Transparency, anyone?

Knowledge is power.

Cliches are a dime a dozen, but when you think about it, knowledge really is power. That's why I'm a big fan of transparency.

Now, I understand that there are times when government - and those who influence it – need to maintain some sort of confidentiality. People's identities need to be protected, and dangerous consequences may result if the CIA’s work is blown or a secret military operation is leaked (who knew about the raid on the bin Laden compound?)

But overall, transparency needs to be the rule, not the exception. That goes for those in government as well as those who seek to wield their massive resources to ensure that government does their bidding.

In the wake of that disastrous Supreme Court decision of 1/21/10 – the one whose name I will not mention – many of us wondered what we can do about it. There is growing support for an amendment to the United States Constitution, which would involve a massive undertaking if it is to be adopted.

But while we might not be able to stop corporations from spending their vast resources without, we can make them tell us when they’re doing it.

Enter the Corporate Accountability Amendment. It's a proposal to amend the state Constitution (much easier than amending the US Constitution!) to shed some light on the campaign finance system.According to their website, this amendment has two primary goals

1. Disclosure: Ensuring citizens know when CEOs and lobbyist are influencing elections and public policy by requiring instant disclosure of Corporate Funded Political Communications and Lobbying in Michigan.

2. Disclaimer: Ensuring large corporations and CEOs "Stand By Their Ad" by requiring them to identify who funded the political and lobbying communications on the ads themselves, just like candidates for office and unions have to do right now.

One thing I like about this is that when a political ad comes on TV, people will see right there who is behind it.

That Supreme Court case was one of the biggest affronts to democracy in a long time – right up there with the Emergency Manager law. If this amendment passes, starting in 2014, voters will see who is responsible for these ads that we have to put up with every election season.

And that knowledge will be power - power to make an informed decision and to know who's really responsible for that propaganda.

Being an amendment to the state Constitution, 322,000 signatures need to be collected to put it on the ballot. So be sure to sign up on their website to keep updated on how to help.

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