Today on Blogcritics
Home » HR 875, The “Kill The Small Farmer” Bill

HR 875, The “Kill The Small Farmer” Bill

Please Share...Tweet about this on Twitter0Share on Facebook0Share on Google+0Share on LinkedIn0Pin on Pinterest0Share on TumblrShare on StumbleUpon0Share on Reddit0Email this to someone

Single-party control of our government has created a situation where the normal restraints of common sense and accountability have been entirely lifted from our legislators and they feel free to engage in the most dangerous and destructive possible legislation in the service of special interests whose goals are inimical to the welfare of most Americans and especially of small businesses and vulnerable groups who dare to challenge the dominance of powerful business or issue-oriented lobbies.

This lack of accountability and invulnerability to effective opposition is what makes it possible for a bill like House Resolution 875 to be introduced and even attract the support of almost 40 sponsors. This deceptively named “Food Safety Modernization Act of 2009″ creates a special department within the Department of Health and Human Services called the Food Safety Administration, which is specifically tasked with expanding the regulatory role of that agency into the small organic farms, backyard gardens and kitchens of gardeners and entrepreneurs who sell food products at farmers markets, through local stores or even to their neighbors. This is all in the interest of protecting consumers from health risks, but if you read the history of major food contamination cases over recent decades every major case stems from large-scale industrial agriculture, not from small farms, home-canning or other traditional and entrepreneurial food production.

In truth this bill is nothing but an effort to protect the agricultural and food processing giants who control 90% of the food production in the nation from the competition of tiny cottage industries and income supplementing gardeners who may nibble away at a tiny portion of the sales of food and agriculture megacorporations. It is the trust-busting of Teddy Roosevelt and the progressive era turned on its head. It is government protecting corporate monopolists from even the smallest challenge of free enterprise.

Perhaps worst of all, these proposed new regulations are so pervasive that they might very well prohibit you from producing food to feed your own family and they include draconian enforcement measures designed to discourage any attempts at home or small-scale agriculture. In Section 3 of the bill it specifically defines the jurisdiction of this new agency to include any “facility owned or operated by a person located in any State that processes food or a facility that holds, stores or transports food or food ingredients,” further defined as “any farm, ranch, orchard, vineyard, aquaculture facility or confined animal feeding operation.” That means my hydroponic herb garden, my catfish pond, my little chicken pen, the peach trees in my front yard, etc. What’s more, the act specifically exempts from these regulations the large agribusinesses already covered under the authority of the Department of Agriculture or the Federal Meat Inspection Act and the Poultry Products Inspection Act, so it is clearly aimed at small and part-time farmers.

The enforcement provisions are particularly troubling, based around requirements that any food production facility be inspected, apparently including your yard and kitchen. These inspections must go through accredited labs and be done at the expense of the food producer — a requirement whose expense alone will shut down many small farms. What’s more, federal inspectors can come on your property without a warrant, seize your plants and livestock and “detain” them for up to 30 days. The bill includes no provisions for feeding, watering, or refrigerating the detained food products. All of this can take place on bureaucratic whim with no due process of law. Produce any food and you basically lose all property rights.

Section 405 of the bill assigns penalties of up to $1 million for not complying with inspections or distributing uninspected food. It also includes provisions where if a fine is levied in a non-judicial hearing and you don’t pay it, they can file a civil case against you and seize your property and assets to pay the fine. So can those peaches in your front yard and sell them in the local market and you could well lose your house and everything you own.

The crowning irony is that all of this regulation and enforcement power is directed at a problem which does not exist. It doesn’t target the industrial farms which have contaminated spinach and tomatoes in recent years or the peanut processing factories which recently gave so many salmonella or the huge, E. coli contamination producing slaughterhouses. It targets small organic farms which sell to local specialty markets and restaurants and the guy at the farmers market with a basket of eggs and a box of hand-picked zucchinis whose standards of cleanliness and responsibility are by nature superior to the dubious practices followed in giant agrobusinesses.

The bill was authored by Rose DeLauro (D-CT) and has 37 co-sponsors. It is currently being gone over by the House Agriculture Committee. Not surprisingly, top contributors to DeLauro’s 2008 reelection campaign include lobbyists for the poultry industry, industrial agriculture, and major unions. DeLauro’s bill is a strong reminder that the War on Capitalism begins at the very lowest level where the most vulnerable entrepreneurs and cottage industries lack the resources and political influence to protect themselves from being regulated out of existence at the command of monopolistic corporations and their elected lackeys.

Powered by

About Dave Nalle

  • Cannonshop

    Okay, Dave, who’re the other 37 co-sponsors? These guys need to be run out into the sunlight.

  • http://www.joannehuspek.wordpress.com/ Joanne Huspek

    Michigan tried to do something similar last year which would have wiped out the farmers markets, road side stands and pick your own farms, which would have put a lot of people out of business. Geez Louise.

  • Jordan Richardson

    So how small are the farmers they’re going to kill? As a vertically-challenged carrot farmer (forget the fact that I’m Canadian and generally don’t care for a minute), how worried should I be? Hypothetically, of course…

  • M (a) ¶/ ® k

    * Rep. Rosa DeLauro [D, CT-3]
    * and 39 Co-Sponsors
    o Rep. Shelley Berkley [D, NV-1]
    o Rep. Timothy Bishop [D, NY-1]
    o Rep. Sanford Bishop [D, GA-2]
    o Rep. André Carson [D, IN-7]
    o Rep. Kathy Castor [D, FL-11]
    o Rep. Joe Courtney [D, CT-2]
    o Rep. Peter DeFazio [D, OR-4]
    o Rep. Diana DeGette [D, CO-1]
    o Rep. Eliot Engel [D, NY-17]
    o Rep. Anna Eshoo [D, CA-14]
    o Rep. Sam Farr [D, CA-17]
    o Rep. Bob Filner [D, CA-51]
    o Rep. Gabrielle Giffords [D, AZ-8]
    o Rep. Raul Grijalva [D, AZ-7]
    o Rep. John Hall [D, NY-19]
    o Rep. Maurice Hinchey [D, NY-22]
    o Rep. Mazie Hirono [D, HI-2]
    o Rep. Eddie Johnson [D, TX-30]
    o Rep. Marcy Kaptur [D, OH-9]
    o Rep. Barbara Lee [D, CA-9]
    o Rep. Nita Lowey [D, NY-18]
    o Rep. Betty McCollum [D, MN-4]
    o Rep. James McDermott [D, WA-7]
    o Rep. James McGovern [D, MA-3]
    o Rep. Gwen Moore [D, WI-4]
    o Rep. Christopher Murphy [D, CT-5]
    o Rep. Jerrold Nadler [D, NY-8]
    o Rep. Eleanor Norton [D, DC-0]
    o Rep. Chellie Pingree [D, ME-1]
    o Rep. Timothy Ryan [D, OH-17]
    o Rep. Linda Sánchez [D, CA-39]
    o Rep. Janice Schakowsky [D, IL-9]
    o Rep. Mark Schauer [D, MI-7]
    o Rep. Louise Slaughter [D, NY-28]
    o Rep. Fortney Stark [D, CA-13]
    o Rep. Betty Sutton [D, OH-13]
    o Rep. John Tierney [D, MA-6]
    o Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz [D, FL-20]
    o Rep. Robert Wexler [D, FL-19]

  • http://jetssciencepage.blogspot.com/ Jet

    Gee M(a)¶/®k, interesting handle. I can think of just on man that’d think that up. And all those democrats and not one republican!

  • Cindy

    It’s okay Jet, it’s only Mark.

    Mark, if you come across anything resembling evidence that Monsanto, Cargill, Tysons, ADM, or other agribusiness sponsored or were involved…could you let me know. Everywhere I look I find that repeated, but that’s all I find and I am hoping I will find more.

  • M (a)r {….!…} ¶/ ® k

    SJ’s Stanley Greenburg connection is pretty fucking suspicious.

  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    Jordan, you probably don’t need to be worried about this specific bill at all, because it likely won’t go anywhere. But even as a Canadian you need to worry about the trend towards overegulation which this bill is symptomatic of. The desire of government to protect the people from nonexistent threats and thereby empower themselves and intentionally or inadvertently benefit large businesses is a real and growing threat not just in the US but world wide.

    Dave

  • Cindy

    Stanley Greenburg. He doesn’t actually work for Monsanto. Well, not exactly. He works on behalf of Monsanto and others.

    It is clear in my mind that his wife is introducing bills that benefit his clients. I just like to make sure I am giving out accurate information. It would be good to know where the information about the involved corporations came from or whether it is speculation.

  • Cindy

    …you probably don’t need to be worried about this specific bill at all, because it likely won’t go anywhere…

    Dave,

    Why don’t you think so? Even with all those co-sponsors? That would be a relief Dave.

  • http://jetssciencepage.blogspot.com/ Jet

    Specifically Dave-what “non-existant” threat? Sounds like the typical right-wing nonspeak which sounds intelligent but isn’t.

    By the same token, we can say that Bush attacked Iraq because of a “non-existant” threat.

    All the useless colored threat levels from Homeland Security (indeed the very existance of the agency itself) is from a “nonexistant” threat.

    If you’re going to tear down the “Just in case” argument, than it needs to apply uniformly, not just to items you don’t agree with my friend.

  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    Jet, I wrote this article. What are you talking about?

    Cindy, the fact that it’s been in committee for almost 2 months is a sign it’s not getting a push from the democratic leadership. Also, bills that pass fast have hundreds of co-sponsors, not 39.

    Dave

  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    Thanks for the list, Mark. The bill seems to have gained two sponsors since yesterday. That list is in the link I posted in the article, btw.

    Cindy, if you research the contributors of the sponsors you’ll find those companies or groups they lobby through to be represented. I looked up DeLauro’s contributions from 2008 and found a couple of agribusiness interest groups on the $10,000 or more list.

    Dave

  • Cindy

    …the War on Capitalism begins at the very lowest level where the most vulnerable entrepreneurs and cottage industries lack the resources and political influence to protect themselves from being regulated out of existence at the command of monopolistic corporations and their elected lackeys.

    The War on Capitalism Dave? Funny Dave, the way I see it it is the war of capitalists against everyone else.

    We discussed this re WalMart coming to town, etc. I said then, something along the lines of what you are saying now–something very similar to the quote of you here.

    Let me remind you Dave what you said. You said that Capitalism was working to make things efficient, those small businesses were obviously not the best forms. And you claimed my reference to the mega-corps being monopolies was wrong.

    Dave, you know you are saying the same thing now that I said then. I just want to point that out.

  • http://jetssciencepage.blogspot.com/ Jet

    Dave writes:
    Single-party control of our government has created a situation where the normal restraints of common sense and accountability have been entirely lifted from our legislators and they feel free to engage in the most dangerous and destructive possible legislation in the service of special interests…

    Gee, so it’s okay when the Bush Administration and it’s GOP rubberstamp congress did it, but not now… simply because you don’t agree with its politics? Stem cells, abortion, war crimes (for which his GOP congress snuck him immunity for), warrantless wiretaps… the list goes on and on.

  • Cindy

    …if you research the contributors of the sponsors you’ll find those companies or groups they lobby through to be represented…

    …and re #12.

    Thank you, Dave.

  • http://www.futonreport.net/ Matthew T. Sussman

    What will come of the Obamas’ new garden?

  • M (a)r {….!…} ¶/ ® k

    From opensecrets.org list of bills lobbied:

    Lobbying reports covering the 1st Quarter of 2009 are due April 20 to the Senate Office of Public Records. OpenSecrets.org will incorporate that data after the deadline.

    I’ve often wondered if there is a source that details lobbyist participation in preparing the language of bills.

  • Cindy

    I forgot about that site Mark. I should have saved it the last time you posted it.

    I’ve often wondered if there is a source that details lobbyist participation in preparing the language of bills.

    I wish we could find stuff like this out. Every time I see someone write something like…’Monsanto et al, wrote the bill*’…I wince, as I never can seem to find out where someone got that info.

    *which is something I have already read a number of times regarding this bill.

  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle


    The War on Capitalism Dave? Funny Dave, the way I see it it is the war of capitalists against everyone else.

    No, Cindy. You persistently fail to understand the distinction between state corporatism and capitalism. Capitalism is a broad economic category. Capitalism works best when trade is free. When monopolistic businesses and the state ally together you no longer have free trade, you have state corporatism, which is inimical to the practice of free trade and free capitalism.

    We discussed this re WalMart coming to town, etc. I said then, something along the lines of what you are saying now–something very similar to the quote of you here.

    Not really. Plus I pointed out at that time that WalMart does not, in fact, destroy local businesses because WalMart does engage in free trade and for the most part receives very limited special benefits from the government. The exception being those locations where local governments give WalMart tax breaks which they do not offer other businesses in order to get them to move to a specific location. That’s the beginnings of state corporatism on a small scale.

    Let me remind you Dave what you said. You said that Capitalism was working to make things efficient, those small businesses were obviously not the best forms. And you claimed my reference to the mega-corps being monopolies was wrong.

    I said that it was wrong about WalMart. That does not mean that there are not other corporations whose power is enhanced by an alliance with the state.

    Dave

  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    Gee, so it’s okay when the Bush Administration and it’s GOP rubberstamp congress did it, but not now…

    Jet, when did I say that it was okay when the Bush administration did it? In general this problem originates in Congress, not in the executive branch, and it’s not better when one party does it than it is when another does it.

    simply because you don’t agree with its politics?

    I don’t agree with any policies which attack free market capitalism, including when it’s done on behalf of protecting businesses from the risks of a free market.

    Dave

  • http://blogcritics.org/writer/dan_miller Dan(Miller)

    Wait a damn minute. HR 875 has a fine sounding name: “Food Safety Modernization Act of 2009.” It even feels warm and fuzzy; we are to be protected, not harmed.

    Food is absolutely essential for our very survival. “Safety” — who in his right mind could possibly be against safety? We all want to be safe, don’t we? “Modernization?” That’s a great word too. We certainly wouldn’t want to oppose modernization, would we? Of course not! Only dastardly Republicans would oppose safety and modernization.

    There could be nothing more critical these days, when unknown thousands are dying after eating tomatoes and squash grown in unsupervised and therefore obviously unsanitary small garden plots — some even in back yards! Brownies prepared in untested and unsupervised kitchens in people’s houses are also a gigantic problem. How many have died after eating those unsafe brownies? They are also high in calories and sugar, contributing mightily to the curse of diabetes which plagues the nation. It is high time, I say, for our wise Congress to root out these miscreants and protect We the People! From Ourselves! It’s the Democratic way, and we must settle for nothing less.

    Dan(Miller)

    Runs out of house to escape rampaging pack of rabid brownies, trips over weed whacker discarded because the kid-safety devices prevent it from starting, and sprays everything in vegetable garden with non-organic weed killer.

  • Cindy

    No, Cindy Dave. You persistently fail to understand the that there is no distinction between state corporatism and capitalism…Capitalism works best when trade is unicorns run free.

    (now I had better get to work, this site is too easy a distraction)

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ Roger Nowosielski

    He’s gonna have to explain this to me. It’s a mouthful.

  • Cindy

    When monopolistic businesses and the state ally together you no longer have free trade, you have state corporatism, which is inimical to the practice of free trade and free capitalism.

    Dave when did this not happen? What about the railroad industry? What about the robber barons? How, for one single moment Dave, can you believe that corporate interests and government can ever be separated? How????? Why do you think the US has been interfering in countries all over the world? What are you planning to do, kill all the lobbyists? Dissolve all of the huge corporations? You’ll have to kill the elite. How do you prevent people having enough money to influence the government?

    You know you can’t Dave. You have to get rid of the fed to accomplish what you want. So, Dave, I will help you overthrow the federal government, if you will help me overthrow the government of just one single state.

    Come on Dave, let’s make a deal Anarchists and Libertarians…we could do it!

    (now I had really, really better get to work)

  • http://jetssciencepage.blogspot.com/ Jet

    Don’t forget Big Oil Cindy

  • http://www.indyboomer46.blogspot.com Baritone

    The opening paragraph of Dave’s article could well have been written 4 or 5 years ago and been perfectly apt.

    Greenburg, btw is not a lobbyist, nor does he or his cohorts promote Monsanto or any other company. Greenburg’s company provides polling data on behalf of other entities including Monsanto.

    Dave has typically overreacted to this bill. There is no mention anywhere in the bill that targets home or organic gardeners or gardening.
    It will not be necessary to grow tomatoes next to your marijuana plants in a secret room under your mini-barn.

    There may be some concerns for actual small farming operations. But as Cindy aptly points out, that has been a problem facing many a small business over the past several decades. Nowadays, it kinda goes with the territory.

    Even if the bill should make it out of committee, it is likely that, if it should get any real consideration, it would be subject to amendments and other clarifications. As Dave notes – which btw kinda takes the punch out of his entire article – the bill likely will not go anywhere.

    BTW, the intent of the bill is to take much of the oversite of our food supply away from the FDA and other agencies and put it all under one umbrella which actually makes a lot of sense.

    In that regard, then, it could ultimately include oversite of ALL agribiz including the big whup operations if adopted.

    Hey, don’t blab about this, but I’ve got a number of tomato, pepper and basil plants started in my basement. I could make some of you a deal, if you know what I mean? Keep this quiet, though. I don’t want the Feds snooping around quarantining my Romas or my wife’s turkey chili.

    B

  • http://blogcritics.org/writer/dan_miller Dan(Miller)

    There is, I am told, an old Welsh saying: “Many a mickle makes a muckle.” Or something vaguely like that.

    Dan(Miller)

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    B-Man,

    Monsanto doesn’t exactly have an impeccable reputation. If I remember correctly, David Brinkley got into hot water because of their sponsorship of his program.

    I understand your impulse of trying to defend Democrats at all cost, but I’ve long abandoned the illusion that the Reps are all evil while the Dems are all good. And given the past and present political climate, the healthy attitude, it’d seem to me, is to trust no politician. For no matter how much we can all blame Reagan and Bush for all our woes, they were not without accomplices.

  • http://jetssciencepage.blogspot.com/ Jet

    Well Dan, I’m certainly glad you cleared that up for us!

  • http://jetssciencepage.blogspot.com/ Jet

    Roger, an important point. Congress’ activity or inactivity depends a lot on what deals one party can make with the other in order to get any kind of bill (no matter how trivial) passed. The power of the president has to do with whether they can cobble something together that will fly under the radar of the presiden’t veto pen.

    This financial disaster and unemployment problem began in December of 2007 and magnified month by month into what it is now. For the GOP to lay blame on Obama for it when it’s been escellating for more than a year is not only irresponsible but an out-and-out lie.

    The fact of the matter is, the GOP had their 8 years to create and solve this country’s problems and what we’re suffering with now is directly blamable on Bush’s veto pen, despite a Democratic congress.

    The fact that Obama wants to try something different or even polar opposite of what the GOP failed with should be praised, not critisized.

    As evidenced by recent statements, if the GOP had its way, top executives on both Wall Street and Detroit boardrooms would not only still have their huge bonuses, but even bigger tax cuts than they already have and we’d still be enjoying the benefits of “trickle down” economics where the rich stash their illgotten gains instead of passing it downward.

  • Cindy

    B,

    Greenburg, btw is not a lobbyist, nor does he or his cohorts promote Monsanto or any other company. Greenburg’s company provides polling data on behalf of other entities including Monsanto.

    I am calling foul B. He is a strategic consultant, not some passive provider of polls. He has provided polls. It is not the limit of his activity.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    I’m not critiquing Obama, Jet. And as to GOP’s strategy, what’s there to say? Just trying to keep my sights clear.

    And Cindy. Of course. Why would anyone be in “the government business” – especially if they’re not a “public servant” unless it was for personal gain? For the love of it?

    Any attempt to defend such persons, or to say their objectives are “limited” is highly suspect in my book and a helluva reflection on the speaker.

    So your instincts are right.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writer/dan_miller Dan(Miller)

    You are quite welcome, Jet. I am always happy when my poor attempts to make the morass more transparent succeed*.

    Dan(Miller)

    * Soon to be made into a major motion picture

  • http://jetssciencepage.blogspot.com/ Jet

    Please don’t tell me the motion picture’s title will be “More Ass”?

  • Cindy

    It should be changed to More Asses.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Don’t forget tit for tat.

  • http://jetssciencepage.blogspot.com/ Jet

    Mr. Morass goes to Washington

  • http://www.indyboomer46.blogspot.com Baritone

    Cindy,

    I’m not sure you are correct there regarding Greenburg. However, even if so, are such efforts necessarily to be considered evil? How many people, how many companies do promotional work on behalf of corporations of every ilk? It’s all part of the landscape, is it not?

    Also, the point is made that DeLauro received significant donations from agribiz concerns. What if we went through the contribution lists of every Sen & Rep? None of them got there via money raised from bake sales. They ALL received heavy contributions from various corporate and political interests. Without such contributions, they would all be toast. That they become involved in legislation connected to some of these contributors is inevitable. It goes with the territory.

    Unless all large corporate contributions are outlawed, the assumption that legislators are in the tank to the contributors will always be there, right or wrong.

    B

  • http://jetssciencepage.blogspot.com/ Jet

    By that logic Baritone, than you’re obviously willing to forgive Sen. William Jefferson for his freezer full of cash?

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    But B-man is right, Jet. That’s the system and it sucks. And that’s one reason why the idea of public service had gone out the window. Consequently, we get no better than we deserve.

  • http://jetssciencepage.blogspot.com/ Jet

    What this country really needs to do is pass the Line-item veto so that pork will be forced into the trash, instead of being leveraged by bought and paid for congressmen into important legislature.

  • http://jetssciencepage.blogspot.com/ Jet

    “…Prudence, indeed, will dictate that governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shown, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed.
    2.4 But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such government, and to provide new guards for their future security.”

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Well said.

  • http://www.indyboomer46.blogspot.com Baritone

    Revolution?

    How many dead?

    B

  • http://www.indyboomer46.blogspot.com Baritone

    Is all “pork” bad?

    B

  • Cannonshop

    I find it amusing-Democrats (including you, Cindy) rail about “Big Business” quite well when it isn’t benefitting their party, but give them control, and they’re the Monopolist’s best friend.

    I was surprised and a little dismayed to see Baghdad-Jim’s name on the list of co-sponsors, Jim McDermott’s been one of the few respectable Lib politicians I have ever seen-he’s honest about what he is, makes no effort to pretend otherwise, and serves his constituents (who are, frankly, mostly just like himself, but with poorer grooming habits and more obnoxious behaviour). I’ve always seen him as being “Honourable, but on the wrong side”.

    I’m wondering at what price he sold his soul for this, since the outcome is likely to be the undoing of a lot of the small businesses in his district that rely on small-producer organic products. (yeah, Baritone, hippies have businesses too…)

    It isn’t like he NEEDS the money-McDermott’s in about the safest seat he could ever be in-he’s a perfect representative of his district, and he’s articulate in advocating for the causes the folks he represents in Central Seattle REALLY
    care about.

    About the only reason I could see him NEEDING the money from the Agribusiness Trusts, is if Patty Murray’s leaving the Senate and he wants her seat…

  • Cindy

    Cannon?

    I find it amusing-Democrats (including you, Cindy) rail about “Big Business” quite well when it isn’t benefitting their party, but give them control, and they’re the Monopolist’s best friend.

    I don’t think I understand what you are trying to say, as I am opposed to this bill and all the businesses and Congresspeople who have anything to do with it.

  • Cannonshop

    Ah Crap… sorry Cindy-I’m blurry on cold meds and sleep dep tonight. I actually got sick enough to dip into the “Sick Leave” puddle and call in.

    I don’t know rightly how I got your name mixed in like that, I apologize, I debase myself like the President meeting with Arab Princes…

    Only I actually mean it, and don’t want you to buy my debt-instruments to finance my slush funds.

    What I Meant was that bills like this are characteristic of the Party of Government (which just so happens to be in power right now), and if you go over the list, you’ll note a lot of names who run “against Big Business” and “For the Common Man/Little Guy”.

    Notably, the guys who are most at-risk of being shut down by this bill, should it pass, ARE the Little Guy. Big Businesses do the crime, small operators do the time-and it’s courtesy of the same people EACH time.

    Monopolies love it when they can get the “watchdogs” to do in their smaller competitors for them, and Big Business loves doing in smaller outfits and niche outfits using Government as the instrument of choice-usually with the kind of euphemistic titles this bill has.

    It’s about cutting out competition to assure the triumph of mediocrity-and you know what?

    That’s the real outcome of the Left’s Economic policies. It’s about centralizing power in ‘elite’ hands as much as possible.

    I think the only “Choice” the Democratic Leadership really cares about, is Abortion-beyond that, they do not like choice, and will do everything they’re big enough to, to prevent it from occurring without being pre-approved by their lackeys first.

  • Jordan Richardson

    But even as a Canadian you need to worry about the trend towards overegulation which this bill is symptomatic of.

    I’ll get right on that.

  • STM

    Would something like this REALLY put an end to farmers’ markets and roadside fruit and vegie stalls?

    Disgraceful, if true.

    But I suspect it won’t happen in America.

    The US ain’t the USSR. Just remember that …

  • Jordan Richardson

    Ah, but the virtue here is that the US could be the USSR if they aren’t careful.

    See, nothing is more truly American than fearing what could happen if something else might happen.

    A very common American fear, as far as I can tell, is waking up one day and no longer having the right to do…something. Everything must be the exact same as it was yesterday or else the very fabric of society is unbuttoning. Because with true change – and believe me guys, Obama’s not it yet – comes the possibility that something could happen and when something might happen it means, essentially, that it already has.

  • STM

    Or at least, something like that :)

    Whereas here, we’re always worried about something NOT happening.

    Well, not worried exactly …

    Because when it doesn’t, which is mostly, you can always go to the pub.

  • Jordan Richardson

    Up here we’re basically worried about our favourite hockey team not making the playoffs, Tim Horton’s not having enough maple-flavoured donuts, and running out of beer.

    Seriously. It’s all true.

  • M ar k

    Actually, the US has a significant (politically) brain dead population as well.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    “That’s the real outcome of the Left’s Economic policies. It’s about centralizing power in ‘elite’ hands as much as possible.”

    You have to argue for that, Cannon. I grant that this may be the consequence of some legislation, but you’re talking about intent. Do you mean “political” or “economic” power. Since you were talking about monopolies, I assume you mean the latter.

  • Clavos

    And most of ‘em can’t even name the states on a map…

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    Dave, I really don’t think single-party domination of the executive and legislative branches is a prerequisite climate for congresspondlife introducing nutty, draconian and badly-written bills. As I understand it, any of your erected representatives may introduce any bill on any subject as long as it doesn’t violate your Constipation. I’m fairly certain that a trawl through the records of any of the last, say, four or five Congresses would turn up any number of flying-mammal-feces-insane legislative ideas.

    As you observe, this one isn’t going to go anywhere and I must conclude that the only reason you’re upset enough about it to express written dismay is that it was introduced and is being sponsored by Democrats.

  • http://www.indyboomer46.blogspot.com Baritone

    You people are all sooooooooo intuitive. You glance at this bill, the stated purpose of which is to centralize and improve the oversite of our food industry, and see it for what you believe it to be: Another power grab by the evil “elite” liberals.

    I assume that you all really believe this drivel. I’m concerned for how limited your anal retentive minds have become. Never mind that fiscal conservatism has completely screwed the pooch.

    You are all making insubstantial assumptions about this bill. Perhaps it would be helpful if some of you actually read it.

    “yeah, Baritone, hippies have businesses too…”

    What the hell is that supposed to mean? How is it appropos of anything?

    Surprise, surprise! I was more or less a “hippy” back in the day, and yet, I have run my own business for over 20 years. Imagine that. A fucking slacker, dope smokin’ scraggly faced, zoned out hippy not on the dole? What is the world coming to?

    Clear up something else for me, if you don’t mind: How are liberals elitist? How is it that the rich right wing fuck heads that got us into this economic mess and two unwinable wars escape being “elitists.” If they ain’t elitists, what the fuck are they? Assholes? (Works for me.)

    B :-#{>

  • http://www.indyboomer46.blogspot.com Baritone

    “but with poorer grooming habits and more obnoxious behaviour).”

    Anal, elitist, condescending – many of the telltale signs of class warfare. It’s always the rabble at the gates, isn’t it? Let them eat Big Macs!

    B

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Who is saying these obnoxious things? “Poorer grooming habits.”

    Next, they’ll be telling us the cleanliness is next to godliness.

    Oh my!

  • Clavos

    Never mind that fiscal conservatism has completely screwed the pooch.

    Not true. In fact, it was the failure of the last Republican administration to practice fiscal conservatism that fucked the dog.

    Republicans, not the concept, are fucked up.

    And before you say anything, allow me to remind you once again that, though I often vote Republican, “I am not now and never have been a member of the Republican Party USA.”

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    I don’t blame you there, Clavos. Anytime you join a group or a party, you give up some of your personal identity. And it goes for any organization – political, religious, what else have you. I’ve always pegged you as an elitist, and I mean it as a compliment.

  • http://jetssciencepage.blogspot.com/ Jet

    Clavos, despite your denials, if you look like a duck, quack like a duck and walk like a duck-you’re probably a duck.

    Sorry to disillusion you :)

  • Cindy

    Summers Received Hundreds Of Thousands In Speaking Fees From TARP Recipients

    Barack Obama’s chief economic adviser, Larry Summers, received hundreds of thousands of dollars in speaking fees last year from firms that have direct financial interests before the government or are intimately involved in the White House’s bank relief programs.

    The White House released late Friday the personal financial disclosure forms of many high-ranking administration officials. The document provided for Summers, who serves as one of the president’s closest confidants, underscores just how close some of these officials are to the industry over which they now have oversight.

  • http://www.indyboomer46.blogspot.com Baritone

    Let’s rip the bastard’s genitals out with a grappling hook!

    B

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Summers is a sleaze bag and a Wall Street sellout.
    Naomi Klein & co had pegged him right. Check the Democracy Now! for detailed discussion concerning his appointment.

  • http://www.maskedmoviesnobs.com El Bicho

    Jet, do you have a doctor’s note to be back in here? Hmmm?

    glad to see you fighting your good fight.

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    Clav: “I am not now and never have been a member of the Republican Party USA.”

    Aha, so you admit you have been a member of the Republican Party somewhere.

    Confess, fascist! Confeeeess!!!

    (don’t make me bring out the comfy chair)

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Perhaps in Isabelle Allende’s novel – The House of the Spirits, perhaps. That would make sense. But the political configuration was all different.

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    Is this much ado about nothing? Isn’t the bill just a reaction to the peanut/spinach/jalapeno scares of recent months?

    A columnist on the Huffington Post, citing two respectable web sites, Slow Food USA and Food & Water Watch, says there is little to fear:

    “There is no language in HR 875 that would regulate, penalize, or shut down backyard gardens or ‘criminalize’ gardeners; the bill focuses on ensuring the safety of food in interstate commerce.

    Farmer’s markets would not be regulated, fined, or shut down, and would, in fact, benefit from strict safety standards applied to imported food to ensure that unsafe imported food doesn’t compete with locally grown produce.

    The bill would not prohibit or interfere with organic farming, or mandate the use of any chemicals or types of seeds. The National Organic Program (NOP) is under the jurisdiction of the USDA. HR 875 addresses food safety issues and falls under the jurisdiction of the FDA.

    Monsanto and any other large agribusiness company had no part whatsoever in drafting this bill, and Rep. DeLauro’s husband and his company do no lobbying on this issue.

    HR 875 has nothing to do with any national animal ID system, which would fall under the jurisdiction of the USDA, and not the FDA.

    Here are a few things that H.R. 875 does NOT do:

    * It does not cover foods regulated by the USDA (beef, pork, poultry, lamb, catfish.)
    * It does not establish a mandatory animal identification system.
    * It does not regulate backyard gardens.
    * It does not regulate seed.
    * It does not call for new regulations for farmers markets or direct marketing arrangements.
    * It does not apply to food that does not enter interstate commerce (food that is sold across state lines).
    * It does not mandate any specific type of traceability for FDA-regulated foods (the bill does instruct a new food safety agency to improve traceability of foods, but specifically says that recordkeeping can be done electronically or on paper).”

    Huffington Post may be a liberal site, so they may be inclined to defend Democrats, but I’ve never heard it claimed they defended corporate slime-buckets.

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    The implication that Larry Summers is disqualified from a role in economic policy because he made good money in the private sector is laughable hogwash.

    If we disqualified everyone who had ever made money directly or indirectly from Wall St, I’m not sure who that would leave to run the economic agencies of the government.

    Don’t let your self-righteousness blind you to practical considerations. If Summers gives the president good advice that works, he’s qualified. If he undermines good policy to protect people who paid him consulting or speaking fees, then that should be revealed. But you’re making the assumption that this has happened when there is no evidence of it.

  • A Duck

    Jet,

    I have to agree with you.

    (P.S. Just say no to duck tape!)

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    “If we disqualified everyone who had ever made money directly or indirectly from Wall St, I’m not sure who that would leave to run the economic agencies of the government.”

    Handy, just think about that statement. Aren’t you saying that you have to be a crook in order to supervise other crooks?

    There have to be other options, don’t you think?

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    I certainly am not saying that. You used to work on Wall St. Does that mean we should assume you’re a crook, or a former crook? Of course not.

    There’s no honest way to succeed as an investment banker? Give me a break. There are good players and bad players in all industries.

    If you believe a particular person is corrupt, show me the evidence. Otherwise, you’re indulging in innuendo and you’re vastly oversimplifying the reality of the situation.

  • A Duck

    It is a conflict of interest. Quack!

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    To make it plain, what I’m really saying is that expertise alone is not good enough qualification, not if you lack in moral stature. How else are you going to clean up the government and immoral practices other than with the help of moral and upright persons? Any other method smacks of substituting efficiency for truth and total disclosure.

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    The info on Summers came from the White House. He went through the same extraordinary vetting process everyone else did, and this news story was based on the documents released. They weren’t trying to hide the information.

    You can claim someone is immoral, but what proof do you have? That he got paid for speeches and as a consultant? That is not proof of immorality or amorality.

    Where’s the beef?

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    In truth, I cannot speak to Larry Summers character. There’s only circumstantial evidence. But I am naturally suspicious of anyone collecting upwards of twenty grand for a speaking engagement – apart from any other machinations on Wall Street he may or may not have had.

    This kind of people always remind me of a snake oil salesman, or those who run half-hour long TV infomercials selling real estate in Florida or Arizona, of memory enhancement aids, but you get my meaning.

    True wisdom need no advertisement, and commands no kind of fee. You do it out of concern.

  • http://jetssciencepage.blogspot.com/ Jet

    Which is it; duck tape or duct tape? Or is it a denominational thing?

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    I know you’re gonna say, Handy, it’s normal practice, or that the vetting process should be assurance enough.

    Well, my response is that what’s “normal” should by now be long discredited.

    Let’s face it. Washington stinks. And I’m not casting any aspersions on Obama. But there’s one thing I’ll tell you. I’d do my damnedest to pick people who are immaculate – if any such could be found.

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    Larry Summers is undoubtedly not an angel. But before his appointment he was extravagantly praised by both Republicans and Democrats. He is generally considered a brilliant economist.

    Doesn’t mean I always agree with him. Summers, along with Phil Gramm, Robert Rubin, Bill Clinton and others together dismantled the Glass Steagall Act and proclaimed it as a landmark modernization of the financial system. Fewer than 10 senators voted against it. But it is almost certainly one of the big factors leading to today’s crisis, along with the non-regulation of derivatives, which Summers and Gramm also pushed.

    But I think these were errors of judgment, not moral flaws. Nearly everybody joined in a deregulatory orgy that led to a period of record profits — before leading to 2008-9’s record bust.

    One hopes and imagines that if Summers is as smart as everyone says he is, he has learned his lesson about the unintended consequences of deregulation. He is no doubt going to have a big role in the immense new regulatory structure envisioned by Obama, Geithner and Bernanke.

    And we should watch all this closely, and criticize loudly when necessary. But to assume in advance that smart people are deliberately going to do the wrong thing in the currrent crisis doesn’t seem valid to me.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Let’s leave it at that. I certainly don’t want to prejudge anything or anyone. So let’s hope for the best.

  • http://www.indyboomer46.blogspot.com Baritone

    Roger,

    There are hundreds of people from a wide variety of endeavors who make big money from speaking fees. In all of your disparaging of Summers you made not one substantial allegation. You just assumed he’s a crook.

    The ONLY way people gain the knowledge necessary to take high positions in government is by working in their respective fields – including Wall Street, etc.

    That was something that Bush apparently forgot with his good old boy appointments like Brownie.

    Your accusations are on shaky ground at best.

    B

  • A Duck

    Jet,

    I thought it was duct tape. Someone corrected me and I found out it can be either. Just as long as you people don’t use it me, you can call it whatever you like.

    Quack!

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    B-man,

    I didn’t assume him to be a crook. The remark was made in response to Handy’s comment. Check it out!

    Anyways, I withdraw the “accusation.” I’m just not overly enthused by these types. And I hope that your faith in them bears fruit.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writer/dan_miller Dan(Miller)

    Handyguy,

    According to the source cited in your comment #71, There is no language in HR 875 that would regulate, penalize, or shut down backyard gardens or ‘criminalize’ gardeners; the bill focuses on ensuring the safety of food in interstate commerce. The source also says, It does not apply to food that does not enter interstate commerce (food that is sold across state lines).

    True, the Section 17 of HR 875 says, “(17) INTERSTATE COMMERCE- The term ‘interstate commerce’ has the meaning given that term in section 201(b) of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (21 U.S.C. 321(b))”

    However, Section 406 of HR 875 says, “In any action to enforce the requirements of the food safety law, the connection with interstate commerce required for jurisdiction shall be presumed to exist.(emphasis added)”

    Presumptions are powerful things, and in the present context would give a hell of a lot of latitude and therefore power to the agencies called upon to enforce the proposed legislation, and little recourse to a food processor or anyone else lacking sufficient funds effectively to rebut the presumption or to appeal its application.

    Perhaps, your source missed Section 406.

    The definitions of Food Establishment (Section 3) are also quite broad, and would also give the enforcement authorities ample discretion to do pretty much as they please.

    It’s a good thing that the bill is unlikely to become law.

    Dan(Miller)

  • Team Democrat

    I will defend any law a Democrat writes. Who actually cares whether it will impose on freedom or not?

    The important thing here is that I have to protect my team.

    I am not an individual. I don’t have to think about what the government does and reflect on its consequences. I am a team member. If a Democrat does it, it’s probably good enough.

    Fight the right!

  • http://blogcritics.org/writer/dan_miller Dan(Miller)

    Further to my comment #87, in Gonzales v. Raich, Case No. 03-1454, decided 6 December 2005, the Supreme Court held that “Congress’ Commerce Clause authority includes the power to prohibit the local cultivation and use of marijuana in compliance with California law.” According to the statement of facts in the Opinion,

    Respondent Monson cultivates her own marijuana, and ingests the drug in a variety of ways including smoking and using a vaporizer. Respondent Raich, by contrast, is unable to cultivate her own, and thus relies on two caregivers, litigating as “John Does,” to provide her with locally grown marijuana at no charge. These caregivers also process the cannabis into hashish or keif, and Raich herself processes some of the marijuana into oils, balms, and foods for consumption.

    On August 15, 2002, county deputy sheriffs and agents from the federal Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) came to Monson’s home. After a thorough investigation, the county officials concluded that her use of marijuana was entirely lawful as a matter of California law. Nevertheless, after a 3-hour standoff, the federal agents seized and destroyed all six of her cannabis plants.(Emphasis added)

    Citing an earlier case involving wheat grown for home consumption, the Court observed,

    In assessing the scope of Congress’ authority under the Commerce Clause, we stress that the task before us is a modest one. We need not determine whether respondents’ activities, taken in the aggregate, substantially affect interstate commerce in fact, but only whether a “rational basis” exists for so concluding. Lopez, 514 U. S., at 557; see also Hodel v. Virginia Surface Mining & Reclamation Assn., Inc., 452 U. S. 264, 276-280 (1981); Perez, 402 U. S., at 155-156; Katzenbach v. McClung, 379 U. S. 294, 299-301 (1964); Heart of Atlanta Motel, Inc. v. United States, 379 U. S. 241, 252-253 (1964). Given the enforcement difficulties that attend distinguishing between marijuana cultivated locally and marijuana grown elsewhere, 21 U. S. C. §801(5), and concerns about diversion into illicit channels, we have no difficulty concluding that Congress had a rational basis for believing that failure to regulate the intrastate manufacture and possession of marijuana would leave a gaping hole in the CSA. Thus, as in Wickard, when it enacted comprehensive legislation to regulate the interstate market in a fungible commodity, Congress was acting well within its authority to “make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper” to “regulate Commerce … among the several States.” U. S. Const., Art. I, §8. That the regulation ensnares some purely intrastate activity is of no moment. As we have done many times before, we refuse to excise individual components of that larger scheme.

    The Commerce Clause has been distended beyond all recognition, and just about anything involving the sale or purchase of anything can be deemed interstate commerce. The presumption of interstate commerce in Section 406 of HR 875 makes this even more obnoxious.

    Dan(Miller)

  • Team Democrat

    Dave,

    Remember when I asked you if you were watching the protester news around the world and you said yeah, but then you implied it was Anarchists?

    Well, this is just one example of what I find every day. And they aren’t Anarchists. They are people fed up with government and/or capitalism.

    Forbes actually carried this story. I’m surprised as 100’s of thousands just marched in France, I think, a couple weeks ago and no one knew. It’s hard to keep straight, every day it is more and more.

    Hundreds of thousands march in Italy over crisis
    04.04.09, 01:25 PM EDT

    By Deepa Babington

    ROME, April 4 (Reuters) – Hundreds of thousands of Italians shouting anti-government slogans marched in Rome on Saturday to protest at Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi’s handling of the economic crisis and demand more spending to create jobs.

  • Cindy

    fork.

  • Clavos

    I liked Larry Summers when he ran Harvard.

  • Cindy

    Unbelievable. What a horse’s ass.

  • http://jetssciencepage.blogspot.com/ Jet

    Team Democrat’s rhetoric sounds awfully familiar…

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    I think it’s Cindy in disguise.

  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    Farmer’s markets would not be regulated, fined, or shut down, and would, in fact, benefit from strict safety standards applied to imported food to ensure that unsafe imported food doesn’t compete with locally grown produce.

    True, the effort to shut down farmers market is through separate regulations also coming from HHS or state agencies at their urging. This bill specifically targets farmers.

    The bill would not prohibit or interfere with organic farming, or mandate the use of any chemicals or types of seeds.

    I don’t recall anyone suggesting that this was part of the bill.

    Monsanto and any other large agribusiness company had no part whatsoever in drafting this bill, and Rep. DeLauro’s husband and his company do no lobbying on this issue.

    Monsanto is some pet peeve of Cindy’s the article doesn’t suggest their involvement.

    HR 875 has nothing to do with any national animal ID system, which would fall under the jurisdiction of the USDA, and not the FDA.

    A separate issue, but also of great concern. Bills for tagging animals are currently up for consideration at the urging of the USDA in most of the state legislatures.

    Here are a few things that H.R. 875 does NOT do:

    * It does not cover foods regulated by the USDA (beef, pork, poultry, lamb, catfish.)

    Not true. The division with the USDA is not on the basis of type of food, but on the basis of scale of business. The bill specifically applies to any animal slaughtering operation regardless of the type of animal.

    * It does not establish a mandatory animal identification system.

    Whio has claimed that it does?

    * It does not regulate backyard gardens.

    It makes no differentiation between a backyard garden and any other type of agricultural production, so it could, in fact, be used to regulate backyard gardens.

    * It does not apply to food that does not enter interstate commerce (food that is sold across state lines).

    Also not true. While it does specify interstate commerce as the justification of the legislation, the wording does not seem to limit the application of the regulation to agricultural products only when they are being transported. A great portion of it clearly talks about inspections at the point of production or processing, not just point of sale after interstate transport.

    Much of the problem here may be the way the bill is written. It leaves several key areas very broad so that they could be interpreted to apply in ways which may not have been intended.

    I’d recommend reading the bill rather than relying on any of the various interpretations of it, regardless of the source.

    Dave

  • Cindy

    Dave,

    Why doesn’t Bryan McKay write any articles, I am wondering? I read this article by him: Thoughts on Global Feminism and Sexual Inequality. It was excellent. My favorite so far ever on BC.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Oh yes, Cindy. I like him too. He was the one that wrote about 10 worst conditions/human disasters, remember. That was about three months ago (and he got almost no response to speak of). He hadn’t written since.

  • Cindy

    Maybe that is someone else Roger. I just went to look and Bryan McKay has last written some music reviews in 2008.

    He’s a shadow person.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    You do know who I’m talking about? He wrote about the humanitarian crises (as per French publication). I haven’t heard from him since.
    I’ll look it up and provide the link.

  • http://www.youtube.com/user/picturethehomeless Cindy

    Thanks.

  • Cannonshop

    #56 “Economic” and Political power, Roger. If you want to know the intention, look at the results and the behaviour. I’m not saying the big-chiefs in the Republican party are any better, but they’re at least embarrassed by it.

    Under Democrat leadership, domestic airliner production was centralized into a single corporation, which moved its HQ to Chicago to celebrate.

    Under Democrat Leadership, we’re seeing legislation that claims to address the big-company spawned problem…by attacking small, home-grown and often home-based businesses, most of whom had nothing whatsoever to do with creating it.

    Democrats work to shut down Gun-Shows (which is a boon to Gun-Stores, especially BIG CHAIN STORES that can afford, and thrive on, more regulation)

    Michigan passed a similar law-guess what? no more farmer’s markets, in a state where the big industries are dying, there’s nobody taking their place…NOBODY. Here in Washington, we have a condition where if Boeing Sneezes, everyone gets a cold.

    Big Government Loves Big business-the reason is that the inhabitants at the top of each are basically reflective of one another’s lack of character, lack of Ethics, and hatred of the idea of allowing those ‘not in the club’ to enjoy basic liberties. Big business, in turn, loves Big Government-because Big Government creates hostile conditions for smaller start-ups and entreprenuers. When a company’s flowing billions of dollars, it stops being about the Dollars, and becomes about the Power, just like Government. The fewer Employers you have, the more powerful they become, and the less they have to lean on the advice of readily-replaced lower employees, the less they have to listen to individual shareholders, the less they have to comply with the desires of their markets.

    The whole idea of “Too big to Fail” is a perfect demonstration of this. The Big Bailout and Big Stimulus and the bogging HUGE debts incurred?

    All part of the same sickening picture.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Cannon,

    I’m not saying I’m disagreeing with you, but it does smack of a conspiracy theory, doesn’t it?
    One would think after the recent confrontation between Big Business and the government, the new administration would be reticent to re-enter the unholy alliance. But your argument seems to be that the intention was never there. I realize we’re heading toward statism, but now you’re talking about corporate statism, and that’s even worse. If you’re even halfway right, we’re really screwed.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Well, I see what you’re saying, Cannon. How recent do you think this is?

    If it’s recent, then it would make sense, as I am about to argue for a definite shift in American political landscape taking place this very moment – in the direction of centralization of political power by way of imperial government and presidency, eventually leading to a global government. But with your insight thrown in, the picture becomes even cleared, because it’s easier to control Big Business than a proliferation of smaller ones (moms & pops, by comparison). And if that’s the case, then it’s a very sinister undertaking – much worse than I ever imagined – because we’re all going to be under the thumb.

    Am I close to your thinking on this?

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Cindy #101, Dave et al:

    I have no idea how to pull out somebody’s article in the past if I don’t remember their name. Do you? Looking through archives, day by day, is just too tedious. There should be a search engine for the BC site alone that could do this kind of work.

    So Dave, Doc, Chris, even Eric – are you listening?

    Roger

  • http://www.youtube.com/user/picturethehomeless Cindy

    Use google Roger. Advanced search (a link to which is found right next to the main search box) and put blogcritics.org in the box where it says ‘search within site or domain’. Then just put your keywords in the top box.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Got it. It’s “medecins sans frontieres,” but the link is broken, and doesn’t give the author’s name.

  • http://www.youtube.com/user/picturethehomeless Cindy

    Okay…so now, I search again using that advanced search and entering blogcritics.org, the same way. But in the keyword box I put ‘medecins sans frontieres’, without the quote marks, and I come up with the article.

    Médecins Sans Frontières’ Top Ten List For 2008″

    Ah, yes, Richard Marcus. I love Richard Marcus. I’ll read that again tomorrow.

    Thanks Roger. :-)

    Nite Nite

  • Cannonshop

    #104

    Somewhat. I’m still of the opinion that it’s not deliberate…yet. I believe it comes from habits of thinking-people who have never worked in, or for, small businesses tend to see all capitalism as Big Corporations. (hell, some folks who HAVE see it that way), and write what they believe will be restraints on those enterprises,usually with advisors and campaign contributors FROM that environment.

    The results are, from a certain perspective (usually Socialistic in one stripe or another, though Fascists work the same way) fortuitous-it’s easier for persons of a certain mindset to see controlling/regulating a small pool of big names as a positive, rather than trying to cope with a vast pool of small names.

    In a word, it’s “efficient” from a certain perspective. Never mind that from another perspective, it’s the efficiency of the slave collar, or the Feudal Lord, and inimical to Liberty to have such an arrangement (as our predecessors learned with Carnegie steel, Standard Oil, etc. etc.)

    I consider it the “Evils done in the Name of Good” type of effect, also known as “The rule of Unintended Consequences”. Naturally, there ARE those who see State Corporatism as a ‘good’, but there are also a lot of ‘useful idiots’ out there who don’t even THINK about such things before voting “Aye” on legislation. Unfortunately for US, a lot of those useful idiots occupy seats in Congress, jobs in the Media, and positions in Regulatory Agencies. I suspect one of them is occupying the Oval Office (merely because I still feel a little ill at the thought that the Socialist-in-Chief might be doing this on-purpose. I felt the same illness at the previous occupant’s signing of the Patriot act.)

    going back over business news articles from the last twelve months, Smaller banks and Credit unions didn’t get smashed up the way the big ones did with the Mortgage mess, particularly the smaller independents. Local banks didn’t need Bailouts-the Nationals did-this should be an indicator right there of where our national economic strength has always been. Similarly, the toxic-contamination problems with food aren’t largely the fault of independent farmers and small packer/producers-the guilty parties are big ones, and they violated existing regulations from the get-go…

    But the punishments for both crimes are not landing on the perpetrators (the Big National and Multinationals who are large enough to settle-out-of-court in the six, or even seven digits), it’s the smallfry, that are going to take the hits from new laws that the big-boys can easily afford (either to violate, or comply with as their accounting departments and legal fees dictate), but the smaller ones can’t.

    I’d prefer to believe this pattern is a result of well-meaning waterheads, but it’s been progressing in Legislation, in Court Rulings, and from the Executive through three administrations on the national level, and similar attitudes are largely responsible for the woes of states like Michigan, where such punitive government behaviour has become established culture.

    So yeah, it’s really starting to look very conspiracy-theory to me, too…and that is worrisome. Generally, with Conspiracies, there are sufficient number of them competing for power that they neutralize one another’s efforts. I’m afraid that the balance of power behind-the-scenes may well have shifted in a direction that isn’t good for this nation, and what we’re looking at here, is a symptom, not the disease.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    I like your analysis, Cannon. One would think that out of the nation over 250 million strong, there’d be some who have sufficient foresight to realized where such policies are heading. Concern with efficiency is commendable and has its right time and place, but not when it means the kind of results you’re taking about, results which may well be irreversible.

    I do tend to agree that it’s an unintended consequence type of thing (or “evils done in the name of good,” as you say), because people are not that clever: if they can’t foresee the dismal future of their present ill-fated actions/policies, how can we expect them to be doing what they’re doing by design – the assumption being that there are just as many well-meaning and well-intentioned persons as there are ill-meaning. So this is, in all likelihood, propagated by the well-meaning “waterheads.”

    Personally, I don’t think Obama and the new administration are “evil.” They believe in what they’re doing, and they’re doing it because they think it will result in “the public good.” The economic crisis – brought about by Wall Street – has to be dealt with; and my impression was that the first order of business should have been to curb the power of “the nationals” (I call it “global type of corporation,” because it transcends “the nationals”) and establish (once and for all) political authority over corporate authority. You can’t have business interest continue defining national interests. And again, my assumption all along was that in order to accomplish this, it would be necessary to bring integrity to the government – which meant total separation of business and national interests (not to mean that they ought to be inimical but as two different realm with the latter, if need be, controlling the other) rather than collusion. But from the look of things, it seems as though we’re deeper and deeper into collusion. And such being the case, the idea of effective control goes out the window, because (once again) it provides for a culture in which corruption, graft and the abuse of pubic trust will thrive – which are precisely the conditions which were responsible for the crisis at hand. So nothing really has changed, except that State Corporatism is ever more firmly entrenched. Slowly but surely, the NWO and global government is next (my next BC piece, BTW).

    Not much to cheer about.

  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    I have no idea how to pull out somebody’s article in the past if I don’t remember their name. Do you? Looking through archives, day by day, is just too tedious. There should be a search engine for the BC site alone that could do this kind of work.

    In my experience the most effective way to do this is using google. If you can remember part of the title or the name of the author google news has an archive function which will pull it up easily, or will pull up all BC articles for you to look through.

    As I understand it the reason BC doesn’t have its own viable search engine is that the volume of articles makes any dedicated search engine such a heavier cosumer of bandwidth that it causes problems.

    As for Bryan McKay, I have no idea what he’s up to. Send him an email and give him some encouragement.

    Dave

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Thanks, Dave. Cindy also suggested Google Advanced search and it worked.

    Another question: How can I find out about the Blog Radio. I should think this would be the best venue to bring the (occasional) quality of our discussions on the BC pages to the general public. More effective, certainly, than mere blogging which, as you know, is rather restricted to one and the same audience – namely ourselves – the result being we’re preaching to the choir. Perhaps Eric and other higher management people should seriously consider expanding the BC Radio possibility. You don’t find that kind of discussion anywhere on the public airways, and I’d to thing the response would be great.

    Roger

  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    There’s a BC intro/overview show every Wednesday at 7 EST (i believe) on BlogTalkRadio. I’m going to be on it this week, in fact. There should be a link to the show from the front page.

    Dave

  • http://www.futonreport.net/ Matthew T. Sussman

    6 pm ET

  • Cannonshop

    #110 Part of the problem, I believe (having observed the behaviour of policy-makers in the laboratory-like microcosm of Boeing) is a love for Expediency. “It sounds more efficient, so it MUST be” being the replacement for common sense (never mind Ethics). On a broader front, we see this in government as well-if anything, in a more concentrated and malignant form.

    “Oh, if we only controlled X, then results W, Y, and Z would be prevented!” shows up a dismaying amount of the time. It’s Expedient to make a new law when someone gets caught breaking the old one-it makes Congressmen look like they’re ‘doing something about the problem’ when the PROBLEM was that they weren’t attending to their oversight of agencies and making sure the executive was actually doing its job.

    Likewise, it’s “Expedient” for Regulators to demand Zero-Tolerance policies and detailed (often over-detailed) laws, broader interpretory powers of existing laws, and broader powers over-all when THEIR failure to do the job is exposed. For example, What was the FTC and the SEC up to when Derivative securities that not even the generators and traders understood were being formulated and traded?

    For that matter, why Haven’t existing anti-trust laws been enforced? Boeing should NEVER have been able to buy McDonnell Douglas, for instance.

    The expedient excuse is “Deregulation”-what the Congressman who chants it won’t answer, though, is why he opposed imposing regulations back into place that might have prevented the Mortgage crisis in the first place…because it was ‘expedient’ at the time to trust that everything would be okey-dokey until after he was safely retired.

    Similarly here in this case-it’s expedient to apply sweeping regulations after-the-fact to an industry, regulations that aren’t really going to address the carelessness and scofflaw attitude of the malefactors in the food-toxicity case, but WILL cut their potential competition off at the nose, granting them greater control of the market.

    It’s expedient, because enforcement of existing regulations and hearings into governmental level failures don’t fit the desired tone of our Senators and Congresscritters-whose concern for getting re-elected and raising fundage exceeds any and all considerations as to doing their duty.

    And Big Business is Big Money, Big Money buys elections. There really isn’t a “Small Business” or “Small Farmer” lobby out there who can organize campaign events, gather big-money donors, or, through similar activities, buy a congressman or two.

  • STM

    Dave: “There’s a BC intro/overview show every Wednesday at 7 EST (i believe) on BlogTalkRadio”

    Something for all of us to look forward to then, eh Dave – especially if it’s about this??

    I can’t believe the legs this thread has got and it’s about a Bill everyone agrees probably won’t happen but if it did (which it won’t) might bring about the end of grandma-and-grandad-run roadside fruit and vegie stalls and the sale of home-made strawberry jams at the American equivalent of the monthly Saturday Bullamakanka Farmers’ Market.

    Fair dinkum. Only in America :)

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    And while the Rome is burning.

  • http://www.maskedmoviesnobs.com El Bicho

    “There should be a search engine for the BC site alone that could do this kind of work.”

    You mean like that thing in the left sidebar that reads “search”?

    I am sure the general public can’t wait to have Roger scold them on how he thinks they should frame their comments.

  • http://jetssciencepage.blogspot.com/ Jet

    Uh… that little thing near the top of the left sidebar always works for me when I’m trying to find something on BC

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    I thought it was a general search engine, Jet, rather than a dedicated one.

  • http://jetssciencepage.blogspot.com/ Jet

    Nope, go up to the search box, type in the word “rock” and hit the green search button, every result will be a BC article

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Thanks, it’s good to know. I don’t think even Dave was aware of this since he suggested Google.

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    I can’t believe the legs this thread has got and it’s about a Bill everyone agrees probably won’t happen

    Yes, Stan, we at BC are a bit barmy like that. An off-the-wall article such as this arouses marginally riotous ire, whereas a piece entitled “North Korea Moves 300 Horribly Beweaponed Nuclear Cruise Missiles to Launch Site, Promises Attack on US Within 12 Hours. Discuss” would probably receive no comments at all.

  • http://jetssciencepage.blogspot.com/ Jet

    My pleasure. I discovered it years ago, it’ll give you a general search after the initial one if you click the right buttons after the results.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    That makes sense. So we do have a dedicated search engine.

  • http://jetssciencepage.blogspot.com/ Jet

    Doc, the reason some of these threads have such legs, is because apparently people here would rather stray waaaaaay off topic, rather than create one at the BC Forum, which is what the damned thing was designed for in the first place.

    Perhaps the writers haven’t discovered the “General Discussion” section.

    I know I know…
    bitch bitch bitch bitch bitch bitch bitch bitch bitch bitch bitch bitch

    But I do have a valid point, of which I’m told to shut up about on a regular basis…

  • http://jetssciencepage.blogspot.com/ Jet

    In other words the forum is the spot to post conversation topics to short to write an article about.

    Of course they flounder and die because no one is there to respond in any appreciable numbers.

    Thousands a day look and read, but no one posts.

  • http://homelandgitmo.com/ Cindy

    Jet,

    I tried to see what is in there, when you mentioned it a long while back. But it doesn’t let anyone sign up. Christopher said that he had to disable something because of spam or whatnot. So, I guess only people who have already been there can use it.

    I don’t see a way to post if you aren’t signed up and if there isn’t a way to sign up???

  • http://jetssciencepage.blogspot.com/ Jet

    Chris, Doc the ball’s in your court??? I wasn’t aware of this.

  • http://jetssciencepage.blogspot.com/ Jet

    That brings up another question, how are so many people reading articles if they can’t get on, and when I check to see whose logged in, how is it that I see “Registering for an account” every so often?

  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    Jet, forums suck. Not your fault, it’s just a terrible format for discussion if you’re not a 14 year old raving about your WoW character.

    As for the search engine in the upper left corner, have any of you actually tried using it? I have. That’s why I recommended google.

    Dave

  • http://jetssciencepage.blogspot.com/ Jet

    In other words I’ve wasted the last two years trying to build the General section into something BC and its readers would like, and that any advice I give here is useless and usually wrong.

    Time to up my dosage of Cymbalta again.

  • http://homelandgitmo.com/ Cindy

    Jet, Forums are great! I love a good forum! If it gets fixed, I’d use it.

    Dave, I agree on that search box. Google for me too.

  • STM

    Dave: “That’s why I recommended google.”

    I agree. It’s not a patch on the old one.

  • http://www.indyboomer46.blogspot.com Baritone

    I have had similar problems trying to get on the Forum. I was not able to register making it useless.

    I have often taken discussions here off of the original thread, but then so, too, have many others. Frankly, I don’t really have a problem with that. All it means is that we are communicating with each other which is, at least in part, the purpose of this site.

    B

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ roger nowosielski

    Don’t you want new blood?

  • http://jetssciencepage.blogspot.com/ Jet

    Again, Phillip, Chris, Doc??? are you taking notes about problems registering on the forum?

  • http://www.futonreport.net/ Matthew T. Sussman

    E-Mail: So You Don’t Have to Repeat Yourself™.