The worlds of Roni Rudolph and Gingrich-Dole are far apart indeed. Those twin destroyers of corporate law and order -Senator Robert Dole and Rep. Newt Gingrich who lead the Republicans — operate in a world of business dinners, corporate lobbyists and industrial campaign finance slush funds.
While Roni Rudolph is tirelessly pressing for better meat inspection standards after her 6 year old daughter, Lauren, died 2 1/2 years ago shortly after she ate a fast food restaurant’s hamburger. The hamburger contained the deadly E. coli bacteria that led to an outbreak that made hundreds of people sick in several Western states.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture, for once, sides with Roni Rudolph. It has proposed stronger meat and poultry safety standards to reduce the annual death toll of 4000 Americans from contaminated meat and poultry. These rules include testing for disease-causing microbes to augment the present system of federal inspectors who use the age-old look, smell and touch methods in the slaughter plants.
Most people would be amazed to learn that under current law the government cannot order mandatory recalls of contaminated meat and poultry products.
To Gingrich and Dole, the present situation is just fine. Gingrich led the House of Representatives in passing a one year moratorium on all proposed health and safety standards by federal agencies, including the life-saving USDA proposal to control the lethal E. coli bacteria in your food supply.
Dole is working overtime in the Senate to pass Gingrich’s bill which would straitjacket innocent victims and tie the hands of the federal cops in so many knots that they will never be able to apply law and order to business crimes, recklessness and the placing of profits over human health and safety.
Never mind that Reagan and. Bush ruled this government for twelve years and placed the most indifferent officials in charge of doing nothing to save the lives and health of Americans from toxic chemicals, defective products and contaminated foods.
But Reagan and Bush could never repeal outright these safety laws because the Democrats controlled Congress. So instead they just sat on them.
Now the Republicans control Congress and they are in overdrive to surround the safety agencies with so many bureaucratic delays and red tape that the corporate culprits and their lawyers can keep any progress from occurring. This reactionary drive is happening at a time when past safety standards are proving their life-saving success from air bags to taking lead out of gasoline to numerous child-safety rules.
Why are Gingrich and Dole so cruel and vicious? They would deny this characterization, saying that they want to reduce the regulatory burden on business and create jobs. In one respect they are right. If Clinton does not veto this legislation, there will be more jobs created for the hospital and funeral industries.
Gingrich and Dole are marching to the orders of the business lobbies who see this period as a golden opportunity to escape the rule of law and do what they please, no matter who gets hurt. These lobbies are pouring millions of dollars into the campaign coffers of the Republican Party. The wine and the dining are filling Washington’s posh restaurants.
Roni Rudolph and other mothers, who lost their children to diseased meat, have witnessed the deliberate isolation by Gingrich, Dole and their cohorts from American who want to prevent this horrible tragedy from happening to others. They cannot get an appointment to see Gingrich and Dole.
With great difficulty, these parents have formed safety organizations and have managed to testify at Congressional hearings. But Gingrich and Dole and other so-called Republican leaders are not at these Committee meetings. They are hobknobbing with corporate bigwigs and their issues.
Radiology is making great advances — what with Cat Scans and MRIs — and perhaps some inventive genius will devise a Callous Scan of the brains of these indentured, insulated, politically lubricated and out-of-touch-politicians.
In the meantime, aroused citizens may wish to ask their Senators to send them a copy of S. 515, the Family Food Protection Act, introduced by Senator Bill Bradley. The New Jersey Senator was moved to action when he learned of the death of Katie O’Connell, a 2 year old who ate a hamburger at a fast food restaurant. Other seriously sickened children narrowly escaped Katie’s fate. You can help do something about making the nation’s food supply safer for everyone by receiving and talking up S. 515.
If you don’t who will?