- When you witness first hand what a travesty and shambles
of Democracy results when corporate lobbyists continue to be allowed to
manipulate the legislative processes, at the state level, especially if
you are concerned about rudimentary efforts to improve consumer protection
in New Mexico, it is almost horrifying.
- The "good" people are alienated to a large
extent from the political process, preferring to dismiss all of it as corrupt
and/or impossible; that perception drives them into a feeling of powerlessness
and further alienation, and this is exactly what the corporations want,
so they can continue their control and manipulation through lobbyists'
pressures on particular committees.
- This was ghastly last year in terms of the Aspartame
bill to ban Aspartame/Methanol/Formaldehyde/Diketopiperazine, sponsored
by Senator Ortiz y Pino. The Japanese manufacturer of Aspartame and another
neurotoxic food additive, Monosodium Glutamate, Ajinomoto, in fact the
largest in the world, hired a lobbying firm, Butch Maki and Associates,
for indiscernible amounts of money. They hired a lobbyist, Richard Minzner,
former Majority Leader in the House, to put the screws to the bill in the
place it was most vulnerable, its first committee hearing in Senate Public
- Despite two excellent physicians being there to testify
for banning Aspartame, Pediatric Cardiologist, Grant La Farge, and Pediatrician
Ken Stoller, and despite massive amounts of articles and letters from
Aspartame poisoning victims, the corporations won with a vote of 5-2 to
table the bill, killing it for 2006. Minzner told the Committee it was
irresponsible and illegal to even think about challenging an FDA approved
chemical. Antonio Anaya, Vice President of Coca Cola New Mexico told the
Committee a monstrous lie, that Coca Cola would lose 600 jobs in New Mexico
if aspartame were banned. No one on the committee even challenged the
specious illogic of such a perfidious statement. Several members continued
to guzzle their Diet Sodas and eat their ham sandwiches while the testimony
continued. (Perhaps it is absurd to even try to entrust decisions about
the effects of formaldehyde on New Mexico's children to people who can't
even recognize that harm they are doing to themselves).
- Other lobbyists chimed in their predictable objections:
the Calorie Control Council, Altria Corporate Services, Pepsi Cola, etc.
- No victims were able to change their schedule to be able
to sit through many other items in order to speak; no parents concerned
about autism or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder; no one from the
New Mexico Department of Health was there to encourage the committee to
at least use the precautionary principle to move the bill forward, to
take an obviously harmful chemical off the market. Only the paid lobbyists
could wait to speak, and they were quick to maintain that it has been on
the market for 25 years, since its approval was forced through the FDA
by Donald Rumsfeld, when he was CEO of G.D. Searle, and is now used in
hundreds of nations.
- No statisticians nor epidemiologists from the Health
Department or Medical School were there to talk about the mountain of
evidence that the methanol and formaldehyde as metabolic by-products from
aspartame cause serious neurodegenerative harm, which might have something
to do with the spike in statistics for many afflictions in the USA, including
Multiple Sclerosis and Lou Gehrig's Disease.
- No one came in 2006 from the Attorney General's office
to say that it was the AG's opinion that our state could challenge an
obviously flawed FDA approval, and that we didn't have to continue to
slavishly capitulate to multinational corporations having rammed the approval
through, nor their subsequent efforts to silence and eviscerate any real
efforts to protect the health of New Mexicans.
- No one came from the Governor's office to note that 22
out of 42 New Mexico State Senators had signed a letter to him asking
him to put the bill on the Legislative Call for the short session, the
Agenda for which Gov. Richardson controlled in 2006. This was again the
result of intense private lobbying efforts from Maki, Minzner, and Michael
Stratton of Colorado, also a member of the Presidential Nominating Commission,
another lobbyist, whose specific job was to remind the Governor that he
shouldn't make such large corporations angry about putting the bill to
ban Aspartame on the "call."
- Several hundred members of the Organic Consumers' Association
responded to one of their Action Alerts and sent so many emails to Governor
Richardson asking him to support the bill to ban Aspartame by putting
it on his "call" over one weekend that the entire email capacity
for the Governor's web page was entirely filled.
- Still, the corporate lobbyists won the day by eviscerating
the bill, thus giving the corporations carte blanche to continue to poison
hundreds of thousands of New Mexicans for yet another year...
- What is new in 2007 that may make things more hopeful
for the bill to Ban Aspartame?
- First of all, Senator Ortiz y Pino hasn't abandoned it
and will introduce it again early in the Session. The Legislators are
better educated; some of them have quit Diet Sodas and Sugarless Chewing
Gum entirely; the constituents are better educated, to some extent, enough
to really make this legislation a mandate, if they will take the time
to write to legislators and to Governor Richardson and to Lt. Governor
- During the Interim, 21 NM Legislators signed two letters
from Senator Ortiz y Pino to President Bush, FDA Commissioner Von Eschenbach,
and USA Health Secretary Leavitt, asking them to rescind the approval
for Aspartame as soon as possible, citing an Early Day Motion from British
Parliament by MP of Wales, Roger Williams, signed by 46 members of Parliament
asking for an immediate ban of it in the United Kingdom.
- Bush responded by removing Mr. Rumsfeld from his position
the day after the midterm elections, partially because the entire world
has recognized Rumsfeld as having forced the approval for aspartame in
- Von Eschenbach responded with corporate pleasantries,
but did admit that FDA is still reviewing the Ramazzini Report from Italy
which proves it causes cancer in rats, which FDA has had since February
- Governor Richardson has generally postured in private
conversations but not in public speeches that states have to take back
rights in this realm, and perhaps, only after enough people write to him
again as constituents to publicly support the bill to ban Aspartame, perhaps
he will do so loudly and clearly in 2007.
- The best cause for optimism, frankly, is that we have
an Attorney General, Gary King, with his Ph. D. in Chemistry, and his
long tenure as Chairman of the House Consumer Affairs Committee in the
1980's and 1990's, who understands clearly not only the need to prevent
ghastly medical effects result from chemicals like Aspartame/Methanol/Formaldehyde/Diketopiperazine,
but also clearly understands the legalities in challenging an FDA approval
for a product that continues to do such harm.
- Please take the time to write, email, telephone, and
fax Attorney General Gary King to ask him to do three things:
- 1. Write a clear letter to the New Mexico Legislators
in both houses before the Legislative Session starts, all 112 of them,
that they have the power and the obligation to create a higher standard
than is possible during this current era of massive corporate control
of the FDA, especially in terms of preventing further medical harm from
Aspartame, the artificial sweetener.
- 2. File a request for a Federal Injunction, with New
Mexico as the Plaintiff, in which a Federal Judge will both order the FDA
commissioner to rescind the approval for Aspartame and will order the
corporations involved to cease and desist the manufacturing of aspartame
as well as adding it to their products.
- 3. Open files on behalf of New Mexico victims of Aspartame
poisoning, the brain tumors deaths, those with multiple sclerosis, memory
loss, Sudden Cardiac deaths, and others from the FDA's own list of 92
symptoms recognized as caused by Aspartame, a list they discontinued adding
to in 1995, like the tobacco victims with lung cancer and emphysema, so
that eventually punitive and exemplary damage suits could be filed on
behalf of those victims by the State of New Mexico.
- If you take the time to do that within 72 hours of reading
this, talking with your legislators should be easy. Their contact information
is all located at the website for the New Mexico Legislature. If you have
friends and relatives in other parts of the state, please forward this
letter on to them.
- This year, the corporate lobbyists should be out in droves
on the Aspartame bill, even more than last year. While you are enjoying
life going about your business, raising your children, and making your
living, they are up in the New Mexico Capitol hammering on Legislators,
preying on their lack of information, soothsaying them into acquiescence
and acceptance of the FDA's ostensible pre-emptive power, and so on, in
the corridors of power on the 3rd and 4th floor of the Capitol, and even
on the First Floor, where we find the offices of the Speaker of the House
and the President Pro Tempore of the NM Senate.
- Both Ben Lujan and Ben Altamirano are very nice guys,
and skilled leaders, highly committed to public service in its purest
forms, particularly adept at questions and methods of Finance of Government.
- They unfortunately want to try to keep everyone apparently
"happy." However, in terms of true consumer protection efforts,
you can't keep the corporations happy if you are going to protect the people,
which we must really clear to all of the Legislators, particularly the
Pro Tempore President of the Senate, and even clearer to Governor Richardson.
Senator Altamirano has been hammered by Washington corporate lobbyists
into hesitating to sponsor a bill in 2007 to create a new New Mexico Nutrition
Council, which he sponsored in 2006 as SB 217.
- If New Mexicans made clear to Governor Richardson that
one clear path to the White House might be through implementing a massive
new era of Consumer Protection in New Mexico, the likes of which have
never been seen. This is long overdue in every state, and would spread
to every other state; even if national political campaigns don't interest
you, you could make this point abundantly clear to the legislators, to
Governor Richardson, Lieutenant Governor Denish, Speaker Lujan, and Pro
- This is already clear to Attorney General King, whom
you only need to encourage and reinforce in this regard.
- Several key legislators who must be convinced who usually
seem to side with the Corporations are Senator Shannon Robinson of Albuquerque,
Chairman of the Senate Corporations Committee (firstname.lastname@example.org)
and Representative Debbie Rodella of San Juan Pueblo, presumed Chairman
of the House Business and Industry Committee (email@example.com).
- Real Consumer Protection must be extended to include
food products, food additives, pharmaceutical products, environmental
pollution, pesticides, herbicides, waste spills, mining and oil and gas
effluents, getting Thimerosal/Mercury out of Vaccines for adults and children,
and many other realms.
- The most pressing need, the one that affects 70% of the
Adults and 40% of Children in New Mexico, is permanently ridding our state
of Aspartame. This will happen if you help achieve this obvious medical
imperative by writing letters and talking with Legislators. It won't if
- If you want to make your voice heard nationally on this
issue, write to Senator Edward Kennedy, Chairman Senate Health Committee,
and to Senator Patrick Leahy, Chairman Senate Judiciary, asking them to
convene committee hearings in their respective committees on the forced
approval for Aspartame in 1981 and the obvious medical imperative to get
it off the market. Perhaps Dr. Von Eschenbach will respond to such hearings
with more than corporate- pleasing pleasantries that even a 10th grade
chemistry student could see through as duplicitous, when it comes to continuing
to allow formaldehyde and methanol to destroy millions of people's health
in 188 nations.
- Thank you.
- Stephen Fox
- If you have further questions, please examine my website:
- Contact emails and phone numbers:
- Governor Richardson
- Lt. Governor Denish
- President Pro Tem of Senate Ben Altamirano
- Speaker Ben Lujan
- Senator Shannon Robinson
- Senator Steve Komadina, M.D.
- Ranking Minority Member of Public Affairs;
- Senator Gaye Kernan
- Member of Public Affairs: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Senator Diane Snyder
- Ranking Minority Member of Senate Corporations: email@example.com
- Senator Mark Boitano
- Member Senate Corporations Committee: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Senator Phil Griego
- Member Senate Corporations Committee: email@example.com
- Representative Debbie Rodella,
- Chair of House Business and Industry: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Attorney General Gary King, Ph. D. 505 827-6000
- (call for email address, for complaint form)
- Senator Edward Moore Kennedy
- Senator Patrick Leahy