical errors would also reduce the claims and the associated costs. Today, the RAND Corporation – an independent, non-profit research firm – released a report confirming our assertions. They write:

Our results showed a highly significant correlation between the frequency of adverse events and malpractice claims: On average, a county that shows a decrease of 10 adverse events in a given year would also see a decrease of 3.7 malpractice claims. Likewise, a county that shows an increase of 10 adverse events in a given year would also see, on average, an increase of 3.7 malpractice claims. According to the statistical analysis, nearly three-fourths of the variation in annual malpractice claims could be accounted for by the changes in patient safety outcomes. (Emphasis added)

In other words, the best way to reduce medical malpractice lawsuits is to increase patient safety. You can read the report for yourself here.

As the nation continues to mourn the loss of the 29 miners that died last week in Massey Energy’s Upper Big Branch mine in West Virginia, President Obama and other federal officials launch an investigation. Others, like The Huffington Post, call for a criminal investigation against Massey’s CEO, Don Blankenship, for compromising the safety of his employees. Public Citizen goes even farther, calling for Massey’s board to fire Blankenship.

Blankenship’s Massey Energy is out of control. Since 2005, the Upper Big Branch Mine has been cited with more than 1,342 safety violations, including two the very day of the explosion. Massey has become a leader in the highly destructive practice of mountaintop-removal mining, sometimes in violation of the Clean Water Act and other environmental laws. And Massey’s miners have been threatened with being fired if they join a union, according to the United Mineworkers of America.

If that weren’t bad enough, Blankenship has used his wealth to launch a $3 million campaign of reprehensible political ads smearing the reputation of a West Virginia Supreme Court justice while a $50 million judgment against Massey was before the court.

We cannot allow this blatant disregard for workers’ safety to continue. Sign the petition: Tell Massey’s board of directors to fire Don Blankenship at The first step is to remove Mr. Blankenship as Massey’s CEO. Doing so is a step forward for corporate accountability and worker safety.

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