Monday, May 23, 2005

Big brother will take your money

According to rightwingers, the Dems want complete government control over people's lives and over business, right? Then how is it that a rightwing judge who is a bedfellow of Cheney's is writing opinions that require ranchers to pay for government advertisements?
The government is allowed to promote its own message and compel producers to pay fees, Justice Scowlia wrote.

"The message of the promotional campaigns is effectively controlled by the Federal Government itself," he wrote.

The agriculture secretary, a public official, controls the program, appoints and dismisses key personnel and has "absolute veto power" over the ads, even when it comes to their wording, Scalia wrote.

At issue is a program passed by Congress in 1985 requiring cattle producers to pay $1 for every head of cattle sold in the United States for industry advertising and research.

The Agriculture Department collects the "checkoff" fees, which total more than $80 million annually, and distributes the money to an industry group appointed by the department to run the program.
Scowlia was joined by Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist, Clarence Thomas, Sandra Day O'Connor, and Stephen G. Breyer, hardly the "liberal activist judges" we are always hearing about.

Why the hell do we need to promote beef anyway? We are a hamburger nation. If I had more energy I'd look it up, but I bet beef is in the top five highest consumption industries. I know corn is numero uno, and the veggie nuts are a fraction of the population. I grill burgers once a week (and make the best damn burgers on the planet.) You know what else? I got milk. I don't need to see celebrities all over the place telling me to drink it.

So beef consumption is up since 1985. People also have more money to buy it. This policy reeks of socialism if you ask me. And what is the rightwing version of socialism? Fascism.

What is "government speech" anyway? Sounds like newspeak to me.
Some ranchers object to paying for the ad campaigns because they don't like the generic message that all beef - American or foreign - is good. But the court ruled in a 6-3 decision that the beef program amounts to government speech that is shielded from First Amendment challenge.
Not that there's anything wrong with a little government intervention. I'd like to think I'm not going to die if I consume beef.

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