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Clifford J. Tasner
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Entries by Clifford J. Tasner

You Don't Want to Know What We're Putting in Your Food!

(0) Comments | Posted November 5, 2012 | 4:08 PM

"Caifornians should be able to know what's in their food, so they can make choices about what they eat!" This is the very simple premise behind Prop. 37, which would label foods that contain Genetically Modified Organisms -- the same GMOs that we Billionaires for Biotech Bonanzas produce and manufacture! Early polls indicated that 85 percent of Californians favored this terrifying idea. We couldn't let California go the way of Europe, as well as Japan, India and China (some 50 countries in all) where labeling foods this way is the law of the land. And if such madness should pass in California, sooner or later people would get it into their heads that food labeling might be a good idea in other states as well! So we swung into action.

The California Initiative System works best when it's our corporations that are putting measures on the ballot. But with Prop. 37, it was unpaid signature gatherers, consumer activists and unpaid volunteers. Could all that "People Power" withstand a bracing tidal wave of massive corporate cash? We got all the big players in Biotech and Big Agra like Monsanto (the company that brought you Agent Orange) and DuPont (the makers of DDT), as well as Bayer Crop Science, Syngenta, BASF, PepsiCo, Nestle, Coca Cola and Con Agra, and we assembled a war chest of over $35 million, so we could find out.

We modeled our campaign after the successful defeat on the June ballot of Prop. 29, which would have raised taxes on tobacco products for cancer research. Initially Californians supported it in huge, enthusiastic numbers. The tobacco industry's PR team didn't debate the merits of smoking; instead, it attacked the initiative as poorly written, and hinted that it would create a new bureaucracy. And before you know it, millions of non-smokers were voting to protect Big Tobacco's best interests, and Prop. 29 went down to a very narrow defeat.

We don't want to have to debate the merits of GMO foods for consumers. That would entail making the case that the products we make are healthier than what is grown naturally, and then we might have to show actual studies on the long-term health consequences of consuming our products -- studies that so far, we've never been required to do!

So we focused on the premise that Prop. 37 is badly written and vague. Our spokesman was Dr. Henry Miller of the Hoover Institution, the same expert who has worked to discredit the connection between tobacco and cancer, and who more recently asserted that exposure to radiation from the Fukushima reactor might actually be healthy. We even ran ads with Dr. Miller on MSNBC so we could confuse the liberals about the measure. Confused voters tend to vote "no."

We asserted that if Prop. 37 passes, food prices will go up. How can we be so sure? We produce and manufacture the food. We can certainly punish consumers for enacting a law that inconveniences us by jacking up our prices. The oil companies have been gouging Californians for mandating cleaner burning gasoline for years!

Most of the corn and soy and sugar beets grown in the U.S. belong to us. We designed them. We inserted DNA from other plants, animals, bacteria and viruses into their chromosomes to give them properties we find desirable. One of those properties is to withstand massive applications of our potent weedkiller. This way, we not only sell farmers our seeds, but massive amounts of our weedkiller too. We own these plants. We have patented them. If their DNA should drift into some other farmers' field, we own those plants as well. But don't worry your pretty little heads about that. You just have to trust that we have your best interests at heart.

We're behind the comfort foods that you so love -- the foods that have the right level of sugar, salt and fat to make your endorphins kick in, foods dripping with liquid gold (corn syrup made from corn we designed and patented and own), the foods you want to keep eating more and more of. Your lives are so hard. Why shouldn't you indulge in foods that make you feel comfortable? When you do so, you're making our investors more comfortable too!

Nothing should interfere with your sense of well-being. And yet one regulation after another gets passed to give you more cause to worry about what you're eating. First we were forced to disclose our ingredients so you could fret about whether you wanted to eat candy with tert-Butylhydroquinone in it. Then we were forced to disclose calorie and fat content, so you could fret about whether eating a portion of something that contained 150 percent of the recommended saturated fat intake was wise. Now it's labeling GMOs. Where will this madness stop?! Do you really think you'll be wanting sausage if you saw how it was made? Isn't not knowing better? More comforting? When you were little and you had a cold and your mommy made you a nice comforting bowl of chicken soup, did you need to know what she put in it? Let Biotech and Big Agra be like your mommies now. Just open your mouths and close your eyes!

This has been Felonius Ax, for the...

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Dispatches from the DNC: Day 3 -- A Good Time to Be a Billionaire

(1) Comments | Posted September 7, 2012 | 3:01 PM

Felonius Ax of the Billionaires here, reporting from Charlotte.

We are the smallest, most beleaguered minority in America today. When we squeeze the middle class and consolidate money upwards, all we're doing is protecting our minority rights. But when we're called on it, well, that's class warfare, plain and simple....

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Billionaire Dispatches from the DNC: Day 2 (We're Buy-Partisan)

(4) Comments | Posted September 6, 2012 | 4:43 PM

Felonius Ax of the Billionaires here, reporting from Charlotte.

If you're wondering why a small, hearty contingent of billionaires has decamped in Charlotte for the Democratic Convention instead of sipping ginger ale at Mitt's vacation home at Lake Winnipesaukee, let me assure you that we are Buy-Partisan! We buy Democrats...

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Billionaire Dispatches from the DNC - Day 1 - Welcome To Charlotte~

(0) Comments | Posted September 4, 2012 | 3:18 PM

Felonius Ax of the Billionaires here, reporting from Charlotte.

We are the smallest, most beleaguered minority in America today, and here at the Democratic Convention, it feels like we're even smaller and more beleaguered. All of us were out in force in Tampa last week, but there aren't enough Billionaires...

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Billionaire Dispatches From the RNC -- Day 4

(2) Comments | Posted August 30, 2012 | 4:41 PM

Felonius Ax of the Billionaires here, reporting from Tampa:

I just got back to my suites at the Weston Tampa Harbor Island Hotel, where all the big Romney bundlers are crashing, from an afternoon of zany antics at the Americans For Prosperity to honoring David Koch and Art Pope for...

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Billionaire Dispatches From the Convention: Day 2

(1) Comments | Posted August 29, 2012 | 11:48 AM

Felonius Ax of the Billionaires here, reporting from Tampa:

The torrential rain is starting to let up a little, thanks to Hurricane Isaac heading to where hurricanes belong -- the Louisiana coast, so I ventured out of our cozy suites at the Westin Tampa Harbor Island Hotel where all of...

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Billionaire Dispatches From the RNC -- Day 3

(1) Comments | Posted August 29, 2012 | 10:58 AM

Felonius Ax of the Billionaires here, reporting from Tampa:

Today, all of our telecommunications companies brought Republican lawmakers and candidates to Tropicana Field for batting practice. Come January, these are the guys who are going to take a bat to Net Neutrality once in for all, so it'll be a...

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Billionaire Dispatches from the Convention, Day 1

(1) Comments | Posted August 27, 2012 | 7:27 PM

Felonius Ax of the Billionaires here, reporting from Tampa:

So they're postponing the opening of the Republican Convention due to extreme weather. All of us big bundlers are hunkering down at the Weston Tampa Harbor Island Hotel. My security people tell me that some of those Occupy protestors have come...

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Let's Build That Pipeline

(90) Comments | Posted April 15, 2012 | 8:14 PM

The days when your mater and pater gave you your first 100,000 shares of a company, and you held on to that stock for the rest of your life and uttered a hearty "huzzah!" when the dividends would roll in, are long gone. Which is why we billionaires in the...

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Obamacare Is Killing Our Bottom Line

(8) Comments | Posted March 28, 2012 | 10:32 AM

We billionaires are delighted that the Supreme Court has begun hearings about that dreadful Obamacare. As shareholders in all the large insurance companies, we love the Individual mandate. After all, it was our idea, promulgated through the various conservative think-tanks that we sponsor. But there are a number of features...

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Bring Joe-Mentum to the G.O.P. (Revisited)

(1) Comments | Posted December 16, 2009 | 1:27 PM

We wrote this song and made this video in the run-up to the 2008 election. We wanted to to sound a note of caution that the fix was in, and Karl Rove would call in his chit for fundraising for Lieberman's last reelection, sending the Senate back into Republican hands...

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The Billionaires' Latest Guerrilla Musical

(4) Comments | Posted November 1, 2009 | 12:07 PM

When CIGNA Representatives refused to speak with protesters at their offices last Wednesday morning, the Billionaires For Wealthcare decided to speak on CIGNA's behalf, and a guerrilla musical entitled "Profits Before People" broke out.

The group conducting the protest was Mobilization for Healthcare for All. They are demanding that...

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The Battle Hymn Of The Insurance Companies

(4) Comments | Posted September 16, 2009 | 11:23 AM

The Billionaires for Wealthcare and our new song, "Battle Hymn Of The Insurance Companies" opened last night's Rachel Maddow show:

And here's the full final mix of the song:

And the lyrics:

Battle Hymn Of The Insurance Companies
(to the tune of "Battle Hymn Of The Republic")

Rejoice and let us glory in the profits we attain
By rationing the remedies for suffering and pain.
And no one's gonna mess with all our monetary gain.
Let's save the status quo!

If our health care corporation
Never faces regulation,
We'll be brimming with elation!
Let's save the status quo!

We bought a bunch of senators and congresspeople too.
They serve our corporate interests and we tell them what to do.
This gravy train will stop the day a health care bill gets through.
Let's save the status quo!

Chorus: If our health care corporation (etc.)

Our PR team is crackerjack. We're framing the debate!
We're spreading lots of lies and we're unleashing lots of hate.
We'll drive a stake into the bill the day it leaves the gate.
Let's save the status quo!

Chorus: If our health care corporation (etc.)

A decent public option is an option we won't bear.
And Medicare for everyone would kill our market share.
We'll never win the game if all the rules are just and fair.
Let's save the status quo!

Chorus: If our health care corporation (etc.)

In every other wealthy nation health care is a right.
But not here in America, no, not without a fight!
We're fighting for the right to monstrous profits day and night.
Let's save the status quo!

Chorus: If our health care corporation (etc.)

Lyric by Felonius Ax
Minister of Musical Manipulation

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This Health Care Plan Must Die!

(1) Comments | Posted September 9, 2009 | 5:25 PM

The Billionaires are back, this time as the Billionaires for Wealthcare (, representing all the noble Health Insurance Companies who are trying to fight back Obama's jackbooted attempts to regulate us into providing better health care for Americans, and heaven forfend, even cutting us out of as juicy a share...

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Bring Joe-Mentum To The G.O.P.

(0) Comments | Posted November 13, 2008 | 9:21 AM

When we first created this music video it was to sound a note of caution that the fix was in, and Karl Rove would call in his chit for fundraising for Lieberman's last reelection, sending the Senate back into Republican hands for the remainder of George Bush's term, where they...

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Brighter Day

(1) Comments | Posted November 3, 2008 | 10:08 AM

The Obama campaign has offered progressives a much-needed shot of optimism and joy. And if we should manage to prevail Tuesday, many of us are going to feel like taking a well-deserved break from activism. And we can't afford to do that.

In 1992, so many of us felt...

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Video: Don't Vote!

(7) Comments | Posted October 31, 2008 | 11:15 AM

The Republican victory strategy is an acknowledgment that they can't win the election legitimately, so they've got to conspire, as they've done every four years since 2000, to cheat their way to victory. And they're counting on all the disenfranchisement from hacked voting machines, vote caging, deceptive mailers that offer...

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Cut And Run?

(0) Comments | Posted October 28, 2008 | 11:39 AM

Discussion of the Iraq War seems to have receded as the campaigns near their conclusion, but it's still an issue that will confront our next president. And John McCain still believes in staying in Iraq and possibly expanding the war to other oil-rich nearby countries. And throughout the campaign, he's...

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The Billionaires -- Don't Vote!

(4) Comments | Posted October 22, 2008 | 10:30 AM

We are the brothers of bullion, the sisters of stock options; the compadres of cash. For the last 8 years, we tuxedo and evening gown-clad denizens of the richest 0.01% of America's economic bell curve have been celebrating the president who has been concentrating more and more money into our...

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The Billionaires - Pious Folks Are Plentiful

(1) Comments | Posted September 25, 2008 | 12:11 PM

Sarah Palin embodies the great Republican tradition of pandering to Social Conservatives with wedge issues so they can elect politicians who will pursue a corporatist agenda of Deregulation and Privatization.

Here's our new video of the song from our 2004 album release, "The Billionaires Are In The House."

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