Tags >> legislation
Apr 01
2010

Wine Image and Ownership

Posted by Bruce Robinson in wine , media , Marin , legislation , international , corporate responsibiliyt , community , California , business

Bruce Robinson

California has hundreds of small, family-owned wineries surrounded by vineyards. But the huge international companies that dominate the industry also trade on that image to promote their products, and their business interests.

Marin Institute Research and Policy Director Sarah Mart says their study of the biggest multinational figures in the US and California wine industry also dominate the California Wine Industry.

In the wake of prohibition, the alcoholic beverage industry in the United State was organized into three separate branches:  supply and production, distribution and wholesaling, and retail sales. Having substantially consolidated the ownership and production of wine in California, these multi-billion companies are now turning their attention to another branch of the industry, Mart says, and moving to assert their dominance over distribution.

Sarah Mart is the  Research and Policy Manager at Marin Institute. You can read a summery or download here entire report here.  Find out more about the California Wine Institute at their website.

 

Mar 24
2010

Corporate Personhood

Posted by Bruce Robinson in rights , politics , nonprofit orgs , news , legislation , history , government , finances , election , corporate responsibiliyt , Congress , business , activism

Bruce Robinson

California’s far north coast is home to a nationwide campaign for a constitutional amendment to revoke the concept of “corporate personhood,” as recently extended by the US Supreme Court.

More information about the proposed constitutional amendment can be found at the website for Move to Amend. Humbolt County Attorney David Cobb predicts that this issue that will generate a grassroots political movement that will gain momentum as it sweeps across the country over the next 1-3 years.

Drafting a constitutional amendment to address this issue is a complex and delicate matter, so Cobb says that, too, is being worked out in a transparent and inclusive process.

Murray Hill, a public relations firm in Silver Spring, Maryland, has seized on the Citizens United ruling to become the first "corporate person" to run for public office. Here's "his" somewhat satirical campaign ad.

[video:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HHRKkXtxDRA 250x250]

By way of contrast, Ira Glasser, head of the American Civil Liberties Union offers a dissenting view  on the Supreme Court decision.

 

Mar 22
2010

"Deadly Persuasion"

Posted by Bruce Robinson in youth , women , teens , speaker , Science , research , public safety , protest , policy , media , legislation , journalism , Ideas , families , events , education , corporate responsibiliyt , children , business , author , activism

Bruce Robinson

Advertising isn’t just annoying, contends industry critic  Jean Kilbourne, it can be genuinely harmful, especially in promoting additions to alcohol, tobacco or even just shopping.

Kilbourne observe that many of the most prolific advertisers are trying to promote regular consumption of their products, which although legal, are nonetheless highly addictive. So they are, essentially, working to promulgate addictions.

 

Politics is another area in which Kilbourne worried that the growing reliance on campaign advertising is inflicting powerful and distorting influence, implicitly facilitating corruption of candidates while discouraging public participation in the electoral process.

 

Those concerns have been exacerbated by the recent Supreme Court decision affirming “corporate personhood,” and striking down any limits on campaign spending by corporations. Kilboure fears that decision will have far-reaching and terribly destructive consequences.

Jean Kilbourne will deliver her presentation, “Deadly Persuasion” about advertising and how it tries to manipulate us, in the Sonoma State University Cooperage, Tuesday, March 23 at 7:30 pm. Here's a summary/preview:

What are advertisers really selling us?

Advertising is an over $200 billion a year industry. We are each exposed to over 3000 ads a day. Yet, remarkably, most of us believe we are not influenced by advertising. Ads sell a great deal more than products. They sell values, images, and concepts of success and worth, love and sexuality, popularity and normalcy. They tell us who we are and who we should be. Sometimes they sell addictions.

In her slide presentations, Jean Kilbourne examines images in advertising with the incisive wit and irony that have delighted and enlightened her audiences for years. With expert knowledge, insight, humor and commitment, she brings her audiences to see that, although ads may seem harmless and silly, they add up to a powerful form of cultural conditioning. She is known for her ability to present provocative topics in a way that unites rather than divides, that encourages dialogue, and that moves and empowers people to take action in their own and in society’s interest.

She explores the relationship of media images to actual problems in the society, such as violence, the sexual abuse of children, rape and sexual harassment, pornography and censorship, teenage pregnancy, addiction, and eating disorders. She also educates her audiences about the primary purpose of the mass media, which is to deliver audiences to advertisers. The emphasis is on health and freedom — freedom from rigid sex roles, freedom from addiction, freedom from denial, and freedom from manipulation and censorship.

Mar 10
2010

"Sick and Tired"

Posted by Bruce Robinson in politics , policy , medicine , legislation , journalism , healthcare , Health , government , finances , economy , drugs , corporate responsibiliyt , Congress , business , author

Bruce Robinson

Economist Helene Jorgensen thought she had good health insurance, until she got really sick. Having survived both her illness and her direct dealings with hospitals, laboratories and insurance companies, she has written a bluntly critical account of her experiences, both economic and medical, titled Sick and Tired.

In her analysis of the American employer-based heath insurance model, which Jorgensen describes its development as a fluke of history.

That, in turn, fostered the development of the current “fee for service” medical system, which Jorgensen sees as vulnerable to corruption, and horribly wasteful.

Coming from a European perspective, the Danish economist shares in the general distain for a health care system that excludes millions of citizens. But she says the reform measures most widely under discussion in Washington would do little to fix a deeply flawed system.

 

 

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