Citizen Direct: The Political Partying Edition

Citizen Direct: The Newsletter of the Public Citizen Action Network

September 2, 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. Watch our new videos.

Sign the Voters First Pledge!Kick Corporations Out of Congressional Campaigns!  Congressional candidates campaigning for office should focus their attention on the citizens they want to represent. Instead, candidates spend their time courting contributions from corporate bigwigs and lobbyists - just to keep up with the money race. Urge your congressional candidates to sign the Voters First Pledge to make elections fair and ensure that the public - not corporations - holds the most sway over politicians.

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Spotlight On the National Party Conventions

Say No to Lobbyists

Un-Conventional Thinking: Voters Before Donors
Corporations and special interests are pouring millions of dollars into wining and dining lawmakers at the Democratic and Republican National Conventions. Think the good times for Congress come with no strings attached? Not likely. So Public Citizen is urging voters to say "no" to big money interests at the conventions. Watch our
YouTube video, get the lowdown on the campaign at, and ensure your voice is heard by taking action now!

Fair Trade Hits the Big Screen

Cinematic Uprising: Battle in Seattle

Cinematic Uprising: Battle in Seattle

This September, the story about the five-day uprising that forced the collapse of the WTO's 1999 Seattle ministerial hits the big screen in the new film Battle in Seattle. Public Citizen, along with more than 50,000 union members, environmentalists, students and more, converged in Seattle nine years ago to speak truth to power in the face of the world's biggest corporations. The film will open Sept. 19 in New York, San Francisco and Seattle and in Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Detroit, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, Sacramento and Washington, D.C., on Sept. 26. Learn more about the film.

If You Bought Your Kitchen Stove at Sears...

...You May Be Part of a Class Action Settlement Worth Half a Billion Dollars

Hurry! Time is running out to make a claim in a huge class action lawsuit that could cost the giant retailer as much as $546 million and involve as many as 4 million customers. The question is, how many customers who are affected by this lawsuit are even aware of the settlement or realize they are eligible to benefit from it? Learn more.

Public Interest Law

Win! Throwing Back Pre-Emption

Win! Throwing Back Pre-Emption

Public Citizen won another victory against pre-emption in the case of a New Jersey woman who sued Chicken-of-the-Sea after suffering severe mercury poisoning from eating canned tuna. Chicken-of-the-Sea and the FDA contended that the woman's case should be thrown out because the FDA had issued an advisory brochure warning of canned tuna's potentially hazardous heavy metal content. The court ruled that those brochures cannot justify shutting the courthouse doors to consumers who bring legal claims under state law.

Learn More | Read the Blog Post

Public Citizen to Court: Uphold San Francisco's Fast-Food Menu

Public Citizen to Court: Uphold San Francisco's Fast-Food Menu Rule. Public Citizen and the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) urged a federal court to uphold San Francisco's requirement that fast-food restaurants disclose nutritional information on their menus. The fast-food industry claims that San Francisco's rule is pre-empted by federal law and violates the First Amendment rights of fast-food restaurants, but Public Citizen and CSPI contend that federal law does not pre-empt the rule. One of Public Citizen's attorneys, Deepak Gupta, noted the same calorie information has been available on the labels of most food in the grocery store for many years.

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Public Citizen Blogs

Citizen Vox Blog

Political Partying at the National Conventions

How hard is it to toe the ethical line? All across Denver last week at the Democratic National Convention, the congressional ethics rules designed to curtail corporate wining and dining of lawmakers took a beating. The drinks flowed, the food was served and the lobbyists lobbied - often in a free-wheeling atmosphere reminiscent of the celebrations at disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff's Signatures restaurant in Washington, D.C. Why are lobbyists and lawmakers so unconcerned about what appear to be infractions of the new ethics rules? Find out in this Citizen Vox post from Public Citizen President Joan Claybrook.

Watchdog Blog

Commentary on the Democratic National Convention

Corporate Influence Is in the Bag, Plus Party Crashing. Bloggers took notice when the welcome bags for the 2008  Democratic National Party Convention were handed out. They're covered in corporate logos. Read this post about the extent of the benefits of corporate sponsorship, which include a guarantee that big-money contributors will have special access to elected officials during the conventions. Then, read about the lavish parties lobbyists threw in Denver and what Public Citizen is doing to crash them

Corporate America Wins With Trade

Oregon Fair Trade Campaign Produces Spoof of Fat Cat CEOs... And it's quite impressive. The spoof concerns the Consumer Electronic Association and the fact the Colombia FTA will wreak more havoc on a U.S. economy that has already lost more than 3 million manufacturing jobs since NAFTA. Public Citizen says hats off to the Oregon Fair Trade Campaign for a nice bit of world-class spoofing. Read more and watch a video clip on this Eyes on Trade post.

Texas Vox

Our Texas Office Goes on the Road to Fight Big Coal

Mixed Emotions Across Arkansas. Our Texas office traveled to Arkansas in August to hold screenings of the film "Fighting Goliath: Texas Coal Wars" and to galvanize communities to fight against new coal plants. Public Citizen notes that the hardest fights are occurring in small towns closest to the plants. The locals view the plants as an economic boon, overshadowing health concerns, environmental degradation and long-term economic impacts. Read more about the experience in this Texas Vox post.

Press Room

Win! Bush Signs Strong Product Safety Bill Into Law. Consumer, public interest and scientific groups applauded President Bush for signing product safety reform legislation into law that will overhual the Consumer Product Safety Commission. The new law requires stricter safety measures such as the testing of toys and infant products before they reach store shelves, as well as the creation of the first publicly accessible consumer complaint database. Learn more.

State Secrets Protection Act Crucial For Open Government

Public Citizen to Committee: State Secrets Protection Act Crucial for Open Government.  Lawmakers must protect Americans' right to an open and accountable government and curb government corruption by supporting the State Secrets Protection Act of 2008, Public Citizen wrote in a letter to members of Congress. The bill would require independent judicial review of claims of the state secrets privilege, which the federal government uses to ask courts to exclude evidence from a case if it might threaten national security. Learn more.

Bush Extends Unsafe Cross-Border Truck Pilot Project. The Bush administration not only ignored actions by Congress to terminate the hazardous cross-border trucking project but extended it an additional two years. The recent extension of the project promises to be detrimental to highway safety. Learn more.

Public Citizen Health Clinic

Light Drinkers Beware: Medication, Alcohol a Risky Mix
. Common sense dictates that consuming several alcoholic beverages while taking medications can cause adverse effects. However, even light drinkers should beware. Public Citizen has identified 273 drugs that can be harmful when mixed with alcohol. Learn more.

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