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  1. SiriuslyLong is offline
    SiriuslyLong's Avatar
    Joined: Jan 2009 Location: Ann Arbor, MI Posts: 3,560
    05-14-2011, 06:48 PM #61
    Call your representative as seek the Top 1% Earner Reform Act of 2011 (aka TERA pronounced Tear - uh).

    Apparently, it is winner take all. That's what Arthur Brooks suggested.

  2. SiriuslyLong is offline
    SiriuslyLong's Avatar
    Joined: Jan 2009 Location: Ann Arbor, MI Posts: 3,560
    05-14-2011, 07:08 PM #62
    "Anyone not concerned with these facts, or who dismisses them as a liberal plot, or who says I don't care, is an unfeeling and uncaring selfish conservative puke."

    I am not overly concerned. And I am not a conservative puke nor am I a "pig" as has been suggested in the past. So now what? I most certainly care - hell, I don't even have a damn accountant to figure out how little tax I can get away with like some others.

    It's not a liberal plot, but it is certainly a liberal talking point - focusing on 1% and believing that taxing them will solve all the problems. An alternative is to rebuild / reinforce the middle class, or is that a dumb idea (in deference to the all knowing Atypical)?

    So I guess real life experience matters little??

  3. Atypical is offline
    05-16-2011, 01:06 PM #63

    What is the Internet Hiding?

  4. SiriMonkey is offline
    05-16-2011, 01:30 PM #64
    Good video find Atyp, thank you. I had noticed this before, the same search different users, on Google for instance, had netted different results. Didn't think too much about it. Now I know the reason for it.

  5. Atypical is offline
    05-16-2011, 01:39 PM #65
    This has potentially serious and dangerous implications, namely censorship.

    And without this warning, and, I hope, others, we would never know.

    Now lets see if our corporate overlords do anything about it.

    I am not optimistic.

  6. Atypical is offline
    05-24-2011, 11:07 AM #66

    Globalization Exposes Food Supply to Unsanitary Practices, Scientists Say

    ScienceDaily (May 23, 2011) — As the United States continues to import increasingly more of its food from developing nations, we are putting ourselves at greater risk of foodborne disease as many of these countries do not have the same sanitary standards for production, especially in the case of seafood and fresh produce, say scientists on May 23 at the 111th General Meeting of the American Society for Microbiology in New Orleans.

    "Approximately 15 percent of food consumed in the United States in 2006 was imported. Sanitation practices for food production are not universally equivalent throughout the world. Importing foods can move diseases from areas where they are indigenous to locations where they are seldom or do not exist," says Michael Doyle of the University of Georgia.

    "The reality is we are going to continue to import foods at a greater rate in large part because labor costs in developing countries are much lower than they are here. We are going to see more food coming from developing countries which frequently have lower standards for producing foods," says Doyle.

    In 2010 over 80% of fish and seafood consumed in the United States was imported, and much of that came from Asia. Raw domestic sewage and/or livestock manure are frequently used in fish farming in many Asian countries. In Thailand chicken coops (as many as 20,000 birds per farm) sit in rows suspended over ponds that hold shrimp and fish that feed on the waste that falls from above.

    In China, crops and seafood are typically grown on small parcels where individual farmers try to produce as much food from their parcels as they can. To do that excessive amounts of pesticides for produce and antibiotics for fish and shrimp production are used. Many of these compounds are not approved for use in the United States. Untreated human waste and animal manure are often used to treat soils or aquaculture ponds.

    Not surprisingly, contaminants found in imported foods are those primarily associated with fecal matter. Over one quarter of all contaminated seafood imports detained by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2001 were contaminated with Salmonella bacteria. More than half of those violations were shrimp.

    Doyle warns that consumers should not immediately jump the gun and start avoiding foods from particular countries. Many U.S. companies import food and produce from these countries only if they can verify that the food was produced under stringent sanitary conditions.

    "Just because it comes from a particular country that does not necessarily mean it is bad," says Doyle.

    Part of the problem is there is just so much coming into the country that the government can not inspect it all. The FDA physically inspects less than one percent of more than 10 million imported entries annually. But the onus should not be entirely on the government says Doyle.

    "It is incumbent on food processors to ensure ingredients or products they import are produced under good sanitary practices. It is the industry that is responsible for producing safe foods. It is the government's responsibility to verify that they are providing safe foods," says Doyle.


    I have posted articles on dangerous food before. This is a huge problem involving the public's desire for cheap, the governments inability to oversee and regulate, especially when you have libertarians and conservatives who say we don't need no stinkin regulations, and the greed of companies who may not care.

    Be careful out there. Be informed.

  7. Atypical is offline
    05-31-2011, 04:02 PM #67

    Medicare’s Real Cost Problem

    Perhaps no other health issue is as important to so many Americans now and in the future as Medicare. In this ongoing series, “Covering Medicare,” we will follow the reportage and offer Medicare beat memos from time to time.

    By now we’re getting kind of tired of the same old/same old Medicare discourse. The typical article goes like this: Will Ryan’s plan cost Republicans votes? Pity the poor frosh in Congress who have faced angry voters in town hall meetings. Lots of he said/she said. A predictable nut graph: Dems charge that Republicans will end Medicare as we know it; the GOP counters that they only want to change it—or, to use Luntzian language, “save, preserve, and strengthen” Medicare.

    What’s missing are stories about why Medicare has a cost problem in the first place—the program’s reluctance or inability to say “no” to health care providers and sellers of medical technology who generally get their way in deciding whether the government will pay for something. That’s why an op-ed appearing in The New York Times a few days ago was refreshing and spot-on in its analysis. Dr. Rita Redberg, a cardiologist and editor of Archives of Internal Medicine, took on Medicare’s real waste and cost problem—it “spends a fortune each year on procedures that have no proven benefit and should not be covered.”

    Redberg offered several examples. Medicare spent more than $100 million in 2009 for screening colonoscopies for beneficiaries, and about forty percent were for people over age seventy-five, even though the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommends against them in that age group. It advises no colonoscopies for people over age eighty-five. Same goes for pap smears and prostate screening. The task force advises against screening for prostate cancer in men age seventy-five and older and screenings for cervical cancer in women sixty-five and older who have had a previously normal test result. Yet Medicare spent more than $50 million in 2008 on these screenings, along with additional funds on unnecessary follow-up procedures.

    The list goes on. Recently I wrote about digital mammography, which is quickly replacing film mammograms. Eight years ago almost all mammograms were done with film; three years ago only 47 percent were. The results of a five-year-clinical trial by the National Cancer Institute found that digital mammograms detected no more cancers in older women than conventional mammography. The lead researcher told the Center for Public Integrity “there’s no evidence that one should pay a premium for digital mammography.”

    Yet Medicare does just that. The Center published a fine investigation earlier this year that showed how clever marketing, public relations, and campaign contributions from makers of imaging machines have triumphed over science and raised the price Medicare pays for the procedure. The Center found that Medicare pays $78 for film mammograms versus $129 for the digital variety.

    How does this happen? Murray Ross, who directs the Institute for Health Policy at Kaiser Permanente, the big California-based managed care organization, described how doctor groups and manufacturers of drugs and technology thwart cost containment to make sure Medicare regulators do what they want. “It’s routine for a company to do an end run,” he told a class of my journalism students. “If you have new technology, you want it reimbursed,” Ross explained.

    First, he said, they get an insurance carrier to pay for a new procedure. Once one starts paying, then the rest have to do the same. It’s kind of a competitive game of follow-the-leader. If this approach fails, they try to get a national coverage decision from Medicare. If none is forthcoming, they next try to persuade senators and representatives in Congress asking them to write letters to Medicare on their behalf. Sometimes that kind of pressure works, and Medicare bends. When it doesn’t, there’s always the chance to add an amendment to a budget reconciliation bill or a get the Medicare law changed to allow payment for the service in question.

    Redberg argues that docs should be free, with the consent of their patients, to provide whatever care they agree is appropriate. But, she says, “when the procedure arising from that judgment, however well intentioned, is not supported by the evidence, the nation’s taxpayers should have no obligation to pay for it.”

    Perhaps that step might actually “save” Medicare. Perhaps taxpayers might want to know this.


    Not sure how I feel about some of the absolutes mentioned. But no doubt there are significant savings possible if the greed can be controlled. There it is again, folks. MONEY is all that matters to many.

  8. Atypical is offline
    05-31-2011, 04:30 PM #68

    Elizabeth Warren Is Smeared, and the Press Is Along for the Ride

    McHenry controversy shows the media copping out with he said-she said stories.

    You’d think the press could resist the he said-she said copy when the truth is easy to discern.

    Congressman Patrick McHenry’s smearing of Elizabeth Warren is a good test of how the press handles dishonest politicians and their lies. And most of the press gets a big fat F on this one.

    On Tuesday, McHenry, a North Carolina Republican, called Warren a liar, both on CNBC before she testified and during her actual testimony.

    Here’s how The New York Times, with its delicate sensibilities, put it:

    Decorum Breaks Down at House Hearing
    Goodness! Pass the smelling salts!

    The NYT piece is about as pure an example of he said-she said reporting as you’ll see and a good showcase for why such false equivalence is a bad thing for readers. We’re told in the lede that:

    A House committee hearing on Tuesday about the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau disintegrated into heated accusations of lying, with the panel’s chairman accusing Elizabeth Warren of giving misleading testimony at a hearing in March and of making up facts about her agreement to testify this week.

    Two paragraphs later, the paper says this:

    Ms. Warren denied Mr. McHenry’s accusation, saying that she clearly stated in March that she had provided advice to officials of the Treasury and Justice Departments about their investigations of fraud among mortgage-servicing companies and about their settlement discussions with the companies.

    So somebody’s got to be wrong, right? Who is it? We’re not told. So readers end up with McHenry says Warren lied, and Warren denies it. Thanks for nothing.

    The Wall Street Journal was no better, nor was Reuters, The Hill, or almost any of the other mainstream news stories I read.

    But for anyone half paying attention, much less a beat reporter, this is not a close call: McHenry is full of it.

    McHenry had already been on CNBC earlier in the day and called Warren a liar, falsely alleging that she lied to Congress about her activities related to the AGs’ proposed mortgage settlement. Applaud CNBC’s Becky Quick, almost alone among the mainstream press, for pushing back on McHenry’s nonsense:

    QUICK: You think that she was less than accurate in some of the testimony that she gave earlier. Why don’t you explain that to us?

    REP. MCHENRY: Well, first of all, she’s testified multiple times that in terms of the mortgage settlement, she was simply an adviser. She was giving advice. Well, now it’s clear, and it’s been publicly released, that they put together a PowerPoint presentation on the terms of the settlement.

    Now, in terms of advice, it seems the result was that it’s the explicit outline of the settlement agreement that we’re hearing about in the press. I question the veracity of her former testimony in relation to the reality that we now see in terms of the release of this PowerPoint presentation with the terms of the settlement.

    MS. QUICK: I’m confused by that. You think she was lying when she testified that she was only an adviser because there’s a PowerPoint settlement that has the terms of some of these agreements?

    REP. MCHENRY: Sure. Yeah.

    MS. QUICK: Why?

    She’s baffled (or acted that way) because this a fake controversy, one that Republicans have been ginning up for three months now. Warren testified to Congress in March that she had advised on the settlement. The Republicans said that her document “did more than provide advice: it recommended the goals and provided a detailed framework for the structure of the settlement.”

    Andy Kroll of Mother Jones dispatched that back in March:

    According to Merriam-Webster Dictionary, the definition of “advice” is a “recommendation regarding a decision or course of conduct.” That is, to give advice is to recommend. Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner asked the bureau for advice about the proposed servicer settlement, and Warren and the CFPB did exactly that: they said what they thought the settlement should include. The “detailed framework” cited in Bachus and Moore Capito’s letter was nothing more than a 10-page PowerPoint presentation written by the bureau, laying out its advice. Nothing nefarious there.

    The Bachus and Moore Capito letter goes on to say that the CFPB was in fact the “primary architect” of the mortgage servicing settlement. It’s a claim that is far from accurate. For starters, the mortgage servicing settlement is far from finished. How can Republicans accuse the CFPB of being the architect if the deal is still in the making? Perhaps Republicans are referring to the term sheet (PDF) released by Iowa attorney general Tom Miller, a Democrat, earlier this month, a rough guide to how the settlement might look. That draft was 27 pages long. And while it included ideas offered by the CFPB, it featured plenty that was not in the CFPB’s recommendations. To call the bureau the “primary architect” simply isn’t correct.

    You can read Warren’s devious PowerPoint presentation for yourself here.

    Better yet, read David Weidner’s column over at on the disingenuous attacks on Warren by the banks’ buddies (McHenry’s No. 1 campaign donor is too big to fail behemoth Wells Fargo. The American Bankers Association and Bank of America are tied for No. 5).

    Mr. McHenry’s challenge—and the wider Republican opposition to Ms. Warren—is about authority.

    On that point, there isn’t really anything to debate. Ms. Warren is not only within her right to participate in the mortgage settlement talks, she is obliged to by law. The Dodd-Frank Act spells it out. It’s in Title X, Sections 1001 to 1100H.

    For example, the CFPB is required to create an office for fair lending to oversee a range of products, including mortgages. The CFPB also is supposed to maintain an active dialogue with states regarding lending practices.

    Finally, there’s Section 1013 on Page 1,618, which requires “coordinating fair lending efforts of the Bureau with other Federal agencies and State regulators, as appropriate, to promote consistent, efficient, and effective enforcement of Federal fair lending laws.”


    This is an INCREDIBLE piece on exactly what our mainstream media supplies to us. Almost nothing of substance. It's always about the superficial as this article says. Never the facts like who is lying and why.

    Be informed.
    Last edited by Atypical; 06-02-2011 at 03:21 PM.

  9. Atypical is offline
    06-02-2011, 03:44 PM #69

    Koch Industries' Toxic Gifts to Wisconsin

    Koch Industries ranks in the "top ten" of the Toxic 100 list of the Political Economy Research Institute, which identifies the top U.S. air polluters among the world's largest corporations based on their chronic human health risk. Koch Industries is included in the list as the parent corporation of a diversity of industrial facilities that process and distribute fossil fuels, paper, wood products and synthetic fibers. The pollution from these facilities has a significant effect on the natural environment and on human health.

    The Wisc Record

    The Center for Media and Democracy decided to take a look at the record of Koch Industries here in Wisconsin where CMD is located. We examined the Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) compiled by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Most industrial facilities are required to report toxic pollutant discharges to the air and to surface waterways to the EPA via the TRI program. The numbers companies report are for the most part unverified by the EPA and the discharges themselves are unmonitored, so the numbers reported are to some extent estimates based on certain calculations and assumptions.

    Koch Industries operates twelve industrial facilities in Wisconsin: Georgia-Pacific and its wholly-owned subsidiaries in Green Bay (4 plants), Oshkosh, Phillips, and Sheboygan; and Flint Hills Resources in Green Bay, Junction City, McFarland, Milwaukee, Stevens Point and Waupun.

    Dr. David Zaber, an eco-toxicologist, who was recently the Science Fellow at the Environmental Law and Policy Center in Chicago and the Director of Science at Defenders of Wildlife in Washington, D.C. before moving to Wisconsin, assisted the Center with a review of the most recent TRI data available from these facilities, for the years 2007, 8 and 9. As Dr. Zaber notes, the TRI is "an underestimate of the total amount of toxic pollutants released to the environment because many facilities are exempt from reporting - e.g. municipal sewage treatment plants, small discharges, etc. - because they are either below relevant thresholds such as number of employees or otherwise not covered by TRI."

    However incomplete, though, the data reveal that over the course of those three years, Koch Industries' facilities emitted over 5.4 million pounds of toxic discharges into Wisconsin's air and water. Of these discharges, nearly 100,000 pounds were of substances known or suspected to cause cancer.

    Michael Ash, an Associate Professor of Economics and Public Policy at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and coauthor of the "Toxic 100 Air Polluters," says the numbers indicate that Koch Industries is a "major polluter" in Wisconsin. Rich Puchalsky, a TRI expert and a consultant for half a dozen environmental groups on TRI, concurs.

    Sulfuric Acid: #1 Worst Emitter of All Paper Facilities in Wisconsin

    Georgia-Pacific's Green Bay Broadway plant, courtesy of the Capital TimesFrom 2007-2009, TRI data shows that Koch Industries' facilities in Wisconsin released a total of 1.25 million pounds of sulfuric acid, a major contributor to the formation of acid rain that, as an aerosol, causes respiratory tract irritation, especially to children and adults with asthma. Occupational exposure can cause cancer3 of the larynx. Koch Industries' Georgia-Pacific facility on Broadway Avenue in Green Bay was responsible for almost 23 percent of the total discharges throughout the state in 2007-2009. The same Georgia-Pacific facility was the number one releaser of sulfuric acid of the six paper facilities in Wisconsin that reported the release of sulfuric acid to the EPA in 2009, disposing of 410,000 pounds of sulfuric acid on-site in that year. This was over 100 percent more than the total release of sulfuric acid of the next biggest polluter in the industry in the state.

    According to the Georgia-Pacific website, "Wisconsin is the Number One paper manufacturing state in the United States." So, this Koch Industries' facility emitted the most sulfuric acid of any paper processor in the state that manufactures the most paper in the United States.

    Koch Industries' two Georgia-Pacific facilities in Green Bay produce and distribute the following retail brands of paper products: Quilted Northern®, Vanity Fair®, Sparkle®, Mardi Gras®, Angel Soft®, Soft N' Gentle®, Brawny Industrial® and Dixie®.

    Deadly Dioxins: #4 Worst Emitter of All Wisconsin Facilities

    From 2007-2009, Koch Industries' facilities in Wisconsin released a total of over 5 grams of dioxin and dioxin-like compounds (dioxins are usually measured in grams rather than pounds because they have a lower reporting threshold as persistent bioaccumulative compounds, meaning these substances can accumulate in the human body and the environment). Dioxins and dioxin-like compounds are toxic to humans and animals in multiple ways and are a known human carcinogen.6

    Dioxins graphic, courtesy of the National Cancer Institute websiteEven a small amount of dioxin can have a powerful impact. Dr. Zaber, who recently contributed to the Commission for Environmental Cooperation report Taking Stock: North American Pollutant Releases and Transfers and is an expert on toxic effects of chemical releases on wildlife, comments that "dioxins released in the Great Lakes basin are of particular concern because they persist in the environment and are passed up the food chain to humans through fish and other aquatic wildlife."

    In 1997, the United States and Canada jointly developed the Great Lakes Binational Toxics Strategy (BTS) committing to quantified reductions in the amount of contaminants released into the environment. Dioxins are what is known as a "Level I" persistent toxic substance targeted to be "substantially reduced" because of its hazards to humans and our ecosystem.

    And yet, a decade and more after the BTS was developed and implemented, Koch Industries' Georgia-Pacific facility on Broadway Avenue in Green Bay emitted more dioxins on-site than any of the 17 paper facilities emitting dioxins in Wisconsin in 2007. In 2009, it ranked second highest in dioxin emissions out of 14 total facilities in Wisconsin.

    Nickel #1 Worst Emitter of All Wisconsin Facilities

    From 2007-2009, TRI data show that Koch Industries in Wisconsin released 9,780 pounds of nickel compounds. Nickel is a heavy metal, and nickel compounds are a known human carcinogen and cause other adverse effects on respiratory function. An important review of studies on heavy metal poisoning commissioned by the National Water Research Institute, entitled "A silent epidemic of environmental metal poisoning?" emphasized that "as a global problem, the potential health effects of metallic hazards should be a matter of public health concern, especially if the emissions of toxic metals into the environment continue at the current rate... . [M]etals that can adversely affect human reproduction include As, Sb, Be, Cd, Hg, Cr, Co, Ni and Al" (arsenic, antimony, beryllium, cadmium, mercury, chromium, cobalt, nickel and aluminum). "These elements are… released in large quantities into the environment and may be contributing to the reproductive failures being experienced by contemporary populations."

    In 2007, Koch Industries' Georgia-Pacific facility on Broadway Avenue in Green Bay emitted more nickel than any other of the 32 industrial facilities reporting nickel discharges to the air and/or water. Of a total statewide discharge of 6,645 pounds, the Georgia-Pacific facility emitted 3,410 pounds, or 51 percent, greater than all the other discharges of other facilities combined. In 2009, the same Georgia-Pacific facility was the only paper facility in Wisconsin to report the release of any nickel or nickel compounds to the EPA, at a total of 3,260 pounds of nickel compounds. Of that amount, almost all of it (3,160 pounds) was emitted directly to the air or water, again leading all 38 of the reporting industrial facilities in the state.

    Cancer-Causing Benzene: Koch's Subsidiary Was One of Top Ten Worst Emitters of All Wisconsin Facilities

    From 2007-2009, TRI data show that Koch Industries' facilities in Wisconsin released a total of 5,546 pounds of benzene, which is a known human carcinogen12 and causes other serious adverse human health effects. In 2009, discharges of benzene from Koch Industries' Flint Hills Resources facilities in Milwaukee, McFarland, and Junction City were ranked 6th, 7th, and 9th, respectively, out of 20 industrial facilities in Wisconsin that reported benzene releases to the EPA.


    This data demonstrates that Koch Industries generates significant pollution in Wisconsin. It is important to keep in mind that the TRI data are self-reported and do not cover all discharges in an area or to a watershed. Nor does this information indicate all of the possible effects of all the possible mixtures of chemicals that could occur with these discharges and the resultant risks to ecosystems as well as to reproductive health or other effects on disease or lifespans of people in the state and region.

    According to Dr. Zaber, "It is expected for industrial facilities to generate some toxic emissions. However, at a time when good technology exists to reduce pollution, when operating in a place as environmentally sensitive as the Great Lakes basin, and at the scale of a conglomerate as large as Koch Industries, what comes out of their stacks and pipes has a lasting impact on Wisconsin." Plainly, further examination of the impact of Koch Industries in Wisconsin and elsewhere is warranted.

    corporate greed. check
    corp indifference to the environment. check
    reason for some of the Koch's payoffs and zealotry in favor of repukes. check
    evidence that power and wealth doesn't give a shit for anything other than themselves. CHECK!
    Last edited by Atypical; 06-02-2011 at 03:49 PM.

  10. Atypical is offline
    06-04-2011, 02:50 PM #70

    Did The Cable Industry Pay Ralph Reed Millions Of Dollars To Orchestrate

    Tea Party Opposition To Net Neutrality?

    As the New York Times and ThinkProgress have reported, Ralph Reed has returned as a force in the political world. A decade ago, Reed was a kingmaker in Republican politics and a corporate lobbyist who counted Fortune 100 companies like Enron and Microsoft as clients. His fall from grace, starting with the Jack Abramoff scandal and culminating in a humiliating loss in his run for lieutenant governor of Georgia, is apparently now behind him. Times reporter Erik Eckholm points out that Reed has successfully revived his work as an operator within the Republican Party, most notably with his ability to ensnare nearly every Republican presidential contender to a conference he’s hosting this weekend.

    However, little is known about Reed’s work reviving his business as an astroturf lobbyist. According to documents obtained by ThinkProgress, the National Cable and Telecom Association (NCTA), a trade association that represents cable providers like Comcast and Qwest Communications, has provided Reed’s lobbying firm with at least $3,462,117 worth of contracts in the last three years alone. Century Strategies, the firm founded by Reed and fellow astroturf lobbyist Tim Phillips in 1997, received the contracts for what NCTA deemed “legal and advertising” services. View a screenshot of the relevant documents here and here.

    ThinkProgress has queried several staffers at Reed’s lobbying firm to learn about the contract. At CPAC this year, one employee for Reed told us that he did not work on the NCTA account and knew little about it. I spoke to another staffer in Reed’s Atlanta office this week and asked if the firm ever provides any kind of legal or advertising work for clients. “None at all,” she replied to the legal question. “Nope, we don’t,” she said in response to a question I had about Century Strategies creating or purchasing advertisements for clients. Why did the cable industry pay Reed millions for advertising work, then?

    I asked Brian Deitz, the vice president for communications and public affairs at NCTA, about the over $3 million given to Reed. “We do not comment on specific financial matters related to NCTA,” was his only response.

    The Abramoff scandal provided a window into Reed’s lobbying business. Unlike former lawmakers, who retire from office and use their knowledge of the legislative process to inform corporate clients, Reed tells clients he can orchestrate “third party allies” and “grassroots” support for their political goals. For Abramoff, Reed shifted money from Native American casino interests to groups like Americans for Tax Reform and state-based Christian nonprofits to mobilize seemingly “grassroots” support. He had Enron pay him to place op-eds in newspapers and to create Christian-themed front groups to deregulate the utility market. Tim Phillips, Reed’s business partner at Century Strategies for many years, used another evangelical nonprofit to run anti-Semitic attacks against Eric Cantor when he first ran for Congress. Perhaps the most recognized case was a contract from a sweatshop owner in the Marianas Islands to Reed and Abramoff to orchestrate evangelical opposition to labor laws. In effect, Reed fooled religious right voters into supporting sweatshops cited for widespread forced abortions and prostitution.

    The business of asking corporations to donate to conservative nonprofits for stealth lobbying campaigns has been a winning model for Reed since he was in his early 20s. As Thomas Frank detailed in his book “The Wrecking Crew,” Reed got his start in college via the United Students of America Foundation. As a College Republican, Reed would collect money from corporate interests hoping to destroy campus-based Public Interest Research Groups (consumer action groups better known as PIRGs). As PIRGs fought to enact regulations on polluters, Reed and his college-aged buddies, including Abramoff and Grover Norquist, would solicit the same polluters to donate to their nonprofits to do battle with the do-gooders at PIRG.

    In 2006, as the negative headlines from the Abramoff scandal appeared to doom the Century Strategies brand name, Reed’s partner Tim Phillips left the firm to become the president of Koch Industries’ front group, Americans for Prosperity. Along withserving as a front for Koch lobbying goals, Americans for Prosperity (AFP) has, for many years, acted as a coin-operated front for any corporation willing to pay them. The Washington Post once wrote an expose covering AFP’s work (at the time, it was known as “Citizens for a Sound Economy”) for sugar interests in orchestrating conservative opposition to wetlands protection.

    As he has done for nearly 30 years now, Reed again appears to be masterminding phony grassroots campaigns for businesses willing to pay him. For instance, anexclusive ThinkProgress investigation from last month revealed that Reed’s lobbying firm is behind a new “Tea Party” front group dedicated to repealing the Dodd-Frank Wall Street reforms passed last year.

    Around the same time the cable industry paid Reed over $3 million, cable companies across the country were battling a regulation known as “net neutrality” — a rule that allows Internet freedom by ensuring that Internet providers, like cable companies, do not discriminate based on content or bandwidth speeds. The NCTA, Reed’s cable trade association benefactor, lobbied aggressively to prevent Congress or the FCC from enacting net neutrality rules. The trade association, along with member companies like Comcast, ran ads and hired many lobbyists.

    Mysteriously, around the time of the NCTA million-dollar contracts to Century Strategies, Reed’s old business partner Tim Phillips took up the charge of defeating net neutrality. His group, Americans for Prosperity, pushed conspiracies that net neutrality has something to do with communism. As the FCC continued its deliberations over the rule, AFP launched a $1.4 million ad campaign with Tea Party-themes against net neutrality. The narrator breathlessly denounces the bank bailouts, then compares them to net neutrality, exclaiming: “Now, Washington wants to spend billions to takeover the Internet.” Watch it:

    The claims made by the ads are patently ridiculous. Net neutrality has existed since the early years of the Internet, when government-sponsored engineers developed the first networks and recognized that bandwidth discrimination would hamper innovation. Indeed, rather than a government “takeover” of the Internet, net neutrality ensures that Internet content — whether from a Tea Party website, a commercial website, or even from — can’t be censored by a cable company or another provider. Despite supposed Tea Party opposition ginned up by groups like Americans for Prosperity, the FCC finally did hand down rules establishing net neutrality — with regrettable exceptions for mobile devices.

    Did the money from the cable industry — earmarked for “advertising” — go to Tim Phillips, using Reed’s firm as a pass-through, as the two have done in the past? It’s not clear. Century Strategies, the recipient of the cable industry money, says it does not do anything directly in terms of advertising. Tim Phillips’ personal consulting firm, New Dominion Strategies, has listed the same P.O. Box used by Century Strategies as amailing address. Still, Century Strategies, Americans for Prosperity, and the National Cable and Telecom Association have refused to elaborate on the Tea Party-themed ads.

    Did anyone notice that this guy, his supporters and accomplices, are not Democrats, liberals, progressives? Just askin.

    If only all of the Democrats had guts and were not taking money from the same sources as repukes, and if they had not abandoned their worthy principles, things might be better. Never happen. Too much money and power fighting it. And, as a result, these primitives win.
    Last edited by Atypical; 06-04-2011 at 03:15 PM.

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