Back in the old West, snake oil salesmen would travel from town to town looking for easily duped locals who could be sweet-talked into buying useless elixir.
Now we’re seeing a 21st-century version, with former George W. Bush White House Chief of Staff Andy Card and former U.S. Sen. Evan Bayh from Indiana out on the stump for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce for an anti-regulatory road show, aimed at stripping away vital public safeguards in the name of “regulatory reform.”
As an answer to the Chamber’s snake oil tour, the Coalition for Sensible Safeguards – in which Public Citizen plays a leading role – launched a new website today to serve as an informative and fun online destination where the myths of the rented propagandists are debunked.
A visit to www.chambersnakeoiltour.org reveals how Big Business is deceiving the American public when it makes its case for upending the system that helps keep our water and air clean, consumer products safe, the financial system sound and much more. Website visitors are greeted with a comic rendition of Bayh and Card holding bottles of snake oil, desperately trying to hawk a bogus tonic for which the nation has no use.
Users can click on each bottle and learn the snake oil behind every inflated claim these slick salesmen are peddling. Each page contains the truth behind the lies they are trying to sell including:
FDA commissioner Margaret Hamburg speaks with Public Citizen president Robert Weissman
FDA commissioner Margaret Hamburg has a lot on her plate, especially considering the wide array of issues her agency covers. Luckily, she was able to chisel some time out of her busy schedule to fit in a discussion at Public Citizen.
She spoke today about a number of these topics, but divulged that she is concerned about two concepts: that the FDA is seen as a bureaucratic agency impeding innovation, and the role and influence Congress is exerting in the FDA’s budgetary process.
Flickr photo by fragglerawker_03
What’s up this week at Public Citizen? We’re keeping busy to make sure that your voices are being heard in the halls of power.
Today, FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg will speak at Public Citizen about drugs and safety. Follow @citizenangela on Twitter for her live-tweeting of the event, or check back here on Citizen Vox for our take on the event.
Also this week, folks down in Public Citizen’s Texas office will send a letter to the U.S. House of Representatives urging members from the Lone Star State to vote against a bill that would reduce the review of a proposed oil pipeline running through the Ogallala Aquifer in Texas. The pipeline would transport the dirtiest oil in the world through America’s largest freshwater aquifer, risking a major oil spill and causing dangerous pollutants to be released into the air during the refining process.
Public Citizen will also stand up for an energy activist this week who was convicted in March of making a false statement and violating a federal onshore oil and gas lease act. Now he could face up to 10 years in jail, as well as $750,000 in fines. Public Citizen will vouch for him, saying that protecting the environment is not a crime, and will highlight the absurdity of this activist being charged when real environmental and safety predators — like Massey Energy and BP — walk away from their disasters unharmed.
And stay tuned for later in the week, when Public Citizen petitions the FDA to require manufacturers of a drug to warn about a rare, but serious adverse effect that could leave patients with detached retinas and impaired vision.
Check back. We’re on the go, with you, the American consumers, on our minds and agendas.