Eat meat -- Trust me
- Credibility And Virginity
By Charlie Reese
Monday, January 5, 2004
What President Bush does not understand (don't worry, I'm not going
through the whole list) is that credibility, like virginity, cannot
be recovered once it's lost.
He thinks it's unimportant that he took the country to war based on
the false claim that Saddam Hussein had amassed large amounts of
chemical and biological weapons and was on the verge of handing them
to terrorists. His attitude is: "Hey, what's your problem? We got rid
of a bad guy."
Well, the problem is that now any American who believes anything the
Bush administration says without a ton of proof to back it up is a
fool. Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me. Like a
lot of old sayings, it's a basic truth. Do you really think an
administration that would lie about reasons for going to war won't
lie to further its re-election efforts or to cover up other blunders?
I know that for a lot of young people, Watergate and the Vietnam War
are now "that real old stuff," as a baby sitter once described any
history that had occurred prior to her puberty. But for many
Americans of that generation, it was their first exposure to
wholesale lying by the federal government. My own first exposure had
occurred in the 1950s, when I caught the U.S. Department of
Agriculture in a pack of lies about imported fire ants.
So, do you think the Bush administration is telling you the truth
about mad cow disease? I don't. The Bush administration says that the
discovery of one case of mad cow disease poses a minimal risk. Well,
what exactly is the minimal risk of a disease that is 100 percent
fatal and incurable? "Minimal," when it comes out of the mouth of a
bureaucrat, is a code word for acceptable. In other words, a few dead
Americans are an acceptable price to pay for preserving a
multibillion-dollar beef industry. That's fine, unless you happen to
be one of the dead ones.
If the risk is so minimal, why are they trying to recall all of the
meat? They have told us that the most dangerous parts of a sick cow
are the spinal cord and brain, and that these were "left out of the
food chain." Do you think slaughterhouses debone cows with surgical
precision? That'll be the day.
The human form of mad cow disease is called Creutzfeldt-Jakob
disease, or CJD. Did you know there are about 300 cases of CJD in the
United States every year? Did you know that clusters of CJD have
occurred in: Pennsylvania in 1993, Florida in 1994, Oregon in 1996,
New York in 1999-2000, and Texas in 1996? These cases were all
classified as "sporadic," which sounds to me much more like semantics
than science. Usually, clusters of disease are indicative of an
Laura Manuelidis, section chief of surgery in the neuropathology
department at Yale University, conducted a 1989 study that found that
13 percent of people who died after being diagnosed as having
Alzheimer's disease actually had died of CJD.
"Now people are beginning to realize that because something looks
like sporadic CJD, they can't necessarily conclude that it's not
linked to mad cow disease," she told United Press International.
There is no good tracking system for CJD, and obviously no good
tracking system for cows with mad cow disease. Think about this: If
you're a cattleman and you find a sick cow you suspect of mad cow
disease, what is in your selfish interest: to report it and lose your
whole herd or shoot it and bury it? If you're a bureaucrat in the
USDA, what is in your self-interest: to tell the truth and have the
agribusiness lobbyists howling for your scalp or to follow the
administration line? I'm not saying that altruists don't exist, but
they are rare birds in the human flock.
As of now, hamburger I don't grind myself and all other processed
meats are off the menu. I would advise you to take the same steps.
Otherwise, one day, you might hear the president say: "Hey, what's
your problem? We preserved the beef industry." There are some things
I aspire to, but being part of the acceptable price for achieving
somebody else's political and economic goals is not one of them.
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