Monthly Archives: January 2010

10 Ways to Stop Corporate Dominance of Politics

AlterNet, from YES! Magazine / By Fran Korten

It’s not too late to limit or reverse the impact of the Supreme Court’s disastrous decision in Citizens United v. FEC. Here’s how.
January 28, 2010

The recent Supreme Court decision to allow unlimited corporate spending in politics just may be the straw that breaks the plutocracy’s back.

Pro-democracy groups, business leaders, and elected representatives are proposing mechanisms to prevent or counter the millions of dollars that corporations can now draw from their treasuries to push for government action favorable to their bottom line. The outrage ignited by the Court’s ruling in Citizens United v. Federal Elections Commission extends to President Obama, who has promised that repairing the damage will be a priority for his administration.

But what can be done to limit or reverse the effect of the Court’s decision? Here are 10 ideas:

1. Amend the U.S. Constitution …

read more at AlterNet

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Zinn on Obama

“I think people are dazzled by Obama’s rhetoric, and that people ought to begin to understand that Obama is going to be a mediocre president — which means, in our time, a dangerous president — unless there is some national movement to push him in a better direction.”

— from historian Howard Zinn’s last printed comments before his death 1/27/10 at age 87, in “Obama at One,” a collection of statements in The Nation, online 1/13/10, in the print 2/1/10 issue.

The full post is

Howard Zinn

I’ve been searching hard for a highlight. The only thing that comes close is some of Obama’s rhetoric; I don’t see any kind of a highlight in his actions and policies.

As far as disappointments, I wasn’t terribly disappointed because I didn’t expect that much. I expected him to be a traditional Democratic president. On foreign policy, that’s hardly any different from a Republican–as nationalist, expansionist, imperial and warlike. So in that sense, there’s no expectation and no disappointment. On domestic policy, traditionally Democratic presidents are more reformist, closer to the labor movement, more willing to pass legislation on behalf of ordinary people–and that’s been true of Obama. But Democratic reforms have also been limited, cautious. Obama’s no exception. On healthcare, for example, he starts out with a compromise, and when you start out with a compromise, you end with a compromise of a compromise, which is where we are now.

I thought that in the area of constitutional rights he would be better than he has been. That’s the greatest disappointment, because Obama went to Harvard Law School and is presumably dedicated to constitutional rights. But he becomes president, and he’s not making any significant step away from Bush policies. Sure, he keeps talking about closing Guantánamo, but he still treats the prisoners there as “suspected terrorists.” They have not been tried and have not been found guilty. So when Obama proposes taking people out of Guantánamo and putting them into other prisons, he’s not advancing the cause of constitutional rights very far. And then he’s gone into court arguing for preventive detention, and he’s continued the policy of sending suspects to countries where they very well may be tortured.

I think people are dazzled by Obama’s rhetoric, and that people ought to begin to understand that Obama is going to be a mediocre president–which means, in our time, a dangerous president–unless there is some national movement to push him in a better direction.

for videos of Zinn, see here.

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SEPTA Sues Goldman Sachs!

from MainLine Peace Action, January 25, 2010

WILMINGTON, Del., Jan 21 (Reuters) – A shareholder sued Goldman Sachs Group Inc’s board for excessive bonuses and wants bank executives to pay the $500 million in charitable donations that Goldman is making after being criticized for its compensation policy.
Goldman Sachs bonuses substantially exceed what competitors pay “even though, on a risk-adjusted basis, Goldman’s officers and managers have performed over the past several years in a manner that is, at best, only average,” the lawsuit says.
The Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA), which runs public transit in the Philadelphia area, filed the lawsuit on Wednesday in Delaware ’s Chancery Court.
SEPTA said Goldman has been allocating nearly half of its revenues to staff bonuses even though the company’s performance has been less a benefit of management skill than risks it has taken with investors’ capital. Continue reading

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