Government to Regulate Your Whole Life. Again.

Monday, August 9, 2010

I’m receiving lots of emails from folks on the Food “Safety” Bill that’s been making a splash on the ‘net. In short, I have not spent a ton of time doing a deep dive on it because I thought it was a lot of hot air, though it clearly is yet another hushed attempt at federalizing one of the more intimate aspects our our lives – the food that we choose to grow, buy, or eat. The bill is over a year old, and it has show little sign of emerging intact. But now its cheerleaders are getting restless.

As I scratched the surface of S 510/HR 2749, the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act, the intentions are clear. The purpose of the bill is to expand the powers of the federal government – and specifically the HHS – and allow the feds to assume arbitrary powers that extend over any individuals who manufacture, process, pack, distribute, receive, hold, or import food.

Reading the summary of the Act is quite illuminating. Section 108 requires the Secretary of the HHS and the Secretary of Agriculture to plan and implement a National Agriculture and Food Defense Strategy. Section 109 “Directs the Secretary of Homeland Security (DHS) to report annually on the activities of the Food and Agriculture Government Coordinating Council and the Food and Agriculture Sector Coordinating Council.” I’m sure that both of these stipulations will produce a new oversight committee that will look something like this.

Additionally, Section 110:

Requires the HHS Secretary to submit to Congress: (1) a comprehensive report that identifies programs and practices that are intended to promote the safety and supply chain security of food and to prevent outbreaks of foodborne illness and other food-related hazards that can be addressed through preventive activities; and (2) biennial reports on food safety programs and practices following the submission of the comprehensive report. Requires the HHS Secretary and the Secretary of Agriculture to submit to Congress, biennially, a joint food safety and food defense research plan.

Plus, schools and other “kiddie” institutions will have to “manage the risk of food allergy,” and that involves government planning for each child’s food allergy management; addressing parental obligation to provide the government with documentation of their child’s food allergies; and lastly, practicing anaphylaxis management, a major emerging issue of our time.

Last month, Eric Schlosser wrote an article in the New York Times calling for the passage of the bill that has been withering in the Senate. Schlosser, the author of Fast Food Nation and co-producer of the documentary Food, Inc. (a very good film for the most part), appeals to the notion that it’s ‘for the children’ otherwise “tens of thousands of American children will become needlessly and sometimes fatally ill.” Schlosser writes:

For months, however, the Internet has been rife with wild rumors and accusations: that the bill is really a subterfuge cleverly designed to eliminate small farms and strengthen the grip of industrial agriculture; that it would outlaw organic production; that it would hand over the nation’s food supply to Monsanto.

Those arguments may be sincere. But the bill very clearly instructs the Food and Drug Administration to focus its enforcement efforts on plants that pose the greatest risk of causing large-scale outbreaks. And the bill’s wording can still be clarified so that mom-and-pop producers aren’t threatened by heavy-handed government regulations.

What the legislation actually seeks is some restraint on unchecked corporate power.

He admits that the bill is far more than a “safety” bill, and he glosses over the potential for unchecked powers by noting that tweaking a few words here and there can seal a prospective power grab, as if he has no knowledge of history, let alone recent political events. This is the problem with many of these left-wing-socialist guys who are seemingly on the side of critical thinking and individual action when they make these pretty good anti-Big Agra food films. It’s always bothered me that none of these films ever draw any relationship between the very transparent and sinister big government-big food alliance, but instead they use the entire film to malign and misrepresent capitalism and free markets.

The intent of the bill is to federalize what little authority remains in the hands of individual states. But also, the politicos want to take what little power that remains in the hands of private producers and transfer it to the Big Food Manufacturer-Big Agra-Big Government complex so that the rent-seeking corporatist state can squash its community competition under the guise of “keeping you healthy and safe.” These politicos are kept in power thanks to the munificent coffers of the Big Food power players.

Marion Nestle writes in The Atlantic that it’s the “Food Safety Bill vs the Tea Party,” and she waxes poetically about a horrendous, ranting hate piece from a lawyer named Bill Marler, who (amazingly) writes,

What is with all this anger over food?  I mean, honestly, it seems like there are bigger fish to fry.  What about the wars?  Global warming?  Energy policy?

Food – that which sustains life; makes or breaks health and the quality of life; and more importantly, provides a sense of self-control and ownership for those who choose to be resourceful enough to service their own nutritional needs. This thing – food – that sustains civilization is being called out as unimportant in the larger scheme of all things political. These types of totalitarian freaks, such as Nestle and Marlet, hate humans, they hate free men, and they especially hate anything that is not directed, controlled, mandated, and paid for via public policy. Marlet despises those who voluntarily purchase raw milk (he calls them “raw milkies”) and the people who oppose massive totalitarian grabs and the trampling of free choice on the part of oppressive government (he calls them “organic tea baggers”). He hates when human beings are free to go about their business and facilitate their own well-being without being guided and forced via public health policy. And Nestle? She is an academic and a whore for any and all public health policy that tramples on voluntary life while empowering the elevated experts of academia.

Yet I don’t see self-declared protectors like Nestle and Marler advocating for “safety” in the areas of conventional medicine – including pharmaceuticals – while statistics show that the leading cause of death in the U.S. is the establishment medical system.

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12 Responses to Government to Regulate Your Whole Life. Again.

  1. cousin lucky says:

    August 9th, 2010 at 9:27 pm

    If I ever hit the Powerball lottery I will be able to search for another place to spend whatever life I have left because this government has gone Insane!!!!
    You Betcha!!!!!!!!!

  2. Todd S. says:

    August 9th, 2010 at 9:43 pm

    They’re going to force each and every one of us to produce our own food. Illegally of course, since they will have regulations about eating even things we grow ourselves.

  3. brewskymc says:

    August 10th, 2010 at 10:28 am

    I watched Food, Inc.with my teenagers… and thought that it was pretty good, eye opening film. Unfortunately, because of the left-wing/enviro-nazi/anti-capatalist spin, I felt the need to constantly point out the logical errors and misrepresentations… or, for the lack of a better term, “unspin” it) for the sake of my kids. It amazes me that these “left-wing-socialist guys who are seemingly on the side of critical thinking and individual action when they make these pretty good anti-Big Agra food films” and who seem to be reasonably intelligent, aren’t able (or, possibly, are not willing) to connect the dots with regards to the big gov-big agra-corporatist/socialist (which they always mistake for capitalist/free-market) alliance. Maybe they just aren’t able to think outside of the left wing-socialist paradigm… so they always default to their severely flawed, demonstrably illogical, left-liberal position (big government/central control = “safety”/”for the greater good” and personal freedom, free markets, and the adherents thereof = bad/dangerous/greedy. Damn, my 8 year-old understands how to connect the freakin’ dots.

  4. Iluvatar says:

    August 10th, 2010 at 1:45 pm

    Enforcing food safety is which clause in Article I section 8?

  5. Iluvatar says:

    August 10th, 2010 at 1:46 pm

    Oh yeah, that’s right!

    Another “illegal” law…

  6. Iluvatar says:

    August 10th, 2010 at 1:46 pm

    Apologize for the senior moment…

  7. M. Terry says:

    August 10th, 2010 at 2:46 pm

    I feel safer already. And since most of the alphabet soup agencies have swat teams to back up their regulatory authortah, we’ll all be much, much safer.

    Next time a seven year old felon-in-training girl has the audacity to sell lemonade, or a neighbor delivers those ubiquitous zucchinis, the feds can save us all by tazing them and mowing down the survivors with their automatic weapons. Or hell, just run over them. It’s all in our best interest.

    We;ll all be much safer when the feds finally place video cameras in every home to insure we are all abiding by every law and not participating in any dangerous acts – like growing our own food, and, heaven forbid, giving some non-government approved produce to a neighbor – or violating other safety laws by actually selling produce at the local farmer’s market.

    Remember, it’s for the children. If it saves just one life…

  8. John says:

    August 11th, 2010 at 8:40 am

    karen:
    i urge you to read joel salatins ‘everything i want to do is illegal’ if you havent already. 

    i’ve had the same view as you on these movies like food inc. they never show the governments faults in any thing they put it. they are nothing but anti capitalist propaganda

    joel salatin lays out the real truth and relationship of the government in the problems in the food world today. not only is he a libertarian, he advocates privatization of all national forests/blm land, says wilderness areas as we know it today are a modern invention, wants to eliminate social security, total elimination of the war on drugs and has a ron paul stance on foreign policy. and he is a hero to all the lefty foodies out there who want to control our lives with laws like this food safety modernization act

  9. Jeannie Queenie says:

    August 16th, 2010 at 1:58 pm

    So government wants to regulate our lives/bodies and even the kids lemonade stands. So what’s new with that? As I’ve said before, they now have the wherewithal to make us sick/fat via a faux food supply, but equally bad, they want you to pay as well in South Dakota, for removal of bouncing, blubbering, bloated blobs on fatties on the frontline of S D gov’t.

    I heard this morning that the South Dakota gov’t is popping for the first 100 state overweight workers who come in to sign up for free tummy lipectomies. At a price of $24,000 each your lucky South Dakoton citizen gets to pop for this freebie for fatties filling their facial orifices while filling state offices. Hey, what is another $2,400,000 in the scheme of the big health plan for 24 state employees…..especially when you are paying for it with fiat dollars from the pockets of citizens who have possibly lost their non-state job or their house….you gotta feel sorry for these state workers who stand around all day feeding their orifice in the office…only right to pay for the excess baggage on the behind, right? Only in America is all I can say!

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