Daily Archives: April 27, 2011

And a Last Quote for the Evening…

The Donald

“I pray that man runs for President.”

– Jon Stewart

I do, too.

Supreme Court Scores a Big One for Corporations against Little Folks…

According to the Christian Science Monitor, the SCOTUS today embraced a strict reading of a federal arbitration law, making it more difficult for individuals with small claims to join together in a class action against large companies accused of fraud or other wrongdoing.

See what it says over the statue of Justice?

This reversed a previous Federal Court ruling in California that allowed purchasers to sue AT&T for violating a sales agreement, even though there was a signed arbitration agreement.

With the new  finding in the 5 to 4 Supreme Court vote, individual purchasers not only cannot change an arbitration agreement, even if the corporation violates its contract, but they also can’t join with other consumers in a class action suit in the same challenge.

“Today’s decision reduces corporate accountability by making it impractical, if not impossible, for consumers to hold corporations accountable for their wrongdoing. [The decision] continues a disturbing trend favoring large public companies at the expense of individuals.”

Class action attorney Mark Rifkin of the New York law firm Wolf Haderstein Adler Freeman & Herz.

Want to hear a good one? AT&T said the Court’s decision was actually a “victory for consumers.” Heh heh.

According to consumer fraud attorney Gibson Vance:

“This is a death blow to Americans’ chances for justice when faced with forced arbitration clauses. This devastating decision has the potential to result in virtually no consumer or employee cases involving small claims being heard anywhere.

Corporations will now be allowed to get away with sweeping wrongdoing, particularly where the damages would be too small to justify pursuing individual claims.”

So be careful what you sign when you buy a telephone, or a Cable TV setup, or a car… check that arbitration clause and ask yourself if you can live with it.

What do you know about Food Disparagement Laws?

Until last night, I knew nothing about them… but as I attended the F.A.R.M. program (Food Art Revolution Media) last night it was one of the topics that Melinda and Dan Hemmelgarn discussed last night.

These laws currently exist in 13 states and do things like banning photographers from taking pictures of food processing plants, or writing articles protesting farms that spray their crops with Monsanto poisons, or just discussing in the public press (and no doubt in blogs like this one) the disadvantages of non-organic farming.

The food disparagement movement has major corporate support (Monsanto, Dow, Buckeye Eggs and others) and haul people into court with their heavy economic advantage if the smallest criticism is raised. This has been going on since the 1990’s (a lot of it came out because of films like “Food, Inc.” or the works of Michael Moore.)

Senator Patrick Leahy (D – Vermont) made this statement in the late ’90s concerning this situation:

Some states permit lawsuits against those who question the safety of our food supply. It is my view that under the First Amendment, Americans possess the right

Official photo of Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT)

Sen Patrick Leahy (D - Vermont)

to raise safety and health concerns about the foods we eat, such as the levels of mercury in our fish or the levels of pesticides in imported foods. State laws that permit lawsuits against those who question the safety of foods can have a chilling effect on public health discourse. That is not the American way –healthy debate on issues of public concern is how this country does business.

The FoodSpeak Coalition highlights the chilling effect that these laws have on the exercise of free speech. Defamation laws should not intimidate citizens and the press who want to speak out about food safety.

Americans in all states must be allowed to openly debate issues of public health.

Here, here!

I spoke with a woman at the meeting last night whose 5-year work on a book concerning the dangers of chemical spraying on US Agriculture has been filed away indefinitely because she is afraid of lawsuit under food disparagement laws… and West Virginia doesn’t even have such laws. States like Iowa and Florida are affecting the entire country.

My Superfocus Glasses are supposed to be here tomorrow! I’m excited…

It will be lovely to see well at all distances with my adjustable SuperFocus glasses that I ordered nine weeks ago. While that seems like a long time to wait, the waiting time used to be 12 weeks, but, as one of the SuperFocus employees told me (after getting tired of my weekly “Are we on schedule” calls) told me, the shipping times have shortened because response to advertising and increased sales has allowed them to put on more staff.

Anyway, according to UPS tracking, they left Van Nuys, CA, on the 22nd and as of this morning they have left Illinois and are heading toward Shepherdstown.

I’ll talk about these more when I get them.

An important message from NARAL

Please look at this and respond… It’s time to get serious about Women’s Rights and protecting Planned Parenthood.

– Bill

Tell “Fox & Friends” to Issue a Correction
“Fox & Friends” found itself on the wrong side of a smear campaign against Planned Parenthood.

In an attempt to disparage Planned Parenthood, one of the hosts of “Fox & Friends” suggested that women who need Pap smears and breast

Walgreens

What? No Breast Exams at Walgreens?

exams could just get them at Walgreens. Huh?

In fact, Walgreens issued a statement clarifying that its stores do not, in fact, offer such services… but “Fox & Friends” hasn’t retracted the lie.

Call on “Fox & Friends” to issue a correction and stop its irresponsible and inaccurate reporting.

Got it?  It’s time to make people realize the truth… and Fox & Friends is a good starting point.