"Lately, .... there always seems to be at least one food-safety crisis in the headlines — tainted spinach, poisonous peanut butter and, currently, the attack of the killer tomatoes. The declining credibility of U.S. food regulation has even led to a foreign-policy crisis: there have been mass demonstrations in South Korea protesting the pro-American prime minister’s decision to allow imports of U.S. beef, banned after mad cow disease was detected in 2003.
You mention "hard-core American conservatives," and Grover Norquist, who opposes "the income tax, the death tax, regulation, all that," Milton Friedman who called for the abolition of the FDA, and said "They never had enough votes to abolish the F.D.A. or eliminate meat inspections, but they could and did set about making the agencies charged with ensuring food safety ineffective."
And then you talk about how we need regulation. But have you missed that these same folks and their endless series of Big Pharma and Big Ag corporations have been running things inside the government? Or that these people, whatever else you want to say about them, are extremely driven and clever about accomplishing what they want?
So, do you honestly want to press for more regulations within a system they now run? And have you missed that they themselves are pushing for food safety regulations like all get out? NAIS, the bans on raw milk across the country, the FDA Globalization Act of 2008 ...
Mind, now, that they aren't fools and that they haven't really changed an iota about not wanting to pay taxes or be regulated, so what's up?
This tomato thing that has you all upset, or Mad Cow, too, is not a bit different from how they got us into the fix in Iraq, when Osama was in Afghanistan. They wanted oil. But they are masters at ramping up fear and then the sleight-of-hand. 9/11 was the context, WMDs was the manufactured fear, the sleight of hand was ending up the wrong country.
Food safety is the context, salmonella is the fear that gets pitched to near hysteria, and the sleight of hand is ending up with a bill they want in the first place, one that does nothing to them but crushes the ever loving breath out of small vitamin companies and small farmers, their competition, and gives them massive global control over natural substances of all kinds.
Mad Cow is the context, and easy one to key up fear about, and the sleight of hand is NAIS, a huge, expensive, profit-making for corporations bill that does zip about Mad Cow, sets up a system of corporate spying on every farm animal in the country, tracking literally every movement, and imposing fees and fines and total invasion of privacy on small farmers and rancher that are a literal last straw for many. Amish farmers are selling dairy herds, some are selling farms, and some are looking to leave the country. Does NAIS do anything at all to handle Mad Cow, brought to us by the same corporations pushing for it? Nope. It leaves the filthy corporate feedlots, the inhuman and disgusting factory farms, and the corporate slaughter houses functioning at a warp speed too fast to be careful about a damn thing, in place. Meanwhile, farmers with clean and humane practices, and ranchers who raise grass-fed animals are threatened into extinction - we are losing 1000 ranchers a month. And yet they are the ones pushing for inspections and hollering that Japan inspects every animal, and France, 1 in 4, but here, the USDA, the agency pushing NAIS, inspects one in a 1000.
They know what they are doing, Mr. Krugman, with these food scares and stirring people like you up to push for regulations. But when you do, remember that people very like Grover Norquist are in on this regulation game. Pay attention that the regulations they are pushing which won't do squat about food safety are being written by the likes of Monsanto (which has used laws before to its advantage, now owning almost all corn and soy in this country - food and biofuel - and not concerned a whit about what they are doing to our economy click here which has power in the FDA and USDA).
Liberals pay a lot of attention to the war and how Halliburton has made out like bandits, or to Katrina and how Halliburton has made out like bandits, noticing that what Bush breaks makes even more money, noticing how fabulous catastrophes are for corporations. Naomi Klein's short doctrine applies and we see it.
But liberals are one naive bunch of fuss budgets, not easily faked out by terrorists scares but totally spooked by a tomato. Suddenly blind as bats when it comes to thinking politically about food and farming and who is after control of it, they actually turn to the FDA - Bush's no less but Clinton's was no better click here to help make food safe. It's a magic trick, just like Iraq was - keep your eye searching for WMDs, and miss that we're in the wrong damn country altogether.
But liberal scaredy-cats are so desperate to trust "science" to make things safe, they turn to Big Pharma and Big Ag as though the FDA weren't full of those very companies and the ones who made food unfit for humans in the first place. (GMOs, by the way, are avoided by geese and deer, and even rats.) Liberal act as though those corporations inside those agencies don't have an agenda when it comes to food and health products, unlike the oil companies do when they write the energy bills from inside the Department of Energy.
So, Mr. Krugman, don't go leaping up and hollering "regulations" because of a few crummy tomatoes which - if you'd notice - are proving very useful to those corporations seeking to implement the FDA Globalization Act of 2008, or even Mad Cow, which they have no intention of stopping through inspections but which is a great means of scaring the public into demanding NAIS click here which is totalitarian in its essence and intent. They have plans afoot - which have nothing to do with real safety, any more than the war did - and if you aren't real careful to see who you are dealing with, you're going to end up helping them out.
Be careful how you grab hold of that tomato because if you aren't careful, it just might rear up and bite you back ... badder than salmonella. I'd appreciate your not pushing for regulations, as would all our farmers and ranchers. Be a brave liberal and just heat the damn tomato slightly. Whatever you do, don't go giving an iota of more power to these anti-government-except-to-use-it-for-their own-purposes maniacs.