Archive for the ‘Lobbying’ Category
Are you and your family on the wrong side of a bet?
When the US government ignored repeated warnings by its own scientists and allowed untested genetically modified (GM) crops into our environment and food supply, it was a gamble of unprecedented proportions. The health of all living things and all future generations were put at risk by an infant technology.
After two decades, physicians and scientists have uncovered a grave trend. The same serious health problems found in lab animals, livestock, and pets that have been fed GM foods are now on the rise in the US population. And when people and animals stop eating genetically modified organisms (GMOs), their health improves.
This seminal documentary provides compelling evidence to help explain the deteriorating health of Americans, especially among children, and offers a recipe for protecting ourselves and our future.
Order the DVD at: http://seedsofdeception.com/store/dvdcd?product_id=124
Donate to support the The Institute for Responsible Technology: http://www.responsibletechnology.org/donategr
Vote for this top transformational film here!
Written by laudyms
January 28, 2013 at 1:19 pm
text in full found at: http://www.thirdworldtraveler.com/iran/iran_Next_War.html
original link (http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/story/10962352/iran_the_next_war) “404 … cannot be found,” inactive
Thursday, July 27, 2006 ROLLING STONE Magazine
IRAN: THE NEXT WAR
Even before the bombs fell on Baghdad . [on Fri, Mar. 21, 2003, at 05:33 a.m. Baghdad time/. Thurs., Mar. 20, 2003, at 9:30 p.m. EST, D.C. time], a group of senior Pentagon officials were plotting to invade another country. Their covert campaign once again relied on false intelligence and shady allies.
But this time, the target was Iran.
By JAMES BAMFORD
How did the [#43]BUSH administration sell the IRAQ war? Is war with IRAN unavoidable?
I. The Israeli Connection
A few blocks off Pennsylvania Avenue, the FBI’s eight-story WASHINGTON field office exudes all the charm of a maximum-security prison. Its curved roof is made of thick stainless steel, the bottom three floors are wrapped in granite and limestone, hydraulic bollards protect the ramp to the four-floor garage, and bulletproof security booths guard the entrance to the narrow lobby. On the fourth floor, like a tomb within a tomb, lies the most secret room in the $100 million concrete fortress – out-of-bounds even for special agents without an escort. Here, in the LANGUAGE SERVICES SECTION, hundreds of linguists in padded earphones sit elbow-to-elbow in long rows, tapping computer keyboards as they eavesdrop on the phone lines of foreign embassies and other high-priority targets in the nation’s capital.
At the far end of that room, on the morning of February 12th, 2003, a small group of eavesdroppers were listening intently for evidence of a treacherous crime. At the very moment that AMERICAN forces were massing for an invasion of IRAQ, there were indications that a rogue group of senior PENTAGON officials were already conspiring to push the UNITED STATES into another war – this time with IRAN……..
The Economist Nov 12, 2011
How to turn America around
The Price of Civilisation: Reawakening American Virtue and Prosperity. By Jeffrey Sachs. Random House; 336 pages; $27. Published in Britain as “The Price of Civilisation: Economics and Ethics after the Fall”. Bodley Head; £20. Buy from Amazon.com, Amazon.co.uk
JEFFREY SACHS is an American economist best known for his prescriptions for economically diseased poor countries. The country he now considers most in need of his diagnostic gifts is his own. “Something has gone terribly wrong in the US economy, politics, and society in general,” Mr Sachs writes in “The Price of Civilisation”. American politicians are the stooges of corporations, he says. And American voters have been tranquillised into obesity by saturation advertising.
Such sentiments would appear unremarkable if spouted by an Occupy Wall Street protester. But Mr Sachs, a professor at Columbia University, is a respected, mainstream macroeconomist. Mr Sachs catalogues the familiar problems that beset the American economy: unemployment stuck at 9%, an exploding budget deficit, America ceding technological leadership to China, poorly educated American children.
But this is not principally a work of economics. Mr Sachs blames America’s problems on politics. In the 1960s, southerners began to desert the Democratic Party and Republicans began to build an insurmountable congressional barrier to more activist government, which Mr Sachs deeply regrets. He despises Barack Obama’s Democratic Party almost as much as he does Ronald Reagan’s Republicans: “On many days it seems that the only difference between the Republicans and Democrats is that Big Oil owns the Republicans while Wall Street owns the Democrats.” He is particularly scathing of the “revolving door” between Mr Obama’s administration and Wall Street.
The convergence between the parties, says Mr Sachs, has led to policies that systematically favour capital over labour, keep tax rates low on footloose multinational corporations and starve government programmes that benefit the poor and the unemployed. This, he claims, flies in the face of popular will: he cites polls that find the majority of Americans favour more activist government and higher taxes on the rich.
Mr Sachs’s analysis can be doctrinaire and one-dimensional, but it is almost always grounded in solid economics. Capital, he argues, has prospered more than labour during the era of globalisation. And America’s per head GDP is inflated by spending on an inefficient health-care system and the armed forces. Mr Sachs’s prescriptions are also admirably precise: the federal government should spend an additional 0.5% of GDP on worker training and the same again on early-childhood development; the top tax rate should be raised to 39.6%, which, neatly enough, he says, would raise the equivalent of 0.5% of GDP……….
Written by laudyms
December 7, 2011 at 8:55 am
“…[W]e no longer control our own democratic system. Puppet candidates have rigged themselves into office and manipulated our government to hand corporations the keys to the kingdom. We the People are now the rabble outside the gates, reduced to begging the rulers within to please be just a little less ruthless…
“Our elections have been bought or stolen for decades, but the People are only now waking up…But whether elections – or politicians – are literally stolen, or simply bought (including Barack Obama), the outcome is the same.
“The democratic system itself is rigged against us – and this rigging is not just another Progressive issue, like ending the Wars on Terror and Drugs, or securing universal healthcare, or getting the 100,000 toxic chemicals out of our bodies, or preventing Monsanto from taking over our food and seed supply…
“We must first outlaw the use of riggable computerized voting machines and institute a public paper ballot count with appropriate procedure and oversight. We must demand full media access for candidates. And we must threaten a full-blown Egypt-style revolution if Citizen’s United is not immediately overturned.”
“The Icebergs Cometh: Retaking the USA Titanic Before the 2012 Elections,”
- by Victoria Collier and Ronnie Cummins, August 8, 2011
Written by laudyms
August 11, 2011 at 1:41 pm
by Abrahm Lustgarten, ProPublica Aug 5, 2011 Thewashingtoncurrent.com
This post has been updated with the industry’s response.
For years the drilling industry has steadfastly insisted that there has never been a proven case in which fracking has led to contamination of drinking water.
Now Environmental Working Group, an advocacy organization engaged in the debate over the safety of fracking, has unearthed a 24-year-old case study by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency that unequivocally says such contamination has occurred. The New York Times reported on EWG’s year-long research effort and the EPA’s paper Wednesday.
The 1987 EPA report, which describes a dark, mysterious gel found in a water well in Jackson County, W.Va., states that gels were also used to hydraulically fracture a nearby natural gas well and that “the residual fracturing fluid migrated into (the resident’s) water well.”
The circumstances of this particular well are not unique. There are several other cases across the country where evidence suggests similar contamination has occurred and many more where the chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing have contaminated water supplies on the surface. ProPublica has written about many of them in the course of a three-year investigation into the safety of drilling for natural gas.
But the language found in the EPA report made public Wednesday is the strongest articulation yet by federal officials that there is a direct causal connection between man-made fissures thousands of feet underground and contaminants found in well water gone bad. The explanation, presented in the EPA’s own words , stands in stark contrast to recent statements made by EPA officials that they could not document a proven case of contamination and a 2004 EPA report that concluded that fracturing was safe.
“This is our leading regulatory agency coming to the conclusion that hydraulic fracturing can and did contaminate underground sources of drinking water, which contradicts what industry has been saying for years,” said Dusty Horwitt, EWG’s senior counsel and the lead researcher on the report.
A spokesperson for the EPA would not directly address the apparent contradiction but said in an email that the agency is now reviewing the 1987 report and that “the agency has identified several circumstances where contamination of wells is alleged to have occurred and is reviewing those cases in depth.”
The contamination debate has intensified as tens of thousands more wells are being drilled in newly discovered shale gas deposits across the country. The EPA and some scientists have long warned that when rock is hydraulically fractured, there is an increased risk of contaminants traveling through underground cracks until they reach drinking water. Many geologists have countered, however, that migration over thousands of feet is virtually impossible.
July 13, 2011 The Center for Media and Democracy has obtained copies of more than 800 model bills approved by corporations through ALEC meetings, after one of the thousands of people with access shared them, and a whistleblower provided a copy to the Center. We have analyzed and marked-up those bills and made them available at ALEC Exposed.
About ALEC Exposed
An open letter from CMD’s Executive Director, Lisa Graves
In April 2011, some of the biggest corporations in the U.S. met behind closed doors in Cincinnati about their wish lists for changing state laws. This exchange was part of a series of corporate meetings nurtured and fueled by the Koch Industries family fortune and other corporate funding.
At an extravagant hotel gilded just before the Great Depression, corporate executives from the tobacco giant R.J. Reynolds, State Farm Insurance, and other corporations were joined by their “task force” co-chairs — all Republican state legislators — to approve “model” legislation. They jointly head task forces of what is called the “American Legislative Exchange Council” (ALEC).
There, as the Center for Media and Democracy has learned, these corporate-politician committees secretly voted on bills to rewrite numerous state laws. According to the documents we have posted to ALEC Exposed, corporations vote as equals with elected politicians on these bills. These task forces target legal rules that reach into almost every area of American life: worker and consumer rights, education, the rights of Americans injured or killed by corporations, taxes, health care, immigration, and the quality of the air we breathe and the water we drink.
The Center obtained copies of more than 800 model bills approved by companies through ALEC meetings, after one of the thousands of people with access shared them, and a whistleblower provided a copy to the Center. Those bills, which the Center has analyzed and marked-up, are now available at ALEC Exposed.
The bills that ALEC corporate leaders, companies and politicians voted on this spring now head to a luxury hotel in New Orleans’ French Quarter for ALEC’s national retreat on August 3rd. In New Orleans, Koch Industries — through its chief lobbyist — and lobbyists of other global companies are slated for a “joint board meeting” to approve the bills with a rookery of Republican legislators who are on ALEC’s public board. Before the bills are publicly introduced in state legislatures by ALEC politicians or alumni in the governor’s offices, they will be cleansed of any reference to the secret corporate voting or who really wrote them.
With CMD’s publication of the bills, the public can now pierce through some of the subterfuge about ALEC, and see beyond the names of the bills to what the bills really do, alongside the names of corporations that lead or have helped lead ALEC’s agenda and accompanied by analysis to help decode the bills.
Many of the bills have obvious financial benefits for corporations but little or no direct benefit to the constituents that a particular legislator was elected to represent. Still, it may be tempting to dismiss ALEC as merely institutionalizing business as usual for lobbyists, except that ALEC’s tax-free donations are linked to it not spending a substantial amount of time on lobbying to change the law. ALEC has publicly claimed its “unparalleled” success in terms of the number of model bills introduced and enacted. But seeing the text of the bills helps reveal the actual language of legal changes ALEC corporations desire, beyond what can be known by the PR in their titles. ALEC says it has created a “unique” partnership between corporations and politicians. And it has.
It is a worrisome marriage of corporations and politicians, which seems to normalize a kind of corruption of the legislative process — of the democratic process–in a nation of free people where the government is supposed to be of, by, and for the people, not the corporations.
The full sweep of the bills and their implications for America’s future, the corporate voting, and the extent of the corporate subsidy of ALEC’s legislation laundering all raise substantial questions. These questions should concern all Americans. They go to the heart of the health of our democracy and the direction of our country. When politicians — no matter their party — put corporate profits above the real needs of the people who elected them, something has gone very awry.
As President Teddy Roosevelt observed in response to corporate money corrupting the democratic process a century ago, “The true friend of property, the true conservative, is he who insists that property shall be the servant and not the master of the commonwealth . . . . The citizens of the United States must effectively control the mighty commercial forces which they have called into being.”
–Lisa Graves, Executive Director, Center for Media and Democracy
P.S. ALEC anointed the billionaire Koch Brothers as two of the first few recipients of its “Adam Smith Free Enterprise Award.” Smith argued that self-interest promoted more good in society than those who intend to do good. “Greed is good!” is how Oliver Stone translated this concept to fiction on screen.
On that score, perhaps, the award was apt, except that ALEC apparently ignores Smith’s caution that bills and regulations from business must be viewed with the deepest skepticism. In his book, ”Wealth of Nations”, Smith urged that any law proposed by businessmen “ought always to be listened to with great precaution . . . It comes from an order of men, whose interest is never exactly the same with that of the public, who have generally an interest to deceive and even to oppress the public, and who accordingly have, upon many occasions, both deceived and oppressed it.”
One need not look far in the ALEC bills to find reasons to be deeply concerned and skeptical.Take a look for yourself.
By Alex Pareene – ALEC’s dream of a world where industry writes every state law
“Not one penny of US debt has been repaid for 51 years: the last time US government funded debt actually decreased on a year-over-year basis was 1960″
Bill Buckler presents an amusing compendium of facts, let us call them inconvenient truths, in the latest edition of his newsletter, some of which would make for entertaining anecdotes if presented at the Biden “deficit cutting” talks, which also, and very paradoxically, aim to cut US debt by increasing it.
- Not one penny of US debt has been repaid for 51 years: the last time US government funded debt actually decreased on a year-over-year basis was 1960
- 97% of today’s funded debt has been accumulated since August 1971 – the end of the Bretton Woods era by Nixon, and the terminal delinking of all fiat currencies from any and all hard assets, ushered in the era of modern-day hyper-debt insolvency
- Obama projects 2.5% Fed Funds rate in budget calculations through 2020. Average Fed Funds rate since 1980: 5.7%; Since 2008: 0.00%, If average 5.7% rate was used, projected US deficit would increase by another $4.9 trillion by 2020
- Obama projects 4.2% growth rate over next 3 years. If a normal growth rate of 2.5% is used, deficits would increase by another $4 trillion by 2020
- The US government borrows 40-50 cents for every dollar it spends. A balanced budget would mean cutting government spending in half.
- Implementing a balanced budget would not reduce current debt outstanding. It would merely stop it from growing.
- Over the past three fiscal years US debt grew by over $1.5 trillion per year: this is more than three times the record annual debt increase in any previous year in US history
- Last night deficit reduction targets were cut from $4 trillion to $2 trillion over the next decade, in exchange for a $2.4 trillion debt ceiling hike, which will last the Treasury until the next presidential election. Said otherwise, the Treasury needs to fund a $2.4 trillion hold over the next 15 months. Over a decade this come to $20 trillion: ten times more than the proposed deficit reduction.
And the most inconvenient truth of all:
The Global Financial Crisis (GFC) is said to have been precipitated by the Lehman failure in 2008 which froze inter-bank lending on a global basis and almost brought down the system. It is said to have been prevented by a massive and global increase in new money creation. In reality, had economic nature been left alone to take its course, there is a good chance that the world would be fast emerging from its financial black hole by now. At a minimum, most of the malinvestments would have been discounted to the point where they would no longer act as a dead weight on future savings and investment.
Economic “miracles” (so-called) have happened before. The US emerged from a deep recession in 1920-21 because the government and the central bank did NOT interfere. Germany emerged from the actual physical rubble of WW II for exactly the same reason. So, to a lesser extent, did Japan. In all these cases, debts which could not be repaid were not held on life support by central banks, they were written off. In all these cases, creditors took very severe “haircuts” indeed while many debtors literally had to start again from scratch. In all these cases, the LACK of government impediments or government largesse meant that a recovery took place in a much shorter time frame than would otherwise have been the case.
Economic distortions today are HUGELY bigger than they were then. That means that the recession will be deeper and the recovery phase possibly longer. But until it is allowed to begin, there is no way out.
None of the above will be noted anywhere by the great diversionary media spin machine over the next two weeks, since July 22 is the date by which Congress says it needs to pass the debt ceiling legislation so it can get it to Obama’s desk for his signature by August 2.
On June 30, QE2 ended with a whimper. The Fed’s second round of “quantitative easing” involved $600 billion created with a computer keystroke for the purchase of long-term government bonds. But the government never actually got the money, which went straight into the reserve accounts of banks, where it still sits today.
July, 2011 ResponsibleTechnology.org
The pesticide industry knew from its own studies (including one by Monsanto) as long ago as the 1980s-and EU regulators knew since the 1990s- that the best-selling herbicide Roundup causes birth defects.
A new report by international scientists now exposes the 30-year cover-up, including efforts as recent as last year by the German government’s consumer protection office to rebut a 2010 study showing Roundup causes birth defects in frogs and chickens at tiny doses. The study was prompted by reports of high rates of birth defects and cancers in areas of South America growing GM Roundup Ready soy, which is sprayed with high doses of the herbicide. Read a lengthy article on this in the Huffington Post, a summary in The Ecologist, or the full report “Roundup and birth defects: Is the public being kept in the dark?” Monsanto responded to the report, but the report’s authors pick apart the company’s statements, showing how they are unsupported and unscientific.
Written by laudyms
July 8, 2011 at 9:31 am
Posted in Agriculture, Censorship, Corporate State, Environment, Food, Agriculture, GMO Frankenfoods, Govt folly, Health, Lobbying, Oligarchy, Perception Management, Secrecy, Whistleblowers and other heroes
France became the first nation to ban the use of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking in drilling for natural gas and oil on June 30 when French senators voted to ban the practice. Oil and gas companies operating in France with fracking permits will have them revoked according to the legislation passed by a 176 to 151 vote. The bill passed the National Assembly on June 21.
“We are at the end of a legislative marathon that stirred emotion from lawmakers and the public,” French Environment Minister Nathalie Kosciusko-Morizet said late yesterday before the vote. Hydraulic fracturing will be illegal and parliament would have to vote for a new law to allow research using the technique, she said.
France’s fracking ban comes at the same time that the New Jersey State Senate voted to ban the practice, which contaminates drinking water. For a bit of more good news, North Carolina’s Governor Bev Perdue vetoed a state senate bill that would have allowed fracking in the state.
Jane Preyer, North Carolina’s director of the Environmental Defense Fund praised the veto in North Carolina. “The veto sends a clear signal to legislators that rolling back regulations that protect the state’s environment is not a viable business plan for economic recovery or the well being of North Carolina’s families,” she said. “The veto sends the strong message that North Carolina puts out the welcome map to industries that both create good jobs and respect our natural resources. Hats off to Governor Perdue for the veto.”
Unfortunately, it looks like New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo is poised to lift the ban on fracking, the International Business Times (IBT) reports. The state issued new guidelines for fracking that will prohibit fracking in state parks and in the New York City and Syracuse watersheds.
New York State Assemblywoman Barbara Lifton, an opponent of fracking, said, “If hydrofracking is not safe in the New York City watershed it’s not safe in any watershed,” Lifton said. “There’s a tacit admission on the part of the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) that it is not safe and yet it is being allowed.”
By Catherine Guthrie, Experience Life July 2, 2011 Care2
Show me a chicken nugget and I will show you the world. The world, that is, of highly palatable foods engineered by the food industry to go down easily — in some cases, to quite literally “melt in the mouth” — while also stimulating us to crave more.
Commercial foods like chicken nuggets, French fries, chips, crackers, cookies and pastries are designed to be virtually irresistible. And, for a lot of reasons most of us don’t fully understand, they are.
There’s a “biological basis for why it’s so hard for millions of Americans to resist food,” former FDA commissioner David Kessler, MD, explained in a recent National Public Radio (NPR) interview. “We are all wired to focus on the most salient stimuli in our environment,” he says. “For some of us, it could be alcohol; it could be illegal drugs; it could be gambling, sex or tobacco. For many of us, though, one of the most salient stimuli in our environment is food. And how do you make food even more salient? Fat, sugar and salt.”
Of course, fat, sugar and salt have been around as kitchen staples for centuries, but it wasn’t until the past few decades that they became as abundant and cheap as they are now. And during the course of those same few decades, food manufacturers have been busily leveraging science and technology to enhance their products — manipulating food in ways that not only play on our innate fondness for sugar, salt and fat, but also dramatically boost their overall taste, texture, aroma and appearance.
Think about the flavor of beef infused into McDonald’s signature French fries, the creamy filling injected into a Twinkie or the fake crosshatched grill marks stamped onto a KFC grilled chicken breast, and you begin to get the idea. The stuff regularly served up at every chain restaurant, gas station and food court amounts to an edible — and irresistible — amusement park. And it’s all fueled by food science and technology we’d have a hard time imitating at home.
“It’s the multisensory combinations that provide the roller coaster in your mouth,” says Kessler, a professor at the University of California–San Francisco and author of The End of Overeating: Taking Control of the Insatiable American Appetite (Rodale, 2009). And over the past 30 years, food manufacturers have been coming up with increasingly wild rides.
“When we were kids,” recalls Kessler, “it was enough to put sugar in water, add a little coloring and get a relatively simple sensory experience called Kool-Aid. Since then, food makers have upped the ante.” Today we’ve got Flamin’ Hot Cheetos and Double Chocolate Strawberry Cake Krispy Kreme doughnuts. Doritos brand snacks come in more than a dozen different varieties (including “Late Night All Nighter Cheeseburger”), all of which promise to “deliver a powerful crunch that unlocks the bold and unique flavors you crave.”
If we’re going to stand any chance of resisting this new breed of consumables, we need to have a better understanding about what we’re up against. That starts with a brief lesson in food technology.
Written by laudyms
July 3, 2011 at 10:59 am