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Rally tomorrow for fair elections and clean government

Are we, the people, tired yet of corporate governance yet?  Corporations and the wealthy elite who make up the boards of directors of corporations have gained control of government at all levels in this country.  They do this by donating extravagantly to election campaigns, by recruiting their lobbyists from the cream of the public service sector, and by placing their lackeys in control positions in the bureacracy (through extravagant donations).  With their army of highly paid lobbyists, they hound elected officials and regulators tirelessly, mercilessly, until they get what they want.  If they have to ply our government representatives with sex, drugs, meals or travel, that is the cost of doing business. 

The result of all this is predictable and all-too-obvious these days; endless wars and nearly unregulated defense spending outsourced to contractors, global-scale envrironmental crises like BP’s oil spill and pending climate disaster, and massive Wall Street fraud resulting in a global financial meltdown, conveniently bailed out by taxpayers.  What cold be worse?

A recent Supreme Court decision, known as the Citizens United decision, greatly increases corporate ability to pour money into election-related activities. Legislative efforts to counter the Citizens United recently collapsed amid accusations of each side favoring their core donors.  So we can expect more corporate influence in government, not less.

All of our many crises have their roots in one place, and that is the failure of America’s system of electing leaders, and the closely related failure of how we regulate legislators and top regulators once they are in office.  Attack the core problem, and the rest of the issues may take care of themselves.

Toward that end, please join the Other 98 tomorrow, Tuesday, Aug. 10 for a rally at the Federal Courthouse in downtown Sacramento.  The Other 98 are the 98 percent of the American population who do not hire personal lobbyists, who do not sit on the boards of corporations, and who do not give extravagantly to candidates for elected office.  See the Other 98 website.

The Other 98 is asking elected officials and candidates for federal office to sign the Other 98 pledge, which has three basic parts:

1. The candidate will work to overturn the recent Supreme Court decision which allows corporations to channel unlimited amounts of money into federal elections.
2. The candidate pledges to support the Fair Elections Now Act, proposed federal legislation which evens the playing field for candidates who are supported by numerous small donors.
3. The candidate pledges to support legislation which stops corporate lobbyists from showering federal officeholders with gifts like free meals and travel to exotic locales, and ends the revolving door between federal officials and the higher-paying corporate world.

The rally on Aug. 10 is to kick off a longer effort to clean up corruption in Washington DC.  At the rally, a representative of  Congresswoman Doris Matsui will read a statement of support for the effort.  We will have speakers representing Sacramento labor groups and local grassroots activists working to build momentum for clean government and fair elections.

The rally begins at 11 a.m. and ends by 1.  The Federal Courthouse is located at 5th & I streets in downtown Sacramento.  Hope to see you there.


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