Word on the street is that Mr. Obama may issue an executive order requiring corporations that contract with the federal government to disclose their political contributions -- which would not be as good as the DISCLOSE Act (which would have covered all corporations), but it would not be at all bad, either. And the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, of course, threw a tantrum about it. It stinks, this sense of entitlement our putative Captains of Industry have these days. I understand that free speech occasionally requires anonymity, but political contributions aren't speech -- we'd more accurately describe them as "bribes," and we deserve to know who's bribing the elected officials who supposedly represent us. So Public Citizen helps you tell Mr. Obama to stand up to the big corporations and fight for disclosure. And please, fellow liberals, do not call statements like "we will fight it through all available means" "treason." It's not treason, because Article III, Section 3 of the U.S. Constitution sets a pretty high bar. Better to note that we were called traitors by the right merely for opposing some Bush Mobb policy, and move on.
Meanwhile, you've no doubt heard by now that the iPhone and iPad can track your locations -- not just your "location" on the internet, but your physical location in space-time -- and that these devices can store that information indefinitely in a file you won't find unless you spend a lot of your free time hacking Apple devices. There's just no way that capability could possibly be abused! And not just by your government, either -- why wouldn't Apple or some other corporation use your information for nefarious purposes? They crave money above all, and as St. Paul instructs us, the love of money is the root of all evil. And let's not even get into what other countries, where you'd also be able to use your iPhones and iPads, might be able to do to you. The ACLU provides the relevant petition to Congress and to about a dozen corporations. Don't worry that the corporations will laugh at you or (worse!) tell you they're concerned about your privacy when they're really not. Just keep putting pressure on them. They really hate bad PR.
Finally, the U.S. Supreme Court, in yet another 5-4 decision, essentially allowed corporations to ban class action lawsuits by forcing consumers into binding arbitration clauses. If you think this doesn't affect you, think again: it's grotesquely easy to insert binding arbitration clauses into contracts, and you sign a contract every time you get a cell phone. Right-wingers will tell us you don't like the arbitration clause? Then don't buy the cell phone! As if all corporations won't put binding arbitration clauses into their consumer agreements now! Keep in mind that arbitration doesn't curtail "frivolous" lawsuits, because class action lawsuits are not by definition "frivolous" and corporations, not people or classes of people, file four out of five lawsuits. Keep in mind also that arbitration is a private process, paid for by the corporations who prefer it, and since arbitrators know who's buttering their bread, how do you think they'll rule most of the time? And, finally, keep in mind that arbitration-gone-wild essentially sets up a private counterpart to our legal system. This must not be. Justice doesn't only belong to the people who can pay for it; it belongs to all of us.