Embracing Neverland

Mental health……………………………………………………………………………..the journey is our own

Corporate Blag

Corporate Control Of The United States The media controls the political arena and the corporations control the media. So guess who controls our United States?

Statements and Restatements It would be a serious mistake to weaken the Sarbanes-Oxley corporate reform law.

$2.45 billion: the revenues raked in by lobbyists last year. “The Center for Responsive Politics found that companies, unions and other organizations spent a record amount to lobby in 2006, in spite of the black eye from the Jack Abramoff scandal and a midterm election that caused Congress to close early.”

Tracking the Front Group “Boomerang”

FBI Abuses Patriot Act Powers  An internal justice department investigation has documented multiple abuses by the FBI in obtaining the private records of U.S. residents. Even with the broad powers of the Patriot Act in place, the Bureau is still required to certify that the phone, email and financial documents it seeks are at least related to investigations of terrorism or intelligence activities

Et Tu, Cheney?  The administration’s hyperpartisan manipulations have betrayed those principled conservatives who find themselves in the company of cheats and opportunists.

Gingrich Had Affair During Lewinski Scandal  Prospective presidential candidate Newt Gingrich has admitted to having an affair while cheerleading the assault on Bill Clinton during the Monica Lewinski scandal. Hypocrisy is nothing new to Newt, who extolled family values after serving divorce papers on his wife while she lay dying of cancer. And people are worried about Hillary and Barack’s electability!

Nike Is Leading the Race … to the Bottom  Despite promises to clean up its act, Nike is making a U-turn on its commitments to improve the sweatshop conditions for its workers overseas.

Send in the bailiffs: disgruntled customer takes hard line with bank A businessman has won a bitter battle with his bank after it failed to supply statement details that were needed to claw back illegal charges. After winning a costs order against his bank, he even sent in a firm of bailiffs to force it to pay up . . .

Greed by Any Other Name  The National Labor Relations Board found that Lawhorn’s firing and those of other union organizers were illegal. An administrative law judge said management had engaged in gross misconduct. The authorities ordered Lawhorn and others to be rehired, with back pay. Another, untainted, union election was ordered as well. None of it has happened. The case still is entangled in appeals

The Coming Wall Street Scandal  Erik Lie, a finance professor at the University of Iowa, uncovered the widespread practice of options backdating, three academics have uncovered circumstantial evidence of what appears to be either: a) another example of Wall Street-types trying to fix results ex post facto; b) a significant mishandling of data by a company that sells data for a living; or c) a big misunderstanding.

Government Health Agencies and Their Chemical Brothers  The U.S. Center for the Evaluation of Risks to Human Reproduction “was established within the National Institutes of Health to assess the dangers of chemicals and help determine which ones should be regulated,” reports Marla Cone. “But much of the agency’s work has been conducted by a private consulting company … that has been funded by more than 50 industrial companies.” Sciences International “produces the first draft of the center’s reports” and helps select “members of its scientific review panel.” Senator Barbara Boxer and Representative Henry Waxman are calling for “disclosure of Sciences International’s potential conflicts of interest” before a review of its report on bisphenol A, “a compound in plastics that has been linked to reproductive damage.” Sciences International’s private clients have included DuPont, ExxonMobil and Dow Chemical. “In a letter soliciting R.J. Reynolds as a client in 1999,” the company’s president “boasted about its close collaboration with the federal reproductive health center, as well as the EPA and other federal agencies.”

Indian Apparel Companies Gag Labor Groups with Court Filings  A judge in Bangalore, India has reaffirmed a gag order against labor organizations and supporters who seek to criticize labor conditions at factories in the region, reports the Dutch newspaper, Trouw. Workers have alleged that Fibres and Fabrics International (FFI) and Jeans Knit (JKPL), which produce garments for the European and U.S. markets, impeded workers’ freedom of association, failed to pay overtime, and committed a range of health and safety violations. The legal action initiated by the apparel factories’ owners has banned even a women’s advocacy group from making further statements, despite the many women employed at the factories. U.S. apparel companies contracting with the factories include Gap, Guess and Ann Taylor. Complaints filed against the factories with corporate social responsibility monitor Social Accountability International have failed to resolve the conflict, according to the Netherlands-based worker advocacy group, the Clean Clothes Campaign, which was also named in the gag order. Indian trade union leader Ashim Roy said “the grounds for constraining our freedom of expression are not proper and reasonable and not consistent with the constitution [of India].” The groups say they will appeal the lower court decision.

Pepsi’s Dean Three months after the Dean of the University of Minnesota Medical School, Dr. Deborah Powell, joined the board of PepsiAmericas, controversy continues over her dual roles. Senior vice president for health sciences at the university Frank Cerra defended Powell’s role to Pioneer Press reporter Paul Tosto: “What better way to get knowledge about obesity into the company than by bringing it into the boardroom?” The company, which has revenues of $3.7 billion, describes itself as “the world’s second-largest manufacturer, seller and distributor of PepsiCo beverages.” Robert Jeffery, a director of the Obesity Prevention Center at the university, said Powell’s appointment flagged the need for a “more serious conversation about where the ethical lines lie in corporate consulting.” Michele Simon, the author of “Appetite for Profit,” is critical of Powell’s appointment: “When an expert joins this kind of board, clearly it’s going to compromise their [the university’s] ability to speak out.”

Smoking Gun: Walter Reed scandal connected to Halliburton & FEMA? [VIDEO]

On the Big Issues, the NY Times Flips the Bird to Normal Americans  From calling opposition to the Iraq war a ‘fringe’ position, to endorsing sham environmentalism, to defending the low taxation of billionaires, The New York Times and the political establishment aren’t in sync with the majority of Americans. American Heart Association Sticks with Smoky Partner  The American Heart Association (AHA) is once again partnering with the Rite Aid Drug Store chain to promote its “Go Red for Women” campaign, aimed at increasing public awareness of heart disease in women. But just last year, AHA was embarrassed by the partnership after a web site featured photos of AHA’s “healthy heart” posters located immediately next to cigarette displays in Rite Aid Stores. AHA then promised tobacco control advocates that it would pull its partnership with Rite Aid. AHA does not currently list Rite Aid as a sponsor on its “Go Red” campaign web site, but the partnership was renewed for this Spring’s campaign. Rite Aid is notorious among public health advocates, for having launched its own brand of cigarettes, for helping the tobacco industry fight anti-tobacco legislation, and for fighting a bill to reduce young people’s access to cigarettes.

Makers of Sodas Try a New Pitch: They’re Healthy In coming months, Coca-Cola and PepsiCo will introduce carbonated drinks fortified with vitamins and minerals.

Coal Plant Pusher Gains Green Cred for Buyout  “The biggest leveraged buyout in history was notable not only for its finances, but also for its unusual feature of having multiple PR firms advising both sides of the deal simultaneously,” writes PR Week. The Dallas-based energy company TXU (mentioned in a previous Spin about the front groups campaigning for and against its proposed Texas coal plants) will be purchased by three equity firms for $45 billion. The PR firm Public Strategies, Inc. advised both TXU and its purchasers, as did the firm Kekst and Company. Texas Pacific, one of the purchasers, also used Owen Blicksilver PR. O’Dwyer’s PR Daily notes that “the buyout is expected to face regulatory, political and environmental concerns and the parties involved immediately moved to head off any immediate fallout,” including by securing endorsements from Environmental Defense and the Natural Resources Defense Council. The companies promised “a $400M investment in conservation over the next five years,” and appointed former Secretary of State James Baker as chair of an “advisory group on climate change.

Wal-Mart Says Worker Taped Reporter’s Calls Federal investigators are looking into the actions of a computer systems technician at Wal-Mart Stores who, over a period of several months, intercepted pager and text messages and also secretly taped telephone conversations between Wal-Mart employees and a reporter for The New York Times, the company said yesterday.

Is It Ethical to Shop at Wal-Mart?  Wal-Mart, the world’s largest retailer, is the largest corporation and private employer in the United States. Wal-Mart is consistently listed among America’s most admired companies by Fortune magazine. At the same time, it is frequently the target of criticism for its employment practices and its effect on the larger economy and community. How should consumers evaluate these issues? Is it ethical to shop at Wal-Mart?

Wal-Mart Execs Amuse Themselves Playing Favorites Wal-Mart is different from other retailers. That was already apparent when the company’s founder, Sam Walton, decided he could sell more Moon Pies by giving the marshmallow treats some special attention. He embraced them as his own, personal VPI, which in Wal-Mart Speak means Value Producing Item, and did all he could to get them to fly off the shelves. Mr. Walton died in 1992, but company executives are still at the VPI thing and having tons of fun.

Ex-news tycoon insists he is innocent  Former newspaper tycoon Lord Conrad Black has insisted that he will be “vindicated” in his fraud trial

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