Six Reasons the Hershberger Raw Milk Case Is Central to Struggle for Food Rights, and Even WI Politics


J.B. Van Hollen, Wisconsin attorney general I've been devoting a considerable amount of time and energy to reporting on the sometimes tedious ins and outs of the upcoming trial of Vernon Hershberger.

Why? What makes this case so important, in my view?

Here are six reasons I see it as being key:

1. It could go a long way toward determining whether Americans will retain the right to privately obtain foods the government may object to. Note, I say "retain." Americans have always had the right to obtain food privately--whether directly from farm stores or at church suppers or via lemonade stands or from neighbors selling extra milk or cans of food. It's just that the "right" wasn't called a right, because it was a custom or a tradition, a part of the fabric of life in communities large and small. Elected and appointed officials didn't even think to question it because they were getting food that way as well. But in recent years, as government at all levels has begun challenging the custom ever more often and aggressively, we the people have been forced to position this long-standing custom as a "right."

So while Hershberger says he is making food available to members of a discrete private group of individuals, who have leased his animals and have ownership of their production, the state says there is no such distinction between the mass of shopping consumers, who are part of the public, and members of a private food group. In the dispute I wrote about over instructions to a potential Hershberger jury, prosecutors have taken dead aim at the defense proposal to separate Hershberger's food club members from "the public." The state noted that "...defendant requests that the jury be instructed that 'owners or operators' of a farm are not members of 'the public.'...There is simply no such exception in the licensure requirements of (the Wisconsin statute) or in the definition of retail food establishment..." In a footnote, the state adds, " 'General Public' means persons who are served a meal, but are not part of the household."

2. The case can provide clues to underlying political agendas and ambitions. Political trials, in particular, are great for providing insights into the political priorities of those in charge. In Wisconsin, you have to ask why the state's popular attorney general, J.B. Van Hollen, has fixated on the Hershberger case. Especially when his priority has been violent crime.

According to his official Wisconsin web site, "Since taking office, Attorney General Van Hollen has prioritized forensic DNA analysis at the State Crime Lab by adding 37 new positions and cutting the average turn-around time for sexual assault cases in half. Overall, the average DNA case turnaround time is a third of what it was."

The writeup adds, almost comically, "During a time when partisan politics has increasingly polarized the people of Wisconsin, Van Hollen has kept focused on enforcing and following the laws as written without regard to the underlying political and public policy debates."

Raw milk and food rights have become partisan and polarizing. So why would Van Hollen weigh in so gleefully and aggressively to the Hershberger case, which doesn't offer anything like the potential public kudos that going after a rapist does?

So you wonder...the only thing the Hershberger trial could offer politically is that it could make the dairy industry happy. And if you're thinking of running for governor, or U.S. senator, and want to raise the kind of financial war chest that's needed, have to earn your keep.

3. It is an important educational tool for Americans inside and outside of Wisconsin. Most Americans have little knowledge about the emerging struggle for food rights. The more they learn about the legal case against Vernon Hershberger, the more people will ask themselves a simple question: Why is the government of "America's Dairy Land" expending huge resources to make this case against a humble farmer such a high priority?

4. It is an important educational tool for judges. Judges have been mostly buying into the regulator-prosecutor argument that there is no right to privately obtain whatever foods we want. The judge that bought into it most completely was Wisconsin Judge Patrick Fiedler, when he upheld the state's case against two other farmers, Mark Zinniker and Wayne Craig, with his now infamous, “no…fundamental right to consume the milk from their own cow.” But other judges have as well, in the Morningland Dairy and Dan Allgyer cases, just to name two.  Now another judge, Guy Reynolds, is hearing the arguments, and being forced to think about hard issues here--the latest being whether Hershberger's religious rights have been violated.Maybe some of this stuff will begin to take in the judge's mind.

5. It could be a model for jury nullification mobilizing efforts. The judge in the Hershberger case has helped the prosecution's effort to prevent the jury that eventually judges the farmer from learning about jury nullification. But a budding organizing effort is seeking to educate Wisconsin citizens about jury nullification. Its success could get Hershberger off the hook, and help build momentum for similar outcomes in other cases.

6. It could be a key component of a growing volume of legal precedent in favor of food rights, building on the Alvin Schlangen acquittal. As we saw in that case, a jury last September laughed at the government arguments nearly as hard as Fiedler laughed at the farmers' arguments, as the jury quickly acquitted the farmer of similar charges as being faced by Hershberger.

The Wisconsin prosecutors are understandably terrified to be going before a jury of ordinary people, who understandably will wonder why the hell the state is expending so much effort against a single farmer committing the crime of making healthy food available to a small community of eager eaters. Now that the Hershberger trial has been delayed yet again, it is essential that we not fall into the trap of tuning out on the many legal technicalities, and potentially losing sight of the forest for all the crazy and difficult-to-comprehend stuff happening in the trees.

While it may be important to an individual defendant's legal defense (depending on his strategy and goals), the legal hair-splitting is unhelpful to the movement as a whole, which must take full Food Freedom for granted, no ifs, ands, or buts. As always, fighting on the enemy's battlefield (in this case, the technicalities of the law, and recognizing the legitimacy of "the law" in the first place) is a losing way to fight.

No matter what verdict is returned in this case, and whether the verdict is "legally correct" or not, would change nothing about the Community Food movement's position, which is that alien government/corporate hierarchies can never play any constructive or legitimate role in food production and distribution, which is naturally local/regional. A foodshed/watershed is the only legitimate economic/political unit.

But since most people don't yet see it this way, hopefully the experience of the regime's assault on food will educate them. Just like the experience of how the finance and political system of the time, hostile toward the Farmers' Alliance co-ops and heavily rigged against them, convinced the Populist movement that it needed to form a political party based on "radical" monetary and political reform.

A movement to educate people about jury nullification is a good start, since it at least implicitly delegitimizes the regime's fraudulent "law" and reveals its cadres as the truly lawless thugs they are.

David Gumpert's picture

In the antipathy many feel toward the hair-splitting of the legal system, it's important to remember that Vernon Hershberger didn't go seeking out any of this legal stuff. The legal system came after him. He resisted entanglement for many months by refusing to engage a lawyer. But eventually it came down to a choice between being railroaded into a conviction (and possible jail sentence), or mounting the best legal defense possible. He chose the latter. All the more reason he deserves our attention, and our support.

Absolutely. I just mean that our support should be based first and last on the fact that we the people have the right to grow, process, distribute, get, and eat our food regardless of the alien law, while an alien regime has no legitimate place at all.

You are totally right on, Russ.

rawmilkmike's picture

I suppose jury nullification could be a good backup plan in the event that Vernon's lawyer drops the ball like so many others have in these food rights cases.

ingvar's picture

I expect there to be laws, few and far between, only on the most important points of moral behaviour (individual and community), strictly and honestly built up from that base as necessary but only as necessary, not casting into the stone of law matters of the market or passing custom, matters, the changing of which must never be interfered with at the high and mighty level of the law else the law become a tool of mere personal oppression of this day’s business climate (so to speak) thus retarding change that may come ‘from below.’ The changes afoot in Wisconsin will lead to improved economic freedom and strength: family farm, community, city, county and state. What’s the downside there? Oh yes, better health and that’s not a downside. I won’t leave out ‘cow shit’ Mary and the ambulance chasers et al because there are real points raised from those quarters, points that are not to be swept under the rug of happy simplistic optimism. But I don’t take those guys at face value, the structures they’ve made seem to have many problems as others have ably pointed out here. i.e. they have their own 'rugs.'
Finally, then, what is Caesar’s business as in: “Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s?”
If rulers are to be a terror to the workers of evil but not to the workers of good, then what is the answer to this question: Is Vernon Hershberger a worker of evil or a worker of good?
I think the old prayer is “Heavenly Father, give us this day our daily bread.”
Caesar ought not step in.

Mr. J. Ingvar Odegaard

since you asked : 'what properly IS the business of Caesar?', : anything with the image of Caesar wrapped-around it. Mister Hershberger entered-in to commerce, when he took Federal Reserve notes for milk and other products. Congress has the power to regulate commerce = End of story. He cannot have one foot in his religious compound, and one foot in the Babylonian system. ..... Well, he can, but not for long = this ship is leaving the dock, so he'd better figure out which way to jump. Better men than he is, have wound up in the salt-chuck

As sincere as he is, his appeal to his religion is - barking up the wrong tree. The Prosecutors will take him apart / embarrass him on the witness stand, pointing out the inconsistencies between his belief system. I find the Amish ridiculous ... with the way they pick and choose what aspects of the modern world they'll use = the Law of God mingled with the taboos of men ... they'll use a telephone but refuse to use a cell phone?! The handiest example of which is - declaring married men are obliged to grow out their beard mean while shaving their mustache ... spare me the legalistic hair-splitting!
as for the second question: Vernon Hershberger is a child in all this, a simpleton, bamboozled by the religious racketeers who run the cult in which he grew up. Lately, he's misled by well-meaning people who are Biblical illiterates. Quick for-instance ; his ( reported) assertion that 'his religion forbids him going to court.' = Utterly the opposite of what the Apostle Paul did. A Christian is forbidden to go to the courts of the world against another Christian, but you'll notice, that, when dragged in to Court by the local authorities, Paul asserted his legal right to stand before Caesar.

The ( so-called ) Pro-Life Movement went through much the same non-sense, 20 years ago. That one was UN-winnable from the start. This one - the Campaign for REAL MILK - is different, with a different outcome

The Amish use cell phones. Heck, they even use computers.

We've let the legal racketeers take over america. It's too late to change that now and even though the Amish may try not to become a part of the system, it happens subtly, just like everything else our gubment wants to have happen. They let a few win (just for looks, mind you) but the majority lose. That majority includes us.

What do you see as the outcome for the real milk situation?

I find Mr. Watson's trashing of Mr. Hershberger's religion ironic, considering how weird his beliefs sound to most people. At least the Amish aren't hostile and bigoted (if they are, they're really good at concealing it).

Mama = "trashing his religion" ?! my remarks were light-hearted compared to where it's going to get to.

Notwithstanding him being a married man with his "quiver full of arrows", ( and God bless him for that) In this vicious game - the playground of the cult of the Black Robe - Vern is just a mewling kitten with eyes not yet open. He finds his-self floundering in the deep end of the shark tank, but barely able to dog-paddle around in a puddle of warm milk. Like the Marine Corps takes soft citified adolescents and readies them to be a soldier, I'm trying to help him get up to speed.

I strongly recommend you read the Bible, Ma'am - and ALL of it. It's war from cover to cover. The Amish do well, as long as there's guys like me - "hostile, Bad Attitude Baptists" - around, to do the fighting for them. Mister Hershberger is going to have to answer the existential question all Christians face = how to live in the world but not be of it.

rawmilkmike's picture

"Federal Reserve notes" no longer belong to Caesar.

rawmilkmike's picture

"legalistic hair-splitting!" I blame Vernon's lawyer for that. Ignoring the elephant in the living room.

Most fortunately - the jurisdiction of the Congress is proprietarily
dependent! In other words all of the jurisdiction that has been granted to
the Congress is clearly limited by the written Organic Law and restricted to
those territories and other lands that are owned by the United States of

The commerce powers that were granted to the Congress are limited and
most essentially to their proprietary-based jurisdiction. It is unfortunate
that the proprietary-based jurisdiction is not abundantly clear to the American
people. However, the truth of the matter is no longer the "big secret" that it
has been up till just a number of years ago.

Therefore Vernon Hershberger and every American farmer (as well as
all the rest of the people) are absolutely free to do business as it pleases
them including the use of FRNs without fear of subjugating them selves and
/ or their business to governmental entities.

It's time to learn the Law!:

Sylvia Gibson's picture

Having recalled briefly, something about church ladies taking on the state a year or so ago, I asked google if church suppers are legal. I received a lot of vague responses and that each state varies greatly.
In some states, I could rent a church kitchen, and bake stuff and then sell it to anyone. No inspections needed, also cuts down on business costs for me. I think I read, in the past, some state outlawed kids selling lemonade. Sad

You are so very right, "Most Americans have little knowledge about the emerging struggle for food rights." Education is key and the potential outcomes need to be voiced. Yet, many have no problem with the status quo. Do they grasp the consequences? I don't know how to change that thought process. Will there be transparency as a whole? It's a power and money game to tptb.

Dave Milano's picture

It is a practical reality that involving oneself in the money economy has become a virtual invitation to government "partners." Also true is that those who find themselves on the government's leash, wittingly or not, are relegated to legal hair-splitting to carve out some semblance of freedom.

It's extremely unfortunate that our social structures rely so heavily on money---money is so convenient in a complex society---since bypassing money transactions obviates so many problems. (Perhaps if we understood just how many problems money causes, it wouldn't appear to be such a convenient tool.)

A question to those who have thought about such things: If goods and services were remunerated with, say, non-coin silver or gold, would there be a legal basis for government control of the transactions?

David Gumpert's picture

One of the first things our founding fathers wrote into the U.S. Constitution was Congress' power to tax, to borrow, and to print money--in other words, control of the money system. (There are those who say much of that power was illegally transferred to the Federal Reserve, which is essentially a central bank and partner of the nation's banks, and not an official government body.) In the context of government-created paper money, gold and silver have long been seen as a threat (even though American dollars were convertible into gold, for the sake of international credibility, until 1971). The government doesn't like competition when it comes to control of money. President Franklin Roosevelt actually banned the ownership of gold by individuals in 1933, though the ban eventually fell by the wayside.

So my guess is that if people started using gold and silver to acquire food and clothing and such, the government would find a way to insert itself into the transactions, and collect taxes. Would be interesting, though, to learn how they would value the taxes owed--based on gold at today's dollar value of about $1,650 per ounce?

rawmilkmike's picture

"not an official government body" kind of like DATCP hay.

"If goods and services were remunerated with, say, non-coin silver or gold, would there be a legal basis for government control of the transactions?"

Anything which functions as a stable medium of exchange, including barter, is legally taxable and controllable in every other way. Just like with anything else, it's a measure of people's willingness to reject the control of an alien "law" and engage in civil disobedience.

For an alternative to any kind of medium of exchange, time banking not only works, but is a transitional form toward natural economies of community credit.

As far as the legal technicalities, when time banking was just a novelty both the US and UK tax bureaucracies ruled it wasn't taxable barter. Now that it's catching on, the IRS is taking another look. Of course - as soon as something becomes a real challenger to the money economy, offering a real way for the people to start to detach from money and its social controls, "the law" will seek a way to repress it.

Meanwhile money may or may not be necessary in a complex society, which begs the question of what good is a complex society. (A complex society also requires big, aggressive, centralized government. Indeed history's biggest chicken-and-egg question is: Did "naturally" rising complexity require governments to congeal, or did would-be tyrannical elites force artificial complexity upon the people in order to justify and help foster these elites' ever-intensifying tyranny? There's no question at all where it comes to today's top-down-imposed, supply-driven, corporate command economy. The industrial food regime is the most clear-cut example of all.)

Control of “non-monetary transactions. . . .
The simple answer to government control---is yes, and they even include barter. You can check out the IRS requirements at their “Bartering Tax Center”—yes it does exist . Hard to predict how this sort of control will play out as times are getting tougher and the Long Emergency begins to take shape.

Sylvia Gibson's picture

So, trading a basket of tomatoes for a basket of peaches from my neighbor means we are supposed to claim the value to the irs? LMAO

Dave Milano's picture

...but GIVING a basket of tomatoes to one's neighbor is completely outside the apprehension of government.

Until we as a people acknowledge that the production, sale, and purchase of non-processed food is a right, and that control of it is outside government's rightful purview, then simple giving is where will find true freedom.

When our church family gathers to build a garage, or re-roof a house, or provide meals or baskets of garden fare to each other, there is no valuation of service, no expectation of either remuneration or even eventual payback, and no interest by government. Faith and love, after all, are things the government knows nothing of, and cannot control.

Some sniff that such a way of life is unrealistic or even impossible. No doubt in a culture where competition and ambition are venerated, where jobs supplant livelihoods, where material acquisition and avoidance of labor are the highest goals, where programs substitute for people, where central control supersedes community decision-making, and where science and wisdom are considered synonymous ( faith and love can seem wholly impractical tools. All I can say in response is that humans can give freely, often do, and the results are far more satisfying and far less mysterious than those created by money transactions.

How much of our lives we give over to money vs. love is a choice we all make. Non-industrialized food, as it turns out, is a pretty simple thing, and is remarkably well-adapted to community/local production. Our individual needs for food are pretty much identical, and all of us can produce something, even those who live in non-farm country (most of my friends produce high quality food of some sort--milk, meat, eggs, fermented items, and most of all vegetables). It is not hard to grow much more food than you need. It is not unusual among my friends to hear the question, “What do you need?”

Grow something, and give your neighbor what he needs. See what happens. Maybe one of those happenings will be a reviving of respect for each other, and maybe also for farming and gardening as well.

Sylvia Gibson's picture

I took produce into the office I worked at in Sacramento. I also shared my butchered chickens. A friend would give farm eggs to my dad and raw milk to me. None of us expected anything in return. Dad often takes bags of produce into the coffee shop he frequents, and shares with the waitresses and his old cronies. I don't believe that way of life is unbelievable or unrealistic, it has been done for centuries. Perhaps more-so in the past. I think as peoples incomes continue to decrease, it will have a resurgence.

rawmilkmike's picture

"I think as peoples incomes continue to decrease" you're the first person I've heard acknowledge that "elephant in the living room."

Dave Milano's picture


How "control will play out" over the next few years is indeed a very interesting question. The resources needed to chase down bartering are enormous, and government of course is worse than indigent. Oh, the underground...


rawmilkmike's picture

The great wall of China was built to control and tax trade. I hope we're not battling that kind of resolve in the healthy food fight.

George Gordon has been thinking about that issue, and commenting on it, for about 2 decades. His answer is : "quit dealing in income and start dealing in property" ... meaning, quit using the specie paper of the Federal Reserve System, and learn how to exchange 'this for that'. Avoiding the use of FRNotes, cuts the govt. out of the transaction. Of course that's almost completely impractical in today's world, yet there are those who make it work.

A very important point is that FRN bills are not properly "money". They're credit instruments, a form of "specie" if you like, but only gold and silver uttered by the govt. mints are legal money. Not for nothing is the US dollar defined in the Coinage Act as a precise weight of silver. To this day, both the Dominion of Canada and the Republic of the United States of America, are on a bi-metalic money standard, if their people only knew it! See the Currency Act of Canada. Why that matters to us is, because the raw milk controversy is only an outworking of the larger disaster = economic suicide = WHICH HAS BEEN BROUGHT ABOUT DELIBERATELY. It took a century to fruition, but the people who brought in the Federal Reserve Act, knew exactly what they were doing

@ Gordon: Yep, and here's the larger disaster. A real barnbuster. You'll quickly notice there was not a word mentioned about raw milk markets or producers. If it wasn't such a sad state of affairs, it might actually be funny. I say let them fall over the dairy price support cliff, they deserve the fall and the ultimate landing on their kiester.

Sylvia Gibson's picture

I had heard on the news that milk may go up to $6-$8/gal. I agree, let them fail. Milk sales down from factory farms anyway. Maybe the farmers can then start over without servitude to the govt?

"In other words, the true cause of the “milk cliff” is Congress’s endless attempts to manipulate markets in favor of the various farm lobbies. "

A response from a poster on the above link:"Until we outlaw institutional bribery of Congress, the money flow will always buy what the lobbyists want/pay for."

This is true.


rawmilkmike's picture

"FRN bills are not properly "money". They're credit instruments" Wow that's right, that means it isn't fiat money.

Thank you for this insightful analysis, David.

mark mcafee's picture

A thought about January 2013 pasteurized milk prices skyrocketing.

When milk prices are supper low.... ( like now ), those are true conditions based on low consumer demand and over production from CAFO's and super allergenic milk combined with lactose intolerance. An artificial set of conditions based on non market based "Fiscal Cliff" Government and default calculations, will finish off the Dairy systems as we know them in America. Low demand combined with high price...disaster. Big time disaster!

Raw milk will continue to flourish....and be cheap by comparison.

mark mcafee's picture

If a default calcultion is used to set pasteurized milk prices in January 2013...that will be the accellerated last chapter and the end of pasteurized milk.

Low demand combined with high production.... with artificially high prices....that is a mixture that will kill pasteurized milk. Sales will drop and markets will glut further and the prices will be disconnected and out of reality.

Just because the government defaults to an older price calculation formula does not mean any one will buy the product. To the contrary...this set of default and artificial conditions will be the final "coupe de grace" for the suffering bleeding dairy industry. They will be done.

Raw milk will appear cheap by comparison and continue to grow and flourish under its real market conditions.

Sylvia Gibson's picture

With incomes already low, and lack of job security, most won't buy mild at exploded prices. If I had small children, I'd resort to finding the best multivitamins for my kids, and push the greens/vegetables on them.

Milk is added to many processed phoods, in many forms. If the cost of milk goes up, so will other processed phoods. A snowball affect.

rawmilkmike's picture

Technically, I don't think it matters if the club members are members of the public or not. Any store should be able to sell raw milk or any untested, uncertified food as long as that food is so marked. It isn't the states job to tell us what to eat. This should be obvious to everyone. I can't imagine a court saying otherwise. This is how all products are sold. Why should milk be any different. Didn't the judge say he was going to treat Vernon like anyone else?

Bill Marler saddens me, and makes me want to vomit (on all the industrial food we would be left with if people like him ran the show and had their way and could tell us sheeple what we could and could not do, because you know, they all know what is best for us... look at what a great job they are doing running the country... into the ground...)

"It's a form of civil disobedience. They think that freedom trumps public health," Marler said.

Yes, Bill, it does - ever hear of the Constitution, the Declaration of Independence, read the founding fathers?

"Public health," yeah, because with people like you in charge of PH the last 50 years, we have gotten sickness, sorrow, and death galore. The fact that you can get quotes in an article as someone who cares about public health shows the laughable and languishing state of modern media in the US.

Me and my family will continue enjoying real foods while you and your friends and croonies stand on the mangled and dead bodies of millions of Americans with cancer, obesity, allergies, inflammation, chrones, gerd, and the dozens of other diseases your "safe" food has brought and caused. Yep, those skittles, sure are tasty and good for you, especially now that they have added "vitamin C," you can even label them a health food.

Your positions make you a shill for corporate food and big ag, a destroyed of small farms and freedom.

You know, we are only looking at 40% OBESITY by 2030 nationally... let alone just people who are overweight.

But lets clog are already overflowing prison systems with farmers and moms and dads who give their kids foods you don't approve of Bill (oh, yes, this is how lawyers and pols and others make money now adays, can't do it honestly, you know by working, so lets make work for ourselves by making criminals out of everyone...) ... lets use more violence and threats to make people "do what we think is best." The hubris and audacity of the "health safety authorities" would make the Greek philosophers warnings look wimpy!

Bill, you are one of the Dolores Umbridge's of the world.

Sylvia Gibson's picture

From JohnM's link: "Those who oppose raw milk sales say the public shouldn't be exposed to a product that may contain pathogens such as E. coli, campylobacter, salmonella and listeria."

If this is the case, then so many other 'foods' would need to be banned-lunch meats, all dairy products, produce, all meats/poultry/sea food, etc. After all, the public is "exposed", right?

"She wants testimony from an expert witness from Michigan who would argue that fresh, unprocessed milk has health benefits and is safe when handled properly."

She needs an "expert" to inform her? I question her thinking capacity. Just think; if raw milk was so poisonous then it wouldn't be consumed, people would have dropped dead in droves all over the world.

Public? The farms products was NOT for the public. It is private. Who the hell are they to tell others what to consume? Hitler, Stalin et al forced the masses to bend to their will or suffer horrid consequences to include total families.

To keep going in for the legalistic hair-splitting of "public" vs. "private" is to want to lose this war. The only thing that can exist is the community, food must freely be produced and distributed among the community, and the community must police its own food. (Food markets are naturally local/regional.) The corporate state assaults the community. (Commodification and globalization are unnatural and forced upon communities from the top down, as a planned economy of industrial "food".) "Public" and "private" are scam categories the state uses to cause confusion and fraternal strife among the people.

The regime couldn't care less about "public vs. private" and knows it's a scam. Only among the people do we find such self-destructive beliefs.

@ Sylvia: I think we lost this food war thing when American consumers started thinking it was "natural" for food to be delivered to a supermarket in boxes on a truck. And we lost that war waaaaay back in the 1940's or maybe even before. For milk, the death knell came with pasteurization and anyone who knows anything about food and nutrition knows that, right?

With our gubment pushing money at the farmers (as incentives and subsidies) we won't see a major push for real foods anytime soon. And, as someone stated elsewhere, with guys like Marler pushing the money around from one side into the hands of the other side with legal gymnastics, we are ensuring the success of corporate goblins like monsanto, dean foods and all the rest who have an interest in fake phoods.

At this point, as awful as it sounds, people have to get stingy and grow their own food (if they can) and more or less hoard it by preservation. I don't see anything good or helpful coming from WADC on this front. The CONgress is less than helpful, which means we now must have a DIY food system - individually. As we've already witnessed, they tend to arrest people who are interested in real foods and sharing/distributing such.

But our talking heads in WADC do believe this is better for us than the real thing. I don't understand their circular form of thinking.

Personally, I'm not really as interested in "harming the environment" as I am with harming the wild salmon colonies, which the EPA claims will not happen. Well, maybe it won't harm the environment or even the wild salmon numbers, which is highly doubtful per their record on this kind of thing, but it's been proven that it WILL harm people. But we aren't supposed to be concerned about that. This company needs to get off the ground so we're just supposed to believe all the wild claims from them and their cohort the EPA.

The whole fat chance package is that some (maybe most) of the general public will believe their hogwash. I, however, do not buy into eating man-made, lab-created slop.

Sylvia Gibson's picture

The war is not yet lost. I think there are more "preppers" than is known. The mistrust of the govt has been growing for years. I think it was the 1930s that grocery stores, as we now know them came into being. Growing your own food is key. It takes power away from the controlling sector. Control the food and water and you control it all. I read that in some areas it is illegal to collect rain run-off from your own roof. What is the purpose of that?

The graphs speak for themselves.

@ Sylvia: Yes, there were grocery stores in the 1930's but most of them were sorta like a green-grocer type thing, not selling a whole lot of boxed, pre-made foods like today. I don't think my Mom ever shopped at a grocery store until after WWII according to stories I hear, and she didn't shop much even then. My brothers tell a story about Mom's first boxed cake experience (before I was born). Everyone tasted it and it went into the trash because no one liked it. Nowadays they add more "food enhancers" (whatever THOSE are) so that a boxed cake mix is almost like eating pure sweetner - and that appeals to people, in general, because it's the "training" our tastebuds have received in the past 50 years. Sugary-sweet foods and salty foods sell. It didn't take food manufacturers long to figure that out.

I'm pretty sure that Army rations are what started the boxed food concept and the corporate world perpetuated it when they saw an opportunity there. We've, sadly, gone way past that concept now and moved into a poisonous realm of mass production of fake phood and poorly managed, humongous commercial gardens using questionable fertilizers, etc.

We can still collect rain water here where I live, but I suppose it won't be long before that changes. I'm not entirely sure of the reasons, but I would imagine the City Water Department's want people to use water they must pay for, doncha think? Personally, rain water isn't what it used to be because there's so much crud in the air that washes down with the rain. We used to eat snow when I was a kid, but I sure don't encourage that now. We used to be careful not to eat any yellow spots in the snow, now we can't even SEE what we must be afraid of. We probably should have been afraid to eat snow and collect rain water starting in the 1950's because of all the military experiments taking place even then, but who knew? And we wonder why there was/is an explosion in allergies and cancer and hundreds of other diseases? Really no mystery to at least part of that story. Chemicals of any kind are really not our friends, and don't make for "better living", regardless of the tv ad from the 1970's. ;)

""It's a form of civil disobedience. They think that freedom trumps public health," Marler said."

The truthful and politically effective response to this kind of lie is always the same: Human freedom is always on the side of public health.

(Meanwhile corporate/government license, which is often fraudulently called "freedom", is always an assault on public health. The Marlers, NGOs, etc., whether out of conscious evil or useful idiocy, are all effectively pro-Monsanto.)

Exactly Russ. Marler may say he is not for big-ag, but his and Mary and others' agendas are solely to the benefit and empowerment of big gov and big ag, and to the harm of local communities/sovereignty.

Sometime, I would enjoy dialoguing with you about your views on the public/private. As far as I can tell, that distinction goes back very, very far; indeed, to the beginning of writing/record keeping or close to it. I think it is an important and right and helpful distinction - but I would enjoy hearing you out more, both how you would articulate things and the whys.

That kind of dialogue sounds good to me, John. Thinking offhand of stuff like Hammurabi's code or the Hebrew scriptures, I'm not coming up with examples of power concentrations being distinguished as "public" and "private". The earliest example I can think of where there's any formal demarcation at all is between the medieval church and the "secular arm". But this also wasn't phrased in terms of "public and private". The earliest I can think of offhand is the certified privateering and licensed monopolies of the 16th centuries. These examples are highly appropriate, since corporations have never gone much beyond these core traits they had from the start: They were government-sanctioned monopolies, and they had a certain license to commit crimes without interference from "the law".

Regarding public/private, I meant most of all today's system. I deny that there's any qualitative distinction or practicable demarcation between corporations and government. That's the basis of the term and concept "corporatism", which is also known as the economic manifestation of fascism: A command economy based on nominally private, government-chartered gangster rackets.

Corporations are artificial creations of government and are really extensions of government. Government is primarily the welfare bagman and thug for the corporations. Any "public interest" function of government is superannuated; no new programs have been inaugurated in a long time. The system's trying to gut what little is left of such things (Social Security, libraries, public parks, etc.). By now ALL new or expanded government programs - Big Ag subsidies, gasoline subsidies, the Wall Street bailout, the money system and all proposals to "reform" it, the wars, the police state, the prisons, the phony "stimulus", Obamaromneycare, any change to the tax code, etc. - are primarily corporate welfare. Government sees any possible action purely in terms of maximizing corporate profit, corporate power, corporate domination.

Meanwhile, as fast as possible all effective power is being transferred from nominally "accountable" representative government to formally "private" and unaccountable corporations. This is the goal of neoliberalism - to maintain the trappings of "representative democracy", all the ballast of elections and petitions and such, while all real power is exercised from beyond the reach of any transparency or accountability. The pseudo-democracy scam is meant to get the people to accept this massive embezzlement of sovereignty as legitimate. Sure enough, we see people agreeing that corporations have a right to secrecy, that their formally enshrined psychopathy (that profit is their one and only legitimate goal) is tolerable among decent human beings, that on account of being "private" entities they have rightful prerogatives to exercise power over us which (some of us) would object to where the nominal "government" tries to do it. Sure enough, many people seem far more angry about FDA and DATCP attacks than they do about these cadres' bosses: Monsanto, Dean, etc. After all, Monsanto, as a "private" power concentration, has rightful prerogatives which the FDA, a "public" power concentration, does not.

But this is false and stupid: morally, rationally, and on any practical level. The only thing which really exists are power concentrations themselves. Why would anyone care whether the marauders are from the official navy, or a licensed privateer, or an unlicensed pirate ship? They're all from the same gang, and they're all the same enemy.

Meanwhile, as we saw with the Zinniker ruling, the regime itself doesn't actually believe in this "public-private" distinction, and it doesn't believe in "property". It only treats these as loaded words to use and abuse for its own power purposes. It really recognizes only big concentrated power.

The "supreme" court enshrined this might-makes-right mutability in the Kelo decision, which formally declared that big power trumps property rights and any kind of "public-private" distinction (eminent domain is allegedly supposed to be only for "public" purposes).

That's why I say that those who still, at least under these circumstances and under this regime, accept notions like "public vs. private" are letting the enemy dictate the terms, concepts, times, places, and methods of struggle. This is certainly a losing way to fight.

We have a lot of common ground. I think part of it is when I use public/private, I mean a slightly different set of circles than others, and I think many liberty minded people also use them similarly. Aka, private means to us more locally oriented community/choice/governance, and privacy from intrusions into such things.

Yes, the corporate bastardization of all things is terrible. Corporate personhood, an oxymoron and great evil...

So the question becomes, how would you frame or handle these issues? How would you practically suggest moving things forward, for instance, in Vernon's situation? I have seen you post long term ideas/goals, but how does that translate into today concrete actions?

I was referring in the first place to the legalistic hair-splitting over "private" cowshares vs. selling "to the public". That's doomed to lose, since the system will always win battles over the technical interpretation of its own intentionally convoluted and obscure "laws". (They're obscure for a reason; they allow for maximum bureaucratic discretion, i.e. lawlessness, while providing the fig leaf of the "rule of law".) More importantly, it's defensive and apologetic. It implicitly concedes that there's something wrong with real milk, and that an alien regime has any rightful say over our food at all. It merely begs for the "right to be let alone". Well, they're not going to leave us alone.

For the question of what to do, here's some of my personal goals for 2013:

1. Continue learning to grow and preserve my own food, build my soil, save my seeds, etc.

2. Make some money growing vegetables. I'm not yet near being a full-time professional farmer, and I "own" no land, but I have access to some land, and my skills are getting better.

3. Continue my work with our farmers' market, community garden, herbal medicine garden, and time bank.

4. Try to interest people in forming a citizens' Food Policy Council (not a government-based or system-NGO-based one).

5. Through these projects talk with as many people as possible about the ideas, necessity, and possibilities of Community Food, and the impossibility and wickedness of industrial ag.

6. Toward the goal of forming the kind of Food Sovereignty movement I've discussed in the comments you mentioned.

I'll do all those things this year, and continue to do them going forward. I think if everyone who wanted to relocalize and decorporatize food were to do similar things, this movement would quickly cohere, and the "long-run" wouldn't be so long after all. So those aren't just personal goals, but political goals as well. At the moment I have to do them as an individual and as a member of a basically apolitical community group. But as soon as possible I want to do them as part of a political movement. I'll try to help bring together the local manifestation of such a movement around here. Others will have to do the same wherever they are.

when I started the Home on the Range cowshare, I did not go ask the Registrar of Companies for permission. Nor did I ask any one of the 10,000 lawyers in British Columbia, if it would be alright to convene an association of citizens, to go a'dairying, for to feed us'ns. We simply got at it.

A week after Michael Schmidt had prevailed in the first round, in his contest in Ontario, the Quasi-govt. "Fraser Health Authority" hauled us in to the Supreme Court of British Columbia, for having the temerity to embarrass the Stalin-ist dairy cartel, by demonstrating what people would pay for REAL MILK on the free market. Mrs Jonderden did not prepare a submission. Rather, she related how the cowshare had grown. then = under the unction of the Holy Spirit = ended by leaving the question hanging : "when did private become public?" Of course Madam Justice Miriam Gropper didn't dare touch that one, ie. the pivotal issue.
All that crap~ola aside ... the REAL MILK is flowing today as we assert our right to use and enjoy our private property. Try it some time ... it's the anti-dote to communism, which Wilhelm Reich termed "red fascism"

ingvar's picture

In re. to this "war over food," 17 to 37 millions of souls inhabit each of the largest city/urban sites on the earth. There's another 840 sites of greater than 500,000 souls. It is hard to think clearly if you eeat poorly. Marler's route guarantees sickness and ill health in my opinion. Can the "industrialized" producers & processors of the food world meet the need? I do not think they can. Can governments go nuts? Well, yes they can. Only a few decades ago, forced-at-gun-point famine was the cause of death of millions of Ukrainian peasants. Monsanto is busy rounding up problems for itself with its policies. If full advantage is taken of education-transportation-communication-refrigeration, then enterprise can meet the need for food. If Marler, et al's techniques for crippling enterprise through sophistry and the law as their way of earning their living gets the upper hand then the battle will go longer before they lose. I'd rather the battle was shorter, and determined by the market than by the more fossilized elements of the medical establishment. The government should sit this one out and let the weak methods die off.

population references: Wendell Cox's

p.s. for a real-life "free lunch," put into practice the teaching in the book "Body By Science" (McGuff M.D. and Little; pub. McGraw Hill; c. 2009). They saw 88 1/2 year-olds, wheelchair bound, walking on their own after 14 weeks. Another study, starting with healthy 70 year olds, saw their evidence of mitochondrial impairment and muscle weakness partially reversed at the phenotypic level, and substantially reversed at the transcriptome level, following 6 months of resistance exercise training (pp. 245-7). Here's the free lunch part: this requires15 minutes per week.

Mr. J. Ingvar Odegaard

Sylvia Gibson's picture

Mr. Odegaard

I've heard numerous stories from both patients and physicians who stopped most or all medications of bed-ridden/wheelchair bound patients and they miraculously were able to ambulate totally on their own or with minimal assistance, their thought processes improved, etc. I'll seek out the book.

A friend of mine is the caretaker for her Mom. I'm not sure what was wrong with her but the daughter (Lottie) took her to the doctor for something and he, of course, gave her some miracle pill. Lottie didn't even fill the prescription, but she did make some changes in her Mom's diet - not sure what all the changes were but I know she made her start using real butter, using sea salt, and eating more eggs - that sort of thing. When she took her Mom back to the doctor about a month later he was elated at how well the medicine was working. Heh. She never did tell him the truth because he probably would have turned her over to some social agency for neglect. It happens more often than we know.

Sylvia Gibson's picture

She was wise for not saying anything to the doc about not filling the meds, I would be concerned with being reported to the various social agencies too.

As an FYI some RX is done by computer and the meds are flagged if not filled/picked up- the flag goes to the doc. Also some "concerned" pharmacists may get a phoned in RX and after so many days, if it isn't picked up, the pharmacist will notify the doc.

I had a few run-ins with Kaiser Sacramento regarding my dad. A few years ago, after taking Azithromycin, he suddenly had A-fib. 3-4 months prior he was fine, no health issues. Anyway, the doc wanted dad to take coumadin. Dad read about coumadin in my drug book and refused to take the "rat poison". He also told the doc he thought giving poison was illegal. I can make medical decisions for dad, should he become mentally incapacitated. He is stubborn and pig-headed not senile. The doc called me requesting I "make" dad take the pills. I had a good laugh at that. The doc put that azithromycin causes dad to be "confused". I know there are good physicians out there some where.

ingvar's picture

The Doc is left ignorant of the facts, no?

Mr. J. Ingvar Odegaard

It is my opinion that if doctors want to call all the shots with these elderly patients, they can just take them into THEIR homes then and care for them. It's like the pot calling the kettle black. They are willing to point fingers because someone doesn't follow some decision he makes within a 3 minute span - but who's to say his decision was right? It's craziness. Now they want to invent pills with chips in them which can track (as Sylvia mentioned) whether patients fill their script and whether or not they actually TAKE the pills. That's REAL craziness. It's just plain scary to think about.

Sylvia, Zithromax (the Azith you mentioned above) is the stuff that eventually did my Mom in - she had two reactions to that junk and we ended up at the ER with her. Then when she went into a nursing home for the last couple of months of her life, they gave her that stuff and called me AFTER they had given her a couple of doses. I asked them if any of those nurses, well really the doctor for that matter before prescribing it, bothered to read her chart or to at least check and see if there was a notation on there about her having an adverse event/reaction to it. Apparently the ER doc's never had anything noted about it at all. Now THAT'S really scary.

I should have sued - and could have - because there was ample evidence (from her primary doctor charts).

Nope, the farther away from doctors we can stay, the better. Accidents happen and some surgeries are necessary, but other than that I prefer to avoid those guys.

ingvar's picture

Well answered. Thanks.

Sylvia Gibson's picture

Unfortunately, many in the health care environment only know what they are taught and regurgitate it verbatim. Thinking for themselves is taboo. Insurance companies/corporations dictate how they are taught and how they practice. Very few think and practice on their own. The way the system is set up, makes it difficult for those who do wish to practice honorably and with conscious.

There was a younger nurse who came back to our office, after doing home visits, she was pissed at a patient for putting honey on the wound. She said that was the stupidest thing she ever heard. I did point out there were studies in Australia proving raw honey kills bacteria to include MRSA and different honey's have different potency. She unfortunately believes any alternative medicine and "Old Wives tails" belong in the trash. I wouldn't want her for my nurse.

Sometimes suing is needed to make changes, sometimes those changes are for the better, sometimes it just covers the wrong more-so. If enough sue, then the potential to make better changes is there. The changes may take decades.

Around the time they gave dad the azithromycin, my brother also was given it for a leg wound. He ended up in renal failure from the drug. I was closely following both at the same time. I think it was about 2 yrs after mom passed (I ended up calling Schwarzenegger's office trying to get mom a bloody pain pill-she had GBM-brain cancer). A very stressful period in my life.

Everyone needs a knowledgeable advocate with them when they see any physician.

@ Sylvia: I thought I read something a couple of years ago where nursing schools were going to be teaching some basic alternative things (like the honey for instance) but that was probably for show and had no substance in reality. The youngers generation today has no concept of how people used to manage before doctors. They should all have to read the books by Robert S. Mendelsohn, M.D. I mean, it should be required reading for all nursing students, if not the entire population - and his books were written in the 1980's but are still very applicable. All middle-aged and older women should be required to read his book called MALePractice.

Sylvia Gibson's picture

When I was in school, a few of my instructors were originally Diploma nurses (@3 yrs of OJT in the hospital setting, many lived at the hospitals) then they got their Masters/PHds in their later years. I feel lucky that there was a lot of common sense dished out to us students. I shudder at many of the newer graduates. I had a nursing student from UCD follow me on home visits, when the patient questioned me about the "need" for the flu shot, (he got one every year and every year came down with the flu), the student jumped in with how important it was for him to get it.... Of course I told her to shut up, it wasn't our place to push him to make any choices, we answer his questions with facts and he makes his own choices.

I haven't heard of that physician, I googled his name and see that "quackwatch" slandered him, so it must be a good read. I'll add it to my 'to-read' list.

You should read Tim Bolen's web site and see what's been happening with those quacks from quackwatch. They're all in hot water up to their wazoo's and beyond. The Maryland Board of Medicine has their number, as do many others. They have slandered more good people - but now they'll pay for it.

Mendelsohn was a pediatrician for 30+ years and he tells it like it is. Mostly what it IS is common sense, something many of the parents today lack in a big way. He wrote the book How to Raise a Healthy Child in Spite of Your Doctor, MALePractice, and Confessions of a Medical Heretic. He wrote awesome stuff. In the book about raising healthy children he wrote about how to deal with a fever without running to a doctor, why "well baby" visits are not important and why vaccinations are not always the best choice. I wish he was around now to see what's happening with vaccinations - he'd be writing ANOTHER book!

A really good book about vaccinations was written by Dr. Tim O'Shea, D.C., called Vaccination is NOT Immunization. You can find his writings at

@ ingvar: And if you mean to say the doc is then left out of the loop of what's being done with the patient (IOW, whether his instructions are being followed or whether some other course of action is being taken) . . . meh, half the time there is information missing from patient files or never noted, etc., as was the case with my Mom. And in her case I was able to go over her records and there were many things missing or mixed up, so I wasn't too concerned about what they did or didn't know about what I was doing with her. I doubt that it would have mattered.

ingvar's picture

Yes, that is my point, that the Doc, if he believes his instructions have been executed, is believing a fiction.

There's quite a lot to be said about Perfect World Syndrome (PWS), even more so when PWS assumptions are used as a basis of legislation, codifying nonsense, enforced at the point of a gun. In the resulting world, practicing common sense can bring down on yourself fines, jail time or worse.

A good online read is the WWII experiences of private John Chistopher at Ft. Lewis, Washington. They can be found at:
I think this site has the story about Christopher's mocking neighbor who eventually tried suicide by cayenne, covering his head with a pillow "so his neighbors wouldn't be disturbed by his dying screams" only to wake up the next morning after his first good sleep in ages and well on his way to being cured of his troubles.

Mr. J. Ingvar Odegaard

I wonder who inspired him to try cayenne to do himself in?!

"It is a government secret that all courts administering written law in conformity with the Constitution of the United States are legislative in power and not judicial. Proprietary power is the authority exercised by the judges sitting in these courts. (See: the "O.J. Simpson ..." article here:
Does the court in Baraboo, Wisconsin administer "written law in conformity with the Constitution of the United States"? If it does then the "proprietary power" should be clearly identified at the very next opportunity or at least by the very start of the court proceedings. Typically the qualification of jurors (in at least the county courts) includes verifying their status as a United States citizen. That is at least one nexus with the federal Constitution which is one of four Organic Laws, just like it says in my latest copy of the United States Code Vol 1. The judge, the DA and the jurors may not be aware of what all the Organic Law says however the Organic is clearly identified as such in the title page of the aforementioned volume. The Organic Law clearly shows that the jurisdiction of the United States government is based on property owned by the United States of America. All Vernon would need to do is to show he has clear title to the farm land. (An original Land Patent would be ideal.) He now has time to get what he needs to show that the government has no ownership in his farm land. No ownership = no jurisdiction. Case dismissed. Then put up the no trespassing signs and let the agents know that trespassers will be fed to the dogs! I hear Llamas make even better guards. At least they might spit at the trespassers!
Blogged some of this at:

if you wanted to bring on a made-for-media SWAT-team standoff around the "Hershberger compound", so the lame-stream media can portray anyone who sympathizes with raw milk / genuine free enterprise, as a raving religious fanatic ... that's how you'd go about it. What happened at Waco Tx ought to have made the point, once and for all = if you thought there was religious freedom in America : you thought wrong. The Baal-god brooks no competition. Lip-service? such as that we see from the state-licenced pulpit parrots? sure. As long as religiousity doesn't turn in to genuine defiance

Leon's picture

I have 24 years experience in state and federal courts as a pro se litigant, as well as being involved with the Fully Informed Jury Association, which promotes the use of the juror nullification doctrine, since near their inception in 1988. If Vernon Hershberger is depending on his attorney for a fair and fully informed jury trial, he needs to ask him point blank: "Will you instruct the jurors of their right and power to nullify the law by ignoring the judge's trial instructions, which will probably include an instruction that says they "must" find him guilty if they believe he violated any law??" It is highly unlikely for any attorney to be willing to do so, as the judge could hold the attorney in contempt of court or file a complaint with the bar association for revocation of the attorney's license. So the only sure way of having the jurors informed of their rights to ignore their instructions from the judge and vote their conscience, is for Vernon to conduct the trial himself (as a pro se litigant), which is not that difficult if he practices. He is also allowed to have "hybrid" counsel if this is a criminal charge for which he could receive jail time--hybrid refers to having a court appointed attorney (if he is poor enough) or his own attorney to sit "at bar" and be ready to answer any questions Vernon has, or counsel with him on issues of law, or even take over for part of the trial. DID YOUR ATTORNEY TELL YOU OF THIS OPTION?? If not, then that is the first sign that you are not being informed of all your options--I can do that. My email contact is: