Saturday, April 25, 2009

Behind The Food, Inc Movie-- Massive Bribes To Congress From AgriBusiness


Last night I went to see the Anvil movie. It was great. But a trailer for Food, Inc stuck in my consciousness as much as the story about these Jewish Canadian heavy metal rockers. And I found that trailer... for you:

It's not just about healthy and nutritious food either. With the whole country alarmed about an unending series of food-borne illnesses and, courtesy of the "Free Market" Bush gang and their Republican accomplices in Congress, a hollowed-out FDA, more frequent sudden death from taking a bite-- whether from China, Mexico... or Georgia-- food industry lobbyists are pressuring the members of Congress they've financed to prohibit even debate on the food industry! Tools of AgriBusiness run the regulatory industries meant to protect consumers but that, under the GOP and the equally corrupt Blue Dogs, now protect only company profits.

Jill Richardson at La Vida Locavore is out there fighting for us everyday but this year alone-- and it's not even May yet-- AgriBusiness spent $14,391,387 on lobbying. Lobbying doesn't include the $163,831,785 AgriBusiness doled out directly to members of the House (nor the $73,711,910 to the members of the Senate) since 1990. The overwhelming legalized bribes went to Republicans but Democrats-- particularly reactionary and corrupt Blue Dogs-- have been at the trough as well. The average Republican House member they financed got $46,656 and the average Republican senator got $98,744. When AgriBusiness invested in Democrats corrupt enough for their standards the average House member only got $28,905 (and the average Democrat in the Senate, $58,996).

Not counting presidential candidates-- predictably, McCain got more corrupt bucks from AgriBusiness than anyone in Congress-- the biggest whores currently serving have been this shameful dirty baker's dozen who are actively participating in poisoning the country:

Saxby Chambliss (R-GA)- $3,544,909
Miss McConnell (R-KY)- $2,219,241
Pat Roberts (R-KS)- $1,747,178
Collin Peterson (D-MN)- $1,559,273
Devin Nunes (R-CA)- $1,449,107
Richard Lugar (R-IN)- $1,392,680
Bob Goolatte (R-VA)- $1,364,395
Thad Cochran (R-MS)- $1,318,242
Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX)- $1,270,008
John Boehner (R-OH)- $1,245,813
Max Baucus (D-MT)- $1,231,565
Kit Bond (R-MO)- $1,217,110
Blanche Lincoln (D-AR)- $1,215,736

Thanks for this, guys (and Kay and Blanche):

UPDATE: How Responsible Are Susan Collins And Backward Republican Ideology For The Pandemic?

If you go to Susan Collins' website, you'll notice her bragging about how she made sure $8 million in pork was included for the Acadia National Park (as well as $30.6 million in EPA funding for clean water and a whole page of other Maine projects. Less apparent is Senator Collins bragging about how she stripped the money for pandemic preparedness out of Obama's Stimulus package.
Famously, Maine Senator Collins, the supposedly moderate Republican who demanded cuts in health care spending in exchange for her support of a watered-down version of the stimulus, fumed about the pandemic funding: "Does it belong in this bill? Should we have $870 million in this bill No, we should not."

Even now, Collins continues to use her official website to highlight the fact that she led the fight to strip the pandemic preparedness money out of the Senate's version of the stimulus measure.

The Republicans essentially succeeded. The Senate version of the stimulus plan included no money whatsoever for pandemic preparedness. In the conference committee that reconciled the House and Senate plans, Obey and his allies succeeded in securing $50 million for improving information systems at the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).
But state and local governments, and the emergency services that would necessarily be on the frontlines in any effort to contain a pandemic, got nothing.

Did Rove, Collins and their compatriots want a pandemic?

Of course not.

They were just playing politics, in the exceptionally narrow and irresponsible manner that characterized the Republican response to the stimulus debate-- and that, because of Democratic compromises in the Senate, dumbed down the plan President Obama ultimately signed.

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At 1:37 PM, Anonymous me said...

Yes, I know that corporations are crooked, and that they've bought many politicians in a mostly successful attempt to cheat us. Not only in this industry, but in many others as well. One might even say ALL industries, and the day we separate corporate money from our politicians is the day our country starts on the road to recovery.

But truthfully, I didn't see much in that trailer that was objectionable. Well, the trailer itself was objectionable. A lot of ominous-sounding music, the threatening tone of the narration, and ... nothing.

Yes, we have factory farms now. The Pepperidge Farm-type pictures on the packages are as phony as a Lego barn. But why was these changes to farm practices made? Money, of course. The changes significantly lower the price of food, and it's a good thing too, because we need that money elsewhere.

Old-time, labor-intensive, organic food is still available. But it's a small market. Corporations would produce it on a large scale, if people it wanted badly enough to pay for it.

Surely we need some minimum standards, in order to maintain public health and environmental quality. Throw in humane treatment of animals too. Just as surely, corporations will try to evade those standards, and must be actively prevented from doing so.

But that movie seems to be more about stirring up publicity for itself than about fixing an actual problem.

At 9:47 PM, Anonymous brakmaster said...

Follow the money. Agribiz isn't giving this money away for free. They expect something in return. What are they buying?

I quit eating pork altogether, and seriously reduced the amount of beef/chicken that I eat. The meat factory business seems perverted to me. I don't want my money going to those businesses, especially if they are handing it over to corrupt politicians.

At 12:44 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The problem is the same whether you are talking about farming, medical care, banking, retail, or the resturant business. Big business has bought the old Republican Government. Little businesses don't stand a chance. It is hard enough to compete against the chains, without fighting the government as well.

I think as costly and painful as it will likely be, the giants must fall for the rest of us to survive as anything but slaves.

The flu pandemic was caused by Smithfield farms shipping their hog farm to Mexico and not even maintaining our shoddy standards... and the same is happening in all our industies. They are closing plants in the US, and opening them in third world countries where they can get away with slave labor, and intolerable working conditions, and so they can polute without censure. It has to be stopped. Some of those companies just need to be broken. I say stop corporate bail outs and let the most crooked of those businesses fall. Let small businesses open in their place.

I am not a huge fan of organic produce... as in no pesticides. No thanks I don't want bug eaten fruit, and I feel that pyrethrens are harmless. I'd take a bath in the stuff, it's safe. We use it on kittens safely for God's sake. Anything that is more effective and dangerous, was made illegal many years ago. However we are not talking about pesticides any more. We are talking about genetically altered animals and produce. We are talking about artificial hormones, cloned animals, and no one knows what the long term effects are.

I know that small farmers do not have geneticly engineered animals, or clones. They might spray their crops. I have no problem with that. I want a lable like organic, only just an assurance that I am not eating some freak animal with human genes, or produce that is cross bred with bacteria or something. I don't want my eggs laid by a super chicken. LOL

I would also like to point out that those same self righteous, Republicans who are cozy with the Religious Right, and publically wince as stem cell research, and scream right to life every five minutes are poisoning children, and sponsoring cloning experiments which are incidently not working well. If cloning were a successful venture I'd not mind a copy of a cow, but many of these animals die, and most are sickly. I don't want to eat animals who are sick, incomplete, genetically incorrect, or contain genes from other creatures. These people are two faced, and how long will it take for the religious right to realize Repbulicans are immoral jerks, just paying lip service to Religion for votes.

At 8:45 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm very confused about hormones in chicken, and maybe you can point me in the right direction. I recently saw Food Inc., and I could swear they said that non-organic chickens are fed hormones to increase breast size, but all the packages of chicken at my local store include a label that states that hormones usage in poultry is illegal in the US. So, how are the non-organic chickens made to have larger breasts?


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