From Michael Evans: http://www.americasvoicenow.org
And…. Why YOU Should Vote NO on Missouri’s Proposed Constitutional Amendment 1 – “Right To Farm”
On Monday, a meeting was held in a townhall style at the West Plains Civic Center so that folks could better understand the proposed Constitutional Amendment 1 aka “Right To Farm” Bill. I attended this meeting and so I thought I would provide those who were unable to make it with a report on what transpired. Feel free to forward to your “Circle of Influence” whether you agree with my observations or not.
First, let me state unequivocally that I support the unlimited protection of family farms, farmers and family ranchers. But I firmly believe this bill will do no such thing.
The meeting was sponsored by supporters of the bill. The people sitting at the ‘speaker’ table were Shawn Rhodes and a legislative employee from the Missouri Legislature. They opened the meeting with a reading of the proposed constitutional amendment found here:
”That agriculture which provides food, energy, health benefits, and security is the foundation and stabilizing force of Missouri’s economy. To protect this vial sector of Missouri’s economy, the right of farmers and ranchers to engage in farming and ranching practices shall be forever guaranteed in this state, subject to duly authorized powers, if any, conferred by article VI of the Constitution of Missouri.”
I asked the meeting why we didn’t word the amendment thus…
”That agriculture which provides food, energy, health benefits, and security is the foundation and stabilizing force of Missouri’s economy. To protect this vial sector of Missouri’s economy, the right of FAMILY farmers and FAMILY ranchers to engage in farming and ranching practices shall be forever guaranteed in this state, AND SHALL NOT BE INFRINGED.
subject to duly authorized powers, if any, conferred by article VI of the Constitution of Missouri.”
This means infringed by anyone, for any reason, whether gov’t, political action committee, animal rights groups, or Missouri’s DNR (Department of Natural Resources). I was told that language was ‘unacceptable’ to the legislature who couldn’t get it passed because of politics. Translation? YOUR interests are not THEIR interests. What’s troubling is that this bill is primarily sponsored by Republicans. (For the record, I and a large group of others spent a lot of time unsuccessfully in conference calls over the past 2 years trying to get them to use the right language because we smelled a rat going in.)
The primary argument from the speakers table was that this amendment was to thwart future efforts by HSUS (Humane Society of the United States) to stop the trend of injecting legislative limits on farmers similar to the Prop B ‘puppy mill’ legislation that they got approved in 2010 by appealing to the emotional side of non-farmers and non-ranchers. I would argue that livestock is already protected under state law and nobody, including the deluded HSUS can argue that your goat, cow or pig is a ‘family pet’.
I believe the HSUS is intent on damaging farming in Missouri. I also abhor the organization not only because they eat up the vast majority of donations in ‘administrative costs’ including fundraising, but they actively seek to undermine states’ rights, human rights and abuse laws giving corporations rights, and lastly, but most importantly, because they put animals before humans. Charity Navigator warns with their “Donor Advisory” rating
, and charity watchdog Humanewatch.org gives them a D grade
while others rank them equally dishonest and scurrilous.
However, the table argued that HSUS has raised and spent $375,000 to fight against this bill so therefore it was a good bill to vote for. It did come out of the meeting, by attendees and not supporters) that the side supporting it (Republicans included), have spent over $1,000,000 in support of the bill. When asked where that money came from, we were told PACs or Political Action Committees which naturally are shielded from having to reveal their donors were responsible. I might have been born at night… but it wasn’t last night! As if they don’t know or weren’t involved in getting that financial support.
Since both sides are funding the passage or non-passage of this bill so heavily, and we all know money in politics points the finger of guilt to the parties that benefit the most, I would posit that both sides are using the ‘boogeyman’ fear factor of the other side to drive their members and/or constituents to vote for an Amendment which is not in the best interests of the actual family farmers and ranchers of Missouri.
To be sure, and I said this publicly in the meeting, everyone in the room was there for the right purpose, to protect Missouri’s agricultural heritage and industry and family farmers and ranchers, not corporations, CAFO’s and foreign gov’ts. However, I believe that the political parties have hijacked this legislation to pass a nefarious and detrimental Constitutional Amendment that cannot later be altered or modified and will be the subject of staggering legal challenges that will leave this amendment in the hands of those who redefine words for a living; namely judges and lawyers, who definitively don’t have the best interests of the farmers and ranchers in question as their motivation. Further the Farmers/Ranchers will have to bear the legal financial burdens of fighting those battles and that’s untenable for the family farm or ranch which is barely subsisting hand to mouth. Fighting legal battles with gov’t agencies, NGO (non-governmental organizations such as HSUS), and being beaten by financial attrition, not by lack of merit, will hurt all of us in the state.
There was a constant refrain that, “this is the best we can get”, and “It’s a good start” towards protecting Missouri family farmers and ranchers. I submit that there are two problems with this thinking.
- First, if the best we can get from a majority legislature is a bill designed to protect Monsanto and leave future ‘interpretation’ to bureaucrats, judges and lawyers who will cost farmers/ranchers the ‘farm’ to fight for their God given rights in the first place, that shows us that neither party truly represents the interests of their ‘alleged’ constituents, and hasn’t for a very long time.
- Passing such an amendment allows legislators to define under Missouri’s Constitution in Article VI what your rights actually are. That section of the Constitution is hundreds of pages long and addresses everything under the sun. In order to ‘loophole’ the new amendment for the benefit of some political supporter or crony (Can YOU say Monsanto?), the legislature can simply modify or redefine whatever they need to in Article VI to give them the dubious “Duly Authorized Power” to hijack your right to make a living while granting themselves even greater powers.
- Ask yourself if the purpose of a Constitution is to limit gov’t or YOU? How does giving you rights, subject to their “Duly Authorized Power” act to “bind the gov’t down with the chains of a Constitution” as per Thomas Jefferson?
- Second, this is not “a good start” because you don’t modify the constitution with a law in motion. If we find later that it has poison in it, (and you can bet this was worded VERY carefully by the “elit-i-legalists” in the legislature) it cannot be simply modified. It would require another Constitutional Amendment vote just to amend the bad amendment.
- A Constitutional Amendment should be the final limitation of gov’t power, not a ‘starting point’ full of loopholes large enough to push Kansas City through sideways!
Finally, the arguments given by those in ‘official’ support was laden with the threats of the dark powers and money of the HSUS and their freedom destroying activities. Let me be abundantly clear here… I absolutely despise anyone who sells me on waiving my rights based upon fear. THAT IS terrorism defined, i.e. manipulation of the individuals through fear, intimidation, threat or coercion for a political end. It makes no difference if it’s done by a guy in a suit or a uniform.
Frankly, I fear the Missouri DNR and the state legislature far more than an animal rights activist group who may, or may not, attempt to pass legislation or policy with the aid of the real danger here… our own legislature and the DNR.
When I asked why we are compromising ourselves by agreeing to a bad amendment simply because the legislature doesn’t have the brass to really honor who they should represent, (not the corporations or political bribers, …er donors), I was told again that “This is the best we could get” and “This is a good start”. The simple truth is that our legislature has failed us over and over again. They seek to pass legislation that protects and benefits their donors and frankly that is nothing more than a polite way of saying Bribery. I’m tired of endless promises of “more hard work to do” and “we’ll build on this” kind of talk. You don’t ‘build’ on a constitutional amendment. That is where the final product goes, not the half-baked, loophole laden dream of a greedy self-serving political machine.
Again, suggested language would have done what the supporters claim this piece of misguided misdirection should actually do….. Note the differences in RED.
”That agriculture which provides food, energy, health benefits, and security is the foundation and stabilizing force of Missouri’s economy. To protect this vial sector of Missouri’s economy, the right of FAMILY farmers and FAMILY ranchers to engage in farming and ranching practices shall be forever guaranteed in this state, AND SHALL NOT BE INFRINGED”.
subject to duly authorized powers, if any, conferred by article VI of the Constitution of Missouri.” This change would have made it bulletproof to voters, and eliminated most of the expensive legal wrangling that we will see for years going forward.
We shouldn’t be making constitutional amendments just because our legislature wants to appease their cronies and corporate sponsors. I was told the language proposed was right but, was ‘unacceptable’ to the legislature and couldn’t get passed. So, ask yourself the following questions:
- Did the legislature really had YOUR best interest at heart when they wrote it?
- Should we pass a permanent modification to the Constitution because the legislature (which is supposed to have a ‘conservative’ majority) was more interested in giving you a false choice using fear as a coercion tactic?
- If the purpose of a constitution is to ‘bind men down from mischief by the chains of a constitution’ (Thomas Jefferson), why is it that YOU are bound by this constitutional amendment?
- Should we simply rise up, vote NO and then demand that they right the correct language and actually represent us next year in protecting Missouri Family Farmers and Family Ranchers?
In case you haven’t gathered already…. For the record, I’m voting NO. This bill should be better known as the “Missouri Monsanto Protection Act”.
Patriot & OathKeeper