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Author Topic: Practical Consequences  (Read 7572 times)

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Offline XajowTopic starter

Practical Consequences
« on: May 25, 2011, 05:10:10 PM »
First up, a family selling rabbits gets a government shakedown.

http://dailycaller.com/2011/05/24/usda-fines-missouri-family-90k-for-selling-a-few-rabbits-without-a-license/
      It started out as a hobby, a way for the Dollarhite family in Nixa, Mo., to teach a teenage son responsibility. Like a lemonade stand.

But now, selling a few hundred rabbits over two years has provoked the heavy hand of the federal government to the tune of a $90,643 fine. The fine was levied more than a year after authorities contacted family members, prompting them to immediately halt their part-time business and liquidate their equipment.

[...]

When a local pet store asked them to supply their pet rabbits, the Dollarhites had no idea they would be running afoul of an obscure federal regulation that prohibits selling more than $500 worth of rabbits to a pet store without a license from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). Under the law, pet stores are exempt from regulation.

[...]

The fine is part of a campaign to step up enforcement of the law that has included levying fines on magicians who use rabbits in magic hat tricks. An Inspector General report prompted increased enforcement, Sacks said.

[...]

“This cage is a quarter-inch too small, you’d have to have this replaced,” the inspector told Judy Dollarhite, she recalled.

In fact, there are no actual written USDA standards for what constitutes proper care of a rabbit by a wholesale breeder of pet animals, Sacks said. Instead, the process is a “negotiation” between a USDA official and a breeder when they apply for a license.

The inspector left the Dollarhites’ home, telling Judy Dollarhite she needed a license and saying she would send an application, Judy Dollarhite said. But the instructions were unclear and the application never came, Judy Dollarhite said.



Next, the government uses sting operations to protect us all from the public menace of.... milk. Raw milk, sold to people who knowingly and willingly choose to buy it.

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2011/05/21/MNVN1JH966.DTL&ao=all#ixzz1NNBLlW5R
      Pennsylvania Amish farmer Dan Allgyer has become a cause celebre for raw milk drinkers as the target of a Food and Drug Administration campaign - using sting operations and guns-drawn raids usually reserved for terrorists and drug lords - to eliminate unpasteurized milk.

Such milk, also known as raw or fresh milk, is legal in California and considered essential to Europe's finest cheeses, creams and butters.

But under the authority of a 1987 FDA regulation banning interstate commerce in raw milk, government agents have conducted a sting operation on a raw milk producer in Fresno, made three raids on a boutique goat cheese maker in Ventura County and descended with guns drawn on a raw milk buying club in Venice (Los Angeles County).

Allgyer is the latest to feel the force of a yearslong Food and Drug Administration campaign against raw milk that has focused on tiny farms and consumer co-ops.

Mark McAfee, owner of Organic Pastures Dairy in Fresno, which sells raw milk to 50,000 customers a week in 400 stores in the Bay Area and the rest of the state, was the subject of an undercover investigation three years ago by federal agents, becoming the largest dairy owner targeted so far.

"They refuse to acknowledge raw milk can be done in a safe manner," McAfee said of the FDA. "The state of California is very effectively doing that. ... There is no recorded evidence anywhere, any place - the Centers for Disease Control, the Food and Drug Administration, anybody - that shows anybody has ever died from raw milk in California."

[...]

The Food Safety and Modernization Act approved by Congress last year and signed by President Obama in January has vastly enhanced the agency's powers. Starting July 3, the agency can confiscate any food at any farm that it deems unsafe or mislabeled.

The FDA filed an injunction against Allgyer on April 19, accusing him of "contributing to the introduction, transmission, or spread of communicable diseases" at his Rainbow Acres Farm in Kinzer, Pa., where he tends three dozen cows and sells their raw milk to a small buyers club in the Maryland suburbs of Washington, D.C.

The agency has not found Allgyer's milk to be contaminated, but it claims Allgyer is "engaged in milking cows and packaging, labeling, selling and distributing unpasteurized cow milk across state lines."

Federal agents began a sting operation on Allgyer in October 2009, posing as consumers to infiltrate the Grassfed on the Hill buying club that bought Allgyer's milk. The agents placed orders, getting Allgyer to deliver milk across the Maryland state line.

In April 2010, FDA agents, U.S. marshals and a state trooper made a predawn raid on his farm. There, they discovered "numerous portable coolers in the defendant's driveway that appeared to be milk," the injunction said.

[...]

Jonathan Emord, a food and drug attorney who is consulting with the buying club about a possible lawsuit, said the agency wants Allgyer to pay for its investigation, which could put the farmer out of business.

"There is not a single bit of evidence to show that any of the milk from Dan's cows injured anyone," Emord said.



I am very tempted to make a sarcastic comment about the pragmatism and compassion of these examples of non-libertarianism in action, but I won't. I'm trying to play nice.

Offline Jude

Re: Practical Consequences
« Reply #1 on: May 25, 2011, 09:12:53 PM »
Pulling out two examples of governmental action gone wrong as proof that libertarianism works is about as sane as pointing to Bernie Maidoff singularly as proof that it doesn't.  Use statistics if you want to make a point about a trend, not anecdotes.

EDIT:  By the way, the latter part of the milk article is abject BS.  I can produce studies if you wish, but raw milk's supposed health benefits are not at all scientifically supported.  It's nonsense.
« Last Edit: May 25, 2011, 09:26:07 PM by Jude »

Offline XajowTopic starter

Re: Practical Consequences
« Reply #2 on: May 25, 2011, 09:53:50 PM »
Pulling out two examples of governmental action gone wrong as proof that libertarianism works is about as sane as pointing to Bernie Maidoff singularly as proof that it doesn't.
You're right, those two stories by themselves certainly don't prove that. But then, I don't recall saying they did.

Use statistics if you want to make a point about a trend, not anecdotes.
When I get around to making a point about a trend I'll do that.

EDIT:  By the way, the latter part of the milk article is abject BS.  I can produce studies if you wish, but raw milk's supposed health benefits are not at all scientifically supported.  It's nonsense.
I don't care about that. I care about people getting arrested for something that shouldn't be illegal in the first place. Person A has raw milk. Person B wants to buy raw milk. Person A sells raw milk to Person B. Why is that a crime? Whose rights have been violated? Why is impractical or wrong to say, "Hey, maybe we could do without that regulation or law"?

Offline Jude

Re: Practical Consequences
« Reply #3 on: May 25, 2011, 10:24:20 PM »
Your quote, "I am very tempted to make a sarcastic comment about the pragmatism and compassion of these examples of non-libertarianism in action, but I won't. I'm trying to play nice," seems to imply you were trying to make a large-scale political point about these 2 cases.

As for why there's regulation about raw milk, they're trying to protect people from themselves because raw milk is more dangerous than processed milk and has no actual benefits (the small amount of pro-biotics which they may contain doesn't outweigh the increased risk of receiving dangerous bacteria according to scientific assessments).  The people who claim otherwise have no evidence and are basically making shit up.

You obviously think that it's wrong to regulate this, but I'm not going to get into a philosophical debate with you about that.
« Last Edit: May 25, 2011, 10:25:25 PM by Jude »

Offline Shjade

Re: Practical Consequences
« Reply #4 on: May 25, 2011, 11:17:31 PM »
I don't care about that. I care about people getting arrested for something that shouldn't be illegal in the first place. Person A has raw milk. Person B wants to buy raw milk. Person A sells raw milk to Person B. Why is that a crime? Whose rights have been violated? Why is impractical or wrong to say, "Hey, maybe we could do without that regulation or law"?
In other words this thread's a pro-marijuana argument in milk's clothing? ;p

Offline Will

Re: Practical Consequences
« Reply #5 on: May 26, 2011, 12:42:07 AM »
You're right, those two stories by themselves certainly don't prove that. But then, I don't recall saying they did.
When I get around to making a point about a trend I'll do that.
I don't care about that. I care about people getting arrested for something that shouldn't be illegal in the first place. Person A has raw milk. Person B wants to buy raw milk. Person A sells raw milk to Person B. Why is that a crime? Whose rights have been violated? Why is impractical or wrong to say, "Hey, maybe we could do without that regulation or law"?

Stupid people who hurt themselves through ignorance means a higher health care and disability burden for everyone else.  This is why I'm all for seatbelt laws, etc.  We can say, just let the idiots hurt themselves, but if they end up paralyzed and in a wheelchair, they end up on disability.

Offline XajowTopic starter

Re: Practical Consequences
« Reply #6 on: May 26, 2011, 04:10:38 AM »
Your quote, "I am very tempted to make a sarcastic comment about the pragmatism and compassion of these examples of non-libertarianism in action, but I won't. I'm trying to play nice," seems to imply you were trying to make a large-scale political point about these 2 cases.
I was trying to make a point about the manner in which "practical" and/or "compassionate" solutions are sometimes played out.

As for why there's regulation about raw milk, they're trying to protect people from themselves because raw milk is more dangerous than processed milk and has no actual benefits (the small amount of pro-biotics which they may contain doesn't outweigh the increased risk of receiving dangerous bacteria according to scientific assessments).  The people who claim otherwise have no evidence and are basically making shit up.
Yet in other parts of the world, raw milk is used and consumed without massive spread of disease and death. Why is all raw milk in the U.S. inherently more dangerous than the raw milk in, say, France?

Offline XajowTopic starter

Re: Practical Consequences
« Reply #7 on: May 26, 2011, 04:11:17 AM »
In other words this thread's a pro-marijuana argument in milk's clothing? ;p
Ha! In a way, yes I suppose it is.

Offline XajowTopic starter

Re: Practical Consequences
« Reply #8 on: May 26, 2011, 04:14:52 AM »
Stupid people who hurt themselves through ignorance means a higher health care and disability burden for everyone else.  This is why I'm all for seatbelt laws, etc.  We can say, just let the idiots hurt themselves, but if they end up paralyzed and in a wheelchair, they end up on disability.
So are you in favor of compelling everyone to exercise, to conform to a specific diet and to get check-ups regularly to make sure they don't end up burdening everyone else?

Offline Callie Del Noire

Re: Practical Consequences
« Reply #9 on: May 26, 2011, 08:22:28 AM »
I find it amazing with the milk thing but then I'm still a bit dubious about the milk regulation issues after reading how Monsanto has pretty much rolled up and bulldozed over the US.  In almost every country they have had issues with their Bovine Growth Hormone, but here in the US Monsanto has been pushing for the removal of 'BGH free' labels to keep folks from telling the difference.


Offline Will

Re: Practical Consequences
« Reply #10 on: May 26, 2011, 10:06:33 AM »
So are you in favor of compelling everyone to exercise, to conform to a specific diet and to get check-ups regularly to make sure they don't end up burdening everyone else?

Some of that I would definitely be for, most specifically the regular checkups.  That kind of assumes universal health care, but given that, I think it's a great idea.  Enforcing diet and exercise go far beyond the limit of what's practical, though, so I'm not so keen on that.

Clearly our political ideologies are very far apart. ::)

Offline XajowTopic starter

Re: Practical Consequences
« Reply #11 on: May 26, 2011, 11:52:06 AM »
Some of that I would definitely be for, most specifically the regular checkups.  That kind of assumes universal health care, but given that, I think it's a great idea.  Enforcing diet and exercise go far beyond the limit of what's practical, though, so I'm not so keen on that.
So would you then favor some form of required punishment for people who, at their mandated check-ups, were discovered to be overweight or had too high a cholesterol level?

Offline Will

Re: Practical Consequences
« Reply #12 on: May 26, 2011, 11:58:16 AM »
No.  I think that requiring the visit would be productive enough in and of itself without having to resort to punishments.  I think people want to be healthy, in general, and giving them the means to do so would go a long way towards making the population healthier on average.
« Last Edit: May 26, 2011, 11:59:54 AM by Will »

Offline XajowTopic starter

Re: Practical Consequences
« Reply #13 on: May 26, 2011, 12:08:09 PM »
I was not aware they were being denied a means to do so. But okay. Thank you for taking the time to answer my questions.

Offline Will

Re: Practical Consequences
« Reply #14 on: May 26, 2011, 12:15:06 PM »
Lack of insurance has a way of doing that.  Aversion to doctors/hospitals adds to it.  General lack of motivation and apathy contributes as well.  In light of all that, universal health care and required checkups seems like a good idea to me.

Offline XajowTopic starter

Re: Practical Consequences
« Reply #15 on: May 26, 2011, 01:44:31 PM »
Lack of motivation to use a service is not a denial of service.

Offline Pointless Digression

Re: Practical Consequences
« Reply #16 on: May 26, 2011, 06:43:38 PM »
Yet in other parts of the world, raw milk is used and consumed without massive spread of disease and death


Offline Jude

Re: Practical Consequences
« Reply #17 on: May 26, 2011, 07:00:17 PM »
To be fair, I didn't cite my sources either -- which I probably should've.  Raw milk also doesn't lead to "massive" disease or death, that much is true.  However, there is a reason why everyone knows the name Louis Pasteur:  his process revolutionized the consumption of milk by making it much more safe.

I'd be more than happy to pull up some citations to back this up as long as we agree that any scientific discussion that we have on this subject will only accept legitimate, peer-reviewed literature from scientific journals to be evidence as opposed to anecdotes and passionate pleas from members of the organinite cult (my sarcastic term for those who have developed a pseudo-scientific world view around consumption of 'pure' products).
« Last Edit: May 26, 2011, 07:03:46 PM by Jude »

Offline Noelle

Re: Practical Consequences
« Reply #18 on: May 26, 2011, 07:47:20 PM »
I was not aware they were being denied a means to do so. But okay. Thank you for taking the time to answer my questions.

Depends on how you're interpreting 'denied'. By all means, this is a free country and we are free to make many decisions regarding our lifestyle, but that's an awfully sunny outlook on what isn't actually. Look at the price of various types of foods, for starters -- the impoverished are ironically some of the heaviest, most unhealthy people out there simply because buying 10 frozen, sodium-laden, but complete dinners for $10 makes more sense than spending $10 on the produce and other ingredients it takes to make one, maybe two healthful dinners. They're free to choose, but what kind of choice are they making, exactly?

And food deserts -- places where the nearest outlet for fresh fruits and vegetables is beyond reasonable distance to travel for it or the actual availability is poor quality and/or too expensive -- are also cropping up in somewhat depressing amounts in more impoverished areas. There are no regulations for this, it is simply being driven by stores who do not see a demand for fruits and vegetables in a certain area (because the poor can't afford it in comparison to prepackaged foods), so they pull up the anchor and sail on past.

Tack that on to the rising cost of insurance, the disturbing lack of availability even for those with a full-time job (I fall into this category), the high cost of medical treatment for conditions that can arise from poor eating habits and lack of proper exercise, and you've got yourself a recipe for disaster. Are they being denied? Technically, no. Does that mean that a laissez-faire approach is doing them any favors? Absolutely not.

We already have a kind of rewards system in place for those who do choose to partake in preventative care and drawbacks for those who don't. People who are obese pay higher premiums, and I think it's becoming increasingly common for insurance companies to offer incentives (lower premiums, free membership, etc.) for those who join gyms or make a certain weight (signed off by a doctor). It's certainly not dictating the kind of lifestyle people lead, but it is a bit of a goad in a certain direction.

But let's bring this back around to the raw milk debate. I'd like to liken it to holistic healing. People are feeding this stuff to their kids, who are also coincidentally at higher risk (along side the elderly) than your average, healthy adult of contracting diseases from any kind of mishandled raw milk product. It's not just a matter of letting adults make adult decisions for themselves, it's about the kind of impact those decisions have on those who are dependent on them and have no legal standing or otherwise to decide for themselves. No decision is truly insulated, at least not in a society that is as interconnected as ours is. If you get sick from consuming raw milk, you suddenly take time off of work, which is a loss in profit for the company, a larger burden on other workers who must compensate for your absence; conversely, if you decide to go to work anyway, there's decreased productivity, not to mention a potential burden on the health system, and you become infectious if you're carrying something like E. Coli. No big deal??
« Last Edit: May 26, 2011, 07:48:42 PM by Noelle »

Offline consortium11

Re: Practical Consequences
« Reply #19 on: May 26, 2011, 09:56:10 PM »
Stupid people who hurt themselves through ignorance means a higher health care and disability burden for everyone else.  This is why I'm all for seatbelt laws, etc.  We can say, just let the idiots hurt themselves, but if they end up paralyzed and in a wheelchair, they end up on disability.

What about those who play consensual contact sports? Boxers, football players etc etc. They all go into each game knowing that there are risk of permanent injury... should they be banned or restricted?

Hell, cheerleading and horse riding (normally show jumping) have some of the worst injury stats for any sport (including serious ones). Should we be relegating and stopping who can and can't be cheerleaders due to risk of a higher healthcare and disability burden for everyone else?

Offline Will

Re: Practical Consequences
« Reply #20 on: May 26, 2011, 11:24:36 PM »
Again, you get into an issue of practicality.  Requiring seatbelts is much simpler than outlawing horse riding. 

Another factor is the percentage of people who seriously inure themselves in these activities.  If it's a tiny fraction of people who end up disabled, it's not really worth all the effort to phase it out.  People leading unhealthy and uneducated lives, in contrast, has a much higher rate of causing problems.  Not really a fair comparison.

Extrapolating my views and statements to the far extreme isn't exactly a good way to debate.  It puts words in my mouth and ignores any of my attempts to qualify those statements.  I recognize that there are limits to how this kind of thing should be applied, and those limits don't even really make a solid line.  It's more of a gray area.  Beyond that is the realm of absurdities.  I just wanted to say that before anyone else felt a need to ask "So do you think we should <insert absurdity>?"  Consider this a pre-emptive No.

Offline Zakharra

Re: Practical Consequences
« Reply #21 on: May 27, 2011, 10:04:15 AM »
Again, you get into an issue of practicality.  Requiring seatbelts is much simpler than outlawing horse riding. 

Another factor is the percentage of people who seriously inure themselves in these activities.  If it's a tiny fraction of people who end up disabled, it's not really worth all the effort to phase it out.  People leading unhealthy and uneducated lives, in contrast, has a much higher rate of causing problems.  Not really a fair comparison.

Extrapolating my views and statements to the far extreme isn't exactly a good way to debate.  It puts words in my mouth and ignores any of my attempts to qualify those statements.  I recognize that there are limits to how this kind of thing should be applied, and those limits don't even really make a solid line.  It's more of a gray area.  Beyond that is the realm of absurdities.  I just wanted to say that before anyone else felt a need to ask "So do you think we should <insert absurdity>?"  Consider this a pre-emptive No.

 The problem with this is there are people who seriously concider and want to impliment what we think is absurd and stupid. We might think the people proposing it are beeing foolish, but in all likelyhood, they are dead serious. They'd enact the more restrictive and cofining rules ands regulations in order to 'protect you' from dangerous activities. 

Some examples are the outlawing of dodgeball, wiffleball in many schools and summer camps, hell, alot of contact sports are not being deemed unsafe.

 The issue is that some rules are needed, but drawing the line between what is good and what's stupid is hard.

 On the raw milk topic, I milk three goats. We use the milk for cooking and drink it. So far no one has gotten sick and I highly doubt anyone will. You can use raw milk safely. I isn't automatically bad because it is raw.

Offline Jude

Re: Practical Consequences
« Reply #22 on: May 27, 2011, 12:00:37 PM »
Well, the problem with raw milk advocates claims twofold.

1)  They claim that pasteurized and homogenized milk cause a bunch of illnesses and conditions.  This has been studied and no link has been found.

2)  They claim that raw milk is no less dangerous than processed milk.  This has also been studied, and they've found significantly higher levels of harmful bacteria in raw milk than even previously thought when western civilization damn near universally accepted pasteurization over 50 years ago.

Can you use raw milk safely sometimes?  Sure.  Will using raw milk ever be as safe as using processed milk?  Nope.  Of course, the risk is greatly mitigated by using raw milk from animals that you own in a very straightforward model of consumption, but the more trafficking involved with the product, the higher the risk of the contamination becoming a problem.  Raw milk has a much shorter shelf-life in addition to its higher bacteria count.

The bottom line is, raw milk has no measurable health benefits over pasteurized milk and there is a much higher risk of contamination and spoiling.  The laws here are to protect consumers -- whether or not you think it's a justified form of protection depends on your political philosophy, but given how poorly informed we are as a country when it comes to science, I'm not sure if the free market would solve the problem here.  There's too much misinformation out there about raw milk for the general populace to really decide -- they don't read peer review journals in making their decisions.

So the question is, in the name of freedom, are you willing to strike a law from the books that will result inevitably result in some negative consequences?  I don't know how I feel about it personally, but that's the dilemma.

Offline BCdan

Re: Practical Consequences
« Reply #23 on: May 27, 2011, 12:08:51 PM »
I am just going to toss my little conspiracy theory out there just for fun.   

The milk industry can price small-scale competition out of the market by making pasteurization absolutely mandatory, as opposed to say, making producers simply mention whether their milk is pasteurized or not. 

Online Valerian

Re: Practical Consequences
« Reply #24 on: May 27, 2011, 01:15:53 PM »
Well.  I'm from Wisconsin, aka the Dairy State.  According to the Wisconsin Agricultural Board, about 14,400 dairy farms -- about 20% of all dairy farms in the U.S. -- are in Wisconsin.  Of those, 11,600 (80%), are considered small, with herds of 100 cows or less*.

Pasteurization has been required here since 1955.  So if it is a plot to drive out the small dairy farmers, it isn't working very well.