The Chamber of Commerce, under the leadership of Tom Donohue, has gone from a well respected trade organization to an extremist political organization dedicated to corrupting American democracy by elevating the profits of big corporations over the well being of the citizens they serve. Recent examples of this corrupt behavior is the Chamber's spending of more than $100 million to defeat initiatives to protect the environment and provide affordable health care to everyone, and its massive attacks on democracy through the use of secret money in the 2010 election.
The Chamber is the biggest lobbying operation in the United States, spending billions of dollars on behalf of big business over the past decade to corrupt the political system. Polluters like Big Coal, Big Asbestos, and Big Oil only need call the Chamber to stop any accountability for their toxic destruction. Wall Street banks and CEOs need only make sure that they have paid their Chamber dues to ensure that they can continue to rip off the taxpayers. And killers like Big Tobacco need only form a partnership with the Chamber to ensure that they will be given immunity from lawsuits that seek accountability for the death and sickness of millions of Americans.
Tom Donohue has turned the once respected and even-handed Chamber into an extremist organization, bragging that the Chamber gutted the Clinton tobacco settlement, killed the Clinton health care plan, and scuttled previous oversight of Wall Street and the banking system. Now the Chamber is spending tens of millions on ads and lobbyists to repeal health care for all, protect polluters from accountability, and shield the financial industry from government regulation.
Sign On To This Campaign. Sign on to this campaign and your name will be added to the thousands who have complained about the conduct of the Chamber. We will send this letter letter to all the members of the Chamber board and others asking that they quit and condemn the Chamber.
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LONDON — When the Irish prime minister visited the U.S. Chamber of Commerce last year, he had a message to deliver. Ireland’s economy was recovering and his country was still open for business. “Call me anytime,” he told business leaders.
But Thomas J. Donohue, the chief executive of the chamber, had his own agenda. During the visit, he tried to persuade the prime minister to reject Irish antismoking legislation that would require tobacco companies to sell cigarettes in plain packages with images of diseased lungs or cancer patients.
The filthiest fact is that Congress wants to cut the food benefit to hungry Americans, almost half of them children, so that money can keep flowing to the top.
-By Paul Buchheit
August 25, 2013- First of all, who are they? Mostly the 1%. But the top 2-5% have also done quite well, increasing their inflation-adjusted wealth by 75 percent from 1983 to 2009 while average wealth went down for 80 percent of American households. The rest of the top 20% have been prosperous, realizing a 32 percent gain in inflation-adjusted wealth since 1983. The facts to follow are primarily about the richest 1%, with occasional dips into the groups scrambling to make it to the top.
1. Accumulating almost all the wealth
As evidence of the extremes between the very rich and the rest of us, the average household net worth for the top 1% in 2009 was almost $14 million, while the average household net worth for the bottom 47% was almost ZERO. For nearly half of America, average debt is about the same as average asset ownership.
AlterNet: We'd All Be Much Wealthier If We Acted Like a Society—Instead We Prop Up the Private Wealth of a Small Number of Elites
If we continue the present path, high-quality public goods will be available to fewer and fewer.
-By Robert Reich
August 23, 2013- Congress is in recess, but you'd hardly know it. This has been the most do-nothing, gridlocked Congress in decades. But the recess at least offers a pause in the ongoing partisan fighting that's sure to resume in a few weeks.
It also offers an opportunity to step back and ask ourselves what's really at stake.
A society -- any society --- is defined as a set of mutual benefits and duties embodied most visibly in public institutions: public schools, public libraries, public transportation, public hospitals, public parks, public museums, public recreation, public universities, and so on.
Public institutions are supported by all taxpayers, and are available to all. If the tax system is progressive, those who are better off (and who, presumably, have benefitted from many of these same public institutions) help pay for everyone else.
"Privatize" means "Pay for it yourself." The practical consequence of this in an economy whose wealth and income are now more concentrated than at any time in the past 90 years is to make high-quality public goods available to fewer and fewer.
-By Mark karlin
August 22, 2013- Okay, so Senator Warren actually wrote a polite, detailed letter to Attorney General Holder. There was no shouting or acrimony.
However, in Washington, for a freshman senator to imply in official correspondence made public that the Department of Justice is not doing its job in investigating, prosecuting and even fining banks and secondary lenders in regards to multiple counts of mortgage lending violations is akin to a freshman at high school accusing the principal of letting teachers steal milk money from the desks of students.
It may be professional in tone, but Warren's letter is a direct challenge to the criminal impunity provided to and limited fines assessed by the DOJ on Wall Street for their multiple schemes to defraud both mortgage borrowers and investors.
Huffington Post: Lawmakers Backed By Chamber Of Commerce Spending Stall Business Lobby's Legislative Priorities
-By Paul Blumenthal & Sabrina Siddiqui
August 18, 2013- WASHINGTON -- The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is a political powerhouse that tops spending on lobbying in Washington year after year. In the past two elections, the pro-business group doled out $69.5 million to send candidates to Congress.
The checks, however, have not always translated into legislative success.
Over the past 4 1/2 years, the Chamber of Commerce has lost most of its important legislative battles. Health care and Wall Street reform laws were enacted and face little threat of repeal. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau finally has an appointed director and Democratic members of the National Labor Relations Board were approved by the Senate.
More significantly, the chamber's big spending in 2010 to elect a House GOP majority appears to have backfired. Many of the conservative lawmakers the chamber helped elect are now an impediment to the business lobby's legislative priorities, either by contributing to Congress' dysfunction or by actively opposing chamber-backed measures.
PR Watch: ALECexposed: List of Corporations and Special Interests that Underwrote ALEC's 40th Anniversary Meeting
-by Lisa Graves
August 15, 2013- This year's annual meeting of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) had fewer corporations listed as sponsoring that meeting for a seemingly smaller total amount of revenue.
Based on the sponsorship rates ALEC promoted earlier this year, the organization took in approximately $910,000 from firms specifically designated as "President" to "Trustee" level sponsors for its 40th Anniversary meeting compared with estimated revenue of approximately $1.2 million for the same level of sponsorships at last year's meeting in Salt Lake City.
These totals reflect the highest profile sponsorship levels promoted at the meeting, but ALEC obtained an additional amount of revenue from other event sponsorship opportunities for corporations and special interest groups, in addition to registration fees, booth fees for its convention, and other income sources. So its total revenue from this year's meeting is certainly greater than $1 million, and it is not known if some corporations funded ALEC's meeting at various sponsorship levels but chose not to have their names listed as sponsors in ALEC's brochure, or not.
-By Ben Cohen
August 15, 2013- Although the rich, the political elite and most of the media are not concerned with the plight of America’s working poor, there are now real signs that those at the bottom rung of the economic ladder are taking matters in to their own hands and fighting back. Having spent the past 30 years watching the rich accumulate astonishing levels of wealth and their wages stagnate to the point where they cannot feed and house themselves, low skilled workers in America are finally saying enough is enough.
Reports the Guardian:
-By Adam Federman
August 6, 2013- In mid-June, Bold Nebraska — a grassroots environmental organization opposed to construction of the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline — obtained documents that detail how local and federal law enforcement agencies, as well as the company responsible for building the pipeline, are working together to undermine peaceful political protest. The documents revealed that the company, TransCanada, had briefed the FBI as well as law enforcement officials — district attorneys, attorney generals and county sheriffs — in Oklahoma and Nebraska on the potential threat posed by environmental activists and local landowners. In their PowerPoint presentation the company suggested that district attorneys should explore “state or federal anti-terrorism laws” in prosecuting activists and provided a crude dossier on the key organizers. They also included a list of individuals previously arrested for acts of nonviolent civil disobedience in Texas and Oklahoma.