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Friday, May 02, 2014

Super-Individuals: The Meat Industry

The corporations that are the legal super-persons and are the real beneficiaries of the Constitution.

Bigger than you or me...

The Daily Yonder
On a chilly morning in March 2010, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack addressed a crowd of nearly 1,000 politicians, farmers, lobbyists, and journalists in Ankeny, Iowa, a nondescript little suburb of Des Moines. The purpose of the public hearing was to examine the growing power of agribusiness corporations like Tyson Foods.

"Let me start off by saying how deeply concerned I am about rural America," Vilsack said. He questioned whether the top-heavy food industry was rigged against the very farmers who actually produced the food. Then he outlined a governing agenda that was characteristically ambitious for the Obama administration in its early years. It wasn’t enough to simply fix these problems by enforcing existing rules and regulations, Vilsack suggested.

"The president has instructed the Department of Agriculture to establish a framework for a new rural economy," Vilsack said. For those in the crowd, from the farmers to the lawyers, bankers, and politicians, the prospect for fundamental reform was tangible. There could be a new framework. A new system of power in rural America.

As the rule was delayed, it opened the door for a different narrative about the rules to emerge, and for opposition to grow.

What no one in the giant auditorium could foresee that day was that Obama’s effort would ultimately be a spectacular failure. The story of how Obama failed shows how the administration quickly backed down when corporate interests put up a fight, and how political operatives muzzled and undermined the very reformers Obama’s team installed after his election. It is a pattern that has played itself out in failed efforts to reign in the nation’s biggest banks or stop consolidation in the airlines industry, to take just two examples...


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