Report: Food Freedom Under Attack

A new Institute for Justice report on food freedom, which I co-authored, makes clear that your right to grow, raise, produce, buy, sell, share, cook, eat, and drink the foods you want is under attack.

RaisinsFotoos Van Robin / FlickrEarlier this week the Institute for Justice published an important report, The Attack on Food Freedom, as part of its National Food Freedom Initiative. The twenty-five page report is co-authored by me and Michael Bachmann, a Seton Hall law student.

While referring to a report I co-authored as "important" may seem a bit presumptuous—okay, it is presumptuous—I'm comfortable with the term. After all, the report is the first to date to tie together the complex legal history of food freedom. It's the first report to highlight the early American origins of food freedom. It's also the first to tie together your right to eat what you want with the concept of economic liberty—the rights of others to make and sell you those foods.

Is food freedom—as I define it, your right to grow raise, produce, buy, sell, share, cook, eat, and drink the foods of your own choosing—really under attack?

Indeed it is. And as my definition makes clear, it's not just that federal, state, and local governments have intruded on your right to eat what you want. It's that the growers, the producers, and the sellers of food often face senseless and insurmountable regulatory obstacles.

"Far too often, the twin assault on economic liberty and food freedom is motivated by the twin evils of economic protectionism and paternalism," writes Michael Bindas, who leads IJ's food freedom project.

Readers of my weekly columns here know that's the case. In fact, many of the examples that appear in the report are ones I first wrote about in my weekly columns here for Reason.

For example, Mark DeNittis, who I wrote about in a column two years ago, is featured prominently in the report.

At the time, DeNittis was an award-winning Denver-area artisanal salumi maker.

"When it comes to Old World methods," I wrote, "I think it would be hard to find a better example of a traditional, conscientious, sustainable, and local producer than Il Mondo Vecchio."

Nevertheless, as I detailed, DeNittis was forced out of business by U.S. Department of Agriculture regulators who claimed he violated their rules by doing things exactly as he had when they assured him over the years that he was following those same rules.

Readers might also recognize the Horne family. These raisin sellers were forced to hand over half of their annual crop—amounting to hundreds of thousands of dollars—to the federal government as part of a New Deal-era program.

In a column last year, I noted that government interference had erected "a foolish and complex barrier to a free market in raisins."

And I'm not alone. The federal raisin program, one of many such crop and commodity programs, is so absurd that when the Hornes' case reached the Supreme Court last year, Associate Justice Elena Kagan remarked openly that the raisin rules may be "the world’s most outdated law."

There's also the "Zion Curtain," a barrier required by the state of Utah to appear in restaurants that serve alcohol (lest you be forced to see your bartender mixing a cocktail).

And what would a present-day report on food freedom be if it didn't mention the pointless regulatory excesses and farmer-crushing provisions of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), which I've blasted here many, many times.

But several examples featured in the new IJ report will be new even to regular readers of my columns. For example, the report also details how the FSMA threatens such diverse entities as the Duke University Campus Farm and the Taos Community Economic Development Corporation's entrepreneurial food incubator.

As The Attack on Food Freedom demonstrates, this freedom is a vitally important part of America's history. We’ve moved away from respecting that right. I hope this report will spur legislators, regulators and courts at all levels of government and people from all political, ideological, and dietary perspectives to recognize the importance of food freedom.

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  • EDG reppin' LBC||

    For a magazine called Raisin...

  • Scarecrow Repair||

    I'm graping for a raisin to not laugh.

  • Notorious G.K.C.||

    Lettuce quit with the puns, already!

  • Scarecrow Repair||

    Spoil sport!

  • Notorious G.K.C.||

    I was helping you avoid a conversation degenerating into puns. Orange you grateful?

  • Jerryskids||

    Nothing beets a pun thread for 24-carrot gold humor if you ask me.

  • ||

    +100 raisins d'être

  • Ted S.||

    What about the right to eat server squirrels?

  • ||

    BEAT and then eat server squirrels.

  • Live Free Or Diet||

    Tenderizes 'em!

  • Atanarjuat||

    I wonder if there is a mysterious dark thread somewhere with all of the posts we submitted but they didn't deign to actually post.

  • The Tone Police||

    It's governed by Maryzthoth and the Keres; a purple-black void where a miasma of Epi's *Dune* slashfic and Sugarfrees first drafts oozes over the dying words of long lost posts.

    It's pretty tits, actually.

  • Sevo||

    They're on Lerner's hard drive; the FBI will never find them.

  • american socialist||

    Takingz teh 5th meanz yer guiltz. I'z neverz hadz myz hard drivez ger badz on me'z

  • Redmanfms||

    Emails aren't stored on hard drives numbskull. They're stored on servers. Usually multiple servers. But I'm sure you honestly believe that the IRS had its servers go down only wiping out Lerner's emails for the period in question.

    And he didn't make the claim that taking the 5th was a sign of guilt.

    No go play in traffic like a good little retard.

  • ||

    Keep fighting the good fight, Baylen.

    That they actually force people out of business is astounding to me. Ripping a man's livelihood because of regulations is pure, pure evil.

  • Scarecrow Repair||

    What amazes me the most, what always catches me off=guard every single time, is that for some regulations, you can actually perceive a purpose, even if stale and obsolete. But most of them are utterly useless, senseless, and corrupt in every way, and yet these bureaucrats enforce them more fiercely.

    I simply cannot imagine having a life so empty that I would want to push so hard on enforcing such putrid regulations and throw other people out of work. I can vaguely imagine having made a wrong career choice and working as a bureaucrat, but not being so caught up in it that I could see nothing but the latter of the law.

    I bet you could do a wonder on government bureaucrats if you simply prevented anyone from working for the government for more than 5 years total.

  • ||

    It's an empty life.

    Around here they drive around in the fricken Smart cars and taking pictures to ensure every single ordinance and bylaw is followed. The urban department earn 65k a year working four days a week to bust our fucking balls.

    I have no idea how the residences of the municipality tolerate it. A few of them are at war with the town but yet they elected the same bastards and bitches into power when there was a viable option available. The party specifically wanted to overhaul the codes because they felt it was getting tyrannical for both businesses and residences. They came in second.

    I don't get people at all.

  • EDG reppin' LBC||

    The slaves yearn for the weight of the chains and the bite of the whip.

  • ||

    'their fricken smart cars'

  • Cdr Lytton||

    My county has numerous little onerous building and land use regulations that often get ignored. In the past enforcement has mostly been complaint driven with county employees noticing really egregious violations, but with cheap aerial imagery and analysis, it's only a matter of time before they mine those photos. Second driveway onto the roadway?, can't claim it's grandfathered anymore. Same with unpermitted outbuildings, spas, or other things that used to slip under.

  • Rich||

    I bet you could do a wonder on government bureaucrats if you simply prevented anyone from working for the government for more than 5 years total.

    That's an intriguing idea. Term limits for "civil servants".

    *** ponders ramifications ***

  • ||

    Absolutely. Once they set in it's over. They calcify and the middle finger stays perpetually erect.

    I went on a mini-rant last night on my wife, a teacher, and her good friend who is a school principal. They were acting all shock about how some of their colleagues behave and I chimed in with my thoughts about the public servant mentality. I used my experience of dealing with my kid's school (I have a flexible schedule so I take her to school and sometimes pick her up for lunch).

    I told them how often it happens I go to the entrance and the two girls who run reception area more often than not act like a couple of unprofessional hacks.

    (cont'd)

  • ||

    First, it's always me that initiates eye contact to say a simple hello. Second, they make you feel like you're bothering them. Third, and this really pisses me off but I can't say anything lest they take it out on my daughter, on more than one occasion I've had the pleasure of standing at the window while they and their fucking colleagues yapped on without a care in the world without acknowledging me. In some cases, the principal was part of the posse as they drank coffee.

    I swear and I told this story to the girls and my blood was boiling. Try and pull that shit in the private sector and see what happens.

    The girl was in total agreement with me. In her view, the teachers should be beyond courteous and respectful given they represent the public.

    But hey, they're unionized and you know...good for kids and something.

  • ||

    the two girls who run reception area more often than not act like a couple of unprofessional hacks

    I hate this. A doctor I frequent used to have a receptionist like this. She acted like it was a major affront that you would "bother" her.

    I'm just thinking "bitch, you're a fucking receptionist -- it's your job to be receptive!"

    Said doctor eventually replaced her with his wife and things are much better now, and probably more lucrative for them to boot.

  • Scarecrow Repair||

    How would you define it? All the government has to do is outsource some agency, and the private employees no longer accumulate years. If you ban companies, all they have to do is shuffle the names and officers into a new company every 5 years. If you define employee as anyone receiving government pay, what if someone is paid 49% by the government and 51% by a private company on non-government business?

    I like the idea, but I've never been able to figure out a foolproof definition.

  • Edwin||

    term limits? How about we all grow some balls, gang up on them, and shove pine cones up their asses when they pull their bullshit. Why do we even listen to government at this point?

  • Rich||

    That's an intriguing idea. Pine cones for "civil servants".

    *** ponders ramifications ***

  • Francisco d'Anconia||

    13% of GDP is spent each year complying with federal regulation alone. $1.8 Trillion (page 7). Can you imagine if half that money was spent on productive efforts?

  • Scarecrow Repair||

    I figure it like this: combined federal, state, and local spending is around $6.5T, or 38% of the $17T GDP. Suppose that however much of that would be spent anyway (infrastructure, faux-charity) is matched and more by private GDP spent only to contend with government bureaucracy.

    I figure the economy is short-changed by 40% every year. Imagine how that would compound into progress that would eclipse any socialist fantasy within a decade. We'd have orbital hotels, flying cars, and private exploration jaunts to Mars by 2050. Poverty as we know it would be eliminated, just as 1800-style poverty doesn't exist in the US now.

  • Robert||

    http://ij.org/perspectives-food-freedom is the actual link to where you can download the PDF report. The link in the article is to an admin page we're not authorized to get.

  • Chumby||

    Farmer Dan Brown in Blue Hill, Maine recently lost his state Supreme Court appeal over selling raw milk without a license. Maine is a home rule state and the residents in Blue Hill previously passed a local food sovereignty ordinance.

    Thankfully, none of his children have attempted to open an un-permitted lemonade stand.

  • Notorious G.K.C.||

    "An Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) for the National Labor Relations Board recently ruled that a Hooters franchise unlawfully fired a waitress who complained that a bikini contest was rigged....The waitress was discharged for cursing at the winner of the contest, posting disparaging comments about coworkers and managers on social media outlets, and violating a number of work rules."

    http://www.lexology.com/librar.....b6b4cf59e0

  • ||

    "The ALJ found that certain of the employee handbook rules were overbroad and violated the National Labor Relations Act, including rules prohibiting staff from discussing tips with other workers and guests, prohibiting unauthorized dispersal of sensitive company material, and a rule forbidding employees from posting negative comments about the company and from posting any information regarding a coworker on social media."

    How is this even remotely overboard? Seems sensible to me. We forbid are educators from discussing wages at the daycare. At one point all they did was obsess over it and it leads to trouble.

    Fuck this board.

  • db||

    I know some really funny liberal folks, generally from two backgrounds.

    One set is a thirtysomething couple with kids. Mom is a very well paid Ph.D. computer type. Dad has some sort of liberal arts degree and works at a book store. Their complaint, when the kids were younger than school age, was that full time child care costs so much that they can't afford to have both of them working. Well, I said, consider which job.is.more.valuable to the.family and.have the.other parent stay home. "Oh, but it's unfair that one has to give up a career." Well, you should have though.of that before starting a family.

    The other type is exemplified by a friend who.works as an educator at a day care. She.does.'t get paid much, and laments that the rich people who.send their kids to.her each day don't pay.enough.

    The solution., to both of these groups, is to force other people to pay taxes to subsidize their life decisions.

  • ||

    BINGO.

  • Polarbar||

    Those people are selfish. What they should be saying is, I'm going to do what's best for my family. My husband makes more than double what I did as a RN working in a hospital. I didn't want my kids in daycare and besides, it would cost $100/week per child and I have 3. So, now I'm a stay at home mom and I'm not as big of a b&tch; because I'm not working a job I hate.

  • Atanarjuat||

    In my fantasy political world, President Rand Paul disbands the NLRB completely as his first act in office.

  • Rich||

    WHAT?! Not the IRS first?!

  • db||

    It's hard to say which thread of the Gordian Knot was cut first...

  • JW||

    Disbands? I'll settle for nothing less than crucifixion.

  • american socialist||

    I want my deadly food-borne pathogens served at a temperature above 55 oF . FDA meat inspections are for pansies.

    Baylen, if I want my food without Monsanto GMOs are you guys going to help me out?

  • Chumby||

    USDA is the alphabet soup agency that conducts meat inspections, not the FDA. Interestingly though, the FDA food safety issues csar that Obama appointed, Michael Taylor, came directly from Monsanto.

  • american socialist||

    " Interestingly though, the FDA food safety issues csar that Obama appointed, Michael Taylor, came directly from Monsanto."

    Your problem is that food inspectors are too chummy with food producers ? I agree. Shouldn't lax enforcement of food regulations be considered a good thing for libertarians?

  • Francisco d'Anconia||

    You are an idiot.

    Teh libertarianz wants teh poizend foodz.

    Derpity doo.

  • american socialist||

    Teh libertarianz thinkz iz kewl to killz Iraqis, but not kewls to inspectz teh meatz.

    Thanz fer yerz serviz.

  • Jordan||

    [Citation needed]

  • american socialist||

    Jordan, his support for the Iraq war goes beyond mere words. You see, he just trusted GWB, who just trusted the intelligence coming from committees packed with newly-appointed neocons.

    I'm almost a complete pacifist, would never own a gun, or join the armed forces. I volunteer for the animal shelter. But, I draw the line at defending your home and neighborhood. Thus, I know which people I'd be shooting at if I lived in Hanoi in 1968 or in fallujah in 2004.

  • Jordan||

    You are not a pacifist. You just advocate that other people enact violence on your behalf.

  • ||

    That's part of the equation socialists don't get.

    'I'm not a pacifist' has no meaning when you consent to force through the state.

    All you've done is change four quarters for a buck.

  • Francisco d'Anconia||

    My support for the Iraq war?

  • hotsy totsy||

    "Thus, I know which people I'd be shooting at if I lived in Hanoi in 1968"

    You'd never have had a chance to shoot anyone, they'd have shot you first.

  • Francisco d'Anconia||

    You are a complete fucking moron. You don't have the slightest clue what libertarians believe. You simply open your mouth and shit flows from it.

  • ||

    He hates fat people, F.

  • chmercier||

    Merely fundamentalist. Socialists are two types of people - religious true believers and a career choice (to gain ultimate power or get some cushy bureau job) for the cynics. There are some who merely don't want imprisonment/execution.

    And no, he doesn't know what libertarians believe. He just knows they're against autocracy which is either his religion or his meal ticket.

  • Sevo||

    chmercier|6.21.14 @ 12:47PM|#
    "Merely fundamentalist. Socialists are two types of people - religious true believers and a career choice (to gain ultimate power or get some cushy bureau job) for the cynics"

    One more:
    Absolute fucking ignoramuses like the commie kid here.
    He's so stupid, he believes you can steal from people without end.

  • chmercier||

    Yeah. This is where socialism seems to be completely lost on them.

    I mean, isn't socialism just basically a massive warlord system in the end? Feudalism with no hope? Maybe the feel-good propaganda is so much better when facing starvation or political executions?

    Mass death vs. having to apply for a loan, put up collateral, make a monthly payment with some interest?

    That's what the revolution is all about?

    (Interestingly, isn't that what Marx's big thing was? He didn't want to get a job and hated having to pay interest for the immense debts he accrued? 100+ million dead to satisfy some lazy, greedy pseudo-intellectual's delusions of grandeur and rationalizations?)

  • american socialist||

    Hahahaha... You libertarians are off your rockers. Hilarious.

  • chmercier||

    How so?

  • chmercier||

    Are we imbued with false consciousness?

  • Sevo||

    american socialist|6.21.14 @ 3:20PM|#
    "Hahahaha... You libertarians are off your rockers. Hilarious."

    Sez a supporter of Stalin, Mao, Castro, etc.
    Fuck off, asshole.

  • Chumby||

    My problem is that the progressive, big government solution doesn't work.

    Most of the food consumed in my household isn't inspected by government agents that are paid for by money absconded from productive citizens through a coercive tax system. I am familiar with HAACCPP and very familiar with the sanitary survey process. And yet I'm very comfortable with the lack of government involvement

  • Francisco d'Anconia||

    The idiot's failure is believing that if government doesn't do something, it won't be done.

    Companies will knowingly poison their customers, as it's in their best interests to do so...

    His ignorance is astounding.

  • american socialist||

    According to your Koch-financed position paper above industries spend trillions complying with federal bureaucracies. Presumably, though, private companies will still spend money to do QC on their food products. You think McDonald's is going to serve up food dispensed by its robots in Seattle without lot numbers from the distributors it gets its good from? Good luck being a lackey farmer for Mickey ds with that attitude.

  • kbolino||

    You are definitely the stupidest of the motherfuckers who troll this site.

    Large companies like McDonalds love huge compliance costs because they can afford to pay them while their smaller competitors cannot.

    So yes, because McDonalds would have a QA/QC budget with or without the government forcing them to, it is totally okay for the government to force Billy Bob's Food Shack to pay the same costs.

  • chmercier||

    Yeah, it's like cronyism doesn't exist?

    This is what I often find at the fault of those kinds of arguments - big corporations can handle compliance costs and wage hikes pretty well.

    Small mom and pop organic shops cannot.

    Of course, if we're talking socialism - the whole point is to destroy small businesses in order to centralize the major businesses. Monopolization is their game. So, no surprise there.

  • Francisco d'Anconia||

    This is what I often find at the fault of those kinds of arguments - big corporations can handle compliance costs and wage hikes pretty well.

    To this point...

    I was listening to Rush yesterday and he said something (for once) that made sense. (Or his caller did.)

    Calling it "Crony Capitalism" is a misnomer. Capitalism implies competition. Regulation inhibits competition because, as you say, the big companies can afford it and it drives their smaller competitors out of business.

    The caller said it should actually be called "Crony Socialism", as it hurts the free market.

  • chmercier||

    Agreed - I've seen "syndicalism" and "syndicate socialism" here and there too.

    I think this is where a lot of people get their definition of capitalism - from Lefties who (probably) purposely use the misnomer so people will be against "capitalism".

    That is a key component of Marxist discourse though, isn't it? Redefine things to always win. False consciousness is the best one though - you're brainwashed if you disagree with Marxism/Communism!

  • american socialist||

    So Francisco, you are saying there would still be QC, QA, and inspection costs even if we did something incredibly stupid and let agribusiness regulate itself. Ok, then, do you agree then the cost to the economy of having public meat inspection might be less than the 1.7 gazillion dollars that David Koch tells us it costs?

  • Francisco d'Anconia||

    Fucking moron.

  • Francisco d'Anconia||

    Presumably, though, private companies will still spend money to do QC on their food products.

    Of course they will, retard. The difference being, McD's is only going to QC their shit to the level required to keep people safe so they don't get sued. The government will require restrictions beyond what is actually required to buy the votes of ignorant assholes like yourself.

    Get it dumbass?

    Companies regulate themselves based upon their self interests, providing the correct amount of oversight and cost passed on to the consumer.

    Government has no incentive to get the amount of oversight correct. They don't care how much it costs. They only care about buying your vote. And YOU are enough of an idiot to think more is always better. AND you are too fucking stupid to realize YOU are being forced to pay extra for your goods and services for regulations that bring no additional safety to the product.

    YOU are a fucking moron!

  • ||

    You can't possibly be this pathetically ignorant.

    The second someone says 'Koch-financed' it's pretty safe to ignore.

  • Chumby||

    Go read Joel Salatin of Polyface Farm and learn how USDA endeavors to disrupt small, local organic farming.

    Organic farming pioneer Elliot Coleman also has little use for USDA. I once saw him speak, where he said: "when I first found out that the Department of Ag was going to regulate organic farming, I was a little worried. Once I saw what they intended to so I wanted to have no part of that."

  • JPyrate||

    Chumby I know we disagree on GMO's, but I say good for you man. I'm starting to get there myself. I got started by foraging, now I cultivate plants like dandylions, curly dock, and jewelweed. DIY Baby =D

  • Chumby||

    Actually, I turned over a new leaf and went conventional.

    So I got a couple hundred head of cattle and started my own CAFO.

    Also growing GMO corn to feed my cattle. You may correctly point out that cows evolved to eat grasses and not grain. My response (1) I don't give a rats ass about getting the cattle sick, that's what penicillin is for. And besides, I look forward to contributing to the proliference of MRSA. And I own big pharma stocks and am cleaning up because I'm buying so much. (2) Turns out cattle grow faster on this stuff. Miracle. I'm getting paid by the pound. (3) I'm looking forward to participating in all the government subsidies and programs offered to me. Geez that's why I trend towards libertarianism. So I can follow and utilize the big govt programs. (4) Marbled fatty meat is lower in nutrition than grass fed, free range? BS. I get paid by the pound. And I feed MY family this food. I wouldn't if it wasn't good.

    I'm getting a UsDa loan to help put in some irrigation ponds. My well became too contaminated with 2,4 D, atrazine, glyphosate and nitrate from the triple 30 I've been using. I thought I followed the label. Must be the first time in farming that wasn't done.

    The publicly funded, land grant universities hitch their wagons to this form of agriculture so it must be right.

    And I now grostulate over the prospect of spraying in the wind drifting onto my neighbors.

  • Sevo||

    american socialist|6.21.14 @ 9:13AM|#
    "I want my deadly food-borne pathogens served at a temperature above 55 oF . FDA meat inspections are for pansies."

    BTW, did you know that assholes like you support regimes that are responsible for the murder of over ONE HUNDRED MILLION innocent people?

  • american socialist||

    There are still some of those countries around? Your problem is you are still fighting battles with Walter duranty. It's 2014 not 1934, dumbass.

    I did once read a 5000 page article by Fidel Castro on John McCain while sipping a Cuba Libre in Havana and ended up thinking-- this guy is on to something. Does this qualify me as a blood soaked communist?

  • american socialist||

    Sorry 5000 word-- not page. The former would have been more Castro-esqué though.

  • Jordan||

    There are still some of those countries around? Your problem is you are still fighting battles with Walter duranty. It's 2014 not 1934, dumbass.

    Well, not for lack of trying on your part. It's not as if places like Venezuela, Cuba, and North Korea are known for their stellar human rights records.

  • american socialist||

    You mean I shouldn't support a government that would pack dick Cheney off to Guantanamo and have him water-boarded for breakfast? I'd sacrifice some liberty for a cable channel that showed that.

  • Jordan||

    Supports torture? Check.

    You're really hitting all the high points on the Marxism spectrum.

  • american socialist||

    I think the irony in this particular case would be particularly delicious. How much pain and anguish and humiliation do you think resulted from the bush administration's war in Iraq?

  • Sevo||

    american socialist|6.21.14 @ 11:30AM|#
    "I think"...

    Not a chance, twit.
    Did you know that assholes like you support regimes that are responsible for the murder of over ONE HUNDRED MILLION innocent people?

  • ||

    This is all they've got in response to the massacres and murders of millions upon millions upon millions? IRAQ? Fucking IRAQ?

  • Bill||

    No irony at all since almost no one here supported the Iraq invasion. But you know that.

  • Jordan||

    Wait. I thought you were a pacifist? You let the mask slip.

  • american socialist||

    Almost.

  • Jordan||

    Almost = not even close

  • chmercier||

    It's not an either/or situation.

    You can protest people like Cheney, Bush, and now Obama in various ways.

    You write an article against Castro, you're imprisoned/executed.

    Of course, if you're the executor, a communist country's not a bad gig.

  • Sevo||

    american socialist|6.21.14 @ 10:53AM|#
    "There are still some of those countries around? Your problem is you are still fighting battles with Walter duranty. It's 2014 not 1934, dumbass."

    BTW, did you know that assholes like you support regimes that are responsible for the murder of over ONE HUNDRED MILLION innocent people?

  • Sevo||

    american socialist|6.21.14 @ 10:53AM|#
    "I did once read a 5000 page article by Fidel Castro on John McCain while sipping a Cuba Libre in Havana and ended up thinking-- this guy is on to something. Does this qualify me as a blood soaked communist?"

    You didn't need that to qualify as a blood-sucking asshole.

  • ||

    "It's 2014 not 1934, dumbass."

    Give a socialist power and see what happens, dumbass. The ENTIRE ideology is predicated on FORCE, dumbass. Socialists are attracted to crappy countries and vice-versa.

    No great civilization was ever built and maintained on such rubbish and never will so it's irrelevant the year, dumbass.

    "I did once read a 5000 page article by Fidel Castro..."

    Stop there.

    You're an idiot if you got past one word from that murderous, communistic, dictator.

    So yes. You're in that same lame boat I'd say.

  • chmercier||

    Considering that most socialist countries are stuck in 1934 technologically, ecologically, medically, etc., instead of being in 2014, I think the arguments from the 1930s probably still stand.

    Oh wait. Socialism is about ignoring history and facts and having faith in the one true religion. Nevermind.

  • american socialist||

    Is that like in Denmark where socialists live 3-4 yrs longer than Americans or somewhere else? I know, I know the scandanavianz r givingz upz teh socializm. U cantz b a socializt unlesz u wanz 2 killz millionz.

  • Sevo||

    american socialist|6.21.14 @ 1:31PM|#
    "Is that like in Denmark where socialists live 3-4 yrs longer than Americans or somewhere else?"

    No, it's not like the one or two charry-picks you can find, asshole.

  • kbolino||

    Denmark != Cuba you fucking retard

  • chmercier||

    Denmark also did that whole freedom of speech thing. Not a known thing of socialist governments.

  • chmercier||

    Likely because they can't afford the system anymore - and those 3-4 years will decline after their Boomers go too. Socialized programs generally don't function without a strong private sector.

    The Scandinavian countries did all right while the private sectors were good and the populations were mainly young. Now it's the opposite - they aged and spent more. It's just math.

    Interestingly, a good example of a capitalist country with some socialized programs (national health care) is South Korea. Plus, they have a low graduated tax for the poor and middle classes. I lived there for a while and made 26,000 a year, which went pretty far considering low taxes on goods. My tax rate was also 4%. It's ~2% for lower thank 20k. It increases the more money, maxing I think at about 45%.

    Just what I saw was a low tax country with specific and robust social programs.

  • ||

    There are serious cracks in the Scandinavian model.

    But don't tell progs that.

  • chmercier||

    Yeah, there are. Any market reforms they've done in the past couple years is for survival. I think one of the factors that helps them is that they didn't convert their currency to the Euro.

    I do remember in 2012 when progs were complaining about the US capital gains tax, Sweden lowered theirs to something like 12% wasn't it? Can't remember exactly, but it was a bit lower than the US's.

  • JPyrate||

    Denmark also allows it's citizen's a greater degree of economic freedom by not regulating the crap out of them before taxing the crap out of them.

  • Jordan||

    A very small portion of the food you eat is actually inspected. And the private sector can do it better, because they actually have an incentive not to screw up. Guess what happens when the USDA screws up: people like you use it as evidence that they should be rewarded with more money and more power.

  • Francisco d'Anconia||

    this

  • PapayaSF||

    "All government programs are simultaneously successful enough to prove that government needs more money and more power, and unsuccessful enough to prove that government needs more money and more power."

  • chmercier||

    I actually talked about living in South Korea above (the first country that recovered from the recession...they did nothing and kept taxes low? Amazing!) and this is what happens.

    They have inspections, sure, but not nearly what we have here. Word of mouth kills businesses faster than anything else. Crummy cooks, dirty floors, bugs - if those are problems, people don't go. IF they fix it, their business survives.

  • JPyrate||

    There is a difference between meat inspections, and throwing someone in jail for using home brewed, untaxed alcohol to produce vinegar for sale at a farmers market.

  • Atanarjuat||

    shockingly, IRS Commissioner is a scumbag

    "This is the most corrupt and deceitful IRS in history," Rep. Kevin Brady, R-Texas said.

    "Calling this IRS the most corrupt in history ignores a lot of history and seems to me a classic overreaction to a problem that we are dealing with seriously," Koskinen responded.

    "P'shaw! We've always been this corrupt!"

  • Rich||

    "I have a long career. That's the first time that anybody said they don't believe me."

    "Really? How many times has anybody said 'Fuck you!'?"

  • ||

    That's the problem.

    No one called you out or had the balls to tell you the truth.

    When you don't call people out ON THE SPOT they will repeat their behavior right until they get to the top and they will never stop and no one will try and stop them.

  • Francisco d'Anconia||

    That response infuriated me. What an arrogant piece of shit. He is clearly lying and has the audacity to claim the moral high ground. He should be run out on a rail.

  • Cyto||

    Particularly arrogant was acknowledging that they did not tell the committee about the hard drive crash until months after the fact, did so in a way that attempted to minimise the significance and then did not tell the committee that an additional six employees had similar troubles until after the committee asked about that fact with specificity on Monday - and then proceeding to respond to the repetition of this constellation of facts with "that's not true".

    More arrogant and infuriating was the way the Democrat members of the panel moved into full partisan protection mode - lauding the wonderful IRS employees and attacking the opposition as partisan, muckraking hacks. Surely they cannot truly believe anything they are saying at this point.

  • Francisco d'Anconia||

    That every top official at the IRS (down to the mail clerc) hasn't been fired is an abomination. The very perception of impropriety is enough to clean house in an up and up administration.

    The government has grown to the point that it no longer fears the people and believes it can do ANYTHING it wants. We joke about "FYTW", but it's not funny anymore. Party hacks gladly overlook wrongdoing, so long as it's their party doing it. Right and wrong have become subjective. Politicians will openly defend criminals, so long as the criminals are on the right Team.

    We live in scary times.

  • american socialist||

    I agree. We have people gullible enough to fight in bullshit, right-wing wars and flush their social security benefits down the toilet to give a tax break to jobz creatorz.

  • Sevo||

    american socialist|6.21.14 @ 11:27AM|#
    "I agree. We have people gullible enough to fight in bullshit, right-wing wars and flush their social security benefits down the toilet to give a tax break to jobz creatorz."

    How many strawmen did you lug along this morning?

  • Francisco d'Anconia||

    Was there a point in there?

  • ||

    David Burge ‏@iowahawkblog 12m
    The IRS commish response in a nutshell: "We'll do what we please, and F your silly laws because you won't enforce them." And he's right.
  • Cyto||

    I didn't get to watch all of the hearing, but I am particularly struck by the way their document retention program is set up. I have not heard anything from the committee that shows that they understand how truly incompetent the email setup that the commissioner is claiming would be.

    They are claiming that they did not maintain long-term backups or any archival email system. They are claiming that they rely completely on the employee's local computer PST/OST files for document retention. The commissioner claimed that Lerner's emails post-hard-drive-crash show that she went to extraordinary lengths to preserve her emails. Really.

    This in a world where merely ordinary lengths for document retention and discovery of email include any one of a number of simple, commonly available products for email archiving. They have been standard in corporate america for about a decade now due to document retention laws like Sarbanes-Oxley. This is why no one believes the IRS commissioner when he says things like "we went to extraordinary lengths to preserve the emails". No, you didn't even go to ordinary lengths to preserve your emails.

    With this "each employee manages his own email retention" policy they are openly acknowledging that they cannot ensure that they are honestly complying with any of the discovery requests they receive. And there must be thousands of them - it is the IRS after all. Surely they are involved in legal action from time to time.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    "I have a long career. That's the first time that anybody said they don't believe me."

    Says the guy whose entire career was built on telling the people who pay his salary, "I DON'T BELIEVE YOU."

  • db||

    Yeah, that is some serious brass that a guy who makes his living forcing other people to validate their claims in order to award back a tiny bit of the massive amounts taken from them has the nerve to take offense at someone showing skepticism of his.honesty.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    The solution., to both of these groups, is to force other people to pay taxes to subsidize their life decisions.

    It takes a village to validate and subsidize my egocentric lifestyle.

  • DEG||

    How about a little comedy gold for your Saturday?

    The chiefs say the only real argument they have heard against the idea is concern that municipalities might use generated tickets as a moneymaker.

    Ferguson Township Police Chief Diane Conrad finds that a bit insulting.

    “This is not out of a desire to make money,” she said. “It’s out of the need to enforce the law.”

  • PapayaSF||

    I don't think we say this sort of thing enough in the comments, so props to Baylen Linnekin for taking on this task.

    Also, I've long thought that this area is one with a lot of overlap between libertarian and Republican concerns, and could serve as an excellent wedge issue for the GOP. Lots of Democrat voters love their organic/local/artisan food, so taking a public stand against excessive regulation could get a lot of people who reflexively vote Democrat to reconsider, on this issue alone. Rand Paul, the Tea Party, etc. should take this up.

  • chmercier||

    Hear hear, and all props to Balyen on confronting what is probably the truest danger of progressivist nannyism...or socialism.

    The cost and availability of food. The absolute power that the politicos want is wrapped up in feel-good rhetoric in order to control life itself.

    Not to sound alarmist, but I think it's the biggest threat the neo-commies (neocoms?) have against the people. Their policies will have people starving in rank poverty.

    Feature, probably, rather than bug.

  • PapayaSF||

    Given the recent jumps in food costs, a message of "Federal regulators are making your food more expensive for no good reason" should be potent in November.

    (Another: "Illegal aliens are getting immediate health care. Veterans aren't.")

  • chmercier||

    ^This. I only wonder how long a lot of people buy the "safety" "cheaper" thing - when it turns out the food is the opposite.

    Hopefully soon and hopefully before too many people suffer.

    And hopefully it doesn't get spun into "we need MOAR REGS! FREE MARKET FAIL!"

  • New Normal||

    My mother has run child care (don't you dare call it daycare!) out of the family home for the past 20 years. She's licensed by the state and all that fun stuff. She always shows me new regulations sent to her by the state agency originating from the FDA. You would not believe (or maybe you would) the absolutely stupid regulations on the books. She is sent these when they are recently passed, which means somebody actually thought these up recently and said to themselves and their colleagues "Yeah, this will help." I just don't understand the logic of the people that enforce these things.

  • ||

    "You would not believe (or maybe you would) the absolutely stupid regulations on the books"

    I do seeing I own one. It's mental and irrational what they come up with. CLASSIC case of a department and employees justifying their jobs is all it is.

    I'm NEVER consulted. EVER.

  • american socialist||

    So I didn't quite get a response to my original question, Baylen. The din of my personal responsibility for Josef stalin's crimes was too much. If I don't want to eat GMO burgers from Monsanto can I get support from your organization or is Food Freedom all about the ability of Monsanto to freely operate. My hushmail account is gtsf16@hushmail.com. Let me know if I can get your support. I think the ability for people to eat what they want, where they want shouldn't be controlled by big agribusiness.

  • Sevo||

    american socialist|6.21.14 @ 6:42PM|#
    "So I didn't quite get a response to my original question, Baylen. The din of my personal responsibility for Josef stalin's crimes was too much."

    Yes, you own it. Don't like it? Well, quit supporting it, asshole.
    --------------------
    "If I don't want to eat GMO burgers from Monsanto can I get support from your organization or is Food Freedom all about the ability of Monsanto to freely operate."

    Yes, asshole, you may chose to eat what you want.
    You want support for your ignorance, well, you can set up the "Food Stupidity" org and have at it.
    -------------
    "My hushmail account is gtsf16@hushmail.com. Let me know if I can get your support. I think the ability for people to eat what they want, where they want shouldn't be controlled by big agribusiness."

    Support for stupidity? Ask Jenny McCarthy; you and she should get a long just fine.

  • Redmanfms||

    If I don't want to eat GMO burgers from Monsanto can I get support from your organization or is Food Freedom all about the ability of Monsanto to freely operate.

    Your ability to refrain from GMO burgers has fuck-all to do with Monsanto's ability to "freely operate."

  • Bill||

    What is a GMO burger? From cattle fed on GMO corn? I would imagine that if enough people in various places wanted GMO free burgers, then small cattle farms would provide it or small operations within a larger one could. It would cost more, of course.

    However, it will be hard to separate regular corn from GMO corn as the only difference is the presence of an extra protein or two (enzymes). When cooked, proteins unfold and lose their activity and at that point are just sources of amino acids like any other protein. Even uncooked, the enzymes are very specific and only work on small compounds very similar to glyphosate which is the active ingredient in Round-Up that the extra enzyme "chews" up in the GMO corn to allow them to tolerate Round-Up. It's all been tested very thoroughly.

  • american socialist||

    Hi Baylen, here's a threat to food choice. The usda is allowing Monsanto field trials to go forward, which threaten to contaminate the fields of farmer's growing non-GMO crops. Does your organization apply a market cap minimum when deciding which customers to help out with food freedom. Would collusion between the usda and Monsanto be filled under "crony capitalism" or "freedom fries?"

    http://www.centerforfoodsafety.....t-farmers#

  • cyrus765||

    its awesome,,, Start working at home with Google. It’s a great work at home opportunity. Just work for few hours. I earn up to $100 a day. I can’t believe how easy it was once I tried it out. www.Fox81.com

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