Tag Archive: Chamber of Commerce

Jul 08 2015

CVS Ditches US Chamber of Commerce

Last week the New York Tines reported that the US Chamber of Commerce was working to fight anti-tobacco measures in foreign countries:

The U.S. Chamber’s work in support of the tobacco industry in recent years has emerged as a priority at the same time the industry has faced one of the most serious threats in its history. A global treaty, negotiated through the World Health Organization, mandates anti-smoking measures and also seeks to curb the influence of the tobacco industry in policy making. The treaty, which took effect in 2005, has been ratified by 179 countries; holdouts include Cuba, Haiti and the United States.

Facing a wave of new legislation around the world, the tobacco lobby has turned for help to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, with the weight of American business behind it. While the chamber’s global tobacco lobbying has been largely hidden from public view, its influence has been widely felt.

Letters, emails and other documents from foreign governments, the chamber’s affiliates and antismoking groups, which were reviewed by The New York Times, show how the chamber has embraced the challenge, undertaking a three-pronged strategy in its global campaign to advance the interests of the tobacco industry.

In the capitals of far-flung nations, the chamber lobbies alongside its foreign affiliates to beat back antismoking laws.

Last year the drug store chain CVS stopped selling tobacco products. Now, in light of the Chamber’s activity on behalf og the tobacco lobby, CVS has announced that it is resigning its membership.

“We were surprised to read recent press reports concerning the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s position on tobacco products outside the United States,” David R. Palombi, a senior vice president at the company, said in a statement. “CVS Health’s purpose is to help people on their path to better health, and we fundamentally believe tobacco use is in direct conflict with this purpose.” [..]

The campaign runs counter to efforts by some of the chamber’s members. Four health care companies that serve on its board – Anthem, the Health Care Service Corporation, the Steward Health Care System of Boston and the Indiana University Health system – all support antismoking programs. [..]

For CVS, which has 7,800 locations nationwide, the move is the latest step in rebranding itself as a health care destination, rather than a convenience store with a pharmacy. The company now operates nearly 1,000 walk-in clinics staffed by nurse practitioners.

Its executives have said that selling cigarettes is not consistent with its new strategy. The company has begun offering smoke cessation programs and recently helped conduct a smoke cessation study involving its employees and their relatives and friends.

“We believe the chamber has advocated for many important causes over the years, and we thank them for their leadership on these issues,” Mr. Palombi said. “Given the leadership position we took last year in removing tobacco products from our stores, however, we have decided to withdraw our membership in the chamber.”

Jul 29 2011

Buyer’s Remorse

I don’t even know what the hell the teabaggers want. Oppose whatever Obama might not veto, and blow up the world seems to be the agenda. ~ Atrios

Regrets, they have a few. After spending billions of dollars to buy the House, the US Chamber of Commerce has discovered that those Tea Party Republicans have a different idea about the economic needs of the country. The Chamber has been unsuccessful in convincing the freshmen, as well as, some of the more seasoned representatives that it is imperative to raise the debt ceiling to protect “the faith and credit of the US. The Tea Party caucus is winning

The chamber and other business groups have pressed with increasing urgency for Congress to raise the maximum amount that the government can borrow. They have cataloged the consequences of default at meetings, parties and dinners and over drinks.

On Tuesday, the chamber threw its weight behind the proposal of the House speaker, John A. Boehner, telling recalcitrant Republicans that a pending vote on the plan was a with-us-or-against-us moment that would be remembered during the next election campaign.

But as the government runs out of money, those efforts have not produced the desired result. The freshman class of House Republicans, along with longer-serving members, is balking at Mr. Boehner’s plan, let alone anything that Senate Democrats and the White House might be willing to accept.

David Case at Global Post‘s Macro says that business is fed-up with irrational right-wingers:

With the specter of a economic catastrophe looming unless Washington agrees to increase the government’s debt ceiling, Wall Street is already feeling the pinch. As lawmakers bicker, U.S. stocks have fallen for four straight days. The Dow has shed 3.3 percent, leaving it “on pace for its worst week since August 2010,” according to the Wall Street Journal. Meanwhile, investors this week gave the cold shoulder to a recent federal debt auction, foreshadowing downward pressure on the economy, higher borrowing costs and, in all likelihood, higher taxes on Americans (via even greater interest payments on our 14.3 trillion in debt) if lawmakers don’t get the deal right.

Who is to blame for this? “Tea Party hardliners,” according to an insightful analysis by Financial Times journalist Stephanie Kirchgaessner.

(emphasis mine)

At this point because of the doubt that this purely manufactured crisis, the average American tax payer will pay more thanks to the tea party idiots who are opposed to raising taxes. To say that this is pure idiocy on their part is an understatement. In the end they will play the victims and blame President Obama who wanted to give them even more that what they are now asking.

That is going to be not just a headache for the billionaires of the Chamber of Commerce but a migraine for most of the rest of the country. The Chamber of Commerce has a big problem that they created, like this whole manufactured crisis over merely paying the bill for what the US has already spent.

Mar 01 2011

The Fall Out From Anonymous

House Representative Rep. Hank Johnson (D-GA)and several other Democratic lawmakers are calling on the House Republicans to investigate a Washington law firm, Hunton & Williams, and three federal security contractors for using illegal tactics to target the critics of the US Chamber of Commerce. The plan was revealed in e-mails exchanges from HBGary Federal, Berico Technologies and Palantir Technologies that were obtained by Anonymous when they hacked HBGary’s computers and CEO Aaron Barr’s i-phone and twitter account.

The companies proposed forming a “corporate information reconnaissance cell” and discussed tactics such as creating online personas to infiltrate activist Web sites; planting false information to embarrass U.S. Chamber Watch and other groups; and trolling for personal information using powerful computer software

The e-mails contain test runs in which the firms culled personal information, including family and religious data, on anti-chamber activists.

The chamber has denied knowledge of the proposals.

The three security firms named in the e-mails have substantial federal contracts. A sales document produced for the Hunton & Williams law firm in November said the firms have “extensive experience in providing game-changing results across the Intelligence Community and defense/government sector.”

Other e-mails contain similar proposals to target supporters of WikiLeaks on behalf of Bank of America, which fears it will be that group’s next target. Bank of America has denied knowledge of the proposals.

The fall out from these revelations has produced denials of any involvement by US Chamber of Commerce and Bank of America officials, the condemnation of the proposal and the severance of ties wiht with HBGary Federal by Berico and Palantir and the resignation of HBGary CEO Aaron Barr.

Let’s see if the Republicans will go after some of the companies that are tools of their corporate owners.