September 20, 2010

Food Tyranny Bill In Limbo


The Senate’s Food Tyranny bill, S. 510, is being held up by Tom Coburn. Reid would have to call for a cloture vote if he wanted to use that vaunted Democratic majority, but he’s evidently too cowardly and lazy to do so. Typical Dem behavior.
Given how this is yet another corporate assault on the people which would likely be unpopular if its true nature were better publicized, it’s unsurprising that the electorally endangered Reid isn’t willing to put his neck on the line even for this corporatist project.
Coburn’s stated objections include the bill’s likely hostility to small producers and distributors as well as how it will only intensify the existing bureaucratic chaos (familiar to Hannah Arendt’s readers as a trait of a totalitarian situation), but his main objection is the bill’s cost. While I’d turn that list of objections rightside up, I still agree with all of them. And although we know Coburn, like any Republican, is our enemy in general, he’s still providing a service here.
This bill, like the health racket bailout, has so many objectionable features that it’s one of the growing number of examples of where citizen advocates and Republicans who have any shred of principle can find some common ground, while only the vile Democrats are 100% against the people in principle and practice.
Still, before I continue with wanting this bill (and its far worse 2009 House counterpart) defeated, I need to confront the question of what kind of new regulation, if any, we do need. This isn’t like exotic financial products or most consumer crap where we’d be better off if it ceased to exist at all. We do need food, and the food supply needs to be as safe as it reasonably can be. So what kind of food authority should there be, both in the current society and in any future one? (Perhaps lately I’ve been a little punchy in dismissing some thoughts about the current society in favor of stating what I want the future one to be. But I do recognize we need a dual track in many cases.)
So what should we advocate in this society, right now? Given the continuing existence of Concentrated Animal Farming Operations (CAFOs), or factory farms, the overwhelming burden and preventive enforcement of proactive regulation must be on them. (Our real demand here is to ban them completely.) We can have reasonable regulations for small outfits, but there the emphasis should be more on penalties for negligence leading to any kind of outbreak rather than proactive regulation and costly planning. (Since any outbreak from a small, locally-oriented producer is likely to be minor and localized, and the culprit easily identified, that ought to be sufficient. But all the real outbreaks – large-scale, catastrophic – come from the industrial food chain.)
We need far better labeling of agricultural products, especially of GMOs and of what was factory farmed. We the people have an automatic right to this information. It’s our property. In addition, since this is our economy and our polity, we have the right to decide what kind of agriculture we want to support for these economic and political reasons. Therefore we have the right to truth in labeling. There’s also the fact that CAFOs are absolute cesspools of germs. Only ever more massive infusions of antibiotics keep the always-sick animals alive at all, and this in turn generates an ongoing biological arms race between Big Drug and the microbes, who are always building new resistances, and do so faster and faster. CAFOs are unregulated bioweapons labs. When (not if, but when) one of them is the vector for a lethal pandemic, the executives, shareholders, and their politician, media, and academic flacks will be guilty of premeditated mass murder. The prospect for GMOs isn’t better. We know almost nothing about the health effects of this monstrosity inflicted upon us by science at its most greedy and berserk. So in these cases we also have a public health right to this labeling.
So what does the FDA, our alleged public servant, and in whom so much new power is supposed to be reposed according to these bills, say on this issue? Not only does it refuse to require GMO labeling, but it wants to forbid any labeling to the effect that “This product contains no GMOs.”
This provides a stark lesson in the FDA’s priority and who it sees as its client and master. The FDA, like most other agencies, is completely captured by kleptocracy and has become a traitor. We the people must look upon it as our enemy, and see any proposal to increase its power over our local food and our small food businesses as an assault.
(I’ll have more to say about this labeling in an upcoming post on unconstitutional information monopoly. I’ll also add here how we again have proof of what liars the elites and their economists are when they laud their “free market” of information. The fact is that they never want anything but a total monopoly of information, and the market information lie, like every other Orwellian aspect of Chicago economics, is nothing but a Big Lie.)
Any bill should also be stripped of all reference to anti-sovereign, unconstitutional globalization cadres and “treaties”. But this bill would explicitly subordinate our entire food supply to rootless, stateless totalitarians.
The people’s goal is to ban all CAFOs, all GMOs (and continue to resist approval of all proposed GMOs), all patenting of seeds and plants, end the antibiotics arms race, end the herbicide and pesticide arms race, and the tyranny of monopolies there as well. The earth belongs to us all, and its produce belongs to those who produce it. None of it belongs to any corporation or “stakeholder.” None of it. So there’s the ideal, and while nothing enacted over the short term is likely to come close to this, that’s still the measure.
In this case, the status quo isn’t good. Corporate-caused food outbreaks become ever more frequent. But these proposed bills would do little or nothing to address this problem. They’re instead search and destroy missions against our attempts and our dreams of liberation from the corporate food tyranny. Just as the “health care reform” process never had any intent of reforming anything but only of setting up a more effective extortion procedure for the insurance rackets, so these bills have no intent of making the food supply more safe. Indeed they want to make it less safe, as the effect of further empowering reckless corporate ag.
So although the status quo isn’t good, it’s still better than what these bills would impose. Some groups think that a Senate bill which has its worst razor edges filed down a bit would be better than the status quo. But I question this on three grounds.
1. It’s not clear to me that the negotiated amendments and even the proposed Tester amendment completely strip all the most offensive provisions. This still seems to leave the goons with far too much discretion.
2. Even if a semi-decent Senate bill passed, that’s the main political hurdle right there, and it can only get worse, far worse, in conference. The health racket and sham finance “reform” bills are object lessons. Even the few decent parts were expunged in conference, while in many cases the bad parts were made worse. Prudence and common sense dictate that we assume any legislative process under kleptocracy will undergo the same effect. Only a pollyanna who understands nothing about rational hypothesis would think happy thoughts about any particular bill.
3. We don’t want to set any more precedents for extension of government power. This is a kleptocracy intent on tyranny. The only bills which are acceptable to us are bills which would explicitly roll back government power. Since this food bill, like every other bill, proposes to extend the government’s role as hired thug and bagman, that in itself is sufficient reason to oppose it, even if amendments did nominally defang it.
Beyond the Congress, looking ahead to the future, we need to start planning for an ever larger informal economy and black market. This is definitely going to be imposed by the Depression as it really sets in, and Peak Oil will impose it as well. We’ll be increasingly trying to live in this informal economy even as the government tries to stamp it out with police state tactics and debt enslavement. So it would be best for us if we plan ahead, trek toward the future armed with an economic relocalization plan and growing practice, as well as the plan and practice of passive resistance and Sun-Tzu style subversion.
Meanwhile the food supply, to the extent we can regain control over it, will become more safe as it becomes more local, more organic*, less factory-produced, less processed, less zombified by the cycle of jolting the dead soil with fossil-based fertilizer and slathering fossil-based poisons on the crop to kill everything else. That Kill ‘Em All mentality is a universal. It’s not possible to compartmentalize it. Anyone who views the soil and what it grows in those homicidal terms views the entire earth that way, including humanity. That’s where this Congress is coming from.
*”Organic” simply means that production reverts to the pre-fossil fuel historical norm. It’s common in this language to represent the most natural, rational, normal thing as exotic and even weird. Thus the brutal assault and ghoulish technocracy of industrial production, an ahistorical monstrosity temporarily propped up by cheap oil and scientistic psychopathy, is blandly called “agriculture” and “food”, while the historical norm and rational holistic practice gets the special name “organic”, a name often derided as some arcane luxury. It’s the same as how the system refers to the produce of industrial monocropping as “commodity crops”, while fruits and vegetables are relegated to the picayune category of “specialty crops”. It might as well all be arugula for effete liberals, right?



    Yes. So on the mark that there is nothing to say beyond that.

    Comment by GeekGirl — September 23, 2010 @ 2:07 am

    • Thanks. As of yesterday the bill was still in limbo. It’s hard to see what can avert the worst unless the much-maligned obstructionism continues to do its construction-by-subtraction work here.

      This is why I long ago reversed my position on the filibuster, even though in this case it’s not a filibuster doing the work.

      Barricades are often useful in street fighting, and in our current plight legislative gridlock is our best bet, since this kleptocracy is never going to pass significant constructive legislation again.

      Comment by Russ — September 23, 2010 @ 4:57 am

  2. […] our very freedom over our own food supply.   The current Food Tyranny bill (S510) remains stalled in the Senate thanks to the Democrats’ cowardly unwillingness to override Tom Coburn’s hold. As […]

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  3. […] factory farming, without rentier dominance. But as I’ve written many times (most recently here and here), help is on the way for Monsanto and the other criminal gangs. The Food Tyranny bills […]

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