“I have no personal gripe with Romney. I don’t believe him to be an evil man. Quite the opposite: he appears to be a loving husband and father. Besides, evil requires conviction, which Romney lacks. But he is a dangerous man. Unprincipled ambition always is. Infinite malleability is its own vice because it’s infinitely corruptible by others of ignoble intentions.” – Charles Blow, NYT
What could go wrong? Here is one of those Republican austerity measures that all of us will need to accept so that millionaires won’t have to pay higher taxes:
READ PROPOSED RULE / SUBMIT COMMENTS BY APRIL 26, 2012
As early as next week, the government will end debate on a cost-cutting, modernization proposal it hopes to fully implement by the end of the year. A plan that is setting off alarm bells among food science watchdogs because it turns over most of the chicken inspection duties to the companies that produce the birds for sale.
The USDA hopes to save $85 million over three years by laying off 1,000 government inspectors and turning over their duties to company monitors who will staff the poultry processing lines in plants across the country.
The poultry companies expect to save more than $250 million a year because they, in turn will be allowed to speed up the processing lines to a dizzying 175 birds per minute with one USDA inspector at the end of the line. Currently, traditional poultry lines move at a maximum of 90 birds per minute, with up to three USDA inspectors on line.
Whistleblower inspectors opposed to the new USDA rule say the companies cannot be trusted to watch over themselves. They contend that companies routinely pressure their employees not to stop the line or slow it down, making thorough inspection for contaminants, tumors and evidence of disease nearly impossible. “At that speed, it’s all a blur,” one current inspector tells ABC News.
And from Mother Jones:
But Food & Water Watch’s investigation of the USDA’s longtime pilot program to test the new procedures casts serious doubt on the food safety claim. Using the Freedom of Information Act, FWW obtained inspection documents from slaughterhouses in the pilot program for the first eight months of 2011. The reports relate to the 20 to 80 randomly selected birds the USDA inspectors looked at during each shift to check up on company-hired inspectors. The results, from FWW’s summary, make pink slime look downright appetizing (full report here):
Company employees miss many defects in poultry carcasses. The inspection category that had the highest error rate was ‘Other Consumer Protection 4′ for dressing defects such as feathers, lungs, oil glands, trachea and bile still on the carcass. The average error rate for this category in the chicken slaughter facilities was 64 percent and 87 percent in turkey slaughter facilities. In one turkey slaughter facility, nearly 100 percent of samples found this category of defect.
It gets worse. In the period from March to August 2011, 90 percent of the defects found by the USDA inspectors involved “visible fecal contamination that was missed by company employees.” One inspector’s report contained this unsettling anecdote:
I observed a section of intestine wrapped around the rotating paddles in the neck chiller. The intestine was approximately 1 1/2 feet in length, contained fecal material. Additionally, numerous other pieces [of] digestive tract materials, such as chicken crops and esophagus were also observed in the neck chiller…This regulatory noncompliance would potentially allow for the cross contamination of necks by digestive contents material such as ingesta and/or feces.
Ugh. FWW reports that the public has until April 26 to comment on the program, which could be rolled out as soon as October. Meanwhile, the USDA has made clear that it wants to institute the new rules.
It’s all about money. The GOP cares about the corporations, their CEOs, and their profits — not the employees, and definitely not the public health. Oh, and it also looks good to their ignorant teaparty base to be able to say they had a hand in laying off hundreds of federal workers. That’s gotta be the icing on the cake. That these feds protect our food supply doesn’t matter a bit. It’s the U.S. of Corporatism: profit over people.
READ PROPOSED RULE / SUBMIT COMMENTS BY APRIL 26, 2012
Anyway, if you plan to continue eating chicken that’s inspected by the corporation turning a profit on how much it can push out the door in an hour, you might find this information from FSIS useful:
Salmonella Questions and Answers
- What is Salmonella?
- What is salmonellosis?
- What are the symptoms of salmonellosis?
- Are there long-term consequences?
- How do people get salmonellosis?
- What foods are most likely to make people sick?
- Are chickens labeled “Kosher,” “free-range,” “organic,” or “natural” lower in Salmonella bacteria?
- What is FSIS doing to prevent Salmonellacontamination?
- How can consumers prevent salmonellosis?
Hunter DK points out the most recent Romneybot faux pas:
…talking to people never works out well for [Mitt]:
[T]he governor sat down at a picnic table set with food and made an apparent attempt at humor.“I’m not sure about these cookies,” Mr. Romney said. “They don’t look like you made them,” he said turning to one of the women at the table. “Did you make those cookies? You didn’t, did you? No. No. They came from the local 7-Eleven bakery or wherever.” [...]
The cookies, in fact, were donated from the popular Bethel Bakery around the corner from the community center, and once Mr. Romney’s comment was broadcast on local airwaves offended residents took to Facebook and Twitter to complain. The episode was inevitably called “CookieGate.”
Yeah, way to bond with the locals. Insult their popular local cookies. Take that, Barack Obama.
What makes Mitt go all squirrelly when he’s around average people? Severely squirrelly. Is it a Mormon thing? Is he that uncomfortable around people who aren’t millionaires or famous? It’s telling that he’s so relaxed with comedians like Sean Hannity (where he can open up about dressaauuujj and such), but get him around a bunch of working or middle class people (or average women!) and the panicky babbling begins.
Why on earth would you even SAY someone brought cookies from 7-Eleven — of all places!? Unless that’s what you actually think about the unwashed masses you, reluctantly but bravely, must interact with for the Big Prize.
I’ll tell you what looked like it could have come from “the local 7-Eleven bakery:” the birthday cake Trump gave Ann Romney this week.
Buzzfeed: You can tell a lot about a person by the company they keep.
DON’T FORGET George Clooney!
“I’m disillusioned by the people who are disillusioned by Obama, quite honestly, I am. Democrats eat their own. Democrats find singular issues and go, ‘Well, I didn’t get everything I wanted.’ I’m a firm believer in sticking by and sticking up for the people whom you’ve elected. If he was a Republican running, because Republicans are better at this, they’d be selling him as the guy who stopped 400,000 jobs a month from leaving the country. They’d be selling him as the guy who saved the auto-industry. If they had the beliefs, they’d be selling him as the guy who got rid of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,’ who got Osama bin Laden. You could be selling this as a very successful three years.” (Oct/2011)
————————————WHAT THE REPUBLICAN PARTY STANDS FOR TODAY
MICHELE BACHMANN accuses President Obama of ‘waving a tar baby in the air’ – ”This is just about waving a tar baby in the air and saying that something else is a problem,” Bachmann told Florida-based conservative news organization Shark Tank on Wednesday. “I have never seen a more irresponsible president who is infantile in the way that he continually blames everyone else for his failure to first diagnose the problem and second to address the problem. It’s always everyone else’s fault,” the Tea Party darling added. The term originates from the “Uncle Remus” stories, in which a doll made of tar and turpentine is used to snare Br’er Rabbit. While “tar baby” is defined in the Merriam-Webster dictionary as “something from which it is nearly impossible to extricate oneself,” it has long been recognized as a derogatory term for African Americans.
POOF! NRA Scrubs Nugent Video From Website, YouTube – There’s plenty of convention content available on the group’s web page and YouTube channel, but you won’t find any footage of the Sunday afternoon discussion with Nugent — an NRA board member — that led Mitt Romney to distance himself from Nugent and prompted the Secret Service to schedule a meeting with him. “If Barack Obama becomes the president in November, again, I will either be dead or in jail by this time next year,” Nugent told a crowd at the convention. That comment piqued the interest of the Secret Service, who’ll be meeting with Nugent Thursday. The White House did not immediately respond for a comment on whether it or the Secret Service played a role in the deletion of the videos. Nor did the NRA immediately respond to a request for comment. [image: morningamp]
- BUT DID HE SHIT HIS PANTS AGAIN? Nugent says had solid meeting with Secret Service – ”Good, solid, professional meeting concluding that I have never made any threats of violence towards anyone. The meeting could not have gone better,” the 63-year-old singer and guitarist said. …”The Secret Service interview of Ted Nugent has been completed,” agency spokesman Brian Leary said. “The issue has been resolved. The Secret Service does not anticipate any further action.”
IN CASE YOU’RE NOT FAMILIAR WITH DRESSAGE, The Hill helps out: …Romney and his wife Ann co-own Rafalca, a highly regarded 15-year-old Oldenburg mare they have sponsored in numerous dressage competitions including this year’s World Cup Final, which takes place in the Netherlands. Dressage is a highly disciplined form of horsemanship that can appear to look like dancing… DressageDaily.com revealed in August 2010 Romney also picked music from the soundtrack of the film “The Mission” for Rafalca’s freestyle routine at the National Dressage championships. – Of course, I still have some strains of class resentment from my homeland, but a president who owns horses and whose wife’s horse performs in dressage competitions? That’s a royal family lifestyle. [...] And here is Rafalca in her dressage best: Not exactly great positioning for a candidate campaigning for more tax cuts for the wealthy and massive cuts in aid to the poor. The top hat is a great touch, no? [Andrew Sullivan]
ERIC CANTOR SUGGESTS RAISING TAXES ON THE POOR: ‘You’ve Got To Discuss That Issue’ – Today, response to a question by ABC’s Jon Karl, Cantor made it clear that Republicans are interested in raising taxes on the poor while lowering tax rates for everyone else as part of any comprehensive tax reform plan: CANTOR: We also know that over 45 percent of the people in this country don’t pay income taxes at all, and we have to question whether that’s fair. And should we broaden the base in a way that we can lower the rates for everybody that pays taxes. [...] ThinkProgress has repeatedly explained why many Americans don’t pay income taxes — most either don’t make enough money or are college students or seniors with no yearly incomes. And those Americans are subject to various other forms of taxation, including the federal payroll tax. The richest Americans, meanwhile, have seen their tax rates fall even as their incomes skyrocketed, contributing to rising inequality and exploding federal deficits. As Cantor made plain today, though, none of that matters. In addition to making the poor and middle class shoulder the burden of draconian budget cuts, Republicans want to raise their taxes too.
REP. PAUL RYAN dismisses Catholic bishops criticism of budget plan – “These are not all the Catholic bishops, and we just respectfully disagree,” he said on Fox News after being questioned about the bishops criticism of his budget plan. The USCCB later responded to Ryan’s comment, informing The Hill that they represented “all of the U.S. bishops on key issues at the national level.” Ryan has said that his Catholic faith helped shape his budget plan. But Catholics have questioned his admiration for the libertarian novelist Ayn Rand, who advocated the “virtue of selfishness” and called Christianity the “the best kindergarten of communism possible.” Ryan’s House-approved budget for 2013-2022 would cut the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, which provides food stamps, by $133.5 billion over the next decade. Approximately 2 million individuals would be cut off from the program entirely, according to the Center of Budget and Policy Priorities. Another 44 million would see their benefits cut.
- JOHN BOEHNER, a Catholic, said at a press conference Wednesday the cuts were necessary, despite the impact they may have on the poor.
—————————————————————-PRESIDENT OBAMA / DEMOCRATS
Women of all ages and ethnic groups are more likely to identify as Democrats than as Republicans or Independents. Forty-five per cent of women say they’re Democrats, versus thirty-two per cent of men, according to a 2009 Gallup poll. The reason women are more likely to vote Democratic has less to do with what we generally consider women’s issues than Democrats seem to think. But the real reason means that Republicans will find it difficult to close the gender gap: women tend to support big government. “For more than a decade, women have been more likely than men to favor an active role for government,” said a Pew Research Center report released in March. “And recent surveys show that higher percentages of women than men say that government should do more for the poor, children, and the elderly.” Women advocate strengthening government regulation, especially on health, the environment, and food and workplace safety, much more than men do. [The New Yorker]
WAR CRIMES: Former Congresswoman: Not too late to hold Bush and Cheney accountable –Former Rep. Elizabeth Holtzman (D-NY) told MSNBC’s Martin Bashir on Thursday… “As a former prosecutor and a former member of the House Judiciary Committee during Watergate, I spent a lot of time taking a look at the statues,” she explained. “It’s one thing to abuse power, and it’s one thing not to do the right thing, but it’s another thing to commit a crime.” Holtzman said Bush and Cheney appear to have “knowingly” violated at least three statues. She said Bush and Cheney likely committed conspiracy to defraud the United States, for the “deceptions” involved in going to war with Iraq. Secondly, she claimed they violated federal statues regarding the wiretapping of Americans without a court order. Thirdly, Holtzman said Bush and Cheney violated federal laws prohibiting torture. “What we can’t afford to do is allow a president to say he is above the law,” she remarked.
BUFFETT RULE: Democrats Vow To Keep Pushing Millionaire Tax Despite Expected Failure – Democrats found McConnell’s positions disingenuous, arguing that a GOP-waged filibuster would be the only reason for the Buffett Rule’s failure. “All of their arguments just don’t stand up because they’re so afraid of this issue,” [Chuck] Schumer said. “Are they for it or against it? They say, ‘Well, it won’t pass.’ It won’t pass because they are opposed to it,” he said, adding that Republicans are the ones guilty of chicanery. “The gimmick is when they block something and say, ‘Let’s not pay attention to it because we won’t let it pass,” Schumer said. “If they think fairness is a gimmick, if they think that having people pay their fair share is a gimmick, then they’re just completely out of touch with the American people.” [...] Schumer vowed to keep bringing the Buffett Rule back until Republicans give in, the way they did on the payroll tax cut fight. “We’ll keep pushing this issue all year long, and we think we’ll pick up more and more Republicans,” Schumer said. He added that the idea is not just to score campaign points, but to show people that Democrats are more in line with them on tax policy, and to ultimately pass the bill.
SEN. HARRY REID: Buffett Rule Is A Path Toward Economic Fairness