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.

###

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/

Digesting Regulations–I’m a Pet Store…or a Dealer, or a Breeder, or Not, or What???!!!

USDA’s APHIS, the same illustrious service that brought us the NAIS which morphed into the ADT, has blessed us all with the distinction of being regulated as a pet store if we aren’t already regulated as licensed breeders. The way the regulations read is confusing at absolute best. The number of breeding females is an aggregate number of all animals covered under the Animal Welfare Act of 1966. That’s virtually every thing that is warm blooded and referred to as a “pet” or used for exhibition. Dogs, cats, farm animals sometimes, rabbits, etc. They say you can have four or less breeding females and not be licensed, but if you sell them online then you are a retail pet store. They also give you the capacity to earn up to $500 gross annually and be exempted from being either a pet store or a breeder.

Now there are exceptions that are astonishing. For one, if the animals are sold as breeding animals, then you are exempt. So every dog could be sold as breeding stock with hybrid vigor and they would be exempt. Or if the animal is a working animal, you’re ok as well. So you could sell poodles as watch dogs and be exempt. But if they are pets, you are not exempt. Basically, if they want to they can deem anyone selling any of the covered animals as under their regulatory authority.

I try really hard not to curse, but after reading the final rule (which you can read here if you have the stamina) I find that I have to quote my husband, I don’t know whether to shit or go blind.

Thankfully there is a lawsuit that has been filed. I hope there is an injunction against the USDA on this insanity. You can read about it below:

Dog and Cat Clubs Tell Uncle Sam to Scat
           (CN) – The U.S. Department of Agriculture illegally and arbitrarily is requiring “tens of thousands of dog and cat breeders” to get licenses and submit to unannounced inspections and the costs of complying with “new structural and sanitation standards,” dozens of dog and cat clubs claim in court.

     Forty dog clubs – and two cat clubs – led by the Associated Dog Clubs of New York State, sued the USDA in District of Columbia Federal Court.
More cats than dogs are kept as pets in the United States, according to the Humane Society: 95.6 million cats and 83.3 million dogs.
Forty-seven percent of U.S. households have at least one dog, and 46 percent have at least one cat, according to the Humane Society.
Why 40 of the 42 plaintiff clubs are dog breeders, and only two represent cats, is a poser. Possibly it’s because dogs and dog owners are clubbier than cats and cat people.
Whatever the reason, the clubs challenge “The Retail Pet Store Rule,” 9 CFR Parts 1-3, which took effect on Nov. 18. The regulation was promulgated under the Animal Welfare Act, 7 U.S.C. § 2131 et seq.
The rule originally was aimed at large breeders who sell over the Internet, but was expanded to include all breeders, including “small-scale breeders,” i.e., the members of the plaintiff clubs, “without any support for doing do,” according to the complaint.
According to the dog clubs’ lawsuit: “The Rule radically changes, without justification, 47 years of USDA’s regulatory oversight of retail pet stores. Specifically, the Rule redefines ‘retail pet store’ to potentially require tens of thousands of dog and cat breeders throughout the United States, including members of plaintiffs, to obtain licenses, to subject their residences to unannounced, on-site inspections, to incur substantial costs to comply with new structural and sanitation standards, to risk the health and lives of their dogs and cats from exposure to the deadly Parvovirus, Panleukopenia, and other diseases, and to place their personal safety at risk by opening their residences to strangers.”
The clubs claim that when Congress passed the Animal Welfare Act in 1966, it “specifically exempted retail pet stores” from the Act’s licensing and inspection requirements.
“Although Congress has amended the AWA several times since its passage, Congress has not changed or narrowed the AWA’s exemption of retail pet stores,” the complaint states. “By promulgating a regulation instead of seeking a statutory solution in Congress, the USDA has circumvented congressional intent. Moreover, the Rule’s redefinition of ‘retail pet store’ is inconsistent with the required record that was developed to justify the Rule.”
The USDA estimated that the rule would affect 2,600 to 4,640 breeders, the dog clubs say – an estimate that is way off base.
“In fact, as was noted in the comments, the Rule potentially affects tens of thousands of breeders, including the almost 19,000 members of the 42 plaintiffs, located in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Significantly, the clubs and registries comprised by plaintiffs represent less than 1 percent of the dog and cat clubs and registries in the United States, yet the cumulative number of plaintiff members alone is four times the maximum number of breeders that APHIS [the USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service] estimated would be potentially affected.”
The dog clubs want the rule declared invalid and enjoined as arbitrary and capricious, inconsistent with the AWA, exceeding the jurisdiction of the USDA, and a violation of the Administrative Procedures Act.
The clubs are represented by Philip Hecht.
The Humane Society criticized the lawsuit in a statement, and said it plans to “intervene in the lawsuit and join the government in defending the common-sense regulation.”
The Humane Society said that the rule was enacted to crack down on “large-scale puppy mills.” The statement said that the rule “closed the regulatory loophole” that let puppy mills sells abused dogs online without oversight.
The Humane Society statement did not address the dog clubs’ objection that the rule indiscriminately affects back-yard breeders.
Here are the plaintiffs: Associated Dog Clubs of New York State, Inc; Australian Shepherd Club of America; American Dog Breeders Association, Inc.; Virginia Federation of Dog Clubs and Breeders; California Federation of Dog Clubs; Albany Kennel Club, Inc.; Albany Obedience Club, Inc.; Allpurrs Cattery; American Fox Terrier Club; American Pomeranian Club; American Russell Terrier Club; Belgian Sheepdog Club of America; Cat Fanciers Legislative Group; Charlottesville-Albemarle Kennel Club; Chattanooga Kennel Club;; Chihuahua Club of America; Cleveland Collie Club; Colonial Newfoundland Club; Columbia Poodle Club of Oregon and Southwest Washington; Dachshund Club of Greater Buffalo; Dachshund Fanciers of Central Virginia; Eagle Rock Kennel Club, Inc.; Erie Canal Schipperke Club; Goldendoodle Association of North America;; Huron Valley Australian Shepherd Association; International Bengal Cat Society; International Shiloh Shepherd Dog Club; Kennel Club of Palm Springs; Miniature Australian Shepherd Club of America; Minuteman Samoyed Club, Inc.; Mississippi Canine Coalition, Inc.; Northland Newfoundland Club; Potomac Bassett Hound Club; Saratoga (NY) Kennel Club, Inc.; Schenectady Dog Training Club; Shawangunk Kennel Club, Inc.; Shetland Sheepdog Club of Western New York; Society for the Perpetuation of Desert Bred Salukis; Syracuse Obedience Training Club; Tri Valley Shetland Sheepdog Club of Northwest Los Angeles; Weimaraner Club of the Washington DC Area; and the Working Australian Shepherd Club of Upstate New York.

Feeding Homeless Requires Permission

What next? You have to have a license to be homeless or the vagrancy ordinances get doubled fines and they feed you in jail for non-payment? We live in in a world that is completely upside down. Non-compliance is the only answer.

From Breitbart.com

The Raleigh (North Carolina) Police Department threatened to arrest members of a nonprofit religious group while they fed the local homeless population this past Saturday, according to a spokesman for Love Wins Ministries. Rev. Hugh Hollowell, pastor and Director of Love Wins, said that volunteers from his group were handing out coffee and sausage biscuits to several dozen homeless in downtown Raleigh when the police arrived.

“This morning we showed up at Moore Square at 9:00 a.m., just like we have done virtually every Saturday and Sunday for the last six years,” wrote Rev. Hollowell. “Today, officers from Raleigh Police Department prevented us from doing our work, for the first time ever.”

If the group continued to distribute meals, Hollowell reported, they would have been arrested.

A Raleigh Police department spokesman said that Love Wins was violating a city ordinance because they had not obtained a permit.  The ordinance states:

No individuals or group shall serve or distribute meals or food of any kind in or on any City park or greenway unless such distribution is pursuant to a permit issued by the Parks, Recreation and Greenway Director.

According to area news network WRAL, this is not the first time the cops have broken up an effort to feed the hungry. A group called “Human Beans Together” had to move their volunteers across the street from Moore Square.  “We had lots of volunteers and lots of hungry people and nowhere to go,” a member of the group said.

Police justified the crackdown by claiming that there has been excessive litter in public parks on Monday mornings. Both volunteer groups denied the allegations.

MN Jury Convicts Schlangen on 5 Charges–”Our Raw Milk in Jeopardy” Says Lawyer

David Gumpert's picture
by: David Gumpert Thu, 08/15/2013

Despite my disparaging view of the prosecution in the Alvin Schlangen case, the six-person jury had its own view, and it wasn’t the same as mine or others on this blog. After nearly four hours of deliberation on Thursday, it convicted the Minnesota farmer of five criminal misdemeanors.

The counts:
1. Operating without a food handler’s license;
2. Storing eggs at temperatures above the mandated 45 degrees;
3. Distributing adulterated or misbranded food;
4. Violating a food embargo;
5. Selling custom processed meat.

Schlangen was immediately fined $300 and sentenced to 90 days of jail, with the jail sentence stayed. (I erroneously tweeted and put on Facebook the sentencing info without noting the stay of the sentence.)

Most problematic may turn out to be the one year of probation, during which time Schlangen is expected “to comply with all Minnesota food laws, including raw milk laws,” according to his lawyer, Nathan Hansen. “It was interesting that raw milk wasn’t mentioned in any of the charges, and at the end of the day, it was about raw milk.”

“Some of the charges were real hard to counter,” Hansen told me. “And the prosecutor worked very hard to get a conviction.” For example, the prosecution presented evidence Schlangen re-sold food to a food cooperative. Moreover, the prosecution brought in as witnesses the owners or managers of half a dozen other food producers to try to convince the jury that Schlangen was running a commercial operation involving meat, eggs, and other foods.

Hansen is also a member of Schlangen’s food club, and worries most about the strange after-the-trial effort by the judge to include raw milk in the prohibited areas for Schlangen while on probation. “Our supply of raw milk is in jeopardy,” he said.

He feels Schlangen’s food club will need to “narrow its focus” and not make available “foods people can get elsewhere,” like organic frozen veggies. He’s not certain at this point exactly what a new focus and organization might look like.

Why did one jury acquit Schlangen last September on many of the same charges, and this one, in a different county, convict him? We’ll never know for sure, but certainly the prosecution learned from the first Schlangen trial and the Vernon Hershberger trial (and acquittal on similar licensing charges). In addition to the factors Hansen mentioned, I suspect its seemingly random mention of an illness of a food club member–even though it wasn’t connected to Schlangen–had its effect on the “adulterated” charge and on the egg-temperature charge. It may also have colored the jury’s view of Schlangen in general.

So the food police finally got a hit, on an 0-and-2 count. Will they use their new-found lessons of how to persuade a jury to go after additional farmers in other states? Or, to put it another way, now that they at long last tasted blood provided by a jury of a farmer’s peers, will they want more?

Crimes Against Humanity…and Chickens

I have copied the entire post below from this blog because it is terrifically important that people become aware of type of thing and work to either change these kinds of ridiculous laws in their cities and towns or orchestrate mass civil disobedience to annihilate these acts of State Sponsored Terrorism on Citizens. Please read, share and get involved in your surroundings:

Garden City, MI: Man sentenced to jail time on the CRIMINAL charge of keeping chickens!

Guys, you really can’t make this sort of stuff up.  Randy Zeilinger, a Garden City MI resident, has been found guilty on the CRIMINAL charge of keeping chickens.garden city mi man found guilty on criminal charge of keeping backyard chickens

Think about that for a minute.  A criminal charge follows you for your entire life.  A criminal charge must be reported on job applications. A criminal conviction is reported to state and federal agencies.

The sentence is:

  • 30 days in jail
  • 6 months of reporting to probation
  • $905 in fines
  • Pay for the court appointed attorney
  • Comply with all city ordinances

But the honorable Judge Hammer was “nice” and suspended the jail time. However, if Randy fails on any of the above details he will be thrown in jail. That was clearly stated.

A few days after conviction, Randy began receiving new ordinance violations in the mail. These include a violation for keeping a wild skunk, a vandalized porch and peeling paint on his garage. The Garden City Ordinance Officer has indicated that he will be visiting Randy often and writing violations for anything that he can. Randy will likely face another year of bi-monthly court appearances.

 Synopsis of Randy’s story (full story here):

From Randy: ‘I purchased my home in 2000. I started moving in around March of the same year. I moved my bee hives at the same time and was immediately confronted by a neighbor who called the police.  The attending officer said that bees were OK if I kept them in my own yard. In hind sight, I should have noted the complaint and resulting dialog. However, I thought that I was within my rights based on the Michigan state law, often referred to as the “Right to Farm Act”.  http://legislature.mi.gov/documents/mcl/pdf/mcl-Act-93-of-1981.pdf  In fact, I was (am) covered by this law. Over the next ten years or so, this same neighbor lodged numerous complaints against me. City officials recognized that these complaints were baseless in nature and merely a case of “everyone has one of THOSE neighbors”. ‘

*A note on the Michigan Right to Farm Act: it supersedes local city/town ordinances.  While I (Laura) opted to work with my city to have an ordinance included in our muni code allowing for chickens, technically I didn’t need to.  Taken from MRTFA : (6) Beginning June 1, 2000, except as otherwise provided in this section, it is the express legislative intent that this act preempt any local ordinance, regulation, or resolution that purports to extend or revise in any manner the provisions of this act or generally accepted agricultural and management practices developed under this act. Except as otherwise provided in this section, a local unit of government shall not enact, maintain, or enforce an ordinance, regulation, or resolution that conflicts in any manner with this act or generally accepted agricultural and management practices developed under this act. This section affirms your Michigan right to continuation business farming operating within generally accepted agricultural and management practices (GAAMPS) guidelines and supersedes any city laws that may forbid said farming. For your reference, Shelby Township v. Papesh is a similar case and may assist in your legal determinations.

Here’s where things start falling apart for Randy:

  • In 2009 he acquires  some chickens and ducks. After a year of keeping chickens and ducks, he rehomed the ducks after a neighbor complained to him about them.
  • In 2012, the same neighbor that complained about the ducks complained to Randy about the chickens. This neighbor posits that “he never asked her permission to have them (the chickens)”.
  • The neighbor who complained to Randy about his chickens also complained to him about: his koi and frog pond & a tree growing in his front yard.  This neighbor called the city and demanded that they cut down Randy’s tree, which the city refused to do (thankfully).
  • The complaining neighbor, now incensed, files a legal complaint about Randy’s chickens.  The Garden City ordinance officer cites Randy with keeping chickens, despite not seeing any signs of chickens on Randy’s property. The ordinance officer visited Randy’s farm on March 21, 2012.  Several weeks later, Randy received a post card from 21st District Court to appear for a zoning violation dated March 23, 2012.

The ordinance violation was written against a 50 year-old ordinance.

     (A)     No person shall keep or house any animals or fowl within the city except dogs, cats, canaries, or animals commonly classified as pets, customarily kept or housed inside dwellings as household pets.

     (B)     No person shall sell, or offer for sale, barter, or give away baby chicks, rabbits, ducklings, or other fowl as pets or novelties, whether or not dyed, colored, or otherwise artificially treated. This division shall not be construed to prohibit the display or sale of natural chicks or ducklings in proper brooder facilities by hatcheries or stores engaged in the business of selling the same to be raised for commercial purposes.

(Ord. 11-006, passed 4-25-11)

Now, here’s where things get surreal.

  • Mid-April, Randy appears in court before the Honorable Judge Richard L, Hammer, Jr. of the 21st. District Court.  The judge sent Randy back to meet with the city prosecutor, Timothy L. Cronin (P26417).
  • During this meeting, Mr. Cronin said that if Randy wanted a farm then he should move out of the city. When Randy replied that he was unable to move, he said that chickens were not allowed in the city and if Randy pursued the case that he would “make an example” of him. He went on to say that the mayor did not want farm animals in the city and that he took direction from the mayor. He further indicated that Randy was not welcome in this city and he would be foolish to continue the case. At no time did he indicate that a compromise could be reached.
  • Randy appears at city council meetings while his court dates are repeatedly postponed, speaking in favor of allowing backyard chickens in Garden City.  After one meeting, reporter Sue Buck runs a story in the June 24 2012 issue of the Garden City Observer on Randy and 2 others who spoke positively about keeping backyard chickens.  The other 2 individuals cited in the paper received chicken keeping code violation notices in the mail immediately after.
  • Randy’s complaining neighbor vandalizes his property and calls the city to lodge a complaint about it being in disarray.
  • An anonymous call is made complaining about a rooster crowing.  Randy has no rooster.
  • Randy’s complaining neighbor drives to Westland to visit his 80 year old mother, demanding that she force her son to do what they ask (remove chickens, cut down tree, etc).  The woman is fearful and traumatized.
  • By the end of July 2012, the police have been out to Randy’s house a half a dozen times. Each time was a response to an anonymous complaint called in. No charges were leveled.
  • In August 2012, police respond to a complaint about a skunk found in the complaining neighbors yard. Three police officers in two cars responded to the call. They insisted that Randy do something about the skunk in the neighbor’s yard. The neighbor had mentioned that the skunk had come from Randy and that he had sent it to spray them. The armed police officers force Randy from his house to go retrieve a wild skunk- which turned out to be a baby skunk with barely open eyes.  Randy retrieves the skunk from under the neighbors car, receives a ticket for having an unlicensed animal, and is left with the task of getting the baby skunk to a wildlife rehabilitator.armed police force citizen to retrieve skunk after neighbor complained that he had sent it to spray them "attack skunk"

    Skunk cops are on patrol!

In fall 2012 Randy finally gets closer to a court date, is allowed a court appointed attorney. Initially, the court told the defending attorney that the case was about the skunk but in reality, the case was about keeping chickens and the Michigan Right to Farm Act.

  • Randy’s appointed attorney, James M. Jernigan (P-57035) took the case even though he was somewhat skeptical at first. Randy explained the RTFA and how it applied to his case. Randy explained the GAAMPs, the history of the law and cited other cases that had been tried and eventually reached the Michigan Court of Appeals.
  • Randy’s case is repeatedly delayed due in part to another chicken keeper case being tried in the 21st District Court. That case was actually moved to the city of Wayne and presided by city of Wayne Judge Laura R. Mack, because Judge Hammer was recused.  That case is City of Garden City v. Pete Santeiu (Case No, 12 GC 1547 OM).  That case was dismissed by Judge Mack. Signed and dated: January 7, 2013.
  • In February 2013, the Garden City prosecution amended Randy’s case to be a criminal complaint rather than the original animal ordinance violation.
  • Randy’s jury trial is set for April 11 & 12th 2013.
  • Several points of law were disallowed based on the fact that this was a criminal charge and not merely a zoning violation. Case law, Court of Appeals decisions and opinions were discounted. The ruling of Judge Mack (representing the same court, and for the same sort of case) was disallowed.
  • Several individuals came to testify for Randy’s defense, stating he was a good neighbor and that the chickens were not a nuisance in any way.
  • Prosecution presented documents (not entered into evidence) that challenged Randy’s claim of GAAMP compliance. In a nutshell, it was argued that by Randy exceeding the GAAMP protocols, he was not “following” the GAAMPs. Thus if he wasn’t following GAAMPs then he was not compliant and not protected by MRTFA.

This case is disturbing on so many levels.  If you’d like to read about it in Randy’s own words, click here.

I urge you all to share this far and wide- it’s gotten NO media attention here in Michigan, and likely won’t without a grassroots effort.  Also, if you’d like to share your thoughts on this situation, please direct them to the Garden City mayor and councilmembers, as well as the senatorial representatives.  Follow us on Facebook for updates on Randy’s story as it continues to unfold.

UPDATES:

Randy was interviewed on Fox 2 Detroit.  His neighbor chimed in as well, and showed just the sort of behavior you’d never want to see from a neighbor, even if you didn’t have chickens.

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