Supporting Trade Expansion, Internet Free Speech and Campaign Finance

Citizen Direct: The Newsletter of the Public Citizen Action Network

July 1, 2008

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Send a message to Citibank, Bank of America: No more coal-fired power plants
Meet a few of the people who are a part of Public Citizen, including our president, Joan Claybrook, with our new set of videos.

Super-size Trucks Are Unfit For Our Roads!Support Landmark Trade Legislation!
The TRADE Act was introduced June 4. This legislation sets forth a progressive vision for good trade agreements and criteria to renegotiate existing failed pacts. We're thrilled to announce a new trade bill we can all be for, so urge your representatives and senators to co-sponsor this legislation!

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Public Interest Law

Win! Kentucky Agrees to Lift Ban on Blogs.  In a victory for the free speech rights of bloggers, Kentucky has settled a lawsuit with political blogger Mark Nickolas, whose critical comments about the then-governor resulted in the state "blacklisting" all blogs on state-owned computers. Kentucky officials agreed to no longer single out Web sites just because they are considered blogs. Public Citizen represented the blogger.

Learn More | Read the Blog Post

President's View

Purge All the Lobbyists. Information. Access. Money. In the nation's capital, it's the currency of movers and shakers. If you have one, you can barter for the other two. And if you have all three, well, chances are, you're a top lobbyist. John McCain and Barack Obama have been purging their campaigns of lobbyists.  Perhaps they truly hear the loud and clear call for change from our nation's suffering middle and lower classes, whose interests are almost never put ahead of the corporate profits these lobbyists protect. Read more about what must be done to protect the public's interest in government in Public Citizen President Joan Claybrook's op-ed published in USA Today.

Public Citizen Blogs

Citizen Vox Blog

Legislation Addresses Climate Change, but Major Flaws Abound

America's Climate Security Act Isn't the Solution.  Industry generates pollution. A lot of pollution. In 2006, it emitted an estimated 3.4 billion metrict tons of carbon dioxide. These aren't just fuzzy numbers we're talking about; those 3.4 metric tons account for 57 percent of America's total carbon dioxide emissions! These numbers startled some in Congress, which is why Sens. Joe Lieberman and John Warner introduced America's Climate Security Act last year. The bill is now dead, which is just as well. Read the post at Citizen Vox to find out why this plan for overhauling how industrial polluters manage and reduce greenhouse gas emissions had major flaws.

Watchdog Blog

The Floodgates Are Open to Fundraising Loopholes

Obama, McCain Using Committees To Raise Unlimited Funds. John McCain and Barack Obama, who have praised public financing as a way to curb the influence of special interests in campaigns, are using joint fundraising committees to raise millions for their presidential bids. These committees allow special interests to buy access to presidential candidates and undermine the goal of public financing, which is to establish fair spending limits in the general election campaigns. Check out the Watchdog Blog and find out what we think about the candidates exploiting these fundraising loopholes.

Eyes on Trade

The Verdict Is In on Trade Support...

...And It's Not Good. Americans ranked last in support of current global trade policy among 24 nations surveyed in a recent Pew poll. But Todd Tucker of Public Citizen's Global Trade Watch division believes that the other 23 countries' support for free trade policies would have appeared lower had the poll been less "clunky" and asked more sophisticated questions. Find out why Tucker thinks Americans aren't the only ones disillusioned with international free trade agreements in his post at our Eyes on Trade blog.

Press Room

Note to McCain, Obama: Open Up on Campaign Finance. Public Citizen and seven other good government groups sent John McCain and Barack Obama letters stating they should divulge more information about bundlers who pool large sums of campaign contributions from political action committees and individuals. These fundraisers can raise far more than they could legally contribute by themselves. It would be far more meaningful if the candidates identified the exact amounts that the bundlers contribute to their official campaign committess and joint fundraising committess that benefit the campaign. Read the press release and the letters to McCain and Obama.

Time to End the Discrimination, Retaliation Against Whistleblowers. Public Citizen and 111 other concerned groups sent a letter June 5 to Congress urging it to pass the Whistleblower Enhancement Protection Act of 2007, which would protect the jobs of conscientious federal employees who wanted to report wrongdoing in government. Read the press release and the letter with the full list of organizational signers.

Bush Administration's Proposed Roof Crush Rule Not Up to Par. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's (NHTSA) proposed performance standard for vehicle roof strength is woefully inadequate and will do little to reduce the more than 150,000 deaths from rollover crashes each year, Public Citizen President Joan Claybrook testified at a U.S. Senate panel in June. Instead, NHTSA should return to the drawing board and rewrite its proposed standard to take into account roof strength and other safety factors. Read the press release and Claybrook's full testimony.

Public Citizen Health Clinic

Public Citizen Sues FDA for Failure to Act on Harmful Painkiller. Public Citizen sued the FDA on June 19 for failing to act on its petition to withdraw Darvon, Darvocet and all drugs containing propoxyphene from the market gradually. Public Citizen argues that the FDA never acted in response to its 2006 petition and that the agency is allowing drugs containing propoxyphene to remain on the market, putting patients at risk. Read the press release and the full petition

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