The Hightower Report

Bush ignores the terror of tainted meat -- and Americans are revolting.


Making Children Sick

While George W wails about Saddam Hussein's supposed ties to terrorist cells, he's refusing to lift a finger to deal with cells here at home that are not only causing terror for American families, but are killing 14 innocent, unsuspecting Americans every day and hospitalizing nearly 900 more.

These cells bear names like Listeria, E. coli, and Salmonella -- they are food-borne bacteria that have become epidemic because of the unclean practices of such industrialized meat companies as ConAgra, Pilgrim's Pride, and Tyson. In their corporate slaughterhouses, processing lines are speeded up for quick profits and, as a result, the ground beef, poultry, hot dogs, and such get contaminated with animal manure. Deadly bacteria in this manure festers, then is swallowed by consumers ... and kills 5,000 of us each year, with children being especially vulnerable.

The death is horrible. One father tells of his 2-year-old "screaming nonstop for three days, and there was nothing I could do."

There is, however, something Bush could do. He could listen to the thousands of families whose children and other loved ones have died from industry's tainted meat. These families have formed a grassroots group called S.T.O.P. -- Safe Tables Our Priority. They know that these deaths are totally preventable -- if the meat giants are simply made to clean up their act. So S.T.O.P. is pushing for tough rules against feces contamination in meat plants, calling for vigorous inspections, strong penalties, and authority to shut down persistent violators.

But Bush is siding with the meat-packing corporations. He has set aside a Bill Clinton regulation for better Listeria inspections, and, instead of closing factories that fail Salmonella inspections, Bush simply sends them a letter of reprimand ... or actually stops the testing in those factories!

As S.T.O.P. said in a letter to George, "Our children and our families deserve not to encounter terror at the dinner table." To help stop Bush's corporate weaseling, call S.T.O.P.: 800/350-STOP.


The Rebellion

The people of America are revolting -- in the very best sense of that term! America's media and political leaders also are revolting, but in the very ugliest sense of that term, for they mostly are ignoring the people's revolt.

All across our great country, there is a massive outpouring of heartfelt, outraged opposition to George W's Iraq Attack. Tens of thousands of people have joined street rallies, candlelight vigils, marches on Congressional offices, protests at Bush fundraisers, visits to Dick Cheney's house, and other demonstrations -- not only in D.C., San Francisco, and other expected places, but also in places like Tulsa and New Smyrna, Phoenix and Dearborn, Roswell and Rochester.

This rebellion includes grandmothers who've never protested, Gulf War and Vietnam vets, church folks, corporate executives ... even Republicans! In addition to street actions, Congress has been deluged with letters, e-mail, faxes, and phone calls against the pell-mell rush into Iraq. Robert Byrd, the usually hawkish senator from West Virginia who led the opposition to Bush's war resolution, says that he got 20,000 calls and 50,000 e-mails in one week urging him to keep up the fight. "They are my heroes," he said of these grassroots rebels, adding that "the American people seem to have a better understanding of the Constitution than those who are elected to represent them."

Yet, if you watch television news and listen to the pundits, you'd think you're alone in America if you don't go along with Bush's BS. The mass media establishment has been a perpetual war drum, mostly ignoring the spreading prairie fire of opposition. But have heart: We're stronger than you think. Even in Congress, 23 senators and 133 house members voted NO on the war resolution, including 90% of African-American members, 80% of Latinos, 60% of House Democrats, and 59% of the women in Congress.

That's a solid base for sanity, and we've only begun to fight. So keep agitating!

For more information on Jim Hightower's work – and to subscribe to his award-winning monthly newsletter, The Hightower Lowdown – visit www.jimhightower.com. You can hear his radio commentaries on KOOP Radio, 91.7FM, weekdays at 10:58am and 12:58pm.

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KEYWORDS FOR THIS STORY

George W. Bush, Listeria, E. coli, Salmonella, ConAgra, Pilgrim's Pride, Tyson, meat, Safe Tables Our Priority, STOP, war, Saddam Hussein, Iraq, protest, Dick Cheney, Robert Byrd

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