Archive for January 27th, 2012

THIS is what democracy looks like. And more specifically, what American patriots throughout the nation, determined to renew our democracy and reclaim it from the auction block, look like.

Click the image above to play our YouTube video!

Marking the two-year anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, which opened the floodgates to unlimited corporate spending in our elections, the rapidly growing movement to fight back with a 28th Amendment to the Constitution has seriously stepped out into the national spotlight.

Thousands of Americans, in nearly every state turned out for over 350 events to “celebrate” the anniversary of the Court’s disastrous ruling and the resulting unprecedented leverage of corporate power over politicians. And from courthouse steps to corporate offices, from mock arrests and funerals to rousing rallies to teach-ins and simple one-on-one engagement with neighbors, the (cold) air was thick with the spirit of people-powered democracy that they’d prefer to raise up instead.

Indeed, this wasn’t just another series of protests and demonstrations, but a chance to turn Citizens United into a mechanism that unites citizens. Last weekend was a movement-building moment; an initial “coming out” for the 60-plus organizations, and countless citizens, united by the common purpose of ensuring that democracy is for We the People, not corporations and concentrated wealth.

Occupying Corporate Offices, Downtowns, and State Capitols

On Saturday, thousands of people joined Public Citizen and our allies to Occupy the Corporations, often demonstrating and engaging in creative actions at Bank of America branches and offices, Chevron gas stations and other corporate outposts in our communities. They ranged from local activists braving snow by the dozens to rouse and educate their community in places like Joliet, Illinois and Prince William, Virginia; to activists with the Rainforest Action Network and Occupy groups who “arrested” Cargill at its Minneapolis headquarters and conducted manhunts for a “person” going by the name of Bank of America in Charlotte and San Francisco; and to the  hundreds who joined Congressman Jim McDermott to rally and march through downtown Seattle in the slippery aftermath of an ice storm.

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Stunning Statistics of the Week:

  • $3.27 billion: Amount spent on lobbying in 2011
  • $3.51 billion: Amount spent on lobbying in 2010

Note: The drop is attributed to political gridlock.

Citizens United anniversary: Everything it was cracked up to be and more
We’ve been telling you for a while about the momentum that built toward protest events slated for Saturday, Jan. 21, the second anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission. The anniversary was everything we thought it would be and then some. Citizens and elected officials took to the streets in cities throughout the country to call for a constitutional amendment to overturn the decision. Check out these pieces in Mother Jones, Truthout.org and Firedoglake. If you haven’t joined the movement, it’s not too late. Visit www.DemocracyIsForPeople.org.

Candidates say “Enough already with the Super PACs”
It might not work but it’s worth a shot. U.S. Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.) and his opponent Harvard Professor Elizabeth Warren have signed a “People’s Pledge agreement” designed to keep Super PACs and the negative ads they pay for out of the race. Under the agreement, whichever candidate is aided by an ad paid for by a third party must contribute an amount worth half the ad to his or her opponent’s charity of choice.

House lawmakers draft new DISCLOSE Act
The DISCLOSE Act, designed to mitigate the harmful effects of Citizens United, fell victim in 2011 to GOP intransigence. Now, some lawmakers are making another run at it. U.S. Reps. Bob Brady (D-Pa.) and Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) have drafted a bill that would, among other things, enhance disclosure by Super PACs, corporations and outside groups, and require corporations to tell shareholders about campaign expenditures.

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