Category Archives: Agriculture

Tell Congress: Stop the TAFTA!

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The Obama administration recently commenced (unconstitutionally, and thus illegally) negotiations with the European Union on the subject of a Trans-Atlantic Free Trade Agreement (TAFTA).

Although it is being presented by Obama propaganda media as a win-win for the US and the EU, the fact is that it will be yet another act of unilateral disarmament by the United States to yet another trade partner, as all free trade agreements historically have been.

In parallel, Obama has also proposed a similar free trade agreement for the Pacific, called the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).

Both of these “free trade agreements” must be stopped dead in their tracks NOW. Here’s why.

CDN readers know that for a long time, I have been warning against unilateral disarmament by the US, because, quite simply, it dismantles America’s defenses and thus leaves America open to aggression.

So-called “free trade” and the unilateral abolition of tariffs, subsidies, and other protective barriers to foreign imports is also unilateral disarmament – in the trade arena. And just as unilateral disarmament in the military arena is a supremely stupid, suicidal policy, so is unilateral disarmament (i.e. “free trade”) in the trade arena.

Since the 1960s, the US has dramatically cut its tariffs, subsidies for domestic producers, and other barriers to foreign imports, has turned a blind eye to currency manipulation by foreign countries, and has signed numerous free trade agreements. The result has been an economic disaster for the US.

Let the facts speak for themselves:

A country that was once the world’s industrial powerhouse, the economic and industrial envy of the world, the world’s largest producer of goods, a fully self-sufficient country producing everything it (and its foreign customers) needed, is now heavily dependent on foreign countries for virtually everything it buys and uses – the clothes and shoes Americans wear, the cars they drive, the computers and TVs they use, etc.

Real median wages of US workers have not risen at all since the mid-1970s and have been stagnant for over 40 years now.

Since 2000 alone, over 6 million well-paying manufacturing jobs and over 55,000 factories have been lost, shipped to China, India, and other “developing countries” by US companies allowed to outsource jobs because of “free trade agreements” that allow them to produce all kinds of stuff abroad and then ship it back, free of any tariff or duty, back to the US. This drives those companies that chose to stay in the US out of business.

Since signing “free trade agreements”, the US has begun to run massive trade deficits with its trade partners. Last year, the US had the following annual trade deficits with the following countries:

  • $20 bn with crisis-stricken Italy, $25 bn with crisis-stricken Ireland, and $60 bn with that exporting economic powerhouse, Germany; $125 bn with the entire European Union as a whole;
  • $32 bn with Canada;
  • $61 bn with Mexico;
  • $76 bn with Japan;
  • $16.6 bn with South Korea;
  • $315 bn with China.

Before NAFTA was signed, the US had trade surpluses with Mexico and Canada; now it has huge annual trade deficits with them – to the tune of $32 bn with Canada and $61 bn with Mexico.

In 2012 alone, the first year under the Korea-US free trade agreement, America’s trade deficit with South Korea skyrocketed by 25%. In April 2012, the first full month under that agreement, the trade gap with Seoul increased by 33%!

With Japan, it’s even worse: America’s trade deficit with that country last year was $76 bn, the largest ever between the two countries. (But that’s not good enough for Japanese PM Shinzo Abe, who has successfully pressured the Bank of Japan into devaluing the yen to boost Japanese exports further.)

Last year, America’s annual trade deficit with China was the largest ever between ANY two countries in recorded human history: $315 bn. That’s the largest trade gap not just between the US and China, but between ANY two countries in human history!

Such are the disastrous results that the geniuses advocating free trade – politicians from both parties, pro-free-trade think tanks, and their corporate bundlers – have achieved.

But free trade is actually good for their corporate sugar daddies. Which is why it was implemented in the first place.

You see, while “free trade agreements” have resulted in over 55,000 US factories being closed and over 6 mn Americans losing their manufacturing jobs – forced into unemployment or tedious jobs – it has allowed multinational corporations to ship jobs and factories overseas (e.g. to China), produce stuff there, and then ship it back to the US – free from any US tariffs, duties, or laws – sell them in the US, and pocket all the resulting profit increases.

And who exactly pockets these higher profits? Their CEOs, who get seven- and eight-digit annual salaries after throwing off US workers into unemployment and hiring Chinese workers for $2/hour.

And who enabled these multinational corporations to do that? Politicians of both parties… but mostly Republicans.

Some of them have simply been fooled by the dogmatic theology of free trade being spread by these corporations themselves and think-tanks sponsored by them (e.g. the Heritage Foundation, the CATO Institute, the Mercatus Center – all of them funded generously by corporate sugar daddies).

But many Republicans, and the party as a whole, did that for a more sinister reason: to get lavish campaign contributions from these multinational, outsourcing corporations.

You see, there’s a good reason why the GOP is called “the party of the rich”, “the party of big corporations”, and “the party that cares only about rich people and big corporations”: it’s true.

The GOP cares ONLY about them. If you’re not rich or a multinational corporation, the GOP doesn’t give a rat’s turd about you, if you pardon my language.

This explains why tens of millions of Americans, including the Reagan Democrats, have deserted the GOP, and why the Party has lost the popular vote in 5 of the last 6 presidential elections.

Everytime it came down to choosing between Corporate America and ordinary Americans, Republicans sided with Corporate America. They have always chosen K Street over Main Street. They allowed Corporate America to outsource millions of jobs overseas.

So the working class – Reagan Democrats – left the GOP, which betrayed them. And without them, the GOP will never win any election ever again.

But today’s Democrats are not much better. Few of them care about the US industry or US workers. Most of them, including Barack Obama, are in the pockets of big corporations and rich people, too. (How do you think Obama amassed so much money for both presidential campaigns, and why do you think is he so cozy with wealthy CEOs like Jeffrey Immelt?)

Hence why both parties support the idiocy of “free trade”, despite Gallup telling us that 64% of Americans would prefer to buy American-made goods, EVEN if it meant paying more than for foreign-made goods.

The only way politicians will start listening to the people is if they’re told, in no uncertain terms, that they WILL be voted out of office if they continue to disarm America unilaterally – in the trade or military arena – no matter how much money they get from their corporate sugar daddies.

Folks, please call your Congressman and both of your Senators and tell them you will NEVER vote for them EVER AGAIN if they vote for any new free trade agreements.

Illegal Immigrants: The Real Occupy Movement Taking Over America!

Illegals Protest America

Illegals Protest America 

There is an occupy movement bigger than Occupy Wall Street. This movement is  more dangerous to the American culture and society than a bunch of unwashed heathen pot-heads who want everything handed to them on a coke-lined mirror.

These occupiers are occupying American jobs, educations, welfare, healthcare and public housing. These occupiers march in protest against the American people and this country they insist they have the right to conquer. And now, these occupiers want to occupy the American vote without legalization and naturalization. They believe they have the right to amnesty.

united states of mexico

I’m talking about illegal aliens.

Illegal aliens spell disaster for American jobs, education, and culture if their occupation is not stopped, the borders controlled, The DREAM Act crushed, Obamacare repealed, and deportation enforced.

In 1985 America was warned of this dangerous occupation. Americans were told illegal immigration would destroy the United States. The invasion had many legislators worried about America’s future if deportation and border security were not enforced. Republican Colorado Governor Richard Lamm forewarned that unless illegal immigration is halted,

[We] shall leave a legacy of strife, violence, and joblessness for our children. 

Democratic Florida Senator Lawton Chiles said that

[I]f we do not regain control of our borders . . . I think that within ten years, we will not recognize the United States as the United States we see today.

Although legislation was enacted with intentions to halt the influx of illegal immigration—if you can truly call it working to fix the borders—it failed.

Legislation awarded amnesty and enabled foreign occupiers to continue their invasion of America.

illegal-alien-amnesty

Republicans and Democrats prefer securing their lips to the rear ends of illegal aliens in order to occupy the Hispanic vote versus protecting America’s best interests.

Foreign occupation of this nation is out of control: “One of every 11 Arizona residents is an illegal immigrant; in California it is one of every 15,”  and the numbers rise daily, making Lamm and Chiles’ predictions about an unrecognizable United States true.

Senior Fellow Victor Davis Hanson of the Hoover Institute notes that “labor-intensive jobs” for South West growers, once performed by Americans at top wages, are now occupied by an abundance of Mexicans under the age of 40 who are willing to work longer hours at lower wages.

Hanson says once the low-wage illegal reaches the age of 40, he or she is no longer in good health “…and older immigrants can become a drain on the economy because of their need for entitlement programs.”

This explains the tens of billions spent annually on welfare to illegal aliens by American taxpayers.

With over 20 million Americans out of work and losing everything, you mean to tell me there aren’t any Americans who would take those jobs to regain their losses and rebuild?

Another problem is illegal women working as housekeepers in affluent neighborhoods at lower wages than American citizens would receive. The employer assumes they are profiting from paying less for services, but in actuality, foreign governments are profiting big time off the United States: Illegal immigrants have families in their home countries that they send their American earnings to.

American women whose families have lost everything should be fighting for these jobs. American women command higher wages for housework than illegals and that work can build into a lucrative business that should not be profiting foreign economies.

Americans who hire illegals are contributing to the loss of American jobs and homes. Foreign governments collect those funds, not the U.S. economy.

It is the Americans who are discriminated against every time illegals occupy American jobs and government programs.

The right thing to do is to discriminate against law-breakers.

Also: Those who hire illegals enable economic down-turns and crime in America, because many illegals have committed violent crimes against Americans.

illegal criminals

 

 

Those entering illegally are not seeking to become Americans or they would take the path of legal immigration and assimilation. By violating U.S. laws, illegals demonstrate they have no desire to work for anything but occupation of this nation. Not only should illegal immigrants be deported, but foreigners who want to enter America’s doors should pay for that right.

As Gary S. Becker of the Hoover Institute notes:

[A]mnesty now would encourage future illegal immigration in the hope of a further amnesty. Amnesty makes a mockery of immigration laws and rewards those who came illegally, even as many potential immigrants wait years for the right to come legally.

 

Becker furthers states that:

[S]elling the right to immigrate would be the best approach to legal immigration. Among other benefits, the revenue from immigrants’ payments could reduce taxes. Paying for the right to immigrate would also negate the argument that immigrants get a free ride when they gain health care and other benefits. Moreover, making immigrants pay would attract the type of immigrants who came much earlier in American history: young men and women who are reasonably skilled and want to make a long-term commitment to the United States. They would be willing to pay a perhaps sizable price because they would stand to benefit significantly from migrating. To prevent the price from excluding young and ambitious men and women who would like to immigrate but cannot afford to come, the U.S. government could encourage a loan program that would be similar to the loans available to college students. The analogy is close because immigration, like college, is an investment in human capital.

 

Coming to America legally paid off in the past, those immigrants contributed to the growth of the American economy versus its destruction. Today we see a destructive occupation of our nation’s values, culture, heritage, language, government, and our very history.

Every leader who allows illegal immigrant occupation and sides with amnesty is enabling the takeover of America by people who do not hold America or the American people in high regards.

This occupation must stop, but it can only happen with the American voter electing right leadership in power; leadership that wants to save this nation, not see it fall into the hands of foreign occupation.

White House Has ‘Peculiar’ Justification for Illegal Immigration

John C Calhoun, the newest White House advisor on immigration.
John C Calhoun, the newest White House advisor on immigration.

John C Calhoun, the newest White House advisor on immigration.

Someone in the White House is channeling John C. Calhoun.

Stephen Dinan, of the Washington Times, writes the White House has issued a report that claims, “…the strength and continuity of rural America is contingent on common–sense immigration reform.” In other words, the availability of your boutique tomatoes depends on amnesty for illegals.

The Obama Administration believes rural America, much like the antebellum South, has a ‘peculiar institution’ the rest of the nation must respect. In this instance the 50 to 60 percent of the agricultural workforce that’s in the country illegally.

In the 20–page report Calhoun, whoops…the authors, claim farmers are having trouble hiring workers and as a result are cutting back on planting or “are moving operations abroad as a result of the labor shortage.”

That must require some doing. Are they boxing up the plantation and shipping it — dirt and all — to foreign shores? What happens to the hole left behind in Mississippi? Do administration staffers really think produce is grown in the back room of Whole Foods, adjacent to the customer bathroom?

The justification for tolerating widespread illegality among sodbusters goes like this, “Under the current system, rural America is losing opportunity and harvests due to lack of a stable workforce. Coupled with a decline in native-born rural populations, the strength and continuity of rural America is contingent on common-sense immigration reform that improves job opportunity, provides local governments with the tools they need to succeed, and increases economic growth.”

The entire argument sounds suspiciously like Calhoun’s justification for slavery. He contended, according to Wikipedia, “Southern whites, outnumbered in the United States by voters of the more densely-populated Northern states, were one such minority deserving special protection in the legislature.”

The only real difference is how the workforce arrived to participate in the vital rural economy. In Calhoun’s day slaves arrived under duress, in Obama’s day the helots volunteer. Either way the rest of the country is supposed to tolerate and approve of what Democrats desire.

Both systems undermine our domestic labor market, penalize low–income Americans and reward those with no respect for the rule of law, which in this instance includes both employers and employees.

A simple application of market forces would solve the farmer’s labor problem. Right now there’s little demand among U.S. citizens for agriculture jobs at wages that are depressed by illegal immigration. Close the border while raising wages and watch the wonder of the marketplace at work.

Or invest in mechanization and replace the human factor with machines. Farmers made the switch from horses to tractors. Does the administration think automobile manufacturers would have invested in robotics if they had access to illiterate high school dropouts willing to work for minimum wage and no benefits?

The question answers itself. America would have been entertained by footage of workers fleeing Chipotle and General Motors when INS vans pulled into the parking lot. At least until the Obama re–election campaign began.

Agriculture lobbyists, dripping with concern for harried shoppers, contend that raising wages will mean produce prices go up. That’s a risk I’m willing to take. Besides, if gutless Republican Congressmen would force the federal government cut back on the double subsidy agriculture policy currently in place — farmers are guaranteed a minimum price and get paid by Uncle Sam, while consumers are stuck with higher prices at the grocery store — the reduction in prices caused by letting the market work without government interference, could well balance the increase in costs due to paying a market wage.

Strangely, the White House report issues a vague threat to begin “immigration enforcement actions that could tighten the supply of farm labor.” That appears to be a reference to deportation; something the Obama Administration essentially ended last summer. Threatening to do something Republicans have been demanding for months is hardly a credible threat and will do nothing to put pressure on the House to pass an amnesty bill.

Unfortunately for the administration, this warning is old, discredited news. Alabama passed a bill cracking down on illegal “rural” workers in 2011 and Democrats used many of the same scare stories. Yet Alabama produce did not vanish from the shelves. In fact, Gina Loudon reported, “Immediately after the bill (HB 56) was passed, the unemployment rate began to drop. Since the bill passed last legislative session, in some counties, unemployment has dropped dramatically. For example, unemployment has gone from 10 percent to 6.9 percent in the former illegal immigrant hotbed of Marshall County, Alabama.”

But it was so hard on farmers. According to a Reuter’s story, Jerry Spencer estimates 90 percent of the illegals left the county (note to Members of Congress) and he started recruiting the unemployed to replace the vanished amigos. “There’s a fair amount of reticence on the part of farmers to take the city folk and unemployed workers,” Spencer said. “They really hate letting go of their amigos because they’re so problem-free. They don’t squabble.”

Yeah, there’s nothing like a field full of docile illegals to make one feel like a real patron.

Before the Civil War Democrats and their politicians exploited slaves so they could live in the manner to which they had grown accustomed. Modern Democrat politicians, and the businesses they enable, are willing to exploit illegal immigrants for the same reason. Both sets of Democrats are more than happy to dump the resulting social costs on the rest of the country.

The question is how much longer are we going to put up with it?

Large American Pork Producer Sold to Chinese

Virginia-based pork producer Smithfield Foods (SFD.N) entered an agreement with China’s Shuanghui International for a $4.7 billion, all-cash buyout.

Smithfield has been under pressure from it’s largest shareholder, Continental Grains, to break into multiple companies and increase its dividend. The meat producer opted to sell out to foreign interests.

The deal will likely lead to an increased flow of American-grown pork to the Asian nation. A change that could impact pork and pork product prices at home.

Smithfield, the largest producer of pork in the world, operates processing facilities in North Carolina and several countries throughout the world.

The deal will require Federal Trade Commission approval.

The Bugs are Back

The cicada: Mascot of the federal bureaucrat?

The cicada: Mascot of the federal bureaucrat?

People in the Washington, DC area like to worry. Part of it’s because leftists are required to show “concern” about the darnedest things and part of it is because a large government workforce has to discover something to do or at least find a way to look busy.

For example, the National Weather Service suffered a crippling budget cut of about 3 percent when the sequester went into effect. I had assumed that after the cut hit, a spokesperson would inform us there would be no more rain or rainbows due to evil Republican budget cuts.

Instead the service is now under a hiring freeze and unable to begin what the WaPost called “a major pilot project aimed at helping the local community prepare for extreme weather.”

For those of you who tuned in late, “extreme weather” is what used to be “global warming” before it stopped getting warm.

According to the Post, “Previously, the emergency response meteorologists were tasked to assist “on the scene” during major weather events, offering on-demand briefings to emergency managers and stakeholders. They also were charged with developing more event-specific forecasts, explaining possible impacts in detail, and getting key messages out using new communication technologies and social media.”

In laymen’s terms this means highly–paid government meteorologists would appear during a hurricane or tornado to tell damp citizens with frizzy hair that they had just been hit by a hurricane or tornado. The weather people would then pass out small, waterproof maps with colorful depictions of pressure zones and isobars. Then advise survivors to take shelter, cut down on salt and keep hydrated. Once the citizens were dispersed, the weather service employees would be free to teach elected officials how to post heroic photos of themselves in galoshes on Twitter.

How they intend to accomplish this without power remains to be seen. A more practical plan would involve teaching Pepco customers how to buy and install a generator, since long term loss of electricity is much more common here than severe weather.

Somehow, Oklahomans have managed to endure weather without federal intervention. Twice during my youth I lived in Duncan, OK. Smack dab in the middle of tornado alley. In spite of the fact we did not have weather service types parachuting in to state the obvious, we managed to survive. The municipal tornado siren sounded, you picked up the babies, grabbed the old ladies and headed for the nearest tornado/bomb shelter or leaped in a nearby bar ditch.

I distinctly remember one evening when we gathered in our neighbor’s backyard shelter to wait out the alert. Since I was just a kid, I had no idea how long a tornado lasted. My idea of a long duration was waiting for Christmas and that took forever.

What’s more, I was a chubby kid who suffered “food anxiety” before it came to Michelle Obama’s attention. Not wanting to add hunger pangs to potential tornado problems, I filled my pockets with cheddar cheese. (It could have been that I also wanted to prevent diarrhea, but my memory is fuzzy.) This caused something of a commotion later in the week when Mom opened the washer and saw the laundry looked like nachos.

So without the weather service to gin up worry, the media here has turned to the insect world and found this summer will mark the return of the cicada. Cicadas sleep underground for 17 years and then emerge blinking into the sunlight, looking for sex and a square meal. This alone would make the cicada a perfect mascot for the less motivated federal bureaucrat.

Insects on the make would not normally be an issue for the front page of the Metro section. What makes the cicadas newsworthy is they return in the billions. They cover the landscape and make a loud buzzing sound to attract a mate, similar to disco but without mirror balls.

The insects are about an inch long with red eyes. The outer shell is crunchy but they’re soft on the inside, much like a Democrat. The reporter even found publicity–hungry omnivore who claimed he eats cicadas. His recipe calls for sautéing them with lemon and butter. I can’t remember if he serves the finished product with MD–20/20 or WD–40.

After sex cicadas don’t smoke, which would at least shut them up, instead they eat the shrubbery. I actually saw a handful while walking the dogs, but the density did not begin to approach the 1,000,000/acre of which the WaPost warned. Maybe these were scouts, wary of people with frying pans.

The important part of the infestation for our purposes is that I’ve been inspired to write another song. This time to the tune of the Angel’s “My Boyfriend’s Back.”

 

The bugs are back and there’s gonna be trouble

(Hey la, Hey la, the bugs are back)

When you see them fly you better cut out on the double

(Hey la, Hey la, the bugs are back)

 

Cicadas been gone for such a long time,

(Hey la, Hey la, the bugs are back)

Better watch your step don’t slip on insect slime

(Hey la, Hey la, the bugs are back)

 

And the trees are full of buzzin’

And the males are wantin lovin’

 

A mating dance right on your front lawn

(Hey la, Hey la, the bugs are back)

They’re here right now, about a trillion strong

(Hey la, Hey la, the bugs are back)

 

Buried underground for 17 years

(Hey la, Hey la, the bugs are back)

It’s time to mate, so cover up your ears

(Hey la, Hey la, the bugs are back)

 

And the trees are full of buzzin’

And the males are wantin lovin’

 

Beady red eyes on a body one inch long (Wa–ooh, Wa–ooh)

Eating your shrubs while they play a mating song  (Wa–ooh)

It’s time to flee

 

The bugs are back and there’s gonna be trouble

(Hey la, Hey la, the bugs are back)

When you see them fly you better cut out on the double

(Hey la, Hey la, the bugs are back)

Rand Loves The Drones? Not Quite…

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Kentucky Senator Rand Paul has learned another key lesson of the “age of sound bytes.” During an appearance on Neil Cavuto’s Fox Business Network show, Paul pointed out he didn’t mind using drones or any kind of technology against an “imminent threat,” whether it was a terrorist or “someone coming out of a liquor store with a weapon and 50 dollars in cash.” He also said it didn’t matter if it was a cop or a drone who killed the criminal. To fans of his father, ex-Texas Congressman Ron Paul, the reaction was fast and it wasn’t pretty.

Rand Paul was called someone who was “bullsh—tting,” a “politician” (which he is), someone who supported “the militarizing of police” and someone who needed to get away from neoconservatives because they were “rotting your brain.” Even Matt Drudge threw up the clever headline, “RAND LEARNS TO LOVE THE DRONE!”

However, people are ignoring the second half of his quote. Paul specifically said it was different if a drone wanted to go over someone’s hot tub or yard just to look at you. Even when Cavuto asked what if police were searching for a criminal and accidentally found something “bad,” Paul didn’t budge. He said no one should be looking into someone’s backyard and didn’t want surveillance when there wasn’t “probable cause.” Paul made it very clear police must have a warrant to use a drone, unless there was a “killer on the loose” or someone “running around with a gun.”

 

This is very similar to what he said during his 13 hour filibuster and the comments he made afterward. It’s also part of the no domestic drone strike legislation he and Texas Senator Ted Cruz co-sponsored. Drones can only be used on “dangerous criminals” and people who poses an “imminent threat of death or serious bodily injury” to another person. So Paul is being consistent.

 

There are still problems with how Paul worded what he said. The definition of a “dangerous criminal” may mean someone like the Boston terrorists, who engaged in an active shootout with police. But, as Paul pointed out in his filibuster, the Fusion Center of Missouri considers “dangerous criminals” as people who have pro-life bumper stickers, people who may want more border security, support third party candidates or might be in the Constitution Party. Unless the “dangerous criminal” terminology is strictly defined, the use of drones by governments on American soil could end up being as slippery of a slope as warrant-less wiretapping. Even with the strictest of definitions, it may not be worth it, despite how awesome the technology is.

 

By making broad comments on an issue, Paul giving potential political enemies more ammunition against him. It also disappoints his supporters and those who consider him a “political hero.” Plus, the liquor store example is a bad example, which Paul realized. He made it clear in a statement he released Tuesday. After all, hindsight is 20-20.

 

There may be ways to figure out how people in the private sector (i.e. farmers) could use drones, without raising questions about privacy. Drone countermeasures are already being developed and sold to those who can afford it. That may be the ultimate solution.

 

But in the end, Lucius Fox may have it right when he raised questions about technology Bruce Wayne developed in The Dark Knight. Even when it was obvious Batman could use a city-wide tracking device to find the Joker, Fox said, “No one should have it,” because the tracker could be abused.

 

It may be time for us to listen to Lucius Fox on drones. Cool technology, but not worth using.

 

USDA wants meat origins on labels

C. K. Hartman (CC)

C. K. Hartman (CC)

C. K. Hartman (CC)


Ever think about where the cow was born and slaughtered when you were biting into a nice, juicy burger? If you’re like most people, probably not. But that might change if the U.S. Department of Agriculture gets its way. Taking “truth in advertising” to a whole new level, the USDA wants to include the location where livestock is born, raised, and slaughtered – along with the dates these things occurred – on meat packaging.

While the reasoning behind this might seem at least a little logical, at least when it comes to tracking meat that causes illness in humans, this isn’t a business-friendly policy particularly for imported meat. Additionally, as with any other governmental requirements in business, this will eventually affect food prices for consumers, and not in a good way. Canada and Mexico have leveled complaints about this proposed policy, stating that it amounts to “thinly-veiled protectionism” meant to corner them out of the U.S. food market.

The Food Marketing Institute, which represents retail giants like Target and single-store groceries, says the new rules will cost many millions of dollars to implement and result in higher food prices.

Canada and Mexico filed legal objections with the World Trade Organization, arguing that their livestock exporters would be hurt by what they see as a protectionist policy. The U.S. lost the initial judgment and again on appeal.
Following the dual setbacks, the Obama administration has until May 23 to revise the program. Changes have been made, but both Canada and Mexico say the revised regulations would still hurt their livestock exporters.

The two nations are joined by unhappy U.S. livestock and food industry groups, including the prime lobbying group for supermarkets, in alleging that it’s all too expensive and unnecessary.

Major U.S. cattle ranchers and consumer groups, however, argue that Americans want to know as much as possible about what they eat.

Of course since this policy would benefit U.S. cattle ranchers, it’s no wonder that they would claim that Americans really do want to see the word “slaughtered” on all their meat purchases. Perhaps the consumer groups also need to figure out what the public really means by the phrase “as much as possible” in this context.

Oh No! Possible Coffee Shortage!

100_0917

Dateline Guatemala! President Molina-Preez ordered release of more than $14 Million to help coffee growers battle a fungus that is affecting 70 percent of their nation’s crop.

The funds will help the 60,000 farmers spray pesticides in an attempt to halt the spread of coffee rust which kills plants. The rust has affected coffee plantations throughout Central America.

coffee_cup_with_beansIn his statement President Molina said they are concerned production could drop by 40 percent and that they have already lost 100,000 jobs with concerns the problem, if not stemmed will affect millions of residents. Coffee growers are attributing climate change and a general increase in temperature the past two years to the increased rust growth.

Honduras and Costa Rica declared national emergencies last month. In Panama the fungus has affected at least 60 percent of the crop this year.

Watch out coffee drinkers. Soon your pot may be empty!

Read more at CBS News.

Drones Would Have Aided Americans in Benghazi if Cows Were Involved

Cow drone

 

Cow drone

When four dying Americans in Benghazi needed fire-powered drones to take out Islamic militants firing mortars, those hovering drones controlled by Obama’s D.C. administration never fired on the enemy. Maybe the Americans inside the Benghazi Consulate should have kept cows at the Embassy. It’s obvious our spying government holds a deeper grudge against cow manure than terrorists massacring Americans.

According to reports: 

The EPA is using drones to spy on cattle ranchers in Nebraska and Iowa in order to make sure that farmers dispose of waste properly.

That’s right Americans, if you are a farmer and your cow manure is disposed of improperly, the Fourth Amendment-breaking, photographing spy drones flying over your farms will tell Washington. And then you and your cows will be sorry!

Since it’s lawful for the government to “monitor real estate to assure itself that the occupier of the lands is not adversely affecting the natural habitat,” perhaps the Americans in Benghazi should have told Obama and Hillary that the Taliban mortars were filled with cow dung that would “adversely affect Libya’s natural habitat.”  That might have moved the administration to save Americans and completely annihilate the Taliban.

Obama has no problem using drones to kill terrorists and spy on American farmers, but he has great difficulty when aiding our military begging for help.

Look at the laws Obama uses to conduct the War on Terror he vowed to end and ask why he ignored four men, in his service, fighting for their lives.

Obama uses Article 51 of the UN Charter  (the UN has declared it is against the drone war)  which “includes the targeted killing of persons such as high-level al-Qaeda leaders who are planning attacks” to conduct drone strikes: 371 of the 424 drone strikes since 2002 have been conducted by Obama.

There is no doubt drones eliminate threats to overseas military and the United States.  So, if taking out the enemy is vital to U.S. security, why didn’t Obama (who wrongfully entered Libya without Congressional consent) or Hillary use weaponized drones to aid four Americans fighting and dying inside an American Consulate?

Then there is the National Defense Authorization Act.

Do readers remember why President Obama signed the controversial law on December 31, 2011 (full explanation he on law language here)? This law that detains Guantanamo Bay terrorists indefinitely, and stipulates unconstitutional detention and assassination of any American citizen suspected of terror, is supposed to protect military and their families overseas. That would include aiding those who died in Benghazi. Or one would reason it to be so.

Obama  said he had reservations about signing the law (which gives unconstitutional provisions to the president), but did so:

chiefly because it authorizes funding for the defense of the United States and its interests abroad, crucial services for service members and their families, and vital national security programs that must be renewed.

 

Apparently those services were never “crucial” enough to extend any “interest” or “security” to Americans being massacred by brutal terrorists in Benghazi.

American farmers with filthy barnyards better look out!

 

obama spy drone

 

But forget the NDAA, the president has Special Operations Teams readily available to him at all times, in all places, including the Middle East and Mediterranean, who are prepared for capture and kill raids, such as the one that took out Osama bin Laden.

The president also has:

 [T]he 2001 Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF), which the U.S. Congress passed just days after 9/11. The statute empowers the president ‘to use all necessary and appropriate force’ in pursuit of those responsible for the terrorist attacks.

 

Where was that protection for those men fighting for their lives in the Benghazi Consulate? Those men fought for seven hours, Ambassador Stevens was gang-raped and tortured to death, Ty Woods begged Washington for help, but was told “stand down,” even as fire-powered drones, meant to provide security, hovered overhead, but were never given orders to fire on the enemy.

What the hell is the point of the NDAA, AUMF, UN Charters, or any special operation teams if the president refuses to utilize military power to bring terrorists attacking Americans to their end?

Why bother signing controversial laws you claim protect overseas military if you tell them to stand down when they must fight?

Why send American troops overseas to fight the enemy if they are not allowed to battle without asking permission, denied help during combat, and told “stand down?”

And why are American drones used to take out terrorists in Islamic countries and spy on America’s cows, but those drones were never used to help U.S. military personnel in Benghazi who begged  for help on September 11th?

Obama orders spy drones to fly over American farms, photograph evidence of cow poop, yet refused to order weaponized drones to fire on Taliban terrorists killing Americans in Benghazi. Why?

Answer: Because controlling the constitutional rights of Americans, and our cow manure, rather than aiding our military when it needs help, is what is “necessary and appropriate” “responsibility” to “pursuit” a well-kept and deodorized America.

Maybe our men in Benghazi should have told Obama and Hillary that the terrorists were spewing cow dung all over Benghazi’s streets. Then perhaps the two would have said “Don’t stand down! Fire on those terrorists! It will make all the difference for the environment”

Lady Tries to Buy iPads with Food Stamps

crockpot

Last month was busy so I missed the story about a woman who tried to buy an iPad with her Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program card (read Food Stamps).

Not only did this woman try to buy the iPads but when her card was declined she went to another store to try again. (Let’s give her points for the old adage: If at first you don’t succeed…) You can watch the clip below:

Okay, so most people don’t try to abuse the government’s food assistance program, but we see these stories way too often.

What happened to a program that started out with such good intentions?

Most readers may not know the history of the food stamp program. Here’s a short and sweet version (you can read the Wikipedia description here.)

Following the heels of the Great Depression our government wanted to get farm surpluses to the hungry inner city people. Those needing government assistance could get food stamps which allowed them to ‘purchase’ a 50-50 mix of both government surplus foods and regular groceries. Interestingly, the program ended when the widespread unemployment dropped in 1943. (A government program that ended itself? My, how times have changed.)food stamps

When the program returned in the ‘60’s the farm surplus component was removed. In the years following eligibility requirements were lessened, nutritional standards disallowed, and somewhere along the line the government decided it might hurt the feelings of individuals to accept assistance so the program changed its name and offered debit cards in place of the shameful food stamps.

President Obama, in his 2009 stimulus package, allowed for further expansion of the program with increased eligibility and each month in 2012 the number of recipients reached record levels. Today about 47Million Americans participate in this program. (There are about 307Million total in the US–so about 1 in 6.)

A far cry from helping the inner city poor receive farm surpluses in the original program.

An interesting note: When researching the statistics, a University of Maryland study showed that for every dollar received in food stamps only 17-47 cents was actually added to the food expenditures in families. Instead much of the ‘money’ collected by the family went to Income Maintenance; that is money that households are able to spend on other things because they no longer have to spend it on food.

So there you have it. What started as a simple plan to get farmers’ surplus to the hungry people has turned into another example of government run amok. Back in the 1970s, about one out of every 50 Americans was on food stamps. Today, about one out of every 6.5 Americans is on food stamps.

Without requiring nutritional standards food stamp recipients are allowed to buy more expensive prepackaged, prepared and/or junk foods. The amount of actual money that goes to put more food on the table is actually a fraction of what is received; people would rather reduce their grocery money and use the program to increase their income. Additionally, continued government assistance has created additional dependency on what should be a short term program, just for emergency aid.

Many of my friends are fed up. They watch the woman in line buy roast and seafood using her EBT card and then pay cash for her cigarettes and beer while they buy chicken because that’s all the budget allows. They buy bags of dried beans or peas cooking them up with the leftover ham bone to provide a nutritional yet inexpensive meal while they tell the kids ‘no chips this week’ because they’re saving to buy a new television while the neighbor brags how his girlfriend gets enough food stamps so they were able to buy a big screen TV last month and he can watch all the cable football games.

Maybe we need to return to the original program. Maybe we need to make some changes. The other day a friend offered the following suggestions:

  • Restrict food stamps to nutritional only foods; nothing with high sugar, salt or fat content
  • Only certain meat/proteins qualify; none of this lobster and prime rib…eat chicken like the rest of us
  • Give more value for fresh foods and produce (Former governor Mike Huckabee proposed a variable rate plan ie., if a person on food stamps bought fresh fruits or vegetables, $1 in food stamps could buy $1.25 in fresh produce. crockpotHowever, if the same person purchased a candy bar, that $1 would be worth .75.)
  • Give the government surplus foods directly to recipients and reduce the amount of grocery dollars. This program is not meant to replace income. While helping at a local food bank my nephew asked, “Aren’t these people poor?” After hearing the affirmative he replied, “Then why do so many have iPhones? I can’t afford an iPhone.”
  • Give each family a crockpot and recipes. Require recipients to attend cooking classes.

If your pride gets in the way and you don’t want to participate good. The safety nets in place were meant to help the disabled, elderly and infirm and for those in short term need. Not to be a lifestyle choice. We don’t need to wait for the government to take care of us.

Idealistic proposals with the government caring for all our needs is indeed where the frightening New World Order conspiracy ideas arise. This country was not built by the people being dependent on the government, to the contrary.  We must find a way to stop this growing dependency on the government.

Dodging a Bullet; Congress Works to Avert Milk Spike

Glass_of_milk_on_tablecloth

Glass_of_milk_on_tableclothIt appears congress may find enough votes and keep the farm bill alive for another year.

Apparently, the angst caused by the idea of $8 per gallon milk over the Christmas family table was enough to motivate bipartisan action within the agriculture committee of both the House and Senate.

The current farm bill, passed in 2008, expired in September. If  the current one extended by January 1, farm programs would lose billions of dollars in financing and would revert to the 1949 law. The old law would reintroduce higher government price supports for milk, corn, rice, wheat and other crops and could lead to higher consumer prices and federal spending. An extension of the bill would help struggling farmers across the Midwest, who battled the worst drought in 50 years.

Fox News: A spokesman for House Speaker John Boehner said Sunday that Republican leaders had not decided how they would proceed on the farm extension, though a vote could come as soon as Monday.

One potential hurdle for the one-year extension is its cost: The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office on Sunday estimated the extension, which also includes disaster assistance for farmers affected by drought, could cost more than $1 billion this budget year.

For what it’s worth, the author’s lactose intolerant family has long been using enriched rice milk at a cost of about $2.59 per quart. And yes, that would be well over $10 per gallon. Maybe we could get a few subsidies thrown our way?

Private Sector Ends Unwanted Alien Invasion

Hydrilla: Michelle Obama's heart-healthy next menu item.

Hydrilla: Michelle Obama’s heart-healthy next menu item.

Prince William County, VA is suffering the ill effects of another alien invasion and a collection of politicians is engaged in vigorous hand–wringing over possible solutions.

No, this isn’t another rant about illegals clogging 7/11 parking lots. This time it’s alien plants clogging Quantico Creek.

Recently Dumfries Mayor Jerry Foreman, Del. Mark Dudenhefer (R–2nd), Supervisor Maureen Caddigan, and Dumfries Councilmember Helen Reynolds took a pontoon boat tour of Quantico Creek. (Oddly enough Supervisor Frank Principi, a Democrat who is usually an enthusiastic participant anytime commuter ferries are involved, did not make the voyage.)

Creeping along at about the same speed as OJ’s SUV, the group’s mission was to see for themselves the extent of the hydrilla crop currently infesting Quantico Creek. Hydrilla is a green, leafy and invasive species from Florida that might do well in a vegan’s salad bowl, but causes extensive problems in lakes and waterways.

Hydrilla also has much in common with the federal government: It grows and grows, and as it increases in size all surrounding activity slowly grinds to a halt as a result of silt buildup and tendril blockage.

In Quantico Creek hydrilla is so extensive it’s impossible for boaters to cross and the alien vegetation has crowded out white lilies, swans and crabs.

Unfortunately the creek touches a number of jurisdictions so agreeing on a solution is going to be difficult. If the problem is solved, everyone wants credit but if there are problems no one wants to take the blame. Plus, anytime a political decision takes place outdoors, it attracts “environmentalists” with all the attendant scare stories, warnings and potential lawsuits.

However, I have a suggestion with two advantages in that it saves time and eliminates hydrilla. Simply call the Montclair Property Owners Assn. (MPOA) because it solved the very same problem over ten years ago

Back in 1994 Lake Montclair was rapidly becoming Swamp Montclair. Hydrilla covered approximately 45 percent of the lake. Lakefront property owners were rapidly losing the use of the lake. After easing into the water — jumping was out of the question since it was like leaping into a bowl of mold chowder — you felt like Moses in the bulrushes. The obnoxious plant would rub against your bare legs like a sex harasser on Metro’s Red line.

The MPOA was offered the same three options the politicians are considering. The first is harvesting. Think John Deere combines in the water. Unfortunately, this option is particularly attractive to politicians because it’s perpetual. You don’t eliminate the hydrilla; you just give it a yearly styling.

In fact, the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments has been running a harvesting program on the Potomac for almost 40 years. The Army Corps of Engineers (the same experts in charge of levies in New Orleans!) mows the river annually and everyone involved is happy. Politicians get to appropriate and show “concern” for the problem and the Corps of Engineers gets to justify its budget. A win–win for everyone but the taxpayers.

Montclair could have purchased a huge harvesting machine and donated the annual hydrilla crop to the school lunch program. But someone has to operate the harvester, repair the harvester and store the harvester, which means the cost never ends. Appealing to government but a problem for the private sector.

The second option is always carp. Montclair tried neutered Japanese carp in an effort to harvest hydrilla the natural way. I used to throw rice off the dock in an effort to entice passing carp into my section of the lake, but it never worked. And neither did the carp.

It could have been neutered carp suffer from a testosterone deficit that affects their appetite or maybe they were just resentful after losing their manhood. Or it could have been the hydrilla infestation was so extensive solving the problem would have required a concentration of carp dense enough to allow one to walk across the lake without getting your feet wet.

I’m reasonably sure the politicians won’t opt for carp either, not because it’s ineffective, but because it’s tough to have their photo taken hugging a live fish.

The last option is the one that works: herbicide treatment. Naturally this choice put the victims of hysterical “environmentalist” indoctrination into a tizzy because it introduces a chemical into a liquid. Of course adding salt to your soup does the same thing, but “environmentalists” are immune to analogy.

The Montclair greenies were joined by fishermen who had no problem with property owners losing the use of the lake as long as they could persuade a bass to stop hiding in the hydrilla long enough for them to hook it.

After approximately a year of debate (lightspeed in political terms) the MPOA board realized hydrilla was also adding to the cost of lake dredging; the association’s largest recurring expense. So in late 2000 the MPOA board approved a treatment with a chelated copper herbicide. Problem solved without wasting tax dollars or time. It was a perfect conservative solution: local, effective and cost–conscious. Which is another reason Mayor Foreman should call Montclair ASAP.

He’s concerned that eliminating hydrilla could cost Dumfries half its annual $4 million budget. Montclair treated an entire 110-acre lake for only $20,730.00.

 

VOODOO Food Economics

snap

The USDA, in trying to increase participation in the SNAP or food stamp program, claims that for every dollar transferred to beneficiaries a dollar and seventy-two cents in economic activity is generated.

If we were to follow this mushy thinking to it’s logical conclusion, then if we all quit our jobs, closed our businesses and went on the program, we would live in a prosperous nation.

To illustrate this thinking, and expose it’s fallacy, suppose you have ten dollars to spend on food. The government takes one of those dollars from you, and gives it to someone else to spend on food. Now you only have nine dollars to spend on food, and someone else has one of your dollars.

It gets worse. It costs money in governmental bureaucracy to transfer your dollar to someone else, so by the time the recipient receives your dollar, it is only eighty-four cents. Now you have nine dollars to spend on food, and someone else has eighty-four cents.

Still it gets worse. Suppose instead of your original ten dollars, you only had nine dollars and sixty cents. The government takes your sixty cents, and borrows the other forty cents from China, at 3% interest, and gives you the bill. Now you have nine dollars to spend on food, but you owe China forty cents plus 3% interest on the forty cents, and someone else has eighty-four cents to spend on food.

The Chinese are better off by $0.012 (the interest on the forty cents borrowed in your name), the government is better off by $0.16 (administrative costs), but you are worse off by $1.012

Now instead your original $9.60 to spend on food, you only have $8.588 and the person your money was taken to help has $.084, making the total amount to spend on food $9.428

Wouldn’t it be better to improve the job outlook by putting into practice the recommendations of Obama’s own Jobs Czar Jeff Immelt, who told CNN in September of 2011 the way to create jobs in America was to create a stable and predictable tax environment with lower corporate rates and closed loopholes to be competitive with other countries, smaller government, reduced debt and deficit, a trained workforce, a friendlier regulatory environment, and more certainty on health care costs and regulations.

Weak Senate Votes Down Minimal Food Stamp Cuts

ron johnson

Americans are speaking out demanding that the excessive spending be stopped. But is Congress hearing?

Under the Obama administration the Food Stamp program (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) has skyrocketed with 44 million now receiving assistance. A proposed amendment by Senator Jeff Sessions giving a modest cut to the program was voted down by the Democratic Senate. The amendment was hoped to add financial eligibility to the program (28 states currently have no limit on financial assets for those receiving assistance) and to stop the bonuses paid by some states used to increase enrollment. Watch Senator Ron Johnson as he explains the challenges of making even small changes to this program.

 

US and China sign Agriculture Strategic Plan

The Secretary of Agriculture, Tom Vilsack signed a historic “Plan of Strategic Cooperation” with China’s Minister of Agriculture, Han Changfu at the US-China Agricultural Symposium. Bilateral cooperation in Food safety, food security and sustainable agriculture were the focus of this month’s agricultural symposium.

US-China Agricultural Symposium 2012

US-China Agricultural Symposium 2012

“This symposium and plan are a product of a vision I share with my dear old friend Minister Han for the United States and China to work more collaboratively in the future to benefit our nations and agriculture around the world,” Vilsack said.

The Plan of Strategic Cooperation between US And China will help build and guide the two countries’ agricultural relationship for the next 5 years.

As previously mentioned in the article “USDA hosting first ever US-China Agricultural Symposium”, with good relations in place, this will open the door to more agricultural exports to China, including US beef exports.

This news coupled with the USDA creating Start2Farm.gov to help beginner farmers start or grow their farms. There is a great deal of interest in the US agricultural arena, which could lead to greater agricultural growth and prosperity.

America’s position as “Breadbasket of the World” is already being eroded by countries like Canada, Soviet Union and China. Can this historic plan secure our position as the world’s breadbasket? With hopes and anticipation high, we will have to wait and see, as only time will tell.

For more information on the USDA’s Start2Farm.gov project, take a look at the article here at CDN.

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