Friday, October 22, 2010

Kid Carolina Reynolds
"Addicting! This book is an enjoyable and informative romp through the lives and landscapes of the heirs of the Gilded Age. It sheds new light on the economic and cultural circumstances that led to the dominance of corporate power today, and the human lives and tragic costs behind it." (Dr. Amy Trauger, assistant professor of geography, University of Georgia 2009)

RJ Reynolds Tobacco Company
Recent history
In 1998, the company was part of the Master Settlement Agreement.

In 1999, R. J. Reynolds was spun out of RJR Nabisco. The same year, the company sold all its non-US operations to Japan Tobacco, which made those operations into its international arm, JT International. Consequently, any Camels, Winstons or Salems sold outside the US are now actually Japanese cigarettes.

In 2002, the company was fined $15m for handing out free cigarettes at events attended by children, and was fined $20m for breaking a 1998 agreement between tobacco companies and 46 states, which restricts targeting youth in its tobacco advertisements.[8]

In October 2002, the European Community accused R. J. Reynolds of selling black market cigarettes to drug traffickers and mobsters from Italy, Russia, Colombia and the Balkans.

On July 30, 2004, R. J. Reynolds merged with the U.S. operations of British American Tobacco (operating under the name of Brown & Williamson). A new parent holding company, Reynolds American Inc., was established as part of the transaction.

In May 2006 former R. J. Reynolds vice-president of sales Stan Smith pleaded guilty to charges of defrauding the Canadian government of $1,200,000,000 (CDN) through a cigarette smuggling operation. Smith confessed to overseeing the 1990s operation while employed by RJR. Canadian-brand cigarettes were smuggled out of and back into Canada, or smuggled from Puerto Rico, and sold on the black market to avoid taxes. The judge referred to it as biggest fraud case in Canadian history.[9]

Exclusive manufacturing dissent at education managment corporation
Exclusive: Manufacturing Dissent at the Education Management Corporation
Author(s):Stephen Burd Published: August 31, 2010
Issues: For-Profit Colleges
Education Management Corporation (EDMC) has hired DCI Group, a controversial Republican advocacy and public relations firm that is expert in the art of manufacturing grass-roots lobbying campaigns for corporations (otherwise known as “astroturfing”), to contact the company’s employees individually to help them craft letters to the U.S. Department of Education opposing the administration’s new proposed “gainful employment” regulations.

“This week, employees throughout EDMC and our schools will be receiving phone calls during business hours from our partners, the DCI Group, to assist you in crafting personalized letters to U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan detailing for him your own views on Gainful Employment,” Todd Nelson, EDMC’s chief executive officer, wrote last Tuesday to the company’s approximately 20,000 employees in an e-mail, which was obtained by Higher Ed Watch.

DCI Group sourcewatch
1) DCI Stealth Campaign Targeting Republicans Undermined Mortgage Reform Legislation
The Associated Press reported October 20, 2008 that "Freddie Mac secretly paid a Republican consulting firm $2 million to kill legislation that would have regulated and trimmed the mortgage finance giant and its sister company, Fannie Mae, three years before the government took control to prevent their collapse. In the cross hairs of the campaign carried out by DCI of Washington were Republican senators and a regulatory overhaul bill sponsored by Sen. Chuck Hagel, R-Neb. DCI's chief executive is Doug Goodyear, whom John McCain's campaign later hired to manage the GOP convention in September. ... The Republican senators targeted by DCI began hearing from prominent constituents and financial contributors, all urging the defeat of Hagel's bill because it might harm the housing boom. The effort generated newspaper articles and radio and TV appearances by participants who spoke out against the measure. Inside Freddie Mac headquarters in 2005, the few dozen people who knew what DCI was doing referred to the initiative as "the stealth lobbying campaign," according to three people familiar with the drive. They spoke only on condition of anonymity, saying they fear retaliation if their names were disclosed." [3]

2) Tech Central Station is a good example of a few of those conflicts of interest, some of which are better disclosed than others. The website openly credits sponsors such as AT&T, Microsoft, ExxonMobil, General Motors, Intel, McDonalds, NASDAQ, National Semiconductor, QUALCOMM and PhRMA, but until recently it was reluctant to acknowledge the identity of its real publisher—the DCI Group.

TCS did not publicly disclose its relationship to DCI until it was uncovered by Washington Monthly editor Nicholas Confessore, who wrote about it in December 2003. “After I requested comment, the Web site was changed,” Confessore wrote. “Where it formerly stated that ‘Tech Central Station is published by Tech Central Station, L.L.C.,’ it now reads ‘Tech Central Station is published by DCI Group, L.L.C.’”

DCI for profit college lobby
Indeed, Nelson stresses in his email that no EDMC employee is required to participate in DCI's letter-generating campaign. But as New America's Steve Burd reports, employees who don't participate fear they could face some kind of blowback. "This is scaring a lot of people because they know that, no matter what the company says, it will keep track of those who refuse to cooperate," a former EDMC recruiter told New America. "That's just the way the company operates."

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