Industry Documents Expose Nordic Tobacco Companies' Conspiratorial Behavior

No SmokingIn the 1970s, Nordic countries were among the first to adopt policies against tobacco, like bans on cigarette advertising, health warning labels and smoke-free laws, but U.S.-owned tobacco companies, and particularly Philip Morris, makers of Marlboro, became concerned such polices could spread to America and other developed countries where they sold cigarettes. Also, Europe's first product liability case against the tobacco industry occurred in Finland in 1988, when a smoker sued several companies claiming their products caused his illness, causing even more concern for global tobacco companies. To help escape product liability claims, Nordic tobacco companies -- like Amer Tobacco and Rettig, which distributed Philip Morris and R.J. Reynolds brands, respectively -- long claimed to be ignorant of, and denied participation in the multinational tobacco companies' global strategies to undermine anti-tobacco policies, but industry documents reveal the truth -- that smaller Nordic tobacco companies did, in fact, participate in the multinational companies’ long-time conspiracy to deny the health dangers of smoking and undermine anti-tobacco policies, helping delay key effective tobacco control measures, and particularly smoke-free laws, for years.


NAACP Denounces Role of ALEC in "Jim Crow, Esquire" Voting Laws

NAACP logoThe NAACP is calling the wave of Voter ID laws passed in 2011 a "coordinated and comprehensive assault" on the right to vote for people of color and the poor, singling out the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) as the source of the outbreak. The organization is taking its case to the United Nations this week.

Rev. William Barber, President of the NAACP North Carolina State Conference, says "Jim Crow used blunt tools. James Crow, Esquire uses surgical tools, high paid consultants and lawyers to cut out the heart of black political power."

Egypt's Election Gets Underway

Egyptian eyeEgyptians took to the polls with a massive turnout this week, and few reported problems in the first round of elections since the ouster of longtime authoritarian leader Hosni Mubarak.

This week's initial parliamentary elections will collect votes in the main city centers, like Cairo and Alexandria, as part of what will be a four-month voting process. From these elections, Egypt's first democratically-elected parliament will be created, which will be tasked with crafting a new constitution for the nation and laying the groundwork for a presidential election in 2012. The elections are occurring after a series of violent clashes in Cairo's Tahrir Square with the interim military government. Protesters fear the military government is trying to manipulate the process to retain power. Some 40 people have been killed, and 2,000 injured.

ALEC Ties Bring Down British Defense Secretary, Threaten Prime Minister David Cameron

British Defense Secretary Liam Fox has stepped down in the midst of an escalating scandal tied to the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). The ALEC connections have led opposition party leaders and the British press to question whether British Prime Minister David Cameron has been "allowing a secret rightwing agenda to flourish at the heart of the Conservative party."

ALEC Tied to British Political Scandal

British Conservative Party defense secretary Liam Fox is in the midst of scandal that has grown deeper as ties to the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) are revealed. Pressure has been growing on Fox in recent weeks after having been caught in a lie about unethical dealings with his friend and former flatmate, and more ethical problems arising from the operation of a recently-dissolved, ALEC-connected "charity" Fox founded.

ABC's "Made in America" Puts Blame on Consumers

DisneyChinaOn February 28, ABC World News with Diane Sawyer premiered a TV series called "Made in America" that ostensibly encourages viewers to buy American-made products to help spur U.S. job growth. In the first episode, a reporter tours the home of an average American family, discovering that most of the family's belongings were made in foreign countries. To illustrate how remiss the family has been in buying American, a moving crew takes everything out of the house that is made in a foreign country. The crew rips out the family's stove, carts off their furniture, beds and refrigerator, and takes virtually everything in the home away except a small vase with a flower in it. The family returns, shocked, to see their empty home. The series blames consumers for not purchasing American-made products, while failing to mention how major American corporations choose to manufacture their products overseas. Also unmentioned is the fact that ABC's parent company, Disney, manufactures toys, including Mickey Mouse memorabilia and other goods, in Chinese factories. The show obscures the fact that consumers don't choose where the products offered in their local stores are made, and doesn't discuss the limited American-made products offered at ubiquitous big-box appliance, electronics, furniture, drug and toy stores.


The Day Egypt Disappeared

On February 11, 2011, after 30 years of dictatorship, Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak announced he was stepping down. As ancient pharaohs slumbered inside, a crowd of over a million surrounded the rose-colored Cairo Museum setting off fireworks and jumping for joy as they peacefully forced a modern pharaoh to flee. This hopeful moment will be studied for years, and no topic will be more hotly debated than the role of social media in the uprising.


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