|As the Labor Day holiday in the United States approaches, many of us will take time to reflect upon and celebrate the achievements of American workers.
But living in a globalized economy where many of the goods we use every day are produced elsewhere, we should also take time to consider workers worldwide and what we as consumers must do to demand fair labor conditions for all. Palm oil touches most of our lives every day, and yet the living and working conditions of the people who harvest palm oil are foreign to most of us.
Millions of people work in the global palm oil industry, and thousands toil under inhumane conditions, including child labor and conditions of modern-day slavery. Companies like PepsiCo are buying palm oil without guaranteeing that the rights of workers making that palm oil are respected and upheld. Instead, PepsiCo has launched its ironic summer marketing campaign calling on consumers to just #LiveForNow and continue consuming PepsiCo products, rather than worry about the children and adults that are forced to work under inhumane conditions to produce palm oil for PepsiCo products.
This Labor Day, help us make sure that PepsiCo knows we won’t #LiveforNow by letting labor abuses and modern-day slavery persist in PepsiCo’s palm oil supply chain. If you haven’t already, please join our Twitter campaign to make sure PepsiCo hears your concerns today.
Not sure what to write? Feel free to use the ideas below:
With your help, we can stand in solidarity with global palm oil workers and send a clear message to PepsiCo that cheap gimmicks won’t fool us to only #LiveForNow. PepsiCo has already responded to our campaign by releasing a new forest policy and palm oil commitment — a step in the right direction but not enough to eliminate Conflict Palm Oil. We know we’ve got the attention of PepsiCo executives, but we need your help to keep the pressure up and push PepsiCo to go all the way to eliminate slavery and protect the rights of palm oil workers in its supply chain.
Together, we can make PepsiCo understand that #LiveForNow means ending modern slavery and labor abuses in the palm oil industry.
P.S. Not on Twitter yet? Don’t worry, it’s simple to get setup and tweeting in minutes.
Most people have heard about Twitter, but not everybody has an account. Here’s a quick and easy guide to getting setup to Tweet your outrage over Conflict Palm Oil in less than 5 minutes.
2. Create a Tweet! (Be sure to upload your photo by clicking the Camera icon).
3. Post your feelings on PepsiCo’s Conflict Palm Oil use! Use the hashtag #LiveForNow in your Tweet so others can find it.
Program Note: In May, some parents were shocked by what their children really thought about race. So now, what are they doing about it? All this week, “AC360°” revisits the doll study to see how children view race. Don’t miss “Black or White, Kids on Race,” all this week at 10 p.m. ET on CNN.
Kids on Race Part 1
[cnn-video url=”http://www.cnn.com/video/#/video/bestoftv/2010/05/17/ac360.doll.study.cnn “]
Kids on Race Part 2
1. The Declaration of Independence wasn’t signed on July 4, 1776.
On July 1, 1776, the Second Continental Congress met in Philadelphia, and on the following day 12 of the 13 colonies voted in favor of Richard Henry Lee’s motion for independence. The delegates then spent the next two days debating and revising the language of a statement drafted by Thomas Jefferson.
On July 4, Congress officially adopted the Declaration of Independence, and as a result the date is celebrated as Independence Day. Nearly a month would go by, however, before the actual signing of the document took place.
First, New York’s delegates didn’t officially give their support until July 9 because their home assembly hadn’t yet authorized them to vote in favor of independence. Next, it took two weeks for the Declaration to be “engrossed”—written on parchment in a clear hand.
Most of the delegates signed on August 2, but several—Elbridge Gerry, Oliver Wolcott, Lewis Morris, Thomas McKean and Matthew Thornton—signed on a later date. (Two others, John Dickinson and Robert R. Livingston, never signed at all.) The signed parchment copy now resides at the National Archives in the Rotunda for the Charters of Freedom, alongside the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.
2. More than one copy exists.
After the adoption of the Declaration of Independence, the “Committee of Five”—Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Roger Sherman and Robert R. Livingston—was charged with overseeing the reproduction of the approved text. This was completed at the shop of Philadelphia printer John Dunlap. On July 5, Dunlap’s copies were dispatched across the 13 colonies to newspapers, local officials and the commanders of the Continental troops. These rare documents, known as “Dunlap broadsides,” predate the engrossed version signed by the delegates. Of the hundreds thought to have been printed on the night of July 4, only 26 copies survive. Most are held in museum and library collections, but three are privately owned.
3. When news of the Declaration of Independence reached New York City, it started a riot.
By July 9, 1776, a copy of the Declaration of Independence had reached New York City. With hundreds of British naval ships occupying New York Harbor, revolutionary spirit and military tensions were running high. George Washington, commander of the Continental forces in New York, read the document aloud in front of City Hall. A raucous crowd cheered the inspiring words, and later that day tore down a nearby statue of George III. The statue was subsequently melted down and shaped into more than 42,000 musket balls for the fledgling American army.
4. Eight of the 56 signers of the Declaration of Independence were born in Britain.
While the majority of the members of the Second Continental Congress were native-born Americans, eight of the men voting for independence from Britain were born there. Gwinnett Button and Robert Morris were born in England, Francis Lewis was born in Wales, James Wilson and John Witherspoon were born in Scotland, George Taylor and Matthew Thornton were born in Ireland and James Smith hailed from Northern Ireland.
5. One signer later recanted.
Richard Stockton, a lawyer from Princeton, New Jersey, became the only signer of the Declaration of Independence to recant his support of the revolution. On November 30, 1776, the hapless delegate was captured by the British and thrown in jail. After months of harsh treatment and meager rations, Stockton repudiated his signature on the Declaration of Independence and swore his allegiance to King George III. A broken man when he regained his freedom, he took a new oath of loyalty to the state of New Jersey in December 1777.
6. There was a 44-year age difference between the youngest and oldest signers.
The oldest signer was Benjamin Franklin, 70 years old when he scrawled his name on the parchment. The youngest was Edward Rutledge, a lawyer from South Carolina who was only 26 at the time. Rutledge narrowly beat out fellow South Carolinian Thomas Lynch Jr., just four months his senior, for the title.
7. Two additional copies have been found in the last 25 years.
In 1989, a Philadelphia man found an original Dunlap Broadside hidden in the back of a picture frame he bought at a flea market for $4. One of the few surviving copies from the official first printing of the Declaration, it was in excellent condition and sold for $8.1 million in 2000. A 26th known Dunlap broadside emerged at the British National Archives in 2009, hidden for centuries in a box of papers captured from American colonists during the Revolutionary War. One of three Dunlap broadsides at the National Archives, the copy remains there to this day.
8. The Declaration of Independence spent World War II in Fort Knox.
On December 23, 1941, just over two weeks after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, the signed Declaration, together with the Constitution, was removed from public display and prepared for evacuation out of Washington, D.C. Under the supervision of armed guards, the founding document was packed in a specially designed container, latched with padlocks, sealed with lead and placed in a larger box. All told, 150 pounds of protective gear surrounded the parchment. On December 26 and 27, accompanied by Secret Service agents, it traveled by train to Louisville, Kentucky, where a cavalry troop of the 13th Armored Division escorted it to Fort Knox. The Declaration was returned to Washington, D.C., in 1944.
9. There is something written on the back of the Declaration of Independence.
In the movie “National Treasure,” Nicholas Cage’s character claims that the back of the Declaration contains a treasure map with encrypted instructions from the founding fathers, written in invisible ink. Unfortunately, this is not the case. There is, however, a simpler message, written upside-down across the bottom of the signed document: “Original Declaration of Independence dated 4th July 1776.” No one knows who exactly wrote this or when, but during the Revolutionary War years the parchment was frequently rolled up for transport. It’s thought that the text was added as a label.
Henry Louis Gates Jr., being interviewed in his home in Cambridge, Mass., in 2008.
Josh Reynolds/Associated Press
So, we’re on day 9 of Black History Month. February, the shortest month has been filled with stories, documentaries, and information regarding the people experiencing life as African Americans. The ever-present and the unfortunate increase of incidences of living while Black happened to Professor Gates in 2009; the charges may have been dismissed and Professor Gates may have agreed to sign off on a piece of paper or some kind of waiver … but we all know the PR lady and her department made arrangements for a press conference and on national tv she stated that they firmly believed the actions the police took were justified… was an awful decision least we talk about what did take place
There were reports that 6 officers were dispatched to Professors Gates property … 6?
questions still abound … why didn’t they know who lives in their police district? his home is in an affluent college neighborhood and as an Affluent Professor, he should have privileges … was it a disgruntled neighbor or someone driving by? Whoever it was, the dispatch has an obligation and should have taken time to find out who lived there and told the police to act accordingly. Unfortunately, this behavior is historic and horrific especially when the person in question is Black … Professor Gates arrest was a way to show him who was in charge and in control.
First posted on Jun 7 2010, 12:21 PM ET |
Over the past 100 years, government record systems lost track of more than 40 million acres and who owns them. The records simply vanished. Meanwhile, documents were lost in fires and floods, buried in salt mines or found in an Albuquerque storage facility covered by rat feces and a deadly Hantavirus. Government officials exploited computer systems with no audit trails to turn Indian proceeds into slush funds but maintain plausible deniability.The lack of accountability is confirmed in the government’s own reports and testimony dating to the early 20th century. Conclusions of “fraud,” “corruption,” “institutional incompetence,” “deficiencies in accounting,” “the accounts lack credibility,” “multifaceted monster,” “organizational nightmare,” “dismal history of inaction,” “criminal negligence,” and “sorry history of department mismanagement,” are found regularly between 1915 and the present. Congress ordered an accounting in 1994 but interior secretaries in both the Clinton and George W. Bush administrations were held in civil contempt for not forking over records. District Judge Royce Lamberth, a Texas Republican nominated by President Reagan who oversaw the case for a decade, called the whole matter “government irresponsibility in its purest form.”I sat in Lamberth’s courtroom in 1999 when Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt both lost his cool and conceded that the government couldn’t provide accurate cash balances of most accounts and that “the fiduciary obligation of the United States is not being fulfilled.” But the dispute would not end, as the Clinton and Bush administrations fought unceasing adverse rulings in a case inspiring 3,600 separate court filings and 80 published decisions. No single case, including the antitrust action against Microsoft, has been as heavily litigated and defended by the government, say lawyers.The government’s chief nemesis has been Elouise Cobell, a member of the Blackfeet Nation in Montana, the accountant-turned-banker who in 1987 started Blackfeet National Bank, the first national bank on a reservation. With a very small team of attorneys led by a Washington banking specialist, Dennis Gingold, her suit has inspired 3,600 court filings and 80 published decisions. Not even the antirust action against Microsoft was as heavily litigated by the government.The historic resistance melded with an unsympathetic appeals court often overruling the dispute’s two trial judges. It ordered removal of Lamberth, now the district court’s chief judge, due to harsh language toward the government. Last year, it threw out a ruling by District Judge James Robertson, Lamberth’s successor, that the Indians were owed $476 million, a pittance compared to the reduced, $48 billion they were seeking by then. Presidential candidates Barack Obama and John McCain both urged settlement during the 2008 campaign.
A resolute Judge Robertson then hauled Interior Secretary Ken Salazar and plaintiffs into his chambers last year. He made clear to one and all that, in light of the latest appeals court ruling, both sides had the choice between spending maybe another 10 years in court or trying to finally settle. The initial atmosphere was not necessarily conducive to harmony. Career government employees in the Interior, Justice and Treasury departments felt burned after years of being belittled by both the plaintiffs and Judge Lamberth. Meanwhile, the plaintiffs had minimal trust in the government. But political appointees in the Obama administration, including Salazar and Attorney General Eric Holder, took their cue from President Obama’s own support of a settlement. Dozens of meetings ensued, with the many prickly issues including how far back in time one would go to try to determine who should benefit.
Ultimately, Judge Robertson prodded what, given all the legal setbacks, is an impressive $3.4 billion deal announced in December. Ironically, before the recent congressional recess, the House approved the deal and Robertson announced his retirement, meaning District Judge Thomas Hogan becomes the third, and hopefully final, arbiter in the case. He would oversee a so-called “fairness hearing” in which objections can be raised.
There is inherent complexity in wrapping up. If the Senate approves, there will be a media campaign throughout Indian Country, including direct mail, newspaper and broadcast public service advertisements. Garden City Group of Melville, New York, which handled the major class action against Enron, will be claims administrator. It will get computer lists from the Interior Department, with the account information of perhaps 500,000 Indians and then doublecheck names and addresses. How good are the records? Nobody is really sure.
The $3.4 billion will be placed in a still-to-be-selected bank and $1.4 billion will go to individuals, mostly in the form of checks ranging from $500 to $1,500. A small group, such as members of the Osage tribe who benefit from huge Oklahoma oil revenues, will get far more, based on a formula incorporating their 10 highest years of income between 1985 and 2009. As important, $2 billion will be used to buy trust land from Indian owners at fair market prices, with the government finally returning the land to tribes. Nobody can be forced to sell. As for the winning lawyers, their take is capped at $100 million, actually low by class-action standards, though Republican Sen. John Barrasso of Wyoming, an orthopedic surgeon, has groused about the fees.
The fairness hearing will be interesting since many Indians have a hard time believing they’re not still being shafted. “This proposed settlement fixes nothing, the U.S. won by legal weaseling,” writes a member of the Upper Midwest’s Prairie Band Potawatomi tribe on a message board. He’s not alone. Like a family victimized by homicide, Indians may never experience enough healing to truly recover. But, finally, as hard as it is for them to believe, there really may be some justice.
This proposed settlement fixes nothing, the U.S. won by legal weaseling.
The U.S. did send a message to Indians in Cobell. They will extend Indian claims in courts indefinitely until the claimants die, exhaust funding and cave into perennial stonewalling.
In short, this 1867 Commission also “recommended that the intercourse laws with Indian Tribes be thoroughly revised.” This sounds like trust reform to me.
In 1973, Senator James Abourezk introduced Senate Joint Resolution No. 133 to establish a Federal commission to review all aspects of policy, law, and administration relating to affairs of the United States with American Indian tribes and people. The Senate and the House of Representatives both adopted S.J. Res. 133 and on January 2, 1975, the Resolution was signed into law by the President, thus establishing the American Indian Policy Review Commission [Public Law 93-580]. There are other Commissions in 1928, 1934 and 1992.
Prairie Band Potawatomi
Former Tribal Councilperson
Viet Nam Veteran