EL CHE -- LITTLE MOVIES
Directed by Maurice Dugowson
El Che Little Movie 1
El Che Little Movie 2
El Che Little Movie 3
El Che Little Movie 4
El Che Little Movie 5
El Che Little Movie 6
El Che Little Movie 7
El Che Little Movie 8
El Che Little Movie 9
El Che Little Movie 10
El Che Little Movie 11
El Che Little Movie 12
El Che Little Movie 13
El Che Little Movie 14
El Che Little Movie 15
El Che Little Movie 16
El Che Little Movie 17
El Che Little Movie 18
El Che Little Movie 19
“Great Vajradhara, Telo, Naro and Marpa,
Mila, the lord of the dharma Gampopa;
The knower of the three times,
The omniscient Karmapa;
The holders of the lineage of the four great and the eight lesser schools;
Dri, Tak, Tsel, these three, Sri Drugpa and so on;
And those who have completely achieved the profound path of mahamudra;
To those incomparable protectors of all beings the Dagpo Kagyu –
I supplicate you, the Kagyu Gurus,
I follow your tradition and example;
Please grant your blessing.”
Several years later, the Vajra Regent passed away as well. During the period following these deaths, the community and its leadership turned to one of Chögyam Trungpa's most revered and only living teachers, Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche, then supreme head of the Nyingma lineage. In 1990, at the urging of Khyentse Rinpoche, Trungpa Rinpoche's eldest son, the Sakyong Ösel Rangdröl Mukpo (now known as Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche, as indicated below) returned from a period of practice and study with Dilgo Khyentse in Nepal to lead the community and direct the work his father, Chögyam Trungpa, had begun.
“By the power and with the blessings of the three jewels, the glorious and authentic root gurus of the Practicing lineage of Kagyu and the Ancient Lineage of Nyingma, the herukas and dakinis, Dharmapalas and lokapalas, I hereby empower and declare Karma Cho-kyi Dawa Legpai Lodro Osel Tendzin Chogle Namgyel, Thomas F. Rich, as DORJE GYALTSAP, VAJRA REGENT to act on my behalf in propagating buddhadharma and the vision of the three yanas throughout the world, and to implement, as a Director of the First Class, the purpose and intentions of Vajradhatu as well as those of the Nalanda Foundation. Proclaimed and sealed at the seat of Vajradhatu in Boulder, Colorado, in America by Vajracarya the Venerable Karma Ngawang Cho-kyi Gyamtso Kunga Sangpo, Trungpa Tulku XI, this 250th year of the Parinirvana, on the 27th day of the Fire Dragon Year of the 16th Rapjung, August 22, 1976. [signed] Trungpa XI [Trungpa Seal]”
Dearly loved comrade,
If you do not hold the seat,
Others may take it away;
If you do not sit on a rock,
It becomes mushy clay;
If you don't have patience to sit on a rock or seat,
They give you away;
If you are not diligent in holding the throne,
Some opportunist will snatch it away;
If you are tired of your seat,
Some interior decorator will rearrange it;
If you don't have a throne,
You cannot speak or proclaim from it,
So the audience will dissipate;
If you don't have a government seat to sit on,
Your wisdom and command seal will be snatched by others;
If you run around, thinking that you have a seat to come back to,
It will be washed away by the turbulent river,
Like a presidential platform;
You can never proclaim your command.
Either it will be disassembled by the cockroaches
Or the frivolous multitude will take it away as souvenirs.
It may be hard to sit on the seat,
But one must endure it.
Do sit on your seat,
Whether it is hard or soft.
Once you sit on your seat,
The sitting itself becomes truly command and message,
Then, undoubtedly, multitudes of people will respect and obey it
As the vajra throne of Bodhgaya where Buddha taught.
Truth becomes exertion.
The message of hard fact proclaims itself,
So you don't have to emphasize harder truth.
Offering your seat in order to please others will not give authentic
They will take the attitude that you are a pleasant seat-offerer.
So, my son, please don't move around;
Assume your seat, and sit, and be.
If you be that way, truth prevails;
Command is heard throughout the land.
So sit and hold your seat.
Then you will enjoy, because others will admire you.
This is hard to do, but easy to accomplish.
“By the measure of what we are used to in North America and Europe, the accommodations here are primitive beyond your wildest imagination. It makes camping look like the Hilton, but at the same time the hospitality has been extraordinary. We are pervaded by the warmth, the playfulness and the friendliness of the people. We all feel that we are in luxury, in a certain way — luxury with a medieval ambience. It's like a time capsule. We live in dirt quarters that are pitch dark, not just for us, but for Rinpoche. To get into Rinpoche's quarters, you go over these planks that are bouncing up and down over a kind of a moat. Suffice it to say that ”hole in the wall“ (or the floor) is an apt description of a bathroom. By this point, though, we've all settled in and feel quite welcome. It's wonderful. We're getting along well together, or at least as Rinpoche said the other day, ”’Nobody has been voted off the island ... yet.’" (The Rinpoche referred to here is clearly the Sakyong, because the Twelfth Tulku doesn’t watch TV.)
“Trungpa Rinpoche’s support and education at Surmang costs approximately US$10,000 per year, which the Konchok Foundation is committed to providing. If funds received for his support exceed that, they will go towards the much-needed upgrading of his living quarters.”
June 18: Surmang
This is the second installment of a dispatch received on June 18 from Peter Volz and Derek Koleeny of the Office of International Affairs and Kusung Dapön Mark Thorpe.
Atmosphere & Interactions
Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche has been very, very busy from morning to night. People are coming in and asking for blessings in a steady stream. The monastery is actually quite a busy place. It reminds one of the fact that Trungpa Rinpoche said in Born in Tibet that he had to move to Dorje Khyung Dzong, a couple of hundred yards up the valley — and at 1500 feet higher elevation straight up — to escape the busyness of the monastery.
The throne ceremony held on Saturday the 16th was really quite magnificent and significant. According to Sangye Khandro (translator who is part of the Shambhala traveling party), it was a kind of ceremony that would be done only under extremely rare circumstances. At the height of the ceremony, the Trungpa Tulkü and all of the Surmang lamas each made offerings to the Sakyong. Then, they made a specific request and supplication to the Sakyong. Having requested him to remain in this world to continue to benefit beings, they requested that Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche be the throne holder, lineage holder, and the leader of the Surmang monasteries. In the days following, they have already begun to discuss various issues with the Sakyong concerning the present activities and the future of the monasteries.
The Usurper of the Trungpa Lineage — Sakyong Mipham
LeapFrog Computing wrote:
LeapFrog's New Fly Pentop Computer Chosen as Fourth Most Desired Electronic Gift for This Holiday Season Tuesday November 8, 9:00 am ET Recent Survey of Shoppers Between Ages 12 - 75 Choose FLY After iPod Nano, Xbox 360 and Plasma/HDTV TVs
EMERYVILLE, Calif., Nov. 8 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ — A recent Shopping In America survey conducted for The Macerich Company found that the hottest electronic gifts expected to sail off the shelves this holiday season include the recently-shipping FLY Pentop Computer from LeapFrog Enterprises, Inc. (NYSE: LF - News), a leading vendor of technology-based learning products. LeapFrog today announced that its new FLY Pentop Computer, that launched only three weeks ago, was selected as the fourth most desired electronic gift this holiday season among 3,780 shoppers between the ages of 12 - 75 surveyed in twelve regional shopping centers across the U.S. for The Macerich Company. The results of the Shopping in America survey for top electronic gifts showed the FLY Pentop Computer followed the iPod Nano, the most popular item, the Xbox 360, and the category of plasma and HDTVs. LeapFrog's FLY Pentop Computer was more popular than items such as PDA cell phones, digital cameras with MP3 players, Video Now XP and Gameboy Micro.
FLY Pentop Computer is Making the Lists
In addition to the Shopping in America survey, the FLY Pentop Computer has been featured in many prestigious holiday lists as a "must-have" gift item, including the eBay "Hot New Toys" list, the Life Magazine list of hot toys for the holidays, and the Toys R Us "Joy" List.
"Electronic gifts are always a big hit during the holidays and we are very pleased to see our new FLY Pentop Computer take its place among some of the hottest selling electronic categories and products," said LeapFrog president Jerry Perez. "The new FLY platform is one of the first consumer electronic offerings to bring learning to the mainstream — and make it as engaging and fun as the latest TVs and video game players."
FLY Pentop Computer On the Shelves and Under the Tree
First announced in New York City last January, the highly-anticipated new platform has been hailed by industry pundits and reviewers for its unique technology, which transforms pen and paper into an interactive computer, and for its many creative and engaging learning applications that make the FLY Pentop Computer attractive to both technology-savvy tweens (age 8 - 14) and their parents.
The new FLY Pentop Computer, a variety of specialized educational applications, games, and accessories are now available in the consumer electronics aisles of Walmart, K-Mart, Target, Best Buy, Circuit City, and Toys R Us across the country, and online at www.flypentop.com. The FLY Pentop Computer has a suggested retail price of $99.99 and the new FLYware accessories and applications have suggested retail prices ranging from $4.99 to $34.99.
LeapFrog Enterprises, Inc. is a leading designer, developer and marketer of innovative, technology-based learning products and related proprietary content, dedicated to making learning effective and engaging for all ages, at home and in schools, around the world. The company was founded in 1995 and is based in Emeryville, California. LeapFrog has developed a family of learning platforms that come to life with more than 100 interactive software titles, covering important subjects such as phonics, reading, writing, math, music, geography, social studies, spelling, vocabulary, and science. In addition, the company has created more than 35 stand-alone educational products for children from birth to 16 years. LeapFrog's award-winning U.S. consumer products are available in six languages at major retailers in more than 25 countries around the world. The LeapFrog SchoolHouse-curriculum programs are currently in more than 80,000 classrooms across the U.S. with over 200 interactive books and over 450 skill cards representing more than 6,000 pages of educational content. LeapFrog SchoolHouse(TM) products have won numerous awards from the education industry, including the Golden Lamp Award and Distinguished Achievement Award from the Association of Educational Publishers, the Award of Excellence from Technology & Learning magazine, and the Teacher's Choice Award from Learning magazine.
NOTE: LEAPFROG, FLY, and FLYware are trademarks or registered trademarks of LeapFrog Enterprises, Inc.
CONTACT: Jaeme Sines Shannon Eis LeapFrog Enterprises, Inc. Kaplow Communications +1-510-596-3497 +1-212-221-1713 firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com
R. Jeffrey Smith and Susan Schmidt
Tuesday, September 20, 2005; Page A01
Bush Official Arrested in Corruption Probe
The Bush administration's top federal procurement official resigned Friday and was arrested yesterday, accused of lying and obstructing a criminal investigation into Republican lobbyist Jack Abramoff's dealings with the federal government. It was the first criminal complaint filed against a government official in the ongoing corruption probe related to Abramoff's activities in Washington.
The complaint, filed by the FBI, alleges that David H. Safavian, 38, a White House procurement official involved until last week in Hurricane Katrina relief efforts, made repeated false statements to government officials and investigators about a golf trip with Abramoff to Scotland in 2002. It also contends that he concealed his efforts to help Abramoff acquire control of two federally managed properties in the Washington area. Abramoff is the person identified as "Lobbyist A" in a 13-page affidavit unsealed in court, according to sources knowledgeable about the probe.
Until his resignation on the day the criminal complaint against him was signed, Safavian was the top administrator at the federal procurement office in the White House Office of Management and Budget, where he set purchasing policy for the entire government.
Robert M. Young wrote:
Darwin (1809-82) and Marx (1818-83) were — how easily we forget this — near contemporaries and published their main works almost simultaneously. They died within a year of each other just over a hundred years ago. (Indeed 1986 was the centenary year of Darwin's Life and Letters.)
The People Speak
by Carl Sandburg
THE PEOPLE SPEAK
The people, yes, the people, Until the people are taken care of one way or another, Until the people are solved somehow for the day and hour, Until then one hears "Yes but the people what about the people?" Sometimes as though the people is a child to be pleased or fed Or again a hoodlum you have to be tough with And seldom as though the people is a caldron and a reservoir Of the human reserves that shape history. . . .
Fire, chaos, shadows, Events trickling from a thin line of flame On into cries and combustions never expected. The people have the element of surprise. . . .
"The czar has eight million men with guns and bayonets Nothing can happen to the czar. The czar is the voice of God and shall live forever. Turn and look at the forest of steel and cannon Where the czar is guarded by eight million soldiers. Nothing can happen to the czar."
They said that for years and in the summer of 1914, As a portent and an assurance they said with owl faces: "Nothing can happen to the czar," Yet the czar and his bodyguard of eight million vanished And the czar stood in a cellar before a little firing squad And the command of fire was given And the czar stepped into regions of mist and ice The czar traveled into an ethereal uncharted Siberia While two kaisers also vanished from thrones Ancient and established in blood and iron Two kaisers backed by ten million bayonets Had their crowns in a gutter, their palaces mobbed. In fire, chaos, shadows, In hurricanes beyond foretelling of probabilities In the shove and whirl of unforeseen combustions The people, yes, the people, Move eternally in the elements of surprise, Changing from hammer to bayonet and back to hammer, The hallelujah chorus forever shifting its star soloists.
The people learn, unlearn, learn, a builder, a wrecker, a builder again, a juggler of shifting puppets. In so few eyeblinks In transition lightning streaks, the people project midgets into giants, the people shrink titans into dwarfs
Faiths blow on the winds and become shibboleths and deep growths with men ready to die for a living word on the tongue, for a light alive in the bones, for dreams fluttering in the wrists . . .
Sleep is a suspension midway and a conundrum of shadows lost in meadows of the moon. The people sleep.
Ai! ai! the people sleep. Yet the sleepers toss in sleep and an end comes of sleep and the sleepers wake. Ai! ai! the sleepers wake! . . .
The storm of propaganda blows always. In every air of today the germs float and hover. The people have the say-so. Let the argument go on. Let the people listen.
Tomorrow the people say Yes or No by one question: "What else can be done?" In the drive of faiths on the wind today the people know: "We have come this far and we are going farther yet" . . .
The people will live on. The learning and blundering people will live on. They will be tricked and sold and again sold And go back to the nourishing earth for rootholds, The people so peculiar in renewal and comeback, You can't laugh off their capacity to take it. The mammoth rests between his cyclonic dramas . . .
The people is a tragic and comic two-face: hero and hoodlum: phantom and gorilla twisting to moan with a gargoyle mouth: " They buy me and sell me. ..it's a game. .. sometime I'll break loose ..."
Now the steel mill sky is alive. The fire breaks white and zigzag shot on a gun-metal gloaming. Man is a long time coming. Man will yet win. Brother the earth over may yet line up with brother:
This old anvil — the people, yes This old anvil laughs at many broken hammers. There are men who can't be bought. There are women beyond purchase. The fire born are at home in fire. The stars make no noise. You can't hinder the wind from blowing. Time is a great teacher. Who can live without hope?
In the darkness with a great bundle of grief the people march. In the night, and overhead a shovel of stars for keeps, the people march: "Where to? what next? Where to? what next?"
The Great McCloud Water Caper of 2003, by Charles Carreon
The Swiss Way: When Neutrality Works This Well, War Is Obsolete
Half A Billion Gallons of H2O Per Year Up For Grabs
The Nestle Waters North America website hasn’t apparently been updated since 2003. That is probably why it says nothing about the subject of this article – Nestle’s bald-faced attempt to circumvent the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) by ramming through a secret contract to buy 1600 acre-feet of water per year from a tiny community resource agency in Northern California – the McCloud Community Service District (MCSD). How much is an acre-foot? That’s one acre, one foot deep, which is a lot of water – 325,851.427 gallons. Multiply that by 1,600 and you get 521,361,600. That’s over a half-billion gallons of water each year. I bet even in McCloud a bottle of Calistoga will still cost two dollars. So, aside from the costs of pumping, bottling and transportation, Nestle, a Swiss corporation, will pull out a vast amount of nature’s finest product, drawn from the watersheds and snowmelt of countless square miles, so they can sell it back to Americans. And you thought we were smart here in the USA.
The World’s Largest Food Producer Is Thirsty
Nestle’s website says it’s the world's largest bottled water company, serving H20 under seventy-seven brands in a hundred and thirty countries world-wide. They’re so proud of selling all this water, you’d think they’d invented the stuff. Or maybe it’s just the money that makes them so comfy. Quoting from the company website: “From 1998 to 2003, Nestlé Waters North America has seen its revenue increase from $1.2 billion to $2.6 billion, sustaining a volume share (all channels) of nearly 26.0 %. Nestlé Waters is, in turn, a division of Nestlé S.A., the largest food company in the world. Sales of total Nestlé S.A. increased one percent over the previous year to CHF 88 billion. Nestlé headquarters is located in Vevey, Switzerland.”
The Swiss: Masters At Working All Sides Against The Middle
In summer 2002 I was in Vevey, one of the loveliest stops along our boat-trip around Lake Geneva, with a very splendid view of Mont Blanc. The Swiss have scenery to kill for. We also stopped at a dungeon on the lake that had been designed with Swiss efficiency – the icy winds off Lake Geneva served to torment with cold, and the uneven stone floors gave prisoners nowhere to rest or seek shelter. Upstairs from the dungeon, a court fit for dancing parties was devoted to displays of arms. Starting as the first European mercenaries, the Swiss were loyal so long as they were paid and not asked to fight other Swiss. They still bodyguard the Pope. They invented bank secrecy, laundered Nazi gold and immense amounts of money stolen by oligarchs from the coffers of the poorest nations. The Swiss have the largest standing army per capita in the world, and produce as hard goods some of the priciest – chemicals and drugs. The Swiss are a libertarian nation if you will, where it is explicitly not their business whether you are evading taxes in another country as long as you are paying them in Switzerland. And they don’t make farmers bend over to please the tourists. One morning, we were wakened in our lovely little second floor hotel room with the lakefront view by an extremely aggressive bug-eyed crop-dusting helicopter buzzing the beachside vineyards hour after hour, spraying bio-cide. We repaired to Vevey for the day.
McCloud – Terra Incognita
Although I looked at Switzerland firsthand, I have never been to McCloud, and have driven past the McCloud exit on I-5 more times than I can count. My friend Rogelio, with whom I practiced Chinese martial arts in the late seventies, told me it had been nasty and brutish living as a short, Hispanic logger in McCloud. So I viewed McCloud, without ever seeing it, as a snowy sinkhole of poverty ensconced in useless mountain beauty. A place where pickup trucks rust next to unpainted buildings, and they probably still don’t sell a lot of natural food in the stores. Perfect for Nestle to swallow whole without any hint of indigestion.
A Little Lawsuit In Shasta County
I had occasion to revisit my view of McCloud recently when I saw a young lady at the Bloomsbury coffee shop reading a big stack of typewritten papers that she was underlining in red. She said it was the record of a public meeting about a lawsuit down in McCloud where the people had to sue to get their water back from Nestle. The court order she showed me had been signed by Judge Roger Kosel of Siskiyou County Superior Court, and it did indeed invalidate a contract for the sale of water from the people of tiny McCloud to Nestle, the multibillion-Swiss-franc colossus. The text that got my attention was this: “The agreement commits the McCloud Community Services District to an option contract with Nestle for the purchase of up to 1600 acre feet per year of District spring water for a period of 50 years with a guaranteed right to extend the term for an additional 50 years. This option is irrevocable for a period of 5 years on the District's part The potential environmental impacts to the water supply are foreseeable and obvious... The approval of the agreement amounts to the creation of an entitlement for Nestle and commits the District to a definite course of action.” The Superior Court concluded that because “the agreement creates an option for the purchase of … drinking water … potentially … out to 100 years … it is an abuse of discretion not to proceed with CEQA compliance prior to approval of the agreement.” What is CEQA compliance? Just a matter of public involvement. As Judge Kosel ruled, “the purpose of CEQA is to … inform governmental decision-makers and the public about the potential, significant environmental effects of proposed activities.” Therefore, it would seem obvious to all but Nestle and the MCSD, that “compliance should occur prior to the approval of the agreement.” There was no environmental study, no public hearing until Nestle and the MCSD brought the matter up at a single public meeting, and of all the questions raised by the surprised public participants, none received adequate answers. Instead, the MCSD approved the contract despite having no access to legal counsel, scientific advice, or apparently anything but the pushy Nestle lawyers to advise them.
A Mighty Sweet Deal
Why was there such a hurry to rush this contract through? Well, for the same reason rape and pillage are always done in a hurry – once caught in the act, it is more difficult to complete it. According to the McCloud Watershed Council, that formed to overturn the sweetheart deal, and apparently convinced Judge Kosel of the truth of their contentions, the contract provides for:
• A 50-year term, renewable for another 50 years
• The right to take 1,250 gallons per minute of spring water
• The right to take qualified water on an interim basis from district's springs for bulk delivery to other bottling facilities located in Northern California
• The right to construct pipelines and a loading facility
• Use of an unknown quantity of well water for production purposes
• Exclusive rights to one of the Springs
• One hundred years of exclusivity, during which time no other beverage business of any type may exist in McCloud
• Use of an undisclosed, perhaps unlimited amount of ground water
• The right to take 1600 of acre feet of spring water annually
• The right, from time to time, to request purchase water in excess of the maximum take
• The right to transport bulk water from spring sources, other than the Springs, for bottling at the bottling facility (see contract details)
• The right to choose exclusive use of either Upper or Lower Elk Springs as an exclusive source for Spring Water
• The right to require the MCSD to dispose of process waste water
• The right to require the MCSD to design, construct and install one or more ground water production wells on the Bottling Facility site for Nestle’s use as a supply for non-spring water purposes.
The benefits to Nestle in this agreement are outrageously imbalanced against the detriments to the community of McCloud. But we may also properly ask why McCloud should have control over so much water that they don’t have any use for? If the MCSD can sell over half a billion gallons a year and not miss it, why not give McCloud other vast resource tracts to sell to the Swiss, or to the Saudis for that matter? Why not sell Lake Shasta to the Sultan of Brunei. He’s really thirsty. He can ship the lake to his country in oil tankers and on the return trip, make payments in oil. The way the Swiss are pricing water, it’s already twice as expensive as gas, so we should make bank!
Of course, the anti-American lawyers who get payment in Swiss francs (stronger than the dollar for three years running now) aren’t going to give up. With the natives now rejecting the pittance in beads they were offered in exchange for this vast, unused natural resource, they will have to go the appellate courts to drag things out, cause more expense, and possible even reap a victory. CEQA is no doubt an endless problem for business interests, foreign and domestic. Perhaps the appellate judges will approve of circumventing its provisions. Perhaps an initiative can be floated to repeal it. Perhaps the endless flood of billions will bear Nestle along to success, and we will be free to buy back the resources we sell the Swiss at whatever price our poor, thirsty little mouths will compel us to pay.
Or maybe you have had enough. Maybe you thought Bolivia was the only country multinationals would roll over with their contracts and their big fat wallets. Maybe you want to help out the people of McCloud, and help pay for their one lawyer, Donald Mooney of Davis, California, to keep up the good fight. Maybe you want to vote with your pocketbook, by taking these Nestle water brands off your list forever:
Maybe you don’t want to keep quiet about it, and you’d like to send an email to the CEO at Nestle’ Waters North America Inc. I thought you might, so here’s his contact information.
Kim E. Jeffrey – President and CEO 777 W. Putnam Ave. Greenwich, CT 06830-5091 Phone: 203-531-4100 Fax: 203-863-0297 email: http://www.nestle-watersna.com/faq/submit.asp?id=1 Or email: http://www.nestleusa.com/customerService/contact_us.asp
(C) 2005, Ashland Free Press, LLC
Maureen Kirk wrote:
Just in the last year, banks, other companies, and agencies have lost the confidential financial information of over 53 million Americans. We only know about these security breaches due to a pioneering California notice law that companies are complying with nationwide.
But the banks and credit card companies are pressuring Congress to override this and dozens of other state identity theft reforms with a weak federal law that won't protect privacy and won't allow states to do so either.
Please take a moment to tell Congress not to prevent the states from protecting their residents from identity theft. Ask your friends and family to help out too by forwarding this e-mail to them.
To take action, click on the following link or paste it into your web browser:
Background: Identity theft strikes ten million Americans annually and costs the economy $50 billion each year, according to the U.S. Federal Trade Commission. It's easier to avoid being victimized and to clear your name when you know you are at risk and respond quickly to the threat. Since half of all victims never find out how thieves got their confidential information, California passed a law requiring any company or agency that loses consumer data to notify the potential victims of the security breach. Since that strong California law took effect in 2003, many security breaches have come to light. This year, banks such as Bank of America and Citigroup, retailers such as DSW Shoe Warehouse, the credit card processor Cardsystems, the data broker ChoicePoint and many others reported security breaches. In all, over 53 million Americans' identities were jeopardized because those controlling Americans' personal information failed to take care of it. By requiring notice to consumers, the tough California law is forcing companies to protect our information well or suffer the public relations and other harm of telling us that they've failed. That's a powerful incentive to protect our information better. Now, proposals ready for the U.S. Senate floor and moving through House committees would eliminate California's and other strong state notice laws and replace them with a weak federal notice requirement. Incredibly, companies that had already lost consumer information would get to decide whether the risk of identity theft, in their view, was great enough to warn us. States have also responded this year to another major identity theft problem: new account fraud. New account fraud is when the identity thief gets a new credit card, cell phone or other new account in the victim's name, and is particularly costly to both the victim and business.
Fortunately, unlike some types of identity theft, new account fraud can be prevented by the use of a security freeze. A freeze allows you to freeze access to your credit report, so that when a thief applies for credit in your name, his or her application is rejected. California pioneered the security freeze, and other states have continued to improve on California's work. New Jersey's security freeze law, which took effect on January 1, is currently the gold standard for security freezes because it is the cheapest and easiest to use. New Jersey lawmakers recognized that if using a security freeze is expensive or difficult, mainstream consumers won't use one. And if a freeze isn't used, it doesn't stop fraud.
New Jersey's new law and nearly all of the others granting security breach notice, freeze rights and other identity theft protections were enacted in response to a highly successful state PIRG/Consumers Union national campaign to promote our "Model State Identity Theft" law.
Regrettably, all of these state gains are at risk. The banks and credit bureaus and others are now demanding that Congress pass a difficult, expensive security freeze that voids all the state security freezes. More is at risk than our privacy. The banks are seeking not only to overturn these strong privacy laws, but also to limit the states' ability to protect us in the future. Please take a moment to tell Congress not to prevent the states from protecting their residents from identity theft. Ask your friends and family to help out too by forwarding this e-mail to them. To take action, click on the following link or paste it into your web browser: http://pirg.org/alerts/route.asp?id=337&id4=ES To learn more about security freezes and the New Jersey law, visit NJPIRG at http://www.njpirg.org/ To learn more about state PIRG identity theft solutions and to view the model law, visit http://www.pirg.org/consumer/credit
Maureen Kirk OSPIRG Executive Director MaureenK@ospirg.org http://www.OSPIRG.org
P.S. Thanks again for your support. Please feel free to share this e-mail with your family and friends.
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