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Koch-Fueled Controversy Lands in Washington

On April 14 the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, chaired by Darrell Issa (R-California), held a hearing on state and municipal debt where the key question was State Budget Cuts: Choice or Necessity?

Chairman Issa started off by framing the issue in a manner that was thrilling to Wall Street barons and corporate big wigs. He said that states will face a shortfall of $112 billion in 2012 and the reasons for this were "obvious." The primary reasons, according to Issa, are reckless spending and unfunded or underfunded pension funds. The 2008 Wall Street financial crisis and the staggering job loss, which caused state and federal tax revenues to tank, were not mentioned.

And so it went. Flying in the face of fact and reason, Republicans insisted that states spend too much and that the best way to attack the state deficit problem is on the back of unionized workers, their only organized opposition in the electoral arena.

Boost Aquaculture, But at What Cost?

Fish farmThe National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) oversees aquaculture, or fish farming, in the U.S., both in freshwater and marine environments. Since the U.S. imports 84 percent of its seafood, about half of which is farmed, there is need for growth in the domestic fish-farming industry. Thus the NOAA has proposed a set of policies to guide American aquaculture. But a group of about 30 organizations, including the Center for Media and Democracy, has sent comments to the NOAA (pdf) expressing dismay that the proposed aquaculture policies fall short, in part by failing to maintain a neutral view of aquaculture. The draft policies seem more aimed at boosting the aquaculture industry at any cost than rationally and scientifically evaluating the pros and cons of this type of development in any given circumstance, place and time.

Few Heard at WI Budget "Hearing" in Milwaukee, but School Choice Advocate Denounces Walker's Subsidy for Rich

At Monday's public hearing in Milwaukee on Governor Walker's budget, Wisconsin Republicans once again resorted to anti-participatory tactics to avoid criticism of their agenda. Despite these efforts, strong critiques were squeezed-in by longtime Milwaukee school choice advocate Howard Fuller, calling GOP efforts to lift income limits on school vouchers an "outrageous" program "that subsidizes rich people."

Fukushima and the Happy Talk About Nuclear Power

Dr. Arjun MakhijaniGeorge Kenney's Electric Politics (EP) podcast is one of the top ten political podcasts in the country. Produced once a week on Friday mornings and boasting a theme song written by BJ Leiderman (who also writes the music for NPR radio shows), EP is more than just a wonky political theory show. Kenney has informal, timely conversations with fascinating guests on hot topics. Recently Kenny spoke with Dr. Arjun Makhijani, president of the Institute for Energy and Environmental Research (IEER) and a leading authority on nuclear fusion who has 37 years of experience in nuclear energy issues.

For people who assume that older nuclear plants in the U.S. are being replaced with safer, newer designs and that nuclear waste is now being safely and securely disposed of off-site, think again. The disaster at Japan's Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power plant -- and this interview with Dr. Makhijani -- will change your mind.

RELEASE: 

Sally Brown and BioCycle Magazine, Supporters of Growing Food in Sewage Sludge, Call Organic Food Advocates "Ecoterrorists"



CONTACT: John Stauber, Senior Adviser, Food Rights Network
PHONE: (608) 260-9713; (608) 279-4044
EMAIL: FoodRightsNetwork@gmail.com

Sally Brown and BioCycle Magazine, Supporters of Growing Food in Sewage Sludge, Call Organic Food Advocates "Ecoterrorists"

Organic Consumers Association and Food Rights Network Demand Retraction at April 12 BioCycle Conference (Brown Headlining)

SAN DIEGO--Leading organic gardening and food safety advocates who oppose growing food in sewage sludge are attending the national BioCycle magazine conference Tuesday, April 12, 2011 in San Diego to demand an apology and retraction from Sally Brown, a columnist and editorial board member of BioCycle magazine, and from Nora Goldstein, the executive editor of BioCycle.

The Front Group Hall of Shame Gets a New Inductee

Insurance moneyToday will go down in the public relations history books as the day health insurers and their allies began a coordinated campaign to ensure that the health care reform law is implemented in ways that will benefit them way more than the rest of us. Today is the day they plan to launch their brand new front group -- drum roll, please -- the Choice and Competition Coalition (CCC). But first, a bit of context.

In a chapter of my book, Deadly Spin, entitled "The Playbook," I explain the remarkable track record that big corporations and their lobbyists have in getting the American public to buy the bill of goods they're selling. They bring out the Playbook, I note, for a single objective: to influence public policy by manipulating public opinion.

The Playbook comprises a set of activities that have long worked beautifully for industries fighting proposed new laws, regulations or taxes that are designed to make them behave in more socially responsible ways.

FOX "News" Bids Glenn Beck Adieu

Glenn Beck on cover of TIME, Sept., 2009Glenn Beck's show is ending after years of grassroots campaigning caused FOX News' once highest-rated show to lose advertising and public support.

On April 6, 2011, FOX News announced it would help Beck "transition" into other ventures, which include for-air projects and FOX News' websites. What the press release did not mention was the successful campaign against Beck initiated by Color of Change, an organization rooted in equal political access for people of color.

On the show Fox and Friends in 2009, Beck said that President Obama had a "deep seated hatred for white people." Color of Change began a petition appealing to Beck's advertisers to end their support, and within two days, reportedly 100,000 people had signed it. The current number of signatures, according to the group, now stands at 285,000 people. Organizations like Media Matters, MoveOn, CREDO Action and StopBeck joined Color of Change in petitioning Beck's advertisers to stop supporting the show.

"Revere America": Another Conduit for a Super-Wealthy Family to Influence Elections

Miles C. CollierOn March 23, 2011 a group called Revere America issued a dire-sounding PRNewswire press release titled, "Americans Fear Loss of Freedom on Anniversary of Health Care Reform Law." It warned that "a majority" of Americans view health care reform as "a threat to their freedom" and cited a poll by Bill McInturff of Public Opinion Strategies to prove it. The release came well after Revere America had spent $2.5 million on attack ads in the 2010 mid-term elections to defeat Democratic candidates in two states -- New York and New Hampshire -- who had voted in favor of health care reform. Just prior to the mid-term elections, in the autumn of 2010, Revere America ran a a slew of false and misleading attack ads against the health care reform bill that erroneously called health reform "government-run healthcare" (a Republican and insurance industry buzz-phrase). The ads said that the new law will result in higher costs and longer waits in doctors' offices. In another false claim aimed at inducing fear, the ads told viewers that "your right to keep your own doctor may be taken away."

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