Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle was a Work of Fiction

There are several sacred cows when it comes to government regulatory bodies and one of those fat grass eating bastards is the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Whenever you mention a desire to eliminate various government regulatory bodies people get very upset when you bring up one of the sacred cows because they feel that agency is absolutely necessary for the wellbeing of the nation. In the case of the FDA supporters will often cite a novel by Upton Sinclair called The Jungle as definitive proof that we need the FDA in order to have safe food to eat. The Jungle is a novel about the supposedly inhuman conditions found in the Chicago slaughterhouses of the late 1800’s and early 1900’s. Unfortunately for those who cite the work it was a completely fictitious, sensationalized, and outrageous piece of literature:

The Jungle was, first and foremost, a novel. It was intended to be a polemic—a diatribe, if you will—and not a well-researched and dispassionate documentary. Sinclair relied heavily on both his own imagination and on the hearsay of others. He did not even pretend to have actually witnessed the horrendous conditions he ascribed to Chicago packinghouses, nor to have verified them, nor to have derived them from any official records.

When you argument contains no verifiable evidence you’re not off to a good start. The biggest flaw with using The Jungle as a citation for the support of government food regulation is the fact nothing state in the book is verifiable. In fact evidence to the contrary exists:

Though his novelized and sensational accusations prompted later congressional investigations of the industry, the investigators themselves expressed skepticism of Sinclair’s integrity and credibility as a source of information.


Most Americans would be surprised to know that government meat inspection did not begin in 1906. The inspectors Holbrook refers to as being mentioned in Sinclair’s book were among hundreds employed by federal, state, and local governments for more than a decade. Indeed, Congressman E. D. Crumpacker of Indiana noted in testimony before the House Agriculture Committee in June 1906 that not even one of those officials “ever registered any complaint or (gave) any public information with respect to the manner of the slaughtering or preparation of meat or food products.”5

To Crumpacker and other contemporary skeptics, “Either the Government officials in Chicago (were) woefully derelict in their duty, or the situation over there (had been) outrageously over-stated to the country.”6 If the packing plants were as bad as alleged in The Jungle, surely the government inspectors who never said so must be judged as guilty of neglect as the packers were of abuse.

Some two million visitors came to tour the stockyards and packinghouses of Chicago every year. Thousands of people worked in both. Why is it that it took a novel written by an anti-capitalist ideologue who spent but a few weeks there to unveil the real conditions to the American public?

The entire novel was hyperbole. If conditions in the Chicago packing plats was even remotely as bad as The Jungle described there would have been outrage by visitors and at least one complaint filed by the hundreds of government meat inspectors already overseeing the situation. You can’t cover up such barbarism when millions of visitors come to the scene of the crimes. Likewise the legislation passed in the wake of The Jungle wasn’t passed due to the novel but so everybody citing the novel would shut the hell up:

When the sensational accusations of The Jungle became worldwide news, foreign purchases of American meat were cut in half and the meatpackers looked for new regulations to give their markets a calming sense of security. The only congressional hearings on what ultimately became the Meat Inspection Act of 1906 were held by Congressman James Wadsworth’s Agriculture Committee between June 6 and 11. A careful reading of the deliberations of the Wadsworth committee and the subsequent floor debate leads inexorably to one conclusion: Knowing that a new law would allay public fears fanned by The Jungle, bring smaller competitors under regulation, and put a newly-laundered government stamp of approval on their products, the major meat packers strongly endorsed the proposed act and only quibbled over who should pay for it.


To his credit, Upton Sinclair actually opposed the law because he saw it for what it really was—a boon for the big meat packers.10 Far from a crusading and objective truth-seeker, Sinclair was a fool and a sucker who ended up being used by the very industry he hated.

At least the bastard didn’t get what he wanted (which happens to everybody who appeals to the government to enact some piece of legislation by the way). Still the Meat Inspection Act of 1906 was passed on fraudulent grounds which is the important thing to take away from this post. Anytime you hear somebody cite The Jungle as a reason for government regulation duly inform that idiot about the truth nature of that novel; it was purely fiction and therefore not a valid source for augmentative purposes.

Big Brother in Our Street Lights

I’m getting rather sick of all the new devices coming out that help our government spy on us. The number of new devices and laws being presented the help government agents listen in on our conversations and watch our ever move is mind-boggling. Not satisfied with the current state of eavesdropping technologies now even street lights are being converted from their benevolent use of providing light to a more sinister purpose:

They are being used for entertainment and safety. but some critics say this is nothing more than the watchful eye of big brother keeping track of your every moment.


When you step come into view of the street light, there is a camera that spots you, and the person on the other side sees you by white specs on a black screen. The camera senses that somebody is there, and if wants, it can even take your picture.

The system is also capable of recording conversations making critics cry invasion of privacy.

While this is being touted as a great thing by the manufacturer I must say what they think is great I think is despicable:

He said this project “demonstrates how business and government can work together for economic, environmental and social benefits.”

I get a sick feeling in my stomach every time I hear a business tycoon say they can or have demonstrated how business and government can work together. There is a term used to describe a social and economic system where business and government hop into bed together, and that term is fascism. No good comes from a tyrannical government working hand-in-hand with private businesses and let’s be honest, the only thing faster than light is the speed our government is driving down tyranny road.

While I have no expectation of privacy when I’m out and about I do expect my supposed Constitutional protections against government snooping to apply at all times.

A Trojan that Generates Bitcoins

It was bound to happen eventually but a trojan is now circulating for OS X that syphons a victims computing power and uses it to mine Bitcoins:

“This malware is complex, and performs many operations,” security researchers from Mac antivirus vendor Intego warned. “It is a combination of several types of malware: It is a Trojan horse, since it is hidden inside other applications; it is a backdoor, as it opens ports and can accept commands from command and control servers; it is a stealer, as it steals data and Bitcoin virtual money; and it is a spyware, as it sends personal data to remote servers,” they explained.

The Bitcoin mining program that DevilRobber installs on infected computers is called DiabloMiner and is a legitimate Java-based application used in the virtual currency’s production.

The one flaw in this trojan (besides requiring manual intervention by a user to get installed) is using a Java-based application to perform Bitcoin mining. Mac OS 10.7 doesn’t include Java by default and the user must manually install it if they want to run Java applications. While a prompt will appear asking the user if they want to install Java when they try to use a Java applet those are fairly uncommon at this point so the chances of a user running 10.7 having Java installed is actually pretty low.

Still the application appears to also seek out and steal Bitcoin wallets. I’m rather shocked that we didn’t see this kind of trojan come to the attention of network security sites before now. When I first looked into Bitcoin one of the first ideas that popped into my malicious thought filled head was how easy it would be to use a massive botnet to mine a great number of Bitcoins.

Seattle Gun Ban Ruled Illegal

Seattle’s ban of guns in parks has been struck down for a second time. The Second Amendment Foundation’s (SAF) case against the city’s government went to the Washington State Cout of Appeals where it was struck down for a second time:

The Washington State Court of Appeals for Division 1 today unanimously upheld a 2010 King County Superior Court ruling against the City of Seattle’s ban on firearms in city parks in a lawsuit originally brought by the Second Amendment Foundation, other gun rights groups and five individual plaintiffs.

SAF Executive Vice President Alan M. Gottlieb said he had always been confident that the Appeals Court would rule “in favor of the law and against the attempt by Seattle to dance around it.”

“We told former Mayor Greg Nickels he was wrong,” Gottlieb said, “and we have reminded the city under Mayor Mike McGinn that it was wrong, and now the Appeals Court has confirmed our position.”

Strike another victory for SAF. Those guys are on one hell of a roll. It’s good to see Washington state refusing to allow cities to ignore the law by preventing citizens from legally carrying a means of self-defense in arbitrarily selected city properties.

I still don’t understand the thought process of some city governments. What is the point in banning the legal carry of firearms in parks? All you do is setup a section of the city where criminals can be reasonably assured unarmed victims are plenty.

Just What the Police Need, Weaponizable Drones

What do you get the authoritarian who has everything? A weaponizable drone of course! What could possible go wrong with giving the police drones that can mount Tasers:

A Houston area law enforcement agency is prepared to launch an unmanned drone that could someday carry weapons, Local 2 Investigates reported Friday.

The Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office in Conroe paid $300,000 in federal homeland security grant money and Friday it received the ShadowHawk unmanned helicopter made by Vanguard Defense Industries of Spring.


He said they are designed to carry weapons for local law enforcement.

“The aircraft has the capability to have a number of different systems on board. Mostly, for law enforcement, we focus on what we call less lethal systems,” he said, including Tazers that can send a jolt to a criminal on the ground or a gun that fires bean bags known as a “stun baton.”

“You have a stun baton where you can actually engage somebody at altitude with the aircraft. A stun baton would essentially disable a suspect,” he said.

This is such a great idea! It’s not like there is a record of people who have been killed by Tasers or anything. Who could possibly imagine this type of technology being abused?

Who in the fuck thought it was a good idea to build a drone that can mount weapons and sell it to law enforcement agencies? No, seriously I want to know who the fucker is that thought this was a good idea. Big Brother watching my every move is one thing but it becomes an entirely different game when Big Brother is not only following and watching me but also deploying weapons from remote controlled aircraft.

Militarizing the police has proven to be a very bad idea yet we continue down this road of idiocy. Why not just give police department some nuclear weapons while we’re at it? Perhaps they could use a few flamethrowers in case a perp locks himself in a house and the only option is to burn the building to the ground. Where does this insanity stop?

It’s Only Counterfeiting When We Do It

Six suckers here in Minnesota decided they were going to wedge in on the government’s business and print up money. Unfortunately for them the government gets upset when others try to move in on its business:

Albert Lea resident Heather Ann Cameron, 34, pleaded guilty in federal court Thursday to one count of counterfeiting U.S. currency. She entered her plea before U.S. District Court Judge Ann D. Montgomery.

In her plea agreement, Cameron admitted that from December 2010 through June 2011, she chemically washed $5 bills and reprinted them as $100 bills. She admitted she intended to defraud businesses by passing the bills and then receiving actual money and goods in return for them.

Her husband, Travis Allen Cameron, 31, of Albert Lea pleaded guilty Monday to the same count, admitting that he produced altered bills, which were sold for about 50 cents on the dollar.

Obviously they didn’t understand that only the government is allowed to counterfeit in this country. When they crank up the printing press it’s called stimulus but when a private individual does it it’s called counterfeiting. Either way the result is inflation but the damage caused by a handful of individuals increasing the “value” of pieces of paper by printing higher values is minuscule compared to the rampant damage to purchasing power caused by the United States government prints off trillions of dollars.

Each defendant in this case face up to 20 years in prison. If they get 20 years for counterfeiting tens of thousands of dollars then the goons in the Federal Reserve and Treasury should be getting life without the possibility of parole.

Government Efficiency in Action

A couple spent a night in jail while their child was abducted by Child Protective Services (CPS). Obviously these two parents must have done something fairly heinous for end up in jail while their child was taken by the state right? Wrong:

“We walked a long way to the grocery store and I was feeling faint, dizzy, like I needed to eat something so we decided to pick up some sandwiches and eat them while we were shopping,” Leszczynski told the news station.

Leszczynski, who is 30-weeks pregnant, her husband, Marcin, and daughter Zophia bought $50 worth of groceries — but forgot about their two chicken salad sandwiches.

“It was a complete distraction, distracted parent moment,” Leszczynski told KHON.

As the family left, they were stopped by store security, who asked for their receipt.

“I offered to pay, we had the cash. We just bought the groceries,” Leszczynski told the station.

Instead, the expectant mother told KHON that the Safeway manager called police. They were taken to the main Honolulu police station where they were booked for fourth degree theft. Then Zophia was taken into custody by Child Protective Services.

All of this over two $5.00 sandwiches. While I’m not one to ever defend theft I think it’s pretty believable that the parents simply forgot to pay for the sandwiches considering they paid for the other $50.00 of groceries. They also offered to pay for the sandwiches before the police were called, if I were the store owner I’d have simply taken the money for the sandwiches and called it a day. Really, how wants to get the police involved over $10.00? It’s going to cost far more than $10.00 in taxpayer money by the time the police drive to the store and investigate the matter.

Hell if I were the police officer who arrived at the “scene” I would have simply told the couple to pay for the sandwiches and get the fuck out of my sight. The overreaction of our society is getting out of hand and it’s costing use a fortune in money and unnecessary stress. A little common sense, ladies and gentlemen, is what we desperately need.

Demand and Supply

I’m sure you know about the flooding that hit Thailand and caused absolute devastation but you may not realize how that event is impacting us here. Most hard drive manufacturers rely heavily on production capabilities in Thailand which has turned out to be a pretty bad things right now:

The brunt of the flood has since flowed south — Bangkok saw horrendous flooding through the weekend, with more than 380 dead and 2.4 million people affected. But the water remains in central Thailand, and it will take weeks just to get the water out. Repairing the facilities and replacing the equipment will take many months.

The flood took out approximately 25 percent of the world’s hard drive manufacturing capacity — but that isn’t the whole story.

Western Digital has a second large plant in Malaysia. Seagate doesn’t have any manufacturing in the flooded areas. Toshiba makes hard drives in several locations, not just Bang-Pa In. All of the major manufacturers rely on parts supplied by companies that were hit by the floods, but there are alternate suppliers in different locations.

According to the article these companies were smart enough to have manufacturing facilities elsewhere which means their production capacity hasn’t been devastated. Let this be a lesson to everybody, never keep all of your eggs in one basket. Even though hard drive manufacturers are expected to meet their production numbers this year the prices of drives have certainly jumped right the fuck up. Why is this? The same reason ammunition prices jacked way up shortly after Obama’s election, rumors leading to hoarding.

Many people are buying up harddrives hoping that they’ll be able to ask even high prices in the future. While this purchasing crazy is leading to higher prices it will only last for a short while. Still it shows how fragile commodity prices are how demand can go up due to natural disasters elsewhere in the world.

Don’t Celebrate our Leaving Iraq Yet

The Obamessiah announced that we are finally leaving Iraq after ten years of occupation. It seems awfully convenient that this happened so close to election season but as Ron Paul points out leaving now was only logical:

First and foremost, any form of withdrawal that is happening is not simply because the administration realized it was the right thing to do. This is not the fulfillment of a campaign promise, or because suddenly the training of their police and military is complete and Iraq is now safe and secure, but because of disagreements with the new government over a Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA). The current agreement was set up by the previous administration to expire at the end of 2011. Apparently the Iraqis refused to allow continued immunity from prosecution for our forces for any crimes our soldiers might commit on Iraqi soil. Can you imagine having foreign soldiers here, with immunity from our laws and Constitution, with access to your neighborhood?

Basically we’re leaving because the Iraqis have decided to prosecute our troops for crimes they commit while in Iraq. Even with this fact considered though I don’t think we can really claim to be leaving Iraq:

Some 39,000 American troops will supposedly be headed home by the end of the year. However, the US embassy in Iraq, which is the largest and most expensive in the world, is not being abandoned. Upwards of 17,000 military personnel and private security contractors will remain in Iraq to guard diplomatic personnel, continue training Iraqi forces, maintain “situational awareness” and other functions. This is still a significant American footprint in the country. And considering that a private security contractor costs the US taxpayer about three times as much as a soldier, we’re not going to see any real cost savings. Sadly, these contractors are covered under diplomatic immunity, meaning the Iraqi people will not get the accountability that they were hoping for.

Our embassy there is the largest one in the world. Why we need such a massive complex for diplomatic ties is beyond me but it certainly makes one hell of a good military base if it can store 17,000 military personnel. It’s almost as if we wanted to leave a giant staging area in the country in case we needed to invade Iran a neighboring country.

While our “leaders” claim we’re leaving Iraq remember it’s still going to be a giant money sinkhole with plenty of American military personnel needing housing, food, and water.

Wisconsin Right-to-Carry Law Takes Effect Today

Congratulations Wisconsin, today is the day you finally allow people within your borders the right to self-defense. People within the state can finally obtain carry permits while those living outside of the state may have their permit recognized. I posted Wisconsin’s reciprocity list a while ago and am happy that Minnesota’s permit made the cut.

First there were 50, but now there is only one as Illinois stands alone as the only state that doesn’t afford people living within its borders to carry the most effective means of self-defense.