The Defeat of Sen. Rand Paul’s Amendment on FDA Cops Serves As Another American Civics Teaching Moment

Lots of people were discouraged because Sen. Rand Paul’s proposed amendment to reign in the U.S. Food and Drug Administration was overwhelmingly defeated last week. It would have prohibited FDA agents from carrying weapons and making arrests as well as liberalized the rule on advertising of various foods’ health benefits.  (The amendment’s text and the vote of individual senators is shown here.)

I have a different take. I find it encouraging, first, that a senator even made this sort of proposal and, second, that 15  per cent of the senators supported it.

You have to remember the context in which Sen. Paul made his proposal. The FDA has long been a sacred cow in the Congress, much like the Federal Reserve Bank has long been a sacred cow. Both these agencies-organizations have for many years obtained whatever they want from Congress, with little in the way of pushback. Over the last year, we’ve been seeing some pushback involving the Fed. And now we are seeing pushback against the FDA. (I know, there are some who will argue that the FDA's budget has remained level in recent years, but on the important matters--those of power and authority--the FDA has been doing pretty much what it wants.)

It’s not just that there’s pushback, but there's the cause of the pushback. Senators have now been alerted that at least some of their constituents are upset that the FDA has created its own police force that bullies small farmers and producers of nutritional supplements.

Sen. Rand Paul clearly had the FDA crackdown on raw dairies in mind when he stated in support of the amendment (as quoted by Reason): “We have nearly 40 federal agencies that are armed. I’m not against having police, I’m not against the army, the military, the FBI, but I think bureaucrats don’t need to be carrying weapons and I think what we ought to do, is if there is a need for an armed policeman to be there, the FBI who are trained to do this should do it. But I don’t think it’s a good idea to be arming bureaucrats to go on the farm to, with arms, to stop people from selling milk from a cow.”

The vote also helped illuminate the implications of the FDA being a sacred cow. The FDA serves the interests of Big Pharma and Big Ag, but only because it is encouraged to do so by its bosses—America’s senators and representatives, and the President. Both these corporate groups donate heavily to senators and representatives and presidential candidates running for office. So once elected, they in turn give the FDA carte blanche to make sure the corporate interests get everything they want...and to make sure that those who might challenge Big Pharma and Big Ag are kept in their places.

It’s not, as some like to think, a conspiracy. No, it’s just pure money politics. It might be said that the U.S. has the most sophisticated system of corruption the world has ever known. Soft money, hard money, PACs, Super PACs, revolving-door hiring between corporations and Washington agencies and Congress. It’s all really legalized bribery.  It’s why you see the Democrats and most Republicans marching in lockstep to support the FDA.  All that supposed bad blood between Republicans and Democrats? It’s mostly  political theater. On the big issues, the issues that matter most to their corporate masters, the two parties cooperate just fine.


Ora Moose's picture

Well I'm back, probably too soon for some but I can't seem to get off this "raw milk crack." I just wish it wasn't mostly a discussion by a few people for the many rather than the other way around.

So according to David's reasoning, which I agree with completely, the real problem is that FDA depends on government officials, who in turn depend on money interests in order to be able to get elected.

The solution could be publicly financed elections, but now more than ever before that doesn't seem likely because corporations can still tilt the balance by making huge contributions to their party or candidate of choice.

So here's a kamikaze idea: Let's pass a law requiring that any corporate political finance donation to anyone, must be matched with an equal amount to go into the publicly financed plot.

It will never happen, I know... but one can dream, and work towards our convitions. Hope you all had a great Memorial Day weekend.

David Gumpert's picture

Ora Moose,
Good to see you back. I hear what you're saying about the blog too often being "a discussion by a few people for the many..." By dominating discussion, those few sometimes discourage others from commenting. So I'm requesting those few--they know who they are--to use discretion and reduce their commentaries, and discontinue the lengthy one-on-one interchanges.

As for your "kamikaze idea," it has potential. The problem with it, and others that have been proposed, is that the senators and reps who share in all the spoils have to pass the laws to reduce the $$$ flow. Where's the incentive, aside from the common good?

Maybe some people are trying to fill a void. Is this blog actually trying to settle on a political perspective, and then develop a consistent strategy and set of tactics, and then be a discussion about how to carry them out?

For example, when do people here plan to settle once and for all the constant disconnect between recognizing the food police system as fascist or tending-toward-fascist, and still advocating the strategy and tactics of appeasement and collaboration? If most of the people here don't really think the FDA and its state-level flunkeys are out to eradicate small farmers, period, then let's get that settled once and for all. But if we do think that (most people I personally talk to think that, and all the evidence supports it), then doesn't the right strategy have to follow? And doesn't that have to mean rejecting appeasement and vain dreams of Better Senators, and Better Elites in general?

This is especially important in a phony "election" year, where anybody willing to waste time and energy on that kind of kabuki nonsense will find plenty of opportunities.

With my comments here I've tried to work toward forcing these questions. But I know there's lots of blogs (most, really) which are more dedicated to blowing off steam than really wanting to systematically fight, and I don't want to make myself obnoxious.

Sylvia Gibson's picture

"but there's the cause of the pushback. Senators have now been alerted that at least some of their constituents are upset that the FDA has created its own police force that bullies small farmers and producers of nutritional supplements."

As the voice of the people grows, so does their strength. Davis you hit that nail right on the head. I will share your link regarding the yeas and nays.

Sylvia Gibson's picture

oops meant David not Davis, sorry

mark mcafee's picture

Bulls-Eye!! Awesome David.

When a person can not post a Peer Reviewed Internationally Publish Article on the Benefits of Raw Milk for treating Asthma on a raw milk website....that is a crime. When a person can not post truthful testimonials from real people about how raw milk has eliminated their asthma and allergies or even lactose intolerance because of the threat of violtion of FDA Commercial Speech laws...that is crime.

Rand Paul is my personal hero for saying as much in his speech before congress. Go Paul!!

I agree with David, these are the seeds of change. They will grow and America will change. We are early in this battle.

With Autism at 1 in 54 kids and Diabetes at 1 in 3 and Asthma at 1 in 5....Americas great medical solution is now the polution. It will become obvious as hell pretty darn soon.


I also agree with your analysis - this was a really encouraging development. Obviously, for folks in liberal states (the D's in senate voted completely against, just like the D's in KY voted completely against a bill to protect private contracts for food...), it sends a loud and clear message that the "party of the little guy" means the little guy in the back room turning over all the bills to the big guys with the mean faces and thugs by their sides, while keeping a some for himself.

Few of either party are worth their salt, but the R's are feeling more real pressure from organized, informed groups of constituents in general, average people who are beginning to move beyond the "lets use gov't as a tool for imposing social/moral views" to "let's return the government to the chains of the Constitution before it consumes us all." (both parties seek to enforce a morality on the whole american population - one is merely a secular morality, the other a Christian; both approaches are wrong, evil, and in the end, destroy both groups while empowering the government that brokers the bickering children's brawl for its own profit)

Also, there was super little warning that this was going to happen to many groups/people who could have raised more grass roots support. Had that been the case, I think the number of yes votes could easily have doubled.

But the vote is instructive on a number of levels, especially as we head into another election year.

Barney Google's picture

"It’s not, as some like to think, a conspiracy."

How can you say it's NOT a conspiracy? It fits the definition.

"A secret plan by a group to do something unlawful or harmful. The action of plotting or conspiring."

If not a conspiracy, an agenda? "Marching in lockstep", "political theater", isn't this just semantics?

David Gumpert's picture

The key word is "secret." There's nothing secret about all the political contributions. You can look them all up. There are all kinds of funny names given over to this stuff, like Super PACs, and charades about who controls the funds. But behind all the intentionally deceptive terminology, the reality is that the amounts of money involved tend to be so large that it essentially boils down to bribery--it couldn't be anything but. The legislators won't significantly change the system because no one wants to get off the gravy train.

Barney Google's picture

Bribery is only one method. There are four total:

1. Bloodline - Ted Kennedy, Jay Rockefeller are examples.
2. Blackmail - Elliot Spitzer, Rod Blagojevich. Blackmail through prostitution ring is popular (Heidi Fleiss).
3. Bought Out/Bribed - self explanatory
4. Bumped Off - Paul Wellstone, JFK, RFK, MLK, Reagan (almost).

If you're not privy to the secret, how do you know there's not a secret??? The Black Budget, Operation Northwoods, MK Ultra research are real, but were/are done in secret. Do we really think the FDA, etc. do not operate in secret, too???

Ken Conrad's picture


I am not so sure I can agree with your analogy that “t’s just pure money politics”.
That “sophisticated system of corruption” you describe sounds highly conspiratorial to me.

John M

The other party may very well have a self righteous religious approach it is certainly not Christian.


I probably should have put "Christian" in quotations. Obviously, there are many aspects of the Republican/conservation agenda that just cannot be squared with biblical Christianity - preemptive war (just war theory, down the memory hole...), guilty until proven innocent, corruption, fraud, and so much else... But in general, I think it is correct that the conservative movement (the people in it) have been enfolded into the Republican movement - not totally, and these things are always changing, but just as a generalization.

It is a shame that the evangelical/conservative church has been little more than a hijacked political/lap dog to the Neo-con/Repubs for so long, and still continues to be in many places (as shown in some of the primary results for the presidential race, with the "bible belt" voting for "let's bomb the world, have military bases in every corner of the globe AND even build on on the MOON" Newt.

Jon Stewart really hit this one best

And this clip, especially from around the 2.20 mark Jon hits it right on the head,
(warning, these clips are Jon Stewart, so he often using language or other things that may offend some, watch at your own discretion).

I don't know why people keep being fooled by this obvious scam. (As his pro-police state quote demonstrates, Rand Paul cares nothing about anything the food movement is supposed to be about. How could it possibly make a difference whether the FDA cadre is himself carrying a weapon, if he's backed up by that same police state? The willingness of people to be misdirected by phony non-distinctions is amazing.) But evidently there will never be any lack of people who, no matter what the cause they nominally support, really support only the continued existence of what's obviously an anti-democratic kleptocracy. As long as there's one Democrat and one Republican left telling the kinds of lies D.C.-partisan tribalists like to hear, those tribalists will keep cheering, even as all freedom, democracy, prosperity, and humanity continue to be destroyed.

Meanwhile those of us who actually want to fight for those things will continue trying to demonstrate how only bottom-up movement-building and direct action have ever worked or will ever work.

Can you explain your comment more, because it appears you are highly uninformed regarding Rand and Ron Paul and their positions, voting records, etc. Aka, what is the obvious scam? Have you looked at Rand's senatorial voting record, or are just labeling him based on some preexisting assumption?

For instance, both Rand and Ron want to not just downsize DC, but the whole sprawling police state spewing forth from it - both are for the decriminalization of thousands of now federally criminal things.

Both would gladly abolish the FDA and dozens of other unconstitutional federal agencies, so again, there is no scam here. But because he wants to start by curtailing FDA power, because you have to start somewhere, he gets scorned or treated as being disingenuous? Doesn't make any sense.

Both have voting records showing not only this, but that they oppose the "kleptocracy" of DC and the criminal gangs who reside in and around it. You appear to criticize two men whom you do not know nor have you researched.

Ron Paul has a sign on his desk that says, "Dont steal, the government hates competition." He is one of the few elected officials who lobbyists don't visit, because they know he is not for sale. His office is a complete 180 from those of most other reps, whose offices basically are self-aggrandizing shows of their sell out status to special interests.

It is a false dichotomy to suggest bottom up only or top down only, and it is certainly over statement to say that bottom up is the only to have ever or will ever work - there are numerous examples of top down aiding bottom up (and vice versa).

You don't have to choose one or the other, and many of us are working both angles at the same time. A tool box has many tools, and the hammer shouldn't fuss at the screw driver just because it isn't a hammer.

I appreciate anyone who advocates decriminalization of things, although I never trust anyone until, having the power to actually DO IT, he actually does it. That's far more rare. I called this a scam in part because it was meant more to embarrass Democrats than to pass. Where's the companion measure in the House, where the Reps have a majority? If Reps really want it to pass, they can at least pass it there.

You have to start somewhere? Why would anyone have to start in one place, as far as declaration of principles goes?

The FDA is the lackey of Monsanto and other corporate rackets. If we want to use the term "government", then Monsanto is the real government, far more than the FDA is. So anyone who truly wants to get rid of big, tyrannical government wants to get rid, not only of the lackey, but of its corporate bosses. Does Rand Paul want to do that? Of course he doesn't - on the contrary, as soon as he won election he practically broke his leg rushing to a podium to express his support for BP, of all evil, destructive governing organizations. That's just one example.

Show me a senator who actually wants to help small farmers by ending corporate welfare for Big Ag, and I'll be impressed. But this FDA thing is typical misdirection - it's not meant to be enacted, and even if it were, it's purely cosmetic, and would constitute no real change whatsoever.

As for Ron Paul, my understanding is that if he were president and actually did what he claims to want to do, he most definitely does NOT want to restitute political and economic sovereignty to human communities, which is its only legitimate repose, but rather wants to continue with hierarchical tyranny, but just at the arbitrary "state" level. It's an incoherent position; I can understand true democracy (which I advocate), and centralized tyranny, but not tyranny at half mast. I suspect in action it would be the same thing we already have, but maybe more chaotic. It might be "better", but not good.

What's an example of where the top led the way toward anything good? (As opposed to acting from bottom-up duress.)

mark mcafee's picture

All this talk of politics.

What I heard from our consumers this last weekend was this. They care about food access and raw milk. When they eat well they feel great. This is not about politics. Our consumers come from every possible political slant. They will vote dem, green, libritarian, republican....some will even not vote at all. But...all will vote with their dollars and support raw milk.

Market building is the most essential and most important thing we can do for this movement. When people demand their raw milk they will demand it from all origins of belief. That will drive change more than anything.

So instead of blathering about right, left, neo this and neo that.....teach about raw milk about producing and selling raw milk some safe raw milk. That will change this world more than any political crap being thrown arround.

Sylvia Gibson's picture

Mark, you are talking from the view of a large company, "how about producing and selling raw milk", not all want to be big, nor do they wish to have a larger 'consumer base'. Cow shares don't sell to anyone, they are privately owned.

I do agree that all should be teaching about raw milk, farms,environment, (all our foods should be included with teaching). I still have not seen any form of general public teaching materials other than Amanda's sheet.
Knowledge is power, and the more people know, the better they can make their own informed choice on what they want to consume/purchase. The pink slime is a good example, the masses choosing not to buy it and outrage that they didn't know they were consuming it. Money does talk as does masses of voices as one.

Ken Conrad's picture


What you are saying is very true; “market building” along with asserting our God given right to chose is without a doubt, “the most essential and most important thing that we can do for this movement”. All this “blathering about right, left, neo this and neo that”, irrespective of whether it is valid or not, is rooted in our ego and will fail bring about meaningful and necessary change.

Unfortunately politicians and their bureaucrats implement and enforce regulations that interfere with our right to make the very choices you speak of, hence we get suckered into these rhetorical, philosophical political discussions that go around in circles with no apparent resolve.


This is all about politics, and nothing but politics, and is indeed the quintessential political struggle. It's about whether or not whether or not humanity shall have control over its own food. Nothing in human history has ever been such a critical political struggle.

This kind of anti-democracy, anti-"politics" rhetoric is always indicative of status quo authoritarianism. Yes, system hacks do hate filthy peasant participation in politics. That's for our betters, at elite conclaves, like where industrial organic and the CDFA privately get together to set raw milk policy. No democracy allowed.

That goes to the core of my original suspicion of, and soon after that complete rejection of, the RAWMI scam.

It's certainly true that no amount of blathering about Republican vs. Democrat, including desperately seeking Better Senators like Rand Paul or Elizabeth Warren, shall make any difference. That's because all of them, their entire system, is against food freedom.

But that leaves us with the stark choice of fighting for Food Sovereignty (in which full, direct democratic participation by actual food producers is a core principle) or opposing it, and of seeking to abolish corporate power, or supporting its tyranny. That's the real politics of the age.

You're in good company, though. Obama too is always complaining about irksome "tired debates" (about offshore drilling, just two weeks before the BP Gulf eruption) or "false political debates" (about globalization). Elites and elite wannabes do hate politics.

mark mcafee's picture


It does not matter if you are big or small. Teach and Feed People !!! That builds public sentiment and changes societal culture completely.

BTW, here is a great post on the Steve Cooksey guy in NC who is being harassed by the state for sharing about how the paleo diet radically improved his health at the behest of the nutritional control freaks,

The video is really well done and entertaining, and his case has been taken on by the Institute for Justice, whom I don't really know anything about.

He is not being harassed by the State at the "behest of the nutritional control freaks". It's at the behest of the pharmaceutical control freaks.

mark mcafee's picture

Our government is about to implode with the weight of its own regulatory arrogance. What we are seeing is the closed club of well connected lobbyists and their corporations regulations finnally being exposed to the common man. This is the direct of corporate engagement and societal / citizens disengagement.

Laziness in the efforts of engagement of regulatory and legislative affairs creates the predictable....a country designed by corporations for corporations. We the people must engage, dollar vote, teach and claim back our country by becoming dedicated and involved in our not allow others to run it for us...cause they will!!

Lazy people get what they deserve...engage or lose our country.

Sylvia Gibson's picture
"CDC says children under 5 shouldn't be allowed to touch chickens at all."

Wow, my kids were cleaning the coop at that age. They also shoveled horse stalls and scooped the dog poop. Do you think the govt would look into how the chicks are raised?

Deborah - Pacifica's picture

Great post, Sylvia. Again here's another example of an article filled with half-truths, misinformation, & assumptions. In all the years that I had my coop with 6 hens, not once did any of my children, family members, neighbors or friends became ill from being around them, handling them or helping to clean the coop & coop run. An article like this sets up a scare tactic to others who had been considering having a coop of their own. Evidently it was one particular hatchery company that was supplying tainted chicks, but were they shut down, was their production, in fact, they won't even name the particular company. Another example of Big Ag getting different treatment compared to the small farmers. Why is it that they don't get the same treatment that was done against Claravale & OPDC, heck even their identity is kept a secret? Now, I hope that one thing that people did get out of this article, is that it is better to get chicks from a local source, preferably another small farmer (& some of these small farmers will actually give away some of their chicks), a place where you can see the health of the hens & chicks. It just steams me to read this kind of article!!! What this article should have included, is the fact that people should stay away from massed produced & processed chicken as they contain the highest amount of salmonella & even with proper cooking can still make people very ill, especially children. This article should have said "children under 5 shouldn't touch nor consume the store bought chicken"!!

PowerUnit's picture

Perhaps the simplest way of stating it is that government is too complex. Peter Lindfield writes an interesting article about how all teh interdependencies inhibit change.

Understand that when it comes to food, the FDA relies on the USDA. Even though raw milk is a "biological" health issue, undoubtedly there is pressure from the USDA to not allow it. Doing so will discredit their agenda that fat is evil and will hurt their sponsors - Big Sugar, who arguably run the shop. And the USDA will not change because they can hang their hat on advice from the NHLBI and its ATP which tells the world that dietary cholesterol and fat is evil, and of course the ATP is dominated by Big Pharma's lipidologists.

I'm not saying there's a conspiracy here, but the lines clearly support one.

If you want to make changes, the ATP is in my research the apex. Bring it down and they all fall, slowly.

mark mcafee's picture

I have come to learn and experience that the world is not fair....totally unfair and unjust especially with regards to raw milk. When that is understood and accepted...then progress can be made. I was born and raised to fight injustice at every turn. This change of mindset was very hard for me. But when I changed to understand that OPDC is a whipping boy for the FDA and other agencies that protect Big Ag....everything made sense.

Now all we have to do is over-achieve, turn the other cheek and tell the public about the injustice. Our consumers get so pissed off about injustice. It drives the market and is one of the biggest tools we have in our Lemonade Making Kit. This huge negative...has become one of our greatest assets.

Weird twist....The Art of War! The enemy of health is the FDA and they are their own worst enemy.


Barney Google's picture

Why would international CEOs, government representatives, media members and financial heads meet in total secrecy if not a "conspiracy"??? Who benefits? Is this for their benefit or ours???

"We are grateful to the Washington Post, the New York Times, Time magazine and other great
publications whose directors have attended our meetings and respected the promises of discretion
for almost forty years. It would have been impossible for us to develop our plan for the world if
we had been subject to the bright lights of publicity during those years. But, the world is now more
sophisticated and prepared to march towards a world-government. The supranational sovereignty
of an intellectual elite and world bankers is surely preferable to the National auto determination
practiced in past centuries" - David Rockefeller in an address to a Trilateral Commission meeting, June 1991

Barney Google's picture

"MSNBC Lawrence O'Donnell Too Lazy To Research Bilderberg" - only 4 minutes, 20 seconds long

Sounds like a few folks on this blog.

Deborah - Pacifica's picture

This just out, a report a scathing indictment of the organic industry in the U.S. Written by The Cornucopia Institute, one of the industry’s most important watchdogs, the report claims to have “found a number of gimmicky, unproven and even dangerous synthetic additives in organic food. An unholy alliance between corporate agribusiness and the USDA has corrupted the regulatory system, that Congress created, to protect organic consumers and ethical farmers and business people.”

The report can be read in full here:

Please let me know if there are any issues opening this link.

Sylvia Gibson's picture

Deborah, when people read/hear of these types of corruptions they are pushed further away from trusting the govt. This pushes more people to grow their own foods and shun processed foods.

mark mcafee's picture

Consumers never lie....the Raw Milk Truth.
Listen to the words of OPDC consumers at the Camping with the Cows Event.


Jan's picture

For those who might be interested, please sign the petition to "Disarm the FDA" from Rand Paul.

Senator Rand Paul

Imagine gun toting agents from the Food and Drug Administration storming onto your property because you choose to sell raw milk.

Think this can’t happen? Think again.

FDA agents have been barging in to farms and natural food stores to crack down on individuals whose only crime is believing they know better than the government what was good for their health.

Last week, I offered an amendment to the Food and Drug Reauthorization Bill.

My amendment would curb the FDA’s abuse of power and overreach.

It would disarm the FDA, terminate FDA raids on Amish farmers and natural food stores, and put an end to their censorship of dietary supplements.

I hope you’ll take a few moments to watch my floor speech explaining why my amendment to disarm the FDA is so vital.

After you watch the video, I hope you’ll sign the petition urging your senators to support my amendment to end the FDA’s trampling of our rights.

Once you have watched the video and signed your petition, I hope I can count on you to chip in a contribution of $50, $25, $10 – or whatever you can afford – so RANDPAC can mobilize grassroots activists across America to turn up the heat on Congress and reign in the FDA’s rogue behavior.

For Liberty,

Rand Paul
United States Senator

Sylvia Gibson's picture

Thanks Jan, it's enlightening and will share.

Jan's picture

Whoops. I think the link to sign the petition will be found below. Disarm the FDA. I think you might have to cut and paste it into the browser if the link doesn't work. Thanks so much.

mark mcafee's picture

CAMPY with the Cows....very funny.

Interestering to note that DPH found Campy in our chicken water feeders....they suspect that somehow the chickens had something to do with our run of Campy this spring. We will find out soon when the chicken campy PFGE patterns come back.

Biodiversity is wonderful and being POLY FACE is awesome....but...only if the consumers also want an immune system that reflects the true biodoversity found on a TRULY biodiverse organic Farm.

Chickens included.


InalienableWrights's picture

I have a different take on all of this. This to me shows that the entire Senate is inhabited by a bunch of Gambino crime family types. The FDA is clearly unconstitutional as I have never found one thing authorizing it in that short and concise document. Rand has shown that he is unprincipled in that he did not sponsor a bill to rid us of the illegal and tyrannical FDA.

If you know your history even the Supreme Court (That BTW was never meant to be the sole or final arbiter of Constitutionality.) ruled that all of the alphabet soup nonsense was unconstitutional until FDR black-mailed them by sending Congress the “Judiciary Reorganization Bill of 1937” which made the spineless men in black dresses change their minds. So much for a principled judiciary.

The bottom line is either you believe in the rule of law or you do not , and the Senate though most have missed the point, has taught us a very instructive civics lesson. That laws are written for the proles and not for the oligarchs. That the Senate can blatantly be as criminal as they wish to be.

FYI if you are interested in some of this history I suggest "The Rise of Tyranny" by Jonathan Emord an attorney that has taken the FDA to court and won an unprecedented 7 times.