Saturday, August 21, 2010

Terrific "Target Ain't People" Video!

This action was in response to Target donating $150,000 to a far right, gay-bashing candidate. Sign the petition to boycott Target. This is the beginning of corporations swamping our political landscape to defeat or elect candidates of their choosing. Sign the Fight Washington Corruption pledge to restore democracy to the people! Here are 10 great reasons why you should! (Thanks to!)

10 Outrageous Reasons to Fight Corruption in Washington

What Happens When Corporate Influence Goes Unchecked:

  1. Exxon Mobil made billions in profits, and yet paid not one dime in federal income taxes in 2009.
  2. The 2005 energy bill had a little-known provision, commonly called the Halliburton Loophole, which exempted natural gas drilling from the Clean Water Act. The result? Water so contaminated that you can light it on fire.
  3. Massey Energy was cited more than 2400 times for safety violations in its mines, but chose not to fix potentially lethal problems because low penalties made it cheaper to simply keep paying the fines. This spring, 29 miners were killed in an underground explosion at a Massey mine in West Virginia.
  4. Michael Taylor was the FDA official who approved the use of Monsanto's Bovine Growth Hormone in dairy cows (even though it's banned in most countries and linked to cancer). After approving it, he left the FDA—to work for Monsanto. Until last year, when he moved back to the government—as President Obama's "Food Safety Czar." No joke.
  5. Internal Toyota documents outline how the company was successful in limiting regulator actions in the recalls last year—saving hundreds of millions while the death toll continued to climb.
  6. GE and its lobbyists—including 33 former government employees—have successfully lobbied Congress to override Defense Department requests to cancel a GE contract to work on a new engine for the Joint Strike Fighter jet. GE will need $2.9 billion to finish the project.
  7. Top executives at 9 big banks including Citibank, Bank of America, Goldman Sachs, and Morgan Stanley paid themselves over $20 billion in bonuses just weeks after taxpayers bailed them out to the tune of $700 billion.
  8. During the waning days of the Bush administration, officials responded to a long-term lobbying campaign by pre-empting product liability lawsuits for dozens of entire industries. They bypassed Congress entirely and rewrote rules ranging from seatbelt manufacturing regulations to prescription drug safety.
  9. Sunscreen manufacturers including Johnson & Johnson and Schering-Plough, in the interest of profits, are opposing an FDA proposal requiring full reporting on sunscreen labels. The New York Times just confirmed that current SPF ratings don't even measure sun rays that cause cancer.
  10. And of course BP—a company with a record of 760 drilling-safety and environmental violations—was granted safety waivers in order to operate the deepwater drilling rig that ultimately created the worst environmental disaster in US history.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Hinchey Signs the Pledge!

Good news. Congressman Hinchey agreed to sign the "Fight Washington Corruption" pledge last Friday. We are grateful to him for that and for his work to overturn Citizens United and for fair, clean elections! Call his office and thank him! We also need to call Senators Gillibrand (518 431-0120) and Schumer (914 734-1532) to make sure they join the dozens of elected officials signing the pledge. Almost half million Americans have also signed. Sign here if you haven't yet!

Here are a couple more photos from our rally last week. Look for an article on it and this new national movement in this week's New Paltz Times!

Bob Lusk and Gene Cotton lifted our spirits in song!  M. Kretschmar

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

New Paltz Rally to Fight Washington Corruption!

Thanks to All Who Came to the New Paltz Rally Aug 10!

Thousands of people across the country took to the streets yesterday to protest the corruption and domination of multinational corporations in our government. Approximately 50 citizens attended the rally in New Paltz, NY, organized by the Ulster County MoveOn Council.

It was a spirited gathering with local musicians Bob Lusk and Gene Cotton providing music while people held signs demanding the overturn of Citizens United (the Supreme Court ruling that will allow corporations to buy our elections) and demanding passage of the Fair Elections Now Act (FENA)- so that grassroots candidates can compete against corporate backed/wealthy ones. Most there agreed that the overwhelming influence of corporate lobbyists, who push for more and more deregulation and higher profits at any cost are hurting hard working American families, our environment and the future of our nation.

Until we can restore the electoral and legislative processes to the people, we will have little chance of passing any meaningful reform- be it in healthcare, reining in Wall Street, clean energy, corporate accountability, or in putting an end to "endless war".

Participants were encouraged to call Congressman Hinchey's office- 845 331-4466 to ask him to sign the Fight Washington Corruption Pledge. It was noted that he has taken a leadership role in co-sponsoring legislation to overturn Citizens United and Fair Elections, for which he should be thanked. Now we just need him to join the many others, including Scott Murphy and Paul Tonko, representatives from the Albany area, in signing the pledge.

A new poll shows a majority of Americans agree with us. Seventy-nine percent (including 72% of Republicans and 75% of Independents) said it was important that candidates commit to reducing the influence of corporations over elections. A whopping 89% want to reduce lobbyists' influence over the way laws are written and 67% are more likely to vote for candidates who support a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United!

Please make sure you sign the pledge yourself! And stay tuned for next steps to make our elected officials answer to us, the voters- not to the moneyed special interests!


Wednesday, August 4, 2010

National Movement to End Corproate Abuse of Power!

Please join us to kick off the biggest (and most important) MoveOn initiative ever planned. Go to MoveOn to find a rally near you (or start your own!) If you live in the MidHudson Valley come to the rally in New Paltz -

Fight Washington Corruption and Rein in Corporate Abuse
Tuesday, August 10 - 5PM
In front of Elting Library -  93 Main St, New Paltz, NY
(Bring signs- some will be available. Bring musical instruments if you have them!)
Sign up here

Multinational corporations are dominating our politics, destroying the earth, decimating our economy and threatening democracy at an alarming rate. From the despicable actions of the profiteering insurance companies and Wall Street, to BP and Halliburton (whose latest crime is injecting dangerous chemicals deep into the earth where they leach into the watertable in fracking) - corporations are out of control. The middle class, the poor and the earth are being sacrificed at the altar of the big corporations' insatiable greed.

We need a massive groundswell of community support to rid our democracy of corporate corruption. We are asking elected representatives to sign the Other 98% "Fight Washington Corruption" pledge which has three planks.

1. Amend the constitution to overturn Citizens United v FEC that gives corporations the right to spend unlimited amounts from their vast treasuries to defeat or elect candidates of their choosing. This disastrous ruling overturns a century of law and will result in a tsunami of corporate cash that will swamp our political landscape and drown out the voices of the people. The president has called it  "A strike on democracy itself."

2. Pass the Fair Elections Now Act (FENA) that would provide voluntary public matching funds so that non-wealthy citizens can also run for office and if elected be accountable to us the voters rather than to corporate special interests. There are currently 150 cosponsors of FENA, HR 1826.

3. Pass Lobbying reform! The current system with the revolving door between Congress and K St is unworkable and corrupt. Thousands of lobbyists swarm the Capitol's hallways everyday. We are telling Congress to listen to us- the Other 98% who do not have lobbyists!

We are asking Congressman Hinchey to sign onto this pledge. Please call his office to ask him to too - 845 331-4466. As the congressman already has taken a leadership role in overturning Citizens United and is a co-sponsor of FENA we expect and hope he will have no problem signing. But for elected officials who will not sign - citizens will make this known through meetings, media, emails and any other way they can. It is time for politicians to come clean- are you on the side of special interests or the people?

This rally is being organized by Linda Abbott and Barbara Upton of the Ulster County MoveOn Council. Please come August 10, sign the petition and be a part of the movement to restore democracy to the people!

                                   "This Is What Democracy Looks Like!"

Monday, August 2, 2010

Portrait of a Tragic and Failed War

Most of us didn't need the Wikileaks "War Logs" to know that the war in Afghanistan is a disaster on every level. As the leaked documents show there have been hundreds of civilian casualties that have gone unreported. Like the time we dropped six, two thousand pound bombs on a compound where we thought a "high-value individual" was hiding- but ended up killing 300 civilians instead, or the machine-gunning of buses, yes, even a school bus, resulting in injury and death. We lost the hearts and minds of the Afghan people years ago.

We also learned that the US covered up news of the Taliban's use of heat-seeking missiles (the ones they used to defeat the Soviets in the 80's) and our use of psyops to plant news friendly to coalition forces in the Afghan media. We did the same in Iraq and it was a major embarrassment when that was disclosed. What are the Afghan people going to believe- US propaganda or the carnage all around them?

Over 1,200 US troops have lost their lives there and nearly 7,000 have been wounded. 2010 is on pace for being the bloodiest year yet with 126 young Americans being killed in June and July. And for what? To support a corrupt government that does not have the support of the people? To destroy Al Qaeda that has moved on to other countries? To help our "ally" Pakistan- which we find has been providing support to the insurgency killing our troops? To wipe out the Taliban (which is said to be stronger than at any time since 2001 in spite of our loss of blood and treasure)?

Even the generals tell us there is no military solution in Afghanistan, but we continue to spend 90% of allocations on death and destruction instead of development, aid and peacekeeping. Drone attacks are surging and Petraeus tells the troops to "fight hard" but "to be a good guest". Really? Is that something like "We had to destroy the village to save it?" Another strike recently killed 50 civilians causing a village elder to ask "Have you come here to protect us or kill us?"

Petraeus has also said our stay there will be "an enduring one". Not if the American people start tuning into what is really happening in Afghanistan and demand an end to this misbegotten war.