Taking it to the streets....I received an email from a New York City organization which is planning a grass roots effort to help citizens re-think donating to "supposed" non-profit health organizations.
NYC Citizens Lobbying Against Smoker Harassment (NYC C.L.A.S.H.) is inviting you to join in the first ever nationwide and cooperative effort, with similarly affected groups and individuals, in applying pressure on the American Cancer Society, American Lung Association and the American Heart Association to rethink their involvement in lobbying for legislation and policies that threaten your livelihoods, private property rights, and civil liberties.
Following in the footsteps of Toledo's Citizens for Common Sense -- but on a grander scale and as a united front -- we intend to call for a boycott in fundraising for, or contributions to, these three organizations who use their strength to push for smoking bans/intrusive legislation in your restaurant or bar and using your own money to do it!
In the very words of one leader of the Toledo group, printed on September 24, 2004 in the Toledo Blade:"Why do we want to contribute to a group of people that's trying to destroy our businesses, trying to tear us apart? Why should we donate to them to increase their funds to attack us? It doesn't make sense."
A prime example of their antics, and also shameless violation of the IRS code that states charitable organizations may not attempt to influence legislation as a substantial part of its activities, is taking place right now in New Jersey. The ACS is waging an ugly campaign in print and on radio to get a state-wide smoking ban passed by asking the public to contact the governor. They've bypassed the usual targets of their accusation -- that anyone in the hospitality industry that opposes smoking bans must be a "front for Big Tobacco" -- and have instead laid that accusation on the NJ state legislators! Lying to the public in order to make the legislators "prove" they aren't influenced by the demonized industry by passing the law is despicable behavior by nothing other than a bunch of bullies. That's not even all of it. The entire ad drips of disgust for anyone who doesn't agree with them.
Our press release will say the same as expressed here, with the greatest of decorum. And for those of you wondering and concerned about how it will look to say you will no longer fundraise for, or donate to, these organizations we fully intend to state that contributions will be redirected to any of the other thousands of worthy charitable organizations (i.e. Make a Wish Foundation) or, for instance, directly to your local hospital's cancer research where you know it goes directly into research and not to pay the salaries or propaganda campaigns of the other three who spend little of their take on actual research.
I wish NYC CLASH the best of luck, and of course will help them in any way I can. I hope everyone who reads this post will also in the future rethink their contributions. Non-profit organizations which illegally lobby our lawmakers for the elimination of industry & jobs at the behest of the pharmaceutical industry are neither looking out for your health or welfare.