09 February 2014

Tainted Meat Joins the Stench of Political and Financial Corruption

“Wall Street had been doing business with pieces of paper; and now someone asked for a dollar, and it was discovered that the dollar had been mislaid.  It was an experience for which the captains of industry were not entirely prepared; they had forgotten the public.  It was like some great convulsion of nature, which made mockery of all the powers of men, and left the beholder dazed and terrified.   In Wall Street men stood as if in a valley, and saw far above them the starting of an avalanche; they stood fascinated with horror, and watched it gathering headway; saw the clouds of dust rising up, and heard the roar of it swelling, and realized it was only a matter of time before it swept them to their destruction...

But it is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends upon him not understanding it."

Upton Sinclair, The Moneychangers

"You are a den of vipers and thieves. I intend to rout you out, and by the grace of the eternal God, I will rout you out."

Andrew Jackson

It was discovered that in all that blizzard of corruption, and the paper that covered it up, that the very basis of the value of things had been 'mislaid.' And then the deluge came.

If you listen to the reasoning of 'free market' types, and their paid mouthpieces and demagogues, this kind of thing could not happen, because companies, being rational and focused on the long term, would not allow tainted meat with their name on it to be sold into the markets.

They would not risk the lawsuits, and damage to their reputations. It is a similar argument that holds that financial markets need only light regulations because people will manage their own behaviour for the ultimate good, with almost perfect rational and altruistic self-constraint.

But alas, we know this is not true, as anyone who ever travels on a major highway can tell you. People and their tendencies to greed and careless stupidity require a certain association of people in a society for their common good, to take on not only large tasks with common and broad benefits to the pubic, but also in order for the majority to protect themselves from criminals, cheats, sociopaths, and plain old ignorant selfishness. This is why we establish police and fire departments, and have health laws, for example.

Government is never perfect. But its occasional flaws and corruption are no reason to do away with it. The power of government must be held in balance, but so must the power of private wickedness.

If you bother to look into the history of certain types of laws,  especially those designed to protect the public, and the often long progressive efforts of many dedicated souls to achieve them, from civil rights to basic food safety to voting rights to consumer protections against financial fraud, you can see what they have accomplished, and how their effectiveness must be upheld and occasionally renewed, since the corrupting power of easy money respects few if any boundaries.

Goodness may occasionally falter, but evil never sleeps.  And as many are now discovering, telling the truth becomes a subversive act, in times of general deceit.   Notice the patterns of smears and dehumanization of certain types of people.  This is how it begins.

And so it seems that every other generation forgets the lessons learned by their grandparents, and casts off their protections in fits of foolishness fuelled by the sweet words and slogans of the pampered princes of easy money, and their puppets, who will say and do anything for power and position.

Those who forget history are doomed to repeat it, and this is surely the story of the last thirty years, especially in the area of financial regulation, and the political standards of oaths and stewardship.

Recall of nearly 9 million pounds of meat not fully inspected
By Greg Botelho and Janet DiGiacomo, CNN
February 9, 2014

(CNN) -- Some 8.7 million pounds of meat from a Northern California company have been recalled because they came from "diseased and unsound" animals that weren't properly inspected, a federal agency announced Saturday.

The recall affecting Rancho Feeding Corporation products -- as detailed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service -- marks a significant expansion of one announced January 13, when just over 40,000 pounds of the company's products were recalled.

According to the U.S. agency, Rancho Feeding "processed diseased and unsound animals and carried out these activities without the benefit or full benefit of federal inspection."

"Thus, the products are adulterated, because they are unsound, unwholesome or otherwise are unfit for human food and must be removed from commerce," the FSIS reported. The Petaluma company made the recall...

The FSIS recall notice indicates a "reasonable probability" that consumption could result in "serious, adverse health consequences or death."

Attempts to contact the Rancho Feeding Corporation for comment were unsuccesful Saturday and Sunday.

A wide range of products are listed in the recall, including beef carcasses and various parts such as heads, cheeks, lips, livers, feet and tongues in boxes of 20 pounds and bigger. Forty-pound boxes of veal bones and 60-pound boxes of veal trim are included as well...

Read the entire news article here.