Who’s screwed? People who eat...

Who’s screwed? People who eat. Last week – House Republicans passed the Agriculture Appropriations bill that cuts $87 million from the FDA and $35 million from the USDA food inspection program. Republicans Congressman Jack Kingston defended the legislation saying, “Do we believe that McDonald’s and Kentucky Fried Chicken…aren’t concerned about food safety? The food supply in America is very safe because the private sector self-polices.”

If the private sector does “self-police” then I wonder what Congressman Kingston thinks about the four people who were killed by an e. coli outbreak in Washington state last week. Not to mention last year’s salmonella outbreak in eggs and spinach. One out of every six Americans gets sick from food contamination every year – and 3,000 people a year eventually die from a foodborne illness here in America. Not exactly high marks for an industry that Republicans argue can police itself.

So we can add food safety to the list of things Republicans would cut before raising a nickel of taxes on billionaires in America.


gerald's picture
gerald 13 years 3 days ago

Cutting funds for safe food is typical for our politicians who love human death.

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stonesphear's picture
stonesphear 13 years 3 days ago

First I heard there was nothing to worry concerning radiation on the West Coast from the Nuclear melt down in Japan. Then they said there was radiation hitting the West Coast but at such low levels there was nothing to be concerned about. Then it was reported that someone asked that imported seafood to be monitored for radiation but they decided against that. Then everything quieted down other than that they have discovered that it was indeed a complete melt down and it was expected to be an ongoing catastrophe for months.

As of about a week ago there was a single report on a single day that a person in Seattle could expect to breath in around 5 "hot particles per day" originating from Fucishima and that we should be scrubbing out fresh produce more thoroughly here on the west coast.

Meanwhile there are no check points or pass ports required for fish that swim through Japanese waters. They just swim around at will till they get reeled in and turned into fish sticks. If they glow in the dark no one is the wiser.

Reminds me of the movie "Road Warriors" when the hero resorts to a geiger counter in order to determine whether the water is safe to drink.

mathboy's picture
mathboy 13 years 3 days ago

There's no Daily Topics post for today, so I'll use this.

Thom, you missed two details in reading Article III, Section 2, of the Constitution--it was listing the types of cases covered by, not powers of, the whole judiciary branch of the government, not specifically the Supreme Court. There's no reason it would list a power to declare laws Unconstitutional there, if it exists. "Controversies to which the United States shall be a Party" is where this power comes in. If you sue a corporation for having a policy that is against the law, the court can nullify that policy, barring the corporation from enforcing that policy. Analogously, you can sue the federal government for having a law that is in violation of the Constitution, and the Supreme Court can nullify that law, barring the federal government from enforcing that law.

Palindromedary's picture
Palindromedary 13 years 3 days ago

"Tim DeChristopher is scheduled to be sentenced in a Salt Lake City courtroom by U.S. District Judge Dee Benson on July 26. He faces up to 10 years in prison and a $750,000 fine for fraudulently bidding in December 2008 on parcels of land, including areas around eastern Utah’s national parks, which were being sold off by the Bush administration to the oil and natural gas industry. As Bidder No. 70, he drove up the prices of some of the bids and won more than a dozen other parcels for $1.8 million. The government is asking Judge Benson to send DeChristopher to prison for four and a half years."

"...(the judge) said it was not their (the jurors) job to decide if this (pamplets passed out) is right or wrong, but to listen to what he said was the law and follow that even if they thought it was morally unjust. They were not allowed to use [their] conscience. They were told they would be violating their oath if they decided this on conscience rather than the evidence that he told them to listen to."

We must refuse to be obedient to injustice!

from Chris Hedge's article in Truthdig:

When the system is corrupt we owe no allegience or respect...only obstruction to injustice.

LeeH's picture
LeeH 13 years 3 days ago

Time to re-publish Upton Sinclair's "The Jungle" for all to read.

KassandraTroy's picture
KassandraTroy 13 years 3 days ago

It's becoming abundantly clear that whoever is in power don't feel that they need the American citizen anymore.......for anything.

i wonder how many of us will have to die, one way or another before we stand up to the monsters who have brought The Shock Doctrine home to USA? It's getting kinda late, here, folks

dianhow 13 years 3 days ago

GOP wants to gut EPA -gut FDA - deeply cut funding for public education- Pell Grants- school lunches, take teachers right to bargian aas Gov Walker did, cut head start , cut disabled, cut seniors on medicaid, cut WIC , privatize medicare & SS. that we all paid into for years and years . ALL so huge corps & billionaires can get even more tax cuts - loopjoles & OIL subsides for Exxon Mobil BP Chevron .The GOP / Bachman types want no abortions even i n case of rape ! They hate women and PP who screens for breast cancer and does pelvic exams, gives birth control info. Next they want to outlaw contraception ! This is evil and like a dictatorship by a few loud extremists . They are taking away our rights bit by bit while we are clueless . They run our economy, Goldman FED, 800 con radio talk shows -Fox who reaches millions. When will we get protest about these insane greedy self righteous phonies ? What will it take to get us to speak out - to take action ? CALL WH @ 202 456 1111 M-F to 5 pm Eastern go to www.whitehouse.gov        www.congress.gov       www.senate.gov Take 15 minutes and do something !!!

dianhow 13 years 3 days ago

well said Kass Thanks

dianhow 13 years 3 days ago

Point is Why is this abuse allowed to continue ? Why are our laws geared to protect the super powerful ? From 1981 Reaganomics deregulation-debt- cuts- Bush Cheny/ GOP global 2008 crash 700 billion TARP US policies, GOP- Con judges - Goldsman FED have greatly favored the elites , huge corps -Robber Barons / Wall St .WE kow tow to them We give reward them with trilions after leading us to disaster . We are their public servants.- their peasants. -slaves . The Bush family & Cheney made untold billions off their close ties to OPEC Saudi's- Halliburton- and BIn laden family . Bush 2 flew them out of the US after 9 / 11 when NO planes were flying. Cheney made sweet deals with BP - so we got the BP massive OIL spill that has done untold damage to our planet .. 2 1/2 yrs is not near enough to undo 28 yrs of Reaganomics Bush 1-2 Cheney GOP waging long unpaid for wars - lies- cuts- debt- fear tactics- greed. Use logic Read check facts Look at the record of both parties They are NOT the same

David S. Lynch's picture
David S. Lynch 13 years 3 days ago

It's time for Victory Gardens. As many of us as possible should grow them. Only this time, we're intending victory over the corporations and the corrupt government to serve them. Waiting in vain for legislation that might actually protect us doesn't seem viable to me any longer.

The more food we can grow and share on a community level, the healthier we will be, the less fuel we will consume, and we will put less money in corporate agriculture's pocket. It's fast becoming our only choice as manufactured food and mass-produced meat, fruit and vegetables become too dangerous to ingest.

David Abbot's picture
David Abbot 13 years 3 days ago

Here is the latest republican talking point: "We just want God's will to be done, and it is God's will that all homeless shelters be closed so that democrats and all minorities can live like God intends for them to live, which is in cardboard boxes in alleys, so they can be close to their major food supply which is dumpsters and garbage cans. And if people are eating out of dumpsters, what's the point in doing food inspections? I mean, do you expect food inspectors to go around checking the safety of garbage?"

mescalito's picture
mescalito 13 years 3 days ago

Oh my God what will be do without the Food and Death Administration? Of course Amish Farmers selling Raw milk are probably breathing a sigh of relief. The FDA spent over a year and who knows how many dollars and resources courtesy of we the tax payers in a sting operation to bust an Amish farmer selling raw milk. Some of us have a real problem with this kind of "protection." It has no place in a free society. We have seen the FDA raid and extort natural food companies like Garden of Life in some cases because of testimonials customers have given about how much their products helped them. The FDA won't even allow a company to claim that vitamin C cures scurvy without sending in heavily armed stormtroopers to bring the evil doers to justice. Cherry products can't even reference the fact that cherries ease inflamamation because that would be considered a crime by the FDA. They raidied Wyldwood Cellars, a Kansas based producer of elderberry juice, a very well known natural immune system enhancing product , because they dared to tell people this juice was good for their health. As Natural News reports: in response the raw milk issue the FDA replied: "there is no deeply rooted historical tradition of unfettered access to foods of all kinds."

The FDA goes further, stating that "there is no absolute right to consume or feed children any particular kind of food [because] comprehensive federal regulation of the food supply has been in effect at least since Congress enacted the Pure Food and Drugs Act of 1906. ... Thus, plaintiffs' claim to a fundamental privacy interest in obtaining 'foods of their own choice' for themselves and their families is without merit."

In other words, the agency has stated that because Congress has given FDA the authority to regulate food, there is no such thing as a right to acquire any given food.

Furthermore, the FDA says, "there is no generalized right to bodily and physical health."

"Finally, even if such a right did exist, it would not render FDA's regulations unconstitutional because prohibiting the interstate sale and distribution of unpasteurized milk promotes 'bodily and physical health.'"

Learn more: http://www.naturalnews.com/031934_FDA_food_freedom.html#ixzz1PrODH3C3

This is a tyrannical unconstitutional agency that creates its own regulations aka LAWS and is totally unaccountable to the people. Unelected bureuacrats should not be writing laws. As Dr. Gary Null, Dr. Merkola, and Mike Adams from natural news point out again and again, the FDA is the biggest threat to alternative medicines, natural cures, herbal medicines and nutritional based healing. Meanwhile American continue to be poisoned by BIg Pharma drugs and vaccines that are "FDA approved." This idea that the FDA is keeping us safe is a complete fallacy. We would be better off if they were completely defunded.

leighmf's picture
leighmf 13 years 2 days ago

Consider the Cornfield, by leighmf

We all remember Howard Hughes,
and how they said he blew a fuse.
So what I write is no new news,
like him, there's products after you'se.

Children of the Corn by King,
King Corn, corn oil, at least one ring
in every ear- witch doctors bring
on the toe perhaps a corn,
but for pointy shoes, toes are shorn!

Money made of corn is starch-
the Fascist Planter's Golden Arch.

Fructose in yer food more thicker
than it ever was in liquor-
a way to kill the natives quicker,
germ warfare another kicker.

Ancient Kings of Corn afar
bred the golden cultivar.
(Before them was no corn to jar).
In the code exists a bar.
Bar Code which is theirs forever.
No black magic, no endeavor
can command the sequence, never.

By greed the block was added to.
Field and field and field they grew-
alchemists who never knew,
which generation of their amin-
statistically would end in famine.

The stumbling block, the cornerstone,
mistakenly they thought would clone.
They're always wrong, and so we'll all
watch Archer Daniels Midland fall.


Dennis.G.Bouscal's picture
Dennis.G.Bouscal 13 years 2 days ago

Amen David,

After reading the post I had to respond, came here to do so, and you had already offered my thoughts. Unfortunately the fruits and vegetables we grow, though they taste great and are most nutritious, do not ship well.

2950-10K's picture
2950-10K 13 years 2 days ago

Food Taster jobs, why not! It fits in nicely with the feudal ideology the right wing embraces with unrelenting passion. Although I think the peasants deserve hazard pay for this kind of work!

Look on the bright side, local Farmers Markets will explode with business as folks get sick of horse meat burgers.

Thom, The radio show was excellent today!

stradric's picture
stradric 13 years 2 days ago

Ha, 'mescalito' is hilarious. It seems like a bot that detects the term "FDA" and fires off a bunch of links to naturalnews.com, which you should not visit for it is a pile of dung.

Now on topic: The pro-rape party strikes again. What are they against this time? Why food safety of course! That's a new addition to the list I think. At least Republicans are consistent at being awful.

David Abbot's picture
David Abbot 13 years 2 days ago

Well, obviously we would be better off in many instances if the FDA didn't exist. However, once in a while they do good work. Not often, admittedly, but sometimes. And if we get rid of the FDA, here's what's going to happen: the huge agriculture corporations will ignore even the few health and safety regulations that they now obey, and there will be a swath of food-related illnesses sweeping through America. And because the FDA will not exist at that time, there will no agency that can be FORCED, against its will and kicking and screaming all the way, to take action against the corporate monsters. The agribusiness corporations are so worried about the FDA that they have spent untold millions of dollars bribing FDA officials to ignore our safe food laws, and untold millions more hiring FDA officials when they retire. They are worried about the FDA because all it would take would be one president who, (unlike Obama) has the courage to kick ass and take names, and one FDA head who has the same attitude, and they could send agribusiness running for cover. Trust me, we're better off having the FDA, even with the idiots, traitors, fascists, nazis, and other republicans who are currently running it.

David Abbot's picture
David Abbot 13 years 2 days ago

It's true that fruits and vegetables don't ship very well, but we can grow a lot. And if we focus on very hardy vegetables that are packed with nutrients, like kale, which will survive mild winters even with snow and freezing temperatures, the nutrition we get from them can help make up for the nutrients we don't get from store-bought food. In my small back yard, I have three apple trees, three asian pear trees, a fig tree, two cherry trees, and about 200 square feet of raised bed container garden with four kinds of lettuce, three kinds of kale, beans, peas, carrots, parsley, squash, and a few other veges. From how my body reacts, I would guess that these fresh foods contain three times the nutrients of organic store bought foods.

CopyOwner 13 years 2 days ago

Publicly traded for-profit corporations cannot care about human safety. It is not possible. First, they are articifial entities, with no ability to "care" about anything. Second, their only legal obligations are to (1) make as much money as possible for their shareholders and (2) obey the law. The Republicans are intent on removing obligation #2. Sure, millions will be led to believe that they "care" about food safety, but if their #1 concern is maximizing profits, food safety is just a means to an end, and if they can achieve that end at the expense of a few humans, so be it. The Republican financiers are happy to have the Republican dimwits support their "free enterprize" in which the dimwits themselves are fodder for the corporate perverts.

JohnBarrett's picture
JohnBarrett 13 years 2 days ago

Like you tax cuts, remember Walkerton Ontario.

Walkerton is a relatively small community located in Ontario. The water supply for the town of Walkerton was operated by the Walkerton Public Utilities Commission. The water supply became contaminated with the highly dangerous O157:H7 strain of E. coli bacteria, from farm runoff into an adjacent well that was known for years to be vulnerable to contamination.

At least seven people died directly from drinking the E. coli contaminated water, who might have been saved if the Walkerton Public Utilities Commission had admitted to contaminated water sooner, and about 2,500 became ill.

A public inquiry wound up laying part of the blame for the Walkerton disaster on cutbacks ordered by the Harris Conservative Government. It estimated that the Walkerton water tragedy cost a minimum of $64.5-155 million. Conservative tax cuts at work.

jdadam 13 years 2 days ago

They already have people who pay them to do that, us. Which is exactly why Ralph Nader and many others have fought over the years for consumer protections and FDA standards that won't kill people. Republicans, of any name, clearly are in their own moral stupor and can't be reached.

mescalito's picture
mescalito 12 years 51 weeks ago

@stradic you laugh and ridicule probably because its easier to try to discredit me than what Ive written because it is all verifiable. For anyone, including you Thom, who thinks we're screwed and hopelessly lost without the FDA, simply google the terms: FDA raids. You will find a plethora of instances where natural supplement companies were screwed by the FDA. Again this is a tyrranical agency that is totally unconstitutional, regulary violates the rule of law and just common human decency. Sending in Heavily armed stormtroopers for people selling elderberry juice or raw milk? doesnt sound very progressive to me. David the heavy hand of the FDA has been seen by many unfortunately rarely big Agribusiness. Progressives are always complaining about the costs of health care and the horrors of BIg Pharma but silent about and/or ignore the attacks by the FDA and other government regulatory bureaucracies that are the biggest threat to low cost, natural alternative medicine? whats up with that?

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