Massie Drops Two Bills in Defense of Raw Milk Distribution

raw milk

Farmers across America continue to be harassed and fined for distributing unprocessed milk. This has been a problem to hard-working American families even before former congressman Ron Paul (R-TX) introduced his Unpasteurized Raw Milk Bill, HR 1830, in 2011.

Now, Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY) has announced he is dropping two separate bills addressing the same issues with the goal of restoring the farmers’ right to distribute milk, and the consumer’s right to choose what he or she wants to put in their own bodies.

Dairy farmers across the country find themselves in trouble with the law over the Food and Drug Administration’s strict guidelines, which end up pushing the raw milk business to the sidelines, turning it into a black market and thus increasing the risks associated with the poor processing quality. When laws are too strict, farmers can no longer make use of the protection of an open market where they compete freely. Consumers are the ones who lose.

While many doctors continue to defend the reasons why people may prefer to drink raw milk, many others will say that raw milk is in fact hazardous and must be kept from consumers, for their own good.

While the open debate is always important, banning a consumer item solely on the premises that it may eventually cause somebody harm is just not compatible with living in a free society, where individuals are aware they might have to face certain risks every now and then but are also entirely free to opt out.

FDA Wants To Roll the Cigar Industry

Jeff Edgens is a member of the Executive Committee for the Libertarian Party of Georgia and a member of the Cigar Rights of America.  He lives in Statesboro, Georgia.

Cigars have a family tree that can be traced back like that of a pencil. I,Pencil - the classic article written by Leonard Reed describes how a pencil is made.  In his essay, Reed chronicles the business transactions seen and unseen in the manfuacture of a pencil. He distinguishes between the invisible hand of the marketplace that brings willing buyers and sellers together from that of the planned economy foisted on to the marketplace by a regulatory agency.

I, Pencil reminds us that no single person has the knowledge to make a pencil and the same holds true for making a cigar.  Both are made by a myriad of individual business transactions that cooperate and bring to bear their respective talents toward a final product.

In this case, besides rolling the cigar there are all of the steps that come before the final product reaches the hands of the customer.  There are those who provide the raw materials to build the tools used to harvest the tobacco.  There are those who harvest the leaf, those who ship it, those who buy the leaf, those who roll it, those who market it, and those who sale the final product.  Other steps are unseen and those are the ones that take place long before a cigar ever reaches the marketplace. There are entirely too many transactions for one person or an agency of people to know how to direct or control.

Snakebites: A Failure of the Free Market?

Sometimes, the free market does not adequately provide for a need. Today, while reading popular mechanics, I worried that I had stumbled upon such a situation.

The cure for North American coral snake bite is about to disappear. Why an unprofitable anti-venom may end up costing lives.

The North American Coral Snake is deadly, but bites requiring antivenom were so few and far between that the companies who produce it are shutting down because they aren’t making enough money.

As venomous snakes go, the coral snake is a clumsy biter. Unlike pit vipers such as rattlesnakes and cottonmouths, which have gruesomely efficient fangs …the brightly colored coral snake has small, rear-facing fangs that guide venom into a wound. This process doesn’t always work well—experts estimate that 25 percent of coral snake envenomations are dry bites—which is perhaps why the coral is so unaggressive. The snake is found throughout Florida, as well as in parts of Alabama, South Carolina, Louisiana, Texas and Arizona, but there are generally only about 100 or so bites each year.

There is now a worry that antivenom will not be produced in high enough quantities to be available when it is needed. Shockingly, according to this article, antivenom shortages aren’t uncommon!

But Why?

Food Safety and Dependence on Government

President Obama announced in his weekly radio address (Saturday, March 14) the formation of a new advisory group to coordinate food safety laws and recommend changes to these laws (see the following article). The President makes the typical claims of the food safety system being “too spread out”, with resulting difficulty in sharing information and solving problems. He goes on to say that there are not nearly enough FDA workers or enough money for the FDA “to conduct inspections at more than a fraction of the 150,000 food processing plants and warehouses in the country.” The President stated, ”That is a hazard to public health. It is unacceptable. And it will change under the leadership of Dr. Margaret Hamburg,” his nominee for FDA commissioner.

Today in Liberty: Dems worried Obama will compromise, Fourth Amendment at the Supreme Court

“One area of common ground for most politically engaged people (who aren’t cronies) is the issue of crony capitalism. [M]ost people, libertarians, progressives, liberals, conservatives, pretty much agree that using the government to further the interests of private parties for profit is wrong.”Nick Sorrentino

— Dems worried Obama will compromise: That relies on the assumption that Democrats perform poorly this fall, of course. “With Obama’s political career winding down and poll numbers continuing to languish, his party brethren fret that their own president — forced to work with GOP majorities — would give away the store on key policy issues ranging from the budget to energy and trade,” Politico explains. “It’s a concern congressional Democrats have voiced every time Obama and Vice President Joe Biden tried to cut big fiscal deals with Republicans — and the panic is now more palpable with the growing prospect of a Senate GOP majority.” Oh, God forbid President Obama wake up to a new reality on January 3, 2015 and realize he needs to, you know, actually work with Republicans if he wants salvage his legacy.

Today in Liberty: Veterans die waiting for healthcare, Rand Paul touts school choice

“The difference between government and organized crime is that organized part.”Anonymous

— Veterans die while waiting for government-run healthcare: CNN’s Anderson Cooper touched on an outrageous, very serious problem with the government-run veterans’ healthcare system. “At least 40 U.S. veterans died waiting for appointments at the Phoenix Veterans Affairs Health Care system, many of whom were placed on a secret waiting list,” CNN reports. “The secret list was part of an elaborate scheme designed by Veterans Affairs managers in Phoenix who were trying to hide that 1,400 to 1,600 sick veterans were forced to wait months to see a doctor, according to a recently retired top VA doctor and several high-level sources.”

— Rand Paul talks up school choice: Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) spoke to a crowd of Latino parents and students in Milwaukee yesterday about Wisconsin’s school voucher program. National Review notes that Paul hailed the city at the “home of school choice” and explained that the tax dollars used for voucher problems belong to parents, not bureaucrats. “The exact ways the programs are set up is more of a state issue,” Paul told National Review, ”but I think the more school choice the better, so I would really allow everybody to have school choice regardless of income. I think for political reasons it’s been easier just to start with some. What I see is it’s a great advantage for everybody that I’ve seen participating in it.”

EconPop: Breaking Down the Economic Ideas of Films and TV Shows

EconPop: Dallas Buyers Club

There’s no denying that we live in a pop culture age, and it’s difficult to spread of limited government and free market ideas through ordinary means, especially if we plan to reach and engage young people.

Founded by economist Russ Roberts and John Papola, EconStories has already developed a unique way of communicating economic ideas through visual storytelling.

In 2010, the two created a hip-hop music video, “Fear the Boom and Bust,” in which the economic views of John Maynard Keynes and Friedrich Hayes were debated. The video came at a time when there was a debate over the merits of a $835 billion stimulus bill that was designed to lift the United States out of the throes of the Great Recession.

A little more than a year later, EconoStories released a second video, “Fight of the Century,” featuring Keynes and Hayek. The video focused on the lack of any real economic recovery despite billions and stimulus spending and consecutive years of $1+ trillion budget deficits. To date, the two videos have garnered more than 7.2 million views on YouTube.

United Liberty talked with John Papola, a director and producer, about EconStories’ latest project, EconPop, which is presented in partnership with the Moving Picture Institute. EconPop brings economic ideas found in popular movies and TV shows and breaks them down in a fun and unique way.

Nanny State FDA bans trans fats


Nanny State regulators at the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced late last week that it will require restaurants and other food makers to phase out the use of trans fats in their recipes, claiming that such a move will prevent heart attacks and deaths:

Heart-clogging trans fats were once a staple of the American diet, plentiful in baked goods, microwave popcorn and fried foods. Now, mindful of the health risks, the Food and Drug Administration is getting rid of what’s left of them for good.

Condemning artificial trans fats as a threat to public health, the FDA announced Thursday it will require the food industry to phase them out.
It won’t happen right away. The agency will collect comments for two months before determining a phase-out timetable. Different foods may have different schedules, depending how easy it is to find substitutes.

“We want to do it in a way that doesn’t unduly disrupt markets,” said Michael Taylor, FDA’s deputy commissioner for foods. Still, he says, the food “industry has demonstrated that it is, by and large, feasible to do.”

This ban managed to fly under the radar with all of the public focus on other stories, like the government shutdown and Obamacare, over the last month. There has been a public campaign for years to try to raise awareness to trans fats, which can be, if consumed often enough, hazardous to people’s health.

That apparently wasn’t enough for busybody regulators. The FDA contends that banning trans fats, thus eliminating public choice and personal responsibility, will prevent some 20,000 heart attacks each year and 7,000 deaths.

ObamaCare’s menu-labeling requirement forces Dairy Queen to end homemade sauces

Dairy Queen

A Dairy Queen in Washington state had been making their own homemade sauces for customers. But because of ObamaCare’s menu-labeling requirements, a little publicized provision of the law, they’ve had to switch to a pre-packaged sauce or discontinue sauces.

“Due to the nutritional labeling requirements of ObamaCare, we have to serve pre-packaged, pre-made fry sauce,” said the franchisee in a letter, made available by The Quinton Report. “We can no longer make our own as we have done for many years. The additional cost to us is substantial, about $5,800 per year.”

“I regret to say, we are forced to pass the cost of pre-packaged fry sauce, for take-out, along to you the customer. We will serve pre-made bulk fry sauce in the lobby at no additional charge,” the letter continued. “It is for the same reason we have had to discontinue our Buffalo Sauce and Habanero Ketchup, which were made in-store.”

“Please be assured we are doing our very best to keep the cost to you, our customer, down while still maintaining the quality you have come to expect from us,” the letter added.

This provision of ObamaCare (Section 4205) requires restaurant chains with 20 or more locations to disclose the caloric content of menu items to their customers. It also applies to grocery and convenience store chains.

FDA: Orange juice from Brazil is safe but still illegal

The Food and Drug Administration is one of those departments that will be virtually impossible to ever remove.  After all, they’re supposedly responsible for keeping our food supply safe.  History tells us that prior to the FDA, food companies were putting all kinds of dangerous crap in foods and drinks…hence the FDA sprang into existence.

However, things are getting kind of silly when it comes to orange juice from Brazil.  You see, down there, they use a fungicide called carbendazim.  Carbendazim isn’t used here anymore, so no one has bothered to write a regulation on tolerances for the chemical.  As such, Brazilian frozen, concentrated orange juice is currently illegal since it has traces of a chemical that we just don’t use anymore.

Obviously, this is because carbendazim is unsafe in any dosage, right? Wrong.

If you happen to notice sometime later this year that you’re suddenly paying a lot more for orange juice, you can blame America’s food safety authorities. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration, after several weeks of deliberation, has blocked imports of frozen, concentrated orange juice from Brazil, probably for the next 18 months or so, even though the agency says the juice is perfectly safe.

The FDA’s explanation is that its hands are legally tied. Its tests show that practically all concentrated juice from Brazil currently contains traces of the fungicide carbendazim, first detected in December by Coca-Cola, maker of Minute Maid juices. The amounts are small — so small that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency says no consumers should be concerned.

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