Sunday, April 29, 2007

They think so small, they use small words

Small government has been a mantra of the Right forever. The extremely tarnished Grover Norquist (R-Abramoff) famously said:
"I don't want to abolish government. I simply want to reduce it to the size where I can drag it into the bathroom and drown it in the bathtub."

Of course it's a complete lie, a convenient hypocrisy. The Right loves big government that hires and enriches friends, especially if your and my taxes pay for it.

Here's a graphic from LA Free Net showing National Debt:

The only time they truly like small government is when they cannot profit from it. Thus the shrinkage of regulatory agencies. Like the FDA:
The ease with which an imported ingredient laced with industrial chemicals penetrated the pet food supply paints a "frighteningly easy" road map for would-be terrorists to strike America's food supply, said US Representative Janice D. Schakowsky , Democrat of Illinois . Schakowsky's comments came during sweeping and emotional testimony that linked faulty federal oversight to nationwide recalls of tainted peanut butter , suspect spinach, and lethal pet food .

While FDA inspections have steadily dropped in recent years, the proportion of imported food used in domestic manufacturing has skyrocketed. There is no requirement that the FDA conduct an in-person inspection before a foreign producer begins to ship ingredients to US suppliers seeking bargain-basement prices.

China has its own regulatory nightmares, however:
In China, hundreds of millions of farmers toil on small plots that are difficult to regulate. Poorly educated in agricultural science, Chinese farmers use more fertilizer and pesticides than American farmers do to coax growth from over-cultivated soil.

The result is that "China has one of the world's highest rates of chemical fertilizer use per hectare, and Chinese farmers use many highly toxic pesticides, including some that are banned in the United States," a U.S. Department of Agriculture report published last November stated.

While many of the whole foods exported from China to the United States come from farms under contract with foreign companies that are likely to maintain higher standards than small Chinese farms, "there's always risk that some products in the domestic market end up in the export stream," said Isabelle Meister, a Beijing-based pesticides expert for the environmental group Greenpeace.

Chinese exports to the United States have surged. China's agricultural exports to the United States reached $2.26 billion in 2006, up from $453 million in 1993, according to the USDA.

Globally, Chinese exports of wheat gluten, which is used in many products including cereals and pasta, have more than quadrupled since 2001 and demand currently exceeds supply, said Ren Yongzhen, a sales manager at Henan Lianhua Monosodium Glutamate Co., Ltd., an international trading company in Henan province.

Here's more detail about FDA inspections:
In the past five years, total food imports to the United States have risen by about 50 percent while the number of FDA food import inspectors has fallen by roughly 20 percent, said Marion Nestle, a nutrition professor at New York University.

The FDA is able to inspect less than 1 percent of imported foods they are tasked with monitoring, "and even then they're mostly just looking at paperwork," she said in a telephone interview.

At the same time, the agency has to cope with more varied contaminants, including many pesticides banned in the United States, unusual bacteria and falsely labeled products, Doyle said in a telephone interview.

More than 80 percent of the nation's seafood, 45 percent of fresh fruit and 17 percent of fresh vegetables are now imported, Doyle said.

So that's just some of what the 'Small Government' has brought to America. Here's a little more about Norquist, from Wikipedia:
Norquist has struck many people as a combative figure. Even within conservative circles, he has made some enemies, possibly due to what some describe as a combative personality. Writer and TV show host Tucker Carlson, in retaliation for Norquist's criticism of Carlson's father (Tucker's father served as Director of Voice of America in Europe, and then as President and CEO of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting), referred to him as a "mean-spirited, humorless, dishonest little creep ... an embarrassing anomaly, the leering, drunken uncle everyone else wishes would stay home...[he] is repulsive, granted, but there aren't nearly enough of him to start a purge trial".[14] In his book Blinded by the Right, former conservative David Brock revealed that even fellow right-wingers privately refer to him as "Grosser Nosetwist" and try to avoid being trapped in conversation with him at social gatherings because he never talks about anything other than politics.

Nice. Even a Right-wing poodle like Carlson finds him offensive. Too bad the White House doesn't:
Anti-tax advocate and lobbyist Grover Norquist visited the White House at least 74 times over the last five years, according to Secret Service logs released yesterday that illustrate the access that he and other Bush administration allies enjoyed.

Norquist was one of nine people with links to disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff who were listed in the 1,646 pages of documents showing dates and times of appointments registered with the Secret Service.

But later in the same article we find:
Many of Norquist's visits may have been for large events. One visit on June 7, 2001, coincided with Bush's signing a $1.35 trillion tax cut. He was cleared to enter the White House grounds a total of 97 times, according to the administration official. His visits are noted in summary sheets included with the documents at least 74 times.

Popular dude.

So the Right-wing view of 'Small Government" brings us corrupt lobbyists, and tainted food.

Sounds about right.

Here's a place for more Norquist info:


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