Category Archives: Consumer protection

Fact or fiction – Food safety and what you can do about it

When our government is not only condoning, but acting to spread the contamination of the world’s food supply, what are we supposed to think … and who will lead the charge for world food safety? When the people’s opposition is as strong as it is now, why isn’t our government’s position being covered in national media forums to clarify their intentions and answer the people’s questions?

The world’s people, experts, and scientific studies are being completely ignored as the United States legislates in favor of corporations, preventing us from being able to make our own safe food choices. This path we’re on is becoming more of a super highway, and all the while, irreparable damage is being done.

The concept of what’s happening seems more like the theme for a futuristic fantasy novel where innocence is succumbing to an evil power of some sort.

It might go something like this:
Spreading at a pace that will soon leave the world-at-large dependent on the dole of corporations for sustenance, the insidious contamination continues in spite of popular uprisings. As the people flounder, the protagonist, a well-developed character on the side of innocence – always smart, usually good-looking, charms the reader by failing a few times only to get up, dust herself off and continue trying to save the day. If hunger can be used as a weapon, she knows that future freedom could be decided by those with access to viable seeds. Efforts to control those seeds are being seen around the world in court cases – usually and suspiciously settled or decided in favor of the evil power.

Planning her next move, the heroine ponders recent developments that are limiting the people’s power to resist: propaganda and the filtering of available information, changes in voting access laws and the use of dubious electronic equipment, legalized wire tapping and diminishing privacy rights, changes in class action law, union busting, the denial of free speech and the process of redress, state violence used against peaceful protesters ….

“This doesn’t look good,” she whispers to her adorable but ill-behaved dog, and her concern deepens as she continues with her list: privatized prisons with quotas, corporatized education, secret interpretations of the law. But the last item on the list, “indefinite detention of suspected terrorists”, gives her new pause.

More people are growing their own food. Private gardens that provide fresh fruits and vegetables are everywhere. The prepping process, canning or freezing to maximize a season’s bounty, is also widespread … but having seven days worth of stored food is listed as “suspicious activity” used to determine and identify citizens as state terrorists.

And so on and so forth ….

You have to be living under a rock not to be aware of this hardly debatable issue. Food safety, clean air, clean water … basic, basic stuff. And they’re all at risk because of the spread of conservative, neoliberal and libertarian ideology. Every one of their gains is a loss for the people, even as what they’re doing is against their own basic principle. What they’re doing causes damage to others. In order to continue on with their profit-driven mismanagement of our world’s resources, including our food supply, they just deny reality and hope we aren’t noticing. It’s got to stop.

A short but really good explanation of what I mean is in George Monbiot’s article about their core argument: “the procedural justice account of property rights”.

We are the protagonist of our own novel. Our character is being portrayed as weak, conflicted and ineffectual, but together we can rewrite the story. Joining a grassroots organization near you increases our strength by sheer numbers. Organizations like APV effectively join hands across the country giving our member lists the credibility of a voting bloc. As assumed voters, those lists are a force giving progressives a national voice, in some cases thwarting destructive ideas before they even become proposals. That’s what we need. We need our numbers to be threatening. Having your name on a grassroots list for progressives is the least you can do if you want to help turn things around.

Unless you have something more pressing in mind than eating food and breathing air, let’s get it done. These corporations are not holding their breath in anticipation of you taking action, but progressives are at this point! Please don’t put it off.

Here’s an example of our work. During the Alliance for Progressive Values’ lobbying event in Washington, September 22-23, members of our legislative team presented members of Congress with copies of the APV White Paper prepared by our Public Policy department on the issue of Genetically Modified Organisms.

It’s an outstanding paper, so I hope you’ll read it, too. Foxes Guarding the Hen House: Big Business, Lax Regulation and the Case Against GMOs (pdf)

The good news is, the cards are still being dealt in the political mess America is in now, but what’s showing on the table clearly indicates that we need your help. Don’t gamble on something so important by not doing something so simple. Please. Find a group that you like and join it.

You can check out APV’s website and join here if it suits you. Here’s more about having a membership – which is 25 dollars and bare bones cheap considering what we do, which you can read all about on the website.

I’m really hoping to see some new names on the list – and yours could be one of them. Think about it, please. APV has an amazing, hardworking team of volunteers, many of whom are taking time from work to do this for you, your family and the future of our country.

Thanks a million in advance!

Various media articles about the contamination of our food supply: (background)

Facebook the GOP and GeoHot

GOP Sees a Friend in Facebook — and Vice Versa

Well … so much for taking it to the streets. It’s no surprise that the 2012 campaign will play out online, that the GOP is positioning to dominate Facebook politics, or that Mark Zuckerberg is happy to play along.

Ted Ullyot, a former counsel to George W. Bush, is general counsel and a vice president at Facebook. His administration colleague Joel Kaplan, a former deputy chief of staff at the White House, is the vice president of U.S. public policy for the site. Also in the policy shop are Katie Harbath, a former Republican National Committee and National Republican Senatorial Committee digital guru; Myriah Jordan, the former counsel to North Carolina Republican Sen. Richard Burr; and Tucker Bounds, the national spokesman for John McCain during his 2008 presidential run.

It’s pretty clear that we can’t rely on our government or corporately owned and sponsored media not to spin critical news and fabricate propaganda – a pitiful Pulitzer Prize winning truth. But how illusive is the online information so many people have turned to in its place? A general lack of accountability and misinformation is what we’re getting use to, but together with the changing nature of “filter bubbles” that restrict news, preselect search results and limit or slow down access to a broad range of connections, will we find election information further marginalized by the internet?

Once an election has been decided by the court over hanging chads and other strange happenings, people may be cautious about going into an election cycle via redirected information and potentially hackable voting machines. GOP positioning with Facebook is not altogether alarming, but when the reports  begin to overlap with Facebook’s high-priced hacker hiring, we might want to stay on our toes.

GeoHot (George Hotz)

Elizabeth Warren, a CFPB no-go

Elizabeth Warren

Obama Eliminates Warren as Consumer Protection Agency Head

Very disappointing news. Elizabeth Warren seems like a good example of one who should have more control in Washington – not less. And … “too much unchecked power”? What good is a watchdog chained to the doghouse?

But, to the best hissy fit go the spoils: So, until further notice, “The agency won’t have power, for instance, to crack down on mortgage brokers, some of which helped lead the nation into the housing debacle four years ago. It also won’t have authority over other largely unregulated sectors of the financial services industry, such as payday lenders and remittance companies such as Western Union, that it was created to police.”


More on Warren – She’s a Bank Bully.

We could use a few more bank bullies! The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau would probably have been a stronger position for her – or any bank bully worth their salt, but in the senate – if she’s not swallowed up – at least she’ll be on sentry duty with Bernie Sanders.