Wednesday, February 16, 2011


Howdy you all,
This is Bill from Sheridan, WY. Today, the National Trust for Historic Preservation named Sheridan, Wyoming, one of its 2011 Dozen Distinctive Destinations! I am writing you to ask you to VOTE in the National Trust for Historic Preservation "Distinctive Destinations" Fan Favorite Contest!
If you have never been here, well take my word for it, you should vote for Sheridan, PLEASE!!!!! Thanks. The link is above and in the article. So, Vote now, and vote often, because, you can, well at least vote once a day! Thank you very much! And Sheridan thanks you very much too!
Best wishes always,

Howdy William

Today...Tomorrow and each day until March 15th

Help make Sheridan
#1 Again!
In this year's
Distinctive Destinations


Today, the National Trust for Historic Preservation named Sheridan, Wyoming, one of its 2011 Dozen Distinctive Destinations!

Sheridan, nominated by Sheridan Travel and Tourism, was selected for its vibrant Main Street commercial district, abundant recreational opportunities, and its authentic Western character, all set "in the shadow of the Big Horns." 

The Sheridan Area Tourism Celebration will be held at the Historic Sheridan Inn on Friday, February 18th, 4-7 pm.  From February 15 to March 15, Sheridan will be participating in a public online voting contest to select the 2011 Dozen Distinctive Destinations "Fan Favorite" .  .  .  Visit

For 11 years the National Trust for Historic Preservation has annually selected communities across America that offer cultural and recreational experiences different from those found at the typical vacation destination.  From dynamic downtowns and stunning architecture to cultural diversity and a commitment to historic preservation, sustainability and revitalization, the selected destinations boast a richness of character and exude an authentic sense of place. 
"Sheridan is a classic Western town, offering visitors a real taste of its ranching, farming and mining heritage, as well as contemporary theater, arts and dining opportunities," said Stephanie Meeks, president of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.  "Outdoor enthusiasts, history buffs and shoppers alike will be amazed by Sheridan's amenities, including hiking, hunting and fishing; archeological sites and public art; and top-notch purveyors of Western art and apparel."     

Read More

Penny L. Becker, Executive Director
Sheridan Travel and Tourism
Sheridan, Wyoming - Voted #1 Western Town in America!
307-673-7120 -

Copyright © 2000 - 2011 Sheridan Travel and Tourism All Rights Reserved

Sunday, February 13, 2011

The Great Compromiser Allows Republican'ts to Direct the narrative on Budget Reform! Amazing!

"This country will not be a permanently good place for any of us to live in unless we make it a reasonably good place for all of us to live in." -Teddy Roosevelt- Chicago, IL, June 17, 1912

President Barack Obama has chosen to fight fire with gasoline. Go figure! If the first 2 years didn't teach him that the Republican'ts don't negotiate, when will he actually learn? I have never seen a President give up so much before he has even negotiated a damn thing. A perfect example is the public option. That he gave up to big healthcare. Anyone that believes Barack Obama is progressive is on drugs, and/or mentally challenged, period.

Republicans want America to believe the economy is still lousy because government is too big, and the way to revive the economy is to cut federal spending. Today (Sunday) Republican Speaker John Boehner even refused to rule out a government shut-down if Republicans don't get the spending cuts they want.

Tomorrow (Monday) Obama pours gas on the Republican flame by proposing a 2012 federal budget that cuts the federal deficit by $1.1 trillion over 10 years. About $400 billion of this will come from a five-year freeze on non-security discretionary spending -- including all sorts of programs for poor and working-class Americans, such as heating assistance to low-income people. Most of the rest from additional spending cuts.

That means the Great Debate that starts this week will be set by Republicans: Does Obama cut enough spending? How much more will he have cut in order to appease Republicans? If they don't get the spending cuts they want, will Tea-Party Republicans demand a shut-down?

Framed this way, the debate invites deficit hawks on both sides of the aisle to criticize Democrats and Republicans alike for failing to take on Social Security and Medicare entitlements. Expect Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson, co-chairs of Obama's deficit commission, to say the President needs to do more. Expect Alice Rivlin and Paul Ryan, respectively former Clinton hawk and current Republican budget hawk, to tout their plan for chopping Medicare.

It's the wrong debate about the wrong thing at the wrong time.

To official Washington it seems like the 1995 playbook all over again, when Bill Clinton and Newt Gingrich played a game of chicken over cutting the budget deficit, the hawks warned about the perils of giant deficits, and the 1996 general election loomed over all of it. Washington politicians and the media know this playbook, so it's natural for them to take on the same roles, make the same arguments, and build up to the same showdown over a government shutdown and a climactic presidential election.

But the 1995 playbook is irrelevant. In 1995 the economy was roaring back to life. The recession of 1991 had been caused (as are most recessions) by the Fed raising interest rates too high to ward off inflation. So reversing course was relatively simple. Alan Greenspan and the Fed cut interest rates.

This is 2011 and most Americans are still in the throes of the Great Recession, which was caused by the bursting of a giant debt bubble. The Fed can't reverse course by cutting interest rates; rates have been near zero for two years.

Big American companies are sitting on almost $2 trillion of cash because there aren't enough customers to buy additional goods and services. The only people with money are the richest 10 percent whose stock portfolios have been roaring back to life, but their spending isn't enough to spur much additional hiring.

The Republican bromide -- cut federal spending -- is precisely the wrong response to this ongoing crisis, which is more analogous to the Great Depression than to any recent recession. Herbert Hoover responded the same way between 1929 and 1932. Insufficient spending only deepened the Great Depression.

The best way to revive the economy is not to cut the federal deficit right now. It's to put more money into the pockets of average working families. Not until they start spending again big time will companies begin to hire again big time.

Don't cut the government services they rely on -- help with college loans for their kids, help affording home heating oil, and the rest. State and local budget cuts are already causing enough pain.

The most direct way to get more money into their pockets is to expand the Earned Income Tax Credit (a wage subsidy) all the way up through people earning $50,000, and reduce their income taxes to zero. Taxes on incomes between $50,000 and $90,000 should be cut to 10 percent; between $90,000 and $150,000 to 20 percent; between $150,000 and $250,000 to 30 percent.

And exempt the first $20,000 of income from payroll taxes.

Make up the revenues by increasing taxes on incomes between $250,000 to $500,000 to 40 percent; between $500,000 and $5 million, to 50 percent; between $5 million and $15 million, to 60 percent; and anything over $15 million, to 70 percent.

And raise the ceiling on the portion of income subject to payroll taxes to $500,000.

The lion's share of America's income and wealth is at the top. Taxing the very rich won't hurt the economy. They spend a much smaller portion of their incomes than everyone else.

Sure -- take some steps to cut federal spending over the longer term. Cut the bloated defense budget by 10 percent a year. Tame the growth in healthcare costs by allowing the federal government to use its bargaining clout -- as the nation's biggest purchaser of drugs and hospital services under Medicare and Medicaid and the Veterans Administration -- to get low prices. While we're at it, cut agricultural subsidies.

But don't believe for a moment that federal spending cuts anytime soon will get the economy growing soon. They'll have the opposite effect because they'll reduce total demand.

The progressive tax system I've outlined will get the economy growing again. This, in turn, will bring down the ratio of the debt as a proportion of the total economy -- the only yardstick of fiscal prudence that counts.

But we can't get to this point -- or even to have a debate about it -- if Obama allows Republicans to frame the debate as how much federal spending can be cut and how to shrink the deficit. He has to reframe the debate and remind America this is not 1995.  This is 2011, and we're still in a jobs crisis brought on by the bursting of a giant debt bubble and the implosion of total demand.
By Robert Reich with help from me.
"Washing one's hands of the conflict between the powerful and the powerless means to side with the powerful, not to be neutral." -Paolo Friere-

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

The lack of "Ethics" at "Americans Against Food Taxes"!

Dear Politifacts,
You all forgot to mention in your breakdown about this info:

Americans Against Food Taxes?: Who's Really Fighting Preventative Medicine?

by Sara Novak,   on 11. 8.09

Business & Politics
"It didn't take long. Shortly after several leading health researchers published a paper in the New England Journal of Medicine calling for a tax on sugar sweetened beverages as a means of stemming American obesity, an immense lobbying effort to defeat the measure began in Washington and around the country. As is often the case, corporate speech is again being camouflaged as individual angst."

Americans Against Food Taxes is flexing its political muscle in an effort to halt the passage of the proposed sugar sweetened beverages tax. While the group's commercials portray the tax as symptom of a runaway government unnecessarily dipping its hands into the pockets of struggling families to rob them of simple pleasures like of sipping on a soda, the crafters of this message are decidedly corporate. The membership and pocket book of Americans Against Food Taxes is dominated by Coca Cola, Pepsi-Cola, McDonald's, Domino's Pizza, Delta Airlines, and other corporations who know that any increase in the cost of sugar sweetened beverages will cut into their bottom line. And Brian wrote that the tax could actually generate a combined $10 billion per year in revenue to cash strapped states.

The coalition has already poured $24 million into lobbying efforts against the tax. The group has already spent $5 million on advertising alone, according to Huffington Post.

Are commercials like this meant to convey the pleas of hard working Americans who can't speak for themselves, or are they just disingenuous corporate speech?

A Win-Win For Consumers
In order for health care reform to be effective, it must address preventative care issues as a primary avenue for cost reduction.

According to

"The nation faces epidemics of obesity and chronic diseases as well as new threats of pandemic flu and bioterrorism. Yet despite all of this less than 4 cents of every health care dollar is spent on prevention and public health. Our health care system has become a disease care system, and the time for change is well overdue."

American soda consumption is not simply a casual pleasure sipped while camping or at the family dinner table. The average American drinks more than 50 gallons of soda and other sugar-sweetened beverages each year. That level of consumption adds about 39 pounds of sugar to a person's diet.

According to Dr. Harold Goldstein of the California Center for Public Health Advocacy, "[t]he science [is] clear and conclusive: soda and other sugar-sweetened beverages are leading contributors to the nation's runaway obesity epidemic."

Sugar-sweetened beverages account for 10 to 15 percent of the calories consumed by children and adolescents, according to an April 2009 report in the New England Journal of Medicine written in Huffington Post. One way of combating this self-inflicted epidemic that will continue to weigh down the cost of health care is by creating a disincentive to unhealthy behavior that can also help fund remedial care with a soda tax.

Soda Taxing the Planet?
Soda ain't what it used to be. The soda fountains of yore have long been replaced by mega-corporations that mass produce gluttonous batches of corn syrup and artificial flavorings. Natural flavoring and actual sugar have long been replaced by a cheap derivative, corn syrup. It's one of the laundry list of artificial ingredients that adorn the sides of the soft drink industry's endless cascade of aluminum cans and plastic bottles.

High fructose corn syrup comes from corn that is grown as a monoculture. I've written before that monocultures are often dressed with a toxic cocktail of pesticides so that the homogenous grain can survive in evolving circumstances. Monocultures can also deplete the nutrients in soil and lead to erosion. In addition, these massive corporations consume a tremendous amount of energy in processing the sugary paste that keeps America on an unnatural sugar high.

Americans Against Food Taxes against the American voter! By:Eugene Halus Montgomery County Democrat Examiner
September 25th, 2010 9:09 pm ET

Americans Against Food Taxes present themselves as being reasonable and on the side of taxpayers. In a current television commercial that they are running they begin with a mother speaking the line, "Feeding a family is difficult in this economy…", as she begins to unload a cart full of groceries. The first thing she unloads is a two liter soft drink bottle. She goes on to talk about how unfair taxes on food are and asserts that the government is trying to control what we eat and drink as if it were some innate liberty. Not a fruit, vegetable or lean protein is within sight.

The commercial is actually quite condescending to the average American, and an examination of the website of Americans Against Food Taxes only further evidences a lack of concern about Americans. Understand we are not talking about apples, broccoli or chicken here. We are talking about soda, chips and highly processed foods. It's the people making these sorts of products who are claiming that the American government is impeding the liberty of citizens. They are mad that your highly caloric, tasteless piece of fast pseudo-food will be taxed. This is evidenced by the list of Americans Against Food Taxes. It reads like a list of companies that would have protested movies such as Supersize Me and Food, Inc. – 7-Eleven, Burger King, Coca-Cola, Domino's, Pepsi, Hardees, McDonald's, Welch's and Yum! Brands. It helps to keep in mind that many of these companies own subsidiaries in the fast food business too. For example, Pepsi owns Kentucky Fried Chicken and Taco Bell. Other members include automatic merchandising corporations. The folks who own the soda machines and snack machines that are nearly ubiquitous in America, especially in school cafeterias. Lastly supermarket, restaurant, and food processors associations as well as manufacturing firms that make components of fast food – think packaging, cups, plastic lids, etc. – largely make up the rest of the list of prominent members.

So what do we actually have here? A group called Americans Against Food Taxes founded by and receiving almost all of its operational funds from major corporations that serve highly caloric foods of questionable nutritional value. Where is America? The organization will say it is in all of the people who have signed their petitions. Let's grant them that for a moment. Is this still a group that is representing the views of the American people and not its own profit margin? That is doubtful at best.

The clear interest in the profit margin is made all the more clear when Americans Against Food Taxes asserts that education not taxation is the proper solution. That if Americans only knew how many calories were in that sandwich they would not order so many of them. In reality most of these corporations have made their nutritional information available for years. This is nothing new. Although if the reader were to try and find this information in your local fast food restaurant of choice odds are you will have to ask for it and they may have it behind the counter. If these fast food companies are so sure of the importance of education why can we often not find this information in so many of these places that sell highly processed fast food? For how many years has such information been available on almost every product in your grocery store?

Americans Against Food Taxes also tries to scare anyone visiting the website by asserting that they are against taxes because taxes will inexorably result in job losses. For the fast food industry maybe a tax is going to decimate that dollar menu…not. As for the supermarkets, if the tax does indeed cause people to choose other food items over processed food are they not still the companies making the sale? The same holds true for many of the companies making the packaging.

When the fear of job losses does not work Americans Against Food Taxes turns to science, and cites numerous articles questioning the role of processed foods in the American diet. What would be interesting to know and Americans Against Food Taxes never tells is who is paying for these studies. We know that for years tobacco companies paid "scientific" researchers to produce studies asserting the safety of smoking. If these foods are so safe why are none of these CEOs offering to go on a Gordon Spurlock type diet? What would an all Burger King, McDonald's or Taco Bell diet do to you if that was all you ate for a month? If this stuff is safe then let's see a CEO pony up and prove it.

In reality what these companies are against is not taxation. They are against you eating a more nutritious diet because many of them are the ones who will not be making a profit on it. When America has an obesity crisis, record levels of heart and cancer problems and is panicked about health care costs it sounds more like government is trying to figure out how to react to a national crisis rather than developing some extensive plan to impede personal liberties. If someone eats a diet high in processed foods that are high in calories and low in nutrition one does not need a medical degree to figure out what will in all likelihood happen.

We need to realize what is really afoot here. Economists speak of externality, which in laymen's terms means the following. If in producing something one can pass the cost on to another party then it would be economically wise to do so. Americans Against Food Taxes wants to pass on the costs of their business to the rest of us. Many of the industries that are part of Americans Against Food Taxes already receive significant governmental subsidies as do the businesses that supply them such as the food processors who deal in sugar and corn. These companies already get massive subsidies, and that may be where the real problem is. Perhaps Americans should not be taxed to discourage them from eating this stuff, and we should stand with Americans Against Food Taxes on this point as soon as they tell Congress to forgo all of the massive subsidies they receive and agree to compete in a free and unimpeded market.

Start a revolution, eat a rutabaga. They actually taste pretty good.

And This-

Americans Against Food Taxes

From SourceWatch

This article is part of the Center for Media & Democracy's spotlight on front groups and corporate spin.

Americans Against Food Taxes (AAFT) is a front group funded by the beverage industry which consists of major restaurant chains, food and soft drink manufacturers and their associated lobbying groups. It was organized by the American Beverage Association to fight a proposed three to ten cent tax on soda, sugary drinks and energy drinks to help fund health care reform in the United States. [1][2]

Its Web site states that Americans Against Food Taxes is a "coalition of concerned citizens – responsible individuals, financially strapped families, small and large businesses in communities across the country" who opposed a government-proposed tax on food and beverages, including soda, juice drinks, and flavored milks. But its extensive membership consists mainly of lobbying groups for packaged food and soda companies, chain restaurant corporations and the world's large food and soft drink manufacturers and distributors, including the Coca-Cola Company, Dr. Pepper-Royal Crown Bottling Co., PepsiCo, Canada Dry Bottling Co. of New York, the Can Manufacturers Institute, 7-Eleven Convenience Stores, and Yum! Brands.

The group's Web site bears quotes of opinion leaders opining against the new tax, including Tom Coburn (R-OK) quoted on National Public Radio as saying, "I don't believe we need to tax one penny more to fix health care in this country." The group's Web site also states, "Discriminatory and punitive taxes on soda and juice drinks do not teach our children to have a healthy lifestyle, and have no meaningful impact on child obesity or public health."

AAFT also has a Facebook page and a Twitter feed. Twitter feeds from July 2009 announced that the Wisconsin Petroleum Marketers and Convenience Store Association and the convenience store chain Kwik Trip had joined the group, as well as a number of state beverage associations.[3]

As an alternative to the tax, AAFT proposes placing the responsibility for decisions about food intake on children, saying, "Teaching our kids how to eat a variety of foods and beverages in moderation is essential to developing skills for a lifetime. That is why we support efforts to provide nutrition education in schools." The coalition also supports legislation mandating physical activity for children at school. The group's Web site also touts that beverage manufacturers have adopted voluntary codes regarding marketing to children. [4] [5]

The group has a toll-free 800 number, but its fax number traces to Washington, D.C. It offers no street address on its Web site. It's domain name,, is registered to Goddard Claussen public relations, based in Washington, D.C. Goddard Claussen's Web site boasts, "Fortune magazine branded us the 'Go-to guys in issue advocacy' because of our groundbreaking public affairs and branding campaigns, our industry-leading 9 out of 10 win record on ballot measure campaigns, and our history-making issue advocacy campaigns."[6]

New York Times "The Ethicist" on Americans Against Food Taxes

In a September 21, 2009 column titled "The Moral of the Story," New York Times Ethicist Randy Cohen wrote an article titled, "An Anti-Tax Argument that's Hard to Swallow." He wrote,

Such errors of reasoning might be seen as intellectual, not moral, failings, but it is difficult to extend that benefit of the doubt to Americans Against Food Taxes, which describes itself as "a coalition of concerned citizens —- responsible individuals, financially strapped families, small and large businesses in communities across the country." As was reported in The Times, A.A.F.T. looks like a veiled industry organization; calls to a media contact listed on the group's Web site go to the American Beverage Association. This smells like Astroturf, or corporate lobbyists posing as a grass-roots organization. It is entirely suitable for interested parties to participate in public debate; it is not suitable to conceal who's doing the debating.[7]


Americans Against Food Taxes
Phone: 866-538-9200
Fax: 202-403-3830

Articles and resources

Related SourceWatch articles


  1. Jordy Yager GOP, tax groups criticize tax on rich The, July 11, 2009
  2. Carolyn Lochhead, "Industry battles proposals to tax sugary sodas", San Francisco Chronicle, August 16, 2009.
  3. Americans Against Food Taxes, Twitter feed, accessed July 19, 2009.
  4. Americans Against Food Taxes Americans Against Food Taxes Facts, accessed July 18
  5. Americans Against Food Taxes About Us, accessed July 18, 2009
  6., WhoIs Domain Name Registration , accessed July 18, 2009.
  7. Randy Cohen, "An Anti-Tax Argument That's Hard to Swallow", the Ethicist (blog), New York Times, September 21, 2009.
It's only fair to say who these folks really are, and they aren't your average Joe and Jill, impoverished by hi taxes. That's total hypocrisy!
Thanks for your time, as you folks do great work.
"Washing one's hands of the conflict between the powerful and the powerless means to side with the powerful, not to be neutral." -Paolo Friere-

Sunday, February 6, 2011

"The Top 10 Things Sarah Palin, Republics, NeoCons, and RWNJ lie About Ronnie Reagan and His Legacy"

Sarah Palin has a little place in her heart for Ronnie and the Faux Legend. I bet the ranch on it, but if you sat Palin down and asked her about these following 10 lies, she would say all the lies are true. Any Takers?

Today will mark the 100th anniversary of President Reagan's birth, and all week, conservatives have been trying to outdo each others' remembrances of the great conservative icon. Senate Republicans spent much of Thursday singing Reagan's praise from the Senate floor, while conservative publications have been running non-stop commemorations. Meanwhile, the Republican National Committee and former GOP House Speaker Newt Gingrich are hoping to make a few bucks off the Gipper's centennial.

But Reagan was not the man conservatives claim he was. This image of Reagan as a conservative superhero is myth, created to untie the various factions of the right behind a common leader. In reality, Reagan was no conservative ideologue or flawless commander-in-chief. Reagan regularly strayed from conservative dogma — he raised taxes eleven times as president while tripling the deficit — and he often ended up on the wrong side of history, like when he vetoed an Anti-Apartheid bill.

Remind you of anything happening now?

ThinkProgress has compiled a list of the top 10 things conservatives rarely mention when talking about President Reagan:
1. Reagan was a serial tax raiser. As governor of California, Reagan "signed into law the largest tax increase in the history of any state up till then." Meanwhile, state spending nearly doubled. As president, Reagan "raised taxes in seven of his eight years in office," including four times in just two years. As former GOP Senator Alan Simpson, who called Reagan "a dear friend," told NPR, "Ronald Reagan raised taxes 11 times in his administration — I was there." "Reagan was never afraid to raise taxes," said historian Douglas Brinkley, who edited Reagan's memoir. Reagan the anti-tax zealot is "false mythology," Brinkley said.
2. Reagan nearly tripled the federal budget deficit. During the Reagan years, the debt increased to nearly $3 trillion, "roughly three times as much as the first 80 years of the century had done altogether." Reagan enacted a major tax cut his first year in office and government revenue dropped off precipitously. Despite the conservative myth that tax cuts somehow increase revenue, the government went deeper into debt and Reagan had to raise taxes just a year after he enacted his tax cut. Despite ten more tax hikes on everything from gasoline to corporate income, Reagan was never able to get the deficit under control.
3. Unemployment soared after Reagan's 1981 tax cuts. Unemployment jumped to 10.8 percent after Reagan enacted his much-touted tax cut, and it took years for the rate to get back down to its previous level. Meanwhile, income inequality exploded. Despite the myth that Reagan presided over an era of unmatched economic boom for all Americans, Reagan disproportionately taxed the poor and middle class, but the economic growth of the 1980′s did little help them. "Since 1980, median household income has risen only 30 percent, adjusted for inflation, while average incomes at the top have tripled or quadrupled," the New York Times' David Leonhardt noted.
4. Reagan grew the size of the federal government tremendously. Reagan promised "to move boldly, decisively, and quickly to control the runaway growth of federal spending," but federal spending "ballooned" under Reagan. He bailed out Social Security in 1983 after attempting to privatize it, and set up a progressive taxation system to keep it funded into the future. He promised to cut government agencies like the Department of Energy and Education but ended up adding one of the largest — the Department of Veterans' Affairs, which today has a budget of nearly $90 billion and close to 300,000 employees. He also hiked defense spending by over $100 billion a year to a level not seen since the height of the Vietnam war.
5. Reagan did little to fight a woman's right to choose. As governor of California in 1967, Reagan signed a bill to liberalize the state's abortion laws that "resulted in more than a million abortions." When Reagan ran for president, he advocated a constitutional amendment that would have prohibited all abortions except when necessary to save the life of the mother, but once in office, he "never seriously pursued" curbing choice.
6. Reagan was a "bellicose peacenik." He wrote in his memoirs that "[m]y dream…became a world free of nuclear weapons." "This vision stemmed from the president's belief that the biblical account of Armageddon prophesied nuclear war — and that apocalypse could be averted if everyone, especially the Soviets, eliminated nuclear weapons," the Washington Monthly noted. And Reagan's military buildup was meant to crush the Soviet Union, but "also to put the United States in a stronger position from which to establish effective arms control" for the the entire world — a vision acted out by Reagan's vice president, George H.W. Bush, when he became president.
7. Reagan gave amnesty to 3 million undocumented immigrants. Reagan signed into law a bill that made any immigrant who had entered the country before 1982 eligible for amnesty. The bill was sold as a crackdown, but its tough sanctions on employers who hired undocumented immigrants were removed before final passage. The bill helped 3 million people and millions more family members gain American residency. It has since become a source of major embarrassment for conservatives.
8. Reagan illegally funneled weapons to Iran. Reagan and other senior U.S. officials secretly sold arms to officials in Iran, which was subject to a an arms embargo at the time, in exchange for American hostages. Some funds from the illegal arms sales also went to fund anti-Communist rebels in Nicaragua — something Congress had already prohibited the administration from doing. When the deals went public, the Iran-Contra Affair, as it came to be know, was an enormous political scandal that forced several senior administration officials to resign.
9. Reagan vetoed a comprehensive anti-Apartheid act. which placed sanctions on South Africa and cut off all American trade with the country. Reagan's veto was overridden by the Republican-controlled Senate. Reagan responded by saying "I deeply regret that Congress has seen fit to override my veto," saying that the law "will not solve the serious problems that plague that country."
10. Reagan helped create the Taliban and Osama Bin Laden. Reagan fought a proxy war with the Soviet Union by training, arming, equipping, and funding Islamist mujahidin fighters in Afghanistan. Reagan funneled billions of dollars, along with top-secret intelligence and sophisticated weaponry to these fighters through the Pakistani intelligence service. The Taliban and Osama Bin Laden — a prominent mujaheddin commander — emerged from these mujaheddin groups Reagan helped create, and U.S. policy towards Pakistan remains strained because of the intelligence services' close relations to these fighters. In fact, Reagan's decision to continue the proxy war after the Soviets were willing to retreat played a direct role in Bin Laden's ascendancy.
Conservatives seem to be in such denial about the less flattering aspects of Reagan; it sometimes appears as if they genuinely don't know the truth of his legacy. Yesterday, when liberal activist Mike Stark challenged hate radio host Rush Limbaugh on why Reagan remains a conservative hero despite raising taxes so many times, Limbaugh flew into a tirade and demanded, "Where did you get this silly notion that Reagan raised taxes?"

Read original post here and this is another great article by: By Alex Seitz-Wald at Think Progress!

Update- Salon has more in their series "The Real Reagan," including how he cared more about UFOs than AIDS and how Reagan destroyed respect for the social compact that rebuilt America after World War II.

"Washing one's hands of the conflict between the powerful and the powerless means to side with the powerful, not to be neutral." -Paolo Friere-

Saturday, February 5, 2011

"Teacher Union Exposed" is another astro-turf front group by right-winger and pro big-business asshole Rick Berman!

Dear corporate shills,
Do me and the other 1/2 million Wyomingites a favor, and stay the fuck out of our business you corporate shills. If you or your boss Berman "The Corporate C@#$%&*%r" had any balls, you would show you ugly faces in town. But you asshole sold your souls to the devil, and we all know where you will eventually end up. So, stay the fuck out of our business. And you all are such wussies as you deleted opposing views on your FB page "Teacher Union Exposed" like Palin.
You're ALL COWARDS, hiding behind your computers and lying to the world! You are all whores to your corporate masters!

The Center for Union Facts is a secretive front group for individuals and industries opposed to union activities. It is part of lobbyist Rick Berman's family of front groups including the Employment Policies Institute. The domain name was registered to Berman & Co. in May 2005. Some contact e-mails:



In May 2006 the Center for Union Facts, launched its first TV ad campaign. The 30-second spot, running on Fox News and local markets, has "actors posing as workers" saying "sarcastically what they 'love' about unions," like paying dues, union leaders' "fat-cat lifestyles," and discrimination against minorities. The ad campaign cost $3 million, which was raised "from companies, foundations and individuals that Mr. Berman won't identify." [1]

The group planned to film another TV ad in June 2006. Labor and economics professor Harley Shaiken said the effort "to create an anti-union atmosphere" more generally, as opposed to business-funded ads against a particular union organizing drive or strike, "is a new wrinkle." An AFL-CIO spokesperson called the ad's accusations "unfounded and outrageous." [2]

In June 2007, the group campaigned heavily against the Employee Free Choice Act, legislation which "would give employees at a workplace the right to unionize as soon as a majority signed cards saying they wanted to do so." The Center for Union Facts has spent "$500,000 on newspaper and broadcast advertisements this week alone," reported the New York Times on June 20, 2007. [3] The group's print ads for the campaign compared union leaders to Ugandan dictator Idi Amin and Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, calling the bill a "scheme to eliminate workers' right to a secret ballot." [4]

The Center for Union Facts is behind the billboards with the web site which have been put up around Newark, New Jersey[5].

In August 2008, the group's "political arm," the Employee Freedom Action Committee, ramped up its campaign agains the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA). It launched a $30 million campaign, including radio, television, print and online ads and "a substantial grassroots organizing effort." The group's anti-EFCA ads were slated to run in Maine, New Hampshire, Mississippi, Kentucky, Louisiana, Colorado, Oregon and Minnesota. At the same time, the Coalition for a Democratic Workplace, which is comprised of "virtually hundreds of businesses, chambers of commerce and trade associations," was also spending millions to defeat the bill. "The folks behind the ad campaign fear that if Sen. Barack Obama, an Employee Free Choice Act sponsor, is elected president and power shifts to the Democrats in the Senate, the bill will become law," according to a New Hampshire paper. [1]




United Press International noted that "the group's spokesman refused to release the names of its donors or say where its funding came from." [7]

Berman told Bloomberg reporter Kim Bowman that he had raised "about $2.5 million from companies, trade organizations and individuals, whom he declined to identify." [8]

Sarah Longwell, a spokeswoman for the Center for Union Facts, echoed Berman's groups standard claim for secrecy on who funds their front groups. "The reason we don't disclose supporters is because unions have a long history of targeting anyone who opposes them, whether it be in a threatening way or by lodging campaigns against them," she told Detroit Free Press. [9]

The paper reported that while Wal-Mart Stores denied funding the group it stated that "it has a relationship in which it exchanges union information with Berman, the group's head." [10]














Rick Berman's Work history-

  • 1967-1969: Labor Law attorney, Bethlehem Steel
  • 1969-1972: Corporate law attorney, Dana Corp. (automotive parts)
  • 1972-1974: Labor law director, U.S. Chamber of Commerce
  • 1975-1984: Senior Vice President, Steak and Ale (restaurant chain)
  • 1984-1986: Executive Vice President, Pillsbury Restaurant Group
  • 1986-present: President, Berman &Co. (lobbying group)

Source: interview with Berman in[3]


Tobacco industry involvement-

Rick Berman conceived the idea of the Guest Choice Network, a front group to help advance the goals of Philip Morris' Accommodation Program while appearing to be more of a grass-roots-led effort. [5] Berman became head of the Guest Choice Network. Berman cites an Oak Ridge National Laboratory/Roger Jenkins study that downplays the effects of secondhand smoke. Berman is also counsel for the American Beverage Institute, which also fronts for the tobacco industry.

Philip Morris funded Guest Choice Network, also known in PM's files as "Vendor #340875." Evidence of PM funding is a check for $200,000 dated May 29, 1996, to fund "Guest Choice Network and its activities."[6]and a check for $600,000 dated December 15, 1995.[7] A March 28, 1996 PM "privileged and confidential" email from Marty Barrington to Denise F. Keane, both of PM, states,

You'll remember that PM USA Corp. Affairs contributed $600,000 in '95 to get this Network, organized by Rick Berman, up and running. Berman is now looking for another $300,000, principally for an educational newsletter, and Corp. Affairs wants to contribute. As of this writing, PM USA is still the only contributor, though Berman continues to promise others any day now ...[8]

Philip Morris saw Berman as a "hospitality industry insider as well as a legislatively astute individual" who could help them achieve their goal of preserving smoking in restaurants. Barbara Trach at PM wrote in an October 1995 memo that "Berman's current client list is a virtual who's who in the chain restaurant industry." Berman was introduced to Philip Morris through employees of Miller Beer, who were familiar with him and his work. Berman originated PM's strategy of broadening the focus of the "smoking issue," and "expanding it into the bigger picture of over-regulation."[9]


Pro-Alcohol industry activity

Berman formed a group called Beverage Retailers Against Drunk Driving" (BRADD), a pro-social drinking group, in response to Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD).[10]


Anti-ACORN activity

For several years, Berman has been fighting efforts by the voter registration/community organizing group ACORN (Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now) to raise the minimum wage at the state and federal levels. To assist with his efforts, Berman created a Web site,, slamming the group. Contact information on directs readers to the Employment Policies Institute,[11] a Berman front group which shares the same address as Berman's lobbying business, Berman & Company.[12]

In the fall of 2008, prior to the general election, a full-page, anti-ACORN ad appeared in the New York Times that accused ACORN of a list of abuses that would make the group appear hypocritical: intimidating and firing its own employees when they try to unionize, misappropriating millions of dollars from taxpayer-funded government grants and advocating minimum wage hikes while paying its own employees less than minimum wage. The ad did not indicate what person or organization had funded it.[13]In an October 29, 2008 article, the investigative journalism group ProPublica revealed that the ad and the Web site "" are funded by Rick Berman's Employment Policies Institute, which has among its clients, the American Beverage Institute, a trade group for bars and restaurants.[14]


Advocating for Food Industry

As head of the Center for Consumer Freedom (CCF), a front group for the restaurant, tobacco, and alcohol industries, Berman has specialized in the no-holds-barred intimidation tactics pioneered by Big Tobacco. Berman confirms that organizations like his, by keeping their corporate sponsors anonymous, can engage in edgier PR by providing safe shelter for individual corporations: "There's no doubt about that. Most trade associations try to insulate individual companies and brand names from cutting-edge rhetoric."[15] In 2000, the Center for Media and Democracy found that Berman and Co., Inc. was paid $256,077 by CCF for "management services," although CCF did not report paying any income to any of its employees.[16]

Berman has written a number of strategically placed op-ed articles in leading newspapers on behalf of CCF. On August 26, 2004, for example, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution printed "Soft Drink Hysteria Hard to Swallow," in which Berman trashed a study published that week in the Journal of the American Medical Association that showed a clear connection between soda consumption and diabetes: "Frankly, the contortions that the authors went through to demonize soda would make our own gold medal gymnasts proud."[17]



An article in the December 15,1999 copy of the Cleveland Plain Dealer describes Berman's support for Uniroyal, the company that produces Alar(tm), slow-ripening chemical (deminozide) used on apples to delay ripening until the markets paid higher prices. Through his Guest Choice Network (currently the Center for Consumer Freedom) Berman published a newsletter that minimized the risks of Alar to children. The newsletter stated, "According to the Environmental Protection Agency, one would have to eat 50,000 pounds of apples a day over a lifetime to contract cancer from Alar." In response, EPA spokeswoman Denise Kearns said, "To my knowledge, EPA never issued that kind of statement." In the end Berman admitted that the source of his information was a statement made by Uniroyal. Alar has since been banned due to cancer risks. In 1989, the EPA decided to ban Alar on the grounds that "long-term exposure" posed "unacceptable risks to public health." However, in June 1989, before the EPA's preliminary decision to ban all food uses of Alar went into effect, Uniroyal agreed to voluntarily halt all domestic sales of Alar for food uses. [18]


Americans with Disabilities Act

In an October 9, 1989 commentary for Nation's Restaurant News, Berman opposed the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act ("ADA"). He wrote, "The ADA in its present form will cost our industry untold millions in added construction and labor costs" He begins the article with a reference to the ADA and AIDS. He stated, "Congress ... is seriously considering passage of a new law that would require employers to ignore AIDS infections among cooks and servers [4].


Ethics violations

In the early 1990s, Berman was tied to former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich through possible ethics violations involving Gingrich's PAC (GOPAC). In 1993, Berman made a $25,000 contribution to Kennesaw State College for Gingrich's class on "Renewing American Civilization" on condition that Gingrich teach ideas supported by Berman's Employment_Policies_Institute_Foundation. House Ethics Committee reports revealed that Berman's contribution was solicited by GOPAC and that Berman had already helped GOPAC in recruiting big donors. In the cover letter to the check, Berman thanked Gingrich for his "help" in enabling Berman to testify at a Congressional hearing on another matter of interest to the industry.[citation needed]


Court ruling against Berman

In the fall of 2009, the American College of Surgeons filed a legal complaint in Illinois' Northern District alleging that the Berman-formed Employee Freedom Action Committee had violated trademark law and defamed the group when it included the organization's name on a scrolling list headed "Doctors Against the Plan" in an anti-health care reform television advertisement. The court granted a temporary restraining order to the surgeons, finding the group would likely prevail on the merits in a trial. The court order enjoined Berman's front group from placing ads citing the American College of Surgeons on television or the Internet. The ad was run by a group called Committee to Rethink Reform, which is a 501(c)4 not required to disclose its donors -- one of the hallmarks of a Berman-operated group. The ad has been removed from TV and the Internet. [19]


People to call concerning their experiences with Richard Berman




Berman & Company

1090 Vermont Avenue, NW

Suite 800

Washington, DC 20005


Telephone: 202.463.7100

Fax: 202.463.7107



Articles & sources-


SourceWatch articles

  • American Beverage Institute
  • A Visit to the ActivistCash.Com Web Site
  • Berman & Co.
  • Center for Consumer Freedom
  • Center for Economic and Entrepreneurial Literacy
  • Employment Policies Institute
  • Employment Roundtable
  • The Center for Union Facts
  • Richard Berman cares about animals: clients exposed
  • Front Group King Rick Berman Gets Blasted by his Son David Berman




  1. ↑ "The Center for Consumer Freedom", Form 990, p.5
  2. ↑ "The Center for Consumer Freedom", Form 990, Statement 11.
  3. ↑ Morley Safer Meet Rick Berman, A.K.A. "Dr. Evil" 60 Minutes, July 22, 2007
  4. ↑ Tim McCown Richard Berman coming to Astro-turf your rights away, Philadelphia Progressive Examiner, September 24, 2009
  5. ↑ Richard B. Berman, Berman and Company Untitled letter to Barbara Trach at Philip Morris 3 pp. September 5, 1995. Bates No. 2072148834/8836
  6. ↑ S,J, Philip Morris Invoice/Pay request May 29, 1996. Bates No. 2072395885
  7. ↑ Barbara Trach, Philip Morris 333754 Pay request/Invoice. December 15, 1995. Bates No. 2072148756/8757
  8. ↑ M. Barrington, Philip Morris Guest Choice Network Email. March 28, 1996. Bates No. 2048257603
  9. ↑ Barbara Trach, Philip Morris N921 Memorandum, resume'. October 19, 1995. 2 pages. Philip Morris Bates No. 2072395887/5888
  10. ↑ Richard B. Berman Richard B. Berman Resume'. 1991. Philip Morris Bates No. 2072148764
  11. ↑ Employment Policies Institute Employment Policies Institute Web page, "About" (description, contact information), accessed October 7, 2009
  12. ↑ Berman & Co. Berman & Co. Web page, "Contact Us", accessed October 7, 2009
  13. ↑ ProPublica Image of Anti-ACORN ad, undated, accessed October 7, 2009
  14. ↑ Mosi Secret "Rotten" ACORN Ad Funded by Anti-Minimum Wage Group, ProPublica, Elections section. October 29, 2008
  15. ↑ Caroline E. Mayer and Amy Jones, "The Escalating Obesity Wars," Washington Post April 27, 2005
  16. ↑ [1]
  17. ↑ Rick Berman, "Soft Drink Hysteria Hard to Swallow," Atlanta Journal-Constitution August 26, 2004
  18. ↑ Percival et al., Environmental Regulation: Law, Science & Policy (4th ed.), p.391
  19. ↑ Ben Smith Court forces health care foes' ad off air, blog. December 17, 2009



External articles

  • Richard Berman, "Disability Act Threatens to Cripple Hospitality Industry," Nation's Restaurant News, October 9, 1989, p. F4.
  • Richard Berman, "Animal Groups Callous, Not Cute," USA Today, April 15, 2003.
  • Greg Sargent, "Berman's Battle," The American Prospect, January 3, 2004.
  • John N. Frank, "ABL ups efforts slamming GM for its support of MADD", PR Week, February 28, 2005. (Sub req'd).
  • Nancy Goldstein, "Biting the Hand that Spins You," PageOne, March 17, 2005.
  • Caroline E. Mayer and Amy Joyce, "Nonprofit's Tactics, Funding Sources Spark Controversy", Washington Post, April 27, 2005.
  • Melanie Warner, "Striking Back at the Food Police", New York Times, June 12, 2005.
  • Seth Lubove, "Food Fight," Forbes, September 23, 2005.
  • Aina Hunter, "Mercury in Fish? Baloney!: Lobbyist tells pregnant women to eat more tuna", Village Voice, January 17th, 2006.
  • Harold Meyerson, "Our Pious Babylon", Washington Post, April 6, 2006; A29.
  • Mark Matthews, Lobbyists Hide Behind Non-Profit Fronts, KGO TV, San Francisco, CA, May 3, 2006.
  • Jayne O'Donnell, "Got a nasty fight? Here's your man", USA Today, July 31, 2006.
  • Meet Rick Berman, A.K.A. "Dr. Evil",, April 5, 2007
  • Sam Stein, "Bailout Recipients Hosted Call To Defeat Key Labor Bill", Huffington Post, January 27, 2009.
  • Stephanie Strom Nonprofit Advocate Carves Out a For-Profit Niche, New York Times, June 2010
  • Ron Moore The Humane Society and MADD file ethics charges against corporate front group lobbyist Rick Berman, The Examiner, May 2010


External resources

  •, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, accessed January 2011
"Washing one's hands of the conflict between the powerful and the powerless means to side with the powerful, not to be neutral."
-Paolo Friere-