Posts Tagged ‘Nanny State’
A Harris County woman pulled a gun on a CenterPoint Energy worker to prevent the installation of a smart meter in a confrontation that highlights concerns about the devices being used to spy on Americans’ energy use, as well as possible health impacts.
55-year-old Thelma Taormina has signs posted on her front gate warning utility employees not to trespass on her land, as well as another that reads, “No smart meters are to be installed on this property.”
However, that didn’t stop a CenterPoint Energy worker from attempting to replace Taormina’s old electricity meter with a new device that wirelessly beams back information on each home’s energy use to a central hub.
When the worker began physically pushing Taormina out of the way in an effort to install the smart meter, Taormina drew her gun and demanded the worker leave the property .
“Our constitution allows us not to have that kind of intrusion on our personal privacy,” Taormina told KHOU 11 News. “They’ll be able to tell if you are running your computer, air conditioner, whatever it is.”
Now that we’ve had the weekend to contemplate “soda jerk” Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s decree that 16 ounce soft drinks are illegal in the City of New York, let’s consider how government intervention in food production and prices has done more than the Big Gulp to drive Americans’ widening waistlines.
We’ll begin with the prime culprit: corn subsidies.
Since 1994, the federal government has supported corn producers to the tune of $6 billion per year. Although federal agricultural subsidies began as temporary programs administered by the states during famine or war-time, corn growers became so accustomed to them they eventually became a mainstay.
Over the years, much of the subsidized corn ended up corroding our gas tanks as ethanol, but a lot more found its way into our stomachs as high fructose corn syrup (HFCS). At its peak in 1999, Americans consumed around 45 lbs. of HFCS yearly in everything from Coca-Cola to cereal.
By subsidizing corn production, government makes it less expensive than its alternatives. Subsidies not only distort the choices consumers make, but also distort the choices food manufacturers make when formulating processed food products.
We’re not just talking corn chips. When it comes to sweeteners, the combination of cheap corn with highly-priced American cane sugar (also supported by taxpayer money) makes it easier for food companies to sweeten their products with HFCS instead of real sugar. Recent science suggests although HFCS is similar chemically to cane sugar, the fact that it is so processed means it is easier to digest, and therefore more fattening.
Although subsidies for corn ethanol production expired at the end of last year, the federal government still makes direct payments to farmers to produce the edible variety of corn. Recipients of this free money haven’t just been mom and pop farms in Nebraska, but big multinational farming corporations such as Cargill, Monsanto, Archer Daniels Midland.
As the U.S. Senate begins work this week on a bill that would end direct subsidies to farmers, expect those companies to be on the front lines with cries that ending their gravy train will threaten “food security” and otherwise herald the end of the American farmer.
These cries won’t be anything new. The Corn Refiners Association has sensed threats to its members’ government checks for a few years. Not only did the lobbying group air widely-mocked commercials that challenged HFCS’s souring reputation, but also, just last week, they failed to convince the FDA to allow them to market HFCS by a new name: “corn sugar.”
But the FDA’s decision could have gone as easily the other way. As government’s role in food production and prices has expanded, special agricultural interest groups such as the Corn Refiners Association have captured the regulatory process. If you pay taxes, you’ve already paid partially for any product that includes corn, dairy, soy, and sugar. And as much as politicians toe the anti-smoking line, they continue to send our money to tobacco farmers every year, whether you smoke or not.
It’s easy to see how this has happened. The more a government intervenes in anything, the more opportunities there emerge for special interests to benefit at public expense. $6 billion to corn producers isn’t an outrageous sum of money in an era where the federal government is running trillion dollar deficits, so it’s easy for lobbyists to nudge it into appropriations bills with barely a peep. The amount of energy special interest groups spend on keeping their benefits is gigantic compared to the few phone calls congressional offices get demanding an end to agricultural subsidies.
As if paying for the privilege of eating unhealthy foods weren’t bad enough, there are other ways government intervention in food influences what we eat. Remember the food pyramid? It was recently replaced, but it used to recommend a grain-based, low-fat diet with lots of dairy, some meat, and a few fruits and vegetables for good measure. Today, however, food science shows low-fat isn’t always the right way to go, and too many grains – such as corn – really pack on the pounds.
Government misleads eaters in other ways. Besides soft drinks, Mayor Bloomberg’s other culinary mission has been to reduce his citizens’ salt consumption. But new research suggests salt may not be the villain it appears. A column in Sunday’s New York Times entitled ‘Salt, We Misjudged You’ raises questions about the common assumption that Americans consume too much of the stuff.
Confusing common wisdom even more, another recent piece in the New York Times suggests exercise may not be healthy for everyone, and may actually impact some people’s health negatively.
Will there soon be a government program advocating that Americans should exercise only sparingly?
Probably not, but the point is government tends to respond well to special interest lobbying that cites favorable science as the justification for free money. That science may shift 180 degrees tomorrow, but, once implemented, government transfer programs are difficult to dismantle because they give relatively large sums of money to some by taking teeny-tiny amounts from everyone.
AMC Theaters and 7-11s don’t stand to lose anything from Mayor Bloomberg’s most recent quest against giant-sized soft drinks. In fact, because thirsty consumers now must buy two large drinks to fulfill their taste for 16 ounces of soda, resellers are poised to make even more money on a product that already has super-high profit margins.
Mayor Bloomberg’s arbitrary decision to ban large soft drinks is yet another in a long string of government moves that mean well but create a cascade of unintended consequences. Rather than placing more limits on the food choices people can make, reformers should examine how public policies have helped to lead us into major problems such as obesity. Perhaps not every problem is a market failure, but may sometimes be a government failure that has incentivized bad behavior for everyone through the force of law.
In the film Edge of Darkness, Mel Gibson stated that “everything is illegal in Massachusetts”. Well, the same could pretty much be said for the United States as a whole.
Our lives are governed by millions of laws, rules and regulations and more are being piled on all the time. In fact, 40,000 new laws just went into effect in January.
Every single new law restricts your freedom just a little bit more. The truth is that America has become a crazy control freak nation where virtually everything that we do is highly regulated. You have probably broken multiple laws today that you don’t even know exist.
We have all become criminals and lawbreakers because almost everything is illegal at this point. Our politicians are convinced that they are “making life better” by piling gigantic mountains of laws onto our backs, and law enforcement authorities are convinced that they are helping society by “cracking down on crime”, but the reality is that our liberties and our freedoms are being strangled by all of this government oppression. This is not the way that America is supposed to work.
Yes, every society needs laws. But the laws should be short enough and simple enough that everybody can read them and understand them.
In America today, there is no possible way that any of us could ever read all of the laws that apply to us. Most of us just live our daily lives and try to do the “right” thing. But there is no guarantee that men with guns will not show up at your door one evening because of some obscure regulation that you have broken.
The following are 19 signs that America has become a crazy control freak nation where almost everything is illegal.
#1 One California town is actually considering making it illegal to smoke in your own backyard.
#2 In Louisiana, a church was recently ordered to stop giving out water because it did not have a permit to do so.
#3 In the United States it is illegal to operate a train that does not have an “F” painted on the front. Apparently without that “F” we all might not know where the front of the train is.
#4 In many U.S. states is it now illegal to collect rain that falls from the sky on to your own property.
#5 In America today it is illegal to milk your cow and sell the milk to your neighbor. If you do this, there is a good chance that federal agents will raid your home at the crack of dawn.
#6 In Washington D.C. it is illegal not to recycle cat litter.
#7 It is illegal to give a tour of the monuments in Washington D.C.without a license.
#8 In the United States it is illegal to sell natural cures for cancer – even if they work.
#9 In the state of Massachusetts it is illegal to deface a milk carton.
#10 In the state of Alabama, bear wrestling is completely illegal.
#11 In Fairbanks, Alaska it is illegal to give alcoholic beverages to a moose.
#12 In Lake Elmo, Minnesota it is illegal to sell pumpkins or Christmas trees that are grown outside city limits.
#13 There is a federal law that makes it illegal to be “annoying” on the Internet.
#14 If you register with a false name on MySpace or Facebook you could potentially “spend five years in federal prison“.
#15 In Hazelwood, Missouri it is illegal for little girls to sell girl scout cookies in the front yards of their own homes.
#16 All over the United States lemonade stands run by children are being shut down because they do not have the proper permits.
#17 In Florida, it is illegal to bring a plastic butter knife to school.
#18 In San Juan Capistrano, California it is illegal to hold a home Bible study without a “conditional use permit“.
#19 In the city of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania it is illegal to make even a single dollar from a blog unless you buy a $300 business license.
Sadly, this list of crazy laws and ridiculous regulations could be thousands long.
We are a nation run by a bunch of control freaks who do not care about our liberties and our freedoms.
Every once in a while, John Stossel does some really great reporting. An example of this is posted below. In this 40-minute video, Stossel goes into great detail about how almost everything is illegal in America today. In particular, the first 20 minutes are absolutely excellent. If you have not seen this yet, I highly encourage you to check it out.
Four obese children are on the brink of being permanently removed from their family by social workers after their parents failed to bring their weight under control.
In the first case of its kind, their mother and father now face what they call the ‘unbearable’ likelihood of never seeing them again.
Their three daughters, aged 11, seven and one, and five-year-old son, will either be ‘fostered without contact’ or adopted.
The couple, who have been married for nearly 20 years and are not being named to protect their children’s identities, were given a ‘draconian’ ultimatum three years ago – as reported at the time by The Mail on Sunday.
Warned that the children must slim or be placed in care, the family spent two years living in a council-funded ‘Big Brother’ house in which they were constantly supervised and the food they ate monitored.
But despite subjecting them to intense scrutiny, social workers did not impose rules on what food the children should eat, and there was apparently little or no improvement.
News of the decision to remove them was broken to the couple, from Dundee, on Tuesday. Critics called it a disgraceful breach of human rights and a chilling example of the power of the State to meddle in family life.
In an emotional interview, the 42-year-old mother said: ‘We might not be the perfect parents, but we love our children with all our hearts. To face a future where we will never see them again is unbearable.
‘They picked on us because of our size to start with and they just haven’t let go, despite the fact we’ve done everything to lose weight and meet their demands. We’re going to fight this to the bitter end. It feels like even prisoners have more human rights than we do.’
The couple have not committed any crime and are not accused of deliberate cruelty or abuse. Their solicitor, Joe Myles, said there was ‘nothing sinister lurking in the background’ and accused social workers of failing to act in the family’s best interests.
‘Dundee social services department appear to have locked horns with this couple and won’t let go,’ he said, adding that the monitoring project caused more problems than it solved. ‘The parents were constantly being accused of bad parenting and made to live under a microscope.
‘We have tried very hard to do everything that was asked of us. My wife has cooked healthy foods like home-made spaghetti bolognese and mince and potatoes; but nothing we’ve done has ever been enough’
The couple have three older children who are all distraught and angry at the ruling.
Speaking through tears, their 15-year-old daughter said: ‘The social workers should hang their heads in shame. A person’s weight is their own business and only we can do anything about it, not them. My parents are good people and they love us all. The four little ones don’t know what is about to happen to them.’
Social workers became aware of the family in early 2008 after one of the sons accused his father of hitting him on the forehead. In truth, he had fallen and hit his head on a radiator – a fact he later admitted. However, the allegation opened the door to the obesity investigation.
While the couple admit experiencing what their lawyer calls ‘low grade’ parenting problems, which would have merited support, they were aghast when the issue of weight was seized on as a major concern.
A council report at the time said: ‘With the exception of [one of the names], the children are all overweight. Advice has been given regarding diet but there has been no improvement. Appointments with the dietician have been missed.’
Investigation: The family have been subject to an obesity probe – at meal times social workers took notes and children met with dieticians (picture posed by model)
At that point their then 12-year-old son weighed 16 stone; his 11-year-old sister weighed 12 stone; and his three-year-old sister weighed four stone. It is not known how much the four younger children weigh now.
The couple were ordered to send their children to dance and football lessons and were given a three-month deadline to bring down their weight. When that failed, the children were placed in foster homes but were allowed to visit their parents.
After the couple objected to this arrangement, the council agreed to move them into a two-bedroom flat in a supported unit run by the Dundee Families Project. They insisted on the couple living with only three of their children at a time.
At meal times, a social worker stood in the room taking notes. Doctors raised concerns that the children put on weight whenever they spent time with their parents, a claim they vehemently denied.
The couple and their children also had to adhere to a strict 11pm curfew. This involved ‘clocking’ in and out by filling in a sheet held by an employee who lived on site.
Although the children’s weight was the major concern, other allegations were included in a report. It showed that social workers were worried when the youngest child was found crawling unsupervised. The parents point out they were never far away and the flat had no stairs.
They also found her ‘attempting to put dangerous objects’ in her mouth. The family say this is natural in toddlers and she was never successful.
To have a social worker stand and watch you eat is intolerable. I want other families to know what can happen once social workers become involved. We will fight them to the end to get our beloved children back.
Social workers were further worried when she crawled through the contents of an upturned ashtray – an ‘unfortunate one-off incident’, claim the parents. All the concerns were dismissed by the family’s legal team as ‘low grade’ problems.
It is understood the father crumbled under the strain of being so closely monitored in January this year and moved into a council flat elsewhere in the city.
In the next few months, the mother breached the lunch and dinner meal observations, by her own admission, on ‘several’ occasions while taking the children to see their father.
She personally never broke the 11pm curfew but once allowed her seven-year-old daughter to remain at her father’s flat after she fell asleep. She did not want to disturb her and argued the child had ‘two parents, not one’ and was in ‘good hands’.
These breaches led staff to declare the trial a failure and the mother was asked to leave the unit in April this year. She moved in to her husband’s flat but the children were then handed over to foster parents.
Her solicitor said he planned to use independent experts to prove that the children want to live with their parents and have been damaged by the social workers’ intervention. He added: ‘We may ultimately look towards human rights laws.’
The father, aged 56, said: ‘We have tried very hard to do everything that was asked of us. My wife has cooked healthy foods like home-made spaghetti bolognese and mince and potatoes; we’ve cut out snacks and only ever allowed the kids sweets on a Saturday. But nothing we’ve done has ever been enough.
‘The pressure of living in the family unit would have broken anyone. We were being treated like children and cut off from the outside world. To have a social worker stand and watch you eat is intolerable. I want other families to know what can happen once social workers become involved. We will fight them to the end to get our beloved children back.’
It is estimated 26 million British adults will be obese by 2030, with obesity levels running at an all-time high among children. Official statistics show those who are overweight spend 50 per cent more time in hospital, placing extra strain on the NHS.
Tam Fry, honorary chairman of the Child Growth Foundation, said: ‘This is a disgrace. These parents have clearly attempted to comply. They have, if you like, played Dundee City Council’s game and yet they are still losing their children.’
Dundee City Council said: ‘The council always acts in the best interests of children, with their welfare and safety in mind.’
THIS IS THE COMMUNIST NANNY STATE WAY – WHATCH THAT IT DOESNOT COME TO AMERICA – MOOCHELLE WANTS TO DO THIS.
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2033486/Your-children-fat-again.html#ixzz1X4nfLKQW
One of the complaints lodged against conservatives by liberals, often even by libertarians, is that in matters such as abortion, drug laws, and marriage laws “you can’t legislate morality,” they claim that though they personally oppose one or all these things, it really comes down to a personal choice of the individual and the government should stay out of it. But their hypocrisy is exposed when you talk about some of the things they want to legislate, such as requiring all to pay into government “charity” in the form of welfare, limiting access to firearms, dictating what type of medical insurance you can or must have, what kind of food your children can have, and a myriad of other “nanny state” doctrines.
This liberal ideology forces people to do and/or pay for things that they are opposed to, and takes away their personal choice. So how do they justify this? By saying it is “right,” “just,”, “fair,” meaning of course, moral. So they are perfectly willing to legislate morality, as long as it is their brand of morality. I have even heard a Christian liberal in my church say that these things are all in alignment with Christ’s command to love others and to care for them. I guess he doesn’t mind that forced charity is not charity at all, or that free will was endorsed by Christ, or that there are better ways of doing this than having the government do it.
My libertarian friends on the other hand would tend to agree with the liberals on the items in the first paragraph, and with me on the items in the second paragraph. And that is good in that it is at least consistent. However, libertarianism is pretty much “anarchy-lite;” it is basically opposed nearly all laws and to anything that presumes to define what is acceptable or unacceptable in society.
A conservative looks at all laws and taxes with a critical eye, yet they recognize that to have civil society requires some laws and the taxes to support them. All but a true anarchist agree that laws are needed to protect against violence, define protected property rights, provide for honest commerce, and protect against government abuse of personal rights. Conservatives recognize that there are legitimate reasons to have other civil laws, such as highway standards, building codes, professional certification, and traffic laws.
The real hypocrisy of saying that you can’t legislate morality is the simple fact that any law that protects people from the rule of the strongest is in fact a legislation of morality. Morality is the core basis of civilization.
The Obama regime wants to change the way farmers farm. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, part of the Department of Transportation, has proposed reclassifying all farm vehicles as Commercial Motor Vehicles. Farmers would be required to obtain Commercial Drivers Licenses” for their tractors and their combines out in the fields, not on public property. “If the rule goes into effect, anybody who operates any motorized farm equipment will have to pass the same rigorous tests that semi drivers do. They’ll have to fill out the same, highly detailed forms and daily logs. American farmers would have to keep track of how many hours they work and sleep, how many miles their vehicles travel.
They’d have to display Department of Transportation numbers — and, of course, they’d have to pay the government fees for all these new burdens. In one fell swoop, the regime would have more regulatory control over farmers and their 800,000 vehicles.