NEW MERCURY MEDIA PRESENTS:
A Progressive Press ROUND-UP
Listen in as News Director Rick Spisak
questions these fine Progressive Journalists
Frank Day - North Florida Progressive Activist / Long-Time Democratic Leader
Steve Horn - is a Madison, WI-based investigative journalist, Research Fellow at DeSmogBlog, and contributing editor at CounterPunch.
Rob Abston - Executive Director and Founder of P.L.A.N. (Progressive Leadership Action Network
Gwendolyn Holden Barry - Progressive Journalist / Activist / Sr. Producer at There Be Monsters
Hans Meyer - Tallahassee Progressive Journalist
1. Japan Physician: Radiation level was 100 times higher in Fukushima than gov’t reported 50 days after 3/11 — Geiger counter ‘off the scale’ at train station 60km from plant — Blatant concealment of data
2. Last Sunday, October 6th Sacramento Food Not Bombs was kicked out of the Cesar Chavez Park by the Sacramento police. Volunteers were greeted by about 15 officers when they arrived at the park when they normally do in time to start sharing the meal they created by 1:30pm. They were told that our stuff would be confiscated and we would get a summons due to an ordinance that has yet to even be passed that would prevent any group from handing out free hot meal in the park.
Last week advocates for the poor were told to stop sharing meals with the hungry in Sacramento and Santa Monica, California, Taos, New Mexico, and Olympia, Washington.
Groups were confronted and threatened with arrest in Boulder, Colorado; Raleigh, North Carolina, Portland, Oregon, Seattle, Washington and other cities across the United States this summer. In all over 50 cities in the United States have passed laws banning or limiting the sharing of meals with the hungry in the past two years with enforcement on the increase this fall.
Our food is vegan, organic and no one has ever reported being made ill eating with Food Not Bombs. The goal of giving the public the impression we are required to get a permit is to justify forcing us to stop. We have no paid staff and our food is a gift and unregulated by the authorities. Like all acts of commission no permission from the government is necessary.
Please support Sacramento Food Not Bombs. We will be risking arrest on Sunday, October 13, 2013 at Cesar Chavez Park at 1:30 PM
co-founder of the Food Not Bombs Movement
P.O. Box 424
Arroyo Seco, NM 87514 USA
3. As the Food & Water Watch blogger who seems to cover the depressing update beat, it was up to me to talk about what the federal government shutdown means for the food system. And the other food news that barely registered last week – the Farm Bill expired. Again.
First the shutdown. Obviously, the list of impacts of the federal government not being fully operational is a long one.
Food Safety: This is one is getting a lot of coverage, but it’s a mixed bag of who is at work and who isn’t, which has caused some confusion. Ron Nixon helped sort it out in yesterday’s New York Times.
USDA meat and poultry inspectors are on the job but under extremely challenging conditions – like their supervisors and other USDA employees they work with on a daily basis not being available and the stress caused by not knowing when they will get paid or whether or not they can take a sick day. The current salmonella outbreak linked to Foster Farms chicken plants in California started before the government shutdown and reflects several serious flaws in USDA management’s policies on what triggers a recall and when to crack down on plants that show food safety lapses.
Inspections for other foods regulated by the Food and Drug Administration are not happening, except for inspections of imported foods. But before you breathe that sigh of relief, remember that in a normal year, FDA only looks at less than 2 percent of imported food (including seafood).
Another piece of the food safety system that is getting some attention because of the salmonella outbreak is the system for tracking foodborne illnesses. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention works to figure out if illnesses reported to state governments are part of a bigger outbreak that has crossed state lines. CDC plays a key role in the investigations to find the source of what is making people sick. And a lot of the CDC employees who do that were not at work last week. After media coverage of the salmonella outbreak this week, some of them were called back into work, but they are still not at full force.
There are lots of other ways that the shutdown impacts the food system beyond food safety. I’m not going to try to list them all here. But even a partial list shows how many ways agriculture and the food industry rely on some type of government program, and why we need those programs to work well (or this week, at all).
- Ranchers in South Dakota and other states that were hit with a blizzard that has killed large numbers of cattle can’t get advice or access any USDA programs that might help them, because the USDA’s local offices are closed (they also can’t access any disaster programs that used to exist for farmers because the Farm Bill has expired again, but more on that later).
- States are calculating how long they will be able to fund the Women, Infants and Children (WIC) nutrition assistance program for low-income mothers and young children without more funding from the federal government.
- Meat companies that have a new product to sell cannot get their labels approved by USDA (craft beer companies are having the same problem with seasonal beer labels that need to be approved by the Treasury Department).
- The National Organic Standards Board will not hold its bi-annual meeting at the end of October to vote on what materials are allowed to be used in organic agriculture and food, including a vote that could potentially end the use of an antibiotic called streptomycin in organic apple and pear orchards.
- Farmers can’t sign up for federal conservation programs designed to protect environmentally sensitive farmlands.
- USDA isn’t reporting data about crop yields and other market data used by farmers and ranchers to decide when and where to sell their crops and livestock.
The list goes on and on. And I didn’t even get to the Environmental Protection Agency, which took a huge hit with the vast majority of its employees off the job. But it boils down to the fact that there are a lot of federal programs that make the food system work that are affected by this shutdown and right now most of them are not working. The Republic majority in the House is using food safety as a piece of its negotiating strategy of trying to open the government bit by bit. We’ll see how that strategy plays out. But it’s worth remembering all of the other programs that need to run too.
And almost lost in the craziness of the shutdown was the fact that on October 1, the Farm Bill expired. If that sounds familiar, it’s because we’ve been down this road before. Because I’m a big believer in recycling, I’ll let you read what we had to say when this happened last year here. This time around, drastic things aren’t likely to happen until the end of the year when some of the rules USDA has to follow for pricing commodities like milk will change.
So Congress has some time to finally finish this tortured process. But it’s not clear if there is enough time in the world to bridge the gap between the different bills passed by the House and Senate. The biggest difference is in nutrition programs – the House bill would not only take a huge cut in the funding for SNAP ($40 billion) but would also put the program on a different legislative schedule than the Farm Bill, which is an unprecedented step that could make the program vulnerable to attacks that being part of a bigger Farm Bill package has usually prevented.
There are other differences too, ranging from commodity programs to crop insurance to how catfish are inspected. But the core issue of what kind of nutrition assistance the government provides to low-income families is a huge one that the conference committee will have to figure out.
Or there is scenario B, in which some version of the Farm Bill gets attached to the debt ceiling/re-open the federal government/budget extravaganza that will have to happen eventually. If this sounds familiar too, that’s because the last time a Farm Bill passed at the end of 2012, it was attached to the “fiscal cliff” bill that was the result of a similar showdown in Congress.
So that is probably enough news on the dysfunction in D.C. for now. We will know more about the Farm Bill in coming weeks, including who will be on the conference committee that is supposed to figure out how to finish the process. We’ll tell you then who you need to contact to make sure they make the right choices between the House and Senate versions.
4. International Monetary Fund strongly suggests countries tax the rich to fix deficit
Tax the rich and better target the multinationals: The IMF has set off shockwaves this week in Washington by suggesting countries fight budget deficits by raising taxes.
Tucked inside a report on public debt, the new tack was mostly eclipsed by worries about the US budget crisis, but did not escape the notice of experts and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs).
“We had to read it twice to be sure we had really understood it,” said Nicolas Mombrial, the head of Oxfam in Washington. “It’s rare that IMF proposals are so surprising.”
Guardian of financial orthodoxy, the International Monetary Fund, which is holding its annual meetings with the World Bank this week in the US capital, typically calls for nations in difficulty to slash public spending to reduce their deficits.
But in its Fiscal Monitor report, subtitled “Taxing Times”, the Fund advanced the idea of taxing the highest-income people and their assets to reinforce the legitimacy of spending cuts and fight against growing income inequalities.
“Scope seems to exist in many advanced economies to raise more revenue from the top of the income distribution,” the IMF wrote, noting “steep cuts” in top rates since the early 1980s.
According to IMF estimates, taxing the rich even at the same rates during the 1980s would reap fiscal revenues equal to 0.25 percent of economic output in the developed countries.
“The gain could in some cases, such as that of the United States, be more significant,” around 1.5 percent of gross domestic product, said the IMF report, which also singled out deficient taxation of multinational companies.
In the US alone, legal loopholes deprive the Treasury of roughly $60 billion in receipts, the global lender said.
The 188-nation IMF said that it did not want to enter into a debate on whether the rich should pay more taxes.
But, it said: “The chance to review international tax architecture seems to come about once a century; the fundamental issues should not be ducked.”
The IMF managing director, Christine Lagarde, kept up the sales pitch for a more just fiscal policy.
“It’s clearly something finance ministers are interested in, it’s something that is necessary for the right balance of public finances,” said Lagarde, a former French finance minister, in a panel discussion Wednesday.
“There are lot of wasted opportunities,” she added.
After the French Socialist government’s proposal of a 75 percent tax on the wealthy was overturned by the country’s highest court last year, France’s finance minister cautiously welcomed the Fund’s new direction.
“If the core idea is that fiscal policy is a policy that aims to reduce inequalities, I wouldn’t know how to protest against that,” Finance Minister Pierre Moscovici said at a news conference in Washington.
The minister said it was a “positive development” but he downplayed that it marked a “significant change” for the IMF.
The Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development, which is leading the global battle against tax havens and tax evasion by multinationals, welcomed the IMF at its side.
“We’re happy to see this. There is a place for everyone. The Fund can bring a real contribution on economic analyses,” Pascal Saint-Amans, head of the OECD’s center for tax policy, told AFP.
In the corridors, however, a quiet skirmish is underway between the two organizations for the leadership of the tax-haven offensive ordered by the Group of 20 major economies.
The IMF’s Copernican revolution is still in the twilight stage. In its report, the IMF continued to push for a wider scope for value-added tax (VAT), a tax consumption tax that some say is inherently unfair, and on reductions in public spending.
“These proposals are heading in the right direction, but a lot remains to be done,” said Oxfam’s Mombrial, calling notably for the IMF to do more against illegal capital flows which, according to the NGO, cost billions of dollars in fiscal revenues in the developing countries.
5. Senator Wyden Warns Public Will Have to Beat ‘Business-as-Usual Brigade’ to Win Real Surveillance Reform
Senator Ron Wyden, at a conference on National Security Agency surveillance sponsored by the CATO Institute, articulated many of the frustrations he had experienced in his patient effort to unveil to citizens the true scope of what the agency thought it had the authority to do. He also offered a preview of the upcoming battle in Congress to pass real comprehensive reform that is not only “skin deep.”
Wyden described bipartisan legislation he had introduced to set the bar for what “really constitutes real intelligence reform.” It would end the bulk data collection program under a provision of the PATRIOT Act known as section 215. It would create a “constitutional advocate” to ensure the process before the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court or secret surveillance court that authorizes NSA surveillance is no longer as “one-sided.” It would close a loophole allowing for “backdoor searches” and prohibit the collection of communications “about” a target instead of just communications to and from a target. And it would halt the practice of “reverse targeting,” where a foreigner is targeted in order to collect the communications of an American without a warrant.
“We wanted to put this marker down early because we know in the months ahead we will be up against a “business-as-usual brigade” – made up of influential members of the government’s intelligence leadership, their allies in think tanks and academia, retired government officials, and sympathetic legislators,” Wyden explained.
He added they will “try mightily to fog up the surveillance debate and convince the Congress and the public that the real problem here is not overly intrusive, constitutionally flawed domestic surveillance but sensationalistic media reporting. Their end game is ensuring that any surveillance reforms are only skin-deep.”
The arguments from this crowd, Wyden noted, “have something of an Alice in Wonderland flavor.” For example, “We have heard that surveillance of Americans’ phone records, AKA metadata, is not actually surveillance at all – it’s simply the collection of bits of information.” (This is what chair of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, Dianne Feinstein, has suggested in her effort to help save NSA surveillance powers.)
“We’ve been told that codifying secret surveillance laws and making them public surveillance laws is the same as actually reforming these overreaching surveillance programs. It’s not,” Wyden stated.
Wyden provided a glimpse at some of the work he and Sen. Mark Udall had done to hold NSA accountable. He mentioned the NSA ran a “bulk email records program under the authority of the PATRIOT Act, and intelligence officials spent years telling both Congress and the FISA Court that this program was vital to US counterterrorism efforts.” That was not true at all.
“Senator Udall and I spent most of 2011 pressing the NSA to provide actual examples of the bulk email records program’s effectiveness, but NSA officials were unable to do so. The bulk email records program was shut down that year. It was a big win for supporters of privacy and constitutional liberties, even though Senator Udall and I weren’t able to discuss it publicly until two years later,” he added.
This experience also demonstrated the importance of forcing intelligence officials to actually provide evidence to back up their statements, the way other government officials are expected to do.
Wyden’s speech to attendees highlighted some of the key outcomes that had resulted because former NSA contractor Edward Snowden took the step and blew the whistle.
Initially, in June, members of Congress reintroduced legislation that was “newly relevant” as a result of disclosures on secret surveillance programs or policies. “I was among them, offering my bill with Senator Udall to end bulk collection.”
The next phase that unfolded involved “new ideas” being proposed, such as reforming the secret surveillance court or allowing private companies to disclose much more information on their cooperation with the government. And then there was another phase where those ideas were melded into one package that could be called “comprehensive reform.”
Though Wyden did not explicitly name Snowden, what he said tacitly acknowledged that those in Congress interested in reform were in a better position now because of the action he decided to take.
Wyden highlighted how the “business-as-usual brigade” has argued “vociferously that any intelligence agency employee who is alarmed about surveillance activities that may be illegal, harmful or ineffective already has plenty of avenues for raising concerns.” He countered, “Even if an employee had a reason to think that raising concerns through official channels would do some good, the fact is that the whistleblower laws are deeply flawed and it doesn’t make much sense to speak up if you have to take your complaint to the people you’re complaining about.”
It will take a groundswell of public support for real reform to be passed, if it is going to be passed at all. There is quite a bit of cynicism, some of it debilitating even if reasonable. This is what Wyden said citizens can expect going forward.
The intelligence leadership can be expected to “argue for limiting the advocate’s mandate and resources” when arguing cases before the secret surveillance court. They will argue that these advocates should not be “allowed to appeal cases or assist private companies and individuals that want to challenge overly broad surveillance orders.”
“Defenders of the status quo” will “attempt to codify the surveillance authorities that reformers want to repeal,” he said. The Executive Branch is also likely to oppose more openness and transparency for the intelligence community.
However, there is a reason why any “trust us” arguments should be rejected.
The Founding Fathers wrote the Fourth Amendment to prohibit general warrants. Rules governing NSA do not “involve individual review by a judge,” which means “if the NSA decides that it wants to look through the bulk phone records database or conduct a backdoor search for a particular American’s emails it can do so without getting the approval of anyone outside the NSA.”
The intelligence agencies have “broken the rules and they have been broken a lot.”
In 2009 the FISA Court itself ruled that, and I quote: “The minimization procedures proposed by the government in each successive application and approved as binding by the orders of [the FISA Court] have been so frequently and systematically violated that it can fairly be said that this critical element of the overall [business records] regime has never functioned effectively.” What does that legal jargon mean? That’s legalese for a serious smack down of the government by the court. Even if these rules were somehow written in a way that totally erased the privacy impact of bulk records collection – which I don’t think is possible – the fact is that the routine violations of these rules over the years clearly demonstrate that trying to rely on them is a flawed approach.
“It’s going to take grassroots support from lots of Americans across the political spectrum who let their members of Congress know that they want about both their security and their liberty to be protected, and that business as usual is no longer okay,” Wyden further suggested. But he maintained that now more than ever there will be “reformers” in Congress willing to listen to Americans if they make their concerns about surveillance known.
By: Kevin Gosztola Tuesday October 8, 2013 4:58 pm
Individuals who engaged in civil disobedience during “Moral Monday” protests are on trial in North Carolina. During the first trial of one of the protesters arrested, it came out in testimony that police for the state’s legislature conducted undercover surveillance and collected intelligence on “anarchists.”
“Moral Monday” protests were organized throughout the summer by the North Carolina chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). They were held to challenge a Republican state legislature that had rejected federal funds for Medicaid that would have helped a half million poor people, promoted policies to defund public education, cut tax credits for hundreds of thousands of poor and working people while giving tax breaks to the wealthiest people in the state, rolled back environmental protections, increased limits on a woman’s right to choose an abortion and for introducing a voter suppression law on April 4th, the same day that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated.
General Assembly Police Chief Jeff Weaver told a district court, according to The Charlotte Observer, that there were people in the region they considered to be “anarchists” and had “collected intelligence on them.” He did not identify who these “anarchists” were or how many individuals his department had labeled “anarchists” because officers considered them to be “against government.” He did admit that, of the more than 930 individuals arrested during the summer, his officers had “scanned the many ‘Moral Monday’ rallies with eyes trained for ‘anarchists.’”
It also came out that an officer in the department had attended meetings ahead of “Moral Monday” protests at Davie Street Presbyterian Church on May 6 and 13. Weaver claimed the officer was there to “determine how many people were expecting to be arrested to allow the department to gauge the sufficiency of the logistical support, such as transport vehicles, available at the Legislative Building.”
Weaver added, “When it was determined that accurate information could be obtained without attending the meetings, the officer’s presence was discontinued.”
At both of these meetings, the officer could have collected intelligence by singling out anyone in attendance that might have seemed like an “anarchist.” Speech and appearance could have been documented to create a watch list of individuals to monitor at the demonstrations.
This intelligence collection on supposed anarchists should be alarming to anyone who values the right to assembly and free speech. Law enforcement should not be making lists of individuals that should be watched simply because they might be anarchists.
First off, chances are those in the North Carolina General Assembly Police Department have little understanding of what it means to be an anarchist. Their views are likely similar to those in the FBI.
This 2011 presentation shows the FBI thinks current characteristics of the “Anarchist Extremism” movement are “not dedicated to a particular cause,” “criminals seeking an ideology to justify their activities,” “generally unorganized and reactive,” and “made up of younger, educated, middle to upper class individuals.” They are “paranoid/security conscious,” “distrustful/resentful of authority figures,” and “non-cooperative.” They’ll engage in ‘passive’ civil disobedience and active or ‘offensive’ attacks.”
Also, “anarchist extremists” will choose their tactics “based on willingness to face arrest.” They’ll stage actions for “maximum media attention” and use tactics to “cause maximum amount of disruption to the target.” They will use tactics to “create image of ‘aggressive’ law enforcement.”—Which could be used to describe everyone involved in organizing “Moral Mondays” protests inside of the state legislature but no one would say with a straight-face, unless they were a conservative blowhard on the radio, that NAACP leaders were “anarchists.”
What is stopping the General Assembly police from providing intelligence they have gathered on individuals they perceive to be anarchists to the FBI?
A Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) filed by the American Civil Liberties Union revealed documents that showed the Joint Terrorism Task Force of the FBI was conducting political surveillance of groups like Food Not Bombs, which gives out vegetarian food to hungry people and regularly participates in protests. They also indicated the FBI will interview individuals for the simple purpose of intimidating groups ahead of political conventions or meetings.
For example, after interviewing two student activists, the FBI noted that, “although they did not obtain information about criminal activity from either student, it was unnecessary to contact others in the area as the ‘purpose of the interviews was served.’”
Finally, being raided by the JTTF paramilitary forces and subpoenaed by a grand jury is the extreme of what can happen to alleged anarchists in this country. They are often aggressively pursued as the first suspects when any crimes occur in the vicinity of demonstrations and the pursuit happens regardless of whether there is probable cause.
It is near impossible to distinguish from First Amendment-protected activity and non-violent civil disobedience actions who may or may not engage in violence, criminal activity or domestic terrorism.
When police single out individuals they think are anarchists for placement on some watch list, they are not simply targeting anarchists, who have a right to free speech and assembly like all citizens, but they are also violating the rights of citizens who may have no such political beliefs at all.
As Reverend William Barber, head of the state’s NAACP said, his group would have had no problem with police introducing themselves formally at meetings for the purpose of getting a head count of who would engage in civil disobedience. Police obviously wanted to do something more than facilitate protest.
Additionally, Weaver, the police chief, may say he is not going to discuss intelligence gathering or “operational issues,” but this kind of domestic spying activity by law enforcement is precisely the kind of conduct that should be forced out into the open by the press and the public.
7. Azerbaijan released election results before voting had even started
Azerbaijan's big presidential election, held on Wednesday, was anticipated to be neither free nor fair. President Ilham Aliyev, who took over from his father 10 years ago, has stepped up intimidation of activists and journalists. Rights groups are complaining about free speech restrictions and one-sided state media coverage. The BBC's headline for its story on the election reads "The Pre-Determined President." So expectations were pretty low.
Even still, one expects a certain ritual in these sorts of authoritarian elections, a fealty to at least the appearance of democracy, if not democracy itself. So it was a bit awkward when Azerbaijan's election authorities released vote results – a full day before voting had even started.
The vote counts – spoiler alert: Aliyev was shown as winning by a landslide – were pushed out on an official smartphone app run by the Central Election Commission. It showed Aliyev as "winning" with 72.76 percent of the vote. That's on track with his official vote counts in previous elections: he won ("won"?) 76.84 percent of the vote in 2003 and 87 percent in 2008.
8. France's highest legal body upholds ban on fracking
France's highest legal body, the Constitutional Council, on Friday approved a 2011 ban on fracking passed by the parliament over environmental concerns. US firm Schuepbach Energy challenged the ban after its exploration permits were cancelled.
France’s constitutional council rejected on Friday a challenge to a law banning hydraulic fracturing for exploration and production of the country’s shale gas and oil.
The ruling is a boost for President Francois Hollande, who has opposed the technology alongside ecologist Greens in his ruling coalition - to the dismay of some allies who believe France is sacrificing access to a cheap source of energy.
U.S-based firm Schuepbach Energy had challenged on four counts a ban introduced in 2011 due to potential risks to the environment, which led to two of its exploration permits being cancelled in southern France.
“The constitutional council threw out these four complaints and ruled that the disputed components of the July 13, 2011 law comply with the constitution,” the court said in a statement.
The Constitutional Council, made up of judges and former French presidents, has the power to annul laws if they are deemed to be unconstitutional.
The International Energy Agency has named France as a European country with some of the most plentiful underground reserves of shale gas.
However “fracking” was banned in France under former President Nicolas Sarkozy on concerns it could pollute groundwater and trigger earthquakes, bringing to a halt the nascent shale oil and gas industry in France.
After France put the ban in place, Schuepbach Energy said it had no alternative way to carry out the exploration, which led to the suspension of its two permits in the south of France.
French oil major Total is still awaiting a ruling after it separately appealed at the end of 2011 the government’s decision to ban its own exploration permit by the southeastern town of Montelimar.
Industry Minister Arnaud Montebourg stirred debate earlier this year when he suggested creating a state-backed company to examine alternative exploration techniques.
9. Malala Yousafzai may not have won the Nobel Peace Prize on Friday, but she enjoyed a private Oval Office audience with President Obama and the first family.
Yousafzai, the 16-year-old Pakistani student who was shot in the head by Taliban gunmen for speaking out in support of the right of girls to go to school, met Friday with Obama and his wife, Michelle. A photograph issued by the White House shows the Obamas' 15-year-old daughter, Malia, also present during the visit.
The Obamas welcomed Yousafzai to the Oval Office "to thank her for her inspiring and passionate work on behalf of girls education in Pakistan," according to a statement issued by the White House.
The statement added, "The United States joins with the Pakistani people and so many around the world to celebrate Malala's courage and her determination to promote the right of all girls to attend school and realize their dreams."
Yousafzai said she was honored to meet Obama and that she raised concerns with him about the administration's use of drones, saying they are "fueling terrorism."
"I thanked President Obama for the United States' work in supporting education in Pakistan and Afghanistan and for Syrian refugees," Yousafzai said in a statement published by the Associated Press. "I also expressed my concerns that drone attacks are fueling terrorism. Innocent victims are killed in these acts, and they lead to resentment among the Pakistani people. If we refocus efforts on education it will make a big impact."
10.You know what they say. You can’t fool mom.
When a group of pro-labeling moms in Washington State figured out that the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) was breaking the state’s campaign finance disclosure laws, they did something about it. They formed a grassroots group, Moms for Labeling, and they sued the GMA.
Their complaint? The GMA is concealing the identities of out-of-state corporations, namely Big Food companies, which are funneling donations to the NO on I-522 campaign through the multi-billion dollar Washington D.C.-based lobbying group. The Moms had a whistleblower lined up to testify. But then the judge dismissed their case, on a technicality.
You’d think that would have been enough to make the GMA happy, but no. The lobbying giant went after the Moms with a countersuit, prompting a judge to slap the Moms with a $10,000 fine, under a law that is supposed to protect citizens from frivolous suits by big companies.
End of story? Not yet. In dismissing the suit, the judge ruled that under the circumstances, only the state attorney general now has the authority to sue the GMA for violating Washington’s Public Disclosure Act.
The NO on I-522 campaign has so far raised $17.1 million to blanket the airwaves with lies, as it tries to scare voters into voting against the I-522 GMO labeling initiative. The GMA, which represents over 300 corporations including Kraft, Kellogg’s, Monsanto, Dupont, Starbucks, PepsiCo, Coca-Cola, ConAgra and General Mills, has kicked in $7.2 million so far – $5 million more than the lobbying group spent last year in California, to defeat a similar GMO labeling initiative.
Who’s missing from the NO on I-522 donor roster this year? The junk food giants who spent millions last year, but this year, are hiding their donations from public view.
Let’s pick up where the Moms for Labeling left off, by insisting that Washington’s attorney general force the GMA to comply with the state’s campaign disclosure laws.
TAKE ACTION: Tell Washington State’s Attorney General: Investigate the GMA’s Money Laundering Scheme, Don’t Punish Moms!
11. MURPHY LEADS FLORIDA DELEGATION TO PROTECT MEDICARE OPEN ENROLLMENT DURING SHUTDOWN
Washington, D.C. - Today, U.S. Representatives Patrick E. Murphy (FL-18), Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (FL-27), Ted Deutch (FL-21), and Trey Radel (FL-19) led a bipartisan Florida delegation letter to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Administrator Marilyn Tavenner urging her to make sure that Medicare open enrollment is not impacted by the government shutdown. Medicare open enrollment, the period during which seniors can make changes to their Medicare plan, begins on October 15 -- potentially during an ongoing government shutdown. Joining this letter are Reps. Corrine Brown (FL-05), Vern Buchanan (FL-16), Kathy Castor (FL-14), Mario Diaz-Balart (FL-25), Lois Frankel (FL-22), Joe Garcia (FL-26), Alcee L. Hastings (FL-20), John L. Mica (FL-07), Jeff Miller (FL-01), Rich Nugent (FL-11), Bill Posey (FL-08), Tom Rooney (FL-17), Steve Southerland (FL-02), Debbie Wasserman Schultz (FL-23), and Frederica Wilson (FL-24), and Ted Yoho (FL-03). (Please find the text of the letter below and attached).
"Seniors have earned their Medicare benefits and the flexibility that comes during open enrollment. While Congress continues to work to reopen the government, one thing is certain. Medicare must remain strong," said Murphy. "I am proud to stand with my fellow Floridians to insist that even with such uncertainty in Washington, seniors should be able continue to count on their Medicare.”
Please join us at one of the upcoming Screenings and Discussions of the Documentary “Shored up.” Shot before, during, and after the devastation of Superstorm Sandy, the film follows communities in New Jersey and North Carolina where politics, economics, and science collide to reveal the difficulties of planning for sea level rise and increasing uncertainty due to climate change – a familiar issue!
Meet Director & Producer Ben Kalina – Q & A to follow film!
There are two screenings: of Shored UP!
There are two screenings: of Shored UP!
Date: Tuesday, October 15
Time: 6:00 p.m. reception; 7:00 p.m. screening & discussion
Location: Museum of Art-Fort Lauderdale, 1 East Las Olas Blvd., Fort Lauderdale, FL 33301
Time: 6:00 p.m. reception; 7:00 p.m. screening & discussion
Location: Museum of Art-Fort Lauderdale, 1 East Las Olas Blvd., Fort Lauderdale, FL 33301
Date: Friday, October 18
Time: 5:30 p.m. reception; 6:00 p.m. screening & discussion
Location: First Baptist Church of Fort Lauderdale, 301 E. Broward Blvd, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33301
Time: 5:30 p.m. reception; 6:00 p.m. screening & discussion
Location: First Baptist Church of Fort Lauderdale, 301 E. Broward Blvd, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33301
Both screenings are free and open to the public but a limited number of seats are available and RSVPs are required. Go to the Shored Up event website to RSVP. Download the flyer now! Please forward this message to your friends and colleagues!
LISTEN IN LIVE -Sunday Oct. 13th - 7pm (Eastern Time) or ( [Listen live or Anytime] )