Red Ribbon Isn't All That's Missing from Fed's Package Against PA Farmer; WI Farmer Seeks to Promote His Sheriff

When you go to buy a car or insurance, the sales people nearly instantaneously print out all the documentation you need. All you have to do is sign on the bottom line. No need to bother with all the fine print.

Well, the U.S. Department of Justice has kind of done the same thing in its prosecution of Pennsylvania dairy farmer Dan Allgyer, on behalf of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The FDA announced last April that it planned to seek the permanent injunction, as the outcome of its more than year-long "undercover" investigation of a Maryland food club.

In this instant-injunction package, there's the cover page with the authoritative Department of Justice emblem (shown here, unfortunately screwing up the splashy cover by misspelling Allgyer's name); the government's formal motion for summary judgment, including the list of ten lawyers and big-wig bureaucrats from the DofJ and the FDA presumably involved in this high-priority case; the 19-page memorandum in support of the government's motion; a six-page statement of "undisputed facts"; and then the "order of permanent injunction". All the U.S. District Court judge on the case, Lawrence Stengler, needs to do, is sign and date the "order"…and, presto,  Allgyer is forever prohibited from sending milk to members of Grassfed on the Hill in Maryland...and essentially is out of business.  

Actually, he doesn't just get to be put out of business. The proposed injunction provides for the added privilege of having his farm inspected whenever FDA agents are bored or just have the urge, AND he gets to pay big time for the privilege (at rates of $87.57 or $104.96 per hour, plus 51 cents a mile for their travel, plus the regular government "per diem" for meals and hotels). One inspection that lasts a day or two, and involves two or three agents, who, of course, have to write up a detailed report afterwards, could cost $10,000. Maybe they decide to do it once a year, maybe once a month, maybe once a week. Whatever their pleasure.

At the end of five years, Allgyer can tell the court he's been a good boy, and appeal to have the injunction lifted, and maybe it will be and maybe it won't. If not, the inspection arrangement continues.

The government lawyers argue that, based on the "undisputed facts" of the case--that Allgyer was distributing raw milk to the Grassfed on the Hill food club in Maryland--the judge should issue the permanent injunction.

The most interesting part of the whole neatly wrapped package is the argument in the memorandum in support of the government's motion, that members of a private association are engaged in commerce and are subject to the interstate ban on raw milk. Neither the federal agencies nor their regulations "recognize an exception to the prohibited conduct based on the nature of the contractual arrangement between the distributor and consumer of unpasteurized milk or between so-called 'private' consumers and the general public. In broad and unequivocal terms (the prohibition on interstate raw milk shipments) bans the interstate delivery, sale, or distribution of pasteurized milk in final package form for direct human consumption."

In a footnote, the government's brief observes: "Although no federal court has yet addressed whether private membership association or cow-share arrangements violate federal law, a few state courts have addressed these issues in the context of state laws banning intrastate sales of unpasteurized milk." As its only example, the footnote cites the Wisconsin decision last August (and introduces it as an exhibit) that concluded in part that a herdshare arrangement there was "purposely designed to avoid cash sales of dairy products in an attempt to circumvent" state law.

Interestingly, the government's brief neglects to mention the 2006 Ohio case that sanctioned herdshare arrangments. Presumably, the federal lawyers knew about the case, because they referred to "a few state courts" that have addressed the issue. Strange oversight, that the Ohio case isn't mentioned.  

And because "performance of these agreements would violate federal law...the contracts are unenforceable..." concludes the government brief.

There is another oversight in the government's "statement of undisputed facts" in the case. It reports that "over the course of the investigation, 12 samples were sent to an independent laboratory for analysis. All of the samples were confirmed to be unpasteurized milk."

What the "statement of undisputed facts" neglects to mention is that the independent laboratory checked for the presence of four major pathogens--listeria monocytogenes, E.coli O157:H7, salmonella, and campylobacter--and everything came out negative. I know because I obtained the lab tests via a Freedom of Information Act request.

As an aside, the lab tests also show some seemingly high results for coliforms...from a low of 38 to "greater than" 160,000. The coliform counts are way above the legal limits specified in some states; for example, California requires raw milk to be at less than 10 coliforms per milliliter. Coliforms are harmless bacteria, and the counts are thought to be reflective of overall sanitation, and milk quality. I am told by food club members who drink the milk that the Allgyer milk tastes excellent and usually lasts up to a couple of weeks.

The fact that no pathogens were found over an extended period of testing was no doubt a big disappointment to the FDA. Definitely not worth alerting the judge to, from the FDA's viewpoint.

Allgyer now needs to try to convince the judge not to sign on the dotted line. Like many Amish who face legal challenges, he is representing himself...up against the full judicial firepower of the United States government.

***

Wisconsin dairy farmer Vernon Hershberger reports he was just served with the summons to appear in court January 4, following the reports yesterday of the criminal complaint. He will be answering to four misdemeanor charges of violating Wisconsin dairy and retailing laws.

Hershberger is the farmer who, a year-and-a-half ago, cut the tape placed on his farm's coolers by the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection, and returned to serving his 150 or so food club members.

In the meantime, he is seeking to gain the support of his county's sheriff. He has offered to send the sheriff to a national convention of up to 200 county sheriffs being in Las Vegas next month. He says he has already raised the funds necessary to send the sheriff, Chip Meister, to the convention, and is now trying to convince him to attend.

He has put together a petition, which can be easily filled out and returned to Hershberger. In addition, or alternatively, Hershberger is encouraging supporters to call the sheriff and encourage him to attend the conference, and ensure that Hershberger's rights are respected during any criminal proceedings. Here is what Hershberger suggests: "Call or email Sauk County Sherriff Chip Meister at rmeister@co.sauk.wi.us, or 608-355-3208. Please be very courteous and respectful in your message or speech. Just let him know that you are supporting him fully if he stands up against the State to protect the Hershberger Family. I will stress it again, be courteous and respectful, he is our family's friend and we want to keep it that way!"

Sounds like they are being subjected to witch hunts and the govt is planning to slowly burn all dissenters.

I know we go around and around on this - but why are the stakes so high that the FDA is going to such lengths to persecute small farmers? Sylvia's term "witch hunt" is apt here.

I hope Mr. Allyger and Mr. Hershberger prevail. They are brave people and it's terrible that they have to go through this wringer by our own government.

Unsurprising. Farmers are a far easier target for the state, both legally and in a practical, logistic, strategic sense. The message is clear: Dare to share with your neighbor -- let alone be tainted with any whiff of "commerce" without letting Uncle Enzo wet his beak -- and you will be denied even the right to provide for yourself and your family. Surely a stubborn few will respond, as some here have suggested, by acquiring their own cow or goat when cut off from any and all outside sources -- and thus is another of the state's twofold goals achieved, strengthening so-called "political society" at the expense of real, civil society. You cannot depend on, help or trade with your fellows -- if you attempt to do so, we will stop you -- you must rely on us from cradle to grave, and obey our every commend.

Shana,
There are a few things going on, apart from the FDA's ongoing war on raw milk. For one, the FDA wants to scare producers of raw dairy. By coming down hard on a few (remember the email where the agent says they want to string them up one at a time), they hope to send a message to many.

Second, and more immediate, the FDA is worried about the growing popularity of the private food system. That has nothing to do with raw milk, but everything to do with control of the food system. The FDA wants to consolidate its control, and the private system threatens that.

David

"(remember the email where the agent says they want to string them up one at a time)"

Tis a witch hunt. They even put it in writing.

http://www.aphis.usda.gov/traceability/index.shtml

Beware, they are still pushing for NAIS... Push out the small farmers and guess who controls what you eat and the environment you live in.....

http://news.yahoo.com/raw-cookie-dough-linked-e-coli-outbreak-020222034.html

If you read the comments on this link in regards to the cookie dough and consumption of it raw, you'll get the general idea of how the masses think/view their foods.

I guess these same people either don't read all the ingredients or they just don't care what goes into their bodies.

Like many, I grew up eating raw cookie dough (home made), cake batter, rare beef, hamburger and mystery meats/foods in Istanbul, I ate street foods in Europe. I didn't get sick then, though, I did get sick from eating at a boyscout picnic...many did that day. The docs suspected it was they mayo in the potato salad. Of the at least 9 that ended up in the ED, there were no stool cultures done, we were told to monitor for dehydration,etc and sent home.

Yes, Sylvia, it is an absolute shame that people do not educate themselves about the foods that they buy from the standard grocery stores. They have no clue what that product contains, let alone, how that product was made. People have become too too comfortable with the unhealthy conveniences from these stores. Personally, I would never, ever eat anything raw that came from a mega-factory, processing facility. Fresh homemade cookie dough? Oh YES, absolutely, no question about it (I have been doing so for 60 yrs)!! The ingredients are NOT necessarily the problem (unless they too came from a tainted processing factory), the problem is strongly related to the cleanliness & contamination likelihood of the processing facility & it's employees. Think about it...generations & generations have eaten homemade raw cookie dough without any problems or illnesses. If people do not make their food from scratch, from wholesome, healthy nutrient rich ingredients, then they need to educate themselves on how & where the foods that they buy at the standard grocery stores come from & how they were processed. I think more people would drastically change the way they eat once they do so. People of today truly do not know anything about the food they buy & eat...they don't know how those foods have been adulterated, chemically infused, contaminated, genetically modified & more!!

David-

If I may interject here, I do not think the issue is "private" clubs (which are really now selling to the general public, for all practical purposes)

I think the issue is that we are trying to develop an alternative food system, which our corporate masters do not want to deal with.

"Bankers are the dictators of the West"

http://www.independent.co.uk/opinion/commentators/fisk/robert-fisk-bankers-are-the-dictators-of-the-west-6275084.html

Bill:
re. your comment above, what is your definition of

private

general public

practical purpose
?

Ingvar

Bill

I disagree with your comment that private buying clubs essentially sell to the public. Since I am a seasonal milker, I have stopped in to buy milk at a couple of local buying clubs in past winters. They categorically refused to sell any milk to me as a non-member - even when I offered to sign up and pay the fee right away. Carelessness and greed are not their hallmark in my experience.

---

I am somewhat cautious in support of the Freedom Riders in that they seem only to address the issue of interstate commerce. While interstate commerce is a goal of OPDC and it is the mechanism whereby many of the farmers cited on this blog have fell afoul of the authorities, I don't think crossing state lines is something most farmers do. If you aren't allowed to produce raw milk in the first place, what does it matter where you intend to transport it?

On the other hand, it is one of the few acts whereby the consumers can evoke a reaction from the FDA, so maybe it is a valid first step. I do believe the passion these people show is genuine.

Mr. Odegaard,

I like the term "tortured milk". Commodity dairy is one of the most processed foods available, and they are further tweaking it with their elaborate technology all the time

Also I have made langfil many times in my kitchen, I believe it is commercially available in most Scandinavian countries. Cultures are available on the internet.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Filmj%C3%B6lk

Bill
I would disagree as well about your characterization of private food clubs. As Kirsten points out, many clubs are very restrictive in their membership criteria. As I pointed out recently in reviewing John Moody's new book on food clubs, he provides advice to organizers about interviewing techniques to ensure only those truly interested in and committed to obtaining nutrient-dense foods are allowed to join (and government agents, for example, kept out).

But there are two issues raised by the FDA in its case against Dan Allgyer. First, can any food club, no matter how "private," be outside the public regulatory realm? FDA says none can quality. Second, presuming there is some degree of privacy that is acceptable to our judiciary, how private must it be? Not allow advertising? Require a certain amount of annual spending? Have equity ownership of particular farms? My sense is the courts are going to have to eventually rule on both these questions.

And to Kirsten, yes, the Raw Milk Freedom Riders have limited themselves to fighting the interstate ban on raw milk, at least initially. The reasoning has more to do with focus, as you suggest. It's not as if there aren't many other related problems, including rights infringements within many states. It is more "a first step," as you point out. It is definitely not about helping particular dairies, like OPDC, expand their markets nationally. I'd say a major goal of the Raw Milk Freedom Riders is education--to inform more people who care about their food about the arbitrary and expanding controls being placed on our access to nutritionally-dense foods.

David

Good points, David, but I still maintain that this promotion of "private clubs" as the solution to the prohibition of raw milk is the wrong route to take. Its a slippery slope. Should these so-called "private clubs" be allowed to discriminate against people because of their race, religion, sexual orientation, etc...? Should they be allowed to spew toxins into the environment, and be exempt from environmental protection laws? There are numerous other examples, if you to think about it.

Sure, you can point to the example of the boy scouts (who are exempted from anti-discrimination laws, with their official discrimination against gays and atheists). But when you get down to it, that's a protectionist racket for the military-industrial complex. Eagle Scouts receive special privileges in the military if they enlist before they turn 18. The raw milk industry is never going to receive that level of official privilege which the boy scouts enjoy.

And clearly, these clubs aren't all that private if FDA agents are so easily able to infiltrate them. Socialists and other left-wing activists have been dealing with brutal government repression for over a century, dating back to at least the execution of the organizers of the Haymarket general strike in 1886, not to mention the red scares of 1918 and 1947, the McCarthy era, and the more recent "Green scares" against ecological and animal rights activists on the West Coast. I think we on the radical left have a far more experience in dealing with state repression... just take a look at this information:

http://security.resist.ca/personal/culture.shtml

This does mean I'm endorsing the FDA's crackdown, I'm just questioning the wisdom of this
"private club" approach to increasing availability of raw milk. You have to appreciate the irony of these so called "libertarians" who always extol the virtues of the America being a Republic (not a "democracy"), when the root of the word "Republic" is PUBLIC.

I'm in favor of raw milk being available to the general public. If a "private club" was indeed the best route to achieve that goal, then I would be working to promote private clubs, but as these cases are making more and more clear, the private club route is probably going to prove a dead end.

This makes me so incredibly angry.

They will fine people like Allgyer and Schmidt into submission, using the same fees and fines that fall under "petty cash" for corporate farms.

The US (at least) is headed for a "perfect storm" in the confluence of unemployment, concentration of wealth and power at the top, and economic persecution of those at the bottom. We left the US for Canada because we wanted to live a simple life, and saw <b>no support</b> for such in the US. I fear armed insurrection is the inevitable result -- it's only a matter of "when," not "if."

If only they would throw people like Allgyer in jail instead of fining them; then perhaps the "sheeple" would awaken. But they're too smart for that -- they only throw increasing numbers of people in jail who could not possibly garner public sympathy, like small-time pot dealers and petty criminals, people they've already driven into economic deprivation.

I hope and pray that by attacking people with a long-standing tradition of tight community and voluntary simplicity (Amish, Mennonites, etc.), the whole thing backfires. I invite Allgyer and others to <b>not</b> pay these fines and fees, and for their community to rally around them, like the final scene of the movie <i>Witness,</i> when the Amish peaceably surround the bad guys, and Harrison Ford shouts, "What you gonna do, kill them all?"

Gandhi pointed out that a few tens of thousands of British could not control a hundred million Indians without their consent. It is time to withdraw our tacit consent from our oppressors.

Sorry, a correction to my above post:

This does NOT mean I'm endorsing the FDA's crackdown...

that was a typo

Bill, I understand your reluctance to embrace "private clubs" as *the* means of allowing access to raw milk.

I think it needs to be stretched to the point of "collective ownership." I agree that, for example, Costco is a "private club," and it would be a long shot in many states to argue that Costco should be able to distribute raw milk outside the purview of the FDA or state health departments.

When we first formed our herd-share, I ran it by our lawyer, who was apoplectic about the implications, saying the courts could liken it to a magazine subscription.

So while I strongly back the "collective ownership" approach, perhaps a fundamentally different approach should be taken: religion.

So far, the strength of the conservative religious right has the rather interesting side-effect of strengthening Freedom of Religion in general. With the increasing popularity of neo-pagan spiritual practices -- combined with the decreasing congregations in traditional churches -- perhaps it's time start a religious movement based on food freedom.

The Bible (Corinthians 6:19) claims "you body is a temple." It does not seem like a long stretch to claim legal protection for the right to determine what gets in that temple. Surely, the Amish and other "primitive" sects would have a leg up in this regard, the only problem being distribution to those outside their sect.

Surely, if Scientology can receive protection as a religion, "Foodology" could, as well?

Jan-

I like your way of thinking. I'm not convinced that the religious right is necessarily a friend of religious freedom, though. Many of them have drummed up hate against Islam. However, there is evidence that some evangelical Christians are slowly starting to split from the Republican Party because of the Bush administration's crimes against humanity.

If we found "Foodology", it should be an agnostic religion, like Buddhism.

Bill

The word agnostic is used to describe someone who is doubtful or noncommittal about something. What do you mean by "an agnostic religion?

It seems apparent that those who purchase raw milk and other whole natural foods have little doubt about its value and their commitment to such foods is growing stronger by the day.

Ken

here in BC, we're an inch closer to REAL MILK being de-criminalized after the farce of Dec 6th. When we do prevail, there will still be a place for herdshares, because they offer a special benefit of assured supply to the members of the private club. As long as that club don't go asking permission from the govt. to exercise our right to associate with whomsoever we want - or NOT - then we don't fall under Big Sister's iron heel.

pretending to be a "liberal" whilst getting all exercised and paranoid about us who discriminate according to the tenets of our religion, whom we want to associate, is the rankest hypocrisy.... what's it to you crypto commie Bill Anderson, who I hang around with? Would a few more laws ordering people's daily lives suit you? You'd do well in the socialist utopias of Cuba and Red China, Why aren't you in Venezula today, if socialism is so wonderful?.

A generation of the Central Party Planners imposing multi-cultural-ism on me has given me the insight to know that the Campaign for REAL MILK is a phenomenon of the white race re-discovering our heritage ... ie. the agricultural and food laws of the Bible. Wasn't it the founding Fathers who said they were establishing a Republic for them and their posterity?

Hi Gordon,

To answer your question -- because I'd rather be fighting for democracy and social justice HERE in America, where it is needed more badly than anywhere else in the world right now. My ancestors who settled in here Wisconsin were German and Scandanvians, both cultures with strong traditions of democratic socialism. Milwaukee is the only city in the US to have had two socialist mayors.

As for the "central planners"... those must be the capitalist banking interests you are talking about. Most of the so-called founding fathers were slave holders and bankers. Thomas Paine was the notable exception, and he was a radical leftist, skeptic of religion (See "The Age of Reason"), and one the earliest promoters of a guaranteed income. Paine was instrumental to the success of the American Revolution, as I'd hope you are aware.

Also, speaking of "crypto-commies", Mr. Watson, aren't you familiar with the history of Mark McAfee's father, and his support of California's Black Panther Party? Yes, he was a socialist too...

If you'd like to speak about European Heritage, then let's begin by agreeing that we are not Christians by heritage. Christianity was a Middle Eastern religion that was imposed on European people through force and violence. We are earth-worshipping pagans by our true heritage. Not that it matters... people should be free to worship as they choose.

Ken-

By agnostic, I mean that one should maintain skepticism of the existence of a god, but does not deny the possibility since it cannot be proven or disproven. Perhaps a better term here would be "nontheistic"

http://buddhism.about.com/od/basicbuddhistteachings/a/buddhaatheism.htm

"Foodology"... I like that!

Bill

Perhaps from your perspective one should maintain skepticism of the existence of a god Indeed skepticism is a natural and purposeful trait and although I have experienced my share of it I have personally chosen to believe in God and His Son Jesus Christ.

Christianity made inroads into Europe because of the selfless philosophy it espoused. Paul and Peter entered Rome, not with a sword but with a belief and an understanding of the truth that would set one free.

Indeed the movement became politicalized and oppressive. There were a great many people persecuted, including those who truly followed Christs example.

In fact there are many political movements such as Capitalism, Communism, Socialism, Protestantism, Catholicism and Buddhism etc. They are all religious in nature and although they may use the Christian philosophy as a tool to achieve a goal, they aught not be confused with true Christianity.

Christs church is alive in the hearts of many and will prevail despite ongoing and current threats.

Ken

Bill,

"And clearly, these clubs aren't all that private if FDA agents are so easily able to infiltrate them."

Given that these agents have dozens of years experience, the vast wealth and resources of forced extortion to deploy at their command at any time, multiple other agencies to draw from and upon, and specific training in engaging in such activities, your remarks show a genuine lack of thought, and the whips of their ex-corporate croonie heads driving them, your comments bear considerable revision at best, or show an unwillingness to look at the situation with a bit more objectivity at least.

Private does not mean underground, or how could anyone find a buying club to be a part of? Clubs have to balance private membership with still operating within a larger, public community and world.

The average club is ran by an average person who wants to help with the environmental, economic, and other issues created by our modern industrial system. Sorry they don't measure up to your special ops/psy ops credentials you think they should have for ferreting out what to many average folk is an almost unbelievable use of our nation's agencies and resources.

Most people still have a hard time even believing that the gov't would do this to Amish and other farmers, let alone thinking that an undercover agent may be coming to a "home near you" anytime soon.

John-

I am very well informed on the history of government repression of dissident elements in the United States. It does not surprise me in the least that the government expends resources ferreting out raw milk distributors. In fact, the repression of raw milk clubs is small game compared to some of the other groups which the state has targeted over the years. The radical labor union which belong to (the Industrial Workers of the World) had over a milliion members in the early 1920s, and was completely destroyed by the FBI headed by J Edgar Hoover.

Just google "COINTELPRO" sometime, and you will learn about the dark history of US government repression of dissent.

Ken-

I was raised Roman Catholic, and taught English, History, and Algebra by nuns. I am thoroughly familiar with Christian doctrines. I stopped believing in Christian doctrines when I was 15 years old, and became an atheist. However, over time I saw that atheism is itself a religious dogma, and gave up on that too.

In my opinion, the most profound scene in the New Testament was when Christ threw the money changers out of the temple. It is the only example of Christ using violence in the modern version of the Bible, and it was for an undoubtedly anti-capitalist cause. However, there is much reason to believe that the Bible has been expunged of some of its more controversial elements over the centuries, in order to be politically correct for the ruling classes of Europe.

When you think about it, Christ was a revolutionary socialist. He showed how the sharing of food caused it to multiply. He gave away free healthcare. He was a grassroots organizer and spent his time with the poor and downtrodden, while railing against the religious authorities and imperialist armies.

I'm not sure what "current threats" you are talking about to Christianity? Islam is not a a threat to Christianity, only to American empire. IMO, the biggest threat to Christianity is probably itself.

http://news.yahoo.com/bad-economy-farmers-one-best-years-ever-080049860.html

Stories like this make farming appear quite lucrative. Also sounds like most farmers have huge amounts of farming land, whether rented or owned...... more media misrepresenting what reality is not.

http://www.foxnews.com/us/2011/12/02/farmers-worry-new-agriculture-labor-rules-will-end-teen-jobs/

I picked strawberries and tomatoes long before I was 16 in Ca.... I learned that those 2 field jobs were not what I wanted to do the rest of my life and it pushed me to further my education. That and cleaning stalls at the stables taught me to appreciate those who do hard physical labor. (mucking stalls was ok, as I love horses) They were jobs and put money in my hands as a preteen and teenager. I grew up learning that there were no handouts and you worked for your pay.

http://www.foxnews.com/us/2011/12/08/smithfield-to-stop-using-gestation-crates-for-pigs/?intcmp=obinsite

They will still be confined and treated un-naturally.....

Happy Birthday David!

Bill,

It's a pretty far stretch to associate Jesus Christ's giving, healing, helping, etc. to your commie/socialist force, with a gun if necessary, to support gigantic bureaucracies with an agenda, and waste beyond comprehension.You completely miss Christ's message. FREELY give! No one held a gun to his head, and he wasn't using other people's money. I suppose you could count the tithe, but that was also FREELY given, for that purpose.

New American Standard Bible Mathew 25
35For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me something to drink; I was a stranger, and you invited Me in; 36naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you visited Me; I was in prison, and you came to Me. 37Then the righteous will answer Him, Lord, when did we see You hungry, and feed You, or thirsty, and give You something to drink? 38And when did we see You a stranger, and invite You in, or naked, and clothe You? 39When did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You? 40The King will answer and say to them, Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.

I'm guessing it doesn't count if it's with other people's money that was taken from them by force, with an agenda, socialist rules, and stipulations.

Bill

Catholicism has its merits however do not attempt to equate Catholic doctrine with Christianity. I gave up on Catholic doctrine when I was in my early forties and became a Christian.

A Christians greatest threat is temptation and vice. There are numerous oppressive forces at work in this world designed to undermine Christian virtue. C. S. Lewis sums it up well, Of all tyrannies a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive.

Ken

I grew up Catholic as well and knew deep in my heart in my younger years something wasn't quite right with it (same with conventional medicine). It wasn't until my divorce that God hit me on the head with a 2X4 and opened my eyes to the truth. Jesus told Nicodemus (a member of the ruling council and teacher of the law) in the famous "Nick at night" passage in John 3 about being born again. That is what happened to me in January 1989 - He opened my eyes to the true spiritual food.

Google Voice of the Martyrs and you will find out about persecution of Christians all over.
The only "religion" with a living God, not man-made. It's about a relationship - not being a good person or doing good things to gain your eternal perspective or whatever you may think we call Heaven. Yes as a result of putting your faith in God/Jesus/The Holy Spirit (The Trinity), you do good works but they don't save you. Only Jesus Christ can save you.

And then God opened my eyes to the truth about physical food! Thank you Jesus!

I would join a "Foodology" but not based on any deities.

nancy

"I come not to bring peace, but to bring a sword" -Jesus Christ

Based on my reading of that passage, it sounds like Christ was talking about class warfare.

Cheyenne, I do not support "gigantic bureaucracies with an agenda", at all. I have no idea where I've ever suggested I support those things. As a sociailst, I recognize that the liberation of the oppressed must be act of the oppressed themselves. A bureaucracy cannot bring about liberation or an end to oppression.

As for the question of taxes and government spending taken by force, I think Christ's advice was also very germaine: "Give unto Cesar what is Cesar's..."

The US Federal government was founded by and for corporate capitalist banking interests, going back to the earliest days of the republic. To oppose the (meager) social welfare programs it has based on some right-wing "libertarian" agenda is evil, IMO. The capitalist system is responsible for so much poverty and oppression, it is just trying to remedy the worst of those evils to maintain some degree of social stability. But these programs are just band-aid fixes. To truly liberate the poorest elements in our society requires the self-empowerment of those communities. The Black Panther Party was one such example of community self-empowerment historically, and today Will Allen's growing power (in Milwaukee) is another such example. If you were to google "COINTELPRO", you'd find out about the brutal government oppression of the Black Panthers, including the assasination of many of its members.

As I said, these raw milk clubs are small game. The US gov't has been waging brutal war against dissident elements for a long, long time. Raw milk proponents should consider ourselves lucky how good we've got it. No one has been killed or imprisoned yet over raw milk, to my knowledge.

Thanks Mary...I'm at a point I try not to think too much about birthdays, if you know what I mean.

Also, would like to second John Moody's comment about private food clubs. This country is about "private enterprise," and the private enterprises come in all kinds of forms. For the most part, they organize and operate according to how the owners and organizers decide. They allow in those they want as owners, stakeholders, members. There is something distinctly American about the approach.

But we underwent a shift somewhere during the last 50 years, and the move toward fear-mongering and ever-great-control of the masses has encouraged the government apparatus to try to turn our food club approach into scape goats. They would love to say the clubs are unsafe, but they keep running up against the reality that there provide a safe (and highly nutritious) supply of food, so they just say, "You can't do that. Why? Because we say so."

12.11.2011
Bill Anderson is right in his statements from a previous post, I think the issue is that we are trying to develop an alternative food system, which our corporate masters do not want to deal with, and "Bankers are the dictators of the West."

TPTB banksters, for decades, have used the natural antipathy between countryside and city. The city laborer wants a low price and is fearful of increasing cost to his well being. The countryside the farmer does not earn a wage. He doesnt get a paycheck from an employer. His earned income is the result of two factors, units of production and price. His gross income is production x price. This is true of the farmer but also anybody who extracts raw materials from the earth or harvests the energy of the sun falling on the green chlorophyll of plants. It is the gross earned income from the countryside that pays the labor bill in the city when the farmer buys materials, supplies and equipment that are manufactured by the urban laborer.

A cheap food policy falters earned income and sets in motion the necessity for a bankers line of credit. There were several times in the twentieth century where farm prices were in alignment with costs: 1910 - 1914, 1926 1928, and 1947 1949. The last of those periods was programmed by government decree for the purpose that the United States would not go bankrupt fighting World War II. The concept was developed for farm parity by doing the careful analysis of the two former periods. So, we have a record that proves the case and US Code that can be brought up to date and implemented to put the banksters out of business. This story was exhaustively covered by Charles Walters in his lifes work in creating ACRES USA and in his book Unforgiven. He was not alone, however, and we have a rich heritage in this concept if anyone is willing to investigate it.

Ingvar previously posted dairy prices at 10-year increments. He had a second list of numbers that he didnt explain what they meant. Checking his work for the 10 year increments it was found that the numbers for the years are actually as follows (ACTUAL prices are in parantheses following Ingvars numbers):

Ingvars #s, (ACTUAL #s from USDA statistics per cwt)
2011 $ 16.00 (16.30) (2010)
2000 $ 12.17 (12.30)
1990 $ 9.24 (12.80)
1980 $ 5.82 (12.90)
1970 $ 2.74 ( 5.50)
1960 $ 2.09 (3.80)
1950 $ 1.70 (3.10) (1949)*

*NOTE: 1950 dairy farmers received 79% of parity. 1949 Was the last year that dairymen received a full price for their product in the marketplace.

These were average yearly prices paid to the commercial dairy farmer per hundredweight of milk @ 11.7 gal/cwt. (Ingvar doesnt say what the second set of figures he lad listed represent).

$16 in 2011 does not have the same purchasing power as $3.10 did in 1949. In 1949 farm prices were calculated according to a simple arithmetic formula by the USDA. The USDA was authorized to buy storable commodities when prices dropped below 90% of parity and sell at 110% of parity, the purpose of which was to stabilize farm prices at 100% parity. In other words, give farmers the necessary purchasing power so that they did not need to borrow long term. This also meant that when the farmer spent that earned income, city people had employment and earned income that created a relatively debt free level of prosperity that this country had not seen since the late 1920s and the period especially 1910 1914. Farm prices had to be faltered in order for the Federal Reserve to get the power that it has today. In the late 1940s, bankers could only find a market for 16 cents of every dollar they had on deposit. The federal government turned a profit in protecting the American farmers price level. Buying at 90% and selling at 110% stabilized prices, something that allows producers to plan and curtails speculation. This was not a subsidy program but a price support program. This system was trashed for the one we have today so that imports would become profitable when they should be tariffed to protect the American producer.

$3.10 per cwt in 1949 somehow was enough income for our countryside to be filled with dairy farms of 12 cows or fewer. It was also a time when the postage stamp was 3 cents and $1000 would buy a really nice new car. The postage stamp today is 0.44, a 1470% increase, keeping in mind that the post office is not solvent. A new car (no longer made in America) and, granted, much simpler back in 1950 when it could be maintained under your shade tree, is now $20,000 30,000 and not user friendly. This is a 2000 to 3000% increase. On the other hand, $3.10 compared to $16.30, is a 526% increase. Using the postage stamp comparison, milk should be $45.57, not $16.30. Keep in mind that farmers, commercially, sell wholesale, but buy all their equipment and supplies retail.

John Moody, in his new book, asserts: Deal with farmers in a consistent and business-like way. A big part of a food club's success depends on farmers who have a realistic view of the business landscape. He advises farmers: "Your discount to clubs that are placing large orders with you should be at least 25 percent so they can offer products to their members at least at your regular retail price. Most stores will be asking a 40-50 percent discount from suppliers, so consider working with clubs a deal!"

When a farmer discounts his product 25%, he has to increase sales 33% to maintain the same bottom line profitability. Discounting 40% results in having to increase sales by 66%. At 50% discount he has to increase 100%. These are exponential increases in production. In addition, milk isnt like water, you dont just leave the spigot on twice as long, it means more than twice as much work for the same income. This is the model that came out of Harvard in the late 1940s, funded by the Rockefellers, that shut down the parity concept and was instituted by USDA Secretary Ezra Taft Benson under the Eisenhower administration, were going to quit mollycoddling the farmer. What was this new system called? Vertical integration. Produce more for less, get rid of the inefficient farmers, leave the land in a few strong hands, America will feed the world, plow up and farm fence row to fence row. Free trade means lower prices for consumers. Supply and be damned frustration economics. Familiar with asymptotes? As cost per gallon goes to zero, production goes to infinity.

Heres the math:
to earn $1000 @ $10/gal requires 100 gal.
@ 7.50 requires 133 gal
@ 6.00 requires 166 gal
@ 5.00 requires 200 gal.

Remember, this is not profit because of the commensurate increased cost of production, trying to spread your costs over more units of production and ultimately results in the get big or get out trap.

Today we met with our county Sheriff elect to encourage him to participate in the County Sheriff Project. We were there for an hour with him and his Chief Deputy. We briefed them on the issue of raw milk and FDA random acts of terror and encouraged him to go to the January conference in Las Vegas. Plans are now developing for a county, regional and then statewide initiative.

Deb Stockton hit the nail on the head in her first paragraph. The US elites try to leverage urban wage earners against rural farmers. Its a divide and conquer strategy.

I disagree with you, David. American capitalism is built upon corporations, which are public enterprises, not private enterprises.

Corporations are chartered by the government, granted special privileges which include limited liability. In the earliest days of the Republic, a corporation could have its charter revoked if it was deemed that it was not serving the public interest, and these corporations were granted protection from foreign competition in the form of stiff tarrifs, to encourage the development of domestic industry. It wasn't until after Wall Street's triumph over Southern Feudalism in the civil war that the supreme court granted corporations personhood, which they have enjoyed since the late 1800's. Today, the corporate board of directors has virtual dictatorial control over the affairs of the corporation, with the fiduciary imperative of maximizing profit.

The ever-greater-control of the masses which you lament is thanks to the increasing concentration of corporate power. The food clubs are but one of many victims of this concentration of power.

The whole mythology of private enterprise needs to be put to rest. The industrial revolution did not happen because of private enterprise. It happened because of public enterprise. This is a simple historical fact, like it or not.

I am not against entrepreneurialism or the free market. I have ambitions to be an entrepreneur myself, but this requires a hard look at the facts. The purpose of an enterprise in a free market economy is to serve the public.

Bill,

Your "meager" social welfare programs don't qualify as bureaucracy? LOL! And you say it's helping. By creating generations of helpless, demanding, welfare addicts? By ripping apart many innocent families to feed the CPS machine, only to find out that masses of those children are being sexually abused and other horrible things. Two wrongs don't make a right. Large corporations and complicit government agencies are, and always have been a problem, but so is the corrupt government bureaucracy you seem to like so much.

You supported the unions (they're not corrupt big $$$$$?) in the nutso fest in WI, demanding that they be allowed to continue to plunder the country side. Now we see small school districts saving over 1 million in health insurance premiums alone, just by getting out of the union racket. That is evil, yet, you stand with them and demand I should have to keep paying it. How many small farmers have struggled to pay the extortion fee demanded by the union/school district to support their gravy train? Ooppps, I forgot, we are only supposed to focus on certain areas.If the farmers would get a better pay price, then the plunder and corruption for your interests would be ok?

"Its a slippery slope. Should these so-called "private clubs" be allowed to discriminate against people because of their race, religion, sexual orientation, etc...?"

I'd call that an agenda, Bill!
Let me guess, you support government intervention, for your agenda, to make sure those evil private clubs have to do it YOUR way. So what if a private club wants to discriminate? Go to a different one or start your own!

Cheyenne-

You are totally out of touch with the political realities in our seat of government. The unions are a drop in the bucket of what big business spends. The ratio is pennies to the dollar, even on strictly the Democratic Party side.

Crack cocaine was introduced to the inner city by the CIA. This fact is well documented. It is not the welfare programs that created this problem, it is the military-industrial complex.

I have argued stridently against the Madison area Green Party getting involved in the recall Walker effort, because we should be focusing on ecological and social justice issues. This electoral campaign is not a suitable substitute for real grassroots class struggle.

And frankly, it doesn't matter whether the private club discriminates or not. They are still going to get raided by the government, because the government is controlled by big business.

I would not participate in a private club that discriminates, and I would make sure that club is ostracized for doing so. I have been involved in protesting against racist businesses in Madison.

I'm not interested in getting into a fight with you over this. If you want to spew your right-wing hatred, please do it to someone else.

As I expected. The unions are just "drop in the bucket" corruption, so it's ok. I'm just supposed to keep throwing money down that rat hole. I am opposed to ALL corruption.

Oh no, the hate card. When all else fails...... Bill's favorite tactic. Don't respond then. I'm not forcing you to write back. lol

I didn't say you would have to support the club, It's called FREEDOM! But, I suspect you'd like to see government bureaucracies with an agenda force your twisted view on the rest of us.

The IWW has a critique of the conservative trade unions. I agree with you that they can be corrupt. The conservative/chauvinistic trade unions are more interested in protecting privileges for a skilled set of workers than in organizing the entire working class.

Cheyenne, I don't like you putting words in my mouth. I do believe that people are capable of overcoming racism and homophobia without government intervention. If anything, it is the government which (directly or indirectly) upholds racism. However, when oppressive institutions like organized religion and corporate powers divide us against one another, overcoming other forms of oppression becomes less important to people.

The religious right is a great example of this. The homophobia and islamophobia promoted by religious conservatives is a big, big problem, and contributes to direct government oppression of those groups. Yet I don't hear you complaining about that. This is the problem with the right-wing "libertarian" ideology, based on the philosophy of rugged individualism. It causes people to only care about the freedom of their own group, and not about the freedom of other groups.

i am not a fan of conventional medicine, I try to have a bar-code free kitchen, I drink raw milk.
I try to treat people with kindness no matter who they are. Although I am not 'rich', I try to share what I have with others.
Oh, and I am a Catholic.
I would never say anything so hurtful about your choice of beliefs or lack of same as some of you have written here.

Just to clarify, my comments above were NOT meant to be insults of people's religious practices. I am 100% in favor of religious freedom, and would completely support forming a secular or neo-pagan religion around the consumption of raw milk.

The purpose of my comments is that I am very very worried that certain elements of American Christianity are not in favor of religious freedom for other groups, namely Muslims. This is an ongoing problem in many Western nations, not just ours. I also worry about certain Christian elements (such as Gordon Watson) who justify other bigoted beliefs using the shield of religious ideology.

I respect Christianity. I think that the New Testament is a validation of socialist principles in its own historical context and the terminology that was used in that time and place.

In any case, I'm done commenting here for now. I just wanted to make a point that the narrow minded and selfish ideology of "freedom for me and mine" (what is often incorrectly called "libertarian" in the US... a more accurate term would be "proprietarian") is part of the problem, not part of the solution. If we really want freedom, then we must work for freedom from oppression for ALL people, including those who are very different from us.

This is the essence of socialist philosophy and action. It is a fundamental belief in the goodness of humankind, and in our ability to overcome oppression if we work together in an open-minded and democratic manner.

Have a great one folks. And thanks again to David for his great analysis on TCP.