American Elephants


The Democrats’ Insatiable Demand to Regulate Other People’s Lives by The Elephant's Child

Nanny government strikes again.  Or should we call them the Food Police? The Food Police raided an Amish farm in Pennsylvania,at 5 o’clock in the morning.  The raid was the result of a yearlong sting operation including aliases and surreptitious purchases, which concluded this week with the federal government’s announcement that it has gone to court to stop Rainbow Acres Farm from selling its contraband to willing customers.  The contraband in question— unpasteurized milk.

This is a battle that has been going on behind the scenes for years.  Natural foods advocates argue that raw milk is healthier than the pasteurized product.  The Food and Drug Administration says that raw milk may carry harmful bacteria such as salmonella, E. coli and listeria. (So does the raw chicken you bring home from the store, but most people learn to cook the chicken).

Tamara Ward, FDA spokesman said “It is the FDA’s position that raw milk should never be consumed.” They filed a 10-page complaint in federal court seeking an order to stop the farm from shipping across state lines any more raw milk or dairy products made from it.

This  federal government has become noted for all the violations of law that they choose to ignore, but drinking raw milk is beyond the pale.  Raw-milk devotees are furious.

Raw-milk devotees say pasteurization, the process of heating food to kill harmful organisms, eliminates good bacteria as well, and changes the taste and health benefits of the milk. Many raw-milk drinkers say they feel much healthier after changing over to it, and insist they should have the freedom of choice regarding their food.

One defense group says there are as many as 10 million raw-milk consumers in the country. Sales are perfectly legal in 10 states but illegal in 11 states and the District, with the other states having varying restrictions on purchase or consumption.

Congress has joined the nanny state regulation.  They are forcing vendors to post the calorie counts of vending machine items. Thus we will pick the ancient apples instead of potato chips or heaven forbid — a Snickers bar.

Last year, President Obama signed the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act which grants the FDA all sorts of new regulatory authority. ($1.4 billion in new spending— did you think regulation is free?)

The FDA Food Safety Modernization Act would authorize the FDA to dictate how farmers grow fruits and vegetables, including rules governing soil, water, hygiene, packing, temperatures, and even what animals may roam which fields and when. It would also increase inspections of food “facilities” and tax them to do so. And, fulfilling the dream of a long line of agency officials, the bill grants the FDA unilateral authority to order recalls.

There’s more.  The USDA, the Department of Agriculture, has declared war on potatoes. The tuber itself contains no fat, is low in calories, and supplies about the same nutrition as a banana.  It adapts itself deliciously to being fried, topped with sour cream, butter, bacon and cheese. Bananas only get topped with ice cream and chocolate sauce.

The Food and Nutrition Board of the National Academy of Sciences’ Institute of Medicine recently recommended that the potato should be blacklisted from the variety of starchy vegetables to be included in the federally funded, state-provided WIC (Women, Infants ,Children) program.  That is now trickling down into the school lunch program.

This is idiocy. A very large percentage of school lunches end up in the garbage can, as anyone who has visited a school during lunch period can attest. The elimination of salt has spoiled flavor, and contra Mrs. Obama, parents are better judges of what their children should eat than the federal government.

The federal government is intruding into areas where it does not belong.  Big Time! Neither the FDA nor the Department of Agriculture nor any of their assorted bureaus have any business telling the American people what they may or may not eat. But the Nannies desire to tell other people what to do is insatiable.



Shifting Sands in the Middle East by The Elephant's Child

Osama bin Laden has, according to some stories, been holed up in his compound in Abbottabad for six years.  His goal ,we were told, was a return to the seventh century Muslim Caliphate.  He fought with he mujahadeen in Afghanistan and with American help they drove the Russians out. When the Soviet Union collapsed, he came to believe that he had a big hand in the Soviet collapse.  The Soviet Union was a paper tiger, projecting far more strength than they actually possessed. Osama assumed that America was also a paper tiger and by attacking what he saw as the central symbol of American power — the World Trade Center, he believed he could bring down America.  How bringing down America would restore the Caliphate is unknown.

The sands are surely shifting across the Arab Middle East, but they are not shifting in the direction of al Qaeda. The demonstrators are energized by an opposition to the corruption and repression of their former leaders.  They want jobs, justice, modernity, and perhaps even democracy.  These desires would seem to be the very opposite of the aims of bin Laden and al Qaeda whose goals are even more restrictive, harsh, and narrow.

Yet these countries and these people have no experience of democracy. None. They have no experience of real freedom, of private property, of entrepreneurship, free markets, all those things that we take for granted that are part and parcel of modernity. They have known only corrupt police states or corrupt playboy monarchies.

Last week the Egyptian caretaker government brokered a deal between Iran-backed Hamas in Gaza, and Fatah in the West Bank.  Cairo didn’t bother to tell either Israel or the Americans. The agreement will be signed today and it empowers Hamas, which is a terrorist group. The Muslim Brotherhood is the best organized political group in Egypt.  It condemned the bin Laden killing.

Cairo also plans to establish diplomatic relations with Iran , and an Iranian destroyer was allowed to pass through the Suez Canal for the first time since the 1979 Islamic revolution. Not signs of a government deeply interested in democracy. Both the US and Israel will face some tough choices.  If Cairo wants closer ties with terrorists, America’s long support for the Egyptian military would have to be reconsidered. Have we delivered that blunt message?

We will come to regret our lack of support for the anti-Mubarak forces. Robert Kagan remarked that “It is not pragmatic to cling to the status quo in a revolutionary ers.” In Bahrain and Yemen, the outcome of uprising is far from certain.  Kagan warns that so-called pragmatism may not be the safest course.




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