Databases, Databases, Can They Make Life Safe?

Databases, Databases, Can They Make Life Safe?

In Louisiana, they recently passed a state law that prohibits the use of cash for the purchase of second-hand goods. That seems a bit beyond the pale, but hey, they say it is to keep us safe so it has to be okay. Now, in Missouri and other states, laws are coming into effect that are putting some serious constraints on not just pawn shops, but on second hand goods in general. Here is Missouri’s current law, and this is what they want to enact at the state level to ensure that this database extends beyond the current realm of required participants.

In a town called Mountain View, the City Council passed an ordinance on March 9th that requires pawn shops, second hand merchants and even itinerant merchants and temporary sellers of second-hand or used goods to upload the personal identification information of people selling goods to them into a database and to hold onto to those goods for 5 days before they can resell them. That pretty much bears repeating. If you want to sell some of your used stuff to someone who wants to resell it, you will have to give them your state issued id, possibly your social security number, definitely your address and contact information, and be loaded into a database that is accessible by law enforcement or anyone with “secure” identification information that can search the database.

The question is, if you want to have a big yard sale, do they have the ability to require you to provide all the information of whomever you received goods from for the yard sale? The way it is worded, I would say, “Yes.”

You decide, here is an excerpt:

“Secondhand means property or goods received from or through an intermediary, property or goods acquired after being used by another, or property or goods not considered new.”

Now, if you’re like me and regularly become irritated with keeping paperwork (receipts) around for things you have purchased, could you be found to be in violation of this ordinance if you tried to sell these things? Again, the way this is worded, yes.

So law enforcement will be able to access this database and find out who sold what to which second hand seller. Doesn’t this put any red flags up for any of the deep thinkers on the city council in Mountain View? If law enforcement has access to this database simply to make queries, does it let law enforcement know who has any item in sufficient quantities to want to off load some of it?

The wording of the goods that will be required to be loaded into the database is Orwellian at best. Again, here is an excerpt with that language:

“Every person and/or business licensed by the city that is regularly engaged in or conducting business for the purchase, sale, barter, exchange, recycling, reselling or pawn of property or goods including but not limited to antiques, Jewelry, coins, any metal, including but not limited to aluminum, copper, gold, silver, brass, bronze and platinum.; gems, and semiprecious stones, watches, firearms, power tools, hand tools, computers, electronic equipment, cameras and camera equipment, including but not limited to film, digital and videotape, still and motion pictures cameras and camcorders, and associated recording and viewing equipment, electronic game equipment and game cartridges or discs, compact digital disks (CDs), digital video discs (DVDs), musical instruments and equipment, bicycles, and any self-propelled device not required to be licensed by the state department of revenue, including but not limited to every pawnbroker, flea market merchant, secondhand dealer of the goods described in this section, coin dealer, jeweler, and junk dealer, both wholesale and retail, shall, within ninety (90) days of the adoption of this article, maintain an electronic inventory…”

Another problem with this ordinance is that it looks like it gives room to find a seller of second hand or used goods in violation of the ordinance if they don’t acquire the information of the person who has purchased these used, pawned or second-hand goods. This thing brings up waaaay more questions than answers.

All of this is entirely too close to requiring identification to buy and sell for me. I assure you that if I want to sell a used tool, I am NOT going to give my id to someone to do so.

A basic human right is to be able to transfer goods that one either doesn’t need or that they would like to turn into something else.

Are we really going to be safer if we put everything into a database on who has sold what goods to which person? Heck, they’re saying the Russians hacked Obama’s email. How can any database be considered secure?

 

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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.

 

Death by Regulation

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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The Need for Real Food for Real People

Here is a great article talking about one of my major areas of interest….Real Food! I believe real people should be eating real food, grown by other real people without corporate interfaces that create extensive distance between the consumer and the food and the grower of food. Seriously, it is a matter of national security to be able to feed ourselves, and because of the control of direct trade, we have lost that connection with the very thing that sustains us….the Creation, which we are supposed to manage as entrusted to us by the Creator.

Letter from Langdon: Land of Milk and Honey

Industrial agriculture erases the identity of our food, filtering its origins as cleanly as removing bee pollen from honey. Just mix, blend, inject it with a brand – and it’s ready for a shelf near you.

Who made your food?  In these changing times that’s becoming an important question. Maybe it’s something we should all ask more often as industrial food becomes rule over exception.

But what makes food industrial? With so many working families and no one staying home to cook every day, don’t we need fast food?

When we buy those things at the local burger store or chain supermarket, we get mostly what we expect. The public is well versed in what’s in industrial food–things like additives, drugs, antibiotics, hormones, preservatives.

We hear about that stuff all the time. Trading the good life for shelf life is the price we pay for fast-lane life in the land of milk and honey, America.

But industrially produced food is cropping up where we’d least expect it. Food Safety News points out that in America these days, not even honey is all it’s cracked up to be. Importers and wholesales of what is thought of as one of the most wholesome food products on earth are squeezing the life out of honey. Processors say it’s because U.S. consumers want a crystal clear product. But critics point out that ultra filtration of honey  (and dilution with non-honey ingredients) lets importers blend cheaper and more profitable products from around the world.

No one is the wiser because filtration erases genetic and biological fingerprints that could reveal country of origin. If it’s true consumers prefer their honey that way, then for big food, that’s a very convenient truth.

At first glance filtering might seem like a good idea, a way to remove contaminants. The trouble with that thinking is that the “contaminants” in many cases are good things. Plant pollen helps make people immune to allergic reactions, (think hay fever). Pollen and DNA in honey both reveal where the product came from. While removing genetic information of when and where honey was created, filtration does nothing to change the presence of bad things in food like antibiotics and dangerous chemicals.

Industrialization of honey amounts to making an inherently good product, requiring little in the way of processing, less beneficial. It may even make it easier for Big Food to create a product more dangerous to the consuming public.

(Please read the full article!)

Transparency on Proposed Constitutional Amendment HJR 11 and 7 in Missouri

Here is the chronological order of the conversation between Jason Smith, Republican for US Congress and current State Rep and Speaker Pro Tem in the Missouri House, and myself regarding HJR 11 and 7, the proposed Missouri Constitutional Amendment to “protect” agriculture.

This is transparency, folks. This issue will affect every single person who eats in this State, and it is entirely too important for both urban and rural Citizens to understand what is happening with this proposal.

I received a return phone call from Chief of Staff Ryan Hart after nearly two weeks awaiting a response from Smith’s office on concerns with this legislation. He sent me an attachment of the perfected bill on March 13th:

Be it resolved by the House of Representatives, the Senate concurring therein:

            That at the next general election to be held in the state of Missouri, on Tuesday next following the first Monday in November, 2014, or at a special election to be called by the governor for that purpose, there is hereby submitted to the qualified voters of this state, for adoption or rejection, the following amendment to article I of the Constitution of the state of Missouri:

            Section A. Article I, Constitution of Missouri, is amended by adding one new section, to be known as section 35, to read as follows:

            Section 35. That agriculture which provides food, energy, health benefits, and security is the foundation and stabilizing force of Missouri’s economy. To protect this vital sector of Missouri’s economy, the right of farmers and ranchers to engage in modern farming and ranching practices shall be forever guaranteed in this state. No state law shall be enacted which abridges the right of farmers and ranchers to employ agricultural technology and modern and traditional livestock production and ranching practices, unless enacted by the General Assembly.

            Section B. Pursuant to Chapter 116, RSMo, and other applicable constitutional provisions and laws of this state allowing the General Assembly to adopt ballot language for the submission of a joint resolution to the voters of this state, the official ballot title of the amendment proposed in Section A shall be as follows:

            “Shall the Missouri Constitution be amended to ensure:

            •          That the right of Missouri citizens to employ modern farming and ranching practices and equipment shall not be infringed”.

and I responded on March 14th:

Hello Ryan,

 Sorry it took so long for me to get back to you. Kidding season has a way of making things crazy around here!

 I understand that the desire is to make things better and to ensure that agriculture remains viable in Missouri. To truly ensure viability, we must stop the continued contraction of agricultural market access, and the ability of farmers to profit from their labor must be secured. There are several studies on consolidation that have been done Hendricks and Heffernan from Missouri U. It truly crosses all sectors of agriculture, both crops and animal agriculture. As it stands, the language in HJR 7 and 11 wouldn’t address that at all, and, unfortunately, would lead to further the spread of patented life forms, both animal and plant that will do even more damage to independent agriculture.

 Below is a proposal that would truly enhance the viability of Missouri agriculture and increase the economic freedom in rural areas and therefore help local economies to prosper and not ship their money straight out of the community to China via Walmart. Please let me know your thoughts on this. As I said, I have spoken with several property rights, agriculture, and economic freedom advocates, and a few legislators about this and rec’d very positive feedback.

 Section 35. That agriculture which provides food, energy, health benefits, and security is the foundation and stabilizing force of Missouri’s economy. To protect this vital sector of Missouri’s economy, the right of farmers and ranchers to engage in direct trade with consumers [modern farming and ranching practices] shall be forever guaranteed in this state. No law shall be enacted which abridges the right of farmers and ranchers to employ agricultural [technology and modern livestock production and ranching]practices that secure independent family farm’s ability to save seed, preserve livestock bloodlines, or impede their access to market.

Section B. Pursuant to Chapter 116, RSMo, and other applicable constitutional provisions and laws of this state allowing the General Assembly to adopt ballot language for the 3 submission of a joint resolution to the voters of this state, the official ballot title of the amendment proposed in Section A shall be as follows: “Shall the Missouri Constitution be amended to ensure: 

• That the right of Missouri citizens to employ modern farming and ranching practices and equipment that insure the continuance of diversified small farms shall not be infringed”.

 Thank you!

 Doreen Hannes

Then, on March 25th, Jason Smith responded to my March 14th email:

Dear Ms. Hannes,

Thank you for your email expressing your concern and taking the time to break down the bill, it is great to hear from such an informed citizen. HJR’s 11 and 7 are meant to protect agriculture in all forms, whether it is a small organic family farm or a large operation. The main goal of these resolutions is to make sure that our state’s largely diversified agriculture industry is protected from out-of-state interest groups that attempt to cause nothing but burden and harm.

The resolutions have also been amended to give more power to the county government. I am a firm believer in smaller government and have always found that the best solutions to a problem come from someone close to the problem. The following amendment was offered by Representative Reiboldt during the perfection of the bill. The amendment changed lines four through seven to read as follows.

No state law shall

5 be enacted which abridges the right of farmers and ranchers to employ agricultural

6 technology and modern and traditional livestock production and ranching practices, unless

7 enacted by the General Assembly.”

These changes in this amendment take the power for the state government to place restrictions on agriculture and give that authority to the counties. This allows farmers to be able to talk to their county commissioners instead of 163 representatives from all corners of the state of Missouri.

I would also like to point out that in line six; the resolutions provide protection for “modern and traditional” practices. This will protect your right, as a small family farmer, to always be able to use the practices that you prefer on your own operation.

I hope that this answers all of your questions and addresses your concerns. If you have any more questions about HJR’s 11 and 7, or Representative Reibolt’s amendment, please feel free to email them to me. I always enjoy hearing from and helping my constituents.

Sincerely, 

Jason Smith

Speaker Pro Tem

And, since I was busy and honestly rather angered by the response, I waited to respond until I wasn’t caught up in the moment as it were and responded this morning, March 28th….

Dear Jason,

 I was aware of the amendment and the perfected language, and to be completely honest with you, it cannot possibly do what you claim it will do. I’ll explain why I see it as I do.

 First of all, a Constitutional Amendment should be an inviolable right. To claim that no “state law” shall be enacted which infringes upon this “right” “unless” it is enacted by the General Assembly, seems an insult to the intelligence of the citizens of the state. ALL state law is enacted by the General Assembly. 

 Also, the County Commissioners don’t actually have the authority to enact “law” within the county. They can do resolutions, and approve of initiatives and go against initiatives, approve or disapprove planning and zoning issues, but they are largely involved with managing the infrastructure and financing of the county’s needs and overseeing the administration of the county. But they cannot make “law” with criminal repercussions for the violation of any law they pass. 

 Should this pass as a Constitutional amendment, the County that would constrain an aspect addressed in this Amendment would be in violation of the Missouri Constitution, and they would therefore be sued by an aggrieved party for violating the “rights” of a party interested in asserting their right to use “agricultural technology” within the confines of a County that was opposed to a particular technology.

 If you want to help farmers and ranchers to actually profit from their labor and remain viable, the way to truly help them is to cut the red tape between farmers and their consumers. There are plenty of studies that illustrate how destructive vertical integration and corporate farms are to both communities and independent agriculture. 

 If the verbiage you currently have as perfected language is what you are comfortable with and believe will meet your desired goals, then I must go completely against it and activate people against the language and against any progression of this proposal. The very last thing that we, as citizens of Missouri need, is to bless the biotech industries and corporate factory farms with the right to further consolidate. 

 I’d hoped that there was a chance to work with you to change the language from protecting the biotech industry which is deeply destructive to both consumers and farmers, but that doesn’t appear to be possible. 

 Thank you,

Doreen Hannes 

You Will Eat What We Say You Will Eat…And you will enjoy it

This is the wave of the future, folks. You won’t be able to get food without receiving permission and farmers won’t grow it without being licensed, certified, audited and inspected. The FDA says we have no right to any particular food for ourselves or our children, that we have no right to bodily or physical health through our food choices, and that we have no right to contract. They also say that they are carrying out their public health mission within those assertions. This article  shows the state equivalent of the FDA at work in Wisconsin.

FTCLDF has screwed up a number of cases…and there are serious concerns on my part about many of their methods– but Pete Kennedy has been true, and the following article is written by him.

From the Socialist Democratic Republic of Wisconsin:

Wisconsin: DATCP Raids Hershberger Farm
BY PETE KENNEDY, ESQ.  | JUNE 8, 2010

The morning of June 2, 2010 started out like most other busy days on the farm of Vernon & Erma Hershberger and their family of eight boys and one girl, ranging in age from 18 down to 2 years. Shortly before 10:00 a.m., Vernon went to pick up some equipment from a neighboring farm.  Immediately after he left, Cathleen Anderson, Regulatory Specialist from the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) along with Sauk County Health Department Sanitarians, Nick Oasen and Mitch Lohr, arrived and entered the farm store building, paying no heed to “Private Property” signs posted on the building.  Erma immediately called Vernon on his cell phone; and she asked the officials to wait for him outside the building, which they did, stepping out into the parking lot.

Vernon refused consent even after they threatened to get a warrant, explaining to the officials that they had no jurisdiction to inspect his farm because he had not applied for a license and he was not selling to the public but merely distri-buting products to members of his private buying club.

Upon arriving at the scene, Vernon was asked by Anderson for his consent to let them do an inspection of his private facility.  Vernon refused consent even after they threatened to get a warrant, explaining to the officials that they had no jurisdiction to inspect his farm because he had not applied for a license and he was not selling to the public but merely distributing products to members of his private buying club.

At 11:45a.m. Jacqueline Owens, Field Service Director from DATCP, showed up with a warrant along with four or five deputies from the local Sherriff’s Department.  Anderson handed Vernon the warrant; Vernon requested a few minutes to look it over which they granted, but when he asked them to wait until he had called his attorney they refused saying that the warrant was valid and they would wait no longer. They then entered the farm store building.

They began the inspection in the storage freezers in what is call the “processing room” and took
inventory of all the items that were in the freezers, also making notes about labels and temperatures.  They did a total inspection of the building including the restroom facilities, the lighting, and anything else that they would typically inspect in a licensed facility.  After they were done in the processing room they went into the grocery storage room and then into the culturing room, taking a basic inventory of everything that was on the shelves. They then moved on into the walk-in cooler.

In the cooler, they wrote down every individual item name and lot number and any other information that they could find.  Next, they went into the store area where there were two chest freezers, a three-glass-door display freezer and approximately twenty feet of shelving.  After they had gone through the whole store, Oasen commented on the cleanliness of the building and processing equipment along with the overall appearance of the facility.

Vernon said he was shocked!  He had dealt with ‘cease and desist’ letters and even went through a long, drawn out lawsuit but nothing quite like this.

Anderson and Owens took a total of twelve samples of various products;  Vernon took a similar sample of each item.  When the sampling was done, Owens said, “Now comes the hard part.”  Owens went on to advise Vernon that they were going to tape shut all the chest freezers and put tags on the doors of the other coolers and freezers and that he would not be allowed to take anything off the shelves without  written approval from DATCP.  She told him the tags would be good for 14 days;  if things were not worked out between DATCP and the farm, the agency could extend them for another 14 days.  She ended saying that they would leave him some food for his family to eat but that everything else must stay intact on the shelves as it was then.

Vernon said he was shocked!  He had dealt with ‘cease and desist’ letters and even went through a long, drawn out lawsuit but nothing quite like this.  His head was going in circles:  How to make the mortgage payments? Would the inventory be left on the shelves to rot?

As all these things were going around in my head, I thought to myself:  As we head into the future we do not know what it holds but we know Who holds it and that’s what counts.

Just as if all that wasn’t enough, after the officials were done with the taping and sealing they headed for the milkhouse.   After taking samples, they gave Vernon a paper demanding that the milk in the bulk tank must be disposed of by dumping it out onto the fields.  In order to make sure that the milk could not even be used by Vernon’s family, they opened the lid and dumped in a large glop of blue dye.  By the time the officials left it was 5:00 p.m.

After the day’s chores were done, Vernon said, “I sat down and went into our business email and WOW!!  Fifty new messages–how’s that for some support?”  He then called the Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund to ask a few questions.   He also talked with David Gumpert and then Ted Beals on some sample testing issues.  After looking over the emails, he tried to  get some sleep; it was close to 11:00 p.m.

In Vernon’s words:
Coming from an Amish background, we had been taught the biblical principles of non-resistance and loving and praying for our enemies and those who persecute us.  I slept only a few hours and meditated a long time, seeking the Lord and His will in these troubling circumstances.  What would Jesus do?  Bible passages like: “Blessed are you, when men shall revile you and persecute you, and say all manner of evil against you falsely for my sake”. (Matt. 5:11)  “But I say unto you, ‘Love your enemies, Bless them that curse you, do good to them which hate you, pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you’.” (Matt. 5:44)  Also Psalms 37 has promises that we can claim for our own if we trust in him.

There is another phrase that is very powerful that I strongly believe in:  There’s no greater love that a man can have than to lay down his life for his friend.  If we become so passionate about something that we are willing to lay down our lives for it, there is a power that kicks in, which is beyond measure.  As all these things were going around in my head,  I thought to myself:  As we head into the future we do not know what it holds but we know Who holds it and that’s what counts.

Update
On June 8, Owens and Anderson returned to the farm without a warrant, attempting to conduct another inspection.  Vernon refused the request for inspection and the officials left his premises.  Before they left, they served Vernon a ‘Summary Special Order’ which would subject him to fines of up to $5,000 per violation if he is not in compliance with Wisconsin food and dairy law.

Patricia Barrett, Esq.
Sauk County District Attorney
Sauk County Court House
515 Oak Street
Baraboo, WI  53913Fax (608)355-3282

patricia.barrett@da.wi.gov

How You Can Help
DATCP has referred Vernon’s case to the Sauk County District Attorney, Patricia Barrett, for potential prosecution.  Everyone is urged to contact Barrett’s office and request that she not prosecute the Hershberger case.  Sauk County residents are especially encouraged to contact the District Attorney and inform her that you will not vote for her the next election if she pursues the Hershberger case.  The District Attorney has already taken so many calls on this case that they are no longer accepting them; but you can still contact the DA’s office by email, fax and/or postal mail.  Here is the contact information:

Here are some points to make:

  1. The County DA should not be spending taxpayer money, pursuing cases like this in which there is no victim or injury.  There has been no complaint filed by anyone against the Hershbergers.
  2. The only injury in a case like this occurs when the farmer or food distributor is prosecuted and consumers who were obtaining foods they deem best for their health and the health of their families have now lost their source of those foods.
  3. The right of consumers to obtain the foods of their choice from the source of their choice is a political issue; cases like this in which there has been no injury do not belong in the courts.  The County DA should exercise her discretion not to take on these cases.
  4. With the tough economic times and all the cutbacks in government spending, the County DA should not be using its remaining enforcement dollars pursuing victimless crimes.
  5. Let the County DA know how food direct from farms has benefitted your health and the health of your family.

DATCP does not respect freedom of food choice nor the right to be left alone.  The agency’s enforcement actions do not protect the public health; they only deny individuals the right to obtain the foods they believe best for their health and the health of their families.

Please help Vernon and Erma Hershberger.

It’s Official- The FDA Believes we Are Too Dumb to Eat

©Doreen Hannes

The Farm to Consumer Legal Defense Fund (FTCLDF- http://www.farmtoconsumer.org) has achieved a tremendous coup in their suit against the FDA regarding the FDA’s abuses over transport of privately owned fresh (unpasteurized) milk. In a brief the FDA filed requesting that the case against them be dismissed for lack of standing, the FDA has shown that they truly think we cannot decide what we want to eat or drink without their permission. It’s amazing. One would think that we could not have possibly lived prior to the formation of the FDA just over one hundred years ago.

The legal brief by the FDA actually has the audacity to proclaim in the table of contents such things as :

There is No Right to Consume or Feed Children Any Particular Food (pg25)

There is No Generalized Right to Bodily and Physical Health. (pg26)

There is No Fundamental Right to Freedom of Contract (pg 27)

FDA’s Regulations Rationally Advance The Agency’s Public Health Mission (pg27)

Let’s have a look at the first citation above… (emphasis added) beginning on page 25…

…… there is no “deeply rooted” historical tradition of unfettered access to
food of all kinds….To the contrary, society’s long history of food regulation stretches back to the dietary laws of biblical times…. Modern food safety regulation in the United States has its roots in the early food laws of the American colonies, which themselves incorporated “the tradition of food regulation established in England.” …(-citing a Virginia statute passed in 1873, that “made it an offense . . . [to] knowingly, sell, supply, or bring to be manufactured . . . milk from which any cream has been taken; or milk commonly known as skimmed milk”). Comprehensive federal regulation of the food supply has been in effect at least since Congress enacted the Pure Food and Drugs Act of 1906, and was strengthened by the passage of the FDCA in 1938. Thus, plaintiffs’ claim to a fundamental privacy interest in obtaining “foods of their own choice” for themselves and their families is without merit.

If this weren’t so horribly serious it would be hilarious.

The FDA is fighting a case that builds on the desire and right to consume fresh (unpasteurized) milk, which the FDA maintains is a lethally dangerous practice, by citing a law that prohibits any change of the nature of fresh milk!

But wait, there’s more….we haven’t begun to scratch the surface yet:

There is No Generalized Right to Bodily and Physical Health.

Plaintiffs’ assertion of a “fundamental right to their own bodily and physical
health, which includes what foods they do and do not choose to consume for
themselves and their families” is similarly unavailing because plaintiffs do not have a fundamental right to obtain any food they wish
. (Emphasis added)

I almost can not believe they were so overt in their complete and total disregard for the most fundamental human right of all, yet their own words convict them. If you cannot decide what food you wish to eat, you certainly cannot even entertain the idea that you are free! The FDA has seemingly vaunted itself to the level of parenthood over the entire nation simply by being created via an act of Congress. Like a parent telling a four year old, “Eat it! It’s good for you!” Right…..Never mind the fact that the FDA has refused to do any real testing on genetically modified foods, or that they say aspartame is fine for you to drink when it becomes toxic at 85 degrees. Don’t even mention that they have refused to regulate nanofoods (smaller than a molecule technologic creations) that your body cannot assimilate. Yet since you don’t have any “generalized right to bodily and physical health” they can allow you to be poisoned with the continued blessing of Congress. And the likely passage of new powers to be given to the FDA will surely be helpful in giving us all “food safety” and healthful food. Right. Sorry, my sarcasm should be palpable.

According to the FDA, you don’t have a right to bodily and physical health by deciding what you want to eat or don’t want to eat. They know better than you, even better than God Almighty and don’t you forget it. Just wait until they have expanded powers under S510 and HR2749. They will almost certainly extrapolate that authority to do home refrigerator checks on whomever they want.

In their final sentence under this section of the FDA’s motion to dismiss, they really hit it out of the park:

Finally, even if such a right did exist, it would not render FDA’s regulations unconstitutional because prohibiting the interstate sale and distribution of unpasteurized milk promotes “bodily and physical health.”

So you don’t have a right to it and they are promoting your non-right by their illustrious actions……Please. There are a myriad of studies attesting to the healthful benefits of fresh milk. Yes, there are concerns associated with it as well, and people should do the best they can to become educated on the subject before making a decision for themselves, but this hyperbolic ‘public good’ claim is farcical at the least. Particularly when the FDA has so miserably failed in their charge to inspect processing facilities and imports. A recent Office of the Inspector General (OIG) report revealed that the FDA has inspected less than 25% of the facilities they are charged with inspecting in five years. They inspect LESS than 1% of imports and allow the aforementioned biotech and nanotech foods to enter the food supply without the slightest flinch on their part. All the while they proclaim they are performing a public good.

The final affront to all that is decent in this FDA legal brief follows:

There is No Fundamental Right to Freedom of Contract
In arguing that FDA’s regulations violate substantive due process because they
interfere with plaintiffs’ “contract rights” by “restricting the use of an agent to accomplish what the principal herself ought to be free to do,” plaintiffs ask this Court to resuscitate long-dead, Lochner-era jurisprudence. See Ferguson v. Skrupa,372 U.S. 726, 729 (1963) (“There was a time when the Due Process Clause was used by this Court to strike down laws which were thought . . . incompatible with some particular economic or social philosophy,” but that doctrine “has long since been discarded ). Plaintiffs anachronistic invitation should be rejected.

The excerpt above has deeper implications than one might realize at a glance. In my estimation it has a terrific amount to do with many of the obtuse rulings the state and federal courts have delivered. We are being told that we do not have the right to make agreements. Evidently, all agreements have been made for us by our superiors.

Historically, the only people without the right to contract are minors, felons and slaves. Obviously, we cannot be minors because we can never reach the age of majority wherein we are free to decide what we eat for ourselves. So we are either felons or slaves. Which category we have been relegated to is open for discussion, but we certainly are not free. To boldly state that we have no right to freedom of contract is an astonishing, and revealing, admission.

To boldly state any one of the cites above is astonishing. We have no right to decide what we eat or don’t eat, we have no right to bodily and physical health, we have no right to contract, and the FDA is ‘rational’. So saith the FDA…. in Case 5:10-cv-04018-MWB, Document 11-1 filed on 04/26/10.

The FDA believes that we are too stupid to swallow. Yet we are supposed to swallow that they are interested in securing a safe food supply for us, and that the FDA needs more power to regulate food on farms and we should give it to them by passing S510 or HR2749.

They’ll take care of us…you betcha.

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This article should be on http://www.newswithviews.com and have the pdf of the FDA motion to dismiss attached. I will make certain it is accessible and post an update when it can be downloaded easily. Meanwhile, if anyone has any idea how to get pdfs loaded onto blogspot—PLEASE let me know!