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FOOD & FUEL FILE

By Staff | Sep 9, 2011

A day does not pass without some Big Ag chieftain or Capitol Hill yakker parting their perpetually pursed lips to unleash total nonsense on you, me and the body politic.

To wit the following quote, an answer given by a member of the U.S. Senate to an Aug. 25 question on who will be dominate 2012 Farm Bill discussions, Congress’s aggies or its appropriators:

“I think they will welcome our suggestions and if we put together a farm bill that meets the number that’s all that’s required of us, except that we are going to point out, we’re going to do a great job, I don’t want to say reform, I just say that we’re going to do a great job to do everything to streamline, to combine purpose and combine programs when you have 10 or 12 programs that do the same thing.”

That this is what passes for informed commentary today is more important than the identity of the mumble-mouth commenter. It also explains why you can stop wondering how we got into today’s swamp and start wondering why you still think this group of full-time lip flappers and part-time thinkers is gonna’ find a way out.

They won’t.

And they won’t because, like zombies, they are committed to the dead-end process that got us here: politics first, solutions second.

Worse, these masters of disaster seem bulletproof to shame and embarrassment. An Aug. 16 Gallup Poll showed only 13 percent of all Americans approved of Congress. As if to highlight the record of failure, a staggering 56 percent of all House members did not hold one town hall meeting the entire recess month of August, according to NoLabel.org.

What’s remarkable about these supporting facts is that “Somehow 13 percent of Americans still approve of Congress,” commented the Los Angeles Times, and more than 190 House members (59 percent of all Democrats, 50 percent of all Republicans) were so busy last month that they could not spare one day to meet their bosses, the public.

We know what some were doing because GOP leader Eric Cantor, of Virginia, alerted the media on Aug. 28 to his party’s top legislative priority when Congress returns from its month of sloth and junkets – a partisan attack on the “costly bureaucratic handcuffs that Washington has imposed upon business people who want to create jobs.”

The biggest problem facing America today is “bureaucratic handcuffs?” (See agpolicy.org/weekcol/578.html, the Aug. 26 Policy Pennings column by University of Tennessee’s Daryll Ray and Harwood Schaffer that challenges the “new regulation” myths in ag.)

Little wonder nearly nine out of 10 Americans disapprove of Congress; they know the truth: Congress isn’t just dysfunctional; it actually believes its dysfunction is useful.

It will get worse. In a blistering, Aug. 29 essay on Truthdig.org, Chris Hedges, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist who spent nearly 30 years reporting from more than 50 countries, forlornly labels the coming year in American politics as “The Election March of the Trolls.” (See www.truthdig.com/chris_hedges)

You’ll see it, he predicts, when ” everywhere the pulse of the nation is being assiduously monitored through polls and focus groups, not because our opinions matter, but because our troll candidates understand that by parroting back to us our own viewpoints they can continue to spend their days lapping up corporate money with other trolls in the two houses of Congress, the White House, the Supreme Court and television studios where they chat with troll celebrity journalists.”

That’s a far more insightful commentary of today’s filthy, me-first politics than the baloney-filled nonsense spouted by Sen. Pat Roberts when asked about the 2012 Farm Bill.

I was wrong; names matter. After all, trolls are on the march.

The Farm and Food File is published weekly in more than 70 newspapers in North America. Contact Alan Guebert at www.farmandfoodfile.com.

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