We've written previously, in our florid prose, about House Resolution 875, the Food Safety Modernization Act, which proposes to regulate all "food establishments," meaning all commercial agriculture or food production no matter how small-scale, including farmers markets and the roadside tomato stand guy, in the United States. We are, to put it mildly, concerned that the bill as presently drafted is a touch overbroad.
When Oprah talks, people listen, including the bill's sponsor, Rosa DeLauro of Connecticut, the chairwoman of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture. Now that a bit of public attention is being paid to this bill, she's crying foul. She wants America to know that her good name is besmirched by a shadowy political conspiracy. No, it's not the communists.
"This notion that we're destroying backyard farms is absurd. It's ludicrous," she says. "I chair the agriculture subcommittee of appropriations. Why would I be putting farmers out of business?"
DeLauro says she has been told that the disinformation campaign "was a libertarian operation somewhere in the country, but we're trying to figure it out."
The "disinformation campaign" DeLauro refers to apparently consists of a close reading of the bill, which (and I've read it closely) does indeed allow a new Food Safety Administration to regulate and impose onerous requirements on all farming or food production in America, if it has any commercial impact whatesoever, and a rumor that DeLauro's husband, Democratic / NPR polling operative Stan Greenberg, works for agrichemical giant Monsanto, which might benefit if something regulatory happened to the smallscale organic farming movement. The Greenberg rumor got started, apparently, on Greenberg's own webpage.
Greenberg has worked with corporate clients including BP, Boeing, Monsanto, Comverse, and United HealthCare.
Now because DeLauro's husband's site says that Monsanto is a client, that's no reason to assume that DeLauro works for Monsanto as well. But it does at least indicate that those who've noticed the connection, and questioned it, aren't the barking moonbats making it up out of whole cloth that DeLauro and the Huffington Post would like one to think.
As for the murky libertarian "operation," scheming to bring down DeLauro's name and legislation, well anyone who's ever spent time around actual libertarians knows that they couldn't "operate" a Charley-Horse out of a patient, even if the patient's nose lit up red every time the libertarians made a mistake. Libertarians organize about as well as oil and water. Giving DeLauro the benefit of the doubt, if there's a libertarian operation it's a sad one indeed. Before yesterday, Popehat, which tops a thousand readers on a good day, was one of the biggest blogs to have written on HR 875.
Yet the operation of which we're a cog is still a threat to the congresswoman who, through her control of farm subsidies, may have greater financial control over American agriculture than anyone in the country.
In the meantime, she sent a letter to all of her colleagues explaining what the bill does and is planning a more public campaign to clear the air. She has marshaled organic farming organizations in her defense.
Which probably explains all of the "this is nonsense" blogspam and pingbacks our earlier post has received in the 12 or so hours since Andrew Sullivan mentioned this bill, as well as HuffPo's decision to take notice (from a decidedly pro-regulation, "there's nothing to this" standpoint) of the issue.
But think about it. How does the Secretary of the House Appropriations Subcommittee for Agriculture marshal support? Does she write persuasive legal briefs on why "any farm, ranch, orchard, vineyard, aquaculture facility, or confined animal-feeding operation" engaged in "interstate commerce" (which is all commerce as far as the Supreme Court is concerned) doesn't include the guy who sells shuck-your-own corn on Route 66, or the hippies who bring tomatoes to the farmers market on Saturday, or the ten cow dairy from which I buy cheese now and then? No, because as written, that's precisely what HR 875 does include.
When Congress "marshals support" from those it regulates, it often means threatening tougher regulation. When Congress "marshals support" from those it subsidizes, it means threatening to cut those subsidies, or promising to increase them. It's the stick or the carrot.
Of course, the libertarians have neither a stick nor a carrot, but somehow, they've got Rosa DeLauro worried.
The Illuminati work in mysterious ways.