Lt Governor and Several Representatives ask DNR to Extend Comment Period

Many regular listeners of  The Power Hour are aware of this new “Nonpoint Source Pollution Management Plan” being enacted in nearly every state in the nation. Here in Missouri, we have received from very positive action from some of our elected representatives. Following is a press release about this action and the pdf of the letter sent to the Director of the Missouri DNR by Lt Governor Peter Kinder and other reps:

                                            July 3, 2014

              

Lt. Gov. Kinder, Legislative Leaders
seek more time on DNR water plan

Letter to director cites need for more public hearings
JEFFERSON CITY – Lt. Governor Peter Kinder today delivered a letter to Sara Parker Pauley, director of the Missouri Department of Natural Resources, seeking an extension of 60-day public comment period regarding Missouri’s Nonpoint Source Management Plan. The comment period is slated to end Tuesday, July 8.
The letter, which also was signed by Sens. Kurt Schaefer, R-Columbia, and Tom Dempsey, R-St. Charles, and Rep. Timothy Jones, R-Eureka, cited concerns about “the potential impact of this plan on agriculture, private property rights and land use in our state.” They asked that the DNR extend the comment period 30 days and conduct additional public hearings around the state.
The Nonpoint Source Management Plan is the state’s attempt to address nonpoint sources of water pollution and align its water management with new, more stringent federal EPA regulations.
The letter from Kinder and the legislative leaders said “it is incumbent on the DNR to ensure Missourians understand the potential impact of these changes while allowing those affected to fully comment on the plan.”
Lt. Governor Kinder issued the following statement on the issue:
“Few people are aware of this shift in management practices proposed by the DNR. The potential impact on private property rights, land use and agriculture are profound. We want to make sure Missouri doesn’t cede to bureaucrats in Washington control over how we manage our resources.”
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Letter to dnr director Pauley.

Norway Study on Glyphosate and Missouri’s Amendment 1- “Right to Farm”

If anyone wants one more reason to have GMO food labeled, a very solid study out of Norway shows Round Up accumulation in treated crops to be excessive when ready for consumption.

Should Amendment 1 pass in Missouri, Monsanto’s home state, there will be even more uncontrolled GMO proliferation and spraying of Round Up and 2-4d. Amendment 1 masquerades as a protection against animal rights activists, but it will provide for complete factory farming in the State with no ability to constrain it left to the citizens.

Here are a few questions about Amendment 1:

•If it is to halt the animal rights agenda, then why hasn’t the legislature simply passed legislation to prohibit the most extreme of their activities?

•If it is to protect agriCULTURE as opposed to agriINDUSTRY, then why was the original wording specifically tailored to protect “modern technology”?

•Since we, and all other states, already have statute that prevents nuisance suits against existing farms and ranches, why do we need to change our Constitution? Do we have to protect our right to use an indoor flush toilet in the Constitution as well? Isn’t enumerating every single right of man a little beyond the pale?

•Additionally, who is going to define the terms farm, farmer, rancher, ranching, farming? Regulators, courts and lawyers…Do we trust them?

If you think protecting Monsanto, one of the proponents of Amendment 1, should be part of Missouri’s Constitution, then you should vote for this proposed amendment.

Read this study if you are still of the mindset that Round Up is a good thing. Think about telling your grandchildren that you voted to have them sterilized by the food supply because you thought eating herbicides was good business.

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0308814613019201

As with everything political, you have got to look at the interests of those who are the major supporters of a proposed action. Cargill, Monsanto, Missouri Corn and Soy Growers, and the biggest proponent for destructive free trade agreements, Missouri Farm Bureau, are the major supporters of Amendment 1. Many members of Farm Bureau are the best people you may ever meet! Farm Bureau even does some things that are actually positive for real farmers. Amendment 1 is just NOT one of those positive actions.

Strong Arming El Salvador for Monsanto

This is just another example of the corporate control that dominates agriculture. Monsanto forces everyone to consume their toxic swill in the US unless they grow all their own food or buy ONLY from others or grow all their own food. This is just one of the many reasons why people who care at all about health and economic freedom should be against Amendment 1 on August 5th in Missouri. It is not about constraining HSUS from harming animal agriculture, it is about complete carte blanche for GMO’s of both animal and plant varieties in the State.

Here’s the article regarding El Salvador:

US pressures El Salvador to buy Monsanto’s GMO seeds

 

As one of the preconditions to authorizing close to $300 million in aid, the United States is pressuring El Salvador to purchase genetically modified seeds from Monsanto instead of non-GM seeds from local farmers.

According to Sustainable Pulse, a website covering developments related to genetically modified organisms and sustainable agriculture, the US will reportedly withhold $277 million in aid through the Millennium Challenge Compact if El Salvador refuses to purchase GM seeds from the biotech company Monsanto.

The website states that the stalled aid package was originally put on hold in late 2013, when it was revealed that Millennium Challenge Corporation would not deliver funds to the country unless “specific” economic and environmental reforms were made. Apparently, one of those is related to the purchase of GMO seeds.

Speaking with Verdad Digital, however, the president of the El Salvadoran Center for Appropriate Technologies (CESTA) criticized the US negotiating position and said the country should back away from its demand.

“I would like to tell the U.S. Ambassador to stop pressuring the Government (of El Salvador) to buy ‘improved’ GM seeds,” CESTA president Ricardo Navarro said, adding that the move would hurt the local economy and only benefit US companies.

Navarro specifically singled out Monsanto for criticism as well, saying, “There is a harmful corporation on the planet called Monsanto … it is truly disturbing that the U.S. is trying to promote them.”

In Europe, too, Monsanto’s GM seeds have garnered criticism. In March, France banned the growth and sale of the company’s insect-repelling maize seed MON 810, just a few days before it was revealed that insects in the US were developing resistance to the crop.

The comments from Navarro also arrive as Monsanto is under fire in several South American countries, including El Salvador and Brazil. As RT reported previously, El Salvador passed legislation in September 2013 banning glyphosate, used in Monsanto’s Roundup pesticides, as well as dozens of other agricultural chemicals.

Similar proposals are being considered in Brazil, where the country’s prosecutor general recently urged the National Health Surveillance Agency to “reevaluate the toxicity of eight active ingredients suspected of causing damage to human health and the environment,” including glyphosate and seven other chemicals.

As for why glyphosate is coming under such heavy scrutiny, new research has indicated that while the chemical is not as dangerous on its own, it becomes extremely toxic to humans once it mixes with natural metals found in soil.

Meanwhile, other reports have linked glyphosate to the outburst of a fatal kidney disease that has killed thousands of people in El Salvador and Sri Lanka, and could also help explain similar situations in Nicaragua, Costa Rica, and India.

 

No More Artisan Cheese for Americans

The FDA, Food Destruction Agency, has “clarified” their stance on cheese aged on wood. Short take, not allowed any longer in the US; and because of the lovely take over of all food granted them by the Corporate Board Members referred to as “Congress” under the Food Safety Modernization Act, no cheese imported to the US will be allowed to have been aged on wood either.

If you have thus far failed to see what is happening in this nation and across the world, I’ll sum it up for you. There will be no innovation and no creativity allowed. Our Heavenly Father’s creative attributes that He instills in us as we are created in His image is to be annihilated by rule, regulation, insurance premiums, or other “safety” measure.

This is an excellent article on the issue of cheese and the FDA. Don’t worry, whatever you desire to create/produce will be similarly regulated and destroyed…if it hasn’t already been regulated to death.

Game Changer: FDA Rules No Wooden Boards in Cheese Aging

A sense of disbelief and distress is quickly rippling through the U.S. artisan cheese community, as the federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) this week announced it will not permit American cheesemakers to age cheese on wooden boards.

Recently, the FDA inspected several New York state cheesemakers and cited them for using wooden surfaces to age their cheeses. The New York State Department of Agriculture & Markets’ Division of Milk Control and Dairy Services, which (like most every state in the U.S., including Wisconsin), has allowed this practice, reached out to FDA for clarification on the issue. A response was provided by Monica Metz, Branch Chief of FDA’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition’s (CFSAN) Dairy and Egg Branch.

In the response, Metz stated that the use of wood for cheese ripening or aging is considered an unsanitary practice by FDA, and a violation of FDA’s current Current Good Manufacturing Practice (cGMP) regulations. Here’s an excerpt:

“Microbial pathogens can be controlled if food facilities engage in good manufacturing practice. Proper cleaning and sanitation of equipment and facilities are absolutely necessary to ensure that pathogens do not find niches to reside and proliferate. Adequate cleaning and sanitation procedures are particularly important in facilities where persistent strains of pathogenic microorganisms like Listeria monocytogenes could be found. The use of wooden shelves, rough or otherwise, for cheese ripening does not conform to cGMP requirements, which require that “all plant equipment and utensils shall be so designed and of such material and workmanship as to be adequately cleanable, and shall be properly maintained.” 21 CFR 110.40(a). Wooden shelves or boards cannot be adequately cleaned and sanitized. The porous structure of wood enables it to absorb and retain bacteria, therefore bacteria generally colonize not only the surface but also the inside layers of wood. The shelves or boards used for aging make direct contact with finished products; hence they could be a potential source of pathogenic microorganisms in the finished products.”

The most interesting part of the FDA’s statement it that it does not consider this to be a new policy, but rather an enforcement of an existing policy. And worse yet, FDA has reiterated that it does not intend to change this policy.

In an email to industry professionals, Rob Ralyea, Senior Extension Associate in the Department of Food Science and the Pilot Plant Manager at Cornell University in New York, says: “According to the FDA this is merely proper enforcement of the policy that was already in place. While the FDA has had jurisdiction in all food plants, it deferred cheese inspections almost exclusively to the states. This has all obviously changed under FSMA.”

Ah, FSMA. For those of you not in the know, the Food Safety Modernization Act is the most sweeping reform of American food safety laws in generations. It was signed into law by President Obama on January 4, 2011 and aims to ensure the U.S. food supply is safe by shifting the focus from responding to contamination to preventing it.

While most cheesemakers have, perhaps, begrudgingly accepted most of what has been coming down the FSMA pike, including the requirement of HACCP plans and increased federal regulations and inspections, no one expected this giant regulation behemoth to virtually put a stop to innovation in the American artisanal cheese movement.

Many of the most awarded and well-respected American artisan cheeses are currently aged on wooden boards. American Cheese Society triple Best in Show winner Pleasant Ridge Reserve from Uplands Cheese in Wisconsin is cured on wooden boards. Likewise for award-winners Cabot Clothbound in Vermont, current U.S. Champion cheese Marieke Feonegreek, and 2013 Best in Show Runner-Up Bleu Mont Bandaged Cheddar.

Wisconsin cheesemaker Chris Roelli says the FDA’s “clarified” stance on using wooden boards is a “potentially devastating development” for American cheesemakers. He and his family have spent the past eight years re-building Roelli Cheese into a next-generation American artisanal cheese factory. Just last year, he built what most would consider to be a state-of-the-art aging facility into the hillside behind his cheese plant. And Roelli, like hundreds of American artisanal cheesemaekrs, has developed his cheese recipes specifically to be aged on wooden boards.

“The very pillar that we built our niche business on is the ability to age our cheese on wood planks, an art that has been practiced in Europe for thousands of years,” Roelli says. Not allowing American cheesemakers to use this practice puts them “at a global disadvantage because the flavor produced by aging on wood can not be duplicated. This is a major game changer for the dairy industry in Wisconsin, and many other states.”

As if this weren’t all bad enough, the FDA has also “clarified” – I’m really beginning to dislike that word – that in accordance with FSMA, a cheesemaker importing cheese to the United States is subject to the same rules and inspection procedures as American cheesemakers.

Therefore, Cornell University’s Ralyea says, “It stands to reason that if an importer is using wood boards, the FDA would keep these cheeses from reaching our borders until the cheese maker is in compliance. The European Union authorizes and allows the use of wood boards. Further, the great majority of cheeses imported to this country are in fact aged on wooden boards and some are required to be aged on wood by their standard of identity (Comte, Beaufort and Reblochon, to name a few). Therefore, it will be interesting to see how these specific cheeses will be dealt with when it comes to importation into the United States.”

Ralyea continues: “While most everyone agrees that Listeria is a major concern to the dairy industry, it appears that some food safety agencies interpret the science to show that wood boards can be maintained in a sanitary fashion to allow for their use for cheese aging, while others (e.g., the US FDA) believe that a general ban of any wooden materials in food processing facilities is the better approach to assure food safety. At this point, it seems highly unlikely that any new research data or interpretations will change the FDA policies in place.”

In fact, many research papers do in fact conclude that wooden boards are safe. In 2013, the Wisconsin Center for Dairy Research published a paper on the subject, concluding: “Considering the beneficial effects of wood boards on cheese ripening and rind formation, the use of wood boards does not seem to present any danger of contamination by pathogenic bacteria as long as a thorough cleaning procedure is followed.” You can read the whole report on pages 8-9 by clicking on this link.

Interesting side note: Health Canada does not currently have any regulations prohibiting aging and ripening cheese on wood, so apparently if we want to eat most American or European artisan cheeses, we’ll need to drive across the border to do so.

So what’s next? The American Cheese Society has mobilized its Regulatory & Academic Committee to learn more about this issue, and to ensure its members’ interests are represented. The ACS promises to keep us apprised of developments. In the meantime, if you are a cheesemaker, and your operation is inspected and cited for the use of wooden surfaces, please contact the ACS office (720-328-2788 or info@cheesesociety.org).

 

BLM Wrecks Infrastructure at Bunkerville

This makes me wonder who is going to pay for fixing what the BLM has wrecked. I know that none of those who damaged  things they don’t own will do the right thing, but will the administration that pays them to stomp on America? I know…”The meatball says ‘NO!”‘ Once upon a time, this kind of behavior would have resulted in hanging.

I want the BLM to pay. I guess it’s good to want things.

Feds accused of leaving trail of wreckage after Nevada ranch standoff

 

The federal agency that backed down over the weekend in a tense standoff with a Nevada rancher is being accused of leaving a trail of wreckage behind.

Fox News toured the damage — allegedly caused by the Bureau of Land Management — which included holes in water tanks and destroyed water lines and fences. According to family friends, the bureau’s hired “cowboys” also killed two prize bulls.

“They had total control of this land for one week, and look at the destruction they did in one week,” said Corey Houston, friend of rancher Cliven Bundy and his family. “So why would you trust somebody like that? And how does that show that they’re a better steward?”

The BLM and other law enforcement officials backed down on Saturday in their effort to seize Bundy’s cattle, after hundreds of protesters, some armed, arrived to show support for the Bundy family. In the end, BLM officials left the scene amid concerns about safety, and no shots were fired.

The dispute between the feds and the Bundy family has been going on for years; they say he owes more than $1.1 million in unpaid grazing fees — and long ago revoked his grazing rights over concern for a federally protected tortoise. They sent officials to round up his livestock following a pair of federal court orders last year giving the U.S. government the authority to impound the cattle.

The feds, though, are being accused of taking the court orders way too far.

On a Friday night conference call, BLM officials told reporters that “illegal structures” on Bundy’s ranch — water tanks, water lines and corrals — had to be removed to “restore” the land to its natural state and prevent the rancher from restarting his illegal cattle operation.

However, the court order used to justify the operation appears only to give the agency the authority to “seize and impound” Bundy’s cattle.

“Nowhere in the court order that I saw does it say that they can destroy infrastructure, destroy corrals, tanks … desert environment, shoot cattle,” Houston said.

Bundy’s friends say the BLM wranglers told them the bulls were shot because they were dangerous and could gore their horses. One bull was shot five times.

But Houston said the pen holding the bull wasn’t even bent. “It’s not like the bull was smashing this pen and trying tackle people or anything,” he said. “The pen is sitting here. It hasn’t moved. No damage whatsoever. Where was the danger with that bull?”

Plus he said BLM vehicles appear to have crushed a tortoise burrow near the damaged water tank. “How’s that conservation?” he asked.

The BLM has not yet responded to a request for comment on these allegations.

Bundy has refused to pay the grazing fees or remove his cattle, and doesn’t even acknowledge the federal government’s authority to assess or collect damages.

The bureau has said if Bundy wasn’t willing to pay, then they would sell his cattle.

However, there was a problem with that plan — few in Nevada would touch Bundy’s cattle for fear of being blacklisted.

“The sale yards are very nervous about taking what in the past has been basically stolen cattle from the federal government,” Nevada Agriculture Commissioner Ramona Morrison said.

Documents show the BLM paid a Utah cattle wrangler $966,000 to collect Bundy’s cattle and a Utah auctioneer to sell them. However, Utah Gov. Gary Herbert refused to let Bundy cattle cross state lines, saying in a letter: “As Governor of Utah, I urgently request that a herd of cattle seized by the Bureau of Land Management from Mr. Cliven Bundy of Bunkerville, Nevada, not be sent to Utah. There are serious concerns about human safety and animal health and well-being, if these animals are shipped to and sold in Utah.”

That letter was sent three days before the BLM round-up, which is why the cattle were still being held Saturday in temporary pens just a few miles from Bundy’s ranch. Morrison says BLM was sitting on cattle because it had no way to get rid of them — setting up a potential tragedy as orphaned calves were not getting any milk and feed costs were about to skyrocket.

The showdown is far from over. The BLM says it will “continue to work to resolve the matter administratively and judicially,” though Bundy still doesn’t recognize federal authority over the federal lands that he continues to use in violation of a court order. The federal judge who issued that decision says Bundy’s claims “are without merit.”

That order from October 2013 says Bundy owes $200 per day per head for every day he fails to move his cattle. That amounts to roughly $640 million in damages owed to the federal government for illegally grazing his cattle.

William La Jeunesse joined FOX News Channel (FNC) in March 1998 and currently serves as a Los Angeles-based correspondent.

 

Missouri to Consider Thinking About Medical Marijuana

It’s probably very important that I be extremely clear about my position on this. I do NOT smoke, or grow, or condone marijuana use. It is NEVER allowed on my property. While I think it is stupid that it is illegal, I in no way am willing to have it on myself or my property, nor would I use it or condone it’s use while it remains illegal. It’s simply not at all worth the possible consequences. So if I am accused of it, or arrested for it, I assure you it is a complete and total fraud.

Taking into account the amount of money pharmaceutical companies make on their FDA approved drugs, and the corporate controls present with our elected officials, it’s very likely that the Missouri legislature will wait until Monsanto has an approved GMO Cannabis strain to destroy the real thing before they will actually come to terms with the fact that marijuana is quite helpful for many maladies and might actually benefit the health of people and the economy were it allowed to be used by adults without criminal penalties as a possibility. It would threaten the legalized pharmaceutical cartel and the confiscation of property cartels as well. Not to mention the prison cartel and probation funding mechanisms.

I have to say that it is encouraging to see the subject come up at the State level. Just the number of people in jail or prison for marijuana costs the citizens and the families of those people way more than it’s worth. If you commit a crime, you’ve hurt someone. If you ingest marijuana, you likely help yourself if you do it in moderation. Moderation is likely the critical issue here. It’s ridiculous that so much revenue and energy is spent combating a natural substance that doesn’t cause people to become violent or dangerous. I have never heard of anyone going on a rage and beating their wife or kid because they smoked marijuana. Have you?

Missouri lawmakers to consider legalizing medical marijuana

Posted on: 10:18 pm, February 23, 2014, by , updated on: 11:19pm, February 23, 2014

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Missouri Governor Jay Nixon told a national audience that the legislature would consider medical marijuana, but his words were met with mixed reaction here in Kansas City.

On Sunday morning’s CNN show State of the Union, Nixon said the bridge isn’t yet built for decriminalization, but lawmakers are open to medical marijuana.

“Medicinally I think folks are beginning to see there are things the medical community can help on,” Nixon said, “our legislature might consider that.”

“It is a step in the right direction, I’ll take it as a green light,” said Amber Iris Langston with Show Me Cannabis, an organization promoting marijuana legalization. “I don’t think Governor Nixon takes chances with his political support, so it’s a strong indication there’s support for medical marijuana in Missouri.”

While she’s pleased to see Nixon talking about medical marijuana, she’d also like to see support of bills that would decriminalize pot. Missouri has some of the toughest marijuana laws in the country, getting caught with a single gram could mean a year in jail.

“It’s a shame our politicians don’t have courage to stand forward on this issue and say this policy isn’t working, this policy is destructive to people in our communities,” she said.

Missouri lawmakers have introduced three bills this year: one for a medical marijuana pilot program, one legalizing recreational pot, and one that reduces penalties for possession.

Jackson County Legislator Bob Spence isn’t a fan of laws that decriminalize marijuana use.

“I think most, not all, but most who do hard drugs started with marijuana,” he said.

Spence has tried twice now to introduce a resolution encouraging lawmakers to “just say no” to any bill legalizing marijuana, even for medicinal use.

“Then every ailment known to mankind can be helped with marijuana, and it’s like legalizing it,” he said.

But his resolution ended up getting held over into committee. He says that basically means it’s killed.

“I was shocked; I was absolutely shocked, he said, “I don’t want to make it legal in this state because it makes it even more accessible. It’s in far too many places for our kids to get a hold of.”

Missouri isn’t the only state tackling this issue this year. Kansas is also considering a bill legalizing medical marijuana.

Death by Regulation

I couldn’t possibly agree more with the author of the following article. He did a good job in going back through recent history and finding points that clearly show the insanity in which we now find ourselves regarding regulation of the simplest entrepreneurial effort.

The other day, Forbe’s, whom I take umbrage with over their continued support for GMO shill Henry Miller, did a good piece on the 1000 new businesses that sprang up in California due to the state allowing home food businesses to have a go at it without choking them to death with regulatory controls.

Less regulation is good for children and other living things…Unless of course it is lack of regulation over actual poisons like 24D.

My personal thoughts on this matter are that the regulatory system is effectively choking the spark of life out of us. It’s like replacing our inherent drive to create with the “Dao of Poo” summed up as, “Why bother?”

At any rate, here is the promised article. Hats off to the author, John Aziz!

By John Aziz | February 4, 2014
Yeah, it's tough out there kid.
Yeah, it’s tough out there kid. (Jim Weber/ZUMA Press/Corbis)
Over the last 30 years, it seems like it has gotten a little tougher for kids to start that most Norman Rockwell of ventures, the lemonade stand.

Back in the 1980s and 1990s there were a few instances of local governments shutting kids’ stands down for various reasons, although officials typically bowed to public pressure and allowed them to reopen.

In 1983, 6-year-old Ali Thorn’s lemonade stand in Belleair, Fla., was closed down after police received an anonymous complaint that her sign did not comply with city ordinances, but was quickly allowed to reopen.

In 1988, 9-year-old Max Schilling’s seven-foot high lemonade stand in Watchung, N.J., was shuttered after city officials claimed it was a permanent structure that sat too close to the street and threatened to fine him $500 a day. After a brief legal fight, Schilling’s stand was allowed to reopen.

In 1993, 12-year-old Sarah Knott and 13-year-old Margaret Johnson’s stand in Charleston, S.C., was shut down by police officers because they didn’t have a peddler’s license. However, after a public outcry, the city apologized to the girls and allowed them to continue.

More recently, though, local enforcement of lemonade stands seems to have grown stricter, or at least, more noticeable. The libertarian Freedom Center of Missouri has produced a map to show the locations of these incidents.

In 2010, 7-year-old Julie Murphy’s lemonade stand in Portland, Ore., was shuttered because she did not have a temporary restaurant permit, a license that carries a $120 fee, although that decision was later reversed with a Multnomah County chairman admitting that food inspectors may have overstepped their bounds, saying, “A 7-year-old selling lemonade isn’t the same as a grown-up selling burritos out of a cart.”

In 2011, in Midway, Ga., a lemonade stand run by Kasity Dixon, 14, Tiffany Cassin, 12, and Skylar Roberts, 10 was shuttered because they didn’t have a business license, a peddler’s permit, or a food permit, all of which would have cost them $50 a day to obtain for temporary use or $180 for the year. Despite national media attention and complaints from residents, the city wouldn’t back down.

And also in 2011, Caitlin and Abigail Mills’ girl scout cookie stand in Hazelwood, Mo., was closed for violating an ordinance banning the sale of items from a residential property. The girls’ family attempted to sue the city, but the case appears to have been dropped.

Let’s not overstate it, though. Lemonade stand-shutdowns are not reaching epidemic-like levels, and no one is going to cart off little Suzie to jail for selling cookies outside her house. That said, there is something absurd about shutting down lemonade stands, even if it’s still relatively rare.

The main risk of a tougher approach to children running food stands — and especially demanding that kids comply with costly licensing and strict city zoning laws — is that children will lose out on the entrepreneurial experience of running their first business, serving customers, and making money. If we want to have an entrepreneurial culture, where people innovate and take risks to build businesses, there has to be a certain amount of freedom and space for the young to learn these skills.

While navigating bureaucracy is definitely a useful entrepreneurial skill, expecting kids or their parents to fork out hundreds of dollars for a license to run their first business is punitive and anti-entrepreneurial. And every hour and dollar spent on inspecting or shutting down children’s lemonade stands on technicalities is an hour and dollar not spent on inspecting food safety in actual restaurants, food processing facilities, and stores — places where a lapse in food safety could expose hundreds or thousands of people to illness.

And while city zoning laws are useful for keeping heavy industry away from homes, selling lemonade or girl scout cookies is really a residential activity. Many of the world’s most famous businesses — Amazon, Apple, Disney, Google, Hewlett Packard — were started in garages. An entrepreneurial culture requires the freedom to start a business at home. If we stop businesses and businesspeople from developing, we lose the benefits that come down the road, like job creation and innovation (not that little Suzie’s lemonade stand will likely grow to rival Tropicana, but you get the point…).

The sooner cities and counties realize this, and stop wasting resources going after the entrepreneurs of tomorrow, the better.

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Another Problem with Massive Amounts of Government Data

While I want to make clear that I do not like CAFO’s, I also want to make it even more clear that I do not at all appreciate terrorism, theft, destruction of property and harassment. Also, as some of you have heard me speak about, I have been involved in attempting to get information on Morningland Dairy from my own state’s agency for over four months. None of that information could possibly be deemed to be used to terrorize anyone with. Simple transparency in governmental actions is the desire behind the request for my FOIA on Morningland….More about that tomorrow.

What I want to share with you is the result of the EPA showing exceptional and dangerous favoritism to animal rights activists. Please read this article and share it with anyone you think may have an interest in protecting privacy.

January 14, 2014 6:30 PM

The EPA’s Privacy Problem
Farmers and ranchers sue after the EPA releases confidential information to environmental groups.

Text

The fire at San Joaquin Valley’s Harris Farms burst out suddenly and rapidly, consuming 14 trailer trucks in the dawn of January 8, 2012. Wreaking more than $2 million in damage, it constituted one of the biggest acts of agro-terrorism in American history.

An anonymous news release issued by the Animal Liberation Front, a radical animal-rights group, explained that unnamed activists had placed containers of kerosene and digital timers beneath the trucks, linking them with kerosene-soaked rope to carry the fire down the row, “a tactic adapted from Home Alone 2.” The statement concludes threateningly: “until next time.” The perpetrators remain uncaught.

Two years later, farmers and ranchers in 29 states worry they’ll be similarly attacked; last year, the Environmental Protection Agency released to environmental groups extensive personal information about 80,000 to 100,000 agricultural operations.

The data released included names of owners, addresses, global-positioning-system coordinates, phone numbers, e-mail addresses, and, in some instances, notes on medical conditions and inheritances. Though environmental groups had requested information about “concentrated animal feeding operations” — “CAFOs” in the bureaucratic lingo, and “feedlots” in the vernacular — some of the information released clumped in data about crop farms, too.

Farm groups say the EPA violated farmers’ and ranchers’ privacy, increasing their risk of agro-terrorism as well as harassment or litigation from animal-rights and environmental activists. The EPA has admitted to having improperly released farmers’ data on two occasions, and has twice attempted to claw back those records.

The American Farm Bureau Federation and the National Pork Producers Council are now suing the EPA to prevent it from releasing even more information. Though it hasn’t been much covered, the case has significant implications regarding privacy. It also raises questions about whether the EPA acted politically, cooperating with environmental groups to help them achieve long-term regulatory goals.

“This is really important to farmers and ranchers because this is not just a place of business — this is where they live, this is where their children play,” says Danielle Quist, senior counsel for public policy at the American Farm Bureau Federation. “We are not opposed to transparency in agriculture. In fact we are a huge supporter of transparency. But that’s not what we’re talking about with this lawsuit. All citizens in this country deserve the protection of their private home information. Our farmers and ranchers deserve that same protection.”

Agro-terrorism is a primary concern, say agricultural groups, but there are others: Because the information released is so comprehensive, some worry that it may be used by activist trespassers or scoured over by class-action litigators who could profit from suing feedlots for any shortcomings.

Ashley McDonald, environmental counsel for the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, tells National Review Online that “we’ve actually heard from folks that, yes, there has been some suspicious activity that they think might be tied to [the EPA] release.” And Grace Boatright, legislative director for the National Grange, says it has been “pretty disconcerting for families to have their private information accessed by groups that have made it pretty clear they don’t agree with all their current business practices.”

Yet environmental groups say the data collected and released by the EPA is standard for other industries and that farmers and ranchers shouldn’t be treated exceptionally.

“Sometimes the owner or the operator of the facility lives at the facility, so I think that’s given rise to some questions about personal privacy,” says Eve C. Gartner, staff attorney at Earthjustice’s Northeast office. “But it does seem to me like a very difficult question: If someone chooses to locate their home at an industrial facility, does that automatically mean that everything about that facility becomes private?”

Animal-rights activists claim the feedlots systemically abuse animals. PETA, for instance, cites everything from manure smells that cause cows “chronic respiratory problems, making breathing painful” to “a highly unnatural diet” that causes “chronic digestive pain — imagine your worst case of gastritis that never goes away.”

Environmental groups say feedlots increase emissions, cause pollution, and contaminate drinking water. Jon Devine, the senior attorney at the water program of the Natural Resources Defense Council, recently wrote that such operations “generate nasty waste” because “animal manure contains bacteria, viruses and other pathogens, as well as organic compounds, heavy metals, antibiotics, pesticides, and hormones.”

Farm groups dispute these claims, questioning the environmental effect and highlighting improved humane practices with respect to feedlot animals.

Regardless, environmental and animal-rights groups have long sought more federal control of CAFOs, pushing for two specific policy goals: requiring the government to collect extensive data about feedlots, and requiring feedlots to be regulated and permitted under the Clean Water Act.

In the last decade, the EPA has mounted a largely unsuccessful effort to increase permitting requirements for feedlots. But environmental groups were able to work out a settlement with the agency in 2010, compelling it to begin collecting CAFO data.

FrankenPhood Fights Hawaii GMO Constraints

In the continual battle for the right to not be invaded with bacterial or viral plants, those of us wishing to keep nature as close to undefiled as possible are gaining a larger percentage of the population and being defeated by the global govicorp entirely too often. Hawaii is dealing with this more than most now. Here’s an article about it:

Biotech Companies Fight Against Hawaiian Anti-GMO Law

The battle rages on between the deep pockets of agribusiness and the resilience and growing numbers of those against the genetic alteration of our food. In a desperate attempt to stop the spread of anti-GMO laws in Hawaii, DuPont, Syngenta and Agrigenetics, Inc. have filed a lawsuit against Kauai’s ordinance restricting GMO use.

The law in place since last November on the island of Kauai requires disclosure of pesticides and GMO varieties, and also maintains GMO and pesticide-free ‘buffer zones’ surrounding homes, hospitals and schools. Seems more than reasonable, right? Not according to the three biotech giants, who have filed suit in Honolulu district court, claiming that the law is ‘unconstitutional.’

Not only do DuPont, Syngenta and Agrigenetics want to repeal this law, they are also seeking an injunction which would permanently prohibit its enforcement.

Syngenta spokesperson Paul Minehart said, “the ordinance is invalid. It arbitrarily targets our industry with burdensome and baseless restrictions on farming operations by attempting to regulate activities over which counties in Hawaii have no jurisdiction. These activities are already regulated by governmental agencies under state and federal laws.”

However, just because GMOs are federally approved does not make placing restrictions on them “baseless.” The Institute for Responsible Technology (IRT) points to multiple studies that have associated GMOs with major health issues including immune system problems, changes in organ systems including the digestive system, infertility, insulin regulation complications and antibiotic resistance.

On this new lawsuit by the three biotech companies, Kauai County Councilman Gary Hooser, one of the council members who introduced the anti-GMO law, commented, “they chose to use their money and legal power to bully us in the courts. These companies do not want our county to set a precedent that other communities are going to follow.”

Indeed, Kauai’s example is being followed. A month after the Kauai bill became a law, a law on Hawaii’s Big Island was enacted prohibiting any new GMOs to be grown. Maui has a similar legislation to Kauai’s currently making its way through the courts. Additionally, almost half of all US states have some form of GMO labeling legislation in the works.

gmoDuPont, Syngenta and Agrigenetics, Inc. are afraid that losing their grip on Kauai will mean losing their grip on many other locations. Part of the lawsuit states that Kauai provides, “the invaluable opportunity to triple or quadruple the pace of development of GM crops.” This is exactly what health-conscious consumers hope to stop.

The GMO manufacturers are scared. They may continue feeding money into similar lawsuits, but eventually they will have to concede to the fact that the tides are shifting against them, and realize that more and more Americans want nothing to do with GMOs.

-The Alternative Daily

Obamacare: Voluntarily Mandatory?

This weekend, an email came to me stating that Obamacare is actually voluntary. Since I have already decided that due to my religious, psychological, philosophical, intellectual, and inherently human objections to this “mandate”, that I would not, could not and will not comply, I had relegated my interest in the finer abhorrent details of this issue to others with a calling to dig into it. However, after this email, I decided to have a look at it.

You can get the full text of both bills as passed and signed into unConstituional law here. Within the nearly 2500 pages of craziness, you will find this section on page 362 line 16:

Current through Pub. L. 113-52. (See Public Laws for the current Congress.)

No individual, company, business, nonprofit entity, or health insurance issuer offering group or individual health insurance coverage shall be required to participate in any Federal health insurance program created under this Act (or any amendments made by this Act), or in any Federal health insurance program expanded by this Act (or any such amendments), and there shall be no penalty or fine imposed upon any such issuer for choosing not to participate in such programs.
 Now, on it’s face it looks like the entire debacle is a voluntary thing. In which case, I am not volunteering. I do have a few questions about it though.
 First of all, is this stipulating that ONLY a requirement of actual federal health insurance is to be voluntary? Are the jerks trying to get away with voluntarily mandatory federal requirements by requiring that you buy it from a “private” company? Thereby creating a fully fascist industry? If that is indeed the case, next they could require that you buy a motorcycle, or an airplane.
 Doesn’t this section appear to fly in the very face of Robert’s ruling that it is a tax? (Let’s put aside the fact that if it were a tax, the language actually came from the wrong house of the legislature to be legitimate) You can’t convince me that the federal government can claim something is a tax and assign private entities that are not directly overseen in the budgetary realm by the Congress to collect that tax…unless of course it is an excise, impost, duty or direct tax that is then required to be equally proportioned.
  My personal opinion is that it all comes down to the consent of the governed. If we refuse to comply, participate or otherwise subject ourselves or others to this, it will fail. At any rate, there appears to be more than just a bit of conflict within the law by this section. I am happy to hear and entertain others opinions on this.
 PS. You may be interested in this site. I am not endorsing it and haven’t read the book, but it may be of interest to some: http://ikilledobamacare.com/

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