Monday, December 03, 2007

Larry Craig's Sweet Tooth

Everyone knows that Larry Craig is having problems right now with more gay men stepping forward with accounts of having had sex with the embattled Republican, family-values Senator. And although it's disgusting that a man with homosexual tendencies like Craig would vote in ways inconsistent with his sexual deviancy, there's an issue even more troublesome from his past that we've uncovered documents for and will appear in "Killer at Large".

This story was reported in the Washington Post back in April 2003 but it seems as though the story has been all but forgotten. It does, however, highlight the need for meaningful campaign finance reform laws and the need to oust corporate shills and hypocrites like Craig from office.

In 2003, the World Health Organization had drafted a report entitled "WHO Technical Report Series 916 Diet, Nutrition and The Prevention of Chronic Diseases." In this innocuous report, WHO scientists agreed that a suggested limit of 10% of your daily caloric intake from sugar in order to help keep your weight down and your body healthy. The Sugar Association (one of the largest agricultural lobbying entities in Washington) went into overdrive, doing everything they could think of to suppress what should have been a fairly routine recommendation.

First, they began drafting letters to the head of the WHO that demanded they cease working on the report and that if the report went any further forward, they would lobby their friends in the Congress to shut down any funding from the United States.

Things quickly escalated and they called the co-chair of the US Senate Sweetener Caucus, our very own airport-bathroom-prowling Larry Craig. (Can you believe they actually have a Sweetener Caucus?!) Very quickly he (and fellow co-chair John Breaux (D-LA)) drafted a letter on behalf of the Sugar Association to HHS head Tommy Thompson and USDA head Ann Veneman that called in to question the scientific preponderance of the recommendation that you should eat less sugar.

Although anyone with half a brain can tell you that you shouldn't eat too much sugar, Craig and his cohorts at the Sugar Association insisted that there was no scientific evidence to support claims that eating less sugar would be healthy.

More threats to cut off funding to the WHO were made.

Soon, the pressure mounted and the WHO ended up jettisoning the report in fear that their efforts to contain the SARS epidemic might be hampered by a loss of funding.

So, we have Larry Craig partially to blame for that.

I, for one, don't think that the 10% recommendation would have been all that effective at anything except as a symbolic first step toward conquering the obesity epidemic and the role sugar plays in the problem. But seeing this whole report discarded because of lobbyist and congressional pressure in the face of an epidemic as serious as SARS is quite disappointing to me.

We could add this to the list of reasons we need Larry Craig out of the Senate.

In the meantime, want to see the letter he signed to Tommy Thompson and Ann Veneman?

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