GETTING TO THE MEAT OF THE PROBLEM

It’s ironic that people who hate government – corporate interests and right-wing ideologues –are now in charge of running it. Not surprisingly, they do a sorry job of it – either because they’re incompetent or they just don’t want government to work. Putting them in charge, however, is more than ironic – it is downright dangerous for the larger public that counts on a vigorous government.
Jim Hightower's Radio Lowdown
Jim Hightower's Radio Lowdown
GETTING TO THE MEAT OF THE PROBLEM
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It’s ironic that people who hate government – corporate interests and right-wing ideologues –are now in charge of running it. Not surprisingly, they do a sorry job of it – either because they’re incompetent or they just don’t want government to work. Putting them in charge, however, is more than ironic – it is downright dangerous for the larger public that counts on a vigorous government.

The latest example comes from the agriculture department, which is supposed to assure the safety of such basics as America’s meat supply. However, under the Bushites, the lobbyist and ideologues have steadily slashed enforcement budgets, limited inspections, and punched loopholes in the rules so big slaughterhouses can cut corners on our food safety.

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Their lackadaisical, laissez-fair approach to their job recently led to the largest beef recall in history, a third of which had already been shipped to such nutrition programs as school lunch. Well, you might think, at least the ag officials caught the perpetrators.

Wrong. It was the Humane Society that blew the whistle on a California slaughterhouse that was abusing cattle and putting sick cows called “downers” into America’s food supply. Downers are so sick they can’t stand up – a sign of illness that’s even associated with Mad Cow disease. These lame, unhealthy cows had been banned from use as human food… until last year, when industry officials very quietly slipped a loophole into the ban, thus allowing beef processing corporations to slaughter downers and sell the meat to our families.

True to their corporate servility and ideological nuttiness, Bush ag officials stood with the industry, rather than the public, reaffirming their support for the downer loophole. Then they even chastised the Humane Society for going outside of official channels to inform the public.

“Humane Society Sues U.S. in Cattle Case,” The New York Times, February 28, 2008

“Humane Society Criticized In Meat Quality Scandal,” The New York Times, February 27, 2008

“Battling the bastards is about as much fun as you can have with your clothes on.”

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