August 22, 2019

War on Food Freedom (and Free Speech!) by Nannystaters Continues

War on Food and Free Speech Continues: Nanny State Activists Got Whistleblower Journalist ‘Disinvited’ from Consumer Federation of America National Conference

Journalist Has Uncovered Shoddy Science in Government Nutrition Advice That Led Americans to Avoid Certain Fats in Favor of Carbohydrates

Bad Advice in Part Led to Expanded Obesity, Diabetes Rates

But Nanny State Activists Want Americans to Rely on Government for Food Advice

Whistleblower Reporting About Bad Science is Extremely Inconvenient to Left-Wing Agenda

Goal of Liberal Activists is to Advance Government Control Over What You Eat, in Part to Fight Global Warming, in Part to Control Americans’ Lives

 

Washington, D.C.  – In a timely article for National Review Online today, National Center for Public Policy Research Risk Analysis Director Jeff Stier and food writer Julie Kelly criticize the Consumer Federation of America (CFA) and nanny-state activists for silencing investigative journalist Nina Teicholz, a key critic of government-backed shoddy nutrition “science,” at this week’s CFA-sponsored National Food Policy Conference.

According to Stier, “We respectfully disagree with the left’s preference for using the levers of government to tell us how to eat. First it was just nutritional ‘advice’; then the advice started to influence everything from food stamps to how we feed the military. Now nannystaters want to put warning labels on salty foods, tax sodas, and ban ingredients.”

Adds Stier, “We do not respect the left’s latest tactic: silencing critics such as Nina Teicholz by forcing them off important public forums with McCarthyite tactics.”

In the National Review Online piece, Kelly and Stier write:

Those special interests are now scheming to not only discredit but also outright silence Teichholz. Now, after some participants objected to her presence, the National Food Policy Conference, held this week in Washington, D.C., has disinvited her. Teicholz was scheduled to sit on a panel with the USDA and Center for Science in the Public Interest to discuss how to turn nutrition science into policy.

The silence will be a detriment to public health policymaking, according to Kelly, because, “There is a very good chance that Americans have been receiving poor nutrition advice from the government, medical community and others for more than five decades.”

Referring to the Teicholz’s perspective, Kelly says, “It’s a discussion worth having and very unfortunate that those who profess to have Americans’ best interest at heart would prevent this debate from advancing.”

The authors argue that the left’s latest maneuver is outside the bounds of acceptable political tactics, even given today’s overheated rancor. They write,

Of course this has little to do with science and everything to do with ideological agendas. Never before has food policy been so politicized, whether it’s the Dietary Guidelines or the National School Lunch Program. For the most part, major decisions are being made by the same cabal of crusaders who refuse to countenance dissent or discussion even as the collective health of Americans continues to suffer.

Regardless of one’s take on nutritional issues, or even the proper role of government in determining how and what we eat, one should agree that the campaign to silence Teicholz is distasteful. The National Food Policy Conference is billed by its organizer, the Consumer Federation of America, as “a key national gathering for those interested in agriculture, food, and nutrition policy.” It could have been a much-needed forum for open discussion and debate among leading voices from different schools of thought. But now, because of the food fear-mongerers’ fear of debate, it will be just another high-profile missed opportunity to raise the level of discourse in Washington.

“Censorship is a red flag,” said Amy Ridenour, chairman of the National Center. “Someone finds the information this journalist uncovered to be a threat to their agenda — so much so, they moved secretly behind the scenes and got her disinvited from a speaking role. The Consumer Federation of America not only agreed to the censorship, but apparently has also kept secret who pressured it to do it. We disagree with both. Let the facts come out.”

Many major corporations and law firms are sponsoring this conference,” added Ridenour. “These include General Mills, Walmart, Campbell Soup, Hormel Foods, Mars Inc. and many other famous names. We call on these companies to withhold support for this conference and all future conferences that censor science and disinvite journalists who uncover information inconvenient to left-wing agendas. The public deserves to know which corporations are supporting the nanny state, anti-food freedom agenda, and we intend to make sure the public finds out.”

Nina Teicholz, the journalist who was disinvited from the conference, will be holding a press conference of her own at the National Press Club in Washington at 3 pm on Tuesday, April 5. The National Center is not participating in nor involved with that press conference.

The National Center for Public Policy Research is aggressively fighting the attacks of big-government activists on food freedom. Recently it has supported Congressional efforts to roll back Obamacare regulations that make it a felony for prepared food providers to make a mistake in calorie counts; questioned the usefulness of government-mandated salt warnings; noted the connection between anti-meat and anti-global warming activism; and questioned the science behind calls to remove processed meats from school cafeterias, among other initiatives. The National Center also sponsors the Free Enterprise Project, which blows the whistle when major corporations engage in left-wing activism or surrender to the political demands of left-wing activists.

The National Center for Public Policy Research, founded in 1982, is a non-partisan, free-market, independent conservative think-tank. Ninety-four percent of its support comes from individuals, less than four percent from foundations, and less than two percent from corporations. It receives over 350,000 individual contributions a year from over 96,000 active recent contributors. Sign up for free issue alerts here or follow us on Twitter at @NationalCenter.

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Are New Sodium Guidelines a Prelude to Salt Ban?

From the National Center for Public Policy Research:

Experts Warn Proposed Federal Guidelines Could Lead to Excessive Mandates, Health Risks

New York City Bait-and-Switch Regulatory Scheme Could Go Nationwide

Washington DC – Government regulators are paving the way toward federally-imposed limits on sodium as the Food and Drug Administration is on the verge of issuing new guidelines on its use in restaurant-prepared and store-bought foods. Policy experts with the National Center for Public Policy Research call the expected action an unnecessary slippery slope rooted in politicized science that will further reduce consumer choice and potentially hurt public health.

“There’s absolutely no legitimate purpose to allegedly voluntary guidelines that are issued by a regulatory agency other than as a precursor to mandatory regulation,” said Jeff Stier, the director of the National Center’s Risk Analysis Division.

In an interview with the Associated Press, FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg said new guidelines aimed at lowering the level of sodium in food products are nearing completion. Citing the guidelines as voluntary, Hamburg suggested to the AP that “we can make a big impact working with the industry” to lower sodium levels.

“While there are individuals with specific medical issues requiring a low-sodium diet, a one-size-fits-all prescription for a reduction in our daily salt intake is simply not sound advice for all Americans,” said Cherylyn Harley LeBon, the co-chairman of the National Center’s Project 21 black leadership network. “As a mom of two children, I am aware that salt assists in the development of healthy brains. Additionally, iodized salt intake is considered essential to preventing conditions that could lead to mental retardation.”

In the same interview in which she teased new sodium limits, the FDA’s Hamburg also cited the need for a “realistic timeline.” Regulatory proponents, such as Michael Jacobsen, Ph.D. of the Center for Science in the Public Interest, are already seeking to use such a timeline as a benchmark to create “a process of mandatory limits.” It’s this sort of expectation of failure that concerns National Center risk assessment experts.

“In fact, the voluntary-before-mandatory approach is simply a political strategy to make the rules palatable to a regulation-weary, salt-consuming public,” said the National Center’s Stier. “Dr. Sonia Angell, the Obama Administration’s point person on non-communicable diseases, recently testified about how guidelines can turn into explicit rules — a tactic she not surprisingly employed while working for New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg. When New York City’s 2005-2006 ‘market-based voluntary strategy’ to reduce restaurant trans-fats was ruled ineffective, Dr. Angell explained that ‘we had, if not an ethical responsibility, certainly a public health responsibility to take action.’ She touted the benefits of policies which change ‘the entire food supply to a default that is a healthier default. It isn’t about individual decision-making anymore, that’s taken out of it.'”

While advocates for sodium regulation cite increased associated risk of heart disease and stroke, Project 21’s LeBon notes a deficiency of sodium could also lead to similar risks. She said: “A recent study done by the Institute of Medicine concludes that further reducing salt intake may increase health risks in certain groups. That means the potential imposition of new sodium regulations along the lines of existing federal dietary guidelines could actually put people at risk. It proves why a low-salt diet is simply not recommended for everyone and should never be mandated by a bureaucracy.”
The National Center for Public Policy Research, founded in 1982, is a non-partisan, free-market, independent conservative think-tank. Ninety-four percent of its support comes from individuals, three percent from foundations, and three percent from corporations. It receives over 350,000 individual contributions a year from over 96,000 active recent contributors.Contributions are tax-deductible and greatly appreciated.

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    Obama Says No More Eating Foods That Cause Global Warming

    Obama Administration to Insert Global Warming Activism into Dietary Guidelines Mandated by Congress

    Climate Change Activists to Meet Food Police at Closed-Door Meeting March 14

    New York, NY / Washington DC – At a closed-door meeting to take place March 14, the Obama Administration’s Departments of Agriculture and Health and Human Services plan to update the nation’s “dietary guidelines” — a document with significant repercussions for food stamps, military and school meals programs — to include anti-global warming activism.

    In an article, “Obama administration pollutes guidelines for healthy eating with unhealthy ideologies,” published Sunday by the Washington Examiner, National Center Senior Fellow and Risk Analysis Division Director Jeff Stier says environmental activists within the U.S. government plan to change the nation’s dietary guidelines to promote foods that they believe have “a smaller carbon footprint.”

    In the past, says Stier, the federal government’s dietary guidelines were intended exclusively to “promote health and reduce risk for major chronic diseases.”

    No more, says Stier: “For the first time in the history of the guidelines, ‘sustainability’ is part of the agenda. Actual items on their Dietary Guidelines working group agenda include ‘immigration,’ ‘global climate change’ and ‘agriculture/aquaculture sustainability.'”

    What’s more, says Stier, these new guidelines will cost the public money: “By favoring foods which activists think have a smaller carbon footprint, the new guidelines will increase the prices you pay for your food. It will also increase the cost to all taxpayers, since the Dietary Guidelines are used to set policy for food stamps (SNAP) and military diets,” he says.

    “The food guidelines, by law, are supposed to be based on a ‘preponderance of scientific and medical knowledge,'” said Amy Ridenour, chairman of the National Center for Public Policy Research, who has studied climate change polices for over a quarter century. “Science can say with authority that eating green vegetables is good for you. It can’t say that humans are causing catastrophic global warming with any more certainty than it can explain why the planet hasn’t warmed since the Clinton Administration. Moms and Dads across America deserve — and, as taxpayers, have paid for — dietary guidelines they can use to help them feed their families wisely. No one benefits from causing people to wonder if the nutritional advice they are getting from their government isn’t focused on nutrition at all, but has been polluted by environmental activists.”

    The full Washington Examiner article can be read here.

    New York City-based Jeff Stier is a Senior Fellow at the National Center for Public Policy Research in Washington, D.C., and heads its Risk Analysis Division. Stier is a frequent guest on CNBC, and has addressed health policy on CNN, Fox News Channel, MSNBC, as well as network newscasts. Stier’s National Center op-eds have been published in top outlets, including the Los Angeles Times, the New York Post, Newsday, Forbes, the Washington Examiner and National Review Online. He also frequently discusses risk issues on Twitter at @JeffaStier.

    Washington-based Amy Ridenour, founding CEO of the National Center and currently co-CEO with her husband, David Ridenour, has been interviewed on television or radio thousands of times, and had her op-ed published in newspapers thousands of times, on nearly every major public policy issue since the National Center’s 1982 founding. Newspapers running her op-eds within the year include the Denver Post, Providence Journal, Las Vegas Sun, Arizona Daily Star, Boston Herald, Deseret News, Duluth News Tribune, Orange County Register, Honolulu Star-Advertiser, Omaha World-Herald and many others. She discusses issues on Twitter at @AmyRidenour.
    The National Center for Public Policy Research, founded in 1982, is a non-partisan, free-market, independent conservative think-tank. Ninety-four percent of its support comes from individuals, less than four percent from foundations, and less than two percent from corporations. It receives over 350,000 individual contributions a year from over 96,000 active recent contributors.

    Contributions are tax-deductible and greatly appreciated.

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    Olympic Champion Defended after Attack by Nanny State Group

    Nanny State Group Questions Michelle Kwan’s Dual Roles as Both Member of the President’s Council on Fitness and Coca-Cola Ambassador

    Policy Group Calls Attack on Kwan’s Role “Absurd,” Says Food Police Groups Undermine Fight Against Obesity by Being Too Absolutist

    New York, NY/Washington DC – Today the National Center for Public Policy Research put out a call for food police groups to shift their focus away from radicalized attacks on the food industry, to instead being part of a broader discussion that should be taking place about how to address obesity, with a focus on helping consumers.

    The latest foray from food police group Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) comes in the form of an attack on Olympic figure skating champion Michelle Kwan, who is a member of the President’s Council on Physical Fitness and who appears in ads for Coca-Cola.

    A CSPI press release says “the dual roles for the five-time world champion skater cannot be reconciled, since Coca-Cola and the President’s Council communicate opposing messages when it comes to sugar drinks.”

    “This absolutist view is not only absurd, it undermines public health by suggesting that people who enjoy an occasional sugary beverage cannot be active, athletic, and healthy,” says New York-based Jeff Stier, Senior Fellow of the National Center for Public Policy Research and director of its Risk Analysis Division.

    “In fact, the President’s Council on Fitness does not recommend eliminating sugary drinks. Instead, it cites the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, which states, “More than two-thirds of Americans are overweight or obese, often as a result of unhealthy diets and a sedentary lifestyle. To improve our nation’s health, the Dietary Guidelines recommend reducing [emphasis added] a range of ingredients, foods, and beverages, including sugary soda.”

    Stier adds: “Michelle Kwan’s Coca-Cola endorsement does not suggest consumers drink too much soda. If anything, it conveys that people who do enjoy soda, can do so in moderation while also avoiding a sedentary lifestyle.”

    “This latest campaign against food and beverage manufacturers further supports the conclusion that when it comes to addressing obesity, the most prominent public health activists are intent on turning the discussion about obesity into a war, rather than a solvable problem,” Stier continues. “Any notion that CSPI’s message is moderate, mainstream, or scientific was shattered when Michael Jacobson slipped and showed his underlying ideology in a piece for the Huffington Post where he derided the notion of a balanced diet by actually putting the word ‘balance’ in scare quotes.”

    “Balance and moderation are central concepts not only to addressing obesity, but a healthier overall lifestyle. Public health groups who reject these messages should be rejected themselves,” Stier concludes.

    Last year, CSPI fell flat on its face when it criticized a Coca Cola TV commercial that recognized that sugary drinks should play a role in the broader discussion about obesity. Stier wrote about the issue here.

    New York City-based Jeff Stier is a Senior Fellow at the National Center for Public Policy Research in Washington, D.C., and heads its Risk Analysis Division. Stier is a frequent guest on CNBC, and has addressed health policy on CNN, Fox News Channel, MSNBC, as well as network newscasts. Stier’s National Center op-eds have been published in top outlets, including the Los Angeles Times, the New York Post, Newsday, Forbes, the Washington Examiner and National Review Online. He also frequently discusses risk issues on Twitter at @JeffaStier.

    Stier has testified at FDA scientific meetings, met with members of Congress and their staff about science policy, met with OMB/OIRA officials, and has submitted testimony to state government legislative hearings. Most recently, he testified before the science committee of the New York City Council about e-cigarettes and submitted testimony to the Oklahoma and Rhode Island legislatures on the same matter.

    Stier previously worked in both the office of the mayor and in the corporation counsel’s office during the Giuliani administration in New York City. His responsibilities included planning environmental agency programs, legal analysis of proposed legislation, and health policy. Mr. Stier also is chairman of the board of the Jewish International Connection, NY. While earning his law degree at the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, he served two terms as editor-in-chief of the Cardozo Law Forum.
    The National Center for Public Policy Research, founded in 1982, is a non-partisan, free-market, independent conservative think-tank. Ninety-four percent of its support comes from individuals, less than four percent from foundations, and less than two percent from corporations. It receives over 350,000 individual contributions a year from over 96,000 active recent contributors.

    Contributions are tax-deductible and greatly appreciated.

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    In New York, the Nanny State Marches On

    Public Smoking AND Quitting Smoking Now Both to be Outlawed in the Big Apple?

    New York to Vote on Banning Public Use of Device that Helps Smokers Quit

    The Nanny State Marches On

    New York, NY – This week, the New York City Council is expected to vote on a bill that would ban the use of e-cigarettes where cigarette smoking is banned. In an op-ed in today’s New York Post, “Bloomberg’s E-Cig Ban Likely to do More Harm than Good,” the National Center for Public Policy Research warns city council members that not only will the bill not have the desired effect, it could do harm.

    “The key idea is that e-cigs somehow facilitate tobacco smoking – but the best evidence suggests the reverse, that they’re mainly useful for (and used by) people trying to quit. So the ban is likely to do harm, not good,” writes National Center for Public Policy Research Senior Fellow Jeff Stier, the author of the op-ed.

    Earlier this month, Stier testified at the City Council health committee where the issue was debated

    Stier testified:

    I would caution you that this is not the prudent thing to do. The prudent thing to do here is to help cigarette smokers quit. Rushing to judgment here could have serious, unintended consequences that you need to be aware of. It will stop people from quitting smoking. E-cigarettes are not a gateway to smoking. The data does not show that. E-cigarettes are a gateway to quitting smoking.

    “Nicotine,” Stier explains, “is addictive, but not particularly harmful, especially at the levels consumed by smokers or users of e-cigarettes, who are called ‘vapers’ for the vapor, rather than smoke, emitted by e-cigarettes.” “Nicotine’s bad reputation should be attributed to its most common delivery device, cigarettes,” says Stier. “Nicotine itself is about as dangerous as the caffeine in soda. Along the same lines, while too much soda can cause weight gain, nobody seriously suggests that caffeine causes obesity. Similarly, e-cigarettes provide the nicotine and the habitual activity of smoking, without the danger of burning tobacco.”

    Stier’s op-ed, available here, also provides responses various charges by e-cig ban supporters.

    “…Ban fans suggest it’s just the prudent thing to do until we have more data,” concludes Stier in the op-ed. “No, the prudent thing to do is to help smokers trying to quit.”

    Stier’s testimony before the New York City Council’s health committee can be viewed on YouTube here.

    The National Center for Public Policy Research, founded in 1982, is a non-partisan, free-market, independent conservative think-tank. Ninety-four percent of its support comes from individuals, less than four percent from foundations, and less than two percent from corporations. It receives over 350,000 individual contributions a year from over 96,000 active recent contributors.

    Contributions are tax-deductible and greatly appreciated.

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    The Nanny State Can Get You Killed

    New York, Los Angeles, Chicago Move to Restrict Devices that Help Smokers Quit

    New York, NY – On the same day the Los Angeles City Council moved to regulate e-cigarettes, the National Center for Public Policy Research’s Jeff Stier testified at a New York City Council Health Committee hearing on a similar measure being rushed through the New York City Council.

    In his testimony, the New York-based Stier, who heads the National Center’s Risk Analysis Division, encouraged council members to think twice about whether it is in fact “prudent” to extend New York City’s ban on smoking in public places to include e-cigarettes:

    “I would caution you that this is not the prudent thing to do. The prudent thing to do here is to help cigarette smokers quit. Rushing to judgment here could have serious, unintended consequences that you need to be aware of. It will stop people from quitting smoking. E-cigarettes are not a gateway to smoking. The data does not show that. E-cigarettes are a gateway to quitting smoking.”

    E-cigarettes, which do not produce smoke, have been a boon to those who have tried to quit smoking but have failed.

    “Nicotine,” Stier explains, “is addictive, but not particularly harmful, especially at the levels consumed by smokers or users of e-cigarettes, who are called ‘vapers’ for the vapor, rather than smoke, emitted by e-cigarettes.”

    “Nicotine’s bad reputation should be attributed to its most common delivery device, cigarettes,” says Stier. “Nicotine itself is about as dangerous as the caffeine in soda. Along the same lines, while too much soda can cause weight gain, nobody seriously suggests that caffeine causes obesity. Similarly, e-cigarettes provide the nicotine and the habitual activity of smoking, without the danger of burning tobacco.”

    “Mayor Bloomberg and his nanny state allies in New York City and Los Angeles have steam coming out of their ears about e-cigarettes. Here is a product created by private-sector innovation that is doing what many hundreds of millions of dollars of government spending, costly litigation, addictive excise taxes, warning labels and punitive regulation have been unable to do: help cigarette smokers quit happily. ”

    “Regulators understand that in order to maintain not only their huge budgets, but their basis for authority to control both private-sector businesses as well as personal decisions, they must demonize, delegitimize, and defeat e-cigarettes every step of the way,” Stier says.

    “Some, without any basis in science, allege that e-cigarettes are a ‘gateway’ to smoking. But initial studies, as well as empirical evidence, show that e-cigarettes are a major gateway away from, not toward, smoking. For all the heated rhetoric, there’s little dispute in the scientific community: those who quit smoking cigarettes and switch to e-cigarettes reap immediate as well as long-term health benefits. And those improvements are dramatic.”

    Stier concludes: “Regulations that treat e-cigarettes the same as their deadly predecessor will have the unintended consequence of keeping smokers smoking. Quitting nicotine use altogether is the best choice. But for those who chose not to, or find it too difficult, e-cigarettes are a potentially life-saving alternative.”

    Outgoing New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, nicknamed “Nanny Bloomberg” by many for his use of government tools to influence what private citizens eat and drink, supports the New York proposal. Bloomberg’s administration imposed New York City’s ban on public smoking in 2003.

    Like Los Angeles and New York, Chicago is considering banning the use of smokeless e-cigarettes anywhere in the city tobacco smoking is banned. The proposed ban is supported by Mayor Rahm Emanuel. The sale of e-cigarettes to minors is already appropriately illegal under Illinois state law.

    The National Center for Public Policy Research, founded in 1982, is a non-partisan, free-market, independent conservative think-tank. Ninety-four percent of its support comes from individuals, less than four percent from foundations, and less than two percent from corporations. It receives over 350,000 individual contributions a year from over 96,000 active recent contributors.

    Contributions are tax-deductible and greatly appreciated.

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    Nanny Bloomberg Again: NY Mandatory Composting!

    Big Apple “Voluntary” Composting Idea Stinks; Carries Health Risks, Says New York-Based Risk Expert

    New York, NY – Mayor Bloomberg is planning on creating a “voluntary” composting program that will eventually become mandatory, the New York Times reported on Sunday.

    “This is a rotten idea for the Big Apple,”says Jeff Stier, the New York City-based Director of the National Center for Public Policy Research’s Risk Analysis Division.

    The National Center for Public Policy Research supports voluntary composting. “In fact,” says Stier, “we already have voluntary composting where residents can send their kitchen scraps to gardens around the five boroughs.”

    So why the need for a new program? A Bloomberg official admitted to the New York Times that while initially voluntary, the goal is to require all residents of the city to save their kitchen scraps for a government-administered composting program. Those who don’t compost would be subject to fines.

    “We live in a big city, not on a farm, and while composting is a great idea in certain circumstances,” says Stier, “it doesn’t make sense to mandate that all New York residents save their rotting food.”

    Stier says the Mayor’s view is skewed in favor of anything labeled “green.” “If they mayor applied his risk-averse trans-fat banning, soda-size limiting science to the risks of composting in NYC he wouldn’t be making it mandatory, he’d be banning it,” exclaims Stier.

    “Consider the increased risks from disease-carrying vermin (a problem the city still hasn’t conquered), from all of the pre-compost material sitting around our dense living spaces, not going out with the trash each night,” says Stier.

    Stier wonders why Nanny Bloomberg isn’t worried about greenhouse gas emissions from the extra “compost trucks” that’ll have to be deployed. “Perhaps they’ll be carrot-peel powered,” chides Stier.

    “There’s no way food scraps can be picked up from every home throughout the city without greatly increasing the number of trucks, traffic, and tyranny.”

    Mayor Bloomberg has banned smoking and trans fats from New York bars and restaurants, required calorie counts on restaurant menus, banned smoking in city plazas, parks and beaches, and banned private food donations to city homeless shelters in an effort to monitor the fat, salt and fiber content of foods eaten by the homeless, a story broken by Stier’s reporting.

    The National Center for Public Policy Research, founded in 1982, is a non-partisan, free-market, independent conservative think-tank. Ninety-four percent of its support comes from individuals, less than 4 percent from foundations, and less than 2 percent from corporations. It receives over 350,000 individual contributions a year from over 96,000 active recent contributors.

    Contributions are tax-deductible and greatly appreciated.

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