Citizen Direct: The Newsletter of the Public Citizen Action Network

October 9, 2007

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Public Citizen is on YouTube with important information on health, democracy and safety.

Find out how you can put the breaks on unsafe trucks.Put the Brakes on Bush/NAFTA Trucks Program: The Bush administration is barreling ahead with a so-called "pilot project" to allow 100 Mexico-based companies to send their trucks into the U.S. — even though congressional demands for safety guarantees have not been satisfied. This gives a green light for unsafe and polluting trucks to access highways throughout the country. Everybody loses, except maybe the Wal-Marts of the world. They would get cheap deliveries out of the dangerous deal. Act now.

Support Our Fight Against Bush Secrecy

Federal Court strikes down Bush's order.Federal Court Strikes Down Presidential Order: Six years ago, President Bush signed an executive order to limit public access to the records of past presidents. This order was one of the first actions Bush took that demonstrated his obsession with secrecy.

Soon after, Public Citizen challenged the executive order in court. We told the court that the order violated the Presidential Records Act, which gives the National Archives control over records of former presidents and vice presidents and requires the Archives to make most of these records public within 12 years after a president or vice president leaves office.

On October. 1, 2007, a federal court agreed with Public Citizen and struck down a key part of Bush's order.

The court has begun the process of dismantling the web of secrecy Bush has been building over the past six years. But it is only a beginning. Help us continue this fight against Bush secrecy and do all the important work we do. We won a battle this month. We are in it for the long haul. Make a generous contribution to Public Citizen today. Support our work by donating now.

Public Interest Law

Find out how Public Citizen is protecting you.

DECISION: Hold the pickles — not the calorie count. If you want to know the number of calories in your next fast food meal, ask your city to require that the information be posted. Following a court decision that agrees with Public Citizen, a federal judge has ruled that cities and states may require restaurants . . . continue.



What's In YOUR Wallet?

Beware: Your credit card may trap you into binding mandatory arbitration, an anti-consumer strategy that gives credit card companies the upper hand and enables them to win disputes with their customers 95% of the time, according to a new Public Citizen report, "The Arbitration Trap: How Credit Card Companies Ensnare Consumers." You should know how credit card companies rig their contracts with consumers, using mandatory arbitration to evade accountability and strip consumers of their rights. Learn how you can avoid the arbitration trap and put an end to this predatory practice . . . continue/act.

We work to ensure that Congress represents citizens by exposing the harmful impact of money in politics and fighting for an improved democracy.


Ask a Public Citizen Staffer

This month's staff expert is Robert Shull. He's taking questions on fuel efficiency standards. Staff on Your Behalf. This month, Robert Shull, the deputy director of Public Citizen's Auto Safety and Regulatory Policy division, is taking your questions. Bob recently authored the Public Citizen exposé, "Slip-Sliding Away: The Cheney Sliding Scale for Fuel Economy." In the report he details how Vice-President Dick Cheney's staff and high-level White House officials bullied the Department of Transportation into hatching a plan to end fuel economy as we know it. Ask Bob your question about fuel economy standards. See Peter Lurie's response to last month's question below.


Spied on Eyes on Trade

Close CAFTA Vote Shows Failure of NAFTA Model. Just hours before Costa Ricans went to the polls in the world's first-ever popular referendum on a NAFTA expansion, the Bush administration intervened in the country's sovereign election by threatening economic retaliation if citizens rejected CAFTA. Although Costa Ricans narrowly approved the pact, the super-close vote debunks Bush's spin that Latin Americans are crying out for NAFTA-style deals. Bush is trotting out the same tired argument to gain support for NAFTA expansion to Peru, which is opposed by religious, labor and retiree groups there. Continue.

We promote democracy by challenging corporate globalization, arguing that the current globalization model is neither a random inevitability . . .


Press Room

Can an Entrepreneur Sue to Uncover the Identities of Disgruntled Online Posters? "It’s outrageous that the Video Professor is suing his own customers," Public Citizen attorney Paul Levy said. Yet again, Public Citizen defends your right to Internet anonymity. Read how.

Activist Spotlight: Troy Cornock, a consumer victimized by binding mandatory arbitration, testifies: "If you had told me 10 years ago I’d be on Capitol Hill, telling people about my own personal finances, I’d have laughed. But the reason this regular guy" . . . continue.


Public Citizen Health Clinic: Good Health Policy Leading to Good Personal Health

Dr. Peter Lurie is taking questions about health policy.

Staff on Your Behalf. Last month, our health expert Dr. Peter Lurie took questions about health policy. This month he answers a question from Gary in Washington state: Dear Dr. Lurie: It amazes me that the FDA is basically funded by the drug companies. Why is this and why doesn't Congress fix it? The FDA should be free of any influence from drug companies or manufacturers of drugs.
Dr. Lurie answers: As amazing as it is that fully 50% of the funding for the drug review divisions at the FDA comes from the very industry the agency is supposed to be regulating . . continue.


Worstpills.org: Our doctors and pharmacists analyze the FDA's own data so you get the second opinion YOU need.

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