Friday, July 23, 2010

The Regime's War on Food (Updated, July 25)

Enemies of food fascism: Max Kane (left) and Canadian dairy farmer Michael Schmidt

Many thousands of years ago, two men came across a dairy cow, a beast neither had previously beheld. 

One of them, seeking to impress the other, pointed to the creature's udder and declared: "You see those things dangling from the underside of that animal? Well, I'm going to squeeze one of them and drink whatever comes out of it!"

According to the late and much-missed George Carlin, that nameless daredevil was the bravest man who ever lived. He was also exceptionally fortunate, since he was able to consume raw milk, and even extol its nutritional benefits, without running the risk of imprisonment.

"I drink raw milk, sold illegally on the underground black market," admits organic farmer and polymath Joel F. Salatin in the foreword to David Gumpert's book The Raw Milk Revolution: Behind America's Emerging Battle over Food Rights.  "I grew up on raw milk, from our own Guernsey cows that our family hand-milked twice a day. We made yogurt, ice cream, butter and cottage cheese. All through high school in the early 1970s, I sold our homemade yogurt, butter, buttermilk, and cottage cheese at the curb market on Saturday mornings."

Udder nonsense: The FDA considers this a death dispenser.
This was possible only because our rulers -- who plunder our earnings to subsidize production of government-approved toxins such as high fructose corn syrup, and don't hesitate to confer the "safe foods" label on Twinkies and other hydrogenated wads of incremental death  -- hadn't yet decided to protect us from the scourge of unprocessed natural foods, such as raw milk.

That oversight has since been corrected. As a result, explains Salatin, home dairy producers like the family in which he grew up are forbidden to sell their products at a contemporary farmer's market.

It isn't an exaggeration to say that the Regime is conducting a low-grade war against producers and consumers of raw milk -- a campaign that bears an undeniable family resemblance to the murderous, decades-long farce called the War on Drugs. It shouldn't come as a surprise to learn that a government presuming to dictate to us what mood-altering substances we can consume would likewise presume to tell us what foods we can eat and offer to others.

The federal Food and Drug Administration, working through a multi-state network of sycophants, is treating the private distribution of raw milk as a species of criminal conspiracy. Borrowing a tactic employed in the War on Drugs, the Feds are seeking to extort the cooperation of some consumers to work as informants.

Wisconsin resident and raw milk consumer Max Kane was targeted for that treatment, but refused to submit.  As a result, Kane may wind up in prison for the supposed offense of drinking raw milk and sharing it with others.
As a child, Kane was diagnosed with Crohn's Disease, a gastrointestinal disorder that left him chronically weak, malnourished, and -- as he put it -- "wasting away."

At his adult height of 5'11", Kane weighed 110 pounds. After conventional medical treatment availed nothing, Kane sought an answer in nutrition; he found one in a diet of raw foods, including raw, unpasteurized milk.

Kane insists that raw milk and dairy products helped him attain the vibrant health he displayed to good advantage by staging a 40-day bicycle across the continental U.S. During that odyssey, Kane consumed only the dairy products supplied by farmers belonging to a nation-wide network of raw milk producers.

According to raw milk proponents, pasteurization destroys not only harmful pathogens, but also beneficial bacteria needed to maintain a healthy balance of gastrointestinal flora (a subject about which I acquired some hard-won knowledge about a year ago). Homogenization further denatures milk, depriving it of vital alkalizing minerals that can bind with toxins and remove them from the body. 

There are trade-offs involved whether one chooses to consume milk in its raw or pasteurized/homogenized form. Furthermore, there are some accomplished health and fitness experts -- among them the legendary nonagenarian stud Jack LaLane -- who insist that human beings have no business consuming dairy products at all.

Apart from the paternalistic assumptions favored by our self-appointed bureaucratic custodians, there's no reason to believe that individuals are incapable of making healthy decisions for themselves. As Kane points out, his case is a dispute over property rights in the most elemental terms. "My body is my private property," he explains. "Nobody gets to say what I eat except me."

Although the government that afflicts Wisconsin insists it is "illegal" to sell raw milk, the law contains no impediment to direct sale of milk by farmers to consumers. Kane, who founded the Raw Milk Party, lives with his wife and young children in Viroqua, a town of roughly 4400 people that prides itself on its organic farming and farmer's markets. He belongs to a "cow share" co-op, whose members receive raw milk in exchange for paying a portion of the upkeep of the animals.

Like similar private ventures across the country, Kane's co-op is a subscription-based arrangement, which means that it deals with members, not customers. Kane sells his raw milk to another membership-based food club in Chicago called Belle's Lunchbox. In late 2008, Kane's club came under scrutiny by both federal regulators and Wisconsin's Department of Justice and Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) following a conveniently anonymous complaint from an Illinois resident supposedly took ill after consuming unpasteurized milk.

Georgia raw milk farmers were forced to destroy their inventory.

The milk was traced to farms in Wisconsin, and the federal anti-raw milk gestapo -- already working with state counterparts in Michigan, Indiana, Illinois, and Wisconsin to crack down on the distribution of raw milk and other natural foods -- dispatched functionaries to test for brucella and other pathogens.

 Unfortunately for them, the tests proved negative, so they were deprived of a vital propaganda tool.

"I hope I don't come to resent making this statement," wrote Wisconsin veterinary commissar Roger Ehlenfeldt in a December 19, 2008 e-mail to his comrades, "but the Brucellosis issue may have been the simplest part of this problem and could have been a pretty good lever to use to push the raw milk issue." ( Emphasis added.)

Mark this well: The chief concern expressed here was not for the health and well-being of the public, but rather regret over the loss of an opportunity to exploit suffering in order to restrict the freedom of others.

Deprived of that "lever," the federal food fascisti attempted to pressure Kane into informing on others involved in the "criminal" purveyance of pure milk.

Despite the fact that Kane has never been accused of a crime, he confronts the possibility of criminal contempt charges for his refusal to provide names, addresses, and other information about people who belong to his raw milk club.

Last June 18, Kane was summoned by Wisconsin State assistant Attorney General Philip Ferris to offer a deposition. Kane, who has always represented himself in court, wisely refused to answer any questions until and unless his constitutionally protected rights were explicitly recognized by Ferris. For his part, Ferris adamantly refused even to admit on record that he had sworn an oath to uphold the U.S. and state constitutions -- a refusal that is tacit admission that his oath was an act of public perjury.

Ferris, thoroughly out-lawyered by an amateur, got nothing. Kane responded to the subpoena by challenging the constitutionality of Wisconsin's anti-raw milk statutes. This prompted the State of Wisconsin to escalate its assault by using the threat of criminal contempt charges in an attempt to extort Kane's cooperation. The term "extortion" is the only suitable one to describe what's happening here, since nobody has ever signed a criminal complaint against Kane or any of his associates.  Despite that fact, the Wisconsin AG's office filed a motion to have Kane designated a "threat to the public" and imprisoned while his appeal proceeded through the courts.

In an April 19 hearing, Vernon County Judge Michael Rosborough denied the state's vindictive motion to imprison the 32-year-old farmer and granted Kane sufficient time to collect transcripts and prepare for his appeal.

The standoff in Wisconsin represents just one front in the Regime's war against people who produce and consume raw milk. David Gumpert (author of The Raw Milk Revolution) offers a rundown of some other recent outrages.

 "[In early June], agents of the Minnesota Department of Agriculture, escorted by police and also bearing search warrants, raided and shut down Traditional Foods Warehouse, a popular food club in Minneapolis specializing in locally-produced foods," writes Gumpert. "They also raided two farms suspected of illegally selling raw milk. And in a national first among such raids, agents searched a private home and made off with computers; the family's offense appears to have been that it allowed one of the raw dairy farmers to park in its driveway to distribute raw milk to area residents who had ordered it."

In California, Gumpert relates, a mob of 20 armed tax-feeders -- including personnel from two sheriff's offices, the LA County District Attorney's office, and the California Department of Food and Agriculture -- descended on Sharon Palmer's Ventura County farm. Palmer has endured three assaults of this kind over the past 18 months, apparently as a result of a technical error in the labeling of goat's milk.

Actor George Lopez with raw milk farmer Mark McAfee
 On the same day, government goons laid siege to Rawsome Foods, a Venice, California food club that offers a variety of unprocessed dairy products. The marauders made off with a large haul of raw honey and dairy products before shuttering the private club for failure to obtain a health permit.

To his considerable credit, Rawsome owner Aajonus Vonderplanitz -- who has endured in-person harassment by the FBI and FDA -- re-opened his club just hours after the government-licensed vandals had wrecked it.

These raids -- and scores of others like them -- are part of a coordinated campaign by the Federal Government to arrest "the spread of private food groups that have sprung up around the country in recent years -- food clubs and buying groups to provide specialized local products that are generally unavailable in groceries, like grass-fed meats, pastured [not pasteurized] eggs, fermented foods, and, in some cases, raw dairy products," observes Gumpert. "Because they are private and limited to consumers who sign up for membership, these groups generally avoid obtaining retail and public health licensed required of retailers that sell to the general public."

All of this is dictated by the basic totalitarian formula: Everything within the state, nothing outside the state, nothing against the state. Private food clubs, like every other association, simply have to be brought under state control, or destroyed in a fit of coercive benevolence.

We also shouldn't underestimate the Regime's irrepressible hostility toward any enterprise that promotes self-sufficiency: Witness the premonitory rumblings of a new Federal jihad against the precious metals industry.
As the Greater Depression deepens and large-scale retail distribution networks collapse, Americans will increasingly rely on locally produced foods -- an ironically beneficial side effect of the economic meltdown. In the fact that the Regime has chosen, in this economic environment, to mount a persecution campaign against independent local food producers we find eloquent testimony of its incurable malevolence.

Update, July 25: 

Courtesy of the Los Angeles Times (by way of The Agitator) comes the video record of the armed raid on Rawsome Foods -- and yes, the wankers in government-issued costumes did enter the establishment with their guns drawn.

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Dum spiro, pugno!


Dartainian Winslow III said...

Carlin is one of my heroes. I miss you George. Yes W.G. hidden away in the Messiahcare plan of Chairman Obama is the tracking and taxing of bullion transactions. So glad the regime is going to micromanage my life during the great leap forward. Food is a weapon so clean your plate.

Anonymous said...

Ironic how the health Nazi's in the FDA want everything under their control and still can't keep things "safe". Remember the incident at the peanut processing plant and how contaminated goods managed to escape? Was this plant and its products not inspected by the USDA? And how is it that this "inspected" plant managed to ship contaminated goods? Where were the inspectors? Were they asleep at the time or taking their bribes to look the other way? They clearly failed but you hear nary a peep if anything about that.

Anonymous said...

"All of this is dictated by the basic totalitarian formula: Everything within the state, nothing outside the state, nothing against the state. Private food clubs, like every other association, simply have to be brought under state control, or destroyed in a fit of coercive benevolence."

Mr. Grigg another reason would of course be with further "regulation" if you harass enough raw dairy farmers and organic growers out of business we would be forced to buy more food from Monsanto, and Tyson and Archers Daniels Midlands who make much more generous campaign donations to the regime than local farmers.

ncpagan said...

Four legs good, two legs better...

Michael said...

Will -

Great column. I appreciate the fact that your writings cover a wide variety of topics...some of which I am very unfamiliar with.

Your efforts are greatly appreciate. Keep up the great work.

Anonymous said...

Living in Vermont,has both its curses and its blessings. The curses involve high taxes and few jobs due to a burdensome regulatory environment. However when it comes to agrarian issues the long arm of the state is fairly restrained. This is due in large measure to the fact the state has deep agrarian roots and over the last 40 years large numbers of progressives with libertarian tendencies have moved in. These people tend to be very involved politically and tend to be very "free market minded" when it comes to the selling of farm produce. (On other issues these types tend to be died in the wool statists) Selling raw milk was declared legal, in 2009, by the legislature and shock surprise no has died or gotten sick yet by BB or TB.

Anonymous said...

When I think of this poor guy going to prison for advocating for raw milk I am reminded of that quote by Thoreau: " Under a govt. that imprisons unjustly the only place for a just man is in prison"

Anonymous said...

"The chief concern expressed here was not for the health and well-being of the public, but rather regret over the loss of an opportunity to exploit suffering in order to restrict the freedom of others."

"Ferris adamantly refused even to admit on record that he had sworn an oath to uphold the U.S. and state constitutions -- a refusal that is tacit admission that his oath was an act of public perjury."

These are great examples of your uniquely badass style of reasoning and argumentation. I can't get enough of it, myself.

hidden in obamacare said...

a. national health tracking number and database
b. 6000 man domestic army
c. abortion mandate
d. APGAR score for newborns
e. BMI rating for everyone
f. racial preferences for healthcare professionals
g. cost of one trillion dollars and only 90% insured by 2020
h. IMAB as the ultimate arbiter of cost, quality, quantity of healthcare
i. track and tax bullion transactions
j. home visitation for families with children or expecting children

Anonymous said...

Yes, in this once great country of amerika you can't even wipe your butt without paying a tribute (you do pay tax on TP after all).

Fortunately, not too far down the road from Will we still have farmer's markets where the governor doesn't get a cut and raw milk is available (though milk no longer agrees with me much, which sucks because I like ice cream). Gotta love those evil black markets . . .

In Male Fide
Sic Semper Tyrannis

zach said...

Our milk cow will calve soon, and we'll have lots of fresh milk. Until we got her, we bought raw grass fed milk behind the health food store where every bottle had to be labeled "For Pet Consumption Only" as per Fascist Florida "Law"

Marc Swanson said...

We have finally reached the point where all things not mandatory are prohibited.

Large scale government subsidized dairy farms (as distinguished from raw milk producers) are some of the most economically protected enterprises in America. No dairy imports are allowed - even cheese toppings for pizza. A large tax-feeding dairy farm a few miles from me has so far received a million dollars in subsidies! The system is pure mercantilism with one of the primary goals keeping prices as high as possible. Can you imagine if government did the same for all products? Needless to say, few in government have read Adam Smith.

If government was truly concerned about our health it would get its grasping paws out of our pockets and stop limiting our choices as consumers. If one becomes sick from eating or drinking something justice can be obtained through the courts. We do not dozens of regulatory agencies micromanaging affairs for what is essentially the benefit of politically influential producers within any industry.

Anonymous said...

The sociopathic busy body's work is NEVER done! I intend to simply ignore these fools. They are greatly outnumbered, the people just need to wake up to that fact. Peaceful non-compliance can work, if we stick together.

Mayberry said...

Mr. Grigg, thank you so much for what you do. If inly more people in this country would grow a pair and openly defy the regime, we might actually find ourselves Free again.

I'm going cow shopping....

Anonymous said...

I will consume what I want, when I want, how I want. No one can force me to do otherwise.
If I eat/consume the wrong things, then I might die. I accept that fate for my personal freedom of choice.
Federal government be damned!

freedom fries and no word for entrepreneur said...

As the economy suffocates and states go bankrupt these alphabet soup tax trough feeders will be more zealous than ever to justify their worthless and useless existence. Have you heard the story of the orchid importer in Texas who was raided by 4 cops in riot gear for the dastardly crime of permits not matching orchids. An informer ordered some orchids and the paperwork did not match so he was charged with making false statements to a federal official. How dare he make a false statement to a member of the technocratic elite! He must be made an example of.

Captain Blue said...

As a volunteer on a New Hampshire farm that produces and sells raw milk, this topic is very near to my heart. There is one local bright spot in the darkness: As of this year, NH raw milk producers can now sell up to 20 gallons per day without falling under the state's regulatory umbrella. Previously, anyone selling more than 5 gallons a day was subject to regulation.

It's a small step, but it's still heartening to live in a state that's rolling back regulations on raw food while others are clamping down. Hopefully we can continue in this direction and lead the way for liberty lovers in other states.

Anonymous said...


Can't happen here? The 2001 destruction of 6 1/2 million healthy cloven hooved animals owned by the small farmers of England was a 'test run'.

Both 'outbreaks' of foot&mouth originated in government operated livestock disease laboratories situated in the midst of privately owned parcels of farmland grazed by small flocks & herds.

“Food is a weapon,” said Maxim Litvinov, Soviet Commissar of Foreign Affairs.

Bertram Wolfe, a founder of the Communist Party USA was shocked, “The peasantry fought for its life with fowling pieces and pitchforks. Uprisings embraced whole regions. Villages were surrounded and laid waste. Districts were stripped of their stocks of grain and seed, then cordoned off to die of famine and plague.”

Soviet Communist Party Central Committee member Khatayevich:
“A ruthless struggle is going on between the peasantry and our regime… It took a famine to show them who is master here. It has cost millions of lives, but the collective farm system is here to stay. We’ve won the war.”

“Famine was quite deliberately employed as an instrument of national policy, as the last means of breaking the resistance of the peasantry to the new system where they are divorced from personal ownership of the land and obligated to work on the conditions which the state may demand from them...”—William H. Chamberlin, British correspondent.

Uncle Al said...

...and yes, the wankers in government-issued costumes did enter the establishment with their guns drawn.

Too bad the wankers don't have their guns drawn when they do their real wanking.

Anonymous said...

Have to have your guns drawn when dealing with raw milk producers. Either that or look like an "udder" fool! Were they afraid of being sprayed in the face by, in their twisted lexicon, what they consider a bio-hazard? Are we to be viewed as disgruntled "insurgents" on the food front?

R.S. Ladwig said...

Great post Mr. Grigg, I see no difference at all between how the state does these sorts of things throught licensing and permits and the mafia shaking people down for protection money.

the memory hole said...

W.G. and commenters, found this article at an online news aggregator,0,4951907.story

jurassicpork said...

Good job, Will, and a real eye-opener. We'll make a liberal out of you, yet.

William N. Grigg said...

Thanks, J.P. -- and I've certainly been worse things than a liberal!

Dr Eric Berg said...

Wow that's so delicious.I used to drink that kind of milk before but it stop me because i'm lactose intolerant.More power to your diary farm.