"Libertarian ScamBlogger Covertly Quizzes Bee Bureaucrat"
Published 15 April 2006
(word count: 750)
The USDA's National Animal Identification System (NAIS), announced in 2004, is plodding relentlessly ahead, first by registering every farm, ranch, dairy, pigsty, chicken coop, sheep shed and commercial fish hatchery in the country, then by tagging and RFIDing every kind of creature destined for grocery store shelves or restaurant menus. And it's all being done to protect the health and well being of the American eater.
Or is it?
Abe E. Stynger is the newly appointed Adminiscrat of the USDA's Office of Apiary Activity. Mr. Stynger recently occupied a back barstool in the HoneyBunz Gentlemen's Cabaret where, shortly after midnight, he was secretly interviewed by an undisclosed member of a little-known band of libertarian ScamBloggers.
ScamBlogger: what is the purpose of the Apiary Office?
Stynger: You crazy? I get a six-figure paycheck, perks, pension and lifetime medical coverage, all plucked from the taxpayers' pocket, and I get to play golf, attend Washington parties and brag to my friends about the DC powercrats I schmooze with. Whaddaya think the purpose is?
ScamBlogger: I was thinking more in terms of the official purpose.
Stynger: Oh, that. My job is to register every stinking apiary operation in the country as part of the USDA National Animal Identification System boondoggle. You know, beekeepers. Honey producers. Hive-huggers. All my old bureau buddies in the USDA had better suck than me, so they got the prestige jobs dictating to horse breeders and cattlemen and ostrich farmers. But, hey, being the nation's Bee Boss is still a sweet deal, if ya don't mind the pun. I get to sit behind a mahogany desk in DC while my hired experts run the program. What do I know about tagging bees?
ScamBlogger: How do you justify this to the public?
Stynger: Easy. We slip it to 'em in stages. First we call it a voluntary registration program. Hah! The government of the USSA is the most powerful entity on Planet Earth and people actually buy that "voluntary" crap. But we spend the first couple of years registering every bee business in the land. Then we go back a few years later and say we have to register every individual bee colony. But colonies live in hives so then we have to go back a year or two later and register every hive. Then, since each hive is run by a queen, we eventually go around and tag every queen and …
ScamBlogger: Waitaminnit. You can't tag an individual bee. Nobody makes a chip that small.
Stynger: Hey, we're the government. We just mandate industry to develop one. Give 'em millions to do it, too.
ScamBlogger: So this whole shifty process starts out like a reasonable effort to register farms and ranches for the purpose of tracking livestock with the goal of keeping our food supply safe, but then it slowly mushrooms into a bigger, wider, more expansive and expensive program until you end up spending billions of taxbucks to track every living thing that might ever end up in a cooking pot?
Stynger: Sure, that's the plan. Or did you think government programs just sort of accidentally unfold like that on their own?
ScamBlogger: And that will keep you employed until retirement day?
Stynger: Jeez, no! All that'll do is get me that little condo in the Hamptons. For retirement I'll need to start chipping every drone and worker bee in America. Hey Honeypants, run fetch me another Jack Daniels.
ScamBlogger: But there might be forty, fifty thousand bees in a colony. And a hundred colonies in a bee operation. And …
Stynger: Yep, that'll get me to retirement.
ScamBlogger: That should get you way past retirement.
Stynger: Just between you'n me, bud, I'm already grooming my son-in-law. Got him on the payroll.
ScamBlogger: Again, how do you justify all this to the public?
Stynger: Easy. Mrs. Middleclass walks into the supermarket and buys a squeeze bottle of honey. What do you think that label says? "Pure Clover Honey." So how does anyone know if the nectar came from clover? Maybe those bees wandered off into a stinkweed patch and …
ScamBlogger: I don't think stinkweeds have flowers …
Stynger: Or skunkweed or locoweed. What do I know about weeds? That's a whole different USDA tagging program. But we'll never know for sure what those bees do until we track every frickin' little honey-sucker everywhere it goes.
ScamBlogger: Okay, how do you justify all this to yourself?
Stynger: Easy. I'm a professional bureaucrat. That's all the justification I need.
- by Garry Reed