Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Your government wants to kill you.......

Well.....not right away.

You have some small uses to them in the meantime. Mostly, spend all your money at Wal-Mart, watch Fox News, listen to Rush and vote for American Idol...... but not for your Congressman.

Oh, and eat any damn thing that is put in front of you.

America's food supply is now like eating at Grandma's. "Finish your tuna fish......children are starving in: Darfur, Nigeria, Somalia".......

Salinas, Grandma?

No....those are just fucking Mexicans........

"You don't leave the table until you finish your dinner!"

It gets creepy when you see the cans of Fancy Feast in the pantry.....and you know that Grandma's kitty died back in the Carter Administration.

I am not kidding.....this was lunch at Jane's grannie's in Ohio thirty years ago. Everyone but me buckled down and ate. I earned Flower Family scorn as the disloyal, effete Easterner (Ithaca was 200 miles closer to Greenwich, you see.....) by passing on the treats. (Grannie still left me her '64 LeMans.......)

Not that my family was any better. As little kids, my brothers and I used to dread my parents' vacations: the Irish grandparents would watch us while the folks were on a cruise.

Grandpa Tom was the chef. He was a ship's carpenter who worked at Van Kamp's fish cannery on Terminal Island. One of the perks of the job was free distressed merchandise....cans of fish.
Grandpa Tom was born in Ireland in 1890. His grandfather had eaten grass in the green fields of Eire in competition with the landlord's cows to survive The Famine. Dining with Grandpa was like dining with Elie Wiesel......the moral and practical authority was unquestionable.

"Eat the fucking food."

Meanwhile, this was the sixties in Orange County, California. "Better Dead Than Red." My seventh grade middle school geography teacher was frog-marched off campus for teaching us how many little pictures of cows, oil wells and corn ears the Soviet Union was supposed to have on its blank map in the book. We did weekly atomic bomb drills....and everyone had a bomb shelter at home.

Ours was full of Van Kamp's slightly swollen fish cans. Grandpa Tom was insulted that my folks were not giving us a steady diet of the stuff, so when he took over........every night, baked canned......I suppose it was tuna. Or some part of the tuna. Tuna nerves. Tuna skin. Tuna livers. Tuna guts. Something dark and very smelly.

My brothers and I would sit for hours at the table in silent protest at the baked, reeking mass in front of us. It was not just inedible....it was unswallowable. The tongue rebelled and the throat refused. At an early age I knew that "unpalatable" was not a choice.....it was a survival tool.

Crispy the dog was no help...... and dogs eat cat poop with relish. We spread as much as we could under the table, into the hollow legs, under the chairs, in our shoes, into the houseplants.......Our house smelled like a fish abattoire. (I have since used these skills in bad Michelin one-stars in Spain with veiny foie gras........)

Meanwhile, Gramps would chow down with relish.....completely unfazed by the stench and the grimy, sticky, dessicating texture of his nightly offering. It was better than.......Nothing.

Or grass.

Upon reflection.....at least the Van Kamp's stuff was made from actual fish, caught in actual local waters.....by Union guys (Grandpa was a union carpenter).

Nowadays, you as a consumer have no such assurances. Grandpa Tom is now in charge of the USDA, and there are no more unions.

The Bush Administration has taken the position that you are not allowed to know anything about the food you buy and consume that is independent of the public relations and marketing department of the company that has produced it......beyond the number of calories per serving, and a laborious list of additives. That is for packaged food. For bulk food.....like the stuff in the fish case at Whole Foods......there are literally no rules.

Upton Sinclair is spinning in his tomb.

You are not allowed to know which country the food is produced in, whether it contains meat or fish from cloned animals, whether it has been irradiated, or whether it contains genetically modified materials. If your dairy refuses to use rBGH to force milk production from its cows......the USDA maintains that the dairy is not allowed to tell you. If your meat company checks each and every steer for BSE (mad cow), it will be expensive.....not because of the cost of the inspection......but because of the cost of the full time legal team the company needs to keep the USDA from stopping the inspections.

Supposedly, you don't need to know what country your meat, fish, produce and vitamin supplements come from because the USDA only certifies products that come from countries with similar inspection programs to ours.....like this is a good thing. The USDA and the FDA only inspect 1% of the food in THIS country. Picture their presence in Argentina, or Baja, or Laos, or Bangladesh. Yeah, right......

Speaking of Bangladesh: if you buy tilapia, you are an insane person. Tilapia are a hardy enough fish that they can live in cesspools....and in fact they are useful in that they consume the waste and clean up said cesspools. And then you can eat them! How cool is that? Bangladesh and India make extensive use of this neat feature to help with water purification and local nutrition.
Oh.....and there is ABSOLUTELY nothing to prevent these fish.....or say tiger prawns similarly raised.....from being presented in the Costco or Whole Foods fish case as American, Scotch, French or Swiss bred.

If a product is not packaged.....there are no rules. If a product IS packaged.....you are not allowed to know where it came from, or what kind of stuff is in it.

Even if you do the research, and buy from only reputable, organic and American suppliers of produce, meat and fish.......there is nothing to regulate the foodstocks, fertilizers and chemicals that these birds, cows, sheep, pigs, goats, salmon, and tomatoes are being raised on. The melamine poison protein substitute that killed all those dogs a few months ago was fed to every organic cow and pig in California. Turns out it only kills dogs.....right away. Picture what the non-organically raised creatures are eating.

Grandpa Tom knows. Just enough to stay alive and turn a profit. And eating grass is definitely NOT part of the program.......

And, if you think that you can take refuge in buying organic.......forget it. Wal-Mart and other mega-companies have found the organic standards to be vexing and expensive....so they have changed them. Milk can now be called organic if the facility the milk is produced in is certified organic. The cows themselves can be regular old chemically and anti-biotically challenged critters that are just shuffled in and shuffled out. If you buy Costco Kirkland organic milk, or Safeway "O" or Woodstock Farms, or anything made by Horizon.......you are a dumb fuck. Buying Horizon milk is God's way of telling you that you have too much money.......

There was a law passed back in 2002 to mandate Country of Origin Labeling for meat, fish and produce.....but President Bush continues to delay its implementation.......now set for September 2008.

Meanwhile, the Farm Bill continues to favor Agribusiness over small family farms, bio-tech companies pushing cloning, genetically modified foods, and Wild West style marketing. Even Senators and Congresspeople from places like Iowa and Nebraska.....even Democrats from farm country are not immune to the vast legislative purchasing power of outfits like Archer-Daniels-Midland and Wal-Mart. The companies that grow the cows and pigs in Iowa also grow them in Argentina and China.....and don't think that it matters to you that there might be an important distinction between them.

Which came first: Government deception, misinformation, bait-and-switch, and corruption.....OR Industry deception, misinformation, bait-and-switch, and corruption? Does it matter? Is it a distinction without a difference?

Even our farmers are drinking the KoolAid. How can you support a government that is flooding your own market with cheap, shitty stuff that you and your family have produced in quality for four generations? Regulation: Bad? Market: Good?

If the people in charge of our food policy were true Republicans, and actually believed in the market place.....they would insist on accurate labeling. Give the consumer the information, and let him decide. Instead, the machinery of our government has been harnessed to stop any and all information at the source. Profits are king....any way you can get them. The government has ceased to function in any reasonable way to support the public good.

I was chuckling last weekend as I watched Presidents Bush and Putin cavorting in Maine.
We all remember back in 1986....April 26th to be exact.....when the Chernobyl nuclear power plant melted down.

Five days later in the Ukrainian capitol of Kiev.....1oo miles away.....there was a scheduled May Day Parade put on by the government. The government assured everyone that everything was fine. We are here for you......we are taking care of the public good. No problems with that power plant thing.

One hundred thousand children from all over the region marched in the parade.....while radioactive chaff rained down on them.

All those children are now officially labelled as "survivors" of the Chernobyl "incident"....with sterility and other problems rampant.....something along the lines of 70 per cent.

Now wonder Bush and Putin get along so well.

Yeah, so eat your fish.

Grandpa Tom says so.

Some links:
Earl Blumenauer, food warrior.
Organic Consumers
Old School Farmers turned International
Stop Unlabeled Cloned Food in California


Blogger semi-savant said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

9:15 AM  
Blogger semi-savant said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

9:22 AM  
Blogger semi-savant said...

so I am a dumb-fuck on the milk. Short of raising my own cow and milking her.... what is a good source of companies that one can make organic purchases from?

9:23 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Try Westsoy. Don't believe the commercials, milk isn't even good for you! Its saturated fat, blood, pus, antibiotics, and growth hormones... mmm... Besides, you can get as much calcium from a serving of broccoli.

10:18 AM  

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