Another few pieces of evidence that we're all headed downhill far quicker than we might of thought: Americans spend twice as much on soda pop, $54 billion, as they do on books. Coca-Cola is paying the Boys & Girls Clubs of America $60 million for exclusive marketing rights at its over 2,000 clubs nationwide, forbidding the sale of milk or juices. The average 12-19 year old male drinks 868 cans of soda every year. Teenagers drink twice as much sodas as milk.
45 million acres of America's farmland is now dedicated to growing genetically engineered foods. Not only are there no laws or regulations forcing these foods to be so labeled but these foods have never been tested for even short-term safety let alone life-long consumption. These genetically created foods even have the ability to grow seeds which are, themselves, sterile, destroying the ability of farmers to save seeds from one crop to sow in their fields the next year. This will completely destroy Third World farmers as they seldom have the resources to buy new seeds year after year, leading to even greater famine and need in those lands where food is in short supply now.
Monsanto Corp., not only a leading creator of genetically altered seeds (and a vigorous pursuer of anyone who pirates any brand or variety of these seeds) was able to kill a Florida TV station's documentary regarding their milk hormone, rBGH. The two reporters, Steve Wilson and Jane Akre, were ordered to alter the series and knowingly provide false and misleading information by their Fox TV owners and by Monsanto, themselves. When they continued to refuse to lie, they were fired and the entire series killed for all time.
Bernard Schwartz, CEO of Loral Corporation, has found exactly what it takes in order to sell top secret satellite technology to Communist China (has anyone else noticed that all media now use the name China instead of Communist China? Has China given up on Communism or is it simply that Corporate America doesn't want Americans to think about it when they buy cheap goods manufactured by Chinese political prisoners?). He simply became the largest campaign contributor to the Democrats in the 1997-1998 election cycle, then politely asked the administration to waive the barriers of China's dismal history of human right's abuses and to, basically, pretend that China wasn't really selling missiles and missile technology to Iran in order to clear the way for his corporation's sales of this satellite technology to a known supporter of terrorist activities and causes. At the same time that he was claiming that his huge contributions and the approval of his satellite deal was only a "coincidence", federal prosecutors were investigating whether he had supplied confidential information to make the Chinese missiles more reliable. With Clinton's approval of the deal, the investigation was pretty much undermined and a criminal (actually, supplying secret technology to other nations is outright treason, dwarfing the perjury charges against Clinton) of huge proportions was allowed to profit handsomely as well as providing a potential military enemy technology that enables them to launch warheads accurately and cheaply.
American based oil corporations are profiting from the torture and murder of hundreds of indigenous peoples and protesters around the world. Naturally, they have found many ways to hide their responsibility from the American people and the world's media. But not from you and I, right?!?
Chevron has participated in the murder of protesters in the Niger Delta of Nigeria by transporting the hated and feared MOPOL troops (Nigerian Navy and Mobile Police) to a drilling platform taken over by individuals of indigenous tribes who were demanding a stop to the destruction of their lands and the poverty rampant in the midst of wealth that was being taken to the military rulers and to the share holders of Chevron. These troops opened fire, without warning, on the unarmed crowd as soon as the helicopter touched down. Two were killed immediately, many wounded and the rest imprisoned for weeks without charge. Naturally, Chevron claims innocence by stating that it was the troops who did the damage but will not address the fact that it was their helicopter and pilot which transportted the troops to the platform.
Mobil Oil Corporation supplied earthmoving equipment to the Indonesian government's Army Special Forces to dig mass graves for victims of torture and murder Mobil Oil tried mightily to pretend that they weren't aware of the atrocities but, as H. Sayed Mudhalar, a former top government official from the region stated, "There wasn't a single person in Aceh (the area directly concerned) who didn't know that massacres were taking place. From children, to the elderly, to the mentally ill, everybody was afraid".
Unocal faces a far more unique challenge in the state of California. In September of 1998, then Attorney-General Dan Lungren was given a 127 page petition demanding that the state begin charter revocation proceedings against Union Oil Company of California (UNOCAL). Lungren ,being a Republican, of course refused but, as he was soundly defeated later in his run for the office of governor, his successor promises to revisit the petition. Calling Unocal "a dangerous scofflaw corporation", the petition lists a long catalogue of the corporation's many offenses against the environment and the health and safety of its own employees and exposes that Unocal was deeply involved with human rights violations in Afghanistan and Burma as well as having "usurped political power." In just the year 1998, Unocal paid $7 million to settle air pollution charges in Alaska, paid $200 million to tear apart a California town contaminated by oil and paid $43.8 million to settle oil contamination charges in central California. As only once before has a corporation had its charter revoked, in 1976 when a Republican AG tried to dissolve a private water company for providing impure water to its customers, the petition faces a truly uphill battle.
Want something to think about the next time you go shopping at your local Wal-Mart? Founder Sam Walton began the business by using Asian child labor to produce products that he then happily labeled "Made in the USA". His hiring of union-busting lawyers resulted in under paid, unorganized workers, many of whom qualify for food stamps. When his American workers speak out or ask for raises, they are summarily fired. Pity his overseas sweatshop workers, though, who are kidnapped, beaten, raped and murdered for the sin of speaking about union organization efforts with an American reporter.
Finally, as you were warned in an earlier article, the FDA has completely been compromised by the Republican's vile attacks on America's consumers. The drug Rezulin, developed by Warner-Lambert for patients who suffer from diabetes, has now been linked to even more deaths, now up to 33 that can be directly proven. Having already been pulled off the shelves in Britain, the drug was put on the FDA's fast track for approval. When the chief reviewer, Dr. John Gueriguian, opposed the approval due to its many harmful potential side effects and after the drug's manufacturer complained about his "behavior" at a meeting, he was removed form the review evaluation. Even after the first patient deaths were reported in 1997 and another FDA medical officer estimated that over 12,000 Rezulin users would experience liver injury and another 2,000 would die unless their liver functions were closely monitored, the drug continued to be manufactured and prescribed. Even, finally, when a third FDA official, Dr. G. Alexander Fleming, suggested restricting the recommended use of the drug, he was pressured into retracting his suggestion under pressure from the manufacturer, Warner-Lambert and his superiors at the FDA. Ignoring all of the evidence of the dangers of the drug and over the objections of some of its most respected medical evaluators, the FDA blithely allows the drug to remain on the market where it continues to cause death and, in many instances, eventually causes the patient to undergo liver transplants in the unsuspecting public. This, gentle readers, is the true cost of the Republican's "Contract on America". Your life means absolutely nothing compared to the massive campaign contributions that both parties so love but which the Republicans have made an art of selling themselves for.
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