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Lawyers From Suits Against Big Tobacco Target Food Makers
The New York Times ^ | August 18, 2012 | Stephanie Strom

Posted on 08/19/2012 7:20:33 PM PDT by Tolerance Sucks Rocks

Don Barrett, a Mississippi lawyer, took in hundreds of millions of dollars a decade ago after suing Big Tobacco and winning record settlements from R. J. Reynolds, Philip Morris and other cigarette makers. So did Walter Umphrey, Dewitt M. Lovelace and Stuart and Carol Nelkin.

Ever since, the lawyers have been searching for big paydays in business, scoring more modest wins against car companies, drug makers, brokerage firms and insurers. Now, they have found the next target: food manufacturers.

More than a dozen lawyers who took on the tobacco companies have filed 25 cases against industry players like ConAgra Foods, PepsiCo, Heinz, General Mills and Chobani that stock pantry shelves and refrigerators across America

The suits, filed over the last four months, assert that food makers are misleading consumers and violating federal regulations by wrongly labeling products and ingredients. While there has been a barrage of litigation against the industry in recent years, the tobacco lawyers are moving particularly aggressively. They are asking a federal court in California to halt ConAgra’s sales of Pam cooking spray, Swiss Miss cocoa products and some Hunt’s canned tomatoes.

“It’s a crime — and that makes it a crime to sell it,” said Mr. Barrett, citing what he contends is the mislabeling of those products. “That means these products should be taken off the shelves.”

The food companies counter that the suits are without merit, another example of litigation gone wild and driven largely by the lawyers’ financial motivations. Mr. Barrett said his group could seek damages amounting to four years of sales of mislabeled products — which could total many billions of dollars.

(Excerpt) Read more at nytimes.com ...


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Culture/Society; Government; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: antitobaccoscam; bigfood; bigtobacco; bullystate; donbarrettscammer; lawsuits; nannystate; scam
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1 posted on 08/19/2012 7:20:37 PM PDT by Tolerance Sucks Rocks
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To: Eric Blair 2084; SheLion; Gabz; Hank Kerchief; 383rr; libertarian27; traviskicks; bamahead; CSM; ...

They don’t want us buying Hunts canned tomatoes until the labeling meets their specs? Is that it?

Nanny State PING!


2 posted on 08/19/2012 7:24:44 PM PDT by Tolerance Sucks Rocks (Obama should change his campaign slogan to "Yes, we am!" Sounds as stupid as his administration is.)
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To: Tolerance Sucks Rocks
Consumers like Christine Sturges, one of the plaintiffs in a suit against ConAgra, has gluten allergies and reads labels vigilantly.

When she heard about a lawsuit involving the Pam cooking spray, she took a closer look. “There was nothing scary on it, just this innocuous word, ‘propellant,’ ” said Ms. Sturges, a hairdresser from Los Gatos, Calif.

After digging deeper, she learned that “propellant” included petroleum gas, propane and butane. “I’d been spraying that on muffin tins to make muffins for my grandchildren — oh my God!”

So did Pam cooking spray make her or the grandkids sick? If not, what are her damages?

3 posted on 08/19/2012 7:42:32 PM PDT by Huntress ("Politicians exploit economic illiteracy." --Walter Williams)
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To: Tolerance Sucks Rocks

The same lawyers?

I’m shocked I tell you,really shocked.


4 posted on 08/19/2012 7:45:01 PM PDT by Mears
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To: Huntress

I can see both sides of the coin here. On one hand I hate all the crazy lawsuits and the government getting involved to pass even more crazy laws. On the other hand I want to know what’s in the food I buy. I have a hard time believing that, using Pam as an example, there couldn’t be some long term effects from consuming petroleum, butane, etc., even in small quantities. There’s warning about inhalation of gasoline fumes causing cancer at the gas station, why not be clear that the same ingredient is in something that’s meant to be eaten.

The food companies also seem to be spending an awful lot of money to hide the fact that they’re using genetically engineered foods in their products. Whether you, or anyone else, agrees with the reasons I don’t want to eat the GM foods, I think it’s proper to include the info in the ingredients list and let me make my own decision.


5 posted on 08/19/2012 7:56:28 PM PDT by Roos_Girl (The world is full of educated derelicts. - Calvin Coolidge)
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To: Roos_Girl

The propellants evaporate immediately at room temp, much less the oven........


6 posted on 08/19/2012 8:10:44 PM PDT by Red Badger (Anyone who thinks wisdom comes with age is either too young or too stupid to know the difference....)
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To: Red Badger

I’ve used PAM ever since it first came out. I think it’s healthier to oil a pan with PAM rather than the old Crisco we used to use.


7 posted on 08/19/2012 8:21:58 PM PDT by basil (Second Amendment Sisters.org)
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To: Huntress
“I’d been spraying that on muffin tins to make muffins for my grandchildren — oh my God!”

Uh, dumb lady? I assume you were screwing the football team and missed chemistry, but all those things are going to be in gas phase as soon as they get outside the can, so you don't have to add another ingredient to the recipe for your muffins. [facepalm]

You know, cases like this make me think there should be minimum intelligence/knowledge qualifications for jurors in lawsuits like this. Joe Sixpack might sit there and say "OMG, they're feeding us propane? Yuck! Give her a hundred mill!"

8 posted on 08/19/2012 8:23:57 PM PDT by Still Thinking (Freedom is NOT a loophole!)
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To: basil

Cheaper to buy a spray bottle from the dollar store, fill it 3/4 full with olive or cooking oil, 1/4 with grain alcohol. Works really well Android is much cheaper.....


9 posted on 08/19/2012 8:25:18 PM PDT by Red Badger (Anyone who thinks wisdom comes with age is either too young or too stupid to know the difference....)
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To: Red Badger

Great hint! I’ll try it.


10 posted on 08/19/2012 8:39:34 PM PDT by basil (Second Amendment Sisters.org)
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To: Tolerance Sucks Rocks
I think it's a crime that lawyers walk away with such huge paychecks from class-action lawsuits . Pay them for their work, yeah, but "hundreds of millions of dollars"?

I have to take Synthroid and saw a suit against its makers years ago. If I joined the suit and won, I'd get one months worth of the drug free. The lawyers would get millions. I declined.

11 posted on 08/19/2012 8:40:26 PM PDT by jeffc (The U.S. media are our enemy)
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To: basil

Android = and.
Stupid Autocomplete on tablet.......


12 posted on 08/19/2012 8:42:15 PM PDT by Red Badger (Anyone who thinks wisdom comes with age is either too young or too stupid to know the difference....)
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To: basil

You may have to adjust the oil/alcohol content according to the bottle’s sprayer ability to pump thick liquids through its orifice........


13 posted on 08/19/2012 8:45:07 PM PDT by Red Badger (Anyone who thinks wisdom comes with age is either too young or too stupid to know the difference....)
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To: Tolerance Sucks Rocks

Thanks for the ping!


14 posted on 08/19/2012 8:54:33 PM PDT by Alamo-Girl
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To: Huntress
After digging deeper, she learned that “propellant” included petroleum gas, propane and butane. “I’d been spraying that on muffin tins to make muffins for my grandchildren — oh my God!”

So...what?

Did she spray the Pam directly into her grandchildren's mouths?

If so, how were they damaged?

Would she not cook anything over a propane flame?

Would she not chill a can of beer by spraying propane on it?

I assume she would never flick her Bic if it were butane-fired?

Is firing up the charcoal grill with lighter fluid totally out of the question?

Are only hysterical women qualified to launch lawsuits?

15 posted on 08/19/2012 9:01:27 PM PDT by okie01 (The Mainstream Media: IGNORANCE ON PARADE)
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To: Red Badger

Mainly. I don’t want it to explode in skillet!


16 posted on 08/19/2012 9:01:27 PM PDT by basil (Second Amendment Sisters.org)
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To: basil; Huntress

They’re suing over whether the companies are following FDA labeling regulations. It’s got nothing to do with whether the foods are safe or not.

If the lawyers get away with this, food prices will skyrocket.


17 posted on 08/19/2012 9:11:17 PM PDT by <1/1,000,000th%
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To: Roos_Girl
I have a hard time believing that, using Pam as an example, there couldn’t be some long term effects from consuming petroleum, butane, etc., even in small quantities.

What makes you think you actually consume the propellant -- unless you spray the Pam directly down your throat.

Petroleum gas, propane and butane are gasses! They don't stick to the surface, like the oil does. They're simply used to physically propel the oil out of the can and toward the surface. The gasses enter the air...and quickly disperse and degrade.

All aerosol sprays have propellants! Be they insecticides, room air deodorants, paints, waxes, whatever. You've used all these things, right? And they're perfectly safe to use inside the house.

18 posted on 08/19/2012 9:11:59 PM PDT by okie01 (The Mainstream Media: IGNORANCE ON PARADE)
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To: Roos_Girl

Don’t know much about chemistry, gases, and evaporation, do you? And “petroleum” isn’t one of the propellant gases, you made that up.

There is nothing harmful about GM foods that I am aware of, and you failed to note anything.

So why are you being all alarmist in ignorance?


19 posted on 08/19/2012 9:16:35 PM PDT by FreedomPoster (Islam delenda est)
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To: Roos_Girl

you need to pay closer attention to time lines....is inhaling Gasoline fumes good for you????of course not....will it harm you??? yeah, probably 75 years after sticking your head in a gas tank. The American life span has been increasing for many years. Eventually, everything that you do will add to your demise but changing your way of life to include “being green”, eating tofu, buying an electric car (?) , championing windmills to produce electricity....won’t gain you 10 seconds of additional life.....so why PAY to do it???


20 posted on 08/19/2012 9:20:44 PM PDT by terycarl (lurking, but well informed)
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To: okie01

One must wonder if this woman has ever used , hairspray, or spray deodorent, perfume, furniture polish, bathroom cleaner etc


21 posted on 08/19/2012 9:41:27 PM PDT by Nailbiter
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To: Tolerance Sucks Rocks

Hillary’s dreams coming true.


22 posted on 08/19/2012 9:48:39 PM PDT by onedoug
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To: Tolerance Sucks Rocks

I thought these lawyers were gone so to speak.


23 posted on 08/19/2012 9:57:15 PM PDT by freekitty (Give me back my conservative vote; then find me a real conservative to vote for)
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To: Red Badger

Sounds good. Since gall bladder removal, can’t eat anything. I envy anyone who can eat. Olive oil, lemon and water I hear is recommended for people who have had this surgery. Don’t remember why.


24 posted on 08/19/2012 10:04:36 PM PDT by freekitty (Give me back my conservative vote; then find me a real conservative to vote for)
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To: FreedomPoster; terycarl; okie01; Red Badger

“After digging deeper, she learned that “propellant” included petroleum gas, propane and butane.” From the article, so no I didn’t just make that up, FreedomPoster. Graduated with a bachelors degree in environmental engineering 13 years ago, so it’s been a while since I’ve had a chemistry class.

I really did not want to get into a debate about the safety of GM foods. Do the research if you want to, if not, then don’t. It doesn’t bother me one way or another if anyone else eats them. But if a manufacturer wants to sell me a product then I deserve for them to disclose the actual ingredients. There is some research that shows that GM foods may be harmful. Some of them are GM’d to allow the crops to be sprayed with Round Up to control weeds but not kill the crops. Soy is a big RoundUp Ready crop and soy is in so many things these days. It’s my belief that the Round Up stays on/in the food, in minute quantities yes, but I don’t want to eat Round Up in any quantity. Like I said, didn’t intend to debate, wasn’t fearmongering, just using the GM foods as an example of why I think all ingredients should be disclosed, and stating my opinion in the whole matter.

I understand that propellants are used in pressurized cans. Pam was just one example from the story. The woman freaking out because she used it to make muffins for her grandkids is a bit much, but what’s the harm in stating exactly what that propellant is, so there’s no guessing? Yes, manufacturers will eventually have to change their packaging slightly, but they do that all the time; new and improved this, better tasting that.

I wasn’t thinking that every product must immediately change all their packaging, but something that happens within the next 5 years (just throwing a number out there) Really what’s the big deal of full disclosure? The info is there for people that care, and everyone else that doesn’t care doesn’t have to look. To me it’s the same thing as stating where a food product originated from; I avoid food from China, I’m glad stuff is labeled.

It’s the lawsuits, which I plainly said I disagree with in my original post, that will add cost to the products.


25 posted on 08/19/2012 10:12:56 PM PDT by Roos_Girl (The world is full of educated derelicts. - Calvin Coolidge)
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To: Huntress
So did Pam cooking spray make her or the grandkids sick?
If not, what are her damages?

Well, I guess if you spray it in your eyes, it hurts.
And if you spray it in your mouth and inhale, it can
make you cough and gag.

Oh, and if you hold up a match while spraying it into your eyeballs,
well, there go your eyeballs.

See? It's a very unsafe product.

26 posted on 08/19/2012 10:23:32 PM PDT by MaxMax
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To: Nailbiter
One must wonder if this woman has ever used , hairspray, or spray deodorent, perfume, furniture polish, bathroom cleaner etc

I'd wager she also buys things that are labelled "organic", paying more for them, while receiving a generally lesser quality.

27 posted on 08/20/2012 12:08:21 AM PDT by okie01 (The Mainstream Media: IGNORANCE ON PARADE)
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To: Nailbiter
One must wonder if this woman has ever used , hairspray, or spray deodorent, perfume, furniture polish, bathroom cleaner etc

I'd wager she also buys things that are labelled "organic", paying more for them, while receiving a generally lesser quality.

28 posted on 08/20/2012 12:08:52 AM PDT by okie01 (The Mainstream Media: IGNORANCE ON PARADE)
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To: Roos_Girl
Really what’s the big deal of full disclosure?

There is a list of FDA-acceptable propellants. They are part of the contents, but they are not part of the product which is consumed. Therefore, they don't need to be specified.

Moreover, manufacturers are free to arbitrarily change their propellant formula based on the cost and availability of ingredients -- without having to re-label.

Finally, if you put the propellant ingredients in the ingredient statement, you'd be having women like this one having a cow in the middle of the supermarket aisle.

Most people are perfectly satisfied with this arrangement, trusting the FDA and the food manufacturers that they're not interested in killing off their customers.

Unfortunately, you're not. But you're free to complain about it. The Center for Science and the Public Interest (which has little to do with science and nothing to do with the public interest) would be happy to receive your donation -- as their primary business is fund-raising.

29 posted on 08/20/2012 12:20:37 AM PDT by okie01 (The Mainstream Media: IGNORANCE ON PARADE)
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To: Huntress

Those propellants are so volatile they evaporate almost instantly.


30 posted on 08/20/2012 12:33:51 AM PDT by piytar (The predator-class is furious that their prey are shooting back.)
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To: okie01

I would not take that wager


31 posted on 08/20/2012 1:55:31 AM PDT by Nailbiter
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To: Tolerance Sucks Rocks
Cap’n Crunch’s Crunch Berries cereal does not contain real berries.

You mean those aren't real raspberries in the cereal? Really fooled me. /s

As for Pam. I use the stuff for convenience but don't care for it.
Mainly because it leave a sticky residue that's very difficult to remove.

Most propellants used to be some form of Freon but ,alas, Freon is destroying the atmosphere and was removed.

32 posted on 08/20/2012 3:28:39 AM PDT by Vinnie (A)
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To: okie01

Okay, let’s take one example from the whole story, which might not be the best example or best idea, and kill the whole point of listing ingredients because of that. For me the bigger issue are the GM foods. If the propellents can be changed at will due to availabiity, cost, etc. then fine, explain that to me and move on. No need to be an ass while doing so. How about listing the propellents like they do oils on the list of ingredients which are commonly listed similar to “cottonseed and/or sunflower oil” because they use them interchangably. Aren’t oils also arbitrarily changed based on cost and availability? Why is this any different? Because the propellent isn’t directly consumed? Then why is it listed in the ingredients at all?

Just because you’re happy to go along with whatever the government tells you is fine doesn’t mean that everyone else should be. I’m still not seeing what the big deal of listing all ingredients is. But you’re free to complain about me wanting to know them.


33 posted on 08/20/2012 4:17:55 AM PDT by Roos_Girl (The world is full of educated derelicts. - Calvin Coolidge)
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To: Red Badger
Android = and. Stupid Autocomplete on tablet.......

Yeah, that one kinda threw me. I sat there and tried to parse it figuring out what you meant, LOL!

34 posted on 08/20/2012 4:29:26 AM PDT by Still Thinking (Freedom is NOT a loophole!)
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To: okie01

Inquiring minds want to know!


35 posted on 08/20/2012 4:30:44 AM PDT by Still Thinking (Freedom is NOT a loophole!)
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To: Nailbiter
One must wonder if this woman has ever used , hairspray, or spray deodorent, perfume, furniture polish, bathroom cleaner etc

Actually given her ignorance and degree of intelligence (or lack thereof), I'm pretty sure she drinks all that stuff. Not sure which is cause and which is effect though! ;)

36 posted on 08/20/2012 4:33:46 AM PDT by Still Thinking (Freedom is NOT a loophole!)
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To: Roos_Girl
Soy is a big RoundUp Ready crop and soy is in so many things these days. It’s my belief that the Round Up stays on/in the food, in minute quantities yes, but I don’t want to eat Round Up in any quantity.

Roundup (glyphosate) works on an enzyme that doesn't exist in humans, so as far as I know, you could drink the stuff and it wouldn't hurt you. That said, I agree with you that manufacturers owe you the information to make your own choice.

37 posted on 08/20/2012 4:37:10 AM PDT by Still Thinking (Freedom is NOT a loophole!)
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To: Tolerance Sucks Rocks

Nope, didn’t see this coming....The same as it ever was...


38 posted on 08/20/2012 4:52:46 AM PDT by CSM (Keeper of the Dave Ramsey Ping list. FReepmail me if you want your beeber stuned.)
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To: Red Badger; okie01
Unless these are lab-grade propellants, there will be *some* traces of solids and liquids left behind. There is no way food manufacturers can afford to use lab propellants in their food.

The questions that should be asked are:

-How much and what exactly is left behind?

-How toxic are they?

-Does the average consumer using the product get far more exposure to these chemicals than someone simply standing outside or drinking tap water?

39 posted on 08/20/2012 5:33:13 AM PDT by varyouga
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To: Still Thinking

Android is the operating system of my tablet. Every time I type ‘and’ it ALWAYS pops up ‘ANDROID’ as the FIRST choice of words for the autocomplete. If I hit ‘space’ then it assumes I want that word...............


40 posted on 08/20/2012 6:13:32 AM PDT by Red Badger (Anyone who thinks wisdom comes with age is either too young or too stupid to know the difference....)
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To: Vinnie
Most propellants used to be some form of Freon but ,alas, Freon is alleged on very thin evidence it is destroying the atmosphere and was removed.

That's a bit more accurate. You're welcome!

41 posted on 08/20/2012 6:55:08 AM PDT by zeugma (Those of us who work for a living are outnumbered by those who vote for a living.)
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To: Still Thinking

There are some reports that show it causes birth defects in animals and humans. There are some very small studies that showed human embryo death that placental and umbilical cord demise. Obviously human studies are limited. The problem is who’s reporting on the studies. A lot of times it’s “greeny” type organizations and while I think probably most of the time their concerns are overstated, there is some truth to what they report. The other side is the government telling us there’s absolutely nothing wrong with it, and I’m equally reluctant to believe that. There was a HuffPo artical that cited a review by the gov’t of Argentina that thought it was likely that glyphosate was causing those issues.

Again, as you agreed, give me all the information and let me make my own decision. If someone else wants to eat that stuff, fine by me. In the last year and a half I’ve been pregnant and now breastfeeding; I don’t want it! Unfortunately the only way to know that you’re not getting GM food is to buy organic because for now GM is not allowed in organic foods. I don’t necessarily think organic has any more or better nutrients in it, but I know it doesn’t have RoundUp and pesticides on/in it.


42 posted on 08/20/2012 7:38:58 AM PDT by Roos_Girl (The world is full of educated derelicts. - Calvin Coolidge)
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To: Mears

How many times during the attack on smokers did we say this was going to happen? It was the logical next step.


43 posted on 08/20/2012 8:08:05 AM PDT by 383rr (Those who choose security over liberty deserve neither; GUN CONTROL= SLAVERY)
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To: Roos_Girl
Just because you’re happy to go along with whatever the government tells you is fine doesn’t mean that everyone else should be.

I'm not trusting the government. I'm trusting the food manufacturers. From experience, I know how seriously they take these matters.

They are not in the business of killing their customers. They prefer them alive, making repeat purchases.

44 posted on 08/20/2012 8:33:38 AM PDT by okie01 (The Mainstream Media: IGNORANCE ON PARADE)
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To: Roos_Girl

“A lot of times it’s “greeny” type organizations and while I think probably most of the time their concerns are overstated, there is some truth to what they report. The other side is the government telling us there’s absolutely nothing wrong with it,”

Those greeny types are aligned with the government, of either stripe. That you think they are in opposition is very telling. They have worked together to nearly destroy this once great country and their main tool in doing this destruction? Create panic by blaming private companies.

They have used panic to eliminate private property rights, to eliminate many facets of individual liberty, and they have used the reactors to those panic issues to further their government growing agenda.

Don’t fall for any trickery where you think that they are not aligned....


45 posted on 08/20/2012 9:07:32 AM PDT by CSM (Keeper of the Dave Ramsey Ping list. FReepmail me if you want your beeber stuned.)
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To: okie01; CSM

If you think so.


46 posted on 08/20/2012 9:31:29 AM PDT by Roos_Girl (The world is full of educated derelicts. - Calvin Coolidge)
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To: okie01

The tobacco companies probably prefer a live customer also...


47 posted on 08/20/2012 9:33:02 AM PDT by Roos_Girl (The world is full of educated derelicts. - Calvin Coolidge)
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To: Roos_Girl

No, I don’t think so, I know so. It is well documented and can be seen over and over and over and over and over....

If you can’t see it, then you must be either very young, or just learning. How many examples will it take before you realize that neither the “greeny studies” nor the government has our best interest at heart?


48 posted on 08/20/2012 11:47:29 AM PDT by CSM (Keeper of the Dave Ramsey Ping list. FReepmail me if you want your beeber stuned.)
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To: Roos_Girl

“The tobacco companies probably prefer a live customer also...”

And there you have it. The attack on tobacco was a major tool to the usurpation of private property rights and individual liberty. They laid the foundation and now they have many who will use that foundation to the further usurpation of private property rights and infringements on individual liberty.

In fact, as I was reading many of your posts earlier I kept catching the same sentiment in many of the pro-tobacco ban FReepers from those threads. It actually was sending the same chills up my spine.

The fact that someone is on FR and has the access to so much information and a clear motivation to learn, is still willing to use the marxists foundations, is pretty sad....

When we have fellow FREE REPULICANS (referencing the form of government not the political party) that stand with those that want to eliminate private property and limit individual liberty, then the battle is lost.


49 posted on 08/20/2012 11:53:28 AM PDT by CSM (Keeper of the Dave Ramsey Ping list. FReepmail me if you want your beeber stuned.)
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To: CSM

Hey look, you go on eating what you want to eat, and if you don’t care what’s in it or where it comes from, good for you. I want full disclosure about the food I eat; what’s in it, where it comes from, etc. And there’s no good reason why that info can’t and shouldn’t be provided so I can make my own decision rather than relying on someone else to make the decision for me.

If you go back and read Okie01’s reply to me you’ll see that he used the example of trusting the food makers to give me good food because they like having living customers that return to buy more food. I used his same example regarding the tobacco companies. Do you think they want to kill off all their customers who will then not be around to buy their product? It is a fair and accurate comparison. You can look at the recent dog food recalls as a great example; was it the dog food makers goal to kill all those dogs so people stop buying their food, or should we just trust them to use superior ingredients that won’t harm our animals? Oops for the people that just trusted that their dog food wasn’t coming from China.

The greeny types have also been warning about BPA in certain plastics and study after study shows they have harmful effects. But you probably think that’s a lie also. Fine by me if you or anyone else keeps putting plastics into their bodies. I’ve looked at as much info about it as I can and I make different choices. Sure am glad I have the freedom to do so instead of just going along with what you say.

Don’t even dare compare me to a marxist because I think I deserve to know what is in the food I purchase. It’s actually the other way around as I see it, by you telling me I don’t deserve to know, just buy it and shut up. The gov’t already requires ingredients to be listed, the list should be as accurrate as possible and there’s no good reason it can’t be.


50 posted on 08/20/2012 2:00:22 PM PDT by Roos_Girl (The world is full of educated derelicts. - Calvin Coolidge)
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