The Hightower Report

Romney Goes Hunting ... for Votes; and What's Happening to Our Bees


WHAT'S HAPPENING TO OUR BEES?

Bees are dying. Dying all across America. Lots and lots of bees.

Starting in Florida last fall, the great bee die-off has spread to 24 states. Whole colonies are dying. In Western states, commercial beekeepers report up to a 60% loss of their bees, with losses at 70% in Texas and on the East Coast. It's unprecedented.

Who cares? Well, few people realize that many of America's food crops – from almonds to watermelon – rely heavily on commercial honeybees for pollination. No bees, no fruit. One study finds that these bees pollinate every third bite of food that we consume.

Another little-known fact is that bee pollination is increasingly a highly concentrated industry. Rather than a dispersed system of local hives, a few commercial operators now haul tens of billions of bees from coast to coast, trucking their hives in 18-wheelers.

Colony Collapse Disorder, as it's now called, could be the result of this industrialized model of pollination. First, the bees themselves have been bred into single-purpose superpollinators, rather than bees with multiple functions (make honey, feed the queen, maintain the hives, and extend the species). The industrial bees have lost the diversity and natural traits of wild bees.

Second, constant trucking puts stress on the bees, suppressing their immune systems and making them vulnerable to viruses, mites, and diseases. Also as part of their forced migration, the bees are fed a limited diet of high fructose corn syrup – about as healthy as humans trying to live on Cokes. Other research is indicating certain pesticides and genetically altered organisms that have been artificially spliced into many field crops.

Once again, we have the heavy hand of mankind messing with Mother Nature in ways that come back to mess with us – big time. It's not just bees these food industrialists are messing with – it's our food supply.


ROMNEY GOES HUNTING ... FOR VOTES

When George Romney ran for president in 1968, he opposed the war in Vietnam. When it came out that he'd earlier supported the war, he blamed that on having been "brainwashed." At the time, Sen. Gene McCarthy, noting that Romney wasn't known for being too bright, commented that brainwashing him wouldn't have been necessary, since "I would have thought a light rinse would be sufficient."

Now comes a chip off the old block, George's son, Mitt Romney, presently running for president. Mitt's a Republican, so he's trying to show the extreme right wing in his party that he's one of them. Abortion? Agin' it! But, oops, running for office in Massachusetts, Mitt was pro-choice. Gay marriage? No way, says Mitt. But, oops again, he previously embraced gay rights.

The most fun, however, is Romney's macho assertion this year that he has "been a hunter pretty much all my life." This is an important claim, since he wants the National Rifle Association to endorse him. But – oops – his campaign had to admit that, well … he'd actually gone hunting only twice in his life.

He later made this blunder worse by saying, "I've always been a rodent and rabbit hunter. Small varmints, if you will." Rodents? Not exactly Teddy Roosevelt big-game stuff! And, "if you will?" What NRA member talks like that? Still, Mitt brags that he's an NRA member. Yeah, he joined eight months ago. And, in Massachusetts, he supported gun-control laws the NRA hates.

Well, he declared this year, "I have a gun of my own." Uh … not exactly. Mitt, your son owns a gun, not you. Still, he claims that he keeps his son's gun in his home. Which one? He owns homes in three states.

Worse than a flip-flopper, Mitt Romney simply can't shoot straight with the American people. Haven't we had enough of that from our current president?

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

Bees, commercial beekeepers, Colony Collapse Disorder, George Romney, Mitt Romney, National Rifle Association

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