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.

 

Monsanto Protection Act is Now Law

If people remember, before Obama became President he said he would get GMO’s labeled…Ha! Instead, in the standard American corporate government method, he just gave the go ahead for massive expansion of GMO crops. While other nations are firmly constraining and refusing these aberrations, we get more of them here. Almost makes on want to move to a non-GMO country. Even China is refusing to accept shipments of this garbage.

More ‘Corporate Welfare’: Obama Signs ‘Monsanto Protection Act’ Into Law
Just signed provision prevents federal courts from stopping the planting of genetically engineered crops, despite health, environmental consequences

- Andrea Germanos, staff writer

“In this hidden backroom deal, Senator Mikulski turned her back on consumer, environmental, and farmer protection in favor of corporate welfare for biotech companies such as Monsanto,” said Andrew Kimbrell of the Center for Food Safety. (Photo: Peter Blanchard/flickr)
President Obama signed what has been dubbed the “Monsanto Protection Act” on Tuesday, legislation critics say amounts to “corporate welfare” for biotechnology corporations like Monsanto, and puts farmers and the environment in jeopardy.

Summing up the provision in H.R. 933: Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act, Eric Darier, a senior campaigner on sustainable agriculture at Greenpeace International explains that it

will effectively bar US federal courts from being able to halt the sale or planting of genetically engineered (GE) crops even if they failed to be approved by the government’s own weak approval process and no matter what the health or environmental consequences might be.
The rider from H.R. 933 reads:

 

Doug Gurian-Sherman, a senior scientist with the Union of Concerned Scientists, writes that the rider presents a “threat to farmers and the environment,” and that while the rider’s language indicates that steps will be taken “…to mitigate or minimize potential adverse environmental effects…,” historical evidence shows that there are indeed risks. In 2006, for example,

unapproved GE rice owned by Bayer, probably originating from a small, short-term controlled field trial in Arkansas, was found to have contaminated the U.S. rice supply. That little incident resulted in hundreds of millions of dollars in lost rice exports and farmer lawsuits that continued for years. [...]

A similar threat exists to the environment in the form of gene flow—the transfer of genes from one organism to another—from crops to wild cousins, or from poorly domesticated cultivated plants like forest trees or grasses grown for lumber, pulp, or biofuel.

In fact, gene flow of glyphosate herbicide-resistant creeping bentgrass has already occurred…twice. This also happened from temporary field trials that were conducted in Central Oregon and nearby Idaho specifically to prevent gene flow! USDA mandated an isolation zone of 900 feet around the trial, but gene flow occurred up to 13 miles from the Oregon site.
There could be “long-lasting and serious consequences” from the rider, writes Appetite for Profit author Michele Simon. “This list of pending petitions to USDA to approve genetically-engineered crops includes new versions of corn, soybean, canola, and cotton. Once these crops get planted, it will be too late to do much about it.”

The Center for Food Safety writes that it was Senator Barbara Mikulski, the Chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee (D-MD), who allowed the legislation to move forward without hearings and without bringing it in front of the Agriculture or Judiciary Committees.

“In this hidden backroom deal, Senator Mikulski turned her back on consumer, environmental, and farmer protection in favor of corporate welfare for biotech companies such as Monsanto,” Andrew Kimbrell, Executive Director of the Center for Food Safety, said in a statement.

This is the kind of deal biotechnology corporations have been hoping for, according to Food Democracy Now!, a group that has been campaigning against the GE rider. “Since losing a court case in 2010 to Center for Food Safety for the unlawful planting of GMO sugar beets, Monsanto and other biotech companies have been desperate to find a way around court mandated environmental impact statements required as a result of a U.S. district court’s ruling,” the group writes.

Gurian-Sherman writes that the rider has biotechnology corporations’ fingerprints all over it:

It was introduced anonymously, without accountability. But let me stick my neck out and say that it is highly likely that the biotech industry influenced the introduction and passing of this rider. Monsanto spends more money influencing our government than any other agriculture company. It spent millions, more than any other firm, to defeat the efforts in California to label engineered foods.
In her post titled “Monsanto Teams up with Congress to Shred the Constitution,” Simon adds that this is “such a big deal” because

The court system is often our last hope, with Congress, the White House, and regulatory agencies deep inside industry’s pocket. Several legal challenges have resulted in court decisions overturning USDA’s approval of new GMO crops, for example, sugar beets.
So the biotech industry, unable to make its case to a judge, figured why not just rewrite the Constitution instead…
Darier concludes that the ‘Monsanto Protection Act’ ultimately shows the power corporations wield at the expense of democracy:

This should also be a reminder to all of us across the world of the ability of some corporations like Monsanto to influence policymakers to adopt measures that are against sustainable agriculture, farmers, consumers and the environment. And let’s add now to this list: independent judicial review! A very sad day for democracy and the future of our food.
_____________________________

 

US Wastes Billions of Dollars of Food

The USDA has done a report on the amount of food wastage in the US. Interestingly, this is at a time right before food prices are going to sky rocket. One thing that has apparently not been addressed in this report is the regulatory and insurance side of the profligate waste we appear to have.

Morningland Dairy was forced to waste about $250,000 dollars of cheese that hadn’t made one person sick in over 30 years. Fast food restaurants throw out huge amounts of food at close and are prohibited from allowing people to getting it even out of the dumpster. People who want to feed the homeless are routinely fined, punished or prevented from doing so because they don’t have permits and licenses that prove they prepare food in a permitted and licensed kitchen.

It could be readily argued that a vast amount of our food is garbage anyway, and therefore going where it should go, but truly not having enough to eat is about to become a reality for a larger percentage of our population than in anytime in recent memory.

There is a massive drought in California, there are 25% of greenhouses that heat with propane that have either shut down or significantly scaled back, the vast majority of chicken houses heat with propane and most of those growers finished what they had and held off on losing everything due to either being unable to afford or in some cases even acquire the propane to heat with. Brazil, the highest global producer of beef and a major exporter of food in many categories is in a drought where rationing of water is occurring in 142 cities. And don’t forget that South Dakota lost around 100,000 cattle and we have cattle populations in the US at 1951 levels.

While we’re throwing all of this away, or being forced to throw it away, we’re looking at massive rises in food costs. Time to learn how to preserve whatever excess we have.

Here’s an article about the USDA wastage report:

Americans trash about 1/3 of their food, worth $161bn – USDA

Published time: February 25, 2014 08:56

AFP Photo / Spencer PlattAFP Photo / Spencer Platt

About 30 percent of the 430 billion pounds of food produced in the United States is wasted, an incredible statistic, especially given the lack of landfill space, not to mention the global menace of world hunger.

The shocking statistic gives a new meaning to the term ‘junk food,’ as Americans are sending 133 billion lbs (60 billion kg) of food to the garbage dump each year. To put it another way, 141 trillion calories annually – or 1,249 calories per capita daily – went uneaten in the United States, according to a report by the US Department of Agriculture.

The top three food groups in terms of the amount of total food loss cost are ranked as follows: meat, poultry, and fish (30 percent); vegetables (19 percent); and dairy products (17 percent). Retail food waste, for example, in grocery stores and restaurants, accounted for 10 percent (43 billion lbs), while consumer losses amounted to 21 percent (90 billion pounds) of the available food supply.

The issue of food loss is becoming a serious topic not just in the United States, but across the world as countries struggle with mounting levels of garbage, while food scarcity among an exploding world population demands a new way of thinking about eating habits.

In 2010, the average American spent $4,016 on food (both for at-home and away-from-home consumption) out of an average disposable income of $36,016, the report, titled ‘The Estimated Amount, Value and Calories of Postharvest Food Losses at the Retail and Consumer Levels in the United States’, noted.

Meanwhile, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than one-third of US adults (35.7 percent) are obese, which is perhaps the best argument that Americans can offset a large part of the food waste problem by simply eating less. The estimated annual medical cost of obesity in the US was $147 billion in 2008; the costs of providing medical assistance for individuals who are obese were $1,429 higher than those of normal weight, thereby placing an enormous strain on healthcare costs.

At the same time, the problem of global food scarcity is gaining the attention of world leaders.

“The United Nations predicts that the world population will reach 9.3 billion by 2050, and this will require a 70 percent increase in food production, net of crops used for biofuels. Currently…the number of food-insecure people reached 802 million in 2012,” the report stated.

The USDA warned that developed countries like the United States – where 49 million people lived in food-insecure households out of a total population of over 305 million – should not take their current level of food security for granted.

“Although most of this population growth will occur in developing countries, developed countries like the United States also face issues of hunger and food insecurity,” it said.

In an effort to attract attention to the problem of food waste, the USDA and the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) last year kicked off the US Food Waste Challenge. The United Nations’ Environment Program’s (UNEP) World Environment Day’s central theme was also food waste.

 

AFP Photo / Spencer PlattAFP Photo / Spencer Platt

The report acknowledged that tackling the problem is no easy challenge given the many diverse places where food is distributed, consumed and disposed of.

There are an estimated 119 million households, over a half a million dining establishments, including fast-food outlets, and numerous other locations where people gather to eat, such as schools, institutions, and prisons across the United States, it said.

Eco-hazardous habits

A largely ignored problem associated with our intensely urbanized lifestyles is how to get rid of our food waste in a way that does not inflict long-term damage on the environment. Discarding uneaten food into plastic garbage bags and burying them in landfills only exacerbates the problem.

According to statistics by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), food waste accounted for 34 million tons of some 250 million tons of municipal solid waste in the United States in 2010, with a price tag of about $1.3 billion.

After recycling a number of materials, like metals, plastic and paper, food waste came out on top in terms of what is overloading our garbage dumps, with 21 percent of the total, according to the EPA.

The most worrying problem with landfilling food waste is that it generates methane gas as it decomposes anaerobically. Methane is 21 times more powerful in accelerating global warming than carbon dioxide, according to the EPA as cited in the USDA report.

Landfills account for 34 percent of all human-related methane emissions in the United States
The report pointed to a growing human footprint on the planet as a good reason for nations to start addressing this issue.

The report offered some suggestions on addressing the issue, including expanding on community composting programs, of which there are around 3,510 such initiatives in the US that allow neighborhood residents to leave food scraps and yard trimmings at the curb for a special collection.

At the same time, companies will work to offset food waste if “it is economically justifiable, that is, if the benefits outweigh the costs.”

The report suggested the potential advantages of building “consumer goodwill” for business, using by way of example “a sandwich shop donates uneaten yet wholesome food to a community feeding organization at the end of each day.”

 

 

GMO Labeling Co-Opt

As expected, the promoters of GMO food are now beginning a broad push on the federal level to pre-empt the ability of consumers to know that they are eating stuff that was never part of creation and is more like sprinkling pesticide and herbicides on nearly everything you eat than ingesting food.

With nearly everything in our country, you can look at the corporations behind any social movement and figure out whether it is of the people, or of the corporations. People tend to want personal choice and informed consent, and corporations look at people as revenue generators and something to be exploited.

At this point in our nation’s history, it looks to me like the only thing we can do to try to provide for ourselves and our families is to grow as much of our own food as possible, and what we cannot produce we need to get from others who are growing their own food as well. We will never be able to fight Monsanto, Farm Bureau, Dupont, Bayer, Cargill, ADM, Bunge, Tyson, IBP and the banking structure in the legislature. They can give way more in the realm of political donations than we can, so the only justice we can seek must come from each other.

Here is the article from their “Coalition for Safe Affordable Food” website. Please read down to the bottom and view all their members. It’s illuminating:

Broad-Based Coalition Launched to Advocate for Congressional Action on a Federal GMO Labeling Solution
Legislation Needed to Protect Consumers by Eliminating Confusion and Advancing Food Safety

(Washington, D.C.) American farmers and representatives from a diverse group of almost thirty industry and non-governmental organizations today announced the formation of the Coalition for Safe Affordable Food (www.CFSAF.org) and urged Congress to quickly seek a federal solution that would establish standards for the safety and labeling of food and beverage products made with genetically modified ingredients (GMOs).

“American families deserve safe, abundant and affordable food,” said Martin Barbre, President of the National Corn Growers. “And America’s farmers rely on this proven technology to protect crops from insects, weeds and drought, enabling us to deliver on that promise and to do so through sustainable means. A federal solution on GMO labeling will bolster consumer confidence in the safety of American food by reaffirming the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) role as the nation’s foremost authority on the use and labeling of foods containing genetically modified ingredients.”

A federal GMO labeling solution is needed that will protect consumers and ensure the safety of food ingredients made through the use of modern agricultural biotechnology:

• Eliminate Confusion: Remove the confusion and uncertainty of a 50 state patchwork of GMO safety and labeling laws and affirm the FDA as the nation’s authority for the use and labeling of genetically modified food ingredients.

• Advance Food Safety: Require the FDA to conduct a safety review of all new GMO traits before they are introduced into commerce. FDA will be empowered to mandate the labeling of GMO food ingredients if the agency determines there is a health, safety or nutrition issue with an ingredient derived from a GMO.

• Inform Consumers: The FDA will establish federal standards for companies that want to voluntarily label their product for the absence-of or presence-of GMO food ingredients so that consumers clearly understand their choices in the marketplace.

• Provide Consistency: The FDA will define the term “natural” for its use on food and beverage products so that food and beverage companies and consumers have a consistent legal framework that will guide food labels and inform consumer choice.

“Foods made with genetically modified ingredients (GMOs) are safe and have a number of important benefits for people and our planet,” said Pamela G. Bailey, president and CEO of the Grocery Manufacturers Association. “Our nation’s food safety and labeling laws should not be set by political campaigns or state and local legislatures, but by the FDA, the nation’s foremost food safety agency.

“GMO technology has fostered a revolution in American agriculture that has benefitted consumers in the United States and around the world. And with global population expected to grow from seven to nine billion by 2050, we will need 70% more food production to keep pace. A federal GMO labeling solution will provide a framework for the safe and continued use of technology that is essential to the future of our planet.”

Facts About GMOs (www.FactsAboutGMOs.org )
• Many of the most influential regulatory agencies and organizations that study the safety of the food supply, including the U.S. Food & Drug Administration, the American Medical Association, the World Health Organization, Health Canada, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the National Academy of Sciences, have found genetically modified food ingredients (GMOs) are safe and there are no negative health effects associated with their use.

• GM technology adds desirable traits from nature, without introducing anything unnatural or using chemicals, so that food is more plentiful.

• GM technology is not new. In fact, it has been around for the past 20 years, and today, 70-80% of the foods we eat in the United States, both at home and away from home, contain ingredients that have been genetically modified.

• Ingredients grown using GM technology require fewer pesticides, less water and keep production costs down. In fact, GM technology helps reduce the price of crops used for food, such as corn, soybeans and sugar beets by as much as 15-30%.

• One in eight people among the world’s growing population of seven billion do not have enough to eat, and safe and effective methods of food production, like crops produced through GM technology, can help us feed the hungry and malnourished in developing nations around the world.
###

The Coalition for Safe Affordable Food is dedicated to providing policy makers, media, consumers and all stakeholders with the facts about ingredients grown through GM technology. We are also an advocate for common sense policy solutions that will only further enhance the safety of the GM crops and protect the vital role they play in today’s modern global food supply chain. The coalition is comprised of American farmers and representatives from a diverse group of industry and non-governmental organizations.

Coalition Members

1. AACC International/ American Phytopathological Society
2. American Bakers Association
3. American Beverage Association
4. American Farm Bureau Federation
5. American Feed Industry Association
6. American Frozen Food Institute
7. American Seed Trade Association
8. American Soybean Association
9. American Sugarbeet Growers Association
10. Biotechnology Industry Organization
11. Corn Refiners Association
12. Council for Responsible Nutrition
13. Flavor & Extract Manufacturers Association
14. Global Cold Chain Alliance
15. Grocery Manufacturers Association
16. International Dairy Foods Association
17. International Franchise Association
18. National Association of Manufacturers
19. National Association of Wheat Growers
20. National Confectioners Association
21. National Corn Growers Association
22. National Council of Farmer Cooperatives
23. National Grain & Feed Association
24. National Fisheries Institute
25. National Oilseed Processors Association
26. National Restaurant Association
27. National Turkey Federation
28. North American Millers Association
29. Pet Food Institute
30. Snack Food Association
31. U.S. Beet Sugar Association

Contact: Claire Parker
Coalition for Safe Affordable Food Press Office
703-888-9395
press@cfsaf.org

 

 

 

Michigan: Killing More Small Farms

No more farm animals in residential neighborhoods, Michigan agriculture committee advises

Rosemary Parker | rparker3@mlive.com By Rosemary Parker | rparker3@mlive.com
Follow on Twitter
on January 20, 2014 at 5:56 AM, updated January 22, 2014 at 2:52 PM

MATTAWAN, MI – A Mattawan family’s farm may be safe, but changes under consideration by the Michigan Agriculture Commission could strip future small farmers of protection under Michigan’s Right to Farm act, according to an “action alert” sent Jan. 7 by the Michigan Small Farm Council.

Kelly VanderKley's farmKelly VanderKley’s turkeys walk around in their pen on Friday, July 26, 2013 at her small farm in Mattawan. File photo

The group’s mission “is to protect and extend the rights of urban, suburban, and rural small-scale farming operations throughout the state,” according to its website.

Those rights are threatened by proposed changes to Michigan’s Generally Acceptable Agricultural Practices (GAAMPs) currently under review by “first bring(ing) operations as small as a single animal under the control of the Site Selection GAAMPs,” the alert warns, “and then using (a new category) to exclude those operations from Right to Farm protection in residential areas.”

Kelly VanderKley and her husband, David Hunter, sought Right to Farm protection for their Antwerp Township hobby farm last year when neighbors complained about their animals and manure on the 4.8 acre of land. The farm underwent strict scrutiny by the state inspector to assure practices were in compliance with all applicable environmental requirements, VanderKley said, and were judged to be in compliance with current standards.

The Michigan Right to Farm Act provides nuisance protection for farms and farm operations which are in conformance with GAAMPs. Right to Farm was originally designed to protect commercial agriculture operations from being pushed out by changes in local zoning or land uses that conflict with common agriculture practices.  GAAMPs are reviewed annually by scientific committees of various experts, revised and updated as necessary, according to a recent news release from the Michigan Department of Agriculture announcing this year’s deadline for public comment is Wednesday, Jan. 22.

The proposed revisions worrying the Michigan Small Farm Council are tweaks to the GAAMPs for Site Selection and Odor Control for Livestock Production Facilities.

The Site Selection GAAMPs have never applied to most small farmers, the council alert explained,  because “Livestock Production Facilities” have been defined  as having 50 animal units or more, far greater than the number of animals held by most small farms in Michigan.

“In the proposed changes, MDARD defines a new term, Livestock Facility, as one with any number of animals – including a single animal,” a step, the alert warns, that “for the first time brings small farm operations under the control of the Site Selection GAAMPs. And then in a second step, MDARD creates a new class of sites – Category 4 sites – that are not ever acceptable sites for Livestock Facilities.”

Category 4 sites are defined as those exclusively zoned for residential use.

Those changes could be the kiss of death for enterprises such as backyard chicken flocks, or small acreage hobby farms such as VanderKley’s that keep a few animals on  suburban acreage, said Michigan Small Farm Council member Randy Buchler, of Shady Grove Farm in the Upper Peninsula community of Gwinn.

“It would exclude a whole bunch of people who are seeking Right to Farm protection… and strip the small farmers of their right to be protected by a state law.”

A circuit court judge ruled in Buchler’s favor when he cited Right to Farm to protect his own farm’s existence on residential property in Marquette County, the largest county in the state, he said.

“What they are trying to do is to take away Right to Farm protection from people trying to be self sufficient but not able to do agriculture on any level according their local zoning.

“The way it looks to us,” Buchler said, “this would allow local ordinances to trump state law.”

Mitigating conflict

“The GAAMPs look at nuisance risk and are intended to help mitigate conflict,” said Jennifer Holton, spokesperson for the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development.

“The committee recognizes that when you add in animals into those densely populated areas, it increases nuisance risk as well as the potential for conflict,” Holton said. “This proposal recognizes that there is a continuum – there are places ideally situated for livestock, and there are places in the state where livestock should not be located. “

“The proposal also recognizes size and scale in a new way – there are places where large livestock facilities can be located – and the new category recognizing that small scale livestock (4-H, a couple of horses, etc.) can fit well in other places.”

Public Comment

People are invited to submit their thoughts on the site selection or any other GAAMPs by mail or email, or to attend the GAAMPs public input meeting at 9 a.m. Jan. 22, 2014, in Room A at the State Secondary Complex – General Office Building, 7150 Harris Drive, Dimondale.

Written comments may be submitted to the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development’s Environmental Stewardship Division, P.O. Box 30017, Lansing, MI 48909, postmarked no later than Jan. 22, 2014.

E-mail should be directed to WilcoxR2@michigan.gov, and must arrive by p.m. on Jan. 22, 2014.

MDARD will forward all comments received by the due date to the respective GAAMPs Task Force chairpersons for consideration. The GAAMPs Task Force Chairpersons then present proposed GAAMPs to the Michigan Commission of Agriculture and Rural Development for final adoption.

Public comments are accepted and considered at scheduled commission meetings before final versions of the GAAMPs are approved.

For a copy of any of the GAAMPs, including the proposed revisions, click here  or contact MDARD’s Environmental Stewardship Division at 517-284-5619, or toll free at 877-632-1783.

Public comment will be taken on all eight GAAMPs, though there are proposed changes only in the GAAMPs for Manure Management and Utilization, Pesticide Utilization and Pest Control, the Care of Farm Animals, Site Selection and Odor Control for New and Expanding Livestock Production Facilities, and Irrigation Water Use.

Currently, there are no proposed changes in the GAAMPs for: Nutrient Utilization, Farm Markets, and Cranberry Production.

A Must Read Book: “One Second After”

Okay, I know this is a little late for the release of this book. I put off reading it largely because it has a foreward by Newt Gingrich. I’m sorry, but I really don’t think very highly of him as I actually recall many of his serious, and in my mind criminal, financial snafus. Nonetheless, this book is an incredible book. If anyone needs a kick in the rear to motivate them to prepare for any kind of disruption in our services, this book will provide the clarity to get at least some action out of any thinking human being.

Buy This Book!!!

“One Second After” is actually the best EMP scenario fictional book I have encountered, and there are a fair amount of them out there. While there are some far fetched aspects to this book, it is far from loaded with them. Also, it isn’t loaded with continuity and grammatical errors that plague many ebooks, so it reads very well. The story is clear and yet poignant. Most importantly, it drives home how fragile our lives are because of our policies on agriculture and our centralization of production and distribution.

As horrific as an EMP would be, the fact that we could weather any tragedy better if we had myriads of diversified small farms all across the country stands out clearly in this book. We could mostly live without a great many of our modern conveniences, although sanitation via running water and refrigeration are things that I definitely wouldn’t want to do without…and they also help tremendously with keeping people healthy and prevent quick spoilage of food.

The issues brought into sharp relief in this book are things that we could largely alleviate by preparing ourselves and encouraging our neighbors and communities to prepare as well. Food will never be less expensive than it is now. Dry canning will preserve flours and grains as well as pasta for a very long time. Up to 20 years is the reported shelf life on dry canned grain stuffs. You can’t just grow all your own grains without seeds and knowledge of how to do it either….so buy seed and learn what you can.

Small greenhouses and garden plots everywhere would provide sustenance for many. Growing edible landscapes instead of purely ornamental yard plants could stave off starvation. Windowsill gardening and sprouting grains with a good reserve of back stock could be the difference between life and death. Knowing your neighbors and developing community exchanges for food and other necessities is an absolute must. Not just in case of an EMP, but any breakdown in our hyper-dependent system.

Bottom line is that I challenge the most resistant to prepping person in this country to read this book and defend their desire to not be bothered by the fact that our system is so dependent upon transportation, communication and constant electricity and computer interfaces. Mess with any one of these critical components and the whole thing is jeopardized. “One Second After” drives that home.

By the way, I have zero financial interest in promoting this book. I simply want people to live and see how tremendously fragile our system is.

 

Farm Bill Sham Continues

Every five years or so, we all have our food severely impacted by the ridiculous “Farm Bill”. This one has been put off for quite awhile, but now the House is working on it and say they are cutting the food stamp program to make it more fiscally responsible. It’s a sham. We should not muck up the “farm subsidy” program with the adjunct to the welfare programs of SNAP and “nutrition” programs. Getting 47 million people onto food stamps in this country took a lot of taxpayer money. Administrating those programs is an additional cost as well.

It is my contention that the Farm Bill has done just what the programmers plan for it to do. Destroy honest access to market and profitability for independent farmers and create a more deeply dependent society to put government into the place of the Almighty in the majority of people’s minds and hearts. Direct trade between farmers and consumers is the only way to restore integrity into the food system in this country. The Farm Bill will NEVER attempt to do that because it would enable people to freely exchange and profit from their labor and their products, and that just isn’t in the plan.

Anyway, I wanted to share this article with you, so perhaps you could see some of the theater behind the rhetoric.

farm subsidies

Critical Farm Bill Admission: Food Stamp Cuts Just A Means to Get to Conference

Category: Inside Congress

| November 4, 2013

Last week during the farm bill conference between the House and Senate, Rep. Kurt Schrader (D-OR)8% made a very troublesome remark:

The $40 billion figure [for House food stamp cuts] was a way to get us to conference.  It wasn’t a real figure.

This kind of admission is both disturbing and revealing.  It’s nothing new, however, that lawmakers produce legislation in conference committees that are more liberal and less conservative than the pieces of legislation they were putting together.

But were the Republican lawmakers touting the food stamp cuts in the food stamp only bill passed in September aware that they were participating in a ploy to just “get us to conference?”  Or did they genuinely believe those cuts – insufficient though they may be – would actually remain in a deal between the House and the Senate?

Many of the Republican House farm bill conferees put out press releases and statements expressing satisfaction with the cuts that would be made to the bloated food stamp program, saying that the legislation would help reduce fraud, waste, and abuse.

Rep. Mike Rogers (R-AL)61% stated:

This bill will help reduce spending and allow food stamps to be used in the way they were intended to be used:  for those who need it most.  Today’s legislation would reform the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as the food stamp program, and save taxpayers almost $40 billion over the next decade.  SNAP does play an essential role in helping those in need, but the waste and abuse of this program originally designed to help the very poor has ballooned out-of-control.

In a press release entitled, “House Passes Remaining Portion of Farm Bill,” Rep. Kristi Noem (R-SD)60% stated:

This bill puts integrity back into the food stamp program to ensure that those who need assistance the most receive it. These reforms return work incentives to the program while curbing fraud, waste and abuse and refocusing benefits on families most in need. 

Rep. Randy Neugebauer (R-TX)87% said:

H.R. 3102 includes some of the reforms Neugebauer proposed in H.R. 1510, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) Improvement Act.  The bill passed today saves taxpayers $40 billion over ten years through a series of targeted reforms. 

“The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program provides critical assistance to families that have hit hard times,” Neugebauer said.  “But it was never meant to support one in every seven Americans.  These reforms won’t affect anyone who legitimately qualifies for assistance.  They will simply allow us to better target our assistance to eligible families.”

Rep. Steve King (R-IA)75% said:

It is critical we get the growth of this program under control by ensuring that benefits go to only those who are in need.

H.R. 3102 includes reforms totaling $40 billion in savings over the next decade, cracking down on the waste, fraud and abuse currently present in SNAP. 

Rep. Martha Roby (R-AL)58% stated:

The reforms included in the Nutrition Reform and Work Opportunity Act will prevent waste, fraud, and abuse within the food stamp program and save taxpayers almost $40 billion. 

Now that lawmakers have rejoined the consideration of food stamp policy and farm policy, it’s almost certain that cuts to the food stamp program will be insufficient.

The Senate’s $4 billion cuts do not do nearly enough to eliminate the waste, fraud, and abuse in the system.

Even the $40 billion in House cuts is only tantamount to a 5% cut in a program that has doubled twice in the last decade.  From 2008 to 2010 alone, the number of able-bodied adults on food stamps doubled from 1.9 million to 3.9 million according to the Congressional Research Service; this was after the Obama Administration suspended the program’s work requirements.

To be clear, farm programs are in just as dire a need of reform – from the costly shallow-loss program to the sharp increase in the cost of crop insurance.

Conservatives have long argued that it is essential for food stamp programs and the farm bill programs to be considered separately if they are ever to be sufficiently reformed, so that taxpayers and consumers are no longer harmed.

Let’s see if lawmakers live up to their promises of reform or let taxpayers and consumers down yet again.

GMO Summit—Listen, Learn and Spread the Word!

This weekend a tremendous opportunity to learn pretty much everything you have ever wondered about regarding Genetically Modified Organisms is taking place. This is the online GMO Summit, put on by John Robbins, and Jeffrey Smith.  Allergies, cancer, diabetes, fertility, obesity, all of these are connected to GMO’s and the science is in and decidedly clear. The myriads of effects pertaining to the consumption and exposure to both Round Up and Round Up Ready plant varieties and other types of GMO’s will be discussed in detail by a massive panel of experts including Jeffrey Smith, Thierry Vrain, Vandana Shiva, Sara Gottfried, Don Huber, Joseph Mercola, and more.

Best of all, you don’t have to spend any time traveling to take part in this GMO Summit. So you can listen and study, and take notes and even have a get together and have your own GMO Mini Summit in your own home!

Here’s some more info on it:

How does it work?

You’ll get FREE access to highly focused half-hour interviews – personally conducted by Jeffrey and me – every day for the entire 3 days of the summit. You can listen via phone (conference call), or over the Internet.

PLUS

You’ll get access to even MORE SECOND WAVE EXPERT PRESENTATIONS over the following 5 weeks. These experts will give you even more critical insights in some of the specific areas that matter most to your life.

What if you miss an interview? No problem! There are recordings, transcripts, and many other AWESOME bonus resources that will be available as part of an optional upgrade package. You can get all the specially recorded Second Wave Expert Presentations on the day the Summit starts!

Never before has there been such an informative event on GMOs, with so many world-renowned experts and activists in the field.

And never before has it been this easy to access so much cutting edge information on this crucial topic!

You’ll get…

  • Information and practical tips on eliminating GMOs from your diet.
  • The very latest answers to your burning questions.
  • Tools for talking with your family and peers about this often confusing topic.
  • Powerful and practical ideas on how to stand up to lies and intimidation from Monsanto and big agribusiness.
  • The opportunity to connect and dialogue with your peers all over the planet (more on how that works later) – without having to leave your home.
  • A healthier, more informed outlook on food and the environment!
  • Complimentary membership in the Institute for Responsible Technology and the Food Revolution Network, so you can stay connected and empowered even after the summit is over.

With so much at stake for future generations, it’s never been more important to get informed, be inspired and take action.

Please register for the GMO Mini Summit (it’s free), and then invite your friends and family to come along!

This is a great opportunity to get all the info on GMO’s from people who have done their study thoroughly. I am really looking forward to it!

GMO Cannabalism

For those who are still on the fence about whether GMO’s might be beneficial for humanity, please read the following article. Certainly, even if one is not opposed to consuming other human beings themselves, it must be clear that most people are nauseated at the idea. I certainly am. My belief is that if people actually knew about this that there may be enough consumer push back to thwart this disgusting practice. From GreenMedInfo:

Biotech's Dark Promise: Involuntary Cannabilism for All

” Technological progress is like an axe in the hands of a pathological criminal.” ~ Albert Einstein

Whereas the quote above could easily be dismissed as the ‘progress-denying’ sentiment of a disgruntled anti-GMO activist, the fact is that it came from a scientist representing the very epitome of Western rationality and accomplishment.

Perhaps Einstein was reflecting on the inevitable existential consequences of the so-called technological imperative”–whatever can be done, will be done.  Fundamentally amoral and irrational economic and political forces drive technology’s feverish pace, infusing a certain arbitrary cruelty and disequilibrium into everything it touches.

In our continual drive to ‘improve upon Nature’ in the name of much-hyped, ‘life-saving’ biotechnological innovations, the line between humane and inhumane eventually is crossed, and there seems no going back.  Biopollution from defective or dangerous GMO genes, for example, is virtually impossible to undo once unreleased into the biosphere; you can’t “recall” a defective gene like you can an automobile. Nor can we remove from our bodies the surreptitious viruses (e.g. simian virus #40 (SV40)) that contaminated millions of first-generation polio vaccines. In many ways our moral fiber suffers from the same susceptibilities. Once we have crossed a certain line – be it theft, lying, or worse, etc., – it is difficult, if not impossible to ‘go back’ and regain our innocence. Such is the human condition. And this is why we must carefully consider the medico-ethical implications of new technologies, whose developments we must first be aware of in order to guide, regulate and sometimes terminate.

The Scientific Community Moves To Embrace Embryo Cloning for Medical Purposes

For example, few are aware that the cloning of human embryos for ‘therapeutic purposes’ was made legal in the UK in January, 2001 through an amendment to the Human Embryology Act.[i]  Not long after, in August 2004, the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) approved the first license for cloning human embryos in the UK.  Media reports at the time alleged the legal changes would result in the use of cloned human embryos to create “spare body parts.”

In an article published in 2000 titled, “Biotech Cannabalism,”[ii] C. Ben Mitchell, PhD reflects on the pro-cloning movement by quoting a proponent’s justification: “If you could use tissue from human embryos to save hundreds of lives, there must be a moral imperative to do it.” Mitchell disagrees, countering: “[C]reating a human being for the purposes of killing that person for another human being’s health, sounds an awfully lot like cannibalism, only worse.”

Calling Vaccines From Aborted Fetuses What They Are: Cannibalistic

Whereas cannibalism is considered by most modern societies to be the ultimate expression of uncivilized or barbaric behavior, it is intrinsic to many of the Western world’s most prized biotechnological and medical innovations. Probably the most ‘taken for granted’ example of this is the use of live, aborted fetus cell lines from induced abortions to produce vaccines. Known as diploid cell vaccines (diploid cells have two (di-) sets of chromosomes inherited from human mother and father), they are non-continuous (like cancer cells), and therefore must be continually replaced, i.e. new aborted, live fetal tissue must be harvested periodically.  A good portion of the CDC’s immunization schedule requires the use of these human fetus-originated vaccines, and these include: rubella, measles, mumps, rabies, polio, smallpox, hepatitis A, chickenpox, and herpes zoster. Additionally, so-called “abortion tainted vaccines” cultivated on transformed fetal cells (293, PER.C6) are in the developmental pipeline, including: “flu, Respiratory Syncytial and parainfluenza viruses, HIV, West Nile virus, Ebola, Marburg and Lassa, hepatitis B and C, foot and mouth disease, Japanese encephalitis, dengue, tuberculosis, anthrax, plague, tetanus and malaria.” [iii]

Unfortunately, to millions who find injecting living aborted fetal cells or their biological derivatives into their bodies, or their children’s, morally objectionable, an increasingly Draconian biomedical establishment is either pressuring, coercing or mandating this to occur, using the faulty concept of “herd immunity” and concomitant biosafety concerns to override an individual’s right to refuse them. And most are completely unaware that aborted cells are used and being injected into their bodies, because the medical ethical principle of informed consent remains just that: a principle, not practiced regularly. Furthermore, beyond the obvious moral/ /religious/philosophical reasons to reject aborted fetal cell derived vaccines, there are real health concerns associated with the introduction of this type of biological material into the human body that are largely considered taboo to discuss.

Biopharming: The End of Choice for Those Who Do Not Want to Ingest Human Proteins

Another way in which the dark specter of cannibalism is resurfacing in our lives is through biotech’s intense investment in biopharming technologies. Also known as molecular farming, biopharming involves creating “drug-producing” GMOs by inserting a gene that code for useful pharmaceuticals or biological products (e.g. antibodies, lactoferrin) into host plants, insects or animals that do not naturally express those genes.

Concerns over the unintended, adverse effects of this technology are growing, primarily because once the genes are inserted into laboratory- or field-trialed organisms, their escape into the biosphere is not just possible, but a statistical inevitability. As we have seen with GMO crops, contamination is a default business strategy for biotech stakeholders, whose GM plants pollinate (some say “biorape“) organic or wild plants rendering them also GMOs. This means that — short of using ‘terminator technology‘ which renders the plants incapable of reproduction – foolproof GM containment is impossible. Eventually we will all be exposed to these GMO plants, insects and animals in some form or other.

There is intense work being done today to create biopharmed “edible vaccines,” which contain deadly viral or bacterial vectors. Obviously, the biopollution created by inserting these genes into plants traditionally used for human consumption and which could find their way into the human food supply could cause life-threatening health problems.  But edible vaccines are only a subset of biopharmed products in the developmental pipeline. There are a broad range of human proteins being ‘pharmed’ using genetically modified animals expressing human genes as ‘bioreactors.’

Below is a small sample of biopharmed organisms in development that could at some point in the future result in the inadvertent ingestion of human proteins (technically, cannibalism):

  • GMO Bulls expressing human lactoferrin in their tissues, intended for human consumption.[iv]
  • GMO Mice expressing a human granulocyte-macrophage colony stimulating factor under control of a goat gene (goat alpha-S1-casein gene).[v]
  • GMO Cattle milk expressing the human breastmilk proteins human α-lactalbumin (TC-LA), lactoferrin (TC-LF) or lysozyme (TC-LZ).[vi]
  • GMO Pigs designed to express human α-galactosidase.[vii]
  • GMO Chickens designed to express human urokinase-type plasminogen activator.[viii]
  • GMO Chickens designed to express human parathormone.[ix]
  • GMO Flies expressing human taste receptor genes.[x]
  • GMO Silkworm cells expressing human glycoproteins.[xi]
  • GMO Tomatoes expressing a human brain protein (humanβ-secretase).[xii]
  • GMO Tobacco expressing human erythropoietin intended to be used to treat tissue injury.[xiii]
  • GMO Tobacco expressing human interferon alpha intended for medical use.[xiv]
  • GMO Yeast expressing human Apolipoprotein A-II intended for study.[xv]
  • GMO Lettuce and chicory expressing human interferon alpha intended for medical use.[xvi]
  • GMO Rapeseed expressing human interferon alpha intended for medical use.[xvii]
  • GMO Rice expressing human serum albumin (blood protein) intended for medical purposes.[xviii]
  • GMO Rice expressing human lactoferrin intended for medical use.[xix]
  • GMO Rice expressing human CYP1A1 enzyme (found in placenta and liver) intended to help remediate pesticides in soil.[xx]
  • GMO Rice expressing human amyloidβ-peptide ‘Alzheimer‘s brain protein‘ intended as an oral vaccine producing plant.[xxi]

With biotech weaving into the web of life arbitrarily placed human genes and their biological products, cannibalism (human consumption of human proteins) will become an inevitably in the future.  The question is, will we stand for this reworking of the very molecular and genetic infrastructure of life, or pretend like it won’t also result in the genetic modification of our own bodies.


[i] BBCNews.com, Scientists given cloning go-ahead, 11 August, 2004

[ii] The Center for Bioethics and Human Dignity, Biotech Cannabalism, 4 April, 2000

[iii] José Luís Redondo Calderón. [Vaccines, biotechnology and their connection with induced abortion]. Cuad Bioet. 2008 May-Aug;19(66):321-53. PMID: 18611078

[iv] Jie Zhao, Jianxiang Xu, Jianwu Wang, Ning Li. Nutritional composition analysis of meat from human lactoferrin transgenic bulls.

[v] GMI-Cite:

I A Burkov, I A Serova, N R Battulin, A V Smirnov, I V Babkin, L E Andreeva, G A Dvoryanchikov, O L Serov. Expression of the human granulocyte-macrophage colony stimulating factor (hGM-CSF) gene under control of the 5′-regulatory sequence of the goat alpha-S1-casein gene with and without a MAR element in transgenic mice.

[vi] Ran Zhang, Chengdong Guo, Shunchao Sui, Tian Yu, Jianwu Wang, Ning Li. Comprehensive assessment of milk composition in transgenic cloned cattle.

[vii] J Zeyland, B Gawrońska, W Juzwa, J Jura, A Nowak, R Słomski, Z Smorąg, M Szalata, A Woźniak, D Lipiński. Transgenic pigs designed to express humanα-galactosidase to avoid humoral xenograft rejection.

[viii] Sung Ho Lee, Mukesh Kumar Gupta, Young Tae Ho, Teoan Kim, Hoon Taek Lee. Transgenic chickens expressing human urokinase-type plasminogen activator.

[ix] S H Lee, M K Gupta, D W Han, S Y Han, S J Uhm, T Kim, H T Lee. Development of transgenic chickens expressing human parathormone under the control of a ubiquitous promoter by using a retrovirus vector system.

[x] Ryota Adachi, Yuko Sasaki, Hiromi Morita, Michio Komai, Hitoshi Shirakawa, Tomoko Goto, Akira Furuyama, Kunio Isono. Behavioral analysis of Drosophila transformants expressing human taste receptor genes in the gustatory receptor neurons.

[xi] Jia-Biao Hu, Peng Zhang, Mei-Xian Wang, Fang Zhou, Yan-Shan Niu, Yun-Gen Miao. A transgenic Bm cell line of piggyBac transposon-derived targeting expression of humanized glycoproteins through N-glycosylation.

[xii] H-S Kim, J-W Youm, K-B Moon, J-H Ha, Y-H Kim, H Joung, J-H Jeon. Expression analysis of humanβ-secretase in transgenic tomato fruits.

[xiii] Farooqahmed S Kittur, Mamudou Bah, Stephanie Archer-Hartmann, Chiu-Yueh Hung, Parastoo Azadi, Mayumi Ishihara, David C Sane, Jiahua Xie. Cytoprotective Effect of Recombinant Human Erythropoietin Produced in Transgenic Tobacco Plants.

[xiv] I M Gerasymenko, L O Sakhno, M G Mazur, Y V Sheludko. Multiplex pcr assay for detection of human interferon alpha2b gene in transgenic plants.

[xv] Manman Su, Yitian Qi, Mingxing Wang, Weiqin Chang, Shuang Peng, Tianmin Xu, Dingding Wang. Expression and Purification of Recombinant Human Apolipoprotein A-II in Pichia pastoris.

[xvi] N A Matveeva, Iu I Kudriavets, A A Likhova, A M Shakhovskiĭ, N A Bezdenezhnykh, E Iu Kvasko. [Antiviral activity of extracts of transgenic cichory and lettuce plants with the human interferon alpha-2b gene].

[xvii] L O Sakhno, O Y Kvasko, Z M Olevinska, M Y Spivak, M V Kuchuk. Creation of transgenic Brassica napus L. plants expressing human alpha 2b interferon gene.

[xviii] Qing Zhang, Hui Yu, Feng-Zhen Zhang, Zhi-Cheng Shen. Expression and purification of recombinant human serum albumin from selectively terminable transgenic rice.

[xix] Chaoyang Lin, Peng Nie, Wei Lu, Qing Zhang, Jing Li, Zhicheng Shen. A selectively terminable transgenic rice line expressing human lactoferrin.

[xx] Hiroyuki Kawahigashi, Sakiko Hirose, Hideo Ohkawa, Yasunobu Ohkawa. Transgenic rice plants expressing human CYP1A1 remediate the triazine herbicides atrazine and simazine. J Agric Food Chem. 2005 Nov 2;53(22):8557-64. PMID: 16248553

[xxi] Taiji Yoshida, Eiichi Kimura, Setsuo Koike, Jun Nojima, Eugene Futai, Noboru Sasagawa, Yuichiro Watanabe, Shoichi Ishiura. Transgenic rice expressing amyloidβ-peptide for oral immunization. Int J Biol Sci. 2011;7(3):301-7. Epub 2011 Mar 25. PMID: 21448341

Excessive Display of Force to Eradicate Blackberries

Texas Police Hit Organic Farm With Massive SWAT Raid

A small organic farm in Arlington, Texas, was the target of a massive police action last week that included aerial surveillance, a SWAT raid and a 10-hour search.

Members of the local police raiding party had a search warrant for marijuana plants, which they failed to find at the Garden of Eden farm. But farm owners and residents who live on the property told a Dallas-Ft. Worth NBC station that the real reason for the law enforcement exercise appears to have been code enforcement. The police seized “17 blackberry bushes, 15 okra plants, 14 tomatillo plants … native grasses and sunflowers,” after holding residents inside at gunpoint for at least a half-hour, property owner Shellie Smith said in a statement. The raid lasted about 10 hours, she said.

Local authorities had cited the Garden of Eden in recent weeks for code violations, including “grass that was too tall, bushes growing too close to the street, a couch and piano in the yard, chopped wood that was not properly stacked, a piece of siding that was missing from the side of the house, and generally unclean premises,” Smith’s statement said. She said the police didn’t produce a warrant until two hours after the raid began, and officers shielded their name tags so they couldn’t be identified. According to ABC affiliate WFAA, resident Quinn Eaker was the only person arrested — for outstanding traffic violations.

The city of Arlington said in a statement that the code citations were issued to the farm following complaints by neighbors, who were “concerned that the conditions” at the farm “interfere with the useful enjoyment of their properties and are detrimental to property values and community appearance.” The police SWAT raid came after “the Arlington Police Department received a number of complaints that the same property owner was cultivating marijuana plants on the premises,” the city’s statement said. “No cultivated marijuana plants were located on the premises,” the statement acknowledged.

The raid on the Garden of Eden farm appears to be the latest example of police departments using SWAT teams and paramilitary tactics to enforce less serious crimes. A Fox television affiliate reported this week, for example, that police in St. Louis County, Mo., brought out the SWAT team to serve an administrative warrant. The report went on to explain that all felony warrants are served with a SWAT team, regardless whether the crime being alleged involves violence.

In recent years, SWAT teams have been called out to perform regulatory alcohol inspections at a bar in Manassas Park, Va.; to raid bars for suspected underage drinking in New Haven, Conn.; to perform license inspections at barbershops in Orlando, Fla.; and to raid a gay bar in Atlanta where police suspected customers and employees were having public sex. A federal investigation later found that Atlanta police had made up the allegations of public sex.

Other raids have been conducted on food co-ops and Amish farms suspected of selling unpasteurized milk products. The federal government has for years been conducting raids on medical marijuana dispensaries in states that have legalized them, even though the businesses operate openly and are unlikely to pose any threat to the safety of federal enforcers.

Radley Balko is a senior writer and investigative reporter for The Huffington Post. He is also the author of the new book, Rise of the Warrior Cop: The Militarization of America’s Police Forces.

This story has been updated to clarify that a federal investigation found that the Atlanta police officers who raided a gay bar had made up the allegations of public sex.

Previous Older Entries

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 69 other followers