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CSE Draws Attention to the Social Security Debate
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Press Release

CSE Draws Attention to the Social Security Debate

Washington – On Wednesday, August 22, the President’s Commission to Strengthen Social Security met at the Loews Grand Hotel in Washington, D.C. Literally dozens of reporters were dispatched to the event along with several television cameras from outlets such as Fox News Channel, CNN, C-SPAN, Cox Broadcasting, and Belo Broadcasting. They were all there not only to cover the Commission meeting, but also to hear what those inside the beltway had to say about the President’s Commission and Social Security reform.

08/23/2001
Between Mouthfuls, Reporters Hear a Mouthful
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Between Mouthfuls, Reporters Hear a Mouthful

It had the desperate atmosphere of a red-light district, these hallways of the hotel where the President's Commission to Strengthen Social Security met Wednesday. Here, in the fierce competition for public opinion, interest group representatives strutted about with bold-faced press releases and laid bare their hospitality tables piled high with pasta salad and cold cuts. The goal: lure reporters into their news conferences.

08/23/2001
Social Security Experts Available to Discuss President's Commission
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Social Security Experts Available to Discuss President's Commission

News Advisory: Today, August 22, the President's Commission to Strengthen Social Security will hold its third meeting to discuss ways to save the Social Security System. While it is clear members of the Commission support modernization, some of the proposed solutions are quite confusing. Citizens for a Sound Economy Foundation, a national grassroots organization with nearly 300,000 members nationally, has several experts available to discuss the options available to the Commission in their efforts to find ways to shore up Social Security.

08/22/2001
President's Social Security Commission Begins Work, And Touches Off Vigorous Interest Group Debate
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President's Social Security Commission Begins Work, And Touches Off Vigorous Interest Group Debate

Former Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan and AOL Time Warner COO Richard Parsons spoke following a morning meeting of the President's Commission on Strengthening Social Security. The morning meeting was behind closed doors, but the commission had a public assembly scheduled from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.

08/22/2001
Stay Open to Virtual Charter Schools
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Press Release

Stay Open to Virtual Charter Schools

As published in The Philadephia Inquirer, August 21, 2001 Pennsylvania's growing virtual charter school movement is facing a fierce backlash.

08/21/2001
U.S. Consumer Reps Meet with B.C. Premier, Minister of Forests
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U.S. Consumer Reps Meet with B.C. Premier, Minister of Forests

Several representatives of U.S. consumer and business groups opposed to any new tariffs on Canadian Lumber imports to the U.S. are in Victoria and Vancouver today to meet with B.C. Premier Gordon Campbell, Forest Minister Mike de Jong, and members of the B.C. Government Caucus Committee on Natural Resources, a delegation of mayors and several forest company executives in the Province. "Our message is simple," said Susan Petniunas, spokesperson for the 15-member alliance, American Consumers for Affordable Homes (ACAH). "We are here urging that Canada and specifically British Columbia, resist negotiating any new trade restraint on softwood lumber exports to the U.S., and that it vigorously join U.S. consumers in continuing to fight recent duties imposed by the Bush Administration. The recent countervailing duty determinations totally political, violates major NAFTA and WTO provisions, and was done in such a way to try and force Canada to once again cower at the negotiating table." The delegation today included leadership from the National Association of Home Builders, National Lumber and Building Materials Association, The Home Depot, and CHEP USA. They emphasized U.S. consumer support for moving the two countries to free trade in lumber and said that there are more than 100 members of the U.S. Congress who recently sent a letter to President Bush expressing their support for U.S. consumer interests instead of the protectionist interests of a segment of the U.S. industry. ACAH members represent more than 95 percent of the U.S. consumption of softwood lumber from Canada. Bobby Rayburn, a home builder from Jackson, Miss., and vice president/secretary of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), said: "NAHB is strongly opposed to any tariffs on Canadian lumber imports. The U.S. Commerce Department's preliminary determination to impose a 19 percent levy will add up to $1,000 to the cost of building a typical new home. U.S. home builders and other domestic industries that depend on Canadian lumber will work very hard to ensure that it is freely traded between the U.S. and Canada." "The recent Commerce decision stands to drastically injure the ability of many U.S. lumber dealers to stay in business," said Mike Fritz, president of Rugg Lumber Co. with lumberyards in Greenfield and Northampton, Massachusetts. He is the chair-elect of the National Lumber and Building Materials Association that represents 9,000 locally owned lumber dealer firms throughout the U.S. "In our industry, contracts are written 3 to 12 months in advance in most cases. A 19 percent tax means that lumber dealers will have to absorb all of this added cost, making it much more difficult for yards struggling with 2-3 percent margins to stay afloat." There have been three previous countervailing duty cases on this issue, and in each case in which it was taken to a final decision, it was ultimately determined that the Canadian government did not provide unfair subsidies to its lumber industry. Fritz added that he felt confident that, "as this case moves forward the ITC and WTO will see right through the numerous and obvious holes in the decision, and invalidate the injustice done August 10. Unfortunately, it will be too late for many lumber dealers and too late for many home builders and new home buyers. When reversed, the U.S. will be forced to refund money collected through the unjust tariff, but lumber dealers and homebuyers will not see refund checks on higher prices they are forced to pay to subsidize the inefficiency and greed of some U.S. producers. The damage to consumers is already done." The Home Depot representative, Steve Conwell, Global Product Merchant for Lumber, told government officials that the uses of Canadian softwood lumber cannot be met by the U.S. supply, and that southern yellow pine is no substitute for Canadian spruce pine fir for most construction needs. "Quite frankly, if we cannot get the types of softwood lumber our customers need, we will look elsewhere. Canada is the logical trading partner for this product, and ending trade restraints is critical." In the U.S., The Home Depot has stores in 48 states, and operations in Chile, Argentina, Puerto Rico, Mexico, and Canada. "As an international company, CHEP strongly believes that free trade in lumber, or anything else, benefits consumers on both sides of the US-Canadian border. In contrast, trade restraints hurt everyone," said Scott Cameron of CHEP USA. "The acquisition cost of the millions of pallets that CHEP buys and then rents every year has gone up in reaction to concerns about unjustified countervailing duties and dumping penalties. These higher costs are passed on to CHEP customers, who use our pallets to ship groceries, fresh produce, and other consumer goods to retail stores. American families and senior citizens are paying for these higher costs at the grocery store checkout counter. Trade restraints amount to nothing less than an unprecedented and regressive national sales tax on food and other essential goods purchased by American consumers. Because it is a regressive tax, it hits less wealthy Americans the hardest," concluded Cameron. Petniunas said that while some characterize this as a lumber producer's issue, "it clearly is not. Consumer viewpoints have been ignored in all prior considerations of this issue, but clearly consumers bear the brunt of any trade restraint imposed. If the 19 percent countervailing duty is not overturned, and the anti-dumping request for duties of 39 percent were to be imposed, more than one million American families will be unable to qualify for mortgages to buy a new home. Most impacted are first-time homebuyers and seniors moving to a more affordable retirement housing. Consumer views must be considered in what we hope will be a fair, open process." Other U.S. alliance members include Citizens for a Sound Economy, Consumers for World Trade, Free Trade Lumber Council, International Mass Retail Association, International Sleep Products Association, Leggett & Platt Inc., Manufactured Housing Association for Regulatory Reform, Manufactured Housing Institute, National Black Chamber of Commerce, National Retail Federation, and the United States Hispanic Contractors Association.

08/21/2001
Citizens to Rally in Favor of Social Security Modernization
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Citizens to Rally in Favor of Social Security Modernization

News Advisory: On August 22, members of Citizens for a Sound Economy, a grassroots advocacy organization with nearly 300,000 members, will rally outside of the Loews L 'Enfant Plaza Hotel to show support for President Bush's Commission to Strengthen Social Security. The Commission is meeting later that afternoon to further their discussion on how to strengthen Social Security.

08/21/2001
Rush Limbaugh to CNN?
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Press Release

Rush Limbaugh to CNN?

Derided by conservatives as the "Clinton News Network," and even more pejoratively as the "Communist News Network," CNN has seen its viewership stagnate as the upstart Fox News Channel takes more and more of its primetime audience. As a result, new CNN Chairman and former Time Magazine editor, Walter Isaacson, is in the process of transforming the cable channel’s stale programming and what some regard as biased reporting.

08/20/2001
Johnston's Sheriff Pours Himself Into His Work
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Johnston's Sheriff Pours Himself Into His Work

BY Adrienne Lu

Johnston County Sheriff Steve Bizzell never had to look far to find the difference between right and wrong. His father, a Pentecostal Holiness preacher, grew vegetables for a living but never planted tobacco because it was harmful to the body. And his grandfather, who founded the church where his father preached, made his living busting liquor stills all over the county. The stories about his grandfather inspired the young Bizzell to be a law enforcement officer.

08/19/2001
Alabama Aims to "Sweep Montgomery Clean"
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Press Release

Alabama Aims to "Sweep Montgomery Clean"

On Saturday August 18th, Alabama CSE held it’s fourth barbeque in the small town of Brilliant, located in Marion County. Over 150 activists, dressed in red, white, and blue Alabama CSE t-shirts that read "Stop Government Waste...Sweep Montgomery Clean" gathered at the Rawl's family pavilion to push for less government. The enthusiastic crowd was treated to an old fashioned rally with music by the Bluegrass Trio and tasty barbeque. Several elected officials attended the event and addressed the crowd from the stage, which was lined with symbolic brooms, painted red, white, and blue, to represent Alabama CSE’s efforts to "sweep Montgomery clean."

08/18/2001

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