Lobbying

Spinning the Tax Cuts

BPlogoDemocrats argue that Republicans' plan to extend the Bush-era tax cuts for the nation's wealthiest citizens would add $700 billion to the national debt over the next ten years. While this is true, Democrats usually don't mention that Obama's plan to extend tax cuts for just middle and low income wage earners would also add to the national debt.

No

U.S. Chamber Accused of Tax Fraud, Money Laundering

Two national watchdog groups, U.S. Chamber Watch and StopTheChamber.com, have filed complaints with the U.S. Internal Revenue Service asking the agency to investigate the U.S. Chamber of Commerce for criminal fraud and money laundering.

No

Philip Morris Astroturfs Australia's Plain Cigarette Pack Law

Plain cigarette packEarlier this year, Australia became the first country to announce plans to make tobacco companies use plain, uncolored cigarette packs with few or no logos that bear only graphic health warnings.

No

Lauria Quit Cigarettes, But Now He's on the Bottle

Tom LauriaOld tobacco industry PR flacks don't go away, they just defend different products for money. So it is with former Tobacco Institute spokesman Thomas Lauria, who is now defending bottled water.

Seems benign enough. After all, fighting for water -- albeit in an over-commercialized, overpriced and polluting form -- instead of cigarettes would seem to be an improvement for Lauria. But just as he battled efforts to educate people about the health hazards of secondhand smoke, Lauria is now battling efforts to educate people about the hoax that is bottled water.

Telecoms Force Customers to Pay for Nothing

clipart of phone with dollar signs dialTime Warner Cable has figured how to make customers pay more for a "service" that consists of doing absolutely nothing: it doubled its fee to not print customers' names in the phone book. Time Warner now charges $1.99 a month, or almost $24 a year, for an unlisted number.

No

T-Boone Pickens and the Truth about All that Drilling

T. Boone PickensThe home page of T. Boone Pickens' "Pickens Plan" is emblematic of the oil industry's aggressive push to drill for natural gas in the Marcellus Shale basin. The page greets visitors with the blaring headline, "WE MUST BREAK AMERICA'S ADDICTION TO FOREIGN OIL. The Pickens Plan will do it, but we need your help."

In the age of the perpetual War on terrorism, politicians, pundits and other U.S. demagogues have successfully used fear as a bargaining chip. Fear-mongering is a method of Orwellian thought control. In this example, Pickens equates foreign oil with evil, similar to the Bush Administration's Orewellian logic regarding American's position in the world: "You're either with us, or you're with the enemy." Bush put forth a false paradigm of absolute good versus absolute evil. The Bush Administration used fear as a political tool after 9/11 to march the country into war, and convince citizens that we need to permit domestic spying to keep us safe domestically. (Think Patriot Act). Fear also led to the heinous crimes committed at Guantanamo Bay and Abu Ghraib Detention Centers.

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