NO MORE BS: Come, Let Us Reason Together – Chapter 4

Bird of PreyPSA:  I am not a cynic; I understand the concepts being discussed, and it might appear that I am cynical about insurance companies by the tone of the writing.  Please note, I am generally in favor of the insurance industry.  However, when government mandates insurance coverage to spread the risks out for the benefit of the insurance industry, insurance has become a tax.  When a business offers insurance, but the co-pays and the costs are too high, insurance is no longer a benefit, and I want the option to opt-out of the employer “benefit.”

Insurance as a concept has been around for a long time, historically speaking.  Maritime insurance was a concept from the 1340s, and Benjamin Franklin dreamed up property insurance in 1752, becoming America’s first insurer.  Insurance separated investment as a method of managing risk, making investing more palatable and shoving the consequences of natural disasters, pirates, and other methods of losing onto another responsible party.  Some of the biggest names in insurance can trace their roots to the Great Fire in London in the 1660s.  We mention all of this, as a foundation for understanding the role and the meaning of insurance.

Interest vs. Investing

Ziggy - The GovernmentInterest, in this usage is referring to the advantage to a group or single person, as well as improving one’s welfare.  Maritime shipping would take on several loads, and people who owned those loads had a vested interest (having a personal stake in something) in seeing that ship arrive on time at its intended destination.  For example, sugar has been a huge commodity in history, and a sugar mill would ship the sugar to destinations for sale.  People interested in improving their welfare could invest in the sugar mill, or with a higher risk, expecting a higher return, invest in the shipping company, or the ship.  Thus, investing became one where opportunities to increase interest became popular.

The modern stock market traces its roots to the 1600s and the Amsterdam Stock Exchange, where for the first time, people interested in investing could be joined to companies needing investors, and money could exchange hands for certificates (stocks or bonds) showing interest.  A point of reference, the Dutch East India Trading Company was an original benefactor of the Amsterdam Stock Exchange, and sugar, molasses, and spices were the commodities being shipped.  Not saying all the Dutch East India Trading was in non-human commodities, but sugar was a huge driving factor for separating risk through insurance that drove the stock exchange creation.

photo_slideshow_maxOne final point, government’s have interests, generally traced to those paying the highest taxes, or with the most political connections.  Government’s do not have allies, as much as they have groups of governments that share a common interest.  For example, countries belonging to NATO.  NATO is the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and was designed for those countries with interests in seeing trade safely through the North Atlantic.  Not all the countries in NATO are friendly with all the other countries, but the common interest in seeing trade and markets operate smoothly has generated NATO and kept it alive since 1949.  Government never has friends; they only have relationships based upon mutual interests.  These are cogent points that must be remembered!  Incredible as it seems, interests change, and when interests change, relationships between countries and governments force ideological changes, and today’s relationship might not be the same tomorrow, which is one of the reasons why the United Nations is such a pile of hypocrisy and uselessness!

Insurance and Investing

Insurance as described by Webster’s dictionary is a practice or arrangement by which a company or government agency provides a guarantee of compensation for specified loss, damage, illness, or death in return for payment of a premium.  The payments of premiums provide the insurance company with vast sums of cash.  Some of which are placed into long-term investments, medium -term investments, stocks, bonds, T-bills, and other methods of protecting the money paid in premiums.  The higher the risk, the higher the cost of the premium.  The one rule in insurance that has never changed from the 1300s is, if the insurance company can collect a premium, and not pay on a claim, the interest the premiums collect remains and the shareholders see larger returns on their investments.

Calvin & Hobbes - EnmityHence, lawyers and bankers have a vested interest in seeing insurance companies not have to pay claims, but still collect premiums.  Thus, contract law was established, and the insurance companies took full advantage of language to protect their premiums from paying a claim.  Another growth industry directly tied to the insurance industry, was special courts for hearing claims and awarding damages (Tort Law).  Cornell Law university provides some clarity on tort law, “A tort is an act or omission that gives rise to injury or harm to another and amounts to a civil wrong for which courts impose liability.  In the context of torts, “injury” describes the invasion of any legal right, whereas “harm” describes a loss or detriment in fact that an individual suffers.”  Placing insurance companies squarely into the middle of tort law, and thus opening up new avenues for protecting against paying a claim from the premiums paid and invested.

Types of Insurance

ApathyImportant to understanding, Carl Marx and communism uses the ideas of mutual insurance companies to create a society where all share the risks, all benefit in the gains, at least in theory.  However, like insurance companies, someone in communism must enjoy all the benefits for taking the risk of establishing the community, and the reality of China, Cuba, and USSR become evident.  Where the leaders take everything for themselves, and the regular people live in squalor and depredation.

Janet Hunt wrote an great article on types of insurance companies and her article can be found here.  Currently there are nine different types of insurance companies available and are detailed below:

    • Mutual Companies – owned by policy holders who are also considered shareholders, sharing the risks, and benefiting from the lack of paid claims.  The mutual society of this type of insurance company shares dividends and when losses occur, generally the shareholders (policyholders) might not see an increase in premiums.
    • Stock Companies and Mono-Line Carriers – Stock companies are corporations and the distribution of dividends become payments to shareholders.  These insurance companies are very averse to paying claims.  Mono-line carriers only carry a single type of insurance.  For example, a company might only carry car insurance, specializing in just car insurance provides savings in overhead, and they might have agreements with other carriers to provide linked coverage for other insurance products.
    • Lloyds of London – When you want to insure the weird, Lloyds of London is the carrier of choice.  I cannot tell you how hard I have laughed at people willing to insure body parts, unusual, or high-risk items.  Share my laugh, look up what policies Lloyds has written insurance policies for and you too can have a good chuckle.  Lloyd’s does carry insurance for mundane and normal, but those policies do not make me laugh.  I feel sorry for the citizens of the United Kingdom, since Lloyd’s of London is backed by parliament, the taxpayers are on the hook for Lloyd’s losses eventually.
    • Alien Carriers – These are insurance carriers that are owned and operated in one country, doing business in another country, selling premiums, and paying claims.  Important to note about alien carriers, the lawyers charged with engineering methods to control risks to paying claims can create a nightmare using the laws of both countries.  Alien carriers can also be operating in one US State but be owned and governed in another US State.
    • Domestic Insurance – These are companies who are owned and operate in a single US State, or other geographical area.  For example, a domestic insurance company in Texas, might or might not have the ability to operate outside Texas, where it would be considered an alien provider.
    • Direct Sellers – Do not use insurance agents, selling directly to the public or insurance consumer.  To be considered a direct seller, the majority of the business occurs online or over the phone.  Direct sellers are pretty straight forward, and some of the biggest names in insurance providers are direct sellers.
    • Captives – A captive insurance company is a unique insurance provider, generally specializing in one type of insurance product for a specific industry or groups of individuals.  For example, if a business owns a fleet of vehicles, they will have insurance through a captive insurance company who specializes in handling the risks of fleet vehicles.  Another type of captive insurance company occurs when a parent corporation needs insurance but builds a branch of their company to handle the insurance instead of going through an insurance company.  In this model, the parent company keeps the premiums in-house and has a vested interest in protecting their investments.
    • Standard Lines – This is your normal insurance company with insurance agents, local offices, is regulated by the state board of insurance, pay fees into the general state guarantee fund, and are subject to the laws and ordinances of the state in which they operate.
    • Excess Lines – Think of these companies as insurance for high-risk individuals and companies, who cannot get insurance through a standard line company.

I know, that is a whole lot more than you think you want to know about insurance companies.  However, my only logic for making these distinctions in this article is to aid in understanding the classifications of insurance company, and some of the peculiarities in insurance products.  I feel the more you know, the better questions you can ask, leading to improvements in your bottom-line.

Emtional Investment CycleWith all the ties to investing, savings products, and the flow of money into and out of an insurance company, the discussion of insurance companies remains critical.  Especially when the government can create an insurance company, then mandate that company be used to provide coverage, creating a tax and fee that the taxpayer might not realize.  For example, around the time that states began demanding drivers have car insurance, GEICO began selling policies to non-government employees.  GEICO is an acronym for Government Employees Insurance Company, and by selling policies to non-government employees, the government is able to reduce the risk of insuring their employees.  Thus, an argument can be made that the government only created GEICO to reduce the risks of insuring government employees, as well as benefiting from a flush of cash from premiums paid.

Ziggy on GovernmentBoth Lloyds of London and GEICO leave me worrying for taxpayers.  However, since the US Government is the only provider for some types of insurance, specifically flood insurance, which is mandatory for homeowners living in a flood plain, one must ask more questions about where the money goes and why?  What steps have been taken to protect the public from large scale incidents where the insurance company will have to make massive payments?  What does the government invest in to protect the premiums paid against the time of claims?

When a person begins discussing savings instruments, investments, and the links between insurance companies and government, a lot of potential questions arise, and the answers become more sparse inversely to the specificity of the questions asked.  For example, if a savings account interest is so low, due to inflationary spending by the government, what interest does the government, as a holder of savings accounts, receive for their investment?  Where does the government invest their premiums from insurance payments?  How is the government protecting their customers from inflation as a result of poor fiscal policy?Plato 2

Never forget, an insurance company must pay dividends to their shareholders who have invested interests (money).  GEICO is a Berkshire Hathaway company, and stopped being publicly held in 1996.  The questions for why the Government Employee Insurance Company is wholly owned and operated by Berkshire Hathaway opens a lot of questions.  This would be akin to Lloyds of London being sold to a private company, where parliament stopped caring or backing Lloyds.  Why becomes a major question requiring detailed answers.  Look at the political situation in America at the time of the sell, and more questions rise, and less answers are provided.

Knowledge Check!America, when it comes to cash flow, money, and government fiscal policy, we need answers.  We need the elected representatives to understand basic economics, and we need to hold a tighter rein on those elected representatives.  The current fiscal health of America is poor, solely because of the elected representatives and their bureaucratic minions.  We must have a solution that protects America, and this solution needs every citizen involved and engaged.

© 2021 M. Dave Salisbury
All Rights Reserved
The images used herein were obtained in the public domain; this author holds no copyright to the images displayed.

NO MORE BS: Learned Helplessness Leads to StagNation

Government Largess 2Cash Nickerson wrote a powerful book, “StagNation: Understanding the ‘New Normal’ in Employment.”  In discussing the housing bubble, Nickerson made a point worth understanding about people’s psychology as a group.  The middle-class survives upon the hopes and dreams of lower classes of people striving to move into the middle-class.  When the housing bubble broke, and millions of lives were destroyed, with their hopes, dreams, and home investments, the financial livelihoods, and the dreams of those financial upward mobility into the middle-class were blasted into oblivion.

By failing to strive to get into the middle-class, the middle-class shrinks and dies; worse, the lower-classes learn helplessness and become devoid of hope.  Then, along comes President Trump; hope in the lower-classes of people becoming financially upward mobile was rekindled.  Suddenly, a president was recognized as an honest person, working to work with those whose dreams had died, and new energy to be upward financially mobile were reborn.  The lower-classes leaving the plantation provided by the government and liberal leftists scared those in power; President Trump had to be destroyed, hopes and dreams of financially upward mobility crushed, and learned helplessness needed to be restored in America’s working-class neighborhoods.

Do the demise and demonic possession make more sense now?

Detective 4The working class has to be kept miserable, hopeless, and dependent upon the beneficent government bureaucrat, or power and prestige are lost.  These people have no idea how to live if they are not oppressing someone else.  Five-years of “Trump Derangement Syndrome” has not improved the power hold of those governmental powers who desire to oppress.  Instead of bringing the working classes into despair, hopelessness, unemployment, and returning them to the plantation, the working classes are ANGRY!  The working classes are inspired.  The working classes are madder than a pen full of soaked chickens with an acute case of hemorrhoids.  Worse, they have met the enemy, and the enemy is the “beneficent” government and their media lackeys and lapdogs.

Speaker Pelosi, along with the rest of the US House of Representatives majority and minority leadership, is expected to represent the working and middle classes in the “People’s House” in a representative government.  These people have failed to do their jobs, abused, harassed, defiled, and demeaned their positions to the point that the working and middle classes want her jailed, or worse, depending upon where you obtain your information.  I heard someone wanted to outfit Pelosi and her ilk with stakes, an anthill, some honey, and leave them in the Arizona desert.

People are not returning to the plantation as humble orphans awaiting their daily bowls of gruel; the people are standing and fighting back.  Those in government power, their assistants, their employees, their staff, the lobbyists, etc., all expect a different outcome.  They will be shocked when they open their eyes and see the people rising in rebellion.  Throwing off the chains of learned helplessness and discovering they are strong, capable, and able Americans [A(h)-ME-I-CAN].

The Duty of AmericansFacing Truth

The housing bubble, like COVID-19, was artificially created by the government to adversely affect the working classes of people as they strive for financially upward mobility into the middle class.  The same is true for the coming Educational Debt bubble, the Consumer Credit Card bubble, and the National Debt bubble, among other looming disasters.  The government leaders refuse to believe that bubbles burst, and if the bubble bursts after they are out of office, then they can claim, “It didn’t happen on my watch.”  Enabling them to lie about their own willful misconduct creating bubbles of problems for the American Citizen to handle, clean up, and correct.

Welfare State BeginsLet us talk frankly and honestly, openly, and directly.  America is in a mess; K-12 Education was purposefully designed from the 1860s to create a dependent class of poor citizens.  Hopeless, learning helplessness from their first day in K-12 classrooms, and forever cast out of American Society’s mainstream because of their literacy abilities.  Since this population needed neurological stimulation after K-12 Education, other government programs were introduced to keep America’s populations divided, opposed, and barely managed.  Illegal immigrants were introduced, sports were made a “profession,” and media channels flocked to host sporting events.  Through lies, deceit, and drugs, “education” became 12-years of neurological stimulation, not a free mind’s education.  All actions which taken by the government are very similar to Rome’s problems where “Bread and Circuses” were the answer—raising the Roman National Debt, forcing the Roman Armies and Navies to continually find a new enemy and a new source of wealth to pay for the lower-ranked citizens to sit around watching circuses and eating bread.Welfare State Ends

The American Republic is ours, IF we can keep it![emphasis mine]

Benjamin Franklin is reported to have made that statement.  I find it applicable today, and one worth knowing the full history.  Click the link!  Know your history, for your enemies in government know that if you lose contact with history, they can control you!  By reducing your literacy, the powers in government hope to keep you from discovering they are not benevolent but tyrannical.  Not helpful, but harmful, deadly, and like acid, they are consuming this country from within.

ProblemsWhile reading the cases of families in family court, I wanted to weep at the lost potential.  A great-grandmother has custody of her daughters, granddaughters, and great-granddaughter’s children.  Why, because a couple of the girls are in drug rehab, one is still a minor, and her great-granddaughter just became pregnant at 12 for the food stamps, WIC, and other government benefits.  I have read of people, all races and creeds, in inner-cities selling government benefits for cash, to buy drugs and alcohol.  I have read stories of how a grandmother pimped her granddaughters for cash, among other cases where the granddaughter was required to get pregnant quickly so the family could maintain a level of government subsistence.

LinkedIn ImageLearned helplessness leads to StagNation… The lesson is clear, the writing is on the wall, and the next major government catastrophe can make America stronger by cleaning out the trash in power, or will destroy America as we know it forever.  People need hope, upward financial mobility, and less government intrusion.

© 2021 M. Dave Salisbury
All Rights Reserved
The images used herein were obtained in the public domain; this author holds no copyright to the images displayed.

Farmers, Ranchers, and Dairymen – An Open Letter Regarding Food Safety #COOL

To the Elected Officials Across America:

I write by way of admonishment and with a plea.  You must cease capitulating to BIG farm, ranch, dairy corporations immediately.  You must forthwith and without any delay, come forward and show true support and allegiance for America’s independent farmers, ranchers, and dairymen, upholding the heritage of agronomy in America.  Most importantly, legislation must begin forthwith to protect America’s food safety through the country of origin labeling (#COOL).  The sleight of hand, backroom deal that ended country of origin labeling on a “must-pass” piece of legislation, was the purest form of chicanery and political skullduggery in the Obama administration; sadly, this was not the only piece of legislation to be affected in this manner!

I am calling out both parties (Republican and Democrat), the national food safety councils, the national ranching/farming/dairy associations, and every other political hack, political action committee (PAC), and lobbyists.  I am calling out the staff members of the elected officials who write the laws and perform the skullduggery that allowed country of origin labeling to cease.  I am calling out and upon every single one of you to listen and act without delay!

National Councils are supposed to represent the independent rancher, farmer, and dairymen, whose membership pays for the political dinners and political action committees in capitals across America.  People who make money off association and membership dues, then forget their members and associates at the drop of a hat for political expediency.  I have been on your websites and am thoroughly embarrassed at your performance where the country of origin labeling is concerned.  Big Farm/Ranch/Dairy, your actions continue to be the purest and most detestable acts of tyranny ever recorded in American history.  I have been on your websites, I have seen the lawfare you unscrupulously pursue against independent farmers, ranchers, and dairymen, and I will cheer the day you are brought to the bar of justice.  The disregard for independent farmers, ranchers, and dairymen remains inexcusable!

When was the last time you visited a farm, a ranch, or a dairy and asked what the government (or council) can be doing to improve their businesses?  You want these people’s votes, association, membership, mostly you want their money.  Then you proceed to demean, denigrate, and plot to actively undercut and abuse the independents, all while capitulating to the demands of the BIG representatives.  This byzantine behavior is beyond despicable and remains abhorrent!

Where are the monies promised from the CARES Act that was supposed to go directly to the farmers, ranchers, and dairymen who are unable to sell their products because of the government shutdown of the economy?  The local farmer, dairymen, and ranchers, their families, and their communities are precious to the American soul.  Each loss of an independent farmer, rancher, and dairymen needs to be mourned, but instead, all I observe are parties celebrating, paid for by PAC’s working to undercut America’s food safety.  Your actions to withhold monies and support is reprehensible chutzpah at best!

Fact: General George Washington, first President of America wanted to be, and worked hard to be, America’s first farmer.  He worked in the fields with his people, he did farm duties and got his hands dirty.  Except for photoshoots can you claim any type of work, let alone that done by a farmer, rancher, or dairymen?

Fact: Thomas Jefferson was a farmer who got his hands dirty.  Both Jefferson and Washington were researchers in agronomy, piloting many of the techniques still used today to grow crops.  What useful activity are you performing?  I guarantee it is not productive!

Fact: President General Washington, said the following: “Agriculture [is] the proper source of American wealth and happiness;” and predicted Americans would continue to be “an agricultural people…for ages to come.”  Yet, too often since the 1980s, the politicians of America have turned a blind eye to the agricultural heritage of America.  Stooping to actively bring foreign products into America even when those products, too often, are unsafe, poor quality, or worse actively harmful to America’s citizenry and the farmers, ranchers, and dairymen who can, and DO, produce better than their foreign counterparts.  You have bankrupted the agriculture legacy of America and you need to begin to make amends!

Fact: When I expressed interest in being a farmer or a rancher as a child, I was encouraged to stay away from those “dying professions” by teachers, guidance counselors, and regrettably even some farmers and ranchers.  People who, after a life of working at a job they loved, were getting out and selling out because it had just become too much, too political, and too expensive.  A sheepherder in Utah, been in the business for multiple generations, could not find a market and had to sell his animals for glue and parts, losing his job at 70, with nothing from social security.  A dairyman in Maine, on the same plot of land since before America was a country, bankrupted by a corporation, then purchased by the same corporation, at a bankruptcy sell.  I have seen too many of these tales personally.  Good, honest, hardworking people, betrayed by their government at the local, county, state, and federal levels, disavowed by their associations and councils and left to destitution and poverty.

Fact: The founding fathers in America all wrote extensively and worked diligently on farms, ranches, and dairies.  What politician, lobbyist, staff member, or other political hacks, can say the same?  Which of you can relate business topics, having met a customer face-to-face?  Can you still say you have met a customer face-to-face?  I know some of you were doctors, are you still a practicing doctor seeing patients?  What about lawyers, are you still seeing clients?  What about farmers or ranchers, how is your farm or ranch doing?  Are the laws you are passing, that are killing your constituents, being felt personally?  What about you presidents and political activists of farming, ranching, dairy, or food safety councils and associations, have you been on a farm recently, to work?

Fact:  Jefferson wrote that “those who [labor] in the earth…are the chosen people of God if ever he had a chosen people, whose breasts he had made his peculiar deposit for substantial and genuine virtue.”  In December 1778, John Adams wrote to a Massachusetts friend from France that “it is some comfort to me to think that I shall be soon a private Farmer.”  Two incredible people who saw their work in politics as a hindrance to being a farmer.  They knew productive work and did productive work, they knew the struggles of the everyman and could temper their political actions against the consequences.  Of President Adams it is related, “Adams occasionally dug ditches, shoveled and transported manure, spread fertilizer, slaughtered livestock, and worked under the hot sun in his fields both at harvest time in the early autumn and in May, July, and September, when the hay was stacked following the mowing of the meadows.”  Can any of you say the same?

Fact: In 1769, Benjamin Franklin wrote Henry Home: “There seem to be but three ways for a nation to acquire wealth. The first is by war, as the Romans did, in plundering their conquered [neighbors]; this is robbery. The second by commerce, which is generally cheating. The third by agriculture, the only honest way…wrought by the hand of God in His [favor], as a reward for his innocent life and his virtuous industry.”   Biographer Carl Van Doren observed that “Franklin was one of the earliest Americans to perceive that the agricultural resources of the country should not be wasted and that farming must be something of a business and a science as well as a way of life.”  Your actions are killing the American way of life and I demand to know why!

Since the 1980’s America has seen the death of too many independent farmers, ranchers, and dairymen, compounded and multiplied by first losing the farm, ranch, or dairy, then again to suicide.  Time Magazine has written about the death, neigh almost extinction, of America’s independent farmers, ranchers, and dairymen, as recently as November 2019.  Check your offices, you might still have this issue sitting on the low table in your outer office.  I know my first magazine article on this topic (1991) was seen in a dentist’s office, in Belfast Maine.  I had to see the dentist as I broke a tooth working as a farmer, a fruit picker, and dairy hand.

Let me help you out with a few more facts, sourced from the Time Magazine article mentioned above, and these numbers could be much higher.

Fact:  “Farm debt, [is] at $416 billion (2019), an all-time high. More than half of all farmers have lost money every year since 2013 and lost more than $1,644 this year. Farm loan delinquencies are rising.”

Fact:  “Chapter 12 farm bankruptcies were up 12 percent in the Midwest from July of 2018 to June of 2019; they’re up 50 percent in the Northwest. Tens of thousands have simply stopped farming, knowing that reorganization through bankruptcy won’t save them.”

Fact:  “The nation lost more than 100,000 farms between 2011 and 2018; 12,000 of those between 2017 and 2018 alone.”

Here’s an interesting correlational fact: “Congress included #COOL repeal in the $1.4 trillion omnibus spending bill after the World Trade Organization (WTO)  ruled Canada and Mexico could begin imposing more than $1 billion in tariffs on U.S. products to punish it for the [undue] harm the labeling requirements were doing to them.”  Answer me this, when Either country has to put labels on their products for trade with the European Union (EU), those labels are not considered “undue hardship,” but the cost of doing business with the EU, the cost is then passed along to the EU consumer.  Why is trade with America on food safety, all of a sudden an “undue hardship” to label where the food is originating?  It seems to me, if you are not trying to poison Americans, you should be proud to be labeling your country on your products.

#COOL labeling was considered onerous and was despised by Congress, even though #COOL labeling was on such a tiny number of agricultural products.  Yet, the US Congress caved and a weak-kneed president signed off on this omnibus spending legislative fiasco.  So, let us discuss labeling legislation for a moment.

Fact:  Feel free to look this one up. 49 U.S. Code § 32304. Passenger motor vehicle country of origin labeling.  Prominent placing is critical to the country of origin labeling on all vehicles, and this labeling is not considered “undue hardship” by the WTO.  Even small assembly parts can be included in the vehicle country of origin, not considered an “undue hardship” by the WTO, and falls under the vehicle mandated country of origin labeling.  In fact, the manufacturing of foreign parts can be hidden, provided proper labels are designed, and the country of origin masked, and this is not considered an “undue hardship” by the WTO.  No one ever saw Congress cave on vehicle country of origin labeling, and the auto industry has been slammed in America by foreign vehicles and foreign trade.  Closing the rust belt and extinguishing America’s manufacturing jobs without a single cry from Congress, about “undue hardship.”  No staff member tried sneaking in a repeal of the country of origin labeling into a “must-pass” piece of legislation.  How many lobbyists and political action committees are dedicated to removing the labeling requirements on vehicles?

Fact:  Page 76 of the “Overview and Compilation of U.S. Trade Statutes” lists pipes and pipe fittings as requiring country of origin labeling, not considered an “undue hardship” by the WTO.  Failure to comply with all pipe types and fittings having the country of origin labeling is punishable by hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines to the manufacturer, the retailer, and the potential for lengthy prison sentences.  Best of all, there are “no exceptions” [emphasis mine] allowed to the country of origin labeling requirements for pipes and pipe fittings, manhole covers, gas cylinders, and more.

Fact:  Mushrooms must have a country of origin label per the “Overview and Compilation of U.S. Trade Statutes” manual.  Native American Jewelry, computers, phones, monitors, rugs, floor mats, and practically every single item in an American home must-have, under penalty of law, no exceptions, labels demanding where that product originates.  Also, not considered “undue hardship for labeling are specifics on sizes, volumes, and much more.  Yet, for food country of origin labeling, is considered an “undue hardship” for other countries to comply with, and thus, American food producers, the ranchers, farmers, and dairymen, are unfairly able to compete.  What about the complaints of America’s manufacturers, restaurants, and others who got nailed by the incredible labeling costs under Obama’s FDA mandate for nutritional labels?  A simple rule change at the FDA condemned hundreds of small businesses, eateries, café’s, and food producers to bankruptcy; yet, none of the political activists, staff members, committees, PAC’s, etc. even cared.  In fact, many of them cheered and helped waste a lot of reporter ink on this topic.

Let me see if I fully understand this problem, and I fully anticipate your full and transparent commentary, as well as your forthright action to correct this problem.  American chicken companies can purchase foreign-born and raised, chickens, have them shipped to the US, killed in a US factory, and do not need to tell anyone that chicken came from overseas.  Why?  Isn’t this the same as a car manufacturer, having all the parts for a car made in Vietnam, shipped to America, and sold as an American car, and just as illegal?  What about Brazilian beef that caused Americans to become sick, that miraculously now is available for retail again, while American ranchers cannot get their products to market at all?

What about all that romaine lettuce that has been causing E.coli across America for multiple years?  The growers are Mexican and others south of the border, the seller is an American company, and Americans are still suffering from this disease madness.  Yet, if a pipe manufacturer did exactly the same thing, with sewers exploding from poor pipes not bearing the proper country of origin labeling, that retailer, manufacturer, and the entire supply chain can be held liable for the harm, accountable for legal penalties and every class action lawyer in America would be dreaming dollar signs for injuries, damage, and mental harm caused.  But where food is concerned there is no problem, no foul, nothing to see here.

What about the Chinese Melamine Pet Food fiasco?  How is the purchase of melamine-contaminated food which was then processed into foods for pets and humans, not requiring country of origin labeling, different from a computer?  If the computer fails because a chip made in Ireland was poorly manufactured, there would be significant problems, legal interventions, trade embargoes, and a political rant for years.  Yet, because China was contaminating the source ingredients, there were no problems to be seen here.  Israel manufactures many phenomenal products for technology; let one of those products cause a tiny amount of inconvenience and the news reporters will try to run out of ink reporting Israeli manufacturing problems and defects of that product.  Lots of political pandering from 2007 saw China poisoning with melamine story die very quickly.  Why?  Are pets somehow less important than people; if America’s spending on pets is any indicator, that answer is a resounding NO!  Yet, not only did you pander to China, you killed the US Media reporting this issue, and then repealed a law that should have been useful in preventing this fiasco from ever happening in the first place.

Forget pets and melamine for a moment, do your political brains have sufficient room to remember when melamine was found in baby formula and killed infants?  Melamine tainted food is a hallmark of China, and yet somehow China is now able to send “safe” food to America all without a country of origin label.  I find this fascinating and demand to know why the country of origin labels are required by law on every other tradable good or product, but not foods!

Fact: Research published in February [2011] claimed that up to 10 percent of rice sold in China was contaminated with heavy metals, including cadmium. Data collected by Nanjing Agricultural University found that the problem was most acute in Southern provinces, wherein some areas 60 percent of samples were contaminated, some with up to five times the legal limit of heavy metals.  Where is the demand for the country of origin labels?  When you plant a seed in the ground with contamination, that contamination grows into the seed and will be found in the fruit that seed produces.  This was a fourth-grade science product where we changed the color of celery by contaminating the water with food dye.  How many rice producers in America cannot compete for shelf space in their local supermarket, even though they have a superior product, all because of heavy metal rice from China?  The same China who has a multi-year deadly hog disease that has killed millions of pigs and raised meat prices in China.  You cannot grow safe food or animals in contaminated environments without getting that contamination into the food!

China, the same country where fake water was sold, where machinery oil has been used to cook food, rotten meat has been used to create oils to cook food, and so many more food safety violations.  Yet, importers can import all sorts of meat that “meet proper regulations” and not have to declare where the meat was raised, what the meat actually is, and when that meat was slaughtered.  Importers can sell all types of vegetables and fruits grown in unknown ground conditions, which infect the fruit with the same ground and water contaminants without ever identifying sources and origins.

Does anyone else remember the DARK (Denying Americans the Right to Know) Act (July, 2016)?  a GMO labeling bill that allows companies and producers to use QR codes, 1-800 numbers and other difficult to access technology to label food products that contain GMOs, instead of clear, on-package text.

Fact:  “Over 90% of Americans support clear mandatory GMO labeling, but President Obama signed [legislation] giving way to the Big Food industry to continue to hide GMO contaminants in American sold products.  Even though these same companies must declare GMO contamination clearly on the package for products sold elsewhere in the world.  The DARK Act, supported by Senators Pat Roberts (R-Kan.) and Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), as well as trade groups representing the Big Food industry like the Grocery Manufacturers Association and biotech companies such as Monsanto, is an unfortunate example of how powerful corporations and moneyed interests have taken over our democracy.”  Have you noticed the rise in farms, ranches, and dairies failing to correlate with the labeling legislation?  It appears that every time Congress changes the labeling laws allowing more inferior fruits, nuts, veggies, meat, etc. come into America, and more independent American farms, ranches, and dairies fail!

Your actions to adopt country of origin labeling requirements on the most important items in a person’s home is beyond despicable.  The following is a statement from Andy Kimbrell, executive director at the Center for Food Safety:

“I don’t know what kind of legacy [President Obama] hopes to leave, but denying one-third of Americans the right to know what is in the food they feed their families isn’t one to be proud of. This law is a sham and a shame, a rushed backroom deal … the law also represents a major assault on the democratic decision making of several states and erases their laws with a vague multi-year bureaucratic process specifically designed to provide less transparency to consumers.”

I unequivocally and absolutely support the country of origin labeling (#COOL) for all foods imported into America.  If the WTO does not like this, let them eat cake from China; preferably, made from fake flour, and melamine-contaminated milk, with eggs from hens raised in a heavy metal contaminated environment and manufactured from an environment that has been shut down for violating the cheesy food safety rules of China.

The time has come for America to cease bowing to every global interest body, large food growing corporation, and return to supporting her local farmer, rancher, and dairymen.  Take pride in those who do this work and demand #COOL!  Choose, do you want your food from an unknown environment and a big corporation that doesn’t care, or the local guy; I know my choice #COOL!

By way of praise, I want to thank the Lehrman Institute for their excellent work in documenting historical resources on the founding fathers that improved this letter.

 

© Copyright 2020 – M. Dave Salisbury

The author holds no claims for the art used herein, the pictures were obtained in the public domain, and the intellectual property belongs to those who created the pictures.

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