South Korea doesn’t want our beef – Europe doesn’t want our chemicals

This past week in South Korea saw tens of thousands of citizens protesting the government’s move to begin US beef imports. The Seattle Times reported:

President Lee Myung-bak suggested Tuesday that South Korea will seek to ban imports of U.S. beef from older cattle amid a public backlash against his government over fears of mad cow disease.

Agriculture Minister Chung Woon-chun said earlier Tuesday that Seoul had asked the U.S. to refrain from exporting any beef from cattle 30 months of age and older, considered at greater risk of the illness.

Presidential spokesman Lee Dong-kwan said the president told a weekly Cabinet meeting that “it is natural not to bring in meat from cattle 30 months of age and older as long as the people do not want it.”

The spokesman also expressed hope that the United States would respect South Korea’s position following large-scale anti-government protests over the weekend.

U.S. Ambassador Alexander Vershbow said Washington saw no need to renegotiate an April agreement for South Korea to resume beef imports.

He said the deal is “based on international science and there is no scientific justification to postpone implementation.”

South Korea agreed in April to reopen its market to U.S. beef after it was blocked for most of the past four and a half years after the first case of the brain-wasting cattle disease was found in the U.S. in late 2003.

However, after tens of thousands of people rallied over the weekend and a request from the ruling party, the government said Monday it was delaying implementation of the agreement.

The government decided on the delay to “humbly accept the people’s will,” Chung said. read more

Now the European Union wants to block our products over chemical contents. They feel the chemicals cause cancer and other health problems. From the Washington Post:

Adamantly opposed by the U.S. chemical industry and the Bush administration, the E.U. laws will be phased in over the next decade. It is difficult to know exactly how the changes will affect products sold in the United States. But American manufacturers are already searching for safer alternatives to chemicals used to make thousands of consumer goods, from bike helmets to shower curtains.

From its crackdown on antitrust practices in the computer industry to its rigorous protection of consumer privacy, the European Union has adopted a regulatory philosophy that emphasizes the consumer. Its approach to managing chemical risks, which started with a trickle of individual bans and has swelled into a wave, is part of a European focus on caution when it comes to health and the environment.

“There’s a strong sense in Europe and the world at large that America is letting the market have a free ride,” said Sheila Jasanoff, professor of science and technology studies at Harvard University‘s John F. Kennedy School of Government. “The Europeans believe . . . that being a good global citizen in an era of sustainability means you don’t just charge ahead and destroy the planet without concern for what you’re doing.” read more

George Bush’s current trip to Europe is being marketed as his farewell tour. However I believe he’s on another begging mission. Judging by his previously failed mission to the Middle East begging for oil, he will again not be well received. While Bush’s strong support for corporate interests over consumers does not justify impeachable offenses, examining the world opinion of our nation at this point in time, as a reaction to standard Bush policies, should cause Congress to take another look at the impeachment issue. If they care about our economy, even our ability to export anything of value, they will need to address the administration of George Bush to restore our standing in the Global arena. Our economy depends on this.

George Bush needs to go and the faster the better. Call your local Congressmember. In the 24th district California, that individual is Elton Gallegly.

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