Executive Order 10-988

I keep thinking of Ray Stevens (“Ahab the Arab,” “Shrine Convention,” “The Day the Squirrel Got Loose,” etc.)

I just want to sing my little song,” plot my stock charts, love my great sailor, play in my greenhouses, buy gold no matter what the economy is doing, and be the happiest sweet little old lady in the whole USA.

Unfortunately, (1) in order to stay as wealthy as I want to be (a leisurely, joyous life seeking knowledge is true wealth, not the Sultan of Bahrain’s vault) by reading runes, I have to live in a free country with a free market that is able to function without hindrance from the government, a reasonable desire Mr. Obama is frustrating, and (2) Executive Order 10-998, dating back to JFK, concerns all of us.

The exact language is of EO 10-998, which allows federal control of “all food resources” is:

“‘Food resources’ means all commodities and products, simple, mixed or compound, or complements to such commodities or products, that are capable of being eaten or drunk, by either human beings or animals’ (sic) irrespective of other uses to which such commodities or products may be put, at all stages of processing from the raw commodity to the products thereof in vendible form for human or animal consumption. For the purposes of this order the term ‘food resources’ shall also include all starches, sugars, vegetable and animal fats and oils, cotton, tobacco, wool, mohair, hemp, flax fiber, and naval stores, but shall not include any such material after it loses its identity as an agricultural commodity or agricultural product.” (Naval stores traditionally include lumber, timber, tar, turpentine, paint, and rope.  In modern naval provisions that could cover almost anything.)

10-998 authorizes the confiscation of everything edible and much that is not, including our stores of flour and un-ground wheat, the beef in your freezer and that I have on the hoof…what is in your pantry and your garden…my chickens and Mr. Sanderson’s, and perhaps our little dogs to feed visiting Chinese.  That EO lays claim to a friend’s vast wheat and corn harvests, cattle feed, and your small daughter’s night-night snack.  Alcohol is a form of grain, so you can’t even count on having a little tot of whiskey if locusts in full battle gear clean you out.

In a world of rising demand and costs Liberals are doing everything possible to lower food production.  Very severe restrictions on small farms are popping up; 100 pages strangling small milk producers is in the Texas legislature and a similar measure is going before Congress.  It will be practically impossible for anyone without megabucks to stay in business, because without a Grade A Diary license the proposed regulations expressly forbid even giving milk away, as well as transporting it privately, on pain of fines and even jail time!  Milk:  the new contraband.

Farmers’ markets are under attack, and if they deny us those there are no markets left.  Small farms cannot begin to meet the needs of large grocery stores, certainly not year around.

Produce can only be labeled “home grown,” not “organic,” a term that has been redefined from what most of us think it means to restrictions that only agribusiness can meet.  Add that to the whack the big boys are getting from losing subsidies they have long regarded as “income,” and a flier in commodities could be a pretty good bet for those who can’t stand being out of the market, and emulating the Mormons in accumulating a year’s supply of food seems like an excellent idea.  If you can hide it.

We have to survive in the world that is and the one we can forecast, and then we can concentrate again on excelling at picking stocks and buy and sell points.  Survival first is why we keep talking about a very deep depression and “peak food.”

It wouldn’t matter how much your portfolio were worth if the grocer’s shelves were bare and armed men had taken your last cans of asparagus and foie gras.  Maybe the colonists didn’t know when they were well off; troops quartered in my house would have a vested interest in preserving the larder.

Linda Brady Traynham

March 20, 2009