‘Amish Grace’ is exploitation film that has no redeeming value

By Patriot-News Editorial Board
March 11, 2010, 7:32AM

Is there such a thing as “must-miss” TV?

If so, put “Amish Grace” on your list. The Lifetime Movie Network film, which airs March 28, purports to recount the shooting of 10 Amish girls in a Nickel Mines schoolhouse by Charles Carl Roberts IV on Oct. 2, 2006.

CHRIS KNIGHT, The Patriot-News Movie about the Amish is shameful.

CHRIS KNIGHT, The Patriot-News Movie about the Amish is shameful.

There has always been a fundamental contradiction in the fact that the “English” — as the Amish call non-Amish — make money off an intensely private people who reject the values of modern society.

Lancaster County has spawned an entire industry of Amish tourism, with busloads who ogle at horse-drawn buggies and men in straw hats.

It’s true that the Amish supplement their farming by selling handmade crafts and foods to tourists. But selling a few quilts and shoofly pie at a local craft store is light years from the crass exploitation that is “Amish Grace.”

Few who know the Amish wanted a piece of this horror show. The fictional film is based on the nonfiction book “Amish Grace: How Forgiveness Transcended Tragedy,” by Donald B. Kraybill, Steven M. Nolt and David L. Weaver-Zercher. Kraybill is an Elizabethtown College professor and senior fellow at the Young Center for Anabaptist and Pietist Studies.

“Out of respect to our friends in the Amish community, and especially those related to the Nickel Mines tragedy, we declined the producer’s requests to consult and assist in the development of a film,” the authors said in a written statement.

It is easy to see why.

This film has about as much to do with understanding the Amish as “Avatar” has to do with understanding the Masai.

As Patriot-News writer Ivey DeJesus described it, in the world of “Amish Grace,” the men all wear squeaky clean boots with no trace of farm mud and the women all sport manicured fingernails.

More importantly, the film distorts what happened.

“I can’t stand this place anymore,” says a character who lost her daughter in the shooting and lashes out at her husband.

In reality, the Nickel Mines tragedy only caused the Amish to affirm the bedrock values of their community.

“The media descend on the town and criticize its Amish leaders for their notion of unconditional forgiveness of the shooter,” trumpets the movie’s Web site (right next to a promo for “Kim Kardashian’s Most Memorable Hairstyles.”)

In reality, the public — including this newspaper — marveled at the Amish for truly living their deep faith.

It is inevitable that Hollywood tries to idealize and romanticize just about any hardship, from slavery to poverty to cancer.

But there is a special irony in glamorizing a people whose entire life is dedicated to eschewing individual attention.

You cannot see a shadow by shining a light on it. You cannot capture smoke by grabbing it with your hands. And you cannot celebrate the humility of the Amish by making them the stars of their own Lifetime movie.

If the film’s producers really wanted to honor the Amish, they would have said a prayer for them and let them be.

Tags: , , ,

12th Amish man faces Morristown permit violation


MORRISTOWN — Morristown is continuing to cite the Amish for building homes without permits while a federal lawsuit accusing the town of religious discrimination is pending.

Moise L. Swartzentruber, of 151 Stowe Road, was charged in late February. He’s the 12th Amish man since 2006 to be charged with failure to comply with building codes in Morristown.

Code Enforcement Officer Lanetta Kay Davis cited Mr. Swartzentruber over an addition made to his Stowe Road home last year. He is accused of not submitting a building plan to the town for the addition.

Mr. Swartzentruber is scheduled for arraignment March 18 before Town Judge James T. Phillips Jr., court officials said Wednesday. Ms. Davis declined to comment Wednesday

According to court documents, Ms. Davis in May noticed the addition being built. She sent a letter to Mr. Swartzentruber informing him of the building code violation, which had to be corrected by June 22.

Both parties met July 1 to discuss the matter. Ms. Davis provided Mr. Swartzentruber with an extension to Aug. 13, allowing him time to talk with his group.

On July 28, he informed the town that he wouldn’t submit a building plan. Both parties met again on Aug. 13, with no agreement reached because “the defendant stated that no inspections would be allowed.”

Eleven Amish families sued the town of Morristown in January 2009 over alleged religious discrimination.

“We’re sorry to see that Morristown is continuing its crusade against the Amish,” said Lori H. Windham, an attorney for the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, Washington, D.C., who is representing the Amish families in the federal lawsuit.

The Amish say the town refuses to issue permits that allow them to build homes according to their beliefs. The Amish, members of the Old Order Swartzentruber sect, say their religious beliefs will be violated if the town forces them to install smoke detectors in their homes, submit engineering plans and allow home inspections.

The lawsuit says the Amish will be forced to leave the town if they cannot build their homes and farms.

The cases against the 11 Amish men have been delayed for more than a year for various reasons, including a lengthy search for an interpreter.

The lawsuit says the town is selectively enforcing the law against the Amish to effectively force them from the community.

Morristown Town Council members said previously that they must enforce building codes because turning a blind eye to the Amish will create unfair enforcement. Building codes are set by state law but enforced by municipalities.

The lawsuit also contends that Ms. Davis has made several postings on a Web site devoted to criticism of the Swartzentruber Amish religion, culture and practices. She also reportedly asked “nearby jurisdictions to take a hard line on code enforcement and issue citations to the Amish in their towns.”

Swartzentruber Amish also have encountered building code disputes in Hammond, Western New York, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. The 11 Amish men do not deny the charges, but say code requirements violate their right to freely exercise their religion.

An attempt to reach an out-of-court settlement failed in December. The case before U.S. District Court in Albany will be scheduled for trial, likely late this year or in early 2011.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Judge Rules in Favor of Amish in Animal ID Case

Note: Facts, the application for the grant money to operate the program requires that Wisconsin abide by the terms set forth under the Federal Register. In which the participation must be voluntary and a producer can op-out. The state has breached their contract and are subject to Federal Administrative Relief which may result in repayment of all grant moneys. The USDA also failed to provide warning to the state that it may be sued, under requirements of Article 1 Sec.8 Clause 1 regarding grants under the authority of the General Welfare Clause. See annotated Supreme Court rulings for details.

Paul M. Griepentrog

A decision has finally been made in the highly anticipated case in which the State of Wisconsin was trying to sue an Amish man for not following Wisconsin’s Livestock Premise Registration law. On Tuesday, Clark County Circuit Court Judge Jon Counsell ruled that Emanuel Miller Jr. of Loyal, Wisconsin does have a ‘religious right’ to be exempt from the law, which requires anyone who keeps, houses, or co-mingles livestock to register their premises with the state.

It was noted during court proceedings that the Amish do provide their names and addresses when they buy and sell livestock, and the judge said that doing so should be enough for the state to track down an animal in the event of a disease.

Prosecutors also cited a recent pseudorabies case in Clark County as an example of why the premises law is needed. But Judge Counsell said the state failed to show why alternatives, that would not affect Miller’s religious freedom, would not be just as effective.

The Amish believe the requirement infringes on their religious believes because it could eventually result in the tagging of all animals, or the ‘Mark of the Beast.’ But prosecutors felt with mandatory premise ID, the process of tracking down potentially at-risk farms would be much easier if there were an animal disease. The issue of “government ease” fell short in court to the issue of “religious rights.”

Meanwhile, Paul McGraw, the assistant state veterinarian with the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture’s animal health division says he expects the state to appeal the ruling. A case of this nature regarding a state case, is normally a wearing down of the accused, which judges also tire of.

The NAIS, requiring premises registration, was a program instigated by the USDA. Every state was offered “grant” funds as an incentive to enforce a full mandatory NAIS with arrests and fines for noncompliance. The Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection has received over twelve million dollars to tighten the screws on all Wisconsin livestock producers. Their enforcements are the most ruthless of any state with many other pending cases. Their grant moneys are also the largest considering the number of livestock producers in the state.

Wisconsin has been used by USDA as an example of strict enforcements for the nation. Additionally increasing the weakened position of Wisconsin, national resistance to NAIS caused Sec. Vilsack on Feb. 5, to announce the NAIS program was discontinued. Without the backing of federal policy, judicial decisions by Wisconsin are predicted to be very problematic for the state. The Miller case is the first court decision since USDA withdrew the program.

On Feb 5 Vilsack stated that one of the reasons for terminating the NAIS program was that, “USDA had gotten a failing grade on NAIS” and that, “Terminating the program would help overcome some of the mistrust caused by NAIS.” It appears Dr. McGraw still has not arrived to where Sec. Vilsack is, serious work on the Wisconsin “mistrust” issue.

The case at one time was referred to as the state’s first such NAIS prosecution, until a Polk County judge ruled in October that Patrick Monchilovich of Cumberland violated the four-year-old rule after he refused to register his premises. He was ordered to pay a civil forfeiture and court costs. (This was before the USDA Feb. 5 announcement.)

McGraw and Wisconsin have been tossed under the bus by USDA and now Clark County Circuit Court Judge Jon Counsell just tossed them under a convoy of galloping Amish steel-wheeled buggies.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Easter Bunny Reports: “NAIS IS DEAD!”

NEWS WITH VIEWS.COM - Where Reality Shatters Illusion

Doreen HannesBy Doreen Hannes
February 18, 2010

As I reported after returning from the NIAA (National Institute for Animal Agriculture) meeting last August, rumors of the death of NAIS have been greatly exaggerated. (Read) The USDA has finally admitted that they have too much negative publicity surrounding the name NAIS, and that they actually have to do what they tried to do in the first place: get the states to do their bidding on ‘animal identification’ and ‘traceability’ according to World Trade Organization standards. So yippee. They are only going to exercise their rule-making authority to control interstate commerce. Well, that’s all they had the authority to do at the outset. So we should be giddy with excitement that they are openly proclaiming they will do just that now.

Should we be happier than a pig in a puddle because they openly stated that they will leave animals which never exit the state out of the new plan? They never had the authority to deal with those animals anyway…unless, of course, you take money from the USDA. Otherwise, that authority rests with your state. The USDA will continue to fund the states and work in a ‘collaborative’ way with states and industry (continuing the Public Private Partnership otherwise known as fascism) to develop the “minimum standards” that must be followed in order to participate in interstate commerce.

So, as many conversations with my compatriots in the fight against NAIS have alluded to, at last the USDA is pulling the commerce clause out and holding it up as their hammer for “minimum standards” that will be required by forthcoming regulations for ‘disease traceability’. And why has the USDA taken to calling it ‘disease traceability’ instead of ‘animal identification’? Because they only HAVE authority over the diseases! The FDA has authority over live animals on the farm, even though the majority of people don’t know this, and it is a very useful poker chip in the globalization game. It is called misdirection, and those of us who have been deeply involved in the fight against the NAIS are very aware of this agency’s use of misinformation, disinformation, subterfuge and general sneakiness in foisting upon us their WTO driven desire that will create captive supply for export of the entire domestic livestock population.

The only official document available on the “NAIS not NAIS” program is a seven page Q and A available at the new page for “NAIS not NAIS” called Animal Disease Traceability. It’s only 7 pages, so if you have read the previous 1200 pages of USDA documents on this program, it’s a walk in the park.

One of the first questions that one asks when told “NAIS is Dead!”, (aside from “what’s it’s new name?”) is “What about all the people who are in the Premises Database with PIN’s already?” According to the 7-page document, they stay in that database.

How about animals that are already identified with the “840” tags for NAIS? They also stay in the database. What about the “840” tags themselves? Well, the USDA and States will keep using them.

Are they going to halt further registrations into the NAIS database? Heck no! They’ll keep registering properties and will also be using a ‘unique location identifier’ for this kinder, gentler NAIS that the States will run for us.

Why are they re-using the first two prongs of NAIS? Aside from the unstated fact that they are using them because they have to use them to be compliant with OIE (World Animal Health Organization) guidelines, they say it’s because of the tremendous amount of money spent developing NAIS already even though it is un-Constitutional.

How much money? It’s government math, so it’s likely done by consensus as opposed to literal whole numbers that add up- you know, like 2+2=4. Consensus would make it possible for 2+2 to equal 5. Anyway, figures cited by various officials are anywhere from $120 million to $180 million. Less than 60¢ per person, so almost nothing when compared to the monstrous 107 trillion dollars in unfunded liabilities we are currently carrying. Believe me, when I say I am not for government waste at all, but when an agency has spent this much time and money on an unfruitful program, isn’t it better to simply fully knock it in the head instead of changing the name and playing “Hide and Go Seek” with the people who have adamantly opposed this program? Why couldn’t the USDA do the only truly Constitutional thing with this international-trade driven program and let those who want to deal in international markets do this to themselves through the Export Verification Services department of the USDA? Well, if they did that, not only would they have to actually be fully open and transparent, they would need to let the public in on the big secret that the United States is no longer in charge of its own policies, rather they are obligated to follow the Sanitary PhytoSanitary (SPS) directives of the World Trade Organization agencies, namely Codex Ailimentarius, the OIE and the IPPC (International Plant Protection Convention).

And we still have the very real issue of the massive database for premises registration (or the unique location allocator) having no public or verifiable oversight to check whether or not people who have been told they were removed were in fact removed from that database. So if NAIS is dead, why not allow the database to be annihilated? Obviously, they are still following the plan.

What about the states that have passed legislation designed to constrain NAIS from becoming mandatory within their boundaries? How will this new disease traceability program affect them? Well, since this is NOT NAIS and the regulations aren’t yet written, the states will have to wait to find out what requirements they MUST MEET in order to participate in interstate commerce. There’s your hammer.

So how powerful is the interstate commerce clause? Pretty dang powerful. And if people who dealt in the local food movement fully understood Wickard vs. Filburn, they would feel no consolation whatsoever from the USDA’s statement that they are not interested in regulating livestock that stay within the state.

In a nutshell, this 1942 Supreme Court case found that since Filburn had accepted money as part of the Agricultural Adjustments Act and then grew wheat to feed his own livestock, that he was not only subject to the regulation of the USDA by accepting that money, but also, since he grew wheat, he hadn’t purchased it, and had he not grown it, he would have had to purchase wheat which would have likely come through interstate commerce. Therefore, his planting of wheat affected interstate commerce and solidified the USDA’s jurisdiction over his actions.

If you transplant “tomato” for wheat you can see how sinister this ruling truly is. If you grow tomatoes, you won’t be buying them, so if you don’t buy them, and since the store bought tomatoes likely cross state lines in their movement, you are affecting interstate commerce by growing tomatoes….This is precedent, and it is a very, very dangerous precedent. So taking money or help from the USDA to establish your local farmer’s market is going to put you into a relationship that is highly precarious for freedom.

The interstate commerce clause was not designed to hammer states into submission to federal or international agency trade objectives, it was to stop states from unfairly discriminating against each other and to enable us to be a strong union of sovereign states that could actually feed itself and prosper. The only thing to do is to keep fighting with full knowledge and to get the States to exercise their duty to protect the Citizens from an overarching Federal government. We need states to completely free up direct trade between farmers and consumers and we need states to work together to create their own criteria for exchange of goods across state lines.

Do we have to ‘stay engaged’ in conversations with the USDA on this “New Not NAIS”? Yes, to keep telling them to go sell crazy somewhere else, we’re all stocked up here, thank you. They should tend the borders, control and actually inspect the imports, run the disease programs that worked and were not massive consolidations of power in federal hands, and for cryin’ out loud INSPECT the packing plants and stop trying to make consumers believe that farmers and ranchers are responsible for sloppy slaughtering!

Also, go ahead and leave a bunch of the milk chocolate rabbits for us. Chocolate is one thing we probably should import, but certainly not at the cost of our freedom and sovereignty.

© 2010 Doreen Hannes – All Rights Reserved

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

They Pry Them from Our Cold Dead Fingers

by Sharon Harris
by Sharn Harris

Once upon a time, in a land not so far away…

It’s a lively community forum. A nice young woman named Jan Smith from Freeland (a tiny country tucked away somewhere in Western Europe) is telling us about how Freeland has solved many of the problems our local politicians have been struggling with. Some think our city council members could learn from Freeland’s example.

“One of the problems we’ve dealt with quite successfully is the gun issue,” Ms. Smith says. “Now remember, we’re a free country like yours – we believe in individual liberty and responsibility. We certainly allow citizens to own and use firearms.

“However, we noticed that this creates several problems. Many people just don’t take proper care of their guns. They don’t know how to clean them, how to store them, how to make sure they are safe. Other people modify their guns in ways that are illegal or not in the best interests of the public. This poses a danger not only to themselves, but to the community.

“Some of our cleverest leaders solved that. First, we passed a law requiring that everyone care for their guns and store them properly. We instituted a massive educational campaign to stress the importance of this.

“That helped, but of course there were still people who didn’t comply.

“The way we ultimately solved the problem was for the government to provide citizens with the service of taking care of their guns for them.

“We built huge buildings in every community and hired firearm experts to work there. We passed a new law requiring everyone to drop off their guns at the building closest to them every morning, and then pick them up in the early evening. Some complained this was inconvenient for them, so we created a system to pick the guns up at each home every morning and return them to the owners in the evenings.

“Having the guns all day gives our government-trained firearms experts a chance to modify those that don’t comply with gun regulations, in addition to making sure they are cleaned and stored safely.

“It’s a win-win. Folks really appreciate this service!

“A great side effect that we didn’t anticipate was that it gives more freedom to everyone! No longer do citizens worry about what might happen to their guns if they left them at home during the day, so they can go to work or run their errands in peace.

“They know their guns are safe and well-cared-for. And of course they appreciate not having to do the hard work of taking care of their guns themselves.”

Councilman Brown interrupts with a question: “Have you encountered any problems with this system?”

“Not really.” Ms. Smith pauses. “Well, some people complain that the government experts don’t do a good job. Some say that their guns don’t work as well as they used to, or that they prefer to take care of them themselves, for whatever reasons.

“No problem. To appease these complainers, we allow them to take their guns to private, licensed companies that provide the same service. Of course, not many people take advantage of these private services, because after all they have to PAY for them, whereas the tax-funded government service is free.

Councilman Jones: “Sounds great! This is something I think we should consider here.”

I look around at the mostly conservative and libertarian crowd – who, predictably go ballistic.

“You’ve got to be kidding!” says a man on the front row. “You’ll never see that here!” says another.

“You’ll take my guns when you pry them from my cold dead fingers!” shouts a man in the back row, and soon the crowd is on its feet – echoing his statement and booing the politicians.

Whew! It’s clear we won’t see this sort of thing in my community any time soon.

As I nod in agreement with the crowd, I notice an image out of the corner of my eye – a bright yellow school bus is passing by the window.

And suddenly I realize that just about everyone in the room allows government workers to come every day and take away something – something far more precious than any piece of metal.

That big yellow school bus takes our children to huge government buildings where most of their waking hours are spent. Where each day begins with an invocation of loyalty to the state. Where their most treasured spiritual values and symbols are banished. Where peer pressure replaces family values. Where the truly important questions of life can’t be asked, much less answered. Where pop culture surpasses the classics. Where socialism is taught – both in theory and by example. Where conformity and indoctrination are far more important than thinking or reading…

Libertarians and most conservatives boldly and nobly take a stand for our right to keep and bear arms. Not so we can go duck hunting, but so we can defend ourselves and our families from invasion. And so we can, if necessary, defend our liberty from the possibility of a tyrannical state.

But what if the tyranny we fear comes to pass – grown and nurtured in our very homes?

Until we have equal passion for defending our children from the invasion of their MINDS – unless we take a bold and noble stand for the separation of SCHOOL and state – we will continue to allow our children to be taken from our warm, loving arms.

January 7, 2004

Sharon Harris [send her mail] is president of the Advocates for Self-Government, a nonprofit libertarian educational organization established in 1985.

Copyright © 2004 LewRockwell.com


Death of Amish by English ruled homicide

Fri Feb 12, 2010, 01:00 PM CST

The death of Eli L.L. Borntrager, 29, of Madison has been ruled homicide by Randolph County Coroner Gerald Luntsford.
Mr. Borntrager, an Amish, died at approximately 10:45 a.m. Jan. 12th of this year in an automobile-cart accident on U. S. 63 in the city limits of Moberly.
According to the death scene investigation of Coroner Luntsford, “the cart was struck in the rear by a 2007 Chevrolet Malibu with Missouri license number FB3-W4P, driven by Jeffery David Fleming of 1230 West Henry Street, Staunton IL.”
L.L. Borntrager was traveling south on Highway 63 in a horse drawn two(2) wheel road cart.
Mr. Borntrager was pronounced dead at the scene, the horse was badly injured and was euthanized by a local veterinarian.
“The cart was equipped with a slow moving vehicle triangle of appropriate size. The road was dry and the weather was clear,” the report states.
There was no indication that the driver of the car made any attempt to stop or avoid, the cart whatsoever, “There were no skid marks.” Therefore, the driver of the car Jeffrey David Fleming caused the death of Eli L.L. Borntrager by striking him with a motor vehicle.”
In Coroner Luntsford’s report, finalized Feb. 11, it stated that he still had not received an accident report from the Moberly Police Department and  that the 2007 Chevrolet  was  impounded at Smith’s Towing at Higbee  and that evidence had already been removed from inside the vehicle.

Tags: ,

NAIS ~~ Coming Soon, Mandatory Interstate Requirements

Ron DeHaven

Dr. W. Ron DeHaven is CEO of the American Veterinary Medical Assn.

USDA Sec. Vilsack announced during the morning of Feb. 5 that NAIS was over, ended, no more.

His customary emotionless announcement was fairly brief, but the detailed USDA Factsheet (Click here for factsheet) released simultaneously required seven pages of small print describing the animal ID “will do’s” and “won’t do’s”–all of which will be enforced at some future date in a to-be-determined manner.

The New York Times reported this based on information from an “unidentified USDA informant.”

At once thousands of emails flew from around the globe with nearly as much excitement outside the US as the home land.

Ranch and cattle producers smiled and nodded.

But it seems the victory may be short lived.

Now comes a lone government employee saying he cannot endorse Sec. Vilsack’s new announcement.

Dr. W. Ron DeHaven is CEO of the American Veterinary Medical Assn. The US veterinarian head count is 100,728 licensed practitioners; of which 930 are Federal Veterinarians, employed by APHIS, and 23 are Homeland Security staff veterinarians.

DeHaven has always been a verbal supporter of mandatory NAIS. He says Vilsack “… has been caving to this public resistance…”

DeHaven’s “public resistance” is the overwhelming majority of livestock producers who opposed the NAIS for a list of reasons that would choke a giraffe.

According to DeHaven, the mag-daddy of veterinarians, none of these “resistors” should have had any voice in the NAIS’s demise, and Secretary Vilsack should not have listened to them.

One gets the feeling he would like to see Vilsack go away, and himself take control.

Then again, DeHaven has shot his mouth off before, under oath. He showed his out-of-touch thinking March 11, 2009 when he testified to the House Committee on Agriculture as a hand picked presenter. He stated, “If the US is to remain competitive or grow export markets, an effective NAIS will be required.”

Evidently unknown to DeHaven, the US has been a net importer of beef for the last 21 years. Last year, the country exported $2,183,977,168 in beef and imported $4,857,454,008.

We haven’t produced enough beef to feed the nation in 21 years, yet DeHaven confidently testified that future exports are imperative.

USDA released their NAIS Fact Sheet February 5. It states:

“What is certain is that animal disease traceability will be required for animals moving in interstate commerce. . .To ensure interstate compatibility and connectivity, APHIS will work with States and Tribal Nations in establishing standards and guidelines where free or low-cost tags will be incorporated as options.”

DeHaven says the AVMA cannot endorse the Vilsack new approach:

“As I understand it, they will let each state and tribal nation more or less develop their own program? So, I’m concerned about interoperability between fifty or more different systems. Will one state be able to talk to another state as an animal moves through interstate commerce?”
DeHaven’s Audio: “Click Here

From this statement, it would appear DeHaven has never processed an interstate veterinarian animal health certificate.

Here is how it works, and has for every veterinarian’s lifetime:

  • An animal is sold into another state.
  • The state receiving the animal has “states rights” and determines the rules of entry.
  • The owner of the sold animal contacts their local veterinarian.
  • The vet has an “Entry Permit Acquisition Book” with phone numbers of every US state and tribe, provided by the USDA.
  • They call the state vet office of destination, talk to an authorized person, receive the required protocol, do what ever health tests are required for entry, complete a standard animal health certificate, receive a permit number to enter the state, and the critter is ready to travel.

This health certificate has four copies of different colors.

  • One copy goes with the hauler,
  • One stays with the local vet,
  • Two go to the state vet of origin, and
  • They forward one copy on to the receiving state vet.

The receiving state has a staff of people who check these incoming certificates every day, and may actually go and inspect the animals after arrival if they have concern.

It has always been required that a permanent ID be on each departing critter. This can be a:

  • Fire brand number,
  • Tattoo,
  • Cheap government metal ear clip,
  • OCV clip, or
  • Other approved ID.

This has been established and is already done.

No animals travel across state lines without ID and a health certificate, and nothing is new about that.

This is a system that has worked for a lifetime, and Vilsack understands the total cost to USDA is zero to continue this process.

This system has been used successfully during every major outbreak of livestock disease in our history.

Currently a huge weight of mistrust hangs over DeHaven, Vilsack, and the USDA. Vilsack says he is well aware of “. . .the downward confidence level NAIS has caused.”

The attempt to shove NAIS down the throat of every livestock producer in the U.S. will-not-be-forgotten, and the USDA may try to resurrect and rename it again–the Every Animal Traceability Tax, (EATT), or the No Cow Left Behind (NCLB)–but the results will be the same.

And another bureaucrat like DeHaven will stand up before some Congressional committee and pretend there is this huge, dangerous, animal disease mountain to climb and that without a NAIS, the food safety of the nation will be imperiled.

Hopefully, that bureaucrat will have enough sense to know we already have a successful interstate commerce system in place, and that all it takes for a producer to comply is to make a phone call to the destination state and do what the receiving state asks.

It’s that simple.

Tags: , , , , ,

Pelosi = BS

No Pelosi

No Pelosi

Years ago when I sometimes used unsavory language, I often used the expression “Bull S***.”

As I grew up a bit and discovered it was not necessary to use such crude language, that expression became “BS.”

What did I really mean when I used those expressions? I meant that something was ridiculous, or idiotic or a half truth or just stupid. It covered any number of negative formats. The dictionary defines it as: nonsense; especially : foolish insolent talk…

I have decided that I no longer will use either of those expressions in the future. When I have a need to express such feelings, I will use the word “Pelosi.”

Let me use it in a sentence. “That’s just a bunch of Pelosi.” I encourage you to do the same. It is such a nasty sounding word, it really packs a punch, we are no longer being vulgar, and it clearly expresses our feelings. If enough of us use it, perhaps the word could be entered into the dictionary.

When on a ranch watch your step and don’t step in the Pelosi. It will get on the bottom of your boot and won’t go away until next election.

What a fitting and descriptive legacy for the Speaker of the House!


Tags: , ,

USDA Pretends to Kill NAIS

USDA Signals NAIS is Dead

Max Thornsberry

After a long-fought six-year battle, independent cattle producers have finally succeeded in stopping the National Animal Identification System (NAIS), which was an onerous plan conceived by the World Trade Organization (WTO) and promoted by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), domestic and multinational ear tag companies, as well as multinational meat packers and their closely aligned trade associations.

The battle was extremely lopsided. USDA had millions of dollars of taxpayer money — over $140 million to be precise — to develop and promote NAIS and to persuade state departments of agriculture and cattle industry trade associations to recruit as many independent cattle producers as possible into the ill-fated NAIS program. According to the Web site www.usaspending.gov, the National Cattlemen’s Foundation, part of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA), received over $2.1 million from the federal government in 2008 to promote NAIS.

Armed with millions of dollars and six years worth of joint government and processing-industry planning, how did NAIS get stopped?

The answer is that NAIS was stopped by the persistent, relentless pressure applied by a handful of non-conventional organizations that exclusively represented the interests of cattle farmers and ranchers, not the interests of the industrialized sectors of the U.S. beef supply chain. This was a David versus Goliath battle in which David won and the interests of independent cattle producers came out on top.

These recent victories by independent cattle producers, with far less political clout and economic power than their conventional beef industry trade association counterparts, strongly suggests that there remains a genuine reason for hope that independent cattle producers can reverse the present course of their industry — a course that is fast leading toward more and more corporate control over the U.S. cattle industry by beef packers that are capturing control over the live cattle supply chain, just as they have already captured control over both the poultry and hog supply chains.

The beef packers are now focusing their efforts on the feeding sector of the cattle industry by purchasing more and more feedlots (JBS recently purchased the nation’s largest feedlot company, Five Rivers Ranch Cattle Feeding, L.L.C.) and gaining increased control over the fed cattle market through the use of new cattle procurement tools, such as certain marketing agreements and formula-type contracts that effectively reduce the competitiveness of the fed cattle cash market.

As with every major policy issue victory, the real work begins now.

Now that NAIS has been scrapped, a new program needs to be developed to achieve improvements in the United States’ ability to quickly contain and control animal diseases. Independent cattle producers must remain directly involved in the development of this new program to ensure that it does not infringe upon their rights and privileges as did NAIS.

It is encouraging that when Agriculture Secretary Vilsack announced he was going to pursue a new approach to animal disease traceability, he also announced that the U.S. must strengthen its import controls to prevent the introduction of animal diseases at our borders. This is a high priority for independent cattle producers who intrinsically understand that we cannot continue importing diseases like BSE, bovine tuberculosis and brucellosis if we desire to maintain our industry’s reputation of producing the healthiest cattle in the world — a reputation that is the U.S. cattle industry’s competitive advantage in both the domestic market and the global market.

I encourage every cattle producer to take a new look at the relatively new organizations that have amassed uncanny successes for independent cattle producers despite seemingly impossible odds. Each of the organizations that brought us to where we’re at today is not likely to lead us in a new direction. But some of these new organizations will and they need your support to continue winning their fight to restore for the U.S. cattle industry the opportunity for U.S. cattle producers to maintain independent and profitable cattle-producing businesses all across the United States.

The future of the U.S. cattle industry is in your hands and will be determined by which organization you choose to support.

The NAIS that USDA was attempting to force down the throats of independent U.S. cattle producers, utilizing our own tax dollars, would have completely changed the way cattle farmers and ranchers do business.

While obtaining a premises ID number — the first step to a nationwide NAIS — required no effort, the second and third steps in the onerous WTO-mandated system would have been costly, difficult, and, I believe, would have generated rebellion on the range. Reporting the movement of every animal, once it left its birth farm of origin, was a completely unworkable system for producers, especially those operating in our most populous cow states, where the average cowherd size is 30 to 40 mother cows.

Imagine having to get your cattle in a chute, read the tags electronically, and report the numbers to USDA every time you moved a set of calves to another pasture, your Dad’s place, or sent a group of calves to the sale barn. Not only were you going to be required to read the tags electronically, but you were going to be required to report the tag numbers to the appropriate authorities within 48 hours of that movement, or you would be out of compliance and subject to enforcement fines: A range rebellion in the making, and completely unnecessary for a first world country like the United States.

At least for the time-being, the government has listened to the people. A spike has been driven into the heart of a one-world government’s dictatorial rule.

Maybe our Constitution is not dead?

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Beware Amish Heaters

Ed Note:
I have seen these heaters advertised and they look nice, but are pricy. I was surprised that an “Electric” heater would be called an Amish Heater. Too funny.

Buy a Bahams Poster and save a bundle

Buy a Bahama Poster and save a bundle

I have a couple friends that have worked in the factory that assembles them. There are a few Amish employees there assembling them, but no more Amish than you would see at any big employer in the Amish rich counties south east of Cleveland.

These “Amish Heaters” are 1500 watts top, and run about $300. My recommendation is to save your money, go to Walmart or Lowes an buy a1500 watt heater for $19.97, buy a poster of the Bahamas so you can look at it and get the warm feelings that the expensive fake Amish Fireplace would given have you.

Posted on Wed, Feb. 10, 2010

Heater’s Amish glow just a frame job: Minus mantel, the faux fireplace is made in China

Philadelphia Daily News

pompiln@phillynews.com 215-854-2595

Ads (above) accentuate Ads (above) accentuate the Amish role. Mike Hedgepeth (right) sells the heaters at Hearth & Stove on South Street.

Mike Hedgepeth sells the heaters at Hearth & Stove on South Street.

THE AMISH are known for being honest, God-fearing folk, so if they give a product their stamp of approval, it has to be good, right?

That’s what the people employing them – and their image – are betting on.

For the past two years, America’s newspapers and magazines have been inundated with advertisements for electric fireplaces called Roll-n-Glow, made by a company called Heat Surge.

A recent two-page spread in Parade magazine – designed to look like a series of newspaper articles with photos and sidebars – proclaimed, “Amish craftsmen set to build Heat Surge miracle fireplace mantels for just $58.”

Read that carefully. The Amish make the frame that goes around the unit. The heater – which costs about $250 more – is made in China.

“They’re touting their faux fireplace and wood surrounds, and if those features are important to you, this is one to consider,” said Jim Nanni, manager of the technical department at Consumer Reports, which tested the product last year. “But if you’re just in the market for a portable heater … you can get a decent one for under $100.”

But Heat Surge vice president David Baker said people who buy the Roll-n-Glow – about one million have been sold – aren’t just looking for something to warm their homes.

“This product is a fireplace, not a heater,” Baker said. “Everyone loves a fireplace. It’s also a beautiful piece of furniture. We have a lot of satisfied customers.”

It’s actually a plug-in electric heater with a backlit picture of a fire.

Ads (above) accentuate the Amish role.

Ads (above) accentuate the Amish role.

Baker said the Amish aren’t being exploited, they’re being employed.

He said the company could easily import mantels from China – and charge a lot less – but it wanted to employ craftsmen in their area. And while not all Amish like being photographed, those that do help promote the product that helps feed their families, Baker said.

“Times have changed. A lot of people couldn’t make it anymore in farming,” said Baker, noting that the product has earned a Good Housekeeping Seal. “This has been a godsend to the Amish. They love doing this. It’s woodworking. It’s right up their alley. And they’re employed.”

Heat Surge’s ads contain multiple money-saving promises: “guaranteed to save everyone money on home heat bills this winter,” and “turn down the thermostat and never be cold again.”

But this heater – or any electric space heater – won’t save you money if you employ it as you would a regular heating system, Nanni said. In fact, it could end up costing more overall.

“The savings come from reducing the heat in your entire home and only heating the one or two rooms you’re occupying,” he said. “Everyone is attracted to the lead claim that you’ll save on heating, but you can do that without a portable heater. Lower the heat and put another layer of clothing on.”

A recent version of the ads plays on the guilt that comes with not living the simple life: “Amish hit hard by recession,” reads one faux headline. The “article” under it explains that’s why these simple craftsmen are willing to work hard making those wood mantels for less money.

The photo next to the write-up, with the caption “OUT OF WORK,” shows a young boy and a man wearing traditional Amish garb holding hands and walking toward a covered bridge. The boy is glancing over his shoulder.

The content doesn’t bother Steve Nolt, a professor at Goshen College specializing in Amish and Mennonite history and culture. The Amish have had their name and image used before to market products, including for items that are as Amish as Quaker Oats are Quaker, he said.

“If the Amish image would be used in a way that hurts Amish people or is detrimental to their culture, I would be upset,” Nolt said. “In this case, I’m more amused than offended.”

Nolt, who is on sabbatical in Lancaster County, said the Amish folk he’s talked with say it’s clear from the ad that the people pictured are not Old Order Amish. They can tell by the older gentleman’s trimmed beard and details like the style of the man’s hats and the ladies’ bonnets.

But they’re not offended, he said. Like him, they’re somewhat amused. Before the ad copy was cleaned up to make clear that it is the mantel, not the heating unit, that is Amish-made, one Lancaster man joked, “Are they Amish heaters? Well, let’s see, how many Amish live in China?”

The Canton, Ohio, office of the Better Business Bureau gives Ohio-based Heat Surge a “B-“grade and said it is not a BBB-accredited business. More than 300 complaints about the company have been filed since June 2007, but most major issues have been settled, said Amanda Tietze, Canton BBB’s vice president of public relations.

“The company has been willing to work with us to resolve any issues or problems or patterns,” Tietze said.

Locally, the heaters – and their mantels – can be purchased at Hearth & Stove on South Street near 17th. Seen in person, the units appear smaller than advertised, standing only 2 feet high.

“Everybody says that,” owner Dan Carter said.

The acclaimed mantel – Carter has “oak” on display in his shop – is passable. Although Consumer Reports didn’t set out to analyze that part of the product, Nanni called the “oak” version “acceptable.”

“I wouldn’t call it exquisite craftsmanship,” Nanni said. “It’s not made as fine furniture.”

The “miracle” faux flame is just that: Fake. But in the “testimonial” section of Heat Surge’s Web site, customers marvel at how real the flame looks and how serene it can make one feel. There’s no mention of how they feel when they have to change the lightbulb that produces that effect.

The item sells well and “has a nice price point,” being in the $300 to $500 range, depending on what deals the company is offering, said Hearth & Stove’s Carter. He has literature detailing how a user can save money by only heating occupied rooms with the Roll-n-Glow, practicing zone heating over traditional heating.

“It’s a portable space heater,” Carter said. “If that’s what you want, that’s what you’ll get.”

He knows the company spends a lot of money on its ads, but he doesn’t think buyers are being misled.

“Nobody’s going to think the Amish are making electric fireplaces,” he said. “They’re not supposed to even have electricity.”

Tags: ,