Taking a short break - no post this week
14 minutes ago
There is no more dangerous delusion than the persistent American delusion that we live in a free country. ”If we only can rouse the good hearts and common sense of our people, we can take this country back again.” Such people do exist, but most of them have “opted out” of politics. They are too busy leading their own lives to have much time or energy for busybodying into yours. They accept the fact that our government is tyrannical because they know it is simply a reflection of the servile populace. They fully understand that a nation of sports fans, mall shoppers, and petition signers will never possess the moral freedom required of a people that can achieve political liberty. Above all, they want to be protected from the Jerks, whether on the right or left, who try to use the rest of us as cannon fodder for their pointless campaigns. They understand all too well that the average middle class Americans they meet in airports and restaurants–the goodhearted people we are going to save America for–are, if not complete Jerks, well on their way to perfection.
Liberty is not a natural human condition. It is a precious art form that must be cultivated by people with moral discipline. A nation of Jerks cannot be free, and every attempt they make to recover their freedom will not only provoke more oppression, but it will also subject them to a more degrading form of slavery, the moral and spiritual slavery of the slave who thinks himself free.
Opting for the feel-up always struck me as worse, and intended to gum up the works, which is good if it only hurts the State, but not good if it hurts other passengers. I am reminded of the antiwar demos intended to cause traffic jams. I agree with the cause, but not the method. Far better to really Opt Out.
Chuck Devore (LTC USA) and current California state assemblyman:
“Evacuating U.S. forces from South Korea would allow American foreign policy makers wider latitude in dealing with North Korea… But, so long as America remains tied at the hip with South Korea, none of these more effective steps will be taken.
S.510 The Food Safety Modernization Act
Bill in full: http://frwebgate.access.gpo.gov/cgi-bin/getdoc.cgi?dbname=111_cong_bills&docid=f:s510rs.txt.pdf
After hearing some very bizarre statements of what is in this bill, I decided to read it. Come to find out, those off-the-wall claims have proven to be true. Here is a summary of what I have found.
First of all, this bill reinstates the power to the FDA (and other agencies) to shut down facilities and/or suspend production that “poses a public health risk.” I am all for shutting down food producers like Jack DeCoster whose claim to fame was that huge egg recall this past summer. This guy is up to his usual tricks, as another recall for his eggs was issued last month. Still, S.510 goes above and beyond anything reasonable.
*Requires the owner/operator/agent in charge of a facility to evaluate all the hazards that could effect food, including but not limited to: ‘‘(A) biological, chemical, physical, and radiological hazards, natural toxins, pesticides, drug residues, decomposition, parasites, allergens, and unapproved food and color additives; and ‘‘(B) hazards that occur naturally, may be unintentionally introduced, or may be intentionally introduced, including by acts of terrorism;”
Once these hazards are identified, the business must implement preventative controls and monitor the performance of dealing with those controls. Detailed and maintained records must be made available to the Secretary of Agriculture upon written request. This is the tip of a paperwork iceberg. For example: Also requires written plans and procedures in regards to sanitary conditions, packaging, pathogen controls, recall plans, supplier verifications, etc.
*A frequent and recurring theme throughout this legislation is the creation of new rules and regulations to be made in the future. Basically it gives the FDA, Secretary of Agriculture, Homeland Security, other agencies the ability to write the rules as they go along. Only on rare occasion does it mention Congressional input.
*Strict regulations on the growing, harvesting, packing, shipping, storage, distribution, etc., of fresh fruits and vegetables. (Details not yet determined)
Fresh fruits and vegetables are specifically mentioned throughout the bill. So much so, it made me wonder if they’ve declared a covert war on them.
*Pages 151-160 discusses fees domestic businesses will pay for this regulation. Including but not limited to, inspection related expenses, re-inspections, recall expenses, report filing expenses. Total fees to be collected are capped at 25 million with yearly adjustments tied to the CPI.
*Since this section will be totally unbelievable to some, it’s been copied from page 161-162, Sec. 108 exactly as written:
(1) IN GENERAL.—Not later than 1 year after the date of enactment of this Act, the Secretary of Health and Human Services and the Secretary of Agriculture, in coordination with the Secretary of Homeland Security, shall prepare and submit to the relevant committees of Congress, and make publicly available on the Internet Web sites of the Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Agriculture, the National Agriculture and Food Defense Strategy.
Yes, that said HOMELAND SECURITY.
This includes implementation, preparedness, detection, emergency response, recovery, infrastructure protection and a slew of other things. They say the devil is in the details and unfortunately, all the details are to be approved later. If porno-scanners and groping are any indication of how HS does business………
*The bottom of page 167 creates a public/private partnership with Homeland Security (HS). If past performance of public/private partnerships is any indication of future performance, it would be safe to assume the little guy will be sorely left out of the debate.
*Creates a “food police” (my term) from the Federal levels on down to State, County and muni. Calls for food defense capabilities including progress implementing strategies.
*Calls for a voluntary program for grammar schools on food allergy education and response. Federal funding is capped at 50k per year, for two years. After that, federal money ends. The amount of funding will be determined by how many children per school have food issues/allergies.
*Inspections. High risk facilities are to be inspected at least once every two years.
Non high-risk facilities are to be inspected at least once every four years.
*Creates rules, regulations, and accreditations for food testing laboratories.
*Creates a traceback program for raw and processed food. This entails more paperwork across the entire food processing chain to be submitted to the authorities. When dealing with foreign food suppliers, international food treaties/agreements supersede all else.
*Page 202-205 creates a “Foodborne Illness Surveillance System”. Again, from the Federal level down to the muni level. Working groups, councils and agencies will have 1 year to formulate these regulations. To be included:
(A) staffing levels and expertise available to perform food safety and defense functions;
(B) laboratory capacity to support surveillance, outbreak response, inspection, and enforcement activities;
(C) information systems to support data management and sharing of food safety and defense information among State and local agencies and with counterparts at the Federal level; and
(D) other State and local activities and needs as determined appropriate by the Secretary [of Agriculture].
*The government has the authority of mandatory recall.
*Starting on page 229, this bill goes into great detail on the regulation of foreign food. From inspections to testing labs, certification, documentation, smuggling. Increasing regulatory capacity of foreign governments, data sharing, training, harmonization of requirements…..well you get the idea.
Despite the very detailed and involved regulations on foreign food growers, manufacturers, shippers et al, on page 265 it reads:
“SEC. 404. COMPLIANCE WITH INTERNATIONAL AGREEMENTS.
Nothing in this Act (or an amendment made by this Act) shall be construed in a manner inconsistent with the agreement establishing the World Trade Organization or any other treaty or international agreement to which the United States is a party. “
In other words, the US can regulate all it wants, but the WTO has the final say.
*Authorizes 825,000,000 to pay 3,800 new staff for fiscal year 2010 alone. Does not include HS in the list of agencies that will be hiring. It also lists numbers of added staff into year 2014.
*From my interpretation of this bill, and the broad way they define “importer” it would seem travelers coming into the US from foreign countries may no longer be allowed any type of food items.
*This bill seems to include the home gardener who sells veggies to their neighbors as part of the “foodborne illness” problem.
*According to Senator Harkin, this bill has 90 votes in hand to pass as is.
There are other things in this bill I have left out of this summary for the sake of brevity. Transportation, employee rights, issues on smuggling….Despite the omissions, I hope this summary of S.510 has been helpful.
Your new food: Approved by Homeland Security. Brought to you by Monsanto and Con Agra because they’re powerful enough to withstand the regulatory storm coming. Getting a say in it all doesn’t hurt much either.
Classical liberal theory grounded natural rights in “substantial equality,” as French political theorist Philippe Bénéton terms it. In theory, not always in practice, the liberal taught that humans were equal in their humanity. All were equal in their substance even if differing in religion, politics, class, race, sex, ability, and so on. Consequently, natural rights were acknowledged in recognition of sameness. Others were the same flesh and blood and soul as me, and I was to look at others and recognize that this “other” is morally equal to me in dignity and rights.
Now it is not so. Bénéton argues that classical liberalism and its assumption of sameness is undone by subversive and radical versions of contemporary liberalism. Having refused to accept any limitations on freedom, radical liberalism must also lose human equality, for a substantial human nature would imply a stable, fixed order wherein some actions would be considered more or less worthy of a human. But such order and its assumption of value is antithetical to a purely indeterminate freedom whereby one is entitled to each and every identity one claims for oneself.
Of course, a refusal of human commonality renders recognition of the substantial equality of the other impossible, for if neither I nor other persons are defined by our common humanity, what could possibly oblige me to treat them with the same dignity I demand for myself? How can we claim human dignity when a common measure of humanity is refused?
Next we have 'Tony', again so bold that he dare not let us know his surname. He opines: ‘Twice now the whole idea of linking “Berlin Time” to a nasty Euro conspiracy has been roundly kicked on the Mail website as little other than a fantasy that cynically attempts to exploit any lingering WWII sentiment, or even resentment toward a long dead and irrelevant Kaiser. When that failed, he calls “foul,” arguing that the voice of the people has been strangled by an obscure single interest group. More likely, Mail readers simply agree with the idea of more daylight toward the end of the working day. After all, at this time of year we're all going to work in the dark or near dark. Setting the clocks forward another hour makes no difference to that, does it? I couldn't care less if the sun was due south at 12 noon or 1pm, quite frankly. No one is going to be able to tell the difference. Perhaps Mr Hitchens would care to engage the debate on more adult terms instead.’
Well, on the contrary, my original article traced the invention of Central European Time to its historical source, namely Wilhelmine Germany. It pointed out that the same empire had imposed CET on conquered territories in the 1914 war. And that its direct descendant, the Third Reich, had done the same in the 1945 war. And that when those countries were briefly released from German pressure, they reverted to a time-zone closer to their own meridian.
'Tony' presumably knows little of the process by which the European Union has sought to integrate the economies and transport systems of its members, nor has he noticed that this integration has all been one way - that is to suit the interests of Germany, the country whose enormous power the EU was designed to contain and channel into peaceful rather than warlike forms of dominance.
Nor did I call 'foul'. I truthfully pointed out (reproducing on this site the actual posting) that 'Lighter Later' has urged its supporters to post on the site. I discovered this by a simple process of deduction. Large numbers of postings had appeared (much greater than the normal level of comments on such articles) using such politically correct terms as 'xenophobic', not much favoured by readers of these newspapers. They also seemed to have been written by people who had not read the article. So I looked at the 'Lighter Later' website to see if such a call had been made there. And it had. The following day a similar message was posted about a poll on the website. Some people may think this is legitimate. I just believe that, when it happens, it ought to be recorded that it has happened.
If anyone still resents the Kaiser, I don't know who he is. Even my grandfather, who lost most of his friends in the 1914 war, and only survived himself because he had the luck to be posted to India, had softened on the subject by the time he died many years ago. But a lot of people, in my view rightly, see that (as Otto von Bismarck once said) many of Germany's interests are advanced 'in Europe's name'. If different countries co-ordinate their time, there is a simple 'who whom?' question. Who is conceding to whom? Since time is not abstract, but based upon the rotation of the earth, the country which gives up its own meridian, and switches to that of another, is objectively and demonstrably the 'whom' - the weaker, servile part of the relationship.
As I pointed out yesterday, no free and independent country in the world, outside the influence of German economic and diplomatic pressure, has adopted a time zone 15 degrees of longitude away from its own meridian. No more have they abolished their own borders (another amazing achievement of German diplomacy, absurdly unsung). And attempts to shift time so far from nature in this way in Britain, the USA and Portugal, have been rejected in the past precisely because they were so unpopular with normal human beings.
I have also referred to known evidence of covert propaganda by the EU and its supporters in this country, particularly the Connaught Breakfasts, details of which were revealed in the BBC programme 'A letter to The Times', broadcast on Radio 4 on the 3rd February 2000 and jaw-droppingly revelatory. There is no doubt at all that this has taken place in the past. Why should it not still be going on?