Fascism is the union of government with private business against the People.
"To The States, or any one of them, or to any city of The States: Resist much, Obey little; Once unquestioning obedience, at once fully enslaved; Once fully enslaved, no nation, state, city, ever afterward resumes its liberty." from "Caution" by Walt Whitman

Monday, February 25, 2013

New York City conducts war against mentally ill, sends them to concentration camps

2013-02-25 "Occupy Wall St." writes:
NEW YORK CITY, NY -- Police will be conducting a "roundup" of mentally ill people in the city. They seem to think that they can prevent crime by detaining people before they've actually done anything wrong. The police point to an unprovoked subway attack by an alleged mentally-ill person as the justification for this.
 The city has even drawn up a "most-wanted list" and will make efforts to capture these people and force them into treatment.

2013-02-25 "NYC to Round Up Mentally Ill Before They Commit Crimes"
In its latest Big Brother endeavor, New York City has begun a program to round up the city’s mentally ill and ensure they are taking their court-ordered medications. The New York Post reports that police will be armed with a list of the most-wanted mentally ill and a tracking system, and will force those deemed ill to go to a hospital.
The new policy comes as a result of two recent subway deaths in which the victims were pushed onto the train tracks by mentally ill suspects.
“After the Queens subway attack, the [city] decided to take a proactive approach to track down the most dangerous mental-health patients that currently have mental-hygiene warrants” out for them, one law enforcement official said in the Post report.
The first incident involved a homeless man named Naeem Davis, who cited different motives for his pushing a complete stranger onto the tracks, including voices in his head and being angry at the loss of his favorite boots.
The second case involved assailant Erika Menendez, who targeted an Iranian man based on her misguided political convictions. She told the police that she targeted Sunando Sen and pushed him in front of an oncoming 7 train in Queens because she “hated Hindus and Muslims since 2001 since they put down the Twin Towers.” She added, “I have been beating them up since.”
There are currently 25 names on the most-wanted list of mentally ill. The process involves the issuance of a specific type of warrant that permits the police to arrest individuals, even if they have not committed a crime, simply for not attending court-ordered therapy.
The Washington Times reports: The arrest warrants the police are pursuing do not mean the targets are wanted for crimes, but rather for avoiding court-ordered mental-health treatment, according to the Post. Police in the city’s Real Time Crime Center are tasked with the roundup using advanced technology. Once tracked down, the suspects then will be forcibly taken by detectives to hospitals for treatment.
A handful of police officers are currently assigned to the new policy, which began a few weeks ago. The program is a variation of an older policy. The New York Post explains: In the past, the city Department of Health would ask cops for help finding mentally ill people who aren’t taking their court-mandated meds so they could be taken to clinics. But that only applied to those who had known addresses — and patients who went off the grid were rarely pursued, the sources said.
The city is now concerned it could be liable if one of those people goes off the rails and hurts someone — or themselves, the sources said.
The Health Department fears that these mentally ill patients could be dangerous. Now, “you have a family member who goes to the Department of Health and gives them the information. Then they go to the Police Department, and together, the DOH person and the police go out and try to track down these people,” said a city official. “They’re just trying to get these people help.”
“All of these patients are receiving treatment for mental-health conditions,” said Department of Health spokesman Sam Miller. “If they do not receive sustained treatment … they could pose some risk to themselves, family members or others.”
The policy has attracted criticism from civil libertarians who view it as unconstitutional government overreach.
According to Judge Andrew Napolitano, the policy is “clearly unconstitutional because the Constitution says the only way you can arrest someone is if you see them committing a crime or a probable cause to believe they have committed, not are going to commit, but have committed a crime.”
Regarding the mentally ill, Napolitano contends that only very specific exceptions can be made to those criteria. “Only those who are mentally ill and are in imminent danger of harm to themselves and others can be in the category of candidates for arrest. Anything short of that, the person cannot be arrested without an order from a judge,” he explained.
“That’s why we have a Second Amendment. So we can protect ourselves,” said Napolitano.
Napolitano sums up the constitutional dilemma created by the policy.
“We do not have a system of government that lets the government predict who’s going to do the wrong thing and arrest them before they do it,” Napolitano concludes. “The police should be there to keep us safe, the MTA should operate subways and subway platforms that are safe, but you can’t arrest groups of people because of what some 1 or 2 amongst their number are likely to do. That’s what they did in Eastern Europe and we overthrew those governments.”
Additionally, some critics are concerned by the forced issuance of psychotropic drugs and assert that they do not necessarily correct mental illness but exacerbate it.
Throughout the last decade, a number of notorious school shooters have been found to be either on or withdrawing from antidepressants, known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI), including Columbine shooter Eric Harris, who was taking the powerful Luvox; Jeffrey Weise, who killed 10 students at Red Lake High School while on Prozac; and Kip Kinkel, who, during Prozac withdrawal, killed his parents and then went on a shooting spree at his high school.
“In virtually every mass school shooting during the past 15 years, the shooter has been on or in withdrawal from psychiatric drugs,” writes Lawrence Hunter of the Social Security Institute. “Yet, federal and state governments continue to ignore the connection between psychiatric drugs and murderous violence, preferring instead to exploit these tragedies in an oppressive and unconstitutional power grab to snatch guns away from innocent, law-abiding people.”
The connection between psychiatric drugs and violence is not limited to school shootings, but has also been seen in the high-profile cases of John Hinckley, Jr., who attempted to assassinate President Ronald Reagan, and Ted Kaczynski, the “Unabomber,” who killed three and injured 23.
Meanwhile, those enforcing New York’s new policy are concerned about the logistics of the scheme, most notably that it will be difficult to track down the homeless on the most-wanted list. “There’s no rhyme or reason to their craziness,” a law enforcement source told the Post.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Federal agencies told not to acknowledge existence of drone program

2013-02-24 "Gibbs: I was told not to acknowledge existence of drone program" by Dylan Stableford, from "Yahoo! News" [http://news.yahoo.com/blogs/ticket/gibbs-drones-obama-talk-fight-club-174044860--politics.html]:
Robert Gibbs, President Barack Obama's former press secretary, says that he was once instructed by the White House not to acknowledge the administration's use of drones.
"When I went through the process of becoming press secretary, one of the first things they told me was, you're not even to acknowledge the drone program," Gibbs said on MSNBC's "Up With Chris Hayes" on Sunday. "You're not even to discuss that it exists."
Or, to paraphrase an oft-quoted line from David Fincher's 1999 film "Fight Club": The first rule of the drone program is you do not talk about the drone program.
Gibbs, who was recently hired by MSNBC as a contributor, called the proposition "inherently crazy."
"You're being asked a question based on reporting of a program that exists," Gibbs, who served as White House press secretary from 2009 to 2011, said. "So you're the official government spokesperson acting as if the entire program—pay no attention to the man behind the curtain."
Obama's former spokesman said that while the administration has recently expressed the need to be more transparent about its use of drones, certain aspects of that program are "highly sensitive" and will likely remain secret.
“I have not talked to him about this, so I want to be careful," Gibbs said, "but I think what the president has seen is, our denial of the existence of the program when it’s obviously happening undermines people’s confidence overall in the decisions that their government makes.”

Friday, February 22, 2013

NAACP under control of corporate partisans

Message from Jimmie Griffin (former Connecticut NAACP Waterbury Branch President):
Dear Rev. Ford,
In a recent news report you made comments concerning transparency in local branch activities and it leaves me appalled at the continued actions of a local branches so-called re-organization efforts in Waterbury, Connecticut. One of the reasons given for my suspension concerned my public disclosure of branch activities in Waterbury.
It was prior to my suspension, that I actively solicited a number of new members and have canceled checks which were cashed, some of which are presently bonafide members of this organization and others who never received their memberships some 8 months after they were supposed to be processed by the local branch.
The Connecticut State Conference in their take over of the local branch has held a number of meetings since March but have not notified the new members of those general membership meetings with proper notice , nor the change in their general membership meeting dates as required by by/laws to local newspapers, which leaves those who sought to be active in the local branch at a loss for representation in this organization as dues paying members.
I find this to be a deliberate avoidance of the State Conference of NAACP to conduct an open process of the re-organization of the branch with it's members. It is my understanding as a concerned former officer on both the state and local levels. I am also very concerned since I donated to the renewal of a few family members and friends. I am in the process of requesting that the national office refund those members if some action is not taken to accept them as members.
But in the meantime, I wanted to give an opportunity to those in control of this re-organization process to report to the membership any progress in this area, by supplying the membership with minutes of those meetings, which took place at the Mattatuck Museum and Mt. Olive AME Church with no proper notice to the general membership or the public of which this branch is mandated to notify and to serve.
It is also been suggested that all of these meetings are to be private. Those in attendance are instructed that they would be disciplined if any of the meeting business conducted was reported to anyone not in the meeting, which means approximately 200 members of the general membership are excluded.
I find it very difficult for this branch to ever regain credibility in this city and it's surrounding area, unless it is perceived as being fair and about fighting the injustices, in this community which are many. I remind you that before, I was suspended I raised these very issues with you, as you seem to dismiss them as unwarranted. So at this time I ask you in your position as the Unit Accountability Director to direct the Connecticut State Conference to follow the proper procedure in notifying the membership of the local branch with an update on branch status if any exists?
Presently there is cloud hanging over unanswered questions raised by the Connecticut State Conference and the National Office concerning branch finances and memberships that can no longer be avoided in saving our branch in Waterbury, Connecticut.
I have been told by locals my voice does not matter since I have been suspended but I remind you and them, that my long service as an officer and dedicated member, will not silence my voice when the allegations made against me are by the same members, who have caused this mess and never held accounable for doing in the first place.
Sincerely, [signed] Jimmie Griffin, Former State and Local Branch President

Big Protest
On April 4,2013 at 10am at the NAACP National Headquarter 4805 Mt Hope Dr.
The 45th Anniversary of the assassination of Rev Dr. Martin Luther King.
The NAACP have failed to elevate, educate,agitate to liberate our people.
On april 3, hundreds of activists will be in Washington D.C. lobbing congress to revoke the NAACP non-profit status. The NAACP is out of touch with the black community. The NAACP do not represent the black community and sell outs to the corporations.
This is  the reason more than 5,000 members has burned their membership cards.
 For more information contact Rev Edward Pinkney [bhbanco.org]

Big protest at The NAACP Image Awards, February 1 2013, in Los Angeles, California, 655 w Jefferson. Meet at 2 pm, bring your signs! We the people must hold the NAACP accountable for there actions and inactions. The NAACP  is out of touch with the black community and sell outs to the corporations. Burn, Baby, Burn ALL NAACP membership cards! We now have over 3529 membership cards burned (as of 2012-12-17)!!
Video about the ongoing corruption of the NAACP, by the anti-fascist Reverend Pinkney:
FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Rev Edward Pinkney [269-925-0001] [bhbanco.org]
Every Sunday at 5pm Eastern time [blogtalkradio.com/revpinkney]
Pinkney to Pinkney show call in number 347-994-3644

This what the NAACP is all about! The NAACP is out of touch and selling out the black community. The corporations are sponsoring this even and you can see for yourself. This is the reason that the NAACP is irrevelant today. We must hold them accountable. How about some jobs for the community. Bob King the UAW President refuse to put any money in proposal 1, the emergency Manager Law.. But will sponsor a kwanza NAACP ball.
Febrauary 1, 2013 we will picket the NAACP Image Awards in L. A. California
NAACP Centennial Kwanzaa Ball Friday, December 21, 2012 at 6pm Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History 315 E. Warren Ave., Detroit, MI 48201 Attire: Holiday & Kwanzaa festive

"NAACP GIVE Merck Award after killing 60,000 people! It is all about the Money......"

message from Rev Edward Pinkney [bhbanco.org]:
What would you say if you knew someone had killed 60,000 people? Would you give them an award? Would you call it a felony or Murder?
If you total up the value of all those lives in criminal court,what would you say they are worth? Billions? trillions? How about a measly $321 million in exchange for a guilty plea to a misdemeanor?
When you consider that this involves the second largest drug maker in the U.S. Merck and his deadly drug Vioxx, then you will probably agree that a misdemeanor and $321 million dollars fine amounts to nothing more than a slap on the wrist.
Business analysts were estimating a $25 billion dollars judgment when the drug was taken off the market, but even when combined with the $4.85 in payouts to patient who suffered heart attacks and stokes and did not died, the final bill is nowhere close to original estimates of the damage.
The plea agreement Merck recently made with a federal court in Boston on April 19, after being charged with illegal promotion of Vioxx for treatment of rheumatoid arthritis, before it was approved for that use.
The sad tale brings up memories of what I tried to warn readers said Dr. Mercola in about 1999, when I showed that people talking this drug were at a massively increased risk of dying from heart disease and stoke. It is a  tragic that Vioxx was removed only after 60,000 died.
It is even more tragic that a court would Merck's illegal promotion of the drug a misdemeanor rather than a felony ,since this tactic clearly exposed far more people to the dangarous drug that it would have other wise. Adding insult to injury, instead of the billions that Merck anticipated paying out. it got away with such a paltry sum.   Particularly galling is the fact that these deaths could have been so easily avoided, were not for the  deceptive maneuving of Merck, who stood to profit handsomely from the success of the drug said Dr. Mercola.         
 The NAACP honored Kenneth C. Frazier, Chairman of the Board , chief executive officer and President Merck, Who is responsible for the drug Vioxx that have killed 60,000 and  thousands and thousands more people's, who has suffered heart attacks and stokes.
We must hold the NAACP accountable. We believe the NAACP is out of touch with the community and a sell out. We are asking Ben Jealous to resign and allow the members to elect the the new President. We must stop giving the NAACP a free pass.
We will be in Los Angles at the NAACP Image Awards February 1, 2013 at Shriner Auditorium
665 W Jefferson at 2pm to protest.    
On Saturday February 2,2013 Rev Pinkney will be speaking at MERCADO La Paloma, 3655 S. Grand Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90007. For more information contact Rev Edward Pinkney [269-925-0001]

2012-12-13 "Local NAACP Leader Wants Group’s Non-Profit Status Revoked" from "CBS news"
CHICAGO (CBS) — When the president of the Chicago South Suburban Branch of the NAACP said he wasn’t supporting President Obama, he was first threatened and then suspended.
Now, he’s asking the IRS to revoke the non-profit status of the civil rights organization, saying it’s lost its way.
David Lowery Jr. is pushing back against a mindset that if you’re black you vote for Democrats.
Lowery went on his internet radio show and said neither Barack Obama nor Mitt Romney would do anything to help the ills of the black community.
LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Mike Krauser Reports
He was first threatened and then suspended. Now, he’s asking the IRS to revoke the non-profit status of the civil rights organization.
Lowery is becoming something of a nightmare for the NAACP, turning on the organization by, as he says, “telling the truth.”
“The NAACP should stay focused on human and civil rights,” he says, “as opposed to being a political advocacy arm for the Democratic party.”
He was asked if he thinks the group is violating federal law.
“Yes, non-profits cannot be partisan or support any political candidates, one way or the other,” he said.
He said he has emails from NAACP national leaders, asking him and other NAACP local leaders to get out the vote for the Democratic Party.
“I’ve been able to see how the NAACP is being used by the Democratic Party to go out and get votes, to deliver messages–just like the one, ‘It’s a black thing’–to give out literature. All those things that a non-profit should not be doing, they are doing that, let’s be real.”
Lowery says he believes he was threatened during a phone conversation with Louis Raymond, the Illinois Political Director for Obama For America, before the election.
Lowery says he does not personally support the president because Obama is not addressing issues important to the black community.
He said the same about Romney. He says Raymond called and told him, “You know what, I know everything about you.” Lowery says Raymond added, “We’ve been watching you and since you don’t support Obama we’ll deal with you.”
Then Lowery was suspended by the NAACP. He says, it was because he told people to think for themselves. The NAACP says in the suspension letter, he violated a cease and desist order from the NAACP and that Lowery was being partisan.
“There used to be fear” in the NAACP name,” Lowery says. Now, he says, it’s more a social club with a partisan bent.
“We have gotten away from what freedom fighting is,” he said.....
Lowery started a petition at change.org asking that the IRS revoke the NAACP’s non-profit status.
Lowery’s suspension letter said he engaged in partisan activity.
He insists, as an independent, he only told people to think for themselves.
“It’s a sad day in a national organization like the NAACP when one of their presidents has to step up and say, you know what, we’re not doing the right thing and we need to be held accountable for the actions that we are not taking in the community, as well as being partisan toward the Democratic Party.”
“I’m really trying to let the NAACP know, we need to step up in the black community. We’re suffering out here. Civil rights are dying. Black people are last on everything and the NAACP was in the forefront back in the day.
“I’m not bullying them. I’m really challenging them to step up to the plate and be the force in the black community that they can be again.”
WBBM Newsradio asked for comment from leaders of the NAACP but those phone calls and emails went unanswered.

message from Rev Edward Pinkney [bhbanco.org]:

2012-12-10 message to the Atlanta NAACP: "How did they find out about us?"
message from Rev Edward Pinkney [bhbanco.org]:
At the recent meeting of the Atlanta NAACP Executive Committee, branch leaders were more concerned about how they were exposed than dealing with the serious issues that face the branch, such as:
>> Moving forward with having a branch election on December 17, which may be illegal due to the branch owing the NAACP at least $65,000 in assessments to the National NAACP for much of the past decade. The NAACP generally prohibits local branches that are delinquent in national assessments from holding local chapter elections. Branch leaders couldn't answer as to how members would be notified of the election nor why an exception is being made for the Atlanta Branch.
>> A protégé of Atlanta NAACP Branch president Rev. R.L. White sits on the local Executive Committee while being a paid staff person with the National NAACP Chairman's Office and also serving as a co-chair of the local freedom fund dinner, couldn't answer detailed questions about the recent freedom fund banquet or how much money was raised. This is a serious conflict of interest.
>> The branch treasurer has been MIA for much of the year and a result, there has been no accurate financial reports in several months and there's several reports that indicate that the branch can't seem to pay its bills.
>> Rev. R. L. White is running for his ninth two-year term as head of the Atlanta branch, and membership of the branch is now well below 1,000 members for the first time in at least 40 years.  The Atlanta NAACP is a nothing but a mere shadow of its former self and other NAACP branches throughout the country have been reorganized and officers shown the door for far less culpable actions.  NAACP members deserves transparency and accountability, and its clear its not happening here and in other communities such as Benton Harbor, Michigan as well.
In the early 20th Century, the NAACP was made up of selfless men and women who worked to bring Americans of color into the American Way of Life. Now, 100 years later, the NAACP sadly is now made up of  selfish sell-outs and pimps more concerned with lining their pockets and finding other ways to personally benefit than fighting for civil rights. So instead of focusing on how the ugly details finally got out, how about showing some real leadership for a change??
 Burn Baby Burn!!

message from Rev Edward Pinkney [bhbanco.org]:
Brothers and Sisters,Recently Hazel Dukes  NYS NAACP PRES.(so called Doctor) Dukes has come out to condemn Mayor Bloomberg for raising the cry about what soft drinks are doing to the people. Coca Cola,Pepsi Cola and those soft drinks with High Fructose and other ingredients seem to be addictive to some of us.
When i was in the VA hospital patients would walk around with large 40 ounce of Coke all day long. i felt the medications were making patients drink large quantities of the liquid because it seemed to be addictive.
In particularly our folk our obese and dying of diabetes. Dukes in her statement in the Huffington Post said her NAACP Project may help solve the problem of obesity and diabetes thru holistic education. The NAACP Project H.E.L.P. was one way to help fight the problem.
Hazel Dukes is the same NAACP leader that was listed as part of the Black Lobbyist  group for the Tobacco industry along with members of the Black Congressional Caucus (RANGEL, TOWNES)who enriched themselves with thousands of dollars  back in the 90's before the Cancer Sticks were put in check. Many of our Black Folk as well as others died from smoking.
Project H.E.L.P. is now part of the NAACP national campaign against diabetes, obesity, etc . THIS PROJECT IS SPONSORED AND FUNDED  BY THE COCA COLA FOUNDATION.
Check out the districts getting the Duckets. When will Black person take a stand against the NAACP. The NAACP is out of touch with our community and nothing but a sellout to the Corporations.
SELL OUT, SELL OUT, SELL OUT!  We can no longer give the NAACP a free pass because the NAACP is called a black organization. We must hold the NAACP accountable for their actions and inactions.
We will boycott and protest the NAACP Image Awards on February 1 , 2013 in Los Angeles California 665 W J efferson Shiner Auditorium beginning 1pm. New Way New Day! Several Pastors, Ministers and
Organizations will be joining.  
Whirlpool Corporation took over the NAACP in Benton Harbor, Michigan with money and placed their NAACP members on the school board and now we have a Whirlpool Corporation control school board and NAACP members working together to destroy our School system and community. 

message from Rev Edward Pinkney [bhbanco.org]:
The NAACP have chosen Ben Jealous as its new president after a contentious debate that lasted
long into the night, members of its board of directors said; Ben Jealous who is the youngest president
in the NAACP'S  history.
In 2008 Ben Jealous was the only finalist presented by the search committee to the full board for consideration.
Some board members wanted to hear from two others whom the search committee identified as finalist, but
Ben Jealous supporter's prevented it, sources said:
When the 34-21 vote was announced no one clapped or celebrated not one person " One board member said after the meeting
in Baltimore, Maryland look like the way communist countries hold elections; Only letting one person run:
This is the NAACP!
Ben Jealous has unfortunately tarnished the already fragile reputation of the NAACP by allowing his work for the president
and the Corporations to over ride the interest of the African- American people. NAACP are sell out and out of touch with
the black community.  
We are asking 200, 000 members to burn your membership cards; Burn Baby Burn:
We now have 2,677 memberships cards burned. 
The NAACP Image Awards: february 1, 2013 in Los Angles California...  We, the People, will Protest!!!

Ben Jealous was chosen to be NAACP president in 2008 only after long and contentious debate, and other finalists were prevented from speaking.

2008-05-17 "35-year-old chosen to lead NAACP" from "CNN"
(CNN) -- The NAACP has chosen Ben Jealous as its new president after a contentious debate that lasted long into the night, members of its board of directors said Saturday.
Jealous, 35, will be the youngest president in the NAACP's 99-year history, The Associated Press reported.
When the 34-21 vote was announced, "no one clapped or celebrated," one board member said after the meeting in Baltimore, Maryland.
Jealous was the only finalist presented by the search committee to the full board for consideration. Some board members wanted to hear from two others whom the search committee identified as finalists, but Jealous' supporters prevented it, sources said.
Jealous steps into a challenging role.
"There are a small number of groups to whom all black people in this country owe a debt of gratitude, and the NAACP is one of them," Jealous told AP before the vote. "There is work that is undone ... the need continues and our children continue to be at great risk in this country."
Sources said Jealous, a former newspaper editor and director of an Amnesty International division, was the only finalist for the post of president, vacant for more than a year. He was the primary choice of board Chairman Julian Bond, sources said.
He replaces Bruce Gordon, a retired Verizon executive who quit in March 2007, citing friction with Bond and the group's 64-member board. Gordon said he was also unhappy with the direction of the NAACP, the nation's oldest and largest civil rights organization.
Jealous is president of the California-based Rosenberg Foundation, and before that he directed the U.S. human rights program for Amnesty International.
In the mid-1990s, Jealous was the managing editor of the Jackson Advocate, the oldest black newspaper in Mississippi. He was later the executive director of the National Newspaper Publishers Association, a federation of more than 200 black community papers.
Jealous began his career as an organizer with the NAACP Legal Defense Fund,working on health care issues, the NAACP said.
Jealous, a native of California, is a graduate of Columbia University and Oxford University, where he was a Rhodes Scholar, the NAACP said.
He told AP that many in his generation have a false sense of progress in racial equality.  "Those of us who are 45 and younger were told, 'The struggle has been won. Go out and flourish. Don't worry about the movement,"' he told AP. Mr Ben Jealous have not worried
about the movement, He is out touch with the community and the people
Rev. Pinkney's comments: 
Ben Jealous has unfortunately tarnished the already fragile reputation of the NAACP by allowing his work for the US president and the corporations to override the interest of the African-American people. The NAACP is a sell-out and out of touch with the black community. 

Examples of how the Plutocracy uses Federal government to rule the people

Through the use of money, the Plutocracy and their holding companies influence individuals who have power in the Federal Government. The same is true in the various agencies of the state.What these examples provides is an insight into the methods and culture of these "ruling class twits"...

"Fix the Debt Leaders and Conflicts of Interest"
(updated 2013-02-22) from [sourcewatch.org/index.php/Fix_the_Debt_Leaders_and_Conflicts_of_Interest]:

Wall Street billionaire Pete Peterson is scheming to "Fix the Debt," but if he wins, we lose.
Learn more at our new SourceWatch resource: PetersonPyramid.org

The Campaign to Fix the Debt [http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php/Portal:Fix_the_Debt] is the latest incarnation of a decades-long effort by former Nixon man turned Wall Street billionaire Pete Peterson [http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php/Pete_Peterson] to slash earned benefit programs such as Social Security and Medicare under the guise of fixing the nation's "debt problem."
Through a special report and new interactive wiki resource, the Center for Media and Democracy -- in partnership with the Nation magazine -- exposes the funding, the leaders, the partner groups, and the phony state "chapters" of this astroturf supergroup. Learn more at PetersonPyramid.org and in the Nation magazine [http://www.thenation.com/issue/march-11-18-2013].
For more information, see the table below (reproduced below at this "USA Fascism Watch" article re-post) [http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php/Fix_the_Debt_Leaders_and_Conflicts_of_Interest#Table].
The chart and table below are part of the Center for Media and Democracy's investigation of this astroturf supergroup and related front groups. Please visit our main SourceWatch page on Fix the Debt [http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php/Fix_the_Debt], the article on Fix the Debt's Leadership [http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php/Fix_the_Debt's_Leadership], and the Pete Peterson page [http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php/Pete_Peterson] for more.

Related Fix the Debt SourceWatch Articles
*  Fix the Debt [http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php/Fix_the_Debt]
* Fix the Debt's Leadership [http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php/Fix_the_Debt's_Leadership
* Fix the Debt's Partner Groups [http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php/Fix_the_Debt's_Partner_Groups]
* Fix the Debt's State Chapters [http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php/Fix_the_Debt's_State_Chapters]
* Fix the Debt's Lobbyists [http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php/Fix_the_Debt's_Lobbyists]
* Fix the Debt's Parent Group [http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php/Committee_for_a_Responsible_Federal_Budget]
* Fix the Debt's Corporations [http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Category:Fix_the_Debt_Corporations]
* Peter Peterson [http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php/Peter_Peterson]
* Peter G. Peterson Foundation [http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php/Peter_G._Peterson_Foundation]
* AmericaSpeaks [http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php/AmericaSpeaks]
* Simpson-Bowles Commission [http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php/Simpson-Bowles_Commission]
* Erskine Bowles [http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php/Erskine_Bowles]
* Alan Simpson [http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php/Alan_Simpson]
* Social Security [http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php/Social_Security]
* Medicare [http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php/Medicare]
* Medicaid [http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php/Medicaid]

"Fix the Debt" leadership table -
Researched and produced by the Public Accountability Initiative, February 2013 [http://public-accountability.org/].
This table includes leaders of Fix the Debt -- steering committee members, co-chairs, co-founders -- that have current ties to corporations lobbying around federal tax and spending issues. Twelve of the 19 Fix the Debt leaders have such ties; the other seven are not included in this table.

(Table is laid out accroding to the following diagram)
Fix the Debt Leader -  
Description at FixTheDebt.org   
* Current Ties to Corporations Lobbying Around the Budget

Maya MacGuineas (Steering Committee) -  
President of Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, Director of Fiscal Policy Program at the New America Foundation   
* Goldman Sachs. MacGuineas' husband, Robin Brooks, is managing director and currency trading analyst there, and has co-authored memos on the implications of the fiscal cliff for currency speculators.[1] Goldman lobbied around "fiscal cliff negotiations"[2] and "tax issues during the last quarter of 2012."[3] Goldman is also a member of Managed Funds Association, which is lobbying against the financial speculation tax;[4][5] CEO Lloyd Blankfein is a member of Fix the Debt's CEO Council and has called for cuts to Social Security as part of any deficit reduction solution.[6]

Erskine Bowles (Co-Founder) -  
Co-Founder of Fix the Debt; co-chair of the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform; former UNC president; former Clinton administration official
* Morgan Stanley. Bowles is a board member, earning $345,000 last year.[7] In the last quarter of 2012, Morgan Stanley lobbied around bank and financial product taxes, international tax rules, and energy tax legislation.[8] It is also member of Managed Funds Association, which is lobbying against the financial speculation tax.[9]
* Facebook. Bowles is a board member, earning $618,067 last year.[10] Facebook lobbied around the "effect of corporate tax deduction proposals on the tech sector."[11]
* Norfolk Southern. Bowles is a board member, earning $285,840 last year.[12] Norfolk Southern lobbied around corporate tax issues in the fourth quarter of 2012; its lobbying filing states "Supports reduction in the corporate tax rate."[13]
* JPMorgan Chase. Bowles' wife, Crandall Close Bowles, is a board member and made $258,750 in that position last year.[14] JPMorgan has lobbied on "tax reform issues" and "bank tax legislation" in the fourth quarter of 2012.[15] It is also member of the Managed Funds Association and the American Bankers Association, which are lobbying against the financial speculation tax.[16][17]
* Sara Lee. Bowles' wife, Crandall Close Bowles, is a board member and earned $252,273 in the position last year.[18] Sara Lee has recently lobbied around SNAP policies.[19]
Deere & Co. Bowles' wife is a board member, earning $209,915 last year. [20] Deere lobbied around "corporate tax reform," "bonus depreciation," and other tax issues in the fourth quarter of 2012.[21]

Judd Gregg (Co-Chair) -  
Co-Chair of Fix the Debt; former Senator and Representative; ranking member of Senate Budget Committee; former Governor of New Hampshire; served on National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform
* Goldman Sachs. Gregg is an international adviser, but his compensation is not publicly disclosed.[22] See "Maya MacGuineas," above, for more details on Goldman's lobbying activity.
* IntercontinentalExchange. Gregg is a board member of the derivatives exchange, making $334,886 in that position in 2011.[23] ICE noted in its 2012 annual report that a financial speculation tax would reduce trading volume and curtail profits.[24]
* Honeywell. Gregg is a board member, making $401,514 in 2011.[25] Honeywell lobbied on defense spending and tax issues during the last quarter of 2012, including "corporate tax reform" and "international taxation and repatriation."[26] It also noted in its 2012 annual report that a change in government defense funding could adversely impact sales.[27]

Ed Rendell (Co-Chair) -  
Co-Chair of Fix the Debt, former Governor of Pennsylvania; former mayor and district attorney of City of Philadelphia; former chair of the National Governors Association.  
* Ballard Spahr. Rendell is special counsel there, and lobbied for KCI USA, a wound care technology company, on Medicare and Medicaid reimbursements in 2012.[28] Rendell focuses on housing and infrastructure issues at Ballard Spahr.[29]
* He is also senior advisor at Greenhill & Co., an investment bank, and operating partner at Element Partners, a venture capital firm.

Michael Bloomberg (Co-Chair) -  
Co-Chair of Fix the Debt, mayor of New York City, founder of Bloomberg   
* Citigroup. Bloomberg's longtime partner, Diana Taylor, is a board member, and made $316,250 in this position in 2011.[30] Citigroup lobbied on tax reform and the active financing exception during the last quarter of 2012.[31] Citigroup also lobbied

David Cote (Steering Committee) -  
Fix the Debt Steering Committee; chairman & CEO of Honeywell; served on National Committee on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform
* Honeywell. Cote is chairman & CEO, and made $25.3 million[32] in this position in 2011. See "Judd Gregg," above, for details on Honeywell's lobbying activities around the budget.
* JPMorgan Chase. Cote is a board member and made $245,000 in this position in 2011.[33] See "Erskine Bowles" above for details on JPMorgan's budget-related lobbying activity.
* KKR. Cote is a senior advisor at the private equity firm.[34] KKR lobbied on "Tax issues affecting private equity firms and their portfolio companies, including tax reform" in the last quarter of 2012.[35] Akin Gump's Vic Fazio, a Fix the Debt steering committee member, lobbied for KKR on these issues.

Jimmy Lee (Steering Committee) -  
Fix the Debt Steering Committee; Vice Chairman of JPMorgan Chase and Co-Chairman of J.P. Morgan   
* JPMorgan Chase. Lee is vice chairman. See "Erskine Bowles" for more detail on JPMorgan's budget-related lobbying activity. Lee is also a board member at the US Chamber of Commerce, which lists the "Wall Street Trading and Speculators Tax Act" and "Various issues relating to the fiscal cliff, tax reform, entitlement reform, and sequestration" in its 2012 fourth quarter disclosure form.[36]

Sam Nunn (Steering Committee) -  
Fix the Debt Steering Committee; Co-Chairman of the Concord Coalition; Co-Chairman & CEO of the Nuclear Threat Initiative
* GE. Nunn is a board member, earning $312,793 in 2011.[37] GE lobbied on the "Robin Hood tax" (taxes on financial transactions), corporate tax rates, taxes on international operations, defense, housing, energy, and transportation appropriations in the fourth quarter of 2012.[38]
* Coca-Cola. Nunn is a board member, earning $212,977 in 2011.[39] Coca-Cola lobbied on a range of tax issues in the fourth quarter of 2012, including tax reform for multinational companies and taxes on bottled and canned beverages.[40]
* Hess Corp. Nunn is a board member (compensation figures are not yet available, but directors made between $250,000 and $300,000 in 2011[41]). Hess lobbied on "international tax provisions" in the fourth quarter of 2012.[42]

Phil Bredesen (Steering Committee) -  
Fix the Debt Steering Committee; former Governor of Tennessee; founder of HealthAmerica Corp.   
* Vanguard Health Systems. Bredesen is a board member and made $240,005 in 2011.[43] Vanguard lobbied on federal appropriations and tax issues in the fourth quarter of 2012.[44] Vanguard's biggest shareholder is Blackstone group, which was co-founded by Fix the Debt funder Pete Peterson.[45]

Vic Fazio (Steering Committee) -  
Fix the Debt Steering Committee; former U.S. Representative; member of Armed Services, Budget, Ethics, and House Administration Committees
* Northrop Grumman. Fazio is a board member, making $304,347 in that position 2011.[46] Northrop Grumman lobbied on defense appropriations and the research and development tax credit in the fourth quarter of 2012.[47]
* Akin Gump. Fazio is a lobbyist at Akin Gump. In 2012, he lobbied on behalf of many corporations on tax and appropriations issues including: KKR[48] and Private Equity Growth Capital Council[49] (tax reform and issues affecting private equity); InBev (tax reform and alcohol excise taxes)[50]; ADM (renewable fuels)[51]; AT&T (bonus depreciation)[52]; PG&E (tax legislation affecting public utilities)[53]; and CCA (Justice and Homeland Security appropriations and issues pertaining to construction and management of private prisons).[54]

Jim McCrery (Steering Committee) -  
Fix the Debt Steering Committee; former U.S. Representative; Ways and Means Committee; Select Revenue Measures Committee; Social Security Subcommittee and Health Subcommittee   
* Capitol Counsel. McCrery is a lobbyist at Capitol Counsel. In the last quarter of 2012, he lobbied on behalf of numerous corporations and organizations on budget-related matters. Clients include the Alliance for Savings & Investment (capital gains and dividend tax rates)[55]; Amgen (Medicare coverage and reimbursement and tax issues)[56]; Blackstone Group (tax reform and carried interest taxation)[57]; Blue Cross Blue Shield (taxes on health insurers)[58]; Cardinal Health (medical device tax)[59]; Chevron (tax reform)[60]; GE ("Monitoring legislation related to deferral of overseas income, bank tax, corporate tax and tax reform")[61]; Reynolds American (tax proposals on tobacco industry)[62]; Wal-mart (corporate tax, internet sales tax, and tax reform)[63]; PHRMA (pharmaceutical tax and reimbursement issues)[64]; and several others.

Jim Nussle (Steering Committee) -  
Fix the Debt Steering Committee, former OMB director, former U.S. Representative, House Budget Committee Chair, president of the Nussle Group   
* Growth Energy. Nussle is President & COO of Growth Energy, an ethanol industry lobby. Growth Energy lobbied on the ethanol tax credit in the last quarter of 2012.[65]

Margaret Spellings (Steering Committee) -  
Fix the Debt Steering Committee, former Secretary of Education under George W. Bush   
* U.S. Chamber of Commerce Spellings lobbies for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. She is the owner PR firm Margaret Spellings & Company, client U.S. Chamber.[66]

Table References -
  1 Goldman Sachs, "Low Volatility, Idiosyncratic FX Moves and the Fiscal Cliff", The Global FX Monthly Analyst, November 9, 2012.
  2 United States Senate, Lobbying Report, Senate Lobbying Database, 4th quarter, 2012.
  3 United States Senate, Nixon Peabody LLP Senate Lobbying Report, Senate Lobbying Database, 4th quarter, 2012.
  4 United States Senate, American Bankers Association Senate Lobbying Report, Senate Lobbying Database, 4th quarter, 2012.
  5 United States Senate, Managed Funds Association Senate Lobbying Report, Senate Lobbying Database, 4th quarter, 2012.
  6 Scott Pelley, "Goldman Sachs CEO: Entitlements must be contained", CBS Evening News, November 19, 2012.
  7 Securities and Exchange Commission, "Morgan Stanley Schedule 14A", SEC filing, April 2012.
  8 United States Senate, Morgan Stanley Senate Lobbying Report, Senate Lobbying Database, 4th quarter, 2012.
  9 United States Senate, Senate Lobbying Report, Senate Lobbying Database, broken link.
  10 Securities and Exchange Commission, Facebook, Inc. Form S-1, SEC filing, May, 2012.
  11 United States Senate, Facebook, Inc. Senate Lobbying Report, Senate Lobbying Database, 2nd quarter, 2012.
  12 Securities and Exchange Commission, "Norfolk Souther Corp Form DEF 14A, SEC filing, March 21, 2012.
  13 United States Senate, Norfolk Southern Corporation Lobbying Report, Senate Lobbying Database, 4th quarter, 2012.
  14 Securities and Exchange Commission, JPMorgan Chase & Co Schedule 14A, SEC filing, April 2012.
  15 United States Senate, K&L Gates LLP Senate Lobbying Report, Senate Lobbying Database, 4th quarter, 2012.
  16 United States Senate, American Bankers Association Senate Lobbying Report, Senate Lobbying Database, 4th quarter, 2012.
  17 United States Senate, Managed Funds Association Senate Lobbying Report, Senate Lobbying Database, 4th quarter, 2012.
  18 Securities and Exchange Commission, The Hillshire Brands Company Schedule 14A, SEC filing, 2012.
  19 United States Senate,Hillshire Brands Corporation Senate Lobbying Report, Senate Lobbying Database, 3rd quarter, 2012.
  20 Securities and Exchange Commission, Deere & Company Schedule 14A SEC filing, January 2012.
  21 United States Senate, "Deere & Company Lobbying Report, Senate Lobbying Database, 4th quarter, 2012.
  22 Matthew Boesier, "Former Senator Judd Gregg Explain To GOldman Sachs How The US Could Go Over The Fiscal Cliff Business Insider, August 9, 2012.
  23 Securities and Exchange Commission, "IntercontinentalExchange, Inc. Schedule 14A, SEC filing, March 2012.
  24 Securities and Exchange Commission, IntercontinentalExchange, Inc. Form 10-K, SEC filing, 2011.
  25 United States Senate, Honeywell International Senate Lobbying Report, Senate Lobbying Database, 3rd quarter, 2012.
  26 United States Senate, Honeywell International Senate Lobbying Report, Senate Lobbying Database, 3rd quarter, 2012.
  27 Securities and Exchange Commission, Honeywell International Inc. Form 10-K, SEC filing, 2011.
  28 United States Senate, KCI USA Inc. Senate Lobbying Record, Senate Lobbying Database, 1st quarter, 2012.
  29 Ballard Spahr LLP, "Edward G. Rendell: Special Counsel", organizational website, accessed February 16, 2013.
  30 Securities and Exchange Commission, CitiGroup Inc Schedule 14A, SEC filing, March 8, 2012.
  31 United States Senate, Citigroup Management Corp. Senate Lobbying Report, Senate Lobbying Database, 4th quarter, 2012.
  32 Securities and Exchange Commission, Honeywell International Inc. Schedule 14A, SEC filing, March 2012.
  33 Securities and Exchange Commission, JP Morgan Chase & Co. Schedule 14A, SEC filing, April 4, 2012.
  34 Kohlberg Kravis Roberts, Leadership: Senior Advisors, organizational website, accessed February 16, 2013.
  35 United States Senate, Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld Senate Lobbying Report, Senate Lobbying Database, 4th quarter, 2012.
  36 United States Senate, Chamber of Commerce of the U.S.A. Senate Lobbying Report, Senate Lobbying Database, 4th quarter, 2012.
  37 Securities and Exchange Commission, General Electric Company Schedule 14A, SEC filing, 2011.
  38 United States Senate, General Electric Company Senate Lobbying Report, Senate Lobbying Database, 4th quarter, 2012.
  39 Securities and Exchange Commission, The Coca-Cola Company Schedule 14A, SEC filing, March 2012.
  40 United States Senate, The Coca-Cola Company Senate Lobbying Report, Senate Lobbying Database, 4th quarter, 2012.
  41 Securities and Exchange Commission, Hess Corporation Schedule 14A, SEC filing, March 2012.
  42 United States Senate, Federal Policy Group (Clark & Wamberg LLC) Senate Lobbying Report, Senate Lobbying Database, 4th quarter, 2012.
  43 Securities and Exchange Commission, Vanguard Health Systems, Inc. Schedule 14A, SEC filing, October 2012.
  44 United States Senate, Capitol Health Group, LLC Senate Lobbying Report, Senate Lobbying Database, 4th quarter, 2012.
  45 Yahoo! Finance, "Vanguard Health Systems", organizational website, accessed February 15, 2013.
  46 Securities and Exchange Commission, Northrop Grumman Corporation Schedule 14A, SEC filing, April 2012.
  47 United States Senate, Northrop Grumman Corporation Senate Lobbying Report, Senate Lobbying Database, 4th quarter, 2012.
  48 United States Senate, Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Company Senate Lobbying Record, Senate Lobbying Database, 4th quarter, 2012.
  49 United States Senate, Private Equity Growth Capital Council Senate Lobbying Record, Senate Lobbying Database, 4th quarter, 2012.
  50 United States Senate, Anheuser-Busch Companies Senate Lobbying Record, Senate Lobbying Database, 4th quarter, 2012.
  51 United States Senate, Archer Daniels Midland Company Senate Lobbying Record, Senate Lobbying Database, 4th quarter, 2012.
  52 United States Senate, AT&T Senate Lobbying Record, Senate Lobbying Database, 4th quarter, 2012.
  53 United States Senate, PG&E Corporation Senate Lobbying Record, Senate Lobbying Database, 4th quarter, 2012.
  54 United States Senate, Corrections Corporation of America Senate Lobbying Record, Senate Lobbying Database, 4th quarter, 2012.
  55 United States Senate, Capitol Counsel LLC Senate Lobbying Record, Senate Lobbying Database, 4th quarter, 2012.
  56 United States Senate, Capitol Counsel LLC Senate Lobbying Report, Senate Lobbying Database, 4th quarter, 2012.
  57 United States Senate, The Blackstone Report Senate Lobbying Report, Senate Lobbying Database, 4th quarter, 2012.
  58 United States Senate, Health Care Service Corporation Senate Lobbying Report, Senate Lobbying Database, 4th quarter, 2012.
  59 United States Senate, Cardinal Health Inc. Senate Lobbying Report, Senate Lobbying Database, 4th quarter, 2012.
  60 United States Senate, Chevron Corp. Senate Lobbying Report, Senate Lobbying Database, 4th quarter, 2012.
  61 United States Senate, General Electric Company Senate Lobbying Report, Senate Lobbying Database, 4th quarter, 2012.
  62 United States Senate, Reynolds American, Inc. Senate Lobbying Report, Senate Lobbying Database, 4th quarter, 2012.
  63 United States Senate, Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. Senate Lobbying Report, Senate Lobbying Database, 4th quarter, 2012.
  64 United States Senate, Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) Senate Lobbying Report, Senate Lobbying Database, 4th quarter, 2012.
  65 United States Senate, Growth Energy, Inc. Senate Lobbying Report, Senate Lobbying Database, 4th quarter, 2012.
  66 Center for Responsive Politics, Margaret Spellings Revolving Door Profile, OpenSecrets website, accessed February 19, 2013.

Monsanto is the former producer of aspartame, a neurotoxin developed for war during the 1970s and converted into a dangerous addition to artificial food ingredients...
2013-02-23 "Aspartame in Milk Without a Label? Big Dairy Petitions FDA For Approval"
 Two powerful dairy organizations, The International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA) and the National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF), are petitioning the Food and Drug Administration to allow aspartame and other artificial sweeteners to be added to milk and other dairy products without a label.
 The FDA currently allows the dairy industry to use "nutritive sweeteners" including sugar and high fructose corn syrup in many of their products. Nutritive sweeteners are defined as sweeteners with calories.
 This petition officially seeks to amend the standard of identification for milk, cream, and 17 other dairy products like yogurt, sweetened condensed milk, sour cream, and others to provide for the use of any "safe and suitable sweetener" on the market.
 They claim that aspartame and other artificial sweeteners would promote healthy eating and is good for school children.
According to the FDA notice issued this week [https://www.federalregister.gov/articles/2013/02/20/2013-03835/flavored-milk-petition-to-amend-the-standard-of-identity-for-milk-and-17-additional-dairy-products]: [begin excerpt] IDFA and NMPF state that the proposed amendments would promote more healthful eating practices and reduce childhood obesity by providing for lower-calorie flavored milk products. They state that lower-calorie flavored milk would particularly benefit school children who, according to IDFA and NMPF, are more inclined to drink flavored milk than unflavored milk at school. [end excerpt]
 Although the FDA considers aspartame to be a "safe and suitable" sweetener, a recent Yale University study [http://www.cbc.ca/news/health/story/2013/02/15/artificial-sweetners-diet-nutrition.html] appears to directly challenge the claim that aspartame would reduce obesity. In fact, the study concluded just the opposite, that artificial sweeteners actually contributed to obesity and Type 2 diabetes.
 The IDFA and NMPF argue "that the proposed amendments to the milk standard of identity would promote honesty and fair dealing in the marketplace" yet they don't want changes to the labels on dairy products.
 Accordingly, the petitioners state that milk flavored with non-nutritive sweeteners should be labeled as milk without further claims so that consumers can “more easily identify its overall nutritional value.”
 It's unclear how consumers can more easily identify the overall nutritional value of milk products that are flavored with non-nutritive sweeteners without labels.
 Quoting Section 130.10 of the Nutrition Labeling and Education Act of 1990, the dairy giants claim a new label is not required because sugar is added to milk without labeling it, and "the modified food is not inferior in performance" and "'reduced calorie' (labels) are not attractive to children" so marketing as such is of no benefit or detriment.
 The FDA has opened public comments until May 21 for anyone interested to "submit comments, data, and information concerning the need for, and the appropriateness of, amending the standard of identity for milk and the additional dairy standards."
 To submit a formal comment or send data to the FDA concerning adding aspartame and other artificial sweeteners to milk products CLICK HERE [http://www.regulations.gov/#!submitComment;D=FDA-2009-P-0147-0012].

2013-05-13 "Food & Water Watch Sues FDA for Concealing Records on Arsenic in Poultry Feed"
Food & Water Watch is a nonprofit consumer organization that works to ensure clean water and safe food. We challenge the corporate control and abuse of our food and water resources by empowering people to take action and by transforming the public consciousness about what we eat and drink.
WASHINGTON - May 13 - Today the consumer advocacy group Food & Water Watch announced that it sued the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), saying that the agency has unlawfully ignored a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request for records related to arsenic-based drugs known as “arsenicals” that are added to poultry feed.
The lawsuit follows on the heels of a new study led by scientists at the Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future (CLF), which found that feeding arsenicals to chickens likely increases consumers’ exposure to inorganic arsenic, a carcinogen.
Food & Water Watch alleges that the agency has not responded to a FOIA request that it and CLF submitted last year. The organizations are seeking correspondence between the agency and the drug company Pfizer concerning arsenicals.
“It is simply outrageous that the FDA has concealed information about these drugs from the public,” said Wenonah Hauter, executive director of Food & Water Watch. “We want to know more about why the agency has failed to withdraw arsenical approvals despite evidence of their danger.”
Beginning in 1944, the FDA approved more than 100 products that contain arsenicals for use in chickens, turkeys, and pigs to increase weight gain and make the animals’ meat look pinker, among other purposes. Their use quickly became a standard practice in industrial chicken production, with the chicken industry estimating that 88 percent of U.S. chickens received an arsenical known as roxarsone in 2010.
In 2011, FDA scientists found that feeding roxarsone to chickens increased concentrations of inorganic arsenic in chicken livers. The agency simultaneously announced that Pfizer would voluntarily suspend sales of roxarsone in this country. The FDA did not take any further action publicly, however, and roxarsone and three other arsenicals remain approved for use. Pfizer may return roxarsone to the U.S. market at any time.
The FDA at first insisted that eating chicken produced with roxarsone did not pose a health risk; then the agency reversed course and claimed the risk was “very low.” When CLF asked the FDA whether it had quantified the health risk, the agency said that it had not.
The organizations submitted the FOIA request in August 2012 due to these inconsistent actions and statements. The agency never responded beyond acknowledging that they had received the request.
“We want to know what the FDA and Pfizer were telling each other privately to see if it matches what the agency told consumers,” Hauter said. “It is hard to imagine how the FDA persuaded Pfizer to suspend sale of such a lucrative product if the agency did not believe there could be a significant risk.”
The CLF study published May 11, 2013, in the peer-reviewed journal Environmental Health Perspectives found that breast meat from conventionally produced chickens, which by law may receive arsenicals in their feed, had three times more inorganic arsenic than did the breast meat of USDA Organic chickens, which by law may not receive arsenicals. The chicken was purchased between December 2010 and June 2011, before roxarsone sales were suspended.
“This study strongly suggests that using arsenicals in chickens increases the levels of a carcinogen found in chicken meat,” said Keeve Nachman, PhD, who directs the Farming for the Future program at CLF. “These findings highlight the need to know how the FDA is regulating these drugs, and why the agency has refused to withdraw arsenical approvals.”
The FDA has 30 days to respond to the complaint.
CLF’s study, Roxarsone, Inorganic Arsenic, and Other Arsenic Species in Chicken, can be viewed in Environmental Health Perspectives here: "Roxarsone, Inorganic Arsenic, and Other Arsenic Species in Chicken: A U.S.-Based Market Basket Sample" by Keeve E. Nachman, Patrick A. Baron, Georg Raber, Kevin A. Francesconi, Ana Navas-Acien, and David C. Love [http://ehp.niehs.nih.gov/1206245/].
Food & Water Watch works to ensure the food, water and fish we consume is safe, accessible and sustainable. So we can all enjoy and trust in what we eat and drink, we help people take charge of where their food comes from, keep clean, affordable, public tap water flowing freely to our homes, protect the environmental quality of oceans, force government to do its job protecting citizens, and educate about the importance of keeping shared resources under public control.
The Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future is an academic center based within the Bloomberg School of Public Health that conducts and promotes research and communicates information about the complex inter-relationships among food production, diet, environment and human health.

2013-05-14 "Revealed: How US State Department 'Twists Arms' on Monsanto's Behalf; Selling seeds, selling out democracy: US State Department does biotech industry's bidding"
by Jacob Chamberlain from "Common Dreams" [http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2013/05/14-2]:
The U.S. State Department does the bidding of biotech giants like Monsanto around the world by "twisting the arms of countries" and engaging in vast public campaign schemes to push the sale of genetically modified seeds, according to a new report released Tuesday by Food & Water Watch [commondreams.org/newswire/2013/05/14-1].
The report, Biotech Ambassadors: How the U.S. State Department Promotes the Seed Industry’s Global Agenda [foodandwaterwatch.org/reports/biotech-ambassadors/], which pulls from over 900 State Department diplomatic cables (obtained via WikiLeaks), reveals an environment wherein US ambassadors act as sales representatives for the global biotech industry.
U.S. ambassadors and their staffs actively lobby foreign governments to adopt pro-biotechnology policies and laws, create "rigorous public relations campaigns to improve the image of biotechnology" and challenge "commonsense biotechnology safeguards and rules — including opposing genetically engineered (GE) food labeling laws."
"It really goes beyond promoting the U.S.'s biotech industry and agriculture," said Wenonah Hauter, executive director of Food & Water Watch. "It really gets down to twisting the arms of countries and working to undermine local democratic movements that may be opposed to biotech crops, and pressuring foreign governments to also reduce the oversight of biotech crops."
As FWW reports, the State Department has gone to great lengths to see that biotech companies' desires are met:
* The U.S. State Department’s multifaceted efforts to promote the biotechnology industry overseas: The State Department targeted foreign reporters, hosted and coordinated pro-biotech conferences and public events and brought foreign opinion-makers to the United States on high-profile junkets to improve the image of agricultural biotechnology overseas and overcome widespread public opposition to GE crops and foods.
* The State Department’s coordinated campaign to promote biotech business interests: The State Department promoted not only pro-biotechnology policies but also the products of biotech companies. The strategy cables explicitly “protect the interests” of biotech exporters, “facilitate trade in agribiotech products” and encourage the cultivation of GE crops in more countries, especially in the developing world.
* The State Department’s determined advocacy to press the developing world to adopt biotech crops: The diplomatic cables document a coordinated effort to lobby countries in the developing world to pass legislation and implement regulations favored by the biotech seed industry. This study examines the State Department lobbying campaigns in Kenya, Ghana and Nigeria to pass pro-biotech laws.
* The State Department’s efforts to force other nations to accept biotech crop and food imports: The State Department works with the U.S. Trade Representative to promote the export of biotech crops and to force nations that do not want these imports to accept U.S. biotech foods and crops.
“It’s not surprising that Monsanto, DuPont, Syngenta, Bayer and Dow want to maintain and expand their control of the $15 billion global biotech seed market, but it’s appalling that the State Department is complicit in supporting their goals despite public and government opposition in several countries,” said Ronnie Cummins, executive director of Organic Consumers Association [commondreams.org/newswire/2013/05/14-1]. “American taxpayer’s money should not be spent advancing the goals of a few giant biotech companies.”
"The biotech agriculture model using costly seeds and agrichemicals forces farmers onto a debt treadmill that is neither economically nor environmentally viable," said Ben Burkett, President of the National Family Farm Coalition. “An overwhelming number of farmers in the developing world reject biotech crops as a path to sustainable agricultural development or food sovereignty."
"Thanks, Monsanto. And thanks, State Department. Not only are you selling seeds, you're selling out democracy," Hauter concludes [commondreams.org/view/2013/05/14-7].

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

2013-02-20 "American Indian and Alaska Native Poverty Rate About 50 Percent in Rapid City, S.D., and About 30 Percent in Five Other Cities, Census Bureau Reports"


The poverty rate for American Indians and Alaska Natives in Rapid City, S.D. (50.9 percent) was around three times the rate in Anchorage, Alaska (16.6 percent) and about 30 percent or greater in five other cities most populated by this group (Gallup, N.M.; Minneapolis; Rapid City, S.D.; Shiprock, N.M.; Tucson, Ariz.; and Zuni Pueblo, N.M.), according to American Community Survey data collected from 2007 to 2011 by the U.S. Census Bureau. See figure.
Nine states had poverty rates of about 30 percent or more for American Indians and Alaska Natives (Arizona, Maine, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Dakota, South Dakota and Utah).
"With the American Community Survey, we can look at the poverty rates for even the smallest race and Hispanic-origin groups," said Suzanne Macartney, an analyst in the Census Bureau's Poverty Statistics Branch.
These figures come from Poverty Rates for Selected Detailed Race and Hispanic Groups by State and Place: 2007-2011 [https://www.census.gov/prod/2013pubs/acsbr11-17.pdf], an American Community Survey brief that presents poverty rates by race and Hispanic origin for the United States, each state and the District of Columbia. For the nation and each state, poverty rates are summarized for the major race groups. For the nation, each state and selected places, poverty rates are summarized for American Indians and Alaska Natives, detailed Asian groups with populations of 750,000 or more, Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander groups with populations of 25,000 or more and Hispanic-origin groups with populations of 1 million or more.
Two race groups had poverty rates more than 10 percentage points higher than the national rate of 14.3 percent: American Indian and Alaska Native (27.0 percent) and black or African- American (25.8 percent). Rates were above the overall national average for Native Hawaiians and Other Pacific Islanders (17.6 percent), while poverty rates for people identified as white (11.6 percent) or Asian (11.7 percent) were lower than the overall poverty rate. Poverty rates for whites and Asians were not statistically different from each other. The Hispanic population had a poverty rate of 23.2 percent, about nine percentage points higher than the overall U.S. rate.

Other highlights:
* According to the 2007-2011 American Community Survey, 42.7 million people in the United States, or 14.3 percent, had income below the poverty level.
* For the Asian population, poverty rates were higher for Vietnamese (14.7 percent) and Koreans (15.0 percent) and lower for Filipinos (5.8 percent). Poverty rates for Vietnamese and Koreans were not statistically different from each other.
* For Asians, nine states had poverty rates below 10 percent (Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Maryland, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Virginia and South Carolina).
* Among Hispanics, national poverty rates ranged from a low of 16.2 percent for Cubans to a high of 26.3 percent for Dominicans.

The American Community Survey provides a wide range of important statistics about people and housing for every community across the nation. The results are used by everyone from town and city planners to retailers and homebuilders. The survey is the only source of local estimates for most of the 40 topics it covers, such as education, occupation, language, ancestry and housing costs for even the smallest communities. Ever since Thomas Jefferson directed the first census in 1790, the census has collected detailed characteristics about our nation's people. Questions about jobs and the economy were added 20 years later under James Madison, who said [http://www2.census.gov/prod2/decennial/documents/00165897ch03.pdf] such information would allow Congress to "adapt the public measures to the particular circumstances of the community," and over the decades allow America "an opportunity of marking the progress of the society."

2013-02-20 "The minimum wage and the meaning of a decent society"

by Robert B. Reich [robertreich.org/post/43151292925]:
Raising the minimum wage from $7.25 to $9 should be a no-brainer.
Republicans say it will cause employers to shed jobs, but that's baloney. Employers won't outsource the jobs abroad or substitute machines for them, because jobs at this low level of pay are all in the local personal-service sector (retail, restaurant, hotel and so on), where employers pass on small wage hikes to customers as pennies more on their bills.
States that have set their minimum wage closer to $9 than the current federal minimum don't have higher rates of unemployment than do states still at the federal minimum.
This doesn't mean we could raise the minimum to $15 or $20 without having a negative effect on jobs. It just means we can raise it modestly.
We raised the minimum wage in 1996, when I was secretary of labor. Republicans claimed it would kill jobs then, too. It didn't. In fact, job growth accelerated.
A mere $9 an hour translates into about $18,000 a year. That's still under the poverty line. Most workers at the minimum wage aren't school kids. They're breadwinners for their families, desperately trying to make ends meet.
When you add in the Earned Income Tax Credit and food stamps, it's barely possible for someone receiving a $9 minimum wage to rise above poverty. But even the poverty line of about $23,000 understates the true cost of living in most areas of the country.
Besides, the proposed increase would put more money into the hands of families that desperately need it, allowing them to buy a bit more and thereby keep others working.
A decent society should do no less.
Some conservatives say "decency" has nothing to do with it. Who has the right to decide what's decent? They say we should let the "market" decide what people are paid.
This is one of the oldest conservative canards in existence, based on the false claim that there's something called a "market" that exists separate from society. But there's no "market" in a state of nature, just survival of the fittest.
A society necessarily determines how the "market" is to be organized. Standards of morality and decency play a large role in those decisions.
We set minimum standards for worker safety and consumer protection. Those standards may raise the cost of labor or of the goods and services we buy. But that's a price we're willing to pay.
We decide young children shouldn't be in the labor force. Imagine how cheaply we could get our roofs shingled if 10-year-olds would do it for a couple of bucks an hour. (Maybe we'd have to throw in an ice cream cone.) But we don't allow this, either.
We do our best to prevent lots of things from being bought and sold -- slaves, dangerous narcotics, babies, votes, sex with children, machine guns and nuclear material. Why not just leave it up to the "market"? Because most of us don't want a market that includes these sorts of transactions.
We decide that citizens shouldn't have to buy certain things that should instead be available to everyone free of charge (paid in effect by all of us through our taxes) -- clean drinking water, K-12 schools, safe bridges, protection from violence, public parks. Why not leave all these up to the "market" and require everyone pay for them individually? That's not the kind of society we want to live in.
Opinions may differ about what decency requires, of course. But we hash this out in our democracy. Sometimes we decide certain proposed minimum standards are too costly or inefficient, or they can't be enforced, or they impose unwarranted constraints on our freedoms.
Different societies come up with different answers. Handguns are banned in most other advanced nations, for example. Workers have more protections than they do in the United States. Minimum wages are higher. Taxes on the wealthy are higher. Health care is more universally available.
Every society must necessarily decide for itself what decency requires. That's the very meaning of a "society."
Don't fall for the mindless assertion that "markets" know best. Markets are human creations, requiring human beings to decide how they are structured and maintained.
The toughest questions we're facing today -- whether, and how much, to raise the minimum wage; whether, and how, to restrict the availability of guns; whether, and how, to expand health care coverage -- inevitably require us to define what we mean by a decent society.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

2013-02-19 "Expansion of Black American Misery under Barack Obama’s Watch"

by Dr. Reginald Clark [http://www.blackagendareport.com/content/expansion-black-american-misery-under-barack-obama’s-watch]:
ere are two facts that may surprise many people.
1. Black misery has been growing since 2009 under President Obama’s economic and job creation policies. Black folks participation in the labor market has been steadily moving DOWNWARD during the Obama presidency – since 2009 when he was first inaugurated.
2. ALL other major racial groups have moved up, albeit moderately, since 2009! Blacks are the only group that has taken a definitive step BACKWARDS since then. Why? This article will argue that it is because for the past 4 years, until last week, Obama has declined to even put forth the idea that "low income Black people need targeted help too!!! Needless to say, has not designed any job creation strategies or policies that would do something for the Blacks who supported him the most.
One indicator of this downward spiral for Blacks is the underemployment rate. Underemployment is measured by the extent to which people who “usually work full time” cannot find full time employment. These include people who are unemployed completely and people who work less than full time (i.e. less than 35 hours a week) due to their inability to find more employment. The underemployment rate does not include the millions of U.S. citizens (mostly Black) who are institutionalized in prisons.
Recently I contacted the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics to obtain unpublished data they had collected about the rate of UNDER-employment for various racial groups in the U.S. since Obama was inaugurated – from 2009 to today. They sent me the reports I requested. These “unpublished” data show that since Obama was inaugurated in 2009, the economic and job creation policies he has advocated and/or implemented have coincided with moderately better employment prospects and opportunities for ALL other racial groups except one – the Black folks who still deeply support him. More specifically:
The rate of UNDER-employment for Hispanic Americans has DROPPED from 15% in 2009 to 12% at the end of 2012. This represents an improvement of about 20%.
The rate of UNDER-employment for White Americans has DROPPED from 10% in 2009 to 8% at the end of 2012. This represents an improvement of about 20%.
The rate of UNDER-employment for Asian Americans has DROPPED from 8% in 2009 to 6% at the end of 2012. This represents an improvement of about 25%.
But the picture for Black Americans is in the opposite direction. The rate of UNDER-employment for Blacks has INCREASED from 16% in 2009 to 20% at the end of 2012. This represents a 25% WORSENING in the rate of Black underemployment during Obama’s first term in office from 2009 through 2012.
Moreover, the true extent of Black misery in the workplace is not reflected in these statistics. At least 2 million Blacks are in prison and unable to seek employment. Half of these Blacks are there for non-violent drug offenses. If these 2 million Blacks were out of jail, living in their communities, and unable to find full time work, the Black underemployment rate would be 30%.
Downward mobility for Blacks since 2009 is shown by the unpublished data available from the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics. Other studies as well have reported the disproportionate rate of Black job loss since the recession began. For example, one article [http://rt.com/usa/news/african-americans-us-job-964/] reported that “While US unemployment is decreasing overall, one minority group is being left out of the recovery. African-Americans are continuing to lose jobs, with the black unemployment rate now standing at 14.3 percent.”
Since 2009, under Obama’s leadership, the data show that Whites have GAINED millions more jobs and their unemployment rate has gone DOWN. But Blacks have lost hundreds of thousands more full time jobs than they had when Obama was inaugurated, and their unemployment rate has gone UP. Black misery as a whole has increased in at least 10 other quality-of-life and socioeconomic areas as well: employment, family wages, home ownership, health care access, median net worth, poverty rate, college education attendance, college financial aid, retirement savings accounts and benefits and consumer debt. (I will discuss these in future articles in Black Agenda Report, and in more detail in my book when it is finished at the end of this year.)
Some Blacks will have a hard time believing these data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Some will ask how it could be that Blacks are the only racial group moving backwards in the area of jobs access, while all other groups are experiencing modest improvement in that area. A big part of the answer, I believe, is that for four years President Obama’s job creation policies have ignored a specific focus on stimulating the hiring practices in businesses that are located in the geographic areas where Blacks mostly reside – mostly economically ravaged urban areas and some rural areas.
Many Blacks know preciously little about Obama’s economic policies and job creation policies, so they are more susceptible to fall for the okie-doke explanations that evasive politicians like to give. Because they know very little about how Obama’s economic policies work against their interests, Blacks often go for the "easy answer" with the "it's all about racism" cop out. Or they claim that “it’s always been that way.” Or they use the excuse that “he can’t single out Blacks because the White racists will jump all over him.” Or they claim that “Blacks shouldn’t try to be focusing on getting government support. Do for self.” Or “Blacks need more education. That’s why they are going backwards.” But this economic holocaust is NOT primarily caused by Black’s education levels. As a recent study stated: “…There is a massive job shortage right now relative to before the recession started at all levels of education. While workers with higher levels of education face substantially lower unemployment rates, they too have seen a large percentage increase in unemployment. Workers with a college degree or more still have unemployment rates that are close to twice as high as they were before the recession began.”
Importantly, all the other racial groups whose members have similar education levels as Blacks are still doing better from Obama’s policies. Rather, the main the reason for this recent downward spiral in Black underemployment rates seems to be the lack of attention to employment in urban and rural geographic areas where Blacks reside [http://www.epi.org/publication/workers-dont-lack-skills-lack-work/]. At the same time, as reported by Think Progress, “Corporations have been the overwhelming beneficiaries of Obama’s policies. Over 88% of all the dollars obtained between 2009 and 2011, 88% of national income growth, went to corporate profits, while just 1% went to wages.”
Martin Luther King, Jr. observed 5 decades ago that "Rarely do we find men who willingly engage in hard, solid thinking. There is an almost universal quest for easy answers and half-baked solutions. Nothing pains some people more than having to think." This statement is, unfortunately, often true about how Blacks approach Obama’s policies in an unquestioning manner. They are like protective parents who refuse to hold their favorite son accountable. They will quickly attack the messenger, the teacher, and anyone else who calls their favorite son’s behavior into question. To them, anyone who attacks Obama’s policies are “just picking on” their favorite son. They are what I call Obamapologists. An Obamapologist is someone who actively looks for every excuse under the sun to explain away questionable and harmful behavior that president Barack Obama does to Black and Brown and White low income people all over the world – even when they do not have ANY credible evidence to back them up. Obamapologists will hold their fantastical views even when their favorite son creates policies that have helped everybody else EXCEPT them. That’s why Malcolm X once described Black folks as “political chumps.”
Now, in February 2013, for the first time since he was inaugurated in January 2009, during his State of the Union address, and again on February 15th in Chicago, Obama appeared to acknowledge the deleterious role of the federal government’s job creation policies on the severe depression of low income Black communities. His “solution?” “And this year, my administration will begin to partner with 20 of the hardest-hit towns in America to get these communities back on their feet.” For the first time in 4 years he seemed to be saying he will use federal government resources to establish strategies that focus on the needs of low income Black workers seeking employment.
He was not forthcoming with exactly what he will do, however. He also urged Blacks to send their kids to good schools that don’t exist (as opposed to the prep-prison schools that do exist), get good jobs that also don’t exist, and buy nice houses with money they can never accumulate because most Blacks live from paycheck-to-paycheck or struggle to find full time employment that pays a living wage. (See the president’s remarks in Chicago on “strengthening the economy for the middle class.” [http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2013/02/16/remarks-president-strengthening-economy-middle-class])
I believe we will see over the next 45 months that Obama’s late response to Black Americans’ job needs will yield no significant or effective results for Black American communities. It is highly doubtful that he will provide the level of resources needed to make it a success. His initiatives will be little more than window dressing. Obama started too late trying to pay attention to such a major initiative. Sadly, he will end his presidency not having made ANY significant positive difference for African American workers and their families. What a waste.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

"Church of Stop Shopping" censored by YouTube

"Direct Relationships Make A Community"
by Reverend Billy :

During Occupy Wall Street's 8 week run at Zuccotti Park, I was arrested in an action that involved Cornel West and Christopher Hedges and about 15 others. We locked arms in front of Goldman Sachs after demanding 87 Billion in reparations to the people. The comic opera worked well, and the expected arrests did take place as scheduled....
Now the YouTube company, owned by Google, is deleting our Earth sermons, the "Freak Storms." This is done without explanation, despite our letters and calls. Facebook is pushing "Likes" around the billion person landscape like so many credit derivative swaps. Goldman Sachs was one of the first big banks to invest in Facebook, and the vampire squids are swimming toward us.
We always knew that these companies were a bad fit for "The Church of Stop Shopping." We imagined that technologically we would someday have more control of our social forums. That is still our hope. But the whole thing is speeding up now because of commercial aggression and dot-com puritanism...
Enter into a direct relationship with us. We don't need corporate supervision anymore.
Join Now [http://revbilly.com/join]
As an act of faith, Savitri and I offer our mailing address, email, and phone. We hope that you will leave at least your name and your city. The form invites any level of exposure that feels comfortable. We will safeguard personal information, never letting anyone else use it under any circumstance.

Bill Talen, Savitri D
POB #1556
Canal Street Station
New York, New York 10013
[Revbilly@revbilly.com] [646 299 3019]

And we hope to meet you in the most direct way, in person, in the dancing flesh and bones - when the Stop Shopping Choir comes to your community! Surely you have a fracking company, a Chase Bank, a Wal-mart or some such Devil that needs exorcizing! Earthalujah!.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Anti-Fascism: Unionize the Fast-Food industry

message from Boots Riley:
This chart dispels a common myth.
 Most folks that work at fast food are between 25 and 64 years old. Only 12% are teens.
 A radical militant labor movement can use strikes and shut-downs to force fast food to pay more. It can also demand the prices stay the same by using shut downs and strikes.
 This would then mean a loss of profit for the corporation, not the worker- in essence, giving the corporate owners a choice between making less profit or making no profit. And let's face it, the fast food industry is so profitable that those corporations can't just shut down.
 The only way a movement like this can be successful is if it is aggressive and militant- having work stoppages, blockading franchises, physically keeping out scabs, workers striking in solidarity with each other, and getting the community to come out and support the actions.
 Changes in wages of these jobs would greatly reduce the need for illegal economies, thus reducing the violence that is a necessity for those economies to exist.
 The strikes would have to be militant enough to affect profit in such a way as to force a re-negotiation of the contracts between franchise owners and the corporations themselves.
 The only way for a labor movement to be able to do all those things is for it to be radical- to understand that it is a part of building a larger movement that must eventually tear down the current economic system and replace it with one in which the people democratically control the wealth that they create with their labor. This means radicals must get involved in it.
 This understanding would necessitate it to be involved with other movements and campaigns that affect the community, strengthening the other campaigns while insuring the success of its own.