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Thursday, January 5, 2012

  • Defying GOP and Eying Re-Election, Obama Makes Bold Recess Pick of Cordray for Consumer Bureau

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    President Obama has defied Congress by installing former Ohio Attorney General Richard Cordray as the country’s first head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, established to protect citizens against the practices of Wall Street banks and lenders. Obama’s move defied Republicans, who have refused to allow Cordray’s confirmation after failing to stop the bureau’s creation in 2010. "The reason this has been held up had nothing to do with the qualifications of Richard Cordray...and everything to do with Republicans’ insistence on trying to destroy the agency. And that insistence traces directly to the contributions and political influence of Wall Street," says Robert Weissman, president of Public Citizen, which supports Obama’s appointment. [includes rush transcript]

  • Citizens United Backlash Grows from Cali. to NYC Urging Congress to Overturn Corporate Personhood

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    Adding to a growing nationwide backlash against the U.S. Supreme Court’s Citizens United ruling, California lawmakers have introduced a resolution that calls on Congress to "propose and send to the states for ratification a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United." The New York City Council has just passed a similar resolution, echoing measures passed in Los Angeles, Oakland, Albany and Boulder. We speak to Public Citizen President Robert Weissman; California Assemblymember Bob Wieckowski, who introduced the state’s Citizens United resolution; and New York City Council Member and measure co-sponsor Melissa Mark-Viverito. "I think it taps into the sentiment that we’re seeing around the country growing, regarding Occupy Wall Street, where people really feel that government is disconnected from the vast majority of the population, and because of this influence that corporate interests have," Mark-Viverito says. [includes rush transcript]

  • Occupy New Hampshire Protester Takes Romney to Task for Declaring "Corporations Are People"

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    Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney came under intense questioning at a campaign event in New Hampshire on Wednesday over his past comment that "corporations are people." Mark Provost, an audience member who identified himself as a member of Occupy Boston and Occupy New Hampshire, said to Romney, "In the last two years, corporate profits have surged to record highs, directly at the expense of wages... Now, it seems that the U.S., it’s a great place to be a corporation then, but increasingly a desperate place to live and work. So would you refine your earlier statement from 'corporations are people' to 'corporations are abusive people'?" [includes rush transcript]

  • As Statehouse Row Erupts over GOP Bill, Indiana Reps Debate Curbs on Right to Organize Unions

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    A fight over workers’ right to unionize erupted in Indiana on Wednesday as Democratic state representatives stayed away from the House floor, depriving the Republican majority of a quorum needed to push through a measure that would prohibit union contracts at private sector workplaces from requiring workers to pay dues or other fees to a union. If enacted, it could give new momentum to legislators who have previously pushed such measures in Maine, Michigan, Missouri and other states. Democrats say the legislation is an attack on organized labor that will result in lower wages and diminished collective bargaining rights. Meanwhile, Republicans claim the bill will help Indiana attract new and needed businesses and jobs. We host a debate between two Indiana state representatives, Republican Bill Friend and Democrat Kreg Battles. [includes rush transcript]